Tag Archive | "pro bowl"

“Live…from New York…it’s WNST.”

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“Live…from New York…it’s WNST.”

Posted on 27 January 2014 by Drew Forrester

OK, so we’re here in New York for a week of radio from “radio row” in the NY Sheraton in Manhattan.

So far, so good.

I did put one cab driver on blast Sunday afternoon who was beeping the horn behind us as we unloaded our bags in front of our hotel.  The scene reminded me of the stupidity of booing the home team at a sporting event.  You think I’m going to get my bags out more quickly because you’re beeping the horn like an impatient fool on a Sunday afternoon?

I didn’t watch the Grammy’s last night.

I didn’t watch the Royal Rumble with Glenn and Luke.

I forgot the Pro Bowl was on, honestly, until Nestor said, “We should watch the Pro Bowl for a few minutes of comedic intervention” and I mumbled something about my iPod and wanting to listen to The Pet Shop Boys Greatest Hits.  I can proudly say I didn’t watch one play, although I’ll admit – having seen the highlights this morning – the uniforms were pretty cool.

The only sports I watched on Sunday?  The PGA Tour event from Torrey Pines, won by Scott Stallings at -9 after everyone else with a chance gagged it down the stretch.  That’s a nice win for Stallings, who now has three victories on TOUR.  He drove it all over the lot on the back nine, but managed a bunch of nifty up-and-downs and made birdie putts at #17 and #18 to win.  Tiger got Jordan Spieth’d on Friday when the kid posted 62 and TW shot 73, then Woods threw up a 79 on Saturday and ducked out a day early thanks to the rarely used “too many guys in the field” rule that resulted in a “MDF” (made cut, did not finish).

Speaking of Spieth, despite his shaky short game on the back nine Sunday, this is the guy the TOUR has been waiting for since the early part of last decade when Tiger blazed through the entire roster of potential competitors, leaving guys like Duval, Garcia, Els and Mickelson in his wake.  Spieth is the real deal.  The only thing he has to be leery of is the much-discussed “golf burnout” that players of his age (20) sometimes get when they arrive on the scene and start making $300,000 for shooting five under par and want to play in every single event on the schedule.  I’m sure Spieth has someone to guide him through this, his first full season, on TOUR, and he’ll handle the workload just fine, but it’s the only thing that can set him back over the long haul.

That’s it for now.

Luke and I are getting ready to launch WNST’s forty hours of live coverage of Super Bowl 48, so I better end this edition of Drew’s Morning Dish and get to the microphone.

Stay warm back there in Charm City.

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 21 January 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Monster Jam (Friday & Saturday Verizon Center); MISL: Syracuse Silver Knights @ Baltimore Blast (Friday 7:35pm from Baltimore Arena live on YouTube), Rochester Lancers @ Baltimore Blast (Saturday 7:35pm from Baltimore Arena live on YouTube); Golf: PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on Golf Channel 3pm live on CBS. All golf from La Jolla, CA); Women’s College Basketball: Maryland @ Virginia (Thursday 6:30pm from Charlottesville, VA live on Comcast SportsNet), Notre Dame @ Maryland (Monday 7pm from Comcast Center live on ESPN2); Boxing: Lamont Peterson vs. Dierry Jean (Saturday 9pm from DC Armory live on Showtime), Mikey Garcia vs. Juan Carlos Burgos (Saturday 9:45pm from New York live on HBO)

10. John Witherspoon (Friday-Sunday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Baltimore County Restaurant Week (Tuesday-Monday throughout Baltimore County); Baltimore Boat Show (Thursday-Sunday Baltimore Convention Center); World of Pets Expo (Friday-Sunday Timonium Fairgrounds); Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge (Friday & Saturday Sandy Point); I, Frankenstein” out in theaters (Friday); Captain Phillips“, “Machete Kills” and “Blue Jasmine” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Tom Hanks not getting an Academy Award nomination for Captain Phillips is the type of stuff Congress should be spending time investigating.

Also, if you’re at the Boat Show-please get me this boat.

