Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All this talk about needing a new WR in Baltimore?

Before the Ravens took one regular season snap, all I heard was how bad we needed a new, top-notch wide receiver, someone such as Brandon Marshall or Anquan Boldin. But now that the Ravens are off to a hot start and playing like the best team in the NFL, I would have to seriously disagree with the opinion that the Ravens need a new receiver. Joe Flacco has been able to put the ball exactly where it needs to be, making the Ravens' receiving core look like one of the best in the league.

Let us compare.

Our best receiver, hands down, with no argument, would have to be Derrick Mason. So far this season, he has 12 receptions for 196 yards and one touchdown. Surprisingly, our next best receiver thus far has been Kelley Washington, who also has 12 receptions for 167 yards and one touchdown. And Mark Clayton has also gotten off to a decent start with nine receptions for 132 yards and one touchdown. If you would have asked me, or anyone for that matter, to predict the statistics of these three gentlemen, no one would have told you that all three of them would have been this productive thus far. I thought that they were all going to have decent numbers, but not these numbers. And to add on to these three, possibly the biggest surprise of them all would be our long lost tight end, Todd Heap, who has ten receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns. If you ask me, thank God for Ozzie Newsome for not listening to the media critics who were begging for Marshall and Boldin. Boldin has actually gotten off to a good start with 16 receptions for 171 yards and one touchdown. Even though Boldin might have a few more receptions, he is complaining about wanting a new contract which will far outweigh the $3 million that the Ravens are paying Mason. And as far as Marshall, he has gotten off to a sub-par start by his standards with 12 receptions for 128 yards and one touchdown, which is right along the same lines of Mark Clayton. Once again, Marshall is also demanding a new contract as well as having a tainted history with a lot of legal issues.

Even though I do not own any part of the Ravens, I feel as though I have saved money by the front office not going out on a limb to give up a first round draft pick to bring in one of these receivers. As we have all heard before, "In Ozzie we trust," and I will continue to trust him since I know he is going to put a winning team out there week in and week out.

Can the Ravens finally beat the Patriots?

After coming off of an impressive game against the basement dwelling Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Ravens head into Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. In the Ravens' fourteen-year existence, they have never beaten the Patriots. The city of Baltimore will hope that their luck changes this upcoming Sunday as the Ravens try to remain at the top of the NFL as one of the only remaining undefeated teams. After this past Sunday, the AFC has 3 other undefeated teams, the Colts, the Jets, and the Broncos, and the NFC has 3 undefeated teams, the Giants, the Saints, and the Vikings.

Against the Browns, the Ravens only surrendered one field goal in the 34-3 victory. The Ravens only allowed 186 total yards while gaining an astounding 479 yards. These statistics are very promising as the Ravens prepare to take on one of the league's best offenses of this decade. In the Patriots victory this past Sunday, they were able to put up 26 points while accumulating 445 total yards against the Atlanta Falcons while virtually shutting down their offense, only allowing 10 points and 257 total yards. Something is going to have to give come this Sunday, let's all just hope that the Ravens defense is going to be able to get pressure on Tom Brady and that our secondary will be able to contain the formidable Randy Moss and, if he plays, the speedy little Wes Welker.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the unforgettable match-up in Baltimore on December 3, 2007 when a late roughing the passer penalty on Bart Scott prompted him to take the penalty flagand through it into the stands, showing the frustration both of that drive by the Patriots, but also of the disappointing season by the Ravens. The penalty on Scott was followed by a game winning touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Jabar Gaffney with 44 seconds left in the game. This win by the Patriots helped propell them to an undefeated regular season where they went on to loose to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
Needless to say, this match-up on Sunday is one of the most compelling ones of the weekend with many eyes watching every play of this game. With the Ravens remaining at the top spot on many NFL power rankings, the New England Patriots are not far behind at the number seven position. The main match-up within the game to look out for is the Ravens cornerbacks against the Patriots receivers. Another one that I plan on keeping a close eye on is the Ravens pass rush against the Patriots offensive line. If the Ravens can flush Brady out of the pocket and get to him a few times, they should be able to rattle him enough, making him make mistakes. Hopefully the Ravens will be able to do this with a three or four man rush, because the more people that are rushing Brady, the less people that the secondary will have helping them in coverage.

Let me know what you think Baltimore... Is it Sunday yet?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ravens vs. Brown at M&T Bank this Sunday

After starting off the season 2-0, the Ravens are riding a high wave of emotion as they prepare for their week 3 match-up against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are struggling this season going 0-2 so far by being defeated by the Minnesota Vikings and the Denver Broncos in two games that ended up being relative blowouts. The Ravens were able to hold off a last second come back at San Diego to secure their fourth regular season victory going back to last season.

The Ravens were able to sweep the season series in 2008 against the Browns, and look for their third straight win against the Ravens former city this upcoming Sunday. The Ravens have not lost to the Browns since November 18, 2007, when they had to go into overtime to decide the victor.

There are some intriguing match-ups to look for as these two teams take the field at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. As many people have been discussing this week, if the Ravens have one weak spot in their defense, it may be in the secondary. With that being said, the Browns do have a talented receiving core with Braylon Edwards as their number one and Joshua Cribbs as their number two. Even though he is a little banged up with a hamstring injury, former Raven running back Jamal Lewis looks to have a break-out game against the NFL's number one rushing defense, giving up a staunch 41 yards per game.

