August 17
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issue 17
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what's maryland waiting for?

It's Friday. DJ Durkin is still employed.

How is that possible?

It might be as simple as something I suggested earlier this week. Perhaps the attorneys for both sides are just creating Durkin's "resignation" and once everything gets buttoned up, he'll be gone and Maryland football will start over.

But what if it's not that simple?

What if -- humor me for a second -- Maryland doesn't intend to part ways with Durkin?

Is that even possible?

Could DJ Durkin surive this ordeal and remain the football coach at Maryland?

No way, right?

How would he recruit? How would he go into a kid's house and convince the young man's parents that he's going to take care of their son for the next four years?

Maryland President Wallace Loh acted quickly in the wake of last Friday's ESPN story about Maryland football, but the school hasn't yet made a decision on head coach DJ Durkin.

I'm sure he could always get someone to take a full scholarship to play college football, but would any of those players actually be Big Ten caliber athletes?

I doubt it.

And what about the other important factor in this, as far as the school goes: Money. How will Maryland sell its product to the banks, airlines, sports apparel companies and anyone else in the region that wants to connect their marketing efforts with Maryland football?

Seems like a bad time to be a sales rep for Maryland sports, huh?

With Durkin "out", at least the Terps can sell the whole apology-fresh start-we've learned our lesson angle. I'm not certain it will work all that well for them -- Maryland football was probably a lousy sales piece anyway -- but it will give them a better chance than keeping Durkin around and having to drag that story around every time they pitch a company for tickets, suite packages and anything else.

There's just no sense in keeping DJ Durkin around.

And I'm not someone who says asinine stuff like "Durkin helped murder one of his players" or any of that other garbage you're seeing on the internet these days.

We tend to go overboard with stuff like that in 2018. Not sure why, but we do.

DJ Durkin was the football coach at Maryland who oversaw a program that was filled with inappropriate and obviously dangerous training and practice tactics. That one of his players died under his watch is, of course, the most important part of the story. But Durkin isn't a "murderer" or anything close to it.

He's a football coach who fell victim to the same thing dozens and dozens of coaches fall victim to: He made football more important than life itself. He's not the first to do it and won't be the last, either.

Maryland football was in big trouble before this national story broke a week ago. And by big trouble, I'm talking merely wins and losses and program respectability on the field. Sure, they looked as if they might be a tad improved this year, but not nearly enough to scare the folks in Ann Arbor, Columbus or Happy Valley.

And now.......

With the Durkin story tugging at them, how can the Terps possibly maintain enough focus to stay competitive this year?

I'm sure the school understands the situation. This isn't really about football. It's about the death of Jordan McNair and the ugly culture that apparently had suffocated practice, workouts and off-season training.

But, ultimately, Maryland has to decide how their football program is going to proceed.

And I can't see any way possible it can go on with DJ Durkin at the helm.

Wallace Loh and other Maryland administators might see it differently, though. With each passing day, the chances of Durkin staying with the program don't decrease -- they increase.

There's just no way, right?

Maryland isn't going to keep DJ Durkin are they?

Maybe they are...

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from the desk of
brien jackson

BRIEN JACKSON's work at #DMD promises to provide some of Baltimore's best sports insight and commentary, brought to you by SECU, the official credit-union of Drew's Morning Dish. Brien has done sports-media work with ESPN, CBS, and NPR. His contributions to #DMD will focus on the Orioles, the Ravens, and national sports stories.

One of the more memorable moments of my high school football career happened in the very first game of my freshman season.

We were playing a nearby out of conference rival on a humid night where the temperature was still near 90 degrees at the 7:00 kickoff. They had a pretty good senior at running back, and at some point in the first half he got a big hole off tackle and took off untouched through the line.

It was about as easy of a 70 yard touchdown run as you'll ever see, except that around our 20 yard line his legs cramped up, he hobbled maybe 5 yards in pain, and our safety drug him to the ground.

After that they went four and out, and we ended up winning the game by four points. Because they were a division above us the win was worth a lot in Ohio's playoff ranking system, and ended up making the difference in us getting in that year.

All because the other team's running back got a cramp at just the right (or wrong) moment.

That one play has been strangely resonant in my life. Most likely because we didn't stop talking about it for my entire four years.

It was a running joke of sorts, but also the coaches brought it up constantly, especially during the super hot summer practices and workouts.

There was no controversy over water breaks at all, our coaches actively pushed good hydration. That was for safety of course (when I was in middle school a particularly hot summer included 3 local deaths at sports practices, so this was a big focus), but also because once upon a time the difference between winning and losing was an ill-timed cramp. You didn't want to spend the rest of your life thinking about how your team lost because YOU were dehydrated, did you?

