Posted on 03 April 2012 by Glenn Clark
Posted on 27 March 2012 by Luke Jones
After longtime linebacker Jarret Johnson signed a four-year contract with the San Diego Chargers two weeks ago, the Ravens began the process of finding his replacement at the strong-side linebacker position.
Pass rush specialist Paul Kruger is the consensus choice among options currently on the roster, and coach John Harbaugh confirmed that notion at the NFL owners’ meetings in Florida on Tuesday. Selected in the second round of the 2009 draft, Kruger struggled to find a role on the defense in his first two seasons before becoming a regular contributor in passing situations last season.
“I think Paul is probably the leading candidate for the ‘Sam’ linebacker job,” Harbaugh said. “I could very definitely see him doing that. When we lost [Johnson], I went back and watched all of Paul’s tape. I watched every one of his plays from last year just to try and get a feel just for whether or not we’d be comfortable with him in there. He did a nice job in coverage, he set the edge well.”
The 26-year-old Utah product collected 5 1/2 sacks while playing in all 16 games last season after struggling to simply avoid the inactive list in his first two seasons. Kruger had only one sack and five tackles over 20 games in 2009 and 2010 as the coaching staff evaluated whether he was better suited for defensive end or linebacker.
He and rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee became mainstays of the defensive line on third down last season as the pair combined for 11 1/2 of the Ravens’ 48 sacks. Now, new defensive coordinator Dean Pees will take a long look at Kruger as the replacement to the run-stopping, blue-collar Johnson, who started every game at strong-side linebacker over the last five seasons.
“Obviously, he’s a very good pass rusher,” Harbaugh said. “I believe Paul can do it. I think he will do it.”
Kruger’s ability to play the run and to drop in pass coverage remains a mystery after limited opportunities in his first three professional seasons. The Ravens will look hard at the draft if a prospect such as Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw or North Carolina’s Zach Brown is available early, but with other positions to address and limited cap space to potentially add another veteran linebacker, Kruger may find himself in position to be the starter when the preseason begins.
“He wants to be that guy and he wants to do it as well or better than how it’s been done for the Ravens,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what you want out of one of your players.”
Of course, Harbaugh’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt when you remember we’re four months away from the start of training camp. The coach is clearly going to show as much faith as he can in players currently on the roster without dwelling too much on hypothetical additions down the road.
The other player mentioned by some as a potential candidate to replace Johnson is 2010 second-round pick Sergio Kindle, but Harbaugh didn’t exactly speak about him in the same encouraging terms as he did with Kruger. Active for only two games last season, Kindle more closely resembles a player fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster than a viable starting option after the slow recovery he endured from a fractured skull just days before the start of the 2010 training camp.
While it’s true that Kindle has never had the benefit of a full offseason program at the team’s Owings Mills facility, it’s clear he has plenty of work to do before the Ravens can afford to keep him on the roster for a second straight season.
“If he comes back and becomes a player in the NFL, it’s going to be an unparalleled accomplishment,” Harbaugh said. “You know what? We think it can happen, and we’re going to know by the end of training camp.”
Ever since kicker Billy Cundiff missed a last-second 32-yard field goal that would have sent the AFC Championship game into overtime, fans and media alike have pondered how the Ravens should handle the kicker position next season.
As he did when he spoke to WNST.net at the NFL Combine last month, Harbaugh reiterated that he fully expects Cundiff to handle kicking duties again this fall. However, the Ravens are looking to create some competition for the incumbent kicker in the preseason.
Whether the Ravens choose to add a veteran or sign a rookie following the draft, Harbaugh sees no reason why they shouldn’t explore every avenue to get better — while clearly maintaining faith in the 2010 Pro Bowl selection.
“I say that so I’m not ruling anything out, but Billy is our kicker,” Harbaugh said. “I would anticipate Billy [being] our kicker for the opening game of the season. I think he’ll have a great preseason. I think he’ll have a great season next year, but everybody gets competition and he’s no exception.”
Running without Rice?
Posted on 19 March 2012 by Glenn Clark
It’s been a tough start to National Football League free agency for Baltimore Ravens fans.
Even for the most realistic fan of the Purple And Black (I’d like to think of myself in that group), it’s impossible to be excited about a six day span that has seen five players (LB Jarret Johnson, DL Cory Redding, G Ben Grubbs, S Tom Zbikowski, S Haruki Nakamura) depart, just one free agent (C Matt Birk) return and no free agents added to the roster.
