The Oregon Trail

Still curious about the criticisms of Haloti Ngata regarding his intensity and motivation. The most vocal came from ESPN’s Mark Schlereth but not from him solely. Seemed strange, given that all the draftniks had Ngata as the best defensive tackle to stop the run. He has no character issues and fits a direct need for Baltimore.

To learn more I got in touch with Aaron Fentress who covers Duck football for the Oregonian. He had nothing but praise for Ngata as a stand up guy and great talent. He’s very religious and humble.

However, according to Fentress, Ngata coasted through the first part of the season. He just wasn’t dominant. At that point Ducks Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti took him to task, grading him out with a “C”. From that point forward starting with Oregon’s win over Stanford Ngata was a “monster”.

Fentress added that as a run stopper he sees Ngata as Sam Adams II.

Reader feedback about regarding the addition of Haloti Ngata comes courtesy of an e-mail from Eric:

Hi, the Ravens choice of Ngata will reap years of post season success. Our defense is already one of the NFL’s best, yet his talent is great enough to upgrade even an elite “d” like the Ravens’

Thanks Eric, you never forget your first e-mail response to a blog.

Back to the conversation with Aaron Fentress, as he also covered the Ravens 4th round pack, Ngata’s teammate, Demetrius Williams. And as happy as the massive tackle is to come to Baltimore, Williams was equally depressed. “He is not a happy person right now”, said Fentress. Not actually about the Ravens, just going in the 4th round. He planned on going the first day, probably in the 2nd round maybe even sneaking into the first. Then he fell. And fell. All the way to number pick number 111.

Fentress talked with Williams’ dad today and his agent as well. They were all angry and perplexed. Williams himself had not yet gotten out of bed he was so depressed (and this was early afternoon).

The reasons for his fall though had little to do with him. The two teams that showed the most interest found reasons not to select him. Pittsburgh loved him, but when Santonio Holmes slid from the middle of the first round to late first, they traded up to land the best receiver in the draft. Denver showed some love too, but then traded with Green Bay for disgruntled receiver Javon Walker, eliminating their need for Williams.

As for what kind of player we can expect. Fentress said he’s an explosive talent with “runway model legs” meaning he is longer than he looks. I asked if he was afraid of contact, of going over the middle, and the answer was a definite no. Fentress never thought he was afraid of anything.

Wow, all this writing and no mention yet of Steve McNair. If he makes his way to Baltimore and according to his agent it’s likely only a matter of time, the Ravens instantly become a playoff team and Super Bowl contender. There, I said it. The Ravens probably won’t this year given how badly SB talk burned them the last two seasons but it is true. And while Brian Billick will no doubt say he has every confidence in Kyle Boller and that he and McNair will compete for the starting job, we all know that just ain’t so. And thank goodness. Who wants a coach throwing his players under the bus. Leave that kind of nonsense to the star middle linebacker.

As always, please send your feedback. <a href=”’s Arena –
“>e-mail Pete
Otherwise I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and that can’t be right.


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