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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 18 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Nonito Donaire vs. Omar Narvaez (Saturday 10:30pm from New York live on HBO); Soccer: MLS-Portland Timbers @ DC United (Wednesday 8pm from RFK Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet), Sporting Kansas City @ DC United (Saturday 7:30pm from RFK Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS); College Soccer: Penn State @ UMBC (Wednesday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 55 (Saturday 9pm from Yuma, AZ live on MTV2); High School Football: Perry Hall @ Woodlawn (Friday 7pm), Dunbar @ Poly (7pm), Archbishop Spalding @ Calvert Hall (7pm); Rugby World Cup Bronze Medal Match: Wales vs. Australia (Friday 3:30am from Auckland, New Zealand live on Universal Sports), Final: France vs. New Zealand (Sunday 3pm from Auckland, New Zealand on NBC); Canadian Football League: Montreal Alouettes @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Saturday 3pm from Winnipeg live on NFL Network)

10. Dirty Heads/Gym Class Heroes (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Jayhawks (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live), Ani Difranco (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live), New Found Glory (Sunday 5:30pm Rams Head Live), Mat Kearney (Monday 7pm Rams Head Live); Mike Posner (Thursday 7pm Recher Theatre); J Cole (Thursday 7pm Baltimore Soundstage); Blind Boys of Alabama (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Stephen Stills (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Dick Dale (Saturday 12:30pm Rams Head on Stage), Little River Band (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Jason Isbell (Friday 10pm 9:30 Club), Taking Back Sunday (Saturday 11pm 9:30 Club); Wale (Saturday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring); “Weird Al” Yankovic (Wednesday 8pm Warner Theatre), Jackson Browne (Sunday 7pm Warner Theatre); India.Arie (Saturday 8pm Strathmore); Martina McBride (Sunday 7pm France-Merrick Performing Arts Center at the Hippodrome); Coldplay “Mylo Xyloto, Jane’s Addiction “The Great Escape Artist” available on iTunes/in stores (Tuesday); Pearl Jam 20 available on DVD (Tuesday)

I’ve had my ass kicked a bit over not being more familiar with the Jayhawks until recently. They’re quite good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBGX_z6xuVU[/youtube]

The name Dick Dale might not mean a lot to you, but if you listen to “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net (and why wouldn’t you?), you’d be familiar with the theme to “Totally Tubular.” (Someone will yell at me for not also noting that Dick Dale is one of the greatest surf guitarists of all time. I’ve handled that now.)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5OHrQYwRac[/youtube]

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg introduced me to Jason Isbell (of Drive-By Truckers fame) perhaps without even realizing he had. I’m thankful.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V_vBPaI1d0[/youtube]

I’d love to be like the rest of the world and just make fun of Coldplay, but DAMN they make good music…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Kf_6BWcOOg[/youtube]

9. Brad Garrett (Thursday 6pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage); Lewis Black (Saturday 8pm Lyric Opera House Sunday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Paul Mooney (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Dave Attell (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tide” and “Bad Teacher” available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday); Maryland Renaissance Festival final weekend (Saturday & Sunday RennFest Fairgrounds Crownsville)

There are few people in the world that GENUINELY make me laugh. Lewis Black is one of those people. (Language NSFW…unless you work in Lewis Black’s office of course.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mCDZMWVWuc[/youtube]

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Mocking The 53: A Look At Roster Ahead of Preseason Finale

Posted on 30 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens travel to the Georgia Dome to meet the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night, the final opportunity for players on the roster “bubble” to impress Head Coach John Harbaugh and coordinators Cam Cameron, Chuck Pagano and Jerry Rosburg.

As I am no longer the Ravens beat reporter here at WNST I have deferred to Luke Jones for most of our coverage during Training Camp. I have had the chance to get out to 1 Winning Drive this week, so I decided I would bring back “Mocking The 53″ to get a look at how the team may trim the roster from 80 players to 53.

