Tag Archive | "walker"

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A somber locker room in Minnesota

Posted on 18 October 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

All of the videos are up now here at WNST.net. I’m sure folks will be crazy in the Purple Haze in a little while as well.

If you ever want to know what I’m thinking during the games, I’ve been TWEETING LIKE A RAVEN on Twitter each week during this season. It’s a LOT of fun for me to share my thoughts via the internet from my seat in the upper deck of the Metrodome surrounded by people in braids. Simply follow us on Twitter and you’ll know every stupid thought that’s on my mind.

It was a tough, tough loss today. The Ravens were outplayed dramatically in the first half and the comeback should’ve been good enough to save the day. Honestly, I was filing out of the upper deck before Ray Rice caught that pass thinking the game was over.

It was an amazing, memorable comeback and it leads you to believe that anything is possible with this team.

The final Frank Walker penalty was so blatant that it’s not even worth discussing. And, if you have a kicker who can’t hit a 43-yarder with the game on the line on the road, you’re not good enough to win.

The Ravens “victims” were very upfront in their candor after the loss and everyone in the locker room went out of their way to not throw teammates under the bus.

Steve Hauschka had bloodshot eyes a few minutes after the game when he faced the media.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo9KZEVa2G0[/youtube]

And Frank Walker was somber at his locker…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkR3lH-Xwyc[/youtube]

Meanwhile, Ray Rice talked at length about the comeback and how strong mentally his offensive teammates were in getting back in the game with such a large deficit…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biUCfe5SX8U[/youtube]

The Purple Haze chat begins in a bit. Hope you come in and chat with the crew. I might be a little late getting into the sphere but I’m going to try to participate.

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May Orioles report card

Posted on 02 June 2009 by Keith Melchior

Here’s my May Orioles report card.

Brian Roberts – A … still the catalyst on the team. A very solid player

Adam Jones – A+… He still plays too shallow in CF sometimes and balls fly over his head, but he has been a pleasant surprise. With the solid 2 months he’s had, he definitely deserves All-Star recognition.

Nick Markakis – B+..production has fallen off a bit, stuck out a few too many times with runners on base, deserves All-Star recognition too.

Aubrey Huff - B.. playing a solid 1st base, hoping he’ll heat it up soon. If he does, he is the first one I’d look to trade out.

Melvin Mora – C.. I don’t think he’s 100%. He’s turned into a singles hitter as his power numbers dwindle.

Luke Scott – B+.. In a heck of a hot streak as of late, so they’ll probably trade him in July. He’s just what they Orioles need.

Nolan Reimold – B..(qualifies for an incomplete) He probably saved his job in LF and his spot on the team when he hit that GW HR last week.  He could hit better in his sleep than Felix Pie. He was helped by Lou Montanez’ injury and trip to the DL. Here’s hoping he gets settled in .

Gregg Zaun – F.. Did playing on an artificial surface pad this guys numbers? He has lost it at the plate and behind the plate, and rather quickly.

Ty Wigginton – B.. not playing every day hurts his ability to perform consistently, but he is an adequate utility player. Much better than the other 3

Felix Pie – F.. He should be sent to Norfolk so he can play every day and work on his game. Sitting on the bench here in Baltimore isn’t helping. When Lou Montanez returns from the DL, I’ll drive Pie to Norfolk.

Cesar Izturis – C.. has been pretty decent in the field and producing at the plate is all you can ask for at this position. They got him for his defense

Robert Andino – C.. not lighting it up but he’s not supposed to. He’s a “band-aid player” in case of injuries. There’s no need for him to have to play once or twice a week.

Jeremy Guthrie – B.. has shown flashes but still somewhat inconsistent and struggles to get into 7th inning

Rich Hill – B+.. a pleasant surprise, so McPhail is batting .500 with his ex-Cubs

Koji Uehara – C.. guts alone can’t win ball games, ask Kyle Boller. Runs into trouble after 5 innings way too often. Hopefully he can improve his stamina when off the DL.

Jim Johnson  – B.. looks like he picked up where he left off last season before he was shut down. Dominant at times.

Danys Baez – B-.. Quite different than the guy who couldn’t get anyone out 2 years ago, but he still lacks that consistency that middle relievers need. Probably trade material come July.

Brian Bass – B+.. talk about a guy who seemingly rose from the dead. He was probably on his way out but he turned it around in a hurry after a disasterous April. He has become a solid middle reliever. Hope he stays that way.

Matt Albers – C.. Looks like his choice to rehab instead of surgery is working  as has held his own.  Let’s see what June has in store for him

Jamie Walker – F.. after a decent April, that meltdown over the balk last month transformed  him back into the  Jamie Walker of 2008.

George Sherrill – B.. not the All-Star he was at this time last year, but the best option they have since Chris Ray blew up and did his Walker routine.

Bergesen, Berken, Hernandez – Incomplete – They all look like they belong with the big club thus far.  We’ll see how they progress in June.

