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Perhaps Trade Good Business, But Ravens Need Good Players

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Perhaps Trade Good Business, But Ravens Need Good Players

Posted on 27 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — I almost thought about just re-posting the column I wrote two years ago.

I DEFINITELY thought about writing nothing at all.

But after the Baltimore Ravens traded their first round pick in the NFL Draft to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for the Vikes’ 2nd and 4th round picks Thursday night, I had a few thoughts cross my mind.

After making the trade, General Manager Ozzie Newsome described the decision as “good business” for the Ravens. He might very well be correct. According to the famous Jimmy Johnson trade chart, the Ravens’ 29th overall pick was worth 640 points. The two picks acquired by the Ravens (35th and 98th overall) are worth a combined 658 points. Based on the chart alone, the trade really does appear to be “good business.”

Let’s drag this out a little bit though. The combined value of having the 129th-160th picks in the Draft (or ROUGHLY the entire 5th round) is 1,093.5 points. The 14th pick in the first round of the draft is 1,100 points. The value is almost exactly the same.

So with that in mind-which would you rather have? Would you rather have the 14th pick in the NFL Draft or the entire 5th round in the NFL Draft?

Don’t think about this TOO much. I don’t think there’s really a correct answer here.

The point I’m trying to drive home is that the acquisition of an additional pick or the breakdown of picks based on a numerical chart does not guarantee a selection in the draft is necessarily “good business.”

The last time the Ravens traded out of the first round was in 2010, when the team famously dealt the 25th overall pick in the first round of the Draft to the Denver Broncos for the 43rd, 70th and 114th overall picks in the Draft. The team would go on to select LB Sergio Kindle with the 43rd pick, TE Ed Dickson with the 70th and TE Dennis Pitta with the 114th. While Kindle has been almost a complete non-factor in the two seasons since the deal (and it is hard to imagine him becoming much more than that), Dickson and Pitta have established themselves as capable contributors at the pro level.

The player selected in the 25th spot was now New York Jets QB (and Special Teamer?) Tim Tebow. At first blush, the deal appears to have been “good business” indeed for the Baltimore Ravens.

But if we step back even a bit more, it’s worth identifying some of the players selected between the 25th and 43rd spot in the 2010 Draft. The list includes New England Patriots Pro Bowl CB Devin McCourty and TE Rob Gronkowski, as well as players like New Orleans Saints CB Patrick Robinson (4 interceptions in 2011), Miami Dolphins DL Jared Odrick (6 sacks in 2011), Detroit Lions RB Jahvid Best (over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and 6 combined TD’s in 2010 before an injury shortened 2011 campaign) and other promising young players.

The Ravens picked up Kindle, Dickson and Pitta but could have had Gronkowski.

This “which would you rather?” argument is nearly as compelling as the earlier one presented. In the spirit of full disclosure, the Ravens have said Gronkowski failed a physical before the 2010 Draft that took him off their board.

The 2010 deal could perhaps prove to ultimately be known as “good business” or it could ultimately be known as the year the Ravens missed on a chance to get one of the more dynamic players in the National Football League. Moreover, two of the players selected between the time the Ravens traded out of the 25th pick and ultimately selected with the 43rd pick in 2010 went on to help a Pats team eliminate the Ravens in the 2012 AFC Championship Game and prevent the Purple & Black from reaching their first Super Bowl in over a decade.

So while we’re quick to accept the idea that trading out of the first round with talented players still on the board like LB Courtney Upshaw, WR Stephen Hill, OL Peter Konz and OT Jonathan Martin was “good business” for the Ravens Thursday night, let’s tell the whole story and paint the entire picture. Trading out of the first round MIGHT have been good business for the Ravens.

It MIGHT be looked upon as the time the Ravens missed out on a future superstar like Vikings S Harrison Smith, San Francisco 49ers WR AJ Jenkins, New York Giants RB David Wilson or (perhaps) Indianapolis Colts LB Upshaw.

As the headline of this column suggested, the Baltimore Ravens may have pulled off “good business” by dealing out of the first round, but the more important need for the team is to acquire good players. If the Ravens acquire good players with the 35th and 98th picks this year, the deal will ultimately prove to truly be good business.

If the Ravens instead miss out on those picks, the deal will be known more as the year where a team looking to make the next step towards a Super Bowl title failed to acquire good players.

You’ll probably tell me I’m being negative. I’d like to think I’m just being realistic.

