Lombardi’s Way

Ravens v. Panthers: Looking Away From The Ball

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Whether at home or down at The Bank, here are a few things to look for when you aren’t watching the ball during the Ravens v. Panthers “blood and guts” hoedown. 1. Steve Smith, Sr.: The day that Senior signed with the Ravens, he circled September 28, 2014 on his calendar again and again. It would not surprise me if an added incentive for signing with the Ravens was the fact that the Panthers were on Baltimore’s schedule. We know he’ll be targeted often by Joe Flacco. But the fun...

ESPN on a Ravens Witch-hunt?

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Roger Goodell’s press conference on Friday to address Ray Rice’s Elevator-gate and domestic violence boiled down to this: Random media guy: Roger what do you have to say for yourself? Goodell: I’m sorry. I was wrong and I will do my very best to see that it doesn’t happen again. THE END. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing of substance during 43 minutes of hyperbole. This presser wasn’t much different than disciplining a child by injecting a little public embarrassment to allow the lesson to resonate. Ok Roger. Now go to...

THE GRAPEVINE: 2013′s Scapegoat

Juan Castillo Training Camp Stadium
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just talk about football when we talk about football? But before we do… Ray Rice got it going on the topic of domestic violence and now the accused/convicted/indicted in the NFL on DV include the 49ers Ray McDonald, the Panthers Greg Hardy and the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson. You know the NFL always talks like they are a business and the players like to think of themselves as businessmen so how about this – let’s just send them all home with pay until due...

THE GOOD, BAD & UGLY: Ravens 26, Steelers 6

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Just four days prior to Thursday night the Ravens played poorly against a tough Cincinnati Bengals team yet hung around long enough to nearly force overtime. Before they could even let the loss soak in the Ray Rice elevator video surfaced a little over 12 hours after the defeat. It took the world and the Ravens by storm. No one was quite sure how the team would respond. An 0-2 start was certainly a possibility and thoughts of an implosive season weren’t far behind. A convincing team win certainly put...

STEVE BISCIOTTI: A Beautiful Mind

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As many of you know I’ve had the good fortune during the past 6 seasons to participate in Ravens Rap TV/Radio show in Ocean City, MD with Steve Bisciotti. During that time I’ve gotten to know Bisciotti a bit and he’s a fun-loving, approachable guy who is often humbled by the journey that is his life. He hasn’t forgotten where he’s come from and he’s deeply loyal to those who have contributed to his fortune. He’s also very self-deprecating and as most good leaders do, he contributes to the success...

What’s Next?

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Roger Goodell has always been a heavy-handed disciplinarian. And while things don’t look particularly good for his administration right now there are obvious inconsistencies in the current speculation stemming from the NFL’s alleged knowledge and viewing of the Ray Rice video. If he did not see the video as he claims, the two-game suspension, while unusually lenient for Goodell, is understandable if he trusted Rice while taking into account the former Raven’s impeccable reputation prior to that night at Revel Casino. However, if it is proven that Goodell did see...

A Time For Perspective

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I had a great column all worked out in my mind full of some silver-tongued journalistic prose, but I opted not to write it. Instead I’d like to apologize. I am not experienced in the area of domestic violence and writing about it feels clumsy to me. I’m simply not qualified. I can only share with you how the Ray Rice incident has affected me and how I believe it affects the Ravens. I can’t speak for all fans. Some of you may have first-hand experience with domestic violence and...

Perhaps Time Can Make Things Right For Ray Rice

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The last couple of days have been a whirlwind for us here at Russell Street Report and you all know why. I’ve heard from many of you, good, bad and somewhat indifferent. I’ve been criticized for defending Ray Rice previously and now for being critical of him. I don’t see it as wavering or as piling on. For me it’s all about following the evidence. Reasonable doubt! Innocent until proven guilty! It has been less than 48 hours since I was first made aware of Ray Rice Video II. There’s...

Goodell’s Believability is Tanking

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Something feels dirty about the handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case and it starts with the NFL and Roger Goodell. Back in February we all saw Part II of the Ray Rice video as he attempted to drag his fiancée Janay Palmer out of an elevator at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. For months we were left to speculate about Part I. How did Ms. Palmer fall into a state of unconsciousness? Was she drunk out of her mind? Did she fall and hit her head? Did...

Good, Bad, Ugly & The Megan Fox: Bengals 23, Ravens 16

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The Ravens home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals looked eerily similar to the gut-wrenching games from the 2013 season. The offense struggled, abandoned the running game, let Joe Flacco chuck it all over the place, got the lead and then the defense let it slip away in the fourth quarter. Now the team will have to dust off, pretend not to hear the deafening noise emanating from the Ray Rice elevator incident and focus on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Perhaps the football field will actually be necessary safe harbor for the...

Have The Ravens Taken a Back Seat to The O’s?

