#DMD GAME DAY
Week 13


Sunday — December 4, 2022
Issue #3023

Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens

1:00 PM EDT

M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore, MD

Spread: Ravens (-9.5)



ravens need a laugher


Let's hope today's version of football isn't anywhere near as disappointing as yesterday's version of "football" turned out to be.

Not that I was surprised at all by the U.S. losing 3-1 to the Netherlands on Saturday morning. As I said here throughout the week, the Dutch were certainly the favorite to come out on top.

But it was the way the U.S. lost that was so unappealing. They squandered a glorious chance in the first two minutes which could have totally changed the tenor of the game. They botched several other reasonable scoring chances over the next 90 minutes. And the Netherlands clinically finished three of their well-put-together opportunities to send the Americans home to prepare for the '26 edition which will be held here in the U.S.

I wasn't surprised by the loss. But I was surprised at the defensive breakdowns that took place.

And that's my "soccer talk" for today. I'll be back here tomorrow with my full post-mortem of the U.S. and their play at the World Cup. Randy Morgan's thorough, extensive review of yesterday's U.S. loss and the rest of the World Cup as he continues to see it appears below.

Now...we get to what us Americans call "football".

As the headline above says, the Ravens need a laugher today.

#DMD sees a big day on the horizon for Ravens tight end Mark Andrews.

After falling to one of the league bottom feeders last week, now is not the time to start building a habit of playing down to the level of their competition. Other ragged teams like the Steelers, Browns and Falcons await. The Ravens -- after last Sunday's loss to the Jaguars -- might need to go 4-0 against those teams (they play Pittsburgh twice) in order to win the division.

Today is the gift horse of all gift horses. Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos.

Cam Cameron and Kyle Boller think Denver's offense is lousy. That's how bad they are.

Denver's defense is quite good, but not nearly good enough to offset their woeful group on offense.

Here's how bad the Broncos are: They've scored more than 17 points TWO TIMES all season. There's lousy on offense and then there's playing 11 NFL games and only scoring more than 17 points twice. That's "extra-lousy".

One of the many wagering opportunities surrounding today's game is Russell Wilson's total passing yards. The number I saw was 219.5. I had to refresh my phone to make sure it wasn't 119.5. It apparently is, in fact, 219.5. I hope that particular sports book is still in business at day's end.

Now, I get it. The Broncos are probably going to be behind 14-0 before they can blink and at some point it will be 21-3 and the only way they can even think about squeezing their way back into the game is to throw the ball. Hence, more passing yards. But this Baltimore defense is legit (well, most of the time) and Wilson and his offense will find that out later today.

How sure were you yesterday that the Netherlands were going to beat the U.S.?

I said here at #DMD it was 75-25 (Netherlands) if Pulisic played and was healthy (which he did).

Well, however sure you were yesterday that the Netherlands were going to win -- double that level of certainty for today's game.

I know it's the NFL and the ball isn't round and on "any given Sunday" and all that other malarkey, but there's no way Denver comes in here today and wins.

It's not happening.

Now next Sunday in Pittsburgh? That one might turn into a scrap.

But today's game will wind up being a laugher. And the Ravens certainly need one of those to help erase the memory of the final two minutes in Jacksonville last week.

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how drew sees today's game


I don't think this one will go exactly like the Carolina game went a couple of weeks ago, but I could see a similar pattern, where the Denver defense -- which is definitely "good" if not "very good" -- does their part for 35 or 40 minutes and this is a 10-point game well into the second half.

#DMD says you won't be sweating this one out midway through the 4th quarter today.

I mean, for as much as I'm making fun of the putrid Denver offense, it's fair to point out that the Baltimore offense can go through patches of troubling play. See that aforementiond Panthers game as Exhibit A.

But Lamar will have far more success today than will Russell Wilson. Far more...

Jackson will reach 230 yards in the air and gain another 45 on the ground.

Gus Edwards will chip in with 70 yards of his own carrying the football and Kenyan Drake will throw in another 30 himself. True to Greg Roman's nature, he'll try to get as much as he can out of the ground game today.

Mark Andrews will collect 7 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. For my sake (and maybe even your sake, too, *wink wink*), I'd love to see Andrews score the game's first touchdown, if you know what I mean.

The Ravens will lead 14-3 at the half. A Denver field goal in the 3rd quarter cuts that lead to 14-6 and the natives, having watched John Harbaugh's team play loose with comfortable leads all season, start to get restless.

A Justin Tucker field goal just prior to the end of the 3rd quarter makes it 17-6.

An early 4th quarter Tucker field goal makes it 20-6.

And a 4th quarter interception by Patrick Queen sets up a Lamar touchdown run to put the game away, as the Ravens cruise to a 27-6 win over Denver to improve to 8-4 on the season.

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around the nfl


STEELERS AT FALCONS (pick) -- A very rare "pick 'em" game in the NFL, as even the books aren't quite sure which team to favor in this one. Pittsburgh is coming in off of spirited win at Indy and Atlanta squandered a chance to beat D.C. last Sunday. We think the Steelers are imposters and that Atlanta might actually be on the way to being decent. We would be surprised today if Atlanta lost. If you know what I mean.

PACKERS AT BEARS (+4.5) -- This is a really weird game because both teams are pretty much done, so there's no reason for either team to man-up today and "prove anything". It's a rare December spot indeed for Aaron Rodgers. This game means nothing. But is Justin Fields going to be able to stay healthy and play all 60 minutes? That's the big question. We're assuming Fields wouldn't be playing unless he's 100%. We also assume Chicago has more reason to play hard than Green Bay. We think this game sets up VERY nicely for the Bears. If you know what I mean.

JAGUARS AT LIONS (-1.0) -- This one might be 70-63 when it's all said and done. I mean, neither team wants to play any defense at all. Jacksonville is riding high after pulling that rabbit out of their hat last week vs. the Ravens and the Lions have actually somehow cobbled together FOUR wins so far this season. All kidding aside -- this could be a very entertaining football game between two not-so-good teams. I think there will be a lot of points scored in this one. Probably even more than, say, 51 points. If you know what I mean.

Can Derrick Henry and the Titans hand the Eagles just their second loss of the season today?

JETS AT VIKINGS (-3.0) -- Is the entire Vikings offense out with the flu or something? The spread in this one is THREE points? I don't get that at all. Sauce Gardner vs. Justin Jefferson should be entertaining, if nothing else. You can definitely have fun wagering on this game. The Jets -- I can't even believe I'm typing this -- are alive and well in the AFC playoff race, but they sure could use a win today. Minnesota, despite getting shellacked a couple of weeks ago by Dallas, are cruising in the NFC North. I don't seen any way the Jets go into Minnesota today and keep this one close. If you know what I mean.

COMMANDERS AT GIANTS (+2.0) -- Holy cow, the Commanders are favored in this one? The Giants' stock has sure dropped, huh? D.C. comes in at 7-5 and New York's 7-4. This is a huge game for both teams. My man Jeremy Conn from 105.7 likes Washington laying the 2 points in this one and he knows WAY more about football than I do. I think Jeremy's "call" of the game is spot on. If you know what I mean.

TITANS AT EAGLES (-4.0) -- Oooooh, this has "game of the day" material written all over it. Tennessee coming in off of a bad home loss to the Bengals and the Eagles sitting at 10-1 and rolling along nicely after that big win over Green Bay last week. The scoring total in this one is 44.0. That sure seems low to me. If you know what I mean.

BROWNS AT TEXANS (+8.0) -- Who did the Texans rub the wrong way to be an 8-point underdog in this one? I know they're lousy and all, but the Browns...giving someone eight points...on the road? That seems really extreme. Almost illegal, really. Jeremy likes the "over" in this one. What that means, is the betting total for the game is 46.5 points (total scored by both teams) and he thinks there will be at least 47 points scored. That's called "taking the over". Jeremy knows a lot about football. If you know what I mean.

SEAHAWKS AT RAMS (+6.5) -- This is hilarious. The Rams are the defending Super Bowl champions and they're getting 6.5 points at home -- and the opposing quarterback is Geno-freakin'-Smith. My how the mighty have fallen. But I get it. The Rams are injury riddled and this is most definitely a "lost year" for them. They've packed it in. Seattle, meanwhile, hasn't packed it in. They're playing for their playoff lives. And winning by just one touchdown seems like a very reasonable ask of them today. If you know what I mean.

DOLPHINS AT 49'ERS (-4.5) -- This IS the Game of the Day. Miami's high powered offense and wonder-boy-genius-coach against San Fran's excellent defense and their wonder-boy-genius-coach. The Sunday night game (Colts at Cowboys) is a dud, but NBC would never, ever remove Dallas from their schedule. This should be the Sunday Night game, for sure. Anyway, one of these teams is going to show the league they are DEFINITELY for real in this one. And we think it's the visiting team. If you know what I mean.

CHIEFS AT BENGALS (+2.5) -- The books think K.C. wins this one by a field goal. Occasionally teams get a "prove it" game handed to them and the Bengals get their game today. If they're really any good, they figure out a way to beat the Chiefs today. K.C. has nothing to prove. We know they're good. And we're guessing K.C. will continue to prove that today. If you know what I mean.

CHARGERS AT RAIDERS (-2.5) -- The Raiders are 4-7 trying to figure out a way to finish 10-7 and shock the world and make the playoffs. They're playing better of late, that's for sure. And the Chargers might be the league's strangest team. Are they good or bad? This week they're good. Last week they're bad. This week they're bad. Next week they're good. Who knows? We feel like this is a week where the Chargers are "bad" and the Raiders late-season surge continues. If you know what I mean.

COLTS AT COWBOYS (-10.5) -- How on earth do the Colts recover from losing at home to the lowly Steelers? Answer: They don't. Dallas will not look this gift horse in the mouth tonight, that's for sure. But 10.5 points is a lot to give away. We think Dallas wins this but it might wind up a single-digit victory. If you know what I mean.


LAST WEEK'S TALE OF THE TAPE: 10-2

THREE LOCKS OF THE DAY: 3-0

"WIN OR WE LOSE OUR HOUSE" WAGER: 1-0

SEASON TO DATE: 90-54

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Saturday Recap

10:00 AM - USA v Netherlands

The US opened the knockout rounds of the World Cup against Group A winners, the Netherlands. It was a game where the young US team battled hard, but ultimately met their match in a more experienced and more ruthless Dutch team.

Despite having more of the ball than the Dutch, the US failed to capitalize on their opportunities while the Dutch took theirs with class to come out with a 3-1 victory.

The US came out with almost the same lineup they played throughout the group stage. The only difference was the insertion of Jesus Ferreira as the starting striker, with Josh Sargent ruled out with an injury.

#DMD's Randy Morgan says Gregg Berhalter's future is an important issue for the U.S. team moving forward.

Walker Zimmerman was back as the starter next to Tim Ream in the back line as well. Coach Gregg Berhalter deployed the team in their standard 4-3-3 and they maintained that in their defensive shape as well, with the three attackers generally pressing the three Dutch center backs.

The Netherlands set up in a 3-4-1-2 and deployed a well structured soft press that gave the US problems throughout the game. Instead of pressing intensely, high up the field, the Dutch largely allowed the US to have possession at the back, deploying their two forwards split very wide to prevent passes out the the US full backs and force Ream and Zimmerman to play the ball through the middle or make high risk lofted passes out wide.

They paired that structure with tight man-marking of the three US midfielders, restricting the space for the US to operate when they took the invitation to play through the middle.

The result was a lot of US possession that circulated around the back, with the Dutch attempting to pounce when the American center backs attempted the tougher passes out wide to start counter attacks.

In the opening eight minutes, the US handled the press pretty well, starting the game with a nice spell of productive possession and creating several decent chances. That was highlighted by the chance the US will be regretting when they look back on this one.

In just the third minute, Tyler Adams won a loose ball at the top of the box and played a looping pass over the defense to find an open Christian Pulisic in the box. Pulisic hit a low hard left footed shot but Dutch keeper Andries Noppert made a good kick save to keep it out.

After the initial positive spell, the Netherlands tipped the game on its head in the 11th minute. An impressive long passing sequence started in the Dutch end then worked its way through midfield and eventually found Denzel Dumfries with space on the right wing. Dumfries got on the ball and hit an outstanding first time cutback to the top of the box, finding an open Memphis Depay who left no doubt with a strike to beat Turner inside the back post.

With the goal, the Dutch had even less need to be aggressive going forward to open themselves up to the US attack. The highly talented and experienced Netherlands defense was exceptional all night in transition defense, finding their marks when the US tried to get numbers forward and using their skill to close out and make crosses difficult.

From then on, the Dutch largely allowed the US to have possession, picking their spots to counter and making the most of those opportunities. The US did a good job recovering the ball and maintaining their shape in possession, but they couldn’t string together enough quick passes or play the precise final ball to create real danger against the difficult Dutch defense.

In the 40th minute the US had their next decent chance when Tim Weah latched on to a ball just outside the box and hit a strong volley that forced a save from Noppert. Four minutes later, an often dangerous Sergino Dest, dribbled through several defenders to get into the box but scuffed his shot and saw it blocked by a defender. It was shortly after, in the waning second of the half that the Dutch got the backbreaker.

After a throw in on the right side, Dumfries got free again near the end line. Tyler Adams closed him down but the savvy wingback was able to cut another well placed low cross to the penalty spot where a streaking Daley Blind caught Dest napping for an open shot and clinically sent it into the back corner past Turner.

Just when it seemed the US might go into the half with some momentum, needing just a goal to get back in the game, the Dutch had doubled the lead and made the task that much more difficult.

At halftime Berhalter replaced a struggling Jesus Ferreira at striker with Gio Reyna. Ferreira’s touch looked noticeably rusty, having not played for quite a while since the end of the FC Dallas season, and he cost the US a few valuable chances with the inability to play in tight spaces. Reyna was an improvement in the second half, much cleaner on the ball, but still lacked the end product that most of the team failed to find in this game.

The US didn’t shy away from the game in the second half, despite the scoreline. They continued to push the game, though they started forcing shots and settling for lesser chances instead of trying to work for the extra pass to open up better opportunities.

In the 49th minute they had a golden chance to cut the lead to one. Weston McKennie got up for a header on a corner and nodded it into the path of Tim Ream, who directed it on goal only to see it cleared off the line by Cody Gakpo.

Each team had a few half chances over the next twenty or so minutes of the second half before the Dutch nearly sealed the game in the 71st minute. A Teun Koopemeiners shot forced a diving save from Matt Turner, then he made a spectacular effort to save a diving header from Memphis Depay on the rebound to keep the US hopes alive.

The US did get the chance to jump back into the game a few minutes later. In the 75th minute, the Netherlands gifted Haji Wright a golden opportunity when a wayward back pass set him free on the keeper in the box, but a poor first touch let him down and his bad angle shot was blocked.

However, after the ensuing corner kick, the Dutch failed to clear their lines and Pulisic got free on the right edge of the box. He played a low hard cross into the mix and Wright got a foot on it and deflected a looping ball that went in at the back post, cutting the lead to 2-1 and giving the US late life.

The US had a few weak chances over the next several minutes, but in the 81st minute the Netherlands put the nail in the coffin. After working the ball down the left wing, Daley Blind hit a nice back post cross that found an inexplicably wide open Denzel Dumfries who took the ball well and put it past Turner for the insurance goal to put the Dutch through to the next round.

While the loss is disappointing and the US will look back at moments they could have played slightly differently and come out with a better outcome, the better team won on the day. Veteran coach Louis Van Gaal had a solid game plan for the Dutch that limited the US strengths and set them up to succeed and his highly skilled and experienced team executed it well.

There isn’t a whole lot of shame for the US in losing to one of the most storied nations in the history of the World Cup in the knockout round or getting bested by outstanding performances from Inter Milan’s Denzel Dumfries, Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk, and Manchester City’s Nathan Ake.

The Netherlands were a step up in class from Wales and Iran, and had the bit between their teeth in a win or go home game in a way that England maybe did not in the group stage.

The Dutch showed the US what it takes to get to the next level and truly be a contender in this tournament. They didn’t dominate the US throughout the game in the way that Belgium did in 2014. Instead they deployed a smart game plan and were ruthless and decisive when they created their best opportunities.

This is definitely a lesson this young US team will take with them and apply over the next four years. When they come back in 2026, with potentially many of the same faces in the primes of their careers, they should be the veteran team that can be just that next level of clinical to take the game to the opponent.

It’s tough to pick out any one or two players that stood out for the US in this game, as most had good and bad moments. Matt Turner definitely came up big when called upon a few times in the second half to keep the game within arms reach. He couldn’t have done much about any of the three Netherlands goals.

Tyler Adams did his usual outstanding job of patrolling midfield and winning back balls, though he may have been partially at fault for how open Depay was on the first goal, and he couldn’t prevent Dumfries cutback pass that set up the second.

Sergino Dest was very good in the attack for the US, giving Blind constant problems in the first half, but he too was caught a step slow to follow Blind’s run on the second goal.

Jesus Ferreira was a big problem for the US as his poor first touches squandered two or three good positions where the US could have created danger. Reyna was an improvement in the second half but had several shots that left a lot to be desired.

Yunus Musah and Christian Pulisic both had some outstanding moments, but weren’t consistent enough to turn the game.

At the end of the day, the US just ran into a more talented and well coached team that was a bit more clinical and more defensively sound than them on the day. It's a lesson in how cutting edge single elimination soccer can be, and hopefully one they will learn from in 2026.


What’s Next for the USMNT?

Though it’s always frustrating when you get eliminated from a tournament, this World Cup will be looked back on as a success by the US. They played outstanding for four of six halves in the group stage, delivering a performance to remember against England, and they acquitted themselves well against a strong Netherlands team.

They won’t play their next competitive World Cup related match until sometime in the summer of 2026 on US soil, when the next version of the tournament kicks off. The US won’t need to go through qualifying for the next World Cup as one of the host nations, so how will they test themselves?

The next big tournament will be the 2024 Olympics. Though the Olympics are an under 23 tournament, they do allow three over age players on the roster. Given that quite a few of the players from the World Cup roster, including Yunus Musah and Gio Reyna are Olympic-eligible, the US should try to take that competition seriously and send their strongest team.

Other than the Olympics and next year’s U-20 World Cup, there will be CONCACAF Nations League and the CONCACAF Gold Cup. However these regional competitions don’t provide the US with the kind of opponents they need to really test themselves and grow. As evidenced by the other three CONCACAF entries in the World Cup all bowing out in the group stage.

The US should try as hard as they can to schedule friendlies with stronger teams from South America when possible, or even to join the Copa America tournament that usually features the first choice squads of all the South American countries.

It may even behoove them to send a “B” team or a developmental team to some of these CONCACAF tournaments and let the first choice team play friendlies against tougher competition.

The other big question heading out of the World Cup is the status of coach Gregg Berhalter. For all his flaws, Berhalter has more than earned the job with the team’s performance at this World Cup.

He’s still not perfect by any means, but he continues to evolve as a coach and he usually seems to come around to the best solutions, even if it takes longer than it should. He could maybe use some help in player evaluation and selection, but his tactics were generally good in this cup and set the US up to succeed.

The real question may be whether he wants to stay in the role or not. There have been rumors that Berhalter would prefer to hang it up as the US coach and go back to coaching club teams where he can more fully realize and evolve his tactical philosophies.

Either way, it will be something to watch in the coming months. As for the players, they will all return to their club teams in short order, with the European season resuming not too long after the World Cup concludes.

A few of them may have even jumped on the radar of some bigger teams with their performances on the world’s biggest stage, notably Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah.


2:00 PM - Argentina v Australia

The afternoon game was a real David vs Goliath matchup, with one of the tournament favorites Argentina up against the Cinderella story Australia. The game largely played out as expected, albeit with a little last minute drama. Argentina controlled the ball with 61% possession and generated 14 shots and 3 big chances to just 5 and 1 for Australia.

Leo Messi put Argentina up in the 35th minute when he received a short pass at the top of the box and placed a signature pinpoint left footed shot inside the far corner.

The South Americans doubled the lead a little after halftime, in the 57th minute, when their press forced Aussie keeper Mathew Ryan to turn it over in his own box and Julian Alvarez quickly first timed it into the back of the net.

Australia unexpectedly got back into the game in the 77th minute when a hopeful Craig Goodwin long range shot took a deflection off an Argentine defender and beat the keeper, cutting the lead to 2-1.

Argentina then had a flurry of chances, including a couple of magical moments from Messi, peppering the Australian goal but not finding the insurance goal they hoped for and it nearly cost them dearly.

In the final seconds of injury time, a desperation cross from Australia found the feet of teenager Garang Kuol on the back post and he hit a shot on goal, but Emiliano Martinez sprawled to save it and preserved the 2-1 win for Argentina. They will move on to set up an intriguing matchup against the Netherlands.


Sunday Preview

10:00 AM - France v Poland

Group D winners France take on Group C runners up Poland. France cruised to the win in Group D, resting most of their key players in the last group game, while Poland clung to a goal differential tiebreaker to squeak through to the knockouts.

Though both teams take a pragmatic approach, France should control this game and find little issue dispatching Poland. They will need to watch out for moments of brilliance from Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zielinksi, but the French are well drilled and much deeper and talented.

Prediction: 2-0 France


2:00 PM - England v Senegal

This is another matchup of two teams more known for stout defense than dynamic attacking. Though Group B winners England did manage to pile on the goals against Iran and Wales, they struggled to handle the athletic USA midfield in a 0-0 draw.

Group A runners up Senegal are much more like the US than they are Iran or Wales and they should present a strong challenge to the Brits. Several of the key Senegalese players ply their trade in the Premier League, so they are familiar with the English stars. However, without star attacker Sadio Mane, Senegal’s attack will have a tough time causing the English defense problems.

Prediction: 1-0 England

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#dmd comments








Unitastoberry     December 04
If the Ravens lose today it's going to get very ugly. 🥸🤔

CIK     December 04
It’s almost like DF thinks he owns this site and doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But only a fool would complain about something this silly for the last 3 months. If only that BP dump website had a comments section…maybe the readers here wouldn’t have to deal with the silly banter. But the BP motto is “no phone calls & no comments”

larry     December 04
Haha, @MFC you know the answer to that question, this place is crawling with lemmings lol.

MFC     December 04
Creative accounting, must be an investor in FTX, last week. The total was 7-5 not 10-2. If you know what I mean.



We're now back to charting wins and losses, again I ask what happened, that's an incredible transformation this year. The site owner goes from no charting the bets, no mention of w-l's and disclaimers to full blown, "locks of the week" and yearly stats that we're asked to accept at face value. And the DMD doesn't think an explanation is necessary? Really? Wouldn't you like your messiah to discuss that change or do you continue to be the lemmings of the site and just accept anything that comes down from on high. If you know what I mean.

Steve of Pimlico     December 03
O's sign a cheaper version of Jordon Lyles and save 4- 5 million dollars.Is this their dip into free agency?

Sold my last 2 PSls yesterday at a small profit because if the Ravens don't sign Lamar the PSL market will crater.My unsolicited advice to Lamar is for him to take a seat and get real representation.

Eric in Gaithersburg     December 03
Can already hear Os fans whining and i get it, Angelos crew has earned no trust but its Dec 3rd and all teams add to the bottom of roster, plus entire point of having analytics crew is finding guys us normal people think stink that actually don't. Wait till Mar 1st to judge offseason then commence whining. Theyve stated repeatedly that #1 starter, middle of order bat and quality backup C are their priorities. They dont back up the talk then they will get rightfully ripped

alexi     December 03
"sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing" which was possible cause key players decided at the worst time to stop playing D.

DMD called for this Reyna guy the whole tourney, then today says now he can see why his PT was limited. Hmmm, perhaps the actual coach of the team knows more than the voices sitting at home watching on TV. Go figure

Chris in Bel Air     December 03
@TimD you are correct. That first goal by the Dutch was a sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing. That was a cleat of reality to the US.

That was an exciting and entertaining win by the Terps last night. Looks like this season is shaping up to be way above my initial expectations.

I see Lamar apologized for the tweet. I really liked his candor in his discussions of it and that is why so many people like him. One related note to that discussion, Lamar stated "I feel like you should be bitter after a loss. No smiles. I feel like the fans should be mad we lost, too. But not mad at us. We tried." Too often, fans seem to think the players don't care about losing as much as they, the fan do. That certainly isn't the case. They want to win and, as much as it sucks as a fan watching them lose, it is way worse for them as a player and a coach.

Howard     December 03
44-15 as a Ravens starter; big problem is his 1-3 playoff record. He needs to come up big in the playoffs.

TimD in Timonium     December 03
The Dutch are GOOD. Too much talent and experience today. Great USA run.

unitastoberry     December 03
Lamars final grades for year 5 are not out until the end of week 17 and maybe the playoffs. Lets revisit then.

Josh     December 03
Great win for the Terps!



Excellent soccer coverage here, keep up the good work!

Ray Ray     December 03
howard; wins what? in High school? 3 years at Louisville? five years in nfl? what miracle do expect to happen to change what has always happened?

Howard     December 02
44-15. Say what you want but the guy wins

Stats Nerd     December 02
@Fish...Cleveland? Depending on what metrics you look at they are generally in exactly the same spot as BAL in receiving. KC, BUF, MIA, CIN, SF are the highest rated passing groups followed by PHI, SEA, LV and DAL.

Baltimore is pretty much mid tier passing team if you look at various metrics. Some they might be as high 12th or as low as 18th. Cleveland same.



There are teams that have positive efficiency running the ball in the league: PHI, BAL, CHI, CLE, and ATL. There are 3-ish others that are efficiency nuetral running: NYG, DAl and PIT

Fish     December 02
Does that Henry guy follow the NFL?



Miami has 3 high quality pass catchers. I'm guessing Drew is counting TE's. Kansas City has 3. Cincinnati has 3. If Waller is healthy there's an argument the Raiders have 3. Cleveland might even have 3.

TimD in Timnoium     December 02
The problem with being a one-man show both on and off the field is that it gets overwhelming. @DF points out, Lamar takes ALL the heat. Does he alone get all the glory with a Super Bowl win or a giant, guaranteed contact? Well, maybe. But that's a lot of crap to handle in the meantime.



Think how much easier THIS exchange would be. Reporter - "Hey, Lamar, how's the contract coming along? Lamar - "I dunno, man. I'm only thinking about beating the Broncos."



Boom. EASY.


henry     December 02
"three or four high quality pass catchers" How many teams have this?? I'll give you a hint - zero lol.

Lamar is definitely "off" this year. Some may be injuries, but from the cheap seats, I think he feels restricted by the coaching staff. The voices around him are all saying "just go ball man" and G-Ro and Harbs say "do it our way, it will work". Then it works maybe one out of 10 times.

I am sure Lamar wants to win games, but he also wants to be on SC Top 10 every week. He's clearly frustrated. Is it ego, or money? Or both? But the big question is, who is pushing 100% guarantee? Is that really him, or the NFLPA, or his "people"??

@David is right, the results have not been as bad as the perception, but Chris in B is also right, Lamar is a different guy this year.

It might boil down to which would the Ravens regret more, not signing him, or signing him?

David Rosenfeld     December 02
You know, it's fine to talk about Lamar's play, his future, his maturity, etc. It's fine if you want him around forever, or if you'd rather that not happen.

I just keep coming back to the fact that this team, this year, has played 660 minutes of football and has been behind less than 10 percent of the time. I can't say exactly what that says about Lamar Jackson, but it sure isn't negative.

joe of bel air     December 02
I hope the Ravens move on from Lamar after this season. His passing stats will never resemble those of Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and others. Defensive coordinators have seen LaMar for 5 years and a lot have figured out the best way to defend him, look what Jacksonville and Carolina did. The fact is Lamar is an outstanding runner and a mediocre passer. Look at Can Newton's career. He is only 33 years old,won an MVP award and his career has been over for the last 3 years. The fact is running QBs don't last very long in the NFL and that is what Lamar is, a running QB. I think the Ravens have gotten all they could out of Lamar and would be wise to move on. Trade him for some draft picks and see what Huntley can do in 2023.

Chris in Bel Air     December 02
"Here was a time when Jackson was just a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie in the league. "Just happy to be there", so to speak.

That Lamar is gone. Long gone. The business side of the league has changed Lamar, in the same way it would likely change anyone in their mid-20's who is sitting on a pot of gold."

There's no doubt in my view, as the avg fan, Lamar seems different this year. His demeanor in the games and sidelines aren't as enthusiastic. His press conferences and sound bites are drier and more canned. Some of this is maturity and understanding he's about to be asked the same ol' questions over and over. But I think a lot of it is the contract and money weighing on him. He's playing a game of poker and he's trying not to tip his hand. If I had to bet one way or the other, and Lamar was 100% candid, I think he believes there are forces holding him back: Lack of WRs. Play calling. The schemes. His D giving up game winning scores in the last seconds. And, certainly his own mistakes. Like many are saying, he's betting on himself and it's not panning out, so far, like he believed it would.

With that said, I would want him back as the Ravens QB but at the right price that allows the Ravens to be competitive. He is a sensational athlete and good QB. To answer Drew's question, Lamar is way better when he has success running the ball and passing (e,g., 85 yds rushing and 235 yds passing). He just doesn't thrive dropping back most of the game... and of course we can talk endlessly about why that is.

K.C.     December 02
Anyone have details on Nestor getting kicked off Twitter? Please tell!

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Memo to Lamar. Love ya, man, but it's time to grow up. Hire an agent. Add a PR team. And delete Twitter from your phone. You'll be much happier.

Unitastoberry     December 02
Drew you just pulled a Howard Cosell with your December 2022 analysis of Lamar compared to 2019 Lamar. He bet on himself and as of today he's losing. Now with football being the ultimate team sport his defense isn't helping him either. His social media antics are childish. But then most people his age take to Tic Tock etc and do stupid stuff that gets monetized rather than get a part time service job etc. He has 6 games for the guarantee money Lamar to show up and pull a Frank Robinson or John Unitas move and put the team on his shoulders to raise the Lombardi.It was his bet not Steve's.

Hal     December 02
Agree with @Herman. Top drawer edition of The Dish today. Well done everyone involved!!

JP     December 02
It's amazing we can't get a column about Lamar in the Baltimore Sun like the one in DMD today.

Any update on G-Ro going to Stanford? What are the streets saying DF?

Delray RICK     December 02
RAVENS just can't get a top receiver nomatter what. Looking at stats we are nowhere to be found. ANDREWS was but after being hurt not in top 10. Looking at other teams so many are " burners". We have them run 10 yards and that's it.

Herman     December 02
I've taken a sabbatical from posting but I'll give kudos to the site owner on today's publication. Chock full of good material.

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Quick follow-up from yesterday, thank you @DF for the Rob Ambrose update. I hope, no expect, he'll move on to bigger and better things. He did a great job at Towson for a long time. I can still remember his weekly updates in-season on your morning radio show. Loved his insights. And his passion. Might have made some of us better rec league coaches. Made me a better person, I'm sure of that. Good guy.

JoeP     December 02
Radio Mogul suspended from Twitter?

He's finally done it..."Made it Ma, Top of the World''. But much like Cody Jenson(James Cagney in White Heat), he's standing on a huge tank of gasoline.

Recently he had a conversation with another unknown "sportswriter" and they talked about Springsteen. In that non linear jumble he stated

1. He's best friends with Nils Lofgren

2. He's been backstage with the Springsteen group "dozens of times". And turned down numerous chances for more back stage access.

3. Can't access tickets to the shows, except in Southern Cities where they ''hate Bruce".



The obvious inconsistencies are never addressed.

1. Best friends with Nils? "I haven't talked with him for years".

2. 100%...that he would turn down back stage access? No way, big time Adderall fueled lie

3. So a promoter would play in cities that were hard to sell? Facts are the tour is sold out.

4. And why is he worried about getting in? One phone call to his best friend, he's back stage every night.

Maybe Nils reported him to Twitter for "misinformation". How will this affect his 100k imprints/day social media claims?



We need water Gunga Din(MFC), bring it to us.

Billy     December 01
Mr Positive got suspended from Twitter lol. And he's been on his high horse about Lamar being profane? Perhaps @MFC has an explanation.

Ken     December 01
I am new to the area and just found the Morning Dish (not a native of Baltimore or Maryland) and must say I'm very impressed with the daily articles and such.



Who is Drew (does he have a byline?)? As for the other writers who have staff positions at the web site, kudos on a job well done.



There's nothing like this in my hometown (Denver) and I'm glad I discovered it.



I think your Ravens will have an easy go of it with my Broncos on Sunday. I'll be there to witness the carnage.

MFC     December 01
Ambrose got a raw deal. The new AD wants his "own" man, many times that doesn't work out either. It would only be fitting given the President of TU is leaving for the Un of Louisville (wonder if she attended the game the other night) that the new President take the same approach and cans the AD.What goes around comes around.

JeffWell     December 01
@David R: I agree 100%. Lamar would truly benefit from some professional guidance. I wonder if he feels that he doesn't need that kind of assistance or if it just a case of keeping the money in the family.



MFC: Why on earth are you aiming a comment towards me? I guess I was next on your list of things to say to people. You never run out of those types of comments.

Do you really believe that a "schoolgirl choir" is a negative thing. Wow, another far left sexist/misogynist. You really can't make this stuff up.

David Rosenfeld     December 01
Lamar is an interesting case because he doesn't have anyone who is helping him establish his "brand." We all know about the (lack of) professional help when it comes to his business affairs, etc. Clearly social media is part of it.

At this point, Lamar really is very authentic. He's not Cal Ripken or Peyton Manning, or any athlete/entertainer whose entire existence seems dedicated to protecting and projecting an image. I admire that...he truly is a guy whose play on the field speaks for him.

At the same time, I do think that Lamar has seemed immature this year, even as he approaches 26 years old with 4 1/2 seasons as the team's starting QB. The Ravens could use a leader, not just a uniquely talented QB, and he's not there.

sammy     December 01
Great post by Stats Nerd today. Social media is oft maligned, deservedly so, but as he points out today, there's a ton of positives as well. We've likened DMD and its comments section to "people at a bar", and social media is the same. One night you might run into a drunk who is a total jerk and full of BS opinions, and you can't get away fast enough. Next time you might come across someone who has been somewhere you are planning to go and is nice enough to share some insights into what to do and not do there. Or someone with well thought out opinions on topics that interest you, and you chat all night long.

Now the challenge is, can we weed out the bad and keep only the good?

Unfortunately, like with most things in our world, the answer is no. You gotta take the bad with the good. But just like you can leave a bar, you can choose to partake (or not) in social media on your own terms. Closing all the bars would be an insane solution to eliminating ***holes in bars lol. Great column Stats Nerd.

Unitastoberry     December 01
I've been following the ascent of Deion Sanders as head coach at Jackson State. It's rather amazing what's he's done there in 3 years including COVID and him almost losing his entire foot. He's a recruiting machine and he hires old NFL players and coaches for the x and O's. But on the field he's tough in practice and strict on discipline. Not what you might expect from Prime who used to hang with gang bangers etc in his youth. I'd love to see him stay at Jackson State leave the SWAC and go independent. He can steal guys from Saban and Harbaugh etc every day . I'd fire the guy at Maryland in a second to hire Prime.

Fred M     December 01
I have a question for the mailbag.



Was the girl that watched the 1980 Olympic Hockey game the Girlfriend that you stole from Monk or Herman? Or was it some other critic?

MFC     November 30
@Jeffwell, you must be seeking a solo in the "schoolgirl choir" concert.

Jeffwell     November 30
Ravens need to sharpen up their offense and 4th quarter D, if they expect to win their division. If not, even with a relatively easy schedule, they may find themselves on the outside looking in.



I don't think Delray is the only one, "who time and time again tells us who he is". I mean "Pot, meet kettle." Wow. At least he doesn't seem to have an agenda to push.

Chris in Bel Air     November 30
Awesome win for the USMNT but nothing to the level of the hockey's team's win over the Ruskies and eventual win over Finland for the gold medal. This soccer team will need to go beat Brazil (assuming they would face them at some point after NETH) and win the Cup before we can have that conversation.

@Such - Completely agree. I never had a social media account and never will. I will take your thoughts a step further. Given the misinformation posted and the enabling of the worst social behaviors of people, I'm not sure there is a net benefit to society from social media. Sure, businesses can grow from it and people can see pics of loved ones and friends from a far. But, the negatives are so prominent, I don't believe the good outweighs the bad.

Looking forward to see how the Terps b-ball team fares against some real teams. They have checked all the boxes presented to them so far.

kj     November 30
Amen Such, well said.

Such     November 30
I recall a bumper sticker from years ago that read Kill Your Television. The 21st Century adaptation of that would read Kill Your Social Media.

I left Facebook over two years ago I think? I deleted my Twitter account a few months ago. I never had much use for Instagram or Snapchat because I'm not 19 years old. And TikTok seems to be the place where boredom goes to die in a flurry of 15 second videos. I really don't understand our fascination with it.

The reality is that social media has created a parallel reality where people feel free to say things to others that they would never say in a personal encounter. It's exposed the worst elements of human behavior, and it's tacitly endorsed that. People seem to reflexively insult each other instead of engaging in any kind of effort to understand one another. What an ugly way to behave.

It's not only Lamar Jackson who's complicit in this type of reactionary behavior, either. There are countless athletes, politicians, musicians and celebrities who get into these ridiculous back and forths online. It's not a good look.

Kill Your Social Media. You'll find it's really good for your mental and emotional health.

Steve of Pimlico     November 30
Nothing in my life will top US beating the Commies.Orioles winning WS in 66 and Ravens2012 SB run are 2nd and 3rd on my personal list of all time favorites.

MFC     November 30
Delray time and again tells you who he is, believe it.



Awesome game, ecstatic for the USA, if ( big if) they win the next one look out. The bars will be packed and people will be purchasing swag. It can ignite a country with excitement.



The Terps and Willard are on a roll. Willard is the real deal. The kids play hard all the time. Do that and you always have a chance. Amazing to watch these college games knowing full well the kids are getting hefty sums to play. The college coach is now coaching salaries, totally different atmosphere.




Chris K     November 30
There have been pretty big moments between 1980 and now that surpass getting out of the 1st round in 2022. the women winning in 1999 was AWESOME! Personally THAT is right up there with 1980! The 1994 mens team beating columbia to advance seemed much bigger than this. The original dream team was pretty special. IF they can win at least 1 game in the knockout THEN this will be a huge deal. Until then it's pretty far down the list.

Unitastoberry     November 30
What's the over/under on how many times the tv camera shows Watson's accusers on Sunday?

The US high school college hockey team beating the Russian pros in 1980 would be like St Francis beating KC in the Super Bowl.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 30
@ DELRAY RICK, Second on my list and so on, NBA Basketball, WBA Basketball, Ice Hockey, all the other sports I can tolerate watching.

TimD in Timonium     November 30
It was a GREAT win yesterday by USMNT. Boring game? Any of it? Felt more like riding a roller coaster. Tough task beating the Netherlands, we'll see. Congrats to a much-criticized defense that allowed just a single goal vs Wales, Iran, and England. Did not expect that.

David Rosenfeld     November 30
For what it's worth, KenPom suggests that Saint Louis (42) will win the Atlantic 10, and Miami (44) will finish 12-8 in the ACC. Early bracketology suggests that Miami is an at-large NCAA tournament team.

Of course we are 7 games into the season, so take that however you want to. And certainly these next 4 games are a true test and are very unlikely to all be wins, though it's good that only one of them is a road game.

I'd like to reiterate that I am not taking a veiled swipe at anyone basketball IQ.

Saturday
December 3, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3022


let's show the world!


Maryland's basketball team might not have been able to keep up the frenetic pace they established in the first half of last night's eventual 71-66 win over visiting Illinois, but the crowd never lost their energy.

And the result of the night -- as a whole -- was an electric atmosphere at the Xfinity Center that rivaled anything the buildings at Duke, Kentucky or Kansas could have yielded under the same circumstances. It was, in short summary, one of the best environments a Maryland basketball game has produced since the waning days of the Gary Williams era.

This man didn't pay for a post-game beer anywhere in College Park last night, that's for sure.

Dale Williams will do all of the unpacking of how things went down with his analysis below. I'm simply here to say I was there, in the building, and it was "big time college basketball" at its finest.

I'll even give Brad Underwood and his Fighting Illini a tip of the hat for doing their part. Illinois might not have had their best night, as Underwood told reporters afterwards, but they hung in there from start to finish, dealing with the wildly enthusiastic crowd, their own shooting woes and an officiating crew that must have gone to high school with Kevin Willard.

The better team won last night, for sure, but give Underwood and his squad credit. They were a worthy foe.

Oh, and Maryland basketball has a new sheriff in town. His name is Jahmir Young. If he has to go to class next week, it's a crime. As Dale will no doubt highlight in his piece below, that kid is something else.

The only even slightest-of-slight disappointments might have been the non sellout crowd last night.

Perhaps had the Terps ticketing folks thought about discounting the seats earlier than mid-week, they would have filled them all on Friday evening. The 2,000 seats they didn't sell clearly didn't impact the atmosphere and the bet here is they won't be unsold later in the season when other prominent Big 10 teams come to town, but it's a shame last night's instant-classic wasn't played before a sold out audience.

Dale takes you through how it all went down in his post-game story below.


There are 16 teams left playing for the World Cup trophy and the United States squad is one of them.

Germany isn't playing for the trophy. Neither are the likes of Belgium or Denmark, two other pre-tournament hopefuls. All three of those top ranked European teams failed to get out of group play.

But the U.S. is playing, still, and today they'll take on a Netherlands side that is clearly the favorite in the match-up but far from an unbeatable opponent.

Christian Pulisic and the U.S. take on the Netherlands today for the right -- most likely -- to take on Argentina next week in the World Cup.

Our outstanding soccer analyst, Randy Morgan, will thoroughly preview the U.S.-Netherlands game below and take you through the final day of group play on Friday, which once again yielded some shocking results and departures from the tournament.

But the world -- or at least some part of it -- will watch the Americans playing in the knockout stage of the World Cup this morning and that's yet another significant step for the development of soccer in our nation.

I remember attending a USSF (United States Soccer Federation) meeting in the late 1980's when I was involved with the Blast and someone (I have no way of remembering his name/position) said, as part of a presentation he was making about the ongoing development of soccer in our country -- "It's my hope that by the year 2030, I will see the U.S. win a World Cup."

Well, that's two World Cups away. Three if you count the one they're currently playing. And the U.S., technically speaking, could still win this one in 2022. But they have a narrow, winding road to navigate if they hope to get there in the next three weeks.

I was a guest on the Big Bad Morning Show on 105.7 yesterday and was asked, of course, what chance I give the Americans in today's battle with the Dutch.

It's simple: They can win today. Are they favored? Of course not. And 15 years ago, the experts would have been calling this a mismatch of epic proportions. Netherlands produces great soccer. 15 years ago, we produced good-soccer-at-times.

But 15 years later, we've narrowed the quality gap, a point that was made and put on display during the 0-0 tie with England in group play. This game, today, can be won by the United States. They have more than a puncher's chance.

The ability for the U.S. to compete and win today is linked mainly to the health of Christian Pulisic, the goal-scorer in the Iran game who suffered a bruised pelvis during a collision with the goalkeeper.

Word out of Qatar is that Pulisic is "healthy and ready to play". That's great news. But is he "healthy enough to play" or is he going to "play without any restrictions, health wise"? Those are two different sets of circumstances. If Pulisic can play the full 90 minutes without being restricted or slowed down by the injury he suffered in Tuesday's game, the U.S. really has a chance today.

If Pulisic feels good enough to play, gives it a go for 25 minutes, and simply can't do it and has to be subbed off in a 0-0 game...

The U.S. can't win if Pulisic isn't on the field. It really is that simple.

The saying "playing with house money" rings true today for Gregg Berhalter's team. Eight really good teams will go home after the first round of knockout play, so there's no massive sense of letdown or disappointment if you fail to win now. The goal of every World Cup participant is to first reach the knockout stage. Anything after that is gravy, unless you're the likes of Brazil, Argentina and France, let's say. They're not happy unless they win the whole thing.

I'm as excited for this game as I have been about any sporting event of the last 20 years, Ravens, Orioles and Caps included. Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup finals in Las Vegas ranks right up there, but even on that night, armed with a 3-1 series lead, I knew the Caps could lose and still play the next day.

This game, today, is win or go home. Yes, I know what you're thinking. It is, indeed, "must win" territory for the U.S. side. And isn't it great to be playing a must-win game in the 2022 World Cup? It sure is.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 8th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2022-2023 season.


young's late magic lifts maryland


It was the biggest shot of the game and the most important shot in Jahmir Young’s very short career at College Park, but he nailed it.

With Maryland up by just a single point, 15.8 seconds on the game clock and just 3 seconds left on the shot clock, Young took a handoff from Hakim Hart. The enthusiastic crowd was already standing, but their intensity increased as Young collected the ball from Hart.

He then dribbled to his right outside of the three, point line crossing the top of the key where he used a well-placed screen from Julian Reese (we’ll break down that play a bit later). With Terrance Shannon Jr unable to get through the screen, and Dain Dainja failing to step up, Young found himself with just enough room to get off the shot.

It hit nothing but net and the Terps had an insurmountable 4-point lead, considering there was just 14.5 seconds left until the final horn.

Jahmir Young hit the biggest three pointer of the night for the Terps as they turned back Illinois, 71-66.

Young is a career 34% three-point shooter who has made just 20% of those attempts so far this season. Last night he beat those odds, and in doing so, beat Illinois.

His stat sheet was stellar. 24 points on 9 for 20 shooting. He made 4 of 9 threes, and committed just 1 turnover in 34 minutes.

During the drive to the XFINITY Center, I confessed to my passenger (Drew Forrester) that Young is the best point guard at College Park since Greivis Vasquez. He certainly showed why last night. He’s such a steady influence on his teammates and he goes to the rack with authority.

Hakim Hart (17 total points) was the offensive star of the first half, where he was 4-5 from the three-point line. He took just 2 shots in the second half, one of those was a three that connected. Donta added 12 and Ian Martinez chipped in with critical points.

Shannon Jr’s 19 points paced Illinois, followed by Coleman Hawkins with 16. As a team, the Illini were successful on just 5 of 20 three-point attempts (20%).

Several factors were key in this big win for the Maryland program. I thought first and foremost, the Terrapin energy and hustle, especially on defense, was the biggest factor in the game.

The kids put in the work, but Kevin Willard’s blistering practice routines carry over into the games. Having seen them live, I can tell you they practice really hard and they play even harder.

Their perimeter defense was outstanding last night. That sustained effort can only be achieved if a team is physically prepared to go hard. These kids are in the best shape that we’ve seen from a Terrapin hoops squad in a long time.

A second key cog in last night’s winning machine was the hot start from Hakim Hart. His 4-5 three-point shooting in the first half was huge. He’s upped his triple percentage from 33% the last two years, to almost 43% right now. His first half points were vital.

A third key component to last night’s win was the foul discrepancy to begin the second half.

At one point early in the second half, the fouls called were 8 to 1 in the home team’s favor. Before Young’s bucket with about 2:36 left in the game, the Terps had more second half points from the foul line (11) than the field (10). Maryland went to the charity stripe 18 times, while Illinois shot just 8 from that same location.

The pace was spirited during the first 6 minutes.

The initial TV timeout came with 14:09 left in the half and Illinois holding a 14-11 lead. Four different Illini scorers accounted for their 14 points, with Coleman Hawkins leading the way with 7.

The Terps had points from only two sources, Jahmir Young (7) and Donta Scott (4).

Despite the aggressive defense, and constant pressure applied by both teams, the offenses were just that good in the early going. Both teams were shooting 50% because they both were getting great looks around the hoop. Scott had some really nifty one-on-one spin moves that totally shook his defender.

Shortly after the first TV timeout, an 11-0 Terrapin run would ignite the crowd and provide Maryland with a 22-14 advantage. It was the three ball that did the bulk of the damage with Hakim Hart connecting twice and Young hitting from the right wing. Meanwhile, Illinois missed 7 shots and went 4 minutes without scoring.

By the under 8-minute timeout, Illinois had gone almost 7 minutes without a field goal and the Terps were up 28-16. I’ll give credit to the collective hustle and speed of this Terp team. They ran down most of the loose balls and defended with vigor. Having a 4-1 advantage in three pointers-made helped a good deal too.

Illinois battled back, using 3 Terp turnovers to trim the lead to just 3, but Hart drained back-to-back threes to elevate the Maryland lead back to 9 points with 3:32 remaining in the opening half.

Maryland carried a 41-34 lead into halftime. Their 7 made three pointers, compared to 4 four Illinois was the most glaring difference in the scoring. But let’s give the Terrapin perimeter defense, which was exceptional, some credit also. They were all over the place.

The two teams played to a draw for the first 8 minutes of the second half.

Each squad scored 14 points, but in much different ways. The Terps went to the foul line 9 times in that eight minute span, compared to just 3 for Illinois. Even though the Illini out-shot Maryland by a huge 13-6 margin, they failed to make up any ground because they made only 5 of those shots while the Terps were drilling 8 of 9 foul shots.

Maryland enjoyed a somewhat comfortable 55-48 lead with just under 12 minutes remaining.

As with the first half, it was three Terp turnovers that led to a mini Maryland scoring draught, and in less than 4 minutes, a Terp 10-point bulge was trimmed to just a single point, 55-54 with 8:51 remaining.

The game was finally all squared up at 57 apiece before 2 more successful Terp foul shots provided a 2-point cushion.

Hart finally took a shot in the second half, and it was a huge three to widen the Terp lead to 5 after a series of defensive switches left Hawkins guarding his shadow, and no one on Hart.

A Skyy Clark assist to Hawkins and then Clark’s pull up three over Don Carey tied it at 62, with a bit over 4:35 remaining.

The under 4-minute timeout came at 3:39 with the score still tied at 62, and the Terps in possession after yet another air ball from Shannon Jr.

At that point the Illinois guard was 0-5 from the three-point stripe with most of those not even drawing rim. The boisterous “air ball” chants from the student section reminded Shannon of his errant attempts.

A single Juju Reese foul shot after he drew a rather chippy foul put the Terps up by one, 63,62. It was at that point in the second half where Maryland had 11 points from the foul line and 10 points from the field.

The next Illinois possession was very reflective of the Terrapin defensive effort throughout the evening.

The perimeter pressure was so great, that the Illini struggled to get the ball anywhere near a spot to get off a shot. Underwood called two timeouts in an attempt to organize his offense. Whatever they drew up didn’t work as an off-balance, desperation, 3 pointer was blocked with just 3 seconds left on the shot clock.

The two teams then traded buckets before a Reese put- back gave Maryland a short lived 67-64 lead. Hawkins scored inside, Young missed a three, then Jaden Epps then missed a wide open, but slightly rushed three for Illinois.

The Terps had the ball, up one, with 28.3 seconds on the clock and 16 seconds on the shot clock

Jahmir Young then hit his biggest shot as a Terp. It was a three, a dagger as they say, that iced the game with just 14 seconds left in the game and 2 seconds remaining on the shot clock. This possession told a lot about this team, and Young.

The ball was inbounded to Young who kicked it to the left wing into the hands of Martinez who was cutting hard. Martinez sets a screen and hands the ball right back to Young on the left wing.

Young drives baseline after a screen by Reese. Illinois misplayed the screen with one defender playing through it, but the other also staying with Young.

Illinois recovered, cutting off Young who kicked it back to the left wing into the waiting hands of Donta Scott.

10 seconds remained on the shot clock. Scott passes to Hart three paces above the top of the key.

The Terps reset and ran another play.

They did the same hand off that they used a few seconds ago, only this time it was Hart handing to Young rather than Martinez. Instead of using a back pick and going to his left again, this time Young went right and brushed his man (Shannon) off of a Reese screen.

Dainja didn’t step up (really bad idea with only 4 seconds left on the shot clock), leaving room for the Young three. All net. Game over.

This play is very significant because it displayed a level of poise that we haven’t seen in quite a while from a Terp offense and point guard.

Every player played a role in that bucket. Young hit it, but each Terp did their job. It was very well run. No one-on-one, even after the first set broke down. They maintained their composure and ran a great set.

Being the basketball nerd that I am, I found myself watching that entire sequence, over and over again, at 3 A.M. in the morning. At least 25 times. I looked at every movement, and came away most impressed by the fact that Juju Reese was so engaged (and so well-coached) that he knew exactly where to go to set that game winning screen. Beautiful.

The Terps were now up by 4, which became 5 after Illinois hoisted a long three that missed and Reese was fouled after grabbing the rebound. The final was 71-66.

It’s so ironic that my original pre-game piece didn’t contain a predicted score. But The Boss reminded me how much the readers enjoy it, so I added my thoughts.

But I expressed to Drew on the way down to the XFINIYTY Center that this game is a coin flip. Somebody is going to shoot a late three and if it goes in, one team covers. If it misses, the other team covers. It went in. It was a wonderful time to be in College Park. Basketball was back.

Maryland will now travel to Wisconsin for a 9 p.m. tussle with the 5-2 Badgers this Tuesday night. Wisconsin’s losses were an overtime defeat against then #3 Kansas and a 3-point loss to Wake Forest. The Badgers had late leads in both games. You can watch the action on ESPN 2.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Friday Recap –

Group G

Cameroon v Brazil

Brazil rested nearly all their starters and met the same fate as other teams using the last game as a practice exercise. Though they dominated the game with 21 shots to 7 for Cameroon, they couldn’t find the back of the net.

Cameroon scored a late goal on a nice counter attacking sequence that was finished off by a Vincent Aboubakar header and escaped with a 1-0 win and a nice memory to take home with them as they were eliminated.


Switzerland v Serbia

In a back and forth game the shaky Serbian defense ultimately doomed them as Switzerland got the better of the matchup just like in 2018. Switzerland went up early with a Xherdan Shaqiri goal on a shot in the box that deflected off a defender and in.

Serbia even up in the 26th minute when Filip Kostic forced a turnover and a Dusan Tadic cross found Aleksandar Mitrovic who headed it in. Serbia then took the lead in the 35th minute with a pinpoint strike from Dusan Vlahovic.

Switzerland answered before half finding space on the right wing and then a ball across the six yard box that found Breel Embolo free, capping off the highest scoring first half of the tournament.

The Swiss jumped into the lead just three minutes after halftime when a nice layoff pass in the box from Ruben Vargas set up a Remo Freuler goal. In an increasingly chippy second half, Switzerland held on for the win that secured their advancement. They move on to face Portugal in the next round.


Group H

Ghana v Uruguay

Uruguay played their best game of the group to get a comfortable 2-0 win, but saw a late South Korea goal in the simultaneous game knock them out of the tournament. The addition of Giorgian de Arrascaeta to the starting lineup sparked their attack, scoring both goals within a six minute span in the second half.

Uruguay also saved an early penalty, leaving them up 2-0 in the final minutes. With Sout Korea leading over Portugal Uruguay needed one more goal to win the tiebreaker but couldn’t find it. An Edson Cavani header forced a spectacular save by the Ghana keeper, though it might have been offside anyway.


Portugal v South Korea

Like Brazil, Portugal rested most of their starters with their place in the next round secure. They got out to a good start anyway, scoring a 5th minute goal off a header by Ricardo Horta on a cross from Diogo Dalot. In the 28th minute, South Korea evened with a goal by defender Young-Gwon Kim off a corner, putting them a goal away from advancing.

Though Portugal controlled the game, South Korea found some counter attacking opportunities in the second half and finally capitalized jut a minute into injury time. Star attacker Son received an outlet ball after a Portugal corner and did a good job to hold it up and lay off a pass into the box that Hee-Chan Hwang hit past the keeper. The goal put them up 2-1 and in position to finish second in the group on the goals scored tiebreaker.

With Portugal set to win the group as the results stood, South Korea saw out the final minutes and got the victory and their spot in the knockouts. They now get to face tournament favorites Brazil.



Group Stage Best XI

Before we dive into the first day of knockout games, here are my best eleven players from the group stage.

G - Szczęsny - Poland

D - T. Hernandez - France

D - Gvardiol - Croatia

D - Koulibaly - Senegal

D - Hakimi - Morocco

M - Adams - USA

M - Musiala - Germany

M - B. Fernandes - Portugal

F - Gakpo - Netherlands

F - Messi - Argentina

F - Mbappe - France



Saturday Preview

10:00 AM - USA v Netherlands

The second phase of the World Cup kicks off on Saturday morning with the single elimination, sixteen team knockout round. The USA will play the opening game of the knockouts against Group A winners, Netherlands. While this young team was happy to make it out of the group, they remain hungry to further their run and stamp their mark on US soccer history.

The furthest the US has advanced in the modern era was a quarterfinal appearance in 2002. In 1994, 2010, and 2014 they were bounced in the first knockout round. When Christian Pulisic was asked about his “World Cup moment” scoring the goal to beat Iran, he belied this hunger with his answer, saying he hoped his greatest moment was still to come.

Despite the soccer history of these two nations, the US has a real chance to realize that ambition against a Netherlands team who was less impressive in the group stage than its record would suggest.

Netherlands

The Netherlands are one of the more storied nations in World Cup history. Somewhat like the Buffalo Bills in the NFL, they have made the finals three times but finished runners up each time. They were one of the top five or so favorites heading into the tournament after playing well in both UEFA World Cup qualifying and the recent UEFA Nations League.

They advanced to the knockouts by winning Group A with seven points, scoring five goals to just one allowed. They were fortunate to be placed in a group with perhaps the worst team at the tournament, hosts Qatar, as well as a dangerous Senegal team that was missing its best player due to injury.

On the surface it appears they played well in the group stage, entering the final game in a comfortable position and dispatching the hosts with an easy 2-0 win. They got three outstanding goals from breakout star attacker Cody Gakpo and allowed just a single goal to Ecuador. However, if we look a little deeper, they may be more vulnerable than one might suspect.

While Gakpo’s finishes to net his goals were all world class, the soccer stats nerds would tell you that it's more important to be creating as many chances as possible than expertly finishing the ones you do get. That's because there is much more randomness involved in actually scoring the chance than there is in creating it.

With that in mind we can take a look at the expected goals and chance creation statistics, where we see that the Netherlands generated just 2.4 expected goals despite scoring 5, a number that ranks 23rd out of 32 teams and places them one spot behind the USA, who had 2.6 xG. The Dutch were also tied for last place with just 1 big chance created the whole round, while the US was 9th with 4.

Defensively the Netherlands were tied for 8th best, along with the US, with just 2.7 expected goals conceded. Its also important to remember the Dutch were the top seed in their group, so they didn’t have to face anyone as strong as England in the opening rounds, though Senegal and Ecuador were both tougher opponents than either Wales or Iran.

What these numbers show is that the US has a real chance in this game. The US largely outplayed an England team that has been much more impressive than the Dutch, while an Ecuador team with less talent than the US outshot the Netherlands 15-2 in a 1-1 draw. A Senegal team with similar pedigree to the US played the Netherlands even for nearly the whole game until an 84th minute goal.

The Americans are an underdog for sure, with the Netherlands boasting several stars from the top teams in Europe, but this US team is not just the plucky overachievers of past versions. They have many players who go toe-to-toe with or are teammates of the likes of Van Dijk and de Jong and Dumfries.

Like the US, the Dutch are a possession based team, finishing a few spots ahead of the Americans in average possession during the group stage. They also like to bring high pressure in periods throughout the game, to force their opponents to concede the ball and generate chances.

They will line up with a three man back line featuring one of the best center backs in the world, Virgil Van Dijk, in the middle. Manchester City’s Nathan Ake has been the choice at left center back and he has been the main defender pushing the ball forward into attack. They have mostly played a 3-4-3 formation, with either one attacking midfielder behind two strikers or two attacking mids and one striker.

Cody Gakpo has been their breakout star of the tournament with his three goals and he has been an ascending star in the Dutch league this year for PSV Eindhoven. However, Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong has been their best player and the driving force of their team. De Jong is outstanding on the ball and roams all over midfield. Think of an in his prime Yunus Musah with better passing skills.

One flaw of the Dutch team may be an overreliance on de Jong to drop deep and progress the ball at times. He also has a penchant for getting a little too adventurous on the dribble and opening up his team to dangerous counter attacks. This could present an opportunity for Tyler Adams to pick him clean and send the US on a break.

Another Dutch strength that can also be exploited as a weakness on occasions is right wing back Denzel Dumfries. The Inter Milan man is excellent in attack, but often plays so high that he is more of a winger, this could leave valuable space in behind on the left wing for Christian Pulisic or Antonee Robinson to exploit. One of the battles to watch in this game will be whether Robinson or Dumfries can pin the other back in their own end for long periods of the game.

The Dutch will play a similar high defensive line to the US, springing an all out press at strategic moments. They like to press outside to in, with their two attackers, preventing balls out to the wing and forcing teams to work through the middle. This could make Yunus Musah vital, receiving those passes and breaking through the midfield line. They also like to tightly man-mark in midfield so the US will need to do well under pressure and avoid misplaced passes, but can also open opportunities if they can find quick passing combos.

In the setup against the Dutch, both Senegal and Ecuador used a press effectively to frustrate them and produce some good counter attacking chances, one of which led to Ecuador’s goal. The Dutch will mostly try to play through the press instead of playing long because their usual starting lineup lacks a true target forward.

US Approach

It would be surprising if Coach Berhalter made many changes from the starting lineup he has used for the group stage. If Josh Sargent is healthy enough, he is the likely starter at striker and Tim Weah is sure to start on the right wing.

The MMA midfield will definitely start and should be the key to this game for the US. In the backline it will be Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream and Sergino Dest, with the only question being whether Cameron Carter-Vickers gets the call again or Walker Zimmerman steps back into the lineup.

Carter-Vickers was used against Iran for his ability on the ball to break down their bunkered defense. In a game where the US may be on the back foot more, Berhalter might opt to bring Zimmerman back in?

The biggest question surrounding the US setup is obviously the health of star attacker Christian Pulisic. While the US says he is “day-to-day” and he has been cleared to play, you can trust that about as much as you trust John Harbaugh’s injury statuses.

The truth is there is no reason for the US to tip their cap as to whether he will play or not until the lineups are announced. My guess is he will play some part in the game either way. If he’s close enough to full health then he’ll probably start and gut it out as long as he can.

If they think he’s too banged up to go 60 or more minutes, then they’ll probably reserve him as a super sub if needed for the last 30 minutes.

The reassuring fact for US fans is that the wing is the deepest position on the team. While it would undoubtedly hurt to lose Pulisic from the starting lineup, this team isn’t like past versions where losing a Donovan or Dempsey would spell doom.

If Pulisic can’t go, Berhalter can turn to Brenden Aaronson or Gio Reyna (if he’s healthy), one a standout attacker for Leeds United in the Premier League and the other a rising star for Borussia Dortmund, one of the best teams in Germany.

This is why I think they may be cautious with Pulisic. A hobbled Pulisic could make the team worse off then just going with one of these replacement options. Hopefully he is fully recovered and Berhalter doesn’t need to make that decision.

Sargent’s injury actually looked to be the worse of the two, and he is also reported as “day-to-day”. It’s unfortunate because he delivered one of his best performances in a US shirt against Iran and was vital in helping the US to start attacks with his hold up play. However, if he can’t go it will be an interesting decision for Berhalter.

Haji Wright provides a bigger body, while Jesus Ferreira is a better facilitator of the possession offense. In this matchup Ferreira might be the better option, as sending Wright head to head with Van Dijk would likely see him erased from the game.

Meanwhile, Ferreira’s tendency to drop deep and connect play could force Van Dijk into decisions about when to venture out from the back and could open up space for Weah or Pulisic/Aaronson/Reyna to run into.

The other big decision Berhalter will need to make is his tactical approach. Does he come out and press high on the Dutch or does he play a little more conservatively like the US did for stretches against England.

My guess is he’ll continue to set the team up in a 4-4-2 shape defensively. Even though the Dutch play a back three, they tend to push the right center back higher, almost into the fullback position, so this would allow the US to match their front two to the other two center backs or they could just play them in front of the two midfielders to prevent passes into that line.

The 4-4-2 has also allowed the US midfield to conserve some energy, requiring less running from the center midfielders to cover the wide areas.

Both Ecuador and Senegal showed that the Netherlands can be vulnerable to a high press, so while we may not see it consistently, expect the US to pick their moments to press far into the Dutch end.

One issue the US has faced is fatigue later in games, with Weston McKennie not fully fit and Yunus Musah often tiring late as well. This does not apply to Tyler Adams, he is not human, making full field sprints in injury time like it's just after the opening whistle.

Berhalter will need to use his subs more effectively if the US is going to win this game. Shaq Moore and Haji Wright disappointed off the bench against Iran and he may have been better served to get a flagging Musah off the field than the subs he did make. It wouldn’t surprise me if this one is tied going into the last 20 or so minutes for the US to close up shop and play for a draw that takes it to penalty kicks.

As an underdog, the randomness of penalties can level the playing field and in addition, one area where the US has a sure advantage is in the goal, with Matt Turner looking much more secure than the Netherlands Andries Noppert.

So, here we go, the US men get to play knockout soccer at the World Cup for the first time in over eight years.

The Dutch are favored, but in one soccer game anything can happen, that has been proven over and over again at this tournament. Even in 2014, when the US was thoroughly dominated by Belgium, they nearly sent the game to penalties in the final seconds thanks to a one of a kind Tim Howard performance in goal.

One thing is for sure, these players will leave it all on the field.

This game will be the biggest game of their lifetime for all but a handful of players on the young US team. There will be no looking ahead, all energy will be focused on winning this one game and building their legacy in US soccer lore.

Perhaps it won’t be the same for the Dutch, who have ambitions of winning the whole tournament. Maybe the US can catch this historical soccer giant overlooking them in anticipation of a showdown with Leo Messi and Argentina in the quarterfinals. Let's hope that's the case.


2:00 PM - Argentina v Australia

After a shocking upset loss to Saudi Arabia in the opening game, Argentina righted the ship and defeated Mexico and Poland to win Group C.

In the first knockout round they’ll face the Cinderella of the tournament, Australia. The Socceroos unbelievably finished second over Denmark and Tunisia in Group D, getting 1-0 wins over Tunisia and Denmark after losing to France.

Though they managed to get through the group, the underlying numbers are not kind to Australia. They were 27th in expected goals with just 1.7 and were 29th in expected goals conceded with 5.8. In other words, Australia is pretty lucky to be here.

Argentina on the other hand, was actually pretty good in the Saudi Arabia game despite the loss. They finished the group stage 3rd in expected goals at 6.3 and 2nd in expected goals conceded. So they have been one of the better teams at the tournament as expected after the initial hiccup. Leo Messi has been one of the best chance creators in the group stage and in Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez they seem to have found another reliable goal scorer.

Prediction: 3-1 Argentina; Australia had a magical run in the group stage, but they will meet their match with Argentina.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner
Friday
December 2, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3021


lamar...and the heat


These last six weeks of the NFL regular season are going to be interesting for Lamar Jackson.

There's obviously a lot at stake for the Ravens, too, but these last six weeks are really, really important for Lamar Jackson.

And one of the biggest reasons why these last six weeks are critical? The first three months of the regular season haven't gone all that well for the 5th year quarterback.

His play has been a mix of excellent, good, bad, spotty and, overall acceptable, but his performance through 11 games hasn't supported anywhere near the kind of contract he demanded in the off-season.

His advocates will point to the team's group of wide receivers and ask the obvious question: "How much better would Lamar be with three or four high quality pass catchers at his disposal?"

