#DMD GAME DAY
Week 12


Sunday — November 27, 2022
Issue #3016

Batimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars

1:00 PM EDT

TIAA Bank Field
Jacksonville, FL

Spread: Ravens (-3.5)



another "tricky" game


Last Sunday, in what we labeled one of those "tricky" games where the Ravens should easily win, the contest with Carolina was anything but easy, as the Ravens needed a second half TD to claim a 10-3 lead en-route to an eventual 13-3 victory over the hapless Panthers.

Sure, the cold and heavy winds didn't help either team offensively. That's for certain. But it was an uneven performance for Lamar Jackson and Company noneteheless. Fortunately, Carolina's offense was horrendous. Hence, the 10-point triumph.

Today in Jacksonville, the Ravens face another one of those "tricky" games, where they are not only favored by the oddsmakers but also expected to win by virtually everyone else, too. This Jaguars team filled with hope and promise at the outset of the season, has once again slipped back to one of the league's worst clubs at 3-7. The Ravens shouldn't have much trouble with them today. But......

How will Ronnie Stanley's absence impact the Ravens today?

We can string together the potential excuses now. Foul weather (rainy today in northern Florida), Lamar playing with a bum hip (missed practice on Friday as a result of it), no Ronnie Stanley or Isaiah Likely (both with ankle issues) -- there's four reasons for a downturn in quality today, if it should occur.

But even in the rain and even with Lamar hobbled and even with guys like Stanley and Likely not able to play, the Ravens should still figure out a way to win this one. It might look a lot like last Sunday's snoozer with the Panthers, but as we always say about NFL games, "It's never about how -- it's only about how many." As in, "how many wins".

A win today pushes Baltimore to 8-3 and gives them a nice cushion in pursuit of the AFC North crown. They're still in the hunt for the #1 playoff seed in the conference as well, with both Kansas City and Buffalo right there as well.

They just can't lose any of these tricky games down the stretch. And they have a number of them still on the schedule, including expected home wins over Denver, Atlanta and Pittsburgh and a visit to the Steel City in two weeks that should be a win as well.

Brush the Jaguars aside today and move on to the next one, I say. 10-3, 20-13, 24-23, 33-13 -- the score doesn't reall matter. Just get a win and get out of there.

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how drew sees today's game


Unlike last week, where I suspected the Ravens would blow out the Panthers, I'm seeing this as a bit closer in Jacksonville.

I'll buy a little bit of stock in the weather hindering the Baltimore offense and I'll assume Lamar's hip injury is problematic enough to somewhat limit him. And without Stanley protecting him, Lamar might need to scamper around more than usual. So, sure, I can see the Ravens having trouble getting in the end zone today.

But I don't see Jacksonville doing much when they have the ball, either. The Baltimore defense is ramping up as the weeks go by and today is going to be another opportunity for them to put the league on notice that "old school" Ravens football is back in a big way.

Lamar runs for 70 yards and throws for 195.

Mark Andrews (who else?) collects 7 catches for 105 yards and scores a touchdown.

Kenyan Drake posts 82 yards on the ground.

And Jason Pierre-Paul scoops up a fumble deep in Jacksonville territory and runs it in for a TD.

Justin Tucker connects on three field goals.

It's 10-3 Ravens at the half. But that lead quickly expands on the first drive of the 3rd quarter and from there they hold on.

The Ravens improve to 8-3 with a 23-10 victory over the Jaguars.

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around the nfl


BUCCANEERS AT BROWNS -- Cleveland's out of the playoffs already, but they're probably thinking if they can steal a win today to improve to 4-7 that there's still a chance they can make a post-season run. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, is just trying to hold serve, win the NFC South, and get at least one home playoff game. The Browns are also hanging on for Deshaun Watson's imminent return, but no matter how many ways you massage Cleveland's season and upcoming schedule, they're done. Tampa Bay 17 - Cleveland 16


BENGALS AT TITANS -- No matter how many ways you slice this one, it's a big game for both teams. The Titans have been rolling of late and come in on 11 days rest. The Bengals are just trying to stay in the playoff race long enough to get Ja'Marr Chase back and healthy. Both teams are really banged up today. It all comes down to a last second field which...Cincinnati misses. Bengals gonna Bengals. Tennessee 24 - Cincinnati 22


Will Derrick Henry and the Titans have enough offense to turn back the Bengals today?

TEXANS AT DOLPHINS -- A friend of mine texted me yesterday and said, "My play of the day on Sunday: Texans outright". Yes, I have some very dumb friends. I mean, sure, it's the NFL and anything can happen and Miami could stub their toe today, but I just don't see that happening when the Dolphins are still very much alive for an AFC East title. Houston is awful. It's one thing if they're 3-7 or something like that. They have 1 win. And that's what they'll have at the end of the game, too. Miami 33 - Houston 13


BEARS AT JETS -- The Jets face one of those "tricky games" today because by all accounts, even with a quarterback controversy on their hands, they should still beat Chicago. But the Bears are starting to put together some offense out there in the Windy City and today's one of those days where they show folks they're actually better than their 3-8 record indicates. The controversy rolls on in New Jersey. Chicago 27 - New York 24


FALCONS AT COMMANDERS -- You could have won some money back in August if you would have said, "You know, that game on Thanksgiving weekend in D.C. will have playoff implications for both teams." People would have thought you were nuts. Alas, here we are, with the Commanders actually in a good spot to make the playoffs if they beat teams like Atlanta over the last six weeks of the season. The Falcons are also turning in a surprisingly good campaign too. Washington 26 - Atlanta 20


BRONCOS AT PANTHERS -- Boy, this one should be a real doozy, huh? And you thought last week's Ravens-Panthers game was drab. If Russell Wilson can't beat Carolina by himself, he should forfeit his game check. Nothing else to say here. It's not worth the energy. Denver 19 - Carolina 16


CHARGERS AT CARDINALS -- It's almost "last gasp" time for the Chargers who are now 5-5 and need to get to at least 10 wins to have a shot at the playoffs. Arizona? They're done. Again. Cardinals gonna Cardinals. We'll take Los Angeles here but it's not with much conviction, that's for sure. Los Angeles 35 - Arizona 29


RAIDERS AT SEAHAWKS -- Seattle is still alive and well in the NFC West, but they need to win games like the one they're hosting today against the lowly Raiders. We've been thinking all along that Las Vegas isn't as bad as they've looked despite the fact their record says otherwise. A week after getting their first road win in Denver, the Raiders pull off another away triumph. Las Vegas 24 - Seattle 21 (OT).


RAMS AT CHIEFS -- At the outset of this season, this one looked like a marquee game on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Instead, it's a dud. The Rams are banged up and out of the playoff picture. Kansas City 38 - Los Angeles 23.


SAINTS AT 49'ERS -- I can't imagine the 49'ers are going to look this gift horse in the mouth, right? New Orleans is awful. And they're especially awful on the road. San Francisco 27 - New Orleans 17


PACKERS AT EAGLES -- Green Bay comes in at 4-7 and this, tonight, is pretty much their season. If they have any hopes at all of pulling a rabbit out of their hat and making the playoffs, they have to win tonight and then run the table the rest of the way. No rabbits will be available in Philadelphia this evening, unfortunately. A-Rod will get that mysterious "back injury" late in this one and won't be seen again in 2022. Philadelphia 31 - Green Bay 20

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Saturday Recap

Group C

Poland 2 - Saudi Arabia 0

Poland largely let Saudi Arabia have the ball and looked to hit on the counter. The Saudis had more shots but Poland had the better chances. Poland went ahead late in the first half when Robert Lewandowski made a nice play to control a low hard cross then cut it back to find an open Piotr Zielinski who slammed home the goal.

Saudi Arabia had a chance to even from the penalty spot shortly after but Wojciech Szczesny came up with the save. After hitting the post with shots twice earlier in the second half, Poland got the insurance goal when Lewandowski pounced on a loose touch from a Saudi defender and put a shot past the keeper.


Argentina 2 - Mexico 0

Mexico took a defense-first approach against Argentina and made it difficult for the South American power for much of the game. Neither team created many chances in this one, but Argentina’s quality eventually shined through.

In the 64th minute, Leo Messi broke the deadlock with a shot so perfect it would have looked like a mistake if it were anyone else. Messi received the ball a few yards outside the top of the box and hit a low hard shot through a tight window that picked out the corner for a 1-0 lead. Substitute Enzo Fernandez doubled the lead late with a spectacular shot of his own to get Argentina back on track in the group with three points.


Group D

Tunisia 0 - Australia 1

Tunisia had more possession and more shots but Australia got an early goal from striker Mitchell Duke and hung on to the 1-0 lead for a win that allows them to control their own destiny against Denmark in the final game.


