Tag Archive | "Todd heap"

Former Ravens receiver Mason close to joining Jets

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Former Ravens receiver Mason close to joining Jets

Posted on 04 August 2011 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 8:40 p.m.)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ten days after his abrupt release from the Baltimore Ravens, Derrick Mason appears close to finding a new home in the Big Apple.

The New York Jets have released veteran Jerricho Cotchery and are moving toward signing the former Ravens receiver.

Mason leaves behind six productive seasons in Baltimore in which he became the franchise’s all-time leader in both receptions (471) and receiving yards (5,777) after joining the Ravens in 2005.

Rumors began linking the 37-year-old receiver to Rex Ryan’s squad Wednesday night before Mason visited the Jets and took a physical on Thursday. He would join a talented group of receivers in New York that includes Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress.

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While the Ravens continue to pursue the services of 6-foot-5 receiver Malcom Floyd to add more size and diversity in the passing game, quarterback Joe Flacco will adjust to life without his favorite target as Mason acted as the young quarterback’s security blanket over the last three seasons. Mason is the only receiver in franchise history to have a 100-catch season, grabbing 103 passes in 2007.

With former tight end Todd Heap having already signed with the Arizona Cardinals last weekend, the door closing shut on a potential Mason return marks the official end of an era in which the two ranked in the top two spots in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions in the 15-year history of the franchise.

“I hope we can go out there and we can operate no matter what,” said Flacco after his two favorite targets were released last week. “If those guys aren’t there, it is because we are confident with the guys that we have and we’re confident in those guys taking that next step and really being able to take on a 16-game NFL schedule and be on. That’s what I would say. If they are not there, we know we have a great group of guys. If they are there, we are only going to benefit from that.”

With the Jets set to visit Baltimore on Oct. 2 for a Sunday night game, the addition of Mason would add even more fuel to the fire of what’s already a spicy story with the John Harbaugh-Ryan connection and a number of former Ravens finding a home with the Jets such as Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard as well as Trevor Pryce in the middle of last season.

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I Can’t Tell You How Much I Like Idea of Malcom Floyd in Baltimore

Posted on 04 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

I think the headline makes my opinion pretty clear, but I hope you’ll read on anyway.

As San Diego Union-Tribune ace Chargers beat writer Kevin Acee indicated Wednesday, the Baltimore Ravens are the front-runners to land free agent WR Malcom Floyd after offering him a contract worth more than $3 million per year. Acee says the contract offered by the Ravens exceeds any known offer from the Bolts.

A deal for Floyd could be in place as early as Thursday, the day the NFL’s 2011 league year begins.

Floyd is by no means a prototypical “Number 1″ type receiver, and could be considered somewhat of a “late bloomer” after making his debut for the Chargers in 2004 as an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming.

Until 2009, Floyd failed to record as many as 30 catches or 500 receiving yards in a single season.

But in his last two seasons, Floyd has exploded for a combined 82 catches and 1,493 yards; adding in seven touchdown receptions.

The knock on Floyd has been a propensity to drop the ball, but that stigma might not be completely fair.

AdvancedNFLStats.com provides a statistic known as “Catch Rate” (CR), which they define as “the proportion of passes targeted to a receiver that are caught.” While the statistic reflects not only dropped catches but also passes defended, it is the fairest known way of answering the question “how many times does a particular receiver catch the ball when it is thrown in his direction?”.

Over the last two seasons, Floyd has averaged a CR of 53.65; catching nearly 54% of passes when he was the intended target.

As a base of comparison, free agent Ravens WR Derrick Mason (who is rumored to be a target of Rex Ryan and the New York Jets) has averaged a CR of 56.05 over the last two seasons.

Mason is considered to be one of the more sure-handed receivers in the NFL, while Floyd is believed to suffer from a significant case of the “drops.”

Mason has caught roughly 56% of the passes where he was the intended target over the last two seasons. Floyd has caught roughly 54% of the passes where he was the intended target in the same time frame.

The criticism of Floyd is largely without merit.

Floyd’s numbers are not the most significant attribute he would bring with him to Charm City. The most significant attribute he would bring would absolutely be his size.

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In A Word, Todd Heap Was “Steady” in Baltimore

Posted on 02 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

I kept trying to come up with the word throughout the weekend.

