Another week, another win, but Cam and Harbs still don’t get it

John Harbaugh hinted that some changes would be made offensively heading into the Monday Night game, and he didn’t disappoint. Yanda was moved from RT to RG, Oniel Cousins played RT, and Chris Chester played TE at times.

All this was designed to get the Ravens back to a power-run oriented team.

I like that the coaches wanted to switch things up, but what makes them think the Ravens, at this point, should be a power run team?

Coming into this season, I thought the weapons the Ravens had accumulated at the WR position would open things up immensely for Ray Rice. Thus far, for whatever reason, I have been dead wrong.

Ray Rice isn’t a power runner. Yes, he can run up the middle at times and break some tackles, but he is a better outside runner. His quickness is what makes him such a great rusher, not his strength like a Willis McGahee.

I admire the Ravens for attempting to stick with the run as the season began and unfolded. But at this point, they need to stop being who they want to be, and be who they are. They need to be what gives them the best chance to win, and doing it the way they are doing it is absolutely not it.

Cam Cameron and John Harbaugh throughout three years here in Baltimore have insisted that they do not strive for an identity. They want to be able to be whatever they need to be to win games.

If they are going to be true to their word, we should see no more games where run is the focus. We should not see anymore games where the run game and play action make up the majority of the offensive snaps.

Rather, the four WR’s that Ozzie Newsome brought in need to be on the field together. Joe Flacco needs to be in the shotgun running the no-huddle, both of which he has proven to be more comfortable in, even though he has said otherwise.

The Ravens of the past had Travis Taylor, Mark Clayton, Kevin Johnson, Randy Hymes, Demetrius Williams, and Kelley Washington getting significant time at WR.

They had to adjust to that, and Brian Billick and John Harbaugh both got the most out of what they had.

But times are different now. The Ravens have the personnel to have a prolific passing attack. Joe Flacco is 8th in the NFL in passer rating, ahead of QB’s such as Brees, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, and Matt Schuab. He has the ability to run a dynamic passing attack.

I look at what Tom Brady is doing in New England, and I acknowledge that Joe Flacco is not Tom Brady. That being said, imagine what he would do with the Ravens receivers. Wes Welker and Deion Branch would have trouble cracking the Ravens starting offense, yet they are putting up 30+ points a game, with Brady working primarily out of the shotgun. They are doing it with a running back who is worse than perhaps all 3 of the Ravens’ much hailed 3 headed monster.

For a guy who is known and respected as one of the top offensive coordinators, I do not understand why this is so hard to understand. Willis McGahee said it himself. Tom Jackson said it before the MNF game. Jon Gruden said it during the game.

This team should be lighting up the scoreboard, but for whatever reason, Cam is not putting his offense in the best position to succeed.

Not to mention, at the same time, the defense is clearly falling steps behind of what they were in years past, which should serve as even further incentive to want to score as many points as possible.

Jon Gruden called the Ravens WR corps the best in the NFL last night. John, please get that memo to Cam, before it’s too late.

This loss is on Cam and offense, which needs a total makeover

Listening to the radio after a Ravens loss, and everyone wants to play the blame game.

Cam should be fired! The line can’t protect! What was Harbaugh thinking?

The truth is, every NFL play stands on its own. Joe Flacco wasn’t protected well enough when he was stripped late in the 4th quarter Sunday night. Cam didn’t disguise Stallworth’s reverse well enough when that play was stuffed for a loss of 11 yards.

It is not always possible to blame one specific player, or one specific call. There is so much that happens on a football field to possibly attempt to do so.

That being said, tonight is an exception. I feel that there is a clear reason why the Ravens lost this game.

It doesn’t take a Hall of Fame coach to figure this one out. After going up 7-0, the Ravens failed to put their foot on the pedal and take control of the game. With the way the Ravens defense was playing, it taking over the game didn’t have to be going up 28-0. Turning that Stallworth catch into a TD would have been a start. Executing on first and goal at the 8 would have been another.

