Tag Archive | "oakland raiders"

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Blog & Tackle: Purple Haze live chat at 3:30 today

Posted on 03 January 2010 by Chris Pika

Join us at 3:30 pm today to dissect the Ravens-Raiders game online in WNST.net’s Sunday Afternoon Purple Haze. News, polls, and most importantly, your comments make up the Haze from pregame until after the final play.

Nestor Aparicio will have pregame news and notes from the Oakland press box starting at 3:30 pm. Once the game starts at 4:15, all of your favorite WNST hosts and personalities, including Drew Forrester, Glenn Clark and other stars will chat with you, answer your questions and take a look at the NFL playoff picture — especially who the Ravens will play in the AFC playoffs if they beat the Raiders (either New England or Cincinnati).

Ravens-Raiders Sunday Afternoon Purple Haze

By the way, since I didn’t have a chance to do a “How I See It” column, here is my prediction for today’s game: Ravens 24, Raiders 10.

Tell your friends, fire up your laptop, and enjoy the Week 17 action in a new way with WNST in the Purple Haze. (And, if the Ravens make the playoffs, we’ll do this again next week during the Wild Card round).

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Blog & Tackle: Week 17 AFC clinching scenarios

Posted on 28 December 2009 by Chris Pika

We know that if the Ravens win, they are in the AFC playoff field for the second consecutive season. The New York Jets are in the same spot win and in. But in the interest of laying out all of the possibilities, here are the AFC clinching scenarios coming into the final week of play, courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau and NFL.com.

CLINCHED:

Indianapolis — South division and home-field advantage.

San Diego — West division and first-round bye.

Cincinnati — North division.

New England — East division.

 

ELIMINATED:

Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, Buffalo, Tennessee.

 

Baltimore, the Jets, Denver, Pittsburgh and Houston can also make the playoffs if they tie this week with various other things happening. Jacksonville and Miami cannot make the playoffs with a tie.

 

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Baltimore clinches a playoff spot:

1) BAL win

 

NEW YORK JETS

NY Jets clinch a playoff spot:

1) NYJ win

 

DENVER BRONCOS

Denver clinches a playoff spot:

1) DEN win + NYJ loss or tie + BAL loss or tie

2) DEN win + NYJ loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

3) DEN win + NYJ loss or tie + HOU win

4) DEN win + BAL loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

5) DEN win + BAL loss or tie + HOU win

6) PIT loss + BAL loss + HOU loss + JAC loss

7) PIT loss + BAL loss + HOU loss + NYJ loss

8.) PIT loss + BAL loss + JAC loss + NYJ loss

9) PIT loss + HOU loss + JAC loss + NYJ loss

10) MIA loss or tie + NYJ loss + BAL loss + HOU loss + JAC loss or tie

 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Pittsburgh clinches a playoff spot:

1) PIT win + HOU loss or tie + NYJ loss or tie

2) PIT win + HOU loss or tie + BAL loss or tie

3) PIT win + NYJ loss or tie + BAL loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

 

HOUSTON TEXANS

Houston clinches a playoff spot:

1) HOU win + NYJ loss or tie + BAL loss or tie

2) HOU win + NYJ loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

3) HOU win + BAL loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

 

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Jacksonville clinches a playoff spot:

1) JAC win + PIT loss + BAL loss + DEN loss + HOU loss

2) JAC win + PIT loss + BAL loss + DEN loss + NYJ loss

3) JAC win + PIT loss + BAL loss + HOU loss + NYJ loss

4) JAC win + PIT loss + DEN loss + HOU loss + NYJ loss

5) JAC win + NYJ loss + DEN loss + HOU loss + BAL loss

 

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Miami clinches a playoff spot:

1) MIA win + NYJ loss + BAL loss + HOU loss + JAC loss or tie

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (12/1/09)

Posted on 01 December 2009 by Jack McManus

BREAKING NEWS: Ralph Friedgen will RETURN next season.

9:36-

Charles Davis from Fox is up to chat with Drew. He begins by talking about the upsets in rivalry games this weekend. When it comes to instate rivalries, records often do not matter. No matter how much coaching is done, young players will look forward to the more meaningful games the week after. He next discusses the upcoming search for a coach at Notre Dame, now that Charlie Weis has officially been fired.
9:31-

There has been a lot of discussion this morning about Mike Preston’s comment about Paul Kruger. Drew and Glenn discuss the role of race in the rooting interest for local fans. It is brought up that although Kelly Gregg is not a Pro Bowl player, you see many Gregg jerseys at M&T Bank Stadium each game.

gregg

9:03-

Lomas Brown joins drew to talk some football. He starts off by talking about his Lions. He explains that Detroit recognizes the team’s improvement despite only having 2 wins. He states that the team still must learn to finish games more consistently. The city is united in support of Maryland-native Jim Schwartz as head coach. On the topic of the Monday Night Football game, Brown expresses how impressed he is with the Saints. He states that right now the Saints do not look like they will lose this season. Moving on the Ravens, Brown talks about the lack of fear the Ravens defense strikes into opponents this season. This has been a trend throughout the league. Parity has caused every team to compete week in and week out.

