THUNDERING BLURB » Baltimore Ravens http://thunderingblurb.com ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Tue, 10 Aug 2010 03:40:44 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.1 en hourly 1 Running Back Camp Battles to Watch Part 1 http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-camp-battles-to-watch-part-1/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-camp-battles-to-watch-part-1/#comments Sat, 13 Jun 2009 14:28:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=438 While OTA’s are winding/have wound down, the NFL does not sleep. While the players get what passes for a vacation, media does not, especially since Brett Favre can’t make up his damned mind.

In perfect universal symmetry, neither can the Vikings. Marriage made in heaven or hell? We’ll find out soon enough.

In order to get you prepped for tons of footbally goodness at the end of July, I’ve decided to break down some of the more interesting running back battles to watch in July and August.

This is what happens when you drive cross country folks. You fill time.

This is also not to say that there won’t be battles we don’t see as important now, emerging down the pike as intriguing. But for now, these are ones that stand out as important immediately.

Without further ado (or more ado than usual at least) here are the Training Camp Battles to Watch: Running Backs.

Carolina: There is a ton of assumption going on here after DeAngelo Williams went off in 2008. We know John Fox loves to hang with his long term vets and you have to figure Williams earned some consideration. Still, Jonathan Stewart was able to score 10 TDs even with Williams numbers, so Fox is willing to work him in. Where this gets interesting is behind Stewart with Mike Goodson.

Stewart has been hurt during Mini’s and OTA’s and Goodson is a guy the team wants involved. Why does this matter? Because if Goodson gets a shot to shine and does so, this could become a three headed monster which might be great for Panther fans, though hurt the overall numbers of all three guys. Carolina runs a ton (504 pass attempts versus 414 passing according to footballguys.com) so there could be work for all, but that might be offset a tad by three running backs.

Baltimore: Will last year’s Thundering Blurb Mr. Glass Award Winner (TM) Willis McGahee, ever be healthy? My guess is no, sure as heck not coming off of two off-season surgeries. Both his knee (the one that has been hurt since…. um…. 1942?) and his ankle went under the knife. Stick a fork in him (or a scalpel), the man is DONE. The Ravens may not agree and we’ll get a sense of that in Training Camp. That could mean the start of the Ray Rice Ruckus (also (TM)).

Rice showed some skills last season when he was healthy and should get a ton of the carries. He won’t do it alone, however and whether the teams sticks with rookie Cedric Peerman, moves Le’Ron McClain back from fullback (where he went during OTA’s) or adds some work for Jalen Parmele. How the backs behind Rice shake out could impact his numbers very sigificantly.

Buffalo: With Marshawn Lynch suspended the first few games of the season, Fred Jackson will get his time to shine again. Jackson looked great in limited (sometimes not-so-limited) action last season. But the Bills acquired journeyman Dominic Rhodes this offseason to protect themselves and he’ll duke it out for lead bell cow while ‘Dis Muh Son’ Lynch is in Goodell’s pokey.

This battle, mostly between Jackson and Rhodes is critical because whomever wins the top spot might not relinquish it when Lynch comes back and could factor in with what the Bills do with the troubled back long term if he can’t get his head straight.

Cincinnati: I know the Bengals think they have some sort of hidden gem in Cedric Benson, and I’m happy for them but remain unconvinced. Benson did well behind a tragic offensive line, which will not be the case if rookie Andre Smith can get his act together. But I can’t help but recall all the problems Benson had in Chicago, so I am not annointing him anything and neither should Cinci. Brian Leonard and Bernard Scott are both good short yardage backs who can catch the ball and could make some noise.

Scott will have to overcome some maturity issues and they will both have to shine in camp to wrest carries away from Benson. That’s completely possible in my opinion so I will be interested to watch this camp closely.

Denver: There are three sure things in football right now – Brett Favre will be considering and waffling about a comeback in the spring and early summer, the Raiders will make decisions based on logic only they can comprehend and the Broncos running back situation will be a cloudy mess.

But have we lost one of those sure things? Surprising everyone in this April’s Draft, the Donks took Knowshon Moreno, the talented back from Georgia and the interwubs is all a-twitter (or all twittering) about Moreno carrying the whole load.

