Wednesday
September 18
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#1850



longing for these days...


With all due respect to the Ravens and NFL football, there's nothing quite like September and October of a baseball season.

We only experienced it here for a few years from 2012 through 2016, but boy was it glorious to have meaningful games played as the weather changed, the leaves turned, and the efforts of a full season all came down to a few weeks.

My jealousy, if that's the right word (and it is, by the way), was heightened last night as I saw the final few innings of Oakland's 2-1 win over Kansas City. The A's are probably the team most like our Orioles circa 2012 in that they never go hog-wild in free agency and generally aren't seen as a threat to anyone's championship quest, yet it seems they're routinely in the post-season picture and September baseball always seems to matter out in the Bay Area.

We expect the Yankees to be there every fall. We assume the Dodgers will be playing games that matter in September. The Cardinals, it seems, bought a 25-year Central Division pass and are at or near the top of the division almost always.

As Archie and Edith said..."Those were the days."

Our Orioles, of course, aren't near the top. They're at the bottom these days, with promise for the future, but nothing more than that.

One night after lowly Kansas City scored two runs in the top of the 9th to squeak out a 6-5 win in Oakland that could have been one of those damaging September losses, the A's scored twice in the 7th inning last night and then held on for dear life to win a nailbiter, 2-1. The A's now have a 2-game lead in the Wild Card chase with 10 games remaining in their season.

It seems like just yesterday that Adam Jones was hitting people in the face with a pie after a big win. I remember those few years with great fondness now, not just for Jones, but for the fact that we were rewarded after a 14-year period of embarrassing results for a once-proud franchise.

And watching the A's last night made me remember what it was like here in 2012 when the O's were a Wild Card winner and then went to Texas and won the 1-game playoff, only to fall to the Yankees in a dramatic 5-game series that ended with a 3-1 loss in New York on a warm October Friday in the Bronx. The Birds had forced Game 5 with a 2-1 win the night before, I recall. It was a 13-inning affair that included a J.J. Hardy double to plate the O's winning run. I remember it like it was yesterday.

I caught a late morning train to the Big Apple after my radio show and was in the stadium that night, with a perfect view from the upper deck of both the Bronx skyline and Nate McLouth's home-run-that-wasn't (called). Despite the loss, I left the city that night feeling like a renewed sports fan again, getting to see my hometown team in a playoff game, one of only eight clubs still playing at that time of the year.

Watching the A's grind out a crucial 2-1 win last night in what effectively had the feeling of a playoff game made me think about 2012, 2014 and 2016. I was in the ballpark for both games of the ALCS against Kansas City. I can still remember Alex Gordon dumping that bases loaded triple into no man's land down the right field line and watching the Kansas City dugout erupt.

I wasn't in Toronto the night Buck Showalter fell asleep, but I watched the 5-2 loss from start to finish on TV, like most everyone else in Baltimore.

Those were three special years around here, even if all of them eventually ended with disappointment.

I don't know how Oakland has done it over the last decade or more but it seems like an annual rite of passage for them to sneak their way into the Wild Card picture by early August and then fight like dogs for the final 50 games of the season. It's enjoyable to watch from the outside.

I rarely root for anyone in October, unless it was '12, '14 and '16, obviously. Any other time, I'm merely an excited baseball observer. Maybe it's the fall weather that does it to me. I love the summer and the hot temps, but only because it's conducive for golf, if I'm telling the truth. I'm not a day game guy. Never have been. You couldn't pay me to go sit outside at the ballpark on a 93 degree Sunday afternoon and watch a baseball game.

But night games in September and October are beyond compare. It's when baseball is meant to be played, if you ask me. And despite the fact that we're known as a "Football Town" (the empty seats last Sunday might suggest otherwise...), if you told me the Ravens could start their campaign 3-5 if it meant the Orioles made the playoffs and played home games in October, I'd make that trade every single time.

I'll be following the A's over these last two weeks and into the post-season. Their schedule includes one more game against the Royals, three at home vs. Texas, and then two in L.A. vs. the Angels and four in Seattle to finish things up. Hardly a murderer's row of opponents. If Oakland can't win 9 of their last 12 and make the post-season again, it's on them.

Either way, whether they make it or not, September baseball that matters is just like October baseball that matters. In some ways, it's even better, because you can lose in crushing fashion on Monday night (like Oakland did) and there's still a chance to redeem yourself the following night (which Oakland did).

I'm looking forward to the nights when the Orioles redeem themselves. I don't know when they're coming around, but I can't wait for that reward.

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what are the steelers doing?


Rarely has a trade for a high quality player resulted in criticism like the Steelers are getting these days in the wake of their acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins.

You have to look long and hard to find someone who thinks it was smart of Mike Tomlin and Company to give up a first round draft pick in exchange for the talented cornerback, who himself was a first rounder in 2018.

I'm not here to suggest Pittsburgh was right...because Fitzpatrick's play will ultimately decide that. But I am here to say that getting a proven, bonafide player who is merely two years into his career might be better than whatever first round pick you're going to get in 2020.

Mike Tomlin and the Steelers are betting on Minkah Fitzpatrick to help make them good enough that next April's 1st round pick won't matter to them.

Like every other draft pick in 2018, Fitzpatrick's stock was unproven when the Dolphins picked him. He came from Alabama, a great breeding ground for NFL'ers, and enjoyed a solid rookie season a year ago. He's thought by many to be one of the league's more talented young defensive backs.

While his career is very much still "young", he is already an established NFL starter who looks like he'll enjoy a productive decade-long career, at the very least. Will he be a Hall of Famer? There's obviously no way of knowing. But Fitzpatrick looks the part, early on, for sure.

So the Steelers had to give up next April's first round pick in order to get Fitzpatrick. Lots of folks think they gave up too much. Maybe they did. Or maybe Fitzpatrick will wind up being better than the player the Dolphins pick next April.

There's no telling where that pick might fall, by the way. Pittsburgh could bottom out from here, finish 4-12, and that first round selection might wind up being somewhere around the 4th, 5th or 6th slot. They could go 8-8, somehow, and that pick might be #14 in the first round.

Either way, though, there's simply no way to predict that what Miami gets next April will be better than what we've already seen from Fitzpatrick. The Steelers gave up the potential promise of a high draft pick in exchange for a guy who has pretty much shown us he is a legit NFL player.

I'm not really defending the Steelers here, because, as I wrote above, Fitzpatrick's play is going to determine the outcome -- good or bad -- of their deal.

I'm defending the process, more than anything, of taking something that is proven in exchange for something that isn't. It's one thing if Fitzpatrick is 27 and in his 4th or 5th season in the league. He's 18 games into his career, essentially. His tires still have all of their tread. He doesn't even need his first oil change yet.

Here's to hoping the Dolphins get the #1 pick after Pittsburgh goes 0-16. In the meantime, though, the Steelers have certainly helped themselves in 2019 at the potential expense of losing out on something even more special in 2020. Either way, it was a gamble worth taking if you ask me.

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#dmd comments


John Pusateri     September 18
Baseball should be complete by 8/31. Do we really need 160 games to decide who's the best? Is it a sports season or war? Sports seasons overlaps should be banned at the professional and recreational/club levels. [off soapbox]



Like us drafting wide receivers or 2nd round picks, the Steelers haven't been able to draft 2ndary players with the exception of Polamalu. And usually, their weak secondaries are hidden behind a ferocious front-7 and blitzing schemes that used to give the QBs no time. However, with the retirement of some of their stud LBs and the injury to Shazier, the Steeler front-7 ain't what it used to be. Point being that they have plenty of holes to plug up besides QB, including their 2ndary.

CJ     September 18
The main point of the Steeler trade to me is that they seem to be going no where. QB hurt, the locker room appears to be messy and the coach is taking heaps of criticisms....and for once the critics might be right. Tomlin is a winner, but clearly not a X and O savant. When your strength is being a good "keeping the team together" coach and the team looks tattered and frayed, it could be a time for a change.

The Steeler brass knows a thing or two. Maybe they don't think they are doomed this year. But to trade away a pick that could be really high? That is what the Jets and Dolphins do.

Herman's point is valid. But a top 5-10 pick is usually pretty slam dunk...for the guy being good. GREAT is what you want. Not sure if this guy is going to be a super star. And his rookie contract is closer to the end than a college player.

But the Steelers reaching? Good for the Ravens for the long and short term.

O's game last night was fun to attend. They aren't very good, but they play hard. Not smart all the time, but hard. Clearly the Jays have some players...but they stink.

