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·         According to ESPN’s Ron Jaworski and Michele Tafoya, Joe Flacco during interview sessions leading up to Monday Night’s broadcast described himself as an “elite quarterback.” Joe, you’re improving and yes you could use some support from your offensive line but dude, you are NOT an elite quarterback and it remains to be seen if you will ever be one. We’ll all happily settle for very good.

·         David Reed clearly looks like a solution for the Ravens in their kick return game. He runs with purpose, starts quickly, seems to see the field well and has a burst. Now if he can stay out of the pokey he should be able to help the Ravens win the battle of field position during the weeks ahead.

·         While on the subject of Reed, Ed Reed hasn’t been much of a factor during the past few games. For a player with his resume, his pedigree and reputation for being a playmaker, he has done next to nothing recently. The argument could be made that all three of Matt Schaub’s TD passes on Monday night were in Reed’s neighborhood and he wasn’t like State Farm.

·         Several stats and your eyeballs suggest that the Ravens have some serious issues on their offensive line. Did you know that the Ravens are averaging 1.1 yard less per carry this season than last? Also their sacks allowed totals are on pace to exceed 2009 totals by 3 and in ’09 Flacco was a rather stationary target, hobbled by then unreported leg injuries.

·         Speaking of injuries, word is that prior to the Steelers game Michael Oher’s leg was heavily taped. A little birdie told us that Sean Landeta who was the sideline reporter for Westwood One’s radio broadcast, suggested that if the Ravens had another tackle they were remotely confident in to take on James Harrison, Oher should have been replaced in the starting lineup.

·         Billy Cundiff had another 3 touchbacks in Houston on Monday moving his league leading total to 37. Did you know that from 2000-2009 (10 seasons) the Ravens had a total of 43 touchbacks?

·         Sam Koch leads the league in punts inside the 20 with 34 but for my money, the stat that jumps out the most is the number of kicks inside the 10 yard line – 18! His value to the Ravens cannot be understated.

·         This week the Ravens face a team in the Saints that has an offense very similar to that of the Houston Texans. The biggest difference is that they have a quarterback who can finish the job. Is there any doubt that Drew Brees will steal a page from the Texans’ offensive strategy and look to dissect the Ravens defense via the no huddle approach? Why wouldn’t he? The Ravens D was gassed on Monday and with a short week to prepare Greg Mattison’s crew could be the proverbial chum in the water for New Orleans’ No. 9.

·         Given the way the Ravens defensive line was so tired on Monday and couldn’t generate any kind of pass rush whatsoever in the second half, do you think Cam Cameron might dial up something similar for the Ravens on Sunday to help his ailing offensive line? Nah, didn’t think so…

·         Speaking of the O-line, I’m beginning to wonder if their one-on-one, mano e mano approach to run blocking is the right one. One of Ray Rice’s strengths as a runner is his change of direction skill. Might that not be better suited behind a zone blocking scheme similar to the one the Texans use and like the one the Ravens used with Jon Ogden’s gang leading interference for Jamal Lewis? Just sayin’…

·         Ever since 105.7 The Fan moved Jeremy Conn into the chair opposite Scott Garceau, the show has soared in terms of enjoyment and insightfulness for fans of intelligent sports talk radio. Conn brings preparedness, passion, humor (although at times too far below the belt) and intelligence to Garceau’s program. The pair play off each other well BUT…and maybe this is me BUT the way Conn refers to the Ravens and the Ravens fans as “you guys” really chaps my ass. Conn was born and raised in Baltimore and covers Baltimore sports for a Baltimore sports station and the Ravens are “you guys”? C’mon Conn man! You better recognize! This is your hometown!

·         Last Wednesday the Ravens had what was described as a physical, full contact practice in full battle gear. Do you think that may have had something to do with their running-on-empty defense on Monday night?

·         Are you as disturbed as me by this comment from John Harbaugh following the unorthodox win on Monday: “At this point in time of the season, you are what you are and you’ve got to find a way to win.” Given all of the coaches on Harbaugh’s staff, you mean to tell me they can’t self scout and figure out a better way to use the abundance of talent on their roster? Do you think Bill Belichick said something similar after they were waxed by the Cleveland Browns a few weeks ago by the score of 34-14? After hearing that comment, I’m glad Harbaugh doesn’t own my favorite restaurant. I can hear him now, “If you don’t like the steak as it is, you can leave. It is what it is and that’s medium well. You’ve just got to find a way to enjoy it.”

·         Back to Belichick for a moment, you have to give the guy props for a very productive 2010 draft class. He’s found a way to get plus results from two rookie tight ends (Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski); hybrid LB Jermaine Cunningham and CB Devin McCourty. Besides some solid special teams play from David Reed, what do the Ravens have to show for their 2010 class?

·         Many have called for John Harbaugh and his staff to think outside the box – to try and reinvent and develop a fresh approach on both sides of the ball. I’m not so sure that is in Harbaugh’s DNA – and if you need proof, just look at another box – the doghouse where Dannell Ellerbe resides. If Tavares Gooden’s performance on Monday isn’t enough to free Ellerbe, I’m not sure he’s ever coming out in 2010. If this staff is to think outside the box, the team’s owner known for such ponderings is the perfect choice to exert his powers of persuasion.

·         The Fan’s Mark Zinno will soon be departing for his second tour of duty in Iraq leaving behind radio sidekick Bruce Cunningham. I’d like to take a moment to thank Zinno for his commitment to country and to those like him who allow the rest of us to sleep under a blanket of security called freedom. It will be interesting to see what 105.7 does to replace Zinno without whom we would be subjected to sports talk radio’s answer to Deputy Dawg. Good luck Mark…return safely, soundly and happily.

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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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