Tag: NFL

Welcoming The Newest Ravens

Ravens-4.27Kyle Simpson, Ravens Corespondent

“The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

This quote has pretty much summed up the week of Ravens news. After losing nine starters (six of which were on the defensive side of the ball), they make a huge play in free agency. After being cut by the Broncos after a contract faxing went awry, the Ravens swooped in and signed Elvis Dumervil to a five-year contract for $35 million.

The veteran pass rusher has been brought in to replace Paul Kruger, and he will do a bang up job of it too. Dumervil has 65.5 sacks in his nine seasons, while Kruger has 15.5 in four years.

Dumervil will be added to a pass rushing corps featuring the likes of Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata, along with the new additions of Chris Canty and Marcus Spears who were picked up earlier in the free agency blitz.

While the front seven is getting major upgrades, the Ravens still have a few needs in other places. For starters, the need major depth at linebacker with Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe departing, and they will need replacements at safety with Ed Reed’s signing in Houston. And with 12 draft picks, the Ravens can easily fill the holes they have.

To say that they will not make the playoffs while it is still MARCH is a little bit brash. Expect the Ravens to be competitive.

In other news: The Ravens will NOT be opening the NFL season at home (unlike the last ten Super Bowl victors). The NFL, MLB, Ravens, White Sox, and Orioles where unable to come to an agreement on how to fit both Birds in Baltimore on September 5th. So instead, the Ravens will make their opener on the road, which will most likely be in Denver.

And just as a “for the record” type thing, this situation is NOT the Orioles fault. They had the parking lot first, and I am really glad they did not let themselves get bullied by the NFL.

Sharing the Parking Lot

Kyle Simpson, Ravens Corespondent

Baltimore, MD – We all learned in kindergarten to share what we have. But for some reason, the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles are caught in a custody battle for the parking lot on September 5th. The Ravens are set to host the first game of the season that night, and the Orioles are to host the Chicago White Sox that day too.

Let the debate begin. Technically, the Orioles schedule was created and solidified first, so they have the priority use for the parking lot. So what are they to do?

They could move the Ravens game to Wednesday the 4th, if the NFL had not already said they would not play that day because it is Rosh Hashanah (more on that later). So instead the Orioles could play earlier and the Ravens could move their game back to 9 PM (as a season ticket holder, that is a less than ideal time), however the Orioles have an away night game on September 4th. And they do not want to play two games in such small time frame. The NFL says that if a compromise is not reached, then they will have to move the Ravens to a road game to start the season.

Now that might be the stupidest thing I have ever heard. You have to play away that night? Really? Have they even considered moving the Ravens to Sunday night? Granted, they would not be the VERY first game of the season, but they could have their home and season opener AT HOME. That is more important to me as a fan than playing first (even though they deserve that too). And I understand that there are television contracts involved, but really? Rodger Goodell is risking sending Baltimore into revolt if they do not open at home. And the whole “we cannot play on Rosh Hashanah” is ridiculous. Not to sound mean, but the NFL has played on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve before and play on Thanksgiving every year. They have even played on Rosh Hashanah before, so what is the big deal this year? The NFL and MLB need to figure it out. Soon. Baltimore is very uneasy.

We’ll see what ends up happening, but be prepared to watch the season opener being held somewhere else.

Ravens Lose Third Straight Game

Words: Kyle Simpson

Disappointment, shame, frustration. There are not enough words in the English language to describe the Ravens third straight loss, this time to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Mistake after mistake left fans stunned as the Ravens struggled through most of the game, getting shut out going into halftime 17-0. The offense was dead (it took two quarters to get a first down), the banged-up defense played fairly well considering they were up against one of the greatest quarterbacks to walk the Earth with their five best tacklers injured. But the Ravens fired Cam Cameron! Their problems were supposed to be over on offense! So why did the offense still perform extremely poorly (to put it mildly)?

What yesterday proved is that Cameron was not the entire (although he was a major part of) the problem. Joe Flacco let down the team this time, though most fans would argue that he is the reason the Ravens have lost three straight. I would argue that the blame needs to be partially shifted away from Flacco and to the offensive line. They have had problems last few years but especially atrocious the last few games. Flacco has little to no time in the pocket to get the ball out before the other team’s defense is in his face. The counter to that is Flacco needs to get the ball out to his receivers quicker and Jim Caldwell needs to change the place to compensate for the weak line, forcing Flacco to make shorter but quicker passes as opposed to longer plays that force him to spend time trying to sling the ball down the field while the offensive line collapses in front of him. As much as you can blame the offensive line for the offense woes, I will give the Flacco-haters merit and admit that Flacco needs to get it together. My message to him is that if he wants $100 million, he has to play like he deserves it. Quarterbacks that get paid that kind of money do not throw stupid picks that give away seven points like he did yesterday. He does not play consistently, he cannot read the defense, and he just does not make smart choices.

