Tag Archive | "Randy Moss"

Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Tuesday!

It’s a Happy Tuesday for me because Bear Grylls did a “heli-oop” in a recent Degree commercial (Thanks Deadspin/YouTube!)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AytBhd_NwH8[/youtube]

In a related story, I once rode in a helicopter. I was so nervous I peed a little. Bear Grylls once drank his OWN urine!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2zITvSp0Hk[/youtube]

You see, he and I have so much in common!!!

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens LB Tavares Gooden, WR Donte’ Stallworth don’t expect to find out status for Week 9 until Sunday

My gut says both guys will play, but I feel stronger about Stallworth than Gooden right now. The Ravens not only need a different option at WR (Stallworth POTENTIALLY gives them a speed threat), but they really need a punt returner-especially with Tom Zbikowski still out of practice while he remains in a walking boot.

As far as Gooden is concerned-there is at least a chance the Ravens could choose to hold him out for another week given the depth they now have inside with Brendon Ayanbadejo healthy and with Jason Phillips having played well on Special Teams. But if Gooden is fully healthy-and he looks like he’s pretty close-he plays.

At that point, the Ravens have to find seven true scratches again to go with an injured Zbikowski. The likely names are Scott Kooistra, Dennis Pitta, Ken Hamlin, Arthur Jones, Lamar Divens, Jason Phillips and David Reed, as they’re the guys who have been inactive at times during the first seven weeks of the season.

2. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Ravens came back to Owings Mills in 1st place in AFC North

Which is better than the alternative, but clearly doesn’t matter much.

The bottom line is that there is little chance the Ravens make it through the rest of their schedule without at least two more losses. They have tough games at the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans; as well as dates with the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. A more realistic expectation is probably an 11-5 finish.

The Steelers’ schedule doesn’t appear to be quite as tricky. The Ravens are the only team with a .500 or better record that they still have to face away from the Steel City. They do have to welcome the New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders and New York Jets to Heinz Field; but that schedule sets up much better.

That’s why the Steelers’ loss to the New Orleans Saints Sunday night was significant. If they had won that one, they would have been in UNBELIEVABLE shape to win the division. At this point, it looks like the two teams will be in a dogfight.

(Note: This is Week 9. In a month, all of this could be different. In fact, it probably will be.)

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says CB Fabian Washington watched Buffalo Bills tape 3 times, ready to move on

We’ve all had bad moments.

During one of my first overnight DJ shifts back at WHFS, I forgot to turn my mic off after introducing a White Stripes record (I think it was “Seven Nation Army”) and listeners throughout the Old Line State were blessed with the opportunity to hear my variation of Jack White.

Why would I ever listen to that aircheck again? Mostly to make fun of myself. Why would Fabian Washington watch the tapes of getting abused by Lee Evans? He probably did it to get BETTER.

If the Ravens for some reason choose NOT to return Fabian Washington to his starting spot Sunday against the Fins, I would have to recommend they consider Ximena Navarrette. (Thanks Guyism!)

navarette

4. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says TE Todd Heap ‘feeling better’ after aggravating shoulder stinger in win over Bills

Before we move on from the Ravens, a few things…

-Did you miss former Ravens head coach Brian Billick (NFL Network/Fox Sports) with Drew Forrester Tuesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Nick Faust (City Guard/#25 ranked prospect)-who joined Drew Tuesday morning to discuss his commitment to head to College Park in 2011
  • Andrew Perloff (SI)-who joined Drew Tuesday morning to talk Randy Moss and all things NFL
  • Patrick Stevens (D1scourse/CSNWashington.com/Fanhouse)-who joined Drew Thursday morning to talk Terps hoops and Terps football
  • Our “Tuesday Top 7″-which this week was a look at the Top 7 NFL MVP candidates thus far this season
  • Plenty of audio from 1 Winning Drive Monday, including Head Coach John Harbaugh, WR Derrick Mason, Heap and Stallworth
  • Postgame audio from last night’s Maryland-Florida Southern game, including Jordan Williams, Cliff Tucker and Sean Mosley
  • Tommy Polley (Former Ravens/Dunbar LB)-who joined Thyrl Nelson Monday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to discuss Week 8 NFL action
  • Brad Edwards (ESPN)-who joined Thyrl Monday to talk all things BCS and College Football
  • Tim Layden (Sports Illustrated)-who joined Rex Snider Monday on “The Afternoon Drive” to discuss Ray Lewis’ legacy and more

It’s all in the Audio Vault. So your day…for the millionth time…is planned well in advance. Just go ahead and thank me now so you don’t have to do it later.

5. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Jordan Williams lead Maryland with 18 points in exhibition win over Florida Southern

And coming from someone who ventured down to Comcast Center, it was a real thriller. Trust me.

That being said, it was certainly MUCH better than it could have been.

This team is going to be able to get up and down the floor quickly and they will certainly be able to find ways to score points. There’s an argument that Jack McCallum might write his follow up to “Seven Seconds or Less” about Gary Williams’ team.

The real question is whether or not the team is going to be able to shoot. Last night they were just 4-12 from beyond the arc and 18-30 from the free throw line. It goes without saying that those numbers will need to improve.

That being said, they look like they have an identity post-Greivis Vasquez. That’s good news thus far.

6. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terrapins appear to be loaded with “athletic ability”

I wholeheartedly agree. Patrick made a comment last night that this might be the most athletic group assembled in College Park since the Steve Francis/LaRon Profit/Juan Dixon/Terrence Morris team in 1998-1999.

That team was most remembered as being a team that never minded throwing up an alley-oop; no matter where they were on the floor. Of course, that wasn’t necessarily always a good thing.

If we remember, that team was eliminated (in semi-embarrassing fashion) by St. John’s in the Sweet 16 because the Red Storm were an OUTSTANDING defensive team lead by Ron Artest. Should this Maryland team figure out a way to reach a similar level in the NCAA Tournament, it would be an incredible overachievement.

7. UMTerps.com says Maryland QB Danny O’Brien named ACC Rookie of the Week after throwing 4 TD’s against Wake Forest

What’s more? A handful of fans even recognized him as he was sitting at Comcast Center Monday night watching the Maryland basketball game.

It’s really been a surprisingly good start for O’Brien this season. He’s not Scott McBrien just yet, but he certainly appears like he’s a much more naturally able QB than say Chris Turner.

He’s been good. Good enough that if Holly Peers were on campus in College Park, he’d probably be able to get a date with her. (Thanks Busted Coverage!)

peers

8. ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Terrapins face much more difficult schedule down stretch in ACC play

And before we move on from the Terps, a couple of things…

-On the basketball side, it was announced before last night’s game that Sean Mosley and Dino Gregory would be the team’s captains this season. It was a LITTLE bit surprising considering Mosley is only a junior and both Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie are seniors; but Mosley has a reputation for being a solid practice player and might have more “emotional leader” in his blood.

It also means that the Terps now have two captains from Charm City to go with two of the three assistant coaches on their staff (Bino Ranson, Keith Booth). But someone without a brain will still try to mention that Maryland “cares more about DC than Baltimore.” Lord.

-Also in basketball, the team will hang a banner honoring last year’s ACC (Co) Regular Season champions before next Monday’s season opener against Seattle.