The realistic Ravens fan knew this could be coming. Between them, the five players share just one Pro Bowl appearance (Grubbs was invited to Hawaii this season as an injury replacement) and all were able to cash in on the open market. The Ravens, having spent significant money during the regular season to extend would-be free agent DT Haloti Ngata decided none were “cornerstone” players and wouldn’t overpay to keep them.
The Ravens are instead working to spend a boatload of money to extend QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice, both players they do believe are “cornerstone” parts of the organization.
The realistic fan also knows the Ravens still have work to do in free agency before the process is finished. It was revealed this week that return specialist (and part time Wide Receiver) Ted Ginn Jr. visited Owings Mills last week. The team could still look to find help along the Offensive Line and at Linebacker as well, and could even add another Safety at some point.
Additionally, the realistic fan is aware that the upcoming NFL Draft is likely to help shape the 2012 season for the defending AFC North champs, with some players (like WR Torrey Smith and DE Pernell McPhee) not likely to fully develop into contributors until after the season has started.
AND the realistic fan knows the 2012 season will also be defined in part by the continued development of young players. Entering the 2011 season, the team’s secondary was considered to be one of the bigger question marks about the roster. Just months later, the CB trio of Lardarius Webb, Cary Williams and Jimmy Smith represents one of the more solid units in football.
Yet even the most realistic Ravens fan still agonizes over the thought “can enough be done to get this team over the hump and into a Super Bowl for the first time in 12 years?”
A reasonable level of concern is understandable at this point. In addition to the pre-existing question marks facing the team (uneven O-Line play, lack of a size receiver, age and injury related decline from defensive playmakers, Special Teams issues), there are additional depth issues created by the first batch of free agent departures.
It’s an uneasy time for Ravens fans.
The majority of Ravens fans have not swayed far from reality in how they’ve viewed Week 1 of the actual NFL offseason. As can be expected, some have gone off the deep end entirely. The reminder I got Sunday could serve as a nice “reality check” itself for fans in both groups. It’s probably something you already know about.
I assume you’ve heard that free agent quarterback Matt Flynn agreed to a three year, $26 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks. As the deal involved only $10 million of guaranteed money, most analysts agreed it was a particularly fair and perhaps very good deal for a team that is trying to improve on a third place finish in the NFC West last season.
I actually think the deal was a great move for the Seahawks. In fact, just days ago during our weekly “Free Advice” segment on “The Reality Check” (weekdays 2-6pm on AM1570 WNST.net for the one of you that doesn’t listen already) I encouraged the Seahawks to pull the trigger on the move. I can only assume my endorsement was the final approval the team needed to get the deal done.
But the facts about Flynn don’t change. The quarterback was believed to have so little pro talent coming out of LSU that he slid to the seventh round of the NFL Draft. While they’ve been impressive, he’s made only two starts with the Green Bay Packers as is still mostly an unknown commodity.
An unknown commodity who has $10 million guaranteed coming his way.
You see, the Seahawks are in a place where they had to make a significant move that could backfire. Matt Flynn might be more Rick Mirer than Matt Hasselbeck in the Emerald City, which could possibly doom Pete Carroll’s tenure.
Yet if the team didn’t pull the trigger, they could face a reality that involves more Tavaris Jackson. That would almost certainly doom Carroll to a sub .500 record until he was dismissed.
The Seahawks had to pull the trigger partly due to desperation. It’s a feeling the Baltimore Ravens have experienced in the past with mixed results. It’s a feeling that Baltimore Ravens fans should enjoy not experiencing this year.
The Ravens haven’t been able to accomplish much during free agency, but they haven’t had to. They’re not a desperate organization seeking a single fix to exit mediocrity. They’re a superior organization merely looking to make a few moves to reach “the next level.”
The Ravens have a quarterback. The Ravens have talented players at other offensive skill positions. The Ravens (still) have one of the best defenses in the league.
Desperation isn’t a word General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Head Coach John Harbaugh and Owner Steve Bisciotti even have to consider. Neither do Ravens fans.
It’s a significantly better place to be. I appreciated the reminder.
Posted on 06 February 2012 by Ryan Chell
Indianapolis was crazy all last week hosting the Super Bowl, and right along with it has been the host city’s new football coach and ex-Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.
That was because Pagano-just days after the Ravens’ 23-20 loss in the AFC Championship game to the Patriots- didn’t have to wait long to get back to work at the game of football preparation because NFL teams kept calling for his services.
