Tag Archive | "rams"

Ravens agree to one-year deal with former Rams safety Stewart

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Ravens agree to one-year deal with former Rams safety Stewart

Posted on 21 March 2014 by Luke Jones

Concluding a quiet week after their last free-agent signing of veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, the Ravens added another piece to their 2014 plans by agreeing to a one-year deal with strong safety Darian Stewart on Friday.

The former St. Louis Rams defensive back is familiar with Baltimore secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was Stewart’s head coach in the first two years of his NFL career. Stewart started six games and played in 13 overall for the Rams last season, making 36 tackles and breaking up five passes.

Stewart is scheduled to arrive in Baltimore to take a physical before signing his contract.

It’s likely that Stewart’s signing is more of a depth move as the Ravens aren’t expected to retain starting strong safety James Ihedigbo, who is reportedly mulling over offers from a few NFC teams. With 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam expected to shift to strong safety, general manager Ozzie Newsome said at the beginning of the offseason that upgrading the free safety spot would be his top defensive priority.

“I talked about a free safety [and] maybe getting a free safety that can be a playmaker,” said Newsome when asked in early January what improvements needed to be made to the defense. “When tipped balls are in the air, guys that can come away with that.”

Stewart received the most extensive playing time of his career during the 2011 season, Spagnuolo’s last year as head coach of the Rams. The University of South Carolina product started 13 games and collected 84 tackles, three sacks, 11 pass breakups, and one interception.

For his career, the 5-foot-11, 214-pound safety has amassed 147 tackles, four sacks, and one interception.

The free safety market has few remaining options as veterans Chris Clemons and Thomas DeCoud could be viewed as reasonable choices but neither profiles as the playmaking safety Newsome covets. Former Bills free safety Jairus Byrd was the best free safety to hit the market earlier this month, but he was quickly signed to a lucrative $56 million contract with the New Orleans Saints on the first day of free agency.

The Ravens may have no choice but to look toward the draft for their answer at free safety with the likes of Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor potentially available in the first round and others such as Ed Reynolds of Stanford or Florida State’s Terrence Brooks serving as Day 2 possibilities. Should the Ravens not acquire a free safety, they would likely be forced to move Elam back to free safety and look at the possibility of Stewart at the starting strong safety spot.

An undrafted free agent in 2010, Stewart reportedly visited the Carolina Panthers earlier this week.

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Towson faces Fordham Saturday in second round of FCS playoffs

Posted on 06 December 2013 by WNST Staff

TIGERS HOST FORDHAM IN NCAA FCS PLAYOFF GAME

Seventh-Seeded Tigers Seeking 11th Win of the Season

TOWSON, Md. –  Looking to advance to the quarter-finals of the NCAA FCS Championship, Coach Rob Ambrose and the Towson University football team will host Fordham University in a second-round FCS playoff game on Saturday, December 7 at Johnny Unitas® Stadium at 1:00 p.m.

The Tigers were one of eight seeded teams that received first-round byes. Fordham improved its record to 12-1 with a 37-27 victory over Sacred Heart in a first round game last week.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Ryan Rose and former Delaware Coach K.C. Keeler calling the action.

While the two coaches in the game, Ambrose and Joe Moorhead, have many things in common, Towson and Fordham play two drastically different styles of football. While the Tigers rank among the national leaders by averaging 235.2 rushing yards per game, Fordham passes for 358.3 yards per game.

In 12 games, Towson has scored 61 touchdowns, 40 of which have come on running plays. Fordham has 63 touchdowns, 34 touchdowns on pass plays.

Both coaches are the head coaches at their alma mater. Ambrose graduated from Towson in 1993, and Moorhead is a member of Fordham’s Class of 1996. When Ambrose left the University of Connecticut to become the head coach at Towson, Moorhead succeeded him as the Huskies’ offensive coordinator.

Both Ambrose and Moorhead have orchestrated amazing turnarounds at their schools. In Ambrose’s first two seasons at Towson, the Tigers had a 3-19 record. In the last three years, Towson has a 26-9 mark. In 2011, Fordham was 1-10. In his second season as the Rams’ head coach, Moorhead has led Fordham to a 12-1 record.

In addition, both coaches recorded wins over NCAA FBS programs this season. In August, Ambrose coached the Tigers to a 33-18 victory over Connecticut. A few weeks later, Moorhead guided the Rams to a 30-29 win over Temple.

The Tigers, who are making their second NCAA FCS playoff appearance in the last three years, have won 14 of their last 16 games dating back to the 2012 season.

Last season, Towson posted a final record of 7-4 and finished the regular season with a four-game winning streak that included road wins against three nationally ranked teams. However, the Tigers did not receive a post-season bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs. That led to the motto for this year’s team, “Leave No Doubt.”

“Everybody had a bad taste in their mouths after last season,” recalls Coach Ambrose. “We were disappointed that we didn’t take care of business when we had the opportunity to do so. We won our last four games and beat some very good teams, but we left our fate in the hands of a committee. We didn’t want that to happen again.”

With their regular season mark of 10-2 and a top five national ranking in the final two polls, the Tigers left no doubt and earned a number seven seed.

The Tiger offense has been led by junior running back Terrance West (Northwestern H.S./Baltimore, Md.) and senior quarterback Peter Athens (Huntingtown H.S./Huntingtown, Md.). Towson ranks among the NCAA FCS leaders, averaging 459.9 yards of total offense per game and 37.2 points per conest.

