THE GRAPEVINE: News, notes & innuendo from 1 Winning Drive

Lombardi's Way THE GRAPEVINE: News, notes & innuendo from 1 Winning Drive

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Le’Ron McClain apparently took exception to some fan criticism on his Twitter account after the game in New England this past Sunday and lost his cool, firing back some not-so-flattering commentary about the football IQ of fans. The comments were quickly deleted.

Twitter followers of McClain allegedly blamed the Ravens’ fullback for the loss to the Patriots citing his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in overtime and its subsequent affect on field position.

“That was a selfish play by me,” McClain said. “I put us in a predicament. I ain’t going to put that game on that one call. Stuff happens.”

McClain hasn’t exactly been a model player when it comes to maturity. Besides the mental breakdown in overtime, this summer McClain waged a silly campaign to be featured more as a running back with the hope of a bigger pay day down the road. There have been some whispers in Ravens’ circles that he’s been a bit envious of the carries given to Willis McGahee (clearly this Sunday excluded).

McClain has also been a bit of a trash talker and self-promoter.

“[Rookie Jermaine Cunningham] got a little cheap shot on me,” McClain said. “I was killing dude, all day. I guess he got frustrated and took a little shove, and they saw my shove on him. He was talking all game.”

A rookie got in the head of a two-time Pro Bowler. Think about that…

Hopefully John Harbaugh can reel McClain in but that said, it’s something to keep an eye on and it wouldn’t surprise me if this is McClain’s last season in B’more.

The name of Shawne Merriman has been kicked around a lot recently for obvious reasons. The Ravens need to improve their pass rush, Merriman is from nearby Washington, DC, played for Ralph Friedgen at the University of Maryland and he shares a bond with Ray Lewis.

But does he have game anymore?

Word is the Ravens are interested if he passes their physical and if Merriman is willing to make some financial concessions. The bigger hurdle for both parties however is likely to be Merriman’s inability to pass through waivers. Teams with a worse record than the Ravens 4-2 mark have the option of claiming the former sack master before Ozzie Newsome can even get to the point of contractual discussions and pending physical.

Clearly the Ravens need to do something. The roster is dangerously devoid of pass rushers and the absence of Sergio Kindle is now even more daunting.

It must be a bit frustrating for Eric DeCosta, Joe Hortiz and the Ravens’ scouts not to see any player from the Draft Class of ’10 making an impact, particularly when they look across the field this past Sunday and see Patriots’ rookies Devin McCourty, Jermaine Cunningham, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski on the field contributing for the Patriots.

Kindle is out for the season, perhaps for the rest of his life while fellow second rounder Terrence Cody has only hit the field for about a dozen or so snaps all season. Ed Dickson has made marginal contributions as a second tight end (he really needs some work as a blocker); Dennis Pitta has been pretty stealth; David Reed has contributed on special teams as a gunner; Art Jones has done next to nothing while Ramon Harewood sits on IR.

Cody’s inactivity is somewhat surprising, particularly after a fairly productive camp and preseason. He’s not being worked into the defensive line rotation and you have to wonder why the Ravens are even carrying Art Jones and Lamar Divens on the active roster and/or 53 man roster for that matter. Might their collective inactivity run the tread thin on the proverbial tires of Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg, and Brandon McKinney?

Turning the dial…I’ve never been a fan of 105.7 The Fan’s Bruce Cunningham. Even back in a day when he was on WNST it was solely Aaron Wilson who gave his Saturday Football Show street cred.

That’s not to say Cunningham doesn’t have his loyal following and I suppose that’s good for CBS Radio in Baltimore. I’ve likened Cunningham’s gig to sports radio Hee Haw. I was never a fan of that show either but Hee Haw did have a 10 year run (also on CBS) and an even longer run in syndication.

Cunningham isn’t a flavor for the real sports aficionado. He’s for the casual listener who doesn’t mind him eating his lunch on air and one who is more interested in silly little anecdote’s, Ray Lewis’ favorite color and Motown trivia than real sports talk. The only time that you get any of that weekdays between Noon and 2PM, is when sidekick Mark Zinno interviews an interesting guest or when Mike Preston is actually allowed to talk in between Cunningham’s man-crush schoolgirl giggling over The Sun’s controversial columnist.

Consequently I’ll often pass on the show, opting instead for well, just about anything else.

What might keep me listening to 105.7 between Noon and 2PM?

Two words – Bob Haynie.

Relegating Haynie to pinch hitting and the player shows is a crime. Opting for Cunningham over Haynie in this desirable time slot is the equivalent of playing Marcus Smith over Anquan Boldin; Marty Domres over Bert Jones; Glen Gulliver over Cal Ripken; Wally Pipp over Lou Gehrig.

Have I made my point?


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Tony Lombardi

About 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 and he hosts "The Fanimal" also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi


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