-G

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Loyola Basketball Announces Three Man Recruiting Class

Posted on 17 April 2012 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jimmy Patsos announced the addition of three student-athletes to the Greyhounds’ 2012-13 freshman class, Jarred Jones (Havre de Grace, Md./John Carroll School), Eric Laster (Smyrna, Del./Polytech H.S.) and SeanTuohy Jr. (Memphis, Tenn./Briarcrest Christian H.S.).

The trio will join fellow incoming freshmen Josh Forney (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances Academy) and Will Rassman (Takoma Park, Md./Gonzaga College H.S.), who signed with Loyola in the fall.

“We’re excited to have Jarred, Eric and S.J. join our program,” Patsos said. “With Jarred, we are bringing in another player who knows what it takes to be successful in the Baltimore Catholic League, one of the top high school conferences around, and Eric certainly had a terrific senior year in Delaware. S.J. comes from a highly successful high school program, and he is a pass-first guy who has also been on excellent teams.”

Jones played his high school basketball locally at John Carroll and will be the fifth player from Baltimore on the men’s basketball roster next year, joining this year’s sophomores Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons) and Jordan Latham (City), freshman R.J. Williams (St. Frances) and Forney.

A 6-foot-6, 185-pound forward, Jones averaged 13.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game his senior year while being named to The Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro First Team.

Jones led John Carroll to the 2012 MIAA ‘A’ Conference title, scoring 15 points, grabbing five rebounds and blocking three shots in this year’s championship game against Mount St. Joseph’s.

Jones was a second-team All-Metro selection by The Sun as a junior in 2011 while helping the Patriots to the MIAA and Baltimore Catholic League championships. He also played for local AAU powerhouse Nike Baltimore Elite.

Laster was recently named the 2011-12 Gatorade Delaware Boys Basketball Player of the Year, which recognizes both athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.

Laster, who checks in at 6-foot-6, 195 pounds, averaged 22 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and three assists per game as a senior.

He led Polytech to the state tournament quarterfinals and was an All-State First Team selection. He also scored a game-high 15 points in a, 55-36, win over Smyma High School to help the Panthers capture the 2012 Henlopen Conference championship.

Tuohy Jr. helped Briarcrest Christian to a 23-6 record as a senior point guard, averaging over six assists per game for the Saints. This spring, he played with an international touring team that traveled to Europe and played games against teams in Italy.

A Scholar-Athlete Award winner at Briarcrest, Tuohy is the son of Sean Tuohy, the all-time assist leader at the University of Mississippi. Tuohy Jr. was portrayed in the Academy Award-winning movie “The Blind Side” as S.J., whose adoptive older brother is Michael Oher, starting offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.

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Stevenson Tops Marymount To Set Up Salisbury Showdown

Posted on 12 April 2012 by WNST Staff

ARLINGTON, VA. – Marymount University’s men’s lacrosse team was outlasted by fourth-ranked Stevenson in Capital Athletic Conference action on Wednesday night. The Saints trailed by just one goal midway through the third quarter before the Mustangs pulled away for the win behind a 4-1 rally down the stretch.

Danny Carson led the Saints (5-8, 2-5 CAC) with a game-high three goals while Connor Kellogg, Mike Smith and Eric Martin each added lone goals. Vince Lodato contributed a pair of assists and David Huson chipped in another.

Marymount jumped on the board first with back-to-back goals within eight seconds of each other 10 minutes into the opening frame. Carson nailed home the initial goal before Lodato won the ensuing faceoff, raced downfield, and fed Kellogg to give MU a 2-0 lead. Stevenson would rally back with consecutive goals with two minutes remaining in the quarter to knot things up at 2-2.

In the second, the Mustangs (11-2, 6-0 CAC) looked to take control with three unanswered goals to lead 5-2 with almost six minutes to play in the half. Keeping pace, Carson would hit home a pair of back-to-back goals within seconds of each other to close out the scoring in the half and cut the SU lead to just 5-4 going into the break.

Coming out of halftime, Stevenson and the Saints traded early goals to keep it a one-goal contest. The Mustangs would then close out the game on a 4-1 run to seal the victory.

Defensively, Ross Fernandez collected 12 saves in goal for the Saints in the loss. Smith added five ground balls and three caused turnovers.

Nick Rossi, Justin Lea and Stephen Banick each scored two goals for Stevenson.

