Before the season began the staff here at RSR did what we usually do and that is provide Bold Predictions for the season ahead. Optimism abounded and final regular season record forecasts ranged from (11-6) to (14-3). Then those injuries kicked in. Suddenly the predictions looked REALLY bold.
Today, the Ravens find themselves sitting at (5-1), atop the AFC North and currently the conference’s number one seed. If John Harbaugh & Co. can keep up the pace, the road to Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on February 13, 2022 will run through Baltimore.
Now granted, there’s a ton of work that lies ahead before the path to the next Lombardi recipient is determined, but given the extent of the team’s injuries (a league-high 17 players on IR), the fact that they are currently in the driver’s seat in the AFC is miraculous. We can all thank the Ravens coaching staff, front office and character of the players for that.
Ravens won’t get a single snap this yr from top two RBs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards; starting CB Marcus Peters and ILB L.J. Fort. All Pro LT Ronnie Stanley was one game and done. Standout blocking TE Nick Boyle and starting DT Derek Wolfe have still yet to play. And they’re 5-1.
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) October 19, 2021
The organization’s collective resolve is really not only a statement of their determination and competitive spirit, it’s a life lesson for us all. In the face of adversity a team, a company, a family, a relationship has the ability to rally together to defeat adverse conditions.
Embrace the grind.
Speaking of adversity, Ravens All-Pro tackle Ronnie Stanley is facing his fair share. Stanley suffered a devastating blow during the 2020 season against the team’s archrival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Here is the injury to #Ravens Ronnie Stanley
— HuddleUpPodcast (@HuddleUpPodcast) November 1, 2020
During training camp, Stanley and the team seemed to plan out his return to the practice field very conservatively. The ultimate goal was always to have Ronnie ready for opening day in Las Vegas. Stanley suited up and played against the Raiders but clearly he wasn’t ready.
Word is that Ronnie visited with doctors around the country seeking out a variety of opinions on how to fix the ailing ankle without surgery. They tried the rehab route and it failed. Now Stanley will miss the balance of the 2021 season.
Since signing his new 5-year deal on October 30, 2020 that has a total contract value of $98,750,000 ($19,750,000 APY) with fully guaranteed money of $64,116,000, the 27-year-old tackle has played just 5 quarters. He initially injured his ankle just 2 days after signing the deal and then of course he played hurt and rather poorly against the Raiders to start the 2021 campaign. The loss is huge.
RSR Capologist Brian McFarland and I discussed the aftermath of the injury along with the cap implications in The Front Office podcast below, available on Spotify, iTunes, iHeart Radio and Audacy. We even delve into the cap impact if in fact this is a career-ending injury.
To help stem the bleeding and beef up the team’s reserves in the event of additional injuries, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta remained busy, seeking out the best fits from the scrap heap of available street free agents. Time will tell if these players help. Hopefully if called upon, they can fill in as capably as Josh Bynes has since his return to Baltimore.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 19, 2021
#Ravens newly signed player to the practice squad is Joe Thomas, most recently with the Texans. He’s been described as a solid run stopper who is tough and has decent range; a good dude who is 30 y.o. and has played in 87 games, 16 starts w/ stops in GB, DAL & HOU. pic.twitter.com/TpMMPoLR8h
— Tony Lombardi (@RSRLombardi) October 19, 2021
Le’Veon Bell scored his first touchdown as a Raven and the team hopes that it’s the first of many. Bell was elevated to the 53-man roster, a move that appears to be a permanent one.
A different angle… pic.twitter.com/0n9YRQpuUY
— Tony Lombardi (@RSRLombardi) October 17, 2021
We have promoted RB @LeVeonBell from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 19, 2021
The Ravens aim to begin a season 6-1 for the first time in franchise history. (Baltimore has now started 5-1 for the fourth time ever, also doing so in 2020, 2012 & 2000)…Dating back to 2019, Baltimore is 9-0 in the month of October, marking the league’s best such record during that span.