I also think about that play a lot whenever people start talking about "toughness" in athletes.

You see that kid came back into the game. He had two more cramping episodes during the game, but came back in after both of those as well. In the handshake line after the game it was obvious he was in a lot of pain still, but he finished the game all the same. I certainly think it's fair to say he was a tough guy, and that was one of the more impressive displays of toughness I ever saw in my playing days.

But it turns out that, if you're trying to outrun your opponent, being tough is a poor substitute for having adequately hydrated muscles.

The fiasco currently unfolding in College Park should give us all a chance to reconsider how we think about "toughness." How we define it, how we "teach" it, and what boundaries are okay to push to get there.

Since the usual pablum about building toughness has been trotted out to explain the action's of Maryland's staff, particularly those of Rick Court, it is worth pointing out that his title was not toughness coach, but strength and conditioning coach. Despite efforts to confuse the two, toughness and conditioning are not the same thing.

Conditioning is about actually expanding the physical capabilities of your muscles, tendons, cardiovascular system, etc. And guess what; denying your body water or pushing yourself to the point of heat exhaustion doesn't help you do that at all! Conditioning is a process of building up your limits over time, like training for a marathon, and it's ok to reach a point where you can't handle any more on a given day.

If you're going to spend a year preparing for a marathon, you don't have to run 26 miles on day one. The important thing is that you are legitimately trying your hardest and getting to that limit.

That's where being tough comes in to play. Toughness is the mental factor that makes you push yourself, to legitimately work your hardest, and to not cheat on your workouts. I'm personally a believer that you can't teach that, it's a trait you either have or you don't. And you know what? I seriously doubt that a college program like Maryland is full of guys who aren't tough.

The Terps might not be national, or conference, title contenders, but they're still a big school, who still plays in the Big Ten. They're bigger than most non-major programs, to say nothing of the schools playing below the FBS level. There are more college teams below Maryland on the pecking order than above them, in other words, and there are thousands and thousands of high schools in this country.

If Maryland is recruiting a large share of guys who dog their workouts, that says at least as much about the recruiter as it does the recruit. Maybe the real question ought to be whether or not they're cut out for big time college coaching.

Then again, that should be the question anyway, shouldn't it? Putting aside the question of appropriateness for a second, how many of you read the ESPN account of Court's "coaching" tactics and honestly thought "he seems like he's really top notch at his job and Maryland is going to be winning 9-10 games a year in no time!"?

If you coach or train athletes, would you copy the behavior described in the article? Would you actually think it would help them?

Because once we get past our obligatory hosannas to "toughness," I think most of us know that this line is a bunch of crap.

Yes we know that jackwagon coaches are out there, but are they really that prevalent? Maybe I'm atypical here but none of my football coaches were like that, and it certainly wasn't an ethos guiding our program. We did tons of conditioning, don't get me wrong, and I spent plenty of days puking after pushing a wooden sled. Some days you needed to sit out a rep to get yourself together, and none of the coaches gave anyone any gruff over it.

Because really, they knew who was digging it and who was doing their best. I mean us players all knew it, so I'm positive the coaches were aware. And you know what, the guys who were dogging it mostly just got ignored. If they didn't quit eventually they were just going to sit on the bench forever and if that's what they wanted than good for them.

As for the fat lineman giving it his best to finish the 100 yard sprints at the end of practice but barely more than walking the last 30 yards? No insults, threats, or humiliation; but encouragement to finish, from the coaches AND other players. That's what we were taught a team did. We were pretty good, too. Not state championship or anything, but we almost always finished ahead of 3 or 4 bigger schools in the conference and usually beat at least one school from a division higher than us.

My head coach may legitimately end up in the state Hall of Fame one day, and all without ever once belittling, degrading, or humiliating a player. To say nothing of killing one.

Finally, it's really hard not to notice that for all of the talk of "toughness" and "changing the culture..." it doesn't seemed to have worked! I mean Maryland still isn't very good, and when you hear about someone who let a coach throw a weight at them and does nothing about it is "tough" the word you think of to describe them?

I don't mean to deploy stereotypical bravado but if anyone ever did that to me there's a 50-50 chance I would have thrown it right back. At the VERY least I'm walking out of there and never coming back, because strong people don't let other people treat them that way.