For sure, he can do it all – block, run, catch. But will Head Coach Josh McDaniels truly rely on one back? His former team, the Patriots, didn’t. Of course, you can argue they lacked a back like Moreno.

All I know is Moreno has the ability to do it. But with recent additions Correll Buckhalter, Lamont Jordan and Darius Walker, along with impressive 2008 rookie Peyton Hillis, this is a camp battle you have to watch. Considering they no longer have Jay Cutler slinging the ball, the run game is of paramount importance this year.

Indianapolis: It wasn’t that long ago that Joseph Addai was the answer in Colt-land at running back. A few injury-plagued seasons later, Donald Brown is drafted and Addai is poised to lose most of his carries.

Brown can do pretty much everything Addai can do, and might have the size to stay healthy as well. Most analysts feel it is only a matter of time before Brown takes over the higher percentage of carries in this obvious running-back-by-committee.

What I want to know is, what percentage does he start the season off with? A good camp by Brown could give him a large role in this prolific offense.

That’s it for today’s installment. I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at some more teams, including who might be backing up MJD in Jacksonville, what Philadelphia is looking at if Westbrook stays hurt and who will be the top dog in the mess that is the Seahawks’ run game.

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Teams lining up to say they DON’T want Owens http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/teams-lining-up-to-say-they-dont-want-owens/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/teams-lining-up-to-say-they-dont-want-owens/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2009 19:33:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=412 Day 1 of a nation held hostage as we await a TO signing. I really do think this guy will be signed and sooner than later but I am seeing teams coming out saying they have no interest in Owens.

The Ravens (who he was once traded to and then had that trade reversed), the Browns, and the Redskins have expressed disinterest and will not be pursuing TO. I’ve heard no official ‘no thanks’ from the Vikings, but have heard rumors they will also pass.

It will be interesting the see where the NFL divide ends up. We know he’ll go somewhere – but the teams NOT interested might be just as telling and more interesting than those who are.

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Willie Parker out Week 4 vs Baltimore http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/willie-parker-out-week-4-vs-baltimore/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/willie-parker-out-week-4-vs-baltimore/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2008 18:12:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=192 In what has become a theme this season – players being out after having not looked injured on the Sunday before – the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Willie Parker will miss the matchup Monday night against the Baltimore Ravens.

Rookie Rashard Mendenhall will get the start – but before you murder people in front of you on the waiver wire list keep in mind a) is a bad matchup and b) he couldn’t hold onto the ball in the preseason. Mendy will be a borderline #2 Rb or flex – startable if you have players off one of the 6(!) teams on bye this week, but don’t go nuts and plug him in your #1 slot.

Mewelde Moore will probably see an uptick in carries as well. His value is even less, but someone to watch as well. Carey Davis and Gary Russell are guys to watch too.

We have no idea how long Parker will be out but when he comes back things could be very different depending on Mendy. But I think at worst it will be a split. Parker looked good before the mysterious injury – he will come back and play well from here on out if the injury isn’t too serious.

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Baltimore vs Houston Postponed again? UPDATED AND CONFIRMED http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/baltimore-vs-houston-postponed-again-updated-and-confirmed/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/baltimore-vs-houston-postponed-again-updated-and-confirmed/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2008 21:02:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=167 Hey folks -

This isn’t official BUT both ESPN and the NFLN have reported that the game between the Texans and Ravens may be postponed again. According to the NFLN news blurb I just saw, a conference call between the teams and the NFL is scheduled for sometime this afternoon.

I will follow up with news as I hear it – may I suggest for commisioners to do the following:

1) Alert your league – don’t let it to chance and run the risk that they don’t know, aren;t following and get pissed later. Maybe the ’shark move’ is to let them sink on their own but you are the Commish – keep them informed.

2) Either warn them off playing any players from those teams OR have them submit a sub list in case the game is canceled last minute. It probably won’t – we will probably know by tonight what will happen. But again, keep yourself covered.

As always, thoughts and prayers for the affected region. I was in Los Angeles for both the riots and the Northridge Earthquake. Neither one was any fun and I can assume a Category 3 Hurricane ranks up there as well.

