Tag Archive | "ngata"

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Bovada sets Flacco passing yards at 3500 for 2012

Posted on 05 September 2012 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV). I also have odds for players on the other 31 NFL teams. If you’d like a specific team or the whole list, please let me know. 

Ravens Player Performance Props

Joe Flacco – Total Passing Yards in the 2012 Regular Season

Over/Under                    3500

 

Joe Flacco – Total Passing Touchdowns in the 2012 Regular Season

Over/Under                    22 ½

 

Joe Flacco – Total Interceptions thrown in the 2012 Regular Season 

Over/Under                    12 ½

 

Ray Rice – Total Rushing Yards in the 2012 Regular Season  

Over/Under                    1250 ½

 

Ray Rice – Total Receiving Yards in the 2012 Regular Season           

Over/Under                    625 ½

 

Ray Rice – Total Receptions in the 2012 Regular Season       

Over/Under                    67 ½

 

Ray Rice – Total Rushing & Receiving Touchdowns in the 2012 Regular Season       

Over/Under                    12 ½

 

Anquan Boldin – Total Receiving Yards in the 2012 Regular Season  

Over/Under                    850 ½

 

Anquan Boldin – Total Receiving Touchdowns in the 2012 Regular Season   

Over/Under                    5 ½

 

Torrey Smith – Total Receiving Yards in the 2012 Regular Season     

Over/Under                    900 ½

 

Torrey Smith – Total Receiving Yards in the 2012 Regular Season     

Over/Under                    7

 

Courtney Upshaw – Total Sacks in the 2012 Regular Season  

Over/Under                    3 ½

 

Haloti Ngata – Total Sacks in the 2011 Regular Season          

Over/Under                    5

 

Ed Reed – Total Interceptions in the 2011 Regular Season     

Over/Under                    4 ½

           

Miscellaneous

Who will be the first head coach fired during the 2012 Regular Season?     

Ken Whisenhunt            3/1

Norv Turner                    7/2

Pat Shurmer                  4/1

Rex Ryan                      5/1

Lovie Smith                   6/1

Andy Reid                     7/1

 

Who will record more passing Yards Week 1 of the 2012 Regular Season?

Andrew Luck (IND) QB                           7/4

Robert Griffin III (WSH) QB                      2/1

Russell Wilson (SEA) QB                       2/1

Ryan Tannehill (MIA) QB                        15/2

Brandon Weeden (CLE) QB                    15/2

 

Will an NFL Coach, Player or owner be fined by the NFL for comments made regarding replacement officials about Week 1’s games?

Yes                  +140     (7/5)

No                     -180     (5/9)

 

Eli Manning vs. Peyton Manning – Who will throw for more Passing Yards in the 2012 Regular Season          

Eli Manning (NYG) QB                 -150     

Peyton Maninng (DEN) QB         +120    

 

Eli Manning vs. Peyton Manning – Who will throw more TD Passes in the 2012 Regular Season       

Eli Manning (NYG) QB               EVEN  

Peyton Maninng (DEN) QB         -130     

 

Eli Manning vs. Peyton Manning – Will they Meet in the Super Bowl this Season?   

Yes                              75/1                             

 

Peyton Manning – Will he start all 16 games of the 2012 Regular Season? 

Yes                     -300

No                     +200

 

Andrew Luck – Will he break the single season record for most Passing Yards by a rookie (Cam Newton 4051)?      

Yes                  +250     (5/2)

No                    -400     (1/4)

 

Will Matt Ryan win a playoff game this Season?  

Yes                  +250

No                    -400

 

Michael Vick – Total games started in the 2012 Regular Season    

Over/Under                    14

 

Darren McFadden – Will he play in all 16 games in the 2012 Regular Season?         

Yes                  +110    

No                     -150     

 

Jake Locker – Total Starts in the 2012 Regular Season     

Over/Under                    14 ½

 

Russell Wilson – Total Starts in the 2012 Regular Season 

Over/Under                    10 ½

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Ravens officially name DeCosta Assistant GM

Posted on 17 May 2012 by WNST Staff

The Baltimore Ravens announced several promotions within their personnel department on Thursday: Eric DeCosta has been named Assistant General Manager, Joe Douglas has been elevated to National Scout, and David Blackburn has been tabbed an Area Scout.

DeCosta, 41, who has served as the Ravens’ Director of Player Personnel the past three years, joined the franchise in an entry-level position in 1996. He moved his way up through the personnel ranks, first as an Area Scout, then as Director of College Scouting, and was subsequently promoted to Director of Player Personnel in 2009.

DeCosta works closely with Executive Vice President/General Manager Ozzie Newsome to oversee both the college and pro scouting departments. During his tenure as the scouting director, the Ravens drafted Pro Bowlers OLB Terrell Suggs (’03), DT Haloti Ngata (’06), G Ben Grubbs (’07), G Marshal Yanda (’07), FB Le’Ron McClain (’07) and RB Ray Rice (’08).

