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Mocking The 53: One Final Preseason 53 Man Roster

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Mocking The 53: One Final Preseason 53 Man Roster

Posted on 04 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

The preseason is over and the Baltimore Ravens face a Saturday deadline to trim their roster to 53 players.

I said this after the loss to the St. Louis Rams was over, but it bears repeating. I have AGONIZED over putting together an only somewhat educated MOCK roster. I can’t IMAGINE how Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, Eric DeCosta and George Kokinis are handling it.

Here’s what I said the first time I made this list…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

Here’s my final Mock 53…

1. QB Joe Flacco
flacco
2. RB Ray Rice
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. LB Ray Lewis
6. OT Michael Oher
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

No changes in this group. The Ravens hope they all remain in the Top 10 this season.

11. TE Todd Heap
12. DE Trevor Pryce
pryce
13. DL Cory Redding
14. CB Fabian Washington
15. FB Le’Ron McClain
16. OL Marshal Yanda
17. C Matt Birk
18. S Dawan Landry
19. S Tom Zbikowski
20. CB Josh Wilson

Former Maryland Terrapins CB Josh Wilson joins this group, as he’ll immediately be expected to make an impact at CB and possibly on Special Teams as well. He might not start against the New York Jets on September 13, but expect him to be on the field.

21. CB Chris Carr
22. P Sam Koch
koch
23. QB Marc Bulger
24. DT Kelly Gregg
25. S Haruki Nakamura
26. CB Lardarius Webb
27. TE Ed Dickson
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. OL Chris Chester
30. RB Willis McGahee

It’s a shame only one AFC punter can make the Pro Bowl, as Shane Lechler has sorta locked down the spot in recent years. Koch looks like he might be the type of player who could put together a season worthy of a trip to Hawaii.

31. OT Jared Gaither
gaither
32. DT Terrence Cody
33. LB Jameel McClain
34. LB Dannell Ellerbe
35. LB Tavares Gooden
36. LB Antwan Barnes
37. OL Tony Moll
38. RB Jalen Parmele
39. TE Dennis Pitta
40. DE Paul Kruger

Terrence Cody and Jared Gaither have both dropped, only because neither have been on the field. At this point, we can’t really expect either to be on the field at the Meadowlands for the Monday Night Football opener. When they get healthy, expect them both to climb.

41. DT Brandon McKinney
42. LS Morgan Cox
morgancox
43. DT Kelly Talavou
44. OT Oniel Cousins
45. K Shayne Graham
46. WR Demetrius Williams
47. QB Troy Smith
48. LB Prescott Burgess
49. WR Marcus Smith
50. S/CB KJ Gerard
51. DT Arthur Jones
52. WR David Reed
53. WR Donte’ Stallworth* (Will miss first 8 weeks of season with broken foot)

I think Shayne Graham’s experience gets him on the roster, but I’m 51-49 towards him at this point over Billy Cundiff. Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith and David Reed are all on my roster-but seven receivers seems like an awful lot. Smith or Reed would be the odd man out if necessary. I think Troy Smith makes the roster. Not because teams HAVE to keep three quarterbacks, but because I think he’s a better player than Ken Hamlin, Travis Fisher or Prince Miller (to name a few). Prescott Burgess beats out Jason Phillips and Edgar Jones, Arthur Jones beats out Lamar Divens for the final spots on the roster in my book.

54. CB Cary Williams* (Suspended for 2 weeks, does not count against roster)

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(CB Marcus Paschal-IR)
(OL Daniel Sanders-IR)
(FB Mike McLaughlin-IR)
(LB Sergio Kindle-No contract/Expected PUP)
(LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-Starting season on Reserve PUP)
(RB Matt Lawrence-Starting season on Reserve PUP)
(S Ed Reed-Starting season on Reserve PUP)

edreed

55. K Billy Cundiff
56. OL David Hale (Possible IR)
davidhale
57. CB Travis Fisher
58. CB Prince Miller
59. LB Edgar Jones
60. LB Jason Phillips
61. S Ken Hamlin
62. DT Lamar Divens
63. OT Ramon Harewood (possible IR)
64. TE Davon Drew
65. OT Joe Reitz
66. WR Justin Harper
67. DE Albert McClellan
68. WR Eron Riley
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OT Stefan Rodgers
71. OL Bryan Mattison
72. CB Brad Jones
73. CB Chris Hawkins
74. OT Devin Tyler

Here’s a stab at the 10 man practice squad:
Prince Miller,  Jason Phillips, Davon Drew, Joe Reitz, Eron Riley, Curtis Steele, Albert McClellan, Brad Jones, Stefan Rodgers, Bryan Mattison

Thoughts? Concerns? Comments?

We’ll know how it all shakes out shortly.

-G

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Morning Reaction 53 Man Roster

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Morning Reaction 53 Man Roster

Posted on 03 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Drew Forrester and I put together our own 53 man mock roster Friday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. Here’s a look position by position.

A reminder that we made this last based on the 53 players WE would keep if we were Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh. These are NOT necessarily the 53 players we believe the RAVENS will keep. Also, the roster TECHNICALLY has 54 players, as Cary Williams does not count against the roster for the first two weeks while suspended.

The players who are NOT in parenthesis are players we agreed were “slam dunk” on the roster. The players who are in parenthesis are players that were “bubble” guys or warranted some level of conversation.

The final players we cut were David Reed and Arthur Jones.

QB: (3)
Joe Flacco
Marc Bulger
(Troy Smith)

RB: (4)
Ray Rice
Willis McGahee
Le’Ron McClain
Jalen Parmele

TE: (3)
Todd Heap
Ed Dickson
Dennis Pitta

WR: (6)
Anquan Boldin
Derrick Mason
Mark Clayton
Donte’ Stallworth
(Demetrius Williams)
(Marcus Smith)

OL: (9)
Michael Oher
Jared Gaither
Matt Birk
Ben Grubbs
Marshal Yanda
Chris Chester
Tony Moll
Oniel Cousins
(David Hale)

DL: (8)
Haloti Ngata
Cory Redding
Trevor Pryce
Kelly Gregg
Terrence Cody
Paul Kruger
Brandon McKinney
(Kelly Talavou)

LB: (8)
Ray Lewis
Terrell Suggs
Jarret Johnson
Tavares Gooden
Jameel McClain
Antwan Barnes
Dannell Ellerbe
(Prescott Burgess)

CB: (4*)
Fabian Washington
Chris Carr
Josh Wilson
Lardarius Webb
Cary Williams* (makes team, but does not count against 53 man roster to start season)

S: (5)
Dawan Landry
Tom Zbikowski
Haruki Nakamura
(KJ Gerard)
(Ed Reed)

ST: (3)
Sam Koch
Morgan Cox
(Shayne Graham)

graham
(Photo courtesy of SB Nation/BaltimoreBeatdown.com)

If you want to know how we made these conclusions, you can hear our entire segment NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net!

-G

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Not A Great Night in St. Louis For Ravens on Bubble

Posted on 03 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

I’m going to save my final thoughts on the Ravens’ upcoming roster cuts for Friday, but I figured I’d share some thoughts from the Baltimore Ravens’ 27-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams Thursday night before I did.

Plenty of jobs were considered to be “on the line” Thursday night, but not a whole lot of them appeared to be locked up by those on the Ravens’ bubble. I’m only going to consider the players that were at least CLOSE to the bubble coming in. With no offense to the likes of Curtis Steele and Chris Hawkins, they’re not really even worth discussing.

