Tag Archive | "training camp"

More Questions Than Answers for the Ravens

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More Questions Than Answers for the Ravens

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

#1 – What’s going to happen with Ray Rice?

 Not only has Ray Rice been one of the best pound-for-pound bargains in all of football during his time as a Raven, but unlike many other running backs in similar situations last season Rice played things quiet and trusted that the team would take care of him. Whether or not they do remains to be seen, and whether or not they should is debatable. Running backs come and go quickly in the NFL, but by most accounts Rice has been “special” and is perhaps worth the risk. Either way expect him to play in 2012, but history hasn’t been kind to players who hold out of camp. A bad season for Rice under the franchise tag could be disastrous for him and for the Ravens.

 

#2 – Who’s playing on the offensive line?

 

This question is actually a myriad of different questions. Who fills Ben Grubbs spot at LG? How much does Matt Birk have left in the tank? Can we pencil in Bryant McKinnie at LT? Are Michael Oher and Marshal Yanda still the right side? And where do Kelechi Osemele, Jah Reid, Gino Gradkowski and Ramon Harewood fit into the picture? The answers to all of these questions could represent the beginning or the end of any offensive hopes the Ravens will have in 2012?

 

#3 – Do they have enough at wide receiver?

 

Torrey Smith was a pleasant surprise last season, but whether he can refine his route running and improve his hands still remain to be seen. He’s now a proven field stretcher but will need to add to his game in order to be a bona fide playmaker. Anquan Boldin was worse than expected last season, but was also injured, He’ll need to be more like the Anquan Boldin of old to lead these Ravens forward on the offensive side of the ball. And beyond those two the questions are even bigger. Is Jacoby Jones a wide out or a just a special teamer? Will Tandon Doss be ready to play in 2012? Who is Tommy Streeter and if he’s any good, how did the Ravens get him so late? Before we start comparing Joe Flacco to the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, let’s make sure he has some weapons that he can rely on.

 

#4 – Are the tight ends good enough?

 

Ed Dickson is big and athletic enough but has struggled with his hands. Dennis Pitta has very good hands but may not be big or athletic enough to impose his will on defenders, as modern tight ends are prone to do. Until one or the other shows marked improvement the Ravens will hesitate to use the middle of the field in the passing game, where coincidentally the best offenses all seem to have fantastic weapons. And who is Lamont Bryant?

 

Comments (0)

Ravens Draft Anti-Report Card

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Ravens Draft Anti-Report Card

Posted on 02 May 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Just as quickly as we could get excited about it, the NFL draft is gone, and our football attentions are turned back to scandal, controversy and other typical off-season business. Thank goodness.

I, like most, have had more than my fill of “expert analysis” regarding the world’s biggest crap shoot, and will mostly reserve judgment until we see these guys on the field, and in some cases over the months and years to come.

 

Forget about knee-benders and waist-benders, shuttle drill and forty times, as now we can again to talk football. The undeniable (yet inconvenient) truth is that none of us can possibly know how any of these guys will transition into the NFL…but we’ll see.

 

That said, whether or not the Ravens actually found real and usable talent in this year’s draft is debatable. What’s not debatable though is that lines have been drawn in the sand, messages sent, and competitions created for a few key positions on this roster, and that has to bode well for the Ravens in general.

 

For example, the Ravens first pick (albeit in the second round) Courtney Upshaw may or may not be a productive player. I (probably unfairly) look at the Alabama defense as a system, and like the Ravens, the production in that system doesn’t necessarily translate into others. Again, that’s my own hang-up, and as it’s an Alabama defender that Upshaw will be looking to succeed, he seems as viable a candidate as any. More importantly though, he’s just a candidate. The Ravens already had decent candidates in Paul Kruger and (to a lesser degree) Sergio Kindle, so now they have a competition…may the best man win. It seems a safe bet that among those three, at least one good football player should emerge. If more than one emerges…all the better.

 

The Bernard Pierce pick sets the stage for a battle of sorts between he and Damien Berry and Anthony Allen. Given the status of Ray Rice negotiations they might need to find options urgently. If a peaceful accord with Rice is reached (ideally) there’s a battle to back him up and for a between the tackles presence.

