Friday, November 02, 2007

Around Baltimore & The NFL

The Ravens were notified by the league that the 34 yard pass interference penalty against Samari Rolle during the Ravens @ Bills contest was a big fat mistake. Replays showed that Rolle’s coverage on the play was nearly text book. The back judge was sent to his room with no dessert. The Ravens were sent home with a loss.

Plays like this one need to either be reviewed by replay or they should not be spot fouls. Clearly the crime didn’t fit the punishment. Perhaps more teams should pay attention to officiating crews that call ticky-tack fouls like that and take advantage of it. Why not? What’s the alternative for the Ravens, another third down throw short of the first down marker?

ESPN 1300’s Damon Yaffe was stiffed by the fledgling indoor football team the Baltimore Blackbirds…at least according to Yaffe. No surprise there if you pay any attention to the local rumor mill. Word is the team was financially strapped from day 1. Hopefully rational heads will prevail and Yaffe will get the dough he’s entitled to.

That said, Yaffe (aka “The Bulldog”) apparently likes to get into character and takes himself a bit too seriously. He “bites” callers who disagree with him or those who make points that he believes are invalid and then delivers a complimentary dial tone to the caller.

Recently he discussed the value of fullbacks in the NFL and opined that the league’s defenses have adjusted to the position so well that the usefulness of the position is in decline. I wonder if LaDainian Tomlinson would agree. Fullback Lorenzo Neal had something to do with Tomlinson’s NFL record 31 TD’s in 2006, don’t you think?

But back to Yaffe’s bite…

On more than one occasion 24x7 has felt the pinch of those canines too as our integrity has been openly questioned on air by Yaffe. Recently he claimed that I suggested that he was demoted by the Blackbirds. First of all, I have as much interest in what he did or didn’t do for the Blackbirds as I do in the dietary supplements he used to peddle – in other words none! I don’t care if he was demoted or promoted. I have more interest in whether the traffic light on Harford Road and North Avenue is functioning properly than in Yaffe’s burgeoning career as a football coach.

Here’s a guy that talks about integrity then assigns anonymous comments on my blog to me and labels them as flawed reporting lacking in integrity.
(see link)

I’ll let you be the judge. In the meantime, I feel like I need a shower stooping to these depths but when your integrity is erroneously called into question, you need to bite back.

Now can someone please pass me the mouthwash?

Almost four years ago (it seems much longer) the Orioles announced the hiring of Lee Mazzilli. One of the other candidates vying for the position at the time was Terry Francona. Francona lost out and now just a presidential term later, he has two rings and an 8-0 record in the World Series.

More recently Joe Girardi spurned the Orioles hoping for a better opportunity. He got his earlier this week as the new Yankees’ skipper.

With about 9 minutes left to go in the fourth quarter against the Redskins last week, the Patriots faced a fourth and goal from the 2. The Pats went for it and converted on a Tom Brady TD pass making the score 45-0. Belichick must be feeling pretty invincible these days but don’t be surprised if he raises the ire of one too many overzealous defenders who might throw caution to the wind in pursuit of Tom Brady. Then what?

The Patriots take their act of perfection to the RCA Dome in Indy to face the other act of perfection in ’07, the Indianapolis Colts. In the AFC Championship Game last season under the same roof, the Colts battled back from a 21-6 halftime deficit to win 38-34. The Patriots couldn’t stop the Colts on third down in the second half as Indy converted 6 of 7 third downs due in large part to their ability to run the ball effectively in key situations. The Colts had 93 net rushing yards after the break as center Jeff Saturday controlled the interior line of scrimmage. Don’t be surprised to see more of the same.

Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel has had a banner season so far and won his first AFC Defensive Player of the Week award last week during the aforementioned thumping of the Redskins. In addition to his 13 tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles Vrabel also caught a touchdown pass. Now I don’t know about you but when No. 50 checks in down inside the 5 yard line as an eligible receiver, you better put a body on the guy. Since 2002 Vrabel has eight catches to his credit for a grand total of 11 yards. All eight catches have been for touchdowns.

Check this out from SI’s Peter King, perhaps the country’s biggest Patriots’ apologist:

The Ravens travel to Pittsburgh for a key divisional battle with the 5-2 Steelers this weekend. Though it may be a little early to label any game a "must win," this one may just be that for the Ravens. After Pittsburgh, Baltimore hosts their other division rivals — Cincinnati and Cleveland.

Everyone looks at Sunday's game against the Colts as the biggest challenge in the Patriots' bid for an undefeated season. Agreed. But the other game that has a chance to be competitive -- notice I didn't say "the game they have a chance to lose?'' -- is the Monday-nighter on Dec. 3 at Baltimore. No team gets up for a prime time, national TV game like the Ravens.

Has King been paying attention to the results of those prime time games? The Ravens might get up for them, but they don’t put up during them.

