Archive for April, 2010

30
Apr
10

No T.O.?

By Ben Linton

Okay, so I will be the first to admit that when I heard Donovan McNabb beg the Washington Redskins’ organization to go after free agent Wide Receiver Terrell Owens I was devastated. I winced at the thought of those two “rekindling” their relationship in D.C. that had broken in the city of not-so-brotherly love. I grimaced at all the off-field distractions, baggage, emotional press conferences, and drama that T.O. would bring to the Redskins. This seemed like a terrible idea.

My opinion remained constant until just recently, when I heard that the Redskins signed free agents Joey Galloway (38) and Bobby Wade (29). By no means to these players stack up to someone who has had as much success as Owens, and Galloway is even older than T.O. who is 36, meaning that age must not have been a factor. I say if you are to make a free agent signing, you might as well get the best player that could help your team win, and Owens would bring a lot more than Galloway or Wade.

Lets mainly focus on the comparison of Galloway versus Owens. In his 15-year career, Galloway has grabbed 689 balls for 10,777 yards with 77 touchdowns. Compared to Owens, who has caught 10,006 passes for 12,951 yards with 144 touchdowns in a 14-year career. I’ll admit last year Owens was only an average receiver with Buffalo, where he caught 55 passes for 829 yards with only 5 touchdowns. But Galloway was nonexistent, only managing 67 yards on a measly seven catches. In his last season with Tamps in 2008, Galloway caught 13 passes for 138 yards, no touchdowns.

I can understand if the Redskins are planning on bringing in Galloway as a veteran to mentor the younger wide receivers in Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, but if they are expecting actual production from him they are mistaken. I know T.O. would not be interested in the whole “mentoring” thing and expect to see a few balls here and there, but Washington is more likely to see results on the field if they went with Owens.

This was a real head-scratcher to be quite honest. This new regime surely has a knack for picking up players who seem to be past their prime. But I won’t complain if success on the field is achieved, I may even applaud them for going out on a limb to make things happen. I just figured that since the Redskins are one of the most hated teams in the NFL for some reason, they might as well go out and get the most hated player. Seems like a good fit to me. Let me know what you guys think about this move.

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28
Apr
10

State of Emergency

By Ben Linton

They have the best record in the National Hockey League. They clinched the number one seed in the east division and home ice throughout the playoffs. They held a streak of 14 consecutive victories at one point this season. They possess the reigning MVP of the league. So why can’t the Washington Capitals put away the Montreal Canadiens like they are supposed to?

Sadly, the NHL’s most dominant team has struggled to put away the eight-seed Montreal Canadiens, leading them to play in a game that will not make, but only break their season. You see, a game seven victory will not even boost to morale of the Capitals team, because they were never supposed to be in such a predicament to begin with. Even if they win, they will still have immense pressure on them to live up to their expectations of hoisting the trophy at the end of the season.

How did they get here? The dreaded powerplay and an opposing goalie that is playing unconscious right now are the main reasons why the Canadiens have stuck around for so long. The Capitals have been plagued by the Canadiens penalty kill and have only scored one goal on a powerplay the whole series, a total of 1 for 30. Washington is also out-shooting Montreal 250 to 178, but have failed to capitalize on these opportunities. Part of this can be credited to Canadiens’ goalie Jarsolav Halak, who holds a .931 save percentage throughout the series and has been an absolute nightmare for the Caps’ offense.  All these things combined has made a recipe for disaster.

So when the Capitals take home ice Wednesday Night, something they have been unable to protect this far into the playoffs, expect a whole different attitude. So much more rides on this game, other than just advancing in the playoffs. The Capitals have been the only bright light in a sports town that has seen its beloved Redskins go 4-12, the Wizards disappoint to an unbelievable degree, and the Nationals possess the worst record in the MLB in 2009. Right now, the Capitals are the only thing sports fans in D.C. have to hold on to. And if the Caps happen to let Game Seven slip, all hope for sports in the nation’s capital may slip as well. Game 7 will be of monumental importance (no pun intended).

26
Apr
10

Where’s The Balance?

By Jesse Jones

Remember when Washington Capitals’ captain Alexander Ovechkin was suspended for his hit on Chicago Blackhawks’ Brian Campbell?  If not, here’s the hit:

Now compare that video with this hit from Chicago’s Marian Hossa during the playoffs Saturday:

Hossa was only given a five minute major, and no suspension will be handed down. Both hits are very very similar, yet Hossa only missed five minutes of the game, while Ovechkin was thrown out of the game and suspended. Could this be because Ovechkin’s hit resulted in an injury and Hossa’s did not? Or because it’s the playoffs? Who’s to know.

The NHL is one of the best professional leagues to keep balance with their decisions and rid the league of any “question marks” in the rule book. However, the punishments for these two hit are extremely different. Is this fair or foul? Let me know.