9. Moe. (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); 10 Years (Friday 8:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); Little River Band (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Marc Cohn (Saturday 7pm Rams Head on Stage); Ja Rule (Friday 8pm Howard Theatre), Martha Reeves (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Cowboy Mouth (Friday 6pm 9:30 Club), Reverend Horton Heat (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club), Brandon Boyd and Sons of the Sea (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt (Tuesday & Wednesday 7:30pm Birchmere), WAR (Sunday 7:30pm Birchmere); Tedeschi Trucks Band (Saturday 8pm Warner Theatre); New Politics (Sunday 8pm Rock N Roll Hotel); Pixies (Sunday 8pm Strathmore); Young The Giant “Mind Over Matter” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

moe. are enjoyable music performers.

Oh man. I would totally go see Lyle Lovett…if I had a boat.

Tedeschi Trucks is wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. Here they do John Prine.

New Politics is the band that does that song you sing along to despite not knowing a single word.

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Ravens defensive tackle Ngata withdraws from Pro Bowl

Posted on 16 January 2014 by Luke Jones

After being selected to his fifth straight Pro Bowl last month, Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has decided not to play in next week’s game in Honolulu.

Ngata has withdrawn from the game because he and his wife are expecting the birth of their third son on Tuesday. Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher is taking Ngata’s place in the pool of Pro Bowl players as this is the first year in which squads are not being divided by conference.

The 29-year-old finished the season with 52 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks, his lowest sack total since the 2009 season.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs, right guard Marshal Yanda, and kicker Justin Tucker were the other Ravens players selected to the Pro Bowl this season.

 

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Tucker, three other Ravens selected to this year’s Pro Bowl

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Tucker, three other Ravens selected to this year’s Pro Bowl

Posted on 27 December 2013 by Luke Jones

Even if the Ravens’ playoff fate won’t be decided until Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati, they will be represented by four players at this year’s Pro Bowl.

Kicker Justin Tucker, linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, and right guard Marshal Yanda were all chosen for this year’s game with Tucker being the only first-time selection of the group. Suggs becomes a six-time selection while his defensive teammate Ngata receives a Pro Bowl honor for the fifth straight season. Yanda earns his third straight Pro Bowl nod to help cement his status as one of the better right guards in the NFL over the last few seasons.

Fullback Vonta Leach was deemed a first alternate while return specialist Jacoby Jones was named a third alternate after both were selected as Pro Bowl players last season.

Tucker earns his first trip to the Pro Bowl after a phenomenal sophomore season in which he was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player by the local media. The University of Texas product has gone 35-for-38 on field goal attempts this season, which included a 6-for-6 effort and a franchise-record 61-yarder to beat the Detroit Lions in the final minute in Week 15.

His 35 field goals entering Week 17 have tied Ravens Ring of Honor member Matt Stover for the franchise’s single-season record. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November and has twice taken away AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors this season.

“What an incredible honor it is to be recognized like this by the players, coaches and fans of the NFL,” Tucker said in a team statement. “I am truly blessed to represent such a world-class organization, the Baltimore Ravens, and all of our fans who make up ‘Ravens Nation.’ I will forever be thankful to the Ravens for giving me a chance to come in and compete for a job after going undrafted last year.”

Suggs, Ngata, and Yanda haven’t had banner 2013 seasons compared to their high standard set over the years, but reputation is often a major factor with the voting comprised of coaches, players, and fans from around the league.

Collecting nine sacks in the first eight games of the 2013 season, Suggs looked like a Defensive Player of the Year candidate at the midway point, but a six-game sack drought slowed his pace considerably. His 10 sacks this season gave him double digits in that category for the fifth time in his 11-year career while he has continued to play strong against the run.

“This is awesome, and I have to thank God for blessing me again,” Suggs said. “I also have to thank the most amazing fans in the world for voting. I can’t thank them enough. I also want thank coach Harbaugh and my teammates for the constant push, and I must give a special credit to [linebackers coach Ted] Monachino for the outstanding coaching. But most of all, I have to thank my brother, Haloti Ngata, for being a great teammate and an even better friend.”

After being shifted to nose tackle this season, Ngata has collected 45 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks while anchoring the middle of a Baltimore defensive line that ranks ninth in the NFL against the run.

