Tag Archive | "Peyton Manning"

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Playoff win over Indianapolis microcosm of Ravens’ 2012 season

Posted on 06 January 2013 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — In many ways, the Ravens’ 24-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday was a reflection of their entire 2012 season.

The outcome and final stats looked better than they felt over the course of the game, particularly in the first half when the Baltimore offense sputtered and the defense reaffirmed its “bend but don’t break” mentality after being on the field for over 19 minutes prior to halftime. The Ravens ultimately set a franchise playoff record with 441 yards of total offense and registered eight plays of 20-or-more yards after leading by a narrow 10-6 margin after the first 30 minutes.

Quarterback Joe Flacco finished with 282 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 completions, setting a new team playoff record with a 125.6 passer rating, and wide receiver Anquan Boldin produced a Ravens’ playoff record 145 receiving yards on five catches.

The second-half performance is one we’ve seen before as Flacco and the Ravens looked every bit the part of an elite offense.

“We were very efficient on offense,” Harbaugh said. “We were averaging nine yards per play until we took a knee there at the end. We didn’t have as many plays as we would have liked to have, but we sure were having success with our plays.”

That efficiency was absent in the first half as Flacco went 5-for-12 for 108 yards and Boldin failed to register a catch on two targets. And the unit’s inability to sustain drives for portions of the first and second quarter could have spelled troubled for a tired defense against a better opponent, but the Ravens prevailed as they should have against the inexperienced Colts in Baltimore.

As maligned as the offense has been this year — coming to a climax with the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Dec. 10 — the numbers suggest it’s one of the best assembled in the 17-year history of the franchise. The Ravens set franchise records for most points (398), fewest turnovers (16), and most plays of 20-or-more yards (73) this season, but few would regard them as having a very productive offense.

Sunday’s up-and-down performance had a similar feel before the Ravens were able to pull away, but that’s been the story all season. Very little has come easy, even if Sunday marked the fifth margin of victory all season of more than one possession.

“It wasn’t as clean as we wanted it to be,” center Matt Birk said. “But, that’s what we do. We just kept fighting, we just kept plugging away.”

Perhaps Boldin said it best in explaining the Ravens’ approach in the first half, equating it to a heavyweight fighter feeling out his opponent in the early rounds.

The veteran wide receiver certainly helped in providing the knockout punch with an 18-yard touchdown catch with 9:14 remaining to put the Ravens up by two scores. Indianapolis had no answers for the savvy Boldin, making you wonder why Flacco and the Ravens didn’t call his number more frequently in the first half.

“We wanted to show them a couple looks and see what we got early,” Boldin said. “We kind of wanted to hold some things back until the second half. We got the looks we thought we were going to get.”

Sunday’s performance was good enough to dispose of Indianapolis, but the Ravens now face the daunting challenge of going to Denver to take on the Broncos, the team that demolished them in Baltimore less than a month ago. Denver hasn’t lost a game since the beginning of October and will be the clear favorite, and the Ravens haven’t exactly inspired confidence very often when playing away from M&T Bank Stadium.

A full 60 minutes resembling what we saw in the second half on Sunday will be a necessity in order for the Ravens to have any chance of pulling off an upset against Peyton Manning, the man who’s disposed of them twice in the postseason in the last seven years. There will be no time for feeling out the opposition or Manning and the Denver offense will jump ahead early and won’t look back.

Ray Lewis wasted no time in moving past his final game in Baltimore, eliminating any doubts of his ability to reboot emotionally after such a memorable day. The 37-year-old linebacker hopes this time around will be different against the Broncos with him and several others back and healthy for the rematch.

“I’ve already turned my iPad in to get Denver film now,” said Lewis, who finished with a team-high 13 tackles in his first game since Oct. 14. “It’s on to the next one. That’s one thing about being in this business for so long. Denver is going to be well-rested. We saw them earlier in the year, but now we get them again with all our guys back. We are really looking forward to it.”

We’ve waited all year to see the “real” Ravens show up, but Sunday is exactly what we’ve seen for much of the season. We witnessed a group capable of playing as well as anyone in the league in the second half, but mistakes and a lack of productivity allowed an inferior Colts team to hang around in the first half.

That won’t get the job done against the teams remaining in the postseason. The foot needs to be on the gas pedal from the opening kickoff next week.

