Tag Archive | "Travis Fisher"

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Activate Lardarius Webb from PUP List

Posted on 23 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With Training Camp in the books, the Baltimore Ravens returned to 1 Winning Drive Monday and were immediately greeted by good news.

CB Lardarius Webb was activated by the team after suffering a torn ACL that cut short his 2009 season and forced him to miss all practices in Westminster on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Webb was on the practice field Monday, moving with what appeared to be no pain in individual drills. No team drills were available for media viewing, so his level of participation there is unknown. Coach John Harbaugh confirmed Webb “looked good moving around” in individual drills, Webb added “it was fun.”

It is also still unknown whether or not Webb will participate in either of the team’s remaining preseason contests (vs. New York Giants Saturday, @St. Louis Rams one week from Thursday); or whether or not he will be ready for the season opener Sept. 13 at the Meadowlands against the New York Jets. Harbaugh said of Webb’s chances of playing in the preseason “we’re not going to push it.” Webb deferred questions about when he may be able to return to Harbaugh or Head Trainer Bill Tessendorf.

Fellow corner Fabian Washington; who returned from a torn ACL while the team practiced at McDaniel College, thought Sept. 13 was a fair target date for Webb’s return. “I think there’s always a chance” said Washington. “I know he’s close.”

With Domonique Foxworth out for the season (knee), Webb’s return marks good news for a Ravens secondary unit looking to improve on the 200+ yards per game they allowed via the air in 2009. Safety Haruki Nakamura said Webb’s return is “going to mean a lot. He’s a guy who at the end of (2009) who was starting to play really well.” He added “now that he can anticipate things and be more confident, it’s going to make a bigger difference.”

When he is ready to play, Webb will battle Chris Carr for the right to start opposite Washington at CB. His return makes the battle for roster spots behind him tougher; with Travis Fisher, Cary Williams, Prince Miller, KJ Gerard, Marcus Paschal, Doug Dutch, Brad Jones and Chris Hawkins all in the mix.

The second year corner out of Nicholls State is unlikely to return to the kick return role he held down in 2009 (that job currently belongs to Jalen Parmele), but he hasn’t ruled the return game out entirely. “I want to do everything I can possibly do when I get back to 100%.”

After being scratched from Saturday night’s game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, Gerard (hamstring) was back on the practice field Monday and appeared to practice fully. Paschal (leg) remained extremely limited during drills.

Outside of the secondary, WR Demetrius Williams was not present during the portion of practice open to the media Monday; he left Saturday night’s win in DC with an ankle injury. Other Ravens not present Monday included O-Linemen Jared Gaither (back), Oniel Cousins (concussion), David Hale (tailbone) and Daniel Sanders (arm/shoulder).

S Ed Reed (hip), LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (quad) and RB Matt Lawrence (knee) remain on the PUP list.

NOTES: For the first time since the implementation of new practice viewing rules earlier this year, the Ravens removed a member of the media from practice for talking on their cell phone…Ayanbadejo and Lawrence were both on field during Monday’s practice, Lawrence was in uniform…Harbaugh said he talked to Ed Reed Saturday night during the Skins game-Reed “feels good about his progress

-G

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Before You Push The Purple Panic Button ….

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Before You Push The Purple Panic Button ….

Posted on 23 August 2010 by Rex Snider

My highly anticipated “Sports Saturday” started off on a positive note, thanks to the Orioles 8-6 victory over Cliff Lee and the Texas Rangers. The game was full of pleasant surprises …..

Who would’ve ever predicted that Josh Bell would connect more often than Joe Flacco on a simultaneous gameday? Ahh …. the magic of the unexpected in sports, huh?

By the time I hit the Lazy-Boy for the Ravens vs. Redskins preseason showdown, I was convinced it was going to be a GREAT night. I can’t say it turned out badly, but I did go to bed knowing John Harbaugh’s bunch still has A LOT of work on its hands before reuniting with Rex Ryan and his Jets.

While I can readily admit Saturday night’s game left me agonizing over a few areas of concern with this team, I’ve chosen to take a more sensible look at the overall picture of the 2010 Baltimore Ravens …..

For the past few weeks, we’ve heard the gloomy forecasts from those who invested a significant portion of their collective hope in Domonique Foxworth’s presence at cornerback. From callers to on-air hosts and even occasional guests, some sobering words have been spoken.

However, in all fairness, there has also been a fairly respectable amount of us who believe the team will be just fine, while downplaying any real handicap to the secondary. And, we’ve had answers for our continued positive outlook, right?

The common rationale in defending the stubborn optimism has been along the lines of “THE RAVENS ARE GONNA HAVE TO BLITZ MORE OFTEN AND GET AFTER THE QUARTERBACK.”

This certainly seems like a logical solution, right? Heck, it’s Football-101 …..

But, we’ve also heard the fairly warned potential ramifications to this solution, too.

As many realists have concluded, if you’re blitzing, you MUST get to the quarterback. If not, guys like Donovan McNabb are gonna make plays. And, the Ravens will be facing a host of ‘slingers better than the former Philadelphia Eagle, in 2010.
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At times during Saturday’s game, McNabb looked like he was doomed, only to fool all of us by stepping up or rolling out of the pocket to buy an extra tick. He succeeded in some crucial situations, including a couple opportunities from the Redskins endzone.

By the way, does anyone know if Travis Fisher made the trip to DC?

The good news is we still have three solid weeks remaining before action on the field really counts. That’s 21 days for Lardarius Webb to get healthier. That’s 21 days to shop for better options on the rosters of other teams. And, that’s 21 days for Greg Mattison to assert some Rex Ryan and Marvin Lewis “PURPLE MAGIC” into his defense.

I’m certain a proportionate amount of this week’s WNST phone calls will be directed at finding a way to help the crippled cornerback unit. That’s the way it always is with the fan base. Among our consistent reactions, nothing is stronger than the tendency to PANIC.

Well, I’m telling you to relax.

Absorb the preseason for what it is – PRESEASON.

John Harbaugh and Greg Mattison weren’t really worried about stopping Chris Cooley, Santana Moss or Anthony Armstrong. Indeed, I’ll guarantee you they were more interested in seeing how their patched up secondary would fare against them – for better or worse.

For some players, like Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis and Derrick Mason, this game was simply about finding their rhythm and getting back into the flow of established gameplans.
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For some others, like Anquan Boldin, Donte Stallworth, Cory Redding and Ken Hamlin, this game served as a prime opportunity to become intimate with their surroundings and a whole new playbook, at fullspeed.

And, yet, for some guys, like Travis Fisher (really …. did he play?), Prince Miller, Jason Phillips and Cary Williams, this was a vitally significant opportunity to prove they can play at this level and for this team.

You can bet a few sets of discerning eyes were cast on Flacco and his cohorts, as well as Boldin and his gang. But, I’ll bet the house nearly every eye that matters was watching that final group, as they danced upon the bubble …..