25
Apr
10

Baltimore Ravens Draft Recap

sergio kindle terrence cody

By Jesse Jones

Dez Bryant. That’s the player everybody believed the Baltimore Ravens would draft when it was their turn in the first round. However, the Dallas Cowboys traded up to the 24 spot, right before the Ravens at 25, and took Bryant. Kyle Wilson was to be the Ravens pick no doubt, right? Wrong. Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the organization traded the 25th pick to the Denver Broncos for three picks, 43, 70, and 114, which boosted their original total of 5 picks to 7. Eric DeCosta, Director of Player Personal had this to say on the trade, “Draft picks are like currency, and we have more money now to play with tomorrow.”

So with that extra currency, what would the Ravens do?

With the 43rd pick, Baltimore took outside linebacker Sergio Kindle from Texas.  Kindle is a Terrell Suggs type player that can get to the quarterback easy, as he sacked the quarterback 16 times over the past two seasons.  Ray Lewis called out the pick.  Then, with the 70th pick, the Ravens drafted defensive tackle Terrence Cody, aka ‘Mount Cody’ from Alabama.  Cody stands at 6′ 3″, 354 pounds.  Cody will be able to fill up the hole left by Dwan Edwards, and will be a great fit next to Haloti Ngata.  By the way, both players, Kindle and Cody, were regarded as first round talents.

In the third round, Baltimore filled a hole at tight end, by drafting Ed Dickson out of Oregon.  Dickson is 6′ 4” and caught 42 balls for 551 yards and 6 touchdowns during his senior year.  Dickson will be the backup to tight end.  In the fourth round, the Ravens weren’t done with tight ends.  They drafted Dennis Pitta out of BYU.  In 2009, Pitta caught 62 passes for 829 yards and 8 touchdowns.  By drafting two tight ends, does this mean that Todd Heaps’ days are limited?

In the fifth round, Ozzie Newsome stayed with offense, as he drafted receiver David Reed out of Utah.  Reed ranked 15th in the nation in receiving yards per game with 91.4.  Reed is expected to become a very good slot receiver, and with Donte’ Stallworth and Mark Clayton believed to be the 3 and 4 receivers, does Reed bring competition for Clayton for the 4th receiver spot?

The last two picks that the Ravens had were in the 5th and 6th rounds.  With the 157 pick, Baltimore drafted defensive tackle Arthur Jones out of Syracuse.  In 2008 Jones, 6-foot-3, 301-pounds, posted 60 tackles, including 13 for a loss.  His senior year was cut short because of an injury in his knee.  The Ravens last pick was offensive tackle Ramon Harewood out of Morehouse.  Harewood has a huge frame at 6’7” and 360 pounds, but will need a lot of work on his technique before he sees any meaningful time.

Baltimore and Ozzie Newsome filled every hole except the secondary.  Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb are recovering from knee injuries, and at times the secondary gave up big plays to opposing offenses.  However, with the additions of the two tight ends and Reed at WR, and Boldin and Stallworth coming in during the offseason, Flacco has plenty of weapons, that still include Derrick Mason, Ray Rice, and Todd Heap (when healthy).  The defensive line got the missing depth in Cody and Jones, and an outside linebacker that can play on his feet, or with his hands down on the line.  Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Ravens an ‘A’ for their draft, and Todd McShay said that the Ravens hit on every pick.

It’s a very popular phrase around Baltimore whenever it comes to the draft, and it can definitely be said again.  “In Ozzie we trust.”

25
Apr
10

Draft Analysis: Washington Redskins

By Ben Linton

The Washington Redskins came into the 2010 NFL Draft as a wild card team to no surprise. Nobody knew what the Redskins would do with the 4th pick; draft an offensive lineman, a glaring weakness of the team last year, draft a quarterback to be mentored by Donovan McNabb, or trade the pick all together to make up for the lack of second to third round picks. Well, everyone seemed surprised when the Redskins did exactly what they should have by drafting Trent Williams, offensive tackle out of Oklahoma at No. 4.

Coming into the draft, many people regarded Russell Okung from Oklahoma State as the best tackle in the draft, or most complete. But Washington decided to go with the more atheltic and more potential upside in Williams. He stands 6 foot 5, 315 pounds, and fits Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme very well. This was regarded by many as a risky pick, but i think that the Redskins obviously upgraded on the offensive line, regardless of who they picked. Williams could possibly start out at left or right tackle, and remember that there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on this guy to produce, being the first pick of the Allen-Shanahan era and hopeful savior of the offensive line.

There was a huge gap between the Redskins first and second pick, from number four all the way to number 103 in the 4th round. Here the Skins selected Perry Riley, and Outside Linebacker out of LSU. He will probably play on the inside of the Redskins 3-4 defense, and coming from the SEC where defenses are always tough, this seems like a logical pick. London Fletcher won’t play forever, so eventually you need to find a possible replacement, and maybe Riley is the guy. In the 6th round Washington took Dennis Morris, a Tight End from Louisiana Tech, which is kind of a head scratcher which has led to one conclusion: Either Chris Cooley or Fred Davis will not be with the Redskins next year. Davis showed a lot last year filling in for Cooley, and was arguably the best receiver on the team when he played. The Redskins basically have two number one tight ends on their team, and will have to decide which one they want to go with in the future.