Looking position by position at the performance of different players…

Troy Smith, QB: Troy’s numbers were as poor as his decision making at times. He finished 18-38 for 237 yards and 2 picks. He also ran for a pair of scores. If we’re being fair, the O-Line Troy played in front of was unthinkably bad and Cam Cameron didn’t really experiment too much with play-calling.
Davon Drew, TE: Drew finished the game with 2 catches for 23 yards, but was probably too far off the bubble for anything he did to matter all that much.
Demetrius Williams, WR: Williams made two grabs for 38 yards, one of which his size made a difference for. With Donte’ Stallworth hurt, I felt like Williams was much safer on the bubble-but he gave a solid performance especially considering his ankle injury.
Marcus Smith, WR: He was targeted twice but didn’t come down with a catch. He’s had a solid preseason, but nothing happened Thursday night to help him clinch a spot on the roster.
David Reed, WR: Reed had a very good night Thursday. He made three catches for 65 yards and averaged 34.5 yards on four kick returns. There might not be a kick return job available, but his versatility could help him make the roster.
Ramon Haredwood, OT and Joe Reitz, OT:  I’m going to try to be fair to both of these guys here. The entire offensive line was terrible Thursday night, and all were playing out of position. The injuries to Jared Gaither, Oniel Cousins and David Hale may force the Ravens to keep an extra O-Lineman, but nothing they saw Thursday night will help them make that decision. Harewood was awful and made bad decisions to boot. Reitz played out of position and looked lost at times.
Brandon McKinney, DT: When he was on the field, McKinney looked to be in the right place. If he really was on the bubble he probably isn’t any more.
Kelly Talavou, DT: The entire first unit on the field struggled, and the D-Line didn’t help to get in the backfield and pressure Sam Bradford. That being said, they weren’t particularly gauged up the middle either. Talavou is probably safe on the roster.
Arthur Jones, DT and Lamar Divens, DT: Neither Jones not Divens were particularly bad Thursday night, but if either were on a particular side of the bubble before the game they probably stayed there.
Jason Phillips, LB and Prescott Burgess, LB: Jason Phillips finished the game with a team high 9 tackles. Unfortunately, what stuck out from his performance was his complete inability to cover the pass. I doubt anyone stood to benefit more from Phillips’ performance than Burgess-who played sparingly but whose experience may be enough to get him on the roster.
Edgar Jones, OLB: It looked like Edgar Jones played with a real sense of urgency Thursday night. His 3 tackles included a sack and another TFL. I’m not sure Jones can be counted on as a pass rusher, but his versatility could be enough for John Harbaugh and Greg Mattison to choose to keep him around.
Travis Fisher, CB and Prince Miller, CB: It’s hard to figure out who was bad here and who was worse. Neither looks like a realistic option to be a NFL CB at the moment, and Miller compounded the issue by muffing a punt-which nearly lead to a Rams touchdown.
Ken Hamlin, S and KJ Gerard, S: Neither player really made much of a positive impact Thursday night, but that was a common theme. Gerard did end up recovering Prince Miller’s muff in the endzone, but I don’t think that will make much of a difference. If Ed Reed is healthy to start the season (that’s a big “if”), I don’t think either will end up on the roster.
Shayne Graham, K and Billy Cundiff, K: No field goal attempts, but the duo combined to make all 3 extra point attempts. Cundiff was a little bit better on kickoffs, which could end up helping him.

I’m agonizing over a MOCK roster. I can’t imagine what’s going on in the minds of Harbaugh, Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and George Kokinis right now.

It should be an interesting weekend-or at least much more interesting than the football game Thursday night.

-G

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Purple Haze Chat 8pm Tonight!

Posted on 02 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

It might not look like NFL football, but technically it will be. The Baltimore Ravens visit the St. Louis Rams tonight at Edward Jones Dome, kickoff is at 8pm. We chose to pass on the St. Louis trip, mostly because the Ravens are going to choose to pass on playing the majority of their starters in tonight’s game.

With that being said, the game can be seen tonight on WBAL11, and I will be following along from my couch in Rosedale. Other WNST and WNST.net personalities will be joining me in tonight’s “Purple Haze” chat, which begins at 8pm and you can join HERE. I’m sure there will be Orioles discussion, as well as college football and U.S. Open talk-at least if I have my way.

Troy Smith is expected to start at QB for the Ravens and play all four quarters. The Rams are expected to start rookie QB Sam Bradford and have their starters in the game for about 15 snaps. Smith is one of many Ravens players fighting for a roster spot as Saturday’s deadline for NFL teams to get to 53 players looms. Other players squarely on the bubble include WR’s Demetrius Williams, David Reed and Marcus Smith, TE Davon Drew, OL David Hale, OT’s Ramon Harewood and Joe Reitz, DT’s Kelly Talavou, Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens; LB’s Jason Phillips, Edgar Jones and Prescott Burgess; CB’s Travis Fisher and Prince Miller and S’s Ken Hamlin and KJ Gerard. Kickers Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham are still in a heated battle for a roster spot as well.

The Rams have announced that the following players will be deactivated tonight:

QB AJ Feeley
RB Steven Jackson
WR Laurent Robinson
DE James Hall
LB Na’il Diggs
S James Butler

The Rams have announced that Kenneth Darby will start for Jackson, Keenan Burton will start for Robinson, David Vobora for Diggs. Danny Amendola will start for Donnie Avery, who the team placed on IR earlier in the week.

The Ravens have announced (via the Twitter account of their own Mike Duffy) that there will not be any inactives announced tonight. However, it is safe to expect that almost all starters as well as other injured players will not play tonight.

Look forward to chatting with you at 8pm!

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 01 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because…well it just is, damnit. And oh yeah, it’s time for me to name this week’s “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.”

The NEW version this week goes to Gyptian for the song “Hold Yuh.” Apparently the song’s been around for a few months, so I found out via Facebook that I’m not that hip. Like I didn’t know that before…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhT_e6D3DeA[/youtube]

The RETRO “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” is Counting Crows’ “American Girls.” What an underrated freaking song…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ_MUfryl-w[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Ravens acquire CB Josh Wilson from Seattle Seahawks for 2011 NFL Draft pick

My initial thought on the trade?

“Good move.”

That feeling hasn’t changed.

Look, Josh Wilson is NOT going to be confused for Chris McAlister (at least not Chris McAlister in his prime) at any point. But Josh Wilson has started 24 of the last 28 games in the Emerald City, and has pulled down six interceptions over the last two years.

This acquisition does a number of things for the Ravens. My guess is that the departure of Travis Fisher will come soon after. I had thought Fisher would hold a roster spot until Cary Williams was ready to return, but they don’t have to just keep him on the roster for the sake of keeping him anymore. They could still end up keeping him to have a fourth healthy corner Week 1 when the Ravens face the New York Jets, but if Lardarius Webb is ready to go they’ll already have four.

The move also frees the Ravens to consider allowing Chris Carr to return punts again. Carr was solid in the role a season ago, and is a better option right now than a banged up Mark Clayton or banged up Tom Zbikowski-who is expected to start if Ed Reed isn’t ready to go. If Carr returns punts, there would be less of a need to use a roster spot on Prince Miller-who could probably survive being exposed and end up on the practice squad.

With all of that being said, Josh Wilson is 5’9″ and is NOT a “shutdown” corner. He’s also in the final year of his contract-and given the market for decent corners, he can probably command a decent amount of money.

However, he’s been very solid in recent years and looks like he can help this team in multiple ways. I am in no ways an “everything Ozzie Newsome does is perfect” type of person, but this move looks to be very good-right in the mold of other solid moves made by the organization.

2. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens moved Brendon Ayanbadejo, Matt Lawrence to reserve PUP

These were both expected moves as neither player had been able to do much of anything football-wise either at Training Camp in Westminster or in Owings Mills. With the team needing to get down to 75 active players, these two were totally logical choices.

