Tag Archive | "pro bowl"

Your Monday Reality Check-Wounds Re-Open With Arrival in Indianapolis

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Your Monday Reality Check-Wounds Re-Open With Arrival in Indianapolis

Posted on 30 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

I had handled it much better than I ever did in the past.

Unlike the last three seasons, I wasn’t on hand to see the Baltimore Ravens’ season come to an end last Sunday in the AFC Championship Game. Instead of making the trip to Foxborough, I stayed in studio at 1550 Hart Rd. in Towson for “The Nasty Purple Pregame Show” and “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show.” I watched the game only with my producer Ryan Chell and I IMMEDIATELY hit the airwaves after Billy Cundiff’s kick sailed wide-not allowing me much time to stew over the dramatic end.

After fighting with a caller who labeled quarterback Joe Flacco as “a bum” following the crushing loss to the New England Patriots, I genuinely felt as though I had moved on. It only took about 30 minutes. No eight hour drive home with other miserable Ravens fans for me, just a 25 minute drive home to Monkton where playing with my dog quickly made me feel better about a tough loss.

On Sunday afternoon the WNST crew (Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, Luke Jones and myself) touched down in Indianapolis for week-long coverage of Super Bowl XLVI festivities at Radio Row. We do it every year, no matter when/where the Ravens’ season comes to a close. Immediately upon landing at Indianapolis International Airport, we were greeted by vendors selling Eli Manning and Tom Brady t-shirts. Everywhere we turned in Indy for the first 12 hours was remarkably similar.

New York Giants stuff here. New England Patriots stuff there. Live NFL Network video of Bill Belichick getting off the plane. Quotes filling up my GMail inbox from Tom Brady and Jerod Mayo as transcribed by the National Football League staff here on site. A replay of Super Bowl XLII following Australian Open coverage on ESPN2.

It all hit me like a ton of bricks. This was SO close to being the Ravens. Perhaps a Cundiff kick, perhaps a Lee Evans catch, perhaps a John Harbaugh timeout, perhaps Joe Flacco not throwing an interception to Brandon Spikes.

Perhaps.

We could have gotten off the plane in Indy and been greeted by Ray Lewis t-shirts instead of seeing Alex Flanagan try to get Lewis to change his mind about retirement on the sideline during NBC’s coverage of the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. We could have been covering the first media gathering of the week for the AFC champs instead of sitting in the hot tub at the J.W. Marriott or celebrating Forrester’s birthday at Buca di Beppo. (Both of these things were nice…but we’d rather not be there.)

It wasn’t as painful to arrive for Super Bowl coverage the last couple of years as there was really no argument that the Ravens may have been the best team in the AFC. Two years ago they were clobbered by the Colts here at LucasOil Stadium. Last year there was the feeling they let one go against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, but at least the loss didn’t come with a Super Bowl trip on the line.

This time there was a REAL feeling that we should be spending Media Day tomorrow chatting up Terrell Suggs instead of trying to track down Matt Birk for five minutes later in the week when he comes to promote the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

It wasn’t the only wound re-opened however.

As you can read about in Monday’s Indianapolis Star, there’s already a bit of a “friendly” back and forth going on between us and some of the folks in “The Friendly Heart of the Midwest.” While most of our comments have been made in jest, there is no doubt that seeing horseshoes everywhere I look and staring at a sign for the “Jim Irsay Collection” at the Indiana State Museum across the street have left a bad taste in my mouth.

The team my father fell in love with is now the reason why a city hundreds of miles from Charm City is experiencing a financial boon. The likes of Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore and Art Donovan left sweat and blood on the field at Memorial Stadium, the value of which has allowed governor Mitch Daniels to make millions of dollars-which will in no way benefit the city of Baltimore.

We don’t REALLY want the Colts back in Baltimore as I joked with the Indy Star reporter. We want an entire civic injustice reversed. We know it’s impossible.

The wounds are fully re-opened here. We’ll make it through (covering a Super Bowl in Indianapolis is STILL better than having to cover the Baltimore Orioles), but there will be a number of times this week where I’ll look over and say “damn.”

-G

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Ngata, Reed the latest Ravens players to bow out of Sunday’s Pro Bowl

Posted on 25 January 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 9:00 a.m.)

Only reinforcing the argument held by many against playing the Pro Bowl, the Ravens have now seen four of their selections bow out of Sunday’s game as Haloti Ngata and Ed Reed have joined Terrell Suggs and Ray Rice as non-participants in Honolulu.