The Ravens talked a good game following Sunday’s win, with several players embracing the opportunity to meet the Broncos again. You can only wonder if they’ll feel differently beginning at 4:30 p.m. next Saturday.

“[I’m] really looking forward to it,” Boldin said. “I was hoping we would get to them. So, they’ll see us next week.”

Which Ravens team will we see?

Will it be the offense that produced 253 yards of offense and the quarterback who threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns after halftime? Or will we see the sputtering unit we saw for much of the first half?

Can the defense offer enough resistance against Manning and the Denver offense to keep the Ravens in the game?

It’s difficult to forget the 34-17 beating they took just three weeks ago to Manning and the Broncos. Why would this time be any different, especially with Baltimore going on the road?

“We’ll make it different,” Boldin said.

Then, it’s time for the Ravens to show up for a full 60 minutes to prove it.

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Broncos

Posted on 18 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Bernard Pierce 15 yard run negated by Matt Birk holding penalty (2nd quarter)

4. Rahim Moore recovers Joe Flacco fumble on 3rd & 1 forced by Justin Bannan (1st quarter)

3. Eric Decker 51 yard TD catch from Peyton Manning (3rd quarter)

2. Joe Flacco pass intended for Torrey Smith incomplete on 3rd & 10 (3rd quarter)

1. Chris Harris 98 yard TD return of Joe Flacco interception (2nd quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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Ravens in full backpedal as goals still sit in front of them

Posted on 16 December 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — It’s been the same message in each of the last three weeks as the Ravens licked their wounds in the locker room following a loss.

The words have become a broken record, however, for a team in the midst of its first three-game losing streak since Oct. 2009 after a humiliating 34-17 defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos. It was the Ravens’ worst loss at M&T Bank Stadium in over five years, and it leaves Baltimore in the same position it’s held since the beginning of December.

“Every goal that we have, starting with our first goal — which is to win the AFC North — is in front of us,” Harbaugh said. “It’s still there, and every dream that we have, which is the ultimate dream is still available to us. And that’s what you keep in mind. It’s a tough league for tough guys, and you have to find a way to put it behind you, improve, address the issues, own them and move on.”

Yes, their goals are still right in front of them – and a Pittsburgh loss to Dallas officially punched their fifth consecutive trip to the postseason Sunday evening — but it’s become painfully apparent the Ravens are backpedaling instead of moving forward. The dismissal of Cam Cameron and promotion of offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell were supposed to pump new life into the Ravens offense, but Joe Flacco and the unit responded by scoring just 17 points, their lowest output at home all season.

An overwhelmingly undermanned defense put forth a respectable first-half effort of only 10 points allowed before Denver’s Chris Harris returned a Joe Flacco interception 98 yards for a touchdown just seconds before halftime to make it a 17-0 deficit at intermission. The Baltimore defense wilted in the second half, allowing 14 points in the first half of the third quarter that put the game out of reach.

Most players echoed Harbaugh’s words about their goals still being within reach — even if their body language and tone didn’t exactly inspire confidence — but safety Ed Reed expressed the sentiment most fans felt as M&T Bank Stadium emptied early in the fourth quarter with the Ravens trailing 31-3 entering the final 15 minutes. The 34-year-old included his own performance in describing what was an unacceptable effort in front of the home fans.

“I am embarrassed as a player to come out and perform the way we have,” Reed said. “You have weeks like that. We’re not the only team that lost today, and we still have two more games. But, as a Ravens nation, as a player, I am embarrassed for our city.”

Sunday was supposed to be the first game in a new era of football for Flacco after his turbulent relationship with Cameron was finally laid to rest. Instead, the quarterback turned in one of the worst moments of his career with a second of hesitation before throwing an inexplicable out route intended for Anquan Boldin that was jumped by Harris. It turned what should have been a one-possession game into a 17-point deficit.

No one knows if the Ravens would have mustered a better fight had the defensive score never taken place, but it’s difficult to envision this one turning into the most lopsided home loss of the Harbaugh era with such ease.

Just like his team, Flacco is moving in reverse when he needs to be at his best after committing two turnovers that led to 10 points. It was the fifth-year quarterback’s third straight game with two giveaways, and he’s fumbled once in each of them.