HERMAN     September 18
I don't understand the criticism of the Squealers trade. Draft choices aren't guarantees. Especially with some of these head case high draft divas. How many first round draft busts have we had? So for a future number one pick they got a proven long-term quality NFL star guaranteed. And only lost 18 games on him. This is a 100,000 dollar Mercedes coming off two year lease with low miles for 50 grand. You've got a proven winner for a future risk.

Now a Jags player wants out. Tails are starting to wag the dog. The NFL better get a grip on the discontent. Fans are already a bit turned off, the last thing a fan scraping up two grand for his NFL ticket fix needs is some Diva making a few million a year and wearing a watch worth more than the fans 401K griping about his employment. I fully realize the "career" of the player is roughly 6 years, and they need to maximize those years, but it's bad optics to the fans who face high prices and pay the freight.

Chris in Bel Air     September 17
I actually would prefer Ben was healthy and able to play all year. The games mean more when the Ravens play them and when the Steelers are at full squad and the Ravens are victorious, it just feels even better.

HERMAN     September 17
I think this will be it for our nemesis "Big Ben", being out for a year at his age may just be forced retirement.

Now if age would just catch up to Darth Vader up there in NE we might stand a chance to get to the big dance.

Pittsburgh already looked like a train wreck waiting to happen, let's hope losing the starting QB is the wheels going off the rails.

Chris in Bel Air     September 17
It certainly seems like the NFL games are becoming harder to watch. Between the penalties (called and not called), lengthy replays, endless TV timeouts and players ensuring they are the center of attention, it is becoming quite the circus. I know being at the Ravens game on Sunday, I felt like there were a couple timeouts that seemed to go on forever. Even the players seemed to be looking around at times like, are we doing this? What's going on? I see in the box score that last night's game featured 21 penalties. That is some real entertainment. I'm curious if an NFL game would look dramatically different if we went back and watched a few regular season games (start to finish) from 10 years ago? How different would the games be from 20 years ago? 30 years? Like many who comment here, I've been watching games for a long time. Some aspects of watching from home are much better - HD TVs and some really cool camera angles. The stadiums also try to make it a whole experience - not just the game. But when you combine the other parts that detract, it seems like it's trending in the wrong direction.

Delray Rick     September 17
UnitasBerry....That's right, the SPORTS are a changing to personalities, "look at me and keep the camera on my watch, clothes, hair,special shoes, outlandish everything". DAMN, I hope JACKSON doesn't start acting that way. He has the players, fans, and media on his side. How bout after the game when he was driving from the stadium some fans shouted out to him and he stoped and signed autographs. The PAPERS down here say he never in trouble and kept a low profile. Can you believe 30 teams overlooked him. ALSO good oldFLACCO sitting on the bench away from everybody. Not JACKSON who talks to his players and working out plays.

HERMAN     September 17
There are times you make money through absolutely no effort on your own part. The NFL is about to be the beneficiary of this in a big way. Streaming services need content, and content that guarantees subscribers is gold. So looming large in the near future are potential contracts with Amazon, or Netflix, or Hulu; the traditional networks are going to be blown away by the type of numbers these services are willing to pay to get the NFL. And the NFL is going to get rich beyond imagination. Staggering rich.

Through the 70's and into the 2000's music companies got multiple bites from the same apple as delivery systems changed dramatically. You had to buy Springsteen's "Greetings from Asbury Park" on an 8 track. Then on a cassette, then on a CD, and now through a streaming service. They sold us the same album at least 3 times due to changes in technology, not because they improvised the product itself. They made gobs of money for doing nothing but repackaging to meet delivery changes.

But the NFL should not delude itself that because it's going to cash in big that their product is somehow worth what they get. The argument could be made that the product itself is in dramatic decline. Ref's are awful and impacting the game in a big negative way. Superstars are poisoning the league with diva behavior. Half the teams in the league are positively inept. And many of the games played are just terrible, bad play, bad calls, a Keystone cops mess.

In any normal world a company producing a product in decline would be penalized in the marketplace.

But the NFL is actually going to be rewarded big time for putting out a mediocre product getting worse each year.

Such is the new world we live in that the NFL can produce a bad product and yet reap billions through no fault of their own. They are Howard Stern at the advent of satellite radio.

RJ     September 17
@Geno Where did I "hammer" Drew for his writing skills?? Said his rants play better on air, that's all. Get a grip man, where do these people come from? Sheesh

unitastoberry     September 17
@SteveofPimlico.....Namath never wore the nylons or mink coats in the games lol. Check out Cam Newton at a press conference recently. Most of them where playboys back then too nothing has changed there but now you have the internet to expose people and lawyers who will get you a settlement the size of NYC. A little pro wrestling is ok during the week. But on Sundays you need to buckle your chin strap.

David Rosenfeld     September 17
To your Fox comment...the play-by-play announcer for Sunday's game, Brandon Gaudin, was making his NFL broadcast debut. If you recognized his voice, it was probably because he's the voice of "Madden" for EA Sports.

Steve of Pimlico     September 17
Drew , your complaints about the state of the NFL show that you have joined the "old fart " generation along with me,UNITAS TO BERRY,DELRAY RICK and several others. Younger fans care about drama, fantasy and outlandish personalities.

I remember when Joe Namath and Fran Tarkenton were upstarts that my dad's generation couldn't stand.Change is the one constant.

As Dylan sang many years ago

"So get out of my way if you can't lend a hand,For the times they are a changing

Cash Is King     September 17
@MFC



The parrot strikes again. Blaming AAU for all of sports problems again. Yawn. I guess AAU made Elway tell Irsay that he wouldn’t come to Baltimore to play for that drunk.

CJ     September 17
Before the season I was worried about the Browns but I'm not any more.

They are an 8-8 team at best.

James     September 17
Love those Cars references today. I think I found them all! Best one was comparing the L.A. Rams to My Best Friend's Girl!! Nice work DF!!

Geno     September 17
I love how "RJ" comes to the site and then hammers Drew for his writing skills. Why bother coming to the website if you don't like it?

John L.     September 17
@RJ: How do you know Drew wants to go back on the air? Saying he and 105.7 need to agree on a mutually agreeable time slot makes me think you know something the rest of us don't. Are they in discussions about that?

mike from catonsville     September 17
@Tim D in T, agree 100%. They aren't a Baltimore high school football team, they're an East Coast team. The national schedule is fine. If that's what we want have at it. BUT you get the Jalen Ramsey, Antonio Brown (leaving not the rape allegation) scenairos . I've said many times this just doesn't happen. It starts at a very early age. Ant yes, thank you AAU and club for creating this ebviornment. Fact not fiction.



No one mentioning the real contest last night . Drew Dreschel is the America Ninja Warrior. Fantastic performance beating Daniel Gil in the rope climb for the million dollar prize. Great athletes, great fun and one of the fastest growing sports. Go Ninja!

RJ     September 17
Today's column is a great reminder of how good Drew is.............on the radio! Those meandering thoughts of his don't really translate to the written word very well, but as I read I imagined some of today's content being a classic radio rant back in the day. Too bad he and the FM station can't find a mutually agreeable time slot.

unitastoberry     September 17
Its amazing that the league everyone loves to hate is also the most popular and richest in the USA. One million dollar wrist watches while playing football and people go hungry working 40 hours a week and drug companies charge 13000 dollars a month for cancer pills that your so called insurance company won't pay the whole thing. Yeah I think Goddell earns his 35 million a year lol. How about some bling up your @#$


Tony S     September 17
Nice Ric Ocasek remembrances in today's opening story, Drew!

Tony S     September 17
Nice Ric Ocasek remembrances in today's opening story, Drew!

ed     September 17
love the week 2 analysis ,and the song titles too in them rip ric ocasek who was born in bmore

Brien Jackson     September 16
@RJ



The Ravens could fit Ramsey under the cap for the next 2 years, but then he'd need a big extension and you could probably only afford one of him/Humphrey. On the other hand, Minkah Fitzpatrick comes with 3 cheap years plus his fifth year option, so if the Ravens are interested in him that one is much more doable.

RJ     September 16
Y'all realize there's this thing called a salary cap, right? Unless that's been researched before all these "go get this guy or that guy" proclamations are made

H     September 16
Just read that Jalen Ramsey wants out of Jacksonville. He is worth a 1st and a 2nd. I hope the Ravens look into getting him

Jason M     September 16
U2B correctly forecast, yesterday was a good example of taking what the defense was giving us. DR is also correct about the positive feeling at the stadium. As I remarked to the guys around me, as a 20 plus year season ticket holder, I've never seen an offense this efficient, at least not wearing Purple. Too soon, but like DF, I feel like we passed our first gut check moment and we bent for sure, but we were in control throughout and the Cardinals were chasing.

