Posted on 01 May 2012 by Glenn Clark
Posted on 01 May 2012 by Luke Jones
In the latest example that the start of the 2012 NFL season cannot come soon enough, Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s comments regarding two other coaches and organizations have him in hot water with some in the football world.
In an interview with 98 Rock on Tuesday morning, Harbaugh was asked about the perceptions of championships won by the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints amid cheating scandals that resulted in severe disciplinary action for each organization.
“What happens — even the thing in New England — no matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now,” Harbaugh said in the interview. “It’s been stained.”
Of course, the comments created quite a firestorm via social media, causing major sports media outlets to pick up the story. The reaction prompted Harbaugh to issue a statement this afternoon.
“While on the 98 Rock show this morning to talk about the run to honor O.J. Brigance and raise funds for ALS research, I answered a question about playing within the rules and referred to the perception that the Super Bowl championships won by the Patriots and Saints have a stain,” Harbaugh said. “My reference was to the perception out there that came as the result of the league’s actions.
“I could have been more clear that I was referring to those viewpoints. I totally believe that the Patriot and Saint coaches and players earned those championships. Bill [Belichick] and Sean [Payton] both know that.”
Harbaugh went on to say that he reached out to both Belichick and former Patriots linebacker and current ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi to clarify his comments. Belichick and Harbaugh share an amicable relationship, as the Patriots coach offered a high recommendation of Harbaugh before the Ravens decided to make him the third coach in the history of the franchise in January 2008.
“I have so much respect for Coach Belichick and the job he does and has accomplished in his Hall of Fame career,” Harbaugh said. “I called him to remind him of my respect for him.”
It’s critical to note that Harbaugh never said the aforementioned championships should be stained — even if he feels that way privately. He commented on the opinion many clearly hold regarding the recent successes of the Patriots and Saints and how their legitimacy came into doubt because of the respective scandals. However, in the modern age of media and the thirst for news about all things related to the NFL, it’s no surprise many are taking these words and running with them.
As we saw with the comments made by Joe Flacco in regards to where he thought he ranked among NFL quarterbacks, we constantly ask sports figures for honesty and originality in what they say, but then we’re unmercifully quick to criticize when we receive just that.
Regardless of your opinion on whether Harbaugh’s comments were inflammatory or not, this is sure to create even more drama in the weeks leading up to an AFC Championship rematch between the Ravens and Patriots on Sunday night, Sept. 23.
With that in mind, I suppose this qualifies as “news” when we’re still three months away from the start of training camp.
Even if it’s really not.
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.
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.
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.
Posted on 10 April 2012 by Glenn Clark
Posted on 04 April 2012 by WNST Staff
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.
Posted on 30 March 2012 by Glenn Clark