So, while you’re worried about the Ravens cornerbacks being able to cover the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals, I’m urging you ….. LET IT GO.

Unless he suddenly finds some of Ronnie Lott’s natural ability deep within his soul, Travis Fisher will not find a spot on this Ravens team. Greg Mattison surely suspected it going into Saturday night’s game. Fisher, himself, only confirmed it.

Perhaps, that’s why Mattison emphasized on a blitz-happy defensive attack. I can see that strategy. Think about it …. they might as well test the unproven or unlikely guys in an ideal situation, right?

Thus, they blitz and leave “Fisher Island” all by itself.

The preseason is partly about bringing the obvious back into focus, while also helping the truly qualified to learn a new system. But, it’s equally apportioned to testing the untested, to see if they can be part of a championship-caliber organization.

This trip to FedEx Field was nothing more than the second step in John Harbaugh’s FOUR-STEP preseason process. This team is in a self analyzation stage. They must find out who can contribute, even in the most mitigating ways, to this team’s immediate future.
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While we love and savor those summer days in Westminster, it won’t be revealed there. Harbaugh and company cannot determine their 53rd man at McDaniel College. The survival process does not surround the practice field.

Two meaningless games are in the books and two more still remain. I don’t mean to undervalue the meaning of playing the New York Giants and St. Louis Rams over the next couple weeks. But, these games really don’t matter.

Let me rephrase that ….

The next couple games don’t matter UNLESS you’re standing in the shoes of Fisher, Miller, Williams and a few others. For them, these games are every bit as important as Super Bowl XLV.

These are the biggest games of their lives.

As I suggested, relax. This team will be just fine. Ozzie Newsome didn’t spend more than six months agonizing over a kick ass opportunity, just to be totally derailed by losing a cornerback in the early stages of training camp.

He’s obviously not panicking, why should we?

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Four Weeks Into “Season”, Ravens Haven’t Changed Much

Posted on 21 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

LANDOVER, Md. – Looking at the 23-3 final score, it would be easy to assume the Baltimore Ravens had no troubles with the Washington Redskins Saturday night at FedEx Field. It would also be easy to assume that after a less than overwhelming performance against the Carolina Panthers, the Ravens reminded their regional rivals and other teams throughout the NFL that they are a true favorite to win the AFC and reach the Super Bowl.

And to some extent, maybe all of that is true.

The reality is that after four weeks of practice at McDaniel College in Westminster and two preseason contests, everything that was a concern for this team as they entered Training Camp remains a concern still.

Without Domonique Foxworth, the biggest concern facing the Baltimore Ravens was in the secondary. Injuries (Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb), inexperience (Cary Williams and Prince Miller) and…well…insignificance (Chris Carr and Travis Fisher) still make the unit a rather large question mark to at least some extent.

Fabian Washington played a very solid first quarter in DC, but his long-term durability remains a question-especially considering his standing as the team’s current top corner. There has been a great fear that Lardarius Webb would end up starting the season on the PUP list, but it looks more and more like he will be active within a week. But little is known about how quickly Webb will be able to get into NFL game action, and how much he will resemble the player who was a pleasant surprise after being selected in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Nicholls State.

Chris Carr was at least adequate if not better for a 2nd straight week; but the same cannot be said for Travis Fisher. Fisher (and Dawan Landry) were torched early by a 45 yard pass from Donovan McNabb to Anthony Armstrong (which set up a Graham Gano field goal-Washington’s only points of the game). Fisher would have been torched by the same receiver again in the 2nd quarter had McNabb not been guilty of an overthrow.

Cary Williams was a bright spot for the Ravens, recording his second interception of the preseason on an underthrown ball from McNabb intended for Santana Moss. The only unfortunate part of Williams’ solid play is the reminder that he will be unavailable when the Ravens visit the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals in Weeks 1 and 2 due to a suspension handed down by Roger Goodell for a violation of the league’s conduct policy. Behind Williams; Prince Miller, Doug Dutch and Chris Hawkins offered little to nothing in late game play.

The concerns surrounding the Ravens don’t stop there. At inside linebacker, there was no separation created by Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden or Dannell Ellerbe to lock down a starting role next to Ray Lewis. All three took turns having trouble with the likes of Chris Cooley and Moss over the middle; although none were liabilities against the run.

While the Ravens may have gotten pressure on Donovan McNabb at times, only once was Terrell Suggs able to put him in the dirt. With the question marks at corner, it is well known that the pass rush must improve for this team this season. Suggs had his hands full with rookie Skins tackle Trent Williams, while Trevor Pryce, Cory Redding, Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg appeared to do little more.

Offensively, the Ravens’ concerns surrounded scoring points and sustaining drives. The longest sustained scoring drive they put together with Joe Flacco and the offensive starters in the game was 40 yards to start the 2nd quarter (which was capped off by a 26 yard field goal from Billy Cundiff). They also put together a 68 yard TD drive two possessions later, but 51 of those yards came on a direct snap run by Haruki Nakamura off a fake punt.

The areas of concern are just that. Areas of concern.

But in the nature of building a team up after breaking them down, the Ravens did INDEED manage to prove that they are still the AFC North and Super Bowl contenders we believed them to be before Camp started.

The areas that WEREN’T concerning before Camp started are in no ways concerning now. The Ravens’ run defense allowed just 25 yards rushing. The Ravens spread the ball around offensively, with 7 different receivers catching at least two passes, and 16 different receivers hauling in at least one reception. Joe Flacco was steady if not spectacular-completing 9 of 16 passes for 72 yards. Sam Koch was absolutely stellar-totaling 235 yards on 5 punts and pinning the Redskins inside the 20 yard line 3 times.

Where we know the Ravens are good, we still know the Ravens are good.

Following the game, coach John Harbaugh said “we’re pleased with where we’re at, but we know we have a long way to go.”

I couldn’t agree more.

This team has shown nothing to make us think they aren’t capable of reaching every lofty goal that fans have for them. That being said, they’ve also reminded us that it’s going to be a long road to reaching those goals.

The good news is that the Super Bowl is still scheduled for February 6th in Dallas (or Arlington, Texas); not next weekend at M&T Bank Stadium. That will be nothing more than another preseason game-this time against the New York Giants.

Between now and February 6th, concerns will need to be limited.

-G

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because my boy Mike Polk (who did the EXCELLENT Cleveland tourism videos) is back with another song that I’m sure will be a SMASH hit in The Comeback City. It has something to do with a guy who used to play for the Cavaliers. The language is probably NSFW-unless of course you work for me. In which case, the language is basically how I say hello. (Thanks Deadspin!)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIe23C1NvU4[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Matusz sharp as Orioles dropped Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Brian Matusz was MASTERFUL last night.

Masterful to the point that after the Orioles had scored one run, I almost pulled a Drew Forrester and declared the game ‘over’ on Twitter (follow us @WNST).

