Michael Oher - Tennessee Titans » All The Stories

Jul 28

Ravens Top 20 #6: Ravens rally to defeat Patriots

Continuing our look at the best Ravens moments.

Week Three of the 2012 season was a big night for the 2012 Ravens. They were heading into a Sunday Night matchup against the Patriots, who had defeated them in the AFC Championship the year before. Emotions were high, as the Ravens wanted to avenge their AFC Championship loss and keep their streak of being undefeated at M&T Bank Stadium alive. Emotions were also high for wide receiver Torrey Smith, as his brother had died in a motorcycle accident the day before the game.

The game wasn’t starting well for the Ravens, as the Patriots had a 13-0 lead after the first quarter. Joe Flacco would connect with Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta for touchdowns in the second quarter, but the Patriots would reclaim the lead with a Tom Brady to Julian Edelman touchdown before the end of the half. The Ravens would take the lead after a Ray Rice touchdown run in the third quarter, but a Danny Woodhead run gave it back to the Patriots.

The Ravens defense tightened down at this point and held the Patriots to a field goal, while Joe Flacco would connect with Torrey Smith for another touchdown and then he would lead the team down the field for Justin Tucker to make the game winning field goal from 27 yards out.

Torrey Smith had six receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

Previous Entries:

#7: Ed Reed Makes History Part 2

#8: The Comeback

#9: Ravens End Jaguar Dominance

#10 Ravens Exorcise Demons In Pittsburgh

#11 Jamal Lewis Runs To History

#12 Ravens Pummel Ben Roethlisberger

#13: Joe Flacco Explodes In Tampa Bay

#14: Ravens Crush Bengals

#15: Ravens Close Texas Stadium

#16: Ed Reed Makes History Part One

#17: The Snow Game

#18: Kyle Boller’s Finest Hour

#19: The Missle Goes Off Against Pittsburgh

#20: Day One

Jul 28

Top Position Battle to Watch in Tennessee Titans Training Camp

The Tennessee Titans start training camp on July 31 under second-year head coach Ken Whisenhunt. 

What is the top position battle to keep an eye on in Titans camp?

Watch as Adam Lefkoe goes in-depth with Bleacher Report NFL analyst Chris Simms in the video above.

Read more Tennessee Titans news on BleacherReport.com

Jul 28

Titans Cheerleader Kiara Competes in Miss USA Pageant

Titans Cheerleader Kiara recounts her experience at the recent Miss USA Pageant.

Jul 28

The Deflategate Saga Continues: Brady’s Suspension Upheld

The saga of Tom Brady and Deflategate has been drawn out way longer than neccesary, but will likely go on much longer now that Roger Goodell has upheld his suspension.

Following a playoff game, the league put together an investigation led by Ted Wells, which concluded that Brady was guilty of having the footballs used doctored. This conclusion was based on very circumstantial evidence, but there was enough circumstantial evidence combined with a lack of cooperation from the subject of the investigation, Tom Brady and the team that the league felt comfortable punishing them.

When the punishment was handed down, there were many who felt it was too harsh, and many who felt it was too lenient.  Patriots owner Robert Kraft accepted the punishment without a fight, after issuing a lengthy response about why he felt the team and Brady should not have been punished. Quarterback Tom Brady, however, did not go quietly. Scheduled to miss the first 4 games of the season due to the punishment,  Brady and the NFLPA elected to appeal the decision. The arbitrator is commissioner Roger Goodell, an incredibly controversial issue with the appeals system. Goodell heard the appeal several weeks ago, but has taken his time coming to a verdict. Some hypothesize that this was due to the 2 sides trying to negotiate an agreement that makes both sides happy.

Now the verdict is in. Commissioner Goodell has upheld the 4 game suspension. Brady’s next option, should he choose to take it, is to take the case to the U.S. Courts. According to prominent sports lawyer Alan Milstein (a distant cousin of mine), he definitely has a case:

“If they get to federal court, the whole procedure, the question is whether it was arbitrary and capricious,” said Alan Milstein, the lawyer who represented Maurice Clarett in his fight against the NFL. “It seems fairly clear it was.

“The commissioner,  I thought, really made a poor choice in taking part – basically trying to become part of this arbitration. The best argument Brady has is that due process was lacking and the hearing was unfair. The best evidence is that the commissioner was part of this thing.”

