Tag Archive | "Ray Rice"

The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Patriots

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Patriots

Posted on 24 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Joe Flacco pass intended for Dennis Pitta incomplete on 4th & 10 (4th quarter)

The “ender”.

4. Jimmy Smith called for 34 yard pass interference after Tom Brady pass intended for Julian Edelman incomplete (1st quarter)

Got everything started. 

3. Logan Ryan breaks up Joe Flacco pass intended for Jacoby Jones on 4th & 3 (3rd quarter)

Questionable decision, more questionable execution.

2. Logan Ryan intercepts Joe Flacco pass intended for Jacoby Jones after Dont’a Hightower tip (1st quarter)

Didn’t take long to make it 14-0. 

1. Ray Rice runs for no gain on 4th & 1 (3rd quarter)

There was no (realistic) coming back from this. 

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Our Ravens/Patriots “Slaps to the Head”

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Our Ravens/Patriots “Slaps to the Head”

Posted on 22 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

After Baltimore Ravens victories, Ryan Chell and I award players who made positive contributions with “Pats on the Ass” during the Creative Deck Designs Postgame Show on AM1570 WNST.net.

The Ravens fell to the New England Patriots 41-7 Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, meaning there were no Pats to be awarded.

So instead of offering “Pats on the Ass”, Ryan and I offered “Slaps to the Head” postgame. A slap on the side of the head from a coach tends to come along with them saying something along the lines of “you’ve gotta do better than that.”

Same rules as there were with Pats. Two offensive players, two defensive players, and a Wild Card (Special Teams player, coach, or another Offensive or Defensive player). One player gets “two slaps” (or a slap on both sides of the head), it’s the opposite of a “Player of the Game” honor.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches after each game.

Here are our five Ravens that have “gotta do better than that.”

Glenn Clark’s Slaps…

5. Lardarius Webb

4. Jimmy Smith

3. Michael Oher

2. John Harbaugh

1. Joe Flacco (Two Slaps)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens-Patriots: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Patriots: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 22 December 2013 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Ravens are no strangers to big games with the New England Patriots as the teams meet Sunday for the first time since last January’s AFC Championship with high postseason stakes once again involved.

New England entered Sunday needing only a win or a Miami loss to clinch its fifth straight AFC East division title while the Ravens can punch their ticket to the postseason for the sixth consecutive year with a win and losses by both Miami and San Diego. Of course, the Ravens still have visions for an AFC North championship but need a win or a Cincinnati loss in Week 16 to set up next week’s showdown with the Bengals as a division title game.

Watchful eyes will be on quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice as both are active but were limited in practices this week. During pre-game warmups, Flacco was moving around fairly well while sporting a brace on his left knee and throwing to tight end Dennis Pitta and wide receiver Jacoby Jones.

Rice is dealing with a mild quadriceps injury that forced him out of Wednesday’s practice, but the sixth-year running back downplayed the significance of the ailment earlier in the week. The Patriots are 31st in the NFL in rush defense, so this matchup sets up nicely for Rice and backup Bernard Pierce to have productive days.

Linebacker Elvis Dumervil is active and will play despite being a late addition to the injury report on Friday. Like Flacco and Rice, he was listed as questionable, but the rush specialist will play against the Patriots after being limited in Friday’s practice with a lingering ankle injury.

Tight end Dallas Clark is inactive for the second time in three weeks despite being listed as probable on the final injury report with an illness. He was active against Detroit in Week 15, but the veteran did not play a snap.

The Patriots will be without left tackle Nate Solder (concussion) today after he was downgraded to out Saturday night. As a result, New England is expected to shift veteran left guard Logan Mankins to left tackle as they did last week when Solder suffered his second concussion in as many weeks.

New England wideout Aaron Dobson is active and will provide a 6-foot-3 target in the red zone for a Patriots offense that struggled in that capacity last week in Miami.

Including the playoffs, Sunday marks the seventh time these teams have met in the John Harbaugh era with the Ravens and Patriots splitting the series. Despite Baltimore’s postseason success against quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, New England is 6-1 all-time in the regular season against the Ravens.

Unseasonably warm temperatures reaching the low 70s and a 60-percent chance of rain — with the possibility of a thunderstorm — are in the forecast with winds up to 11 miles per hour for the 4:25 p.m. kickoff.

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Ron Winter.

