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Live from Westminster: Ravens put 11 on “active” PUP to start camp

Posted on 28 July 2009 by Luke Jones

7:23 p.m. — The Ravens have waived former Terps receiver Isaiah Williams.

6:44 p.m. — Defensive back Derrick Martin made the defensive play of the afternoon, picking off a pass from John Beck during 7-on-7 drills.

Only two offensive linemen practiced today, Robby Felix and Bryan Mattison (the defensive coordinator’s son).  Offensive line coach John Matsko really worked the two linemen hard.

Newly-signed Jayson Foster jumped right in, snagging a pass after signing with the team today.  Foster’s signing was such a secret that many of the assistant coaches had to ask his name on the field.  He wore No. 18 today—with no name on the back.

Though Marshal Yanda is sporting a bulky brace on his knee, he was moving around fairly well on the sideline today.  He wasn’t as active as Ben Grubbs or Adam Terry in his running, but it was good seeing him moving around after the horrific knee injury he suffered in Indianapolis last season.

6:23 p.m. — The afternoon practice was pretty uneventful and similar to the morning workout.  It lasted about an hour and 15 minutes, though rookies stuck around for a little longer to work with special teams coach Jerry Rosburg.

The most exciting moments came from 7-on-7 drills when Joe Flacco connected on a 15-yard fade route to Demetrius Williams over defensive back Frank Walker.  With Williams now the projected No. 2 receiver, it was nice to see him making a play after spending a large portion of last season on injured reserve.

More to come in just a few moments.  Time to make my last Ravens Report of the day.

3:31 p.m. — The Ravens have just signed diminutive WR (hey, he’s 5-foot-7) Jayson Foster. Foster went to Georgia Southern and here’s his mini bio. He spent time in Denver and Pittsburgh and we’re still researching him. Even the PR folks in Westminster don’t know much about him. More to come…

2:52 p.m. — If you’re following WNST on Twitter, you just saw that free agent wide receiver Robert Ferguson told Glenn Clark he wants to play for the Ravens.  Ferguson will join Drew on the Comcast Morning Show on Wednesday at 9:40 a.m.

We give live “Tweets” from the field at McDaniel College throughout the morning and afternoon practices.  You can follow it here.

2:45 p.m. — We have less than an hour to go until the players are back out on the field for the afternoon workout.

Veterans will be reporting tomorrow and are scheduled to take their physicals at 3:00 p.m.  If you’re planning on attending training camp tomorrow, remember it will only be rookies, quarterbacks, and select veterans.  The remaining veterans will not be practicing on Wednesday.

1:48 p.m. — A name to keep an eye on during training camp is Jameel McClain.  The Syracuse linebacker came to Baltimore as a rookie free agent last season and really impressed coaches, earning a roster spot and playing time in the second-rated defense in the NFL.  His two safeties—a blocked punt and a sack of JaMarcus Russell—was a franchise record.

McClain has been moved to the inside linebacker position and will compete with Tavares Gooden.  While Gooden is the favorite to start next to Ray Lewis, McClain’s endless motor will make it nearly impossible to keep him off the field.

“The guys that work hard at this program are the guys that do the best and are [guys] who can have a chance to play,” Mattison said.  “That’s a real endorsement to our personnel people.  They saw some great things in him, and he just proved it throughout the year.  And I think he’s going to take off from here.”

1:42 p.m. — We heard from new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison after this morning’s practice.  He is pleased with the mix of experience and youth in his defense.  His top priority is to get the defense to play at the same high level the fans have come to expect every season.

He mentioned the “Raven” mentality and bar that has been set over the past decade.

Mattison also touched on the health of a secondary that had several players recovering from injuries dating back to last season.  He thought several of the players looked bigger and healthy.

12:18 p.m. — McGahee looks trimmer and feels healthy entering the preseason.  He emphasized to reporters that his placement on the PUP list is strictly precautionary.  The running back simply doesn’t want a repeat of last season.

When asked whether he lost weight, McGahee jokingly said “no comment.”  You can check out this interview in the WNST audio vault.

12:02 p.m. — John Harbaugh spoke to the media after the morning practice, describing the first workout as “good” and “crisp.”

Harbaugh talked about the improved strength and size of receiver Demetrius Williams.  It was Williams’ goal to become stronger and build muscle mass around the joints.  Harbaugh was pleased with how Williams looked in the morning.  With Derrick Mason currently retired, Williams is the project No. 2 receiver behind Mark Clayton.

