Tag Archive | "St. Louis Rams"

NFL Hot Seat Rankings

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NFL Hot Seat Rankings

Posted on 02 January 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

The end of another NFL season and the beginning of a new calendar year is sure to bring change as unfilled goals and promises demand accountability. Continue Reading

Comments (0)

NFL Week 8 Locks, Lumps & Luck (or Lack Thereof)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NFL Week 8 Locks, Lumps & Luck (or Lack Thereof)

Posted on 28 October 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

This is not an inducement to gamble, in fact it should serve as quite the opposite. It is my attempt at picking all of the games (before injury reports are official) each week. The picks are broken into 3 categories, 5 picks that I love, 5 that I like and the rest.

I would encourage anyone looking for a little extra interest in Sunday’s game to try the MobTown $15.70 prop card. It’s free it’s easy and cash and bragging rights are on the line.

 

All lines taken from sportsbook.com.

 

Loves (100 pts for a win and -110 for a loss)

week 7: 2-3 (-130 pts)    season: 13-12 (-20 pts) 

 

Saints -14 @ Rams 

 

Lions -3 @ Broncos

 

Steelers +3 vs. Patriots

 

Browns +9 @ 49ers

 

Chiefs +4 vs. Chargers

 

 

Likes (50 pts for a win and -55 for a loss)

week 7: 2-2-1 (-10 pts)    season: 10-12-1 (-160 pts)

 

Panthers -3.5 vs. Vikings

 

Dolphins +9.5 @ Giants

 

Bills -6 vs. Redskins

 

Bengals -3 @ Seahawks

 

Cowboys +3.5  @ Eagles

 

 

Feeling Lucky? (20 pts for a win and -22 for a loss)

Week 7: 1-2(-24 pts)    season 9-10-2 (-40 pts)

 

Titans -9 vs. Colts

 

Jaguars +9.5 @ Texans

 

Ravens -12.5 vs. Cardinals

  

Last week Total: 5-7-1  (-164 pts)     Season Total: 32-34-3 (-220 pts)

Comments Off

Week 7: Locks, Lumps & Luck (or Lack Thereof)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Week 7: Locks, Lumps & Luck (or Lack Thereof)

Posted on 20 October 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

This is not an inducement to gamble, in fact it should serve as quite the opposite. It is my attempt at picking all of the games (before injury reports are official) each week. The picks are broken into 3 categories, 5 picks that I love, 5 that I like and the rest.

I would encourage anyone looking for a little extra interest in Sunday’s game to try the MobTown $15.70 prop card. It’s free it’s easy and cash and bragging rights are on the line.

 

All lines taken from sportsbook.com.

 

Loves (100 pts for a win and -110 for a loss)

week 4: 4-1 (290 pts)    season: 11-9 (110 pts) 

 

Chargers -2 @ Jets 

 

Texans +3 @ Titans

 

Steelers -3.5 @ Cardinals

 

Packers -9 @. Vikings

 

Ravens -7.5 @ Jaguars

 

 

Likes (50 pts for a win and -55 for a loss)

week 4: 3-2 (40 pts)    season: 8-10 (-150 pts)

 

Redskins +2.5 @ Panthers

 

Browns -3 vs. Seahawks

 

Broncos +1.5 @ Dolphins

 

Raiders -4.5 vs. Chiefs

 

Saints -14 vs. Colts

 

 

Feeling Lucky? (20 pts for a win and -22 for a loss)

Week 4: 1-1-1 (-2 pts)    season 8-8-2 (-16 pts)

 

Buccaneers +1 vs. Bears (in London)

 

Lions -3.5 vs. Falcons

 

Cowboys -12.5 vs. Rams

  

Last week Total: 8-4-1 (328 pts)     Season Total: 27-27-2 (-56 pts)

Comments Off

Andre Gurode: “I got the call from the Ravens, and it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Andre Gurode: “I got the call from the Ravens, and it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me”

Posted on 01 October 2011 by Ryan Chell

When the Ravens signed Andre Gurode a week before the start of the regular season, the move was meant to be a security blanket should incumbent center Matt Birk-who was coming off micro-fracture knee surgery in the preseason-not been healthy to start the opener against Pittsburgh.