8:54-

A caller brings up the Saints’ high-powered offense. Drew talks about the other strong offenses around the league. He points out that the Bengals have lost to the Raiders and scored only one offensive touchdown against the Browns since the loss of Cedric Benson.

8:35-

Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times is on to talk about the Terps. He first discusses the future of head football coach Ralph Friedgen. He states that the longer the situation drags on the more Maryland’s recruiting will be impacted. Stevens also explains that even if Friedgen is fired, it will be difficult for Maryland to make a big-time coaching hire. The school is in the middle tier of the ACC at best.
friedgen

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At long last, welcome back to the Unassisted Triple Play. You may have noticed my absence over the past several weeks. Probably you didn't, but I'll pretend that you did. Anyway, my inactivity has been largely the result of...

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And We’re Back

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Sam Angell

At long last, welcome back to the Unassisted Triple Play. You may have noticed my absence over the past several weeks. Probably you didn’t, but I’ll pretend that you did. Anyway, my inactivity has been largely the result of moving from Baltimore to Hartford, CT, where I now work in the sports information department at the University of Hartford, covering the men’s basketball team among other sports.

While I await my triumphant return to Baltimore to take on UMBC in an America East tilt on January 14, I’ve been keeping up with all the action from afar.

OUT NUMBER ONE

There was a moment last night when I thought to myself “a team that loses to a third-string quarterback has no business being in the playoffs. At least I won’t have to work myself up into an ulcer the rest of the season.”

Well, my health insurance at the new job just kicked in, so bring on the gastric acid!

I think any Ravens fan holding out hope for this season probably has a frame of mind similar to mine – the team hasn’t lost any games it shouldn’t have, and with the possible exception of the second Cincinnati game, they have been right in every game all year. Give me a second chance at the Patriots, the Colts, the Vikings…give me a third shot at the Bengals…I’ll take my chances.

That said, despite the fact that many fans and experts anticipated a Ravens blowout with Dennis Dixon in there, the Ravens needed a game like last night. They needed a do-or-die situation against the team they simply seemed incapable of getting over the hump against. They needed to prove that they aren’t seemingly the most snakebitten team in the history and get over the hump in one of those games. And they did it.

Now we know that Joe Flacco can win a game in the last five minutes if he has to. For all the greatness of his first 29 NFL games, he had yet to do that. A blowout would have been nice for our collective psyche, but going into last night, it didn’t matter if they won in overtime on a field goal or were resting the starters by halftime – it would just be one win, and they might very well need another one in Pittsburgh in late December to shore up a playoff berth.

That game will likely feature Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu and Chris Kemoetu, which has to be the hardest-to-spell trio on any inactive list in NFL history. The chances of the Ravens going into Pittsburgh and blowing the doors off the place are slim, but it is a strong bet that they will be in the game. If the Ravens find themselves down late in the game, they can look back at last night and know that they have a quarterback (and a running back) capable of moving the ball and getting them what they need to extend drives and seasons. If that hadn’t happened yesterday – even if the Ravens had won handily – that knowledge would not be in the back of their heads going up against the Super Bowl champs in a hostile environment. Now it is, and that will prove invaluable down the stretch for a team desperate to win and move on.

At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself for the sake of my health. In the meantime, Dennis is no Juan. And thank God we got the better half of the dynamic surveying duo.

OUT NUMBER TWO

With the Patriots and Saints underway tonight in one of the most hyped games of the season, and the Ravens and Steelers extending the best rivalry in the NFL right now with another classic last night, this week’s prime time games may end up bailing out the NFL for an embarrassment of a Thanksgiving opening course. Now, I won’t blame them for the clunker that Giants-Broncos ended up being. No one could have known that Eli was still more serious about his squash career than the Giants’ playoff hopes. But to pair the Cowboys with the Raiders, especially when the laughingstock that is the Detroit Lions had to be featured somewhere, was inexcusable.

The league has two teams locked into Thanksgiving every year. No one in their right mind could have counted on the Lions for a decent showing, even in a storied rivalry game. There’s only so much you can do with them, but that should have left the schedule makers pouring over the Cowboys’ home schedule trying to set up one of the best possible games for Thanksgiving.

So they look at who might be good coming into the season. in addition to their star-studded NFC East rivals, the Cowboys play Golden Boy Matt Ryan (who is no Chris Redman, mind you) and Philip, LT, and the Chargers in the Taj Mahal of football this season. So naturally, in the search for a marquee matchup, the NFL picked……..the Oakland Raiders?!