“When we extended Eric’s contract earlier this year, we changed his title to Assistant GM,” Newsome said. “As Eric continues to grow in the personnel department, he is becoming a vital part of the decision-making process.”

Entering his 13th season with the Ravens, Douglas, 35, has served as the team’s Area Scout Southeast since 2009. From 2003-07, he evaluated players in the Northeast, and in 2008, scouted the entire East Coast. Douglas played a key role in scouting and evaluating first-round pick QB Joe Flacco – the Ravens’ all-time leading passer – and Rice, the two-time Pro Bowler.

Additionally, Douglas has organized and coordinated the team’s post-draft rookie free agent signing process, which over the past several seasons has produced standout players such as LB Jameel McClain, LB Dannell Ellerbe and WR LaQuan Williams.

“Joe is so deserving of his promotion to national scout,” DeCosta stated. “He’s a top evaluator and communicator, and he’s been loyal to the Ravens over the years. In his expanded role, he’ll be scouting players across the country, which only makes us better. We are very excited for Joe.”

Blackburn, 29, joined the Ravens as a Player Personnel Assistant in 2007 after serving one year as a graduate assistant at Butler University coaching cornerbacks. He has spent the past five seasons working with Baltimore’s scouting staff in a number of roles, including preparing advance scouting reports of upcoming opponents, analyzing free agent prospects for pro personnel, scouting draftable collegiate players at multiple schools and helping coordinate in-season free agent workouts/visits.

In his new position as an Area Scout, the 2004 graduate of DePauw University will scout prospects at schools in the Northwest, Southwest and Midwest regions.

“We are looking forward to working with David in his new role as an Area Scout,” Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz said. “He has done a great job the past five years working in both our pro and college departments, and he has received a well-earned promotion. David has a strong understanding of the type of player and person we look for in a ‘Raven.’ We’re confident he’ll give us another good set of eyes and ears to continue identifying the prospects we value.”

The Ravens also announced that Mark Azevedo has assumed the title of Area Scout Southeast, formerly held by Douglas. Azevedo, 30, was named an Area Scout in 2010, focusing the majority of his attention on schools in the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest regions. He originally joined the Ravens as a Player Personnel Assistant in 2005 and will now shift his primary responsibilities to the Southeast.

Additionally, Kenny Sanders, who spent the past two seasons interning in the team’s scouting department, has been hired as a Player Personnel Assistant. A 2004 graduate of Gettysburg College, he was a three-year letterman while playing defensive back. A Baltimore native, Sanders, 30, prepped at the McDonogh School.

Ravens “20/20 Club” Graduates: Current Personnel Staff
DeCosta, Hortiz, Douglas, Azevedo and Blackburn are all current graduates of the Ravens’ “20/20 Club,” which includes members of the team’s personnel staff who started with the organization as young personnel assistants and grew into evaluators with more input. The term “20/20” refers to hiring 20-year-olds for $20,000. According to Newsome, however, “The guys actually started when they were a little older than 20 and for more than $20,000, but that’s what we call them.”

Name                        Joined Ravens       Current Title
George Kokinis (Cle.)      1991                 Senior Personnel Assistant
Eric DeCosta                    1996                 Assistant General Manager
Joe Hortiz                        1998                 Director of College Scouting
Chad Alexander              1999                 Assistant Director of Pro Personnel
Joe Douglas                     2000                 National Scout
Mark Azevedo                2005                 Area Scout Southeast
David Blackburn             2007                 Area Scout

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Ravens DT Kemoeatu hoping to give Ngata breather once in a while

Posted on 02 May 2012 by WNST Audio

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Hey John: You can’t be 4-4 and seriously talk playoffs

Posted on 09 November 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Just judging from the sheer volume of social media I consumed all day yesterday, the fan base here is in “quit on the 2009 season” mode. The lofty expectations following a rookie campaign for John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco that ended in the AFC Championship Game led all of us in the Charm City to feel as though this year would somehow be better.

Well, we’re halfway through the race and things haven’t gone according to the best laid plan.

The Ravens have lost four of their last five, including yesterday’s turd in Cincinnati. The team, overall, just hasn’t been as good as advertised in many ways. The Bengals have now embarrassed the Ravens twice in four weeks en route to sole possession of the AFC North lead and have earned the right to crow.

While yesterday’s loss certainly felt like more of a beatdown than the final score — and we’ll get to Steve Hauschka’s missed kick in a minute — the NFL only counts one thing en route to a playoff berth in the tournament: wins. And right now, at 4-4, this isn’t going to get it done.

I could make excuses for all of the other three losses — and losing in the waning seconds on the road to New England and Minnesota doesn’t make you a bad team. But the pair of losses to the Bengals has been illuminating, especially when you consider Marvin Lewis’ recipe for building a team with a 6-2 start.

