Tag Archive | "terrell"

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A rare matchup of cheesesteak vs. crab cake

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

It doesn’t happen often when the mean streets of the City of Brotherly Love and the quaint “Wire” world of Charm City get together in a meaningful sports contest. Four years ago, we had the infamous Halloween matchup where Terrell Owens – at that point still en vogue in fickle Filthy – danced over Ray Lewis in the north end zone of The Linc.

Twenty five years ago we saw the Orioles take down the Phillies in Game 5 at The Vet to bring Baltimore its final sniff of a World Title in the great game of baseball. Of course, that was “B.A.” – before Angelos.

But I can’t think of another time when Baltimore vs. Philly meant much of anything. And that’s a shame, really.

So as a guy who travels to Philadelphia regularly for concerts, culture and rock and roll (BTW: Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers are reuniting next Wednesday night for a one-time only show at the Electric Factory) it’s always interesting when a sports battle actually involves Baltimore vs. Philly.

As much as there is a “rivalry” of some kind – and let’s be honest, the Phillies are the World Champions and I see their gear all over our town these days so there isn’t much to discuss on the baseball side thanks to Angelos and company – Sunday should be a lot of fun if the violent drunk Philadelphia fans don’t overdo it.

It’s an all-too-rare 90-mile turf war.

Philadelphia – or Filthy, as I lovingly refer to it – has cheesesteaks, decent doughy pretzels, Rocky Balboa, the Flyers, Tastykakes and plenty of grit.

Baltimore has a purple love affair with our football team, Ray Lewis, the Eagles former special teams coach with John Harbaugh and I’ll still take crab cakes over Tastykakes or cheesesteaks.

I suppose it’s unfortunate in some ways that when Art Modell brought the Ravens to town that we didn’t somehow wind up in a division where we could play the Redskins, Giants and Eagles a little more frequently than every four years – or in this case, every EIGHT years in our home market.

Sure, I dig hating on Cleveland and Pittsburgh (as well as feeling empathy for the poor people of Cincinnati), but it’d be a lot more fun to talk about the Eagles and Philadelphia in some sort of “rivalry” way more than every four years.

Of course, ask me again after the game on Sunday once we all spend a day with our “well-behaved” neighbors from the north and I might feel differently.

It all depends on how many picks Donovan McNabb throws us on Sunday.

The Eagles fans are second only to the Browns fans to admire when their team is losing.

Bring on Gang Green…

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Mailbag: A postcard from Cleveland

Posted on 05 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

FROM THE MAILBAG:

nestor:

by the way, made the trip to cleveland last weekend. found the town and 99% of the people to be great. unfortunately there was one dude about 7 rows behind my 2 sons and i that seemed to have a problem with us wearing the purple.

there were some pretty hairy moments, particularly after they scored 10 unanswered to take the lead. i thought i might be watching most of the 2nd half from the lock-up.

needless to say, it suddenly got real quiet in the 4th quarter.

we had a blast.

signed,

brad

Hey Brad:

Well done…send along a pic from the roadie and I’ll post it from now on…

My videos are on wnstv…check ’em out…
I go every year and I almost have a routine at this point.

I love the RTA…

I love the flight…

I love Paninis…I always order the turkey and the cole slaw and fries are the bomb!
I love paying $20 to a scalper for a ticket…

I have great memories of Cleveland…from the 1995 World Series, the 1996 playoffs, Oilers trips back in the 1980’s, Indians games at the old ballpark, nights with Ohio’s finest in the Flats, buddies at Baldwin-Wallace college who I met on a spring break trip…

I’ve seen Springsteen, The Who, Phil Collins, Def Leppard, The Alarm, The Smithereens…tons of bands and trips to Cleveland on Southwest Airlines for $19.

I’ve had many, many, man fun nights in Cleveland. Probably as many in Cleveland as any other place besides Baltimore on earth…
I get to catch up with Phil Savage…

I love the trip…wouldn’t miss it!

BUT…I REALLY love the trip when we kick their asses and I get to watch their fans mercilessly boo the home team…
I honestly don’t recall ever going to Cleveland and NOT hearing their fans boo the team.

It’s as much of a tradition as them playing “Hang on Sloopy”…

They made Tim Couch cry…

Honestly, I didn’t hear them boo them until Terrell Suggs picked off the ball, and for the 50,000 who were left many just grabbed their stuff and rolled.
They didn’t even have the ENERGY to boo them.

It really is a lot of fun going to the games every week and the reason I shoot the videos is to show you what it’s like to be a schmuck from Baltimore in the seats every week.

