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Flacco excited to see what rookie receivers bring to table

Posted on 01 September 2013 by Luke Jones

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — It wasn’t long ago that Joe Flacco joked about not knowing the names of most new teammates on the Ravens roster after an offseason filled with changes.

However, the Ravens quarterback isn’t saying that any longer about a pair of rookie receivers who could factor heavily into the Baltimore passing attack as early as Thursday’s opener against the Denver Broncos. Undrafted free agent Marlon Brown and seventh-round pick Aaron Mellette began the summer in relative anonymity in Flacco’s eyes but grabbed his attention after the pair combined to make 19 catches for 309 yards and four touchdowns in four preseason games.

“They’re big, they’re strong, they’re fast, and they’re physical,” Flacco said. “They obviously have some talent. I think they are going to be guys that help us out a lot — in the short term [and] long term. We still have to go out there and play and feed them the ball and see what they can do.”

Mellette entered training camp as the bigger household name among Ravens fans after being taken with a seventh-round pick back in April. Playing for FCS school Elon, the 6-foot-2 receiver made an astonishing 304 catches for 4,254 yards and 44 touchdowns in his college career and grabbed 97 passes for 1,398 yards and 18 touchdowns in his senior year alone.

The 6-foot-5 Brown didn’t live up to expectations as a prized recruit at the University of Georgia but could be an attractive option in the red zone with his statuesque frame. The Ravens have lacked a wide receiver of his height during Flacco’s career after 2012 sixth-round pick Tommy Streeter failed to pan out.

Brown finally appeared to be realizing his potential in his senior season with the Bulldogs when he caught 27 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns before tearing the ACL in his left knee in a game against Ole Miss on Nov. 3, 2012. The 22-year-old is still working his way back to full strength — missing spring organized team activities and even a handful this summer — but his ability began to shine as he became more comfortable physically and mentally in the Ravens offense.

“I have a mindset where I wanted to make the team and ultimately make a difference on the team, whether it’s on special teams or offense,” said Brown, who was in the weight room when coach John Harbaugh personally informed him that he’d made the team. “That’s what I’m trying to do. They haven’t really told me my primary role or anything. I’m going to go out there and work hard and if they tell me to go in, I’m going to go in.”

The biggest compliment paid to both Brown and Mellette is the amount of polish they showed in practices and preseason games despite their lack of experience. Unlike an array of other young receivers that failed to show marked improvement over the course of the summer, Brown and Mellette climbed from the third-string offense and working with third quarterback Caleb Hanie to eventually receive opportunities with Flacco and the starters over the final two weeks of the summer.

It was this climb that contributed to the likes of Tandon Doss, David Reed, and LaQuan Williams being let go.

“They don’t feel like rookies out there,” Harbaugh said. “Marlon has had the advantage of playing at a big program in the Southeastern Conference, and I think that shows. Aaron has had the advantage of having caught hundreds of balls in his college career.”

With Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, and Brandon Stokley ahead of the rookies on the depth chart, it remains to be seen how big of a role each will play in the early stages of the season. During Sunday’s practice, Brown and Mellette were wearing No. 87 and 88 jerseys, which appeared to be a product of the pair playing the scout-team roles of Denver wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in preparation for Thursday’s opener.

The Ravens only hope that Mellette and Brown will one day make their mark in a way similar to that talented pair with the Broncos, forcing opponents’ scout-team receivers to wear their No. 13 and 14 jerseys in preparation.

But a simple continuation of the improvement they showed over the course of the preseason would be an encouraging start for the Ravens.

“I would anticipate that those two guys will be a factor here going forward,” Harbaugh said. “How much they’ll play early, or how much they’ll be a part of the game plan and those kinds of things are really, really hard to say.”

Webb ready to go

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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“America’s Game: 2012 Baltimore Ravens” debuts Monday on NFL Network

Posted on 27 August 2013 by WNST Staff

AMERICA’S GAME: 2012 BALTIMORE RAVENS DEBUTS EXCLUSIVELY ON NFL NETWORK

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 AT 9:00 PM ET

Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, Linebacker Ray Lewis & Head Coach John Harbaugh Recount the Baltimore Ravens’ 2012 Super Bowl Winning Season

 

“We weren’t pretty. We weren’t perfect… But at least we were us.”