As I’ve explained before, the team does not have a certain number of players they keep at each position, so I have never done this breakdown by position. Instead, I offer what is more like a “power ranking” of players from 1-80.

Keep in mind, GM Ozzie Newsome is likely to make an addition or two (a veteran backup quarterback-perhaps still Marc Bulger namely) before either Saturday’s cut day or the team’s opener September 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium.

1. DT Haloti Ngata
2. QB Joe Flacco
3. LB Terrell Suggs
4. RB Ray Rice
5. WR Anquan Boldin
6. S Ed Reed
7. LB Ray Lewis
8. G Ben Grubbs
9. G Marshal Yanda
10. CB Jimmy Smith

Whether or not Smith is a starter on September 11 is the only issue in this group. All of these guys are clearly on the team and significant contributors.

11. OT Michael Oher
12. WR Lee Evans
13. FB Vonta Leach
14. DE Cory Redding
15. P Sam Koch
16. TE Ed Dickson
17. S Bernard Pollard
18. K Billy Cundiff
19. DT Terrence Cody
20. LB Jarret Johnson

Like the first group, the players in the group above are all safely on the roster and are expected to be significant contributors.

21. CB Cary Williams
22. S Tom Zbikowski
23. C Matt Birk
24. OT Bryant McKinnie
25. CB Chris Carr
26. S Haruki Nakamura
27. TE Dennis Pitta
28. RB Ricky Williams
29. LB Jameel McClain
30. WR Torrey Smith

There’s no drama in this group either. McClain still appears to be the frontrunner for the other starting ILB job, while the team has remained steadfast in their support of Torrey Smith despite struggles. There’s a chance he’s not the third receiver on September 11, but he’s absolutely safe on the roster.

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Despite Struggles in Preseason, Ravens Standing By Rookie WR Smith

Posted on 29 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

After two drops in the Baltimore Ravens’ third preseason game – a 34-31 win over the Washington Redskins – rookie WR Torrey Smith (Maryland) faced a fair share of criticism from fans and analysts alike.

Some of his critics have gone as far to already label the former Terrapins star a “bust” despite having not played in even a single regular season game. Based on the drops in particular, much of the criticism lobbed at Smith has included comparisons to fellow former Terps receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Heyward-Bey has caught just 35 passes for less than 500 yards and only two touchdowns in two seasons since being selected in the Top 10 of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.

While has Smith has made a total of just two catches for eight yards in the preseason, fans have watched receivers who entered Training Camp lower on the depth chart offer more significant contributions. Second year man David Reed and fellow rookies Tandon Doss & LaQuan Williams (Maryland, Poly) have all made more plays without the number of drops that have troubled the team’s second round pick.

Even so, the Ravens have made it clear they have not soured on Smith and still see him as a significant part of their 2011 plans.

With newly acquired WR Lee Evans (left foot) sidelined for a second straight practice Monday, the Ravens again had Smith working with the first team offense. It is a clear sign that Smith has not dropped below third on the team’s wide receiver depth chart.

Following Monday’s practice, Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said there are lofty expectations for the rookie.

“It is a process for guys. We all want things to be instant, we want guys to just jump right out of the blocks and dominate the National Football League and just go from there (but) it’s easier said than done”, Cameron said. “He’s a great practice player, works extremely hard. Over the years guys that approach things the way he’s approaching the game get better (and) improve. That’s our expectation for him, just to get better and improve.”

Cameron said he’s impressed by the extra work Smith is putting in to try to improve.

“He and (QB) Joe (Flacco) are spending some extra time together. He was in the building yesterday-one of the few guys in the building and those are all good signs. He’s got a bright, bright future and sometimes it just takes a couple games under your belt to get comfortable.”

Ravens players had been given the day off Sunday.

Cameron also told reporters he felt like he might have an idea as to why Smith has struggled so much early in his NFL career.

“I think it’s just overall learn(ing) the system” Cameron said. “We’ve gotta get him to where he doesn’t think about the play-just go out and play and let his natural ability just show itself. I think that’s going to come.”

