Tag Archive | "training camp"

Purple Reign 2: Flacco & Bisciotti met, talked Super Bowls & millions last August

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Purple Reign 2: Flacco & Bisciotti met, talked Super Bowls & millions last August

Posted on 30 May 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

This is an excerpt from a new, 480-page book on the Baltimore Ravens championship run called Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story. If you enjoyed every aspect of their Super Bowl win in New Orleans, you’ll love this book that chronicles how the team overcame adversity and personal tragedies, and used theology sprinkled with faith, family and love on the way to a Baltimore parade fueled by inspiration, dedication, perspiration and yes, a little bit of luck.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 15 of the definitive book on the Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII victory in New Orleans, Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story.

If you enjoy it, please consider buying the books for the holidays as gifts for anyone who loves the Baltimore Ravens.

You can purchase both Purple Reign books by clicking here:

You can read an excerpt from Chapter 9 here where Joe Flacco and Steve Bisciotti talk about the risk of $100 million:

You can read an excerpt from Chapter 15 on the firing of Cam Cameron and its impact on Joe Flacco

This is from Chapter 9, “Injury after insult after implosion – Psychology 2012.” If you enjoy this small snippet you can purchase the book and read another excerpt here. You can also join the Facebook fan page here. The book will be released on May 31st and will be delivered before Father’s Day if purchase before June 5th.

 

AS THE TEAM WAS ASSEMBLED in the preseason, questions lingered, but Harbaugh felt great that the team had survived an offseason without arrests, without incidents, without any member of a veteran team blaming Evans or Cundiff for the New England loss. He inherited a fractured team in 2008, and by the summer of 2012 he was feeling good about the unity of the players and their maturity.

But the obvious questions for fans, media, and The Castle staff were all the same:

Is this the last chance for Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Matt Birk?

Will the offensive line hold up?

Can the Ravens win the big one?

Can Joe Flacco win the big one?

As Bisciotti knew on draft day in 2008, and as Newsome, Harbaugh, and everyone else in the organization had experienced the hard way — it always comes back to the quarterback. Was Joe Flacco going to be the franchise quarterback who would win a Super Bowl for the Baltimore Ravens?

Flacco, who played perhaps the best game of his career and threw what would’ve been the pass that took the Ravens to the Super Bowl on his last drive in January, somehow went into the 2012 season as the man on the hot seat who had not only turned down a $90 million offer for more than six months, but who had gone on WNST.net & AM 1570 in April and said he thought he was the best quarterback in the NFL. As much as Tim Tebow was the darling of ESPN with a seemingly non-stop Jets theme on SportsCenter, Flacco became something of a punch line for a quarterback who could get a team to the playoffs, but somehow was perceived as “not Super Bowl caliber.”

Short of catching his own pass in Foxborough, he literally had done everything he could do to get his team into the Super Bowl and yet the abuse was seemingly endless.

But the game is won on the X’s and O’s and the execution, and Flacco knew this. Cameron and Flacco had talked about more passing, more shotgun formations, and more pressure on defenses, but over the summer of 2012 it became clear the Ravens would become more of a personalized offense for No. 5. If the Ravens were offering Flacco $90 million dollars, they’d need to trust him to earn that money. He loved the tempo of the no-huddle offense and loved that it allowed him to dictate to the defense both personnel and pace.

“What quarterback wouldn’t want to run the no-huddle or fast-paced offense?” Flacco said. “Let’s be honest, it’s more fun to play quarterback when you do that. We like the pace we’re running on offense right now, but it’s a work in progress. We’ve done OK, and we’ve played pretty quick. But, we know we can play better, and we will play faster as we get into it more.”

Harbaugh endorsed this ideological move from being a team that always allowed its defense to cut loose while always seeming to fear the worst from the offense — trying to utilize the clock, run the ball, and be more conservative. “We’ve talked about the no-huddle [offense] since Joe’s [Flacco] rookie season,” Harbaugh said. “He ran it at Delaware and has had success in it when we’ve run it the last few years. He is a key to running it, and he loves it. And, we have the parts for it right now, including the offensive line. We can run the offense very fast, a little fast, slower, and we can huddle. We’re in a good spot right now with how we can run our offense.”