The Ravens will wear purple jerseys with black pants while New England sports white jerseys with dark blue pants.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
CB Asa Jackson
S Omar Brown
LB Albert McClellan
C Ryan Jensen
WR Deonte Thompson
TE Dallas Clark
DT Brandon Williams

NEW ENGLAND
LT Nate Solder
TE D.J. Williams
LB Dane Fletcher
WR Josh Boyce
WR Kenbrell Thompkins
DT Isaac Sopoaga
DE Jake Bequette

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, and I bring live coverage from M&T Bank Stadium.

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Flacco, Rice, Dumervil listed as questionable for Sunday’s game

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Flacco, Rice, Dumervil listed as questionable for Sunday’s game

Posted on 20 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens have no doubt that Joe Flacco will be available to play in Sunday’s critical meeting with the New England Patriots, but how effective the quarterback will be remains to be seen.

He along with running back Ray Rice and linebacker Elvis Dumervil were listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week after all three were limited in practice on Friday. Dumervil was a new addition to the injury report as it appears the ankle injury he suffered on Thanksgiving night continues to be an issue.

Flacco practiced on a limited basis for a third consecutive day and he’s only played catch during the media viewing portions of workouts, leaving observers to wonder just how mobile he is after suffering a mild medial collateral ligament sprain in Monday’s win over the Detroit Lions. The sixth-year quarterback will wear a brace on his left knee to protect its stability as the Ravens try to remain in position for a playoff spot in the AFC.

“He looked good. I don’t know if there’s a progression,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He looked pretty much the same all week and he got through all the practices and took his reps. He did well.”

Over the course of Baltimore’s four-game winning streak to elevate their record to 8-6, Flacco has shown good mobility in occasionally taking off to gain yards on the ground and to extend plays by eluding pressure in the pocket. A more-statuesque Flacco would put immense pressure on an offensive line that has been inconsistent in allowing him to be sacked a career-worst 42 times this season.

Flacco has gained 130 yards on 24 rushing attempts this season, averaging a career-high 5.4 yards per carry. Interestingly enough, he is on pace to set a career low in carries despite being so productive when he takes off.

“He’s always been a mobile quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “Go back to his very first game against the Bengals [with a 38-yard touchdown run in 2008]. If you’re saying people don’t take stock of that, they probably haven’t been paying attention. That’s definitely a big part of his game and it’s made a difference for us in a lot of games this year so far.”

Rice practiced for a second straight day as he has nursed a mild quadriceps strain that surfaced on his final run from scrimmage against the Lions. The sixth-year back was a non-participant in Wednesday’s workout but downplayed the significance of the injury and is expected to play.

Acknowledging earlier in the week to the New England media that his early-season hip flexor strain has continued to be an issue, Rice has looked more explosive in recent weeks, making his thigh injury a concerning development for the Ravens.

Harbaugh would not reveal whether Rice’s injury is related to his hip.

“You know I’m not going to get into all that,” Harbaugh said. “He’s on the injury report and that’s what it is. What the injury report says is what it is.”

Dumervil’s status is unclear after he wasn’t listed on the injury report before Friday. Harbaugh was available Friday before the final injury report was released, so it’s unknown whether Dumervil suffered a setback during the workout.

The Ravens’ only other question marks in terms of game-day status are linebacker Albert McClellan (neck) and cornerback Asa Jackson (hamstring). Neither player practiced all week as Baltimore listed McClellan as questionable and Jackson as doubtful for Sunday’s game. It’s worth noting that McClellan, a key special-teams contributor, missed several weeks of practices earlier in the year without missing a game despite a lingering shoulder issue.

Meanwhile, New England ruled out wide receiver Josh Boyce and listed seven players as questionable, with the most significant concern being left tackle Nate Solder. The offensive lineman suffered his second concussion in as many weeks last Sunday but practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday.

Others listed as questionable for New England included rookie wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Alonzo Dennard, and linebacker Brandon Spikes.

After a mild week in terms of any potential trash talk between these teams who’ve met in plenty of meaningful games over the last five years, Patriots safety Devin McCourty provided some bulletin board material to get the Ravens’ attention ahead of Sunday’s game. McCourty acknowledged hating the Ravens “a little bit” and admitted New England clinching its fifth consecutive AFC East title wouldn’t be the only goal on his mind.

“I’ll put it this way: there would be no better feeling than us beating them Sunday and…we eliminate their season right there,” McCourty told Comcast SportsNet New England. “For me and a lot of my teammates, there’d be no better feeling.”

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Ron Winter.