The Ravens coach said the placement of McGahee on the PUP list is strickly a precautionary move after the running back underwent knee surgery in the offseason.

11:54 a.m. — The morning practice was very brief, lasting only 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Players were dressed in shorts, and there was no full-speed contact.

The player who drew the loudest applause from the crowd was wide receiver Mark Clayton who caught a long touchdown pass during offensive drills.  Rookie running back Cedric Peerman also grabbed a nifty one-handed catch.

Quarterback Joe Flacco looked pretty sharp in his first training camp workout, but the keystone moment for the former Delaware Blue Hen was actually an incomplete pass to running back Matt Lawrence who ran the incorrect pattern.  The second-year quarterback corrected his teammate, ran the play again, and completed the pass to Lawrence.  It was a simple example of the leadership Flacco has with this offense.

Veteran Kelly Gregg was back on the field and looks to be in great shape.  The nose tackle’s surgically-repaired knee was only wrapped in an ace bandage, a good sign for Greg Mattison’s defense.

11:43 a.m. — To clarify the PUP list a bit more, this list is referred to as the active PUP list.  These players are eligible to practice any time, and John Harbaugh even said some of them could be ready to go as early as tomorrow.  The purpose of this list is to keep these players eligible for the reserve PUP list—the one where players do not count against the 53-man roster but must miss the first six weeks of the regular season.

PUP list players still count against the 80-man training camp roster, so there is no added roster flexibility in regards to the preseason.

11:21 a.m. — The Ravens initial PUP’ers are Willis McGahee, Lamar Divens, Davon Drew, Yamon Figurs, Ben Grubbs, Adam Terry, Jason Phillips, Samari Rolle, Lou Saucedo, Marshal Yanda and Joe Reitz.

Definition of “physically unable to perform”: This List designates players with serious injuries that will keep them from being able to start a season on the 53-man protected list but may be able to return to the roster during the regular season. The players must be placed on this roster at or before the league-wide 65-man summer roster cutdown to be eligible for this designation, and they must stay on this list for at least the first six weeks of the regular season. After this time teams have 3 weeks to evaluate such players after which each such player must be placed on the 53-man roster, season-ending Injured Reserve (IR) or waivers.

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To Draft or Not To Draft

Posted on 17 April 2009 by Nicholas Miskelly

To Draft or Not To Draft 

As draft day approaches I have begun to think in greater depth about what the Ravens should do with their first pick. The Ravens have traditionally been one of the best teams in the NFL when it comes to drafting and evaluating talent.  The great Ozzie Newsome always puts this team in the best possible position to draft value with a pick and never based on need.  He has done it again this year. 

After the season was over the Ravens had a lot of decisions to make.  They had to decide who to re-sign, who to let go, and for those who left, how would they be replaced?  We saw the likes of Bart Scott, Chris McAlister, Jason Brown, and Jim Leonhard all leave via free agency.  But after that we saw Ozzie reload as only Ozzie can.  He brought in Matt Birk at center, Foxworth at corner, and L.J Smith at tight end to sure up potential weaknesses or thin areas for the Ravens.  He also resigned Samari Rolle and signed Chris Carr to the team to make sure there was great depth in the secondary and coverage on the special teams unit.  Heading into the draft this team is complete and does not have any glaring need that must be addressed early in this draft.  Furthermore this team has a wealth of young talent that they did not have room for last year with the likes of Prescott Burgess and Tavares Gooden.  This team is in as comfortable of a position as any team heading into the draft.  This is why they must consider adding Boldin to the team.  He may very well be the one missing piece. 

While the Ravens do not typically like to trade their top pick or a bulk of their picks in a draft, this year might be the year to do so.  I know the Ravens have only six picks this year but if you give up your first and your third round picks you will be gaining more value in Boldin than you would be giving away with what could come in with those two picks.  Wide receiver is the hardest position to fill in the draft and more times then not the pick results in a bust.  The game is so much more physical at the NFL level it is just impossible to project how well receivers will do and which ones will be a bust.  Boldin is a perfect example.  He was a second round draft pick because teams could not project how well he would do.  This year looks to be a crap shoot again as teams try to guess which wide-out is worth taking.  The Ravens are one of those teams and by trading for Boldin it would eliminate all of the guesswork. 

Look at this way:  Who might the Ravens draft with the 26th overall pick?  Most projections I have seen have the Ravens looking at a corner or, you guessed it, a wide receiver.  Thanks to Ozzie’s great offseason the Ravens have added depth and talent to their secondary.  A corner pick here is no longer a must but rather more like a luxury.  A wide receiver for this team makes the most sense, so why not get the best? This years best available is not Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks(I think is the best in the draft), Kenny Britt, or even Darrius Heyward-Bey.  That is right, the best wide-out available this year is Boldin.  The Ravens fans want him.  The Ravens need him.