The Ravens lead the all-time series with Cincinnati, 27-23. Baltimore has won five straight, including a 38-3 game when the teams last met in Week 17 of 2020. In that game, the Ravens rushed for a team-record 404 yards, with QB Lamar Jackson throwing 3 TDs. Under head coach John Harbaugh, Baltimore is 14-12 vs. the Bengals.
This week’s game against Joe Burrow & Co is the third of four consecutive home games and the last before the team’s bye week. The Ravens are currently listed as 6 point favorites with the over/under sitting at 48.
The officiating team this week at The Bank is that of Tony Corrente, a crew that has thrown the third fewest flags in the league with 66 penalties called, 60 accepted in 5 games. Bill Vinovich’s crew who just called the Ravens v. Chargers, tosses out the least amount of laundry, calling 55 penalties in 6 games, 46 of which have been accepted. On Sunday, 6 combined penalties were accepted by the Ravens and Chargers.
CBS has the game this weekend, a 1PM kickoff, with Kevin Harlan on play-by-play accompanied by analyst Trent Green and sideline reporter Melanie Collins. Harlan if you remember is the author of the infamous “Houdini” call when describing the play below. (Listen in…you can’t help but smile)
“HE IS HOUDINI WHAT A PLAY!”
Lamar Jackson is a CERTIFIABLE CHEAT CODE.
— NFL on CBS ???? (@NFLonCBS) April 12, 2021
Omar is Coming
You have to absolutely love how the Ravens have incorporated The Wire character Omar Devone Little’s “Farmer in The Dell” whistle into their pregame introductions, honoring the late Michael K. Williams. Hopefully this will be a permanent fixture in the Game Day Presentation.
RIP Michael K. Williams.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) September 20, 2021
Ever wonder what a “dell” is? I did, so I looked it up and a dell is a secluded hollow or small valley usually covered with trees or turf.
There, I’m sure you will sleep better tonight knowing that.
Partly sunny with a high of 65 degrees, wind WNW at 9 mph with gusts up to 28 mph. There is a 25% chance of precipitation.
I find it interesting how TV analysts will laud Josh Allen for playing with reckless abandon in an attempt to win games but if Lamar Jackson does the same thing, he’s criticized for putting his season and that of the Ravens in jeopardy. These pundits will do anything to fit their biased agendas and tainted narratives.
Don’t let this loss distract you from the fact that Josh Allen will literally do everything he can to win football games. pic.twitter.com/7Le4SRJM6s
— Buffalo Bills Daily (@dailybills_) October 19, 2021
That being said, I really like Allen’s style. He’s a big guy with a big arm and willing to take risks with both his arm and his legs. Of course there are risks but playing it safe sometimes carries the risk of losing.
While watching Allen’s run above to put his team in a first-and-goal situation on Monday Night in Nashville, I had a flashback to my youth – to the days of Bert Jones dressed in the blues of the Baltimore Colts.
Injuries cut Bert’s career short. Hopefully the same won’t happen to Allen. Prior to Lamar’s arrival in Baltimore, I would tell you that Jones was the second best quarterback to call Charm City home. Jackson’s talents could bump Bert from that pedestal. Joe Flacco? In my mind’s eye he sits comfortable in the fourth spot.
Russell Street Huddle
Recently we kicked off a short video podcast that we call the Russell Street Huddle. The idea is to do a short interview with RSR customers who couple as diehard Ravens fans while giving them an opportunity to briefly talk about their business and/or their affiliation with RSR.
Our first guest was Rick Metzgar from Rock Spring Financial Group. By leveraging his vast array of participating lenders, Rick does a tremendous job finding the right mortgage to fit the needs of his clients. I’ve never met someone in Rick’s business as responsive and attentive to detail as the man who is also endearingly known as Pastor Rick. Here’s our first edition of the Russell Street Huddle.