The forecast is calling for unseasonably warm temperatures approach 71 degrees, but there is a 60-percent chance of rain that could include thunderstorms and winds around 20 miles per hour. Of course, it’s just the latest example of unusual weather this season as the Ravens have endured two weather-related delays, high winds, significant snow, and even a tornado warning at different points.

“Thunderstorms go with lightning, so that could be a delay,” said Harbaugh as he laughed. “We won’t be surprised if that happens.”

It was also announced Friday that Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy was not fined for his helmet shot delivered just below Flacco’s knee that wasn’t penalized during the game. However, Ravens safety Matt Elam was fined $7,875 for unnecessary roughness on his hit delivered to a sliding Matthew Stafford.

Here is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: CB Asa Jackson (thigh)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle), QB Joe Flacco (knee), LB Albert McClellan (neck), RB Ray Rice (thigh)
PROBABLE: TE Dallas Clark (illness), S Brynden Trawick (ankle)

NEW ENGLAND
OUT: WR Josh Boyce (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Kyle Arrington (groin), CB Alfonzo Dennard (knee, shoulder), WR Aaron Dobson (foot), LB Dane Fletcher (groin), T Nate Solder (concussion), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), WR Kenbrell Thompkins (hip)
PROBABLE: WR Danny Amendola (groin), QB Tom Brady (right shoulder), T Marcus Cannon (ankle), S Steve Gregory (finger), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (knee), T Will Svitek (ankle), CB Aqib Talib (hip)

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Rice, Flacco practice on limited basis Thursday

Posted on 19 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens received good news Thursday with the return to the practice field of running back Ray Rice as they continued preparations for Sunday’s showdown with the New England Patriots.

Rice practiced on a limited basis a day after sitting out with what was listed as a thigh injury. It appears Rice’s day off was more precautionary than anything after he was present for Wednesday’s practice despite being listed as a non-participant on the official injury report.

The sixth-year back felt his quadriceps tighten up slightly during his 19-yard run to close out the 18-16 win over Detroit, which explains why he elected to go down on the play rather than try to score a touchdown. It has been assumed by most observes that Rice simply wanted to run out the clock without giving the ball back to the Lions with under 30 seconds remaining.

Quarterback Joe Flacco (knee) practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day as quarterbacks only played stationary catch during the portion of practice open to media on Thursday. The sixth-year quarterback suffered a mild MCL sprain in Monday night’s win over Detroit and will wear a brace on his left knee, but he is fully expected to play.

It remains a mystery how mobile Flacco will be on Sunday with the open portions of practice not revealing much in terms of his movement.

“If they can take the field, they can play,” said offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell on how Flacco’s health could impact Sunday’s game plan. “Obviously, the doctors will make that determination. Joe has been practicing and we fully anticipate he’ll be able to do his job.”

Tight end Dallas Clark was a full participant on Thursday a day after missing practice due to an illness.

Linebacker Albert McClellan (neck) and cornerback Asa Jackson (hamstring) missed their second straight day of practice as the status of both players remains up in the air.

Meanwhile, the Patriots received good news as starting left tackle Nate Solder returned to the practice field on a limited basis after suffering his second concussion in as many weeks in New England’s Week 15 loss at Miami. It remains unclear whether he has been cleared for contact, but his presence at practice paints a more positive picture for his status than many had suggested earlier in the week.

Rookie wide receivers Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) both practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day, which bodes well for their prospects of returning to game action.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (right shoulder) was limited once again, but head coach Bill Belichick is known as a notorious manipulator of the injury report and the future Hall of Fame signal-caller is not considered to be in any danger of missing Sunday’s game at M&T Bank Stadium.

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Asa Jackson (thigh), LB Albert McClellan (neck)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: QB Joe Flacco (knee), RB Ray Rice (thigh)
FULL PARTICIPATION: TE Dallas Clark (illness), S Brynden Trawick (ankle)

NEW ENGLAND
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Josh Boyce (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Danny Amendola (groin), CB Kyle Arrington (groin), QB Tom Brady (right shoulder), T Marcus Cannon (ankle), CB Alfonzo Dennard (knee, shoulder), WR Aaron Dobson (foot), LB Dane Fletcher (groin), S Steve Gregory (finger), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (knee), T Nate Solder (concussion), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), T Will Svitek (ankle), CB Aqib Talib (hip), WR Kenbrell Thompkins (hip)

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Rice acknowledges early-season hip injury may still be issue

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Rice acknowledges early-season hip injury may still be issue

Posted on 19 December 2013 by Luke Jones

Running back Ray Rice is experiencing the worst season of his six-year NFL career and acknowledged Wednesday that his early-season hip injury may still be a factor as the Ravens prepare for Sunday’s meeting with the New England Patriots.