I am not a big Cam Cameron critic. I feel that he is a solid coordinator, especially considering what he did with the offense in 2008. Maybe he is better squeezing the most talent out of a mediocre squad, rather than maximizing the abilities of a dynamic offense.

Make no mistake, the Ravens have the makings of a juggernaut offensive unit. Fans that have clamored so long for playmaking receivers now have three of them, plus Todd Heap, plus three quality running backs, including a potential top 5-7 RB in Ray Rice. Not to mention a guy like Ed Dickson who can step right in and contribute.

The NFL is an offensive league now. The 2000 Ravens team likely doesn’t win the Super Bowl in this era. The Saints were not a dominant team last season, but they won games with their offense. The rules favor the offense. The NFL is a passing league.

As much as the Ravens want to be a smash-mouth football team, they are better off letting loose.

Let Flacco line up in the shotgun, put Boldin, Mason, Stallworth, and Houshmandzadeh in a 4 WR set, put Rice next to Joe, and let it rip. Run the hurry up offense. Make defenses adjust on the fly to an offense with such dynamic talent.

The Ravens lost this game by not adding onto their lead. Cam Cameron lost this game by not coordinating a way for these playmakers to get down the field and into the endzone after taking a 7-0 lead.

I’m not one to pay the blame game, but I have no choice tonight. If this team plans to go to Dallas, there needs to be an offensive makeover. Talent needs to dictate the scheme, not the other way around.


Ideal scenario for Ravens fans regarding Pats and Jets

I am someone who, as a Ravens fan, probably values the #1 seed more than most.

While many fans in Baltimore are simply focusing on winning the division, I enjoy looking at the overall picture.

The Ravens have the head to head tiebreaker with the Jets, while the Patriots have the tiebreaker with the Ravens.

The Jets defeated the Patriots in New York week 2, and will take on the Pats next Monday night in New England.

The best case scenario for the Ravens regarding home-field advantage is for the Jets to win the division. That way, if the Ravens, Jets, and Patriots all end up at 13-3 or 12-4, the Ravens would have home-field advantage over the Jets due to their head to head win, and Baltimore would also have it over the Patriots (assuming the Ravens were the division winner) based on seeding.

Admittedly, I did not realize this until tonight. I was thinking that the Pats would have to lose one more game than Baltimore for the Ravens to have a chance at the #1 seed.

If the Ravens are able to win their next two games at home vs the Buccaneers and Steelers, a Jets loss tonight against the Bengals (or any other game, with the most likely candidates being at Chicago and/or at Pitt), and a Jets win next week at New England, would put the Ravens, at that moment, on track for the #1 seed in the AFC.

Will be an interesting final six weeks to the season for the top guns in the AFC.

NFL needs to tweak its challenge system

The referees screwed up two calls which went against the Cowboys in the first 11 minutes of the game this evening.

Jason Garrett challenged both plays, and each was overturned.

The glaring issue with the challenge system in the NFL is that it restricts the number of times a coach can challenge a play even if the challenges continue to be correct.

Jason Garrett is awarded one extra challenge since he went 2 for 2. But even so, if he goes 3/3, he is out of challenges. In essence, the Cowboys’ chances of winning the game are decreased because the refs make incorrect calls, forcing Garrett to use up all of his challenges.

This game today has epitomized this situation since Garrett is 2 for 2 thus far, and we are only a little into the 3rd quarter.

I have been arguing this issue for quite some time. Even if the coaches are not successful on all of their challenges, if they are 1 for 2, why should they not get their successful one back?

If an officiating crew is wrong 50% of the time, the team is penalized 100% of their challenges?

I see no reason why there cannot be a review team upstairs that looks at every play. If a play is wrong, it should be corrected. Period. I don’t care if a team is out of challenges or if the play is “not reviewable.”

Every single call made on the field should be able to be corrected. This isn’t a tough concept.

At the very least, if my proposal (which is the current college system) is not implemented, a coach should continue to be able to challenge a play if he continues to make correct challenges.