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I Answer Your Questions About Matusz, Wieters, Ravens Draft, More

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I Answer Your Questions About Matusz, Wieters, Ravens Draft, More

Posted on 10 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

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Ray Rice Advances To Final Eight in Madden Cover Voting

Posted on 04 April 2012 by WNST Staff

April 4, 2012 – Fans have come out in force to support their favorite Madden NFL 13 cover athlete candidates, casting 16 million votes to date. This year’s vote tally has already eclipsed last year’s 13 million votes, with three rounds still to go. Voting continues at ESPN.com/MaddenVote through April 25 when the next Madden NFL 13 cover athlete will be announced on ESPN’s SportsNation at 5 p.m. ET.

ROUND 3 BREAKDOWN OF MADDEN NFL 13 COVER VOTE CAMPAIGN 

§  Cam Newton vs. Larry Fitzgerald
§  Patrick Willis vs. Victor Cruz
§  Aaron Rodgers vs. Ray Rice

§  Calvin Johnson vs. Rob Gronkowski

 

 

Second round voting highlights include:

 

§  Upset of the Week

§      No. 6 seed Calvin Johnson (WR, Detroit Lions) over No. 3 seed Arian Foster (RB, Houston Texans)

 

§  Largest Voting Differential

§      No. 1 seed Cam Newton (QB, Carolina Panthers) over No. 8 seed Antonio Gates (WR, San Diego Chargers)

§      No. 2 seed Rob Gronkowski (TE, New England Patriots) over No. 7 seed Jared Allen (DE, Minnesota Vikings)

§  Closest Matchups

§      No. 5 seed Ray Rice (RB, Baltimore Ravens) over No. 4 seed Drew Brees (QB, New Orleans Saints)

§      No. 4 seed Larry Fitzgerald over No. 5 seed LeSean McCoy

 

Round 3 voting is now open and fans can make their selections exclusively atwww.ESPN.com/MaddenVote to determine which of the eight NFL players advance to the next round of the Madden NFL 13 cover athlete voting campaign. Every Wednesday throughout the campaign, fans can tune in to SportsNation at 5 p.m. ET for analysis and commentary on the competition.

Fans can visit the Madden NFL Facebook page (www.facebook.com/EASPORTSMaddenNFL) orSportsNation page (www.facebook.com/SportsNation) to join discussions surrounding the Cover Vote.  Fans are also encouraged to tweet their Cover Vote picks using the hashtag #MyMaddenCoverVote on Twitter.

To view or download assets* for the Madden NFL 13 cover athlete voting campaign including player screenshots, b-roll, and renders, please visit: http://maddennfl13.newslinevine.com/cover-vote.html 

NOTE – All player assets are taken from Madden NFL 12.

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Guilty as Sin

Posted on 30 March 2012 by Brandon Eyring

Unless you have been living under a metaphorical rock, you should be familiar with the Saints “Bounty-gate” scandal.

In case you were offended with the opening line because you do not understand much of the Saints current predicament, accept this apology of summarizing the essence of the situation.

The New Orleans Saints have been found guilty of initiating a pay-for-pain bounty system that targeted key opposing players from the seasons of 2009 to 2011 under the supervision of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. From league reports, “knockouts” were worth $1,500 and “cart-offs” $1,000, with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs.  The pool for the bounty program may have surpassed $50,000 at its height during the 2009 playoffs, the magical season New Orleans won the Super Bowl. To cite specific examples of wrongdoing, Saints defensive captain Jonathan Vilma offered $10,000 to any player who knocked then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2010 NFC championship game which the Saints ended up winning.

News of the bounty system directed by the Saints did not sit attractively with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The punishments handed out by the head honcho include Saints head coach Sean Payton suspended without pay for the 2012 season, which includes no contact with the team in any aspect. With his suspension, Payton will likely be forfeiting at least 6 million dollars in salary.

Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the bounty system’s ringleader, has been banned indefinitely from the league. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will review William’s case at the conclusion to the upcoming season to inquire if he is able to return to coach in the NFL. Among the rest of the suspensions to this point, Saints GM Mickey Loomis has been banned for the first eight games of the 2012 season, while assistant coach Joe Vitt received a six game suspension from the league for his role in the bounty system.

It is believed Payton and Loomis are the first head coach and general manager, respectively, to be suspended by the NFL for any reason. Payton’s suspension goes into effect on April 1, unless he appeals his punishment, in which case he will be able to keep his job for the length of the appeal. Goodell has made comments that he would expedite the hearing as well as his decision on the appeal.

