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Join us on the purple road in Green Bay, Nashville, London and Minnesota with Ravens this fall

Posted on 24 April 2017 by WNST Trips

We started doing these WNST Roadtrips back in October 1996 with a very appropriate first roadie to Indianapolis to see the Colts and Ravens. Now in our 22nd year of taking more than 18,000 Baltimore sports fans on our trips, THIS is the best year we can remember to see the Baltimore Ravens play on the road. The first purple road trip abroad is to London and Wembley Stadium in September. Nashville has been the most popular destination for Ravens fans over two decades. And we only get one chance every eight years to see Lambeau Field and to experience the new stadium in Minnesota.

Together, we’ve created many happy, purple memories that surely will last a lifetime.

How many of you were part of the more than 10,000 Ravens fans that marched to the Superdome in New Orleans as the Ravens went on to grab their second Super Bowl win?

Maybe you were part our playoff trip to to Tennessee as the Ravens took down the Titans en route to the AFC Championship game in 2009.

At WNST.net, we are thrilled to announce the details of ALL of our 2017 Purple Road Trips. This is shaping up to be a very fun and unique road trip season, and we can’t wait to take you on the road with us to create new purple memories.

SPEAKING OF WNST PURPLE ROAD TRIP MEMORIES: If you have ever taken part in one of our road trips – to see the Ravens, Orioles, Caps or Terps on the road– we want to show our appreciation for being on the “early interest” list. Until MAY 3RD, we’re offering you $100 PER PERSON off on any trip purchased. Example: Group of 4 interested in traveling to Nashville? You’ll get $400 off simply for being a loyal WNST customer, fan and friend. YOU are the reason that we’re able to do this 25 years into my sports radio and media journey, and we genuinely appreciate your loyalty! This is important to us and we know how important your vacation and football experience will be this autumn. We want you to come with us! We know you have choices! We’re not only going to have the best price – we’re going to help make your experience better every step of the way!

Our 2017 road trip schedule includes:

A historic trip to London, England to see the Ravens battle with the Jaguars in the first overseas game in the 21 year history of the franchise.

The always fun trip down south to Nashville, Tennessee as the Ravens take on the Titans.

A trip to Minnesota to check out the Vikings’ brand new stadium as well as the Mall of America.

A jaunt to the frozen tundra of Green Bay to see the Ravens take on the Packers at the legendary Lambeau Field.


Please email us: nasty@wnst.net or peter@wnst.net and we’ll be glad to answer any questions.

LONDON (Sept. 19-25)

Many of you have already signed up for our London trip, but we still have spots available for those of you who are still finalizing your Ravens road trip plans for the upcoming season.  If you are considering traveling to London but have not decided on a specific trip, please read all of our details and compare our pricing with other trips being offered via other outlets. We pride ourselves on providing the most affordable travel options to our fans, and our London trip is specially priced so that everyone has the opportunity to join us.

Our London trip is based on single and double hotel occupancy. Most London rooms aren’t big enough or have beds to accommodate four in a room. We’ll be spending five total nights in London, and you’ll have two options to choose from.

Trip A: Depart Washington Dulles on Tuesday, September 19th at 6:40PM via Delta Airlines, arriving at London’s Heathrow Airport at 7:05AM on Wednesday, September 20th. (London is 5 hours ahead of the United States’ eastern time zone, so this is actually a 7 hour, 25 minute flight).

For the return trip, we’ll be departing London’s Heathrow Airport at 11:15AM on Monday, September 25th, and returning to Dulles Airport at 2:35PM the same day. (This is actually an 8 hour, 20 minute flight given the 5-hour time difference).

Trip B: Depart Washington Dulles on Wednesday, September 20th at 6:40PM via Delta Airlines, arriving at London’s Heathrow Airport at 7:05AM on Tuesday, September 21st. (London is 5 hours ahead of the United States’ eastern time zone, so this is actually a 7 hour, 25 minute flight).

For the return trip, we’ll be departing London’s Heathrow Airport at 11:15AM on Tuesday, September 26th, and returning to Dulles Airport at 2:35PM the same day. (This is actually an 8 hour, 20 minute flight given the 5-hour time difference).