 

Jah Reid, Ramon Harewood, Kelechi Osemele and Gino Gradkowski could all find themselves fighting for a single position on the offensive line. If more than one proves their worth this year, the Ravens may be empowered to make additional moves.

 

Asa Jackson’s picture should probably be on the nightstands and in the weight rooms of both David Reed and LaQuan Williams. And anyone who thought hey had claim to the special teals roles vacated by Tom Zbikowski, Haruki Nakamura and Chris Carr had better take notice of Christian Thompson.

 

June 1st, and then the early days of camp will provide the chance to find plenty of additional talent, jettisoned to make room for the draft day bounties of other teams too, and not only have the Ravens proven adept at playing that market, they also enjoy a reputation that makes them attractive to those types of players.

 

I won’t pretend to know what’s in the heart of any man, especially an unproven 20-22 year old; anyone who will is asking to be wrong. I will suggest however that the battles shaping up for the Ravens most key positions look to be deep and interesting, making the likelihood of finding a few good football players pretty high. That much I would take to the bank.

 

 

Comments (1)

Your Monday Reality Check-Are Ravens better after Draft? I guess…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Monday Reality Check-Are Ravens better after Draft? I guess…

Posted on 30 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

I’ve already gotten about a hundred messages via email/Facebook/Twitter/text/Pony Express that said something along the lines of “well Glenn, you got what you wanted.”

To at least an extent, the people sending those messages have been right. After pounding on the desk of the studio at 1550 Hart Rd. in Towson for months (if not years), the Baltimore Ravens acquired a size receiver in the NFL Draft.

In the 6th round of the Draft, the Ravens selected Tommy Streeter, a 6’5″ wide receiver from the University of Miami. Combined with impressive speed (Streeter posted an impressive 4.40 forty time at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis), Streeter seemingly adds a more unique dynamic to Cam Cameron’s offense in 2012. Streeter’s size presents an immediate matchup problem in the red zone (and specifically in the end zone) that the team simply didn’t have in their receiving corps in 2011.

Well…mostly anyway.

You see, the Ravens actually DID briefly have a receiver like that in 2011. If you’ll remember, the Ravens acquired former Buffalo Bills WR James Hardy late in the 2010 season in hopes he could make the team out of Training Camp. Nagging injury issues and a lockout later, Hardy couldn’t crack the 53 and the lack of a size receiver played a role in the Ravens finishing 18th in the NFL in red zone offense.

So Streeter solves all of those problems, right? Right?

As I was also quick to point out, simply being tall wasn’t the only desirable attribute in a new Ravens receiver. Clarence Moore was tall. Randy Hymes was tall. Even Marc Lester was tall. The Ravens not only needed a tall receiver, they needed a receiver who could catch the ball and become a consistent threat in a National Football League offense.

While I liked the team’s decision to draft Streeter, I will admit that I don’t believe the Ravens (and 31 other teams) passed on him for five and a half rounds because they were TOO worried about how good he was. There have been questions about Streeter’s hands, as well as his overall ability to develop into a consistent standout receiver. Those questions may or may not be fair, as the former Hurricanes star could show 31 teams they made a mistake in the coming seasons or they could show one particular team they made the wrong decision to take him even as late as the sixth round.

I guess that’s basically the entire point of this week’s column. After the NFL Draft, analysts attempt to identify “winners” and “losers” from three days of selecting players. Some of these players will go on to outstanding pro careers, others will leave little in the way of a legacy at the NFL level and others still will never play in even a single NFL game.

So do I think the Ravens did a nice job in the NFL Draft? Yeah…I guess. I guess the Baltimore Ravens did a nice job in the NFL Draft.

Comments (3)

Your Monday Reality Check-Ravens Not Surprisingly Doing Right Thing With Rice

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Monday Reality Check-Ravens Not Surprisingly Doing Right Thing With Rice

Posted on 27 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Stop me if you’ve read this one before.

Nestor Aparicio and I spent the last four days at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis for the annual National Football League Scouting Combine. Indy has been a bit of a second home for us over the first two months of 2012. I don’t know I could ever express just how awkward that is.

