Tag Archive | "quarterback"

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Chapter 7: How to find a franchise quarterback

Posted on 19 February 2019 by Nestor Aparicio

 

“You can always look at how the guys play. You just look at the tape. But at the combine you find out what kind of people they are. What’s important to them? How important is football to them? How important is their family to them? If we get those two things right, we’ll be right most of the time.”

 – John Harbaugh (March 2008)

 

 

 

 

 

AN NFL SCOUT’S LIFE EXISTS with the perpetual hope that every time he shows up on a campus to watch a kid run, or gets on a plane to fly to a college town to see a game in the fall, or fires up his iPad to watch film, he wants to believe he’s about to find the next player who will help his team win the Super Bowl.

It’s the eternal quest for any NFL scout – find the next Pro Bowl player who can become a Hall of Famer. Or, at the very least, find a player who can help you win every year for the next decade.

By the time Baltimore Ravens area scouts Andy Weidl and Joe Douglas got in their cars and made the one hour drive north up Interstate 95 from Owings Mills to Newark, Delaware on November 10, 2007, Joe Flacco wasn’t a secret to the college scouting world. And he certainly was no stranger to Douglas, who joined the team in 2000 and is known to all in the Ravens organization as “Big Joe D,” whose job it was to scout the Northeast for the team from 2003 through 2008. Douglas was made famous during the Ravens’ summer of 2001 filming of “Hard Knocks” on HBO as “The Turk,” the lowly scout who has the duty of summoning players from the locker room to the office of the head coach where “Coach wants to see you, bring your playbook” means you’ll be leaving the campus and chasing your NFL dream elsewhere.

Incidentally, UrbanDictionary.com defines “turk” as “someone who is extremely brave.” Joe Douglas spent six months talking Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Joe Hortiz into drafting a Division 1-AA quarterback from Delaware in the first round of the NFL draft.

Douglas, by any measurement, is as brave as Joe Flacco is fearless.

By 2007, Douglas had moved up the ranks of the scouting system and was making that fateful Saturday a “quarterback doubleheader” – a rare chance to see two teams in one day, both with targets who could be the next quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens. The afternoon game in Newark featured the Delaware Blue Hens hosting the Richmond Spiders in a Division I-AA matchup. The nightcap on the docket was Boston College visiting the Maryland Terps in College Park and Douglas would be joined by longtime Ravens scouts Eric DeCosta and Joe Hortiz, whom he’d meet at the I-95 Park and Ride near Catonsville so they could travel together to Byrd Stadium. Their target that evening was visiting Eagles quarterback Matt Ryan, who many thought would be the first quarterback – if not the first player – taken in the April 2008 draft.

Incidentally, Douglas was rooting hard for Richmond that afternoon and not out of disdain for Flacco or Delaware. Douglas was the starting left tackle for the Spiders from 1995-1998 and had been through many battles with the Blue Hens on the field. He was also quite familiar with many of the coaches and players in this contest. Even when he didn’t attend Richmond games – and it was rare to see his alma mater in person because NFL scouts don’t scout a lot of I-AA football games unless there’s a specific prospect they want to evaluate – his father would give him weekly Spiders reports from stands.

It was Douglas’ dad, Joel Douglas, who first told Big Joe D about Joe Flacco a year earlier after seeing the 2006 matchup in Richmond.

“He went to the game with my uncle and he called me up and said, ‘I don’t know who that Delaware quarterback was, but Richmond couldn’t stop him,’” Douglas said of a day when Flacco, then a junior who was making his seventh start for the Blue Hens, went 31-of-45 for 305 yards and a pair of TD passes in a come-from-behind 28-24 win over the Spiders. “Honestly, I was more mad that Richmond blew the lead than I was concerned about who Delaware’s junior quarterback was that day.”

The NFL scouting calendar begins in May after the draft. DeCosta and Hortiz enlist the entire organization to target potential candidates to scout for the following year. By August, the scouts plan their entire schedule for the fall, trying to chunk as many practices, games, campus visits and interviews as possible into the schedule while also trying to see the Ravens play some games at home and away. As an NFL scout, this is the most important time of

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The Ravens should shut down Joe Flacco for the season – here’s why

Posted on 26 November 2018 by Dennis Koulatsos

I’m going to make a case for the Baltimore Ravens to shut down Joe Flacco for the season.  Flacco had a solid off season and looked healthy and ready to roll.  He was solid through the first 4 games, but when his offensive line became thin due to injuries, his performance suffered the next 4 games.