If the game on the field featured Jerry vs. Al in a tete-a-tete, then I could see it as fantastic holiday viewing. But that football game was more of a snorer than the tryptophan. Congratulations NFL, you’ve ruined Thanksgiving.

Of course, just like every other problem the NFL has experienced over the past 15 years, I’m sure they will find a way to Blame Baltimore. If the Ravens hadn’t ruined Jerry’s finale for Texas Stadium, maybe he wouldn’t have had to push for such a patsy on Thanksgiving. We knew that Le’Ron McClain was a power back. We didn’t know his footsteps would still be causing ripples eleven months later.

OUT NUMBER THREE

Normally I use this space for something irreverent and funny. Not today. Today I have something very serious to talk about with all of you. That, of course, was the mysterious disappearance of my Orioles and Ravens car magnets from my back bumper over the weekend. To whoever took them – assuming a Connecticut hoodlum reads random Baltimore sports blogs – I want them back. Put them back where you found them (the dirt outline of the “O” and the Ravens oval sticker are still there, so you should be able to do that no problem), and all will be forgiven. Otherwise, I will have you traced, and will send members of the UConn basketball team to steal your computer.

In the meantime, if any of my loyal readers have extra “O’s,” Ravens stickers, or any of the other things I’ve been missing from back home (Natty Boh, Berger cookies, Utz crab chips, Barry Glazer commercials, etc.), I would be forever in your debt.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

No bigtime musicians born today, so today’s Happy Birthday goes to Simonetta Stefanelli, a.k.a. Apollonia from the Godfather. No one mastered the days of the week quite like her, and she still ranks in the top 50% of women drivers. And much like this blog, when she hit you with the thunderbolt, you were not going to forget it anytime soon.

Glad to be back everyone, talk to you all again soon.

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Blog & Tackle: How I see Ravens-Browns

Posted on 16 November 2009 by Chris Pika

The stars aligned for the Ravens on Sunday as the Steelers lost to the Bengals, throwing Pittsburgh into the Wild Card race with two meetings with Baltimore still to come.

All that’s left for the Ravens to do is get through tonight’s game at Cleveland to move into a group of 5-4 teams in the AFC with Jacksonville and Houston, just one game back of the Steelers and resurgent San Diego, which hold the two Wild Card spots as of now.

Join us for a special Monday Night Purple Haze at 8 pm ET. Nestor Aparicio and Glenn Clark will be in Cleveland to provide news and notes, and other WNST folks will add analysis. Click here to join in (If you don’t know what the Purple Haze is, check out the archives on that page to see what we do each and every week).

Monday night road games are some of the toughest on players in the NFL. If you are the Monday night home team, you could either stay at home in your own bed, or go to a hotel Sunday night and meet in your facility like a regular Monday would be on a normal week.

For the road team, the routine is fly to the city on Sunday, watch the late games, have meetings and dinner, then off to bed. Monday might might have more meetings, but the players are told to stay off their feet as much as possible, and it’s a long wait until the first buses leave for the stadium four hours before the game. It’s a lot of sitting and waiting to play.

A lot of that can lead to lethargic play, especially early in the game. Coaches have to monitor the energy level of themselves and the players to make sure they are in the right frame of mind when they get to the stadium.

Everyone knows Cleveland’s struggles. Some would say the Browns are a bad team. No team in the NFL is bad. Most of the 53 players on the Browns roster could play for other squads. It’s fair to say they are a struggling team, but they have a lot of pride, just as the Ravens do.

The Browns know the fan unrest, including a planned sit-out of the opening kickoff. Front-office troubles with the firing of George Kokinis have added to the misery. But the message from Eric Mangini to his team is a simple one. “We’re on national TV against a team that went to the AFC title game last year. We can ruin their season, and show the fans that we are better than our record. Have pride, and take the fight to the Ravens.”

The best way to beat a struggling team is to get up early and keep the foot on the gas for the entire 60 minutes. If the Browns score first, like Minnesota and Cincinnati have done to Baltimore in recent weeks, the pressure begins to grow. The longer they hang around, the more confidence they gain, and more any mistakes by the Ravens could be magnified. In short, the Ravens have to treat Cleveland like they would if it was Pittsburgh.