After Todd Heap’s tenure with the Baltimore Ravens officially ended this weekend when he signed a two year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, I had hoped to come up with a word to describe Heap’s time in Charm City.

When we made a list of the Top 10 players in franchise history last week, both Drew Forrester and I agreed he was deserving of Top 10 status. There’s no doubt that Heap will ultimately return to M&T Bank Stadium to see his name honored along the facade in the team’s Ring of Honor.

That being said, Heap’s career numbers would certainly fall short of being considered “spectacular” during his 10 seasons in Baltimore. He  finished with 700 yards receiving or more in only three of those seasons, never tallying more than 855. He also never hauled in any more than seven touchdown passes in a single season. After achieving Pro Bowl and All-Pro status twice early in his career (2002 & 2003), the former Arizona State Sun Devils star never again reached the same heights.

While perhaps not always “great”, Heap was always good. Usually he was very good.

Heap wasn’t exactly a football highlight reel. There will always be certain plays that will be remembered from Heap’s career, starting with the leaping catch he made over two defenders in the Ravens’ 2002 Monday Night Football win over the  Denver Broncos and ending with the tremendous layout catch he made on MNF in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets in 2010.

There were others in between, but Heap was never a “SportsCenter” staple or must-see YouTube star.

Rarely would the word “spectacular” be used to describe the way Todd Heap played football. On top of that, Heap’s nature as a person was by no means larger-than-life. Unlike retiring NFL WR Randy Moss, Heap was rarely the go-to guy a reporter looked to for a quote, never making controversial statements about teammates, coaches, or frankly anyone.

If “spectacular” wasn’t going to be the word, perhaps the more appropriate word would be just “steady”.

Steady.

During his ten years in Baltimore, Todd Heap’s play could be best described as steady.

When a play needed to be made, it was safe for the Baltimore Ravens to look to Heap.

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New Ravens FB Vonta Leach: “I’m ready to move on to a team that’s in the running for a Super Bowl”

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New Ravens FB Vonta Leach: “I’m ready to move on to a team that’s in the running for a Super Bowl”

Posted on 02 August 2011 by Ryan Chell

The Baltimore Ravens last week cut four veterans in an effort to clear some cap room-three of them veterans on the offensive side of the ball in WR Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, and RB Willis McGahee.

This also does’t include the likes of free agents T Jared Gaither, G Chris Chester and FB Le’Ron McClain who are all likely to take their services elsewhere, and in Chester’s case, he already has.

With wide receiver Anquan Boldin the only veteran returning to the lineup and with a coaching staff wanting to commit themselves to getting back to running the football with Ray Rice, the Ravens knew they needed to bolster that part of the offense.

So why not get the guy that blocked for the NFL’s leading rusher in Houston’s Arian Foster in 2010?

And that’s just what the Ravens did Sunday afternoon, as Baltimore signed FB Vonta Leach-widely believed to be the top free agent at the position.

Leach-the AFC’s Pro Bowl FB last year-signed a three year, 11 million dollar contract with the Ravens, which will reportedly make him the highest paid fullback in the league.

And he told Drew Forrester Monday morning that he’s worth every penny of that money.

He’s going to prove it, and he already told Ravens RB Ray Rice so.

“Me and Ray have talked on the phone,” Leach told Forrester. “I told him that I feel like if I block, whoever behind me will be alright.”

And for the most part, Leach is right.

Vonta Leach

Arian Foster last year for Houston-in only his second year in the league-finished atop the NFL in rushing with 1,616 yards with Leach leading the way.

Leach also helped a former Maryland target in WVU RB Steve Slaton reach the 1,000 yard plateau in 2008-Slaton’s rookie year.

And he finally got the respect he deserved this year by earning a trip to Honolulu.

However, Leach told Forrester that he’s not playing in the NFL to make Pro Bowls.

He’s here to win Super Bowls, and he felt like the Ravens give him a good chance to make it there.

“I spent five great years in Houston,” Leach told Forrester. “I’m ready to move on to a team that’s in the running for a Super Bowl every year.”

It was having his seasons as a Texan end in the last week of December that got him thinking about his free agent destination despite Houston’s desire to overpay to get him back.

