Archive for November, 2010

Matty Ice vs. Joe Cool Preview

November 9, 2010

The Ravens have a short week this week, as they play the Falcons on Thursday night.

In this video, Goob discusses Matt Ryan’s millions, Joe Flacco’s success and how stupid it is to play another game after only four days of rest.

Stay tuned as BMoreBirdsNest.com brings you unique coverage of the next two away games –  Goob will be on the road in both Atlanta and Carolina.

Brandon "Alligator Arms" Marshall

November 8, 2010

Ed Reed picked off his third pass in just two games in 2010 against Miami on Sunday, but he owes a debt of gratitude to Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall for an assist on the interception.

With just over six minutes remaining and the Ravens holding a 23-10 lead, quarterback Chad Henne tried to hit Marshall on a quick slant pattern. Marshall, though, appeared as though he was all too aware of what happens to players who catch slants in that area in front of Ray Lewis…

Let’s take a look at Marshall’s effort here:

No #52 in the screen yet, but Marshall seems to be keenly aware of his location…

“Oh, hi Ray. Nothing to see here. No ball carriers, no sir!”

These photos show it a little more clearly.  Here, you can see the Marshall has clearly beaten Lardarius Webb to the inside.  Lewis is lurking in the lower right corner of the screen.

Now, the “money shot,” as it were.  Does Brandon Marshall look like a guy who is concentrating on watching the football into his hands here?  His head is down just as the ball bounces off his fingertips, and you can bet the farm that he is looking at/for Ray Ray.

Ray was in prime position to put together another audition tape for the NFL’s next “how to legally destroy a ball carrier” video series.  Instead, he turns to watch the ball go right to Ed Reed.  Game, Set, Match…Ravens.

On the CBS broadcast, Dan Dierdorf spent the next minute or so ripping into Marshall for the lackluster effort to catch what was, admittedly, an off-target Henne pass.  Dierdorf, though, never pointed out the true reason for the alligator arms.

Thanks for playing, Brandon.

Ravens 26 Dolphins 10 (The RETURN OF RAY RICE Game)

November 8, 2010

Sure, Ray Rice was never “gone,” per se, nor has he missed any significant time with injuries, but the 2010 Ray Rice had, through seven games, looked a bit different from the 2009 version.  Due mostly in part to opposing defenses scheming heavily to stop him (but also some other factors, such as too much dancing in the backfield and Joe Flacco sometimes forgetting that he isn’t 7 feet tall), Rice was well off his 2000+ yards from scrimmage pace of a year ago.

Well, the Miami Dolphins apparently see no reason to pay any special attention to Ray Rice when preparing to defend the Ravens’ offense.  Asked after the game if they had shadowed or spied Rice out of the backfield, linebacker Karlos Dansby had this to say:

“No, for what?” Dansby said. “Why would we shadow him? He didn’t do anything. They checked down to him, but he was the last resort. Why would we need to shadow him?”

He didn’t do anything?

Ok, Karlos.  If seven receptions for 98 yards on the day (along with 83 yards on 22 carries) is “[not] anything,” than I’d be damn happy with “nothing” from Rice every week from here on out, wouldn’t you, Ravens fans?

The 180 total yards from scrimmage were Rice’s most since week 14 of last year against Detroit, when he racked up over 200 total yards from scrimmage.  The Ravens had 402 yards of offense against Miami.  Rice accounted for 45% of those yards.

That, as they say, is a whole lotta “nothing.”

Red Zone Woes

The 402 yards of offense were great to see from a Ravens offense that B’More has been waiting on to “click” all season long.  The news wasn’t all good though, unfortunately.

Miami was the team that came into this game with the reputation of red-zone futility, but it was the Ravens who were forced to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns far too often on Sunday afternoon.  On seven trips inside the Miami 20 yard line, the Ravens produced…ONE touchdown.

One-for-seven.  Unacceptable.

Granted, the final one of those was at the end of the game when John Harbaugh elected to kick a field goal from the 1 to push the lead to 2 touchdowns and 2 two point conversions at 26-10.  There are no excuses for the other six red zone tries.