Ngata admitted after the AFC championship game that he was dealing with a thigh injury for the second half of the season. The injury occurred in the Ravens’ Week 8 loss over the Arizona Cardinals and limited him in practices leading up to their road win in Pittsburgh the following week. There was a noticeable drop-off in Ngata’s performance after a monstrous start to the season in which the 330-pound defensive lineman was garnering Defensive Player of the Year consideration along with Suggs.

The 33-year-old Reed will also skip the game due to injury as it’s no secret a shoulder injury has severely impaired the safety’s ability to tackle. The 2004 AP Defensive Player of the Year has dealt with a nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder as well as a hip injury in recent seasons. Reed has been replaced by Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Ryan Clark on the AFC roster.

Suggs has also bowed out of the game due to injury, but it’s unclear what  exactly is ailing the 29-year-old linebacker. Though he was honored to be named to his fifth Pro Bowl in late December, Suggs made it no secret he had little interest in going to Honolulu at the expense of the Ravens’ desire to reach the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

Rice cited a family reason for his absence from the Pro Bowl. The running back led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 2011.

Linebacker Ray Lewis, fullback Vonta Leach, and guards Marshal Yanda and Ben Grubbs remain on the AFC roster as of Wednesday morning. Grubbs was named the replacement for Patriots guard Logan Mankins earlier this week since New England will play in next week’s Super Bowl. With New England guard Brian Waters also ineligible for the game, Yanda and Grubbs will be the starting guards on the AFC offensive line.

According to the official NFC and AFC rosters on NFL.com, 16 players have been replaced due to “injury” reasons. Of course, some players have legitimate ailments, but many have simply bailed on the exhibition in what’s become a regular practice in recent seasons.

With the Ravens’ eight selections now down to four, what are your thoughts on the Pro Bowl?

With increasing numbers of players skipping the game every season, should the NFL simply name the teams and forgo holding the game?

Do you ever watch the game, regardless of how many Ravens are playing in the game?

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 23 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: NBA-Charlotte Bobcats @ Washington Wizards (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Houston Rockets (Friday 8pm from Houston live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Charlotte Bobcats (Saturday 7pm from Charlotte live on Comcast SportsNet), Chicago Bulls @ Washington Wizards (Monday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet/NBA TV); Women’s College Basketball: Virginia Tech @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center); Golf: PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from La Jolla, CA); Monster Jam (Friday-Sunday Verizon Center); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Ruslan Provodnikov vs. David Torres (Friday 9pm from Airway Heights, WA live on ESPN2); High School Basketball: Parkville @ Perry Hall (Wednesday 6:30pm), Perry Hall @ Kenwood (Friday 7pm)

10. Miranda Lambert (Thursday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena); Matt Nathanson (Sunday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); Marc Broussard (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Big Head Todd and the Monsters (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club); Ryan Adams/Jason Isbell (Tuesday 7:30pm Strathmore); Widespread Panic (Tuesday/Wednesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); FUEL (Saturday 1:30pm Sandy Point State Park)

I feel as though I really shouldn’t admit how much I enjoy this song “Faster” by Matt Nathanson. It’s just that I can’t help it…

Ditto for “Rocksteady” by Marc Broussard…

Ryan Adams has made about a million songs in his life. None top this…

I saw FUEL like five times between 2000-2001. Make fun all you want, but you know you’ll be singing along to this…

9. Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge (Friday-Saturday Sandy Point State Park); Baltimore Winter Restaurant Week (Tuesday-Sunday); “Luck” premieres on HBO (Sunday 9pm); 50/50” and “Real Steel” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

You know who’s part of Restaurant Week? A spot I can’t name (because they’re not a sponsor) but who makes the best salad in Charm City…

You know who it is. And you know it’s fantastic.

Also, did everyone see 50/50? I thought it was one of the best movies of 2011 (Clip NSFW)…

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Your Monday Reality Check-Cameron Future Only Part of Postseason Agenda

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Your Monday Reality Check-Cameron Future Only Part of Postseason Agenda

Posted on 23 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

I’ve had the opportunity to make a number of radio appearances throughout the country during the last few weeks while the Baltimore Ravens marched along in the National Football League playoffs.

In virtually every conversation, I was asked a question about how the outcome of the next game could alter the future of Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron in Charm City.

It always felt a little strange to be asked about Cam Cameron. Usually I only hear Cam Cameron’s name when a listener/caller screams at me about him. It’s never in the form of a question.

