Tag Archive | "troy smith"

Ravens working out former starting quarterback Kyle Boller on Thursday

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Ravens working out former starting quarterback Kyle Boller on Thursday

Posted on 18 April 2012 by Luke Jones

Yes, you read that headline correctly.

Former starting quarterback and 2003 first-round pick Kyle Boller will be back in town and working out for the Ravens on Thursday, according to NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, who said former Steelers backup Dennis Dixon will also be working out for Baltimore. Former Indianapolis quarterback Curtis Painter will join them, per Albert Breer.

Dixon had been linked to the Ravens as a potential target last weekend by a report from St. Louis.

Boller was the starting quarterback in Baltimore from 2003 to 2005 and was most recently the backup quarterback of the Oakland Raiders the last two seasons. Replacing the injured Jason Campbell last year, Boller started in Week 7 but threw three interceptions in the first half before being benched in favor of Carson Palmer, who had only been acquired earlier in the week leading up to the game.

Entering his ninth year, Boller suffered a shoulder injury and missed the entire 2008 season, his last year with the Ravens.

The Ravens’ brass recently expressed their confidence in second-year backup Tyrod Taylor, so it is surprising for the team to have such interest in veteran options after carrying only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster during the 2011 season. However, Taylor’s athleticism could lead to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron wanting to use him in more gimmick plays as he did with former backup Troy Smith a few years ago — a luxury you don’t really have with only one reserve quarterback available.

A potential return by Boller would undoubtedly spark controversy and discussion from a significant portion of the fan base that made no secret of its disdain for him, with some at M&T Bank Stadium even cheering when Boller was injured in the 2005 season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

Boller has thrown for 8,931 yards in his career with 48 touchdowns and 54 interceptions.

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Former Ravens quarterback Marc Bulger retires

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Former Ravens quarterback Marc Bulger retires

Posted on 03 August 2011 by Luke Jones

Still without a veteran to back up starting quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens will be unable to call upon Marc Bulger, who intends to retire after 11 seasons in the NFL.

The 34-year-old signal caller was the Ravens’ backup quarterback in 2010 after signing a one-year, $3.8 million contract, which paid him a higher base salary than Flacco. However, Bulger did not take a snap all season as Flacco started all 16 games.

The Ravens currently have sixth-round pick Tyrod Taylor and practice squad member Hunter Cantwell as the only quarterbacks on the roster behind Flacco. Despite a strong endorsement from offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Tuesday and the fact that Flacco has never missed a game in his three-year career, it’s unlikely the Ravens would feel comfortable with the listed 6-foot-1 Taylor as the backup quarterback.

Bulger’s best years came with the St. Louis Rams, where he began as the No. 2 quarterback behind Kurt Warner and eventually became a two-time Pro Bowler. He finishes his career with 122 touchdown passes, 93 interceptions, and an 84.4 quarterback rating.

With Bulger no longer an option as the backup quarterback, general manager Ozzie Newsome must now deal with an underwhelming quarterback market that includes Jake Delhomme, Brodie Croyle, Patrick Ramsey, J.P. Losman, and Chris Simms. Former backup Troy Smith, who wound up in San Francisco after being cut prior to last season, is also a free agent.

As NFL teams must be under the salary cap for the start of the new league year on Thursday, other veteran backups could be added to the list of potential insurance policies for Flacco.

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Coach Rex Ryan on time in Baltimore: “It was ten great years and I met a lot of great people”

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Coach Rex Ryan on time in Baltimore: “It was ten great years and I met a lot of great people”

Posted on 24 June 2011 by Ryan Chell

Rex Ryan

Since leaving the Baltimore Ravens more than two years ago to become the head coach of the New York Jets,  Rex Ryan has had nothing but success as coach of Gang Green up in New York.

During that time as coach, Rex Ryan has taken the Jets to consecutive playoff appearances going as far as the AFC Title game in each trip.

His career record as the Jets coach is 20-12, and is 4-2 overall in the playoffs.

This after building up an impressive resume in Baltimore as defensive coordinator for the Ravens from 2005-2008 in which his defenses-anchored  by Ray Lewis-never finished less than sixth-overall in total defense.

Ryan spent 10 years on the Baltimore sidelines for both Brian Billick and John Harbaugh, but when a head coaching job for the Ravens wasn’t put in front of him, he couldn’t wait any longer for that opportunity to come his way, and he took advantage of another one.

But the one thing he has learned-and he details it in his new book, “Play Like You Mean It” which he introduced to Rex Snider last week on “The Afternoon Drive”, that it’s the people he’s been around who he has to thank for where he is today.

And a lot of them are still in the Baltimore organization, and despite knowing the organization holds John Harbaugh in high regard and that they chose him over Ryan, Ryan said he will always hold a place in his heart for the Ravens.

“I had ten great years in Baltimore that I am really proud,” Ryan told Snider. “And I still have a home in Baltimore. It was ten great years and met a lot of great people.”

One of the great people Ryan interacted with and had a great relationship with while in Baltimore was linebacker Ray Lewis.

“I was with Ray for all ten years and I talk about that he is one of the rare guys, a player that actually motivated me,” Ryan said. “That usually doesn’t happen. Usually it’s the coach motivating the player.”

Ryan said that Ray Lewis was  probably the most special person he’s been around in his 24-year coaching career.

“Ray was such a passionate leader and everything that we would motivate me as well as his teammates and things. He is a once in a lifetime player, an amazing talent and he is still going strong even today.”

Ryan became the Jets coach in 2009-ironically the same year that both Ravens linebackers Bart Scott and Ray Lewis were free agents on the market.

Ryan admitted that getting #52 to follow him to New York was definitely on his agenda.

He said he would be lying if he didn’t.

“It’s funny because when I went to New York the first thing right off the bat I wanted to get Ray Lewis to come and coach here and all that kind of jazz and let him play here,” Coach Ryan said.

Ryan took a lot from Baltimore up I-95 including several coaches, players, personnel, support staff and philosophy, but he admitted to Snider that there was nothing he could do to get Ray Lewis away from the city of Baltimore.

“Ray was not going to leave Baltimore anyway but it was not the right decision,” he said. “Ray’s team is the Baltimore Ravens, more so than Ozzie Newsome, or Steve Bisciotti, or anybody else.”