If a coach wins 1 out of 2 challenges, the coach should get his one winning challenge back until he loses it with an incorrect challenge.

It won’t be long before the current illogical system is exposed. It will likely take that occurring in a big, national televised game before the system is amended.




On Thanksgiving, I’m not thankful for the BCS

First, I provide you two links to previous pieces I have written regarding the BCS.

BCS Continues to Befuddle

The Boise State/BCS Dilemma

Here we are on Thanksgiving, right in the meat of the college football stretch run. Tomorrow, we have perhaps the most anticipated game of the season when undefeated Auburn travels to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama.

Gordon Gee, Ohio State’s president, recently stated he does not feel teams like TCU and Boise State should be able to play for the National Championship, because their conference schedule consists of “the little sisters of the poor.”

“Well, I don’t know enough about the X’s and O’s of college football,” said Gee, formerly the president at West Virginia, Colorado, Brown and Vanderbilt universities. “I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it’s like murderer’s row every week for these schools. We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day.”

TCU’s athletic director Chris Del Conte responded to Gee’s comments.

“I sat back and just thought about our football program and our coach and realized that to start throwing stones at your house, they must be jealous,” Del Conte said. “We have a phenomenal football program. … And someone now starts taking shots at TCU? That means we’ve arrived.”

“Anytime. Anyplace. Anywhere,” he said. “Buckeyes against the Horned Frogs. Tee it up. Let’s go.”

Before I give my opinion on this issue, which is the biggest, most controversial topic in modern-day college football, I will say that I feel the BCS is a complete joke. Whichever side of the coin one falls regarding the Ohio State/BCS schools vs Boise State/TCU/non-BCS schools argument, the losing side is going to feel as though they were slighted. That’s because they are and they will be.

There is going to be either an undefeated non-BCS school, or a 1 loss BCS school, that in the spirit of competitive sports, is treated unfairly, because both should have a chance to play for a national championship.

All this being said, in my opinion, I tend to favor Gee’s opinion in this case.

The reason I say this, is because for the most part, the power teams that come into the season highly ranked usually lose as a clear result to their schedule. Alabama was widely considered the best team in the country this season. They won the championship last season while going undefeated, and brought back their QB, star RB, and star WR, among others.

However, Nick Saban’s team from September 25 to October 9 had to play at an undefeated Arkansas team, at #10 Arkansas, vs #7 Florida, and at #19 South Carolina. They would also go on to play at #12 LSU, at home vs #2 Auburn, not to mention games vs teams like Mississippi State and Penn State that would easily finish second or third in the non-major conferences.

Boise State points to their game with Virginia Tech and says they’ll play anyone at anyplace at anytime.

That’s great, but in reality, they do not get to act that out based on where they play. And as I outlined in those other articles, it does no benefit to SEC or Big 10 teams to schedule games with Boise. Those teams can simply schedule pre-conference cupcakes, go undefeated in their conference schedule, and play for the BCS National Championship.

In 2007 when Ohio State played LSU for the championship, a 7-3 Illini defeated OSU, in Illinois, which many thought would ultimately spoil the Buckeyes’ season. But they ended up making the BCS Championship game as a one loss team playing a two loss LSU.

If that scenario unfolded today, many would argue that a one loss Ohio State team should be kept out, with an undefeated TCU or Boise team playing for it all.

I think this is where Gee’s argument comes into play. While Ohio State was going on the road to face what many considered to be the 3rd or 4th best team in the Big 10, Boise State was probably blowing out an Idaho or Fresno State by 50 on a Friday night. TCU was likely playing a San Diego State or an Air Force.

It is much easier for teams like TCU and Boise to get up for 1-2 big games a season. When they win them, they want to create the notion that they can beat anyone in the country on any given day.

You know what? They are probably right. I believe that Boise could beat Alabama or Auburn if they played one game for a National Championship.

But before I respect these mid major teams as legitimate, deserving title contenders, I want to see them do it vs. the best week in and week out. Tomorrow night’s game that features Boise at Nevada is being hyped up as a big game for Boise. In reality, it is their third toughest game of the season, and their third legitimate test of the season.