After suffering a left hip flexor strain against Cleveland in Week 2, Rice missed his first game since his rookie season but has said several times since that his health was no longer an issue. The 2008 second-round pick is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry and has gained 605 yards on 197 carries this season.

Rice did not participate in Wednesday’s practice and was listed as having a thigh injury despite being on the field during the viewing portion of the workout, but he returned on a limited basis on Thursday. He did not appear to be laboring after Monday’s win over the Detroit Lions.

“I’ve been dealing with injuries this year,” Rice said during a conference call with the New England media. “This has been a different year for me. Everybody plays through different things, and my numbers are what they are, but I’m doing what I can do to help my team. The injury I had this year wasn’t something that you just bounce back from and say, ‘Oh, you know I had a hip.’ It is definitely very hard to play through week in and week out. When I look at things like that — statistics — I don’t worry about things [like that]. I’ve proven myself over the years, Pro Bowls and one Super Bowl.”

Rice won’t turn 27 until next month and has three years remaining on a five-year, $35 million contract signed prior to the 2012 season.

It’s clear that Rice won’t be fully healthy again at least until after the season, but he also spoke about his future and how long he plans to play in the NFL. His current contract would expire just before his 30th birthday if the Ravens elected not to move on before then.

“You know it’s always something to think about at the running back position,” Rice said. “I’ll just put it out there — my goal was to make it 10 years in the NFL. Anything after 10, if I can’t do it the way I want to, then it’s something to think about. But, I’m young. I came in the NFL at 21 years old, a young guy, so I’m still young. There’s a lot of football left to be played. With that being said, I have priorities, too. You know I have a young daughter, and you’ve just got to put all that in perspective when you’re going out there week in and week out, especially when you get older in your career.”

It’s unusual to hear a player discuss retirement in such specific terms a few years before the target date, but Rice has been forced to look at the big picture this season in needing to weigh his lack of personal accomplishments against the team’s overall success. His performance this season — which has also been affected by poor offensive line play — doesn’t bode well for the prospects of him being able to play out the duration of his current deal that includes scheduled cap figures of $7.75 million in both 2015 and 2016.

Rice carried 12 times for 56 yards against Detroit, averaging 4.7 yards per attempt in his fourth-highest rushing total of the season.

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Flacco limited, Rice sits out during Wednesday’s practice

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Flacco limited, Rice sits out during Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 18 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Taking the practice field less than 48 hours after injuring his left knee in the Ravens’ 18-16 win over Detroit, quarterback Joe Flacco was present in what was little more than a walk-through on Wednesday afternoon.

Sporting a brace underneath his pants, Flacco played catch and wasn’t moving with a noticeable limp during the media viewing portion of practice, but none of the Baltimore quarterbacks were doing much in the first 30 minutes of a workout that didn’t include helmets. Flacco is expected take it easy over the next couple days, but he isn’t considered to be in any danger of missing Sunday’s contest against the New England Patriots.

A magnetic resonance imaging test revealed a mild MCL sprain in Flacco’s left knee, according to an ESPN report.

“He went through practice today on a limited basis, and we listed him as limited today,” said coach John Harbaugh, who acknowledged cringing when he saw the replay of the helmet shot delivered to Flacco’s knee by Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy. “We’ll just take it the rest of the week on a day-by-day basis, but we do anticipate that he will play. We’ll see where we’ll go from there.”

Flacco described the brace as “a little bit” uncomfortable, but he confirmed that he will wear it during Sunday’s game whether he needs to or not to prevent further injury. He has experienced stiffness and swelling since hurting the knee midway through the fourth quarter Monday night, but the knee is getting better, according to the quarterback.

The sixth-year signal-caller admitted he was initially scared when he was hit and hesitated to get up in fear of there something being seriously wrong with the knee. Sunday will mark the first time Flacco has worn a knee brace during an NFL game, but the University of Delaware product said he wore one on his left knee during his junior year after suffering an injury to his medial collateral ligament.

“I got up and I put a little pressure on it and was able to run off the field and all that,” Flacco said. “You’ve got to feel pretty good about that. You’re able to go back out there and do everything. My mind was at ease as soon as I got up, so that wasn’t that big of an issue.”