Boldin is young, only 28, and can help this team for another 5 years.  He will come in and have an immediate impact on this offense, especially on Joe Flacco.  The other benefit of getting Boldin is that you would not have to wait for him to develop.  He is ready to go on day one.  Let’s face it the Ravens are not getting any younger on defense and guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed do not have the years left to wait for a rookie to develop.  Flacco is also emerging into a star and we do not need to hold him back while waiting for the rookie WR to develop.

Traditionally the Ravens have not been afraid to pull the trigger to trade up in the draft to get guys they felt were important to this team and may not be available when it is their turn to draft, ala Joe Flacco.  So why not pull the trigger this year.  Just because Boldin is not in the draft does not mean we should write off the idea of dealing our picks.   

Give up the picks and bring Baltimore a star thus narrowing the gap between the Super Bowl champions and the Baltimore Ravens!!! 

 

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

Posted on 02 March 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Just five weeks from today, the Yankees fans will descend on downtown and the bunting will be out and the Orioles will celebrate Opening Day. Today, however, I’m sitting here having my first cup of coffee of the week, watching an absolutely stunning beautiful snow event, listening to Drew and Glenn talk about the Terps and Ray Lewis and watching all of the local TV talking heads continue a sick, little Baltimore tradition: “It’s snowing! STOP EVERYTHING!” And if Don and Marty are going to freak out over schools being closed and no one is going to work, then the least I can do is blog and tell you that I’M GOING TO WORK! And I hope you tune me in at 2 p.m.!

And today is the first snowstorm day when our website is a destination or a way to reach the radio at home because I have a feeling rush hour traffic will be limited. Especially when for 40 years every time it’s ever snowed in Baltimore, all of the TV stations freeze and they tell everyone to basically “take the day off.” I don’t know how it works in your office, but most people are happy to oblige when a  “freebie” is offered, even in this lousy, horrific economy. So, at least you’re reading our website and know we’re full service today.

I’m watching WJZ now: “When winter weather bears down on Maryland, we’re there with you. When the economy sucks, we’re there for you. When it’s time to take money from Peter Angelos and lie to you about the Orioles, we’re there for you…”

Honestly, I’m looking forward to driving into the office today and doing the show at 2 p.m. It’s been a very interesting weekend on and off the fields and courts in local sports.

On the fields…

Maryland is back somewhere on the right side of the bubble in the hunt to be in the March Madness with a relatively strong win in Raleigh. I think Greivis is still shooting ball!

I went to RAC Arena yesterday to take in the Retrievers’ big win over Albany. It’s always fun to see the band, the girls, the kids and Randy Monroe’s tantrums at UMBC. Our own Drew Forrester was feted by the local frat boys as he handed out a school spirit trophy with beads at halftime. Jay Greene’s family gave me a T-shirt with his name on it. There were tears, cheers, the works for “Senior Day” as Greene and Darryl Proctor were honored. I shot some WNSTV. I’ll try to get it up.

Lacrosse fans descended upon downtown on Saturday on a chilly day to support their sport and Johns Hopkins is wobbling.

The Orioles are doing something. I’m just not sure whether anyone is paying attention. This was the week we were going to do live from down in Fort Lauderdale. But in five weeks we’ll be playing baseball.

Off the field, it’s been a mess.

Let’s start with The Washington Post’s bombshell hurled at Gary Williams, Kevin Plank, Under Armour and the University of Maryland yesterday regarding the recruitment of Lance Stephenson. It’s been the major topic on Drew’s show this morning. I have no idea who in College Park peed in The Post’s Wheaties, but there’s clearly a witch hunt going on there for Garyland.

And if you’re on our WNST Text Service, you know that Samari Rolle told The Baltimore Sun and the Ravens (and the world) last night that he wants to be released, which caps a weekend of major activity in Owings Mills even without a word or a whisper from No. 52.
There’s plenty to rap about on a day when the weather outside is frightful. The TV stations are frightening everyone else. But I’m going to work. As my Pop would say en route to Bethlehem Steel on a day like today, “I’m not gonna scratch.”

BTW: Shameless plug here…

This Thursday would be my Pop’s 90th birthday. We will have an on air party from 2 to 6 for my dad and all dads and continue our annual tradition of honoring Pops everywhere!