“We’ve just got to keep moving forward, keep our eye on the prize,” Flacco said. “Everything in this league is ‘what have you done for me lately,’ and we’ve got to continue to move forward and stay confident because nobody’s going to be too high on us except ourselves. We’ve got to go out there and seize whatever opportunities we have ahead of us.”

Even with the Ravens now guaranteed a playoff spot and still holding a one-game advantage over Cincinnati in the AFC North, it’s nearly impossible to feel encouraged by their chances as it pertains to the postseason. Five of the Ravens’ seven inactives on Sunday were starters and that’s not counting linebacker Ray Lewis, who remains on the injured reserve-designated to return list with a right triceps injury.

More names were added to the infirmary report on Sunday as wide receiver Torrey Smith and running back Bernard Pierce sustained concussions, wide receiver Tandon Doss twisted his ankle, and linebacker Albert McClellan pushed his way through a hamstring injury. Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs played against the Broncos, but his impact was minimal as you continue to wonder what exactly he’ll bring to the table the rest of the way with a torn right biceps.

Just a few weeks ago, we labeled the Ravens resilient because of their ability to overcome their health woes, but you just wonder if they’ve finally hit the brick wall, especially with the loss of their best offensive lineman Marshal Yanda as the unit struggled immensely once again on Sunday.

“You have to do whatever you can to overcome it, and that’s what we’ve been doing,” Harbaugh said. “Getting healthy is going to be important for us. That’s something that I think we are getting closer to doing. If we can get healthy and get strong down the stretch here, that will help us.”

Maybe the return of Lewis will spark a Ravens team that appeared flat and even disinterested at times on Sunday. Perhaps Suggs — who employed an unconventional four-point stance to keep his body weight off his right arm — will see more explosion return from his surgically-repaired Achilles tendon, even if now playing with only one good arm.

And maybe the light comes on for the Ravens offense with another week of adjusting to Caldwell at the helm.

None of those possibilities feel very likely right now as the Ravens continue to see their goals staring them in the face. They keep moving in the wrong direction instead of seizing what they feel is rightfully theirs.

They’re running out of time to avoid any outcome other than backing into the playoffs as a once-promising season continues to look like it’s slipping away. And it appears they don’t have a clue how to make things right as they were embarrassed on their home turf by an impressive Broncos team.

The Ravens look stuck in reverse as they see a division title still staring right at them, but they’re unable to grab it.

“All we need to do is get one win,” running back Ray Rice said. “There is no sugarcoating. We’re banged up a bunch. It’s late in the year. It’s not getting any easier. We either put it on our shoulders, get it fixed, or we’ll weed ourselves out like the other teams in the league.”


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Struggling Ravens find longtime foe Manning standing in way once again

Posted on 13 December 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Asked to identify the most dangerous characteristic of Peyton Manning’s game, Ravens free safety Ed Reed smiled and didn’t have to think long about his answer.

After eight previous games against the current Denver Broncos quarterback who formerly starred in Indianapolis, Reed knew the truth all too well, at least in terms of how it relates to the Ravens’ lack of success against the future Hall of Fame signal caller.

“The most deadly part of Peyton is that he gets the ball every play,” said Reed, chuckling as he spoke about the quarterback he’s never beaten in his 11-year career.

The Ravens haven’t defeated a Manning-led team since 2001 when Rod Woodson and Tony Siragusa were elder statesmen in the Baltimore defense and Ray Lewis was a youthful 26 years old. Since beating Manning’s Colts on Dec. 2, 2001, they’ve lost eight straight to the incomparable quarterback, including two heartbreaking losses in the playoffs.

In his 10 career games against the Ravens, Manning is 8-2, throwing for 2,689 yards with 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions. However, they haven’t faced him since a 20-3 playoff loss in January 2010.

Plenty has changed since the last time the Ravens played Manning as the 36-year-old has found a new home in Denver and is in the midst of an MVP-caliber season after undergoing spinal fusion surgery that sidelined him for the 2011 season, his final year with the Colts. Meanwhile, the Ravens have seen their vaunted defense take a nosedive this season amidst personnel losses and a slew of injuries.

They now face the prospects of trying to contain the league’s fourth-ranked offense to avoid their first three-game losing streak in over three years. The task won’t be easy as odds-makers have listed the Ravens as a home underdog for the first time since Nov. 22, 2009 — when they played the Manning-led Colts in what resulted in a 17-15 defeat.

