Tag Archive | "ray lewis"

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The Dismantling of the Ravens

Posted on 28 March 2013 by Tom Federline

It has been 7 weeks. What just happened Baltimore? Where have all our Ravens gone? I’ll tell you what happened, the Baltimore Ravens organization is in mass salary shedding mode. Bisciotti and Newsome are playing the shrewd business man game. They have a product that sells, they have a product at the top of its’ market, they have the upper hand. It’s time to ride the wave and make some cash. While they are on top, why not increase ticket prices, why not renovate the 15 year old stadium with 35 million dollars of upgrades, why not unload salary and dump over-priced contracts? Where are they going to find $120 million dollars to over-pay the Super Bowl QB with a new contract? The time is right for “re-building”, they have an excuse, they  breakdown the championship team and blame it on  ”the salary cap”.

Nice purge Ravens, it’s not the first time you have done this, is it? Well they didn’t really purge in 2001, they just didn’t renew the contract for the leader of the offense, Super Bowl winner, Trent Dilfer. I guess they did learn some lessons from that screw up. This time they kept the QB and are letting 40% of the starters go. Ok, two are retiring. Hey, it might work. Just hard to swallow in such a short turnaround time. And Horribaugh, I know you are just on for the ride, so who is going to drive the bus now? It appears the Ravens Nation and front office need an SOS in the form of a ”Message in the Bottle” – The Police.

My outlook hasn’t changed, I’m old school, you don’t get rid of the people that got you there. The Ravens organization lost me when they let Trent Dilfer go after winning the Super Bowl in 2001. At that time, the possibility existed for the Ravens to create an NFL dynasty with that defense. Ray-Ray in his prime and they had an offensive leader. The Ravens front office blew-it then. And unless the front office can pull the Easter Bunny out of a hat, they have lost me again, with the “roster purge” of 2013.

This whole Salary Cap excuse - not buying it. They are in panic unload mode, they made to many promises they can’t keep, they extended contracts and monies beyond their means, they got lucky with the Super Bowl win. They had two high salary veterans retire and they still were above the salary cap? Oh that’s right they have a new 20 million dollar man. We just won the Super Bowl – time to raise ticket prices. Come on Ravens – who you trying to kid? Ok, you got your quarterback and made him one of the richest NFL players ever. Good move. Now what do you have? Defense is devastated. Offense may survive. Although losing Boldin, was just plain…………..”fixed”. Nice brotherly bet payoff, huh? By the way, I’m calling it now – the San Francisco 49ers with a real head coach – Jim Harbaugh, just won Super Bowl XLVIII.

Offensively, the 20 million dollar/year mans go to wide receiver - is gone. The heart of the offensive line, the veteran center, the man who called the blocking schemes and delivered the ball to the 20 million dollar Flacco, retired. Defensively – the heart and one of the greatest of all-time, Ray Lewis – retired. The inside linebacker who picked up the slack when Ray was out – Dannel Ellerbe – gone to Miami. The defensive end, Paul Krueger, finally coming into his game – gone to the Browns. The smash mouth sticker of the defense, Bernard Pollard – gone to the Titans. The surprisingly reliable defensive back who picked up with the loss of Lardarius Webb – Cary Williams, gone to the Eagles. And finally the artery that fed the heart, the second in command on defense and one of the greatest safeties of all time – Ed Reed – gone to Houston. All were starters – all are gone.

The Ravens could pull this rebuilding, salary restructuring off. Hey, they pulled off the improbable ”Ray-Ray, Last Dance, Super Bowl Run”. Let’s see who they replace these guys with. Elvis Dumervil? Could be a start, even though I think this cat is carrying some excess baggage. Now a new DB in Mike Huff from Oakland. Mike who? We all knew Ray-Ray was done. We figured Birk was on the same boat. And Mr. Two Tickets to the Hospital, Ed Reed………..is one plough-over from a juiced up fullback to be put the DL, for the rest of his career. The loss of Ellerbe and Pollard hurt. The line backing crew is in dire straits. At least “Ngata Chance” is still here! Or will they dump all hope?

