Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ravens let one get away but could clinch playoff berth on Sunday


The Ravens produce linebackers the way the Atlanta Braves once produced pitchers. No names until they don the purple and black, linebackers forgotten or dismissed on draft day have become Pro Bowlers and/or gone on to fame and fortune albeit at times temporarily once they’ve been part of the Ravens’ nest.

Bart Scott comes immediately to mind, then Adalius Thomas and even Ed Hartwell. Today, players like Jameel McClain and Antwan Barnes are shaping into potentially productive pros. Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta, the scouts and the coaches seem to have mastered the formula for developing linebackers.

And that makes it extremely interesting and unfortunate that they let one linebacker, a possible Defensive Player of the Year selection this season, slip through their fingers and into the hands of the team’s most bitter rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Last year Steelers’ LB James Harrison was a Pro Bowler and the Steelers’ MVP, just 3 years removed from a summer stint in Westminster with the Ravens. Today he is third in the league with 15 sacks and he’s had a total of 6 sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception in the last two games he’s faced the Ravens at Heinz Field.

So what roster spot was so important to the Ravens that they passed on Harrison? According to the 5th year player out of Kent State it was a backup tight end.

"The tight end they picked up was Daniel Wilcox. We played NFL Europe together, and [Wilcox] is still there. They obviously needed a tight end. I don't point fault at anybody, but that's just part of the game. Just like the Steelers cut me three times, and here I am now."

So not only did the Ravens commit a rare miss on linebackers, the overlooked investment continues to pay dividends for the club’s perennial threat for the AFC North division title.

According to Ben Roethlisberger, Sunday’s game against the Steelers may not be suitable for young children.

"I think a lot of guys are going to be limping out of there on both sides. I'm just hoping we're up on the scoreboard when we're limping out."

The Ravens could actually clinch a playoff berth THIS WEEKEND. Obviously they will need help. First the Ravens have to beat the Steelers. Then if any of the following combinations hit, John Harbaugh’s gang is in:

* Patriots loss plus Jets loss or tie
* Patriots loss plus Dolphins loss or tie
* Dolphins loss plus Jets loss plus Colts loss or tie
* Dolphins loss plus Jets loss plus Colts clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over Dolphins

To aid your rooting interest here is the schedule for those teams along with the appropriate point spread:

* Lions @ Colts (-17)
* Bills @ Jets (-7.5)
* 49ers @ Dolphins (-6.5)
* Patriots @ Raiders (-7)

All are 1PM games except for the Patriots, a 4:15 start.

Let’s go RAI-DUZ, Let’s go!

4 comments :

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 Dec 11th
... Once again the MR BILL FACTOR is active! (BY REVIEWING 24X7, I REDISCOVERED THINGS THAT ARE KNOWN,, ONLY TO THE PEOPLE WHO KEEP THIS SITE UPDATED )
..I had forgotten that the Ravens had Harrison on the Roster. But, picking up WILCOX was much better than the Deal that, let Derek Anderson slip out of the fold.
Thank you Gary Zauner for that one..
...Dan Wilcox made one of the Best Catches recently that went for a TD for both him and Joe Flacco.
... Rave on

Anonymous said...

Ravens are losers. You have no chance at even seeing the playoffs now

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a classy post, anonymous 9:17 PM.

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 Dec 18th
I KNOW THAT WE LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY, BUT THESE PEOPLE WHO POST ANNONYMOUSLY, HAVE NO CREDIBILITY WITH ME!
...PROBABLY STEELER FANS...ASHAMED OF THE FACT THAT THEY NEEDED THE REFS INORDER TO WIN THE GAME SUNDAY..
While listening to the Terrell Suggs show tonite.. a caller asked what he thought the SQUEELERS would have done..had the ruling been ...4th and ONE?
Suggs quickly replied. Kick a Field goal to send the game into O?T..