Needing to win to keep their hopes for the No. 2 seed in the AFC alive, the Ravens will try to do something they last accomplished when only three players on the current roster — Ray Lewis, Bobbie Williams, and Matt Birk — were even in the NFL.

“Those are team wins and different teams, different players playing in those games,” Manning said about his long winning streak against Baltimore. “I really can’t speak much to the past. All I can speak to is this year, and it’s been such a different year for me – different team and what not.”

The transition has appeared seamless as Manning has passed for 3,812 yards and 30 touchdowns compared to only 10 interceptions. His 104.0 passer rating ranks fourth in the NFL, and Manning has completed 68.3 percent of his passes this season to lead all passers with at least 220 attempts this season.

It was only a few months ago when many wondered if Manning would ever be the same after undergoing four neck surgeries. And while he’s lost some zip on the more difficult throws a quarterback must make — such as the deep out route — his timing remains superb in working with wide receivers Demaryius Thomas (74 catches for 1,197 yards) and Eric Decker (64 receptions for 790 yards).

“He is still as accurate as ever,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “He still does a great job of controlling the tempo of the game, of his offense, which controls your defense. It’s his offense.”

The Baltimore secondary has struggled mightily in each of its last two games against Steelers backup Charlie Batch and Redskins rookie sensation Robert Griffin III as the Ravens have been forced to use the likes of Chykie Brown and Chris Johnson behind current starters Cary Williams and Corey Graham in the nickel package.

Second-year cornerback Jimmy Smith could make his return from sports hernia surgery this week, which would be a boost to their depth at corner, but Manning’s surgical precision and ability to make changes on the fly create the need for the Ravens to not only play tighter coverage but to also disguise what they’re doing as much as possible. It’s not an easy task for a unit currently relying on backups all over the field.


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Your Monday Reality Check: I Get Why You’re Saying You’d Prefer Blowouts

Posted on 10 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

It didn’t take long.

“The thing is-I’d prefer them to be getting blown out than losing the way they’re losing.”

I can’t remember who it was, and I apologize if it was you. It wasn’t long into “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” Sunday night on WNST that I got the first one. And it wasn’t the only time I heard/read it Sunday. I got it in a few emails and social media messages.

It wasn’t the most infuriating thing I heard Sunday night. In fact, it wasn’t really infuriating at all.

I get it. Honestly, I get it.

I mean, I hope all of us who were greatly bothered by seeing the Baltimore Ravens suffer a second consecutive loss Sunday (this time in overtime at the Washington Redskins) are understanding that 1-the team’s season is FAR from over and 2-no organization with a 9-4 record in a NFL season can EVER be vastly concerned about the following season or any seasons to come.

The only thing the organization can be concerned about is winning their next game, a visit from the Denver Broncos in the case of the Baltimore Ravens.

While you’re questioning the future of the Offensive Coordinator, the quarterback, who stays and goes on the defensive side of the ball and who could be cut to free room under the salary cap; the organization is ONLY concerned about how to break a lengthy losing streak against Peyton Manning and how a maligned Offensive Line can contain Von Miller.

They’ve thought about some of those same things, but they’ll worry about them after the season.

Some of you are struggling with the notion that the season hasn’t ended for the Baltimore Ravens in the course of the last eight days. It was rain falling today in Charm City, but it felt like it was the sky.

If the Ravens HAD been blown out in their last two games and hadn’t managed to pull off a few miracles (a missed Dan Bailey field goal lifting them past the Dallas Cowboys, the impossible 4th & 29 conversion in San Diego) or hold on in some of the uglier games in recent franchise history (wins at Kansas City and Pittsburgh that came without a single offensive touchdown), the Baltimore Ravens would sit at 5-8 and feel much more comfortable about declaring both the season over and welcoming panic within the building at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

Instead, they have all but clinched a fifth consecutive postseason appearance and are in no ways guaranteed to not be able to make a run towards a second consecutive AFC Championship Game appearance.

When you tell me you’d prefer blowouts, I understand what you’re really saying. You’re REALLY saying you don’t think the Ravens are going to make that type of run and you’d prefer to see the organization start answering more difficult questions now than have to wait another four or five weeks.