M.M.     September 16
"More Fun" should do "More studying on how to write."

Tim D in Timonium     September 16
There was at least one on ESPN, right? Kudos to St. Frances, MFC, they did exactly what so many people were moaning and complaining they should do - play a national schedule.



Now the only MD high schools playing a sport at that level will be in lacrosse, and maybe a few in soccer.


Some guy     September 16
One big difference is More Fun is just a guy commenting, he is not pretending to be a real writer.

Oh no, @MFC is not gonna watch any more MD football games unless they pick up the pace! That is hilarious. I hear some St Frances games will be televised, they play real fast lol

Steve of Pimlico     September 16
2 weeks into the NFL season and Brees, Big Ben,Foles,Darnold and Luck all gone. The product on the field is suffering.How long can Lamar stay upright?

mike from catonsville     September 16
No one even mentioning the Terp fiasco on Saturday.

Not only did they lose a "winnable" game it took 3:46 to play. I'm not sure how many games I will watch if it takes that long again.

M.M.     September 16
@Bill, I was thinking the same thing. He/she takes too long to say what could be said in 2-3 sentences. Just like "you know who".......

Bill P.     September 16
And people here think Brien Jackson is hard to read. Anyone else try and follow along with "More Fun" below? Impossible to read and follow. Terrible grammar and writing.

More Fun     September 16
Easy targets.

1. NFL Thursday night games. "They are bad", "the quality of play is slip shod". Did anyone watch yesterday? Terrible games all over the place. Most games were bad. The problem with Thursday's? ONLY one game....so the awfulness of yesterday is trumped by a couple of good games. And lots of Sunday's have bad games. "One is the loneliest number".

2. Flacco HATE from 1680 miles away. Sloppy, defensive game in Denver. Flacco plays against a top defense and gets stymied most of the game.....but with the last possession he bears down, converts two Fourth Downs and puts them ahead....and loses because of Referee malpractice.....and Twitter explodes w/ "he should have played at that level all game". As JJ said, each game is it's own. Flacco was in plenty of shootouts....and had the defense give up the late TD with zero time on the clock. He is a good clutch QB. Is he the greatest ever? Nope....but he plays well in clutch parts of the game....which is why the Ravens trusted him.

3. Not saying the games are fixed, but they have to "coach out" refs sense of "fairness". A team goes up by 2 TD's and gets the ball back.....you can almost predict an offensive HOLDING call is up coming. The flags ruin the pace of the game. Most of the time, the refs seem to make calls that makes the games CLOSER.

4. All pre-season predictions are out the window. Brees, Ben OUT.....Old guys get hurt.



5 TRY to watch MNF tonight like one of the teams is YOUR team.....you will see lots of warts. Do this for a few weeks on ANY game that you are tuned into....it might get you some perspective. Like JJ said, I was watching Brady futz around throughout the 1st half against the DOLPHINS yesterday. I taped the Ravens...and watched the Pats/Dolphins on my Sunday ticket. I had a bet on it. It was nerve wracking as I thought it would be 31-0 in the first quarter. IT was 13-0 halfway into the 3rd quarter. Are the Boston radio stations "blowing up" today? Might be, football fans are the most delusional of all sports fans.



6. My brother talked to some MIDDIES that came to the game yesterday. The free tickets came from those that couldn't be sold. "it is an illusion"

Neutral Observer     September 16
What's the difference between applauding Tiger's injuries (which several people here have done) and applauding a correct injury prediction? Nothing to me.

HERMAN     September 16
@David

Last year's RPO was run from multiple fronts and formations with a variety of options depending on D response. Lamar's runs yesterday were pre-planned runs predicated on collapsing the end with the fake and running wide. They were not improvised. There wasn't one occasion where Lamar wasn't going to pull the ball out and take it around end himself. They were singularly designed Lamar around end plays. As opposed to last year's RPO where as the play developed Lamar took the optimal option. We gashed opponents with that offense. I don't understand why it wouldn't work again, the movement, the reconfiguration of tight ends and receivers moving behind QB.

I fully realize that all of Lamar's designed runs worked, and worked to perfection. But at crunch time with 4 minutes left you need more in the bag than QB left end.

If we miss the throw to "Hollywood" they get a clean clock and plenty of time. The way the D looked I sure didn't want any more chances for their O to go downfield.

The point I was making was, at crunch time, I'd like to see them run last year's RPO with all the movement and confusion for the D, where we were averaging over 7 yards a rush with any of 3 options for the QB to go with the ball.

I loved the end run, he is faster than anyone on the field. But if that's all you got they'll start staying home on end and force you to throw. I want to make them have to think about more options than just that one.

Another guy     September 16
Really, we are applauding injury predictions now? Sheesh

sideline observer     September 16
@JJ Good luck with that one! Couch potato experts know all, just ask them! That guy was open, this play would have worked, what was that guy looking at, I could see it from my lazy boy!

Ditto with all the coach lecturing. All it takes is one knucklehead out of 53 to mess up something simple. Think about that. Given that the worst player on a roster is among the best in the world at what they do, the coach experts still think the coach can make them all listen each and every play every week. The flip side is, how about being impressed that 99.9% of the time, they actually are able to get these disparate egos all moving in the same direction.

Instead we get “I get my U12 travel kids to listen or they won’t play, why can’t they??” the stupidity is mind boggling.


Ravens Fan     September 16
Drew called that one about Ben R. being out for the season yesterday on Twitter. You hate to see it!!! (Or not.)

TJ     September 16
I like Drew's term for Sunday's game. "Gut check".

That's kind of what it was. We weren't great on either side of the ball (two TDs is hardly great) but when we needed to make a play on offense and defense, we did it.

I think we know this Sunday will be a challenge. But as long as we split the next two and we're 3-1 after Cleveland, that's fine.

JJ     September 16
I thought the Ravens played well. The offense changes from week to week. As Hot Rod Piper once said. "Just when they think they have the answers, I change the questions". Lamar, no runs last week, some runs this week. And lets be real honest. It really doesn't matter if the Edge Setter sets the edge, Lamar is so fast he outruns the edge. There really has been no one like him. Angles? He outruns them. Freaky fast. They can say anything about speed....but he looks to be the fastest guy in the NFL....with all of equipment on. And his mentality about how/where he runs is also vastly different from last year. He has learned some lessons in that front as well. He missed Andrews for a long gainer yesterday....and I saw Brady miss a wide open guy in the end zone TWICE in the same series. All of them do. The essence of EACH game is NOT what you see in the highlight film. We watch every snap of OUR game with great intensity, but NEVER in any other game. A missed throw by Brees is not TORN apart like the local guy.



People talk about MORONIC things like "High School/10 year old travel teams wouldn't make that mistake". Of course, that is crazy. The pressure is intense. The game is fast. And the other side is out there. Lots is going on.....and yet Harry Highschool can sit at home guzzling down beer...and state "I can't believe that fill in the blank Ravens player wasn't able to knock that ball down". EASY....as you are running at 20 MPH...the other guys is running 21 MPH...and a ball is traveling at 50 MPH and you have to run fast, be near the guy[who is pushing at you], track the ball and make a play....all the while with a stadium of 70k screaming their lungs out....and you have an assignment in whatever defense has been called. . Add that in the other 50 plays you have made have been perfect....but "How could he not see that ball?" People are goofy.

Does anyone ask why they 12 man problems? Was some one injured? Or was some Raven coach out of touch? Or was Judon[who was seen screaming at coaches] just doing his thing? Might be one of those "I knew it all along" when Judon gets in hot water. Really good player...but he went to Grand Valley State for a reason...there are no secrets in todays game. Even "Peanut" had a ride at Arizona[I think] until he had some problems and ended up at Portland State.



Each game takes on it's own personality. This is the lesson we should know. In the NFL to try and FIT what went on this week to next week is why people LOSE at football betting when the choice is really a 50/50 deal. The Chiefs game will be different...and the Ravens speed will give ANY team in the league a problem.

Delray Rick     September 16
Over 70,000 at the game !!!

Tom J     September 16
We also need to “fix” learning to line up correctly on offense and learn how to count to 11 on defensive. That’s inexcusable. Also, I know this is asking a lot being our coach has always been “clock management” challenged but if you chose to go for 4th and 2 at the goal line and you see the clock saying 3,2,1.....you may want to make the T sign with your hands to let the ref know and don’t lose 5 yards which then forces you to take the FG.

JohnInEssex     September 16
MAN - was already bummed out about Eddie Money passing, and now reading the news about Ric Ocasek on DMD. Played all kinds of Eddie Money on the jukebox last week, now gonna do a Cars tribute this week.