There is little doubt that Flacco will play on Sunday, but how effectively he can move around remains to be seen with the viewing portions of practice unlikely to reveal anything of real substance this week. Recently, Flacco has shown a willingness to not only take off and gain yards on the ground but to escape pressure in the pocket to extend plays and make throws downfield.

Flacco has never missed a game in his professional career — making 107 starts including postseason games — and has the third-longest consecutive games played streak among active quarterbacks, trailing only New York’s Eli Manning and San Diego’s Philip Rivers. His durability is considered one of his biggest strengths and has allowed the Ravens not to feel the need to invest heavily in a backup quarterback in recent years.

“That is one of the first things you think about when you get hit there and you go down,” Flacco said. “You’re like, ‘Shoot, I better not be able to not be able to play.’ I’m definitely very proud of that. At some point, it may happen that I can’t go out there and start a football game, but we’re going to try to hold that off for a while.”

Though he was present on the practice field while the Ravens worked indoors, running back Ray Rice was listed as a non-participant for Wednesday’s workout with a thigh injury. He rushed for 56 yards on 12 carries against Detroit, which represent his second-highest yards per carry average (4.7) this season.

Rice did not appear to be in serious pain after Monday’s game or during practice and could have simply received a day off on Wednesday as the Ravens periodically do with veteran players. His mere presence on the field is a good indication that his injury is unlikely to be serious.

Tight end Dallas Clark (illness), linebacker Albert McClellan (neck), and cornerback Asa Jackson (hamstring) were also absent from Wednesday’s practice, but only Jackson came away with a reported injury from the win over the Lions. Clark was active for Monday’s game but did not play at all.

Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (ankle) was present and working during Wednesday’s practice after returning to action in Week 15 and playing 33 of 65 defensive snaps.

The Patriots were without starting left tackle Nate Solder (concussion) during their Wednesday practice as the starting lineman is once again dealing with a concussion.

As is typically the case, New England head coach Bill Belichick listed a number of players as limited participants, including quarterback Tom Brady (right shoulder), wide receiver Danny Amendola (groin), cornerback Aqib Talib (hip), and wide receivers Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (hip).

Here is Wednesday’s official injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: TE Dallas Clark (illness), CB Asa Jackson (thigh), LB Albert McClellan (neck), RB Ray Rice (thigh)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: QB Joe Flacco (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: S Brynden Trawick (ankle)

NEW ENGLAND
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Josh Boyce (ankle), T Nate Solder (concussion)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Danny Amendola (groin), CB Kyle Arrington (groin), QB Tom Brady (right shoulder), T Marcus Cannon (ankle), CB Alfonzo Dennard (knee, shoulder), WR Aaron Dobson (foot), LB Dane Fletcher (groin), S Steve Gregory (finger), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (knee), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), T Will Svitek (ankle), CB Aqib Talib (hip), WR Kenbrell Thompkins (hip)

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Lions

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Lions

Posted on 17 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 18-16 win over the Detroit Lions Monday night at Ford Field…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Louis Delmas called for unnecessary roughness after Joe Flacco pass intended for Marlon Brown incomplete on 3rd down (2nd quarter)

Ended up giving the Ravens three points in a spot where they would have gotten nothing.

4. Daryl Smith sacks Matthew Stafford for five yard loss at Baltimore 47 (1st quarter)

Lions had moved the ball at will on first two drives until this play, game appeared to be headed to a shootout or even a blowout.

3. Matt Elam intercepts Matthew Stafford pass intended for Nate Burleson (4th quarter)

The “ender”.

2. Jacoby Jones 27 yard catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 15 (4th quarter)

The significance of this play has somehow been lost.

1. Justin Tucker 61 yard field goal GOOD (4th quarter)

I still don’t believe it.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens preparing for Lions’ monstrous defensive tackles

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Ravens preparing for Lions’ monstrous defensive tackles

Posted on 13 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As if preparing for arguably the NFL’s most explosive offensive player in Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson wasn’t enough, the Ravens must also deal with a pair of monsters in the middle of the Lions defensive line on Monday night.

And while Detroit’s defense ranks an ordinary 17th in yards allowed and 18th in points surrendered this season, tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley can wreak havoc on an offense in a variety of ways. Effective in shutting down the run as well as providing pressure up the middle, the tackles also bring an intimidation factor that walks a fine line between intimidating and dirty at times.

