Monday
November 30
#DMD GAME DAY
presented by
Volume 16
Issue 30
Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns

8:30 PM EST

FirstEnergy Stadium
Cleveland, OH


no longer a lay-up game

It used to be a welcome sight to see the Cleveland Browns on your schedule, particularly somewhat late in the season.

I guess it still is if you're a really good team and the Browns are your next opponent.

But the Ravens are far from "very good" and tonight's Monday Night thriller in Cleveland is for nothing more than bragging rights and trying desperately to extract something good from a lost season. And it won't be easy. The truth is this: The Ravens might very well lose to the Browns tonight. And by "might very well", I could I'd say I expect them to lose. It's been a long, long time since I said that when Baltimore faced Cleveland in football.

Tonight begins the 6-game audition for Matt Schaub, who figures to be in over his head between now and January 3rd. Then again, if some guy named Brock Osweiler can lead the Broncos past the undefeated New England Patriots last night, it's not that far-fetched to think that Schaub -- who was a pretty decent quarterback at one time about five years ago -- could guide the Ravens to a win tonight in Cleveland.

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Marlon Brown figures to be one of the veterans looking at "now or never" over the last six games of the season.

Others are auditioning tonight and for the rest of the season as well. Literally every wide receiver on the field for the Ravens this evening is dispensable at season's end. And yet, all of them have also shown some sign, even maybe just a small one, that they can make a contribution to a team in the NFL. So, these next six games will give guys like Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, Chris Givens and Jeremy Butler the chance to show they belong on the field and in the league. The only issue? The offense working around them is sub-standard to say the least. Then again, if you can make catches and generate yards with this group, you can do it anywhere. That's what I'd be thinking, anyway.

John Harbaugh has his detractors in town, and they're growing with each passing season. They'll be lined up at the end of this campaign, saying things like "he hasn't won anything without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed", "eight years...his message is stale" and "he got rid of all the dissenting voices". But, the reality is, Harbaugh's team, this season, has been in every game at the end. They didn't start off well in Denver, Oakland or San Francisco, for example, but when the fourth quarter rolled around, the Ravens were a big play on offense or a big stop on defense from snatching a win. They didn't end things well against Cleveland or Jacksonville, but they were alive and fighting at the end...the other team tries too, remember. So, say what you will about Harbaugh, and even a Super Bowl winning coach has his flaws, but the Ravens will come to play tonight and when the fourth quarter rolls around, the game will be in the balance. That's my guess, anyway.


meet us at glory days tonight!

Our annual winter apparel drive -- presented by Jerry's Toyota-Scion -- to help the men at Helping Up Mission in downtown Baltimore begins tonight when my former radio co-host, Glenn Clark, joins me at Glory Days Grill in Towson from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. We need any piece of gently used (and clean, too, please) winter apparel you can give us; coats, sweatshirts, hats, gloves, shoes, socks, etc. Every item we receive tonight goes to over 400 men who are currently trying to rebuild their lives at the Helping Up Mission facility. Nearly all of the men will be spending Christmas at the Mission, and this is a great way to treat them to something nice while they're trying to rebound from whatever personal struggles they're enduring.

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In addition to serving as title sponsor of this year's Winter Apparel Drive, Jerry's Toyota-Scion will also serve as a drop-off point in December.

Glenn and I started this campaign six years ago when we worked together at a local radio station. Even though we're now off on our own individual projects, we still make it a point to continue with this tradition every December. We'd love to have you come out tonight and bring along whatever you can. If you can manage to round up five (5) winter apparel items, Glory Days has kindly agreed to give you a free appetizer card that you can use tonight or on any future visit to their restaurtant. And, while I have to be careful of the alcohol laws in Baltimore County, I have a funny feeling if you're one of the first 25 people to come out tonight with five items that your first beer or soft drink won't require you to lay out any money yourself. If you know what I mean...

When: Tonight, Monday, November 30, 2015

Where: Glory Days Grill, 1220 E. Joppa Road, Towson, MD 21286

Time: 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Bring: Any winter apparel items you can (clean them first, please).

Please come out tonight as we kick-off our winter apparel drive. We need the help. And so do the guys at Helping Up Mission.


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tonight's main storylines:
ravens vs. browns

*Can the Ravens carry on without Flacco? -- Since he showed up in Baltimore for the 2008 season, Joe Flacco is all the Ravens have known. Sure, Tyrod Taylor played the bulk of a meaningless game in Cincinnati back in 2012, but when the Ravens have played a down of football that mattered since 2008, it's been with Joe Flacco at quarterback. There's no Flacco tonight, or for the rest of the season, so it's fair to wonder just what the Ravens offense is going to look like with someone else under center. No one is expecting much from Matt Schaub, who gets the start at quarterback tonight, or Jimmy Clausen, who was signed last week as the team's back-up should Schaub be unable to play at any point. And maybe that's good. Maybe it's good to not have any expectations at all. Just go play.

*Is the third time the charm for Terrance West? -- This, of course, has the makings of a fairy-tale story for former Towson University running back Terrance West, who is expected to see plenty of playing time tonight in Cleveland. West was by-passed by the Ravens in the 2014 NFL Draft and the Browns snagged by the Browns in the 3rd round and saw lots of playing time last season in his rookie year. He fell out of favor with Mike Pettine and the Browns and was traded in August of 2015 to the Titans. Tennessee caught his act for six weeks -- two games worth of playing time -- and sent him packing in late October. The Ravens grabbed him, even before the Justin Forsett injury, and figured to be giving him his final chance in the league. Tonight, perhaps, begins that final chance. It wouldn't be a surprise at all to see West go off for 103 yards on 19 carries tonight because that's how sports works. Back in Cleveland, on national TV, playing against his old team...the one that didn't want him. You can almost expect something special to happen.

*Keep Barnidge in check -- Simply put, Browns' tight end Gary Barnidge lit up the Ravens in Baltimore back on October 11. He finished the day with 8 catches for 139 yards and had that miraculous TD catch with his knees that helped Cleveland win 33-30 in overtime. And that wasn't a fluke, either. He's on a Pro Bowl-pace at this point, with 48 catches for 667 yards and 7 (yes, seven) touchdowns in 2015. And the Ravens are NOT very good at linebacker-pass-coverage situations, which is how Barnidge exploited them back in October. This is a critical match-up tonight.

*No dumb penalties -- I'll leave this "key" up for the fifth straight week, althoguh it doesn't seem to be doing much good. Week in, week out, the Ravens are producing bad penalties at the worst possible moment. Tonight's the night to stop those game-changing infractions. Then again, last week was the time to stop them, too. And so was the week before. But they haven't been able to do it.


Here’s how Drew sees tonight’s game:

I don't have much confidence in Matt Schaub tonight. With a fully healthy offensive line and a group of decent-to-high-quality wide receivers, I might not be that skeptical, but this is Schaub, with a patchwork offensive line and bunch of #3 and #4 receivers at his disposal. Oh, and the team's best running back can't play as well. It's a quarterback's league. And the Ravens are going to have to win some games with Schaub, a guy who lost his way a few years back in Houston and never regained his form.

I'll save all the predicted play-by-play and drama of how I think it's going to happen and just say this: I think the Ravens lose tonight. Cleveland is much better with Josh McCown at quarterback and, as they showed in Baltimore six weeks ago, they have some weapons that can hurt you if you're not good at getting to the quarterback or covering pass catchers. Both of those are problem areas for the Ravens. It WILL be close, because it always is, but I'm going with Cleveland 23-Ravens 16.


percentage points

Here's a look at a handful of key parts and players in tonight's game at Cleveland and some percentage-of-success numbers to correlate with all of it.

55% - If you said to me, "Drew, what are the chances the Browns win today?"

58% - Chances of the Browns holding Schaub to under 250 yards passing?

44% - The chances Josh McCown throws for over 300 yards?

32% - What are the chances the Ravens rush for over 130 yards?

49% - The chances any Ravens WR catches a TD pass?

4% - Chances Justin Tucker misses an extra point tonight?

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put your money
where your mouth is

Another Sunday of bad "gut feelings" and teams who have finally finished me off (Miami) with their lack of quality. I managed a couple of wins and I hit on my "Best Bet", but I'm no closer to the .500 mark today than I was yesterday. Here's a look at what I thought about my Sunday picks and the ensuing results.

RAMS AT BENGALS (-8.5): I'm still not sure what to make of the Rams. That they somehow lost to the Ravens last week is still mind-boggling, although Jeff Fisher's decision to play Case Keenum instead of Nick Foles clearly had something to do with it. Foles is back in today, which should give the Rams something more offensively than they had in Baltimore last Sunday. The Bengals, meanwhile, need a win to stay comfortably ahead of the surging Steelers. They'll get that today at home, as I like the Bengals to snap their 2-game losing streak, but I think the Rams cover the 8.5 point number in a 27-20 Cincy victory.

RESULT: Thanks a lot, Jeff Fisher.


DOLPHINS AT JETS (-4): Remember a decade ago when the Arizona Cardinals were so bad they were unpredictable nearly Sunday? The ones you knew they'd lose they didn't and just when you thought they'd turned the corner, they got smashed at home. That's Miami. I keep looking at the roster and can't figure out how they're losing the games they are, and then they'll go to Philadelphia and beat the Eagles. The following week, they lose to Dallas at home. So, here I go again. I don't think the Jets are all that good, and I don't know what to make of Miami, but I'll hang in there with them one more week (I've played them FOUR straight weeks now) so let's go with the Dolphins to win AND cover, 23-19.

RESULT: I'm officially done with Miami now, as I've played them four weeks in a row and they're a stinky 1-3 for me. I expected them to man-up yesterday. And...they didn't.


BILLS AT CHIEFS (-5): Who would have thought this, huh? The winner of today's game will be in prime position to make the playoffs with five weeks left in the regular season. Give the Chiefs some major credit; when they lost Jamal Charles back in September, the season looked all but done for them. Now, here they are, winners of four straight and in the catbird seat at home today vs. Buffalo. I'm taking the Chiefs in this one, 20-13.

RESULT: Finally, a winner! The Chiefs are now 6-5 after starting the season 1-5. Wow...


VIKINGS AT FALCONS (-2.5): After cruising to the top of the NFC North, Minnesota got the Cleat of Reality last Sunday in a 30-13 home loss to the Packers. This game, today, shows their level of legitimacy. True, they're facing a decent Atlanta team, but if the Vikings are the potential challenge to Carolina in the upcoming playoffs, they'll go down to Georgia today and win. This one tells us a lot about the Vikings and I think they get the job done as Minnesota wins rather easily, 30-23.

RESULT: Hey, look at me, two winners in a row. It wasn't the high scoring affair I anticipated, but Minnesota disposed of Atlanta quite easily to make me 2-2 for the day.


CARDINALS (-10) AT 49'ERS: It's always hard to take a favored road team in a division game, particularly when the number is ten points, but I just don't know how the 49'ers are going to score any points today. Arizona, as we saw last Sunday night vs. Cincinnati, can really get it going offensively when their chakras are in line. I think that happens today, as I'm taking the Cardinals and giving away a whopping ten points in a 33-20 Arizona victory.

RESULT: Arizona just wanted to win, they didn't care about covering the 10-point number. I should have figure that.


BEST BET OF THE DAY: I'll take Kansas City today, in part because I really like their chances over an on-again-off-again Buffalo team and also because I went AGAINST them last Sunday in San Diego and they clobbered the Chargers. I'll eat my humble pie and go with the Chiefs today in my "Best Bet".

RESULT: I had a really good feeling about Kansas City yesterday. I also had a really good feeling about the Rams, too. But I went with the Chiefs and won my "Best Bet" pick.

RECORD TO DATE: 26-33-1

LAST WEEK'S RECORD: 2-3

BEST BET OF THE DAY (SEASON): 6-5-1

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bo's eye view

BO SMOLKA is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet. Bo's insights and analyses are presented by Advanced Heating & Cooling, which offers a variety of energy saving, high-efficiency equipment for heating, air conditioning, and geothermal systems.


The season that has already been hard to fathom moves into unthinkable terrain on Monday night when the Ravens take the field with someone other than Joe Flacco at quarterback. It’s a scene that John Harbaugh has never experienced in his eight years as the Ravens coach. And the Matt Schaub era – however long that lasts -- begins on national television, no less.

The Browns have their own quarterback issues, with Johnny Manziel benched after his latest shenanigans. Josh McCown, who torched the Ravens in Week 5 in a 33-30 Browns overtime win, was later benched for Manziel, but is the starter once again.

If the Ravens want the Schaub era to begin successfully, here are five things that must happen:

*Matt Schaub needs to be sharp -- Schaub doesn’t need to light up the Browns with 50 passes. In fact, if he’s throwing 50 times the Ravens are in trouble. Schaub has to be a game manager, has to play within himself, use whatever cliché you want that roughly translates into “avoid disaster.” And with Schaub, disaster is the pick-six. Remember, in 2013 he set a dubious NFL record with a pick-six in four straight games. In training camp this summer, Schaub was hurt at times by his velocity and predictability, particularly on out routes. Defenders jumped routes, and at one point, Terrell Suggs openly mocked Schaub. The Ravens need to use the waggles, rollouts and misdirection that have been effective lately for Flacco, particularly given the Ravens current cast of very average receivers. Then Schaub needs to make good, strong throws.

*Buck Allen needs another big game; Terrance West might, too -- Allen showed some promised after replacing the injured Justin Forsett last week, and with Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro both done for the year, the rookie Allen is the bell cow now. He reeled off a 44-yard run against the Browns in the Week 5 game. That’s still the Ravens longest run of the season. Terrance West could make his Ravens debut, and he should be highly motivated to play against the team that essentially gave up on him earlier this year.

*The Ravens patchwork offensive line has to hold up -- Starting center Jeremy Zuttah is definitely out. Guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) and tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) didn’t practice Friday, so the Ravens could again be looking at a line that includes James Hurst, Ryan Jensen and John Urschel. The Browns have just 16 sacks all season, which ranks 28th, and they sacked Flacco once in the Week 5 game. The Ravens line will need to protect and will also need to help the Ravens establish a running game, which would help take pressure off Schaub.

*The defense can’t let Josh McCown look like Joe Montana again -- The last time these teams played, McCown threw for a career-high 457 yards (36-for-51) and two touchdowns. Tight end Gary Barnidge torched the Ravens for 139 yards on eight catches, and six different Browns receivers had catches of more than 20 yards. As defensive coordinator Dean Pees pointed out this week, the Ravens have been much better lately in terms of not yielding the big play, and that needs to continue. Linebackers and safeties must contain Barnidge. The Browns receiver corps is banged up – Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins both missed practice this week because of the concussion protocol.

*Justin Tucker need to get that swing right -- Tucker missed twice last week, albeit from 51 yards both times, but Harbaugh and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg both said this week that swing mechanics is an issue with the misses. “The conditions that we’re playing in, the swing has to be better than it is,” Rosburg said. Tucker remains among the league’s elite kickers, but this season, he is just 2-for-7 from 50-plus yards. In a game in which offense could be a challenge, the kicking game could be huge. In his career, Tucker is 5-for-5 in Cleveland, where kicking is no picnic. At least the early forecast calls for dry conditions Monday night.

PREDICTION: The Ravens defense is improved from the Week 5 fiasco when McCown threw for 457 yards, and as long as Matt Schaub doesn’t do anything to lose the game, Justin Tucker will win it. Ravens 20, Browns 17.


Sunday
November 29
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Issue 29

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whatever happens, locksley deserves consideration for role with terps

As University of Maryland athletic officials gathered in Jacksonville, Florida to sift through names of possible coaching candidates and continue their search for the next man to occupy the office previously used by Randy Edsall, the Terps football team made a statement of its own on Saturday in Piscataway, New Jersey.

They liked playing for interim head coach Mike Locksley.

It might not have showed as much in the standings, where the 46-41 win over Rutgers yesterday was Maryland's only victory in eight Big Ten games this season, but it showed in the way they fought back after a 31-13 halftime deficit. It showed late in October when they battled Penn State down to the wire in Baltimore only to lose 31-30 in Locksley's debut as the interim head coach after Edsall's mid-season dismissal. And it was even apparent in losses to Michigan State (24-7) and Wisconsin (31-24) where the Terps were largely out-classed yet remained competitive against two programs they someday hope to resemble.

And they did it all without a real quarterback and a defense as flimsy as a wet paper towel. Of course, "doing it all" didn't equate to much winning, either, but the effort and the pride Maryland showed with Locksley at the helm shouldn't be discounted as Maryland officials put together a blueprint for the team's future. Getting college kids to band together and play hard isn't easy as it seems, especially given that nearly all of them -- at least in the top 100 programs in the country -- were highly recruited and sought after as high school athletes, giving them an inflated opinion of their own talents and abilities to contribute. Every kid at Maryland not only wants to be at Alabama, he thinks Nick Saban made a mistake in not taking him.

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It didn't show in the win column, but Maryland football took a turn for the better in the six week stint of interim head coach Mike Locksley.

Should Mike Locksley be the next head coach at Maryland? Probably not. The direction of the program needs something new. It not only needs someone new, it needs something new. A new style, a new approach, perhaps even one of those wacky offenses like they run at Navy or Georgia Tech. Locksley couldn't offer any of that. He'd offer substance, and resiliency, and the kids would know what they were getting with him, but the Terps should be looking for bigger and better as they search for their next head coach.

They tried the hard-line approach with Randy Edsall and that was a bust. Some of that was Edsall's fault and some, frankly, wasn't. When kids are worrying more about whether or not they're allowed to wear their hat backwards than they are winning football games, you probably have the wrong kids, not the wrong coach. But the time has come for Maryland to make a choice: Either bring in a big-time, "elite" coach (code word for: A guy who costs a lot of money) or continue to be everyone's Big Ten homecoming game.

But as the search for a new head coach continues, it's apparent -- to me at least -- that Locksley doesn't deserve to be kicked to the curb. Granted, it's never easy for a head coach to come in and have someone from the old regime hanging around. Ask John Harbaugh what it felt like when he got the head coaching job in Baltimore back in 2008 and Rex Ryan was still in his office and serving as the Ravens' defensive coordinator. But the guy who gets the Maryland job should find a role for Locksley, who probably has more value as a recruiter than the school's offensive football mind. The kids listen when he comes to their house. He sells them on the program. And when he works with them at Maryland, they respond. That doesn't mean he's the perfect head coach candidate -- he failed badly at New Mexico during a 28-game stint from 2009-2011, going 2-26 -- but there's something about him at Maryland that seems like a good fit.

Maybe Frank Reich will see what he's done in College Park since 2012 and give him a role going forward if, in fact, the former Terps QB and current San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator gets the nod for the new gig at Maryland. It was interesting to note that Maryland officials picked Jacksonville of all places for their latest coaching summit. The Chargers play the Jaguars in Florida on Sunday afternoon.

And if I'm Kevin Plank or Kevin Anderson, I start the conversation off with Reich by asking, "What do you think about having Mike Locksley involved?"

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put your money
where your mouth is

Each week here at #DMD Game Day, I give you five NFL selections against the spread, my "best bet" of the bunch, and my official Ravens score prediction as well. This all, of course, is for "entertainment purposes only," although with the NFL officially in bed with both of the major fantasy sports companies in the country, the league is actually far more involved in gambling than any of us are, that's for sure.

I'm finishing up a decent month of November and have rebounded from a disatrous 8-17 start to the season to get to 24-30-1 through the week eleven. I could use a big week to creep closer to that elusive .500 mark.

Here's how I see today's five games:

RAMS AT BENGALS (-8.5): I'm still not sure what to make of the Rams. That they somehow lost to the Ravens last week is still mind-boggling, although Jeff Fisher's decision to play Case Keenum instead of Nick Foles clearly had something to do with it. Foles is back in today, which should give the Rams something more offensively than they had in Baltimore last Sunday. The Bengals, meanwhile, need a win to stay comfortably ahead of the surging Steelers. They'll get that today at home, as I like the Bengals to snap their 2-game losing streak, but I think the Rams cover the 8.5 point number in a 27-20 Cincy victory.


DOLPHINS AT JETS (-4): Remember a decade ago when the Arizona Cardinals were so bad they were unpredictable nearly Sunday? The ones you knew they'd lose they didn't and just when you thought they'd turned the corner, they got smashed at home. That's Miami. I keep looking at the roster and can't figure out how they're losing the games they are, and then they'll go to Philadelphia and beat the Eagles. The following week, they lose to Dallas at home. So, here I go again. I don't think the Jets are all that good, and I don't know what to make of Miami, but I'll hang in there with them one more week (I've played them FOUR straight weeks now) so let's go with the Dolphins to win AND cover, 23-19.


BILLS AT CHIEFS (-5): Who would have thought this, huh? The winner of today's game will be in prime position to make the playoffs with five weeks left in the regular season. Give the Chiefs some major credit; when they lost Jamal Charles back in September, the season looked all but done for them. Now, here they are, winners of four straight and in the catbird seat at home today vs. Buffalo. I'm taking the Chiefs in this one, 20-13.


VIKINGS AT FALCONS (-2.5): After cruising to the top of the NFC North, Minnesota got the Cleat of Reality last Sunday in a 30-13 home loss to the Packers. This game, today, shows their level of legitimacy. True, they're facing a decent Atlanta team, but if the Vikings are the potential challenge to Carolina in the upcoming playoffs, they'll go down to Georgia today and win. This one tells us a lot about the Vikings and I think they get the job done as Minnesota wins rather easily, 30-23.


CARDINALS (-10) AT 49'ERS: It's always hard to take a favored road team in a division game, particularly when the number is ten points, but I just don't know how the 49'ers are going to score any points today. Arizona, as we saw last Sunday night vs. Cincinnati, can really get it going offensively when their chakras are in line. I think that happens today, as I'm taking the Cardinals and giving away a whopping ten points in a 33-20 Arizona victory.


BEST BET OF THE DAY: I'll take Kansas City today, in part because I really like their chances over an on-again-off-again Buffalo team and also because I went AGAINST them last Sunday in San Diego and they clobbered the Chargers. I'll eat my humble pie and go with the Chiefs today in my "Best Bet".

RECORD TO DATE: 24-30-1

LAST WEEK'S RECORD: 1-4

BEST BET OF THE DAY (SEASON): 5-5-1

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nba: golden state a quarter of the way to 72 wins at 18-0

Another ho-hum blowout on Saturday night gave the Golden State Warriors their 18th straight win, as they pounded Sacramento 120-101 to run their 2015-2016 record to 18-0 and officially chew off a quarter of the wins they need to equal the Bulls' record of 72-10 in 1995-96. Saturday's win wasn't all about Stephen Curry, as Brandon Rush came off the bench in place of the injured Harrison Barnes and threw in sixteen points, including an amazing 14-point output in three minutes and forty nine seconds of action in the third quarter.

Golden State had a major challenge in Phoenix on Friday night, which they handled with much more ease then expected, 135-116, as Curry embarrassed the Suns with 41 points, or ten points shy of what Phoenix scored in total, as a team, in the first and third quarters (51). Saturday night's win over Sacramento was expected...but then again, nearly every night they play now, "the Dubs" (yes, that's their new nickname -- I don't really like it, either) are expected to win.

The Lakers' all-time record of 33 straight wins in '71-72 is still far, far away, but you wouldn't be faulted for at least starting to think about it now with each passing victory. It's likely they lose a game -- at least one -- on a seven-game road trip that starts this Monday night in Utah. It's one thing to win 18 in a row...you have home games in there to soften things. But winning seven in a row on the road in the NBA is REALLY, REALLY hard. This week's schedule for the Warriors looks like this:

Mon., 11/30 at Utah

Wed., 12/2 at Charlotte

Sat., 12/5 at Toronto

Sun., 12/6 at Brooklyn


dulaney grad darley nets 18, but umbc loses to colgate

Making his first start of the season on Saturday afternoon, UMBC junior wing Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) scored a career-high 18 points, but the Retrievers couldn't recover from a poor shooting first half and fell to visiting Colgate, 71-63, at the RAC Arena.

Sophomore guard Jourdan Grant tied Darley for team-high honors with 18 points, doing most of his damage from the free throw line, where he hit his first 11 shots and finished 12-of-14 overall.

Colgate snapped a three-game slide and improved to 2-3 on the season, while UMBC dropped its third straight and fell to 1-6.