Weird how you can make a bond with musical artists without ever really meeting them in person. Did have a brief conversation with EM back in 2016 following his concert in OCMD. REALLY nice and humble guy.

David Rosenfeld     September 16
Herman,

I would disagree with you, because Lamar Jackson is part of the Ravens' "standard run game."

On the first drive of the game, the Ravens lined up in a "pistol" with Ingram 2 yards behind Jackson, and Ricard to Jackson's right. Only 2 receivers, both to the strong side. This is obviously going to be a run. The ball's snapped, Jackson puts the ball in Ingram's belly, he takes it out, Ricard's out there, and the Cardinals are screwed. 19 yards. Would you rather Lamar have handed the ball off for six yards, or have him go 19 and get out of bounds without getting hit?

He was credited with 16 rushing attempts yesterday. Probably eight of them were called. The Ravens still had more than 100 yards in the standard run game.

Brian M.     September 16
Hey Drew,

You went 3-2 with your picks this week.

Made up some ground from last week.


Ron Mexico     September 16
Ric Ocasek also gave every man hope they could marry a supermodel.

mike from catonsville     September 16
Exciting weekend for women's golf with the Solheim Cup on the line. Weather saturday was horribe but they slogged on. Yesterday couldn't have been more exciting as a putt to win missed for USA and a putt for the Cup went in for Eurpoe. It was exciting to watch. Both teams were gracious and showed class in winning and defeat.



@DF, we're getting old pal, the Pro Bowl game is in Orlando. You and I can remember those days the millenials can not. Heck it was the only reason the players went to the game.



Looks like more than a few "knee knockers" returned yesterday. Awesome, please keep it up Ravens you have a chance to reenvigorate the city.

unitastoberry     September 16
Losing Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith loomed large yesterday. The secondary minus Humphrey was bad. The offense came out strong then Lamar lost his accuracy until the 4th quarter. The 12 men on the field and clock management is on Harbaugh. Sit up straight in your chair coach! If they play like this next week its loss number 1. The Stillers back up didnt look bad. It's September football they all count but you dont want to peak until December-January.


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September 17
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#1849



around the nfl, week #2


Best win -- Detroit's 13-10 home victory over the Chargers. One week after gagging away an 18-point 4th quarter lead and tying the Cardinals in the season opener, the Lions responded with some Magic and a nice win over a (You Might Think) pretty good Chargers team. It's hard to say if this one tells us more about the Lions or Chargers, but it was a nice win nonetheless. Honorable mention -- The Seahawks. Anytime a west coast team comes east and wins, it's worth mentioning. It doesn't look like Pittsburgh's going to be any good in 2019, but Seattle's win at Heinz Field could show us that the Seahawks are a Dangerous Type of team.

Worst loss -- It was never really Touch and Go at the Meadowlands. The Bills were up early, 14-0, and cruised in from there to beat the Giants 28-14. Losing at home to the Bills will almost always get you a "Worst Loss" award. One quick note about that one. The loss drops Eli Manning's career record as a starter to 116-116. Two Super Bowl wins, but only .500 in his regular season career. Honorable mention -- Tennessee losing at home (called that one here on Sunday at #DMD) to Indy isn't a "horrible" loss, but when Jacoby Brissett beats you in your own stadium, it's pretty close to horrible. Hence, it gets an Honorable Mention here. Are the Titans any good? Or not? We're All Mixed Up on that one. Probably not.

Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49'ers are off to a terrific start with road wins in Tampa Bay and Cincinnati to start the season.

Most impressive in defeat -- You'd have to say the Arizona Cardinals get this "honor" for hanging with the Ravens for 60 minutes. A loss is a loss, of course, but losing by six points in Baltimore means Kliff Kingsbury won't have to Shake It Up in Arizona this week. Honorable mention -- Visiting Minnesota fell behind Green Bay 21-0 right away, then hung in there and not only made a game of it, but could have won outright if that Misfit Kid Kirk Cousins wouldn't have ruined a second half Drive with a terrible end zone interception. The Vikings can run the ball as well as anyone in the NFC. If Cousins doesn't sabotage them, Minnesota could be decent this season.

Best team performance -- Look, the Bengals are terrible. But San Francisco going in to Cincinnati and clobbering the Bengals 41-17 was particularly impressive when you remember the 49'ers went from Tampa Bay last week straight to southern Ohio to prepare for their game in Cincinnati. Two weeks away from home is tough. The players and coaches will have to say "Hello, Again" to their families this week. Honorable mention -- The Rams got some help from the Drew Brees injury and the referees (again), but their defense is as hot as My Best Friend's Girl and their 27-9 win over the Saints could be a deciding factor in home field come January.

Team on the hottest seat in week 3: Denver. They brought Joe Flacco to town to win games, not to go Up and Down and finish 6-10. And 6-10 is where they're headed if they don't go to Green Bay next Sunday and post an upset victory. Honorable mention -- Pittsburgh was on the same hot seat on Sunday and lost to Seattle, but they played the second half without Ben Roethlisberger, so they have a bit of an excuse there. If they have to go to San Francisco and face the 2-0 49'ers with Mason Rudolph at QB, it could leave Mike Tomlin saying "Gimme Some Slack" at the post-game presser. Wouldn't that be just terrible?

Best Game of Week 3 -- It's Baltimore at Kansas City. No doubt. This is still the only away stadium Lamar Jackson has lost in, which makes me want to yell "Let's Go" as loud as I can in anticipation of what could be an instant classic in K.C. next Sunday. Honorable mention -- If you want to know whether or not Baker Mayfield and the Browns are legit, you'll find out next Sunday night when they host the Rams. That one should be verryyy interesting. If Baker Mayfield can pilot the Browns to a win in that one, I can hear Odell Beckham screaming "Let The Good Times Roll!" into the TV cameras after the game.

Five best teams through week #2:

1. New England Patriots (Last week: #1)

2. Los Angeles Rams (#2)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (#3)

4. Baltimore Ravens (#4)

5. Green Bay Packers (unranked)

Notes and Comments: I told you the Steelers were going to stink. And boy do they. They might be better than the Bengals, but only by the length of a football. Won't it be great to watch 'dem Stillers go 4-12? It could just be that they played the Bucs and Bengals, or it might be the Jimmy G. influence, but the 49er's are starting to look like they know what they're doing. NFC sleeper team, perhaps? I didn't see the game, but based on the stats, it doesn't look like Patrick Mahomes misses Tyreek Hill all that much. I wasn't sure the Chiefs would be as good as they were a year ago without Kareem Hunt in the fold, but they're not missing a beat. Let's see how things go against the Ravens this Sunday. I know everyone will shake their head in agreement on this...but the refs in the NFL pretty much stink every week. The early whistle that robbed the Saints of a touchdown in L.A. on Sunday was just awful. And the pass interference reversal in Pittsburgh? Terrible. But the cake-topper was that horrendous "roughing the passer" call in Denver on the final series of regulation that cost the Broncos a win over the Bears. The league is really looking borderline corrupt with this officiating garbage. Fox Sports has done great work with their golf coverage since taking over the U.S. Open five years ago. But their football coverage isn't very good. Maybe it's just the fact that the Ravens-Cardinals got their "C+ crew" or something, but Sunday's telecast was pretty lousy.

My RideMyCause banner ad

"the team stinks...trade me please"


I can't imagine for one minute that Roger Goodell and his group of minions up in New York don't secretly crave and love all of this high-level NFL drama that we've seen over the last month or so.

It's better than movies.

Unfortunately, it also goes against the grain of what we all consider "real sports" to be about, right?

A player wore a $2 million watch last night in the Monday Night Game.

Jalen Ramsey is the latest NFL player to ask for a trade after things didn't go his way.

Not during warm-ups.

Not during pre-game stretching.

He wore it when the game was played.

A watch. Worth $2 million.

I know what you're thinking. How on earth can a watch cost $2 million? Right...I get it. But nonetheless, Odell Beckham Jr., a football player (supposedly) was wearing a watch last night during the game in New Jersey.

That wasn't the most laughable NFL moment on Monday, though.

Jalen Ramsey gets this week's award.

One day after Ramsey got into a "discussion" with his coach during the Jaguars' 13-12 loss at Houston, the occasionally-pretty-good-but-definitely-overrated cornerback asked to be traded.

Ramsey apparently didn't like being talked down to by Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone, so he wants out. Yep. Just like that. In what is becoming a growing trend -- started, no doubt, by Antonio Brown -- these players will only put up with so much losing before they decide to pack it in. Minkah Fitzpatrick of the Dolphins saw the writing on the wall after the 59-10 defeat to the Ravens on opening day and spent much of last week begging for a trade.