One of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award, West leads NCAA FCS with 155.4 rushing yards per game. He has rushed for 1,865 yards on 301 attempts, an average of 6.2 yards per carry. He needs 135 rushing yards to become the 12th player in FCS history to run for 2,000 yards in a season. The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Offensive Player of the Year, West has rushed for more than 100 yards in 10 of 12 games.

With a total of 31 touchdowns, West leads all of college football in touchdowns scored. In his career, he has scored 75 touchdowns in 33 games.

Athens is averaging 232.2 yards of total offense per game. He has completed 199 of 316 passes for 2,634 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has only been sacked nine times.

Senior linebacker Telvion Clark (Granby H.S./Norfolk, Va.) leads the Tiger defense. A first team All-CAA selection, he was named as the CAA Defensive Player of the Week twice. Honored as the FCS National Defensive Player of the Week by “The Sports Network” after the Tigers’ win at Richmond, Clark has made 107 tackles in 12 games. In addition, he leads the CAA with five forced fumbles and has recovered three fumbles, tied for first in the CAA.

The defense will be facing one of the top passing offenses in the nation when the Tigers host Fordham. The Rams average 38.3 points per game, 12th in the nation.

The Tigers will counter with a secondary that includes three All-CAA performers, senior cornerback Jordan Love(Deep Run H.S./Washington, D.C.), junior cornerback Tye Smith (Wakefield H.S./Raleigh, N.C.) and sophomore safety Christian Carpenter (Aberdeen H.S./Aberdeen, Md.).

A first team All-CAA selection, Love has made 43 tackles with nine pass breakups. Smith is third on the team with 85 tackles and has broken up 10 passes. He has also intercepted two passes and forced two fumbles. Carpenter was also a first team All-CAA honoree after making 65 tackles. He has also intercepted three passes and made two fumble recoveries.

The winner of the Towson-Fordham game will face the winner of the Eastern Illinois-Tennessee State game onDec. 13 or Dec. 14.

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Predicting the 2013 Ravens roster after the final preseason game

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Predicting the 2013 Ravens roster after the final preseason game

Posted on 29 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The Ravens concluded their preseason with a 24-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams in a game that featured none of the team’s starters and extensive work for a number of bubble players fighting for spots on the 53-man roster.

With third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie playing the entire game, it’s difficult to conclude that anything changed dramatically in the competition at wide receiver and tight end where a few spots were still up for grabs. However, the battles for the potential No. 3 running back job and the fourth safety spot featured plenty of action for players projected to be on the bubble.

The Ravens appeared to suffer only one significant injury in Thursday’s game as linebacker D.J. Bryant suffered a significant knee injury at the end of the first half that will likely sideline him for the rest of the season. Though the Randallstown High alum was a long shot to make the 53-man roster, he appeared to be a solid candidate for the practice squad after joining the Ravens in that capacity last year.

My final look at the roster suggests 44 healthy players are locks as the Ravens make final decisions by Saturday. My assessment of the 75 players on the roster lists 16 players on the bubble with at least some chance of making the final roster. Not all bubble players are on equal footing, with certain positions lacking quality depth and others enjoying an abundance of talent.

Though general manager Ozzie Newsome, Harbaugh, and the remainder of the coaching staff and front office are cognizant of the number of players at each position, trying to pinpoint a specific number of wide receivers or linebackers isn’t the most accurate way of projecting the roster. The Ravens will always look carefully at players’ special-teams abilities in addition to what they bring to their specific positional group.

The Ravens must trim the roster to the regular-season number of 53 by 6 p.m. on Saturday, and Harbaugh told reporters following Thursday’s game that some cuts would be made early while others likely wouldn’t come until Saturday.

The numbers in parentheses indicate the total number of players projected to be on the 53-man roster at that given position. Players listed as injured or suspended do not count against the 53-man roster when final cuts are made. Players deemed to be on the bubble are marked with an asterisk.

QUARTERBACKS (2)
IN: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor
OUT: Caleb Hanie, Dayne Crist
Skinny: The Ravens were wise in keeping Taylor out of harm’s way and allowing Hanie to go the distance. All signs point to Baltimore carrying just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster for the fourth straight season.

RUNNING BACKS & FULLBACKS (6)
IN: Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Vonta Leach, Kyle Juszczyk, *Anthony Allen, *Bobby Rainey
OUT: *Delone Carter
Skinny: Some flexibility — or lack of depth — at other positions might allow the Ravens to carry both Allen and Rainey on the roster for the time being. Allen is a standout special-teams player with limited ability at running back while Rainey shows offensive upside but offers little to the special teams other than as a backup returner.