Other punishments dished out by Roger Goodell include the New Orleans organization fined $500,000 and loss of 2012 and 2013 second round draft picks. Players that were actively involved in the pay-for-pain bounties will more than likely be receiving punishment after the NFLPA is through reviewing the case.

“While I will not address player conduct at this time, I am profoundly troubled by the fact that players — including leaders among the defensive players — embraced this program so enthusiastically and participated with what appears to have been a deliberate lack of concern for the well-being of their fellow players,” Goodell said. This quote illustrates Goodell’s desire to dish out punishment to players.

Evidenced by his stiff penalties, Roger Goodell has taken a strong stand against the Saint’s bounty program, and anything that may resemble it. He has called bounties in football “particularly unusual and egregious” and “totally unacceptable.”

“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game. We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities,” said Goodell, whose league faces more than 20 concussion-related lawsuits brought by hundreds of former players. “No one is above the game or the rules that govern it.”

A major factor to the severe punishments to the Saints at this point includes Goodell being lied to. Sean Payton tried to keep the situation under wraps by denying the existence of any wrongdoing.

“When this first was raised over two years ago, there were denials. They frankly were not forthright with what was happening,” said Goodell, speaking at the NFL owners meetings in Florida. “And that continued. It continued even through our investigation into the past several weeks. “So it is a serious violation of our policy. It has zero tolerance in the NFL. And it is not acceptable to hide from the issue, continue to violate NFL policy and put players at risk. That is going to be dealt with very harshly.”

Reaction around the league has been similarly disappointed. Coaches have joined Goodell’s outstanding disapproval of the bounties and the need for the situation to be discussed.

“The commissioner wants the entire league to make sure it’s discussed — to go forward using it as an example, to stress there is no place for that in our league.” – Tom Coughlin, head coach of the world champion New York Giants.

“The precedent has been set by the commissioner and they need to understand that and it is not to be broached again. Going forward, we won’t have to go over these things again.” –Ron Rivera, head coach of the Carolina Panthers who play the Saints twice per year.

The impact of the penalties will have an immediate effect on the upcoming season. Without Payton, the Saints front office will need to not only find a replacement for their ousted head coach, but figure out who will be making personnel decision while GM Mickey Loomis is serving his suspension also. Prospects for the head coaching position could be within the organization. Current Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has NFL head coaching experience so he will be looked at strenuously. Another big name being thrown around is Bill Parcells, Sean Payton’s mentor and former boss.

NFL experts say that Parcells to the Saints makes a lot of sense considering his close friendship and Payton’s job security. Payton has already claimed he is 100% certain he will be coaching the Saints in 2013. With that said, Parcells may be an excellent option for a one year interim coach. At 71 years young, he is still a Hall Of Fame coach and more than likely still has the drive to prove that he can win football games.

The outcome of the Saint’s bounty program remains a developing story. Keep close attention to updates in the news about developments because this situation is one of the most controversial in league history. Compared to the other  major controversial scandal of this NFL era, the discipline for the Saints’ involvement in the bounty scheme is more far-reaching and unforgiving than what Goodell came up with in 2007, when the New England Patriots cheated by videotaping an opponent. Goodell fined the Patriots $250,000, stripped a first-round draft pick, and docked their coach, Bill Belichick, $500,000 for what was known as “Spygate.”

The verdict is out on the Saints: Guilty as Sin.

 

 

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Some Free Advice For Sean Payton, Ravens, Orioles HOF, More

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Some Free Advice For Sean Payton, Ravens, Orioles HOF, More

Posted on 30 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

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OT Bushrod Says Saints Will Work Through Bountygate

Posted on 28 March 2012 by WNST Staff

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Sports Figures you’d like to place a bounty on

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Sports Figures you’d like to place a bounty on

Posted on 27 March 2012 by Luke Jones

In honor of the New Orleans Saints being hammered with discipline from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell due to a shocking bounty scandal, The Morning Reaction offers the Tuesday Top 7 sports figures you’d like to place a bounty on.

Included in parentheses is the reward Luke Jones and Drew Forrester would offer upon completion of the hit on each individual.