In Fitzpatrick's case, he at least has a semi-plausible reason for his demand. The Dolphins waited until two weeks before the season started to dismantle their team. That wasn't fair to anyone associated with the team, including the fans.

But Ramsey and the Jags were all set for a bounce-back year right up until Nick Foles got hurt in the first quarter of the season opener. Once he went out, their hopes were gone. And Ramsey couldn't handle an in-game "clash" with his coach, apparently. So now, he wants out, too.

Not that any teams care what I offer them, but here it is anyway: Stay away from these guys who give no consideration at all to the rest of the team. They're just check collectors. Nothing more.

The Raiders bent over backwards so much for Brown that the team chiropractor had to hire a full-time assistant to pick up extra hours. And then, a week before the season started, Brown contrived a plan to work his way out of Oakland and sign with the Patriots. Brown -- as yesterday's new story in Sports Illustrated showed in high definition -- is a first class nut job. I'm not sure Fitzpatrick or Ramsey are quite that goofy, but they certainly are selfish.

The league is really starting to lose its marbles. The rules, the referees, the arrests, the PED suspensions, the drama, the jewelry, the post-game wardrobes...it really is nothing short of a magical mystery tour.

The only thing we know is that the Patriots are winning the Super Bowl again.

Everything else is up in the air.

And even the Patriots winning again is part of the league's lunacy. Can't someone else win once in a while? Or are they just that much better than everyone else in the league?

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#dmd comments


John Pusateri     September 18
Baseball should be complete by 8/31. Do we really need 160 games to decide who's the best? Is it a sports season or war? Sports seasons overlaps should be banned at the professional and recreational/club levels. [off soapbox]



Like us drafting wide receivers or 2nd round picks, the Steelers haven't been able to draft 2ndary players with the exception of Polamalu. And usually, their weak secondaries are hidden behind a ferocious front-7 and blitzing schemes that used to give the QBs no time. However, with the retirement of some of their stud LBs and the injury to Shazier, the Steeler front-7 ain't what it used to be. Point being that they have plenty of holes to plug up besides QB, including their 2ndary.

CJ     September 18
The main point of the Steeler trade to me is that they seem to be going no where. QB hurt, the locker room appears to be messy and the coach is taking heaps of criticisms....and for once the critics might be right. Tomlin is a winner, but clearly not a X and O savant. When your strength is being a good "keeping the team together" coach and the team looks tattered and frayed, it could be a time for a change.

The Steeler brass knows a thing or two. Maybe they don't think they are doomed this year. But to trade away a pick that could be really high? That is what the Jets and Dolphins do.

Herman's point is valid. But a top 5-10 pick is usually pretty slam dunk...for the guy being good. GREAT is what you want. Not sure if this guy is going to be a super star. And his rookie contract is closer to the end than a college player.

But the Steelers reaching? Good for the Ravens for the long and short term.

O's game last night was fun to attend. They aren't very good, but they play hard. Not smart all the time, but hard. Clearly the Jays have some players...but they stink.

HERMAN     September 18
I don't understand the criticism of the Squealers trade. Draft choices aren't guarantees. Especially with some of these head case high draft divas. How many first round draft busts have we had? So for a future number one pick they got a proven long-term quality NFL star guaranteed. And only lost 18 games on him. This is a 100,000 dollar Mercedes coming off two year lease with low miles for 50 grand. You've got a proven winner for a future risk.

Now a Jags player wants out. Tails are starting to wag the dog. The NFL better get a grip on the discontent. Fans are already a bit turned off, the last thing a fan scraping up two grand for his NFL ticket fix needs is some Diva making a few million a year and wearing a watch worth more than the fans 401K griping about his employment. I fully realize the "career" of the player is roughly 6 years, and they need to maximize those years, but it's bad optics to the fans who face high prices and pay the freight.

Chris in Bel Air     September 17
I actually would prefer Ben was healthy and able to play all year. The games mean more when the Ravens play them and when the Steelers are at full squad and the Ravens are victorious, it just feels even better.

HERMAN     September 17
I think this will be it for our nemesis "Big Ben", being out for a year at his age may just be forced retirement.

Now if age would just catch up to Darth Vader up there in NE we might stand a chance to get to the big dance.

Pittsburgh already looked like a train wreck waiting to happen, let's hope losing the starting QB is the wheels going off the rails.

Chris in Bel Air     September 17
It certainly seems like the NFL games are becoming harder to watch. Between the penalties (called and not called), lengthy replays, endless TV timeouts and players ensuring they are the center of attention, it is becoming quite the circus. I know being at the Ravens game on Sunday, I felt like there were a couple timeouts that seemed to go on forever. Even the players seemed to be looking around at times like, are we doing this? What's going on? I see in the box score that last night's game featured 21 penalties. That is some real entertainment. I'm curious if an NFL game would look dramatically different if we went back and watched a few regular season games (start to finish) from 10 years ago? How different would the games be from 20 years ago? 30 years? Like many who comment here, I've been watching games for a long time. Some aspects of watching from home are much better - HD TVs and some really cool camera angles. The stadiums also try to make it a whole experience - not just the game. But when you combine the other parts that detract, it seems like it's trending in the wrong direction.

Delray Rick     September 17
UnitasBerry....That's right, the SPORTS are a changing to personalities, "look at me and keep the camera on my watch, clothes, hair,special shoes, outlandish everything". DAMN, I hope JACKSON doesn't start acting that way. He has the players, fans, and media on his side. How bout after the game when he was driving from the stadium some fans shouted out to him and he stoped and signed autographs. The PAPERS down here say he never in trouble and kept a low profile. Can you believe 30 teams overlooked him. ALSO good oldFLACCO sitting on the bench away from everybody. Not JACKSON who talks to his players and working out plays.

HERMAN     September 17
There are times you make money through absolutely no effort on your own part. The NFL is about to be the beneficiary of this in a big way. Streaming services need content, and content that guarantees subscribers is gold. So looming large in the near future are potential contracts with Amazon, or Netflix, or Hulu; the traditional networks are going to be blown away by the type of numbers these services are willing to pay to get the NFL. And the NFL is going to get rich beyond imagination. Staggering rich.

Through the 70's and into the 2000's music companies got multiple bites from the same apple as delivery systems changed dramatically. You had to buy Springsteen's "Greetings from Asbury Park" on an 8 track. Then on a cassette, then on a CD, and now through a streaming service. They sold us the same album at least 3 times due to changes in technology, not because they improvised the product itself. They made gobs of money for doing nothing but repackaging to meet delivery changes.

But the NFL should not delude itself that because it's going to cash in big that their product is somehow worth what they get. The argument could be made that the product itself is in dramatic decline. Ref's are awful and impacting the game in a big negative way. Superstars are poisoning the league with diva behavior. Half the teams in the league are positively inept. And many of the games played are just terrible, bad play, bad calls, a Keystone cops mess.

In any normal world a company producing a product in decline would be penalized in the marketplace.

But the NFL is actually going to be rewarded big time for putting out a mediocre product getting worse each year.

Such is the new world we live in that the NFL can produce a bad product and yet reap billions through no fault of their own. They are Howard Stern at the advent of satellite radio.

RJ     September 17
@Geno Where did I "hammer" Drew for his writing skills?? Said his rants play better on air, that's all. Get a grip man, where do these people come from? Sheesh

unitastoberry     September 17
@SteveofPimlico.....Namath never wore the nylons or mink coats in the games lol. Check out Cam Newton at a press conference recently. Most of them where playboys back then too nothing has changed there but now you have the internet to expose people and lawyers who will get you a settlement the size of NYC. A little pro wrestling is ok during the week. But on Sundays you need to buckle your chin strap.

David Rosenfeld     September 17
To your Fox comment...the play-by-play announcer for Sunday's game, Brandon Gaudin, was making his NFL broadcast debut. If you recognized his voice, it was probably because he's the voice of "Madden" for EA Sports.

Steve of Pimlico     September 17
Drew , your complaints about the state of the NFL show that you have joined the "old fart " generation along with me,UNITAS TO BERRY,DELRAY RICK and several others. Younger fans care about drama, fantasy and outlandish personalities.

I remember when Joe Namath and Fran Tarkenton were upstarts that my dad's generation couldn't stand.Change is the one constant.

As Dylan sang many years ago

"So get out of my way if you can't lend a hand,For the times they are a changing

Cash Is King     September 17
@MFC



The parrot strikes again. Blaming AAU for all of sports problems again. Yawn. I guess AAU made Elway tell Irsay that he wouldn’t come to Baltimore to play for that drunk.

CJ     September 17
Before the season I was worried about the Browns but I'm not any more.

They are an 8-8 team at best.