France 2 - Denmark 1

Neither team found the net in a cagey first half. The game opened up in the second half after France jumped out into the lead. Theo Hernandez and Kylian Mbappe played a nice combination down the left wing that ended with a nice Mbappe finish in the box. Denmark didn’t take long to answer with a headed goal off a corner to even the score.

France kept pressing the attack and found a winner in the 86th minute, when a beautiful Antoine Griezmann ball to the back post found Mbappe who directed it in with his thigh. Despite allowing Denmark slightly more possession in the game, France generated 21 shots to just 10 for the Danes, so it was a well deserved victory and they are well on their way to winning the group.


Sunday Preview –

Group E

Japan v Costa Rica

Key Players

Japan - Wataru Endo - Midfielder

Costa Rica - Keylor Navas - Goalie

Prediction: 2-1 Japan; Costa Rica bounce back after their humiliation against Spain with a better effort, but Japan’s organized press is too much and they get the win.


Spain v Germany

Key Players

Spain - Pedri - Midfielder

Germany - Joshua Kimmich - Midfielder

Prediction: 2-2 draw; Set your DVRs, as this one is the marquee matchup of the group stage, that is unfortunately scheduled against the Ravens game. Germany looks to bounce back from their shock loss to Japan, needing a win against Spain. The Spanish will control the possession and each team will find the net a couple times.


Group D

Belgium v Morocco

Key Players

Belgium - Kevin De Bruyne - Midfielder

Morocco - Hakim Ziyech - Forward

Prediction: 3-1 Belgium; Belgium improves on their performance against Canada and overwhelms the Moroccan defense.


Croatia v Canada

Key Players

Croatia - Luka Modric - Midfielder

Canada - Alphonso Davies - Forward

Prediction: 1-1 draw; After an unlucky loss to Belgium in the opener, Canada keeps their hopes alive with a draw against another tough European opponent. Both teams will be hard to break down

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#dmd comments








unitastoberry     November 27
I hope they let Faalele start at O left tackle lets see what he has> Save Merkari for down the road.

CIK     November 27
The Raven’s are not favored by the oddsmakers? I see Balt -3.5. That would make them the favorite…and also make them favored by the oddsmakers. I agree though that the game is tricky…hence the 3.5 point line. I like under 52.5 (-110) Lamar rushing yards. Hoping for a bad hip & sloppy track. But that kind of bet could also be a loser on the 1st play of the game. Gambling makes this watchable. And the TV ratings are popping right now.

Chris in Bel Air     November 27
Ravens will win today. It won't be pretty, again, but like Drew stated, just get another in the win column. I think the Ravens D will again be the star of the game today. It would be great if they can get healthier. Difficult task this time of year.

Drew - Caps are just past the quarter pole for the season. They have 5 wins in their last 16 games and they are only 2 points ahead of Flyers, even with them losing 10 in a row. Any additional thoughts on their performance and probability of turning it around? It looked like they had a little spark with Oshie's return, until they were waxed last night. Also, their former goalies Vanacek and Samsonov are 2nd and 4th in the league respectively for GAA with their new teams. Keumper has been decent and is currently 16th for GAA. I think that is more about the Caps overall defensive play then anything.

thomas     November 27
Likely being out is an issue for the Ravens? Stanley, absolutely, but Likely? Come on man.

But good to see Drew is back with his weekly picks, time to build up the Christmas gift fund!

Can someone tell me which of these picks will be winners so I don't bet the losers? Thanks

Jk     November 26
Was going to say the same thing as Mike C but he posted first.

Mike c.     November 26
By tying England the USA can still win the group. A loss would have meant they couldn't win the group. If you win the group your first opponent is easier in knock out play. The tie was valuable. Maybe you should do better next time.

Hank     November 26
And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining,



What makes it valuable? A loss would have meant the same - win vs Iran and in.



Do better.

Richard     November 26
I am not really a soccer fan. I’ll keep it on for background noise sometimes. For years I’ve been saying there doesn’t need to be more goals in soccer, but more action around the goals. Moving the goals closer together would ensure more action and for those that don’t like 0-0, I think this would create more fun. Thoughts, but not necessarily from the true soccer fan.

Josh     November 26
0-0 draw is pretty boring. Why not play until someone wins?

Delray RICK     November 26
STEVE CAPE....Don't understand 3 hours of 0-0. If we had that infootball NOBODY WOULD WATCH

henry     November 26
Don's Dad is correct, CHC coach admitted the fake was not called by him, some kind of rugby punt but run if you want option. Kid made up his mind to run on his own, ballsy move for sure. Wonder what the coach would think if he had not made a first down?? Also wonder if no one on Loyola side noticed the regular punter was not in the game?

@Dan, if true, makes your comments even more embarrassing lol. But all good, I know we are all focused on online gambling these days, no time to dwell on the past. Hope everyone is aware eventually the free bets will go away lol.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 26
Like I said before, watching soccer is like watching paint dry !!! Change that, watching paint dry is way more exciting !!!

Eric in Gaithersburg     November 26
Jax has better point differential than Tenn. Theyve lost 5 games by 5 pts or less. This was always gonna be a tougher than people realized game. The story of the Jaguars season is major problems in the redzone. This game comes down to Ravens scorching hot defense controlling Etienne and forcing a few turnovers and somebody stepping up on offense to break the 20 pt barrier. Ill guess a Jags win which should guarantee a Ravens victory😜

Dons dad     November 25
I believe Loyola had a time out left on 4th down yesterday. If they would have made the first down they would have called T.O.

Players on CHC told my son after the game the fake punt wasn't called from the sideline, the CHC player did it on his own.

Dan     November 25
To Henry, I didn't go to Calvert Hall, I attended high school in New York.

Richard     November 25
Happy belated Thanksgiving to Drew and everyone else here. I watched the game yesterday and it really left me scratching my head. It was a very good, well played, and exciting game. However, the coaching in the last 5 minutes was weird. A fake punt, from your own 16 on 4th and 18 is crazy(and I mean that in a nice way). Then Loyola drives the field and on 4th and 1 with 11 seconds left, they run a sweep. If the play doesn’t score, it will use the 11 seconds, as the runner got tackled for a loss with 4 seconds left. I understand(kind of) not kicking the fg(no confidence in kicker), but a sweep-strange.

Unitastoberry     November 25
Lou Michaels rip was probably the worst field goal kicker in Baltimore history. He was also a back up defensive tackle. He missed two chip shots in SB 3? Question is was he paid to miss?

Great soccer coverage.

Delray RICK     November 25
STEVE....At least spell the "GREATEST QB IN HISTORY" right.

Steve of Pimlico     November 25
One of my favorite Memorial Stadium Colt memories was a game the Colts were losing 10- 0 to the Packers.Unitus hit Willie Richardson on a slant pattern for a TD against Herb Adderley.XP attemt by Lou Michaels no good.Colts recover inside kick drive down the field.Facing a 4th and 6 can't kick a FG for tie,Unitus drops back to pass,ducks HOFer Willie Davis and scrambles for a first down.Then he hits Richardson again for game winning TD.

D. Schrute     November 25
Re: Breakfast Bytes... North Carolina actually held off the Portland Pilots not the Portland State Vikings who are playing Gonzaga right now in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

henry     November 24
Dan and the CHC crowd on the ones embarrassing themselves, particularly if you are grown men. It's high school football man, time to move on fellas.

Dan     November 24
Love all the griping on Facebook by Loyola peeps.

You lost. You tried hard and lost. Just take the loss the right way and stop embarrassing yourselves.


William     November 24
@John L, you might want to look up record for the entire series genius.

paul     November 24
People like Billy came here running their mouth last year when LB won. Take your "L" like a man this year.

John L.     November 24
Calvert Hall has won 11 of the last 13 Thanksgiving Day games. Maybe the Dons should move to the C Conference.

Billy     November 24
LOL at KC. No man for others with that guy. Or Hal

K.C.     November 24
Allan crying like a Loyola Loser. You weren't crying last year when the refs gave your TE a first down catch on 4th and 14 were you??????



Like Hal said, can't spell "Loyola" without that Thanksgiving Day "L" !!!



Go Hall!!!

Allan     November 24
And CHC faithful need to give thanks to the refs for that gift of a win. Amen.

Hal     November 24
You can't spell Loyola without the "L".

Hahahahahahahaha

lou@palo alto     November 24
yes, Steve--the old City-Poly game. when we were seniors we beat poly 52-6 w Schmoke at QB. I too remember the Unitas pass to Hinton--what a play caller #19 was! Out here, some golf (72 today) and 9 for turkey at 3p--enjoy the peace!!

