About Riley Babcock

Riley Babcock

Riley Babcock was born and raised in Maryland where he took a big interest towards sports at a young age. The Baltimore Ravens soon became his main interest which led to his eventual hiring as Editor of the Ravens blog, Ebony Bird, in early March of  2011. Riley is an avid follower of all sports, but is primarily into football, specifically the NFL. With eyes glued to ESPN 24/7 and the NFL Network, you can count on Riley always being on top of the latest sports news and providing readers with quality content year round. 

Is the Ravens-Steelers rivalry fading?

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For the past five seasons, we’ve had a pleasure of watching one of the hardest hitting and most passion-filled rivalries the NFL has to offer. The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have been battling it out since the Ravens’ inception in 1996, but the rivalry didn’t become as intense as we know it today until recently. Since 2008, the Ravens and Steelers have met 12 times, including twice in the playoffs. During this time, the duel started to gain national attention and was garnered as the best rivalry in professional...

Ducks Reunited: Ravens lose Dixon to the Eagles

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On Thursday afternoon, the Philadelphia Eagles signed quarterback Dennis Dixon to a two-year deal, reuniting him with his former coach at Oregon, Chip Kelly. At Oregon, Dixon ran Kelly’s prolific spread option to perfection, throwing for over 5100 yards and rushing for over 1200 during his four year career there. Dennis Dixon spent last season on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad, where he proved to be a valuable asset in replicating opposing offenses for the Ravens’ defense to practice against. He will now join Michael Vick and Nick Foles, becoming...

Even in Retirement Ray Lewis’ Timing is Spot On!

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During the final defensive snap of Super Bowl XLVII, my eyes were glued on only one man – #52 Ray Lewis. It would be the last play of a storied 17-year NFL career, and was a bittersweet moment for all Baltimore Ravens’ fans. The Lombardi was almost in our team’s possession, yet a legacy was about to come to an end. While we’d all love to see Ray Lewis continue to play and inspire both the team and fans on Sundays, Ray’s last ride couldn’t have ended at a better...

Five reasons the Ravens will make the playoffs in 2013

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Many Baltimore Ravens’ fans have yet to get over the fact that our team has just won the Super Bowl. Yet, some of us have already started to look forward to next season, when the Ravens will try to repeat as world champions. The recent track record for repeats is not good as the last team to do so was the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. Since then, three of the previous champions have missed the playoffs the following season and the other four went one and done....

Breaking down the 49ers’ Pistol – Part 3: Stopping it

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We’ve taken an in-depth look at the 49ers’ Pistol offense and know the fundamentals behind their option running game. Now, it’s time to figure out what the Ravens’ defense will need to do to stop it. Part 1 Part 2 In the two playoff games the 49ers have played, their offense has averaged 476 yards of total offense. The Green Bay Packers’ defense tried just about everything to slow them down but were unable to slow down Colin Kaepernick. The Atlanta Falcons focused their attention on Kaepernick, allowing the San...

Breaking down the 49ers’ Pistol: Part 2 – The Read-Option

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In part one, we took a look at some of the more traditional plays the 49ers run in their Pistol offense. Now that we’ve had a small taste of what the pistol has to offer, let’s dig deeper and take a look at one of the 49ers’ most effective plays – the read option. For those who don’t regularly watch college or high school football, you may be unfamiliar with the option as it’s rarely seen in the NFL. Until recently, the option was deemed to be useless in NFL...

Ravens’ offensive playcalling still causing some concern

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If you have paid any attention to the Baltimore Ravens during the past five years, you’ve probably heard plenty of complaints about the play calling, stemming from offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. To the delight of many Ravens fans, Cameron was fired towards the end of the 2012 regular season and was replaced by the quarterback’s coach, Jim Caldwell. Since then, the Ravens’ offense has improved dramatically, running the ball more effectively and scoring more points. However, some hypocrisy is starting to rear its head as Ravens fans are continuing to...

Breaking down the 49ers’ Pistol: Part 1 – What is the Pistol?

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Over the past two years, the NFL has seen an influx of quarterbacks with skills that don’t necessarily fit the prototype mold. Cam Newton and Tim Tebow were the first two quarterbacks to regularly run college football offenses in the NFL last season. Since then, we’ve seen an increase in both mobile quarterbacks and college schemes. This year, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick have taken it to the next level, bringing success to an offensive scheme that was not supposed to translate to the NFL. Defenses have...

“Helmet-to-helmet” & “defenseless receiver” rules still leave players, fans puzzled

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A large topic of debate in the NFL recently has been player safety. In response to the increased number of head injuries due to helmet-to-helmet contact, the league has recently started to issue fines and penalties for when such hits occur. As we saw this past Sunday during the AFC Championship game, the NFL officials have started to show some major inconsistencies when it comes to what kinds of hits constitute a penalty flag. Although many fans and former players have expressed displeasure with the way the NFL’s new safety...

