Tag Archive | "willie anderson"

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 19 March 2009 by Glenn Clark

Maryland 68, Cal 61

If Cal gets hot; they’ll win. I’m counting on them not getting hot. This should be the type of game where Landon Milbourne scores 24 using his size and range to his advantage.

Oklahoma 87, Morgan State 75

I think they’ll cover. But Kevin Thompson can’t mark Blake Griffin. Sooners roll.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say…..

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Rex Snider thinks Maryland should be competing with Duke, North Carolina annually

Glenn Clark says Gary gets good news from Forbes magazine

Bob Haynie wonders how far Terps can advance

Chris Bonetti remembers Bias in picture

Drew Forrester thinks Orioles may be wrong about number of listeners

Nestor Aparicio offers Chapter 11 of Orioles book

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens officially part ways with Rolle

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Carr officially signs with Ravens

The Official Site says Carr believes he can make ‘big impact’ at CB

The Official Site’s Geoff Peckham says secondary has undergone ‘major facelift’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens trying to solve Right Tackle puzzle with Pace

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens see Carr as 3rd QB

The Sun’s Ray Frager says MASN will carry 52 press conference live

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says L.J. Smith to take physical today

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Ravens should draft right tackle; not sign another aging veteran

Examiner Steve DeClue says signing Pace ‘makes little sense’

Carroll County Times says Ravens free $4.1 million by letting Rolle go

ESPN.com’s James Walker wonders what Pace signing would mean for Willie Anderson

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Fabian Washington helped get Carr to Baltimore

ESPN.com’s James Walker thinks Ravens have done nice job of replacing free agents lost

NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan mocks Harvin to Ravens

ORIOLES:

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says home portion of split squad doubleheader with Cardinals rained out

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says rotation remains ‘unsettled’

The Official Site’s Steve Dorsey says Eaton solid; but Birds fall to Cardinals

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Roberts thinks WBC amongst ‘best experiences of life’

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Penn, Bergesen miss chances to pitch with rainout

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck ‘projects’ Eaton as #3 starter

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Simon, Penn, Liz, Sarfate to pitch for O’s today

Examiner Jay Trucker says Guthrie struggles in Team USA loss to Venezuela

The AP says Trembley thinks Birds have ‘no clear front runners’ for other 3 rotation spots

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Jerome Randle-Vasquez matchup key to today’s first round game

California Official Site says Randle knows Bears trying to ‘contain’ Vasquez

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Gary challenged Terps after Carolina loss; team responded with win in College Park

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terps need scoring from someone besides Greivis

The Sun’s Rick Maese says Neal has become ‘backbone’ of Terps

The Sun’s Matt Bracken says Stephenson still considering Terps

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Mosley thought Terps ‘struck’ by Gary’s UNC move

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Bowie went back to mohawk

The Sun offers video of Vasquez/Neal/Milbourne press conference

The Sun’s Rick Maese says Montgomery knows both teams will try to get up and down floor

The Sun’s Rick Maese says Gary defends recruiting again

The Sun’s Rick Maese says hundreds watched Maryland practice at Sprint Center

The Sun’s Rick Maese says Obama likes Terps today

The Sun’s Rick Maese shares story of Cal big man Jordan Wilkes

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson will also be outside factors for Golden Bears

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Hayes now ‘steady game manager’ for Terps

Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg says Gary not a fan of ‘recruiting geeks’

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Bowie will have size advantage over Randle

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Maryland-Cal matchup of ‘distinguished coaches’

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Obama has Memphis over Terps in 2nd round

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Gary thinks Cal similar to Duke; who Maryland lost twice to

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Milbourne getting first chance to PLAY in NCAA Tournament today

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Montgomery has been perfect fit in Berkeley

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Bears will have to find way to stop Vasquez

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Vasquez hit midcourt shot to end Wednesday practice

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Brando, Gminski calling today’s game

DC Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says Gary knows Terps will have to ‘attack’ California

San Francisco Chronicle’s Rusty Simmons says fans aren’t particularly interested in watching Cal at Tournament

ESPN.com’s Pat Forde wonders if Sweet 16 run could bring Gary, Yow ‘together’

SI’s Andy Staples picks Cal 88-80

Sporting News’ Dan Shanoff thinks Maryland ‘best shot’ at upset this afternoon

Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy thinks Gary probably doing ‘best’ coaching job

Terrapin Times’ Mike Ashley says Terps enjoying NCAA Tournament experience in Kansas City (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

Washington Post’s Camille Powell scouts Dartmouth

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem previews Spring QB’s (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter checks in with Good Counsel prospect Louis Young (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS LACROSSE:

Inside Lacrosse’s Danielle Bernstein says Heels looking to snap 19 game losing streak in ACC vs. Terps Saturday

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says season ends for Eers with loss to James Madison in CollegeInsider.com Tournament

The Sun says Goode lead Eers with 11 in loss

Carroll County Times says Sam Atupem, Will Holland each add 10 in loss

Frederick News-Post says Dukes answered all of Mount’s runs

MORGAN BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Childs Walker says Morgan hoping for ‘higher national profile’ with Tournament appearance

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Bozeman has pulled Bears from terrible 30 year span

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Bears will have to come up with inside answer for Griffin

Examiner Tony Wisniewski says Morgan win over Oklahoma would be ‘improbable’, not ‘unheard of’

San Francisco Chronicle’s Ray Ratto says Bozeman seeing past, present in Kansas City

LOYOLA LACROSSE:

The Official Site
previews Saturday’s contest with UMass

HOPKINS LACROSSE:

Inside Lacrosse’s Dave Ryan says Jays weren’t happy with ‘moral victory’ at Syracuse

SALISBURY LACROSSE:

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Berkman thinks Salisbury got ‘lucky’ with Cannone

HORSE RACING:

Thoroughbred Times’ John Scheinman says state regulators looking to stop wagering companies

The Sun’s Bill Ordine says state could use ‘supertrack’

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-Congratulations to SunTrust Athlete of the Morning Jimmy Woods; who scored 6 goals and added 2 assists for Baltimore Lutheran as they cruised to a 17-1 victory over Beth Tfiloh.