Unitastoberry     November 24
@Delray/James -Dundalk. That might have been the longest standing ovation in the history of sports from the time the plane with the banner flew over until after the td pass. Incredible moment still jacks me up after 50 years.

JMP     November 24
Where are todays NFL picks? I need new shoes.

henry     November 24
Loyola played in B conf final the Sat before last year's game, stop making excuses lol.

Delray RICK     November 24
UTB..Was there til the end.

Even the dummyin the plane.




James - Dundak     November 24
To Drew & all the other commenters Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Ravens Go Terps

James - Dundak     November 24
@ U2B I was there as well. My memory is a little fuzzy but, was that also the game with the plane flyover pulling the Unitas We Stand banner. That was classic too.

CIK     November 24
What is the scenario if Calvert Hall & Loyola end up meeting in the MIAA title game? Do they play twice?

Steve of Pimlico     November 24
City Poly was always the best game of my youth played at the Stadium at 1pm.Calvert Hall Loyola was the prelim in the morning.

Unitastoberry     November 24
I'm thankful for so much including being able to keep my nickname on DMD. John Unitas is still the best QB to ever play in Baltimore and his last snap on 33rd Street was in 1972. Came off the bench for Marty Domres and hit #33 Eddie Hinton who yaced it in for a td. I was there. Thank you Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank your creator today and every day.

henry     November 23
Roll Dons roll!

Delray RICK     November 23
AGREE with JOSH. To many getting in HOF that weren't GREAT!! THE HOF ISFOR GREATEST...not a good average year. MANNY could but did he do the nasty?

Josh     November 23
Nah…. Rolen is Hall of Vey Good

Stats Nerd     November 23
I'm not sure the NFLPA is considering that this position would have unintended consequences. Well I'm sure they have considered it but it's apparent they don't care. It could more specifically be called the Guaranteed Quarterbacks Contracts. The Salary Cap is the Salary Cap and any decision to guarantee contracts will have downstream effects on other less "valuable" positions.

So it seems like the guaranteed contract push is not necessarily in the best interest of most of the rank and file but rather just the star QBs and maybe a handful of other players. By definition this will mean less money for other players.

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     November 23
I believe SB said pray for us after the Ravens kicked the tires on Kaepernick. The WC coverage has been excellent. Thank you. It’s not a stretch to think the Brazilian team should win it all. They have enough great players to field 2 teams in the WC. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Go Hall.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
@Chris K - thanks for clarifying. I'm in agreement with Drew as well. Just went about my thinking in a less direct way. Unless there is direct evidence of the owners stating their intentions and collaborating with others then this just seems to be a bunch of hot air.

Dirk,Lerxst & Pratt     November 23
Go Hall! Beat Loyola!



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. F inest T hanksgiving D ay to all!

Chris K     November 23
@chris in Bel Air collusion would be all owners agreeing as a group that they won’t offer guaranteed contracts. Each owner individually can make the personal decision to not do it but if they consulted with another owner or more before making the decision then it’s collusion. I agree with Drew that it’ll be nearly impossible to prove unless there is an electronic or paper trail.



Having said all of that, I completely understand why Bisciotti chooses not to speak publicly because every time he does he sticks his foot in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he say something like “we have our own decision making process and don’t compare ourselves to other team’s decisions”. Reminds me of when he said pray for us after attempting to sweep the Ray rice abuse under the rug. I agree with his decision to not speak publicly because he’s not good at it.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
"For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts."

Sorry, I'm a little dense at times but I'm not completely tracking this. Why do the owners have to be nervous? Are they obligated in some way to offer guaranteed contracts? Is it part of collective bargaining? If it is widely accepted as a "bad business practice" then why would anyone, including the players, think it must happen? If the Raiders, for example, had given D Adams $50M / year to sign with them last offseason, does that mean all other teams should overpay for a WR too? Or are they free to make the best decision for their team? Just because all teams make the same business decision, is that collusion?

With this said, another owner will offer a guaranteed contract. Maybe it will be Lamar and the Ravens. Maybe it is Lamar for another team. Maybe it will be Herbert or Burrow when their five years are up. But someone else is going to view player X as the one that will get them to the Super Bowl and they will over-pay. That much I know.

@Stats - thanks for the added info on the diving and EPL. In the end, I'm just not a fan of the flopping.

Unitastoberry     November 23
Little Jimmy only got 1 championship with Manning. Then he let him go and he did it again in Denver despite neck surgery. He's a jack arse of epic proportions. Chemically infused like his dad. Watson the perv changed the demographic in the league. Wrong person to do it with. If I was SB I'd sell now. I hope he doesn't.

TimD in Timonium     November 23
Well, I'll say this about @MFC - he's here commenting Every Single Day.



Kinda like the Cal Ripken of DMD commenters.

Saturday
November 26, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3015


now that tie feels like a win


Last Monday in Qatar, the U.S. and Wales played to a 1-1 tie which earned the American side one point in their World Cup opener.

It felt to most folks in this country -- at least the ones who follow and know soccer -- like a loss, though. The U.S. dominated the opening 45 minutes and then produced a listless second half that allowed Wales to garner the tying goal late in the contest.

The U.S. and England played to the same result yesterday in the second of three group games. 90 minutes of soccer didn't yield a goal for either side and the ensuing 0-0 draw left the American squad in 3rd place out of 4 teams with just one game remaining in the opening round robin format.

Matt Turner and the U.S. defense produced a "clean sheet" in Friday's important 0-0 tie with England.

But that tie felt like a win to the U.S. team. And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining, next Tuesday vs. Iran. A victory in that one for the U.S. and they're on to the knockout stage of the tournament, which is pretty much all anyone wanted prior to the month-long tournament in Qatar.

Yesterday's game wasn't a virtuoso performance by the U.S. team or anything like that, but a fair study of the 90 minutes would likely lead almost anyone to confess the American side was the better team throughout the game.

Both squads had opportunities to score and 0-0 wasn't a real representation of the offense that was generated throughout the contest. It could have been 1-1 or 2-2 if a couple of misidirected shots were hit more cleanly. Alas, a draw is a draw no matter the number of goals scored.

The only looming issue from the game had more to do with who didn't play for the U.S. For the second contest, highly regarded midfielder Gio Reyna didn't start. Unlike Monday's 1-1 tie with Wales where he didn't see the field at all, Reyna was finally ushered in with under 10 minutes remaining yesterday and wasn't much of a factor. Whether he plays a prominent role vs. Iran on Tuesday is anyone's guess.

One guy who will definitely be on the field next Tuesday is Tyler Adams, who has put an exclamation point on his first-ever World Cup with two masterful performances vs. Wales and England. He has clearly established himself as a player the U.S. can count on for at least the next two World Cups.

Christian Pulisic produced another effective outing on Friday, but the man who scored in the Wales game -- Timothy Weah -- wasn't able to duplicate that excellent outing vs. England yesterday. He was mostly ineffective before being subbed out with 10 minutes remaining.

Haji Wright was the surprise starter up top for Gregg Berhalter's team and looked like he didn't belong for the most part. It would be a surprise if he sees the field vs. Iran next Tuesday. The moment seemed to be too big for him.

The best news of the match was the emergence of Weston McKennie, who had a shockingly poor outing vs. Wales in the opener but bounced back to produce a stellar effort vs. England. The only blemish -- and it was a fairly big one given the final score -- was his inability to finish a quality scoring chance in tight midway through the first half. It wasn't a tap-in or anything like that, but it's a ball a quality offensive player has to put on target at the very least. Despite that, McKennie acquitted himself very well yesterday.

Walker Zimmerman also came through in a big way early in the game to help atone for his faux pas in the Wales game when he fouled Gareth Bale in the penalty area leading to the tying goal. He blocked a Harry Kane sizzler from 12 yards out that might have snuck past U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner if not for Zimmerman's well-positioned deflection of Kane's shot. Although he continued to be erratic with the ball at his feet and twice played sloppy passes that could have spelled trouble for Turner, Zimmerman stood tall in the back yesterday and was one of the reasons for the American clean sheet.

And so it all comes down to one more 90-minute game and a team -- Iran -- the U.S. expects to beat on Tuesday. But Iran shocked Wales on Friday, 2-0, and will advance to the knockout stage with a win over the Americans on Tuesday. So everything is on the line Tuesday for both teams.

A U.S. tie on Tuesday won't help them advance. They have to win to move on to the knockout stage.