After just one season as Ravens defensive coordinator replacing Greg Mattison, Pagano apparently had built enough of a resume that the Indianapolis Colts called 1 Winning Drive and asked to interview the 51-year old for their coaching vacancy.
And they were impressed enough by Pagano’s demeanor, it only took one interview for owner Jim Irsay and new general manager Ryan Grigson to know who they wanted to replace the fired Jim Caldwell as head coach.
They hired Pagano on January 25th, making the move official.
Pagano hasn’t slept much over the last two weeks moving his life from Baltimore to Indianapolis but he did find a few minutes to join Drew Forrester, Glenn Clark, and Nestor Aparicio last Thursday afternoon from Radio Row to offer a special message to Raven Nation.
“My thanks go out to Steve [Bisciotti], Ozzie, Coach Harbaugh, the rest of the guys and all the players, all the assistant coaches, and the fans. I had four great years there and it’s really the last thing I ever expected.”
Pagano joined the Ravens in 2008 as secondary coach and quickly became a favorite of the players.
When Pagano left for Indianapolis, several defensive players took the move hard, including corner backs Lardarius Webb, Domonique Foxworth, and safety Ed Reed.
It was equally as hard for Pagano to move on, and his leave his brothers-in-arms behind.
“I felt like I had the greatest job in America,” Pagano continued. “It’s a fabulous organization and I wish nothing but the best for them.”
It was the sheer shock of getting the call that made Pagano consider the offer. Despite his success this season leading the third-ranked defense, he thought his chance was going to come after a few years down the road.
“It’s crazy,” Pagano replied. “It’s the last thing I ever expected-obviously walking in that locker room and dealing with the heartache that everybody was coming off of with that loss.”
Pagano walked into his regular meeting Monday morning after the loss to New England, and Coach John Harbaugh handed a phone to him in his office.
“Indianapolis called…they want to talk to you,” Harbaugh said.
“I was like, ‘No way-come on…tell me you’re playing with me’,” Pagano told the WNST crew. “I got on the phone with Ryan Grigson-our GM, and he asked if I would come down.”
Pagano was also equally surprised considering he had no connections to Jim Irsay, the Colts, or Grigson in the past.
“I had only spoken with Ryan a year prior about some things…it was just a surprising deal.”
But now the holiday is over for Pagano. He’s already at work formulating his new coaching staff and preparing for the 2012 season.
Both of those preparations might and have already conflicted with the Ravens off-season plans, as Pagano already tabbed Baltimore assistants Marwan Maalouf and secondary assistant Roy Anderson on his coaching staff.
Right now, it’s all downhill from here for Pagano.
“We’re still putting the pieces of the puzzle together,” Pagano added. “We’ve got three great hires with Bruce Arians coming in an offensive coordinator…and Greg Manusky just signed on today.”
Pagano admitted that he tried to raid his ex-boss in John Harbaugh of more of his assistants, but there was only so much leverage John would allow.
“I tried to raid the hen-house of coaches, but between Ozzie and John I obviously knew that wasn’t going to happen.”
Pagano said that he’s had numerous offers from fellow co-workers and coaches and ex-players to come on board.
But he quickly shot down the belief that it was because of him that he was getting all these calls. It’s about the tradition of working for a storied franchise like the Colts.
“This city is phenomenal…there’s a ton of people that want to come to this city and be part of this organization.”
Could this include several former Ravens on defense who are free agents-Jarret Johnson, Haruki Nakamura, Tom Zbikowski, etc-who loved Pagano?
He said it would be foolish for the Ravens not to anticipate that. They’ve already experienced it with the exodus of players following Rex Ryan to New York.
“I think if you look at history and you look at the coaches that have moved on from there and took other jobs, I think history tells you that’s the case. Nobody does it better than those guys now and I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t have my eye on a couple guys.”
But the one guy that Pagano is probably worried about-and this time as his coach as opposed to drawing up a game-plan against him-is his current quarterback in Peyton Manning.
His future remains in doubt as Colts quarterback, but Pagano isn’t worried about it. He knows and trusts in the people that are above him making those decisions for him.
“It’s obvious that Mr. Irsay and Peyton…the lines of communication are there. They’ll continue to talk and as time goes on…the situation will handle itself.”
Pagano said he has too much on his mind to involve himself with that he said he’s going to assume the right things get done.
It was the same approach he had in Baltimore, and that worked well enough for him.
“I’ve got so many things to do trying to reach out to players,” Pagano said, and put a staff together. I’ve got to do the best I can.”
