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TALE OF THE TAPE: Ngata’s Career Revival

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The consistent positive outputs by the Baltimore Ravens defense this season has been the epitome of a collective effort. No single defender has carried the team to the second-best scoring defense in the NFL (16.4 points per game). Rather, the stellar play of a handful of defenders has led to innate success for Dean Pees’ unit. One of the defensive leaders putting in notable work on a weekly basis this season is veteran defensive end Haloti Ngata. Once considered to be on the downswing of his career, Ngata’s performance in...

Top 4 Midseason Disappointments

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Midway through the 2014 season, the Ravens have found themselves with a 5-3 record sitting currently in second place in the division behind the Bengals (4-2-1) by mere percentage points. The emotions after a gut wrenching loss such as the one the Ravens suffered on Sunday are real. Fingers are pointed, players are blamed when in reality the Ravens win as a team and lose as a team and are only as strong as their weakest link on the football field. Here are four players that haven’t lived up to...

Is Bernard Pierce Moving On?

Pierce Tweet
Back on October 14 I noticed a Tweet from Bernard Pierce featured in his Temple Owls uniform that seemed a bit unusual and clearly open to interpretation. I took a screen shot of the Tweet and it is the featured pic above. Now it’s entirely possible that Pierce is looking to buy a home or perhaps sell one that he now owns and move into a rental. There are a host of possibilities, so much so that I reached out to a friend who has helped other local professional athletes...

Top 5 Midseason Standouts

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As the Ravens entered the offseason many concerns were raised about key positions on both sides of the football and whether the organization did enough to meet their needs. Was the roster strong enough to improve upon the dismal 2013 season? While no one knows exactly how the rest of the season will play out here is a look at how some of the decisions panned out through the midway point of the season that have the Ravens sitting in second place in the AFC North with a 5-3 record....

TV GEEK: Calling a Heartbreaker

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It’s hard to say you enjoyed a game broadcast when your team loses a heartbreaker against a division rival.  I’m not going to say that.  I will say that the broadcast didn’t bother me, which, given the situation is probably the best thing I could say. Greg Gumbel and Trent Green were the broadcast team for CBS on Sunday.  We all had our first opportunity to hear Gumbel in action without Dan Dierdorf for the first time back when the Ravens flattened the Panthers.  The vision of that game couldn’t...

FANTASY LINKS: Taliaferro an Unexpected Committee Leader

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Riddick, Taliaferro unexpected committee leaders NFL.com fantasy writer, Matt Fransiscovich goes over a few committee backfields including the Ravens where you can find some value outside of the starters. LINK 6 Things I Learned From Week 8 of the NFL Season In numberFire writer, JJ Zachariason’s weekly column, he talks about my personal favorite fantasy player this year (since I have him in all four of my leagues) Arian Foster and 5 other things he learned this week in fantasy. LINK Fantasy waiver wire: Week 9 NFL fantasy guru, Michael...

The Final Word: Dean Pees Tips His “Pitches”

Dean Pees
We’ve seen this same story unfold before between the Bengals and the Ravens. When the Ravens blitz, they declare too soon, and quarterback Andy Dalton is able to make an adjustment at the line well before the snap. On the long 53-yard completion to Mohamed Sanu that led to a game-winning drive for the Bengals, Dalton identified Darian Stewart as the blitzer and slid his protection to account for him before the snap. The frustrating part about these plays are that once the Baltimore defenders declare the blitz, and Dalton...

One Game (One Loss) Can Change a Season

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Confessions of a Sports Nut It’s definitely a rare occasion when one game at the mid-season point turns out to be pivotal moment unless it involves a major injury to your quarterback or another prominent player. So, let’s hope I’m wrong when I say, “I have a bad feeling that Sunday’s loss in Cincinnati might have been a game-changer for the Ravens.” John Harbaugh is a resilient man and his team, like their coach, is tough as nails. You saw that on Sunday in Cincinnati when six starters had to...

FILMSTUDY: Ravens OL Best in Football Through 8 Games

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At the midway point of this season, it’s time to take stock of the Ravens’ linemen, and despite a pair of significant injuries, they remain the best line in football. Sunday was no exception as the regulars all returned to play against the Bengals and provided ATS on 20 of 35 drop backs.  The only sack came on a protracted play where the pocket held up well.  With the exception of a pair of goal-line plays, the run blocking was also successful. Included here are the grading charts for the...

Gillmore Inspires Confidence In First NFL start

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If there was a positive out of veteran tight end Owen Daniels missing Sunday’s game while recovering from a minor procedure on his knee, it was that rookie Crockett Gillmore got valuable experience in a a tough divisional match-up. Gillmore, the raw tight end out of Colorado State participated in 52 (19 pass, 25 run block, 8 pass block) of the offense’s 67 snaps (per the metrics website Pro Football Focus). The 6-6, 260-pound Gillmore responded with two catches for 23 yards including a 13-yard catch on second down to...

