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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 7

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 7

Posted on 26 October 2011 by Luke Jones

Below are our (day-late) Tuesday Top 7 Ravens players in the shocking 12-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday night. We’ll track our rankings throughout the 2011 season with the following point system:

No. 1 – 7 points
No. 2 – 6 points
No. 3 – 5 points
No. 4 – 4 points
No. 5 – 3 points
No. 6 – 2 points
No. 7 – 1 point

To hear the full explanation for our respective picks, click right HERE.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 …

7) Haloti Ngata
Ngata

6) Ray Lewis
Lewis

5) Jameel McClain
McClain

4) Sam Koch
Koch

3) Cary Williams
Willliams

2) Terrell Suggs
Suggs

1) Bernard Pollard
Pollard

Drew Forrester’s Top 7 …

7) Dennis Pitta
Pitta

6) Ed Reed
Reed

5) Terrell Suggs
Suggs

4) Jameel McClain
McClain

3) Bernard Pollard
Pollard

2) Sam Koch
Koch

1) Ray Lewis
Lewis

SEASON TO DATE:
Luke Jones:

1. Ray Rice (24 points)
2. Haloti Ngata (24 points)
3. Terrell Suggs (22 points)
4. Joe Flacco (15 points)
5. Ed Reed (8 points)
5. Anquan Boldin (8 points)
5. Ray Lewis (8 points)
8. Bernard Pollard (7 points)
8. Cary Williams (7 points)
10. David Reed (6 points)
10. Torrey Smith (6 points)
10. Terrence Cody (6 points)
13. Bryant McKinnie (5 points)
13. Lardarius Webb (5 points)
13. Billy Cundiff (5 points)
16. Sam Koch (4 points)
17. Cory Redding (3 points)
17. Jameel McClain (3 points)
19. Matt Birk (1 point)
19. Jarret Johnson (1 point)

Drew Forrester:
1. Ray Rice (21 points)
2. Haloti Ngata (18 points)
3. Joe Flacco (16 points)
4. Terrell Suggs (15 points)
5. Ray Lewis (12 points)
6. Lardarius Webb (11 points)
7. Ed Reed (10 points)
8. Anquan Boldin (9 points)
8. Bernard Pollard (9 points)
10. Bryant McKinnie (7 points)
10. Torrey Smith (7 points)
10. Sam Koch (7 points)
13. Ed Dickson (6 points)
14. Jarret Johnson (5 points)
15. Jameel McClain (4 points)
15. Billy Cundiff (4 points)
17. Marshal Yanda (2 points)
17. Andre Gurode (2 points)
17. Cary Williams (2 points)
20. Dennis Pitta (1 point)

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“Rating the Ravens” after Baltimore 29-14 victory over Houston

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“Rating the Ravens” after Baltimore 29-14 victory over Houston

Posted on 17 October 2011 by Ryan Chell

The Ravens may have had some difficulty Sunday versus the Houston Texans getting in the end zone, but with Baltimore getting their third straight win, there is little to be upset about with the AFC North-leaders.

The Ravens (4-1,) not only earned another win to stay atop the division; they earned a quality win over a Houston Texans squad that was seen as an elite team in the AFC despite coming in with a 3-2 record.

The Texans of course were without All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson, DE Mario Williams, and had injuries to their entire backfield Sunday in quarterback Matt Schaub, RB Arian Foster, and fullback James Casey.

With another quality win under their belt and seeing some offensive production out of running back Ray Rice, receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, and four sacks on defense, the Ravens should have a lot of confidence going forward as they take on the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars next Monday night.

Quarterback

Joe Flacco

After Joe Flacco’s poor performance two weeks ago against the New York Jets in which Flacco recorded 10-of-31 passes for just 136 yards (2 turnovers), it was on Flacco to have a rebound game.

Flacco finished Sunday 2o-of-33 for 305 yards and one interception versus the Texans. Give credit to Flacco for making plays on the run, being hit after letting go the ball, and not being able to fully step into his throws.