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Junior Will Darley scored a career-best 18 points for UMBC in Saturday's loss to Colgate.

The Retrievers got off to a good start, as Darley scored the squad's first eight points en route to an opening 12-7 run in the first 6:07 of play. But Colgate heated up and UMBC would convert only two field goals in the final 14 minutes of the half. The Raiders went on a 19-3 run to take a 26-15 advantage at the 6:33 mark of the half. Dating back to the Navy contest on Wednesday, UMBC misfired on 24 consecutive treys until junior Ben Grace (Gilman) connected with 19 seconds to play in the half.

Colgate took a 37-24 lead into the break, as UMBC converted just 6-of-24 shots from the floor in the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, Colgate led by as many as 14 points, at 44-30, but UMBC, using an unorthodox lineup of Grant, Grace, Darley, freshman Joe Sherburne and Rodney Elliott (John Carroll) would fight back late in the contest. They trimmed an 11-point deficit of 55-44 with 6:41 to play to 55-49 on a rare trey by Sherburne and a pair of free throws by Grant just 26 seconds later. UMBC would get within six points on two more occasions, but Colgate responded each time with points on the ensuing possessions and won the first meeting between the two schools.

UMBC plays its next three games on the road, starting with a Dec. 2 contest at Bowling Green.

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bring your unused winter apparel to glory days this monday night!

Please help us help the Helping Up Mission.

Six years ago at my former place of employment, my former radio co-host, Glenn Clark, asked me a question on the air one morning about "doing something in the community" for the holiday season. I confessed that one of my (admittedly, now) crazy ideas was to get a truckload of winter apparel and drive through the streets of downtown Baltimore and literally dispense the clothes to the homeless who were sleeping on sidewalks and such. From that idea came a relationship with the great people at Helping Up Mission, and in each of the last five years, Clark and I have teamed up to oversee a winter apparel-drive that results in a day of giving at the Mission downtown.

Our first year, 2010, saw us take 450 coats, sweatshirts, gloves, hats, etc. to their facility on East Baltimore Street. We thought that was just about the greatest thing ever, as we watched the men who are living there go through the room and pick out an item for their personal use. Last year, on our fifth occasion of delivering winter apparel, we walked in there with FOUR truckloads of clothes and over 4,000 items in total.

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One of Baltimore's best kept secrets is the Helping Up Mission, where men who are trying to rebound find the support they need from both within the walls and the community as a whole.

So, we're back again, asking for your help this winter season. Clark is now doing a daily two-hour show at www.glennclarkradio.com, so you can still catch his act Monday through Friday, and he's back with me again to help coordinate this winter apparel round-up over the next three weeks. The week of December 14, we'll head down to Helping Up Mission and drop off the apparel, where the men will not only get something for themselves, but hopefully there's enough to go around that they can each grab something for a loved one, family member, friend, etc. It's tough enough to be away from home during the Holiday season, but even more difficult when you don't have the means to give someone a gift.

We're kicking off the winter apparel drive next Monday, November 30 at Glory Days Grill on Joppa Road in Towson. Glenn and I will both be there from 5:30 pm to 8 pm, collecting coats, hats, sweatshirts, gloves, socks, etc. Whatever you have, we'll take. Anything from gently used to something you no longer fit in or wear, we'll gladly take it and distribute it to the men of Helping Up Mission. And here's the cool thing. Glory Days will give anyone who donates five or more items a free appetizer (up to $8.99 value) in exchange for your goodwill. And I'll go one better. The first 25 people to come out next Monday night with five or more items will get their first beer compliments of Glenn and me. How do you beat that? Bring out five items, get a free appetizer from Glory Days, a free beer (or soft drink if that's your preference) from the two of us -- and know that you're helping the guys at Helping Up Mission.

When: Monday, November 30, 2015

Where: Glory Days Grill, 1220 E. Joppa Road, Towson, MD 21286

Time: 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Bring: Any winter apparel items you can (clean them first, please).

Oh, and I forgot to mention the Ravens are playing the Browns at 8:30 pm on ESPN if you have the stomach to watch it. I do. I'll stick around with you and watch the game until Jon Gruden says for the first time, "Boy, these Ravens sure do miss Joe Flacco, don't they Mike?"

Please come out next Monday night as we kick-off our winter apparel drive. We need the help. And so do the guys at Helping Up Mission.


Saturday
November 28
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 28

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give trestman better players before you show him the door

One month ago, I probably wouldn’t have written this.

Actually, strike the “probably” from that sentence above – I wouldn’t have written this.

The 2015 Ravens season rolls on for the next six weeks, but the excitement level is at an all-time low. The quarterback is gone, the running back is gone, the wide receiver is gone and outside linebacker is gone. Four stars. All gone. Those who replace them don’t have the quality or cache´ to captivate us. And they aren’t going to yield many, if any, victories between now and January 3rd.

Of those four players, the most important one of the group is undoubtedly the quarterback. Joe Flacco’s season ended last Sunday in the final minute of a win over the Rams that will always be remembered as “the day Joe played with a torn ACL”. With his season ending, though, the questions begin.

Trestman and Flacco
Do these two deserve a second go-round in 2016? Or should the Ravens start fresh next season and give Flacco yet another voice to hear?

Will Flacco be ready for training camp next August?

Will Marc Trestman be the offensive coordinator in 2016?

Can the two of them co-exist again next season and produce better results than they were on the verge of (not) producing this year?

Question number one is pretty easy to answer. Barring something unforeseen, like Flacco getting hurt during a light workout or something of that nature, he’ll be ready to play next August when the team convenes in Owings Mills for training camp. That’s not to say he’ll be running around like a maniac on day one. He’ll need a week or two to get back in rhythm, but he’ll be ready when the season opens.

Question number two is the one worth asking.

Will Marc Trestman be the offensive coordinator in 2016?

The Ravens would be making a mistake if they dump him.

And, honestly, I wouldn’t have said that a month ago.

In summary, I haven’t been overly impressed with Trestman’s play calling and approach to the tactical end of establishing an offense. Watch this Monday night against Cleveland. Odds are the first play of the game is a short toss to Kyle Juszczyk, unless the Browns, like me, have figured that one out by now. If they have, look for a pick-six to start the game. That’s nitpicking, I know, but it shows an alarming lack of creativity from Trestman, although in his defense, the play works just about every week – or at least it did when it was Flacco-to-Juszczyk. But despite my overall lack of excitement from what we’ve seen out of Trestman, I’ll also point out he hasn’t had a whole lot of quality to work with every weekend. Yes, he had a good quarterback. Yes, he had a good wide receiver. Yes, he has a couple of decent tight ends. And yes, he had a pretty good running back, too. In general, though, Trestman didn’t have much at his disposal in terms of “elite” players.

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But has Marc Trestman earned the right to come back next season?

Well, let’s put it this way: He hasn’t earned the right to get canned.

And, now, with Flacco on the shelf and unable to practice until at least late in the spring or early next summer, it would actually hurt the Ravens to jettison Trestman and bring in someone else. How hard would it be for Flacco to grasp the new game-plan from a FIFTH offensive coordinator since 2008 if he couldn’t even put on a pair of shorts and go through the motions, literally, in February, March, April and so on?

So, Trestman should stay.

I’ve said all along that I think part of retaining Trestman is linked to Flacco, who would likely blow a gasket if the club made a personnel decision – on the offensive side of the ball – without at least consulting him. Remember when he flipped out over the club’s dismissal of quarterback’s coach Jim Zorn? At some point, and heading into your 9th season in the league, you’ve reached “some point”, the quarterback does get some say in who the club employs when that someone is your direct supervisor.

People ask me all the time if I know whether or not Flacco likes Marc Trestman.

I don’t know.

I know he REALLY liked Gary Kubiak, so just by natural extension alone, one would think it would be an uphill fight for Trestman, the newcomer, to get the same embrace from Flacco that Kubiak received in his one season with the club.

But I don’t know if Joe likes or doesn’t like Marc Trestman.

I just know he was a huge fan of Gary Kubiak.

But, at this point, Flacco and the offense don’t need another new voice or another new direction. They need some stability. They need some inner-confidence. They need cohesion.

And with the quarterback out until the summer, canning Trestman and bringing in another new face/voice isn’t the answer.

Getting better players is the answer. Or a big part of it, at least.

I didn’t think Flacco was having a great season in 2015. I thought he had some moments of excellence, particularly in the first five weeks. But something happened after that loss to Cleveland. There were times, especially in the loss at San Francisco, the home loss to Jacksonville and the win over the Rams, where he started to border on “give up mode”. That 3rd quarter throw against the 49’ers? The deep ball in the 2nd quarter of the Jaguars game? A bunch of bad-body-language-moments in the first three quarters of the Rams game? It all added up to a guy who was getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of quality around him. That’s what I was thinking, anyway. He looked disenchanted. A lot.

Was that Joe showing frustration with Trestman? Or the players? Or both?

Some of that, by the way, goes on the quarterback’s shoulders, particularly when he makes $20 million a year. This isn’t Johnny Manziel, Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez or some other scrub we’re talking about. This is a Super Bowl MVP. So, it’s his job to make chicken salad out of chicken manure. Easier said than done, I know, but it still up to him to make something out of nothing. His supporters would say he did that throughout the first ten weeks and the defensive side of the ball didn’t do their part. There’s some truth there. But there were ugly-as-sin first-half outputs in Denver, in Oakland, in San Francisco and at home vs. Cincinnati, Jacksonville and St. Louis.

It’s also Trestman’s job to get his players in sync and productive, and when you look at the way the season played out through the first ten weeks, it can be argued he performed well enough to get a second chance next season.

He wasn’t playing defensive back in Oakland or at home vs. Cincinnati and Cleveland. He didn’t drop a sure TD pass in Denver, either, although it was his offense that didn’t produce a touchdown in that game.

More than anything else, though, the Trestman issue comes down to continuity and the whole idea that Flacco would be dealing with a fifth coordinator (since 2012) if the Ravens opted to go in a different direction this off-season. It just doesn’t make sense.

So, in the oddest of ways, Flacco’s knee injury might very well be a blessing for Trestman, who would have come under great scrutiny at season’s end once the club posted its expected 5-11 record. This way, he can point to the good stuff his unit did through ten weeks – albeit with a sub-par core of quality players – and then throw up his hands and say, “What was I supposed to do in the final six weeks without Flacco, Forsett and Steve Smith?”

This time next year, we’ll have a much better idea of whether or not I’m right when I say, now, Marc Trestman needs to return in 2016.

A month ago, I wouldn’t have written this.

But things have changed.

And I’ll give him another season with Flacco to prove he was the right hire when Gary Kubiak left last January.

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today’s #dmd guest contributor: mike herman

Last week, I publicized an announcement that #DMD was looking to hire another writer and a sales-marketing professional as we begin our 2016 planning. Twenty-one people sent in their information and asked to be considered for the writing position, so I thought one way to help sort through them would be to actually SEE their work, here, live. So, starting today, I'll occasionally use their writing, and by the end of December, we'll have a couple of looks at the candidates and their various styles. Today's piece is from Mike Herman.

Random thoughts on sports, and life, for a two-minute read . . .

I was taken back by the outpouring of negative comments, tweets, venom, and shade thrown at Ronda Rousey after her terrible loss two weeks ago.  Apparently she rubbed some influential people the wrong way on her way up. Her high profile has done a great deal for the sport of MMA, and all this negativity only makes me more interested to see what transpires after her six-month imposed lay-off.

I've long been of the opinion that Jason Garrett was in way over his head in Dallas, and I think it’s time for Jerry Jones to make a change at the end of this year. I know he lost his starting QB this year, but if he can’t win that division this year, he just doesn’t have what it takes. Unfortunately for Jerry his ego won’t let him go out and get the larger-than-life coach it will take to weather the pressure in Dallas to win. Only a Jimmy Johnson strength personality can take that franchise back to the top, but there is only room for one personality that big in Dallas, and that belongs to Jerry Jones.

The Ravens have a laundry list of reasonable excuses for their poor record this year, from injuries through poor referee decisions and onto some just plain bad luck. But the penalties are worrisome, and they speak to discipline, which is directly related to coaching.

Grumpy old curmudgeon time; What’s with college kids needing to throw ping pong balls and buy whole sleeves of red cups to be able to have a drink? Back in the “Animal House” days when I was in college all we had to do was pull a tab. I worry about what it means to an entire generation that drinking is a “game”.

Cam Newton drinks up all the attention at Carolina, but when I watch their games it’s Luke Kuechly that looks like the straw that stirs the drink. He is just a fantastic football player and if they go deep in the playoffs this year, he should start to get a lot more of the credit, and a whole lot more national recognition.

Could Hollywood remember that there are still some of us over 40 that enjoy going out to a movie? The slate at the local Cineplex is all kid’s cartoons, comic book heroes, and formulaic Christmas family movies where they can’t even get enough humor from the entire movie to make a decent one minute trailer.

After the devastating and disappointing Ravens season it’s so great to have Maryland basketball back on top. It doesn’t fully salve the wound, but it will warm up some cold nights this winter watching them play.

Stephen Curry is in his own league right now. But I don’t understand coaches who play against him letting him go for forty a night and whipping them soundly. I’d body up and foul out my roster before I let him jump shoot me out of the building.

Haussner’s Restaurant has been gone for over 15 years, but their strawberry pie is still the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Haussner’s strawberry pie is one of the finest desserts to be found anywhere,  at anytime. The Baltimore restaurant that pays homage, by re-creating that singular perfection, would have a line out the door.

I watch the Ravens play on Sunday and all I can do for entire games is wonder where do we stand in relationship to the rest of the league with regard to yards after catch, third down successful completions without making a first down, number of personal foul penalties per game, fullback completions, pass interference calls, and total penalties.  I fear the answers would fulfill my worst fears.

Traffic on 695 at rush hour twenty-five years ago is equaled by the traffic today at two in the afternoon. And rush hour then was considered extreme. Actual rush hour today would have been considered an impossible commute then. I don’t know how it hasn’t led to total societal collapse.

Hockey is underrated in Baltimore. We spent too many years as a minor league franchise, and failed to really appreciate the sport, and give it the support it was due. I prefer pro-football, but readily admit that hockey is perhaps the most exciting and fast-paced sport I’ve ever witnessed live. The old Clippers playoff run, witnessed live, was pure nightly excitement, and I can still hear that fight song playing in my head, “Win you Baltimore Clippers . . . ”

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bring your unused winter apparel to glory days this monday night!

Please help us help the Helping Up Mission.

Six years ago at my former place of employment, my former radio co-host, Glenn Clark, asked me a question on the air one morning about "doing something in the community" for the holiday season. I confessed that one of my (admittedly, now) crazy ideas was to get a truckload of winter apparel and drive through the streets of downtown Baltimore and literally dispense the clothes to the homeless who were sleeping on sidewalks and such. From that idea came a relationship with the great people at Helping Up Mission, and in each of the last five years, Clark and I have teamed up to oversee a winter apparel-drive that results in a day of giving at the Mission downtown.

Our first year, 2010, saw us take 450 coats, sweatshirts, gloves, hats, etc. to their facility on East Baltimore Street. We thought that was just about the greatest thing ever, as we watched the men who are living there go through the room and pick out an item for their personal use. Last year, on our fifth occasion of delivering winter apparel, we walked in there with FOUR truckloads of clothes and over 4,000 items in total.

X
One of Baltimore's best kept secrets is the Helping Up Mission, where men who are trying to rebound find the support they need from both within the walls and the community as a whole.

So, we're back again, asking for your help this winter season. Clark is now doing a daily two-hour show at www.glennclarkradio.com, so you can still catch his act Monday through Friday, and he's back with me again to help coordinate this winter apparel round-up over the next three weeks. The week of December 14, we'll head down to Helping Up Mission and drop off the apparel, where the men will not only get something for themselves, but hopefully there's enough to go around that they can each grab something for a loved one, family member, friend, etc. It's tough enough to be away from home during the Holiday season, but even more difficult when you don't have the means to give someone a gift.

We're kicking off the winter apparel drive next Monday, November 30 at Glory Days Grill on Joppa Road in Towson. Glenn and I will both be there from 5:30 pm to 8 pm, collecting coats, hats, sweatshirts, gloves, socks, etc. Whatever you have, we'll take. Anything from gently used to something you no longer fit in or wear, we'll gladly take it and distribute it to the men of Helping Up Mission. And here's the cool thing. Glory Days will give anyone who donates five or more items a free appetizer (up to $8.99 value) in exchange for your goodwill. And I'll go one better. The first 25 people to come out next Monday night with five or more items will get their first beer compliments of Glenn and me. How do you beat that? Bring out five items, get a free appetizer from Glory Days, a free beer (or soft drink if that's your preference) from the two of us -- and know that you're helping the guys at Helping Up Mission.

When: Monday, November 30, 2015

Where: Glory Days Grill, 1220 E. Joppa Road, Towson, MD 21286

Time: 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Bring: Any winter apparel items you can (clean them first, please).

Oh, and I forgot to mention the Ravens are playing the Browns at 8:30 pm on ESPN if you have the stomach to watch it. I do. I'll stick around with you and watch the game until Jon Gruden says for the first time, "Boy, these Ravens sure do miss Joe Flacco, don't they Mike?"

Please come out next Monday night as we kick-off our winter apparel drive. We need the help. And so do the guys at Helping Up Mission.


Friday
November 27
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 27

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it could be worse, folks . . .
we could be
fans of the cowboys

OK, so let’s admit something right out of the gate. The Carolina Panthers are legit. Yes, I’m well aware that Dallas is 3-8 and clearly not that good, but the Panthers knocked the Thanksgiving stuffing out of Tony Romo and Company yesterday, 33-14, to improve to 11-0 on the year.

I’m 95% certain that two 16-0 teams can’t possibly go on to win two playoff games and meet in the Super Bowl, but that remaining 5% is well worth dreaming about, isn’t it? The Panthers have five games remaining to finish the campaign without a blemish; at New Orleans next Sunday, home against Atlanta, at NY Giants, at Atlanta and home vs. Tampa Bay. Simply because it’s so hard to go 16-for-16, I’m going to guess they don’t finish undefeated, but they’re odds-on favorites to go to the Super Bowl at this point barring injury to Cam Newton.

With our team in Baltimore done for the year -- in terms of games that matter -- it’s fun to watch the rest of the league without a real dog in the hunt. I’d love to see Carolina and New England both finish 16-0 and work their way to the Super Bowl, where one of the two would be guaranteed a perfect record and the other would lose just once and still not be crowned the champions.

A couple of “Friday related” notes for #DMD regulars: First, there’s no podcast today. The Thanksgiving holiday threw our schedule off a bit, so we’ll be back next Friday with a podcast in its regular rotation. And there’s no “Three Questions” today, either, as instead we offer you a “Guest Contributor” piece here at #DMD. Three Questions will return next Friday. We might even make it four or five questions to try and catch up on this week’s version we by-passed.

#DMD'S HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SPOTLIGHT

Marsh
Insurance & Financial
410-426-2282

brought to you by
Greg Marsh

The #DMD High School Sports Spotlight spent Thanksgiving morning at Ravens Stadium with about ten thousand other High School football fans to take in the 96th Annual Turkey Bowl.

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While it may be true that every play in every game is important, no play in yesterday’s Turkey Bowl was more important than the second play of the game. Calvert Hall’s first play from scrimmage was a dive inside for a gain of three. On their second play, from their own twenty-five yard line, Cardinal junior QB Ben Brooks handed the ball to senior RB T.J. Massey and he didn’t stop running until he reached the end zone, seventy-five yards away. The crowd started buzzing with phrases like, “This is going to be a shootout.” When Loyola’s Mike Bell blocked the extra-point attempt, holding Calvert Hall to a 6-0 lead, the crowd statred buzzing again with phrases like, “That missed extra point could make the difference in the game.”

The crowd was wrong. On both accounts.

Loyola started their first possession of the day with Dons’ QB Alex Caltrider under center. A nice touch for Caltrider, a senior projected to start this year, whose play was limited by injuries this season. After handing off for a gain of two, Caltrider was replaced by Blakefield Sophomore QB Will Koras. Koras was tested immediately when he was sacked by Calvert Hall senior DE Jimmy Crowley, who ended the day with four sacks. The Dons rebounded quickly though, putting together a twelve play drive that stalled when Koras was picked off by Cardinal DB Djimon Harried in the end zone.

Calvert Hall chose to keep the ball on the ground throughout the game and the Dons defense was effective at forcing them into punting situations – with the exception of a third quarter Cardinal field-goal attempt that missed wide right. Loyola featured a more balanced and sustained offensive attack that had the Calvert Hall defense on their heels for much of the game but the Dons were not able to get the ball into the end zone. After a twenty-two play drive, down by six, early in the fourth quarter and deep in Cardinal territory, Loyola opted for a twenty-six yard field goal attempt. The attempt was forced right after pressure from Cardinal DB Harried, leaving the Dons with nothing to show for their best scoring opportunity of the game. It was indeed a puzzling decision by Loyola, as a TD there would have tied it up and an extra point could have given the lead.

Calvert Hall finished the game with only seven passing yards and two hundred and eighteen rushing yards for a total of two hundred and twenty-five yards. Loyola opted to air the ball out a bit for one hundred and ninety yards in the air, and one hundred and ten rushing yards for a total of three hundred yards. That is a difference in total offense of seventy-five yards.

The same amount of yards that Calvert Hall RB T.J. Massey ran for his score on the second play of the game.

Final score: Calvert Hall 6, Loyola Blakefield 0

The #DMD High School Sports Spotlight is brought to you by Greg Marsh and Marsh Insurance and Financial. Be sure to check in next week for more local High School sports coverage and be sure to check in with Greg Marsh for all of your personal insurance needs too. Give him a call at (410) 426-2282.

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today's guest #dmd contributor:
ken greeley

Last week, I publicized an announcement that #DMD was looking to hire another writer and a sales-marketing professional as we begin our 2016 planning. Twenty-one people sent in their information and asked to be considered for the writing position, so I thought one way to help sort through them would be to actually SEE their work, here, live. So, starting today, I'll occasionally use their writing, and by the end of December, we'll have a couple of looks at the candidates and their various styles. Today's piece on Maryland football is contributed by Ken Greeley.

Maryland’s October dismissal of Randy Edsall as their head football coach came at a good time. Several mid-Atlantic football programs could have new leadership – and that could lead to seismic changes in the area’s recruiting battle. One known change is legendary Frank Beamer, who is retiring after 29 successful years at Virginia Tech. Virginia’s Mike London has not turned his strong recruiting classes into on-the-field wins in six years.

Similar to Maryland, West Virginia and Dana Holgorson recently transitioned into a new conference with some success but may need a jump start to being more competitive, especially in Big 12 road games. The faithful at Penn State are starting to get restless with James Franklin (former Maryland coach-in-waiting), even though he has only been at State College for two years and the NCAA recently lifted the sexual-abuse sanctions.

Recruiting arguably accounts for two-thirds of a football team’s success. You still need good coaching but teams winning championships have better talent. National championship teams have two top ten ranked recruiting classes on their roster (only exception in the last 16 years was the 2000 Oklahoma Sooners). Should you expect the next Maryland football head coach to be landing top ten recruiting classes? No. What you should expect is the new coach to recruit the talent in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Fielding 22 starters and carrying 85 players means you need a constant flow of quality players. Maryland high schools produce good players but not enough to compete in the Big Ten. Virginia Tech’s 2000 national championship appearance and 7 conference titles were attributable to recruiting the Tidewater area with players like Michael Vick and Tyrod Taylor. Pennsylvania high schools treat football like the Texas – fall football, spring football – which produces all-American talent. Finding a coach with a staff to make inroads to these recruiting hot beds (and retain Maryland’s best players) in a time of coaching instability could make Maryland football an 8 to 10 win team quickly. However, now may not be the best time to be filling your head coach position.

It seems like everyone is looking for a new football coach! Currently 13 FBS head coaching positions are open, including a few major programs (USC, Miami). Add in a few firings after the regular season concludes. Consider a few major programs are thinking it’s thing for a change (LSU, Georgia). Plus the ripple effect of filling new vacancies created by coaches leaving for better opportunities. Do the math and this creates a chaotic college football off-season with the possibility of one-fifth of FBS teams with new coaches next season.