SPEED BAG: Concerns Mount For The Ravens

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The NFL is nuts! One week a team can look like a developing Super Bowl contender and the next like a playoff pretender. Take for instance the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens’ opponent this week. They fall to the Browns 31-10 who one week later took one on the chin from the then winless Jaguars. Speaking of winless, Tampa’s single “W” on the season was in Pittsburgh where the Steelers a few weeks later put up a 51-spot on the Colts, which by the way was one week removed from Indianapolis’...

Behind Enemy Lines: Ravens Only Losers in Week 8

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers No luck needed to defeat Indy After many people including myself wrote the Steelers off in the AFC North, the crew from Pittsburgh have improved to 5-3 after winning their last two including demolishing the Indianapolis Colts 51-34 on Sunday afternoon. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for a franchise best 522 yards and six touchdowns in a game highlighted by offense that featured over 1000 yards of total offense. On defense, the Steelers managed to pressure Colts QB Andrew Luck when it mattered most, sacking the youngster two times...

RAVENS LINKS: Concern Over Jimmy Smith’s Injury

NFL: New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens
Smith injury concern for challenged secondary Hopefully we’ll learn more later in the day about Jimmy Smith’s injury, but the impact was certainly felt in yesterday’s loss. Clifton Brown of CSN Baltimore has the full story. LINK For Ravens, 1 yard makes all the difference Bo Smolka of CSN Baltimore details the real reason for the Ravens’ loss yesterday: their inability to make a 4th and 1 and their inability to stop a 4th and 1. LINK 4th Down: When to Go for It and Why Some people are complaining...

On Second Thought: Ravens Weren’t Good Enough

Harbaugh AP Photo Darron Cummings
Sunday’s loss in Cincinnati was tough to swallow. It seems to have all come down to a Hail Mary 80-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Steve Smith Sr. that included an offensive pass interference call. But it really didn’t. In the first quarter, the Ravens were deep in Bengals territory when John Harbaugh decided to “go for it” on 4th down at the 1 yard line. The Ravens failed to get the one yard needed and turned the ball over on downs. That didn’t just cost the Ravens a touchdown,...

The Good, Bad & Ugly: Bengals 27, Ravens 24

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The NFL is such a volatile league. One week a team can look like world-beaters, the next they can’t seem to get out of their own way. As observers we put too much stock into the games unfolding before us and see them as indicators of what to expect moving forward. But really, in the NFL the only thing we should expect, and this sounds cliché-ish, is the unexpected. A few weeks ago many wrote off the Steelers as old and insignificant. What do we think today? The Saints appeared...

RAVENS REPORT CARD: The Teacher Isn’t Happy!

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Overall: C You can’t afford to miss opportunities when they present themselves, especially on the road vs. a division rival. The Ravens missed out on a chance to give themselves some distance in the division today. Joe Flacco continued his poor play at Cincinnati and the defense, which got the team back into the game, could not close the deal when it was needed the most. Injuries are starting to pile up on this team as Jimmy Smith left the game early in the 1st quarter. The secondary was never the...

KNEE-JERK REACTIONS: Disappointment in Cincy

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Injuries killed the Ravens today, but other than the two turnovers, Hue Jackson ate Dean Pees’ lunch in the second half. Ravens have to hope Cincy’s tie comes back to haunt them now that they own the tiebreaker. ~Derek Arnold Joe Flacco once again played the way he usually does against the Bengals and failed to deliver in the clutch when he had an opportunity to ice the game after the Elam strip when leading 21-20. The Ravens safeties are awful and the loss was reminiscent of many in 2013...

This Week on Russell Street

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We will soon be launching an all-new Russell Street Report including a slick looking mobile version. We will also be offering a text service to keep you up-to-date on all of the newest posts on RSR and you can pick what you want delivered to your mobile device. That said there are still some great pieces that you might miss during your busy week and with that in mind, we bring you This Week on Russell Street…   BOOOOOOLD PREDICTIONS Here’s a sampling… With Owen Daniels out this Sunday, Crockett...

Ravens’ Ability to Put Aside Distractions Defines Season

John Harbaugh
What defines a team seeking great results in a season? The teams that have found themselves successful have often been the ones who have best been able to overcome adversity. The 2014 season of the Baltimore Ravens has been one of tumult and one of surprise, but most importantly one of defying expectations. Normally when a team faces extreme distraction and adversity, those detriments can either produce a team that is wrapped tighter together and use that as a pathway to success, or they wilt under the pressure. The 2013...

Ravens Look to Deliver a Knockout Blow in Cincinnati

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Ravens at Bengals: What to Look For SQUATTERS: The Bengals will more than likely be without the services of AJ Green on Sunday and that allows defensive coordinator Dean Pees to take some chances that he otherwise might be less inclined to risk. Bengals QB Andy Dalton likes to get the ball out quickly and avoid the big hits. He connected with tight end Jermaine Gresham 10 times last week against the Colts for just 48 yards. Dink and dunk is the theme. Look for Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb...