Archive for December, 2008

Discussing the Ed Reed lateral issue

Dec. 30, 2008, 5:15 PM

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I was reading a blog entry by the Baltimore Sun‘s Mike Preston this morning. The entry talked about the Ravens coaching staff telling Ed Reed to stop his habit of lateralling the ball after interceptions/fumble recoveries. Quite a few people responded to the post and the majority of the voices said they agree with the coaching staff that Reed needs to stop.

I do not share that opinion.

Ed Reed will go down as one of the best safeties ever to play the game. Why? Because he’s a playmaker. I believe if you want Ed Reed on your team, then you have to take the bad with the good. Is he going to mess up every now and then? Of course! Some say his mistakes cost the team games. That may be true, but off the top of my head only one game comes to mind where that would even be close to being the case. That game was the Monday night game last December against the Patriots, when New England running back Kevin Faulk stripped Ed and basically negated the intercepion he just made. Even in that case, the problem was ball control, not Reed lateralling it. I will take those mistakes with the game-changing ability that Reed brings to the table any day of the week. I think people need to realize what a great asset he is to the Ravens and not nit-pick over a certain aspect of his game. It’s a classic risk-reward debate. And with Reed, I’d say the reward is well worth the risk.

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Playoff Bound: Ravens 27 – Jaguars 7

Dec. 28, 2008, 9:44 PM

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Here are few notes following the Ravens 27-7 stomping of the Jacksonville Jaguars

1) Joe Flacco and the offense looked very solid. This was easily Flacco’s best game of the year. He looked very comfortable out there and made some incredible throws to Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason. Cam Cameron threw in a flea flicker and also got Troy Smith involved. The big play from Smith came in the third quarter when he lateraled the ball to Flacco, who then found him for a 36 yard catch and run.  Le’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee and Lorenzo Neal all contributed nicely on the ground. Zero turnovers is a very nice stat to see.

2) The defense was great again. Although it looked like Maurice Jones-Drew would gain 100+ yards after a good first half, the Ravens played shut down D in the second half. I cannot say enough about Ed Reed. He had 2 more interceptions today to give him a league leading  nine for the season. If he does not win the Defensive Player of the Year Award, I will be shocked and dissapointed.

3) The Miami Dolphins defeated the New York Jets to win the AFC East, which means Baltimore will travel to Miami for a 1:00 kickoff on Sunday, January 4 on Wild Card Weekend.

Week 17: Ravens-Jaguars Preview

Dec. 28, 2008, 5:30 AM

Quarterback David Garrard and the Jags are looking to spoil the Ravens playoff hopes

Quarterback David Garrard and the Jags are looking to spoil the Ravens playoff hopes

Game Info:
Kickoff: 4:15 p.m. (ET)
Site: M&T Bank Stadium (71,008) • Baltimore, MD.
TV: CBS
Announcers: Dick Enberg (play-by-play), Randy Cross (color)

Matchups:

Ravens Offense vs. Jaguars Defense – The Ravens will pound the ball as they have all season with Le’Ron McClain and Willis McGahee. Look for Ray Rice to get a healthy dose of carries if the Patriots lose their game against the Bills (which clinches a playoff spot for Baltimore). The Jaguars looked strong last week against the Colts rushing attack, holding them to 32 yards on the ground. Their pass defense is another story; Peyton Manning did not get sacked once and torched Jacksonville for 364 yards through the air. The Jags have been without Rashean Mathis, their top corner, since placing him on injured reserve on 12/4.

Jaguars Offense vs. Ravens Defense – Jacksonville has a very explosive weapon in running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. But “Mojo” is nursing a sore knee and will not be 100% by kickoff. The Ravens defense has not allowed a 100 yard rusher is 34 consecutive games, and they haven’t allowed one at home since 2004. Still, Jones-Drew is one of the better pass blocking backs in the league and he could give quarterback Davis Garrard the extra second or two he needs to make decisions against a ferocious Ravens defense.

The Prediction – The Ravens are 7-1 in season finale games played at home, having won 7 consecutive. I believe today will be no different. John Harbaugh has this team playing smart, physical football. After last week’s win in Dallas, facing 5-11 Jacksonville at home should be an easy task. Sure things do not exist in the NFL, but this is as sure as they come. RAVENS, 27 – 13.