The Bengals have just about everything you’d want — a world-class quarterback with a world-class wide receiver and a running back who runs like Jamal Lewis with a line that’s got a nasty streak. On defense, they’ve built through a young linebacking corps (sound familiar?) and a pair of first-round cornerbacks who allow the safeties and linebackers to play hardball with the pass rush. Oh, yeah — they also arguably have the best kicker in the sport.

The Ravens, as was in full display yesterday, are sorely lacking in various departments but especially the ability to get off the field consistently on 3rd down on defense. It’s been a defensive franchise for the better part of 11 seasons. All good things must end and the 2009 defense is not up to “Play Like a Raven” standards.

Is that Greg Mattsion’s fault? Is that because of the clear falloff at the cornerback position? Is it not having Rex Ryan? Is Bart Scott missed that much? Is Ed Reed OK? Will Haloti Ngata be injured all year?

The entire secondary was beaten in coverage during the first half and the penalties were dreadful. All over the field. Ray Lewis is still the Ravens best player when Ngata is not dressed and that speaks volumes.

The first three losses were “excused” in my opinion. Yesterday, however, did a lot to expose the Ravens as a team that’s pretty good but not a serious playoff contender, especially not with that secondary and lack of pass rush.

Sure, Haloti Ngata’s absence needs to be factored into the equation in the Bengals debacle, but the Ravens have sufficient depth at that position and I’m not sure Ngata would’ve been a difference maker in the outcome yesterday in Cincinnati.

As for the offense, Joe Flacco just was not good enough yesterday, nor was the offensive line, which played its worst game of the season. Penalties? All over the place and ill-timed. Productivity? How about making their first third-down conversion in the fourth quarter? That’s just putrid, unacceptable and not worthy of the NFL playoffs.

They didn’t run well. They didn’t pass well. They were out of sync all day and Flacco looked bewildered during his short stints in the first half. Flacco has now dropped five straight to teams led by Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer.

Derrick Mason and Ray Lewis declined to comment after the game yesterday but I’m sure they’ll have something to say on Wednesday at The Castle.

Harbaugh did his usual tap dance around any tough questions from the media — (memo to John: denying that the team doesn’t tackle well is laughable at this point) — but it’s easy to do what you want when you’re in the AFC Championship Game and things are going better than advertised.

But when the team is a disappointing 4-4 at the turn and the one decision that’s truly pinned to Harbaugh’s special teams badge of expertise — the banishment of kicker Matt Stover in the offseason — costing the team team parts of two of the losses, the questions are only going to get tougher around the head coach and around Steve Hauschka.

This team was supposed to go to the playoffs. This team was supposed to be a Super Bowl contender. The “upgrades” of the offseason were well-calculated and the draft went well. The Ravens and the fanbase were not prepared to be swept by the Bengals and be 4-4 at the turn.

All eyes will now turn to Cleveland, where the Ravens most certainly will awaken eight days from now at 5-4. Right? We can only hope…

The Ravens have amassed four losses and haven’t yet seen the Steelers, the Colts or a frigid December night at Lambeau Field and a West Coast trip to the zoo in Oakland in early 2010. There’s a lot of football left to be played.

The Ravens will sort this out on the field. They need to go 6-2 to have a chance. They need to go 7-1 to be assured of a spot.

If they do it, they’ll be good enough. If they lose two more times to the Steelers, they’ll be playing golf on Jan. 4th and deservedly so.

And if that happens, John Harbaugh’s gonna have a lotta ‘esplainin’ to do at that postseason press conference while he sits next to Steve Bisciotti and the Steelers and Bengals are still playing football…

Things like:

What really happened in the decision to replace Matt Stover with Steve Hauschka?

What really happened with Chris McAlister and how did we get sold that Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr are upgrades?

Why all the penalties?

Where is the pass rush?

Where is Willis McGahee?

Where is the urgency on offense when the team is down two scores with three minutes left?

Of course, Harbaugh doesn’t really like the tough questions but they’re coming. It’s a tough job. It’s been a lot of fun, this honeymoon of riches and a great start to his era in Baltimore. Getting to the AFC Championship Game as a rookie head coach indeed buys you a hall pass for a while.

I have a feeling a lot of that ended yesterday, with a sweep to the Bengals and a 4-4 record at the turn.

But, as Brian Billick would no doubt tell him, these Monday mornings aren’t a whole lot of fun when the town gets disappointed and the team plays poorly.

And someone has to answer the questions…

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Haloti Ngata

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In case you were wondering how empty Camden Yards was last night

Posted on 16 September 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I didn’t go to the Orioles game last night and apparently neither did you.