Matt Wieters – A+ for hype…..incomplete for grade. rocky start of a major league career going 2-11. Once he settles in and plays more, he’ll be fine.

Dave Trembley – C- .. He locked himself into a rut but playing the B lineup on Sundays and usually the last game in a series. You have to have players who can accept that role and can step in and play to make it work for you. If he is that stuck on getting his reserves in a game, then why not stagger them, that way you don’t have all 3 in the game at the same time…i.e. rest Izturis Friday and play Saturday and Sunday and rest Mora on Saturday and play on Sunday, etc etc.. … His bench players are terrible. Pinch hitting a .200 hitter for a .198 hitter? Why bother?  The team is 5 games under .500 at this point, no thanks to Trembley. The top of the lineup all hit and hit and hit and won games despite the rocky pitching efforts. Some of Trembley’s in-game decisions are highly questionable, he is stubborn about his reserves playing time, and his record on Sundays/ final game of a series is worthy of a firing if he can’t turn that trend around. If he’s trying to win baseball games, he is doing it with smoke and mirrors.

Team Overall – C.. the recent 5 game win streak helped. With their lineup, they should beat teams like Washington and teams that are reeling and slumping.  The comeback win over Toronto was impressive, but the 2 losses to Detroit over the weekend were tough to swallow. How they fare in June and July with the development of the rookies will go a long way in determining whether they are serious in contending in the future or will settle for mediocrity. Hanging onto players like Felix Pie, Gregg Zaun  and Robert Andino drag them down. having 3 bench players hitting a combined .198 gives Trembley no options in late innings or against NL teams. Perhaps Baez and Koji can be used as pinch-hitters. Pie should go to Norfolk, Zaun and Andino can just go, period.  The Orioles are better than advertised at times. Now it appears they have a log-jam on the mound when Koji returns from the DL.

Question – What ever happened to Mike Flanagan?

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A weekend of MASN and Baltimore and Washington and “Battle of Basement”

Posted on 24 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, if they weren’t going to get the sweep at least they lost in dramatic fashion. Jamie Walker gave up a prodigious grand slam to Adam Dunn in the 7th inning and the Nats beat the O’s 8-5 to avert a sweep in D.C.

Brad Bergesen pitched well enough. The Orioles battled and the game was pretty nip and tuck through the middle innings with lead changes, big hits and competitiveness. But it all unraveled in the 7th for the O’s bullpen after Bergesen hit the shower.

I’ve spent all three days pretty much glued to the TV watching this series. I was just as amazed by all of the empty seats as I was the full ones. It looks like they sold a lot of tickets and many didn’t come. It was just weird looking at it for 30 innings over the last 45 hours.

I’ve been wanting to write a blog all weekend but I thought I’d just do a “summary” here today about what I’m thinking as I watch all of this pretty-much lousy baseball.

I’m also a little overwhelmed with MASN’s hodgepodge display of Nats and O’s as “friendly rivals” and how chummy the “Battle of the Beltway” feels as they both meet again and are both again headed for the basement of their respective East divisions. I call it the “Battle of the Basement” and it feels like it’ll probably be that way again next year.

With Jim Palmer back in the booth today, it was a refreshing change from the Nats-dominated coverage from Friday and Saturday. And when Cakes talks, I listen. He’s one of the few (Dave Johnson would be another) who actually teaches me stuff as I watch the game. I like that.

So, before I criticize MASN, let me say that Palmer eradicates many of their deficiencies with his brilliance, information, stories and general arrogance and candor. At this point, he’s Howard Cosell compared to what I hear anywhere else on MASN, CBS Radio, 105.7, Pressbox or anyone else who is “on the payroll” with the Orioles, Angelos or the axis of the “powers that be.”

But I’m just overwhelmed with how “templated” the Orioles and Nationals “fan experience” is when they tune their favorite club in on television. Both of their TV ratings are in the dumper and heading south with my last place summer nights. So, I suppose, other than telling us when Matt Wieters comes and pitching more events and MASN house ads and promotions, what else can they do with these teams that will be well into September before they win a combined 100 games?

But I love baseball. And I’m watching. And I’ve been taking some notes this weekend on Baltimore vs. Washington and how “flat” this thing feels.

Some random observations:

* A lot of orange in the seats all weekend in D.C. The O’s fans represented in almost Boston-like color in the seats. I’m not sure if that’s the D.C. side of the fanbase that thought that having a team they knew would suck as opposed to Montreal’s problems and MLB’s ownership would be a better play five years ago?

I’m not really sure how I would feel if I lived in Rockville and loved baseball. Why would I become a Nats fans? (Granted, it’s pretty easy to jump off the orange ship with the way Angelos has behaved with D.C. in general over the past 15 years. He’s more disliked in D.C. than he is here for trying to block the team’s entrance and now summarily screwing up the TV rights and presentation of the games.)