Ravens – Jags kickoff moved to 4:15

Dec. 22, 2008, 2:59 PM

•The NFL announced today that kickoff for this Sunday’s Ravens-Jaguars game at M&T Bank Stadium  has been moved from 1:00 to 4:15. The game will still be carried on CBS.

•Other game time changes include the Dolphins at Jets and Cowboys at Eagles being moved to 4:15. The league announced yesterday that the Broncos – Chargers game will be moved to 8:15 to be shown NBC’s Sunday Night Football

What a Finish! Giants 34 – Panthers 28

Dec. 22, 2008, 12:09 AM

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Giants RB Derrick Ward finished with 215 yards on 15 carries

•With homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs on the line, the New York Giants came from behind to beat the Carolina Panthers 34-28 on Sunday night.

•This game had an amazing finish. The Giants were down 28-20 for much of the 4th quarter after Deangelo Williams scored his 4th rushing TD of the night early in the period. But with 3:24 remaining in the game, the Giants capped off a 44 yd drive with a Brandon Jacobs TD. New York coach Tom Coughlin decided to go for the two point conversion and it was successful as Eli Manning hit Domenik Hixon for the score. Tie ball game.

•The Panthers drove down to the New York 32 yard line and John Kasey missed a 50 yard FG attempt with just 9 seconds left in regulation. So we head to overtime.

•New York got the ball to start overtime and went three and out. When the Panthers got the ball, they did the same, going three and out. The G-Men began their second drive of OT on their own 13 yard line. On the first play of the drive, Derrick Ward scampered 51 yards to the Panthers 36. 3 plays later on 3rd down Ward ran 14 yards to the Carolina 19. On the very next play Ward ran 17 yards to the 2. Not wanting to risk a blocked kick or bad snap, Coughlin chose to run the ball in rather than attempt a field goal. Brandon Jacobs got the handoff and was not going to be deniefd as he pushed his way to paydirt and the victory. The Giants scored 14 unanswered points to stun the Panthers and clinch the top seed in the NFC playoff picture.

Week 16 Early Games

Dec. 21, 2008, 4:49 PM

Here are a few observations from the early games:

•The Titans looked very strong in their win over the Steelers, 31-14. I was more than happy to see the Steelers finally drop a meaningful game. I was also thinking about this game in terms of how it could affect the Ravens. If the Ravens get in to the playoffs (all they need is a win over Jacksonville next week), they will be the 6th and lowest seed. If they go on and win their first game, the team who has the number one seed has the honors of hosting the lowest seed. After today’s game that team would be the Tennessee Titans.

•It was a wild game in frigid Kansas City as the Dolphins improved to 10-5 with a 38-31 victory over the Chiefs. Once again, I was thinking about the Ravens and how this game affects them. If the Dolphins win next week, they win the AFC East. The team the Ravens will have to face on the road on wild-card weekend is whoever wins the East. Out of New England, New York, and Miami…I would prefer the team going down to South Beach where they already won earlier this year. New England during January is brutal, and the Meadowlands in New Jersey will not be fun either. It looks more and more like we will see a Ravens @ Dolphins matchup on the weekend of January 3-4.

•In Cleveland, the Bengals won their second game in a row as they blanked the Browns 14-0. The Browns have not scored an offensive touchdown in five straight games. Ken Dorsey threw three interceptions. This organization is in shambles. Expect Romeo Crennel to be fired before the new year.

•New England improved their record to 10-0 when snow is falling at kickoff. They kept their slim playoff hopes alive, embarrassing the Cardinals 47-7.

•University of Maryland alum Shaun hill led the 49ers to a touchdown with less than 2:00 in regulation to beat the Rams 17-16.

Ravens 33 – Cowboys 24

Dec. 21, 2008, 12:50 AM

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The Ravens made a huge statement Saturday night, defeating the Dallas Cowboys 33-24 and closing the doors of Texas Stadium for good.

Le’Ron McClain and Willis McGahee slammed the door on any hope of a Cowboy comeback with 2 of the 3 longest runs in franchise history.

Ed Reed was great again. He had 2 interceptions in the first half and further made his case for being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year

Derrick Mason was amazing. He was clearly in pain the whole game with a separated shoulder yet still led this team in yards and receptions. A heroic effort on his end.

Last QB to win at Texas Stadium? That’s right…Joe Flacco

I will post more on this colossal win tomorow morning.


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