As a result the offense because predictable and one dimensional.  The Ravens receivers couldn’t beat press coverage, so defenses stacked the box and took the run away.  Flacco lost confidence in his offensive line, and started throwing the ball to his primary read, determining where he would go with the ball pre-snap.

At halftime in the games against the Panthers and the Steelers, I commented that I did not see Flacco being able to bring the team back, and called for Lamar Jackson to come off of the bench in relief.  Flacco hurt his hip during the Steelers game, and now it’s wait and see in regards to his availability for the Atlanta game this weekend.

Lamar Jackson has provided a spark for the team in relief, albeit against two terrible defenses.  Teams can no longer play 10 on 11, as Jackson’s dual threat ability forces them to play 11 on 11.  It’s an interesting dynamic, one that many offenses do not have and one that is difficult to prepare and game plan for defensive coordinators.

As Nestor Aparicio pointed out during our conference call today, I am not anti Joe Flacco as much as I am pro Lamar Jackson.  I respect what Joe Flacco has done for the Ravens, and respect his body of work, particularly his performance during the Ravens’ Super Bowl run and subsequent victory in 2012, where he threw for 11 TDs vs zero interceptions.

But that was then and this is now.  Flacco – like most NFL QBs – needs a stout offensive line and a strong running game, one that he can play action off of.  He also needs receivers that can create separation, high point, and have a large catch radius.  The Ravens could not provide any of those tools for Flacco, particularly in the last 4 games he played in.

To me there is no quarterback controversy in Baltimore, and it’s not even close.  Clearly Lamar Jackson gives this team it’s best chance of winning.  He is a dual threat QB, one that can compensate for a less than stellar offensive line.  One that can buy time with his feet, which in turn allows receivers extra seconds to break free and lose their defenders.

Jackson is the reason that Gus Edwards has starred in the past two games, as linebackers and safeties have to freeze for a second, just to make sure that Edwards does in fact have the ball versus Jackson keeping it and going around the end for huge chunk plays.  He has amazing feet and tape doesn’t come close to revealing just how fast he is, until other teams see him on the field and he is just a blur.

The rookie has a lot of growing to do, but the arm strength, touch, and all of the intangibles he possesses are all there.  He spent the first half of Sunday’s game against the Raiders proving that he can throw the ball.  Then in the second half he and the Ravens went back to their newly discovered identity and pushed the Raiders into oblivion via a dominating run game.

It’s a lot easier for offensive linemen to run block than it is to pass block.  When run blocking they are firing off of the ball.  When pass blocking they are on their heels and under attack.  The strength of this offensive line clearly isn’t pass blocking, which is yet another reason as to why Jackson is the right QB for this team at this time.

As the season wears on Jackson has to strike a balance with his run/pass ratio and just let his instincts take over.  He will stop over thinking and he will just react.  He showed zip on the slant to Michael Crabtree for a touchdown,  and he showed touch in the deep passes to Mark Andrews and John Brown, although the pass to Brown was called back for a hold.

The game against the Falcons is critical.  If the Ravens lose, they’ll drop to 6-6 and probably finish 8-8.  If they beat the Falcons then they have a chance at 9-7 and perhaps 10-6.  In games past I’ve always said the Ravens would go as Joe Flacco and the offense would.  The defense in most games was good enough.

In this game against the Falcons, I am confident that Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ offense will put up points.  My concern is how will the defense defend Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley and Tevin Coleman.

I think the recipe going forward is the same one the Ravens have used to defeat the Bengals and Raiders. Run the ball effectively and pass efficiently.  Shorten the game.  Don’t get into shootouts.  There aren’t many teams that have the plethora of skill players that teams such as the Rams, Chiefs, Chargers and Saints have at their disposal.

The way to beat those teams is to take the air out of the ball, shorten the game, frustrate the opposing offenses by keeping them on the bench.  Keep the game close and hope for turnovers and specials teams to be the difference makers.

The Ravens don’t even have a WR1 to make any sort of noise with those teams.  Their best bet is to execute 15 -17 play drives, win the time of possession battle, take the opposition into deep water and hopefully drown them.

