Tag Archive | "pro bowl"

dumervil

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Pro Bowl just not worth effort for anyone

Posted on 27 January 2016 by Luke Jones

Against my better judgment, I watched some of the Pro Bowl draft.

Because I had nothing better to do on a Wednesday night was excited to know whether Ravens specialists Sam Koch and Morgan Cox would be drafted to opposing teams, I attempted to watch ESPN’s coverage and expected clever trash talk and over-caffeinated enthusiasm for a fake football game. What I witnessed was something different entirely.

It was dull — painfully dull.

No fun.

The highlight was New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reminding his top receiver and Pro Bowl captain Odell Beckham Jr. why it was wise to draft him, quipping that he could have 100 catches or no catches next season. But everything else reeked of just going through the motions and running out the clock for the two-hour special.

Hoping to at least come away with some sarcastic fodder for Twitter, I instead tapped out after 32 minutes that felt much longer than that. Credit ESPN for producing a nice little segment recognizing a surviving veteran from the attack on Pearl Harbor with the 75th anniversary coming later this year, but the rest of the coverage from Hawaii felt as pointless as the upcoming game itself.

With no disrespect intended to the Ravens’ four selections — we learned that Cox and Elvis Dumervil are on Jerry Rice’s team and Koch and Marshal Yanda were chosen for Michael Irvin’s team — the Pro Bowl just isn’t worth anyone’s time or effort. More players than ever are declining the invitation and now even one of the Pro Bowl head coaches — Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy — is missing the game due to an illness.

Why again should fans bother watching on Sunday night if so many players don’t even care to show up?

Since the NFL scrapped the traditional AFC-NFC format — which at least provided some semblance of a rooting interest — the TV ratings for the game have declined sharply over the last two years, but enough are still watching. To each his own, I suppose, and the league will probably continue to hold the event if it’s profitable.

Still, it feels so pointless holding an exhibition game with players — the ones who actually bother to show up — competing at less than full speed while still putting themselves at risk for injury. It’s bad enough when a star player suffers a serious injury in the preseason when he’s at least preparing for a new year, but how would a team and its fans like to lose a standout performer to a torn ACL now with a recovery timetable that would bleed into the start of next season?

The idea of the Pro Bowl is far superior to the real thing. The Ravens have had at least four players selected for the game in each of the last 10 years — an impressive run that reflects their overall team success — but the honor itself isn’t worth putting players in harm’s way.

The league can continue on with the annual all-star game and probably still fool enough people into watching — because it’s the almighty NFL — but it just isn’t worth the effort for anyone involved.

And Wednesday’s draft sure made it feel like no one really wanted to be there.

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dumervil

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Dumervil named to fifth Pro Bowl of his career

Posted on 25 January 2016 by Luke Jones

The list of Ravens players going to Honolulu continues to grow as outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil was named to the Pro Bowl on Monday morning.

With Denver linebackers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware and Carolina outside linebacker Thomas Davis now playing in Super Bowl 50, the 32-year-old Dumervil will take part in his second straight Pro Bowl, the fifth of his 10-year career. Dumervil will join right guard Marshal Yanda, punter Sam Koch, and long snapper Morgan Cox as the Ravens’ representatives in Hawaii.

“Whenever you are recognized by your peers, it is an honor,” Dumervil said in a statement released by the Ravens. “To be able to play with the best the NFL has to offer is a blessing.”

After setting a franchise record with 17 sacks in the 2014 season, Dumervil collected only six quarterback takedowns in 2015, his lowest total since 2008. The season-ending loss of Terrell Suggs in Week 1 led to a bigger-than-expected role for Dumervil, who played 792 defensive snaps — 189 more than he saw a year earlier, according to snap counts compiled by Football Outsiders.

Spending his first two seasons with Baltimore as more of a situational rush specialist, Dumervil collected 26 1/2 sacks while playing less than 56 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. The Louisville product played in almost 75 percent of the defensive snaps this past season with Suggs injured and free-agent departure Pernell McPhee in Chicago.

“I think Dumervil has still got a year or two left, but we certainly didn’t expect to run him as many snaps, and he wore down,” owner Steve Bisciotti said earlier this month. “That’s not what we expected Dumervil to do this year was [to] have to go and play 800 snaps or whatever it was. That’s kind of the big difference.”

