Leaving the game on Sunday, did any of you think anything besides “McNair is going to be benched and they will say it’s due to injury”? This was pretty much the only way I thought this week would go, and I’m not even a little surprised that it happened this way. Billick needed to save McNair’s face in the locker room, and McNair deserved the respect for his career reputation. McNair won’t start another game in Baltimore, nor likely anywhere else.
I can only say this so many times. The signing of McNair gave the Ravens a 1 year window to win a Super Bowl. They didn’t do it. McNair’s time has now come and gone, and the Ravens have to move on. The problem is that they don’t really have an answer right now. Boller can’t really be humiliated any further at this point, so he’s the perfect candidate to finish what will likely be a MISERABLE end to the season.
Thanks for the efforts Steve. I knew in 2006 that you didn’t really have much left in the tank, but I appreciated what you were able to give in leading this team to a division title. I’m sorry you couldn’t have donned purple earlier in your illustrious career.
Let’s see what everyone has to say….
The Official Site’s Mike Duffy announces McNair hurt; Boller to start
The Official Site recaps community efforts of Ravens
The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says McNair’s injury/benching ‘raises eyebrows’
The Sun’s Mike Preston says if Ravens believed in Boller, he’d have started by now
The Sun’s Mike Preston says Troy Smith is not the answer
The Sun’s Rick Maese says Ravens are ‘black and blue’
The Sun’s Edward Lee says Terrell Suggs doesn’t like booing
The Sun’s Edward Lee looks at where Ravens stack up against the rest of NFL
The Sun’s Bill Ordine says there are teams worse than Ravens
The Sun’s Sheil Kapadia says Ravens are no longer in top half of NFL
Aaron Wilson says subluxation in McNair’s shoulder to keep him out (Just as a note, “subluxation” is not a word recognized by my particular word processor)
Aaron Wilson says defense isn’t ‘flinching’
Browns Official Site’s Steve King says Browns’ O-Line will be key (also says that Wilcots and Eagle will be on Sunday’s call)
Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot says Browns looking to ‘rebound’
Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Maggi Martin says Leigh Bodden wants to move past legal problems
Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Bud Shaw wonders how much Jamal Lewis has left in tank
B-More Birds Nest looks at ‘injury’ to McNair
B-More Birds Nest looks at #5 Ravens
Ravens Touchdown’s “Stephen” looks at starting Boller; Troy Smith’s role
Ravens Roost’s Mike Zoran says ‘Here we go Again…’
Orange & Brown Report’s Bob Johnson offers some Browns notes, including the “should we re-sign Derek Anderson?” debate
Fanhouse’s Ryan Wilson finds a newly-classic video of Brandon Lang trashing Brian Billick
Fanhouse’s Josh Alper isn’t necessarily buying what Ravens are selling
WNST’s Rob Long has the Ravens 17th in his power rankings
WNST’s Drew Forrester says Ravens WILL fix things
WNST’s Casey Willett looks at potential free agency moves for the Birds
The Examiner’s Matt Palmer says Ravens don’t want to flash back to 2005
The Examiner’s Matt Palmer says injuries are still issue for Ravens
The Sun’s Milton Kent looks at new uniforms
The Sun’s Patrick Stevens says no update on Dave Neal’s shoulder
The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ralph challenged Chris Turner before BC
The Diamondback’s Andrew Zuckerman says Terps aren’t bowl-eligible yet
Washington Post’s Marc Carig says Andrew Crummey will do anything to play Saturday
Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Crummey has being doling out advice since injury
Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Oquendo couldn’t come back for a Terps’ bowl
Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Da’Rel Scott’s TD supposed to go to Lance Ball
Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph should get some guys back Saturday
Florida State Official Site says ‘Noles practiced 20 periods; offers post-practice quotes
Tallahassee Democrat’s Jack Corcoran says Drew Weatherford, Antone Smith should be good to go vs. Terps
Florida Today’s Steve Ellis says ‘Noles will get ‘physical’ with Terps
Tallahassee Democrat’s Jack Corcoran says Xavier Lee has a way to go to get back to top of Noles’ depth chart
Tallahassee Democrat’s Jack Corcoran says ‘big plays’ are issue for ‘Noles
Florida Times-Union’s Bob Thomas also says Weatherford and Smith to return
Orlando Sentinel’s Andrew Carter says Weatherford plans to play
Tampa Tribune’s Scott Carter says Jimbo Fisher sympathetic to Weatherford
Turtle Sports Report’s Jeff Ermann tries to clarify the Zach Brown situation (must subscribe)
The Examiner’s David Duberstein says Terps want to finish season 2-0
TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:
The Official Site offers numerical proof of Maryland’s win
The Official Site hears what was said following Maryland’s win
The Official Site offers notes following Maryland’s win
The Sun’s Matt Bracken talks recruiting with Chris Hansen from HoopGurlz.com
The Official Site recaps win at La Salle
The Official Site says Greyhounds erased 17 point deficit en route to win over American
The AP says Birds will help Nats open new stadium with March 29 exhibition game (Sorry O’s fans, no tickets would be sold to the game. And why would you want to watch anyway?)