Cameron’s re-affirmation came just two days after Head Coach John Harbaugh encouraged media members and fans to “lay off the kid” when asked about Smith’s struggles.

It is important to note that while excusing Smith’s struggles based on his lack of experience is fair during the preseason, fans and analysts alike won’t be as quick to give him the benefit of the doubt should he have troubles in the season opener against the team’s AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers September 11. That game is less than two weeks away.

In fact, Cameron himself may have made the most significant comment Monday when asked about whether or not the team’s Offensive Line would be ready to go by September 11. The question was particularly relevant considering how the first unit has just finally started working together on the practice field due to injuries (C Matt Birk and RG Marshal Yanda), position moves (RT Michael Oher having been shifted from LT) and new acquisitions (LT Bryant McKinnie).

Cameron was quick to say “absolutely” when asked, and followed it up with “we don’t have a choice. This is pro football and I think we all know what that means. By the time that game comes around, the expectation for the player, for us as coaches from the fans is that we’re ready to play. No ifs, ands (or) buts about it. No excuses.”

The same philosophy could be used with Smith.

If he’s going to be the team’s third receiver when the Ravens face their division nemesis at M&T Bank Stadium, he’s going to have to perform.

“No excuses.”

-G

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For Whatever Bad, Evans & Dickson Supplied Plenty Good in Ravens Win

Posted on 25 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — It’s not as if Baltimore Ravens fans were likely to forget former WR Derrick Mason and TE Todd Heap.

The duo totaled 938 catches for 11,269 yards and 70 touchdowns during 16 combined seasons in Charm City.

Both were released before the start of Training Camp for salary cap reasons and found new homes. Mason with the New York Jets, Heap with the Arizona Cardinals.

They were great Baltimore Ravens and will never be forgotten.

With all of that said, Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron and company have to be pleased with the early returns they’ve seen from WR Lee Evans and TE Dickson; which could go a long way in helping the organization move past the Mason/Heap era.

Evans and Dickson each made contributions to the Ravens’ 34-31 preseason win over the Washington Redskins Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

Dickson made three catches for 57 yards in the win, Evans added three catches for 60 yards-including an impressive field-stretching 35 yard touchdown strike from QB Joe Flacco.

Neither was the team’s leading receiver (WR Anquan Boldin grabbed five balls for 73 yards and a touchdown); but the contributions of each were significant in helping Flacco bounce back from an early interception which was returned by Skins CB DeAngelo Hall for a TD.

“I think we started off a little slow, obviously” said Flacco. “It took us a drive to kind of pick it up from there, and you don’t want to see that. But I think we responded pretty well. We responded well with two drives. We went down there and put the ball in the end zone three times tonight. We came out strong in the second half and finished off a drive, so I think we’ve got to be pretty happy with where we are.”

(Flacco finished the game 17/27 for 219 yards and two TD’s to go with that pick.)

The contributions of both are particularly noteworthy considering how quickly they had to adapt to new roles.

Dickson fell into the starting TE role just 31 days before the Redskins game; but did not begin practicing until August 13 due to a hamstring injury. Evans also began working with his new quarterback on August 13, just a day after being traded to Baltimore from the Buffalo Bills.

In less than two weeks, there is already a clear comfort level between Flacco and the two new starters.

“I think we’re still getting better” said Evans. “We’re still in Training Camp mode, but each day, we come out here and get better. We realize this is one of the last opportunities we’re going to have to tune-up, so we just want(ed) to come out here and try to put a good game together. I think we showed a lot of character early on after we were down, so that part of it was good.”

Seeing chemistry between the quarterback and Evans/Dickson in the third preseason game was especially critical considering Head Coach John Harbaugh is unlikely to want to play his starters in the team’s fourth preseason game next Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

This will likely be the last time Flacco, Dickson and Evans work together in a game situation until the Ravens face a critical early test September 11th against their AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers back at M&T Bank Stadium.