Or rather, people in strong positions don't put up with that, but college football players are not in strong positions vis a vis their jackwagon coaches. Walking away from the team means losing a free ride scholarship. Punching Rick Court in the mouth, as he so clearly deserved, would mean getting kicked off the team and.... losing your scholarship (and one angle of the ESPN story I haven't seen talked about much is the implied accusation that Durkin, through Court, was explicitly trying to get scholarship players he inherited and didn't want to quit).

The players have no leverage or ability to fight back, and like a classic abuser Court exploited that fact to do pretty much whatever he wanted to them with relative impunity. That's not teaching players to be tough; it's reminding them that they're weak, that Court is powerful, and that there's nothing that the weak can do to stop the powerful from doing whatever they want to them. Even killing them.

And that's what needs to not be forgotten here. Maybe you are a genuine believer in the Durkin/Court model of coaching and player motivation, but in this case a 19 year old kid is dead as a direct result of that attitude.

Ironically, Jordan McNair might represent the ultimate success of the attitude Maryland's coaches wanted to instill. If Durkin and Court were out to get players to push their limits well, they certainly succeeded with McNair, didn't they? He pushed himself all the way to the ultimate limit, the one none of us can get past.

And though I can't speak from personal experience, I imagine that a person had to be pretty damn tough to push their body all th the way to the point of death. So congratulations are in order for Court, I guess, who can at least head into his post-coaching (one hopes) career with the knowledge that he inspired Jordan McNair to never give up, even if it killed him.

As it stands now, Court is done at Maryland, and Durkin is likely to follow. That will probably close the book on the scandal as far as most people are concerned, but it shouldn't.

There are more Rick Courts out there coaching at every level of every sport, including youth leagues. Now would be a good time to say that men like this have no business being put in these positions of responsibility for the development and safety of young people, before someone else dies, or more young men learn how to be "tough" from a glorified bully.

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sned's 59 overshadows ryder cup talk

For one day at least, Brandt Snedeker took over as "the story" on the PGA Tour.

Snedeker rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on his final hole yesterday to become the 9th player in TOUR history to shoot 59. His -11 score leads the Wyndham Championship by four shots.

Jim Furyk's probably pleased. For a day, at least, no one's going to pester him about his Ryder Cup captain's picks that are due in on September 3rd.

A 59 on Thursday gave Brandt Snedeker the first-round lead in Greensboro, but it didn't help his Ryder Cup chances.

And, no, Snedeker's not one of those being considered.

Furyk's playing in the event in Greensboro, NC, but he's not seeing many of those he'd consider for one of the four picks.

Billy Horschel, who shot 4-under par on Thursday, is probably on Furyk's short list of eight potential add-ons, but he's the only one of those playing in this week's event.

Tiger and Phil are going to be captain's picks. That's about as much of a done deal as Chris Davis striking out at some point tonight.

The other two spots are up for grabs, still.

Now, if Tony Finau or Kevin Kisner would have authored a 59 yesterday...

But instead it went to Snedeker, who has battled injuries all season but still remains one of the game's best putters.

Snedeker's only hope for catching Furyk's eye -- and it's a real longshot -- would be for him to win this week and then win next week's FedEx Cup opener. Two wins in two weeks, with one coming against a strong field, might be enough to get Furyk's attention.

#dmd comments

Chris in Bel Air     August 16
@Herman... I agree with you on the pre-season chatter. I feel like Joe and the team will be better this year but at this point, who really know. Regarding the O-line, it is definitely not looking the same. Only person returning is Stanley. Looks like O Brown is taking over at RG, Skura at C and then Lewis and Yanda returning from injuries. So there are definitely unknowns there but the potential to be better than last year with healthy Lewis and Yanda.

HERMAN     August 16
Nice column today by David Rosenfeld, easy summer read well done.

SGT FRIDAY     August 16

Just the facts. On Thursday August 16th a hearing was held in the Writing Court in the County of Los Angeles. In a moment the results of that hearing.

Judge Logic found that Brien Jackson deficient in any kind of writing talent. He was also found complicit in snark, delusion and condescending behavior.

Brien has been banished to the Little Fella wing of the talentless hacks section of San Quentin Writing Prison.

He will be eligible for writing assignments when he proves to be logical, brief and coherent.

Swami     August 16
Maybe Brien can give up one of his "Worst Writing Ever" trophies...

RJ 1.0     August 16
That Brien, he is simply the best at "winning" arguments, kind of like Charlie Sheen

Sanford     August 16
#Herman. Its a zero sum game. When somebody wins somebody else loses. We think we’re special because we’re us. But everybody else thinks they’re special too, because they’re them.

HERMAN     August 16
I was reading a recent article on the Raven's and Flacco had some positive comments about this year's receivers being so much better than last year, and how excited he was.