All trips include:

  • Roundtrip air from Dulles to Heathrow
  • A 5-night stay at the Corus Hotel Hyde Park 
  • One entry per person on the London Eye as well as our WNST London Thames River Cruise. (https://www.londoneye.com/)
  • Transportation care for “The Tube” in London (you’ll love this!)
  • Admission to WNST Saturday purple pub pep rally
  • Admission to WNST Sunday purple pre-game tailgate event
  • Upper deck game ticket for Sunday Ravens-Jaguars game

We are also planning some other surprises and memories ­– just like we did in Tampa in 2001 at Whiskey Joe’s and in New Orleans with our 2:52 march to the Superdome!

SINGLE (one in room): $2600 per person via check ($50 more if paying via PayPal with a credit card)

DOUBLE (two in room): $2350 per person via check ($50 more if paying via PayPal with a credit card)

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?

How many in your room?

If you have a larger group, please contact Nestor Aparicio (nasty@wnst.net) or Peter DiLutis (peter@wnst.net) directly with your needs and we will give you personal service.

NASHVILLE (Nov. 3-6)

We’ve had many great road trips to Nashville and we expect more Country fun and Southern hospitality this time around as the Ravens take on Marcus Mariota and the Titans in Tennessee on Sunday, November 5th.

We’ll be offering two pricing options – a premium downtown hotel and a comfortable hotel in a nice suburb for a more modest budget. Some might opt to rent a car in Nashville but it is my strong recommendation to use Uber and Lyft in the Music City. I have visited Nashville for 25 years and ride sharing is hugely popular and very easy and affordable in Nashville. Both options will be departing BWI midday on Friday, November 3rd, arriving in Nashville for a 3 night stay (Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night), departing Nashville and returning home on Monday, November 6th.

All trips include:

  • A 3-night stay at one of two hotels – downtown and less than 10 miles from downtown
  • Roundtrip travel on a major US airline
  • Admission to WNST Saturday night purple pub pep rally
  • Upper deck game ticket to Sunday’s Ravens-Titans game


SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,600 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,250 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,100 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $1,050 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?



SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,250 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,100 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,000 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $925 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?



MINNESOTA (Oct. 20-22)

Minnesota is one of the places that the Baltimore Ravens only get to visit once every eight years. This is a special year with the Super Bowl being played there next Feburary. It’s also the first purple trip to the newest facility in the NFL and the cool, glass U.S. Bank Stadium that opened last year. We are planning a special day at the Mall of America, where I visited and got to know some folks on my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit Tour in 2015. We’re staying downtown and will have a great event on Saturday in the Twin Cities for purple fans – and not just the ones who loved Prince!

All trips include…

  • 2-night stay at a 4 star Minneapolis downtown hotel
  • Roundtrip airfare on a major US airline
  • Admission to WNST Saturday purple pub pep rally
  • Tour of Mall of America in Bloomington
  • Upper deck game ticket to Sunday’s Ravens-Vikings game

SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,125 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $925 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $875 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $850 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?

GREEN BAY (Nov. 17-20)

Our Ravens fans have only had three chances to see the purple birds play at legendary Lambeau Field as we only get this epic trip to Green Bay only once every eight years. We had a great time in 2009, the last time we ventured into the frozen tundra, and we’ve been looking forward to going back ever since the remodeling of the facade and all of the upgrades in the area around the stadium. This is a bucket list trip for football fans across the country, and we’re fortunate to be able to offer a pair of affordable options for you to cross this one off the list and do it comfortably with our group.

This will be more of a “group” trip because of Green Bay’s tiny layout.

For flights, we’re offering two options: a flight directly into Green Bay with an airport transfer (there are no nonstop flights from Baltimore) OR a nonstop flight to Milwaukee with a luxury motorcoach making the less-than two hour drive north in Wisconsin. Both trips leave BWI on Friday morning and return on Monday afternoon.

Our two hotels are adjacent on the highway in Manitowoc, just outside of Green Bay. These are the hotels we’ve stayed in for all three of our trips to Lambeau Field in 1998, 2001 and 2009. We will have buses to transport our travelers to the casino, downtown Green Bay and to the Packers Hall of Fame. Leave the driving to us and just have some fun and relax with fellow football fans on this unique trip.

We’ve done Green Bay several times and are happy to show you a great time!

