CRAB BAG: Ravens take on “The Rookie”

The Rookie 600

BRANDON WEEDEN STARRING IN “THE ROOKIE”

Brandon Weeden was drafted in the second round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Yankees, their first selection in the draft. He was later traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers with Jeff Weaver and Yhency Brazoban for Kevin Brown.

Following the 2005 season, he was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Kansas City Royals. Weeden played his last season of professional baseball in 2006 with the Class-A High Desert Mavericks of the California League. Injuries and a high ERA led to Weeden quitting baseball. Sources: MLB.com, Yahoo Sports, Washington Post

Now he’s a 29-year-old rookie quarterback in the NFL, a storybook unfolding before our very eyes.

Today he faces a quarterback with 4+ years of NFL experience as a starter who just so happens to be 27 – namely Joe Flacco.

In fact there are eight starting quarterbacks in the league with 3 or more years of experience who are younger than Weeden, most notably besides Flacco: Matt Ryan; Matt Stafford; Mark Sanchez; Josh Freeman; Alex Smith; Aaron Rodgers; and Kevin Kolb. Of the 32 starting signal callers in the NFL, only 14 are older than this rookie.

 

GAME’S BROADCAST CREWS

TV: CBS / WJZ (Ch. 13)

- Marv Albert (play-by-play) – Rich Gannon (analyst)

- Ross Schneiderman (producer) – Andy Goldberg (director)

 

HELLO, GOOD BYE

In team history, Baltimore is 11-5 all time coming off its bye week. The Ravens have won nine of their last 10 following a bye (4-0 under head coach John Harbaugh) and own the NFL’s second-best record after the bye dating back to 2002.

 

NO WONDER IT’S A FACTORY OF SADNESS

9-0: The Ravens’ record vs. Cleveland during the John Harbaugh and QB Joe Flacco Era (since 2008).

131:Receiving yards on 9 catches by WR Anquan Boldin in the Ravens’ Week 4 win over Cleveland. In four games vs. the Browns as a Raven, Boldin has 21 receptions for 320 yards and 2 TDs.

226-107: How the Ravens have outscored the Browns during Baltimore’s current nine-game winning streak over Cleveland.

 

GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A WITH ALBERT MCCLELLAN

What football player did you look up to when younger?

“Emmitt Smith. I could’ve sworn I was going to be a running back, but I was always too slow. My mother was a diehard Cowboys fan, so that’s why I idolized Emmitt Smith. Ray Lewis was always our local hero, so everybody loved Ray in high school, and then when he went to ‘The U’ [University of Miami], everybody followed Ray in our hometown. Everybody wanted to be the next big thing to come out of our hometown, so Ray pretty much set the standard for football in our area.”

What is your favorite thing to do away from football?

“I like to go bass fishing in Florida fresh water. The first thing I did when I got some money was buy a boat.”

What was your favorite show as a kid?

“Family Matters.”

Favorite TV show now?

“Family Guy.”

If you were going to eat one unhealthy meal, what would it be?

“A big slab of ribs and an apple pie.”

If you could be any superhero, who would you be?

“The Hulk. The way he explodes and gets mad resembles me on the football field.”

 

TRIVIA QUESTION

Former Browns QB Brian Sipe was drafted in what round?

 

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“In a highly-charged, competitive business, I tend to want answers right away, and Ozzie has to sleep on it. I have learned that Ozzie’s insistence that we talk about it tomorrow has been beneficial to both John [Harbaugh] and myself. I like his skill set, and I think it works in our favor that he does tend to like to think things over, and we usually come up with better decisions because of it.” ~ Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti on GM Ozzie Newsome

“From what I’ve seen of Dennis Pitta, he has a chance to be a star. And with the way the NFL is headed, the combination of Pitta and Dickson could be lethal.” ~ CBS analyst Ian Eagle on TEs Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson

 

DID YOU KNOW?

The Ravens have played 66 consecutive games without having a losing record, the NFL’s longest such active streak. Baltimore has not been below .500 since starting 2-3 in 2008. San Francisco owns the next best active streak at 24 games of being at .500 or above.

 

KNOWING THE ENEMY

Overview: At 2-6, the Browns are in fourth place in the AFC North. Last week, Cleveland won its second-consecutive home game in a 7-6 victory over the visiting Chargers. The Browns are winners in two of their last three games overall.

Offense: The Browns’ 19.3 points per game rank 25th in the NFL. Rookie QB Brandon Weeden has completed 165 of 299 passes for 1,912 yards, 9 TDs and 10 INTs (tied for NFL’s second most). RB Trent Richardson has 127 carries for 470 yards and 5 TDs and also leads the team with 25 receptions for 209 yards and 1 score.

Defense:  The Browns’ defense is ranked 26th overall (392.4 ypg), including 25th in pass defense (260.8 ypg) and 24th vs. the run (131.6 ypg). The unit has forced 16 turnovers (10 INTs, 6 FRs), tied for the league’s fifth most. Four different players have posted multiple interceptions, while LB D’Qwell Jackson owns a team-high 3 sacks.

 

CLEVELAND CONNECTIVITY

• The Ravens staff is comprised of many people who were invited to join the franchise when it moved from Cleveland: senior VP of public and community relations Kevin Byrne, director of football video operations Jon Dube’, VP of operations Bob Eller, VP of IT Bill Jankowski, team historian Francine Lubera, VP of football administration Pat Moriarty and head certified athletic trainer Mark Smith.

• Ravens senior personnel assistant George Kokinis was the Browns’ general manager for part of 2008. Kokinis originally began his career as a personnel assistant with the Browns in 1991 before moving to Baltimore with the franchise in 1996.

• Baltimore assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg was the special teams coordinator for the Browns from 2001-06, while Ravens defensive line coach  Clarence Brooks served in the same role with the Browns in 1999.

• Ravens head coach  John Harbaugh (1998-2007) and Browns head coach Pat Shurmur (1999-2008) and offensive coordinator Brad Childress coached together with the Philadelphia Eagles.

• Browns T Oniel Cousins played three seasons as a member of the Ravens (2008-10), after being selected by Baltimore in the third round (99th overall) of the 2008 draft.

• From 1998-2003, Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees was the head coach at Kent State, guiding Browns WR/RS Joshua Crib

 

TRIVIA ANSWER

13th Round of the 1972 NFL Draft

 

LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT THE EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT

Q: What does a Cleveland Browns fan do when his team has won the Super Bowl?

A: He turns off the PlayStation 3.

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