Talk to you this afternoon with a Maryland/Cal live blog.

-G

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Terrell Suggs And The Value Question

Posted on 01 March 2009 by Thyrl Nelson

With Free Agent Spending Seemingly Out Of Control, Might Trading Terrell Suggs Before He Reaches Free Agency Be The Ravens Best Option?

 

The NFL’s version of the World Series of Poker is now into it’s third day, and getting more interesting by the second. The high stakes staring match that we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing each NFL off-season, has to be of interest to Ravens fans, simply because their stake in the game is much higher this time, than in years past.

 

The “game” of free agency is always an interesting one, because unlike in poker, it’s not always easy to tell who the winners are once everyone gets up from the table. Over at the big table, for example, Albert Haynesworth has already cashed in, and can easily be considered a winner. His counterpart, Daniel Snyder though, got up feeling like a winner too, time will tell whether or not he’s right. It’s also, not exactly clear who else was even sitting at that table, if anyone. And those who walked away without winning Haynesworth’s services may not have actually lost at all. Again, time will tell.

 

As for the Ravens, not only have they already played out a number of hands, but they still have significant money spread around the floor as well. Wisely, they took Terrell Suggs off the table before the games began, but have already lost a significant portion of their buy in. Losing the services of Jason Brown and Bart Scott will hurt, but keeping money in their pile seemed to be a bigger priority for the club. Still though, the Ravens money pile isn’t looking so hot either.

 

The Ravens, it seems, can’t afford any seats at the big tables, and by now, most of the big tables have been closed already anyway. They still have a significant stake on the table in the Ray Lewis game, and so far appear to have played their cards masterfully there. Nonetheless, they’ll pretty much have to play that hand out, before deciding how much they are able to play with at the smaller tables.

 

And even though the team decided not to play any hands at the big table this year, they still have to be concerned with the action that took place there. Everyone has a stake in what happens at the big table. That’s because not only will everyone have to play there eventually, and because the ante there only goes up, never down. It’s also because the ante at the big tables will also be used to determine the price of poker at every other table.

 

The Ravens, in tagging Suggs, paid big money not to have to sit at the big tables again this year. The Raiders paid ridiculous money to not have to sit there with Nnamdi Asomugha for the next few years. And Ray Lewis, it seems, took a seat at the big tables, but couldn’t find anyone who wanted to play with him at those stakes.

 

Suggs’ seat at the big tables though, for next year, is all but guaranteed. By failing to sign him to a long-term deal before Asomugha and Haynesworth negotiated their deals, the Ravens probably lost significant bargaining power in the negotiation with T-Sizzle. And as other teams start to look around their own rosters and proactively start wrapping up their own stars to long-term deals, that number could grow even higher.

 

Certainly the Ray Lewis situation has to be priority number one at this point. But regardless of how that situation plays out, the Ravens may have priced themselves out of the ballgame with Suggs, by waiting too long to get the deal done.

 

First of all, it’s not just conceivable, but likely that if the Ravens had signed Suggs to a long term deal prior to the start of free agency, rather than tagging him, then he’d have a salary cap number for this year, lower than the $10.1 million or so that he’ll receive under the tag. Doing that would have given them quite a bit more resources going into free agency. What’s done is done though, and where they go from here is what’s most important.

 

Signing Suggs to a long-term deal still seems to be the best option for the team, and I suspect that as details come out about the structures of these other contracts, the numbers may be a bit more bearable. It’s been reported, for example, that Haynesworth’s deal is essentially a 4-year deal worth $41 million. A huge 2013 roster bonus is the reason for the gaudy $100 million figure, and that bonus will likely never be paid. Still, at $10.1 million per season, Suggs’ cap number is already heavy. If the number goes far beyond that, deciding what to do with him could be tough.

 

The trade rumors surrounding Suggs have been there before. The fans have most famously entertained the idea of Suggs for Anquan Boldin a number of times, whether or not the front office has ever given much thought to it is another matter altogether though. How much Suggs will ultimately cost is another mystery as well. Because of his hybrid position, even determining Suggs’ franchise number was difficult last year, what he could get on the open market is anyone’s guess. And given what Haynesworth just got, Suggs may be willing to take his chances.

 

At $10.17 million, Suggs can hardly say he’s underpaid, and will likely sport the highest salary cap number of any linebacker next season. Furthermore, franchising him for a third time would cost the Ravens over $16.5 million next season, that’d make it all but assured that Suggs would get the chance to try his hand on the open market if they don’t get a deal done this season. The fact that Haynesworth was able to negotiate such big money as defensive tackle, and the $16 million plus that Julius Peppers will command under the cap may have the younger and more versatile Suggs content to take that chance.

 

Replacing Suggs would be difficult to say the least, and the fact that the other 2/3 of the linebacking corps may already be out the door, would seem to make that more and more unlikely. But at potentially $12 million or more per season, against the salary cap, Suggs may have outgrown his price tag on a team that has proven themselves adept at finding and developing versatile and athletic linebackers. And at this point, with a relative bargain of a price, the market for dealing Suggs may never be better.