Competition to hire a new head coach is bad for Maryland as it reduces their chances of landing one of the better, high profile coaches. Other schools can offer better salaries, greater facilities, and richer recruiting grounds. In a few years Maryland will be able to pay more and offer better facilities when the full effect of Under Armour and Big Ten monies are present.

But today, the best outcome for Maryland would be to hire a hot coach from a group of five schools with the allure of coaching in the Big Ten and the best opportunity in a while to access lush recruiting areas. Jeff Brohm from Western Kentucky or Dino Babers from Bowling Green could be the right coach.

Let the coaching carousel begin!

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THIS WEEKEND IN ENGLISH SOCCER
Contributed by #DMD's EPL Reporter

MATTHEW CARROLL

The Barclay’s Premier League title race is officially wide open following the results of Matchweek 13, which saw Manchester City and Arsenal both lose to open the door for Leicester City, who only a full season ago were playing in England’s second division, to take over the top spot and set up a one vs. two showdown against Manchester United in Matchweek 14. You can watch the game live on NBC and every other game this weekend live on the NBC Sports Network or NBC Live Extra (online).

Saturday (all times Eastern)

10am – Southampton @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC Sport Network

Following their stunning 4-1 defeat last weekend to Liverpool, preseason title favorites Manchester City all of a sudden find themselves out of the Barclays Premier League top spot for the first time since the opening weeks of the season as they welcome Southampton to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. City have won only three of their last eight league matches (W3 D2 L3) which has allowed the rest of the pack to catch up, though the return of Sergio Aguero, who netted the lone City goal last weekend, and David Silva from injury to add to their embarrassment of attacking riches should get them back on track.

Southampton have quietly put together a solid season to date under second year manager Ronald Koeman, currently sitting in eighth place on twenty points with their 1-0 defeat to Stoke City last weekend the first time they have dropped points since September (W4 D2). The Saints have won just two of their last thirteen away matches (W2 D5 L6) and only one of their last eight league meetings against City (W1 D2 L5). They are set to be without one of their main attacking threats as Graziano Pelle will miss out through suspension which could mean another long day for the Saints against City.

12:30pm – Manchester United @ Leicester City – King Power Stadium, NBC

There will be more on the line then just the top spot in the league table when Manchester United takes on Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in Saturday’s primetime matchup, as Leicester striker and England international Jamie Vardy will look to extend his consecutive goal streak to eleven games, which would break the record held by former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy. He will have to do it against the leagues stingiest defense, who conceded their first goal in 609 minutes and just their ninth overall on the year, in their 2-1 victory over Watford last weekend.

Vardie
With a goal against Manchester United on Saturday, Jamie Vardy would set an EPL record with a goal in his 11th consecutive game.

United have won all but one of their last nine league fixtures (W6 D2 L1) and ten of their last eleven matches against Leicester, the lone defeat coming in last year’s corresponding fixture when the Foxes became the only team in league history to come from two goals down to beat the Red Devils in a 5-3 triumph. Having scored in fourteen successive league matches and the only side to find the back of the net in all thirteen of their league encounters this season, Vardy and Leicester will pose the biggest threat that the United defense have seen all season long.

Sunday (all times Eastern)

7am – Chelsea @ Tottenham – White Hart Lane, NBC Sports Network

We may be starting to sound like a broken record but Tottenham keeps turning out results, their 4-1 win over West Ham last weekend running their unbeaten streak to twelve games and on the cusp of breaking into the top four and a coveted Champions League spot. They will welcome local rivals Chelsea to White Hart Lane in the early, especially here on the East Coast, kickoff on Sunday for a London Derby. Chelsea have lost five of their last six away matches in the league and it was in this corresponding fixture last season, which Spurs won 5-3, that was Tottenham striker Harry Kane’s coming out party.

Kane had two goals in that victory and after a slow start to the current campaign, his two goals against West Ham last weekend gives him at least one goal in four straight league matches and seven in his last four outings. The 22-year-old now boasts the best goals-to-matches ratio in London Derbies of any player (0.86), having scored twelve goals in fourteen matches against teams from the capital. Kane has twenty four league goals in 2015, five more than last season top scorer Sergio Aguero and ahead of this year’s current scoring leader Jamie Vardy (16).

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drew's new "wine winner" is here!

I strolled into The Wine Merchant this past Tuesday in search of a new "Wine Winner" to select and promote and I found a great value at $14 from the Raymond Vineyards in Napa Valley -- their "R Collection" Merlot. If you head into The Wine Merchant, be sure and look for it in section just to your left as you walk in, about 2-3 aisles in...and you'll see my #DMD "Wine Winner" card on the front of the box, letting you know it's a personal selection of mine.

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Pick up this R Collection Merlot at The Wine Merchant for just $14

It's an excellent Merlot that's perfect for the casual get-togethers you'll be having over the next month or so with the holiday season in full swing. Full-bodied, yet approachable, the wine displays a good balance of acidity and tannins that would pair deliciously with most meats, including lamb chops. Part of the fun about wine, for me anyway, is discovering a "price gem" as I call them. Those bottles that you find for anywhere between $10 and $15 that have the taste of something more in the $40-$50 range are great buys if you can just locate them. This "R Collection" Merlot is one of those. Pour your friends a glass and they'll likely say right away, "Wow, this is really nice. What is it?"

The Wine Merchant is located at 10741 Falls Road in Lutherville, at the intersection of Falls and Greenspring (basically). It's just on your right hand side as you come off of 695 and head north on Falls Road. They offer an outstanding wine selection with a full offering of beer and spirits as well. Oh, and they make some of the best sandwiches and salads you'll find anywhere.


bring your unused winter apparel to glory days this monday night!

Please help us help the Helping Up Mission.

Six years ago at my former place of employment, my former radio co-host, Glenn Clark, asked me a question on the air one morning about "doing something in the community" for the holiday season. I confessed that one of my (admittedly, now) crazy ideas was to get a truckload of winter apparel and drive through the streets of downtown Baltimore and literally dispense the clothes to the homeless who were sleeping on sidewalks and such. From that idea came a relationship with the great people at Helping Up Mission, and in each of the last five years, Clark and I have teamed up to oversee a winter apparel-drive that results in a day of giving at the Mission downtown.

Our first year, 2010, saw us take 450 coats, sweatshirts, gloves, hats, etc. to their facility on East Baltimore Street. We thought that was just about the greatest thing ever, as we watched the men who are living there go through the room and pick out an item for their personal use. Last year, on our fifth occasion of delivering winter apparel, we walked in there with FOUR truckloads of clothes and over 4,000 items in total.

X
One of Baltimore's best kept secrets is the Helping Up Mission, where men who are trying to rebound find the support they need from both within the walls and the community as a whole.

So, we're back again, asking for your help this winter season. Clark is now doing a daily two-hour show at www.glennclarkradio.com, so you can still catch his act Monday through Friday, and he's back with me again to help coordinate this winter apparel round-up over the next three weeks. The week of December 14, we'll head down to Helping Up Mission and drop off the apparel, where the men will not only get something for themselves, but hopefully there's enough to go around that they can each grab something for a loved one, family member, friend, etc. It's tough enough to be away from home during the Holiday season, but even more difficult when you don't have the means to give someone a gift.

We're kicking off the winter apparel drive next Monday, November 30 at Glory Days Grill on Joppa Road in Towson. Glenn and I will both be there from 5:30 pm to 8 pm, collecting coats, hats, sweatshirts, gloves, socks, etc. Whatever you have, we'll take. Anything from gently used to something you no longer fit in or wear, we'll gladly take it and distribute it to the men of Helping Up Mission. And here's the cool thing. Glory Days will give anyone who donates five or more items a free appetizer (up to $8.99 value) in exchange for your goodwill. And I'll go one better. The first 25 people to come out next Monday night with five or more items will get their first beer compliments of Glenn and me. How do you beat that? Bring out five items, get a free appetizer from Glory Days, a free beer (or soft drink if that's your preference) from the two of us -- and know that you're helping the guys at Helping Up Mission.

When: Monday, November 30, 2015

Where: Glory Days Grill, 1220 E. Joppa Road, Towson, MD 21286

Time: 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Bring: Any winter apparel items you can (clean them first, please).

Oh, and I forgot to mention the Ravens are playing the Browns at 8:30 pm on ESPN if you have the stomach to watch it. I do. I'll stick around with you and watch the game until Jon Gruden says for the first time, "Boy, these Ravens sure do miss Joe Flacco, don't they Mike?"

Please come out next Monday night as we kick-off our winter apparel drive. We need the help. And so do the guys at Helping Up Mission.



Thursday
November 26
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 26

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

it's "turkey bowl" day in baltimore!

Today, for the 96th time, the Dons from Loyola Blakefield will step onto a football field to square off against the Cardinals from Calvert Hall College High School. The Dons (5-5) and the Cardinals (4-6) are both putting the wraps on disappointing seasons. Today that doesn’t matter.

X
Two familiar cries will be heard today in Baltimore: "Go Hall!" and "Roll Dons Roll!"

They will not be playing for the MIAA Conference Championship. The Conference Championship doesn’t matter. The All-MIAA Conference Team has already been announced. Loyola seniors Gavin Rowley and Darren Seward made the team. So did Calvert Hall senior Morgan Scroggins and juniors BJ Watson and Tyshon Fogg. Today...that does not matter either.

The weather will be brilliant. It will be 50 degrees and sunny at kick off. The weather doesn’t matter. Loyola leads the series with forty nine wins, thirty eight losses, and eight ties. The game will be played at M&T Bank Stadium – home of the Baltimore Ravens. The game will be televised on local television (Channel 2) and streamed live online. The history, the field, the media coverage...none of that matters.

The stands will be filled with more than ten thousand fans. Some young. Some old. Some for the first time. Most for the umpteenth time. Some will be students. Some will be alumni. Some will be family and friends. Most were there last year and plan to be there again next year. Some will be watching the game, some will be staring at their cellphones. It doesn’t matter.

Longtime Loyola Coach Joe Brune and longtime Calvert Hall Coach Augie Miceli will be there too, sitting among the fans on opposite sides of the stadium. For Coach Brant Hall and his Dons team and for Coach Donald Davis and his Cardinal squad it doesn’t matter. None of it matters.

When that ball is kicked off at 10 am today, for the Loyola Dons and the Calvert Hall Cardinals, only one thing matters – winning the game. That is all that matters.

Playing in this game gives each young man a lifetime credential: "I played in the Turkey Bowl". If you happen to be the hero today, you'll go down in your school's athletic archives as someone who made a difference in beating either Loyola or Calvert Hall. You'll be applauded a decade from now when you walk into one of the pre-Thanksgiving events each of the schools hosts. You will be a winner. That's all that matters today -- and tomorrow.

KICK OFF @ 10 a.m. M&T Bank Stadium

WATCH LIVE on abc2news

Online at http://abc2news.com/live


have a great thanksgiving day!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and please travel safely wherever your journey takes you today and over the long weekend. For those needing a reminder of the Thursday NFL football schedule, here it is:

12:30 pm -- Philadelphia at Detroit (FOX)

4:30 pm -- Carolina at Dallas (CBS)

8:30 pm -- Chicago at Green Bay (NBC)

BARCS banner ad

umbc hoops: retrievers lose to navy

Navy's defense throttled UMBC and the Midshipmen shot better than 57 percent from the floor, as they defeated the Retrievers, 75-54, last night at the RAC Arena.

UMBC freshman Joe Sherburne led the Retrievers with 14 points, scoring in double figures for the fifth time in six games this season. Plagued by foul trouble, red-shirt sophomore guard Rodney Elliott added 11 points.

Navy solved UMBC's changing defenses in the first half, hitting 14 of their first 21 attempts from the floor. The Mids took control and extended an early 6-4 advantage to 15-4 at the 12:51 mark of the first half. The visitors would build the advantage to as many as 15 points at 32-17 with 4:59 to play in the stanza and settled for a 36-24 halftime advantage.

The game didnt' start well for the UMBC offense. In the first 20 minutes, they misfired on 9-of-10 attempts from behind the arc and the Mids' defense swarmed senior post Cody Joyce, who hit only one field goal and did not get to the line in the first 20 minutes. Moreover, Elliott was held without a field goal and was limited to just 12 minutes played with three fouls. When Joyce and Elliott aren't scoring, UMBC is in trouble.

UMBC (1-5) returns to the RAC Arena on Saturday when they host Colgate at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the arena box office.

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maryland football: mullen to terps gaining steam

Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen has emerged as a strong candidate for the vacant coaching position at the University of Maryland, although several other schools could also be interested in his services, including Virginia Tech and Virginia, who are rumored to be parting ways with Mike London at season's end.

X
If Dan Mullen leaves Mississippi State, is the Maryland job attractive enough for him?

Mullen has turned the Mississippi State program into a legitimate contender since arriving on the scene in 2009. In fact, for a week or so in 2014, the Bulldogs held down the #1 spot in the country. While they're not on the verge of replacing Alabama, Auburn, Florida or LSU as the darlings of the SEC, Mississippi State has become a realistic option for Top 100 players in the country. In the six seasons prior to Mullen's arrival, the Bulldogs were 22-57. That's not good. In his seven years there as head coach, Mississippi State has gone 54-34. That's much better. He has taken the Bulldogs from the other team's homecoming opponent to a school to be reckoned with every fall.

Of particular interest to Kevin Plank and Kevin Anderson would be Mullen's abilities with quarterbacks, with a long line of signal callers prospering under his tutelage. He's worked with Alex Smith at Utah. Chris Leak and Tim Tebow at Florida and, most recently, Dak Prescott at Mississippi State. Maryland, if you've followed along over the last half-decade or so, has struggled mightily at the quarterback position, which lends even more credence to Mullen's value as a possible candidate at College Park.

The negative? Mullen is so valued in Starksville that he's paid $4.3 million to coach the football program there. Let's face it, the Maryland job isn't high-profile enough to consider taking a paycut to pack up and move to College Park to face the big-boys of the Big Ten every year. I'm not saying the Terps would have to fork over $6 million a year or something to pull him away from Mississippi State, but he'd have to get upwards of $5 million a year to leave -- or so you'd think, right? Is Maryland football going to pay its head coach $5 million a year? Right. I don't think so, either.


maryland hoops: terps now 5-0 after pounding rhode island

In what was definitely their most complete game of the campaign to date, Maryland embarrassed Rhode Island last night in Cancun, Mexico, 86-63. The win moved the Terps to 5-0 on the season and dropped the Rams to 3-2.

Five players scored in double figures for Maryland, who led 44-28 at the half and cruised in from there. It was so lopsided at the end that Mark Turgeon even wedged in a minute of playing time for freshman Andrew Terrell, who promptly hit a 3-pointer that seemed to send Rams' coach Dan Hurley over the edge. Late in the second half, leading by 21 points, Jake Layman drained a 3-pointer that led to an exchange between Hurley and Turgeon. The 3-pointer from Terrell didn't help matters and it appeared the two coaches had another exchange of words during the post-game handshake. While it's true that leading by 21 and throwing in a 3-pointer with 1:41 left to play isn't exactly the best way to make friends, Jake Layman isn't passing up an open look, that's for sure.

Maryland got 17 points each from Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon, 15 from Robert Carter, Jr. and both Jared Nickens and Diamond Stone chipped in with 10 points. Former Towson University guard Four McGlynn was woeful for Rhode Island, with a 1-for-12 shooting night that included 0-5 from 3-point range and six points total in the loss.

The Terps will host Cleveland State on Saturday night (7:30 pm) before heading to Chapel Hill for next Tuesday night's showdown with the Tar Heels as part of the ACC-Big Ten challenge.

Jerry's Toyota banner ad

please help us help the helping up mission

That was just too good to pass up, sorry.

Please help us help the Helping Up Mission.

Six years ago at my former place of employment, my former radio co-host, Glenn Clark, asked me a question on the air one morning about "doing something in the community" for the holiday season. I confessed that one of my (admittedly, now) crazy ideas was to get a truckload of winter apparel and drive through the streets of downtown Baltimore and literally dispense the clothes to the homeless who were sleeping on sidewalks and such. From that idea came a relationship with the great people at Helping Up Mission, and in each of the last five years, Clark and I have teamed up to oversee a winter apparel-drive that results in a day of giving at the Mission downtown.

Our first year, 2010, saw us take 450 coats, sweatshirts, gloves, hats, etc. to their facility on East Baltimore Street. We thought that was just about the greatest thing ever, as we watched the men who are living there go through the room and pick out an item for their personal use. Last year, on our fifth occasion of delivering winter apparel, we walked in there with FOUR truckloads of clothes and over 4,000 items in total.

X
One of Baltimore's best kept secrets is the Helping Up Mission, where men who are trying to rebound find the support they need from both within the walls and the community as a whole.

So, we're back again, asking for your help this winter season. Clark is now doing a daily two-hour show at www.glennclarkradio.com, so you can still catch his act Monday through Friday, and he's back with me again to help coordinate this winter apparel round-up over the next three weeks. The week of December 14, we'll head down to Helping Up Mission and drop off the apparel, where the men will not only get something for themselves, but hopefully there's enough to go around that they can each grab something for a loved one, family member, friend, etc. It's tough enough to be away from home during the Holiday season, but even more difficult when you don't have the means to give someone a gift.

We're kicking off the winter apparel drive next Monday, November 30 at Glory Days Grill on Joppa Road in Towson. Glenn and I will both be there from 5:30 pm to 8 pm, collecting coats, hats, sweatshirts, gloves, socks, etc. Whatever you have, we'll take. Anything from gently used to something you no longer fit in or wear, we'll gladly take it and distribute it to the men of Helping Up Mission. And here's the cool thing. Glory Days will give anyone who donates five or more items a free appetizer (up to $8.99 value) in exchange for your goodwill. And I'll go one better. The first 25 people to come out next Monday night with five or more items will get their first beer compliments of Glenn and I. How do you beat that? Bring out five items, get a free appetizer from Glory Days, a free beer (or soft drink if that's your preference) from the two of us -- and know that you're helping the guys at Helping Up Mission.

When: Monday, November 30, 2015

Where: Glory Days Grill, 1220 E. Joppa Road, Towson, MD 21286

Time: 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Bring: Any winter apparel items you can (clean them first, please).

Oh, and I forgot to mention the Ravens are playing the Browns at 8:30 pm on ESPN if you have the stomach to watch it. I do. I'll stick around with you and watch the game until Jon Gruden says for the first time, "Boy, these Ravens sure do miss Joe Flacco, don't they Mike?"

Please come out next Monday night as we kick-off our winter apparel drive. We need the help. And so do the guys at Helping Up Mission.



Wednesday
November 25
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 25

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

here at #dmd, we give thanks to everyone

Tomorrow, of course, is the traditional day of giving thanks, and I'll be doing plenty of that with my family as we enjoy Thanksgiving with my wife's parents and her sisters. My son and I are going to take in the annual "Turkey Bowl" game between Calvert Hall and Loyola tomorrow morning (full coverage here at #DMD on Thursday morning) at Ravens stadium and then we'll get together with family for a late afternoon Thanksgiving dinner. Spending the day with my family, coupled with a Cardinals win over Loyola and a belly full of turkey should make for a great Thursday!

But before then, I wanted to take a minute to give my own thanks to the people who have contributed to this community over the last year. We're still a work in progress here at #DMD, but the corporate partners who have showed faith in this idea of mine can't be thanked enough. I say this often and it's true. If they aren't here to support #DMD with their marketing and advertising dollars, there's no website for you to visit and no sports content for you to read. And if you're not showing up every day, not reading the fresh content we post each morning, and not supporting those corporate partners, then this place wouldn't exist, either. You're both responsible for every breath #DMD takes. So, thank you very much for your continued support.

From a marketing standpoint, my goal since day one of #DMD has been to give you a stable of partners that you would consider first when the appropriate need arises in your daily life. I understand it doesn't always work, and we all have our favorites when it comes to coffee, cars, office equipment, plumbers, banks, etc., but all I've ever asked is that you keep our corporate partners in mind when making a buying decision and utilize them if you can. You'll find each of them particularly willing to earn your trust as a customer. I'm quite certain, for instance, that if you walk into Charles Nusinov and Sons, ask for Sydney, and tell him you're in need of some jewelry help for an upcoming Holiday purchase, that you'll be very pleased with the work he does for you and the business relationship you establish with him.

All you need to do is take a look down the right side and in the content of today's #DMD and you'll the ads of all of our corporate partners. If you click on those, it takes you right to their web-site, where you'll get the latest information they're providing about their company or product.

Thank you to our signature corporate partner, Jerry's Toyota-Scion, for all they've done with us and for us in 2015 to date. They've been involved with us here, at #DMD, and with a number of our community efforts over the last 11 months, including Calvert Hall Golf, our sleeping bag drive with Van Brooks and his S.A.F.E. Foundation, our charity golf outing on October 19 and, now, our winter apparel drive to benefit the men at Helping Up Mission. We're blessed to have their overwhelming support.

The Cause Network has also been a huge advocate of #DMD's over the last year and is becoming a significant contributor to our Baltimore community through their charitable work with organizations like BARCS and "There Goes My Hero". If you have a second today to click on the BARCS ad and see how the Cause Network is helping them, I think you'd be impressed.

The others in the #DMD family are also doing impressive work. We're thankful to have them all. Thankful for Royal Farms, Primary Residential Mortgage, SECU, Unison Business Solutions and Orlando Products. Thankful, too, for ABC Rental Center of Rosedale, Glory Days Grill, CSI Bonds, Eagle's Nest Country Club, UMBC Athletics and The Wine Merchant. Big thanks to Greg Marsh Insurance & Financial, Advanced Heating and Cooling, Frank Locke of Chase-Fitzgerald Realtors, Chick fil-A of Nottingham Square, The Corner Bakery on Goucher Boulevard, and Robbie's First Base/Postal USA. And another round of thanks to Saffer Plumbing, Harpoon Beer, Charles Nusinov and Sons, Dan's Automotive, Palmisano's of Baldwin, Nicole Makhnichenko/Avon, and our newest corporate partner, Summit Financial. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And even those local businesses who were once partnering with us and no longer are, for whatever reason, are owed a huge gratitude of thanks for their support. Sometimes their marketing strategies change, often they align with us for a specific campaign, and, occasionally they just want to "dip their toe in the water" to see what #DMD is all about. We thank all of them, as well, for their support, even though you might not see their ads on the site today. Please continue to patronize them if the need arises; Doug Gorius, Attorney at Law, Viking Remodeling, the Bowie Baysox, Mountain Branch Golf Course, Next Day Xpress/Magic Messengers, City Wide Maintenance, Novak's Computer Services and First Choice Automotive. All are good people. All are right here, locally, and all could use your support.

Thank YOU for being here today. If it's your first time, welcome. We hope you like it. If you're a regular, thanks for showing up again today and being part of our family. I hope you know we appreciate you.

BARCS banner ad

terps hold off illinois state to improve to 4-0

Our Maryland basketball reporter, Dale Williams, will handle the bulk of our Terps coverage this season (presented by The Wine Merchant) but I thought I'd chime in with my initial thoughts on what I've seen from Mark Turgeon's team after their 77-66 win over Illinois State in Cancun, Mexico last night.

For starters, the 11-point margin of victory in no way indicates the difficulty Maryland had with the Cardinals on Tuesday evening. It was a tie game (58-58) with 5:31 to go and a two-possession affair with 2:13 left, but Maryland went 6-for-7 from the foul line in the game's final few minutes and hit a trio of three-pointers to pull away late. As has become their style over the last couple of seasons, the Terps play a lot of five minute basketball games. And win nearly all of them. That's how Tuesday night went in Cancun. It came down to five minutes and Maryland won that 300 seconds convincingly.

A few notes on what I've seen from the Terps thus far, having now watched them a handful of times against varying levels of competition.

It's going to be a work in progress for Diamond Stone, who got in early foul trouble last night and scored two points in just ten minutes of action. He's clearly not physically ready yet, having been in high school this time last year, and without the bulk and size he needs to compete, it might not be in the cards for him to be "one and done" as a lot of folks thought he might be. He'll get better as the season goes on, hopeully, but the early returns on him aren't overly impressive.

