Posted on 07 November 2011 by WNST Staff
Posted on 30 October 2011 by WNST Staff
Ray Lewis has heard every cheer — and jeer — in Ravens history. Today’s boos were the loudest and today’s comeback was the greatest in purple history. Here’s what Ray told Nestor about the sounds of displeasure of Baltimore fans:
Posted on 18 October 2011 by WNST Staff
We always like surprises and had already announced that Ray Lewis would be our special guest for Brendon Ayanbadejo’s Monday Night Live at High Topps with WNST.net after the Ravens’ big 29-14 win over the Houston Texans. As expected, Timonium filled with fans of No. 52 but just after he disappeared for the evening even the WNST staff — and we think even Ayanbadejo — was shocked to see Ray Rice walk onto the set and give all of the loyal purple contingent a real treat last night as Luke Jones and Glenn Clark chatted with the star of Sunday’s victory.
As you know, WNST was the originator of Monday Night Live back in 1996 with “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio at The Barn in Parkville, and with so many radio shows now being done around the city on any given weeknight sometimes the shows don’t feel as urgent or as “special” as they felt back in the pre-Super Bowl days.
But last night will be a legendary night for those who attended and we always appreciate your attendance at our live events and parties.
Facebook and Twitter were flooded with pics and some live video segments by the time Lewis exited and Rice walked into High Topps Backstage Grille around 7:40 p.m.
You can enjoy the entire audio of last night’s show with one click in our BuyAToyota audio vault or tune into WNST-AM 1570 over the next few days to hear the amazing conversation.
Monday Night Live is held every Monday night at 7 p.m at High Topps Backstage Grille in Timonium with Brendon Ayanbadejo “and friends.”
And clearly, he has friends in high places…
Posted on 19 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio
I’m not the kind to pass judgment on any team based on anything I see in the preseason. Schemes, game plans and “real” football are never really seen in August but my eyes see a few things that are disconcerting for any Ravens fan.
First, the offensive line is suspect and that’s a foundation item that seems to get lost on most NFL fans until the quarterback is running for his life and imminently unproductive. There’s no way the Ravens will be effective on offense if Joe Flacco is constantly scrambling like we’ve seen for the better part of three quarters in the past eight days.
What’s even worse is how dreadful the backups and “hope for the future” have been in protecting for Tyrod Taylor, who really isn’t being given a fair shot when he’s getting chased on every play as well.
Against the Chiefs last night, Flacco was ineffective through most of the first half and was consistently overthrowing receivers who either didn’t have their timing down or just couldn’t get to the passes. Anquan Boldin looked frighteningly slow on a few of the passes but Lee Evans had some productivity in his reps vs. Kansas City.
I suppose we’ll see more in the pivotal third preseason game next Thursday night against the Redskins but count me in the club that needs to see more consistent protection – including the anchor of Michael Oher on the left side — to be bullish on the Ravens’ playoff hopes in 2011.
As for the defense, when Ray Lewis doesn’t get off the bus it’s exceedingly difficult to assess the first team. Ed Reed made a nice play. Some of the backups like Sergio Kindle and Pernell McPhee made some noise but for the most part it was more ugly preseason football.
Posted on 11 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio
PHILADELPHIA — As I sit here wrapping up a futile evening of unusually awful preseason football — and the bar was set pretty low to begin with — I’m just going to throw out a few random observations from tonight’s Ravens’ 13-6 loss to the Eagles here at The Linc:
The Ravens need to get on the phone and find a backup quarterback and probably sooner than later. Not unexpectedly, Tyrod Taylor stank in his NFL debut last night playing primarily with and against the usual second-teamers.
Harbaugh, who always seems to provide us with some quotes that are outlandish, had nothing but praise for Taylor. Check it out here.
Taylor is going to be mighty sore all weekend but the three interceptions were ill-timed even by preseason standards and certainly avoidable. Pray for the health of Joe Flacco, Baltimore! Or pray for someone legitimate to fall out of a tree. Call Marc Bulger. Call Brett Favre. Call someone, Ozzie!
