Friday, September 28, 2007

Ravens Make Adjustments While Browns' Fans Wail Away

During last Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, Devard Darling jumped into the crowd, joining Yamon Figurs who had just returned a punt for a 75 yard score. The momentary leap of reasoning cost the Ravens 15 yards and it will now cost Darling $7,500. I’m all for Roger Goodell’s swift and heavy hand as part of an effort to keep the game clean but this is flat out ridiculous. The NFL’s Big Brother needs to take a chill pill. If I’m Darling, I’d appeal then watch every touchdown scored in Lambeau Field for the next few weeks. You know what I mean?

I ran into some friends last night that I hadn’t seen in awhile. One asked if I follow the Orioles the way that I do the Ravens. Of course that is next to impossible. That’s not to say I’m not a fan – I am. But the team lost me about a month into the season. Occasionally I will look at the box scores and lately, the O’s lineup looks very unfamiliar. If they rubbed out the word “Orioles” from the box score, I would think that it was an old Montreal Expos lineup. There are so many names that I’m not familiar with it’s almost embarrassing.

Something else that is pretty embarrassing which I read about in the fine print notes of The Sun yesterday in the section covering the O’s. It made me laugh the way you might laugh at someone who has slipped on the ice after you realize they aren’t hurt.

In the notes sections, The Sun reported that former Orioles Executive Vice President Jim Beattie is now the current Interim Bullpen Manager for the Florida Marlins. Interim Bullpen Manager? Not many of those jobs around...No worries there Mike Flanagan. I hear the Royals might have a similar position opening shortly, on an interim basis of course. And who said that Pete Angelos couldn’t guide a career path in baseball? At the end of the day, the only thing Angelos is concerned with is the register tally. Ch-ching!

Speaking of ch-ching, in a recent Forbes ranking of the richest Americans, Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti ranks 380th with a net worth of $1.3 billion, up $200 million from last year. That’s the good news. The bad news for Bisciotti is that he’s slipped 26 spots. Last year he was ranked No. 354. Don't worry for Steve. I hear he still sleeps ok at night.

Some Ravens fans have been losing sleep over concerns that their favorite team can’t control a no-huddle offense. Many are pointing fingers at the secondary yet there’s plenty of blame to go around. The Ravens failed to mount a threatening pass rush late in games and the three and five step drops accompanied by the quick releases of Kellen Clemens and Kurt Warner kept the Ravens secondary on their heels.

Ronnie Prude was consistently a step behind, Ed Reed was pretty irrelevant and the normally sure tackling Dawan Landry was trucked by Anquan Boldin. Outside of Chris McAlister the only member of the secondary to make any plays was the diminutive Corey Ivy.

Ivy flat out competes on every play throughout the duration of the play. Despite being beaten by Larry Fitzgerald, Ivy fought until the whistle and his combativeness led to a third quarter strip of Fitzgerald. Ivy is tough as nails and will never quit. He’s a very good nickel but just an average corner. That said (and I may be in the minority here) I think Ivy had a very solid game on Sunday and I expect him to compete equally as hard against the Browns.

I’m not Rex Ryan and Lord knows none of you want me to be, but if I was Rex, I’d lean towards David Pittman at corner this week and put Ivy back in his traditional nickel role. Either way I have a hunch that Ivy will make another impact play on the toxic turf along Lake Erie.

One year after making his first Pro Bowl appearance, Bart Scott is no longer flying under the radar of opposing teams’ offensive coordinators. Scott hasn’t put down a QB in five consecutive games and in order to end that streak, he and Rex Ryan might have to make a few adjustments.

"I haven't been doing as much blitzing, a little more covering and swiping and things like that," Scott said. "But who knows? It's a long season, so we'll see where it goes.

"It's what's best for the team. Right now, I'm hot. I've got a little bit of a bull's-eye on my chest. Why not take advantage?"

Sliding protection towards Scott could be one reason why defensive backs blitzing off the edge have accounted for four of the team’s six sacks.