Ngata hasn’t shown the same dominance in recent years that he did earlier in his career, but he’s remained healthier this season than he had in the past two years when he still received Pro Bowl honors.

“I’ve been blessed with so much, and I’m very thankful to be recognized as one of the NFL’s top players,” Ngata said. “I’m also thankful for my teammates and coaches who have helped me get there.”

Yanda missed spring organized team activities and most of training camp while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, but the 2007 third-round pick still received Pro Bowl recognition. His play hasn’t been as consistent as it was in the 2011 and 2012 seasons when he established himself as one of the best right guards in the league, but Yanda was one of the only dependable members of an offensive line that’s struggled with the running game averaging a league-worst 3.1 yards per carry.

Few players on the 8-7 Ravens deserved serious Pro Bowl consideration, but inside linebacker Daryl Smith and cornerback Jimmy Smith were two names often mentioned as deserving of recognition. However, neither was named as much as an alternate.

This marks the eighth consecutive year that four Ravens players have been selected to play in the Pro Bowl.

The Pro Bowl will follow a new format this year in which the teams will not be divided by conference. Players will be entered into a pool and teams will be chosen by captains and Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice during the first Pro Bowl draft held on Jan. 22.

In fact, the change may have helped Tucker receive his Pro Bowl selection as Denver’s Matt Prater was also chosen, meaning the game will have two AFC kickers. Prater is 23-for-24 on field goal tries and made an NFL-record 64-yard field goal this year.

The 2014 Pro Bowl will be played in Honolulu on Jan. 26.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 21 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on Golf Channel 3pm live on CBS); Women’s College Basketball: North Carolina @ Maryland (Thursday 8:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Maryland @ Clemson (Sunday 5pm from Clemson, SC live on YouTube); Soccer: MISL Rochester Lancers @ Baltimore Blast (Friday 7:35pm from 1st Mariner Arena live on MISLtv.com), Missouri Comets @ Baltimore Blast (Saturday 7:3pm from 1st Mariner Arena live on MISLtv.com); Boxing: Lucas Matthysse vs. Michael Dallas Jr. (Saturday 10pm from Las Vegas live on Showtime), Friday Night Fights: Sergiy Dzinziruk vs. Brian Vera (Friday 9pm from Verona, NY live on ESPN2)

10. Miranda Lambert/Dierks Bentley (Thursday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena); The xx (Monday 8pm Rams Head Live); Little River Band (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), The English Beat (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Ra Ra Riot (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Cowboy Mouth/All Mighty Senators (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club), The Used (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); Sister Hazel (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Friday 8pm Strathmore); Bryan Adams (Saturday 8pm National Theatre); Tony Bennett (Saturday 8pm Warner Theatre); Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite “Get Up!” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

The xx? In the words of Joe Flacco, “I don’t know.”

Forrester and I have gone to see Ra Ra Riot a few times. What of it?

Sister Hazel should legally be forced to play a show here once a week.

This Ben Harper/Charlie Musselwhite thing is a “yes.”

9. Baltimore County Winter Restaurant Week (Tuesday-Sunday); Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters“, “Movie 43” and “Parker” out in theaters (Friday); John Witherspoon (Friday-Sunday Baltimore Comedy Factory), Todd Glass (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge (Saturday Sandy Point State Park)

The Polar Bear Plunge is a FINE reminder that…it’s been awhile since we’ve seen bikinis around here…

Now we should check in on Jennifer Lopez in Parker…

Okay. Nothing to see here obviously.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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First-time choice J. Jones headlines list of six Pro Bowl selections for Ravens

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First-time choice J. Jones headlines list of six Pro Bowl selections for Ravens

Posted on 26 December 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are sending six players to the 2013 Pro Bowl, four of whom will be starters in Honolulu.

Return specialist Jacoby Jones, safety Ed Reed, fullback Vonta Leach, and right guard Marshal Yanda were all named starters while running back Ray Rice and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata were named reserves for the AFC roster.