It’s one of my favorite parts of life: going to Ravens games on the road.
I don’t do “roadtrips” to Cleveland anymore because people really don’t want to go.

If you wear purple, it generally sucks. It’s just not any fun getting crap thrown at you and having your wife get called a whore for three hours. So, we wear black and just have “quiet” fun.

The fans sitting next to us didn’t know we were Ravens fans until the third quarter. We kinda snuck up on ’em. It was a LOT of fun! Extremely memorable! With Obama buzzing around, Springsteen playing music that you could literally hear from our seats, it was pretty cool. And the comeback got me outta my seat high-fiving my wife and screaming like a banshee with a spear…

(Hey I was with Billick tonight at MaGerks…had to slip that one in there…It was a great time and an awesome crowd! Vids are coming soon!)

I can’t wait for Houston…

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The afterglow of Cleveland

Posted on 03 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

With just over a quarter remaining in yesterday’s key divisional AFC North matchup, the Ravens were 14 points down on the road, the Browns fans were coming to life with a chorus of “Hang on Sloopy” (don’t ask…just watch the video!) and the vultures were circling our black birds at Cleveland Stadium.

Some of the Cleveland “faithful” had already begun to pile out onto the street to watch Bruce Springsteen perform before the Barack Obama rally, which was literally adjacent to the stadium (think as close as Oriole Park is to M&T Bank Stadium).

The Browns had our rookie quarterback on the run. Our beaten defense had been pushed around for 30 minutes – or as Terrell Suggs said: “We were getting our asses handed to us.” And staring at a two-touchdown deficit on the road in a hostile environment, it didn’t feel as though a comeback was in the offering.

Todd Heap hadn’t caught a pass. Willis McGahee was on the pine. The backend of the secondary, while not looking like Ike Booth and Donny Brady circa 1996 was still not Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle in their prime for sure.

But, as we learned in the locker room after the game, it was about that time that Ray Lewis came to the forefront on the sidelines and talked about playing a full 60 minutes of football. He talked about believing and not quitting. All of the stuff many may view as “rhetoric” when it doesn’t work was viewed as gospel once the Ravens came storming back to score 24 unanswered points during the final 16 minutes of the game.

And, lo and behold, the Ravens created their first miracle of the John Harbaugh administration and gave us our best memory of Cleveland yet, a stunning 37-27 victory on The Lake. (Well, it’s at least the the best memory in Cleveland since the Roberto Alomar homer back in 1996.)

While the real world is in a seemingly constant state of financial crisis and life isn’t a whole lot of fun for most of us from the gas pump to the checkbook, it’s stupid stuff like sports that can create a little bit of fun and a diversion from daily life. At least here in Baltimore with the fantasyland that sports provides us, it’s turning into a very good year for our football team, which makes for nice Monday mornings.

Hell, it makes for great WEEKS in my world, where everywhere I go and everything I do leads me into a conversation about football and the Ravens.

So, on a personal note, there’s nothing more gratifying than when the Ravens win.

It helps WNST morale. It helps the morale of the community. And it makes food taste a little better and the beer is, to quote Chuck Thompson, a little colder.

The Ravens are 5-3, headed off to play Houston in six days and apparently will draw the Sage Rosenfels quarterback card instead of Matt Schaub, who left the Texans’ game early yesterday.

Ray Lewis is playing like a man possessed, showing himself to be the veteran leader in his “walk” year that we’ve been wanting to see as fans.

It’s officially time to start talking about “Festivus.”

(Does John Harbaugh even know about this sacred football holiday?)

And then there are the three “rookies” who stepped to the podium after yesterday’s gritty, improbable win.

Ray Rice had as big of a day on the road when it mattered against a division rival as you can imagine a rookie having. (Although he’ll be hearing about getting knocked out of bounds short of the end zone a few times this week from teammates.)

Joe Flacco was almost flawless in his effort yesterday and continues to show poise, confidence and ability that are beyond his years.

And rookie coach John Harbaugh is starting to show results in the only place it really matters: the team is 5-3 and could be in first place by the end of the night.

Only time will tell if yesterday’s offense-defense bonding on the Lake will take root and this will be a playoff team (or maybe even a true contender for a Super Bowl title in this oddest of seasons).

The conversations here and around town will talk about the obvious problems: the lack of a bye week, the powerful NFC North teams looming during the holidays and tough games and the secondary will probably be a question mark until proven otherwise. There will be plenty of time to debate all of this, week to week, as the team continues to mature.

But yesterday was one for the books — a classic, an unexpected gem to begin the Festivus season. Not even being stuck in the Cleveland airport for three extra hours last night could wipe the smile off of my face.