It’s understandable. The most likely scenario for the Ravens is that they’ll enter the playoffs as the AFC North champion (they need only one more win in any game the rest of the way to lock it up) but having lost anywhere from two to four (or I guess even all five) of their final five games. It’s reasonable to assume they won’t enter the postseason playing a particularly consistent level of football.

It’s easier for us to discuss long term questions like “should Cam Cameron be fired?”, “how much is Joe Flacco worth?”, “what do you do with Michael Oher?”, “has Jimmy Smith made enough progress to feel comfortable letting Cary Williams walk?”, “is there any future for Ed Reed here?” and “would cutting Anquan Boldin provide the cap room the organization needs?”

But the only real questions at the moment are more along the lines of “what will the team do if they’re missing Marshal Yanda for a significant amount of time?”, “can Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe and Terrell Suggs return in time to face Denver?” and “should Corey Graham still start after Smith returns?”

None of those questions sound like they’ll make the type of difference necessary to see the Ravens look like Super Bowl contenders again.

That’s where the organization is after 14 weeks of the 2012 NFL season.

I know you don’t REALLY mean you’d rather see the Ravens getting blown out right now, but I understand why it feels that way.


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The 15-7-0 is made up of 60% water, 40% leftover turkey and cranberry relish

Posted on 26 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

As always, this week’s 15-7-0 is brought to you by Roofing By Elite. Visit them at roofingbyelite.com. We make 15 observations about football that are ELITE, 7 that are “not so ELITE” and one “zero” who deserves to sleep on the roof from outside of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens game analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

Here we go.

“The Elite 15″…

1. I have to assume that at this point they don’t need to keep trying to wake up the echoes in South Bend.

Remember when the Trojans were down two scores late and went for it on 4th down anyway? I bet that worked out well…

I can’t tell if Fighting Irish LB (and likely Heisman Trophy finalist) Manti Te’o was excited about the win, though…

Also, what do you think Lane Kiffin was thinking here…

Of course, the Trojans are NEVER losers…

2. Now that Jay Cutler has returned to save the Chicago Bears’ season, we can all get back to talking about how much Jay Cutler sucks.

He’s unlikeable, but he’s a hell of a QB…

Back to that “unlikeable” thing. Ask AJ Jefferson…

J’Marcus Webb might disagree though…

3. Jesus. Weren’t the Bengals just completely dead a couple weeks ago?

Mohamed Sanu had a busy day (on my fantasy football bench)…

Credit to NFL Red Zone’s Scott Hanson-who saw Raiders DL Tommy Kelly in a fight and IMMEDIATELY noticed he was a doppelganger for Suge Knight…

4. There might be a LITTLE bit of drama headed to New York this year, but I’m pretty confident Johnny Manziel has locked up the Heisman Trophy.

His big game Saturday against Missouri happened AFTER Johnny Football overcame this troublesome looking injury…

Manziel will finally speak to the media for the first time Monday. He’ll have to play catch up to the all out blitz the Irish have gone through with Te’o…

5. Now Alabama plays Georgia next week for the right to be favored to win the BCS Championship Game.

Georgia’s Alec Ogletree prepared for the SEC Championship showdown by going all Kurt Angle on Georgia Tech…

Elsewhere in the SEC, I give you Jarvis Landry!

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Raiders Game is a Must Win

Posted on 07 November 2012 by jeffreygilley

Discounting the Texans game, the Ravens have been competitive in every game thus far.  After all, they are six and two.  But this team has been through some tough times.  The defense has been terrible and the offense cant produce on the road.  That said, I think this Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders is a must win.

Make no mistake, this will not be an easy game.  The Raiders bost a respectable running game (when McFadden is healthy), and have a track team the Raiders call wide receivers.

If the Raiders want to win this game, Carson Palmer will have to make plays and he has done just that against the Ravens.  When Palmer was a Cincinnati Bengal, he faced the Ravens thirteen times and won nine of those games.  In those thirteen games, Palmer has thrown for just over 3,000 yards and has thrown fifteen touchdowns to eleven interceptions.

Those are pretty good numbers for a Ravens defense that used to be elite.  So what can Palmer do against a depleted Ravens defense that was struggling with their star players?

Jimmy Smith should play a large role in this game.  He is a good player and has a lot of potential but has a tendency to bite on double moves, especially double moves out of play action.  With the speed the Raiders have on the outside, Smith will have to stay at home and be fundamentally sound.