10 months ago, after pedestrian away draws with CONCACAF bottom feeders El Salvador, Panama and Jamaica, I wasn't sure the U.S. would qualify for the World Cup, let alone be a win vs. Iran away from moving on to the knockout stage of the tournament. So, despite the sloppy 2nd half play vs. Wales and their inability to score a goal vs. England, the U.S. team needs only to beat Iran to advance out of group play.

Last January, I didn't think that was a possibility.

It all comes down to Tuesday. And if we're being honest, if you can't beat Iran in a win-and-move-on game, you're probably not deserving of a spot in the knockout stage of the World Cup.


U.S. player grades (1 is the worst performance possible, 10 is the best performance possible)

Matt Turner, GK (8) -- Highly confident on crosses and corners and made a nice diving stop of a 2nd half shot that could have given England a 1-0 lead.

Antonee Robinson, DEF (6) -- Had his hands full early on with England's Buyako Saka and lost the ball 15 times in 55 possessions in 90 minutes, but he was a threat going forward in the final 20 minutes when the Americans pressed for a go-ahead goal.

Tim Ream, DEF (8) -- Has been one of the team's more pleasant surprises in his two outings. Looked a little ragged in extra time and lost Harry Kane for a split second that could have been costly had Kane's last minute shot found the target. Overall, though, he handled himself well again.

Sergino Dest, DEF (8) -- If not for McKennie, he would have been the U.S. side's "Man of the Match". Rebounded from a so-so performance against Wales with a superb effort yesterday. He lost possession just 8 times in 50 touches and was much more defensive minded on Friday. A couple of his offensive runs were well timed and effective even though they didn't generate a goal.

Walker Zimmerman, DEF (7) -- A couple of dangerously sloppy passes nicked his grade a bit, but he was stout defensively and was well-positioned to block Kane's first half shot that could have been an opening goal for England.

Tyler Adams, MF (8) -- Sensational. Again. Lost the ball just 9 times in 60 touches and had an explosive, perfect tackle that stopped a scoring chance just outside of the penalty area in the 80th minute. Did a great job marking Mason Mount throughout the game.

Yunas Musah, MF (7) -- Had a better go of it than he did vs. Wales but still couldn't maintain 90 minutes of quality and was subbed out with 12 minutes remaining. Still, for a 19-year old, he's showing the kind of form that should keep him in the U.S. national team picture for the next decade.

Weston McKennie, MF (8) -- "Man of the Match" for the U.S. despite his missed goal scoring opportunity in the first half. Completed 28 of 31 passes and won 4 of 6 ground encounters. Finally gave way to Aaronson after 77 minutes but his performance was precisely what the Americans needed in a game where they really needed to garner at least one point just for confidence if nothing else.

Christian Pulisic, F (8) -- Hit the post in the opening half and had a couple of other dazzling moves going forward that led to U.S. scoring chances. Wasn't bullied like he was by Wales and his confidence soared throughout the game as he was willing to take on multiple defenders with the ball. Despite not having a role in a goal, it was one of his better U.S. performances of 2022.

Tim Weah, F (5) -- Didn't do much of anything. Might have played himself out of a start vs. Iran (Gio Reyna, anyone?) with Friday's lackluster performance. Although the goal vs. Wales was huge, it's fair to point out that other than that, he's done almost nothing to distinguish himself in the first two games.

Haji Wright, F (5) -- A surprise starter for the U.S., he failed to take advantage of his size (6'3") on set pieces and was largely invisible throughout his 80 minutes of action. If Berhalter gives him another opportunity vs. Iran, it would be a major shock.


U.S. substitutes: Aaronson (7...needs to play more), Moore (4...was victimized 30 seconds into his outing and was totally out of his element), Reyna (6...didn't do much, but didn't get a chance to do anything, really), Sargent (5...see Gio Reyna).

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saturday quick hits


Sunday's weather in Jacksonville doesn't look so good (78 with rain/storms) and Lamar's hip is bothering him (again) enough to sit out practice (again). Oh, and Ronnie Stanley (ankle) isn't playing tomorrow.

It "feels" like the Ravens might be due for one of those once-a-season "duds" and maybe the Jaguars play up a notch tomorrow against a team they shouldn't beat. Reasons for concern tomorrow against a bottom feeder Jacksonville team?


Kevin Willard's Terps are off to a 6-0 start but attendance has been dismal early on in College Park.

Maryland basketball is off to a rousing 6-0 start, but the attendance figures are concerning a month into the Kevin Willard era. "Sure, we thought we'd see more people in the seats early on, especially with the record," a Maryland athletic associate told #DMD on Friday night. "But we won't be concerned unless these kind of crowds linger into December and January."

Fair enough. The early-season non-conference schedule certainly wasn't imposing on the court or all that interesting to Maryland fans. They announced 10,000 and some change for yesterday's win over Coppin State. They must have counted cell phones as part of that attendance figure.


One of the interesting elements of online gaming is the inclusion of pre-made single-game parlays where the platform (Bet MGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, etc.) creates a multi-play parlay and offers it to you to wager on. You can't tweak the bet in any way. You simply have to wager that all elements of the offer "hit".

Such was the case last night when one of the platforms offered a NBA in-game parlay of Memphis (-2.5), Steven Adams recording 10+ rebounds, Dillon Brooks hitting 2+ three-pointer and Ja Morant scoring 25+ points. If you don't much about the NBA -- which I don't -- it's a fun, easy way to wager on a game.

I had a free $10 wager to use as part of a registration promotion, so I hit "accept bet" on the NBA in-game parlay and stood to win $57 if all four things happened. Memphis won by 21 points, Adams finished with 11 rebounds, Brooks hit 4 three-pointers and...........Morant finished with 23 points. Not 25. But 23. I had fun following along though and paid attention to a NBA game for the first time all season.

And the platform I used got me to do something I'd never do (even though it was a "free bet" and cost me no real money): Wager on a NBA game. The only sport I'd ever actually wager real money on is golf, because I at least think I know that sport well enough to wager $10 or so on it.


If there was any thought that Tiger Woods is no longer healthy enough to play competitive golf, he's efforting to put those thoughts to bed in advance of 2023. Woods announced yesterday he's "officially" playing in the Parent/Child tournament in Florida, December 17-18.

That schedule change means the 15-time major champion will play competitive golf three straight weekends in December, starting with next weekend at the Hero World Challenge (where he will walk the course), continuing the following weekend with a charity exhibition with McIlroy, Spieth and Thomas (where, it's assumed, the four players will ride) and ending at the Parent/Child (where players have the option of riding in carts).

So, yes, Tiger's not playing in three straight 72-hole golf tournaments or anything stressful like that, but he's feeling well enough to tee it up over three straight weekends with all three events televised for the golfing world to see.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


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Friday Recap

Group B

USA 0 - England 0

In the recent soccer documentary “Welcome to Wrexham” as new soccer team owners, Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds are discussing their team, one of them explains that some ties are more like wins and some are more like losses.

Well, the US men have now experienced both in the first two games of this World Cup.

U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter employed a new formation at the start of Friday's World Cup that frustrated the England squad.

The opening game tie against Wales where the US dominated the first half and led, felt like a loss. This scoreless tie with England, where the US largely outplayed one of the tournament favorites, very much felt like a win. Though it was a scoreless draw, it was certainly not without drama and excitement.

Coach Gregg Berhalter sent out a largely unchanged lineup from the opening game. The only switch from Monday was the insertion of Haji Wright at striker in place of Josh Sargent. Everyone else stayed the same, though the US aligned themselves slightly differently. Instead of their usual 4-3-3 formation, the team set up in a 4-4-2 defensive structure to start this game.

This tweak allowed the front two of Wright and Weah to press the two England center backs and block off the passing lanes into the English center midfielders.

Weston McKennie kicked out wide to the right with Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah in the middle, playing withdrawn from their English counterparts. This tactical adjustment was effective, frustrating England’s ability to play out of the back.

Eventually it forced England to make their own tweak, pushing center mid Jude Bellingham higher and operating with a single pivot in Declan Rice. The US later adapted and reverted to their 4-3-3 with Wright shadowing Rice, in what was a tactical chess match between Berhalter and counterpart Gareth Southgate.

The game got off to a slow start, with each team feeling the other out like two boxers probing at the start of an important bout. The first chance came in the 9th minute, when US fans had their hearts in mouths as Bukayo Saka got to the endline and cut back a pass that found star striker Harry Kane open in the box, but Walker Zimmerman was able to block his shot out for a corner.

The next few chances came to the US as they surprisingly dominated the middle stretch of the first half. In the 26th minute, Tim Weah hit a great, sharp cross that found Weston McKennie open in the box but he couldn’t get on top of his shot and he sent it over the bar. Just two minutes later, Yunus Musah hit a long range strike that deflected off a defender and was saved by English keeper Jordan Pickford.