Now it's time for some outside opinions on the status of our beloved Baltimore Ravens. Is the Ravens secondary as terrible as people are trying to convey? I mean, Dawan Landry had an interception last week, and already has 14 tackles in two games. Dominque Foxworth, while having some troubles defending receivers that had substantial height advantages, still had two passes defended against San Diego. Fabian Washington and Frank Walker did all that they could to contain the Chargers' receivers. Oh yea, and there is that other guy back there, what was his name again?? That's right, Ed Reed. He's not a bad ballplayer. So is it the secondary's fault? I mean, we could blame it on the pass rush, since Coach Harbaugh was hesitant to blitz so that the speedy Darren Sproles wouldn't have more room to work with. And Trevor Pryce seems to not have his motor running up to speed quite like he has in his past three seasons here in Baltimore. I guess we'll see the game plan this Sunday, and see if our secondary, and for that matter, our defense in general, can play well enough to reassure the rest of the NFL that Baltimore's defense is still a force to be reckoned with.

Great Story outside the NFL

Thanks to one of my good friends and co-workers, I was informed of a moment in high school football in Missouri that makes us all sit back and remember that football is just a game, and not some battlefield where a war takes place every Saturday and Sunday throughout the fall.

In a freshman football game in St. Jospeh, Missouri, just outside of Kansas City, Maryvale High School's freshman team was up 46-0 over Benton High School. With 10 seconds left in the game, Benton's coach put it one of his freshman running backs, Matt Ziesel for the final play of the game. Matt has down syndrome and never gets a chance to play in any of Benton's football games. One of Benton's coaches walked to the other side of the field to ask Maryvale's coach if they would give up the shutout in order to make this day special for young Matt. Without hesitation, Maryvale's coach informed his players of the situation, and on the ensuing hand-off, Matt Ziesel ran his first rushing attempt for a 60-yard touchdown run. A story like this should make everyone realize that football is a game, enjoyed by people of all ages. People need to take a step back when they are at their tailgates and in their seats this upcoming weekend and appreciate the opportunity that they are at one of America's finest sporting events and not take it for granted. It's fun to have a little trash talk between one another and joke around, but in the end, remember that it is just a game. Remember that there are people like Matt Ziesel that take every moment out on the playing field for everything that it is.

For a link to this story, please go to

Congratulations Matt Ziesel on your first touchdown run!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quick Trip Around the NFL

Vick is finally back!!! This is by far going to overshadow any other story this week in the NFL. After not stepping on the football field since Christmas Eve in 2006. What kind of impact can we expect a man who has been away from the game for over two and half years? And according to Andy Reid, we may not even see the former highest paid player in the history of the league this upcoming Sunday as the Eagles take on the Chiefs in Philadelphia. How is Vick going to perform when, or if, he gets the chance?

And now let's go to a highly debated topic within the same NFC East that some people may have overlooked, but is worth taking a look at. On Sunday night in the opening of the brand new $1 billion plus Cowboys Stadium, one play has many Giants fans upset at a certain Cowboys player. Who is this player? None other than 6'7", 340 pounder Flozell Adams, who decided to trip Giants defensive end Justin Tuck in the second quarter of Sunday night's game. Giants fans are outraged, and the $12,500 fine that Adams received wasn't enough for some Giants fans. It didn't seem to be completely intentional, but that's up for debate. Should a large man like Adams be fined for trying to block a quicker, more elusive pass rusher when the trip could have been accidental? Or did Adams not got fined enough for knocking out New York's top pass rusher from a year ago for at least one game, possibly two?

Now let's shift gears back to a story that is a little closer to home. I know a lot of you will love this story as I have a huge smile on my face typing it up. That's right... the huge win by the Chicago Bears over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Man, how sweet a victory this one was for the Bears. As a Ravens fan first, I was delighted to see the Steelers go down, seemingly not able to come up with that final drive to put away the Bears (much thanks goes here to Jeff Reed for missing two field goals in the Windy City). But it was even better since my second team, Da Bears, were able to pull off a huge upset, all while giving Chicago fans a chance to fall in love with the new franchise quarterback, Jay Cutler. There are a few questions that come out of this defensive battle.

1) Is the Bears defensive going to be ok without its leader, Brian Urlacher?
2) Is the Steelers defensive going to be ok without its leader, Troy Polamalu?
3) Is Jeff Reed going to be affected by these misses for the rest of the season?
4) Is Jay Cutler for real?

This should give you all food for thought for awhile.

First post and NFL Power Rankings

So here is #1. My first post here on my blog. I have to do this for a class that I am currently enrolled in at Towson University, but I am going to take this thing and run with it. This blog is going to focus mainly on NFL football, with a large focus on the Baltimore Ravens. For those of you that know me, I am going to have to throw in a good amount of information on the Chicago Bears as well, since I was born just outside of the Windy City.

WELL... Let's get into in and stop wasting time.

The Ravens are off to a hot start, with ESPN ranking them as #1 in their power rankings. CBS has the Ravens as #5, and Fox Sports somehow has the Ravens all the way down at #10. I need some thoughts on what people think here. Should we be #1, #5, or even #10? And what would you rather be, the #1 team with a target on our backs, or the #10 team as the underdog?

Then again... how much can we put on the week 2 power rankings, as the NFL season is a long and grueling 5 months?