On the second, following a Lardarius Webb interception and return all the way to the Miami four yard line at the start of the second quarter, the Ravens put together what may well have been the absolute worst red zone series in franchise history.  It went like this:

  1. 1-4-MIA 4 (13:25) 23-W.McGahee right guard to MIA 5 for -1 yards (91-C.Wake).
  2. 2-5-MIA 5 (12:47) 5-J.Flacco sacked at MIA 15 for -10 yards (96-P.Soliai).
  3. 3-15-MIA 15 (12:08) (Shotgun) PENALTY on BLT-5-J.Flacco, Delay of Game, 5 yards, enforced at MIA 15 – No Play.
  4. Timeout #2 by BLT at 11:41.
  5. 3-20-MIA 20 (11:41) (Shotgun) 5-J.Flacco sacked at MIA 20 for 0 yards (91-C.Wake).
  6. 4-20-MIA 20 (11:00) (Field Goal formation) 4-S.Koch FUMBLES (Aborted) at MIA 30, and recovers at MIA 30. 4-S.Koch to MIA 30 for no gain (30-C.Clemons).

Run for negative yardage? Check.

Delay of game penalty in your own home? Check.

Wasted timeout? Check.

TWENTY yard sack? Check.

Fumbled field goal try (now from 37 yards out)? Check.

Points? Nope.

To use tired internet language, that is some EPIC FAIL.

What Happened to Ronnie?

Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown started the game out with a bang, as his first two carries went for 12 and 14 yards.  Flashbacks to Peyton Hillis in Week 3 were filling the heads of fans all through M&T Bank Stadium.  On that drive, which he capped with a 12-yard touchdown scamper, Brown ran 6 times for 45 yards.  Despite reportedly spending the bye week focusing on fixing their run defense and tackling, it looked like the Ravens were going to have a long day dealing with the Dolphins’ rushing attack.

Then, Brown just kinda…disappeared.

After picking up those 45 yards on 6 carries on the first drive, Brown finished the day with just 59 yards on 9 carries.  Fellow running back Ricky Williams ran just twice for a total of a single yard.

In a game that saw the two teams separated by a single point at halftime (and which the Dolphins had a great chance to be leading at the break), Miami inexplicably abandoned the running game.  Twelve of the Dolphins’ last 14 plays of the first half were passes.

Quite puzzling.

And I’m hardly convinced that the Ravens issues stopping the run are suddenly a thing of the past.  Atlanta will not be nearly as quick to go away from Michael Turner on Thursday night.

Feasting on Chads

The last time these two teams met was in the 2008 playoffs.  The results then were eerily similar to yesterday.  In a 27-9 Ravens win, B’More picked off Miami QB Chad Pennington four times.

Yesterday, in a 26-10 win, it was a new “Chad,” but the same old results.

The Ravens intercepted Chad Henne (Pennington is now the backup) three times, with Ed Reed, Lardarius Webb, and Josh Wilson (after he again replaced a benched Fabian Washington) all getting in on the action.

On Reed’s, Brandon Marshall exhibited a severe case of “alligator arms,” with Ray Lewis closing quickly.  I’ll get a separate post up with screen caps of the play.  It’s pretty embarrassing for Marshall how scared he was of being “Dustin Keller’d,” or “Kellan Winslow’d” by #52.

Special Teams Gaffes (and Redemption)

I already mentioned the botched field goal attempt at the start of the second quarter.  I’ll have to go back and watch the play again, but it appeared on first glance as though it was a good snap by Morgan Cox.  Sam Koch just botched it, something he has rarely (if ever) done during his tenure as holder for the Ravens.

Koch would later make up for it in a big way.

With just under three minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, Koch lined up for what would have been his first punt of the day.  On the play, though, it was Miami who made a big special teams mistake.  They left gunner Cary Williams uncovered, Koch saw it, and threw a bullet to Williams, who went 13 yards to convert the fourth-and-10.  The Dolphins’ special teams coach was flying down the sideline trying to get a timeout, but did not get it called in time.

Koch never punted during the game, something that has happened only one other time since he has been a Raven (the other being in the 27-13 loss at Cleveland in 2007).