While some of the idiot sports talking heads and media types were constantly flogging Flacco, the people who watch coaches’ film were always impressed with him, using the evidence and residue of four straight playoff appearances and his improving game to shout down the detractors.

“We’ve spent time with Joe [Flacco], and I perceive a change in him,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who saw Flacco play at Audubon High in his hometown of Philadelphia. “He’s won since Day One with the Ravens, but he’s more confident now. They’re confident in him, too, and the improved offense reflects all of that. He can make every throw. He can bring his team from behind. The question becomes, ‘Can they win a Super Bowl with Joe?’ And the answer is an emphatic, ‘Yes!’”

Mike Lombardi, who was doing NFL analysis in the summer of 2012 before becoming the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, said “That anyone spent the offseason criticizing [Joe] Flacco strikes me as ludicrous. Flacco didn’t drop the ball in the end zone against the Patriots. In fact, it was Flacco who drove the Ravens to give them two chances to win that game. It was others who didn’t make plays. While he doesn’t play in an offense that shows off his skills statistically, Flacco is a winning QB, and his record [45-21] shows it.”

ESPN’s Ron Jaworski spoke out on Flacco’s arm strength and ability to attack opposing defenses. “Arm strength – that’s Flacco’s No. 1 attribute,” Jaws said. “I get so tired of hearing how arm strength is overrated. It’s far more important than people think. He has the strongest arm in the NFL. And he has an aggressive, confident throwing mentality. The element always overlooked by those who minimize arm strength is the willingness of quarterbacks like Flacco to pull the trigger. Few recognize that because there is no quantifiable means by which to evaluate throws that are not made by quarterbacks with lesser arm strength. It’s all about dimensions. Flacco gives you the ability to attack all areas of the field at any point in the game.”

Flacco took the responsibility as a personal challenge and something he embraced.

“It’s definitely my offense as a quarterback; it’s my job to get out there and lead these guys and direct them and run the traffic, and get it run the way that I want it to be run,” he said in training camp. “Cam may be running the plays, and I may be controlling certain things on the line depending on what the play is, but the fine details of being a good offense are all of the fine details. And it’s my job to get those correct and that we have everyone on the same page. As long as I’m out there in practice getting it to the games and on game day, as long as I’m doing that and expressing to the receivers, expressing to the running back, and to the offensive line how I feel, and what I see back there and as long as we can get on the same page as that together, then that’s when we’re doing something, and that’s when I’m doing my job.

“You talk about being paid that much money, they don’t do that so that they can go out there to do every job, they do that so they can delegate some jobs onto me. And I can go out there and get it done the way it should be. That’s a big part of being a quarterback. To be able to make sure that everything is running smoothly and everybody sees it the way I see it. And that once we get there on Sunday, we can just react and play. Because we’re all up to speed and we all have the same vision of everything. I think that’s what good quarterbacks are able to do, is to take that and then take a certain play and make it great, just because everyone has a good understanding of that.”

By the beginning of training camp it was very clear that the Ravens and Flacco were at an impasse in negotiating a new contract that would replace the final year of his five-year deal from 2008. Newsome called Bisciotti and said that after tireless conversation with Flacco’s agent Joe Linta, there was no way to get a long-term deal and that the Ravens would need to play out the season and consider signing or franchising their star quarterback in 2013.

Bisciotti authorized a final offer – a “bump and roll” contract that gave Flacco a $1 million per year bonus if he won a Super Bowl and $2 million per year for the six years of the deal if he had won two Super Bowls. It would’ve been a raise that stayed on the books for the life of the deal. The average salary number was $16.7 million per year on the Ravens’ base offer, which would’ve made Flacco the fourth-highest paid quarterback behind Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. Flacco was essentially turning down $90 million because he was rejecting the notion that he was the fourth best quarterback in the NFL.

Linta and Flacco once again turned it down the week before training camp opened.

Bisciotti was flustered, wanting to get the deal done and ran into Flacco in the cafeteria in Owings Mills during the first week of training camp and summoned the quarterback to his office upstairs.

“I had never, ever – not for one minute – even spoken to Joe about the contract,” Bisciotti said. “That was for Pat [Moriarty] and Ozzie [Newsome] to do, but I wanted to take one more swing at it and try to understand the situation.”

They spent 45 minutes with the door closed.