The Dion Wiley injury might have been the break Mark Turgeon needed to put Rasheed Sulaimon in a more definitive role -- and it's paying off big time thus far. The former Duke player played 36 of 40 minutes last night and led the team in scoring with 18 points. It was his spirited play against Georgetown that helped the Terps hold off the Hoyas last Tuesday night and he did it again against Illinois State. He can defend, shoot, and rebound. And he had ZERO fouls last night. It's a clean game he plays.

The reports out of College Park last year were that Robert Carter, Jr., the Georgia Tech transfer, would dominate the 1's during practice. So far this year, he hasn't done much dominating. He did chip in 11 points in last night's win over Illinois State but it didn't happen through effort, it happened because he's athletic and gets a lot of "opportunity points" around the basket that fall his way. I like his defensive intensity and he's definitely not adverse to mixing it up in the paint. It's early, and I'm certainly not panicking on him, but I'm hoping there's more offensive energy in Carter, Jr. than we've seen thus far in the four games of the 2015-2016 season.

X
Damonte Dodd's impressive play thus far in four games is a good sign for a Terps team that needs to use their big players well in 2015-2016.

Damonte Dodd played a pivotal role in last night's win, sort of like what Cekovsky did against Georgetown, and will do that a lot this season, I believe. He scored 13 points on a 5-for-5 effort from the field and was able to help change the pace of the Cardinals' up-and-down running game with his defensive work. I've liked him over the last three years with the notable exception of his bad hands, which might be improving a bit if the first four games of this season are any indication.

The usual suspects like Trimble and Layman are what they are. They're excellent players who are capable of taking over the game at a moment's notice, although Turgeon needs to make sure Layman doesn't bring the rest of the team down with his propensity for long stretches of bad shooting.

It will continue to be a work in progress for the Terps and I expect they'll split the upcoming two-game set against North Carolina and UConn. No matter what happens in those two games, this is a Maryland team that will be poised to make a deep run in the tournament next March. They have all the pieces in place and Turgeon is doing a better job of the in-game stuff, which is easier to do when you have two or three players coming off the bench who understand their respective roles and can play them well, too. I think this is a 5-loss season at best for the Terps, unless injuries somehow change their structure over the next four months.

ABC Rentalbanner

drew's new "wine winner" is here!

I strolled into The Wine Merchant yesterday in search of a new "Wine Winner" to select and promote and I found a great value at $14 from the Raymond Vineyards in Napa Valley -- their "R Collection" Merlot. If you head into The Wine Merchant, be sure and look for it in section just to your left as you walk in, about 2-3 aisles in...and you'll see my #DMD "Wine Winner" card on the front of the box, letting you know it's a personal selection of mine.

X
Pick up this R Collection Merlot at The Wine Merchant for just $14

It's an excellent Merlot that's perfect for the casual get-togethers you'll be having over the next month or so with the holidays rapidly approaching. Full-bodied, yet approachable, the wine displays a good balance of acidity and tannins that would pair deliciously with most meats, including lamb chops. Part of the fun about wine, for me anyway, is discovering a "price gem" as I call them. Those bottles that you find for anywhere between $10 and $15 that have the taste of something more in the $40-$50 range are great buys if you can just locate them. This "R Collection" Merlot is one of those. Pour your friends a glass and they'll likely say right away, "Wow, this is really nice. What is it?"

The Wine Merchant is located at 10741 Falls Road in Lutherville, at the intersection of Falls and Greenspring (basically). It's just on your right hand side as you come off of 695 and head north on Falls Road. They offer an outstanding wine selection with a full offering of beer and spirits as well. Oh, and they make some of the best sandwiches and salads you'll find anywhere.

Chase Fitzgerald banner ad

golden state stays perfect, sets nba record

Granted, it came against the lowly Los Angeles Lakers (2-12), but Tuesday night's 111-77 throttling of Kobe Bryant and Company put the Golden State Warriors in the record books.

They're now 16-0 to start the 2015-2016 campaign, setting a new league mark for the best start to a regular season. It was over before it started last night, as the defending champs raced out to a 30-11 lead after the first quarter and led 54-38 at the half. A 35-17 margin in the 3rd quarter made the final twelve minutes a coronation of triumph for the Warriors, who had three players in double figures, led by Stephen Curry's 24-point output. Kobe Bryant had 4 points for the Lakers on a 1-for-14 shooting night. Peyton Manning called Kobe afterwards and told him he looked old...that's how bad it's getting for Bryant, who hangs on anyway even though the game has passed him by.

The game certainly hasn't passed the Warriors, though, who show no signs at all of letting up through the season's first six weeks. There's a long way to go (I keep saying that, but soon we'll be into January...), of course, but 72-10 -- or better -- has to be on their minds as the season nears the quarter mark. There's no telling what they're capable of doing out in Oakland. They're that good.


please help us help the helping up mission

That was just too good to pass up, sorry.

Please help us help the Helping Up Mission.

Six years ago at my former place of employment, my former radio co-host, Glenn Clark, asked me a question on the air one morning about "doing something in the community" for the holiday season. I confessed that one of my (admittedly, now) crazy ideas was to get a truckload of winter apparel and drive through the streets of downtown Baltimore and literally dispense the clothes to the homeless who were sleeping on sidewalks and such. From that idea came a relationship with the great people at Helping Up Mission, and in each of the last five years, Clark and I have teamed up to oversee a winter apparel-drive that results in a day of giving at the Mission downtown.

Our first year, 2010, saw us take 450 coats, sweatshirts, gloves, hats, etc. to their facility on East Baltimore Street. We thought that was just about the greatest thing ever, as we watched the men who are living there go through the room and pick out an item for their personal use. Last year, on our fifth occasion of delivering winter apparel, we walked in there with FOUR truckloads of clothes and over 4,000 items in total.

X
One of Baltimore's best kept secrets is the Helping Up Mission, where men who are trying to rebound find the support they need from both within the walls and the community as a whole.

So, we're back again, asking for your help this winter season. Clark is now doing a daily two-hour show at www.glennclarkradio.com, so you can still catch his act Monday through Friday, and he's back with me again to help coordinate this winter apparel round-up over the next three weeks. The week of December 14, we'll head down to Helping Up Mission and drop off the apparel, where the men will not only get something for themselves, but hopefully there's enough to go around that they can each grab something for a loved one, family member, friend, etc. It's tough enough to be away from home during the Holiday season, but even more difficult when you don't have the means to give someone a gift.

We're kicking off the winter apparel drive next Monday, November 30 at Glory Days Grill on Joppa Road in Towson. Glenn and I will both be there from 5:30 pm to 8 pm, collecting coats, hats, sweatshirts, gloves, socks, etc. Whatever you have, we'll take. Anything from gently used to something you no longer fit in or wear, we'll gladly take it and distribute it to the men of Helping Up Mission. And here's the cool thing. Glory Days will give anyone who donates five or more items a free appetizer (up to $8.99 value) in exchange for your goodwill. And I'll go one better. The first 25 people to come out next Monday night with five or more items will get their first beer compliments of Glenn and I. How do you beat that? Bring out five items, get a free appetizer from Glory Days, a free beer (or soft drink if that's your preference) from the two of us -- and know that you're helping the guys at Helping Up Mission.

When: Monday, November 30, 2015

Where: Glory Days Grill, 1220 E. Joppa Road, Towson, MD 21286

Time: 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Bring: Any winter apparel items you can (clean them first, please).

Oh, and I forgot to mention the Ravens are playing the Browns at 8:30 pm on ESPN if you have the stomach to watch it. I do. I'll stick around with you and watch the game until Jon Gruden says for the first time, "Boy, these Ravens sure do miss Joe Flacco, don't they Mike?"

Please come out next Monday night as we kick-off our winter apparel drive. We need the help. And so do the guys at Helping Up Mission.



Tuesday
November 24
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 24

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

no...flacco isn't going to be "wally pipp'd" by schaub

In my travels on Monday, I listened to what amounted to a total of perhaps fifty minutes of sports radio and on one of the stations in town still ambitious enough to field listener phone calls, I heard more than one person suggest the season-ending knee injury to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco could mark the dawning of a new era.

I love you guys, and I realize you buy tickets, wear purple and go to all of the games, but you're absolutely off of your rocker if you somehow think -- as one caller suggested yesterday -- that Flacco might get "Wally Pipp'd" by Matt Schaub as the latter fills in for Flacco over the season's final six games. Pipp, if you don't know, was the New York Yankees power hitter who complained of a headache prior to a 1925 game and asked to sit that one out. Some guy named Lou Gehrig replaced him that day. He went on to play in 2,130 consecutive games while Pipp's career began an immediate decline.

Allow me to interrupt this Joe Flacco discussion to mention, quickly, that I attended last night's Caps home game at the Verizon Center with #DMD partner Shawn Shannon of Unison Business Solutions. I've watched a lot of hockey in my life -- more than a lot, actually -- and I can't ever remember seeing a 1-0 game with that much excitement as the one I saw last night with the Caps winning on a late 3rd period goal from Dmitry Orlov. Braden Holtby had the game of his life, with at least a dozen remarkable saves, and Anders Nilsson of Edmonton was equally as sharp until one finally got past him. Unison Business Solutions has been a #DMD partner since day one of our launch back in August of 2014; if you're in need of office equipment ranging from copiers to fax machines to postage machines, please give Unison a call at (443) 470-7300 or check out their website at: www.unisonbiz.com

Back to football, now: Our Ravens reporter, Bo Smolka, makes a sensible case for Matt Schaub in today's edition of "Bo's Eye View". I won't delve into it here -- I'd rather you just read it below -- but Smolka's contention that some of what Marc Trestman likes to do offensively dovetails nicely with Schaub's (diminishing) skill set. That might be true.

But Joe Flacco isn't going to be "Wally Pipp'd" by Matt Schaub. It's not happening. When the Ravens start their 2016 training camp, Schaub will be long gone and Flacco will be the guy wearing the knee brace and answering questions about how it feels to be back on the field after that November 22nd injury.

The more pressing issue, to me, centers on Flacco's contract situation. His knee injury, in proper perspective, is far less of a concern than what will most certainly be an "interesting" discussion between Ozzie Newsome and Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, this off-season. As everyone has known, literally, since the day Flacco's new $120 million contract was announced in the spring of 2013, Joe's 2016 salary cap figure of $28 million would wreck the team's roster configuration. Hence, the deal, as expected all along, was really only for three years, not six, and now needs to be re-worked in some capacity to not only give the Ravens a chunk of salary relief in 2016, but in 2017 and 2018, too.

More than one caller yesterday suggested the Flacco injury is going to limit his negotiating ability this off-season. Wrong. Completely wrong. Joe Flacco has a contract for 2016. He doesn't have to negotiate with the Ravens. He will. But he doesn't have to do it. That the Ravens backed themselves into a salary-cap-corner isn't Flacco's fault. Joe, through his agent, will simply say to Newsome and Company: "You guys signed me to this contract and that's what I'm getting. Or, expect to get." What's going to happen, though, is simple. Flacco will concede and re-work his deal and he'll actually wind up getting MORE money, in total, than he would have received if he wouldn't have re-structured his contract. Weird? Yep, sure is, but that's the crazy world of the NFL.

I also heard multiple callers on Monday suggest that Flacco should be a "real leader" and re-do his deal because "that's what Brady and Big Ben did...they took less money to help the team." No, my friends, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger didn't take "less money". They simply took less money NOW in order to make more money LATER. True, they re-worked their contracts to give the Patriots and Steelers some much-needed salary cap relief, but they didn't lose $20 million in the process. They simply changed the structure of the contract and, in fact, wound up getting more money in exchange for doing so.

And that's what Flacco will do. The club will try and get his 2016 and 2017 salary cap figure down to something more manageable -- perhaps in the $18-$20 million range -- and he'll perhaps get a 4th year added on with some sort of bonus attached to the 3rd and 4th seasons that will net him more money in the long run than his previous three year deal would have earned him.

What ARE the options available to the Ravens? Well, they could always release Flacco this off-season if he objects to re-working his deal, but that would be a terrible move by the club for a variety of reasons and would ultimately be challenged right away by the NFLPA since the team would be cutting a player who finished the season on the injured reserve list. It would also be a terrible move because some other team would scoop Flacco up more quickly than you can say, "And that pass hits Marlon Brown in the hands and falls incomplete..." Threatening him with hints of a release -- even when done so in the most professional manner possible -- if he doesn't play along and re-do his deal isn't the way to get the situation ironed out successfully for both parties. No, the way to handle this situation with Flacco is by treating him NICELY, not fighting and fussing with him. He's a strong-willed guy with curiously overwhelming convictions about his ability and ranking within the league's quarterback world. Telling Joe Flacco he's going to have to re-work his contract is delicate enough. Playing a game of "who blinks first?" would only anger him...and rightfully so, I say.

And no matter what happens in these last six games, Flacco will be the team's quarterback next summer when training camp begins in Owings Mills. Matt Schaub, in my opinion, will quickly be figured out by the defensive coordinators who remain on the other end of the Ravens' schedule. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Schaub perform decently this Monday night against the Browns. He could even be part of a winning effort in Cleveland. They're the Browns, after all. Flacco could wear a brace on Monday night and probably throw just enough good passes to lead the Ravens to a win. But thereafter, don't expect much from Schaub. He was -- putting it mildly -- awful in training camp last August and just doesn't have the arm strength to throw the football 35-40 times in a game. As Bo accurately noted in his piece below, Schaub might be able to "dink and dunk" his way down the field and in some games, that formula could work, but rest assured this is a Ravens team now looking at a range of three, four or, at the very best, five wins.

And finally, one caller on Monday, "Frank", I believe, suggested the Ravens try and trade Flacco somewhere this off-season and get in return "a bunch of draft picks" because "there's no way he can come back and be the same guy he was before the injury."

"Yep," I said to myself while driving on 695, "I remember that guy who used to play for New England who was really good and blew out his knee back in 2008. Damn, what WAS that guy's name? It's right on the tip of my tongue. He was a good quarterback who tore his ACL and MCL...gosh, what was that dude's name?"

Right around the Dulaney Valley Road exit, I remembered: That guy's name was Tom Brady.

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please help us help the helping up mission

That was just too good to pass up, sorry.

Please help us help the Helping Up Mission.

Six years ago at my former place of employment, my former radio co-host, Glenn Clark, asked me a question on the air one morning about "doing something in the community" for the holiday season. I confessed that one of my (admittedly, now) crazy ideas was to get a truckload of winter apparel and drive through the streets of downtown Baltimore and literally dispense the clothes to the homeless who were sleeping on sidewalks and such. From that idea came a relationship with the great people at Helping Up Mission, and in each of the last five years, Clark and I have teamed up to oversee a winter apparel-drive that results in a day of giving at the Mission downtown.

Our first year, 2010, saw us take 450 coats, sweatshirts, gloves, hats, etc. to their facility on East Baltimore Street. We thought that was just about the greatest thing ever, as we watched the men who are living there go through the room and pick out an item for their personal use. Last year, on our fifth occasion of delivering winter apparel, we walked in there with FOUR truckloads of clothes and over 4,000 items in total.

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One of Baltimore's best kept secrets is the Helping Up Mission, where men who are trying to rebound find the support they need from both within the walls and the community as a whole.

So, we're back again, asking for your help this winter season. Clark is now doing a daily two-hour show at www.glennclarkradio.com, so you can still catch his act Monday through Friday, and he's back with me again to help coordinate this winter apparel round-up over the next three weeks. The week of December 14, we'll head down to Helping Up Mission and drop off the apparel, where the men will not only get something for themselves, but hopefully there's enough to go around that they can each grab something for a loved one, family member, friend, etc. It's tough enough to be away from home during the Holiday season, but even more difficult when you don't have the means to give someone a gift.

We're kicking off the winter apparel drive next Monday, November 30 at Glory Days Grill on Joppa Road in Towson. Glenn and I will both be there from 5:30 pm to 8 pm, collecting coats, hats, sweatshirts, gloves, socks, etc. Whatever you have, we'll take. Anything from gently used to something you no longer fit in or wear, we'll gladly take it and distribute it to the men of Helping Up Mission. And here's the cool thing. Glory Days will give anyone who donates five or more items a free appetizer (up to $8.99 value) in exchange for your goodwill. And I'll go one better. The first 25 people to come out next Monday night with five or more items will get their first beer compliments of Glenn and I. How do you beat that? Bring out five items, get a free appetizer from Glory Days, a free beer (or soft drink if that's your preference) from the two of us -- and know that you're helping the guys at Helping Up Mission.

When: Monday, November 30, 2015

Where: Glory Days Grill, 1220 E. Joppa Road, Towson, MD 21286

Time: 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Bring: Any winter apparel items you can (clean them first, please).

Oh, and I forgot to mention the Ravens are playing the Browns at 8:30 pm on ESPN if you have the stomach to watch it. I do. I'll stick around with you and watch the game until Jon Gruden says for the first time, "Boy, these Ravens sure do miss Joe Flacco, don't they Mike?"

Please come out next Monday night as we kick-off our winter apparel drive. We need the help. And so do the guys at Helping Up Mission.


our army-navy trip is sold out, thanks to summit financial

We're happy to announce a new partnership with Summit Financial, based in Hunt Valley, who yesterday signed on as the presenting sponsor of our Army-Navy bus trip on December 12 and purchased the final four seats on the bus, too. That means we're officially "sold out" for the trip next month, where we'll be seeing one of the best live events you'll find anywhere in sports. Anywhere.

And we're making a great day of it, as well, with a full-fledged holiday-football party on tap from the time we leave Baltimore until the moment we get back home after the game. On the right to Philly, we'll be enjoying lunch from Chick fil-A and pre-game beverages from our friends at Harpoon Beer. Once at the stadium, we'll tailgate like champions with subs and snacks from Palmisano's of Baldwin and more refreshments. As "Dave" noted in his e-mail to me last week when he purchased two seats on the bus: "That Palmisano's sandwich is worth the trip alone!". And he's right.

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Thanks to our friends at Summit Financial for their partnership with this year's Army-Navy game!

Summit Financial is an independent planning and investment firm providing innovative, conflict-free strategies for individuals and business owners. They like to say they are Independent “Main Street” advisors–not Wall Street. Summit offers comprehensive financial, investment and estate planning services, including access to life, health, disability and long-term care insurances. Summit has access to resources and experience of the country’s largest independent research organization through LPL Financial.

The Summit Financial team can be reached via the web -- www.sumfi.com -- or by phone 410-584-9600. You'll be hearing and seeing more about Summit Financial here in the coming months, so if your 2016 plans call for a review of your personal financial or insurance picture, please give them a chance to show you how they can help.

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bo's eye view

BO SMOLKA is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet. Bo's insights and analyses are presented by Advanced Heating & Cooling, which offers a variety of energy saving, high-efficiency equipment for heating, air conditioning, and geothermal systems.


If you had asked Ravens fans in July which player the Ravens could least afford to lose, almost all would pick Joe Flacco. If asked to name someone other than Flacco, the next three choices would probably be -- in some order -- Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith Sr. and Justin Forsett.

And now the Ravens have lost all four. Every team has injuries, but to lose the top four players, all to season-ending injuries, is an almost inconceivable run of carnage. The Ravens have already shown how they will move on from Suggs and Smith -- with middling results. And the Ravens got a sneak peek of life after Forsett -- and Buck Allen showed some promise. The rookie looked decent running the ball and looked even better when catching a pass in space.

But now the Ravens must soldier on without Flacco, something they have not done since, well, since Flacco put on an NFL uniform for the first time in 2008. How in the name of Matt Schaub can they possibly do it? Many people are ready to put the Ravens up on the top line of the NFL draft order right now, convinced they will not win again. That might be true, and they will probably go into every game from now on as an underdog, beginning next Monday night in Cleveland.

Can they win again? Actually, I think they can. And here's how:

*Keep it simple

The Ravens playbook will be thinner under Schaub. Without Flacco's cannon arm back in the pocket, the Ravens probably won't take as many deep shots, but maybe that's just as well. With this group of receivers, that's been a losing proposition. The Ravens continue to send Kamar Aiken on deep fly routes even though he's been well-covered every time. Blowing by defenders just isn't part of his skill set. Where Marc Trestman's offense has been most effective this season has been with intermediate-range passes -- rollouts, waggles and misdirection throws. Those are the skills these Ravens receivers have, and those are the passes Schaub can make.

Granted, Schaub needs to be better than he was in training camp practices, when his velocity and predictability led linebackers and cornerbacks to easily jump routes. Terrell Suggs even openly mocked him one day. If Schaub is up to those tricks again, he is once again a pick-six waiting to happen. Remember, in 2013 he set a dubious NFL record with a pick-six in four straight games. I might be in the minority here, but with a simplified offense, and manageable throws, I think Schaub can move the Ravens. Of course, he is saddled with the same group of subpar receivers that has hamstrung Flacco this season. And let's be honest: Flacco has not set the world on fire this year; both his interceptions on Sunday were badly off target.

*Get turnovers

The Ravens defense has been improved the past few weeks. Granted, playing against Case Keenum will do that to any defense. But the Ravens tied a team record with four fumble recoveries on Sunday -- after recording exactly one through the first nine games. Brandon Williams continues to play at a Pro Bowl level, and if Courtney Upshsaw and C.J. Mosley can deliver another game like they did this past week, they will make life miserable for Johnny Football next Monday. Nothing will help the Ravens offense like good defense and a short field, and that probably has never been more true than now.

*Score on special teams

For starters, Justin Tucker needs to hit those field goals. Yes, they were from 51, but still, those are kicks Tucker usually makes. The Ravens did come up with one big special teams play on Sunday, recovering a fumble after Dunbar's Tavon Austin badly misplayed a punt return. The Ravens could use a big return from Raheem Mostert or Kaelin Clay to give the offense a short field. A blocked punt wouldn't hurt.

If you can see an underlying theme here, it's that Schaub probably needs some help to succeed with the Ravens. They don't want him getting into any 50-pass shootout with anyone. Common sense would say in the Ravens current situation, they should put the game in the hands of the running game. But then again, the Ravens are already down to their No. 3 running back after the season-ending broken arm suffered by Justin Forsett Sunday. Lorenzo Taliaferro (remember him?) was already out for the year.

Still, if Schaub doesn't self-destruct, and if the defense and special teams can be opportunistic, the Ravens have a chance to win some more games. Granted, those are all big ifs, the biggest one being Schaub. And if he does return to his pick-six ways, well, expect him to be holding a clipboard again for Jason Campbell, Keith Wenning or whomever else the Ravens bring in, before too long. And yes, in that case you can also look for the Ravens name right at the top of the draft board.

Monday
November 23
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 23

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savor that win, it might be the last one you see this season

And we thought the Ravens were a bad team.

Imagine what they must be thinking this morning in St. Louis, where the Rams now sit at 4-6 after somehow losing in Baltimore on Sunday to a team that had four good players on offense. And two of them suffered season-ending injuries during the game. And the Rams still couldn't win.

Yes, it's true. In case you spent Sunday raking leaves or getting in your final 18 holes of the year (and based on the crowd, a lot of you chose those options) the Ravens won a game yesterday. Well, OK, they didn't win the game as much as the Rams packaged it up like a Christmas gift and presented it to them, but as I always say: A win's a win.

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This was a familiar pose for Matt Schaub during the waning days of his tenure in Houston. Let's hope we don't see this much over these last six games in Baltimore. But...

That said, because this is the 2015 Ravens and nothing, it seems, is normal, the Ravens won the game but lost a lot more on Sunday when Joe Flacco suffered a torn ACL on the team's final drive of the 16-13 win over the Rams. In a distinctly odd sort of way, the injury to Flacco could wind up being a blessing...except to the guy who has to get his leg cut open, that is. His projected absence for the remaining six games officially closes the books on the 2015 campaign. Not that the Ravens were going to put together some miraculous final month run to squeeze into the post-season at 8-8, because they weren't, but now, with Matt Schaub at the helm, the Ravens are going to look a lot more like the Rams did yesterday with Case Keenum running things. And that means you'll be watching a bunch of losing between now and January 3rd when the campaign ends with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green combining for 4 TD's in a 34-13 Bengals rout.

But, you ask, how is it a blessing? Because the remaining six games will be played without expectations, that's how. It will seem odd, I know, but you'll wake up every Sunday (or Monday, for example, next week) and not be fretting about how the Ravens might do later that day. Your fingernails will certainly look better for that upcoming holiday picture. And you won't be a raving lunatic (no pun intended -- well, actually...) at the games either, that is if you decide to go in the first place. Now, if you attend a home game, you'll just be going to go. It WILL seem strange, I'm sure, but that's the way it's going to be over the final three home games of the campaign.