– John Harbaugh

 

Oscar-Nominated Actor Edward Norton Narrates

 

The Baltimore Ravens were 5-2 headed into their bye week. While most NFL teams would gratefully sign up for those circumstances, the Ravens were at a crossroads. Inside a tumultuous meeting room in Owings Mills, MD, a strong-minded head coach was facing his strong-minded team and the season hung in the balance.

 

While the meeting was described in the media as a mutiny, in actuality, a championship team was molded. The Ravens won their next four games, and despite struggling down the stretch, recovered to win the AFC North. Then, with three wins in the AFC playoffs and a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans, the Baltimore Ravens were crowned Super Bowl Champions.

 

On September 2 at 9:00 PM ET exclusively on NFL Network, re-live the Ravens’ entire Championship journey through the NFL Films-produced America’s Game: 2012 Baltimore Ravens. The one-hour edition of the Emmy-Award winning series features exclusive interviews with Super Bowl MVP & quarterback Joe Flacco, linebacker Ray Lewis, and head coach John Harbaugh.

 

Oscar-nominated actor, Edward Norton narrates.

 

NFL Films captures the entirety of a Championship voyage which commenced in 2008 when the Ravens hired Harbaugh and drafted Flacco in the first round of the NFL Draft. The special takes viewers through the season with behind-the-scenes video and sound from Ravens team meetings, locker rooms, fields, and coaching booths.  It is an all-encompassing, inside look at the Super Bowl champions.

 

In addition to the infamous team meeting, events featured in America’s Game: 2012 Baltimore Ravens include:

 

  • ·         Ray Lewis’ last ride: The Ravens’ journey through the playoffs was anything but standard. From Lewis’ final home game, to the miracle comeback vs. the Denver Broncos, a rematch vs. the New England Patriots – all while John Harbaugh knew his brother, San Francisco head coach Jim Harabugh, had already clinched a trip to the Super Bowl – the Ravens journey to New Orleans was unique. Then, while the Ravens had a 28-6 lead, the Super Bowl suffered a 34-minute power outage delay in an unprecedented event. The three-week whirlwind is remembered in detail by Harbaugh, Flacco, and Lewis.

 

  • ·         Evolution of Ravens Offense: The relationship between Harbaugh and Flacco has grown in stages since 2008. America’s Game: 2012 Ravens documents Flacco’s frustration with the Ravens conservative approach and his desire to open up the offense more. Additionally, Flacco admits the burden he felt when offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was fired so late in the season. With a new philosophy and new understanding of how the offense needed to operate, Harbaugh explains how the transformation from a Joe Frazier-style into Muhammad Ali-style offense is what propelled the team to first an AFC Championship and then a Super Bowl.

 

  • ·         The Non-Tackle: The Ravens were one special-team tackle away from the Super Bowl Championship when Flacco had one last order for his teammates – make an illegal play. Was the quarterback joking? America’s Game: 2012 Baltimore Ravens provides the uncut audio and Flacco’s explanation.

 

  • ·         Ray Lewis’ final home game: From the polarizing entrance to his first ever appearance on offensive side of the ball, Lewis had an emotional and successful final home game of his career.

 

  • ·         The Ray Lewis entrance: A ritual in Baltimore for 17 years almost ended in 2008, Harbaugh’s first as a head coach. Why did Harbaugh and Lewis almost scrap the dance and for what reasons? Harbaugh explains.

 

  • ·         Brother vs. Brother Super Bowl: In a Super Bowl that was truly a family affair, hear the embraces that John Harbaugh had with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh on the field before and after the Super Bowl. Additionally, hear what John said to his parents immediately after defeating his brother.

 

  • ·         Muhammad Ali’s inspiration: Any good coach digs deep for motivational tactics. After showing the team countless films of Muhammad Ali, the message of the prize-fighter hit home when Ali visited the Ravens.

 

 

Quotes from America’s Game2012 Baltimore Ravens:

 

–       “People get crazy every now and again. Guys get in arguments and that is what happened.”

– Joe Flacco on the bye week meeting which changed the course of the team

 

–       “It was challenging, it was tough. A bunch of strong-minded men, but the good news was they had a strong-minded head coach standing in front of them. So if there was going to be a fight, let’s have a fight.”

– John Harbaugh on the bye week meeting which changed the course of the team

 

–       “We probably got more accomplished in that half hour towards becoming the Champions that we were going to become than any half hour we had done all year. I couldn’t have been happier when we walked out of the meeting. I wasn’t too happy while it was going on. It was tough.”