The Ravens signed Gurode to a one year deal worth 3 million dollars, and the move turned out to be a blessing in disguise-but for reasons unexpected.

Birk returned from surgery healthy and ready to go, and it looked as if Gurode was going to be relegated to backup duty after being a full-time starter since 2003 with the Dallas Cowboys.

However, when Ravens left guard Ben Grubbs was diagnosed with a foot/ankle injury after Baltimore’s Week 1 victory against the Steelers-and his Week 2 replacement Mark LeVoir struggled in his place-Gurode got the nod to start at guard last week against the St. Louis Rams.

Andre Gurode

And while the Ravens were lucky to have brought him into Owings Mills, Gurode felt even more honored to have that respect thrown his way after his ugly divorce with Dallas after they cut him after nine seasons.

Gurode joined Luke Jones on “The Morning Reaction” Friday and said that he’s here to prove the Cowboys made the wrong decision thinking he was slow, overweight, and on the decline.

“My ending in Dallas…I didn’t know too much about it,” Gurode told Jones. “It was a situation where it was a contract issue, and they told me my services weren’t needed and I had to look elsewhere.”

That elsewhere was Baltimore. He also had interest from the New England Patriots and the Detroit Lions according to reports.

“I got the chance to play with a great organization in the Baltimore Ravens,” Gurode said. “Everything has been absolutely beautiful here. I love the organization, love how everything is being run, and it’s just a great place to play.”

However, he had to make some sacrifices on his part in taking a backup role on the Ravens offensive line. He also had to show that he could still be versatile to Andy Moeller and John Harbaugh that they could trust him at another position other than center-just as he did filling in for Grubbs at LG last week against St. Louis.

Gurode-a six-time Pro-Bowler at center and two-time All-Pro-had not played guard since  2004. He admitted that it took getting adjusted to working with someone else snapping the ball next to him as opposed to him doing it himself.

“It has been difficult, but at the same time you need to do your best,” Gurode said. “Going from center to guard, you know you’re used to making calls, snapping the ball with your right hand, and then you find yourself getting comfortable..at the start of the play.”

To most, it would have been a struggle. But Gurode said his teammates and coaches made the switch one of the easiest adjustments he’s ever made.

“I have some great teammates,” said Gurode. “I have some great coaches. They helped me work through it, and each day-each week-I’ll keep getting better, and learn the offense a little better.”

Two Ravens he has really enjoyed working with are his fellow offensive lineman in Bryant McKinnie-who also joined the Ravens late in training camp-and a guy usually lining up across from Gurode in Cory Redding.

“It’s been real interesting because I’ve know Bryant for a little while too,” Gurode said of McKinnie-who also was selected in the 2002 NFL Draft. “There are times when I may not say the correct call or I may not know what’s going on.”

“So I’ll ask him what’s happening…I’m never prideful to ask for help.”

And if you think McKinnie and Gurode are tied, Redding and Gurode go back way farther.

The two were prep teammates at North Shore High School in Houston Texas, and despite Gurode making his way to Colorado for college and Redding becoming a Longhorn, the two re-united in the Ravens locker room almost by accident.

“When I walked into the locker room, I just wound up putting my bags next to a boarded-up locker really not paying attention to whose locker it was,” Gurode laughed. “No one else in the organization knew that Cory and I were teammates. It was very much a surprise to come back, and find my locker set up right next to his.”

He feels blessed to be re-united with a close friend of his in Redding, and considers it quite the honor going up against him in practice every day.

“We’ve been playing together for a very, very long time. It was really special to finally be on the same team…and playing for the same organization, so it was very much a special treat.”

And after Cory, Bryant, Ozzie Newsome, and John Harbaugh welcomed him in, the landslide continued.

He really feels like a Raven now and a member of a family more than ever.

“It was just a whole group effort on the team…just getting here, fitting in, and them accepting me. The rest has been playing out like it’s supposed to.”