I’m often baffled by how wrong the national guys are when discussing the Ravens. If you really want to know what’s going on with your team, pay attention to the local guys (including RSR). Think about it. The national journalists have to cover 32 teams. It isn’t humanly possible for any of them to be as connected to the local team as those who focus on one team exclusively. If The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec says it, bank on it. If Booger McFarland or Steven A or Skip Bayless or Mike Florio say it…eh, not so much. If FS1’s Chris Broussard says it, don’t hold back the laughter. It might hurt.
— Korked Bats (@korkedbats) October 19, 2021
Broussard is a pretender and this soliloquy should embarrass Fox Sports. But it probably doesn’t.
Russell Street Recap
Each week Ava Krivosh delivers her recap. This from Week 6…
“I’m Going to Kill Him!”
By nature, Ravens fans want the Browns to lose. This week on Thursday Night Football, the Browns host the Denver Broncos, a team that hasn’t won since the Ravens knocked them from the ranks of the unbeaten back on October 3. Cleveland opened as a 6-point favorite tomorrow, but the line has tumbled to 3 ½ given the recent string of injuries the Browns have suffered.
And if Von Miller has anything to say about it, more injuries are coming.
Broncos’ OLB Von Miller on Thursday night’s matchup vs the battered Cleveland Browns to @AricDiLalla: “I don’t know who the tackle I’m going against is, but I’m going to kill him.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 19, 2021
Somewhere You Feel Free
Tonight I will be heading to Regal Cinemas in Bel Air with my son Tyler, to see the movie Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers, featuring Tom Petty. Wildflowers is a masterpiece and a perfect album. What makes a perfect album? For me, it’s one that includes a set of songs, not one of which you would skip. THAT’S “Wildflowers”.
There was talk before Tom’s sudden passing, that he and his band The Heartbreakers, would play the record from start to finish throughout a new tour. Tom wanted the original record to be a double album but the record company, to his dismay, persuaded him to shorten it. Later, Tom’s family and management decided to honor his wishes posthumously and released the album as Petty originally intended. In many ways, it’s Tom’s answer to The Beatles’ White Album.
Here’s the movie trailer. I’m sure that I’ll have something to say about this in The Tavern next week.
The Many Saints of Newark
I was out of town when this Sopranos prequel dropped on HBO Max so I was late to the party and because there was little to no buzz about the film, I actually forgot about it until a friend reminded me. So the Friday night upon my return from the trip, I got together with some friends to take it all in.
Here’s the trailer…
The trailer left you with the anticipation that the movie would be all about what it was that drove young Tony Soprano to become the mobster, the highly flawed yet interesting character that we would come to know and love for 6 seasons and 86 episodes. Instead, this prequel gets lost like one of Tony’s competitors in the “sanitation” market.
The film is hurried and tries to do far too much within its two hour duration. Consequently, character development is shallow and we never really come to know the young Tony which I thought was the intent of the prequel from the jump. Even seeing the younger incarnations of characters like Silvio, Uncle Junior, Paulie and Pussy seemed forced and exaggerated. Instead of characters, they are caricatures.
Now I know why there was little buzz about the movie. It’s a dud, particularly when compared and contrasted against the HBO series. The success of The Many Saints need a few prayers and then some for this project to be deemed successful. If you have a choice between a trip to the mall to help you wife pick out a new dress or The Many Saints, encourage her to pick out two.
Music Fanimal ~ Sons of Pirates
Next up on our list of local bands, is a collection of great dudes who know how to have fun. Named in part after the Jimmy Buffett songs, Son of a Sailor and A Pirate Looks at Forty, Frank McCreary, Jeff Mullin, Danny Reaves and Glenn Workman have perfected the art of changing attitudes. I had the pleasure of learning more about the band in this sit-down with Frank and Jeff.
On This Day in History
In 1985 the “Take on Me” music video helps Norway’s A-ha reach the top of the U.S. pop charts. Also in 1985, Blockbuster opened its first store. You can check out The History of Blockbuster on demand. (See what I did there?)
Quote of The Week
“Someone asked me, if I were stranded on a desert island what book would I bring: ‘How to Build a Boat.’” ~ Steven Wright
Until next week…