WIDE RECEIVERS (7)
IN: Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Brandon Stokley, Marlon Brown, *Tandon Doss, *Deonte Thompson, *Aaron Mellette
OUT: *LaQuan Williams
Skinny: Williams saw no time at wide receiver on Thursday night, making it difficult to read where he stands at this point. Brown turned himself into a lock — he won’t make it through waivers to the practice squad — after a strong performance for the second straight game while Doss and Mellette also played well in the preseason finale.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
IN: Ed Dickson, *Dallas Clark, *Billy Bajema
OUT: *Matt Furstenburg, Alex Silvestro
INJURED RESERVE: Dennis Pitta (will be placed on injured reserve with a chance of receiving the designation to return)
Skinny: Clark was unimpressive again, but he’s worked with the first-team offense extensively in practices since signing with the Ravens a couple weeks ago. Bajema and Furstenburg did nothing to distinguish themselves, making you think Furstenburg has a better chance of finding his way to the practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
IN: Marshal Yanda, Michael Oher, Bryant McKinnie, Kelechi Osemele, Gino Gradkowski, A.Q. Shipley, Jah Reid, Rick Wagner
OUT: *Jordan Devey, Antoine McClain, Rogers Gaines, J.J. Unga, Reggie Stephens
INJURED: Ryan Jensen (will likely be placed on injured reserve after suffering a broken foot in the first week of camp)
Skinny: Devey has had a solid preseason, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens add another veteran to bolster their depth with only eight linemen projected to be on the roster at this point. The fact that Gradkowski didn’t play in the preseason finale tells you he has won the starting center job to begin the season with Shipley backing him up.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Ravens-Rams pre-game notes

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Ravens-Rams pre-game notes

Posted on 29 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Thursday night marked the final chance for a handful of bubble players to secure one of the remaining spots on the 53-man roster as the Ravens take on the St. Louis Rams in the preseason finale.

After announcing earlier in the week that starting quarterback Joe Flacco wouldn’t play in the fourth preseason game — marking the fifth straight year he’s sat out the final preseason contest — coach John Harbaugh was expected to rest most of his starters with the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos only a week away. Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor went through pre-game warmups at the Edward Jones Dome, which was a strong indication that he’s been cleared from the concussion suffered last week against the Carolina Panthers, but it remained unclear whether he’d play against the Rams.

Reports from St. Louis also indicated tight end Ed Dickson was going through pre-game warmups, but many others weren’t suited up to play, including running back Ray Rice, linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, cornerback Lardarius Webb, right guard Marshal Yanda, and left tackle Bryant McKinnie. The Ravens hadn’t released a conclusive list of inactive players 30 minutes prior to the 8:00 p.m. kickoff.

The Ravens will be meeting the Rams for the fourth time ever in the preseason as St. Louis enters the game with a 3-0 all-time mark in the exhibition contests. Baltimore leads the all-time regular-season series by a 3-2 margin and won a 37-7 blowout in St. Louis in the teams’ last meeting in 2011.

Harbaugh is now 15-8 in preseason games with the Ravens holding a 42-28 overall mark in the preseason. Baltimore has won 14 of its last 19 preseason games.

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Ravens-Rams preseason primer: Five players to watch

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Ravens-Rams preseason primer: Five players to watch

Posted on 28 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The Ravens have reached the light at the end of the preseason tunnel as they’ll conclude the summer against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night.

From an entertainment standpoint, the preseason finale has rarely been one in which you can cut the electricity with a knife as Joe Flacco has already been confirmed by head coach John Harbaugh to be a spectator on Thursday. The starting quarterback won’t be alone as many starters will not take the field at all at the Edward Jones Dome in a game that means nothing for players who have already sewn up spots on the 53-man roster.

Of course, Harbaugh and the coaching staff will be expecting a strong performance from the players who will see action, many of whom are fighting for no more than a few jobs.

“We’re getting ready to go play St. Louis,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to do our best to go out there and try to win that game within the parameters of what helps our football team going forward into the regular season.”

In all reality, most roster decisions have already been made with the preseason finale not doing much to change the dynamics of the 53-man squad that must be finalized by Saturday at 6 p.m. Players with no realistic shot of making the team are hoping to put forth a good performance that might garner attention from other teams looking to fill out their rosters and practice squads in the coming days.

Potential competitions remain for the third running job, the No. 3 tight end, and the fourth safety job if the Ravens elect to keep each of those positions. And, of course, much attention will be paid to the wide receivers currently on the bubble, but you have to wonder how many conclusions the coaching staff can draw from the wideouts playing with reserve quarterback Caleb Hanie and potentially the newly-signed Dayne Crist.

Harbaugh was asked Tuesday how many times he could recall roster spots being decided by just a play or two made in the preseason finale.

“Probably not often, in all reality,” Harbaugh said. “But I would say in this game, there are a couple of those. There are a couple guys that, perhaps if they really, really play well, they could really play themselves on [to the 53-man roster]. Or, guys could play themselves off. It’s possible.”

The Ravens will be meeting the Rams for the fourth time ever in the preseason as St. Louis enters the game with a 3-0 all-time mark in the exhibition contests. Baltimore leads the all-time regular-season series by a 3-2 margin and won a 37-7 blowout in St. Louis in the teams’ last meeting in 2011.

Harbaugh is now 15-8 in preseason games with the Ravens holding a 42-28 overall mark in the preseason. Baltimore has won 14 of its last 19 preseason games.

Unofficial (and largely speculative) injury report

The Ravens are not required to produce an injury report like they do for regular-season games, but I’ve offered my best guess on what the injury report would look like if one were to be released.

Of course, the final preseason game will include many players sitting out due to Harbaugh’s preference with the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos just a week from Thursday night. This estimated report does not reflect any of the veterans who will watch from the sidelines and is only an indication of the team’s current health.