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Getting a grip on the Festivus activities

Posted on 23 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

So, it looks like we’re getting into the playoffs. Well at least we can talk that way for a few more days and as a 10-point favorite against Jacksonville this weekend (and please note the gametime change to 4:15 p.m., which means the coldest possibilities for us) the Ravens should win. Heck, if they don’t win they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs, really.

So, assuming that the Ravens are going to win this week and advance to the playoffs I started putting together playoff possibilities onto a cocktail napkin on Sunday and this is what I came up with…and I can’t imagine the NFL scheduling gods could have cooked this weekend up with a whole lot more drama than what they have – several cool matchups and playoff spots on the line in both conferences.

Indianapolis can now pack their bags for Denver or San Diego. But that Sunday night game is gonna be a good one. You gotta think that the Chargers have all of the momentum and the home field. What a story that would be, digging out from 4-8 to make the playoffs. Kinda unheard of…

Clearly, Nasvhille and Pittsburgh are just sitting tight, taking a “bye” week before their official byes. And as we saw two years ago, that extra slacker time isn’t always the best route. Two of the last three Super Bowl champs (Pittsburgh 2005 and N.Y. Giants 2007) have come from the No. 6 hole and not only won three in a row on the road but also overcame the extra game and the lack of a bye. You’d figure that being a higher seed would be a good thing but the recent history doesn’t support it.

And the Ravens (or the eventual No. 6 seed) will be headed to the AFC East winner. If Miami beats the Jets, we’re headed to South Florida. If the Jets beat the Dolphins, we go to New England provided they win in  Buffalo (hardly a given).

And such begins any legitimate Ravens fan’s aspirations of catching fire and making January 2009 one helluva memorable month. Here are my thoughts:

1.    Miami is the Ravens’ best first-round path. While the flights are jam-packed (good luck trying to get to South Florida next weekend if the Ravens make it there!), the weather and a matchup where the homefield won’t be so unkind is favorable for the Ravens. It certainly beats going to frosty New England, which is the worst scenario for the Ravens. If the Jets win and the Patriots flop this weekend and we wind up at the Meadowlands against Brett Favre, I still like our chances. Just FYI: if the Ravens go to New England or New York, we’ve already got “Miller Lite Roadtrips” ready to go! If the Ravens play in Miami, we will not be offering a trip.
2.    A Ravens win at the AFC East champion would take them to a path that’s well-traveled and familiar to Ray Lewis, Matt Stover and any real Ravens fan: Nashville. Clearly, the Titans would rather not see No. 52 coming back into the former Adelphia Coliseum in January. And assuming another Tennessee road miracle win…
3.    The AFC Championship Game could be in Pittsburgh (assuming they don’t choke the weekend of Jan. 10-11) or San Diego, Denver or even Indianapolis, if they could win two in a row on the road and take down the Steelers at Heinz Field.

Of course every fan of every team is plotting their own pathway through their respective conference playoff possibilities. This is the joy of having a Festivus celebration – the possibilities and hope that even being a “potential” No. 6 seed affords. And, we still have to win a game at home this weekend against a feisty Jacksonville team to do that.

As we’ve seen over and over again in the NFL: NO ONE LAYS DOWN late in the season. Well, no one but the Arizona Cardinals, any way…

The lowly Seahawks, Redskins and the Bills all pulled off upsets over playoff-inspired favorites last Sunday. The Jaguars played the Colts extremely tough last Thursday night and they’ll have two extra days of rest before coming here this Sunday. Maurice Jones Drew got dinged up very late in the game against Indy, so it’ll be interesting to see how effective he’ll be this week but he’s an explosive threat, like a human pinball or a poor man’s Barry Sanders. He’ll present speed issues for the Ravens defense in the middle of the field.

There’s no “counting chickens” as a Ravens fan. This Jaguars game is hardly a walkover in my mind. But a win this week opens all sorts of doors of possibilities for 2009 and dreams of an improbably Super Bowl run with a rookie coach, a rookie quarterback and a veteran Hall of Famer inspiring the troops in the September of his career.

The storylines for the Ravens are obvious:

Ray Lewis in a walk year trying to win another Super Bowl…

Trevor Pryce going for No. 3…

Derrick Mason and Samari Rolle, who both came up one-yard short almost a decade ago, getting another chance…

A first chance for Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Todd Heap and other Pro Bowlers to win a championship…

Will it start in Miami?

Or New England?

Or a trip to the Meadowlands for Favre and the Jets?