It’s impossible to gauge how good the team is as a whole when the starters were out of the game before we blinked but it was pretty easy to see that Michael Vick and the Eagles offense were far ahead of where the Ravens defense is at this point. Vick made it look far too easy, especially against a veteran secondary and Chris Carr.
This new kickoff rule is going to ruin special teams while saving players’ health. I have a feeling many teams will go weeks without returning a kick or having to tackle anyone. And the way Billy Cundiff kicked last year, we might not see a return before Thanksgiving in Baltimore. At this rate, they should just do away with kickoffs and spot the ball at the 20 after every score.
I always forget how much the preseason sucks. The crowd isn’t into it. The announcers aren’t into it. And last night’s brand of NFL football was about the worst I’ve ever seen given the lack of OTA’s, offseason playbooks and organization that’s needed to put 22 men in motion on the field. This will be the biggest story of August — how NFL coaches pull these rosters together when many young players are baffled in their new systems.
It was nice to see Dennis Pitta contribute on a night when he had some opportunities. It’ll be even nicer when the Ravens get Ed Dickson on the field.
The Ravens’ offensive line was suspect last night and in particular Oniel Cousins stunk when I zeroed in on him when he was battling 2nd and 3rd teamers. Ray Rice had no room to run on his handful of carries and Joe Flacco was running for his life in the first quarter. This is far more disconcerting than any other facet of the team because it involved productivity, protection and the ability of Joe Flacco to be standing upright for 16 weeks.
All this said — and virtually none of my observations were positive — it was a preseason game. Don’t sweat it. It was a practice, that’s all.
We’ll have three more chances to watch bad football this month before the emotions, energy and drama of the Steelers’ visit on Sept. 11 at 1 p.m.
WNST is open for business all day on Friday for phone calls, observations and civic therapy.
Feel free to vent. It’s why we’re here!
Posted on 12 January 2011 by Nestor Aparicio
It’s a big, emotional week of football in Baltimore and the reason it’s so significant is because of our civic desire to have another purple parade at the Inner Harbor and the sheer nausea we all feel in the pits of our bellies about the fact that at 8 p.m. on Saturday night this could be the worse loss of our lives all over again.
Just like all of our January losses to the likes of Indianapolis and Pittsburgh and Cleveland and New York.
Or, it can potentially extinguish the 40 years of domination from the city of Pittsburgh, but specifically the Steelers and their arrogant, obnoxious fan base here in the region.
This is an epic throwdown between two cities that don’t like each other but a rivalry that is so embarrassingly lopsided that it makes the Roadrunner look like a winner.
I’m up to my eyeballs in rattlesnakes throwing parties, organizing bus trips and running WNST.net – 12 hours of radio, the daily newspaper, text service plus all of our social media endeavors on Facebook and Twitter that truly is Baltimore’s best and most comprehensive sports coverage in the world. And for those of you who know me, you know what a massive time commitment it is being a washed up sports talk show host and new media entrepreneur of the station that no one listens to but the website and social media that everyone in Baltimore seems to visit and read.
This whole “Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore” thing takes on such a personal, vitriolic part of my inner soul that it’s almost best that I not focus on it too much and keep my head down and wait for the game at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday to release that part of my energy.
But some jackasses from the “out of town media club” (which encompasses the greater part of the whole local scene outside of WNST.net) have written, said and defended their typically insensitive and uneducated remarks just to remind us how out of touch and clueless they really are about what this community is about and WHY the Ravens are important in the first place.
Nothing in the local sports community divides like Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh. The Colts thing, while far from dormant, is now a distant second place. And the “I Hate Washington Club” is shrinking because the Redskins and Nationals are weak and irrelevant and the Capitals are the fastest growing brand in Baltimore and I have statistics to prove it.
And the out-of-town media geniuses all talk about expertise, ethics and journalism while all taking a chunk of your Orioles/MASN money to hush up criticism of an oozing, open sports cancer in Baltimore while waving purple pompoms in January like they really care about the Ravens and like they invented Festivus.
To anyone with half a brain from Baltimore, it’s insulting.