If this was filed in court, Brady would have the option to play week 1 against Pittsburgh. However it would also introduce a very uncertain timetable for his suspension, based on the court case. Could the result be a suspended Brady late in the season? It would seem that would be a possibility. Perhaps the Patriots and Brady would prefer the certainty of knowing when the suspension will start and end, and will not go to federal court. The next step is still up in the air.

If he chose to contest the suspension in Federal Court, his saga would continue to drag on despite even non-Patriots fans wanting it to just end already. For what it is worth, Brady has already been judged guilty in the court of public opinion, so even if he wins in a U.S. Court, it will not change the verdict of the masses that he is a cheater.

The NFL’s full notice about the penalty is here.

Tom Brady Appeal FINAL Decision

Jul 28

Justin Tucker Bonding With Fans This Offseason

A fan favorite, Kicker Justin Tucker is an endearing character. But his offseason actions make me hope even more he stays a Raven for life….

Kicker Justin Tucker is loved in Baltimore, for his personality, and his skill. But this might just make him even more endeared to most Ravens fans.

In the month of July, there is a down period between the early voluntary and mandatory camps, and the beginning of training camp at the end of the month. Some players may take this time to relax, kick back, or travel. But not Justin Tucker. He uses the time to hone his craft. And in addition, he does it in a fun way, including his fans in the action and bonding with them in a way that few athletes take the time to, let alone one who just tied the knot and returned from hi honeymoon,

Tucker invited fans to meet him for practice:

You get the point!

A pro athlete inviting his fans to come and hang out with him, and watch him while he practices is a great idea. I am unsure why other NFL athletes haven’t tried it.

If you want to see how the turnout was at these impromptu sessions, here is a video:

Go Justin Tucker! You win the off-season award for fan outreach.

Jul 28

Duane Starks and Jarret Johnson return to the Ravens as interns

Both cornerback Duane Starks and linebacker Jarret Johnson were quietly solid players for the Ravens before departing in free agency for the promise of more money. Now they return as current Ravens, but under a scouting internship during training camp.

Both cornerback Duane Starks and linebacker Jarret Johnson were quietly solid players for the Ravens before departing in free agency for the promise of more money. Now they return as current Ravens, but under a scouting internship during training camp according to Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com.

Part of the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship, Johnson and Starks are joined by former Ravens’ wide receiver Patrick Williams as scouting interns for two weeks during training camp. The fellowship was created by the NFL in January to educate former players that were interested in a career after football in scouting.

Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com mentions that despite Johnson coming back to retire as a Raven, he didn’t stay retired for long as general manager Ozzie Newsome offered the former linebacker the internship while he was in town for his retirement ceremony.

Hell yeah! How can I miss out on that?” Johnson told Newsome. “It’s a little different, but it’s a learning experience. It’s fun seeing the other side of the game.”

“The Ravens have far-and-away the best scouting department in the game. To come in and learn from [General Manager] Ozzie Newsome and [Assistant General Manager] Eric [DeCosta] and [Director of College Scouting] Joe Hortiz and all those guys, it’s big.”

Johnson is completely accurate when he says that the Ravens are at the top of the game and learning from the best is a great way to start his career after football. With his acumen from playing 12 seasons in the NFL, Johnson should have a leg up on your standard scout when it comes to assessing players, especially since he suited up next to the best linebacker in the history of the game in Ray Lewis and one of the best safeties in Ed Reed.

Eric DeCosta seemed excited to have former players back in town to learn from him and the rest of the front office.

We want to immerse these guys because it’s about teaching them the business of scouting to see if this is something they want to pursue, career-wise, moving forward.

We’re proud of these guys. It’s great to give them an opportunity to see what we do and see if this is something they want to do the rest of their lives. They have the experience as a player and they know our organization. … They’ve earned it.

Hopefully after the internship is over, the Ravens will offer all three of the candidates some type of position within the team. All three have certainly earned the ability to judge players with the best of them.

Jul 28

Backed By Domestic Violence Prevention Group, Ray Rice Eyes NFL Returm

The unemployed Rice has found an unlikely ally in his search for employment.

Ray Rice’s journey back to the NFL has been a long, arduous, and a lonely one, with sparse supporters. Yet the unemployed Rice has found allies in the most unlikely of places.

“We have been around a lot of abusive men, but our experience with Ray has been tremendously positive. We feel strongly about him having the opportunity of having a second chance. He’s deserving of it.”