The Sun’s Roch Kubatko is surprised Jeremy Guthrie didn’t play a role in ROY voting
The Sun’s Roch Kubatko says Markakis isn’t particularly ‘touchable’
Oriole Central kicks off Baseball’s Free Agency period
Camden Chat’s JQ Higgins says some O’s hot in Winter Leagues
Camden Chat’s “Jonnypops” says Guthrie deserved more ROY love
Oriole Magic’s Heathir Irvin looks at 2008 schedule
Oriole Post’s “Beatlefnatic” looks at some Orioles notes
Oriole Post’s “Maryland Orioles Fan” says DC-area O’s fans can’t buy tix to exhibition
Oriole Post’s “Beatlefnatic” says Nolan Reimold doesn’t study hitting
The Loss Column’s Neal Shaffer wonders if O’s might be headed up while Ravens headed down
Inside The Warehouse’s Michael Hollman says Miguel Abreu is organization’s #48 prospect (must subscribe)
Fanhouse’s Nick Dallamora links Nestor’s transcript; plays out a chat-script with Bubba and Huff
The Examiner’s Sean Walsh says O’s probably won’t pursue big names
The Examiner’s Tony Giro remembers when O’s actually did things in community
The Official Site says Paul Johnson doesn’t think he’s lost weight
Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Northern Illinois will ‘pose threat’ to Navy
Washington Post’s Christian Swezey says offense likes scoring, defense not so much
NIU Official Site previews Mids-Huskies
NIU Official Site offers complete game notes for Navy-NIU
Go Mids updates Navy’s opponents
The Sun’s Stephen Kiehl looks at Ed Hale’s plans, and plans of others for new arena
Blast Player/Assistant David Bascome (also on my list of favorite people) introduces himself in his first blog with WNST
Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Green Terror working to fix issues in worst season in 19 years
The Examiner’s Sean Walsh says Hopkins and McDaniel going different ways following season-ending clash
The Sun’s Candus Thomson previews Kimmie Meissner in Paris
SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:
-I had a great weekend in Baltimore. It was great to spend some time with my father, who turned 60 over the weekend; and my friends in town. It was also nice to spend some time with members of the WNST Family; a family I am proud to now call myself a part of. As I said, the Maryland-Boston College was SPECIAL, the Ravens-Bengals game was AWFUL, and the Maryland-Hampton game was SCARY. I pretty much experienced the gambit of all sports emotions in three games. But it was a wonderful weekend. Thanks to everyone who did as much as say hello.
-Its time to get real when it comes to the Ravens. Mike Preston is right in that the Ravens have no faith in Boller. Boller and Billick have been married for years, and they will both likely go out together this season, despite getting contract extensions. If ever there was a “ride or die” scenario for a coach and player, this would be the case. If Billick could somehow find a way to turn Boller into John Elway over the next few weeks, they’ll probably get the chance to come back-and we’ll all laugh about this in the future. But that’s not going to happen. Boller is NOT the QB Brian Billick hoped he might become, and Billick is not the offensive genius we hoped he might have been hiding. To steal a line from my favorite reader, “it is what it is.” Boller could end up on the roster next season-but not in a position where he would be expected to play.