I attended a Smart CEO event last Thursday night where I was summarily subjected to a pair of morning show faux sports imposters from Boston and New York standing in front of a room full of mostly Baltimore upper-crust businessmen and patronizing them
Posted on 24 December 2010 by Nestor Aparicio
It’s been 51 months now since the initial “Free The Birds” campaign that we launched at WNST.net in “Year Nine of The Black Cat” and motivated more than 2,000 other brave souls who said “enough is enough” to Peter Angelos and the losing and nasty ways of the Baltimore Orioles.
The holiday results are in yet again for another sad orange offseason and I’m feeling pretty confident — as is Las Vegas — that the Baltimore Orioles will not be a playoff team in 2011.
And the real reason the team won’t win this year is the same as last year and the year before that: they won’t (or can’t) spend all of the millions of dollars they have managed to extract from this community via their incredibly wealthy and lean “regional sports network” called MASN.
We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in direct profit that was allegedly to be spent on improving the baseball team for the community to enjoy. But instead of the $150 million payrolls that were promised to “compete with the likes of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox,” that previously earmarked U.S. money donated by Middle Atlantic cable subscribers is in the pockets of Peter G. Angelos. Along with about $20 million more each year since Andy MacPhail took over in 2007 and slashed the payroll, bought off the local media and preached “young” to the fans while winking “cheap” at the owner that he just made a cool, clean profit for and shared in the financial windfall.
And like any other billionaire businessman without a soul for the pride of his own company and what it represents in the community, all of a sudden it’s very hard for any of them to part with “guaranteed money in the bank.” Especially when there’s no financial upside to giving the likes of Carl Crawford or Adrian Beltre or Cliff Lee tens of millions of guaranteed money when winning is so far from being a reality in the AL East that even the once-prideful Angelos has clearly quit on trying to win for the fans of the Baltimore Orioles.
Adam LaRoche or Derrek Lee? This is what it’s come down to for the Orioles as Santa brings goodies and toys and playoff-caliber baseball elsewhere to even the likes of Milwaukee.
If you’re trying to be a .500 team signing the “leftovers” and “growing the arms” might be a strategy. But, really, is the bar a World Series title for Baltimore or is the bar set at being in third place and making $50 million in profit?
The Orioles are so grossly pathetic at this point that no credentialed Major League Baseball player with any other option this side of Pittsburgh will elect to come and play here. And the remaining few lost souls in the fan base are so desperate for any morsel of progress that they’ve even given Buck Showalter a hall pass for lying
Posted on 19 December 2010 by Drew Forrester
A weird thing happened in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 30-24 Ravens win over New Orleans Saints.
There was no defensive meltdown. Not from the Ravens, anyway.
Baltimore got a pair of Billy Cundiff field goals in the 4th quarter and held off a spirited Saints comeback to win a huge showdown on Sunday and improve to 10-4, inching closer to a 3rd consecutive AFC playoff spot in the process.
This game – offensively – was about two people: Ray Rice. And Joe Flacco.
Rice ran through, over and around the defending Super Bowl champs, scampering for 153 yards on 31 carries. And when he wasn’t using his legs to dampen the Saints’ hopes, he used his hands, catching 5 balls for 80 yards including a superb 17 yard over the shoulder TD grab in the second quarter.
And Joe Flacco, asked to appropriately manage the game today as Baltimore’s running attack exposed a weak Saints defensive front, did just that in completing 10 of 20 passes for 172 yards. Flacco accounted for two TD’s in the air and was mistake free in compiling a QB rating of 112.9.
That Baltimore’s offense failed to score an offensive touchdown in the second half for the fifth straight game was of little issue afterwards.
This was a huge win for John Harbaugh and Company.
And it was also a day of recovery for the team’s offensive and defensive coordinators, as Cam Cameron and Greg Mattison were both spot on in their game plan and the execution thereof. Cameron looked at the stats, saw a New Orleans defense that was vulnerable against the run, and decided not to play games by out-fooling Sean Payton and his coaching staff. Cameron used the run to his team’s benefit and it worked magically all afternoon, as poor tackling highlighted the New Orleans defensive lapse.
