Archive for July, 2011

Vonta Leach Tweets that He'll "Be a Raven"

July 31, 2011

According to the Twitter account of former Texans fullback Vonta Leach, the pro bowler is joining the Baltimore Ravens in 2011.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports the deal as 3 years, $11 million.

Leach made the Pro Bowl last year as the lead blocker for Arian Foster, who racked up over 1600 yards on the ground, and averaged 4.9 yards per carry. After the Ravens’ struggles last year in the power running game, this move, along with the resigning of Marshal Yanda, loudly backs up John Harbaugh’s assertion that improving the running game was a priority this season.

Ray Rice will see a lot more daylight this year running behind Leach. Not only does this move immensely help the Baltimore Ravens, but Rice’s fantasy football value also gets a nice bump.

With rumors swirling this morning that Todd Heap is being wooed by the New York Jets, Ravens fans have been in an uproar. The signing of Leach should help ease those tensions, along with the overblown prevailing sentiment this week that Ozzie has somehow “lost his touch.”

Still, should it be announced that Heap is becoming a New York Jet, I’m sure many Ravens fans will fall right back into overreact mode.

The team got better today. Regardless of where Todd Heap ends up.

Derrick Mason: Flacco's Critics are Scared, "Woke a Sleeping Giant"

July 29, 2011

On with Jim Rome this week, Derrick Mason had an interesting take on all of the flak that his former quarterback has been receiving this offseason. Have a listen:

Mason is obviously speaking as a guy who realized he still has a chance to be catching more passes from Joe in the future, should he resign here in Baltimore. As such, he would obviously never opt to pile on Joe and give any credence to what Woodley, Jones, and others said this past Spring. Not that – blow up in Carolina last year aside – Mase would have any reason to fault Joe, as he was the signal-caller’s favorite target from day one.

So what do you think? Are Joe’s critics just hating on him to “throw him off his block?”

I, for one, am certainly looking forward to seeing this sleeping giant that they supposedly unleashed. We may have even gotten a glimpse of him earlier this week, when Joe told reporters “I think I’m pretty damn good.

First Round Pick Jimmy Smith Signs with Ravens

July 29, 2011

Word this morning is that Ravens’ first-round pick, cornerback Jimmy Smith from Colorado, has signed his contract. Several reporters have shared the news on twitter, including @RavensExaminer and @Ravensinsider. Smith even shared the news himself last night.

With that, the Ravens have now signed each and every one of their draft picks. Smith, along with the rest of the rookies, will have a steep learning curve if they want to be out there banging heads with the Super Bowl Losers on September 11, but the fact that they are are signed and can begin working out now is a huge plus for the team. With first round picks, there is always the fear that contract negotiations will cause a hold-out during training camp. This year, with the rookies having already missed the benefit of OTAs and minicamps, any holdouts would have been unacceptable.


Goob Reports on the Ravens' Surprising Cuts

July 27, 2011

Join us live in the B’More Birds’ Nest Newsroom as Woody Jones and Goob report on the latest shocking round of cuts from the Ravens.

Ravens to Hold Free Practice at M&T Bank Stadium

July 27, 2011

As they did last year, the Ravens are holding a free open practice session in downtown Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium.

The practice will take place on Saturday, August 6 at 10 AM. Gates open at 9 AM.

Last year, it was a way to give those fans who – for whatever reason – are unable to get up to Westminster to watch training camp a chance to see the team in a similar atmosphere free of charge. It was a nice gesture, and the first time they had done so.

This year, it doesn’t matter if you live in West Bawlmer’ or Westminster – you weren’t going to get to watch any practices, thanks to the NFL lockout which forced the team’s training camp from the public venue of McDaniel College to the very private venue of the Castle in Owings Mills.

Because of the lack of chances to see the team free of charge during the summer this year compared to seasons past, I expect a much larger crowd at M&T Bank this time around. To be completely honest, last year’s practice was a bit dull to watch. Regardless, it’s a great chance to get out and satisfy our tailgate jones that has laid dormant for the past eight plus months, so we’ll be there.

How about you? Will you be attending the free practice?


Ravens, Yanda Agree to Long-Term Deal

July 26, 2011

Well, it appears that the first phase, at least, of the Ravens’ salary cap purge has paid off.

The team announced via their website that they have agreed to terms with tackle/guard Marshal Yanda. As Goob pointed out, Yanda should have been (and apparently was) the team’s #1 priority moving forward. Head Coach John Harbaugh sounds pretty elated:

“We got Marshall Yanda! That’s great news,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

“He told us he wanted to be a Raven and he understood the business part that he had to go through. I’m beaming, you see Ozzie smile and is there anyone more excited than [Offensive Line Coach] Andy Moeller right now? We’re a better team than we were one hour ago.”

While I’m sure it won’t completely appease all the of fans still bellyaching over the loss of Derrick Mason and Todd Heap, Harbaugh is absolutely right – with Yanda, they are a better football team.