“There are two things here that I don’t understand,” Bisciotti said to Flacco. “I don’t understand why you’re walking away from this deal? As maligned as you are in the press and as little faith as so many pundits have in you, we’re offering you a $90 million deal and you can go wave that in their face and say, ‘F**k you guys! See, the Ravens DO believe in me!’ ”

Flacco was nonplussed. “I really don’t care about my critics,” he bluntly told the Ravens owner.

Bisciotti was exasperated. “I don’t understand it. Joe, don’t you think you’d play better with a clear head and having this contract behind you?” he continued. “You won’t have to answer questions from anybody, and you can just focus on playing and winning the Super Bowl.”

Flacco said it again. “Steve, I appreciate the offer, but I really don’t care about the media, critics, any of it. I’ve gotta trust my agent, and he doesn’t want any incentives in contracts. And I’ve gotta leave it to him.”

Bisciotti reasoned that until they won a Super Bowl together neither one would get that ultimate respect they desired. “I’m offering you a better deal than the one you’re asking me for if you’re planning on winning the Super Bowl,” he said.

Flacco wasn’t upset or emotional, as is his custom. He simply smiled and said he was going to play out the year. Bisciotti said, “Well, I tried,” as he shook Flacco’s hand. “Then go out and put a few rings on my desk and get what you think you deserve.”

“I figured if he’s fine with it then I should be fine with it,” Bisciotti said. “I wanted it behind both of us. I guess I didn’t really understand how different a guy he was. I told him, ‘You are a different cat, man!’ ”

Flacco remembers the conversation vividly. “Yeah, he couldn’t get over it,” Flacco said. “He said, ‘Do you know what you’re doing? This is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard!’ I told him I knew what I was doing and my price wasn’t getting cheaper. I saw his point of view but I also thought that I was right. I’m a little bit of a hard head.”

Flacco believed the market always get set by the next elite quarterback that signs and the price always goes up if you perform. “It wasn’t a bad offer but I felt like I could do better if I waited,” he said. Like his adversary in this $100 million negotiation, he had gone to the Bisciotti school of downside management.

“My agent said to me, ‘Think about the worse possible situation and if you’re OK with that then hold your position,” Flacco said. The downside here would’ve been a catastrophic injury or a bad 2012 season on the field. “If I got hurt, I got hurt,” he said. “That’s the nature of the game. I was willing to look in the mirror and live with that.”

Flacco said he turned the tables on Bisciotti: “I told him, ‘You should give me four or five million more now because if I win the Super Bowl’ – and I did say ‘if’ – ‘then it’s gonna cost you $20 million.’ ”

Flacco figured he was still only making his base of $6.5 million in 2012 no matter what. The Ravens weren’t ripping up his deal. It was an extension. And there’s always a new “going rate” for top quarterbacks.

“I was actually glad that he called me up to talk about it because it was a cool conversation to have,” Flacco said. “Even though we weren’t agreeing it was a great conversation. It’s one of those talks that grows a relationship, I think.

“Hey, I tried to throw him a bone and save him some money.”

 

To purchase Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story, click here.

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Your Monday Reality Check: This is just plain awkward at this point

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Your Monday Reality Check: This is just plain awkward at this point

Posted on 20 August 2012 by Glenn Clark

For me, it was probably my 15th birthday party.

ESPNZone had just opened in the Inner Harbor about a month earlier and I wanted absolutely nothing more than to check it out. I convinced my parents to let me have a party there after weeks of haggling.

The agreement came with one significant stipulation. As my parents were by no means wealthy people (although clearly I was more fortunate than others), they informed me I could only bring three friends.

I knew then that the decision I made would easily be the most agonizing of my entire life.

(You probably think I’m being sarcastic. With the gift of hindsight, it’s understandable. But think back to the time you had to make a similar decision. Remember how significant you thought it was? I thought so.)

I was obviously going to bring Brandon, as he and I had been hanging out together almost every day that summer. I had also figured I would take Matt, one of my buddies since first grade. The third choice was by far and away the most difficult. Ryan and Andy were stepbrothers, so how was I going to pick one and not the other? Billy had invited me to his cool birthday party earlier that year, so maybe I owed him. Adam was having a paintball themed birthday later in the month, I definitely didn’t want my decision to jeopardize an invite to his party. And for perhaps the first time in my young life I thought perhaps it was more important to consider inviting a GIRL (Leslie) instead of one of my buddies.