After the Ravens’ 23-20 loss to the New England Patriots Sunday in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium, it didn’t take 30 minutes for the screaming to start again. It was a bit odd considering there was really no way Cameron could be blamed for the loss in Foxborough.

The reality is that as the team’s offseason officially got underway, Cameron sits at the forefront. His future can only be labeled as “to be determined”, as his contract expires with the end of the season.

Head coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens’ coaching staff are headed to Mobile, AL this week for scouting at the annual Senior Bowl. It would seem as though the team wouldn’t want the situation with Cameron to linger far into the offseason, especially if they ultimately decide not to retain Cameron after four playoff trips in four seasons and have to find a new coordinator without a likely replacement on staff.

(That’s not an endorsement for either decision. It’s just a fact. I’m actually indifferent towards the situation, as I believe any coordinator in 2012 would need more offensive talent to work with.)

The next pressing situation remains on offense. The team’s Most Valuable Player in 2012 (RB Ray Rice) becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) at a time where NFL teams have been particularly unwilling to invest in long term deals for running backs. Also hitting unrestricted free agency is LG Ben Grubbs, who has never reached a Pro Bowl but has certainly played at a Pro Bowl level. (Monday update: Grubbs will in fact be making his first trip to Hawaii this season as a replacement for Patriots G Logan Mankins.)

There is a likelihood that the Franchise tag will come into play with one of the above players, as it did with DT Haloti Ngata last season before a long-term deal was reached.

DE Cory Redding, LB’s Jarret Johnson & Jameel McClain and S’s Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura highlight other Ravens who become Unrestricted Free Agents. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (who has publicly stated he would like to play another season) is also on the UFA list, as are OL Andre Gurode, TE Kris Wilson, DT Brandon McKinney and LB Edgar Jones.

(CB’s Cary Williams & Lardarius Webb as well as LB Dannell Ellerbe are restricted free agents, all are expected to return.)

Also on the list of Unrestricted Free Agents is C Matt Birk, who denied a CBS report earlier this month that he had already decided to retire at the end of the season. With no “center of the future” clearly on the roster, it may behoove the team to bring the big man from Harvard back for one more season if he’s interested.

While we await Birk’s decision about his future, future Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis told reporters in New England he intends to return to Baltimore for a 17th season. S Ed Reed’s future isn’t quite as defined, as he did not speak to reporters after suffering his second AFC title game defeat. Nagging back and neck issues appeared to affect Reed’s play at the end of the season, but he came with big plays in both playoff games.

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Suggs To Receive NFL 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year Award

Posted on 17 January 2012 by WNST Staff

Top Coaches and Players from AFC and NFC Selected in Nationwide Media Balloting as Winners of NFL 101 Awards for 2011 Season

Four Pro Bowl Selections and Two Outstanding Coaches to be Honored at Kansas City’s 42nd Annual Salute to Professional Football

KANSAS CITY, MO (January 17, 2012) – Two quarterbacks who direct the league’s most high-powered offenses will join two of the most formidable defensive players and two coaches who guided their teams to playoff appearances as the 2011 winners of the annual NFL 101 Awards – the nation’s premier awards event dedicated exclusively to professional football.

The 2011 season award winners will be presented with trophies at the 42nd Annual NFL 101 Awards gala in Kansas City Saturday, March 3, 2012, at the Westin Crown Center. The prestigious black-tie awards event was founded in 1969 and has evolved into what many sports insiders consider the finest awards event of its kind. This year’s event is presented by Perfect Output and ECCO Select. 

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been selected as the NFC Offensive Player of the Year after engineering one of the greatest offensive seasons ever recorded in the NFL. A first-time 101 Award winner, Rodgers established the best single-season passer rating in NFL history at 122.5. He passed for 4,643 yards with a 68.3 completion percentage and an incredible 45-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio.  Rodgers led the Packers to an NFL-best 15-1 record and the NFC North Division title. For the second consecutive year and third time in his career, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been selected as the AFC Offensive Player of the Year. Brady led the Patriots to a 13-3 record and the AFC East Division title. He led the conference in passing attempts (611), completions (401), completion percentage (65.6), yards (5,235), touchdowns (39) and passer rating (105.6).