The Ravens will make their way to Cleveland on Saturday, a business trip that the players don’t particularly care for unless of course they are free agents and Phil Savage lures them with millions. Bart Scott nearly became a Cleveland Brown during the 2006 offseason yet he claims, “I was only going there for a free steak.”

Cleveland and Baltimore might always have a connection much like Baltimore and Indianapolis. But let’s face it, Cleveland has nothing to complain about in the grand scheme of things and many of their fans and political figure heads come off as nothing but a collection of sourpuss crybabies. Go ahead, cry us another glow in the dark lake.

No one ties Jim Brown or Otto Graham or Bernie Kosar or Leroy Kelly to the Ravens. Those are Cleveland’s football heroes just as Johnny U, Lenny Moore, Raymond Berry and Bert Jones are football heroes of Baltimore. The difference, something very obvious to Baltimoreans and not so obvious to Clevelanders is that they are still the Browns. They still dress in harvest colors and look like a collection of candy corn running around in their burnt orange, white and brown. They held on to their name and colors (thankfully), their absence from the NFL was just three seasons, tax payer dollars didn’t have to pay for their stadium nor do they have to pay for PSL’s. Plus they got rid of the unfairly vilified Art Modell.

Maybe they are just consumed by their team’s years of ineptness and can’t see things clearly through the crocodile tears. They just don’t get it.

But then again, maybe I don’t get it. I don’t have to live in Cleveland and perhaps that’s the root of their seemingly perpetual wailing like a baby that has lost its binky.



Anonymous said...

The reason the Browns have their colors is every bit of the culture of the area.
- They wear their colors to the games on Sundays;
- They wear their colors hunting on Saturdays.
- Then they wear their colors picking up road-side trash Mondays through Fridays.

Funny how Lerner became a hero. He was one fo the guys to move the team and he suggested Baltimore. Cleveland drove the team almost into bankruptcy (though Modell's mismanagement was partially to blame). But that stadium in Cleveland. WOW. 80,000 seats; 48,000 with obstructed views.

Harryos29 said...

9/28 HARRYO 29
I don't have one ounce of sympathy, for the team/place, that is also known as the mistake by the lake?
We suffered in Baltimore from 1984 thru 1995 Til the Good Man Arthur B.Modell moved the team to Crab town.
Yes, we have PSL's and I complain about them as much as the next Baltimorean; But, we have a GREAT team that is always competitive (unlike the team that plays about 500 yards to the north) year in year out, with a chance to go to the SUPERBOWL. I love the Baby Graphic and it correctly DEPICTs the whiners by the lake.
I normally don't make predictions, but I think Matt Stover gets a much needed Rest sunday....Score: Ravens 35- Whiners 23.
Harry O'Sykesville

Anonymous said...

The Browns. 3 years of not having a team, 11 years ago, and they can't get over it to this day. Reading through a Browns board is truly one of the saddest things known to man/womankind. However, it can be a pretty good cure if you're feeling a little down about how this season has been so far for the Ravens.

And just listening to Jamal Lewis whine about how poorly he was treated here and how the offense just wasn't centered around him any longer (gee...imagine that...he had 3 sub-par years in a row, and those stupid Ravens coaches just wouldn't keep giving him the rock so he could tippy-toe around before falling over arm tacklers lying on the ground at the line of scrimmage) is always a pick-me-up.

But nothing was better than Bart Scott's interview in which he initially thought the "Mistake By The Lake" was built next to a junk yard -- only to be corrected that it was actually built on top of a land fill! Does it get any better than that?

Well, yes, it does. But not as far as interviews go. Come on, Ravens...let's take care of business this Sunday!

G said...

tax payer dollars didn’t have to pay for their stadium nor do they have to pay for PSL’s.

--Not so sure about that

Plus they got rid of the unfairly vilified Art Modell.

--Unfairly, right. Let's at least try to be honest here. Think Irsay w/o the trucks.