 

Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens have proven themselves masterful time and again in the draft, and although never big players in the free agent market, the team has typically done well for themselves there too. The Ravens approach to free agency has usually been to take advantage of the salary cap casualties once the bulk of free agency has played out. This season in particular, the Ravens got big dividends from players like Jim Leonhard, Lorenzo Neal, Willie Anderson and even Frank Walker, all afterthoughts on the free agent market. Some of the cuts likely to come as a result of the big contracts being signed this week, could wind up playing to the Ravens benefit once the dust has settled in free agency.

 

The question that the Ravens have been trying to answer with regards to Scott, Brown and Lewis this off-season, will be even more difficult where Suggs is concerned. Would the amount of money, that the market has dictated that they’re worth, be better spent by the team in other places? When we’re talking about the kind of money that Suggs will command, you’d think that you could fill a number of holes if you evaluated talent well, and the Ravens certainly do that.

 

And at this point, trading Suggs would likely get you a handsome return too. On the other hand, if the current collective bargaining agreement is allowed to expire and the salary cap goes away, the whole perspective of things will change again. In baseball, we as fans can get mad at our teams for not spending money, because there’s no real spending limit. In football though, with a salary cap involved, fans have grown much more concerned with value. If that goes away the strategy shifts again.

 

With the cap situation unresolved, playing your hand too early could be dangerous. You could speculate that some teams are operating this off-season as if they already think that the cap is going. If it does go away, I’d like to keep everyone. But if not, then it’s important to spend wisely. And if not, then other teams, less prepared for the cap’s return, might be forced to re-shift their strategies and expose more of their players to free agency in order to stay compliant. We all know how much that could work to the Ravens’ favor.

 

What will the smart money do? I suppose only time will tell. But if history is any indicator, the smart money is on the Ravens.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

 

 

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Ravens and Ray Lewis – Time To Move or Time to Move On?

Posted on 24 February 2009 by Thyrl Nelson

It’s Possible That The Ravens, Or Ray Lewis, Or Both May Have Already Decided to Move On. If So, Then Spin And Posturing Are All That’s Left, And The Ravens Appear To Be Winning.

 

With all of the drama that already surrounds Ray Lewis’ impending free agency, it’s tough to believe that free agency itself won’t actually even begin for a few more days. Already though, we’ve been subjected to a full off season’s worth of hype, speculation and innuendo, regarding the possible departure of Lewis, yet we’re no wiser as to how this whole thing will play out.

 

We have all been conditioned to cheer for laundry, so as football fans, this is par for the course. Rarely though, does a player like Lewis come along, and with no way of knowing just how much Ray has left in his tank, it’s likely as tough a decision as Ravens’ General Manager Ozzie Newsome has ever had to make. From Lewis’ own standpoint, it can’t be easy either, which may be part of the reason why he has seemingly said all of the wrong things throughout this process.

 

From his sit down with Deion Sanders and Rich Eisen at the conclusion of the Ravens; playoff run, through his Superbowl week interview here on WNST, and his Pro Bowl chat with Jamie Dukes, and now to his second hand comments offered through DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys, one thing seems consistent with Ray’s message. It seems that Ray Lewis has no better idea where he’ll be playing next season than you or I do at this point. And therefore, in his own financial best interests, he seems to be giving lip service to any team that someone brings up as a possible suitor.

 

And as fans, no matter how many times we may remind ourselves that it’s just a business, it’s sometimes tough to draw that line, especially when it comes to a player as polarizing as Lewis. No matter what happens in negotiations, Lewis’ football reputation in Baltimore is cemented, and inarguable. Whether or not he’d be able to forge such a legacy in another city is doubtful, but as a linebacker, as a football player, and as a Raven, Lewis’ place in the history of the game is secure.

 

As a man, on the other hand, Lewis’ status with many of the same fans that have grown to love and admire his on field play is still very much in question.  Fairly or not, what happened in Atlanta back in 2000, created a label for Ray that he’s had to work to get out from under for a very long time. The Ravens certainly did what they could to help in that healing process, and I have heard a number of fans point to that alone as a reason why Ray should have undying loyalty to the franchise that’s been his only NFL home. I, for one, don’t see it that way though. The Ravens’ interest in helping Ray move forward from his difficulties was certainly in the best interests of the franchise too. It’s tough for me to believe that they would have stood so boisterously behind Cornell Brown or DeRon Jenkins if it were one of them in that situation.

 

I will say though, that former head coach Brian Billick may have also cemented his reputation, with the fans and media, by standing in defense of Ray during Superbowl week in 2000. Lewis could have reciprocated that that type of defense for his coach during a tough 2007 campaign, but apparently did not. Whether or not Lewis, or anyone else actually turned on Billick, or sold him down the river to ownership isn’t for me to say. What I can say though, is that if Lewis’ leadership is all that it’s been cracked up to be over the years, he should have been able to reel the locker room in. In fact, it’s tough to imagine any type of uprising in the Ravens locker room getting very far without Lewis’ endorsement.

 

Leaving now, would be a reminder for many about how he seemingly rolled out on the team when the chips were down in 2005. The season in which he was excused to rest an injury that prevented him from traveling, yet appeared on the sidelines at one college bowl game at least, while his team was limping to a 6-10 finish. Or the fact that it was widely reported in both 2005 & 2006 that Lewis was seeking a new contract with a $50 million bonus, or a trade. It might remind us again of the time that he compared himself to Michael Jordan, or the time that he dumped on Kelly Gregg, and the Ravens’ system for not allowing him to get free and make plays.

 

Lewis’ play on the field has always kept those other things on the back burner. But now it appears that a PR war may be underway between Lewis and the Ravens, and in this match up, for once, Lewis may have met his match.

