Lombardi’s Way

Draft Day Surprises

Flacco Drafted
You’ve heard it many times before that the NFL Draft is an inexact science and the industry that it has spawned and all its mock drafts are equally inexact. Each NFL team attempts to learn from previous mistakes, fighting the urge to pass on the best players available while reaching for need. And while the science is inexact, teams continually attempt to refine the process and make it even more scientific, more measurable so that their investments pay dividends. Besides the hours of scouting, interviewing and researching thousands of prospects...

Schedule-Gate

Ravens Panthers 2014
One of my more embarrassing moments since starting Ravens24x7.com back in 2003 took place in April of 2005. But to fully comprehend the mess I created I must start with something that took place in April, 2004. Just before the NFL was set to release its 2004 schedule I received a call from a friend who had a friend with a friend who worked in the league offices in New York. The friend thrice removed was willing to share the Ravens schedule. “Do you want it?”, I was asked rhetorically...

Rolando McClain Makes The Right Choice

Rolando McClain with son
So Rolando McClain is unleashing upon the world his inner Brett Favre while singing along to the chorus of The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go. Simple answer Rolando – GO! That said, let’s not start chastising McClain or Ozzie Newsome for the twice-failed comeback attempt. It was a worthy one and for all of the know-it-alls in the cyber world or on sports talk radio, take a moment and a step back to look at the man in the mirror. See any flaws? Let’s give McClain credit...

Roger Greedell Caught in a Lie

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Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock somewhere you know that the NFL moved its draft back to May 8-10. For years the draft was held in late April and for the past few it’s been scheduled for the last Thursday in April, concluding on the last Saturday. In 2013 Roger Goodell, who is about as sincere as Lindsay Lohan is to her NA sponsor, said the change was needed in 2014 because the league’s draft venue of choice, Radio City Music Hall, was hosting an Easter show during the...

New Deal Ngata Happening…Yet

Haloti Shawn Hubbard
Photo courtesy of ShawnHubbardPhoto.com   Perhaps one of the more understated needs of the Baltimore Ravens as they prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft is the position of defensive tackle. The team as expected, lost Arthur Jones to free agency and now they’ll need to distribute his reps to others currently on the roster and perhaps a few who aren’t among the potential 53 – yet! The obvious choices for more playing time are Brandon Williams and DeAngelo Tyson. Both are capable and as we’ve seen in the past, defensive...

Ravens Should Give McClain Another Shot

Rolando McClain,  Matt Shaughnessy
So Rolando McClain showed up late for a workout in front of Ravens’ officials yesterday and then promptly failed his conditioning test. Same old Rolando? Maybe, maybe not. It’s easy to assume that the guy is still a mess given his track record but should we, and more importantly the Ravens rush to judgment? Some may argue that the guy is fighting to save his career and that he should have been in great shape and passed his conditioning test with flying Crimson Tide colors. But let’s not forget that...

Ravens Backfield Running on Empty?

running backs camp
Gary Kubiak’s offense has long been a productive one, among the league’s best. It has also been one that heavily depends on an effective running game. In 2013 the Ravens’ running game was hardly effective. Some blame the running backs; some blame the offensive line; some blame the coaching of the offensive line; some blame the play calling. It was all of the above. The Ravens have improved the offensive line this offseason. They’ve re-signed Eugene Monroe who we hear has become quite the gym rat and they’ve added center...

Do What You Love!

I got game
Several years ago a friend who was an assistant principal asked me to make a presentation to his after-school groups at a local private school. The groups were separated by interests, one being sports and the other computers. He thought that given my chosen occupation that my story might be of interest to both groups. The kids ranged from 11-13 years of age so I initially thought that it could be a challenge maintaining their interest. To my surprise, they seemed to cling to every word and today, when I...

The Best NFL Rosters Start at The Bottom

Baltimore Ravens v Atlanta Falcons
Consistently successful NFL teams maintain quality depth. Depth provides insurance in the event of key injuries and it fuels competition within a team. The threat of losing a job ushered in by competent competition channels a player’s focus, his attention to detail, the willingness to persevere all of which motivates him to dig a little deeper for even an extra ounce of effort. Creating such a competitive environment forces athletes to show up on tape in any way they can. They become more willing participants on special teams. They do...

Birdland Suffers a Big Loss

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One year ago Matt Hersl, a devout fan of the Baltimore Orioles and community activist was tragically taken from us following a senseless, careless and reckless accident. Today we once again take a moment to remember Matt. Here is his story. ~ Tony Lombardi   There’s purity to the game of baseball that no other sport can match. Its history and the indelible mark it has left upon our nation’s landscape has no peer. The legendary names, folklore, the metaphors and the history, they lure you in and take you...