Can the Ravens avoid an upset at the hands of the Jaguars – who were truly Kyptonite to this franchise in the early years when they won the first eight matchups of the rivalry – to earn the No. 6 seed. For better or worse, the playoffs come to Baltimore at 4:15 this Sunday in what amounts to a “play in” game for the franchise and the city.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, indeed…

Happy Festivus to all…

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The afterglow of Cleveland

Posted on 03 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

With just over a quarter remaining in yesterday’s key divisional AFC North matchup, the Ravens were 14 points down on the road, the Browns fans were coming to life with a chorus of “Hang on Sloopy” (don’t ask…just watch the video!) and the vultures were circling our black birds at Cleveland Stadium.

Some of the Cleveland “faithful” had already begun to pile out onto the street to watch Bruce Springsteen perform before the Barack Obama rally, which was literally adjacent to the stadium (think as close as Oriole Park is to M&T Bank Stadium).

The Browns had our rookie quarterback on the run. Our beaten defense had been pushed around for 30 minutes – or as Terrell Suggs said: “We were getting our asses handed to us.” And staring at a two-touchdown deficit on the road in a hostile environment, it didn’t feel as though a comeback was in the offering.

Todd Heap hadn’t caught a pass. Willis McGahee was on the pine. The backend of the secondary, while not looking like Ike Booth and Donny Brady circa 1996 was still not Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle in their prime for sure.

But, as we learned in the locker room after the game, it was about that time that Ray Lewis came to the forefront on the sidelines and talked about playing a full 60 minutes of football. He talked about believing and not quitting. All of the stuff many may view as “rhetoric” when it doesn’t work was viewed as gospel once the Ravens came storming back to score 24 unanswered points during the final 16 minutes of the game.

And, lo and behold, the Ravens created their first miracle of the John Harbaugh administration and gave us our best memory of Cleveland yet, a stunning 37-27 victory on The Lake. (Well, it’s at least the the best memory in Cleveland since the Roberto Alomar homer back in 1996.)

While the real world is in a seemingly constant state of financial crisis and life isn’t a whole lot of fun for most of us from the gas pump to the checkbook, it’s stupid stuff like sports that can create a little bit of fun and a diversion from daily life. At least here in Baltimore with the fantasyland that sports provides us, it’s turning into a very good year for our football team, which makes for nice Monday mornings.

Hell, it makes for great WEEKS in my world, where everywhere I go and everything I do leads me into a conversation about football and the Ravens.

So, on a personal note, there’s nothing more gratifying than when the Ravens win.

It helps WNST morale. It helps the morale of the community. And it makes food taste a little better and the beer is, to quote Chuck Thompson, a little colder.

The Ravens are 5-3, headed off to play Houston in six days and apparently will draw the Sage Rosenfels quarterback card instead of Matt Schaub, who left the Texans’ game early yesterday.

Ray Lewis is playing like a man possessed, showing himself to be the veteran leader in his “walk” year that we’ve been wanting to see as fans.

It’s officially time to start talking about “Festivus.”

(Does John Harbaugh even know about this sacred football holiday?)

And then there are the three “rookies” who stepped to the podium after yesterday’s gritty, improbable win.

Ray Rice had as big of a day on the road when it mattered against a division rival as you can imagine a rookie having. (Although he’ll be hearing about getting knocked out of bounds short of the end zone a few times this week from teammates.)

Joe Flacco was almost flawless in his effort yesterday and continues to show poise, confidence and ability that are beyond his years.

And rookie coach John Harbaugh is starting to show results in the only place it really matters: the team is 5-3 and could be in first place by the end of the night.

Only time will tell if yesterday’s offense-defense bonding on the Lake will take root and this will be a playoff team (or maybe even a true contender for a Super Bowl title in this oddest of seasons).

The conversations here and around town will talk about the obvious problems: the lack of a bye week, the powerful NFC North teams looming during the holidays and tough games and the secondary will probably be a question mark until proven otherwise. There will be plenty of time to debate all of this, week to week, as the team continues to mature.

But yesterday was one for the books — a classic, an unexpected gem to begin the Festivus season. Not even being stuck in the Cleveland airport for three extra hours last night could wipe the smile off of my face.

As I walked to the subway after hearing about 25 minutes of Springsteen (as many of you know, one of my favorites), we strolled to Tower City Mall as Bruce broke out an acoustic version of “The Rising” and dedicated it to Barack Obama, who was about to take the stage.

Bruce could have just as easily sent that one out to the purple birds, who were trying to navigate the insane scene of 100,000 people on the square downtown en route to the airport for a “rising” of their own.

