About Brian Bower

Brian Bower

Brian Bower is avid football fan who was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Brian has covered the Baltimore Ravens and NFL player positives in the community for the past two years for FootballNewsNow.com. His work has been featured on NFL.com and ESPN blogs. He is also a regular guest on ESPN Radio in Honolulu, Hawaii.   Brian is very involved in the community and has spent the last twenty years as a volunteer firefighter.  Email him at bbower at russellstreetreport.com.

Kubiak’s Influence Hasn’t Gone Unnoticed

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The hiring of Gary Kubiak this offseason brought along considerable changes to a Ravens offense — one that despite its struggles fell just one victory short of making the playoffs. When Kubiak was hired it all but confirmed that the Ravens would switch to a heavy dose of his traditional zone blocking system, something that Jim Caldwell, Juan Castillo and player personnel all appeared to struggle with in 2013. With the moves made by the Ravens during this offseason via free agency or trade, Kubiak and his staff have opened...

Harbaugh Addresses Off-the-field Behavior

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As the Ravens wrapped up their mandatory minicamp on Thursday, head coach John Harbaugh said all the right things in regards to players keeping out of trouble before they return to training camp in July. With the players being off until late July, the Ravens organization from top to bottom certainly doesn’t want to find themselves in the news again for anything other than football related topics. Much ado has already been made by many outside the organization that thought perhaps Harbaugh had lost control of the locker room now that...

Daryl Smith Leading The Way

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Even though the Ravens season finished with a disappointing 8-8 record, there were a few players that stood out that could prompt one to say, “Imagine if we didn’t have him.” One such player is linebacker Daryl Smith. Smith arrived via free agency on a one-year deal in the 2013 offseason from the Jacksonville Jaguars where he spent his first nine NFL seasons. As the 2013 season began, Smith, had all eyes on him from both fans and media alike. The veteran linebacker had big shoes to fill here in Baltimore as...

Wagner Finding a Comfort Zone at Right Tackle

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For Rick Wagner, Wednesday was just another day at the office on the practice field vying for the starting right tackle position for a Ravens offensive line that struggled badly in 2013. When Michael Oher left Baltimore via free agency, many thought the Ravens would look to the draft for their vacant right tackle spot. However their draft board saw it differently showing that many inside The Castle have faith in the second-year player. Wagner, who saw action in all 16 games in 2013, including two starts as a tight end in...

MINICAMP NOTES: Things Get a Bit Chippy

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On Wednesday the Ravens battled through another scorcher at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills as they conducted their second practice of the their mandatory three-day minicamp. With the music pumping to simulate crowd noise, the Ravens turned in another solid day of practice on defense. The offense, however, had another rough day. Quarterback Joe Flacco was locked and loaded today and very accurate; however, his receivers struggled to hang onto the football. Jacoby Jones dropped a ball that hit him in the chest, and Marlon Brown dropped...

Pitta Healthy & Happy to Start 2014

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Tight end Dennis Pitta is one happy man these days, and it’s evident watching him during the Ravens’ three-day minicamp happening this week. Pitta, who battled through adversity last season, fighting back from a dislocated/fractured hip which took place during training camp, appears healthy and ready to go for the 2014 season. “I feel good,” he said after Tuesday’s practice. “I feel like I’m running well, planting well, and I’m not worried about the hip at all. It’s not giving me any issues, so that’s encouraging.” After inking a new...

Divisional Play is a Weighty Issue For Dumervil

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Ravens outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil got his first full season facing tough AFC North opponents in 2013. 2013 proved to be an up and down year for the veteran who appeared in 15 games (three starts - missed one game due to an ankle injury) in his first year with the organization. While Dumervil finished the season second on the team in sacks (9.5), recorded 31 tackles (18 solo), posted 3 passes defensed and two forced fumbles, he understands the need to improve the defense this season, himself included. “Not good enough....

Ngata Feeling Great

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The Baltimore Ravens wrapped up their first practice of mandatory minicamp today while fending off a heat index of 100 degrees at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills. Among those on hand for their first on field practice this offseason were veterans Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs and Chris Canty. Ngata, who started 15 games for the Ravens last season (missed one game due to a knee injury), looked to be in football shape and was sharp taking extensive reps during team drills. “I felt great this year, just because two...

Brigance Named 2014 George Halas Award winner

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In a sport that is surrounded by men who are strong both on and off the field, Baltimore Ravens senior advisor to player development O.J. Brigance is the strongest in the organization. On Tuesday, Brigance was named the 2014 George Halas Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America. Each year the George Halas Award is given to a NFL player, coach, or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed, something Brigance does on a daily basis. “O.J. Brigance is the most influential person in our organization,” said Ravens...

NFL Rules & Regs for Minicamps

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The Ravens will head into their final week of offseason team activities (OTAs) this week before the team breaks for a month or so before training camp begins in late July. Beginning on Tuesday at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, MD, the team will conduct its mandatory three-day minicamp. Here is a look into some of the rules and regs they must follow under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (2011): All Offseason Organized Team Activities (OTAs) have been reduced from 14 days to 10. Per the NFLPA, minicamps must now...