I was really getting worried there that Yanda would go the way of Casey Rabach and get poached by the Washingotn Redskins. Eat it, Snyder.

Under the new CBA, Yanda is now allowed to sign until 6 PM on Friday.

Update: The terms of the agreement are being reported as 5 years, $32 million.

Ravens Get BUSY as "Offseason" Begins

July 26, 2011

Holy flying purple birds! The Ravens jumped into the truncated NFL offseason with both feet on Monday evening, making nearly an entire typical offseason’s worth of moves in a single night. In a day that many in Baltimore will forever remember as “Black Monday,” the Ravens cut ties with some old beloved favorites, reminding us all once again – as if we’d forgotten after 130+ days of labor negotiations – that the NFL is a business first and foremost.

Long-time Ravens Todd Heap (with the team since 2001), Kelly Gregg (2001), Derrick Mason (2005), and Willis McGahee (2007) were informed by Ozzie Newsome of their respective releases on Monday. The cuts came as a shock to many of the purple & black faithful, as these names account for a significant percentage of the jerseys you’d see scattered across M&T Bank Stadium on any given Sunday over the past 5-10 years.

There is no room for sentimentality as the NFL returns to the salary cap era after the “Wild West” uncapped 2010 season, and many Ravens fans find themselves having a hard time dealing with some of these latest roster moves. A sampling of the reactions on Facebook and Twitter finds a great number of fans questioning Ozzie, expressing sadness like they’ve lost a loved one, and even wishing the lockout was still on.

While I can relate to the emotion – trust me, I can – everyone needs to take a deep breath and just RELAX for a few minutes. The compressed timing of all of these moves – all were announced within about a two hour period – certainly added to the feeling of overwhelm and grief that so many of you are feeling. In a typical offseason, we’d have had weeks or even months to deal with these cuts as they came individually over a much, much longer span of time. Losing those four guys, who have contributed so much to our team over the years, in one fell swoop, is indeed a lot to handle.


First off, reports are that the team will try to bring back Mason and Heap at lower cap numbers.

Secondly, Ozzie knows what he is doing. The Ravens were, by all indications, the most active team on Monday. There is no question that there is a hard blueprint in place at the Castle for exactly what needs to be done, and that blueprint is being executed. The team’s priorities are resigning guard/tackle Marshal Yanda, signing Haloti Ngata to a long-term contract, and getting some pass rush help – all priorities that had no prayer with the team bumping up against the salary cap before this purge.

Reports were swirling Monday (prior to the cuts) that the Ravens were already being priced out of the Yanda sweepstakes, with the deep-pocketed Washington Redskins champing at the bit to get to the big farm boy. Suddenly, seeing #73 on September 11 isn’t nearly as far-fetched of a proposition as it was just a few hours ago. The Ravens now have the room that they need to at least sit at the table with Yanda and his agent and offer a market-worthy deal. Whether or not Marshal stays obviously remains to be seen. But again, we have a better chance now than we did with all of those costly veterans on the roster.

In addition to Yanda, the Ravens can now think about pursuing some other free agents, such as Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards, New York Giants DE Mathias Kiwanuka, or Tennessee Titans DE Justin Babin. Some names of wide receivers have been floating around as well, including former Viking Sidney Rice and potential cut victim Carolina Panther Steve Smith.

The team says that they informed quarterback Joe Flacco of the impending cuts of Heap and Mason prior to the news breaking, so as to not catch him off guard. Probably a good idea, considering the QB is likely breathing heavily into a paper bag as we speak, facing the prospect of having lost his top two security valves in the offense. Joe, like the thousands of fans with Mason and Heap jerseys, will need to adjust quickly.

Some are dreaming that the Ravens are cutting costs in order to pursue a full-court press on Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, but I just don’t see that happening. He’ll still cost too much. Unless they lose just about everybody else they hope to resign, including Yanda and others.

Now, it wasn’t all gloom and doom on Monday. The Ravens were also active in signing some undrafted free agents – again, Ozzie has a plan.

First up was former Boston College Linebacker Mark Herzlich. Herzlich deserves a post all to himself, but for now you’ll remember him as the BC linebacker who won ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, then was diagnosed with cancer and missed the entire 2009 season. Now cancer-free, Herzlich could be lining up next to Ray Lewis this fall.

EDIT: Despite reports last night, Herzlich apparently shunned the Ravens for the Giants. His bad.

Next, the Ravens inked former Miami Hurricane running back Damien Berry to a deal.

Depending on if the team goes out and signs any of the free agent running backs (Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, Reggie Bush, etc.), Berry will likely be competing with Jalen Parmele and seventh-round draft pick Anthony Allen for a special teams spot along with being the junk time runner. Based on that video, the kid has some talent, but we have to remember that there’s a reason he wasn’t drafted.