Here’s the question: can Brian Matusz pitch like that (or at least consistently good) over a consistent stretch of the season? If he can, he’ll be the pitcher that Orioles fans hoped for. In fact, he’ll be a pitcher that could have made even Dave Trembley look like a real manager.

It’s nice to see it every now and then, as it makes you think it’s possible. But until I see it with regularity, it’s actually just frustrating.

You know what ISN’T frustrating? Winning. That’s awesome. Let’s keep doing that.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

There’s plenty good to look at here…which is strange. Matt Wieters, Corey Patterson, Brian Roberts and Felix Pie were all solid at the plate-and Koji Uehara finished things off in the 9th.

All of these are good things.

So go ahead and look at the numbers today. After you do that-take a look at Alessandra Torresani; who apparently posed for FHM…and my heart. (Thanks Guyism!)

fhm

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Ty Wigginton, Andres Blanco engaged in spat after play at third in Birds’ win

This is why I can never be a “baseball guy.”

The stupid “unwritten rules”, the “baseball stuff”, etc.

Ty Wigginton blocked third base-which seemed smart enough to me. He didn’t want the guy who had just crushed a double to be able to reach third base. I didn’t either. So I was happy that Ty Wigginton blocked third base.

The guy that crushed the double thought it was a bad move baseball-wise. There are probably a least a handful of folks who feel the same way.

The discussion is so ridiculous to me that we might as well be discussing someone’s VORP while we’re at it.

Ugh.

4. Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin says O’s believe there’s ‘no coincidence’ they started playing better when Buck Showalter showed up

I’m well aware that Buck Showalter didn’t come to Charm City, flip over tables, yell at everyone in earshot and threaten immediate firings if the team didn’t start winning games.

But there is no doubt in my mind that Buck Showalter’s arrival reflected a mentality in players that their roster spot wasn’t going to be guaranteed moving forward just because they were part of Andy MacPhail’s “plan.”

Unlike under Trembley (or Juan Samuel), it appears clear that Showalter isn’t going to keep someone on the roster come Opening Day 2011 just because Andy MacPhail wants to see what they have in the player. The best 25 guys are going to make the roster.

The pitchers who have shown signs of being good but haven’t been consistent (Brian Matusz and Brad Bergesen of course top the list) are going to have to prove that they’re amongst the Top 25.

That’s as good an explanation as any as to why this team has played better since Showalter arrived. The laziness of another losing summer has made way for an understanding that every man on the roster is going to have to earn anything they might get moving forward.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Robert Andino homered for Norfolk Tides in loss to Durham Bulls on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a couple of things…

-The Birds and Rangers continue their 4 game set tonight at OPACY; with Jake Arrieta facing C.J. Wilson. First pitch is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN2. Brad Bergesen and Kevin Millwood wrap the series for the Birds, they’ll face Cliff Lee and Tommy Hunter respectively.

-A reminder that tomorrow’s game is not on MASN or MASN2-but instead on FOX. That’s two straight Saturday FOX games for the Birds. Earlier in the year I would have preferred watching “That 70′s Show” reruns, but the Orioles have been downright watchable recently. I’d still prefer “That 70′s Show” reruns, but who wouldn’t???

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

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Ravens coach John Harbaugh believes Lardarius Webb ‘very close’ to returning from PUP list

I’m really interested in exactly how this plays out next week in Owings Mills. Having Webb part of the 53 man roster is good for multiple reasons. First of all, it gives the Ravens DESPERATELY needed depth amongst their top corners. Secondly, it may help them avoid having to keep someone on the 53 man roster that they might not necessarily want to keep-like a Cary Williams or Prince Miller.

Now, Webb has to get on the practice field at 1 Winning Drive first-and then has to prove that he’s ready to play in a game. Even if the Ravens choose to hold him out against the New York Giants next week and the St. Louis Rams in 2 weeks; he has to prove that he’s game ready for September 13 against the New York Jets.

If he does that, everything about this roster improves.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Ed Dickson, Mark Clayton expected to play vs. Washington Redskins Saturday night; Oniel Cousins unlikely, Chris Carr ‘unknown’

I expect to see at least a bit of Carr on the field at FedEx Field tomorrow night, probably about as much as we’ll see from Fabian Washington. It will likely be the Travis Fisher/Cary Williams/Prince Miller show in the secondary again-and almost no doubt there will be more of Chris Hawkins and Doug Dutch as well.

At tackle, expect to see plenty of Tony Moll tomorrow night. I’m a bit surprised the Ravens didn’t make a move to bring in an extra body this week at tackle. Even more surprised knowing Louisa Lytton is not currently on another NFL roster. (Thanks Don Chavez!)…

lytton

8. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says record 112,000 fans attended Training Camp at McDaniel College in Westminster

And before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-The Ravens are walking through today, but you cannot see it live and in person as it is closed to both the media and public. They’ll face the Skins tomorrow night at FedEx Field in Landover (the city formerly known as Raljon), kickoff is at 7pm and the game can be seen live on WBAL11 and Comcast SportsNet (the CSN version is the DC broadcast). Luke Jones and I will be live at FedEx Field, hosting a “Purple Haze” chat here at WNST.net.

-Did you miss Le’Ron McClain live with Thyrl Nelson Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Other things available in the Audio Vault include…

  • Graham Gano (Redskins kicker and former Raven)-who joined Rex Snider Thursday afternoon to preview tomorrow night’s game
  • Audio from all around Westminster-including John Harbaugh, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb and Dannell Ellerbe
  • Greg Aiello (NFL PR Director)-who joined Rex Thursday to discuss all things Roger Goodell
  • Tom Grieve (Rangers color Analyst)-who discussed Josh Hamilton and all things Rangers with Rex as well
  • All of the Baltimore sports media auditions with Nestor Aparicio on “The Morning Reaction” Friday

It’s all there in the Audio Vault, so you have your day planned. I’m really much too good to you.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland reserve LB Ben Pooler likely to miss season after tearing ACL in camp

While not necessarily devastating news for Ralph Friedgen’s Terps, it certainly isn’t good news either.

The Terrapins will need some LB depth, and I think Jacqueline Kirby might be the perfect choice. (Thanks Uncoached via Busted Coverage!)

kirby

10. LA Times’ Lisa Dillman says Michael Phelps failed to make final in 400 meter individual medley at Pan Pacifics

I’m not too terribly worked up by this, as this is not particularly easy.

In fact, it’s almost as tough as trying to remember the names of all of Antonio Cromartie’s kids. (Thanks HBO via Fanhouse and YouTube!)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5qzQ2HBh0s[/youtube]

And finally, I leave you with this.

So apparently I was duped on “The Skinwich” yesterday. It ISN’T something KFC is planning on rolling out now or anytime in the future.