– Harbaugh on the bye week meeting which changed the course of the team

 

–       “Sizzle was like ‘You need to get back, everything is out of order. As soon as the General leaves, it is all messed up. I have never had a meeting like that in my life.’”

– Ray Lewis on what he had heard from teammate Terrell Suggs regarding the bye week meeting which changed the course of the team

 

–       “I was in awe of the moment; for that to play out the way it did, that game was the marker to say that this team had what it takes. It was the key to the whole season.”

Harbaugh on the victory over the New England Patriots in which wide receiver Torrey Smith had a career game in the wake of the death of his brother

 

–       “Ali inspired us with that attitude – it is never pretty, but we can find a way to win.”

– Lewis on the inspiration the team drew from prize fighter Muhammad Ali

 

–       “We weren’t pretty. We weren’t perfect… But at least we were us.”

– Harbaugh on the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens

 

–       “It is an awkward question, but it is what you have to believe. I really believe if you are going to be any good in this league that is what you have to think about yourself.” –

Flacco on saying he believes he is the best quarterback in the NFL on a Baltimore radio station

 

–       “You feel somewhat responsible for that. You are the leader of the offense and what makes it go.”

– Flacco on the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron

 

–       “I thought about the point that we’re going to have to beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady to get to where we wanted to be. I think that makes it a little bit cooler.”

– Flacco on Ravens’ journey through the playoffs

 

About America’s Game

 

America’s Game, an Emmy Award-winning series, delves deep into the story behind the making of Super Bowl champions. Each episode is a 60-minute documentary, featuring key members of the winning team telling behind-the-scenes accounts from their championship season. With the signature NFL Films footage, combined with news clips and photos, highlights from team radio broadcasts, inside looks from team meeting rooms, sideline audio and other exclusive features, America’s Gameprovides an epic and intimate portrait of championship teams.

 

About NFL Network

 

Launched on November 4, 2003, NFL Network is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this season

 

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, fans turn to NFL Network to receive information and insight straight from the field, team headquarters, league offices and everywhere the NFL is making news. Launched in 2003, NFL Network gives fans unprecedented year-round inside access to all NFL events, including the Super Bowl, Playoffs, regular season, preseason, Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, NFL Draft, NFL Scouting Combine, Senior Bowl, league meetings, minicamps and training camps.

 

Currently in more than 72 million homes, NFL Network has carriage agreements with each of the country’s largest television providers including Comcast, DirecTV, DISH Network, Cablevision, Cox, Charter, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse.

 

For fans on the go, all NFL Network programming is streamed live on NFL Mobile from Verizon. For more information, log on to http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork. NFL.com is the exclusive internet home of NFL Network.

 

– NFL MEDIA –

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A 15-7-0 preview is just as good when enjoyed sideways

Posted on 26 August 2013 by Glenn Clark

If you’re not familiar with the 15-7-0, go back and take a look at one from last season and quickly familiarize yourself. Every Monday during football season, I use GIF’s, memes, videos and a minimal amount of wit to recap the non-Ravens football weekend. There are 15 positive observations, seven not so positive observations and one zero identified from outside the world of football.

To my knowledge, it is the most popular, most read and most worthwhile column on the entire internet.

This won’t be a full 15-7-0. Instead, it will be teaser-so we’ll go halfsies. Eight positive observations, four not so positive observations and we’ll keep that zero from outside the world of football. We’re doing the preview this week because next Monday is Labor Day and I’ll be far too deep into U.S. Open tennis to bother with sports that aren’t as important.

Eight positive observations…

1. I assume Chris Johnson and Julio Jones raised their game a bit after finding out they were two of my first three fantasy picks for 2013.

I mean, I can’t imagine a greater honor than finding out you’re joining this squad right here.

They just look like champions. They probably smell like champions. Or Ben Gay. But I bet a lot of champions smell like Ben Gay. What do you think Ben Gay smelled like? I bet he smelled beautiful. Like daffodils or some sh*t just to be ironic.

2. Tavon Austin is really good at football and at pointing.

Being that we’re in Charm City, we already knew the first part-as did the folks hanging out in the woods out in Morgantown. The second part we didn’t learn until his punt return TD against the Broncos…

If he had pointed against Maryland last year he probably would have won the Heisman. Known fact-Heisman voters love pointers.

