Posted on: August 19, 2011 11:05 pm

Pre-Season game two: Ravens vs. Chiefs

Pre-game: Storms in the area... I wonder how the wind and potential rain will impact the game. Perhaps we might actually see some kickoff returns? I'll be looking for several things tonight: How do Cory Williams and Jimmy Smith take advantage of the opportunity to be starting CBs tonight? How does Jah Reid handle the start at RT? How does O'Neil Cousins handle the move to RG? Can the offense put together sustained drives and can the recievers get open for some big plays, particularly Torrey Smith? I also want to see the running game with Ray Rice and Vonta Leech get going.

Kickoff: Interesting seeing all the former Ravens in Chiefs uniforms. Let's see if we get a few little scuffles between them. Defense on the field first. Guess what... touchback. Game on.

1Q 10:57 Chiefs 3 - 0 - Great opening series for the D. Jimmy Smith looks good going up against a huge reciever in Dwayne Bowe. Lardarius Webb needs to fair catch that punt. No excuse for fumbling the punt return and putting the D back on the field. No running room at all for Jamal Charles so far. Chiefs gave Le'Ron McClain a touch and he was promptly stuffed by his former teammates. Gotta love that! Great job by the D holding Chiefs to a FG after the fumble. 

1Q 6:09 Chiefs 3-0 - Offense is moving the ball through the air. Lee Evans makes his first catch and Anquan Boldin with a few good catches. Not sure why Harbs had to challenge the incomplete pass... very obvious call. 

1Q 5:55 Tied at 3 - Bad throw by Joe Flacco and then nifty footwork to avoid a sack and stay in FG range. Good work to get down the field and get points after being backed up inside the 20 to start. Also rests up the D. I feel like the review interrupted the flow of the offense. Disappointed that the refs didn't call the incomplete pass on the field.

1Q 4:10 Tied at 3 - Jimmy still playing well, but it looks like he still needs to learn to look for the ball in the NFL. In college, they are not throwing into his coverage right now, but NFL QBs will fit it in if you are not looking. On the other side, GREAT pass deflection by Cary Williams. Still no running room for Jamal Charles.

1Q 1:59 Tied at 3 - Good to see Ricky Williams out there. Not sure about the play call on 3rd and 2.

End 1Q Tied 3 - Great D again. Cary Williams should have had a Pick 6, Nice sack by Webb. Sergio Kindle almost blocked the punt. I've been happy with the Offense so far considering the bad field position thus far. D looks great. Special Teams fumble is the only reason the Chiefs have points.

2Q 13:51 Tied at 3 - Not a good series for Flacco. Good job throwing the ball away, but a few off target passes. Should have hit Anquan Boldin on 3rd and 10 for a conversion. He does seem to have good pocket awareness so far though.

2Q 11:03 Tied at 3 - Dink. Ryan Succup misfires from 46. Ravens D holds again. Let's see what the Offense can do with this good field position.

2Q 8:40 Tied at 3 - Torrey Smith looks like he still needs to work on route running. I didn't see much crispness to his routes. Nice throw and catch to convert a first down to Lee.

2Q 8:14 Tied at 3 - Great play by Art Jones and Pernell McPhee. Ravens are really getting pressure. Thought it was a fumble, but the tuck rule strikes again.

2Q 5:35 Tied at 3 - The D-Line looks really deep this year. I am liking the pressure. If they can keep this up, the D should be very good. Sergio Kindle almost blocked the punt again!

quick interjection - I LOVE VONTA LEECH. He just got a pancake on the pass catch!! LOVE IT!

2Q 3:10 Ravens 10-3 - There's the offense!! I think they should end the 1st teams night on that. Leech was huge on the drive. Nice block to spring Ray Rice for the TD. Lee Evans caught a perfect touch pass from Joe Flacco. I have no idea how Evans and Flacco are so in sync when nobody else seems to be in sync with Flacco. Great series for the offense. That's what I wanted to see tonight. Other than a few false starts, the O-line has looked better. Not perfect as Joe Flacco has had to dodge a few sacks, but they have been better. Lets see how the second teamers look now. I haven't noticed Jah Reid much, so I am assuming that he's been playing well. I really hope so. He's got to win that job away from Cousins. Also, I think Cousins has been better at RG than he was at LT last week.

2Q :16 Ravens 10-3 - Second team D is getting eaten alive by the draw play and Dexter McCluster. Tyler Palko looks pretty good too for KC. 

