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 Thompson’s performance against the Cowboys complicates things a bit but the guess here is that Thompson is let go while Campanaro and Aiken make the team with Butler being among the 10 practice squad players.

The expanded practice squad helps but another change the league needs to consider is the inactive list. What’s the point?

If you pay 53 why can’t you play 53?

The rule simply penalizes teams that have deeper rosters.

Some have questioned the availability (or lack thereof) of Owen Daniels. John Harbaugh has suggested that the lack of playing time has more to do with an older player needing a bit more rest and that he is not injured.

Recently some rumors have surfaced that Daniels is considering retirement. If that is what actually happens, the Ravens have nothing to lose other than of course the services of Daniels. The veteran tight end signed a 1-year contract that includes no guarantees. Retirement or release will not negatively affect the team’s salary cap.



Anyone tuning into Hard Knocks? Perhaps this is my bias coming out but the very first Hard Knocks featuring the Ravens was by far the best.

The Falcons are rather boring. Choirboy Matt Ryan drops F-bombs when mic’d up to project toughness and leadership. It’s like Pee Wee Herman being a spokesperson for Soloflex.

Assistant coaches Mike Tice and Bryan Cox come off like a couple of buffoons. Tice is comparable to Ray Romano’s brother in Everybody Loves Raymond only with a potty mouth. And true to form, he walks into a low hanging tree branch while texting and busts his head open.

Cox is hard to take seriously and you wonder if his players do. Both offer little to head coach Mike Smith who is about as inspiring as a trip to the MVA.

Of interest is just how crazy good Julio Jones is as well as the 2014 answer to Giovanni Bernard – Running Back Devonta Freeman. Keep an eye on him.



The Ravens starting corners from Super Bowl XXXV are now coaching interns in the NFL. Duane Starks has joined Marvin Lewis’ staff in Cincinnati while Chris McAlister has hooked up with former secondary coach Donnie Henderson in Buffalo.

McAlister’s antics are legendary and it’s difficult to project him as anything more than a coaching intern. It’s actually surprising that he’s even interested. For a player who was one of the franchise’s defensive greats, there’s a reason why the club doesn’t welcome him with open arms.

That said, perhaps time can ease the tensions and help boost McAlister’s standing within the organization. You can listen here to his interview today with Norris and Davis on 105.7 The Fan.



Browns head coach Mike Pettine has been a public relations train wreck since the arrival of Johnny (Finger) Manziel in Cleveland. Even if he tried to do worse he couldn’t. Pettine has put on a clinic for what not to do when dealing with a potential quarterback controversy.

Browns QBsBut finally, the epiphany arrived and Pettine did what he should have done a long time ago – name Brian Hoyer the team’s starter.

You have to wonder however if it’s too late. Can Hoyer deal with the pressure of being one key miscue away from losing his job?

The Browns open on the road in Pittsburgh and then they return home to take on the Saints. For game 3 they host the Ravens in Ray Rice’s 2014 debut followed by the bye.

And that could be the time Hoyer says bye-bye to his job.

As for Manziel, he looks like another of a line of good college quarterbacks who just never make it in the NFL.

On the opposite sideline this past Monday night down at FedEx Field stood Robert Griffin, III. Griffin is bigger, faster and has a better arm than Manziel. Yet there are questions about what RGIII might do going forward or if given his style of play, can he stay on the field?

I don’t get the Manziel craze. Perhaps I’m dating myself here but Doug Flutie was a better player coming out of Boston College than Manziel is today.

Flutie was never a franchise quarterback.

Nor will Manziel.

It’s nice to have the Browns in the AFC North.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured, Lombardi's Way by Tony Lombardi. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

13 Raves on “THE GRAPEVINE: Ravens Rumors and Hard Knocks Snoozers

  1. JWS on said:

    TL, when can we expect yout review of the schedule and what you expect this team
    to really do this year with win totals and playoff possibilities. Since you nol onger want
    my input we all are waiting for yours!

  2. CrabbyPatty on said:

    I feel sorry for Mike Pettine. The guy has two decent backup quarterbacks, but he has to name one of them the starter. I’d pick Hoyer to start as well, but like you said, “it’s nice to have the Browns in the AFC North.” I was thinking exactly that on Monday night.

  3. Chip R on said:

    It would be nice if we actually swept the Browns this season as opposed to losing to them last year (that was a reality check). The Browns have a decent defense with a strong, physical D line. Their issue is clearly on offense because they lack a clear cut starting QB. These guys are backups and it will result in another last place divisional finish. 5/6 wins at the most even with a favorable schedule.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Correct…totally inexcusable oversight.

      For the record since 2011 Aiken has been with the Bills, Bears, Patriots and Ravens. My bad and thanks for pointing that out. My apologies to all of you…

  4. Reading Comments on said:

    The National Sports Media is having it’s annual pitty party for the clowns. Why would anybody pick Manziel as high as they did. Their owner is a nit wit.

  5. The Truth on said:

    I think many are being unwisely presumptuous and hateful toward JM…..And it is very obvious why, but look at PM’s first yr and where he is today…..Brady a 6th round pick that no one thought could play in this league……AR, who no one knew or cared who he was as he set behind Brett for 3 yrs and was another overlooked in the draft…..I am not saying JM is one of these guys in the waiting but only that no noe knows it at this point until the young man has a few yrs to develop and see when his time comes if he in fact could be another great…..I didn’t see anyone coming at RG3, Kap or Wilson like they are JM, and RG3 still barely rises above stinking after 2 yrs in the league…..I am not an advocate of the read type qb’s myself, I am convinced that a good pocket passer will be more consistent and durable, but to keep attacking this kid is just wrong, and I am a Ravens fan…..Relax, he has some time to become whatever he can, afford him that right…..

  6. Joshua on said:

    Based on everything you’ve heard, what’s your gut tell you about Daniels? Does he make the team? Released? IRed? I’d hate to see him keep a guy like Gillmore on the bench, whom I think could be more than just a blocker this year.

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