“I haven’t been playing in January in awhile, and I’m ready to get back into it,” he said.

And finally, he feels like if he does his job and the Ravens commit to using his and Ray Rice’s skills to their potential, he’ll be able to fulfill his desire very easily.

“I know what’s expected of me,” Leach said. “I’m a blocking fullback. That’s what I do. My main job is to do what I can to help this team win.”

WNST thanks Vonta Leach for joining Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction”! We sure to welcome to Baltimore on Twitter (@Vleach44) and check out the conversation at the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault!

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Live from Owings Mills: Ravens lose Gregg; but Carr is parked in Baltimore

Posted on 30 July 2011 by Ryan Chell

The Ravens continued their trend of 3-hour practices at Owings Mills on Saturday watching yet another member of their 2010 squad find his way to another NFL team, as defensive tackle Kelly Gregg signed a one-year with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Gregg, 34, was one of the Ravens’ four big cuts last week (Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, Willis McGahee and Gregg) and after McGahee reportedly signed a contract with the Denver Broncos yesterday, Gregg becomes the second of them to find another team, and another to join the AFC West.

Gregg was in high spirits last week when he talked with WNST’s own Glenn Clark, but it was indicated today that Gregg never received a contract offer from the Ravens.

The Ravens must have felt like if Gregg’s wait for a new deal would be extended, they might be inclined to go as low as possible to bring him back to Owings Mills.

Gregg signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs and will immediately compete for the nose tackle position out in Kansas City.

LB Jarret Johnson, who is in his ninth season, spent most of that time around Kelly. He talked with him over the phone several days ago, and while he hoped Gregg would come back, Johnson said both and he Gregg knew the writing was on the wall.

“I think he kind of expected it,” Johnson said, “but I know he wanted to be here obviously. But, it’s a tough situation, and you get to that stage in your career when the front office has to make moves. We’re all going to be there one day.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh used a classic movie line to discuss the departure of Gregg.

“Kansas City just gave him an offer-I guess you could say-’an offer he couldn’t refuse’.”

Ravens keep their Carr

However, the wait didn’t last as long as you might expect, but the move the Ravens made wasn’t a big of a splash and still only brought one of their own back into the mix.

CB Chris Carr announced on his Twitter feed (@Triplcarr) that he had re-signed with the Ravens about midway through Saturday’s practice.

“Well, bmore. I’m backkkkk,” Carr said on Twitter. “Very excited to finish my career here.”

The fifth-year man out of Boise State who has played for both the Titans and the Raiders previously, returns to the Ravens and will likely be immediately placed back in his comfortable nickel corner position behind starters Domonique Foxworth and rookie Jimmy Smith.

Carr, who registered 61 tackles and 2 INTs last season in 16 games of work, played well last season in an expanded role.

The New York Jets and longtime defensive coordinator Rex Ryan had expressed interest in Carr, but fortunately for the Ravens, Carr is back in Baltimore.

“I’m very excited,” Harbaugh said. “This is something that we had hoped to do certainly with Josh or Chris-one of those two guys. They were both highly sought after, and Chris is a really great fit for us because he’s so versatile.”

Carr expressed that same enthusiasm.

“Thanks to all the support,” Carr tweeted. “I love it here in bmore and I love everything about being a Raven.”

The deal is reportedly four years in length, and Harbaugh was quick to say that he got what he deserved.

“I know he talked about wanting to be a starter, and we certainly consider him a starter. He is getting starter money.”

Harbaugh said they would have been happy to bring in any veteran corner back. They’re even more excited that it’s one of their own who knows the system.

“You can’t have enough corners,” Harbaugh said. “Ozzie said it, and it’s true. You have to be able to cover the quick passes, and those passes are covered one-on-one. There is just no way around it.”

Fullback Dicussion

The Ravens are still probably in need of a veteran fullback to replace the likes of LeRon McClain, who is a free agent.

The “veteran” on the roster-Jason McKie, who joined the team midway through the season last year, returned to practice Friday after suffering what appeared to be a serious leg injury on the first day on camp. He was again out for Saturday’s session and appeared like what happened on Wednesday was nothing more than a scare.

Reports however did surface on Wednesday that the market for McClain may be heating up out in Oakland, and the other fullback that has been linked to the Ravens, Texans FA FB Vonta Leach, has been given a bigger contract offer by his home team in an effort to retain his services.

