Tag Archive | "Washington Redskins"

Philadelphia Eagles

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Vick shines in DC: Can’t Dog Him Now

Posted on 16 November 2010 by Drew Forrester

So that’s what it looks like to have your offense do some damage on the road in the first half?

Well, it was impressive to say the least.

Michael Vick guided the Eagles to an early 35-0 lead in Washington last night as the visitors cruised to a 59-28 beatdown of the Redskins. Along the way, Vick tortured the ‘Skins in virtually every way imaginable, using his arms, legs and athleticism to churn out 6 touchdowns on the night. He became the first QB in league history to throw for 300 yards, run for 300 yards, throw 4 TD’s and run for 2 TD’s in the same game.

It was an epic performance.

Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Michael Vick walks off the field after they defeated the Washington Redskins in their NFL football game in Landover, Maryland November 15, 2010.      REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Some would even say it was “electric”, but there are too many puns we could attach to that one, so I’ll leave it alone.

One thing for certain: The Eagles, with a healthy Vick at the helm, are a legitimate threat in the NFC.

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Short week

Posted on 08 November 2010 by Domenic Vadala

The Ravens played yesterday, and will proceed to play again on Thursday evening at Atlanta in the NFL Network’s first Thursday night telecast of the season. The way I see things, this is sort of a catch-22. On one hand, from here on out there’ll be football on Monday and Thursday nights, which is always entertaining to watch. However, I also see a huge issue with this from the perspective of players and coaches on both sides. Most teams understand that on occasion there’ll be a short week due to a Monday nighter. However that’s only really losing one day. In this case, the Ravens (and Falcons) played yesterday, which means that many players will be in for treatment today. I would suspect that both teams will forego the weekly “day off” for NFL players, which is traditionally Tuesday. In general, most teams have “walk-throughs” the day before games, however in this case I would suspect that on Wednesday both teams will have something between that and a normal practice.

In the Ravens’ case, they’ll have to travel on Wednesday evening in preparation for the game on Thursday. (I’m not sure how the Ravens are handling it, but I’ve seen teams in situations like this that will travel the morning before the game so that they can have a full practice at the actual stadium as opposed to a walk-through at their practice facility.) Obviously baseball has three-game series’ which makes teams play everyday, and basketball and hockey players sometimes have quick turn-arounds as well. However football is a bit different due to the physical nature of the sport. I’m not sure that it’s really fair to the players to have these Thursday nighters in that some guys need the entire week to get back into game shape. So in this case they have to turn around and play four days later…?

Ultimately, these leagues are about money, and the NFL knows that having Thursday night games adds to it’s bottom line. However with the above-stated point about it not being fair to players, I have to question if the fans are getting what they’re used to getting on Sundays. Some players who sustain concussions are in fact able to play the following week. However if that team had a game on Thursday as opposed to Sunday would he be allowed in the game? Survey says probably not. We’ll all watch the game because it’s the Ravens, and it’s the NFL. However if the NFL wants to protect it’s players so much, perhaps they should take a look at their scheduling techniques and decide if they’re doing more harm than good at times. As I stated above, in this case the Ravens have to travel. I would suggest that if the league wants to continue these Thursday nighters, they should try to make them “regional” games; Baltimore-Atlanta is probably a decent one in terms of mileage. However I wouldn’t see it fair for them to schedule the Ravens at the San Diego Chargers on a Thursday night, with the Ravens having to travel across the country.

On the flip side, many players and coaches have also said that these Thursday nighters are similar in nature to a second bye week. If you can make it over the hump of playing two games in half a week’s span, the players do get some time off. However my point is that I understand that the NFL wants to make money. However, if ultimately we see a 10-7 vanilla game, does that really help the product? Interestingly enough, while most NFL fans claim that they love their team playing in primetime, I would suspect that more tickets change hands for primetime games during the week (Monday or Thursday) than on Sunday afternoons. As a Washington Redskins season ticket holder, I’ll be attending next week’s Monday nighter against the Philadelphia Eagles; I’m also planning on working Monday and Tuesday. Many people sell or give away their tickets because they don’t want to take a vacation day, nor do they want to be up that late coming home. Needless to say, it’s a catch-22 one way or the other.

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Do teams take on the personality of their fan bases?

Posted on 04 October 2010 by Domenic Vadala

Let me preface this by saying that not every team or fan base falls into this argument. However each city and each team in every sport is known for something in a sense. My question is whether or not these two things go hand-in-hand to a certain degree. First off, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. As an example, Pittsburgh is a tough old blue collar town. As much as we may dislike them, does that not describe the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Pittsburgh Penguins? (I suppose that the Pirates wouldn’t fall into that category though). The Steelers have always had tought teams composed of guys that “brought their lunch pails to work” everyday. So in that sense perhaps the team(s) take on the persona or moxie of the people. (Notice that I’m using the term fan base as opposed to community; with sports being much more national than in the past, your main fan base might not necessarily be isolated to the local area.)