I remember thinking “perhaps I could cheat the system.” I tried convincing my parents I couldn’t invite Ryan without inviting Andy. I tried seeing if they would allow me to invite a fourth if I promised to invite one fewer friend to my 16th birthday. I told them Brandon shouldn’t count against the limit because he was basically living with us that summer anyway. I had hoped to find out someone wouldn’t be able to come anyway because their family already had plans.

I wish I could tell you I remembered who I picked. I don’t. I just remembered how awkward the whole process was.

I’m assuming by this point you clearly see the analogy I’m trying to make between my 15th birthday party and the Baltimore Ravens’ preseason kicking competition. How could you possibly not? I’m laying it on so thick!

(Continued on Page 2…)

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A Tale of Two Camps

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A Tale of Two Camps

Posted on 14 August 2012 by Brett Dickinson

Working in sports media for several years now, I have had the pleasure to cover different training camps over the past seasons; visiting Lehigh University with the Eagles, Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia and of course Ravens’ camp at both McDaniel College and the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills. As the Ravens moved back to the Palace, it was inevitable that their camp would change drastically. And even though the comfort level at 1 Winning Drive must be drastically greater for the players, there is definitely an advantage to being off site as well.

The “pros” for camp at home are business related; it is easier to operate the daily functions of the team at the locale where you conduct business. The players have access to the immense accommodations that professional athletes grow accustomed to over their careers; the training rooms, film rooms and housing situations are just better. Also, the team does not need to make arrangements to move the mass amounts of equipment needed to properly conduct practice for several weeks to an off-site locale. The conditions of the fields alone at the Ravens facility go above and beyond standards of a small D-III school known for its liberal arts program and not its athletic facilities.

The distractions on the field are also less significant as well, as thousands of screaming fans are not watching the every move of star players like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and others, who dawn the black and purple. Though a select group of fans are welcome to Owings Mills, they are so far removed from the actual team, their presence is barely known. In short, training camp at the Palace is easier on the entire make-up of the organization to start another NFL season.

On the other hand, keeping camp at a small school has a specific advantage that cannot be taken likely. Players are forced to room together, under meager conditions (for professional athletes’ standards), which can only help a team bond into a unit. Uprooting individuals to a non-descript location will force cohesion from management down to the ball boys, while enforce a camaraderie amongst the players they cannot receive while in the comforts of their own homes.

Back to the distractions; as a team practices in front of herds of the purple camo army, they are learning under conditions more similar to a game atmosphere. The fans will not shut up at M&T Bank Stadium while the team stands on the sidelines waiting for Harbaugh’s decision on a fourth and two. It is certainly worse when the Ravens head on the road to cities like Pittsburgh and New England.

So what form of camp reigns superior? Neither. To gain the greatest advantage, a team should find a way to take advantage of both. The Ravens practices this year at M&T and the Naval Academy are good ideas to the “have their cake and eat it too,” concept, but still does not gain full advantage of the off-site camp.

If the Ravens really wanted to move ahead of the competition, they would build a full training camp facility a couple hours away (maybe on the Eastern Shore). Have this location set to hold camp without having the hassle of moving the equipment from Owings Mills. Make “dorms” for the players to live in, while having a basic replica to the Palace’s training amenities including: medical rooms, state of the art film rooms and grass turf fields (the same as the actual field at M&T). And of course, implementing a practice schedule open to fans for about half of training camp will also provide a good mix between business and distraction.

A logical solution to the Tale of Two Camps.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 14 August 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable MentionGolf: PGA Tour Wyndham Championship (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Greensboro, NC), Champions Tour Dick’s Sporting Goods Open (Friday 12:30pm Saturday & Sunday 3pm from Endicott, NY live on Golf Channel), LPGA Tour Safeway Classic (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm Sunday 7:30pm from North Plains, OR live on Golf Channel); WNBA: Washington Mystics @ Indiana Fever (Thursday 7pm from Indianapolis live on WNBA.com), Washington Mystics @ Minnesota Lynx (Friday 8pm from Minneapolis live on NBA TV), Chicago Sky @ Washington Mystics (Sunday 4pm from Chicago live on Comcast SportsNet/NBA TV); Auto Racing: NASCAR Pure Michigan 400 (Sunday 12pm from Brooklyn, MI live on ESPN)

