Street Talk - The latest street talk and Baltimore Ravens related News from the Russell Street Report Team.
Lombardi’s Way - A column from the 24×7 founder that focuses on the Ravens, the NFL, Baltimore, the world of sports or life’s inspirations.
Word on The Street - In the spirit of the CBS Sports Minute with Boomer Esiason, RSR brings you Word on The Street, a 90 second (or less) podcast on topics exclusively relating to the Baltimore Ravens.
Ravens Links - We’ll give you the best stories about the Ravens from around the web three times per week.
The Fanimal - If you are an animal about the Baltimore Ravens, then you are a Fanimal! Follow the Russell Street Report blog Fanimal Crackers!
The Edgar Awards - The Edgar Awards will range from the Maryland county that is home to the best Ravens fans to the best Ravens podcast; from the best collection of displaced fans to the best local craft brews that should be part of your next tailgating party.
The Road to RSR - Our writers explains their journeys as fans and how they came to write for our little corner of sports media.
OWINGS MILLS — Virtually the lone missing aspect of the Baltimore Ravensâ€™ aggressive pass rush is its glaring lack of a nickname, catchy or otherwise. In a league once dominated by the New York Jetsâ€™ â€œSack Exchangeâ€ and the Pittsburgh Steelersâ€™ â€œSteel Curtain,â€ the Ravens are getting the job done with a no-frills approach outside of rush end Terrell Suggs’ occasional tendency to taunt or dance.
Heading into Sundayâ€™s game against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens (10-3) rank second in the NFL with 46 sacks and are three shy of breaking their franchise record of 49 established in 1999.
â€œWhen youâ€™ve got 11 guys playing with reckless abandon, youâ€™ve got a pretty dangerous defense,â€ Suggs said. â€œItâ€™s hard to defend us basically.â€
With three games remaining in the regular season, the Ravens already have two players with 10 sacks apiece — defensive end Trevor Pryce and outside linebacker Adalius Thomas — with inside linebacker Bart Scott (8 Â½ sacks) and Suggs (seven) within striking distance of posting 10 apiece.
â€œThey have done a tremendous job this year,â€ Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. â€œWe had Trevor in during free agency because we were interested in him, and he looks like heâ€™s just fit right in. Adalius, heâ€™s all over the place. He makes it tough.
â€œSuggs coming off the edge is a force. That kind of pressure hurts an offense.â€
Plus, all of that penetration has been a boon to the top-ranked defense’s pass coverage, which leads the league with 22 interceptions and four returned for touchdowns.
â€œWhen you see a quarterback trying to run away from Trevor Pryce, Kelly Gregg or Haloti Ngata, itâ€™s always exciting because you know as a secondary that the ball is not going to be as active,â€ safety Ed Reed said. â€œIt all works hand in hand, and thatâ€™s what I always tell the guys to make sure we cover and to give the defensive line a little bit more time on the rush.â€
TRAINING ROOM: Wide receiver Derrick Mason (thigh, questionable) returned to practice after missing Wednesday and is expected to start. Running back Jamal Lewis (illness) was added Thursday as probable, but is still expected to start. With Musa Smith (neck) out, Mike Anderson will act as the third-down back and Lewisâ€™ primary backup.
The Browns, who have seven starters listed as questionable or worse, made no change in quarterback Charlie Fryeâ€™s status. He remains questionable and Derek Anderson is likely to start. Meanwhile, former
Maryland star linebacker Dâ€™Qwell Jackson was officially ruled out Thursday with a toe injury.
HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: At Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, they proudly display a sign that reads, â€œThe Loudest Stadium in the NFL.â€ The Ravens are banking on capitalizing on their own home-field advantage as they make a stretch run for the playoffs.
â€œMy daughter was at the game and she gave me a big hug and said, â€˜Dad, our fans are louder than those people,â€™ and they are,â€ Ravens coach Brian Billick said. â€œWe want and need the fans on Sunday to set the tone and make it absolutely impossible to operate.
â€œWhat do you think the advantage will be on our side with Adalius Thomas, Terrell Suggs and Trevor Pryce coming off the edge when those tackles canâ€™t hear the snap count? I know theyâ€™re up to it. They can have a tangible effect on what we do.â€
BUDDY LEE TO HONOLULU?: Gritty, unsung nose guard Kelly Gregg has never been selected to the Pro Bowl, but the stocky defender garnered a ringing endorsement from Billick. Gregg has registered 83 tackles, 2 Â½ sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
â€œThe team would love it, I canâ€™t imagine a guy the team would want that for more than Kelly Gregg,â€ Billick said.
â€œBased on the people you talk to after we play them, it should be a guarantee. Unfortunately, we donâ€™t play everybody. Heâ€™s certainly deserving.â€
CADENCE CALL: The Miami Dolphinsâ€™ recent controversy over using television tapes to become familiar with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Bradyâ€™s cadence has been blown out of proportion, according to Billick. The league office affirmed that itâ€™s not against the rules to use video besides soundless coaches’ tape to gain a competitive advantage, and it has long been a widespread practice.
â€œI canâ€™t even get my own players to know what the calls are,â€ Billick said. â€œYou think Iâ€™m worried about the opposing team knowing what the calls are. Thatâ€™s been going on forever. Itâ€™s much ado about nothing.â€
QUICK HITS: Lewis has rushed for 1,415 yards, including an NFL single-game record 295 yards in 2003, against Cleveland, for his most against any team with an average of 128.6 yards per contest. â€¦ The Browns havenâ€™t won in Baltimore since 2002 and havenâ€™t scored more than 17 points in their seven road games against the Ravens. â€¦ Cleveland has the 29th-ranked offense and 30th-ranked defense. â€¦ Kicker Matt Stover drew praise from Billick for his crisp tackle on Chiefs return specialist Dante Hall at the Kansas City 49-yard line. â€œThat was pretty good, physical,â€ Billick said. â€œHe didnâ€™t breathe for about a minute-and-half when he came to the sidelines, but it was great to see him stick it in there.â€
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland