LETTERS 2 TL ~ Mellow Yellow?

Lombardi's Way LETTERS 2 TL ~ Mellow Yellow?

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TOO MUCH YELLOW
 
Tony,
 
I know the NFL is always concerned about the quality of its officiating. I think it’s equally important they should be concerned about the quantity of officiating so to speak. Last night Mike Carey and his crew did the Redskins-Vikings game. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you which crew did the Ravens-Lions fiasco last season. It was Carey and his gang.
 
It’s inevitable when he does a game the number of penalties called is sky high. Last night there were 16 penalties called for a total of 115 yards. You can’t tell me that teams always commit more penalties when his crew does a game than when other officiating crews do games. He and his crew simply choose to throw more flags than other crews.
 
I think you will agree it’s more fun to watch games with fewer rather than more penalties. My suggestion–have the NFL tell its officials if they see a questionable foul don’t call it. If there is no question about it or it’s a flagrant foul then throw the flag. No harm no foul.
 
Steve from Lutherville
 
Steve,
 
You may remember another referee named Johnny Grier.  Grier’s crew did the very same thing as Mike Carey’s crew and I couldn’t agree more with you – they take the fun out of the game.  Carey seems to anticipate a penalty and gets those twitchy little fingers of his reaching for the yellow laundry before a foul ever occurs.  He seemed to do exactly that on the roughing the passer call against Erasmus James in the third quarter.  In fairness, they also did the same thing when they called unnecessary roughness against Sean Taylor after he hit Marcus Robinson along the sideline.
 
I used to dread seeing Johnny Grier at a Ravens game.  Now I dread Mike Carey.  I think he has malice in his heart.
 
Rave on,
 
TL
 
HELLO, MCFLY?
 
TL,
 
With the NFL network replays now on Tues and Wed nights don’t you think they would make one of those games a regional game so fans in Baltimore could watch the Ravens game again or fans in NY could watch the Giants or Jets game? Only hard core fans are going to watch repeat games of other teams, but I bet a larger percentage would watch their local team’s game again. 
 
What do you think?
 
SK, Owings Mills
 
SK,
 
(Not to be confused with the hot dog maker)….I think you are absolutely right!  Some things make so much sense that the authorities sometimes resist it and push back.  Take Peter Angelos and his unwillingness to put “Baltimore” on the Orioles’ road jerseys…
 
Hey NFL Network….
 
WAKE UP!
 
TL
 
LOVE FOR PRESTON
 
TL,
 
Mike Preston just continues to be a (expletive deleted).
 
I wasn’t surprised that he gave McNair a C+ for Sunday’s game.  This man must be the most [deprived] man in America.  But, taking the time to subtly diss the Ravens for using the same blueprint just shows his lack of focus on what wins in the NFL, and his passion for being negative.
 
Mark Considine
 
Mark,
 
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.  There’s nothing wrong with a formula as long as you have the personnel to implement it.  In baseball you hear it over and over again – it’s all about pitching and defense; pitching always beats good hitting in October; etc., etc.
 
Why can’t there be a winning formula in football?
 
Answer: There can be and there is.
 
The unknown is whether or not the Ravens have the personnel to fit that formula – the winning 2000 formula.  Time will tell but until such time, I find very little fault in what the Ravens did on Sunday.  Sure they made mistakes but not the kind that cost you games.  There’s room for improvement and even the players recognize that.  How good is it to beat a playoff team on the road when you didn’t even play your best game?
 
That to me is exciting.
 
By the way, I gave McNair a B+ not so much for the way he played but more for his calming influence and his ability to lead his offense.  That opening drive (and granted it was just one drive), sent a message that was felt throughout the game.  It’s hard to give a C+ in my opinion to someone who took control of the game the way McNair did.  My report card can be found here: Postgame Analysis: Ravens 27 Bucs 0
 
Class dismissed,
 
TL
 
PUT ME IN COACH
 
Tony,
 
I am curious about the coaches and their agenda for camp and preseason.  It seems to me that they have a good idea about what they need to accomplish after the winter meetings and reflecting back to the past season’s performance.  From what you can gather and or gauge, are the position coaches satisfied with the work done at the camp? 
 
Are there opportunities to improve certain players during this time and if so, who made the most progress and who didn’t seem to improve? 
 
I am thinking of a guy like Haloti Ngata who needs work on his technique.  I would think his head is swimming as a rookie to try to adapt to the speed of the NFL and the various schemes teams run.   Can it be information overload for him?  For that matter, any rookie? 
 
Then I think of Mike Flynn, Keydrick Vincent and Tony Pashos.  From their evaluations and what they needed to work on based on last year’s performance through this years camp and preseason, are these players where they need to be and are the coaches satisfied with their accomplishments?  I guess they need to be somewhat satisfied since Brian Billick and company endorsed them as this year’s starters.
 
I eagerly await your reply…
 
Michael Burget
 
Michael,
 
The entire coaching staff is under a great deal of pressure.  They must and they have pulled together to collectively do their best.  If the team fails in 2006, Brian Billick will more than likely be fired and if that happens, these coaches will be looking for new jobs even before the season is complete.  They only want to go down that road if it’s by their own design as they look to advance their NFL careers.  Together and individually they are looking for any player to step up and they are willing to do whatever it takes to help any player reach his fullest potential.
 
Brian Billick asks for and receives input from his staff in all phases of coaching including camp.  While I’m sure that the way camp is conducted doesn’t completely agree with all coaches, what I observed each day was a purposeful staff fully engaged. 
 