I did watch most of the game, including the Orioles rally from being down 5-0 early to win the game against Tampa 10-5. Jason Berken survived the early battering to work into the 7th inning and earn a rare victory. Brian Roberts and Matt Wieters both broke out the big sticks and each had three hits. The boxscore is here…

The stadium was dreadfully empty — maybe the worst crowd in the history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards — and of course the Orioles lied about the attendance again, calling the crowd 11,575. There weren’t 11,000 eyeballs in the stadium last night and they advertised throughout the game on MASN for more of the mysterious $1 tickets for tonight and tomorrow night but were very carefully not show any foul balls.

Here’s a picture of Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata throwing out the first pitch. Note the nice shade of forest green in the background in center field. This was a stadium that all WNST followers were “uninvited” to attend.

Just pathetic…

But this is what happens when the ownership of the team can pocket more than $30 million of YOUR money this year via a TV network that we’re all forced to pay for via our cable bill, field a last place team and not be all-too concerned about actually having people in the ballpark.

Fans at the games, apparently, are just an inconvenience. Well, as you know, we tried. That’s all we can do is offer King Peter and Master Greg a dollar.

We did what 2.1 million other people in Baltimore did last night — we stayed away from Camden Yards. Trust me, they didn’t notice although I’m sure Haloti Ngata was wondering where all of the purple people from Sunday go during the week:

Haloti Ngata

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Ravens Preview

Posted on 02 September 2009 by kevinpb

I decided to do my preview of the 2009 season after the Carolina pre-season game because I hope that the first line offense and defense does not even get on the field in Atlanta, in fact, don’t even let them board the plane to go to Atlanta. I have seen all I need to see to know that the 2009 Baltimore Ravens are going to be a formidable team.
If they were an NFC team they would be the odds on favorite to get to the Super Bowl. Since they play in the AFC they are one of 3 or 4 teams that can make it to the mid February classic.

There is a lot to like about the 2009 Ravens. But I think the most interesting thing regarding this year’s version of the Ravens is the continued shift in vision of the team. The change in vision and/or direction was set in motion with the firing of Brian Billick 2 years ago. The firing of Coach Billick was as much an indictment of make up of the team as it was a reflection of the poor record in the year in which he was fired. In fact, when it became clear that the players which led the team in the direction it was heading did not support the coach, Brian Billick’s fate was sealed.

The second indication that a change was coming was the passing over of Rex Ryan as head coaching candidate for the Ravens. This would have continued this team on a course of defensive dominance for years to come. Let’s face it, the Ravens are not a sexy team. Even if you are the most devout fan they can be painful to watch at times. They were the NFL’s version of old pick up truck, strong, steady, tough and dependable. Unfortunately, this old truck occasionally had trouble with the sleek sports cars of the NFL. No where was this more evident then in the 2006 playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. I still can’t even watch a replay of that game to this day. All I remember thinking about that loss was that, “it was our type of game and we still lost.”

The third indication that things were about to change at the castle, was John Harbaugh’s hiring of Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator. Cameron has a distinguished and successful career as an offensive coordinator. His offenses have over the years have had good rushing attacks some years and good passing attacks in others. His system is adaptable to the player’s talents, instead of trying to make the players fit into a rigid system.

What Ozzie Newsome set in motion was to take the intensity and passion that the defense played with and transfer it to the offense. To his credit, he started rebuilding the offensive line with an attitude. Once the great Jonathan Ogden retired, the die was cast and the rebuilding of the offensive line became of paramount importance. There was a two pronged shift in philosophy too. The first part of this change was subtle. Originally, it was the Raven’s plan to draft lineman in the later rounds and develop them and then sign older veterans to bolster the weaknesses on the line. After the loss to the Colts that year you saw the Raven’s start to draft offensive lineman with their higher draft picks. Ozzie selected Ben Grubbs in the 1st round, then stole Jared Gaither in the supplemental draft. Marshall Yanda came in the 3rd round as did Adam Terry a few years earlier. Finally, this past year, Ozzie selects Michael Oher again in the first round. Once it was evident that the Raven’s could not keep Jason Brown, Ozzie went back to his old standby and signed a veteran free agent to complete this unit.

The second part of the shift in philosophy of the offensive line was to get away from just sheer bulk and get more athletic. I have watched enough football to know that this offensive line is going to be something special. They are big, strong, fast, athletic and nasty. Gaither is the thoroughbred, and has Ogden’s stamp of approval. Grubbs is the athletic one. Yanda and Oher are just good ole nasty boys. Matt Birk is the point guard that keeps it all together. As the year goes on, this unit will become one of the best in football. Gaither and Oher are big and athletic enough to overpower most and contend with the speed rushers off the edge. Grubbs might be the best pulling guard in the league and Yanda is just a road grader. Chris Chester played well last year filling in for Yanda and is our main back up in the middle of the line. Losing Adam Terry for the year hurts because he was an adequate back up on either side of the line at tackle. Do not be surprised if you see Ozzie bring in a veteran tackle after cut down day to help with depth.