-In football, the ACC announced kickoff times and TV for the team’s next two games. They’re game against the Miami Hurricanes this Sunday will kick off at 12pm and will air on ESPNU. Next Saturday’s trip to Charlottesville to face Virginia will kickoff at 3:30pm and will be seen on ESPN3.com. Hard to generate interest when no one is seeing the games…

9. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Rick Kranitz accepted job with Houston Astros, Texas Rangers special assistant Mark Connor expected to be Orioles pitching coach

Well, if he could help a lowly team like the Rangers win the World Series, just imagine what he could do with the Birds!

(Edit from GMC: Apparently the Rangers did NOT win the World Series. I will be forced to admit that I didn’t watch last night. I chose fake college basketball and Monday Night Football instead.)

I’d offer an opinion here, but it would be misinformed. I don’t REALLY know how much Rick Kranitz did for this team. I do know that the Orioles young pitchers steadily improved last season, so Kranitz might deserve some credit there.

I know LESS about Mark Connor-other than the fact that he shares a name with my 7th grade history teacher. Don’t ask me why I knew my 7th grade history teacher’s full name-and DEFINITELY don’t ask how I remember it.

10. The Sun’s Steve Gould says Baseball America named Manny Machado, Zach Britton top prospects in O’s organization

Yet somehow “JWoww” from Jersey Shore was left off the list despite wearing this for Halloween…

jwoww

Finally, I leave you with this.

In honor of Election Day, I’ll pass along my favorite sign from Saturday’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” at the National Mall in DC. This guy literally made this sign and brought it to a rally. If there wasn’t a legal definition for “awesome” before, there is now…

fajita

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Randy Moss: has baggage …. will travel

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Randy Moss: has baggage …. will travel

Posted on 02 November 2010 by Rex Snider

Just go ahead and admit it …..

As soon as you’re convinced Bill Belichick has finally outsmarted himself and pulled the trigger on a dumb deal, he figuratively fools all of us and snookers another sucker.

Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary of the very public divorce between Randy Moss and the New England Patriots. It’s offically been 27 days, so my conflicted memory still recalls the morning the news broke, quite vividly.

While the deal was not an earth-shattering shocker, it did fuel reaction from a lot of sideline critics. As the football world learned Bill Belichick dealt his sole deep threat receiver to the Minnesota Vikings, a collective bewildering day of sports talk commenced.

Randy Moss was returning HOME, to the team and city where his Hall Of Fame career began. And, all seemed right in Minneapolis ….

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre and wide receiver Randy Moss slap hands after a completion against the New England Patriots in the third quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts October 31, 2010.    REUTERS/Adam Hunger   (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Brett Favre was being teamed with a guy who could catch those Sportscenter-highlighted touchdowns.

Brad Childress was acquiring the player who could validate all the effort devoted to kissing Favre’s ass for an entire offseason.

And, poor Bill Belichick was selling on the “short” …. while walking away with just a measly 3rd round pick in next April’s NFL draft.

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Frank Walker wearing a different shade of purple

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Frank Walker wearing a different shade of purple

Posted on 29 October 2010 by Ryan Chell

Frank Walker

Former Ravens corner Frank Walker may have had his struggles and was highly criticized during his tenure in Baltimore, but with a depleted secondary due to injury, the Minnesota Vikings recently called upon his services in the hopes of bringing a veteran presence in their defensive backfield.

The eighth year veteran out of Tuskegee was signed by the Vikings on October 13th, after multiple injuries hit the Vikings secondary, most notably the injury to Cedric Griffin that left him in IR.

Walker, who had tryouts with the Miami Dolphins and the Houston Texans after not being re-signed by the Ravens in the off-season, had been in the UFL at the time of his signing, and the Vikings saw the former Green Bay Packer and New York Giant as someone who could provide in the Vikings pass defense in an NFC North division that has some strong passing attacks.

“We are going to pluck one game at a time,” Walker told Drew Forrester on  “The Morning Reaction” earlier this week. “This conference is definitely up for grabs.”

Walker has been active for the Vikings (2-4) last two games-including the Vikings second win of the season over the Dallas Cowboys-and a 28-24 loss on Sunday Night Football against his old team in the Green Bay Packers earlier this week.

Walker most of the night drew assignments on either Greg Jennings or James Jones, and despite the two catching 181 yards between themselves, not all of those yards came off Frank Walker.

And more importantly, as Ravens fans cringed every time a pass came his way-Walker drew no pass interference or holding penalties on the night.

And with his team up 17-14 with the first half ending, Walker actually drew pretty good coverage on Jennings-enough that he was able to tip Aaron Rodgers’ pass as it landed in the hands of former Maryland safety Madieu Williams.

While the score remained the same going into the half, the Vikings eventually fell to the Packers, and their struggles continue as the team still only has two wins on the season-far below expectations-and the drama surrounding quarterback Brett Favre continues.

“I still believe that we have a good ball club over here,” Walker told Forrester. “We just have to hold onto things till they start to fall in order for the most part.”

Walker already feels like a member of the Vikings and said his teammates have embraced him. And he has returned that same attitude to his new teammates, especially to one Randy Moss, who will face his old team in the New England Patriots Sunday after the Patriots traded him to Minnesota a few weeks back.

Walker gave Forrester his own insight as to how to stop a player like Randy Moss.

“Do what everybody else is doing…triple team him,” Walker said. “It’s hard because Randy Moss is one person…but everyone has just been double-teaming him…so we’ll see how that plays out.”

Walker may be getting used to Minnesota, but if it were his choice or decision as to where he would call home, it would have been his preference to stay in a Raven uniform, which he did for two seasons. Despite his new gig, he still keeps in contact with several of his defensive co-workers.

“I stay in contact with Fabian Washington, Coach Chuck Pagano, and me and Ray Ray talk every now and then.”

“I tell them it was fun. I had so much fun with ‘Big Ray’. We still talk and play all the time. I have nothing but good things to say about him, and I had a terrific time with him.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Ravens of past, present, and future-even though the bye week! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and sign up for the *FREE* WNST Morning Newspaper to get the best of Baltimore Sports News delivered right to your email inbox-for free!

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Ravens 10-Pack: Baltimore feeling Super at 4-1

Posted on 12 October 2010 by Luke Jones

Even with the daunting task of traveling to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots this Sunday, you have to feel good about the Ravens’ 4-1 start and the early lead atop the AFC North with the first month of the season already in the books.

With three of the first four on the road (two of them division games), you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thought the Ravens would fare better than they have after road victories against the Jets and Steelers. And when you take a look around the rest of the league, the Ravens’ accomplishments look even more impressive.

Parity is a word all-too-familiar to NFL fans, but the notion seemed to be waning over the last few seasons with the regular-season success of the 2007 Patriots and extended runs at perfection by the Colts and Saints last year. However, with the 1972 Dolphins uncorking the champagne before Columbus Day — with no 4-0 teams in the NFL since 1970 — and only eight teams sporting one loss through the first five weeks of the season, 2010 appears up for grabs in mid-October.

Are the Ravens the best team in the NFL?

Being this early, who cares? But it’s difficult to argue any team has looked better than Baltimore.