You know what else is a totally logical choice? Posting this picture of Peaches Geldof, who has to be making her father (yes, the great Bob Geldof) proud. Thanks, The Grumpiest!

geldof

3. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Terrence Cody had knee surgery, likely to miss season opener at New York Jets

Go ahead and make your own comment about how much weight “Mount Cody”‘s knees have to hold up. That’s fine. It’s totally legitimate.

There is a real concern as to whether or not Cody will be dealing with knee issues for the rest of the year or even the rest of his career. He’s quite obviously a large man, and that’s a lot of pressure to put on that part of your body.

It’s unfortunate that the Ravens will likely be without Cody for the visit to the Meadowlands. Cody struggled in Training Camp at McDaniel College, but really seemed to turn something on under the lights when the Ravens faced the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins in the preseason. He looks like a player who is just better in games.

Without Cody, the Ravens will have to rely on whoever makes the team from Brandon McKinney, Kelly Talavou, Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens behind Kelly Gregg. In my most recent “Mocking the 53″ update, I had McKinney and Talavou on the good side of the bubble. It’s totally possible the team will decide to keep another D-Lineman given the injury concerns with a guy like Cody.

4. CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg says Ed Reed had sit-down session with John Harbaugh, Greg Mattison, Chuck Pagano

Before we move on from the Ravens, a few things…

-The Ravens are holding a walkthrough today before tomorrow night’s trip to St. Louis to face the Rams. The walkthrough will be closed to the media, but I will still join Thyrl Nelson at 12:50 on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” and Rex Snider at 4:30 on “The Afternoon Drive” to preview tomorrow night’s game.

-We found out more and more yesterday just how many vets won’t take the field at Edward Jones Dome. Clearly there will be no Joe Flacco, and don’t expect to see Marc Bulger either. Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Todd Heap, Michael Oher, Matt Birk, Marshal Yanda, Ben Grubbs, Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain are all guys I wouldn’t expect to see either. Probably even more than that.

5. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Matusz sparkled as Orioles topped Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Boy has Brian Matusz ever been really FREAKING good recently.

I know the BoSox have just about given up at this point late in the season, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have real players in their lineup.

Matusz has been good recently no matter who the opposition was.

If this is shaping up for Matusz to become the STELLAR young starting pitcher so many folks were hoping he would, the O’s will be in a much better place as an organization.

But with that being said, they still need to go get a real front of the rotation-type starter this offseason to match Matusz and Jeremy Guthrie. If Andy MacPhail does that, everything changes in Charm City.

That’s a big “if.”

6. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of win

Matusz’s line: 6IP, 2ER, 6H, BB, 6K

Luke Scott added his 26th home run of the season (as well as a 2nd RBI and a 2nd run scored) and Felix Pie hit his 5th home run as well. Nick Markakis crushed his 40th double of the season (giving him four 40 double seasons for his career) and Brian Roberts went 2-4 and scored a run as well.

The numbers are good. Go look at them. When you get back, Nina Senicar will be waiting for you with a photo from GQ in Italy. Thanks, Guyism!

Nina

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Brandon Snyder, Robert Andino, Nolan Reimold to be part of September callups for Birds

It is also widely speculated that Chris Tillman will be part up callups, we’ll get back to him shortly.

After struggling for the better part of the season, it is good to see that Brandon Snyder is going to get a shot at the Major League Level. By no means do I believe he should be penciled in to play 1B next season, but it will be interesting to see what he has to offer.

I have a nightmare that keeps playing out in my head. The nightmare is that the Orioles report to Sarasota for Spring Training with the plan to platoon Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold in LF.

I PRAY that isn’t the case.

8. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Chris Tillman shined for Norfolk Tides, Manny Machado picked up RBI double for Aberdeen Ironbirds on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things…

-The O’s are back in action tonight against the Sawx, with Jon Lester facing Jake Arrieta. First pitch at OPACY is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Did you miss Bowie Baysox pitcher Eddie Gamboa this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net to check it out. Some other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • Arnold Palmer-who teamed up with Fred Mills Wednesday morning to talk golf and prostate health with Drew
  • Jon Saraceno (USA Today)-who talked about Rex Ryan and the Jets with Drew Wednesday as well

Plus PLENTY more. It’s all in the Audio Vault, make sure you check it out today. I keep doing so much for you…

9. Washington Post’s Liz Clarke says Ellicott City’s Beatrice Capra beat Karolina Sprem at U.S. Open

This is awesome. In fact, it’s even more awesome because Pam Shriver was talking about it last night during the Caroline Wozniacki match. Much love for tennis in the greater Baltimore area.

Also awesome? The text message Boomer Sooner sent me last night…

“How am I supposed to get anything done when this unseeded dude is forcing Rafael Nadal into tiebreaks?”

I’ll admit it. It took EVERYTHING inside of me to not respond; “Marry me.”

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Travis Baltz could be forced into kicking duties for injured Nick Ferrara when Maryland plays Navy Monday

Nick Ferrara did a good job punting for the Terps when Travis Baltz was hurt last year.

With that said, I have NO interest in seeing Travis Baltz try to kick field goals for the Terrapins this year.

I however DO have an interest in seeing as much of Phuong Nguyen as possible. Thanks, The Smoking Jacket!

nguyen

And finally, I leave you with this.

I’m headed to Timonium Friday for the Maryland State Fair, but before that I made a pit stop this weekend at the Maryland Renaissance Festival down in Annapolis…or Crownsville…or whatever the hell that town is called. It was AWESOME.

They have ice cream in cantaloupe bowls…

cantaloupe

Octoberfest in tankards…

octoberfest

Games I have no idea how to play…

games

And I found a new calling as an axe thrower!

axe

In a word…GLORIOUS.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Live From Owings Mills Update: Ravens Move Lawrence, Ayanbadejo to Reserve PUP; Cody Has Knee Surgery

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ahead of Tuesday’s 4pm deadline, the Baltimore Ravens have made the necessary moves to get their roster down to the necessary 75 active players. All NFL teams face a 4pm deadline Tuesday to make similar moves.

GM Ozzie Newsome announced the team moved LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (quad) and RB Matt Lawrence (knee) from the Training Camp “Active” Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to the regular season “Reserve” PUP list. The moves mean both players will miss at least the first six weeks of the regular season. After Week 6, the Ravens will have three weeks to decide whether or not to activate the players.

Neither move comes as much of a surprise. Coach John Harbaugh told the media last week he was “less convinced” Ayanbadejo would be ready to go after suffering a torn quad in last season’s Week 4 loss to the New England Patriots in Foxborough. Ayanbadejo confirmed Harbaugh’s concerns, telling WNST.net he would “most likely” start the season on the PUP list. Lawrence had not participated at all since being placed on Injured Reserve last November with a knee injury.

Harbaugh said Tuesday that both players were “just not ready yet.” He expressed disappointment, saying “those guys were guys that we really thought at one point in time originally that they’d be ready for minicamp and for OTA’s. They have just not responded as well as we’d hoped to the treatment.”

Harbaugh reminded that the season wasn’t over for either playing, noting “there’s still a process, it’s just slower. We’ll be working those guys for the next number of weeks. Hopefully after six weeks we’ll get a chance to practice with them, and we’ll figure out if they can go at some time-we’ll have to decide at that point.”

Neither player will be eligible to practice during the first six weeks of the season, but can participate in team meetings and other functions around the 1 Winning Drive facility. They can practice for up to 21 days following Week 6 before the team must make a final decision.