In terms of who improved the most, I would have to say Mike Smith.  Smith didn’t even make the final 53 in 2005.  He was placed on the practice squad initially and was later added to the 53 man roster.  Last year I saw a player that struggled to assert himself in practice and during the preseason.  He’s worked very hard with LB coach Jeff Fitzgerald and today, he is a very serviceable backup on the rise.  Through coaching and classroom studying, Smith has shown tremendous improvement in my opinion.  Others that come to mind are Jason Brown, Devard Darling, Musa Smith, Dwan Edwards, Aubrayo Franklin and Dawan Landry.
 
As for players who haven’t improved, you mentioned one – Keydrick Vincent.  Last year I saw a player who in my opinion was unfairly criticized.  This year so far, he deserves the criticism and just isn’t adapting to the Ravens way of doing things on the offensive line.  I hope this changes because Vincent is a really good guy.  It better change because Jason Brown is nipping at his heals and there are some in the organization who believe that if Brown cracks that starting lineup, he won’t be leaving it any time soon.
 
And finally regarding Ngata, I see a player who is thinking too much.  When he gets to the point where he’s comfortable and allows his top end athleticism to take over, I believe you will see why the Ravens made him their No. 1 pick in 2006.  I’ve heard players say he’ll be a perennial Pro Bowl player.  Comments like that from players, I personally don’t take lightly, nor should you.
 
One for the Gipper,
 
TL
 
HOW ‘BOUT DEM TERPS?
 
Hey Tony,
 
I love the new look.  The site now looks better and badder – in good terms.  You know I always check your site daily.
 
A couple things…For this team to be a playoff team: 1. They have to stay healthy and 2. The O-Line has to step up big time.  Another thing how do you think Maryland will do this year?  They have a really tough schedule, especially with FSU, the U, Clemson and Boston College.
 
Ed Kapinos
 
Ed,
 
Health is always a big factor in a team’s success and that could be said about the entire league.  The offensive line had a solid day against a tough Tampa front.  It’s something to build on and that is exactly what you want your offensive line to do, improve through continuity.  Let’s see them take the next step and keep McNair clean against Oakland the way the Chargers kept Rivers clean.
 
As for the Terps, I say, “Don’t get your hopes up.”  Have fun, be careful and root like you are a champion but keep it in perspective.  A .500 season could be a challenge for the Terps.  Thankfully they’ve scheduled a few cream puffs early to make their record look aesthetically more appealing.
 
Thanks for the props on "our" site.
 
Go Terps,
 
TL
 
I’LL SHOW YOU SOME PASSION
 
Hey TL,
 
I have got to speak my mind regarding Drew [Forrester’s] article. In it he asks, "Wheres the passion?". He wants to know if it is him or is it just another sports week? I say it is him.
 
Maybe he is not hearing what the majority of fans are saying, that they are tired of the "dark side". The people who are "just not that excited" are probably the ones still listening to the generally negative radio shows. Drew asks, "so what has happened?". Well, from my point of view, almost all the fans I know are quite frankly tired of the negative vibes that have been spewed this off season from a large majority of the media. They have stopped listening (and calling) shows, reading articles, or even having conversations with a negative overtone when it comes to our beloved Ravens. Heck, a whole new message board had to be created just to get away from it.
 
(Thanks for doing that by the way)
 
I see no lack of enthusiasm or excitement at all from where I stand. Those who do not see it are probably looking in the wrong places. Trust me, we’re feeling it! Is Drew?
 
Jim, Ravens Nest #14
 
Jim,
 
I have to say speaking from my own experience with this site and when visiting Ravens Nests and Roosts like yours, that the interest in the Ravens is huge and that was the case prior to the big win in Tampa.  I do hear what Drew is saying.  I don’t think for a second it’s a question of passion – it’s a question of confidence.  The Ravens built up our hopes in 2004 and 2005 and then they let us all down.  When that happens a few times, there’s some trepidation – there’s some hesitancy, a lack of confidence.  Many fans are now cautious when investing their emotional energy and high hopes in a team that has let them down.  Prior to Sunday, they only wanted to put their toe in the water.
 
Today, most are plunging in from the high dive.  Boy what a difference a week makes!
 
It should be nuts out at The Vault on Sunday!
 
Purple Passion Lives,
 
TL
 
P.S.: Thanks for the message board should go to 24×7 Admin and his great collection of moderators and our site designer D3 Corp…they are the real heroes.
 
LET’S DANCE
 
Tony,
 
Looks like Profootball24x7.com was the victim of "BallotBoxGate 06."  When it comes to the educated football fan we all turn to your website and I think that is the important thing in the end.  I’m sticking with my cautious optimism and picking the Ravens to clock in at 10-6 (6-2 Home, 4-4 Away).  I can’t remember the last time the Ravens beat a team that they were not favored to beat, so I will go with the law of averages and say it should happen at least once this year. There home schedule is peppered with teams that a "playoff” team should beat. As with most teams the road should hold the key to the Ravens success. Win the ones you should, hold serve at home, step up and win a tough road game (or two) and the Ravens are doing the Playoff Polka in January.
 
Clint Anuszewski
 
Clint,
 
No worries on the “BallotBoxGate 06.”  Sports Illustrated has decided to feature all four Ravens fan sites nominated for the poll.  Apparently they will monitor each of the sites to ensure that the sites provide their readers with insightful info and maintain high standards.  We have no worries there and we are appreciative that SI reached this fair conclusion in the voting process.
 
As for our ball team, I said 10-6 or 11-5 entering the season and naturally I qualified this statement with the expected “provided the offensive line plays decently.”  Even after the big win in Tampa, I’ll say the same and that should be enough to keep my dream vacation alive – a couple of days in South Beach during which I witness the Raven annihilation of the Redskins in Super Bowl XLI and then I head down to Key West with friends for several more days celebration.  You are invited!
 
Ain’t the beer cold,
 
TL

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts "The Fanimal" also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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