BUT…that doesn’t mean that all food in the world is healthy and NOT delicious. Thanks to The Smoking Jacket, I offer you some other ideas. One if IHOP’s Pancake Cheesecake Sandwich…

IHOP

Another is Friendly’s Mac ‘n Cheese Quesadilla…

friendlys

You know what, I’m going to need a minute here…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Optimistic Ravens exit Westminster as stakes begin to grow

Posted on 19 August 2010 by Luke Jones

Optimism percolated from every route leading to Westminster as the masses flooded to McDaniel College over the last four weeks to take a glimpse at a team with its sights set on a date in Dallas on the first Sunday in February.

The Ravens set an all-time training camp attendance record of 112,051 despite a new kid-friendly autograph policy that many thought would temper the masses.

Even with the uncertain status of Ed Reed and the unfortunate losses of rookie Sergio Kindle and Domonique Foxworth, the Ravens have practiced with a swagger indicative of a team fully expecting to be playing deep into January or—with some good fortune—even later. A workmanlike demeanor from third-year coach John Harbaugh has muzzled some of the flamboyant comments uttered by players in past anticipated seasons, but the goal is clear, even under the hot sun of Westminster.

“[Camp has] just been tremendous,” Harbaugh said. “First of all, we’ve gotten a lot of work done. Our guys have worked really hard, and it’s a grind. Football training camp is hard work.”

Despite injury concerns in the secondary (Reed and Lardarius Webb) and offensive line (Jared Gaither), the Ravens managed to avoid any more catastrophic injuries after the deflating loss of Foxworth on July 29.

Breaking camp marks the next step in the quest for a Super Bowl, but the stakes rise much higher from this point forward. Optimism and good vibes are easily found in the secluded confines of an NFL training camp.

Despite the open nature of practices in Westminster, coaches and players work within a cocoon of order. Distractions are at a minimum as players live with curfews and are away from everyday responsibilities related to family and friends.

It was football and only football for four taxing weeks, but players return to a sense of normalcy on Friday.

Now, Joe Flacco and a much-improved offense—on paper anyway—have three more preseason games to fine-tune their work to determine if the vision of becoming an elite unit comes to fruition.

As much as we analyze every play and every day of the summer, picking on cornerbacks like Doug Dutch and Chris Hawkins shows little in terms of how explosive the Baltimore offense will ultimately be. The pressure gets that much heavier, even if the workload of practice decreases.

An unsettling situation at the right tackle position might derail that optimism as quickly as Ray Rice can take it 83 yards to the end zone. The physical and mental health of Gaither is critical with unproven players in Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll—who have also been hindered with injuries—waiting behind him.

An even shakier atmosphere exists with the defense, a perennial top-5 unit in the NFL for over a decade. Even before the loss of Foxworth due to a torn ACL, the Ravens were light on quality at cornerback and occasionally-promising showings from the likes of Travis Fisher, Cary Williams, and Prince Miller in Westminster will not get it done against the Cincinnatis and New Englands of the world.

Fabian Washington has progressed nicely in his recovery from a torn ACL last season and will see his first game action against the Washington Redskins on Saturday. Chris Carr, the nickelback a season ago, will be relied upon to hold down the other starting spot as Webb will presumably be getting back to the practice field in the coming days.

And, oh yeah, the six-time All-Pro Reed still has no timetable for a return despite making progress in rehabbing his surgically-repaired hip. Tom Zbikowski has competently held his spot at free safety with the Ravens showing cautious optimism that Reed might be able to play Week 1. However, only the enigmatic safety really knows when he will be ready.

“We feel like the guys that we have are going to be able to go in there and get the job done,” said Carr, who reminded reporters the Ravens finished with the eighth-ranked pass defense last season despite late-season injuries. “We feel like we’re experienced, and we have a lot of potential to get better. We feel like we can do a lot of things back there.”

Easy feelings to have within the sheltered atmosphere of Westminster, but Ozzie Newsome knows better. The front office clearly wants—and needs—to upgrade the cornerback position, even if  it’s only a quality third or fourth defensive back from another team.

The most critical component to enhancing the suspect pass defense is improving the pass rush, as the Ravens produced their second lowest sack total (32) in franchise history in 2009.

Despite the absence of the rookie Kindle, Antwan Barnes and Paul Kruger have impressed in that area, both in camp and against the Carolina Panthers last Thursday. The emergence of these two coupled with a healthy and motivated Terrell Suggs might just mask a weaker secondary.

However, we’ve seen strong preseason performances from countless young players in years past—Barnes being one of them—only to see them forgotten by mid-September.

When the Ravens put Westminster in the rear-view mirror on Friday, they leave training camp behind and return to the cozy confines in Owings Mills, but the summer sun rapidly transforms to the white-hot expectations created—locally and nationally—over the last seven months.

“Hopefully, we’re the best football team we can be coming out of this training camp at this time, but we still have work to do,” Harbaugh said. “Next week we’ll be right into training camp again, and it’ll be one-a-days, more of an in-season type schedule, but we’ll still be in camp as far as we’re concerned.”

Cutdown dates loom for players trying to secure a roster spot, the clock ticks on whether Newsome can find another piece to enhance the secondary, and the New York Jets and Monday Night Football await in less than four weeks.

Thankful players say goodbye to the team hotel in Westminster and return to their own beds on Friday, but with that come the more restless nights as a season of lofty expectations quickly approaches.

Training camp is in the books.

From here on out, it gets a little more real.

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Live from Westminster: Ravens limping through final days of camp

Posted on 18 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — With injuries continuing to hinder the training camp roster, John Harbaugh and the Ravens are probably thinking they cannot get away from McDaniel College fast enough and back to the cozy confines of 1 Winning Drive as the injury list continues to grow daily, particularly on the offensive line.

Right tackle Oniel Cousins was carted off the field after suffering from a headache on Wednesday morning. Cousins, already filling in for the injured Jared Gaither (back tear), appeared to be laboring earlier in practice and stood on the sidelines for a considerable time before leaving the field. The training staff will test Cousins for a possible concussion.

Tony Moll filled in on the right side in Cousins’ absence while Chris Chester continues to handle the center position in place of Matt Birk (neck). Other linemen missing practice included Stefan Rodgers (arm) and Daniel Sanders (arm).

It was an “over-30 club” day in Westminster, meaning the likes of Ray Lewis and Derrick Mason were given the day off. With veterans receiving a respite and so many others not practicing, fans could be forgiven if they didn’t recognize all players running with the starting units at times.

New absences from practice included fullback Le’Ron McClain (back/thigh) and linebackers Tavares Gooden (neck) and Prescott Burgess (undisclosed). McClain appeared to be dealing with an upper thigh issue over the last few days, even having the hip and thigh region wrapped during Saturday afternoon’s practice. The starting fullback was in street clothes, walking with a limp during the morning session, but the injury is not believed to be serious.

Gooden continues to deal with neck spasms after sustaining an awkward hit to the neck in the preseason opener. Despite practicing the last two days, the team will use caution the rest of the week in hopes that Gooden will be able to play against the Redskins on Saturday.