His critics would respond to that by saying: "Even if he had big time receivers, he'd still fail to get the ball in their hands a half dozen times a game."

And so the argument goes with Lamar. Is he a "real" quarterback or a "great athlete who plays quarterback"?

Is he capable of winning a game by only running twice for 10 yards and throwing it 33 times for 395 yards? Or must he always have 85 yards rushing and 235 yards passing in order to play at his best and highest level?

And while Jackson is far from "injury prone" at this point in his young career, there are always concerns about his playing style and the knocks he takes that land him in the trainer's room with regularity throughout the season. Just in the last two weeks, Lamar has missed practice time with hip and quad ailments. While he hasn't missed any game action, injuries tend to worsen as the season progresses.

The big question that continues to get peppered around at 1 Winning Drive is the one no one wants to answer at parties around town: Has Lamar improved significantly over the last 3 years?

He was the MVP of the entire league in 2019. He were are, in 2022. Is he significantly better now than he was three years ago?

That's what the Ravens are trying to figure out as they come up with what will be their final contract offer sometime in February of 2023. If they can't reach a contract agreement with Lamar, they'll either franchise him or seek to trade him prior to the April draft. They'll have no other option if Lamar balks at their offer.

And the more the 2022 season drags on and Lamar's performances range from hot to cold, the more the Ravens are convinced they're not going to reach an agreement with him that both parties are completely satisfied with heading into the 2023 campaign.

The Ravens already know the number and the terms that would get Lamar to say "yes" tomorrow. And they're not willing to meet that figure or the "fully guaranteed" element of the contract Lamar's seeking. So unless the quarterback changes his tune, the stalemate will continue. And continue. And continue.

And if Jackson's play doesn't improve, his ability to demand a record-setting deal diminishes.

As one long time Ravens front office veteran said to me this week: "Just because the Ravens used to be the Browns doesn't mean the Ravens are going to operate like the Browns." That, of course, was a jab at Cleveland's decision last March to provide their new quarterback, Deshaun Watson, with a fully-guaranteed contract.

But there's more to the Jackson contract situation than just money, terms, length, etc. And it involves Lamar's personality. Publicly, the Ravens have always said the right thing when it comes to their former 1st round pick and his pending new agreement. Privately, they're less than thrilled with what they consider Jackson "showing them up" via social media and other public declarations he's made over the last few months.

The Ravens read everything. Every quote. Every Twitter "like", "retweet" and published personal message. They read it all and file it away. And they're concerned about Jackson's "attitude" and public, hardline stance as it relates to his new contract.

There was a time when Jackson was just a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie in the league. "Just happy to be there", so to speak.

That Lamar is gone. Long gone. The business side of the league has changed Lamar, in the same way it would likely change anyone in their mid-20's who is sitting on a pot of gold.

And it's changed him in a way -- and this is key -- that isn't all that appealing to the Ravens. If they're going to fork over $200-plus million to someone, they want to know the recipient is going to be a good ambassador for the organization in addition to an elite, high quality football player.

The last three months have been a learning experience for everyone involved.

Lamar has learned about his value in Baltimore and the Ravens have learned more about their star player. Some of what each of them has learned hasn't been surprising; some things, though, have been eye-opening.

These next three months will be very interesting indeed.

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The Stats Nerd
And His Numbers


Contributed by #DMD's data and numbers analyst
The Stats Nerd


Odds and Ends


Running Late?

Jonas Shaffer posted a Baltimore Sun column comparing the number of times NFL teams have snapped the ball with 3 seconds or fewer on the play clock. Unsurprisingly, the Ravens led the league in this category with ~35% of snaps occurring with less than 3 seconds on the play clock.

This has been a problem for the team for a number of years. Whether it is the substitution patterns, the length of the play call lingo or a lack of urgency, the team has struggled with this. Sunday’s game in the first half was an example of how frustrating it can be for fans, coaches, and players alike.

Now the statistic Shaffer posted doesn’t exactly mean that 35% of plays are out of control last second snaps. In some cases, perhaps most cases, snapping late in the play clock is a late game strategy simply to kill the game clock. And the Ravens being a ball control, time of possession team will further exacerbate this statistic.

But with nearly double the league average in last second snaps it’s clear there is a problem that needs to be addressed.


AFC North Division Title

Pro Football Focus writer Timko Riske had an interesting stat that projected the Raven’s chances of winning the AFC North at various win totals. Based on PFFs analytics the high leverage spot for the Ravens (and the Bengals for that matter) seems to be getting that 11th win.

Here are the percentages PFF sees for each possible win total:

13 wins -- 100.00% for both teams

12 wins -- Ravens, 98.00% - Bengals, 82.00%

11 wins -- Ravens, 82.00% - Bengals, 50.00%

10 wins -- Ravens, 45.00% - Bengals 20.00%

Obviously, if either team wins all of their remaining games they will have beaten the other in week 17 and thus will win the division. But for the Ravens, it seems to be a race to 11 wins if you believe these numbers are accurate.


Scoring Down

I wrote about this early in the season but scoring still remains down league wide. Teams are averaging below 22 points per game which would be the lowest since 2009.

Is this a function of defenses reacting to the pass happy offenses over the last several years? Maybe. Defenses are playing deeper safeties meaning less players in the box. Offenses have reacted to that by running a bit more on early downs (small increase but meaningful).

Rushing efficiencies as measured by EPA/play are slightly up across all 4 downs and passing EPA/play is trending down. Make no mistake EPA/play is still far higher passing versus running but the gap is narrowing ever so slightly.

Time will tell if this is a meaningful shift or simply “noise”.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Thursday Recap –

Group E

Costa Rica 2 - Germany 4

Group E provided one of the more exciting afternoons of the tournament. Needing a win and a Spain win to advance, Germany went up early on a 10th minute Serge Gnabry header.

Costa Rica was not phased though, with a win also putting them through, they stormed back after halftime with a goal from Yeltsin Tejada then shockingly took the lead in the 70th minute when Juan Pablo Vargas forced a Manuel Neuer own goal.

For a moment, with Costa Rica and Japan winning, both Germany and Spain were set to exit the tournament in the group stage. However, Germany found their footing and stormed back.

After Jamal Musiala pinged the post twice, it was Kai Havertz who scored in the 73rd and 85th minutes to put the Germans back in the lead. Germany got one more for a 4-2 win, but it was not enough in the end because of the next result.


Japan 2 - Spain 1

Japan sent Germany packing with another shock win, doing the unthinkable in beating both Germany and Spain to win the group. Spain also scored early, with an 11th minute header from Alvaro Morata. Then they held the lead and most of the ball throughout the first half.

Just as they did against Germany, Japan made several changes at halftime and came out flying in a high press. Spain tried to play out from the back through the press and got caught on a turnover that Japan capitalized with a top of the box blast from halftime sub Ritsu Doan to tie the score in the 48th minute.

Just three minutes later Japan struck again, this time after a long ball from the back led to a cross that appeared to roll out of bounds, but was judged to be in and was sent back across goal and nodded in by Ao Tanaka.

Japan gradually eased off the press after taking the lead and defended in a more compact block, making it difficult for Spain to find ways through. By the final twenty minutes Spain didn’t seem too interested in trying to score, knowing the one goal loss would get them through in second place by goal differential over Germany.

They may have even been incentivized not to score, since they knew they would face Group F winners Morocco instead of the more experienced runners up, Croatia.

Spain finished the game with an astonishing 82% possession but failed to generate any better chances than the Japanese second half flurry. This was the same issue that knocked them out in 2018, and something they will need to fix quickly if they want to go further. Surprise group winners Japan get rewarded with a tough second round matchup against Croatia.


Group F

Canada 1 - Morocco 2

A miscommunication between Canada’s center back and keeper led to a 4th minute goal on a long range open net shot by Hakim Ziyech, putting Canada behind the eight ball from the start. Though they did well to work their way back into the game, another poor play at the back allowed Youssef En-Nesyri to get on the end of a long ball and put Morocco up 2-0 later in the half.

Canada pulled one back just before half when Sam Adekugbe forced an own goal with a sharp low cross and had several good chances in the second half as Morocco played more defensive to protect the lead they needed to advance.

Ultimately the Canadians couldn’t find the net and fell 2-1, failing to register a single point at the tournament. Morocco surprisingly won the group with Croatia and Belgium drawing, meaning they will face Group E runners up, Spain.


Belgium 0 - Croatia 0

In a game that was more entertaining than the scoreline suggests, Croatia looked the better team for long stretches, though Belgium ended up with the higher quality chances and neither found the net.

Croatia applied pressure for most of the second half, looking to get the win to finish top of the group, but Belgium ended up with the better chances, coming very close to scoring three times but not quite getting it done.

Romelu Lukaku showed his rust from not playing much this season, missing several great opportunities. As the minutes ticked down Croatia got more conservative, settling for the draw to ensure their advancement. In the end that was probably beneficial, as they avoid Spain and get a plucky Japan in the next round. For Belgium this looks like the disappointing end to their golden generation.


Friday Preview –

Group G

Cameroon v Brazil

Qualification Scenarios:

Cameroon: In with a win and a Switzerland-Serbia draw or with a win and Serbia win and win the tiebreaker.

Brazil: Already qualified. Win the group with a win or draw or a Switzerland draw or loss.

Prediction: 3-1 Brazil; Brazil will rotate a few starters, but still have plenty of firepower to keep their momentum with a win to secure the top spot in the group.


Switzerland v Serbia

Qualification Scenarios:

Switzerland: In with a win or a draw and a Cameroon draw or loss or with a draw and better tiebreaker than Cameroon.

Serbia: In with a win and a Cameronn draw or loss or a win by a greater margin than Cameroon wins.

Prediction: 2-1 Serbia; In a rematch from a tense group stage match in 2018, Serbia will get their revenge with a more clinical attack, helping them advance from the group.


Group H

Ghana v Uruguay

Qualification Scenarios: Ghana: In with a win or a draw and a South Korea draw or loss or a draw and win the tiebreaker over South Korea.

Uruguay: In with a win and a South Korea draw or loss or a win and beat South Korea on tiebreakers.

Prediction: 1-0 Uruguay; Uruguay rides their stellar defense and finds a late goal to get a close win and get out of the group to face Brazil.


Portugal v South Korea

Qualification Scenarios:

Portugal: Already qualified. Win the group with a win or draw or a Ghana draw or loss.

South Korea: In with a win by two or more goals and a Ghana-Uruguay draw or a win and Uruguay win and overtake Uruguay in the tiebreakers.

Prediction: 2-0 Portugal; Portugal gets the first goal of the game, forcing South Korea to really press to score. Portugal gets a second or more on the counter with South Korea in desperation mode.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 8th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2022-2023 season.


terps face big test tonight


It will be a battle of two ranked teams when Maryland (#22) hosts the Fightin Illinis of Illinois (#16) tonight with tipoff at 9 P.M. and the action carried by BTN.

Both teams are off to hot starts with the Terps currently unbeaten at 7-0 while Illinois sports a record of 6-1 with their lone loss being to #3 ranked Virginia. While the Terps have yet to be challenged, Illinois has a win over ranked UCLA on their early season resume.

On paper, Illinois looks formidable. Outside of their two games against top 25 teams, Illini opponents have had a tough time staying within 30 points of the team that most have predicted to come out on top of the Big Ten regular season.

Can Donta Scott's outstanding early season play continue tonight and lift Maryland to a big win over Illinois?

With most of Illinois’ 2021-2022’s scoring and rebounding no longer on the roster, coach Brad Underwood has rebuilt with some freshman guards and some really significant transfers in Terrence Shannon Jr and Dain Dainja.

Shannon is a senior who played three, injury marred, seasons with Texas Tech. Despite his physical limitations during his time with the Red Raiders, his potential is such that he was named a pre-season 1st team All-Big Ten selection this year.

He currently is averaging almost 20 points per game, and hitting 42% of his threes. He’s a crafty, and long, left-handed 6’6” guard. When he puts the ball on the floor, he’s far more effective when going to his strong, left, side. He’ll hoist a few long, high, rainbow threes tonight. Shannon will be a handful.

Dainja may not start, but his impact will be felt. His body transformation since leaving Baylor after a single year has been metamorphic. Once a 300-plus pounder, he’s now a fairly streamlined 270 with plenty of nifty moves around the basket.

Dainja is springy for a big man and has a bright future. He’s just a sophomore, like Julian Reese, but he’ll provide the Terp center with all Reese can handle.

With starting center Coleman Hawkins in the lineup, the Illini play more of a 5-wide offense using all 5 guys on the perimeter. In that set, even Hawkins will hit 3s (38%). When Dainja enters, the Illinois offense uses him as a more traditional, back-to-the-basket, post player.

I really like Daija’s game and he should be fun to watch tonight. His numbers are 11 points and almost 7 rebounds per game, but that’s accomplished in only 18 minutes of play. I expect him to be impactful tonight.

The rest of the Illinois lineup is made up of guys I’d label as quality serviceable role players. As a group, they don’t shoot the lights out from long range, but they have several guys who can hurt you if they get hot.

Skyy Clark gets the bulk of the point guard minutes, but he’s third in team assists and third in scoring. Illinois blocks over five shots per game but they turn it over more than 15 times every 40 minutes.

They are an aggressive and active defensive squad who can press if needed. Their identity isn’t as a running team, but they’ll push the ball if its there, but if they don’t have numbers, they will be more than happy to run their half court sets.

For Illinois to prevail tonight, they’ll need some offensive support from RJ Melendez and Matthew Mayer. Shannon, Dainja, Hawkins, and even guard Jayden Epps, can be counted on to match their offensive standards, but Illinois needs Melendez and Mayer to pull their weight too.

I think, outside of Dainja, the Terps match up well with Illinois. The visitors are not overwhelmingly physically superior to the home Terrapins and their guard rotation is really young when compared to the seasoned Maryland backcourt. Another fun thing to watch will be the spirited energy, especially defensively, from the wispy freshman Illinois guard, Sencire Harris. This ultra-thin 2 guard is a bundle of energy.

The Maryland chances tonight revolve around 2 areas. Hit threes and pressure those young Illini guards. If the box score, post-game, shows that Illinois won the turnover battle and also held Maryland under 30% from the three-point stripe, then I don’t see a path to victory for the Terps.

Jamir Young has been so steady at the point for Maryland, and I’m a big believer that the point guard is the most important position in NCAA basketball. Maryland has the better point guard tonight and their experienced backcourt provides a solid advantage over the freshman dominate guard rotation for Illinois.

Is that enough to counter the impact players on the Illinois roster? How does Maryland slow down Shannon and Dainja? We’ll find out tonight at 9 p.m.

This game has the potential to not only be a great college basketball game, but it could be transformational for the Maryland program. I’m going to enjoy it. The game is a “Gold Rush” game and I expect a ton of home court energy, maybe a flash mob skit. The 9 o’clock start will only add fuel (sometimes in 12oz cans) to that fire. After a 7-0 start, there’s a buzz starting to form at the XFINITY Center. It’s good to see.

So tonight, I’ll pay a pre-game visit to family members using my season tickets in section 113. Then, I’ll mosey on down to the press row and bask in the type of environment that makes college hoops so wonderful. This has become a significant big-time game against a quality, highly regarded, opponent. Will Willard’s Terps be up to the challenge? It’s going to be a fun time.

This is an extremely hard game to “call” because we know far more about Illinois than Maryland given the two rosters and their early-season schedules. It’s going to be a one-possession game throughout the final ten minutes. I’m going with Illinois in a tight one, 74-71, but there’s no question the Terps have the horses to play with the visitors tonight and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Kevin Willard’s team sitting at 8-0 on Saturday morning.

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faith in sports


I feel like every Inky Johnson video I see should be added to his "greatest hits" collection. This one, for sure, would be part of that album.

This man is an incredible inspiration, both to athletes and non-athletes alike. This video, where he addresses the Liberty University football team, is awesome. It's equal parts faith, sports and a heartwarming story. I hope you'll take 8 minutes today to watch it.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of "Faith in Sports".




Thursday
December 1, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3020


maryland gets the message


I wrote here last week that someone associated with the University of Maryland athletic department mentioned a concern to me regarding the men's basketball attendance in the first few home games of the '22-23 campaign.

A remarkably low crowd at last Friday's home game with Coppin State was enough for the folks in College Park to take action.

With more than 5,000 seats unsold for this Friday's Big Ten opener vs. Illinois, the Terps slashed ticket prices by $22.00 yesterday in what was both unexpected and appreciated by loyal followers of Maryland basketball.

It's rare for a sports franchise or college program to slash prices in-season. They risk alienating season and mini-plan holders who pre-purchased their seats in large part because doing so generally guarantees them the lowest ticket price.

Maryland basketball hopes lowering ticket prices by as much as $22 per-seat will make the Xfinity Center look like this on Friday night when Illinois comes to town.

On Twitter yesterday, @EugeneObah offered this point: "It’s nice they lowered prices. I applaud it tremendously. On the other hand, what about for those who paid ahead of time at full price? Am I wrong to think it’s somewhat unfair? Then again, maybe this is a lesson for the Athletic Department in terms of their pricing model."

This became an issue based mainly on the outstanding early season play of Maryland on the court. The school and athletic department are pleasantly surprised at the team's 7-0 start and want to take advantage of the early momentum being generated by Kevin Willard in his first season.

An announced crowd of 10,000 and some change at the Coppin State game was their "enough is enough" moment, apparently.

After a resounding win over Louisville on Tuesday night, the athletic department created a new ticket price for Friday's game with Illinois.

"There's a feeling (here) that this team might be on the verge of something special in Kevin's first year," the Maryland athletic associate told #DMD late Wednesday night. "We don't want to waste an opportunity to bring fans in to see this new, exciting product. Lowering the ticket price for Illinois was a smart, prudent decision."

It certainly makes sense given Maryland's start to the '22-23 campaign. Sure, their schedule hasn't been all that imposing, but 7-0 is 7-0. They'll face #22 Illinois (6-1) on Friday night in what will be their first stern test of the young season.

The more people in the building to see it, the better. And if the ticket price reduction works for Friday night, why not continue using it thereafter?


Greg Roman to Stanford? That was the story circulating on Wednesday after the school and John Harbaugh both confirmed that Roman has been contacted about the vacant head coach position at Stanford.

I'm not here to suggest the story was drafted out of thin air or anything like that, but is Greg Roman really ready to take over a (fairly) big time college football program and do everything that goes with it?

Stanford bound for Greg Roman?

He's familiar with the school and the program. Roman was on staff under Jim Harbaugh when the "other Harbaugh" was the head coach there. But head coach? Now? After more than a decade in the NFL?

If I'm wrong I'll come back here and say I was wrong. But I don't see Greg Roman as college football coaching material.

That said.........

I could see John Harbaugh seizing this opportunity to convince Greg Roman that a move to Stanford would be a great step for him.

No one's told me anything, but I can close my eyes and hear the conversation.

"Look, Greg, I'm just sharing this with you. I'm not sure how much longer I'm even going to be here with the Ravens. You know, 15 years is a long time in this league. Things are changing all the time. Steve wants another Super Bowl, obviously, and I haven't been able to give it to him.

So if you get this opportunity at Stanford and you're really interested in it, I think you should definitely consider it. You know how the NFL works. If I'm gone at the end of this season, you will be, too. The new coach will want his own staff and all that stuff."

Now, part of that prodding might not be totally true. Harbaugh might not think his job is in jeopardy. He has a contract through the 2025 season at (reportedly) $9 million annually. Steve Bisciotti isn't in the habit of handing out free checks for $27 million.

But Greg Roman also has to figure his days in Baltimore might be numbered if the offense sputters in the playoffs this January. He's no dummy, despite what his critics say about his play calling.

And we all know Harbaugh's not one to out-and-out just fire a staff member. He coaxed Dean Pees into "retiring" instead of firing him, except Pees took a job in Tennessee three months later.

He helped create a carefully worded going-away press release for Wink Martindale, where the term "mutually agreed to part company" was mentioned three or four times. He didn't "fire" Wink. And Wink didn't "quit". They just both decided Wink wouldn't come to work on Monday and, voila!, wouldn't you know it, the Giants needed a new defensive coordinator.

Harbs never fires anyone. Some people take umbrage with that, others think it's one of his best qualities.

And I can't see him firing Greg Roman, either.

But I can see Harbs reminding Roman that Stanford is a helluva school and the football program could use someone like him to get things going again.


I've waited more than a week to offer commentary on Rob Ambrose getting fired at Towson University after 13 seasons. To be fair, he wasn't actually "fired" -- his contract was up for renewal and the school informed him they wouldn't be entering into a new contract for 2023 and beyond.

Either way you word it, though, Ambrose won't be back at Towson next season.

And that's a shame.

Rob Ambrose will no longer lead Towson football but he left an indelible mark on the program in his 13 seasons.

Ambrose will be fine, of course. He made a nice living over the last decade-plus at Towson. He's done very well for himself. And some school, somewhere, will either make him their head coach or offensive coordinator. I'm quite certain of that.

But Towson has a unique challenge facing them now. They have to find a coach who will come in and share the same passion and love for the school that Ambrose had for his alma mater.

Sure, the most important thing in coaching -- in any sport -- is ultimately how many more games you win than you lose. And while Ambrose took Towson to new heights, football wise, early in his tenure, the going had been rough for the Tigers over the last five years.

But there's a difference, per se, between Maryland's football program and Towson's football program. "Anyone" can coach at Maryland. It's a Big Ten school with gobs and gobs of money coming into the athletic department. You don't have to be a Maryland grad to have "Maryland pride". You just need to be able to win games.

Towson is different. It's a bustling, growing and very unique institution. It's fair to say that a large majority of the young men and women who attend Towson do so without putting any emphasis on "being around the sports teams" as a reason for their enrollment.

A significant number of the kids who attend, let's say, Alabama or Clemson, do so because of the football program and their desire to be around it for for four years. It's part of the "college experience". To wit, five of my Calvert Hall golfers (since 2013) made Alabama their college choice. I can assure you it wasn't because of the school's engineering program.

I bring that example up to reference Towson and why kids go to that school. It's not for football. Or basketball. Towson is a very good school. But their student body isn't all that interested in sports. At least the stands and attendance figures say that.

So the football coach -- in this case, Rob Ambrose -- is responsible for cultivating an environment where they're creating excitement out of thin air. Ambrose was a master at that. He loved the school, loved the football program and loved coaching his guys.

He made Towson football into something.

Phil Albert will always be regarded as the king of Towson football, but in the same way that Mike Tomlin will always have a legacy position with the Pittsburgh Steelers despite never being able to "out-popular" Chuck Noll, Rob Ambrose will always maintain a legacy position at Towson.

My personal disclaimer here is that I'm friends with Rob Ambrose. We don't go to dinner regularly or anything like that. I don't have his number and haven't talked with him in the last 10 days. But he's a member at Eagle's Nest and we've played golf together and shared an adult beverage together on more than one occasion, talking about golf, football and life.

I say this all the time when I'm talking with my Calvert Hall golf team: "I'm not looking for the best 12 golfers...I'm looking for the right 12 golfers. And there is a difference."

In Towson's case right now, I don't think they're looking for the "best" coach for their football program. I think they're looking for the "right" coach. And the guy they just decided to part company with was always the "right" guy for the job, both on and off the field.

Coaches come and go. It's part of the business. But replacing someone isn't always as easy as you think it might be.

Time will tell if Towson finds the right person to replace Rob Ambrose. I hope, for their sake, that they do. But I suspect their search to find someone who cares about the school and program more than Rob will be more difficult than they realize.

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The Stats Nerd
And His Numbers


Contributed by #DMD's data and numbers analyst
The Stats Nerd


I read Drew’s piece on the Lamar Tweet and the resulting reaction to it. I also read the DMD comments on the impact of social media in a larger, societal sense. It was all quite interesting and prompted this column.

It seems most commentators view social media with disdain. I understand that but come at it slightly differently.

First off, I’m quite sure the Ravens are not happy to have to deal with this, especially on the heels of yet another incomprehensible loss. This fanbase can be laughably Jeckyl and Hyde depending on the results of each week’s games. Lamar’s tweet merely added fuel to the simmering fire resulting from the Jacksonville loss.

To me social media is one of the internet’s great inventions but has been leveraged to turn it into, perhaps, a societal net negative. The ability to access experts' thoughts in real time or communicate with your favorite artist or find like minded people from across the globe in whatever area that interests you is INCREDIBLY powerful. The knowledge a judicious user can obtain is truly remarkable and never been available in history.

I have found and discovered musical artists, movies, TV shows, etc. from social media that I likely would never have heard of. I have gotten advice from complete strangers when traveling recommending restaurants or things to avoid. There are active and informative professional communities on Twitter and Facebook that I frequently access in my work life.

However, it obviously is used by some people to project the worst of social interactions. It also has allowed charlatans and grifters a platform to defraud or deceive innocent believers of whatever it is that they are hawking.

Just this week the so-called “Liver King” was exposed as a fraud. Liver King is a guy that promoted living an “ancestral lifestyle” for better health. Eating raw meat, living in nature, etc. If that’s your jam…so be it.

He is this incredibly buff and jacked guy that purportedly obtained his physique naturally. And of course, “For the low low cost of $XX he would teach you to live your life that way and be as buff and jacked as he is!” Well isn’t that nice of him!

Except he was full of you know what. Turns out, Liver King, aka Brian Johnson (not to be confused with the AC/DC frontman of the same name), was allegedly injecting the better part of $15k/month of steroids into his backside.

Estimates are that Liver King sold in excess of $100 Million in supplements, meal programs, workout plans, etc…everything but the alleged steroids. He was full of crap!

And we all know the ways political and other figures have misled and flat out lied on social media to support whatever position they are putting forth. This isn’t limited to one side or the other. Pick an issue and there is someone out there who feels it is important enough to spin the facts to their advantage…facts be damned.

But back to Lamar and the Ravens. The Ravens are a business. A multi-billion dollar entertainment business. They have an image they are trying to protect and project into the world. I know for a fact that players are drilled on the pitfalls of social media virtually the moment they are drafted (actually before that). They are also advised on how to leverage the platforms for good and the betterment of issues they deem important.

What Lamar said was dumb. It brought negative attention to him and the team at a time when their focus should be elsewhere. I’m sure Harbaugh and the front office discussed it with him and I suspect he wishes he hadn’t replied in a moment of anger.

I have no idea if Lamar is a homophobe. Never met the man. I also don’t think a singular ill advised statement or response should define a person’s stance or position on a social issue.

Some statements: yes. If a person screams “Heil Hitler”, for example, I have a pretty good idea what this person is about and what I think about their character.

But if a young person replies to someone in a state of agitation with a muddy, clumsy “put down” it isn’t quite as clear in my eyes. I’d like to think with the benefit of hindsight Lamar would at least rephrase his response to the troll on Twitter.

I am conscious of this or at least try to be. If the butt of a joke or a put down implies that someone is gay (or whatever else) and that being gay is in itself funny, weird, worthy of a joke, etc…I think that’s kinda awful.

We shouldn’t do this for someone’s gender, race, religion, etc. so why is ok to do for someone’s sexual orientation? And just because we did it in the 70’s or 80’s or whenever doesn’t mean society can’t evolve for the better.

Anyway, if you or I respond to someone on social media in a moment of anger it probably ends right there. When a player trying to obtain the largest guaranteed contract in the history of the NFL does it it’s only just begun. The media machine has to be fed and this is a story that will feed that machine.

That’s just the way it is. That it doesn’t comport with the world view some see things doesn’t matter. Call it “canceling” or just the consequences of one’s words or actions. Call it whatever you want. This is the way the world works now and the genie isn’t going back in that bottle.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Wednesday Recap –

Group C

Poland 0 - Argentina 2

Argentina completely dominated this game, keeping the ball in the Polish end nearly the entire time. Leo Messi drew an early penalty but his shot was saved by Wojciech Szczesny, the second penalty the Polish keeper has saved in the tournament.

Although Messi played a good game aside from the penalty miss, it was his teammates who picked him up and helped get the win. Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvaraez each scored well taken goals in the second half to give Argentina a 2-0 lead.

Even down two goals, Poland seemed content to sit back and defend, as they remained in position to advance as long as Mexico didn’t score another goal against Saudi Arabia.

In the end it was a result both teams were happy with, as Mexico couldn’t get over the top against Saudi Arabia, so both Argentina and Poland advance to the knockout round.

Argentina won the group and will take on Australia, while Poland finished second over Mexico based on goal differential and will take on France.


Saudi Arabia 1 - Mexico 2

Mexico could claim they were unlucky to not pull out the result they needed in this one, putting forth a great effort to overturn the goal differential tiebreaker that Poland held.

Ultimately the Mexicans fell two goals short and bow out in the group stage for the first time since the 1970s.

After a scoreless first half, Mexico got a Henry Martin goal just after the half that gave them life. Then Luis Chavez scored an amazing free kick goal to pull them within one goal of advancing and buoy their hopes. Mexico kept the pressure on Saudi Arabia, scoring two more goals that were chalked off for offside and looked like they would find the goal to jump over Poland.

However it was Saudi Arabia who scored next, catching Mexico disorganized at the back and netting the goal that sealed Mexico’s fate.


Group D

Australia 1 - Denmark 0

Australia proved to be the Cinderella of the group stage. The Soceroos from Down Under withstood a large Denmark possession advantage and picked their moments on the counter to produce the goal they needed to get the win and take second in the group.

A great individual effort from Matthew Leckie on a counter attack provided the game’s only goal midway through the second half and the Aussies held on from there. Despite holding 69% of the ball in the game,

Denmark failed to find many good chances and crash out as one of the biggest disappointments of the tournament, scoring just one goal in three games.


France 0 - Tunisia 1

France had more or less sewn up the top of the group heading into this game, so they opted to rest many of their starters. It was still surprising how listless they looked against an inferior team, considering even their backups are all Champions League level players.

Though they maintained most of the possession, Tunisia generated nearly as many good chances and found the net on a nice effort from veteran attacker Wahbi Kazri. Unfortunately for Tunisia, the Australia win means they were eliminated despite pulling off the huge upset.


Thursday Preview –

Group E

Costa Rica v Germany

Qualification Scenarios:

Costa Rica: In with a win or with a draw and a Japan loss

Germany: In with a win and a Japan loss or with a win and a Japan-Spain draw and enough goals to win the tiebreaker

Prediction: 3-0 Germany; After getting shocked by Japan in the opener, Germany bounced back with a good performance against Spain. They have a huge talent and experience advantage over Costa Rica. Anything besides an otherworldly performance from Keylor Navas and Germany will get a comfortable win.


Japan v Spain

Qualification Scenarios:

Japan: In with a win or a draw and a Costa Rica-Germany draw or a draw and a Germany win by one goal and Japan can win tiebreaker.

Spain: Win the group with a win or a draw and a Costa Rica draw or loss. In with a draw or a loss and a Germany win and win the tiebreaker or a loss and a Costa Rica-Germany draw.

Prediction: 2-1 Spain; Spain have the technical players to pass their way through the Japan press and control the game. Japan May get one off a turnover but Spain will take advantage of Japan needing to push for the win.


Group F

Canada v Morocco

Qualification Scenarios:

Canada: Already eliminated

Morocco: In with a win or draw or a loss and a Croatia win or a loss and a Croatia loss and win the tiebreaker or a loss and a Croatia-Belgium draw and win the tiebreaker.

Prediction: 2-1 Canada; The Canadians have already been eliminated with zero points through two games, though they played well enough to beat Belgium. Canada will play for pride and spoil Morocco’s party, using their speed to get in behind. Morocco may be saved by Croatia anyway.


Belgium v Croatia

Qualification Scenarios:

Belgium: Win the group with a win and a Morocco draw or loss. In with a win or a draw and a Morocco loss and win the tiebreaker.

Croatia: Win the group with a win and a Morocco loss or draw or a win and win the tiebreaker over Morocco. In with a win or a draw or a loss and a Morocco loss and win the tiebreaker.

Prediction: 3-2 Croatia; The Croatian midfield should control this game and each team's back line can be exploited. Belgium will keep it close with their lives on the line but their aging defense won’t hold up.

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#dmd comments








Unitastoberry     December 04
If the Ravens lose today it's going to get very ugly. 🥸🤔

CIK     December 04
It’s almost like DF thinks he owns this site and doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But only a fool would complain about something this silly for the last 3 months. If only that BP dump website had a comments section…maybe the readers here wouldn’t have to deal with the silly banter. But the BP motto is “no phone calls & no comments”

larry     December 04
Haha, @MFC you know the answer to that question, this place is crawling with lemmings lol.

MFC     December 04
Creative accounting, must be an investor in FTX, last week. The total was 7-5 not 10-2. If you know what I mean.



We're now back to charting wins and losses, again I ask what happened, that's an incredible transformation this year. The site owner goes from no charting the bets, no mention of w-l's and disclaimers to full blown, "locks of the week" and yearly stats that we're asked to accept at face value. And the DMD doesn't think an explanation is necessary? Really? Wouldn't you like your messiah to discuss that change or do you continue to be the lemmings of the site and just accept anything that comes down from on high. If you know what I mean.

Steve of Pimlico     December 03
O's sign a cheaper version of Jordon Lyles and save 4- 5 million dollars.Is this their dip into free agency?

Sold my last 2 PSls yesterday at a small profit because if the Ravens don't sign Lamar the PSL market will crater.My unsolicited advice to Lamar is for him to take a seat and get real representation.

Eric in Gaithersburg     December 03
Can already hear Os fans whining and i get it, Angelos crew has earned no trust but its Dec 3rd and all teams add to the bottom of roster, plus entire point of having analytics crew is finding guys us normal people think stink that actually don't. Wait till Mar 1st to judge offseason then commence whining. Theyve stated repeatedly that #1 starter, middle of order bat and quality backup C are their priorities. They dont back up the talk then they will get rightfully ripped

alexi     December 03
"sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing" which was possible cause key players decided at the worst time to stop playing D.

DMD called for this Reyna guy the whole tourney, then today says now he can see why his PT was limited. Hmmm, perhaps the actual coach of the team knows more than the voices sitting at home watching on TV. Go figure

Chris in Bel Air     December 03
@TimD you are correct. That first goal by the Dutch was a sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing. That was a cleat of reality to the US.

That was an exciting and entertaining win by the Terps last night. Looks like this season is shaping up to be way above my initial expectations.

I see Lamar apologized for the tweet. I really liked his candor in his discussions of it and that is why so many people like him. One related note to that discussion, Lamar stated "I feel like you should be bitter after a loss. No smiles. I feel like the fans should be mad we lost, too. But not mad at us. We tried." Too often, fans seem to think the players don't care about losing as much as they, the fan do. That certainly isn't the case. They want to win and, as much as it sucks as a fan watching them lose, it is way worse for them as a player and a coach.

Howard     December 03
44-15 as a Ravens starter; big problem is his 1-3 playoff record. He needs to come up big in the playoffs.

TimD in Timonium     December 03
The Dutch are GOOD. Too much talent and experience today. Great USA run.

unitastoberry     December 03
Lamars final grades for year 5 are not out until the end of week 17 and maybe the playoffs. Lets revisit then.

Josh     December 03
Great win for the Terps!



Excellent soccer coverage here, keep up the good work!

Ray Ray     December 03
howard; wins what? in High school? 3 years at Louisville? five years in nfl? what miracle do expect to happen to change what has always happened?

Howard     December 02
44-15. Say what you want but the guy wins

Stats Nerd     December 02
@Fish...Cleveland? Depending on what metrics you look at they are generally in exactly the same spot as BAL in receiving. KC, BUF, MIA, CIN, SF are the highest rated passing groups followed by PHI, SEA, LV and DAL.

Baltimore is pretty much mid tier passing team if you look at various metrics. Some they might be as high 12th or as low as 18th. Cleveland same.



There are teams that have positive efficiency running the ball in the league: PHI, BAL, CHI, CLE, and ATL. There are 3-ish others that are efficiency nuetral running: NYG, DAl and PIT

Fish     December 02
Does that Henry guy follow the NFL?



Miami has 3 high quality pass catchers. I'm guessing Drew is counting TE's. Kansas City has 3. Cincinnati has 3. If Waller is healthy there's an argument the Raiders have 3. Cleveland might even have 3.

TimD in Timnoium     December 02
The problem with being a one-man show both on and off the field is that it gets overwhelming. @DF points out, Lamar takes ALL the heat. Does he alone get all the glory with a Super Bowl win or a giant, guaranteed contact? Well, maybe. But that's a lot of crap to handle in the meantime.



Think how much easier THIS exchange would be. Reporter - "Hey, Lamar, how's the contract coming along? Lamar - "I dunno, man. I'm only thinking about beating the Broncos."



Boom. EASY.


henry     December 02
"three or four high quality pass catchers" How many teams have this?? I'll give you a hint - zero lol.

Lamar is definitely "off" this year. Some may be injuries, but from the cheap seats, I think he feels restricted by the coaching staff. The voices around him are all saying "just go ball man" and G-Ro and Harbs say "do it our way, it will work". Then it works maybe one out of 10 times.

I am sure Lamar wants to win games, but he also wants to be on SC Top 10 every week. He's clearly frustrated. Is it ego, or money? Or both? But the big question is, who is pushing 100% guarantee? Is that really him, or the NFLPA, or his "people"??

@David is right, the results have not been as bad as the perception, but Chris in B is also right, Lamar is a different guy this year.

It might boil down to which would the Ravens regret more, not signing him, or signing him?

David Rosenfeld     December 02
You know, it's fine to talk about Lamar's play, his future, his maturity, etc. It's fine if you want him around forever, or if you'd rather that not happen.

I just keep coming back to the fact that this team, this year, has played 660 minutes of football and has been behind less than 10 percent of the time. I can't say exactly what that says about Lamar Jackson, but it sure isn't negative.

joe of bel air     December 02
I hope the Ravens move on from Lamar after this season. His passing stats will never resemble those of Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and others. Defensive coordinators have seen LaMar for 5 years and a lot have figured out the best way to defend him, look what Jacksonville and Carolina did. The fact is Lamar is an outstanding runner and a mediocre passer. Look at Can Newton's career. He is only 33 years old,won an MVP award and his career has been over for the last 3 years. The fact is running QBs don't last very long in the NFL and that is what Lamar is, a running QB. I think the Ravens have gotten all they could out of Lamar and would be wise to move on. Trade him for some draft picks and see what Huntley can do in 2023.

Chris in Bel Air     December 02
"Here was a time when Jackson was just a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie in the league. "Just happy to be there", so to speak.

That Lamar is gone. Long gone. The business side of the league has changed Lamar, in the same way it would likely change anyone in their mid-20's who is sitting on a pot of gold."

There's no doubt in my view, as the avg fan, Lamar seems different this year. His demeanor in the games and sidelines aren't as enthusiastic. His press conferences and sound bites are drier and more canned. Some of this is maturity and understanding he's about to be asked the same ol' questions over and over. But I think a lot of it is the contract and money weighing on him. He's playing a game of poker and he's trying not to tip his hand. If I had to bet one way or the other, and Lamar was 100% candid, I think he believes there are forces holding him back: Lack of WRs. Play calling. The schemes. His D giving up game winning scores in the last seconds. And, certainly his own mistakes. Like many are saying, he's betting on himself and it's not panning out, so far, like he believed it would.

With that said, I would want him back as the Ravens QB but at the right price that allows the Ravens to be competitive. He is a sensational athlete and good QB. To answer Drew's question, Lamar is way better when he has success running the ball and passing (e,g., 85 yds rushing and 235 yds passing). He just doesn't thrive dropping back most of the game... and of course we can talk endlessly about why that is.

K.C.     December 02
Anyone have details on Nestor getting kicked off Twitter? Please tell!

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Memo to Lamar. Love ya, man, but it's time to grow up. Hire an agent. Add a PR team. And delete Twitter from your phone. You'll be much happier.

Unitastoberry     December 02
Drew you just pulled a Howard Cosell with your December 2022 analysis of Lamar compared to 2019 Lamar. He bet on himself and as of today he's losing. Now with football being the ultimate team sport his defense isn't helping him either. His social media antics are childish. But then most people his age take to Tic Tock etc and do stupid stuff that gets monetized rather than get a part time service job etc. He has 6 games for the guarantee money Lamar to show up and pull a Frank Robinson or John Unitas move and put the team on his shoulders to raise the Lombardi.It was his bet not Steve's.

Hal     December 02
Agree with @Herman. Top drawer edition of The Dish today. Well done everyone involved!!

JP     December 02
It's amazing we can't get a column about Lamar in the Baltimore Sun like the one in DMD today.

Any update on G-Ro going to Stanford? What are the streets saying DF?

Delray RICK     December 02
RAVENS just can't get a top receiver nomatter what. Looking at stats we are nowhere to be found. ANDREWS was but after being hurt not in top 10. Looking at other teams so many are " burners". We have them run 10 yards and that's it.

Herman     December 02
I've taken a sabbatical from posting but I'll give kudos to the site owner on today's publication. Chock full of good material.

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Quick follow-up from yesterday, thank you @DF for the Rob Ambrose update. I hope, no expect, he'll move on to bigger and better things. He did a great job at Towson for a long time. I can still remember his weekly updates in-season on your morning radio show. Loved his insights. And his passion. Might have made some of us better rec league coaches. Made me a better person, I'm sure of that. Good guy.

JoeP     December 02
Radio Mogul suspended from Twitter?

He's finally done it..."Made it Ma, Top of the World''. But much like Cody Jenson(James Cagney in White Heat), he's standing on a huge tank of gasoline.

Recently he had a conversation with another unknown "sportswriter" and they talked about Springsteen. In that non linear jumble he stated

1. He's best friends with Nils Lofgren

2. He's been backstage with the Springsteen group "dozens of times". And turned down numerous chances for more back stage access.

3. Can't access tickets to the shows, except in Southern Cities where they ''hate Bruce".



The obvious inconsistencies are never addressed.

1. Best friends with Nils? "I haven't talked with him for years".

2. 100%...that he would turn down back stage access? No way, big time Adderall fueled lie

3. So a promoter would play in cities that were hard to sell? Facts are the tour is sold out.

4. And why is he worried about getting in? One phone call to his best friend, he's back stage every night.

Maybe Nils reported him to Twitter for "misinformation". How will this affect his 100k imprints/day social media claims?



We need water Gunga Din(MFC), bring it to us.

Billy     December 01
Mr Positive got suspended from Twitter lol. And he's been on his high horse about Lamar being profane? Perhaps @MFC has an explanation.

Ken     December 01
I am new to the area and just found the Morning Dish (not a native of Baltimore or Maryland) and must say I'm very impressed with the daily articles and such.



Who is Drew (does he have a byline?)? As for the other writers who have staff positions at the web site, kudos on a job well done.



There's nothing like this in my hometown (Denver) and I'm glad I discovered it.



I think your Ravens will have an easy go of it with my Broncos on Sunday. I'll be there to witness the carnage.

MFC     December 01
Ambrose got a raw deal. The new AD wants his "own" man, many times that doesn't work out either. It would only be fitting given the President of TU is leaving for the Un of Louisville (wonder if she attended the game the other night) that the new President take the same approach and cans the AD.What goes around comes around.

JeffWell     December 01
@David R: I agree 100%. Lamar would truly benefit from some professional guidance. I wonder if he feels that he doesn't need that kind of assistance or if it just a case of keeping the money in the family.



MFC: Why on earth are you aiming a comment towards me? I guess I was next on your list of things to say to people. You never run out of those types of comments.

Do you really believe that a "schoolgirl choir" is a negative thing. Wow, another far left sexist/misogynist. You really can't make this stuff up.

David Rosenfeld     December 01
Lamar is an interesting case because he doesn't have anyone who is helping him establish his "brand." We all know about the (lack of) professional help when it comes to his business affairs, etc. Clearly social media is part of it.

At this point, Lamar really is very authentic. He's not Cal Ripken or Peyton Manning, or any athlete/entertainer whose entire existence seems dedicated to protecting and projecting an image. I admire that...he truly is a guy whose play on the field speaks for him.

At the same time, I do think that Lamar has seemed immature this year, even as he approaches 26 years old with 4 1/2 seasons as the team's starting QB. The Ravens could use a leader, not just a uniquely talented QB, and he's not there.

sammy     December 01
Great post by Stats Nerd today. Social media is oft maligned, deservedly so, but as he points out today, there's a ton of positives as well. We've likened DMD and its comments section to "people at a bar", and social media is the same. One night you might run into a drunk who is a total jerk and full of BS opinions, and you can't get away fast enough. Next time you might come across someone who has been somewhere you are planning to go and is nice enough to share some insights into what to do and not do there. Or someone with well thought out opinions on topics that interest you, and you chat all night long.

Now the challenge is, can we weed out the bad and keep only the good?

Unfortunately, like with most things in our world, the answer is no. You gotta take the bad with the good. But just like you can leave a bar, you can choose to partake (or not) in social media on your own terms. Closing all the bars would be an insane solution to eliminating ***holes in bars lol. Great column Stats Nerd.

Unitastoberry     December 01
I've been following the ascent of Deion Sanders as head coach at Jackson State. It's rather amazing what's he's done there in 3 years including COVID and him almost losing his entire foot. He's a recruiting machine and he hires old NFL players and coaches for the x and O's. But on the field he's tough in practice and strict on discipline. Not what you might expect from Prime who used to hang with gang bangers etc in his youth. I'd love to see him stay at Jackson State leave the SWAC and go independent. He can steal guys from Saban and Harbaugh etc every day . I'd fire the guy at Maryland in a second to hire Prime.

Fred M     December 01
I have a question for the mailbag.



Was the girl that watched the 1980 Olympic Hockey game the Girlfriend that you stole from Monk or Herman? Or was it some other critic?

MFC     November 30
@Jeffwell, you must be seeking a solo in the "schoolgirl choir" concert.

Jeffwell     November 30
Ravens need to sharpen up their offense and 4th quarter D, if they expect to win their division. If not, even with a relatively easy schedule, they may find themselves on the outside looking in.



I don't think Delray is the only one, "who time and time again tells us who he is". I mean "Pot, meet kettle." Wow. At least he doesn't seem to have an agenda to push.

Chris in Bel Air     November 30
Awesome win for the USMNT but nothing to the level of the hockey's team's win over the Ruskies and eventual win over Finland for the gold medal. This soccer team will need to go beat Brazil (assuming they would face them at some point after NETH) and win the Cup before we can have that conversation.

@Such - Completely agree. I never had a social media account and never will. I will take your thoughts a step further. Given the misinformation posted and the enabling of the worst social behaviors of people, I'm not sure there is a net benefit to society from social media. Sure, businesses can grow from it and people can see pics of loved ones and friends from a far. But, the negatives are so prominent, I don't believe the good outweighs the bad.

Looking forward to see how the Terps b-ball team fares against some real teams. They have checked all the boxes presented to them so far.

kj     November 30
Amen Such, well said.

Such     November 30
I recall a bumper sticker from years ago that read Kill Your Television. The 21st Century adaptation of that would read Kill Your Social Media.

I left Facebook over two years ago I think? I deleted my Twitter account a few months ago. I never had much use for Instagram or Snapchat because I'm not 19 years old. And TikTok seems to be the place where boredom goes to die in a flurry of 15 second videos. I really don't understand our fascination with it.

The reality is that social media has created a parallel reality where people feel free to say things to others that they would never say in a personal encounter. It's exposed the worst elements of human behavior, and it's tacitly endorsed that. People seem to reflexively insult each other instead of engaging in any kind of effort to understand one another. What an ugly way to behave.

It's not only Lamar Jackson who's complicit in this type of reactionary behavior, either. There are countless athletes, politicians, musicians and celebrities who get into these ridiculous back and forths online. It's not a good look.

Kill Your Social Media. You'll find it's really good for your mental and emotional health.

Steve of Pimlico     November 30
Nothing in my life will top US beating the Commies.Orioles winning WS in 66 and Ravens2012 SB run are 2nd and 3rd on my personal list of all time favorites.

MFC     November 30
Delray time and again tells you who he is, believe it.



Awesome game, ecstatic for the USA, if ( big if) they win the next one look out. The bars will be packed and people will be purchasing swag. It can ignite a country with excitement.



The Terps and Willard are on a roll. Willard is the real deal. The kids play hard all the time. Do that and you always have a chance. Amazing to watch these college games knowing full well the kids are getting hefty sums to play. The college coach is now coaching salaries, totally different atmosphere.




Chris K     November 30
There have been pretty big moments between 1980 and now that surpass getting out of the 1st round in 2022. the women winning in 1999 was AWESOME! Personally THAT is right up there with 1980! The 1994 mens team beating columbia to advance seemed much bigger than this. The original dream team was pretty special. IF they can win at least 1 game in the knockout THEN this will be a huge deal. Until then it's pretty far down the list.

Unitastoberry     November 30
What's the over/under on how many times the tv camera shows Watson's accusers on Sunday?

The US high school college hockey team beating the Russian pros in 1980 would be like St Francis beating KC in the Super Bowl.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 30
@ DELRAY RICK, Second on my list and so on, NBA Basketball, WBA Basketball, Ice Hockey, all the other sports I can tolerate watching.

TimD in Timonium     November 30
It was a GREAT win yesterday by USMNT. Boring game? Any of it? Felt more like riding a roller coaster. Tough task beating the Netherlands, we'll see. Congrats to a much-criticized defense that allowed just a single goal vs Wales, Iran, and England. Did not expect that.

David Rosenfeld     November 30
For what it's worth, KenPom suggests that Saint Louis (42) will win the Atlantic 10, and Miami (44) will finish 12-8 in the ACC. Early bracketology suggests that Miami is an at-large NCAA tournament team.

Of course we are 7 games into the season, so take that however you want to. And certainly these next 4 games are a true test and are very unlikely to all be wins, though it's good that only one of them is a road game.

I'd like to reiterate that I am not taking a veiled swipe at anyone basketball IQ.

Wednesday
November 30, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3019


best american sports win since 1980?


Some of you reading this might have actually watched the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey win over the Soviet Union.

I watched it. I remember where I watched it, in fact.

I'd embarrass the young lady from Glen Burnie H.S. I was dating back then but I'm sure she's still trying to erase that particular portion of her life from her memory. But anyway...she knows who she is and what part of the couch we occupied watching the game.

I remember it well, the last minute flurry around the American goal as the heavily-favored Soviet squad tried to even the score, the famous countdown from Al Michaels, the iconic "Do you believe in miracles?" call as time expired and the celebration that ensured around goaltender Jim Craig.

I was a nervous wreck watching that unfold back in 1980.

Christian Pulisic (left, #10) provided the U.S. with a historic goal on Tuesday as the U.S. advanced to the final 16 of World Cup '22 with a 1-0 win over Iran.

Yesterday, almost 43 years later, I had the privilege of watching another American team gut out a critical international victory. Different sport, yes. Different circumstances, too. The U.S. side was a slight favorite yesterday instead of a massive underdog.

But it was still a significant opportunity to help expand the growth of a sport in 2022 just like it was in 1980 when the Americans stunned the world by beating the Soviets and later winning the hockey gold medal.

It might not have been the most important soccer victory our country has ever recorded yesterday, but you'd be hard pressed to come up with more than two or three that were more vital than the 1-0 triumph over Iran in Qatar on Tuesday that sends the U.S. side to the knockout stage of the World Cup.

The outcome and victory were big. Big indeed.

And for someone like me, in particular, who spent nearly two full decades in the professional soccer business, the win took on a little extra level of importance, for I know firsthand how hard the soccer community has worked over the last 40 years or thereabouts to make an impact in the American sports scene.

I didn't shed a tear yesterday when the final whistle blew, but I was in the neighborhood of doing so as the American players fell to the ground in exhausted jubilation. Winning that game means we're continuing to make progress as a soccer nation. We're still in the "walk" portion of "crawl, walk run", but we're stepping forward for sure. The U.S. performance yesterday proved it.

It was a weird game in a lot of ways.

The U.S. deserved to win. They scored the game's only goal. They dominated the first 60 minutes of the contest. But the last 30 minutes plus extra time were largely dictated by an Iranian team desperate for a tying goal and their own trip to Saturday's knockout encounter vs. the Netherlands.

The McKennie-to-Dest-to-Pulisic goal in the 39th minute was a thing of beauty. It cost the U.S. their best player, as Pulisic was unable to play in the second half due to a bruised hip, but it turned out to be the game-winning tally. It was worth the bruise, in other words.

There were other opportunities to extend the lead that went unfulfilled, which served to keep Iran in the game and interested. A Tim Weah goal late in the first half was called back due to offsides. Weah had two other reasonable chances to score in the first half and failed to connect on either of those as well.

A couple of Iran chances in the second half were oh-so-close, including a header in the 92nd minute that missed by only a couple of feet. There was even a scary moment in the game's final minute where American Cameron Carter-Vickers was involved in a situation that could have been ruled a penalty kick, but the "eye in the sky" took a quick look at it and ruled there was nothing there to evaluate.

In the end, the right team won, even if it was all closer and far more dangerous than any of us wanted it to be.

And now, a Saturday date with a Dutch team that will be heavy favorites is their next challenge. With a healthy Pulisic, the Americans would have a 25% chance of winning. With a hobbled or missing Pulisic, that number is now probably more like 10%. In other words, it was always going to be a tough ask to beat the Netherlands -- Pulisic's injury makes it all that much more difficult to pull off.

But there are some shining stars in this World Cup who will give the U.S. a puncher's chance on Saturday, Pulisic or not. Tyler Adams has been the team's best player thus far and -- at least in the round-robin portion of the competition -- deserves consideration for the All-11 squad.

Yunas Musah had a remarkable performance on Tuesday, as did Sergino Dest, who was subbed out late due to fatigue and yellow card fear. Tim Ream was also a standout defensively once again. And in his 20 minutes or so of action, Walker Zimmerman acquitted himself nicely and likely earned another starting role vs. the Dutch on Saturday.

The only pressing question for Gregg Berhalter will center on Josh Sargent and his availability after he suffered a knee injury late in yesterday's game. Will he press his luck once again with the likes of Haji Wright, who has done next to nothing in his two appearances thus far in Qatar? Would he give Jesus Ferreira a start? Or would he slide Tim Weah up top and give Gio Reyna the start most U.S. followers believe he deserves?

So far in this World Cup, Berhalter's lineup decisions have panned out well. But Saturday's game is win-or-go-home. Play the wrong guy or sit the wrong guy on Saturday and you're flying home on Sunday.

No matter what happens vs. the Netherlands, though, nothing will change the fact that the Americans didn't lose a game in the round-robin portion of the tournament. They're through to the knockout stage, which 16 other teams will fail to do by the time group play ends later this week.

And they did something in their first 3 games that a U.S. team hadn't done in 92 years in the World Cup; they've recorded two shutouts. In fact, a keen soccer follower would mention that the Americans haven't allowed a "run of play" goal in 270 minutes of soccer thus far. The only goal they've conceded came via a penalty kick.

American soccer is improving. The steps might be small. And sometimes we might not even recognize them. But progress is being made.

Just ask the teams from Wales, England and Iran if you don't believe me. None of them were able to beat us over the last eight days.


U.S. Player Grades vs. Iran

MATT TURNER, GK (8) -- Wasn't called on to do anything in the first half but was on his toes throughout the final 45 minutes and injury time and was always in the right place at the right time. Showed everyone that Berhalter made the right choice in goal for the three games of group play.

ANTONEE ROBINSON, DEF (5.5) -- I'll stop short of calling his performance "shaky" but his touch on the ball was suspect throughout the game. Had 70 touches and lost 27 of them. Yikes. By far his worst outing of WC '22.

Sergino Dest continued his outstanding play in the U.S. win over Iran on Tuesday.

TIM REAM, DEF (9) -- Turned in another solid performance and is almost certainly the "surprise performer" of this World Cup for the U.S. side. Completed 54 of 59 passes in 90+ minutes. Had even more heat on him yesterday when Carter-Vickers was the announced starter and came through in a big way.

CAMERON CARTER-VICKERS, DEF (6.5) -- One of the few Americans who was "off" in the first half, he improved as the game went on but was involved in a scary scene in the final minute where he could have been called for a penalty on a play in the box.

SERGINO DEST, DEF (8) -- Was once again outstanding, particularly in the first half, even though his "lost possession" numbers climbed a bit as the game wore on. Subbed out in the 82nd minute but was certainly a menacing presence while on the field.

TYLER ADAMS, MF (9) -- The only thing he hasn't yet done in WC '22 is score a goal. Everything else has been sublime. Had 84 touches vs. Iran, lost the ball just 8 times, and completed 62 of 69 pass attempts. Defended with both grace and authority and was, once again, a "Man of the Match" contender for the Americans.

WESTON McKENNIE, MF (6) -- It was an uneven performance from Weston but it's more and more apparent he's probably operating at about 75% fitness. Gave it all he could but losing possession often (11 times in 42 touches) led to him being subbed out in the 65th minute.

YUNAS MUSAH, MF (9) -- A less than stellar effort on a 2nd half free kick from 20 yards out was the only blemish on an otherwise out-of-this-world performance. 44 of 49 in passing and lost the ball just 15 times in a game where much of the action went through him, especially in the 2nd half with Pulisic out. "Man of the Match" for the U.S. in my book.

TIM WEAH, F (7) -- Showed signs of emerging in the first half but misfired on a couple of chances that would have put the Americans up early. Seems like he's "fighting the ball" a bit, as his touches are always either too heavy or too soft. Subbed out in the 80th minute.

CHRISTIAN PULISIC, F (9) -- Scored one of the best and most important goals in U.S. World Cup history in the 39th minute. Couldn't play in the final 45 but the damage was done by then. While he hasn't been out-of-this-world "great" thus far, he's showing everyone why American soccer will run through him for the next 6-10 years.

JOSH SARGENT, F (7) -- A significant upgrade in his performance from the Wales game. Provided several nice runs and touches on the ball in dangerous situations. Needs a goal to break out, maybe? If he's healthy, which is yet to be known, he probably did enough to earn a start vs. the Dutch on Saturday.


Substitutes -- Zimmerman (9...redeemed himself with a remarkable 15 minutes), Aaronson (6...didn't do much with his 45 minutes but the last 20 of it was spent defending, mainly), Acosta (6...hardly touched the ball in his 20 minutes), Moore (4...how does he continue to play? It's baffling), Wright (5...his brain fart in the last minute where he didn't take the ball to the corner was almost catastrophic).

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the lamar tweet


I've received a number of e-mails and Twitter messages from folks wondering when I'm going to opine in full on the Lamar tweet from Sunday's post-game.

So here goes...

It's a big deal that the quarterback of the team got snotty with a nobody from Twitter. It's not a good look. The language he used wasn't a good look. The controversy it created wasn't a good look. I could be wrong on this, but I don't think you'd see Mahomes, Allen, Brady, Hurts, etc. getting mixed up in something like this.

But was Lamar Jackson hurling an anti-gay slur at the guy? I don't know. But I don't think he was. And for ESPN to publish a comment on their own social media account alluding to that was a terrible look from them. If you want to publish a message that says, "Jackson slams fan with vulgar tweet", go ahead and do that. It was the truth.

But to include the words "Jackson" and "anti-gay phrase" was bad form from them. Of course, nearly everything that's said these days offends someone, somehow. Or, at the very least, people like ESPN take the lead in labeling it "offensive" when it very well might not be intended that way at all.

Lamar Jackson is to blame. He authored the message. That he hasn't apologized for it is probably his biggest faux pas at this point. That the Ravens PR folks haven't issued something either on their behalf or his behalf is also a mistake.

This is the world we live in. We created this, where everything that's said or written can be sliced apart to produce something "offensive".

And in particular, any commentary at all these days that even brushes the surface of "gay" is bound to create a firestorm. I saw an episode of "Three's Company" recently where Larry made a comment to Jack about being "light in the loafers". That show, of course, was a hit in the 1970's.

Can you imagine an athlete saying that about anyone in 2022? They'd be fined, suspended, ridiculed and the center of attention for weeks.

I got into a Twitter debate with someone a few days ago because I said "Lamar is a great athlete but that doesn't make him a great quarterback." Their response? "So you're saying he's not a good quarterback?"

That's what they took from my statement. People are nuts. But it's what we do. We take something that someone said (ESPN) and massage it into something it's not for the purposes of creating a story that really isn't there.

I don't know Lamar Jackson at all. I have no idea if he's pro-gay, anti-gay or anything else. If you made me wager, based on what I've seen from the young man, I'd wager Lamar Jackson isn't "anti-gay" in the least.

He's had gay teammates throughout his athletic career. He might even have one now for all we know. He might have gay family members. I don't think Lamar Jackson was intending to "out himself" on Sunday night as someone who is against the gay community with that tweet he published.

But it wasn't smart of him to hit "send" on that tweet. I will say that without hesitation.

Hopefully Lamar has learned from it. And hopefully ESPN has, too, although I doubt it. People like them never learn. They think they're speaking for everyone else when, in reality, they're just trying to get folks to applaud their convictions.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 8th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2022-2023 season.


terps clobber hapless louisville


The Maryland Terrapins started the second half, last night, by knocking down 5 straight three pointers. That explosion from long distance turned a comfortable 10-point lead into a laugher as the Terps ran their record to 7-0 while embarrassing the Louisville Cardinals in the ACC/Big Ten challenge affair, 79-54. The Cardinals are now winless in seven tries.

The Terps were paced by Donta Scott’s 18 points (7-12, 3-6) and Jamir Young’s 15 point, 5 assist effort. EL Ellis had 15 for a Louisville team that struggled to get off good shots. The Cardinals shot 34% from the field, just 25% from the three-point line and tallied 6 assists against 13 turnovers.

Donta Scott led the Terps with 18 points on Tuesday night as Maryland romped past Louisville.

Both teams emptied their benches early and the last 15 minutes of the game were essentially “garbage time”.

The Terps got off to a 9-5 start behind predictably poor Louisville shooting, a couple of Cardinal turnovers, and some solid Maryland defense. The Terps opened with a zone defense and Louisville shot 2 for 8 starting the game. The Terps connected on 4 of their first 8 shots including a three by Young.

By the time Louisville ended a 5-minute scoring drought, the Terps had built an 18-6 lead. The Cardinals had amassed 5 turnovers and made just 3 of 13 shots, including missing all 4 of their three-point attempts. Louisville had 4 offensive rebounds but they translated into just 2 points.

At the under eight-minute timeout, the Terps lead was 23-13. The Cardinals had 6 turnovers and zero assists. The Terps had cooled off from the three-point stripe (2-10). If they hadn’t gone dry from long range, the 10-point advantage would have been much more. The shots were there, but the Terps kept misfiring. Julian Reese had yet to score, but the lackluster Louisville offense failed to require the Terp center to carry any scoring load.

Maryland took a 37-26 lead into the halftime break. Scott had 12 points, mostly off of nifty one-on-one moves. When Scott wasn’t scoring, it was Jamir Young who controlled the Terp offense. Young had 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists during the opening 20 minutes. His assist total was a first half team high while his 4 rebounds tied him for the team lead.

The second half featured consecutive successful 3’s by Don Carey, Scott, and Hakim Hart. The 9-2 run to start the second 20 minutes pushed the Terp lead to 18 and provided a cushion that Louisville would never challenge. The Cardinals had made just one three, compared to six for Maryland. The Louisville offense simply lacks the firepower to overcome an 18-point hole. The game was over, even if the clock showed plenty of time.

The Terp lead finally hit 20, 52-32, when Scott hit Maryland’s fifth three in a row. At this point the Cardinals stopped playing defense and showed no heart. The Terps bulge grew to over 30.

With their earlier victory against Miami, Maryland now has 2 wins against ACC schools. Those two schools, however, might be fighting for the bottom spot in their conference. Miami is bad, Louisville is worse.

When assessing the potential outcome of this game, I greatly overestimated the effort that Louisville brought to their home court. They had 4 offensive rebounds early in the game, but finished with just 7. They often lost their man in transition defense and just didn’t scrap and fight. They failed to give maximum effort when looking for a quality shot and those five Terp 3’s starting the second half totally sucked the resolve out of the Cardinals.

I’m still not ready to anoint this Terp team as the Cinderella of the Big Ten. They have a KENPOM strength of schedule of 290 and just beat a team ranked lower than Lipscomb, Tarleton St, and Quinnipiac. For sure, they have crushed whatever team has been in their way, but who would have guessed that Miami, St. Louis, and Louisville would be so bad?

We’ll certainly know much more about the 2022-2023 Terps after they tangle with KENPOM’s #22 team, Illinois, on Friday. That game will be followed by games against KENPOM #39 Wisconsin, #12 UCLA, and finally #3 Tennessee. All of these contests occur within a 2-week span.

A couple of wins against that level of competition could surely change my mind about this Terps squad.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Tuesday Recap –

Group A

Senegal 2 - Ecuador 1

Sengal took the lead with a late first half penalty by Ismaila Sarr. Ecuador evened the score midway through the second half when Moises Caicedo got free on a corner kick and directed in a goal.

The goal put Ecuador back in position to advance but it didn’t last long as Senegal regained the lead just three minutes later when Kalidou Koulibaly slammed home a volley after a deflection from a free kick.

Senegal conceded most of the possession to Ecuador when they were in the lead but still finished with 14 shots to 9 and created more big chances in the game. They held onto the one goal lead to get the win and secure their spot in the knockout round where they’ll face a tough test from England.


Netherlands 2 - Qatar 0

Netherlands dominated the hosts en route to an easy 2-0 victory to win the group and advance to the knockout round. Breakout star Cody Gakpo scored again for the Dutch, netting a 26th minute goal to put them up 1-0. Midfielder Frenkie de Jong doubled the lead shortly after halftime with a putback on a point blank rebound. The Netherlands will pose a difficult opponent for the US in the next round.


Group B

England 3 - Wales 0

England rotated some players and still dominated Wales 3-0 to cruise to the top of the group. They got two goals from Marcus Rashfordn and one from Phil Foden, both new insertions to the lineup. They will move on to face Senegal in the next round.


USA 1 - Iran 0

They did it! The USA are moving on to the knockout round for the third time in their last four World Cups. In their first World Cup appearance since 2014 the Americans did just enough to get through to the round of 16, finishing second in the group. No matter what happens next, coach Gregg Berhalter has earned a passing grade, now he and the team will try to go for extra credit.

The US got a Christian Pulisic goal during a dominant first half then hung on for dear life to see out the 1-0 win that secured their advancement. It was a nerve wracking conclusion as the game started to follow a similar script as the opener against Wales, not to mention numerous Ravens games this season. But in the end the good guys won this time.

Berhalter maintained most of the lineup from the previous game against England, with the only changes being Josh Sargent stepping back into the striker role and Cameron Carter-Vickers replacing Walker Zimmerman at center back.

The Americans set up in their usual 4-3-3, though in defense they slid into the 4-4-2 alignment they used against England, allowing the front two of Sargent and Weah to press the Iranian center backs. The other slight change was Weston McKennie taking one of the center spots in the midfield with Yunus Musah lining up on the outside right.

Iran came out in a slightly more aggressive formation to start the game than expected, beginning in a 4-4-2 formation with dangerous strikers Azmoun and Taremi up top and pressing into the US end for a bit. They didn’t stay that way for long though, switching to a more defensive 4-5-1 shape midway through the first half and settling into a lower defensive block.

The US quickly grabbed control of the game, largely controlling possession with the “MMA” midfield hounding Iran anytime the ball turned over. The Americans weren’t just passing the ball around at the back, they were able to generate some decent chances early on, firing some warning shots at Iran.