Are the Ravens just letting it ride this year? Are they grabbing the cash while they can? Are they really rebuilding? We’re not going to know until November. Let’s also see what they say about the “salary cap” next year, after they have adjusted to the 20 million dollar/year one man contract. Hey, I am a Flacco fan. Always have been, always will be, he’s a leader. I am not a fan of the obnoxious sports salaries and contracts. It has ruined the game. Bottom line – The Ravens won another Super Bowl and that is cool. Watching the exodus of the players that got them there - is not. And “O” yeah, no Ray Lewis next year. Cha, cha, changes……….time to face the strange.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Your Monday Reality Check: Can the “regression” talk regress now?

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Your Monday Reality Check: Can the “regression” talk regress now?

Posted on 25 March 2013 by Glenn Clark

Two of my absolute favorite people on the face of the planet are WNST.net’s own Luke Jones and Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole.

I really mean that. They’re not just two of my favorites in the business, they’re two of my favorites in the world. I love to talk shop with those guys, I love to chat about the world in general with them and I love getting the chance to spend time with them socially.

(This type of statement always leads to a “BUT….”, right? Not exactly this time.)

Both Jason and Luke joined me on “The Reality Check” during the first week of NFL free agency and separately brought up the same word, a specific word that has been repeated to me by a number of callers and e-mailers over the course of the last couple of weeks.

The word is “regression.” If you were playing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the moderator would tell you the word was of latin origin and could be defined as “a trend or shift toward a lower or less perfect state.” Perhaps the word could be used in a sentence along the lines of “After losing the players the Baltimore Ravens have lost thus far, we can expect regression from the team in 2013.”

That was essentially how both guys (and others) used the word over the last few weeks.

(You’re now CERTAIN there’s going to be a “BUT…” coming, aren’t you?)

I had to start every discussion about the term that I’ve had both on-air and off since the offseason began by accepting that Luke, Jason and everyone else who has suggested the Ravens are going to “regress” in 2013 are…well…probably right. I’m sorry. It had to be said.

They’re right because the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012 and it will be very difficult for them to win the Super Bowl again in 2013. Any scenario that doesn’t involve the Ravens hoisting a third Vince Lombardi Trophy would technically mean they had “regressed” from where they were last season.

(Okay, now it’s time.)

BUT…I was never REALLY willing to accept the notion of “regression” for the Ravens at any point. Sunday’s signing of former Denver Broncos pass rusher Elvis Dumervil re-inforces that belief, but it absolutely did not establish it. I just hope the addition of Dumervil will force others to similarly push aside the notion of “regression” in 2013.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Miss Jacoby Jones on DWTS? Check him out here…

Posted on 18 March 2013 by WNST Staff

Baltimore Ravens WR/KR made his debut appearance on the hit ABC show “Dancing With The Stars” Monday. He and partner Karina Smirnoff even threw in a tribute to Ray Lewis’ famous “Squirrel” dance. If you missed it, check it out below. At least until Disney pulls the video off of YouTube…

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Lewis considered long shot for Madden cover

Posted on 14 March 2013 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv,  Twitter: @BovadaLV).

 