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For years fans of the Ravens have looked to the team to provide a release, a timeout from the daily grind – a purple oasis nestled in the middle of a concrete jungle. The Orioles, mired in years of futility and hopelessness were nothing more than a temporary distraction at best and usually just the community’s orange-headed stepchild. The Ravens were kings and when training camp opened in late July the overwhelming majority of Baltimore area sports fans donned their purple-shaded Maui Jim’s and set their sights upon the gridiron....

Things Just Got Worse For Ray Rice

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Roger Goodell clearly misunderstood the potential outcry following the two-game suspension given to Ray Rice. I’ve argued that he could have more emphatically stated to the public why he was so lenient with the Ravens running back. He hasn’t. And today he’s done just the opposite and admitted to making a mistake in a letter to the NFL owners. “At times, however, and despite our best efforts, we fall short of our goals. We clearly did so in response to a recent incident of domestic violence. … My disciplinary decision...

Former Teammate Takes Swipe at Ray Rice

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The Ray Rice backlash is not going away anytime soon. When he travels to other stadiums the activists will follow and vitriolic fans with nothing better to do with their sad little lives will make signs, probably throw things at the Ravens bus or in Cleveland they just might take out their frustrations on the children of visiting Ravens fans like they once did to an 8-year old Jets fan. It’s really a sad statement on society. You hear the hate on sports talk radio; you see it at times...

Juan Castillo: Ravens Villain to Hero?

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It’s no secret that last season was an awful one for the Ravens offense, particularly the offensive line. Joe Flacco was under duress far too often and the rushing attack ran on empty and ended up as the NFL’s worst. Coming off a Super Bowl XLVII victory fans demanded answers, sought solutions and wondered why the Ravens changed anything at all, championing the credo, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Yet changes were ushered in and the uncommon denominators were Juan Castillo and Gino Gradkowski. The Ravens had little...

Concerns Mount Around the Ravens Defense

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A buzz was in the air as the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers warmed up to prepare for their cross-continent practice partners. This would be no ordinary day of training camp. The same drills, the same 7-on-7 routines, the same 1-on-1’s that by this time during the summer have become as mundane and boring as ESPN’s and NFL Network’s excessively redundant coverage of Johnny Manziel, just weren’t the same – in a good way. These athletes with a heightened sense of focus ushered in by the flow of competitive...

Ravens Fans Finally Get to Say Goodbye

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When fans filter into M&T Bank Stadium tonight to see the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers they will see a familiar face and a familiar number – Anquan Boldin, No. 81. Boldin was a fan favorite and why not? He embodies the character of Baltimore – hard working, tough, blue collar, overachieving. And he was a star during the team’s postseason run up to and through Super Bowl XLVII. The decision to trade Boldin to the 49ers for a very late 6th round pick went over about...

Ravens Secondary is a Primary Concern

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Lardarius Webb plays like a heat-seeking missile. Pound for pound he is one of the league’s best tacklers and arguably the best of the Ravens’ defenders. Unfortunately the 180-pound corner’s kamikaze style can lead to injuries, particularly when he takes on opponents who weigh 25-plus % more than him. Yesterday we learned from John Harbaugh that Webb will not be practicing with the team and he will not suit up for the first two preseason games. “He’s not going to play. He probably won’t play the first two preseason games....

STREET TALK: Unitas Plaza is Wrong For Lewis Statue

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The backlash over the Ray Rice suspension just won’t go away and with each new visit that Rice makes in each new town since the altercation in Atlantic City, the possibility of new and/or sustained vitriol directed towards the Ravens running back exists. His first game back from the two-game suspension will be a road trip to Cleveland, a sports town with football fans who throw bottles on the field to force the end of a game and tackle 8-year-old boys wearing visiting colors. Imagine the warm reception that Rice...

Harry O Fought to The Final Whistle

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Harry O was a regular participant in “Letters 2 TL”. It’s that mailbag that brought us together. Harry made me feel relevant, like my opinion mattered and was somehow more important than his. It wasn’t… “Letters” connected us in the cyber world and eventually paved the way to a friendship in the real world. The first time I met Harry he was a custodian for Safe Management during Ravens training camp at McDaniel College. I was both flattered and humbled by his affinity for our work but that wasn’t the...

Final Word (I Think) on Ray Rice’s Suspension

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We received a lot of push back from Ravens and NFL Fans not happy about what they believe to be a light-handed suspension given to Ray Rice (2 games, $500,000+). Some followers were nasty after I posted the following Tweets: Ray Rice’s suspension announced…check; overreaction from everyone…check; time to move on…TBD. Time 2 focus upon the field #Ravens — Russell St. Report (@RussellStReport) July 25, 2014   Haters gonna hate. The overreaction is to Rice’s suspension. When has Goodell ever given anyone a break? Ever think that he has more...