As I walked to the subway after hearing about 25 minutes of Springsteen (as many of you know, one of my favorites), we strolled to Tower City Mall as Bruce broke out an acoustic version of “The Rising” and dedicated it to Barack Obama, who was about to take the stage.

Bruce could have just as easily sent that one out to the purple birds, who were trying to navigate the insane scene of 100,000 people on the square downtown en route to the airport for a “rising” of their own.

The rising to the top of the AFC North, creating even more separation from the whole state of Ohio.

The rain began to fall on the Cleveland night as the sun set before 5 p.m. for the beginning of a long, cold winter on Lake Erie.

The Ravens are 5-3. The Browns are 3-5.

Going in opposite directions once again.

The bad news?

We’re all stuck rooting for the Redskins tonight.

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No “I” In Team

Posted on 26 October 2008 by roblong

Throughout the Ravens’ game, I received several texts and e-mails about the Ravens use of Troy Smith. The majority of the messages expressed they felt Coach John Harbaugh gave in to Terrell Suggs’ comments by using Smith in the offense on “certain” packages.

Let me remind you that there’s no “I” in team. While I am paid to give my opinion and I welcome yours, this is Harbaugh’s team. He has to do what’s best for the organization.

I’m sure Harbaugh feels he did exactly that. He’s the new coach with someone else’s players. With that, he’s in a situation where he can actually make a move in the AFC.

Today, the Ravens ran some offensive plays that were, worst case scenario, harmless to the offense. A couple turned out to be highly productive. Harbaugh’s not giving in to players, he’s creating the best situation for this team to be successful, now. If there are several players voicing their support for Smith to get some playing time, he put it to rest without sacrificing the team’s future. And they all looked like they were having fun.

Oh, it was by design that Joe Flacco got involved in a unique way. Now, he walks away feeling that he’s a part of the new “wrinkle” in this offense with his first career reception.

In the end, everyone wins. Harbaugh shows he can be “flexible” in the midst of the crossroads. Now, if he permanently benches Chris McAllister, he has Smith in his back pocket. It’s all about give and take. If McAllister is not in the team’s future, he can always say, “Guy, I have your best interest at heart.”

Today, John Harbaugh did a very good thing. I believe he may have won over a few players in the process. He proved there’s no “I” in team. That even includes the Head Coach.

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Ravens crush woeful Raiders, 29-10

Posted on 26 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

The Raiders have played an interesting foil in the annals of Baltimore football history.

There was the “Ghost To The Post” thriller on Christmas Eve in 1977. The Raiders were the first team to come to Baltimore to play the Ravens in 1996. And, of course, it was a trip to Oakland and a win in the AFC Championship Game in 2001 that took the Ravens to Tampa and a Super Bowl title.

Today, however, the Raiders look to be a shadow of their famed black and silver pirate crest, a hapless franchise with second-rate talent and an owner that makes Peter Angelos seem sensible.

What the hell happened to the “commitment to excellence”?

We’ve seen some bad football teams roll into Baltimore since the Ravens came to town 13 years ago challenging the great Billy Jo Hobert, but today’s effort by the Raiders might’ve been one of the worst we’ve ever seen in the Charm City. That’s about as bad of a football team you’re gonna find with the red, white and blue NFL crest on it.

Their offense was hopeless, the special teams were poor – making Jim Leonhard look like Dante Hall in his prime – and the defense was good enough to allow a slow, 6-foot-6 quarterback to spread wide and catch bombs from the backup quarterback. And who Tom Cable and where is Lane Kiffin?

If Al Davis were in his right mind, he’d be ashamed of what a cruel hoax this is on the Raider Nation and the Black Hole. Next week, they might want to try to show up against the Falcons.

Sure, the Ravens looked great today and we’ll all gladly take this 29-10 win. At 4-3 on Halloween, this 2008 season has some real life and some real promise as the purple heads to Cleveland next week where a win puts them on a fast track for a potential playoff berth. It would be time to bust out the “P” word (or is it still Festivus?). No one could argue with 5-3 at the turn, even if the second half appears to be helluva challenge with so many potential playoff teams on the slate in November and December, including the entire firing squad of the NFC East.

But I can’t fathom how the Raiders are going to win another game with that band of ragamuffins.

Let’s take it around the victorious purple locker room:

Joe Flacco wasn’t brilliant today (12 of 124 for 140 years) but he threw a TD, ran for one and damn-near CAUGHT one. The maturation of Flacco as a rookie is going swimmingly well for the team, with him getting all sorts of initiations to victories, defeats, road and home games and all sorts of looks from defenses around the NFL. I’m glad we bought the stock months ago.

