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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 04 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Auto Racing-Baltimore Indoor Auto Racing (Saturday 7pm 1st Mariner Arena); Ice Hockey: AHL Showcase Norfolk Admirals vs. Hershey Bears (Thursday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Women’s College Basketball: Virginia @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center), George Mason @ Maryland (Saturday 6pm Comcast Center)

10. Wiz Khalifa (Thursday 7pm Patriot Center), Smashing Pumpkins (Sunday 8pm Patriot Center); Everclear/Eve 6 (Thursday 8pm Rams Head Live), Robert Cray Band (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); Misfits (Thursday 6:30pm Recher Theatre); X/Reverend Horton Heat (Wednesday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band (Wednesday 8pm 8×10 Club); Gavin DeGraw/All-American Rejects (Sunday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds (Thursday 8pm Howard Theatre), Richard Marx (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Grace Potter and The Nocturnals (Thursday 7pm Friday & Saturday 7:30pm Sunday 6pm 9:30 Club), Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit (Sunday 10pm 9:30 Club), Alex Clare (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); Phil Vassar (Wednesday 7:30pm Birchmere); Brian Setzer Orchestra (Tuesday 8pm Strathmore); Blue Oyster Cult (Saturday 7pm State Theatre); Wiz Khalifa “O.N.I.F.C.” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday); GRAMMY Nominations Concert (Wednesday 10pm from Nashville live on CBS)

I have no idea if the Smashing Pumpkins are still any good, but I know they used to kick a ton of ass…

If there’s ANY WAY I can get out of Thursday Night Live early, I’d LOVE to head down to RHL. Do you have any idea how obsessed I was with Everclear growing up?

Hell…even Eve 6 for that matter…

There’s a part of me that’s pretty sure I’d go see BSO play Christmas tunes in Bethesda…

9. Judah Friedlander (Saturday 8pm Sixth & I Historic Synagogue); Paula Poundstone (Saturday 6pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage); Dave Attell (Friday & Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Gary Valentine (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Finding Nemo 3D” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (Tuesday 10pm CBS)

What was that last thing?

Still not ringing a bell…

Oh! Now I know…

(Continued on Page 2…)

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“The Reality Check” Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 26 September 2012 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Cleveland Browns (32)

The only thing I’m certain about in the NFL is that the Browns have been the worst team thus far.

31. Miami Dolphins (31)

But if Dan Carpenter could make a kick they wouldn’t be here.

30. Indianapolis Colts (26)

If you’re going to win a few games you’re probably going to have to beat the Jaguars at home.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (31)

In my heart of hearts, I still think they’re worse than the Browns. But as a reminder, the Ravens really liked Cecil Shorts III.

28. New Orleans Saints (17)

I knew it would be a struggle. NO ONE knew it would be this much of a struggle.

27. Washington Redskins (21)

You REALLY think it’s a good idea to keep letting RGIII get hit like that, Kyle Shanahan?

26. St. Louis Rams (24)

So…if Jay Cutler stinks and you lose to him, that means?

25. Kansas City Chiefs (30)

They’re not going to go winless. That’s a start.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22)

Every time you think they might be making progress…

23. Carolina Panthers (19)

Is the league figuring Cam Newton out a bit in year two?

22. Oakland Raiders (29)

That was a damn gutty victory.

21. Tennessee Titans (25)

They’ll need to be able to win a few without so many miracles.

20. Minnesota Vikings (27)

That was a really impressive performance. Not a whole lot more you can say.

19. Buffalo Bills (20)

A win over the Browns is a win, just unlikely to be a win that will make me give you a whole lot of credit.

18. Detroit Lions (12)

But at least they have quarterback issues!

17. Seattle Seahawks (23)

As Drew Forrester says, they’re 2-1*!

(Rankings 16-1 on Page 2…)

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“The Reality Check” Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 19 September 2012 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Cleveland Browns (30)

But hey, Trent Richardson is pretty good.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (28)

This Blaine Gabbert thing isn’t really working out.