On the other hand, take a look at the San Francisco 49ers. California is an extremely laid back kind of place. Over the past few seasons, the 49ers have almost played so relaxed that they didn’t seem to realize they were competing. Even when they were winning the Super Bowls they never seemed to play with the fear of God in their eyes. We all remember the story of Montana eyeing John Candy in the stands at the Super Bowl. The New York Yankees are another one; New Yorkers as we know can be fairly arrogant if they want to be, but they generally pack a pretty mean punch. The Yankees seemingly carry a quiet arrogance about them (which generally ticks the rest of us off), and they back it up on the field. Go up the road to Boston…they were lovable losers for so long, and suddenly they win a few world series’. If you say something bad about the Red Sox their fans almost seem to get militant in defending them. The team seems to play with a chip on their shoulder to the point that if you look at them wrong they’re ready to come out with their dukes up. New Orleans is a party town…the Saints didn’t really seem to stop celebrating their Super Bowl victory until the 2010 season kicked off.

Again, these attributes can be both good and bad. How can you go wrong by celebrating like the Saints? By doing so I think you run the risk of becoming the Boston Red Sox who seem to treat every home run like one might a world series win. (Yes Kevin Youkilis I’m talking to you who likes to tackle guys in the dugout to celebrate homers.) I suppose that what I’m saying is that even if you’ve never been there before, act like you have. To keep with the Boton motif, we all know that the fans there can be brutal in that they expect nothing less than success. How many times has Bill Belichek been (justifiably) criticized for running up the score on someone? The Red Sox seem to enjoy doing the same thing when they get a lead. I agree with Belichek in that it’s not his job to stop his offense, but there’s a right way to win and a wrong way. The same could be said to the Steelers, who didn’t seem to want to take out their starters with a 30+ point lead in the fourth quarter.

Here’s a sensitive one for me personally: the Washington Redskins. I’ve been a Skins fan my entire life, an I’m a season ticket holder. But I do see some less-than-desirable qualities in my fellow fans. While the Redskins are noted for having loyal fans, I routinely see people bringing their friends to games who happen to root for the team the Redskins are playing that day. I also routinely hear “down in front!” when you so much as get up to get a soda during the game. Unfortunately many people see Redskin games as entertainment rather than as NFL games I suppose. Furthermore, I’ve had people at games tell me that the fans shouldn’t make noise when the other team’s on offense because not only is it unsportsmanlike, but it makes it all the more sweeter for that other team if they win. Um…excuse me?! (I’ve also seen fans buy beer for opposing fans because for some reason if you come all the way from wherever to see your team play on the road you deserve a free beer.) Two weeks ago the Skins had a 17 point lead on the Houston Texans in the 4th quarter…and lost. Granted this sort of contradicts what I said about Boston fans (with regard to running up the score), but while you don’t need to rub salt in the wound you don’t want to totally take your foot off the gas either. However if there are fans that act as I just described, couldn’t you argue that the Redskins take on that persona?

So do Baltimore’s teams take on the persona of the fan base? I would say that similar to the Steelers, the Ravens tap into that blue collar nature of the city (although Baltimore is a much more afluent place than Pittsburgh). Baltimore also likes to party…Orioles Magic anyone? All of these arguments are matters of opinion, however I think it’s an interesting concept. As I said, this isn’t necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just a thing. Take it or leave it.

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Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Chris Pika

Week 4 is the first week that byes take place in the NFL, so this is a great time to take short stock of each of the clubs through three weeks. And by short, I mean one line on each team — some stats, some observations and some conjecture.

First up, the AFC teams by division. Records are through Week 3:

Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

AFC East

New York Jets (2-1): Despite crippled Revis Island on defense, brash Jets are only team in AFC East with perfect division record (2-0).

New England Patriots (2-1): QB Tom Brady (8 TD, 109.1 passer rating) is back to form as Patriots have AFC’s highest point total (90) and highest TD total (12) so far.

Miami Dolphins (2-1): Even with deep threat WR Brandon Marshall and RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins have same amount of TDs (5) as Buffalo, Cincinnati and Baltimore.

Buffalo Bills (0-3): Another lost year for Bills, which have scored fourth-least points (47) in AFC and have given up most points (87) on defense in the conference.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0): The question for head coach Mike Tomlin is if the Steelers are 4-0 after a win over Baltimore in Week 4, why change QBs to Ben Roethlisberger?

Cincinnati Bengals (2-1): Bengals, despite record, have struggled on offense as QB Carson Palmer (12th rated AFC passer at 71.3) hasn’t found rhythm with T.O.cho Show.

Baltimore Ravens (2-1): Defense, led by MLB Ray Lewis, continues to carry a team expected to score much more in 2010 (44 points; 2nd-lowest in AFC), despite breakout game by WR Anquan Boldin (3 TDs) last week.

Cleveland Browns (0-3): Browns are led by Peyton … not Manning, but RB Hillis (220 yards, 3 TDs) as Browns gave popular AFC Super Bowl pick Ravens much trouble in Week 3.