Odds to win the  Madden NFL 25th Anniversary Cover

Joe Montana (SF)                                  8/1

Barry Sanders (DET)                              8/1

Dan Marino (MIA)                                  9/1

Jerry Rice (SF)                                      9/1

Colin Kaepernick (SF)                            10/1

Robert Griffin III (WAS)                          10/1

Andrew Luck (IND)                                 12/1

Deion Sanders (ATL)                             16/1

Adrian Peterson (MIN)                            16/1

A.J. Green (CIN)                                    18/1

Kurt Warner (STL)                                  18/1

Randal Cunningham (PHI)                      18/1

Russell Wilson (SEA)                             18/1

Ray Lewis (BAL)                                    18/1

Troy Aikman (DAL)                                20/1

Victor Cruz (NYG)                                  25/1

Jim Kelly (BUF)                                     25/1

Marshall Faulk (STL)                              25/1

Arian Foster (HOU)                                25/1

Marcus Allen (KC)                                  35/1

Von Miller (DEN)                                   35/1

Dez Bryant (DAL)                                  35/1

Terrell Davis (DEN)                                50/1

Julio Jones (ATL)                                  50/1

LaDainian Tomlinson (SD)                      50/1

Ray Rice (BAL)                                      50/1

Michael Strahan (NYG)                           80/1

Chad Johnson (CIN)                              80/1

Trent Richardson (CLE)                          80/1

Field                                                     25/1

 

Wes Welker – Total Receiving Yards in the 2013 Regular Season  

Over/Under                    1000½

 

Wes Welker – Total Receptions in the 2013 Regular Season         

Over/Under                    90½

 

Wes Welker – Total TD’s in the 2013 Regular Season       

Over/Under                    7½

 

Reggie Bush – Total Rushing & Receiving Yards in the 2013 Regular Season         

Over/Under                    1050½

 

Reggie Bush – Total Rushing & Receiving TD’s in the 2013 Regular Season

Over/Under                    7½

 

Danny Amendola – Total Receiving Yards in the 2013 Regular Season  

Over/Under                    950½

 

Danny Amendola – Total Receptions in the 2013 Regular Season         

Over/Under                    90½

 

Danny Amendola – Total TD’s in the 2013 Regular Season       

Over/Under                    5½

 

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ESPN officially announces hiring of Ray Lewis as NFL anaylst

Posted on 13 March 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

Two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and 12-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis, who ended his legendary NFL career by helping the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII last month, is joining ESPN as a NFL studio analyst. The two-time Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer will appear on Monday Night Countdown, Sunday Night Countdown and SportsCenter, while also contributing to ESPN’s annual Super Bowl coverage.

Lewis will travel to the site of each week’s Monday Night Football game where he will offer analysis alongside Stuart Scott, Hall of Famer Steve Young and his former Ravens teammate Trent Dilfer during the pre-game Countdown and post-game SportsCenter. Lewis will contribute to Sunday NFL Countdown throughout the season and make a weekly appearance on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning. The 17-year NFL veteran will also have the opportunity to host specials similar to Jon Gruden’s QB Camp series. He is expected to start on August 1.

“Ray is a tremendous addition to our NFL roster and he will have an immediate impact on our coverage,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, production. “One of the most accomplished players in NFL history, fans will be drawn to his knowledge, experience and, of course, the passion he always exudes for the game.”

Lewis added: “ESPN is such a big part of how fans watch and experience sports, especially the NFL, so I’m excited to join their team. I’m ready to bring the same level of passion to this next phase of my life as I brought to the field during my years as a player. I can’t wait to work with my new teammates, many of whom I’ve already known for years.”

Lewis played his entire 17-year career (1996-2012) with the Ravens and was part of both of the franchise’s Super Bowl titles – XXXV (named MVP) and XLVII. His 12 Pro Bowl selections are tied for the fifth-most in NFL history and most by a linebacker. He is also one of only six players to earn the AP Defensive Player of the Year Award multiple times (2000 and 2003). Named to the 2000s All-Decade Team, Lewis played in 228 games during his career, amassing 41.5 sacks and 31 interceptions. The second draft pick in Ravens history – the No. 26 pick overall in the 1996 NFL Draft – Lewis is the all-time franchise leader in many categories, including tackles (2,643), fumble recoveries (31), seasons (17), games played (228) and playoff games (11).

Lewis made a guest appearance on ESPN’s NFL Live last summer, and he had a similar role on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown at Super Bowl XLI in South Florida in 2007. He was the featured athlete on the cover of EA Sports’ Madden NFL 2005, and he was profiled in NFL Network’s documentary series A Football Life.

