THE GRAPEVINE: Sergio Kindle mystery deepens

Lombardi's Way THE GRAPEVINE: Sergio Kindle mystery deepens

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Many in Owings Mills breathed a sigh of relief during the offseason when Sergio Kindle was medically cleared to play after his unfortunate tumble down a flight of stairs a year earlier left him with a fractured skull. Kindle, a second round pick who is said to have first round measurables, was viewed as a bonus 2011 draft pick and he was expected to be a situational pass rusher.

But it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

So far during the 2011 season Kindle has been on the active roster just once during the first 8 regular season games and he hasn’t recorded a single statistic. We’ve all heard that Kindle isn’t a productive special teams player and that he hasn’t impressed the coaches enough during practice.

Both must be understatements!

How else do you explain that the team elevated a lanky undrafted free agent linebacker from Alabama named Chavis Williams from the practice squad and immediately put him on the active roster the first game he was eligible to do so? And what about the team auditioning former New York Jets linebacker and special-teams contributor Lance Laury on Tuesday?

Meanwhile Kindle sits, waits and watches.

Something isn’t right. Kindle is either still a medical concern or a coaching concern because the Chavis Williams’ and the Albert McClellans and the Edgar Joneses of the world should not be taking playing time away from Kindle. At worst with Kindle’s athleticism he should be a solid special teams player and a threat off the edge of Chuck Pagano’s defense.

Speaking of Pagano, you have to wonder what he was thinking on Sunday Night against the Steelers. Under duress Ben Roethlisberger makes mistakes. With ample to time to throw and the speed of his receivers, he can be dangerous. If the Ravens happen to play the Steelers for a third time this season, Pagano should blow up the game plan he concocted this past week. That plan reminded me of this guy. Pagano should send Joe Flacco a thank you note for converting so many third downs (14 of 21) and keeping the defense off the field.

While we’re on the offense, the oft-criticized Cam Cameron made an adjustment during that now infamous 92 yard drive in Pittsburgh that contributed greatly to the success of the game winning march. Ike Taylor, an underrated corner who has been playing the best football of his career at the age of 31, was assigned to Anquan Boldin. Cameron opted to move Boldin in the slot and apparently away from Taylor’s comfort zone because Steelers’ defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau opted then to put William Gay on Boldin. The Ravens veteran receiver caught 4 balls for 51 yards on the drive and if not for a drop he would have had 65+ yards during the “two minute party.”

The Ravens have been the recipients of a ton of love this week not only from fans and the local media but also from the national talking heads. Skip Bayless, a well known hater when it comes to the Ravens, has even gone so far to say that “right now”, the Ravens are the AFC’s best team. Terrell Suggs, a regular favorite verbal sparring partner of Bayless’ has played along with Skippy very well but for me the show too often has the appeal of a teenage reality series – which is another way of saying “none.”

A show that for my tastes is the best of its kind EVER is ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption. PTI’s hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon recently opined on the topic of “Best AFC North Team.” The unanimous pick – THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS!


This pair is usually pretty balanced but despite going 0-2 in 2011 against the Ravens the hosts leaned on playoff experience and Ben Roethlisberger to explain their admiration society for Pittsburgh. As for Cincinnati, Kornheiser and Wilbon both concurred that while the Bengals have been impressive but qualified the accomplishments of Marvin Lewis’ squad by explaining that the “Who Dey” wins have come at the expense of teams with a combined record of 16-33 (.327). What this usually well informed duo failed to consider is that the Steelers wins are courtesy of teams with a 15-34 (.306) record.

Hello, McFly?

For the record the combined record of Ravens (6-2) opponents that they’ve beaten so far in ’11 is 26-25 (.510).

A much bigger fan of the Ravens than either Kornheiser or Wilbon is actor and Baltimore native Josh Charles. Charles has been heard on local sports talk radio and he’s very dialed in to the team and the NFL in general. Other than being able to go to work and kiss a hot actress every day, Charles is a down to earth guy who could comfortably engage in friendly pub room debate with any fan.

You can follow Josh on Twitter @MrJoshCharles. Here are a couple of recent Tweets sure to make anyone in Ravens Nation smile:

“This is a fascinating experiment. I’m listening simultaneously to both Pittsburgh and Baltimore sports radio stations.”

“I have watched the #Ravens final drive for the 4th consecutive time & I’ve decided it will remain in my DVR for the remainder of my life.”

And as if that wasn’t enough, check out Josh’s appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. His comments about the Browns are hysterical.

Great stuff Josh! Thanks for making B’more proud!

A guy NOT making B’more proud is Bart Scott. I had the opportunity to host The Bart Scott Show back in 2007 and I viewed Bart as a good guy, unpretentious, devoid of a sense of entitlement, and someone who hasn’t forgotten where he’s come from. In fact, his life experiences I believed fueled his pursuit of excellence.

But I don’t think that Bart Scott is the one we see in front of the cameras and microphones these days.

When Bart left Baltimore, for all intents and purposes he threw John Harbaugh under the bus by crediting Rex Ryan for the success of the Ravens 2008, insinuating that the team was really Ryan’s. He later went on to say that most Ravens would prefer to be with Ryan in New York than Harbaugh in Baltimore.

Recently Scott was on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN New York. Scott was asked if there was a genuine rivalry between the Jets and the Giants.

"Not at all. Like I said when I was in Baltimore I could remember with the Redskins you had guys fighting over strippers and all kind of stuff. I don’t sense that here. I think it is a mutual respect. I think the town is big enough for both of us."

To clarify the rather bizarre response Michael Kay followed up with:

“Bart, you gotta help me out. You guys fought for strippers? What does that mean?”

To which Scott said:

"When you are in a small place like Baltimore and the temperature is relatively cold — hey, you compete over the same chicks. That’s a football player’s favorite spot. Especially young football players. It was always a rivalry. Guys fight about ‘Hey that is my girlfriend and that’s my girlfriend’, but here? Five million people, maybe more. There is plenty for everybody."

Nice Bart! I’m sure your family is pleased to hear that – NOT!

Maybe the Bart Scott we knew in Baltimore isn’t the Bart Scott they now know in the Big Apple. What a shame.

Another former Raven hit the newswire yesterday when it was learned that WR Donte Stallworth had been released by the Redskins. The move provoked a knee jerk response from some Ravens fans who seem willing to welcome Stallworth back.

Stallworth, despite what many think about the man given the vehicular manslaughter incident, is a solid guy and a great teammate. But the cold hard fact is he’s pretty much done as a receiver. How else do you explain how a team (the Redskins), desperate for receivers was willing to send the former Tennessee Volunteer packing?

Add it up!


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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 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.

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