3. I don’t know who Edmund Nelson is, but I’m enjoying him enjoy his ribs.

Apparently he’s related to the Pittsburgh Steelers, so once he finishes his plate of ribs I’m totally going to start hating him.

4. Tony Romo was also really excited about learning he was joining my fantasy football team.

Romo threw 2TD’s in the Cowboys’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Also, this image of Domata Peko from pre-game introductions.

Also, Cowboys P Chris Jones hit the massive scoreboard on a punt and had to punt again. Brandon Tate returned it for a TD. Thanks, Obama.

5. College football coaches have been pretty damn awesome recently.

When not refusing to pick a quarterback, Lane Kiffin is delivering ice cream…

Rich Rodriguez is dancing off…

And Bo Pellini is pulling a pretty righteous prank…

Meanwhile Ralph Friedgen is…I dunno…swimming in a pool filled with barbecue pork funded by Kevin Anderson’s money? Just spitballing here.

6. The Raiders are awful, but perhaps Terrelle Pryor would be worth watching?

I mean…maybe. I’m not saying anything for certain.

I’m just saying maybe.

7. The folks at NFL Films will put just about any idiot in a documentary, won’t they?

This year’s version of “America’s Game” celebrating the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens will air September 2nd at 9pm on NFL Network. For some reason, the league was freaking out trying to get a copy to me last week. When I popped it in Friday night, it wasn’t five minutes before I realized why.

I’m sorry. It wasn’t my call.

8. Credit Gilman with football’s first big upset for 2013.

Friday night’s opener aired live on ESPNNews and was a lot of fun to watch late. Of equal importance, Good Counsel DE Jesse Aniebonam committed to Maryland during the broadcast. #HeATerp

And elsewhere in High School Football, they’re running Statue of Liberty plays for TD’s at something called Apopka.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Have you heard Ray Lewis team up with Pharrell yet?

Posted on 25 August 2013 by Glenn Clark

If you missed it, late last week a mixtape hit the interwebs under the title “Natural Born Hitters”. The concept is simple. Grammy award winning producer Pharrell Williams (Neptunes, N.E.R.D. and the man behind the biggest mega-hits of the summer-Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”) “collaborated” with former Baltimore Ravens LB (and future Hall of Famer) Ray Lewis. The producer laid beats underneath Ray Lewis speeches to make them sound like songs.

The entire mixtape is roughly only 4:30 and includes three tracks-“Training”, “Practice” and “Pregame”. You can listen to all tracks in the video below.

You can listen to the tracks individually here via Soundcloud. The collaboration cannot be considered surprising, as football players in recent years have admitted to have Lewis speeches on their iPods. It does humorously come on the heels of Ravens QB Joe Flacco telling ESPN The Magazine he didn’t always understand Lewis’ speeches.

“I love Ray, and I love how he always spoke from the heart, but if you listened to those speeches, a lot of them didn’t even make sense. He meant everything he was saying, but I didn’t know what he was talking about 90 percent of the time.”

Maybe Flacco will understand better when he listens to them over Pharrell’s beats?

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Suggs not ready to stare own football mortality in face

Posted on 24 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs has never experienced a training camp quite like this as he enters his 11th season in the NFL.

Longtime teammates and mentors Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are no longer in the building, not to mention several other veteran leaders of the defending Super Bowl champions as the Ravens have undergone a more substantial makeover than any past champion in league history.

Those departures coupled with an injury-plagued 2012 season that limited the five-time Pro Bowl selection to just eight games and a career-low two sacks would make just about anyone ponder his own football mortality. But Suggs quickly dispelled any notion that he’s rapidly approaching the same age bracket as the retired Lewis or Reed, who will turn 35 in September.

“I’m 30, so I’m alright,” said Suggs, cracking a half-smile. “A lot of these guys were a lot older than me, but I’m 30. If you ask me, I’m probably entering my football prime right now. I’m not going to think about that this year definitely. At the end of the year, probably — I don’t know. It depends on how the year goes.”

And it might be a more important year for Suggs than most realize as he tries to show he is 100 percent after suffering a torn Achilles tendon on the weekend of the 2012 draft and a torn right biceps in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 2 of last year. The 2011 Defensive Player of the Year played courageously through significant pain, but he will be out to prove he remains closer to that award-winning performer he was two years ago than the pass rusher who struggled to make a consistent impact last season.

