Posted on 31 January 2014 by WNST Audio
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Posted on 27 January 2014 by Drew Forrester
OK, so we’re here in New York for a week of radio from “radio row” in the NY Sheraton in Manhattan.
So far, so good.
I did put one cab driver on blast Sunday afternoon who was beeping the horn behind us as we unloaded our bags in front of our hotel. The scene reminded me of the stupidity of booing the home team at a sporting event. You think I’m going to get my bags out more quickly because you’re beeping the horn like an impatient fool on a Sunday afternoon?
I didn’t watch the Grammy’s last night.
I didn’t watch the Royal Rumble with Glenn and Luke.
I forgot the Pro Bowl was on, honestly, until Nestor said, “We should watch the Pro Bowl for a few minutes of comedic intervention” and I mumbled something about my iPod and wanting to listen to The Pet Shop Boys Greatest Hits. I can proudly say I didn’t watch one play, although I’ll admit – having seen the highlights this morning – the uniforms were pretty cool.
The only sports I watched on Sunday? The PGA Tour event from Torrey Pines, won by Scott Stallings at -9 after everyone else with a chance gagged it down the stretch. That’s a nice win for Stallings, who now has three victories on TOUR. He drove it all over the lot on the back nine, but managed a bunch of nifty up-and-downs and made birdie putts at #17 and #18 to win. Tiger got Jordan Spieth’d on Friday when the kid posted 62 and TW shot 73, then Woods threw up a 79 on Saturday and ducked out a day early thanks to the rarely used “too many guys in the field” rule that resulted in a “MDF” (made cut, did not finish).
Speaking of Spieth, despite his shaky short game on the back nine Sunday, this is the guy the TOUR has been waiting for since the early part of last decade when Tiger blazed through the entire roster of potential competitors, leaving guys like Duval, Garcia, Els and Mickelson in his wake. Spieth is the real deal. The only thing he has to be leery of is the much-discussed “golf burnout” that players of his age (20) sometimes get when they arrive on the scene and start making $300,000 for shooting five under par and want to play in every single event on the schedule. I’m sure Spieth has someone to guide him through this, his first full season, on TOUR, and he’ll handle the workload just fine, but it’s the only thing that can set him back over the long haul.
That’s it for now.
Luke and I are getting ready to launch WNST’s forty hours of live coverage of Super Bowl 48, so I better end this edition of Drew’s Morning Dish and get to the microphone.
Stay warm back there in Charm City.
Posted on 13 January 2014 by Dwayne Showalter
Championship weekend is upon us and for the first time since 2011, and only third time since 2008, the Baltimore Ravens are not involved. That sounds pretty good to say actually. To be in it three times in five years would have been kind of bitter had Josh Bynes not tackled Tedd Ginn around midfield to end the 49ers comeback last February and give the Ravens their second Lombardi Trophy.
It certainly would have been nice to watch them participate again in the playoffs this season, but let’s face it, it frays nerves, causes gray hair and (in may case) makes it fall out. Let some of these other cities get their hopes dashed, dreams crushed and see parade plans canceled.
Think about the playoffs already. Cincinnati, for all the good mojo they created during the regular season, lost at home…again…in the first round. Nice job Bengals. Do us all a favor and go back to your holes. Please don’t win the division again. It embarrasses the AFC North.
How about the Chiefs? After two straight losing seasons, they were back in the playoffs (last losing at home to Baltimore in January ’11) and feeling spry after finishing 11-5. Then they choked a huge lead to a second year quarterback. Stew on that KC. And you can probably apply the same to Eagles fans. The only differences? Lost a small lead, at home, were 10-6 and were coming off of two non-winning seasons – they finished 8-8 two seasons ago.
The Packers weaseled in at 8-7-1. They had Aaron Rogers back at quarterback and all was looking up in Green Bay. That is until Phil Dawson connected on a short field goal to dash hopes, crush dreams and cancel parade plans.
This past weekend the big four muscled up. The 49ers showed the fans in Carolina what championship football was all about. Seattle throttled the Saints for three-and-a-half quarters before allowing them a chance to tie it late. I have my reasons to dislike Drew Brees (lets just say its fantasy related) but for the record, I usually root against dome teams. What a shame for the Crescent City. In San Diego, they don’t really make Super Bowl plans, at least not since the game itself stopped making regular appearances there. As for the Chargers, Phillip Rivers was never a favorite when at NC State. His gyrations Sunday didn’t do anything to erase those feelings. As for Indy, no sympathy here. Domed team, our colors and logo. They may have their day again, and soon, but not this year.