WNST thanks Andre Gurode and hopes to continue seeing him making contributions on the field! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

Comments Off

Injured Ravens S Nakamura biggest regret in missing Jets-Ravens? Hitting Derrick Mason

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Injured Ravens S Nakamura biggest regret in missing Jets-Ravens? Hitting Derrick Mason

Posted on 01 October 2011 by Ryan Chell

Helpless.

Haruki Nakamura

That’s how Ravens safety Haruki Nakamura felt last Sunday in the Ravens 37-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams after suffering a knee injury on a punt return with 0:27 seconds left in the first quarter.

“Usually if I can, I’m going to walk off the field on my own power,” he told Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Thursday. “That’s just how I’ve always been. I hate getting carried off the field.”

“It was one of those things, and when I was out there on my hands and knees and I couldn’t catch my breath-it was something I had never felt before.”

And what’s worse was he felt it was a low blow for a team getting blown out by the end of the first quarter.

“We were rushing the punter and we were 30 or 40 yards off the ball,” Nakamura told Clark. “Some guy came up from behind me and pushed me dead in the back.”

“He slammed me on the turf, so basically it was a cheap shot that’s going to put me out for a couple weeks,” Nakamura said.

Nakamura injured his PCL ligament in his right knee on the play, and the Ravens coaching staff initially feared that the safety would miss a considerable amount of time-maybe even the whole season-with a torn knee.

Luckily for John Harbaugh and the Ravens, an MRI only showed a sprain to the ligament and Nakamura told Clark that he could return after the bye week three Sundays from now against the Houston Texans.

“I think I’m the only lucky guy whose ever sprained it,” Nakamura laughed. “You never really hear about that injury, but it’s kind of weird that it happened to me.

Nakamura was just glad to hear that he could return to the football field in a matter of weeks as opposed to a year.

“Initially the doctors told me it was torn,” he said. “You can imagine what went through my head when I heard that…but [this] is easy to come back from.”

What makes it even worse for Nakamura is that he’s going to miss one of the biggest games of the year against his former coach in Rex Ryan and the Jets.

He’s already experienced that frustration this week at Owings Mills being in the training room all day while his teammates are out at practice.

“I’ve just been rehabbing very hard…actually I’ve been kind of bored…”, Nakamura admitted.

Still, he knows what Rex is going to bring to the table defensively Sunday night, and he knows that his other teammates share those similar expectations.

“You can almost call their plays,” Nakamura said. “The thing with Rex is it’s all about timing. Him and Mike Pettine have great timing when to call pressures and when to hold back.”

Nakamura put on his coaching hat and said that in order to beat the Jets and shut Rex Ryan up, you have to hit them in the mouth on both sides of the ball.

“We don’t back down from anything. We’re going to go right at them. That’s always been our approach and we’re not going to let them dictate our gameplan.”

His last regret?

Not being able to hit former Raven WR Derrick Mason going over the middle.

“It’s like hitting your brother. It’s all part of the game, ” Nakamura replied. “Obviously we’re not going to take it easy on Mase just cause he was here. It’s going to be a fun game.”

WNST thanks Haruki Nakamura for joining Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” If you missed the interview, check it out at the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault and be sure to tune in Sunday at 6PM for your “Nasty Purple Pre-Game Show” leading up to kickoff!

Comments Off

Ravens rookie WR Torrey Smith on performance Sunday: “I know how it works…you can’t get caught up in it”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ravens rookie WR Torrey Smith on performance Sunday: “I know how it works…you can’t get caught up in it”

Posted on 28 September 2011 by Ryan Chell

Ravens rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith knew something special was going to happen Sunday in his first career start in the NFL against the St. Louis Rams.

“On the way to the stadium…excited about my first start..I have a good feeling about today,” Smith tweeted before this past weekend’s 4:15PM start against St. Louis.

Starting opposite Anquan Boldin in place of the injured Lee Evans, Smith quickly made up for his disappearance in the first two weeks of the season-catching five passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

Each of this three scores came on his first three grabs of the game.

His first came on a 74-yarder from quarterback Joe Flacco on the second offensive play for the Ravens, and a 41-yarder and an 18-yarder  followed later in the quarter to put his team up 21-0 at the end of one and help lead the Ravens to a 37-7 blowout of the Rams.