Suggs does have another year remaining on the six-year, $62.5 million contract he signed in the summer of 2009, but that deal carries a $12.4 million cap number in 2014, which is projected to account for roughly 10 percent of next season’s total cap. Unlike this season when cutting Suggs would have netted the Ravens only $1.8 million in cap savings to go along with $11.2 million in dead money, general manager Ozzie Newsome would gain $7.8 million in cap space if he decided to part ways with the 2003 first-round pick next winter.

Knowing the way in which Newsome and the front office view every player as a commodity with an appraised monetary figure, it’s likely that the Ravens will attempt to address that 2014 number in any number of ways — regardless of how Suggs performs this season.

Asked what he expects of himself this season, Suggs wouldn’t offer specifics, saying only that he plans to continue working hard while hoping to stay healthy. Noticeably slimmer this year, the elder statesman of the Baltimore defense is happy to just be able to take part in training camp this year, a notion he wouldn’t have expressed in the past. At this point last year, Suggs was more than two months away from even returning to the practice field.

“It put a lot of things in perspective with things I took for granted,” Suggs said. “Just like the opportunity to go to work and play with my teammates. Every football player will tell you reporting to camp is not really our happiest time, but it’s definitely needed to get our bodies in football shape. I wish I had the opportunity to do training camp last year.”

Dealing with a plethora of personnel changes to the defense has been made easier by the free-agent addition of fellow Pro Bowl linebacker Elvis Dumervil. Suggs paid compliments to former teammates Jarret Johnson and Paul Kruger but recognized Dumervil as the most talented outside linebacker he’s ever played with. The two have combined for a remarkable 148 sacks in their careers.

Asked how effective the pass-rushing tandem can be for the Ravens defense this season, Suggs paused and smiled before offering his answer.

“We can be pretty good,” Suggs said, “if everything goes according to plan and we keep everybody healthy. It’s going to take more than just us two though for the duo to work. There are other guys in the front. It’s a collaborative effort of everybody doing their job in the back end.”

It’s a task that won’t be easy as the Ravens will feature their first defense of the post-Lewis era and could feature as many as nine different starters from the starting defensive unit we saw in Super Bowl XLVII.

With the iconic leader affectionately known as “Mufasa” — a reference to the Disney movie “The Lion King” — and Reed now gone, Suggs admits feeling more responsibility as the longest-tenured player on the roster. However, he plans to remain his playful self in the locker room and on the practice field while acknowledging that the massive shoes of Lewis can’t be filled by any one player individually.

“It’s definitely going to be interesting to see what it looks like,” Suggs said. “I’ve said it before [about] his legacy. He has left a standard here, and every man on this defense will be held accountable in playing to that standard.”

The biggest question for Suggs is whether he can live up to his own impeccable standards that existed prior to the torn Achilles tendon, an injury from which many veterans are unable to regain their full explosiveness. Judging him too harshly on last year’s performance would be unfair after a remarkable — even unprecedented — recovery time of under six months, but the Ravens will be watching closely, hoping the Suggs who collected a combined 25 sacks in 2010 and 2011 resurfaces to lead a revamped defense in 2013.

His future — at least in Baltimore — depends on it.

“You can always do better, especially with this city,” Suggs said. “This is a league of, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ so I don’t want to rest on those laurels. I’m good with those mountains that I’ve climbed, but I’m into climbing more. That’s what we’re in this business for, so I’m looking for my next obstacle. We’ll just determine what that is in the near future.”

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Ravens to add retired linebacker Lewis to Ring of Honor

Posted on 15 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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

The last time we saw Ray Lewis at M&T Bank Stadium, he was dancing a final time while holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy just two days after the Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII victory.

The retired inside linebacker won’t have to wait long to enter the team’s Ring of Honor as the Ravens announced Monday that Lewis will be inducted on Sept. 22 during a Week 3 contest with the Houston Texans. Of course, that means former Ravens safety and Lewis’ longtime teammate Ed Reed will be on the opposing sideline in his first visit to Baltimore since departing via free agency this offseason.

Owner Steve Bisciotti has already said the organization plans to build a statue in honor of the 17-year linebacker, who retired after helping lead the Ravens to their second Super Bowl championship. The statue will not be ready for Lewis’ Week 3 ceremony.

Lewis becomes the seventh Ravens player to receive the honor, joining 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, Jamal Lewis, Michael McCrary, Matt Stover, and Earnest Byner. Late owner Art Modell and eight Baltimore Colts are also members of the Ring of Honor.