On Monday, the Ravens had trimmed their active roster by three players. OL Daniel Sanders and CB Marcus Paschal were placed on IR, while CB Doug Dutch was released. The team now has until Saturday to trim the roster to 53 active players. Only S Ed Reed (hip/groin) remains on the Active PUP list.

KNEE SURGERY FOR CODY:
Terrence Cody has missed the last week of practice with a knee injury, and on Tuesday Harbaugh admitted the Ravens’ 2nd round pick in this year’s NFL Draft had recent knee surgery.

“Terrence had surgery on Tuesday” said the coach. “He’s got a little bit of a tear in his lateral meniscus and he had a loose body floating around in there. They were trying to manage it and there was getting to be a bit of swelling and they finally figured out what it was.”

Cody will be forced to miss more practice time, and the injury could affect his status for the season opener. “That’s a two week deal” said Harbaugh. “There’s a chance he could be back for the opener against the Jets. Or with a bigger guy, sometimes it takes a little longer.”

Harbaugh pointed out that the Ravens are in good shape as they have solid depth on the offensive line. The Ravens will be able to rotate Brandon McKinney, Kelly Talavou, Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens Thursday night when they play the St. Louis Rams. Should Cody miss the game in New York, McKinney would be likely to benefit from extra playing time.

Cody was not available Tuesday to discuss the surgery.

A CHANCE REED COULD PLAY: Harbaugh was asked  Tuesday if there was “a possibility” Reed could play in the Monday Night Football opener despite missing the entire preseason.

“I think that’s a possibility” responded Harbaugh. “The determining factor is going to be ‘what’s best for him’…there’s no way we’re going to rush him back.” Harbaugh added “he’s gonna want to come back as soon as he can. But he’s also been in this thing long enough to understand (he’s) gotta do it the right way.”

Reed has been around the facility this week but has denied interview requests. He was seen on field during practice Tuesday, but was in street clothes and remains on the PUP list. Harbaugh said he and Ed met with GM Ozzie Newsome, Secondary Coach Chuck Pagano and Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison Monday, but he has no inclination as to whether or not he will be on the active roster.

NOTES: Harbaugh said safety Tom Zbikowski didn’t practice Tuesday morning due to a “thigh bruise.” It is not believed to be a serious injury……With Donte’ Stallworth , Mark Clayton hurt and Zbikowski now hurt, CB Prince Miller is expected to the majority of punt returns Thursday night. Harbaugh said it is a “great opportunity” for Miller to try to make the roster, Miller said he wants to show that he “can make some things happen” as a returner……When asked if backup QB Marc Bulger would play Thursday night, Harbaugh said “I don’t know…we’re not going to play a lot of guys”……Hear from Harbaugh, Miller, OL David Hale, WR Derrick Mason and K Billy Cundiff now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……P Sam Koch is scheduled to join Drew Forrester Wednesday morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST

-G

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Roster With One Preseason Game Left

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Roster With One Preseason Game Left

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Following a convincing win over the New York Giants Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium, the Baltimore Ravens have just one more preseason contest to solve the final spots on their 53 man roster.

They’ll play the St. Louis Rams Thursday night at Edward Jones Dome, and a number of players will be hoping it isn’t the final time they don the purple  & black. The team will be forced to trim the roster to 53 players this Saturday.

There have been a few changes to the roster since my last “Mocking the 53″ update; with CB Doug Dutch cut and both OL Daniel Sanders and CB Marcus Paschal placed on IR. I am also going to move Cary Williams OFF the 53 (he will receive an asterisk following the 53) since he will be roster exempt during the two weeks he’s suspended. He’s on the roster, but the cuts Saturday won’t reflect that. Finally, Donte’ Stallworth moves back to the 53rd spot on the roster. He’s not the 53rd best player on the team, but since he can’t participate I won’t continue to lift him.

As a reminder of my overall philosophy in selecting these players, here is the explanation I posted before my initial mock roster…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, here’s how I see the Top 53 shaping up…

(Thanks to The Sun and BaltimoreRavens.com for photos.)

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. RB Ray Rice
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. LB Ray Lewis
6. OT Michael Oher
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs
grubbs

Only a few small changes to the Top 10, as I dropped Michael Oher a couple of spots. The 2nd year tackle from Ole Miss is still VERY important to this football team, and I wouldn’t be stunned at all if his 2nd season ended in a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. But he HAS struggled during the preseason, and this is simply a reflection of that. Otherwise, the top players on the team remain exactly the same.

11. TE Todd Heap
12. DE Trevor Pryce
13. DL Cory Redding
14. CB Fabian Washington
15. FB Le’Ron McClain
16. OL Marshal Yanda
17. C Matt Birk
birk
18. S Dawan Landry
19. DT Terrence Cody
20. S Tom Zbikowski

Just a couple of tweeks in this group as well. Todd Heap moves up a couple spots after his sensational performance Saturday night against the G-Men. On the flip side, Terrence Cody falls a few spots due to the knee injury that forced him to miss Saturday night and has forced him to miss about a week’s worth of practice. I still think “Mount Cody” is going to end up being VERY good, but he hasn’t been very good recently.

21. CB Chris Carr
22. P Sam Koch
23. QB Marc Bulger
24. DT Kelly Gregg
gregg
25. S Haruki Nakamura
26. CB Lardarius Webb
27. TE Ed Dickson
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. OL Chris Chester
30. OT Jared Gaither

A few movers in this group as well, including a significant move from Sam Koch. He’s looking like a real weapon for this team. His performance against the Washington Redskins would have garnered him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors if it had happened during the regular season, and he was exceptional again Saturday night against the Giants. He’s been very impressive to watch both during Training Camp practices at McDaniel College in Westminster and in practices since then at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

Jared Gaither falls a few spots as he continues to battle a back injury. At this point, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be on the field when the Ravens play the New York Jets Sept. 13 in East Rutherford to open the season. Kelly Gregg moves up a few spots, as his value to the team is heightened with Terrence Cody hurt.

31. RB Willis McGahee
32. LB Jameel McClain
33. LB Dannell Ellerbe
34. LB Tavares Gooden
35. LB Antwan Barnes
36. OL Tony Moll
moll
37. RB Jalen Parmele
38. TE Dennis Pitta
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. DT Brandon McKinney

And after the first 30 players on the roster, EVERYTHING IS TOUGH TO FIGURE OUT! Players 31-40 on this list will all make the roster, but they’ll likely fluctuate position as the season goes on.

In the never-ending saga of “As the JACK LB Turns”, the JACK LB position is turning. Sorta. Harbs said Monday that analysts shouldn’t look too much into the fact that Jameel McClain has started all three preseason games, as all three backers are likely to play roughly the same number of snaps. To some extent, I believe him. In three linebackers, the Ravens have about one complete linebacker. If only they could figure out a way to mold the three together. McClain stays ahead of the others due to the fact that he HAS been starting, but the separation he found from the others early in camp is pretty much non-existent at this point.

Tony Moll and Jalen Parmele are also risers in this group. Parmele because his job as kick returner solidifies his level of importance to the team. Moll because with Gaither and Cousins sidelined, he’s stepped in and held down the RT position admirably. In fact, he’s likely moved ahead of Cousins on the depth chart regardless of health. Should Gaither not be able to go on Monday Night Football to open the season, I would expect Moll to start regardless of health.

41. LS Morgan Cox
42. DT Kelly Talavou
43. OT Oniel Cousins
44. QB Troy Smith
45. CB Travis Fisher
46. S Ken Hamlin
47. K Shayne Graham
48. OL David Hale
49. WR Demetrius Williams
50. WR Marcus Smith
marcussmith
51. LB Jason Phillips
52. CB Prince Miller
53. WR Donte’ Stallworth*

Somewhere in this group my confidence level starts to decline a bit. I’m just not exactly sure where it is. Here’s what we know from 41-53.