Jones said he first thought he could make the Pro Bowl when he returned his second kickoff for a touchdown of the season against Oakland in Week 10. His 32.1 yards per kick return average is the best in the NFL as the wide receiver has returned kickoffs of 108 and 105 yards for scores this season.

“Returning kicks is like I’m playing ‘It,’ or ‘Catch me if you can,’ You miss and I’m gone,” the first-time selection said. “[The selection] means a lot. It means you’re one of the elite of the elite. It’s hard to do and takes a lot of consistency and hard work.”

Signed to a two-year, $7 million after being kicked to the curb by the Houston Texans in the offseason, Jones immediately felt right at home in Baltimore, where he has quickly earned a reputation as a popular teammate and one of the funniest personalities in the locker room.

In addition to his two kickoff returns for touchdowns, Jones’ 63-yard punt return for a touchdown in Pittsburgh was the Ravens’ only touchdown in a 13-10 win over their hated rival on Nov. 18.

“I had a chance to get a breath of fresh air,” Jones said. “As soon as I walked in the door, they told me to be myself and they’d give me an opportunity. Through the year, I’ve tried to make the plays when my number was called.”

Leach was named to his second Pro Bowl as a member of the Ravens and third overall as he’s paved the way for another 1,000-yard season for Rice. Finishing his ninth season, Leach has not only been a powerful blocker but he’s caught 20 passes for 141 yards.

Rice has credited Leach for his assistance in taking his game to the next level over the last two seasons.

“The relationship we have is bigger than football,” Rice said. “That guy is nine years of battering people around. I told him, ‘Good luck to you, buddy. You’re a better man than I am.’ I try to do my best to take care of him when I can.”

Yanda has been named to his second straight Pro Bowl as it appears the right guard is finally receiving his due as one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL. In addition to forming running lanes with tackle Kelechi Osemele on the right side of the offensive line, Yanda has been an exceptional pass blocker and hasn’t allowed a sack in 14 games played this season.

Reed rounds out the group of starters for the Ravens despite the 34-year-old safety not having a strong season by his Hall of Fame standards. It’s the ninth Pro Bowl selection of his 11-year career and the seventh straight he’s received.

In 15 games, Reed has collected 58 tackles and four interceptions returned for 78 yards with one going for a touchdown. He’s also accumulated 15 pass breakups as well as three fumble recoveries in the final year of a six-year contract.

Earning his fourth straight trip to the Pro Bowl, Ngata was named a reserve despite battling knee and shoulder injuries for a large portion of the season. The seventh-year defensive tackle has produced 51 tackles and five sacks in 14 games this season.

Finishing the Ravens’ list of Pro Bowl selections was Rice, who was named to his third Pro Bowl and second straight. Entering Week 17, Rice ranks sixth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage with an average of 107.7 and became the first player in franchise history to rush for 1,000 yards in a fourth consecutive season.  He has 10 total touchdowns, nine of them rushing and one coming as a receiver, and 1,138 rushing yards this season.

“To have that respect around the league is something that you never take for granted because people respect the kind of work you put in on and off the field,” Rice said. “Because it comes from everybody. People can talk about what they want about the fans. The fans vote, players vote, and coaches vote, so you’re getting the three-way respect when you hear your name called. That’s special.”

Prior to the selections being announced on Wednesday evening, coach John Harbaugh expressed pride in so many players being selected for multiple Pro Bowls as five of the Ravens’ six selections were named to the All-Star roster for at least the second time in their respective careers.

“That’s something that you feel so good [about] for those guys,” Harbaugh said. “A number of guys have made it a number of years in a row. You look at a guy like Ed Reed who’s made it all these years in a row. It almost becomes expected, but then what an accomplishment that really is.”

Safety Bernard Pollard was named a first alternate to the AFC roster. He would receive an invitation to participate if a player in front of him wouldn’t play in the Pro Bowl due to an injury or Super Bowl participation.

The game will be held on Jan. 27, 2013 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

 

 

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Pees hoping two recovering stars give Ravens defense boost down final stretch

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Pees hoping two recovering stars give Ravens defense boost down final stretch

Posted on 20 December 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ranked 26th in yards allowed and ravaged by injuries, the Ravens defense is heading in the wrong direction after allowing 65 points over its last two games.