Lewis is involved in charitable activities, motivational speaking and mentoring. He started the Ray Lewis 52 Foundation, a non-profit corporation which provides personal and economic assistance to disadvantaged youth. In May 2010, a portion of Baltimore’s North Avenue was renamed “Ray Lewis Way” in honor of his charitable work; similar honors include a 2006 JB Award (named for CBS broadcaster James Brown) and an “Act of Kindness” Award for his community work.

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Suggs: Ravens defense yet to “hand out stripes” in post-Lewis era

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Suggs: Ravens defense yet to “hand out stripes” in post-Lewis era

Posted on 27 February 2013 by Luke Jones

Long before the Ravens marched to their second Super Bowl title, many wondered which player would ultimately accept the torch passed on from Ray Lewis after his 17 years as leader of the vaunted Baltimore defense.

And now that the last of the confetti has fallen and the Ravens look ahead to life without the future Hall of Famer, linebacker Terrell Suggs admits he’s still not giving too much thought to a defense sans Lewis. The uncertain future of free-agent safety Ed Reed has led many to anoint Suggs as the logical replacement as the spiritual leader of the unit.

According to the 30-year-old linebacker in an interview on AM 1570 WNST on Wednesday, there will be a time this offseason to delegate responsibilities within the defense.

Just not yet.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” Suggs said. “I didn’t want to rob myself or my teammates of what we just accomplished together. There’s going to come a time where we’re going to hand out stripes and assignments and jobs and what have you, but right now, we’re just all still on this magic carpet ride just enjoying it. We don’t want to rob each other talking about who’s the defense’s next leader.”

Regardless of how the Ravens solve the gigantic dilemma of replacing Lewis’ leadership, they apparently will have a fully-healthy Suggs, who confirmed he will not undergo surgery to repair the torn right biceps suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers in early December. That injury coupled with the partially-torn Achilles tendon suffered last spring limited Suggs to eight games and a career-low two sacks in 2012.

The Ravens hope a full offseason for the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year will mean a more productive version of the rush linebacker, who is schedule to carry a $13.02 million salary cap number in the penultimate season of a six-year, $62.5 million contract signed in the summer of 2009. Suggs will be counted upon to regain his 2011 form to offset the anticipated departure of pass-rushing specialist Paul Kruger in free agency.

Suggs collected 25 sacks and nine fumbles combined in the two seasons prior to the Achilles tendon injury last offseason. Initially feared to be lost for the season, Suggs returned by mid-October to provide a much-needed presence for the defense despite lacking the same explosiveness he enjoyed before the injury. The torn biceps injury cost Suggs another game in December before the veteran decided to push through the injury.

The 2003 first-round pick says he will be 100 percent for training camp instead of spending his summer days rehabbing like he did last year.

“I feel great; I went to see the doctor about the whole biceps thing,” Suggs said. “He said it’s strong enough that I don’t need surgery. That was good news because I didn’t want to be down for three, four months again. I get to hit the offseason full-stride with a clear vision.

“Now that I have the Lombardi and I have all those awards, I can go into the offseason with no pressure whatsoever and kind of just enjoy it.”

Currently promoting “The Coalition,” a film co-written and produced by the five-time Pro Bowl selection, Suggs quipped that he wouldn’t have bought into the unbelievable story of his championship team had someone tried to sell him the script prior to the season.

Instead, the linebacker enjoyed the first-person account.

“To finally get that done, just thinking of everything we’ve been through since I entered the league in 2003, it was just like, ‘Finally, you’re a champion,’” said Suggs, who joked that he’s now trying to buy the movie rights for the story of the Ravens’ run to Super Bowl XLVII. “I can’t describe it. I will never be able to. It was amazing to do it with my teammates.”

