News, Notes & Rumors from The Grapevine

Lombardi's Way News, Notes & Rumors from The Grapevine

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Josh Wilson was torched for an 88 yard score by Panthers’ rookie WR David Gettis. One source has indicated that just prior to the snap the Ravens changed the back end coverage from Cover 2 to Cover 3. In a Cover 2 scheme, both safeties play deep halves of the field and the corners play shorter zones. In a Cover 3 the corners and the free safety cover deep thirds and the strong safety moves into a short zone. Wilson didn’t get "the memo" and played Cover 2 while the others repositioned for Cover 3.

A bad pre-snap communication cost the Ravens 7 and not necessarily a bad play by Wilson.

And now you know the rest of the story…

RAVENSTOWN comes to itunes: Ravenstown, a honky-tonk anthem about your favorite team and the city that affectionately embraces them (written by Jon Petrelli) is now available on itunes for $0.99. Portions of the proceeds will be donated to OJ Brigance’s, Brigance Brigade. Have fun while supporting a great cause – working towards a cure for ALS.
THERE’S NO WHINING IN FOOTBALL: The Ravens are in a good spot. No they are not setting the world on fire and they are clearly a flawed team but what team among all teams with winning records isn’t a flawed team?

There are no style points awarded by the NFL. A win is a win is a win. We only need to look back to the 2000 season for proof of that.

Do you think that 15-10 win over Jacksonville during the Super Bowl season was a thing of beauty?

What about that 10-3 loss to the Redskins or the 13-7 win over the hapless Arizona Cardinals?

The Ravens were flawed in 2000 and they are flawed now but in the end, it doesn’t matter how pretty a team is standing. What matters is that they ARE standing.

Can the Ravens get better? ABSOLUTELY!

Will they? Well that remains to be seen but if they do, anything can happen because the NFL today is flat out mediocre. No team is dominant; there are no great defenses and more than ever before the overused cliché “Any Given Sunday” resonates.

Three weeks ago the Patriots were waxed by the Cleveland Browns. Today they are considered the league’s best team after wins against the Steelers and the Colts. How will they be considered two weeks from now?

We don’t know.

What we do know is the Ravens are in the mix, they can get better, there’s no team they can’t beat and they control their own destiny.

The Ravens are where many of us thought they’d be – even hoped they’d be.

So in this the season of thanks, let’s be thankful we are winning and stop all the whining!

RAY SPEAKS: In this video segment below, Ray Lewis talks about that infamously tragic January 2000 night in Atlanta and how it changed his life forever…

FATHER TIME SLOWING GREGG: My first memory of Kelly Gregg dates back to summer camp 2001 when he inadvertently ended Jamal Lewis’ sophomore NFL season after he submarined the Ravens tailback and tore his ACL. The darting move would be one that would define Kelly Gregg’s career.

Undersized but stout, Gregg borrowed from his wrestling skill set to gain leverage against much bigger opponents. He established the leverage through a combination of great technique, timing and quickness. How else can you explain why Gregg, perhaps the slowest man on the field in a foot race was able to once catch the fastest (Mike Vick) and then body slam him to the turf?

Bart Scott told me often when I hosted his show back in 2007, the Ravens defense starts and ends with Kelly Gregg. Perhaps Bart overstated Gregg’s importance a bit but the message was clear – that disruptive and relatively pint-sized defensive tackle ignited the Ravens defense, formerly known as organized chaos.

Gregg joined us down at Della Rose’s in Canton for one of Bart’s shows. The shows ran from 6-8PM and I would arrive to set up and do some pre-show prep at around 5:30. Almost always Bart arrived fashionably late and as the torturously underachieving season progressed, his tardiness grew increasingly exaggerated.

But Gregg arrived before I did during his guest appearance. I went to the bar where Kelly was enjoying a burger and a Budweiser before we started the show. He is exactly the type of person you would expect him to be: down-to-Earth, unpretentious, polite, funny, engaging and happy-go-lucky. He is the little engine that could; the underdog who succeeded. He is exactly the type of athlete, like the Art Donovans and the Tony Sirgusas before him, that Baltimore embraces and endears itself to.

It’s been a great run for this overachiever, one that should have included at least one Pro Bowl nomination. But that was never to be and it never will be. I doubt that bothers Kelly at all. He’d probably prefer to have a beer in an Edmond, Oklahoma neighborhood tavern than fly to Honolulu anyway.

Unfortunately for Kelly and Ravens’ fans, the 11 year vet appears to be nearing the end of the road. That powerful, menacing presence in opponent’s backfield just doesn’t have that quick first step any longer and without it, he’s unable to gain the leverage that made him so successful against the behemoths he’s faced. Today more times than not, he’s gobbled up by larger foes.

Whatever happens from this point forward, Ravens fans can and will always be thankful and they will always remember fondly Baltimore’s Buddy Lee – No. 97 on the scorecard and No. 1 in the hearts of many here in Ravenstown.

Ravens v. Bucs Odds & Ends: The Ravens are 1-2 in their all-time series v. Tampa and they are looking for their first points at home against the Bucs, losing 25-0 on September 15, 2002 to the eventual Super Bowl XXXVII Champs led by Jon Gruden. The Ravens did not surrender an offensive touchdown that afternoon. Karl Williams returned a punt 56 yards for one score and Derrick Brooks picked off a Chris Redman pass and returned it 97 yards for Tampa’s other TD on the day…This season the Bucs 7 wins are all at the hands of losing teams whose combined record is 17-53 (.321). Tampa has lost each game they’ve played against winning teams by an average of 18.7 points/game (Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Atlanta)… From 2002-04, Ravens G Ben Grubbs and Buccaneers RB Carnell Williams played at Auburn. Behind Grubbs, Williams rushed for over 1,000 yards in both the ’03 and ’04 campaigns. Additionally, Williams’ 17 TDs in 2003 are an Auburn single-season record.


NOTABLES: Dating back to the 2000 campaign, the Ravens are 62-22 at M&T Bank Stadium (.738), compiling the NFL’s third-best home record during that span (NE is first at 66-19 and Indy second at 64-20)…The Ravens are off to their best start ever under John Harbaugh and hope to open the season at 8-3 for the first time in team history (Ravens were 9-2 in 2006)… The Ravens play four of their final six games at the comfy confines of M&T Bank Stadium. The two road games are in Houston and Cleveland which carry a combined round trip travel distance of just under 3,100 miles. Two of the last three games are in Baltimore; home games against the Saints and Bengals sandwich a roadie against the Browns. The Ravens should be well rested for the playoffs. Taxing travel and an unfavorable schedule are not valid excuses for any missteps during the balance of the regular season.

QUOTABLES: Terrell Suggs on Ray Lewis and his Old Spice Ads: “We’ve got a lot of talented guys. And, we have a middle linebacker that can ride a Raven bird about as big as a 747. So when you do that – when you can blow up Saturn – you’ve got a pretty good chance of winning on Sunday.”

Ravens backup QB Marc Bulger on QB Joe Flacco’s leadership, tough-mindedness and resilience: “There’s no quarterback in this league that’s going to go 100 percent or not throw interceptions, and when [Flacco] does, they just don’t bother him. I think that’s a great attribute to have in a quarterback. Whether coaches are getting on you, or the fans, or the media, or the other team, as a quarterback, you’re going to have that pressure. And for him to deal with it as well as he does, it reflects and kind of spills off to his teammates, which helps the team.”


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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and 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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