Orioles win the Tigers series to open second half.

Good job by the Orioles to bounce back and take the first second half road series of 2015.  It looks like some of the Orioles bats are heating up.  Machado, Jones and Schoop have been hot lately and some others are warming up as well which could be a good sign for the offense.  If Schoop continues hitting like this, Buck should consider moving him up in the order.

O’s Take Series From Jays

The Orioles beat the Blue Jays 6-1 last night to improve their season series record to 3-6 vs the Jays.  Miguel Gonzalez pitched 7.2 to pick up his fourth win of the season.  After some sloppy play recently, the defense played much better including a spectacular diving tag out of a running at third by Manny Machado.  The offense scored 5 runs in the bottom of the second inning to provide all the runs the Orioles would need.

I’m Back!

It’s time to get back in the swing of posting.  I’ll be making more comments on the O’s and Ravens as the summer goes on.

Ravens reserve cornerback Chris Johnson makes an impact with his story – baltimoresun.com

I read this story in the Baltimore Sun regarding reserve CB Chris Johnson and this quote in particular struck me:

“As a man, as a father, as a husband, as a son, I believe you have to have more strength than your average person. Your family is depending on you. If you break down, they don’t have a solid foundation. I try to be that foundation for my family.”  

I wish more people, parents, men and fathers felt that way about family.

Ravens reserve cornerback Chris Johnson makes an impact with his story – baltimoresun.com.

Old Orioles Gear

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Old Ravens Gear

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How to deal with “Ray Lewis is a murderer” smack talk.

With the Ravens finally returning to the highest profile NFL game, casual NFL fans feel they have to weigh in on their hate for the Ravens and/or Ray Lewis.  It doesn’t bother me anymore, but it’s a little ridiculous that 13 years later people still drop the “I don’t like Ray Lewis because he’s a murderer” or some variation when discussing Ray Lewis or the Ravens in general.  I just laugh it off or make some smack talk disabling joke about it myself, but if you want to school an ignorant person about Ray Lewis have them check out these 5 Common Misconceptions About Ray Lewis’ Murder Trial from CBS Detroit (a non homer source too even better).

#Ravens at #Steelers Preview

This is my realistic preview of the Ravens (5-2) @ Steelers (6-2) game obviously from the perspective of a Ravens fan.  This rivalry game is always great, but the story-lines coming in will make this matchup even better.  The Steelers are hot and have some scores to settle after their week 1 debacle against the Ravens, while the Ravens are in turmoil and still need to prove they can win on the road against the Steelers with Ben at the helm before they can take another step to getting that Steelers monkey off their backs.

Defense:

I think the Ravens will get pressure on Ben, but the Steelers have always found ways to overcome their offensive line issues particularly against the Ravens.  Suggs has had some of his best games against the Steelers, but the Steelers still somehow manage to get some big strikes downfield when Ben gets away and ad-libs.  The Ravens defense has to do everything in it’s power to prevent the Steelers from getting up by 14+ if they hope to have an opportunity to attack the weak Steelers offensive line.  The Ravens will have their hands full dealing with the Steelers young/fast receiving corps, but the best way to negate them is with constant pressure.  If the Ravens give up some big plays early Pagno might be forced to dial back the pressure packages to try to prevent the big play and the big deficit, and if that happens the game might already be lost.  IMO, the Ravens defense will make some plays, but the Steelers offense will also make their share.

Offense:

I hope the Ravens have learned some lessons about what their strengths and weaknesses are the past few weeks.  The end of the Jags game and the last 33 (or so) minutes of the Cardinals game they seemed to get into a rhythm with the shotgun and a quick passing game.  The way that the Ravens o-line has played lately it seems like the only way for the offense to function is to use this new strategy.  I’m not sure if it will work against the Steelers, but it sure seems like the best option.  Going into the lion’s den without Flacco’s two former security blankets it is imperative that he gets into a rhythm early with Boldin and Dickson (his new security blankets).