AFC South

Houston Texans (2-1): Texans got over the hump of beating the Colts, but Houston is not the best team in state of Texas after bad loss to Cowboys.

Tennessee Titans (2-1): Titans defense has allowed fourth-fewest points in the AFC (42), and the Tennessee offense has RB Chris Johnson (4 TDs), but continuing issues at quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts (2-1): Despite loss to Houston, Colts still have potent passing attack with QB Peyton Manning and are arguably still best club in the AFC.

Jacksonville Jagaurs (1-2): Jaguars have worst scoring differential in AFC (-43), and Jack Del Rio could be the AFC’s first fired coach.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (3-0): Most surprising number for unbeaten Chiefs is that defense has allowed least points in the AFC (38), and in weak AFC West, KC might have enough to win the division.

San Diego Chargers (1-2): Special teams burned for two scores at Seattle, and Chargers QB Philip Rivers (AFC-high 4 INTs) is missing a suddenly resurgent RB LaDainian Tomlinson, now with the Jets.

Denver Broncos (1-2): Broncos getting decent offensive production from QB Kyle Orton, but overall have a minus point differential (-4; 61 PF, 65 PA).

Oakland Raiders (1-2): High-priced K Sebastian Janikowski could have made Raiders a 2-1 team with made kicks at Arizona, but Raiders need more than 3s (4 TDs, tied for lowest in AFC with JAX) to be competitive in up-for-grabs division.

Now for the NFC:

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1): The Eagles have gone from a transitional season with QB Kevin Kolb to division title hopes with QB Michael Vick, who might be a legit NFL MVP candidate down the road.

Washington Redskins (1-2): Opening victory over Dallas doesn’t look as good after defense was shredded in last two weeks and Cowboys’ struggles.

New York Giants (1-2): A minus-30 scoring differential (55 PF, 85 PA) is third-worst in NFC, and head coach Tom Coughlin is starting to feel the heat.

Dallas Cowboys (1-2): Cowboys avoided 0-3 start in Week 3 with big win over Houston, and Dallas has the personnel to rebound in a wide-open NFC East race.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (3-0): Most unlikely last remaining 3-0 team in NFC gives head coach Lovie Smith some breathing room as O-line tries to keep QB Jay Cutler upright in Mike Martz offensive system.

Green Bay Packers (2-1): Despite mental miscues in Week 3 loss at Chicago, popular Super Bowl XLV NFC pick has plenty of offensive weapons for QB Aaron Rodgers, but need run game to be re-established after Ryan Grant injury.

Minnesota Vikings (1-2): QB Brett Favre looks very old right now, and Vikings best chance to win is to get away from pass-first mindset to get the ball into Adrian Peterson’s hopefully sure hands more often.

Detroit Lions (0-3): Injury to QB Matthew Stafford put dent into head coach Jim Schwartz’s immediate rebuilding plans, and Lions don’t get a break in Week 4 against Packers.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (2-1): Falcons posted most-impressive win of Week 3 as they marched out of New Orleans with a OT win, and Atlanta has NFC best-tying +31 point differential.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1): AFter 2-0 start, Bucs ran into Steelers’ buzzsaw in Week 3, and Tampa Bay is staring at possible 2-3 record with games vs. Cincinnati and New Orleans after bye week.

New Orleans Saints (2-1): Saints run defense was exposed in loss to Falcons, and defending Super Bowl champs need fast starts in order to avoid same fate against strong run teams going forward.

Carolina Panthers (0-3): Winless Panthers have least TDs in NFC (3), and head coach John Fox may be running out of rope with owner Jerry Richardson.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (2-1): Head coach Pete Carroll sidestepped Southern California mess and he has put Seattle in early position to make headway in weak NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals (2-1): Despite record, Cards have minus-29 point differential (48 PF, 77 PA) and would be 1-2 if Oakland made a field goal or two in Week 3.

St. Louis Rams (1-2): Rookie QB Sam Bradford will have to grow up in a hurry, but the shame is that the Rams can’t play Washington every week.

San Francisco 49ers (0-3): Head coach Mike Singletary used the next-to-last bullet in his gun after firing offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, and the last one might be used by 49ers ownership at end of the season if disappointments continue.

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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New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is sacked by Baltimore Ravens Haloti Ngata during the second half in their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, September 13, 2010. The Ravens won the game 10-9. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

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Blog & Tackle: Week 1 NFL scoring struggles

Posted on 14 September 2010 by Chris Pika

If you thought the amount of scoring in the NFL’s Week 1 games was less than usual, you were right in a big way. A total of 21 teams scored less than 20 points in the 16 games — that number was the highest total of Week 1 sub-20-point team scoring since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, according to research through Pro-Football-Reference.com.

The 2010 teams under 20 points? Minnesota 9, New Orleans 14, Cleveland 14, Tampa Bay 17, Miami 15, Buffalo 16, Denver 17, Atlanta 9, Pittsburgh 15, Oakland 13, Carolina 18, Detroit 14, Chicago 19, Arizona 17, St. Louis 13, San Francisco 6, Dallas 7, Washington 13, Baltimore 10, New York Jets 9 and San Diego 14. The league, as a whole, averaged just 18.3 points per team in Week 1.