Inside linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), and outside linebacker Adrian Hamilton (wrist) are no longer on the active roster and are no longer included in the injury report.

Again, this is not an official injury report released by the Ravens:

OUT: WR Deonte Thompson (foot), LB Pernell McPhee (knee), OL Ryan Jensen (foot), TE Dennis Pitta (hip)
DOUBTFUL: TE Ed Dickson (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Arthur Jones (personal health issue), QB Tyrod Taylor (head)
PROBABLE: G Marshal Yanda (shoulder), CB Lardarius Webb (knee)

Five players to watch Thursday night

1. RB Delone Carter

While few fans are enthused to watch the fourth and final preseason game consisting of few starters, the contest will offer the first glance of Carter, who was acquired from Indianapolis in the David Reed trade. At 5-foot-9 and 232 pounds, Carter is a low-to-the-ground power runner with the reputation of being effective at the goal line and in short-yardage situations, two areas in which the Ravens struggled at times last season.

The real question may be how much of an impact Carter can bring to special teams as the potential No. 3 running back with third-year veteran Anthony Allen strong in that regard and Bobby Rainey having intriguing potential as a backup return specialist. Much discussion of last impressions being made in the preseason finale is overblown, but Carter has only had a couple practices to show off his ability, meaning Thursday will be critical for his potential future in Baltimore.

2. WR LaQuan Williams

It’s difficult to predict whether the performance of any of the bubble receivers on Thursday night will carry much stock in final roster decisions if the likes of Hanie and Crist are under center, but Williams hasn’t followed up his strong performance in the preseason opener in the way he would have liked. Always a good special-teams player, Williams has lacked consistency as a wideout this summer and saw rookies Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette receive opportunities with the first-team offense in recent weeks while he only received a few token reps here and there.

A standout play or two on special teams would likely put an exclamation point on his case for a spot on the 53-man roster for the third straight season, but Williams would like to leave a lasting impression as a wide receiver as well. The coaching staff has always been complimentary of his work ethic, but Williams doesn’t have the impressive height or blazing speed of other receivers with which he’s competing and his value on special teams can only go so far with so much uncertainty at the wide receiver position as a whole.

3. DE DeAngelo Tyson

It’s remarkable to think how far the defensive line has come since last season when Tyson was seeing critical snaps in the second half of Super Bowl XLVII after Haloti Ngata went down with a knee injury. The 2012 seventh-round pick hasn’t necessarily had a poor summer, but he is clearly seventh in the pecking order of a deep group of options with various skills against the run and pass.

Tyson’s fate will come down to the simple numbers as the coaching staff decides whether players at other positions would be better fits for roster spots than keeping Tyson as a seventh defensive lineman. Statistics usually aren’t a great indication of how well a defensive lineman has fared, but Tyson’s two tackles reflect the quiet preseason we’ve observed from the Georgia product.

4. TE Billy Bajema

Following the Ravens’ decision to terminate the contract of veteran Visanthe Shiancoe last weekend, many assumed this opened the door for rookie Matt Furstenburg to be the No. 3 tight end, but veteran Billy Bajema is a reliable blocking tight end with some ability as a pass catcher when given opportunities. He saw a great deal of action late last season when Ed Dickson was sidelined with a knee injury and held up well as the blocking tight end behind Dennis Pitta.

In most cases, teams will go with the younger, cheaper option when rookies and veterans are evenly matched in a competition for a roster spot, but the Ravens were using Bajema over Furstenburg with the starting offense prior to the free-agent signing of Dallas Clark a couple weeks ago. Bajema is also a positive special-teams contributor, which is something that shouldn’t be overlooked when the Ravens make their final decision on a potential third tight end.

5. S Anthony Levine

Fellow safety Omar Brown might be more of a household name after a strong 2012 preseason, but Levine has appeared to receive more opportunities with the starting special-teams units during the preseason, which could be an indication of which way the Ravens are leaning for the fourth safety spot — if they decide to keep one. Levine is bigger than Brown and was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad last November before eventually going on injured reserve, which paved the way for Brown to be promoted in December.

This might be a rare roster battle that comes down to a matter of who can make a play or two in the preseason finale to sell the coaches on a potential decision. Levine has eight tackles this summer while Brown has five; however, Levine has made one special-teams tackle but appeared to be one of the guilty parties to misplay his lane assignment in the Ted Ginn Jr. 74-yard punt return for a touchdown last week in Baltimore.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 27 August 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Pro Wrestling-WWE Live Show (Sunday 5pm Verizon Center); WNBA: Washington Mystics @ Atlanta Dream (Wednesday 7pm from Atlanta live on NBA TV); USA Hockey Training Camp Public Day (Tuesday 7am Kettler Capitals IcePlex)

10. Live/Kelly Bell Band (Saturday 2pm/6pm Baltimore Grand Prix); Luke Bryan (Wednesday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Maze feat. Frankie Beverly (Saturday 7pm Verizon Center); John Mayer (Saturday 7:30pm Jiffy Lube Live); Lyle Lovett and His Large Band (Thursday 8pm Wolf Trap); Anthony Hamilton (Wednesday & Thursday 8pm Howard Theatre), Salt-N-Pepa (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Three Dog Night (Wednesday & Friday 7:30pm Birchmere); Fall Out Boy (Thursday 7:30pm Maryland State Fair), Three Days Grace (Sunday 7:30pm Maryland State Fair); Franz Ferdinand “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Hyperbole be damned. Live is one of the most consistently fantastic bands of the last 25 years. It’s a shame things couldn’t stay together.