The Houston Texans built their team in the draft and in the off-season to off-set a dominant quarterback in their division in Peyton Manning, and it also affected Flacco Sunday.

Third-year man Tim Jamison stripped Flacco once and recorded two sacks of the Ravens quarterback, and rookies JJ Watt and Brooks Reed were breathing down Flacco’s neck all game long.

Flacco’s lone interception came on a tipped pass intended for tight end Ed Dickson that found its way into the hands of Texans CB Jonathan Joseph. Dickson could not have been more wide open, and Flacco sailed the ball.

Rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith-on his highlight of the day, a 51-yard catch in the 3rd quarter that helped Baltimore go up 16-14with 5:06 in the third-had to go back to get Flacco’s pass.

But later on in the quarter, after Houston punted on downs, Flacco’s pass from his own 34 to Anquan Boldin-over the outstretched arms of Joseph-could not have been in a better spot for Boldin to get the ball.

Best assessment? A better game for Flacco.

Rating-”C+”

Running Backs

Ray Rice

Ray Rice continues to show that he is the gas that makes the Ravens offensive car go. If anything were to happen to Rice, Ravens fans can make other plans the first couple of weeks of January. He had 161 yards of total offense against the Texans, and a lot of those yards were hard fought through an aggressive Texans defensive line and linebacking corps.

Giving the ball to Rice 23 times on the ground showed that Cam Cameron and the Ravens offensive coaching staff continue to realize that good things happen when you give him the ball, and his added five touches for 60 yards on passes down the field backed that statement up.

The only area of concern would be Rice’s inability to punch it in the goal line on back-to-back occasions at the end of the Ravens first drive that put them up 7-0 over Houston-one of which had a huge hole for him to run through.

Ricky Williams had a four-yard score in the four quarter to ice the game, 26-14. It was his first touchdown as a Raven, and given the team’s ineptness toward the goal line earlier in the contest and his ability to punch it in, he might be called on more in those opportunities.

Rating-”A”

Wide Receivers

Anquan Boldin

Glenn Clark said this on “The Nasty Purple Post-Game Show” following the game: this may have been the best/second best game Anquan Boldin has had in a Baltimore uniform. He did have 100-yard games twice against the Steelers and his 3-TD performance against Eric Wright and the Browns in 2010, but given the man going up against him in Jonathan Joseph, Boldin had a phenomenal game.

Boldin not only performed his role as a possession receiver (8 catches), he of course made plays down the field highlighted by his 56-yard grab in the third quarter, setting up the fourth quarter field goal by Billy Cundiff that put Baltimore up 19-14 with 14:44 left to go.

On the other side, Torrey Smith was frustrated after being bottled up by the New York Jets before the bye week. Smith had five catches for 152 yards and three touchdowns against the Rams three weeks ago, and his rookie flame faded against Darrelle Revis.

Torrey Smith

Flacco found Smith three times Sunday for 84 yards, highlighted by his 51-yarder that Smith made over Kareem Jackson. Smith did a great job coming back for Flacco’s ball to make the catch, and held it after the hit. Flacco barely missed Smith earlier in the game on a bomb in the back of the end zone, and they were toes away from a connection for a score.

No other receiver caught a pass, and tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson combined for four passes for 29 yards.

Rating-”B”

Offensive Line

This unit dominated. This unit also struggled as well. All depends when you were looking.

Early, the Ravens offensive line had issues protecting Flacco from the likes of bull rushers like Antonio Smith, Tim Jamison, JJ Watt, and Brooks Reed. They also had difficulty clearing a lane for Ray Rice and Vonta Leach to punch it in the Texans’ 1-yard line.

Four times. And they were aided by Antonio Smith’s two personal foul penalties mixed into those opportunities.

But as the game went on, the offensive line appeared to wear down the Texans defensive line. You have to play for 60 minutes of football in the NFL, and the O-line did help Ray Rice get over the century mark for yet another game this year.