There is simply no upside to playing Joe Flacco again the rest of the season.  To do so would be a disservice to him and to the organization.  He is less than 100% and he would risk further injury.  All indications are that the Ravens will move away from him at the end of the season.  So why risk doing anything that would lessen his market value?

In this quarterback driven and starved league, Joe Flacco would command no less than a 3rd round draft pick all the way to a 1st!  Jacksonville, Tampa Bay are just two teams that jump out as being QB needy in 2019.  John Gruden absolutely loves QBs, and the silver and black have 3 first round draft picks next year.  They also have around $83 million in cap space, so it’s not hard to imagine Joe Flacco in a Raiders uniform next year.

They are moving to Vegas, and he would be a great fit for them.  They have a decent offensive line, and if they can give Flacco a running game and some receivers, he could do some damage with his big arm.  But his time in Baltimore is done.  The Ravens lack a 2nd round draft pick in next year’s draft and this is one of the few ways they can get it back.

They need to protect their investment in Joe Flacco to ensure they will get maximum return for him in the off-season.  If he gets hurt again it will diminish his market value.  He got hurt in the first series against the Steelers and spent the rest of the game stretching out his hip on the sideline.  He is immobile and he would be a sitting duck.

In that game he severely under threw a wide open Michael Crabtree at the goal line.  A healthy Joe Flacco would have completed that pass with his eyes close.  The time has come for Joe Flacco to close out his career in Baltimore, and he deserves to do so with dignity.

The Ravens need to start Lamar Jackson the rest of the season, with RGIII as his back up on game day.  Joe Flacco should rehab his hip and get himself ready for 2019.  It is not only the business thing to do, it is the right thing.

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Flacco talks about being best QB in NFL with WNST

Posted on 04 April 2012 by WNSTV

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QB Flynn takes 3-year deal in Seattle

Posted on 18 March 2012 by WNST Staff

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Chris Pika takes a look inside the game notes for tonight's Thanksgiving feast in Baltimore.

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A look inside Thanksgiving feast of Ravens-49ers

Posted on 24 November 2011 by Chris Pika

One of the more-hyped games of the 2011 schedule once it came out in April is tonight’s Thanksgiving game in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium when the broithers Harbaugh meet as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Baltimore Ravens (8 pm ET; NFL Network).

The 9-1 49ers have a stranglehold on the NFC West and can clinch the division with a victory and either a loss or tie by Seattle on Sunday or a tie and a Seattle loss.

The 7-3 Ravens lead the AFC North, and are tied for the AFC’s best record.

The combined 16-4 record (.800) of the two teams is tied for fourth-best between Thanksgiving Day combatants since 1970.

It will be Baltimore’s John vs. San Francisco’s Jim, and Jim, and according to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, who will help call the game with Brad Nessler, this matchup is one to watch:

When you combine the surprising success of San Francisco, along with Baltimore being pretty much where you expect them to be, we’ve got one of the best games of the season on Thursday night.

In a national teleconference to promote the game earlier this week, Jim mentioned how brotherly love goes out the window once competition is involved:

Leading up to this, John has talked freely and openly about football with me. Now, it’s more talking in code. I’m being serious. I can see there are limitations to what he’s telling me. I thought love had no boundaries, but now I see that it does.

— Jim Harbaugh, on football communication with John since the 2011 NFL schedule was announced

For John’s part, it is a continuation of competition that has gone on since they were kids:

We were in the same room for 16 years, and we had to draw a tape line. If you stepped across, there was a fight. The last time we fought, I was 27. He was the quarterback for the Bears. He got up to 6-4, 230 pounds. I was 195, something like that. He takes us on vacation to Florida, we’re on the beach, and we get into this wrestling match. It’s getting a little aggressive and works its way over to the water. He gets a shot in; I get a shot in. I’m starting to think maybe I can hang with the big little brother. Next, he grabs me in a headlock, picks me up, and slams me into three feet of water. My head is on the sand underneath the water. Of course, he’s not going to drown me, but I’m thinking maybe he’s snapped. My dad’s trying to pull him off, but he’s too strong. I’m going to drown. Before I died, he pulled me up. He didn’t do mouth-to-mouth; that would have been against the rules. I then realized I’m never going to fight my brother again. He’s too big.