So here we go into the final four, NFL style. I can’t root for Seattle. I find the whole “12th man” thing kind of a joke. I thought that was Texas A&M’s deal anyway. The fans look like idiots and the weather always is rotten. Not even cold or snow rotten. Just 40 degrees and crappy rotten. Their home record may be a by-product of it being such a dreary looking place. Denver and New England is a toss up to me. I kind of lean toward New England because Brady seems to do it without stars around him and was never the chosen one, being drafted in the sixth round out of Michigan. Manning was the first overall pick in 1998 by the Colts. I also like the fact the Manning has the same amount of rings as Joe Flacco!
But mostly, they are at home. And if there is one thing I enjoy watching it’s a stadium full of disgruntled fans emptying out late in the 4th quarter like the Pats forced in Pittsburgh a few years back. The Ravens had a habit of doing that over the years too. Tennessee and Oakland in 2000. Miami in ’01. Miami and Tennessee again in ’08. New England in ’09 and 2012. Kansas City in 2010. And Oh yeah, Denver too last year (caution one F-bomb but one of my favorite clips of all-time!). Unfortunately, we have witnessed this here in Baltimore a few times. I saw Oakland in 1977. And Tennessee and Indy in ’03 and ’06 respectively. It stinks. But if it’s not my team, it’s kind of funny.
In the end, I think I will pull for San Francisco the most. With them and either AFC team, a Super Bowl that features two teams the Ravens beat to win Super Bowl XLVII would be pretty neat to watch. Go Niners.
Posted on 05 January 2014 by Tom Federline
The City of Baltimore and Ravens fans were spoiled. We have been spoiled since the Ravens came to town and Game One of September 1996. The guy that secured the middle linebacker position and posed as a motivational speaker for 17 seasons, spoiled us. You are not going to replace a Ray Lewis in one year. You are not going to replace a Ray Lewis in two years. Ray can be replaced, everyone is replaceable. It’s a matter of who and how the team adapts to their approach. What seperates leaders from the average person is communication, passion and the ability to reach a performance level that 99% of the population simply cannot attain. There just aren’t that many Ray Lewis’ out there. So Ravens don’t lose him.
Now Ray-Ray wasn’t running solo in providing the leadership role on the field. He had a little help along the way. How about starting with Art Modell. Then how about some other notable teammates; Jonathan Ogden, Matt Stover, Micheal McCrary, Ed Reed, Matt Birk, Derek Mason, etc. Feel free to add to the list. Did anyone see any consistent leadership qualities from any current Raven on the field this year? How about the sidelines? How about up in the Owners Suite? The Ravens use to have leaders, they all gone.
Week by week it became more apparent – no one was going to step up and take the reigns Ray Lewis had left on the wagon. You would think at the very least, the coach would attempt to take command. Yeah right. You would think at the very least, the rewarded 20 million dollar per year quarterback, would step up into that role. Flacco is a winner, he is not a leader. You would think that in the year following a championship season, there would be player candidates graciously accepting a move into that role. Yeah right. Most of the Ravens games this past year were embarassing. The Ravens finished 8 – 8 and in my book, they should have been 3 – 13. Nice way to follow up a Super Bowl win, huh?
Did they actually, beat any team this year? I can think of one. And really up unitl 2:30 left in the first half, that game was typically sloppy and up for grabs. The Ravens finished that game by beating the Houston Texans, Game 3 of the season, 30 – 9. Luckily, I was there to witness it. It just so happened Ray Lewis was in the house, also. It was Ray Lewis Day – he was getting inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor. Hmmmmm, convincing win with Ray in the house – interesting. The Ravens were a mediocre to poor team this year. After getting fed up watching the Ravens ineptness, I would turn the station and witness the majority of other NFL teams actually moving the ball with confidence and wondering to myself – Why can’t the Ravens do that?