CBSSports.com NFL writer Pete Prisco stopped by our set Friday afternoon to record an interview that would air later on “The Reality Check”. We talked about a number of subjects, one being the status of Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice. Let me make sure I state this. I GREATLY respect Pete Prisco as a writer and football mind. For those who aren’t familiar with him, he’s been with CBS for over a decade covering the league and has covered football even longer than that. The following are quotes from Prisco regarding Rice…

“I wouldn’t pay any running back.”
“I’d franchise him…that’s it.”
“You don’t pay running backs.”
“If you’re building your team around a running back you’ve got problems.”

Prisco rightfully pointed out that the New York Giants won the Super Bowl despite finishing 32nd in the league in rushing. He also rightfully pointed out that the Jacksonville Jaguars won just five games despite being home to the league’s top rusher (Maurice Jones-Drew). They’re relevant points, even if he ignores the fact that the Giants upped their rushing average to 116.5 yards per game in the postseason and that the Ravens had the league’s second leading rusher (Rice) and were a Lee Evans drop away from playing those Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.

Of course the NFL is more of a passing league. We’re all aware. It doesn’t mean running backs aren’t still dressing for games and making an impact every now and then.

I’m not beating up Pete Prisco here. I’m pointing out an opinion about Rice that has been popular both around Charm City and for many throughout football. There are a number of fans and analysts alike who simply don’t think the Ravens should bother giving their free agent running back a long-term extension. Local writers/bloggers/talk show hosts (including even our own Thyrl Nelson) have pointed out that economically the team would probably be better off just having Rice play under the franchise tag each of the next two seasons.

The numbers would work out to the team having to pay the back between $16-17 million combined in his fifth and sixth NFL seasons, and would not involve any sort of signing bonus. The team will certainly have to hand out much more than that should they extend Rice, even if they come in short of the “Adrian Peterson money” his representation is reportedly interested in.

I promise the next part of this column isn’t meant to be any sort of “I told you so” moment. I’m just glad we can stop discussing that ridiculous thought process anymore.

As I chased Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome out of the media room at LucasOil Stadium Friday afternoon, we had this exact exchange.

“As far as Ray Rice is concerned, it’s definitely the thought process to get an extension done-is it not any thought to franchise him for a year and go from there?” I asked.

He responded “No. We have used the franchise tag only so that we can get a long term deal. We would like for Ray Rice to have a long career in Baltimore. If we have to franchise him, that would be the reason why.”

Nothing wishy-washy there. No posturing at all. That’s about as straight of shooting as a General Manager can possibly offer.

I’m so freaking glad it was Newsome who said it this time so that I don’t have to bother fighting with anyone about it anymore. You DO NOT give the franchise tag to a player if you don’t have interest in keeping him around.

At least…you don’t do that if you’re a competent, well run organization.

(Continue reading on Page 2…)

Comments (4)

MobTown Sports Blog

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MobTown Sports Blog

Posted on 05 December 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

Here’s a quick look ahead at the agenda for Monday on the MobTown Sports Beat:

 

Ravens Reaction

 

The Ravens are always on the table, especially on MSB Mondays. We’ll look back on the Ravens impressive and needed win over divisional rival Cleveland and have plenty of reaction.

 

A Nickel and a Nail

 

Five penny for your thought type topics of conversation and a nail for someone who deserves it.

 

#1 – BC-Mess or Oklahoma Statement

 

Despite an impressive thumping of the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday, the Cowboys of Oklahoma State will be home watching the BCS title game like the rest of us. There’s little doubt that Alabama and LSU are the two best teams in the country, but do we really want to relive 9-6 snoozer that was the “game of the century” from just over a month ago? And how now can LSU lose a national title to Alabama after beating them on their own field in November and playing a much tougher out of conference schedule and the SEC title game? How much of this is due to the media’s inability to let go of their stated notion that Alabama was the best team in the country in the first place? Would LSU be getting this same opportunity if they had lost at home to Bama?