— John Harbaugh on his brother

The first-ever coaching matchup between two brothers in NFL history is a testament to their father, Jack, himself a former college head coach:

Their father gave them a gift; by making them and teaching them how to compete. If we can instill competition in our kids, that’s all we want. We want them to go out in the world and compete.

— NFL Network’s Marshall Faulk on the relationship between Jack Harbaugh and his sons, Jim and John

Baltimore is coming off a 31-24 victory over AFC North rival Cincinnati at home last Sunday:

NOTE OF THE WEEK: SMITH SOARS

  • Ravens rookie WR Torrey Smith leads the NFL with a 20.3 yardsper-catch average (29 receptions for 590 yards).
  • Impressively, 4 of Smith’s 5 TD receptions have covered at least 25 yards (74, 41, 38, 26 and 18 yards), and he’s averaging a sensational 39.4 yards per TD catch.
  • Smith now owns the Ravens’ single-season (590) and single-game (165 vs. Cin. last week) records for receiving yards by a rookie.
  • Never before has a Ravens’ wideout posted dual 150-yard receiving games in a season (165 vs. Cin. and 152 at STL).
  • Smith also owns the top two receiving yards performances by a rookie in the NFL this season.
  • Smith’s 590 receiving yards this season rank second in the NFL among all rookies (635, Cincy’sA.J. Green).
  • Last week, Smith joined Ken Burrow (2 in 1971) and Randy Moss (3 in 1998) as the only rookies in NFL history to have multiple games with at least 150 receiving yards and a touchdown catch.

WEEK 12 QUICK HITS:

  • The Ravens have won 15 of their last 16 games at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore is 24-5 at home under head coach John Harbaugh, tied (New England) for the NFL’s most home wins since 2008 (as of games played by 11/20).
  • The Ravens aim for their eighth consecutive win at home and sixth this season (5-0 in 2011).
  • Baltimore’s seven-game winning streak at home currently ranks as the NFL’s second longest (Green Bay is first at 10 games).
  • Baltimore aims to reach 8-3 for just the second time in team history (2010 season).

STOUT VS. NFC: Dating back to the 2008 campaign, when head coach John Harbaugh took over in Baltimore, the Ravens have posted a 10-5 record (.667) vs. the NFC, good for the fourth-best mark among AFC teams against the “other conference” during that span.

AFC’s BEST RECORDS VS. THE NFC
(since 2008)
1t. New England Patriots 12-2 .857
1t. Tennessee Titans 12-2 .857
3. Pittsburgh Steelers 10-4 .714
4. Baltimore Ravens 10-5 .667

San Francisco is working on an eight-game win streak, and beat NFC West rival Arizona 23-7 last Sunday at home:

WINNING WAYS: With the win last week vs. Arz. (11/20), head coach Jim Harbaugh became just the 3rd rookie head coach in franchise history to start his career with a 9-1 record.

  • The 49ers have won eight consecutive games, making Coach Harbaugh’s eight-game winning streak the fourth longest by a rookie head coach since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Jim Caldwell’s Colts won 14 in a row in 2009. Steve Mariucci’s 49ers won 11 in a row in 1997. Ted Marchibroda’s Colts won nine in a row in 1975. Bobby Ross’Chargers won seven straight in 1992.
  • With a 9-1 record to start 2011, the 49ers are tied for the 4th-best start since the team joined the NFL in 1950, behind 1984 (15-1); 1990 (13-1); 1997 (11-1); 1989 (9-1).
  • Harbaugh became the first rookie head coach in franchise history to inherit a team with a losing record and lead them to a 9-1 start in his first season.

GOLDEN NUGGETS:
A HOT START

  • With a 9-1 record to start 2011, the 49ers are tied for the 4th-best start since the team joined the NFL in 1950, behind 1984 (15-1); 1990 (13-1); 1997 (11-1); 1989 (9-1).

ROAD WARRIORS

  • With a 4-0 record on the road, the Niners join the Green Bay Packers as the only two teams in the NFL to remain undefeated away from home.

THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE

  • The 49ers have outscored their opponents 256-145. The +111 scoring differential ranks 2nd in the NFL.

A SHORT FIELD

  • The 49ers have started 25 drives in their opponents territory, ranking 1st in the NFL, and have scored 81 points on those drives, ranking 3rd in the NFL.

