Lombardi’s Way

Humbling Harbaugh

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Ed. Note: The opinion expressed below was later recanted. Please CLICK HERE for the subsequent apology and for more information.  Just like it wasn’t John Harbaugh’s choice to part ways with former Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in 2012, it wasn’t his choice to hire Gary Kubiak to replace Jim Caldwell in 2014. Harbaugh is fiercely loyal. He genuinely believes in the abilities of his staff individually and collectively and has an unwavering faith in their potential to persevere and work through problems. Harbaugh’s choice was Jim Hostler. Word is...

Harbaugh’s Loyalty Could Prove Costly

Fix Harbaugh
John Harbaugh has been a very successful coach in the NFL. The numbers are all there for you to study and absorb if that’s your thing. 5 straight trips to the playoffs 3 AFC Championship Game appearances 1 Super Bowl victory There are franchises around the league that would die for such success yet here in Baltimore we stop just short of ridiculing it because this season wasn’t such a good one for Harbaugh. You see 2013 was Harbaugh’s first as a head coach without Messrs. Lewis and Reed. Whether...

A Baltimore Homecoming for Boldin is Doubtful

Boldin NFCC
He was instrumental in the Ravens unforgettable playoff romp to close out the 2012 season. He brought attitude and toughness to an offense that needed it. He made contested catches in the clutch. And then they traded him! Anquan Boldin, a Ravens star in Super Bowl XLVII has just abruptly concluded his first and possibly last season as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. And he will soon become an unrestricted free agent. Fans in Baltimore want the Ravens front office to correct what they believe to be a...

The NFL’s Best Kept Secret

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I’ve had the pleasure of being on the sidelines during Ravens practices. I have knelt with notepad in hand and watched 250 pound chiseled athletes who run at abnormal speeds for bodies that big, race past me from about 5 yards away. Just a few fleeting seconds after they pass you feel a breeze go by, the byproduct of mass and velocity. And then you can’t help but be left with the thought, “What if someone that big and that fast hit you when you weren’t looking?” It happens every...

Cloudy Skies Ahead for Harbaugh, Ravens?

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During his first five campaigns as an NFL head coach John Harbaugh built a pretty impressive resume. He is the only head coach to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons while guiding his team to the AFC Championship three times and of course winning Super Bowl XLVII. You really can’t ask for much more than that! Enter season number 6. The face of the franchise and the NFL’s quintessential leader, Ray Lewis retires. Demonstrative players like Bernard Pollard and Anquan Boldin are set free. Enigmatic...

Trade of Q Gets an F

anquan boldin colts
Anquan Boldin. The mere mention of his name in your friendly neighborhood sports pub will trigger debate amongst Ravens fans. Most will question GM Ozzie Newsome’s wisdom (or lack thereof) in trading Q for a 6th round pick. Terrell Suggs appeared on NFL Network last night practically busting out of his suit jacket given his bloated stature and mocked the deal. (Careful there, Sizzle. You could be next.) Some will defend Ozzie’s decision and say with confidence that the move paved the way for needed reinforcements on defense. The $6M...

Jim Harbaugh, 49ers Have No Class

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Maybe I’m a little old fashioned but I like an organization, a team or a player that is classy. I respect an organization that respects itself and forces all those within it to adhere to policies and codes that promote positivity, professionalism and dignity so much so that observers aspire to be part of who you are. I like a team that collectively dresses like professionals, to and from a game; a team that recognizes, appreciates and accepts responsibility for the message that they send in the way they carry...

DeCosta Still Willing to Stay On-Deck

Eric DeCosta Game Plan
Since I started doing what I do here at Russell Street Report I’ve been blessed with some opportunities that otherwise would never have come my way. One of those blessings is getting to know Ravens Assistant GM Eric DeCosta. Now I have no doubt that some of you reading this will accuse me of having a man crush. If that’s your conclusion, so be it. If that’s how you define admiring a man’s commitment to his family and to his job, I’m ok with that. DeCosta is a stickler for...

Ravens Rookie Class Gets Bad Marks For Participation

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Heading into summer training camp last July we listened as John Harbaugh described the 2013 Draft Class as among the best that he had seen. Officials around team headquarters glowed when questioned about the draft class, proudly explaining how intelligent the group was and how each in their own way had been a leader of their respective collegiate teams. The scouts boasted that they would have been happy selecting Arthur Brown in the first round but got him in the second. Brandon Williams was described as a third-round steal; fourth...

Bisciotti Gives His Staff a Mulligan For 2013

Bisciotti Harbaugh
Local media will try to tell you that the State of the Ravens press conference is that one time of the year when owner Steve Bisciotti fields questions about his team. Those of us who contribute to the Ravens Rap in Ocean City, Maryland know otherwise. For the last six seasons Bisciotti has visited us on the set of the Ravens Rap because of his loyalties to and long-standing friendship with Steve Pappas, the owner of The Original Greene Turtle. Through the years we’ve come to know Bisciotti a bit...