10. My Morning Jacket (Saturday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); John Prine/Emmylou Harris (Wednesday 7:30pm Wolf Trap); Cinderella (Friday 7:30pm Rams Head Live); Bob Schneider (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Soul Asylum (Saturday 8:30pm Rams Head on Stage); Dirty Projectors/Wye Oak (Friday & Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club); Chrisette Michelle (Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Howard Theatre); Jane’s Addiction (Tuesday 7pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Hot August Blues feat. Trombone Shorty/Gov’t Mule/Cris Jacobs Band (Saturday 11:30am Oregon Ridge); Nonpoint (Monday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage)

Dude I’ve probably watched the video of Emmylou Harris playing “Long Black Veil” with Dave Matthews SIX MILLION TIMES in my life….

Bob Schneider does a song called “Honeypot” that as far as I’m concerned is just the bees knees…

Jane’s Addiction taught me so much about prostitution when I was a young man…

If you’re into Trombone Shorty you’re just likely not into anything human beings should possibly enjoy…

9. Baltimore County Restaurant Week (Thursday-Sunday throughout Baltimore County); Baltimore Improv Festival (Thursday-Sunday Creative Alliance); Wayans Brothers (Tuesday & Wednesday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Godfrey (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); “The Expendables 2″ in theaters (Friday); Shark Week (Tuesday-Thursday Discovery Channel)

A recommendation. Go to Jimmy’s Famous Seafood during Restaurant Week. Order the Kung Pao Shrimp Tacos. Don’t bother wearing pants.

And since it’s Shark Week, here’s Tracy Morgan…

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 07 August 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer-MLS DC United @ Sporting Kansas City (Saturday 8:30pm from Kansas City live on Comcast SportsNet); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Denver Outlaws @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on ESPN3.com); Charm City Roller Girls (Saturday 5:30pm Du Burns Arena)

10. Evanescence/Chevelle (Tuesday 4pm Pier Six Pavilion); American Idol Live feat. Phillip Phillips (Thursday 7pm First Mariner Arena Wednesday 7pm Verizon Center); O.A.R. (Friday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); System of a Down/Deftones (Tuesday 8pm Verizon Center); Linkin Park (Saturday 8pm Jiffy Lube Live), Aerosmith/Cheap Trick (Sunday 7:30pm Jiffy Lube Live); Steve Miller Band (Friday & Saturday 8pm Wolf Trap), Joe Walsh (Monday 8pm Wolf Trap); Little Feat (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head Live); Howie Day (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Mighty Mighty Bosstones (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Lucinda Williams (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Alternate Routes (Friday 8pm Jammin’ Java); Boston/Kansas/Grand Funk Railroad (Saturday 7pm Aberdeen Proving Ground); Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw (Sunday 4:30pm FedEx Field); The Wailers (Sunday 8pm State Theatre); Silopanna feat. Cake, Citizen Cope, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, G. Love & Special Sauce, J Roddy Walston & The Business, Jimmie’s Chicken Shack (Saturday Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds)

You may not have heard this, but I enjoy the tunes of the band Of A Revolution…

Do you think the Bosstones ultimately fell off because they just couldn’t shake the stigma that came with being the band from Clueless? They were so freaking good…

I’m looking forward to seeing Citizen Cope Sunday in Annapolis…

I’m looking forward to seeing Robert Randolph even more…

9. Chris Tucker (Saturday 7pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Ian Bagg (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Mike Birbiglia (Tuesday-Thursday DC Improv); Michael McDonald (Friday-Sunday DC Improv); Baltimore County Summer Restaurant Week (Friday-Monday throughout Baltimore County); “Nitro Circus The Movie 3D” (Wednesday), “The Bourne Legacy” and “The Campaign” out in theaters (Friday)

I pray “The Campaign” doesn’t suck. There’s been far too much good thus far.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 31 July 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable MentionPro Wrestling: Ring Of Honor (Friday 7:30pm Du Burns Arena); Soccer: MLS Columbus Crew @ DC United (Saturday 7:30pm from RFK Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet); Pro Lacrosse: Long Island Lizards @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on CBS Sports Network); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Mercito Gesta vs. Ty Barnett (Friday 10pm from Las Vegas live on ESPN2)