 

 

#2 – Tarheels are Baby Soft

 

They’re talented, there’s no doubt about that. The Tarheels are inordinately talented for a team in this the “one and done” era, the problem is that they seem to know it too. The juggernaut that Carolina looked to bring to the table after returning Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zellar and John Henson to fuse with the typical insurgence of Tarheel freshman talent so far has been anything but. After stumbling out of the gates last year only to turn it up for the stretch, Barnes looks to be making that his habit. Their talent will be enough to get them by on most nights, but when the real heat turns up, look for these Tarheels to wilt under the pressure like they did against Kentucky on Saturday. They appear poorly coached and at times altogether indifferent. Don’t believe the hype surrounding this Carolina team, as it appears that they themselves have already bought in too much.

 

#3 – NBA Free Agency to Begin on Monday?

 

Sort of at least…beginning on Monday it looks like teams will be free to at least make known their intentions and overtures to prospective free agents ahead of Friday’s projected final resolution in the lockout. Big men abound in free agency and no NBA team ever has enough of those. Greg Oden could be headed to the Heat, making him and them even more hated then each is already individually. Additionally, as “Big 3’s” are seemingly becoming en vogue, teams will be looking to fish or cut bait with a few marquee names that could quickly become trade fodder. Derron Williams, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard could all begin or end this season with new teams. And let’s not forget about Danny Ainge’s latest attempt to sabotage the Celtics. Something tells me we haven’t heard the last of the Rajon Rondo trade rumors or their impact.

 

#4 – A.F.Seeding

 

The top end of the AFC all managed to hold serve on Sunday. Along with the Ravens win, the Steelers beat the Bengals 35-7, the Patriots beat the hapless Colts 31-24 and the Texans rallied behind TJ Yates for a 17-10 win over the fading Falcons, so the logjam continues at 9-3 atop the AFC.

 

Houston survived a tough opponent behind TJ Yates first start after losing Andre Johnson again mid-game in a scene eerily similar to the one that preceded his last hamstring injury and kept him out of action for several weeks, and Brian Cushing left early too. If it weren’t for bad luck, these Texans wouldn’t have any yet they still refuse to lose in this their ordained playoff season given the absence of Peyton Manning in the division.

 

The Raiders were blasted by the suddenly resurgent Dolphins 34-14 and coupled with another heroic Tim Tebow comeback effort, surrendered the top spot in the AFC West (by virtue of a tiebreaker) to Denver.

 

The Titans and Jets both picked up wins to pull even with Cincinnati in the race for the final wild card spot with the Bengalis still enjoying the benefit of the tiebreaker…for now.

 

#5 – Packers on a Roll

 

Green Bay survived its first real test of the season on Sunday when the Giants punched in a 2-point conversion to tie them with less than a minute remaining and one timeout for the Packers. We should have known on the kickoff that the Pack was about to do something special. Randall Cobb, who’s having a fine year, took a knee on the kickoff just a yard or so deep in the end zone, essentially conceding that taking time away from Aaron Rodgers and the offense, even a few seconds, would be unacceptable even for a return man adept at taking them to the house. Two plays later the Packers were in field goal range and the rest as they say was history.

 

If you’re giving me the Packers or the field today, I’ll still take the field but it’s getting tougher to do each week. You could argue that now isn’t the time to be playing your best football, but the Packers have been doing it since week 1 and still look to be improving. They’re much deeper than last year’s injury riddled bunch and now can count themselves battle tested too.

 

You’d almost like to get an L out of the way before the playoffs start, but if it’s going to happen for these Packers it looks like it’ll happen naturally, as they don’t seem to be slowing at all. Maybe the cursed Colts season has taught a lesson to anyone willing to take note, “embrace the 0, or the 0 will come get you”.

 

And the nail goes to the Ravens and Steve Bisciotti for their announcement to take their ball and go home, or more specifically to cancel indefinitely the Westminster training camp that had become engrained in the traditions of many a Ravens’ fan who can’t get to the stadium for actual games.

 

The move has money written all over it, in this immediate aftermath of the NFL lockout where we as a public were forced to endure the tug of war over an unfathomably fat cache of cash that we were all made too well aware of, that seems to be bad form.  The team will surely try to make it up to the fans somehow, but attempts will be feeble at best compared to the rite of passage that was Ravens training camp.