Here are the year-by-year teams scoring 19 points or less in Week 1 from 1970-2009 (via Pro-Football-Reference.com.

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is sacked by Baltimore Ravens Haloti Ngata during the second half in their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, September 13, 2010. The Ravens won the game 10-9. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The 21 teams was a far cry from last season’s Week 1 total of only 14 teams. In the decade of the 2000s, 153 teams scored under the 20-point mark in Week 1, an average of 15.3 per season. Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams and eight divisions in 2002 for 16 opening weekend games, the average was 15.25 per season from 2002-09.

There are a lot of factors at play in why this was the case in this particular opening weekend. Better defenses, weather issues and injuries to key players certainly played a part. But one other factor might also be in play.

The last time most clubs play their starters for an appreciable time in the preseason is Week 3. Most clubs hold out starters or play them very little (one or two series) in the final week in order to look at players fighting for the final spots during the remainder of the game.

It’s almost a bye week for the starters on both sides of the ball, since they will not face live competition for two weeks until the regular season starts. So, when the starters get back on the field in Week 1 of the regular season, the timing is off when it needs to be at its sharpest.

Here are the year-by-year totals of Week 1 teams at or under 19 points in the decade of the 2000s.

Total Teams Scoring 19 Points or Less in Week 1 (2000-09)
2009: 14
2008: 17
2007: 18
2006: 19
2005: 15
2004: 15
2003: 14
2002: 10
2001: 15
2000: 16

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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Is arrogance rewarded in today’s society?

Posted on 14 September 2010 by Domenic Vadala

The Ravens beat the NY Jets last night 10-9 to start the NFL season the right way for the purple and black. For whatever reason, I’ve never liked the NY Jets for most of my “career” as an NFL fan. I can’t really tell you why, I just never have. I guess I always saw them as the weak step-sister of NY football so to speak. It didn’t help when Vinny Testaverde, who I always saw as an embarassment to Italian-Americans, joined the Jets in the end of his career. Nevertheless, I’m glad the Ravens beat them.

Everyone chronicled the Darrelle Revis situation for most of the summer leading into training camp, preseason, and now the regular season. Personally, I think that cases as such shed a bad light on professional sports. The way I see it through my “civilian eyes,” Revis signed a contract when he came into the league. By holding out for more money, he effectively welshed on a contract that had been signed. Suddenly, he felt that he was worth more than what he was being paid, so he decided to hold out. Ultimately, he got his way and signed a new deal on September 5th. Not only did he get his payday, but he also missed all of camp and the entire preseason. Yet on the Jets’ first defensive series of the game last night he was in the game. Not only that, but according to ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew, the Jets’ fans applauded his presence during the TV timeout.

In the same regard, this game was played up a lot by the fact that Rex Ryan wanted to beat the Ravens because he felt that Steve Bisciotti made the wrong decision in not hiring him as the head coach. I suppose in a way I can understand that. We’ve all been turned down for jobs that we felt we should have gotten. Heck, at my current job I recently had an associate offered a promotion, and the reasons that corporate gave for wanting to promote this person were aspects of the operation that I had done. In my heart I wasn’t very happy about that, but I didn’t throw down my pad of paper and walk away. However, the person that they promoted did try to go the Darrelle Revis route and tell the corporate office that the compensation they offered wasn’t sufficent; they rescinded the promotion. That aside, this game was made for TV in that the media probably wanted the Jets to win so they could talk about how Ryan was snubbed and he got his revenge. Last I checked, John Harbaugh seems to be working out okay for the Ravens, and Ryan’s made out pretty well.

I suppose that the moral of the story is that if you win, you’re suddenly granted the right to have a degree of arrogance. I think that sends a bad message. Last year the whole story of Mark Sanchez eating a hot dog on the sidelines during a game was somewhat glossed over…the Jets made it to the AFC Championship game. Had they finished the season 5-11, Sanchez probably would have been crucified as the season wore down. How many legal problems and off-field issues did Michael Irving have during his career? Yet media and fans alike allowed him to get away with it because he won. Personally I think T.O. is a bum, and he’s not granted the same courtesy as Michael Irving was (even though his problems don’t come close to those Irving had), because he’s not thought of as a perennial winner. However the one year that the Eagles went to the Super Bowl people talked about how tough he was to play hurt and so forth. Survey says, there’s a bit of a correllation there.