James     September 17
Love those Cars references today. I think I found them all! Best one was comparing the L.A. Rams to My Best Friend's Girl!! Nice work DF!!

Geno     September 17
I love how "RJ" comes to the site and then hammers Drew for his writing skills. Why bother coming to the website if you don't like it?

John L.     September 17
@RJ: How do you know Drew wants to go back on the air? Saying he and 105.7 need to agree on a mutually agreeable time slot makes me think you know something the rest of us don't. Are they in discussions about that?

mike from catonsville     September 17
@Tim D in T, agree 100%. They aren't a Baltimore high school football team, they're an East Coast team. The national schedule is fine. If that's what we want have at it. BUT you get the Jalen Ramsey, Antonio Brown (leaving not the rape allegation) scenairos . I've said many times this just doesn't happen. It starts at a very early age. Ant yes, thank you AAU and club for creating this ebviornment. Fact not fiction.



No one mentioning the real contest last night . Drew Dreschel is the America Ninja Warrior. Fantastic performance beating Daniel Gil in the rope climb for the million dollar prize. Great athletes, great fun and one of the fastest growing sports. Go Ninja!

RJ     September 17
Today's column is a great reminder of how good Drew is.............on the radio! Those meandering thoughts of his don't really translate to the written word very well, but as I read I imagined some of today's content being a classic radio rant back in the day. Too bad he and the FM station can't find a mutually agreeable time slot.

unitastoberry     September 17
Its amazing that the league everyone loves to hate is also the most popular and richest in the USA. One million dollar wrist watches while playing football and people go hungry working 40 hours a week and drug companies charge 13000 dollars a month for cancer pills that your so called insurance company won't pay the whole thing. Yeah I think Goddell earns his 35 million a year lol. How about some bling up your @#$


Tony S     September 17
Nice Ric Ocasek remembrances in today's opening story, Drew!

Tony S     September 17
Nice Ric Ocasek remembrances in today's opening story, Drew!

ed     September 17
love the week 2 analysis ,and the song titles too in them rip ric ocasek who was born in bmore

Brien Jackson     September 16
@RJ



The Ravens could fit Ramsey under the cap for the next 2 years, but then he'd need a big extension and you could probably only afford one of him/Humphrey. On the other hand, Minkah Fitzpatrick comes with 3 cheap years plus his fifth year option, so if the Ravens are interested in him that one is much more doable.

RJ     September 16
Y'all realize there's this thing called a salary cap, right? Unless that's been researched before all these "go get this guy or that guy" proclamations are made

H     September 16
Just read that Jalen Ramsey wants out of Jacksonville. He is worth a 1st and a 2nd. I hope the Ravens look into getting him

Jason M     September 16
U2B correctly forecast, yesterday was a good example of taking what the defense was giving us. DR is also correct about the positive feeling at the stadium. As I remarked to the guys around me, as a 20 plus year season ticket holder, I've never seen an offense this efficient, at least not wearing Purple. Too soon, but like DF, I feel like we passed our first gut check moment and we bent for sure, but we were in control throughout and the Cardinals were chasing.

M.M.     September 16
"More Fun" should do "More studying on how to write."

Tim D in Timonium     September 16
There was at least one on ESPN, right? Kudos to St. Frances, MFC, they did exactly what so many people were moaning and complaining they should do - play a national schedule.



Now the only MD high schools playing a sport at that level will be in lacrosse, and maybe a few in soccer.


Some guy     September 16
One big difference is More Fun is just a guy commenting, he is not pretending to be a real writer.

Oh no, @MFC is not gonna watch any more MD football games unless they pick up the pace! That is hilarious. I hear some St Frances games will be televised, they play real fast lol

Steve of Pimlico     September 16
2 weeks into the NFL season and Brees, Big Ben,Foles,Darnold and Luck all gone. The product on the field is suffering.How long can Lamar stay upright?

mike from catonsville     September 16
No one even mentioning the Terp fiasco on Saturday.

Not only did they lose a "winnable" game it took 3:46 to play. I'm not sure how many games I will watch if it takes that long again.

M.M.     September 16
@Bill, I was thinking the same thing. He/she takes too long to say what could be said in 2-3 sentences. Just like "you know who".......

Bill P.     September 16
And people here think Brien Jackson is hard to read. Anyone else try and follow along with "More Fun" below? Impossible to read and follow. Terrible grammar and writing.

More Fun     September 16
Easy targets.

1. NFL Thursday night games. "They are bad", "the quality of play is slip shod". Did anyone watch yesterday? Terrible games all over the place. Most games were bad. The problem with Thursday's? ONLY one game....so the awfulness of yesterday is trumped by a couple of good games. And lots of Sunday's have bad games. "One is the loneliest number".

2. Flacco HATE from 1680 miles away. Sloppy, defensive game in Denver. Flacco plays against a top defense and gets stymied most of the game.....but with the last possession he bears down, converts two Fourth Downs and puts them ahead....and loses because of Referee malpractice.....and Twitter explodes w/ "he should have played at that level all game". As JJ said, each game is it's own. Flacco was in plenty of shootouts....and had the defense give up the late TD with zero time on the clock. He is a good clutch QB. Is he the greatest ever? Nope....but he plays well in clutch parts of the game....which is why the Ravens trusted him.

3. Not saying the games are fixed, but they have to "coach out" refs sense of "fairness". A team goes up by 2 TD's and gets the ball back.....you can almost predict an offensive HOLDING call is up coming. The flags ruin the pace of the game. Most of the time, the refs seem to make calls that makes the games CLOSER.

4. All pre-season predictions are out the window. Brees, Ben OUT.....Old guys get hurt.



5 TRY to watch MNF tonight like one of the teams is YOUR team.....you will see lots of warts. Do this for a few weeks on ANY game that you are tuned into....it might get you some perspective. Like JJ said, I was watching Brady futz around throughout the 1st half against the DOLPHINS yesterday. I taped the Ravens...and watched the Pats/Dolphins on my Sunday ticket. I had a bet on it. It was nerve wracking as I thought it would be 31-0 in the first quarter. IT was 13-0 halfway into the 3rd quarter. Are the Boston radio stations "blowing up" today? Might be, football fans are the most delusional of all sports fans.



6. My brother talked to some MIDDIES that came to the game yesterday. The free tickets came from those that couldn't be sold. "it is an illusion"

Neutral Observer     September 16
What's the difference between applauding Tiger's injuries (which several people here have done) and applauding a correct injury prediction? Nothing to me.

HERMAN     September 16
@David

Last year's RPO was run from multiple fronts and formations with a variety of options depending on D response. Lamar's runs yesterday were pre-planned runs predicated on collapsing the end with the fake and running wide. They were not improvised. There wasn't one occasion where Lamar wasn't going to pull the ball out and take it around end himself. They were singularly designed Lamar around end plays. As opposed to last year's RPO where as the play developed Lamar took the optimal option. We gashed opponents with that offense. I don't understand why it wouldn't work again, the movement, the reconfiguration of tight ends and receivers moving behind QB.

I fully realize that all of Lamar's designed runs worked, and worked to perfection. But at crunch time with 4 minutes left you need more in the bag than QB left end.

If we miss the throw to "Hollywood" they get a clean clock and plenty of time. The way the D looked I sure didn't want any more chances for their O to go downfield.

The point I was making was, at crunch time, I'd like to see them run last year's RPO with all the movement and confusion for the D, where we were averaging over 7 yards a rush with any of 3 options for the QB to go with the ball.

I loved the end run, he is faster than anyone on the field. But if that's all you got they'll start staying home on end and force you to throw. I want to make them have to think about more options than just that one.

Another guy     September 16
Really, we are applauding injury predictions now? Sheesh

sideline observer     September 16
@JJ Good luck with that one! Couch potato experts know all, just ask them! That guy was open, this play would have worked, what was that guy looking at, I could see it from my lazy boy!

Ditto with all the coach lecturing. All it takes is one knucklehead out of 53 to mess up something simple. Think about that. Given that the worst player on a roster is among the best in the world at what they do, the coach experts still think the coach can make them all listen each and every play every week. The flip side is, how about being impressed that 99.9% of the time, they actually are able to get these disparate egos all moving in the same direction.

Instead we get “I get my U12 travel kids to listen or they won’t play, why can’t they??” the stupidity is mind boggling.


Ravens Fan     September 16
Drew called that one about Ben R. being out for the season yesterday on Twitter. You hate to see it!!! (Or not.)

TJ     September 16
I like Drew's term for Sunday's game. "Gut check".

That's kind of what it was. We weren't great on either side of the ball (two TDs is hardly great) but when we needed to make a play on offense and defense, we did it.