Terrell Suggs, for all of his stupid bluster and idiotic pronouncements, certainly showed up to play today and made his presence felt anywhere around JaMarcus Russell, who looks like the next No. 1 QB bust of this decade.

Ray Lewis continues to dazzle in his contract walk season, making play after play and I’m still not sure that Justin Griffith made it anywhere near the goal line on that lone touchdown, but he’ll no doubt still be feeling that hit on Wednesday.

Let’s hear it for Jim Leonhard, who has become a fan favorite with these “little guy” efforts on defense and special teams. He’s MY SIZE for crying out loud, but he plays like a giant on the field.

The running game was effective all day, racking up 192 yards on 46 carries as the Ravens controlled the clock and exhausted the Raiders’ defense. The three-headed monster of Ray Rice (8-64), Willis McGahee (23-58) and Le’Ron McClain (7-32) has been more effective than any of us realized back in training camp. And let’s give the offensive line some props as well — even with Adam Terry and Marshal Yanda out, they’re still protecting Flacco pretty well and allowing the backs to move the ball.

Even Matt Stover had a perfect day, which we’ll need more of as the weather turns and the games become tight enough that his foot will surely play a major role in deciding the season.

But the biggest game ball goes to John Harbaugh and the coaching staff, who have held the team together through several crises this season, not the least of which was the notion that the team didn’t have enough talent to compete:

•    The quarterback carousel during training camp and prepping and winning with a rookie signal caller in the NFL.

•    The horrendous injury/age situation on the defensive side of the ball, with Chris McAlister, Samari Rolle, Kelly Gregg and Dawan Landry all out of the lineup. And that’s not to mention various dings to Willis McGahee, Terry and the loss of Yanda on offense.

•    The bad, ugly, brutal loss in Indianapolis and a three-game losing streak and the bounce back in Miami and again today. Good teams rebound. The Ravens have nicely. That’s good coaching and a lot of heart.

•    The difficulty of navigating and covering for the stupid comments and actions by some of his childish players (this was essentially what got Brian Billick fired). Not only did Chris McAlister not play today, no one even bothered asking where the hell he was. (Disciplined? Absolutely. But will they say it was his leg? Absolutely. They should just come clean and tell the truth, instead of this silly gameplaying that went on last week.)

One more game ball might go to the Ravens’ still-stellar front office acumen in picking talent. Jameel McClain, Willie Anderson, Evan Oglesby and Brandon McKinney all made plays today and none of them were on the team in August. Hats off to George Kokinis and Ozzie Newsome, who have improved this team coming out of Westminster.

The real test, of course, comes in January when the team’s 2008 record is public.

But so far, at 4-3 with winnable games on the horizon in Cleveland and Houston, the Ravens are far more interesting, entertaining and enjoyable than any of us thought possible eight weeks ago.

And if crappy teams like the Raiders are on the schedule (and there’s at least one left with Cincinnati) we’ll take them every week.

As long as the Ravens show up and beats them in the fashion they did today, it’s fun for all of us.

I’ve never been more excited about a trip to Cleveland…

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Coach Harbaugh speaks on Chris McAlister’s status and Terrell Suggs comments

Posted on 24 October 2008 by caseywillett

Here are some news and notes as it relates to Ravens on Friday:

-Chris McAlister took 11 reps on Wednesday and has not practiced the last two days. So do not look for him to start on Sunday.

-Derrick Mason missed the last two days of practice with a severe headache. Mason attended meetings this morning but did not practice.

-Coach Harbaugh said that all of the talk about Terrell Suggs, Troy Smith, and Chris McAlister, has not been a distraction for the team. Some of the guys have joked with Suggs about it, but that is about as far as is it goes.

-Terrell Suggs and Coach Harbaugh have discussed his statement about Troy Smith should be the starting quarterback and that it is a non issue and he takes Suggs at his word when he said he just thought they both should play.

Here is the statement released by Terrell Suggs about the statements that he made about the bounty:

I’ve got to set the record straight about what I said about so-called bounties. I tried to explain this on Wednesday, but it keeps coming back up.

“We, the players, don’t pay each other to take another player out of the game. And you know coaches don’t do that. As I said before, we prepare to stop the other team’s best players every week. Those are the players who can beat you with big plays. For example, we’ve focused all this week on stopping the Raiders’ running backs. We’ve focused on them in practice and in meetings. They are marked men by our defense – we have to know where they are on every play, and we can’t let them get rolling on Sunday.

“When I did the radio show in Atlanta, that’s what I meant and I thought that’s what I said. I did repeat the word bounty early in the interview after the guy asking me the question used the word. That was a mistake. I misspoke, and I’m sorry for that.