Hopefully the Ravens won’t look back at this game like Philadelphia (Oakland), Green Bay (Tampa Bay) and Denver (Washington) have in recent weeks. Beware of a wounded team in the spotlight. On to the breakdown:

Ravens offense: We’ve seen large doses of Ray Rice both running and catching the football as leads the team in rushing yards and receptions. Tonight would be perfect to get the ball into the hands of Willis McGahee and LeRon McClain as the stretch run begins. Get back to basics: run the ball and control the line of scrimmage. Efficient drives that get 7s, not 3s and continually wear down the Cleveland defense. Opponents lead the NFL in total runs at the Browns left (50 plays) and right guard (74) spots. Cleveland is in the bottom quarter of the league in yards allowed to runs to left end, left tackle, up the middle, right tackle and right end, and not far from that to left and right guard. You get the picture: run the ball effectively, especially to the outside.

When Flacco wants to pass the ball, he will be more effective on shorter throws. As Cleveland tries to shore up the run, they are susceptible to passes thrown between the secondary and the linemen. The Browns give up 7.8 yards on passes thrown short left (32nd in the NFL) and 9.3 yards on short middle (31st). But he will have to get the ball out quickly as Cleveland will try to blitz a bunch to help out a beleaguered secondary. Look for Todd Heap to find his way into that soft spot for big catches.

Ravens defense: Brady Quinn is back in as the Browns starter as Cleveland has to evaluate what they have in him going forward, especially with a top-five pick in next year’s draft looming. Does Mangini go the Vince Young route with him by throwing safe passes? Consider this: the Browns offense has failed to score a TD in the five games, and no Cleveland back has been in the end zone since last Nov. 17. Without decent playmakers for Quinn to go deep with against a Ravens secondary that has struggled at times, the Browns will have to try to run the ball. Jamal Lewis, who is expected to retire at the end of the season, will try to put together a huge effort against his former club.

Patience is the key for the Ravens. Stifle Lewis and put pressure on Quinn, who is completing close to 60 percent of his passes. Three-and-outs are boring to watch for the national TV audience, but we might see a lot of those from the Browns.

Special teams: Here is where the Ravens have to be careful. Cleveland’s Joshua Cribbs is one of the best return men in the league (16.4 avg on punt returns and 27.7 average on kickoff returns). The Ravens need the field to be as long as possible each time the Browns get the ball. Containing Cribbs is a high priority for the Ravens. Baltimore has its own weapon on kick returns in Ladarius Webb, who is averaging 28.2 per return. He’ll have a chance to give the Ravens good field position at either the start of the game, or the second half, and hopefully not any time else.

PREDICTION: The goal here is to demoralize the Browns as soon as possible. Solid running that tires Cleveland up front will help that cause. Baltimore has to find the end zone, not kick field goals early. Cleveland could potentially go no-huddle with Quinn to quicken the pace and not allow the Ravens to catch their breath on defense. If Baltimore slows down Lewis and Cleveland sees a lot of third-and-long spots, the Ravens should grind out a victory that won’t be pretty, but effective to raise the record to 5-4. Ravens 24, Cleveland 10.

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (11/12/09)

Posted on 12 November 2009 by Jack McManus

9:55-

Finally this morning we have Drew and Glenn’s picks for the game tonight.

Drew: 49ers 24 – Chicago 20

Glenn: 49ers17 – Chicago 12

9:32-

Sean Salisbury is now on to talk some football. Sean begins by talking about the Cincinnati Bengals. He calls the Bengals’ defense “impressive.” He is still hesitant about the team because of its past history. There is still a chance the “Old Bengals” could resurface. Drew states that he is starting to give up on the Denver Broncos. Sean agrees that the Broncos are not a great team. He thinks they could easily lose to a team like the Raiders late in the season. Moving on, Sean believes that Miami Dolphins are an under-the-radar team. When looking at the roster, it is clear that the team has talent. They are a team that Sean would not want to go up against. Sean next talks about the rumors about Michael Vick possibly going to Buffalo. Sean explains that Buffalo would be a good place for Vick to continue to rebuild his career.

9:09-

Ron “Fang” Mitchell, the coach of the Coppin State basketball team is the next guest. He first talks about the changes to his roster for the upcoming season. The team must fill the void left by Tywain McKee who was the MEAC Player of the Year last season. He next discusses how his team will be playing more home games this season than in previous ones. This is partially due to the team’s new arena. He finishes by explaining the importance of this year for himself. After a long tenure at Coppin, Mitchell wants to prove those who do not think the team will have a good season wrong.

fang 

9:00-

Another caller laments the fact that the Ravens have become a passing team when they have more weapons win the running game.

8:40-

Two callers present different views about the Ravens beating the Steelers. The first thinks that the Ravens will be able to win in Baltimore. The second does not see how the Ravens defense can contain the weapons of the Steelers, particularly rookie Mike Wallace.

wallace 

8:29-

A caller asks about the idea of carrying two kickers. Drew agrees that this may be the right choice in this situtation. However, he states that the roster spot and salary may not be worth it.