It turned out his intuition was right. He felt confident in his abilities, and so did the coaching staff in him-as he told Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Tuesday.

Torrey Smith

“I was fine,” Smith told Clark.  “They put me in that position in order to excel. The coaches and my teammates believed in me.”

Smith said that there could not have been a more helped or more prepared player on the field than he was Sunday-even receiving help from the guy he was filling in for in Lee Evans.

“You know, coach Hoss [Jim Hostler]-he’s been tough on me ever since I’ve gotten there,” Smith said.  “Just having Coach Hoss and Harbaugh, Cam, Anquan and Lee; those guys just having the confidence in me and have helped me prepare… I was fine.”

What he and quarterback Joe Flacco prepared for in advance was knowing that the Rams were going to be physical in man-to-man coverage up the field.

“Our offense as a whole had a great week of practice, and I probably had my best week of practice as a Raven,” Baltimore’s second-round pick said. “For me, I was just ready.”

Smith-using his blazing speed-exploited the Rams’ tendency to perfection, and his quarterback  capitalized off Smith’s route-running.

“Their pass defense was one of the top in the league heading into it, and they put a lot of pressure on the quarterback so we knew we were going to have to win some of the matchups on the outside,” Smith said. “I’m comfortable playing against corners and expecting to win.”

“I knew the ball was coming my way, I was just focused on trying to win, and Joe threw a great ball.”

And it didn’t take long for Joe to find Smith.

Two plays.

Smith said there was no way he expected to get the opportunity that early after being invisible in his offense the first two games of the season.

“That one happened so fast even if I did have something planned, I wouldn’t have been ready for it,” Torrey joked.  “It was quick.”

But he was as ready as ever to make his first NFL reception count, and he did.

And it’s a moment he’ll remember the rest of his life.

“You know I looked at the coverage, saw it coming, and I was like ‘the ball’s coming to me.’ My guy was pressed, and I was going to get on my horse and run,” said Torrey.

“Joe threw a great ball and I peeked up at the TV screen after I caught it and saw that the safety had a little angle, and I was able to outrun his angle.”

Now all he has to do?

Prove the same doubters who called him a bust before Sunday-and who are now saying that his performance was a fluke-wrong.

He told Clark that he’s ready for that challenge and anything he can do to help his team continue to win football games.

But at the same time, he knows that it is one game, and wants people to know that he is going to still have his growing pains once in awhile this season.

“I’m still growing…still learning,” Smith said. “I am still going to be making mistakes, and I’m not going to catch every ball. But I’m still going to try to be the best that I can day in and day out.”

Still, he’s enjoyed the last several days with the extra attention and hopes it helps him gear up for a big game against the Jets Sunday night.

“I’m excited to play against this team,” said Smith. “And we have a lot to learn, and our offense is going to have a touch challenge ahead of us. I think coach Cam will put together a great gameplan and it’ll be nice to go out there and get it done.”

WNST thanks Torrey Smith for joining us and hopes that we’re talking about three-TD performances from Smith every week! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!


Comments Off

Tags: , , ,

Two days later — Flacco had no business playing the 4th quarter on Sunday

Posted on 27 September 2011 by Drew Forrester

I’ll start this by reiterating something I say a lot during the NFL season.

I like John Harbaugh.  I think he’s a very good football coach.  And I’m happy we have him in Baltimore.

That opening statement hopefully clears the path for the words you’re about to read.  It’s become commonplace in our city for people to say “stop being a hater” anytime you criticize a player or a coach or an owner.  A lot of that traces back to the baseball team, with their fan base bloodied and scarred after 14 years of losing and a growing trend of intolerance towards anyone who offers a harsh word or a “reality check” about the dismal state of the franchise.

And while the football team has piled up wins and playoff victories in John Harbaugh’s 3+ year-tenure, some folks continue to be skeptical of the team’s level of success.

Not me.

I like John Harbaugh.  I think he’s a very good football coach.  And I’m glad we have him in Baltimore.