10. Summer Spirit Festival feat. Erykah Badu, Common, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (Saturday 3pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); George Thorogood & The Destroyers (Wednesday 7:30pm Wolf Trap), The Temptations/The Four Tops (Thursday 8pm Wolf Trap); 12 Stones (Sunday 6pm Recher Theatre); Old Crow Medicine Show (Thursday 7pm Friday 8pm 9:30 Club), Our Lady Peace (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club); Toadies (Tuesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Ted Nugent (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Dick Dale (Tuesday 7:30pm Birchmere); Daughtry (Wednesday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric), Lyle Lovett (Saturday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Aaron Neville (Sunday 8pm Howard Theatre); Civil Twilight (Friday 8pm Rock & Roll Hotel)

It’s really tough for me to choose whether I enjoy Sharon Jones or the Dap-Kings more…

Do people throw Wagon Wheels at OCMS shows? Should they just be called Old Crow Medicine Shows?

We all know America > Canada, but what do we make of the fact that Our Lady Peace is from Canada???

I’m man enough to admit I’m excited about Daughtry. Are you?

9. Tracy Morgan (Thursday 7:30pm & 10pm Howard Theatre); Jerry Seinfeld (Friday 7pm Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts); John Mulaney (Friday & Saturday DC Improv); “Hatfields & McCoys” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); “Totall Recall” out in theaters (Friday)

Total Recall is about three days away from release. The number three seems to be relevant for some other reason I can’t think of ohyeah…

Oh and also, here’s Tracy Morgan giving birth. Neat!

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Ravens DE Jones working hard in positional battle

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Ravens DE Jones working hard in positional battle

Posted on 26 July 2012 by Ryan Chell

If anyone on the Baltimore Ravens roster poised for a “breakout” year, think of no one else other than defensive end Arthur Jones.

Jones, the Ravens’ fifth-round pick of Syracuse in 2010, has spent much of the last two years playing understudy to the likes of Haloti Ngata and Cory Redding.

And with Redding following ex-defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano to Indianapolis, a position on the Ravens starting defensive line appears Jones’ for the taking.

Jones joined Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” to talk about his expanded role and extra responsibilities this season in an all-important third year for the lineman.

“I have a different mindset,” Jones said. “The last few years have definitely been a learning process.”

Jones has lined up at both inside at tackle and outside at end for defensive coordinators Greg Mattison and Chuck Pagano the past several years, and he again figures to continue to hold that “tweener” role for this year’s play-caller, Dean Pees.

Essentially, Jones says he’s compiled and learned a lot of information over his first two NFL seasons to give Pees as many options as possible on where to fit him on his defense.

“It’s really helped me figure out this defense with the different coordinators that we had and kind of find my niche on the team,” Jones said.

Jones started to show up on the radar last season-in which he appeared in 14 games for the Ravens, and started one.

He registered 20 tackles and toward the end of the season began to see more playing time and slowly became a threat in some games despite not having the stats to back it up.

Just ask Colt McCoy, who sprained his ankle last December thanks to a hit from the 6’3, 313 pounder.

That experience has definitely boosted his morale and enthusiasm going into the start of this week’s training camp at Owings Mills.

“You know I’ve just got to keep on improving my skills,” Jones said. “I feel more explosive, I feel more alive, it’s hard to explain.”

But, Jones is also going to have show some mental toughness. Despite his playing time from last year and growth, he will be in a camp-battle with second-year guy Pernell McPhee, who most likely will take the field on third-down with the job of simply chasing down the quarterback and earning accolades by piling up sacks.

McPhee-a fellow fifth-round pick-grabbed six of them in his rookie season.

Jones said that even if he doesn’t get those opportunities, he still guaranteed that you’ll hear his name called a lot more this season.

“A the end of the day it really doesn’t matter, me and him both are going to get a lot of playing time and you’re going to hear both our names on the announcement a lot with tackles, sacks, tackles for loss.”

Having been in this league for two years to wait his turn, Jones said he fully understands that you’re never not fighting for a spot, and the battle is only going to make this defense better by bringing the best out of he and McPhee.