RAVENS NEWS AND NOTES: Offense to Get Physical

John Harbaugh, Gary Kubiak
Today the Ravens hosted a chalk talk session with the media to expand the knowledge of NFL concepts. The focus this morning was offense and the presenters were offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and offensive line coach Juan Castillo. Also involved in the presentation were assistant coaches Tom Hammock, Brian Pariani and Rick Dennison. The session was really intended to boost the football IQ of the media – a tutorial of sorts to help improve the coverage and level of intelligence when reporting or opining on the Ravens and the NFL....

RAVENS RUMORMILL: London, Contract Clauses & New Unis

New Unis featured pic
It is no secret that one of the Ravens’ offseason objectives was and is to find a free safety to pair up with Matt Elam. Word is that Ozzie Newsome and his merry band of capable front office execs had their collective sights set on former Bill Jairus Byrd. The Ravens were said to be close to a 5-year deal with the 3-time All Pro until the Saints came marching in. Byrd was waiting to board a flight to Baltimore at Buffalo Niagara International Airport when his agent called to...

The Celebration of Opening Day

Opening Day Celebration
Opening Day has long been one of my favorite days of the year. It ushers in hope, a new season and serves as a reminder that the epic days of summer are just around the corner. The Boys are back in town! For years, along with several buddies, we made a complete day and night out of Opening Day. An early morning tee time was followed by a great lunch and a few beers down in the area of Camden Yards. Then of course there was the game. Weather was...

Ravens Meanderings: More Free Agent Spending?

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Free agents who remain on the open market at this time lose leverage and therefore money with each passing day. Representatives for these agents have more than likely drawn proverbial lines in the sand in an attempt to set market value for their clients. Yet as the draft draws nearer, their clients’ cases grow weaker and those lines become less defined. Of the remaining unrestricted free agents, those most frequently discussed as potential Ravens are Owen Daniels and LeGarrette Blount. Daniels on the surface would appear to be a natural...

NFL Proposes Rule Changes, Only Few Make Sense

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The NFL Owners’ Meetings begin this week and among the things that will be discussed are rule changes. Why the league’s brain trust feels compelled to make material changes to a game that is wildly popular is in some ways unconscionable and in other ways simply arrogant. But be that as it may, they’ll convene this week and discuss 13 different proposed changes to the game. Maybe they should spend their collective time discussing ways to improve the fan experience at the game such as NASA powered wifi, free access...

Ravens Meanderings: A Free Safety Solution?

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The Ravens made it known that they would target a playmaker at free safety this offseason yet there are really none that stand out from a rather pedestrian list of remaining players that fit that description. The dearth of available talent has many believing the Ravens will look to the draft to fill the need. Others have suggested that the player Ozzie Newsome covets is already on the team’s roster. He wears No. 21. Let’s put this idea to bed now. You don’t take a young, up-and-coming corner who is...

Who is Baltimore’s Second Greatest QB?

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Vinny Cerrato as he often does, has been spewing venom on 105.7 The Fan. He has unfairly targeted Haloti Ngata and Jacoby Jones in the past for conjured up reasons. Maybe that’s his shtick. Maybe that’s what he’s paid to do, like a plunger in a clogged toilet. You get the picture. It would be interesting to hear how he might critique his own work as a twice-fired NFL GM, but I digress… Now Cerrato’s venom is aimed at Joe Flacco whom he claims doesn’t love the game and isn’t...

Ravens Meanderings: Just Say “No” to Ryan Clark

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Ozzie Newsome made it perfectly clear during the State of the Ravens presser that free safety is a position of interest. Unfortunately if free agency was the intended means to address the need, the talent there has quickly dried up with the Dolphins Chris Clemons arguably being the best of the un-signed UFA safeties. But yesterday, according to the Baltimore Sun, a new candidate has emerged. Ryan Clark! There’s a reason Clark is no longer in Pittsburgh. Given Troy Polamalu’s coverage weaknesses, the Steelers couldn’t pair him up with another...

Price Might Not be Right For Daryl Smith

NFL: Preseason-Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens
Daryl Smith showed the world during the 2013 season that his NFL career wasn’t finished. He led the Ravens in tackles (123), was second in interceptions (3), second in forced fumbles (2), third in sacks (5) and he had the team’s only defensive touchdown, a pick 6 against the Houston Texans. Smith also helped make the transition from the Ray Lewis era as seamless as possible while wearing the green dot as the defensive signal caller. Essentially Smith did everything the Ravens hoped and then some. But now he’s a...

When Considering Julian Edelman, Buyer Beware!

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It’s interesting how so many fans, even members of the media suggest that the Ravens should scrap the idea of drafting a receiver and just sign a free agent pass catcher instead. The rationale has its roots in the team’s history of drafting wide receivers, which admittedly has been anything but stellar. But such opinions are narrow-minded and shortsighted. Naturally proponents of such thinking will point to Travis Taylor, Mark Clayton, Devard Darling and Tandon Doss as evidence to support their claims. And while the argument is compelling to some...
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