“[The neck] just keeps tightening back up on him,” Harbaugh said. “We need to just sit him down and settle him down.”

Gooden’s health clouds what has been an intriguing competition at inside linebacker after Jameel McClain lost his stronghold at the position with a poor performance in the preseason opener. McClain has received more work at the “Sam” outside linebacker with the second unit this week. Harbaugh hopes to get extended looks at all three with the starting defense over the final three preseason games.

“We’ll kind of move those guys around the next two weeks, and we’ll know where we’re at.”

In addition to the “over-30″ club—which includes Lewis, Mason, Birk, Todd Heap, Travis Fisher, Trevor Pryce, and Kelly Gregg (Ed Reed and Brendon Ayanbadejo are still on the PUP list)—defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (knee), tight end Davon Drew (hamstring), and defensive back Marcus Paschal (leg) joined the aforementioned players as non-participants in the morning practice.

Stay right here for updates (time-stamped below) and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear Harbaugh, rookie receiver David Reed, and safety Tom Zbikowski’s conversation with Thyrl Nelson following practice.

______________________________________________________________________

1:40 p.m. — Both Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham missed from 45 yards on Wednesday morning. Cundiff pulled his attempt wide left while Graham was wide right on his try.

Each kicker connected from 19, 40, and 51 yards as both continue to produce similar results day in and day out in Westminster.

12:45 p.m. — With Thursday being the last two-a-day of the summer, coaches and players are laboring through the final workouts in Westminster and toward the remainder of the preseason schedule. John Harbaugh has been pleased with the team’s work during camp, evidenced by his cancellation of three practices (one on Saturday and two on Sunday) over the last week.

“You get to this point and it’s time to [go],” Harbaugh said. “You’re looking into the next phase of camp. Going into this practice [on Tuesday morning], we wanted to make sure that we have five good practices before we leave here, to make the most of it, and we did a good job today.”

The Ravens will conduct a walk-through on Friday before breaking camp and continuing their preseason preparation at their practice complex in Owings Mills.

12:35 p.m. — As mentioned yesterday, rookie David Reed has struggled to catch the ball consistently after a strong beginning in Westminster. Reed, a fifth-round pick in April, was expected to battle for the fifth receiver job but has fallen out of contention with Demetrius Williams having such a strong—and injury-free—training camp.

With three preseason games remaining, Reed will need a strong showing at receiver and on special teams to avoid being cut or stashed away on the practice squad—or Injured Reserve with a mysterious injury.

“You want consistency,” Harbaugh said about the young receivers following Tuesday’s practice. “For whatever reason, we dropped a lot of balls out here today. I thought the quarterbacks were just a little more in rhythm with their throws [and] a little quicker versus the pressure, which is what we want, and maybe it caught the receivers a little bit off guard.”

Hale acknowledges he has struggled to catch the football in camp, something he has not experienced previously in his career.

“I don’t drop too many passes [typically],” Reed said. “That’s one thing I carry myself [with], I don’t drop passes. I’m getting it back.”

12:20 p.m. — Cornerback Chris Carr and receiver Mark Clayton suited up to practice but were limited participants throughout the morning session. Carr has taken part in individual drills the last two days but continues to sit out team portions of practice as he continues to recover from a left hamstring injury sustained on Aug. 7.

With Carr sitting out 11-on-11 drills and the 30-year-old Travis Fisher not practicing, Fabian Washington and Cary Williams were the cornerbacks with the first defense.

Clayton had his right ankle taped before walking out to practice, but the receiver stood on the sideline without a helmet and gloves for much of practice. Demetrius Williams and Donte’ Stallworth split reps at receiver opposite of Anquan Boldin with Clayton out and Mason receiving the day off.

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Live from Westminster: Ravens honor military at McDaniel

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Live from Westminster: Ravens honor military at McDaniel

Posted on 17 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — With hundreds of military personnel on hand, the Ravens were back on the practice field Tuesday afternoon in preparation for the second preseason game against the Washington Redskins.

Players such as defensive tackle Kelly Gregg (below) signed autographs for uniformed military and their families for nearly an hour following a practice that lasted over two hours in the sweltering heat.

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“It’s just a real special day,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’re real proud of what all the personnel in the military all across the country and overseas has done for us. We just can’t thank them enough for their service, for the sacrifices the families make.”

Offensive lineman David Hale was absent from practice with a “bruised” tailbone sustained after defensive tackle Haloti Ngata landed on top of him in a pass-rushing drill during Monday’s morning practice. The key reserve lineman has not yet undergone an MRI or CAT scan to determine whether the tailbone is fractured, according to Harbaugh.

Concerns exist that it might be a long-term injury, a potential damaging blow given Hale’s versatility for an offensive line already dealing with the absence of Jared Gaither for the remainder of the preseason.

“I really don’t know,” said Harbaugh when asked if Hale’s injury might be season-ending. “We haven’t gotten an MRI yet, so I wouldn’t be writing that yet.”

Center Matt Birk missed his third straight practice with tightness in his neck. The 13-year veteran has not practiced since the preseason opener last Thursday. Birk started training camp on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing an elbow procedure in the offseason.

“[Birk's] going to be a guy we’re going to be very judicious with throughout training camp and even throughout the season,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t think a lot of practice is what he needs. He’s up there [in years]. When you play on the offensive line that many years, you want to be smart with those guys and how many contact reps they take.”

Ngata returned to practice after sitting out the latter portion of Monday’s practice following the collision with Hale. The Pro Bowl tackle appeared to be favoring his left wrist but showed no signs of injury on Tuesday.

Also back at practice was offensive tackle Oniel Cousins, who walked off the field with a member of the staff toward the end of practice after a skirmish with linebacker Jameel McClain earlier in the Monday morning workout. Cousins managed to get into another scuffle Tuesday, this time with linebacker Edgar Jones despite it being a lighter shells-and-shorts workout. The third-year tackle, who continues to fill in for Gaither at right tackle, has earned a reputation for mixing it up with teammates in his brief career.

“I don’t know, they might be coming after me,” said Cousins, drawing laughter from media members. “For some reason, everybody’s always trying to fight with me, I don’t know why. We’re just out there having fun. I don’t know, it’s just a practice. It’s hot and everybody’s out there getting after it.”

Cornerback Chris Carr was a limited participant during Tuesday’s practice, doing individual work but sitting out full-team drills. In addition to Hale and Birk, tight end Davon Drew (hamstring), defensive back Marcus Paschal (leg), defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (knee), offensive linemen Daniel Sanders (arm) and Stefan Rodgers (arm), and offensive tackle Jared Gaither (back) did not practice.

Stay right here for more (time-stamped below) and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Harbaugh, Cousins, quarterback coach Jim Zorn, and tight end Todd Heap’s conversation from the field with Rex Snider.

_____________________________________________

8:45 p.m. — The daily installment of the kicking competition brought similar results to what we’ve seen throughout the summer.

Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham were each perfect on five attempts, with both men connecting from 48 and 51 yards. The Ravens will likely alternate kicks between the two as they did in the preseason opener against Carolina.

8:35 p.m — The star of Tuesday’s practice—on and off the field—was veteran tight end Todd Heap, who made three spectacular catches while looking like the tight end who made consecutive Pro Bowls in 2002 and 2003.

Heap made a leaping, one-handed catch over the middle early in practice and beat cornerback Travis Fisher on a sideline route for a long gain. The 10-year veteran finished off his finest practice of the summer with a catch in the back of the end zone over cornerback Brad Jones.

Following practice, Heap signed autographs for military personnel for nearly 45 minutes before joining Rex Snider on AM 1570 WNST. You can hear the conversation in its entirety in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

While Heap shined on Tuesday, rookie David Reed’s struggles continued as the receiver dropped two passes, one of them leading to a Cary Williams’ interception on a pass thrown by Troy Smith.

After an impressive start in Westminster, Reed has struggled to catch the ball consistently, leaving his status in doubt with Demetrius Williams performing well in his efforts to grab the fifth receiver spot on the roster. Expected to be a contender to return kicks, Reed has not received many opportunities during special teams practices.

8:15 p.m. — Tuesday’s practice provided more confirmation for a possible shift in the team’s depth chart at inside linebacker.

Tavares Gooden—practicing without the red non-contact jersey—lined up next to Ray Lewis in the starting defense, another indication that Jameel McClain has lost the stronghold he enjoyed through the first three weeks of training camp. Dannell Ellerbe took reps with the starting defense on Monday as McClain worked at outside linebacker with the second unit.

Much of the defensive work, however, came in nickel and dime packages, and Gooden is considered the strongest of the three in pass coverage.

Needless to say, it will be interesting seeing who lines up with the starting unit in the team’s second preseason game against the Redskins on Saturday night.

8:05 p.m. — John Harbaugh responded to cornerback Lardarius Webb’s comments from Monday that expressed he did not want to play in the preseason and wants to be cautious in returning from an ACL injury sustained late last season. Webb’s rehab is ahead of schedule and could be activated from the PUP list in the near future.

“I think we are going to be cautious with [Webb],” Harbaugh said. “If he can play in the preseason and we feel very comfortable there’s not going to be a setback, we’ll do it. If we think there’s any possibility of a setback—reasonable possibility—we’ll probably just save him [for the regular season].”

Webb has worked out regularly on the side field during training camp, working on conditioning and agility to strengthen his surgically-repaired right knee.

Running back Matt Lawrence (knee) and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps) remain on the PUP list but were running on the side during Tuesday’s practice. Neither player has been very active during practices in Westminster, and Ayanbadejo was just recently cleared to begin running full-speed.

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Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

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Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

Posted on 16 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

My 3rd Edition of “Mocking The 53″ hit WNST.net just 9 days ago, and much has changed since that time. The most notable difference is the departure of veteran LS Matt Katula, whose roster spot was taken by rookie CB Brad Jones (Cincinnati).

However, there is also some tinkering to the 53 based on how Baltimore Ravens players performed against the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium; and how they continue to perform during Training Camp practices at McDaniel College in Westminster.

For the record, I’ve never been more convinced that any of 60 guys could end up making the final roster. There might not be 70 NFL players on the roster like there were before Camp, but there are still PLENTY of players who have every opportunity to end up amongst the 53.

Here’s a reminder of how I explained these rankings the first time I put them together…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the 53 shapes up…

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. RB Ray Rice
rice

6. LB Ray Lewis
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

I think we were reminded of just how much the Ravens value Ray Rice when he was all but held out of the preseason opener. It’s very clear who the Top 6 players are on the team-just not quite as clear what order the Top 6 are in. Ben Grubbs cracks the Top 10 for the first time, and with the way O-Linemen have been getting banged up for this team during Camp, he might still be rising.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. DL Cory Redding
13. TE Todd Heap
14. DT Terrence Cody
15. CB Fabian Washington
fabian
16. OT Jared Gaither
17. FB Le’Ron McClain
18. OL Marshal Yanda
19. C Matt Birk
20. S Dawan Landry

While Fabian Washington and Terrence Cody continue to climb, Jared Gaither is absolutely falling. John Harbaugh said he expected Gaither to miss 2-3 weeks; but didn’t appear to rule out the possibility that his back tear could keep him out longer. With that in mind, his value falls a bit.

On the flip side, after a rough start to Camp-Cody came on big time against the Panthers. He showed quite a bit of the promise the Ravens had hoped he would when they selected him in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft out of Alabama. Kelly Gregg may still be the starter in the middle of the D-Line, but Cody has significantly greater upside.

Washington is going to have to be ready to be a Top 15 guy on this team whether he’s…well…ready or not. It’s hard to move him so high without him having played against the Panthers, but his importance to the overall makeup of the roster cannot be understated.

21. S Tom Zbikowski
tomz
22. CB Chris Carr
23. LB Jameel McClain
24. K Shayne Graham
25. TE Ed Dickson
26. QB Marc Bulger
27. S Haruki Nakamura
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. DT Kelly Gregg
30. WR Donte’ Stallworth

A couple of movers in this group-including Jameel McClain, who appeared to have the starting ILB job nailed down next to Ray Lewis but has since been splitting time. He’s still very much in the mix and likely ahead of Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden, but we’ll need to see what the team does Saturday night against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Chris Carr and Tom Zbikowski are risers, as their spots as starters have been solidified in recent weeks. Zbikowski may also end up winning the punt return job (I have him slightly ahead of Clayton and Stallworth right now), which could be enough to get him in the Top 20.

As far as Clayton and Stallworth are concerned-Clayton moves ahead of Stallworth for the first time as it appears he’ll be the team’s 3rd receiver. Expect both to get plenty of snaps throughout the season however.

Don’t be surprised if Ed Dickson is this team’s top Tight End sometime between now and the start of the 2011 season. He’ll be in the Top 20 on this list soon.

31. OL Chris Chester
32. LB Dannell Ellerbe
33. TE Dennis Pitta
34. P Sam Koch
35. LB Tavares Gooden
36. RB Willis McGahee
37. LB Antwan Barnes
abarnes
38. QB Troy Smith
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. CB Travis Fisher

Nothing drastically different about this group as of right now. Should Ellerbe or Gooden end up beating Jameel McClain out for the other ILB job, they would clearly move ahead of him on the roster. A good showing against the Panthers lifts Paul Kruger a bit, and the team continues to tell me they’re pleased with what they’ve seen from the 2nd year DE out of Utah since he reported to Westminster.

There have been rumblings that the team could keep just Flacco and Bulger and allow Troy Smith to walk-but I doubt that. Flacco and Bulger are similar QB’s, while Troy Smith is particularly different. After seeing what happened two years ago when Smith got sick and Kyle Boller got hurt, I don’t think the organization is ready to trim the number of QB’s on the Week 1 roster.