These were the words of Tony Porter, who along with Ted Bunch founded A Call To Men, a national domestic violence prevention group whose aim is to “shift social norms that negatively impact our culture and promote a more healthy and respectful definition of manhood.” The two have been working with Rice since last November, and are very impressed with him. They believe what many don’t, that Rice deserves a second chance.

The duo have followed Rice for the past nine months, working extensively alongside him. They’ve seen Rice speak at both his alma mater, Rutgers, and his other alma mater, Rochelle High School. In both speeches, Rice delivered “a message about learning from your mistakes and changing the narrative of your life.”

The latter sentiment is something both Porter & Bunch think Rice has done.

“He has a desire to compete again, but also to make a difference in the world. This is what mistakes should be about: learning from them and teaching others. We’ve been in front of a lot of batterers. He is as transparent as I’ve seen, and as sincere as I’ve seen.”

Not only is he doing this for himself, but he’s also trying to prove himself to his daughter, Rayven. When Rayven looks at her dad’s Wikipedia entry, he wants her to see the good he did, not the bad that happened that fateful night in Atlantic City.

While Rice is attempting to restore his off-field image, teams still aren’t impressed enough by his play on the field to risk the bad press signing him could bring.

The last time Rice played in 2013, he posted a dismal 3.1 YPC. Yet many forget that he was fighting a hip injury, which required offseason surgery, and had an awful O-Line to run behind. The whole 2013 Ravens offense was a dumpster fire, and Rice wasn’t immune to that. A return to the Ray Rice of old, when he was a top-tier back, wouldn’t be improbable, as “one Ravens executive even remarked that last summer Rice looked like the Pro Bowl running back he once was before the national controversy erupted.”

Despite the growing support from these two, and his former coach Greg Schiano, Rice still has a long road ahead of him. No matter how hard he works to improve his off-field image, or his on the field skills, Rice still has to overcome the huge stigma associated with him. For that to happen, a team has to throw Rice a lifeline. So far, one team “seriously considered” bringing Rice aboard, but opted out over fear of bad PR. It’s also reasonable to concur that teams may be skeptical of signing Rice due to the texts he leaked to ESPN, thus burning bridges with the Ravens. It’s totally reasonable to think that owners may find Rice untrustworthy after this incident. After all, Coach Eric Mangini, who leaked ‘Spygate’ to the world said he had a hard time finding a job afterwords because no one trusted him.

Unfortunately for Rice, he truly seemed to be the scapegoat for domestic violence in the NFL. Yet teams have given guys like Michael Vick a second chance before, and it seems that Rice, who was seemingly an ‘A+ role model’ for players before the incident is deserving of one too.

All it takes is one team.

Jul 28

Flacco’s Rocket Is Elite

We all know that Joe has a strong arm, but have never seen it quantified…

Joe Flacco has a killer arm. We all know it. It was clear when he faced off with other quarterbacks before he was drafted, in recently surfaced film. And we see it on a regular basis during games.

But in what quantifiable way can we prove Flacco’s arm is elite besides the arm test?

Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders recently posted a chart of NFL quarterbacks to see who throws the deepest deep ball. Joe came in 2nd on the list, and you will be beyond surprised at who is in front of him!

Kacsmar’s chart:

Flacco’s deep ball averaged 31.5 yards in the air, more than everyone but Robert Griffin III’s 33.2 yards. Flacco also had the 2nd highest sample size, with 243 attempts, which was only surpassed by Andrew Lucks 245 attempts.

So there you have it. Joe possesses a rocket, and he knows how to use it!

Jul 28

Tight end Dennis Pitta and Safety Terrence Brooks will start season on PUP list

Everyone expected that tight end Dennis Pitta would be heading to the PUP or Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of the season, so there should be no shock or outrage there. Terrence Brooks will be joining him it seems.

Everyone expected that tight end Dennis Pitta would be heading to the PUP or Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of the season, so there should be no shock or outrage there. Terrence Brooks will be joining him it seems, in sitting out the first 6 games per the designation’s requirements.

Brooks was picking up the defense quickly last season before an MCL and ACL tear ruined his season in week 15 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was on the field during OTAs and minicamp, which was an encouraging sign and is noted to be “ahead of schedule”. Head coach John Harbaugh said that he had no real timetable on Brooks’ return.

“Terrence Brooks is doing really well,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said during the first week of OTAs. “No predictions right now, but he looks good. He has worked hard.”

The injury to Brooks’ knee seems to have sparked a whole new player as he mentioned it has enhanced his work ethic and given him a better perspective on how tough the NFL really is.