But could the late-season returns of linebackers Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis provide the emotional spark and improvement the defense needs to put the Ravens in better position for a postseason run? The pair could be on the field together for the first time all season against the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon, which would certainly provide a spiritual boost for a team in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

Of course, Suggs returned to action this past Sunday against Denver — two weeks removed from a torn right biceps — but it was difficult to recognize his presence aside from his familiar No. 55 jersey lining up at the rush linebacker spot. Clearly laboring as he employed a four-point stance to keep his body weight off his upper right arm, Suggs appeared tentative at several points and removed himself from the game on a few occasions while appearing to be in pain on the sideline.

He finished with only one tackle, and the performance has left more questions than answers about his impact for the rest of the season.

“He’s coming back. He’s not back full, but he’s back, and he’s playing hard,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “I think if you ask him, I don’t think he would tell you that he’s playing at 100 percent like he has, but he certainly is giving us a great effort and giving us what we need in there.”

Even before the biceps injury, Suggs wasn’t making his normal impact after a remarkable recovery from a partially-torn Achilles tendon in less than six months. In seven games this season, Suggs has 20 tackles and only two sacks.

Meanwhile, it was just a few weeks ago when many were wondering if Lewis truly deserved to be an every-down linebacker whenever he’d make his return from triceps surgery, but a season-ending injury to Jameel McClain and an ankle injury to Dannell Ellerbe has left the Ravens bare at the inside linebacker position as Josh Bynes, Brendon Ayanbadejo, and Albert McClellan have manned the “Mike” and “Will” positions in the last two weeks.

The Ravens are not only hoping for the pick-me-up of Lewis’ impeccable on-field leadership, but they’re now desperate for him to bring an improved level of play to the middle of the field. With Baltimore electing to wait to place McClain on season-ending injured reserve, it’s apparent the organization is hoping to place Lewis on the 53-man roster by Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

Lewis is just nine weeks removed from surgery, an incredible fact considering the normal recovery time for such an injury is a minimum of four months.

“I’d love to have him. I think it would be a great emotional lift, but more than that, we could use some bodies in there at linebacker,” said Pees with a chuckle. “We’ll just have to wait and see whatever they say is a go. We’d love to have him back.”

The Ravens hope to get back Ellerbe and strong safety Bernard Pollard from injuries this week, but the latter’s status appears to be in doubt after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Pollard aggravated a rib injury in the Ravens’ Week 14 loss against Washington and hasn’t practiced ever since.

Only two defensive starters from Week 1 have played in every game this season — cornerback Cary Williams and safety Ed Reed.

“I think if anybody can be fully healthy throughout a season, it’s going to be a great team,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. “And with us, we definitely had an injury bug this year, but we had guys step up and make some plays for us. And hopefully, we can get some guys back and see what we can do there.”

As is the case with Suggs, it remains to be seen how well Lewis can hold up physically after such an abbreviated recovery time following surgery. Amazingly, Lewis ranks fifth on the team with 57 tackles despite playing in only six games this season.

The coaching staff isn’t exactly sure where Lewis is at physically due to the light nature of practices, but Lewis’ mental prowess has kept him as sharp while he continues to rebuild the strength in his right upper arm. Whether that can translate to success on the field is the question as Lewis struggled to shed blockers early in the season and has shown declining ability in pass coverage over the last few seasons.

“At this time in the year, I don’t think there are very many teams out there hitting like you do in training camp,” Pees said. “So, you don’t necessarily see the physical part, but the mental part, it’s not going to leave you after 17 years [with] missing a couple of weeks.”

Third corner carousel

With 2011 first-round pick Jimmy Smith making his return from sports hernia surgery this past Sunday, it was assumed the Ravens had solidified their nickel package with the second-year defensive back playing on the outside opposite Cary Williams while Corey Graham slid inside to the nickel spot to cover slot receivers.

Instead, Pees used a combination of Smith, veteran Chris Johnson, and special-teams standout Chykie Brown as the extra cornerback against the Broncos. Coach John Harbaugh acknowledged on Monday that Smith didn’t show as much speed as they anticipated he would. Smith is just over a month removed from the surgical procedure.