I started to get excited, started feeling great about the upcoming season, felt elated.........then realized after some 50 years of watching the NFL that it's just the usual pre-season chatter. Even with all the additions we don't have a receiving corp that scares the opposition, and it's basically the same O line from last year. Maybe this year's D holds up on 2 late drives and we win 10. Maybe they fold like the 4TH and 12 last year and it's 8-8, or 7-9.

The team doesn't appear to have built a power-house that will just run through the league like a hot knife through butter.

They almost got me, Flacco and his "future is so bright I gotta wear shades" pre-season comments. I'll watch, I'll root, we'll see.

ray ray     August 16
Brien, what is a "trophy maybe"?

Dibbles     August 16
Brien didn't write anything for the site today. I guess his Internet is down and he couldn't steal from Bleacher Report.

Brien Jackson     August 16

That may honestly be the saddest attempt at a come back I've ever seen. I feel like you deserve a trophy maybe.

unitastoberry     August 16
In the old days they would crack back on Ramsey and put him in the ER for saying things like that in public.

@ Bob from Hereford...... Was Buck against getting rid of Markakis and Cruz? Was he against signing Ubaldo? Was he against letting Arrieta go ? Was he against paying Davis all that money? Did he want Manny paid and then build the team around him ? We dont know any of these things. I would like to know that one day. Perhaps if the old man is out of the picture now and the sons are making decisions Buck would stay? But with the Orioles you might as well consult the magic eight ball lol.

@ Delray...... I would rather hear Ramsey trash Chris Davis than Flacco. But either way we have maybe the two most overpaid guys in pro sports but Joe has a ring and SB MVP.

David from Westminster     August 16

You have been expecting readers to take your ridiculous opinions seriously since you started on this blog.

Jalen Ramsey is as big a hack as you are.

Brien Jackson     August 16

So let me get this straight: You had to look up one of the 3 or 4 best cornerbacks in the world, but everyone is supposed to take your opinion seriously?

At some point maybe the Flacco apologistss should consider that it's not everyone else pointing out that Flacco hasn't been good since 2014 who are blowing smoke.

David from Westminster     August 16
Jalen Ramsey? I had to look up who he even is.

Just clickbait from a moron. He praised all of the black players so you know his agenda already. Nothing to see here.

Bob from Hereford     August 16
The talk radio has posed the question, who should the Orioles bring back Buck, Dan, both, or neither?

I do not think they will have a choice. Buck will probably quit. Why wouid he want to manage a team that will give away their good young players who ar reaching thei prime because the team doesn't want to pay them? Buck wants to win a World Series. That won't happen here under thw present ownership. Dan has had the rug pulled out from under him by ownership too many times. He has taken the heat for moves that were driven by ownership and kept his mouth shut. Thus he wanted out when the Toronto oportunity came to him. He would probably like to get out also.

I'll be interested to see if they are here next year because I don't believe that either one of them really wants to return to the Orioles.

DELRAY RICK     August 16
ORIOLES MR WHIFF wil have LOWEST batting average in HISTORY by a regular everyday player. He sits .158 and lowest before was .189. He has no chance to hit that high. It must hell for PALMER to see his team "bottom out" night after night.

John In Westminster     August 15
Football coaches push players to the limits at every level (down to the earliest ages) to adapt to pain and endure physical exhaustion. In addition, a significant percentage of coaches (and some parents) are abusive to the players to push them to perform. And all of this has become mostly accepted so that we can watch them play on the weekends. But when you push kids to the limits, sometimes the limit is exceed. And sometimes to the worst outcome.

This could've happened on anyone's watch especially if the player had an uncommunicated (or ignored) pre-existing condition from the start. Point taken that better preventive measures and treatment protocol could've been taken. But there's always the risk that the player won't respond. However, the perception of a reckless/careless staff is the reality and heads will roll. The 'resignation' of the strength coach is a trial balloon and a PR tactic to show UMD is dealing with the situation. As Drew states, once the lawyers figure out the business end of head coaches contract, Durkin's 'resignation' will be the next shoe to drop.

unitastoberry     August 15
I would not look for Harbs to ever use that phrase, "Rookies are not as calloused up as they used to be" ever again when refering to some college players at least not in these parts. He's already violated the CBA twice in regaurd to contact work in parctice. We are watching you Harbs.

So I'm wondering why all the local Baltimore and DC football journalists who cover UMD especially the beat guys didn't put the word out on all this terror happening at College Park in the football program? No one ever came to them?