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has been named the NFC Coach of the Year in just his first year as an NFL head coach. Harbaugh guided the 49ers to a 13-3 record and the NFC West Division title after inheriting a team that finished 6-10 the previous year. Harbaugh, who was the AFC Offensive Player of the Year in 1995 as quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, becomes the first person ever to win 101 awards as both a player and coach. Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is the AFC Coach of the Year. Overcoming season-long adversity including the loss of his top two quarterbacks to injuries, Kubiak led his team to a 10-6 regular season record, the AFC South Division championship and the first playoff appearance in Texans franchise history.

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has been selected the NFC Defensive Player of the Year. Allen finished the regular season with a league-leading 22 sacks – one-half sack shy of the NFL single-season sack mark. He is 20th on the NFL’s all-time career sack list. The former Kansas City Chiefs player was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in his eight seasons. Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is the AFC Defensive Player of the Year. Suggs recorded an AFC-best 14 sacks and forced a team-high seven fumbles. He holds the franchise record for sacks with 81.5. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time in nine seasons.

A national media committee, comprised of 101 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL, selected the winners in each award category in a nationwide vote at the conclusion of the regular season.

In addition to these award winners, the Committee of 101 also selects the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football, which was created in 2007 to honor the life and legacy of the founder of the Kansas City Chiefs and given in recognition of visionary leadership that has helped the NFL become the preeminent pro sports league in America. This year’s Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football award winner will be announced in February.

The awards show hosts for the evening will be NFL Network sportscaster Paul Burmeister and CBS football analyst Rich Gannon, a former NFL Most Valuable Player and two-time 101 Award winner.

Event proceeds this year will be directed to the Truman Medical Center Charitable Foundation through the Chiefs Children’s Fund, a 501(c)3 foundation that distributes funds to various children’s charities throughout the Kansas City area. TMC joined the Chiefs as the official Community Health Partner in September 2010. The Chiefs and TMC are working together to provide wellness education and promote healthier living for the people of Kansas City.  Both TMC and the Chiefs play a vital role in the Kansas City community and this partnership capitalizes on two well-established brands for the common goal of improving the health status of the community in general, and of the citizens in the urban core particularly.

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Ray Rice wants ring in Indy not grass skirt in Hawaii

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Ray Rice wants ring in Indy not grass skirt in Hawaii

Posted on 29 December 2011 by WNSTV

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The Reality Check Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

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The Reality Check Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 28 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. St. Louis Rams (Last Week:  32)

This team beat the New Orleans Saints. You’ll never understand the NFL.

31. Indianapolis Colts (LW:  31)

I never root for the Colts, but I hope they win one more.

30. Minnesota Vikings (LW:  30)

They can’t get Andrew Luck, but they’ll still have some interesting decisions to make in the offseason.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW:  29)

The handful of Jags fans on the planet are pulling for their team to lose Sunday.

28. Cleveland Browns (LW:  28)

There is NO reason for Colt McCoy to start Sunday. Go Browns.

27. Washington Redskins (LW:  27)

London Fletcher was absolutely a Pro Bowl snub. If he was on a decent team he wouldn’t have been.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW:  24)

What a mess.

25. Chicago Bears (LW:  22)

But they’ll (probably) be a contender again in 2012.

24. Buffalo Bills (LW:  25)

Where was that the last two months?

23. Carolina Panthers (LW:  26)

This will be a sexy “dark horse” team in 2012.

22. Kansas City Chiefs (LW:  21)

So…what do they do at quarterback?

21. Miami Dolphins (LW:  23)

And what do THEY do at quarterback?

20. Arizona Cardinals (LW:  20)

Lost in Jerome Simpson fever was the fact that the Cards almost rallied in Cincy.

19. Philadelphia Eagles (LW:  18)

I guess Andy Reid survives?

18. San Diego Chargers (LW:  8)

What a difference a week makes.

17. Seattle Seahawks (LW:  16)

I think highly of everything about this franchise except their quarterback.

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Rice, six other Ravens named to AFC Pro Bowl roster

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Rice, six other Ravens named to AFC Pro Bowl roster

Posted on 27 December 2011 by Luke Jones

On the cusp of an AFC North division title with a win in their regular-season finale against Cincinnati, the Ravens have been recognized for their success as seven players were named to the AFC Pro Bowl team on Tuesday.

Linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, safety Ed Reed, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, running back Ray Rice, and fullback Vonta Leach were all named starters while guard Marshal Yanda, a first-time selection, will serve as a backup for the AFC squad.

Despite missing four games with a turf toe injury, the 16-year veteran Lewis was named to his 13th Pro Bowl roster. The inside linebacker has a team-high 88 tackles while adding two sacks and an interception.