41. OT Oniel Cousins
42. S Ken Hamlin
43. DT Kelly Talavou
talavou
44. DT Brandon McKinney
45. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
46. RB Jalen Parmele
47. CB Cary Williams
48. OL David Hale
49. OL Tony Moll
50. LS Morgan Cox
51. LB Edgar Jones
52. S KJ Gerard
53. WR Demetrius Williams

A few things worth mentioning in this final group:

-David Hale was injured during practice Monday. Until we know more about the nature of the injury we have to assume he’s safely on the roster when the Ravens visit the New York Jets September 13th.

-I have Talavou and McKinney ahead of Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens right now, but Divens has had a solid camp and Jones is a player the Ravens might not want to risk exposing. All 4 remain very much in the mix to be on the team when they get to East Rutherford.

-Despite his suspension, Cary Williams basically has to be a safe bet to be on the team as he’s the 4th corner right now. That being said, the team could still make roster moves between now and their Week 1 appearance on Monday Night Football. Should they do that, Williams could be in trouble. If Williams DOES make the roster, the team will almost be forced to keep an additional corner. I’m keeping KJ Gerard ahead of Prince Miller for now, but if Gerard doesn’t get healthy soon he’ll forfeit that spot right back to Miller.

-Brendon Ayanbadejo is sliding. While he still appears upbeat about his spot on this team, I’m not sure how much longer it can be assumed. He hasn’t really been noticed doing much work on the side, and team sources have told me they’re disappointed in how long Ayanbadejo has remained out. Should he return, he has every chance to make an impact in the nickel package and on special teams; but he has to return to do that.

-I moved Demetrius Williams back to the safe side of the roster and David Reed off. Reed was expected to make a more significant impact in the return game-but that hasn’t necessarily been seen just yet. He could still win the kick return job-which would get him back on the good side of the roster bubble. In the meantime, Williams’ size continues to somehow separate him from the rest of the receivers on this team-which is enough to get him back on the good side of the bubble.

-Morgan Cox takes a spot in the 53. As the team’s only long snapper, that’s a bit of a no-brainer.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(CB Lardarius Webb-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. CB Prince Miller
56. DT Arthur Jones
57. OT Ramon Harewood
58. WR David Reed
59. RB Matt Lawrence
60. TE Davon Drew
ddrew
61. LB Prescott Burgess
62. LB Jason Phillips
63. DT Lamar Divens
64. WR Marcus Smith
65. WR Justin Harper
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
68. DE Albert McClellan
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OT Joe Reitz

Plenty of things worth discussing about this group:

-Mike McLaughlin COULD make the roster at FB with the team apparently more willing to give Le’Ron McClain carries; but I don’t expect it just yet. McLaughlin isn’t the type of guy the team would HAVE to keep to avoid exposing him, so I imagine he’ll end up on the practice squad.

-Billy Cundiff is MUCH closer in the kicking competition than he might appear; but the team has made it clear that Shayne Graham will be their guy. If he’s not going to make the roster, I can’t have Cundiff ahead of 54th.

-Jason Phillips is a guy the team likes a great deal, but may be a victim of a numbers game. He doesn’t have a natural role right now that makes him a guarantee to earn a spot. Prescott Burgess is in a similar position.

-Don’t be stunned if the team ends up keeping Davon Drew and has 4 tight ends on the roster. I just don’t see the room to do it right now myself.

71. CB Marcus Paschal
paschal
72. CB Doug Dutch
73. OL Bryan Mattison
74. OT Stefan Rodgers
75. CB Brad Jones
76. CB Chris Hawkins
77. OT Daniel Sanders
78. OT Devin Tyler

Of this group, Rodgers may have the only realistic path to being part of the team when they hit the field at the Meadowlands. Should Jared Gaither remain out and the team choose to protect Ramon Harewood by placing him on IR; he would have a realistic chance of getting active behind Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll. But that’s a major (and frightening) IF.

-G

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Ravens Waive LS Katula to Make Room for CB Jones

Posted on 14 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

The Baltimore Ravens have waived veteran Long Snapper Matt Katula, making room for newly signed CB Brad Jones.

Since arriving in Baltimore in 2005, Katula has played in all 80 regular season games and all Ravens playoff games. He struggled during the 2009 season, plagued by elbow tendinitis. Katula told the media he was “pain free” during the offseason. The team had added former California LS Nick Sundberg late during the 2009 campaign, but he was never activated from the practice squad.

The departure of Katula leaves only rookie UFA Morgan Cox (Tennessee) currently on the roster amongst long snappers.

Waiving Katula made room on the roster for newly resigned CB Brad Jones (UFA Cincinnati). Jones will compete with the likes of Doug Dutch, Chris Hawkins, Marcus Paschal and Prince Miller for potential spots on the Ravens’ 53 man roster or practice squad. CB’s Fabian Washington, Chris Carr, Travis Fisher and Cary Williams are expected to make the active roster ahead of that group.

-G

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 13 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because we all know that with a preseason Week 1 win, the Ravens are most certainly Super Bowl bound. With the Super Bowl in Dallas (and considering that Sunday is WWE SummerSlam), I was hoping maybe we could hang out with this man while we were in town…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Exbsw5ssn4I[/youtube]

God I love HBK. No wrestling Pay-Per-View is ever as good without him.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Joe Flacco ‘smooth’ in Ravens’ preseason win over Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium

No doubt about it.

Flacco wasn’t quite perfect (he actually surprisingly missed Anquan Boldin on a sideline route that he usually has no trouble with), but he was very good. He spread the ball out to various receivers and made no major mistakes during the 3 drives he was a part of during the first half.

It would have been nice to see a more representative effort from the offensive line; as Tyler Brayton looked like Julius Peppers early on. It would have also been nice to see a bit more balance in the offensive attack, as Ray Rice might as well have stayed home to watch Big Brother last night given his lack of involvement in the game.

That being said, this was preseason football. The Ravens came out of the game healthy, and that is REALLY all that matters.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of win

Troy Smith added a 2nd half rushing TD, Cary Williams pulled down an interception, Curtis Steele was the team’s leading rush and Shayne Graham missed a 50 yard FG.

Anything else you might have missed after you couldn’t take the rain anymore or finally decided to flip over to something else?

You won’t mind looking at any of these numbers; but I have a recommendation beyond that. Look at the numbers, then look at this picture of Lola Ponce from Guyism. Like we always say, WIN-WIN…

lolaponce

3. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Terrence Cody looked like ‘gamer’ for Ravens in win

If that’s what the Ravens are going to get from Terrence Cody this season, they’re going to be THRILLED with taking him in the 2nd round.

Some guys are just the type of guys who need the lights to go on and to step on the field in a game situation to really turn up the volume. Cody told me after the game that the “adrenaline” of the evening changed things for him.