Tackling will also play a big role in this game.  Thus far, the Ravens have been a poor tackling team.  If the defensive backs play too far off the line to respect the Raiders speed, the Raiders will run comeback and slant routes to attack underneath.  If the Ravens dont tackle well, one of those short routes could go the distance.

This game is a must win because of the remaining schedule.  After the Raiders this Sunday, the Ravens must travel to Pittsburgh and San Diego before returning to Baltimore to play the Steelers for the second time in three weeks.  The Season ends with a four game stretch against the Redskins in Washington, the Broncos and Giants at home, and the Bengals on the road to end the regular season.

This schedule scares me as it should scare most Ravens fans.  Facing the Manning brothers two weeks in a row is brutal and Peyton always seems to beat the Ravens at home.

Personally, I see the Ravens getting to ten wins and earning a playoff spot.  The AFC is wide open.  Many teams can win the conference to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, I just hope the Ravens get that privilege.

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All of this talk about “elite” is getting us away from the real issue…

Posted on 22 October 2012 by Drew Forrester


“Is Flacco elite?”

Elite, elite, elite.

I’m making a decision, right now, on October 22:  I am no longer using that stupid word – elite – to judge a quarterback, particularly the guy in Baltimore.

Mind you, I’m not one that throws that “E word” around much as it is, but it’s always the big argument in football.  Is so-and-so an “elite” quarterback?

It’s 10-minutes of filler for ESPN and all of the other talking heads.  “Is he elite?”…blah, blah, blah…

So, from this day forward, I’m going to use a new word to discuss and analyze any and all quarterbacks in the NFL.

It will be a non-negotiable word.  One you can’t possibly argue.  And right now, in the league, there are only six of these kind of quarterbacks.

They’re called “championship quarterbacks” and they are, in no order, Brady, Roethlisberger, Brees, Rodgers, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning.

No one else in the league is worthy of inclusion on that list.  And that includes Flacco.  And Matt Ryan.  And Michael Vick.  And Matt Stafford.  And RGIII.

You’re either a championship quarterback or you’re just a quarterback.

In the other words, there’s only one way to be an “elite quarterback”.  You must have a ring.  There are a few very notable exceptions over the last 30 years.  Guys like Dan Marino and Jim Kelly and Warren Moon are Hall-of-Famers and they don’t sport flashy jewelry.  But those are three very rare exceptions to the rule.  And that rule is:  “If you want to be elite, you better have a ring on your finger.”

At this point, Flacco is a good quarterback.  Is he better than Ryan or Stafford?  Some games, yes.  Some games, no.  But he’s not better than Brees.  Or Brady.  Or Roethlisberger.  Or any of the guys with a ring.

We love to argue about whether or not the quarterback is “elite”.  For whatever reason – mainly because he’s usually the guy who makes the most money – it’s always the quarterback we throw under the super-microscope and try to come up with a word to define him.  These days, that word is “elite”.

But how do we determine what makes a guy “elite”?  Is it winning?  Championships?

We better be careful saying, “you can’t be elite unless you have a ring” because we’d then have a certain linebacker and safety in Baltimore who can’t be considered elite…since both Suggs and Reed are sans jewelry.

So, let’s get rid of that word, elite, when trying to define our quarterback in Baltimore.

You’re either a “championship quarterback” or you’re a quarterback trying to become one.

Let’s just worry about the only thing we should be worried about…and that’s WINNING.  Yes, he’s been the quarterback of the team that has made the playoffs four straight seasons.  Yes, he has a post-season victory in each of those four seasons.  And, honestly, I’m glad Flacco is the quarterback in Baltimore.  I’m in the pro-Flacco camp, if such a group exists.

But let’s just settle this debate about Flacco – and any others in the league who are good but haven’t won anything yet – and call a spade a spade.  He’s not a championship quarterback.  Yet.

When (not if…but when) Flacco does win a title, he’ll be considered “elite”.

For now, he’s not elite.

No disrespect, but that’s just the way it goes when you haven’t held up the trophy.