The running back by committee was terrific last year. In fact, it was a brilliant idea that camouflaged the fact that our number one running back failed to report to camp in shape and was not ready to carry the load even though he was paid to do so. I shudder to think what would have happened to Joe Flacco if it were not for Ray Rice and LeRon McClain. After watching the preseason Willis McGahee is relegated to 2nd team, LeRon McClain is the short yardage back and lead fullback; Ray Rice will carry the load. This is the type of back the Cam Cameron likes. He is a quick shifty runner that catches the ball well out of the backfield. Ray Rice is going to have a spectacular year. He is short in stature but is powerfully built. He runs low to the ground, explodes in the hole and changes direction on dime. As my cousin said to me, on that swing pass he caught in the Carolina preseason game where he did the step back, “he looked like Barry Sanders on that play”.

The wide receivers have caused the most consternation amongst the fans, and rightfully so. Thank God, Derrick Mason did not retire!!! Derrick Mason is the consummate professional and really is the heart of our offense. I thought it was interesting last week when Bart Scott made the comment that the real coach of the Ravens in 2008 was Rex Ryan, the only player that felt compelled to say something was Derrick Mason. That being said, both Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams have NFL talent, but their inability to stay healthy does not lend itself to having confidence in these two. Enter Kelley Washington. He has been a pleasant surprise in camp and has had success in the preseason games. He is currently lining up as the number 2 receiver. He is big, strong and fast and he looks to be able to contribute on offense. It is clear that the Raven’s are going to need some production out of either Clayton or Williams to go along with Mason and Washington. If the Ravens keep a fifth receiver it looks that it might be Justin Harper only by default. Todd Heap seems to have resurfaced in the offense and if he can stay healthy he gives us another credible threat down the field. LJ Smith is hurt again; enough said. Do not be surprised to see Ozzie scour the waiver wire after cut down day for help at either wide receiver and/or tight end.

The main reason why the Ravens will continue to be a relevant team and why, barring mounting injuries, they will break the cycle of one good year followed by one bad year is the quarterback. Yes fans, Joe Flacco is that good. I am not trying to anoint him the next Johnny Unitas, nor will I even go so far as to call him Bert Jones…yet. He is only in his second year and there are mistakes to be made, but the kid has IT! He is smart and has a much better handle on the offense. He has a laser arm. He also has a tremendously quick release and is deadly accurate. Did you see the touchdown pass he threw to Todd Heap in the Carolina preseason game? He put the ball the only place it could be. In that same game, he laid out a long ball perfectly down the sideline to Kelley Washington, over the outside shoulder where only our receiver could catch it. It is amazing how much more open our receivers look when Joe Flacco is throwing them the ball. Joe Flacco is now the shining jewel of this franchise and will be a terrific quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens for several years.

There isn’t much that hasn’t been said about our defense and all of the accolades they have received over the years have been deserved. There have been many variations of our vaunted defense over the years with only one remaining constant. I mentioned earlier in this piece that the Ravens are changing direction, and that is true; but as long as Number 52 is in the middle of the defense, we will never totally lose our identity as a defensive minded football team. Whether you like him or not, he has been the heart, body, mind and soul of this football team for a long time. He is on the very short list of greatest linebackers of all time. The defensive line is stout, but some key players are getting a little long in the tooth. Kelly Gregg and Trevor Pryce have to continue to perform at a high level. Justin Bannan filled in well for Gregg last year. Haloti Ngata is a superstar waiting to happen. The key retainee was Terrell Suggs, who is counted on to pressure the quarterback. Second round draft pick, Paul Kruger is touted as a high energy guy in the mold of Michael McCrary. I guess that is why they gave him that number. The Ravens have significant depth at the defensive line positions with the likes of Dwan Edwards, Kelly Talivou and Brandon McKinney.

At linebacker the team is also loaded. The starters will be, Ray Lewis, Jarrett Johnson, Tavares Gooden and Terrell Suggs. Ray Lewis is a Hall of Famer. Terrell Suggs is a Pro Bowl player. Jarrett Johnson plays at that same level but is somewhat overlooked and Jameel McClain will push Gooden for the other starting inside spot. Paul Kruger will back up Terrell Suggs and learn the hybrid defensive lineman/linebacker position that Suggs has evolved into. Antwan Barnes will be brought in on special situations to pressure the quarterback. That leaves a chore of other good football players fighting for one or two back up spots at linebacker. Brendon Ayanbadejo will most likely retain one of those spots due to his special teams status and there is probably one more spot for a trio of players, Prescott Burgess, Jason Phillips and Dannell Ellerbe. I like the mix of veteran leadership with young athletic talent in this group. This position will remain a strength of the team.