I suppose it’s the same situation for someone in Baltimore who truly fell in love with the Redskins in 1984 and just became a fan of the “nearest” team. I’ve rooted for the Capitals most of my life and considered the Bullets my “home” team until they moved into D.C. and changed their name to the Wizards.

It sucks bad enough being an Orioles fan. Imagine adopting the Nationals and watching them BOTH and trying to hang in there watching two doses of MASN every night to get your baseball fix…

* Debbi Taylor, former NESN girl who got her start as Peter Gammons’ girl wonder about 15 years ago at ESPN, makes Amber Theoharis look like Bonnie Bernstein or Suzy Kolber. The Nats broadcast team in general sounds like vanilla, blah, so what, etc. But again, they do have a 13-30 team that they have to make sense of every day. It ain’t easy talking day after day about losing. Trust me, we at WNST.net feel the same way. How many ways can you “sell” something that’s lousy?

* Palmer is hysterically funny. I’m not sure the guys at Famous Dave’s are happy with his assessment of their food, but it is funny.

* Hall of Famer Bob Feller stopped by in the middle of the game today and was just fabulous with one liners and old stories. Jim Palmer and Bob Feller talking old-school baseball might bore the hell out of some of the 21-year olds in the audience, but I love that stuff. I wish Feller, who is now 90 years young, would’ve stayed for two more innings. My Pop told me all about Bob Feller and the old stories are what sustain my interest in baseball these days.

•    I really wish this rivalry were good. The Redskins-Ravens thing is hot. Even when both teams suck, the game will always be a four-year war and the fans draw up the battle lines. I’m good with that. I hate the Redskins. I want to hate the Nationals. But neither one of these teams gives me any reason to feel any emotion. We had a bus trip planned for today and couldn’t find anyone who wanted to go. That’s pretty sad, I think. The Nationals are – alas — just “another team.” I wonder if sometime in the next 10 years whether it will ever develop into a “Hatfield-McCoy” thing. Right now, that feels a long, long way away…

* The one thing that I have found thoroughly offensive since Friday night has been MASN’s “mixed marriage” coverage. Look, I CLEARLY KNOW AND APPRECIATE that they’re “saving a buck” by combining the coverage. But if I hear Dibble call the Nationals “us” or “we” again or watch one more dorky Nats fan talk about “defining moments” in the same exact canned ads as they play on the Orioles broadcasts as they start the day 12-30, I’m gonna puke.

Angelos really HAS screwed up both cities for baseball. At least it’s comforting to know MASN’s just as lousy as a “templated” D.C. product.

And while I’m on it, the marketing phrase “Birdland” sucks. It’s just awful.

In D.C., they’re clearly “cultivating” Natstown”

As my wife pointed out, what would be wrong with “O-Town”?

Or “O’s Town”?

Anything but “Birdland,” which sounds like a place a last-place team would play to me.

•    I’ve gotta go now. Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday are on talking about the Nats in HD. I have to tune into MASN2 now to see Rick Dempsey and Tom Davis try to make sense of a loss to the Nats.

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Bullpen melts down to Yanks after strong outing from Koji, Orioles lose 5-3

Posted on 10 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

4:43 p.m. — Well, I was feeling good when Felix Pie got on base for the third time today but it wasn’t meant to be. The Orioles got a nice effort from Koji Uehara today but the Jamie Walker-Jim Johnson combo couldn’t hold the lead after the 7th and a pair of homers from Robinson Cano and Johnny Damon beat the Orioles 5-3 at Camden Yards. The Orioles are now 13-19 and are 7-17 since beginning the season 6-2.

They get a rare off day tomorrow and will resume action Tuesday night at Camden Yards with Andy Sonnenstine (1-3, 5.79) and Mark Hendrickson (1-4, 5.13) going to the hill.

Below is my running live blog.

4:32 p.m. — I agree with most of the comparisons of George Sherrill to Don Stanhouse, who gave us thrills in the summer of 1979. The only difference? This 2009 team stinks some 30 years later. Either way, he put a couple on and managed to silence Johnny Damon with the game in the balance. They’re already down two with Rivera en route.

They need a happy ending. But they have the dreaded 7-8-9 hitters coming to the plate. Not a good scenario. I need a “defining moment” right about now.

4:20 p.m. — Well, Phil Coke looked like Jeff Nelson or Mike Stanton there for two innings. Melvin Mora managed a single but Ty Wigginon’s double play ended things in the eighth. Now they’re going to need to go through Mariano Rivera. Not good. Snatching defeate out of the jaws of victory. They’ve been losing a lot of these lately. Not a good sign.

4:02 p.m. — Twenty minutes ago, I was thinking “nice series win in progress.” Now I’m thinking this is just a jinxed franchise. Koji’s pitch count was nearing 100. Dave Trembley went to the bullpen to start the 7th inning. Jamie Walker put the lighter fluid on the coals with a solo homer to Robinson Cano, and Jim Johnson lit the match with two-out rally and a three-run homer to Johnny Damon.

They’re losing now. Chamberlain is out. Phil Coke is in.

