Category Archives: football

Baltimore Ravens 2015 Schedule Released

The Baltimore Ravens have released their 2015 regular season schedule to public Tuesday night. The team will need to prepare to hit the road for most of the first half of the season, as five of their first seven games are on the road, kicking off in Denver against Manning and Gary Kubiak’s run-style offense.

Here’s the entire 2015 schedule (minus pre-season games):

Week 1, Sept. 13: at Denver (4:25 p.m.)

Week 2, Sept. 20: at Oakland (4:05 p.m.)

Week 3, Sept. 27: Cincinnati (1 p.m.)

Week 4, Oct. 1: at Pittsburgh (8:25 p.m., Thursday)

Week 5, Oct. 11: Cleveland (1 p.m.)

Week 6, Oct. 18: at San Francisco (4:25 p.m.)

Week 7, Oct. 26: at Arizona (8:30 p.m., Monday)

Week 8, Nov. 1: San Diego (1 p.m.)

Week 9, Nov. 8: BYE

Week 10, Nov. 15: Jacksonville (1 p.m.)

Week 11, Nov. 22: St. Louis (1 p.m.)

Week 12, Nov. 30: at Cleveland (8:30 p.m., Monday)

Week 13, Dec. 6: at Miami (1 p.m.)

Week 14, Dec. 13: Seattle (8:30 p.m., Sunday)

Week 15, Dec. 20: Kansas City (1 p.m.)

Week 16, Dec. 27: Pittsburgh (8:30 p.m., Sunday)

Week 17, Jan. 3:  at Cincinnati (1 p.m.)

Key Matchups:

Week 1 at Denver: Right off the bat, you got to deal with Peyton Manning, in Denver. The upside is Gary Kubiak is their head coach, so the Ravens might know some of the tricks to stop that run/zone scheme that was a success during his time with the team last season. The downside is Kubiak might know the weak spot of the Ravens secondary, which I’m sure Peyton will enjoy. Not an easy game to start out with.

Week 6 at 49ers: a rematch of the “Black-Out” Super Bowl, and a reunion with WR Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. Will the 49ers be as dysfunctional as everyone expects after a wild off-season or will they be contenders in the West.

Week 14 vs. Seahawks: Two winners from the last three Super Bowls face off in Baltimore, the first time since 2003. Baltimore will need to improve their receiving core through the draft if they want to stand a chance against “The Legion of Boom”, but I feel they’ll lean heavily on the running game most of that game. Russell Wilson will also prove to be problematic with his elusiveness in the pocket, but the Ravens have a strong front seven, so getting a hat on him will at least take the passing game out of it, hopefully “Beast Mode” is kept at bay.

Week 16 vs. Steelers: Last game at M&T Bank will be against the Steelers. The teams might look different, the rivalry will be as strong as ever. We have seen how the Ravens responded after the Ray Lewis/Ed Reed era, let’s see how well the Steelers respond post-Polumalu era.

Is Polamalu a first ballot lock for the Hall of Fame?

As an inspiring journalist, I would consider Troy Polamalu not only one of the top safeties during his era, but possible one of the greatest to every play the game.

As a Ravens fan, I can’t really say I’m that upset to see him go, just as Steelers fans weren’t that upset when Ray Lewis called it a career.

But whether you liked him or hated him, no true football fan can deny the type of level Polamalu played at for the last 12 years with the Steelers. Considered one of the NFL’s most explosive and dynamic players, the former first-round pick for Pittsburgh back in 2003 was a nightmare for teams (mainly QBs) to game plan around, serving as the backbone of the Steelers’ defense. Polamalu retires a four-time first-team All-Pro, with eight Pro Bowl appearance, 2010 Defensive Player of the Year and two Super Bowl championships.

Though his resume show that he should easily be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in five years,  some believe it might not be that simple for Mr. Polamalu.  For starters, Polamalu isn’t even considered the greatest safety the Steelers have every had.  Some might say that Donnie Shell, who played for the “Steel Curtain” defense was equal as a good or even better than Troy during his time in the 1970s, and he’s not in the Hall of Fame either. Yes, he might not have been as dynamic as Polamalu or as big of a name as “Mean” Joe Greene, but Shell was a three-time All-Pro, a five time Pro Bowler with 51 interceptions and a four-time Super Bowl champion.

Another discussion that pops up when you talk about Polamula is whether or not he is considered the best safety in his era. Let say in another month or so, former Baltimore Raven safety Ed Reed officially calls it a career (currently a free agent), both he and Troy would be eligible at the same time in five years, but the committee could only select one over the other ( which is possible since the Hall can only select five modern-day candidates in at a time, and there could be some big names up for consideration during this time).