But if Joe Flacco tears his ACL or separates his shoulder or breaks a bone in his foot because he’s playing the final three minutes of a 30-3 blowout of (insert team here) in week number (insert here), I won’t be so nice to the Coach.

Sunday in St. Louis, Harbaugh again rolled the dice with the ONE player on his team that the Ravens can least afford to lose…their quarterback.  And it wasn’t a roll of the dice at the $5 table.  It’s a $50-table-kind-of-gamble when you have your quarterback running around with three minutes left and the game already in hand and 13 weeks of the season plus playoffs still in the windshield ahead of you.

That kind of gamble isn’t worth taking.

To review the scenario from Sunday’s game, Flacco started THREE offensive series’ in the 4th quarter.  He played the series that started with 11:22 remaining in the game and the Ravens ahead 30-7.  He returned to the field with 8:16 left and the Ravens still ahead 30-7.  And, finally, he was behind center with the score 37-7 and 3:10 left on the clock.  There were runs and throws and sacks and plays where Flacco was under duress during all three of those series’.  In other words, it was still “real football”.  Except for one important thing:  the game was over for all intents and purposes.

Harbaugh tried to wordsmith his way around it in Sunday’s post-game press conference in St. Louis and again on Monday in Baltimore during his weekly gathering with the media at Owings Mills.

He tried to explain his thinking.

None of it held up.

These are a few of the defense-remarks Harbaugh made on Sunday and Monday.

“Joe needs all the reps he can get with his wide receivers”, the Coach said.  (You’re correct, Coach, he does.  But that “need for reps” does not outweigh the importance of having your star quarterback upright and healthy for the last 4 months of the football season.)

“There was no sense in bringing Tyrod Taylor in there to just have him hand the ball off three times and take a knee.” (Huh? That’s not what you did with Flacco in those three series’.  You made him play real football.  You could have had Taylor do the same thing.  No one would have offered a second thought had you employed the rookie QB for a series or two – or three – and said to him, “Now kid, go in there and show us what you can do…”)

“We weren’t trying to run up the score leaving Joe in there.” (I don’t disagree with that.  The whole running up the score thing is a delicate issue to start with – although some would say challenging an apparent fumble with 4 minutes remaining and the score 37-7 could be “run up” worthy – so let’s not go there.  It wasn’t about whether or not the Ravens were trying to run up the score, it was about leaving your star quarterback in the game to run around and risk injury when the game was in control.)

“I’d like to see the stats on how many quarterbacks get hurt playing in late game situations like that.” (I looked it up, Coach.  In the history of the NFL, no quarterback standing on the sidelines with the score 37-7 has ever been injured.  As for the stat surrounding quarterbacks who WERE playing?  I’m not sure.  But how many Presidents were shot while riding in a convertible in downtown Dallas?  Oh, right…just one.)

“We can’t just sit all the starters in that situation.” (That’s correct, you can’t.  No one is saying you SHOULD do that.  What is being suggested, however, is that you have to quickly do some sort of internal ranking of the roster and say, “Well, let’s get some of the starters out of there and alleviate the injury risk and give them a bit of a breather…and I guess I should start with my most IMPORTANT player and go from there.”  That, then, would mean Joe Flacco comes out of the game, for he is, without question, the team’s most important player.  He might not be the BEST player, but he’s the most IMPORTANT, for sure.  The step down from Flacco to Tyrod Taylor would be gigantic.  Taylor’s not ready to lead an NFL team…not even close. And how do I know this?  Simple…he wasn’t even ready-enough to mop up in a 37-7 game, according to the coaching staff.)

I completely understand you can’t “coach in fear” and I’m well aware of the fact that games are never over until their over and all that jazz.  I saw the Lions come back from 20-0 down at halftime and I saw the Bills fall behind 21-0 in the first half before rebounding to win.

Being down 21-0 in the 2nd quarter and being behind 30-7 with 7 minutes left in the game are two completely different animals.  They’re not even remotely similar in comparison.