Kerry from Brooklyn Park     August 15
Drew, your Oriole ticket idea has been done by the Phillies the last two years. They do it at the opening month of the season and the final month of the year. They also charge $50 for each part. Tickets are assigned the day of each game by using your cell phone. I hope the Os do something like this.

TimD in Timonium     August 15
Loh. Anderson. Durkin. Turgeon. Trainwreck.

BO     August 15
Love the Orioles ticket idea.

Jason M     August 15
This whole sad incident at least has raised awareness about what to do if you are ever around someone who suffers a heat stroke, collapses in the heat, etc. Because of this awful tragedy, at least more of us will know now that cold water immersion saves lives. The fact that no one from MD training staff thought to do this should shake the program to its foundation. At one of the nations premiere public research colleges, the trainers and medical staff would presumably be top notch. Towson University reportedly saved a player in 2010 who displayed similar conditions by immediately, on the sideline during practice, immersing the young man in an ice water bath before the ambulance arrived. The timeline in the case with the MD player seems to indicate that over 90 minutes passed meteween his collapse and his arrival at the hospital in which no cold water immersion was used. As a tax payer who partially funds the U of MD and pays the salaries of Durkin et al, I would like to know whether it was ignorance of the way to handle an overheating player, or was this a tragically misguided attempt to instill toughness? Yes Drew, U MD Football is finished either way.

Jeff P.     August 15
@PlayerLover isn't serious, right? I sure hope not.

player lover     August 15
MD program in shambles? By what criteria? Are kids getting educated? Becoming productive citizens? Sure the fallout from this murder(I went there) of a kid just trying to be "toughened up".will be huge. So what.

I played big time sports in college 2 years we were under 500. 2 years we won. I look back at all 4 years fondly. Had a blast. 2 different coaches,one was a sadistic nut job,the other a "prince" of a man. Learned from both.

Just let the kids play and just tone it down. Way too serious

James - Dundalk     August 15
Yes , Durkin has to go. Just like Lefty couldn't stay around after the Bias passing. Hopefully the new AD can hire a few good coaches/educator/mentors to clean up the culture of the athletic Dept.

skip727     August 14
With Rocky Point being my "home" course, we play every Wednesday< I enjoyed this article just a little bit more than usual. My mantra is "forget the last shot" but I like the Every shot is an event. I am going to try it tomorrow. Thanks Drew!

Tippy     August 14
Now I know why Drew is an accomplished player and I can't break 90 on my best day. Great read.

MARK F     August 14
Because it is hard is why we watch sports with the fervor that we do. These guys are WAY better than us. An accomplished extremely good golfer like Drew??? He is not that close to the PGA tour guys. Any of us could hit a wide open 3, hole a 30 foot putt, throw a 15 yard pass..but in the heat of the action against guy way better than you? Not happening.

As a long time golfer, MY problem is that I cant concentrate for 18 holes any longer. Somewhere along the round I lose it....and start thinking about business or kids or this and that. Used to be a 5, but got frustrated NOT being able to shave those strokes away, I was hitting 200 balls/day...and chipping and putting as well. So, I took a turn and stopped all that...and enjoy it more now than I ever did. I still have fun.

What Tiger does/did is amazing. Heard tales that guys hate playing with him, because of the swell of crowds that show. And when he holes out before his partner...the throng moves and makes a lot of noise.

I think that this resurgence could be an illusion. He seems to "lose it" a few times during tournaments. And health? Very precarious. If you are a Tiger fan, enjoy it while you can. A Tiger critic? It could be over soon.

Kerry from Brooklyn Park     August 14
Thanks Drew for letting us inside the ropes of your mind. Terrific, compelling, writing! May there be many more events for you in the future.

Sam     August 14
Really good story today Drew!

JohnInEssex     August 14
Another not a golfer guy who enjoyed today's article. The principles could be applied to pretty much anything.

Robbie     August 14
I'm not a golfer but today's article was very compelling. Thanks for sharing.

Jason M     August 14
Nice, Drew. Congratulations on a great run and best wishes for more success. Barthes says that a writer is merely a scribe, and that whatever he intends by his writing, it is immaterial. Once he writes, only what people read and interpret from the words becomes reality. I am glad you were able to mine gold from DR's piece on Tiger. I happen to think DR is one of the best sports writers out there.

DELRAY RICK     August 13
HAL----OK , So KOEPKA uses drugs but does he also cheat on his girlfriend or wife, cheat 2 TIMES including THE MASTERS ingolf, running with dem VEGAS dirty women, drive his car in a ditch because WHAT!! noooo. Dirty mouth with children around and IKNOW because i have been around him enough. And best was him going to SEX ADICTION in ALABAMA. I know the fanboys said nothing bout TMZ and tape of the"chosen one" pushing kids not adults out of the way before coming into the club. Lets see, did i miss anything.