Where Does Jacoby Fit Into the Offense This Year?

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When the Ravens re-signed wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Jones back in March, the organization basically killed two birds with one stone – the return of Jones not only gave the kick return game some insurance but also provided quarterback Joe Flacco with an increased continuity with another one of his wide receivers. In 2013, Jones saw action in 12 games, including nine starts (he missed four games due to a knee injury), and finished fourth on the team with 37 receptions (the second-highest total of his career) for 455 yards and two touchdowns. The...

Will New Weapons Help Red Zone Offense?

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Not much drives NFL head coaches crazy like failing to score points inside an opponents’ red zone. In a game of inches where every play matters, failing to put points on the board once you’re down near the goalline – whether to take a lead, to tie or simply to put the finishing blow on an opponent – can be, and often is, the difference between winning and losing. In 2013, the Ravens offense struggled and struggled some more. Those struggles included failing to capitalize in an opponents’ red zone...

Torrey Smith: ‘I’m just a small piece of the puzzle’

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For Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith battling adversity is almost second nature to the former Maryland Terp. Learning a new offense is never easy regardless of the position played on the football field. Since being drafted by the Ravens in 2011, Smith will once again enter a season in which a new offensive coordinator has taken over the play calling reins. Under Cam Cameron (2011-2012), Smith shined in his first two years with the Ravens. In his rookie year, the speedy wide receiver recorded the most receptions (50), receiving yards (841)...

Sam Koch Works to Protect His Job

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Continuity- The unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over a period of time. The term Continuity certainly describes the self proclaimed “WolfPack” who make up the Ravens kicking battery that consists of long snapper Morgan Cox, punter/holder Sam Koch and of course kicker Justin Tucker. But just how important is it? “It’s desirable,” Ravens special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg remarked on Tuesday. “You know that in this league, change is a constant, so you’re trying to make things as stable as you can.” Stability is something...

OTA Observations: Flacco Sharper, Forsett Impressive

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As the Ravens concluded their last OTA session open to the media before next week’s mandatory minicamp begins, Tuesday’s practice was the best one yet. We’ll try not to get ahead of ourselves – as easy as it is to do this time of year – as the players are still in shorts and helmets and aren’t able to hit one another, but today’s practice was smooth. The offense and defense appeared to be firing on all cylinders as the players are seemingly more comfortable with both Gary Kubiak’s and...

The Time is Now for Terrell Suggs to Lead

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Has the absence of Terrell Suggs during the first two OTAs this offseason affected the Ravens in the grand scheme of things in preparing for 2014? Not likely, but it has certainly been noted. Much ado has been made over the last two seasons about the team’s lack of leadership since the departure of Ray Lewis. Although voluntary, OTAs are a good time to acclimate yourself with new teammates and get back into a football frame of mind. The Baltimore Ravens were well aware of the type of player Terrell...

Opportunity is Knocking – Will Ryan Jensen answer?

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Before the start of the 2014 offseason, the name Ryan Jensen was a relative unknown when talking about the Ravens roster. In fact, most casual fans had to look to Google to find out exactly who he was or what position he even played. That certainly isn’t the case any longer, now that the 2013 sixth-round draft pick is healthy and being given the opportunity to compete for a spot on the revamped offensive line. Until recently, Jensen appeared to be the center in waiting; however, the acquisition of Jeremy...

Monroe: “What Happened Last Year Doesn’t Matter”

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The Ravens dodged what could have been a lethal bullet in their quest to fix the offensive line this offseason when the team was able to re-sign veteran Eugene Monroe. Brought to Baltimore initially in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars in October of 2013 to shore up the offensive line issues, Monroe is excited to finally have a full offseason in Baltimore instead of learning a new offense in-season. “It’s definitely a good situation to be here the entire offseason, knowing who you’re going to play with and getting...

Brown vs. Jackson Promises to be a Battle this Summer

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Much has been made about the opportunity Ravens cornerbacks Asa Jackson and Chykie Brown will have this offseason. After Corey Graham left via free agency, the Ravens chose not to address the open nickel cornerback position in the draft, opening the door for what promises to be an exciting competition this summer between these two young players. As of Wednesday however, there isn’t any clear cut leader at this point as both players took reps with the first team defense during the second round of offseason team activities. Brown and Jackson...

Zuttah Provides Needed Spark to Offensive Line

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When the Baltimore Ravens traded a fifth round draft pick in 2015 to acquire center Jeremy Zuttah from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the writing was on the wall for Gino Gradkowski in 2014. It was clear that the team wasn’t impressed with Gradkowski’s play last season – and rightfully so – but just how much of an upgrade is Zuttah over Gradkowski and why exactly did they opt for Zuttah over a number of available free agent centers? As the Ravens hosted their second round of OTA’s open to the...
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