The Kelly Bell Band…or as you know them…David Modell and I’s favorite band…

I know what John Mayer is now. I also know that there was a time I half enjoyed him.

I have probably enjoyed WAY more Fall Out Boy songs in my life than I’d ever like to admit.

9. Maryland State Fair (Tuesday-Monday Timonium Fairgrounds); Maryland Renaissance Festival (Saturday-Monday RenFest Fairgrounds); Finesse Mitchell (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Jake Johannsen (Wednesday-Sunday DC Improv);  The Great Gatsby” and “Pain & Gain” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)”

I’ll make an appearance in Timonium this week. When I do, there will be a peach sundae involved.

And yeah, maybe a red velvet funnel cake.

Don’t judge.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Former Steeler Harrison, Amendola drawing interest from Ravens

Posted on 13 March 2013 by Luke Jones

The best rivalry in the NFL has taken some hits over the last couple years due to retirements and anticipated free-agent departures, but a piece of news on Tuesday could breathe instant life into showdowns between the Ravens and Steelers.

A source told WNST.net that the Ravens have reached out to former Steelers linebacker James Harrison and the organization is apparently interested in acquiring the services of the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Harrison was released last weekend after the Steelers and agent Bill Parise were unable to come to terms on a renegotiation. The 34-year-old was scheduled to make $6.57 million this year and was previously signed through the 2014 season.

Originally signed by Pittsburgh as a rookie free agent in 2002, Harrison spent some time with the Ravens organization — and was allocated to NFL Europe — before he was re-signed by the Steelers and eventually exploded onto the scene by becoming a starter in 2007. After making five straight Pro Bowls and accumulating 54 sacks from 2007 through 2011, Harrison was limited to just six sacks in 13 games last season.

For the right price, Harrison could be a good short-term fit to fill the situational pass rusher role previously held by Paul Kruger, who signed a $41 million contract with the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday. However, it’s fair to wonder how much production Harrison has left in the tank with his 35th birthday coming up in May.

Another name to keep an eye on is St. Louis Rams free-agent wide receiver Danny Amendola, who has reportedly drawn some interest from the Ravens in light of the trade of Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday. However, there has been some conflicting information as CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported Wednesday morning that the Ravens haven’t shown interest in the wideout.

The 5-foot-11 slot receiver made 63 receptions for 666 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games as Sam Bradford’s primary target in 2012.

Amendola was an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech in 2008 but eventually found a niche with the St. Louis Rams. Injuries have been a concern for the 27-year-old Amendola over the last two seasons as a broken arm cost him nearly the entire 2011 season and suffered a dislocated clavicle last season.

No one should confuse his ability in the slot with the physical approach of Boldin over the last three seasons, but Amendola could be a nice fit as a part of the equation to replace Boldin’s production in the Baltimore offense.

According to a Pro Football Talk report, Amendola is planning to visit two teams in free agency, but those teams have yet to be disclosed.

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Loyola looks to extend win streak Friday at Rhode Island

Posted on 22 November 2012 by WNST Staff

Game Data

Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball returns to New England for the second time in a week, this time to the Ocean State for a Friday, November 23, date with the University of Rhode Island.

Tip-off is slated for 7 o’clock at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I. The game is a part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament, an event in which the Greyhounds won the Springfield Division last weekend at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

 

Series History

Loyola and Rhode Island will be meeting for the third time in series history when they take the court on Friday night.

The Rams hold a 2-0 lead in the series with the last game coming on New Year’s Eve 1989, a 91-71 Rhode Island win in Kingston. The first meeting between the programs came on December 6, 1946 when Loyola’s Lefty Reitz-coached team fell 84-55 at Rhode Island. The team, however, would go on to a 20-12 record that season and win the Mason-Dixon Conference title.

 

Last Time Out

Loyola forced 10 Albany turnovers in the first half and pushed out to a 28-10 lead with just under 11 minutes to play in the stanza before fending off a Great Danes’ rally late to defeat the America East Conference foe, 67-64. The Greyhounds earned the Springfield Division Championship, and brought home the championship trophy named for the late college basketball icon Dave Gavitt, with the win.

Albany’s Jacob Iati tied the game with a 30-foot 3-pointer, leaving 3.1 seconds on the clock for the Greyhounds to call a timeout and set the final play. Dylon Cormier scored with 1.5 ticks left and converted a free throw after he was fouled, and the Great Danes turned the ball over on their inbound play, securing the win.

Erik Etherly, who was named the Springfield Bracket Most Valuable Player, led all players with 23 points, and Cormier, who joined Etherly on the All-Tournament Team, added 16. Winbush tallied 12 points, a game-best five assists and matched Etherly for team-high honors with seven rebounds.

 

Winning Combo

After Albany tied the game with 3.1 ticks on the clock, Loyola Head Coach Jimmy Patsos set up an inbound play in a timeout. Graduate student Anthony Winbush threw a baseball pass 80 feet to Dylon Cormier  who was inside the opposite foul line. Cormier caught the pass, laid it in with his right hand and was fouled in the process by Albany’s D.J. Evans with 1.5 seconds left.