As a kid that grew up watching the likes of Cal Ripken Jr, Art Monk, and Darrel Green, that’s kind of the attitude that I think athletes should have. The Washington Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1991 with quarterback Mark Rypien winning the MVP. Over the course of the off season he held out for more money, which he was ultimately given in a new contract; as a result, Rypien was booed in the first preseason game at RFK Stadium the following year. In 1994 the Redskins drafted Heath Shuler, who held out for $19 million, which was ultimately granted. Shuler turned out to be a bust, but the Redskin fans never took to him because of his holdout. Yet had he been an instant success like Mark Sanchez, would he have been cheered? Maybe, but we should also keep in mind that we’re talking about a different era and time. Many people accept the fact that Bill Belichek and Tom Brady routinely run up the score on teams, because they win. The fact that the New York Yankees have such a high payroll and throw around the fact that they can outspend people is accepted because they’re perennial contenders. When the Washington Redskins throw money around people say that they’re being stupid with money because they aren’t thought of as a perennial contender. Even the Dallas Cowboys, whom I despise, get a bad rap for having the audacity to build a monstrocity of a new stadium with $100K seats. Go figure, the Cowboys have won one playoff game since 1996.

Winning and losing has unfortunately become the line that people have to toe in order to “have the right” to be arrogant. I suppose that I’m still cut from the mold where you should never do anything to disrespect the game regardless of whether you win or lose. Jumping around like you’ve won the world series after a home run is disrespectful to the game of baseball in my opinion, yet the Boston Red Sox get away with it because they’re thought of as winners. The antics of Darrelle Revis were disrespectful to the game of football; the Jets went to the playoffs last year and are thus winners. What he’s done is no better or worse than what Albert Haynesworth does, yet Revis isn’t thought of as a goat as is Haynesworth. Ultimately, your goal should be to win the game and most importantly to be respectful to it and it’s history. Ultimately, the Ravens did that last night.

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Posted on 12 September 2010 by Erich Hawbaker

This is a tirade that I’ve been meaning to go on for awhile now. And after watching Penn State get smacked around tonight and seeing this on ESPN’s webpage, I’ve decided to do it. Political correctness has once again reared its ugly head in the world of sports. This time, the victim is the mascot of the Ole Miss Rebels, Colonel Reb.

The character of Colonel Reb is actually based on a real person; a man named “Blind Jim” Ivy, who was peanut vendor in Oxford and a fixture at Ole Miss sporting events for over 50 years. The son of a former slave, Ivy was beloved by the student body and the community alike until he died in 1955 (seven years before segregation came to an end). The cartoon version of Colonel Reb, which is still being used today, was created in the 1930s, about the same time the school’s athletic teams were renamed the Rebels (they had previously been called “the Flood”). Although Caucasian, the caricature very much resembles Ivy’s goatee, hair, and face. But obviously, what he’s supposed to be is an old southern plantation owner, complete with walking stick, long-tailed suit, and string tie.

The administration of Ole Miss finally banned Colonel Reb from appearing on-field at sporting events in 2003, caving to accusations of him representing the south’s history of slavery and racism. A vote among the students was held to select a new mascot, which failed miserably, because, according to some, keeping Colonel Reb was not one of the choices and unofficial polls found that as many as 94% of the student body wanted him to stay.

It was from this Charlie Foxtrot that the idea of selecting Admiral Ackbar first came to light. For the Star Wars illiterate readers (including you Todd), Admiral Ackbar is of the species Mon Calamari from the watery planet of the same name. He was the leader of the Rebel Alliance’s attack on the second Death Star in Return Of The Jedi, in which he uttered his most famous line “It’s a trap!” He has brown skin and yellow eyes, and sort of resembles a catfish.

Some say that electing Ackbar would allow Ole Miss have a ‘rebel’ leader again for their mascot without anybody being able to cry racism. Others got behind it out of spite, choosing the most ridiculous thing in hopes of illustrating just how stupid this whole controversy is. Unfortunately for both groups, Lucasfilm has apparently declined to allow Ole Miss to use their copyrighted character. And while the proud Star Wars nerd in me thinks it would be hilarious, I would put myself in the latter category. There is no good reason for Colonel Reb not to be Ole Miss’s mascot if the student body wishes him to be it.

As my grandfather used to say, “When you try to please everybody you’ll end up pleasing nobody.” I went thru a somewhat similar situation in my college days at Shippensburg. There had been calls for Ship to drop the Red from Red Raiders because of the implied reference to American Indians. Ship resisted, and has instead tried to portray us as pirate-y raiders as opposed to Indian-y ones. Now, Ship had never had an on-field mascot that I know of, and when they opened it up to suggestions, a few of my marching band buddies and I put forth the idea of the Shippopotamus, or Shippo Hippo. It was far better than the alternative of this dumb-looking red pirate parrot, it was versatile in that it could be either cute or mean, plus our fight song is called “The Horse” and hippopotamus is actually Greek for ‘water horse’. When it was put to a campus vote, Shippo won; but the administration went with the bird anyway. So what we ultimately got was “Big Red, the red-tailed Raider Hawk”. But what really made the excrement hit the fan was that at the exact same time, our archnemesis, IUP, ceased to be the Indians under the same pressures and became the Crimson Hawks. So now, the Steelers and Ravens of the PSAC have almost identical mascots. Isn’t that lovely?