Put Nevada in the SEC and let them play Alabama’s schedule, and they would be lucky to be playing in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

I want to see Boise State and TCU have to get up and seriously game-plan for legitimate, BCS teams week in and week out. I want to see Boise have to go to Penn State and face perhaps the 5th best team in their conference at night on national television, rather than playing a game in which the biggest decision is when to pull the plug on their starters to save them for their next big game a month down the road.

Perhaps the 9th toughest game for Alabama played this season, at Tennessee, was a game in which Tennessee would have likely been favored against the great majority of the teams in WAC or Mountain Test that play Boise State and TCU on an annual basis.

The bottom line for me, is when the resumes of Boise State and TCU are compared with the resumes of BCS teams that may have one or two losses, I just can not say that those two teams deserve to play one game for the chance to be called the best team in the country.

Until they have the opportunity to prove their worth over an entire season, and not just fabricated big-time games vs teams like Oregon State and Nevada, they should not be playing for any kind of championship other than for their respective conference.

Is that fair to Boise State and TCU? Absolutely not.

But the millionaire presidents and AD’s can’t come up with anything better, so this is what college football fans are stuck with. Even Gordon Gee for example, who I feel has a very legitimate point, is also very publicly in favor of the BCS. Where is the logic in that? If the president of Ohio State feels it unfair in the current system for Boise State or TCU to play for the championship, wouldn’t logic say that he would not be in favor of the current system?

Let Boise State and TCU play three tough games during the season, and then three more big games in a playoff system against one or two loss BCS teams. That way, the score can be settled on the field, rather than by a computer.

On Thanksgiving, I’m not thankful for the BCS. I’m thankful that I can watch three NFL games in a league in which a championship (such a novel concept) is fairly decided at the end of each season.

Finally home, Ravens appear primed for stretch run

Since John Harbaugh became head coach prior to the 2008 season, the Ravens have played 47 games. Of those 47 games, 27 (57%) have been on the road.

Of the Ravens last 14 games dating back to Week 16 of last season, 10 have been on the road.

Week 16 of 2008 the Ravens played a prime-time Saturday night game at Dallas, which they ultimately needed to win to qualify for the playoffs. They went on to win road playoff games in Miami and Tennessee, before falling to Pittsburgh at Heinz Field in what some consider to be the most physical NFL game played in the last few seasons.

Last season, the Ravens lost games at New England and Minnesota during the regular season in heartbreaking style. They lost at Green Bay on a Monday night, along with 4 other losses, 2 of which (Cincinnati and Pittsburgh) were also on the road.

The Ravens then crushed the Patriots in Foxboro, only to fall the following week to the Colts in the divisional round.

They came into this season with high expectations, playing 4 of their first 6 games on the road at the Jets (on the first Monday night game of 2010, and the first prime-time game at New Meadowlands Stadium), Patriots, Bengals, and Steelers. A few weeks later, they were asked to go to Atlanta and play against a team that was 17-1 at home with Mike Smith at the helm and Matt Ryan under center.

So, just to recap, 71% of the Ravens’ last 14 games have been on the road. Of those last 14 games, 50% have been at New England, at Pittsburgh, at Indianapolis, at New York (Jets), and at Atlanta.

Is that a brutal schedule or what?

John Harbaugh and his team have gotten through it. They have put their heads down and moved forward, just as they did in 2008 when their BYE week was moved to week 2.

They haven’t complained. They haven’t let up. The Ravens have stuck together and battled through a schedule that not many other teams have come close to experiencing.

Now, they can exhale. No, the Ravens aren’t going to take the Buccaneers, Steelers, Saints, or Bengals lightly just because the games will be played at M&T Bank Stadium. John Harbaugh isn’t going to let anyone take their foot off of the gas pedal.

That being said, since 2003, the Ravens are 46-14 at home, third to only the Patriots and Colts in home winning percentage over that period.