A two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and 13-time Pro Bowl selection, Lewis is eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

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Baltimore Ravens 2013 Season Preview Part One

Posted on 05 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

Baltimore’s victory in Super Bowl XLVII was bittersweet. The Ravens had a reason to celebrate but it must also be put into perspective. Ray Lewis will never play for the Baltimore Ravens again. Neither will Ed Reed.

Many fan favorites are gone from Baltimore. Guys like Bernard Pollard, Carry Williams, and Anquan Boldin weren’t just great players. They were tempo setters. They brought intangibles to the team that personified the Ravens playing style and can’t be replaced.

Even with all the departures, the Ravens still stand a chance to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. Don’t forget, they still have number five and 27 in the backfield. The Ravens offense will live and die by Flacco and Rice this season. Both are highly regarded by their peers and are a dangerous duo when Rice is involved in the passing game.

Even though Rice remains, the heart and soul of the offense is gone. Anquan Boldin will be wearing a 49ers jersey this season and will be greatly missed. In my opinion, the Ravens received too little for Boldin who is worth much more than a sixth round draft pick. Experts say he was getting old and could not separate but what does it matter if he still catches everything thrown his way?

In the coming season, the Ravens will replace Boldin’s production with Dennis Pitta. Pitta should play a hybrid position in 2013 between tight end and wide receiver. He will line up in the slot more often, which will allow more opportunities for Ed Dickson to be a pass catching threat. Don’t forget that Dickson can be a dangerous weapon when utilized. Before Pitta broke out in the 2012 season, Dickson had nearly 60 catches and 528 receiving yards.

Having Pitta in a hybrid role would also allow the Ravens to utilize versatile rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell could have a lot of fun with Juszczyk who played fullback, running back, and tight end at Harvard last season. His versatility will cause matchup, spelling, and pronunciation nightmares.

Speaking of nightmares, the Ravens defense will cause many of them this season. This defense has the ability to be one of the best in franchise history. Possibly the best Baltimore has seen since 2006. If you have followed the team closely, that must be music to your ears.

The main point behind my argument is this. The Ravens are younger, faster, more athletic, and extremely versatile.

The trio of Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata will be a lethal combination. All three players are elite at their respective positions and can take over games by themselves. Just think of all the fun they will have!

Ngata is so dominant that he will occupy blockers on the inside. In turn, other defensive lineman like Arthur Jones and Chris Canty will have an easier path to the quarterback. Suggs and Dumervil will then face less blockers on the outside but will also open things up for Ngata, Canty, and others when offenses are forced to put more attention on them. So in a way, offenses will have to pick their poison when facing the Ravens defense.

Despite the promise I see for the Ravens, a tough season still lies ahead. Thanks to the Orioles, the Ravens are forced to open on the road against Denver. Unless Jacoby Jones and Joe Flacco have another miracle up their selves, I don’t see this game ending well.

Following a tough opening game, the Ravens return home to face the Browns and Texans in consecutive weeks. If the Ravens do not perform well, the season could easily start with two losses to the Broncos and Texans. Following the Texans, the schedule gets progressively tougher. There are weaker teams on the schedule but the Packers, Steelers, Bears, Vikings, and Patriots will test Baltimore to their limits.

The Ravens have many factors in their favor for the 2013 season. Their recent dominance over the AFC North indicates they should win the division yet again. In addition, Joe Flacco is better than most of the quarterbacks the Ravens will face this year. The only quarterbacks better than Flacco on the Ravens schedule are Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning. Flacco is also very good in clutch situations so the Ravens will have an advantage over 13 teams they will face at the most important position on the field.

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Ray Lewis cancels Mount Kilimanjaro climb due to illness

Posted on 05 July 2013 by WNST Staff

Former Ravens LB Ray Lewis tackled a lot of opposing ball-carriers in his 17-year career.

But now, it appears like his first hurdle in his post-NFL life may have slipped his grasp.

Sickness, including a swollen foot and a high fever, hit the future Hall of Famer hard Thursday in Tanzania as the linebacker lent aid to those in need in East Africa for TackleKili and WorldServe International and Pros for Africa.

Lewis, who along with former Bears DT Tommie Harris, was scheduled to ascend Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to benefit the clean water effort in East Africa.