-I had the privilege of meeting Drew Forrester for the first time (unbelievably!) at the Ravens game Sunday, and I completely agree with his column. Unfortunately, I also think it’s irrelevant. Sorry Drew. Yes, the Ravens, like every other team ever will eventually regroup. They will probably address on-field problems, but this organization has problems bigger than improving pass rush and finding a QB. This organization has to make a VERY painful decision at Head Coach, after giving Billick more extra opportunities. They also have to evaluate the ENTIRE coaching staff behind him. They have to figure out if they are headed towards another salary cap purge and re-build, and who they want to see be a part of it. They have to find a quarterback. They have to add a veteran to anchor the O-Line. They could probably use an upgrade at FB. They need to re-sign Terrell Suggs, and they still need to figure out how to again improve the pass rush. They desperately need depth in the secondary. They need someone who can kick the ball off. And they need someone to return kicks. But other than that, this will be easy. And no one expects the Ravens to listen to me or anyone else to get their advice. They will be fine, but this is a crossroads, not just a bump in the road.
-Speaking of QB, I’ve heard plenty enough about Troy Smith not being ready. Derek Anderson wasn’t ready for this team either. At some point, I’d like to see if he is capable of ANYTHING, as it will help in what this team needs to address at the QB position in the future. With that in mind, Derek Anderson will probably be the hottest commodity at QB this offseason, and something tells me he’s not coming back to Baltimore. Donavan McNabb is a hot rumor, but a McNabb acquisition would do no more than the McNair move did. JP Losman COULD become available should the Bills decide to go with Trent Edwards, but the Bills now appear to be ready to roll with Losman. Chad Pennington will probably be available, but is that somewhere you want to go? Rex Grossman is an option; and I pray that option never becomes an attractive one. Charlie Whitehurst MIGHT be available in a trade, but I think the Chargers want to see more of him.
Do you understand where I’m going? There isn’t an attractive option as far as QB’s are concerned. There will be some reasonably decent depth at QB in the draft, as Brian Brohm, Matt Ryan, Andre’ Woodson, Colt Brennan, Eric Ainge, John David Booty, Chad Henne, Dennis Dixon, and even Curtis Painter could all be picked in the first 3-4 rounds. However, should the Ravens draft a QB, they would need to have a veteran ready for him to learn under to prevent the whole Boller situation from re-playing. (Maybe Boller becomes THAT guy!) The point is that before the Ravens go to ANY of the options above, I would have liked to have seen Troy Smith step on a field and at least let us know if he’s even competent or not.
-Ah, I love hearing from fans about how they’d like to see the Orioles re-build instead of acquire free agents. This is a great idea especially considering the fact that the Orioles have a practically critical lack of talent in their organization that is even CLOSE to major-league ready; plus a serious lack of resources to help bring in more talent. Maybe it is a good idea for the Orioles to rebuild, but does anyone really believe that will make the O’s a contender in the next 3-4 years?
-Andrew Crummey is the perfect example of a selfless team player. He could just as easily try to get ready for the combine and the draft; but instead he wants to make sure he goes out as a winner his senior year. Crummey is a special player, and a special human being. Ralph is fortunate to have a guy like this on his roster.
-Greivis Vasquez is not Juan Dixon. Frankly, no one is Juan Dixon. But when Maryland fell behind Hampton 63-62 with 1:30 left on Monday night; Greivis decided that despite his struggles and sometimes out of control play, he wanted the ball in his hands. He calmly sank a 3 from the top of the key that he didn’t even bother to watch go in. Remember Juan’s shot against UConn when the Terps fell behind by 3 in the Elite 8? Remember Juan’s baseline jumper when the Terps fell behind Indiana in the Championship Game? This was a shot (in a MUCH less significant game) that made me think of those shots. Greivis has to get his game under control, but his confidence excites me a great deal.
-Attention all arena proponents. I will accept any of your ideas. An arena is DESPERATELY needed. Now work on an Arena Football team to play in your new arena.
Talk to you tomorrow.