8:17-

Head coach of the Charleston Southern basketball team, Barclay Radebaugh joins Drew to talk about college basketball. He starts off by discussing his guard Jamarco Warren. Warren is a prolific scorer, and Radebaugh states that he only must improve his defense to be a complete star. He goes on to say that his team’s upcoming game against Maryland will be a good learning experience. The Bucs were picked to finish 9th in the Big South, but Radebaugh believes that other coaches and the media may be underestimating his team. Drew brings up the schools’ very poor record against the ACC (1-40). Radebaughexplainsthat Charleston Southern can play withthe perimeter players of the ACC, but struggles to compete with the stronger and larger players inside.

warren 

8:07-

A caller supports Drew’s assertion that members of the local media need to do more in regards to college teams. He points out that many fans are not able to afford to go to University of Maryland games very often, and these local colleges can provide quality games for much less money and time.

7:56-

Drew now takes a shot at Jerry Coleman. Coleman allegedly states that listeners are listening to John Harbaugh’s press conference “exclusively” on Fox 1370. Drew wants to tell Coleman to “stop fibbing.” He follows up Glenn’s remarks he also makes a low blow at other members of the media, who do nothing to cover local college basketball teams. This not only offers support for the teams, but also aids the athletic departments. In fact Drew explains this is a fact, not just a low blow.

7:45-

Glenn starts off “Cheap Shots From the Bleachers” by calling out the entire sport of college basketball. This sport is the only major sport that does nothing to promote the start of the season. Instead of having marquee national matchups that are widely televised, top tier teams face cupcakes in games that are difficult to access. He calls the entire first week of college basketball terrible. He explains that schools and conferences need to focus on promoting the start of the season.

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Blog & Tackle: Penalties by the numbers

Posted on 02 November 2009 by Chris Pika

Many Ravens fans are of the opinion that the officials are targeting the Ravens, either for reputation, or for earlier comments after the New England game that went unpunished by the NFL league office.

Now, based on my time in the league, I believe that NFL offiicials are the best in the four major sports. How you watch a game in the stands at an angle overlooking the field is much different that seeing it at field level. The speed of how the game occurs would be jarring for even the most well-informed fan to make the correct call at game speed. It’s a tough job that requires split-second decision making and rock-solid rules knowledge. That doesn’t mean they get it right all of the time, but the percentage is higher than what you think, based on evaluations.

With that opinion, here are the NFL leaders in penalties called, accepted and yards penalized (via STATS, Inc.) without further comment, just grist for the mill on a Monday. All of the below info is through Sunday’s games.

Total Penalties Called On (accepted and declined)
1. Buffalo 69; 2. St. Louis 64; 3t. Baltimore 62; 3t. Green Bay 62; 5. New York Jets 60; 6. Philadelphia 59; 7. Oakland 57; 8t Detroit 56; 8t. New York Giants 56; 10. Houston 55. (Least: Jacksonville & Seattle, 36 each)

Total Penalties Accepted
1. Buffalo 59; 2. Green Bay 57; 3. St. Louis 55; 4. Baltimore 53; 5. New York Jets 52; 6t. Arizona 50; 6t. Dallas 50; 6t. Philadelphia 50; 9. Detroit 49; 10t. Kansas City 47; 10t. Oakland 47. (Least: Seattle 33, Jacksonville 34).

Total Penalty Yards
1. Baltimore 510; 2. St. Louis 477; 3. Green Bay 474; 4. Buffalo 458; 5. Dallas 424; 6. Detroit 407; 7. Philadelphia 401; 8t. Arizona 386; 8t. New York Giants 386; 10. San Francisco 385. (Least: Jacksonville 259, Seattle 279)

For comparison sake, here is the penalty totals for opponents when playing the Ravens this season:

Penalties Called Against Opponent (Opponent Total/NFL Rank; Leader/Total; Least/Total)
Called Against Ravens Opponent: (56/12th; Buffalo/72; Least: Miami/35); Accepted Penalties: (41/T-18th; Buffalo/64; Least: Miami/32); Penalty Yards by Opponent: (276/29th; Buffalo/546; Least: Miami/215).

Ever wanted to know what kind of penalties are called on the Ravens? Here is your list for both the offense and defense:

Ravens Specific Defensive Penalties (Ravens Total/NFL Rank; Leader/Total)
Pass Interference: (6/2nd; St. Louis/8); Illegal Contact: (3/T-2nd; Green Bay/5); Roughing the Passer: (4/T-1st with Tennessee); Offside: (3/T-22nd; Tennessee/10); Personal Foul: (3/T-14th; Green Bay/7).

Ravens Specific Offensive Penalties (Ravens Total/NFL Rank; Leader/Total):
Holding: (7/T-7th; Arizona/11); Offsides/False Start: (9/T-15th; Buffalo/18); Grounding: (1/T-2nd with 7 teams; San Francisco/2); Delay of Game: (2/T-12th; Cincinnati/6).