The Ravens year of 2013 was definately a ride of “Good Times/Bad Times” – Led Zepplin). 2013 started off “Good”, but ended up “Bad”. The Super Bowl Run/Ray Lewis’ last ride, was better than good – it was awesome. The 2013 regular season was challenging to watch. They were lucky to survive without losing face. Actually they did lose face, right out of the gates – Game 1 vs. Denver. The season was a bust. Thirty-three minutes of the Texans game and two minutes five seconds of a Vikings snow game. The rest, was a waste of time. There were some positives: Justin Tucker, Marlon Brown, Justin Tucker, Daryl Smith, Justin Tucker, Jacoby Jones, Justin…..ok, dig the reoccuring theme? The kicker was as close as the Ravens got to a Leader.
Ok, you win the Super Bowl and the team gets dismantled. So who do you rely on? Front office? Yes, do your job and replenish. Coaches? Yes, that should go without saying. Did any of that happen? No. The Front office blows it, recogmize and correct next year. The Coach doesn’t step up – that’s a big problem. The guy who rode Rays coat-tails, did not step up. When Flacco did not step up, when Suggs did not step up, when Rice did not step up, somebody had to and nobody did. Come on, John Horribaugh, you maybe paid the least compared to star players, but it is your job to at least get those overpaid steroid boys to show up and perform.
The Ravens need a leader or two on the field and they need a leader on the sidelines. Right now, they have neither. Gut checks are in order, (along with a revamped offensive line). Candidates: Defense – Elam. Offense – it has to be Flack Nut. Coaching? – I’m not a John Horribaugh fan, never have been. Can the Ravens get his brother Jim? Now there’s a coach in my book.
We were spoiled. The only game the Ravens actually WON, Ray Lewis was in the house. Hmm???? Hey Ray, whatcha ya gonna do when you get done playing TV analyst? Let’s start out with Director of Player personnel and Motivational Speaker, then linebackers coach and Inspirational speaker, then defensive coordinator and Motivational speaker. Then by that time, hopefully you would have mentored somebody to take over the reigns. Who knows? There just may come a day, when Ray Lewis on the sideline again. If not on the sideline, get him under a lifelong contract as part of the organization. Front office….. step up! Nobody else did.
T-minus 53 days until O’s first Spring Training Game.
Posted on 03 January 2014 by Nick Dorsey
Wild card weekend is just about upon us and the hunt for the Lombardi trophy is here. It has been a great NFL season with so much at stake the last week of the regular season. There were teams that have clinched long ago and also teams that got great fortune getting in to the big dance. It is time to make my playoff predictions for the whole entire playoffs, round by round.
Wild Card Weekend:
#3 Bengals defeat #6 Chargers
San Diego is a team that got the great fortune to be in this position. After losses by Miami, Baltimore and a crucial penalty that was not called in regulation, San Diego gets their shot at the Bengals. Phillip Rivers has been tremendous this season, deservedly so he is back at the Pro Bowl. He has done wonders with an offense that consists of Danny Woodhead, Eddie Royal and rookie Keenan Allen. I want to pick San Diego this game, but it’s about time the Bengals start living up to their consistent pre season hype. They have all the talent to go the distance; Andy Dalton is the ultimate wild card for that team. The defense is still very good despite the losses of Geno Atkins and Leon Hall. That defense and AJ Green will make the difference in this game, as well as Giovanni Bernard out of the backfield.
#4 Colts defeat #5 Chiefs
Andy Reid has turned around this team from number one overall pick to a wild card contender. Jamaal Charles has been as good as it gets in the NFL at running back. The defense has been a story as well for the Chiefs, led by Tamba Hali. Bottom line for this game, I’m taking Andrew Luck over Alex Smith to win this game. Smith is considered a “game manager” which he is for Kansas City, I just don’t see him being able to go out and win a game in the end when it counts. Andrew Luck is difficult to beat at home, despite his lack of talent surrounding him, lackluster offensive line and non-existent running game. I’m picking Luck to get his first career playoff win and it wont be his last.
#3 Eagles defeat #6 Saints
When Carolina sealed the deal for the NFC South division title, you knew it was trouble for the Saints. They consistently struggle on the road; they are a completely different team when they play indoors. Philadelphia is a team that is being overlooked. Chip Kelly’s offense has caught fire as of late, due to the great play of Nick Foles and a rejuvenated Lesean McCoy. Foles has only thrown two interceptions all season, I like that heading into the playoffs. A quarterback making good decisions with the leagues leading running back that is a dangerous combination.