Sam Koch isn’t a “punter.” He’s a football player who happens to punt.  Remember Dallas in 08, when he took off running and converted a fourth down off a fake field goal try?  Add “amateur quarterback” to “impromptu running back” on Koch’s resume.

Oh, but of course the special teams problems weren’t done for the day.  The same drive that included Koch’s first career pass completion ended in a Billy Cundiff missed 37-yard field goal try.

Dolphins Miscues

The Ravens are without a doubt a better team than the Miami Dolphins at this point, but that doesn’t mean this game couldn’t have went the other way.  There were a few plays that, had they went the other way, could have kept Miami’s road winning streak alive.

First, there was the 3rd-and-goal from the Ravens’ 1 at the end of the first half.  Chad Henne had tight end Anthony Fasano wide open in the end zone, but the ball fluttered over Fasano’s reaching hand.  Had they connected (as I’m sure they have on that play countless times in practice), the Phins would have led 14-13 at the half.

The Ravens were also helped by Dolphins cornerback Shawn Smith’s stone hands.  Smith jumped in front of a Joe Flacco pass intended for Anquan Boldin late in the third quarter.  Smith would have walked into the end zone and pulled the Dolphins to within 20-17.  Instead, two plays later came the Sam Koch pass.

And, one play after THAT came…

“Spat Gate”

I saved this for last because I hate that it’s even a thing.  Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder is accusing Le’Ron McClain of spitting in his face during an altercation at midfield after Crowder had called a time out.

Earlier today, I posted a video that seems to back up Crowder’s claims.

This is incredibly similar to the incident in 2008, when friend of the Nest Frank Walker was seemingly caught by cameras spitting on Steelers’ punter Mitch Berger.  That one was easier to digest. That was Frank Freaking Walker, who all Ravens fans hated anyway, and who we all hoped wouldn’t be long for this franchise.

Pain Train is a different story.  He has become a fan favorite with his twitter jibberish and “MCCLAIN 4 RB” campaign.  He has twice made the Pro Bowl, and is having another outstanding season.  McClain could very well be the best all-around fullback in the game today.  He SHOULD be with the Ravens for a long, long time.

However, this incident would mark the second time this season that McClain’s emotions have gotten the better of him in the heat of battle.  His unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in overtime in New England didn’t lose the game for the Ravens, but it certainly didn’t help.  Now this.

When the NFL sees the video of the spit, McClain should at least be fined.  If not by the NFL, then by the Ravens.  However, he could also be suspended.  The Ravens do not have another fullback on their roster, so that would put the offense in a very awkward position for whatever game McClain may end up being forced to sit out.  The Ravens would unquestionably be hurt by McClain’s absence, and for something that is nobody’s fault but his own.  That sort of thing won’t sit well with anybody in the organization, from his teammates all the way up to Ozzie Newsome and Steve Bisciotti.

So…Looks Like Pain Train did in Fact Spit on Channing Crowder

November 8, 2010

This is pretty bad.  Tony Sparano says he’s sending his “evidence” to the league office.  When the NFL sees this, they’ll likely have little choice but to suspend McClain for a game.  The Ravens don’t have another fullback on the roster, so the offense will have their work cut out for them that week.

More on this as it develops…

Damn it, Pain Train.

Goob Live from Ravens/Dolphins Tailgate

November 8, 2010

Our roving reporter, Goob, brings us some instant reaction from “Fins Fans” after the 26-10 Ravens victory yesterday.

Dolphins (4-3) @ Ravens (5-2)

November 5, 2010

Greetings from sunny Florida, Nestgoers.

I’m on a mini-vacation down in Ft. Myers for a friend’s wedding, so this week’s game preview will be a bit on the short side. If you’re hankerin’ for more Nest goodness though, don’t forget to check out Goob’s pregame video.

The Miami Dolphins bring their spotless 2010 road record to M&T Bank Stadium to face a Ravens team that is on a six game home winning streak dating back to last season. The Ravens haven’t lost at the Purple Palace in nearly an entire calendar year, with their last defeat coming on November 22, 2009 against the Colts.

So, what will give this week? Let’s dive into the matchups a bit.

