About Bo Smolka, CSNbaltimore.com

Bo Smolka, CSNbaltimore.com

Ravens correspondent for ComcastSportsNet, freelance author and writer, and full-time life coach with a client list of two (Matt and Katie). Bo was a Sports Copy Editor for the Baltimore Sun from 2005-08 and is a graduate of Bucknell University.

Ravens Need a Healthy Pierce

Pierce v chargers
The Ravens questions at running back don’t end with Ray Rice and his legal problems. Bernard Pierce, entering his third season with the Ravens, is coming off offseason shoulder surgery and a subpar second season with the Ravens. The time is now for him to show that he can stay healthy and be a key component in the Ravens running game for the foreseeable future. In fact, for Pierce, there may be no better time to do so. Pierce told the Ravens team Web site recently that, coming off the...

Dickson Returning to The Nest?

Dickson v Browns
The Ravens have already signed starting tight end Dennis Pitta for the long term, and it appears they are interested in bringing back tight end Ed Dickson as well. Dickson, a free agent after his contract expired earlier this month, has been offered a deal from the Ravens, according to the Baltimore Sun. But Dickson, maligned by Ravens fans at times for inconsistent play, has also drawn other interest on the free agent market. He has been offered a deal by the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to the Sun, and has...

Deonte Thompson Arrested on Marijuana Charge

Deonte Thompson
Ravens wide receiver Deonte Thompson has been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, according to the Gainesville (Fla.) police department. The arrest comes just a week after running back Ray Rice was arrested on a simple assault charge after a domestic dispute with his fiancee in a casino in New Jersey. According to the Gainesville police report, Thompson was one of three people in a car that was stopped for driving without headlights. When the car was stopped, the officer detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the...

Ravens Short-Yardage Offense Goes Nowhere

vontaleach 728
One of the sequences that defined the Ravens’ loss to New England last week — and indeed their season — was the Ravens failure to gain 1 yard on two plays inside the Patriots 5-yard line in the third quarter. On third-and-1, Joe Flacco took a shotgun snap out of an empty backfield and threw incomplete. Then on fourth-and-1, Ray Rice was stuffed for no gain. It’s been that way all season for the Ravens. The Ravens are 13-for-22 converting either third- or fourth-and-1, a percentage (.591) that ranks among...

Tomlin Denies Bush-League Move

Jacoby Tomlin
John Harbaugh wondered whether Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was credited with a tackle. Joe Flacco said Tomlin used Flacco’s Super Bowl move, the one in which Flacco suggested tackling a kick returner from the sideline. Tomlin insists he simply lost a sense of where he was. Indeed, after the Ravens’ stirring 22-20 win over the Steelers on Thanksgiving night, Tomlin’s role on Jacoby Jones’ 73-yard kick return was still a hot topic. Had the Steelers come back and won, the play would have been enormously controversial. Instead, the Ravens held...

Scouting the Jets: Defense is Front and Center

wilkerson
The Ravens enjoyed their best day of the season on the ground at Chicago, churning out 174 yards against the league’s 31st-ranked run defense. The yardage figures to be much tougher to come by on Sunday, however, when Rex Ryan brings the Jets defense to M&T Bank Stadium. Tough defense up front was a calling card of Ryan’s when he was with the Ravens,  and that hasn’t changed at all in his five seasons with the Jets. “We’re No. 1 in the league versus the run. That’s no surprise,” Ryan...

Ravens Offense Could Use a Little Juice

HOUSTON TEXANS VS. BALTIMORE RAVENS
On the Ravens’ first series at Miami, quarterback Joe Flacco dropped back on third-and-7 and looked over the middle for rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk. The pass fell incomplete, just past the outstretched arms of Juszczyk, but it seemed to suggest that Juszczyk, the rookie from Harvard, might get more involved in the passing game. The Ravens, after all, went into that game with just three wide receivers and tight ends whose play had been sporadic and inconsistent. In the end, Juszczyk did not get very involved; he was in on...

“We need to get Ray involved in every single way”

this-close
In the wake of the Ravens’ 23-20 loss at Buffalo last Sunday, much has been made of the way the Ravens’ running game was put on the shelf. The Ravens ran the ball just nine times — the lowest number in franchise history — and Ray Rice had just five carries for 17 yards. But perhaps just as notable was this: Rice was also a complete non-factor as a receiver. Rice finished with no catches, just the third time since his rookie season that has happened in the regular season....

A Night With “Sweet Pea” That Didn’t Happen

Sweet Pea 1
Jacoby Jones and Bryant McKinnie weren’t available to reporters at the Ravens facility on Wednesday, but each of them hosted a radio show Wednesday night and gave his own version — somewhat — of what went down on the infamous party bus in the wee hours Monday morning. Officially, there was a disturbance outside a nightclub in Washington, D.C., where McKinnie and Jones, among others, had gone via a party bus to celebrate McKinnie’s birthday after the Ravens’ win over Houston. According to the report from the Metropolitan Police Department,...

BEHIND THE NUMBERS: The Story of the Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning v Ravens Baltimore 2012
The Broncos went 13-3 last year and won the AFC West title, their second straight divisional title and their 12th overall. That is tied with the Oakland Raiders for the most AFC West crowns. Along the way, the Broncos ended the regular season with 11 straight wins, including a 34-17 win over the Ravens in Baltimore. Here are some other enlightening numbers about the Broncos: 1: The number of home openers the Broncos have lost in the last 13 years. Denver had won 11 straight home openers before losing to...