As a result, Smith took only 12 defensive snaps. Johnson took part in 20 defensive plays and Brown was on the field for nine defensive snaps. It’s not a good problem to have with the Giants’ ninth-ranked passing game coming to Baltimore on Sunday, and Pees would like to sure up the role sooner rather than later.

“I’d just like to see someone take the bull by the horns and take the job,” Pees said. “We are just going to have to make that decision at game time on who that is going to be, and who that’s going to be during the course of the game. The good news is that you do have two or three guys there, but yes I would like to see someone step up and take it.”

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Ngata never dreamed of being number nine player in league

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Ngata never dreamed of being number nine player in league

Posted on 29 June 2012 by Ryan Chell

When it comes to humility on the Baltimore Ravens, defensive lineman Haloti Ngata may be the leader in the locker room in that category.

And despite his three Pro Bowl nominations and four-time All-Pro selections in his six-year NFL career, Ngata still hesitates to call himself one of the best football players in the NFL.

Too bad now, others said it for him.

Wednesday on NFL Network’s “Top 100″ players list-after watching dozens of players fall behind him-the Ravens’ first-round pick in 2006 was finally recognized as the ninth best player in the game.

He came ahead of fellow Raven defenders in Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and even his fellow teammate in Terrell Suggs, the reigning defensive player of the year.

And showing up on the national stage yet again-there were few opportunities for Ngata to shy away from the limelight.

It’s ironic because Ngata hasn’t been reserved on the field-making plays all over and showing his athletic ability.

He joined Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Thursday to talk about the honor.

“I probably would have never dreamed of being the number nine player in the league,” Ngata said. “Being voted that by your peers, that’s pretty awesome.”

Despite playing hurt for half of the 2011 season, Ngata finished with a career-high 64 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles in a full 16 games.

Ngata was the third defender chosen behind Jets CB Darrelle Revis and Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware.

To be named the best defensive lineman in football and one of the most versatile guys on that side of the ball-it’s pretty neat, he said.

“There are some things that I can do with my athletic ability of mine that people notice,” Ngata said. “God just blessed me with these talents and abilities, and none of this could be done without him.”

Ngata was an integral part of the team that reached the AFC Championship game under coach John Harbaugh-a 23-20 loss to the Patriots-that still rubs Ngata the wrong way.

“That loss was the toughest because I felt like we should have been in the Super Bowl,” he said. “I’ve never felt as good as I did with a group of guys…our camaraderie was so tight-knit that it just felt that we were supposed to be there.”

He said that having the close group of guys in the locker room-with a lot of the same team returning in 2012-that helped get the bad taste out of their mouths.

“There isn’t going to be any hangover,” Ngata said. “We’re all ready to work and are all getting better together and better individually.’

“It’s just that time that we’ll get there…and get ready to roll.”

Unfortunately, Ngata knows that he will “rolling” without Suggs for much of this season-making his role that much important.

Ngata assured Clark and those concerned Ravens fans that he being 100% healthy makes’ Suggs’ absence a little easier to swallow.

“I’m ready to go,” Ngata said. “I’m really excited. Right now at this time, I’m usually ready to get back on the football field and hit some people…I can’t wait to get back.”

And Ngata mentioned that it’s not just on his shoulders to fill that void. Others are there to help him along the way.

“There are so many great athletes that we have behind Suggs with Upshaw, Sergio Kindle, and Chavis Williams. Those guys are so athletic and hungry right now.”

Ngata said a young player like Courtney Upshaw reminded him of his own enthusiasm his rookie season.

“He doesn’t want to do much other than just trying to get better. He looks hungry and ready to step up.”

He hopes that Upshaw, himself, and the rest of the his teammates improve together and continue to play at the top of their games. He says if that happens, that championship is attainable.

“I’m just happy that I can be able to help those guys, and I just hope that I can get better and try to get the Ravens to a Super Bowl.”