If the Ravens can beat New England (3-1), it will mark just the second 5-1 start in franchise history, the other coming in the 2000 season.

However, for some perspective, at the time of the 5-1 start, Tony Banks was the starting quarterback and the Ravens had just won their second straight game without scoring a touchdown.

Things changed very quickly — in a bad way — before a historic run began and Trent Dilfer and the Ravens found themselves holding the Lombardi Trophy at the end of January.

1. Since taking over as head coach in 2008, John Harbaugh has shown the uncanny ability to take care of business against inferior teams, home or away.

In 37 regular season games under Harbaugh, the Ravens have never lost to a team that finished the season with a losing record. As unimpressive as that might sound to the casual observer, you’ll find a “bad” loss by a playoff-caliber team nearly every week in the NFL.

Of course, the opposite argument can be made that the Ravens have fallen short too many times against quality opponents — especially last season when they struggled to get to the playoffs at 9-7 — but winning the games you’re supposed to win and holding your own against winning teams will put you in an enviable position.

The postseason.

Time will determine whether their Week 2 loss in Cincinnati breaks the string, but the Harbaugh-led Ravens have managed to avoid the unwarranted defeats the team suffered in previous seasons.

2. All eyes will be on Bill Belichick and the Patriots in their first game since trading disgruntled receiver Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings and re-acquiring former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. The removal of Moss will undoubtedly impact the New England offense, but how much?

Expect a little gadgetry on Sunday as Tom Brady deciphers where everyone fits in the post-Moss era.

Of course, Belichick had an extra week to figure it out with the Patriots’ Week 5 bye, and his record in New England coming off the bye week is an impressive 8-2, including seven straight wins. But before we write off the Ravens at Gillette Stadium and bow to the genius of Belichick, we should remember that four of the last six have come against the Buffalo Bills.

Not to belittle an impressive feat, but game-planning against a team led in recent years by the likes of Dick Jauron and Mike Mularkey is a bit easier than facing the team that blasted you in the playoffs just nine months ago.

In the Harbaugh era, the Ravens are 2-1 when playing teams coming off their bye week. All three games were last season, which included wins against Cleveland and Denver as well as a road loss to Cincinnati.

3. Putting aside the obvious threat of Brady to Wes Welker, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s biggest concern might be a pair of rookie tight ends.

Through the Patriots’ first four games, Welker leads the team in receptions (26), but not receiving yards. That distinction belongs to Aaron Hernandez (18 catches for 240 yards) despite being the second tight end drafted (fourth round) by New England in April. Rob Gronkowski, a second-round selection, has posted modest numbers (six catches for 62 yards) but was an impressive talent eyed by the Ravens leading up to the draft.

The Ravens have struggled covering the intermediate middle of the field in recent years, so the inside linebacker corps of Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain, and Dannell Ellerbe will need to keep a close eye on these rookie targets.

4. As much as we lamented the absence of Matt Stover a season ago, let’s tip our caps to Billy Cundiff. His ability to boot the football deep into the end zone on kickoffs is an underappreciated factor in the Ravens being 4-1.

His four touchbacks against the Broncos on Sunday matched the total number by Baltimore kickers all of last year.

Whispers of Stover will not dissipate — if they ever do — until we see Cundiff make a 47-yarder to win a late-season game, but the distinct upgrade on kickoffs cannot be overlooked.

As great as Stover was with the game on the line, fans easily forget his kickoffs barely traveling inside the 10-yard line, often setting up the opponent with good field position.

5. Plenty has been said about Cam Cameron’s choice to use Haloti Ngata at tight end on Sunday’s opening drive and the near-disaster that followed with the defensive tackle down on the field.

I offer you three names: James Jones (1996), Herman Arvie (1996), and Jonathan Ogden (1996 and 2003), three linemen who all registered touchdown catches with the Ravens.

The difference in this case? Cameron and Harbaugh have too many offensive weapons at their disposal to risk losing one of the greatest defensive players in the game today. Why spend draft picks on two tight ends to complement Todd Heap and then risk your best defensive player trying to be too cute?

Ngata playing offense was a fun spectacle until we saw what nearly happened with the Ravens’ season flashing before the eyes of 71,000 people at M&T Bank Stadium.

Lesson learned — hopefully.

6. It was natural for questions to arise whether the Ravens had any interest in bringing back Antwan Barnes after he was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles last week, but  Harbaugh promptly shot down the idea on Monday. (Update: Barnes signed a contract with the San Diego Chargers on Wednesday afternoon)

In three years with the Ravens, the linebacker-defensive end managed only five sacks and sealed his fate last October when he whiffed on a tackle of Cedric Benson that led to a 28-yard touchdown run and an eventual loss to the Bengals.

Barnes is too small to provide help at defensive end, where the Ravens need a consistent pass-rush threat, and not athletic enough to play linebacker on every down. If they didn’t want him before the season, what would have changed a month later?

“I haven’t had a conversation with him,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “We don’t really have a roster opportunity right now for that. We wouldn’t be opposed to it. Antwan’s a good person, a good player. Obviously, he’s done some good things here. But, right now, there’s no way roster-wise we could pull that off.”

In other words, “Thanks, but no thanks — we’ve moved on.”

7. If all goes to plan and you believe the recent comments made by Harbaugh, Sunday will mark the final game before All-Pro safety Ed Reed returns to the 53-man roster after beginning the season on the physically unable to perform list.

During training camp, I said Tom Zbikowski would do an adequate job at free safety in Reed’s absence, and the third-year safety has done just that. So with the Ravens currently having the second-best pass defense in the NFL (behind only the New York Giants), the question must be asked:

How well will Reed fit into the secondary when he returns to the starting lineup?

The Baltimore defense no longer plays the exotic, aggressive schemes of Rex Ryan, but employs a conservative, “bend, but don’t break” style under Mattison. Reed has always gambled in the defensive backfield, at times leaving teammates out to dry in coverage while also making some of the greatest plays in NFL history.

With the 32-year-old returning from hip surgery, it will be interesting to see whether Reed takes a more conservative approach in coverage or returns with a bigger chip on his shoulder to prove he’s still one of the best defensive players in the league and deserving of the new contract he so desperately wants. If Reed proves to be a lesser player than he was prior to the hip procedure but plays with the same aggressive style, the secondary could be more vulnerable to the big play.

That said, it is hard to doubt a player who will one day be enshrined in Canton.

8. Speaking of injured players, you have to wonder how long the Ravens will continue to wait for Jared Gaither to return. Other than being a limited participant in one practice a couple weeks ago, the offensive tackle has been out with a thoracic disc injury since training camp.

With roster decisions looming with Reed and fellow PUP list members Brendon Ayanbadejo and Matt Lawrence, Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh may need to pull the plug on the projected starter at right tackle.

The improved play of Marshal Yanda at right tackle and Chris Chester at right guard has eased concerns on the right side of the line. Cohesion upfront is difficult to develop, so Gaither’s potential return would require another period of adjustment, something the coaching staff might be uncomfortable with later in the season.

Keep in mind, Gaither has not played right tackle regularly since the early part of his collegiate career at Maryland, so this isn’t a savvy veteran who can step right in to his regular position when healthy.

If Gaither does not make significant progress by the bye week, his season will likely come to a disappointing end.