Inside the first ten minutes, Musah found space in the box and hit a strong volley well over the goal. A little later Musah found Pulisic in the box for a header but he couldn’t generate enough power to trouble the keeper. Sergino Dest also hit a dangerous ball across the six yard box that forced the keeper to dive out and punch it away.

The first big chance for the US came in the 28th minute when a Josh Sargent shot was deflected and fell to an open Tim Weah in the box, but his header was rushed and went weakly to the keeper.

Two minutes after that, Dest cut inside from the right and beat several defenders on the dribble then hit a left footed shot from the top of the box but it was blocked by a defender. The US was knocking again three minutes later when Sargent collected a loose ball in the box and dropped it to Weah who hit a powerful strike over the bar.

In the 38th minute the Americans’ persistence paid off. Weston McKennie got space on the ball in midfield and hit a well placed crossfield long ball that found Dest streaking behind the back line. Dest settled under the ball and headed it back across the goal where Christian Pulisic met it with a determined run and deflected it in, taking a brutal collision with the keeper for his efforts, but netting the US a 1-0 lead.

There were a couple of good US chances to double the lead just before halftime.

Tyler Adams made a phenomenal play in the middle of the field to avoid two defenders then play a long ball to Sargent, but he and Weah took one too many passes and botched the chance.

In the final minutes of first half injury time it looked like the US had the insurance goal when McKennie played a great through ball for Weah sprinting behind the defense and Weah beat the keeper with the outside of his right foot. The celebration was muted when the linesman’s flag went up for offside, which was confirmed by VAR by the slightest of margins.

The US was completely dominant in the first half, maintaining a heavy possession advantage, creating a good amount of chances and keeping Iran from even registering a shot. Christian Pulisic was forced off at halftime due to the injury from the collision, with Brenden Aaronson taking his place.

After Sargent had a half chance for the US with a shot from a tough angle, Iran got their best chance of the game to that point in the 52nd minute. A well placed cross into the six yard box found Saman Ghoddos but he couldn’t head it on goal.

Needing a goal to stay alive, Iran got more aggressive in the second half, pushing the ball quicker up the field and taking more risks. Meanwhile, the US gradually got more defensive, conceding more and more possession to the Iranians.

In the 68th minute the US got a decent chance with a free kick just outside the box, however, despite having free kick specialist Kellyn Acosta subbed onto the field, Musah took the kick and sent it over.

Each team used their full allotment of five subs down the stretch of the game and Iran’s had better effect. An injury to Josh Sargent paused the game for a bit, forcing him out of the game and adding an agonizing amount of injury time to the end of the game.

As the last minute of regulation ticked off, nine minutes went up for stoppage time. With Iran controlling the ball at this point, it was a long nine minutes, but they were mostly just frantically hitting crosses into the box which the US defense was dealing with.

However, there was one more scare, in the ninth and final minute of stoppage time, Iran sent a cross in that found a tumbling Taremi and the ball squirted past Matt Turner, but was cleared away before getting to the goal. Finally the whistle blew and the US could breath, having secured second in the group and a spot in the knockout tournament.

The US finished with 12 shots to Iran’s 4 and a higher expected goal calculation as well, but all that really matters is 1-0. They did what they couldn’t do against Wales and rode out the storm to get the victory. It would have been nice if they put away one of their insurance goals or played a stronger second half, but at the end of the day they got the job done.

There were plenty of strong individual efforts in this game. Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic, or Sergino Dest would all make good choices for Man of the Match.

Adams was huge once again, vacuuming up loose balls all over the field and thwarting Iran nearly every time they tried to break on the US. He registered 12 ball recoveries and won 7 of 10 duels, while also providing some outstanding moments in attack and completing 90% of his passes.

Pulisic was dangerous on the ball in the first half, but was absolutely crucial in making his goal crashing run to get the only score of the game. The injury looked like a bad blow to the nether regions, so hopefully its nothing serious and he can return by the weekend.

Sergino Dest and Yunus Musah were great combining down the right wing all game, with Dest finding space to create dangerous chances multiple times in the first half.

Musah was efficient with his passing and provided several mazy dribbling runs through midfield while also picking up 11 ball recoveries. On the opposite side Weston McKennie had another strong game, making the key pass to set up the lone US goal. He also avoided getting a yellow card that would have forced him to miss the next game.

The center back duo had a good night as well, thwarting Iran’s dangerous front duo the few times they got free in the first half. Both Ream and Carter-Vickers did well to push the ball forward to Iran’s line of confrontation and pick out passes to help break the defense down. Ream was especially calm on the ball and hit several nice long crossfield passes to switch the play.

Josh Sargent also had a strong day, doing well to provide an outlet for the US to play into and delivering strong hold up play to lay the ball off to the other attackers. If it weren’t for his injury, which seemed more serious, he probably would have solidified his spot in the starting lineup going forward.

This young team has already secured a great accomplishment, getting out of a tricky group and on to the round of 16.

They shouldn’t be satisfied yet though.

They now enter the second phase of the tournament. While they’ll be heavy underdogs to the Netherlands, and probably any team they face from here on out, anything can happen in knockout soccer. It's a high variance game and it only takes a couple of key moments or lucky bounces to pull off an upset.

We’ll have a full preview of the Dutch on Saturday, but for now, it's time to enjoy the win and look forward to more soccer on Saturday morning.


Wednesday Preview –

Group C

Poland v Argentina

Qualification Scenario:

Poland: In with a win or a draw or if they lose and Mexico wins and Poland has better goal differential

Argentina: In with a win or if they draw and Mexico/Saudi Arabia draw or if they draw and Mexico wins by less than 3 goals

Prediction: 2-0 Argentina; Poland will try to play compact defensively and grind out a draw or 1-0 win, but with the ability to throw numbers forward, Argentina’s attack will eventually break them down and get the win.


Saudi Arabia v Mexico

Qualification Scenario

Saudi Arabia: In with a win or a draw combined with an Argentina loss or a draw combined with a Poland loss by 3 or more goals

Mexico: In if they win by four or more goals or win and overturn goal differential tiebreaker with Arg/Poland


Prediction: 1-0 Mexico; Mexico gets a win as a consolation prize as they bow out of the World Cup and get to go home and watch the US on TV this weekend. Their defense has been stout but they’ve struggled on offense. They’ll get a goal and keep a clean sheet.


Group D

Australia v Denmark

Qualification Scenarios:

Australia: In with a win or a draw combined with a Tunisia loss/draw

Denmark: Need a win and a Tunisia draw or loss. If they win and Tunisia wins it will go to tiebreakers

Prediction: 1-0 Denmark; Australia has punched above their weight so far and Denmark has lacked a goal scoring threat. The Danes have a huge talent edge and will dominate the game, eventually finding a goal for the win they need.


France v Tunisia

Qualification Scenarios:

France: Already qualified, win the group with a win or draw

Tunisia: Need a win and a draw in the Denmark Australia game. If they win and Denmark wins it will go to tiebreakers.

Prediction: 2-0 France; Even if France sits their whole starting lineup they would have a huge edge on Tunisia. The African side will fight hard but come up short with some French reserves eager for a World Cup goal of their own.

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Tuesday
November 29, 2022
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and the blame goes to...


Baltimore was one wild place on Monday.

It wasn't a surprise, of course. We're nothing if not maniacal about our football team in these parts.

But the city was lit up about that horrendous 28-27 loss to the Jaguars on Sunday. Sports radio was on fire, social media was raging and everyone had an opinion on what went wrong and who should get the blame.

The "Harbaugh has to go" chants were loud and long. We knew those were coming, right? It's always "fire the coach" when things go wrong.

Baltimore's two favorite football whipping boys are still getting the heat after the 28-27 loss at Jacksonville.

"Fire Greg Roman!" was also a repeated theme throughout the day. The town's favorite whipping boy is always the offensive coordinator. You can look it up. We've hated them all with the exception, maybe, of Gary Kubiak, and that's only because he wasn't around long enough for everyone to turn on him. But in a year or two, Kubiak would have been hated here, too.

Mike Macdonald got sliced up, too, but because he's only three months into his tenure here, the masses seemed to give him a slight pass on Monday. He got roasted, yes, but the burns didn't require hospitalization. He'll get his, though, if he's around long enough. Pretty soon, he'll be in the same class as guys like Mattison, Pees and Martindale. You can count on that.

So who gets the blame for Sunday's disaster?

I mean, someone has to pay the price for what happened against the Jaguars. Right? It can't just be that "football happened" and some guys made plays and other guys didn't make plays and when the math was done after sixty minutes, Jacksonville had 28 points and the Ravens had 27. It's just not that easy.

And you could certainly never go on sports radio with that being your central theme. The only thing that could get a listener to change the station more quickly would be if you played a Beatles song. No one wants to hear a radio host actually defend the coaches or players.

Someone has to get the blame.


I'm not sure if you saw the viral highlight recently of a conversation between Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, but it went something like this:

Saban: "So how do you guys handle a loss?"

Belichick: "We get on the plane after a loss and I walk on the plane and the coaches will be there in their computers and everything and I'll say, 'You know fellows, the reason why we got beat is because we can't tackle -- and we can't force the run. All the rest of this is just garbage. This isn't about a computer and some space world technology. We can't tackle.'"

And there it is.

In simple terms.


And, so, here's why the Ravens lost in Jacksonville. These are the things you don't want to talk about at parties because they're too simple. They don't really require you to have a "hot take" or anything like that.

You won't look smarter mentioning these things at the water cooler, so you'll shy away from them, instead joining in with Fred down the hall who insists, for the last 7 years, that Harbaugh has no idea what he's doing.

The Ravens lost because Devin Duvernay took a 4th quarter kick off on the own goal line and tried to run it out and got tackled at the Ravens 6 yard line. Why he wouldn't have just let the ball go into the end zone and let the offense start at the 25 is beyond me. People will say "That's coaching. They have to tell him to be careful back there".

A) You have no idea what discussions took place between Duvernay and the special teams coach prior to the kick. You have no idea at all. He might have been reminded twice in 30 seconds about the dangers of bringing the ball out. B) Duvernay has been in the league for 3 years. He's been on the receiving ends of kick-offs throughout his NFL career. What made him decide to take that kick out of the end zone on Sunday? Only he knows...

But that play was on Duvernay. No one else. "You the golfer are responsible for the consequences of the ball you hit." You can change that to: "You, the kick returner, are responsible for the kicks you decide to return."

The Ravens lost because Gus Edwards fumbled the ball on the very first play after Duvernay's gaffe. I don't know why Edwards decided to fumble right then and there. But it was a bad time to fumble the ball. Jacksonville scored a TD moments later.

Oh, right, Gus didn't actually "decide" to fumble. The ball got knocked loose by a Jaguars defender. You know, a guy making a football play. Had that been Roquan Smith knocking the ball out of Trevor Lawrence's hands, the city would be screaming, "Sign Roquan Smith to a 10-contract! He's a baller!" They wouldn't be whining about the Jaguars "coaches" failing to remind Lawrence to protect the ball.

Some of this, frankly, is amateur hour stuff. You people are better than this. You actually know you're crazy but you can't give up the game because you're in too deep. I find myself thinking that over and over when I read the internet or listen to the radio. Anyway, I digress...

The Ravens lost because Lamar Jackson missed too many open receivers. He has a habit of doing that, in case you haven't been watching the games with both eyes for the last few seasons. That doesn't make Lamar a "terrible quarterback" or anything hyperbolic like that. It simply means he didn't make enough quality throws in the game to beat the Jaguars defense. He's in his 5th NFL season. Surely, by now, his accuracy should be better. Right? Alas, it's not.

The Ravens lost because on several occasions when Lamar was accurate, the receiver he was throwing the ball to failed to catch it. Josh Oliver, Mark Andrews and DeMarcus Robinson all dropped TD passes. They caught other passes, mind you, and Oliver even hauled in a TD catch late in the game.

But those three earlier red zone trips resulted in three field goals instead of three touchdowns. When you're doing math at the end of the game, those field goals were the difference between winning and losing.

The Ravens lost because their defensive secondary players -- several of whom are highly paid -- failed to perform adequately throughout the game, including on the final offensive series when the Jaguars drove the length of the field in two minutes and scored the touchdown and 2-point conversion that won them the game.

There were other sequences and players worth listing here, but you get the message at this point, I'm guessing.


"We lost because we can't tackle. All the rest of this is just garbage. This isn't about a computer and some space world technology. We can't tackle."

The Ravens lost because their football players didn't make football plays when they needed to be made.

You can bellyache about coaching all you want. And let's be clear on something: coaching does matter. There's no doubt about that. But the overriding onus always goes on the players. Always, always, always.

When the team wins, it's always the players. It's never "coaching". Players play. Coaches coach. Without the players, you're not winning anything. Ask the Texans.

But when you have (supposed) high quality players and they don't make the plays when they're asked to make them -- there's your problem.

On Sunday, Duvernay, Gus, Oliver, Lamar, Andrews, Robinson, Clark, Stephens, Peters -- all of them had a hand in the loss. That's not to say that any single one of them was to blame, per se, but they all had the opportunity to do something special and failed to do so.

In Tampa last month, those same guys made plays and the Ravens won. The coaches weren't any better that night. Heck, some goofs around town would say -- with a straight face, even -- "we won in Tampa despite the coaches". When the Ravens got past Cleveland at home, the players won that game. People made plays.

We like to make more of it than is necessary because that's our outlet.

I have a friend who has all of the answers to the Ravens woes. And I mean "all of them". He knows more than Bisciotti, DeCosta, Harbaugh, Roman, Macdonald, Lamar, Humphrey, etc.

Reading his "stuff" on Facebook is pure comedy. Everything is Harbaugh's fault. The following week, it's Macdonald's fault. The week after, Lamar is to blame.

It's all a design to garner the ever-popular "I'm right!" vote that sports fans seek these days. Everyone just wants to be right. Something has happened to our self-esteem in this country over the last so-many-years. "I'm right and you're wrong and that's it."

It's not that way in sports and sports only. It's that way in everything. Politics? That's the leader of the "I'm right!" brigade. No one in the other party is ever right. Everything is all about "we're right and the other guy is dead wrong and if you don't agree with me, you're wrong too."

Sports is the same, unfortunately. I need to be right. I say the coaches suck and nothing you say will change my mind. I say Lamar is to blame and nothing you say will change my mind. And on it goes.

I'm personally thrilled that sports has morphed into that kind of obsession with being right. Places like Drew's Morning Dish prosper when people think they know more than the coaches and players.

Anyone up for a Denver upset on Sunday? Now that would be great for business.


I wouldn't go as far as to say today's USA - Iran World Cup game is the biggest game in U.S. men's soccer history. There have been plenty of those in the last 30 years (that I've seen).

But this one, today, is huge. A win for the U.S. and they're through to the knockout stage of the tournament. A loss and they come home, almost certain to fire the head coach and start from scratch in preparation for the '26 World Cup here in the United States.

Iran (and yes, please pronounce it "Eee-rahn" in your head so no one gets offended) is a team the U.S. should beat, but Iran is also a squad in search only of a tie today to get through themselves. (There is a way Iran could tie today and not get through but that would require Wales to beat England outright and that seems far fetched).

The prevailing thought amongst soccer analysts is Iran will play "regular soccer" for 45 minutes and then retreat into a defensive shell for the second half if the game is tied at intermission. That sounds about right.

You'll read a lot more about today's game in Randy Morgan's outstanding preview below, but the lineup the Americans use today is probably the single biggest question mark going into the contest.

Who plays up top in the striker spot? Thus far, Josh Sargent and Haji Wright have produced nothing in their respective spells in that position. Jesus Ferreira has yet to see the field in 180 minutes. Might Gregg Berhalter give him some "run" as the soccer folks like to say?

If not Ferreira, then who? And what about little-used Gio Reyna? Will Berhalter give him a start? If Reyna starts, my guess is Tim Weah moves up to the striker position, at least for the opening 45 minutes.

These are all coaching decisions that have to be made prior to the game. But far more important is how the 11 guys play who actually do see the field.

Will Tyler Adams continue his extraordinary play?

Can Christian Pulisic get on the scoreboard or deliver a free kick pass that results in a goal?

Which Weston McKennie shows up today? The one who sputtered through a lackluster performance in the opener vs. Wales or the one who was a shining star vs. England?

And can Matt Turner stand tall in goal on a day when his team -- and country -- needs a flawless performance?

This isn't a terrible position for the U.S. to be in, mind you. Other squads with a far bigger pedigree (see: Argentina and Germany) also have to win their final game to ensure advancement to the knockout stage. It's part of round-robin tournament play. The Americans, remember, still haven't lost in this World Cup. But they also haven't won.

They have to win today, though. Nothing else gets them in. Win and stay. Lose and go home.

I'll go with the U.S. winning 2-0 on goals from Pulisic and McKennie. I sure hope I'm right.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 8th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2022-2023 season.


terps face winless louisville tonight


In amassing their 6-0 record to start the ‘22-23 season, Kevin Willard’s Maryland Terrapin team has faced a string of selected opponents so perfectly configured for a Terp win that it would make even Jake Paul’s handlers proud.

Maryland has played well, especially recently, but they have yet to meet a team with any size, quality shooters, or physicality throughout the lineup. Tonight at 7 pm, when the Terps take on Louisville and first year coach Kenny Payne, it’ll be more of the same for Maryland…sort of, but with a twist.

#DMD's Dale Williams says Kevin Willard's Terps might have a tougher go of it than expected tonight against a winless Louisville team.

The Louisville Cardinals have yet to win a game this young season, starting 0-6. That’s probably hard to believe given their history, but it’s true.

Their first three losses were all against non-Major Conference teams and each loss was by a single point. Their second triplet of losses were of the blow-out variety with the low point coming in a 70-38 crushing by Texas Tech.

The Cardinals lose because of inferior guard play that includes sloppy defense, careless ball handling, and poor shooting. They also lack interior scoring power. Does all this sound familiar this year? The wildcard, or twist, for this Louisville team is that they have so much athleticism up and down the lineup.

The old quote says, “Figures lie and liars figure.” In the case of Louisville, the figures are accurate and they speak volumes. They have not one player with a positive assist/turnover ratio. That’s unheard of in college basketball.

Every Cardinal commits more turnovers than they accumulate assists. They are a sloppy bunch void of quality ball handlers, and they don’t make enough shots to pad their assist numbers. As a team, they average 17.7 turnovers per game and just 7.7 assists.

Through six games, they make just 39.5% of their field goal attempts and connect on less than 30% of their threes. Numbers like that point to long seasons in the always tough ACC. Denny Crum and Darryl Griffith (Dr. Dunkenstein) are faint memories.

The X factor for the Cardinals is their athletic ability and they’ll need to use this advantage to pound the offensive glass if they hope to outscore Maryland, in Louisville, tonight. They have some favorable half-court matchups, but I don’t think they can count on those to produce a victory, they need second-chance points.

El Ellis will handle the ball for Louisville and he’s their top scorer with 17.7 a game. The bad news for Cardinal fans is that he only hits 39% from the field and just 32.5% from the three-point line. Also, it’s never good when your top guy in free throw attempts hits less than 70% (69.6).

Ellis turns it over 4.8 times a game with his high speed but out-of-control game. He’s really quick, so he can get to the bucket, but once inside Ellis has a tendency to take some wild shots. He’ll play 35 minutes tonight and most of that will be against Maryland’s Jahmir Young. Ellis has a few inches and some quickness on Young, but Young is the stronger and more composed player.

The big man matchup will be intriguing to watch. The Terrapin’s Julian Reese has recently feasted upon undersized bigs and is averaging 15.5 points per game. Tonight, he’ll get the 6’10”, 250-pound, sophomore center, Brandon Huntly-Hatfield. Huntley-Hatfield is far from a polished offensive threat, but he’s no slug either, playing longer and quicker than you may expect from a 250-pound guy.

Reese won’t find the going so easy tonight against Huntley-Hatfield or the other Cardinal center, 6’8’, 270-pound Sydney Curry. Curry is the better back-to-the-basket guy, but both are active defensively.

Donta Scott will need to contend with Louisville’s JJ Trainer as he hopes to maintain his status as the leading Terp scorer. Trainer is a quick leaper and plays really long. I expect his tough, scrappy style to be a problem for Scott when the Terps have the ball. At just 6 points a game, Trainer is far from an offensive force, but he’s one of the guys I expect to focus on the offensive glass.

Jae’Lyn Winters, all 6’9” of him, will get some run at the “3” spot and has a likely match up with the Terps Hakim Hart. Winters is too big and way too long for Hart. If I’m drawing up a game plan, I exploit this mismatch every time these two are hooked up. I don’t see this game fitting well into Hart’s preferred style and he could find tough going against the length of Louisville.

The last man-to-man confrontation will be between Louisville’s Mike James and Don Carey of Maryland. These are two fairly equal talents, with Carey holding a huge edge in three-point shooting. Both are physical guards who can defend for 90 feet.

I wrote it earlier, and I still stand by the opinion that consistent scoring will be an issue for Maryland when playing teams that match their size. Of course, as soon as that piece hit DMD, the Terps erupted for 95 points (twice) and 88 on the other occasion. But, again, these lofty totals were achieved against teams that were perfectly constructed to allow the Terps to score at will. This isn’t the case tonight.

I expect the rag-tag play of Louisville to affect the pace and tone of the game. Tonight, look for a sloppy game from both teams and a resulting low scoring first half. Louisville will play fast, miss shots, play pressure defense, and attempt to exploit the inside with Winters and Curry.

Willard is well aware of the Cardinals turnover issues and he’ll look to maximize Maryland’s advantage in that category by having his guards pressure the ball in the half court. With Young being the superior ball handler, scorer, and field general, he’ll be the most significant player in the game. That being said, he can’t do it all by himself.

Maryland will run better offensive sets, but Louisville counters with speed, hops, and length. This will be a high turnover game with frenetic defense played on both sides. The early line was posted as Terps minus 12.5. To me, that line reflects more of the casual fan’s perception of 0-6 vs 6-0 than it does actually reflect what’s on the court.

I’ll go with the steady point guard, Young, and his Maryland Terrapins. But this is a close game that could easily swing into Louisville’s favor. After watching both teams, I can’t see giving up 12.5 points. More likely, we’ll see a 66-63 Terrapin win. ESPN2 has all the action starting at 7pm.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


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Monday Recap –

Group G

Cameroon 3 - Serbia 3

Cameroon scored first with a goal off a corner kick midway through the first half. Serbia countered before half, scoring two goals in quick succession just before halftime. The first was a header off a corner kick and then Milinkovic-Savic hit a sharp shot from just outside the box.

Coming out of the half Aleksandar Mitrovic scored to put Serbia up two goals and they appeared to be in the driver’s seat. Despite the two goal lead, Serbia continued to play an inexplicably high defensive line and Cameroon exposed it twice in quick succession around the 60th minute to even the score and the teams ended up with a draw.


Brazil 1 - Switzerland 0

A well organized Swiss defense frustrated Brazil throughout most of this game. With the Brazilians missing their main creative hub, Neyman, with an injury, they had issues breaking through the Swiss.

Brazil looked like they had found paydirt with a breakaway goal from Vinicius Jr. but it was called back for an offside earlier in the play. They finally did get a game winning goal in the 83rd minute from a powerful strike just inside the box by Casemiro.


Group H

South Korea 2 - Ghana 3

This was a wild game with plenty of twists and turns. Ghana went up in the first half with two similar goals, both from well placed in-swinging crosses, the first from a free kick and the second from the run of play.

South Korea answered in the second half, scoring two nearly identical goals in a three minute span. Both came from crosses from the left wing into the box that were headed home by striker Gue-Song Cho.

Ghana went back on top just a few minutes after that with the second goal of the game from Mohammed Kudus. South Korea then dominated the final phase of the game, peppering the Ghana box with crosses for the last 20 minutes, but couldn’t find the equalizer. They finished with 63% possession and 22 shots to just 7 for Ghana, but the African side gets the critical three points.


Portugal 2 - Uruguay 0

Portugal was the more aggressive team in this one, pressing harder than Uruguay and controlling the possession battle. Though they dictated the game, it was Uruguay who got the best chance of the first half on a mazy dribbling run from Rodrigo Bentancur that ended with a save by the keeper.

In the second half Uruguay had a few chances but Portugal grabbed the game with several great moments from Bruno Fernandes. Uruguay gave the Manchester United midfielder too much space on the edge of the box in the 54th minute and he sent in a beautiful bending ball toward the back post. Cristiano Ronaldo made a run onto it, freezing the keeper and though he missed the header it allowed the ball to bounce into the net.

Fernandes then drew a penalty for a handball after beating a defender in the box and converted the penalty kick himself to secure the 2-0 win for Portugal.


Tuesday Preview –

Group A

Ecuador v Senegal

Qualification Scenario:

Ecuador: In with a win or draw or a Netherlands loss by a large enough margin to win the tiebreaker.

Senegal: In with a win or a draw and Netherlands loss by large enough margin to win the tiebreaker

Prediction: 1-1 draw; Two defensively stout teams that each need a result to secure a knockout spot. This should be a tough battle in the midfield but Ecuador can find a goal with Senegal pushing for the win and hold out to get the draw they need to advance.


Netherlands v Qatar

Qualification Scenario:

Netherlands: In with a win or a draw or if they lose and Ecuador wins

Qatar: Already Eliminated

Prediction: 4-1 Netherlands; The Netherlands attack won’t leave any questions as they pour in the goals to secure the top spot in the group and avoid a second round matchup with England. Qatar will catch Netherlands up in attack and get a goal as a going away present.


Group B

England v Wales

Qualification Scenario:

England: In unless they lose by a huge margin

Wales: Need to win and get a draw in the USA-Iran game or win by more than four goals

Prediction: 2-1 England; England doesn’t have a ton of motivation in this one, with them winning the group in most scenarios. However, even if they chose to rotate some of their starters, they have enough talent off the bench to easily win this one. Wales will play their best game of the tournament but still fall short.


USA v Iran

This is it. Four years of hard work, preparation, qualifying and planning all comes down to one game. For the USA it's win and you’re in the knockout round.

If they win and get some help from Wales they could even win the group. Iran is not going to make it easy. For the Iranians a win will guarantee they advance but a draw is likely to be enough, as they would advance with a draw as long as Wales doesn’t beat England.

According to betting odds, of the three possible outcomes, a US win is the most likely, with about even odds, however the combined chance of a draw or loss are still greater, so the odds are not quite in the Americans’ favor.

Before the World Cup draw, if you had told Gregg Berhalter or US fans that all they needed to do to advance was to win one game against Iran, I think they would have taken it. So the task is there, the objective is clear, they just need to get the job done on the field against a tough team, but one they should beat.

Throughout the qualifying campaign the US men always seemed to pull out their best performances with their backs against the wall, so this is one final test of their resilience.


Iran’s Approach

With Iran most likely needing just a tie to advance, expect them to take a pragmatic and defensive approach. Under coach Carlos Queiroz they have generally been a cautious and defensive team anyway. If Wales somehow gets an early lead on England that could change the math for Iran, but otherwise they will look to ugly up the game and frustrate the US attack.

Iran will set up in either a 5-4-1 or 4-5-1 formation, playing with lines that are vertically compact to limit the space between for the US to operate. Whether they play five at the back or in the midfield, they will send their wide players out to guard the sidelines, preventing easy crossing opportunities or progression down the wings.

Against England they deployed the 5-4-1, mostly allowing the English defenders to bring the ball up well past the halfway line before applying any pressure. The closer the US gets to their goal the more numbers they will pack into the box.

When they do get on the ball, Iran will be looking to strike quickly through talented attackers Mehdi Taremi and Sardar Azmoun. They will be hoping to catch the US imbalanced in transition moments when they lose the ball.


USA Approach

Lineup Choices

Will this be the game where Berhalter opts for an extra attacker or not? That is the question, with the US facing a potentially bunkered Iran defense. In the first two games he has stayed with the Musah, McKennie, Adams midfield and will probably do so again for this one.

However, in a bid to get some more offensive firepower on the field he could replace one of them with a more attack minded player like Brenden Aaronson or Gio Reyna.

Weston McKennie was much improved against England and his ability on set pieces is hard to replace. Yunus Musah has been great for the US, but his strength of progressing the ball may not be as necessary if Iran is sitting in a deep shell. Gio Reyna has the best skill set on the team for playing in between tight defensive lines, so perhaps this game calls for Gio to start over Musah.

At striker, this may be the game where Jesus Ferreira gets his shot, with it most suited to his pension for dropping deep to be more of a creator. Josh Sargent can play that role as well, while providing a better aerial target if the US plans to rely more on crosses into the box.


Plan of Attack

With Iran happy to play to a stalemate in a compact defensive block the US will need to move well off the ball, quickly connect passes and be willing to make the extra pass to find good shots. The passing from the center backs could be especially critical in this game with Iran sitting off them, they will need to find penetrating passes to break through the lines. Once those balls get in between the lines the US will need quick passing combinations to pull apart the defense and open space on the wings for crosses or cutbacks to midfielders crashing the box, a McKennie specialty.

Iran will also be vulnerable to quick attacks when the US regains possession. If Iran loses their defensive shape while clearing the ball, the US can look to quickly push it back up field and exploit the gaps. The same applies when Iran does occasionally press higher up the field, which can leave openings for Weah or Pulisic to run in behind the back line.

If there ever was a game for the US to break their set piece slump, this would be it. With a huge possession advantage should come a plethora of free kicks and corner kicks. Thus far the US has been inefficient with these chances, suffering from poor delivery in the opener against Wales and then a tough defensive effort from England.

Iran was exploited several times by Engalnd on set pieces to set up chances and with the aerial abilities of McKennie and Zimmerman the US could take advantage here. Another bonus to having Reyna on the field would be his stellar free kick delivery, which he regularly is called upon for at his club Borussia Dortmund. Aaron Long could even make sense as a late sub if the US is chasing a goal, with his ability to get on the end of free kicks.

The final piece of the US strategy needs to be a relentless mentality. There is no doubt this team will come flying out of the gate in the most important game of their collective careers.

Nothing would be more important than an early goal in this game, forcing Iran to come out of their shell. But even if they do get that goal, they need to stay sharp and not get complacent. They need to keep their foot on the gas and press the advantage to prevent a late equalizer like against Wales.

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#dmd comments








Unitastoberry     December 04
If the Ravens lose today it's going to get very ugly. 🥸🤔

CIK     December 04
It’s almost like DF thinks he owns this site and doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But only a fool would complain about something this silly for the last 3 months. If only that BP dump website had a comments section…maybe the readers here wouldn’t have to deal with the silly banter. But the BP motto is “no phone calls & no comments”

larry     December 04
Haha, @MFC you know the answer to that question, this place is crawling with lemmings lol.

MFC     December 04
Creative accounting, must be an investor in FTX, last week. The total was 7-5 not 10-2. If you know what I mean.



We're now back to charting wins and losses, again I ask what happened, that's an incredible transformation this year. The site owner goes from no charting the bets, no mention of w-l's and disclaimers to full blown, "locks of the week" and yearly stats that we're asked to accept at face value. And the DMD doesn't think an explanation is necessary? Really? Wouldn't you like your messiah to discuss that change or do you continue to be the lemmings of the site and just accept anything that comes down from on high. If you know what I mean.

Steve of Pimlico     December 03
O's sign a cheaper version of Jordon Lyles and save 4- 5 million dollars.Is this their dip into free agency?

Sold my last 2 PSls yesterday at a small profit because if the Ravens don't sign Lamar the PSL market will crater.My unsolicited advice to Lamar is for him to take a seat and get real representation.

Eric in Gaithersburg     December 03
Can already hear Os fans whining and i get it, Angelos crew has earned no trust but its Dec 3rd and all teams add to the bottom of roster, plus entire point of having analytics crew is finding guys us normal people think stink that actually don't. Wait till Mar 1st to judge offseason then commence whining. Theyve stated repeatedly that #1 starter, middle of order bat and quality backup C are their priorities. They dont back up the talk then they will get rightfully ripped

alexi     December 03
"sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing" which was possible cause key players decided at the worst time to stop playing D.

DMD called for this Reyna guy the whole tourney, then today says now he can see why his PT was limited. Hmmm, perhaps the actual coach of the team knows more than the voices sitting at home watching on TV. Go figure

Chris in Bel Air     December 03
@TimD you are correct. That first goal by the Dutch was a sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing. That was a cleat of reality to the US.

That was an exciting and entertaining win by the Terps last night. Looks like this season is shaping up to be way above my initial expectations.

I see Lamar apologized for the tweet. I really liked his candor in his discussions of it and that is why so many people like him. One related note to that discussion, Lamar stated "I feel like you should be bitter after a loss. No smiles. I feel like the fans should be mad we lost, too. But not mad at us. We tried." Too often, fans seem to think the players don't care about losing as much as they, the fan do. That certainly isn't the case. They want to win and, as much as it sucks as a fan watching them lose, it is way worse for them as a player and a coach.

Howard     December 03
44-15 as a Ravens starter; big problem is his 1-3 playoff record. He needs to come up big in the playoffs.

TimD in Timonium     December 03
The Dutch are GOOD. Too much talent and experience today. Great USA run.

unitastoberry     December 03
Lamars final grades for year 5 are not out until the end of week 17 and maybe the playoffs. Lets revisit then.

Josh     December 03
Great win for the Terps!



Excellent soccer coverage here, keep up the good work!

Ray Ray     December 03
howard; wins what? in High school? 3 years at Louisville? five years in nfl? what miracle do expect to happen to change what has always happened?

Howard     December 02
44-15. Say what you want but the guy wins

Stats Nerd     December 02
@Fish...Cleveland? Depending on what metrics you look at they are generally in exactly the same spot as BAL in receiving. KC, BUF, MIA, CIN, SF are the highest rated passing groups followed by PHI, SEA, LV and DAL.

Baltimore is pretty much mid tier passing team if you look at various metrics. Some they might be as high 12th or as low as 18th. Cleveland same.



There are teams that have positive efficiency running the ball in the league: PHI, BAL, CHI, CLE, and ATL. There are 3-ish others that are efficiency nuetral running: NYG, DAl and PIT

Fish     December 02
Does that Henry guy follow the NFL?



Miami has 3 high quality pass catchers. I'm guessing Drew is counting TE's. Kansas City has 3. Cincinnati has 3. If Waller is healthy there's an argument the Raiders have 3. Cleveland might even have 3.

TimD in Timnoium     December 02
The problem with being a one-man show both on and off the field is that it gets overwhelming. @DF points out, Lamar takes ALL the heat. Does he alone get all the glory with a Super Bowl win or a giant, guaranteed contact? Well, maybe. But that's a lot of crap to handle in the meantime.



Think how much easier THIS exchange would be. Reporter - "Hey, Lamar, how's the contract coming along? Lamar - "I dunno, man. I'm only thinking about beating the Broncos."



Boom. EASY.


henry     December 02
"three or four high quality pass catchers" How many teams have this?? I'll give you a hint - zero lol.

Lamar is definitely "off" this year. Some may be injuries, but from the cheap seats, I think he feels restricted by the coaching staff. The voices around him are all saying "just go ball man" and G-Ro and Harbs say "do it our way, it will work". Then it works maybe one out of 10 times.

I am sure Lamar wants to win games, but he also wants to be on SC Top 10 every week. He's clearly frustrated. Is it ego, or money? Or both? But the big question is, who is pushing 100% guarantee? Is that really him, or the NFLPA, or his "people"??

@David is right, the results have not been as bad as the perception, but Chris in B is also right, Lamar is a different guy this year.

It might boil down to which would the Ravens regret more, not signing him, or signing him?

David Rosenfeld     December 02
You know, it's fine to talk about Lamar's play, his future, his maturity, etc. It's fine if you want him around forever, or if you'd rather that not happen.

I just keep coming back to the fact that this team, this year, has played 660 minutes of football and has been behind less than 10 percent of the time. I can't say exactly what that says about Lamar Jackson, but it sure isn't negative.

joe of bel air     December 02
I hope the Ravens move on from Lamar after this season. His passing stats will never resemble those of Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and others. Defensive coordinators have seen LaMar for 5 years and a lot have figured out the best way to defend him, look what Jacksonville and Carolina did. The fact is Lamar is an outstanding runner and a mediocre passer. Look at Can Newton's career. He is only 33 years old,won an MVP award and his career has been over for the last 3 years. The fact is running QBs don't last very long in the NFL and that is what Lamar is, a running QB. I think the Ravens have gotten all they could out of Lamar and would be wise to move on. Trade him for some draft picks and see what Huntley can do in 2023.

Chris in Bel Air     December 02
"Here was a time when Jackson was just a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie in the league. "Just happy to be there", so to speak.

That Lamar is gone. Long gone. The business side of the league has changed Lamar, in the same way it would likely change anyone in their mid-20's who is sitting on a pot of gold."

There's no doubt in my view, as the avg fan, Lamar seems different this year. His demeanor in the games and sidelines aren't as enthusiastic. His press conferences and sound bites are drier and more canned. Some of this is maturity and understanding he's about to be asked the same ol' questions over and over. But I think a lot of it is the contract and money weighing on him. He's playing a game of poker and he's trying not to tip his hand. If I had to bet one way or the other, and Lamar was 100% candid, I think he believes there are forces holding him back: Lack of WRs. Play calling. The schemes. His D giving up game winning scores in the last seconds. And, certainly his own mistakes. Like many are saying, he's betting on himself and it's not panning out, so far, like he believed it would.

With that said, I would want him back as the Ravens QB but at the right price that allows the Ravens to be competitive. He is a sensational athlete and good QB. To answer Drew's question, Lamar is way better when he has success running the ball and passing (e,g., 85 yds rushing and 235 yds passing). He just doesn't thrive dropping back most of the game... and of course we can talk endlessly about why that is.

K.C.     December 02
Anyone have details on Nestor getting kicked off Twitter? Please tell!

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Memo to Lamar. Love ya, man, but it's time to grow up. Hire an agent. Add a PR team. And delete Twitter from your phone. You'll be much happier.

Unitastoberry     December 02
Drew you just pulled a Howard Cosell with your December 2022 analysis of Lamar compared to 2019 Lamar. He bet on himself and as of today he's losing. Now with football being the ultimate team sport his defense isn't helping him either. His social media antics are childish. But then most people his age take to Tic Tock etc and do stupid stuff that gets monetized rather than get a part time service job etc. He has 6 games for the guarantee money Lamar to show up and pull a Frank Robinson or John Unitas move and put the team on his shoulders to raise the Lombardi.It was his bet not Steve's.

Hal     December 02
Agree with @Herman. Top drawer edition of The Dish today. Well done everyone involved!!

JP     December 02
It's amazing we can't get a column about Lamar in the Baltimore Sun like the one in DMD today.

Any update on G-Ro going to Stanford? What are the streets saying DF?

Delray RICK     December 02
RAVENS just can't get a top receiver nomatter what. Looking at stats we are nowhere to be found. ANDREWS was but after being hurt not in top 10. Looking at other teams so many are " burners". We have them run 10 yards and that's it.

Herman     December 02
I've taken a sabbatical from posting but I'll give kudos to the site owner on today's publication. Chock full of good material.

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Quick follow-up from yesterday, thank you @DF for the Rob Ambrose update. I hope, no expect, he'll move on to bigger and better things. He did a great job at Towson for a long time. I can still remember his weekly updates in-season on your morning radio show. Loved his insights. And his passion. Might have made some of us better rec league coaches. Made me a better person, I'm sure of that. Good guy.

JoeP     December 02
Radio Mogul suspended from Twitter?

He's finally done it..."Made it Ma, Top of the World''. But much like Cody Jenson(James Cagney in White Heat), he's standing on a huge tank of gasoline.

Recently he had a conversation with another unknown "sportswriter" and they talked about Springsteen. In that non linear jumble he stated

1. He's best friends with Nils Lofgren

2. He's been backstage with the Springsteen group "dozens of times". And turned down numerous chances for more back stage access.

3. Can't access tickets to the shows, except in Southern Cities where they ''hate Bruce".



The obvious inconsistencies are never addressed.

1. Best friends with Nils? "I haven't talked with him for years".

2. 100%...that he would turn down back stage access? No way, big time Adderall fueled lie

3. So a promoter would play in cities that were hard to sell? Facts are the tour is sold out.

4. And why is he worried about getting in? One phone call to his best friend, he's back stage every night.

Maybe Nils reported him to Twitter for "misinformation". How will this affect his 100k imprints/day social media claims?



We need water Gunga Din(MFC), bring it to us.

Billy     December 01
Mr Positive got suspended from Twitter lol. And he's been on his high horse about Lamar being profane? Perhaps @MFC has an explanation.

Ken     December 01
I am new to the area and just found the Morning Dish (not a native of Baltimore or Maryland) and must say I'm very impressed with the daily articles and such.



Who is Drew (does he have a byline?)? As for the other writers who have staff positions at the web site, kudos on a job well done.



There's nothing like this in my hometown (Denver) and I'm glad I discovered it.



I think your Ravens will have an easy go of it with my Broncos on Sunday. I'll be there to witness the carnage.

MFC     December 01
Ambrose got a raw deal. The new AD wants his "own" man, many times that doesn't work out either. It would only be fitting given the President of TU is leaving for the Un of Louisville (wonder if she attended the game the other night) that the new President take the same approach and cans the AD.What goes around comes around.

JeffWell     December 01
@David R: I agree 100%. Lamar would truly benefit from some professional guidance. I wonder if he feels that he doesn't need that kind of assistance or if it just a case of keeping the money in the family.



MFC: Why on earth are you aiming a comment towards me? I guess I was next on your list of things to say to people. You never run out of those types of comments.

Do you really believe that a "schoolgirl choir" is a negative thing. Wow, another far left sexist/misogynist. You really can't make this stuff up.

David Rosenfeld     December 01
Lamar is an interesting case because he doesn't have anyone who is helping him establish his "brand." We all know about the (lack of) professional help when it comes to his business affairs, etc. Clearly social media is part of it.

At this point, Lamar really is very authentic. He's not Cal Ripken or Peyton Manning, or any athlete/entertainer whose entire existence seems dedicated to protecting and projecting an image. I admire that...he truly is a guy whose play on the field speaks for him.

At the same time, I do think that Lamar has seemed immature this year, even as he approaches 26 years old with 4 1/2 seasons as the team's starting QB. The Ravens could use a leader, not just a uniquely talented QB, and he's not there.

sammy     December 01
Great post by Stats Nerd today. Social media is oft maligned, deservedly so, but as he points out today, there's a ton of positives as well. We've likened DMD and its comments section to "people at a bar", and social media is the same. One night you might run into a drunk who is a total jerk and full of BS opinions, and you can't get away fast enough. Next time you might come across someone who has been somewhere you are planning to go and is nice enough to share some insights into what to do and not do there. Or someone with well thought out opinions on topics that interest you, and you chat all night long.

Now the challenge is, can we weed out the bad and keep only the good?

Unfortunately, like with most things in our world, the answer is no. You gotta take the bad with the good. But just like you can leave a bar, you can choose to partake (or not) in social media on your own terms. Closing all the bars would be an insane solution to eliminating ***holes in bars lol. Great column Stats Nerd.

Unitastoberry     December 01
I've been following the ascent of Deion Sanders as head coach at Jackson State. It's rather amazing what's he's done there in 3 years including COVID and him almost losing his entire foot. He's a recruiting machine and he hires old NFL players and coaches for the x and O's. But on the field he's tough in practice and strict on discipline. Not what you might expect from Prime who used to hang with gang bangers etc in his youth. I'd love to see him stay at Jackson State leave the SWAC and go independent. He can steal guys from Saban and Harbaugh etc every day . I'd fire the guy at Maryland in a second to hire Prime.

Fred M     December 01
I have a question for the mailbag.



Was the girl that watched the 1980 Olympic Hockey game the Girlfriend that you stole from Monk or Herman? Or was it some other critic?

MFC     November 30
@Jeffwell, you must be seeking a solo in the "schoolgirl choir" concert.

Jeffwell     November 30
Ravens need to sharpen up their offense and 4th quarter D, if they expect to win their division. If not, even with a relatively easy schedule, they may find themselves on the outside looking in.



I don't think Delray is the only one, "who time and time again tells us who he is". I mean "Pot, meet kettle." Wow. At least he doesn't seem to have an agenda to push.

Chris in Bel Air     November 30
Awesome win for the USMNT but nothing to the level of the hockey's team's win over the Ruskies and eventual win over Finland for the gold medal. This soccer team will need to go beat Brazil (assuming they would face them at some point after NETH) and win the Cup before we can have that conversation.

@Such - Completely agree. I never had a social media account and never will. I will take your thoughts a step further. Given the misinformation posted and the enabling of the worst social behaviors of people, I'm not sure there is a net benefit to society from social media. Sure, businesses can grow from it and people can see pics of loved ones and friends from a far. But, the negatives are so prominent, I don't believe the good outweighs the bad.

Looking forward to see how the Terps b-ball team fares against some real teams. They have checked all the boxes presented to them so far.

kj     November 30
Amen Such, well said.

Such     November 30
I recall a bumper sticker from years ago that read Kill Your Television. The 21st Century adaptation of that would read Kill Your Social Media.

I left Facebook over two years ago I think? I deleted my Twitter account a few months ago. I never had much use for Instagram or Snapchat because I'm not 19 years old. And TikTok seems to be the place where boredom goes to die in a flurry of 15 second videos. I really don't understand our fascination with it.

The reality is that social media has created a parallel reality where people feel free to say things to others that they would never say in a personal encounter. It's exposed the worst elements of human behavior, and it's tacitly endorsed that. People seem to reflexively insult each other instead of engaging in any kind of effort to understand one another. What an ugly way to behave.

It's not only Lamar Jackson who's complicit in this type of reactionary behavior, either. There are countless athletes, politicians, musicians and celebrities who get into these ridiculous back and forths online. It's not a good look.

Kill Your Social Media. You'll find it's really good for your mental and emotional health.

Steve of Pimlico     November 30
Nothing in my life will top US beating the Commies.Orioles winning WS in 66 and Ravens2012 SB run are 2nd and 3rd on my personal list of all time favorites.

MFC     November 30
Delray time and again tells you who he is, believe it.



Awesome game, ecstatic for the USA, if ( big if) they win the next one look out. The bars will be packed and people will be purchasing swag. It can ignite a country with excitement.



The Terps and Willard are on a roll. Willard is the real deal. The kids play hard all the time. Do that and you always have a chance. Amazing to watch these college games knowing full well the kids are getting hefty sums to play. The college coach is now coaching salaries, totally different atmosphere.




Chris K     November 30
There have been pretty big moments between 1980 and now that surpass getting out of the 1st round in 2022. the women winning in 1999 was AWESOME! Personally THAT is right up there with 1980! The 1994 mens team beating columbia to advance seemed much bigger than this. The original dream team was pretty special. IF they can win at least 1 game in the knockout THEN this will be a huge deal. Until then it's pretty far down the list.

Unitastoberry     November 30
What's the over/under on how many times the tv camera shows Watson's accusers on Sunday?

The US high school college hockey team beating the Russian pros in 1980 would be like St Francis beating KC in the Super Bowl.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 30
@ DELRAY RICK, Second on my list and so on, NBA Basketball, WBA Basketball, Ice Hockey, all the other sports I can tolerate watching.

TimD in Timonium     November 30
It was a GREAT win yesterday by USMNT. Boring game? Any of it? Felt more like riding a roller coaster. Tough task beating the Netherlands, we'll see. Congrats to a much-criticized defense that allowed just a single goal vs Wales, Iran, and England. Did not expect that.

David Rosenfeld     November 30
For what it's worth, KenPom suggests that Saint Louis (42) will win the Atlantic 10, and Miami (44) will finish 12-8 in the ACC. Early bracketology suggests that Miami is an at-large NCAA tournament team.

Of course we are 7 games into the season, so take that however you want to. And certainly these next 4 games are a true test and are very unlikely to all be wins, though it's good that only one of them is a road game.

I'd like to reiterate that I am not taking a veiled swipe at anyone basketball IQ.

Monday
November 28, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3017


that wasn't a "bad" loss


There are losses along the way that teams incur throughout their respective seasons that can only be labeled as "bad".

I mean, no one likes to lose, and in almost every defeat the team that comes up short can point to one or two things and say, "If only that wouldn't have happened..."

Sometimes, you lose because the other team just has their chakras in line and they kick the snot out of you.

That happens, too.

Other times, you make a mistake or two at the worst possible time and you look at one another and say, "Now that was a bad loss, bro."

That look that says, "We're not doing this again in the 4th quarter, are we?"

What happened to the Ravens on Sunday in Jacksonville can not be called a "bad" loss.

It was a horrendous loss. Beyond horrendous, really, but I'm not sure what the word actually is. "Beyond horrendous" works though, if you're looking for a descriptive phrase to summarize how the Ravens went from winning 27-21 to losing 28-27 to the lowly Jaguars.

It is, by far, the worst loss of the season for the Ravens.

Yes, far worse than allowing the Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa to slice them up in the 4th quarter in week 2 in Baltimore. Tua has some legit receiving options to get the ball to and he's not chopped liver himself.

Yes, far worse than losing at home to the Bills a couple of weeks later. They're the Bills. Even though Baltimore led 20-3, anytime you lose to the Bills it's not a cause for embarrassment.

And, yes, what happened yesterday was much worse than the game they gave away to the Giants in the Meadowlands last month. The Giants are a decent, competitive team, albeit perhaps a bit overrated given that they just got run out of the gym by the Lions at home last Sunday.

Sunday's collapse in Jacksonville was one for the books.

They were never completely in control on the scoreboard but it always looked like a game they were going to win. They generated far more offense than did Jacksonville. But they couldn't get in the end zone, instead getting three Justin Tucker field goals in the first half to trail 10-9 at the intermission.

That's the one thing that has plagued the offense time and time again in the Lamar Jackson era. They put up a lot of yards, look great between the 20's, but can't score touchdowns.

And they just lost to the Jaguars, which wouldn't seem all that odd if not for the fact that the Ravens went ahead 27-20 with 2:02 left in the game and had Jacksonville on the ropes several times on their final offensive drive but couldn't close the deal.

"Couldn't close the deal..."

Sound familiar? They had the Dolphins, Bills and Giants put away, too, and couldn't close the deal.

It's become a major issue, in case you haven't noticed.

The only sliver of saving grace, personally, is that Trevor Lawrence engineered the magic for the Jaguars. A devout man-of-faith, I had the privilege of meeting him via an FCA online "huddle" a couple of years and was overly impressed with him. He's as good of a man as you'll find anywhere. That said...I wish he wouldn't have done that to the Ravens yesterday.


That Justin Tucker missed the 67 yarder at the end of the game was, if we're being honest, "poetic justice" for both the Jaguars and Ravens. Had Tucker made that kick -- which looked to be roughly 4 yards short -- the post-game commentary would have once again been more about "we're never out of a game" and less about needing a NFL record kick to beat a league doormat.

Last year in Detroit, Tucker did just that, hitting a 66 yarder at the buzzer to give the Ravens an improbable that helped cloud the fact that they almost loss to the Lions. Yesterday, Tucker failed to hit the game-winner and the Ravens wake up today facing the unlikely fact: they lost to Jacksonville.

John Harbaugh was as stunned as anyone in the aftermath of yesterday's loss. "We're very disappointed," he said to the media in Jacksonville. "We're moving on to Denver."

There is certainly a lot more to say about the loss, of course, but 10 minutes after you see your defense get shredded by a second year QB and a group of (mostly) no-name receivers, I'm not sure what else you can say except, "We're disappointed. We're moving on to Denver."

I mean, do you want Harbaugh to say this? "You guys saw the tape. They picked on Marcus Peters all day. In the end, when they needed a key first down or wanted to hit a big play, that's who they went after. Marcus yaps a lot and talks a good game and occasionally even does something worthwhile, but for the most part he's getting the better end of the bargain with us."

I imagine Harbs would love to say something like that about his overpaid cornerback, but we all know he'd never say that because no coach would say that about a struggling veteran who is probably closer to the December of his career than the September of his career.

In fairness to Peters, the catch by Marvin Jones with 10 seconds remaining was remarkable. It was a touchdown, I'm guessing, by a matter of one or two inches maybe. Other than interfere with him, I'm not sure Peters could have done much else on that particular play. But there were plenty of other moments where Peters was singled out and whipped on Sunday besides that game-winning snag by Jones.

The game-winning 2-point conversion was either a thing of beauty or an awful way to lose, depending on your point of view. One play to decide the game. Stop it and you win. Make it and you win. Who blinks? The Ravens did. Zay Jones ran the simplest NFL route that could be run and beat Brandon Stephens at the goal line to collect a nicely thrown ball from Lawrence with the game on the line.

Even then, the Jaguars themselves tried to throw away the game at the end and gave the Ravens hope when they allowed Josh Oliver to catch a 12 yard pass and get out of bounds. But Tucker's kick came up short.


It would be interesting to discover what, exactly, the Ravens had in mind from an offensive game plan standpoint yesterday.

They ran for 162 yards but Lamar accounted for 89 of those. The team's leading ground gainer was Gus Edwards with 52 yards, but his costly fourth quarter fumble was a huge game-changer. Other than Gus, there were three total carries -- three! -- by Ravens running backs on Sunday.

Greg Roman's history is that he engineers great rushing attacks. I realize Lamar had 89 yards on the ground himself, but he's not a running back. Unless that famous social media quip and meme is true...

And speaking of running, the Jaguars couldn't do any of it on Sunday. They registered just 38 yards on the ground the entire day, which meant, I thought, you could count on them to throw the ball virtually every time they had it.

I'm not a defensive coordinator, but I have to assume Mike Macdonald thought the same thing: "We're in good shape here...the only way we can lose is if they throw the ball and beat us. And we have Humphrey, Peters, Clark, etc. back there. We can't lose."

Except they did lose.

And while the other wild, improbable losses this season could be chalked up to "s**t happens", it's hard to say that about Sunday's defensive collapse in Jacksonville.

Lamar even snapped on social media last night, getting into a ripe back-and-forth with a fan who questioned his desire to collect a $250 million guaranteed contract.

"STFU boy," Lamar wrote. And then he followed up with some profanity and other not-so-nice stuff before reminding the original poster that he "never smelt a football field."

A few hours later, once the tweet went viral and became the source of several national news stories, Jackson deleted the profane-laden tweet.

But it wasn't a great look from a guy who is the team leader and is looking for respect and big money from the Ravens.

Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms have become a de facto "press conference" for athletes who choose to peruse those forums in the aftermath of wins and losses.

While John Harbaugh has to face the media asking him questions, Lamar Jackson can read narratives and commentary from average, every-day-fans who wonder how a guy wanting $250 million guaranteed can miss so many open wide receivers.

Jackson, of course, doesn't have to open up his phone after a game to check in with the world, but telling an athlete to not read their own press clippings is like telling Tiger Woods to not fist-pump after a birdie on the 15th hole on Sunday at Augusta. It ain't happenin'.

So now what? The Ravens get a significant one-week reprieve next Sunday when Denver comes to town. The bigger question of the day won't be "will the Ravens win?" but rather "Will Denver score a touchdown?" I can't imagine they will. The Ravens will waltz past Denver next week and the scab that's left from the Jacksonville loss will start to heal.

But isn't this becoming a major concern for Harbaugh, Macdonald and the Ravens defense? You know, the inability to close out games they should otherwise be winning? OK, sure, 11-0 is probably a tad ambitious, but the Ravens shoulda, coulda, would be at least 9-2 at this point at the very worst.

Now, they're locked in a fight with the Bengals who also 7-4 but face a much more difficult schedule down the stretch than do the Ravens. Let's just hope that January 8 game at Cincinnati isn't important. Right?

And so, Harbaugh and his staff will go back to work today trying to figure out a way to erase yesterday's fiacso from the minds of his players while also endeavoring to fix the things that went wrong in the 4th quarter. It's a dicey situation. You don't want anyone to lose their confidence, but in the meantime, you're losing games.

The good news? Denver's coming to town.

The bad news? The Ravens have some serious defensive issues in the 4th quarter of games they should be putting away.

Back to the drawing board.

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around the nfl


BROWNS 23 - BUCCANEERS 17 -- Cleveland tied it up late and then won in OT. Tom Brady lost to the Browns. That's not something he's said to himself very often in his NFL career.


BENGALS 20 - TITANS 16 -- This was a big win for Cincy. I wouldn't call it a "statement win" or anything like that, but anytime you go into Nashville and win, it's feather in your cap. The Bengals have K.C. next. If they somehow beat the Chiefs, the race is on in the AFC North.


Justin Herbert and the Chargers pulled out a last minute win at Arizona yesterday to keep their flickering AFC playoff hopes alive.

DOLPHINS 30 - TEXANS 15 -- Miami led 30-0 at the half in this one and everyone who had the Dolphins minus 14.5 points was smoking a cigar. And then Houston came alive in the second half and Miami stopped playing and it was eventually only a 15 point lead. Put the cigar out. But Miami held on for the win and the cover.


JETS 31 - BEARS 10 -- Justin Fields sat this one out so the Bears were going to go with Trevor Siemian at QB except he somehow got hurt in warm-ups. So then they were going to start Nathan Peterman and they remembered he's terrible. So they taped up Siemian's ribs and told him to get out there and give it the old college try. It didn't help. Jets win easily to improve to 7-4, which, oddly, is the same record the Ravens have.


COMMANDERS 19 - FALCONS 13 -- We called this one a 6-point Commanders win and that's exactly what happened, although we certainly didn't know Atlanta would be on the doorstep of a game-winning TD and then throw an inteception in the final seconds to hand D.C. the victory. The more Atlanta plays, the more that December 24 game in Baltimore concerns me. Just sayin'.


PANTHERS 23 - BRONCOS 10 -- Things are NOT going well for Russell Wilson in Denver. Yesterday, they fell to the lowly Panthers and defensive players were seen sniping at Wilson on the sidelines. Wait until next Sunday in Baltimore. Wilson's in for a rough day.


CHARGERS 25 - CARDINALS 24 -- The Chargers "pulled a Jaguars" and scored a late TD and a 2-point conversion to win in Arizona over the hapless Cards. Los Angeles is now 6-5 and still hanging around in the AFC playoff picture.


RAIDERS 40 - SEAHAWKS 34 (OT) -- We called this one a Raiders win in overtime, but we figured a field goal would do it instead of a touchdown. Josh Jacobs ran it in from 86 yards away to give Las Vegas the improbable victory. Seattle falls out of first place in the NFC West with the loss and probably won't be heard from again in 2022.


CHIEFS 26 - RAMS 10 -- We almost hit this one precisely, too. We had K.C. winning by 15 and they won by 16. The Rams are kaput. Done. Signed, sealed and delivered. K.C. now heads to Cincinnati for a mini-showdown game next week.


49'ERS 13 - SAINTS 0 -- This was a laugher from the start. Poor New Orleans...they're so bad. And San Francisco is now 7-4 and starting to show some real signs that they might be the team to beat come January in the NFC. We'll see how good that defense is next week when they host Tua and the high-powered Dolphins. That one sets up to be "Game of the Week" material.


EAGLES 40 - PACKERS 33 -- Jalen Hurts is the real deal. He ran for 125 yards and threw for 125 yards -- in the first half!! Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers got that "oblique injury" that, you know, will probably force him to miss 2-3 weeks of playing time. Once Green Bay loses those games to fall to 4-10 or 4-11, why not just let Jordan Love finish up the season? I called that one from jump street. No way Rogers is playing when the team's 4-10.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Sunday Recap –

Group E

Japan 0 - Costa Rica 1

After getting the better of the luck against Germany, Japan was on the bad side in this one. Despite controlling possession and outshooting Costa Rica 13-4, the Japanese fell to a late Keysher Fuller goal, leaving them work to do in the finale against Spain.


Spain 1 - Germany 1

One of the most intriguing matchups of the group stage largely delivered on its promise. A contest of two teams willing to press high and pass through the defense produced a quality showcase.

Though Spain controlled the ball with 64% of possession, Germany generated more chances with 11 shots to 7. However it was Spain who appeared to be in the driver’s seat when substitute Alvaro Morata scored with an outstanding first time strike off a Jordi Alba cross in the 62nd minute.

Less than ten minutes from the full 90, German substitute striker Niclas Fullkrug evened the game up after a touch from Jamal Musiala, saving Germany’s hopes of advancing.


Group D

Belgium 0 - Morocco 2

Belgium dominated possession in this one but failed to turn it into many dangerous chances and paid the price. Morocco waited out the Belgian attack and then scored a 73rd minute goal from an outstanding free kick from substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri. They tacked on another in injury time through Hakim Ziyech when Belgium got caught up field trying to pull out a draw.


Croatia 4 - Canada 1

Canada looked like they would build off their impressive performance against Belgium when they scored a 2nd minute goal with an Alphonso Davies header. Unfortunately it was a mirage, as Croatia settled back into the game and Canada’s defense was unable to deal with the technical ability of Croatia’s attack.

Andrej Kramaric evened the score in the 36th minute with a nice finish then Marko Livaja put them up just before halftime. Kramaric added another in the second half and Croatia padded their goal differential with a fourth in injury time, ending Canada’s chances to advance in their first world cup since the 80s.


Monday Preview –

Group G

Cameroon v Serbia

Key Players

Cameroon - Andre Onana - Goalie

Serbia - Sergej Milinkovic-Savic - Midfielder

Prediction: 2-1 Serbia; Both teams are better attacking than defending, though both were shutout in their opening games. They each get one on the board in this one but Serbia gets the win by a goal.


Brazil v Switzerland

Key Players

Brazil - Richarlison - Forward

Switzerland - Xherdan Shaqiri - Forward

Prediction: 1-0 Brazil; A rematch from the 2018 World Cup group stage where Switzerland pulled out a 1-1 draw. Despite missing Neymar to injury, Brazil still has plenty of offensive firepower and a strong defense. They win this one with a goal and a clean sheet.


Group H

South Korea v Ghana

Key Players

South Korea - Son - Forward

Ghana - Mohammed Kudus - Forward

Prediction: 1-0 South Korea; Each team can defend well and has some dangerous attackers. South Korea squeaks our a close win with a late goal from Son.


Portugal v Uruguay

Key Players

Portugal - Bernardo Silva - Midfielder

Uruguay - Fede Valverde - Midfielder

Prediction: 1-0 Uruguay; This one is the game of the day, with a battle that will likely determine the top spot in Group H and the right to avoid Brazil in the second round. These are two defense-first teams who are hard to break down. The first one to score could win this one. Darwin Nunez opens his World Cup account and Uruguay gets the win.

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#dmd comments








Unitastoberry     December 04
If the Ravens lose today it's going to get very ugly. 🥸🤔

CIK     December 04
It’s almost like DF thinks he owns this site and doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But only a fool would complain about something this silly for the last 3 months. If only that BP dump website had a comments section…maybe the readers here wouldn’t have to deal with the silly banter. But the BP motto is “no phone calls & no comments”

larry     December 04
Haha, @MFC you know the answer to that question, this place is crawling with lemmings lol.

MFC     December 04
Creative accounting, must be an investor in FTX, last week. The total was 7-5 not 10-2. If you know what I mean.



We're now back to charting wins and losses, again I ask what happened, that's an incredible transformation this year. The site owner goes from no charting the bets, no mention of w-l's and disclaimers to full blown, "locks of the week" and yearly stats that we're asked to accept at face value. And the DMD doesn't think an explanation is necessary? Really? Wouldn't you like your messiah to discuss that change or do you continue to be the lemmings of the site and just accept anything that comes down from on high. If you know what I mean.

Steve of Pimlico     December 03
O's sign a cheaper version of Jordon Lyles and save 4- 5 million dollars.Is this their dip into free agency?

Sold my last 2 PSls yesterday at a small profit because if the Ravens don't sign Lamar the PSL market will crater.My unsolicited advice to Lamar is for him to take a seat and get real representation.

Eric in Gaithersburg     December 03
Can already hear Os fans whining and i get it, Angelos crew has earned no trust but its Dec 3rd and all teams add to the bottom of roster, plus entire point of having analytics crew is finding guys us normal people think stink that actually don't. Wait till Mar 1st to judge offseason then commence whining. Theyve stated repeatedly that #1 starter, middle of order bat and quality backup C are their priorities. They dont back up the talk then they will get rightfully ripped

alexi     December 03
"sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing" which was possible cause key players decided at the worst time to stop playing D.

DMD called for this Reyna guy the whole tourney, then today says now he can see why his PT was limited. Hmmm, perhaps the actual coach of the team knows more than the voices sitting at home watching on TV. Go figure

Chris in Bel Air     December 03
@TimD you are correct. That first goal by the Dutch was a sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing. That was a cleat of reality to the US.

That was an exciting and entertaining win by the Terps last night. Looks like this season is shaping up to be way above my initial expectations.

I see Lamar apologized for the tweet. I really liked his candor in his discussions of it and that is why so many people like him. One related note to that discussion, Lamar stated "I feel like you should be bitter after a loss. No smiles. I feel like the fans should be mad we lost, too. But not mad at us. We tried." Too often, fans seem to think the players don't care about losing as much as they, the fan do. That certainly isn't the case. They want to win and, as much as it sucks as a fan watching them lose, it is way worse for them as a player and a coach.

Howard     December 03
44-15 as a Ravens starter; big problem is his 1-3 playoff record. He needs to come up big in the playoffs.

TimD in Timonium     December 03
The Dutch are GOOD. Too much talent and experience today. Great USA run.

unitastoberry     December 03
Lamars final grades for year 5 are not out until the end of week 17 and maybe the playoffs. Lets revisit then.

Josh     December 03
Great win for the Terps!



Excellent soccer coverage here, keep up the good work!

Ray Ray     December 03
howard; wins what? in High school? 3 years at Louisville? five years in nfl? what miracle do expect to happen to change what has always happened?

Howard     December 02
44-15. Say what you want but the guy wins

Stats Nerd     December 02
@Fish...Cleveland? Depending on what metrics you look at they are generally in exactly the same spot as BAL in receiving. KC, BUF, MIA, CIN, SF are the highest rated passing groups followed by PHI, SEA, LV and DAL.

Baltimore is pretty much mid tier passing team if you look at various metrics. Some they might be as high 12th or as low as 18th. Cleveland same.



There are teams that have positive efficiency running the ball in the league: PHI, BAL, CHI, CLE, and ATL. There are 3-ish others that are efficiency nuetral running: NYG, DAl and PIT

Fish     December 02
Does that Henry guy follow the NFL?



Miami has 3 high quality pass catchers. I'm guessing Drew is counting TE's. Kansas City has 3. Cincinnati has 3. If Waller is healthy there's an argument the Raiders have 3. Cleveland might even have 3.

TimD in Timnoium     December 02
The problem with being a one-man show both on and off the field is that it gets overwhelming. @DF points out, Lamar takes ALL the heat. Does he alone get all the glory with a Super Bowl win or a giant, guaranteed contact? Well, maybe. But that's a lot of crap to handle in the meantime.



Think how much easier THIS exchange would be. Reporter - "Hey, Lamar, how's the contract coming along? Lamar - "I dunno, man. I'm only thinking about beating the Broncos."



Boom. EASY.


henry     December 02
"three or four high quality pass catchers" How many teams have this?? I'll give you a hint - zero lol.

Lamar is definitely "off" this year. Some may be injuries, but from the cheap seats, I think he feels restricted by the coaching staff. The voices around him are all saying "just go ball man" and G-Ro and Harbs say "do it our way, it will work". Then it works maybe one out of 10 times.