Ravens ready to shock the world

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One year later, the Baltimore Ravens find themselves in a similar spot. Seemingly overmatched against a fearsome New England Patriots’ team with the Super Bowl on the line, the Ravens will have to prove the nation’s critics wrong yet again. This whole week has been filled with questions such as “How will the Ravens stop Tom Brady?” or “How will the Ravens cover the Patriots’ receivers?” Rather than shutting down Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, it’s been covering Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd. Rather than matching up against Dennis Pitta,...

Is Flacco seizing control of his reputation?

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It may sound crazy, but Joe Flacco may be on his way to becoming the most well liked quarterback in the NFL. The punching bag that is Joe Flacco has received more criticism and critiques by both local and national media throughout his five year NFL career than any other NFL player that comes to mind. Whether it is his “elite” comments, which some believe to be unjustified, or his reserved demeanor following emotional moments, the majority of observers have grown to dislike the Ravens’ quarterback. However, Joe Flacco has...

Respect is earned, never given…especially to the Ravens

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“Respect is earned, respect is never given…” The Baltimore Ravens came out of Denver victorious despite being nine point underdogs. After the miraculous performance they put on, you would think that the Ravens had earned a little respect. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It didn’t matter where you looked Monday morning as you were sure to see the Ravens discredited in some way, shape, or form. An ESPN article by Jeffri Chadiha titled “Broncos choke in historic fashion” gave little credit to Baltimore’s resiliency, saying that “…nobody...

Who do you want – New England or Houston?

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In dramatic fashion, the Baltimore Ravens have earned a second straight spot in the AFC Championship game. What has yet to be determined is who they will face. The Ravens will go on the road next week to either Houston or New England for a regular season rematch that’s sure to be epic. With a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, who should you be rooting for in today’s matchup? Much like the Baltimore Ravens in Denver, nobody is giving the Houston Texans a shot in New England....

Pierce giving Ravens formidable 1-2 punch

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Besides great defense, the other thing most commonly associated with the Baltimore Ravens is a strong running game. Priest Holmes, Jamal Lewis, Willis McGahee, and now Ray Rice have led the Ravens’ rushing attack. But a common practice in years past was for the Ravens to rely heavily on multiple backs. In 2008 the Ravens showcased their three-headed monster, featuring Willis McGahee, Le’ron McClain, and Ray Rice. Though Rice’s carries increased over the next two seasons while the other two backs’ dwindled, they were still a formidable group. During those...

Ravens overcame missed opportunities to beat Colts

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With all of the huge headlines heading into the AFC Wild Card matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens, it was sure to be a great game. In Ray Lewis’ last game in M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens not only won, but did so decisively. However, not all was well and good as some glaring issues were overshadowed by the plethora of emotional story lines. On Sunday, the Ravens won by 15 points and did not allow an offensive touchdown – impressive feats against a fearsome Colts team....

Ravens regular season report card

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The regular season is over and it’s time for the Baltimore Ravens to gear up for a playoff run. The 2012 season has been filled with ups and downs as many injuries and inconsistent performances have left fans not knowing where the team truly stands. Before the playoffs start, let’s take a look at the post-regular season Ravens: Quarterback – C+ Joe Flacco is without a doubt the most criticized player on the Ravens. He shows flashes of brilliance one moment, and utter mediocrity the next. Although the past month...

Tyrod Taylor was impressive in Cincy

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This past Sunday, the Ravens’ starters took a rest and fans got a chance to see what the second string could do. One player that I paid particular attention to was backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor. During the Ravens’ three-game losing streak, Joe Flacco’s play was absolutely terrible and there was a large outcry from fans to see what Taylor could do.  Flacco was able to calm some fans with his 300-yard performance against the Giants and proved that he deserved to be the starter, but there still was some doubt...

Ravens road to New Orleans is best from the fourth seed

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Unlike the NFC, the AFC playoff teams are already set as all six teams have clinched a playoff spot. However, the seeding may undergo some serious changes after this week, affecting each team’s road to the Super Bowl. The Baltimore Ravens have no chance of getting a first round bye or dropping to a wild card, but can enter the playoffs as either a 3 or 4 seed. No matter what happens this Sunday, both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Indianapolis Colts are locked as the 6th and 5th seeds respectively. The...

Reeling Ravens in desperate need of a win

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Less a month ago, the Baltimore Ravens were the 2nd seed in the AFC, and looked to be a large threat to the rest of the league. Now, the Ravens have dropped to the 4th seed and are seen by many as the worst playoff team this year. The Ravens are in deep trouble. The offense is imploding and the defense can’t stop a nosebleed. They haven’t just lost games, but they’ve been completely manhandled and quite frankly, embarrassed. The defense has been torn apart by a 38-year old backup, two rookies,...

AFC North coming down to the wire

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When you think of the AFC North, two teams usually come to mind, the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It seems that year after year, these two teams battle it out all season long until one walks away with the AFC North crown. However, this year is playing out a bit differently. Before a three-game losing streak, the Baltimore Ravens sat at 9-2 and had a commanding lead in the division. It seemed as if the only way they could not win the division is if the team practically...