9. Much has been said about the return of the three-headed running attack and the 2008-like feel to Sunday’s win over the Broncos, but don’t expect it to last.

Like it or not, the Ravens’ current profile is a pass-first team that runs the ball efficiently. The dominating 233-yard rushing performance against Denver was more the effect of a comfortable lead than some epiphany for Cameron.

Of Joe Flacco’s 97 completions through five games, 50 have been for under 10 yards, looking a little like the “running” game of the Patriots with Brady under helm. However, his 6.6 yards per attempt (the lowest of his career) needs to increase for the offense to continue growing.

Despite the profile change — which really began last season — the ability to pound the football looms large when the elements grow harsh, and the Ravens will use it when appropriate.

10. Ranking 19th in the league in total offense (328.2 yards per game) and tied for 17th in points scored (18.4 per game), the Baltimore offense has room for improvement with Cameron and Flacco trying to distribute the ball to keep a plethora of talented players — and egos — happy.

As well as the defense has played, it hasn’t done its counterpart any favors in the turnover department with only three takeaways and a -6 turnover differential, both last in the AFC.

Nothing gives an offense more confidence than starting drives on a short field, and a few more turnovers might be the serum the offense needs to excel. Fortunately, the defense and kick coverage has played well enough to win the field-position battle in most instances, but the turnover differential must improve if the Ravens are to take a step toward elitism, offensively and as a team.

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 06 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I again get to name a couple of “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” I live for this stuff.

The NEW TGSOATTW is “Runaway” by Kanye West and Pusha T. He did the song on Saturday Night Live this past weekend…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaGT26DZFdE[/youtube]

And here’s the RETRO song…John Lennon’s version of “Stand By Me.” I saw a commercial last night for the “Power to the People” issue that’s hitting stores and it featured this song prominently. His version is REALLY underrated…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeWIMYVKbLE[/youtube]

Of course, the greatest EVER version of “Stand By Me” is the one the Playing For Change gang did…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says Ravens cut CB Prince Miller, signed OL Scott Kooistra

This was clearly the move Ozzie Newsome and company had intended to make to get Trevor Pryce back this week. Of course, that was before Rex Ryan (rightfully) jumped in.

Scott Kooistra likely won’t be active Sunday when the Ravens face the Denver Broncos. If I’m guessing-unless there’s an additional injury along the O-Line, Scott Kooistra doesn’t get active at all this season. But he does give the Ravens some flexibility, which is much needed at this point.

As far as Prince Miller is concerned, the team wanted him on the practice squad when they originally cut the roster to 53. Unfortunately, the New England Patriots stepped in. It looks like they’re going to make it work this time; which will allow the undersized corner to develop; and will give them a reserve returner should Tom Zbikowski (and/or others) get hurt.

Logical decision. Not life-changing, but logical. I could use a lesson in this type of decision-making.

2. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says OT Jared Gaither not cleared to play in visit to California back specialist

So…more good news, huh?

The word is that after visiting Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles; Gaither is “improving”, but will remain week-to-week.

GREAT.

John Harbaugh and company will eventually have to make a tough decision regarding Gaither. If he doesn’t REALLY show improvement in terms of getting back on the football field (one day of limited practice doesn’t represent improvement), they’ll have to consider placing him on Injured Reserve.

If I’m guessing, Jared Gaither will play for the Ravens at some point this season. But I’m certainly not getting the type of response that makes me feel good about that guess.

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says DE Paul Kruger confirmed to miss at least two weeks

He’ll be missed, as Greg Mattison will have to flip around Haloti Ngata, Cory Redding and Brandon McKinney to adjust to not having Kruger.

And since the Ravens could use the help at rush end, I have to suggest they consider Lucia Dvorska. I mean…just take a look. (Thanks Guyism!)

dvorska

4. ESPN.com has Ravens 6th in power rankings

As we discussed on the show this morning, this is particularly tough. The reality is that power rankings JUST DON’T MATTER. Like…at all. This isn’t college football’s AP poll. Power ranking can have no bearing on what happens in the NFL whatsoever.

But with that being said, it is ABSOLUTELY a bit goofy that the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets are ranked ahead of the Ravens despite the Ravens having defeated both teams on the road this season.

Not getting worked up about it. It simply doesn’t matter. It’s just a bit goofy, that’s all.

5. b’s Matt Vensel says RB Willis McGahee romantically linked to “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star

So now you know.

A couple of things before we move on from the Ravens…

-We’ll be out in Owings Mills today, as the Ravens return to work at 1 Winning Drive. We’re expected to hear from Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis and others; as well as conference calls with Kyle Orton and Josh McDaniels. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates throughout the day.

-Make no mistake-the Pats trading Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings for a 3rd round pick is GOOD NEWS for the Ravens. They’re much better off not having to face Moss when they wander up to Foxborough for a Week 6 showdown at Gillette Stadium. It doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily win, as the Pats will STILL have Tom Brady under center-but it does make matchups a bit more in the Ravens’ favor.

6. MLB.com’s Thomas Boorstein says Adam Jones believes ‘accountability and credibility’ reasons why Orioles improved under Buck Showalter

The question is-why does Adam Jones think there wasn’t accountability under Juan Samuel or Dave Trembley? If he’s simply trying to blame those managers and not accept responsibility for himself and his teammates, he’s not being fair.

The other question is-why was Adam Jones touring Bristol, Connecticut; New York; and Seacaucus, New Jersey Tuesday? Why was Adam doing appearances on MLB Network, ESPN Radio and SI.com?

Is it because the O’s have such a hold of the Charm City market that they simply don’t need the promotion? It’s good promotion for ADAM-no doubt about that. But how did it help the Birds?

It’s a legitimate question.

7. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester gives highest O’s grades to Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott, Jeremy Guthrie and Corey Patterson

As I told him this morning, it’s a bit laughable to give Ty Wigginton and Corey Patterson the same grades as Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie; but I’m all for Drew looking dumb.

My highest grades this year? They mostly went to Molly Simms. (Thanks Don Chavez!)

mollysimms

8. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly say Juan Samuel to interview with Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates

I’ll be rooting for Juan Samuel…but my guess is that he’s not REALLY a good manager. It will be much harder if he ends up in the Steel City than if he ends up in Milwaukee too.

Did you miss former Orioles broadcaster Buck Martinez (now with TBS) previewing the Rays/Rangers series and talking playoffs in general with Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Jeff Passan (Yahoo! Sports)-who went around the postseason and also discussed his new book “Death of the BCS” with Drew Wednesday
  • DJ King (Washington Capitals enforcer)-who previewed this weekend’s start to the regular season with Drew Wednesday
  • Jon Ladd (Baltimore Municipal Golf)-who discussed Ryder Cup and breast cancer awareness with Drew Wednesday
  • Jamey Eisenberg (CBSSports.com)-who talked Fantasy Football with Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive”
  • Josh Thomson (Strikeforce fighter)-who previewed his Saturday night clash against JZ Cavalcante in San Jose with Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo Tuesday on “The MMA Report”
  • Pete Prisco (CBSSports.com) and Gary Mihoces (USA Today) who each joined Thyrl Tuesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to discuss what they saw at Heinz Field Sunday

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so I’ve got your day planned out again for you. YOU’RE WELCOME BALTIMORE!!!