Cormier made the free throw to provide the final margin, and Albany’s inbound pass went off the hands of Evans and out-of-bounds to secure the win.

Cormier finished 5-of-9 from the field and 5-of-7 from the foul line for 13 points to go with three assists and two steals.

Winbush’s assist was his game-high fifth of the contest.

 

Steady Performance

Erik Etherly turned in another 20-point game, his second of the season, on Sunday in the title game against Albany, scoring 23 points on 7-of-12 from the floor and 9-of-12 at the line. He also tied Anthony Winbush for team-high honors with seven rebounds.

Etherly had his second 20-plus point game of the week and the young season after recording 22 in Loyola’s Wednesday-night win over UMBC on November 14.

He has now scored 20 or more six times during his tenure at Loyola – hitting or eclipsing the plateau four times last year – and the Greyhounds are 6-0 in those games.

In Loyola’s three wins last week, including a Saturday victory over Norfolk State in which he scored 12 and had nine rebounds, Etherly averaged 19.0 points and 8.0 rebounds. He made 22-of-28 (.786) free throws, as well, during the stretch.

 

Cormier Continues Efficiency

Dylon Cormier made the most of his shots during the first game of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. He converted on 7-of-11 shots, while making 5-of-7 at the free-throw line to score a game-high 19 points.

The junior guard followed that with a 5-of-9 shooting performance against Albany to score 16. In the two games at Mohegan Sun Arena, Cormier shot 60-percent from the field, raising his season average to 50.8-percent (32-of-63).

Steady improvement in shooting percentage has been Cormier’s trait since coming to Loyola. He shot 37.9-percent to average 8.1 points as a freshman in 2010-2011 and improved to 46.1-percent and 13.4 points per game last year. This season, his 50.8-percent mark has translated to an 18.4 points average.

 

Slowing Scorers

Albany guards Mike Black and Jacob Iati entered last Saturday’s game averaging a combined 34.75 points per game, but Loyola held the duo to just 18, including three on Iati’s desperate heave to tie the game with 3.1 seconds left.

Black, who was averaging 18.25 points in four games was 3-of-8 from the field and scored seven points, while Iati went 3-of-7 after averaging 16.5 prior. They also committed eight turnovers in the game.

In the game following Albany’s contest against Loyola – Tuesday at South Carolina State – Black went off for 23 points, making 9-of-11 shots. As a team, the Great Danes set a NCAA Division I record in that game by making 15 3-pointers, although they hit just five versus Loyola.

 

Welcome Back, Winbush

Anthony Winbush made his season debut on Saturday against Norfolk State and played 25 minutes off the bench. The graduate student scored two points, had three steals, three rebounds and two assists.

Winbush made an even bigger impact against Albany, scoring 12 points, matching Erik Etherly for team-high honors with seven rebounds and dishing out a team-high five assists in 31 minutes of action.

 

Hubbard Honored

Redshirt freshman guard Tyler Hubbard was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week on Monday after averaging 10.3 points in three Loyola wins last week.

Hubbard scored a career-high 17 on Wednesday night against UMBC and followed with 11 versus Norfolk State. While he scored just three in the Albany game, he was involved in several key defensive possessions for the Greyhounds at the end of the game.

This season, Hubbard is fourth on the team with a 9.0 points per game average. He is shooting .500 from both 3-point range (12-of-24) and the field at large (15-of-30).

 

Defensive Stance

Loyola used a strong defensive presence in its win over Norfolk State. The Greyhounds forced 19 turnovers, 11 coming via Greyhounds’ steals, a season-high. Loyola also held Norfolk State to 35.8-percent from the field, 33.3-percent in the second half.

Anthony Winbush and Robert Olson each had three steals, and Dylon Cormier came up with a pair.

The Greyhounds also matched their season-high with eight blocked shots. Jordan Latham and Erik Etherly each swatted three, while Jarred Jones had the other two.

 

Guards Early, Posts Late

A pair of Loyola guards, Dylon Cormier and Tyler Hubbard, each scored first half against UMBC, and Robert Olson chipped in six, leading the Greyhounds to a 45-30 advantage at halftime over the Retrievers.

The Greyhounds then turned to the post in the second half where Erik Etherly scored 17 after the break en route to a team-high 22. He made 5-of-8 from the field, including stepping out for his first three of the season, and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in the second half.

Jarred Jones added seven second-half points, knocking down both his shots form inside and going to the line for 3-of-4.

 

Freshmen Produce

A trio of Loyola freshmen combined for 34 points and 15 rebounds against UMBC, as Tyler Hubbard (a redshirt freshman) scored 17, while Jarred Jones and Franz Rassman had eight and nine.

The group also had five assists, six blocked shots and four steals in the win.

Combined the three played 70 minutes against the Retrievers.

 

Jones Making Early Impact

Freshman Jarred Jones has started the first five games of his collegiate career and made a difference on the court for the Greyhounds. A two-time All-Metro honoree by The Baltimore Sun at John Carroll High School, Jones scored nine points and had six rebounds on Sunday evening at Washington. He followed that with a box-score filling nine points, five rebounds, three blocks, three steals and two assists versus UMBC.

In his first game, he debuted with just one point, but he filled several box-score categories in his effort. Jones tallied three rebounds and two each of blocked shots, steals and assists.