After tasting Super Bowl glory, Suggs will now adjust to playing without the man he affectionately called “The General” for the first time in his professional career. Whether he’s ready to assume Lewis’ gigantic shoes remains to be seen, but Suggs knows the defense won’t soon forget the expectations and vision largely cultivated by Lewis over the first 17 years of the franchise.

It’s a legacy that must be carried on as the veteran prepares for his 11th season in Baltimore.

“No matter what happens in the future, Ray Lewis’ presence will always be felt in that locker room [and] on that field,” Suggs said. “Our defense will still be held to a certain standard.”

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I need you to sign this petition to keep Dannell Ellerbe in Baltimore

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I need you to sign this petition to keep Dannell Ellerbe in Baltimore

Posted on 27 February 2013 by Glenn Clark

Baltimore Ravens unrestricted free agent LB Dannell Ellerbe checked into my show “The Reality Check” Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. We talked about the contract talks between his agent and the team, his “challenge” that he could outrun Manti Te’o backwards (he was kidding) and how much he wanted to return to Charm City next season.

He had one request before I let him go.

“That’s how much I want to be in Baltimore. Tell everyone to start a petition!”

So we did. My producer Ryan Chell and I started a petition to ask the Baltimore Ravens to keep their former undrafted free agent LB right here in Charm City.

I want you to sign it, too. You can go right here to do that.

Since we’re here, I should definitely take a minute to tell you why I’m so particularly interested in seeing the former Georgia backer stick around.

I start by mentioning that Ellerbe is a damn good football player. But you already knew that from watching the games this season. Ellerbe has gone from undrafted and fighting to separate himself from other young linebackers like Tavares Gooden to becoming one of the NFL’s most consistent inside performers. When healthy in 2012, Ellerbe may well have been the team’s best defensive player, outperforming two future Hall of Famers and perennial Pro Bowlers like Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata.

Despite a number of injuries (which forced to miss all three games during the Ravens’ late season slide), Ellerbe returned to have a stellar postseason. He made what may well have been the game saving tackle on Frank Gore’s late run in Super Bowl XLVII, helping the Ravens finish off their second title.

You of course already knew all of that.

But there are other reasons I really want to see Dannell Ellerbe return.

I want to see him return because I’m inspired by a guy who fought to go from undrafted and scratching to get in on Special Teams to being a dependable high-level performer.

I want to see him return because he cares so much about the city of Baltimore and wants so badly to remain here.

I want to see him return because the Ravens are obviously losing Ray Lewis and will be in a very difficult place to lose their best inside linebacker as well. Behind Lewis and Ellerbe, the Ravens have just Jameel McClain coming back from a neck injury, Josh Bynes, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Albert McClellan at the position.

I want to see him return because I’ve been impressed by his maturation both on and off the field. He admitted to me begrudgingly earlier in the season that maturation has come even if he didn’t believe he needed it. Dannell has overcome a reputation of being someone who didn’t always care as much as he needed to in order to become a player that spends extra time watching film in the locker room.

I want to see him return because he’s always made himself available to us and hasn’t changed as he’s become more successful. He never hid at a time when he was hurt or at a time when he didn’t have a great game. Dannell has always been available to answer questions. He’s always said yes when we’ve asked him to come on the radio. He’s never dodged anything.

Dannell Ellerbe has been a picture of someone I want to have as a Raven. I really hope this will work out so that Dannell can return before or after the open of free agency in two weeks.

He wanted a petition and he’s absolutely worthy of one. Ravens fans signed petitions to fire Cam Cameron in droves. I’d like to hope that signing a petition to support one of the team’s better defensive players would be just as easy.

Let’s try again. Click right here to sign the petition. Then I want you to share it via your Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or whatever other social media sites you use. I want you to text and email it to your friends. I don’t want this to be about WNST, I want it to be Dannell. He’s already shared this himself via social media. He’s involved. He’d love to see the support as he enters free agency for the first time in his career. He deserves it.

Go sign the petition. Say thanks to Dannell. Let him know you want him back.