Suggs has garnered attention for AP Defensive Player of the Year consideration after collecting 13 sacks to lead the Baltimore defense and the entire AFC. This is the 29-year-old’s fifth Pro Bowl selection in his nine seasons in the league. Suggs is the Ravens’ all-time leader in sacks (81 1/2) and has produced three three-sack performances this season.

“First off, I definitely want to give a tremendous amount of credit to my coaches, especially [defensive line coach] Clarence Brooks and [outside linebackers coach] Ted Monachino,” Suggs said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I felt like a kid when I got the call; I was excited and honored. This wouldn’t be possible without my teammates.”

Reed was named to his eighth Pro Bowl team in 10 seasons despite a quiet year in which he’s grabbed three interceptions, two of them coming in the Ravens’ season-opening win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11.

Ngata was named to his third straight Pro Bowl after posting 61 tackles and five sacks this season. The 330-pound defensive lineman also recorded his first career touchdown with a 28-yard fumble recovery against the St. Louis Rams in Week 3. His play on the defensive line has led the Baltimore defense to have the second-ranked run defense (91.8 yards per game) in the NFL.

“It is a privilege and honor to be considered one of the best at your position among your peers, coaches and fans,” Ngata said. “When I found out, I felt the same way I did the first time I made it. I know that this wouldn’t be possible without my teammates.”

Needing only 131 yards from scrimmage in the season finale to reach the 2,000-yard mark for the season, Rice was named to his second Pro Bowl. His 1,173 rushing yards rank third in the AFC, and Rice’s 696 receiving yards lead all running backs.

The man blocking for Rice all season will also lead the running back’s way to Honolulu as Leach was named to his second straight Pro Bowl. In his first year with the Ravens, Leach has delivered punishing blocks to clear paths for Rice and has also carried the ball a career-high 11 times for 34 yards while adding 12 receptions for 51 yards.

“With changing teams, the lockout and trying to learn a new playbook, I am so proud and happy to be going with my backfield mate,” Leach said. “This is a great thing and something to celebrate. But, that will have to wait until after the season.”

Rounding out the list of Pro Bowl selections is Yanda, who earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl of his five-year career. Yanda has not committed an offensive penalty all season long and has graded out with a “winning performance or better” in every game, according to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

“I am ecstatic, that is really the only thing I can say,” Yanda said. “This is such a great honor, something that I never really expected. When I made it to the NFL, I was so happy to be on a team and playing in the league, and now, to be a part of a Pro Bowl team is something very special. You don’t get there alone; you have to be on a good team and playing well as a unit. I am thankful for my teammates and coaches who helped me get to where I am.”

The Pro Bowl will be played on Jan. 29 in Hawaii, but the Ravens named to the team envision themselves being ineligible to play due to a much bigger game they hope to be involved in the following week.

“To be clear, I have no intentions of playing in the Pro Bowl,” Suggs said. “I plan on being in practice with my teammates that week, getting ready for the Super Bowl.”

Guard Ben Grubbs was named a first alternate to the Pro Bowl squad while special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo was designated a second alternate. Quarterback Joe Flacco and safety Bernard Pollard were deemed third alternates while offensive tackle Michael Oher was labeled a fourth alternate.

Ayanbadejo led all special teams players in the fan vote while Oher received the most fan votes among offensive tackles.

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Five Ravens players lead in AFC Pro Bowl voting

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Five Ravens players lead in AFC Pro Bowl voting

Posted on 17 November 2011 by Luke Jones

With just over a month of voting time remaining for the Pro Bowl, five Ravens players lead at their respective spots in the AFC.

Linebacker Ray Lewis, safety Ed Reed, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo, and right tackle Michael Oher lead at their given positions through Nov. 14.

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The 36-year-old Lewis has been named to 12 Pro Bowls and has only missed out on the honor in three of his 15 full seasons in the NFL (1996, 2002, and 2005). Reed has seven Pro Bowl selections while the 27-year-old Ngata has been selected in each of the last two seasons.

Ayanbadejo, a three-time selection as a special teams player, has not been named to the team since 2008 as he comes off two injury-plagued seasons.

Oher’s position in the voting isn’t surprising given his high-profile reputation from “The Blind Side” book and motion picture, but many would argue his play after being shifted back to right tackle in the preseason has not been deserving of Pro Bowl consideration.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, in the midst of one of the greatest seasons ever by a quarterback, leads all players in voting through Nov. 14.

The Pro Bowl will be played on Jan. 29.

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

Posted on 19 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G

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