The secondary has gone through a transformation. Gone is Chris McAlister; and, at least for a little while, so is Samari Rolle. Fabian Washington covered well last year as a starter, but my mother hits harder and tackles better. Dominque Foxworth was acquired in the off season to replace McAlister and is exactly the type of free agent pick up that makes Ozzie Newsome so dangerous. He is still a young and improving corner and could develop into an elite player, but there are questions concerning his tackling ability as well. It may take him a while to learn how to play defense for the Ravens but he has a chance to become a really good cornerback. As big as Jim Leonard played last year, I am extremely happy to see Dawan Landry back at strong safety. I think he is a big time player and is great in run support. His ability to play close to the line will let Ed Reed continue to do what he does best; roam the field and take the ball away. Reed is a gambler and he will get burned occasionally, but when he gets the ball in his hands he is pure magic. I just wish he would stop trying to lateral the ball all over the field. Ed’s lingering neck and shoulder problem is a growing concern and should be monitored closely. Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura provide excellent depth and special teams play. Nakamura especially has shown flashes of being able to step in and play safety at a high level. In years past, I have always cringed when our first team cornerbacks have gone down, but the last 2 years Ozzie Newsome has done a good job of building depth at this position. Samari Rolle was brought back to play the nickel back and Chris Carr was signed to add depth and return kicks. I have been impressed with 3rd round draft pick, Lardarius Webb. I first saw him at training camp and I am impressed with his attitude and skills. He does not look afraid and he looks to be a pretty good cornerback once he gets some experience. With Samari Rolle starting the season on the IR list, it seems that Frank Walker has received a reprieve and will start the season with the team. While Frank played effectively toward the end of last year, his propensity for committing stupid penalties and his less then effective play this preseason has landed him squarely on the bubble. There is not a lot of experience here, especially with Rolle on the shelf. This is another area that the Ravens may look to improve themselves after cut down day.

Over the years, I have been very critical of Sam Koch as a punter. I did not think he was bad, I was just frustrated by his inability to hit the big kick at times to get the team out of a hole. Whenever he needed to boom one it seemed as though he couldn’t do it. Most point to his ability to place the ball inside the 20 yard line as an indication that he was a high caliber punter. Let’s be clear, there is not a more overrated stat in football, then how many times a punter places the ball inside the 20 yard line on a punt. I have never thought that such a stat was a productive measurement of any punter. That being said, I have to admit that Sam Koch is growing on me, his distance on punts has improved, his hang time has improved and he has become adept at directional punting, pinning the return man against one sideline or the other. Chris Carr was impressive as a returner at Tennessee. He fields the ball well and gets upfield quickly. He gives us the same thing Jim Leonard did last year returning punts with more speed and possibly more ability to take one to the house.

One of the biggest stories in training camp has been the competition for kicker. To be perfectly frank, I don’t understand what Coach Harbaugh is trying to accomplish. I understand that Matt Stover cannot get the distance on kick offs and that adversely effects our ability to defend since it shortens the field for the other team. There is a noticeable trend of opponents starting field position increasing yearly. So I applaud the idea of finding a kicker that is able to kick the ball in the endzone or forcing the opponent’s returner to field the kick closer to the endzone. I have noticed this preseason that we have done a much better limiting the opponents starting field position. However, the 2 kickers in camp have not shown the ability to routinely kick the ball in the endzone and have relied mainly again on directional kicking to pin the return to one side of the field or other. They have also failed to show that they have the ability to hit field goals with any consistency. What it comes down to is this; for a team that is expecting to be in the thick of a playoff run, does it make sense for anyone else other then Matt Stover to kick field goals for this team. I don’t think so.

Those in charge at the castle have proven over the years that they know how to build and run a football team, that cannot be argued; but their strategy regarding the kicking game does not make any sense to me. All I know is that on Sunday, December 27, 2009 at Heinz Field, when it is 17-17 with 1:22 to go in the fourth quarter, the wind is blowing and the flurries are falling and the field is mud pit when the Ravens kick team trots out on the field to try the winning field goal, the only person I want kicking that ball is Automatic Matt.

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ROLE PLAYERS STEP UP FOR RAVENS

Posted on 26 December 2008 by Vince Fiduccia

Beyond the stars like Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco or Derrick Mason or the solid veterans like Lorenzo Neal, Bart Scott and Samari Rolle, there is a sub class of players known as role players.  Every team has them, and the good role players can make an average team into a playoff team. They add what Earl Weaver used to refer to as deep depth.   

Such is the case with the Ravens.  Three players in particular have filled these roles with steady performances.   Let’s salute these birds:

Brandon McKinney:  Signed as a free agent in October, McKinney has proved to be a great rotation guy on the defensive line, providing needed rest for Haloti Ngata and Justin Bannan. 

Jameel McClain:  An undrafted free agent out of Syracuse who made the team in training camp, McClain has been a valuable contributor on special teams and in the second half of the season has been very effective in packages designed by Rex Ryan.  Keep an eye on this kid for the future.

Daren Stone:  Another great mid-season pickup by General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Pro Personnel Director George Kokinis, Stone has helped solidify the special teams and has seen action on defense in dime and nickel packages.