 

Many scoffed last off-season, when owner Steve Bisciotti proclaimed that he didn’t think that Lewis would be as valuable to other franchises as he is to the Ravens. Now in hindsight, it would seem that the Ravens have said and done all of the right things in preparing for the inevitability of this situation. If Lewis were to leave now, it would seem that the perception would be that the team did all that they could to retain him. The team has proclaimed their loyalty to Lewis publicly, and appears to be doing all that is reasonably possible to keep him. Lewis, on the other hand, it seems is auctioning himself off to the highest bidder, or positioning himself to fulfill a lifelong dream, or possibly both.

 

In that sense, who could blame him? It should be the star’s last big payday, and if that’s what’s most important to him, than it’s tough to blame him. If his decision boils down strictly to money though, at this point in his career, you’d certainly have to question the financial acumen that has put him in that position.

 

In the end, maybe the Ravens don’t even truly want him back. Given the success that they had this past season with key additions like Lorenzo Neal, Willie Anderson and Jim Leonhard, maybe they feel like it’d be better to spread that money around. Lewis is 33 after all, and with 13 seasons under his belt, he’s an old 33 at that. His numbers were solid this season, but he’s definitely not the player that he once was. Truth be told, it could be a long, long time before the NFL sees another player like Lewis once was. Still, since the end of 2001, last year was only the second season in which Lewis played in all 16 games.

 

If the Ravens really don’t want him back, at least not at his price, they’ve certainly done a good job of making it look like they’re making an effort. If money is the driving force for Lewis, I think it’s more likely he hurts his long term financial picture with the damage that leaving town does to his reputation around here, than that he’d help himself financially by getting a few more dollars from another team, and trying to endear himself to another whole market.

 

Sooner or later the Ravens will have to figure out what life without Lewis will be like. At his price, sooner is looking more and more likely. As it pertains to his impact, the Ravens may be right to pass. If the Patriots or Steelers were pursuing him, I might feel differently, but they aren’t. Instead, at least so far, it looks like the Jets and Cowboys will be the teams that we’re competing with for his services. Something tells me that if you are competing with the Jets and Cowboys for a free agent, you might want to reconsider your pursuit.

 

The Cowboys, who just gave up an inordinate amount of draft picks for a #2 wide receiver that they barely used; the team that routinely targets other teams’ disciplinary issues in hopes of adding star power. The team that can’t seem to decide on their head coach of the present or the future, and that will have to commit big money to keeping DeMarcus Ware next season. That’s where you want to go? When was the last time they won a playoff game? Maybe instead of DeMarcus Ware, Lewis should give Zach Thomas a call. Thomas and Lewis careers have had similar paths, and Thomas had the added bonus of coming home to Texas. I wonder if he’s happy with his decision to come to Dallas.

 

And then there are the Jets; the team that cut loose the quarterback who’d eventually win comeback player of the year and keep them from the playoffs, for a one-year flyer on Brett Favre. The Jets are on their third coach in 4 seasons, and have been through nearly twice as many quarterbacks in that same span. Competing with these two teams for any free agent makes me just a bit nervous.

 

Actually, there’s one other thing that the Jets and Cowboys have in common. Both are darlings of the media, and especially the four-letter network up in Bristol. Both teams were routinely featured as the lead story on sports news shows, while playoff bound teams were lost in the fold. Maybe Lewis is feeling the same second city complex that many Baltimoreans have felt. Maybe, rather than paydays or championships, Lewis seeks a level of stardom that he just hasn’t been able to achieve here in Baltimore.

 

The longer this goes on, the more sense it seems to make to just move on. Maybe Lewis has already decided that he wants to get something that Baltimore can’t offer. And maybe the Ravens have likewise decided that $7 – $10 million per year could be better spent elsewhere. If so, then all that’s left is the posturing for the fans and media. And for once, Ray Lewis may have finally met his match.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

 

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SO NOW THAT IT IS OVER, ONE FAN SAYS THANK YOU

Posted on 20 January 2009 by Vince Fiduccia

So for the record, the season ended on January 18, 2009, with a 23-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Tough to swallow is putting it mildly.  Losing stinks; losing to your hated rival in the AFC Championship is even worse.  But now as the off-season has already begun, it’s time to reflect and say thank you for a rewarding and surprisingly successful season. 

We start every year filled with hope, and this year the Ravens turned that hope into reality.  While the whole team deserves credit, as well as the organization for that matter, I am going to single out some whom I think really deserve it. 

It’s time to say thank you to John Harbaugh and his coaching staff.  You brought a sense of blue collar toughness not seen in these parts in a long time.  You proved you were the right choice and as you said to the team, “This is not an end, but a beginning.”  We look forward to 2009 already.

Thank you Rex Ryan for your years of service to the Ravens and the Baltimore community.  This opportunity to be a head coach is long overdue.  Good Luck Rex, we’ll miss you. 

Thank you to Joe Flacco, (a.k.a  Joe Cool).  Hey rookie, not a bad start. Thanks once and for all for settling our quarterback dilemma.  You wowed us with your poise and command.  We can’t imagine how much better you’ll be in the years ahead.   

To Ray Lewis thank you for being the leader we all know you are.  At 33, you showed you’re still the top dog. 

Thank you to Derrick Mason, Jared Gaither and Terrell Suggs for playing hurt and setting a standard for heart and toughness on the field.  It would have been easy to say I can’t go, but you didn’t. 

Thank you to Jim Leonhard, you might not be the biggest guy on the field, but you sir are a player. 

Thanks to Ozzie Newsome, for reminding us how lucky we are to have you as a GM.  Thanks for drafting Flacco and Ray Rice and for signing Lorenzo Neal, Willie Anderson, Leonhard and Fabian Washington.