All trips include:

  • Roundtrip airfare on a major US airline from BWI to Green Bay or Milwaukee
  • 3-night stay at Holiday Inn or Quality Inn of Manitowoc
  • Motorcoach transportation in Green Bay and Manitowoc for our events
  • Admission to WNST Saturday night purple pub pep rally
  • Admission to WNST Sunday pre-game purple tailgate
  • Upper deck game ticket to Sunday’s Ravens-Packers game

WE HAVE FOUR OPTIONS WITH DIFFERENT PRICING. PLEASE SEND US AN EMAIL (nasty@wnst.net or peter@wnst.net) if you need any clarification.

This decision is essentially whether you want to fly into Green Bay or Milwaukee (with bus ride) and which hotel you select in the same parking lot.


GREEN BAY (Holiday Inn Manitowoc)

SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,675 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,450 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,375 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $1,350 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?


GREEN BAY (Quality Inn Manitowoc)

SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,525 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,375 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,325 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $1,300 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?


MILWAUKEE (Holiday Inn Manitowoc)

SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,500 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,275 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,200 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $1,175 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?


MILWAUKEE (Quality Inn Manitowoc)

SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,350 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,200 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,150 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $1,125 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?

If you have any questions or special needs, please email us: nasty@wnst.net or peter@wnst.net. We’re happy to help you so you can join us in the fall.

Thanks for all of the support over the years!

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Sizing up Ravens’ playoff picture entering Week 16

Posted on 19 December 2016 by Luke Jones

The Ravens were lucky not to have their playoff hopes all but squashed on Sunday, but their 27-26 win over Philadelphia leaves them with an 8-6 record and multiple paths to the postseason.

The first is clear while the others involve assistance from other teams.

Winning road games at Pittsburgh and Cincinnati would give the Ravens their first AFC North division title since the 2012 season. Of course, that would require Baltimore to win its first games on the road since September.

Many are hyping the Christmas Day showdown at Heinz Field as an AFC North championship game, but it’s not enough for the Ravens to merely win on Sunday. The Steelers host the winless Cleveland Browns in their regular-season finale, meaning the Ravens would almost certainly need to win a road game against the Bengals for the first time since 2011 in order to secure the division championship.

A path to a wild card also remains — at least for now.

The Ravens completed Week 15 a game behind Miami for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. A win for the 9-5 Dolphins at Buffalo on Christmas Eve would force Baltimore to beat the Steelers to stave off elimination for a playoff spot. A Miami loss would keep the Ravens’ playoff hopes alive in Week 17, no matter what happens against Pittsburgh.

Despite the daunting task of playing their two biggest division rivals on the road in consecutive weeks, the Ravens do have a 7-3 conference record working in their favor as a tiebreaker over fellow playoff contenders Tennessee, Denver, and Houston. Of course, Baltimore owns a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Dolphins via the 38-6 win at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 13.

Currently competing for the AFC South title, the Texans and the Titans meet in Week 17, meaning one is set to lose at least one more game.

If the Ravens are to make the playoffs while losing one more game, they would need the Dolphins to lose out and the other 8-6 wild-card contenders to each lose at least one more game.

Below is a look at the remaining schedule for the Ravens and the other contenders for the final wild card in the AFC:

PITTSBURGH (9-5, first place in AFC North)
Remaining opponents: Baltimore, Cleveland

HOUSTON (8-6, first place in AFC South via head-to-head tiebreaker over Tennessee)
Remaining opponents: Cincinnati, at Tennessee

MIAMI (9-5, No. 6 seed)
Remaining opponents: at Buffalo, New England

BALTIMORE (8-6, seventh in AFC via conference record)
Remaining opponents: at Pittsburgh, at Cincinnati

TENNESSEE (8-6, eighth in AFC via head-to-head tiebreaker over Denver)
Remaining opponents: at Jacksonville, Houston

DENVER (8-6, ninth in AFC)
Remaining opponents: at Kansas City, Oakland

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Sunday brings mixed bag to Ravens’ playoff picture

Posted on 11 December 2016 by Luke Jones

The Ravens aren’t likely to send former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan a Christmas card after Buffalo’s disappoint showing against Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Despite intercepting Ben Roethlisberger three times in snowy conditions, the Bills allowed nearly 300 yards from scrimmage to running back Le’Veon Bell in their 27-20 defeat to the Steelers at New Era Field. The final score didn’t indicate how lopsided the game was as Pittsburgh moved a half-game ahead in the AFC North, putting more pressure on Baltimore for its Monday meeting with New England.