A few minutes later the US was knocking again, this time a nice combination down the right side eventually found Pulisic on the edge of the box and he ripped a left footed shot that Pickford tipped off the post.

Ten minutes after that in the 42nd minute, Dest broke down the right side and got one on one with Harry Maguire in the box. He was able to get free for a left footed shot but Maguire just got a leg out to deflect it for a corner.

England bounced back at the end of the first half with a couple of decent chances, one from a Luke Shaw cut back to Saka in the box that was hit over the bar and then a long range Mason Mount shot that forced a diving save from Matt Turner.

The second half didn’t produce quite as many chances, but again the US dominated the game in stretches, keeping heavy pressure on the English end. In the 52nd minute, England nearly had a dangerous counter attacking chance after a US turnover, but Tyler Adams darted back to hound Saka and break up the play.

It was an effort indicative of the amazing night Adams had as a defensive presence. In the middle of the second half the US kept the ball in the English end, racking up several corners, but unable to connect on any of them.

Around the 68th minute England made the first substitutions of the game, bringing on Manchester City winger Jack Grealish, who troubled the US back line a bit and helped them get a foothold back in the game. Berhalter countered shortly after, bringing on Brenden Aaronson and Shaq Moore. Aaronson brought some good energy, but Moore struggled to find the game.

After withstanding the US pressure, England had the final chance of the game with a free kick several minutes into injury time. Luke Shaw found Harry Kane in the box but Kane was unable to get his header on goal and it sailed wide.

This was one of the better games the US has ever played at a World Cup. How well it is remembered will largely hinge on what they do in the next game, but should the US advance it will go right up there with past heroic efforts like a 1-1 draw with eventual World Cup winners Italy in 2006 or beating Portugal in 2002 and tying them in 2014.

The Americans did not back down against the most expensive team in the tournament, featuring superstars from all over the Premier League. They set up their defensive line of confrontation about three quarters into the English end, same as they did against Wales, and flustered England.

Though the English had 55% possession in the game, a lot of it was toothless passing along the back line. The US finished with 10 shots to England’s 8 and 7 corners to just 3 for England. Those numbers demonstrate how the US mostly got the better of their highly touted foes. They also ended with a slightly higher expected goals number on the day, though neither team generated a ton of danger.

This game was full of positive individual efforts, but no one was more significant than Tyler Adams.

Though well known to US fans, Adams is having a breakout tournament for anyone unfamiliar. He may have earned himself a ton of money with his effort today with the entirety of the English Premier League watching. Adams was like an old Arnold Schwarzenegger character tvs. England, The Eraser.

Every time it seemed like England had something dangerous brewing, Adams popped up and snuffed it out. He was like the energizer bunny crossed with a heat seeking missile. Its performances like this that leave no wonder as to why he was named captain of the team.

Tim Ream had another standout performance as well, providing a calming presence at the back and doing a good job containing Harry Kane and speedy winger Bukayo Saka, as England repeatedly tried to take advantage of that matchup. Weston McKennie had a much improved showing from the opener against Wales. He was instrumental facilitating play down the right side, with multiple nice passing combinations with Dest and Weah.

Christian Pulisic was also a constant threat to the English defense, and was just a few inches from scoring a dream goal against his teammates from Chelsea. Matt Turner was fantastic once again, coming up with a key save the one time he was called upon. He also showed great command of the box on free kicks and corner kicks and had several nice moments of distribution with his feet.

While this draw was truly a great result against a heavily favored England, it still leaves the US with work to do. The good news is that they control their own destiny on Tuesday. Get a win over a weaker but still dangerous Iran team, and they are in the knockout round. Anything else will leave them regretting missed chances in both the first two games.

The US certainly has the talent to get the job done, and Gregg Berhalter has largely gotten his tactical decisions correct in the first two games.

With Netherlands tying against Ecuador, it even opens the possibility that the US could avoid the toughest opponent from Group A by finishing second in the group behind England. It’s all on the line Tuesday afternoon. The world will be watching.


Wales 0 - Iran 2

This game was heading for a 0-0 draw until Iran scored on a long range strike late in injury time then racked another on a counter attack in the final seconds for a 2-0 win. The loss combined with the USA-England draw means that Wales will need to beat England to have any hope of advancing. Iran will likely just need a draw against the US.


Group A

Qatar 1 - Senegal 3

Senegal jumped out to a two goal lead just after halftime, but Qatar hung in the game, pulling a goal back before Senegal closed the door with a late third goal for a 3-1 win. The loss eliminated Qatar, while Senegal sits a point behind Netherlands and Ecuador in third place.


Netherlands 1 - Ecuador 1

Netherlands went up early with another Cody Gakpo goal on a long range strike. Then Ecuador looked like they had an equalizer before half but it was offside. Ecuador then evened the score early in the second half with Enner Valencia tallying his third of the tournament putting back a rebound. Neither team could break the tie and it ended 1-1, with both teams tied on points at the top of the group. Though Netherlands had the majority of possession, it was Ecuador who produced 15 shots to just 2 for the Dutch.


Saturday Preview

Group C

Poland v Saudi Arabia

Key Players

Poland - Robert Lewandowski - Striker

Saudi Arabia - Salem Al-Dawsari - Left Wing

Prediction: 1-0 Poland; The Polish badly need the win to move even on points with Saudi Arabia after the latter upset Argentina in the first game. Robert Lewandowski will get his first World Cup goal to lead them to a close win.


Argentina v Mexico

Key Players

Argentina - Lionel Messi - Forward

Mexico - Memo Ochoa - Goalie

Prediction: 2-0 Argentina; Argentina was shocked in the opener by Saudi Arabia, though they were largely unlucky and could have won handily. Mexico failed to produce much against Poland and will struggle again here. They will hope that Ochoa can salvage a point for them, but Argentina will be too strong.


Group D

Tunisia v Australia

Key Players

Tunisia - Aissa Laidouni - Midfielder

Australia - Aaron Mooy - Midfielder

Prediction: 1-0 Tunisia; This one will not be worth waking up early for. Australia is one of the worst teams at the tournament and Tunisia will find a way to score one goal and get the three points.


France v Denmark

Key Players

France - Kylian Mbappe - Forward

Denmark - Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - Midfielder

Prediction: 1-1; This should be one to watch with a matchup of two strong European foes. Denmark and France met twice in the recent Nations League with Denmark coming out on top both times. In this one France will look to get their revenge, but a well coordinated Denmark team will escape with a point.

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Friday
November 25, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3014


where are we? we'll know today


The United States has been trying to be competitive in international soccer for a long, long time.

And the emphasis in that sentence above is the word "competitive".

U.S. soccer has made great strides since 1990. In fact, they've played in every World Cup but one since then, with a few advances out of group play into the knockout stage of the tournament(s).

There have been flashes of exceptional play in one-off summer tournaments like the Gold Cup, which generally serves to predict greatness for the American side in the next World Cup.

Christian Pulisic (left) and the U.S. men's soccer team faces a stern test today when they take on England at 2 pm.

And then that World Cup comes and goes without the expected greatness. And things fall back to square one.

The lead-up to this year's World Cup was met with both poor play and outstanding play, as the Americans finished 3rd in the CONCACAF qualifying series to earn their spot in Qatar.

But a close examination of that 14-game slate revealed an almost irritable array of performances. They beat the bottom feeder (Honduras), played frustrating road ties with lousy squads like El Salvador, Panama and Jamaica, lost to the likes of Canada and Costa Rica, and drilled visiting Mexico in a key encounter last November when a loss might have bumped them out of qualifying for this year's World Cup.

Their play leading into this month's World Cup was nothing to write home about. They played a series of uninspired and unimpressive "friendlies" in September, but even those were swatted away with the predictable, "Eh, we didn't have our full team and most guys were playing not to get hurt."

Monday's World Cup opener came and went in a fashion not at all surprising to those who have followed the U.S. National Team over the last eight years.

There was great soccer (20 minutes worth), good soccer (20 minutes worth), decent soccer (20 minutes worth) and bad soccer (30 minutes worth). When it was all said and done, a 1-0 first half lead for the Americans wasn't good enough. They gave up a sloppy second half goal to a Wales squad that was thrilled to steal a point from the game in a 1-1 draw.

And that brings us to........today. The U.S. takes on England in a game that is critically important to the American squad.

For all the talk and bluster about how much American soccer has improved over the last two decades or so, this afteroon in Qatar (2 pm EST kick-off) will tell us the truth.

How much better are we?

A lot better? If that's the case, a win today is possible.

A little better? If the ball bounces right and we defend the life out of the game, a tie can be had.