End 2Q Tied at 10 - Cary Williams with some poor coverage to allow the TD. Bad finish to an otherwise good first half for both Williams and the D. Kudos: Lee Evans, Pernell McPhee, Vonta Leech, Ray Rice, Tyler Palko Demerits: Lardarius Webb, last series Cary Williams and LB core.

3Q 12:37 Tied at 10 - Not sure why the first team offense is back out there. Flacco looked out of sync again. Still a lot of work to be done with the recievers and Flacco.

3Q 7:02 Chiefs 13-10 - Bad punt sets KC up with good field position. That's his second poor punt. Odd form for Sam Koch. Decent work by the D to hold them to a FG. A few bad plays by the secondary and a bad holding call help the Chiefs down the field.

3Q 4:24 Chiefs 13-10 - Taylor missed a WIDE open Jonathan Stapur. Almost threw a pick on the next play. Not a good start for him. Jah Reid still looking good. Much better O-line play. Game is starting to get sloppy after a penalty negates a 70+ yard punt. 

3Q 1:20 Chiefs 13-10 - Jason Phillips has looked pretty bad in pass defense. Might not make a deep line-backing core. Also not good tackling in open space. The other linebackers have looked pretty good. Prescott Burgess records a sideline sack and the Ravens are still getting good pressure.

End 3Q Chiefs 13-10 - Bad offensive series backed up against the endzone. Saved by a good Sam Koch punt and penalty on the Cheifs. The flags are flying in bunches now. D needs to force a 3 and out and then Tyrod Taylor needs to have a good series and lead a long drive.

4Q 13:08 Chiefs 13-10 - 2 Sacks, 3 and out, McPhee strikes again. I love this kid. Great find in the draft by Ozzie. Haruki Nakumora with a nice sack as well. Time for Taylor to step up and bring the team down the field. 

4Q 11:39 Chiefs 13-10 - No dice. 3 and out with a sack. Very clear to me that the Ravens are going to need to look elsewhere for a backup QB. Taylor does not have the decision making to be a 2nd string QB.

4Q 9:03 Chiefs 13-10 - Good defensive series... Ricky Stanzi didn't look very good either. Ugly quarter of offensive ineptness so far. Time to show something Taylor.

4Q 7:16 Ravens 17-13 - David Reed drops the first ball, but Taylor goes right back to him twice for very nice plays. Jalen Parmele tops it off with a great TD run. Very nice rebound series for Tyrod Taylor and David Reed. First kickoff return for the Chiefs is covered well. No standouts, but good coverage.

4Q 5:33 Ravens 17-13 - Nice sack by Brian Hall and good pass defense by Danny Gorrer. Nice seeing these young guys keep up the defensive intensity.

4Q 2:08 Ravens 24-13 - Beautiful catch by David Reed. Very nice throw from Taylor, put it in a good place that Reed could go and get it. Reed displayed some nice body control. Anthony Allen followed that up with several great runs. Taylor then jukes the pants off of Justin Houston and makes a very athletic dive into the endzone. Taylor and Reed look to have a nice rythym much like Flacco and Evans did. Also of note: Ramon Harewood looks good. I would like to see him get some second team reps next week. He'll be interesting to watch in game 4. I think he will get a lot of reps that game.

End game Ravens 31-13 - I like the call to keep playing. Nice catch by LaQuan Williams. Not a perfect throw by Hunter Cantwell, but found the completion. Anthony Allen punches it in. Well earned TD. Ravens have some depth at RB. I like Jalen Parmele and Anthony Allen as some solid running back depth. Even the second string kicker that has no chance of making the team puts in a touchback. Does that not make this rule change ridiculous? Kudos: David Reed, 4th quarter Tyrod Taylor, Anthony Allen, Jalen Parmele, Ramon Harewood, Pernell McPhee Demerits: 3rd quarter Tyrod Taylor, Jason Phillips, Refs for all of the indecision when making calls.
Category: NFL
Tags: Chiefs, Ravens
Posted on: August 11, 2011 10:42 pm

Pre-Season game one: Ravens vs. Eagles

Pre-game: I just heard about a rule change that I was not aware of. Apparently all close calls ruled a TD on the field are left up to the replay both rather than a coaches challenge. I like this change. These are the most important calls of the game and it should not be up to a coach to force the issue. The refs should want to get these right. I think this will help the coaches make better use of the challenge flag in other critical situations. 