“But when you think of the Baltimore Ravens you think of Ray Lewis that is why there was no way I could take him away from Baltimore even if I wanted to, and was able to.”

Another player that Ryan didn’t have the longest amount of time to interact with but has high hopes for is a man on the other side of the ball than Ryan’s defense-that being quarterback Joe Flacco.

He remembers taking a look at Flacco just days into the first round of practices at Owings Mills and training camp and noticing that he was going to be something special despite the fact he came in projected to be the third quarterback on the depth chart behind Kyle Boller and Troy Smith.

“Joe Flacco was without a doubt is our best quarterback, and I remember mentioning that to Steve Bisciotti that in my opinion is wasn’t even close and that he ought to be our starting quarterback,” Ryan said.

“Joe Flacco is an outstanding talent, he’ got great arm strength, he’s got poise, and he is a better athlete than you think. I think he has all the tools to be a great quarterback in this league.”

But Rex was still the guy we have got used to in New York calling out the likes of Bill Belichick when he did admit that he’s biased when it comes to Joe Flacco winning championships.

Like Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley, he hopes Flacco wins none-at least at the expense of his teams.

“Well I hope he doesn’t win one, because I want to win them,” Ryan laughed. “And I am no different then those other guys; I mean I guaranteed a Super Bowl this year. But the funny thing is, that is how you have to think. It’s our team, I don’t care about anybody else’s team.”

One of those teams in particular that he doesn’t care about, but one that he has to keep his focus on at all times?

Why, that would be none other than Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, who despite Rex Ryan’s previous statements about the Coach may have been construed as disrespect, Ryan would tell you otherwise.

He would do so because he had that same level of respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

“There is a huge amount of respect with the Steelers and the Ravens, I can promise you. But you also want to beat that team worse than anybody.”

He knows Ravens fans still take that statement to heart.

And now that he’s the enemy, he knows that he’s probably included in that as well.

“I know the Ravens want to beat the Steelers worse than anything, probably right there with the Jets for some reason.”

We’ll  find out this year Week 4 of the regular season at M&T in prime time.

WNST thanks Coach Rex Ryan for joining us! Be sure to check out a copy of his new book, “Play Like You Mean It”, for a great in-depth look inside the mind of one of the NFL’s biggest personalities!

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Mocking The 53: A Positional Breakdown of Ravens Roster

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Mocking The 53: A Positional Breakdown of Ravens Roster

Posted on 08 June 2011 by Glenn Clark

Here is my first offseason/preseason ranking of the players who are currently property of the Baltimore Ravens or who were property of the team at the end of the 2010 season.

This list INCLUDES players who are not under contract-whether they are tendered restricted free agents, draft picks, exclusive rights free agents or even players who are expected to reach unrestricted free agency this offseason.

Unlike in the past, I will do this list by position as I attempt to further explain how the team’s roster currently shapes up.

I apologize for my delay in putting this compilation together. Blame Gary Williams…and the Triple Crown…and the team’s practices at Towson University…and my own laziness.

Obviously there is much to be done before any of this matters, but this is simply “as the roster stands now” analysis.

Quarterbacks (4):
Joe Flacco
Marc Bulger (UFA)
Tyrod Taylor
Hunter Cantwell

tyrod

The quarterback position is still in much less than full clarity at this point.

Joe Flacco has been a NFL quarterback for  55 games, including the playoffs. Joe Flacco has played every snap in 55 of those 55 games.

A season ago, the Ravens took a slight risk by parting ways with two backups-trading John Beck to the Washington Redskins during Training Camp and releasing Troy Smith after the preseason finale in St. Louis. They decided to carry only two active quarterbacks, paying a hefty price for veteran backup Marc Bulger.

Bulger appears to be out in Charm City, with most in the league believing he is destined to sign with the Arizona Cardinals. The Ravens knew they’d need to address quarterback depth during the draft and did so by selecting the explosive former Virginia Tech Hokies star (Taylor-pictured above) in the 6th round.

While Taylor (who hails from the quarterback hotbed of Hampton, Virginia) certainly has a number of supporters who believe him capable of being a legitimate starter in the league-he will not play that role in Baltimore unless there is turmoil this season one way or another (injury or failure).

Flacco is the starter. Taylor will have a great chance of making the roster. The real question facing the team is how else to address the position. It is believed that the Ravens will pursue another veteran QB of sorts when (if?) free agency finally begins. Miami Dolphins QB Chad Pennington has been a much rumored name the team could consider pursuing.

Should the Ravens not acquire a veteran free agent to backup Flacco, Cantwell could remain in the mix. He spent the entire 2010 season on the team’s practice squad-but has in the past been an active part of the Carolina Panthers’ roster.

With Taylor unlikely to be let go (or placed at risk of being taken away by trying to move him to the practice squad) but also unlikely to be the primary backup early in his career, it is fairly safe to assume the team will keep three quarterbacks this season.

Running Backs/Fullbacks (8):
Ray Rice
Le’Ron McClain
Willis McGahee
Jalen Parmele
Matt Lawrence
Jason McKie
Anthony Allen
Curtis Steele

parmele

Rice is obviously the team’s “featured” back. The issue for Cam Cameron’s offense this offseason is figuring out how to complement the fourth year back moving forward.

The worst kept secret in football is that the Ravens intend to part ways with McGahee because he is unwilling to take a cut from the $6 million he is owed. Should McGahee find the market slim there would always be a chance he could look towards Baltimore again, but it certainly appears unlikely.

With McGahee apparently gone, the Ravens will have to build their backfield without him. One option is McClain, who had his best season yet as a true fullback in 2010 (despite the fact that he was actually passed over for Pro Bowl recognition by Houston Texans FB Vonta Leach) but who has made clear his desire to carry the football more often.

McClain was initially thought to be on the cusp of reaching free agency this offseason (and departing), but without a new CBA McClain (and other fourth and fifth year players) would likely remain under contract. McClain’s size and potential goal line/short distance ability make him potentially a solid complement for Rice.

Should the Ravens move McClain into that role, they would likely need to consider keeping McKie or otherwise improving the fullback position. McKie was a non-factor during his brief stay at the end of the 2010 season-but could be a viable option in a thin market.