9. Winston-Salem Journal’s Dan Collins says Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe won’t pick starting QB between Tanner Price and Skylar Jones for Saturday’s Navy game until later in the week

No matter who plays QB for the Demon Deacons, Ken Niumatololo’s Midshipmen MUST get going offensively. This was supposed to be the best group of talent they’ve had since the Roger Staubach era. It hasn’t looked like it thus far…

10. UMTerps.com says Maryland soccer topped #2 UConn as Ludwig Field

Awesome. But then again, awesome is basically what we expect from Sasho Cirovski’s Terrapins.

To celebrate a big Terps win, here’s a completely unrelated picture of Jewel Santini! (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

santini

And finally, I leave you with this.

Thanks to both former WNST intern Meredith Morris and my sorta-roommate Aubrie Veydt for pointing this out on Facebook (search Glenn Clark, add the best looking guy you find). I think the kid’s name is Keenan Cahill. He’s a YouTube superstar.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVSsYvC6O8s[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Ravens catching a break in New England ???

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Ravens catching a break in New England ???

Posted on 06 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Yes, I’m quite aware of the Baltimore Ravens schedule of regular season matchups, and this week features a visit from the Denver Broncos. It’s the second home game of the year and John Harbaugh’s squad is reasonably favored by 7 solid points.

I don’t look ahead ….. and I’m certainly not looking beyond Josh McDaniels’ very capable passing attack.

Heck, I would take Denver and the touchdown, if I gambled on football. That said, I still think the Ravens will win the game.

But, beyond this week, a very interesting matchup looms. Just one week from today, the Ravens and every individual who covers, follows and supports the team will be focusing on the New England Patriots.

While I know many observers are relying on last season’s playoff beatdown of Tom Brady as a means for justification in counting on a WIN in the upcoming trip to Foxboro, a proportionate number of us are little more cautious.

Regardless of what happened just 9 short months ago, things can and will change …..

Tom Brady is one of those ELITE quarterbacks we like discussing, when proposing the future aspirations of Joe Flacco. Brady possesses a methodical technique to spreading the ball around, while picking upon vulnerabilities of a defense.

Back in January, Brady’s options were far less numbered than usual. His new tight end options, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, were still in college. Newly acquired running back, Danny Woodhead, was part of Rex Ryan’s depth chart, in New York. And, Randy Moss was hobbled by injury – as the game against the Ravens clearly demonstrated.

Oh yeah, and this guy was done for the season.
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I’m not suggesting Wes Welker would’ve turned the table in that loss to the Ravens. John Harbaugh had his team prepared to play and they simply beat New England in every facet of the game.

However, in just 11 short days, the scene could appear differently ….. MUCH DIFFERENTLY.

And, it could end up benefiting the Ravens.

Last night, rumors regarding Randy Moss started circulating. Specifically, the information indicated Moss might be returning to the Minnesota Vikings, via trade.

This morning, the rumors are becoming more concrete and several sources (including the WORLD WIDE LEADER) are confirming a trade will be completed today. Of course, it hinges on Moss getting a contract extension – and more money.

Such a deal makes sense on many levels.

The Vikings desperately need to find a capable set of hands for the landing end of Brett Favre’s passes. And, a deep threat would be icing on the cake. Oh yeah, and Moss obviously knows the Vikings organization.

Perhaps, some mitigating reasons are at play, as well …..

I think many of us can envision a scenario where Favre packs up his Minny-circus for good, especially if the team is languishing below the .500 mark when November rolls around. And, given the underachieving play of the highly touted Green Bay Packers, the Vikings brass might sense an opportunity opening up.

Indeed, I can reasonably foresee a trade of Moss being beneficial for both organizations, especially if the Patriots yield some young defensive depth in return. Although, it would be a textbook Patriots move in simply collecting high draft picks in return.

Of all the reasons contemplated for predicting a trade of Randy Moss to the Vikings, the most daunting is undoubtedly tied to this mad scientist …..
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The entire football world knows Randy Moss is unhappy with his contract situation. It’s the same unprofessional load of crap that resulted in his ugly divorce from the Vikings, following the 2004 season.

Moss became a distraction for the Vikings. He undermined the mission of the team and his coach, Mike Tice.

The same situation appears to be blossoming, in New England. He’s getting louder and louder about his contractual bitterness. He didn’t catch a single pass in Monday’s victory against Miami, and he reportedly had “words” with Bill Belichick, yesterday.

That’s a bad move ….. unless, of course, the intent was to expedite a deal.

Regardless of how anyone feels about the New England Patriots, I think everyone with a CLUE realizes who really runs, controls and commands that organization. Bill Belichick is without a shadow of doubt, the H.M.F.I.C. of that team.

Nobody challenges his authority. And, if someone commits such an act, they’ll receive a departure ticket out of Logan Airport pretty quickly. Just ask Deion Branch or Adalius Thomas.

As I write this blog, many syndicated voices are flushing the collective 2010 competitive chances of the Patriots directly down the toilet …..

I’m not buying that bill of goods.

I’ve watched, too many times, as ELITE quarterbacks have introduced talented wideouts as overnight rockstars. Do you really think Austin Collie would be a top performer in Tennessee, Cleveland or Seattle? Would Marques Colston be a premier threat in Arizona, Carolina or Buffalo?

The key to the New England Patriots remains the same as it has for the last decade …..
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Tom Brady has ushered a far lesser talented receiving corps into a Super Bowl and won it. Just look at the 2004 edition of that team. (RIGHT HERE)

Without Randy Moss, it’s fair to say the New England Patriots cache’ of receivers is every bit as talented as the Indianapolis Colts’ crew. Is anyone counting them out?

This situation is simply reflective of what happens when a guy disrupts the environment of Bill Belichick’s team. Nothing more, nothing less …..

While I still respect the Patriots as a contender for the AFC crown, I’m pretty upbeat about the Ravens chances in next week’s trip to New England. And, if Randy Moss is no longer there, I’m even more optimistic about the Ravens chances.

While the Ravens are only 4 games into the regular season schedule, they’ve luckily avoided any ELITE quarterback/deep threat combinations. Indeed, the trip to New England serves as a formidable test for Greg Mattison’s secondary unit. With the reported, impending departure of Randy Moss, the gameplan will undoubtedly be a little simpler, right?

I’m certain the Moss situation is a distant consideration for John Harbaugh’s staff. That’s right, they’re squarely focused on Kyle Orton and the Denver Broncos. The Ravens will not be looking beyond this Sunday’s game.

But, when next Monday arrives, they might be really happy to see Randy Moss playing on Monday Night Football ….. for the Vikings.

And, wouldn’t you know it, that game is against the Patriots’ divisional rival; Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. Indeed, that’s CLASSIC Belichick.

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Live from Westminster: Gaither’s health remains mystery, will have tests done Monday

Posted on 01 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — Despite assurances that Jared Gaither was merely suffering from back cramps after being carted off the field Friday afternoon, the offensive tackle was again absent on Sunday morning as his immediate status remains unknown.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh added no clarity to the situation but disclosed Gaither will have blood work done and the medical staff will run the tackle through a series of tests on Monday.

“I’d like to be able to tell you what it is,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know.”