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There’s absolutely no replacement for the 15-7-0

Posted on 10 September 2012 by Glenn Clark

As always, this week’s 15-7-0 is brought to you by Roofing By Elite. Visit them at roofingbyelite.com. We make 15 observations about football ELITE, 7 about football “not so ELITE” and one “zero” who deserves to sleep on the roof from outside of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens game analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

The “ELITE” 15…

1. It was way more interesting than it needed to be, but Maryland got a nice win Saturday.

Ryan Chell and I made the drive up to Filthy Saturday, and I will admit I expected much worse than what I got.

As Darren Pang would say, “holy jumpin’!” Perry Hills wasn’t great-but he made some nice throws. Marcus Leak was fantastic, and Stefon Diggs more than made up for an earlier fumble with that spectacular catch you saw there at the end of the game.

Most of us would have settled for just not giving up 12 rushing touchdowns like it felt like they did a year ago against the Owls. Instead we got Randy Edsall’s first EVER road win.

While I was in the “Illadelph” (to quote The Roots), I had a tasty chicken cheesesteak and a pretzel. I did not however get to stop at the place The Nasty One recommended, “Talk of the Town” for one of their steaks.

Anything anybody can tell me about this place?

I was a little disappointed we didn’t bump into Temple fan and friend of “The Reality Check” Bill Cosby at the game, but apparently he was busy looking dapper at UMass…

2. Rex Ryan and the Jets are perhaps the greatest trolls in the history of football.

The Jets didn’t just look BAD in the preseason, they looked like one of the worst teams in the history of football. They scored one offensive touchdown. They looked to have the offensive ineptitude of a JV football team, but at one of those schools where they only have like 300 students so the JV team is mostly made up of girls and kids that thought they were trying out for badminton.

And then, this.

I’m not as baffled as you. I’m significantly more baffled. I had sort of assumed the Jets were just going to panic and line Tim Tebow up at every position to try to set some sort of bizarre record because they cared so little about winning.

What the eff? I PICKED THE JETS TO WIN?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!!?

Heh. I knew it all along.  And you doubted.

Here’s what Thurman Thomas thought about the Bills’ effort…

But other than that I hear he enjoyed it. Before we move on, here’s Bills TE Scott Chandler knocking down Rex Ryan…

Here’s Antonio Cromartie flipping into the endzone…

And after the game Bart Scott announced a media boycott. Who says he didn’t learn anything from Ed Reed while in Charm City?

3. Most of the talk after Redskins-Saints is related to Robert Griffin III, but Billy Cundiff probably deserves a bit of attention himself.

About effing time someone started paying attention to RG3, don’t you think?

The real question for the Skins? Is the former Heisman Trophy winner REALLY this good or did he play a dreadful defense?

The real question for the Saints? Can things get better or will not having their head coach prove to doom the season?

The other question? Will Nike be able to capitalize on adidas pitchman Griffin’s “Heart”?

I wish I could root for this guy. DAMNIT why did he have to be drafted to DC? For example, I’d LOVE to enjoy this…

…but clearly there’s no chance.

Oh and also! Billy Cundiff made all four of his field goal tries. That seems noteworthy for some reason, I just can’t think of why.

4. The SEC again emphatically proved to be greater than the Big 12. Wait. The hell? Missouri and Texas A&M aren’t in the Big 12 anymore?

I had just sorta figured a college basketball-style “Big 12/SEC Challenge” had been scheduled this weekend. I was as surprised as you.

The story of Georgia/Missouri was the jawing about “Old Man Football”. It was good enough to win…

Also, another look at Mizzou’s unis, please…

The story of Florida/Texas A&M was the Aggies forgetting they play two halves in college football still…

There was however this Ben Malena absolute BLAST for TAMU fans who want to feel better about things…

And since we’re here…did you happen to see the live broadcast of Midnight Yell Practice from Kyle Field Friday night on ESPNU?

There were 40,000 people there. To practice yelling. I have no words. I’m going to wear overalls to Maryland/UConn next week. And then there’s this…

5. Perhaps Mark Sanchez got a lesson in quarterbacking from Matt Barkley this weekend.

For like five seconds as it was storming in New Jersey Saturday there was a thought Syracuse could hang with USC. Nope.