My question is simply “Where does it end?” Although it can be well-meaning, political correctness in practice usually amounts to a small group of self-appointed, self-righteous bullies imposing their will in situations that are none of their business. Our Constitution grants everyone the right to free speech and free expression, but it doesn’t grant anyone the right not to be offended. If Colonel Reb or the Shippensburg Red Raiders or the Florida State Seminoles offend you, go to college somewhere else. If the Washington Redskins or Cleveland Indians or St Louis Rams partly owned by Rush Limbaugh offend you, don’t buy a ticket.

And furthermore, who gets to decide exactly what is offensive? If the color red is offensive to American Indians, could the half dozen or so golden things Ship plays every year be offensive to Asian people? (I’m not making that up. Within Pennsylvania Division II football, we have Golden Eagles, Golden Bears, Golden Rams, and Golden Knights.) Might the Milwaukee Brewers be offensive to Mothers Against Drunk Driving? Or are the San Diego Padres offensive to atheists? How about the Tampa Bay Rays offending the family of Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter? Now, I’m illustrating absurdity by being absurd, but I’m also making two points. First, if you think about it hard enough, you can find a reason for anything to be offensive to somebody. And secondly, in nearly all instances, team names and the mascots that go with them are some reflection of that city’s history and culture, not a means of degrading or insulting any race, ethnicity, or whatever.

If I were in charge at Ole Miss, I would politely tell the NCAA and NAACP and anybody else who complained about Colonel Reb that we would be more than happy to do away with him and all other references to the Civil War the day after that baseball team up in New York ceased to be the Yankees. After all, Yankees killed thousands and thousands of Mississippians in the Civil War, and it’s a painful memory for us too.

Unfortunately, Emperor Steinbrenner’s star cruisers can repel firepower of that magnitude.

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Quoth the Raven: SURPRISE!

Posted on 05 September 2010 by Domenic Vadala

There are generally surprises on every team when the 53-man roster is announced. In my opinion, the biggest surprise from the Ravens’ roster cuts yesterday was QB Troy Smith. When he was drafted I thought that Smith had a bright future in the league, and I still think he could be a solid quarterback. It’s fairly obvious at this point that he probably won’t start for the Ravens anytime soon, however that’s not to say that he couldn’t play somewhere else. (We should also keep in mind that five players will be allowed to be place on the practice squad; odds are Smith will be one of those five.)

The bigger surprise to me isn’t that Smith was cut outright, but that the team’s only going with two quarterbacks. While it certainly helps to have that extra roster spot potentially for another wideout or running back, I think it’s a very risky move. You never know when a backup, or even a third stringer is going to be pressed into action in the NFL. I’m reminded of the 1990 game in Philadelphia between the Eagles and Redskins when nine different Washington Redskin players were carted off the field (including two quarterbacks). As I said, you just never know what’s going to happen in an NFL game. Speaking of the Redskins, they had a similar setup last year with Jason Campbell and Todd Collins being the only two QB’s on the roster. However at the time the Redskins also had Antwaan Randle-El, who was a quarterback in college. I’m sure that Harbaugh will designate someone as the “emergency quarterback,” however I think going into the season with only two QB’s is a bit of a calculated risk.

Safety Ed Reed has been placed on the PUP list, which will mean he’ll be eligible to play only after the first six games of the year. Billy Cundiff ended up winning the kicking battle, and will be the Ravens’ kicker going into week one (and presumably for the entire season). Keep in mind that the Ravens had issues in the kicking game almost all of last season, with Stephen Haushka getting cut in November after shanking a few attempts. Cundiff’s a bit of a journeyman and he’s been around the league a few times, so one has to hope that Cundiff will get the job done for the Ravens’ special teams this year.

The Ravens also traded linebacker Antwan Barnes to the Philadelphia Eagles for an undisclosed 2011 draft pick. Speaking for myself, I firmly believe in building a team through the draft, so if you have a guy like Barnes for whom you can get a draft pick, I’m all for it. Obviously you don’t want to give away the house so to speak (and I don’t think the Ravens did that), but a GM like Ozzie Newsome will be able to find a diamond-in-the-rough with a later round draft pick. Ultimately, here’s the list of final cuts made by the Ravens yesterday:

TE Davon Drew, CB Travis Fisher, DB K.J. Gerard, K Shayne Graham, WR Justin Harper, CB Chris Hawkins, DB Brad Jones, G Bryan Mattison, OLB Albert McClellan, T Joe Reitz, WR Eron Riley, QB Troy Smith, RB Curtis Steele, T Devin Tyler, WR Demetrius Williams

Ultimately like them or not, everyone else that was on the roster are your 2010 Baltimore Ravens. People can debate the roster moves all they want, but ultimately all of that will be a moot issue if the Ravens beat the Jets on September 13th.

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Marc Bulger

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Posted on 24 August 2010 by Ryan Chell

On Monday, Glenn Clark came in the studio and wrote on our Twitter feed that if he heard from anyone that Ravens backup quarterback Marc Bulger should be the starter here in Baltimore, that he was going to quit.