3:41 p.m. — ORIOLES 3, YANKEES 1 in the 7th…A beautiful afternoon at the Yard. And Koji has silenced the greatest bats in all the land, the Yankees here in Baltimore. Beamed back to a no-doubt enraptured audience in Japan with ARod and Koji, the Birds are threatening to take this series.

Where are all of the Felix Pie “bakers” now? Hey, we’ve been waiting for the “breakout” game. Maybe this is it?

And, Adam Jones is really, really impressive, isn’t he?

He’s no fluke and he’ll be on the mantle of Andy McPhail’s greatest coups if he keeps this up. And Erik Bedard was such a complete jerk. It’s nice to know the Orioles actually “won” a trade. (Been a long time, right? And, factor in the Tejada trade, and McPhail looks like Minnesota Fats!)

Ya gotta admit, when Mark Teixeira hit the homer in the first oh Uehara, you had to have one of those “ugh, oh” moments. But Aubrey Huff answered and has been on a tear lately, another three-run tater again today in the 1st to nullify the Yanks advantage.

But the Orioles have had runners aboard in every inning without getting though to Joba Chamberlain, who’s been crafty since the meltdown in the first inning. Chamberlain is now at 104 pitches, the O’s are about to get into the Yankees bullpen with a lead.

It’s a good sign.

Here comes Jamie Walker in the 7th. A nice outing from Koji. This is what they’re paying him to do.

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Orioles Win a Wild One

Posted on 14 April 2009 by Nicholas Miskelly

 Orioles Win a Wild One

 

If you love offense then you loved watching the Orioles game today.  Pitching was not at a premium as the Orioles out slug the Texas Rangers and hold on late as they take the first game of the series 10-9 to move to 5-2 on the year.

 

The Orioles only scored in three innings today but when they did score-boy did they score.  They started of fast as the jump out early putting 2 runs up in the first.  The offense showed resilience today as they quickly jumped back into the lead in the 4th inning by scoring 5 runs the inning after the Rangers grabbed the lead for the first and only time in the game.

 

The offense continued in the 5th as they scored their final 3 runs of the contest capped by Wigginton’s RBI single to left, his second RBI of the game.  Pie led off the inning with a deep bomb to left, his first of what will hopefully be many homeruns in an Orioles uniform.

 

Things got exciting in the 6th again as the Rangers continued to battle back.  After Uehara loaded the bases, Baez entered and got out of the inning after allowing all three of the inherited runners to score. 

 

Baez got slammed in the 7th by Jones as he hit a 2 run homer to make the score 10-9.  Walker and Johnson combined for a 1,2,3 eight which took us into the ninth when Sherrill entered and as usual with him came a lot of fireworks and some very good fortune. 

Earlier today I blogged about how the Orioles fundamentals were not where they needed to be especially as it pertains to base running.  Well today the Orioles won this game because of the Rangers, in particular Ian Kinsler’s, terrible base running.  Kinsler lead off in the 9th with a double to left.  Trouble loomed as Young followed with a blast to deep right field.  Nick Markakis saved the game with an outstanding running catch as he reached over his head snatching the ball as it was about to hit the wall.  This kept the winning runner from getting on base with what would have been at least a double.  But what really preserved the lead was the atrocious decision on the part of Kinsler not to tag.  In fact, as I watched Nick make the catch, I yelled “get it in!”  Then I realized there was no need to rush it in because for some reason Kinsler did not tag. What a break.   Just as I was explaining how lucky we just got, Hamilton hit a ball to medium deep center.  There’s the answer.  If Kinsler would have tagged as he should have, the game would have been tied and we would have been hoping for extra innings.  Instead, thanks to Markakis’ incredible catch and Kinsler’s equally incredible decision not to tag, the Orioles pulled out a magical victory in an offensively explosive game.

It is games like this in which plays seem to fall our way that has me thinking maybe, just maybe, the magic is back at the yard.  Well see how long the magic sticks around but come August I would love to be able to say ’09 Orioles:

 

Why Not!!!!!!

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Guthrie Continues the Orioles Winning Ways

Posted on 11 April 2009 by Nicholas Miskelly

Guthrie Continues the Orioles Winning Ways

 

Guthrie got off to a hot start tonight as he aggressively attacked the strike zone early in the count.  He quickly got ahead of the first three hitters of the game as he retired the side in order.  He was able to get all of his pitches working early as he effectively kept the Tampa Bay batters off balance by moving the ball from side to side while mixing in his fastball, slider, and change up.  His control was pinpoint accurate for most of today.

 

Unlike much of last year, Guthrie was able to enjoy early run support today.  The Orioles were able to capitalize on Nemann’s early wildness as they capped a five run first inning with Melvin Mora’s first home run of the season, a grand slam to left center field.