WNST thanks Chuck Pagano for joining us on Radio Row and wishes him all the best in Indy…when they’re not playing the Ravens! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!
Posted on 04 February 2012 by Glenn Clark
It was another incredible week of Super Bowl coverage for us here at AM1570 WNST.net. Both “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester and Luke Jones as well as “The Reality Check” with Glenn Clark emanated from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis every day. “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio was also part of the daily fun.
In case you missed anything we did, here is a list of the guest segments available for your consumption right now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.
-Adam Sandler (Actor)
-Matt Birk (Baltimore Ravens C)
-Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis Colts Head Coach, former Ravens DC)
-Curt Schilling (Former Baltimore Orioles/Boston Red Sox/Arizona Diamondbacks/Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher)
-Shannon Sharpe (Former Baltimore Ravens/Denver Broncos Hall of Fame TE, CBS)
-AJ Green (Cincinnati Bengals WR)
-Ingrid & Sarah Harbaugh (Wives of John & Jim Harbaugh)
-Jim Schwartz (Detroit Lions Head Coach)
-Mike Smith (Atlanta Falcons Head Coach)
-Marcus Allen (Hall of Fame RB)
-Larry The Cable Guy (Comedian)
-Priest Holmes (Former Baltimore Ravens/Kansas City Chiefs RB)
-Vanilla Ice (Musician/Actor)
-Will Forte (Actor/Comedian/Saturday Night Live alum)
-Lynn Swann (Former Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame WR)
-Greg Ballard (Mayor of Indy)
-Dustin Keller (New York Jets TE)
-Jason Taylor (Former Miami Dolphins DE)
-Frank Caliendo (Comedian)
-Jay Mohr (Actor/Comedian)
-David Feherty (Golf Channel)
-Mike Haynes (Former New England Patriots Hall of Fame CB)
-Brian Billick (Former Baltimore Ravens coach FOX/NFL Network)
-Herm Edwards (Former New York Jets/Kansas City Chiefs coach, ESPN)
-Dick Vermeil (Former Super Bowl winning St. Louis Rams coach)
-Marv Levy (Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame coach)
-Joe Theismann (Former Washington Redskins QB, NFL Network)
-Lorenzo Neal (Former Baltimore Ravens/San Diego Chargers FB)
-Rich Gannon (Former Oakland Raiders QB, CBS)
-Antonio Pierce (Former NY Giants LB)
-Jack Youngblood (Los Angeles Rams Hall of Fame DE)
-Dhani Jones (Former Cincinnati Bengals LB)
-Robbie Gould (Chicago Bears Kicker)
-Morten Anderson (Former New Orleans Saints/Atlanta Falcons Kicker)
-Bonnie Bernstein (ESPN/University of Maryland alum)
-Peter King (SI/NBC)
-Lesley Visser (CBS)
-Sal Paolantonio (ESPN)
-Laura Kaeppeler (Miss America 2012)
-Chrissy Teigen (SI Swimsuit Issue model)
-Will Witherspoon (Tennessee Titans LB)
(More on Page 2…)
Posted on 01 February 2012 by Peter Dilutis
OWINGS MILLS: The braintrust of the Baltimore Ravens was on display in Owings Mills as Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, Dick Cass, and John Harbaugh met with the media Wednesday afternoon.
While several references to the now infamous Lee Evans drop made it clear that these men are not yet over what happened in Foxborough on January 22, the top decision makers in the organization displayed confidence that the Ravens are headed in the right direction.
“I’m proud of the product we’re giving Baltimore,” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said. “It seems like football is a passionate business in Maryland. We’re one of the top five teams as far as ratings in our home market, and that’s a good thing. They say apathy is the worst emotion and there’s not much apathy in this town about our team.”
Bisciotti was very blunt when asked what the Ravens could do next season to take the next step and get to the Super Bowl.
“Hold onto a ball,” Bisciotti said. “That’s where it was this year. It’s a game of inches. We were there.”
A big reason why the Ravens “were there” at the end against New England was because of the Joe Flacco’s performance in the AFC Championship game. Much has been made about Flacco’s contract situation and his standing as the franchise quarterback going forward. Throughout the 45 minute press conference, both Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome made it clear that they were not only planning on going forward with Flacco at the helm, but they are looking forward to reaping the benefits of his continued rise.
“Did Joe improve? Yes. And he improved after we took away some weapons that he was accustomed to in Mason and Todd Heap,” Newsome said. “He was able to improve with two young tight ends, two young receivers, a receiver that was traded to him in the middle of training camp, and a second year receiver in Anquan. There’s no doubt that Joe improved.”