Parmele (pictured above) is the wild card in the backfield. The coaching staff has remained high on him throughout his time in Baltimore (and he has connections with Cameron dating back to the Dolphins). Parmele has remained a value special teams player (and is a viable return option), but he has run the ball only seven times in his career.

Lawrence, Allen and Steele are all question marks (and possibly longshots) to make the roster. Lawrence is a talented special teams player but missed the 2010 season with a torn ACL. Allen (the team’s 7th round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft) is hoping his 6’1″, 228 pound frame is enough to get him on the roster. Steele spent the 2010 season on the practice squad after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis. The team liked his quick hitting ability, but he will have an uphill climb-especially if there is no Training Camp.

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Former VT QB and Ravens sixth-round draft pick Tyrod Taylor on backing up Flacco: “I can’t wait to learn from Joe”

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Former VT QB and Ravens sixth-round draft pick Tyrod Taylor on backing up Flacco: “I can’t wait to learn from Joe”

Posted on 02 May 2011 by Ryan Chell

Ravens fans heard some of the rumors over this draft weekend that we may have seen the last of Marc Bulger in a Baltimore uniform should the NFL’s lockout be lifted.

The Arizona Cardinals appear to be ready to sign Bulger-the longtime NFL veteran of the St. Louis Rams who backed up Joe Flacco this year-to a contract when the teams are allowed to sign free agents pending a new CBA.

If the Ravens were to lose Bulger, it would absolutely create a gaping hole in the depth chart behind Flacco, and on Saturday, Baltimore’s personnel department made a move in the draft to ensure that they have at least one quarterback behind Flacco should Bulger decide to move on to Arizona or another NFL team.

Tyrod Taylor

With the 180th pick in the sixth round of this weekend’s draft, the Ravens selected Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor-a 6-foot, 217 pound quarterback who started all four years for the Hokies  in Blacksburg.

Taylor joined Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to talk about becoming a Raven and taking the short drive up I-95 to begin his NFL career.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Taylor told Nelson. “But there’s still a lot to learn, and I can’t wait to learn from Joe Flacco.”

“It’s always good to get drafted by a team close by so I can keep track of the Hokies and stay close to home for the family.”

In his four years playing for Frank Beamer starting 41 of 49 games for Virginia Tech, Taylor finished with 6,795 passing yards, 43 TDs to just 19 INTs.

He really put it together in 2010, earning ACC Player of the Year honors while passing for 2,521 yards, 23 TD and 4 INTs.

His passing yardage, 2,174 rushing yards and 23 rushing scores over his Hokie career also set school records, and it shows that his versatility being able to throw the ball as well as make a play with a legs can help the Ravens offense move the chains.

If Ravens fans want to make a correlation, you can compare Taylor to that of a Troy Smith.

Taylor hopes that the Ravens use all his physical skills as an asset.

“Will the Ravens plan plays just for me? I want to help out any way I can,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s biggest concern coming into the draft was the lack of a proven track record playing at VT.

Despite his stellar numbers as a Hokie his senior year, most of those numbers came too late in his college career for NFL scouts to give him due notice.

That was one of the reasons why he lasted till the sixth round when the Ravens took a chance on him and his athletic ability.

“Going into it, my agent and I talked about what might happen,” Taylor said. “It was disappointing to slip to the sixth round. I was hoping for the third, fourth, or fifth.”

In a way, it was his post-season work after the page was turned on his college career  that caught NFL GM’s eyes the most, especially January’s East-West Shrine Game where Taylor completed four of five passes for 59 yards.

“Early in the process looking at the numbers, some teams had mixed feelings,” Taylor said of his visits. “But I think after evaluating film, teams changed their minds about me, especially after the East-West Shrine Game.”

Still, the biggest question mark for Taylor will be if he can be a pocket-passer in the NFL who relies on his arm first-and his legs second.

Taylor answered that doubt with all the confidence in the world.

“It shouldn’t be hard for me,” Taylor said. “It’s just learning the reads and trust in the system. Be yourself and move the chains.”

The Ravens see him as a quarterback as well.

“We feel like he has the skill sets to play quarterback and he also brings the added dimension of being a terrific athlete that can-as we see so much now-get out of the pocket and hurt people,” Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said Saturday after the draft was completed.

Taylor said he already has that chip on his shoulder for being drafted so low over the weekend by the Ravens.

Could there be a comparison to another big-time college quarterback who had to wait till the sixth round in Tom Brady?

“With him being drafted in the sixth round also, I also feel motivated to prove them wrong. Ten quarterbacks were drafted ahead of me, so again, it’s all motivation,” Taylor said.

But, at least he’s not motivated to take #5 away from his incumbent teammate after having it at Virginia Tech the last several years.

“It’s Flacco’s number,” Taylor laughed, “so I’ll change it.”

WNST welcomes a former ACC-rival in Tyrod Taylor to Baltimore! Check the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault for the chat with Tyrod as well as many of your other Ravens draft picks! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Another Week of Pro Timing Days as Draft Season Continues

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Another Week of Pro Timing Days as Draft Season Continues

Posted on 24 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

There’s still no labor peace in the NFL, but NFL Draft season continues on as we inch closer and closer to Radio City Music Hall in New York at the end of April.

This week featured another round of Pro Timing Days, including a controversial stop at Georgia’s Pro Timing Day in Athens, where league scouts were forced to watch WR AJ Green workout on TV screens due a strange rule surrounding the lockout.

Since Green will be off the board before the Ravens select at 26th, I won’t bore you with further details.

Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jake Locker (Washington), Greg McElroy (Alabama), Andy Dalton (TCU)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (Connecticut), Dion Lewis (Pitt), Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State), Mark Ingram (Alabama)
WR
-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union), Jerrel Jernigan (Troy), Niles Paul (Nebraska)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU), Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State)
G-Danny Watkins (Baylor)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal), Rodney Hudson (Florida State)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Dontay Moch (Nevada), D’Aundre Reed (Arizona)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State), Colin McCarthy (Miami), Martez Wilson (Illinois), Kelvin Sheppard (Louisiana State), 
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami), Brandon Harris (Miami)

If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.

Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 456-Previews of players ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis
Part 7-A look back at players who made in impact at the National Football League Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium
Part 8-A look at players who participated in the first week of Pro Timing Days

The Baltimore Ravens made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten more prospects whose schools have already held their Pro Timing Days.

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

DE Aldon Smith (Missouri)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBee49viSK8[/youtube]

There was a time when the former Mizzou pass rusher was believed to be available for the Ravens at 26.

As Draft season has continued, that can no longer be considered a certainty.

Smith is a 6’4″, 263 pound beast who combined for 17 sacks over the last two seasons for the Tigers despite missing three games last season with a broken leg.

Smith played just those two seasons in Columbia, opting to depart after his redshirt sophomore season for the Draft.

There’s plenty to like about Smith. He ran a 4.74 in the 40 yard dash while in Indy, and has shown his versatility in different defenses. His wingspan was measured at an astounding 84 inches.

He also told reporters at Pro Day he can do a standing backflip-but we haven’t seen that yet.

The Ravens have scheduled a workout with Smith and will find themselves in an interesting position should he be available at 26. He’s clearly a talent, but he’s probably still a bit of a project at this point.

The Ravens desperately need a pass rusher on the edge. The demise of Trevor Pryce has left them in a bad spot. If they think the presence of Smith can generate a better rush (along with LB Terrell Suggs), he’d almost certainly be on his way to Charm City.

C Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-oyDfPkV-A[/youtube]

Quick-does anyone know where Slippery Rock is located?

If you said Butler County, Pennsylvania you’re a big winner.

A four year starter for The Rock, Fusco has been a steady riser throughout his career and now into Draft season.

He’s a 6’4″, 316 pound solid player who has shown off his athleticism after moving from tackle to center. He even made a catch (for nine yards) during his senior season.

The Ravens will be looking for center depth in the Draft. Matt Birk has said he’ll come back this season, but they’ll have to work with the expectation that Birk could be entering his final season. Chris Chester is still in the mix (he’s expected to be back as a restricted free agent), but is likely better served at guard than moving back to center.

It’s not a very deep draft at the position, but Fusco could be an option in the later rounds. He put together a solid Pro Day (although it was held at Lehigh) and has likely guaranteed himself a Saturday selection.

CB Ras-I Dowling (Virginia)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwYM_5uJ0MY[/youtube]

In one sentence, I think Dowling would be labeled as “obvious talent with obvious injury issues.”

Dowling is an impressive 6’1″, 198 pound corner who posted eight interceptions, three forced fumbles and a sack over his first three seasons with the Cavaliers. He posted an impressive 4.40 40 at the Combine.

Unfortunately, Dowling played in just three games during his senior campaign in Charlottesville, as he battled a broken left ankle, right knee issues and a lingering hamstring problem.

After all of that, he pulled up with another hamstring issue during the Combine.

Yikes.

Dowling actually WASN’T able to participate in the Wahoos’ Pro Day due to his injuries, he’ll instead delay until April 3rd-when he’ll hold his own individual Pro Day.

Cornerback is an issue for the Ravens. Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington are unrestricted free agents. Domonique Foxworth is coming off a torn ACL.

They’ll have to address the problem somehow, whether in the Draft or later.

Dowling will be intriguing. He was an arguable first round talent a year ago. He’s clearly no longer a first round guy. But how soon would a team like the Ravens be willing to consider snapping him up to join Chuck Pagano’s defense? That much we don’t know yet.

DT Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q8TQg6uoSg[/youtube]

It has been a bit puzzling to keep seeing Wilkerson’s name linked to the Ravens in mock drafts.

The reality is that the Ravens have an anchor in the middle of their defensive line (Haloti Ngata) and have plenty of depth behind him at the position (Terrence Cody, Brandon McKinney, Lamar Divens, Kelly Talavou, Arthur Jones).

This could really test General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s steadfast “best player available” policy in the Draft. National Football Post reported the team will work out the former Owls big man this week, and could face a serious decision should he be available at 26.

On paper, Wilkerson LOOKS like a Raven. He measured in at 6’4″, 315 pounds in Indianapolis and tallied 10 sacks from the interior in 2010.

He doesn’t appear to be the type of player who could move to the outside and become a natural rush end, but the Ravens could certainly benefit from having another player on the field who is capable of pressuring opposing quarterbacks.

Wilkerson stood on most of his Combine numbers, posting only a 29 inch vertical at his Pro Day in Philadelphia.

He’s a late first round/early second round type of player. The only question will be whether or not he’s a true fit for a Ravens team that doesn’t really have a need for him.

QB Jeremiah Masoli (Mississippi)

masoli

In draft season, he’s been known as Jeremiah “Red Flag” Masoli.

We all know the history of Masoli’s transgressions.

In 2005, Masoli was forced to spend time in juvenile hall for his participation in a robbery. After transferring from City College of San Francisco to Oregon in 2008, Masoli kept his nose clean for a short time. That came to a halt when plead guilty to second degree burglary in March 2010. After a later arrest for marijuana possession in 2010, Masoli was dismissed by Ducks coach Chip Kelly but managed to catch on at Ole Miss.

Beyond his transgressions, Masoli showed himself capable of being a solid player at times. In three years of playing time, Masoli put up 5,930 yards passing and threw for 42 TD’s. He also ran for 1,930 yards and 29 TD’s. At his Pro Day this week in Oxford he worked out as both a quarterback and as a running back, with the thought being that teams could choose to use him as a Wildcat option at the next level.

The Ravens have historically (mostly) stayed away from players like Masoli. But after cutting Troy Smith following the 2010 Training Camp, they were left without a mobile QB on the roster-and had to use position players in practice to replicate opposing mobile QB’s. It would be safe to assume they’d like to get a mobile QB on the roster somehow.

It’s also no guarantee that Masoli gets drafted at all. In fact, the chances are probably no greater than 50-50 at best. The likelihood of Head Coach John Harbaugh considering a player like Masoli would go up if the team could add him as an undrafted free agent instead of using a pick on him.

Of course, UFA’s can’t be signed this year until a new labor deal is in place-but let’s worry about that another day.

My guess is that Masoli doesn’t end up in Purple and Black…but he’s certainly an interesting player to discuss between now and the end of April.