“I hope that clears this up.”

Jim Leonhard  took some reps as the backup holder for Matt Stover. He is doing this because he would be the guy if something was to happen to Sam Koch. This is because Todd Bouman will be the 3rd string emergency quarterback.

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Flacco: “I’m OK with Terrell Suggs”

Posted on 24 October 2008 by joeflacco

It’s back to work for us this Sunday when we play the Raiders.  We’ve been watching film on them this week and they have a very opportunistic defense.  Every week I’m seeing different players, different schemes and different formations and I have to study a lot of tape to make sure I’m ready to put our game plan into action.

We had a really good overall team performance at Miami last week.  As I’ve been saying all year, the offensive line rose to the occasion and did a great job in protecting me.  It’s much easier to make the right read and the right decision when your line is keeping the defense away from you.  All credit goes to those guys and our receivers who made the catches.

I’m not one who gets worked up about team controversies and stuff like that because I’m too busy trying to take care of my game for Sunday, but some people have asked me questions about the comments Terrell made on a radio show earlier this week.  All I can say is Terrell came up to me and explained his comments and I’m OK wth everything…we have a football game to play on Sunday and that’s what I’m focused on.  As a rookie in the league, you have to dedicate all of your available time to studying, learning and preparing.  I have to be ready for Sunday against Oakland.  That’s my only concern right now.

We’ve had a really good week of practice and I’m confident we’ll be ready to play on Sunday.  I hope you all enjoy yourself at the game and I’ll catch up with Drew at 8:30 next Tuesday morning to talk about it.

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Harbaugh’s handling of C-Mac situation is suspect

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

So this is where new head coach John Harbaugh is learning the pain, instead of the joy, of being an NFL head coach.

There are only 32 of these jobs in world – captains of America’s favorite sports teams – and each of them brings a unique management structure and issues way beyond football. It’s about a LOT more than just drawing up the X’s and O’s and having a whistle on a string and being a gameday strategist.

It’s truly a VERY-high profile corporate C.E.O. (and babysitting) position and when this week’s “off the field” activity of Chris McAlister and Terrell Suggs has led to the “on the field” benching of the team’s highest-paid player and resident passive-aggressive cornerback, unlike at Legg Mason or Aerotek, the media asks the questions the fans (customers) want answers to and they expect a straight answer.

Or, like the other night on WBAL, some big-monied sponsor can call in directly to the coach to try to get an honest answer.

And, honestly, as much as we realize the Ravens do have some rights to the privacy of their employees and how it’s handled, we don’t want to be lied to either. I get that discipline should be a private matter, but don’t pass off the disciplining of a player as an injury, a lack of talent or a dress code issue.

Sure, if you’re Harbaugh or Joe Six Pack Ravens Fan, you’d like to think that guys who are making millions of dollars as players and have all of the talent in the world would just show up and graciously do their jobs. Especially for the amount of dough and the lifestyle they get to live. Forgive us for thinking that they’d actually consider 100% effort and winning football games the REAL priority in their lives. But, as my 24 years of doing this professionally as a media member has taught me, that’s not always the case.

Unfortunately, Harbaugh didn’t inherit a room full of professionals and choir boys when Brian Billick was fired. He inherited every problem Billick had and is doing the job for a third of the price and without nine years of experience dealing with it and trying to overcome it.

And Harbaugh is doing it pretty well if the only thing matters is the record: they’re 3-3, which is plenty good enough for me.

But the same problems that Billick dealt with differently or privately are now – as predicted here months ago –squarely onto the new rookie coach’s shoulders to address. The radio shows, the mudslinging, the “X” factor of off-the-field shenanigans along with Ray Lewis in his walk year thinking money, a rookie quarterback who’s learning as he goes, the various injuries, personnel issues, egos, etc. All the same crap that goes on in YOUR office, except that these guys aren’t as smart as they think they are, all are making a lot of money and are famous and every week a three-hour soap opera plays out on Sundays and you either win or lose.

And the city all talks about it (which is why they make the big bucks) and asks lots of questions, some of them a little “uncomfortable” for private matters such as human resources and employee behavioral issues.

And, as the coach, you have to answer for EVERYTHING. That’s the deal.

The NFL’s pretty straightforward like that. Win, and all is well. Lose, and well you’re where Mike Nolan or Brian Billick or Scott Linehan or Lane Kiffin are and where Marvin Lewis and some others might soon be.

Oh, and the owner is ALWAYS right. Just ask Al Davis or Dan Snyder or Jerry Jones.