YOU WANNA START SOMETHING?

  • The 49ers average starting field position is at their own 33.1-yard line, ranking 1st in the NFL.

LONG WAY TO GO

  • The 49ers rank 1st in the NFL with an opponents average starting field position of the 24.3.

BRINGING IT BACK

  • The 49ers rank t-1st in the NFL with 7 PRs of 20+ yds, while ranking 2nd in the NFL with a KOR avg. of 28.0 yds.

POINTS HARD TO COME BY

  • The 49ers have allowed just 145 points on the season, ranking 1st in the NFL for the fewest points allowed.

SHORT AND TOUGH

  • The 49ers have allowed just 16 first downs on 3rd and less than 4 yds. (15 of 33 – 48.5 pct.), ranking 2nd in the NFL.

EFFICIENCY ON D

  • The 49ers defense has allowed opponents to score on just 24.0 pct. of their possessions, ranking 1st in the NFL.

STICKY FINGERS

  • The 49ers have only committed 9 turnovers on the year, ranking t-1st in the NFL for fewest turnovers (Houston – 9).

PRODUCTIVE ON FIRST

  • The 49ers offense has gained 4+ yds. on 52.2 pct. (142 of 272) of their first down plays, ranking 4th in the NFL.

THE COMEBACK TRAIL: Four, 4th quarter come-from-behind-win epitomizes the never quit attitude the 49ers embody this season. One player in particular can parallel his career to the theme, QBAlex Smith. Smith is now tied with NYG QB Eli Manning for the most comeback wins by an NFL QB this season.

Smith became just the second quarterback in franchise history to record 3, 4th qtr. comebacks on the road (QB Joe Montanta – 4 in 1989 and 3 in 1990).

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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Flacco tells Nestor he’d want to boo Ravens too

Posted on 30 October 2011 by WNST Staff

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco heard the boos on his home turf today. Everyone heard the boos. Nestor asked Flacco his reaction to the fans’ disapproval at the abysmal first-half play of the offense:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pH3JUbNnnnA[/youtube]

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NFL Week 1 game notes: Ravens vs. Steelers

Posted on 09 September 2011 by Chris Pika

Week 1 of the 2011 NFL schedule features a pair of teams that have waged one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL over the past decade, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.

Sunday’s 1 pm (CBS) game in M&T Bank Stadium may prove to be everything the NFL Kickoff opener was not Thursday night — a healthy dose of strong defense.

In our second edition of “From the notes …” for Week 1, we look inside the weekly PR game notes produced by the Steelers and Ravens PR departments and the NFL Communications office via the Elias Sports Bureau.

Pittsburgh won the AFC North last season with a 12-4 record. The Steelers were the AFC Champions, and the club advanced to Super Bowl XLV, where they lost to the Green Bay Packers:

SUDDEN START: Due to the labor impasse the 2011 offseason was all but lost, leaving just over a week for teams to sign undrafted rookies, free agents and their own draft picks that they selected back in late April.

For the Steelers the main focus was on resigning their own players to keep a nucleus in tact that had reaped tremendous success over the past few years.

Pittsburgh’s appearance last year in Super Bowl XLV marked the franchise’s third trip to the title game since 2005. The Steelers bring back 20 players that started in that Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh will also return 18 players that started at least 11 games last season, including 15 players that started 14 or more games.

Key players that the Steelers resigned in the offseason included CB Ike Taylor, LB LaMarr Woodley, OT Willie Colon, OT Jonathan Scott, K Shaun Suisham and NT Chris Hoke. Pittsburgh also signed LB Lawrence Timmons to a five-year contract extension.

Continue Reading

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What the hell do these people want from Joe Flacco?

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What the hell do these people want from Joe Flacco?

Posted on 28 July 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

I love it when Joe Flacco talks dirty. Somehow it hasn’t raised a lot of eyebrows or created a ton of conversation just yet but Joe Flacco’s “Welcome Home” meet up with the media on Wednesday afternoon sure created some stir in my mind. Perhaps a lot of folks haven’t heard it yet or really processed it the way I did but you can listen here.

About his skills, Joe Flacco said: “I’m pretty damned good.” And you know what? I agree with him. And his perspective on the whole situation – “there’s only one good quarterback and 31 others who aren’t” – is dead on.

Joe Flacco “gets it.”