They sit at 7-3, with their fate within the division in their hands. With the Jets still scheduled to play at Pittsburgh, at Chicago, and at New England, and with the Ravens holding the tiebreaker over the Jets, it is fairly safe to say, assuming the Jets do not win out, that the Ravens have the path to a first round BYE in their hands.

(The Patriots would have to finish one game worse than the Ravens for Baltimore to overtake the Pats in the race for the #1 seed, so Ravens fans should be rooting for Detroit tomorrow afternoon over turkey dinner).

The Ravens find themselves in this position after weathering the storm that their schedule has brought them over John Harbaugh’s first 2 1/2 years in Baltimore. They control their own destiny, and they do so with four of their next six games at home.

This is what every NFL team strives for. Each win builds momentum for the next week. Each win makes the subsequent games that much more important. Wins in September and October secure meaningful, playoff-like games in November and December.

The Ravens have taken care of business thus far in 2010. They have won seven of their first 10 games, ensuring that the months of November and December will contain four games with major implications being played at M&T Bank Stadium.

With the way these Ravens have set themselves up, a purple January filled with playoff fever in Baltimore is looking pretty likely.

The opening laps are over, and the Ravens have survived the toughest conditions seen by any of the participants.

And down the stretch they come.


O’s decision not to offer Koji arbitration is mind-boggling

Koji Uehara is a type B agree agent. He made $5 million in 2010. If the Orioles offer Koji arbitration and he declines, they would get a supplemental draft pick, which is a pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds in the amateur draft.

If he accepts arbitration, he would likely be due anywhere from 5-7 million for 2011, with the 7 likely being a bit on the high side.

So, if the Orioles decide to offer him arbitration, they either A) end up with Koji Uehara for 1 year and a slight raise over 2010, B) sign him to a their own deal ,or C) receive a pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds of the 2011 draft

Yesterday, word came out that the Orioles decided not to offer Koji Uehara arbitration.


Again, the worst thing that can happen by offering Koji arbitration is that he comes back to the Orioles for a couple more million bucks than they would prefer to pay him. That’s it.

Of course, the O’s could still reach an agreement wth Koji and bring him back on their own terms. Perhaps they are extremely confident that they will be able to do just that.

Having said that, they have no idea if there is a team out there willing to overpay Koji. What if the Tigers or the Mets swoop in and offer him 2/15? Clearly, by declining to offer Koji arbitration, the O’s have shown that they would not match that deal.

So, in that scenario, Koji departs, and the O’s leave a supplemental draft pick on the table, all to save a few million in case he accepts arbitration.

And even if Koji did accept, he would still be on the team and would more than likely be the closer. That isn’t a bad thing!

1-2 million bucks for one year isn’t going to hamper Andy MacPhail in any way. It’s absurd to suggest otherwise.

So what gives with this decision? Even if it turns out to be a non-issue, with Koji returning to the O’s after agreeing to a new deal, the decision to not offer Koji arbitration shows that Andy MacPhail really isn’t as on top of things as O’s fans would like him to be.

Thoughts on O’s coming up short in V-Mart sweepstakes

Reports indicate Victor Martinez is going to sign a 4 year, $50 million deal with the Detroit Tigers. Other offers on the table included a 3 year, $48 million offer from the White Sox, and a 4 year, $48 million offer form the Baltimore Orioles.

Victor Martinez is a guy that Orioles fans have heard rumblings about even before the 2010 season came to a close. He could have played 1B for the O’s, while also backing up C Matt Wieters, potentially eliminating the need to carry a backup catcher.

Browsing various message boards, some fans are upset that the Orioles did not offer a bit more for Martinez to get him to Baltimore, while some insist that Martinez wouldn’t even be worth the $48 million that the O’s offered him.

The notion that Martinez isn’t worth the money is one that I really do not care too much about regarding this situation. Andy MacPhail has been saving money ever since his arrival in 2007, waiting patiently for the time when the young core was developed enough for him to open up the checkbook and go for it. They’ve been waiting for years to “release the spears.”