At 41, Morgan Cox is the Long Snapper, he’s on the team.
At 42, Kelly Talavou appears to be ahead of Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens and comfortably on the roster. He made the roster last year, and the team has maintained faith in him.
At 43, Oniel Cousins is absolutely making the roster as long as he’s healthy. It seems as though he will be-but that’s no guarantee.
At 44, Troy Smith is the team’s 3rd quarterback. The only way he’d not be part of the 53 is if the team were to suddenly find a trade partner or decide for some reason that they don’t need to keep a 3rd quarterback. I find both to be unlikely.
At 45, Travis Fisher is on the team for now. I get the feeling that might not be the case when Cary Williams comes back.
At 46, Ken Hamlin looks like he’s safe until Ed Reed comes back. Of course, there’s a chance that will happen sooner than we thought.
At 47, I still believe Shayne Graham will win the kicking competition. However, I’ve moved him back significantly because there’s almost no difference between he and Billy Cundiff right now. If Cundiff wins, I can’t be surprised anymore. The organization had privately given the job to Graham weeks ago, but there are some factors that might have that job slipping from his grasp.
At 48, David Hale seems safe as long as he’s healthy. That’s a real question mark right now as he battles a tailbone injury. Hale had played well in Camp, and it looked like his improvement had been significant over 12 months.
At 49, Demetrius Williams moves back on the roster. The Ravens will likely want to keep a 4th receiver active with Stallworth hurt, and Williams has more experience than the others on the roster. His size also separates him from the others.
At 50, Marcus Smith is an outstanding Special Teams player. Given some of the players Jerry Rosburg’s unit is missing (including Brendon Ayanbadejo), his inclusion in the Final 53 would make almost too much sense.
At 51, I’m keeping Jason Phillips on the roster for now. Some would argue Prescott Burgess should have his spot, and he’ll have the chance to move ahead.
At 52, Donte’ Stallworth’s injury helps Prince Miller a lot. With Tom Zbikowski starting and Mark Clayton now a slot receiver (who is hurt), it is fair to expect Miller get the bulk of action at punt return this week. That could be enough to lock down a job.
At 53, Donte’ Stallworth holds a roster spot.

54. CB Cary Williams*
carywilliams
(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(CB Marcus Paschal-IR)
(OL Daniel Sanders-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Potential PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Expected PUP)
(LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-Starting season on Reserve PUP)
(RB Matt Lawrence-Starting season on Reserve PUP)

With Ed Reed now hanging around the facility in Owings Mills, those rumblings that he’ll avoid the PUP list will get louder. With Ed, it’s hard to ever really know. Otherwise, we can be sure Brendon Ayanbadejo will start the season on PUP-and it’s safe to assume that Matt Lawrence will be PUP at best.

55. K Billy Cundiff
56. LB Prescott Burgess
57. WR David Reed
58. LB Edgar Jones
59. DT Arthur Jones
jones
60. DT Lamar Divens
61. OT Ramon Harewood
62. S/CB KJ Gerard
63. TE Davon Drew
64. OT Joe Reitz

Everyone between 55-64 has at least a CHANCE to make the final 53.

At 55, Billy Cundiff is neck and neck with Shayne Graham in the kicking competition. One of them will win.
At 56, Prescott Burgess can win a spot on the roster over the next week. His abilities on Special Teams will help him.
At 57, David Reed has played well recently-but hasn’t been outstanding for all of Camp. He’s not far from the roster, but the next week will be crucial for him.
At 58, Edgar Jones has plenty of versatility-but he hasn’t shown himself to be an exceptional OLB. Despite Sergio Kindle’s injury, he doesn’t look like he’s quite made the team yet.
At 59, Arthur Jones has a ton of upside. He also finds himself the victim of a numbers game. The Ravens might be concerned about exposing him, but it seems like he’s better suited for the practice squad.
At 60, Lamar Divens is in a very similar situation as Arthur Jones. The Ravens would hate to give up on a player that “looks like a Raven” the way Divens does, but he might not fit on the roster right now.
At 61, Ramon Harewood still looks like a very qualified candidate for IR given his knee issue just after the NFL Draft. Injuries to Gaither and Cousins could make him a roster option.
At 62, KJ Gerard has REALLY been hurt by not being on the field for stretches this preseason. The Ravens need secondary help, and he could provide it if he could stay healthy. This is a big week for him.
At 63, Davon Drew has played really well this summer. Unfortunately, there just doesn’t appear to be room for a 4th Tight End on the roster.
At 64, Joe Reitz could end up making the roster given the same injuries to Gaither and Cousins. But if I was a betting man, my money wouldn’t be on him.

65. WR Justin Harper
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
riley
68. DE Albert McClellan
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OL Bryan Mattison
71. OT Stefan Rodgers
72. CB Brad Jones
73. CB Chris Hawkins
74. OT Devin Tyler

Harper and Riley really offer something to a practice squad given their size. When the Ravens are forced to go up against taller receivers, it will help to have taller receivers to match up against in practice. Others on this list look like solid practice squad options as well-of which Curtis Steele could be one of them.

Questions? Concerns? Song requests? Let me know. I’ll post my final Mocking The 53 Friday.

-G

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Mocking The 53: Roster Taking Shape Through 2 Preseason Games

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Mocking The 53: Roster Taking Shape Through 2 Preseason Games

Posted on 24 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

The Baltimore Ravens have wrapped up Training Camp at McDaniel College in Westminster and have now settled in at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

They’ve won their first two preseason games against the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins, and have just two more preseason contests left (they host the New York Giants Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium and visit the St. Louis Rams a week from Thursday) before they open the regular season September 13th at the Meadowlands against the New York Jets on the national stage of Monday Night Football.

Before they get there, they’ll have to make some major roster decisions. After the game against the Giants, they’ll have to trim the roster slightly before the Tuesday (August 31) deadline to be down to 75 players. Following that, they’ll have just 4 days to make final decisions before the roster is cut to 53 on Saturday, September 4.

There are no changes to the physical roster (except where we expect Lardarius Webb to be when the season begins) since my 4th “Mocking the 53″ update, but there are some changes to the 53 itself. Before we get to that, a reminder of the explanation of the list I wrote before the initial version…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, let’s look again at how the Top 53 shapes up…

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. RB Ray Rice
3. OT Michael Oher
oher
4. WR Anquan Boldin
5. DT Haloti Ngata
6. LB Ray Lewis
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

Only one real change in the Top 10, and it comes from someone who hasn’t performed much at all. Ray Rice has played little at all through two preseason games, and it has shown you everything you need to know about the importance of the 3rd year back from Rutgers. His place in this Ravens offense is INCREDIBLY significant, and without him heavily involved, they are just not the same-no matter who is playing receiver.

Otherwise, everything about the Top 10 remains the same. I know Michael Oher has struggled a bit in the first two preseason games-but Oher is a very good player. He was a bit of a 2nd half guy a season ago (remember his struggles in the first half against Jared Allen when the Ravens visited the Minnesota Vikings but his stellar 2nd half in the same game), and might be a player who just needs some more rhythm to shine. I’m not concerned yet myself.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. DL Cory Redding
13. TE Todd Heap
14. DT Terrence Cody
15. CB Fabian Washington
16. FB Le’Ron McClain
17. OL Marshal Yanda
yanda
18. C Matt Birk
19. S Dawan Landry
20. S Tom Zbikowski

Almost all of this group remains the same as well. Tom Zbikowski enters the Top 20, as he has played very well knowing he will be in the starting lineup with the Ravens visit East Rutherford Week 1 barring some sort of Ed Reed miracle. I also think it is worth pointing out that while John Harbaugh may have claimed that he ISN’T voting “McClain 4 RB”, Le’Ron McClain has been very good during the preseason-and it would be surprising if he didn’t make more of an impact in the offense this season.