I am sure Lamar wants to win games, but he also wants to be on SC Top 10 every week. He's clearly frustrated. Is it ego, or money? Or both? But the big question is, who is pushing 100% guarantee? Is that really him, or the NFLPA, or his "people"??

@David is right, the results have not been as bad as the perception, but Chris in B is also right, Lamar is a different guy this year.

It might boil down to which would the Ravens regret more, not signing him, or signing him?

David Rosenfeld     December 02
You know, it's fine to talk about Lamar's play, his future, his maturity, etc. It's fine if you want him around forever, or if you'd rather that not happen.

I just keep coming back to the fact that this team, this year, has played 660 minutes of football and has been behind less than 10 percent of the time. I can't say exactly what that says about Lamar Jackson, but it sure isn't negative.

joe of bel air     December 02
I hope the Ravens move on from Lamar after this season. His passing stats will never resemble those of Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and others. Defensive coordinators have seen LaMar for 5 years and a lot have figured out the best way to defend him, look what Jacksonville and Carolina did. The fact is Lamar is an outstanding runner and a mediocre passer. Look at Can Newton's career. He is only 33 years old,won an MVP award and his career has been over for the last 3 years. The fact is running QBs don't last very long in the NFL and that is what Lamar is, a running QB. I think the Ravens have gotten all they could out of Lamar and would be wise to move on. Trade him for some draft picks and see what Huntley can do in 2023.

Chris in Bel Air     December 02
"Here was a time when Jackson was just a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie in the league. "Just happy to be there", so to speak.

That Lamar is gone. Long gone. The business side of the league has changed Lamar, in the same way it would likely change anyone in their mid-20's who is sitting on a pot of gold."

There's no doubt in my view, as the avg fan, Lamar seems different this year. His demeanor in the games and sidelines aren't as enthusiastic. His press conferences and sound bites are drier and more canned. Some of this is maturity and understanding he's about to be asked the same ol' questions over and over. But I think a lot of it is the contract and money weighing on him. He's playing a game of poker and he's trying not to tip his hand. If I had to bet one way or the other, and Lamar was 100% candid, I think he believes there are forces holding him back: Lack of WRs. Play calling. The schemes. His D giving up game winning scores in the last seconds. And, certainly his own mistakes. Like many are saying, he's betting on himself and it's not panning out, so far, like he believed it would.

With that said, I would want him back as the Ravens QB but at the right price that allows the Ravens to be competitive. He is a sensational athlete and good QB. To answer Drew's question, Lamar is way better when he has success running the ball and passing (e,g., 85 yds rushing and 235 yds passing). He just doesn't thrive dropping back most of the game... and of course we can talk endlessly about why that is.

K.C.     December 02
Anyone have details on Nestor getting kicked off Twitter? Please tell!

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Memo to Lamar. Love ya, man, but it's time to grow up. Hire an agent. Add a PR team. And delete Twitter from your phone. You'll be much happier.

Unitastoberry     December 02
Drew you just pulled a Howard Cosell with your December 2022 analysis of Lamar compared to 2019 Lamar. He bet on himself and as of today he's losing. Now with football being the ultimate team sport his defense isn't helping him either. His social media antics are childish. But then most people his age take to Tic Tock etc and do stupid stuff that gets monetized rather than get a part time service job etc. He has 6 games for the guarantee money Lamar to show up and pull a Frank Robinson or John Unitas move and put the team on his shoulders to raise the Lombardi.It was his bet not Steve's.

Hal     December 02
Agree with @Herman. Top drawer edition of The Dish today. Well done everyone involved!!

JP     December 02
It's amazing we can't get a column about Lamar in the Baltimore Sun like the one in DMD today.

Any update on G-Ro going to Stanford? What are the streets saying DF?

Delray RICK     December 02
RAVENS just can't get a top receiver nomatter what. Looking at stats we are nowhere to be found. ANDREWS was but after being hurt not in top 10. Looking at other teams so many are " burners". We have them run 10 yards and that's it.

Herman     December 02
I've taken a sabbatical from posting but I'll give kudos to the site owner on today's publication. Chock full of good material.

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Quick follow-up from yesterday, thank you @DF for the Rob Ambrose update. I hope, no expect, he'll move on to bigger and better things. He did a great job at Towson for a long time. I can still remember his weekly updates in-season on your morning radio show. Loved his insights. And his passion. Might have made some of us better rec league coaches. Made me a better person, I'm sure of that. Good guy.

JoeP     December 02
Radio Mogul suspended from Twitter?

He's finally done it..."Made it Ma, Top of the World''. But much like Cody Jenson(James Cagney in White Heat), he's standing on a huge tank of gasoline.

Recently he had a conversation with another unknown "sportswriter" and they talked about Springsteen. In that non linear jumble he stated

1. He's best friends with Nils Lofgren

2. He's been backstage with the Springsteen group "dozens of times". And turned down numerous chances for more back stage access.

3. Can't access tickets to the shows, except in Southern Cities where they ''hate Bruce".



The obvious inconsistencies are never addressed.

1. Best friends with Nils? "I haven't talked with him for years".

2. 100%...that he would turn down back stage access? No way, big time Adderall fueled lie

3. So a promoter would play in cities that were hard to sell? Facts are the tour is sold out.

4. And why is he worried about getting in? One phone call to his best friend, he's back stage every night.

Maybe Nils reported him to Twitter for "misinformation". How will this affect his 100k imprints/day social media claims?



We need water Gunga Din(MFC), bring it to us.

Billy     December 01
Mr Positive got suspended from Twitter lol. And he's been on his high horse about Lamar being profane? Perhaps @MFC has an explanation.

Ken     December 01
I am new to the area and just found the Morning Dish (not a native of Baltimore or Maryland) and must say I'm very impressed with the daily articles and such.



Who is Drew (does he have a byline?)? As for the other writers who have staff positions at the web site, kudos on a job well done.



There's nothing like this in my hometown (Denver) and I'm glad I discovered it.



I think your Ravens will have an easy go of it with my Broncos on Sunday. I'll be there to witness the carnage.

MFC     December 01
Ambrose got a raw deal. The new AD wants his "own" man, many times that doesn't work out either. It would only be fitting given the President of TU is leaving for the Un of Louisville (wonder if she attended the game the other night) that the new President take the same approach and cans the AD.What goes around comes around.

JeffWell     December 01
@David R: I agree 100%. Lamar would truly benefit from some professional guidance. I wonder if he feels that he doesn't need that kind of assistance or if it just a case of keeping the money in the family.



MFC: Why on earth are you aiming a comment towards me? I guess I was next on your list of things to say to people. You never run out of those types of comments.

Do you really believe that a "schoolgirl choir" is a negative thing. Wow, another far left sexist/misogynist. You really can't make this stuff up.

David Rosenfeld     December 01
Lamar is an interesting case because he doesn't have anyone who is helping him establish his "brand." We all know about the (lack of) professional help when it comes to his business affairs, etc. Clearly social media is part of it.

At this point, Lamar really is very authentic. He's not Cal Ripken or Peyton Manning, or any athlete/entertainer whose entire existence seems dedicated to protecting and projecting an image. I admire that...he truly is a guy whose play on the field speaks for him.

At the same time, I do think that Lamar has seemed immature this year, even as he approaches 26 years old with 4 1/2 seasons as the team's starting QB. The Ravens could use a leader, not just a uniquely talented QB, and he's not there.

sammy     December 01
Great post by Stats Nerd today. Social media is oft maligned, deservedly so, but as he points out today, there's a ton of positives as well. We've likened DMD and its comments section to "people at a bar", and social media is the same. One night you might run into a drunk who is a total jerk and full of BS opinions, and you can't get away fast enough. Next time you might come across someone who has been somewhere you are planning to go and is nice enough to share some insights into what to do and not do there. Or someone with well thought out opinions on topics that interest you, and you chat all night long.

Now the challenge is, can we weed out the bad and keep only the good?

Unfortunately, like with most things in our world, the answer is no. You gotta take the bad with the good. But just like you can leave a bar, you can choose to partake (or not) in social media on your own terms. Closing all the bars would be an insane solution to eliminating ***holes in bars lol. Great column Stats Nerd.

Unitastoberry     December 01
I've been following the ascent of Deion Sanders as head coach at Jackson State. It's rather amazing what's he's done there in 3 years including COVID and him almost losing his entire foot. He's a recruiting machine and he hires old NFL players and coaches for the x and O's. But on the field he's tough in practice and strict on discipline. Not what you might expect from Prime who used to hang with gang bangers etc in his youth. I'd love to see him stay at Jackson State leave the SWAC and go independent. He can steal guys from Saban and Harbaugh etc every day . I'd fire the guy at Maryland in a second to hire Prime.

Fred M     December 01
I have a question for the mailbag.



Was the girl that watched the 1980 Olympic Hockey game the Girlfriend that you stole from Monk or Herman? Or was it some other critic?

MFC     November 30
@Jeffwell, you must be seeking a solo in the "schoolgirl choir" concert.

Jeffwell     November 30
Ravens need to sharpen up their offense and 4th quarter D, if they expect to win their division. If not, even with a relatively easy schedule, they may find themselves on the outside looking in.



I don't think Delray is the only one, "who time and time again tells us who he is". I mean "Pot, meet kettle." Wow. At least he doesn't seem to have an agenda to push.

Chris in Bel Air     November 30
Awesome win for the USMNT but nothing to the level of the hockey's team's win over the Ruskies and eventual win over Finland for the gold medal. This soccer team will need to go beat Brazil (assuming they would face them at some point after NETH) and win the Cup before we can have that conversation.

@Such - Completely agree. I never had a social media account and never will. I will take your thoughts a step further. Given the misinformation posted and the enabling of the worst social behaviors of people, I'm not sure there is a net benefit to society from social media. Sure, businesses can grow from it and people can see pics of loved ones and friends from a far. But, the negatives are so prominent, I don't believe the good outweighs the bad.

Looking forward to see how the Terps b-ball team fares against some real teams. They have checked all the boxes presented to them so far.

kj     November 30
Amen Such, well said.

Such     November 30
I recall a bumper sticker from years ago that read Kill Your Television. The 21st Century adaptation of that would read Kill Your Social Media.

I left Facebook over two years ago I think? I deleted my Twitter account a few months ago. I never had much use for Instagram or Snapchat because I'm not 19 years old. And TikTok seems to be the place where boredom goes to die in a flurry of 15 second videos. I really don't understand our fascination with it.

The reality is that social media has created a parallel reality where people feel free to say things to others that they would never say in a personal encounter. It's exposed the worst elements of human behavior, and it's tacitly endorsed that. People seem to reflexively insult each other instead of engaging in any kind of effort to understand one another. What an ugly way to behave.

It's not only Lamar Jackson who's complicit in this type of reactionary behavior, either. There are countless athletes, politicians, musicians and celebrities who get into these ridiculous back and forths online. It's not a good look.

Kill Your Social Media. You'll find it's really good for your mental and emotional health.

Steve of Pimlico     November 30
Nothing in my life will top US beating the Commies.Orioles winning WS in 66 and Ravens2012 SB run are 2nd and 3rd on my personal list of all time favorites.

MFC     November 30
Delray time and again tells you who he is, believe it.



Awesome game, ecstatic for the USA, if ( big if) they win the next one look out. The bars will be packed and people will be purchasing swag. It can ignite a country with excitement.



The Terps and Willard are on a roll. Willard is the real deal. The kids play hard all the time. Do that and you always have a chance. Amazing to watch these college games knowing full well the kids are getting hefty sums to play. The college coach is now coaching salaries, totally different atmosphere.




Chris K     November 30
There have been pretty big moments between 1980 and now that surpass getting out of the 1st round in 2022. the women winning in 1999 was AWESOME! Personally THAT is right up there with 1980! The 1994 mens team beating columbia to advance seemed much bigger than this. The original dream team was pretty special. IF they can win at least 1 game in the knockout THEN this will be a huge deal. Until then it's pretty far down the list.

Unitastoberry     November 30
What's the over/under on how many times the tv camera shows Watson's accusers on Sunday?

The US high school college hockey team beating the Russian pros in 1980 would be like St Francis beating KC in the Super Bowl.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 30
@ DELRAY RICK, Second on my list and so on, NBA Basketball, WBA Basketball, Ice Hockey, all the other sports I can tolerate watching.

TimD in Timonium     November 30
It was a GREAT win yesterday by USMNT. Boring game? Any of it? Felt more like riding a roller coaster. Tough task beating the Netherlands, we'll see. Congrats to a much-criticized defense that allowed just a single goal vs Wales, Iran, and England. Did not expect that.

David Rosenfeld     November 30
For what it's worth, KenPom suggests that Saint Louis (42) will win the Atlantic 10, and Miami (44) will finish 12-8 in the ACC. Early bracketology suggests that Miami is an at-large NCAA tournament team.

Of course we are 7 games into the season, so take that however you want to. And certainly these next 4 games are a true test and are very unlikely to all be wins, though it's good that only one of them is a road game.

I'd like to reiterate that I am not taking a veiled swipe at anyone basketball IQ.

#DMD GAME DAY
Week 12


Sunday — November 27, 2022
Issue #3016

Batimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars

1:00 PM EDT

TIAA Bank Field
Jacksonville, FL

Spread: Ravens (-3.5)



another "tricky" game


Last Sunday, in what we labeled one of those "tricky" games where the Ravens should easily win, the contest with Carolina was anything but easy, as the Ravens needed a second half TD to claim a 10-3 lead en-route to an eventual 13-3 victory over the hapless Panthers.

Sure, the cold and heavy winds didn't help either team offensively. That's for certain. But it was an uneven performance for Lamar Jackson and Company noneteheless. Fortunately, Carolina's offense was horrendous. Hence, the 10-point triumph.

Today in Jacksonville, the Ravens face another one of those "tricky" games, where they are not only favored by the oddsmakers but also expected to win by virtually everyone else, too. This Jaguars team filled with hope and promise at the outset of the season, has once again slipped back to one of the league's worst clubs at 3-7. The Ravens shouldn't have much trouble with them today. But......

How will Ronnie Stanley's absence impact the Ravens today?

We can string together the potential excuses now. Foul weather (rainy today in northern Florida), Lamar playing with a bum hip (missed practice on Friday as a result of it), no Ronnie Stanley or Isaiah Likely (both with ankle issues) -- there's four reasons for a downturn in quality today, if it should occur.

But even in the rain and even with Lamar hobbled and even with guys like Stanley and Likely not able to play, the Ravens should still figure out a way to win this one. It might look a lot like last Sunday's snoozer with the Panthers, but as we always say about NFL games, "It's never about how -- it's only about how many." As in, "how many wins".

A win today pushes Baltimore to 8-3 and gives them a nice cushion in pursuit of the AFC North crown. They're still in the hunt for the #1 playoff seed in the conference as well, with both Kansas City and Buffalo right there as well.

They just can't lose any of these tricky games down the stretch. And they have a number of them still on the schedule, including expected home wins over Denver, Atlanta and Pittsburgh and a visit to the Steel City in two weeks that should be a win as well.

Brush the Jaguars aside today and move on to the next one, I say. 10-3, 20-13, 24-23, 33-13 -- the score doesn't reall matter. Just get a win and get out of there.

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how drew sees today's game


Unlike last week, where I suspected the Ravens would blow out the Panthers, I'm seeing this as a bit closer in Jacksonville.

I'll buy a little bit of stock in the weather hindering the Baltimore offense and I'll assume Lamar's hip injury is problematic enough to somewhat limit him. And without Stanley protecting him, Lamar might need to scamper around more than usual. So, sure, I can see the Ravens having trouble getting in the end zone today.

But I don't see Jacksonville doing much when they have the ball, either. The Baltimore defense is ramping up as the weeks go by and today is going to be another opportunity for them to put the league on notice that "old school" Ravens football is back in a big way.

Lamar runs for 70 yards and throws for 195.

Mark Andrews (who else?) collects 7 catches for 105 yards and scores a touchdown.

Kenyan Drake posts 82 yards on the ground.

And Jason Pierre-Paul scoops up a fumble deep in Jacksonville territory and runs it in for a TD.

Justin Tucker connects on three field goals.

It's 10-3 Ravens at the half. But that lead quickly expands on the first drive of the 3rd quarter and from there they hold on.

The Ravens improve to 8-3 with a 23-10 victory over the Jaguars.

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around the nfl


BUCCANEERS AT BROWNS -- Cleveland's out of the playoffs already, but they're probably thinking if they can steal a win today to improve to 4-7 that there's still a chance they can make a post-season run. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, is just trying to hold serve, win the NFC South, and get at least one home playoff game. The Browns are also hanging on for Deshaun Watson's imminent return, but no matter how many ways you massage Cleveland's season and upcoming schedule, they're done. Tampa Bay 17 - Cleveland 16


BENGALS AT TITANS -- No matter how many ways you slice this one, it's a big game for both teams. The Titans have been rolling of late and come in on 11 days rest. The Bengals are just trying to stay in the playoff race long enough to get Ja'Marr Chase back and healthy. Both teams are really banged up today. It all comes down to a last second field which...Cincinnati misses. Bengals gonna Bengals. Tennessee 24 - Cincinnati 22


Will Derrick Henry and the Titans have enough offense to turn back the Bengals today?

TEXANS AT DOLPHINS -- A friend of mine texted me yesterday and said, "My play of the day on Sunday: Texans outright". Yes, I have some very dumb friends. I mean, sure, it's the NFL and anything can happen and Miami could stub their toe today, but I just don't see that happening when the Dolphins are still very much alive for an AFC East title. Houston is awful. It's one thing if they're 3-7 or something like that. They have 1 win. And that's what they'll have at the end of the game, too. Miami 33 - Houston 13


BEARS AT JETS -- The Jets face one of those "tricky games" today because by all accounts, even with a quarterback controversy on their hands, they should still beat Chicago. But the Bears are starting to put together some offense out there in the Windy City and today's one of those days where they show folks they're actually better than their 3-8 record indicates. The controversy rolls on in New Jersey. Chicago 27 - New York 24


FALCONS AT COMMANDERS -- You could have won some money back in August if you would have said, "You know, that game on Thanksgiving weekend in D.C. will have playoff implications for both teams." People would have thought you were nuts. Alas, here we are, with the Commanders actually in a good spot to make the playoffs if they beat teams like Atlanta over the last six weeks of the season. The Falcons are also turning in a surprisingly good campaign too. Washington 26 - Atlanta 20


BRONCOS AT PANTHERS -- Boy, this one should be a real doozy, huh? And you thought last week's Ravens-Panthers game was drab. If Russell Wilson can't beat Carolina by himself, he should forfeit his game check. Nothing else to say here. It's not worth the energy. Denver 19 - Carolina 16


CHARGERS AT CARDINALS -- It's almost "last gasp" time for the Chargers who are now 5-5 and need to get to at least 10 wins to have a shot at the playoffs. Arizona? They're done. Again. Cardinals gonna Cardinals. We'll take Los Angeles here but it's not with much conviction, that's for sure. Los Angeles 35 - Arizona 29


RAIDERS AT SEAHAWKS -- Seattle is still alive and well in the NFC West, but they need to win games like the one they're hosting today against the lowly Raiders. We've been thinking all along that Las Vegas isn't as bad as they've looked despite the fact their record says otherwise. A week after getting their first road win in Denver, the Raiders pull off another away triumph. Las Vegas 24 - Seattle 21 (OT).


RAMS AT CHIEFS -- At the outset of this season, this one looked like a marquee game on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Instead, it's a dud. The Rams are banged up and out of the playoff picture. Kansas City 38 - Los Angeles 23.


SAINTS AT 49'ERS -- I can't imagine the 49'ers are going to look this gift horse in the mouth, right? New Orleans is awful. And they're especially awful on the road. San Francisco 27 - New Orleans 17


PACKERS AT EAGLES -- Green Bay comes in at 4-7 and this, tonight, is pretty much their season. If they have any hopes at all of pulling a rabbit out of their hat and making the playoffs, they have to win tonight and then run the table the rest of the way. No rabbits will be available in Philadelphia this evening, unfortunately. A-Rod will get that mysterious "back injury" late in this one and won't be seen again in 2022. Philadelphia 31 - Green Bay 20

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


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Saturday Recap

Group C

Poland 2 - Saudi Arabia 0

Poland largely let Saudi Arabia have the ball and looked to hit on the counter. The Saudis had more shots but Poland had the better chances. Poland went ahead late in the first half when Robert Lewandowski made a nice play to control a low hard cross then cut it back to find an open Piotr Zielinski who slammed home the goal.

Saudi Arabia had a chance to even from the penalty spot shortly after but Wojciech Szczesny came up with the save. After hitting the post with shots twice earlier in the second half, Poland got the insurance goal when Lewandowski pounced on a loose touch from a Saudi defender and put a shot past the keeper.


Argentina 2 - Mexico 0

Mexico took a defense-first approach against Argentina and made it difficult for the South American power for much of the game. Neither team created many chances in this one, but Argentina’s quality eventually shined through.

In the 64th minute, Leo Messi broke the deadlock with a shot so perfect it would have looked like a mistake if it were anyone else. Messi received the ball a few yards outside the top of the box and hit a low hard shot through a tight window that picked out the corner for a 1-0 lead. Substitute Enzo Fernandez doubled the lead late with a spectacular shot of his own to get Argentina back on track in the group with three points.


Group D

Tunisia 0 - Australia 1

Tunisia had more possession and more shots but Australia got an early goal from striker Mitchell Duke and hung on to the 1-0 lead for a win that allows them to control their own destiny against Denmark in the final game.


France 2 - Denmark 1

Neither team found the net in a cagey first half. The game opened up in the second half after France jumped out into the lead. Theo Hernandez and Kylian Mbappe played a nice combination down the left wing that ended with a nice Mbappe finish in the box. Denmark didn’t take long to answer with a headed goal off a corner to even the score.

France kept pressing the attack and found a winner in the 86th minute, when a beautiful Antoine Griezmann ball to the back post found Mbappe who directed it in with his thigh. Despite allowing Denmark slightly more possession in the game, France generated 21 shots to just 10 for the Danes, so it was a well deserved victory and they are well on their way to winning the group.


Sunday Preview –

Group E

Japan v Costa Rica

Key Players

Japan - Wataru Endo - Midfielder

Costa Rica - Keylor Navas - Goalie

Prediction: 2-1 Japan; Costa Rica bounce back after their humiliation against Spain with a better effort, but Japan’s organized press is too much and they get the win.


Spain v Germany

Key Players

Spain - Pedri - Midfielder

Germany - Joshua Kimmich - Midfielder

Prediction: 2-2 draw; Set your DVRs, as this one is the marquee matchup of the group stage, that is unfortunately scheduled against the Ravens game. Germany looks to bounce back from their shock loss to Japan, needing a win against Spain. The Spanish will control the possession and each team will find the net a couple times.


Group D

Belgium v Morocco

Key Players

Belgium - Kevin De Bruyne - Midfielder

Morocco - Hakim Ziyech - Forward

Prediction: 3-1 Belgium; Belgium improves on their performance against Canada and overwhelms the Moroccan defense.


Croatia v Canada

Key Players

Croatia - Luka Modric - Midfielder

Canada - Alphonso Davies - Forward

Prediction: 1-1 draw; After an unlucky loss to Belgium in the opener, Canada keeps their hopes alive with a draw against another tough European opponent. Both teams will be hard to break down

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Saturday
November 26, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3015


now that tie feels like a win


Last Monday in Qatar, the U.S. and Wales played to a 1-1 tie which earned the American side one point in their World Cup opener.

It felt to most folks in this country -- at least the ones who follow and know soccer -- like a loss, though. The U.S. dominated the opening 45 minutes and then produced a listless second half that allowed Wales to garner the tying goal late in the contest.

The U.S. and England played to the same result yesterday in the second of three group games. 90 minutes of soccer didn't yield a goal for either side and the ensuing 0-0 draw left the American squad in 3rd place out of 4 teams with just one game remaining in the opening round robin format.

Matt Turner and the U.S. defense produced a "clean sheet" in Friday's important 0-0 tie with England.

But that tie felt like a win to the U.S. team. And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining, next Tuesday vs. Iran. A victory in that one for the U.S. and they're on to the knockout stage of the tournament, which is pretty much all anyone wanted prior to the month-long tournament in Qatar.

Yesterday's game wasn't a virtuoso performance by the U.S. team or anything like that, but a fair study of the 90 minutes would likely lead almost anyone to confess the American side was the better team throughout the game.

Both squads had opportunities to score and 0-0 wasn't a real representation of the offense that was generated throughout the contest. It could have been 1-1 or 2-2 if a couple of misidirected shots were hit more cleanly. Alas, a draw is a draw no matter the number of goals scored.

The only looming issue from the game had more to do with who didn't play for the U.S. For the second contest, highly regarded midfielder Gio Reyna didn't start. Unlike Monday's 1-1 tie with Wales where he didn't see the field at all, Reyna was finally ushered in with under 10 minutes remaining yesterday and wasn't much of a factor. Whether he plays a prominent role vs. Iran on Tuesday is anyone's guess.

One guy who will definitely be on the field next Tuesday is Tyler Adams, who has put an exclamation point on his first-ever World Cup with two masterful performances vs. Wales and England. He has clearly established himself as a player the U.S. can count on for at least the next two World Cups.

Christian Pulisic produced another effective outing on Friday, but the man who scored in the Wales game -- Timothy Weah -- wasn't able to duplicate that excellent outing vs. England yesterday. He was mostly ineffective before being subbed out with 10 minutes remaining.

Haji Wright was the surprise starter up top for Gregg Berhalter's team and looked like he didn't belong for the most part. It would be a surprise if he sees the field vs. Iran next Tuesday. The moment seemed to be too big for him.

The best news of the match was the emergence of Weston McKennie, who had a shockingly poor outing vs. Wales in the opener but bounced back to produce a stellar effort vs. England. The only blemish -- and it was a fairly big one given the final score -- was his inability to finish a quality scoring chance in tight midway through the first half. It wasn't a tap-in or anything like that, but it's a ball a quality offensive player has to put on target at the very least. Despite that, McKennie acquitted himself very well yesterday.

Walker Zimmerman also came through in a big way early in the game to help atone for his faux pas in the Wales game when he fouled Gareth Bale in the penalty area leading to the tying goal. He blocked a Harry Kane sizzler from 12 yards out that might have snuck past U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner if not for Zimmerman's well-positioned deflection of Kane's shot. Although he continued to be erratic with the ball at his feet and twice played sloppy passes that could have spelled trouble for Turner, Zimmerman stood tall in the back yesterday and was one of the reasons for the American clean sheet.

And so it all comes down to one more 90-minute game and a team -- Iran -- the U.S. expects to beat on Tuesday. But Iran shocked Wales on Friday, 2-0, and will advance to the knockout stage with a win over the Americans on Tuesday. So everything is on the line Tuesday for both teams.

A U.S. tie on Tuesday won't help them advance. They have to win to move on to the knockout stage.

10 months ago, after pedestrian away draws with CONCACAF bottom feeders El Salvador, Panama and Jamaica, I wasn't sure the U.S. would qualify for the World Cup, let alone be a win vs. Iran away from moving on to the knockout stage of the tournament. So, despite the sloppy 2nd half play vs. Wales and their inability to score a goal vs. England, the U.S. team needs only to beat Iran to advance out of group play.

Last January, I didn't think that was a possibility.

It all comes down to Tuesday. And if we're being honest, if you can't beat Iran in a win-and-move-on game, you're probably not deserving of a spot in the knockout stage of the World Cup.


U.S. player grades (1 is the worst performance possible, 10 is the best performance possible)

Matt Turner, GK (8) -- Highly confident on crosses and corners and made a nice diving stop of a 2nd half shot that could have given England a 1-0 lead.

Antonee Robinson, DEF (6) -- Had his hands full early on with England's Buyako Saka and lost the ball 15 times in 55 possessions in 90 minutes, but he was a threat going forward in the final 20 minutes when the Americans pressed for a go-ahead goal.

Tim Ream, DEF (8) -- Has been one of the team's more pleasant surprises in his two outings. Looked a little ragged in extra time and lost Harry Kane for a split second that could have been costly had Kane's last minute shot found the target. Overall, though, he handled himself well again.

Sergino Dest, DEF (8) -- If not for McKennie, he would have been the U.S. side's "Man of the Match". Rebounded from a so-so performance against Wales with a superb effort yesterday. He lost possession just 8 times in 50 touches and was much more defensive minded on Friday. A couple of his offensive runs were well timed and effective even though they didn't generate a goal.

Walker Zimmerman, DEF (7) -- A couple of dangerously sloppy passes nicked his grade a bit, but he was stout defensively and was well-positioned to block Kane's first half shot that could have been an opening goal for England.

Tyler Adams, MF (8) -- Sensational. Again. Lost the ball just 9 times in 60 touches and had an explosive, perfect tackle that stopped a scoring chance just outside of the penalty area in the 80th minute. Did a great job marking Mason Mount throughout the game.

Yunas Musah, MF (7) -- Had a better go of it than he did vs. Wales but still couldn't maintain 90 minutes of quality and was subbed out with 12 minutes remaining. Still, for a 19-year old, he's showing the kind of form that should keep him in the U.S. national team picture for the next decade.

Weston McKennie, MF (8) -- "Man of the Match" for the U.S. despite his missed goal scoring opportunity in the first half. Completed 28 of 31 passes and won 4 of 6 ground encounters. Finally gave way to Aaronson after 77 minutes but his performance was precisely what the Americans needed in a game where they really needed to garner at least one point just for confidence if nothing else.

Christian Pulisic, F (8) -- Hit the post in the opening half and had a couple of other dazzling moves going forward that led to U.S. scoring chances. Wasn't bullied like he was by Wales and his confidence soared throughout the game as he was willing to take on multiple defenders with the ball. Despite not having a role in a goal, it was one of his better U.S. performances of 2022.

Tim Weah, F (5) -- Didn't do much of anything. Might have played himself out of a start vs. Iran (Gio Reyna, anyone?) with Friday's lackluster performance. Although the goal vs. Wales was huge, it's fair to point out that other than that, he's done almost nothing to distinguish himself in the first two games.

Haji Wright, F (5) -- A surprise starter for the U.S., he failed to take advantage of his size (6'3") on set pieces and was largely invisible throughout his 80 minutes of action. If Berhalter gives him another opportunity vs. Iran, it would be a major shock.


U.S. substitutes: Aaronson (7...needs to play more), Moore (4...was victimized 30 seconds into his outing and was totally out of his element), Reyna (6...didn't do much, but didn't get a chance to do anything, really), Sargent (5...see Gio Reyna).

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saturday quick hits


Sunday's weather in Jacksonville doesn't look so good (78 with rain/storms) and Lamar's hip is bothering him (again) enough to sit out practice (again). Oh, and Ronnie Stanley (ankle) isn't playing tomorrow.

It "feels" like the Ravens might be due for one of those once-a-season "duds" and maybe the Jaguars play up a notch tomorrow against a team they shouldn't beat. Reasons for concern tomorrow against a bottom feeder Jacksonville team?


Kevin Willard's Terps are off to a 6-0 start but attendance has been dismal early on in College Park.

Maryland basketball is off to a rousing 6-0 start, but the attendance figures are concerning a month into the Kevin Willard era. "Sure, we thought we'd see more people in the seats early on, especially with the record," a Maryland athletic associate told #DMD on Friday night. "But we won't be concerned unless these kind of crowds linger into December and January."

Fair enough. The early-season non-conference schedule certainly wasn't imposing on the court or all that interesting to Maryland fans. They announced 10,000 and some change for yesterday's win over Coppin State. They must have counted cell phones as part of that attendance figure.


One of the interesting elements of online gaming is the inclusion of pre-made single-game parlays where the platform (Bet MGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, etc.) creates a multi-play parlay and offers it to you to wager on. You can't tweak the bet in any way. You simply have to wager that all elements of the offer "hit".

Such was the case last night when one of the platforms offered a NBA in-game parlay of Memphis (-2.5), Steven Adams recording 10+ rebounds, Dillon Brooks hitting 2+ three-pointer and Ja Morant scoring 25+ points. If you don't much about the NBA -- which I don't -- it's a fun, easy way to wager on a game.

I had a free $10 wager to use as part of a registration promotion, so I hit "accept bet" on the NBA in-game parlay and stood to win $57 if all four things happened. Memphis won by 21 points, Adams finished with 11 rebounds, Brooks hit 4 three-pointers and...........Morant finished with 23 points. Not 25. But 23. I had fun following along though and paid attention to a NBA game for the first time all season.

And the platform I used got me to do something I'd never do (even though it was a "free bet" and cost me no real money): Wager on a NBA game. The only sport I'd ever actually wager real money on is golf, because I at least think I know that sport well enough to wager $10 or so on it.


If there was any thought that Tiger Woods is no longer healthy enough to play competitive golf, he's efforting to put those thoughts to bed in advance of 2023. Woods announced yesterday he's "officially" playing in the Parent/Child tournament in Florida, December 17-18.

That schedule change means the 15-time major champion will play competitive golf three straight weekends in December, starting with next weekend at the Hero World Challenge (where he will walk the course), continuing the following weekend with a charity exhibition with McIlroy, Spieth and Thomas (where, it's assumed, the four players will ride) and ending at the Parent/Child (where players have the option of riding in carts).

So, yes, Tiger's not playing in three straight 72-hole golf tournaments or anything stressful like that, but he's feeling well enough to tee it up over three straight weekends with all three events televised for the golfing world to see.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Friday Recap

Group B

USA 0 - England 0

In the recent soccer documentary “Welcome to Wrexham” as new soccer team owners, Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds are discussing their team, one of them explains that some ties are more like wins and some are more like losses.

Well, the US men have now experienced both in the first two games of this World Cup.

U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter employed a new formation at the start of Friday's World Cup that frustrated the England squad.

The opening game tie against Wales where the US dominated the first half and led, felt like a loss. This scoreless tie with England, where the US largely outplayed one of the tournament favorites, very much felt like a win. Though it was a scoreless draw, it was certainly not without drama and excitement.

Coach Gregg Berhalter sent out a largely unchanged lineup from the opening game. The only switch from Monday was the insertion of Haji Wright at striker in place of Josh Sargent. Everyone else stayed the same, though the US aligned themselves slightly differently. Instead of their usual 4-3-3 formation, the team set up in a 4-4-2 defensive structure to start this game.

This tweak allowed the front two of Wright and Weah to press the two England center backs and block off the passing lanes into the English center midfielders.

Weston McKennie kicked out wide to the right with Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah in the middle, playing withdrawn from their English counterparts. This tactical adjustment was effective, frustrating England’s ability to play out of the back.

Eventually it forced England to make their own tweak, pushing center mid Jude Bellingham higher and operating with a single pivot in Declan Rice. The US later adapted and reverted to their 4-3-3 with Wright shadowing Rice, in what was a tactical chess match between Berhalter and counterpart Gareth Southgate.

The game got off to a slow start, with each team feeling the other out like two boxers probing at the start of an important bout. The first chance came in the 9th minute, when US fans had their hearts in mouths as Bukayo Saka got to the endline and cut back a pass that found star striker Harry Kane open in the box, but Walker Zimmerman was able to block his shot out for a corner.

The next few chances came to the US as they surprisingly dominated the middle stretch of the first half. In the 26th minute, Tim Weah hit a great, sharp cross that found Weston McKennie open in the box but he couldn’t get on top of his shot and he sent it over the bar. Just two minutes later, Yunus Musah hit a long range strike that deflected off a defender and was saved by English keeper Jordan Pickford.

A few minutes later the US was knocking again, this time a nice combination down the right side eventually found Pulisic on the edge of the box and he ripped a left footed shot that Pickford tipped off the post.

Ten minutes after that in the 42nd minute, Dest broke down the right side and got one on one with Harry Maguire in the box. He was able to get free for a left footed shot but Maguire just got a leg out to deflect it for a corner.

England bounced back at the end of the first half with a couple of decent chances, one from a Luke Shaw cut back to Saka in the box that was hit over the bar and then a long range Mason Mount shot that forced a diving save from Matt Turner.

The second half didn’t produce quite as many chances, but again the US dominated the game in stretches, keeping heavy pressure on the English end. In the 52nd minute, England nearly had a dangerous counter attacking chance after a US turnover, but Tyler Adams darted back to hound Saka and break up the play.

It was an effort indicative of the amazing night Adams had as a defensive presence. In the middle of the second half the US kept the ball in the English end, racking up several corners, but unable to connect on any of them.

Around the 68th minute England made the first substitutions of the game, bringing on Manchester City winger Jack Grealish, who troubled the US back line a bit and helped them get a foothold back in the game. Berhalter countered shortly after, bringing on Brenden Aaronson and Shaq Moore. Aaronson brought some good energy, but Moore struggled to find the game.

After withstanding the US pressure, England had the final chance of the game with a free kick several minutes into injury time. Luke Shaw found Harry Kane in the box but Kane was unable to get his header on goal and it sailed wide.

This was one of the better games the US has ever played at a World Cup. How well it is remembered will largely hinge on what they do in the next game, but should the US advance it will go right up there with past heroic efforts like a 1-1 draw with eventual World Cup winners Italy in 2006 or beating Portugal in 2002 and tying them in 2014.

The Americans did not back down against the most expensive team in the tournament, featuring superstars from all over the Premier League. They set up their defensive line of confrontation about three quarters into the English end, same as they did against Wales, and flustered England.

Though the English had 55% possession in the game, a lot of it was toothless passing along the back line. The US finished with 10 shots to England’s 8 and 7 corners to just 3 for England. Those numbers demonstrate how the US mostly got the better of their highly touted foes. They also ended with a slightly higher expected goals number on the day, though neither team generated a ton of danger.

This game was full of positive individual efforts, but no one was more significant than Tyler Adams.

Though well known to US fans, Adams is having a breakout tournament for anyone unfamiliar. He may have earned himself a ton of money with his effort today with the entirety of the English Premier League watching. Adams was like an old Arnold Schwarzenegger character tvs. England, The Eraser.

Every time it seemed like England had something dangerous brewing, Adams popped up and snuffed it out. He was like the energizer bunny crossed with a heat seeking missile. Its performances like this that leave no wonder as to why he was named captain of the team.

Tim Ream had another standout performance as well, providing a calming presence at the back and doing a good job containing Harry Kane and speedy winger Bukayo Saka, as England repeatedly tried to take advantage of that matchup. Weston McKennie had a much improved showing from the opener against Wales. He was instrumental facilitating play down the right side, with multiple nice passing combinations with Dest and Weah.

Christian Pulisic was also a constant threat to the English defense, and was just a few inches from scoring a dream goal against his teammates from Chelsea. Matt Turner was fantastic once again, coming up with a key save the one time he was called upon. He also showed great command of the box on free kicks and corner kicks and had several nice moments of distribution with his feet.

While this draw was truly a great result against a heavily favored England, it still leaves the US with work to do. The good news is that they control their own destiny on Tuesday. Get a win over a weaker but still dangerous Iran team, and they are in the knockout round. Anything else will leave them regretting missed chances in both the first two games.

The US certainly has the talent to get the job done, and Gregg Berhalter has largely gotten his tactical decisions correct in the first two games.

With Netherlands tying against Ecuador, it even opens the possibility that the US could avoid the toughest opponent from Group A by finishing second in the group behind England. It’s all on the line Tuesday afternoon. The world will be watching.


Wales 0 - Iran 2

This game was heading for a 0-0 draw until Iran scored on a long range strike late in injury time then racked another on a counter attack in the final seconds for a 2-0 win. The loss combined with the USA-England draw means that Wales will need to beat England to have any hope of advancing. Iran will likely just need a draw against the US.


Group A

Qatar 1 - Senegal 3

Senegal jumped out to a two goal lead just after halftime, but Qatar hung in the game, pulling a goal back before Senegal closed the door with a late third goal for a 3-1 win. The loss eliminated Qatar, while Senegal sits a point behind Netherlands and Ecuador in third place.


Netherlands 1 - Ecuador 1

Netherlands went up early with another Cody Gakpo goal on a long range strike. Then Ecuador looked like they had an equalizer before half but it was offside. Ecuador then evened the score early in the second half with Enner Valencia tallying his third of the tournament putting back a rebound. Neither team could break the tie and it ended 1-1, with both teams tied on points at the top of the group. Though Netherlands had the majority of possession, it was Ecuador who produced 15 shots to just 2 for the Dutch.


Saturday Preview

Group C

Poland v Saudi Arabia

Key Players

Poland - Robert Lewandowski - Striker

Saudi Arabia - Salem Al-Dawsari - Left Wing

Prediction: 1-0 Poland; The Polish badly need the win to move even on points with Saudi Arabia after the latter upset Argentina in the first game. Robert Lewandowski will get his first World Cup goal to lead them to a close win.


Argentina v Mexico

Key Players

Argentina - Lionel Messi - Forward

Mexico - Memo Ochoa - Goalie

Prediction: 2-0 Argentina; Argentina was shocked in the opener by Saudi Arabia, though they were largely unlucky and could have won handily. Mexico failed to produce much against Poland and will struggle again here. They will hope that Ochoa can salvage a point for them, but Argentina will be too strong.


Group D

Tunisia v Australia

Key Players

Tunisia - Aissa Laidouni - Midfielder

Australia - Aaron Mooy - Midfielder

Prediction: 1-0 Tunisia; This one will not be worth waking up early for. Australia is one of the worst teams at the tournament and Tunisia will find a way to score one goal and get the three points.


France v Denmark

Key Players

France - Kylian Mbappe - Forward

Denmark - Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - Midfielder

Prediction: 1-1; This should be one to watch with a matchup of two strong European foes. Denmark and France met twice in the recent Nations League with Denmark coming out on top both times. In this one France will look to get their revenge, but a well coordinated Denmark team will escape with a point.

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Friday
November 25, 2022
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#3014


where are we? we'll know today


The United States has been trying to be competitive in international soccer for a long, long time.

And the emphasis in that sentence above is the word "competitive".

U.S. soccer has made great strides since 1990. In fact, they've played in every World Cup but one since then, with a few advances out of group play into the knockout stage of the tournament(s).

There have been flashes of exceptional play in one-off summer tournaments like the Gold Cup, which generally serves to predict greatness for the American side in the next World Cup.

Christian Pulisic (left) and the U.S. men's soccer team faces a stern test today when they take on England at 2 pm.

And then that World Cup comes and goes without the expected greatness. And things fall back to square one.

The lead-up to this year's World Cup was met with both poor play and outstanding play, as the Americans finished 3rd in the CONCACAF qualifying series to earn their spot in Qatar.

But a close examination of that 14-game slate revealed an almost irritable array of performances. They beat the bottom feeder (Honduras), played frustrating road ties with lousy squads like El Salvador, Panama and Jamaica, lost to the likes of Canada and Costa Rica, and drilled visiting Mexico in a key encounter last November when a loss might have bumped them out of qualifying for this year's World Cup.

Their play leading into this month's World Cup was nothing to write home about. They played a series of uninspired and unimpressive "friendlies" in September, but even those were swatted away with the predictable, "Eh, we didn't have our full team and most guys were playing not to get hurt."

Monday's World Cup opener came and went in a fashion not at all surprising to those who have followed the U.S. National Team over the last eight years.

There was great soccer (20 minutes worth), good soccer (20 minutes worth), decent soccer (20 minutes worth) and bad soccer (30 minutes worth). When it was all said and done, a 1-0 first half lead for the Americans wasn't good enough. They gave up a sloppy second half goal to a Wales squad that was thrilled to steal a point from the game in a 1-1 draw.

And that brings us to........today. The U.S. takes on England in a game that is critically important to the American squad.

For all the talk and bluster about how much American soccer has improved over the last two decades or so, this afteroon in Qatar (2 pm EST kick-off) will tell us the truth.

How much better are we?

A lot better? If that's the case, a win today is possible.

A little better? If the ball bounces right and we defend the life out of the game, a tie can be had.

No better? England's gonna romp all over us.

There's no telling which U.S. team will show up today. The one that thrashed Wales in the first half on Monday? If we get that kind of performance, things are indeed looking up for Gregg Berhalter's team.

But if the American side that we watched lollygag through a spiritless 2nd half on Monday vs. Wales is the team we see today vs. England, we're getting run out of the gym.

This is a big, big moment for soccer in the United States.

Have we improved to the point where we can face an international power on the world's biggest soccer stage and go toe-to-toe with them?

We'll know by 4 pm today.

There's a lot riding on 90 minutes of soccer.


Unless you've been in a cave recently, you know that online sports gambling is alive and running in Maryland. Some of the platforms went live on Wednesday and a few others went live on Thanksgiving morning.

Nearly every online gambling provider is offering "free bets" and "free money" and all that stuff. They're looking to hook you on their service, of course.

You'll need to read the fine print on all of the "free" offers because there are a lot of moving parts to most of them. Yes, they're legit. But there are opt-ins and minimum deposits that have to be made before you can start scarfing up all of that free money that's being thrown around.

I perused one of the online apps last night during the Vikings/Patriots game and you could actually wager on total yards, scoring and so forth in each quarter of the game.

We've come a long way from your dad bringing home one of those "white cards" on Tuesday that had the betting lines for NFL and college games the following weekend.

You remember those. You put down 10 bucks and you won "points" if you could guess 4 out of 4 games correctly. Yeah, those white cards.

Well, now you can sit by your phone or computer while the game is on in front of you and bet that Dalvin Cook gains 55 yards or more in the 2nd half of the Vikings/Patriots game. You can bet that Mac Jones won't throw a 3rd quarter interception. Or, you can bet that he does throw in. Whatever you want to bet, your app will take the wager.

Like most things, the novelty of this will eventually wear off and the state's most ardent gamblers will make up a bulk of the wagering action. For now, though, my social media timeline is filled with people who are posting their betting slips and bragging about "beginner's luck".

Someone posted three slips yesterday with the caption: "I never knew it was this easy! Made three $50 bets and won all three!"

One of the three was a two-game parlay that earned him a $280 payout on a $50 bet.

And now.......he's hooked.

Which is precisely what his sportsbook provider wanted in the first place.

You can just hear the marketing folks now: "Look at this guy. He just went 3-for-3 with his first 3 bets. He's up about $500 on us. We'll have that $500 back and $500 more from him by this time next week."

If you like to gamble on sports you've found your oasis right here in the Free State.

Just be careful...

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fake punt, late kick lifts calvert hall over loyola


A couple of players from Calvert Hall made memories that will stay with them for a lifetime at the 102nd Turkey Bowl.

Ricardo Cooper ran 23 yards on a fake punt deep in his own territory late in the fourth quarter for an improbable first down.

That led to a go-ahead 33-yard field goal by Dylan Manna with 1 minute, 34 seconds remaining ,and the Cardinals edged Loyola Blakefield, 17-14, before an announced crowd of 8,529 at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium on Thanksgiving Day.

Calvert Hall celebrates Thursday's 17-14 win over Loyola in the 102nd Turkey Bowl at Towson University.

“I was very nervous with all the noise,” Manna said about the winning kick. “I will remember this for the rest of my life and I’ll sure brag about it too.”

Calvert Hall avenged a loss from last season in the Turkey Bowl, winning for 11th time in the past 13 games in the oldest Catholic school football series in the nation.

Loyola leads the all-time series 50-44-8.

The Cardinals (7-6) were coming off a 34-10 loss to Archbishop Spalding in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship game on Friday. Last year, the Cardinals won the A Conference title but lost to Loyola, 41-35, less than a week later for the first time since 2013.

Calvert Hall players and coaches talked about getting revenge after that setback and managed to come through in the end.

The Dons (4-6) converted a key fourth-and-7 from the Cardinals’ 28 midway through the third quarter on a pass from sophomore quarterback Brad Seiss to AJ Szymanski, who has committed to play next season at Maryland. Seiss then threw a 14-yard touchdown to Shane Elliott and Loyola had its first lead, 14-7.

The Cardinals responded on the ensuing drive with a 29-yard pass from Noah Braddock to Oliver Redd that tied the game, 14-14, with 1:28 left in the third quarter.

The Dons appeared poised for solid field position midway through the fourth quarter before Cooper took the snap for the punt on his 6 yard line and found a seam on the near sideline for the first down to set up the go-ahead kick by Manna.

“I told them before I got there, ‘I am running regardless. I don’t care how you block, I am running regardless,’” Cooper said. “I was looking at the sticks to see how far I was and I got the first down.”

The Dons, however, did not go away and they converted a fourth down deep in their own territory on a 10-yard pass from Seiss to Marcus Hines. Loyola managed to drive the ball deep into Calvert Hall and faced a fourth-and-1 from the 16. However, running back Kendrick Worthington was bottled up by a gang of Calvert Hall defenders for no gain with 11 seconds left to turn the ball over on downs and Calvert Hall had their much-desired victory.

“It’s emotional,” Calvert Hall coach Josh Ward said. “We had a tough first half and we came out and didn’t do what we needed to do early in the second half. But our guys are resilient and came through. We finished strong.”


This story was written by Todd Karpovich and originally appeared in The Catholic Review on November 24, 2022.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


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Thursday Recap –

Group G

Switzerland 1 - Cameroon 0

In an evenly played game, Switzerland found Breel Embolo open in the box for a goal just after halftime. The Swiss held on for the remainder to pick up the 1-0 win and a crucial three points.


Group H

Uruguay 0 - South Korea 0

An end to end affair for large chunks of the first half, the game settled down after the half. South Korea missed the best chance of the game with an open shot in the box skied over the goal. Fede Valverde pinged a late long range blast off the post but that was as close as either side got to scoring in the 0-0 draw.


Portugal 3 - Ghana 2

Cristiano Ronaldo missed two decent chances in the first half but earned and converted a penalty in the second to put Portugal up 1-0. The game broke open from there, with Ghana answering then Portugal putting in two more for a 3-1 lead.

Ghana pulled back one more then the Portugal keeper nearly earned a spot on the all-time bloopers real getting his pocket picked from behind by a Ghanaian attacker in the final seconds, but his defenders saved him from disaster and Portugal won 3-2.


Friday Preview –

Group B

USA v England

The USA take on group leaders and one of the favorites to win the cup, England, on Friday at 2pm. The Americans are heavy underdogs in this one, with a large talent disparity between the two teams. Realistically, a draw would be an amazing result for the US and would set them up to control their own destiny against Iran. However, even a one goal loss could set the US up well going into the final group game, with goal differential being the first tiebreaker.

Oddly enough, England has never beaten the US at the World Cup. The teams have met two times, with the Americans pulling off an upset with a 1-0 win in 1950 and again securing a 1-1 draw that helped them win the group in 2010.

Given the vastly different nature of this matchup from the opener, coach Gregg Berhalter will have some tough lineup decisions to make.

The US will probably take a more cautious and defensive approach against England, allowing them to have more control of the ball. This would suggest going with the “MMA” midfield trio of McKennie, Musah and Adams once again, as they provide great defensive coverage.

However, in the Wales game McKennie did not look sharp, after missing the pst several weeks for his club Juventus. He also seemed to get gassed by the end of the first half. This may call for one of Brenden Aaronson or Gio Reyna to take his spot in the midfield, and even if McKennie starts I would expect him to be subbed early in the second half.

Berhalter has said that the decision to leave Reyna on the bench was purely a coaching choice against Wales. Though it seems that could be gamesmanship because it is unfathomable that a healthy Reyna wouldn’t have provided a late boost as a sub with the US needing a goal.

So if Reyna is not fully healthy, it could be Aaronson who gets the call to start. He would bring outstanding energy to press the deeper English midfielders and also provide the ability to quickly push the ball on counter attacks. Aaronson is also familiar with the English team, playing many of them week in and week out in the Premier League.

The other lineup question surrounds who to start up top. Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah seem like locks to start after playing relatively well and combining for the lone US goal against Wales. Josh Sargent likely did enough against Wales to keep his starting spot as well, especially considering he provides a better outlet and set piece target than the smaller Jesus Ferreira, in the event the Americans need to consistently play long out of the back.

As discussed above, Berhalter will likely opt to play a bit more reactive and defensive minded against the more talented England. The US used a similar approach to good effect in their two qualifying matches against Mexico, looking to play direct on the counters rather than trying to work for chances in possession.

While the Americans may press situationally, applying their usual high press consistently against England could be a recipe for disaster. The US center backs will need to constantly keep an eye on the dynamic Harry Kane, while being cautious not to get pulled out of position by his frequent movement.

When the Americans get the ball they will look to strike quickly while England is unsettled, with Josh Sargent often dropping back to open space for Pulisic and Weah to run into the channels or behind the back line. Tyler Adams’s ability to win tackles and spark the counter could be key in this game.

Though every World Cup game is of vital importance, this one should provide the US with extra motivation. Not only is their fate in the tournament potentially on the line, many of these players are teammates or frequent opponents of the English players. Most of them grew up watching the English Premier League and they will surely have the fire to take on this challenge.


Wales v Iran

Key Players:

Wales - Garett Bale - Forward

Iran - Mehdi Taremi - Striker

Prediction: 0-0 draw; It’s debatable what the best result for the US is here. An Iran win would likely mean the US can control their destiny as long as they don’t get blown out by England. A draw would also be a decent result for the US, but would leave the door open for them to get knocked out if Wales beat England in the last match. Both of these teams are better defending than attacking so I see this one ending scoreless.


Group A

Qatar v Senegal

Key Players

Qatar - Akram Afif - Forward

Senegal - Kalidou Koulibaly - Center back

Prediction: 1-0 Senegal; Senegal will dominate an overmatched Qatar, but struggle to find the back of the net without injured star Sadio Mane. They will nick one for the win to keep their knockout hopes alive.


Netherlands v Ecuador

Key Players

Netherlands - Virgil Van Dijk - Center Back

Ecuador - Moises Caicedo - Midfield

Prediction: 2-1 Netherlands; This should be a fun game with both teams willing to play with the ball and take the action to their opponent. Ecuador gives the Dutch a stiff test but a potent Dutch attack gets the better by a goal to strengthen their position at the top of the group.

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faith in sports


Daniel Sepulveda was one of the best punters in the NFL during his career -- but it wasn't an easy journey to the top.

This 6-minute video that's part of the "I Am Second" video series is one of the best ones they've ever produced. Sepulveda gives a thorough, honest review of his NFL journey and how his faith played a role in balancing his success with the rest of his life.

Six minutes. That's all you need to watch this great video. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and give 6 minutes of your day to this video, please.

Thanks, as always to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of Drew's Morning Dish and our "Faith in Sports" segment each Friday.



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Thursday
November 24, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3013


"to give thanks"


I got the first of my three Thanksgiving gifts last night.

Yes, I know what you're thinking: "We get gifts on Thanksgiving? Who knew?"

The first gift was the Capitals beating the Flyers. In overtime, no less. Sure, those rat-fink Flyers secured a point in D.C. by extending the game to overtime, but they didn't get two points, because Alex Ovechkin's OT goal pushed the Caps to a 3-2 win.

Ahhhhhhhhh...you hate to see it.

As I mentioned on Twitter last night, folks all around the country got to utter the three best words in sports around 9:45 pm on Wednesday evening.

The.

Flyers.

Lose.

Someone on my timeline hopped in a while later with what they said were three great words in sports. "Return to Glory", from Jim Nantz, who said that back in April of 2019 when Tiger rolled in a short putt at Augusta National on the 72nd hole to capture his 15th major championship.

I didn't feel like nitpicking on Thanksgiving Eve, but Nantz's "line" was actually four words, not three. "The return...to glory" he said as the ball went in the hole and Tiger raised his arms in victory.

Either way, it was, in fact, a return to glory. "Return to glory" is three words. So, anyway...

I got that Capitals win last night, which was especially gratifying. The turkey wouldn't have tasted as good today if one of those creeps in white would have scored in overtime. Instead, it was Ovi's 790th career tally that upgraded our turkey-taste today and, I point out with much delight, got Thanksgiving off to a somber start for the Flyers and their fans.

Name something better than the Caps beating the Flyers.

Right. I can't come up with anything either.


Today at 10:00 am at Towson University, I get my second Thanksgiving gift as I'll be hanging out in a sea of red with 6,000 or so other Calvert Hall faithful as the Cardinals take on the Loyola Dons in the 102nd edition of the "Turkey Bowl".

A near sellout is expected at the game, with game time temperatures in the 50's. It's a great way to start your Thanksgiving morning in Baltimore, whether you're there in person or watching on TV.

Note: If you didn't go to either school but you're still casually interested in the game today, might I suggest that you root for Calvert Hall. Thanks.

The game is the annual season-ender for both teams. Calvert Hall went 6-6 in the regular season and advanced to the MIAA A-Conference championship game before falling to Spalding. Loyola returned to the A Conference after a short stint in the B Conference and posted a 4-5 overall mark. They did not make the A-Conference playoffs.

Earlier this week, I was asked by a local reporter what it feels like to be a coach at Calvert Hall during "Turkey Bowl" week.

"Do you feel a greater sense of excitement knowing what's at stake on Thanksgiving Day and does the rivalry spill over to your sport?"

I think we, as coaches, all feel a little bit for Cardinals' head football coach Josh Ward, because this game means a lot more than it probably should, if we're all being honest. Last year they won the MIAA title but lost the Turkey Bowl and I think it's safe to say most of the CHC community remembers losing to Loyola more than winning the conference championship.

It's tough when you put all on the onus on one game, especially when -- in Calvert Hall's case this season -- you just played last Friday night in the playoffs and now you're teeing it up again six days later.

But it's definitely exciting to be part of it, even as an outsider who coaches a spring sport and is in no way connected to the football team or the players. I definitely want Calvert Hall to win today, but what I want more than anything is for no player on either team to suffer any kind of significant injury. If everyone gets out of the game healthy, that's really all that matters.

Come spring time, every team we face is the same. We want to beat them all. We play 12 "Turkey Bowl" games in golf. As I jokingly (mostly) say to my team at the beginning of the season: "I don't like anyone on the day we play them."


My third Thanksgiving gift comes later this afternoon when I sit down with my family to enjoy a great meal and spend time together on a beautiful late November day.

My son, of course, is a Calvert Hall sophomore, so he's particularly interested in today's Turkey Bowl. We might sneak out for a few holes of golf after the game, but by 4 pm, my family of four will be gathered around the dining room table.

Giving thanks in a prayerful setting is something that's important to us. Each family member will pray at the table. We all have a lot to be thankful for, both as a family and individually. I asked my two children earlier in the week to start thinking of their "thankful" list and incorporate it into their Thanksgiving Day prayer.

Speaking of being thankful, I saw this online on Tuesday and thought it was awesome. It's a list of five people you can reach out to today in light of the Thanksgiving spirit. It might take an hour or so of your time today, but it will be well worth it.

Call a friend or family member you haven't spoken with in 2022 and tell them you're thankful for their love.

Call someone you've drifted from or perhaps have experienced a falling out with and tell them you were thinking about your previous better days together and that you're thankful for those moments with them.

Call a former co-worker, roommate or other close acquiantance that you no longer speak with regularly and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.

Go through your "contacts list" on your phone and identify how many you have in total. Then ask someone (family member, friend, etc.) to randomly pick a number within the total of your contacts (if you have 100 contacts, ask them to pick a number between 1 and 100). When they pick the number, call the person that number represents and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sit alone for 3 minutes today and think about all of the people in your life that are important to you. It's likely a vast, significant number. Pick one of those people and call them and start the conversation with this: "I'm thinking of all of the people in my life who are important to me...and you're important. So I'm calling you to wish you Happy Thanksgiving."

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

Above all, be thankful for what God has done for you.

1 Peter 4:10-11 -- Each of you has been blessed with one of God's many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well. If you have the gift of speaking, preach God's message. If you have the gift of helping others, do it with the strength that God supplies. Everything should be done in a way that will bring honor to God because of Jesus Christ, who is glorious and powerful forever. Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

And Go Hall!

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Wednesday Recap –

Group E

Germany 1 - Japan 2

In the most entertaining game of the tournament thus far, Japan upset Germany with a second half comeback to win 2-1. Ilkay Gundogan scored a penalty after a foul by Japanese keeper Shuichi Gonda to put Germany up 1-0 in the first half.

After each team had goals called back for offside later in the half, Japan came out energized in the second half, pressing hard.

The enthusiastic Japanese press caused Germany all kinds of problems, allowing Japan to get back in the game.

Both teams had multiple good chances in the second half, but Gonda made several great saves to keep the score close.

Finally in the 74th minute Japan scored the goal that had been coming for them. Rather than dropping off and playing for the draw, Japan kept pressing and got the game winner in the 83rd minute, pulling off the upset.

Spain 7- Costa Rica 0

Costa Rica was completely outmatched by Spain and not even Keylor Navas could save them. The Spanish sliced and diced the Ticos for three first half goals. In the second half Costa Rica pressed higher to try to get back in the game and that just exposed them to more torture as Spain poured in the goals, finishing 7-0.

Spain had six different goal scorers with Ferran Torres netting two. With 82% possession, Spain set a record for passes completed in a World Cup game, while Costa Rica became just the second team since 1966 to finish a World Cup game with zero shots (the other was also Costa Rica).


Morocco 0 - Croatia 0

In contrast to the two games above, this one didn’t produce much excitement. Croatia was the slightly better team but neither side created much in attack in the 0-0 draw.


Belgium 1 - Canada 0

Canada took a tough 1-0 loss in their first World Cup match since 1986. The top qualifiers from CONCACAF largely outplayed Belgium throughout the game, creating 3 big chances to none and taking 22 shots to just 9 for Belgium.

However, an early missed penalty kick from star Alphonso Davies came back to haunt the Canadians, as Belgium took advantage of their one big chance with Michy Batshuayi scoring off a long ball over the top and got the 1-0 victory.


Thursday Preview –

Group G

Switzerland v Cameroon

Key Players

Switzerland - Granit Xhaka - Midfielder

Cameroon - Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

Prediction: 1-0 Switzerland; Two teams with good goalies and solid defenses keep this one low scoring. Switzerland finds a goal off a set piece to get a close win.


Brazil v Serbia

Key Players

Brazil - Neymar - Forward

Serbia - Segej Milinkovic-Savic - Midfielder

Prediction: 3-1 Brazil; Serbia’s potent attack threatens Brazil several times and does find the net, but they’re weaker defense can hold off a star studded Brazilian front line.


Group H

Uruguay v South Korea

Key Players

Uruguay - Fede Valverde - Midfielder

South Korea - Son - Forward

Prediction: 2-0 Uruguay; South Korea struggles to find gaps in the well drilled Uruguayan defense with star forward Son at less than 100%. Meanwhile the South American midfield dominates the game and helps set up several chances for dangerous attacker Darwin Nunez.


Portugal v Ghana

Key Players

Portugal - Bruno Fernandes - Midfielder

Ghana - Thomas Partey - Midfielder

Prediction: 1-0 Portugal; A pair of defensive minded teams produce a slog of a game but Portugal’s talent wins out and they get the bulk of the chances, managing to find the net once.

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Wednesday
November 23, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3012


colluding? prove it


Hell hath no fury like a NFL owner scorned.

Or something like that...

It's going to get very "public" now, given that the players and their hired guns - the Players Association - have filed a grievance claiming that the NFL and its teams (aka "the owners") have colluded against players' pursuit of fully guaranteed contracts.

We're indeed in interesting times when billionaires and millionaires simply can't get along and enjoy the fruits of their various accomplishments.

Friends? Or foes? What will come of the collusion claim by the NFL Players Association that might involve Lamar Jackson and the Ravens?

A neutral third party will hear the collusion claim. More on that in a second.

The issue almost certainly involves the Ravens and owner Steve Bisciotti. Whether they'll be "Exhibit A" remains to be seen, but sources indicate the team's negotiation with Lamar Jackson is part of the grievance since it's now known that the 5th year quarterback asked for his long-term contract to be fully guaranteed and the team rejected that idea.

Speaking at the owner's meetings last March, Bisciotti referenced the guaranteed deal provided to Deshaun Watson by the Cleveland Browns.

"I'm trying to answer that when I had a reaction to it. And it's like, 'Damn, I wish they hadn't guaranteed the whole contract,'" Bisciotti said at those NFL meetings. "I don't know that he should've been the first guy to get a fully guaranteed contract. To me, that's something that is groundbreaking, and it'll make negotiations harder with others. But it doesn't necessarily mean that we have to play that game, you know? We shall see. If I was in bogged-down negotiations with Lamar, then maybe I would have a quicker reaction to that news."

Whether those words are enough to sway a 3rd party mediator remains to be seen. This is going back 25 years or more, but I was involved in three separate player-team grievances with the old MISL Players Association and on each occasion when they used a "neutral" mediator I always wound up feeling like the mediator was against me from the minute I walked in the room.

Who picks the mediator? That was always my question. If I'm not picking the mediator, I'm probably losing. I don't know who gets to pick and/or approve the mediator in the NFL "collussion" grievance but the picking party will be the winning party. That's just my guess.

But the quest to prove the NFL is colluding against giving out guaranteed contracts is going to be very difficult to do.

Anyone with a brain knows it's bad business to fully guarantee anyone's contract. But knowing it's bad business and conspiring with the other owners in the league to keep all contracts non-guaranteed are two different things.

Good luck actually proving that Bisciotti is talking with Jones, who is talking with Blank, who is talking with Rooney, who is talking with Hunt and so on and so on. Maybe those guys are dumb enough to put "collusive talk" in a text or an e-mail but I doubt it. That's where "proving it" takes center stage.

And there's a huge difference between a neutral mediator and an actual court case. It could go to court someday. That's entirely possible. For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts.


This, of course, is precisely why every NFL owner nearly had a coronary last March when the Browns produced the idiot-move-of-the-century by fully guaranteeing Watson's new contract. When there's one...there becomes two...and then three...and then, within about five years, every quarterback in the league gets a fully guaranteed contract.

Browns gonna Browns. On the field. And off the field, too.

I think proving collusion is going to be very difficult, unless one or two (or more) owners somehow exchanged condemning texts or e-mails regarding a collective effort to not provide fully guaranteed contracts. In a weird twist of fate, the fact that the Browns actually went ahead and did it with Watson might be a game-saver for the owners.

"If we all were in collusion, how come the Browns gave Watson a fully guaranteed deal?"

It's not quite the way Daniel Kaffee snagged Colonel Jessup in "A Few Good Men", but it's in the ballpark. "I'm wondering why Santiago wasn't packed? But we'll get back to that one in a little bit."

Proving collusion is tough. Assuming or thinking it's going on isn't all that far fetched. My guess, as I've said, is that no owner wants to fork over a fully guaranteed deal to any player. It's not good for business. But that doesn't mean there's collusion, either.

Worst of all? The Ravens are going to be in the middle of this mess and it might not be good for their business.

Again, this is apples to oranges, but in one of the contract situations I was involved in with the soccer team, the mediation process became so tense and so personal that even though the 3rd party ruled in our (the team's) favor, we wound up trading the player away because the relationship had been spoiled.

And if my memory serves me well, I think we were fighting over the difference between $56,000 and $72,000.

The Ravens and Lamar might be scrapping over $100 million or more in guaranteed monies. Things get said in mediation that wind up being regretted later on down the line. Occasionally, as the great Neil Young once said, "the damage done".

And what will the NFL owners think -- as a group -- about the people they've helped to build their respective lives of luxury?

"You're making $10 million a year playing football?"

"I fly you all over the country on chartered flights. Put you up in the best hotels. Feed you like a king."

"And this is what you give me in return?" What I do for you isn't good enough?"