No better? England's gonna romp all over us.

There's no telling which U.S. team will show up today. The one that thrashed Wales in the first half on Monday? If we get that kind of performance, things are indeed looking up for Gregg Berhalter's team.

But if the American side that we watched lollygag through a spiritless 2nd half on Monday vs. Wales is the team we see today vs. England, we're getting run out of the gym.

This is a big, big moment for soccer in the United States.

Have we improved to the point where we can face an international power on the world's biggest soccer stage and go toe-to-toe with them?

We'll know by 4 pm today.

There's a lot riding on 90 minutes of soccer.


Unless you've been in a cave recently, you know that online sports gambling is alive and running in Maryland. Some of the platforms went live on Wednesday and a few others went live on Thanksgiving morning.

Nearly every online gambling provider is offering "free bets" and "free money" and all that stuff. They're looking to hook you on their service, of course.

You'll need to read the fine print on all of the "free" offers because there are a lot of moving parts to most of them. Yes, they're legit. But there are opt-ins and minimum deposits that have to be made before you can start scarfing up all of that free money that's being thrown around.

I perused one of the online apps last night during the Vikings/Patriots game and you could actually wager on total yards, scoring and so forth in each quarter of the game.

We've come a long way from your dad bringing home one of those "white cards" on Tuesday that had the betting lines for NFL and college games the following weekend.

You remember those. You put down 10 bucks and you won "points" if you could guess 4 out of 4 games correctly. Yeah, those white cards.

Well, now you can sit by your phone or computer while the game is on in front of you and bet that Dalvin Cook gains 55 yards or more in the 2nd half of the Vikings/Patriots game. You can bet that Mac Jones won't throw a 3rd quarter interception. Or, you can bet that he does throw in. Whatever you want to bet, your app will take the wager.

Like most things, the novelty of this will eventually wear off and the state's most ardent gamblers will make up a bulk of the wagering action. For now, though, my social media timeline is filled with people who are posting their betting slips and bragging about "beginner's luck".

Someone posted three slips yesterday with the caption: "I never knew it was this easy! Made three $50 bets and won all three!"

One of the three was a two-game parlay that earned him a $280 payout on a $50 bet.

And now.......he's hooked.

Which is precisely what his sportsbook provider wanted in the first place.

You can just hear the marketing folks now: "Look at this guy. He just went 3-for-3 with his first 3 bets. He's up about $500 on us. We'll have that $500 back and $500 more from him by this time next week."

If you like to gamble on sports you've found your oasis right here in the Free State.

Just be careful...

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fake punt, late kick lifts calvert hall over loyola


A couple of players from Calvert Hall made memories that will stay with them for a lifetime at the 102nd Turkey Bowl.

Ricardo Cooper ran 23 yards on a fake punt deep in his own territory late in the fourth quarter for an improbable first down.

That led to a go-ahead 33-yard field goal by Dylan Manna with 1 minute, 34 seconds remaining ,and the Cardinals edged Loyola Blakefield, 17-14, before an announced crowd of 8,529 at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium on Thanksgiving Day.

Calvert Hall celebrates Thursday's 17-14 win over Loyola in the 102nd Turkey Bowl at Towson University.

“I was very nervous with all the noise,” Manna said about the winning kick. “I will remember this for the rest of my life and I’ll sure brag about it too.”

Calvert Hall avenged a loss from last season in the Turkey Bowl, winning for 11th time in the past 13 games in the oldest Catholic school football series in the nation.

Loyola leads the all-time series 50-44-8.

The Cardinals (7-6) were coming off a 34-10 loss to Archbishop Spalding in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship game on Friday. Last year, the Cardinals won the A Conference title but lost to Loyola, 41-35, less than a week later for the first time since 2013.

Calvert Hall players and coaches talked about getting revenge after that setback and managed to come through in the end.

The Dons (4-6) converted a key fourth-and-7 from the Cardinals’ 28 midway through the third quarter on a pass from sophomore quarterback Brad Seiss to AJ Szymanski, who has committed to play next season at Maryland. Seiss then threw a 14-yard touchdown to Shane Elliott and Loyola had its first lead, 14-7.

The Cardinals responded on the ensuing drive with a 29-yard pass from Noah Braddock to Oliver Redd that tied the game, 14-14, with 1:28 left in the third quarter.

The Dons appeared poised for solid field position midway through the fourth quarter before Cooper took the snap for the punt on his 6 yard line and found a seam on the near sideline for the first down to set up the go-ahead kick by Manna.

“I told them before I got there, ‘I am running regardless. I don’t care how you block, I am running regardless,’” Cooper said. “I was looking at the sticks to see how far I was and I got the first down.”

The Dons, however, did not go away and they converted a fourth down deep in their own territory on a 10-yard pass from Seiss to Marcus Hines. Loyola managed to drive the ball deep into Calvert Hall and faced a fourth-and-1 from the 16. However, running back Kendrick Worthington was bottled up by a gang of Calvert Hall defenders for no gain with 11 seconds left to turn the ball over on downs and Calvert Hall had their much-desired victory.

“It’s emotional,” Calvert Hall coach Josh Ward said. “We had a tough first half and we came out and didn’t do what we needed to do early in the second half. But our guys are resilient and came through. We finished strong.”


This story was written by Todd Karpovich and originally appeared in The Catholic Review on November 24, 2022.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Thursday Recap –

Group G

Switzerland 1 - Cameroon 0

In an evenly played game, Switzerland found Breel Embolo open in the box for a goal just after halftime. The Swiss held on for the remainder to pick up the 1-0 win and a crucial three points.


Group H

Uruguay 0 - South Korea 0

An end to end affair for large chunks of the first half, the game settled down after the half. South Korea missed the best chance of the game with an open shot in the box skied over the goal. Fede Valverde pinged a late long range blast off the post but that was as close as either side got to scoring in the 0-0 draw.


Portugal 3 - Ghana 2

Cristiano Ronaldo missed two decent chances in the first half but earned and converted a penalty in the second to put Portugal up 1-0. The game broke open from there, with Ghana answering then Portugal putting in two more for a 3-1 lead.

Ghana pulled back one more then the Portugal keeper nearly earned a spot on the all-time bloopers real getting his pocket picked from behind by a Ghanaian attacker in the final seconds, but his defenders saved him from disaster and Portugal won 3-2.


Friday Preview –

Group B

USA v England

The USA take on group leaders and one of the favorites to win the cup, England, on Friday at 2pm. The Americans are heavy underdogs in this one, with a large talent disparity between the two teams. Realistically, a draw would be an amazing result for the US and would set them up to control their own destiny against Iran. However, even a one goal loss could set the US up well going into the final group game, with goal differential being the first tiebreaker.

Oddly enough, England has never beaten the US at the World Cup. The teams have met two times, with the Americans pulling off an upset with a 1-0 win in 1950 and again securing a 1-1 draw that helped them win the group in 2010.

Given the vastly different nature of this matchup from the opener, coach Gregg Berhalter will have some tough lineup decisions to make.

The US will probably take a more cautious and defensive approach against England, allowing them to have more control of the ball. This would suggest going with the “MMA” midfield trio of McKennie, Musah and Adams once again, as they provide great defensive coverage.

However, in the Wales game McKennie did not look sharp, after missing the pst several weeks for his club Juventus. He also seemed to get gassed by the end of the first half. This may call for one of Brenden Aaronson or Gio Reyna to take his spot in the midfield, and even if McKennie starts I would expect him to be subbed early in the second half.

Berhalter has said that the decision to leave Reyna on the bench was purely a coaching choice against Wales. Though it seems that could be gamesmanship because it is unfathomable that a healthy Reyna wouldn’t have provided a late boost as a sub with the US needing a goal.

So if Reyna is not fully healthy, it could be Aaronson who gets the call to start. He would bring outstanding energy to press the deeper English midfielders and also provide the ability to quickly push the ball on counter attacks. Aaronson is also familiar with the English team, playing many of them week in and week out in the Premier League.

The other lineup question surrounds who to start up top. Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah seem like locks to start after playing relatively well and combining for the lone US goal against Wales. Josh Sargent likely did enough against Wales to keep his starting spot as well, especially considering he provides a better outlet and set piece target than the smaller Jesus Ferreira, in the event the Americans need to consistently play long out of the back.

As discussed above, Berhalter will likely opt to play a bit more reactive and defensive minded against the more talented England. The US used a similar approach to good effect in their two qualifying matches against Mexico, looking to play direct on the counters rather than trying to work for chances in possession.

While the Americans may press situationally, applying their usual high press consistently against England could be a recipe for disaster. The US center backs will need to constantly keep an eye on the dynamic Harry Kane, while being cautious not to get pulled out of position by his frequent movement.