Ravens Repair Man

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1. Fix the Offensive Line The most obvious weakness and by far the single biggest deterrent to the Ravens success in 2013 was the horrific play of the offensive line. Joe Flacco was sacked 48 times, good for second highest in the league and the running game was a putrid 30th in yards and a league worst in yards per carry (3.1). The repairs won’t come easy and they won’t generate production immediately as offensive fronts take time to gel. Ozzie Newsome needs to: 1) Re-sign Eugene Monroe; 2) Closely...

Ravens Coaching Staff Needs to be Held Accountable Too

Dean Pees Harbaugh
For 6 out of 7 seasons and five straight the Baltimore Ravens were postseason participants. After that degree of success, as a fan you grow a little accustomed to that second season. So sitting at home, watching the playoff games without anything on the line seemed a little different. When you don’t have a dog in the fight your perspective changes and sometimes you see things a bit more clearly when the emotion is stripped away. As I watched (great games by the way) it was hard not to compare...

Montgomery Out, Castillo Next?

Ravens Coaches
When you are the Running Backs Coach for a team that averaged a league worst 3.1 yards per carry and finished 30th overall in total rushing yards and said team missed the playoff for the first time since George W. Bush was in the Oval Office, job security is about as realistic as a January heat wave in Green Bay. And therefore it should come as no surprise that Wilbert Montgomery lost his job with the Ravens yesterday. The spin from John Harbaugh on what many are reporting as a...

Looking For a Rooting Interest in The 2013 Postseason

chiefs colts
I’m wondering if I’m the only one trying to find a team to hitch my emotional fanwagon to during the postseason. Let’s consider the possibilities…   New England: Yeah right… I’d rather wear Tom Brady Uggs than root for them. Cincinnati: No thanks…I want Andy Dalton to continue to be for the Bengals what Matt Schaub is for the Texans. Indianapolis: Isn’t that blasphemy for a Baltimore native? Denver: Sorry, sick of hearing about Peyton Manning and I’ll never forgive Mr. Ed, aka John Elway. San Diego: Nope. Phillip Rivers...

Suggs’ Future With Ravens in Jeopardy

Suggs profile
Terrell Suggs reported to camp this summer in the best shape we’ve ever seen from the 6-time Pro Bowler, former Defensive Rookie of the Year (2003) and the former Defensive Player of the Year (2011). Early on his attention to nutritional detail and the extra hours in the weight room and with cardiovascular training paid big dividends on the field. Through 8 games Suggs had 60 combined tackles and 9 sacks. In his DPOY campaign he had 70 combined tackles and 14 sacks during the entire season. And though he...

Identity Crisis

Harbaugh SB XLVII
The Baltimore Ravens entered the 2013 campaign championing their newly coined mantra, “Here We Are.” Well that one sort of backfired, didn’t it? For the first time in six seasons the Ravens are on the outside looking in at the NFL postseason. So “Here We Are” and it’s not such a pretty view and the seats aren’t all that comfortable. Yet that being said it is a vantage point that the Ravens need to experience. Being knocked out of the playoffs in many ways is a blessing in disguise for...

Fans Should “Play Like a Raven” Too

Play Like a Raven
When you win the Super Bowl there’s a natural swagger that goes along with it. It’s the walk, the body language of a champion. Years, sometimes full careers are spent trying to capture The Lombardi. It drives players and coaches. It inspires them to arrive at work a little earlier, stay a little longer, lift a little more with the hope that it all pays dividends. When it finally does and the confetti in your team’s colors rains down from above symbolizing the crowning achievement it can be a little...

A Holiday Embarrassment!

Harbaugh sidelines
In a word – embarrassing. The World Champion Baltimore Ravens had an opportunity to make a statement against perennial playoff contenders, the New England Patriots. Instead of seizing the opportunity as proud defenders of the crown, they looked like shameful pretenders. They were outplayed, outhustled, outcoached, out-planned, out-executed and probably ousted from the post season while being outscored in record fashion at M&T Bank Stadium. There was nothing good about the game except the fact that a fan could comfortably sit in the stands in shorts and a t-shirt on...

Flacco Needs to Improve for Ravens to Advance

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Whether you are a fan or not everyone can agree on one thing when it comes to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco – he’s one tough player. During the course of his very successful 5+ years in the NFL, Flacco has taken the field every single game day. He has started 107 consecutive games (including 13 post season starts) and he’s never missed a single snap due to injury. Given his willingness to stand in the pocket, his tall and lanky frame, predictable play calling and an offensive line that...

Despite Struggles Rice Still Leads

Ray Rice Parade
Ray Rice has been heavily criticized this season. His production is off and clearly he’s not performing to the level of his contract. The three-time Pro Bowler is being paid to be an elite running back yet he averages just 3.1 yards per carry and is ranked as the 54th most productive back in the league out of a total of 54 backs ranked by Pro Football Focus. The burst isn’t there. The elusiveness is missing. Of Rice’s 197 carries he’s broken tackles or made defenders miss just 9 times...