21. CB Chris Carr
22. OT Jared Gaither
23. QB Marc Bulger
24. TE Ed Dickson
25. S Haruki Nakamura
nakamura
26. CB Lardarius Webb
27. K Shayne Graham
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. OL Chris Chester
30. LB Dannell Ellerbe

There are some subtle changes in this group-starting with Jared Gaither. Gaither falls out of the Top 20 because we just don’t know what to make of his health. The initial prognosis surrounding his back tear made us believe that he should be available before the Ravens head to New Jersey on Sept. 13. Of course, at this point we’re starting to reach a place where “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Dannell Ellerbe moves back into the Top 30 this week. After watching the other interior LB’s competing for the starting JACK spot against the Skins, I get the feeling that Ellerbe’s ability to play the pass will ultimately get him back into the starting lineup.

Lardarius Webb re-enters “The 53″ at #26. As we see more of what he’s capable of doing early on, we will see how quickly he can rise on the list. Shayne Graham drops a few spots as well despite the fact that I truly believe he’ll be the kicker of record come MNF on Sept. 13. I just somehow needed to reflect the fact that Billy Cundiff has kicked well recently, including 2 makes Saturday night at FedEx Field.

31. P Sam Koch
32. RB Willis McGahee
mcgahee
33. WR Donte’ Stallworth
34. DT Kelly Gregg
35. TE Dennis Pitta
36. LB Jameel McClain
37. LB Tavares Gooden
38. CB Cary Williams
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. OT Oniel Cousins

There are a few significant risers in this group. One is Sam Koch, who was tremendous again Saturday night in DC. His contract situation is an uncomfortable spot for the team, as he is going to get paid SOMEWHERE-but the team has set a precedent in the past that they won’t give big money to a punter (see Kyle Richardson and Dave Zastudil).

Willis McGahee also rises on this list, despite the fact that a number of armchair GM’s in Charm City would have already dealt him for just about anyone with the letters “CB” next to their name. McGahee continues to prove himself as being very valuable, both as a reserve who can take a number of carries and as an impressive short yardage back.

The third riser in this group is Cary Williams-who was exceptional again Saturday night. It may have been preseason football, but the QB Williams picked off (Donovan McNabb) is still a future Hall of Famer. Williams’ size (he’s 6’1″) really DOES make a difference when it comes to how we look at his role moving forward. Should he continue to play similar to his size, Williams could develop into a legitimate NFL corner.

41. LB Antwan Barnes
42. S Ken Hamlin
43. QB Troy Smith
44. DT Kelly Talavou
45. DT Brandon McKinney
46. RB Jalen Parmele
parmele
47. OL Tony Moll
48. LS Morgan Cox
49. CB Travis Fisher
50. OL David Hale
51. LB Jason Phillips
52. WR David Reed
53. S/CB KJ Gerard

Travis Fisher is hanging by a thread-and I would suggest that at this point he’s BARELY ahead of either KJ Gerard or Prince Miller. No matter how quick Anthony Armstrong is, there’s no way that Fisher should have been embarrassed by him the way he was Saturday night. I’ll leave him on the roster for now, if only because the Ravens have to have SOME healthy corners lining up against Santonio Holmes Braylon Edwards and company September 13. I’m also keeping Gerard ahead of Prince Miller, only because Gerard has more to offer on Special Teams right now than Miller does.

(Editor’s note: Thanks to all who pointed out Holmes will miss the first 4 games. Absolutely right. My mistake. I need a better editor. Or an editor.)

Two players who I moved back onto the roster thanks to their performance Saturday night are Jason Phillips and David Reed. Reed not only played well offensively, but also made a very key Special Teams tackle. Proving his value on Special Teams changes everything-which goes for Phillips as well. That being said, Edgar Jones is a very valuable AND versatile player who I currently have OFF the 53, so these standings remain tentative.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)
(LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-potential PUP or injury settlement until known otherwise)
(RB Matt Lawrence-potential PUP or injury settlement until known otherwise)

I’m taking both Ayanbadejo and Lawrence out of the equation for now. There are other players on this team battling injuries, but neither of them have even done significant work in practice. Until I see that, I’m going to work under the assumption that they won’t be part of the team Week 1. That can change rapidly. A week ago, we were working under the assumption that Lardarius Webb would start the season on PUP.

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. CB Prince Miller
56. LB Edgar Jones
57. WR Demetrius Williams
58. DT Arthur Jones
59. OT Ramon Harewood
60. DT Lamar Divens
divens
61. TE Davon Drew
62. LB Prescott Burgess
63. WR Marcus Smith
64. WR Justin Harper
65. FB Mike McLaughlin
66. WR Eron Riley
67. DE Albert McClellan
68. RB Curtis Steele
69. OT Joe Reitz
70. CB Marcus Paschal

The reality is that Miller, Edgar Jones and Williams are in direct competition at positions where there is probably room to keep another player. Arthur Jones and Divens are probably in positions where keeping another player just might not be a legitimate option. Of course, we didn’t all think the Ravens would keep both McKinney and Talavou a season ago, and what did we learn there?

Mike McLaughlin’s name will keep coming up, but keeping him on the 53 really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There isn’t MUCH risk in exposing an undrafted rookie FB who has just converted to LB. Giving him more time on the practice squad could really benefit him as a player.

71. CB Doug Dutch
dougdutch
72. OL Bryan Mattison
73. OT Stefan Rodgers
74. CB Brad Jones
75. CB Chris Hawkins
76. OT Daniel Sanders
77. OT Devin Tyler

A good sign that you’re a longshot to make the roster? A simple Google image search doesn’t come up with a legitimate picture of you. Thank God for Facebook. Hopefully there’s some practice squad help in this group.

There you have it. Questions? Concerns? Comments? Thoughts in general? Song requests? Let me know.

-G

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Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

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Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

Posted on 16 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

My 3rd Edition of “Mocking The 53″ hit WNST.net just 9 days ago, and much has changed since that time. The most notable difference is the departure of veteran LS Matt Katula, whose roster spot was taken by rookie CB Brad Jones (Cincinnati).

However, there is also some tinkering to the 53 based on how Baltimore Ravens players performed against the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium; and how they continue to perform during Training Camp practices at McDaniel College in Westminster.

For the record, I’ve never been more convinced that any of 60 guys could end up making the final roster. There might not be 70 NFL players on the roster like there were before Camp, but there are still PLENTY of players who have every opportunity to end up amongst the 53.

Here’s a reminder of how I explained these rankings the first time I put them together…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the 53 shapes up…

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. RB Ray Rice
rice

6. LB Ray Lewis
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

I think we were reminded of just how much the Ravens value Ray Rice when he was all but held out of the preseason opener. It’s very clear who the Top 6 players are on the team-just not quite as clear what order the Top 6 are in. Ben Grubbs cracks the Top 10 for the first time, and with the way O-Linemen have been getting banged up for this team during Camp, he might still be rising.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. DL Cory Redding
13. TE Todd Heap
14. DT Terrence Cody
15. CB Fabian Washington
fabian
16. OT Jared Gaither
17. FB Le’Ron McClain
18. OL Marshal Yanda
19. C Matt Birk
20. S Dawan Landry

While Fabian Washington and Terrence Cody continue to climb, Jared Gaither is absolutely falling. John Harbaugh said he expected Gaither to miss 2-3 weeks; but didn’t appear to rule out the possibility that his back tear could keep him out longer. With that in mind, his value falls a bit.