The Ravens are 3-3 and playing decently for the most part, especially considering the injuries, rookie quarterback and lack of depth combined with aging players in key spots. I’m a HUGE Ravens fan. I’m perfectly pleased with where the team sits at this point. As a matter of fact, I’m more than mildly shocked that it’s gone this well.

Harbaugh has done a nice job by any measurement. The team is fun to watch, like a box of chocolates, Flacco is likeable, Ray Lewis is playing his ass off…it’s been a fun year so far!

So far, they’ve played five very good games and laid one turd. The turd just happened to be a road game in Indianapolis (and if you’re from Baltimore just the word “Indianapolis” has its own connotation) against the best player in the league in Peyton Manning. It happens. Many of the “good” teams in the league have gotten walloped already.

The team could easily be 5-1. But they’re not. They’re 3-3 and in decent shape to make a surprising playoff run over the next few weeks if they can beat some turd teams (Oakland, Cleveland and Houston). These are winnable games against current 2-4 teams. If they are going to go 10-6 and be a wild card, they’ll need to win at least two of these three. With the pending matchups against stronger NFC East teams at the end (not to mention Steelers and Jaguars), the wins must come now for any hope. The colder it gets the harder the schedule gets.

So it’s here where Harbaugh’s leadership is going to make or break the season. It’s not even Halloween but the cat’s out of the bag and the malcontents and loose-lipped rabble rousers are coming back to the forefront by saying and doing stupid things. Billick, essentially, was fired for this stuff happening (and the offensive woes, of course).

Chris McAlister not wanting to work out and/or practice and have the ability to run loose in Baltimore or miss meetings on road trips.

Terrell Suggs going on radio shows and throwing the starting quarterback under the bus.

Ray Lewis screaming for money. (We’re about 10 weeks away from that…trust me!)

It’s Harbaugh’s baby to deal with now, and despite the relative prosperity of 3-3, the baby is crying so to speak.

I think we’re all hard-pressed to believe that with Frank Walker and Fabian Washington as starters in the secondary for the remainder of the season, the Ravens will finish 10-6 and be a playoff team.  And we’re not at all hard-pressed to think that they’re not “outworking” or “outhustling” or “outstructuring” McAlister from Monday through Saturday.

McAlister is a pain in the ass to manage for them, no doubt, but he’s one of the most significant players in the organization. How do I know? Well, they’re paying him $8 million so I’m assuming they think he’s significant, too.

In my opinion, thus far Harbaugh has really botched this McAlister situation and continues to show his “green” side with every answer to the media. He seems as though answering these questions is a field of mines. And perhaps, if you keep changing your story every other day, it is.

Either Harbaugh’s getting bad advice or isn’t taking the good advice he’s been given. On Sunday after the game, it seemed like he didn’t even consider that the question was coming about McAlister when by the organization’s own admittance, he knew this was coming last Wednesday.

So, now four days later, we in the media have heard more conflicting stories, excuses, doubletalk and curious explanations to fill any reporter’s notebook (or fans’ water cooler) with head-scratchers.

If the Orioles gave answers like these – and they have before and apparently will continue to do so as well – I’d be laughing. Or writing these blogs of criticism/straightforwardness.

I don’t understand why there wasn’t just one story: the truth. And that is that McAlister is acting like a turd and isn’t doing what he’s supposed to be doing so he isn’t playing. Oh, and it’s a PRIVATE matter. He’s been bending team rules and we’re spanking him until he gets his act together.

There? Is that so hard? Some old-fashioned, “Hard Ass” love for the baller from Pasadena!

They didn’t fine him. Or suspend him. And they certainly didn’t want the NFLPA breathing down their necks like what’s happening in Cleveland with their resident talented malcontent, Kellen Winslow. (The league seems full of them, with PacMan Jones, Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, etc…I guess if they “shut up and played” perhaps we’d have less interest?)

But I certainly can’t ignore what I’m hearing and seeing this week.

So far, we know:

* McAlister didn’t like Harbaugh’s practices in Westminster and there were reports of some words
* McAlister had a knee injury – or not – during training camp
* McAlister played pretty decently the first four weeks of the season (certainly nothing to think he was benched solely on “merit” for the first five games)
* McAlister allegedly missed a meeting in Indianapolis on Saturday, Oct. 11
* McAlister played “below par” in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 12 (but so did the whole team)
* McAlister was told on he wouldn’t start in Miami on Wednesday, Oct. 15
* McAlister was inappropriately dressed (among other things) before the game in Miami on Sunday, Oct. 19
* McAlister played sparingly against the Dolphins on Sunday, Oct. 19

There are various other factors, rumors and pretty-well substantiated issues regarding McAlister’s off the field activities and work ethic. And the show he put on in the lobby of the team hotel with those three girls in front of $18 million dollars worth of corporate sponsors was biblical. Only a fool could be around the team a significant amount of time and not notice people’s whispers and gossip. It’s just a fact of life. His teammates have gone to media members (and each other) at various points for years with negative comments about him, his work ethic and chicanery.