Mattison, meanwhile, sent pressure early and often to start the game and gave Drew Brees fits throughout the first half. Brees, generously listed at 6’0″ by the Saints, struggled at times during the first 25 minutes based mainly on the fact that Baltimore’s outside pressure kept him in the pocket and limited his vision over the Ravens defensive line. Even in the second half, with Baltimore’s defense on its heels, the Ravens were able to make life difficult for Brees. And on the Saints final drive with three minutes to go, the Baltimore defense held firm and forced a 4th down attempt that was picked off by Cory Redding to seal the game.
This time around, unlike other Sunday’s (and a Monday) when the Ravens defense crumbled as the game moved into the final quarter, Baltimore got the win BECAUSE of their defense, not in spite of it. It was a good thing to see.
Chalk this victory up to a perfect storm of sorts. The players played well and the coaching staff coached well. This game was won on the field by Ray Rice and Joe Flacco, but it was sealed by Cameron and Mattison, who developed a strategy, stuck to it, and had their players execute it to near-perfection.
For as much grief as they’ve taken this year, a private “atta boy” hug was probably shared by the two coordinators after the game.
So the Ravens move on to Cleveland now, where the Browns await next Sunday, licking their chops and trying to win for the “hometown fans” who despise a visit from the purple about as much as we in Baltimore hate a visit from the horseshoe in the midwest.
For now, though, all is well in Baltimore, where the Ravens held off the defending Super Bowl champs today and looked awfully good in doing so.
Posted on 15 November 2010 by Thyrl Nelson
I’m pretty well aware that this comparison has been done to death over the last week or so, but I really wanted to make my final evaluation after watching these two go at it head to head. So since re-watching the Ravens @ Falcons a few times proved to be the low-light of my weekend, and since the highlight of my weekend was a fantastic time at John Rallo’s Shogun Fights III, I figured I’d give my first final say on the Flacco vs. Ryan debate in tale of the tape fashion.
The Price Tag: Start with the obvious, as the 3rd overall pick in the 2008 draft, Matt Ryan reportedly signed a rookie contract worth $66 million over 6 years. Bonuses aside, in layman’s math that’s $11 million per season. As the 18th pick overall, Flacco signed a 5-year deal worth about $30 million, or a relatively small $6 million per year or roughly 55% of Ryan’s annual salary. If the rest of the comparison is debatable, then it’s easy to say that the Ravens are getting more for their investment in Flacco than the Falcons are in Ryan, but the price tag argument goes much deeper than just their respective salaries.
When comparing the “pound-for-pound” values of these two, we are provided with a somewhat unique perspective on things. According to Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column on November 9th, the Ravens inquired with the St. Louis Rams prior to the 2008 draft about acquiring their first round pick that year (2nd overall) presumably to draft Ryan. King reported the price tag to be the Ravens 1st round pick (8th overall), 2nd round pick (38th overall) and 4th round pick (106th overall) in 2008, plus an additional third rounder in 2009. Instead the Ravens traded their 1st rounder to Jacksonville for for their first round pick (26th overall), two third round picks (71st & 89th overall), and a fourth round pick (125th overall). After that they traded the 26th and 89th picks just acquired from Jacksonville, along with their own 6th round pick (173rd overall) to Houston to move back up to 18th and select Flacco. The second rounder they would have sent to St. Louis (38th overall) was instead sent to Seattle for a second round pick (55th overall) and a third (86th overall).
Confused yet? Here’s the short story, the Ravens selected Flacco with the 18th pick gotten from Houston and gave up their own 6th rounder. They selected Ray Rice with the 55th pick gotten from Seattle, selected Tavares Gooden with the 71st pick gotten from Jacksonville, and Zibikowski with the 86th pick, gotten in the Seattle deal too. They also selected Marcus Smith with the 106th pick which was the 4th rounder that St. Louis wanted, and traded the 125th pick also from Jacksonville for Fabian Washington. The following year, the Ravens selected Lardarius Webb with their third round pick (88th) overall, which the Rams had also reportedly asked for as part of a deal. That makes the Ravens real choice in hindsight either Matt Ryan and an unknown 6thround pick (173rd overall) which the Texans used to select Dominique Barber, or Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Tavares Gooden, Tom Zibikowski, Marcus Smith, Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb.