Clearly, it’s a positive that Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter feel that this team is close enough to start offering major money for major free agents. It is an even bigger positive that they acted on that thought and offered Victor Martinez a deal that was very competitive with his other offers.

Of course, the negative in these negotiations is that the Orioles simply offered a competitive offer, rather than the winning offer. In fact, of those three offers, the offer from the Orioles was the worst.

Now, I am not someone who supports recklessly throwing around big-time money on the free agent market. I’ve made it very clear that I feel the best way to build a team is through trades and development.

That being said, the core has arrived. The young core that Andy MacPhail has successfully assembled is ready to win, but they can not do so without being supplemented. Given these circumstances, some of the monetary cautiousness and restrictions have to go away.

Giving Victor Martinez this deal wouldn’t have been smart after 2007, 2008, or even 2009. But with Martinez added to the mix, assuming that the O’s are targeting other pieces as well, there is no reason why the Orioles cannot be a winning team for what would be the duration of Martinez’s contract.

If I am Andy MacPhail, and I identify Martinez as someone who I feel the Orioles need on their team, I am not settling at that 4/48 offer. I’m offering him 3/51 or 4/56.

All of the money that Andy MacPhail has saved is ready to be spent. Overpaying his main targets that he feels will get the O’s over the hump is not a bad thing.

For the Orioles at this point in time, overpaying is a good thing.

That doesn’t mean I want them to offer Cliff Lee $200 million or trade Chris Tillman for Carlos Beltran.

I want Buck Showalter and Andy MacPhail to identify what exactly the Orioles need. I want them to identify who they feel are the best fits, and I want them to do what it takes to get them.

No more settling for secondary, cheaper options. No more competitive offers.

Identify the target, and bring them to Baltimore. Period.

The money is there. The core is developed. Contracts for Brian Roberts and NickMarkakis are evolving. Service time for Adam Jones and the young pitchers is ticking by the second.

MacPhail and Showalter obviously felt that Victor Martinez was a key target. They wanted him.

There is no excuse why the Orioles could not offer Martinez a deal that beat both the Tigers and White Sox offers.

It’s about time this organization showed the fans that they are serious about bringing big-time talent to Baltimore. Until they do, this team will never legitimately compete in the American League East.

Until MacPhail proves otherwise, this offer to Martinez is nothing more than the token offer they made to Mark Teixeira two offseasons ago.

O’s fans are tired of entering these races, only to fall well short of the finish line.

They’re ready to win.

Maybe I’m jumping the gun, but I’m upset with Derrick Mason

Most Ravens fans who connect with the Ravens media and fellow football friends through Facebook and Twitter have likely come across the rumor that Derrick Mason and Joe Flacco were involved in some sort of altercation on the sideline during Sunday’s game at Carolina.

I will be covering John Harbaugh’s presser at 4PM on Monday, where we will get an explanation as to what really happened (or what Harbaugh wants the fans to believe really happened). Then on Wednesday, we will hear what happened from Mason and Flacco (or what Mason and Flacco want the fans to believe happened…or what Mason wants the fans to believe happened, with Flacco not caring enough to disagree)

Admittedly, I was not at the game, and I did not see the altercation in person. I am only going off of what I have read by various fans who were at the game in close proximity to the Ravens bench. I have read more than one account that says Mason was grabbing around the facemask, potentially also taking a swing at Joe.

Now, does this kind of thing happen every week in the NFL? Absolutely it does. Joe Flacco and Derrick Mason are both good guys, and they are friends. Come Wednesday afternoon, all parties will have likely dismissed this as water under the bridge, and personally, I don’t think it will be an act. I do not believe that these guys are going to hold a grudge or that their relationship will be any different based on a heated sideline exhange.

The reason I am bothered by this isn’t because a scuffle or whatever anyone wants to call it broke-out on the sideline. Rather, because it involves another high-maintenance receiver in Derrick Mason, likely (and I will say likely because no one knows for sure what happened) getting on his QB for something to do with not getting him the ball enough.

