Third and Long: Return to Sender

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Ok, so maybe these are the same old Ravens.

Honestly though I wasn’t all that shocked that the Ravens laid an egg on the road against a divisional opponent a week after a Steelers game. What was more upsetting is that in a game where the defense was suffocating the opposing offense the Baltimore counterpart could only muster a meager response.

Yes don’t look now but this Ravens offense is officially bad again as they haven’t scored a touchdown in the past eight quarters, which is currently the league’s longest drought. The reasons are numerous and I won’t bother to list them here. Onward I say to Music City. This is the final game in a three game road trip and if the team can pull out a win against a Titans team who just lost to the Bills they can end it 2-1 which is very encouraging indeed.

  1. Return to Me- The Ravens return game has been in perpetual flux. Grant, White, and now Cyrus Jones I guess? The biggest issue among the group is ball security and rightfully it’s a sure way to enter Coach Harbaugh’s doghouse. I think that the answer may already be hiding in plain sight in the form of Chris Moore. He averaged almost 27 yards a return in kickoff duty previously  and since he’s barely sniffing the field on offense why not get the ball in his hands? The name I don’t want to hear for this position is “Smokey” Brown. Brown has dynamic speed and could provide a real threat to the position but he’s a big part of the offense and I’, not sure if the risk-reward of potential injury is worth it.
  2. Drop it Like it’s Hot- Most fans and pundits agree that the Ravens receiving corps was greatly upgraded from last season but is that really the case? Currently the group leads the NFL in drops and vet Michael Crabtree has half of them. Crabtree has had issues with drops in the past and its a issue that needs to be remedied soon or he needs to be shown the sidelines. In addition to not being able to keep hold of the football when the Ravens offense has struggled its been against Man to Man coverage. An inability to beat the coverage and create separation is a problem we’ve heard about for years and perhaps Coach Marty needs to scheme some open looks if that problem continues.
  3. Players to Watch- Last week (Andrews 1/16, Smith (limited snaps) 1 tackle) On offense I’m going with Alex Collins. The run game has become an afterthought and while I’m ok with Baltimore being a passing team they still need to run the ball more efficiently. Buck Allen should also get a healthy does of carries and passes thrown his way. On defense Za’Darius Smith has been one of the players on defense to continually harass the quarterback and they’ll need another good game from him to pressure Mariota into mistakes.

 

Legend of the Game

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Sam Gash

Fullback

Played for Ravens (2000-2002)

Gash was a two-time Pro Bowler (98,99) and two-time All-Pro (98,99) who was selected in the 8th round of the NFL draft in 1992 by New England. He played there for five seasons before moving on to Buffalo. It was there that achieved his awards for being a bruising blocker of the highest level. He also holds the unique distinction of being selected to the Pro Bowl without ever carrying the football that season. He joined Baltimore in 2000  as a part of a veteran influx with Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson and was an integral part of clearing lanes for Jamal Lewis. Gash began a great run of fullbacks in Baltimore from Vonta Leach to Kyle Juszczyk. Gash retired in 2005 and had been an NFL coach from 2006 until early 2016 when he was let go by Green Bay.

I loved the fact that Gash often wore a neckroll when he played which of course is usually reserved for lineman. He knew his role and preformed exceptionally well.

Game Day Playlist – Song of the Week

“Stand up and be counted
For what you are about to receive
We are the dealers
We’ll give you everything you need
Hail hail to the good times
‘Cause rock has got the right of way
We ain’t no legend, ain’t no ’cause
We’re just livin’ for today”

Supposedly guitarist Angus Young got the idea for the song from a book that was given to him an gladiator games in Ancient Rome. The title is a variation of a phrase that competitors would say “We who are about to die salute you.” to ruler before the battle would commence. Pretty cool. The video from above was played in heavy rotation on MTV, back when they just played music and was always one of my favorites. Cannons create quite a spectacle.

Cousin Justin’s Betting Parlor

Graham Gano. I love you. I’m not ashamed.

The Panthers were on the way to a solid win over the Giants and then they did something they hadn’t done in weeks – scores bunches of points. So it was up to Gano to boot a 63-yard Field Goal to keep my winning streak alive at five.

So we do I have this week that won’t make me sweat it out until the final whistle?

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The Norseman are a heavy home favorite here and yes I know what happened in Week Three. It wiped out a chunk of my competition. The Cards are bad an not in a Michael Jackson sort of way. David Johnson in on their roster and yet they are dead last in rushing. Skol!

Game-Time Snack of the Week

Buttermilk Chicken and Waffle Bites

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If you’ve never had chicken and waffles stop now and go find some. I’ll wait.

Now that you’re back you realize that life is now brighter. You’re welcome. I’ve made these before and they are addictive and delicious.

RECIPE

Happy Football everyone. Go Ravens!

 

 

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