And for anyone who says, “I want to see the Ravens develop a killer’s mentality.  I want to see them step on team’s throats. Let’s pile on late in the game and put that thing away.”  Have you seen the team’s two wins this year?  They crushed the Steelers and they completely suffocated the Rams.  Both of those games were over at the 35 minute mark.  They didn’t need to do any throat-stepping in the 4th quarter…they did it in the first half.

Playing your quarterback in the final 10 minutes of a 28-point blowout of the Steelers and a 30-point romp in St. Louis has nothing at all to do with “stepping on their throat”.  It has everything to do with not having a sense for the reality of the situation.  The reality in those two instances?  Having your star quarterback in the game at those points was a gamble not worth taking.

If Joe Flacco gets injured and can’t play for 4, 6 or 10 weeks, the Ravens season gets incredibly altered.  If he gets injured in the first quarter this Sunday night, we shrug our shoulders and say, “that’s football.”  If the Ravens are ahead 27-7 with 4 minutes to play on Sunday night and Flacco gets hurt and misses time, all hell will break loose.

I like John Harbaugh.  I think he’s a very good coach.  And I’m glad we have him in Baltimore.

But part of his job as the team’s Head Coach is thinking about NEXT week’s game once THIS week’s game is under control and essentially in the books.

It’s called “protecting your assets”.

Just ask the Indianapolis Colts what happens when your starting QB goes down with an injury.

Comments Off

“Rating the Ravens” after 37-7 victory over Rams

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Rating the Ravens” after 37-7 victory over Rams

Posted on 26 September 2011 by Ryan Chell

“Identity”.

That was the word of the day that Glenn Clark used earlier this afternoon on “The Nasty Purple Pre-Game Show” before the Ravens took the field against the 0-2 St. Louis Rams.

And while the Ravens may still  not know what they are offensively after their 37-7 blowout of the Rams, they have one thing in certain.

If they throw the ball to Torrey Smith, he will catch it.

And he will score.

Coming into the third game of the season, Smith-getting his first career start with veteran Lee Evans injured with a foot/ankle injury-had only been targeted once on the season so far from quarterback Joe Flacco.

Sunday took only two plays for Smith to finally get that first catch, as he caught a 74-yard touchdown from Flacco to help the Ravens jump out early 7-0.

And he wasn’t done.

Smith grabbed two more  end-zone passes in the first quarter to help the Ravens jump out to a 21-point lead, becoming the first NFL rookie since 1991 to have his first three passes be for six points apiece.

His 41-yard grab with 3:49 left in the first made it a two touchdown game, while his third grab-a 18-yard strike from Flacco-made it 21-0 in favor of the Ravens and put the Rams in hurry-up mode.

Overall, he finished with five catches for 152 yards.

Torrey Smith

Anquan Boldin-who has torched the Rams in his career (he has 1,064 career yards against STL coming into Sunday-most versus any opponent) when he was with the Arizona Cardinals-finished with 7 catches for 74 yards, and was the short option for Flacco in the passing game.

Ed Dickson also rebounded from a poor Week 2 showing against Tennessee to grab five balls for 51 yards.

Rating: A-

Quarterback

Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco started 2011 on a great note in the Ravens’ week 1 victory against Pittsburgh, but no question took a step back in last Sunday’s loss to the Titans, completing 15-32 passes for only 197 yards and two interceptions.

Much like Torrey Smith’s inconsistency to start the season, Flacco found the rookie early for a 74-yard strike on his second pass of the game. He appeared to grow rhythm with Smith as the game went on finding him twice more for scores, but he also had several throws where he took advantage of Smith’s speed a little too much.

He also overthrew passes to Tandon Doss and Boldin, but that was usually with a defender in his face being forced to make a throw on the move or off his back foot.

He set career highs in passing yards and his longest touchdown pass Sunday. But again, like Torrey Smith, let’s see if Flacco can do it two weeks in a row-and next week versus Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie of the Jets.

Flacco had two fumbles on poor decisions on the run outside the pocket. Luckily, only one was a turnover. He might have more of those scenarios next week versus the Jets’ pass rush.

Rating: B+

Running Backs

Despite the big lead, Ray Rice was not used as much as you would think, only carrying the football eight times for 79 yards. However, he still had a good day adding 83 receiving yards to his total. Props to Rice for making the most out of limited touches.