Rating-”B”

Defensive Line

Matt Schaub

The Ravens got four sacks Sunday of Matt Schaub, and the defensive line earned two of those sacks (Haloti Ngata, Pernell McPhee). However, you can credit Clarence Brooks‘ unit with absorbing blocks to allow Ray Lewis and Jarret Johnson to earn the other two sacks of Schaub. Schaub was constantly on the move in the pocket, and the Texans were forced to leave tight ends Joel Dreessen and Owen Daniels in to block Ngata and Terrell Suggs-taking away other options for Schaub.

Ngata still found a way to earn eight tackles Sunday through the double and triple-teams.

Also key in stopping the Texans was containing running back Arian Foster, the NFL’s leading rusher from a year ago. Foster earned 100 yards against the Ravens in their 2010 contest, and it was clear the Ravens saw him as a threat. They did a great job containing the back, only allowing him 49 yards on the ground on 15 carries.

They were disciplined in their over-pursuit of Foster as well, not allowing him the cut-back lane to get his signature extra yards.

Local guy Ben Tate did have some success in relief of Foster (9 carries, 41 yards), but he also had a fumble that ultimately helped the Texans earn one of their two scores.

Terrence Cody did an impressive job stuffing Arian Foster in several short-yardage situations, earning three tackles.

Terrence Cody

Rating-”A+”

Linebackers

This unit was helped by the play of the guys in front of them.

Able to flow smoothly to the ball without fear of blocks, Ray Lewis led all tacklers with 12. Both he and Jarret Johnson (7 tackles) earned sacks blitzing from the right side of the Texans offensive line, and had clear lanes to the QB.

Brendon Ayanbadejo had four tackles-mostly in obvious passing situations, but he continues to prove that he is the best option the Ravens have at covering the opposing tight end or running back in the flat.

Much like the defensive line, give them credit for stopping Arian Foster and playing well in coverage a few yards off the line of scrimmage.

Arian Foster

Rating-”A”

Secondary

This unit probably received the greatest news in the world last week when they heard that Texans WR Andre Johnson would miss Sunday’s game with that prolonged hamstring injury.

That left quarterback Matt Schaub without his weapon, and it was obvious that he was “naked” without Johnson in the lineup.

Schaub made his plays in short yardage in front of the receivers-taking few shots down the field. Mostly because he didn’t have the time to throw either with the Ravens pass-rush keeping him on the move.

Corners Lardarius Webb, Cary Williams, and safety Bernard Pollard combined for 17 tackles, and made sure that there weren’t any plays made after the catch and that no receiver got past them.

The longest play of the day for Houston came on Jacoby Jones‘ 32 yard touchdown in the third quarter that put the Texans up 14-13, and it appeared like there was a blown coverage on the play.

Ed Reed

Safety Ed Reed-who often takes risks in his own right-was left on his own against Jones, and the speedy Jones made a play behind Reed in the back of the end zone.

Fortunately for the Ravens secondary, it was the only mistake on their part.

Rating-”B”

Special Teams

The key here was Billy Cundiff, who went five-for-five on field goals on a windy Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. You could almost give him the game ball here.

Billy Cundiff

He continues to prove to the coaching staff that he is not a liability, and that his Pro-Bowl year from 2010 was not a fluke.

He had eight kickoffs-all of which reached the end zone-and seven of them were downed for touchbacks.

New CB Bryan McCann had two kickoff returns for 26 yards, and punter Sam Koch only had to line up twice.

Rating: “A”

Like my analysis? Disagree? Comment below, or tune in Monday afternoon on “The Reality Check” as Glenn Clark and I discuss Sunday’s win! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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The Reality Check Presents “The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens-Jets”

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The Reality Check Presents “The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens-Jets”

Posted on 04 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 34-17 win over the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Ed Dickson 14 yard completion from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 13 (1st quarter)

dickson

4. Ray Rice 52 yard completion from Joe Flacco (1st quarter)

rayrice

3. Morgan Cox downs Sam Koch 58 yard punt at Jets’ 1 (2nd quarter)

morgancox

(There was no picture available of the play. I hope Morgan and Sam understand me going with this one.)