*It should be noted that King’s report was based on information apparently leaked by the St. Louis organization. As Chris Pika points out here, the Ravens remain firm that no offer was made by them to the Rams, and this was just St. Louis attempting to posture and compel Atlanta to trade up. Still, if this was the reported asking price, it’s fair to say that whether they actually ever considered trading or not, we know what the cost of moving up would likely have been
Commanding the offense: It should be expected that Ryan should still have the early lead here. A starter since the last game of his freshman year at Boston College, Ryan had numerous opportunities to measure himself against high caliber and often times pro style defenses. He didn’t sneak up on the league like Flacco, and certainly had the entire football world’s attention as he embarked on his senior season. To that end Ryan has responded at every turn, maintaining his esteemed draft status throughout his senior season, and quickly living up to his billing as a high draft pick.
Flacco on the other hand after losing out on the opportunity to start to Tyler Palko at Pitt, snuck up on the football world on the strength of one strong season at Delaware, albeit against far lesser competition, and some strong pre-draft workouts. It should be considered a virtual no-brainer that Ryan enjoyed a substantial head start as it relates to football IQ and high level experience.
What’s more, while their NFL careers will seemingly be forever intertwined because of their similar circumstances, if you look deeper, perhaps their circumstances aren’t quite as similar as they might appear. Both were made first year starters under first year coaches, and both propelled their teams into the playoffs as rookies, that much is undeniable. But when John Harbaugh took over the Ravens, despite their miserable campaign the previous season, the feeling was that the team could turn things around right away if a few things went their way. The Falcons on the other hand turned over the reigns to Mike Smith in the immediate wake of Bobby Petrino, and not long after Michael Vick, for a franchise that hasn’t seen a lot of upside historically, it appeared as if they might have been in for their darkest hours.
To that end, the Ravens, forced to start Flacco from day one due to a series of unfortunate circumstances, did their best to hide the shortcomings of their rookie signal caller, balancing his development with the best interests of the team from a competitive standpoint. It’s hard to argue with their success. The Falcons on the other hand, with seemingly little to lose, placed a lot on their rookie QB right away, and to his credit he has responded in spades.
Therefore, it seems pretty easy not only to assess that Ryan is further along in his development in responding to defenses on the fly, but easy to diagnose the reasons why too. It could be argued too that Ryan is further along in this capacity because his coaches have allowed him to be. With that said, fans should also believe that if the Ravens coaching staff has been reluctant to put more on Flacco’s shoulders, it may be for good reason, and not simply because they believe that audibles are overrated. It could easily be argued that Flacco has come farther faster in his development than Ryan, but it seems pretty clear right now that he still has catching up to do.
Advantage: Ryan NEXT PAGE
Posted on 10 November 2010 by Nestor Aparicio
The game is all set for Thursday night and I’m all set to jump a plane to Birmingham, Alabama and make my usual drive through the lovely eastern part of the South toward Atlanta for another Georgia Dome visit and a Thursday night date with Matt Ryan and my old pal Mike Smith’s Falcons. Now that Le’Ron McClain has been found innocent by Park Avenue, I suppose we can move the topic from “spitter” to “Twitter”.
If you are NOT “on Twitter” (as they say) let me make an impassioned plea for you to try it tomorrow night and follow along (or just follow from the front page here at WNST.net or in our LIVE CHAT) and see all the fun you’re missing by not getting completely caught up in the mobile fun of gameday with feedback.
Over the last 18 months, WNST.net has moved from a “little radio station” into the most-viewed and relevant Baltimore sports media site in the new media space. Come see what all of the fuss is about tomorrow night when we crush the coverage of the Falcons-Ravens game.
Along with Chris Pika and Glenn Clark, we’ll be in Atlanta. Thyrl will be at HighTopps in Timonium downing a few Bud Lights and surveying the purple suburban scene and Drew Forrester will be blogging, watching, Tweeting, chatting and hanging with Lucy on one arm and Ethan on the other.
It’s a brand new world of sports media coverage.
Follow us on Twitter on Thursday and find out what all of the fuss is about. You’ll see how good little WNST.net really is…
And if you’re already a Twitter, Facebook or mobile-enabled person already, please visit us as well and jump into the best sports conversation going on in Baltimore during the games at WNST.net…