Ricky Williams

After only contributing a turnover last week, backup Ricky Williams showed a lot rebounding and running the football versus the Rams. He finished with five carries for 42 yards, highlighted by a 28-yard run with 2:23 in the first quarter that set up Flacco’s third touchdown pass that made it 21-0 in favor of Baltimore.

Rating: B

Offensive Line

This was a unit that struggled last week with Pro-Bowl caliber guard Ben Grubbs out of the lineup, and the Ravens found themselves in a similar situation Sunday. However, instead of putting Mark LeVoir in place of Grubbs, coach John Harbaugh and the recently re-instated Andy Moeller decided to put C/G Andre Gurode at left guard and deactivated LeVoir.

While Gurode had issues early versus former Ravens DT Justin Bannan, he and his mates in Matt Birk and Bryant McKinnie held down the Rams aggressive defensive line for much of the game. Give credit to the Ravens “hogs” for making blocks down field and helping open up the running lanes for the running backs and the wide receivers in the short passing game.

And for giving Flacco the time to hold onto the ball and find Smith down the field three times for six.

However, Michael Oher continues to struggle even at the right tackle position. Rams DE Chris Long and LB Chris Chamberlain had their way with Oher for two sacks and a fumble on back-to-back plays on the Ravens second-to-last drive, and Oher was flagged for both a holding and illegal hands to the face in pass protection.

Oher will have more leeway on the right side as opposed to Flacco’s blindside, but he can’t be this vulnerable every game otherwise opposing defensive coordinators will continue to pick on him.

Rating: B-

Defensive Line

Terrell Suggs

This unit feasted on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, and with good reason being up 21-0 early after the first quarter. With banged up running backs in Steven Jackson and Cadillac Williams coming in as game-time decisions, the game fell on the 2nd-year quarterback and the Ravens realized this.

The Ravens had five sacks of Bradford, three of them coming from Pernell McPhee, Terrell Suggs, and Cory Redding.

Interesting to note were the leading tacklers in linebackers Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain, and Suggs. Both Arthur Jones and Terrence Cody got significant snaps, and allowed the linebackers to flow to the ball-carrier.

Haloti Ngata-fresh off his new contract-showed that the Ravens put their money in the right place, manhandling former Ravens center Jason Brown for much of the second half, and he even topped it off with a touchdown off a forced fumble/sack from Ray Lewis.

Rating: A

Linebackers

Ray Lewis

As previously noted, Sunday was the first time this season that cornerback Lardarius Webb did not lead the team in tackles. Ray Lewis finished with ten tackles and a sack/forced fumble. Fellow ILB Jameel McClain was second in tackles with five and also recorded a sack of quarterback Sam Bradford.

After struggling versus Tennessee in coverage from short yardage to the intermediate passing zones, the Ravens linebackers did a good job of making sure running backs Cadillac Williams and Steven Jackson didn’t make contributions in the passing game. They patrolled the middle well versus the versatile tight end Lance Kendricks and receiver Mike Sims-Walker, but they will be tested much more next week versus the Jets.

Rating: B+

Secondary

Cary Williams

In a way, this unit struggled a bit. Rams receiver Brandon Gibson got behind CB Cary Williams for the Rams’ lone score in the third quarter-34 yards. Williams was also flagged earlier in the second quarter for pass interference on 6’5” Danario Alexander, but the drive ended after Lardarius Webb’s “fair catch” interception with 6:21 left in the quarter.

Webb played better in coverage by playing on top of the receiver, and safety Ed Reed played within the realm of the defensive scheme after jumping routes versus Tennessee in Week 2.

Haruki Nakamura’s injury-which is rumored to be a torn PCL-ligament in his knee-could be devastating to a unit already thin at the cornerback and safety positions.

Rating: B+

Special Teams

Billy Cundiff missed two 51-yd field goals-one of which came with a high-snap from center Morgan Cox. He did bear down after the two early misses, connecting on his next three attempts. This was the second game of three without David Reed, who suffered a shoulder injury last week vs. Tennessee, and the Ravens only got two looks out of LaQuan Williams at the kick return position.