On the flip side, after a rough start to Camp-Cody came on big time against the Panthers. He showed quite a bit of the promise the Ravens had hoped he would when they selected him in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft out of Alabama. Kelly Gregg may still be the starter in the middle of the D-Line, but Cody has significantly greater upside.

Washington is going to have to be ready to be a Top 15 guy on this team whether he’s…well…ready or not. It’s hard to move him so high without him having played against the Panthers, but his importance to the overall makeup of the roster cannot be understated.

21. S Tom Zbikowski
tomz
22. CB Chris Carr
23. LB Jameel McClain
24. K Shayne Graham
25. TE Ed Dickson
26. QB Marc Bulger
27. S Haruki Nakamura
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. DT Kelly Gregg
30. WR Donte’ Stallworth

A couple of movers in this group-including Jameel McClain, who appeared to have the starting ILB job nailed down next to Ray Lewis but has since been splitting time. He’s still very much in the mix and likely ahead of Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden, but we’ll need to see what the team does Saturday night against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Chris Carr and Tom Zbikowski are risers, as their spots as starters have been solidified in recent weeks. Zbikowski may also end up winning the punt return job (I have him slightly ahead of Clayton and Stallworth right now), which could be enough to get him in the Top 20.

As far as Clayton and Stallworth are concerned-Clayton moves ahead of Stallworth for the first time as it appears he’ll be the team’s 3rd receiver. Expect both to get plenty of snaps throughout the season however.

Don’t be surprised if Ed Dickson is this team’s top Tight End sometime between now and the start of the 2011 season. He’ll be in the Top 20 on this list soon.

31. OL Chris Chester
32. LB Dannell Ellerbe
33. TE Dennis Pitta
34. P Sam Koch
35. LB Tavares Gooden
36. RB Willis McGahee
37. LB Antwan Barnes
abarnes
38. QB Troy Smith
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. CB Travis Fisher

Nothing drastically different about this group as of right now. Should Ellerbe or Gooden end up beating Jameel McClain out for the other ILB job, they would clearly move ahead of him on the roster. A good showing against the Panthers lifts Paul Kruger a bit, and the team continues to tell me they’re pleased with what they’ve seen from the 2nd year DE out of Utah since he reported to Westminster.

There have been rumblings that the team could keep just Flacco and Bulger and allow Troy Smith to walk-but I doubt that. Flacco and Bulger are similar QB’s, while Troy Smith is particularly different. After seeing what happened two years ago when Smith got sick and Kyle Boller got hurt, I don’t think the organization is ready to trim the number of QB’s on the Week 1 roster.

41. OT Oniel Cousins
42. S Ken Hamlin
43. DT Kelly Talavou
talavou
44. DT Brandon McKinney
45. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
46. RB Jalen Parmele
47. CB Cary Williams
48. OL David Hale
49. OL Tony Moll
50. LS Morgan Cox
51. LB Edgar Jones
52. S KJ Gerard
53. WR Demetrius Williams

A few things worth mentioning in this final group:

-David Hale was injured during practice Monday. Until we know more about the nature of the injury we have to assume he’s safely on the roster when the Ravens visit the New York Jets September 13th.

-I have Talavou and McKinney ahead of Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens right now, but Divens has had a solid camp and Jones is a player the Ravens might not want to risk exposing. All 4 remain very much in the mix to be on the team when they get to East Rutherford.

-Despite his suspension, Cary Williams basically has to be a safe bet to be on the team as he’s the 4th corner right now. That being said, the team could still make roster moves between now and their Week 1 appearance on Monday Night Football. Should they do that, Williams could be in trouble. If Williams DOES make the roster, the team will almost be forced to keep an additional corner. I’m keeping KJ Gerard ahead of Prince Miller for now, but if Gerard doesn’t get healthy soon he’ll forfeit that spot right back to Miller.

-Brendon Ayanbadejo is sliding. While he still appears upbeat about his spot on this team, I’m not sure how much longer it can be assumed. He hasn’t really been noticed doing much work on the side, and team sources have told me they’re disappointed in how long Ayanbadejo has remained out. Should he return, he has every chance to make an impact in the nickel package and on special teams; but he has to return to do that.

-I moved Demetrius Williams back to the safe side of the roster and David Reed off. Reed was expected to make a more significant impact in the return game-but that hasn’t necessarily been seen just yet. He could still win the kick return job-which would get him back on the good side of the roster bubble. In the meantime, Williams’ size continues to somehow separate him from the rest of the receivers on this team-which is enough to get him back on the good side of the bubble.

-Morgan Cox takes a spot in the 53. As the team’s only long snapper, that’s a bit of a no-brainer.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(CB Lardarius Webb-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. CB Prince Miller
56. DT Arthur Jones
57. OT Ramon Harewood
58. WR David Reed
59. RB Matt Lawrence
60. TE Davon Drew
ddrew
61. LB Prescott Burgess
62. LB Jason Phillips
63. DT Lamar Divens
64. WR Marcus Smith
65. WR Justin Harper
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
68. DE Albert McClellan
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OT Joe Reitz

Plenty of things worth discussing about this group:

-Mike McLaughlin COULD make the roster at FB with the team apparently more willing to give Le’Ron McClain carries; but I don’t expect it just yet. McLaughlin isn’t the type of guy the team would HAVE to keep to avoid exposing him, so I imagine he’ll end up on the practice squad.

-Billy Cundiff is MUCH closer in the kicking competition than he might appear; but the team has made it clear that Shayne Graham will be their guy. If he’s not going to make the roster, I can’t have Cundiff ahead of 54th.

-Jason Phillips is a guy the team likes a great deal, but may be a victim of a numbers game. He doesn’t have a natural role right now that makes him a guarantee to earn a spot. Prescott Burgess is in a similar position.

-Don’t be stunned if the team ends up keeping Davon Drew and has 4 tight ends on the roster. I just don’t see the room to do it right now myself.

71. CB Marcus Paschal
paschal
72. CB Doug Dutch
73. OL Bryan Mattison
74. OT Stefan Rodgers
75. CB Brad Jones
76. CB Chris Hawkins
77. OT Daniel Sanders
78. OT Devin Tyler

Of this group, Rodgers may have the only realistic path to being part of the team when they hit the field at the Meadowlands. Should Jared Gaither remain out and the team choose to protect Ramon Harewood by placing him on IR; he would have a realistic chance of getting active behind Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll. But that’s a major (and frightening) IF.

-G

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 13 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because we all know that with a preseason Week 1 win, the Ravens are most certainly Super Bowl bound. With the Super Bowl in Dallas (and considering that Sunday is WWE SummerSlam), I was hoping maybe we could hang out with this man while we were in town…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Exbsw5ssn4I[/youtube]

God I love HBK. No wrestling Pay-Per-View is ever as good without him.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Joe Flacco ‘smooth’ in Ravens’ preseason win over Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium

No doubt about it.

Flacco wasn’t quite perfect (he actually surprisingly missed Anquan Boldin on a sideline route that he usually has no trouble with), but he was very good. He spread the ball out to various receivers and made no major mistakes during the 3 drives he was a part of during the first half.

It would have been nice to see a more representative effort from the offensive line; as Tyler Brayton looked like Julius Peppers early on. It would have also been nice to see a bit more balance in the offensive attack, as Ray Rice might as well have stayed home to watch Big Brother last night given his lack of involvement in the game.

That being said, this was preseason football. The Ravens came out of the game healthy, and that is REALLY all that matters.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of win

Troy Smith added a 2nd half rushing TD, Cary Williams pulled down an interception, Curtis Steele was the team’s leading rush and Shayne Graham missed a 50 yard FG.