Who would get in first? Both play with similar, yet distinct styles that opposing offensive coordinators had to be thoroughly prepared for. If you go by stats you probably would say Reed (643 Tlks, 64 INTs, 11 FF, 13 TD) over Polamalu ( 710Tlks,35 INTs, 13 FF, 4 TDs). If you want to look at championships, you would have to go with Polamalu’s two over Reed’s one. We can go back and forth with what this guy did or what this guy didn’t do, but if you had to choose between the two to go into the Hall of Fame first, it’s almost a coin flip in my opinion.

One thing that is certain is that it will be challenging for either of them to get in on their first try, safeties are among the most under-represented positions in the Hall of Fame. Though there are 24 defensive backs enshrined, only 7 of them are considered true safeties (others played both corner and safety).

Though the road to Canton might not be as bright as some Steelers fans would had thought it was for Troy Polumalu,  it doesn’t effect the lasting legacy he left on the field, the amazing plays that left our jaws on the floor, and the constant headaches he gave some of the teams over his career (especially for Ravens fans). There is no question, whether it’s  five years from or more, Troy will be receiving his bust up in Canton at some point down the line, probably sooner rather than later.

Enjoy you’re retirement Troy, though I may not have liked who you played for, those Ravens-Steelers games won’t be the same without seeing No. 43 run around in the secondary, with his signature black curls flowing in the air.

NFL Free Agency: Day 2

Well, now that dust has settled, it’s time for a Day 2 recap of the NFL carousel known as free agency.

Let’s start with the Philadelphia Eagles, shall we…

Well, it started off with head coach Chip Kelly breaking down what the organization’s free agency moves up to this point. Everything from why he traded his best RB in LeSean McCoy, to all the release of some of his star players, to the Nick Foles/Sam Bradford trade. But of course, everyone really wanted to know if Kelly would take a chance at acquiring Oregon QB Marcus Mariota in this year’s draft. Obviously, everyone, including Kelly, believe the Mariota is possible the best QB in the draft, and placing a player like him in Kelly’s offense would spell trouble for the NFC East teams and pretty much the rest of the league. But, for now, Kelly has other plans in mind stating, “. I think Marcus is a the best QB in the draft, but we’ll never mortgage our future.” So, it looks like, for now, Bradford will probably be the starter come September for the team, but that Kelly did mention he was offered a 1st round pick for Bradford, so never say never.

Moving on, news broke that former Charger Ryan Mathews would agree to a $11.5 million deal with the Eagles, which indicated he would be the starter next season. But, the this broke…

Murray ended up signing  a five-year deal,  worth $42 million deal with $21 million guaranteed. For most people, would think, well Mathews needs to start packing his things because it’s apparent  who the team wants as their franchise RB…and it ain’t you. But,Kelly decided to move ahead with the deal, however, which pairs Mathews with last year’s rushing champion, which raises the question as to “what the heck is he going to do?” He won’t keep both RB on the squad, would he or is there a bigger plan in the works?

Then, the dismemberment of the New England Patriot’s secondary was completed when CB Brandon Browner decided to head to “The Bayou”, signing with the Saints with a three-year deal ,worth $15 million, including $10 million guaranteed. The physical play of Browner upgrades the Saints secondary, which was ranked at the bottom of league last season. But, as if thing couldn’t get worst for the Pats with both Browner leaving for the Saints and Revis leaving for New York, the Jets made a move that would make New England’s run for their fifth Super Bowl one of the hardest it’s been in a while. The Jets signed Antonio Cromartie to a four-year deal, worth $32 million, reuniting him with the New York and Revis, recreating the “Batman and Robin” duo that scared offensive from 2010 to 2012.

Their were a few other big name signings (J.Forsett re-signed with BAL, B.Orakpo signed with TEN, A.Johnson signed with IND, J.Cameron signed with MIA), but after the Murray signing, it was a pretty quiet day (compared to Day 1). Now tat most of the big name guys are off the board, the following days should be pretty normal for NF/l fans.

The McCoy Trade:Who’s the winner, Eagles or Bills?

…Well, I didn’t see that one coming at all, and I guess neither did LeSean McCoy.