Leach may be asking for a contract similar to that of former Raven Ovie Mughelli, who signed a six year, 18 million dollar contract with five million guaranteed back in 2007. If that is the case, the Ravens will probably decline his services to go with a cheaper option at the position.

Practice Notes

  • Safety Ed Reed was in attendance for today’s practice, but did not participate in drills.  Safety Nate Williams lined up at safety in Reed’s absence.
  • WR/KR David Reed, T Ramon Harewood, DT Brandon McKinney, G Ben Grubbs all did not participate in practice as they remain on the PUP list. Others who did not participate in today’s practice include WR Hakeem Moore (Towson), T Andre Ramsey, C Ryan Bartholomew, WR Terrell Zachary also did not practice. Bartholomew was not present.
  • With Grubbs on PUP and Yanda not able to suit up until the league year begins, the two guards lining up with the first team unit were rookie free agent Justin Boren and Brady Bond, who spent time on the practice squad last year. Boren lined up at LG next to Michael Oher, and Bond lined up at RG next to Jah Reid.
  • Reid said at the podium afterward that he is getting used to the speed of the game, and that he took several good licks from the defense. When asked who delivered the hits, Reid said he couldn’t remember, but that it was “one of those linebackers.”
  • The receivers certainly did their part in Saturday’s practice, as both Torrey Smith and James Hardy got looks with the first team unit opposite Anquan Boldin. Torrey Smith caught a fade route late in practice over his fellow draft pick in CB Jimmy Smith, and those two have been competing back and forth day-by-day in practice. Torrey after practice said that their competing will be an institution in Baltimore for years to come, he thinks. “He got me a couple times at the line today, so we can go back and forth for years. I’ll wear mine, and he can wear his.”
  • James Hardy offers an intriguing scenario to the Ravens. Everyone keeps talking about how the Ravens need to get a big WR who can go up and get the ball. Hardy-a former 2nd round pick of the Bills and stands at 6’5”, 220, could be that guy. But fundamental mistakes-including letting the opposing CB jump in front of his routes at times during Saturday’s practice, might deflate that suggestion. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron at one point ripped into Hardy, yelling “Get in front of his face! We have to win our one-on-one battles gentleman! They’ll be double-teaming us on the other side, and we won’t be able to do anything!”
  • Tyrod Taylor-who got much of the second and third looks on the day, started out inaccurate with his throws, either missing the receiver completely or not allowing the ballcatcher to get the ball in stride.  He did make a nice 30-yard throw along the sidelines to Justin Harper over CB Josh Victorian, but it will be interesting to see how his progression comes along each day in camp.
  • LB Jason Phillips did a great job in pass coverage hovering over the running back, and even delivered a bone-crushing hit on RB Matt Lawrence in the hole that was probably the biggest and loudest of the day. At the same time though, he also missed some tackles on outside sweeps.

Hear from John Harbaugh, Torrey Smith, Jah Reid, WR coach Jim Hostler, and LB Jarret Johnson in the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault!

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With veteran targets gone, Flacco wants ball in his hands

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With veteran targets gone, Flacco wants ball in his hands

Posted on 27 July 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Even putting aside the 134-day lockout that ended earlier this week, it was anything but a typical offseason for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

There was the firing of quarterback coach Jim Zorn and rumblings that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and Flacco weren’t on the same page.

With two years remaining on his current contract, Flacco expressed a desire for a new long-term contract in the midst of labor unrest.

Amid criticism from national media and peers such as Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley about his ability to win earlier this summer, Flacco married his high school sweetheart and saw his wedding photos become a viral sensation.

But none of that topped Monday’s news of the Ravens’ intentions to release his two longtime targets, Derrick Mason and Todd Heap, who were responsible for securing 33 of Flacco’s 60 touchdown passes over his first three seasons. Suddenly, Flacco finds his safety net torn away, with only Anquan Boldin and a number of young question marks remaining.

“I had no idea anything like that was going to happen, I really didn’t,” said Flacco, who expressed strong hope that both can be brought back. “You expect to come back and see some new faces, just like every year. Definitely was not expecting to get rid of Derrick and Todd. It happens in this league, so you’ve got to learn to not be surprised by those things.”