DE Adrian Clayborn (Iowa)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbXmQTn_D7w[/youtube]

The Ravens had an obvious presence at the Hawkeyes’ Pro Day in Iowa City, giving additional evidence that the team is legitimately considering using an early pick on the Clayborn to bolster their D-Line.

Clayborn is an impressive 6’3″, 281 pound specimen who electrified the Big Ten with 63 tackles and 11 sacks in 2009. Those numbers dropped off in 2010, as the big man managed just 52 tackles and only four sacks. The drop-off was particularly alarming considering Clayborn did not miss any time due to injury.

Clayborn’s size and speed (4.78 40) as well as a solid week at the Senior Bowl have kept him in the conversation as a first round pick-perhaps a player who could go off the board even before the Ravens select at 26.

D-Line coach Clarence Brooks needs outside help. Clayborn certainly appears to be the type of player capable of creating pressure on his own. That might very well make him a perfect fit in Baltimore.

FB Shaun Chapas (Georgia)

chapas

AJ Green may have been the star of the Bulldogs’ Pro Day, but there were other players working out who were worth paying attention to as well.

Chapas could be intriguing to the Ravens whether or not FB Le’Ron McClain departs as an unrestricted free agent.

Chapas is a 6’2″, 247 pound bruiser who was clocked with a 4.87 40 time in Indianapolis. He’s not likely to be an explosive Chris Cooley-type of H-Back; but instead is expected to play a natural fullback role.

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron appears to be in the market for that exact type of player right now.

Making the case more compelling for Chapas, he received the types of honors during his time in Athens that the Ravens would like to see.

From GeorgiaDogs.com:

“At team’s annual awards Gala, earned team’s Coaches Leadership Award for Special Teams, the Leon Farmer Award for dedication to the strength and conditioning program and the David Jacobs Award as the player who by example portrays courage, spirit, character and determination.”

Sounds like someone Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and company would be interested in if you ask me. As the Draft goes deeper into Saturday, he would almost have to be a consideration.

LB Alex Wujciak (Maryland)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxpcfXl-guo[/youtube]

I will admit that I was quite surprised when the former Terrapins standout did not receive an invite to the Combine.

He certainly did everything necessary during his ACC career to earn an invite. He tallied 354 tackles over three seasons in College Park, mixing in three forced fumbles, four interceptions and two touchdowns.

Wujciak certainly doesn’t lack the size (6’3″, 250 pounds) to play an Inside backer position at the next level. Teams might want him to be a bit quicker (his 40 time was 4.79), but he’s never appeared slow in coverage.

Wujciak comes from an athletic family, as his father (Alan Wujciak) was an OL for Notre Dame while his younger bother (Connor Wujciak) plays for Boston College.

At this point most projections have Wujciak as a late round pick at best. The Ravens need inside backer help. Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden and Jameel McClain have been not quite good enough to lock down a position and Ray Lewis is getting no younger.

Alex Wujciak is no Ray Lewis.

But he’s certainly deserving of an opportunity to prove himself at the next level.

(Wujciak joined Thyrl Nelson and myself last Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST-you can hear the conversation in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.)

CB Richard Sherman (Stanford)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzm6HeFS2sE[/youtube]

Continuing the trend of “intriguing prospects”, there are few players in the Draft more intriguing than Sherman.

Fact: Sherman’s 6’3″, 195 pound frame and 4.54 (40) speed are solid if not ideal for a NFL CB prospect.

Other fact: Sherman has played corner for just two seasons in Palo Alto, and his skills (despite 6 interceptions in his Cardinal career) are still considered to be raw.

He’s going to be a later selection if he’s selected at all. The Ravens will have at least some familiarity with him as Harbaugh’s brother (Jim Harbaugh) coached him at Stanford before accepting the head coaching gig with the San Francisco 49ers.

He’s obviously not “the answer” for the Ravens secondary; but he could be a project worth taking a shot on as the Ravens will continue to face big receivers in the AFC North. The Cleveland Browns are expected to be in the market for the aforementioned Green, which would give the division one more matchup problem.

RB Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGAQP1Rwsus[/youtube]

The Ravens are expected to part ways with RB Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain may be on the way out as well.

That would leave the team with just Ray Rice & Jalen Parmele (and Curtis Steele, Matt Lawrence and Jason McKie for what it’s worth) in their backfield.

They’re going to need to upgrade somehow.

Williams could very well be an option. His size is more similar to Rice (5’9″, 212 pounds) with pretty good speed (trimmed his 40 time down to 4.53 at his Pro Day in Blacksburg).

Williams had an explosive season in 2009 (1,655 yards rushing and 21 TD’s), but a hamstring injury cost him four games in 2010. His numbers were trimmed to 477 yards rushing and nine TD’s as he split time with fellow Hokies back Darren Evans.

The Ravens will have to pay extra close attention to the injury-but they’ll also have to determine if Williams would be a fit behind Rice. He’ll likely be a Friday night pick-and might end up coming off the board to early to be the choice in Baltimore.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Ravens Fire Zorn, Cameron & Ver Steeg to Split QB Duties

Posted on 27 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

As first reported by ESPN, the Baltimore Ravens parted ways with Quarterbacks Coach Jim Zorn Thursday.

Zorn was dismissed after just one season with the team. He had previously served as Head Coach of the Washington Redskins for two seasons.

Under Zorn, QB Joe Flacco improved (marginally) in almost all statistical categories.

In 2009 (with Hue Jackson still serving as QB Coach), Flacco threw for 3,613 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He averaged 7.2 yards per attempt and posted an 88.9 passer rating.

Under Zorn in 2010, Flacco threw for 3,622 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He averaged 7.4 yards per attempt and posted a 93.6 passer rating.

Flacco’s completion percentage actually went down to 62.6% in 2010, from 63.1% in 2009.

Flacco was the only quarterback to play under Zorn in Charm City, as veteran backup Marc Bulger never saw the field. Hunter Cantwell was never activated from the practice squad, John Beck was traded to the Redskins in Training Camp and Troy Smith was released before the start of the season.

Zorn’s dismissal came just ten days after Head Coach John Harbaugh proclaimed intentions to keep his coaching staff in tact.