When the Americans get the ball they will look to strike quickly while England is unsettled, with Josh Sargent often dropping back to open space for Pulisic and Weah to run into the channels or behind the back line. Tyler Adams’s ability to win tackles and spark the counter could be key in this game.

Though every World Cup game is of vital importance, this one should provide the US with extra motivation. Not only is their fate in the tournament potentially on the line, many of these players are teammates or frequent opponents of the English players. Most of them grew up watching the English Premier League and they will surely have the fire to take on this challenge.


Wales v Iran

Key Players:

Wales - Garett Bale - Forward

Iran - Mehdi Taremi - Striker

Prediction: 0-0 draw; It’s debatable what the best result for the US is here. An Iran win would likely mean the US can control their destiny as long as they don’t get blown out by England. A draw would also be a decent result for the US, but would leave the door open for them to get knocked out if Wales beat England in the last match. Both of these teams are better defending than attacking so I see this one ending scoreless.


Group A

Qatar v Senegal

Key Players

Qatar - Akram Afif - Forward

Senegal - Kalidou Koulibaly - Center back

Prediction: 1-0 Senegal; Senegal will dominate an overmatched Qatar, but struggle to find the back of the net without injured star Sadio Mane. They will nick one for the win to keep their knockout hopes alive.


Netherlands v Ecuador

Key Players

Netherlands - Virgil Van Dijk - Center Back

Ecuador - Moises Caicedo - Midfield

Prediction: 2-1 Netherlands; This should be a fun game with both teams willing to play with the ball and take the action to their opponent. Ecuador gives the Dutch a stiff test but a potent Dutch attack gets the better by a goal to strengthen their position at the top of the group.

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faith in sports


Daniel Sepulveda was one of the best punters in the NFL during his career -- but it wasn't an easy journey to the top.

This 6-minute video that's part of the "I Am Second" video series is one of the best ones they've ever produced. Sepulveda gives a thorough, honest review of his NFL journey and how his faith played a role in balancing his success with the rest of his life.

Six minutes. That's all you need to watch this great video. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and give 6 minutes of your day to this video, please.

Thanks, as always to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of Drew's Morning Dish and our "Faith in Sports" segment each Friday.



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Thursday
November 24, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3013


"to give thanks"


I got the first of my three Thanksgiving gifts last night.

Yes, I know what you're thinking: "We get gifts on Thanksgiving? Who knew?"

The first gift was the Capitals beating the Flyers. In overtime, no less. Sure, those rat-fink Flyers secured a point in D.C. by extending the game to overtime, but they didn't get two points, because Alex Ovechkin's OT goal pushed the Caps to a 3-2 win.

Ahhhhhhhhh...you hate to see it.

As I mentioned on Twitter last night, folks all around the country got to utter the three best words in sports around 9:45 pm on Wednesday evening.

The.

Flyers.

Lose.

Someone on my timeline hopped in a while later with what they said were three great words in sports. "Return to Glory", from Jim Nantz, who said that back in April of 2019 when Tiger rolled in a short putt at Augusta National on the 72nd hole to capture his 15th major championship.

I didn't feel like nitpicking on Thanksgiving Eve, but Nantz's "line" was actually four words, not three. "The return...to glory" he said as the ball went in the hole and Tiger raised his arms in victory.

Either way, it was, in fact, a return to glory. "Return to glory" is three words. So, anyway...

I got that Capitals win last night, which was especially gratifying. The turkey wouldn't have tasted as good today if one of those creeps in white would have scored in overtime. Instead, it was Ovi's 790th career tally that upgraded our turkey-taste today and, I point out with much delight, got Thanksgiving off to a somber start for the Flyers and their fans.

Name something better than the Caps beating the Flyers.

Right. I can't come up with anything either.


Today at 10:00 am at Towson University, I get my second Thanksgiving gift as I'll be hanging out in a sea of red with 6,000 or so other Calvert Hall faithful as the Cardinals take on the Loyola Dons in the 102nd edition of the "Turkey Bowl".

A near sellout is expected at the game, with game time temperatures in the 50's. It's a great way to start your Thanksgiving morning in Baltimore, whether you're there in person or watching on TV.

Note: If you didn't go to either school but you're still casually interested in the game today, might I suggest that you root for Calvert Hall. Thanks.

The game is the annual season-ender for both teams. Calvert Hall went 6-6 in the regular season and advanced to the MIAA A-Conference championship game before falling to Spalding. Loyola returned to the A Conference after a short stint in the B Conference and posted a 4-5 overall mark. They did not make the A-Conference playoffs.

Earlier this week, I was asked by a local reporter what it feels like to be a coach at Calvert Hall during "Turkey Bowl" week.

"Do you feel a greater sense of excitement knowing what's at stake on Thanksgiving Day and does the rivalry spill over to your sport?"

I think we, as coaches, all feel a little bit for Cardinals' head football coach Josh Ward, because this game means a lot more than it probably should, if we're all being honest. Last year they won the MIAA title but lost the Turkey Bowl and I think it's safe to say most of the CHC community remembers losing to Loyola more than winning the conference championship.

It's tough when you put all on the onus on one game, especially when -- in Calvert Hall's case this season -- you just played last Friday night in the playoffs and now you're teeing it up again six days later.

But it's definitely exciting to be part of it, even as an outsider who coaches a spring sport and is in no way connected to the football team or the players. I definitely want Calvert Hall to win today, but what I want more than anything is for no player on either team to suffer any kind of significant injury. If everyone gets out of the game healthy, that's really all that matters.

Come spring time, every team we face is the same. We want to beat them all. We play 12 "Turkey Bowl" games in golf. As I jokingly (mostly) say to my team at the beginning of the season: "I don't like anyone on the day we play them."


My third Thanksgiving gift comes later this afternoon when I sit down with my family to enjoy a great meal and spend time together on a beautiful late November day.

My son, of course, is a Calvert Hall sophomore, so he's particularly interested in today's Turkey Bowl. We might sneak out for a few holes of golf after the game, but by 4 pm, my family of four will be gathered around the dining room table.

Giving thanks in a prayerful setting is something that's important to us. Each family member will pray at the table. We all have a lot to be thankful for, both as a family and individually. I asked my two children earlier in the week to start thinking of their "thankful" list and incorporate it into their Thanksgiving Day prayer.

Speaking of being thankful, I saw this online on Tuesday and thought it was awesome. It's a list of five people you can reach out to today in light of the Thanksgiving spirit. It might take an hour or so of your time today, but it will be well worth it.

Call a friend or family member you haven't spoken with in 2022 and tell them you're thankful for their love.

Call someone you've drifted from or perhaps have experienced a falling out with and tell them you were thinking about your previous better days together and that you're thankful for those moments with them.

Call a former co-worker, roommate or other close acquiantance that you no longer speak with regularly and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.

Go through your "contacts list" on your phone and identify how many you have in total. Then ask someone (family member, friend, etc.) to randomly pick a number within the total of your contacts (if you have 100 contacts, ask them to pick a number between 1 and 100). When they pick the number, call the person that number represents and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sit alone for 3 minutes today and think about all of the people in your life that are important to you. It's likely a vast, significant number. Pick one of those people and call them and start the conversation with this: "I'm thinking of all of the people in my life who are important to me...and you're important. So I'm calling you to wish you Happy Thanksgiving."

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

Above all, be thankful for what God has done for you.

1 Peter 4:10-11 -- Each of you has been blessed with one of God's many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well. If you have the gift of speaking, preach God's message. If you have the gift of helping others, do it with the strength that God supplies. Everything should be done in a way that will bring honor to God because of Jesus Christ, who is glorious and powerful forever. Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

And Go Hall!

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Wednesday Recap –

Group E

Germany 1 - Japan 2

In the most entertaining game of the tournament thus far, Japan upset Germany with a second half comeback to win 2-1. Ilkay Gundogan scored a penalty after a foul by Japanese keeper Shuichi Gonda to put Germany up 1-0 in the first half.

After each team had goals called back for offside later in the half, Japan came out energized in the second half, pressing hard.

The enthusiastic Japanese press caused Germany all kinds of problems, allowing Japan to get back in the game.

Both teams had multiple good chances in the second half, but Gonda made several great saves to keep the score close.

Finally in the 74th minute Japan scored the goal that had been coming for them. Rather than dropping off and playing for the draw, Japan kept pressing and got the game winner in the 83rd minute, pulling off the upset.