 

(While not a regular attendee at Ravens training camp myself, I certainly understand the loss that some are feeling. As a 38-year old Baltimore native, my only “real” memories of the Baltimore Colts began and ended with training camps at Goucher college)

 

It’s not lost on us, Mr. Bisciotti, that you’re the same guy who encouraged us to offset the season ticket price increase of a few years ago by selling our Patriots, Steelers and/or Colts tickets as they were doing very well on the secondary market. Clearly the real plight and point of view of the average fan is lost on the occupants of the owner’s box.

 

What’s not lost on Mr. Bisciotti is the ability to pass the buck, or more aptly to allow crap to roll downhill, as he did by calling it a football decision. By stating that the Ravens were a better football team when they practice at their Owings Mills facility the owner laid blame right at the coach’s feet even without saying quite that much.

 

The truth is, it’s hard to say whether the Ravens are better or worse when they don’t have a camp, as this is the first year without one and also a year anomalous in the annals of NFL history due to the lockout. Using this season, as a barometer to measure anything is pointless at best and more likely irresponsible.

 

I’ll agree that life is easier for the Ravens when they don’t have to pack up and move operations from Owings Mills to Westminster and back, but easy isn’t the road to NFL glory. Eight times per season the Ravens will have to pack up and prepare, at least in part, away from the castle, usually in makeshift conditions not ideally suited or built for the purpose of readying a team for a football game. That the Ravens have struggled in doing it this season may speak to the “preparation” they’d have gotten in camp, under similar conditions.

 

 The road to a Super Bowl is a tough one, and one that the Ravens took once already while holding camp in Westminster, and the team enjoys lots of cushy handouts and civic backrubs from fans who’ll never have the chance to set foot in the stadium for a game, to lock them out using the fortress that they in part financed is just wrong.

 

 

@ Me Back

 

3 random questions. Hit me with your answers on Twitter @Thyrl or @WNST, by email thyrl@wnst.net, or at 410-481-1570. Whatever you do, get back @ me.

 

@-1: Who are the top 5 on your #NFL rookie of the year ballot?

 

I’ll go Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, AJ Green, Torrey Smith & DeMarco Murray

 

@-2: Who would you seed 1-8 in a college football playoff?

 

Give me- #1 LSU, #2 Bama, #3 OK St., #4 Boise, #5 Stanford, #6 Arkansas, #7 Wisconsin, #8 Clemson/WVU play-in or Oregon if I have to pick 1.

 

@-3: Who looks the like the best college hoops team so far?

 

For me – Kentucky, Ohio State, UConn, Syracuse, Missouri…but there’s a lot of teams I haven’t seen yet and a bunch more I can’t wait to see again.

 

 

 

 

Comments (0)

Ravens training camp vacating Westminster: It’s just business of Hardball

Tags: ,

Ravens training camp vacating Westminster: It’s just business of Hardball

Posted on 03 December 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

In the most recent example of how the world has changed in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens have finally done something that’s completely rankled the feathers of the majority of purple birds in their immense fan base.

But, really, it’s not hard to anger the locals who certainly will be once-again calling for the firing of Cam Cameron on Sunday night if the 8-3 Ravens lose in Cleveland to the lowly Browns.

Our fans are emotional because they feel like the Ravens are part of their family in Baltimore.

And expectations are always high in Baltimore. Sometimes almost too high. And that extends to the “off the field” expectations from a franchise that has been among the most fan-friendly in American sports since coming from Cleveland in 1995 amidst cries of carpetbagging, lack of civic concern for Northern Ohio and shameless profiteering by Arthur B. Modell.

This moving of training camp from Westminster to Owings Mills won’t be fully understood by many in the Ravens’ fan base, who will incorrectly call this a “money move” in some way or deem it to smack of arrogance by a team that has won over the hearts of the purple metropolis since 1996 with some of the most fan-friendly policies and practices in modern sports.

The Ravens ran things differently for years until the firing of Brian Billick four years ago and the hiring of John Harbaugh changed the tone of the organization.

Under Billick and Modell the corporate mantra was “transparency” and “we do this for the fans.”

Under Harbaugh and Bisciotti, the mantra has been internal paranoia and “W.I.N.”, which translates to “What’s Important Now.”

And that always means “winning” in 2011.

And to win on the field, Coach Hardball thinks the fans and the traditions of Westminster are not as significant as a training camp that is sanitized, orderly and football-focused. The Ravens also have built a castle in Owings Mills that was made for the express purpose of winning football games and preparing football players for maximum productivity and full focus.