“I really like our coaching staff” said Harbaugh following the end of the regular season. “I think we have a great, great coaching staff. Top to bottom-that includes all three coordinators, that includes every one of our position coaches, there’s not a guy that I’m disappointed in.”

Since that time, Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison departed for the University of Michigan and was replaced by Secondary Coach Chuck Pagano. Pagano is set to be replaced by University of Florida Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin. Offensive Line Coach John Matsko was fired, he was replaced by O-Line Assistant Andy Moeller. Senior Offensive Assistant Al Suanders accepted the Offensive Coordinator position under new Head Coach Jackson with the Oakland Raiders.

Zorn reportedly had a lengthy meeting with Harbaugh and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron earlier this week regarding the offensive direction of the team and the development of Flacco. He did not travel with the team’s other assistants to Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl.

Zorn had been previously linked to Offensive Coordinator openings with the Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns. Saunders was hired in Oakland, the Seahawks hired Darrell Bevell, but there remains an opening in Cleveland.

The Ravens have decided that Cameron and Offensive Assistant Craig Ver Steeg will split QB coaching duties moving forward.

“We’ve talked about this since the end of the season, and we believe this will help improve our offense,” said Harbaugh in a statement. “Cam is noted for his development of quarterbacks, and that includes Flacco and Pro Bowl players like Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. Cam is excited about this change and is looking forward to it.”

Ver Steeg came to the Ravens in Harbaugh’s first season (2008) and has five seasons of coaching experience in the National Football League. He has QB Coaching and Offensive Coordinator experience in his career-which has included stops with the Chicago Bears as well as college stops at USC, Utah, Illinois, Harvard, Cincinnati and Rutgers.

Remaining on the Ravens’ offensive staff are Running Backs coach Wilbert Montgomery, Tight Ends Coach Wade Harman, Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler and Offensive Assistant Jason Brooks.

-G

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The best seat…In the house

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The best seat…In the house

Posted on 30 November 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

Sports culture is changing, there’s evidence of it everywhere, and nowhere does it seem more prevalent than from a fan’s ever improving point of view. Between HDTV, discussion, debate, and even live game broadcasts streaming regularly on the internet, smart phones and the advent of social explosions like Facebook and Twitter, and don’t even get me started on NFL RedZone, we seem to be moving closer and closer to a point in time where the best place to enjoy the action isn’t the 50-yard line or behind home plate, the best seat in the house, is indeed in the house.

Here’s how Monday looked and Tuesday is shaping up from my perspective, from the best seat…In the house.

 

Random Ravens Related Rants: As much as we seem to be painting a match up with the Steelers this week as must win, it seems pretty clear that two teams from the AFC East and two from the AFC North will likely be in the playoffs. Someone will win the West and South respectively, but in some order, the Ravens, Steelers, Jets and Patriots seem all but assured to make the playoffs. All that seems to be up for debate at this point is who’ll win their divisions and enjoy home field and a likely first round bye, and who’ll take to the road to start the playoffs as wildcards.

 

Remember before the 2009 season, when the Ravens requested the league stop sending them to Pittsburgh in primetime, claiming it was a consistent disadvantage? Since that infamous request, not only have the Ravens been spared the trip to Pittsburgh in primetime, but the Steelers have been charged with heading to Baltimore instead for primetime football now twice. The first time, the Ravens beat a Dennis Dixon led Steelers team in OT. Is the league really doing Baltimore a solid here, or trying to put them in a position to eat their words?

 

I’m sure that I’m not the only one feeling salty about purple towels being distributed at M&T Bank Stadium for Sunday’s game. Do we really want to be showcased on national television looking like a cheap imitation of our most hated rivals? The folks in charge of marketing this thing should know better. Instead of giving Ravens fans something to rally around and be excited about, they have given fans a reason to be divisive, as some will surely be emphatically waving their towels in the sightline or faces of folks who are feeling completely disgusted with the whole notion of towel waving. Count me amongst the latter for the record.

 

Here’s what I saw last night from the best seat…in the house.

 

Heat 105 – Wizards 94

 

I wouldn’t take this as a sign of resurgence or anything on the part of the Miami Heat. Riley’s Angels still have lots of work to do, but for one night at least, winning, and the Wizards (2 words that don’t often go together) proved to be great deodorant for a locker room that’s clearly beginning to stink.

 

To their credit the Wiz were short handed, going into last night’s contest without the services of John Wall, now for the 6th time in the last 8 games. Hilton Armstrong was in the starting lineup for the Wiz last night, as JaVale McGee started the game in reserve due to back spasms. McGee still played 26 minutes collecting 6 points 10 rebounds and a pair of blocks off the bench. Armstrong was limited to 17 minutes in his rare start after being ejected from the game on a flagrant 2 technical against the Heat’s Joel Anthony. Armstrong finished the night with 2 points and 4 boards.

 

In addition to Armstrong’s ejection, former Wizard Juwan Howard saw the door as well for his retaliatory shove to the back of Armstrong after the tech. Kirk Hinrich and James Jones were also assessed technicals for getting a little pushy with each other, but otherwise the Wiz couldn’t find much of a spark, and may have helped to galvanize and ignite the Heat in the process.

 

Miami’s big 3 all chipped in 20 points or more, as Bosh finished the night with 20 points and 7 boards, Dwayne Wade poured in 26 points of his own along with 8 rebounds and 6 assists and LeBron James led all scorers in the game with 30 points 6 boards and 5 assists. Gilbert Arenas, pressed back into the starting lineup as a result of Wall injury led the Wizards with 26 points and added 5 rebounds and 7 assists on the night.

 

Despite their win last night, Miami’s slow start has led to rumors about Erik Spolestra’s future, or lack thereof. Despite the addition of Eric Dampier, who debuted for the Heat last night, they still look remarkably incomplete, even in dispatching of an undermanned Wizards team. It’s my best guess that Pat Riley would only take advantage of the opportunity to insert himself onto the Heat bench if he felt that they had a reasonable chance to compete for a title. I’m betting that for as long as the Heat continue to look, on the court, like they have, that Riley will be perfectly content to sit back and let Spolestra absorb the criticism. We’ll see, this one is probably going to have to get worse before it really gets better.