UPDATE
According to this article at NFL.com the game between the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens has been postponed. Here is what they are doing according to the article.

The Ravens-Texans game originally scheduled to be played Sunday, then rescheduled to be played Monday night due to Hurricane Ike, will now be played in Week 10. The originally scheduled Bengals-Texans game in Week 10 has been moved to Week 8 (game time 4:05 p.m. ET), and the Bengals’ bye week moves to Week 10.

If you have seen the footage of Houston, you know this had to happen, although a move to another city would have been an option.

Again, thoughts and prayers to those in the region.

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Houston/Baltimore game moved to Monday http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/houstonbaltimore-game-moved-to-monday/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/houstonbaltimore-game-moved-to-monday/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2008 22:47:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=157 From the NFL:

09/11/2008

BALTIMORE AT HOUSTON GAME RESCHEDULED

FOR MONDAY NIGHT DUE TO APPROACHING HURRICANE IKE

Due to the importance of allowing the Houston area to focus on its recovery from the expected arrival of Hurricane Ike on Friday, the Houston Texans’ home game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens has been re-scheduled for Monday night at Reliant Stadium at 7:30 PM Houston time (8:30 PM ET). The game originally was scheduled to be played on Sunday, September 14 at 3:15 PM Houston Time (4:15 PM ET).

The Texans-Ravens Monday night game will be televised on local CBS stations in the primary and secondary markets of the Texans (Houston, Beaumont-Port Arthur, and Bryan, Texas) and the Ravens (Baltimore; Washington, DC; Salisbury, MD; and Harrisburg, PA).

Makes a pain for Ravens/Texans owners but it’s vital to settle this now rather than wait for something to happen. You’ll just have to wait and see – we’ll talk about this on The Drive Block tonight at 7pm PST (10pm EST) and probably on The Jake Stevens Show on ESPN1230 tomorrow at just after 7:30am PST (10:30am EST).

As always I am sure I join you in sending our thoughts and prayers to the affected region and one hopes everyone stays safe and well.

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Houston/Baltimore game not cancelled as of now http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/houstonbaltimore-game-not-cancelled-as-of-now/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/houstonbaltimore-game-not-cancelled-as-of-now/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2008 16:25:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=154 Hey folks

I just spoke with folks at the Texans who confirmed what I suspected (due to the lack of any news other than one Sirius report) – no decision has been made yet on what to do with the BAL/HOU game.’

Not saying they won’t change something but the person I spoke with said unequivocally nothing has been canceled yet. They are still talking about options, but no decisions have been made.

This is what I bring to you folks – you need the answers? I got them. Media access, the whole 9 yards.

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Friday Morning News Stampede http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/friday-morning-news-stampede/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/friday-morning-news-stampede/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2008 13:24:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=131 I’ll be posting my rankings at the big three (RB, QB, WR) and will probably touch on them during the News Stampede at Noon EST/9am PST. For now, a little light news to start our Friday off.

Also, a reminder I will be on The Jake Stevens Show ‘There It Is!’ on ESPN 1230 just after 7:30am PST/10:30am EST and you can catch it here or here.

Baltimore Ravens
According to the Baltimore Sun (which, if I recall, has been pushing for McGahee to leave the city all off season) the Ravens are preparing RB Ray Rice to start against the Bengals Sunday. We knew this, I think, and I still say with a rookie QB and an iffy O-line, he’s not the best play. Rice looks like he will be a solid play long term, but don’t get carried away. If he has the most upside of your backups, he might make an ok RB2. But I would rather not have to worry about how he will do in game 1 against 8 men in the box. Also, how much of a factor will McGahee be, if any?

Indianapolis Colts
Injured Center Jeff Saturday has decided against surgery (a common theme this NFL off-season, huh?), opting to rehab the torn right knee ligament and hoping to come back sooner than later. Certainly that would be good news for Manning and the Colts. It’s always a risk (see: Merriman, Shawne) but Saturday is an important presence along the offensive line and the sooner he gets back to snapping the ball, the better as far as Manning owners are concerned.