It’s what he told me he wanted.

-G

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Business about to pick up as Ravens brass travels to NFL scouting combine

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Business about to pick up as Ravens brass travels to NFL scouting combine

Posted on 20 February 2013 by Luke Jones

After only a couple weeks to set offseason priorities and plans following their win in Super Bowl XLVII, the Ravens realize business is about to pick up as the shapers of the organization travel to Indianapolis for the NFL’s scouting combine.

Most teams will be focused primarily on scouting the incoming rookie class ahead of April’s draft and holding informal discussions — don’t dare call these talks tampering, however — with the agents of soon-to-be free agents, but the Ravens hold the clearest and most important task of any team in Indianapolis. General manager Ozzie Newsome and vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty are set to meet with quarterback Joe Flacco’s agent for their first contract negotiations since last August. Joe Linta has expressed a desire for his client to become the highest-paid quarterback in the league and is reportedly seeking upwards of $20 million per season.

As unlikely as it is that the sides come to an agreement on a long-term contract this weekend in Indianapolis, it will be important to see progress made from the point where talks broke down prior to last season. The first real deadline on which to be focused is March 4, the last day the Ravens are allowed to place the franchise tag on Flacco for the 2013 season. Should the Ravens be forced to use the $14.6 non-exclusive tag or the exclusive one estimated to cost $20 million or more for a one-year tender, they will be faced with making a number of roster cuts to be in compliance with the salary cap by the start of the new league year on March 12.

While Flacco’s side is likely willing to be creative in structuring a deal to quell cap concerns for the 2013 season, Linta made it clear a couple weeks ago that it’s not his client’s obligation to take a hometown discount to bail the Ravens out of trouble.

“There are a lot of teams in the same boat; the Ravens aren’t the only ones with cap problems,” Linta said on AM 1570 WNST.net earlier this month. “Whether it’s Joe or any of the other free agents who are upcoming, they have to figure out how to do it. Every time you’re a cap manager like Ozzie and Pat are, you have to come up with a puzzle that works for you.”

As Moriarty’s focus will largely be on making substantial strides in order to lock up the Super Bowl MVP for the long haul, the rest of the organization will be consumed with 40-yard dash times, bench-press reps, medical exams, and interviews with countless draft prospects. And considering their tenuous cap position and how it will hinder their ability to be overly active in free agency, the Ravens will depend on April’s draft as much as ever to replenish the voids left by departing members of their Super Bowl championship team.

Te’o talk

No draft prospect will be under more scrutiny in the coming days than Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, who claimed to be the victim of an online hoax that’s drawn an overwhelming amount of attention for the better part of a month. He will be peppered with questions about the story of his nonexistent girlfriend and must test well to put himself back in position to be a top-15 pick.

It’s no secret that the Ravens will be looking at the inside linebacker position due to the retirement of future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, the uncertain status of free-agent linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, and the health of Jameel McClain after he suffered a spinal cord contusion in December. Te’o has been deemed a logical fit by many draft analysts who have linked him to the Ravens at the 32nd overall pick in mock drafts. It is believed that the Ravens are impressed with the 255-pound linebacker’s ability despite his poor showing in the BCS national championship game against Alabama last month.

As is the case with any player dealing with off-field issues, it’s critical for teams to draw a definitive assessment of his ability on the field before even contemplating taking the time and resources to investigate whether they can tolerate the baggage that will accompany Te’o. His is an unprecedented case as issues of trust and whether the young linebacker will be resilient enough to deal with the intense scrutiny in the months and years to come must be strongly considered.

If the Ravens are convinced the Heisman Trophy runner-up is fast enough to go sideline to sideline — his 40 time will be a major point of interest for teams — and strong enough to take on offensive linemen in the NFL, they will do their homework on his character to determine whether he’s a realistic option at the No. 32 spot. If not, they will turn to other prospects at the position.