Gaither arrived training camp weighing 311 pounds, more than 20 pounds lighter than the weight at which he played last season. This was not the wishes of the coaching staff and Gaither’s rationale for dropping so much weight is a mystery to Harbaugh.

“[Gaither] made a decision [to drop weight],” the Ravens coach said after Sunday morning’s practice. “He’s working out on his own. It’s not like he was around. He made the decision to go lighter. He can explain to you why.”

You can hear more from Harbaugh in addition to Derrick Mason, Donte’ Stalloworth, and Todd Heap in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right now!

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) throughout the afternoon.

_________________________________________________________________

10:25 p.m. — I’m a little late with this one, but the Ravens have inked offensive tackle Devin Tyler to a contract after placing cornerback Domonique Foxworth on Injured Reserve. Tyler is from Forestville, Md. and attended Temple. He’s 6-foot-7 and 305 pounds.

With tackles Jared Gaither (back), Oniel Cousins (throat), Stefan Rodgers (calf/ankle), and Tony Moll (undisclosed) all not practicing, Tyler is needed to have another camp body at the position.

Tyler, along with two others, tried out for the team following the Sunday morning practice.

2:05 p.m. — It’s no secret the Ravens are on the prowl for cornerback help and have spoken to a few cornerbacks in recent days. Names linked to the Ravens include Fred Smoot and even former Browns corner Anthony Henry.

As I reported on Friday, the Ravens have had discussions with Frank Walker, who spent the last two seasons in Baltimore. Though Walker struggled at times and was often chastised by fans and media alike, he has the advantage of being very familiar with the Ravens’ system. John Harbaugh confirmed after Sunday morning’s practice that Walker has had conversations with other teams as well.

“Sure, [Walker] would have a shot,” Harbaugh said. “You know, [he] knows our scheme, he’s got some options, teams he’s talking to right now, but he’s one guy of a lot of guys we’re looking at.”

In an interview I conducted with Walker a couple weeks ago on AM 1570 WNST.net (you can find it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault), he reemphasized his love for the organization and how he’d love to come back to play with the Ravens.

1:40 p.m. — Donte’ Stallworth continues to impress in the early days of camp and figures to be the No. 3 receiver if he can stay healthy and fight off former starter Mark Clayton.

Expectations are obviously high for the passing offense, but Stallworth is no stranger to playing with prolific offenses. He was a member of the record-breaking offense of the 2007 New England Patriots that included Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Jabar Gaffney at wide receiver.

While Stallworth isn’t ready to proclaim the Baltimore receivers a more impressive unit than those Patriots, he sees vast potential in what the Ravens can accomplish in the passing game this season.

“This offense is capable of that game kind of season [that the 2007 Patriots had],” said Stallworth when asked about the potential of this receiving corps. “We have a lot of new guys here that are working together and we’re just trying to build on each other and work together and try to put together that same kind of situation.”

1:30 p.m. — With your always exciting kicking update for the day, Billy Cundiff connected from 32, 41, and 55 yards. He missed wide right from 45 yards.

I knew you were waiting on the edge of your seat for that one.

Jameel McClain continues to receive the large majority of reps at inside linebacker next to Ray Lewis with Tavares Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe in the mix as well. We all assumed the latter two would be the ones battling for the spot next to No. 52, but McClain continues to go about his business and worked extremely hard in the offseason, according to his coaches.

1:25 p.m. — Expectations are soaring for the Baltimore offense after the acquisitions of Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth, and Sunday morning’s workout was a perfect example why.

Joe Flacco threaded the needle repeatedly, torching defensive backs even when they blanketed receivers. During a red zone session, Flacco connected with Todd Heap and Dennis Pitta for touchdowns and threw a beautiful over-the-shoulder ball to fullback Le’Ron McClain, who was covered perfectly on the play.

Of course, Flacco’s performance on August 1 means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but for one morning only, he looked like the elite quarterback many hope—or expect—him to become in 2010.

12:40 p.m. — My apologies for the lack of updates so far. Members of the media just attended the NFL Rules session with officials at training camp this weekend. I’ll write about the rules changes in the near future and how it might impact the NFL in 2010.

Tight end Todd Heap returned to practice after passing his conditioning test and being removed from the non-football illness list this morning. He was suffering from swollen tonsils, a condition he described as “knocking him out.”

In addition to Gaither missing practice, cornerback Fabian Washington sat out the morning workout as he continues to work his way back into training camp mode. Offensive tackle Tony Moll and veteran cornerback Walt Harris were also sidelined.

With Gaither and Moll out, Joe Reitz took the first-team reps at right tackle, but the Ravens have signed offensive lineman Daniel Sanders to add another body to a banged-up unit. The team also worked out a few offensive linemen after the morning workout on Sunday.

As for the players currently on the PUP list, there were no changes Sunday morning.

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 11 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

Thanks to everyone who joined us on our WNST Bus Trip to Providence and Foxborough this weekend. Thanks to Chick-Fil-A Nottingham Square and Zeke’s Coffee for a delicious breakfast Saturday morning, Gunther Charters (and my man Stack) for getting us there, the Providence Hilton (and especially our girl Taryn downstairs at Shula’s for serving us WELL after last call) and Dave & Buster’s in Providence (with the best AND best looking staff we could have asked for) for taking care of us during our trip to New England. And thanks to the New England Patriots for taking even better care of us. Great weekend. It made this group of people DELIGHTFUL to travel home with…..

bus

Let’s see what everyone has to say…..

1. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says ‘crazy’ season continued for Ravens with win over Pats

Crazy doesn’t begin to describe it.

In fact, if you were following us on Twitter (@WNST), you’d know that I was out of descriptive words as early as things went to 21-0. I kept going back to “surreal”, but I don’t think even that was explaining it well enough.

Looking for help, I consulted Thesaurus.com and entered “crazy.” Here are some ideas they offered…..

ape, barmy, bats in the belfry, batty, berserk, bonkers, cracked, crazed, cuckoo, daft, delirious, demented, deranged, dingy, dippy, erratic, flaky, flipped, flipped out, freaked out, fruity, idiotic, insane, kooky, lunatic, mad, mad as a March hare, mad as a hatter, maniacal, mental, moonstruck, nuts, nutty, nutty as fruitcake, of unsound mind, out of one’s mind, out of one’s tree, out to lunch, potty, psycho, round the bend, schizo, screw loose, screwball, screwy, silly, touched, unbalanced, unglued, unhinged, unzipped, wacky

This helped. Here’s your headline….

“Ravens win over Patriots mad as a March hare.”

Love it.

2. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens win ‘glorious’, but team not Super Bowl contenders just yet

Boy, even I want to punch myself in the shoulder for saying that.

It’s true-I stand by it, but maybe I should’ve just chosen to celebrate a little more yesterday than immediately going down the “don’t get too excited” route. I love critiquing myself.

That being said, if the Ravens go to LucasOil Stadium and beat Peyton Manning and company, they are ABSOLUTELY Super Bowl worthy.

They’re already more Super Bowl worthy than the Jets, who are AMAZINGLY still alive in the playoffs despite the fact that they stink! I guess the Bengals just stink even more???

Either way, this guy is ABSOLUTELY already booking a flight to Miami today, despite the fact that there’s NO WAY his team can get there…

rex

Right???