The Steelers cut former second round pick Ricardo Colclough this week. The cornerback was selected by Pittsburgh in 2004. There’s always a danger in selecting and projecting players from small schools like Tusculum into the NFL. Apparently the Steelers saw enough despite the high price of a second round pick. Might the same be in store for the Ravens’ David Pittman, a third round pick out of Northwestern State. Word is that the Ravens defensive coaches aren't very thrilled with the second year CB. FYI, the Browns picked up Colclough on waivers. Who among us would be surprised if they did the same with Pittman if he too is cut loose?

The NFL fined 49ers kicker Joe Nedney $7,500 for flashing the finger that universally does not represent peace, love and happiness. Nedney flipped the bird to a heckler at Monster Park during the Niners loss to the Saints. Ravens fans certainly have a warm spot in their hearts for the former temporary Raven who missed a game winning field goal in San Francisco to the delight of the many Baltimore fans in attendance.

"I should've counted to 10 and taken a couple deep breaths. A comment was made to me at the wrong time and I lashed out, and now I've financially paid the consequences," Nedney said.

The line on the Ravens @ Steelers opened at 7 ½ points and in some betting houses the line has climbed to 10. That could be cause for concern to Ravens’ fans. Pittsburgh lines generally seem to be a bit slanted towards the Steelers with the hope that a higher line will entice more money to go against them thus leveling out the distribution of wagered funds. Still, the line is big and while there is really no compelling reason to pick the Ravens straight up other than their complete domination of the Steelers last year, if Rex Ryan can answer the Steelers’ no huddle and clog Ben Roethlisberger’s passing lanes during his 3 and 5 step drops, I’ll go with the good guys – Ravens 19, Steelers 17.


Anonymous said...

Tony –

I really enjoyed this piece. The commentary on the “bulldog” was particularly enjoyable. About a month ago, I picked up my first copy of Press Box and I really enjoyed reading it. I haven’t missed a week since then, and I’m glad to see that you have a column in there. I also suspect that the picture of you next to your fantasy team is not really you. Am I right?

Anyway, the “bulldog” had his most appropriate assignment when WJZ TV paired him with Marty Bass to do the post game coverage at whatever bar in Fells Point they were at. Talk about a perfect pairing of idiots!!!!!

I hope that you’re right about the Ravens winning on Monday night. They will have to do something that we haven’t seen them do all of this year and that’s play solid football for 60 minutes. Here’s to the men in purple and black!!

Eric, Owings Mills

Anonymous said...

Steelers by 2 TDs.

Anonymous said...


I agree with your comments on the Bulldog. I wish Mark Viviando would find someone else to co-host his radio show. He adds absolutely nothing to the show and that's why I rather listen to Bob Haynie on WNST.

Harryos29 said...

Tony, Nov 3rd
I agree with ERIC...the Bulldog and Marty are a good pair when they work at MOTHERS after a Ravens game.
I bleed purple, but am predicting a STEELERS blow-out win by 2 TD's. Reading the two papers this looks like "BOTH" McAlister and Rolle will not PLAY. HELLO?? Heinz Ward and Santanoni Holmes will have a Field day with Martin and Ivy. Its looking more and more, like its just not the Ravens year.
Don't get me wrong, I will still be pulling hard for them, but it looks like the DECK is stacked against our boys in PURPLE!
In Closing, I think that the Ravens are WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE an 8-8 team at BEST!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Harry. I'd just add that stupid play calling compounded our current situation. If there had been a more cohesive offensive plan -- instead of our typical offensive offensive plan -- we could/should be sitting at 5-2 or 6-1 and maybe "only" 1-1 in the division, rather than 4-3 and 0-2 respectively. I don't know if that would have altered the ultimate outcome, but at least it might have bought us some time for our banged up players to heal, and not made this game against the Steelers such a do or die kind of deal. As it stands now, barring some sort of miracle, we're looking at 2008's draft.

Anonymous said...

Well...that went about as well as expected -- maybe a little worse.

Bottom Line: The Ravens are a dysfunctional team and organization in desperate need of major, radical re-organization; not some little band-aid approach. Maybe tonight's game will serve as a catalyst to the much needed changes that have to be made in order for this team to get moving in the right direction; maybe not.

Could an NFL QB POSSIBLY have looked more lost out there than Steve McNair did tonight? And what purpose did it serve to wait until the 4th quarter to bring in Boller? Or go to the no huddle offense? It's beyond any sort of sane explanation whatsoever. And it's not just this one game -- it's been nine years of this insanity. So whoever cares to spin this away from what it really is, be my guest. To quote a VERY WISE MAN: "It is what it is".


And the utter arrogance of Brian Billick referring to those he considers to be inferior as "slapdicks" is hysterical. HE is the BIGGEST SLAPDICK HEAD COACH IN THE NFL! And no, Tony -- he's not just a little misunderstood -- he's an arrogant ass.