Kickoff: Not a fan of this rule change. Like the excitement of kickoff returns? Don't expect to see many of them.

1Q 11:53 - Ravens 3-0: Good start for Flacco. Great Catch by Pitta and good read on the dump off to Rice. I like that Cundiff has settled into the Kicker role and hit a 53-yarder to put the Ravens on top.

1Q 7:58 - Eagles 7-3: Bad start for Chris Carr. He looked slow and flat footed on the drive. Vick's mobility was big on the drive. Initial coverage was good for the most part, but broke down after Vick bought some time.

1Q 6:07 - Eagles 7-3: Got the running game going a little on the drive. Koch is going to be important this year since there are going to be a lot of touchbacks on kickoffs. He's one of the best at dropping the punt down inside the 20 and he does it again here. One area where the Ravens to not have questions is in the kicking game. 

End 1Q - Eagles 7-3: I like what I just saw from Kruger. Could he be part of the answer to the pass rush question opposite of Suggs? I am hoping to see a lot from Kruger and Kindle this pre-season. If they can bring the pressure from the opposite side of Suggs, that will help the secondary immensely.

2Q 10:27 - Eagles 10-3: So far I have seen really good penetration by the defense. I have also seen some pretty poor tackling. I think the tackling may just be because this is the first real action of the year and they have not been doing a lot of tackling so far, so I am not going to worry about it too much.

2Q 8:06 - Eagles 10-3: Gotta continue that route Torrey. Left Tyrod out to dry. I still wish there was a way to take INT's away from the QB stats and give it to the WR. I would hang this one on Torrey. It hurts to say that too, considering I've been rooting for Torrey for the past several year with Maryland and I've been rooting against Tyrod with Virginia Tech. He's a Raven now though, so I'm looking forward to see what he can do.

2Q 2:00 - Eagles 10-3: I really hope Jah Reid can step up and become the RT. I do not like Oneil Cousins. Add that False Start to the list of reasons. Note to Fantasy Football Players: See how Tyrod Taylor loves to dump the ball to Pitta? Pay attention to TE's that play on teams with young QB's. The TE is the security blanket for young QBs. In particular, I like Kellen Winslow, Zach Miller, Brandon Pettigrew, Todd Heap, and Greg Olsen as sleeper TEs this year for that reason.

Halftime - Eagles 10 -3: Would have liked to see more offense and some better tackling, but it is early. A few player observations. Kudos: Paul Kruger, Dennis Pitta, Bernard Pollard. Demerits: Chris Carr, Torrey Smith, O-line.

3Q 7:44 - Eagles 13-3: Arthur Jones and Bernard Pollard seem to be the only ones on this defensive unit finishing plays right now. Both making solid tackles. Jones in on the forced fumble with McPhee (even though it was somehow overturned... I guess it is pre-season for the refs too, but not sure what they saw to overturn it).

3Q 3:05 - Eagels 13-3: Jalen Parmele's drive. O-line opened some good holes and Jalen ran through them hard. Tyrod makes a rookie throw for a pick in the endzone. He needs to learn to throw that ball away. I did like seeing Tanden Doss with some good downfield blocking. The young recievers need to learn to come back to the ball as well. Doss might have been able to break up the pick if he comes back to the ball. Time for the D to get the ball right back.

End 3Q - Eagles 13-3: D had a chance to keep the field position, but let up a 3rd and long completion from the endzone. I think this is what you are going to get from a group of players all trying to make a big play and get noticed. They are not a cohesive as a unit.

4Q 11:30 - Eagles 13-3: Good D-line play. Good pass rush and tackling.

4Q 8:55 - Eagles 13-3: Another bad throw by Taylor. Lucky it was not picked inbounds. Ravens are going to need a Veteran backup QB. Too many rookie mistakes. Damien Berry and LaQuan Williams both had nice YAC receptions.