I think we know this Sunday will be a challenge. But as long as we split the next two and we're 3-1 after Cleveland, that's fine.

JJ     September 16
I thought the Ravens played well. The offense changes from week to week. As Hot Rod Piper once said. "Just when they think they have the answers, I change the questions". Lamar, no runs last week, some runs this week. And lets be real honest. It really doesn't matter if the Edge Setter sets the edge, Lamar is so fast he outruns the edge. There really has been no one like him. Angles? He outruns them. Freaky fast. They can say anything about speed....but he looks to be the fastest guy in the NFL....with all of equipment on. And his mentality about how/where he runs is also vastly different from last year. He has learned some lessons in that front as well. He missed Andrews for a long gainer yesterday....and I saw Brady miss a wide open guy in the end zone TWICE in the same series. All of them do. The essence of EACH game is NOT what you see in the highlight film. We watch every snap of OUR game with great intensity, but NEVER in any other game. A missed throw by Brees is not TORN apart like the local guy.



People talk about MORONIC things like "High School/10 year old travel teams wouldn't make that mistake". Of course, that is crazy. The pressure is intense. The game is fast. And the other side is out there. Lots is going on.....and yet Harry Highschool can sit at home guzzling down beer...and state "I can't believe that fill in the blank Ravens player wasn't able to knock that ball down". EASY....as you are running at 20 MPH...the other guys is running 21 MPH...and a ball is traveling at 50 MPH and you have to run fast, be near the guy[who is pushing at you], track the ball and make a play....all the while with a stadium of 70k screaming their lungs out....and you have an assignment in whatever defense has been called. . Add that in the other 50 plays you have made have been perfect....but "How could he not see that ball?" People are goofy.

Does anyone ask why they 12 man problems? Was some one injured? Or was some Raven coach out of touch? Or was Judon[who was seen screaming at coaches] just doing his thing? Might be one of those "I knew it all along" when Judon gets in hot water. Really good player...but he went to Grand Valley State for a reason...there are no secrets in todays game. Even "Peanut" had a ride at Arizona[I think] until he had some problems and ended up at Portland State.



Each game takes on it's own personality. This is the lesson we should know. In the NFL to try and FIT what went on this week to next week is why people LOSE at football betting when the choice is really a 50/50 deal. The Chiefs game will be different...and the Ravens speed will give ANY team in the league a problem.

Delray Rick     September 16
Over 70,000 at the game !!!

Tom J     September 16
We also need to “fix” learning to line up correctly on offense and learn how to count to 11 on defensive. That’s inexcusable. Also, I know this is asking a lot being our coach has always been “clock management” challenged but if you chose to go for 4th and 2 at the goal line and you see the clock saying 3,2,1.....you may want to make the T sign with your hands to let the ref know and don’t lose 5 yards which then forces you to take the FG.

JohnInEssex     September 16
MAN - was already bummed out about Eddie Money passing, and now reading the news about Ric Ocasek on DMD. Played all kinds of Eddie Money on the jukebox last week, now gonna do a Cars tribute this week.

Weird how you can make a bond with musical artists without ever really meeting them in person. Did have a brief conversation with EM back in 2016 following his concert in OCMD. REALLY nice and humble guy.

David Rosenfeld     September 16
Herman,

I would disagree with you, because Lamar Jackson is part of the Ravens' "standard run game."

On the first drive of the game, the Ravens lined up in a "pistol" with Ingram 2 yards behind Jackson, and Ricard to Jackson's right. Only 2 receivers, both to the strong side. This is obviously going to be a run. The ball's snapped, Jackson puts the ball in Ingram's belly, he takes it out, Ricard's out there, and the Cardinals are screwed. 19 yards. Would you rather Lamar have handed the ball off for six yards, or have him go 19 and get out of bounds without getting hit?

He was credited with 16 rushing attempts yesterday. Probably eight of them were called. The Ravens still had more than 100 yards in the standard run game.

Brian M.     September 16
Hey Drew,

You went 3-2 with your picks this week.

Made up some ground from last week.


Ron Mexico     September 16
Ric Ocasek also gave every man hope they could marry a supermodel.

mike from catonsville     September 16
Exciting weekend for women's golf with the Solheim Cup on the line. Weather saturday was horribe but they slogged on. Yesterday couldn't have been more exciting as a putt to win missed for USA and a putt for the Cup went in for Eurpoe. It was exciting to watch. Both teams were gracious and showed class in winning and defeat.



@DF, we're getting old pal, the Pro Bowl game is in Orlando. You and I can remember those days the millenials can not. Heck it was the only reason the players went to the game.



Looks like more than a few "knee knockers" returned yesterday. Awesome, please keep it up Ravens you have a chance to reenvigorate the city.

unitastoberry     September 16
Losing Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith loomed large yesterday. The secondary minus Humphrey was bad. The offense came out strong then Lamar lost his accuracy until the 4th quarter. The 12 men on the field and clock management is on Harbaugh. Sit up straight in your chair coach! If they play like this next week its loss number 1. The Stillers back up didnt look bad. It's September football they all count but you dont want to peak until December-January.


Monday
September 16
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#1848



first "gut check" is in the books


OK, so that was a test for the Ravens on Sunday.

And they passed.

It wasn't pretty at times. The secondary was particularly average. There were a handful of shocking coaching mistakes. And even the quarterback, despite an overall good day, had several poor throws and misreads throughout the afternoon.

But it was also far more representative of "real football" than was last week's 59-10 laugher against the Dolphins' JV team down in Miami.

When the chips were down on Sunday against the Cardinals, the Ravens came through with flying colors.

Twice in the fourth quarter, the Baltimore defense produced a key stop that gave Lamar Jackson and the offense the ball. After the second of those stops, Jackson threw a beautiful 3rd down ball to Hollywood Brown for a long gain that sealed the victory.

The only blemish on their record together was a loss at K.C. last December. They'll get another crack at the Chiefs in K.C. next Sunday.

Jackson did more damage with his feet than with his throwing arm on Sunday, but that's OK. There will be games, as I noted in yesterday's "Keys To The Game", where Greg Roman is going to have to unleash Jackson on the ground, and Sunday's encounter with Arizona was the perfect time for that.

The Ravens' secondary -- specifically anyone not named Marlon Humphrey -- had a rough go of it, as Kyler Murray, Larry Fitzgerald and a bunch of guys you've never heard of kept Arizona in the game all afternoon. Murray wasn't great early on, but once he got his sea legs under him, the #1 pick from last April's draft looked decent enough. A few completed passes were jump-ball-types that were won by Arizona, but if you were handing out pass/fail grades to the Cardinals' QB on Sunday, he most certainly passed the Baltimore test.

The score might have been different had John Harbaugh's defense not been called for having 12 men on the field twice in the 3rd quarter. Make that twice on the same series in the 4th quarter. How that happens is anyone's guess, but it did, in fact occur. Those are high school mistakes there, friends. You can't make those in the NFL on a regular basis. Hopefully we've seen the last of them in Baltimore this season.

The result might have been different if not for a fortunate bounce of the ball, too. With the Ravens ahead 23-17 in the fourth quarter, Lamar Jackson threw a ball from deep in his territory that bounced off the body of an Arizona defensive back and went high in the air. If a Cardinals player would have pounced on it before it touched the ground, Arizona would have had great field position and a chance to take the lead. Alas, the defender closest to the ball couldn't haul it in before it hit terra firma and the Ravens marched on.

It was good to see the Ravens get tested and pass the exam. Sure, it was the Cardinals. 23-17 might have been too close for comfort for some folks. But you learn more about your team from 6-point games than you do 49-point games.

All we learned last week in Miami (and saw again yesterday) is that the Dolphins might not win 2 games all season. We learned yesterday that the Ravens can man-up defensively when they need to and put a game away.

We also learned Mark Andrews is already a Top 5 tight end in the NFL and could very well be Top 3 by season's end. I hope he likes Hawaii, because he'll be making annual trips there throughout his career as part of the Pro Bowl roster.

We learned the Ravens' pass rush still needs to improve. Early on they pressured Murray and made him uncomfortable, but as the game wore on, the pass rush weakened considerably.

We learned Minkah Fitzpatrick might be worth pursuing, particularly if Jimmy Smith's injury is going to keep him out for at least four more weeks. With the Chiefs and Browns coming up in the next two weeks, defending the pass is going to be critically important.

And we learned that the Ravens' offense is much, much better and more diverse than it was a year ago. Mark Ingram is a plus. Hollywood Brown is a plus. And Lamar Jackson is light years better right now than he was in November when he assumed the starting job after Joe Flacco's injury.