Lewis and the TackleKili Twitter page chronicled the relief effort on the part of the Ravens LB over the last couple days, and when news came out about Lewis’ misfortune regarding his mountain climb, the foundation was quick to thank the linebacker for all the help he gave.

“Ray stood all day yesterday doing a hearing mission,” trip organizer Frank Gamble said to the Sun. “Last night, he had a bad night, fevered and really rough. So this morning, when he woke up, the foot was killing him, years of injuries and all of that. So we’re going to miss him.”

Lewis described the setback on his own Twitter page as well.

“Foot pain grew worse after yesterday’s hearing mission,” Lewis said. “The team goes on; I will serve otherwise for clean water.”

The injury, which also hampered Lewis at times during his football career in Baltimore, may require surgery.

Follow WNST on Twitter for your Ravens news! WNST- We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!


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Why the Ravens will survive offseason purge

Posted on 01 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

I just finished celebrating the Super Bowl victory when the Ravens began losing players. Some were to retirement while others were just released or traded. The losses include Carry Williams, Paul Kruger, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Ma’ake Kemoeatu, and Dannell Ellerbe. At first, this was troubling but Ozzie Newsome had a plan and executed it to perfection.

Overwhelming, yes. But the Ravens are set up for long term success at the right price. That is something I have always admired about Ozzie Newsome. Newsome doesn’t get attached to players and approaches football from a business aspect at all times.

I guarantee you Newsome and the Ravens front office were laughing their you know whats off when players like Kruger and Ellerbe signed with other teams. Not to say Ellerbe and Kruger are bad players but they are not worth $75 million combined. Not to mention Ellerbe has struggled with injuries his entire career and Kruger had one good season.

Replacing Kruger and Ellerbe will be Arthur Brown and Elvis Dumervil. The Ravens also have replacements lined up for Williams, Pollard, and Kemoeatu. But notice how I didn’t mention replacements for Boldin, Lewis, or Reed. No one can replace those players.

Boldin is the only loss that truly concerns me. The roster is filled with young receivers with high ceilings and raw ability but that only takes you so far. Boldin brought intangibles to the offense that personified the Ravens playing style. He was also the guy Flacco looked for in clutch situations. None of the young receivers like Deonte Thompson, Tandon Doss, or Tommy Streeter can replace Boldin but maybe Dennis Pitta can.

Look for the Ravens to use Pitta in more of a slot receiver role in 2013. With Pitta in the slot, they can utilize Ed Dickson who is a dangerous weapon when given the chance. Versatile rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk could also line up across from Dickson as a second tight end.

In a way, while they have lost Boldin, the offense has a chance to be more versatile. Replacing Boldin with a wide range of young fast receivers to stretch the field which fits Flacco’s skill set.

Expect the Ravens to make the playoffs once again. The defense has improved and Flacco can carry this offense. In addition, I dont trust the Bengals to make much of an improvement and the Ravens have owned the Steelers lately.

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Five Questions for Friday

Posted on 20 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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

As we try out a new segment “Five Questions for Friday” on The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction, I wanted to pick readers’ brains on the following topics.

(Update: Thanks to those who chimed in via Twitter, Facebook, and in the comments section below. You can catch Friday morning’s segment HERE.)

I’ve offered my own thoughts on each question and invite you to offer your answers in the comments selection below and I’ll share your insights on Friday morning.

1. If you’re only able to keep two moving forward, who would you choose among Manny Machado, Matt Wieters, and Chris Davis?

This question was brought up during Thursday morning’s show by Jonathan in Essex and it’s an intriguing one to ponder, particularly when you acknowledge the potential cost that each of these three young players will carry in the future.

Wieters and Davis are both scheduled to become free agents after 2015 while Machado isn’t currently scheduled to see free agency until after the 2018 campaign.

Machado is the easy first choice and Wieters would have been my second pick in spring training, but my answer may be changing as the season progresses and we see Chris Davis continue an MVP-caliber season. Even if this is Davis’ career year and he settles in as a first baseman capable of simply hitting 30 to 40 home runs in the typical year, he brings the type of power only a handful of players in the major leagues can provide.

However, Wieters’ defense and ability to handle a flawed pitching staff is a major reason why the Orioles have become a winning franchise over the last two years. He never did become Johnny Bench offensively, but he’s still a good offensive catcher with exceptional defensive skills, a rare combination among backstops in the game today.