It’s been a strange preseason for the trio (along with the rest of the National Football League), but they will not be granted any extra time to prepare. In roughly two weeks, they have to play one of the most important games they’ll play all season.

“We have a long ways to go before we get to that September 11 game” said Dickson. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to be ‘popping out of our skin’ so-to-say. That’s a quote of coach Harbaugh, which basically means we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got another two weeks to go before that game, but we’re going to try to get better every day.”

The good news is that they look to be clicking as the game approaches.

Not all offensive questions were answered in the victory. The Ravens struggled badly again along the offensive line, but they hope the impending returns of C Matt Birk (knee) and RG Marshal Yanda (back) will help; combined with a potential shift to RT for Michael Oher and the impending addition of free agent LT Bryant McKinnie.

Additionally, rookie receiver Torrey Smith (Maryland) did little to make fans breathe easier with two early drops. Smith was expected to be the team’s third receiver, but has struggled while on the field.

They’re far from perfect at this point, but they’ve taken big steps in the right direction in a short amount of time. Evans’ long TD haul was a sight for Ravens fans who have longed for a receiver who could truly extend the field. Dickson’s first half 30 yard grab was reminiscent of plays a younger Heap would make regularly on the same field.

Ravens fans won’t necessarily be without concern, but any lingering concerns about the team’s decision to let their veteran playmakers move on seem to be disappearing more and more each day.

Of course, it’s still the preseason.

-G

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Leaky offensive line needs improvement or Flacco will scuffle

Posted on 19 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

I’m not the kind to pass judgment on any team based on anything I see in the preseason. Schemes, game plans and “real” football are never really seen in August but my eyes see a few things that are disconcerting for any Ravens fan.

First, the offensive line is suspect and that’s a foundation item that seems to get lost on most NFL fans until the quarterback is running for his life and imminently unproductive. There’s no way the Ravens will be effective on offense if Joe Flacco is constantly scrambling like we’ve seen for the better part of three quarters in the past eight days.

What’s even worse is how dreadful the backups and “hope for the future” have been in protecting for Tyrod Taylor, who really isn’t being given a fair shot when he’s getting chased on every play as well.

Against the Chiefs last night, Flacco was ineffective through most of the first half and was consistently overthrowing receivers who either didn’t have their timing down or just couldn’t get to the passes. Anquan Boldin looked frighteningly slow on a few of the passes but Lee Evans had some productivity in his reps vs. Kansas City.

I suppose we’ll see more in the pivotal third preseason game next Thursday night against the Redskins but count me in the club that needs to see more consistent protection – including the anchor of Michael Oher on the left side — to be bullish on the Ravens’ playoff hopes in 2011.

As for the defense, when Ray Lewis doesn’t get off the bus it’s exceedingly difficult to assess the first team. Ed Reed made a nice play. Some of the backups like Sergio Kindle and Pernell McPhee made some noise but for the most part it was more ugly preseason football.

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I’ll Defer Here…10 Quick Thoughts on Ravens-Chiefs

Posted on 19 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

Before Ryan Chell and I hop back on AM1570 WNST & WNST.net for the “Nasty Purple Postgame Show” presented by Poor Boys in Dundalk, I figured I’d share ten things that stuck out with me from the first half of Ravens-Chiefs.

Feel free to chime in at 410-481-1570 as the game is wrapping up to share your thoughts as well.

1. I still don’t like the lack of offensive rhythm. I’d just like to see a cohesive drive. It has to start up front, and we’re just not seeing that right now. It will bring me to my second point.

2. Jah Reid was pretty good, Michael Oher was okay, Oniel Cousins was okay. The penalties….the penalties are just completely inexcusable.

3. This was clearly not a night Joe Flacco will want to think about moving forward. There were a couple nice throws to Lee Evans, but otherwise he was terribly inconsistent. He was often forced to throw the ball away when flushed, which is at least better than a sack.

4. Lee Evans was exciting to watch. He can’t work sideline routes because of his size, but looked good in the go and on the wheel. He also showed sure hands over the middle, which is a good sign.