You can just hear the owners now, perhaps over a glass of Silver Oak or an expensive taste of bourbon, lamenting how the very people they've propped up are now squeezing them publicly for all to see.

"How dare them..."

Meanwhile, the players are eager to squeeze and squeeze and squeeze some more. They have an easy out, too. They can all just blame the Players Association.

"I'm just a football player...I have to let the union do their job. That's why we hired them."

Someone will win this particular fight.

The mediator might rule that the NFL hasn't done any colluding and the players will feel cheated.

Or the mediator might rule that collusion has taken place and the owners will feel scorned.

No matter what results the grievance yields, the bet here is the winner will wind up regretting their victory.

And that will eventually beg the question: "Was it really a win?"

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i wish i had a ballot


It's time once again for all of us to argue about who belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame and who doesn't.

Pete Rose doesn't.

Scott Rolen in Cooperstown? #DMD says without a doubt, yes.

I'm never changed my opinion on Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod and the rest of the steroid guys. I'd vote all of them in if they allowed a notation to be placed at the bottom of the HOF plaque that indicated their various "associations" with steroids.

Bonds' plaque would reference BALCO. Clemens' plaque would include a sentence about his inclusion in the Mitchell Report and testifying before Congress. A-Rod's plaque would mention his public admission of PED use.

Otherwise, I say "no go" on those guys.

But there's one player who belongs in without question and that's Scott Rolen. I'll listen to your argument in favor of Todd Helton or Billy Wagner. Carlos Beltran is a newcomer to the ballot and he'll get lots of push, despite his own steroid rumors and the "trash can stuff" at Houston in 2017.

Scott Rolen, though, is a no brainer. At least to me.

A player needs to receive 75% of the votes to get into Cooperstown. Rolen picked up 63% last year. Close but not enough.

This should be his year.

Rolen was an 8-time Gold Glove third baseman. His "average" season at the plate in his 17 year career: 25 HR's, 41 doubles, 102 RBI and a batting average of .281. You put up those kind of numbers, you're one of the best defensive third basemen of your generation, and you're not a Hall of Famer? #clownshoes for every HOF voter

Oh, and stat nerds will point to his 70 WAR number when they say, "Scott Rolen is definitely a Hall of Famer!"

If I had a ballot this year, Rolen would be on it.

Frankly, he might be the only guy on it. I think a lot of other players were good. Some were really good. Scott Rolen was great.

Hall of Fame players should be the best at their position for some extended period of time. Rolen was one of the best third basemen of the last 25 years. Send that man to Cooperstown.

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The Stats Nerd
And His Numbers


Contributed by #DMD's data and numbers analyst
The Stats Nerd


a couple of random thoughts


Not a lot exciting happened in the Ravens/Panthers game on Sunday (that may be an all time understatement) so I thought I’d bring up 2 things that I found interesting over the last week or so. One is analytics related while the other isn’t really.

Brandon Staley –

A year ago Brandon Staley of the Chargers was one of the hot young coaches in the NFL. He embraced analytics wholeheartedly which made a lot of sense with a rising star of a QB in Justin Herbert. He was seen, at least amongst the analytics community, as a shining light in the coaching ranks for making savvy in game decisions and defending those process based decisions regardless of outcome.

Some of the decisions he made flew in the face of conventional wisdom. I recall a 4th and short on their own 18 in last year’s season finale where the Chargers had to win to make the playoffs. There was a series of failed 4th down conversions in a Thursday night game against Kansas City that ultimately ended in a loss.

In the eyes of some, he was a swashbuckling gambler who was, maybe, in over his head. To others he was the face of process oriented decision making that should be the model for the league. After all, his 4th down decisions to go for it were successful 22 out of 34 attempts last season. Clearly he was onto something right?

Well the traditional media types disagreed. They labeled him reckless and lacking in experience. They snickered that this was not the way the NFL worked. In some cases, commentators seemed to show contempt that Staley and the Chargers would dare challenge conventional strategy.

Never mind that in most cases the decisions made last season were largely +EV from a win probability perspective (ie pre snap WP%). That they didn’t work in some high leverage spots became a rallying cry for the perceived simplistic nature of his decision making.

Well something weird has happened this year. Staley has toned down his 4th down decisions CONSIDERABLY and the pendulum has swung entirely in the other direction. He seems to be making poor decisions that steal valuable WP% points from his team.

For example, in two games against the Chiefs this season Staley has eschewed +WP% 4th down decisions for the “traditional” decision to punt. In the first game back in Week 2 Staley’s punt decisions cost the Chargers a cumulative 7+% JUST IN THE FIRST HALF! That is incredibly hard to overcome.

This past Sunday night a situation arose that Staley himself last season would have called a “Green Light special”. The Chargers had the ball on their own 34 yard line facing a 4th and less than 1 and he elected to punt. The various models I reviewed showed this as a loss of 4-6% in WP%.

But even more disappointing than the decisions themselves was Staley’s response to questions about these spots. A year ago he was decisive and clearly articulated his goal of increasing his team’s win probabilities. He recognized that in doing so sometimes outcomes would “look” bad but that he trusted in his process and the work he and his staff did off the field.

This Sunday his responses were a word salad of “...I didn’t want to swing momentum their way” and “We had been stopped on a couple of short yardage plays”. Which is strange because at that point the Chargers had been 5 of 6 on 3rd/4th and 1 in the game including 3 of 3 on QB sneaks.

He sounds like a totally different coach. Did all of the media scrutiny get to him and force him to back off the analytic decision making? That would be bad. Did his GM or management give him an edict to play more “by the book”? Also bad.

Or did he truly feel in that situation that his team’s chances weren’t as good as the modeling suggested? That could make some sense although he kinda, sorta never really says that. Also I would say that giving up large WP% based on gut and on the field instinct isn’t good long term. In close decisions then sure that additional color or gut can be important and can make sense to factor. But giving up 4-6% WP in ONE PLAY against a team with Patrick Mahomes as their QB is a recipe for a loss.

Of course, the response to these mistakes creates nowhere near the reaction that unsuccessful though mathematically correct decisions create. It seems these more “hidden” errors aren’t really even recognized or seen by most commentators while the unsuccessful tries are often uniformly lambasted. It’s a strange dichotomy of thought.

Punting the ball is by definition a turnover. Admittedly, it does have the benefit of improved field position but nevertheless it is a decision to turn the ball over to the other team’s offense. In the incredibly competitive AFC these incorrect decisions could accumulate and just might keep the Chargers out of the playoffs.


Jeff Saturday –

Look no one wants the Colts and Irsay family to fail as much as most of us DMD readers. But the reaction to Jeff Saturday being named INTERIM head coach after the firing of Frank Reich by ex coaches and players was positively embarrassing. It almost made me want to see the Colts succeed just to shut down some of these blowhards. Almost.

By all accounts, Saturday is a well liked guy that shouldn’t have trouble garnering the respect of his players for an organization that he spent most of his career with. He is a 6 time Pro Bowler, 2 time All Pro and a member of the Colts Ring of Honor. The man was a heck of a football player.

Now admittedly he had virtually no coaching experience. In fact, he had previously turned down opportunities to be on the Colts staff but declined for personal, lifestyle reasons.

Meanwhile, the Colts were in disarray, for whatever reason, under Frank Reich this season. The offense was struggling mightily and they were 3-5-1 when Reich was relieved of his duties. Perhaps Irsay wanted a voice in the room that he was comfortable with or knew what the Colts Way (whatever that may be internally). And so he turned to a familiar face.

But the vitriol that was slung at Saturday was ridiculous. Bill Cowher called his INTERIM hiring “a disgrace to the coaching profession”. He continued saying “coaching is about commitment and sacrifice” and “it’s not just a job. It’s a lifestyle”. Rex Ryan echoed those same sentiments on his TV show. Kyle Brandt had a long winded diatribe on NFL Network saying it was a “huge backhand to every man or woman” who has dedicated their lives to coaching.

To which I say…give me a break. You aren’t doctors saving cancer patients. You aren’t lawyers defending innocent defendants.

It’s football. A game. A high stakes, big money game to be sure. But still a game.

Perhaps, Saturday and Irsay reached an agreement that this would truly be an interim thing. Maybe the Colts will do a truly exhaustive search for their new head coach in the offseason and Saturday has stated clearly that he only wants to play out this season.

The thing is…of course the coach is important, very important. They set the tone for the team, how they are organized, what they are going to focus on, etc. All of those things are true over the long term. And it is also true that coaching IS hard and does require commitment.

But in this case, the Colts were a garbage team with an impotent offense. They appeared listless in their games and yet somehow managed not to be out of their division race (at the time). No matter who came in it wasn’t going to be some massive shift in focus or team strategy. They were 9 games into the season and completely turning everything around would have been unrealistic.

But lo and behold they won their first game under Saturday 5 days after his hiring. And then this past weekend they led the NFC leading Eagles by 10 heading into the 4th quarter. They ultimately lost by 1 point but from what I saw (admittedly limited) played hard throughout the game.

Coaches can’t control everything. Of course, they have a target on their back but a coach can do everything right and their team still struggle to win games. Injuries happen, players underperform, fluky plays happen, whatever. The reality is that roughly half of the games in the NFL are one score games. The edges are often razor thin.

As much as we fans want to find a culprit for every team's misfortune, sometimes it’s a lot of things. Some coaches are clearly not meant for the league: see Joe Judge. While others seem made to order as head coaches. But not every team failure can be the fault of one singular person. In fact, I’d argue that rarely is the case.

The sanctimony of some of these former NFL coaches and players is really quite ridiculous. We don’t know what is going on behind closed doors and even if we did, the idea that whole groups of millionaire coaches are being disgraced is simply laughable.

Do I think this hiring strategy should be the wave of the future? Absolutely not. There are rules in place, namely the Rooney rule, that must be adhered to before naming a permanent coach. I assume that the Colts will go through that process in the offseason. Perhaps I’m being naive.

But the hand wringing and navel gazing of Cowher and his ilk is off putting at least to me. In many ways, it reminds me of the way these same characters are dismissive of analytics or anything that doesn’t comport with their world view of how football should be played.

Relax. It’s a game. Yes it matters to us week to week but in the grand scheme of things it just isn’t that important that people’s character or motivation should be questioned. Not every decision needs an outsized reaction or hot take to go with it.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Argentina v Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia gets the stunner of the tournament with a 2-1 win over one of the top favorites.

A Leo Messi penalty kick put Argentina up 1-0 early on then they nearly blew the game open but three other potential first half goals were called back for offside.

Saudi Arabia came up with two outstanding strikes early in the second half when defensive lapses by Argentina provided them a window and went up 2-1. The Saudi Arabian keeper then made a few outstanding saves to preserve the huge upset.

While the result is terrible for Argentina, the underlying numbers are less concerning as they generated 2.23 expected goals to just 0.14 for Saudi Arabia, and that doesn’t even count the goals called back for offside.

In other words, Argentina was very unlucky not to win this game going away and they are still plenty capable of winning the group, though there are some concerns about the stability of their back line.


Denmark v Tunisia

Denmark had the better of the game, coming close a couple of times in the second half, including a header off the post, but Tunisia fought hard and came away with a point in a 0-0 draw.


Mexico v Poland

Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa made a huge save on a Robert Lewandowski penalty in the second half to preserve a shutout in a 0-0 draw that lacked offensive fireworks. Neither team was able to take advantage of a big opportunity with Argentina upset by Saudi Arabia.


France v Australia

France got shocked by a 9th minute Craig Goodwin goal while at the same time losing left back Lucas Hernandez to injury. However, the reigning champs bounced back for a dominant 4-1 win with substitute left back, and Lucas’s brother, Theo Hernandez coming on to provide an assist on their first goal.

Another injury replacement, striker Olivier Giroud, who started in place of missing Ballon D’Or winner Karim Benzema, added two goals as the French pulled away in the second half.


Wednesday Preview

Group E

Germany v Japan

Key Players –

Germany - Joshua Kimmich - Midfielder

Japan - Wataru Endo - Midfielder

Prediction: 2-1 Japan; A Japanese team with a lot of German Bundesliga veterans aren’t intimidated by Germany and pull off the upset.


Spain v Costa Rica

Key Players –

Spain - Pedri - Midfielder

Costa Rica - Keylor Navas -Goalie

Prediction: 2-0 Spain; Spain will have the ball nearly the whole game and pass their way through the Ticos defense several times. Navas May keep Costa Rica in the game for a while but Spain will eventually find the net.


Morocco v Croatia

Key Players –

Morocco - Achraf Hakimi - Fullback

Croatia - Luka Modric - Midfielder

Prediction: 3-1 Croatin; Croatian midfield will dictate the game and set them up for a comfortable win over Morocco.


Belgium v Canada

Key Players –

Belgium - Kevin De Bruyne - Midfielder

Canada - Alphonso Davies - Fullback/Winger

Prediction: 1-1 draw; Belgium will dominate the ball but find Canada hard to break down. Will take a moment of individual brilliance from De Bruyne or Tielemans for a goal. Canada will get one on the counter through Davies or David.

Open Again
Tuesday
November 22, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3011


very typical


Minutes after the U.S. authored what could only be described as a "dismal" 1-1 draw with Wales yesterday in their World Cup opener, a friend fired away with a simple, one-word question.

"Well?"

I knew precisely what he was asking.

My opinion on what happened and the eventual result contained only two words: Very typical.

Here we are, eight years removed from our last World Cup appearance, and the U.S. is still making the same mistakes. To the untrained eye, they might go unnoticed. But a handful of critical mistakes by the Americans yesterday were significant factors in playing themselves out of an almost-certain win at halftime into a tie that could make Friday's game with England a "must-get-a-point" affair.

The game started out perfectly. The American side controlled the ball, controlled the game and, for at least the opening 30 minutes, looked like the kind of team that could play with just about anyone in the tournament field, let alone a (then) wildly overmatched Wales team.

Timothy Weah's 36th minute goal gave the U.S. an early 1-0 lead over Wales in their 2022 World Cup opener.

Tim Weah's goal in the 36th minute was a thing of beauty. That Christian Pulisic slid Weah the ball in advance of his tally was fitting given that most of the American hopes in this World Cup hinge largely on Pulisic.

But the 1-0 halftime lead should have been 2-0 if not for an early missed opportunity off the head of Josh Sargent. In the game's opening 10 minutes, with Wales on their heels defensively, Sargent's close range header was off the mark, keeping the game scoreless. That goal -- along with Weah's tally later in the half -- would have loomed large in the second half.

There's a tradition in international soccer where players from both teams exchange jerseys after the game. It's nothing more than a sign of respect for the opposing player. It also serves as a lifetime reminder of the team you faced on that particular day.

Yesterday, it looked like the U.S. and Wales swapped jerseys during the intermission. For as good as the United States looked in the opening 45 minutes, they looked the complete opposite in the second half of the contest.

In the first half, the Americans were bold, energetic and firmly on top of the pace of the game. They were, without question, in control of the action.

In the second half, that same squad was cautious, a step behind and playing not to lose.

Wales, to their credit, took their first half thrashing like the professionals they are and regrouped during the intermission. They moved a midfield player closer to the top to help create some odd-man situations when the ball bounced their way and they were far more willing to knock the ball to the wing and start the play from outside to in, something they didn't do in the opening 45 minutes.

The Americans, with three players on yellow cards, weren't quite as convicted to defend with authority as they were in the first half. And with the U.S. offense in stall mode, it seemed by the time the game reached the 70th minute that it was only a matter of time before Wales struck with the tying goal.

Another mistake led to that moment, where all of the hard work the Americans had put in was leveled off by a careless faux pas near the sideline and ball played into the box that led to disaster.

After a ball was played out of bounds by the U.S., Wales quickly grabbed the ball and tossed it in before the American defenders had a chance to set themselves in position. Three U.S. players -- Acosta, Robinson and McKennie -- let a man slip in between them and collect the throw in. With Tim Ream slow to close him down, the Welsh player played a quick ball into the penalty area for Gareth Bale, one of the best finishers in international soccer over the last decade.

Because everything happened so quickly, American defender Walker Zimmerman was a step behind the necessary pace -- and he slammed into Bale with a reckless tackle that was unarguably a penalty kick. If there's any saving grace, it's that the call on Zimmerman was in no way controversial or suspect. It was a penalty kick today, tomorrow, next week and next year.

Bale buried the freebie from 12 yards out and the score was knotted at 1-1.

How two Welsh players were able to get the ball from point A to point B with seven American players in the penalty area (eight if you include the goalkeeper) is one of the reasons why the United States is still looked upon as an average "side", as they call it in soccer.

Most of the top soccer playing countries would never allow a shabby goal like that, particularly in the World Cup where every goal you give up might be the difference between going home early or playing in the knockout stage.

The final 20 minutes of the game (including roughly 12 minutes of stoppage time) came and went without many highlights. The Americans looked weary, the Wales squad looked invigorated. But other than a few cramps and a hobbled Christian Pulisic at game's end, nothing came of the contest after the Bale penalty kick goal.

Eight years later, and the U.S. still can't put away an inferior opponent, even when they stake themselves to a 1-0 advantage.

It was, I remarked to my friend, "very typical".

The U.S. squad played stretches of great soccer on Monday. And stretches of acceptable soccer. But a few mistakes, at critical times, also led to patches of poor soccer that kept Wales alive long enough to give them hope.

And now, Friday vs. England becomes one of those games where the U.S. desperately needs to secure at least one point (tie). A win would be remarkable. A tie, unlike yesterday's result, would be more than acceptable given that the Americans face Iran in next Tuesday's group play finale.

But a loss to England would put the U.S. in a bad, bad spot. They could still advance with a win over Iran but they'd need some help from either Wales, Iran or both.

That's why, no matter what the American players said in the aftermath of yesterday's tie, the failure to finish off the Wales win was potentially very damaging to Gregg Berhalter's team. You have three games to get at least five points. Five gets you through in almost every case. Four points gets you through quite often, like it did for the Americans in 2014. But you can also miss out with four points, which is another reason why at least one point vs. England this Friday is supremely critical.

It didn't have to be this tight. Especially when the Americans put on a clinic in the opening half yesterday. Everything looked great...right up until the second half kicked off and the U.S. team's quality vanished into thin air.

It truly was a game of two halves. Each team won a half 1-0, but it had to feel a lot like a loss to Gregg Berhalter and his U.S. side.


U.S. grades (1 is the worst performance, 10 is the perfect performance)

Matt Turner, GK -- 7 (made a remarkable save to keep the score at 1-0 early in the 2nd half...couldn't be faulted on the Bale PK goal...wandered out of net late in the game and helped cause a Kellyn Acosta yellow card with his daring play)

Antonee Robinson, DEF -- 6 (was part of the group that got beat on the quick thrown in that led to the Bale penalty kick...had no impact on set pieces in the offensive end, but in fairness the balls that were delivered weren't on target...defended his portion of the field well for the most part)

An early yellow card to American Sergino Dest put the talented defender on his heels for most of the 1-1 draw with Wales.

Tim Ream, DEF -- 6.5 (handled his duties well in the first half and was lock-step with Bale throughout the opening 80 minutes, but was lazy on the build-up to the ball played into Bale for the penalty kick...had two good blocks on short range Wales scoring chances)

Walker Zimmerman, DEF -- 5.5 (the penalty kick foul was on him, but if he doesn't foul the Welsh star there, Bale turns and faces Turner from 12 yards out...prior to that massive mistake in the 82nd minute, he was putting together a reasonable performance)

Sergino Dest, DEF -- 6 (picked up a senseless early yellow card and seemed to play soft from that point forward...worked hard on his side of the field and was effective in distributing the ball to midfielders in transition, but didn't do enough to stand out before being subbed for midway through the 2nd half)

Tyler Adams, MF -- 8 (was, by far, the best American performer on Monday...patrolled his area with sublime expertise and was one of the few U.S. guys who got better and stronger as the game went on...the U.S. "Man of the Match")

Yunas Musah, MF -- 6 (was somewhat involved in the early formation of the U.S. goal and had a solid stretch of 15 minutes from the 30-minute to 45-minute mark of the first half...disappeared quickly in the second half and was eventually subbed for)

Weston McKennie, MF -- 5.5 (whether he was impacted by a September injury that's still lingering or the early yellow card he picked up (or both), McKennie was a non-factor on Monday...also was one of the three who got caught lollygagging on the throw-in that started the sequence prior to the Bale penalty kick...did nothing offensively...for a player of his caliber and stature, it was a miserable performance)

Timothy Weah, F -- 7 (finished his one and only chance with the confidence of a World Cup veteran but other than that he wasn't dangerous in the least...even still, that goal was enough to warrant another start vs. England, particularly in light of the fact that it looks like he and Pulisic are developing some chemistry)

Josh Sargent, F --7 (worked hard, got into good positions, but didn't finish...fared as well as could be expected given he barely played in the 14-game qualifying series...was very active in the opening 30 minutes, which helped set the stage for the Weah goal that he helped orchestrate)

Christian Pulisic, F -- 7.5 (created a wonderful goal with Weah in the 36th minute, but failed to generate any other scoring chances and was off target on his free kick and corner kick deliveries...battered throughout the game by several late and reckless Wales tackles but stood tall and played all 90 + minutes...)

U.S. substitutes were: Yedlin (7), Aaronson (7), Acosta (6), Wright (6), Morris (6)

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nfl week 12 - 12 nfl points


At the beginning of the season, I had San Francisco beating Las Vegas in the Super Bowl. The 49'ers could still be a threat in the NFC. The Raiders? They're done. If you gave me a mulligan, I'd go with Kansas City and Dallas right now to play on Feb. 12 in Glendale, AZ.

I don't know who they'll lose to, but the Ravens will somehow drop two more games this season to finish at 12-5. I'm guessing that nets them the #3 seed in the AFC and puts them up against the #6 seed in the first round of the playoffs, which will likely be either the Bengals, Dolphins or Patriots.

Patrick Mahomes...the front runner for NFL MVP through 11 weeks of the season?

I have no idea who will wind up winning the NFL MVP award but there's almost no doubt the most valuable player in the league is Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs. Without him, they're hard-pressed to win 6 games. With him, they might be the best team in the entire league, AFC and NFC combined. How much more "valuable" do you have to be than that, right?

Washington's now 6-5. Here's their remaining schedule: vs. Atlanta, at Giants, vs. Giants, at 49'ers, vs. Browns, vs. Cowboys. They're looking like a 9-8 team for sure and if they can snag one "extra" win vs. the Giants, 49'ers or Cowboys, they could win 10. In other words, believe it or not, D.C. might wind up in the playoffs.

The team no one will want to play in the NFC is....Tampa Bay. They're going to win the NFC South, which means you'll have to go to Florida to take on Tom Brady in his own barn. Oh, and you have to beat the referees in that one, too. I'm telling you, no one wants to play Tampa Bay when it's playoff time.

On the flip side, of the teams we sorta-kinda know are going to make it, no one will be afraid to go to Seattle if they somehow wind up nosing out San Francisco for the NFC West title. You're really going to be worried about Geno Smith in the post-season? Didn't think so.

There's a lot of time between now and next season, but two teams who are on the upswing in '23 might actually wind up being legit good next season; the Jets defense is really improving; if they get some decent offensive players in the off-season, watch out for them in 2023. And we're going to buy a little bit of stock in the Lions and what they've done on offense in '22; if they can fix their defense a little (OK, maybe a lot) and add a little more offensive line help for Jared Goff, Detroit could threaten the post-season next year.

Jacksonville started their game in K.C. a couple of weeks ago by trying (and successfully completing) an onside kick. It made me wonder. Why don't more teams try that? And even if it's not at the beginning of the game, why not try it in the 2nd or 3rd quarter? You know, when no one is expecting it. When it's unexpected, it's 50-50 that it's going to work. At least that's what I think.

I've asked this question several times throughout the season. So here it is again. If, let's pretend, Lamar "thought" he was worth $250 million guaranteed prior to the start of this '22 campaign, what's he worth now, based on his play in the first 10 games? Is he worth $250 million based on what you've seen? Or less?

If the Ravens have their choice of wild card teams to face in the first round, I'm guessing they'd most like to see the Patriots come to Baltimore. They already dusted the Patriots once, in New England no less. They'd probably prefer to not play a team that can score points in the air, like Miami or Cincinnati.

What do you think happened to Baker Mayfield? Was he just never all that good in the first place? Did Cleveland scar him to the point where he's no longer decent? Could he be good if he was in the right spot with the right reeivers at his disposal? It looks to me like he just stinks...sort of like guys like Mark Sanchez and E.J. Manuel wound up going from totally chic to totally geek in a short amount of time.

You don't fire Mike Tomlin after this season, right? The first losing season of his career doesn't warrant a termination does it? But Pittsburgh hasn't really been all that good for 3-4 years now. At what point do the Steelers put a lid on Tomlin's career in Pittsburgh? He's had a great run. But when is enough enough?

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


usa vs. wales recap and world cup daily


The US came out sharp in their first World Cup game in over eight years, but ultimately came away with a draw that feels like a loss. After a strong first half, Wales turned the tide on the US in the second and got a hard fought 1-1 draw that leaves both teams alive but with a lot of work left to do.

Coach Gregg Berhalter lined the US up in the 4-3-3 formation they have used most frequently over the past year. There weren’t many surprises in the lineup, as Matt Turner started in goal fronted by a back line of Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Walker Zimmerman and Sergino Dest.

Selecting Ream over Aaron Long was one of the two big decisions for Berhalter, the other was the choice of Josh Sargent to start at striker. Both seemed to be the right decision as each player acquitted themselves well. It was the “MMA” midfield of Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah and Tyler Adams and then Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah flanking Sargent on the front line.

U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner surrendered just a lone penalty kick goal in Monday's 1-1 tie with Wales.

The Americans opened the game with great energy, setting up their defensive line about three quarters of the way into the Wales end while occasionally springing presses all the way up to the end line. For most of the first half, Wales failed to match the US intensity. They played a more passive structure, setting up their defense around the half line and allowing the US center backs to possess the ball.

The US played in the Wales end early, creating several decent chances. Christian Pulisic was lively at the start, drawing a foul and then a corner in the first five minutes. Unfortunately his delivery on free kicks and corner kicks left a lot to be desired in this game, and was part of the US struggles to score.

The first big chance of the game came in the 9th minute when Sergino Dest hit a nice long ball over the defense for Tim Weah. Weah took it down well and hit a sharp cross that pinged off a defender forcing a save and nearly ending in an own goal. On the ensuing action, Antonee Robinson put in a near post cross that found Josh Sargent but his header hit the outside of the post.

For the majority of the first half, the US kept Wales pinned in their own end. The Welsh midfield struggled to connect passes and consistently played balls out of bounds or right back to the US defense.

In the 35th minute the US broke through with a great team goal to take a 1-0 lead.

After Walker Zimmerman won a long ball off a Wales goal kick, the US played a few passes to find Josh Sargent with a defender draped on his back. Sargent took a nice touch to lay it off to Pulisic who burst past the defense then played a perfectly placed through ball to free Weah one on one with the keeper in the box and Weah hit a sublime first time shot past the keeper.

The goal was one of the prettiest sequences this team has produced in the past few years and at that moment it seemed inevitable that the US would tack on another goal and leave with a win. Sadly, they failed to reproduce that magic for the rest of the game, getting plenty of opportunities in dangerous areas but struggling to find effective final balls.

Although it is a sports cliche, this game very much was a game of two halves. Down a goal, Wales made several halftime adjustments and came out much stronger in the second half. The biggest change was dropping speedy attacker Daniel James for large target man Kieffer Moore. James had been ineffective, often unable to find the ball, but Moore gave Wales the outlet they needed to play long over the US press.

The other tweak that Wales made was pushing their defensive line higher and pressing much more aggressively in the second half. This pressure made it much more difficult for the US to control possession, often forcing them into ineffective long balls. The US actually managed well in the early stage of the second half, getting a few decent half chances down the left wing with some good combinations between Pulisic and Musah, but they began to fade about ten minutes into the half.

It seemed that some of the US starters began to lose their legs after aggressively pressing and hounding the ball throughout the first half.

Weston McKennie looked notably gassed just a few minutes into the second half, which shouldn’t have come as a big surprise given he hasn’t played a competitive game for the past few weeks due to injury.

Sergino Dest and Yunus Musah both seemed to be less energetic in the second half as well.

The lack of energy in the midfield allowed Wales to have better success pushing the ball up the wings, with the US midfield unable to close down the space as quickly.

In the 65th minute Wales got their first big chance of the game. After a free kick into the box, the ball pinged around off a few heads and fell to a diving Ben Davies, who headed on target, forcing a great reflex save from Matt Turner. On the following corner it was Kieffer Moore finding space for a free header but luckily he hit it over the bar. The warning shots had been fired however.

Berhalter sensed the game slipping and made several substitutions. Brenden Aaronson came on for McKennie and brought an instant surge in energy. The other replacements were less effective with a clear dropoff in talent when Kellyn Acosta replaced Yunus Musah and DeAndre Yedlin replaced Sergino Dest. Around this time several Americans took hard knocks that had them limping around as well. One of which was Musah who was forced off, but also Pulisic and Weah both went down several times.

Wales had really turned the momentum by this time and were threatening the US end. Finally in the 82nd minute the US resistance broke down. Wales caught Acosta a step behind with a quick throw in and got free on the end line then played a cut back ball across the box. Though the pass wasn’t clearly dangerous, Walker Zimmerman rashly slid to clear it, instead going right through Gareth Bale and getting called for a penalty. After doing next to nothing all game, Bale stepped up and ripped the penalty past Turner, who guessed right but just couldn’t stop the powerful shot.

The game became quite stretched for the final twenty odd minutes, but neither team could muster much more than hopeful crosses. The US found ample space down the right wing in the latter stages of the game, but DeAndre Yedlin seemed unable to take advantage of it, with his crosses rarely finding a target in the box.

Curiously, despite using all five substitutes, Berhalter opted not to bring in perhaps the most talented offensive player on the roster, Gio Reyna, instead choosing Jordan Morris as his last sub for Tim Weah. The US may have benefited from Reyna’s composure and sharpness on the ball in the final moments, instead of just winging hail mary crosses.

In the end, neither side could find another threatening chance and they settled for the 1-1 draw. The result keeps both teams hopes well alive to still advance from the group, but now each will either need a result against England or to win the goal differential race.

At the end of the day this isn’t a terrible outcome for the US, but they will be disappointed with the way it went down. Berhalter had a good initial game plan but failed to come up with an effective counter punch when Wales made their halftime adjustments. This young team came out of the gates full of fire but may have learned that it's better to conserve some energy so as to not burn out in the second half.

From an individual perspective there were a couple standouts, though most of the team was a mixed bag.

Tyler Adams was the Man of the Match, delivering the same consistent performance that has become his signature for club and country. Adams was an eraser all over the field, helping the US to constantly recycle possession in the first half when they were on the front foot and making several key stops in the second when they were under more pressure.

Matt Turner proved his worth in goal as well, coming up with a couple of key saves, though his distribution from the back waned as the game went on. Tim Ream also proved he was worthy of the starting role, demonstrating a calmness on the ball that the US has lacked in the back line at times, while not allowing his limited pace to cause any issues. Christian Pulisic had many good moments in this game, and was often the driving force for the US attack, but aside from the play to set up the goal he often lacked the final ball and his set piece delivery was notably poor on the day.

With one point on the board and two games remaining, the US objective is clear: they need to win at least one of the final two games. If they can do that and get a draw in the other, they will get through to the knockouts. If they win one and lose one then they will be in a battle for the goal differential tiebreaker.

Next up on Friday are the group favorites, England, who looked dominant in their 6-2 win over Iran yesterday morning. Though it will be a very different challenge, the US will need to quickly turn around and apply the lessons they learned in what was the first World Cup game for nearly the entire squad.


Monday Recap:

Senegal v Netherlands

Senegal held up well for most of the game, making it difficult for the Dutch to create chances. However, the Dutch finally found a way late in the game, getting an 84th minute header from Cody Gakpo off a cross from Frenkie de Jong and then tacking on an insurance goal in the final moments of injury time.


England v Iran

In the other game in the USA’s group, England thoroughly dominated an outmatched Iran team. The English scored early and often, getting goals from five different scorers, including two from 21 year old Bukayo Saka. With goal differential the first tiebreaker, it is a costly loss for Iran.


Tuesday Preview:

Group C

Argentina v Saudi Arabia

Key Players:

Argentina - Leo Messi - Forward

Saudi Arabia - Salem Al-Dawsari - Left Wing

Prediction: 4-0 Argentina; Messi and company will get off on the right foot, pouring on the goals on a much weaker opponent.


Mexico v Poland

Key Players:

Mexico - Hirving Lozano - Forward

Poland - Robert Lewandowski - Striker

Prediction: 2-2 draw; This crucial showdown in Group C is the game of the day. This result will likely go a long way to determining who goes through in second place. Two flawed teams both get on the board but finish even at the end of the day.


Group D

Denmark v Tunisia

Key Players:

Denmark - Christian Eriksen - Midfielder

Tunisia - Aissa Laidouni - Midfielder


Prediction: 1-0 Denmark; The Danes will control the game but Tunisia are tough to score against. The Danish ultimately find a way through via one of their talented attackers in Eriksen, Olsen or Damsgaard.


France v Australia

Key Players:

France - Kylian Mbappe - Forward

Australia - Ajdin Hrustic - Midfielder

Prediction: 3-0 France; Mbappe re-opens his World Cup goal scoring account with a brace to lead France to an easy win.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner

#dmd comments








Unitastoberry     December 04
If the Ravens lose today it's going to get very ugly. 🥸🤔

CIK     December 04
It’s almost like DF thinks he owns this site and doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But only a fool would complain about something this silly for the last 3 months. If only that BP dump website had a comments section…maybe the readers here wouldn’t have to deal with the silly banter. But the BP motto is “no phone calls & no comments”

larry     December 04
Haha, @MFC you know the answer to that question, this place is crawling with lemmings lol.

MFC     December 04
Creative accounting, must be an investor in FTX, last week. The total was 7-5 not 10-2. If you know what I mean.



We're now back to charting wins and losses, again I ask what happened, that's an incredible transformation this year. The site owner goes from no charting the bets, no mention of w-l's and disclaimers to full blown, "locks of the week" and yearly stats that we're asked to accept at face value. And the DMD doesn't think an explanation is necessary? Really? Wouldn't you like your messiah to discuss that change or do you continue to be the lemmings of the site and just accept anything that comes down from on high. If you know what I mean.

Steve of Pimlico     December 03
O's sign a cheaper version of Jordon Lyles and save 4- 5 million dollars.Is this their dip into free agency?

Sold my last 2 PSls yesterday at a small profit because if the Ravens don't sign Lamar the PSL market will crater.My unsolicited advice to Lamar is for him to take a seat and get real representation.

Eric in Gaithersburg     December 03
Can already hear Os fans whining and i get it, Angelos crew has earned no trust but its Dec 3rd and all teams add to the bottom of roster, plus entire point of having analytics crew is finding guys us normal people think stink that actually don't. Wait till Mar 1st to judge offseason then commence whining. Theyve stated repeatedly that #1 starter, middle of order bat and quality backup C are their priorities. They dont back up the talk then they will get rightfully ripped

alexi     December 03
"sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing" which was possible cause key players decided at the worst time to stop playing D.

DMD called for this Reyna guy the whole tourney, then today says now he can see why his PT was limited. Hmmm, perhaps the actual coach of the team knows more than the voices sitting at home watching on TV. Go figure

Chris in Bel Air     December 03
@TimD you are correct. That first goal by the Dutch was a sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing. That was a cleat of reality to the US.

That was an exciting and entertaining win by the Terps last night. Looks like this season is shaping up to be way above my initial expectations.

I see Lamar apologized for the tweet. I really liked his candor in his discussions of it and that is why so many people like him. One related note to that discussion, Lamar stated "I feel like you should be bitter after a loss. No smiles. I feel like the fans should be mad we lost, too. But not mad at us. We tried." Too often, fans seem to think the players don't care about losing as much as they, the fan do. That certainly isn't the case. They want to win and, as much as it sucks as a fan watching them lose, it is way worse for them as a player and a coach.

Howard     December 03
44-15 as a Ravens starter; big problem is his 1-3 playoff record. He needs to come up big in the playoffs.

TimD in Timonium     December 03
The Dutch are GOOD. Too much talent and experience today. Great USA run.

unitastoberry     December 03
Lamars final grades for year 5 are not out until the end of week 17 and maybe the playoffs. Lets revisit then.

Josh     December 03
Great win for the Terps!



Excellent soccer coverage here, keep up the good work!

Ray Ray     December 03
howard; wins what? in High school? 3 years at Louisville? five years in nfl? what miracle do expect to happen to change what has always happened?

Howard     December 02
44-15. Say what you want but the guy wins

Stats Nerd     December 02
@Fish...Cleveland? Depending on what metrics you look at they are generally in exactly the same spot as BAL in receiving. KC, BUF, MIA, CIN, SF are the highest rated passing groups followed by PHI, SEA, LV and DAL.

Baltimore is pretty much mid tier passing team if you look at various metrics. Some they might be as high 12th or as low as 18th. Cleveland same.



There are teams that have positive efficiency running the ball in the league: PHI, BAL, CHI, CLE, and ATL. There are 3-ish others that are efficiency nuetral running: NYG, DAl and PIT

Fish     December 02
Does that Henry guy follow the NFL?



Miami has 3 high quality pass catchers. I'm guessing Drew is counting TE's. Kansas City has 3. Cincinnati has 3. If Waller is healthy there's an argument the Raiders have 3. Cleveland might even have 3.

TimD in Timnoium     December 02
The problem with being a one-man show both on and off the field is that it gets overwhelming. @DF points out, Lamar takes ALL the heat. Does he alone get all the glory with a Super Bowl win or a giant, guaranteed contact? Well, maybe. But that's a lot of crap to handle in the meantime.



Think how much easier THIS exchange would be. Reporter - "Hey, Lamar, how's the contract coming along? Lamar - "I dunno, man. I'm only thinking about beating the Broncos."



Boom. EASY.


henry     December 02
"three or four high quality pass catchers" How many teams have this?? I'll give you a hint - zero lol.

Lamar is definitely "off" this year. Some may be injuries, but from the cheap seats, I think he feels restricted by the coaching staff. The voices around him are all saying "just go ball man" and G-Ro and Harbs say "do it our way, it will work". Then it works maybe one out of 10 times.

I am sure Lamar wants to win games, but he also wants to be on SC Top 10 every week. He's clearly frustrated. Is it ego, or money? Or both? But the big question is, who is pushing 100% guarantee? Is that really him, or the NFLPA, or his "people"??

@David is right, the results have not been as bad as the perception, but Chris in B is also right, Lamar is a different guy this year.

It might boil down to which would the Ravens regret more, not signing him, or signing him?

David Rosenfeld     December 02
You know, it's fine to talk about Lamar's play, his future, his maturity, etc. It's fine if you want him around forever, or if you'd rather that not happen.

I just keep coming back to the fact that this team, this year, has played 660 minutes of football and has been behind less than 10 percent of the time. I can't say exactly what that says about Lamar Jackson, but it sure isn't negative.

joe of bel air     December 02
I hope the Ravens move on from Lamar after this season. His passing stats will never resemble those of Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and others. Defensive coordinators have seen LaMar for 5 years and a lot have figured out the best way to defend him, look what Jacksonville and Carolina did. The fact is Lamar is an outstanding runner and a mediocre passer. Look at Can Newton's career. He is only 33 years old,won an MVP award and his career has been over for the last 3 years. The fact is running QBs don't last very long in the NFL and that is what Lamar is, a running QB. I think the Ravens have gotten all they could out of Lamar and would be wise to move on. Trade him for some draft picks and see what Huntley can do in 2023.

Chris in Bel Air     December 02
"Here was a time when Jackson was just a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie in the league. "Just happy to be there", so to speak.

That Lamar is gone. Long gone. The business side of the league has changed Lamar, in the same way it would likely change anyone in their mid-20's who is sitting on a pot of gold."

There's no doubt in my view, as the avg fan, Lamar seems different this year. His demeanor in the games and sidelines aren't as enthusiastic. His press conferences and sound bites are drier and more canned. Some of this is maturity and understanding he's about to be asked the same ol' questions over and over. But I think a lot of it is the contract and money weighing on him. He's playing a game of poker and he's trying not to tip his hand. If I had to bet one way or the other, and Lamar was 100% candid, I think he believes there are forces holding him back: Lack of WRs. Play calling. The schemes. His D giving up game winning scores in the last seconds. And, certainly his own mistakes. Like many are saying, he's betting on himself and it's not panning out, so far, like he believed it would.

With that said, I would want him back as the Ravens QB but at the right price that allows the Ravens to be competitive. He is a sensational athlete and good QB. To answer Drew's question, Lamar is way better when he has success running the ball and passing (e,g., 85 yds rushing and 235 yds passing). He just doesn't thrive dropping back most of the game... and of course we can talk endlessly about why that is.

K.C.     December 02
Anyone have details on Nestor getting kicked off Twitter? Please tell!

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Memo to Lamar. Love ya, man, but it's time to grow up. Hire an agent. Add a PR team. And delete Twitter from your phone. You'll be much happier.

Unitastoberry     December 02
Drew you just pulled a Howard Cosell with your December 2022 analysis of Lamar compared to 2019 Lamar. He bet on himself and as of today he's losing. Now with football being the ultimate team sport his defense isn't helping him either. His social media antics are childish. But then most people his age take to Tic Tock etc and do stupid stuff that gets monetized rather than get a part time service job etc. He has 6 games for the guarantee money Lamar to show up and pull a Frank Robinson or John Unitas move and put the team on his shoulders to raise the Lombardi.It was his bet not Steve's.

Hal     December 02
Agree with @Herman. Top drawer edition of The Dish today. Well done everyone involved!!

JP     December 02
It's amazing we can't get a column about Lamar in the Baltimore Sun like the one in DMD today.

Any update on G-Ro going to Stanford? What are the streets saying DF?

Delray RICK     December 02
RAVENS just can't get a top receiver nomatter what. Looking at stats we are nowhere to be found. ANDREWS was but after being hurt not in top 10. Looking at other teams so many are " burners". We have them run 10 yards and that's it.

Herman     December 02
I've taken a sabbatical from posting but I'll give kudos to the site owner on today's publication. Chock full of good material.

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Quick follow-up from yesterday, thank you @DF for the Rob Ambrose update. I hope, no expect, he'll move on to bigger and better things. He did a great job at Towson for a long time. I can still remember his weekly updates in-season on your morning radio show. Loved his insights. And his passion. Might have made some of us better rec league coaches. Made me a better person, I'm sure of that. Good guy.

JoeP     December 02
Radio Mogul suspended from Twitter?

He's finally done it..."Made it Ma, Top of the World''. But much like Cody Jenson(James Cagney in White Heat), he's standing on a huge tank of gasoline.

Recently he had a conversation with another unknown "sportswriter" and they talked about Springsteen. In that non linear jumble he stated

1. He's best friends with Nils Lofgren

2. He's been backstage with the Springsteen group "dozens of times". And turned down numerous chances for more back stage access.

3. Can't access tickets to the shows, except in Southern Cities where they ''hate Bruce".



The obvious inconsistencies are never addressed.

1. Best friends with Nils? "I haven't talked with him for years".

2. 100%...that he would turn down back stage access? No way, big time Adderall fueled lie

3. So a promoter would play in cities that were hard to sell? Facts are the tour is sold out.

4. And why is he worried about getting in? One phone call to his best friend, he's back stage every night.

Maybe Nils reported him to Twitter for "misinformation". How will this affect his 100k imprints/day social media claims?



We need water Gunga Din(MFC), bring it to us.

Billy     December 01
Mr Positive got suspended from Twitter lol. And he's been on his high horse about Lamar being profane? Perhaps @MFC has an explanation.

Ken     December 01
I am new to the area and just found the Morning Dish (not a native of Baltimore or Maryland) and must say I'm very impressed with the daily articles and such.



Who is Drew (does he have a byline?)? As for the other writers who have staff positions at the web site, kudos on a job well done.



There's nothing like this in my hometown (Denver) and I'm glad I discovered it.



I think your Ravens will have an easy go of it with my Broncos on Sunday. I'll be there to witness the carnage.

MFC     December 01
Ambrose got a raw deal. The new AD wants his "own" man, many times that doesn't work out either. It would only be fitting given the President of TU is leaving for the Un of Louisville (wonder if she attended the game the other night) that the new President take the same approach and cans the AD.What goes around comes around.

JeffWell     December 01
@David R: I agree 100%. Lamar would truly benefit from some professional guidance. I wonder if he feels that he doesn't need that kind of assistance or if it just a case of keeping the money in the family.



MFC: Why on earth are you aiming a comment towards me? I guess I was next on your list of things to say to people. You never run out of those types of comments.

Do you really believe that a "schoolgirl choir" is a negative thing. Wow, another far left sexist/misogynist. You really can't make this stuff up.

David Rosenfeld     December 01
Lamar is an interesting case because he doesn't have anyone who is helping him establish his "brand." We all know about the (lack of) professional help when it comes to his business affairs, etc. Clearly social media is part of it.

At this point, Lamar really is very authentic. He's not Cal Ripken or Peyton Manning, or any athlete/entertainer whose entire existence seems dedicated to protecting and projecting an image. I admire that...he truly is a guy whose play on the field speaks for him.

At the same time, I do think that Lamar has seemed immature this year, even as he approaches 26 years old with 4 1/2 seasons as the team's starting QB. The Ravens could use a leader, not just a uniquely talented QB, and he's not there.

sammy     December 01
Great post by Stats Nerd today. Social media is oft maligned, deservedly so, but as he points out today, there's a ton of positives as well. We've likened DMD and its comments section to "people at a bar", and social media is the same. One night you might run into a drunk who is a total jerk and full of BS opinions, and you can't get away fast enough. Next time you might come across someone who has been somewhere you are planning to go and is nice enough to share some insights into what to do and not do there. Or someone with well thought out opinions on topics that interest you, and you chat all night long.

Now the challenge is, can we weed out the bad and keep only the good?

Unfortunately, like with most things in our world, the answer is no. You gotta take the bad with the good. But just like you can leave a bar, you can choose to partake (or not) in social media on your own terms. Closing all the bars would be an insane solution to eliminating ***holes in bars lol. Great column Stats Nerd.

Unitastoberry     December 01
I've been following the ascent of Deion Sanders as head coach at Jackson State. It's rather amazing what's he's done there in 3 years including COVID and him almost losing his entire foot. He's a recruiting machine and he hires old NFL players and coaches for the x and O's. But on the field he's tough in practice and strict on discipline. Not what you might expect from Prime who used to hang with gang bangers etc in his youth. I'd love to see him stay at Jackson State leave the SWAC and go independent. He can steal guys from Saban and Harbaugh etc every day . I'd fire the guy at Maryland in a second to hire Prime.

Fred M     December 01
I have a question for the mailbag.



Was the girl that watched the 1980 Olympic Hockey game the Girlfriend that you stole from Monk or Herman? Or was it some other critic?

MFC     November 30
@Jeffwell, you must be seeking a solo in the "schoolgirl choir" concert.

Jeffwell     November 30
Ravens need to sharpen up their offense and 4th quarter D, if they expect to win their division. If not, even with a relatively easy schedule, they may find themselves on the outside looking in.



I don't think Delray is the only one, "who time and time again tells us who he is". I mean "Pot, meet kettle." Wow. At least he doesn't seem to have an agenda to push.

Chris in Bel Air     November 30
Awesome win for the USMNT but nothing to the level of the hockey's team's win over the Ruskies and eventual win over Finland for the gold medal. This soccer team will need to go beat Brazil (assuming they would face them at some point after NETH) and win the Cup before we can have that conversation.

@Such - Completely agree. I never had a social media account and never will. I will take your thoughts a step further. Given the misinformation posted and the enabling of the worst social behaviors of people, I'm not sure there is a net benefit to society from social media. Sure, businesses can grow from it and people can see pics of loved ones and friends from a far. But, the negatives are so prominent, I don't believe the good outweighs the bad.

Looking forward to see how the Terps b-ball team fares against some real teams. They have checked all the boxes presented to them so far.

kj     November 30
Amen Such, well said.

Such     November 30
I recall a bumper sticker from years ago that read Kill Your Television. The 21st Century adaptation of that would read Kill Your Social Media.

I left Facebook over two years ago I think? I deleted my Twitter account a few months ago. I never had much use for Instagram or Snapchat because I'm not 19 years old. And TikTok seems to be the place where boredom goes to die in a flurry of 15 second videos. I really don't understand our fascination with it.

The reality is that social media has created a parallel reality where people feel free to say things to others that they would never say in a personal encounter. It's exposed the worst elements of human behavior, and it's tacitly endorsed that. People seem to reflexively insult each other instead of engaging in any kind of effort to understand one another. What an ugly way to behave.

It's not only Lamar Jackson who's complicit in this type of reactionary behavior, either. There are countless athletes, politicians, musicians and celebrities who get into these ridiculous back and forths online. It's not a good look.

Kill Your Social Media. You'll find it's really good for your mental and emotional health.

Steve of Pimlico     November 30
Nothing in my life will top US beating the Commies.Orioles winning WS in 66 and Ravens2012 SB run are 2nd and 3rd on my personal list of all time favorites.

MFC     November 30
Delray time and again tells you who he is, believe it.



Awesome game, ecstatic for the USA, if ( big if) they win the next one look out. The bars will be packed and people will be purchasing swag. It can ignite a country with excitement.



The Terps and Willard are on a roll. Willard is the real deal. The kids play hard all the time. Do that and you always have a chance. Amazing to watch these college games knowing full well the kids are getting hefty sums to play. The college coach is now coaching salaries, totally different atmosphere.




Chris K     November 30
There have been pretty big moments between 1980 and now that surpass getting out of the 1st round in 2022. the women winning in 1999 was AWESOME! Personally THAT is right up there with 1980! The 1994 mens team beating columbia to advance seemed much bigger than this. The original dream team was pretty special. IF they can win at least 1 game in the knockout THEN this will be a huge deal. Until then it's pretty far down the list.

Unitastoberry     November 30
What's the over/under on how many times the tv camera shows Watson's accusers on Sunday?

The US high school college hockey team beating the Russian pros in 1980 would be like St Francis beating KC in the Super Bowl.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 30
@ DELRAY RICK, Second on my list and so on, NBA Basketball, WBA Basketball, Ice Hockey, all the other sports I can tolerate watching.

TimD in Timonium     November 30
It was a GREAT win yesterday by USMNT. Boring game? Any of it? Felt more like riding a roller coaster. Tough task beating the Netherlands, we'll see. Congrats to a much-criticized defense that allowed just a single goal vs Wales, Iran, and England. Did not expect that.

David Rosenfeld     November 30
For what it's worth, KenPom suggests that Saint Louis (42) will win the Atlantic 10, and Miami (44) will finish 12-8 in the ACC. Early bracketology suggests that Miami is an at-large NCAA tournament team.

Of course we are 7 games into the season, so take that however you want to. And certainly these next 4 games are a true test and are very unlikely to all be wins, though it's good that only one of them is a road game.

I'd like to reiterate that I am not taking a veiled swipe at anyone basketball IQ.

Monday
November 21, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3010


eight years later...


To be exact, it's 8 years and 4 months later.

The last time the United States played a World Cup soccer game was July 1, 2014 in Brazil.

I was still on the radio, in fact. When I put it that way, the 2014 World Cup seems like a lifetime ago.

After squeaking out of group play in 2014 with a win (Ghana), a loss (Germany) and a draw (Portugal), the U.S. fell to Belgium, 2-1, in the first round of knockout play.

U.S. World Cup hopes in Qatar hinge largely on the play of goalkeeper Matt Turner, who will face Wales today.

Little did we all know that some guy named Julian Green would score in the 107th minute of that game and no other player from the United States national team would score a World Cup goal for at least the next eight years.

Green hasn't been heard from since, for the most part. And neither has the U.S. team. The Americans, of course, coughed up a chance to qualify for the 2018 World Cup when they couldn't muster a point at Trinidad and Tobago in the final game of CONCACAF qualifying.

So Russia 2018 came and went and we watched in the U.S. as the rest of the world played for the most coveted international trophy sports has to offer.

Today at 2:00 pm, the rest of the world gets to watch us. And they get to watch Wales, too. The U.S. is back in the World Cup after finishing 3rd in the qualifying stage in '21-22. That they get Wales today in the opener in Qatar is perhaps a major blessing. A win today and Monday's game vs. England becomes far less desperate for the American squad.

For the uninitiated, World Cup soccer is really two tournaments in one. The first stage, called "Group play", pits each team against the other in their 4-team group in round-robin play. Each game offers three points to the winning team and one point to each team if the match ends in a tie. The top two teams who accumulate the most points from each group then advance to the "Knockout stage".

The knockout stage is simply single-elimination. Once you lose, you go home.

For the Americans -- who are exempt from qualifying in 2026 because they're the main host country of the event (along with Canada and Mexico) -- this World Cup will be considered a failure if they fail to advance out of their group. England is a formidable foe, but both Wales and Iran should be teams the United States can handle. Six points will almost certainly get them through to the knockout stage.

It all starts today. The question everyone seems to be asking is the one only 90 minutes of soccer can answer: "Are we good enough?"

The American style of soccer is still far behind the international powers that will likely be playing in mid-December when Qatar '22 reaches the semifinal and finals. We're "good" at soccer. But we're not great. We have flashes of brilliance, sure, but rarely do we string together 90 minutes of soccer that makes the rest of the world say, "Wow, those Americans have really improved."

Three games can change the way the rest of the world sees us, though.

What will Christian Pulisic do in his World Cup debut? By far the most talented American player -- maybe ever -- the U.S. offense will likely go as far as the Hershey, Pennsylvania native takes them.

Is the American defense sturdy enough to hold up under the pressure of the World Cup microscope? To me, this edition of the American team is far more about defense than offense. Can they keep the other three teams under wraps? Is goalkeeper Matt Turner good enough? Will the U.S. backline make a critical mistake at the worst possible time, as has been their habit from time to time in big game situations?

Those are the questions facing Coach Berhalter's team starting today.

There's no room for error. One mistake can lead to a goal that winds up being the only scoring of the entire 90 minutes. And one loss, depending on what you do elsewhere, can keep you from moving on to the knockout stage.

Every pass. Every marking assignment. Every goal scoring opportunity. They all matter. They're all critical, both in this game and for the entire World Cup.

The U.S. needs to win today. That gets everything rolling in the right direction.

Eight years have gone by since the American team faced the situation they're facing today. And, yes, that's a long time to wait for soccer glory.


Yes, I'm going to be "that guy" in today's edition of #DMD. The guy that says, "It was a win, let's move on." I realize a lot of folks on social media yesterday didn't feel that way about the Ravens 13-3 win over Carolina.

People put Lamar on blast, Greg Roman on blast, John Harbaugh on blast and, well, just about anyone not named Marlon Humphrey, Mark Andrews or Patrick Queen on blast.

Nearly everyone in town expected a walk in the park. I mean, did you see Carolina's offense yesterday? Kyle Boller watched from California and snickered.

John Harbaugh wasn't smiling at "how" his team won yesterday, but a win is a win is a win.

So, yes, it wasn't pretty.

Yes, Lamar wasn't very good.

We all probably expected more efficiency given that the Ravens came into the game on 13 days rest. I assumed they'd be much better than they showed yesterday. There's no sense in denying that.

But the game's over and the result is in the books. And the Ravens are 7-3, no matter if they squeaked out a 13-3 win or plastered the Panthers, 40-3. A win is a win. Yes, I'm "that guy".

It would appear based on Lamar's post-game comments that Ronnie Stanley's ankle injury isn't serious. If that's the case, the Ravens dodged a major bullet and their championship hopes are still intact. Losing Stanley would have been a backbreaker. If he misses a week or so and then returns, all is well. We'll take Lamar at his word that Stanley seemed OK after yesterday's game.

Games like the one the Ravens pieced together vs. Carolina are really no different than a 40-30 shootout, except there's a lot more scoring. But in reality, if you win 40-30, it stands to reason that one side of the ball played well and one didn't. A 13-3 win is the same thing. One side (defense) was exceptional. One side (offense) wasn't. It just depends on whether you have the sophistication to see it that way, that's all.

I thought the Panthers offense would stink yesterday and it did. I had them scoring 7 points, which was 4 more than they were fortunate enough to score.

Moving forward, I think teams are going to have a tough time with the Baltimore defense. Check back with me in early January and see if I'm right on this one, but I don't see the Ravens giving up more than 14 points per-game in their final 7 contests.

The Bengals could put together a game in the 20's, perhaps. I'm not sure I see any other Baltimore opponent getting into the 20's, though. And if the Ravens can average 14-points-allowed (or less) in their last 7 games, they're probably winning 6 of those. If not all 7.

I've been singing this tune for a few weeks now, in case you haven't been paying close attention. This Ravens team is going to be a tough, tough out come January. Sure, there's potentially a team in the AFC we're not thinking about right now who might get hot in December and be last year's version of the Bengals. The Titans have started perking up over the last month and we all know what Derrick Henry can do on any given Sunday.

But the Ravens are going to be right there in January. Watch and see.

I like our chances, sports fans.


The "OneLove armband" at World Cup 2022 made a quick exit early today when the teams who had threatened to wear it in their opening match finally relented after FIFA confirmed any captain wearing it would be given a yellow card prior to kick-off.

FIFA previously designated seven different permissable arm bands that captains can wear in Qatar, but the popular "OneLove" version that many European and international teams wear to show their support for the LGBQT community was not one of them. Despite that, several teams, including Germany and England, said they planned on wearing the armband in their opening game of World Cup '22.

It was announced on Monday that captains can wear the FIFA-approved "No Discrimination" armband throughout the tournament.

This, of course, was always bound to happen once FIFA sold its soul and filled its bank account with monies from Qatar, where homosexuality is still considered a crime, punishable up to three years in prison. Although it hasn't been enforced in years, females engaging in same-sex activity can be put to death under Muslim (sharia) law.

So when Qatar and FIFA signed on the dotted line seven years ago, part of the agreement almost certainly came with a "no public protest" clause, which is one of the reasons why last week's announcement -- that one U.S. logo on display in Qatar would included rainbow colors, symbolic of support for the LGBQT community -- drew such attention.

When word trickled down that players from several different teams were opting for the rainbow-themed "OneLove" armband, FIFA got nervous. Their only form of punishment became something in the game that was significant, hence the yellow card before play started to any player wearing it.

Two yellow cards in group play (three games) is a one-game suspension, so a yellow card is certainly a major penalty to pay for wearing an armband.

And so, starting today, players will likely opt for the broader "No Discrimination" statement on their armband. It realistically carries the same message as "OneLove", without the open acceptance of the LGBQT community through the display of their rainbox-themed symbol.

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around the nfl


FALCONS 27 - BEARS 24 -- We called this one 27-25 in favor of Atlanta. Missed it by *that much*. Atlanta is having a surprisingly pleasant season with Marcus Mariota at quarterback. And despite now sporting a 3-8 mark, the Bears might have found their guy in QB Justin Fields, who continues to put up "Lamar like" numbers each week on the air and ground. Atlanta is still on the outside of the NFC playoff race, but they're going to play meaningful games in December, which is probably not something we all thought possible back in August.


BILLS 31 - BROWNS 23 -- Wow, we called this one 31-24, Bills. Another one we almost hit precisely. Buffalo bounces back from that bizarre home loss to the Vikings and the Browns gonna Browns. Cleveland got a decent day from QB Jacoby Brissett in this one (324 yards, 3 TDs) but they couldn't stop the Buffalo offense. The Browns are 3-7 heading in the direction of another 7-win season...if they even get to 7, that is.


A week after falling at home to the Vikings, Josh Allen and the Bills got back on track with a win over Cleveland in Detroit.

EAGLES 17 - COLTS 16 -- We called the Colts getting +6.5 our "play of the day". You're welcome. Philly sneaks out of Indy with a one-point win on a late TD while the Colts are now just about playing out the string at 4-6-1. The Eagles are not only 9-1 but they're 5-0 on the road. That away record is more impressive than their overall mark, I'd say. I'm still not 100% sold on the Eagles, but coming back to win on the road after a Monday night home loss is impressive, no matter who they played yesterday.


PATRIOTS 10 - JETS 3 -- And we thought that Ravens/Panthers game in Baltimore was dreadful? This one wasn't decided until New England ran a punt back for a TD in the final half minute of the game. Both teams now sit at 6-4, which means, in the watered down NFL playoff format, they're both going to play important December games in quest of a playoff berth. There's no telling if either of these teams are any good. The bet here is they aren't. But it's likely one of them gets to 9 wins eventually and has a shot at the post-season somehow.


SAINTS 27 - RAMS 20 -- Two bad teams locked horns in this one. The Rams are experiencing the dreaded "post Super Bowl hangover" that is almost inevitable, particularly with a squad like the one they had last year that probably wasn't even the 3rd best team in the league, truth be told. When you lose to this 2022 New Orleans squad, you know you stink.


LIONS 31 - GIANTS 18 -- OK, we were waiting for the "real Giants" to show up and it took 10 weeks, but there they were yesterday, losing at home to a Detroit team that has now won back-to-back road games for the first time since Paul was writing to the Corinthians. Sure, the Giants are still alive in the NFC playoff race at 7-3, but this is a team no one in the league fears. If they win 10 games it will be a minor miracle.


COMMANDERS 23 - TEXANS 10 -- We missed this one, big time. We assumed Houston had an ounce of quality -- enough to beat a bad D.C. team, at least. Alas, they have no quality in Houston, other than the best logo and helmet in the NFL. D.C. now has 6 wins on the year and they've been surprisingly competitive ever since Dan Snyder announced he was selling the team. Maybe he should have tried that 10 years ago.


RAIDERS 22 - BRONCOS 16 OT -- Another one we hit in the bullseye. We told you Las Vegas couldn't go all year without winning a road game. Derek Carr to Davante Adams in OT was the difference in this one, as Russell Wilson threw for a meager 247 yards in Denver's home loss. If you thought that Panthers offense was bad yesterday, wait until Russ and the Broncos come to town in a couple of weeks. They might not generate 250 yards of total offense against the Ravens.


COWBOYS 40 - VIKINGS 3 -- Ummmm, yep, we told you Dallas was beating Minnesota outright. Yes we did. We didn't see 40-3 coming, though, but that's what happened in Minnesota, where the Vikings went from beating Buffalo in Buffalo last Sunday to getting blistered at home by a Dallas team that lost in Green Bay last Sunday. The NFL is insane. Dallas could be a legit threat in the NFC. This could be the year Jerry Jones gets back to the Super Bowl. No one else in the conference but the Eagles is really all that great. Maybe it's the Cowboys turn?


BENGALS 37 - STEELERS 30 -- I'm not sure what to make of this one. If you're the Bengals, how thrilled are you at giving up 30 points to that awful Pittsburgh offense? Sure, you scored 37 and you won, which is all that matters. But Kenny Pickett sliced and diced you for 30 points? Not. Very. Good. Cincy improves to 6-4 with the win but they're still only a sliver of a threat to the Ravens. Their schedule moving forward is still awfully tough. 10 wins? Maybe.


CHIEFS 30 - CHARGERS 27 -- Man, that Patrick Mahomes-Travis Kelce connection is something else. It's definitely right up there with Brady-Gronk as one of the most lethal QB-receiver combos in league history. On a night when he had almost no wide receivers of quality to throw to, Mahomes hit Kelce for three TD's and the heartless Chargers once again lost at home, where they are now 2-3 on the season. I didn't think Mahomes could win without JuJu and Hardman. I was wrong. That kid is remarkably friggin' good.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


World Cup Daily

Yesterday’s Results –

Qatar v Ecuador

Ecuador was too much for the hosts to handle. After an early goal was called back by VAR for offside, Ecuador came back and scored in the 16th minute. After winning the ball in midfield, they launched a quick counter that led to a penalty that Enner Valencia converted.

Valencia added another in the first half with a headed goal and Ecuador held the lead through the second half for a 2-0 win.


Today’s Games:

England v Iran

Players to Watch

England - Jude Bellingham - Midfield

Iran - Mehdi Taremi - Forward

Prediction: 2-0 England

England is the heavy favorite to open the group with a win. Bellingham will be the driving force in midfield in a game England should control from start to finish. They will need to keep tabs on Taremi, who is dangerous on the counter and if he gets loose in the box.


Senegal v Netherlands

Players to Watch

Senegal - Ismaila Sarr- Forward

Netherlands - Frenkie de Jong - midfielder

Prediction: 1-0 Netherlands

Even without the injured Sadio Mane, Senegal will be difficult to score against. The Dutch should control possession and eventually find a a way through for a winning goal. De Jong is the one that makes the Dutch tick in midfield, handling the bulk of progression to set up the attack. Sarr will shoulder the attacking burden for Senegal with Mane out and will likely be targeted when they try to spring counters.

#DMD GAME DAY
Week 11


Sunday — November 20, 2022
Issue #3009

Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens

1:00 PM EDT

M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore, MD

Spread: Ravens (-13.0)



are you staying for the whole game?


That's the question I texted a handful of my friends this morning as they face a bitterly cold, windy day at M&T Bank Stadium.

"Are you staying for the whole game?"

It should be over by halftime. So why would you stay? Just to freeze and watch the Ravens pile up a bigger second half lead?

Of course, there's always the other side of the coin with what I call these "tricky" games. Carolina could somehow hang around and make a game of it. And you might find yourself sitting there with nine minutes remaining and the Ravens clinging to a 26-20 lead and thinking to yourself, "I'm glad I didn't leave at halftime when it was 23-3."

Today could be a day where Lamar thrusts himself back into the MVP discussion with a bunch of yards both on the ground and in the air.

The Ravens are going to face a slew of these "tricky" games between now and the end of the regular season. By loose definition, a tricky game is one you should win with ease, but because it's the NFL and both teams try and, well, weird things happen in the league, you're never out of the woods with a "tricky" game until the final whistle blows and you've won.

Jacksonville next week? Tricky game.

Pittsburgh, twice? Both tricky games.

Denver, Atlanta? Two tricky games.

The Ravens should go 5-0 in those five. None of those teams are really any good, just like today's opponent, the Panthers, isn't any good.

But the really good teams -- which it's starting to look like the Ravens are one of those -- don't lose "tricky" games.

Sure, the Ravens fell to the Bills and the Bills lost to the Vikings and the Chiefs lost to the Bills, but losing to a good team with a winning record isn't anything to worry about. It happens.

You just can't cough up these gift-games, especially at home, which the Ravens have on their plate today with Carolina (3-7) in town.

There is nothing that Carolina does better than the Ravens. They score fewer points per-game, give up more yards, generate less yards and, as a by-product, have just 3 wins in 10 games. Oh, and the guy at quarterback today, Baker Mayfield, is actually the Panthers' back-up QB these days. He's playing today out of necessity.

But if you're a Panthers fan and you're looking for a sliver of hope that perhaps today could be one of those rare occasions where a 13-point underdog pulls off a miracle, Mayfield is the only way you can even consider something like that happening.

Despite his career tumble and last summer's extrication to Charlotte, the former Browns QB does have some idea what he's doing. With a couple of capable receivers at his disposal, it's not out of the question that Mayfield's chakras could line up correctly today and he produces a NFL-worthy game for the visitors.