The rising to the top of the AFC North, creating even more separation from the whole state of Ohio.

The rain began to fall on the Cleveland night as the sun set before 5 p.m. for the beginning of a long, cold winter on Lake Erie.

The Ravens are 5-3. The Browns are 3-5.

Going in opposite directions once again.

The bad news?

We’re all stuck rooting for the Redskins tonight.

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Ravens @ Browns – Your Predictions

Posted on 30 October 2008 by Alex Thomas

The week 9 schedule sends the Ravens to the Dogpound for what could be a pivotal game in the AFC North:

-if the Ravens win, they keep the #6 seed in the AFC playoff standings
-if the Ravens win and the Steelers lose to the Redskins, the Ravens move into a tie for first in the AFC North (although the Steelers own the tie-breaker).
-if the Browns win, they move into a tie with the Ravens.

The Ravens will likely be without Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle, and Dawan Landry is already listed as out for the game. The Browns passing attack has shown sparks at times and has looked much better since the Ravens pummeled the Browns back in week 3. And I’m not sold on Frank Walker being able to cover Braylon Edwards.

Unless the Ravens can pressure Derek Anderson all day long, it could be a long day for the secondary. If the Browns are smart, they’ll give up on the run and attack the weaker areas of the Ravens defense through the air. If the Browns can negate the Ravens pass rush with some 3 and 5 step drops, it will leave Walker and Fabian Washington on islands with Edwards and Donte Stallworth. Look for the Browns to substitute the short passing game for a steady dose of Jamal Lewis.

My prediction: I smell a trap game. With the Browns at home and considering they’ve already seen the Ravens before, I’m going to take the upset this week. It’s so hard to beat a team twice, especially if you’ve already beaten them in your house and you’re going to theirs for the rematch (which is why I think the Ravens will beat the Steelers).

This offense is progressing, but despite the brand new look and tempo, Oakland botched a lot of coverages last week. If the Ravens want to win this game they have to get up early and make Derek Anderson want to quit. I’ll take the Browns at home this week coming off of a big win.

Ravens – 17

Browns – 23

Pivotal Match-Up: Ravens offensive line vs. Browns pass rush. If Shaun Rogers and company let Joe Flacco have time to sit back and make throws, the Ravens will win this game as long as he doesn’t turn the ball over.

Where it could all go wrong: Pretty simple scenario this week – Browns try to run the ball; Ravens hold on to the football; Ravens secondary steps up.

Surprising statistic: The Browns have beat Baltimore in Cleveland 3 of the last 4 years,

Last Week’s winner: Nestminder is our first back-to-back winner picking the Ravens to win 24-6. We had a record-low in the number of predictions received, but we can rebound this week. We’ll chalk that one up to the new website. My pick: 27-6 Ravens. Actual score: 29-10 Ravens

Week 7 winner: Nestminder picked a 20-13 Ravens victory and Polostat was a close second. My pick: 24-16 Ravens. Actual score: 27-13 Ravens.

Week 6 winner: Johnny Rocket correctly picked against the Ravens, per usual, predicting a 32-8 Colts victory. My pick: 28-23 Colts. Actual score: 31-3 Colts.

Week 5 winner: Columbia Ken picked the closest score, predicting a 17-13 Titans victory. My pick: 17-9 Ravens. Actual score: 13-10 Titans

Week 4 winner: Jon R. reluctantly picked a 24-20 win for the Steelers. My pick: 13-10 Ravens. Actual score: 23-20 Steelers (OT)

Week 3 winner: EazyE picked a 23-13 win for the Ravens vs. Cleveland. My pick: 23-13 Ravens. Actual score: 24-10 Ravens.

What are your predictions this week?

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Ravens news and notes and injury report

Posted on 22 October 2008 by caseywillett

Here are some notes from 1 Winning Drive today:

-The Chris McAlister saga will continue to roll on, as McAlister spoke with the media and commented on the situation which you can see in my previous blog. Coach Harbaughreemphasized today that playing time has nothing to do with discipline. It is simply they are putting the best 11 guys on the field against the Raiders. McAlister does in fact appear on the injury report this week, which you can scroll down to see.

– Buddy Ryan the father of Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will be at the game on Sunday.