RJ     August 13
Perfectly rational assumption there @Tom, you sound like you're related to Brien

Tom     August 13
@Mike S, you will find this place is filled with people like RJ who have lived a sin free life. Everyone is beneath them.

RJ     August 13
And dont forget, did not say I was rooting against him, just not celebrating his every accomplishment either. Just trying to offer up rationale for those who might not be in the fan boy camp, that's all

RJ     August 13
Yes I agree TW is on the verge of being his old dominant self. Don't agree his past choices are on par with a singular regrettable offense

Hal     August 13

So Tiger is using steroids but Koepka isn't? Got it.

Mike Salamone     August 13
@RJ, And you don't see Tiger being on the verge of his old dominant self again? Have you been paying attention to the last two months of golf? If you're referring to Tiger's personal problems as things that happened to him, you're very right. I don't care at all about any of those things, in the same way I would hope you wouldn't care that I was incarcerated for 11 months when I was 23 years old for a regrettable offense. I'm 51 years old now. What I did 28 years ago is in no way indicative of the man I've become.

RJ     August 13
@MS. If Tiger were simply a "A 42 year old recovering from a surgical procedure that kept him away from golf for a year..." and appeared to be on the cusp of being his old dominant self again, hell, I'd be a fan boy just like you and the other worshipers. Are you serious, that's the take away here? Just a 40 year old bouncing back from health problems?? If that's the whole story here then you are right, I'm the one not getting it. Like I said, I am more neutral than anything, but if you think none of the other things that happened "to him" is a factor for some people, then you must be the world's most forgiving man - and if you are, God bless you.

HERMAN     August 13

8 months Singer Island, 4 months OC.

Nice to get out of the humidity and rain for a few months.

Love what Drew is doing at CHC, I'm an alum. The world is a better place when people give their time and talents back to the community, I admire him for the effort and commitment.

Robert     August 13
What angers me about the Tiger treatment is evidenced by the column's line he "won" the 70 hole portion of the tourney. Pfft wrong; there's no such recognition for neither such portion nor award/prize for the abbreviated part and the post's author knows durn well there is not. There's no valid reason for that drivel which detracts from Koepka's noteworthy accomplishment. Tsk tsk.

Paul     August 13
"Bruce" Koepka. LOL

James     August 13
Isn't @IdiotCaller one of those who beats up Brien J. for his unsourced stuff? Pot meet kettle.

Mike Salamone     August 13
Thanks Idiot Caller. That's an interesting angle. What's your source for that news? I Googled it but didn't find anything.

DELRAY RICK     August 13
HERMAN--Sounds good. Did not know you were back in the land of RAIN. Where bouts do you live. We lived on E SEMIARY til 7years ago. Don't answer the CJ comment.

Idiot Caller     August 13
@MS: Good point there about Tiger. A 42 year old man recovering from more than one recent back micro-surgeries to almost win the last two majors is remarkable. I "wonder" how he was able to do that?

No, not really. If I had to guess, I'd say Tiger's "team" got his PED's regimen correct at the right times. And of course the Tour, and networks would ignore and look-the-the-way from that elephant in-the-room. Why? Well, because Tiger "moves the needle". I more ways than one, I'd bet.

C.J.     August 13
@Herman. Here's another note about Koepka that you'll like. He's a white guy dating a white girl. We know how you feel about "reprehensible" (your words from a few weeks ago) Tiger and his dating preferences.

Mike Salamone     August 13
Not speaking for Chris, but if "RJ" doesn't get it, I don't know what to say. A 42 year old recovering from a surgical procedure that kept him away from golf for a year recovered to finish in the top 5 in two consecutive majors and had a chance to win both. You don't understand why there's so much adulation for the man?

August 16
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as if flacco needed any more motivation

Like most NFL teams, the Ravens are going to go as far as their quarterback will take them in 2018.

Joe Flacco's play will make or break them this season.

That doesn't mean others can just lollygag around and only have a handful of good weeks over the 16-game schedule. Virtually every starter has to turn in representative performances in order for the Ravens to have a shot at returning to the post-season. But that's the way it is for every team.

Aside from the constant scrutiny in his own town that constantly follows Flacco around, he casts a pretty big shadow with the national media as well. The Ravens' quarterback is very polarizing and, at some point if you cover football for a living, you either have to position yourself as "pro Flacco" or "anti Flacco".