Thank you to O.J. Brigance.  You showed us what courage is all about.  In a battle against an insidious disease, you inspired us and taught us the importance of living each day to its fullest.   God bless you O.J.

To the entire Ravens organization, thanks for taking us on a great ride.  Your accomplishment will live in Baltimore lore.   

Now onto 2009.

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RAVENS OVERCOME TITANS SOMEHOW

Posted on 10 January 2009 by Vince Fiduccia

Tired, injured, on the road and now on their way to the AFC Championship Game.  Even as I write this I can’t really comprehend how the Ravens have gone from 5-11 to one game away from the Super Bowl.  It finally looked like the 17 straight games had caught up to the purple and black attack as Kerry Collins and company seemed to be moving the ball at will.  Every moment or so, another Raven went out from Willie Anderson to Samari Rolle to Terrell Suggs and Le’Ron McClain. 

Somehow, some way this group of mighty men, as Coach John Harbaugh calls them, found a way to win.  Did anyone see the brilliance of Rex Ryan, who for most the second half had the Ravens play a 4-3 instead of its usual 3-4?   How about the calmness and coolness of rookie quarterback Joe Flacco?  When the Ravens needed him to make plays, he did and once again no turnovers.  With the game on the line, they put the game in his hand and he delivered.  Matt Stover, is there anyone else you want for that kick?   I wouldn’t.

And what can we say about the job Harbaugh has done?  Did you notice which team played with discipline today and which team didn’t commit 12 penalties?  He has molded this team in his image, preaching one game at time.  We will long remember the scene of him and his father hugging on the sideline. 

Could we have ever imagined this five months ago?  In August we just hoped to have enough players to start the season.  Now next week, the Ravens head to either Pittsburgh or San Diego?  Who will be healthy we don’t know, but one thing is for sure, the Ravens are on a magical run.   One we could have never imagined and one I hope lasts for at least three more weeks.

Like Coach Harbaugh preaches one game at a time.  Can next Sunday get here already? 

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 08 January 2009 by Glenn Clark

Sorry, nothing much to add today due to this morning’s show. Please check out my recap of last night’s Maryland game.

Let’s see what everyone has to say….

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Nestor Aparicio says McNair WON’T attend party Friday

Glenn Clark says loss could cost Terps come NCAA Tournament time

Casey Willett says Barnes ruled OUT for Saturday

Drew Forrester says Tigers showed ‘reasonably decent effort’ in loss

Drew Forrester excited about Uehara signing

Rex Snider says MacPhail improving ‘rolling trainwreck’

Ed Frankovic says Capitals add Comcast SportsNet show

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Reed has centerfielder’s mentality

The Official Site says Titans Coach Fisher told QB Collins not to throw ball to Reed

The Official Site says Rex Ryan would rather be in playoffs than interviewing for head coaching jobs

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens, Titans run ball well; stop run well

Titans Official Site says Fisher thinks Ravens, Titans have ‘improved significantly’ since first meeting

The AP’s Teresa Walker says Leroy Harris ready to step in for Mawae Saturday

The AP’s Teresa Walker says Vanden Bosch, Haynesworth fully practice Wednesday

The Sun’s Bill Ordine says Stone, J. McClain, Greisen playing well despite little recognition

The Sun’s Matt Bracken cleans up after me

The Sun’s Rick Maese says Ravens use firemen to help practice

The Sun’s David Steele says Haynesworth, like Reed; has reason to feel snubbed in Defensive Player of the Year voting

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Rolle definitely plans to return for ’09 season

The Sun’s Bill Ordine says Fisher brings ‘steady hand’ to Titans

The Sun’s Bill Ordine says Ravens fan Fuller trying to beat team now with Titans

The Sun’s Brent Jones says local businesses benefitting from Ravens

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Cameron doesn’t think Flacco has mastered offense yet

The Sun’s Bill Ordine says Titans FB A. Hall bumped from Pro Bowl by L. McClain

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Haynesworth > Ngata

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Fisher won’t compare ’08 Ravens to ’00 Ravens just yet

The Examiner’s Ron Snyder says Harbaugh’s ‘vision’, 52’s ‘power’, Flacco’s ‘arm’ made Ravens contender

The Examiner’s Sean Welsh says chances of Ryan getting head coaching job could be diminishing as Ravens win

The Examiner’s Ron Snyder says W. Anderson was ‘jealous’ of Ravens’ success

Aaron Wilson says Rolle thinks Rex Ryan leaving would be ‘hurtful’ to Ravens

Aaron Wilson says Ravens hope to stop “Smash and Dash”

The Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt says Finnegan gaining ‘notice’ around NFL

The Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt says McNair committed to Titans

The Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt, Gary Estwick and Joe Biddle say Vanden Bosch ‘guarantees’ he’ll be ready Saturday

Nashville City Paper’s Terry McCormick says Vanden Bosch practiced fully for first time since groin surgery yesterday

ESPN.com Page 2’s David Fleming says Ravens look ‘Super’

ESPN.com’s James Walker thinks Ngata will surpass Haynesworth

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens want Titans to throw

ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky says Collins’ experience crucial to Titans; John Clayton says Flacco not playing like rookie

Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock says Reed might go down as greatest safety of all time

SI’s Peter King thinks 52, Reed All-Pro

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco prefers Titans defense; Clark Judge would take Ravens

Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver thinks Ravens 5th best team left in playoffs

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Terps blow 12 point lead in 2nd half, lose to Morgan State

The Official Site offers numerical evidence of loss

The Official Site says Gary ‘never felt comfortable’ with lead because Terps weren’t playing their game