Another inside linebacker dealing with off-field baggage is Georgia’s Alec Ogletree, who was arrested earlier this month for DUI. Ogletree excelled at a number of positions for the Bulldogs and is considered exceptional in pass coverage, but his off-field issues — he was also suspended four games last season for failing a drug test during spring practice — may send him down the draft board, making him a possibility at the end of the first round. The questions associated with Te’o and Ogletree may benefit the Ravens, who would have figured to have no chance for either player under regular circumstances.

Other inside linebacker prospects that could be options in the first few rounds include LSU’s Kevin Minter, Oregon’s Kiko Alonso, and Alabama’s Nico Johnson, who will not participate at the combine after undergoing sports hernia surgery following the Senior Bowl.

Addressing the blind side

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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No Rest for the Wizard

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No Rest for the Wizard

Posted on 19 February 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

Obviously when setting the tone for the Ravens’ off-season, everything takes a back seat to resolving the Joe Flacco contract situation. The importance thereof is only magnified by the realization that there are so many questions still to be answered, so many decisions still to be made; but until the Ravens know for sure what their quarterback’s financial future may hold, everything else is essentially on hold. That however doesn’t diminish the fact that there are important decisions outside the QB position to be made before the Ravens begin their title defense and prepare for the 2013 campaign.

Conceding that the importance of Flacco’s deal is paramount to everything else, here are the next 5 major points of consideration for the Ravens to deal with this off-season in order to have hopes of a 6th straight post-season trip.

 

#1 – Suring Up the Left Tackle Situation

 

If Flacco was the biggest difference maker for the Ravens in the playoffs, then further investigation is merited in determining what helped him turn his season, and his reputation, around. For my money, it began with the offensive line. After a season in the proverbial “dog house” Bryant McKinnie was finally given a chance to show and prove, and from there the offense never seemed to look back.

 

In the lead up to the Broncos game, no one seemed to have any concerns about the Denver secondary. Hindsight might suggest that to have been a result of the constant quarterback pressure the Broncos were able to count on from Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Without that pressure however, the Ravens found and readily exploited cracks in the Broncos secondary that no one seemed to know were there in the first place.

 

McKinnie and the Ravens began this season on unceremonious terms, and pretty much kept things that way until the end. Having proven his value, albeit over a 4-game stretch, there’s still no real assurance that the Ravens will or should trust McKinneie enough to agree to terms on a multi-year deal. On the other side of that coin, there’s no good reason to think McKinnie will feel any special brand of loyalty to the Ravens when others come calling on the open market.

 

What’s undeniable about the whole episode is that by replacing Michael Oher with McKinnie at LT, the Ravens were able to move Oher to his natural RT position where he represented an improvement over Kelechi Osemele. Osemele then moved to the LG position that the Ravens struggled to find an answer for all season too. This three-fold improvement made the Ravens line exponentially better; and no matter how they address LT going forward, any “solution” involving moving Oher and Osemele back to the positions they played for the majority of 2012 has to be considered multiple steps backward.

 

#2 – Replacing Jim Caldwell

 

Continuing with the theme of what was different for the Ravens offense at the end, the departure of Cam Cameron and the elevation of Jim Caldwell to the offensive coordinator position would seem to be the other major factor. The performance of Caldwell’s offense has been celebrated widely within the fan base, and certainly hasn’t been lost on the league at large either.

 

In an off-season where everyone seems dissatisfied with the impact of the Rooney Rule and the lack of minority hires made in filling head coaching vacancies, Caldwell will all but surely be a hot head coaching candidate at the end of next season. Even getting to the Super Bowl again, and therefore delaying the process for teams interested in Caldwell might not be enough to slow his roll.

 

In what looks to be a lame duck season for Caldwell with the Ravens, it’s important to figure out if the next guy in line is someone already on staff, or how the team can look to groom a next guy in line, potentially by hiring him as a quarterback coach / OC in waiting.