On special teams, the Ravens have been called for the following penalties:
Kickoff/Kick Return: Holding 2, Roughing 1. Punt/Punt Return: Holding 1, Illegal Block 2. Placekicking: Holding 1.

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Blog & Tackle: Vacation’s over, it’s back to work

Posted on 26 October 2009 by Chris Pika

Now that everyone has had a chance to remember what it was like to be outside, do the laundry or actually acknowledge their children/spouse/significant other on Sundays for the first time since August, the Ravens are back on the clock this and every week until January (and beyond?).

Bye week in the NFL is almost like getting a forced vacation. You go full-bore from the start of camp, and then you get four days off to recharge, play golf, see the family, etc. The long weekend comes to an abrupt end as game plans and position meetings replace sleeping in and cooking breakfast. You come back to a desk full of memos, projects and missed calls, and you can’t stare at the stack and wish it away. You have to dive in and deal with it in small doses.

So after Week 7 action in which we saw Minnesota finally get stopped in the fourth quarter (by the Steelers), the Bengals dismantle the Bears, the Giants lose for the second straight week, the Cardinals win on the road for the third straight time, the improbable comeback by the Saints in Miami and a Texas-sized beatdown by the Cowboys over the Falcons, where does that leave the hometown purple heroes?

Well, right where we left them at 3-3. Unfortunately, neither the Vikings or Bears were much help to the Ravens in the standings. Denver had the week off, too, and the Broncos will be raring to go this week in Baltimore.

The Ravens players and coaches know they could have been 4-2 or even 5-1 (or just as easily 2-4), but as the most astute coach will say, “It is what it is.” The Ravens have put the first six weeks behind them. A must in the NFL, since the schedule will not allow for time to for the “what might have been” game. That game’s for the fans to play on sports talk stations, in bars and on the internet.

That doesn’t mean the coaches and scouts haven’t been hard at work looking at tape of games and practices, trying to figure out what hasn’t worked and replacing those items with ones that do succeed. The problem is, the Broncos have had the opportunity to do the same. Nothing is static in the NFL, except for the fact that if you can’t stop something in particular, teams will keep pressure on that issue until you do — and then they will go on to something else. It is a chess match each week.

Everyone has something to play for, whether it’s the playoffs, or fighting for jobs. Everyone comes to play each week, and you have to be ready whether you play a team that’s 5-1 or 1-5. Just ask Philadelphia about Oakland. You think Eagles coach Andy Reid hasn’t gotten that point across about a reeling Redskins squad under a seemingly lame-duck head coach they play Monday night?

Right now, the final 10 Ravens opponents in the regular season have six winning records, three losing marks and one .500 club. Fortunately, three of those 10 games will come against the two teams currently in front in the AFC North race, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Gone are the 14-10 games Ravens fans were accustomed to earlier in the decade. There will be more of the 33-31 variety going forward this season. You can’t make wholesale in-season personnel changes, but gameplans can be tweaked to maximize the positives and some younger players will be asked to step up. The Ravens offense isn’t afraid on the road, Joe Flacco can make the tough throws, Ray Rice has become the primary rushing threat who can also catch the ball out of the backfield for big yards and Ladarius Webb can return kicks effectively to shorten the offense’s yardage workload — all positives.

It will be up to the offense to carry the day. Control the line of scrimmage and the clock and minimize the exposure of the defense against the high-powered offenses like Denver, Cincy, Indy and others possess. Grab the lead early, and impose the playbook on the opponent. Carry the lead to the fourth quarter, and pound the ball to move the chains and the clock. Defensively, stop the run and find ways to pressure the quarterback into bad decisions. In short, the formula that helped the Ravens so much in 2008 and in the first three games of 2009.

It’s time for the Ravens and their fans to get back to work, and not panic at the pile of work sitting on the desk when you get in the office. It’s a manageable stack — you just have to approach it one week at a time.

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sean

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (10/22/09)

Posted on 22 October 2009 by Jack McManus

9:36-

Sean Salisbury is next up to talk about the NFL. He talks about how the Radiers’ win over the Eagles shows that no NFL is an automatic win. He also talks about the big win the Texans had over the Bengals. The Texans are a team that could make a strong playoff run. Next, Sean explains how the Titans subconsciously gave up during the game on Sunday. Sean states that Josh McDaniels made some great moves this offseason that has allowed the Broncos to be where they are this season. To finish up, Sean picks the Steelers to defeat the Vikings this weekend.

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Be sure to follow follow Sean on twitter.