2. Jameel McClain 6 yard TD return of Mark Sanchez fumble forced by Ed Reed (1st quarter)

jmccl

1. Lardarius Webb 73 yard TD return of Mark Sanchez INT (3rd quarter)

lardarius

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 2

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 2

Posted on 20 September 2011 by Luke Jones

Below are our Top 7 Ravens players in the deflating 26-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on Sunday. We’ll track our rankings throughout the 2011 season with the following point system:

No. 1 – 7 points
No. 2 – 6 points
No. 3 – 5 points
No. 4 – 4 points
No. 5 – 3 points
No. 6 – 2 points
No. 7 – 1 point

And, yes, we know there really weren’t seven players worthy of the honor, but we did our best in completing the process.

Luke Jones’ Top 7…

7) Ray Lewis
Lewis

6) Terrell Suggs
Suggs

5) Billy Cundiff
Cundiff

4) Haloti Ngata
Ngata

3) Terrence Cody
Cody

2) David Reed
Reed

1) Ray Rice
Rice

Drew Forrester’s Top 7…

7) Sam Koch
Koch

6) Marshal Yanda
Yanda

5) Terrell Suggs
Suggs

4) Lardarius Webb
Webb

3) Haloti Ngata
Ngata

2) Ed Dickson
Dickson

1) Ray Rice
Rice

SEASON TO DATE:
Luke:

1. Haloti Ngata (10 points)
1. Ray Rice (10 points)
3. Terrell Suggs (9 points)
4. David Reed (6 points)
5. Bryant McKinnie (5 points)
5.Terrence Cody (5 points)
7. Joe Flacco (4 points)
8. Billy Cundiff (3 points)
9. Ed Reed (2 points)
10. Matt Birk (1 point)
10. Ray Lewis (1 point)

Drew:
1. Haloti Ngata (9 points)
1. Ray Rice (9 points)
3. Terrell Suggs (8 points)
4. Bryant McKinnie (7 points)
4. Lardarius Webb (7 points)
6. Joe Flacco (6 points)
6. Ed Dickson (6 points)
8. Marshal Yanda (2 points)
9. Ed Reed (1 point)
10. Sam Koch (1 point)

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Rating the Ravens after Baltimore’s 35-7 victory over Steelers

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Rating the Ravens after Baltimore’s 35-7 victory over Steelers

Posted on 12 September 2011 by Ryan Chell

The 2011 season opener could not have gone any better for the Baltimore Ravens.

Not only did they get a divisional win-they earned it against the hated Pittsburgh Steelers. They kicked the living crap out of the defending AFC Champions, 35-7, and left the Steelers leaving Baltimore with their tails firmly entrenched between their legs.

The win may feel like a Super Bowl victory to Raven nation, and while it certainly puts the momentum in the AFC North in the Ravens’ corner for now, no win in the NFL is perfect. Every coach-especially John Harbaugh-will tell you that.

But boy, did it feel like it.

John Harbaugh (Rob Carr-Getty Images)

Quarterback-”B”-Joe Flacco finished Sunday’s contest 17-29 for 224 yards and three touchdowns-one to Ray Rice,  Anquan Boldin, and Ed Dickson respectively. Flacco’s 27-yard pass to Boldin on the Ravens’ first drive of the game-the third play-could not have been in a better position over the outstretched arms of Steelers CB Bryant McFadden, and his 18-yard pass to Dickson after the Steelers’ third turnover at the start of the third quarter essentially was the nail in the coffin for Pittsburgh.

However, Flacco wasn’t perfect. He had several balls thrown at Lee Evans that were nowhere near the receiver and sailed out of his reach. And for a quarterback who wasn’t sacked-let alone touched-till the start of the fourth quarter, Flacco often dumped the ball on the check down way too quickly when he could have waited for a play downfield to develop.