A loss to the Patriots wouldn’t wipe away the Ravens’ division hopes by any means, but it would all but eliminate any realistic chance of being able to win the AFC North without a victory at Heinz Field on Christmas Day.

Sunday wasn’t a complete disappointment for the Ravens, however, as Denver lost to Tennessee and is now barely holding on as the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff picture. The Broncos fell to 8-5 and now face a brutal final three weeks, opening the door for a team outside the AFC West to potentially steal the last wild card.

Currently holding a 7-2 conference record, the Ravens are in good shape from a tiebreaker standpoint. They also hold the head-to-head advantage with Miami, who beat Arizona on Sunday to improve to 8-5 but lost quarterback Ryan Tannehill to what’s believed to be a season-ending knee injury. The Dolphins will play their final three games against division opponents — including the next two on the road — with veteran backup Matt Moore likely leading the way.

A loss on Monday night would drop the Ravens into a tie with Tennessee at 7-6, but the Titans own a poor 4-5 conference record and play their next two games on the road.

The Ravens’ best path to the playoffs is still winning the division, but Sunday’s action opened the door further for a potential wild card. And that eases the sting of the Bills not being able to beat the Steelers.

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DeCosta reportedly staying put once again

Posted on 06 January 2016 by Luke Jones

Eric DeCosta has once again decided to stay put with the Ravens.

Despite Tennessee requesting to interview Ozzie Newsome’s right-hand man for their general manager position, DeCosta has declined the opportunity, according to NFL Network. The 44-year-old assistant general manager is already the appointed successor to Newsome and is paid as well as some general managers around the league.

Some had wondered if the Titans possessing young quarterback Marcus Mariota and the No. 1 pick in April’s draft would tempt DeCosta enough to at least take an interview. However, the ownership questions surrounding Tennessee were a clear deterrent.

DeCosta has declined NFL teams’ inquiries on a near-annual basis, citing his affinity for the Ravens and his wife being from the area as prime reasons to stay. Of course, it also helps to have the general manager job waiting whenever the 59-year-old Newsome decides to call it quits.

But you do wonder if the longtime Ravens executive will be able to wait much longer.

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JG Spooner

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JG Spooner talks Browns impressive win over Tennessee

Posted on 22 September 2015 by WNST Staff

JG Spooner







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Harbaugh, Ravens feeling refreshed returning from bye

Posted on 17 November 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Returning from their latest bye since the 2001 season, the Ravens hope a week of rest is the perfect tonic to propel them to the postseason for the sixth time in seven years under head coach John Harbaugh.

At 6-4, Baltimore finds itself in the thick of the AFC playoff race, but next Monday’s trip to New Orleans will be a challenge for a team that’s just 2-3 on the road in 2014. Harbaugh hopes the late-season bye will allow the Ravens to finish strong as four of their final six games come against teams with records of .500 or better and that’s not including the 4-6 Saints who possess the NFL’s second-ranked offense.

“We’re going to have our hands full, and we better be ready to go,” Harbaugh said. “I like to believe that our guys understand that, but we’ll find out Monday night. I believe they do understand that.”

Players were off Tuesday through Sunday while Harbaugh gave his assistant coaches Thursday through Sunday to recharge for the final six games of the regular season. The Ravens are 5-1 in games returning from their bye week in the Harbaugh era and have won 10 of their last 12 post-bye games since the 2002 season.

Harbaugh hopes history is on their side as well as the benefit of a later bye as the Ravens are currently chasing first-place Cincinnati, who improved to 6-3-1 with an impressive win over the Saints on Sunday. Baltimore ranked ninth in the AFC playoff chase as a result of Pittsburgh’s Monday night win to conclude Week 11.

“You don’t realize how exhausted you are until you get a chance to take a deep breath and relax,” Harbaugh said. “The next thing you know, you’re like, ‘Wow, this has really been helpful.’ Everybody gets a bye week. We had ours this week, and we hope to make the most of it going forward for the rest of the season.”

Harbaugh doesn’t question penalty for Coffman

Asked about the NFL’s decision to fine Chase Coffman $30,000 for his malicious sideline hit on assistant coach Tony Coaxum in Week 10, Harbaugh chose to take the high road about the league not suspending the Tennessee Titans tight end.