9:14-

Heather Dinich, who covers the ACC for ESPN is the next guest. She starts off by stating the this may be Bobby Bowden’s last season in Tallahassee because many boosters are not pleased with the team’s results. In regards to Maryland, Dinich believes that the team needs to get more young players ready for the future. She also weighs in on the John Turner-Debbie Yow controversy. She states that Debbie Yow has done a great job considering the situation she inherited. She next talks about the rise of the football programs at UNC and Duke. She has picked the Blue Devils to beat the Terps. In regards to James Franklin, Dinich thinks that the “coach-in-waiting” idea does not work for most teams that use it.

8:49-

Amy Fadool from Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia is on to chat with Drew. She talks about how the Phillies were able to play very well in the playoffs, despite some struggles late in the regular season. She next explains how the Phillies are built similar to American League teams. This is partly due to manager Charlie Manuel’s experience in the American League. She also previews the team’s likely upcoming series with the Yankees. She says the New York fans may have an impact on some of the games.

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8:26-

Lou calls in with a cheap shot. He calls out baseball players for constantly spitting. This problem is magnified by HDTVs. He says that this has become a part of baseball culture and should be fixed. Another caller takes a cheap shot at John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome. He believes that Harbaugh was unfair to Chris McAlister. If McAlisterwas able to get healthy, he could have possibly helped the struggling secondary. Another caller defends Harbaugh’s actions regarding McAlister. He explains that McAlister did not show any respect to the new coaching staff last season. He also points out that no other team has expressed much interest in signing the cornerback.  

8:08-

Brian Billick comes on with Drew, as he does each Thursday. Brian states that too much blame is being placed on Defensive Coordinator Gregg Mattison. He explains that Mattison is in a dilemma because of the talent level in the secondary. Brian next talks about how the league is trending toward using big, physical receivers. He also talks about how impressed he was with Joe Flacco’s performance under pressure in the final quarter of the game this past weekend. He next talks about the importance of the bye week. He explains that it is very difficult to make any major changes during only one week. Only minor adjustments are common. In the Ravens’ case, Brian thinks the team should protect more against the big play, even if it means giving up longer sustained drives. The team is currently ranked 26th in the league in giving up big plays.

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7:30-

Glenn takes a “Cheap Shot From the Bleachers” by taking a shot at John Turner. After Turner made this message board post, he made local headlines. When Glenn tried to reach out to Turner and have him on the show this morning to explain his comments he declined. Glenn explains that Turner needs to take responsibility for his comments and not place extra pressure on his son or the Maryland football team.

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When Life Gives You Lemons – Read My Blogs …..

Posted on 20 October 2009 by Rex Snider

Stover Would’ve Made It …..

Damn, it felt good to say it. And, as preposterous and pig-headed as it sounds, you know the prospect of Matt Stover, lined up for a 44 yarder, crossed your mind. You envisioned it – DON’T LIE TO ME …..

I’m not sitting here saying “WHAT IF ….”

It’s impractical. But, more than a few Baltimore football loyalists have been wondering how Steve Hauschka would fare when finally fronted with a crucial game-deciding field goal attempt.

You’ve been to Training Camp – it’s easy to put the ball between the uprights on a steamy summer morning, in Westminster.

You’ve also been to the pre-game festivities, at M&T Bank Stadium, when kickers display their version of batting practice homeruns, with 60 yard field goals.

You’ve watched Steve Hauschka convert extra points and “low-pressure” field goals without much regard for his game breaking ability.

You waited for Sunday’s game to get here. It’s HERE. And, now, the Ravens have another thing to worry about, because everybody has this uneasy feeling in their stomach. One thing will cure it – getting another chance and making it.

Until that time arrives, we’re gonna allow lots of crazy things to cross our minds.

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Steve Bisciotti- Wasting Money ??? Say It Isn’t So …..

For years, we’ve been told the Ravens owner is a guy who’s made his money the old fashioned way – he’s earned it. We know the real-life accounts …..

A modest childhood, in Anne Arundel County …..

Working his way through school, including Salisbury State University …..

Starting his own business, with little more than an insatiable desire to succeed …..

Steve Bisciotti isn’t living the American Dream. HE IS THE AMERICAN DREAM.

Right?

Every person living within the borders of this great country knows the economy has truly struggled over the past couple years. Times are tough – and we’re subsidizing some companies, while bailing-out others.

Whenever I see a corporation that has landed in the lap of dysfunction and desperation, I’ve wondered “Hmmm …. How would Steve Bisciotti feel about this?” Does he support the free rides given to GM, Chrysler and AIG?

I’ve never observed Steve Bisciotti as a guy who wastes money. By all accounts, he appears to be a MONEY MAKING MACHINE – and correct in virtually every business decision.

But, now, I’m not so sure. In fact, I’m wondering if Maryland’s Most Notable Gazillionaire is feeling duped by his staff’s decision to give Domonique Foxworth enough money to buy 540 brand spanking new Corvettes?