 

Taking advantage of the early run support, Guthrie was able to continue to attack the strike zone in the second as he got another 1,2,3 inning.  There is nothing worse than when a pitcher is handed a big early lead, then comes out and tries to nibble around the plate resulting in multiple walks which allows the opposition to get right back in the game.  Guthrie did not allow this to happen as he continued to look sharp with his mastery of the strike zone as he pitched 6 complete innings.  The key to his success today was the location and movement of his pitches as he successfully kept hitters unbalanced as he navigated through tough jams in both the 3rd and the 4th innings. 

 

In the end the Orioles bullpen finally pitched to their expectations as they worked 3 scoreless innings.  Walker came in and looked good in his 1 1/3 scoreless innings.  Chris Ray pitched the 9th using a sharp moving slider to strike out the side. 

 

I can’t wait to catch the game tomorrow to see if the magic continues as the Orioles send Adam Eaton to the mound and they look to sweep the defending American League champions right out of the yard.  

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A Closer Look at the Greyhounds Weekend Road Trip

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Loyola Greyhounds (10-12, 5-5) are winners of 5 straight and head into MAAC play this weekend back at .500 in league competition for the first time this season.  Tonight they will be in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, as they will take on Rider before heading a little further north to play Fairfield at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport on Sunday at 2pm.

Tonight’s game at Rider will tip at 9pm and will be aired on national TV on ESPNU.  If you don’t receive that channel in your home, fear not Greyhounds fans… you can listen to my personal play-by-play broadcast on loyolagreyhounds.com.

This mid-season rally has thrown Loyola right in the middle of the mix for a top seed in the MAAC Tournament.  Siena is 11-0 and is beginning to run away from the pack, but the Greyhounds (5-5), Rider (6-3), Niagara (6-3), Fairfield (5-5), and Manhattan (5-5) are all within one victory and will be battling each other from now until March for postseason positions.

So obviously Loyola’s pair of games this weekend is tremendously important.  They have to be able to keep the ball rolling and the momentum moving in the right direction.

The key to their recent success has been because of the new rotation that the team seems to be settling into.  The new looked has point guard Brian Rudolph and Barney in the backcourt with Brad Farrell, Isaac Reid, and Jawaan Wright up front.  Brett Harvey, Marquis Sullivan, and Anthony Winbush fill out the 8-man rotation.  This has been the combination for the last 4 games, all wins.  Once players can recognize their roles they can begin to fill them with their unique and specific attributes.

In case you missed it… Coach Jimmy Patsos was a guest of WNST’s midday host Bob Haynie Wednesday afternoon.  The interview can be heard in its entirety in the audio vault on WNST.net at any time.

Some of the major points of interest from the conversation…

-    Coach P. made a very interesting comparison.  He said that he thought Jamal Barney, Loyola’s leading scorer at nearly 19ppg, reminds him of an old ABA scorer.  I have always said Barney is the quickest jumper I’ve ever seen, he’s second on the team in rebounding at almost 6 per game.
-    Shane Walker is expected to help Loyola “take the next step” next season.  The Coach said that the 6’10 transfer from Maryland has been practicing very well and has been using us game days, where he cannot participate due to NCAA Residency Rules, to bulk up.  Patsos says Walker has added nearly 15lbs since coming to Loyola.  It sounds like he is already very competent on the boards and on the defensive side of the ball, but that his offense still needs development.  Coach P. also mentioned that he’s got some Jason Thompson ability in him, but added that he thinks Walker is a better athlete and faster up and down the floor
-    Coach Patsos acknowledged that this season’s non-conference schedule may have been a little ambitious, but that next year the team will take a trip to Bloomington, IN to take on the Hoosiers.  Baltimore rivals Coppin State and Morgan State will also be on the schedule.  As for the ’10-’11 season, there is the good possibility of seeing Loyola head out west to visit UCLA and/or USC.
-    And lastly, pretty funny to hear Coach Patsos discuss the expectations of ballplayers at schools with academic integrity, like Loyola and Maryland.  He mentioned that student-athletes at these schools are held to a high level, and that at other schools in the MAAC are way more lenient towards misbehavior.  He specifically mentioned how someone might have been kicked off the Greyhound roster, but at another school that player would receive a 1 game suspension and then score 35 the next night… ZING NIAGARA and Joe Mihalich.  Former all-league Purple Eagle forward Charron Fisher was involved in a major on-campus fist fight/brawl and was allowed to return to the team after a slap on the wrist last season.

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Fair weather brings…”fair weather fans”

Posted on 15 December 2008 by Drew Forrester

Boy, what a difference a week makes.

This time last Monday, the Baltimore football fans were rallying around a 9-4 team that had just punched our neighbors to the south squarely in the mouth on NBC and in front of the entire nation.  We effectively ended the Redskins’ season (so much so, in fact, that Washington lost to Gilman HS the Bengals yesterday) and the fan base was decked out in purple all week.

“Harbaugh should be Coach of the Year!”

“Cam Cameron is our MVP!”

“Rex’s defense is #1!”

That was last week.

Or, as S.E. Hinton wrote, “That was then, this is now.”