The Ravens coach said he was told the collision wasn’t intentional, but it’s no secret that the organization was very unhappy about what happened late in the fourth quarter of the 21-7 win over Tennessee. Coaxum was not injured, but the FOX Sports video below leaves little debate about Coffman’s conduct.

“It’s really difficult to have a response to the level of punishment,” Harbaugh said. “I know the league has protocols, and they have standards and histories and things like that that they look really hard at. We don’t ever really question that part of it. That’s in their purview.”

Ravens wanted to keep Sunday night star Gray

Former practice squad running back Jonas Gray became the toast of the NFL Sunday night with his 199-yard, four-touchdown performance in the New England Patriots’ 42-20 win over Indianapolis.

Gray spent the 2013 regular season on the Ravens’ practice squad before electing to sign a reserve-futures contract with New England last offseason. Asked about the Michigan native rushing for a single-game high in the NFL this season, Harbaugh mentioned their respective in-state ties as a springboard to a good relationship, even mentioning that Gray’s mom brought food to the team during their Week 15 game in Detroit last December.

“We were disappointed to lose Jonas last year when we lost him. We really thought he had a lot of upside,” Harbaugh said. “He felt like that was an opportunity that he wanted to pursue, and obviously, it’s paid off for him. I wish him nothing but the best, but I was happy for him [Sunday] night to see him do that. That was great to see.”

Of course, no one could have predicted Gray’s breakout performance as even New England stashed him on the practice squad for a large portion of this season, but you do wonder if the Ravens regret not giving him a look last season while they were experiencing such drastic woes with the running game.

Conflicted coach

Harbaugh’s strong ties to the University of Michigan are no secret, making for a fun moment Monday when he was asked to predict the winner of this Saturday’s Maryland-Michigan game in Ann Arbor.

Neither team is exactly fighting for a Big Ten title this year as there has been plenty of debate about the future of Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke. Harbaugh paused and smiled before providing his answer to the question about who would prevail.

“May the best team win,” he said while laughing. “How’s that?”

Practice squad changes (again)

The Ravens made their latest change to their practice squad Monday, signing tight end Allen Reisner and cutting tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi.

Reisner is in his fourth NFL season and has spent time with Jacksonville, Minnesota, and New England. He has registered seven catches for 58 yards in 15 career games split between the Jaguars and Vikings.

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Titans’ Coffman fined $30K for cheap shot on Ravens assistant

Posted on 16 November 2014 by Luke Jones

Tennessee Titans tight end Chase Coffman was fined $30,000 for an incident that occurred on the Ravens’ sideline during last Sunday’s game at M&T Bank Stadium.

FOX Sports revealed that Coffman took a cheap shot at a Baltimore assistant identified by The Sun to be special teams assistant Tony Coaxum in the fourth quarter when cornerback Danny Gorrer intercepted a pass thrown by Zach Mettenberger. Video evidence shows Coffman going out of bounds and taking a couple clear steps to his left before hitting the assistant, who was watching the play on the field and standing far behind the sideline.

The act was not penalized at the time, but the Ravens expressed their displeasure to the league as well as to Tennessee head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Fortunately, Coaxum was not injured upon taking the malicious hit.

After watching video of what transpired, the biggest remaining question might be why Coffman didn’t face a steeper penalty for something that had nothing to do with what was happening on the field.

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Ravens miffed by CBS showing Harbaugh’s post-game comments

Posted on 09 November 2014 by Luke Jones

Head coach John Harbaugh was understandably in a good mood following the 21-7 win over the Tennessee Titans Sunday, but the Ravens weren’t happy that CBS aired his post-game comments referencing the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“That team beat us last week,” Harbaugh said to his team in the locker room at M&T Bank Stadium moments after the win. “Then, they went and got their ass kicked this week.”

The remarks were unlikely to raise too many eyebrows anyway after the Steelers laid a colossal egg in a 20-13 loss to the hapless New York Jets, but the Ravens issued a statement explaining how that part of Harbaugh’s speech was not approved for TV viewing.

Ironically, the video didn’t appear to go viral until after the Ravens drew attention to the gaffe with their statement.