“Their reputation, they definitely live up to it,” running back Ray Rice said. “I don’t know if you want to call it physical or dirty. Whatever the refs see, that’s what they see. But needless to say, I’m not going to spark any fire. No. 1 is those two guys there in the middle, Ndamukong Suh and Fairley. They are great football players. We know we have our hands full with those guys.”

The Lions rank sixth against the run, which doesn’t bode well for a Baltimore running game that’s last in the league in yards per carry, but Suh’s biggest asset is his ability to put pressure on the quarterback. His 5 1/2 sacks rank second on the Lions behind defensive end Ziggy Ansah while Fairley has added 3 1/2 sacks on the season.

Guards Marshal Yanda and A.Q. Shipley along with center Gino Gradkowski will be entrusted to keep quarterback Joe Flacco upright and to give him room to step up to throw against a vulnerable Detroit secondary. Yanda’s task will be especially challenging as Suh has graded out as the second-best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

“One of the things that you notice about them is the fact that they can push the pocket,” offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. “They can keep you from stepping up in it, and therefore you aren’t able to get the ball down the field with the kind of precision that you like. They do that quite often to quarterbacks. They get free.”

One man on ‘Megatron?’

Plenty of discussion this week has centered around how the Ravens will try to cover Johnson with third-year cornerback Jimmy Smith being named as the most popular candidate.

As you’d expect, the Ravens aren’t giving away how they plan to defend the 6-foot-5 receiver, but Smith is their most effective defender in press coverage should they try to play a physical brand of football against him like they did earlier this season against standout receivers such as Cincinnati’s A.J. Green and Chicago’s Brandon Marshall.

“How many corners are 6-foot-2 [with] long arms, a physical guy, a strong guy and the guy can run?” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “Those are all the things you look for in a corner. Besides that, I think his confidence is growing. That’s the other side of it and the more it grows, the better you become.”

Pees would only say that fans and media would find out Monday night if the Ravens have decided to match Smith against Johnson exclusively, but the strategy isn’t as simple for a defense that plays extensive zone coverage.

In fact, the defensive coordinator provided a pretty convincing explanation for why the Ravens shouldn’t move away from their typical strategy of keeping Smith at right corner and Lardarius Webb on the left side in the base defense. Matching Smith up with the star receiver would require adjustments everywhere else and defenders to have new responsibilities if the Ravens are to show anything other than man coverage.

“You can’t go into a game, and every time I walk over with [No.81], they know you’re in man coverage, so a red flag is going to go up,” Pees said. “You’ve got to be able to play all of your coverages if you are going to play it that way. There’s a lot more involved in playing that, and all of a sudden the guy is in the slot, and he’s not an outside receiver, and you’re in sub defense, and Jimmy is in a nickel, or your guy is not a nickel. There’s a lot more involved when you try to play matchup coverage. It’s easy when you play man; go get your guy. But I wouldn’t want to be a coordinator in this league that tells the offensive coordinator every time I’m in man coverage.”

Indoor football

After dealing with a tornado-prompted delay in Chicago, a snowstorm in Baltimore, and high winds during a number of games over the last six weeks, the Ravens are embracing the opportunity to play indoors for the first time since Super Bowl XLVII.

It doesn’t result in any distinct advantage against an opponent that plays all home games inside, but the fast track and controlled climate of Ford Field just might be the elixir for a passing game that now possesses tight end Dennis Pitta and is looking for more consistency.

“I never make a big deal about playing outside,” Flacco said, “but every time you go into a dome and you start warming up, you realize how awesome it is to be able to throw the ball inside. It won’t have too much of an effect on the outcome of the game. As a quarterback, you always want great conditions and a dome obviously presents that.”

In addition to an easier time in the passing game, the Ravens will receive a respite in the kicking game after excellent work from kicker Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch in some very difficult conditions.

The Ravens have even needed to adjust to the idea of not needing to prepare for harsh weather conditions.

“It’s been interesting,” special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. “I gave the players the weather report this morning in the meeting, and I said it’s going to be 72 and calm. And there was a long pause. They weren’t sure they understood. ‘Oh, yeah. That’s right!!’ So, yes, we don’t have to deal with that. I think the people that are most happy about that are the specialists.”

 

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Our Ravens/Vikings “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Vikings “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 08 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Creative Deck Designs Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 29-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Chris Canty

4. James Ihedigbo

3. Ray Rice

2. Marlon Brown

1. Jacoby Jones (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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