It's amazing how the Ravens can remind you of the Baltimore weather all in one 60 minute football game. Those of you born and raised here know precisely what I'm talking about. In one four-hour span of a summer day, you can get Phoenix (98 degrees), Wichita (late afternoon thunderstorms that you swear are marking the beginning stages of the end of civilization) and Cape Cod (glorious and 84 degrees with a soft breeze to accompany the sunset). That sums up the Ravens on Sunday. In the first half, I remarked to a friend they looked like they might be quitting, what with the lackluster play and the dumb, senseless penalties. In the second half, I said Flacco appeared as if he was in "mail-in-mode" -- and the receivers were conspiring to make him look bad with their alligator-arms efforts. And in the final five minutes, I was lauding their resiliency and determination, for despite the fact they were 2-7 and looking more and more like one of the worst teams in the league, you could tell winning mattered at that point. They didn't quit. Sure, the Rams helped them not quit by giving the game away, but the Ravens didn't throw in the towel.

Flacco faces an interesting scenario that we'll delve into more this week, but his knee injury comes at a time when he and the Ravens were (and still are) going to need to sit down and re-work his contract in order to help the club's problematic salary cap situation in 2016 and beyond. Here's the short version of the whole thing: Joe Flacco isn't taking a pay cut next year. Scar-on-his-knee and all, the quarterback won't be playing for less money in 2016 than he would have been had yesterday's events not taken place. We'll talk a lot more about it this week, I'm sure, but Joe Flacco will be the team's quarterback next season and he'll get his $20 million or so for doing it. Flacco haters can protest that theory all they want, but all they're doing is wasting time.

Oh, and I saw somewhere last night where folks have started wondering if Flacco will be healthy enough to play at the beginning of next season? Answer: Yes. Perhaps no other significant sports injury has been perfected from a treatment standpoint like the ACL has over the last 15 years. It's now a 6-8 month injury, tops, and you can bet when the Ravens kick off in early September next year, Number 5 will be behind center.

I'm not sure the team will be a whole lot better in 2016, but Joe's knee will be just fine.

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harbaugh has some tough calls to make

Everything changes now with the injuries to Flacco and Forsett, because the team can go 0-6 from here on in to finish at 3-13 and every Ravens coach can look at John Harbaugh and said, "C'mon Harbs, you know what I had to work with this season."

And there's definitely a sliver of truth to that. Dean Pees lost his best player in the second game of the season and couldn't keep four defensive backs healthy from week to week. One of the guys the front office handed him (Arrington) was terrible from jump street and the other (Lewis) wasn't much better, either. Marc Trestman had more talent on his side of the ball, but it always takes offense longer to gel and even then, he was dealing with injuries, too. Oh, and the front office gave him no help at wide receiver, that is unless you count a first-round draft pick who practiced one afternoon in late July and then never stepped foot on the field again.

That's how Pees and Trestman will position themselves to Harbaugh at season's end.

I'm not sure the Head Coach will buy it. Nor should he. Even equipped with injury-ravaged units, those two haven't been overly impressive this season. That's my amateur opinion, anyway. As I've mentioned several times in the last six weeks when the "fire Trestman" cries have started, the offensive coordinator's tenure here is directly tied into what the quarterback thinks of him. If Flacco likes what Trestman brings to the meetings every week and likes the play calls and the overall tenor of the offense, Trestman will stay. It's that simple, really. The Ravens wouldn't -- and won't -- fire the offensive coordinator without Joe's soft-blessing.

Dean Pees, on the other hand, probably doesn't have much room for internal support. Despite an improvement statistically over the last two weeks, it hasn't been a particularly sound year defensively for the Ravens. Yes, a significant part of that reduction-in-performance can be linked to the players Ozzie Newsome handed Pees back in July, but he's the chef. He's supposed to make a 5-star meal out of the ingredients they gave him. And he didn't.

Harbaugh has always been super-loyal to his staffers, and there's really nothing at all wrong with that as long as they're producing results. Folks picked on Cam Cameron more than people are jabbing at Donald Trump these days, but Cameron inherited a rookie quarterback in 2008 and promptly advanced to two AFC title games with him in just four seasons. I'm not supporting Cam or re-visiting his time here. I'm simply saying Harbaugh's decision to stick with his people consistently has been a benchmark of his coaching tenure here and if you look only at results, those decisions have -- for the most part -- worked out for him.

I'm not sure John will have that luxury after this season. 3-13, 4-12, 5-11 -- whatever the record ends up being, Steve Bisciotti will certainly demand not only answers, but a blueprint for going forward into 2016 and beyond. I'm as certain as I can be that the owner will not taking "standing pat" as part of that blueprint. And Harbaugh shouldn't, either.

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hats off to towson's rob ambrose

In case you missed it over the weekend, Towson University won their season-ending game at home over Rhode Island, 38-21, to finish 7-4 on the campaign and 5-3 in the CAA. Saturday's victory was especially critical for the Tigers as it kept their faint FCS playoff hopes alive, although those were officially doused late yesterday afternoon when the playoff-selection committee went with New Hampshire (7-4, 5-3) over Towson, leaving Rob Ambrose's team home next weekend.

But something else happened on Saturday that was far more important than Towson beating Rhode Island in front of a sparse gathering of folks at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Ambrose suspended 11 players for that finale, including his starting and back-up quarterback, after a whole boatload of his kids were involved in a downtown Towson bar fight on Thursday night. One of Ambrose's hard-and-fast rules is "do NOT get in a fight in a bar." It's one thing to be in there on a Thursday night having a beer (which he doesn't like either, but they're college kids and they're going to bars), it's another to have too many beers and get into a fight. This is 2015. Bar fights were a thing of the '80's. People don't fight today, people call each other names on Twitter.

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The finale of the 2015 season will always be remembered as the day Rob Ambrose stuck to his guns -- and his team came through despite the adversity.

Ambrose stuck to his guns, though, and suspended all 11 who were involved, including Connor Frazier, his starting quarterback, who was set to play his final game as a senior on Saturday. That was an especially tough call for the coach, as Frazier likely reminds Ambrose of himself when he was the hot-guy-on-campus in the early 1990's flinging the ball and chasing girls. And having an occasional beverage or two on a Thursday night on Pennsylvania Avenue in Towson. Frazier, "the golden child" as one longtime Towson sports follower commented to me on Saturday, isn't a great quarterback by any means, but he was solid enough in 2015 to put the Tigers into position to claim a playoff spot on Saturday with a win over Rhode Island.

Ambrose turned the team over to quarterback Heath Dahlgren, who made his collegiate debut, albeit against a Rams team that was 1-6 in conference play heading into Saturday's finale. One thing for certain: If Dahlgren couldn't earn a win for the Tigers, their season was over. A win might have been enough for a post-season game, but a loss was the end of the road. And Ambrose, knowing that, sent his locker room the ultimate message late last week when he told the players of the suspensions and handed the keys to the offense to Dalhgren, who performed decently on Saturday in the 38-21 win.

There's a reason why Rob Ambrose has been successful at Towson over the last seven years. He puts no one or nothing above the program itself. A message his kids learned on Saturday afternoon.


golden state ties nba mark with 15-0 start

Only 67 more wins to go and the Golden State Warriors will finish with an unheard of record of 82-0 in the 2015-2016 season.

I just wanted to be the first guy to put that on the table, that's all.

Yes, they'll lose a game or three this season, but thus far, the Warriors are unblemished and showing no signs of let-up either, as they improved to 15-0 last night with a 118-105 win at Denver. And it wasn't the "Steph Curry show" on Sunday evening, as he only contributed 19 points in the victory. Klay Thompson chipped in with 21 and Harrison Barnes added 17 more to give Golden State the win, which ties them with the '93-94 Houston Rockets and 1948-49 Washington Capitols for the best start in NBA history.

The record can fall on Tuesday night in Oakland when the Warriors host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the old days, this would have been a night for the ages, with Curry, the league's new poster boy, going up against Bryant, the guy who ran the league for a while a decade or so ago, but this isn't your father's edition of the Los Angeles Lakers. They're easy pickin's these days, although you can bet Tuedsay night won't be a walk in the park for the Warriors as they try to make history.

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put your money
where your mouth is

OK, so let's get to the good stuff first. I almost nailed the Ravens final score right on the nose. I had it 17-13 Ravens and it turned out 16-13. That's the end of the positive vibes for me, though. I was done in by a lot of "gut feelings" on Sunday, like the Chargers manning-up at home, the Redskins hanging tough in Carolina and the Dolphins showing the Cowboys that it's not ALL about Tony Romo (which, evidently, it is).

Each week here at #DMD Game Day, I give you five NFL selections against the spread, my "best bet" of the bunch, and my official Ravens score prediction as well. This all, of course, is for "entertainment purposes only," although with the NFL officially in bed with both of the major fantasy sports companies in the country, the league is actually far more involved in gambling than any of us are, that's for sure.

Here's how I see yesterday's five games:

JETS (-3) AT TEXANS: The logical thought here is "letdown game" for the Texans after their stunning Monday night win over Cincinnati, and I think I'd subscribe to that thought if this game wasn't in Houston. I'm not sure what to make of the Jets, either. This one, today, should tell us if they're halfway-real or just one of those teams that wins a few games early on and then peters out in the second half of the season. I like the Texans and I'll take those three points, too, but I think Houston wins outright, 27-23

RESULT: Well, I got off to a good start, at least. Houston improved to 5-5 with a win over the Jets that I saw coming a mile away. 1-0 thus far!


COWBOYS (-2) AT DOLPHINS: I guess Tony Romo makes that much of a difference in the eyes of the boys in Vegas. Without him this week, Dallas would have been a five-point underdog. With him, they're a two-point favorite. Like the Jets, I'm not sure what to make of the Dolphins, although I did buy stock in them last Sunday at Philly and that paid off for me. I like Miami today, too, so let's go with the home team as the Dolphins win, 23-20.

RESULT: Tony's back and so, too, are the Cowboys, although it would appear it's too little, too late, at this point. Miami is one of the strangest teams in the league. Good one week, bad the next. This loss dropped me to 1-1.


PACKERS AT VIKINGS (-1): I can't remember the last time my confidence in the Packers was this rattled, but it is, now, as Green Bay suddenly can't win a game and lost last week -- at home -- to the awful Lions. And Minnesota is playing lights out, particularly at home, although today's weather (snowy, 15 degrees) might turn this one into a defensive battle. I'm taking the Vikings and giving Green Bay one point in a game Minnesota wins, 24-19.

RESULT: This one was a shocker, to me anyway. I'm a huge believer in Aaron Rodgers, but I didn't see this one coming, what with Minnesota's 4-0 home record and Green Bay's recent struggles on offense. The Pack wins 30-13 and I fall to 1-2.


REDSKINS AT PANTHERS (-7.5): This is the sneaky game of the day because, A) Carolina is bound to stumble, and, B) the Redskins are a completely different team from week to week. But Washington's 4-5 record makes this game critical for them, and even though they're 0-4 on the road this season, they've been representative in a few of those losses. No, I'm not taking the Redskins in an upset, but I will take Washington to cover in this one, as the Panthers squeak out a late 27-22 win.

RESULT: Hey, I rolled the dice here and came up a loser. It happens. I didn't think the Redskins would win this game, but I thought it would be a dogfight and they'd cover. Looks like Washington needed more dogs. Or tougher dogs. I'm now 1-3 for the day.


CHIEFS (-3) AT CHARGERS: I can't believe I'm going to rest my hopes on the Chargers, here, who have lost home games this year to Michael Vick (Steelers), Derek Carr (Raiders) and Jay Cutler (Bears). And yet, they came within a whisker of beating the Ravens a few weeks ago in Baltimore. This is a supreme let-down-game for the Chiefs, who pounded Denver IN Denver last Sunday for one of the biggest upsets of the season to date. It won't happen this Sunday. Take the Chargers and the three points to cover as they come out on top today at home, 34-24.

RESULT: I stink at picking games. I thought San Diego would prove just how crazy the NFL is (and we know it is, despite this result) by beating a KC team that has been coming on strong the last few weeks while the Chargers have been meandering in the direction of next spring's #1 draft pick. Instead, the Chiefs pasted them 33-3 to finish me off at 1-4 for my Sunday selections.


BEST BET OF THE DAY: I'm going with the Chargers (+3) as my "Best Bet Of The Day". Much like the Ravens, at 2-7, I don't think the Chargers are a BAD football team. They have a dynamic quarterback with a decent array of offensive weapons. Their defense isn't very good, but Kansas City isn't bringing the 1980's 49'ers offense to San Diego today.

RESULT: Loser. Uggghhh. I hate losing my "Best Bet".

RECORD TO DATE: 24-30-1

LAST WEEK'S RECORD: 1-4

BEST BET OF THE DAY (SEASON): 5-5-1

Sunday
November 22
#DMD GAME DAY
presented by
Volume 16
Issue 22
Baltimore Ravens vs. St. Louis

1:00 PM EDT

M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore, MD

I had to laugh yesterday when a friend of mine said about the Indiana-Maryland game at College Park, "If only tomorrow's game between the Ravens and Rams would have this much action."

That's how far the Ravens have sunk in 2015.

Even a blow-out loss -- at home, no less -- by the Terps is somehow framed in a more positive outlook than our beloved Ravens, who come into this afternoon's contest at 2-7 and looking to right the ship after a loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday.

Have no fear, football fans. I won't make you wait until "How Drew sees the game" below to let you in on today's outcome...the Ravens are winning this game with St. Louis. Why? How? I don't know. They just are. They're winning because I'm still convinced they're better than a 2-7 football team. As I've said all season, I'm not naive enough to think we've somehow been hoodwinked out of a 7-2 record. The Ravens AREN'T a good team. But they're not horrible, either. And they'll bounce back today and pull off a win against the Rams to help prove my point. They're just-mediocre-enough to lose to the Jaguars one Sunday and then beat the Rams the following Sunday.

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We haven't seen this smile from Joe Flacco much this season, but if you look closely today, you will.

I know a lot of folks are worried about the Todd Gurley match-up with the Baltimore run defense, but if there's any one area of the defensive side of the ball that has the POTENTIAL to step up big, it's the front seven against the run. I think Gurley will get his yards, mind you. I can't see the Ravens shutting him down completely. But in order for St. Louis to win this afternoon, they'll need to introduce a healthy mix of the pass and run, and I don't think they have that in them. We'd all agree our receiving corps is pretty lousy, right? Well, St. Louis is right there with us on the lousy-scale. And we have a real quarterback in Baltimore and they don't have one today in St. Louis. That's going to be the difference in today's game.

Blake Bortles beat us last Sunday, yes, but he's a growing 2nd year player in the league. Case Keenum is a mop. I know, I know...he beat us last year. That was last year. The Orioles made the ALCS last year, too. This year they stunk. Last year is last year. Case Keenum isn't beating the Ravens today.

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today's main storylines:
ravens vs. rams

*Can the Ravens look the part in the first half? -- In the old days (ha ha, it sure looks weird doesn't it?), a game like this would have been a laugher mainly because Baltimore would have come out with guns a blazin', scored 17 early points, and cruised to a 33-13 win. Those days -- at least for this season -- are long gone, mainly because the offense AND defense both seem to come out of the locker room sputtering. In their nine games to date, how many points do you think the Ravens have scored in the first half? Take a guess. If you said "63", you're very astute. They've averaged exactly SEVEN points in the first half of their nine games to date. Tough to win games like that, football fans. The defense has sagged in the opening 30 minutes as well, but it's the Baltimore offense that has generally failed to ignite week-in-and-week out in the first half.

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Can the Ravens actually establish the run today against a very good Rams front seven?

*Someone, anyone, run the ball well for the Ravens, please -- OK, so in order for the Ravens to run the ball efficiently, Marc Trestman has to actually "call" a run play or two, but once that happens the offense needs to gain some yards, particularly on first down. If you run on first down and pick up two or three yards, second done immediately calls for a passing play and then the play-call-carousel begins. Pick up a chunk on second down and maybe you can it on third down. If the second down throw is incomplete, you're throwing again on third down. I don't really know why the Ravens picked up former Towson University running back Terrance West a couple of weeks ago, and I don't expect him to play today, but if he is suited up, let's try a three-headed attack today with Forsett, Allen and West and see what gets us. The Rams have a strong front-seven and they are stout against the run, yes, but the Ravens have to be able to establish some sort of running game today. Are you reading this Mr. Trestman?

*Blitz, blitz, blitz -- On obvious passing downs, Dean Pees should have a couple of plays in the book where the entire team just blitzes. OK, maybe not, but you get my point. This is a day where making Case Keenum uncomfortable is paramount. One thing about that kid, he has a big arm. And if has time, he can air out some deep throws. I'm not sure the Rams have the kind of weapons to support Keenum's gun, but our secondary isn't exactly a replica of Deion Sanders and Champ Bailey in their prime. Much like the Ravens did to Peyton Manning back in week one, every third and throwing situation should feature one of the linebackers blitzing. Predictable? Sure, maybe. But getting pressure on Keenum is paramount and the best way for this Ravens defense to do that is by trying to create an odd-number situation and blitz regularly.

*No dumb penalties -- I don't think I've changed this at all in the last four weeks, except to replace Cardinals with Chargers, Chargers with Jaguars and, now, Jaguars with Rams. This nugget stays up again this week because the Ravens are a team prone to the bad penalty at the worst time. In order to win today, Baltimore needs to give St. Louis as little breathing room as possible and one way to do that is by not giving away "free yards". Memo to the Ravens: Don't pick up DUMB penalties. Thank you.


Here’s how Drew sees today’s game:

Unlike last Sunday when I was afraid of the Jaguars game (and called a Jacksonville win here at #DMD), I'm not that concerned about today's encounter with the Rams. Mainly, I just think it's market-correction time for the Ravens. I've often said this about sports: "You're not as good as you think you are when you're winning and you're not as bad as you look when you're losing." The Ravens aren't going to lose to the Jaguars and Rams, at home, on back to back weekends. They're just not. So, here's how it goes today:

The Ravens take a 7-0 first quarter lead on a Flacco bootleg run from two yards out on 4th and goal, a series of gutsy calls Coach John Harbaugh will make this afternoon. The Rams counter with a TD of their own and then Baltimore re-takes the lead late in the second quarter on a Justin Forsett nine-yard TD scamper. It stays that way until the fourth quarter when the Rams kick a field goal to make it 14-10, and then St. Louis narrows the gap to 14-13 with another field goal. Justin Tucker's 41 yarder with three minutes to go give the Ravens a 17-13 advantage and then it's "hold on to your seats" time as the Ravens defense tries to seal the deal.

This week, there's no miracle. No missed calls from the officials. No late-game defensive collapse. The Ravens get a late interception from Daryl Smith and win their third game of the year, 17-13.


percentage points

Here's a look at a handful of key parts and players in today's game vs. St. Louis and some percentage-of-success numbers to correlate with all of it.

38% - If you said to me, "Drew, what are the chances the Rams win today?"

41% - Chances of the Rams holding Flacco to under 300 yards passing?

24% - The chances Case Keenum throws for over 300 yards?

52% - What are the chances the Ravens rush for over 100 yards?

79% - The chances any Ravens WR catches a TD pass?

2% - Chances Justin Tucker misses an extra point today?

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put your money
where your mouth is

Each week here at #DMD Game Day, I give you five NFL selections against the spread, my "best bet" of the bunch, and my official Ravens score prediction as well. This all, of course, is for "entertainment purposes only," although with the NFL officially in bed with both of the major fantasy sports companies in the country, the league is actually far more involved in gambling than any of us are, that's for sure.

I'm having an awfully good month of November and have rebounded from a disatrous 8-17 start to the season to get to 23-26-1 through the tenth week. The .500 mark is in sight!.

Here's how I see today's five games:

JETS (-3) AT TEXANS: The logical thought here is "letdown game" for the Texans after their stunning Monday night win over Cincinnati, and I think I'd subscribe to that thought if this game wasn't in Houston. I'm not sure what to make of the Jets, either. This one, today, should tell us if they're halfway-real or just one of those teams that wins a few games early on and then peters out in the second half of the season. I like the Texans and I'll take those three points, too, but I think Houston wins outright, 27-23


COWBOYS (-2) AT DOLPHINS: I guess Tony Romo makes that much of a difference in the eyes of the boys in Vegas. Without him this week, Dallas would have been a five-point underdog. With him, they're a two-point favorite. Like the Jets, I'm not sure what to make of the Dolphins, although I did buy stock in them last Sunday at Philly and that paid off for me. I like Miami today, too, so let's go with the home team as the Dolphins win, 23-20.


PACKERS AT VIKINGS (-1): I can't remember the last time my confidence in the Packers was this rattled, but it is, now, as Green Bay suddenly can't win a game and lost last week -- at home -- to the awful Lions. And Minnesota is playing lights out, particularly at home, although today's weather (snowy, 15 degrees) might turn this one into a defensive battle. I'm taking the Vikings and giving Green Bay one point in a game Minnesota wins, 24-19.


REDSKINS AT PANTHERS (-7.5): This is the sneaky game of the day because, A) Carolina is bound to stumble, and, B) the Redskins are a completely different team from week to week. But Washington's 4-5 record makes this game critical for them, and even though they're 0-4 on the road this season, they've been representative in a few of those losses. No, I'm not taking the Redskins in an upset, but I will take Washington to cover in this one, as the Panthers squeak out a late 27-22 win.


CHIEFS (-3) AT CHARGERS: I can't believe I'm going to rest my hopes on the Chargers, here, who have lost home games this year to Michael Vick (Steelers), Derek Carr (Raiders) and Jay Cutler (Bears). And yet, they came within a whisker of beating the Ravens a few weeks ago in Baltimore. This is a supreme let-down-game for the Chiefs, who pounded Denver IN Denver last Sunday for one of the biggest upsets of the season to date. It won't happen this Sunday. Take the Chargers and the three points to cover as they come out on top today at home, 34-24.


BEST BET OF THE DAY: I'm going with the Chargers (+3) as my "Best Bet Of The Day". Much like the Ravens, at 2-7, I don't think the Chargers are a BAD football team. They have a dynamic quarterback with a decent array of offensive weapons. Their defense isn't very good, but Kansas City isn't bringing the 1980's 49'ers offense to San Diego today.

RECORD TO DATE: 23-26-1

LAST WEEK'S RECORD: 2-3

BEST BET OF THE DAY (SEASON): 5-4-1

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we're down to our last three seats!! join our #dmd bus trip to the army/navy game on dec. 12!

Our #DMD bus to Philadelphia on December 12 for the Army-Navy game is nearly full, but there's still room for you and others to join us for one of the all-time great days in sports -- and you can witness it all for an extraordinarily reasonable price. The Super Bowl costs you about $3,000 per-ticket. You can see something far more meaningful, in my opinion, for $160, if you check out the Army-Navy game with a bunch of other #DMD football enthusiasts. It's a "bucket list" game that you should attend at least once in your life.

X
If you've never been, the Army-Navy football game is a "must attend" sports event in your life.

We now only have room for THREE more people on the trip. That's all we need to find. Three of you out there who have never been to an Army/Navy game will have the time of your life if you join us for a quick trip up I-95 to see what is truly one of our nation's best sporting events. And oh, by the way, Navy is now ranked #16 in the country after that pasting they put on Memphis last Saturday night.

Here are the details of our bus trip:

Saturday, December 12, 3:00 pm, Army vs. Navy, Philadelphia PA

Bus leaves from the Towson area at 11:30 am

Everyone receives lunch from Chick fil-A, plus water, soda and Harpoon beer.

Upon arrival, we'll tailgate with a Palmisano's sandwich, snacks and more refreshments.

Game ticket is included in the package.

We should be back in Baltimore by 8:30 pm.

Per-person cost is $160

This a MUST-SEE event for those of you who haven't ever gone (and, even if you have, it's still very much worth seeing again and again). It's truly a sports "bucket-list" item that's almost right in our backyard. Don't miss it!!