But no turnovers on Flacco’s part combined with three touchdown passes and getting the monkey off his back? Okay in my book.

Running Back-”A”-The only reason why this isn’t a perfect A+ is because the Ravens interior running game still had its issues running up the middle against the Steelers. But that’s expected-especially against the likes of NT Casey Hampton. But what wasn’t expected was Ray Rice having this kind of success against a stout Steelers front seven. Rice became the first running back since-well, himself-to rush for 100 yards against Pittsburgh, and he did so with all the help in the world from FB Vonta Leach, T Bryant McKinnie, and guard Ben Grubbs.

Ray Rice (courtesty of Rob Carr-Getty Images)

And it didn’t take long. Rice made his impact from the start on the first play of the game, rushing for 36 yards behind Leach and McKinnie. He finished with 149 total yards of offense and two scores. Leach made his presence known in his first regular season game as a Raven, delivering punishing blocks on the opposing linebackers. Ricky Williams had a quiet but impressive 63 carries on 12 touches in his Raven debut, showing that he still has gas left in the tank.

Wide Receiver/Tight End-”B-”-Anquan Boldin was the only wide receiver to catch a pass  and finished with 74 yards on four catches and the opening touchdown. Ed Dickson had a spectacular debut in his first game as a starter in 2011, catching five balls for 59 yards and a score. He had a 34-yard grab negated by a hold on Bryant McKinnie, but it looks as if Dickson and Pitta’s job Sunday could easily put the nightmare of not having Todd Heap anymore to rest. Lee Evans played decoy all game long, but they need him and second-rounder Torrey Smith to produce something should opposing defenses key on Boldin and Dickson.

Offensive Line-”A”-The same reasoning behind the almost-perfect score for the running backs-the offensive line was outstanding Sunday, but some penalties and not having the best day running up the middle prevent them from the 100% grade. But Flacco stayed completely upright till the fourth quarter and they gave the fourth-year man all day to throw. Birk, Grubbs, and McKinnie were all called for holding in the game, and those mental mistakes can be disastrous sometimes.

Defensive Line-”A+”-The Ravens sacked Ben Roethlisberger four times-three of them coming from Terrell Suggs. Suggs also forced two fumbles. The Ravens have made it clear that they intend to have Suggs rush the passer first and foremost now as opposed to sending him out in coverage. It doesn’t make use of his skills if they don’t. Suggs said of Big Ben after the game, “God can have his soul, but his ass is mine.

Haloti Ngata continued his case toward earning a long-term deal from owner Steve Bisciotti by forcing a fumble of Rashard Mendenhall as well as batting a ball up in the air that linebacker Ray Lewis came down with for one of the Ravens three interceptions.

Linebackers-”B+”-Ray Lewis of course leads this unit, and he finished with seven tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception. Other than Jarret Johnson’s half sack and his batted ball that led to an INT, this unit was pretty quiet on the day depending upon if you count Suggs as DE or a LB. With the Steelers trailing big, Roethlisberger found guys like Mike Wallace and Hines Ward in the holes left by the linebackers, so their coverage skills may have to improve week-by-week.

Secondary-”A-”-Ed Reed-on his birthday-had two interceptions and could have very well had a third. Not only was Reed’s ball-hawking skills on full display, he appeared to be flying toward the ball-carrier and making solid tackles. Reed for the last several years has battled neck and shoulder injuries, and it appeared like Sunday, he was healthy for the first time in a long while. Lardarius Webb led the team in tackles with 11, and Cary Williams also had a solid game starting at corner back.

Special Teams-”A”-K Billy Cundiff was 2-for-2 in field goals with his longest coming from 30 yards out. Four of his seven kickoffs went in the end zone for a touchback. Sam Koch had five punts averaging 41 yards. And you have to give the special teams credit when they score a 2-point conversion…especially from the punter!