We found out yesterday that Jalen Ramsey of the Jacksonville Jaguars is anti Flacco. When asked about various NFL quarterbacks in an article for GQ Magazine, Ramsey tore through the league's signal callers like a 4-year old looking for a teddy bear after his room had just been cleaned up.

It was a mess.

Ramsey said "And just being honest about it, [Joe] Flacco sucks. I played him two years in a row. He sucks."

"I might suck but my bank account sure doesn't..."

Flacco wasn't the only one who got battered by Ramsey. He called Matt Ryan "overrated" and claims Buffalo rookie QB Josh Allen is "trash". He also went out of his way to praise Tyrod Taylor, so perhaps there's an issue with Taylor's departure from Buffalo that didn't sit well with Ramsey.

But Flacco got the "he sucks" assessment from Ramsey, who butters his bread with both ends of the knife with comments like the one he issued about 49'ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo.

"I don't know yet," Ramsey said. "Just cause when they beat us, his hype picked up. They were like, "He beat the number one defense." It was all schemes. He didn't beat us. It wasn't like he diced us up. It was literally all schemes. They were doing flat routes to the wide open fullback, and he's running for 20 yards down the field four times during the game... So he didn't really dice us up. It was their fullback and their tight end on over routes. But if you know how to work within your scheme then it means you're good. I guess you could say he's good."

Ramsey initially appears unsold on Garoppolo, then by the end of the thought, claims the former New England QB is "good".

Oh, Jalen Ramsey is currently suspended by the Jaguars for a social media outburst directed a local Jacksonville media member. I thought you might want to know. I'm sure you're shocked.

So, will Flacco pay heed to Ramsey's magazine commentary?

Should it bother a Super Bowl MVP starting his 12th year in the league that a greenhorn defensive back who hasn't won anything in his career takes a pretty massive shot at him?

It would probably be different if the Ravens and Jaguars faced one another twice a year as division foes. Staring across the line of scrimmage and seeing the guy who said "you suck" might serve as motivation, particularly in those two annual encounters.

But the Ravens and Jaguars don't meet this season. Unless they're fortunate enough to do so in the playoffs.

By nearly every account, Flacco has stepped up his game in training camp. Most followers believe that's more about the QB's health than anything else, but he also has a new group of receivers to throw to and unbridled confidence from his coordinator and the coaching staff.

Joe doesn't have to wake up every morning with a poster of Jalen Ramsey on his wall the way Tiger Woods had one of Jack Nicklaus on his, but it would be interesting to know if Ramsey's dagger does motivate Flacco in any way, big or small.

My guess?

Probably not.

Joe no doubt has already heard about the article and Ramsey's assessment of his skills, but Flacco doesn't get worked up about much. A defensive back in Jacksonville probably isn't enough to get Joe stirred up.

I'll admit, though, I'd love to hear Flacco fire something back when asked about it this week.

"Did he play for Jacksonville last year in New England when they squandered that 4th quarter lead in the AFC title game?" or something of that that would be great to hear from Flacco.

I don't see it happening, though.

Someone will ask Joe about it, undoubtedly, and he'll probably offer one of his patented, token replies.

"Yeah, I heard about it," Joe will probably say. "I don't know him all that well, I'm not sure why he's picking on me," he'll add with a smile.

I'd love for Joe to toss a dagger or two at Ramsey, but I doubt it happens. That's just not his style.

I'd also enjoy watching Flacco prove Ramsey wrong this season. That, of course, is ultimately the best form of rebuttal.

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"The Keen Eye" of David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

flying solo…

They say golf is a social game.

Your weekend foursome, the member-guest, that charity tournament you and your buddy pay for so you can see that exclusive country club you’ve never played before. A lifelong connection, perhaps, between fathers and children.

Dan Jenkins, perhaps the greatest golf writer of his time, tells a great tale of the gambling games he used to play at an old Texas course he called “Goat Hills” — Worth Hills was the actual name. Sometimes the group numbered fifteen, all playing together, changing bets on the fly. As Jenkins wrote, “the game was not the kind that Gene Sarazen would have approved of.”

When Patrick Reed won The Masters this year, out came the stories about his unusual life on and off the course. Among the strangest—even after six or seven years on Tour, and a couple of Ryder Cup appearances, Reed usually plays practice rounds by himself.

Even for the most impassioned loners, playing golf by yourself brings with it certain challenges. It’s no fun waiting for so long on every shot. You can’t tend your own pin. Of course, the greatest tragedy comes if you honestly make a hole-in-one when nobody else is watching.