Today, a flock of fair weathered fans have been let loose like pigeons at dawn, circling Charm City and spewing reckless theories about Harbaugh, Cameron and Ryan.

Talk show callers, e-mailers, blog commenters, message board authors — they’ve come out of the woodwork today to blame the coach, the offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator.

The narrow-mindedness of sports fans is sometimes laughable.  I don’t think it’s JUST Baltimore sports fans, but then again I don’t do talk radio in Cleveland, Dallas, New York, Pittsburgh or Kansas City, so I have no idea how their faithful would have reacted to yesterday’s loss.

I will say that early on this morning, I was proud and pleased with the way folks were handling the crushing defeat to Pittsburgh on Sunday.  Most everyone “took it like a man” (even the ladies) and realized the truth of the matter – you score 9 points at home…you get in the red zone three times and kick three field goals…you let the other team go 92 yards on your turf in less than three minutes at the end of the game – you’re probaby going to lose 99 of 100 games that those three scenarios play out.  The Ravens were one of those 99 yesterday. 

But as the day wore on and the hangover wore off, I started getting more e-mails, more text messages and a quick scan of blog comments and Ravens-related message boards tonight put the knuckleheads on full display.  

“This game is why Rex has to go!” — You mean Rex Ryan should be FIRED over that loss to Pittsburgh?  Wow, OK… FIRED, huh?  

“Cameron’s teams always do this.  Check his history.” — By “do this”, do you mean go 9-5 and have a chance at the playoffs with 2 weeks to go while employing a rookie quarterback, a fullback posing as a tailback and no real deep threat at wide receiver?  

“Harbaugh has already lost 3 games this year when going into the 4th quarter with a lead.  Billick was 52-2 in his career in Baltimore when leading after three quarters.  Harbaugh can’t coach the game when it’s tight.” — This one made me laugh the most.  So now Harbaugh is directly responsible for his team winning the game or losing the game.  How did Harbaugh lose the game against the Titans?  By not being able to convince the refs that was a bogus call on Terrell Suggs?  When did Harbaugh fail to make a throw last night or drop a pass or slip on the 3rd and 10 throw to Nate Washington in the final two minutes?

Coaches coach.

Players play.

It’s the oldest adage in the book.

Do people realize that the other team tries just as hard?

I’m baffled at this air of divine invincibility some of our fans think the Ravens carry around.  As if we’re supposed to win because, well, just because.  

The other teams need and want to win, too.

Sometimes, 5 times this year, in fact, we don’t win.

But 9 times this year we have won.

And in those games, John Harbaugh, Cam Cameron and Rex Ryan were “good enough” on that occasion to guide the team to a win.

Would I have preferred to see the Ravens throw the ball more on Sunday vs. Pittsburgh?  Absolutely.  I think the team that eventually beats the Steelers this year when it matters most (in the post-season) will do so through the air.  But, and here’s a nod to Cam Cameron who actually does this coordinating stuff for a living, I’ll also acknowledge that turning Flacco loose with a reduced-power running game and no real long-ball threats wasn’t exactly a recipe for “airing it out”, especially when you had to figure that Pittsburgh defense probably wasn’t going to give up more than 14 to 17 points, max.  

But am I ready to FIRE Cam Cameron today?  Holy cow, no.

Did I think the Ravens went soft on the final drive when defending against Pittsburgh’s late heroics?  Yes. But, as I wrote last night after the game, I think Rex was dealing with some personnel issues.  Pryce was banged up, Suggs got dinged and was out for a series and Fabian Washington hurt his hamstring and turned over his role to Frank Walker.  I’m no D-Coordinator but I have to think Rex was squirming at the thought of Santonio Holmes lining up on a “go pattern” and having Walker there trying to hang with him in a dead sprint.  

Is Rex to blame for the loss?  Is it his fault our offense scored 9 points?  (I’ll take a wild guess here) No.

Harbaugh was on the ballot for Governor after beating the Redskins last week.

Cameron and Ryan were the 1-2 combo that had people thinking Super Bowl over the last 8 weeks.

They didn’t suddenly forget how to do their job on a mild December day against the Steelers.

Our best effort wasn’t quite enough yesterday.

It certainly wasn’t the team’s best performance — but it was their best effort.

And it fell a little short.

I can’t wait to see what happens if the Ravens beat the Cowboys on Saturday.

The love affair will blossom once again.

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Final drive will haunt Ravens for a long time

Posted on 14 December 2008 by Drew Forrester

You don’t deserve to win if you can’t score more than 9 points at home.

That’s about simple as it gets when reviewing what happened to the Ravens on Sunday in their 13-9 loss to the Steelers.

How the final score became 13-9 isn’t simple, however.

In the end, Pittsburgh’s quarterback – like he does A LOT – figured out a way to get his team a win when it looked all but over.  A 92-yard drive in the final four minutes included a questionable defensive strategy from Baltimore, a secondary that suddenly stopped playing hard and a pass into the end zone that will forever be debated.  Did Santonio Holmes get in — or not?