It's unlikely the other 45 players could experience the same sort of one-day upgrade in quality, but it's worth noting that Mayfield has been on the good end of things against the Ravens in previous years and that he deserves a morsel of respect heading into today's game in Charm City.

But all things being equal, Mayfield's getting on that plane a losing quarterback around 6:00 pm tonight. He can't beat the Ravens by himself.

Unless he's a magician and the rest of his team learns magic before kick-off, Baker isn't winning this tricky game.

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how drew sees today's game


If you're looking for a game where the Ravens really flex their muscles and show the NFL they're a force to be reckoned with, today's that game.

I'm calling a blowout.

Drew sees a Ravens blowout win this afternoon in Baltimore.

Sure, the weather is awful and the winds might play havoc with the passing game, but it's always less windy down on the field than it is outside of the stadium. Lamar will still be able to throw the ball, don't worry about that.

I don't see the Carolina offense being able to do anything.

They average 190 yards per-game in the air and 118 yards per-game on the ground. It stands to reason they might throw for more than 190 today simply because they'll be behind by two or three scores throughout the afternoon, but I don't see any way Carolina rushes for more than 118 yards this afternoon.

I'll say the Panthers generate 303 yards of total offense. 220 of it through the passing game and 83 of it in rushing yards.

The Baltimore defense will be the story of the day, with 6 sacks and 3 turnovers, including a pick-six from Marcus Peters.

On offense, Lamar will throw for 201 yards and rush for 69 more. The Baltimore run game will account for another 123 yards.

It's 17-0 at the half, Ravens, and becomes 24-0 early in the third quarter on Peters' interception and 30 yard romp into the end zone.

The Panthers manage a late 3rd quarter score to spoil the shutout, but Lamar's TD throw to Isaiah Likely in the 4th quarter puts the Ravens back ahead by 24 points.

Baltimore improves to 7-3 with an easy 31-7 win over Carolina.

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BEARS AT FALCONS (-2.5) -- Two teams trying to figure out if they're actually any good or not meet today in Atlanta. Both teams coming off of what they probably thought were "bad" losses, as Chicago fell at home to Detroit and Atlanta lost at Carolina a week ago. We're thinking this is a good spot for the Falcons. They're home, still in the NFC South race, believe it or not, and this one becomes almost "must win" for them. Falcons 27 - Bears 25


BROWNS AT BILLS (-8.0) -- This one's in Detroit, which removes the "cold weather factor", but it probably helps the Bills and their prolific offense all things being equal. But the Bills might be in a tricky spot here. Cleveland can definitely run the ball and that could be something Buffalo has difficult handling. If Garrett and the Browns defense can get to Josh Allen early and knock him out...who knows what might happen? It's probably too much to ask for a Cleveland win here but we see them keeping it close and throwing a scare into the Bills before falling late. Bills 30 - Browns 23


EAGLES AT COLTS (+6.5) -- We don't generally participate in "Plays of the Week" or anything like that. We don't do nearly enough research to make those sorts of proclamations. But this one, in Indy, feels like our proverbial "lock" of the day. Philly, coming in after a Monday night loss, taking on an Indy team that might have found some new life with Jeff Saturday and Matt Ryan now both at the helm. Could it be that Philly isn't as good as they first appeared? And that Indy is better than they showed? Could Jim Irsay's idea of tanking the season by hiring a media guy to coach the team actually backfire on him? Maybe so. Colts 23 - Eagles 20


Bill Belichick and the Patriots look to hand the Jets their first road loss of 2022 today.

JETS AT PATRIOTS (-3.0) -- Two months into the season and it stands to reason that the New York Jets might be the NFL's most surprising and confusing team. Are they really any good? They're 6-3, yes, but more importantly, they're 4-0 on the road. New England, meanwhile, is very similar. They're 5-4 and have a home loss to Chicago on their 2022 record. Are they really any good? Something has to give today and we're going to assume it won't be Bill Belichick. Patriots 26 - Jets 13


RAMS AT SAINTS (-2.5) -- The Rams are facing the ultimate embarrassment. They're a 2.5 point underdog in New Orleans. That's what not having Cooper Kupp will get you, I guess. Both of these teams are lousy. This could wind up being the worst game of the day. But someone has to win (well, not really, but you know what I mean), so we'll just go with the home team and move on to a better game to feature here at #DMD. Saints 30 - Rams 24


LIONS AT GIANTS (-3.0)-- This one "feels" weird, right? The Giants are only 3 point home favorites over a lousy Detroit team? What's that all about? Detroit's capable of putting points on the board, but they're also capable of giving up 25 in each half. With the cold and wind enveloping the entire east coast, we're going to assume New York runs the ball a lot today. And that spells trouble for the Lions. Giants 27 - Lions 20


COMMANDERS AT TEXANS (+3.0) -- D.C. a 3-point road favorite? In what universe? Ahhh, yes, they're playing the Texans. It makes sense now. Can Houston get their 2nd win of the season today? Maybe. Washington's coming off a huge Monday night road win over the Eagles. If you're a believer in the "letdown game", this is a perfect spot for it. Houston's 1-7-1, but four of those losses have been one score affairs. They're bad, but they might be good enough to win today. Texans 22 - Commanders 20


RAIDERS AT BRONCOS (-2.5) -- Las Vegas is 2-7 and 0-5 on the road. They went out and picked up Davante Adams in the off-season and.....they have 2 wins. He might be the best receiver in football. And they have 2 wins. The NFL is crazy, man. Denver went out and spent $240 million on a quarterback last summer and they have.....3 wins. This is going to be a bad football games. We're going to assume Las Vegas can't go all season without a road win. Raiders 28 - Broncos 24


COWBOYS AT VIKINGS (-1.5) -- This one has "game of the day" material written all over it. Dallas comes in needing a win after last week's toe-stub in Green Bay. Minnesota flies in sky high after beating Buffalo in Buffalo. These usually wind up being duds. Someone winds up winning 30-13 and all the talk about "game of the day" goes out the window. But we're thinking this could be a barnburner with a last second field goal. Cowboys 30 - Vikings 27


BENGALS AT STEELERS (-3.5) -- Like the Ravens, the Bengals face one of those "tricky" games today. They should win this one in Pittsburgh, but Cincinnati hasn't necessarily been hitting on all cylinders in 2022. The Steelers are 3-6, which pretty much makes today's game "must win" for them if they want to make the post-season. It's not "must win", of course. But pretty close. We're going to figure the Steelers have more under the hood than the Bengals in this one. We're not impressed with either team. Steelers 19 - Bengals 16


CHIEFS AT CHARGERS (+5.5) -- We've seen Patrick Mahomes do a lot of great things in his career, but if he goes to L.A. tonight and beats the Chargers without JuJu or Hardman, our respect level goes up another notch for him. The Chargers really need this one if they want to keep pace with K.C. in the AFC West. And we think they're in a good spot. Chargers 33 - Chiefs 27

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 1 day remains


1 - Argentina

Group: C

How they Qualified: 2nd in CONMEBOL (South America)

Best World Cup Finish: Champions - 1978,1986

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $645M (7th)

FIFA Rank: 3

Odds to Win Group: -250

Odds to Advance: -1600

Odds to Win Cup: +500


Key Players:

Lionel Messi - Forward - Paris St. Germain (France Ligue 1)

Lautaro Martinez - Striker - Inter Milan (Italy Serie A)

Rodrigo De Paul - Midfielder - Atlético Madrid (Spain La Liga)


Playing Style and Outlook:

Since taking over Argentina in 2018, Coach Lionel Scaloni has unlocked the team’s full potential, finding the right recipe to maximize Leo Messi’s later stages. Argentina enters the tournament in great form, riding a 35 game unbeaten streak that is just two fewer than the record by an international team

In South American World Cup qualifying they finished second, behind only Brazil, who they defeated in Brazil to win the 2021 Copa America final. They followed that up by winning the “Finalissima” matchup with 2021 European Champions Italy.

Scaloni usually deploys Argentina in a 4-3-3 formation with a lone defensive midfielder paired with two box-to-box midfielders and Messi and Angel Di Maria out on the wings. Up top it will be Lautaro Martinez, who provides Messi with a truly elite striker to partner with for the first time in quite a while for Argentina.

The Argentines prefer to control the ball and dominate the possession battle. They look to work the ball through the opposing defensive lines, using their midfield to progress the ball up and ultimately find the feet of Messi or Di Maria with numbers forward so they can combine and create around the box. This version of Argentina has more attacking talent around Messi than previous iterations, relieving some of the burden and allowing him to be more of a facilitator and chance creator.

Messi will drop back deeper in possession to find the ball and then look to for holes in the defense when they bend their shape to stop him. With players like Martinez, Di Maria, and Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez, Argentina has the pieces to take advantage of defenses that focus too heavily on stopping Messi. Though they prefer a slow build up in possession, Argentina is also capable of playing direct when the opportunity presents itself, as they showed in the Copa America final with a quick long ball from midfielder Rodrigo De Paul setting up the winning goal by Di Maria.

When defending, they will pick their moments to press, usually on goal kicks or when opponents play back into their own end and look vulnerable, but they are not an all out pressing team. They defend the middle third of the field well, pulling up their back line to compact space and preventing opponents from getting into their end of the field. Behind the defense, keeper Emiliano Martinez has been great for Argentina, making several huge saves in their penalty shootout win over Colombia in the Copa America semifinals.

With Leo Messi entering the tournament in great form for PSG and fully embracing his role on a talented and well coached team, Argentina is poised for a deep run in Qatar. They have a favorable group draw with an up and down Poland and a weaker than normal Mexico side, that they should have no issues finishing top of.

After that they could face some challenges in the knockouts, but will be looking towards a potential rematch with rivals Brazil in the semifinals. This is the best team Argentina has built around Messi at least since 2014, when he carried them to the finals, and perhaps of his whole career. That sets up the potential for a storybook last run from one of the greatest to ever play the game.


Players to Watch:

1 - Leo Messi - Forward - Argentina

There was only one choice to top this list. The GOAT? It’s always fraught trying to compare players from different eras, but Leo Messi is inarguably one of the three or four best players to ever take the field. After capturing his first major international trophy in the 2021 Copa America, Messi now seeks the one title that has eluded him in his illustrious career. Adding a World Cup trophy to his resume would likely settle the argument once and for all, that he is indeed the greatest player of all time.

At 35 years old, this is most likely his last World Cup, and certainly the last he will be heavily relied upon for Argentina (though it would be nice if he hung around for the 2026 spectacle in the US). With rumors swirling that he could be heading to Inter Miami in MLS after this season, this World Cup and the subsequent Champions League knockouts may be the last chance to see Messi competing at the highest level before entering a semi-retirement phase.

The origin story of Leo Messi has been rehashed so many times at this point that it seems like an urban legend. After growing up playing for hometown Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, Messi was signed by Barcelona at the age of 13 with a contract written on a paper napkin. He moved to Spain and joined Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, quickly rising through the ranks before making his debut with the first team in 2004 at just 17. He emerged over the next few years to lead a Barcelona team that many consider to be one of the greatest club teams of all time.

Messi’s career achievements are too numerous to list, but they’re highlighted by a record seven Ballon D’Or awards to go along with four Champions League titles and ten La Liga titles. He is the all-time leader in both goals and assists in La Liga and he holds the record for most goals in a single La Liga season and is second in all-time Champions League goals.

Internationally, Messi is Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer. His first major international accomplishment was leading Argentina to the 2008 Olympic gold medal. He then led them to the finals of the 2014 World Cup where they just fell short against Germany, with Messi winning the Golden Ball for best player at that tournament. In Qatar he will join the short list of players to ever play in their fifth World Cup, 16 years after his debut for Argentina in the 2006 event in Germany.

Messi began his career as a speedy winger that could dribble through almost literally the entire team. When he broke out at Barcelona he would make slaloming runs where the ball seemed to be glued to his foot. No matter how fast or how many bumps he took from defenders, he kept the ball right by his side. He quickly became an unstoppable goalscorer, posting eye popping numbers for much of his career.

As he grew older, Messi lost some of his pace and quickness, but he has remained at the top of the sport by adapting and continually evolving his game. He has gradually dropped deeper and more central to take on more of a playmaker and facilitator role, becoming one of the greatest passers the game has ever seen.

He is now more often the one setting up goals for teammates than scoring them himself, though he remains a lethal striker of the ball. He is a threat on free kicks anywhere near the box and can still make his signature runs across the top of the box where he seems to break physics to bend the ball around defenders and into the back corner of the goal.

The only issue he has run into at points in his career for both club and country are his teams becoming too reliant on him and lacking a coherent plan of attack. Too often in his final years at Barcelona, the strategy seemed to be, kick it to Messi and watch him try to do everything. This is not an issue for either team currently, as his club PSG features the other two of the top three players in this countdown playing next to him. For Argentina, Scaloni has built a system to maximize Messi without being over reliant on him. They seem to have found a balance between providing him the freedom to create, while maintaining a structure around him that can’t be easily exploited.

I have been fortunate enough to see Messi in person twice, once when he was just a teenage apprentice to Ronaldinho in a friendly against the New York Red Bulls and again later in his career at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. He was electric in different ways in both games and it is fascinating to see the evolution of the player. If you watch one other team besides the US during this World Cup, I suggest making it Argentina in order to witness what could be Messi’s version of Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals run.


Best Bets:

1 - Argentina to win the cup (+500)

Brazil is deservedly the betting favorite at this tournament and boast the most well balanced roster with star talent and depth. However, I think Argentina is right on their heels, having bested them in Brazil in the 2021 Copa America final. For all the reasons described above, I like getting the additional payout on Argentina at +500 to win the whole tournament.


Opening Game Preview:

Though the headline says one day until kickoff, the World Cup actually kicks off today, since FIFA decided to move up the Qatar vs. Ecuador game one day so the host nation could open the tournament on a stage all by themselves. So the Cup will kick off at 11:00am today on Fox Sports 1.

In this matchup, Qatar will try their best to play through Ecuador but the South Americans may present a level of competition that the hosts are not ready for. Ecuador holds a large talent advantage and were very solid defensively in South American competition. Their midfield trio, led by rising Premier League star Moises Caicedo, should dominate the game and find ways through the Qatari defense. I expect Ecuador to find a few goals in the game, though Qatar may pull one back late via dangerous attacker Akram Afif.

My Prediction: 2-1 Ecuador wins

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#dmd comments








Unitastoberry     December 04
If the Ravens lose today it's going to get very ugly. 🥸🤔

CIK     December 04
It’s almost like DF thinks he owns this site and doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But only a fool would complain about something this silly for the last 3 months. If only that BP dump website had a comments section…maybe the readers here wouldn’t have to deal with the silly banter. But the BP motto is “no phone calls & no comments”

larry     December 04
Haha, @MFC you know the answer to that question, this place is crawling with lemmings lol.

MFC     December 04
Creative accounting, must be an investor in FTX, last week. The total was 7-5 not 10-2. If you know what I mean.



We're now back to charting wins and losses, again I ask what happened, that's an incredible transformation this year. The site owner goes from no charting the bets, no mention of w-l's and disclaimers to full blown, "locks of the week" and yearly stats that we're asked to accept at face value. And the DMD doesn't think an explanation is necessary? Really? Wouldn't you like your messiah to discuss that change or do you continue to be the lemmings of the site and just accept anything that comes down from on high. If you know what I mean.

Steve of Pimlico     December 03
O's sign a cheaper version of Jordon Lyles and save 4- 5 million dollars.Is this their dip into free agency?

Sold my last 2 PSls yesterday at a small profit because if the Ravens don't sign Lamar the PSL market will crater.My unsolicited advice to Lamar is for him to take a seat and get real representation.

Eric in Gaithersburg     December 03
Can already hear Os fans whining and i get it, Angelos crew has earned no trust but its Dec 3rd and all teams add to the bottom of roster, plus entire point of having analytics crew is finding guys us normal people think stink that actually don't. Wait till Mar 1st to judge offseason then commence whining. Theyve stated repeatedly that #1 starter, middle of order bat and quality backup C are their priorities. They dont back up the talk then they will get rightfully ripped

alexi     December 03
"sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing" which was possible cause key players decided at the worst time to stop playing D.

DMD called for this Reyna guy the whole tourney, then today says now he can see why his PT was limited. Hmmm, perhaps the actual coach of the team knows more than the voices sitting at home watching on TV. Go figure

Chris in Bel Air     December 03
@TimD you are correct. That first goal by the Dutch was a sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing. That was a cleat of reality to the US.

That was an exciting and entertaining win by the Terps last night. Looks like this season is shaping up to be way above my initial expectations.

I see Lamar apologized for the tweet. I really liked his candor in his discussions of it and that is why so many people like him. One related note to that discussion, Lamar stated "I feel like you should be bitter after a loss. No smiles. I feel like the fans should be mad we lost, too. But not mad at us. We tried." Too often, fans seem to think the players don't care about losing as much as they, the fan do. That certainly isn't the case. They want to win and, as much as it sucks as a fan watching them lose, it is way worse for them as a player and a coach.

Howard     December 03
44-15 as a Ravens starter; big problem is his 1-3 playoff record. He needs to come up big in the playoffs.

TimD in Timonium     December 03
The Dutch are GOOD. Too much talent and experience today. Great USA run.

unitastoberry     December 03
Lamars final grades for year 5 are not out until the end of week 17 and maybe the playoffs. Lets revisit then.

Josh     December 03
Great win for the Terps!



Excellent soccer coverage here, keep up the good work!

Ray Ray     December 03
howard; wins what? in High school? 3 years at Louisville? five years in nfl? what miracle do expect to happen to change what has always happened?

Howard     December 02
44-15. Say what you want but the guy wins

Stats Nerd     December 02
@Fish...Cleveland? Depending on what metrics you look at they are generally in exactly the same spot as BAL in receiving. KC, BUF, MIA, CIN, SF are the highest rated passing groups followed by PHI, SEA, LV and DAL.

Baltimore is pretty much mid tier passing team if you look at various metrics. Some they might be as high 12th or as low as 18th. Cleveland same.



There are teams that have positive efficiency running the ball in the league: PHI, BAL, CHI, CLE, and ATL. There are 3-ish others that are efficiency nuetral running: NYG, DAl and PIT

Fish     December 02
Does that Henry guy follow the NFL?



Miami has 3 high quality pass catchers. I'm guessing Drew is counting TE's. Kansas City has 3. Cincinnati has 3. If Waller is healthy there's an argument the Raiders have 3. Cleveland might even have 3.

TimD in Timnoium     December 02
The problem with being a one-man show both on and off the field is that it gets overwhelming. @DF points out, Lamar takes ALL the heat. Does he alone get all the glory with a Super Bowl win or a giant, guaranteed contact? Well, maybe. But that's a lot of crap to handle in the meantime.



Think how much easier THIS exchange would be. Reporter - "Hey, Lamar, how's the contract coming along? Lamar - "I dunno, man. I'm only thinking about beating the Broncos."



Boom. EASY.


henry     December 02
"three or four high quality pass catchers" How many teams have this?? I'll give you a hint - zero lol.

Lamar is definitely "off" this year. Some may be injuries, but from the cheap seats, I think he feels restricted by the coaching staff. The voices around him are all saying "just go ball man" and G-Ro and Harbs say "do it our way, it will work". Then it works maybe one out of 10 times.

I am sure Lamar wants to win games, but he also wants to be on SC Top 10 every week. He's clearly frustrated. Is it ego, or money? Or both? But the big question is, who is pushing 100% guarantee? Is that really him, or the NFLPA, or his "people"??

@David is right, the results have not been as bad as the perception, but Chris in B is also right, Lamar is a different guy this year.

It might boil down to which would the Ravens regret more, not signing him, or signing him?

David Rosenfeld     December 02
You know, it's fine to talk about Lamar's play, his future, his maturity, etc. It's fine if you want him around forever, or if you'd rather that not happen.

I just keep coming back to the fact that this team, this year, has played 660 minutes of football and has been behind less than 10 percent of the time. I can't say exactly what that says about Lamar Jackson, but it sure isn't negative.

joe of bel air     December 02
I hope the Ravens move on from Lamar after this season. His passing stats will never resemble those of Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and others. Defensive coordinators have seen LaMar for 5 years and a lot have figured out the best way to defend him, look what Jacksonville and Carolina did. The fact is Lamar is an outstanding runner and a mediocre passer. Look at Can Newton's career. He is only 33 years old,won an MVP award and his career has been over for the last 3 years. The fact is running QBs don't last very long in the NFL and that is what Lamar is, a running QB. I think the Ravens have gotten all they could out of Lamar and would be wise to move on. Trade him for some draft picks and see what Huntley can do in 2023.

Chris in Bel Air     December 02
"Here was a time when Jackson was just a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie in the league. "Just happy to be there", so to speak.

That Lamar is gone. Long gone. The business side of the league has changed Lamar, in the same way it would likely change anyone in their mid-20's who is sitting on a pot of gold."

There's no doubt in my view, as the avg fan, Lamar seems different this year. His demeanor in the games and sidelines aren't as enthusiastic. His press conferences and sound bites are drier and more canned. Some of this is maturity and understanding he's about to be asked the same ol' questions over and over. But I think a lot of it is the contract and money weighing on him. He's playing a game of poker and he's trying not to tip his hand. If I had to bet one way or the other, and Lamar was 100% candid, I think he believes there are forces holding him back: Lack of WRs. Play calling. The schemes. His D giving up game winning scores in the last seconds. And, certainly his own mistakes. Like many are saying, he's betting on himself and it's not panning out, so far, like he believed it would.

With that said, I would want him back as the Ravens QB but at the right price that allows the Ravens to be competitive. He is a sensational athlete and good QB. To answer Drew's question, Lamar is way better when he has success running the ball and passing (e,g., 85 yds rushing and 235 yds passing). He just doesn't thrive dropping back most of the game... and of course we can talk endlessly about why that is.

K.C.     December 02
Anyone have details on Nestor getting kicked off Twitter? Please tell!

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Memo to Lamar. Love ya, man, but it's time to grow up. Hire an agent. Add a PR team. And delete Twitter from your phone. You'll be much happier.

Unitastoberry     December 02
Drew you just pulled a Howard Cosell with your December 2022 analysis of Lamar compared to 2019 Lamar. He bet on himself and as of today he's losing. Now with football being the ultimate team sport his defense isn't helping him either. His social media antics are childish. But then most people his age take to Tic Tock etc and do stupid stuff that gets monetized rather than get a part time service job etc. He has 6 games for the guarantee money Lamar to show up and pull a Frank Robinson or John Unitas move and put the team on his shoulders to raise the Lombardi.It was his bet not Steve's.

Hal     December 02
Agree with @Herman. Top drawer edition of The Dish today. Well done everyone involved!!

JP     December 02
It's amazing we can't get a column about Lamar in the Baltimore Sun like the one in DMD today.

Any update on G-Ro going to Stanford? What are the streets saying DF?

Delray RICK     December 02
RAVENS just can't get a top receiver nomatter what. Looking at stats we are nowhere to be found. ANDREWS was but after being hurt not in top 10. Looking at other teams so many are " burners". We have them run 10 yards and that's it.

Herman     December 02
I've taken a sabbatical from posting but I'll give kudos to the site owner on today's publication. Chock full of good material.

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Quick follow-up from yesterday, thank you @DF for the Rob Ambrose update. I hope, no expect, he'll move on to bigger and better things. He did a great job at Towson for a long time. I can still remember his weekly updates in-season on your morning radio show. Loved his insights. And his passion. Might have made some of us better rec league coaches. Made me a better person, I'm sure of that. Good guy.

JoeP     December 02
Radio Mogul suspended from Twitter?

He's finally done it..."Made it Ma, Top of the World''. But much like Cody Jenson(James Cagney in White Heat), he's standing on a huge tank of gasoline.

Recently he had a conversation with another unknown "sportswriter" and they talked about Springsteen. In that non linear jumble he stated

1. He's best friends with Nils Lofgren

2. He's been backstage with the Springsteen group "dozens of times". And turned down numerous chances for more back stage access.

3. Can't access tickets to the shows, except in Southern Cities where they ''hate Bruce".



The obvious inconsistencies are never addressed.

1. Best friends with Nils? "I haven't talked with him for years".

2. 100%...that he would turn down back stage access? No way, big time Adderall fueled lie

3. So a promoter would play in cities that were hard to sell? Facts are the tour is sold out.

4. And why is he worried about getting in? One phone call to his best friend, he's back stage every night.

Maybe Nils reported him to Twitter for "misinformation". How will this affect his 100k imprints/day social media claims?



We need water Gunga Din(MFC), bring it to us.

Billy     December 01
Mr Positive got suspended from Twitter lol. And he's been on his high horse about Lamar being profane? Perhaps @MFC has an explanation.

Ken     December 01
I am new to the area and just found the Morning Dish (not a native of Baltimore or Maryland) and must say I'm very impressed with the daily articles and such.



Who is Drew (does he have a byline?)? As for the other writers who have staff positions at the web site, kudos on a job well done.



There's nothing like this in my hometown (Denver) and I'm glad I discovered it.



I think your Ravens will have an easy go of it with my Broncos on Sunday. I'll be there to witness the carnage.

MFC     December 01
Ambrose got a raw deal. The new AD wants his "own" man, many times that doesn't work out either. It would only be fitting given the President of TU is leaving for the Un of Louisville (wonder if she attended the game the other night) that the new President take the same approach and cans the AD.What goes around comes around.

JeffWell     December 01
@David R: I agree 100%. Lamar would truly benefit from some professional guidance. I wonder if he feels that he doesn't need that kind of assistance or if it just a case of keeping the money in the family.



MFC: Why on earth are you aiming a comment towards me? I guess I was next on your list of things to say to people. You never run out of those types of comments.

Do you really believe that a "schoolgirl choir" is a negative thing. Wow, another far left sexist/misogynist. You really can't make this stuff up.

David Rosenfeld     December 01
Lamar is an interesting case because he doesn't have anyone who is helping him establish his "brand." We all know about the (lack of) professional help when it comes to his business affairs, etc. Clearly social media is part of it.

At this point, Lamar really is very authentic. He's not Cal Ripken or Peyton Manning, or any athlete/entertainer whose entire existence seems dedicated to protecting and projecting an image. I admire that...he truly is a guy whose play on the field speaks for him.

At the same time, I do think that Lamar has seemed immature this year, even as he approaches 26 years old with 4 1/2 seasons as the team's starting QB. The Ravens could use a leader, not just a uniquely talented QB, and he's not there.

sammy     December 01
Great post by Stats Nerd today. Social media is oft maligned, deservedly so, but as he points out today, there's a ton of positives as well. We've likened DMD and its comments section to "people at a bar", and social media is the same. One night you might run into a drunk who is a total jerk and full of BS opinions, and you can't get away fast enough. Next time you might come across someone who has been somewhere you are planning to go and is nice enough to share some insights into what to do and not do there. Or someone with well thought out opinions on topics that interest you, and you chat all night long.

Now the challenge is, can we weed out the bad and keep only the good?

Unfortunately, like with most things in our world, the answer is no. You gotta take the bad with the good. But just like you can leave a bar, you can choose to partake (or not) in social media on your own terms. Closing all the bars would be an insane solution to eliminating ***holes in bars lol. Great column Stats Nerd.

Unitastoberry     December 01
I've been following the ascent of Deion Sanders as head coach at Jackson State. It's rather amazing what's he's done there in 3 years including COVID and him almost losing his entire foot. He's a recruiting machine and he hires old NFL players and coaches for the x and O's. But on the field he's tough in practice and strict on discipline. Not what you might expect from Prime who used to hang with gang bangers etc in his youth. I'd love to see him stay at Jackson State leave the SWAC and go independent. He can steal guys from Saban and Harbaugh etc every day . I'd fire the guy at Maryland in a second to hire Prime.

Fred M     December 01
I have a question for the mailbag.



Was the girl that watched the 1980 Olympic Hockey game the Girlfriend that you stole from Monk or Herman? Or was it some other critic?

MFC     November 30
@Jeffwell, you must be seeking a solo in the "schoolgirl choir" concert.

Jeffwell     November 30
Ravens need to sharpen up their offense and 4th quarter D, if they expect to win their division. If not, even with a relatively easy schedule, they may find themselves on the outside looking in.



I don't think Delray is the only one, "who time and time again tells us who he is". I mean "Pot, meet kettle." Wow. At least he doesn't seem to have an agenda to push.

Chris in Bel Air     November 30
Awesome win for the USMNT but nothing to the level of the hockey's team's win over the Ruskies and eventual win over Finland for the gold medal. This soccer team will need to go beat Brazil (assuming they would face them at some point after NETH) and win the Cup before we can have that conversation.

@Such - Completely agree. I never had a social media account and never will. I will take your thoughts a step further. Given the misinformation posted and the enabling of the worst social behaviors of people, I'm not sure there is a net benefit to society from social media. Sure, businesses can grow from it and people can see pics of loved ones and friends from a far. But, the negatives are so prominent, I don't believe the good outweighs the bad.

Looking forward to see how the Terps b-ball team fares against some real teams. They have checked all the boxes presented to them so far.

kj     November 30
Amen Such, well said.

Such     November 30
I recall a bumper sticker from years ago that read Kill Your Television. The 21st Century adaptation of that would read Kill Your Social Media.

I left Facebook over two years ago I think? I deleted my Twitter account a few months ago. I never had much use for Instagram or Snapchat because I'm not 19 years old. And TikTok seems to be the place where boredom goes to die in a flurry of 15 second videos. I really don't understand our fascination with it.

The reality is that social media has created a parallel reality where people feel free to say things to others that they would never say in a personal encounter. It's exposed the worst elements of human behavior, and it's tacitly endorsed that. People seem to reflexively insult each other instead of engaging in any kind of effort to understand one another. What an ugly way to behave.

It's not only Lamar Jackson who's complicit in this type of reactionary behavior, either. There are countless athletes, politicians, musicians and celebrities who get into these ridiculous back and forths online. It's not a good look.

Kill Your Social Media. You'll find it's really good for your mental and emotional health.

Steve of Pimlico     November 30
Nothing in my life will top US beating the Commies.Orioles winning WS in 66 and Ravens2012 SB run are 2nd and 3rd on my personal list of all time favorites.

MFC     November 30
Delray time and again tells you who he is, believe it.



Awesome game, ecstatic for the USA, if ( big if) they win the next one look out. The bars will be packed and people will be purchasing swag. It can ignite a country with excitement.



The Terps and Willard are on a roll. Willard is the real deal. The kids play hard all the time. Do that and you always have a chance. Amazing to watch these college games knowing full well the kids are getting hefty sums to play. The college coach is now coaching salaries, totally different atmosphere.




Chris K     November 30
There have been pretty big moments between 1980 and now that surpass getting out of the 1st round in 2022. the women winning in 1999 was AWESOME! Personally THAT is right up there with 1980! The 1994 mens team beating columbia to advance seemed much bigger than this. The original dream team was pretty special. IF they can win at least 1 game in the knockout THEN this will be a huge deal. Until then it's pretty far down the list.

Unitastoberry     November 30
What's the over/under on how many times the tv camera shows Watson's accusers on Sunday?

The US high school college hockey team beating the Russian pros in 1980 would be like St Francis beating KC in the Super Bowl.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 30
@ DELRAY RICK, Second on my list and so on, NBA Basketball, WBA Basketball, Ice Hockey, all the other sports I can tolerate watching.

TimD in Timonium     November 30
It was a GREAT win yesterday by USMNT. Boring game? Any of it? Felt more like riding a roller coaster. Tough task beating the Netherlands, we'll see. Congrats to a much-criticized defense that allowed just a single goal vs Wales, Iran, and England. Did not expect that.

David Rosenfeld     November 30
For what it's worth, KenPom suggests that Saint Louis (42) will win the Atlantic 10, and Miami (44) will finish 12-8 in the ACC. Early bracketology suggests that Miami is an at-large NCAA tournament team.

Of course we are 7 games into the season, so take that however you want to. And certainly these next 4 games are a true test and are very unlikely to all be wins, though it's good that only one of them is a road game.

I'd like to reiterate that I am not taking a veiled swipe at anyone basketball IQ.

Saturday
November 19, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3008


and now we'll see what willard can do


Maryland basketball coach Kevin Willard is in the honeymoon phase of his tenure in College Park.

Most married couples would agree; that stage can be a lot of fun.

Willard is the new guy in town, replacing embattled Mark Turgeon, who quit mid-season last December after a decade of trying to mold Maryland into a Big Ten power.

Kevin Willard has his new Terps off to a 3-0 start, but today's game vs. St. Louis will provide a real test for his program.

Early signs from College Park have been extremely positive.

Willard is a hit at the school. Alumni, current students, financial supporters -- they all like the former Seton Hall coach.

His new players -- admittedly, they haven't seen how he reacts when the Terps have lost 3 of 4 -- all speak glowingly of him.

Any media member who has been around for him for more than 5 minutes can't help but think he's the right man for the job. There's coach speak, yes, but Willard has a confident way about him that can impress even the most ardent critic.

The only question left, of course, is the only one that really matters: Can Kevin Willard win basketball games?

While in the honeymoon phase, Willard will get lots of leeway. How long that lasts is anyone's guess, but the new man always gets two or three years, at least, before folks start asking harder, more difficult questions.

For now, Willard pretty much has the proverbial free pass. I mean, let's be honest, there's almost no way he can be worse than Turgeon was last season before he and the school "mutually agreed" that he was no longer the right guy for the job in College Park.

So no matter what happens in 2022-2023, Kevin Willard is fine. He has two returning seniors (Scott and Hart) from last year's dismal outfit that might be good one-season fits and former St. Frances star Julian Reese looks like a potential All Big Ten player a few games into his sophomore campaign at Maryland.

Mix in a few transfers who have looked decent enough early on and it's reasonable to think Willard and the Terps can threaten a .500 season in the Big Ten. It might be a tad ambitious to think that Maryland can reach the 20-win mark in '22-23 and make the NCAA tournament next March, but stranger things have happened.

There are some early flaws surfacing, as is the case with most teams not named Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas and North Carolina. Maryland's 3-point shooting hasn't been very good in November. Their lack of experienced, veteran size under the basket could be a problem on nights where the opposition has a big man or two to win the rebounding wars.

But this Maryland team will certainly look much different than the one that became a conference laughingstock last season.

Honeymoon or not, Kevin Willard isn't letting the marriage get off to a rocky start.


As I say here at #DMD time and time again, we go out of our way to let those with keen analysis take over when the situation calls for it.

And Maryland basketball is certainly no different.

Sure, I watch the games and occasionally opine on what I see. I make it down to College Park two or three times a year, at least, and always enjoy the experience of catching a game live down there.

But when it comes to following the program and the Big Ten and giving you the kind of in-depth coverage you deserve, I'm not the guy for that endeavor.

That's why we turn things over to my longtime, awesome friend, Dale Williams.

As the saying goes, "Dale forgot more about basketball than you and I know..."

And so, I'm pleased to report, that Dale is back for his 8th year of covering the Terps for us here at #DMD. He'll be at College Park for all home games and studies the Big Ten and Maryland's conference foes as closely as anyone you'll find.

I've said this countless times over the years and I mean it. It is not hyperbole. Dale is as astute at the sport of basketball as anyone in the media, anywhere. You won't find better Terps analysis anywhere around here, I can assure you.

So, below you'll see his '22-23 Terps preview as they head into December and begin not only conference play, but entertain a few other upgraded Division I programs as well.

Once Big Ten play hits, he'll provide game-day previews and next-day reviews of Kevin Willard's program.

We're beyond excited to have the state's best coverage of Maryland basketball right here at #DMD.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 8th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2022-2023 season.


Welcome to the 2022-2023 version of Maryland men’s basketball. There’s a new coach and many new players, but will the outcome be any different than last season’s disappointment? We’ll see.

The Terps will play their first “real” game today at 1 pm after dispatching lightweights Niagara, Western Carolina, and Binghamton, all by more than 20 points.

St Louis will offer the first real test of the season for new coach Kevin Willard and his crop of new Terrapins. The Billikens are also 3-0 after handily beating Murray State and Evansville, before besting Memphis 90-64.

Philadelphia, PA native Donta Scott is one of the few holdovers from last year's Maryland team.

While I can offer you a brief outline of the 3-0 start for St. Louis, the usual pregame breakdown can’t be accomplished because I have yet to see them play.

However, there is a fair amount of Terp tape available, and we’ll start with a quick intro of the team.

Willard takes over what’s left of the Turgeon/Manning squad from 2021-2022.

After 12 seasons at Seton Hall, and before that three years at Iona, he brings a solid foundation of winning to College Park.

His win percentage at Seton Hall was 58.3% and his teams made it to 5 of the last 6 NCAA tournaments. That being said, he only managed one win in those March Madness events.

Despite winning a Big East Tournament in 2016, those kind of numbers might not be good enough for Terp fans hungry for a turnaround, and he’ll need to improve on that to have a long tenure in College Park.

My advice to Terp hoop fans: “Be patient”. This might not be the year for high hopes.

After attending all 3 of Maryland’s games, and having seen them practice/scrimmage, some aspects of the team jump out as noteworthy.

First, Willard runs a fast-paced practice that has the Terps in better shape, stamina wise, than previous versions of the men’s team.

This will translate into a team that plays with more defensive intensity, and more pressure. We’ve already seen that during their first 3 contests as the Terps forced turnovers and stayed locked in while playing their half-court defense. Look for more pressing, and more chest-to-chest, in your face, perimeter defense. They’ll have the guard depth to do that this season.

Look for Maryland’s guard play to highlight the Charlotte transfer, Jahmir Young. Young just might be the best ball handler at College Park in quite some time. He’s athletic with a strong body that serves him well when penetrating and getting into the paint.

With Young getting the bulk of the ball handling duties, I’d expect the Terrapin turnover numbers to be much improved.

Familiar faces, Hakim Hart and Donta Scott, will fill the 3 and 4 spot for Maryland. I’ve been impressed with Hart’s more physical style and also with his shooting. He’ll make some strides this year, but he’s still not the athletic 3 man with the type of “wow” factor that can change games.

Scott’s new body (25 pounds lighter) looks good on the court and I see more stamina from the senior forward. His effectiveness is so much a factor of matchups. On some days he’ll have advantages when playing against a slower defender and on others he’ll struggle because of his lack of height. Maryland greatly needs him to return to the 40% three-point shooter he was a couple of seasons ago and not the sub-30% that he posted last season. He also needs to be a rebounding force for a somewhat undersized unit.

The center spot will be filled by Julian (Juju) Reese. At 6’9” and 230 pounds, he may not have the height and girth to push around other Big Ten centers, but he has great length and moves well. My issue with him is he’s yet to establish a go-to move and struggles with his shot. He really needs some seasoning, figuring out how to play against bigger foes. I see him as still very raw and foul trouble could be an issue, again, for him.

Reese's back-up is the much-traveled transfer, 6’7”, 210, Patrick Emilien. Emilien is more of an outside threat than inside, and he’ll play a tough game, but at 6’7” he can only defend inside if the opposite coach decides to play small.

The two-guard spot will be handled by a player who possibly epitomizes this team. Don Carey is a big guard (6’5”) who will play tenacious D and make threes. Don’t be fooled by his early 14.3% efficiency from the three-point line, he’ll hit close to 40% by the year’s end. He’s a seasoned vet having spent a year at Mount St Mary’s, two at Siena, and most recently two at Georgetown.

Besides Emilien, the Terp subs will be guard dominant. Ian Martinez and Ike Cornish are back from last season’s team. (Cornish technically could be considered a 3, but plays more of a guard game). Newcomers Jahari Long and Noah Batchelor will also be counted on to contribute, with the Hagerstown freshman, Batchelor, possessing what may be the best long-range stroke on this squad. He needs to add some bulk, but I expect him to be a scoring threat before his career at College Park is over.

These pieces of Willard’s puzzle add up to a team that needs to “3 and D” to get conference wins. Interior defense, rebounding, and consistent scoring will all be an issue this year. They posted just 71,71, and 76 points against inferior competition during their first 3 games. That translates to games in the 50’s once they hook up with Big Ten teams.

With the guard depth, Maryland will be able to press and pressure. They’ll need to defend their way to wins, and if threes don’t fall, that “D” won’t be enough to get them into the middle tier of the league.

Before they collide with their first Big Ten foe, Illinois on December 2, they’ll need to stop St. Louis. The Billikens have a 12 assist-per-game point guard (Yuri Collins), and two rebounders who grab over 10 boards a piece. This isn’t a very big Billiken team, but they are hitting 38% of their three-pointers.

Again, I’ll reserve making a call on this contest because I’ve yet to see them play. They’ve put up 90 points twice, and racked up 83 in their other game. I’m thinking Maryland needs to keep that number in the 70’s to have a shot today.

Pressure, hustle, scrappiness, and 3-pointers. The Terps success hinges on those factors. We’ll know a lot more about this team after today’s game. Remember these words throughout the season, Maryland fans: Be patient.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


The US kicks off the World Cup on Monday, the first full day of the competition.

Gregg Berhalter named his 26 man roster a couple weeks ago and while there were a few surprises on the fringes, it was mostly the names who have carried the team through qualifying. Unlike the disappointing friendlies in September, the roster enters the World Cup relatively healthy.

There are a couple players who will miss the tournament due to injury, but among the key players the only concern is Weston McKennie. The star midfielder has missed the past few weeks for Juventus, though he did return to training recently. He is expected to be available but may not be up to 100% game fitness.

Many of Greg Berhalter's World Cup roster decisions will potentially play pivotal roles in group play, which starts on Monday for the U.S. when they take on Wales in Qatar.

The other good news is that many of the expected starters will enter the tournament in good form from their clubs. Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams have quickly become fan favorites in their first Premier League season for Leeds United.

Gio Reyna and Tim Weah have both returned to full health for their clubs and head to Qatar ready to spark the US attack.

Christian Pulisic has been up and down for Chelsea, but has mostly played in stints off the bench, preserving his legs for the World Cup. Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream have led Fulham to a surprising spot in the top ten through the early Premier League season.

Josh Sargent enters the tournament as one of the top scorers in the English Championship and Sergino Dest has started to turn his season around with his move to AC Milan.

All of these players in full health and confidence gives hope the US can wipe away the poor memories from September when they take the field on Monday.

The Group

The rest of Group B consists of England, Wales and Iran. England is the heavy favorite to win the group, stacked with talent from the Premier League, they boast the most expensive roster at the tournament.

Wales has punched above its small size in the past few international tournaments, but they enter their first World Cup since 1958 with many of their key players on the downside of their careers. Iran may not be as familiar to fans of the US or European club soccer, but they can’t be overlooked. They are led by several dangerous attackers from top European clubs and play a tight defensive structure under Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz.

The US has slightly better than even odds (-105) to advance from the group into the knockout round. On talent alone they are the second best team, but they will need to put it all together on the field and winning the first game against Wales will be crucial. If they are able to advance from the group they’ll play a team from Group A in the first single-elimination game, consisting of Netherlands, Senegal, Qatar and Ecuador.

As stated above, the US opens the tournament with Wales at 2:00 pm Eastern Time on Monday. They follow that up with a revolutionary showdown with England on Black Friday at 2:00 pm. Then they conclude the group on Tuesday 11/29 with a finale against Iran, also at 2:00 pm.

Unless the US can beat England, their hopes for advancing will likely come down to the final game.

Historically the magic number to get out of the group is five points. You get 3 points for a win in soccer and 1 point for a draw (tie).

Over the past few World Cups, no team that has reached that number has failed to advance. At four points it's possible to advance, but it requires some fortunate circumstances. If they want to progress past the round of 16, it would be a big help to win the group and avoid a difficult matchup with Netherlands.

My full USA vs. Wales preview will appear in Monday’s edition of #DMD.

Below is my “bracket” of the entire tournament. As you can see, I do have the US team advancing past group play and into the knock out stage of the tournament.

I noted yesterday that Drew picked Croatia to win World Cup ‘22. I have a different eventual champion, as you’ll see below.


randy's world cup breakdown


Group play --

Group A:

Winner: Netherlands

Second: Ecuador

Notes:

Mane injury may limit Senegal and allow Ecuador to grab the second spot


Group B:

Winner: England

Second: USA

Notes:

Homer pick, but if the US plays up to their talent they should get through


Group C:

Winner: Argentina

Second: Poland

Notes:

Argentina should breeze through; Lewandowski makes the difference between Poland and Mexico


Group D:

Winner: Denmark

Second: France

Notes:

Denmark has had France’s number recently and French are dealing with some injuries


Group E:

Winner: Spain

Second: Japan

Notes:

Japan surprises and Germany disappoints...again


Group F:

Winner: Croatia

Second: Canada

Notes:

Croatia the more well rounded team; Canada shocks Belgium with their speed on the counter attack


Group G:

Winner: Brazil

Second: Serbia

Notes:

In a tough group with three of the same teams as 2018, Brazil dominates and Serbia gets revenge on Switzerland to go through this time


Group H:

Winner: Uruguay

Second: Portugal

Notes:

Uruguay’s new generation leads them top of the group; Ghana makes a strong push but Portugal rides their talent to advance


Round of 16:

1A v 2B: Netherlands beats USA; US gets a goal but Dutch press forces costly turnovers and US falls

1C v 2D: Argentina beats France; In a final-worthy second round matchup, Messi takes down teammate Mbappe to continue his last run, Argentina gets revenge for 2018 knockout round loss

1E v 2F: Spain beats Canada; Spain dominates possession and finds a goal late for a 1-0 win

1G v 2H: Brazil beats Portugal; Portugal makes it difficult but Brazil pulls out a close one

1B v 2A: England beats Ecuador; England too talented for Ecuador to upset

1D v 2C: Denmark beats Poland; Lewandowski downed by cohesive Danish team

1F v 2E: Croatia beats Japan; Croatian midfield is too skilled for Japanese press

1H v 2G: Uruguay beats Serbia; Uruguayan midfield puts the clamps on Milinkovic-Savic and win a low scoring game


Quarterfinals:

Argentina beats Netherlands; Dutch can’t press as aggressively against dangerous Argentine front three and fail to generate enough attack to out score Messi

Brazil beats Spain; Brazil lets Spain control possession but hits several times on the counter through Vinicius Jr and Neymar

England beats Denmark; England prevails on late set piece goal in defensive battle

Uruguay beats Croatia; Young Uruguayan midfield out-duels the veteran Croatian midfield to get a close win


Semifinals:

Argentina beats Brazil; Messi takes down another PSG teammate, Neymar, in a rematch of the 2021 Copa America final.

England beats Uruguay; Uruguay’s dream run comes to an end in penalties against a similarly defensively sound but more tournament tested England team


Final:

Argentina beats England 2-1 to take home their second ever World Cup and the first for Messi, with a score line that replicates the one from their famous 1986 matchup that produced the iconic Maradona “Hand of God” and “Goal of the Century” goals. Messi scores a free kick and assists Lautaro Martinez for a late game winner.


Team Profiles:

2 - Brazil

Group: G

How they Qualified: 1st in CONMEBOL (South America)

Best World Cup Finish: Champions - 1958,1962,1970,1994,2002

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $1.14B (2nd)

FIFA Rank: 1

Odds to Win Group: -300

Odds to Advance: -1200

Odds to Win Cup: +350


Key Players:

Neymar - Forward - Paris St. Germain (France Ligue 1)

Casemiro - Midfielder - Manchester United (England Premier League)

Richarlison - Forward - Tottenham (England Premier League)


Playing Style and Outlook:

The most decorated country in World Cup history enters Qatar as the favorites once again, with the highest betting odds by a decent margin. Brazil is anxious to add the sixth World Cup trophy to their cabinet, as it's been twenty years since they won their last Cup in Japan. In 2018 Brazil was also favored but got knocked off by Belgium in a tight quarterfinal game.

This version of Brazil is loaded with talent from top to bottom, with a mix of veteran savvy and youthful exuberance. They have stars at each level of the field providing strength in both defense and attack. Brazil topped the difficult South American World Cup qualifying in dominant fashion, without losing a single game. They led that competition in both goals scored and fewest goals conceded, while maintaining the highest possession rate.

Coach Tite has lined Brazil up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, that allows them to get four of their dangerous attackers on the field at the same time, with Neymar as the central hub, playing a true #10 role with freedom to roam around the attack. He is usually flanked by two inverted wingers that like to cut inside, some combination of Raphina, Lucas Paqueta, Vinicius Jr., or Antony. Tottenham star Richarlison has been the choice to lead the line at the striker position, though Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus is also available.

A veteran and defensively stout midfield and back line allows that attacking quartet the freedom to push forward. Casemiro is the anchor of that unit at defensive midfield, usually paired with Manchester United teammate, Fred. That duo is capable of snuffing out counter attacks as well as handling pressure in the build up to get the ball into the attack.

Brazil prefers to use a slow build out from the back in possession, working through the midfield and into the feet of Neymar or the wingers. Of course, they are also capable of lethal direct attacks in behind the defensive line, especially when Vinicius Jr. is on the left wing.

Defensively they are not as aggressive in pressing as other top teams, but they have a solid defensive shape aided by fullbacks that often pinch into midfield while attacking to provide coverage against counter attacks. If teams can breach their defensive lines, they’ll come up against one of the best keepers in the world in Liverpool’s Alisson.

Paired with Serbia, Switzerland, and Cameroon, Brazil has a tricky group, but given the embarrassment of talent they boast, they should have no problem advancing on top of it. In the knockout rounds they could see some familiar South American foes, with Uruguay a strong possibility for a second round matchup and arch rivals Argentina set to see them in the semis if they both get that far. Brazil would love nothing more than to get revenge for their home soil defeat in last year’s Copa America against their bitter rivals, en route to their sixth World Cup trophy.


Players to Watch:

2 - Neymar - Forward - Brazil

Neymar remains the straw that stirs the drink for Brazil. At 30 years old, the star attacker may have one more World Cup in his legs after this one, but this will be his last chance to take home the trophy in the prime of his career. He enters the tournament needing just three more goals to pass the legendary Pele as Brazil’s all-time leading scorer.

After arriving at Barcelona from Brazil in 2013, Neymar was anointed as the next global superstar. The one that teammate Leo Messi would pass the torch to as the greatest in the world. Though injuries and team cohesion have prevented Neymar from quite reaching that pinnacle, he has still been one of the best attackers in Europe over the past decade.

He helped Barcelona to a “treble” in 2015-16, winning the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey alongside Messi and Luis Suarez, in one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory. A year later he became the most expensive player in history when Paris St. Germain exercised his release clause and purchased him from Barcelona. After moving to France he won the Player of the Year in his debut season in Ligue 1 and helped lead PSG to the Champions League final in 2020.

Internationally, Neymar has carried the hopes of Brazil for a decade, after inheriting the star role as the creative hub of the team from Ronaldinho. Qatar will be his third World Cup with Brazil. He made his World Cup debut in the 2014 event hosted in Brazil, where he lead the team through the early rounds but suffered an unfortunate injury in the quarterfinals that forced him to miss out on the rest of the tournament as Brazil got embarrassed in a 7-1 loss to Germany.

Neymar began his career at Barcelona playing mostly as an inverted left winger. He has great speed and exceptional skill on the ball, capable of bursting past defenders or playing the killer pass. Since moving to PSG he has played more in the classic #10 role, moving centrally to be the main playmaker in attack. He is equally adept at setting up his teammates for chances or combining around the box to create and score goals himself. He is also a deadly set piece taker, which could be useful with all the fouls the Brazilian attackers will draw.

With an outstanding roster around him, Neymar has a great chance to lead Brazil to the promised land in Qatar and etch his name alongside those legends in his country that have won the game’s most coveted prize.


Best Bets:

2 - Croatia to win group (+200)

My favorite pick for an underdog group winner is Croatia in Group F. This is a team that returns the core veterans that led them all the way to the final in the 2018 World Cup, most of which are still in great form. They boast one of the best midfields in the tournament, led by the still outstanding Luka Modric. Croatia has played well in their most recent competitions, winning their Nations League group that contained both France and Denmark.

The favorites in Group F, Belgium, have not been as sharp of late. They finished a distant second to Netherlands in their Nations League group. Like Croatia, Belgium also has an aging veteran roster, but in their case it seems to be a detriment more than a strength, with a defense that is not nearly as sharp as it was four years ago. That is why I like Croatia to pull off a minor upset and win the group.


Recommended Soccer Follows/Listens:

Before I conclude this countdown series, I just want to give a few recommendations for some great soccer podcasts and twitter follows that are great for staying informed on all the World Cup happenings.

Total Soccer Show Podcast - @TotalSoccerShow

A great soccer podcast focused on the US but with coverage of the whole tournament. Listen now to their outstanding preview series covering each group for a more in depth look at each teambefore the kickoff.


Scuffed Podcast - @scuffedpod

USMNT focused podcast with great roster analysis and post game reviews.


Men in Blazers Podcast and show - @MenInBlazers

Fun soccer focused podcast by two British ex-pats in America. Aimed at the more casual fan with a mix of humor and pop culture


The Athletic Totally Football Show Podcast

British led soccer podcast from The Athletic. Good way to get the perspective of some of the top soccer journalists in Europe.

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November 18, 2022
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and the winner is...


Randy Morgan's our soccer guy.

If you're even a semi-visitor to #DMD, you know by now he's our expert analyst when it comes to the sport of soccer. Yes, I was in the soccer business for 17 years with Baltimore's indoor soccer team (oh, and one summer with "Team America" in the old NASL back in 1982) but I don't follow the professional leagues around the world at all. Randy does. And that's why he's the man around here when it comes to covering soccer.

But one thing still interests me about soccer and that's the national team programs of the United States. When they play games that matter, I'm deeply curious about their players and the results of critical matches and/or tournaments.

So, starting on Monday when the U.S. plays Wales in their 2022 World Cup opener, I'll be opining on soccer here. Randy will handle the site's real heavy lifting, but I'll be a (hopefully) valuable second-stringer providing my insight on what I see from Qatar.

Christian Pulisic and the U.S. soccer team start their World Cup journey this Monday at 2 pm when they take on Wales.

I'll probably chime in here and there about non-U.S. games as circumstances warrant, but I'm mostly interested in what the U.S. team does over the next month. As long as they're still alive, I'm following along closely.

I'm not overly optimistic about our chances in Qatar. I've been on record for a while now with that opinion. The U.S. squad performed adequately in CONCACAF qualifying to reach the '22 World Cup, but nothing more than that. They beat the bottom feeders for the most part and stole a big win from Mexico last November that really spiked their run to Qatar. But all in all, they were "just OK".

They have a solid goalkeeper in Matt Turner but their defensive mainstays are all average-to-good, which is in contrast to U.S. teams of the past, who were generally always more than capable defending their goal but not very good going forward.

This edition of the U.S. National Team is vulnerable in the back, in my opinion. They'll have to score goals to beat Wales, Iran and England. I doubt they win any 1-0 games.

What the U.S. does have, though, are players who fill their positions well when everyone is chugging along with the system in mind. Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Timothy Weah and Brenden Aaronson are critical components for the American side.

The three teams facing the U.S. in group play will all start their film sessions and game plans by focusing on one U.S. player -- Christian Pulisic. "Take him out of the game," opposing coaches will say, "and the U.S. can't beat us."

So, yes, Pulisic is key. But those aforemtioned four -- particularly Weah and Adams in my opinion -- have to step up and over-perform if possible over 270 minutes of soccer in order for the U.S. to advance out of round-robin group play, which is always the first and primary goal of any team competing in the World Cup.

All things being equal and with no crucial in-tournament injuries, the U.S. should beat both Wales and Iran. Expecting to beat England might be a tad ambitious, but a 2-1 record will almost certainly send the Americans to the knock-out stage of the Qatar event.

And that's my "call", if you will, on how things will pan out early on for the Americans. I'm figuring a 2-1 win over Wales (Monday, 11/21, 2 pm), a 3-2 loss to England (Friday, 11/25, 2 pm) and a 3-1 win over Iran (Tuesday, November 29, 2 pm).

My guess is the run stops after that, though. I don't see the American squad winning a game in the knock-out stage, but I'll throw out the one idea that if the U.S. could somehow win their group (which would probably mean having to beat England outright next Friday) they could draw a lesser opponent in the first knock-out stage game and perhaps beat an inferior side in that match-up.

And how do I see World Cup '22 taking shape?

You should have the usual suspects in the hunt. Argentina and Brazil are on everyone's radar and rightfully so. Germany is looking to rebound after a debacle in 2018 in which they lost to South Korea in group play and finished last out of four teams. Spain, France (the 2018 winner) and the Netherlands are also much-discussed.

I have three "quiet" possibilities to follow; Canada, Japan and South Korea. All three have to win one "big" game in their group over an established powerhouse, but all three are capable of doing just that. Of those, I really like what Canada did in qualifying last year and think they could be an upstart in Qatar.

But my pick to win the 2022 World Cup is Croatia. They reached the 2018 final before falling to France and I think their time has finally arrived.

Randy will have his group-by-group predictions and his chosen champion in Saturday's edition of #DMD.

Blow the whistle and let the games begin.


Sometime next week, Maryland -- the state, that is -- will finally merge into 2022 and allow residents of the state to wager legally on sports from the comfort of their cell phone or computer.

For the better part of 16 months now, Marylanders had to drive to Pennsylvania to place an online wager, where their cell phones and computers would be given geographic permission to bet on sports.

Our state and the politicial powers-that-be -- none of whom are the smartest people in the room, clearly -- did the same thing with online gambling that they did with slots and later, casino sports gambling. They watched hundreds of millions of dollars fill the coffers in neighboring states like Delaware, PA and New Jersey for several years before finally wising up and ushering in the same wagering opportunities here in Maryland.

Why we're always the last ones to the table is beyond me. But Maryland is, for sure, almost always last.

Starting next week, though, you can open an account and use your phone to bet on sports whenever you like. It's a brave, new world, friends.

While I have personally turned down the opportunity to have one or more of the major sportsbooks advertise with me here at #DMD, I will be aligning with one local media entity at some point in the near future to provide golf analysis during the PGA Tour season. You'll see the details on that joint venture soon enough. If you're someone who likes to wager on golf, you might be interested in the partnership I've been invited to join. If you don't like golf, you likely won't care. Simple enough.

If you're going to take advantage of next week's "wild wild west" here in Maryland and start gambling on football, basketball, hockey and so forth, let me offer you this piece of advice. I say this with the utmost confidence. The odds say you're going to lose over the long run.

You might win initially. Might even have a good month or a good few months. But when all the dust settles and you're sitting in your favorite chair with your calculator, the losses will be more than the wins. As Ben Affleck said to Matt Damon near the end of Good Will Hunting -- "I don't know much. But I know that."

No matter what you do, gamble smartly please. Gamble within your means. If you treat it like a meal at a nice restaurant, that's fine. "I can go out to dinner and spend $50 or I can stay home, eat some soup, and bet $50 on four or five basketball games". If you like soup, that's probably a fun way to spend a Friday night.

But if you get yourself in a position where you can't make the car payment or mortgage payment because you've gambled too much -- and lost -- you're in dangerous territory.

Be smart. And remember...the odds say you're going to lose over the long run.


We've learned over the last few years that nothing is etched in stone when it comes to Tiger Woods. Two years ago, we didn't think he'd ever play again. Then he returned and actually hung around the Masters for a couple of days before vanishing from the leaderboard. A WD at the PGA Championsip and two bad rounds at the British Open got us thinking maybe Father Time had finally won his match with Woods.

One thing we know with Tiger: You never know.

Most of us didn't think he'd get to 82 wins and he did. Most of us didn't think he'd collect that 15th major and he did.

Now, though, he's getting ready to play "silly season golf" and we're once again faced with the question: "Can Tiger get back to the championship form we've seen from him in the past?"

I don't think so.

But we're going to learn a lot about Tiger's future in the next three weeks, that's for sure.

He has a 12-hole exhibition, the Hero World Challenge and the Parent/Child tournament with his son, Charlie. And while none of those tournaments are anything close to the rigors of a major championship (the Hero is actually a "real" tournament, the other two are nothing like PGA Tour events), the mere fact Woods is willing to put his game out there for all to see on three separate occasions in the month of December tells you something. If nothing else, we know he's not hanging it up.

There were rumors bouncing through the golf world in October that Woods produced rounds of 64-66-63 at The Medalist in a funny little 3-day "hit and giggle" he put together with a few of that club's professionals and mini-tour players. No one knows anything about those three days other than the scores that were leaked. We assume the players rode in golf carts. Did they play the ball down? Were all putts holed?

But The Medalist is no Clifton Park or Rolling Road. It's a stern test of golf for even the best Florida players not named Tiger Woods. So when someone goes around there in 64-66-63 over 54 holes, that's good playin' no matter who signed the card.

The real proof, though, will start to show itself in December. And then once the TOUR season resumes in January, we'll see where Tiger surfaces next. Will he play 3 or 4 events prior to the Masters? If so, that's a huge accomplishment. Or will he just practice in South Florida and go into Augusta National "cold" next April? If that happens, we know what that means, too.

One thing we've come to know about Tiger: We just don't know what's going to happen next.

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Paul Goldschmidt won the National League MVP award yesterday. He's a future Hall of Famer if things keep going the way they've gone for him in his Major League career. But it wasn't always easy for him. If you watch this video for just FOUR minutes, you'll see how Goldschmidt's life was changed by a minor league coach he encountered while a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Four minutes. That's all you need to devote to the video below. You'll be glad you did.


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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 3 days to go


Team Profile:

3 - France

Group: D

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: Champions - 1998,2018

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $1.08B (3rd)

FIFA Rank: 4

Odds to Win Group: -250

Odds to Advance: -1400

Odds to Win Cup: +700


Key Players:

Kylian Mbappe - Forward - Paris St. Germain (France Ligue 1)

Karim Benzema - Striker - Real Madrid (Spain La Liga)

Aurelien Tchouameni - Midfielder - Real Madrid (Spain La Liga)


Playing Style and Outlook:

The reigning World Cup holders have the most talented pool of players of any country in the world. France could easily field three full teams that would be competitive in this tournament. They have star players on nearly every top club in the Champions League. All they have done since winning the last World Cup is add the current Ballon D’Or winner to an already stacked roster.

Despite the amazing wealth of talent, France has not played up to their potential in the last two European competitions, the 2021 European Championships or the 2022 Nations League. Another concern for France is that four of the five most recent reigning World Cup Champions have failed to get out of the group stage.

France will play in a 4-2-3-1 formation, as confirmed by manager Didier Deschamps in a press conference. After tinkering with a back three formation in the Nations League, he has decided to go back to the formation that won them the Cup in 2018.

Even though they have two of the best attackers in the world, France is not an all-out attacking team. They play in a more pragmatic defensive style, picking their moments to attack. This has suited them well, in 2018 obviously, and also in qualifying, where they conceded the fewest shots and goals to opponents of any team in the competition. They are not a heavy pressing team either, preferring to remain compact defensively and frustrate other teams into mistakes in their end of the field.

They are exceptionally dangerous on the counter when they can force these mistakes and quickly get the ball up to Benzema and Mbappe on the break. That duo can strike with lightning quickness and devastating precision.

In addition to those two, they have other dangerous attackers like RB Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku, who could line up on the right, and veteran Antoine Griezmann who often plays behind the strike pair, helping to connect and create chances. Whoever pairs with Benzema and Mbappe up top, the attacking line will be capable of breaking down any defense.

The big question mark for France this year will be in the midfield. They are missing the two starters from 2018, N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, with injuries. Instead they will be relying on younger stars to take over the position. The key man will be Real Madrid’s Aurelien Tchouameni.

The 22 year old will be tasked with holding down the midfield in the absence of the two veterans, he is a solid two-way player, with the skill on the ball to receive from the back line and the range and physicality to win challenges in midfield. He took a step up at club level this year and now he will need to step up in the international game as well.

Despite the injuries hampering France, they remain one of the most talented teams in Qatar, evidenced by the fact they can replace two injured midfielders with starters from Champions League title contenders. France’s talent and defensive stability should make them difficult to knock out in this tournament, whether they repeat their 2018 run will largely depend on whether their dynamic duo in attack can generate enough scoring to carry them to the finish line.


Players to Watch:

3 - Kylian Mbappe - Forward - France

The 23 year old star French attacker has quickly inherited the mantle as the greatest player of a generation. With Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo nearing the end of their storied duopoly at the top of the sport, Mbappe, along with Norwegian Erling Haaland, has emerged to start a new ongoing debate about who is the best in the world.

After bursting on the scene for Monaco, Mbappe moved back to his hometown of Paris to play with the biggest team in France, Paris St. Germain, starring alongside global icons like Messi and Neymar. At PSG, Mbappe has won the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award three times and led the league in scoring the past four seasons.

His international breakout came in the 2018 World Cup, where he became the youngest French goal scorer at the event at the age of 19. He helped France to capture the Cup, finishing as the tournament’s second leading scorer with four goals and winning the Best Young Player award.

Mbappe is a truly generational talent, combining blazing speed with exceptional body control and an outstanding scoring touch. He will be the most exciting player to watch at the tournament. When slaloming through defenders or breaking free behind the back line, he recalls a young Randy Moss galloping past defenders into the endzone.

He is most effective when he can play out wide on the left, combined with more of a target forward, but can also play as a lone striker up top. Mbappe has great awareness to pick out dangerous runs off the ball, getting him on the end of many great passes from Messi and Neymar at PSG this season.

He has also already developed his own signature move, when dribbling in from the left, he opens his hips, appearing to look for a shot to the far post, then cuts across the ball and catches the defender and goalie off guard with a shot to the near post. Even with defenders expecting to see it, the execution is so flawless it can’t be prevented.

In Qatar he will have the chance to be the first player since Pele to lead his country to two World Cup trophies before the age of 24. Already well on his way to being one of the best of his generation, another star performance on the game’s biggest stage and a deep France run, could begin to nudge him into the stratosphere of the all-time greats.


Best Bets:

3 - Uruguay to make the semis (+550)

Uruguay has long had a reputation as a stout defensive team that can battle with the best in the world. In Qatar they will see the transition to an accomplished veteran group like Luis Suarez and Edson Cavani to a young generation of new stars. Their midfield duo of Fede Valverde and Rodrigo Bentancur are as good as any in the tournament, with both playing outstanding for their clubs this season.

Uruguay is favored to advance from their group and has a decent chance to win it over a Portugal team that has failed to play up to their talent level recently. If they can top the group they would avoid a second round matchup with Brazil and find themselves on what should be the weaker side of the knockout bracket. At +550 that makes them an intriguing bet for a dark horse run to the semifinals.

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November 17, 2022
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#3006


"now this...is real golf"


This will be a 6-furlong edition of #DMD, for those who keep track of that sort of stuff.

I'm authoring this while I stare out at the whitecap-filled Chester River just after 6 am Thursday morning. I'm here, at the awesome Queenstown Harbor golf resort, with 15 other men who have joined me for two days of golf, fun and fellowship to support Maryland FCA Golf.

When I looked at the calendar back in August and decided to put this season-ending event together, I remember saying to my good friend, Brian Hubbard, "It's mid-November and we'll be on the Eastern Shore -- how cold can it get?"

Advance weather forecasts didn't look all that promising, which made me feel good. Ten days ago, when the outlook for Wednesday and Thursday of this week was, "High temps in the mid 40's with 10-15 mph winds", I reasoned that weather predictions in this area are generally wrong. If they're calling for a "light dusting", we get six inches of snow. If they tell us we're getting 8-12 inches of snow, we get three inches of the white stuff, maybe.

Our group of 16 with blue skies overhead at Queenstown Harbor on the Eastern Shore.