The Ravens are in the “business” of winning. Period.

John Harbaugh was brought in to win. Period.

My partner here at WNST.net is a guy named Brian Billick. He did more in his first month in the community than Harbaugh has done in four years but you know what Harbaugh has that my man Billick doesn’t have?

Harbaugh is now going on four consecutive Festivus – or is it Fu-stivus? – appearances and what now feels like a birthright of perennial Januarys

Comments (11)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yes, Ralph Friedgen DID Tell Me He Burned His Maryland Diploma…

Posted on 30 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

I was as caught off guard as you were Thursday afternoon.

Former University of Maryland Terrapins football coach Ralph Friedgen joined me on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net. My Executive Producer Ryan Chell had reached out to “The Fridge” earlier in the week to coordinate the interview after Baltimore Ravens WR Torrey Smith’s breakout performance against the St. Louis Rams.

Smith had told me in the locker room that while he was hearing criticism from fans and media during Training Camp and the start of the regular season he had reached out to Friedgen. He said Friedgen had helped him stay positive.

With that in mind, I thought it would be nice to chat with Coach Friedgen about Torrey, fellow former Terps WR LaQuan Williams and CB Domonique Foxworth, who the Ravens unfortunately just lost again for the season due to a knee injury.

I had no idea what to expect after I asked Friedgen my first question that wasn’t Ravens related.

Thankfully Patrick Stevens from the Washington Times transcribed the back and forth Thursday evening. You can listen to the entire interview HERE.

Clark: I think the one thing everyone wants to know is what are you up to right now?

Friedgen: Well, right now, I’m sitting on my deck looking over the marsh into the — reading a USA Today.

Clark: Not a bad life.

Friedgen: No, I’m enjoying it very much. I do miss our players. I don’t miss all the other stuff, but I do miss the players. I miss the interaction with them. I miss dealing with them. I’m a little bit surprised I don’t miss all the stuff that goes around.

Clark: Well, you did it —

Friedgen: Forty-three years. I may get back into it. I may have a couple other things that pop up. I may be back, so we’ll see.

Clark: Is it tough for you to watch? Have you sat down and watched any Maryland games or is it tough for you to do that. I know you love the kids, but I also know you’re a Maryland alum, and it’s got to be a little painful.

Friedgen: Well, it’s not painful because I watch it for the kids. I could care less about Maryland. I’ve burned my diploma. I’m flying a Georgia Tech flag right now.

Clark: [laughing] That’s hurtful coach. I don’t want to hear that. I’m a Maryland alum.

Friedgen: Well, they talk about Maryland pride. They didn’t show me a whole lot of Maryland pride, either getting the job or getting fired.

Clark: OK.

Friedgen: I had a unique experience. I couldn’t get the game last week so I had to go to a sports bar to watch it. I never knew all that stuff went on, people cheering for all this stuff. It was a whole new experience. My daughter came down this week. I went fishing with her. I’ve never done these things with my kids. She caught a 28-inch redfish. She was ecstatic. I never experienced some of this stuff. It’s like my whole life has changed. I’m kind of catching up on some things I probably should have done a lot earlier in my life but haven’t been able to do it.
Wow.

I’m very aware that a number of Maryland fans are worked up about Friedgen’s response. Given everything that has transpired since December 2010 it is hard to blame him for his angst, but certainly difficult to stomach what he had to say.

I’ll let you decide what you think this time.

-G

Comments Off

The 15-7-0 Wants To Kick Floyd Mayweather’s Ass Too…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The 15-7-0 Wants To Kick Floyd Mayweather’s Ass Too…

Posted on 19 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

You might be able to guess what it is.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. Navy won’t want to hear it, but they SHOULD take a moral victory from their loss to South Carolina

I get it. No one likes moral victories. But the Midshipmen went to Columbia, faced a completely legit Top 10 Gamecocks team and had them on their heels throughout.

Unfortunately for the Mids, they didn’t have Marcus Lattimore. He’s apparently pretty good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yePpMCe5jlQ[/youtube]

2. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are good at football. Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about them?