 

Hubbard From Behind The Line

Tyler Hubbard knocked down all but one of his 3-point attempts against UMBC and has made 8-of-17 this season from long distance. He scored a career-best 17 points against the Retrievers and also had two assists and a steal.

His 12 3-pointers made lead the team, and he is fourth on the squad in scoring with a 9.0 points per game average.

In his collegiate debut against Binghamton, he made 4-of-9 shots, 3-of-7 from 3-point range, and finished the night with 11 points in his collegiate debut. In the process, he became the first player to reach double figures in his first collegiate game since Jawaan Wright came off the bench to score 10 on November 19, 2005, against Towson University.

 

Brooks’ Big Game

Julius Brooks provided 20 solid minutes in the post off the bench for the Greyhounds, recording eight points and a game-high seven rebounds versus Binghamton. Those numbers were not career-highs for the senior, but they were the best he’s put up in some time.

Brooks saw limited action in 29 games last season, averaging just 4.7 minutes per game, but matched his career-high with 28 minutes. His eight points were his most since scoring a career-best 10 on January 31, 2010, as a freshman, and his seven boards were his high since February 25, 2011, when he had eight. Both of those games came against Niagara University.

At Washington, he scored five, had a pair of rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot against the Huskies.

He made his first start since February 2010, his freshman season, on Wednesday night against UMBC.

 

MAAC Preseason Poll & Player of the Year

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference unveiled its preseason coaches’ poll and the league’s Preseason Player of the Year on Friday night in a live Preseason Awards Show on ESPN3. Loyola was named the team to beat in 2012-2013, and Erik Etherly was tabbed the Preseason Player of the Year by the coaches. (Complete poll and All-MAAC teams at left).

This is the first time Loyola has been selected No. 1 in the MAAC preseason poll in 24 years in the league, nor had a Greyhound player been named Preseason Player of the Year prior to Etherly.

Three Loyola players were named to the various Preseason All-MAAC teams as voted on by the coaches of the league.

Erik Etherly earned an All-MAAC First Team nod, while Dylon Cormier and Robert Olson were named to the Second Team.

 

Classy Senior

Senior guard Robert Olson was named one of 30 candidates for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award last week. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Olson was the Greyhounds’ third-leading scorer last season with 11.1 points per game and enters this season Loyola ranked fourth at Loyola in 3-point percentage (138-of-336, .4107) sixth in career 3-pointers made (138) and eighth in 3-pointers attempted (336). Last season, Olson was one of four Loyola players to earn All-MAAC honors, picking up Third Team mention and later All-Tournament honors.

 

High Marks

The Loyola men’s basketball team scored the highest amongst squads in the State of Maryland in the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate report. The Greyhounds checked in with a 91-percent GSR, tops among the state’s nine Division I schools, for players who entered the school between 2002-2005.

 

Saint Peter’s Game At The Meadowlands

The Loyola-Saint Peter’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game slated for Saturday, December 8, has been moved from the Peacocks’ Jersey City campus to the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J., at the Meadowlands complex.

The Greyhounds and Peacocks will tip-off at 12 noon prior to the second game of the doubleheader between Duke and Temple.

 

Second NCAA Trip

Last year, Loyola made its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 18 seasons, a span of 17 years, 11 months and 23 days. In all, it was 6,569 days between NCAA Tournament Games for the Greyhounds.

Last year’s true freshmen – Tyler Hubbard and R.J. Williams – were less than one year old the last time Loyola played in an NCAA match.

 

MAAC Title

Loyola won its second MAAC Championship in 23 years in the conference on Monday, March 5, 2012, defeating Fairfield University, 48-44, in the lowest scoring championship game in league history.

The Greyhounds held Fairfield to just six second-half field goals and 28.8-percent shooting in the game.

Loyola, which finished second in the conference during the regular season and earned the No. 2 seed in the league tournament, defeated Niagara University and Siena College in the MAAC Quarterfinals and Semifinals, respectively.

 

Turnaround…Check

Loyola completed the turnaround from finishing the 2003-2004 season with the lowest RPI in NCAA Division I basketball. The Greyhounds finished that season with a 1-27 record the season before Jimmy Patsos took over as head coach.

Since then, Loyola has gone 122-123 and culminated the turnaround by winning a school Division I record 24 games  in 2011-2012.

Patsos is one of only three coaches at the Division I level in the last 20 years to take over a program that had won zero or one game the year prior to then win 100 games at the school. He joins Steve Cleveland (BYU) and Pat Douglass (UC-Irvine) as the others.

 

Patsos Named Coach & Man Of The Year

Jimmy Patsos became the first Loyola coach to earn The Rock/Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors by a vote of his peers in the league.

Patsos guided the Greyhounds to a school Division I high 24 wins and a program MAAC record 13 victories. He earned his 100th career coaching victory in November 2012 and led the Greyhounds to the No. 2 seed in the MAAC Championships.

Later in March, Patsos was named the Skip Prosser Man of the Year award for his work on and off the court, an honor presented by CollegeInsider.com.

 

2012 All-MAAC Honors

For the first time since the league expanded to three All-MAAC teams in 1998, four Greyhounds received all-league honors, topping all teams in the conference. Erik Etherly was named to the All-MAAC First Team, Dylon Cormier to the Second, and Justin Drummond and Robert Olson to the Third.