He’s a super smart guy but a bit of a Lone Wolf. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with him (I actually kinda like him for the most part although I wouldn’t hire him to work for me) but I’ve known better than to ever count on him. I’ve enjoyed our conversations over the years because I think he’s so intelligent. And I’ve clearly known how other people feel about him. Most would just say he’s “unreliable” or “inconsistent.” But I wouldn’t say he’s a “bad person” at all. But some have questioned his character, for sure.

But the answers and the list of reasons the team has given to the media for him not being on the field on Sunday – not just me or WNST but the entire media position on this – has smelled like four-day old fish.

It’s more weird and kinda paranoid than anything I’ve seen recently and I’m kinda shocked that Harbaugh hasn’t been more transparent.

Geez, if they’re actually disciplining Chris McAlister for his off the field behavior there are many in the organization would say: “It’s about time!”

On Sunday, the question was: “Is Chris being disciplined?”

Harbaugh said:

“No (he was not being disciplined). Not at all. Chris has played well. I’ll tell you what, Chris has really worked hard this year to work through the knee. We’ve talked about the knee a lot. It hasn’t been a situation where it’s an injury but it is a knee that has had some wear and tear on it. And we think if we can manage the packages from here on out…It’s not a matter of starting or not starting it’s what packages we put him in where he can be most effective for us. Which helps his practice reps a little bit which keeps him as effective as he can be on Sunday because you’ve got to practice all week to be effective on Sunday. But we can’t overload that knee. Whatever package we’re in next week, he could be out there starting next week. And that’s what it really comes down to. We’re always going to put our best package on the field.”

Later, when pressed ever-so-gently by Brent Harris:

“Chris is a professional. Chris is always going to want his role to be expanded and there’s no reason to think that next week his role won’t be expanded. It’s going to be whatever Rex determines it’s gonna be as far as what’s best for our football team…Chris is a good example of what happened to our football team (after Indy loss)…Chris came back and had a great week of practice last week and there’s no reason he’s not going to have a good season this year.”

On Monday, he told WBAL this:

“I can’t speak to stuff in the past. I’ve had a chance to get to know Chris over these months that I’ve been here. Chris is a good person. We’ve got a really good relationship and I respect him a lot. As far as the dress for the bus it was wrong. It was a mistake. It’s been addressed.”

Being asked about playing vs. the Dolphins:

“He WAS playing last week. The term ‘benching’ I’m not sure exactly what that means. He was in our packages last week. We talked about it yesterday and it’s obvious and clear cut. You put the best 11 players out there for the package. We put the best players out there in the coverages . That’s what a football decision is.”

So, McAlister isn’t one of the best 11 players on the defense? C’mon, Harbs?

I just wish that Harbaugh would give me and you and everyone one story: the truth.

He’ll learn that the truth ALWAYS comes out and making the media “guess” or thinking we’re not going to ask questions (or that the fans won’t ask questions) about his $8 million a year franchise starting cornerback being on the field for eight plays in a pivotal road game is just foolish.

So, it’s kind of a “pick three” message from Harbs:

1.    (Miami Sunday) McAlister is injured, but he’s not really injured.  But it’s not a discipline issue. And he’s practiced and played really well. But he’s not one of our best 11 players.
2.    (WBAL Tuesday) He should’ve dressed better in Miami but I like him a lot. Rex Ryan made the decision. He wasn’t “benched” after starting for nine years in the league, but he only played eight plays.

Or, perhaps the truth:

3.    He’s not doing the stuff that we need him to do or living his life in a fashion that we agree with and it’s contributing to hurting our team overall even though he’s one of the most important guys on the team. We can’t have him acting like a jack ass any more. It’s hurting the team. And sitting his ass out ought to be a message to him – and the rest of the team — to shape up or ship out. The team comes first and we can (and will) win without him!

Or at least they’ll try to if they can’t get him to fall in line. Which is, I guess, where they are now. They’re going to try to win without him. Or not. But maybe that will change before Sunday, who knows?

This is Coach “Hard Ass” – and I say that as a compliment, in some respect — doing it HIS way. And, apparently, Rex Ryan is also at the heart of this decision.

Let’s see if it works.