Anything else you might have missed after you couldn’t take the rain anymore or finally decided to flip over to something else?

You won’t mind looking at any of these numbers; but I have a recommendation beyond that. Look at the numbers, then look at this picture of Lola Ponce from Guyism. Like we always say, WIN-WIN…

lolaponce

3. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Terrence Cody looked like ‘gamer’ for Ravens in win

If that’s what the Ravens are going to get from Terrence Cody this season, they’re going to be THRILLED with taking him in the 2nd round.

Some guys are just the type of guys who need the lights to go on and to step on the field in a game situation to really turn up the volume. Cody told me after the game that the “adrenaline” of the evening changed things for him.

I don’t know if Terrence Cody will ever be a superstar on the practice field or in the classroom. I get the feeling he may struggle in those areas in the future. But what I saw last night as far as the ability to beat double teams, work into the backfield and force plays to come to a head whether they be passes or runs; the guy has a real chance to be a superstar.

“Refreshing” was the word that kept coming to me as I watched his performance.

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester thought Talavou, Kruger, Clayton all solid for Ravens in win

I agree with all three. I also thought Prince Miller and Lamar Divens were pretty good last night, as was Ed Dickson.

Completely absent from that last? One Joe Reitz. It was a tough night for one Joe Reitz…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lggBJYv2QgY[/youtube]

The guy played basketball at Western Michigan!!! I expect more!!!

Of course, Reitz made MUCH more of a name for himself by missing than he could have by connecting. He’ll be a YouTube sensation and will absolutely find himself on SportsCenter’s “Not Top 10″ later today.

So if it was all part of your plan Joe…good on you sir.

5. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Chris Carr and Travis Fisher started in secondary

Fabian Washington (knee) did end up sitting; but apparently Carr talked John Harbaugh and staff into letting him play after the team had originally announced him as a scratch.

Of course, we saw an AWFUL lot of Doug Dutch and Chris Hawkins last night-which means those of you who attended will have something to tell your grandkids someday.

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of notes:

-The Ravens are off today after last night’s game, they return to Westminster for a Training Camp practice at 2:45pm tomorrow. They’ll have two practices at McDaniel College Sunday-at 8:45am and 2:45pm. The Ravens don’t play another preseason game until next Saturday, when the visit the (ugh) Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in DC. I’d almost rather visit hell…

-Did you miss Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to hear directly from the Ravens’ front office. Plenty of other things to listen to in the Audio Vault…

  • Antwan Barnes (Ravens LB) who joined Drew this morning after a big night last night
  • Cal Ripken Jr. (Like I need to explain) who previewed the Cal Ripken World Series with Drew this morning
  • Rich Herrera (Tampa Bay Rays Pre & Postgame Radio Host) who previewed the weekend series with the Orioles at The Trop with Drew
  • Jon Ladd (Baltimore Municipal Golf) who discussed the PGA Championship and this weekend’s Publinx Event with Drew
  • Plenty of locker room reaction from last night’s game-including John Harbaugh, Terrence Cody, Joe Flacco, Mark Clayton and Anquan Boldin
  • Jay Gibbons (Los Angeles Dodgers OF) who joined Rex Snider Thursday afternoon after returning to Major League Baseball
  • Trevor Matich (Comcast SportsNet Redskins Analyst) who discussed Ravens QB Coach Jim Zorn with Rex Thursday afternoon

It’s all in the Audio Vault. Hey-it’s Friday. It’s not like your boss expected you to do any work today anyway.

6. The AP says Jeanmar Gomez pitched Cleveland Indians past Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field

I mean, what can you be expected to do against a Cy Young Award candidate like Jeanmar Gomez?!?!?

I’m not going to try to pretend like I saw any of the game last night. Apparently Kevin Millwood was pretty good-but I guess he gave up a run in the first inning just to keep up appearances.

You know what’s funny? When the Orioles were 3-16, all I could think to myself was “how in the hell did they win 3 games?” Now that they’re 8-2 under Buck Showalter, all I can think is “how in the hell have they lost 2 games???

7. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of loss

And everything is right in the world once again.

You don’t want to look at these numbers, trust me on that.

Instead, look at this picture of Jaime Edmondson. We’ll be fine after that. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

jamie

8. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says O’s reached deals with draft picks Dan Klein, Connor Narron, Parker Bridwell

Klein is the most significant name amongst the group-he helped pitch UCLA to the College World Series a season ago. Connor Narron is the son of MLB vet Jerry Narron, and Parker Bridwell has a name that makes him sound like he should be writing for The New Yorker.

No news on progress with 1st round pick Manny Machado; as the deadline to get guys signed looms this Monday.

Andy MacPhail couldn’t possibly fail to sign a first round pick, right?

Right?

9. Baltimore Business Journal’s Ryan Sharrow says Birds extended agreements with Norfolk Tides, Bowie Baysox, Frederick Keys through 2014

Between this and another story we’ll get to this morning, I guess yesterday was “no-brainer” day in the local sports world. The O’s are better off having their minor league affiliates nearby; as it gives them the option to watch the players in their organization more often and get them back to Charm City quickly should it be necessary.

In fact, I doubt there are better options for affiliates at each level in baseball.

Note-this is something the Orioles do well. You can’t say I didn’t point it out.

10. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Rick Vandenhurk strong for Norfolk Tides in win over Indianapolis Indians on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things…

-After wrapping their series with the Tribe in The Comeback City, the O’s now head to Tampa (or is it St. Petersburg?) for a series with the Rays at Tropicana Field. Jeremy Guthrie takes the hill tonight against James Shields; first pitch is at 7:10pm on MASN. Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta are scheduled to face Andy Sonnanstine and Jeremy Hellickson in the other games this weekend-tomorrow’s game is actually on FOX. Looking at the pitching matchups, I honest to God believe the O’s can win 2 of 3.

-The Orioles will apparently be wearing all orange tonight and the Rays will be wearing the colors of the 1970 Tampa Tarpons-yeah, them. The Village People are going to be playing a postgame concert. If I was celebrating 1970 I would have preferred Chicago myself…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCAbdNXx2sE[/youtube]

11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland TE Lansford Watson has slight MCL tear

As Patrick reports, Ralph Friedgen appears inclined to allow the Terrapins’ TE to keep playing through the injury. Watson is trying to win the starting TE job in a competition with Devonte Campbell.

And if playing through the injury doesn’t work, it isn’t as if the Terps don’t have other options. For example, maybe ESPN’s Chris Berman can give them some scouting info on Dylan Thomas (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…

dylanthomas

12. HopkinsSports.com says JHU lacrosse coach Pietramala has contract extended through 2016

As I said yesterday on Twitter (follow us @WNST), this is an ABSOLUTE no-brainer. There isn’t much of anything more that the Blue Jays could have hoped for under Petro, and he deserves as much security as he wants from the school.

As if John Tillman’s gig in College Park wasn’t tough enough…

(Edit from GMC: As a side note, Johns Hopkins has redone their athletics website. It looks very cool. I’d take a look today if you have the chance.)

13. GoMustangSports.com says Stevenson held first football practice in school history Thursday

Congratulations to coach Ed Hottle and everyone involved in the Stangs’ program there in Owings Mills; as this is a great day for them. Hopefully they will continue to grow from there.

Stevenson also unveiled a new athletics logo yesterday, which actually looks pretty cool…

mustangs

And finally, I leave you with this.

Will “The Expendables” be any good? No idea. Does it have Stone Cold Steve Austin, Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham? Yes, yes it does…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6RU5y2fU6s[/youtube]

You can’t possibly pick “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” over this, could you?

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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