Disclaimer: The Morning Reaction does not condone violence, and this was done for amusement purposes only.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 … (To hear his explanation, click HERE)

7) Roger Clemens (autographed Andy Pettitte baseball)
Clemens

6) Terrell Owens (a year’s supply of popcorn)
Owens

5) ESPN personality Skip Bayless (authentic Terrell Suggs jersey)
Bayless

4) LeBron James (paid trip to Game 7 of the NBA Finals since “King” James certainly won’t show up)
James

3) Albert Belle (all of Luke’s Halloween candy for the next five years)
Belle

2) Barry Bonds (autographed Hank Aaron bat and an adjustable Giants cap for the ever-growing head)
Bonds

1) WWE chairman Vince McMahon (paid trip to Wrestlemania XXVIII)
Vince

Drew Forrester’s Top 7 … (To hear his explanation, click HERE)

(Continue on next page)

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Harbaugh envisions Kruger at outside linebacker for Ravens

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Harbaugh envisions Kruger at outside linebacker for Ravens

Posted on 27 March 2012 by Luke Jones

After longtime linebacker Jarret Johnson signed a four-year contract with the San Diego Chargers two weeks ago, the Ravens began the process of finding his replacement at the strong-side linebacker position.

Pass rush specialist Paul Kruger is the consensus choice among options currently on the roster, and coach John Harbaugh confirmed that notion at the NFL owners’ meetings in Florida on Tuesday. Selected in the second round of the 2009 draft, Kruger struggled to find a role on the defense in his first two seasons before becoming a regular contributor in passing situations last season.

“I think Paul is probably the leading candidate for the ‘Sam’ linebacker job,” Harbaugh said. “I could very definitely see him doing that. When we lost [Johnson], I went back and watched all of Paul’s tape. I watched every one of his plays from last year just to try and get a feel just for whether or not we’d be comfortable with him in there. He did a nice job in coverage, he set the edge well.”

The 26-year-old Utah product collected 5 1/2 sacks while playing in all 16 games last season after struggling to simply avoid the inactive list in his first two seasons. Kruger had only one sack and five tackles over 20 games in 2009 and 2010 as the coaching staff evaluated whether he was better suited for defensive end or linebacker.

He and rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee became mainstays of the defensive line on third down last season as the pair combined for 11 1/2 of the Ravens’ 48 sacks. Now, new defensive coordinator Dean Pees will take a long look at Kruger as the replacement to the run-stopping, blue-collar Johnson, who started every game at strong-side linebacker over the last five seasons.

“Obviously, he’s a very good pass rusher,” Harbaugh said. “I believe Paul can do it. I think he will do it.”

Kruger’s ability to play the run and to drop in pass coverage remains a mystery after limited opportunities in his first three professional seasons. The Ravens will look hard at the draft if a prospect such as Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw or North Carolina’s Zach Brown is available early, but with other positions to address and limited cap space to potentially add another veteran linebacker, Kruger may find himself in position to be the starter when the preseason begins.

“He wants to be that guy and he wants to do it as well or better than how it’s been done for the Ravens,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what you want out of one of your players.”

Of course, Harbaugh’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt when you remember we’re four months away from the start of training camp. The coach is clearly going to show as much faith as he can in players currently on the roster without dwelling too much on hypothetical additions down the road.

The other player mentioned by some as a potential candidate to replace Johnson is 2010 second-round pick Sergio Kindle, but Harbaugh didn’t exactly speak about him in the same encouraging terms as he did with Kruger. Active for only two games last season, Kindle more closely resembles a player fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster than a viable starting option after the slow recovery he endured from a fractured skull just days before the start of the 2010 training camp.

While it’s true that Kindle has never had the benefit of a full offseason program at the team’s Owings Mills facility, it’s clear he has plenty of work to do before the Ravens can afford to keep him on the roster for a second straight season.

“If he comes back and becomes a player in the NFL, it’s going to be an unparalleled accomplishment,” Harbaugh said. “You know what? We think it can happen, and we’re going to know by the end of training camp.”

Cundiff competition

Ever since kicker Billy Cundiff missed a last-second 32-yard field goal that would have sent the AFC Championship game into overtime, fans and media alike have pondered how the Ravens should handle the kicker position next season.

As he did when he spoke to WNST.net at the NFL Combine last month, Harbaugh reiterated that he fully expects Cundiff to handle kicking duties again this fall. However, the Ravens are looking to create some competition for the incumbent kicker in the preseason.

Whether the Ravens choose to add a veteran or sign a rookie following the draft, Harbaugh sees no reason why they shouldn’t explore every avenue to get better — while clearly maintaining faith in the 2010 Pro Bowl selection.

“I say that so I’m not ruling anything out, but Billy is our kicker,” Harbaugh said. “I would anticipate Billy [being] our kicker for the opening game of the season. I think he’ll have a great preseason. I think he’ll have a great season next year, but everybody gets competition and he’s no exception.”

Running without Rice?

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