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Surprise is exactly what Flacco has brought to Baltimore since injuries forced the former Delaware quarterback into the starting lineup to begin his rookie season in 2008. With a regular season record of 32-16 over his first three seasons, the 26-year-old has silenced initial questions of whether he could play in the NFL, but the criticism has shifted to his postseason failures and an inability to become an elite quarterback at this point in his career.

Despite seven career playoff games — all coming on the road — and a 4-3 record, Flacco’s 61.6 quarterback rating and seven interceptions (to just four touchdowns) have many questioning whether he can lead the Ravens to the Super Bowl. Without Mason and Heap on the field, the pressure falls even heavier on Flacco’s shoulders in his fourth season, with criticism growing louder in many circles.

“There’s some that you don’t pay attention to and there’s some that you do,” said Flacco, whose quarterback rating has increased in each of his three seasons. “I don’t really quite understand it. We’ve had a good team the last three years, and I think I’ve gotten better each year and played pretty darn good. I really don’t understand it, but there’s nothing you can do about it. People are going to say what they’re going to say. We just have to go out there and continue to win football games.”

Winning football games may prove a greater challenge after the veteran departures and the lack of an offseason for Flacco to become better acquainted with rookie receivers Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss as well as to develop better chemistry with projected starting tight end Ed Dickson. Of Flacco’s 25 touchdown passes in 2010, players currently on the roster caught just nine of those scores — seven from Anquan Boldin.

The offense can no longer rely on the leadership of Heap and Mason, but will instead look to Flacco and running back Ray Rice to assert themselves further in their fourth season together.

“It’s just time to groom those guys and mold those guys the way we want them, the way I want them,” Flacco said. “We’ll have that chance. I’ll be able to be out there on the practice field with these young receivers.

“I’ll have a chance to live everything with them, go through every step of it with them. When they’re learning everything, when they’re going through their tough times, when they’re going through their good times, I’ll be right there with them, and that’ll be a good experience.”

Much has been opined about Flacco’s freedom in the offense — particularly with making pre-snap adjustments at the line of scrimmage — and a need to “remove the training wheels” for the young quarterback in what amounts to a big season for Cameron. The Ravens stated their intent in the offseason for Flacco to be more involved in the planning and execution of the offense.

Flacco wasn’t ready to disclose what that will ultimately look like, but his intention to take the accountability for the Ravens’ successes and failures was made perfectly clear in his first day back at the training complex, speaking with more conviction than what we’ve come to expect from the laid-back quarterback.

“We have to go through a season, and we have to put in game plans and just see what we’re going to do,” Flacco said. “I just want to go out there and win football games, and I want the ball to be put in my hands. I want everybody to be accountable. I want to go out there, and I want to be in control. I want to be put in the position to lose football games.

“I want it to be on me, and if we lose football games, I want you to be able to look directly at me and say, ‘Why did we lose this game?’ I should have a pretty good answer for you. And I want you to be able to look at me and say, ‘Why did we win this game?’ and I should have a pretty good answer for you. In order to do that, you have to have trust in me, and I think we’re there.”

With all the criticism of an unprecedented offseason and the abrupt exit of his two favorite targets, the spotlight shines even brighter on Flacco. The offense is younger and will depend on him to lead — and to perform — with the outspoken Mason and the lead-by-example Heap no longer in the picture.

That’s just fine with the Ravens quarterback.

“What motivates me is being the best quarterback in the world,” Flacco said. “I don’t play this game to be average; I play this game to be the best. It doesn’t matter what other people say. I think I’m pretty damn good. I don’t need to go out and tell everybody that. … I go out there, and I play.”

And that’s exactly what he’ll need to do.

Hear Flacco’s comments to the media in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

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Live from Owings Mills: Ravens tight end Dickson replacing “Superman” with Heap’s exit

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Live from Owings Mills: Ravens tight end Dickson replacing “Superman” with Heap’s exit

Posted on 27 July 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Second-year tight end Ed Dickson filled in for an injured Todd Heap over the final month of the 2010 season, but in the back of his mind, he knew the veteran was on his way back.