30. Kansas City Chiefs (20)

They HAVE to be better than this. Right?

29. Oakland Raiders (25)

But they snapped the ball better…

28. Miami Dolphins (32)

They beat the Raiders at home. You can only get so much credit for that.

27. Minnesota Vikings (23)

They have good players on their team. They shouldn’t be this bad.

26. Indianapolis Colts (31)

They beat the Vikings at home. You can only get so much credit for that.

25. Tennessee Titans (21)

Tough schedule, but the “playoff dark horse” talk has slowed down.

24. St. Louis Rams (26)

Jerk or not, I’d take Cortland Finnegan on my team.

23. Seattle Seahawks (27)

I’m not a believer in Russell Wilson, but that was a statement victory.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (18)

It’s a shame the folks down in Tampa have nothing to talk about.

21. Washington Redskins (17)

Is there a chance they’re halfway good?

20. Buffalo Bills (29)

They have all the looks of an 8-8 team.

19. Carolina Panthers (24)

I guess they still know how to run the ball.

18. Dallas Cowboys (12)

Oh hey there, back to earth Tony Romo. We were expecting you.

17. New Orleans Saints (10)

I still think they’ll become the Saints again at some point.

(Rankings 16-1 on Page 2…)

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“The Five Plays That Determined The Game” – Ravens/Eagles

Posted on 18 September 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’ 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field…

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

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. DeMeco Ryans intercepts Joe Flacco pass intended for Dennis Pitta (3rd quarter)

4. Jeremy Maclin 23 yard TD catch from Michael Vick (3rd quarter)

3. Jacoby Jones 25 yard TD catch from Joe Flacco nullified by offensive pass interference (4th quarter)

2. Joe Flacco pass intended for Ray Rice incomplete on 4th & 1 (4th quarter)

1. Joe Flacco pass to Dennis Pitta incomplete on 3rd & 1 (4th quarter)

(Ryan’s plays on Page 2…)

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 2

Posted on 18 September 2012 by Luke Jones

Below are our Tuesday Top 7 Ravens players in the 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. We’ll track our rankings throughout the 2012 season using the following point system:

No. 1 – 7 points
No. 2 – 6 points
No. 3 – 5 points
No. 4 – 4 points
No. 5 – 3 points
No. 6 – 2 points
No. 7 – 1 point

You can hear Luke’s explanation HERE while Drew’s list can be found HERE.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 …

7) Courtney Upshaw

6) Lardarius Webb

5) Dennis Pitta

4) Albert McClellan

3) Marshal Yanda

2) Ray Rice

1) Justin Tucker

Drew Forrester’s Top 7 …

7) Vonta Leach

6) Courtney Upshaw

5) Bernard Pollard

4) Lardarius Webb

3) Dennis Pitta

2) Ray Rice

1) Justin Tucker

Luke Jones:
1. Ray Rice (12 points)
2. Marshal Yanda (9 points)
3. Dennis Pitta (8 points)
4. Joe Flacco (7 points)
4. Justin Tucker (7 points)
6. Albert McClellan (4 points)
7. Bernard Pollard (3 points)
8. Haloti Ngata (2 points)
8. Lardarius Webb (2 points)
10. Ray Lewis (1 point)
10. Courtney Upshaw (1 point)

Drew Forrester:
1. Dennis Pitta (10 points)
2. Justin Tucker (9 points)
2. Bernard Pollard (9 points)
4. Joe Flacco (7 points)
5. Ray Rice (6 points)
6. Ray Lewis (4 points)
6. Lardarius Webb (4 points)
8. Kelechi Osemele (3 points)
9. Courtney Upshaw (2 points)
10. Ramon Harewood (1 point)
10. Vonta Leach (1 point)

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As offense sputters, Ravens face new reality in loss to Philadelphia

Posted on 16 September 2012 by Luke Jones

PHILADELPHIA –It was a tale of two halves in Philadelphia as the Ravens fell 24-23 to the Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Their first-half performance looked a lot like they did in their Week 1 demolition of the Cincinnati Bengals as the Ravens offense scored 17 points and the defense employed a “bend but don’t break” mentality as Philadelphia turned it over three times in the red zone. A chorus of boos even rang out in the Eagles’ home stadium as the Ravens enjoyed a 17-7 halftime lead.