 

 

49ers 28 Cardinals 6

 

Outside of the Troy Smith vs. Derek Anderson angle that may have gotten a little bit of local interest as both are former Ravens’ QBs, there didn’t seem to be many compelling reasons to expect this one to be very interesting. If you tuned in with that in mind, then you couldn’t have been disappointed, otherwise, you likely were.

 

In what looked to be a pedestrian effort on both sides, the Niners proved themselves much more adept pedestrians than the Cardinals on Monday night. I wonder how bad Matt Leinhart is looking to the Cardinals and their fans right now. I wonder if calls have been made to Kurt Warner, as the NFC West title never seems quite out of reach for any team.

 

If the Niners are the best that the NFC West has to offer, or even close, then to quote Dennis Green, “they are who we thought they were”, the whole division.

 

Frank Gore left the game early for San Francisco, with 5 carries for 52 yards, and although Brian Westbrook (in LT like fashion) conjured up a version of his former self for last night at least with 23 carries for 136 yards and a TD and Anthony Dixon chipped in too with 14 carries for 54 yards and a TD, Gore’s availability, or lack thereof has to be a major concern for them team going forward. Reports are saying that his hip is broken,

 

For those who did manage to hang in for the whole boring contest, your patience was rewarded with Derek Anderson’s post game meltdown. Apparently, Anderson was taken to task by a member of the press for being too cheery on the sidelines at the end of the blowout, so he gave the reporter a taste of what he was looking for with a pretty funny tirade. Here it is:

 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khi7YoqZIWM[/youtube]

 

 

From the Box Scores: NCAA Basketball – Virginia 87 #17 Minnesota 79

 

The Cavaliers stared off the ACC / Big 10 Challenge on a good foot with an upset at Minnesota, in a game that according to the highlights played a lot closer that it looked in the box.

 

Here’s what on tonight:

 

College Basketball

 

The ACC / Big 10 Challenge resumes on Tuesday night, providing fans with wall-to-wall basketball action. Keep in mind that the ESPN3 listings are available on your computer, so you can keep an eye on those while watching your game of choice on TV.

 

7 pm – Georgia Tech @ Northwestern ESPN2

7 pm – Iowa @ Wake Forest ESPNU

7 pm – Boston U @ #11 Kentucky ESPN3

7 pm – Cornell @ #7 Syracuse ESPN3

 

7: 30 pm – #2 Ohio State @ Florida State

 

The Buckeyes are ranked second in the nation and it’s hard to tell much more about them. They’re led by a veteran backcourt of David Lightly, William Buford and Jon Diebler along with Dallas Lauderdale back up front, but with 3 freshmen logging serious minutes, Ohio State will be worth a watch tonight. Freshmen forwards Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas are logging serious minutes and putting up serious points so far, as is freshman guard Aaron Craft.

 

The Seminoles return a big and savvy team all the way around, built primarily around junior Chris Singleton. The only guy seeing any amount of serious playing time that hasn’t been in the system logging big minutes for at least a year is JUCO transfer, Bernard James a 6’9″, 240 pound power forward. The Noles lost to the Buckeyes in last year’s challenge 77-64.

 

7:30 pm – New Hampshire @ UConn MASN

 

9 pm – Michigan @ Clemson ESPN2

9 pm – UTEP @ New Mexico State ESPN3

9 pm – #14 Georgetown @ #8 Missouri ESPNU

 

Obviously anytime two teams with little numbers next to their names match up this early; it’s an easy indicator that it’s a game worth watching.

 

9:30 pm – North Carolina @ #24 Illinois ESPN

 

After watching the Illini in consecutive nights in the 2K Sports, Coaches vs. Cancer Tourney, one of which was against the Terps, this should be an interesting measuring stick before ACC play begins. Plus it will be my first chance to lay eyes on Harrison Barnes, the early favorite to be the 1st overall pick in next years NBA draft.

 

NBA

 

There are 3 NBA games on local TV, to my knowledge on Tuesday night. All are somewhat secretive. Two of the games are playing on a channel that’s listed on my channel guide as TEAM (channel 787 on Comcast in Baltimore County). The third is on NBA network, but teams are not listed. It does however show an 8 pm start time, if that’s correct, than it must be Lakers at Grizzlies, as that’s the only game listed with an 8 pm tip time.

 

7 pm – Portland @ Philadelphia TEAM

 

The Blazers and Brandon Roy in particular have been killing my fantasy team so far this season. I doubt I’ll be turning off college hoops to subject myself to this.

 

8 pm – LA Lakers @ Memphis (probably) NBA Network

 

The Lakers have struggled lately, and Phil Jackson is getting cranky in his old age.

 

10 pm – Indiana @ Sacramento TEAM

 

The Pacers are quickly becoming one of this year’s must sees.

 

NHL

 

I’m not much of a hockey fan, but these listing kind of make me wish I were. Like the TEAM channel that gives a look in on a local NBA broadcast almost every night, the NHL has a similar offering (as does MLB in season) on channel 786 on my Baltimore County digital cable. This shows up on my channel guide as GAMED, and like the TEAM channel doesn’t require the league’s all access subscription.

 

7 pm – Tampa Bay @ Toronto GAMED

8 pm – St. Louis @ Chicago Versus

10 pm – Atlanta @ Colorado GAMED

10:30 pm – Detroit @ San Jose NHL Network

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Blog & Tackle: Revisiting 2008 draft intrigue: Ryan or Flacco

Posted on 10 November 2010 by Chris Pika

With the focus this week on the quarterbacks in the Thursday night game – the Ravens’ Joe Flacco and the Falcons’ Matt Ryan, I was reminded of a piece I wrote after the 2008 NFL Draft evaluating SI.com’s Peter King’s reporting of draft-day intrigue involving the Ravens, Falcons and Rams.

Tuesday, King re-visited the 2008 NFL Draft weekend in his SI.com MMQB Mail blog on Tuesday, and he repeated his reporting from that time that the Ravens had offered St. Louis their first-, second- and fourth-round picks in 2008 plus a third-round pick in 2009 for the No. 2 slot in 2008, which King presumes the Ravens would have selected Ryan in that spot.