Yes, that would be Domonique “The 27 Million Dollar Man” Foxworth …..

The return on investment? Well, he really looks good while chasing guys – who have a football in their hands, huh? Actually, Foxworth wasn’t the most pedestrian member of the Defensive Secondary, on Sunday, but he’s still done very little to earn that new contract.

In all fairness, the Ravens owner and his staff have made good signings, as well …..

But, I do wonder what “Bank Bags” Bisciotti is thinking these days …..

The Return of “Little Bill” on Nickelodeon

If you’re a parent of a son or daughter under 25 years old, you certainly remember the hit Nickelodeon cartoon, “Little Bill.” It featured storylines from a book series, by Bill Cosby.

Well, I’m happy to report I’ve started writing the screenplay for “Little Bill – 2,” which I will be submitting for Mr. Cosby’s review. I plan on keeping it elementary and consistent with the preceding version.

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In “Little Bill – 2,” our main character, Little Bill, played by John Harbaugh, imitates his hero, Big Bill, played by Bill Belichick. And, with normal human instinct, Little Bill repeats his role model’s moves, mannerisms and quotes.

Look for Harbs, as he continues coining his trademark Belichick bytes …..

“They scored more points ….”

“We need to do a better job ….”

“We will work hard ….”

Thanks, coach. Can we quote you on that? By the way, it seems more credible for coaches with fists full of Super Bowl rings to do things as they please. Whereas, the coaches who are still learning the job and the town, itself, might want to be a little more endearing and cooperative.

When the Patriots lose a couple games (which hardly happens), the fans can rely on the team’s record of FOUR SUPER BOWL appearances, in eight seasons, as evidence that things will be okay. Bill Belichick has the “cred” to bluntly suggest “don’t worry about it” in very few words.

Where did John Harbaugh develop such a resume’ ???

He hasn’t …..

Thus, when reporters and fans ask for some reassurance or hopeful outlook, would it be too hard a task to elaborate a little bit? In fairness to Coach Harbaugh, I’m not referring to the post-game pressers, when emotions still run high.

But, the dramatic three word clichés, as a formidable response to a plausible question, a day later, are not acceptable. Oh, they might be allowed, per policy. But, it’s as unacceptable as the efforts of some players.

So, repeat after me ……

BIG BILL
LITTLE BILL

BIG BILL
LITTLE BILL

See the difference ???

Well, well, well …..

In fairness to Ravens Head Coach, John Harbaugh, his former D-Coordinator – turned Head Coach of the New York Jets, hasn’t been spewing his very quotable and borderline pompous remarks lately …..

I guess that’s what a ‘lil bit of losing can do for you, huh?

Damn, it was getting to the point where I was starting to avoid another guy named “Rex.”

What’s Sexy-Rexy gonna do if his team keeps doing stupid things, or if young Mark San-CHISE keeps throwing strikes to players in the wrong colored jerseys?

If things don’t work in the Big Apple, I would think Mr. Bisciotti would borrow some money from Domonique Foxworth, and lure his former D-Coordinator back to Bawlmer, for a promotion to D-Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach/Official Team Spokesman …..

Seriously, can you imagine this exchange …..

Reporter – “Coach, what happened out there today ???”

Rex Ryan – “They scored more points.” “We will circle the wagons.” “We are men.” “By the way, that’s a good question.” “Our players are tough.” “Play Like A Raven.” “Thanks for the good question.”

Nah – NOT A CHANCE !!!!

The Trade Deadline Arrives …..

We will finish this off in the spirit of all good Orioles fans …..

To recognize the looming NFL’s trade deadline, I’d like to propose the following possible deals …..

Baltimore Ravens TRADE Frank Walker, Prescott Burgess, the rights to former Raven Dan Cody, a Michael Phelps’ autographed bong and a handpainted portrait of Al Davis on the underbelly of a blue crab ….. to the Oakland Raiders for Nnamdi Asomugha

Baltimore Ravens TRADE Justin Harper, Jason Phillips, Samari Rolle, the rights to former Raven Leon Searcy, an autographed copy of his new novel “Burning Down The House” by Peter Angelos and an unopened suitcase found floating in the inner harbor ….. to the Cincinnati Bengals for Rey Maualuga

Baltimore Ravens TRADE Willis McGahee, the rights to former Raven Chris McAlister, any future rights to Brandon Marshall and Anquan Boldin, an authentic Anita Marks-Miami Fury jersey and a pair of New York Yankees panties ….. to the New England Patriots for Randy Moss and Steven Gostkowski.

Let The Countdown Begin …..

Without providing any free advertising to other Baltimore radio stations, we have just 19 days until the start of 24/7 Christmas music on one particular affiliate …..

Merry Christmas & Happy Halloween !!!!

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