Final - Eagles 13-6: Good final drive. LaQuan Williams, the other Terp, looked good with a few catches. He looks to be a good YAC guy. Would have liked to finish off the drive in the endzone, but they made it interesting. Second half player observations: Kudos: Arthur Jones, LaQuan Williams, Tandon Doss. Demerits: Tyrod Taylor, O-Line 

Category: NFL
Tags: Eagles, Ravens
Posted on: February 9, 2011 11:10 pm

Return to action

So, I've decided to make another effort at this whole blogging thing. My previous attempt lasted a total of three posts, so no promises. A few topics on the mind tonight. The Super Bowl was this past Sunday, and it left me with several lingering feelings. 
1. Green Bay may be a dynasty in the making if they can keep their core together. They overcame injuries that you can only assume can't happen to them again just by the law of averages. Aaron Rodgers is for real and I am so happy to finally be talking about him without Brett Farve's name attached to him. He deserves that.
2. What is going to happen this off-season with all of the uncertainty with the CBA? I am 27 and really had a very limited interest in the NFL until about 15 years ago. I cannot recall ever wondering if there would be football next season before and the thought of not having football next season is fightening. It will be interesting to see how teams approach the off-season. I suspect free-agency signings will be extremely limited in the immediate future. That also makes the draft a larger focus this year. I think it will be especially important to have a good draft this year for teams if they have key holes to fill. Should be very interesting.
3. Warning: Not a sports related issue - To all potential National Anthem singers... PLEASE do not forget the words!! It is embarrassing to your entire nation to botch the Anthem on a stage like that. To be honest. I missed Christina's mistake because I stopped listening after about the 3rd word. As a secondary note to all potential Anthem singers... LEAVE IT ALONE!! Stop trying to re-write the Star Spangled bannar. FSK did a great job and you can ruin it by trying to put your own personal touch on it.
4. Aside from the actual football game. I felt like the Super Bowl in Jerry's Palace was an epic fail. The whole ticket debacle is just inexcusible. How do you sell tickets to an event and not have the seats? Those people may be getting some sort of reimbusement, but what about the fans from Pittsburgh and Green Bay that were there to see THEIR team. You cannot repay them for that. Aweful. These fans will always have a bitter taste from this experience. Of course there was the above noted issue with the National Anthem. I will not go into that farther. Finally, the halftime show was aweful as well (save for a Slash sighting). The sound was terrible, to the point that Fergie started signing and had no sound at all for about the first 5-6 words she sang. Then, she killed the GNR. More sound issues with the Usher drop in. Maybe the epxectations for the Bowl in the Palace were unfairly high, but they were brought on by Jerry Jones himself by the simple fact of building the monstrosity. The event fell WELL short of expectations, and honestly, it made me a little happy inside.
Category: NFL
Posted on: April 10, 2009 10:18 am

Booing Mark Teixeira - An Explanation

 Recently, Orioles fans have been criticized by the media for their hostility toward the Yankees, Mark Teixeira. Let me explain why this criticism is unjust. First of all, I would not necessarily classify the booing as hostility. Players get booed all the time. Ask A-Roid about that. There was going to be booing of a Yankee player no matter what team Teixeira was on. Fans all over the country are going to let Rodriguez hear it raining down upon him once he is back on the field. So, why is that ok, but booing Teixeira is considered being 'hostile'?

Now let me explain the anger and frustration that the orioles fans feel toward Teixeira. The Orioles future is looking brighter with young talent reaching or close to reaching maturity. The players and fans alike feel that the frachise is headed in the right direction. Teixeira is a hometown star that everyone has enjoyed watching mature into one of the best players in the league. They've been anticipating the end of his contract for a few years hoping the Orioles will be in a position to bring him in. When that day arrives, the Orioles aggressively go after him. He could be the hometown star that leads the Orioles to the promised land. Then, the smack in the face... not only do the Orioles not get him, but he goes to the Evil Empire. Like a Jedi falling to the Dark Side, Teixeira has fallen Prey to the dollar sign and "promise of a championship" that is offered by the Yankees. Tell me what fan base would not revel in the opportunity to boo this player? The fact that he got off to a slow start and the Orioles won the first 2 games against the Evil Empire just fueled the fire. What the Orioles Fans did during the series against the Yankees is simply what fans do. They support their team (many times at the expense of the visiting team) and are passionate about it.

I, for one, am just happy to see Orioles fans passionate about their team again. Many thanks to Andy McPhail for steering the frachise back on course and restoring hope back into a proud franchise and tradition. Let's Go O's!

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 27, 2009 4:17 pm

OK Memphis, Respect must be earned.

 I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that all the talk about Memphis not getting respect and being good enough to be a #1 seed over dramaticized their situation. Are they a good team? Yes. Do they have great talent? Yes. Are they a battle tested, top 5 team? No. I'm sorry, Memphis, but you have to earn respect. Beating the pulp of an average basketball conference (1 bid this year) year after year and making history does not impress me. Sure, its hard to win all those games in a row, but when you are playing with a team of men in a league of boys, its not THAT hard. The reason nobody REALLY respects Memphis is because there is no barometer to measure them with. They play a few high calibur teams early on, when neither they nor the team they play are in top form, and then begin the bullying of Conference USA.