The Official Site says Neal posted 18 points, 9 rebounds in loss

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Bears let Hayes shoot; but he went just 1-7 from the field

The Examiner’s Steve DeClue says Maryland’s performance ‘nearly unfathomable’

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Vasquez just 5-21 from field in loss

Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg says Gary’s politicking seems silly now

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Neal, Milbourne amongst positives in loss

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps’ streak of 35 straight wins against in-state opponents over

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps stopped ‘playing intelligently’ in 2nd half

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps best when Neal, Milbourne on floor last night

ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil says T. Evans succeeding at Kent State after schools like Maryland wouldn’t ‘take chance’ on him

Terrapin Times’ Mike Ashley says national ranking discussion will end after loss (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Mosley getting ‘comfortable’ (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter updates recruitment of Delaware prospect Gilbert (must subscribe)

Terp Center’s Seth Hoffman says Vasquez thought loss ‘horrible’

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says DHB will forgo senior season, enter NFL Draft

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Ralph gave Heyward-Bey ‘complete blessing’ to leave for NFL

The Sun’s Matt Bracken says Stinebaugh came to Maryland for ‘family’ atmosphere

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says receiver depth ‘not so bad’ for Maryland even with DHB gone

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says DHB got ‘positive’ feedback about Draft stock

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says DHB still plans to graduate

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says DC candidate Cooper takes job at LSU with much more money on the table

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says DHB’s draft status will likely be affected by which other receivers come out early

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says former Raven Darling helped DHB make decision

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Portis transferring to California (Pennsylvania)

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Hey-Bey has plenty of ‘upside’

Terp Center’s Seth Hoffman recaps season for freshmen who played

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s ACC opener vs. Wake Forest

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Terps still don’t know full potential as ACC season opens

Washington Times’ Mike Fratto says Toliver guiding Terps to ACC play

TERRAPINS LACROSSE:

The Sun’s John Weaver says Yeatman can make Terps championship contender

MORGAN BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Bears pull off likely ‘biggest upset in school history’ over Terps

The AP says late 3 by Bolden crucial to Bears’ rally

TOWSON BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says George Mason opens on 9-2 run, never threatened by Tigers after

The Official Site’s Mike Hermann wants to see bigger CAA Tournament

The Sun’s Patrick Gutierrez says 1500 see Patriots knock off Tigers

The AP says D. Monroe had double double to lift Mason to win over Towson

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Eers looking for first NEC win tonight vs. Fairleigh Dickinson

MT. ST. MARY’S LACROSSE:

Inside Lacrosse’s Terry Foy says Mount picked 8th preseason in MAAC

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says Academy, Niumatalolo agree to contract extension

The Official Site says awards banquet to be held Friday, January 23

The Sun says Niumatalolo believes extension ‘significant commitment’ from Navy

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Niumatalolo received ‘handsome raise’ for successful season

The AP says Navy’s success after transition impressed AD Gladchuk enough to warrant extension

NAVY BASKETBALL:

The Examiner’s Tom Flynn says Mids on TV this weekend

NAVY LACROSSE:

Inside Lacrosse’s Terry Foy says Mids picked to win Patriot League

ORIOLES:

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Birds, Roberts no closer in extension talks; but agent still thinks there’s a ‘chance’

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. expects Matusz to make 15 starts in Frederick

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if Birds inquired about Swisher

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Uehara not discussing deal yet

The Examiner’s Jay Trucker says S. Duncan, Dunn likely not options for Orioles; keeps banging Bonds drum

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-If there’s ANY chance the Orioles could acquire Nick Swisher; they should IMMEDIATELY pursue it.

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

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Ravens – Dolphins: 27-9, get on the bus to Nashville

Posted on 04 January 2009 by caseywillett

One down three more to go for the Ravens. You can help root the Ravens on in Nashville by getting on the WNST bus to Nashville.

Cam Cameron goes into Miami twice and beats the Dolphins. I was just listening to a Miami radio station and they asked how come he could only win one game with them, but two against them.

The Ravens will travel to Nashville to face the Titans for a shot to go to the AFC Championship game.

Yet again, Flacco’s numbers do not jump off the charts at you (9-23, 135) , but as I say all the time, he makes 4 or 5 throws a game that have a huge factor in the game.

3:45 – When the Ravens needed a score to finish the game, Joe Flacco took it on himself to finish the Dolphins off with a 5yd touchdown run. What a great job of blocking by Chris Chester and Willie Anderson to seal the open lane for Flacco to score.

Flacco becomes only the third rookie quarterback to win his postseason debut. He joins Shaun King and Ben Roethlisberger.

So while Mike Smith and Matt Ryan will enjoy their awards they won, John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco will now march the Ravens into round two of the NFL playoffs

3:36 – Once again the Dolphins had a nice drive going, only to see it go south real quick as the hand off exchange on the end around from Chad Pennington to Tedd Ginn Jr., was botched and resulted in a  huge loss.

Then on the punt to Jim Leonhard which he fair caught at the 14, the Dolphins get flagged for fair catch interference.

Ravens need to put together one of those long drives to seal the deal.

3:28 – Although the Dolphins still have a pretty tall task to come back from 11 points down to tie the Ravens, their defense did a nice job on that stop and getting the offense the ball back. The Ravens defense has to step up and make a stop to get the ball back for their offense.

Will have to see if Ed Reed is back out on the field on defense…….and he is

3:21 – The Dolphins get back on the scoreboard with a 2yd touchdown pass from Chad Pennington to Ronnie Brown. The drive was helped out by some penalties on the Ravens and probably more importantly by not having Ed Reed on the field. That is why you saw Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski out on the field.

Huge play by Frank Walker on the blocked extra point. That take a little bit of the momentum away from the Dolphins.