But what we suspected for much of the offseason about the Ravens came true in the second half as the defense wasn’t good enough to overcome a stalled offensive attack, opening the floodgates for the Eagles to make their second-half comeback.

Joe Flacco’s interception on the opening drive of the third quarter set the tone for an offense that sputtered and a defense that couldn’t stop quarterback Michael Vick and the Eagles defense on its way to allowing nearly 500 yards of total offense in the loss. Offensively, the Ravens didn’t do enough to get running back Ray Rice involved and were an abysmal 3-for-10 on third down in the second half.

After going 11-0 when leading at the half last season, the Ravens squandered a 10-point lead in the second half and dropped a Week 2 contest for the third straight year.

“[The Eagles] competed right down to the end, and they found a way to win the game,” coach John Harbaugh said. “They made the plays that they had to make to win the football game [and] did a nice job.”

Unlike their dud performance against the pedestrian Tennessee Titans in Week 2 last season, the Ravens played a good football team with talent capable of competing with anyone in the league. Just like it was important not to read too much into the Ravens’ season-opening win over Cincinnati, a loss to Philadelphia isn’t an event over which to panic, either.

However, Sunday offered a first glimpse at what might happen to the Ravens this season when their new-look offense isn’t clicking. The defense simply isn’t good enough to win games by itself anymore, and that was painfully obvious as Vick carved up the secondary and was able to escape the pocket on the sporadic occasions when the Ravens managed to pressure the athletic quarterback.

Last week, it was the offense picking up the slack for a defense that allowed two long scoring drives — one at the end of the first half and the other being Cincinnati’s opening drive of the third quarter — but the defense couldn’t return the favor Sunday as Flacco struggled to an 8-for-25 performance after halftime. A 10-point halftime lead evaporated less than 10 minutes into the third quarter.

“When you’ve got somebody down, put them away,” linebacker Ray Lewis said. “Don’t leave a team around. For us to come out in the third quarter, we gave up 10 quick unanswered points. The crowd was out of it and everything. Any time you give a team like that motivation, any time you [do that] in a hostile environment, the game is going to chance and that’s exactly what happened.”

For as much as we’ve heard about “the next man up” when the Ravens have talked about the loss of Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive coordinator Dean Pees is still looking for the optimum fit in his absence. The Ravens used Albert McClellan, Courtney Upshaw, Sergio Kindle, and Jameel McClain at outside linebacker on Sunday in an effort to sustain any level of pressure — and containment on the edge — and the results were lukewarm as Vick threw for 371 yards and ran for 34 yards in a winning effort.

When the Ravens were able to pressure Vick in the pocket, the secondary struggled to stick with speedy wide receiver DeSean Jackson while the linebackers had no answer for tight end Brent Celek, who caught eight passes for a game-high 157 yards.

Philadelphia was 5-for-8 on third downs in the second half as the defense couldn’t get off the field. And the Eagles found the second-half prosperity despite the loss of starting center Jason Kelce and starting left tackle King Dunlap on their offensive line.

The sheer fact that the Ravens still weren’t able to muster a consistent pass rush after Philadelphia lost two starters on the line is concerning when considering the defense’s prospects in the coming weeks.

“They did a great job of driving the ball down on us and staying alive,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. “Vick was able to make some plays on his feet and with his arm. We just have to do a better job to tighten it up and we must learn from this and move on with the rest of the season.”

The Ravens ran into a Philadelphia defense that pressured Flacco and did an exceptional job sticking with Baltimore receivers in man coverage. It resulted in a frustrating second half in which the Ravens looked anything like the championship-caliber team we watched in the season’s first 90 minutes of play.

Questions will remain whether the Ravens should have involved Rice more heavily in the offense as Flacco struggled to generate production in the passing game, but any way you slice it, Baltimore failed to get the job done on both sides of the football.