Sadly, the weather professionals were right this time around. Yesterday was 48 and windy and today will be more like 44 and windy. It figures.

We played the Queenstown "Lakes Course" yesterday and it was, to say the least, a real challenge. Only a handful of players broke 80 and I think, if I read the scorecards correctly last night, there were a total of only 8 natural birdies within the group of 16. There were far, far more double bogeys than birdies, I know that for certain.

"Now this is real golf," one guy in my group deadpanned on the par 3 11th hole as we all contemplated whether to hit a hard 6 iron or easy 5 iron on the 140 yard hole.

"Yeah," another said. "I'd hate to be sweating and swatting mosquitoes on a 91 degree day."

As I said to the guys in my group on one of the tees, "The shame of it? I've played in far, far worse conditions than this..."

And that's true. One January afternoon, circa 2000, my friend Greg Ruark and I walked 27 holes at Mount Pleasant. It was 17 degrees when we teed off and 11 degrees when we finished. True friggin' story. We were, of course, nuts. But we played nonetheless.

But adverse conditions can't bring this group down. We had an incredible chaf-catered meal last night at our two cottages on the back end of the golf course, along with music, faith discussion and an update from me on what's happening with Maryland FCA Golf. This event will close out the 2022 portion of our first year and all 15 guys who joined me on the Eastern Shore for this two-day venture are helping us get ready for a bright 2023.

What stood out to me most last night was the diversity in our group: Calvert Hall grads, Loyola Blakefield grads, Boys' Latin grads, public school grads, military school grads and fathers of junior golfers from 11 different schools in the area.

We joke a lot in Baltimore about the whole "what school did you attend?" comment. Elsewhere around the country, that question generally relates to the college you attended. In Baltimore, we ask that question to discover what high school you attended.

We also tend to rib one another a lot in Baltimore about our varying school rivalries. My friend Tim Miller (Old Mill) and I exchanged playful texts last week when his Patriots met my Glen Burnie Gophers in the state high school football playoffs. He has pride in his alma mater and I have pride in mine, but when his Old Mill team won 32-0, I honestly couldn't have cared less. There's no "real" rivalry, just smiles and laughs about our old high schools competing on the field.

The same goes for Baltimore. Calvert Hall and Loyola are obviously "rivals" and the upcoming Turkey Bowl football game is the biggest one-off sporting event of the year for both educational institutions, but the reality is the rivalry doesn't go much deeper than a four quarter football game on Thanksgiving Day.

Calvert Hall grads hire Loyola grads all the time and vice versa. We joke around amongst ourselves about the rivalry, but some of my best friends went to Loyola. As I always say to them, "It's not my fault you couldn't pass the Calvert Hall entrance exam that year..."

I bring up the "school issue" simply to highlight and support our mission statement at FCA Golf. We're trying to reach every student-athlete in the area who wants to learn more about golf and a relationship with Jesus and His church. We don't care where they go to school. Loyola? That's great. Perry Hall? That's great. Mount Saint Joseph? That's great. Boys' Latin. That's great. Dulaney? That's great. Calvert Hall? That's great.

So when you're in a cottage overlooking the Chester River on a windy Wednesday night and a Loyola grad and father of a Loyola varsity golfer (that you'll be competing against twice next spring) is helping you clean the kitchen and put dishes away after dinner, you quickly realize "what school your kid attends" is the least of your worries.

When the father of a Boys' Latin golfer comes up to you privately and hands you money "from the guys" and offers his support in 2023 and beyond, "what school your kid attends" is the least of your worries.

And when the dad of a swimmer at Loyola tells a story about how our FCA Golf clinics this summer "changed his son's outlook on faith and God", I couldn't care less where that young man goes to school. He's not even a "golfer" per-se, and we were blessed to somehow impact him over a 6-month period.

God works in mysterious ways, they say.

And indeed He does.

In just under 10 months, we've not only developed Maryland FCA Golf but we've introduced men to others in their community that have helped them in their own businesses and entreprenurial efforts. That wasn't the design of Maryland FCA Golf, more like the nature of unintended consequences. One business owner in our group yesterday just moved into a new building and one of his first priorities was putting a new roof on the structure. Guess who he played with yesterday? Someone who owns a roofing company. Incredible...

So thank you for bearing with me today as I share just a smidgen of what's important to me in my life right now. I love sports, of course. I love the Ravens, Orioles, Capitals and so on.

But today, at least, what's most important is sharing another round of golf with these men who have helped me grow Maryland FCA Golf from an idea on a napkin this time last year to what it has become in just 12 months.

And we have a lot of work left to do. A lot of good work. A lot of meaningful work. And a lot of fun work, on top of that.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also thank those of you who have donated to our program over the last year. No matter the amount, you helped us hold clinics, host junior tournaments and buy apparel and equipment for junior golfers throughout the state.

You're helping us reach people and promote our FCA message in a way that we'd never do if not for your support. Thank you.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 4 days to go


Team Profile:

4 - Spain

Group: E

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: Champions - 2010

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $902M (5th)

FIFA Rank: 7

Odds to Win Group: -115

Odds to Advance: -750

Odds to Win Cup: +850


Key Players:

Pedri - Midfielder - Barcelona (Spain La Liga)

Pau Torres - Center Back - Villarreal (Spain La Liga)

Alvaro Morata - Striker - Atletico Madrid (Spain La Liga)


Playing Style and Outlook:

After one of the most successful runs in international history during the early 2010s, Spain brought an aging team to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and were upset by the hosts in the round of 16. During this World Cup cycle they have largely handed the keys over to a new generation, while still playing in the typical possession-heavy Spanish style. Thus far that new generation has been exciting, outplaying eventual champions Italy at the 2021 Euros then winning their qualification and Nations League groups.

This is a team that is more centered around a philosophy and tactical strategy than a specific set of stars. Manager Luis Enrique has constantly chopped and changed the lineup throughout qualifying and Nations League, leveraging the wealth of technical players at Spain’s disposal.

As has been the case since the early 2000s, Spain will line up in a 4-3-3 formation with a distributing player at the base of midfield, either Segio Busquets or Manchester City’s Rodri.

They strive to control the ball and work meticulously to find high percentage shots in the box. Spain was the most possession heavy team in Europe by a good margin during both World Cup qualification and Nations League.

They will use control of the ball not just to generate attack, but also as a defensive measure. If the other team doesn’t touch the ball, it is hard for them to score. Spain will also aggressively press to win the ball back as soon as they lose it, to snuff out any chance for the other team to get comfortable in possession.

Most of the time they will build from the back, looking to play between the lines with their ball playing center backs and sure-footed midfielders. When they get the ball in the opponent’s end they will try to find space around the box for their overlapping number 8s, Pedri and either Gavi, Carlos Soler or Koke. The Spanish fullbacks are also capable of delivering dangerous crosses when the defense is pinned back.

Spain’s biggest weakness has been generating enough goals from all their possession. Teams tend to sit in a low defensive block against them, making it hard to find space around the box. Without a dominant target forward to get on the end of crosses, Spain has had some difficulty scoring. This was also an issue in 2018, when they out passed Russia a ridiculous 1008 to 192, but ended up drawing 1-1 and losing in a penalty shootout.

If they are going to make a run at the Cup, they will need a big tournament from on and off striker Alvaro Morata. The Atletico Madrid man has always been talented but has never put it all together to be an elite player. If he can’t find the net then they will need a breakout from one of their other young attackers like Ferran Torres or Ansu Fati.

This is a well coached team where every player understands their tactical approach and their role within it. They have more depth than star power, but with an emerging generational talent like Pedri pulling the midfield strings they hope to be more potent this time around. They will be for any team at the tournament to score against, but if they can’t solve their own scoring woes, they’re likely to suffer the same fate they saw in 2018.


Players to Watch:

4 - Kevin De Bruyne - Belgium - Midfielder

The star Manchester City midfielder has arguably been the best player in the Premier League over the past five years, winning four league titles while collecting the Player of the Year award twice.

At 31 years old, De Bruyne may still have another World Cup left after this one, but with the rest of the Belgian golden generation aging quickly, this might be his last best shot to lift the trophy.

In 2018 he helped lead Belgium to within a goal of the final, falling just short in a 1-0 loss to eventual winners France.

With a slightly weaker supporting cast, De Bruyne will need to carry an even heavier load to make a run this year. Still at the top of his game, De Bruyne is one of, if not the best midfielders in the world. He can dominate games in multiple ways, whether driving the ball in transition, dribbling through defenders, or blasting long range strikes.

However, his biggest asset is his uncanny passing ability. De Bruyne is the best passer of the soccer ball in the last decade not named Lionel Messi. He is often seen delivering pinpoint crosses into the box for Manchester City, but is equally capable playing killer through balls from deeper in midfield or low balls across the box from the channels.

De Bruyne is also an aggressive defender who uses his body well to battle for balls in midfield. Whether or not Belgium makes a deep run in Qatar, De Bruyne will be a joy to watch in what may be his last time on the international stage at the peak of his powers.


Best Bets:

4 - Japan to qualify from group (+300)

Most will expect perennial powers Spain and Germany to get out of this group, but each World Cup there is at least one surprising big team that fails to get out of the group. With two other potentially tricky opponents in Costa Rica and Japan, this could be the group that produces that shock.

Japan was extremely impressive in a comprehensive win over the US in September and they were outstanding throughout Asian qualifying. They boast a veteran roster that is well organized and does a great job implementing their tactical plan. I think they are a good bet to shock one of the traditional powers and sneak past them into the knockouts. With many players at top leagues in Europe, including Spain and Germany, the Japanese will be familiar with their foes and won’t fear their talented opponents.

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Wednesday
November 16, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3005


did you know?


Some of these, you might know. Some you might not.

Somehow, I missed Towson beating UMass last Thursday night, so even I didn't know the Tigers are off to a 3-0 start.

Pat Skerry's Towson Tigers, like Maryland, are off to a 3-0 start in the '22-23 campaign.

Alas, they are. Pat Skerry's team has a home win over Albany and a victory at The Palestra over Penn to go along with their victory at UMass.

One of the best things in college basketball must be when you get "invited" to play someone in their barn and they're even willing to write you a nice check for the privilege of smacking you around early in the season -- and then you take their check AND beat them in the game.

What could be better than some school paying you $200,000 to beat them?

So I thought Towson was 2-0. Little did I know they're 3-0. And tomorrow night they're at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro for a shot at a 4-0 start.

Towson hasn't been to the NCAA tournament in 30 years. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the year they go back to the Big Dance. If anyone deserves it, it's Skerry.

In other "Did you know?" news...

We all know Tony Gwynn was a great hitter. You could certainly make an argument he's the best all-time, even.

MLB started keeping "2 strike" statistics in the 1970's. Wade Boggs is currently #2 all-time with a .262 batting average when he was sitting on two strikes.

You might not know that #1 in that category goes to Tony Gwynn. What was his average when facing a 2-strike count in his career? Try .302. And it gets better. In 1994, Gwynn hit an amazing .397 in two-strike counts. Yes, that's true! The man almost hit .400 when sitting on two strikes.


Everyone knows Tom Brady has enjoyed a magnificent NFL career. What you might not know is that Brady has won more playoff games (35) than 13 other franchises have appeared in throughout their existence!

You might also know (or not) that only one NFL quarterback over the age of 40 has ever appeared in a Super Bowl. It's Tom Brady, of course. He's played in three after age 40.

And speaking of Brady's 35 career playoff wins, guess how many franchises in NFL history have at least 35 post-season wins? Three. That's it. Just three; Green Bay, Pittsburgh and, naturally, New England.


If you don't know this, you should. Barry Bonds once saw 663 consecutive pitches (a span of 31 games) without swinging and missing at two pitches in a row. There are a lot of wild, wacky baseball stats that are beyond impressive and that's definitely one of them.


Going 110 straight holes without a bogey is one way to silence your critics.

I know you don't know this. I didn't even know this. Tiger Woods once went 110 straight PGA Tour tournament holes without making a bogey. Imagine for a second going 10 holes in a row without a bogey on your card. Then imagine you were able to go an entire 18-hole round without a bogey.

And now, think about going, say, three straight rounds (54 holes) without making a bogey.

Tiger went 110 straight holes. In real golf tournaments. On real golf courses. Where every shot and every putt counts and matters.

Because I'm a golf nerd and I keep records of that kind of stuff, I know I once went 23 consecutive tournament holes without making a bogey. It happened at Bonnie View CC in the 2000 U.S. Amateur qualifier. I went bogey-free in the first round with a 4-under 66 and I started my second round with a birdie and four pars. I made it 23 holes without a bogey. Tiger went 110.

Unreal, huh?


You might not know about this one and on the surface it might even be considered urban legend, but more than one former Duke basketball player has confirmed it. Once, after missing a foul shot in a crucial game at North Carolina State, J.J. Reddick went back to Cameron Indoor Stadium when the Blue Devils returned from Raleigh and told his teammates, "I'm going in and making 100 straight free throws."

He had a team manager go with him to fetch the basketballs and then proceeded to make 136 consecutive foul shots in 30 minutes.

Several players snuck in quietly and watched from various points in the arena. Many of them stopped counting at 100. Reddick wanted to reach 200 once he finished off the first 100 but he finally missed on free throw #137.


I think you know Joey Votto is a great hitter. What you probably don't know, though, is this: Votto once went 6,827 plate appearances consecutively without popping out to the first baseman.

It took Votto until his 10th season in the big leagues to pop out to the first baseman.

10 years. 6,827 trips to the plate with a bat in his hand. And he finally popped out to the first baseman in April of 2019.


Billy Joel is awesome and all. I think you know that. But I'm not sure you know this little tidbit about him. Joel has sold out Madison Square Garden 144 consecutive times he's played there. And he makes $2 million per-show at "The Garden".

I realize there are a lot of people in New York. But 144 consecutive sell-outs? He plays there every month, in case you don't know. In fact, I'm going up to MSG in January to see him there for the fourth time myself.

I do marvel, though, at how "the piano man" can sell-out a building 144 consecutive times. And remember, those shows are virtually any day of the week. Sometimes on a Wednesday, sometimes on a Friday, etc. It's not like they're all Saturday nights. He's selling out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and so on.

In case you care -- and I'm not sure you know this, either -- my favorite Billy Joel song is the one below.


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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 5 days to go


5 - Netherlands

Group: A

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: 2nd - 1974,1978,2010

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $587M (9th)

FIFA Rank: 8

Odds to Win Group: -280

Odds to Advance: -1200

Odds to Win Cup: +1200

Key Players:

Virgil Van Dijk - Center Back - Liverpool (England Premier League)

Frenkie de Jong - Midfielder - Barcelona (Spain La Liga)

Memphis Depay - Forward - Barcelona (Spain La Liga)


Playing Style and Outlook:

The three time runners up are back in the World Cup once again, looking to capture their first ever trophy. After failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament, Netherlands returns with a strong side that topped one of the more difficult qualification groups in Europe and dominated their recent Nations League group as well.

The Dutch began qualifying using a 4-3-3 formation, but have more recently switched to a 3-4-1-2 that they are likely to continue using in Qatar. The three center backs, anchored by all-world Liverpool star Virgil Van Dijk, provides Netherlands the defensive coverage necessary to push their dynamic wingbacks high into attack. Right sided wingback Denzel Dumfries often plays especially high, functioning more as an attacker than a defender.

The Dutch have had a potent attack in the past few competitions, finishing near the top in goals scored in both UEFA qualifying and the Nations League. They also created the most chances of any team in attack, many of which came off crosses from those wingbacks.

In defense they often apply heavy pressure, relying on a high back line led by Van Dijk to compact the field and make it difficult for opponents to play through. This led to ample high value turnovers, with the second most balls won in their opponent’s end during qualifying. They like to use this pressure to squeeze opponents and quickly win back possession, so they can dominate the ball and funnel it back into the attack. They are able to generate chances both from patient build up and through quick counter attacks.

Netherlands may not seem as threatening heading into this World Cup, with several of their top players not in their best form at club level. However, many of those stars seem to shine brighter in the Orange than they do for their clubs.

Frenkie de Jong may be the prime example, while he has been up and down at Barcelona, his exceptional talent blossoms in the Dutch midfield, where he is the engine that drives the team, progressing the ball from defense to attack. Memphis Depay has also not seen much time on the field for Barcelona, but was one of the top scorers in qualifying and is a threat to light it up in Qatar.

The Netherlands are perhaps the most storied soccer country to never win the World Cup trophy, but with a relatively easy group and what should be a favorable second round matchup, they have to like their chances for a run this year.


Get to Know the US Team:

Haji Wright

Baltimore Doppelganger - Gus Edwards

The 25 year old Antalyaspor (Turkey) striker was the most surprising inclusion on the US World Cup roster. After a short stint with the team in the summer friendlies, Wright was left off the roster in September and appeared to be well down the depth chart before the roster was announced. However, his scorching goal-scoring form in Turkey seems to have won him a spot at the buzzer.

Coach Gregg Berhalter stated that it came down to a decision between Haji Wright and Jordan Pefok, with both providing a more physical presence than the top two strikers on the depth chart, Jesus Ferreira and Josh Sargent. Berhalter said he went with Wright based on recent form, since he has been scoring more frequently in Turkey than Pefok has in Germany. At 6’ 3”, Wright has the size to bang with more physical defenders in the international game, something the younger Ricardo Pepi may be lacking.

In some ways, Wright reminds me of Ravens running back Gus Edwards. Both players are able to leverage their size to their advantage in their positions. Wright is likely to be used as a type of change of pace to the other two US strikers, coming off the bench if the US needs to try a different attacking approach. Likewise, Edwards provides a different approach than fellow Ravens running backs JK Dobbins, Kenyan Drake or Justice Hill. Similar to Edwards, Wright is not all size, he has deceptive speed and nimble feet for a larger man.


Players to Watch:

5 - Joshua Kimmich - Germany - Midfielder

The star Bayern Munich midfielder enters this World Cup in the prime of his career at 27 years old. Kimmich has been the heart and soul of the Bayern midfield for the better part of a decade now, winning seven German Bundesliga titles with the club and one Champions League. This will be his second World Cup with Germany, after taking part in their disastrous 2018 campaign that saw them eliminated in the group stage.

Kimmich has long been considered the heir apparent to legendary Bayern Munich and German National teamer Philipp Lahm. Similar to Lahm, Kimmich started his career as a right back and gradually moved over to midfield. He remains outstanding defensively, providing defensive cover at the base of the midfield for both club and country, but has grown into a midfielder that can do it all.

Kimmich is at his best when he can function as the deep lying playmaker, finding space to receive the ball from the back line and then spraying passes all around the field to cut open the defense. He operates like the quarterback/point guard of the German attack, deciding when to push the ball forward and when to switch it to the open side of the field. In addition to his incredible passing range, Kimmich has a non-stop motor, able to surge forward into the attack when needed, and he has the ability to be a dangerous finisher around the box when he gets there. He is also a sharp set piece taker, which is often quite useful in tight World Cup games.

Kimmich has been one of the best midfielders in the world for the past few years at club level. This tournament will be his chance to stamp his mark on the international game by leading Germany back to prominence after a few poor showings at big tournaments. If he can do that, his name will start to be spoken in the same manner as those legends before him, like the aforementioned Lahm.


Best Bets:

I’m running out of soccer terminology as we get close to the real games. So in honor of online sports betting finally going live in Maryland sometime in the next couple weeks, I will run down my top five bets for the World Cup during these last few countdown days.

5 - Richarlison to win Golden Ball (+3500)

The Brazilians are once again the odds on favorites to win the World Cup. They have talent on their roster from top to bottom, with stars like Neymar and Vinicius Jr. The Golden Ball is essentially the MVP trophy for the World Cup, given to the best player at the tournament as determined by the voters. This player typically, though not always, comes from the winning team, or at least one of the finalists. It also typically goes to the highest goal scorer.

Richarlison is likely to be the starting striker in the Brazilian attacking line, so while Neymar and Vinicius Jr. may be more key to Brazil’s success, it may be Richarlison feasting off the chances they create. The Tottenham star has been in good form this season, though at his club it’s Harry Kane who usurps the goal scoring chances.

With Brazil, Richarlison gets to be the target striker and during qualifying he led Brazil with six non-penalty goals. If he can reproduce that in the World Cup he could come away with this award, and at 35-1, it's a decent longshot bet to throw a few bucks on.


European Roundup

With the European club season poised for a long break for the World Cup, today we have an abbreviated roundup of where the top leagues leave off.

England –

In the Premier League Arsenal extended their lead at the top to five points, winning 2-0 over Wolverhampton thanks to two goals from Martin Odegaard. They got help from Brentford as well, who shocked Manchester City in Manchester, getting a late counter attack goal for a 2-1 win.

Newcastle held their place in third with a 1-0 win over Chelsea while Tottenham jumped back up to fourth with a late comeback featuring two Rodrigo Bentancur goals to beat Leeds 4-3.


Italy –

There were two rounds in Serie A this week and Napoli remained on fire, opening up a seven point lead at the top of the league with wins over Empoli and Udinese. Behind them AC Milan dropped points in a 0-0 draw with Cremonese then beat Fiorentina. Juventus jumped up to third place with a 3-0 win over Lazio and Atalanta slid all the way to sixth place with losses to Lecce and Inter Milan.


Germany –

In the Bundesliga Bayern Munich continued to put distance between them and the chasing pack with wins over Werder Bremen and Schalke thanks to four goals from Serge Gnabry. Union Berlin continued their slide in form with a tie against lowly Augsburg and a loss to Freiburg, who moved up to second. Borussia Dortmund dropped to six with a bad week, losing 2-0 to Wolfsburg and 4-2 to Borussia Monchengladbach.


Spain –

In La Liga, Barcelona came from behind to beat Osasuna 2-1 to retain their top spot while Real Madrid kept pace with a 2-1 win over Cadiz.


France –

In Ligue 1, Paris St. Germain dominated in a 5-0 win over Auxerre to maintain a five point lead in first place.

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#dmd comments








Unitastoberry     December 04
If the Ravens lose today it's going to get very ugly. 🥸🤔

CIK     December 04
It’s almost like DF thinks he owns this site and doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But only a fool would complain about something this silly for the last 3 months. If only that BP dump website had a comments section…maybe the readers here wouldn’t have to deal with the silly banter. But the BP motto is “no phone calls & no comments”

larry     December 04
Haha, @MFC you know the answer to that question, this place is crawling with lemmings lol.

MFC     December 04
Creative accounting, must be an investor in FTX, last week. The total was 7-5 not 10-2. If you know what I mean.



We're now back to charting wins and losses, again I ask what happened, that's an incredible transformation this year. The site owner goes from no charting the bets, no mention of w-l's and disclaimers to full blown, "locks of the week" and yearly stats that we're asked to accept at face value. And the DMD doesn't think an explanation is necessary? Really? Wouldn't you like your messiah to discuss that change or do you continue to be the lemmings of the site and just accept anything that comes down from on high. If you know what I mean.

Steve of Pimlico     December 03
O's sign a cheaper version of Jordon Lyles and save 4- 5 million dollars.Is this their dip into free agency?

Sold my last 2 PSls yesterday at a small profit because if the Ravens don't sign Lamar the PSL market will crater.My unsolicited advice to Lamar is for him to take a seat and get real representation.

Eric in Gaithersburg     December 03
Can already hear Os fans whining and i get it, Angelos crew has earned no trust but its Dec 3rd and all teams add to the bottom of roster, plus entire point of having analytics crew is finding guys us normal people think stink that actually don't. Wait till Mar 1st to judge offseason then commence whining. Theyve stated repeatedly that #1 starter, middle of order bat and quality backup C are their priorities. They dont back up the talk then they will get rightfully ripped

alexi     December 03
"sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing" which was possible cause key players decided at the worst time to stop playing D.

DMD called for this Reyna guy the whole tourney, then today says now he can see why his PT was limited. Hmmm, perhaps the actual coach of the team knows more than the voices sitting at home watching on TV. Go figure

Chris in Bel Air     December 03
@TimD you are correct. That first goal by the Dutch was a sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing. That was a cleat of reality to the US.

That was an exciting and entertaining win by the Terps last night. Looks like this season is shaping up to be way above my initial expectations.

I see Lamar apologized for the tweet. I really liked his candor in his discussions of it and that is why so many people like him. One related note to that discussion, Lamar stated "I feel like you should be bitter after a loss. No smiles. I feel like the fans should be mad we lost, too. But not mad at us. We tried." Too often, fans seem to think the players don't care about losing as much as they, the fan do. That certainly isn't the case. They want to win and, as much as it sucks as a fan watching them lose, it is way worse for them as a player and a coach.

Howard     December 03
44-15 as a Ravens starter; big problem is his 1-3 playoff record. He needs to come up big in the playoffs.

TimD in Timonium     December 03
The Dutch are GOOD. Too much talent and experience today. Great USA run.

unitastoberry     December 03
Lamars final grades for year 5 are not out until the end of week 17 and maybe the playoffs. Lets revisit then.

Josh     December 03
Great win for the Terps!



Excellent soccer coverage here, keep up the good work!

Ray Ray     December 03
howard; wins what? in High school? 3 years at Louisville? five years in nfl? what miracle do expect to happen to change what has always happened?

Howard     December 02
44-15. Say what you want but the guy wins

Stats Nerd     December 02
@Fish...Cleveland? Depending on what metrics you look at they are generally in exactly the same spot as BAL in receiving. KC, BUF, MIA, CIN, SF are the highest rated passing groups followed by PHI, SEA, LV and DAL.

Baltimore is pretty much mid tier passing team if you look at various metrics. Some they might be as high 12th or as low as 18th. Cleveland same.



There are teams that have positive efficiency running the ball in the league: PHI, BAL, CHI, CLE, and ATL. There are 3-ish others that are efficiency nuetral running: NYG, DAl and PIT

Fish     December 02
Does that Henry guy follow the NFL?



Miami has 3 high quality pass catchers. I'm guessing Drew is counting TE's. Kansas City has 3. Cincinnati has 3. If Waller is healthy there's an argument the Raiders have 3. Cleveland might even have 3.

TimD in Timnoium     December 02
The problem with being a one-man show both on and off the field is that it gets overwhelming. @DF points out, Lamar takes ALL the heat. Does he alone get all the glory with a Super Bowl win or a giant, guaranteed contact? Well, maybe. But that's a lot of crap to handle in the meantime.



Think how much easier THIS exchange would be. Reporter - "Hey, Lamar, how's the contract coming along? Lamar - "I dunno, man. I'm only thinking about beating the Broncos."



Boom. EASY.


henry     December 02
"three or four high quality pass catchers" How many teams have this?? I'll give you a hint - zero lol.

Lamar is definitely "off" this year. Some may be injuries, but from the cheap seats, I think he feels restricted by the coaching staff. The voices around him are all saying "just go ball man" and G-Ro and Harbs say "do it our way, it will work". Then it works maybe one out of 10 times.

I am sure Lamar wants to win games, but he also wants to be on SC Top 10 every week. He's clearly frustrated. Is it ego, or money? Or both? But the big question is, who is pushing 100% guarantee? Is that really him, or the NFLPA, or his "people"??

@David is right, the results have not been as bad as the perception, but Chris in B is also right, Lamar is a different guy this year.

It might boil down to which would the Ravens regret more, not signing him, or signing him?

David Rosenfeld     December 02
You know, it's fine to talk about Lamar's play, his future, his maturity, etc. It's fine if you want him around forever, or if you'd rather that not happen.

I just keep coming back to the fact that this team, this year, has played 660 minutes of football and has been behind less than 10 percent of the time. I can't say exactly what that says about Lamar Jackson, but it sure isn't negative.

joe of bel air     December 02
I hope the Ravens move on from Lamar after this season. His passing stats will never resemble those of Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and others. Defensive coordinators have seen LaMar for 5 years and a lot have figured out the best way to defend him, look what Jacksonville and Carolina did. The fact is Lamar is an outstanding runner and a mediocre passer. Look at Can Newton's career. He is only 33 years old,won an MVP award and his career has been over for the last 3 years. The fact is running QBs don't last very long in the NFL and that is what Lamar is, a running QB. I think the Ravens have gotten all they could out of Lamar and would be wise to move on. Trade him for some draft picks and see what Huntley can do in 2023.

Chris in Bel Air     December 02
"Here was a time when Jackson was just a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie in the league. "Just happy to be there", so to speak.

That Lamar is gone. Long gone. The business side of the league has changed Lamar, in the same way it would likely change anyone in their mid-20's who is sitting on a pot of gold."

There's no doubt in my view, as the avg fan, Lamar seems different this year. His demeanor in the games and sidelines aren't as enthusiastic. His press conferences and sound bites are drier and more canned. Some of this is maturity and understanding he's about to be asked the same ol' questions over and over. But I think a lot of it is the contract and money weighing on him. He's playing a game of poker and he's trying not to tip his hand. If I had to bet one way or the other, and Lamar was 100% candid, I think he believes there are forces holding him back: Lack of WRs. Play calling. The schemes. His D giving up game winning scores in the last seconds. And, certainly his own mistakes. Like many are saying, he's betting on himself and it's not panning out, so far, like he believed it would.

With that said, I would want him back as the Ravens QB but at the right price that allows the Ravens to be competitive. He is a sensational athlete and good QB. To answer Drew's question, Lamar is way better when he has success running the ball and passing (e,g., 85 yds rushing and 235 yds passing). He just doesn't thrive dropping back most of the game... and of course we can talk endlessly about why that is.

K.C.     December 02
Anyone have details on Nestor getting kicked off Twitter? Please tell!

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Memo to Lamar. Love ya, man, but it's time to grow up. Hire an agent. Add a PR team. And delete Twitter from your phone. You'll be much happier.

Unitastoberry     December 02
Drew you just pulled a Howard Cosell with your December 2022 analysis of Lamar compared to 2019 Lamar. He bet on himself and as of today he's losing. Now with football being the ultimate team sport his defense isn't helping him either. His social media antics are childish. But then most people his age take to Tic Tock etc and do stupid stuff that gets monetized rather than get a part time service job etc. He has 6 games for the guarantee money Lamar to show up and pull a Frank Robinson or John Unitas move and put the team on his shoulders to raise the Lombardi.It was his bet not Steve's.

Hal     December 02
Agree with @Herman. Top drawer edition of The Dish today. Well done everyone involved!!

JP     December 02
It's amazing we can't get a column about Lamar in the Baltimore Sun like the one in DMD today.

Any update on G-Ro going to Stanford? What are the streets saying DF?

Delray RICK     December 02
RAVENS just can't get a top receiver nomatter what. Looking at stats we are nowhere to be found. ANDREWS was but after being hurt not in top 10. Looking at other teams so many are " burners". We have them run 10 yards and that's it.

Herman     December 02
I've taken a sabbatical from posting but I'll give kudos to the site owner on today's publication. Chock full of good material.

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Quick follow-up from yesterday, thank you @DF for the Rob Ambrose update. I hope, no expect, he'll move on to bigger and better things. He did a great job at Towson for a long time. I can still remember his weekly updates in-season on your morning radio show. Loved his insights. And his passion. Might have made some of us better rec league coaches. Made me a better person, I'm sure of that. Good guy.

JoeP     December 02
Radio Mogul suspended from Twitter?

He's finally done it..."Made it Ma, Top of the World''. But much like Cody Jenson(James Cagney in White Heat), he's standing on a huge tank of gasoline.

Recently he had a conversation with another unknown "sportswriter" and they talked about Springsteen. In that non linear jumble he stated

1. He's best friends with Nils Lofgren

2. He's been backstage with the Springsteen group "dozens of times". And turned down numerous chances for more back stage access.

3. Can't access tickets to the shows, except in Southern Cities where they ''hate Bruce".



The obvious inconsistencies are never addressed.

1. Best friends with Nils? "I haven't talked with him for years".

2. 100%...that he would turn down back stage access? No way, big time Adderall fueled lie

3. So a promoter would play in cities that were hard to sell? Facts are the tour is sold out.

4. And why is he worried about getting in? One phone call to his best friend, he's back stage every night.

Maybe Nils reported him to Twitter for "misinformation". How will this affect his 100k imprints/day social media claims?



We need water Gunga Din(MFC), bring it to us.

Billy     December 01
Mr Positive got suspended from Twitter lol. And he's been on his high horse about Lamar being profane? Perhaps @MFC has an explanation.

Ken     December 01
I am new to the area and just found the Morning Dish (not a native of Baltimore or Maryland) and must say I'm very impressed with the daily articles and such.



Who is Drew (does he have a byline?)? As for the other writers who have staff positions at the web site, kudos on a job well done.



There's nothing like this in my hometown (Denver) and I'm glad I discovered it.



I think your Ravens will have an easy go of it with my Broncos on Sunday. I'll be there to witness the carnage.

MFC     December 01
Ambrose got a raw deal. The new AD wants his "own" man, many times that doesn't work out either. It would only be fitting given the President of TU is leaving for the Un of Louisville (wonder if she attended the game the other night) that the new President take the same approach and cans the AD.What goes around comes around.

JeffWell     December 01
@David R: I agree 100%. Lamar would truly benefit from some professional guidance. I wonder if he feels that he doesn't need that kind of assistance or if it just a case of keeping the money in the family.



MFC: Why on earth are you aiming a comment towards me? I guess I was next on your list of things to say to people. You never run out of those types of comments.

Do you really believe that a "schoolgirl choir" is a negative thing. Wow, another far left sexist/misogynist. You really can't make this stuff up.

David Rosenfeld     December 01
Lamar is an interesting case because he doesn't have anyone who is helping him establish his "brand." We all know about the (lack of) professional help when it comes to his business affairs, etc. Clearly social media is part of it.

At this point, Lamar really is very authentic. He's not Cal Ripken or Peyton Manning, or any athlete/entertainer whose entire existence seems dedicated to protecting and projecting an image. I admire that...he truly is a guy whose play on the field speaks for him.

At the same time, I do think that Lamar has seemed immature this year, even as he approaches 26 years old with 4 1/2 seasons as the team's starting QB. The Ravens could use a leader, not just a uniquely talented QB, and he's not there.

sammy     December 01
Great post by Stats Nerd today. Social media is oft maligned, deservedly so, but as he points out today, there's a ton of positives as well. We've likened DMD and its comments section to "people at a bar", and social media is the same. One night you might run into a drunk who is a total jerk and full of BS opinions, and you can't get away fast enough. Next time you might come across someone who has been somewhere you are planning to go and is nice enough to share some insights into what to do and not do there. Or someone with well thought out opinions on topics that interest you, and you chat all night long.

Now the challenge is, can we weed out the bad and keep only the good?

Unfortunately, like with most things in our world, the answer is no. You gotta take the bad with the good. But just like you can leave a bar, you can choose to partake (or not) in social media on your own terms. Closing all the bars would be an insane solution to eliminating ***holes in bars lol. Great column Stats Nerd.

Unitastoberry     December 01
I've been following the ascent of Deion Sanders as head coach at Jackson State. It's rather amazing what's he's done there in 3 years including COVID and him almost losing his entire foot. He's a recruiting machine and he hires old NFL players and coaches for the x and O's. But on the field he's tough in practice and strict on discipline. Not what you might expect from Prime who used to hang with gang bangers etc in his youth. I'd love to see him stay at Jackson State leave the SWAC and go independent. He can steal guys from Saban and Harbaugh etc every day . I'd fire the guy at Maryland in a second to hire Prime.

Fred M     December 01
I have a question for the mailbag.



Was the girl that watched the 1980 Olympic Hockey game the Girlfriend that you stole from Monk or Herman? Or was it some other critic?

MFC     November 30
@Jeffwell, you must be seeking a solo in the "schoolgirl choir" concert.

Jeffwell     November 30
Ravens need to sharpen up their offense and 4th quarter D, if they expect to win their division. If not, even with a relatively easy schedule, they may find themselves on the outside looking in.



I don't think Delray is the only one, "who time and time again tells us who he is". I mean "Pot, meet kettle." Wow. At least he doesn't seem to have an agenda to push.

Chris in Bel Air     November 30
Awesome win for the USMNT but nothing to the level of the hockey's team's win over the Ruskies and eventual win over Finland for the gold medal. This soccer team will need to go beat Brazil (assuming they would face them at some point after NETH) and win the Cup before we can have that conversation.

@Such - Completely agree. I never had a social media account and never will. I will take your thoughts a step further. Given the misinformation posted and the enabling of the worst social behaviors of people, I'm not sure there is a net benefit to society from social media. Sure, businesses can grow from it and people can see pics of loved ones and friends from a far. But, the negatives are so prominent, I don't believe the good outweighs the bad.

Looking forward to see how the Terps b-ball team fares against some real teams. They have checked all the boxes presented to them so far.

kj     November 30
Amen Such, well said.

Such     November 30
I recall a bumper sticker from years ago that read Kill Your Television. The 21st Century adaptation of that would read Kill Your Social Media.

I left Facebook over two years ago I think? I deleted my Twitter account a few months ago. I never had much use for Instagram or Snapchat because I'm not 19 years old. And TikTok seems to be the place where boredom goes to die in a flurry of 15 second videos. I really don't understand our fascination with it.

The reality is that social media has created a parallel reality where people feel free to say things to others that they would never say in a personal encounter. It's exposed the worst elements of human behavior, and it's tacitly endorsed that. People seem to reflexively insult each other instead of engaging in any kind of effort to understand one another. What an ugly way to behave.

It's not only Lamar Jackson who's complicit in this type of reactionary behavior, either. There are countless athletes, politicians, musicians and celebrities who get into these ridiculous back and forths online. It's not a good look.

Kill Your Social Media. You'll find it's really good for your mental and emotional health.

Steve of Pimlico     November 30
Nothing in my life will top US beating the Commies.Orioles winning WS in 66 and Ravens2012 SB run are 2nd and 3rd on my personal list of all time favorites.

MFC     November 30
Delray time and again tells you who he is, believe it.



Awesome game, ecstatic for the USA, if ( big if) they win the next one look out. The bars will be packed and people will be purchasing swag. It can ignite a country with excitement.



The Terps and Willard are on a roll. Willard is the real deal. The kids play hard all the time. Do that and you always have a chance. Amazing to watch these college games knowing full well the kids are getting hefty sums to play. The college coach is now coaching salaries, totally different atmosphere.




Chris K     November 30
There have been pretty big moments between 1980 and now that surpass getting out of the 1st round in 2022. the women winning in 1999 was AWESOME! Personally THAT is right up there with 1980! The 1994 mens team beating columbia to advance seemed much bigger than this. The original dream team was pretty special. IF they can win at least 1 game in the knockout THEN this will be a huge deal. Until then it's pretty far down the list.

Unitastoberry     November 30
What's the over/under on how many times the tv camera shows Watson's accusers on Sunday?

The US high school college hockey team beating the Russian pros in 1980 would be like St Francis beating KC in the Super Bowl.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 30
@ DELRAY RICK, Second on my list and so on, NBA Basketball, WBA Basketball, Ice Hockey, all the other sports I can tolerate watching.

TimD in Timonium     November 30
It was a GREAT win yesterday by USMNT. Boring game? Any of it? Felt more like riding a roller coaster. Tough task beating the Netherlands, we'll see. Congrats to a much-criticized defense that allowed just a single goal vs Wales, Iran, and England. Did not expect that.

David Rosenfeld     November 30
For what it's worth, KenPom suggests that Saint Louis (42) will win the Atlantic 10, and Miami (44) will finish 12-8 in the ACC. Early bracketology suggests that Miami is an at-large NCAA tournament team.

Of course we are 7 games into the season, so take that however you want to. And certainly these next 4 games are a true test and are very unlikely to all be wins, though it's good that only one of them is a road game.

I'd like to reiterate that I am not taking a veiled swipe at anyone basketball IQ.

Tuesday
November 15, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3004


tuesday ramblings


Another NFL game, another botched call by the refs.

Everyone in Philadelphia is outraged by the turn of events last night, where an obvious missed grabbing-the-face-mask penalty swung things in Washington's favor in a 32-21 win that spoiled the Eagles perfect season.

You know me...when a Philadelphia team loses, an angel gets its wings. So, there's that.

But I can certainly admit that was a terrible call for the zebras to miss. And it definitely impacted the game, just like Philadelphia's other fumbles and sloppy play did as well.

I think we all suspected the bloom would drop from the Eagles' rose at some point. I mean, yes, they're good...but they're not that good. It's still anyone's game in the NFC, with the Vikings, Cowboys and three or four other teams all capable of stringing together a hot streak in January and reaching the Super Bowl.

But it's not cool to see missed calls cost a team a game, whether it's the worst team in the league or the team with the undefeated season on the line. The Ravens have been victimized by bad calls over the years and it definitely stings. It's hard enough to win in the NFL without having to beat the other team and the officials.

Last night's episode is yet another example of how a simple, 15-second intervention could have changed the landscape of the game. As soon as the hit was made on Dallas Goedert and the ball was jarred loose, everyone watching said, "That's a face mask penalty!"

Watching at home, Stevie Wonder even said, "Gotta be a penalty, right?"

If the NFL had its act together, the replay judge upstairs would have watched that play one time -- and one time only -- and said, "Yep, you guys missed a face mask penalty there before the ball came loose. Give the ball back to Philly and tack on 15 yards."

Total time: 15 seconds.

Fairness restored.

And maybe the Eagles go on to win. Or maybe they don't. That would have been decided over the last 13 or so minutes of the game.

But that was clearly a penalty and should have been called. End of story.

And it would be so easy for the NFL to fix it. But maybe...just maybe...they like it "this way", if you know what I mean.


The World Cup begins in less than one week for the United States Men's National Team and there's already controversy and not a single ball has yet been kicked.

In fact, the story has nothing to actually do with soccer.

As folks started arriving in Qatar over the weekend, they noticed something different about the U.S. team's "shield" (formally called a "crest") that is on display both around town and at the stadium. Gone are the familiar red stripes and, in their place, there are now rainbow colored stripes symbolizing the team's support of LGBQT rights.

The rainbow shield will only be displayed in places in Qatar where the U.S. team controls their marketing and promotional message and it will not be displayed on the team's uniform for at least the first game vs. Wales next Monday.

For the last 12 months, the U.S. men's team, in support of challenges the U.S. women's soccer program was facing, adopted a slogan of "Be The Change". This, they say, is another outreach effort on their part to help the world better understand the LBGQT community.

The new shield could become a political matter in Qatar, where homosexuality is still banned by the conservative Muslim country.

But that didn't stop the U.S. team from changing the colors and making their statement leading up to the start of next week's international event.

Neil Buethe, the USMNT's Chief Communications Officer, told the media on Monday: "Our rainbow badge has an important and consistent role in the identity of U.S. Soccer.

As part of our approach for any match or event, we include rainbow branding to support and embrace the LGBTQ community, as well as to promote a spirit of inclusiveness and welcoming to all fans across the globe.

As a result, locations that we will manage and operate at the FIFA World Cup, such as the team hotel, media areas and parties, will feature both traditional and rainbow U.S. Soccer branding."

How that will go over in Qatar remains to be seen.

It didn't go over particularly well yesterday here in the U.S., where social media was predictably split on the matter.

Opinions varied from "outraged!" to "love to see it!" once photos of the new crest started to circulate. And this was all in advance of the team's initial three games in group play, which will determine just how far the squad goes in the 2022 World Cup.


The tragedy in Charlottesville involving the three UVA football players and two others who were injured will once again bring gun control to the forefront of the story.

It also gives people the opportunity to mock the idea that "prayer" is a reasonable add-on when a tragedy occurs.

I have no idea where the suspect (in custody) got the gun he used in the shooting incident. Perhaps he obtained it legally. Christopher Jones is 22 years old. It's entirely possible the gun was legally purchased.

There are, as we all know, millions of "illegal guns" on the streets throughout our country. There are also a lot of legal weapons owned, some of which are used and some that are never fired but are in place for protection of family and personal property.

We've been going through this issue -- guns and senseless violence -- in our country for a long, long time. It's not a "now" thing, no matter how many people in the country want to blame it on one political party or one specific entity. Because we've become an agenda-driven society, the thing we do now is find one person or one party to blame and then we drive that into the ground until we've exhausted that option.

Three UVA football players are sadly the latest victims. But there were people killed last night in Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Chicago and virtually any other major city in America. That it happened within the (assumed) safety of a college field trip heightens the exposure of the story, but a 22-year old killed for no reason in Detroit is just as important.

We've become a nation that stopped emphasizing kindness the way God wants us to show it to one another. We've slowly removed the importance of God and kindness from our society and replaced it with "you do you".

I don't have the answers.

But I'm praying about it this morning.

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on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 6 days to go


Team Profile –

6 - Croatia

Group: F

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: 2nd - 2018

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $378M (12th)

FIFA Rank: 12

Odds to Win Group: +225

Odds to Advance: -280

Odds to Win Cup: +5000


Key Players:

Luka Modric - Midfielder - Real Madrid (Spain La Liga)

Mateo Kovacic - Midfielder - Chelsea (England Premier League)

Marcelo Brozovic - Midfielder - Inter Milan (Italy Serie A)


Playing Style and Outlook:

The runners up from the 2018 World Cup in Russia return the core of that team and remain a strong contender heading to Qatar. Once again they are led by one of the best midfield trios at the tournament in Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic and ageless wonder Luka Modric. Despite being four years older, this midfield remains formidable, with each player a well rounded piece able to contribute on both sides of the ball.

Those three are the central hub of the 4-3-3 formation that Croatia prefers to play. Unlike some of the other top contenders, Croatia is usually not a high pressing team, they were far down the list of possession won in their opponent’s end of the field in both World Cup qualifying and the UEFA Nations League.

They are able to control possession against weaker teams and like to use the build up to create chances. However, against stronger teams they have played more pragmatically, willing to concede some of the possession advantage to remain organized defensively. In attack, they like to work the ball into wide areas for their wingers and fullbacks to create chances from crosses into the box.

Croatia has been good at taking advantage of their opponents mistakes when defending deeper. Their midfield thrives in transition, with all three players capable of quickly turning defense into attack.

This will be one of the tougher groups at the tournament, with two of the favorites to win along with a Canada team that finished top of CONCACAF and a talented Moroccan team. In 2018 it seemed like Croatia was a veteran team making potentially their last run at glory. Now, four years later the group seems to have aged like a fine wine and they are poised to make one more run at the Cup.


Get to Know the US Team:

Jesus Ferreira

Baltimore Doppelganger - Devin Duvernay

The FC Dallas striker is one of the top candidates to lead the attacking line for the US at the World Cup. Ferreira plays the position somewhat differently than the typical striker. With good skills on the ball and an ability to receive passes in between the lines, Ferreira often plays more like a “false nine”, dropping back into the midfield to be more of a creative hub.

In previous seasons at FC Dallas he often played as an attacking midfielder, especially when Ricardo Pepi was there leading the line. This season he moved up to play striker and had a breakout season as a goal scorer. He has deceptive speed, but a smaller frame that makes it difficult for him to win physical battles with bigger center backs.

The Baltimore player that comes to mind for Ferreira is current Ravens wide receiver Devin Duvernay. Like Ferreira, Duvernay brings a versatile skill set to the receiver position and plays differently than most starting wideouts. With Marquise Brown traded in the offseason, Duvernay stepped into a starting role and the Ravens have found creative ways to use him in the offense. So while he may not have all the prototypical receiver tools, he can make the team more dynamic in his own way.


Players to Watch:

6 - Robert Lewandowski - Poland - Striker

One of the greatest strikers of all time is entering what could be his last World Cup at 34 years old. This will only be his second time on the top international stage since Poland failed to qualify for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Lewandowski is one of the most prolific goal scorers of all time. He is the third highest scorer in Champions League history and second all-time scorer in German Bundesliga history. He has racked up ten Bundesliga titles between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and one Champions League trophy, while winning the Bundesliga Player of the Year five times. Lewandowski would have multiple Ballon D’Or awards if it weren’t for another player he’ll face in Group F, finishing close to the top of the voting multiple times.

The Polish star possesses an all-around skill set at the striker position, able to create and finish chances. What sets Lewandowski apart is his goal scoring ability. He is one of the best finishers of all time, with great intuition to find space in the box and an uncanny nose for the ball. He puts away the easy chances and the hard ones and has the ability to create goals out of seemingly nothing. Poland will need him to put those skills to use to help them get out of a difficult group containing Argentina and Mexico.


Soccer Terminology 101:

Back Three/Back Four

These terms are used to describe the configuration of a team’s defensive line. Throughout the years, the popularity of different formations have ebbed and flowed, but in general a team will line up with a “back four” meaning two central defenders and two outside fullbacks, or a “back three” with three central defenders flanked by two wingbacks. The “back three” setup can be more defensive if the wingbacks play deep, looking more like a back line of five, or it can be more attacking with the wingbacks getting high in the attack.

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Monday
November 14, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3003


book the rooms?


A friend called me on Saturday, long before Josh Allen and the Bills coughed up a home game to the Vikings and Patrick Mahomes had trouble disposing of the Jaguars in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon.

"I know this is going to sound crazy," Rick said. "But I found hotel rooms in Phoenix during Super Bowl week and I'm thinking about buying them."

"First," I said. "How did you find rooms? And second, what's the freight? Don't most of those places have four or five night minimums during Super Bowl week?"

I recalled during my days on radio row at the various Super Bowls I covered that rooms were not only expensive but almost always required a lengthy stay.

February 12 in Phoenix? John Harbaugh holding the trophy? Could it happen again?

It turns out Rick was home with Covid-19, going through the last two days of self-isolation and boredom set in while he was college football late Saturday afternoon.

"I just started calling places in Phoenix," he explained. The first five I called, all I got on the other end of the phone was laughter.

But then I found a place with rooms, but they were $599 a night with a five-night minimum. I didn't take those but I figured if they had rooms, maybe some other places did as well."

Glendale is about 10 miles from Phoenix and about 20 miles to Scottsdale. All three of those cities have hotels, with Phoenix having the most, of course. It's also worth noting that during Super Bowl week in February, the PGA Tour will be hosting their popular stop at TPC Scottsdale. So the Phoenix-Scottsdale-Glendale area will be jam packed that week for certain.

Rick said he continued calling and finally, found a hotel in the Biltmore area that was "only" $449 a night and required just a four night minimum.

"It took me an hour and a half," he said. "But I found something."

Rick went on to explain he had booked the airfare back in the spring of 2022 but because of the travel chaos flying out of Phoenix on Monday he and his wife would drive to San Diego first thing Monday morning (5 hours) and fly back to Baltimore from San Diego late Monday afternoon.

"I could always just bank the airline tickets if I don't go," he said. "But what about the hotel rooms? Should I take them?"

Rick had 24 hours to cancel them without penalty. After that, he can't cancel without a two-night penalty. Thirty days before the game, the full four-night stay is guaranteed.

So, now he was asking me if I thought buying four nights of hotel rooms and basically paying $2,000 for said privilege was the smart thing to do, having no real idea if the Ravens will even be there.

"Do you think the Ravens are going to the Super Bowl?" he asked.

"Before I even answer that, you should know that you can definitely get rid of the hotel room if they don't make it. Someone will buy the room from you on the open market in late January."

"How would that work?" he asked.

"I have no idea, honestly, but if you buy the room and the Ravens don't make it, you could always call the NFL or the two teams that do make it and tell them you have a room and they'd figure out a way to make it happen and take the room off your hands."

"But if they don't, I'm out $2,000," he said.

"Right. But I don't think you can worry about that right now. You stumbled onto this hotel room. It's like gold at this point. It has real value, either to you or someone else. Keep the room."

I could tell by the hesitation in Rick's voice he wasn't sure that was the right road to take.

"Do I think the Ravens can make it? I definitely do," I said. And remember, this was a day before we saw Josh Allen turn into E.J. Manuel up in Buffalo against the Vikings.

"And do I feel confident enough in their chances to tell you to plunk down your credit card and sign up for a $2,000 expense that you don't know you'll need?"

I let one of those famous Bob Haynie pregnant pauses drift in the air for four or five seconds...

"I think they have a great chance, actually," I stated. "I really do. Barring something goofy happening to Lamar, injury wise, they're going to be completely healthy by early-to-mid-December. Adding Roquan Smith was huge. They'll get Dobbins back pretty soon. Andrews will be healthy. I really think they have a great chance."

"So I should do it?" he asked one last time, looking for a final piece of confirmation.

"Absolutely. You have the golden ticket. Four nights of hotel in the Phoenix area during Super Bowl week. Just make sure the room and hotel are legit and that you're not getting scammed.

For good measure, Rick e-mailed me the confirmation he received from the hotel with the "free cancellation within 24 hours" fine print.

It's legit. He has a hotel room Thursday night through Sunday night in the Biltmore area. Nothing scammy about it.

"I feel really good about the Ravens chances," I said as we exchanged small talk about kids and how they were doing in school and all that other stuff you chat about when you haven't had a conversation with someone in a few months.

"I hope you're right," Rick said.

"I do, too," I said. "I have a betting slip from last August at 20 to 1 that needs to be cashed."

When the Bills lost yesterday, Rick shot me a quick text.

"Looking better now!" he wrote.

"I hope it works out for you," I replied. "And me..."

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around the nfl


BUCCANEERS 21 - SEAHAWKS 16 -- That's two straight wins for TB12 since the divorce. Maybe Giselle was the problem all along. I'm sure everyone in the NFL has the same weird feeling; Tampa Bay will limp into the post-season at 9-8 or 10-7 and then beat an 11-6 wild card team in Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs. You can just feel it coming around.

VIKINGS 33 - BILLS 30 OT-- The "game of the season" thus far, for sure. But only because goofy Josh Allen couldn't collect a snap from center on his own goal-line that led to the Vikings taking a late lead on a fumble recovery in the end zone. Imagine for a second if you wagered on that football game and had the Bills winning outright? Holy heart attack. Minnesota definitely has something going now with their offensive firepower, but will their defense be good enough in January? That's the question. Meanwhile, the Bills might on the verge of coughing up one of the the top two seeds in the AFC. You hate to see it.

LIONS 31 - BEARS 30 -- Detroit gave up 30 points yet again, the 4th time this season they've managed to do that, but they scored 31, which is all that matters. Justin Fields ran for 147 yards for the Bears, which is interesting since.......he's.......a quarterback. He also managed to throw for 167. Where are all the jokes about him and "not bad for a running back", huh? Lamar's not the only one who should get that heat.

Could Tua be in the MVP running for 2022? #DMD says yes.

TITANS 17 - BRONCOS 10 -- One of those "we won, let's move on" games for the Titans, where it wasn't pretty or anything like that, but they're now 6-3 and in complete control of the AFC South. They don't have the easiest schedule in the world remaining (Bengals, Chargers, Cowboys, Packers, Eagles) so winning the ones they should win are important for Mike Vrabel's team. Denver stinks. Enough said there.

CHIEFS 27 - JAGUARS 17 -- Funny...the Chiefs were favored by 9.5 and won by 10. Weird how that works, huh? Not much to see here. Jacksonville hung tough, but they could play K.C. every day for two weeks and they'd never beat them.

DOLPHINS 39 - BROWNS 17 -- Tua for MVP? I'm not kidding. He has to be in the discussion. With Tua starting and playing the entire game, Miami is 7-0. They're 0-3 without him. I get it, it was the Browns yesterday, but he continues to torch oppoosing defenses. Granted, having Hill and Waddle helps. They're also getting some surprising production from their running game. The Browns are the Browns. They win once every three or four weeks. They're just waiting to get DeShaun Watson in the fold and hoping that his return doesn't rub people the wrong way.

GIANTS 24 - TEXANS 16 -- Barkley only had 152 yards rushing for the Giants, which has to be considered a "win" for the Texans. Somehow New York is 7-2. Their schedule toughens up now and I still think they're "only" a 9 win team, maybe 10, but they'll be in the playoff hunt come December and if they can pull off a win over the Cowboys, Eagles (they still play them twice) or Vikings, they could squeeze into the playoffs, believe it or not.

STEELERS 20 - SAINTS 10 -- We thought New Orleans was bad once we saw them in high-def last Monday against the Ravens, but yesterday proved it. They lost to the Steelers. Yikes.

COLTS 25 - RAIDERS 20 -- Take that Bill Cowher. After the CBS analyst went into a pre-game tirade about the embarrassment of hiring Jeff Saturday as their new coach, the Colts went out and beat the Raiders in Vegas. And Matt Ryan returned to his starting QB spot and wound up having a decent enough day. Both of those teams are awful. Indy was just "less awful" yesterday.

PACKERS 31 - COWBOYS 28 OT -- This was a heckuva game, actually. Aaron Rodgers looked like Aaron Rodgers for one of the rare times in 2022. Dallas, as they typically do with Mike McCarthy at the helm, figured out a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Dallas led 28-14 in the 4th quarter and couldn't keep that lead, then they won the coin toss in OT and still couldn't put any points on the board. Green Bay is barely breathing still, at 4-6, but and their schedule is pretty difficult moving forward, but for one day, at least, there's still hope.

CARDINALS 27 - RAMS 17 -- Admit it. You had no idea Colt McCoy was still in the NFL until you saw the highlights of this game. I thought he left the league in 2019. If you're the Rams and you lose to Colt McCoy in your own stadium, everyone should give their game check to charity. Holy embarrassment.

49'ers 22 - CHARGERS 16 -- This was a game between the league's two weirdest teams. I can't figure either of them out. I "think" the 49'ers are good. But they never really show that they are. And I "think" the Chargers are on the verge of being good....and then they lay an egg like they did last night in San Fran.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 7 days to go


Team Profile –

7 - Denmark

Group: D

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: Quarterfinals - 1998

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $316M (15th)

FIFA Rank: 10

Odds to Win Group: +225

Odds to Advance: -280

Odds to Win Cup: +2500


Key Players:

Christian Eriksen - Midfielder - Manchester United (England Premier League)

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - Midfielder - Tottenham ( England Premier League)

Mikkel Damsgaard - Forward - Brentford (England Premier League)


Playing Style and Outlook:

There are not a ton of star names on the Denmark squad, but they are a cohesive team that impressed in both UEFA qualifying and the recent Nations League. The Danes usually play out of either a 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 formation. They are a disciplined defensive team that led qualifying in shutouts. They have a solid back line to pair with a good keeper and a defensively rigid midfield led by Tottenham standout Hojbjerg.

Denmark is not a possession hungry team, they are more than willing to play against the ball, conceding the majority of the ball but maintaining their shape and picking their spots. They used this tactic to defeat the favorites in Group D, France, twice in the most recent Nations League competition.

So while they are not the betting favorites to win this group due to France’s wealth of talent, Denmark will certainly not be intimidated by the group favorites. Denmark has held their own against the best teams in the past few European competitions, including a run to the semifinals of the Euro Championships in 2021, where they lost to England in overtime. It would be a huge upset if the Danes won the World Cup trophy. However, with their combination of a veteran backbone from top European leagues, combined with several rising talents, they have a good chance to be the dark horse team that makes an unexpected deep run.


Get to Know the US Team:

Cristian Roldan

Baltimore Doppelganger - Rougned Odor

Cristian Roldan may be a surprise inclusion on the US World Cup roster for some. He had very limited contributions throughout the qualifying campaign, but he was often in the roster for those games due to his great rapport with the team and the coach. From all reports, Roldan is the epitome of a clubhouse guy. He has been described as another coach on the field and in the locker room.

A key player for the Seattle Sounders in MLS for many years. Roldan is a respected veteran with a versatile skill set. However, he struggled when he got on the field in qualifying and seemed like he may not be up to the level of the top internationals.

He reminds me of a player on last year’s Orioles, infielder Rougned Odor. Odor was by all accounts one of the more popular players in the locker room for the Os and he continued to get playing time well after his on field performance deserved. He did have a knack for coming up with hits in critical situations, but aside from that, most of his value seemed to come off the field.

With a 26 player roster for the US, it seems Roldan was included more for his off the field contributions as well, and the hope is that he isn’t needed on the field for more than a few substitute minutes.


Players to Watch:

7 - Karim Benzema - France - Striker

The current Ballon d’Or award holder for best player in the world, Benzema will make his return to the World Cup for the first time since 2014. At 34 years old, Benzema was the second oldest player to ever win the Ballon d’Or. After spending years in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, he had a late career breakout as one of the most complete strikers in the world once Ronaldo left the team.

Benzema was outstanding last year, leading Real Madrid to the Champions League and La Liga titles. He was the leading goal scorer in both competitions, with 27 La Liga goals and 15 in the Champions League, including incredible back to back hat tricks in the knockout rounds to help carry Madrid through that tournament.

Benzema was left off France’s 2018 World Cup winning team largely due to off the field issues. Adding him to a team that returns the core from that World Cup is a scary proposition for everyone else. The Real Madrid man is a complete striker, able to fill the role of playmaker, creating chances for his teammates or be the finisher on the end of chances from others. Benzema has incredible touch on the ball, has great instincts around the box, can pick out a pass and is a clinical finisher.

It will be up to French coach Didier Deschamps to figure out how to fit this talented piece into an already stacked team, but Benzema will be looking to continue his great club form to lead his country and add a World Cup trophy to his already impressive collection.


Soccer Terminology 101:

Clinical

This term is often used to refer to high volume goal scorers. It simply means they are efficient at scoring and are more likely to take advantage of their chances than the average player. You’ll often hear it used in reference to players like the aforementioned Benzema, who seem to never let you off the hook for giving them a good look at goal.

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#dmd comments








Unitastoberry     December 04
If the Ravens lose today it's going to get very ugly. 🥸🤔

CIK     December 04
It’s almost like DF thinks he owns this site and doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But only a fool would complain about something this silly for the last 3 months. If only that BP dump website had a comments section…maybe the readers here wouldn’t have to deal with the silly banter. But the BP motto is “no phone calls & no comments”

larry     December 04
Haha, @MFC you know the answer to that question, this place is crawling with lemmings lol.

MFC     December 04
Creative accounting, must be an investor in FTX, last week. The total was 7-5 not 10-2. If you know what I mean.



We're now back to charting wins and losses, again I ask what happened, that's an incredible transformation this year. The site owner goes from no charting the bets, no mention of w-l's and disclaimers to full blown, "locks of the week" and yearly stats that we're asked to accept at face value. And the DMD doesn't think an explanation is necessary? Really? Wouldn't you like your messiah to discuss that change or do you continue to be the lemmings of the site and just accept anything that comes down from on high. If you know what I mean.

Steve of Pimlico     December 03
O's sign a cheaper version of Jordon Lyles and save 4- 5 million dollars.Is this their dip into free agency?

Sold my last 2 PSls yesterday at a small profit because if the Ravens don't sign Lamar the PSL market will crater.My unsolicited advice to Lamar is for him to take a seat and get real representation.

Eric in Gaithersburg     December 03
Can already hear Os fans whining and i get it, Angelos crew has earned no trust but its Dec 3rd and all teams add to the bottom of roster, plus entire point of having analytics crew is finding guys us normal people think stink that actually don't. Wait till Mar 1st to judge offseason then commence whining. Theyve stated repeatedly that #1 starter, middle of order bat and quality backup C are their priorities. They dont back up the talk then they will get rightfully ripped

alexi     December 03
"sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing" which was possible cause key players decided at the worst time to stop playing D.

DMD called for this Reyna guy the whole tourney, then today says now he can see why his PT was limited. Hmmm, perhaps the actual coach of the team knows more than the voices sitting at home watching on TV. Go figure

Chris in Bel Air     December 03
@TimD you are correct. That first goal by the Dutch was a sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing. That was a cleat of reality to the US.

That was an exciting and entertaining win by the Terps last night. Looks like this season is shaping up to be way above my initial expectations.

I see Lamar apologized for the tweet. I really liked his candor in his discussions of it and that is why so many people like him. One related note to that discussion, Lamar stated "I feel like you should be bitter after a loss. No smiles. I feel like the fans should be mad we lost, too. But not mad at us. We tried." Too often, fans seem to think the players don't care about losing as much as they, the fan do. That certainly isn't the case. They want to win and, as much as it sucks as a fan watching them lose, it is way worse for them as a player and a coach.

Howard     December 03
44-15 as a Ravens starter; big problem is his 1-3 playoff record. He needs to come up big in the playoffs.

TimD in Timonium     December 03
The Dutch are GOOD. Too much talent and experience today. Great USA run.

unitastoberry     December 03
Lamars final grades for year 5 are not out until the end of week 17 and maybe the playoffs. Lets revisit then.

Josh     December 03
Great win for the Terps!



Excellent soccer coverage here, keep up the good work!

Ray Ray     December 03
howard; wins what? in High school? 3 years at Louisville? five years in nfl? what miracle do expect to happen to change what has always happened?

Howard     December 02
44-15. Say what you want but the guy wins

Stats Nerd     December 02
@Fish...Cleveland? Depending on what metrics you look at they are generally in exactly the same spot as BAL in receiving. KC, BUF, MIA, CIN, SF are the highest rated passing groups followed by PHI, SEA, LV and DAL.

Baltimore is pretty much mid tier passing team if you look at various metrics. Some they might be as high 12th or as low as 18th. Cleveland same.



There are teams that have positive efficiency running the ball in the league: PHI, BAL, CHI, CLE, and ATL. There are 3-ish others that are efficiency nuetral running: NYG, DAl and PIT

Fish     December 02
Does that Henry guy follow the NFL?



Miami has 3 high quality pass catchers. I'm guessing Drew is counting TE's. Kansas City has 3. Cincinnati has 3. If Waller is healthy there's an argument the Raiders have 3. Cleveland might even have 3.

TimD in Timnoium     December 02
The problem with being a one-man show both on and off the field is that it gets overwhelming. @DF points out, Lamar takes ALL the heat. Does he alone get all the glory with a Super Bowl win or a giant, guaranteed contact? Well, maybe. But that's a lot of crap to handle in the meantime.



Think how much easier THIS exchange would be. Reporter - "Hey, Lamar, how's the contract coming along? Lamar - "I dunno, man. I'm only thinking about beating the Broncos."



Boom. EASY.


henry     December 02
"three or four high quality pass catchers" How many teams have this?? I'll give you a hint - zero lol.

Lamar is definitely "off" this year. Some may be injuries, but from the cheap seats, I think he feels restricted by the coaching staff. The voices around him are all saying "just go ball man" and G-Ro and Harbs say "do it our way, it will work". Then it works maybe one out of 10 times.

I am sure Lamar wants to win games, but he also wants to be on SC Top 10 every week. He's clearly frustrated. Is it ego, or money? Or both? But the big question is, who is pushing 100% guarantee? Is that really him, or the NFLPA, or his "people"??

@David is right, the results have not been as bad as the perception, but Chris in B is also right, Lamar is a different guy this year.

It might boil down to which would the Ravens regret more, not signing him, or signing him?

David Rosenfeld     December 02
You know, it's fine to talk about Lamar's play, his future, his maturity, etc. It's fine if you want him around forever, or if you'd rather that not happen.

I just keep coming back to the fact that this team, this year, has played 660 minutes of football and has been behind less than 10 percent of the time. I can't say exactly what that says about Lamar Jackson, but it sure isn't negative.

joe of bel air     December 02
I hope the Ravens move on from Lamar after this season. His passing stats will never resemble those of Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and others. Defensive coordinators have seen LaMar for 5 years and a lot have figured out the best way to defend him, look what Jacksonville and Carolina did. The fact is Lamar is an outstanding runner and a mediocre passer. Look at Can Newton's career. He is only 33 years old,won an MVP award and his career has been over for the last 3 years. The fact is running QBs don't last very long in the NFL and that is what Lamar is, a running QB. I think the Ravens have gotten all they could out of Lamar and would be wise to move on. Trade him for some draft picks and see what Huntley can do in 2023.