The Philadelphia Eagles reportedly traded the star running back to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso, a former Oregon Duck during the Chip Kelly era. Now, the trade won’t be finalized until Tuesday, March 10, when the new league year begins, but one thing that’s for sure are the multiple pissed Eagles fans and the grateful Bills fans that are beginning to come forward. Former teammates Trent Cole, Todd Herremans and a few other players around the league took to Twitter to voice their thoughts on the trade:

Needless to say, they were all pretty surprised. But, the question now is why? Why make this type of trade when McCoy is still technically in his prime? Why wasn’t anyone aware that something like this was going to happen (kinda of a smack to the face if you’re an Eagles fan)? And was it just the players traded away or did someone have to give up something else (draft picks!!!)

Maybe the biggest question of them all: Who wins in the long run?

Some may say the Eagles won it all (crazy right?). McCoy had a relatively quiet 2014 season, he finished with 1,319 rushing yards on 312 carries and 155 receiving yards on a career-low 28 receptions while scoring only five rushing touchdowns. Some believed that he since Chip Kelly came to town he really had no big role in his schemes, plus since he turning 27 (usually the ripping age for RB) he was flexible to give away by the club and could find someone else to replace him for the long-term.

Some say it was the Buffalo Bills (and I would agree with them). The Bills went 9-7 last season with a bad QB situation (though Kyle Orton did pretty good down the stretch), a star-in-the-making at WR,a decent defensive unit and still just missed the playoffs. Giving an elite player like McCoy to that team spells trouble for all the teams in the AFC East, especially the Pats. Shady is going to be playing with a huge chip on his shoulder this season as well, his mind-set has to be to go out their and show the world he is still the one of the top running backs in the game and has plenty left in the tank to make a run. I’m telling it’s going to be scary to watch him play if he does what he’s saying he will do, there is no doubt this team will closing in on a playoff spot, heck if this team is a good QB away from giving the Pats a good fight for that division crown (of course there’s also the Dolphins who just signed Ndamukong Suh for $114 Million/6 yrs.).

We’ll have to see who really is the winner during the season next year, McCoy has a lot to prove, but so does Kiko Alonso, coming off his second ACL injury had a great rookie campaign but is still young and unproven in the league. It could turn out to be a win for the Eagles in the long ru of things but if they were look to win a Super Bowl right now, this may be the worst move to make at this point.

#WoW  (WordsofWoodroffe)

Is Football Too Violent for Kids?: Concussions in Football

There’s this show that comes on Tuesday nights on the Esquire network called “Friday Night Tykes” (great show to watch if you haven’t seen it yet),  and it’s quite possibly my favorite show to television. (At least on Tuesday nights).

The show takes place in the state of Texas, yes Texas, where football is up there with Jesus (and guns). The show is basically shows how cruel the game of football can be, on the players, coaches and sometimes parents (most of the time its the parents who are cruel) But, this season the show really went deep to give the audience an inside look into what goes down during the practices, during preparation for games,how the coaches deal with rowdy parents and what goes down on the sidelines (usually just a bunch of cursing. One thing that really caught my eye throughout this season is the fact that during many of the games the kids are knocking each other out due to the poor tackle techniques during the games and practices. Instead of trying to fix the problem to problem by teaching the students better form, they show the coaches in a more negative way, only concentrating on the outcome of the game more than the safety of the kids (unless something really devastating happens).

This show is some of the more extreme examples of how coaches pay attention to concussion-type situations, but I’m sure this is not the only example in America where something like this has happened. Concussions in the football has been on the rise for years for all levels of the game, and parents are fearful of their children’s well-being. Pop Warner, the nation’s No. 1 youth football organization, saw participation drop 9.5 percent between 2010-12, (that was almost 24,000 kids) a sign that the concussion crisis that began in the NFL is having a dramatic impact at the lowest rungs of the sport.

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection reported  that the amount of reported concussions in sports has doubled in the last 10 years, while football is the most common sport with concussion risk for males (75% chance for concussion). In high school, football accounts for 47 percent of all reported sports concussions, with 33 percent of concussions occurring during practice.

Multiple concussions for athletes can lead to bigger problems and disease down the road, including mild cognitive impairments (MCI’s) and/or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the same disease that took the life of NFL Hall of Famer Junior Seau.

So, how do we fix the problem? Or a better question is, CAN we fix this problem in this kind of sport?

The game of football is rough, PERIOD. It’s a game that involves knock the crap out of each while trying to bring each other to the ground (there’s more but I’m trying to make a point). Sometimes they’re freak accidents, bad things can happen when you’re running straight into each other and serious injuries can arise.

One thing that can save those trips to the emergency room: teach proper tackling skills at the youth level.  

The NFL and organizations like USA Football have been pushing better safety procedures in youth football, mainly on tackling. Since the program “Heads Up” was created, the number of concussion have been brought down slightly, but still needs to be worked on.