Because, in the end, what he tells the media and the fans doesn’t have anything to do with whether they’re going to win football games over the next 10 weeks.

Or does it?

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More C-Mac talk,Rex – Rob Ryan,Suggs radio comments, Mike Singletary and Mike Nolan

Posted on 23 October 2008 by caseywillett

Here are some news and notes from Ravens today:

Here is Rex’s comments on C-Mac situation:

-Rex Ryan talked about how Jim Leonhard was in the game more than Ed Reed because of a certain package that the they had practiced more in it, but no one talked about it. Rex said it is his responsibility to get the job done no matter who is out there.

– As to who decides who starts on defense, Rex Ryan made is very clear, “it is my call, always on defense.”

-Rex mentioned that he owes it to this football team to do what they think is best with match ups, even if that means taking out Ray Lewis.

On his relationship with Rob Ryan:

– ” We were really close, we still are very close. With dad’s profession, I always had my best friend with me when we moved.”

-“you look forward to seeing him, maybe going out to eat or something. You have to feel bad for someone, might as well feel bad for him. It is all about the win, hopefully our team will come out on top.”

-The defensive guys have said that the guy to getting JaMarcus Russell is to wrapping him up and wait for help to come.

On Terrell Suggs comments on the radio:

” I am getting it all second hand, I do not know all the particulars on it, so I would rather not comment right now til I hear it myself.”

On Mike Singletary getting hired in San Fransico:

“I am excited for Mike Singletary to get that opportunity, I think he will do a tremendous job.He probably gives the best speeches I have ever heard a guy give. I think the lost a heck of coach in Mike Nolan, I hate to see one of my friends lose a job when the season is not even over. I think that is kind of ridiculous, it is what it is. I guess adversity to some comes opportunity for others, hopefully Mike Singletary will do a good job in stay in that position, but i sure feel for Mike Nolan.”

-Cam Cameron mentioned that Willis McGahee took 30 cc’s off of his knee before the Miami game and having the game he did was impressive. Cameron feels like McGahee is getting healthier and that will benefit the offense.

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Ravens news and notes and injury report

Posted on 22 October 2008 by caseywillett

Here are some notes from 1 Winning Drive today:

-The Chris McAlister saga will continue to roll on, as McAlister spoke with the media and commented on the situation which you can see in my previous blog. Coach Harbaughreemphasized today that playing time has nothing to do with discipline. It is simply they are putting the best 11 guys on the field against the Raiders. McAlister does in fact appear on the injury report this week, which you can scroll down to see.

– Buddy Ryan the father of Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will be at the game on Sunday.

-JaMarcus Russell was a big topic of discussion with several of the defensive players today. Trevor Pryce, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata all talked about how big and strong Russell is and how you have to wrap him up to get him down. Pryce mentioned that the thing you have to do when you get to Russell is ask him to lie down so you can get the sack. Suggs is concerned that he might get shrugged off if he gets to him and goes for a sack. Ngata pointed out that a big thing with Russell is that he will dump off passes to the running backs when you get to him and that is a dangerous thing. All of the guys compared sacking Russell to trying to sack Ben Roethlisberger, very difficult. Suggs compared sacking Russell to trying to sack Trevor Pryce.

– Jonathan Ogden who will be going into the Ravens Ring of Honor on Sunday, will be introduced with the team on Sunday.

– Terrell Suggs said early that he thought Troy Smith should be starting for the Ravens. Now Suggs has said ” I thought the question was about multiple packages. I said both quarterbacks should get a chance to play, like running back Ronnie Brown depending on the package. Joe is 3-3 as the starter and has done a good job. It’s not like we haven’t won any games.”

Suggs also has had controversy come up with his comments about a bounty on Hines Ward. Here is his response to that, ” there wasn’t any bounty. The reporter asked me if there was a bounty and I just said I’m going to keep a watch on the guy. He broke some guy’s jaw last week, and he tried to cheap shot Jarrett Johnson. He also cheap-shotted Ed Reed. We’re just going to be on alert the next time we play him. It’s like the guy in your neighborhood who always pulls your shorts down and your drawers show, well, you always have to be on the lookout. You have to be alert.”

Suggs has always been a media friendly guy, but I can not imagine these type comments set well with the new coaching regime

– Here is the injury report for the Ravens for Wednesday:

OUT: Samari Rolle(neck/shoulder) Dawan Landry(neck) Adam Terry (knee)

Did Not Participate: Yamon Figurs(knee) Ed Reed(thigh) Demetrius Williams(ankle)

Limited Participation: Jared Gaither(neck) Chris McAlister(knee) Willis McGahee(knee)

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