WNST thanks Haloti Ngata for joining Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Thursday! To hear more of the interview, check the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net! Want a chance to meet and greet Haloti? Head out to “The Ngata Family Foundation Luau” October 1st at Michaels 8th Avenue which benefits wounded soldiers and their families! Tickets are available at www.ngata92.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Monday Reality Check-A mountain of misinformation

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Your Monday Reality Check-A mountain of misinformation

Posted on 17 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

I honestly still can’t believe some of the things I read/heard/saw last week about Baltimore Ravens OT Bryant McKinnie.

If you missed it, McKinnie was not on the fall last week in Owings Mills during mandatory minicamp at the Under Armour Performance Center. When asked why McKinnie was not practicing, head coach John Harbaugh said “Bryant McKinnie is a guy that we held out just for conditioning purposes. We’re going to probably continue to do that and continue to try and get him in good shape. I think practice-wise, he’s just as well doing the conditioning part of it.”

Let me start this post by saying I fully understand a few things. One is that Harbaugh has never felt the need to share more information than necessary about any of his players. Another is that the information was new to reporters, so asking follow up questions might not have seemed pertinent. I wasn’t present at minicamp (media availability was scheduled during my radio show “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net each day) and was unable to fully grasp exactly what was going on.

With no media availability scheduled before the start of Training Camp, reporters felt it necessary to question Harbaugh later in the week for more information about McKinnie’s status. Unfortunately the coach was again vague, offering “we will leave that between us. That’s something that is an in-house type of thing right now. Bryant has done a good job, he’s worked hard. It’s not as simple as some of you guys want to make it. It’s just a situation where we are going to do what is best for the team, what is best for Bryant. We want him here; there’s no reason he wouldn’t be here. He has worked hard, so you try to do what’s most beneficial for every guy in every situation, and it’s always individualized.”

Now’s the part where I offer some examples of various stories I’ve read about Bryant McKinnie.

Here’s this from SI.com…

“Cut last season by the Vikings, Bryant McKinnie, who sat out Thursday’s practice, may be on the verge of extending an ignominious streak. Here is a player who has a history of being overweight and struggled with the same problem last season. He also reportedly has financial problems, yet can’t get into good enough shape to participate in minicamp. You have to question his commitment and when a team starts signing veteran offensive linemen and McKinnie gets held out of minicamp, it could be a sign of things to come.”

And this from SB Nation…

“The Baltimore Ravens gave veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie a $500,000 roster bonus earlier this spring, but now might be regretting the outlay of cash. McKinnie came to Baltimore after the Minnesota Vikings cut him last summer for reporting to camp overweight. The Ravens rounded him into shape and he had a pretty solid year, allowing the team to shift Michael Oher over to right tackle and solidify that side of the offensive line.

McKinnie reportedly was on his way to getting in good shape earlier this year, but the most recent news was that the team held him out of the mini-camp this past week for “conditioning reasons.” This does not bode well for either the Ravens nor McKinnie.

Bryant is on the short end of a legal case where he defaulted on a $4 million loan he took out during the NFL Lockout last year and seriously needs a full season paycheck to pay it back. If he does not report to the Ravens Training Camp in six weeks in excellent shape, there is a very good chance that the team may decide to cut ties with him and let him go.”

Allow me to be fair again for a second. The SI.com blurb was a clear re-write with no author attached. While SB Nation does have a handful of experienced journalists and columnists, their sites are still largely made up of part-time writers/editors with no actual experience truly covering a team.

So perhaps CSNBaltimore.com’s veteran writer Ray Frager would be a better source.

“Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie’s conditioning issues have been a big part of the Ravens chatter over this week. There is speculation he is around that 400-pound summit that caused him to lose his job in Minnesota.”

Maybe even the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston would be a better option.

“The entire McKinnie episode is strange and you wonder if he is going to be around when training camp opens. Here is a player who has a history of being overweight and struggled with the same problem last season.

He also reportedly has financial problems, yet can’t get into good enough shape to participate in minicamp. You have to question his commitment and when a team starts signing veteran offensive linemen and McKinnie gets held out of minicamp, it could be a sign of things to come.”

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Ravens officially name DeCosta Assistant GM

Posted on 17 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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