5. I like the Ray Rice/Ricky Williams combination. It wasn’t perect Friday night, but you can see how they complement each other. Meanwhile, Vonta Leach is tough. But we were expecting that. The head lowering “boom” was fun.

6. Cary Williams was clearly impressive in the first quarter, but struggled a bit in the second quarter. He’s not a starter despite working with the first team tonight, but he’s making it very clear why he should be ahead of Lardarius Webb on the depth chart.

7. Jimmy Smith might eventually be able to handle good receivers-even Pro Bowl receivers like Dwayne Bowe. He’s not quite ready to do that yet however. He has the physical tools, it will just take a little more time to adjust to the NFL level. I still think he’s going to be good, perhaps as early as this season.

8. There was a time when I didn’t think Sergio Kindle would ever play in Charm City. I’ve done a 180. I think he’s going to be a player, perhaps a good one. He hasn’t shown “quarterback menace” yet, but his speed and power are impressive. Pernell McPhee, Arthur Jones and Paul Kruger each also looked good.

9. Billy Cundiff might have made his field goal from 65 yards out. Stunning news I know, he has a hell of a boot.

10. John Harbaugh would not leave the postgame interview room without answering a question about the decision to defer if I were at the game. As far as I’m concerned, it wouldn’t really matter what his answer was either. There’s just no excuse for deferring in a preseason game. You defer as part of a strategy to win a football game. Winning doesn’t matter in the preseason.

It was a puzzling decision that set the tone for a lack of offensive continuity to open the game.

I expect more deferrals in the regular season as the kickoff rule nearly assures receiving teams will start at the 20 yard line, but there’s absolutely no explanation for deferring in the preseason.

Talk to you at 10:30 on the postgame show.

-G

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After Stadium Practice, Better Idea of What Ravens Will Look Like in Preseason Opener

Posted on 06 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — Following an annual open practice at M&T Bank Stadium in front of 24,078; fans will not have another opportunity to see the Baltimore Ravens again until their preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

Sunday’s practice provided some clarity for Ravens fans however, as the team gave a look at would could be expected at various positions.

QUARTERBACK:

There’s of course no question as to who the team’s starting quarterback will be Thursday (Joe Flacco). But with starters not expected to play much in the opener, the retirement of 2010 backup Marc Bulger has left the Ravens with little experience behind him.

Rookie Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech) has worked as the team’s backup in Training Camp, and will be likely to get the most snaps Thursday night after Flacco departs. Following Taylor is Hunter Cantwell, a practice squad QB a year ago who is currently the team’s third stringer. Cantwell did VERY limited work in Saturday’s practice and appears to clearly be behind Taylor on the depth chart.

The team could still make a move to bring in a veteran backup before Thursday night, but it would be unlikely a new quarterback would get significant playing time as early as Thursday after limited practice.

RUNNING BACK:

Once again, the team has no questions as far as starters are concerned. 2009 Pro Bowl RB Ray Rice and 2010 Pro Bowl FB Vonta Leach will patrol the backfield to open the game; but neither are expected to play significant time.

The RB position behind Rice is wide open at the moment. The most likely candidates to enter after Rice are Jalen Parmele and rookie Anthony Allen (Georgia Tech), who have each taken second team reps in practice. Parmele is more probable, but both are expected to see a number of plays.

Undrafted rookie Damien Berry (Miami) appears to be fourth on the RB depth chart at the moment, but should keep getting work. If the Ravens don’t add veteran depth at the position, he’s very much in the battle for a roster spot. The team also has undrafted rookie and Mervo grad Walter Sanders (St. Augustine) on the roster, he’ll likely see a few snaps in the second half of Thursday night’s contest as well.

The wild card in the group is veteran RB/ST Matt Lawrence, who missed all of the 2010 season with a knee injury. Lawrence has had very little participation in camp thus far (he did not practice Saturday), but would be expected to see playing time Thursday night if healthy.

Undrafted FB Ryan Mahaffey (Northern Iowa) could see snaps behind Leach.