It looks like he’ll have no such safety net this year as the Ravens intend to officially release Heap on Thursday to save salary cap room. While some hope remains for Heap’s return at a reduced cost, Dickson finds himself as the projected starter entering training camp.

“It means a lot to me that they have that much faith in me,” said Dickson, who weighed in a few pounds heavier than last season. “I’ve been here one year. Like I said, all I can do is improve my game. I can come out in training camp and play my game and just try to get better everyday in camp and work to getting that starting position. They didn’t sign anything over to me right now. I still have competition, and I love competition.”

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His biggest competition is fellow 2010 draftee Dennis Pitta, selected in the fourth round, and third-year player Davon Drew. Dickson played in 15 games last season, catching 11 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown after being drafted in the third round from the University of Oregon. Pitta appeared in 11 games, making just one catch for 1 yard.

As excited as Dickson is for the opportunity after training in Eugene, Ore. at his alma mater this offseason, the young tight end reserves hope for Heap’s return.

“Todd Heap is a great individual, teacher, a great teammate, and he’ll be missed if he’s not here with us,” Dickson said. “With that said, hopefully he’s back with us. He taught me a lot just in that one year. He taught me how to be just an overall player in this game.”

Even if the 10-year veteran — with a resume that includes 41 career touchdown catches and 5,492 receiving yards — doesn’t return to Baltimore, the 24-year-old Dickson may still reach out to his mentor for advice during the season.

“I knew I had Superman coming back some game,” said Dickson about his month-long stay in the starting lineup after Heap’s hamstring injury last December. “If he’s not with us this year, I’ll probably still call him and ask him a couple things, and I’ll just go with our game plan and do it to the best of my ability.”

Listen to Dickson’s comments at training camp report day in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

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50 words about Matusz, Heap, Mason, Steelers-D … and prayers

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50 words about Matusz, Heap, Mason, Steelers-D … and prayers

Posted on 27 July 2011 by Rex Snider

Ahh, we’re just a couple days into renewed peace around NFL circles and we’re already being provided with enough storylines to finally disregard the lists of “BEST OF …” and “WORST OF …” that served as filler for radio programming, blogs and Twitter topics for the past few months.

Indeed, football is back …..

So, too, will be my “50 words” blogs, albeit on a random basis. After all, having such a format will give me opportunities to cover an array of topics, while maximizing your limited time to spend on blogs during breaks in the workday.

It’s a WIN-WIN, right?

So, without further delay, here’s your renewed edition of 50 words …..
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Sobering Reality For A Couple Ravens

As the news of Derrick Mason and Todd Heap becoming salary cap casualties in the process of molding the 2011 edition of the Ravens, I have begun to draw a few distinct conclusions.  However, the most telling from my perspective is we are probably witnessing the first time these two players have been cut by any team  ….
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All of us have experienced “the axe” at one intramural level or another, right?  Yet, Mason and Heap are probably feeling the effects of such a staunch rejection for the first time in their entire lives.  I would imagine it’s a tough pill to swallow ….
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Another Night, Another Loss

While many of us are primarily focused on what’s happening at One Winning Drive, along with an occasional eye glanced at the Orioles (they actually won, last night), there is another story or situation worth watching ….
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The tale of Brian Matusz is becoming more bewildering with the passing days.  Last night, Matusz found himself in immediate trouble, as he surrendered 3 walks and threw almost 30 pitches in the first inning of his start for the Norfolk Tides.  His final line:  5IP, 3ER, 7H, 3BB, 0K ….
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Thanks, Steelers

Many of us awakened to learn the Pittsburgh Steelers blessed us with a big favor, last night.  That’s right, they gave Ike Taylor a new 4-year deal to remain part of the team’s secondary.  But, if you think Baltimore fans are happy, there’s a great chance a member of the Ravens is ecstatic ….
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Quarterback, Joe Flacco, was all smiles as he learned the news.  Then again, any quarterback would be overjoyed to learn the archrival was bringing back a cornerback who is best described as one step up from a sawhorse on training wheels.  Many thanks, Mr. Rooney ….
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I Wanna Thank Jesus … For My Smokin’ Hot Wife

Even the casual NASCAR fan knows the green flag of each race is preceeded by an invocation by a clergyman.  That said, what transpired at Nashville Speedway, prior to last Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide event was simply priceless ….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J74y88YuSJ8&feature=related[/youtube]

I hope you weren’t drinking anything while watching the video of Pastor Joe Nelms delivering his rendition of a prayer.  Regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs, I think it was pretty cool to witness such a lighthearted expression of words.  Oh yeah, and did you catch Carl Edwards’ reaction?