Marc Bulger
He’s still here(thank God) and luckily we didn’t get a lot of buzz about it, but on my way out to Carroll County last night to preview the South Carroll Cavaliers football team, I heard differently over on that station on the FM Dial.

Now I know why they call it “The Fan”. There was not a lot of sense in that conversation, and a lot of air was getting blown going back and forth between hosts and callers.

The Ravens signed Bulger to a one year, 3.8 million dollar contract at the end of June to be the backup to starting quarterback Joe Flacco, and the move really showed the fan base that the organization was truly committed to winning the Super Bowl this year. The fact that they signed Bulger to that kind of contract for a backup quarterback showed that they wanted a competent insurance policy in case Flacco were to become injured.

Bulger, a two-time Pro Bowl selection in his nine-year NFL career, has thrown for 122 TDs and 22, 814 yards during his time with the St. Louis Rams.

But make no mistake. Bulger is not the same quarterback he was several years ago when he was in the driver’s seat of a Rams offense that put up tremendous numbers.

For the last several seasons, Bulger has been one of the most-sacked quarterbacks in the league behind a sketchy Rams offensive line, and the last season in which he played a full 16 game season was in 2006, where he posted a career high 24 touchdown passes and 8 INTs in 588 attempts.

This was also a guy who the fine folks at ESPN, in their production meeting with Bulger, said that he appeared to  have nothing left in the tank and that the struggles with the Rams over the last few seasons took the football spirit out of him.

Marc Bulger

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like the move to bring Bulger in. He is a veteran guy who can rub off some success and advice onto a young, developing quarterback in Joe Flacco. If Flacco were to get hurt, Bulger would be a serviceable starter for a couple games more so than Troy Smith would or John Beck would have before he was traded.

But after Bulger’s performance in the Ravens 23-3 victory Saturday, in which Bulger went 13-16 for 130 yards, fans yesterday on numerous talk-show stations here in Baltimore started calling in, saying the former Ram should be the starter or at least there should be an open competition for the job.


There is a reason why Bulger was still available on the free agent market in June. He no longer is a starting quarterback in this league!

He’s 33 years old, and with the hits he has taken over the years, he is probably on the downhill of the 30’s.

He played against second-team defenses in Carolina and Washington, and the game-plan was slightly different than it was with Flacco in the game. Flacco’s throws called for five-step drops to test his arm, the receivers’ route-running ability, and the O-line’s blocking.

Bulger? Two and three step drops, throwing the ball on short routes and letting the receivers get YAC, yards after the catch, to make sure he stays upright.

Flacco was drafted to be the starter here in Baltimore. Not to sit the bench.

He is coming into his third year in the NFL, coming from a Division 1-AA school in Delaware, and he finally has a respectable receiving corps around him.

He had 21 TD passes last year, the second most in a season for a Baltimore quarterback. The first was Vinny Testaverde’s 33 TDs back in 1996, the Ravens inaugural season. Flacco’s 3,613 yards were second most in franchise history as well.

Flacco does have the best single season completion percentage for a Raven quarterback, at 63.1%.

In the last two years, the Ravens have won 3 games in the postseason with Flacco under center. And don’t give me that crap about the defense won those games. This team would be no where near as successful as they are with Kyle Boller still here or Troy Smith starting on this team.

If anyone other than Flacco starts for this team this year, the Ravens will not achieve their third straight postseason appearance, which the team has never done in the history of the franchise.

Heck, the Rams last year went with Kyle Boller as the starter INSTEAD of Marc Bulger. And depending upon the opponent, there may be times this year when Bulger is the inactive third quarterback behind Troy Smith because of his running ability.

Joe Flacco is the future of this franchise, and it’s his team to run. Let’s continue to give Flacco the keys to the car and I think we’re going to see some things this year out of Flacco that we haven’t seen before.

We as Baltimore Ravens fans desired for so long to have a franchise quarterback to call our own, and now that we have one, we want to bench him…for Marc Bulger?

There may be a game or two this season where the defense lets the team down-and looking at the secondary so far this year that’s a possibility-and Flacco may actually show us how good he is lifting his team on his shoulders.

But saying that Bulger should be the starter isn’t putting that trust and faith into action. In Ozzie We Trust, remember?

Oh, and to close this out, if any of you people out there say that neither of these two should be the starter and that Troy Smith should be the starter just because he won the Heisman Trophy…let me offer these names to you:

  • Matt Leinart
  • Jason White
  • Eric Crouch
  • Chris Weinke
  • Danny Wuerffel
  • Rashaan Salaam
  • Andre Ware
  • Ty Detmer

In other words, the success of the Heisman is a COLLEGE award. It has no bearing on future success to the NFL. And Troy Smith has enough trouble on his own not throwing picks to his own teammates in practice; I doubt he could avoid doing that in the real thing.

And if you do think Troy Smith is a starter in this league or on this team, let me also recommend you to a neurosurgeon, because you need your head examined. There’s a good one right here in town by the name of Dr. Ben Carson.

Tune into WNST and WNST.net for more news regarding the Ravens! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!