I know my post sounds like doom and gloom, but I don’t think this game is a blowout either way.  My guess is it will either be a low scoring win for the Steelers or a high scoring win for the Ravens.  When I say high scoring I mean more scoring than what is typical for a Ravens/Steelers game… something like 27-24.

Roster Outlook – Cut Predictions

The key battles are LB, 3rd RB and 6th WR.  The Ravens are hoping to hold onto their developmental projects like Ramon Harewood and Michael Macadoo, but still maintain their quality depth.  The outstanding play of WR LaQuan Williams and the injury to QB Tyrod Taylor have made the decisions even more difficult for the Ravens.

Summarizing what I think will happen:

  • The Ravens will be eagerly awaiting the results of tests on Tyrod Taylor’s left (non-throwing) shoulder to determine which direction to go with backup QB.  They will probably sign a QB after shuffling some players around.
  • They will keep LaQuan Williams as a possible punt returner.
  • Marcus Smith will make the team and primarily to contribute on special teams.
  • Jalen Parmele will get cut with Allen winning the 3rd running back spot.
  • Gooden, Phillips and Burgess all get cut.
  • The Ravens gamble and try to slip Michael Macadoo onto the practice squad.
  • CB C. Brown makes the roster, but could eventually get cut a few days later after the dust settles and then stashed on the practice squad.  This could make room for a backup QB if necessary.
  • Some shenanigans involving players being stashed on IR could happen (maybe Harewood and/or Boren).
  • Foxworth makes the team despite all of the calls for him to be cut by fans during the preseason.  My guess is the team puts him on the shelf for a few weeks until he’s 100% healthy.
Here is my updated roster prediction (starters in bold):

OFFENSE – 25:

  • QB – 2 :  Flacco, Taylor
  • RB – 3 :  Rice, R. Williams, Allen
  • FB – 1 :  Leach
  • WR – 7 :  Boldin, Evans, D. Reed, T. Smith, T. Doss, M. Smith, L. Williams
  • TE – 3 :  Dickson, Pitta, Wilson
  • OL – 9 :  McKinnie, Grubbs, Birk, Yanda, Oher, LaVoir, J. Reid, Harewood, Mattison

DEFENSE/ST – 28:

  • CB – 6 :  C. Williams, J. Smith, Foxworth, Carr, Webb,  C. Brown
  • S – 4 :  E. Reed, Zbikowski, Pollard, Nakamura
  • LB – 8 :  R. Lewis, Suggs, J. Johnson, McClain, Ellerbe, Kruger, Kindle, Ayanbadejo
  • DL – 7 :  Ngata, Cody, Redding, A. Jones, McKinney, Divens, McPhee
  • ST – 3 :  Cundiff, Koch, M. Cox

BUBBLE:

  • LB Burgess, LB Gooden, LB Phillips, WR J. Hardy, TE Drew, RB Parmele
PRACTICE SQUAD:
  • S Silva, RB Berry, C Barnes, LB McClellan, DE/OLB McAdoo, QB Cantwell

Roster Outlook – Preseason Game 4

Here is my updated roster prediction going into the final preseason game against the Falcons (starters in bold):

OFFENSE – 25:

  • QB – 2 :  Flacco, Taylor
  • RB – 4 :  Rice, R. Williams, Parmele, Allen
  • FB – 1 :  Leach
  • WR – 6 :  Boldin, Evans, D. Reed, T. Smith, T. Doss, M. Smith
  • TE – 3 :  Dickson, Pitta, Wilson
  • OL – 9 :  McKinnie, Grubbs, Birk, Yanda, Oher, LaVoir, J. Reid, Harewood, Mattison

DEFENSE/ST – 28:

  • CB – 6 :  C. Williams, J. Smith, Foxworth, Carr, Webb,  C. Brown
  • S – 4 :  E. Reed, Zbikowski, Pollard, Nakamura
  • LB – 8 :  R. Lewis, Suggs, J. Johnson, McClain, Ellerbe, Kruger, Kindle, Ayanbadejo
  • DL – 7 :  Ngata, Cody, Redding, A. Jones, McKinney, Divens, McPhee
  • ST – 3 :  Cundiff, Koch, M. Cox

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