If you want to reserve seats on the bus, please e-mail me -- 18inarow@gmail.com


Saturday
November 21
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 21

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jobs on the line for ravens as season rolls on

None of these games really matter now and yet, they will each matter a little more as the schedule moves through November and into December.

It's an incredibly unfamiliar scene at Owings Mills and one the Ravens haven't encountered since John Harbaugh arrived in 2008. It's November 21 and they're done. Even when the club stumbled and bumbled through an injury riddled 2013 campaign and failed to make the post-season, they literally took the whole thing down to the final quarter in Cincinnati, where a win would have earned them a playoff spot.

Unless four or five other teams in the AFC lose all of their games between now and the end of December -- which is probably a statistical impossibility since they occasionally play one another -- this Ravens season is over, which is to say, they won't be playing playoff football in January. But how will these final seven games go? And how will those games impact what changes are made in the upcoming off-season?

While a lot of fans around town are secretly clamoring for a complete collapse that yields a 2-14 or 3-13 campaign, thus providing the Ravens with the best possible position in the 2016 NFL Draft, there's no chance -- none at all -- that anyone associated with the team feels that way. If you think for one minute that Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta, Joe Hortiz or John Harbaugh wants to finish 3-13, you're completely nuts. And the same goes for Steve Bisciotti. None of those men are interested in seeing the club bottom out in 2015.

It's rare that anything good ever comes from losing. True, you can get the 3rd pick in the draft if you finish 3-13 or the 9th pick in the draft if you finish 5-11 -- and there IS a difference, potentially, in the quality you would get based on those two positions -- but that advantage could be easily offset by the free agent who says, "I'm not going to a 3-13 team that looks like they're on a downward trend." One of the reasons -- and perhaps the biggest one -- that Steve Smith Sr. chose the Ravens in 2014 was because the franchise had a winning reputation. They were two years removed from a Super Bowl and Smith knew all-too-well he would be stepping up in class if he took a job in Baltimore.

Losing, particularly if you go off the charts and bottom out at 2-14 or 3-13, doesn't make you very attractive to anyone.

It also won't make the likes of Newsome, DeCosta, Hortiz and Harbaugh attractive to Steve Bisciotti. I'm certainly not predicting that any of those four are getting fired in January after what will likely be the worst season since 2007 and, quite possibly, the worst in team history. But you can bet for certain that Bisciotti will not take this 2015 campaign with a laugh and another round of drinks when everyone convenes at his place in south Florida sometime in January to review this season and plan for the next one. That's just not his style. Need proof that Bisciotti doesn't handle losing well? Go to Wikipedia and type in the name "Brian Billick" in the search bar.

This much is likely true: While the team's hierarchy isn't in danger, someone within the organization will have to take a Holly Holm kick to the chin if the Ravens continue to play the way they've played over the first nine weeks of the season. Every game in the NFL is winnable -- who thought Detroit would beat Green Bay last weekend? -- but a quick look at the Ravens' schedule shows only two or three games remaining where you at least give them a considerable chance of winning; tomorrow vs. St. Louis, in Cleveland next Monday night, and the December 20th home game vs. Kansas City. Sure, maybe they steal a game in Miami and maybe the Bengals rest all of their starters in the finale on January 3rd, but by and large, as we sit here today, the Ravens are AT BEST a 5-win team in 2015. And if they go 5-11 or 4-12 (or worse), it would be nearly impossible to sell "no changes" to the fan base for 2016.

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If Harbaugh is safe -- and I always contend that with Bisciotti, no one is ever completely safe, and the owner likes it that way -- that means someone directly beneath him on the coaching ladder would have to be sacrificed if Bisciotti says in January, "We need to make a change or two." That would likely be defensive coordinator Dean Pees and/or one or two coaches within his department, although it's certainly possible that Marc Trestman could be the guy who gets the dart. Most of Trestman's livelihood with the Ravens is connected to how he gets on with Joe Flacco. If Flacco likes Trestman and wants him to return, it's likely the Ravens would keep the former Bears head coach around as the offensive coordinator. But if their relationship isn't good, Trestman could be the odd man out in January.

Here's a summary: If the Ravens finish at 4-12 or thereabouts, Harbaugh will have to do one helluva sales job on Bisciotti to have his entire coaching staff return in 2016. Yes, the club's schedule was brutal in 2016. Yes, the injuries crushed them. Yes, the referees stole a game from them. But losing is losing is losing. You are what your record says you are, as the saying goes. And if the team bottoms out, someone's going to pay the price for that.

And speaking of selling, there's another piece of the puzzle that fans never consider when it comes to wins and losses. It's called, simply, "sales". It's hard enough in this market to peddle a $400,000 corporate sponsorship package when the team is winning. Selling radio and TV time is easy when the team is making the post-season year-in-and-year-out. Lots of folks in town will cough up $100,000 for some radio ads and sky box at the stadium when that investment garners them a hot product and hot ticket. But when you go 4-12, those sales efforts triple in their difficulty. Ask the guys and gals who were responsible for selling corporate sponsorships for the Orioles how it went in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and how easy it was to "sell the product" when the club was winning 70 games a season.

Want proof that Baltimore doesn't like its football team losing? Go to your Facebook page today and see how many people are selling their tickets for tomorrow's game. I just went through my timeline and I see four of my "friends" (granted, some of them I don't actually know, but "friends" is the definitive term, not the literal one) selling their seats for the Rams game. It's been that way virtually all season, but as the losses pile up and the season's importance has waned, so, too, has the interest level of the people who own the tickets. I'm not here to say they're all going to drop off like flies this off-season, but when the team loses on the field, they lose in a lot of other places, too.

So, if you think tomorrow's game against the Rams isn't important, you're crazy. The Ravens desperately need a win. For a lot of reasons. The GM needs a win. The Head Coach needs a win. The three Coordinators need a win. The Vice President of Corporate Sponsorships needs a win. And the players need a win. Their position within the roster is being evaluated as well with each passing week. Losing doesn't say much for their employment status going forward, as we'll see at season's end when guys get pink slips because they were part of a 4-12 team.

Tomorrow is a big game for the Ravens.

It might not be a big game for you. And that's understandable. Most of you have given up.

But the Ravens can't give up and won't give up. And it's a big day for them on Sunday when the Rams come to town.

They need a win in the worst way possible.

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golden state still hasn't lost

Where's the championship hangover?

It's not in Oakland, that's for sure, where the Golden State Warriors continue to make mincemeat of their early-season NBA schedule. The Warriors improved to 14-0 last night with a 106-94 win over the Chicago Bulls, which came one night after an impressive come-from-behind road win over the L.A. Clippers.

Golden State is 14-0. If they would have started 7-7, no one would be terribly surprised, as that's how it usually goes for teams who win their first title. The following season it takes a little while to get their engine purring. It's normal.

This, apparently, isn't a "normal" team they've built in Oakland. This might be -- MIGHT be -- the beginning of a mini-dynasty, where the Warriors reel off three titles in four years or something of that nature.

Last year's NBA title wasn't a shock. The Warriors had slowly been rising up the league's quality-ladder ever since Stephen Curry arrived on the scene in 2009. Their 2014-2015 championship was the culmination of his star shining brightly and a handful of guys who took to their own roles very well. Curry didn't win the NBA crown by himself last year; the Warriors had a bunch of players step up in the post-season.

And they're doing the same thing this season, only better. True, Curry's averaging a whopping 33.6 points-per-game thus far, but everyone else is doing their part again. They have three others in double figures, scoring wise, and Andre Iguodala is perhaps the league's best sixth man. They're legit. Big time legit, in fact.

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Title in hand, "breaking records" is what's left for Stephen Curry and the Warriors now.

Until they lose, records are going to fall. The Warriors need two more wins to post the best start to a season in league history, as the Houston Rockets started the '93-94 season at 15-0 en-route to their NBA title campaign. The next record they COULD chase would the biggie; the Lakers in 1971-72 won 33 straight games -- the all-time mark -- and the Miami Heat won 27 in a row a couple of years ago. Curry knocking LeBron down a peg -- albeit with a "team" record and not an invididual one -- would be a feather in the kid's cap and would also distance him from guys like Kobe and Dirk and Carmelo, none of whom ever played on a team that won 27 straight games.

But first, there's a trip to Denver tomorrow night where the Warriors will try and tie the all-time mark of 15-0 to start the season. And if they win there, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers come to town this Tuesday night where Golden State could set the record in front of the home faithful.

Oh, and the Bulls once went 72-10 in the regular season. I know it's late November and there's a long, long way to go, but don't think the Warriors aren't thinking about that with each passing victory. They are, for sure.

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we're down to our last three seats!! join our #dmd bus trip to the army/navy game on dec. 12!

Our #DMD bus to Philadelphia on December 12 for the Army-Navy game is nearly full, but there's still room for you and others to join us for one of the all-time great days in sports -- and you can witness it all for an extraordinarily reasonable price. The Super Bowl costs you about $3,000 per-ticket. You can see something far more meaningful, in my opinion, for $160, if you check out the Army-Navy game with a bunch of other #DMD football enthusiasts. It's a "bucket list" game that you should attend at least once in your life.

X
If you've never been, the Army-Navy football game is a "must attend" sports event in your life.

We now only have room for THREE more people on the trip. That's all we need to find. Three of you out there who have never been to an Army/Navy game will have the time of your life if you join us for a quick trip up I-95 to see what is truly one of our nation's best sporting events. And oh, by the way, Navy is now ranked #16 in the country after that pasting they put on Memphis last Saturday night.

Here are the details of our bus trip:

Saturday, December 12, 3:00 pm, Army vs. Navy, Philadelphia PA

Bus leaves from the Towson area at 11:30 am

Everyone receives lunch from Chick fil-A, plus water, soda and Harpoon beer.

Upon arrival, we'll tailgate with a Palmisano's sandwich, snacks and more refreshments.

Game ticket is included in the package.

We should be back in Baltimore by 8:30 pm.

Per-person cost is $160

This a MUST-SEE event for those of you who haven't ever gone (and, even if you have, it's still very much worth seeing again and again). It's truly a sports "bucket-list" item that's almost right in our backyard. Don't miss it!!

If you want to reserve seats on the bus, please e-mail me -- 18inarow@gmail.com


Friday
November 20
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 20

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

fittingly, ovechkin sets scoring mark and caps lose

It's not one of hockey's all-time historic records, but with the influx of Russian-born players over the last thirty years or so, what Alex Ovechkin accomplished last night at the Verizon Center was important. The 30-year old member of the Washington Capitals netted his 484th career goal in a 3-2 loss to Dallas, giving Ovechkin more NHL goals than any other Russian -- ever. He surpassed Sergei Federov, who needed 1,248 games to net 483 goals. Ovechkin scored his 484th in his 777th game.

But something else happened last night. And even if it's symbolic in nature and nothing more, it shouldn't be lost on anyone who follows hockey. On the night Ovechkin set the scoring mark, his team lost. Sure, it was just a regular season game in late November, far from a critical time in the season or a defeat that would rattle the team's chances at making the playoffs. But it was a loss, nonetheless.

Now in his 11th NHL campaign, there's little dispute from anyone that Ovechkin is one of hockey's most dynamic players. There are others -- a scarce few, mind you -- that you would consider choosing over him if you had a choice of anyone in the league to take for your team, but there's no doubt you'd be thinking of him right away if the league magically gave you the opportunity to snag one player from any team in the league and add them to your organization. He's a great player.

He's also never won a championship.

Or been to the Finals, even.

And while the argument can be made -- and IS made, constantly, by his defenders -- that hockey is the ultimate team sport, we all know that players with supreme talent always figure out a way to win a title at some point in their career. Former Dolphins QB Dan Marino stands out as perhaps the best player of the last 30 years to have never earned a championship ring, but Ovechkin would be on the short list of that subject if one formally existed. In golf, they use the moniker "best player to have never won a major title". Dustin Johnson is wearing that label these days and will do so until he wins one.

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All he needs now is a championship ring.

Ovechkin's historic goal last night puts his career into its proper perspective. While a lot of ardent hockey fans haven't ever embraced the Russian style of play, it's true, for certain, that Russian players have made the NHL product better as more of them have settled into the league. And with his 484th career goal on Thursday evening, Ovechkin can stand now as the best of the best. There's also a debate about his spot in the league's history and where he'll eventually "rank" once the dust settles on his career. It's unlikely he'll be able to match Wayne Gretzky's record of 894 career goals, but he could pass Brett Hull (741) for third place on the all-time list if he stays healthy and contributes for another 4-5 years. Gordie Howe's position at #2 on the list, with 801 goals, is probably safe.

But what about the ring? The Capitals have been in existence since 1974 and they've won ZERO Stanley Cup titles. They've only been to the Finals once, in 1997-98, when they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings. For all of Ovechkin's greatness, he's yet to skate on the ice of a Stanley Cup finals game, a burden he's been dealing with for several years now after the Caps fired and fell back in post-season play on numerous occasions. Last spring, they led the Rangers 3-games-to-1 in a playoff series and lost Game 7 in overtime. It's been that way forever...getting close in the post-season, showing they belong, and then losing.

So, on a night when he did something no other Russian-born player has ever done -- score 484 career goals in the NHL -- Alex Ovechkin couldn't really celebrate. He played well, scored a goal, and a lot of the post-game attention was on him. But he didn't do enough to get his team a win.

And that, unarguably, sums up his career to date in the NHL.

Can he change that this season and lead the Caps to their first-ever Stanley Cup title? History says "no", but Ovechkin would tell you differently.


it's friday and here's your #dmd podcast -- with a special guest

A new edition of "3140" is up and available for your listening enjoyment today. It's lengthy, nearly one hour in duration, and features the arrival of a special guest. Give it a listen if you get the chance.


#DMD 3140 Podcast
November 20, 2015
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bo's eye view

BO SMOLKA is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet. Bo's insights and analyses are presented by Advanced Heating & Cooling, which offers a variety of energy saving, high-efficiency equipment for heating, air conditioning, and geothermal systems.


The Ravens are back home again on Sunday, with any pretense about that dramatic 8-0, post-bye run to end the season now thoroughly dismantled after losing to Jacksonville. The only question now is do the Ravens careen off the cliff? Or do they have enough pride -- and talent --to finish one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history with a respectable run.

"We still believe we can win every game going forward. We’re not going to let that go, because we know what kind of a football team we can be, and I believe in these guys," John Harbaugh said on Monday, adding, "Nobody is going to flinch, no matter how long it takes. We thought we’d be through this by now; we’re not. OK? No matter how long it takes, we’re not going to flinch.”

The next test for the Ravens is a Rams team that, on paper is at least, is better than the last two teams that came into M&T Bank Stadium and beat the Ravens -- the Browns and the Jaguars. Yes, let that sink in ... The Ravens have lost to both the Browns and the Jaguars at home this year. Here are five keys that would keep the Ravens from losing to the Rams as well:

*Contain rookie running back Todd Gurley

Harbaugh said Gurley is "as talented a back as I’ve seen in a long time in this league as a rookie." He ranks fourth in the league in rushing (709), and didn't even play the first two weeks. He is averaging 101.3 rushing yards a game. But that plays right to the strength of the Ravens defense, which ranks 10th against the run. Brandon Williams needs to have another big game, and this is where Courtney Upshaw as an edge-setting run-stopper can really be a factor.

*Get more turnovers

Ed Reed is being inducted into the Ring of Honor this week. If only some of his ballhawk skills could be bottled and given to the current Ravens secondary. The Ravens finally recorded an interception last week -- their first in six games -- but also dropped two others, including a floater that bounced right off Kendrick Lewis' chest in the final minute that would have ended the game. The Rams are going with Case Keenum at quarterback over the ineffective Nick Foles, and although Keenum is just 2-8 as a starting quarterback in his career, one of the wins was over the Ravens last season while he was with the Texans. The Rams are at plus-4 in turnover margin, but the Ravens need to create one or two. The Ravens tried Lardarius Webb at safety a bit last week, and Harbaugh suggested that could happen again.

*Don't ignore the run (again)

For some reason, Marc Trestman has all but ignored the run in the second quarter the past two games. The Ravens ran on 11 of 12 snaps (not counting a final-play kneeldown) against San Diego, then they came out of the bye and called pass plays on 17 of 18 second-quarter snaps against Jacksonville. (One of those turned into a scramble by Flacco.) Harbaugh and Trestman both noted that the Jaguars presented a top-10 run defense and were jamming eight players in the box. Still, nothing sets up the passing game like the run, and Trestman didn't even pretend to try to run it. Not counting Flacco's scramble, the Ravens called four running plays in the entire first half against Jacksonville. Justin Forsett and the veteran offensive line should be able to do more. They need to be able to do more. "We want to do better running the football," Trestman said Thursday. "We want to take some of that edge off our passing game, and that starts with me. We’re going to work very hard to try to get that done.”

*Move the chains.

The Ravens were 8-for-14 on third down against Jacksonville, improving from 24th to 16th in third-down conversion percentage (.374). Trestman called some well-designed bootlegs and waggle patterns and consistently found open targets. The Ravens will probably be without rookie tight end Nick Boyle, who was in a walking boot the past couple of days, but tight ends Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams should be a big part of the Ravens attack, especially on third down. It won't be easy, though; the Rams rank second in the league in third-down defense.

*Don't quit

The Ravens are probably still bitter about losing to the Jaguars on a final, untimed play, and even moreso after the league came out and publicly admitted that the Jaguars game-winning field goal never should have happened. The question now is how will the Ravens respond, sitting at 2-7 and with playoff talk gone? Does this team fight, as Harbaugh has vowed it will, or does it quit? The front office will be watching. Players are competing for 2016 jobs beginning now.

Prediction: The Rams front seven could cause fits for the Ravens offense, and their running game will test the Ravens defense. Case Keenum has two career wins, one of them against the Ravens. Can he beat them again? Yes, but he won't. It's another one down to the wire. Ravens 20, Rams 17.

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"who is the most underrated Raven ever?" highlights "3 Questions"

Every Friday here at #DMD we take your questions from the week (either via the comments section or e-mail) and include three of them here -- and we call it "3 Questions". Makes sense, right?

Frank asks: Hey Drew, in your opinion who is the most underrated player the Ravens have ever had? And to put a stipulation on it, let's say that your choice can't be in the Ring of Honor (because I know you would say Stover!).

Drew says: "Ah, Frank, you know me well. It might have been Stover, actually, but I'll go ahead and give you someone who isn't in the team's ROH. I'll go with Jarret Johnson, who might, perhaps, get some consideration for the team's ROH in a couple of years. If you made me bet, though, I'd say he doesn't get in. However, JJ was a very solid player who showed up for work every week. He still holds the club record for consecutive games played (129) and at one point made 80 straight starts for the team. Johnson turned into an incredibly dependent outside linebacker who was particularly adept at setting the edge against the opposition's run scheme. The Ravens were always strong against the run during Johnson's tenure in Baltimore (2003-2011) and he was a big reason why."

Paul asks: I know you've said very little about your departure from WNST but I've always been curious if you still talk with Nestor or ever had the chance to clear the air with him?

Drew says: "No, that hasn't happened. And doesn't need to, honestly. What's there to say? I did recently communicate with his wife, Jenn, though, as she continues to battle her illness. I wished her well and we chatted briefly (on-line), which was nice. I hope she gets healthy soon."

The X Factor asks: If you had one player in ANY sport to add a team you owned, who would it be?

Drew says: "Holy cow, what a question! Really...that's a great question. If I had any player in any sport...hmmmmm. Well, simply because they play longer, I'd have to consider a baseball player or basketball player. I guess you COULD throw in a quarterback, too, since the great ones typically play for 10-12 years at least. Right now, though? I think I'd go with Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. He's still young, probably not yet even technically "in his prime" and he'll never lose that shooting touch. And he knows how to win. Excellent question, "X". And nice name, too!"

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THIS WEEKEND IN ENGLISH SOCCER
Contributed by #DMD's EPL Reporter

MATTHEW CARROLL

Following the international break last week, which saw the opening rounds of World Cup Qualifying for Russia 2018 get underway, the Barclays Premier League returns for Matchweek 13 with some teams set to test their squad depth as several big name players returned from the break with fresh injury concerns. Jamie Vardy, the league’s top goal scorer, and the likes of Rudy Gestede at Aston Villa, Anthony Martial at Manchester United, and Erik Lamela and Mousa Dembele at Tottenham all look set to miss out on this weekend’s action with various injuries suffered over the break. Be sure to tune in this weekend to catch all of the action live on NBC, the NBC family of networks or online and find out who is the next man up.

Saturday (all times Eastern)

7:45am – Manchester United @ Watford – Vicarage Road, NBC Sports Network

After an eight year absence from the Barclays Premier League, Watford have enjoyed a smooth transition back to England’s top flight following their promotion from the Championship last season, with sixteen points earned from their first twelve games good for a respectable eleventh place in the league table. They will welcome Manchester United to Vicarage Road for the early Saturday morning kickoff where the Hornets have suffered just two defeats in their last nine league outings (W4 D3) but have been struggling for goals as of late, with just three in their last six games.

United have won the last nine matches in all competitions against Watford and lost only one of their last eight league matches (W5 D2) but like Watford have struggled at times this year in the final third, going a span of 403 minutes without a goal over a five game stretch earlier this season. They have overcome their lack of offensive prowess and their overall lack of true striker options beyond Wayne Rooney with the leagues stingiest defense, allowing only eight goals over twelve matches and having now gone 555 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal.

12:30pm – Liverpool @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC

The marquee matchup of the weekend has two giants of the Barclays Premier squaring off when Liverpool takes on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. All eyes will be on the release of the team sheets an hour before kickoff as both sides are eagerly awaiting the return of key contributors following long term injury absences. City will be hoping midfield maestro David Silva and key front man Sergio Aguero are fit to feature while Liverpool will finally hope to have striker Daniel Sturridge back in the fold following another injury spell that has kept the Englishman on the sidelines for the last two months.

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The big Liverpool/City showdown could be boosted by the return of David Silva, who would greatly enhance Manchester City's chances for victory.

Liverpool have lost only one of their last six away league matches (W2 D3 L1) but City have won four and lost none of their last six league matches against Liverpool at the Etihad. The potential return of Sturridge and how manager Jurgen Klopp decides to deploy him, either as a lone front man or partnered at the top with $48 million summer signing Christian Benteke, will be key to how the rest of the season plays out for the Reds, who have scored just thirteen league goals this term which is tied for lowest tally in a Premier League campaign after twelve matches.

Sunday (all times Eastern)

11am – West Ham United @ Tottenham – White Hart Lane, NBC Sports Network

The battle for sole possession of fifth place, or maybe higher depending on the outcome of Manchester United’s trip to Watford on Saturday, in the league table will be on the line when West Ham United make the short trip across London to take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane. West Ham are enjoying their best start to a Premier League season after twelve matches (21 points) but will be without playmaker Dimitri Payet, who has been involved in 35% of the Hammers goals this year, for Sunday’s showdown with an ankle injury that will have the Frenchman on the sidelines for the next three months.

The Hammers have won four of their six league away matches this season but encounter a Spurs side that remain unbeaten since the opening weekend following their draw with bitter rivals Arsenal just before the international break, and who have lost just two of their last nineteen home matches in the league (W11 D6 L2). Matching West Ham on twenty one points, Spurs historic run has them enjoying their third-highest haul from their opening twelve matches in a campaign, after twenty eight in 2011/12 and twenty two in 2009/10, both times finishing in the final Champions League spot.


Thursday
November 19
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 19

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orioles gearing up for major announcement by december 12?

A source connected to the Orioles -- but not directly employed by the team -- says his company has been told by the club that all 2016 plans are in a holding pattern until the franchise learns if they're able to sign a prominent free agent by the December 12 "FanFest" event at the Convention Center.

That the club is holding its signature off-season event in December is of particular interest. In the past, FanFest was held in January (and on Feb. 1 in 2014), by which time the team had already established its ticket and corporate sponsorship pricing for the year. This year, though, no pricing for the team's 2016 season has been announced and both categories are expected to be tied into the team's ability to retain first baseman Chris Davis or sign free agent pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, the top two targets on the Orioles' off-season wish list.

The source says his company has been told that the team is hopeful of being able to make a free-agent announcement sometime the week of December 7, which would allow the Orioles the opportunity to announce their pricing at FanFest and capitalize not only on the 15,000 or more supporters who are expected to attend, but on the enthusiasm a free agent signing would generate in the community.