Agree with my grading? Disagree? Call into “The Reality Check” 2-6PM EST with Glenn Clark, tweet me @WNST or @Ryan Chell87, or comment below! Would love to hear from you! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Mocking The 53: A Look At Roster Ahead of Preseason Finale

Posted on 30 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens travel to the Georgia Dome to meet the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night, the final opportunity for players on the roster “bubble” to impress Head Coach John Harbaugh and coordinators Cam Cameron, Chuck Pagano and Jerry Rosburg.

As I am no longer the Ravens beat reporter here at WNST I have deferred to Luke Jones for most of our coverage during Training Camp. I have had the chance to get out to 1 Winning Drive this week, so I decided I would bring back “Mocking The 53″ to get a look at how the team may trim the roster from 80 players to 53.

As I’ve explained before, the team does not have a certain number of players they keep at each position, so I have never done this breakdown by position. Instead, I offer what is more like a “power ranking” of players from 1-80.

Keep in mind, GM Ozzie Newsome is likely to make an addition or two (a veteran backup quarterback-perhaps still Marc Bulger namely) before either Saturday’s cut day or the team’s opener September 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium.

1. DT Haloti Ngata
2. QB Joe Flacco
3. LB Terrell Suggs
4. RB Ray Rice
5. WR Anquan Boldin
6. S Ed Reed
7. LB Ray Lewis
8. G Ben Grubbs
9. G Marshal Yanda
10. CB Jimmy Smith

Whether or not Smith is a starter on September 11 is the only issue in this group. All of these guys are clearly on the team and significant contributors.

11. OT Michael Oher
12. WR Lee Evans
13. FB Vonta Leach
14. DE Cory Redding
15. P Sam Koch
16. TE Ed Dickson
17. S Bernard Pollard
18. K Billy Cundiff
19. DT Terrence Cody
20. LB Jarret Johnson

Like the first group, the players in the group above are all safely on the roster and are expected to be significant contributors.

21. CB Cary Williams
22. S Tom Zbikowski
23. C Matt Birk
24. OT Bryant McKinnie
25. CB Chris Carr
26. S Haruki Nakamura
27. TE Dennis Pitta
28. RB Ricky Williams
29. LB Jameel McClain
30. WR Torrey Smith

There’s no drama in this group either. McClain still appears to be the frontrunner for the other starting ILB job, while the team has remained steadfast in their support of Torrey Smith despite struggles. There’s a chance he’s not the third receiver on September 11, but he’s absolutely safe on the roster.

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I’m Official…..ly Working Overtime at WNST

Posted on 18 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

If you missed it, I was officially introduced as the new 2-6pm host at Sports Talk 1570 WNST on Thursday.

Just 24 hours later, I’m already committing to working overtime.

We’ll call them the “Nasty Purple Pregame” & “Nasty Purple Postgame” shows. (Who knows if that name will stick, but under the gun we’ll go with it.)

The “Nasty Purple Pregame” show will start during tomorrow afternoon’s show, roughly around 4pm. Ryan Chell and I will take the pre-game show up to 7pm, before making way for the Baltimore Ravens-Kansas City Chiefs contest at M&T Bank Stadium.

During the pre-game show, we’ll get a live report from WNST Ravens Insider Luke Jones at “The Bank” to find out who’s in and who’s out for the Ravens as they prepare for their second preseason game.

Also during the pre-game show, we’ll check in with a number of Ravens players. While you’re in your car on the way to the game or in the parking lot before kickoff, you’ll hear from DL Arthur Jones, P Sam Koch, TE Ed Dickson and DL Cory Redding. It will provide a great chance to know the latest from the players before you head into the stadium.

We’ll run down our goals for the Ravens in the game and we’ll take your calls on what you’d like to see the team accomplish with Head Coach John Harbaugh expecting starters to play “well” into the 2nd quarter.

We’ll also chat with WNST NFL Analyst Chris Pika about the latest football headlines and more.

After the game (or perhaps during the 4th quarter), Ryan and I will hit the airwaves again. We’ll host a two hour post-game show featuring post-game audio from Ravens players and Harbaugh. We’ll also hear from WNST’s Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio and Luke Jones who will all be on-site at the stadium.

