News and Notes from a Fan’s Perspective
Exit the Clowns
Two complete efforts in a row, 3 wins strung together to put us 2 games over .500. Excellent.!! Most prognosticators went with the Clowns, including the Sun’s staff and the entire CBS pre-game studio staff. But Mike Preston got it right….Cleveland is constitutionally unable to play two good games back to back and was clearly the most overrated team going into the season. It’s time for Studs and Duds.
Joe Flacco and Ray Rice: The co-stars of the game on the offensive side. Joe never lost his composure and he seemed completely in control of the field as he spread the ball around to Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton. It’s nice to see that long ball threat finally reach fruition. Maybe Clayton can reassume the mantle of long-ball threat. Rice is learning not only how to hit the holes, but to exploit them once he gets into the second level.
The Ravens offensive line continues to excel and gave Rice had some huge holes which he exploited for long gains. No dumb mistakes or dumb penalties, either. Another good thing….I didn’t heard Chris Chester’s name taken in vain at all during the game. Maybe, just maybe, he’s getting it.
Wide Receivers: It’s obvious that Joe Flacco and Derrick Mason are dialed in. Mason is having another 100 catch, potential Pro Bowl year. Yesterday it looked like Mark Clayton has finally joined the club – although he should have caught that first end zone pass Flacco threw to him in the 1st quarter. As the next chapter of the Cam Cameron play book unfolds, maybe Todd Heap can contribute too. Heap did a great job of blocking but at some point in this season we will need him for more than just chipping defensive ends.
The Defensive Line absolutely controlled the line of scrimmage and ultimately put the game in the hands of Derek Anderson. Why Romeo Crennel continued to hammer the line with what were nothing more than plunges by Jamal Lewis is beyond me. But I’m not complaining. I wonder how Jamal-Jamal feels now about leaving the Ravens.
John Harbaugh rubbed it into the collective noses of the Cleveland fan base. He made a post-game comment that the Ravens were dedicating the game to Art Modell. "He deserves this more than anybody," Harbaugh said.
Ha!! John may be a rookie coach, but he’s hardly a babe in the woods when it comes to NFL history. He knew what he was saying and who he was saying it to – the Ohio media and, in particular, Modell HOF nemesis Tony Grossi.
The Clown faithful is suitably enraged; just read the comments on the Plain Dealer website.
As for me, a former temporary resident of Northeast Ohio who’s taken a lot of grief from Clowns fans over the years for the move, I’m Lovin’ It.
Special Teams: AGAIN! I was tempted to give the kick coverage a hall pass, given that they were playing the premier returned in the league in Joshua Cribbs. However, they knew damn well what they were walking into when they entered the Stadium. Last week Sam Koch made my personal Pro Bowl list. This week, he’s on my practice squad. Thankfully, Matt Stover has returned to field goal form. I predicted he would play a big part and he did.
Time Management: This is an unfortunate holdover from the Billick regime. The Ravens are wasting too many time outs because they either don’t have the right personnel on the field or the offense doesn’t understand how to line up for a Cam Cameron formation. During one play, Joe Flacco looked more like a symphony conductor than a quarterback as he vainly tried to move his personnel into position around the line of scrimmage before the snap. Do they practice for this during the week?
Biggest Disappointments at the Mid-Pole: It’s got to be the Chargers and Cowboys. Both teams just have too much talent to be sub .500 and last in their division, respectively. It doesn’t help that Jerry Jones runs his team like it’s in a fantasy league. Honorable mention to the Jaguars. Biggest Surprises: The Ravens of course! Other suitable candidates are Atlanta, Miami, and Washington. All have rookie head coaches. Let’s throw the Cardinals and the unbeaten Titans in there for good measure. They Are Who We Thought They Were: The New York Giants, defending Super Bowl Champions, and playing every bit like it. The Peter Principle is Alive and Well: Romeo Crennel, Wade Phillips, and Norv Turner. No explanation necessary.
Fran the Fan