Loyola led all teams in the MAAC with its four selections, just in front of Iona’s three.

The Greyhounds’ previous high was at the end of the 1997-1998 season when Mike Powell (1st), Jason Rowe (2nd) and Roderick Platt (3rd) earned All-MAAC honors.

Etherly led Loyola in scoring (13.7), rebounding (7.5) and blocked shots (50), while finishing second on the team with 63 assists. He shot .530 from the field, good for third in the conference

Cormier was second on the team in scoring, just back of Etherly, with a 13.4 points per game average while improving his field-goal percentage nearly 10 points from his freshman season to .461 as a sophomore.

Drummond has come off the bench in 29 of the Greyhounds’ 33 games last year and is fourth on the team with 11.1 points per game. The guard as also third in rebounding (3.9), and he has scored in double figures 17 times this year.

Olson was one of the top 3-point shooters in the conference last year. He shot .431 from behind the arc, third-best in the MAAC, and averaged 11.1 points per game. The guard entered the month of January averaging less than nine points per game, but from that point forward, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at nearly 13 a contest.

 

Century Mark

Head Coach Jimmy Patsos became the third coach in Loyola history to win 100 games when the Greyhounds defeated UMBC, 73-63, on the road last season. Patsos, who is now in his ninth season, took over a team that finished 1-27 during the 2002-2003 season. He won his 100th game in his 215th career game.

Last season, Patsos moved into third-place all time at Loyola in victories, trailing only Lefty Reitz (349 wins, 1937-44, 1945-61) and Nap Doherty (165, 1961-74).

Loyola All-Time Coaching Wins List
1. 349 Lefty Reitz 1937-1944, 1945-1961
2. 165 Nap Doherty 1961-1974
3. 126 Jimmy Patsos 2004-present
4. 85 Mark Amatucci 1982-1989
5. 72 Gary Dicovitsky 1976-1981

 

 

Baltimore Bred And More From Nearby

Since taking over as head coach in 2004, Jimmy Patsos has put an emphasis on recruiting locally, and it has never shown as much as on this year’s roster. Four players – junior guard Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons), junior forward Jordan Latham (City) and sophomore guard R.J. Williams and freshman forward Josh Forney (St. Frances) are products of schools within the city limits.

Six more players played in high school within 50 miles of Loyola, as the crow flies (thanks daftlogic.com): Jarred Jones, John Carroll, 20.5; Tyler Hubbard, Montrose Christian, 32.6 miles; Robert Olson, Georgetown Prep, 33.9; Anthony Winbush, T.C. Williams, 43.7; and Erik Etherly, Annandale, 47.9.

 

What’s Next

Loyola plays a pair of Baltimore-area teams in the five days following its contest at Rhode Island. The Greyhounds host Towson University at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, November 26, before traveling to Coppin State University for a 7:30 p.m. tip on Wednesday, November 28.

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Towson looks to keep playoff hopes alive Saturday against Rhode Island

Posted on 09 November 2012 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. - The Tigers will be seeking their third consecutive victory when they host Rhode Island at Unitas Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers are facing the Rams for the 13th time in a series that is even at six wins each. Towson has won four of the last five meetings, including a 28-17 win at Meade Stadium last year. That victory enabled the Tigers to clinch their first Colonial Athletic Association championship.
Towson enters this week’s game tied for fourth place in the CAA with Richmond (6-3, 4-2) and Villanova (6-3, 4-2). The Tigers and the Spiders do not play this season and Towson beat Villanova.
Next week’s opponent, New Hampshire (8-2, 6-1) leads the CAA, one-half game ahead of James Madison (7-2, 5-1) and Old Dominion (8-1, 5-1). ODU is not eligible for the CAA championship because of its plans to move to NCAA FBS status.
The Tigers, who are the defending CAA champions, have won 11 of their last 14 CAA games. Towson was 7-1 in 2011 and has a 4-2 record this year. From 2007 to 2010, the Tigers were 3-29 in CAA games.
Towson is also seeking its second straight appearance in the NCAA FCS playoffs. Last year, the Tigers earned the CAA’s automatic bid as conference champion. Towson earned a first-round bye and dropped a 40-38 heartbreaker to Lehigh in the second round of the playoffs before a sellout crowd at Unitas Stadium.

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Ravens-Rams pre-game notes

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Ravens-Rams pre-game notes

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Luke Jones

Traveling to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis for their final preseason game, the Ravens will rest most of their starters and provide fringe players and rookies a final chance in staking a claim for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Though an official inactive list wasn’t released by the team prior to kickoff, quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice, linebacker Ray Lewis, and safety Ed Reed headline a long list of starters who will not see action. That means younger players such as backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor and rookie running back Bernard Pierce will start and see extensive playing time against the Rams.

Interestingly enough new head coach Jeff Fisher intends to play the St. Louis starters well into the second half, which will provide a good physical test for the Ravens’ backups and young players to see how they stack up to known commodities in the NFL.

The Ravens must make final cuts to get down to the maximum of 53 players on their roster by 9 p.m. Friday night. Coach John Harbaugh will meet with the media at 12:30 p.m. on Friday after the team conducts a walk-through.

Tonight’s game can be seen on WBAL-TV and Comcast SportsNet at 7 p.m., but be sure to follow along with WNST.net as we chime in with updates and analysis on our official Twitter account.

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