As someone who sees these guys on a consistent basis, I was already tired of the constant moaning and groaning from TJ Houshmandzadeh. The guy was released from Seattle, and admittedly, could have gone places where he would have been the top option by far. But after years of futility in Cincinnati and Seattle, he chose to come to Baltimore and chase a ring.

TJ isn’t stupid…He knew the Ravens had already traded two draft picks for Anquan Boldin. He knew that Derrick Mason was Joe Flacco’s security blanket. TJ saw the Ravens sign Donte Stallworth very early in the offseason.

Yet he still complains when he doesn’t get the ball?

I often find myself defending Terrell Owens and his antics because I feel like T.O. only goes off when his team is losing, and when he feels that if he got the ball more, his team would have a better chance of winning. Who can argue with that point? History has proven, up until this horrific season in Cincinnati, that when he gets the ball, his team wins. When he gets it less, they lose.

Perhaps Derrick Mason isn’t understanding that this Ravens team is winning football games. Maybe he doesn’t realize that while he may think he is playing like he’s in his 20′s, the old man description that Channing Crowder used to describe Derrick isn’t too far from the truth. This could be Derrick’s last chance at a Super Bowl ring.

Why are these receivers so dead-set on sparking controversy and creating problems for everyone involved?

Remember when Joe found Anquan Boldin for three touchdowns in Week 3 against Cleveland? Is that even possible anymore when Houshmandzadeh and Mason are going to cry during the week, or even worse during the game, when they aren’t getting the ball to their liking?

Are these guys going to cause Cam Cameron to draw up a game-plan every week to focus first on getting everyone the ball to keep them happy and motivated, rather than doing what’s best for the team?

If it is in the best interest of the Ravens to use TJ Houshmandzadeh as a decoy, freeing up Anquan Boldin 1 on 1, they should do it. Period. Even if it means Boldin gets 13 balls thrown his way and TJ only one. The same goes for Derrick Mason.

These receivers need to stop being divas. Ray Rice, after the Dolphins game, said that he doesn’t say anything to Flacco on the field, saying that Joe needs his space and that he has enough to worry about as the quarterback of the team.

Looks like old man Derrick Mason could take a cue from the maturity shown everyday by 3rd year Rice Rice.

Maybe I’m wrong, and we’ll all find out that Mason’s complaints had nothing to do with not getting the ball. Perhaps I am blowing this thing way out of proportion just hours before we will get our first explanation as to what really transpired on the Ravens sideline.

But right now, this doesn’t look good.

Rather than talking about the Ravens improving to 7-3, coming up on two critical home games against the Bucs and Steelers, we have to talk about Joe Flacco’s security blanket, his most trusted receiver, taking swing at him on the sideline.

Nice job Mase.


Coughlin’s Coaching Blunder

With the Giants down 13-3 heading into halftime, Philadelphia was looking at a 4th and 19 from the Giants 24 yard line. When the third down play was over, there were about 25 seconds on the clock, and the Giants had two timeouts left.

Coughlin chose not to use a timeout, instead letting Philly run the clock down to 4 seconds. The Giants went on to block a David Akers field goal attempt, running the ball back to the 50 yard line, only to see that the clock had expired.

Had Coughlin used a timeout after Michael Vick was tackled on the third down play, there would have been around 17 seconds left for the Giants, starting at midfield with 1 timeout left.

This is not just hindsight, only an argument after the Giants blocked the field goal. What if Akers had connected on the field goal, and the Giants then proceeded to run the kickoff back to midfield?

When the Giants are guaranteed to get the ball back, either by a blocked FG, missed FG, or kickoff return (all giving the Giants fairly good field position other than perhaps a missed FG)

While calling a timeout there does not ensure the Giants a scoring chance, where exactly is the downside to calling one? What is the worst thing that can happen? Akers kicks off for a touchback, and Eli Manning has to put his helmet back on, jog out to the 20, and knee the ball?

It continues to amaze me that these coaches make millions of dollars, yet cannot execute obvious coaching moves at crucial points in the game.