#5 49ers defeat Packers
Aaron Rodgers made his return in Week 17 defeating Chicago to win the NFC North title. He played a great game and made the play at the end when it was needed the most. Temperatures in Green Bay for the game are going to be below freezing, which should favor the Packers. I like the 49ers in this game. Its asking a lot out of Rodgers to come back this late after an injury and expect him to take this team the distance, especially starting against this defense round one. San Fran does not typically play in this type of weather, but a team that has a rushing attack led by Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick get my pick.
#1 Broncos defeat Colts
Andrew Luck got the best of Peyton Manning when they first met early in the season at Lucas Oil stadium. That will not happen again. Denver is at home and loaded with offensive firepower. I cannot say the same for Andrew Luck. Ever since Reggie Wayne went down, the offense has struggled a lot more. I cannot imagine a scenario in which Luck can outscore Manning in a Denver shootout.
#2 Patriots defeat Bengals
Tom Brady should be in the MVP conversation, but he wont be because he doesn’t have the Peyton Manning stats. Brady has done way more with a whole let less and still has his team as the second seed. This is the time of year where Tom Brady shines and he will do it once again. Cincinnati has been banged up in the secondary, which does not bode well for them. I’m taking Brady at home because I don’t believe Andy Dalton has what it takes to be the difference at Foxboro.
#5 49ers defeat #1 Seattle
My biggest upset pick of the post-season. I have made it known throughout the whole season that if there is one team that can knock off the Hawks at home, it is San Fran. Seattle showed some weakness at home, losing to the Cardinals. The 49ers have the defense to contain Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. Aldon Smith is back to being in his all-star form and he helps take that defense to a new level. Percy Harvin is finally back for Seattle, but how much of an impact can you really expect him to have at this point without hardly playing? I like the offensive combination of Crabtree, Boldin and Davis against the Seattle defense. Boldin has been big-time in the playoffs before, would not be shocked to see him do it again.
#5 Eagles defeat #2 Carolina
It has been a great year for Riverboat Ron and the Panthers organization. They are proof of how great drafting quickly translates to franchise success. Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly both won their rookie of the year honors in their rookie years. Cam Newton has been great all season, making smart decisions when throwing and showing better patience in the pocket. I don’t think they lose this game because of the offense. The defense in Carolina has gotten a lot of the attention throughout the season by the media. They have been great this season, but I still see a weakness that will get exposed. Their front seven is as good as it gets, but their secondary is shaky. Desean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Zach Ertz and Brent Celek will do their best to show that. If the front seven does not get consistent pressure on Nick Foles, it will be trouble for the Panthers. Nick Foles has been one of the NFL’s best QB’s when facing the blitz. So if Carolina cannot bring him down, watch out for the Eagles in the NFC championship game.
#2 Patriots defeat #1 Broncos
Even when odds seem all against him, never bet against Tom Brady. He does not have the best of weapons to work with, but don’t ever count him out. The pressure will be all on the Broncos to win this game, which favors the Patriots. We saw what happened earlier this season between the two teams, New England stormed back to win after a 24-point deficit. This will be another chapter to the epic Manning/Brady rivalry that we have been so fortunate to see. Bottom line, it will be cold in Denver, maybe even wintery weather. I’m taking Brady in this one over Manning. After this one, people might begin to wonder why they didn’t vote Brady for MVP.
#5 49ers defeat #3 Eagles
The Eagles have had a great season under first year head coach Chip Kelly, but the road ends here. San Fran was in the Super Bowl last season and I expect them to be back. Philly has been known for their constant trips to the NFC championship, but not for their trips to the Super Bowl. I like San Fran to shut down the run and force Foles to beat them. If you allow the 49ers to pin their ears back and get to the QB, that’s trouble. The 49ers make their return trip to the Super Bowl, fortunately for Jim Harbaugh, John wont be on the other sideline.
#5 49ers defeat #2 Patriots
It will take everything for New England to defeat the Broncos in Denver without Rob Gronkowski. I cannot imagine Tom Brady being able to squeeze out another big time win with the talent that surrounds him, especially against the 49ers defense. The Patriots defense will have trouble accounting for the balance of this 49ers offense. The running game is loaded and the weapons on the outside will be too much for New England. Kaepernick gets his first Super Bowl title, as does Jim Harbaugh. If Tom Brady can somehow win this game, he will be the greatest QB to ever play in the NFL. Unfortunately for him, San Fran will have too much firepower to win this game.
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