Seattle Seahawks
WR Deion Branch practiced in a limited fashion Thursday, though I think he is still a shaky bet to play Sunday. Even if he does, how effective will he be, having missed so much of the off-season? Yes, he’s a vet who knows the playbook, but timing is important for wide receivers and Branch hasn’t played consistently (really, at all) in a long time. Even if he’s in the Seahawk’s lineup, he shouldn’t be in yours. Not this week.

Tennessee Titans
WR Justin McCariens was back at practice yesterday after coming down with flu-like symptoms on Wednesday. He’s about the best bet in the WR core but I still wouldn’t throw him out there. In his favor is a familiarity with the offense from his first stint with the Titans and a veteran presence and experiance. Against him is the lack of any production since he left for the Jets and an overwhelming sense that he is past his prime – whatever THAT was. I still say the best receiving option here will end up being Chris Johnson. I suppose Alge Crumpler may put up some points, but I don’t want to have to count on it week 1.

That’s all for now folks – rankings scattered throughout today.

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Tuesday http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/tuesday/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/tuesday/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2008 13:54:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=122 Quick reminder that today will launch the Thundering Blurb Daily News Stampede – Monday through Friday I’ll drop you a quick 15 minutes of news you’ll need to know to get the edge on your league mates.

A few stories of note this morning:

Baltimore Ravens
Willis McGahee returned to practice on Monday and while it’s clear he’s still coming back from surgery, what isn’t clear is who will start. My money is on rookie Ray Rice, but McGahee could steal carries if he practices well enough. Couple that with the fact that I think either runner will face 8 men in a box as the Bengals dare Joe Flacco to beat them with his arm – and I suspect either running back is a risky choice, even against the Bengals. Speaking of quarterbacks, Troy smith is home from the hospital and has dropped an astonishing 20 pounds. He won’t be playing anytime soon, hence the rumors Joey Harrington and former Jaguar Todd Bourman might sign with the team.

Oakland Raiders
Javon Walker also returned to practice yesterday and while NFLN’s Adam Shefter reports that he is considered questionable with a hamstring injury, he looked fine, though he did have trainers check his leg out. Walker is not someone I want to have to start at all this week against Denver.

Seattle Seahawks
Matt Hasselback was back at practice Monday and said his back was not going to be a factor going against the Bills week 1. While I am always concerned with a back injury, I may be more concerned with the beat up wide receivers. Hass could be a risky play against an improving Bills secondary.

That’s all for now – remember to subscribe to ITunes and get the News Stampede delivered right to your door!

More later….

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Thursday Afternoon News http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/thursday-afternoon-news/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/thursday-afternoon-news/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2008 20:08:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=112 Second of probably three of these today barring some giant piece of news – also remember to catch myself, Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom on BlogTalkRadio as The Drive Block will bring you 2 hours of live genius beginning at 10pm EST/7pm PST.

Dallas Cowboys
Guess who’s back? Not Slim Shady but the ever-loving Rain Man himself – Adam ‘not Pacman’ Jones! Well it seems the gamble Jerry Jones and the ‘boys took will pay off. The NFL fully reinstated Jones today and according to the Dallas Morning News , he found out while he was eating at Hooters. Classy. Seriously though, Jones was just hitting his stride when he got into huge trouble and I think that once he has some real gameplay again, he will begin to get back in the groove. Good gamble by the Cowboys if Jones keeps his nose clean and his singles in his pocket.

Indianapolis Colts
You know how I was saying last night I was going to watch this game to see if Jim Sorgi can recover from an awful preseason. He won’t. Sorgi will not be playing at all since his knee is hurt. So watch as Quinn Gray and Jared ‘The Hefty Lefty’ Lorenzon battle to hold Manning’s clipboard. We hope that Manning’s back-up will be irrelevent but as the mystery around Peyton’s knee deepens and people will be worrying up until kickoff of Week 1 whether he will start or not.

The best part of this? Week 1? The Colts play the Bears when? Sunday night. That’s right – Manning owners may have to make a decision whether to risk losing a position if Manning does not play or putting their back-up in to play it safe but missing a good Manning game.