“The comments made by John Harbaugh in the locker room following today’s victory over the Titans were meant for Ravens players and coaches only,” senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne said. “The CBS-TV crew that was in the locker room was told by coach Harbaugh that it could not broadcast what he was about to say. When coach Harbaugh finished talking about various things happening around the NFL and in the AFC North, he told the crew that it could now use what he was going to say. Inexplicably, CBS-TV then aired comments coach Harbaugh specifically said were not to leave the locker room. CBS-TV immediately pulled the video and apologized to the Ravens.”

Truthfully, those taking offense to Harbaugh’s comments are only showing a lack of experience in post-game locker room settings — at any level — that are often emotional and oozing with testosterone. Harbaugh and the Ravens were fully aware that they were embarrassed by Pittsburgh a week earlier, but that wasn’t going to stop them from reveling in a division rival’s loss on the same day that they won. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and his team would have every right to do the same — and undoubtedly have done so — whenever the roles are flipped.

CBS issued its own statement reiterating that the network had made a mistake in airing Harbaugh’s comments that can be seen in part below.

“We broadcast a clip during our postgame show that should not have aired,” CBS spokesperson Jennifer Sabatelle said. “We immediately pulled it down and called the Baltimore Ravens to apologize.”

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Revamped Ravens secondary passes first test against inexperienced Titans

Posted on 09 November 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — On the same day the Ravens shook up their secondary by cutting Chykie Brown and Dominique Franks, backup Anthony Levine received a text message from secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo telling him to be ready.

You’d forgive the reserve safety and special-teams player if he didn’t know exactly what his position coach meant on Tuesday night after he had played all of five defensive snaps through the first nine games of the season, but months of practicing at cornerback finally paid off Sunday with Levine making his first career start in the Ravens’ 21-7 win over the Tennessee Titans. The 27-year-old finished the game with four tackles and two pass breakups while splitting time with the newly-acquired Danny Gorrer at cornerback opposite starter Lardarius Webb.

“It’s something that we’ve kind of been watching for a number of weeks and months, I guess,” said head coach John Harbaugh about Levine’s play. “And he gets better every single week. I guess we’re not going to call him a safety anymore. He deserves to be called a corner, and he deserves it. He has played really well throughout the year, but he showed it in this game.”

After allowing the Titans to march down the field on their first two drives to start the game, the Ravens finally dialed up pressure and the secondary settled down to hold rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger to just 179 passing yards on 27 attempts. Five sacks and eight quarterback hits allowed the defensive backfield to play with some cushion as the Titans completed only one play greater than 17 yards, a 20-yard completion to Kendall Wright that came late in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided.

A play later, Gorrer made his second career interception in his first game with the Ravens since the 2011 season. It was only the second pick made by a Baltimore defensive back all season, but it was an encouraging sign for a secondary trying to fill the void left by top cornerback Jimmy Smith in the final six games of the season.

Of course, Mettenberger and the Titans’ 24th-ranked passing offense aren’t exactly intimidating threats, but many wondered this week if the Ravens’ current secondary was capable of stopping anybody, making Sunday’s performance something on which to build. If anything, the win was a nice confidence boost before the reality sets in that the Ravens will be facing Pro Bowl quarterbacks Drew Brees and Philip Rivers in consecutive weeks after the bye.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” said Gorrer, who began the week as a member of the Detroit Lions before being waived last Monday and rejoining Baltimore a day later. “This is our profession, so no matter how it goes, you always have to be ready to step in. With Jimmy going down, it was time for me to step in and for the secondary to come together well and play decent.”

Levine and Gorrer weren’t the only ones with strong days in the secondary as rookie safety Terrence Brooks returned to action after being a healthy scratch in the Week 9 loss at Pittsburgh. Entering to play free safety in place of Darian Stewart in obvious passing situations, Brooks delivered what several defensive players called the game-changing play of the day with a vicious — but legal — hit to Delanie Walker that forced an incompletion and knocked the Titans tight end out of the game with a concussion late in the first half.

The Tennessee offense never threatened again and would gain only four more first downs the rest of the way and 45 total yards in the second half.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees once again used a committee approach to his pass defense with Webb, Gorrer, and Levine playing in the traditional nickel defense, safety Matt Elam serving as a big nickel for extra run support at times, and Will Hill making his second straight start at the safety position, registering three tackles and a pass breakup.