3. Ravens Official Site’s Ryan Mink says secondary stepped up to lead Ravens to AFC Wild Card victory

Credit Domonique Foxworth.

Credit Chris Carr.

Credit Dawan Landry.

Credit Ed Reed.

Credit Frank Walker-especially for a hell of a play leading to the Landry pick.

It WAS a very impressive performance. Please someone let Randy Moss know that the game was YESTERDAY. I’m pretty sure he’s warming up right now for kickoff….

4. The Sun’s Brent Jones says Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed ‘back’ after outstanding win

Let’s hope that saying this wasn’t a one-off showing.

T-Sizzle made a MAJOR statement defensively with his sack/strip/recovery on the Pats’ first drive, and Ed Reed did the same by batting down a Tom Brady pass that appeared destined to give the Patriots their initial first down.

It has to continue. Terrell Suggs HAS to find a way to get Peyton Manning on the ground. Ed Reed has to see where Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark are going on the field. It can’t be a “one time only” thing.

5. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Flacco ‘tough’ even if performance not overwhelming

Okay…..

Joe Flacco gutted it out yesterday, but everyone with a pulse knows that you can’t keep winning NFL playoff games with a quarterback going 4/10 for 34 yards a pick and a QB rating of 10.

I’m happy that Joe’s hip/quad didn’t cost the Ravens in their first playoff game. I’m hoping his arm will help the Ravens win their next playoff game.

6. Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy says Sunday’s loss proved Patriots’ ‘dynasty over’

Must be nice to live in a place like Beantown, eh?

Celtics are winners, Red Sox are winners, Bruins have won consitently even if they haven’t won the Stanley Cup recently, etc.

Look, the Patriots “dynasty” IS over. But it isn’t doomsday.

They’re going to have Bill Belichick next year. And Tom Brady. And Randy Moss. And Vince Wilfork. Etc.

They just have to use their picks in the NFL Draft better. They’ve really struggled there. It might be wise to try to trade 2 or 3 of their 2nd round picks to get a better pick in the first round and get an impact player.

Or they can just keep struggling. I’d be just fine with that.

7. ESPN.com’s Len Pasquarelli says Ray Rice ‘set tone’ in win at Gillette Stadium

Remember when John Harbaugh was asked about Ray Rice a couple of weeks ago and he responded “I just love the guy”?

Ditto for the rest of Baltimore.

We just love the guy.

8. CBS Sports’ Clark Judge doesn’t think Ravens will have enough to win at Indianapolis in divisional round

That’s completely fair. The Colts didn’t lose a game all season in which they actually tried. The Ravens haven’t beaten Peyton Manning since he was fresh out of Tennessee.

Of course, the Ravens had NEVER beaten the Patriots, and the Patriots had NEVER lost a playoff game at Gillette Stadium.

We’ll all be thinking about the January 2007 game at M&T Bank Stadium this week. I don’t have to tell anyone that there are a number of demons to be exorcised there…

9. NBC Sports’ Mike Florio says Harbaugh ‘disappointed’ Ravens didn’t have enough evidence to challenge punt issue

The only real question here is: which feed was being shown in the coaches’ box upstairs?

If it was the in-house feed at “The Razor”, then the assistants did NOT get to see the play again, and the Ravens had NOTHING to base a challenge off of.

If it was the CBS network feed, then they probably should have seen the play again.

Thank God the final score was 33-14 and this REALLY doesn’t matter.

10. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Greivis Vasquez tallied 22 points as Terps topped Florida State

In the second half, he needs to be the guy. Other players on this team will put up numbers (like Eric Hayes did last night and Sean Mosley & Landon Milbourne have done at other times this season), but when it comes to getting wins in ACC play, he needs to be the one to carry them down the stretch.

11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Greivis Vasquez hit big jumper to squash Seminoles’ rally in 2nd half

It’s not EXACTLY redemption from his miss against William & Mary-because the Terps were trailing the Tribe; but leading against FSU. But it is similar. The shot isn’t the problem. MISSING the shot is the problem.

12. Tallahassee Democrat’s Corey Clark says foul trouble for Solomon Alabi cost ‘Noles in loss to Terrapins

The Terps will NOT be killed by teams who are dominant inside (although Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal will give them fits when Georgia Tech comes to Comcast Center). The Terps will be KILLED by teams who can just drill outside shots and get 12 points while nobody notices. Florida State was the former.

13. The Sun’s Matt Bracken says former Miami LB commit Javarie Johnson switched pledge to Maryland

Picking up a 4 star linebacker is always a good thing. It appears as though Johnson (Dunbar in Washington, DC) just decided he had a change of heart and wanted to play close to home. As long as that’s the case, no reason to be concerned about the mental or emotional state of the kid. If it’s something more-you never know if a kid is ready to play at this level.

14. The AP’s Janie McCauley says Giants add former Orioles 1B Aubrey Huff

The best news about this? Andy MacPhail won’t try to pass along this note in a month….

“We really think the re-acquisition of Aubrey Huff solidifies us at First Base this season as we continue to develop our young players.”

But that doesn’t mean they’ve ruled out signing this guy to man the hot corner…..

conine

15. Loyola Official Site previews tonight’s visit from Iona at Reitz Arena

A week ago, we were talking about the Siena game being a potential “gravy” win for this Greyhounds team. More realistically, the Hounds now can’t afford a home loss to the Gaels to fall to 1-5 in MAAC play.

And I leave you with this…

I didn’t get to see much of Charles Barkley hosting SNL. I’m going to try to check some more of it out during the day today. Here’s his monologue, what did everybody think?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF7zu3H3Eqo[/youtube]

Talk to you later from 1 Winning Drive.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….

-G

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Ravens @ Patriots Wild Card Playoff Preview

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Ravens @ Patriots Wild Card Playoff Preview

Posted on 08 January 2010 by Derek Arnold

Ravens Pats Playoff

Ravens Pats Stats

For the second time in as many years, the Ravens head on the road for Wild Card weekend to take on the AFC East Champs, who are quarterbacked by the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year. A season ago, it was Chad Pennington and the Miami Dolphins. This time around, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots – a bit of a step up, no?

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were 8-0 in Foxboro this season, and have NEVER lost a home playoff game together.

Whoopdie do.

The past is the past, and as Ray Lewis says, the Ravens aren’t going to play “the mystique of the Patriots,” they are going to play the Patriots. The Patriots, who, by the way, are not the 3 Super Bowls in 4 years team of earlier this decade. Look no further than the fact that they are even playing on Wild Card weekend to prove that they weren’t as dominant in 2009 as they have become accustomed to. Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison, and Tedy Bruschi are nowhere to be found on the defense. Their leading receiver, Wes Welker, was injured in Week 17 and will miss the entire postseason. They were only one game better than the Ravens this season, and if Mark Clayton could have held onto that fateful pass, the records of these two teams could easily be reversed.

None of this is to say that the Ravens will go up to Foxboro and make mince meat out of the Pats. Of course not. However, there is more than a glimmer of hope for our purple and black.

Adding to that hope is the fact that the Ravens have played the Patriots extremely close in their last two meetings, only to fall short in the waning seconds. They don’t seem, for instance, to present the kind of match-up problems that the Colts historically have for the Ravens.

