Lombardi’s Way

Ravens Predictions For The 2014 Season

temp052814_OTAs_0229--nfl_mezz_1280_1024
Biggest Surprise: To say that the position of cornerback is thin for the Baltimore Ravens is about as insightful as saying ESPN slobbers over Johnny Manziel. Starters Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb have struggled to stay healthy and Chykie Brown is an inviting welcome matt for opposing QB’s. And then there’s Asa Jackson. Jackson has shown during preseason games that he has solid ball skills, fluid hips and can break quickly on the ball. What he lacks is game experience. He’ll get that experience in 2014 and his play will...

Ravens Trim to 53, More Moves Expected

San Francisco 49ers vs Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore
The Ravens made several roster moves to get down to the mandated 53-man roster. Placed the following player on Physically Unable to Perform list: DT Terrence Cody Placed the following player on Injured Reserve: WR Jeremy Butler Waived the following players: T Parker Graham; CB Tramain Jacobs; OL Ryan Jensen; DT Jamie Meder; DT AJ Pataiali’i; CB Sammy Seamster; G/C AQ Shipley; OLB John Simon; TE Phillip Supernaw; RB Fitzgerald Toussaint; QB Keith Wenning Terminated the contract of the following vested veterans: CB Derek Cox CB Dominque Franks RAVENS 53...

RAVENS 22, SAINTS 13: 5 Good, 5 Bad Takeaways

Deonte Thompson, Stanley Jean-Baptiste
Although the scoreboard tells a different story, the Baltimore Ravens reserves absolutely dominated the New Orleans Saints last night in the Superdome. There’s a social media phenomenon called Throwback Thursday and the Ravens certainly seemed to be playing along by featuring a smash mouth brand of football. Controlling the clock, running the ball down the throats of the opponent, kicking several field goals and playing solid defense was a formula that worked splendidly in the early 2000’s. It worked again last night and the coaching staff must be extremely pleased...

Things Just Got Worse For Ray Rice

Goodell Rice
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

rayrice_sidelines
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...

Meriweather Suspended For Hit on T. Smith

Brandon Meriweather
The Baltimore Ravens preseason game against the Washington Redskins last Saturday night was unusually physical. One might think that it’s understood that the starters on opposing teams wouldn’t go for kill shots or throw their bodies around with reckless abandon. The stars and starters are simply looking to get in their work without risking the regular season due to unnecessary injuries. Apparently the Washington Redskins, particularly defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and safeties Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather didn’t get that memo. Meriweather has a history of headhunting and on Saturday...

Ravens v. Redskins: 5 Things we Saw

53f95616356a3.preview-620
Heading into Saturday’s game we suggested 5 Things to Look For  besides the ball. What did that focus tell us? 1. Tackling: The tackling from the front seven was vastly improved. The open field variety from the secondary still leaves much to be desired and if the Ravens don’t clean that up, look for big plays from opposing offenses this season. 2. Matt Elam: Lost in Space comes to mind and if Elam’s play doesn’t start to ascend soon he’ll be in DANGER of being labeled a bust. Or is...

RAVENS 23, REDSKINS 17: 5 Good, 5 Bad Takeaways

steve-smith-nfl-preseason-washington-redskins-baltimore-ravens-590x900 (1)
Usually the most physical play in an NFL preseason game takes place in the second half. It’s then that players fighting for their jobs, in some cases for their careers, run around with their hair on fire seeking assurance that they’ll receive regular paychecks on Fridays from September through December. That wasn’t the case on Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium. Starters seek to get in their work, refine their craft and escape fake games with their health in tact. And that seems to be generally understood by both teams....

Ravens v. Redskins: 5 Things to Look For

chykie brown bench
Tonight is game 3 of the preseason, often referred to as the Opening Day dress rehearsal. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. There’s little to no game planning, just many subplots as players either work to refine their game in preparation for the start of the regular season while avoiding injury or they are fighting for their careers. This is the reason why some journeymen players are often preseason stars and seldom suit up on Sundays – provided they make the team. That’s why the preseason is a lie. It’s...

Juan Castillo: Ravens Villain to Hero?

temp072814_StadiumPractice_3410--nfl_mezz_1280_1024
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...

THE GRAPEVINE: Ravens Rumors and Hard Knocks Snoozers

Owen Daniels Evan Habeeb
The Ravens host the Redskins in game 3 of the preseason, usually the contest during which the starters get their biggest workload. Afterwards John Harbaugh and his staff will be forced to cut down from 90 to 75 players. Following preseason game 4 the team must cut down to 53 players. That cut down is eased slightly by the recent expansion of the practice squad from 7 to 10 players. Three rookie receivers may be competing for 1 spot among the 53: Michael Campanaro, Kamar Aiken and Jeremy Butler. Deonte...

RAVENS 37 COWBOYS 30: 5 Good, 5 Bad Takeways

Deonte Thompson
The Ravens offense did not take the field until the 3:25 mark of the first quarter and then proceeded to stay on the field for all of 53 seconds, their total time of possession for the quarter. Yet the first quarter ended with the Ravens on the lead end of a 14-7 game thanks to a fumble recovery for score by Courtney Upshaw and a 108-yard kick return by Deonte Thompson. It was a strange and uneven game/performance, even for a fake game.   PLUS 1. BIG MAC: Pernell McPhee...

The Cowboys Defense is Offensive

can-you-play
The Dallas Cowboys had a really bad defense in 2013. Really bad! Of the 32 teams in the league the Cowboys were ranked 32nd. Some other key defensive stats also paint a bleak picture of a season owner Jerry Jones would love to forget: • Opponents converted 43% of third down attempts (4th worst) • Opponents averaged 6.1 yards per play against the defense once known as “Doomsday” (2nd worst) • Opponents threw for 286.8 yards per game on average (3rd worst) • Opponents ran it for 128.5 yards per...

Concerns Mount Around the Ravens Defense

temp080914_TC_49ers_Practice_4055--nfl_mezz_1280_1024
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

NFL: Super Bowl XLVII-Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers
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

temp073014_TrainingCamp_3903--nfl_mezz_1280_1024
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

Unitas Plaza Sports Steve
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

IMG_2024
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

rice-court
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...

Ray Rice’s Suspension Could be Lighter Than Expected

Rice presser suit
The first full-fledged practice of the Ravens 2014 training camp will get underway this morning at 8:30 and still there is no news about the expected suspension of Ray Rice from Roger Goodell’s office. The absence of any announcement begs the question, “What is taking so long?” Lately Goodell has opted to allow the judicial process to take the lead before issuing any fines and/or suspensions. Rice’s case may be particularly tricky. The NFL is keen on expanding its market, penetrating new demographics and they’ve done an outstanding job drawing...