I feel like everyone’s always talking about stars like Bruce Gradkowski and Alex Smith. Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about the little guys in New England and New Orleans?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X51CGE5F3SE[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtolk6obLaA[/youtube]

I of course picked San Diego to beat the Patriots. But really, what the eff do I know about football anyway?

If you enjoy watching fat men run (and who doesn’t?), have another look at Vince Wilfork’s interception…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa8TXMrxtwA[/youtube]

3. Since appearing on WNST, Baltimore native Jim Schwartz has seen his Detroit Lions outscore their opponents 48-3

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

Of course that’s because the Mt. St. Joe grad joined Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” Friday before the Lions put the 45 point pounding on the Kansas City Chiefs.

Also this weekend Justin Verlander won his 24th game and the Detroit Tigers clinched the AL Central. In Charm City this weekend we watched the Ravens lose to the Titans and we have no freaking clue what the Orioles might have done.

Am I really feeling jealousy towards the Motor City?

4. I’m gonna go ahead and stop picking against Boise State now

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIJI2Bz5iZM[/youtube]

In three games this season, I’ve picked Boise State to lose twice. I thought a SEC power like Georgia would teach them a lesson in Atlanta. I thought an upstart like Toledo would pull the stunner at home after nearly toppling Ohio State.

Look, we call my picks segment “Everybody Beats Glenn” for a reason.

5. Jesse Holley is the greatest* Wide Receiver to ever win a TV reality show

If you don’t know the story, Jesse Holley won Michael Irvin’s SpikeTV reality show “4th & Long” to get a spot in Dallas Cowboys Training Camp. He went from that to the practice squad, from the practice squad to the active roster, from the active roster to making his first NFL catch, from making his first NFL catch to coming within a foot of beating the 49ers…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBC-KMKxtQY[/youtube]

…from coming within a foot of beating the 49ers to holding a celebration that I believe is still going on at this moment.

Oh yeah, Tony Romo played this game with a fractured rib. We’re not going to talk about that though because it doesn’t involve him humping Jessica Simpson. (But it should!)

6. The Buffalo Bills are all that’s right with America…or something like that

I have no idea if the Bills are any good, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is fun to watch and I can support the idea of the Oakland Raiders losing.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eA7aQhdvF0[/youtube]

The Bills have more wins thus far this season than Lee Evans does. Chew on that.

7. Oklahoma was about as much better than Florida State as everyone thought they were

Why don’t my teams ever make plays like the one Sooners QB Landry Jones and WR Kenny Stills made the other night?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca3alwOeKb0[/youtube]

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mocking The 53: A Look At Roster Ahead of Preseason Finale

Posted on 30 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens travel to the Georgia Dome to meet the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night, the final opportunity for players on the roster “bubble” to impress Head Coach John Harbaugh and coordinators Cam Cameron, Chuck Pagano and Jerry Rosburg.

As I am no longer the Ravens beat reporter here at WNST I have deferred to Luke Jones for most of our coverage during Training Camp. I have had the chance to get out to 1 Winning Drive this week, so I decided I would bring back “Mocking The 53″ to get a look at how the team may trim the roster from 80 players to 53.

As I’ve explained before, the team does not have a certain number of players they keep at each position, so I have never done this breakdown by position. Instead, I offer what is more like a “power ranking” of players from 1-80.

Keep in mind, GM Ozzie Newsome is likely to make an addition or two (a veteran backup quarterback-perhaps still Marc Bulger namely) before either Saturday’s cut day or the team’s opener September 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium.

1. DT Haloti Ngata
2. QB Joe Flacco
3. LB Terrell Suggs
4. RB Ray Rice
5. WR Anquan Boldin
6. S Ed Reed
7. LB Ray Lewis
8. G Ben Grubbs
9. G Marshal Yanda
10. CB Jimmy Smith

Whether or not Smith is a starter on September 11 is the only issue in this group. All of these guys are clearly on the team and significant contributors.

11. OT Michael Oher
12. WR Lee Evans
13. FB Vonta Leach
14. DE Cory Redding
15. P Sam Koch
16. TE Ed Dickson
17. S Bernard Pollard
18. K Billy Cundiff
19. DT Terrence Cody
20. LB Jarret Johnson

Like the first group, the players in the group above are all safely on the roster and are expected to be significant contributors.