Ravens put points on the board here and that will take the last bit of air out of the Dolphins balloon.

3:09 – Ed Reed comes to the rescue again for the Ravens to stop what was looking like a very promising drive by the Dolphins. Reed did look to come up limping after the play. Will be interesting to see if he comes back into the game.

Although I would never bet against Reed. He has proven people wrong time after time.

3:12 – Ravens punt the ball back to the Dolphins. Hey let’s say we see another turnover. Why not let Chad throw 5 picks in one day when he only threw 7 all season.

2:56 – Well I could have saved myself ten seconds if I wanted to, because minutes are posting my last entry, LeRon “Bringing the Pain” McClain, goes in from 8 yards out.

I am not saying to turn the lights out the party is over, but whoever is in charge of turning out the lights might want to get up and start heading for the light switch.

I smell another turnover coming here for the Dolphins

2:55 The Ravens defense has done it again. They have forced the fourth turnover of the day and now I honestly believe can start to drive the dagger into the heart of the Dolphins with a score here, and not just a field goal, you have to come away with seven on this drive

2:44 – For the third time today, Chad Pennington has been intercepted. He was only picked off 7 times during the regular season. The Ravens are getting after Chad Pennington and putting the pressure on him forcing the interceptions.

The Ravens have to take advantage of these turnovers and turn them into points. The Ravens are beating the Dolphins in every aspect of this game and have to put them away.

Sam Koch has been amazing for this team. Yet again he comes through for the defense and will pin the Dolphins down inside the one.

2:25- The Ravens tack on 3 more points on a Matt Stover 31 yard field goal to extend it to a 13-3 lead. A touchdown might have been a dagger to the Dolphins, but they are still in the game. That drive was kept alive by a huge Derrick Mason toe tapping reception.

The Ravens will have to keep the intensity up in the second half. Chad Pennington has taken a beating so far and has to be rattled a little bit.

30 minutes down, 30 more to go.

2:08 – Ed Reed just proved why he might be the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL this year as he just picked off a Chad Pennington pass and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown.

I am not sure who Haloti Ngata hit on that return, but someone might want to check the Dolphins parking lot to find that player.

 

2:01 – For the life of me I do not understand that Troy Smith play on 3rd down.  The Ravens can not afford to let this team hang around. They have had several chances and not added any points on the board.

This is when teams some times strike for points against the Ravens.

1:54 – 9:11 left to go before the half, and Jim Leonhard picks off a Chad Pennington pass. In Week 7 it was 8:44 left before half when Terrell Suggs picked off Chad Pennington.

Pennington is taking some serious hits, they are bound to take a toll before to long.

1:40 – Ravens and Dolphins wrap up the first half tied at 3. The offensive line has done a nice job of protecting Flacco today. Flacco converts on a huge 3rd down completion to Derrick Mason.

1:26 – Ravens have tied it up with a 23yd FG from Matt Stover. Dolphins might have gotten away with a pass interference call on the pass to Todd Heap.  Nice response by the Ravens after the Dolphins score.

This was the exact way the first time these two teams played started out. Dolphins kicked a field goal than the Ravens responded with a field goal. Just for you know what’s the Ravens took the lead a Terrell Suggs interception returned for a touchdown .

1:15 Dolphins take a Ravens turnover and turn it into points. Solid defensive stand by the Ravens on the goal line, and smart move by Dolphins to take the 3 points. Points might be hard to come by today and you can not look back and wonder what if had you not take the 3.

 

12:55 The AP has named their coach of the year in the NFL, and it is Mike Smith of the Flacons. John Harbaugh much like Joe Flacco in the rookie voting, did not recieve any votes

 

After watching some exciting football games yesterday, it is now time for the Ravens to try and take their next step into the playoffs. I will periodically update this blog, must likely at the end of each half.

The CBS pregame show, it was a clean sweep for the Ravens with predictions except for Bill Cowher who picked the Dolphins based on a rookie quarterback playing in the playoffs.

I say Ravens 23-13 today. I am also listening to 790 in Miami to listen to their point of view on the game today.

Well like they say, it is game time.

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Like a submarine here

Posted on 02 January 2009 by caseywillett

That is how Coach Harbaugh described the coaches and how much time they spend at the facility and don’t get out to much and experience the atmosphere around town,”we joke that our place is a beautiful place, but it is like a submarine.The beginning of the week you take it down, then you come back up at the end of the week to travel to the game.”

- Trent Dilfer was here today to do a story for ESPN. Trent was walking the halls of the facility and wearing his Super Bowl ring while he was waiting to do his interview.

-Although the Ravens coaching staff has not mentioned to the younger guys how special it is to be in the playoffs, several of the veteran players have apparently mentioned it to the younger guys.  Willie Anderson is in his 13th year in the league and has only been in one playoff game during that time. Jim Leonhard has been in the league for 4 years now and has never played in the playoffs.

-Coach Harbaugh said that all of the injured players, in particular Ray Rice and Fabian Washington have gotten better and better as the week has gone along, but they have not made any decisions about their availability for the game on Sunday.

- The Ravens are prepared for the warm weather on Sunday in Miami as it is expected to 78 degrees on Sunday. On the dry erase board as you walk into the Ravens locker room, it is written to make sure to get plenty of electrolytes to be prepared for the warm weather.

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Something happened on the way to 11-5

Posted on 29 December 2008 by caseywillett

- Did it start with the firing of Brian Billick a year ago ?

-Was it Jason Garrett saying no to the Ravens and them picking John Harbaugh ?

- Was it the retirement of Jonathan Ogden and Steve McNair ?

- What about Rex Ryan getting no head coaching jobs this year and coming back to Baltimore ?