“We’ll probably go back and look and see if there’s some things we could have done there just because they were doing a good job in coverage and things like,” Flacco said. “The bottom line is we have to execute and we weren’t able to.”

Unlike last week, the Ravens offense couldn’t get the job done

And the defense wasn’t able to bail them out like we’re used to seeing.

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Our Ravens/Eagles Slaps to the Head

Posted on 16 September 2012 by Glenn Clark

After Baltimore Ravens victories, Ryan Chell and I award players who made positive contributions with “Pats on the Ass” during the “Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net.

The Ravens fell to the Eagles 24-23 Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, meaning there were no Pats to be awarded.

So instead of offering “Pats on the Ass”, Ryan and I again offered “Slaps to the Head” postgame. A slap on the side of the head from a coach tends to come along with them saying something along the lines of “you’ve gotta do better than that.”

Same rules as there were with Pats. Two offensive players, two defensive players, and a Wild Card (Special Teams player, coach, or another Offensive or Defensive player). One player gets “two slaps” (or a slap on both sides of the head), it’s the opposite of a “Player of the Game” honor.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches after each game.

Here are our five Ravens that have “gotta do better than that.”

Glenn Clark’s Slaps…

5. Arthur Jones

4. Matt Birk

3. Cary Williams

2. John Harbaugh

1. Joe Flacco (two slaps)

(Ryan’s slaps on Page 2…)

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Ravens-Eagles: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 16 September 2012 by Luke Jones

PHILADELPHIA — Looking to improve to 2-0 for the first time since the 2009 season, the Ravens travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles Sunday for the first time since 2008.

Much discussion this week has centered around the Ravens’ performances in Week 2 the last two seasons following a big season-opening win, and coach John Harbaugh addressed the issue with his team at the start of the week. Last season, the Ravens suffered a letdown against the Tennessee Titans in Week 2 following a huge 35-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers to begin the season.

Sunday marks the fourth all-time meeting in the regular season between the Ravens and Eagles with the series being tied, 1-1-1. The only tie in the 17-year history of the Ravens took place against Philadelphia at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 16, 1997.

The Ravens are 17-15 on the road during the Harbaugh era and have have won six of their last seven games against NFC opponents.

Linebacker Paul Kruger (back) is inactive and will be replaced at strongside linebacker by rookie Courtney Upshaw. The fourth-year linebacker practiced on a limited basis Friday and hoped his back would continue to loosen up enough over the weekend to allow him to play.

Defensive end Pernell McPhee is active and will play after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. He was out on the field testing out the knee before being deemed ready to go.

Linebacker Sergio Kindle is active with Kruger being sidelined. The 2010 second-round pick was inactive for the Ravens’ season opener last Monday.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have activated wide receivers DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Jeremy Maclin (hip) after both practiced on a limited basis Friday. Both players were listed as questionable on the final injury report.

After an outstanding performance in Week 1, quarterback Joe Flacco hopes to continue that success against a tough Philadelphia defense. However, news broke Sunday morning that talks between the Ravens and Flacco’s agent have ended regarding a contract extension. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the two sides were close to a new contract in early August, but talks have been shelved since then. Flacco has never expressed concern about his future in Baltimore while the Ravens have the option of using the franchise tag on the fifth-year quarterback if they’re unable to work out a new contract this offseason.

The Eagles are wearing white jerseys and green pants while the Ravens are decked out in purple jerseys with white pants.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

LB Paul Kruger
OL Jah Reid
WR LaQuan Williams
CB Asa Jackson
TE Billy Bajema
DE DeAngelo Tyson
DT Bryan Hall

WR Riley Cooper
QB Trent EdwardS
OT Dennis Kelly
CB Curtis Marsh
RB Dion Lewis
DE Vinny Curry
OL Nate Menkin

Follow WNST on Twitter for the latest updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio, Drew Forrester, and I are live at Lincoln Financial Field.