In 16 games, Dumervil accumulated 48 tackles, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup in addition to his six sacks.

In addition to Dumervil, former Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor was named to the Pro Bowl as the replacement for Carolina’s Cam Newton. Taylor threw for 20 touchdowns and just six interceptions in his first year as the starter for the Buffalo Bills.

The game takes place at Aloha Stadium at 7 p.m. on Sunday and will be televised on ESPN.

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bwilliams

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Was Brandon Williams a Pro Bowl snub?

Posted on 24 December 2015 by Luke Jones

When the NFL announced its Pro Bowl selections on Tuesday, many Ravens fans were unhappy to see third-year nose tackle Brandon Williams left out.

In fact, the 2013 third-round pick wasn’t even announced as a Pro Bowl alternate despite being graded by Pro Football Focus as the NFL’s top run-stopping interior defender this season. In 14 games, Williams has collected 47 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble to lead the league’s 11th-ranked run defense.

(For the record, Williams received my vote as the team’s MVP in a forgettable 2015.)

“I would say he’s very deserving of an opportunity,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “I was a little surprised. But, hey, you know what? That should serve as motivation. Obviously, the rest of the players and the coaches and the fans don’t see it the way we see it. I’m quite sure it’ll motivate Brandon to play even better.”

So, was Williams truly a Pro Bowl snub? It’s easy to argue in favor of a player you’ve watched all season, but it’s difficult to evaluate 3-4 defensive linemen considering it’s not a front where statistics are easily collected. Williams has been the Ravens’ best defensive player in 2015, but that doesn’t mean he’s automatically one of the top defensive tackles in the league.

No one would dispute that Williams has been an exceptional performer in an otherwise lousy season for the Ravens, but how does he stack up to the defensive tackles — Geno Atkins, Calais Campbell, Fletcher Cox, Aaron Donald, Gerald McCoy, and Kawann Short — who were invited to Honolulu?

These six all have more quarterback sacks and played more passing snaps than Williams, who is often taken off the field for passing situations and hasn’t distinguished himself as a consistent rusher in his first three seasons. As outstanding as he is against the run, Williams being more of a one-dimensional player than other defensive tackles doesn’t help his cause in the Pro Bowl discussion.

All except McCoy had a better overall PFF grade than Williams among interior defenders this season as the Ravens nose tackle grades 16th overall when combining both run defense and pass-rush ability. Graded by PFF as the 65th overall interior defender, McCoy made his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl and appears to fit the description of a player who was chosen based solely on reputation this year as he dealt with a rotator cuff injury for much of the season.

But Minnesota’s Linval Joseph, Green Bay’s Mike Daniels, and Miami’s Ndamukong Suh could also make strong cases as snubs, and all three were graded higher than Williams by PFF. Of course, all methods of evaluation — including Pro Football Focus — beyond basic statistics are imperfect, but Williams’ case doesn’t appear to be markedly better than others who were left on the outside looking in.

“I can’t control any of that,” Williams said. “I’m just going to control what I can control, and that’s helping my team right now. Obviously, you want to prove that you’re one of the best, and you want to go. But as of right now, I’m worried about the Steelers.”

Defensive linemen playing in 3-4 systems always struggle to receive recognition because of what they’re asked to do on the field. Even former Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata had to wait until his fourth season before making five consecutive Pro Bowls in Baltimore.

As arguably the best run-stopping nose tackle in the NFL, Williams would have been deserving had he been selected.

But was it a severe injustice that he won’t join guard Marshal Yanda and punter Sam Koch in Hawaii?

Probably not.

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NFL Draft: Who will the Ravens take 17th overall?

Posted on 02 May 2014 by johngallo

In less than a week, we’ll know.

We’ll know who’s the Ravens’ first pick in the draft, a player who history says should be Pro Bowl-level good.

Of the Ravens’ 18 all-time first-round picks, 10 have gone on to make at least one Pro Bowl. The 10 players have been selected to 51 Pro Bowls as a group, led by Ray Lewis’ 13 and Jonathan Ogden’s 11.

But recent history paints another picture: The Ravens’ past four first-round picks – safety Matt Elam (2013), cornerback Jimmy Smith (2011), tackle Michael Oher (2009) and quarterback Joe Flacco (2008) – have yet to make a Pro Bowl. Flacco, however, is a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, which in my book – or whatever one you are reading – is more valuable than making a Pro Bowl.

