Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Who are these guys?
November 3, 2008

Left a little loopy from the Ravens recent run of offensive excellence?  Or dumbfounded?  Or stuck with a politician’s perma-grin? 

Hard not to be left in wonder as a team with such a rich tradition of the three yard pass on 3rd and five rides a three game stretch in which they’re averaging 31 points per game. 

Adding to the confusion is the collection of guys tearing it up for the purple and black.  Joe Flacco, a rookie from 1-AA football, Ray Rice from Rutgers (you know that powerhouse in Jersey), and LeRon McClain whom no coach before Cam Cameron thought worthy of regularly carrying the ball.

Who could have seen this coming?  I predicted five wins for the season for the precise reason that these were the guys upon which the Ravens might be forced to rely!  Now they sit in 2nd place, on the verge of first with five wins in the first half of the season.

The growth and excitement from these guys is great and sets the foundation for a serious run of fun.  But before playoff tickets are purchased, take a close look at the schedule.   Four games against the NFC East remain, another date with Pittsburgh, and at Houston this week.  John Harbaugh said today all they’ve guaranteed is a 5-11 record.  He offers the reality check that nothing has really yet been accomplished.  So sure, you can’t earn a spot in the playoffs after eight games,  but you can absolutely lose one.  Thus far, they’re well in the hunt.  What a pleasant surprise.


October 23, 2008

God bless you Terrell Suggs.  You’re consistent ability to say things that leave your coaches and teammates cringing keep you at the top of the list for favorite players to invterview.

Commenting on a syndicated radio talk show this weeks Suggs hit the daily double.  He claimed the Ravens have a bounty out for Steelers receiver Hines Ward.  For the uninitiated, that’s a mega no-no in the NFL.  And then went on to say he wishes Troy Smith was the Ravens starting quarterback.  Again, in case you did not know, the Ravens already have a starter.

The comment that best described the situation today at Ravens headquarters in the media room went like this.   “It’s as if he’s living in the 1950’s, completely unaware that what you say in one city can be heard in another.”  Can’t remember who exactly who painted that picture, but it was one of the Marks from Comcast Sportsnet.  I guess they’ll have to share credit.

It was dead on though.  Suggs has done this before.  Last summer he told a KTVK-TV in Phoenix that he would love to play for the Cardinals.  And get this, somehow word of that interview made its way all the way here to Baltimore.  Suggs backtracked from that idea saying how he’d love to end his career with the Ravens.

He tried to smooth things over once again after his latest team sport gaffe, but the damage in the mind of John Harbaugh and maybe Joe Flacco (although honestly Joe seems to care so little about what anybody else thinks it won’t be a point of contention) is a distraction that must be dealt with.

I don’t think Suggs means to agravate those in his world.  His transgressions come from wanting to please others rather than take anybody down.  But how he can’t see the headaches coming is amazing.  It’s like lending money to people that can’t afford it and then being amazed when they go belly up.  How could that ever happen?

Suggs of course will be completely forgiven for a few interview comments so long as he plays like he did Sunday against the Dolphins.

Not on your life
June 23, 2008

Oh, the temptation is strong.   All the reasons the Ravens drafted Joe Flacco; the rocket arm, the Marino-esque release, the willingness to study and work, they’ve all been on display.  And compared to his competition, there is no question who gives the offense the best chance to score points, or at least who will with a little experience.

John Harbaugh has to want to start him.  How can he not?

Six weeks ago Harbaugh said it was highly unlikely that Flacco would start from week one, that he would have to be so far ahead of the others, that he would have to blow Kyle Boller and Troy Smith away.

Harbaugh’s tune, at least to the media, has not changed.  But watching the workouts and the steady progression of Flacco leaves you knowing the temptation grows. 

Oh dear.

Don’t do it.

Just say no.

No matter how solid Flacco looks the benefits from starting week one against Cincinnati can’t come close to the possible damages inflicted.  An offensive line that will have zero players starting in the position they played last season, a schedule ranked 4th toughest in the NFL, and the last time an NFL team started a rookie in week one was Kyle Boller. 

76 days till the opener with the Bengals.  Here’s to Flacco making enough bad decisions on the field to keep John Harbaugh from making what might be a catastrophic decision for the future of the franchise.

Right before my eyes
March 11, 2008

It still came as a surprise. I knew he could walk, had seen him on television. But watching Kevin Everett walk down the hallway of the Tremont Hotel Monday evening left me riveted.

He wasn’t supposed to walk again. In fact, without the fantastic and immediate medical help from the Buffalo Bills staff, Everett would have died last September after making a tackle.

I watched him stroll down the hall as if he never had medical hiccup. A good pace, no hesitation, just a man moving with purpose.

The purpose Monday was part of the Ed Block Courage Awards celebration. Everett of course is the recipient, and probably the most deserving ever of the honor. That’s not to insult any past winners, but he truly inspires.

The miracle of his survival, and now his prosering leaves him feeling a debt owed. He believes his purpose is now to inspire others, but it’s not that simple.

Kevin Everett does not like the spotlight. He tolerates interviews, embracing them as much as he can, fighting a feeling of discomfort because simply put he does not like attention. And really, how much fun can it be to relive the worst moment of your life so continuously?

But just as wedge busting a tackling were his jobs prior, now he shares his story of hope and how to fight. His efforts, along with doctors, and as he believes a gift from God have brought him back to life. And not just any life, one filled with physical ability.

That possibility seemed so remote last September as he lay there on the turf, barely able to breathe, able to move nothing below his neck.

Watching Kevin Everett walk down the hall has become one of my favorite moments in doing this job. I don’t know if it was a miracle, but I know with complete satisfaction that it was something very special.