I don’t know if Terrence Cody will ever be a superstar on the practice field or in the classroom. I get the feeling he may struggle in those areas in the future. But what I saw last night as far as the ability to beat double teams, work into the backfield and force plays to come to a head whether they be passes or runs; the guy has a real chance to be a superstar.

“Refreshing” was the word that kept coming to me as I watched his performance.

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester thought Talavou, Kruger, Clayton all solid for Ravens in win

I agree with all three. I also thought Prince Miller and Lamar Divens were pretty good last night, as was Ed Dickson.

Completely absent from that last? One Joe Reitz. It was a tough night for one Joe Reitz…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lggBJYv2QgY[/youtube]

The guy played basketball at Western Michigan!!! I expect more!!!

Of course, Reitz made MUCH more of a name for himself by missing than he could have by connecting. He’ll be a YouTube sensation and will absolutely find himself on SportsCenter’s “Not Top 10″ later today.

So if it was all part of your plan Joe…good on you sir.

5. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Chris Carr and Travis Fisher started in secondary

Fabian Washington (knee) did end up sitting; but apparently Carr talked John Harbaugh and staff into letting him play after the team had originally announced him as a scratch.

Of course, we saw an AWFUL lot of Doug Dutch and Chris Hawkins last night-which means those of you who attended will have something to tell your grandkids someday.

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of notes:

-The Ravens are off today after last night’s game, they return to Westminster for a Training Camp practice at 2:45pm tomorrow. They’ll have two practices at McDaniel College Sunday-at 8:45am and 2:45pm. The Ravens don’t play another preseason game until next Saturday, when the visit the (ugh) Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in DC. I’d almost rather visit hell…

-Did you miss Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to hear directly from the Ravens’ front office. Plenty of other things to listen to in the Audio Vault…

  • Antwan Barnes (Ravens LB) who joined Drew this morning after a big night last night
  • Cal Ripken Jr. (Like I need to explain) who previewed the Cal Ripken World Series with Drew this morning
  • Rich Herrera (Tampa Bay Rays Pre & Postgame Radio Host) who previewed the weekend series with the Orioles at The Trop with Drew
  • Jon Ladd (Baltimore Municipal Golf) who discussed the PGA Championship and this weekend’s Publinx Event with Drew
  • Plenty of locker room reaction from last night’s game-including John Harbaugh, Terrence Cody, Joe Flacco, Mark Clayton and Anquan Boldin
  • Jay Gibbons (Los Angeles Dodgers OF) who joined Rex Snider Thursday afternoon after returning to Major League Baseball
  • Trevor Matich (Comcast SportsNet Redskins Analyst) who discussed Ravens QB Coach Jim Zorn with Rex Thursday afternoon

It’s all in the Audio Vault. Hey-it’s Friday. It’s not like your boss expected you to do any work today anyway.

6. The AP says Jeanmar Gomez pitched Cleveland Indians past Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field

I mean, what can you be expected to do against a Cy Young Award candidate like Jeanmar Gomez?!?!?

I’m not going to try to pretend like I saw any of the game last night. Apparently Kevin Millwood was pretty good-but I guess he gave up a run in the first inning just to keep up appearances.

You know what’s funny? When the Orioles were 3-16, all I could think to myself was “how in the hell did they win 3 games?” Now that they’re 8-2 under Buck Showalter, all I can think is “how in the hell have they lost 2 games???

7. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of loss

And everything is right in the world once again.

You don’t want to look at these numbers, trust me on that.

Instead, look at this picture of Jaime Edmondson. We’ll be fine after that. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

jamie

8. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says O’s reached deals with draft picks Dan Klein, Connor Narron, Parker Bridwell

Klein is the most significant name amongst the group-he helped pitch UCLA to the College World Series a season ago. Connor Narron is the son of MLB vet Jerry Narron, and Parker Bridwell has a name that makes him sound like he should be writing for The New Yorker.

No news on progress with 1st round pick Manny Machado; as the deadline to get guys signed looms this Monday.

Andy MacPhail couldn’t possibly fail to sign a first round pick, right?

Right?

9. Baltimore Business Journal’s Ryan Sharrow says Birds extended agreements with Norfolk Tides, Bowie Baysox, Frederick Keys through 2014

Between this and another story we’ll get to this morning, I guess yesterday was “no-brainer” day in the local sports world. The O’s are better off having their minor league affiliates nearby; as it gives them the option to watch the players in their organization more often and get them back to Charm City quickly should it be necessary.

In fact, I doubt there are better options for affiliates at each level in baseball.

Note-this is something the Orioles do well. You can’t say I didn’t point it out.

10. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Rick Vandenhurk strong for Norfolk Tides in win over Indianapolis Indians on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things…

-After wrapping their series with the Tribe in The Comeback City, the O’s now head to Tampa (or is it St. Petersburg?) for a series with the Rays at Tropicana Field. Jeremy Guthrie takes the hill tonight against James Shields; first pitch is at 7:10pm on MASN. Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta are scheduled to face Andy Sonnanstine and Jeremy Hellickson in the other games this weekend-tomorrow’s game is actually on FOX. Looking at the pitching matchups, I honest to God believe the O’s can win 2 of 3.

-The Orioles will apparently be wearing all orange tonight and the Rays will be wearing the colors of the 1970 Tampa Tarpons-yeah, them. The Village People are going to be playing a postgame concert. If I was celebrating 1970 I would have preferred Chicago myself…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCAbdNXx2sE[/youtube]

11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland TE Lansford Watson has slight MCL tear

As Patrick reports, Ralph Friedgen appears inclined to allow the Terrapins’ TE to keep playing through the injury. Watson is trying to win the starting TE job in a competition with Devonte Campbell.

And if playing through the injury doesn’t work, it isn’t as if the Terps don’t have other options. For example, maybe ESPN’s Chris Berman can give them some scouting info on Dylan Thomas (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…

dylanthomas

12. HopkinsSports.com says JHU lacrosse coach Pietramala has contract extended through 2016

As I said yesterday on Twitter (follow us @WNST), this is an ABSOLUTE no-brainer. There isn’t much of anything more that the Blue Jays could have hoped for under Petro, and he deserves as much security as he wants from the school.

As if John Tillman’s gig in College Park wasn’t tough enough…

(Edit from GMC: As a side note, Johns Hopkins has redone their athletics website. It looks very cool. I’d take a look today if you have the chance.)

13. GoMustangSports.com says Stevenson held first football practice in school history Thursday

Congratulations to coach Ed Hottle and everyone involved in the Stangs’ program there in Owings Mills; as this is a great day for them. Hopefully they will continue to grow from there.

Stevenson also unveiled a new athletics logo yesterday, which actually looks pretty cool…

mustangs

And finally, I leave you with this.

Will “The Expendables” be any good? No idea. Does it have Stone Cold Steve Austin, Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham? Yes, yes it does…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6RU5y2fU6s[/youtube]

You can’t possibly pick “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” over this, could you?

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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