I’m like most people, Reed and a few others excluded. I care about my own game, but enjoy the experience a lot more if a couple others are around to experience the game with me.

Golf at the beach...

This week is one of my favorites when it comes to golf, though it’s a different week on the calendar every year. Sometime in June, July or August, I visit Ocean City with 10 other people, none of whom plays golf.

At the beach, at restaurants and even at the miniature golf course, I’m constantly surrounded by those 10 people, not to mention so many hundreds of others. Plenty of togetherness.

When I go to the course, however, I’m by myself, and I get paired with strangers. And quite often, those rounds end up being the best of the season — not necessarily by score, but almost always because of the company.

There isn’t the usual pressure or expectation to play or even act in a certain way, yet the presence of unfamiliar partners makes you think about how you present yourself. After weeks of seeing the same tops and chunks and blades and, yes, even good shots, there’s something great about watching new golfers you’ll probably never see again. There’s no expectations of them either.

You meet people from everywhere, each with different stories of how they ended up on their beach vacation. You see interesting relationships — between fathers and sons, husbands and wives, and friends who’ve been playing golf together forever.

Sometimes, you even learn a few things.

Three days ago, it was a husband and wife from North Jersey. We played three separate tees — the regular men’s, the seniors, and the “recreational” ones, yet finished in less than four hours on a busy morning.

Peter was 60 years old with a great sense of humor. He laughed at my occasional Spieth-like conversations with the ball — such as when I yelled “wuss” after bailing too far to the right on a hard dogleg left with water all the way down the left side.

After a few holes, I realized that he’s exactly the guy they talk about in the golf magazines. He wasn’t who he used to be, and constantly hit the ball well short of his targets. He made up for it, however, with the best 50-yards-and-in game I’ve seen in a long time.

He consistently pitched the ball high and soft, from tight lies and fluffy ones, within 10 feet of the pin. He made pars to my bogeys after I’d hit what I thought were decent shots, For three hours, I made sure to watch every short shot he hit.

Nancy hit her driver well, but experienced the inability to hit the ball high enough off the turf that many women suffer. Still, I was thrilled to see how well she tried to “chase” the ball down the line on all her shots, and how much she was enjoying the game no matter what happened.

The greens seemed to break the opposite of what I was thinking, and I developed a mid-round hook that wasn’t helping. Still, when Peter shook my hand afterwards and said “I enjoyed playing with you, young man,” I realized that it really had been enjoyable, even if I’m not nearly as young as he thought I was.

Yesterday, it was Bob and Rhoda, also from New Jersey but a few years older. Bob had me on the first tee when he said “I can’t see or hear very well, so if I ignore you I’m not being rude.”

Bob didn’t have a game that required you to look in too many unfamiliar places for his ball; he was usually on the fairway, or close to it. I wondered to myself whether I’m still going to be out playing golf on hot summer mornings when I can’t see or hear well. Maybe not, or maybe I will after seeing that someone can still enjoy the game.

Rhoda was an excellent putter, sinking several putts from at least 15 feet for pars and bogeys. She was apologetic when I hit a shot from the 16th fairway that felt solid but disappeared to parts unknown around the green. She should have been watching, she said, which would have been nearly impossible from almost 100 yards away.

As we finished, Bob mentioned that today was their wedding anniversary, and the trip to the beach was a celebration of that milestone. I thought back to Tuesday, which would have been my parents’ 50th anniversary, and I felt a connection to them that went beyond our time together on the course.

Being with family and friends at the beach is a blessing, one that I look forward to as soon as I know the dates for the following summer. I hope these trips continue for many years, so that my niece and nephews and cousins can do for their children what’s been done for them.

Being at the golf course while at the beach has also been a blessing for me, allowing me to enjoy the game with a clear mind in the company of interesting people.

I hope I can continue to make those days happen for many years, maybe even until I can tell the middle-aged guy I’m paired with that I don’t see or hear nearly as well as I once did.

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Drew is here.

Every weekday.

Wednesday, August 15

WP: Z. Wheeler (8-6)

LP: D. Bundy (7-11)

HR: Villar (2), Frazier (12), Plawecki (4), Flores (11)

RECORD/PLACE: 36-85, 5th (of course)

breakfast bytes

Tampa's Snell continues Cy Young chase, improves to 14-5, Rays beat Yankees in NY, 3-1.

Former Oriole Brad Brach blows save in 9th, Braves lose at home to Rockies, 5-3.

Marlins' Urena suspended six games for hitting Braves' Acuna on Wednesday.

PGA Tour: Snedeker becomes 9th TOUR player to shoot 59 in first round of Wyndham.