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Flacco hoisting trophy

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RAVENS ROLLER COASTER RIDE

Posted on 12 February 2013 by Tom Federline

It has been a week. What just happened Baltimore? I’ll tell you what happened, the Baltimore Ravens losers of their last 4 out of 5 regular season games put on an inspirational run to win the NFL Lombardi Trophy. Is it time to get off the ride? Heck no, the city and surrounding area actually has claim to another National championship in a major sport. It has been 12 years and you don’t know when it will happen again – no you don’t get off the ride. Now, does the roller coaster level out? I sure hope so. That was one heckuva January run. I am not a fan of the roller coaster, not at this stage of the game. I’m to old, my heart can’t take it. Now, back in the day…………….different story, maybe that’s why my heart and blood pressure tells me,” cool out middle aged guy – just sit back and let the chips fall where they may.” Yeah right – not happenin’.

The Baltimore football Ravens took their fans on a ride of a lifetime. All the while catching the eye of sports fans around the country. Underdogs over-achieving, was story line enough. Then add on the Ray Lewis’ retirement. Then add on Ray-Rays religious dramatizations (and the Saturday Night Live skit http://www.myspace.com/video/saturday-night-live/weekend-update-ray-lewis/109174459 ). You go Keenan Thompson. Then to top it off, add on the sibling rivalry of the Harbaugh Brothers coaching against each other in the Super Bowl. “O” and don’t forget the Denver Classic and the dis-mantling of pretty boy Brady and his troll coach Bill Belichek.

The run, I mean the ride. I was lucky enough to be offered a ticket to the Colt game. The Ravens were not going to lose that game. Ray-Ray had announced his retirement during the week and it was going to be his last home game – the Ravens were not losing that game. Las Vegas money, Steve Bisciotti’s money and the NFL’s money was not going to end Ray-Rays run on that game. It was not going to be his last dance. It was an ugly game but they won. Denver game – wow, then wow, then wow again. Definitely one of the top 3 Ravens games of all time. New England game – sweet payback and no retirement party for Ray. San Francisco in New Orleans – hold the phone.

The ride had a couple more heart stoppers left in it. Heck at one point, it even felt like somebody had turned off the lights and play had to be stopped. Ravens up 28 – 6, the tide was a crestin’, 3rd and 14 for the bad guys and ”Boom, Boom, Out Go the Lights – Pat Travers Band. Ok gang, I actually have a little experience with this one – Rule #1, Electrical Engineering for Stadiums 101 – “You don’t lose power to the venue – unless there is a major city grid outage.” Two separate hot feeds to the venue with transfer and generator back-up for life safety. I do not know the history or infrastructure of the Super(?)dome, but somebody screwed up big time. Or a 49er’s fan, got access to the Substation or the Service Level and knew what switch to hit.

It almost changed the outcome of the game. I think the astronauts in the space station orbiting the earth could feel the tension emanating into the atmosphere directly above the east coast mid-atlantic region. It was not a pleasant evening there for about 1-1/2 hours there during the 3rd and 4th quarters, now was it. Still on the roller coaster, still hanging on, still hoping for a safe, happy ending. The power outage changed the momentum of the game. I don’t care what Roger Goodell said, I don’t care what Steve Bisciotti said, I don’t care what the Superdome Facility guys said, the power outage changed the game, but not the outcome. The Superdome and city of New Orleans should not host another Super Bowl until a new properly designed facility is in it’s place. The power outage was a nice final hairpin turn on the ride – it did not help the blood pressure.

Ravens Won.

Ravens Won.

A new generation now knows what it feels like for a local sports franchise to win a National Championship. The city needed it. The State of Maryland and surrounding area needed it. The Baltimore Ravens needed it and Ray Lewis deserved it. You Go Ravens!

Pitchers and cathers reported to Spring Training. Are we ready for another ride? Your darn right we are. GO O’s and Thank You - Ravens. Baltimore Sports Pride is front and center.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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