I grow up with football, I played football and I hope that if I ever have a son(s) he too would go out and play football. Yes, it can be a violent game at times and you can’t control soe of the injuries that take place in the game, but the life lesson I picked up can’t be found anywhere else. It shows you how everything that you want in life comes with a price, a price many can’t commit to. The amount of sweat,tears and memories produced while playing is something I would take with me forever and I would go back and do it all over again in a heart beat. Sports like football is something I think young boys (even girls) need in their lives, and I hope the fear of getting a concussion or worse doesn’t keep children from such great opportunity.

For more information on concussion prevention in youth sports, visit: usafootball.com/headsup

What Should Happen with Peterson?

I guess the NFL are trying their hardest to make a point with this Adrian Peterson case. The question is, what is it?

On Thursday, a federal judge originaled ruled in favor of Peterson, overturning his suspension that has sidelined him for the majority of the 2014 season and possible all of the offseason. That victory was cut short when the NFL placed Peterson back onto the Commissioner’s Exempt List, while the league attempts to appeal the court’s ruling.

During his time on the exempt list, Peterson is still somewhat suspended, but it’s more like on paid leave, which is an upgrade to what he was dealing with over the last five months. But, if Roger Goodell reinstate him for the 2015 season, is the former league MVP planning to return to the Minnesota Vikings, some believe not likely.

Though the team’s front office has said that they would welcome him back whenever he is able to rejoin, it seem that Peterson has a bitter taste in his mouth left by the Vikings’ organization. Peterson felt as though the organization gave no support towards him during his time in court and NFL limbo, he and his agent feel as though it time for a change of scenery. Peterson had hope to push his reinstatement up to March 10, the start of the new league year, which could be telling the Vikings that he is pushing for a trade, but with 3 years left on his current contract and the date for reinstatement is still set for April 15, the running back might have to suit up or sit out.

But, if Peterson does get reinstated by the start of the new year where would he end up? The 29-year-old has played in basically a year, though was coming off one of the best performance a running back could have in a year. The question is how much is left in the tank, can he still take the workload and the beating from the league after taking a year off? Is a team like Dallas really willing to trade to pick up a player like him at his age or should they just resign Murray? The sooner Peterson gets back in the league, the more interesting things will be in the NFL.

My question is, does he deserve to come back?

It’s official: Flacco is Elite!!!

Kubiak believes Flacco is elite, one of the best players he every coached. Photo credit: zimbio.com

Kubiak believes Flacco is elite, one of the best players he every coached. Photo credit: zimbio.com

I think we can all say that Joe Flacco is pretty much an above-average quarterback, and is obvious the best QB Baltimore has had since the late, great Johnny Unitas laced up his cleats in ol’ Memorial Stadium.

But, can we slate Flacco as an elite in the league yet? Gary Kubiak thinks so.

This past Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine, the former offensive coordinator for the Ravens was asked that 3-year-old question…”Is Joe Flacco an elite QB?”

He’s response: “You bet he is”

Well, if he says he is I guess it has to be true, right? I mean the guy was just his coordinator like a week ago, he spent the entire year with him, following him around, grabbing lunch, showing photos of their kids…oh and playing football I guess. And yes, Flacco’s numbers were probably the best they have ever been during his time in the league, it was clear to see this season, it was “Good Joe”/”Bad Joe” every week (Thank God!) But, does he measure up to a Manning, a Brady, a Rodgers, a Brees or even a Roethlisberger?

I think it’s WAY too early to welcome him into that prestigious club right now, but the resume’ he has to offer has him knock at the door. He has beaten most of the guys on the “elite” list when it counts the most, the playoffs. He has knocked off Manning, he’s knocked of Ben and it’s pretty much a boxing match every time he plays against Brady, in Foxborough. He’s numbers would say he’s pretty average. He has never broken the 4,000 yard mark in a regular season, has never been selected to a Pro Bowl and can still have some pretty terrible games in a season that makes you question how he got into the league   (cough* Houston cough*)

So he’s got a lot of work to do  but you have to think he’s knocking at the door, the run he had in the 2012 playoffs is simple LEGEN *wait for it* DARY!, and if you consider Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Andrew Luck and Tony Romo elite-like QB, you can’t tell me Flacco isn’t on deck or at least above these guys on the list. (I mean most of those guys are one-and-done type
QBs in the playoffs). Let’s see what he does this season, he does what he did in 2012 without the locker room figures of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, makes the playoffs and the Ravens win the Super Bowl on his back, you have to consider him, whether he has the numbers or not. PERIOD.