Surprisingly enough, the Dolphins best the Ravens in just about every statistical category entering this game. Their offense is ranked 13th; the Ravens is 14th. They are #8 on defense; the Ravens are #10. However, the Ravens are doing a much better job of both getting into the end zone and keeping the other team out of it. On the one statistic that really matters – points (both for and against) – the Ravens best the ‘phins. Baltimore is scoring 21.3 points per game while allowing 18.4, and Miami is putting up just 19.0 and are allowing over 21. The Dolphins’ red zone woes are well documented, and kicker Dan Carpenter has been their biggest offensive weapon this season. Carpenter has kicked 13 field goals in just the past 3 games.

As Goob mentioned in his video, this game could possibly give Anita Marks an orgasm, as both Brandon Marshall and Anquan Boldin will be on the same field. Marks, the former Baltimore radio personality, clamored for years for the Ravens to add one of these two “big name wide receivers” to their roster. While the Ravens chose Boldin, the Dolphins went with Marshall, the former Denver Bronco. Marshall and Boldin have put up similar numbers so far with their new teams:

Marshall: 47 receptions, 588 yards, 1 TD, 12.5 average
Boldin: 38 receptions, 518 yards, 5 TD, 13.6 average

It’s safe to say that both teams are very satisfied with their new additions to this point.

The Ravens saw Marshall last season when he was with Denver, and had no problem shutting him down – he managed just 4 catches for 24 yards in his last action at M&T Bank Stadium. They will have to do a much better job of tackling this week than they did against Buffalo two weeks ago, as Marshall makes his money on yards after the catch.

The ‘phins, however, have other weapons to compliment #19. Fellow wideout Davone Bess is one of the best 3rd down receivers in the NFL. He has 39 receptions for 401 yards and three scores. Along with tight end Anthony Fasano (17-234-2), 3rd year quarterback Chad Henne has a full compliment of targets to potentially exploit a Ravens secondary that has had several tough games in a row.

So far in 2010, the Dolphins have been reluctant to “take the training wheels off” of Henne, leaving many Miami fans frustrated with the team’s conservative offensive approach?

Sound familiar, Baltimore?

Could the Dolphins, though, after seeing the ridiculous amount of success Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills’ passing game had, choose this as the week that they finally unleash Henne? Or did the Ravens make the necessary adjustments in their coverage schemes during the bye week to manage another mid-season turnaround (similar to the one they displayed after the bye in 2009)?

The answers to those questions are likely to go a long way in determining the outcome of this one.

Fabian Washington will need to be 1000% better than he was against the Bills, that’s for damn sure. If if he isn’t “starting,” he will certainly be on the field at times and there is no doubt that Henne will be under orders to find #31. Here’s hoping Fabe puts the Buffalo game behind him, and turns in a performance more similar to the Denver game, when he defended four passes.

On offense, I look for Cam Cameron to have put in a few new wrinkles to the Ravens offense. The latest on Donte’ Stallworth is that he should be ready to go Sunday, giving the Ravens’ offense that deep threat that they have been sorely lacking. Fortunately for Joe Flacco, the Dolphins are more of a man-coverage team than a Cover 2 type. Miami cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Jason Allen are no slouches, but Stallworth’s presence should open things up underneath for Boldin, Derrick Mason, and Todd Heap moreso than Flacco is used to. The Ravens should be able to continue the offensive success they’ve experienced of late, with Joe Flacco being the NFL’s highest rated passer since Week 3.

A win Sunday would give the Ravens a solid 3-1 record against the very tough AFC east. They’ll be well rested after their week off, and eager to prove that Buffalo’s offensive explosion was nothing but an anomaly. B’More finally adds a blemish to Miami’s road record.

Ravens 27 Dolphins 16

Goob's Pregame Thoughts: Ravens-Dolphins

November 4, 2010

Goob’s weekly preview is back with a look at the Miami Dolphins (4-3). These videos being made have been blowing up all over popular message boards and has even caught the eye of Miami Dolphins Head Coach, Tony Sparano.

Please buckle in and get all the necessary information about this weeks upcoming matchup. There may also be some special references to Will Smith, The Wire, Vinny from Jeresy Shore and Baltimore’s favorite …. ANITA MARKS!

