Archive for October, 2010

Flacco’s progress
October 21, 2010

ESPN radio pot stirrer Colin Cowherd went on a rant this week, “with sources”, regarding the future of Joe Flacco as franchise quarterback of the Ravens.

“Flacco is slow in his progressions, and it’s troubling to some of the people inside the organization. His development is not what they were hoping it was. He’s hit a wall”

Actually, what I’m told, at times he goes too quickly through his progressions. Under heavy fire Flacco delivers the ball quickly and accurately. When did he struggle against New England? Later in the game when the Patriots dropped eight into coverage and Flacco actually had time. That was the adjustment made by Bill Belichick. He had played cover 2 defense throughout the game, but to keep the safeties deep while adding linebackers into the coverage scheme gave Flacco problems. He went through his progressions, but failed to give each one enough time to get open. Ray Rice then became the option.

It’s a lesson learned by the best, to believe you will have the time to let the play breathe. Tom Brady has clearly learned it, witness his 4th quarter touchdown pass to Deion Branch as the Ravens dropped eight into coverage. Brady planted his back foot, and just waited out the coverage. After enough time, someone will come open, and Branch finally shook free from Lardarius Webb.

But as for the franchise losing faith in Flacco. My source says, not a chance. His exact words, “No doubts about Joe. NONE.” He also pointed out the stat that over the last four weeks, Flacco is the highest rated passer in the league. He never comes off the field confused, always delivering reason for his actions, but also understanding why some things failed to work.

He obviously remains a work in progress, but compared to others at this juncture he’s right there. The Ravens also refuse to get him killed. Opening things for a wild shoot out can destroy a quarterback physically and mentally in the span of just a couple of games. The Ravens believe in their quarterback and will protect that investment.

“Joe, if he stays healthy, will have a long career in this league at a very high level.”

That’s the mindset from the castle today. No walls standing in Flacco’s way.

Marathon Memories
October 18, 2010

Well, at least memories from the relay portion.  I had the distinct pleasure of running the final leg with a team trying to raise money for the Cool Kids Campaign.  And even though the race has come and gone, donations may continue!

What struck me though in taking part, was the fabulous response from the communities through which we ran. Already emboldened by sharing a joint experience with more than 22,000 runners, feeling the support from our community actually gave me chills a couple of times. Bands playing, people cheering, gummi bears sharing. All tremendously helpful in taking my mind off the pain of a 7.3 mile leg for which I was woefully under trained.

It’s also a tremendous people watching spectacle. A head to toe green body suit donned by one running team. Other costumes too, although I missed the guy wearing overalls this year.

But what stunned me more than anything else I witnessed, and made me feel a little strange, running alongside a woman who was having a conversation on a cell phone. This was in her final mile of the half marathon, and not a quick “honey, I’m almost to the finish line” kind of chat. This one lasted several minutes.

Who does that?!? It felt like some sort of violation. I wanted to throw a flag or something, then my leg started cramping in multiple places so my focus went elsewhere.

A great day though regardless, one that brings a city together, at least for a few hours.

The Ravens invisible glue
October 11, 2010

233 yards on the ground leave the lasting memory from the Ravens 31-17 win over the Broncos on Sunday.   You could also include a bevy of drives that went nowhere from Denver, which only padded stats at the game’s end when the outcome had no doubt.

But what once again held things together whenever trouble loomed (although trouble had trouble showing up for the Ravens) was Jerry Rosberg’s unheralded special teams unit.  Solid throughout this 4-1 start, the squad nearly tossed a perfect game against Denver.

They had ball security, they caused a turnover, Sam Koch dropped  punt after punt in the perfect spot, Billy Cundiff hit four kickoffs for touchbacks and made a field goal.

We have seen incredible consistency for a unit that struggled some the first two years under Rosberg. Like good officitating, you don’t much notice them.  When the special teamers succeed, it often comes with anonymity.

Rosberg and John Harbaugh have preached the value, and watching them reward with their unsung heroes with relentless praise, shows they mean it.  The high fives, hugs, and even noogies were delivered with reckless abandon.

Flacco will run hot and cold this year, the defense will give up big plays, but with great special teams play those other variables  become far more tenable.

Don from Pasadena… Find another hobby..
October 4, 2010

The Ravens just wrapped up their most thrilling victory in Pittsburgh since, oh I don’t know, the dawn of time.  Joe Flacco delivered  the greatest clutch performance of his young career as Baltimore stakes its claim to the path of this season.  It was a fans dream come true.  To silence one of the loudest, most boisterous, dare I say most arrogant fan bases in sport.

I had a blast  doing the highlights for TV-11 at six o’clock, then joined Keith Mills for the last half hour of the Ravens post game show on WBAL Radio.

Our last call of the day, Don from Pasadena.  You know it’s about to go badly when a caller begins his rant, “Now, first of all I’m a huge Ravens fan.”

Always a huge red flag, because what follows is completely anti-Raven.

“And I’m happy about today’s win,”

But.

“But, why can’t they ever blow out lesser  teams like the Browns last week?”

Keith and I just sat there stunned.  I really struggled to even respond while Don was on the air.

How, on this day, could you be whining about a game won by seven points seven days ago while you should be celebrating an all too rare win in the ‘Burgh?

Don failed to answer that question, only wondering why the football gods have made him to suffer through this 3-1 first place start with a schedule that had the Ravens play three road games.

Don though provided a service.  A reminder for all of us to keep an eye on perspective and what’s really important.  I’m sure I’m guilty of complaining about something I shouldn’t.  And when I do, Don’s idiocy will surely creep into my brain and shut my mouth!

Thanks Don.