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Mocking The 53: A Positional Breakdown of Ravens Roster

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Mocking The 53: A Positional Breakdown of Ravens Roster

Posted on 08 June 2011 by Glenn Clark

Here is my first offseason/preseason ranking of the players who are currently property of the Baltimore Ravens or who were property of the team at the end of the 2010 season.

This list INCLUDES players who are not under contract-whether they are tendered restricted free agents, draft picks, exclusive rights free agents or even players who are expected to reach unrestricted free agency this offseason.

Unlike in the past, I will do this list by position as I attempt to further explain how the team’s roster currently shapes up.

I apologize for my delay in putting this compilation together. Blame Gary Williams…and the Triple Crown…and the team’s practices at Towson University…and my own laziness.

Obviously there is much to be done before any of this matters, but this is simply “as the roster stands now” analysis.

Quarterbacks (4):
Joe Flacco
Marc Bulger (UFA)
Tyrod Taylor
Hunter Cantwell

tyrod

The quarterback position is still in much less than full clarity at this point.

Joe Flacco has been a NFL quarterback for  55 games, including the playoffs. Joe Flacco has played every snap in 55 of those 55 games.

A season ago, the Ravens took a slight risk by parting ways with two backups-trading John Beck to the Washington Redskins during Training Camp and releasing Troy Smith after the preseason finale in St. Louis. They decided to carry only two active quarterbacks, paying a hefty price for veteran backup Marc Bulger.

Bulger appears to be out in Charm City, with most in the league believing he is destined to sign with the Arizona Cardinals. The Ravens knew they’d need to address quarterback depth during the draft and did so by selecting the explosive former Virginia Tech Hokies star (Taylor-pictured above) in the 6th round.

While Taylor (who hails from the quarterback hotbed of Hampton, Virginia) certainly has a number of supporters who believe him capable of being a legitimate starter in the league-he will not play that role in Baltimore unless there is turmoil this season one way or another (injury or failure).

Flacco is the starter. Taylor will have a great chance of making the roster. The real question facing the team is how else to address the position. It is believed that the Ravens will pursue another veteran QB of sorts when (if?) free agency finally begins. Miami Dolphins QB Chad Pennington has been a much rumored name the team could consider pursuing.

Should the Ravens not acquire a veteran free agent to backup Flacco, Cantwell could remain in the mix. He spent the entire 2010 season on the team’s practice squad-but has in the past been an active part of the Carolina Panthers’ roster.

With Taylor unlikely to be let go (or placed at risk of being taken away by trying to move him to the practice squad) but also unlikely to be the primary backup early in his career, it is fairly safe to assume the team will keep three quarterbacks this season.

Running Backs/Fullbacks (8):
Ray Rice
Le’Ron McClain
Willis McGahee
Jalen Parmele
Matt Lawrence
Jason McKie
Anthony Allen
Curtis Steele

parmele

Rice is obviously the team’s “featured” back. The issue for Cam Cameron’s offense this offseason is figuring out how to complement the fourth year back moving forward.

The worst kept secret in football is that the Ravens intend to part ways with McGahee because he is unwilling to take a cut from the $6 million he is owed. Should McGahee find the market slim there would always be a chance he could look towards Baltimore again, but it certainly appears unlikely.

With McGahee apparently gone, the Ravens will have to build their backfield without him. One option is McClain, who had his best season yet as a true fullback in 2010 (despite the fact that he was actually passed over for Pro Bowl recognition by Houston Texans FB Vonta Leach) but who has made clear his desire to carry the football more often.

McClain was initially thought to be on the cusp of reaching free agency this offseason (and departing), but without a new CBA McClain (and other fourth and fifth year players) would likely remain under contract. McClain’s size and potential goal line/short distance ability make him potentially a solid complement for Rice.

Should the Ravens move McClain into that role, they would likely need to consider keeping McKie or otherwise improving the fullback position. McKie was a non-factor during his brief stay at the end of the 2010 season-but could be a viable option in a thin market.