We’ll talk about this a ton next week on the podcast both here and the at The Drive Block. Heck if it’s still this murky next Friday, I’ll definitely give you my thoughts on the blog as well.

Baltimore Ravens
So a lot of folks have been pushing for Willis McGahee to not only lose the #1 gig to Ray Rice but to get cut completely or traded. Chief among these folks would be the Baltimore Sun who would have run him out on a rail a week ago had they been in charge. Well, the Sun has finally admitted McGahee is unlikely to go anywhere. Now long term, he may not be there next year if Ray Rice plays like it looks like he can. But short term, if McGahee is healthy, I expect him to get most of the carries. I don’t expect them to over-utilize Rice so that he burns out mid-season. And they will need to run the ball a lot given the mess of their QB situation. There’s not a lot out there to acquire via Free Agency (Duante Culpepper is about it). The Sun points out if they wait until Saturday, Chris Simms may be cut my Tampa, but then they might be in a dogfight with the Cowboys and a few other teams and I don’t know they can win a street fight there right now.

Miami Dolphins
Ricky Williams is the starter for tonights finale though how much work he will see is debateable as the Phins will want to see what Ronnie Brown can do. Williams will start the season as the #1 – no matter how good Brown does. But – and this is important – there will be a split from the getgo. He’ll take the field first but he won’t be the only back here. If Brown is lights out tonight, he will get more snaps next week. If he’s average or – bite my tongue BAD – Ricky will get the majority.

Like I have said before – these guys are borderline #2,s or really #3 with upside. Treat them as such and leave yourself room to be pleasently surprised rather than annoyed because you depended upon them for too much.

That’s all for now – another post a little later and don’t forget The Drive Block on BlogTalkRadio tonight at 10pm EST/7pm PST.

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Show Notes and News http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/show-notes-and-news/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/show-notes-and-news/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2008 06:41:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=110 Hey folks

So I just finished editing and re-uploading the Thundering Blurb Fantasy Podcast. There were some massive technical difficulties and I had to download the show, edit out about 20 minutes of silence, then reupload it – all of which took about 2hours.

If you tried to listen to the show earlier than midnight Wednesday night – give it another shot sometime Thursday and you should be good to go.

They are getting the bugs out now, so this should be unlikely to repeat in the season.

Some late news – the lateness of the hour may make tomorrow’s initial update a little tardy itself.

I’ll make it up to you baby, I swear!

News and Notes

Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan, Brian Finneran and DJ Shockley were involved in a car accident Wednesday but nobody was hurt – they were rear ended at a stop light in slippery and wet conditions. They made the team’s plane for Baltimore and I think Art Blank just about had a heart attack.

Baltimore Ravens
Chris Mortenson is at it again – although he’s probably right on this one for sure. Looks like the earlier report that Kyle Boller might have a torn labrum and the Ravens are hoping soem rest and rehab might do the trick as surgery will end his season in all likelihood. In a move sure to salve all Raven-fan’s worry, they claimed QB Casey Bramlet off waivers from San Diego. Yup, THAT Casey Bramlet. Wait, you don’t know who he is? He’s…. um, hold on…. he’s uh – oh yeah, he was a former World Bowl MVP who was picked by the Bengals in 2004.

How could this team be interested in John Beck when they have Bramlet? Know what this smells like? Disaster. If the Ravens don’t do something soon, this season is going to go very, very badly. Hope Troy Smith’s tonsils get better soon.

Houston Texans
In a move to save his rear from the firing squad, Ahman Green has restructured his contract. He’s taking a lot less money, but if he plays a lot this season, he can earn a ton more money.

Yup, I don’t believe he’ll see a dime either. I love Ahman Green’s fire and heart – but his body just doesn’t hold up anymore. He’ll hang around this year – with little no no fantasy value mind you – and then probably call it a day.

That’s all for now. I’ll have a post tomorrow morning – maybe lunchtime for you Easterners – and don’t forget the Drive Block goes live at 10pm EST/7pm PST for two hours of me, Sigmund Bloom and Cecil Lammey.

And 2 hours of Lammey is a lot of Lammey – you get your money’s worth.

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