Look, I was as dumbfounded as the rest of you when the Ravens picked him three years ago, especially when on draft day the organization managed to keep it a state secret about their affection for the pride of Newark and all of Blue Hendom. Small school kid, almost geekish in his passion for football, sports and very little else, but he’s made everyone in the scouting department look like a genius with three consecutive January road playoff runs and wins every year.

He’s done everything that Kyle Boller — and everyone before him and like him, botched first-round picks in tons of cities around the NFL — have failed to do. Flacco has instantly won football games and given his team a chance every January to win a Super Bowl. He’s been nothing but a winner since he’s been here.

OK, so he hasn’t won the Super Bowl but neither have most any other quarterbacks just three years into their tenure. And I already like his odds better than some “successful” quarterbacks like Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan, etc.

As I watch this furious action around the league and see the likes of Donovan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck being given more starting opportunities, I’ve come to the grand conclusion that I’m happy  having “the other No. 5” on our side.

I’m a Joe Flacco man. I’m a Joe Flacco fan. I believe he can win a Super Bowl (or four) here in Baltimore. I think the Ravens made a good choice picking him and I think they’re wise to count their blessings for what they have and continue to support him in winning a championship here.

And it might’ve taken his rant on Wednesday to convince me because sometimes he seems a bit shy, reserved, unaffected but I’ve never really doubted his fire. And maybe that’s because I stand next to him three days a week and I can pull him up after the game and chat with him. He’s anything BUT “not affected” after losses. He just handles the wins and losses like a grown up and not like a maniac.

It’s the Joe Flacco way.

Joe Cool.

That’s really a PERFECT nickname for him. He’s always cool.

I’ve seen and heard him drop massive F bombs, swearing a blue streak

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Where NFL-NFLPA labor fight stands after Judge Nelson’s decision (as of Tuesday morning)

Posted on 26 April 2011 by Chris Pika

In the game of chicken the NFL and the NFLPA have played since the CBA expired in early March and the owners declared a lockout, the participants, fans and the media have all learned to assume nothing.

Most, myself included, expected Judge Susan Nelson of the U.S. District Court to rule in favor of the players in their preliminary injunction attempt to lift the lockout as part of the Brady v. NFL case. What was also expected was a stay from Judge Nelson to hold the lockout in place until an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit could be filed by the NFL.

So, Judge Nelson’s ruling to lift the lockout immediately, but to not issue a stay of her order until the NFL’s appeal could be heard has thrown the league into chaos on several points, some of which are not entirely clear to legal analysts specializing in sports law in the first hours following the issue of the order.

First, here is Judge Nelson’s full 89-page order issued Monday, April 25.

The NFLPA issued a statement Monday night:

Re: Brady, et al. v. NFL

We are class counsel along with Dewey LeBoeuf on behalf of the 10 named plaintiffs in the Brady lawsuit as well as the 1800 members of the soon to be Brady class. We are pleased with the ruling granting the plaintiffs preliminary injunction to lift the NFL owners’ illegal lockout issued this afternoon by Judge Susan Richard Nelson. We believe that this 89-page well-reasoned decision is totally consistent with prior precedent, governing caselaw as well as administrative rulings on all the issues raised by the NFL Defendants. We are confident that this ruling will withstand any appeals.

De Smith, co-class counsel and Executive Director of the NFLPA said; “I’m happy for our players and for our fans. Today, those who love football are the winners.”

In addition, plaintiff Osi Umenyiora stated: “Today’s ruling is a win for the players and for the fans that want to see a full NFL season in 2011. The lockout is bad for everyone and players will continue to fight it. We hope that this will bring us one step closer to playing the game we love.”

– James W. Quinn, Class Counsel

The NFL also issued a statement following the order:

We will promptly seek a stay from Judge Nelson pending an expedited appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. We believe that federal law bars injunctions in labor disputes. We are confident that the Eighth Circuit will agree. But we also believe that this dispute will inevitably end with a collective bargaining agreement, which would be in the best interests of players, clubs and fans. We can reach a fair agreement only if we continue negotiations toward that goal.

The league, according to SI.com’s Peter King has filed two motions with Nelson’s court: a motion of clarification, seeking more info on the practical implications of the ruling, and a motion to stay the ruling while the Eighth Circuit hears the NFL’s appeal.

