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Your Monday Reality Check: Look, I love Brandon Stokley and all…

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Your Monday Reality Check: Look, I love Brandon Stokley and all…

Posted on 12 August 2013 by Glenn Clark

I can’t stress this part of this enough.

I LOVE Brandon Stokley. If he ran for governor of the State of Maryland I would vote for him. Hell, I’d register under the names of six or seven dead guys as well so I could just keep voting for him.

If he hadn’t re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens, I probably would have offered to invite Stokley and his family over to the Glenn Clark compound for dinner. I would have offered to grill. My fiancé and I are partial to kabobs, but if Brandon Stokley was coming over we would have grilled a meal called “anything he wants.” We probably would even use real plates instead of the regular paper plates that we regularly use when we eat outdoors.

I REALLY love Brandon Stokley. I’ve been planning a “Bachelor Road Trip” with my best friend recently before I get married. If he wasn’t going to be playing football this Fall, I would have asked him to come along. I could just envision the two of us chugging beers at a Lone Bellow show in Memphis and belting out every word to “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold” before posing for goofy pictures together at Graceland the next day.

You know as well as I do that my outpouring of love is going to have to be followed by a sentence that starts with the word “but.” I’m just trying to delay it because I would to make sure my love for Brandon Stokley is fully conveyed.

There are only roughly 150 current or former NFL players who can claim to have won a Super Bowl for the city of Baltimore. We’ve lost a number of the Super Bowl V champion Colts, we’ve lost a couple of the Super Bowl XXXV champion Ravens as well. The fraternity gained 55 or so new members earlier this year, but remains incredibly exclusive.

Of those 150 or so members, even fewer can claim to have scored touchdowns in a Baltimore Super Bowl victory. Tom Nowatze, John Mackey (who is the only member of this group to have passed away), Duane Starke, Jermaine Lewis, Jamal Lewis, Anquan Boldin, Dennis Pitta and Jacoby Jones (two) join Stokley on the very exclusive list. Stokley’s TD haul in Super Bowl XXXV will forever be special

Whether Brandon Stokley ever rejoined the Ravens or not, I would like to think he would have never had to pay for another beer or dinner in our city. If that meant I had to personally purchase every one of those beers and dinners, I would be willing to. That’s how much I love Brandon Stokley.

Okay, now here’s the “but” of it.

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Your Monday Reality Check: Newsome has few flaws, but Pitta injury exposes one

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Your Monday Reality Check: Newsome has few flaws, but Pitta injury exposes one

Posted on 29 July 2013 by Glenn Clark

Before you even bother, I’m very aware of how silly it is to criticize one of the best General Managers in NFL history.

I’m even more aware of how silly it is to criticize a General Manager less than six months removed from seeing his assembled talent claim the second Super Bowl title of his tenure.

So I have an idea for you as you rad ahead. Every time you see the terms “Ozzie Newsome”, “Newsome”, “Ravens General Manager”, “Ravens GM”, “Hall of Fame former TE” or anything that would make you think I was referring to “The Wizard of Oz”, insert (in your mind) the phrase “who just won the Super Bowl and is one of the greatest executives in league history” immediately behind his name.

For example…

Ozzie Newsome (in your head: “who just won the Super Bowl and is one of the greatest executives in league history”) will be meeting with the media Monday to discuss his induction speech for Jonathan Ogden at the Pro Football Hall of Fame next weekend.

Got it? This will go a long way to making sure you understand that despite some criticism I will offer the rest of the way, I’m very aware of the greatness of Ozzie Newsome. Is everyone together on this?

The road to defending the Vince Lombardi Trophy hit a serious bump for the Baltimore Ravens Saturday. As you know, TE Dennis Pitta was lost for the entire 2013 season when he suffered a hip injury in a collision with S James Ihedigbo during the first padded practice of Training Camp.

Since the column (and the radio show) are titled “Reality Check”, I’ll remind you that the season did not end for the Ravens Saturday, despite how many of your friends that root for teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers or Washington Redskins will want you to believe it did. The Ravens are very much still in the mix to win the AFC North with the Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, and in a down conference they will have as much a chance as any.

For that to happen, the Ravens will need to replace the production of two of their top three pass catchers last year (RB Ray Rice tied Pitta for second with 61). The group they look to in order to make up for it doesn’t inspire a particularly strong amount of confidence.

WR’s Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones are both capable if not complete options. Smith made major strides in his all-around game in his second season and could well be primed for a breakout year as QB Joe Flacco’s top target. Jones has long been a decent third receiver option in the NFL, but has never been able to consistently match his superb level of kick returning.

This is the part where we get to the “flaw” I referred to in the headline.

TE Ed Dickson immediately moves to the top of the depth chart with Pitta’s injury. He, recently signed Visanthe Shiancoe, little used Billy Bajema and undrafted rookie free agent Matt Furstenburg fall in line behind that. Shiancoe is well known (thanks in large part to a nationally televised “wardrobe malfunction”), but played in just four games with the New England Patriots in 2012 and didn’t have a single catch. Shiancoe appeared to be on the verge of retirement at the age of 33. Dickson was though of highly enough coming out of Oregon in 2010 that he was drafted a round ahead of Pitta, but he is coming off a season where he had just 21 catches for 225 yards and no TD’s.

Then there are the rest of the receivers. Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, LaQuan Williams, Tommy Streeter and Aaron Mellette are the guys fighting for a legitimate chance to make the 53 man roster coming out of Camp.

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