You might not see their names on the back of fans’ jerseys and most likely you will never see them in the “Ring of Honor,” but for the 2008 Ravens their contributions have been invaluable.   

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Random Thoughts Before Chicken Box Friday

Posted on 18 December 2008 by KZ

1. Teixiera: Would I like him to come here…sure…will he make the O’s better…think so, will he make them into a playoff team instantly…NO WAY. If the O’s offered 7 years at $150 million…this is from Buster Olney’s Column:

“The only way the Orioles can be considered a serious player for Teixeira now, sources say, would be if the Maryland native were to take their offer, which is believed to be for seven years and about $150 million. 

“The Orioles are out of it, unless Teixeira really, really wants to play there,” said one source. 

According to MLB.com, the Nationals’ offer stands at $160 million for eight years. During last week’s winter meetings in Las Vegas, the Angels made an eight-year pitch to Teixeira’s camp. “

SO THE O’s are OFFERING MORE PER YEAR (21.4mil vs 20 mil)…BUT 1 LESS YEAR? HOW IS THIS NOT A COMPETITIVE OFFER?
I want the O’s to sign him, but enough is enough…they made a good offer and seem serious in trying to sign him…if he does not want to sign here so ge it…continue the youth movement! No one really knows who has offered what…so relax and let’s see how it turns out.
2. Ravens vs Pittsburgh: I do not care if it was a TD or not…What I care about that twice this season the Ravens have let opposing teams drive 80 yards ir more in the last 4 minutes to score TD to beat them. And even more diturbing is they stop playing defense they way they had been all game long…Stop the prevent stuff and get after it like you did the first 56 minutes and the rest would not even matter. Control the game! Don’t let the other team or the refs determine your outcome.
3. NY Giants: I don’t know if its the injuries ir the Burress situation but the GMEN are in a bit of trouble…Maybe Eli can pull them out of this funk?
4. Pro Bowl: Rogers should not be their over Ngata…simple…same way Farve and Cutler should not be there over Rivers…or Eli over Ryan…and how does John Abraham not get an invite with 15 sacks?
5. Park yourself in a comfy seat this weekend: Start Saturday night! Ravens at Cowboys…Sunday 1pm Steelers at the Titans, 4:15pm Atlanta at Minnesota and then 8:15 The Giants host the Panthers…what a weekend the NFL will be this weekend!
6. Now that the Celtics have won a Championship, I think they now want to be the best team ever…can anyone stop them? The Lakers? New Orleans?…anyone in the East?
7. The BCS has ruined the bowl cycle for me…I use to love New Years Day…get up and watch football from 11am til Midnight or so with 8 games on the sked for the day….now we only get 5 games on New Years Day with 7 games to be played afterwards, ending a week later with the National Championship game….WHY is that game so far after New Years Day, they ruined one of the best sports days of the year!
8. Bowl game not to miss…December 23rd…Poinsettia Bowl…TCU vs Boise State…if you are going to watch one…that one should be entertaining…
9. If the University of Maryland Men’s Basketball team does not win their next 6 games…its NIT BOUND for sure!
10. Tune into Chicken Box Friday tomorrow….give Rob a call!

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Just how good are the Ravens?

Posted on 10 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s not time to start printing playoff tickets just yet but if there’s any message that the Ravens sent to not only the Houston Texans but the NFL in general yesterday, it’s that this team is suddenly “for real.”

Any team that can go on the road and paste a team 41-13 in November to go to 6-3 must be taken seriously as a January threat.

Sure, it’s easy to say this: “Who have the Ravens beaten this year that matters?”

The answer: Cleveland twice, Oakland, Cincinnati, Miami and now Houston – combined record of 13-29.

Fair enough.

But the next seven weeks will work all of that out.

Are the Ravens a mediocre team that has bested a homely lot or an emerging playoff team waiting to break out and start beating some quality opponents?

There is one thing we know for sure.

With a date at the Meadowlands pending – and yes, we still have a handful of seats left on our “Miller Lite Purple Bus” to the swamps of Jersey this Sunday – the Ravens now control their own destiny in this chase for playoff football and a potential AFC North division crown.

It’s down to the Ravens and the Steelers in the AFC North and as tough as the purple schedule looks during the upcoming holiday season, it’s not any easier for yins’ donton either.

The Ravens have played nine games and have laid just one egg. They could easily be 8-1 with a little luck and some fourth quarter defense in the losses against Tennessee and Pittsburgh.

But I’m delighted with 6-3 and an emerging offense, stingy defense and the veteran play of Ray Lewis, Trevor Pryce and company leading the way for John Harbaugh’s troops. Yes, it’s been a VERY good year thus far, especially given the team’s modest expectations to be a .500 outfit.