The referees said he did.  Every replay I saw looked like the ball didn’t break the plane — but I’ll admit it was awfully, awfully, close.  Too close to call…which is why I’m glad I didn’t have to call it.

In a weird kind of way, it’s almost fitting that the game’s fate hinged on an instant replay call.  That’s how close the game was today.  It took a bunch of guys rewinding the tape a half dozen times and trying to find one INCH of evidence to determine the winner.  It’s just a shame the wrong team won.

This one will be talked about for a long time to come.

For starters, as I wrote earlier today:  ”If the Steelers come into M&T Bank Stadium and win, they’re the better team.  God bless ‘em.” 

Well, I’ll man-up and say it: The Steelers are better than the Ravens.  That’s the truth.  Not by much, mind you.  Maybe only by a matter of inches.  In two games this season, the TOTAL points separating the two teams?  SEVEN.  In two games, the BIGGEST difference between the clubs:  the quarterback.  Our QB is good and will only get better.  Their quarterback is a prize fighter who just won’t go down.  And he always seems to deliver the knock-out blow just when you think you finally have him beat.  

But just because Pittsburgh won today doesn’t necessarily mean I’d be petrified to see the Ravens play them again in the post-season.  Not one bit.  And, while realizing how much it hurts right now if you’re a Baltimore fan, let’s think about this a little more clearly: if the football Gods smile upon us and give the Ravens another crack at the Steelers in the post-season and Baltimore WINS that game, will any of us really care that we went 1-2 against the Black and Gold in 2008?  Of course not.

Pittsburgh’s defense didn’t buckle on Sunday.  Baltimore’s defense did.  One time.  And that’s all that Roethlisberger needed to mount his last ditch drive that rivals any ending in Ravens’ history.  

It was an epic battle on the defensive side of the ball in which both teams tried to lay claim to their superiority.  Neither offense was particularly effective.  In fact, there’s a fairly valid argument that Baltimore’s MVP of the game was punter Sam Koch.  Seriously.  When that happens, you know it was a defensive chess game.

In the 4th quarter, the Ravens stopped chasing Ben down and started putting more help in the secondary. The injury to Fabian Washington might have necessitated some of that extra assistance, as Frank Walker came in and perhaps Rex Ryan felt as if he didn’t want to rely on Walker in one-on-one coverage.  I saw very little pass rush pressure in the 4th quarter, though, and when you give Roethlisberger time to shake and bake, he cooks you.  All you have to do is watch that final TD throw to Santonio Holmes to see #7 buying time for himself until he could find the open man.  Rex Ryan will be a target of talk show callers and bloggers alike this week, I’m sure.  The 3-man rush utilized by the Ravens on the final drive wasn’t the answer.  And when your team loses, people want answers.

So, it’s on to Dallas for the Ravens and a week of talk about having to go to Big D to win a game that could either make or break Baltimore’s season.  

The Ravens are far from out of it, mind you, but today’s loss puts Pittsburgh IN and leaves Baltimore hanging on the edge, where one more series, one more throw or one more instant replay could leave them home come playoff time.

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 14 WRs

Posted on 03 December 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Despite a rough patch for the Cardinals, their vaunted receivers remain ranked #1 and #2 in the power rankings, as well as this week’s start rankings. The veterans have started to reclaim the receiver rankings over the last few weeks, as many of the rookies appear to be hitting that proverbial wall. We’ll be back tomorrow with your tight end, kicker and defense rankings, so check back then too.

 

Keep in mind that the power rankings, listed here, are based on year to date performance and not a reflection of your best options for week 14. Just below the power rankings are match up previews advising who should be better or worse than usual this week, based on their opponents. At the bottom, are the week 14 start rankings, that’s where you should look for help with your week 14 lineup decisions.

 

Week 14 Fantasy Wide Receiver Power Rankings

 

WR Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9 - 10- 11 - 12 - 13

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Anquan Boldin (1) – AZ – 942 yds 11 TD

 

2. Larry Fitzgerald (3) – AZ – 1075 yds 8 TD

 

3. Greg Jennings (5) – GB – 1057 yds 7 TD

 

4. Calvin Johnson (2) – DET – 971 yds 8 TD

 

5. Steve Smith (4) – CAR – 958 yds 4 TD

 

6. Roddy White (6) – ATL – 1085 yds 6 TD

 

7. Bernard Berrian (13) – MIN – 795 yds 5 TD

 

8. Santana Moss (7) – WAS – 828 yds 5 TD

 

9. Andre Johnson (8) – HOU – 1146 yds 4 TD

 

10. Terrell Owens (12) – DAL – 816 yds 8 TD

 

11. Brandon Marshall (9) – DEN – 942 yds 4 TD

 

12. Randy Moss (11) – NE – 785 yds 8 TD

 

13. Lance Moore (14) – NO – 739 yds 8 TD

 

14. Eddie Royal (20) – DEN – 757 yds 5 TD

 