Flacco is due to get his contract re-negotiated this year, which leaves the Ravens with a choice. To get rid of or not to get rid of number 5? If you get rid of Flacco, you have a chance to pick up Matt Flynn from Seattle, who was a very productive back-up to Aaron Rodgers at one point, or Alex Smith from San Francisco, who has also proven himself not to be a push over. Those options are not guaranteed however, and I would not bet on either of those guys to end up wearing purple and black next year. You could trade him from a high pick to teams like Kansas City or Arizona to try and get somebody in the draft, but then you risk the guy you pick up being a bust. The third, and I feel most likely scenario is that the Ravens resign Flacco for one last shot to prove himself to not be Kyle Boller round two. It is hard to imagine, but Flacco is too good to let go, he has taken us to the playoffs 5 straight years now and, although inconsistent at times, he has proven that he can play at an elite level. The off-season will be very interesting this year for general manager Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, and Steve Bisciotti as they discuss the quarterback’s fate.

On a more positive note, despite that terrible loss on Sunday, the Ravens have clinched a playoff berth with Pittsburgh’s loss to the Cowboys in overtime. Although many are saying that the Ravens don’t deserve to utter the “P-Word”, it is a bright spot in an otherwise gray day of football. The Ravens are currently gearing up to take on Manning’s brother, Eli, next Sunday at 4:15. If the Ravens pull out a win, they clinch the AFC North for the second straight year. This will be the fourth week in a row they have had the opportunity to clinch.

Baltimore Ravens Release Cam Cameron

Words: Kyle Simpson

Following two heartbreaking losses, the Ravens and their fans were aware that change was needed in the upper echelon of the coaching staff. That change came Monday morning with the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and the promotion of quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell. Leaving fans wondering, was this the right call to make this late in the season?

The short answer is that only time and results will tell. Cameron has led the Ravens to four winning seasons (and a winning record in the first 13 games of the current season) and two AFC championships. Through those four years Cameron had his moments of great play calling, but his inconsistency led to many moments where the offense would find itself struggling to find momentum. When Cameron would give quarterback Joe Flacco a little breathing room to call a few plays from the line of scrimmage, the offense would get great momentum and be generally very good at marching down the field. However, Cameron generally held onto the playing calling which had mixed results at best, many times having fans shouting “Cam you suck!” or “Cam needs to go!” Begging the question, now that Cameron is gone, will the offense magically become consistent? To be blunt, no. It won’t. Caldwell has no time to rework the current offense or generate new plays with only three weeks left. The true test will be next year after a full offseason and training camp, giving Caldwell much more time to work with the entire offense as opposed to just Flacco.

“My responsibility is the entire team and what’s best fir them right now. We need a change. Our plan and goals are to win games, win our division, and get to the playoffs,” said head coach John Harbaugh Monday in his press conference announcing the move.

Caldwell came from Indianapolis this year to help coach Flacco and improve communication between Cameron and Flacco; little did he know he’d be helming the offense by the end of the year. Back in Indianapolis he led a generally no-huddle attack with Peyton Manning (that was generally prolific game in and game out. Not to say that Flacco will suddenly play at a Peyton Manning-like level, but he will run a similar offense.

“It’s not a system change,” Caldwell commented in his press conference Monday afternoon,” Obviously the Ravens offense is the Ravens offense. It is not a philosophical change.”

Best wishes to Cameron and his family as they move forward, Cam Cameron will have many opportunities ahead of him. Harbaugh echoed the sentiment Monday, “Cam is going to go on and coach. He is going to be coaching very soon in the National Football League. A five-year run as an offensive coordinator in this league is pretty good.”

NFL Offseason Recap (Carolyn Eichhorn and Emma Harring)

NFL Referee’s Locked Out!

When the National Football League announced that the regular referees
would not be attending and officiating pre-season games in June, no
one was exactly surprised. With the referees having been locked out of
the league since mid-June, replacement referees have been called to
officiate all preseason games. Now they will continue to officiate
regular season games until the lockout has ended.
It all started when the referee’s contract was up in the league and
the National Football League Referees Association (NFLRA) had to negotiate new contact terms including salary issues, retirement benefits, and operational proceedings. When they could not
agree on any certain terms, the lock out began.
Throughout the pre-season, the replacement referees have been
brutally attacked and criticized on their calls, decisions, and lack
of experience with refereeing professional games. Now that the regular
season has started off (the Cowboys played the Giants in Wednesday
night) everyone is concerned about how the change in officials will
impact the game. Most were stunned however with the quality of the
crew on Wednesday night, but that does not mean this pattern will
continue. Blown calls could mean games lost and possible injuries that
could have been prevented.
The NFL Referees Association and the league have yet to come close to
any agreement after several meetings about contract details. As of
September 6, no other meetings have been scheduled.

Effects of the Saints Bounty Program

This past spring the National Football League (NFL) announced that the
Saints defense had participated in a bounty program, also known as the
“bountygate”. Head defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, gave players
a bonus for intentionally injuring players of opposing teams. Over
twenty players partook in the bounty system from 2009-2011.
Punishments were handed out to the head coach, Sean Payton, general
manager, Mickey Loomis, and assistant coach, Joe Vitt. Four Saints
players who had “key” roles in the bounty program were also given
suspensions. Even with defensive players, Jonathan Vilma and Will
Smith, suspended for multiple games, the Saints still have a good shot
at a successful season, according to Athlon Sports.
The Saints have dealt with other challenges before and have thrived.
This year should be no different as long as their offense remains
dominant, and their defense finds ways to fill in the gaps left by
suspended players.