Still, the Ravens will likely need a perfect game from all 53 players (and however many coaches) on Sunday to advance to the AFC’s divisional round.

As Drew Forrester points out, Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh will need to be on point.

The running game will be crucial – ball security and yards after contact from Ray Rice and Willis McGahee will go a long way.

The Ravens’ receivers will have to get open, and not have balls bouncing off their hands in critical situations (see: the aforementioned Clayton, Derrick Mason in Pittsburgh).

The pass rush and secondary will need to come together. Without Welker, the Ravens will be able to turn their attention to Randy Moss. Doubling Moss all day will obviously be the way to go, as the Ravens have no defensive backs who can even dream of containing #81 one-on-one. Welker’s replacement though, rookie Julian Edelman, is no slouch. Edelman caught 37 passes for 359 yards and one score this season, and is basically Wes Welker Light. He doesn’t worry me nearly as much as Welker would, but if the Ravens’ corners, especially Dominique Foxworth, have another bad day tackling, the WR screen to Edelman could prove plenty effective for Brady.

Blanket Moss

As far as the pass rush, there have been signs of life recently (3 sacks in Oakland, 4 in Pittsburgh). Bringing down Brady though, is a bit more difficult than tracking down Fat Ben and Ja-suckus Russel. He went down only 16 times in 16 games this season. The key won’t necessarily be sacking him a bunch of times, but forcing him to throw before he is ready, and, hopefully, making those (rumored) injured ribs just a bit more painful. If Brady has time to throw, it won’t matter how many guys the Ravens put on Moss, or how many torn ligaments Patriots receivers have – he will CARVE UP this secondary. If the Pats are facing a 3rd-and-15 or something equally preposterous, and Greg Mattison again decides to bring his patented 3-man rush…well, Ravens fans might as well just turn off our TVs.

All of the Ravens will have to keep their heads in the game and focused to avoid stupid penalties. B’More ended the regular season as the most penalized team in the NFL, showing that through two years of John Harbaugh, the zebras still see Brian Billick’s band of thugs when they see those purple jerseys. Of course, some of the same guys that were getting stupid penalties under Billick are still doing it under Harbaugh, so they are to blame more than the coach is.

Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata, we’re looking at you. There WILL BE a roughing the passer flag on Sunday. Bank on it. When it comes, accept it and move on. Don’t argue about it. Don’t change the way you are playing. Just move on to the next play, and hit him again.

As far as Joe Flacco, well, if Natty Joe’s day resembles in any way the afternoon he had in Oakland, he’d better have his golf clubs ready. Flacco will need to do a much better job of recognizing the blitz, moving in the pocket, and above all, GIVING HIMSELF SOME TIME AT THE LINE. It’s been a season-long issue, so there is really no reason to believe it will be corrected this week, but, when the Ravens’ offense is huddling, there are routinely 5-8 seconds on the play clock by the time they reach the line of scrimmage. Methinks this is another reason that Joe does so much better in the no-huddle – he has TIME to make reads at the line. When the play clock is winding down, you can tell that he doesn’t even scan to see where the pressure is going to come from. Without turning it into a hurry-up (which could hurt the cause of keeping Brady on the sideline as much as possible), Cam Cameron should plan to use plenty of the no-huddle on Sunday.

If the Ravens can put a full game together – control the clock with an effective running game, move the chains on 3rd down, keep Flacco upright, make sure tackles, avoid stupid penalties, be smart with timeouts – there is no reason they can’t go up to New England and keep their season alive.

Brady and Belichick have another gear for the Playoffs. It’s time for Harbaugh and Flacco to prove that they do, too, by taking what has been an underachieving, up-and-down team, and hitting their stride at the perfect time.

Ravens 28 Patriots 24

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Live From Owings Mills: Flacco Dealing With Stiff Bruised Hip

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Live From Owings Mills: Flacco Dealing With Stiff Bruised Hip

Posted on 08 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

4:15-INJURY REPORT: Ravens-

PROBABLE
QB Joe Flacco (hip)
LB Tavares Gooden (groin)
TE Todd Heap (neck)
LB Jarret Johnson (back)
LS Matt Katula (elbow)
WR Derrick Mason (knee)
DT Haloti Ngata (ankle)
CB Marcus Paschal (back)
DE Trevor Pryce (head)
S Ed Reed (groin)
G Marshal Yanda (knee)
S Tom Zbikowski (neck)

Patriots-

QUESTIONABLE
OL Dan Connolly (ankle)
PROBABLE
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder/right finger/rib)
WR Julian Edelman (forearm)
DE Jarvis Green (knee)
T Nick Kaczur (shoulder)
WR Randy Moss (not injury related)
CB Shawn Springs (knee)
DE Ty Warren (ankle)
TE Benjamin Watson (knee)
DL Vince Wilfork (foot)

2:17-When asked “How did you get a shovel and a sword on a plane across the country?” by a reporter today, John Harbaugh immediately started laughing-then responded by saying “President Obama is asking the same question right now probably, right?” John explained that the Ravens did NOT bring a shovel and sword across the country, but instead had some of their “friends at Stanford” provide those things to him.

Here is a picture of the new patch the Ravens are sporting in practice this week…..

patch

A follow up question was about rumors John’s brother Jim Harbaugh may be a candidate for the currently open Bills head coaching position. John said Jim was “happy” at Stanford, and still had a goal to win a Pac 10 Championship. However, John said it would be a “thrill” to have Jim join him at the NFL level, and added “he could do it.”

2:16-Hear from John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net. Don’t forget that for the quickest updates from 1 Winning Drive-follow us on Twitter (@WNST).

2:08-It does NOT appear to be an injury concern-but certainly it is worth noting that Joe Flacco left practice early today and received treatment in the Trainers’ room. When we saw him in the locker room, it appeared as though he may have been in pain (hip). When asked, John Harbaugh said Joe was “fine” and he left early because he had “finished his work” today. Joe said the hip was a little “stiff” and he was dealing with some bruising.

11:51-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where the Baltimore Ravens are walking through before Sunday’s AFC Wild Card showdown with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. We are scheduled to hear from John Harbaugh around 1:50 this afternoon.

All Ravens (including CB Marcus Paschal, who missed yesterday’s practice) were healthy and participating in the brief portion of practice open to the media today. The Ravens again worked inside-somewhat surprising given the weather question mark they’ll be dealing with in Foxborough Sunday. I can tell you that the team’s specialists (Matt Katula, Nick Sundberg, Sam Koch and Billy Cundiff) have all worked out outside at times this week to be prepared for weather/field conditions at Gillette Stadium.

Remember when Matt Katula was first battling his elbow injury this season and we found out Willis McGahee was capable of being an emergency long snapper? A Ravens offensive skill position player was bragging to us today about how he played every position in High School, including punter. When I asked how long it had been since he punter, he said “Yesterday. I punt everyday.” A Sun reporter asked him how far he could punt and he answered “at least 45 yards.” With our interest peaked, he tracked down a football and proved that indeed, he could punt a great distance. The Ravens have needed an emergency punter before (remember Kordell Stewart punting against the Jets at the Meadowlands), and this player certainly could fill that role.

Back shortly with more.

-G

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