There is no denying that Memphis is a quality team capable of beating anyone in the country on a given night, but there are many teams that fit that description. Teams are given respect when they prove over the course of a season that they can consistently win big games. Memphis, quite frankly, does not play many big games. Perhaps, Memphis' success in last years tournament produced a feeling of entitlement, but each year is a different team and when you're relatively untested year in and year out, its hard to really hang your hat on something that happened the year before.

But Memphis grabbed a #2 seed and a potential meeting with the last #4 seed and team that supposedly got the nod over Memphis, so the motivation was there to prove once again, that they were a top flight team. How did their tournament go? A scare in round one, a rebound and sound beating handed out in round 2, and then last night. Missouri controlled the entire game and was quite obviously the better team on the floor.

All the fuss was for naught. And there was a fuss. The media fell in love with the Memphis cause and in the process probably overhyped the team. They were, as we saw, far from perfect. The mid-majors produce some highly competetive teams, but the reason there is a major conference bias is because the are more clearly measured and test throughout the season. Every year there is call for more teams and more love for the mid majors, which I can understand to a point. However, when you throw up the resumes and perform the 'who did they play and who did they beat' test, the edge will almost always go to a power conference team. I love a cinderella story and upset as much as the next guy, but the tournament is ultimately about crowning a champion and the power conferences produce that team 99 times out of 100.

So, to Memphis and all the other 'step-children' of the NCAA. Stop asking for respect and go out and grab it. And when you aren't getting the love again next year, go out and grab it again. After all, the game of basketball plays out on the floor, not in the polls.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 10, 2009 9:04 pm

Titans - Ravens observations

First of all, I've seen a lot of fans complaining about the expired play clock play, so I will address this. I've seen this happen in just about every week this season and previous ones. On the field, you do not have the benefit of seeing the play and clock simultaneously. So, as the CBS announcers (who I thought were really good today) pointed out, they look at the clock until it expires and then look down to see if the ball is snapped. To the fans that can see both at the same time on the TV screen, it is clear that it had expired. To the umpire, it is not so easy. Many times the ball is snapped just after the clock expires and not called. It is part of the human element of the game. This call was no different, but because it was at a critical juncture, it gets a lot of attention. Aside from this call, the refs officiated a very good game and were good about not flagging for the scrums after plays knowing the situation.

Next, there has been a lot going around that the incomplete pass from Flacco out of his endzone should have been a safety because Flacco stepped out of bounds. I thought when it happened live that he did as well, but Jeff Fisher obviously got some good info from above that he didn't since he didn't challenge it. After the game they showed that play from that endzone camera, which gave a great view that clearly showed that Flacco did not step out.

I also have to give some props to Justin Gage. He played an outstanding game. I have to wonder where he's been all season. The Titans have a very good, young receiver that they need to hang onto and get more involved next year. Also, I was impressed with Collins. He still has a lot left in the tank. The Titans front lines also played really well. The offensive line blocked well and handled Baltimore's blitz schemes. The Defensive line plugged the rushing gaps and got pressure a few times on Flacco (who handled the pressure very well). Chris Johnson's injury really hurt too.

On the Raven's side, Derrick Mason is a warrior. I've gained a whole new respect for him watching him play through his injuries this year and still be a huge contributer. The Dallas game in particular stands out as one of the guttiest performances by as Wide Receiver ever. Also, the most significant contribution he has made is one that most people won't recognize, but he's mentored Mark Clayton into an outstanding receiver. Clayton has made some of the best catches I've seen in a Raven's uniform the past few weeks.

Finally, Flacco is starting his 18 game tomorrow. Let's stop calling him a Rookie. He's played well enough to earn the removal of that label. He didn't do a lot in this game, but when he needed to, he made some big throws. 3 come to mind. 3rd and medium and Flacco drops in between the corner and Safety to the sure hands of Derrick Mason for a TD. HUGE. Throwing into double coverage to the hottest receiver in the league, Clayton and trusting him to get the ball was also huge. Finally, the play clock play. That was a big time throw to Todd Heap. Of course all the things that he didn't do, like turn the ball over or take a sack, were just as important.

This was a great game. Time to see what the rest of the weekend has to offer. 14-7 Cardinals... I'm intrigued.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or