"We were told the pricing is on hold pending the signing of a significant free agent," the source says."

The Orioles would obviously be looking for the community to help foot the bill for an investment like Davis or Zimmermann, both of whom are expected to be paid over $20 million per-season. In that scenario, it makes perfect sense for the team to not publicize their 2016 pricing structure until they know if they have success in landing either of those two players. If the club raises prices now -- in anticipation of signing one of the two -- and publicizes them, what would the reaction be if the team isn't able to bring Davis or Zimmermann on board? On the other end, if the club made the decision to keep prices the same, and publicizes them now, they'd be in no position to have the season ticket base help defray the cost(s), if, in fact, one of those two took an offer from the Orioles.

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Would you pay more for your Orioles tickets in 2016 if the club signs Jordan Zimmerann or re-signs Chris Davis? The O's are hoping you would.

That's why the club has elected NOT to publicize their 2016 pricing yet. If Davis or Zimmermann signs, its expected the team might raise their ticket prices by as much as 15% in some areas of the ballpark to help support the new player-payroll investments. Additionally, the team is apparently taking the same approach with their corporate sponsorship pricing. They've not yet revealed their pricing structure for 2016 while the pursuit of Davis and Zimmermann continues.

The club is hopeful one of those two can be signed and announced the week of December 7 and be available for an appearance at FanFest, where they would then also reveal ticket pricing and creatively connect their decision to raise ticket prices with the major investment they would be making on one or both players.

On Wednesday, I arbitrarily picked out five teams -- the Yankees, Red Sox, Braves, Nationals and Astros -- and went to their respective websites to see if they had already publicized their 2016 ticket pricing schedule. Four of the five have, with only Houston not showing their pricing on the team's official website. But New York, Boston, Atlanta and Washington all have pricing established and publicized for the upcoming season. That's not to say that a more thorough examination of the remaining 24 teams in baseball might reveal fewer teams publicize their prices now than DO publicize them now. For the sake of time and just a quick, cursory overview, I picked those five franchises and four are publicizing their pricing now.

The Orioles, apparently, are waiting to announce their ticket pricing and corporate sponsorship pricing until they've either signed Davis or Zimmermann -- or haven't signed one or both of them. And there's nothing wrong with that, by the way. I think everyone in Baltimore is smart enough to know that a major player investment wouldn't just be taken on by the organization without some sort or reverb felt by the fans in their wallet or purse.

The December 12 date for FanFest was a curious one when it was first announced last summer. Now, though, it all adds up and makes a bit more sense. The club simply couldn't wait until the middle or end of January to announce its 2016 pricing and they also couldn't announce that pricing until they had a better idea of what their player-payroll numbers might look like in 2016. By moving the date to December 12, the franchise has given itself somewhat of an artificial deadline to bring either Davis or Zimmermann on board and it allows them time to capitalize on the holiday season as well if one or both of those players are inked.

Most importantly, though, the 2016 pricing structure -- directly affected by the team's player payroll -- can't be revealed until the team either makes a deal with Davis or Zimmermann or doesn't make a deal with one of those two. And if they can make a major signing announcement on the week of December 7, it greatly enhances not only FanFest on December 12, but it gives the club nearly four full months to sell 2016 tickets and sponsorships.

What's this all mean? It's simple. If you're one of those who believes the club is going to put its best foot forward this off-season and try to add significant free agents like Chris Davis or Jordan Zimmermann, the team's decision to not publicize 2016 pricing lends itself to that theory. They can't announce pricing until they've landed a big name player or two. And the December 12 FanFest is their signature off-season event and would be the ideal time to capitalize on a significant player signing.

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is it ever too late for harbaugh to hold players accountable?

When news started to spread on Tuesday that the Ravens had parted ways with Jeremy Ross and Asa Jackson, lots of people around town said, "Oh, now you're going to crack down on guys who don't perform."

Ross played a pivotal role in Sunday's loss to the lowly Jaguars when he failed to hold on to a punt in the 4th quarter and Jacksonville turned that miscue into a go-ahead touchdown. He also fumbled a punt at a key moment in the October 26th loss at Arizona. Jackson, meanwhile, accumulated two personal-foul penalties in the Jaguars game, giving him three on the season.

"The mistake on the punt was huge," Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. "You have to come down with that ball, period." He then took a rare public shot at a player, bringing up Asa Jackson's reckless play. "You shouldn't have three personal foul penalties in a career, let alone a season or getting two in one game," he said. Perhaps three personal foul penalties in a career isn't quite the shameful mistake the coach made it out to be, but he's right about getting two of them in one game. That should NEVER happen.

So, on Tuesday, Ross and Jackson paid for those mistakes. For Ross, it was his first exit from the club after being signed in early September. Jackson, on his 3rd (or is it 4th?) tour of duty with the team, has been dismissed more times than Eddie Haskell was kicked out of school in the TV show, "Leave it to Beaver".

Jackson, you'll recall, also ran afoul of the league's substance abuse policy not once, but twice, last getting suspended for eight games back in 2013. That Harbaugh and the Ravens even brought him back for their 2015 training camp showed how narrow the team's depth chart was heading into the season. And then, after cutting him just prior to the start of the opener in Denver, they brought him back into the fold after the season kicked off.

Is it too late for Harbaugh and the organization to try and hold guys accountable for their mistakes? At 2-7, does it look shallow to be singling out two role players when established veterans like Jimmy Smith and Kyle Arrington -- just to name two -- are getting beat like rented mules week in and week out? What about Will Hill? He's become a mini-Bernard Pollard in 2015...a penalty flag waiting to happen. Does he get held to the same standard as Asa Jackson?

The answer, frankly, is that it's NEVER too late to hold players accountable, particularly when the mistakes and the lack of professionalism are reasons for losing. It might have been a good idea to hold everyone accountable in week one instead of week nine, but the fact of the matter is, players have to know they're constantly being evaluated for the purposes of future employment. And by "future", I'm taking "next week's game". There's no accountability like that in baseball because player contracts are guaranteed and you're either playing and getting paid or getting cut and getting paid. In football, you can get paid this week and eat steak for dinner and get cut next week and eat Ramen noodles for dinner.

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umbc drops hoops home opener to hot-shooting loyola

The UMBC men's basketball team got out of the gate slowly last night and could never recover, dropping their home opener, 76-57, to cross-town rival Loyola.

Sophomore guard Rodney Elliott was a bright spot for Aki Thomas' team, as the former John Carroll high school star scored 19 points and added five assists and three steals, but was the lone Retriever in double figures.

Loyola senior Jarred Jones produced a superb performance, scoring 26 points and adding 11 rebounds. Jones hit 10-of-16 shots from the floor, all six free throws and added a pair of steals.

UMBC (0-3) fell behind by as many as 22 points at 57-35 with 15:53 to play, but went on a spirited 13-0 run to cut the deficit to 57-48 and bring some life into the RAC Arena. Freshman Joe Sherburne capped the surge with a trey from the left wing and UMBC had another possession to cut the lead even further, but a Daquon Ervin foul-line jumper was off the mark. If that one goes in, who knows what happens from there? But when it didn't fall, Loyola (1-2) responded with an 8-0 run to restore a 17-point lead and coasted to the 19-point victory.

Loyola hit 16-of-19 free throws and finished just below 50 percent (28-of-58, 48.3%) from the field. UMBC hit 40 percent (22-of-55) from the field, but struggled again from the stripe, misfiring on 9-of-16 attempts.

The Greyhounds outrebounded UMBC, 42-28, and both teams committed 11 turnovers.

UMBC junior Will Darley, who played his high school ball at Dulaney, made his season debut and scored seven points in 15 minutes. Darley had been nursing a foot injury since September.

The Retrievers head out for a pair of games in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational Regional Games at Northern Colorado University. UMBC will play the host Bears at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21 and then face either Austin Peay or Cal Poly on Sunday.

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six seats left!! join our #dmd bus trip to the army/navy game on dec. 12!

Our #DMD bus to Philadelphia on December 12 for the Army-Navy game is nearly full, but there's still room for you and others to join us for one of the all-time great days in sports -- and you can witness it all for an extraordinarily reasonable price. The Super Bowl costs you about $3,000 per-ticket. You can see something far more meaningful, in my opinion, for $160, if you check out the Army-Navy game with a bunch of other #DMD football enthusiasts. It's a "bucket list" game that you should attend at least once in your life.

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If you've never been, the Army-Navy football game is a "must attend" sports event in your life.

We have room for only SIX more people on the trip. That's all we need to find. Six of you out there who have never been to an Army/Navy game will have the time of your life if you join us for a quick trip up I-95 to see what is truly one of our nation's best sporting events. And oh, by the way, Navy is now ranked #16 in the country after that pasting they put on Memphis last Saturday night.

Here are the details of our bus trip:

Saturday, December 12, 3:00 pm, Army vs. Navy, Philadelphia PA

Bus leaves from the Towson area at 11:30 am

Everyone receives lunch from Chick fil-A, plus water, soda and Harpoon beer.

Upon arrival, we'll tailgate with a Palmisano's sandwich, snacks and more refreshments.

Game ticket is included in the package.

We should be back in Baltimore by 8:30 pm.

Per-person cost is $160

This a MUST-SEE event for those of you who haven't ever gone (and, even if you have, it's still very much worth seeing again and again). It's truly a sports "bucket-list" item that's almost right in our backyard. Don't miss it!!

If you want to reserve seats on the bus, please e-mail me -- 18inarow@gmail.com


Wednesday
November 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 18

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like the terps, we have good things on the horizon here at #dmd

I’ll let our Maryland basketball reporter, Dale Williams, handle the blow-by-blow account of last night’s win over Georgetown before a raucous Xfinity Center crowd that included a late, inspiring appearance from former Terp Greivis Vasquez, who played in D.C. earlier in the evening when his Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Washington Wizards. The Terps were given all they could handle by the spirited Hoyas and responded in a way that made your mind shift ahead to March even though we’re just two games into the season.

But I’ll let Dale give you the lowdown on how it all happened. That’s what he does best for us here at #DMD.

When Drew’s Morning Dish started back on August 25, 2014, I had no idea – and I mean that, none at all – that I’d be here, on November 18, 2015, writing what will amount to be a “Help Wanted” ad for this venture of mine. That’s how much #DMD has grown over the last fifteen months. In the spirit of the “crawl, walk and run” adage you’ve heard forever, it’s officially time for Drew’s Morning Dish to “walk”. We’re taking a step forward as 2015 comes to a close and 2016 looms in the not-so- distant future.

Before I tell you what I’m looking for, let me tell you why I’m looking for it. And, no, I’m not “retiring” or “taking a step back” or anything like that. Not in the least. In fact, I’m in the process of doing more, not less, which is why I need more people on the #DMD staff. I’m in the beginning stages of launching another arm of #DMD that will focus solely on meaningful, once-in-a-lifetime, “bucket-list” sports trip. At some point in the first quarter of 2016, www.bucketlistsportstrips.com will take flight and I’ll be organizing and supervising 10-12 trips a year to places all over the country (and who knows, if we make it over to Wimbledon or the British Open, we can honestly say “all over the world”) that will fall under the moniker of “bucket list trips”. This new business will require a lot of my time in 2016.

My high school golf coaching duties at Calvert Hall keep me busy in the spring as well, so that’s even more of a reason to add staffers to #DMD in the next month or so. And my two children will both be involved in youth sports after the holidays and into the spring and I want to be part of that fun, too. So, with only so many hours in the day and week, it’s obvious the growth of #DMD is calling for MORE staff. I’m not afraid of having good people around me.

X

I’m in search of a sales and marketing staffer for #DMD. Honestly, I’ve loosely interviewed a handful of people thus far, mostly on an informal basis, and no one has jumped out to me as “the one I have to have”, so I haven’t hired any of them. I’m not hiring just anyone. I’m hiring the right person. Who will that be? I don’t know. I don’t have a blueprint on exactly what you need to be, but some experience in sales is almost non-negotiable. Experience in marketing and promotions can’t hurt, either, as “creating partnerships” at #DMD is really what we do. It’s sales, yes, but it’s more about finding the right company or business and then making sure they are connected with us in a way that helps drive traffic to their business.

Why does #DMD need a full-time sales person? Easy answer. We’re expanding, which brings me to “need number two”. I’m looking for another writer…or contributor or reporter – whatever term best fits you and your abilities, we’ll go with -- but the short version is I’m hopeful of finding someone who can write 2-3 pieces a week. I’m not taking “just anyone”, though. I want someone who can write, in the same way that our two current writers, Bo Smolka and Dale Williams, bring you well thought-out, polished sports commentary. My plan is to have Bo and Dale involved again in 2016 and, hopefully, beyond, and with that in mind, I’m a believer in adding quality to the mix, not removing it.

There are generally two types of “bosses”. One is the micro-manager who gets threatened when he or she is surrounded by individuals with high qualities. That typically leads to downsizing or the famous parting of the ways due to “philosophical differences”. The other leader is the one who says, “The more people we have who do a great job, the easier it is for ME to succeed as well.” I’m the latter of the two. I need race horses who can run faster than I can. As Winston Churchill once said: “We can achieve anything as long as we don’t care who gets the credit.”

That’s a long-winded explanation of this announcement: DMD is hiring. I’m excited about it, mainly because I think there are people out there who need an opportunity like this to grow on their own level. I’m looking for someone to handle basic sales and marketing (under my direction – I’m not leaving you out there on an island by yourself) and I’m looking for someone to contribute on the content side. The interview process will be informal at first. We’ll chat via e-mail a bit and then move to breakfast or lunch if I feel there’s a possible synergy. This is 2015. You won’t be wearing a collar and tie around me and there’s no need to prepare a resume´ where you can astound me with your greatness. Let’s talk. That’s better than a resume´ in my opinion.

With the launching of www.bucketlistsportstrips.com and the continued growth of #DMD, the time has come for me to expand. I’m thankful to all of you out there who have become regular visitors to the site and I’m eternally grateful to the corporate partners who have been involved with me on this venture since August of 2014. Those two factors are the reason we’re growing.

If you’re interested in either of the two positions I’ve outlined above, just send me an e-mail (18inarow at gmail.com) and we’ll get started with the process. The only promise I want you to make to me is this: You understand going in I have two “spots” open. I can’t hire everyone. Don’t hate me if it winds up NOT being you who gets the call. And I’ll promise that if you DO get the call, I won’t hate you when you leave #DMD in three years and go to work for CBS Sports or ESPN. Fair deal…

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perriman's rookie season has ended (with no catches)

If you took "he'll never play one down" in the office pool last August when Breshad Perriman got hurt in Ravens training camp, go on in and collect your money this morning. The Ravens made it offical yesterday; their first-round draft pick won't play this season after being placed on Injured Reserve Tuesday afternoon.

Just a couple of weeks ago, John Harbaugh was hinting that perhaps the team was close to being able to get Perriman on the field -- in a real game, even -- for the last month of the season. He hasn't vanished like Terrell Suggs over these last 14 weeks or so. He's run around at practice, traveled with the team, worked out before games and has been seen on more than one occasion at a community appearance representing the Ravens. He was close to playing on a couple of occasions, or so it seemed.

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You know it's a lost season for a rookie when the only picture on file is of him holding up a jersey on the day he was drafted.

With yesterday's news that Perriman's season is officially over, the floodgates have opened for those in town who want to label the kid a "bust". I'd have to see him play to throw that moniker on him. For now, I don't know what to call him. "Unfortunate", perhaps? But I won't call him a bust. He's injured. As my old soccer coach Dave MacWilliams once said prior to a game against Cleveland when he was giving the team his "keys to the game" -- and focusing on our opponent's star player, Zoran Karic -- "he can't run if he has a limp." In other words, you have a better chance of limiting his effectiveness if you apply a well timed boot to the calf or thigh early in the game. In Perriman's case, "he can't run with a limp", is more of a nod to the fact that a wide receiver in the NFL has to be hitting on all cylinders. If not, there's no use in him playing.

Much speculation will center on the selection of Perriman itself and whether or not the Ravens knew enough about his knee-injury history. That's fair. Without being overly dramatic about it, I guess it's more than reasonable to say to a team in the league -- "You're not allowed to make a mistake on a first-round draft pick." They're that valuable. And in the Ravens' case, Perriman was ultra-critical to their success in 2015 because his position was in dire need of a reboot by the team, hence the reason they picked him in the first round.

The good news? If Perriman gets healthy for the 2016 campaign -- and let's be honest, that's not a guarantee at this point, right? -- the Ravens will effectively have TWO first-round draft picks in camp next July. I know, I know...I would have rather seen Perriman this year, but it didn't work out that way and now we have to come up with a positive outlook for this mess. And there it is. Perriman and the team's first selection in the 2016 draft (which could be a Top 10 pick) will both be able to make a major impact next season.

But they have to see the field first. And, as we saw with Breshad Perriman this year, there's no guarantee of that happening.

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orioles are quietly "working on something"

I apologize in advance for teasing the story with the headline above, but that's the best I can do today. By Thursday's edition of #DMD, I'll have it all cleaned up and ready for publishing, but I'm hearing some interesting back-room stories about the Orioles and free agency. This wasn't passed down to me until about 9:30 pm on Wednesday night, and by then I was knee-deep in the Maryland game and didn't really have a lot of time to sort out what I had just learned.

Check in tomorrow morning and I'll have it all put together. If what I'm hearing is true -- and it's coming from a reliable connection to the club -- you'll be interested to read about it on Thursday.


tonight: umbc hoops hosts loyola in home opener

The UMBC Retrievers open the 2015-16 home slate by welcoming the Loyola Greyhounds to the RAC Arena tonight for a 7pm tip-off. Both teams are hoping a change of venue will help their cause in searching for their first victories. UMBC opened with road setbacks to power conference members Wake Forest and St. John's, while Loyola dropped home decisions to Tennessee State and LIU-Brooklyn.

The Retrievers produced two noble efforts on the road to open their campaign, but came up short in losses at Wake Forest (78-73) and St. John's (75-53). On Monday in New York, the Retrievers cut an 11-point first half deficit to 33-31 early in the second half, but hot-shooting St. John's (52%) responded and closed the game on a 10-0 run. Red-shirt sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (team-high 14.5 ppg) and freshman wing Joe Sherburne (14.0 ppg) each scored 16 points in the contest and Sherburne added nine rebounds and three steals. UMBC must improve at the charity stripe, where they are just 21-of-42 on the season. The Retrievers are a +6 in turnover margin early in the campaign, which has to be a good sign for Aki Thomas and his staff.

Tickets for tonight's game are available at the RAC Box Office. Loyola has won eight straight meetings in the crosstown series, including a 45-38 defensive battle at Reitz Arena last season.

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Terps Spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his second season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2015-2016 and is presented by The Wine Merchant, Baltimore's best source for fine wines and spirits. The Wine Merchant is also a great place to stop for your carry-out lunch and dinner needs. Look for Drew's "Wine Winner" choice when you visit The Wine Merchant!


What a way to start a basketball season! In front of a packed and rowdy crowd at the Xfinity Center in College Park on Tuesday night, the Maryland Terrapins overcame a seven point deficit in the last 4:31 to secure a 75-71 win against an aggressive Georgetown team that outplayed the Terps for much of the game.

During the late run, the Terps managed to hit eight straight foul shots, go five for five from the field (including three for three from beyond the three point line) and got enough stops on defense to turn a 61-54 Georgetown advantage into a four point Maryland win. UM was led by Melo Trimble’s 24 points (including 13 from the foul line) and Robert Carter Jr’s 8 rebounds. All five Hoya starters scored in double figures but their bench only contributed three points.

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Melo Trimble led Maryland in scoring vs. Georgetown, but it was the spirited play of Rasheed Sulaimon that got the Terps out of their early funk last night.

Things didn't start well for Mark Turgeon's team on Tuesday night as Georgetown -- still bruised from a season opening loss to Radford -- jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead in the first 2:10 of the game. While Jake Layman was missing back to back three point attempts, John Thompson’s Hoyas were converting on the other end by driving the ball and getting great looks from close range. It took a former Duke player, Rasheed Sulaimon, to break the ice for Maryland with a jumper just inside the arc to trim the Georgetown lead to 9-2. Foul shots by Carter Jr and a 16 ft jumper by Diamond Stone cut the lead to three. From that point on, everything that went well for Maryland in the first half seemed to go through Sulaimon. He made all of his shots in the first half and finished with seven points and six assists.

Something else happened for Maryland in the first half that may leave Terp coach Mark Turgeon with a decision to make regarding his starting five. Michal Cekovsky may have emerged as the Terps most effective interior defender. In ten quality minutes, he provided a solid deterrent to would-be Georgetown points in the paint, converted on two dunks, but turned it over three times. The halftime stats for the two teams were nearly identical and accurately reflected the 33 to 33 tie at the break.

Maryland began the second half without scoring from the field during the first 6:11. Only successful trips to the charity stripe kept the Terps within striking distance. Georgetown then began to pound the offensive glass (they had eight in the second half compared to two in the first) and found themselves with a seven point lead, 61-54, with 5:48 left. However, during that time, Georgetown was accumulating fouls. Their pre-season Big East Player of the Year was limited to 11 minutes of action in the half due to foul trouble. Three Hoyas finished with four fouls and reserve Jessie Govan fouled out. Maryland shot 32 foul shots compared to 12 for Georgetown. When Maryland finally started to make some shots in the last 3:56, the combination of scoring from the field and constantly going to the line was too much for Georgetown to overcome.

Down the stretch, big three pointers by Melo Trimble, Jake Layman (who missed all four of his 3-point attempts in the first half), and Sulaimon combined with short jumpers by Carter Jr and Jared Nickens provided Maryland with a three point lead with 1:18 left. Foul shots for the Terps then provided the final margin of victory in what turned out to be "one that got away" for the visiting Hoyas.

The good news? Maryland showed some true grit coming back from nine down early and seven down late to beat a very game Georgetown team. They did, however, give coach Turgeon a decent list of things that need attention. First, Maryland was outworked on the boards. At one point the Hoyas held a 17-0 advantage with second chance points. It seemed that the only Terp player who continually matched the intensity of the Georgetown team was Sulaimon and it wouldn't be at all surprising to see the former Duke player emerge as Maryland’s emotional leader this season.

Additionally, the Terps had real trouble handling Hoya center Bradley Hayes. Maybe that was because the guy is really good and greatly underrated, but it also showed some weakness defensively in Carter Jr and Diamond Stone. Give credit to Turgeon for noticing that Cekovsky was faring much better against Bradley than his other interior defenders. With 1:02 left in the game, after Sulaimon hit a three to put Maryland up by three, Turgeon inserted the 7’1” Terp for a key possession after Georgetown called timeout. Hayes then missed a short jumper that was defended nicely by Cekovsky.

In the end, Maryland won a close game at home by getting to the foul line and hitting clutch shots late. It was a game that may have had a different outcome had it been played at Georgetown’s home, the Verizon Center. But it wasn’t. It was played at College Park and it was one exciting college basketball game and a great way to start what could be a special season for the Terps.

Tuesday
November 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 17

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rousey found out the hard way – “the other girl tries, too”

Somewhere along the way, right around the time someone in her camp probably should have been saying, “Remember, now, you’re human…”, Ronda Rousey caved in to the hype and became Wonder Woman.

Or so she thought.

Rousey’s stunning defeat on Saturday night to Holly Holm was perhaps the most shocking sports result of this century. True, it’s “only” UFC and many folks – including yours truly – aren’t ardent enough fans of the sport to know exactly HOW it happened on Saturday, but when you’re a betting favorite to the tune of -2000, I know that means you’re supposed to win, going to win and guaranteed to win.

And while I don’t follow the UFC regularly, I have, like a lot of people, engaged myself with Rousey and her career over the last six months or so because I find her fascinating. She was invincible, or so it seemed, and the longer she went on without a loss, the more overwhelming her presence was going to become.

To me, the athletic mind has always been more of a marvel than the athletic body. That’s what makes sports great. The other person can be in better shape. They can be taller. Faster. More skilled. And you can still beat them. That’s why Rousey was so intoxicating to me, particularly as a novice fan of UFC. She talked the talk and walked the walk. Not many in sports can do that.