BaltimoreRavens.com writer Sarah Ellison made mention of King’s article Wednesday in her “Late For Work” blog on the club’s website, and it is worth mentioning that Kevin Byrne, the club’s VP of Public & Community Relations shot down that particular piece of reporting in his draft day blog of April 27, 2008. Byrne’s key observations in the “The Byrne Identity”:

I started thinking: Am I out of the loop on my team? I just left my guys and there was no indication this was happening. The reality: St. Louis was leaking info that the Ravens wanted the 2nd pick to select Matt Ryan. Why? They wanted the Falcons to react and give them a draft choice to move one space to make sure they got Ryan. Ah, the games continue.

I mention this here because the Flacco-Ryan debate and the choice both the Falcons and the Ravens faced was very hot in the days before and after the 2008 NFL Draft. It is my contention now that either quarterback would have achieved the same results in the other’s huddle.

Flacco was expected to be the “quarterback of the future” in Baltimore and back up either Troy Smith or Kyle Boller in 2008. With Smith’s viral infection and Boller’s shoulder injury, Flacco became the man earlier than expected and seized the job. Flacco inherited a playoff-ready club with a veteran defense in 2008, and did not have to carry the team with his arm.

Not so in Atlanta. The Falcons decision on who to take had far-reaching implications for a franchise in turmoil in the wake of the dual Michael Vick (indicted) and Bobby Petrino (abandoned team for Arkansas head coach job) sagas, as King reported in Sports Illustrated the week after the draft. Ryan had to beat out just Chris Redman for the starting job, and it was no secret that he was the better man very early in training camp.

Both Flacco and Ryan are solid quarterbacks and solid citizens. And because of the comparisons of both coming out of college, both are tied at the hip when anyone discusses the quarterbacks of the 2008 NFL Draft.

Since King re-visited the Ravens “offer” to St. Louis, you get a chance to re-visit my estimation on what actually happened that weekend. The key portions from my “Blog & Tackle” April 28, 2008 WNST.net blog “Interesting Moves And Disinformation”:

Now for the intrigue. (Kevin) Byrne said he had been in the Ravens’ draft room and that there was no indication of a deal working between Baltimore and St. Louis. His verdict was that St. Louis leaked the “trade” info to get the Falcons to move one space from No. 3 to No. 2 to secure Ryan and for St. Louis to gather picks.

Two things of interest here: Rams’ VP of personnel Billy Devaney was the former assistant GM of the Falcons until February of this year and (Peter) King worked from the Falcons’ media area in Flowery Branch and had access to the Falcons’ decision makers (who may have leaked or confirmed the “trade” details given by the Rams). Devaney, knowing his former bosses and some of the Falcons’ early draft plans, probably knew how to push some buttons in Atlanta.

The way it goes down is much like a poker game. The Rams call the Falcons and say in a nutshell, “Baltimore really wants Matt Ryan and has offered trade terms X. We are interested because Chris Long is our guy, we don’t need a QB and we could use the extra picks. What do you want to do? ” If you believe Byrne’s version, and I do, then the whole thing is a bluff by Devaney to get the Falcons to panic and jump one spot. In the end, Atlanta stood firm and the top three went off the board in the order most expected.

But regardless whether there was an offer or not, depending on who you believe, King’s final statement on the matter in his MMQB Mail piece Tuesday rings true for all involved:

So believe me, Atlanta’s happy Baltimore didn’t make the deal, and Baltimore’s happy the Rams didn’t take the deal. Baltimore has Flacco and Rice. Atlanta has Ryan. Both teams are living happily ever after.

Thursday night, both Flacco and Ryan lead their respective teams in what could be the best game of the NFL’s Week 10 schedule. But just for a moment, imagine Ryan in a Ravens jersey and Flacco in a Falcons one — would the paths the two franchises have taken since the 2008 NFL Draft been any different?

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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The Ravens can now publicly thank…..tonsillitis!

Posted on 05 September 2010 by Shawn Credle

This past Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens announced their 53-man roster, as they prepare for Monday Night Football, and the New York Jets.

One man not on that roster is Quarterback Troy Smith. The All-American and 2006 Heisman Trophy winner was cut by the Ravens on Saturday, after a less-than-stellar performance during his start in the Ravens’ final preseason game against the St. Louis Rams. Smith was 18-for-38 with 2 INTs, as the Ravens were defeated 27-21, giving them their only loss of the preseason.

But let’s go back to when Ozzie Newsome drafted Troy Smith. Smith was supposed to be “the next big thing.” Winning all kinds of awards, including the AP Player of the Year in college, Smith was expected to be the future starting QB for the Ravens. Perhaps the wildcat offense was coming to Baltimore. Who knew? But expectations were high in Baltimore at that time.

The crazy offense never materialized here, and Smith stayed in the background. However, due to a season-ending injury to incumbent starter Kyle Boller, Smith was named the starting QB in 2008. And that’s when something would happen that would change the future of the Ravens. Smith became ill with a rare case of tonsillitis. Usually, a complete recovery is made within one week.  One week is all new QB Joe Flacco would need. Flacco became the starting quarterback in the 2008 season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Once again, Smith was on the outside looking in. Many fans felt that Smith should not have lost his starting position. Some teammates felt that way as well. (And now, you have to wonder if those same people feel the same way, after a Flacco-led Ravens reached the playoffs in back-to-back years.) But it happened, and the Ravens have never looked back.

This year, the team brought in veteran Marc Bulger, not to replace Joe Flacco, but give the Ravens a more solid backup in case something happens to Flacco. Was that a shot against Smith? Yes it was. But it should have motivated him to fight and keep his job. And when given the opportunity to do so, Smith dropped the ball. Smith completed 54.0 percent (34 of 63) of his passes for 388 yards this preseason, and was intercepted twice in the loss to the St. Louis Rams in the preseason finale last Thursday night. When you have Joe Flacco and Marc Bulger, you realize that Troy Smith is no longer needed.

Smith had his chance late. Should he have had them earlier? Maybe. But, he didn’t. And when he “wanted out of Baltimore” last year, he not only lost the remaining fans that were standing behind him, but also lost the team who was trying to figure out a way to keep him. Watch what you say, because the team will always remember it for next year. And for Troy Smith, he finally got his “wish.”

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