21. CB Cary Williams
22. S Tom Zbikowski
23. C Matt Birk
24. OT Bryant McKinnie
25. CB Chris Carr
26. S Haruki Nakamura
27. TE Dennis Pitta
28. RB Ricky Williams
29. LB Jameel McClain
30. WR Torrey Smith

There’s no drama in this group either. McClain still appears to be the frontrunner for the other starting ILB job, while the team has remained steadfast in their support of Torrey Smith despite struggles. There’s a chance he’s not the third receiver on September 11, but he’s absolutely safe on the roster.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Despite Struggles in Preseason, Ravens Standing By Rookie WR Smith

Posted on 29 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

After two drops in the Baltimore Ravens’ third preseason game – a 34-31 win over the Washington Redskins – rookie WR Torrey Smith (Maryland) faced a fair share of criticism from fans and analysts alike.

Some of his critics have gone as far to already label the former Terrapins star a “bust” despite having not played in even a single regular season game. Based on the drops in particular, much of the criticism lobbed at Smith has included comparisons to fellow former Terps receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Heyward-Bey has caught just 35 passes for less than 500 yards and only two touchdowns in two seasons since being selected in the Top 10 of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.

While has Smith has made a total of just two catches for eight yards in the preseason, fans have watched receivers who entered Training Camp lower on the depth chart offer more significant contributions. Second year man David Reed and fellow rookies Tandon Doss & LaQuan Williams (Maryland, Poly) have all made more plays without the number of drops that have troubled the team’s second round pick.

Even so, the Ravens have made it clear they have not soured on Smith and still see him as a significant part of their 2011 plans.

With newly acquired WR Lee Evans (left foot) sidelined for a second straight practice Monday, the Ravens again had Smith working with the first team offense. It is a clear sign that Smith has not dropped below third on the team’s wide receiver depth chart.

Following Monday’s practice, Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said there are lofty expectations for the rookie.

“It is a process for guys. We all want things to be instant, we want guys to just jump right out of the blocks and dominate the National Football League and just go from there (but) it’s easier said than done”, Cameron said. “He’s a great practice player, works extremely hard. Over the years guys that approach things the way he’s approaching the game get better (and) improve. That’s our expectation for him, just to get better and improve.”

Cameron said he’s impressed by the extra work Smith is putting in to try to improve.

“He and (QB) Joe (Flacco) are spending some extra time together. He was in the building yesterday-one of the few guys in the building and those are all good signs. He’s got a bright, bright future and sometimes it just takes a couple games under your belt to get comfortable.”

Ravens players had been given the day off Sunday.

Cameron also told reporters he felt like he might have an idea as to why Smith has struggled so much early in his NFL career.

“I think it’s just overall learn(ing) the system” Cameron said. “We’ve gotta get him to where he doesn’t think about the play-just go out and play and let his natural ability just show itself. I think that’s going to come.”

Cameron’s re-affirmation came just two days after Head Coach John Harbaugh encouraged media members and fans to “lay off the kid” when asked about Smith’s struggles.

It is important to note that while excusing Smith’s struggles based on his lack of experience is fair during the preseason, fans and analysts alike won’t be as quick to give him the benefit of the doubt should he have troubles in the season opener against the team’s AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers September 11. That game is less than two weeks away.

In fact, Cameron himself may have made the most significant comment Monday when asked about whether or not the team’s Offensive Line would be ready to go by September 11. The question was particularly relevant considering how the first unit has just finally started working together on the practice field due to injuries (C Matt Birk and RG Marshal Yanda), position moves (RT Michael Oher having been shifted from LT) and new acquisitions (LT Bryant McKinnie).

Cameron was quick to say “absolutely” when asked, and followed it up with “we don’t have a choice. This is pro football and I think we all know what that means. By the time that game comes around, the expectation for the player, for us as coaches from the fans is that we’re ready to play. No ifs, ands (or) buts about it. No excuses.”

The same philosophy could be used with Smith.

If he’s going to be the team’s third receiver when the Ravens face their division nemesis at M&T Bank Stadium, he’s going to have to perform.

“No excuses.”

-G

Comments Off