There’s no crystal ball and no telling how the team will fare when the likes of the NFC East comes calling. But all of a sudden the upcoming matchups against Jacksonville and Pittsburgh at home don’t look so lopsided and quarterback Joe Flacco has looked less like a rookie than a veteran game manager and occasional long ball tosser who, combined with an effective three-headed backfield of Willis McGahee, Ray Rice and Le’Ron McClain, looks to be a factor in this run for January football.

It’s officially “Festivus” season in Baltimore.

Break out the purple lights.

Break out the expectations of fun on Sundays.

And by all means, enjoy this rarest of seasons – a November and holiday full of cheer, potential and hope for a playoff berth.

The good news came in waves yesterday.

The most significant developments happened on the offensive side of the ball, where Derrick Mason went down with a separated shoulder and Todd Heap got off the milk carton of the purple offense.

No doubt that No. 86 has heard the whispers of his pending demise and answered yesterday with his best game of the season.

Meanwhile, Ray Lewis turned in an effort with the impact he formerly had as a much younger man. Two interceptions, running sideline to sideline to once again hold an opposing offense’s star running back to less than 100 yards of rushing.

That makes 29 in a row, if my count is right.

Haloti Ngata’s interception at the goal line sparked a defensive effort that was classic Ravens defense but his contributions on every play should be earning him a grass skirt en route to Honolulu in early February. You’d be hard-pressed to find me a defensive tackle who is playing the game at a higher level right now as the defense continues to break the will of opposing running backs and frustrate and chase quarterbacks each Sunday.

Next up: the World Champion New York Giants.

They had their hands full with Philadelphia last night.

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Ravens-Raiders blog

Posted on 26 October 2008 by caseywillett

This will be interesting to see how much the Raiders go after Frank Walker with Chris McAlister out today.

1:05 – Hard to throw the ball when you are being chased. Suggs with the pressure Pryce with the sack.

Jarret Johnson is having a monster of a year. He is making plays all over the field.

Jim Leonhard was  shoe string tackle away from taking the punt the distance.

1:15 – So three and outs for both teams. I think we could be seeing a lot of this today. I still stick with the Ravens winning 20-17. Sam Koch does not get the credit he deserves, he is very good about pinning teams deep.

1:25 – We have a Troy Smith sighting…and that did much for nothing.Did you think you would see the Ravens steal something from the Dolphins playbook ? Also saw the Ravens with 4 wideouts in one of their formations. Great day so far for Jameel McClain who got credit for the sack and safety on JaMarcus Russell.

1:34 – So I put in a request for Red Bull energy drinks in the press box cafateria.  This could be a long day watching this game. The Ravens should throw those trick plays away, twice they have tried some razzle dazzle play and had to call a timeout to avoid play clock from running out.

2:00 – The Ravens have pulled out several of the crazy formations such as using Troy Smith again and putting Haloti Ngata on the offensive line and Willis McGahee going in behind him for the touchdown run. I am still not ready to kick the dirt on the Raiders for the day.

2:15 – Sitting behind some of the officials for the Raiders, you can tell it has been a long season and may be even longer. They can not get out of their own way. De Angelo Hall keeps talking trash to the Ravens sideline for some reason. The Ravens have run the “wildcat” offense three times so far, two of them have been Troy Smith runs, while the other was a Ray Rice run.

2:45 – A great ceremony here at half time putting Jonathan Ogden into the Ravens Ring of Honor. JaMarcus Russell threw an absolute laser to Chaz Schilens for 60 yards. That was more yards on one play than the Raiders had the entire 1st half. The Ravens will have to start throwing the ball out of the wildcat formation if they want to continue to use it.

3:00 – Once again the Ravens try to come out with Troy Smith under center and have to call a timeout to avoid the play clock from running out. Ray Rice has made a lot of big plays and has put up over 100 yards of total offense today. Ed Reed must be really cold, because ever time he comes to the sideline he puts on sweatpants. The Troy Smith to Joe Flacco pass might be the greatest play in Ravens history, and to think it might end up with a field goal. Derrick Mason almost got knocked out by Wilbert Montgomery when he was going back out on the field. Mason was behind Coach Montgomery who flailed his arms in disgust and landed an elbow right on Derrick Mason who stumbled for a second then made his way onto the field.

3:15- I have to be honest, I did not see how Justin Griffith broke the plane of the end zone with the ball. It appeared that he went up and cam right back down with out the ball breaking the plane. That might be the only think that the Raiders have gotten right today. Thomas Howard of the Raiders might want to look at the scoreboard before he makes a tackle when his team is trailing 19-3 and celebrates like he just made the game saving tackle.

3:30 – Here is where the Ravens have to be able to put a team away. They dodged a pretty big bullet that the Raiders were not able to pick up that first down on their last drive. Now the Ravens have to put the Raiders away and turn the lights off on any dim hope they have of getting back into this football game…..Scratch that as McGahee fumbles, this could get interesting.

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