FRAN THE FAN: A Monkey off our backs!

Street Talk FRAN THE FAN: A Monkey off our backs!

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Got That Road Monkey Off Our Backs


 

It was a great win in

Miami
on Sunday by the Ravens – a real team effort.  The Ravens played stout defense and shut down

Miami
’s trick offense of the year, the “Wildcat.”  Joe Flacco managed Cam Cameron’s offense beautifully.  Here are my Studs and Duds for the Dolphin game:


 

STUDS


 

·         The Ravens defense put

Miami
’s vaunted “Wildcat” offense in the trash can where it belonged.  Rex Ryan coached a gap control defense that prevented Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams from spreading the defense out and creating lane opportunities.  But you know it was bound to happen.  Gimmick offenses don’t last long in this league.  If it wasn’t the Ravens, it would have been another good defense that put this puppy to rest.


 

·         The Ravens offensive line exceeded my expectations.  Chris Chester swapped out his tight end jersey for a lineman’s number and played very well.  With two of the starters on the right side out for extended periods, you had to wonder if the line would show up.  It did, and they have 145 rushing yards to show for their efforts.  They provided decent protection for Joe Flacco and gave him plenty of time to pick his receivers.


 

·         Speaking of Joe Flacco, the Delaware Flash had his best statistical day as a pro finishing with a QB rating of 102.  I liked the fact that, after he and Derrick Mason mis-communicated on a route that nearly resulted in a

Miami
interception, Joe went right back to Derrick to complete his first TD to a receiver.  If he and Todd Heap had connected on 2 slam-dunk end zone passes, the score might have been 2 TDs higher.  You still gotta worry about some of those errant passes he throws, though.


 

·         Terrell Suggs having one his best days as pro. 


 

·         Willis McGahee showing the heart of lion.  He gained 105 tough yards and scored the last TD.  He’s clearly not 100%, as evidenced by his pass catch and run that ended in a fumble at the Dolphin 5 yard line.  Last year he would have taken that to the crib.


 

·        
Cam Cameron:  It’s true….Revenge IS a dish best served cold.  That Gatorade bath he got from Harbaugh and Ryan must have felt great.


 

·         Sam Koch:  He boomed them out all day and never gave the Dolphins great field position.  Finally, a coffin-corner kick!  Sam is quietly having a Pro Bowl year.


 

·         The Fans: I don’t know how many Ravens fans were in Dolphin Stadium last Sunday, but whenever Todd Heap caught a pass, the “Heap” chant was clearly heard on the radio and TV broadcasts.


 

DUDS


 

·         Special Teams: Kickoff coverage remains terrible.  It seemed that

Miami
was always starting 1st and 10 from their own 40.  As good as the defense was in closing running lanes, our coverage on kicks looks like the I-695 / I-95 interchange – providing plenty of them.  And what was with that pooch kick by Matt Stover in the 4th quarter?  Bang it, baby!


 

NEWS & NOTES:


 

·         The Brian Billick Coaching Tree is getting seriously pruned.  Mike Nolan was fired in

San Francisco
and is there any doubt that Marvin Lewis will get his walking papers at the end of the season?  Have you seen him lately?  He looks absolutely miserable.  Two good coordinators in untenable head coaching positions.


 

·         Ditto for Wade Phillips.  Great coordinator, bad head coach.  The death watch has been started by the

Dallas
media.  Great drama In Big D, but, then again, it always is.


 

·         Congrats to former Raven coach Mike Singletary.  Or, at least I think so.  You gotta wonder about taking a position coach and promoting him to the head job with so little coaching experience.  I bet Mike Martz is sharpening his back stab maneuvers as you read this.


 

·         The Redskins finally did something for

Baltimore
.  They beat the Browns and kept them a game behind the Ravens.  I hate to admit it, but I was rooting (and sweating) for the Skins in this one.  But I’m all better now.  I can go back to hating them until they play the Steelers.


 

FORECAST


 

Last week I wrote in a fit of despair that the

Miami
game could very well be the turning point of the season.  Maybe it was.  Maybe not, depending on how the next few games go.  Playing mediocre teams over the next 3 weeks, the Ravens can position themselves to be 6-3 by the middle of November before beginning that brutal stretch against the NFC East.  But let’s take them one at a time.


 

I don’t like the spread for the

Oakland
game one bit.  Not 7 points.  The Ravens have yet to show me that they can play consistently well, game to game, on offense.  Therefore……


 

I pick the Raiders to cover and the Ravens to win, 17-13.


 

 
Photo by Sabina Moran

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Fran "The Fan" Vojik

About Fran "The Fan" Vojik

Fran Vojik has been a contributor to the Ravens24X7 site since 2005, first as a regular on the “Letters to T.L.” page, then as the author of the Fran the Fan column. A huge Orioles and Ravens fan, he defines the term “homer.” A former season ticket holder of the Baltimore Colts, he now roots on the Ravens from his corner end zone seat in M&T Bank Stadium. His work makes him a regular traveler to various MLB and NFL cities and he’s watched both the Birds and Purple and Black in a variety of away stadiums. He brings a passionate and humorous perspective to the world of professional sports. Born in Highlandtown, and a graduate of Calvert Hall College and the University of Maryland, he lives on Furnace Creek in northern Anne Arundel County. He and his girlfriend, Sandy, have recently renovated his Man Cave, known as the “The Sports Palace,” which contains many mementos from the Colts, Ravens, and Orioles. On days the Ravens play at home, Fran can usually be found tailgating at the Baltimore Fire Fighters Union Hall Local 734 , supporting the organization’s Widow’s and Orphan’s fund.

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