The questions will remain in the secondary, but Sunday provided a glimmer of hope that the secondary — supported with a consistent pass rush — might be able to hold up enough to keep the Ravens within striking distance of their sixth playoff appearance in the last seven years.

“We won, so I feel like we played well,” Levine said. “That was the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal was to win, and not get beat deep — and I don’t think they had any big plays today. I think we did a good job.”

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Slow starts by Ravens offense could prevent strong finish

Posted on 09 November 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Sunday was a good day for the Ravens as they embarked on their bye week with a 6-4 record and remained right in the thick of an AFC North race that features all four teams with winning records.

In addition to making it through Sunday’s victory over the Tennessee Titans without any significant injuries, a revamped secondary passed its first test and the Pittsburgh Steelers stubbed their toe to leave Cleveland alone in first place, further jumbling the AFC North with less than two months remaining in the regular season. Even with their struggles, injuries, and missed opportunities through the first 10 weeks, the Ravens are in perfect position to make a run in a division in which just a half-game separates first and last place.

But it would be a lie to suggest the 21-7 win over the 2-7 Titans went exactly as planned as the final score didn’t reflect just how uncomfortable the Ravens were for a sizable portion of the afternoon. In fact, Baltimore was fortunate to be tied 7-7 at halftime after the Titans had fumbled at the Ravens’ 1-yard line on the opening drive of the game.

“We weren’t playing very well,” Harbaugh said about his team’s performance in the first half. “We were out of sync, we weren’t handling pressures, we couldn’t run the ball, we couldn’t cut them off in the back side. They owned the line of scrimmage there in the first half, but we managed to figure out a couple ideas, hit a couple passes, and start to crack them in the run game.”

The Ravens did make the adjustments to make some plays through the air in the second half and rush for an impressive 151 yards while committing zero turnovers, but Sunday marked the third straight week in which the offense has started slowly. It’s a frustrating development after the unit appeared to be finding its stride last month when the Ravens scored a combined 77 points in wins over Tampa Bay and Atlanta.

In their last three games, the Ravens have managed to score just 23 total points in the first half. Of course, struggling on the road against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh isn’t shocking, but managing just seven points and 86 total yards in the first half at home against the Titans’ 23rd-ranked defense isn’t encouraging with consecutive games against top 10 passing offenses — New Orleans and San Diego — coming right after the bye. A difficult road game at playoff-contending Miami follows after that.

It’s fair to point out that the Titans were coming off their own bye and had an extra week to prepare, but Gary Kubiak’s offense should have been able to jump on a defense that ranked 28th against the run and 22nd in points allowed per game. Instead, the Ravens couldn’t pass, run, or block for much of the first 30 minutes of the game aside from a 46-yard touchdown drive midway through the second quarter that was set up by excellent field position.

“They really came up after us and played a lot of cover zero and tried to get us off balance as much as they could,” said quarterback Joe Flacco, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 169 yards and a 32-yard touchdown to Torrey Smith in the fourth quarter. “They were able to get some guys free to defend our passing game. It was tough sledding in there, but I thought we hung in there really well. It was a really tough game and nothing came easy and we really had to grind it out.”

The Ravens did what was needed in the second half and rushed 16 times for 85 yards in the fourth quarter to chew the clock, but they’ll need much more from their offense over the final six weeks of the season to keep themselves in good position to make it back to the playoffs. New cornerbacks Anthony Levine and Danny Gorrer deserve credit for the way they held up in the secondary, but Baltimore can’t depend on its defense to turn in the same kind of performance against teams with proven offenses.

And Kubiak needs to figure out a way to get his offense going more quickly than it has in the last few weeks. Whether it’s making quicker adjustments to counteract the A-gap blitzes that have given Flacco and the offensive line difficulty or being more imaginative with passing routes, the Ravens offense needs to be able to find a tempo from the very beginning instead of having it dictated to them like it has over the last three games.

“We have to be able to bounce back,” said Forsett, who rushed for a season-high 112 yards and two touchdowns. “Sometimes, you start slow, but you’ve got to be able to finish strong, and we showed some resilience. I’m proud of the way we worked today.”

The Ravens should feel good about the win and where they stand in the playoff hunt while they reap the benefits of a week off, but the offense needs to be able to explode out of the gate for the final six weeks.

They’re going to need faster starts to be able to finish strong down the stretch.

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