It’s a lot to deal with in one day,  I understand. One thing to keep in mind though, is that it’s better to get rid of players a year or two “early” than a year or two “late.” As much as we hate to admit it, there is a very successful franchise about four hours to our northwest who has made a habit of doing exactly that (swapping an aging, expensive Joey Porter for a young up-and-coming LaMarr Woodley, perhaps?).

Of course, there’s the possibility that all of these roster moves are just an elaborate ruse to trick former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan into cutting half of his team as he falls all over himself to sign each and every Raven that was cut today. Rex, as we all remember, is constructing Ravens-lite up there in New York, and he’ll surely be after the services of Gregg and likely Heap at the very least.

There will undoubtedly be more moves on the way, Ravens fans, so if you’re one of those who feel like they had to say goodbye to some old friends yesterday, steel yourselves now. Guys like Dominique Foxworth, Brendon Ayanbedejo, and other vets will be looking over their shoulders constantly in the upcoming hours and days.

Welcome back, football. We’ve missed you.

THE LOCKOUT IS OVER!!! Celebrate with Goob

July 25, 2011

Finally, our long NFL nightmare is over. After months and months of negotiations, annoying legal-jargon filled diatribes on our favorite sports websites, and posturing and hand-wringing by both sides, the NFL owners and players at long last agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that will ensure no football is missed in 2011 (save for the annual Hall of Fame preseason game).

Join Goob as he celebrates the great news of the return of Ravens football, and discusses what the team needs to do now that they are allowed to contact free agents – both their own and those of other teams.

Special Announcement: Partnership with

July 24, 2011

We are extremely proud to announce that this season B’More Birds’ Nest will be partnering with the site that is unquestionably the premier destination for Ravens fans on the web, Ravens 24×7 (

If you’re a Ravens fan and you have a computer, there is little doubt that you are familiar with Tony Lombardi’s Ravens24x7. The site has been providing unmatched Ravens coverage for many years, boasting an impressive stable of writers including Tony, Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, Matt Jergensen of Ravens Gab, former Raven Wally Williams, and others. One of my favorite columns anywhere on the web is 24×7’s “Filmstudy,” by Ken McKusick. This piece should be required post-game reading for any real Ravens fan.

This year, Tony has launched a new section of Ravens24x7, RaveOnTV.

That’s where we come in.

This season, GOOBVISION – featuring, of course, the 2010 DirectTV Ultimate Displaced Fan, Goob – will be seen not only here at B’More Birds’ Nest, but also over at RaveOnTV. So don’t be confused when you see the Ravens24x7 intro and outro on Goob’s videos. Aside from those two changes, everything else will be the same.

Those of you that are used to seeing Goob’s craziness here at the Nest will still be able to do so – the videos will post here just as they always have. By cross-posting at RaveOnTV, though, we will be able to reach an entire new audience of Ravens fans who haven’t had the perverse pleasure of watching Goob….well,be Goob.

We are very excited for this opportunity, and we promise to continue to bring you the same kind of quality, goofy, eccentric, and even- sometimes- insightful videos that we did last season. Most importantly, Goob will continue to provide a true fan’s perspective on all the purple happenings.

We look forward to this season, and hope you’ll be here to enjoy the ride with us.

Go Ravens.


July 21, 2011

Yup, still locked out.

Some reports indicate that this thing could end any moment.

Others say it’s nowhere near that close.

Then there’s shit like this, that just makes me want to punch myself in the groin repeatedly.

/Owners Room

Random rich asshole owner: Oh, ho hum, guvna, no reason to be in a big rush over this thing. Let’s sit down for a spot of tea, shall we?

Jerry Jones: Tea? That shit’s for queers. Unless you’re talkin’ Texas Tea. Black gold. You know what we got in Texasss? More than queers and steers, I don’t care what you dun’ herd. Herd, ya know? Like a big group of cattle.

Jerry Richardson: Hit me with that tea, boy. Let’s have a few gallons as a matter of fact. Followed up by some aquariums full of nice southern sweet tea. No hurry at all. Make these ungrateful slav…errrr, players sweat a little longer.

Bill Bidwill: I better not have to spend any damn money.

Steve Bisciotti: (lifts tanning goggles, looks up from sunbeam-drenched spot near the window) On the players? I’m afraid they’ll be getting a bit more, it seems.

Bidwill: Well yeah that, but I meant on the tea. Refreshments are free in these meetings right?

Richardson: They damn well better be! I’ll march straight down to the Mayor’s office and demand tax subsidies for all future refreshments in owner’s meetings!

All: (raise glasses of Earl Grey, sweet, and oil, respectively.) HEAR HEAR!

Bisciotti: Say, Jerry, can you rub some of that oil on my back? I hear it gives a bitchin’ bronze glow.

Jones: QUEER!

/end scene

For the love of all that is gridiron…END THIS.


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