Chris in Bel Air     December 02
"Here was a time when Jackson was just a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie in the league. "Just happy to be there", so to speak.

That Lamar is gone. Long gone. The business side of the league has changed Lamar, in the same way it would likely change anyone in their mid-20's who is sitting on a pot of gold."

There's no doubt in my view, as the avg fan, Lamar seems different this year. His demeanor in the games and sidelines aren't as enthusiastic. His press conferences and sound bites are drier and more canned. Some of this is maturity and understanding he's about to be asked the same ol' questions over and over. But I think a lot of it is the contract and money weighing on him. He's playing a game of poker and he's trying not to tip his hand. If I had to bet one way or the other, and Lamar was 100% candid, I think he believes there are forces holding him back: Lack of WRs. Play calling. The schemes. His D giving up game winning scores in the last seconds. And, certainly his own mistakes. Like many are saying, he's betting on himself and it's not panning out, so far, like he believed it would.

With that said, I would want him back as the Ravens QB but at the right price that allows the Ravens to be competitive. He is a sensational athlete and good QB. To answer Drew's question, Lamar is way better when he has success running the ball and passing (e,g., 85 yds rushing and 235 yds passing). He just doesn't thrive dropping back most of the game... and of course we can talk endlessly about why that is.

K.C.     December 02
Anyone have details on Nestor getting kicked off Twitter? Please tell!

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Memo to Lamar. Love ya, man, but it's time to grow up. Hire an agent. Add a PR team. And delete Twitter from your phone. You'll be much happier.

Unitastoberry     December 02
Drew you just pulled a Howard Cosell with your December 2022 analysis of Lamar compared to 2019 Lamar. He bet on himself and as of today he's losing. Now with football being the ultimate team sport his defense isn't helping him either. His social media antics are childish. But then most people his age take to Tic Tock etc and do stupid stuff that gets monetized rather than get a part time service job etc. He has 6 games for the guarantee money Lamar to show up and pull a Frank Robinson or John Unitas move and put the team on his shoulders to raise the Lombardi.It was his bet not Steve's.

Hal     December 02
Agree with @Herman. Top drawer edition of The Dish today. Well done everyone involved!!

JP     December 02
It's amazing we can't get a column about Lamar in the Baltimore Sun like the one in DMD today.

Any update on G-Ro going to Stanford? What are the streets saying DF?

Delray RICK     December 02
RAVENS just can't get a top receiver nomatter what. Looking at stats we are nowhere to be found. ANDREWS was but after being hurt not in top 10. Looking at other teams so many are " burners". We have them run 10 yards and that's it.

Herman     December 02
I've taken a sabbatical from posting but I'll give kudos to the site owner on today's publication. Chock full of good material.

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Quick follow-up from yesterday, thank you @DF for the Rob Ambrose update. I hope, no expect, he'll move on to bigger and better things. He did a great job at Towson for a long time. I can still remember his weekly updates in-season on your morning radio show. Loved his insights. And his passion. Might have made some of us better rec league coaches. Made me a better person, I'm sure of that. Good guy.

JoeP     December 02
Radio Mogul suspended from Twitter?

He's finally done it..."Made it Ma, Top of the World''. But much like Cody Jenson(James Cagney in White Heat), he's standing on a huge tank of gasoline.

Recently he had a conversation with another unknown "sportswriter" and they talked about Springsteen. In that non linear jumble he stated

1. He's best friends with Nils Lofgren

2. He's been backstage with the Springsteen group "dozens of times". And turned down numerous chances for more back stage access.

3. Can't access tickets to the shows, except in Southern Cities where they ''hate Bruce".



The obvious inconsistencies are never addressed.

1. Best friends with Nils? "I haven't talked with him for years".

2. 100%...that he would turn down back stage access? No way, big time Adderall fueled lie

3. So a promoter would play in cities that were hard to sell? Facts are the tour is sold out.

4. And why is he worried about getting in? One phone call to his best friend, he's back stage every night.

Maybe Nils reported him to Twitter for "misinformation". How will this affect his 100k imprints/day social media claims?



We need water Gunga Din(MFC), bring it to us.

Billy     December 01
Mr Positive got suspended from Twitter lol. And he's been on his high horse about Lamar being profane? Perhaps @MFC has an explanation.

Ken     December 01
I am new to the area and just found the Morning Dish (not a native of Baltimore or Maryland) and must say I'm very impressed with the daily articles and such.



Who is Drew (does he have a byline?)? As for the other writers who have staff positions at the web site, kudos on a job well done.



There's nothing like this in my hometown (Denver) and I'm glad I discovered it.



I think your Ravens will have an easy go of it with my Broncos on Sunday. I'll be there to witness the carnage.

MFC     December 01
Ambrose got a raw deal. The new AD wants his "own" man, many times that doesn't work out either. It would only be fitting given the President of TU is leaving for the Un of Louisville (wonder if she attended the game the other night) that the new President take the same approach and cans the AD.What goes around comes around.

JeffWell     December 01
@David R: I agree 100%. Lamar would truly benefit from some professional guidance. I wonder if he feels that he doesn't need that kind of assistance or if it just a case of keeping the money in the family.



MFC: Why on earth are you aiming a comment towards me? I guess I was next on your list of things to say to people. You never run out of those types of comments.

Do you really believe that a "schoolgirl choir" is a negative thing. Wow, another far left sexist/misogynist. You really can't make this stuff up.

David Rosenfeld     December 01
Lamar is an interesting case because he doesn't have anyone who is helping him establish his "brand." We all know about the (lack of) professional help when it comes to his business affairs, etc. Clearly social media is part of it.

At this point, Lamar really is very authentic. He's not Cal Ripken or Peyton Manning, or any athlete/entertainer whose entire existence seems dedicated to protecting and projecting an image. I admire that...he truly is a guy whose play on the field speaks for him.

At the same time, I do think that Lamar has seemed immature this year, even as he approaches 26 years old with 4 1/2 seasons as the team's starting QB. The Ravens could use a leader, not just a uniquely talented QB, and he's not there.

sammy     December 01
Great post by Stats Nerd today. Social media is oft maligned, deservedly so, but as he points out today, there's a ton of positives as well. We've likened DMD and its comments section to "people at a bar", and social media is the same. One night you might run into a drunk who is a total jerk and full of BS opinions, and you can't get away fast enough. Next time you might come across someone who has been somewhere you are planning to go and is nice enough to share some insights into what to do and not do there. Or someone with well thought out opinions on topics that interest you, and you chat all night long.

Now the challenge is, can we weed out the bad and keep only the good?

Unfortunately, like with most things in our world, the answer is no. You gotta take the bad with the good. But just like you can leave a bar, you can choose to partake (or not) in social media on your own terms. Closing all the bars would be an insane solution to eliminating ***holes in bars lol. Great column Stats Nerd.

Unitastoberry     December 01
I've been following the ascent of Deion Sanders as head coach at Jackson State. It's rather amazing what's he's done there in 3 years including COVID and him almost losing his entire foot. He's a recruiting machine and he hires old NFL players and coaches for the x and O's. But on the field he's tough in practice and strict on discipline. Not what you might expect from Prime who used to hang with gang bangers etc in his youth. I'd love to see him stay at Jackson State leave the SWAC and go independent. He can steal guys from Saban and Harbaugh etc every day . I'd fire the guy at Maryland in a second to hire Prime.

Fred M     December 01
I have a question for the mailbag.



Was the girl that watched the 1980 Olympic Hockey game the Girlfriend that you stole from Monk or Herman? Or was it some other critic?

MFC     November 30
@Jeffwell, you must be seeking a solo in the "schoolgirl choir" concert.

Jeffwell     November 30
Ravens need to sharpen up their offense and 4th quarter D, if they expect to win their division. If not, even with a relatively easy schedule, they may find themselves on the outside looking in.



I don't think Delray is the only one, "who time and time again tells us who he is". I mean "Pot, meet kettle." Wow. At least he doesn't seem to have an agenda to push.

Chris in Bel Air     November 30
Awesome win for the USMNT but nothing to the level of the hockey's team's win over the Ruskies and eventual win over Finland for the gold medal. This soccer team will need to go beat Brazil (assuming they would face them at some point after NETH) and win the Cup before we can have that conversation.

@Such - Completely agree. I never had a social media account and never will. I will take your thoughts a step further. Given the misinformation posted and the enabling of the worst social behaviors of people, I'm not sure there is a net benefit to society from social media. Sure, businesses can grow from it and people can see pics of loved ones and friends from a far. But, the negatives are so prominent, I don't believe the good outweighs the bad.

Looking forward to see how the Terps b-ball team fares against some real teams. They have checked all the boxes presented to them so far.

kj     November 30
Amen Such, well said.

Such     November 30
I recall a bumper sticker from years ago that read Kill Your Television. The 21st Century adaptation of that would read Kill Your Social Media.

I left Facebook over two years ago I think? I deleted my Twitter account a few months ago. I never had much use for Instagram or Snapchat because I'm not 19 years old. And TikTok seems to be the place where boredom goes to die in a flurry of 15 second videos. I really don't understand our fascination with it.

The reality is that social media has created a parallel reality where people feel free to say things to others that they would never say in a personal encounter. It's exposed the worst elements of human behavior, and it's tacitly endorsed that. People seem to reflexively insult each other instead of engaging in any kind of effort to understand one another. What an ugly way to behave.

It's not only Lamar Jackson who's complicit in this type of reactionary behavior, either. There are countless athletes, politicians, musicians and celebrities who get into these ridiculous back and forths online. It's not a good look.

Kill Your Social Media. You'll find it's really good for your mental and emotional health.

Steve of Pimlico     November 30
Nothing in my life will top US beating the Commies.Orioles winning WS in 66 and Ravens2012 SB run are 2nd and 3rd on my personal list of all time favorites.

MFC     November 30
Delray time and again tells you who he is, believe it.



Awesome game, ecstatic for the USA, if ( big if) they win the next one look out. The bars will be packed and people will be purchasing swag. It can ignite a country with excitement.



The Terps and Willard are on a roll. Willard is the real deal. The kids play hard all the time. Do that and you always have a chance. Amazing to watch these college games knowing full well the kids are getting hefty sums to play. The college coach is now coaching salaries, totally different atmosphere.




Chris K     November 30
There have been pretty big moments between 1980 and now that surpass getting out of the 1st round in 2022. the women winning in 1999 was AWESOME! Personally THAT is right up there with 1980! The 1994 mens team beating columbia to advance seemed much bigger than this. The original dream team was pretty special. IF they can win at least 1 game in the knockout THEN this will be a huge deal. Until then it's pretty far down the list.

Unitastoberry     November 30
What's the over/under on how many times the tv camera shows Watson's accusers on Sunday?

The US high school college hockey team beating the Russian pros in 1980 would be like St Francis beating KC in the Super Bowl.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 30
@ DELRAY RICK, Second on my list and so on, NBA Basketball, WBA Basketball, Ice Hockey, all the other sports I can tolerate watching.

TimD in Timonium     November 30
It was a GREAT win yesterday by USMNT. Boring game? Any of it? Felt more like riding a roller coaster. Tough task beating the Netherlands, we'll see. Congrats to a much-criticized defense that allowed just a single goal vs Wales, Iran, and England. Did not expect that.

David Rosenfeld     November 30
For what it's worth, KenPom suggests that Saint Louis (42) will win the Atlantic 10, and Miami (44) will finish 12-8 in the ACC. Early bracketology suggests that Miami is an at-large NCAA tournament team.

Of course we are 7 games into the season, so take that however you want to. And certainly these next 4 games are a true test and are very unlikely to all be wins, though it's good that only one of them is a road game.

I'd like to reiterate that I am not taking a veiled swipe at anyone basketball IQ.

Sunday
November 13, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3002


no one kneeling in baltimore


Good news, bad news.

First, the good news: The Flyers lost at home on Saturday to the lowly Ottawa Senators, 4-1.

I guess most of us would actually label that "great news" but the old saying is "I have good news and bad news, which do you want to hear first?"

So, we'll stick with "good news". The Flyers lost at home.

Otherwise known as: the Mona Lisa of sports pictures.

Anytime they lose it's good news (or, "great news", but -- well, never mind), but when they lose at home it's especially sweet. I just close my eyes and think about the thousands of sad people streaming out of the Wells Fargo Center with 3:54 left in the game when Ottawa scored into the empty net to close out the scoring at 4-1.

The fact that former Flyers star Claude Giroux returned to Philly with the Senators and had three assists in the win makes it even better. Apparently even Giroux can't stand the Flyers these days. You gotta love it.

The Caps and Flyers meet four times in the '22-23 campaign. The first of those get togethers comes on Thanksgiving Eve in D.C. I'll be unable to attend that one.

But the Caps and Flyers meet again a couple of weeks later in Philly, on Wednesday, December 7. That one...I'm thinking about seeing in person.

Anyone have an old Bobby Clarke hockey card laying around they no longer want?


And now for the bad news: We have another football-less Sunday in Bawlmer today, as the Ravens enjoy their bye week after disposing of New Orleans last Monday night.

I don't know this to be true but I assume it is: I'm guessing this is the first time ever, in the regular season, that the Ravens went three consecutive Sundays without playing. Yes? And even more interesting would be to see if any team has ever gone three straight Sundays without playing in the regular season.

I'm assuming it's happened somewhere along the way, just like it did with the Ravens. Maybe someone played a Thursday night game, didn't play the following Sunday and then played the next Monday after that? That would be three Sundays in a row. I'd bet it's happened at least once, if not more.

But it sure does feel weird to have another Sunday in Charm City without a game to watch.

The more you look at the Ravens and where they currently stand, the better you have to feel about their chances in the post-season. Right now they're 6-3 and have a cupcake schedule on the horizon, thanks in large part to the other AFC North teams being bad, lousy and basically average. In case you're wondering, in order, that's the Steelers, Browns and Bengals.

Allowing for one toe-stub somewhere along the way, this is a Ravens team pointing to a 13-4 record, with 12-5 being the absolute worst mark they should post. And that will get the AFC North crown with ease.

And depending on what happens with Josh Allen's elbow in Buffalo, the Ravens could still snag one of the top two seeds in the AFC.

Things sure have changed in the last three weeks, huh?


I made my way down to the football stadium yesterday for the Navy-Notre Dame game and nothing about the day was a disappointment, as the Midshipmen battled back from a 35-13 halftime decifit to lose 35-32.

By my eyes, I'd say it was 80-20 in favor of Notre Dame fans. The place was packed with green.

As it was a Navy home game, all of the pre-game pageantry was presented in full color. The field was lined with Midshipmen before the game, the American flag arrived via parachute and the traditional flyover was held just prior to kick-off.

No one was kneeling in Baltimore yesterday, which was great to see.

Respect for the service our U.S. Navy provides was the theme of the day. Just looking at the young men and women on the jumbo-tron and knowing our safety is partially in their hands made you feel good about the afternoon. The lengths the Midshipmen go to even get into the Naval Academy is jaw-dropping. And then to know they're the ones protecting us? It makes for a wonderful feeling and the football game becomes almost secondary.

One other thing did cross my mind yesterday while I was in the stadium and it had nothing to do with Navy-Notre Dame.

For the better part of 15 years, Calvert Hall and Loyola played their annual "Turkey Bowl" game on Thanksgiving Day at the downtown football stadium.

A while back, word came down from the Ravens that they were no longer willing to make the stadium available on Thanksgiving Day if the Ravens played at home either the next Sunday (three days) or the following Sunday, even. Keep in mind, the field paint wasn't changed for Calvert Hall-Loyola, unlike yesterday when the entire stadium was painted and done up with "NAVY" everywhere.

Anyway, with those stipulations in mind, it forced Calvert Hall and Loyola to look for an alternative site, which they found in Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Eventually, I think the Ravens just said, "You can't play here any longer..." and that was that.

But seeing Navy-Notre Dame yesterday made me ask the question: Why can they play a major college football game in the stadium on a Saturday and the Ravens play a home game eight days later on the following Sunday? That's not a problem?

Apparently it isn't a problem.

And, so, on Thanksgiving Day 2022, the annual Turkey Bowl will be played on the campus of Towson University. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, the Ravens are in Jacksonville. The next Sunday, December 4, they're home against Denver. The following two Sundays, they're away against Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

From Thanksgiving Day through December 18, there would be exactly TWO football games played in the stadium. One would be a high school game and one would be a NFL game.

I can't imagine the turf would be negatively impacted by those two games.

It's a shame the traditional Thanksgiving Day game can't be played in the city's premier football complex. In a lot of ways, the Ravens owe it to the community at large to open the stadium for that game or any other traditional rivalry game that's played on Thanksgiving Day.

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around the nfl


SEAHAWKS AT BUCCANEERS (GERMANY) -- The odds-makers must be watching a different league than the rest of us. Tampa Bay is FAVORED in this one? By 2.5 points? OK then. I guess they're figuring Tom Brady has to eventually become Tom Brady again. Or, even better, Geno Smith has to become Geno Smith again. Either way, Vegas thinks Tampa Bay wins by three points. I'm not so sure about that.

VIKINGS AT BILLS -- The "Josh Allen story" is the only thing that matters in this one. Does he play? Is he healthy? Can he go all 60 minutes if he does play? If he doesn't play or leaves early, can Case Keenum lead his new team over his old team? Meanwhile, Minnesota is prancing along at 7-1, albeit while playing an incredibly soft schedule. Their marquee win came in Miami and Tua wasn't around for that one. Buffalo's favored by 6.5 points, which tells me Vegas "thinks" Allen is going to play. Either way, 6.5 points seems like a lot to me. If the Bills wore their throwback helmets with the grazing Buffalo, this would be a blowout. Alas, they're not. So.....

LIONS AT BEARS -- Detroit's defense is gaining steam in an effort to have the worst season ever, statistically, and today's game in Chicago should definitely help their cause. Bears QB Justin Fields might become the first quarterback in league history to run for 200 yards and throw for 200 yards in the same game. It's curious that Chicago's only a 2.5 point favorite in this one. It feels like a game they might win 55-33. Fields is going to have -- wait for it -- a "Fields day" in this one. Sorry, I'll show myself out now.

Derrick Henry and the Titans should pile up the yards -- and points -- today vs. Denver.

BRONCOS AT TITANS -- Vegas is getting more weird by the minute. The Titans just took K.C. to overtime in K.C. on Sunday night and Denver stinks...and Tennessee is only a 2.5 point favorite? I don't get this one. I mean, I guess Russell Wilson could suddenly become Russell Wilson again, but I doubt it. And the Titans, despite last Sunday's loss to the Chiefs, look like they're starting to find their footing in the AFC playoff race. This smells like a Titans romp to me. But the guys in Vegas all have big swimming pools in their backyards and all I have is a patch of grass where I hit 10 yard chip shots to an old Mountain Branch flag I took from the cart barn 15 years ago.

JAGUARS AT CHIEFS -- OK, they finally got one right. K.C. is favored by 9.5 points in this one. I'm one of the folks who took a bath on my Jags stock in 2022. I thought they would be much better than they've displayed thus far. They can run the ball decently, which might keep them in this one today, but K.C. just has way too many offensive weapons to come up short this afternoon. (You just know Jacksonville's winning 22-21, right?).

BROWNS AT DOLPHINS -- I had to chuckle when I saw Miami was a 3.5 point favorite. Is that "per quarter"? I can see Miami winning each quarter by at least 4 points in this one. Cleveland stinks. There's no way their secondary can contain Tua and those wide receivers. And how's Cleveland going to score? Then again, the Browns took the Ravens down to the final 3 minutes a few weeks ago in Baltimore, so who knows? All the Browns are hoping for is to stay in the playoff race somehow until Deshaun Watson returns and then they might take flight down the stretch and get that happy ending they were hoping for when they signed the former Texans QB.

TEXANS AT GIANTS -- What's the single game rushing record in the NFL? Do you know off the top of your head? Well, there's a 60% chance Saquon Barkley smashes that mark today against the Texans. He has 779 yards in 8 games this season. He might rush for 350 today against Houston. The Giants will be 7-2 after today's throttling of the Texans. I still can't figure out how Houston ever loses a game wearing "those" helmets, but they do. It's amazing. (By the way, Adrian Peterson has the single game record at 296 yards).

SAINTS AT STEELERS -- This one should be a real doozy today up in the Steel City. Two awful teams, going nowhere, battling it out. I wish I had great seats for this one, don't you? In the ultimate slap in the face, the Steelers are actually one point underdogs today. My how the mighty have fallen. Remember all those "Stillers" fans who couldn't wait to see Big Ben hit the road? Well, this is what yinz get now. Lousy QB play and lousy football. Enjoy it.

COLTS AT RAIDERS -- Another thriller. Both teams entered the season thinking they were going to be good and both teams are pretty much terrible. Las Vegas has 2 wins this season. And they gave away a 17-0 lead last week in Jacksonville, you might remember. Indianapolis is in such turmoil they hired a color analyst who used to play for them to coach the team this week. It would be akin to the Ravens canning Harbaugh tomorrow and hiring Rod Woodson to coach them for the remainder of the season. The Raiders are 4-point favorites in this one, which says far more about Indy than Las Vegas, I can assure you.

COWBOYS AT PACKERS -- This is today's "Under the Hood" special. Is Dallas legit? Is Green Bay really that bad? We're going to know for sure today. Dallas is a 4-point road favorite in this one. Aaron Rodgers a 4-point home underdog? Dark days in Green Bay, for sure. A loss today to fall to 3-7 and A-Rod might pack it in for the season with a "back injury". He's not going to put himself out there in December in 10 degree temperatures with a 4-9 team. Come on now, we all know that.

CARDINALS AT RAMS -- What a dud this one is turning out to be. When you first looked at the schedule in April, you thought a mid-season clash between these two would be worth watching. Instead, they're both three games behind the Seahawks, of all teams. The Rams are favored by 2.5 points, but this is precisely the kind of game Arizona wins. They always lose the ones they shouldn't and win the ones they shouldn't.

CHARGERS AT 49'ERS -- This one will be worth watching tonight, as both teams desperately need a win. San Francisco is favored by 7.5 points over the injury riddled Chargers, who look a bit like the Cardinals. They win when they shouldn't and lose when they shouldn't. At the beginning of the season I had the 49'ers winning the Super Bowl, so you probably know where my rooting interests lie tonight.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 8 days to go


Team Profile –

8 - Portugal

Group: H

How they Qualified: Second in UEFA (Europe) qualification group; won playoff over

North Macedonia

Best World Cup Finish: 3rd - 1966

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $937M (4th)

FIFA Rank: 9

Odds to Win Group: -145

Odds to Advance: -650

Odds to Win Cup: +1400


Key Players:

Ruben Dias - Center Back - Manchester City (England Premier League)

Ronaldo - Striker - Manchester United (England Premier League)

Bruno Fernandes - Midfielder - Manchester United (England Premier League)


Playing Style and Outlook:

Portugal may be the most talent-loaded team in the tournament besides Brazil and France. They boast a bevy of players at all levels of the field playing for the top clubs in Europe. Despite their abundance of attacking talent, they tend to play a more defensive style. While they will control possession against weaker opposition, when they come against other top teams they generally take a more defensive approach and look for moments to counter punch.

This approach has largely served them well in international tournaments, helping them to win the 2016 Euro Championships and the 2019 UEFA Nations League. They also had the fewest goals conceded in the most recent UEFA Nations League competition this year. With their dynamic attacking group, they have been able to make the most of more limited possession.

They are capable of pressing effectively at strategic moments, in order to disrupt their opponents from playing out of the back, although this is usually less effective when the aging Ronaldo is leading the line.

When in attack, Portugal is able to play direct, with balls in behind to speedy wingers like Rafael Leao or Joao Felix, or build up through the lines with midfield technicians like Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes. They also deploy one of the most attack minded full back pairings in the Cup, with excellent technical players Raphael Guerreiro on the left and Joao Cancelo on the right.

With their plethora of talent, it is somewhat curious that Portugal takes such a pragmatic tactical approach. However, international tournaments tend to be scrappy affairs, with the teams most able to grind out wins the ones that advance. So while their approach may make them vulnerable to lesser teams, leaving less room for error, it can make them very dangerous in the knockout rounds and is one of the reasons they could make a deep run in Qatar.


Get to Know the US Team:

Jordan Morris - Forward

Baltimore Doppelganger - Jacoby Jones

Jordan Morris was one of the more surprising inclusions on the 26 man US World Cup roster. The Seattle Sounders attacker has been in and out of the team throughout qualifying, but did not have many significant contributions. Gregg Berhalter probably opted for Morris over players like Paul Arriola or Malik Tillman for one reason, speed.

Morris has an effective combination of size and speed, able to stretch the defense with the threat to get in behind and able to use his body to battle with defenders to win balls. He is not the most technical player on the ball, but he has shown the ability to be an effective crosser of the ball in MLS. He likely won’t be in any starting lineups unless there are a wave of injuries, but Morris will provide an option off the bench if the US is down and needs to try something different to score a goal.

He reminds me of former Ravens wide receiver and kick returner Jacoby Jones. Jones also possessed a dangerous combination of size and speed that made him an effective deep threat, most notably catching Flacco’s bomb in the Mile High Miracle game during the Super Bowl run. Jones had his limitations, which is why he never became a top receiving option, but like Morris, his speed and ability to take the top off the defense made him a dangerous weapon in the right situations.


Players to Watch:

8 - Pedri - Spain - Midfielder

The 19 year old Pedri is another of the young stars at this tournament with a chance to come home with the Best Young Player award. The Barcelona midfielder burst onto the scene in the 2021 Euro Championships, where he became the youngest player ever to play for Spain in that competition, at just 18 years old.

Pedri had a star-making performance in the semifinals of those Euros, dominating the midfield against eventual champions Italy. He barely put a foot wrong the whole game, completing an incredible 65 of 66 passes as the hub of the possession-heavy Spain attack. He has followed that up by becoming one of the key players in a new generation at Barcelona.

Along with the previous two players we covered, Jamal Musiala and Jude Bellingham, Pedri is part of the next wave of superstars in the game, who will get their first glimpse of the game’s biggest stage in Qatar.

As the heir apparent to Barcelona and Spain legend, Iniesta, Pedri has a more subtle style than the aforementioned Musiala. He is not as much of a goal threat, doing more of the dirty work further back in the field to get the ball into advantageous positions. He is more likely to set a teammate up for a goal than to score himself. Pedri is exceptional on the ball, with great intelligence to find pockets of space to exploit. Even at his young age he seems to always read the game two moves ahead.

He is equally adept at dribbling through opponents in midfield or unlocking the defense with his passing. He is also an underrated defensive presence, doing a lot of strong work battling and winning balls back for his team despite his slight frame.

This Spain team is integrating a new generation of players but they still like to dominate possession of the ball to try to break down their opponents. Pedri will undoubtedly be one of the key figures in their build up and attack. A strong tournament from him could mean a deep run for one of the tournament favorites.


Soccer Terminology 101:

Playing out of the back

This phrase describes the strategy of passing the ball through the defense instead of playing long balls to a target forward or over the top of the defense. It has become the default tactic for most top club teams in the world. It is especially noticeable on goal kicks where defenders will drop deep in their own end to receive passes from the goalie and then look to pass the ball through to the next line. If a team has the technical ability to implement this strategy it can allow them to more easily maintain possession and control the game.

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#dmd comments








Unitastoberry     December 04
If the Ravens lose today it's going to get very ugly. 🥸🤔

CIK     December 04
It’s almost like DF thinks he owns this site and doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But only a fool would complain about something this silly for the last 3 months. If only that BP dump website had a comments section…maybe the readers here wouldn’t have to deal with the silly banter. But the BP motto is “no phone calls & no comments”

larry     December 04
Haha, @MFC you know the answer to that question, this place is crawling with lemmings lol.

MFC     December 04
Creative accounting, must be an investor in FTX, last week. The total was 7-5 not 10-2. If you know what I mean.



We're now back to charting wins and losses, again I ask what happened, that's an incredible transformation this year. The site owner goes from no charting the bets, no mention of w-l's and disclaimers to full blown, "locks of the week" and yearly stats that we're asked to accept at face value. And the DMD doesn't think an explanation is necessary? Really? Wouldn't you like your messiah to discuss that change or do you continue to be the lemmings of the site and just accept anything that comes down from on high. If you know what I mean.

Steve of Pimlico     December 03
O's sign a cheaper version of Jordon Lyles and save 4- 5 million dollars.Is this their dip into free agency?

Sold my last 2 PSls yesterday at a small profit because if the Ravens don't sign Lamar the PSL market will crater.My unsolicited advice to Lamar is for him to take a seat and get real representation.

Eric in Gaithersburg     December 03
Can already hear Os fans whining and i get it, Angelos crew has earned no trust but its Dec 3rd and all teams add to the bottom of roster, plus entire point of having analytics crew is finding guys us normal people think stink that actually don't. Wait till Mar 1st to judge offseason then commence whining. Theyve stated repeatedly that #1 starter, middle of order bat and quality backup C are their priorities. They dont back up the talk then they will get rightfully ripped

alexi     December 03
"sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing" which was possible cause key players decided at the worst time to stop playing D.

DMD called for this Reyna guy the whole tourney, then today says now he can see why his PT was limited. Hmmm, perhaps the actual coach of the team knows more than the voices sitting at home watching on TV. Go figure

Chris in Bel Air     December 03
@TimD you are correct. That first goal by the Dutch was a sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing. That was a cleat of reality to the US.

That was an exciting and entertaining win by the Terps last night. Looks like this season is shaping up to be way above my initial expectations.

I see Lamar apologized for the tweet. I really liked his candor in his discussions of it and that is why so many people like him. One related note to that discussion, Lamar stated "I feel like you should be bitter after a loss. No smiles. I feel like the fans should be mad we lost, too. But not mad at us. We tried." Too often, fans seem to think the players don't care about losing as much as they, the fan do. That certainly isn't the case. They want to win and, as much as it sucks as a fan watching them lose, it is way worse for them as a player and a coach.

Howard     December 03
44-15 as a Ravens starter; big problem is his 1-3 playoff record. He needs to come up big in the playoffs.

TimD in Timonium     December 03
The Dutch are GOOD. Too much talent and experience today. Great USA run.

unitastoberry     December 03
Lamars final grades for year 5 are not out until the end of week 17 and maybe the playoffs. Lets revisit then.

Josh     December 03
Great win for the Terps!



Excellent soccer coverage here, keep up the good work!

Ray Ray     December 03
howard; wins what? in High school? 3 years at Louisville? five years in nfl? what miracle do expect to happen to change what has always happened?

Howard     December 02
44-15. Say what you want but the guy wins

Stats Nerd     December 02
@Fish...Cleveland? Depending on what metrics you look at they are generally in exactly the same spot as BAL in receiving. KC, BUF, MIA, CIN, SF are the highest rated passing groups followed by PHI, SEA, LV and DAL.

Baltimore is pretty much mid tier passing team if you look at various metrics. Some they might be as high 12th or as low as 18th. Cleveland same.



There are teams that have positive efficiency running the ball in the league: PHI, BAL, CHI, CLE, and ATL. There are 3-ish others that are efficiency nuetral running: NYG, DAl and PIT

Fish     December 02
Does that Henry guy follow the NFL?



Miami has 3 high quality pass catchers. I'm guessing Drew is counting TE's. Kansas City has 3. Cincinnati has 3. If Waller is healthy there's an argument the Raiders have 3. Cleveland might even have 3.

TimD in Timnoium     December 02
The problem with being a one-man show both on and off the field is that it gets overwhelming. @DF points out, Lamar takes ALL the heat. Does he alone get all the glory with a Super Bowl win or a giant, guaranteed contact? Well, maybe. But that's a lot of crap to handle in the meantime.



Think how much easier THIS exchange would be. Reporter - "Hey, Lamar, how's the contract coming along? Lamar - "I dunno, man. I'm only thinking about beating the Broncos."



Boom. EASY.


henry     December 02
"three or four high quality pass catchers" How many teams have this?? I'll give you a hint - zero lol.

Lamar is definitely "off" this year. Some may be injuries, but from the cheap seats, I think he feels restricted by the coaching staff. The voices around him are all saying "just go ball man" and G-Ro and Harbs say "do it our way, it will work". Then it works maybe one out of 10 times.

I am sure Lamar wants to win games, but he also wants to be on SC Top 10 every week. He's clearly frustrated. Is it ego, or money? Or both? But the big question is, who is pushing 100% guarantee? Is that really him, or the NFLPA, or his "people"??

@David is right, the results have not been as bad as the perception, but Chris in B is also right, Lamar is a different guy this year.

It might boil down to which would the Ravens regret more, not signing him, or signing him?

David Rosenfeld     December 02
You know, it's fine to talk about Lamar's play, his future, his maturity, etc. It's fine if you want him around forever, or if you'd rather that not happen.

I just keep coming back to the fact that this team, this year, has played 660 minutes of football and has been behind less than 10 percent of the time. I can't say exactly what that says about Lamar Jackson, but it sure isn't negative.

joe of bel air     December 02
I hope the Ravens move on from Lamar after this season. His passing stats will never resemble those of Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and others. Defensive coordinators have seen LaMar for 5 years and a lot have figured out the best way to defend him, look what Jacksonville and Carolina did. The fact is Lamar is an outstanding runner and a mediocre passer. Look at Can Newton's career. He is only 33 years old,won an MVP award and his career has been over for the last 3 years. The fact is running QBs don't last very long in the NFL and that is what Lamar is, a running QB. I think the Ravens have gotten all they could out of Lamar and would be wise to move on. Trade him for some draft picks and see what Huntley can do in 2023.

Chris in Bel Air     December 02
"Here was a time when Jackson was just a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie in the league. "Just happy to be there", so to speak.

That Lamar is gone. Long gone. The business side of the league has changed Lamar, in the same way it would likely change anyone in their mid-20's who is sitting on a pot of gold."

There's no doubt in my view, as the avg fan, Lamar seems different this year. His demeanor in the games and sidelines aren't as enthusiastic. His press conferences and sound bites are drier and more canned. Some of this is maturity and understanding he's about to be asked the same ol' questions over and over. But I think a lot of it is the contract and money weighing on him. He's playing a game of poker and he's trying not to tip his hand. If I had to bet one way or the other, and Lamar was 100% candid, I think he believes there are forces holding him back: Lack of WRs. Play calling. The schemes. His D giving up game winning scores in the last seconds. And, certainly his own mistakes. Like many are saying, he's betting on himself and it's not panning out, so far, like he believed it would.

With that said, I would want him back as the Ravens QB but at the right price that allows the Ravens to be competitive. He is a sensational athlete and good QB. To answer Drew's question, Lamar is way better when he has success running the ball and passing (e,g., 85 yds rushing and 235 yds passing). He just doesn't thrive dropping back most of the game... and of course we can talk endlessly about why that is.

K.C.     December 02
Anyone have details on Nestor getting kicked off Twitter? Please tell!

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Memo to Lamar. Love ya, man, but it's time to grow up. Hire an agent. Add a PR team. And delete Twitter from your phone. You'll be much happier.

Unitastoberry     December 02
Drew you just pulled a Howard Cosell with your December 2022 analysis of Lamar compared to 2019 Lamar. He bet on himself and as of today he's losing. Now with football being the ultimate team sport his defense isn't helping him either. His social media antics are childish. But then most people his age take to Tic Tock etc and do stupid stuff that gets monetized rather than get a part time service job etc. He has 6 games for the guarantee money Lamar to show up and pull a Frank Robinson or John Unitas move and put the team on his shoulders to raise the Lombardi.It was his bet not Steve's.

Hal     December 02
Agree with @Herman. Top drawer edition of The Dish today. Well done everyone involved!!

JP     December 02
It's amazing we can't get a column about Lamar in the Baltimore Sun like the one in DMD today.

Any update on G-Ro going to Stanford? What are the streets saying DF?

Delray RICK     December 02
RAVENS just can't get a top receiver nomatter what. Looking at stats we are nowhere to be found. ANDREWS was but after being hurt not in top 10. Looking at other teams so many are " burners". We have them run 10 yards and that's it.

Herman     December 02
I've taken a sabbatical from posting but I'll give kudos to the site owner on today's publication. Chock full of good material.

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Quick follow-up from yesterday, thank you @DF for the Rob Ambrose update. I hope, no expect, he'll move on to bigger and better things. He did a great job at Towson for a long time. I can still remember his weekly updates in-season on your morning radio show. Loved his insights. And his passion. Might have made some of us better rec league coaches. Made me a better person, I'm sure of that. Good guy.

JoeP     December 02
Radio Mogul suspended from Twitter?

He's finally done it..."Made it Ma, Top of the World''. But much like Cody Jenson(James Cagney in White Heat), he's standing on a huge tank of gasoline.

Recently he had a conversation with another unknown "sportswriter" and they talked about Springsteen. In that non linear jumble he stated

1. He's best friends with Nils Lofgren

2. He's been backstage with the Springsteen group "dozens of times". And turned down numerous chances for more back stage access.

3. Can't access tickets to the shows, except in Southern Cities where they ''hate Bruce".



The obvious inconsistencies are never addressed.

1. Best friends with Nils? "I haven't talked with him for years".

2. 100%...that he would turn down back stage access? No way, big time Adderall fueled lie

3. So a promoter would play in cities that were hard to sell? Facts are the tour is sold out.

4. And why is he worried about getting in? One phone call to his best friend, he's back stage every night.

Maybe Nils reported him to Twitter for "misinformation". How will this affect his 100k imprints/day social media claims?



We need water Gunga Din(MFC), bring it to us.

Billy     December 01
Mr Positive got suspended from Twitter lol. And he's been on his high horse about Lamar being profane? Perhaps @MFC has an explanation.

Ken     December 01
I am new to the area and just found the Morning Dish (not a native of Baltimore or Maryland) and must say I'm very impressed with the daily articles and such.



Who is Drew (does he have a byline?)? As for the other writers who have staff positions at the web site, kudos on a job well done.



There's nothing like this in my hometown (Denver) and I'm glad I discovered it.



I think your Ravens will have an easy go of it with my Broncos on Sunday. I'll be there to witness the carnage.

MFC     December 01
Ambrose got a raw deal. The new AD wants his "own" man, many times that doesn't work out either. It would only be fitting given the President of TU is leaving for the Un of Louisville (wonder if she attended the game the other night) that the new President take the same approach and cans the AD.What goes around comes around.

JeffWell     December 01
@David R: I agree 100%. Lamar would truly benefit from some professional guidance. I wonder if he feels that he doesn't need that kind of assistance or if it just a case of keeping the money in the family.



MFC: Why on earth are you aiming a comment towards me? I guess I was next on your list of things to say to people. You never run out of those types of comments.

Do you really believe that a "schoolgirl choir" is a negative thing. Wow, another far left sexist/misogynist. You really can't make this stuff up.

David Rosenfeld     December 01
Lamar is an interesting case because he doesn't have anyone who is helping him establish his "brand." We all know about the (lack of) professional help when it comes to his business affairs, etc. Clearly social media is part of it.

At this point, Lamar really is very authentic. He's not Cal Ripken or Peyton Manning, or any athlete/entertainer whose entire existence seems dedicated to protecting and projecting an image. I admire that...he truly is a guy whose play on the field speaks for him.

At the same time, I do think that Lamar has seemed immature this year, even as he approaches 26 years old with 4 1/2 seasons as the team's starting QB. The Ravens could use a leader, not just a uniquely talented QB, and he's not there.

sammy     December 01
Great post by Stats Nerd today. Social media is oft maligned, deservedly so, but as he points out today, there's a ton of positives as well. We've likened DMD and its comments section to "people at a bar", and social media is the same. One night you might run into a drunk who is a total jerk and full of BS opinions, and you can't get away fast enough. Next time you might come across someone who has been somewhere you are planning to go and is nice enough to share some insights into what to do and not do there. Or someone with well thought out opinions on topics that interest you, and you chat all night long.

Now the challenge is, can we weed out the bad and keep only the good?

Unfortunately, like with most things in our world, the answer is no. You gotta take the bad with the good. But just like you can leave a bar, you can choose to partake (or not) in social media on your own terms. Closing all the bars would be an insane solution to eliminating ***holes in bars lol. Great column Stats Nerd.

Unitastoberry     December 01
I've been following the ascent of Deion Sanders as head coach at Jackson State. It's rather amazing what's he's done there in 3 years including COVID and him almost losing his entire foot. He's a recruiting machine and he hires old NFL players and coaches for the x and O's. But on the field he's tough in practice and strict on discipline. Not what you might expect from Prime who used to hang with gang bangers etc in his youth. I'd love to see him stay at Jackson State leave the SWAC and go independent. He can steal guys from Saban and Harbaugh etc every day . I'd fire the guy at Maryland in a second to hire Prime.

Fred M     December 01
I have a question for the mailbag.



Was the girl that watched the 1980 Olympic Hockey game the Girlfriend that you stole from Monk or Herman? Or was it some other critic?

MFC     November 30
@Jeffwell, you must be seeking a solo in the "schoolgirl choir" concert.

Jeffwell     November 30
Ravens need to sharpen up their offense and 4th quarter D, if they expect to win their division. If not, even with a relatively easy schedule, they may find themselves on the outside looking in.



I don't think Delray is the only one, "who time and time again tells us who he is". I mean "Pot, meet kettle." Wow. At least he doesn't seem to have an agenda to push.

Chris in Bel Air     November 30
Awesome win for the USMNT but nothing to the level of the hockey's team's win over the Ruskies and eventual win over Finland for the gold medal. This soccer team will need to go beat Brazil (assuming they would face them at some point after NETH) and win the Cup before we can have that conversation.

@Such - Completely agree. I never had a social media account and never will. I will take your thoughts a step further. Given the misinformation posted and the enabling of the worst social behaviors of people, I'm not sure there is a net benefit to society from social media. Sure, businesses can grow from it and people can see pics of loved ones and friends from a far. But, the negatives are so prominent, I don't believe the good outweighs the bad.

Looking forward to see how the Terps b-ball team fares against some real teams. They have checked all the boxes presented to them so far.

kj     November 30
Amen Such, well said.

Such     November 30
I recall a bumper sticker from years ago that read Kill Your Television. The 21st Century adaptation of that would read Kill Your Social Media.

I left Facebook over two years ago I think? I deleted my Twitter account a few months ago. I never had much use for Instagram or Snapchat because I'm not 19 years old. And TikTok seems to be the place where boredom goes to die in a flurry of 15 second videos. I really don't understand our fascination with it.

The reality is that social media has created a parallel reality where people feel free to say things to others that they would never say in a personal encounter. It's exposed the worst elements of human behavior, and it's tacitly endorsed that. People seem to reflexively insult each other instead of engaging in any kind of effort to understand one another. What an ugly way to behave.

It's not only Lamar Jackson who's complicit in this type of reactionary behavior, either. There are countless athletes, politicians, musicians and celebrities who get into these ridiculous back and forths online. It's not a good look.

Kill Your Social Media. You'll find it's really good for your mental and emotional health.

Steve of Pimlico     November 30
Nothing in my life will top US beating the Commies.Orioles winning WS in 66 and Ravens2012 SB run are 2nd and 3rd on my personal list of all time favorites.

MFC     November 30
Delray time and again tells you who he is, believe it.



Awesome game, ecstatic for the USA, if ( big if) they win the next one look out. The bars will be packed and people will be purchasing swag. It can ignite a country with excitement.



The Terps and Willard are on a roll. Willard is the real deal. The kids play hard all the time. Do that and you always have a chance. Amazing to watch these college games knowing full well the kids are getting hefty sums to play. The college coach is now coaching salaries, totally different atmosphere.




Chris K     November 30
There have been pretty big moments between 1980 and now that surpass getting out of the 1st round in 2022. the women winning in 1999 was AWESOME! Personally THAT is right up there with 1980! The 1994 mens team beating columbia to advance seemed much bigger than this. The original dream team was pretty special. IF they can win at least 1 game in the knockout THEN this will be a huge deal. Until then it's pretty far down the list.

Unitastoberry     November 30
What's the over/under on how many times the tv camera shows Watson's accusers on Sunday?

The US high school college hockey team beating the Russian pros in 1980 would be like St Francis beating KC in the Super Bowl.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 30
@ DELRAY RICK, Second on my list and so on, NBA Basketball, WBA Basketball, Ice Hockey, all the other sports I can tolerate watching.

TimD in Timonium     November 30
It was a GREAT win yesterday by USMNT. Boring game? Any of it? Felt more like riding a roller coaster. Tough task beating the Netherlands, we'll see. Congrats to a much-criticized defense that allowed just a single goal vs Wales, Iran, and England. Did not expect that.

David Rosenfeld     November 30
For what it's worth, KenPom suggests that Saint Louis (42) will win the Atlantic 10, and Miami (44) will finish 12-8 in the ACC. Early bracketology suggests that Miami is an at-large NCAA tournament team.

Of course we are 7 games into the season, so take that however you want to. And certainly these next 4 games are a true test and are very unlikely to all be wins, though it's good that only one of them is a road game.

I'd like to reiterate that I am not taking a veiled swipe at anyone basketball IQ.

Saturday
November 12, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3001


saturday stuff


I'm heading to the football stadium in Baltimore today to see Navy and Notre Dame tangle.

In most places, I see it billed as "Notre Dame and Navy". I refer to it as Navy vs. Notre Dame because it was Navy who first helped Notre Dame, not the other way around.

Navy, as it turns out, should always receive top billing when they face their opponent from South Bend.

Have you ever wondered why Notre Dame plays Navy in football every year?

Did you assume it was just to pick up an automatic win?

I figure that's what most people assume. Sure, every once in a while the Midshipmen will stun the Irish with a victory of their own, but Notre Dame owns a lifetime record of 80-13-1 in the series. Before Navy's stirring 3 OT win in 2007, the Irish beat our friends in Annapolis 43 consecutive times.

But Notre Dame plays Navy for reasons other than trying to gobble up an automatic win.

They owe Navy. Big time.

Notre Dame, like many U.S. colleges, faced severe financial difficulties during World War II, which were exacerbated by the fact that it was then still an all-male institution. The U.S. Navy made Notre Dame a training center for V-12 candidates and paid enough for usage of the facilities to keep the University afloat.

Notre Dame has since extended an open invitation for Navy to play the Irish in football and considers the game annual repayment on a debt of honor.

So while Notre Dame is favored to win by 15.5 points today, the game means much more to the institutions than just a score and a result. If it wasn't for the U.S. Navy stepping in and helping out in World II, there might not be a football game today or a college in South Bend, Indiana.

I'll be attending today's game with some friends from the Archdiocese of Baltimore. You can imagine which team they're rooting for this afternoon.


For the first time in forever, I'm expecting the Orioles to be spenders in the free agent market this winter. If they don't gobble up a coveted free agent or two before spring training, I think everyone has the right to be upset.

But who?

Well, I think that answer is fairly easy.

Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox could be on the O's list of potential free-agent signings this winter.

There are four prominent shortstops available on the market. The Orioles should sign one of them. I'd go as far as saying they "must" sign one of them.

Xander Bogaerts (age 30) -- Career 162 game average: 20 HR, 88 RBI, .292 batting average

Dansby Swanson (age 29) -- Career 162 game average: 20 HR, 81 RBI, .255 batting average

Carlos Correa (age 28) -- Career 162 game average: 28 HR, 101 RBI, .279 batting average

Trea Turner (age 29) -- Career 162 game average: 24 HR, 83 RBI, .302 batting average

Pick one. Any of them. And sign one of them.

Lots of things are working in the O's favor this winter. They have money to spend, for starters. And they're a team on the upswing, for sure, which should be attractive any of those four.

The only small negative could be the left-field-wall situation in Camden Yards. A savvy agent might steer his (right handed hitting) client away from Baltimore thinking that his home run totals could diminish if he winds up hitting 81 games in OPACY.

But that's part of the risk involved with leaving the comforts of your current club. Bogaerts, for example, will go from Fenway Park to OPACY. That's a huge difference. But no matter where he goes, Bogaerts will have to overcome leaving the cozy confines of Fenway.

Me, personally? I'd go after either Turner or Correa.

But I'd take any of the four, obviously.

All I know is the Orioles are *this close* to being a legit contender in the American League. They need a real shortstop, one that can hit for average and power. Now...they need to go get one.


Bruce Springsteen's new album dropped yesterday and it's been mostly received well by the critics. In case you don't know, Bruce's 21st studio album -- Only The Strong Survive -- is actually an entire album of soul and R&B covers from various artists that have inspired Springsteen throughout his career.

A few folks of national prominence didn't care for it but the majority of the national reviews have been favorable. Perhaps some of the critics were a tad lenient because they didn't want to hurt The Boss's feelings.

Personally, I don't even count the new effort as a true Bruce Springsteen album. It's not his work, after all. Every song was written and previously recorded by someone else. It's just Bruce putting his own spin on it and recreating it the way he thinks it should sound.

If you're thinking I'm giving it a thumbs-down, that's probably right. I think Bruce "sounds" great on the album. Vocally, this might be the best his voice has come across since the "Magic" album in 2007. In the various late night interviews he's been doing over the last two weeks to promote the album's unveiling, he mentions over and over how he wanted his voice to carry the record this time around.

And, so, I'll give him credit for that. Bruce's voice and range sounds good on this album. He won that battle with himself.

I've noted here before that I understand why Springsteen is taking this opportunity to record an album like Only The Strong Survive. He's 73 years old. He's been making music since the early 1970's. He's one of the most successful recording artists in the history of music. He has more money than he'll ever need, his kids will ever need and their kids will ever need.

So, at this point, he probably just wants to do what he wants to do. If it flops and he loses a million bucks, who cares? If it flops and no one downloads it, who cares? When you're the guy who wrote Born To Run, everything after that is pretty much icing on the cake, I guess.

Sure, Bruce could have written a new album of his own words and music. I'm guessing he has another one or two of those left in the tank before he calls it quits at some point this decade. Now, though, he wants to record an album of soul and R&B covers and that's what he's going to do.

I get it.

But it's just not "Bruce Springsteen" the way I've come to know him over the last 50 years. I want to hear Bruce singing songs that he wrote and organized musically. I don't want to hear him doing other people's stuff.

It's also fair to point out that I largely feel the same way about other musical acts that I greatly admire. Dave Matthews has a number of covers they perform in concert; All Along The Watchtower, Sledgehammer and, most recently, Led Zeppelin's Fool In The Rain. The Zeppelin song, in fact, is one of my Top 10 favorites by that band.

But I don't want to go to a Dave Matthews Band concert to hear them cover a Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix tune. I'd rather hear them play Idea of You or You Never Know, two of of my favorites they rarely play live these days. I barely liked Sledgehammer when Peter Gabriel did it. I don't like it at all when Dave Matthews does it.

So, it's not just Springsteen doing covers that I don't care for all that much. It's anyone covering another artist's song.

It's here, by the way, where I'll acknowledge that for some weird reason, Van Halen covering other people's music always "felt" different to me. And I don't know why. But that's another story for another day.

Anyway, Springsteen's new album is out and old people like me might appreciate some of the risks Bruce takes on a number of the old tunes by Doby Gray, Diana Ross and The Commodores.

Here's the video from the song "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)", originally done by Frank Wilson in 1965.



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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 9 days to go


Team Profile –

9 - Belgium

Group: F

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: 3rd - 2018

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $543M (8th)

FIFA Rank: 2

Odds to Win Group: -190

Odds to Advance: -750

Odds to Win Cup: +1600


Key Players:

Kevin De Bruyne - Midfielder - Manchester City (England Premier League)

Thibaut Courtois - Goalie - Real Madrid (Spain La Liga)

Romelu Lukaku - Striker - Inter Milan (Italy Serie A)


Playing Style and Outlook:

Belgium lines up in a 3-4-2-1 formation with Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard playing behind a striker (usually Lukaku) on the front line. They use aggressive attack minded wingbacks to help create numbers in attack. The Belgians tend to dominate possession and try to use ball movement to pull the defense apart and create chances around the box.

In attack they look to get the ball into the feet of playmakers De Bruyne and Hazard to play the final ball. When Lukaku is healthy they will look to get it forward to him in the channels between defenders to stretch the back line. In De Bruyne, they have one of the most creative passers of a generation, who is capable of unlocking a defense from anywhere on the field.

Defensively Belgium will press strategically in moments but are not as aggressive as several of the other top contenders. They rely on a veteran back line to keep the team organized defensively.

This tournament represents the last hurrah for what has been called the golden generation of Belgian players, comprising talents such as De Bruyne, Hazard, Lukaku, Alderweireld, Courtois and Vertonghen. That group produced a great run in the 2018 World Cup, falling just short of the final and winning third place.

They return the core of that team to Qatar in hopes they can recapture that magic. That brings pros and cons as their aging back line is a bit of a concern heading into this competition. They have been better at scoring goals than preventing them and that is often not a great formula at a World Cup. They will heavily rely on the outstanding Courtois in goal to provide the last line of defense and perhaps win them a game they don’t deserve.

The one big question mark for this team is the health of Romelu Lukaku. The dynamic striker has missed nearly the whole season for Inter Milan, but they hope he can get back up to speed to help lead their attack.


Get to Know the US Team:

Kellyn Acosta

Baltimore Doppelganger - Caleb Joseph

Kellyn Acosta will head to Qatar with the US team as the main backup to defensive midfielder Tyler Adams. After rising to prominence as a young player for FC Dallas, Acosta worked his way into the national team picture in 2016 but dropped off the radar for a long period before he was brought back in by Gregg Berhalter to deputize for Adams.

He has served as an adequate replacement in that role when Adams has been unavailable but has failed to impress when played at other midfield spots. He does bring the ability to hit dangerous free kicks, as displayed on his goal in the MLS Final last week.

Acosta reminds me of former Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph. Like Acosta, Joseph’s role on the team was to provide a reliable backup option to one of the star players on the team, Matt Wieters. Each of these players is capable of filling in the role temporarily and keeping the ship from running aground, but you wouldn’t want to rely on them for a longer term.

Joseph was able to fill in and play solid defense when Wieters was rested or missing with an injury, but he didn’t provide nearly the ceiling with the bat that Wieters did. Acosta has decent range to cover defensively and can pass the ball well at times from the base of midfield, but there is a clear dropoff from the unique abilities that Adams possesses.


Players to Watch:

9 - Jamal Musiala - Germany - Midfielder

This is another of the players that will be vying for the Best Young Player award at the World Cup. The 19 year old Musiala has broken out as a star attacker for Bayern Munich over the past year. Born to German and Nigerian parents, Musiala grew up in England playing in Chelsea’s youth system and was eligible for both England and German national teams.

He moved to Bayern Munich in 2019 and ultimately opted to represent Germany on the international stage. This season he has not only been one of the best young players in the league, but arguably the best midfielder regardless of age. He has a versatile skill set, able to play in tight spaces in midfield, collect the ball in between the lines, or attack defenders one on one from the wings.

His game is somewhat reminiscent of his Bayern and Germany teammate, Thomas Muller. In addition to his playmaking abilities, this season he has found a goal scoring touch, netting nine goals so far in the Bundesliga campaign, leading Bayern and good for third in the league.

For Germany he could line up as a winger or as a more attack minded central midfielder to pair with the more defensive Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan. He will be a threat to both create and score goals and is another player who could exit the tournament a household name with a breakout performance.


Soccer Terminology 101:

Low Block/Bunker

A low block in soccer is a defensive strategy where the team focuses on defending the final third of their end of the field. The team will drop nine or even ten defenders back behind the ball in order to remain compact and reduce the space the opposition has to work with in attack.

The back line positions itself deep to prevent room to run in behind, forcing the opponent to work the ball through the lines or hit crosses into a packed box. The tactic is often used by teams that are heavy underdogs, to make it difficult for the opposition to score while they look for momentary lapses to attack on the counter.

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#dmd comments








Unitastoberry     December 04
If the Ravens lose today it's going to get very ugly. 🥸🤔

CIK     December 04
It’s almost like DF thinks he owns this site and doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But only a fool would complain about something this silly for the last 3 months. If only that BP dump website had a comments section…maybe the readers here wouldn’t have to deal with the silly banter. But the BP motto is “no phone calls & no comments”

larry     December 04
Haha, @MFC you know the answer to that question, this place is crawling with lemmings lol.

MFC     December 04
Creative accounting, must be an investor in FTX, last week. The total was 7-5 not 10-2. If you know what I mean.



We're now back to charting wins and losses, again I ask what happened, that's an incredible transformation this year. The site owner goes from no charting the bets, no mention of w-l's and disclaimers to full blown, "locks of the week" and yearly stats that we're asked to accept at face value. And the DMD doesn't think an explanation is necessary? Really? Wouldn't you like your messiah to discuss that change or do you continue to be the lemmings of the site and just accept anything that comes down from on high. If you know what I mean.

Steve of Pimlico     December 03
O's sign a cheaper version of Jordon Lyles and save 4- 5 million dollars.Is this their dip into free agency?

Sold my last 2 PSls yesterday at a small profit because if the Ravens don't sign Lamar the PSL market will crater.My unsolicited advice to Lamar is for him to take a seat and get real representation.

Eric in Gaithersburg     December 03
Can already hear Os fans whining and i get it, Angelos crew has earned no trust but its Dec 3rd and all teams add to the bottom of roster, plus entire point of having analytics crew is finding guys us normal people think stink that actually don't. Wait till Mar 1st to judge offseason then commence whining. Theyve stated repeatedly that #1 starter, middle of order bat and quality backup C are their priorities. They dont back up the talk then they will get rightfully ripped

alexi     December 03
"sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing" which was possible cause key players decided at the worst time to stop playing D.

DMD called for this Reyna guy the whole tourney, then today says now he can see why his PT was limited. Hmmm, perhaps the actual coach of the team knows more than the voices sitting at home watching on TV. Go figure

Chris in Bel Air     December 03
@TimD you are correct. That first goal by the Dutch was a sensational sequence of passing, technical skills and finishing. That was a cleat of reality to the US.

That was an exciting and entertaining win by the Terps last night. Looks like this season is shaping up to be way above my initial expectations.

I see Lamar apologized for the tweet. I really liked his candor in his discussions of it and that is why so many people like him. One related note to that discussion, Lamar stated "I feel like you should be bitter after a loss. No smiles. I feel like the fans should be mad we lost, too. But not mad at us. We tried." Too often, fans seem to think the players don't care about losing as much as they, the fan do. That certainly isn't the case. They want to win and, as much as it sucks as a fan watching them lose, it is way worse for them as a player and a coach.

Howard     December 03
44-15 as a Ravens starter; big problem is his 1-3 playoff record. He needs to come up big in the playoffs.

TimD in Timonium     December 03
The Dutch are GOOD. Too much talent and experience today. Great USA run.

unitastoberry     December 03
Lamars final grades for year 5 are not out until the end of week 17 and maybe the playoffs. Lets revisit then.

Josh     December 03
Great win for the Terps!



Excellent soccer coverage here, keep up the good work!

Ray Ray     December 03
howard; wins what? in High school? 3 years at Louisville? five years in nfl? what miracle do expect to happen to change what has always happened?

Howard     December 02
44-15. Say what you want but the guy wins

Stats Nerd     December 02
@Fish...Cleveland? Depending on what metrics you look at they are generally in exactly the same spot as BAL in receiving. KC, BUF, MIA, CIN, SF are the highest rated passing groups followed by PHI, SEA, LV and DAL.

Baltimore is pretty much mid tier passing team if you look at various metrics. Some they might be as high 12th or as low as 18th. Cleveland same.



There are teams that have positive efficiency running the ball in the league: PHI, BAL, CHI, CLE, and ATL. There are 3-ish others that are efficiency nuetral running: NYG, DAl and PIT

Fish     December 02
Does that Henry guy follow the NFL?



Miami has 3 high quality pass catchers. I'm guessing Drew is counting TE's. Kansas City has 3. Cincinnati has 3. If Waller is healthy there's an argument the Raiders have 3. Cleveland might even have 3.

TimD in Timnoium     December 02
The problem with being a one-man show both on and off the field is that it gets overwhelming. @DF points out, Lamar takes ALL the heat. Does he alone get all the glory with a Super Bowl win or a giant, guaranteed contact? Well, maybe. But that's a lot of crap to handle in the meantime.



Think how much easier THIS exchange would be. Reporter - "Hey, Lamar, how's the contract coming along? Lamar - "I dunno, man. I'm only thinking about beating the Broncos."



Boom. EASY.


henry     December 02
"three or four high quality pass catchers" How many teams have this?? I'll give you a hint - zero lol.

Lamar is definitely "off" this year. Some may be injuries, but from the cheap seats, I think he feels restricted by the coaching staff. The voices around him are all saying "just go ball man" and G-Ro and Harbs say "do it our way, it will work". Then it works maybe one out of 10 times.

I am sure Lamar wants to win games, but he also wants to be on SC Top 10 every week. He's clearly frustrated. Is it ego, or money? Or both? But the big question is, who is pushing 100% guarantee? Is that really him, or the NFLPA, or his "people"??

@David is right, the results have not been as bad as the perception, but Chris in B is also right, Lamar is a different guy this year.

It might boil down to which would the Ravens regret more, not signing him, or signing him?

David Rosenfeld     December 02
You know, it's fine to talk about Lamar's play, his future, his maturity, etc. It's fine if you want him around forever, or if you'd rather that not happen.

I just keep coming back to the fact that this team, this year, has played 660 minutes of football and has been behind less than 10 percent of the time. I can't say exactly what that says about Lamar Jackson, but it sure isn't negative.

joe of bel air     December 02
I hope the Ravens move on from Lamar after this season. His passing stats will never resemble those of Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and others. Defensive coordinators have seen LaMar for 5 years and a lot have figured out the best way to defend him, look what Jacksonville and Carolina did. The fact is Lamar is an outstanding runner and a mediocre passer. Look at Can Newton's career. He is only 33 years old,won an MVP award and his career has been over for the last 3 years. The fact is running QBs don't last very long in the NFL and that is what Lamar is, a running QB. I think the Ravens have gotten all they could out of Lamar and would be wise to move on. Trade him for some draft picks and see what Huntley can do in 2023.

Chris in Bel Air     December 02
"Here was a time when Jackson was just a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie in the league. "Just happy to be there", so to speak.

That Lamar is gone. Long gone. The business side of the league has changed Lamar, in the same way it would likely change anyone in their mid-20's who is sitting on a pot of gold."

There's no doubt in my view, as the avg fan, Lamar seems different this year. His demeanor in the games and sidelines aren't as enthusiastic. His press conferences and sound bites are drier and more canned. Some of this is maturity and understanding he's about to be asked the same ol' questions over and over. But I think a lot of it is the contract and money weighing on him. He's playing a game of poker and he's trying not to tip his hand. If I had to bet one way or the other, and Lamar was 100% candid, I think he believes there are forces holding him back: Lack of WRs. Play calling. The schemes. His D giving up game winning scores in the last seconds. And, certainly his own mistakes. Like many are saying, he's betting on himself and it's not panning out, so far, like he believed it would.

With that said, I would want him back as the Ravens QB but at the right price that allows the Ravens to be competitive. He is a sensational athlete and good QB. To answer Drew's question, Lamar is way better when he has success running the ball and passing (e,g., 85 yds rushing and 235 yds passing). He just doesn't thrive dropping back most of the game... and of course we can talk endlessly about why that is.

K.C.     December 02
Anyone have details on Nestor getting kicked off Twitter? Please tell!

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Memo to Lamar. Love ya, man, but it's time to grow up. Hire an agent. Add a PR team. And delete Twitter from your phone. You'll be much happier.

Unitastoberry     December 02
Drew you just pulled a Howard Cosell with your December 2022 analysis of Lamar compared to 2019 Lamar. He bet on himself and as of today he's losing. Now with football being the ultimate team sport his defense isn't helping him either. His social media antics are childish. But then most people his age take to Tic Tock etc and do stupid stuff that gets monetized rather than get a part time service job etc. He has 6 games for the guarantee money Lamar to show up and pull a Frank Robinson or John Unitas move and put the team on his shoulders to raise the Lombardi.It was his bet not Steve's.

Hal     December 02
Agree with @Herman. Top drawer edition of The Dish today. Well done everyone involved!!

JP     December 02
It's amazing we can't get a column about Lamar in the Baltimore Sun like the one in DMD today.

Any update on G-Ro going to Stanford? What are the streets saying DF?

Delray RICK     December 02
RAVENS just can't get a top receiver nomatter what. Looking at stats we are nowhere to be found. ANDREWS was but after being hurt not in top 10. Looking at other teams so many are " burners". We have them run 10 yards and that's it.

Herman     December 02
I've taken a sabbatical from posting but I'll give kudos to the site owner on today's publication. Chock full of good material.

TimD in Timonium     December 02
Quick follow-up from yesterday, thank you @DF for the Rob Ambrose update. I hope, no expect, he'll move on to bigger and better things. He did a great job at Towson for a long time. I can still remember his weekly updates in-season on your morning radio show. Loved his insights. And his passion. Might have made some of us better rec league coaches. Made me a better person, I'm sure of that. Good guy.

JoeP     December 02
Radio Mogul suspended from Twitter?

He's finally done it..."Made it Ma, Top of the World''. But much like Cody Jenson(James Cagney in White Heat), he's standing on a huge tank of gasoline.

Recently he had a conversation with another unknown "sportswriter" and they talked about Springsteen. In that non linear jumble he stated

1. He's best friends with Nils Lofgren

2. He's been backstage with the Springsteen group "dozens of times". And turned down numerous chances for more back stage access.

3. Can't access tickets to the shows, except in Southern Cities where they ''hate Bruce".



The obvious inconsistencies are never addressed.

1. Best friends with Nils? "I haven't talked with him for years".

2. 100%...that he would turn down back stage access? No way, big time Adderall fueled lie

3. So a promoter would play in cities that were hard to sell? Facts are the tour is sold out.

4. And why is he worried about getting in? One phone call to his best friend, he's back stage every night.

Maybe Nils reported him to Twitter for "misinformation". How will this affect his 100k imprints/day social media claims?



We need water Gunga Din(MFC), bring it to us.

Billy     December 01
Mr Positive got suspended from Twitter lol. And he's been on his high horse about Lamar being profane? Perhaps @MFC has an explanation.

Ken     December 01
I am new to the area and just found the Morning Dish (not a native of Baltimore or Maryland) and must say I'm very impressed with the daily articles and such.



Who is Drew (does he have a byline?)? As for the other writers who have staff positions at the web site, kudos on a job well done.



There's nothing like this in my hometown (Denver) and I'm glad I discovered it.



I think your Ravens will have an easy go of it with my Broncos on Sunday. I'll be there to witness the carnage.

MFC     December 01
Ambrose got a raw deal. The new AD wants his "own" man, many times that doesn't work out either. It would only be fitting given the President of TU is leaving for the Un of Louisville (wonder if she attended the game the other night) that the new President take the same approach and cans the AD.What goes around comes around.

JeffWell     December 01
@David R: I agree 100%. Lamar would truly benefit from some professional guidance. I wonder if he feels that he doesn't need that kind of assistance or if it just a case of keeping the money in the family.



MFC: Why on earth are you aiming a comment towards me? I guess I was next on your list of things to say to people. You never run out of those types of comments.

Do you really believe that a "schoolgirl choir" is a negative thing. Wow, another far left sexist/misogynist. You really can't make this stuff up.

David Rosenfeld     December 01