We’ll also take your phone calls at 410-481-1570 as you dissect how the Ravens took a step forward, stepped back or offered a repeat effort from their preseason Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

If you miss Friday night’s post-game show, it will replay Saturday & Sunday as part of WNST’s “Purple Weekends.”

I’m only a day into this. I already feel like I need a vacation.

Look forward to chatting with you tomorrow.

-G

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Live from Owings Mills: Ravens missing four offensive starters from practice

Posted on 15 August 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Rain storms throughout the area forced the Ravens to move their Monday afternoon practice indoors, but the current state of the interior offensive line appears even more threatening.

With center Matt Birk sidelined after undergoing knee surgery two weeks ago and right guard Marshal Yanda missing his third straight practice with back spasms, left guard Ben Grubbs and receiver Anquan Boldin were not participating on Monday. It’s unclear whether it’s merely a day off for Grubbs — who had offseason ankle surgery — and Boldin, but both made it through Sunday evening’s practice without incident.

With Grubbs, Birk, and Yanda not practicing, rookie Justin Boren was working at left guard while Bryan Mattison and Oniel Cousins filled in at center and right guard respectively.

Others missing from Monday’s workout included receiver James Hardy (hamstring) and rookie running back Damien Berry.

The Ravens received good news earlier in the day when second-year receiver David Reed passed his physical and came off the active physically-unable-to-perform list. The 6-foot return specialist was practicing Monday after missing the first three weeks of camp after undergoing offseason wrist surgery.

Earlier on Monday, the Ravens released rookie defensive tackle Terron Sanders and signed former USC kicker-punter Jake Harfman to simply ease the workload of Billy Cundiff and Sam Koch.

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After Stadium Practice, Better Idea of What Ravens Will Look Like in Preseason Opener

Posted on 06 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — Following an annual open practice at M&T Bank Stadium in front of 24,078; fans will not have another opportunity to see the Baltimore Ravens again until their preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

Sunday’s practice provided some clarity for Ravens fans however, as the team gave a look at would could be expected at various positions.

QUARTERBACK:

There’s of course no question as to who the team’s starting quarterback will be Thursday (Joe Flacco). But with starters not expected to play much in the opener, the retirement of 2010 backup Marc Bulger has left the Ravens with little experience behind him.

Rookie Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech) has worked as the team’s backup in Training Camp, and will be likely to get the most snaps Thursday night after Flacco departs. Following Taylor is Hunter Cantwell, a practice squad QB a year ago who is currently the team’s third stringer. Cantwell did VERY limited work in Saturday’s practice and appears to clearly be behind Taylor on the depth chart.

The team could still make a move to bring in a veteran backup before Thursday night, but it would be unlikely a new quarterback would get significant playing time as early as Thursday after limited practice.

RUNNING BACK:

Once again, the team has no questions as far as starters are concerned. 2009 Pro Bowl RB Ray Rice and 2010 Pro Bowl FB Vonta Leach will patrol the backfield to open the game; but neither are expected to play significant time.

The RB position behind Rice is wide open at the moment. The most likely candidates to enter after Rice are Jalen Parmele and rookie Anthony Allen (Georgia Tech), who have each taken second team reps in practice. Parmele is more probable, but both are expected to see a number of plays.

Undrafted rookie Damien Berry (Miami) appears to be fourth on the RB depth chart at the moment, but should keep getting work. If the Ravens don’t add veteran depth at the position, he’s very much in the battle for a roster spot. The team also has undrafted rookie and Mervo grad Walter Sanders (St. Augustine) on the roster, he’ll likely see a few snaps in the second half of Thursday night’s contest as well.

The wild card in the group is veteran RB/ST Matt Lawrence, who missed all of the 2010 season with a knee injury. Lawrence has had very little participation in camp thus far (he did not practice Saturday), but would be expected to see playing time Thursday night if healthy.

Undrafted FB Ryan Mahaffey (Northern Iowa) could see snaps behind Leach.