Cary Williams

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Ravens CB Cary Williams on Pre-Season Success: “I Really Want To Take Advantage Of The Opportunity The Baltimore Ravens Have Given Me”

Posted on 23 August 2010 by Ryan Chell

Cary Williams

One of the reasons why the Baltimore Ravens signed Cary Williams off the Tennessee Titans‘ practice squad last season was because the Ravens had injury concerns with their corner backs.

Flash forward almost a year, and Cary Williams is still on this team because…the Ravens have injury concerns at the corner back position.

But Williams, if he continues to play like he has in first two Ravens preseason games-both Baltimore victories against the Panthers and the Redskins-, he might find himself a roster spot in the Ravens crowded secondary when the 2010 season starts on September 13th against the Jets.

Williams has recorded interceptions in the first two games of the season, intercepting Panthers second-round pick Jimmy Clausen in the Ravens opening round victory, and on Saturday, he did one better, intercepting Redskins starter Donovan McNabb on a pass intended for Santana Moss.

He returned the interception 37 yards.

Williams got both interceptions not seeing starting action.

“The ball was a little under-thrown,” Williams told the media after the game. ‘I guess Donovan was trying to give the guy an advantage on the ball because of my position on top of his outside shoulder, but I just came down and saw it and tried to run as fast as I could.”

Williams played well on special teams down the stretch last season as the Ravens made their way into the playoffs, and now going into the 2010 season, Williams is still trying to prove to the Ravens that he is worth a taking a flier on in a more active-role when it comes to being a part of this defense.

“I just relish any moment that I can go out there and show my abilities,” Williams told Drew Forrester Monday morning, fresh off the weekend victory over the Redskins.  “I really want to take advantage of the opportunity that Ozzie and the Baltimore Ravens have given me.”

Since Williams joined the Ravens last November after being signed off the Titans practice squad, Williams said he has taken each day as a way of improving his play as NFL corner, hopefully as a Raven.

“I just want to take it one day at a time really and just continue to get better each week. I want to show the guys that I’m a dependable corner and that I’m a guy who can really help this team out.”

Williams was originally a seventh-round pick by the Tennessee Titans in the 2008 Draft out of Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas. He became the fifth player in school history to be drafted into the NFL.

Listed at 6’1”, 185 lb, Williams is a bigger, physical corner who can leap and compete with bigger wide receivers.

In his senior season as a Ichabod, he nabbed seven interceptions, good for second in school history, while also recording two kickoff returns for touchdowns.

But that was Division-II football. He now is playing in the NFL, but through the ten career games that he has played in, not including the likes of the preseason game on Saturday, he says the game is slowing down for him a bit.

“To me, it really didn’t feel any different,” Williams told Forrester. “But I guess with the starters, McNabb came out on fire, completing passes left and right. I guess it felt like a regular season game with the tempo and things like that.

“But when I got out there, it didn’t feel like that. It felt like football. And you just try and play football at the best of your ability just like any other game, and try to perform and put your best foot forward.”

Williams is stepping forward as an option to help solidify the secondary when it comes to the corner back position. And he knows what he is capable of in this league.

“I feel like I’m capable to go out there and play against anybody. I just want to become a sponge this off-season and try and learn as much as possible from Coach [Chuck]Pagano and from the rest of the guys like [Lardarius] Webb. I want to try and get their perspective on things and try to soak in as much as possible…and learn the game, and each week get better and better gradually.”

Unfortunately, even if Williams does continue to progress week-by-week in the preseason, there will be a hiccup in that process as he will miss the first two games of the regular season after being suspended by the league for violating the NFL’s conduct policy.

It stems from an incident that occurred when he was with the Tennessee Titans last year, an issue that Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens staff knew all about before bringing him in.

Williams was suspended twice in his college career while at Fordham University before being kicked off the team, forcing Williams to play at Washburn.

And while Williams and the rest of the Ravens defense shut down the Skins offense Saturday to a total of three points, Williams-along with the rest of the Ravens defenders-will tell you that they were far from perfect.

“I think we have some things to work on,” Williams said. “Obviously today we’re going to go out and review the film, and do the corrections through practice. But as a unit, I think we did alright. I don’t think we did too bad at all.”

And Williams said he has been around one of the best game-film studiers of them all in linebacker Ray Lewis.

“You’re playing with one of the greatest in the game. In my opinion, he is the greatest field-general to ever play the game,” Williams told Forrester. “Ray is a great guy off the field, but he’s even better on the field. It’s almost as if he knows every position and every scheme that we have. He knows everyone’s responsbillites.”

“He can help you out in any aspect of the game, and it’s just a wonderful experience, and its the greatest experience of my life.”

But, since Williams has become a member of this organization, he has learned the importance of winning games to the Ravens coaching staff.

“Winning is a big part of this organization,” Williams replied.”It’s already known when you put on a Raven uniform what is expected of us, and we have to go out there with high intensity. And every week, we’re going out there trying to put our best foot forward trying to win games.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net for more information regarding Cary Williams and his chances at making the Ravens 53-man roster. WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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