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Ravens-Eagles: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 15 September 2012 by Luke Jones

Here’s what will happen when the Ravens travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday for their fourth ever meeting in the regular season …

1. After receiving only 13 touches in Week 1, Ray Rice factors more heavily in the offense and cracks the 100-yard mark on the ground against the Eagles defense. It will be interesting to see how offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and quarterback Joe Flacco attack Philadelphia in the early stages with the Eagles possessing such a strong pass rush and secondary. The Eagles are vulnerable against the run and allowed 99 yards on the ground to Cleveland last week. If the offense is to be successful on Sunday, Rice will play a larger role because it’s difficult envisioning Flacco chucking the ball all over the field with defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole bearing down on him and cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie looming in the defensive backfield. The Ravens may come out throwing early, but they will quickly find more success with Rice carrying the ball between the tackles and trying to get the ball in open space.

2. Not to be outdone by Rice, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy runs for 90 yards and a touchdown against a defense that struggles to set the edge against the shifty back. The Ravens already faced questions about their ability to control the edge against the run, and injuries to linebacker Paul Kruger and defensive end Pernell McPhee will limit their availability on Sunday. McCoy is a far more pedestrian runner between the tackles, but the 2011 Pro Bowl running back thrives in open space and the Ravens will give him daylight too often in the early going. Facing injuries at the wide receiver position, the Eagles would be wise to rely heavily on McCoy’s talents against the Baltimore defense. Baltimore struggled to stop Cincinnati’s BenJarvus Green-Ellis last week and will have fits trying to keep McCoy in check.

3. Tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson combine for a dozen catches and 130 yards as Baltimore’s wide receivers struggle to gain separation. Torrey Smith will likely be blanketed by Asomugha and intermediate target Anquan Boldin will likely draw Rodgers-Cromartie, meaning Flacco will look more to his tight ends than he already does. Pitta led the Ravens with five catches and 73 yards while adding a touchdown against the Bengals as he picked up right where he left off last year in becoming a bigger part of the passing game. However, the Ravens will likely use more two-wide receiver sets with fullback Vonta Leach in the game to lead the way for Rice, which is a personnel set in which Dickson plays more often. Regardless of who’s in the game at tight end — the Ravens like having both on the field as well — Pitta and Dickson will have the upper hand against the Philadelphia linebackers and safeties to make up for the struggles the wide receivers will likely encounter. Quick passes to the tight ends will also aid an offensive line that will have its hands full with Philadelphia’s front four.

4. The defense struggles to pressure Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, but the secondary forces a key fourth-quarter turnover with wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin less than 100 percent. Both starting receivers missed practice time this week and will not be playing at 100 percent on Sunday, which will help the Baltimore secondary a great deal. The Ravens failed to create much pressure against the Bengals and it will be the same story Sunday as Kruger and McPhee play at less than 100 percent. That being said, Vick threw four interceptions against the Browns last week and could be forced to rely more heavily on possession receiver Jason Avant and McCoy out of the backfield with Jackson and Maclin ailing. Always a phenomenal athlete, Vick is still prone to make the critical mistake and the Ravens’ secondary is too talented not to take advantage, even without an effective pass rush to help the unit. In a one-possession game, Vick continues that trend and that turnover will factor heavily in deciding the outcome.

5. After hearing all week about their Week 2 letdowns in 2010 and 2011, the Ravens beat a good team on the road with a 27-24 victory in Philadelphia. Coach John Harbaugh addressed the possibility of a Week 2 meltdown with his team at the beginning of the week and the Ravens want to erase the memories of what happened in the second week of the season in each of the last two seasons. Unlike last season when the Ravens took on what looked to be the underwhelming Tennessee Titans, it’s difficult to overlook an Eagles team with such tremendous talent on both sides of the ball, which likely helped their focus in making preparations this week. Of course, this doesn’t mean the Ravens are immune from another Week 2 loss, but they shouldn’t be caught by surprise this time around. Despite facing a defense with a great pass rush and secondary, the Ravens offense shows once again why it’s a force to be reckoned with as Rice’s big day and an efficient Flacco lead Baltimore to a 2-0 start.