“I know it’s going to be a great competition competing for a starting job,” Jones said. “Me and [McPhee] and our whole defense…we’ve just been working hard and grinding and it’s been nothing but positives this off-season.”

And he said he’s learned from three of the best in the business in All-Pros Ngata, Terrell Suggs, and his mentor from last season in Redding-whose position he will be stepping into mostly on first and second downs.

Or whenever or how much he is needed in any capacity or role.

“Backing up Haloti Ngata isn’t a bad thing for two years. Having a leader like that and a guy who’s a huge mentor- him and Cory Redding-to show me how to play this defense…you know I’ve been a student and these guys have been the masters.”

Jones laughed saying he couldn’t be in a better spot to learn from the Defensive Player of the Year.

Literally.

They moved my locker in the locker room next to Terrell Suggs so hopefully some of that good luck rubs off on me and a couple sacks fall in my lap,” Jones replied.

WNST thanks Arthur Jones for joining WNST and will be watching him ever so closely in training camp! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 24 July 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Pro Lacrosse-Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Boston Cannons (Saturday 2pm from Boston live on ESPN3.com); Boxing: Robert Guerrero vs. Selcuk Aydin (Saturday 10pm from San Jose live on Showtime), Friday Night Fights: Hank Lundy vs. Raymundo Beltran (Friday 10 from Atlantic City live on ESPN2)

10. BSO presents “The Music of Michael Jackson” (Thursday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion), BSO presents “The Music of Led Zeppelin” (Friday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Vans Warped Tour feat. Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low, Yellowcard (Tuesday 11am Merriweather Post Pavilion), Santana & The Allman Brothers (Monday 5pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Flo Rida/Cee Lo Green (Wednesday 7pm Verizon Center), Rod Stewart & Stevie Nicks (Friday 7:30pm Verizon Center); 311/Slightly Stoopid (Saturday 6:30pm Jiffy Lube Live), Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival feat. Motorhead, Slipknot, Slayer (Sunday 1:30pm Jiffy Lube Live); Summerland feat. Everclear, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray, Lit (Wednesday 7pm Wolf Trap); Fuel/Filter (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Aaron Lewis (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live), SOJA (Thursday 8pm Rams Head Live), The Dan Band (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live); Dick Dale (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Toad The Wet Sprocket (Monday 6pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage); Kenny Loggins (Thursday 7:30pm Birchmere); Passion Pit “Gossamer” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Let’s just go All 90′s here. I once jumped live on stage with Art Alexakis at an Everclear show at 1st Mariner Arena (it might have been Baltimore Arena then).

And yet I’d be equally excited to see the Gin Blossoms…

You’ve definitely found yourself humming a FUEL song at some point in your life…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0QMfK9hzgA

I have no shtick tonight. I enjoy Filter music. That’s what I’ve got.

9. “The Watch” out in theaters (Friday); Baltimore Summer Restaurant Week (Friday-Monday throughout Charm City); Otakon (Friday-Sunday Baltimore Convention Center); Brian Regan & Dennis Regan (Thursday DC Improv), Rob Schneider (Friday-Sunday DC Improv)

I could post some pictures of food porn in honor of Baltimore Summer Restaurant Week, but I had a feeling you wanted to see some pictures of scantily clad Otakon-goers…

I’ll require a thank you card.

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O’ What An Exciting Time To Be A Bmore Sports Fan

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O’ What An Exciting Time To Be A Bmore Sports Fan

Posted on 06 July 2012 by melissarubin

Hey hon, how ‘bout dem O’s? It’s been 14 years since we said it and actually meant it! It is still crazy to think that the All Star Break is almost here and the O’s still matter. While we hoped they would play better than last year and a .500 season would have made us happy, they’ve gone above and beyond our expectations. The O’s are currently second place in the AL East, just 5.5 games behind Yankees.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that the O’s and Ravens have ever been relevant at the same time.

Baseball is a marathon and we’re at the halfway point. We need to be careful not to hit the wall, we’ve still got a long way to go. While it is fun to be in the most competitive division in the American League, it can suck when we’re fighting to stay alive. The Yankees are in our way, they are good at getting in our way and it is annoying. So far the Red Sox have been quiet, but I fear that they will start making some noise after the break.