The Ravens are picking at No. 17, which represents their highest pick since taking Flacco at No. 18 in 2008 – and all he did was turn into a $100 million dollar man with a Super Bowl ring.

The Ravens, clearly, have needs after going 8-8 and missing the playoffs for the first time in the John Harbaugh Era. But this year, the Ravens’ needs are much more glaring.

The media’s projection regarding who will be the next Raven is all over the place. While some agree on the position, they don’t agree on the player. How many different names have you seen linked to the Ravens at No. 17?

Harbaugh basically said the Ravens want to add a good person at every position. Really, like what was he going to say – that the Ravens were looking to enter training camp with gaping holes and a roster that includes mediocre draft picks?

“It’s important to add a running back, but we’ve got some other spots, too. It’s important to add an offensive lineman, a wide receiver, a tight end and some depth at quarterback. It’s important to add a safety, a corner, inside backer and a defensive tackle,” Harbaugh said at pre-draft press conference. “So, that’s where I’m at right now.”

Which is where, exactly?

Harbaugh and the Ravens have a list of guys they’re targeting, but they are not sharing.

I am.

Here are three guys I’d love to see don a Ravens cap after hugging Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York City on May 8.

No. 1: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Height/weight: 6-foot-7, 309 pounds

What he did at the NFL Combine: Raise his draft stock considerably. His.4.87 time in the 40-yard dash, 30.5-inch vertical jump. 117-inch broad jump and 7.39-second three-cone drill all ranked in the top four among offensive linemen. He proved at the combine – and as a four-year starter at the University of Michigan – he has the speed to play in the NFL. However, his 39 reps of lifting 225 pounds tied for 11th with Notre Dame’s Zack Martin, well behind the 42 reps put up by North Carolina’s Russell Bodine. But it’s easier to improve a players’ strength compared to speed.

Why he’s a great fit for the Ravens: Quickly: If the season started tomorrow, who would start at right tackle? Raise your hand if you had Ricky Wagner, a fifth-round pick who played in all 16 games with two starts as a rookie last year. Upgrading an offensive line that was terrible in protecting Flacco and just as bad in creating holes for Ray Rice is critical if the Ravens are going to return to the playoffs. The Ravens have been superb at picking offensive linemen in the first round. Ogden (1996) played in 11 Pro Bowls and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, while Ben Grubbs (2007) made one. The odd man out: Oher, who never lived up to his lofty expectations and signed with the Titans during the offseason.

No. 2: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Measurements: 5-11, 199

What he did at the NFL Combine: Enough to justify being a first-round pick. His 4.51 in the 40-yard dash tied for 13th in his position, well behind the 4.37 put up by Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, who is regarded as the draft’s best defensive back. But Dennard’s best work was on the field, where he was an All-American and Jim Thorpe (nations best DB) winner at Michigan State who took away the receiver he covered.

Why he’s a great fit for the Ravens: The loss of Corey Graham creates a void in the secondary, as the Ravens need to address safety and defensive back. Dennard’s physical ability and toughness make him too good to pass up if he slides to the Ravens. With Dennard, the question could be, is he the next Chris McAlister, a three-time Pro Bowler the Ravens took in 1999, or the next Jimmy Smith?

No. 3: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Measurements: 5-11, 207

What he did at the NFL Combine: Show he’s one of the strongest safeties in the draft, which makes him attractive to the Ravens since they need a complement to the speedy Matt Elam. Pryor’s 18 reps of 225 pounds tied for fourth at his position, well behind Brock Vereen’s 25, but Pryor is faster than Vereen. Pryor’s 4.58 in the 40-yard dash tied for eighth among safeties, well behind Florida State’s Terrence Brooks, who ran a blistering, 4.42.

Why he’s a great fit for the Ravens: Because the Ravens need someone to fill the huge shoes of future Hall of Famer Ed Reed, a former defensive player of the year and eight-time Pro Bowler. Reed was an absolute steal when the Ravens selected him 24th overall in 2002. Pryor could immediately replace James Ihedigbo, who signed with Detroit during the offseason.

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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

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.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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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

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

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

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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