Ravens Fall to Rams in Preseason Finale

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 12.17.21 AM
Final score: St. Louis 24, Baltimore 21 Game recap: Backups took center stage, as the Ravens rested every projected starter for the preseason finale against the Rams at the one-quarter-full Edward Jones Dome. Several backups, including running back Bernard Pierce, defensive lineman Marcus Spears and cornerback Jimmy Smith did not play. Neither did backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, leaving the offense in the hands of Caleb Hanie. He finished 20-for-36 for 267 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. It was a predictably ragged affair, with five turnovers, including two on...

5 Things to Watch For vs. Rams

laquan2
EARLY BIRD: Waking up with the Ravens on Thursday, Aug. 29. Two-minute topic: What should we look for in the preseason finale tonight at St. Louis? The Ravens wrap up the preseason against the Rams in a game that figures to be little more than an extended audition for second- and third-teamers. Although starters are not likely to play much if at all, and the game will not count in the standings, there are definitely story lines in play. Here are five of them. 1. Will the wide receiver battle finally be...

Preseason Curtain Call is Hardly Meaningless

Furstenburg Falcons
Waking up with the Ravens, Wednesday, Aug. 28, as they prepare for Thursday’s preseason finale against the Rams. Two-minute topic: Is this fourth and final preseason game as meaningless as fans paint it out to be? The final preseason game each year is generally met with a collective yawn by fans. Starters won’t play much, if at all, and to many, it’s a meaningless exercise on the way to the regular-season opener, which this season will be next Thursday, Sept. 5, at Denver. But is the game meaningless? Not to...

Von Miller Could Miss NFL Opener v. Ravens

DENVER BRONCOS VS. BALTIMORE RAVENS
The Ravens’ tough season-opening test in Denver might have just gotten a bit easier. According to ESPN and the Denver Post, Broncos linebacker Von Miller will be suspended for the first four games of the 2013 for violating the one of the league’s drug policy. Miller is appealing the suspension, according to the report, and the Post said Miller was meeting with his agent on Monday and would have a statement later in the day. The exact offense was not disclosed; any violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs...

Birk thinks Ravens may be better in 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 8.27.27 AM
The Ravens roster turnover this offseason has left a lot of question marks for the defending Super Bowl champs, but former Ravens center Matt Birk isn’t concerned. “The Ravens may be better next year,” Birk said in an appearance on the NFL Network. “I really do think the Ravens might be better next year.” Birk, who retired this offseason after a 15-year career — the last four in Baltimore — acknowledged the loss of several key players, but praised the offseason moved by Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. “It’s a...

Ravens up for four ESPY awards

flaccodelivers
The Ravens’ run to the Super Bowl continues to have legs, as they say, as the Ravens have been nominated for four ESPY awards. The ESPYs, the made-for-ESPN show honoring the top sports plays and personalities of the year, will be held on July 17. The Ravens thrilling double-overtime win over Denver in the AFC playoffs is a nominee for Best Game. The other nominees include Game 7 of the NHL playoffs between Toronto and Boston, and Game6 of the NBA Finals between San Antonio and Miami. Ray Rice’s “Hey...

Help wanted: Defensive leaders

Suggs v Giants
When Ray Lewis went down last season with his triceps injury, veteran safety Ed Reed became the de factor leader of the defense. Now both are gone. So who steps up into that leadership role? Terrell Suggs, who was drafted in 2003, is now the longest-tenured player on the team. Jameel McClain, assuming he returns healthy from the spinal injury that sidelined him at the end of last season, would be a natural leader in the middle of the Ravens 3-4 defense. But defensive coordinator Dean Pees, speaking at the end of the OTA session last...

Flacco caps strong postseason run with a ring

Flacco Super Bowl
NEW ORLEANS — The questions about whether Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback have followed him like a relentless pass rusher for years. Players and coaches have repeatedly defended him in public and in private against criticism they fail to understand. Flacco might have silenced his final critics here on Sunday, as he delivered his fourth straight superb performance of this postseason to lead the Ravens to a 34-31 win over the 49ers for the second Super Bowl title in franchise history. Flacco finished 22 for 33 for 287 yards...

Guarded optimism if Yanda can’t play

Yanda Close up
The Ravens’ injury bug, which has decimated the defense for most of the season, has reached across the line of scrimmage now, hitting right guard Marshal Yanda. He sustained an ankle injury against the Redskins last week and is not expected to play on Sunday against Denver. That could be a major factor against a Broncos defense that ranks fourth in the league in total defense and is tied for second in sacks (39). The Ravens have been hit by a rash of injuries this year — beginning in the...

Graham, Inhedigbo experience Ravens v Steelers rivalry

Corey Graham and James Ihedigbo have plenty of NFL games to their credit, but neither of them had ever played in a Ravens-Steelers game before. Both thrived in the atmosphere and made critical plays that helped carry the Ravens to a bruising, 13-10 win at raucuous Heinz Field on Sunday night. Graham, a free agent acquisition in the offseason seen primarily as a special teams ace, was making his first start at cornerback for the Ravens in place of injured Jimmy Smith. He had several huge plays, including a leaping...