-JaMarcus Russell was a big topic of discussion with several of the defensive players today. Trevor Pryce, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata all talked about how big and strong Russell is and how you have to wrap him up to get him down. Pryce mentioned that the thing you have to do when you get to Russell is ask him to lie down so you can get the sack. Suggs is concerned that he might get shrugged off if he gets to him and goes for a sack. Ngata pointed out that a big thing with Russell is that he will dump off passes to the running backs when you get to him and that is a dangerous thing. All of the guys compared sacking Russell to trying to sack Ben Roethlisberger, very difficult. Suggs compared sacking Russell to trying to sack Trevor Pryce.

– Jonathan Ogden who will be going into the Ravens Ring of Honor on Sunday, will be introduced with the team on Sunday.

– Terrell Suggs said early that he thought Troy Smith should be starting for the Ravens. Now Suggs has said ” I thought the question was about multiple packages. I said both quarterbacks should get a chance to play, like running back Ronnie Brown depending on the package. Joe is 3-3 as the starter and has done a good job. It’s not like we haven’t won any games.”

Suggs also has had controversy come up with his comments about a bounty on Hines Ward. Here is his response to that, ” there wasn’t any bounty. The reporter asked me if there was a bounty and I just said I’m going to keep a watch on the guy. He broke some guy’s jaw last week, and he tried to cheap shot Jarrett Johnson. He also cheap-shotted Ed Reed. We’re just going to be on alert the next time we play him. It’s like the guy in your neighborhood who always pulls your shorts down and your drawers show, well, you always have to be on the lookout. You have to be alert.”

Suggs has always been a media friendly guy, but I can not imagine these type comments set well with the new coaching regime

– Here is the injury report for the Ravens for Wednesday:

OUT: Samari Rolle(neck/shoulder) Dawan Landry(neck) Adam Terry (knee)

Did Not Participate: Yamon Figurs(knee) Ed Reed(thigh) Demetrius Williams(ankle)

Limited Participation: Jared Gaither(neck) Chris McAlister(knee) Willis McGahee(knee)

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Monday press conference notes

Posted on 20 October 2008 by caseywillett

Here are some news and notes from the Monday press conference:

– Coach Harbaugh said that he does not discipline players with them not getting to play. The decision based  on not starting Chris McAlister was that he played the best players that give them a chance to win. Coach Harbaugh then talked about the great job that Frank Walker and Fabian Washington did against the Dolphins. Chris McAlister said right before Coach Harbaugh’s press conference that his knee feels “excellent”.

– Samari Rolle and Dawan Landry  could both possibly play this week against the Raiders

-Adam Terry will get  his knee scoped tomorrow. He has a slight meniscus tear on the outside and will try to clean it up and see how quickly they can get him back. Coach Harbaugh praised the job done by  Chris Chester on Sunday.

– The one concern with the  Raiders that was immediately pointed out was the job that they have done on special teams and returns and something that the Ravens will have to focus on containing on Sunday.

– The Ravens will submit the hit on Edgar Jones to the NFL for review. Jones was hit right in front of the Ravens sideline early in yesterday’s game.

– Troy Smith being the number two guy is based on the fact that he is ready to do it at this point. If Troy would have had to go in, he could go in and do something that would cause defenses problems.

– Antwan Barnes things he got a penalty for taunting, based off of him leaning forward to help Haruki Nakamura off of the ground after his special teams hit. Coach Harbaugh said that Barnes just has to be aware of his body language.

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Ravens theme from locker room: “FINISH GAMES!”

Posted on 05 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

After today’s late afternoon debacle, I had the honor of walking from one end of the Ravens’ locker room to the other and I heard at least six guys say the exact same thing over and over again:

“We need to learn to finish games,” was echoed from Jarret Johnson to Joe Flacco, from Bart Scott to Willis McGahee.

For the second time in six days, the Ravens let “the better team” come back from a hole and beat them with late errors and breakdowns.

NFL coaches always accept physical breakdowns. If a guy beats you on a straight play, you tip your cap and get back in the huddle. But mental mistakes and stupid late penalities? Well, until the Ravens stop taking their licks 15 yards at a time at key junctures against teams with a lot of talent, they’ll never consistently win in this league.

The Titans clearly woke up on the wrong side of the Inner Harbor this morning, picking several chippy, dirty fights in the first half. But in the end it was the Ravens and late hits to the head that cost the team a 3-1 start to the 2008 season.

John Harbaugh now finally knows what Brian Billick went through with the tough-guy image the Ravens’ defense has grown up with over the last few years. Terrell Suggs will no doubt be hearing from the NFL on his post-game comments regarding officials and their getting drawn into the energy of the purple crowd.