“The thing that I like about Joe is that when you are in this business, you get judged on one thing: winning,” Newsome said. “Joe wins. If he continues to win and if one pass is caught, he would be in the Super Bowl. I think he’s going to win Super Bowls…a lot of them. I hope to be a part of them. He has improved, but the thing you cannot knock about Joe is that he’s a winner.”
Bisciotti chimed in with praise for his quarterback.
“People want to see fire in their athletes,” Bisciotti said.” We know Joe has it. I think he’s going to be extremely successful. I think he’s going to have rings, and he’s got 10 years in his prime to show it. I think he will be rewarded for his personality in the long-run.”
Posted on 01 February 2012 by Drew Forrester
If you know of a place I can find a dead horse, ship it to me in Indianapolis. I’m here all week covering Super Bowl 46.
I’ll find a baseball bat somewhere in the hotel.
Today was the once-a-year occasion where everyone in Baltimore gets to see precisely why the Ravens are the Ravens and play in front of 70,000 people ten times a year and why the Orioles are the Orioles and play in front of crowds of 7,000 more times than they’ll ever publicly admit.
In a weird twist of fate, I have another story to add to the mix. It won’t surprise you. But it will be another log-in-the-fire that continues to rage in Baltimore as our baseball team – now with a new accomplice – once again displays an amazing lack of professionalism.
How does that situation involve you and/or the fans in Baltimore?
It does, trust me.
If you saw the press conference today – the “State of the Ravens” as they like to call it in Owings Mills – you witnessed the football organization allowing the media to openly discuss their method of operation. There was nothing particularly earth shattering to come out of the 55-minute gathering. It was filled with mostly benign stuff like “Joe Flacco and Ray Rice are a priority.” (We knew that already.) ”The Ravens are going to do everything we can to get better by looking at all available player options.” (Right…we knew that too.) ”We feel like our team is built for the now and the future.” (Of course you do.)
But it wasn’t the content or the quality that mattered today. When you’re 12-4 and come within three-tenths of a second from going to the Super Bowl, there aren’t a lot of blemishes and hiccups to discuss.
What was important, of course, was the mere fact that the Ravens undressed themselves in front of the media and allowed everyone to ask questions about their hairy legs, love handles and receding hairline.
The Orioles never let you see them dressed or undressed. Unless you happen to be part of their inner circle.
They remain as disingenious with the community and the media as they’ve ever been, despite modest improvements over the last few years in their day-of-game entertainment and civic endeavors. They’re the friend who ignores your text when your car breaks down and you need a ride to work. They’re the co-worker who tells you the company tickets for the football game have been claimed, only to see them in the top drawer of his desk a week later when he asks you to grab his car keys before heading out to lunch. The Orioles are the ex-girlfriend who never liked your favorite band until AFTER you guys broke up eight months ago.
They’re lazy, mean-spirited and never quite fully aware of how much they hurt you. (Please see next page)
Posted on 29 January 2012 by Peter Dilutis
What an incredibly awful week!
I still cannot really believe what I witnessed in Foxborough a week ago today. Perhaps the most intense football game that I’ve witnessed in person throughout my relatively young life ended in extreme disappointment.
There was so much on the line for everyone.
The fans, who have now spent four consecutive years loading up on purple gear, spending big money on tickets, trips, hotels, etc in anticipation of another Super Bowl run.
The players, who I’ve gotten to know a bit over the past couple of years, who spend 365 days a year preparing for the final moments of a game like that.
The coaches, executives, team employees, trainers…this has sucked for everyone. There’s no way around it.
Personally, I’ve had so many thoughts over the past week but I’ve just had no desire to write about them. It is absolutely sickening that what we all wanted so badly was right in their grasp, literally, and we let it get away.
As bad as it was for all of us (imagine how much we at WNST had on the line regarding promotions, Super Bowl trips, etc), and as much time as some of us have needed to get over the loss, we cannot let the heartbreak that we all feel cloud our perspective.
Yes, it is incredibly hard for a team to get back to where the Ravens just were. There are no guarantees in sports. However, the Baltimore Ravens have built their organization up to where annual contention is not a goal but an expectation.
When Steve Bisciotti fired Brian Billick after the 2007 season, he talked about wanting to avoid the valleys that the team endured under Billick. Billick had tremendous success in Baltimore. He brought back a winning culture to Baltimore and that culture has carried over into this era of Ravens football.