A 2-0 start is the best you can do when you've only played twice. Any win in the NFL is important, particularly when you're trying to win your division and secure a home playoff game. Winning the North shouldn't be hard for the Ravens. The Bengals and Steelers are both working on 5 or 6 win seasons, max, and the Browns are still the Browns until they prove they're no longer the Browns.

The Ravens -- you heard it here first -- have a real shot at being the #2 seed in the AFC. Their schedule includes wins over Buffalo, NY Jets, Cincinnati (2), Pittsburgh (2) and Cleveland (at least one). That's 9 wins right there if you add on the two they already have. Win a few more along the way (Cleveland away, Houston at home, San Fran at home) and suddenly you're a 12-4 team and you get an extra week off in January to prepare for the post-season.

And as we saw yesterday with the injuries to Hall of Fame QB's in New Orleans and Pittsburgh...all it takes is one mid-season thumb injury to Tom Brady and the Ravens could be on the fast track to hosting the AFC title game for the first time ever.

There's a long way to go, yes, but the friendly schedule maker and a rising star at quarterback have created a lot of September promise for John Harbaugh's team.

They just need to keep getting better.

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yesterday, today and tomorrow


This Week’s Subject: The Running Game

Yesterday…

From the everyday folks here in Charm City to the color commentators scattered around the country each week to the NFL Network analysts out in Los Angeles, everyone wants to talk about Lamar Jackson’s improvement as a thrower. And why not? Heck…he just cemented a game late in the fourth quarter with a perfect long ball to Marquise Brown in a situation that didn’t call for that kind of low-percentage play. That was awesome.

Let’s not forget, however, what Jackson has done for the Ravens in the nine regular-season games in which he’s started, to the tune of an 8-1 record with the only loss coming in overtime on the road against the best team in the AFC in 2018.

In week one he crushed with the Dolphins with his arm. In week two, he used his feet to help the Ravens get past the Cardinals.

In those nine games, the Ravens have run for 2,054 yards. That’s an average of 228 yards per game. With 395 rushing attempts, it equates to 5.2 yards per carry. It’s simply not surprising when a Ravens’ runner, be it Jackson or someone else, blows open a play for 15 or 20 yards. It’s old news now.

Jackson, as noted still in the single digits in terms of regular-season starts, is still a work in progress. I’m not trying to place him alongside Brady and Brees and Rivers and Ben, and it’s not easy to compare him to those guys anyway in terms of playing style.

What Jackson is doing, however, is leading the best offensive team in the AFC, and maybe in the NFL, because the current Ravens are the best running team in the league in a long time.

Perhaps I shouldn’t say “best” there. It’s still early in the season, and the Ravens haven’t played the league’s “best” yet for sure. The 440 yards the Ravens gained against Arizona is a great number; the 643 yards in Miami is an aberration that’s skewing the stats.

Still…it’s been enough time now. The Ravens are a great running team on RPOs and “veer” looks and short-yardage power situations. Obviously, they’re a great running team because the quarterback is a special talent. There hasn’t been a team quite like the Ravens in the league in a while, at least not in the 21st century anyway.


Today…

Every NFL team signs free agents in the offseason. I assume most do it for “need,” whether that need is to get a certain player at a position that’s questionable or a position that’s in need of a replacement for a guy who left for somewhere else.

That’s what makes the Mark Ingram signing an interesting one for the Ravens. You could argue that the team didn’t “need” a guy like him, not with the quarterback seemingly the main focus of the running game. But you could also argue he’s up there in the best signings of the winter.

The numbers say that Ingram has rushed 27 times for 154 yards, nearly six yards per carry, thanks to breaking off a couple big ones. But it’s more than that. He’s just the right guy, both physically and mentally, to be playing for the Ravens in this offense.

On Sunday, thanks to some designed plays and a few scrambles, Jackson ran for 120 yards on 16 carries. Last week, it was Ingram running for 107 yards on 14 carries. While Ingram’s presence seems to be turning Gus Edwards a bit more part-time, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gus has a similar game soon, whether to the 100-yard mark or not.

The Cardinals, understandably, gave up on the run almost entirely on Sunday. For the game, they were credited with a total of 20 yards on 11 carries. Certainly the Ravens won’t have a running performance like that this season, because there’s little chance they’ll have a game with so few attempts.

Still, do you see the Ravens having a game with 50 or 60 or 80 yards on 25 carries? It’s going to be almost impossible.

As the season continues, defensive coordinators will develop better game plans against Baltimore. Most of those coordinators, I’m sure, have studied that Chargers’ playoff film backwards and forwards. Somebody beat Lamar Jackson and the Ravens when they were looking to run the ball effectively.

With Ingram on board, and Jackson a better player, coordinators are going to have to work extra hard now. It’s not so simple anymore, as the first two games of this season have plainly shown.


Tomorrow…

Anyone ever read The Power of Positive Thinking? It’s a self-help book from the 1950s, written by Norman Vincent Peale. According to the interwebs, the book “describes how to achieve a permanent and optimistic attitude, usually through affirmations and visualizations.”

Not to turn such important life-affirming thoughts into trivial matters like sports, but isn’t that what it feels like when the Ravens’ offense is on the field? If it feels like that to the 70,000 in the stadium and the rest of us watching at home, imagine how it feels to the 53 guys on the active roster.

It would be wrong to say that the Ravens never have a “negative” play, either statistically or emotionally, but it comes close, doesn’t it?

The nature of the running game, which looks more like that of a college team than a professional team, lends itself to that. It’s quick and “downhill” and straight ahead, sometimes even with the quarterback. The “stretch” that was always run so fundamentally by Joe Flacco doesn’t exist, really. All the stretching is coming from Jackson’s ability to get to the outside, or possibly from jet sweeps and end-arounds yet to be seen this season.

To be simple about it, the Ravens are running an offense that’s wanting to possess the ball, but they’re so adept at it that it actually leads to greater chances for longer plays.

And speaking of possessing the ball…Jackson has yet to lose control of it while moving around in the pocket trying to avoid defenders. We’re only two games in, but that’s been a noticeable difference from his starting stint in 2018.

Most of the positive plays, and most of the positive thinking for that matter, comes from the uniqueness of the Ravens’ running game. In addition to his hard work in the offseason, I’m sure that Jackson knows that his passing success has something to do with the run game too.

In the next four weeks, the Ravens play Kansas City, Cleveland and Cincinnati, all teams who they gashed on the ground last season. I’d bet on the offense having plenty of success against those teams again, because the Ravens are simply better at it now than in 2018.

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sad news about ric ocasek


Over the summer while fiddling around on Twitter one day, I participated in a long-thread chat about the most underrated bands of the last 50 years.

My number 1 was The Cars. In case you care, btw, #2 was The Goo Goo Dolls and #3 was The Script.

Ric Ocasek passed away on Sunday at age 75.

I always thought The Cars were extraordinarily underrated. Granted, they eventually made the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, which suggests somewhere along the way they finally were appropriately rated, but if any band ever put out three incredible albums in a row to start their recording career and those albums were better than what The Cars produced, please line up said band for evaluation.

Ric Ocasek, the lead singer and front man of The Cars, passed away yesterday in New York City at age 75.

A small piece of my young adult life also passed away yesterday.

I probably listened to the first two albums (self-titled "The Cars" and "Candy O") more than any two albums in the late 1970's and early 1980's. To say those two albums were the "Soundtrack of my Life" would be completely accurate. And they followed that up with a third release, "Panorama", which was also sensational.

I played a lot of soccer with Let's Go turned up loud on someone's boombox. I drove around Glen Burnie and chased a lot of girls with "Touch and Go" blaring out of the speakers. I didn't catch many of the girls, but the music sure sounded great.

The Cars and Ric Ocasek were magical. No band has ever reproduced that sound. I realize there's no stopping it, but I don't like this "getting old" thing. Too many people you admired along the way wind up leaving us.

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breakfast bytes

Ravens: Andrews (foot) misses practice, listed as Questionable for Sunday's game in Kansas City.

A.L. Wild Card: Extra, Extra!!! Rays beat Dodgers in 11 innings, A's nip Royals in 11 innings, Indians clip Tigers in 10 innings.

Astros' Gerrit Cole becomes 18th pitcher in MLB history to record 300 strikeouts in a season.

WNBA: Mystics' Delle Donne set to receive 2nd career MVP award.


O's SCOREBOARD
Wednesday, September 18
Orioles
10

Blue Jays
11
WP: B. Stewart (4-0)

LP: M. Castro (1-3)

HR: Santander (19), Villar (23), Grichuck (30), Hernandez (23)

RECORD / PLACE: 49-103/ 5th