15. Reggie Wayne (10) – IND – 870 yds 5 TD

 

16. Vincent Jackson (16) – SD – 703 yds 5 TD

 

17. Kevin Walter (15) – HOU – 705 yds 7 TD

 

18. Lee Evans (NR) – BUF – 890 yds 3 TD

 

19. Hines Ward (18) – PIT – 755 yds 6 TD

 

20. DeSean Jackson (NR) – PHI – 775 yds 2 TD & 1 TYD rush

 

Dropped From Rankings: DeWayne Bowe – KC; Justin Gage – TEN

 

WRs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 14: Lee Evans vs. MIA; Randy Moss & Wes Welker @ SEA; Laverneus Coles & Jehrrico Cotchery @ SF; Tory Holt & Donnie Avery @ AZ; Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison & Anthony Gonzalez vs. CIN; Roddy White @ NO; DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis & Hank Baskett @ NYG

 

WRs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 14 Match Ups: Roscoe Parrish & Josh Reed vs. MIA; Jabar Gaffney @ SEA; Chansi Stuckey @ SF; Derrick Stanley & Dane Looker @ AZ; Koren Robinson, Deion Branch & Bobby Engram vs. NE; Harry Douglass & Michael Jenkins @ NO; Matt Jones, Reggie Williams & Jerry Porter @ CHI; Justin Gage, Justin McCairens & Brandon Jones vs. CLE

 

WRs With Tough Week 14 Match Ups: Chad Johnson & TJ Houshmandzadeh @ IND; Braylon Edwards @ TEN; Terrell Owens & Roy Williams @ PIT; Santana Moss & Antoine Randle-El @ BAL; Andre Johnson & Kevin Walter @ GB; Chris Chambers & Vincent Jackson vs. OAK; Derrick Mason & Mark Clayton vs. WAS; Antonio Bryant & Ike Hilliard @ CAR; Steve Smith & Mushin Muhammad vs. TB; DeWayne Bowe & Mark Bradley @ DEN

 

 

And here are the week 14 Fantasy WR start rankings; it’s my top 75 WRs in the order that you should consider them this week. They were gotten using the Fantasy Flavor secret formula, and have their formulary numbers in parentheses, the lower the better. We’ll get all of the positional rankings out to you in time for Thursday’s game, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Anquan Boldin (15)

2. Larry Fitzgerald (17)

3. Roddy White (19)

4. Greg Jennings (25)

5. Bernard Berrian (25)

6. Randy Moss (26)

7. Calvin Johnson (28)

8. Steve Smith (34)

9. Reggie Wayne (35)

10. Lee Evans (37)

11. Brandon Marshall (44)

12. Lance Moore (44)

13. Santana Moss (45)

14. Andre Johnson (46)

15. Terrell Owens (50)

16. Eddie Royal (50)

17. DeSean Jackson (50)

18. Hines Ward (52)

19. Justin Gage (55)

20. Vincent Jackson (59)

21. Laverneus Coles (59)

22. Kevin Walter (62)

23. Wes Welker (62)

24. DeWayne Bowe (65)

25. Issac Bruce (67)

26. Antonio Bryant (69)

27. Marques Colston (72)

28. Matt Jones (74)

29. Steve Breaston (75)

30. Jehrrico Cotchery (75)

31. Derrick Mason (78)

32. TJ Houshmandzadeh (80)

33. Mark Clayton (81)

34. Donald Driver (83)

35. Braylon Edwards (89)

36. Santonio Holmes (90)

37. Donnie Avery (90)

38. Chris Chambers (95)

39. Anthony Gonzalez (95)

40. Mark Bradley (97)

41. DeVery Henderson (98)

42. Michael Jenkins (99)

43. Ted Ginn Jr. (100)

44. Malcolm Floyd (105)

45. Mushin Muhammad (106)

46. Nate Washington (108)

47. Kevin Curtis (108)

48. Amani Toomer (109)

49. Marvin Harrison (109)

50. Tory Holt (110)

51. Devin Hester (115)

52. Koren Robinson (118)

53. Hank Baskett (120)

54. Chad Johnson (128)

55. Jabar Gaffney (128)

56. Brandon Stokley (130)

57. Reggie Brown (130)

58. Antoine Randle-El (131)

59. Josh Reed (131)

60. Rasheid Davis (133)

61. Ashley Lelie (136)

62. Bryant Johnson (139)

63. Dane Looker (144)

64. Roy Williams (146)

65. Reggie Williams (146)

66. Brandon Lloyd (147)

67. Chansi Stuckey (147)

68. Mary Booker (149)

69. Ike Hilliard (153)

70. Bobby Wade (157)

71. Brandon Jones (159)

72. Harry Douglass (159)

73. Josh Morgan (159)

74. James Hardy (159)

75. Miles Austin (166)

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday lineups in, so check back tomorrow for the rest. And use the links below to check all of the other positions; they’ll be activated as they become available.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

Week 14 QB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 RB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 TE Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

 

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