That all ended on Saturday night in Australia, where Rousey met her match and was physically manhandled in a bar-fight-gone-bad kind of way. Rousey didn’t lose on Saturday. She got smashed. It’s one thing if she goes toe-to-toe with someone, they both land a bunch of punches and kicks, and Rousey somehow gets bested by a few more pops to the face that impressed the judges enough to give the challenger a victory. If that happened, you might have said, “Eh, that’s boxing. Freakin’ judges…” Instead, Rousey got knocked out. Cold. She didn’t lose. She got humiliated.

When Rousey demolished challenger Bethe Correia back in early August, the Wonder Woman train started to roll in such a way that what happened on Saturday night was almost inevitable. True, there was some bad blood between the two fighters in August, but Rousey giggling like a 4th grader after she pummeled Correia was, I thought, the first small crack in her armor. It showed she was starting to disrespect her opponent(s), and while believing in yourself and your abilities is a good thing in sports, forgetting that the people you’re facing have pride, determination and skill themselves is a recipe for failure.

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This wasn't the way Ronda Rousey assumed Saturday night's title fight in Australia was going to go for her.

Rousey under-estimated Holly Holm on Saturday night. Sure, Holm’s brawling style might have been a poor match-up for Rousey, but that goes directly back to the point about remembering that the other guy can play, too. Rousey assumed she was going to win because that’s all she’d ever done. When you get to that level, you enter a new frame of mind. You go from thinking you’re going to win and expecting to win to just assuming it’s your divine right to win. Those aren’t just words. It’s a sporting ideology that virtually no athlete can embrace and conquer because too many other factors get in the way once the bell rings and the game begins. When you think you’re going to win because that’s your destiny, you’re on the verge of getting your butt handed to you.

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Mike Tyson was never the same after Buster Douglas beat him up in Tokyo and stripped him of his invincibility. Tiger Woods hasn’t won a major title since Y.E. Yang went toe-to-toe with him at the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine CC and beat him on the back nine in Sunday’s final round. No two people dominated a sport like those two; and no two people fell from grace more quickly once their shield of dominance was dented.

Rousey might be different than Tyson and Woods because of the way she lost on Saturday night. She was robbed of her sporting dignity. In front of the whole world. This wasn’t chess, where your worst moment besides losing might have been a coffee stain on your Tommy Bahama shirt. This was fighting. With blood. And eyes swollen shut. Ronda Rousey got owned Saturday night.

But from great tragedy comes great rebirth. If she has an ounce of courage – and I’m talking REAL courage, not bravado, Twitter talk and looking mean – the former champion will use the loss to Holm to rebound and put the pieces of her career back together. Lots of people regard Sugar Ray Leonard as a “great champion” and he lost THREE times, albeit only once – to Roberto Duran -- in the prime of his career. Leonard avenged that loss to Duran by not only beating him twice in future bouts, but by also defeating Thomas Hearns AND Marvin Hagler when those two were at the top of their respective games. Leonard’s career story wasn’t defined by his loss to Duran, it was actually enhanced by the fact that he came back from the loser’s corner and rose to the top of his profession.

Rousey will have that same opportunity sometime in 2016. She’ll likely get another crack at Holm, because it’s the big-money fight both fighters crave and it’s also the only way Holm can validate her greatness. It will also provide Rousey with perhaps the only opportunity she’ll ever have to prove that what happened on Saturday night in Australia was a fluke.

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Getting knocked out by 42-1 underdog Buster Douglas was a moment from which Mike Tyson never really recovered. One loss -- and it all came crashing down. Will the same thing happen to Ronda Rousey?

But what happened on Saturday likely WASN’T a fluke. It was meant to be, in the same way that Tyson was always going to lose to someone and Woods was always going to hit a bad shot under pressure or miss a key putt when it mattered most. In Rousey’s case, she not only ran into a fighter who matched up well with the champion, she marinated far too much in her own greatness. Too many TV shows, too many sexy photo shoots, too many personal appearances and too many things in her life that distracted her from what made her great in the first place; her athleticism. And I’m not faulting her for making money on the heels of becoming a household name. It’s what we do in America. In fact, it’s the way of the world. Cash in while you can, because success is fleeting.

Rousey, though, took it all too far, most likely because others around her were too busy latching on and not busy enough providing the sort of insight and wisdom they should have been giving had their interests been solely centered on their employer and not on the money she was making for them. Along the way, there was no one willing to say to Ronda Rousey, “You know, girl, you might want to think about focusing a little more on fighting and a little less on being pretty and getting your picture taken.”

When it all ended on Saturday night in Australia, Rousey was a beaten woman with a career path that was suddenly no longer directly under her control. And she didn’t lose specifically because of the pictures and the TV interviews and the hype. She lost because she forgot that the other guy tries, too. She lost because, at the worst possible moment, she just figured she would win because that’s always the way it went for her. Now, she no longer controls how it all goes down. She’s starting from scratch again, a disgraced former champion who will have to earn back the respect she was unwilling to give Holly Holm on Saturday night.

In a twist of irony that likely won’t be lost on Ronda Rousey, she’ll have to re- invent herself after a loss in much the same way she invented herself en-route to becoming a champion and a world-class badass. Only this time around, she knows she isn’t invincible, which is a lesson all the great ones wind up learning over the years. This detour and career re-booting likely wasn’t part of Rousey’s master plan, so the burden of putting together a new blueprint for success won’t be as easy as it was before her loss to Holm last weekend.

And as the great philosopher Mike Tyson once said: “Everyone has a plan ‘til they get punched in the mouth."

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bo's eye view

BO SMOLKA is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet. Bo's insights and analyses are presented by Advanced Heating & Cooling, which offers a variety of energy saving, high-efficiency equipment for heating, air conditioning, and geothermal systems.


It probably won't make Ravens fans feel any better to know that on Monday, the league basically said to the Ravens, 'Hey, about that Jaguars ending ... Sorry, my bad.'

In case you missed it, the league came out and publicly agreed with what Ravens coach John Harbaugh on Monday contended after rewatching the chaotic ending of Sunday's game: that the Jaguars were never properly set at the line of scrimmage on the play that resulted in Elvis Dumervil's critical face mask penalty. The play went on, Dumervil got the face mask penalty, and then Jason Myers hit the 53-yard field goal on an untimed play to give the Jaguars a 22-20 win, the latest agonizing, last-second loss in a lost season full of them for the Ravens.

But that kick never should have happened, and the NFL admitted as much.

Here's how NFL spokesman Michael Signora explained it, via ESPN's Adam Schefter: "Inside of one minute remaining of either half, with the game clock running, when the offense is not set simultaneously prior to the snap, it’s a false start. This results in a 10-second runoff, which can only be avoided if a team has a timeout remaining. The correct call in this case would have been to penalize the offense for a false start because all 11 players were not set, and whistle to stop the play. The ensuing 10- second runoff should have ended the game."

In other words, the Ravens should have won, 20-19.

So it's true that if the play were called correctly, the Ravens would have won the game. But for some reason I'm also reminded of a message I heard a million times as a kid, and have imparted a million times in coaching youth sports: A game should never come down to one play, and the blunt truth is the Ravens had ample opportunity to make sure the game never came down to that one play. (And in fact Myers still had to nail a 53-yarder, which seemed no automatic thing considering he had absolutely duck-hooked a 26-yarder earlier in the game.)

Case in point: The Ravens would have won if Kendrick Lewis didn't drop a gift interception just two plays before the Dumervil face mask. Lewis had the game hit him in the numbers and he couldn't hold on. It's always hard to know exactly how one given play earlier in the game might have affected plays later in the game, but this much is certain: If Lewis catches the ball, the Ravens win. Period. Speaking of earlier in the game ... The Ravens probably win if Jimmy Smith holds on to a potential interception that was almost certainly a pick-six early in the game. Is it any wonder the Ravens are on pace for a franchise record-low in interceptions? They have dropped at least a half-dozen this season.

"Guys have to make those plays," Harbaugh said on Monday. "They know that. They want to make those plays. … You guys are great athletes – you’re talented people – and just loosen up a little bit and make the catch. It’s right in your hands."

The Ravens probably win if Jeremy Ross doesn't let a punt return go right through his arms, giving Jacksonville a short field that resulted in a touchdown. The Ravens probably win if Joe Flacco doesn't throw two interceptions and lose a fumble, ending the Ravens first three second-half drives with turnovers. They probably win if they don't pile up more than football field's worth of penalties for the third time this season.

And they probably win if punter Sam Koch doesn't pick about the worst possible time for his first touchback all season. Koch's kick that bounced into the end zone gave the Jaguars the ball at the 20-yard line to begin their final drive. And on the subject of that, why did the Ravens take a timeout just before Koch's kick? They were at the Jaguars 43-yard line. Seems backing Koch up 5 yards via delay of game might have helped, and hmm... think that one second difference between a timeout and a delay of game mattered at all?

I know many Ravens fans will say, yes, all of that is true, but the refs still jobbed us at the end and the field goal never should have happened. Fair point. But the fact remains the Ravens once again played a close game but made enough mistakes to put themselves in position to fail. It's been a sad refrain all season.

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Terps Spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his second season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2015-2016 and is presented by The Wine Merchant, Baltimore's best source for fine wines and spirits. The Wine Merchant is also a great place to stop for your carry-out lunch and dinner needs. Look for Drew's "Wine Winner" choice when you visit The Wine Merchant!


In April of 2002, the Maryland Terrapins won a national title with a team that featured four future NBA draft picks. Juan Dixon and Lonnie Baxter had brief pro careers, while Chris Wilcox and Steve Blake enjoyed extended stays in the NBA with Blake still in the league and currently playing for the Detroit Pistons. The similarities between the 2001-2002 roster and this current Terp team are broad and give rightful cause for lofty expectations in College Park.

Current Terps Melo Trimble (point guard) and Robert Carter Jr (power forward transfer from Georgia Tech) are sure fire NBA draft picks. Small forward Jake Layman and center Diamond Stone are both pro scout favorites and sure to be drafted onto NBA rosters. Maryland shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon, the 6’4” senior transfer from Duke, will need an impressive final year if he expects to be drafted, but it’s quite possible that he could be an undrafted signee for some NBA team. It’s a pretty impressive starting line-up of five potential NBA players and that line up is the reason that Maryland is a pre-season favorite to win the Big 10 and ranked anywhere from one to three in the national polls.

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Don't forget about big man Damonte Dodd in 2015-2016. He'll give the Terps valuable minutes against teams with size underneath the basket.

The bench appears strong too with 6’11” Damonte Dodd and 7’1” Michal Cekovsky giving the Terps ample size and some experience underneath the basket. On the perimeter, a rotation of Jaylen Brantley and Jered Nickens can help spell relief at the 1, 2, or 3 positions. Expect Brantley to get time at the 1 and 2, with Nickens seeing time at the 2 and the 3. Unfortunately, sophomore Dion Wiley suffered a potentially season-ending knee injury a couple of days before the opening win over Mount Saint Mary's.

Exactly what can we expect from Coach Mark Turgeon’s team? First and foremost, look for Maryland to be much more evenly balanced on offense. With the physical presence of Carter Jr and Stone, combined with the much stronger Jake Layman, this Terp team can play inside out as opposed to being the perimeter oriented team it was last year. They were 11th in the Big10 last year in field goal percentage despite being the fourth best team shooting threes. Those two stats together tell you how ineffective the Terps were at scoring inside. They will score much more on the inside this year, and hopefully open things up for long range shots from beyond the arc. Offensively, this team can score in so many ways, and stand to be much more efficient with the ball.

Defensively last year, the Terps had trouble at times stopping their opponent on the inside. That could change as well. While not necessarily polished on defense, Stone, Carter Jr, Cekovsky, and Dodd could present real problems for smaller teams, and a credible challenge even for teams that have accomplished bigs. Maryland will still need to prove that it can defend the perimeter, another real problem at times last year. As much as Dez Wells did for the Terps last year, his defensive skills were sorely lacking and he had a tendency to turn the ball over way too much. His replacement for this year is Sulaimon, a much better ball handler who possibly could be the Terps best defender on the perimeter. On both sides of the court, the Terps should improve from last year.

Maryland’s first real challenge of the season comes tonight at 9:00 P.M. when the Georgetown Hoyas invade the Xfinity Center. Perhaps some of the hype was removed from this game when Georgetown lost, 82-80, at home in two overtimes to an underdog Radford team on Friday. The Hoyas have 6’3” 215lb senior point guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, the Big East pre-season player of the year, as their leader. His stat lines from 2014-2015 show just how productive he was during his junior year. Offensively he averaged 16 PPG with a 2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. Defensively, he led Georgetown in steals last year, and is their top returning rebounder. He is a solid, sturdy, guard who will give Maryland some problems.

Joining Smith-Rivera as starters are 7 foot center Bradley Hayes, L.J Peak (6’5” 215), Markus Derrickson (6’7” 250), and Isaac Copeland (6’9” 220). Hayes saw little action last year when he averaged less than 1 point per game. However, against the undersized Radford team in the Hoya’s opener this year, he led his team with 19 points (on 7 of 9 shooting) and 12 rebounds. He will not enjoy the same success against the taller, bigger defenders that Maryland will throw at him. Copeland is a 6’9” highly recruited forward in his second year at Georgetown. He had a solid rookie season and should see increased minutes this year after averaging almost 7 points in 20 minutes per game last year. Peak is a returning starter who averaged 7.9 ppg on only 39% shooting from the field and 25% from the 3 point line. The freshman Derrickson is another highly recruited big body who missed all four of his attempts from the field in the first game of his career.

Overall, this appears to be an average shooting Georgetown team (outside of Smith-Rivera) that despite being much bigger than their last opponent got clobbered on the boards giving up 15 offensive rebounds to Radford. While they can match Maryland’s size, the skill level that Maryland possesses at so many positions should be enough to get them the victory. I would fully expect Georgetown to come with early emotion, especially after their last second loss to Radford, but it won’t be enough as the eight point favorite Maryland Terrapins pull away to win by twelve.

Monday
November 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVI
Issue 16

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"we're not bad enough to screw this one up"

Those were the words I uttered to my friend Dale Williams as we rose from our seats late in the game yesterday and headed for the exit.

With 2:50 left in the fourth quarter, Joe Flacco completed a pass to Kyle Juszczyk for 22 yards and put the Ravens in Jacksonville territory at the 48 yard line. First and 10, under three minutes to go, ahead 20-19. That's where the Ravens stood at that moment.

I felt confident.

I also felt the need to use the men's room, so I grabbed my jacket and said to Williams, "Hey, bro, I'm gonna hit the bathroom real quick and roll on out of here."

And then I said it...

"We're not bad enough to screw this one up."

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Just as I parted company with my friend who attended yesterday's Ravens game with me, this is what we did. And I said, "Hey, a win's a win."

My friend agreed. "I'm with you," he said, as we hustled up the steps and headed for a quick restroom stop before getting a head start on the traffic.

As I reached the crosswalk in front of Oriole Park, I heard a radio being played by a street vendor and I could have sworn I heard Gerry Sandusky say, "And with that touchback, Jacksonville will get the ball on their own 20 yard line, needing only a field goal to win."

"Can't be," I thought to myself. But curiousity got the best of me and I quickly went to my phone and followed the play-by-play as I walked to my car.

Jacksonville kicked the game-winning field goal just as I reached the Convention Center.

"We're not bad enough to screw this one up," I said.

Turns out I was wrong. We ARE bad enough.

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if you wanna play "the goat game"

Lots of people -- including Dumervil himself afterwards -- wanted to blame Ravens' LB Elvis Dumervil for the way yesterday's game ended, but the reality is Dumervil was only in that position because moments early Kendrick Lewis dropped an easy interception that would have ended the game

I'm not generally someone to blame ONE player directly, unless that play, specifically, was the result-changing moment. The Steve Smith drop in Denver on week one with twenty-five seconds left. That was a result-changing moment and Smith wore the goat horns that day -- in my opinion. Yes, Dumervil's penalty on the game's final play was a bad one, but the kid from Jacksonville still had to hit a 53-yarder to win the game. The Lewis interception would have ended the game. Period.

It's those kind of plays, or lack thereof, that have hurt the Ravens all season long. Whether it's a simple lack of execution or a lapse in concentration, John Harbaugh's team has just not come up with enough game-changing moments -- which is why they're 2-7 now. Remember in the opener when Daryl Smith jumped in front of a Peyton Manning pass and had nothing but green grass (turf) between him and the goal-line? And he dropped the ball. At home vs. Cleveland, the Ravens had the ball 1st and goal from the 10 and couldn't punch in the game-winning TD, settling instead for a field goal and giving the Browns new life in a game they'd eventually win in overtime after yet another late-hit penalty from Will Hill. Steve Smith would drop two TD passes in San Francisco a few weeks later.

There are "game-changing" moments (like when Jacoby Jones didn't field that punt for the Chargers in San Diego's loss here on Nov. 1) and there are "result-changing" moments. Kendrick Lewis had the chance to seal up a "result" for the Ravens yesterday and he failed to do it. It's been that kind of season for the Ravens, who could very, very easily be 0-9 this season. Yes, they could also be 5-4 if luck's door swung in their favor a few times in the last nine weeks, but I think we're all big-boy enough to admit we're much closer to being 0-9 than 5-4.

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weekend musings from a wild two days in sports

Ronda Rousey didn't just lose on Saturday night. She got the stuffing kicked out of her. This was Rocky and Clubber Lang, as Holly Holm battered Rousey until ending her undefeated run -- and legacy perhaps -- with a brutal kick to the chin that put Rousey in the hospital overnight. I'll write something a little more substantial on Rousey tomorrow. Her life and career changed on Saturday night in Australia.

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Now that he has a championship ring and MVP trophy, Steph Curry can focus on real legendary stuff -- like guiding Golden State to 72 wins this season.

Did you see how the Golden State Warriors stayed undefeated on Saturday night? They trailed the lowly Brooklyn Nets (1-8 going into the game) the entire evening and were facing their first loss of the season before knotting it up at 97-97. Brooks Lopez of the Nets then had an easy chance to win the game with one second left on a lob from underneath the basket but inexplicably missed it from five feet away. In overtime, Golden State outscored Brooklyn 10-2, pushing the Warriors to 11-0 on the young season. They'll host Toronto on Tuesday night to try and move to 12-0. They play 82 games in the NBA. It's a long, long grind. The story, until they've lost their 11th game, will be whether or not Golden State is good enough to match the 72-10 record of the '95-96 Chicago Bulls. Winning 72 of 82 games -- now THAT is greatness. Golden State is 11-0 thus far. That's a nice way to start the season and a great way to start pursuing 72-10. Or 73-9.

Julian Edelman broke his foot in New England's win over the Giants on Sunday and he'll miss the rest of the regular season, but should be available for the playoffs. Oh, and the Patriots rallied for a last second win after Tom Coughlin out-coached himself and left Tom Brady with 1:47 to navigate 40 yards and put the game on Stephen Gostowski's foot. Down 24-23, Coughlin had Eli Manning throwing the ball in an attempt to get in the end zone with less than three minutes to go. With New England burning their time-outs at a rapid rate, all New York needed to do was run it a few times (and maybe score, who knows?) and set themselves up for a short field-goal that would have given them the lead and, more importantly, would have left Brady with only a minute left in the game instead of the 1:47 he was handed when the Giants couldn't complete a pass. Brady then completed a 4th and 10 pass to keep the game alive and marched New England down the field for the game-winning 54 yard field goal attempt, which Gostowski drilled through the uprights to keep the Patriots' perfect season intact. Brady is unreal. Just unreal.

I thought Ben Roethlisberger was going to miss "a few weeks" with a foot sprain? When he left last Sunday's game against Oakland, that was the big headline: "BIG BEN INJURED AGAIN, EXPECTED TO MISS A FEW WEEKS". Well, I'm sitting in my seat at Ravens Stadium yesterday and looked up at the scoreboard to see the Fantasy Football Leaders and there's Roethlisberger at 22-of-28 for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns. "Roethlisberger?" I said to myself. "He's not playing. He's out a few weeks." I guess not.


put your money
where your mouth is

Each week here at #DMD Game Day, I give you five NFL selections against the spread, my "best bet" of the bunch, and my official Ravens score prediction as well. This all, of course, is for "entertainment purposes only," although with the NFL officially in bed with both of the major fantasy sports companies in the country, the league is actually far more involved in gambling than any of us are, that's for sure.

Here's a look at the five games I played yesterday en-route to a 2-3 record.

LIONS AT PACKERS (-10.5): Giving the visiting team 10.5 points in a divisional game is very risky, but Vegas knows what they're doing here. After two straight losses, Green Bay is ready to pull a Charles Jefferson and demolish the Lions this afternoon. Bonus points if you know who Charles Jefferson is, folks. Take the Packers and give the Lions 10.5 points here, as Green Bay wins 37-13.

RESULT: I started the day off with a loss (and on my "Best Bet" game, too). This one was done once Detroit went ahead 12-3. A horrible, horrible loss for the Packers and, I assume, a huge, huge win for the folks in Vegas.


COWBOYS AT BUCCANEERS (+2): Am I missing something here? Tampa Bay is at home, at 3-5 on the year -- Dallas has no quarterback and a soft defense -- and the Bucs are 2-point underdogs. I don't get it. Vegas is handing you Tampa Bay and two points and ushering you to the betting window so you don't wise up and change your mind. I'll take the bait, so let's go with the home team as the Bucs win and cover, 24-17.

RESULT: A nice late-game flip and a win for me, as the Bucs went from losing and NOT covering (they were getting two points and trailed 6-3) to scoring a late TD and winning 10-6.


DOLPHINS AT EAGLES (-6): This is precisely the kind of game Miami wins. They got slapped around last Sunday in Buffalo (my only loss of the day) and looked nothing like a competitive team and then here they are this week in Philadelphia against an Eagles team that's 4-4 and firmly in the NFC East division title race. Everything points to the Eagles winning here except I think the Dolphins are screwy enough to go in there and pull out a win, so I'm taking the Dolphins and the six points in a game Miami wins 23-20.

RESULT: Another win and yet another second-half flip, as the Dolphins trailed at one point, 16-3, before mounting a comeback to cover and win outright. I can't figure out Miami. One weekend they go into Buffalo and get smashed, the next Sunday they win at Philadelphia. Weird...


PANTHERS (-4) AT TITANS: Here's another odd looking line. Carolina is 8-0 on the year playing a team that's 2-6 and 0-4 at home and the Panthers are ONLY a 4-point favorite. Huh? In this one, the boys in Vegas are just dying for you to take Carolina. They're not getting me on this one, as I think Tennessee mans up today and not only covers, I think they win outright. Let's take the Titans to end Carolina's perfect season with a 26-19 win.

RESULT: I rolled the dice on this one and lost. I thought Tennessee had a couple of good weeks of football in them after firing Ken Whisenhunt, but it turns out they only had ONE good week and that was in New Orleans LAST Sunday. This loss puts me at 2-2 on the day, but I'm OK, the Broncos are playing the Chiefs in Denver, which should be a win for me with Peyton Manning and Company only giving up 4.5 points to KC.


CHIEFS AT BRONCOS (-4.5): When I saw this spread, I actually checked the injury report to see if Peyton Manning was -- or wasn't -- playing. How is Denver a 4.5 point favorite AT HOME over Kansas City? Wouldn't that roughly be the point spread if the game were being played in Kansas City today? I don't get this number, either. I'll bite, though, and take the Broncos to cover and come out on top today at home, 34-17.

RESULT: Well, I thought that 4.5 point spread was peculiar (see above) and I was right. Damn those jerks in Vegas. They will all be building bigger houses in the off-season because of games like this, where they literally force you to gobble up a strange-looking point-spread and then laugh all the way to the bank. Rat finks.


BEST BET OF THE DAY: I'm going with the Packers (-10.5) as my "Best Bet Of The Day".

RECORD TO DATE: 23-26-1

LAST WEEK'S RECORD: 2-3

BEST BET OF THE DAY (SEASON): 5-4-1

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RETRIEVER ROUND-UP

UMBC baseball fell to in-state rival Maryland, 6-2 on Tuesday afternoon in College Park. The Retrievers fell behind early, but got a two-run home run from Hunter Dolshun to take the lead. However the Terps scored four runs in the sixth to take the victory.

The Retrievers fall to 18-20 on the year while Maryland improves to 32-15 in 2017.