Parmele (pictured above) is the wild card in the backfield. The coaching staff has remained high on him throughout his time in Baltimore (and he has connections with Cameron dating back to the Dolphins). Parmele has remained a value special teams player (and is a viable return option), but he has run the ball only seven times in his career.

Lawrence, Allen and Steele are all question marks (and possibly longshots) to make the roster. Lawrence is a talented special teams player but missed the 2010 season with a torn ACL. Allen (the team’s 7th round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft) is hoping his 6’1″, 228 pound frame is enough to get him on the roster. Steele spent the 2010 season on the practice squad after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis. The team liked his quick hitting ability, but he will have an uphill climb-especially if there is no Training Camp.

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Sports Things We Should Send the Navy SEALS to Find Next

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Sports Things We Should Send the Navy SEALS to Find Next

Posted on 03 May 2011 by Glenn Clark

In honor of the heroes who tracked down and brought Osama Bin Laden to justice Sunday, our Tuesday Top 7 topic today was “The Top 7 Sports Things We Should Send the Navy SEALS to Find Next.”

Clearly this is lighthearted in comparison to the heroic work these folks did this weekend. We hope this can be a bit of a tribute.

Glenn Clark’s list…

7. The 2009 versions of Michael Oher and Jared Gaither

gaitheroher

6. The Battle of Baltimore tournament

battleofbaltimore

5. A horse that can win the Triple Crown

secretariat

4. Passionate, outraged Baltimore Orioles fans

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMif5nqpHu8[/youtube]

3. Good American tennis players

americantennis

2. A Sweet 16 run from Gary Williams

garywilliams

1. Watchable NBA basketball

michaelmagic

Drew Forrester’s list…

7. 105.7 The Fan listeners

1057

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

dalejr.

5. Great TV shows like Sanford & Son, Leave It To Beaver, Andy Griffith Show, The Munsters

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WqazleR3FE[/youtube]

4. Successful Towson University athletics

towson

3. “Preakness magic”

preakness

2. Relevant Baltimore newspaper reporting

sun

1. Tiger Woods’ career

tigerwoods

If you missed the explanation of why these players made the list on “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: “Smith” Ravens’ 2nd Pick, Terps’ Torrey Adds New Chapter to Amazing Story

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Live From Owings Mills: “Smith” Ravens’ 2nd Pick, Terps’ Torrey Adds New Chapter to Amazing Story

Posted on 29 April 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Let me start with some full disclosure. I’m a University of Maryland alum and an unabashed supporter of the Terrapins football program.

I’ll follow with further full disclosure. There was no prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft that I was more familiar with than former Terps WR Torrey Smith. You probably won’t remember this gem of an “interview” from the team’s 2010 Media Day in College Park…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apWJYZNRyQA[/youtube]

On top of that, I coordinated a weekly appearance between Smith and AM1570 host Thyrl Nelson every Tuesday since January on “The Mobtown Sports Beat.”

Now that it’s all out there, I’ll speak freely.

And after looking past a lengthy rap-sheet to select Colorado CB Jimmy Smith in the first round, the Baltimore Ravens grabbed an amazing human being in the 2nd-round (58th pick overall) by selecting their second Smith of the week.

(They’re of course hoping he pans out to be just as good of a football player at the NFL level as well.)

Smith’s story is well-known amongst Maryland fans, and will quickly become just as known amongst similar Ravens fans who gobbled up everything Michael Oher and “The Blind Side” related two seasons ago.

As detailed in an incredible Washington Post story by Eric Prisbell (Head Coach John Harbaugh said Friday night he was “choked up” and “proud” of Smith after just reading the article), Smith’s childhood was impossibly difficult.

Smith was born three months early, undersized with meningitis and jaundice. He was rushed to an incubator and lived the first 10 weeks of his life in a hospital.

Smith’s childhood would leave him witness to a scene where his mother, Monica, was held at gunpoint by her then-husband and Smith was immediately forced to help raise his younger siblings as early as the age of four.