There was a bit of a weather issue in the New York area Saturday (hell…in the Baltimore area too). You might have noticed it if you were watching the U.S. Open semifinal between Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych…

6. Jay Cutler is REALLY happy to have Brandon Marshall, but Matthew Stafford still has Calvin Johnson folks.

You know how good Calvin Johnson is? He had over 100 yards receiving Sunday and NO ONE noticed. No one except Matthew Stafford of course, who needed somewhere to throw the ball to help move past his THREE interceptions…

What you missed in that highlight package? Cortland Finnegan chucked an ear pad from Megatron’s helmet to the Rams’ sideline. Dirty? Clever? Rhubarb?

Here’s a picture that shows the Lions cost Floyd Mayweather $100,000 during the first half of the game…

Meanwhile…in the Windy City…the Brandon Marshall experiment is working thus far. Who would have ever thought a tall receiver would be something a NFL team would actually want?

And if I were to ask you, “who is the longest tenured player in Chicago Bears history?”, what would your answer be?

Would your answer have been this?

That’s LS Patrick Mannelly, who began his 15th season with the Bears today.

Don’t worry. No one else has heard of him either.

7. Randy Moss was a difference maker at Lambeau Field. This is not a repeat of a 15-7-0 from 2003.

Quite the day in Green Bay for the Niners Sunday, especially K David Akers…

Well…I guess it was quite the day for everyone involved in the game that DIDN’T try to dunk the ball over the crossbar. I’m looking at you, Vernon Davis…

Here’s Jim Harbaugh’s reaction…

The Packers, Saints and Giants all lost at home on Week 1. Apparently “parity” isn’t just a well known Civil War battleship.

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A Dirty Dozen for the Defense

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Earlier in the week I posed the question, “Are the Ravens set up for success on offense?” While the answer is absolutely subjective, I’d venture to say that the real answer is that they better be. In hindsight we can see that whatever shortcomings we perceived in the Ravens offense in 2011 have to be viewed through the filter of the gamut of high caliber pass defenses that they had to deal with along the way. This year it appears that the shoe may be on the other foot, or more aptly, on the other side of the ball as the Ravens look to have to deal with a lot of scary offensive propositions in 2012. If there ever were a good time to have to deal with the defection and absence of defensive talent that the Ravens have recently undergone, 2012 certainly doesn’t appear to be it.

Here’s a look at the 12 scariest players that the Ravens defense will have to contend with in 2012:


Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):


Quarterbacks: Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub, Carson Palmer, Robert Griffin III, Andy Dalton


Running Backs: Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Lesean McCoy, Ryan Matthews, DeMarco Murray, Willis McGahee


Pass Catchers: Jermaine Gresham, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Aaron Hernandez, Dwayne Bowe, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Wes Welker, Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd



#12 – Peyton Manning (DEN) – There are no offensive stats to base this on from last season and Manning’s health is still a huge question, but the reputed Ravens killer is a scary proposition until he proves that he isn’t. There are some serious questions about how easily he’ll find his way in a new offense and on a new team, but make no mistake, if Manning is healthy and surrounded by 10 warm bodies he’ll likely be tough to deal with for the Ravens as usual.



#11 – Darren McFadden (OAK) – It’ll be week 10 before the Ravens cross paths with McFadden, and history suggests that there’s a decent chance McFadden could be hurt and/or on the shelf by that time. That might be the Ravens best hope at containing him. When healthy McFadden is a scary combination of speed and muscle. He’s explosive inside the tackles and outside and at his best McFadden has a skill set that’s eerily similar to Maurice Jones-Drew who had a field day against the Ravens last season.



#10 – Philip Rivers (SD) – Whether you agree that Rivers is worthy of being regarded as a top 5 to 7 quarterback in the league or not, it’s hard to argue that last year was a disappointing one for both he and the Chargers. Still, in the midst of all that struggle, Rivers and crew had their way against the Ravens in San Diego last season. Traveling coast to coast is never easy in the NFL, and neither is facing Rivers and co. in the final weeks of the season. All of that could make for a scary storm of circumstances for the Ravens as they travel west to San Diego in week 12.



#9 – Trent Richardson (CLE) – The profile and value of the NFL running back in general has taken a substantial hit in recent seasons, evidenced perhaps no better than in the love (or lack thereof) that ball carriers have gotten on draft day. When it comes to Richardson however there was no hesitation from NFL execs in casting him near the tops of their draft boards. Of course as a rookie there’ll be no shortage of question marks and growing pains for the young, prospective bell cow, but in having to see him twice the Trent Richardson fear factor goes up exponentially.

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