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Live From Towson: (Some) Ravens Gather to “Practice” During Lockout

Posted on 24 May 2011 by Glenn Clark

TOWSON, Md. — Members of the Baltimore Ravens gathered Tuesday at Unitas Stadium on the campus of Towson University for an unofficial practice. It was the first large gathering of Ravens players since the National Football League and the NFL Players Association failed to come to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and a lockout was implemented by league owners.

The practices were organized by WR Derrick Mason (the team’s NFLPA representative) and are scheduled to run through Thursday. None of the week’s practices were open for public viewing, but Tuesday’s was open to reporters.

26 players participated in Tuesday’s practice. Offensive players in attendance were Mason, QB Joe Flacco, QB Tyrod Taylor, QB Hunter Cantwell, RB Ray Rice, RB Anthony Allen, TE Davon Drew, TE Dennis Pitta, WR Anquan Boldin, WR Torrey Smith, WR Tandon Doss, WR Justin Harper and WR James Hardy. Defensive players in attendance were DL Cory Redding, DT Arthur Jones, DT Brandon McKinney, DT Lamar Divens, LB Jameel McClain, LB Jarret Johnson, CB Domonique Foxworth, CB Josh Wilson and S Haruki Nakamura. Special teamers in attendance were K Billy Cundiff, P Sam Koch and LS Morgan Cox.

Mason told reporters following practice he wasn’t sure if any other players would be arriving to participate later in the week.

The practice was very light, with some running and conditioning drills; as well as some route running and passing drills with coverage. The conditioning drills were lead by Mack James, a trainer Rice works out with. The passing drills were lead by Flacco.

PR STUNT?: While many fans and analysts have been quick to suggest this week’s practices were merely a public relations stunt, but the players believed the sessions had real football value as well.

“I think guys wanna be out here” said Rice. “It felt good to set your alarm clock for practice. Regardless of what you say (is) voluntary, it felt good to say ‘you know what? I’m going to practice’ and we take it seriously.”

“Obviously we want (reporters) to come out” said Mason. “To show (the fans) that we are working. We’re not just sitting around on the couch not doing anything waiting on the CBA. We are working because we understand (that) this thing could happen at a minute’s notice. We’ve got to be ready to get back on the field because the fans want to see a good product once we do start playing.”

“We just want to let the fans know that we’re working and we’re working hard” added Mason. “It’s not our choice to be somewhere else working out, we would rather be at (1 Winning Drive) but obviously we can’t.”

“It’s just good to be together” said Flacco. The biggest thing about getting out here is the young guys. The guys that are missing out the most right now are the young guys. To get these guys out here and kinda show them the way a little bit so that they can have some stuff to work on is a big deal so that if we need to-and we’re going to want to-we’ll be able to use these guys.”

Rice said he and the offensive veterans would be meeting with the first year players to go over the playbook following practice.

INJURY REPORT: Foxworth (knee) would likely have been listed as a limited participant in Tuesday’s practice had their been an injury report. He participated in some running and coverage drills, but did not appear to be using a full motion-even for a “fake” practice.

Foxworth missed the entire 2010 season after suffering a torn ACL and torn MCL during the first day of Training Camp.

Cox (knee) would have likely been listed as a full participant, he did not appear bothered during Special Teams drills despite having a brace on his left knee. Cox’s season was cut short after suffering a torn ACL in the team’s Week 16 win over the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

NOTES: Hear from Mason, Flacco, Rice, J. McClain, Doss, Hardy and Taylor now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……OT Jared Gaither (who was not part of Tuesday’s practice) is scheduled to join Rex Snider at 2:30pm Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive” on AM1570 WNST……Hardy is scheduled to join Drew Forrester Wednesday morning at 7:30am on “The Morning Reaction” on WNST……Towson football coach Rob Ambrose and 15 Tigers players took in today’s practice from the Unitas Stadium field……The school added extra security all week with the anticipation that fans would attempt to access practice

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