Lookalikes! Dolphins Edition

November 3, 2010

I discovered something while researching this Miami Dolphins version of our regular Lookalikes! series. In addition to leading the NFL in road winning percentage, the ‘phins lead the league in two other very important categories:

1. Players with dreadlocks;
2. Players with a face only a mother could love.

Seriously, these are some ugly mofos. Let’s get down to it.

Kicker Dan Carpenter has been the Dolphins’ main source of offense lately, kicking 13 field goals in the last three games alone. I’m also pretty sure he plays “Terry” on the hit HBO show “True Blood.”

Next up, we have cornerback Vontae Davis. I don’t know about you, but when I see this face, I can’t help but think “cartoon fish.” I’m not exactly sure which cartoon fish, so let’s just go with “Dory” from Finding Nemo.

Remember how I said they lead the league in dudes with dreads? Well, here is one of those be-dreaded Dolphins, safety Chris Clemons. Something tells me he’s pretty sad about Prop 19 (legalized marijuana) not passing in California.

(and yes, I know I’ve used Marley in a Lookalike! …but seriously, dude looks like Bob.)

Linebacker Channing Crowder, from the University of Florida, is pretty damn good at chasing down ballcarriers. His eyes are also pretty damn far apart on his face. Where have I seen eyes that far apart before….

Oh, right! Mena Suvari, star of such movies as “American Pie” and “Loser.”

Speaking of Florida, tackle Patrick Brown is listed as a Central Florida alum. However, he sure reminds of of a much more famous former quarterback from the University of Florida.

Patrick Brown? Fat Tim Tebow in my book.

Next up, we have second year defensive end Ryan Baker. This guy is right in the mold of other such two-sport superstars as Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders. Baker, however, plays professional football and not baseball, but basketball…where he goes by the name Vlade Divac.

As for the rest of the roster…the damn thing reads like a “Who’s who?” of UGLY ass men. Many of them defy “lookalike” status, as they are just too hideous to compare anyone or anything to without being wildly offensive to that second party. Let’s have a look, shall we?

That’s center Joe Berger, whom it was suggested to me “looks like ‘random college roommate who is high all the time.”

Tackle Nate Garner (IR) showing off his intellectual side.

Linebacker Tim Dobbins. He must be a “bottlenose” Dolphin. ZING!

Presented without comment, linebacker (IR) A.J. Edds:

Rookie tight end Mickey Shuler…

I don’t even know, man. And, finally, tackle Pat McQuistan.

Woof…burnt ginger. I can smell that guy from here.

Wow. Hopefully the Ravens will mop the M&T Bank Stadium turf with Miami here on Sunday, but there’s no telling how long it will take to clean all of the ugly out of the visitors’ locker room.

We Don't Want Randy Moss!

November 2, 2010

“Hey look…I’m doing an impression of myself… I’m an ASS!”

Some of the very moves that made Brad Childress a “hero” in Minnesota last season have backfired TERRIBLY this year. Of course, there is no need to elaborate on what Brett Favre did for his job security last year and how much he has ruined Chilly’s coaching future this year.

Well, on top of that, apparently, Childress has lost the locker room and sides are being taken. From what seemed like a desperation act to save their season (and justify spending $20 million for a future Hall of Fame Quarterback who should be in a wheel chair) the Minnesota Vikings traded for Randy Moss to fill the void left with Sidney Rice being placed on the PUP list.

At the time, the move seemed genius. Not only would Moss fill the void left by Rice but he would also make give the Vikings one of the NFL’s top WR corps when Rice returned along with Percy Harvin. That move has turned out to be a nightmare.

As of 4 p.m. today, the Vikings officially released Randy Moss because of the distractions he caused in the locker room. As I surfed through Twitter reading the initial comments, I saw that some of the Ravens faithful were pining for Ozzie to pull the trigger and add another high profile wide receiver to the Ravens offense. Even though I haven’t heard any of the media insiders saying the Ravens want to make a move for Moss, plenty of fans want it done.

All I have to say is….NO!