Happy Wednesday …. tune in this afternoon at 2pm !!!!

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Mason says it’s up to Ravens to decide if he returns

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Mason says it’s up to Ravens to decide if he returns

Posted on 26 July 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — On a day when players were thrilled to return to the Ravens training facility, receiver Derrick Mason faced the sobering possibility of leaving a place he’s called home for the final time.

Though it doesn’t become official until Thursday, the 37-year-old wideout will be released in a cap-saving move, along with veterans Todd Heap, Kelly Gregg, and Willis McGahee. Mason was at the facility for his exit physical and met with general manager Ozzie Newsome.

After spending the last six seasons in Baltimore, becoming the Ravens’ all-time leading receiver, Mason remains upbeat and willing to return — if the Ravens want him.

“If they want me back, I’m back,” Mason said. “That’s all I can say. Now, if some other team wants me, then I think that’s one of those things you have to look at. My first thought would be to come back here. This has been my football home for the last six years, so why leave it so abruptly? I’m going to do what I can, and hopefully they’ll do what they need to do in order to try to bring me back. If not, hey, I can play football.”

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Mason caught 471 passes and 29 touchdowns from 2005 to 2010, including a career-high 103 catches in 2007. He is the only Ravens receiver to record a 100-catch season in the 15-year history of the franchise.

Serving as the union representative before and during the 134-day lockout, Mason was asked if he now had an empty feeling after learning of his impending release on the same day that the lengthy labor battle came to a culmination.

“[We were] trying to make football better, and we accomplished that,” Mason said. “Football is better, because we were out of football for 134 days. And because of the hard work that we put in – the executive committee, DeMaurice [Smith] – football is much better than it was.”

Mason understood the business decision made by Newsome, reminding everyone that he faced a similar fate with the Tennessee Titan, but had nothing but kind words to say about the organization and city he’s called home since 2005. He was set to make $4.5 million in the final year of a two-year agreement signed on March 10, 2010.

He arrived in Baltimore when Kyle Boller was still considered the quarterback of the future, welcomed his former Tennessee teammate Steve McNair, and eventually became the safety net for current quarterback Joe Flacco.

“Why am I going to be upset? It is what it is,” said Mason, ironically while his agent was calling him. “I have no reason to be upset. This organization gave me an opportunity six years ago to further my career. Only thing I’m disappointed with is I didn’t get an opportunity to win a championship. That’s the only thing I’m disappointed [about].

“This organization has been more than accommodating, the fans have been more than accommodating. I don’t think you can play for a better organization than this one.”

With an entire offseason condensed into a matter of days, it’s difficult to predict if Mason will be back in purple when the Ravens take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 or if he’ll be running sideline routes for another team looking for a steady possession receiver to move the chains.

One thing is certain, however. Mason doesn’t doubt his ability to keep playing — even in the November of his career.

“My gut says I can still play football,” Mason said. “Where? I don’t know. It might be playing football when I’m in the backyard with my son. I don’t know, but I still can play football. That’s what [my gut] says to me.”

Listen to Derrick Mason’s entire conversation with the media at 1 Winning Drive in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7-Next 7 Greatest Players in Ravens History

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7-Next 7 Greatest Players in Ravens History

Posted on 26 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

In honor of the “Purple Massacre” moves the Baltimore Ravens made Monday (and the chance the Charm City careers of Derrick Mason and Todd Heap may be over), today’s Morning Reaction “Tuesday Top 7″ topic was “The Next 7 Greatest Players in Ravens History.”

We say the “Next 7″ instead of the “Top 7″ because we’re in agreement that the Top 3 players in franchise history are Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden and Ed Reed.

This is a battle for spots 4-10.

Understood?

Glenn Clark’s list…

10. Haloti Ngata

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9. Derrick Mason

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8. Terrell Suggs

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7. Todd Heap

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6. Peter Boulware

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5. Chris McAlister

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4. Jamal Lewis

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