I’ve learned not to take it for granted. It could be gone at any second. I needed to study more. It kind of got me out of whack not studying as much as I should have been. Now I see, after talking to the vets and guys who played here before, studying and film work is probably 60 percent of it. The rest is you going out and making plays.

Now when I’m on the field, it’s straight business, no mercy. [The injury] definitely changed my mindset.

For Pitta, the move was not unexpected, but still has all the signs of being the end of his career. In talking with Dr Bobby, he gave us a pretty bleak picture of Pitta’s situation by saying that he could “see Pitta retiring before Ozzie Newsome would have to cut him.”

However, putting Pitta on the PUP list does not rule out a return this season for the tight end. He was showing off at OTAs and minicamp by running routes, jumping around and catching passes out on the field. Pitta also has some hope for this season on coming back and being productive for the Baltimore Ravens.

Hopefully, I will be on the field this year,” Pitta told BYU Sports Nation last week. “It’s still a little bit up in the air. I feel pretty good physically. But I’m kind of at the whim of the doctors whether or not they give me the go-ahead to play. Hopefully it works out and I can be back out there.”

Best of luck to both Brooks and Pitta on their injury rehab and making a potential return to action this season.

Jul 28

Without the Baltimore Stallions, the Ravens May Have Never Existed

The CFL Team in Baltimore played a big part in bringing football back to the ‘Charm City’.

Little known fact: Baltimore is the only city in the world to have won a Super Bowl, NFL Championship, USFL Championship, and a Grey Cup.

That last one may have surpised you. Yes, Baltimore hosted a CFL team at one point in time, and they were pretty good.

The Baltimore Stallions were the only successful team in the CFL’s doomed expansion into the U.S. In it’s short two-year existence, the Stallions had winning seasons, and in 1995 became the only American franchise ever to win the Grey Cup. Their 18 victories that season are the most ever by a CFL team. The Stallions routinely drew crowds of over 30,000 to their games, double the crowds of their American counterparts, and second-best in the CFL. Later, three Stallion players and the head coach would join the CFL Hall of Fame.

The team’s success was largely responsible for the Ravens coming to the town, as only a month after their Grey Cup win, Art Modell announced that he was moving the Browns to Baltimore.

“Baltimore ultimately got what they wanted,”  “They got the NFL. But it would’ve never happened without this Baltimore Stallion football team.” – Stallions Owner Jim Speros

The NFL was back, and the CFL had to go. The Stallions left Baltimore, and moved to Montreal. Because of this, the Stallions were never able to properly revel in their monumental acheivement.

This Sunday, they were finally able to celebrate their influential Grey Cup win together.

About 20 players and former coaches, equipment managers and cheerleaders made it to Baltimore for the 20th Anniversary reunion of the team. Among the attendees were star DE Elfrid Payton, former GM Jim Popp, Owner Jim Speros, CFL Hall of Fame RB Mike Pringle, kicker Carlos Huerta, and Stallion/Raven linebacker O.J. Brigance.

The mood was positive and upbeat, as the players were treated to a standing ovation whilst Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’ played. Players caught up with each other, and the old camaraderie was rekindled amongst the squad. “We were talking all football. It was football all night,” Pringle said. “We talked about all the crazy things we did off the field; all of the success that we had on the field; all of the talent that was there. How we dominated teams.”

While it was all party in Baltimore, there was still a tinge of sadness.

“The sad thing is we don’t have everybody,” said Payton.

Former GM Popp (who later became the Montreal Alouettes GM) also wondered what could’ve been, since the Stallions never got a true send-off.

“Knowing in Montreal when we won a Grey Cup, the parades we have had have garnished more than 300,000 people coming out in the streets just like the Ravens have,” Popp said. “It probably wouldn’t have been any size like that, but to have a big party and build off that for another year would have been special.”

Owner Speros echoed those sentiments.

“This team never truly got the sendoff that it should of,” owner Jim Speros said before listing the team’s noteworthy accomplishments. “It’s the greatest team that ever played.”

While the Stallions didn’t receive their proper sendoff, they certainly have a place in Baltimore sports lore for eternity. Because of their success and popularity, it made people realize that Baltimore was a ‘football city’, and that the citizens of Baltimore wouldn’t rest until they got their NFL. As Popp said, “It showed the people looking from the outside, ‘We better get back in there because it’s silly that this city doesn’t have something.’

Without the Baltimore Stallions, and the passion of a city, the Baltimore Ravens may have never existed. And that’s something to be truly thankful for.

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