However, there were some years under Billick, specifically 2005 and 2007, when the Ravens were basically out of contention by the second half of the season. Much of that had to do with not having a legitimate quarterback, but the bottom line is that under Billick, the Ravens, at times, underachieved.
That has not happened with John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco at the helm. The Baltimore Ravens have transformed into an elite franchise in the NFL. Period.
Posted on 20 January 2012 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Conducting their final workout of the week before departing for Foxborough on Saturday, the Ravens once again had all players present during the portion of practice open to the media.
Safety Ed Reed (left ankle) was the only player listed on Thursday’s injury report as a limited participant. The veteran is expected to play without any limitation against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Linebacker Terrell Suggs eliminated any doubt of him being tight for the conference championship game, taking a microphone and singing in front of a camera as he walked on the indoor practice field. There’s never a dull moment with the 29-year-old pass rusher.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler will sing the national anthem at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. Not to be outdone in the celebrity department, the Ravens have announced that Orioles legend Cal Ripken will serve as the team’s honorary captain in Foxborough.
“Cal is a true Baltimore hero,” Ravens team president Dick Cass said to the team’s official website. “He is a great representative of both the city of Baltimore and the Baltimore Ravens.”
Ripken was also a guest of owner Steve Bisciotti when the Ravens defeated New England, 33-14, in the postseason two years ago.
The referee for Sunday’s game will be Al Riveron. Sunday’s forecast is calling for temperatures in the low 30s, but it appears potential snowfall earlier in the weekend will not be an issue for the game.
Posted on 03 January 2012 by Drew Forrester
In what seems like an annual occurrence in these parts, we’re all once again reminded that the folks running the football team at The Castle know more than all of us…combined.
Not sure what I’m talking about, huh?
Two words for ya: Rex. Ryan.
Four years ago – right around this time, in fact – people in Baltimore were clamoring for Rex to be named the Ravens top man. Players wanted it. Rex campaigned for it, on my show, in fact. The national media assumed Ryan would be the perfect fit for a Ravens club that was in dire need of having its swagger restored.
Fortunately, those in charge at 1 Winning Drive were smarter than everyone else.
All you have to do is look at what’s happened in New York this season to know how smart the Ravens were back in 2008.
They had a chance to hire Ryan, but decided instead to go with John Harbaugh.
Four playoff appearances later, we should all just say “Thank You…and go on our way” (that’s from A Few Good Men, in case you didn’t know).
The predictable meltdown at the Jets headquarters in the wake of their humbling 8-8 campaign rests squarely on the shoulders of their head coach, who – and I can’t believe I’m quoting our resident nutjob from Indianapolis, Merton – is clearly “all bluster and no muster”.
Did you see how the Jets handled losing on Sunday in Miami? Players sulked on the bench, players bad-mouthed teammates to the media, players refused to meet with the press, players gave people the finger and stormed out of the locker room.
What a classy group.
All led by their head coach, of course, who champions that kind of behavior as some sort of merit badge for grit and toughness.
Meanwhile, in Baltimore, the Ravens can put their feet up for a few days and rest before feasting on one of the playoff appetizers at M&T Bank Stadium on January 15.
If you’re not keeping count, I’ll do it for you: Four years — and four post-season appearances from the Ravens under the guidance of John Harbaugh. And while we’re at it, let’s tighten the knee pads a little bit and remind everyone that only ONE team in the entire NFL has made the playoffs four straight seasons. Yep, the Ravens. And John Harbaugh. And Cam Cameron. And Joe Flacco.
It should come as no surprise that the players in New York followed Rex’s lead and basically behaved like 5th graders at recess. That’s how Rex thinks “men” should be treated. Hell, that’s hell Rex himself behaves half the time. It’s a frat house in New York. All they’re missing at the Jets practice facility are bongs and Led Zeppelin’s “Houses of the Holy” and most of the players would think they were back in college.
Meanwhile in Baltimore, the players are held ultra-accountable by everyone from the owner on down. The last guy to REALLY step out of line in the Harbaugh era was Chris McAlister. Remember him? He lasted exactly five games with John before the new coach sniffed him out as a malcontent back in 2008 and shipped him off to an early retirement.
Rex Ryan is getting precisely what he deserves right now. Chaos.
John Harbaugh is getting precisely what he deserves, too. A chance to go to the Super Bowl for the 4th straight season.
And football fans in Baltimore should once again thank the Ravens for knowing more about hiring people than all of us.