Right now it is truly “Christmas in July” and it is an awesome time to be a Baltimore sports fan. Sports radio hosts and callers are still talking about the O’s and sports writers/bloggers are still writing about them.

We’re a few weeks away from Ravens training camp and so far all has been quiet on the purple front. It is weird that we’re not hearing a lot of buzz about the Ravens (well not yet). While I’m a baseball fan, football is my game of choice and part of me misses the football talk, but on the flip side I’m enjoying and relishing the baseball chatter.

The O’s are still hot and are constantly being tested, but in Buck I trust and I am holding out hope that they will stay relevant and keep the fight alive.

The Ravens, well the Ravens always matter in this town and soon the talk to shift to them, we’ll be chirping about Ray Rice’s contract, Ed Reed’s attendance at training camp and which linebacker shows the most promise in filling in for Terrell Suggs.

O’ it is awesome, I love that I can count down to training camp and enjoy the black and orange at the same time!

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Ravens unveil details for open training camp practices

Posted on 29 June 2012 by WNST Staff

The Baltimore Ravens’ 2012 training camp, connected by Verizon, will feature individual practices to be held at M&T Bank Stadium, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis and Stevenson University. Additionally, by entering a lottery on the Ravens’ official website, fans in limited numbers will have the opportunity to win free tickets to training camp at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills.

The Ravens can safely host 200 people on the fields of their training center, and fans who are randomly chosen through the drawing will be invited to view one of the team’s 13 open training camp sessions at the Under Armour Performance Center. The first full-team training camp practice is July 26 and the last is Aug. 15.

M&T Bank Stadium is the site for a training camp practice on Saturday, Aug. 4, and then the Ravens will practice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 12. Both of these sessions are free and open to the public.

The team will round out its off-site training camp sessions at Mustang Stadium at Stevenson University on Sunday, Aug. 19. While this is a free event, due to limited seating, fans must enter a lottery on the Ravens’ website for an opportunity to win tickets.

Each of these practice venues will feature interactive fan events, including player autograph signings for children, fun-filled activities designed specifically for youth and cheerleader/mascot meet-and-greets.

FAN LOTTERY FOR TRAINING CAMP PRACTICES

Beginning today (6/29), fans may enter a lottery at www.baltimoreravens.com/TCLottery to attend one training camp practice at the Under Armour Performance Center or the practice held at Stevenson University.

All lottery submissions must be made by Friday, July 13 at 5 p.m., and the Ravens will contact fans who are chosen for these practices no later than Thursday, July 19. Details – including parking, practice day/time and procedures – will be communicated to winning recipients upon notification.

RAVENS OFF-SITE TRAINING CAMP PRACTICES

Location:                                       M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD) – Free and Open to the Public

When:                              Saturday, Aug. 4

Practice Start Time:                     5 p.m.

Gates Open:                                 3:30 p.m.

Parking:                           Stadium lots open at noon and are available for cold tailgating. The parking fee is $10.                                 

Other Details:                              Baltimore’s Marching Ravens, cheerleaders, official mascot Poe and live mascots Rise and Conquer will be in attendance. The Ravens Team Store and concession stands will be open.

 

Location:                                       Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Annapolis, MD) – Free and Open to the Public

When:                              Sunday, Aug. 12

Practice Start Time:                     5 p.m.

Gates Open:                                 3:30 p.m.

Parking:                                         Lots open at noon and are available for cold tailgating.

  • $10 for cars and $25 for buses
  • Parking may be purchased via www.navysports.com
  • If Navy lots become full, nearby off-site locations are available with stadium shuttles.

Other Details:                              Baltimore’s Marching Ravens, cheerleaders, official mascot Poe and live mascots Rise and Conquer will be in attendance. The Ravens Team Store will be on-site, and concession stands will be open.

 

Location:                                       Mustang Stadium at Stevenson University (Owings Mills, MD) – Free Tickets Via Lottery

When:                              Sunday, Aug. 19

Practice Start Time:                     3:30 p.m.

Gates Open:                                 2:30 p.m.

Tickets:                            Due to limited seating, this is a ticketed event, one for which fans can sign up via lottery at

                         www.baltimoreravens.com/TCLottery

Parking:                                         Parking will be provided when tickets are sent to fans.

  • No tailgating

Other Details:                              The Ravens Team Store will be on-site, and concession stands will be open.

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