“I was nowhere near his head,” Suggs said. “I think they had a big momentum shift. It was third down. We’re the bad boys of football. They’re always going to look at it like that because of the physical style of defense we play. They’re always going to have that close eye on us, (looking) for anything that’s too much.”

Suggs later even said the officials are looking for a big situation to call something.

But it’s never one play or one person.

The phone calls will come all day on Monday at WNST regarding:

•    Joe Flacco’s brutal pair of interceptions. The second one ended the game. The first one put the Ravens defense on a short leash and gifted the Titans three points and might have contributed to the next gaffe…

•    Harbaugh’s downright weird decision to kick a not-such-a-sure-thing 45-year field goal on 1st down with 14 seconds remaining in the half. It’s the NFL. If you can’t dirt the ball or even attempt to find a quick out and pick up a few yards and get out of bounds, you probably have the wrong players on the field.

•    Ray Lewis’ unbelievably inspired play during the 2008 season. Sure, it’s a contract year for Ray-Ray, but he’s flying around the field like a man possessed (and/or half his age). It’s impossible to not admire No. 52’s greatness and see his passion in the October of his career.

•    Ed Reed’s shoulder. It ain’t a secret anymore, this aversion Reed has to contact. His right arm is hanging ala Peter Boulware circa-1999. It’s a heroic effort but I’m not sure that he’s really helping the team if he can’t tackle at that position. Which leads to…

•    The rest of the secondary. Especially given the lack of deep depth in Frank Walker, Fabian Washington and Corey Ivy, it’s a crushing blow having Dawan Landry and Samari Rolle be out while Reed plays on one wing. For the most part, Chris McAlister has played quite well but the lack of depth across the backfield has been an invitation to pick on Walker and others.

•    Matt Stover. He’s been shaky this season and longer field goals have never been his strength. The miss today will get even more attention because of the playcall to even attempt it at that spot in the game, but Stover has to make that kick. You can blame Scott, Flacco, the secondary (or all of the abover) but if Stover hits that kick it’s a different game.

Hey, they’re 2-2. It could be a lot worse.

But blowing two nice leads against “quality opponents” isn’t encouraging especially when you consider the rough second half of the season the Ravens will have without a bye and having to take on the entire NFC East after mid-November.

Today’s loss doesn’t end their season by any stretch. But 3-1 sounds a helluva lot better headed to Indianapolis than 2-2.

These losses snatched out of the jaws of victory are tough to take.

And whatever you do, don’t look at the stats from the Titans game today.

You’ll be scratching your head until Wednesday trying to figure out how they lost this one.

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UPDATE: Roster moves, injury report, and notes

Posted on 01 October 2008 by caseywillett

4:30
Here are the Ravens roster moves that were made today:
The Ravens have placed the following player on practice squad/injured:
Joe Reitz (T, 6-7, 270, Rookie, Western Michigan)
The Ravens have also waived the following player from their practice squad:
Casey Bramlet (QB, 6-4, 220, 2nd-year, Wyoming)
Baltimore signed the following players to its practice squad:
Nathan Bennett (G, 6-4, 315, Rookie, Clemson)
Edward Williams (WR, 6-4, 215, Lane)
Here is the Ravens injury report for Wednesday:
OUT:
Kelly Gregg (knee)
Dawan Landry (neck)
Samari Rolle (neck)
Limited Participation:
Antwan Barnes (shoulder)
Yamon Figurs(hamstring)
Derrick Martin(shoulder)
Willis McGahee(chest)
Full Participation:
Nick Greisen(thigh)

Here are some news and notes from the Wednesday:

Kelly Gregg will not be available to the team this week, as he continues to nurse a knee injury. Coach Harbaugh said they are sending his MRI’s to doctors to have them look at it, because it is a unique situation and they hope to have more information this week.
Willis McGahee said he hopes to be able to finish a game. McGahee said that his injury to his ribs was in the back where he took a helmet. McGahee broke two ribs last year towards the end of the season. McGahee’s left eyes looks really bad, it had a lot of blood in it. That is the eye that he got poked in during the Browns game. McGahee takes exception to people saying he is getting these injuries because of him missing off season workouts. McGahee said he will have a better understanding on how he feels after practice today.
Casey Bramlet and Joe Reitz are not longer with the Ravens practice squad. Bramlet was released while Reitz was placed on injured reserve. The Ravens have added. The players names were not available to the media yet.
There was no sign of Samari Rolle in the locker room today. It did not appear that he has been here, based on the way his locker appeared.
Coach Harbaugh said today that the team definitely see’s Troy Smith playing in some capacity this year for sure.

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