Tune into “The Reality Check” with Glenn Clark Monday as we look at the plays that made a difference Sunday! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!




Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , ,

What a difference a week makes – Ravens humble Rams, 37-7

Posted on 25 September 2011 by Drew Forrester

All is well with the world again.

At least as long as the Jets don’t come to Baltimore and win next Sunday.

The Ravens got an “elite” performance from Joe Flacco in the first quarter at St. Louis and the team’s defensive line completely stifled an already-pedestrian St. Louis offense en-route to an easy 37-7 win on Sunday that improved John Harbaugh’s team to 2-1 on the season.

The Rams secondary was so putrid in the opening 15 minutes that 2nd round draft pick Torrey Smith collected his first, second and third career catches in the first quarter — and all three were touchdowns.  Staked to a 21-0 lead, the Ravens cruised from there, adding three Billy Cundiff field goals to put a bow on one of the team’s easiest road victories in the John Harbaugh era.

And to think this was the team that got buzz-sawed in Tennessee last Sunday.

Then again, the Rams didn’t have Kenny Britt.

In fact, the Rams don’t really have ANY wide receivers of note.

And the pressure applied by the Baltimore defense on Sunday kept Sam Bradford uncomfortable from the very first series.

Last Sunday, the Ravens did a poor job of protecting Joe Flacco and an even worse job chasing after Tennessee signal caller Matt Hasselbeck.  That proved to be the difference in the game, as Flacco and the offense never got untracked and Hasselbeck and Britt tortured Baltimore’s small-in-stature secondary all afternoon.

In St. Louis, the old Ravens returned, as the offensive line did a suitable job keeping Flacco upright and the Rams offensive front couldn’t contain the Baltimore pass rush.  That gave Flacco plenty of time to find Smith and Anquan Boldin in the first half and Bradford managed just one TD pass in an otherwise forgettable afternoon.

The only nitpicky negative observation from the blowout was the staff’s decision to insert defensive lineman Haloti Ngata on an offensive package – as a tight end – in the 2nd quarter with the score already 21-0 and the Rams waving the white towel. They just gave him $40 million of guaranteed money and they’re going to put Ngata in as an offensive player?  That one just didn’t make any sense.

And then Harbaugh and Cam Cameron elected to keep Joe Flacco in at quarterback with a 23-point lead and five minutes left in the game…and then up 37-7 with three minutes remaining.  Both weren’t smart decisions.  But when you win 37-7, no one cares about the small stuff.

So let me get this straight. Baltimore has two wins this season:  By the scores of 35-7 and 37-7.

And they lost to the Titans, 26-13.

Which Ravens team is the real one?

Well, based on THIS week’s performance, I’d say the one we saw in St. Louis.

Let’s see which team shows up next Sunday night against the Jets.

Rex Ryan better hope it’s the one that played in Nashville last week.

The “other one”, the Ravens team that played in week #1 and week #3…that team is pretty freakin’ good.

Comments Off

The “3-Things We’re Looking-4″ out of Ravens vs. Rams

Tags: , , , ,

The “3-Things We’re Looking-4″ out of Ravens vs. Rams

Posted on 25 September 2011 by Ryan Chell

Glenn Clark’s 3-Things

1. “Rookie Rhythm” from the wide receiver position in Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, and LaQuan Williams with quarterback Joe Flacco.

Tandon Doss

2. Stay on the field on 3rd-down on offense; get the Rams off the field on defense

Kenny Britt

3. Linebackers in coverage can no longer be a defensive liability…

Terrell Suggs


Ryan’s 3 Things

1. Torrey Smith has to make contributions (i.e-catch a pass)

Torrey Smith

2. Andre Gurode-starting for Ben Grubbs-has to gel with T Bryant McKinnie and C Matt Birk.

Andre Gurode

3. Contain Steven Jackson-just as the Ravens did in Week 2 with Titans running back Chris Johnson-or even stop him.

Steven Jackson

Follow the game action on @WNST on Twitter and tune into “The Nasty Purple Post-Game Show” after Ravens-Rams!

Comments Off