-Did it come in the form of Cam Cameron losing his job in Miami and connecting with his old friend John Harbaugh ?

-Was it the kid from Delaware named Joe Flacco that some people were suspect about if he could play at the NFL level ? Then not only taking this team, but the whole city on his back and marching them into the playoffs.

-The injuries to Troy Smith and Kyle Boller that paved the way for this guy from the Blue Hens to be a starter in the NFL.

-Was it the trying times at training camp when everything that could have gone wrong injury wise did ?

-Remember when we were talking about how letting John Welbourne leave without a deal was a mistake and Chad Slaughter and Mike Kracalik starting at the tackles in a game while we wondered how long Adam Terry and Jared Gaither would be out ?

-Questioning what Lorenzo Neal had in the tank when he showed up during training camp ? Willie Anderson ,who was told he could not play any more with the Bengals or in the NFL and being a huge part of this offensive line ?  How about Fabian Washington going from being run out of Oakland to one of the unsung star players this year ?

-Was it a fullback that would go on to have one of the best seasons of any Ravens running back ?

-Watching Kelly Gregg, Dawan Landry, Dwan Edwards, go down and the team not miss a beat. Seeing your all pro corner leave the team with an injury, and it possibly being a blessing in disguise.

-How about a guy who looks more like a coaches kid than a guy who came from the  Buffalo Bills and stepped into the secondary and they never missed a beat ?

-How about the punter who last year people were talking about how to pronounce his name and what it sounded like to being a huge factor for this team and helping the defense have the success that they have had ?

-How about a linebacker that many people questioned how much he had left in the tank going out and having a remarkable season 13 years into the league ?

-How about the safety who questioned if he would ever play football again in training camp, only to play and possibly be Defensive Player of the Year ?

-What about the wide receiver that many said is nothing more than a possession receiver, having a huge year including one of the more amazing performances any one has seen against the Cowboys ?

-Was it maybe not having a bye week and the focus this team showed going through 15 straight weeks of games including 6 out of 8 straight games on the road ?

-How about going into Texas Stadium for the final game in that stadium and beating the Dallas Cowboys in front of the whole world ?

-What about the character the team showed in responding from two tough losses to the Steelers and Titans on some some what controversial calls ?

-That wide receiver from Oklahoma that people said was not a deep threat, putting up some of the bigger deep plays of the season, and being the first Ravens receiver to have eight 100 yard games.

There are many more we could sit here and name, and they all plus the ones included would be reasons collectively as to why the Ravens are 11-5 and going to the playoffs. This has been an amazing run by a football team that seemed like they were going to be more like the 5-11 team the year before than a 11-5 team that people are talking about as a serious threat in the playoffs.

This has been one of the best years I have had covering a team. At every challenge that has come at this team, they have stared it down and moved on.

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Ravens-Jaguars

Posted on 28 December 2008 by caseywillett

One game at a time has been the mindset of this Ravens team so far this year, and today will be no different. The Ravens are aware that they can secure a playoff spot, if the Bills defeat the Patriots today, but their focus is on beating the Jaguars at home to make sure they lock up a spot for postseason play.

Upset Special

The Jaguars may be using winning this game and knocking the Ravens out of the playoff picture if the Patriots win as motivation, but I do not think that will be enough to help them secure a victory today. The Ravens are focused and know that the Jags will have that on their minds, but feel like they can come out and set a tone early and eliminate any hope of that happening for them.

Pressure Garrard

Jags quarterback David Garrard has not had the kind of season that many would have hoped after the stellar year he had last year. The Jags have not been able to protect Garrard this year, as he has been sacked 41 times, the second most in the NFL behind Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Cassel with 46. Garrard can still get out of the pocket and make some plays happen with his legs, but not like he was able to last year. Look for the Ravens to come after Garrard and put pressure on him. With a banged up Maurice Jones-Drew, a pieced together offensive line, and and average receiving corp, the Ravens can cause a lot of havoc for Garrard up front, possibly leading to interceptions.

Wear down the defense

The Jags come in with the #12 overall defense in the NFL, giving up 324 yds per game. I look for the Ravens to pound away with the running game at the Jags today and try to again make them realize as a player said earlier this week ” they are not coming in here to ruin our party.” The Jags on average give up 105 yds rushing a game, and with the Ravens likely to have all three of their running backs today, they will try to just beat the Jags down. The Ravens will likely have Ray Rice back today which will help them in their running attack.

Playoff atmosphere

The Ravens are expecting an amped up crowd today, as they return home after a huge win over the Cowboys and also play their final game of the 2008 regular season which will be for a chance to go to the playoffs on the line. The Ravens will have their Pro Bowl players introduced out of the tunnel today. They will also honor the ’58 Championship game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants at halftime with players from that game and some of the family members of other players from that game taking part in the ceremony.

What do you do ?

Although the Ravens are not focused on this, but  the topic of resting your players if the Patriots do not win against the Bills has come up this week. The Ravens should know right when they are about to kick off if the Pats have won or not, so there is not much the team can do as far as not dressing guys for this game based on that. I have no problem with Coach Harbaugh approaching it with sort of a final preseason game plan if the outcome of their game does not matter one way or another. Especially if you can let a Willie Anderson or Derrick Mason get a series or two in with the offense and them have them rested heading into the playoffs. Brian Billick has a much more in depth and different way of thinking as it relates to this topic.

The Ravens will not have to hope for a Patriots loss today, as I think they will take care of business against the Jaguars with a 23-13 win this afternoon.

Karma

Finally, just because this has been the way things have kind of gone for the Ravens this year, I would not be suprised at all to see Yamon Figurs return one the distance today.

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