As recently as 2010, Smith’s mother had faced up to ten years in prison stemming from a fight with her daughter-in-law (a plea agreement would help prevent the lengthy sentence).

As I said, I’d suggest you read the story.

“You saw the celebration (after the pick was announced) when they had Torrey on TV?” asked Harbaugh following the 2nd round. “I want you to know there was a bigger celebration in our Draft room when we got this player.”

The Ravens are clearly excited about adding Smith’s size, speed and resume to a receiving corps that already features multiple Pro Bowl performers in Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin. Smith measured in at 6’1″, 204 pounds and clocked a 4.41 time in the forty yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. During three seasons in College Park, he tallied 2,281 yards from scrimmage and 20 offensive touchdowns to go with 2,983 return yards and three additional TD’s.

Some scouts thought he had first-round talent, but some questions about his route-running forced him to drop into the second.

The Ravens were grateful to find him there.

“He can peal the top off a defense,” said General Manager Ozzie Newsome. “He brings that added dimension to our pass game. [Quarterback] Joe [Flacco] is a deep-thrower. Joe has the ability to throw the deep ball…he has the arm strength to do it. Now we’re giving Joe an additional weapon and that opens up our passing game.”

Newsome would go on jokingly to label Smith as a “3-point shooter” in the Ravens offense: “At any point if the ball gets in his hands, Billy [Cundiff] is coming out to kick an extra point.”

The deep-ball was sorely missing from the Ravens offense last year. The team had just seven passing plays of 40-plus yards-Mason led the team with two-during 16 regular season games and then recorded none in the postseason.

After finding out his football future would lead him up the road to Charm City, Smith told reporters he knew his character would help his transition.

“I knew the way I am as a person…the way I play fit the way they do things up there,” he said.

As much as the Ravens will benefit from the addition of Smith on the field, they will absolutely benefit from the addition of a man like Torrey Smith in their locker room as well.

Former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen said of Smith in the Post story, “God created a perfect person.”

The Ravens might settle for a good guy. And a really good receiver.

RAVENS DEAL FOR ANOTHER “REID”
: The Ravens dealt their third round pick (90th overall) and one of two sixth round picks (191st overall) to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up five spots and select Central Florida OT Jah Reid in the 3rd round (85th overall).

Jah Reid

Reid (6’7″, 327 pounds) was described by Newsome as a “fast-riser” on the Ravens draft board following his performance at this year’s East-West Shrine Game in Orlando.

The Ravens will start the 2010 first-team All-Conference-USA selection at RT, where he will find a bit of a crowd. Jared Gaither missed all of 2010 with a back injury and could reach free agency depending on the resolution of the CBA-dispute between the league and the NFLPA.

Marshal Yanda is a restricted free agent (expected to return) who performed admirably filling in for Gaither but Harbaugh has said the team would prefer to move him back to his more natural right guard position.

Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll have not shown themselves as viable options to play significantly. 2010 6th-round pick Ramon Harewood also missed the entire season needing surgery on both knees.

When asked what the Ravens liked about Reid, Harbaugh said: “he is long, he is powerful and he can bend.”

NOTES: The Ravens will receive no compensation from the National Football League or the Chicago Bears following a miscue during the attempt of a first-round trade. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported NFL commissioner Roger Goodell “encouraged” the Bears to give the Ravens a 4th round pick, but the Bears chose not to do so……The Ravens are scheduled to introduce Jimmy Smith and Torrey Smith to reporters at an 11am press conference Saturday at 1 Winning Drive……The Ravens are slated to make five picks on Saturday. They currently hold one fourth round pick (123rd overall), two compensatory fifth round picks (164th and 165th overall), one sixth round pick (180th overall, acquired from the St. Louis Rams in last year’s Mark Clayton deal) and one seventh round pick (225th overall, acquired from the Eagles in last year’s Antwan Barnes deal)……Hear from Newsome, Harbaugh, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta, Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and Torrey Smith now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net

-G

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