Randy Moss coming to this team would be nothing but trouble. Here are the reasons why you shouldn’t even consider the Ravens putting in a claim for the highly decorated and future Hall of Fame wide receiver.

1.) He’s a locker room cancer!

Not only do the Ravens have a great locker room with a very tight bond between the players, the Ravens would be putting themselves in another situation just like the one they had in 2004 when T.O. was traded to Baltimore. At the time, Ravens fans were offended that he didn’t want to play here and have hated him ever since. Those same Ravens fans have to be looking back at that move as a blessing in disguise because until this year (and every year since), T.O. has been just like Randy Moss: a locker room cancer.

2.) We have enough wide receivers!

The Baltimore Ravens are already stocked with enough wide receivers. If the team signed Moss, more than likely the Ravens would cut one of their current wide receivers to clear a roster spot for him. Currently on the roster, the Ravens have Boldin, Mason, Housh, Stallworth, David Reed and Marcus Smith. Reed and Smith have primarily been playing on special teams and have played quite well. To release either one of those guys for a Randy Moss experiment wouldn’t make much sense for the organization. Fans and experts have expected more from the WR corps this year but Anquan Boldin and Joe Flacco have become a dangerous combination and with the addition of Stallworth coming back from his foot injury this week, the Ravens will have the opportunity to stretch the field utilizing the speed of Stallworth (insert driving/speeding joke here).

3.) Matt Birk would rip his head off!

One of the best centers to ever play the game happens to love purple as well. Matt Birk left the Minnesota Vikings two seasons ago to join the Ravens as a free agent. Birk, who still lives in Minnesota during the offseason, was very good friends with the family who owns a catering company that caters some meals for the Vikings. Randy Moss, apparently not fond of carved meat, started yelling at the caterers and making an absolute ass of himself about the food. Birk, a man who looks like he has never turned down a meal, certainly wouldn’t appreciate the fact that Randy blew up at his restaurateur friends.

4.) Who would talk to reporters?

Derrick Mason stated he wouldn’t talk to the media anymore this season…that was, until he started catching more balls. Randy Moss was fined $25,000 last week for not making himself available to the media and refuses to answer any of their questions for the rest of the season. Anquan Boldin needs to focus on being the best WR in the league and Donte’ Stallworth needs to focus on rehabbing himself back into shape. They can’t waste their time answering questions because their teammates are throwing hissy fits.

Frankly, if the guy has two major news stories in a month (no matter if they are true or not) about how his temper caused his release – that person certainly doesn’t belong in the Ravens locker room. That room is for men who love the game, want to win and respect Ray Lewis. Ray is the leader of this team and is the most vocal person you will find in the NFL. A man who has made his money and just doesn’t frankly care about his teammates should only come to a Baltimore locker room if he is on the visitors side. I hope Randy Moss doesn’t end up on an AFC team because I would hate to have to face him with our questionable secondary. Even though the guy is a complete ass, he can still play football.

So Ravens fans, don’t take to twitter and facebook and the local radio airwaves asking Ozzie to make this move. Moss will be claimed by many teams before the Ravens by 4 p.m. tomorrow, but even if he made it as far down as to the Ravens, I couldn’t imagine Randy Moss wearing purple for the rest of his career.

Please Vote for the Nest in the 2010 Mobbies

November 2, 2010

Greetings, Nestgoers.

For the second straight year, B’More Birds’ Nest has been nominated in “The Mobbies,” the Baltimore Sun’s awards for Outstanding Blogs in Maryland.

We are nominated in the “Ravens” and “Sports” categories. Someone also threw our hat into the ring in the “Orioles” category, but we have no illusions about being the best O’s blog around. There are obviously much better out there.

However, we are very proud of what we do around here as far as Ravens coverage goes, so we have no problems asking for your vote there.

Please, go to the Mobbies page and vote for us in the Ravens category, and in the Sports category if you’re feeling extra nice.

http://data.baltimoresun.com/mobbies/2010/voting/index.php

You can vote once per day through 5 PM on November 10. It requires a login, but fret not! If you don’t have a Baltimore Sun account, you can log in through various other platforms, such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, and others. So you have no excuse to not vote!

We truly appreciate your help as we try to win our first Mobbie!


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