There are three possible outcomes, according to King. One, a stay which would keep the lockout in place until the Circuit Court hears and rules; two, no stay and an order to begin the 2011 NFL league year at her discretion; and three, passing the decision of a stay to the Eighth Circuit, which could take about a week to decide.

Judge Nelson’s order has set the following in motion:

The NFLPA via an email, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, advised players of their legal right to report to work at club facilities on Tuesday, April 26. It is unclear how many team player reps are telling players to report. Some like the Lions’ Kyle Vanden Bosch, have told players not to report for a day until the dust settles, while the Steelers’ rep Ryan Clark is telling teammates to report to work, according to ProFootballTalk.com.

Late Monday, according to Schefter, the NFL Management Council has told teams to let players into buildings on Tuesday, but also recommended keeping weight rooms closed and to have security in place to avoid any potential confrontations or photo opportunities for the media.

That advisement from the Management Council will avoid an awkward situation where team security directors, which assist players during normal labor times, would have been the ones turning the players away at the facilities or changing access codes the players use in some cities to access parking and the facilities.

ProFootballTalk.com is reporting that coaches have been told not to be in contact with players until the league has had a chance to seek a stay of Judge Nelson’s order.

Even if the league year is ordered to begin, there is plenty of uncertainty of if the previous CBA would apply going forward. Teams will also have some minefields in antitrust law to navigate, according to sports law professor Michael McCann in SI.com.

In the same article, McCann says the NFL’s appeal will hinge on two points: lack of jurisdiction by Judge Nelson because the National Labor Relations Board is yet to rule on the legality of the NFLPA’s decertification order and lack of irreparable harm to the players.

The league’s lawyers, led by David Boies, made those arguments in front of Judge Nelson in preparation for their appeal to the Eighth Circuit.

According to ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson, the owners may try to impose new work rules, or try to negotiate a new deal with the players, or try to do both.

Andrew Brandt of NationalFootballPost.com says that there is plenty that could still happen in the wake of Judge Nelson’s decision.

The league also faces a mid-May hearing in front of Judge David Doty as he will rule on potential award damages in the lawsuit filed by the players over the owners’ current television contracts. Those contracts would have provided a substantial “war chest” in a lockout. Judge Doty ruled for the players in March, and he will decide on those damages and if there should be an injunction on the TV contracts.

One major question also looms over the NFL Draft to be held over three days later this week. Teams were previously told that the only trades that could take place were ones involving draft picks in the 2011 and future drafts only. With a lifting of the lockout, no one is sure whether deals can be made involving current roster players under contract (for instance, Eagles QB Kevin Kolb).

The next week or so will be unique in NFL history on many levels. In any case, with less than three days before the 2011 NFL Draft, the chaos potential is very high for a league used to order in conducting its business off the field.

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Blog & Tackle: A look at Ravens-Steelers PR game notes

Posted on 13 January 2011 by Chris Pika

Every game of the NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend is a regular-season rematch as both of the AFC games are between division opponents — the first time since 2000 that two games feature teams playing for a third time in a season.

The nastiest matchup of the weekend is the first on the docket: Baltimore at Pittsburgh. The teams have waged wars in the AFC North over the years, and 2010 was no exception. Each team scored 27 points total in the two games, and the games are as physical as any in the NFL over the previous decade.

The Ravens continued to have playoff success on the road as they beat Kansas City last Sunday 30-7 in New Arrowhead. It was the third straight season with at least one playoff victory for Baltimore, the only club in the NFL to do so over the period. QB Joe Flacco joined Bernie Kosar (1985-87) and Dan Marino (1983-85) to start a playoff game in each of their first three seasons in the league. The Ravens will try to advance to the AFC title game for the first time since the 2008 season.

Pittsburgh survived the loss of QB Ben Roethlisberger to a four-game suspension to get to a 3-1 start which included a home loss to the Ravens. The Steelers won six of their last seven games, including a road win at Baltimore for the division title. Roethlisberger Has thrown a personal-best 158 straight passes without an INT, the longest for the Steelers since QB Kordell Stewart had a streak of 159 consecutive pass attempts without an interception in 2001.

The teams split the regular season meetings, with the Ravens winning in Pittsburgh 17-14 in October, and the Steelers winning in Baltimore 13-10 in December.

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