The rest of the picks were Terrence Austin, WR from UCLA, Eric Cook, OG from New Mexico, and Selvish Capers, OT from West Virginia. A Wide Reciever makes sense due to the departure of Antwaan Randel-El and the aging of Santana Moss, and any pick on the offensive line sounds good to me since it was such an achilles heel last season. To me, it seems as if the Redskins have filled all of their holes with this draft, it just remains to be seen if they have done so with the right personnel. Only time will tell.

The last and final splash the Redskins made was trading Quarterback Jason Campbell to Oakland for a fourth round pick in the 2012 Draft. It was obvious that this would happen since the Redskins had traded for Donovan McNabb and Campbell seemed on his way out. I think that the Redskins got good value for Campbell and were smart by sending him far away to Oakland, a place where if he resurrects his career he won’t hurt the Skins. Campbell was coming off his best statistical season with arguably the worst offensive line he has had, and will likely challenge JaMarcus Russell for the starting spot. I wish Jason the best of luck as he tries to have some success with the Raiders.

21
Apr
10

‘The Fordham Leap’

By Jesse Jones

Enough said.

21
Apr
10

Baltimore Ravens 2010 Schedule

rex ryan john harbaugh

By Jesse Jones

The NFL announced the regular season schedule tonight, and the Baltimore Ravens will apart of four prime time games.

The Ravens, who are looking to advance to their third straight playoff appearance, will open their season Monday night, September 13th in New York against the Jets.  Both teams have improved greatly, with additions such as Anquan Boldin on the Ravens and Santonio Holmes on the Jets, and as we all know, former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, along with linebacker Bart Scott, left Baltimore to try and build something great in New York.  Both teams are very similar on both sides of the ball, and just like any Ravens/Steelers game, there will be hard hits and no easy possessions.  Speaking of the Steelers, Baltimore will travel to Pittsburgh Week 4, Sunday, October 3rd and will host the rivals Week 13 in a Sunday Night showdown December 5th.  Other notable games are at New England Week 6, October 17th, Thursday November 11 at Atlanta prime time, and at the Texans Week 14, Monday, December 13.

Here’s a look at the entire schedule:

Week 1 – Mon., Sept. 13 – at New York Jets (7:00 PM)

Week 2 – Sun., Sept. 19 – at Cincinnati Bengals (1:00 PM)

Week 3 – Sun., Sept. 26 – CLEVELAND BROWNS (1:00 PM)

Week 4 – Sun., Oct. 3 – at Pittsburgh Steelers (1:00 PM)

Week 5 – Sun., Oct. 10 – DENVER BRONCOS (1:00 PM)

Week 6 – Sun., Oct. 17 – at New England Patriots (1:00 PM)

Week 7 – Sun., Oct. 24 – BUFFALO BILLS (1:00 PM)

Week 8 – Sun., Oct. 31 BYE

Week 9 – Sun., Nov. 7 – MIAMI DOLPHINS (1:00 PM)

Week 10 – Thurs., Nov. 11 – at Atlanta Falcons (8:20 PM)

Week 11 – Sun., Nov. 21 – at Carolina Panthers (1:00 PM)

Week 12 – Sun., Nov. 28 – TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (1:00 PM)

Week 13 – Sun., Dec. 5 – PITTSBURGH STEELERS (8:20 PM)

Week 14 – Mon., Dec. 13 – at Houston Texans (8:30 PM)

Week 15 – Sun., Dec. 19 – NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (1:00 PM)

Week 16 – Sun., Dec. 26 – at Cleveland Browns (1:00 PM)

Week 17 – Sun., Jan. 2 – CINCINNATI BENGALS (1:00 PM)

The AFC East will be much improved this season, as the Jets look to be favorites to win the division, the Patriots are always tough, and the Dolphins have made some improvements (adding Brandon Marshall) to help out Chad Henne (don’t forget the Wildcat).  The NFC South has the Super Bowl champion Saints, who the Ravens will host in Week 15 (could have playoff positioning at stake), and will travel to Atlanta for a Thursday night showdown against the Falcons (Matt Ryan and Flacco will be able to compete to see who was the better first round pick in ’08).  The Panthers are rebuilding, and the same could be said for the Buccaneers.  Houston finished second in their division last year, as did the Denver Broncos, which is why the Ravens will face both this season.  In the division, the Bengals were very strong most of the year last season, and the Steelers always present a huge threat. The Baltimore Ravens will definitely have some hard tests this season, but with the new and much improved receiving corp to go along with Ray Rice and the rest of the running backs, and a very solid defense, there is a lot of hype going around Baltimore right now.




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