If I’m choosing now, I’ll keep Machado and Davis, but a big reason why is the Orioles’ window for signing Wieters to a long-term extension continuing to close. The catcher will be 29 when he hits free agency after 2015 and will be looking for an expensive and lengthy contract, which is something I’m not crazy about doing for a catcher who will have much tread worn away from the tires by then.

2. After Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta, which player currently on the roster will be the most productive receiver for the Ravens in 2013?

Smith and Pitta are the easy choices for seeing a spike in production following the departure of Anquan Boldin, but it remains to be seen who else will emerge to become a bigger part of the passing game.

I’m not sold on Jacoby Jones suddenly become a consistent wide receiver in his seventh year despite the big-play ability, so I’ll go with Tandon Doss finally figuring it out in his third year to become a respectable contributor. Anyone in the media will tell you how well Doss has practiced over the last couple years, but limited opportunities and nagging injuries have prevented him from becoming a household name.

Many have written him off after being targeted only 20 times in his career and his disappointing showing in the wild-card round against Indianapolis, but he fits the closest profile to what the Ravens received from Boldin over the last three years. And he’s gotten stronger and quicker since entering the league as a fourth-round pick out of Indiana.

Of course, don’t forget the possibility of Ray Rice becoming an even bigger factor out of the backfield as a receiver, especially with the power-running ability of Bernard Pierce likely cutting into his total number of carries.

3. Of the four Orioles currently in line to be starters in July’s All-Star Game, how would you rank them in order of being most deserving? Which Orioles belong in the Midsummer Classic and which ones don’t?

Of the four players slated to be starters as of the last voting update, Davis is clearly the most deserving. After that, I’d be inclined to go with Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, and Nick Markakis in order from most to least deserving of the nod.

Jones continues to be very productive in a down year for American League outfielders. Meanwhile, Hardy is hitting .311 with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs since May 1 and continues to be an excellent defensive shortstop.

Markakis is a pick based mostly on the outstanding voting efforts of Orioles fans, but little about his solid-but-unspectacular season really screams All-Star starter if you’re looking at his numbers objectively. He ranks 15th among AL outfielders with a .761 OPS this year.

Aside from Davis, no Orioles player is more deserving of an All-Star nod than Machado, who leads the major leagues in hits and is on pace to set a new major-league record for doubles as he already has 33 in 73 games. It’s understandable that he ranks second behind 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera for third basemen, but it will truly be a shame if he’s left off the All-Star team.

Wieters currently ranks second among AL catchers and will earn consideration because of his defense and reputation, but his offensive numbers don’t hold up as well this year with a .702 OPS, which ranks behind Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, Jason Castro, Ryan Doumit, and Salvador Perez among AL backstops.

4. Because everyone else has asked the question and I want to address it once before moving on, so who would be your four choices for the Ravens’ hypothetical version of Mt. Rushmore?

I suppose Pro Football Talk should receive the blame for getting this discussion rolling for the 32 NFL teams this spring, but I find it difficult to come up with a definitive foursome for a franchise that only has 17 seasons of history to its name.

The first three are elementary with Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, and Ed Reed, but choosing a fourth feels forced. Super Bowl XLVII most valuable player Joe Flacco would be my tentative selection for now, but Flacco has too much football ahead of him to definitively etch him in stone as one of the four greatest in franchise history.

Still, I’d include him before the likes of Ray Rice, Jamal Lewis, Matt Stover, and Terrell Suggs based on the first five years of his NFL career.

The truth is these types of exercises work much better for teams with extensive histories and it feels artificial for even successful teams with shorter histories such as the Ravens, let alone teams lacking any substantial prosperity like Jacksonville or Carolina.

5. What is your favorite superhero movie?

Yes, I realize this isn’t a sports-related question, but I thought I’d throw in a non-sports topic to discuss and I plan to see “Man of Steel” over the weekend.

The newest attempt at a Superman movie has received mixed reviews, but I’ll freely admit to being a nerd for superhero movies such as the Batman trilogy and saw “Iron Man 3” in the theater earlier this spring.

“The Dark Knight” goes down as my all-time favorite superhero movie, but I also found “The Dark Knight Rises” to be much better than many gave it credit for as I thoroughly enjoyed Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Bane. It was impossible to match the psychotic performance of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker in the previous movie, but Hardy gave a more than respectable effort playing the homicidal man behind the mask.

How would you answer the five questions posed? Comment below and see if your answers make the cut for Friday’s show.

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