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Offensive line faces major test against Eagles front four

Posted on 13 September 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Despite passing their opening test with overwhelming success in a 44-13 win over the Bengals on Monday night, the Ravens still view themselves as a work in progress.

With three positions on the offensive line being manned by different players from last year’s alignment and the offense running an expanded version of the no-huddle attack, the Ravens face another challenge Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, who possess one of the best front fours in the NFL as well as arguably the best cornerback duo — Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha — in the league.

“They have a good front. They’ve had a good defense there for a lot of years,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “They have good [defensive backs]. They can put pressure on the quarterback and then they can cover in the back end to even create a little more pressure. They do a really job, and it’s going to be a tough task. It should be a great test for Week 2.”

The Eagles tied for the league lead in sacks with 50 in 2011. Defensive ends Trent Cole and Jason Babin combined for 29 sacks as the Philadelphia pass rush gave offensive lines fits throughout the season.

Left tackle Michael Oher and right tackle Kelechi Osemele will have their hands full with the wide alignment employed by the bookend pass-rushers. Their wide positioning often causes pass blockers to overcommit to protecting the outside, which creates an opening for a quick inside rush.

“This is a penetrating, wide-aligned defense that can really come after you,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. “This will be another test for those two young guys. It will be nice to see how they can adjust this week.”

The Ravens appear committed to the young offensive line as both Osemele and left guard Ramon Harewood turned in solid performances that reflected their quality work in practices, according to Cameron. Though Harewood won’t have to deal with the pair of defensive ends, the Eagles also possess challenging inside rushers in veteran Cullen Jenkins and rookie Fletcher Cox.

The offensive line thrived at times against Cincinnati’s defensive line, but the Eagles’ front four is a far cry from the solid but unspectacular Bengals front in terms of quickness and pass-rushing skills.

“These guys, they don’t stay blocked,” Cameron said. “They’re athletic. They’re explosive. They get off the ball probably as good as anybody in the league; I don’t know if they are the best yet, but they can get off the ball quickly.”

Being Michael Vick

Having grown up in Hampton, Va., backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been following Eagles quarterback Michael Vick’s career for much of his life.

Those observations have served him well this week as the Ravens are asking the second-year signal-caller to emulate Vick’s athleticism and propensity for taking off running, sometimes by design and also when plays break down.

“I’ve watched him enough throughout his time in high school, college, and a lot of the things he’s done in the NFL,” Taylor said. “He’s one of my favorite guys who plays quarterback, and we have a lot of similar things that we bring to the table. Going out there and trying to do some of the things he does, it’s not that hard for me but there are definitely some things  you have to watch — how he controls the offense and how he conducts it.”

Vick may find himself with a limited number of passing targets against Baltimore as starting wide receivers Jeremy Maclin (hip) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring) are both dealing with injuries and missed Thursday’s practice. Those potential absences could lead to Vick heavily targeting No. 3 receiver Jason Avant and using running back LeSean McCoy more often as a receiver out of the backfield.

Regardless of who’s lining up at receiver, the Ravens feel fortunate to have Taylor’s athleticism to model what the defense will encounter at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

“If he could throw left-handed, it’d even be better, but he’s certainly running around, scrambling, doing those kinds of things,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “[He is] a great athlete and can help us in a lot those ways. The only thing is just you kind of have to flip everything formation-wise for Vick because of the left-handed stuff, but he is giving us a great look.”

Taylor credits Vick for being a major influence on his pro career as the former Virginia Tech quarterbacks talk frequently, and the Eagles quarterback even gave Taylor better tickets for Sunday’s game than the ones normally provided to the opposing team.

For now, Taylor will put the friendship aside and use as many of Vick’s secrets as he can to give the Baltimore defense the best possible look in practices.

“He’s meant a lot of me,” Taylor said. “He’s done a lot of things as far as helping me progress throughout my two years here. I’m just looking forward to reenacting some of the things he does with his offense this week to get our team prepared. It should be fun.”

Emergency long snapper?


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