Spain 7- Costa Rica 0

Costa Rica was completely outmatched by Spain and not even Keylor Navas could save them. The Spanish sliced and diced the Ticos for three first half goals. In the second half Costa Rica pressed higher to try to get back in the game and that just exposed them to more torture as Spain poured in the goals, finishing 7-0.

Spain had six different goal scorers with Ferran Torres netting two. With 82% possession, Spain set a record for passes completed in a World Cup game, while Costa Rica became just the second team since 1966 to finish a World Cup game with zero shots (the other was also Costa Rica).


Morocco 0 - Croatia 0

In contrast to the two games above, this one didn’t produce much excitement. Croatia was the slightly better team but neither side created much in attack in the 0-0 draw.


Belgium 1 - Canada 0

Canada took a tough 1-0 loss in their first World Cup match since 1986. The top qualifiers from CONCACAF largely outplayed Belgium throughout the game, creating 3 big chances to none and taking 22 shots to just 9 for Belgium.

However, an early missed penalty kick from star Alphonso Davies came back to haunt the Canadians, as Belgium took advantage of their one big chance with Michy Batshuayi scoring off a long ball over the top and got the 1-0 victory.


Thursday Preview –

Group G

Switzerland v Cameroon

Key Players

Switzerland - Granit Xhaka - Midfielder

Cameroon - Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

Prediction: 1-0 Switzerland; Two teams with good goalies and solid defenses keep this one low scoring. Switzerland finds a goal off a set piece to get a close win.


Brazil v Serbia

Key Players

Brazil - Neymar - Forward

Serbia - Segej Milinkovic-Savic - Midfielder

Prediction: 3-1 Brazil; Serbia’s potent attack threatens Brazil several times and does find the net, but they’re weaker defense can hold off a star studded Brazilian front line.


Group H

Uruguay v South Korea

Key Players

Uruguay - Fede Valverde - Midfielder

South Korea - Son - Forward

Prediction: 2-0 Uruguay; South Korea struggles to find gaps in the well drilled Uruguayan defense with star forward Son at less than 100%. Meanwhile the South American midfield dominates the game and helps set up several chances for dangerous attacker Darwin Nunez.


Portugal v Ghana

Key Players

Portugal - Bruno Fernandes - Midfielder

Ghana - Thomas Partey - Midfielder

Prediction: 1-0 Portugal; A pair of defensive minded teams produce a slog of a game but Portugal’s talent wins out and they get the bulk of the chances, managing to find the net once.

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Wednesday
November 23, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3012


colluding? prove it


Hell hath no fury like a NFL owner scorned.

Or something like that...

It's going to get very "public" now, given that the players and their hired guns - the Players Association - have filed a grievance claiming that the NFL and its teams (aka "the owners") have colluded against players' pursuit of fully guaranteed contracts.

We're indeed in interesting times when billionaires and millionaires simply can't get along and enjoy the fruits of their various accomplishments.

Friends? Or foes? What will come of the collusion claim by the NFL Players Association that might involve Lamar Jackson and the Ravens?

A neutral third party will hear the collusion claim. More on that in a second.

The issue almost certainly involves the Ravens and owner Steve Bisciotti. Whether they'll be "Exhibit A" remains to be seen, but sources indicate the team's negotiation with Lamar Jackson is part of the grievance since it's now known that the 5th year quarterback asked for his long-term contract to be fully guaranteed and the team rejected that idea.

Speaking at the owner's meetings last March, Bisciotti referenced the guaranteed deal provided to Deshaun Watson by the Cleveland Browns.

"I'm trying to answer that when I had a reaction to it. And it's like, 'Damn, I wish they hadn't guaranteed the whole contract,'" Bisciotti said at those NFL meetings. "I don't know that he should've been the first guy to get a fully guaranteed contract. To me, that's something that is groundbreaking, and it'll make negotiations harder with others. But it doesn't necessarily mean that we have to play that game, you know? We shall see. If I was in bogged-down negotiations with Lamar, then maybe I would have a quicker reaction to that news."

Whether those words are enough to sway a 3rd party mediator remains to be seen. This is going back 25 years or more, but I was involved in three separate player-team grievances with the old MISL Players Association and on each occasion when they used a "neutral" mediator I always wound up feeling like the mediator was against me from the minute I walked in the room.

Who picks the mediator? That was always my question. If I'm not picking the mediator, I'm probably losing. I don't know who gets to pick and/or approve the mediator in the NFL "collussion" grievance but the picking party will be the winning party. That's just my guess.

But the quest to prove the NFL is colluding against giving out guaranteed contracts is going to be very difficult to do.

Anyone with a brain knows it's bad business to fully guarantee anyone's contract. But knowing it's bad business and conspiring with the other owners in the league to keep all contracts non-guaranteed are two different things.

Good luck actually proving that Bisciotti is talking with Jones, who is talking with Blank, who is talking with Rooney, who is talking with Hunt and so on and so on. Maybe those guys are dumb enough to put "collusive talk" in a text or an e-mail but I doubt it. That's where "proving it" takes center stage.

And there's a huge difference between a neutral mediator and an actual court case. It could go to court someday. That's entirely possible. For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts.


This, of course, is precisely why every NFL owner nearly had a coronary last March when the Browns produced the idiot-move-of-the-century by fully guaranteeing Watson's new contract. When there's one...there becomes two...and then three...and then, within about five years, every quarterback in the league gets a fully guaranteed contract.

Browns gonna Browns. On the field. And off the field, too.

I think proving collusion is going to be very difficult, unless one or two (or more) owners somehow exchanged condemning texts or e-mails regarding a collective effort to not provide fully guaranteed contracts. In a weird twist of fate, the fact that the Browns actually went ahead and did it with Watson might be a game-saver for the owners.

"If we all were in collusion, how come the Browns gave Watson a fully guaranteed deal?"

It's not quite the way Daniel Kaffee snagged Colonel Jessup in "A Few Good Men", but it's in the ballpark. "I'm wondering why Santiago wasn't packed? But we'll get back to that one in a little bit."

Proving collusion is tough. Assuming or thinking it's going on isn't all that far fetched. My guess, as I've said, is that no owner wants to fork over a fully guaranteed deal to any player. It's not good for business. But that doesn't mean there's collusion, either.

Worst of all? The Ravens are going to be in the middle of this mess and it might not be good for their business.

Again, this is apples to oranges, but in one of the contract situations I was involved in with the soccer team, the mediation process became so tense and so personal that even though the 3rd party ruled in our (the team's) favor, we wound up trading the player away because the relationship had been spoiled.

And if my memory serves me well, I think we were fighting over the difference between $56,000 and $72,000.

The Ravens and Lamar might be scrapping over $100 million or more in guaranteed monies. Things get said in mediation that wind up being regretted later on down the line. Occasionally, as the great Neil Young once said, "the damage done".

And what will the NFL owners think -- as a group -- about the people they've helped to build their respective lives of luxury?

"You're making $10 million a year playing football?"

"I fly you all over the country on chartered flights. Put you up in the best hotels. Feed you like a king."

"And this is what you give me in return?" What I do for you isn't good enough?"

You can just hear the owners now, perhaps over a glass of Silver Oak or an expensive taste of bourbon, lamenting how the very people they've propped up are now squeezing them publicly for all to see.

"How dare them..."

Meanwhile, the players are eager to squeeze and squeeze and squeeze some more. They have an easy out, too. They can all just blame the Players Association.

"I'm just a football player...I have to let the union do their job. That's why we hired them."

Someone will win this particular fight.

The mediator might rule that the NFL hasn't done any colluding and the players will feel cheated.

Or the mediator might rule that collusion has taken place and the owners will feel scorned.

No matter what results the grievance yields, the bet here is the winner will wind up regretting their victory.

And that will eventually beg the question: "Was it really a win?"

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i wish i had a ballot


It's time once again for all of us to argue about who belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame and who doesn't.

Pete Rose doesn't.

Scott Rolen in Cooperstown? #DMD says without a doubt, yes.

I'm never changed my opinion on Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod and the rest of the steroid guys. I'd vote all of them in if they allowed a notation to be placed at the bottom of the HOF plaque that indicated their various "associations" with steroids.

Bonds' plaque would reference BALCO. Clemens' plaque would include a sentence about his inclusion in the Mitchell Report and testifying before Congress. A-Rod's plaque would mention his public admission of PED use.

Otherwise, I say "no go" on those guys.

But there's one player who belongs in without question and that's Scott Rolen. I'll listen to your argument in favor of Todd Helton or Billy Wagner. Carlos Beltran is a newcomer to the ballot and he'll get lots of push, despite his own steroid rumors and the "trash can stuff" at Houston in 2017.

Scott Rolen, though, is a no brainer. At least to me.

A player needs to receive 75% of the votes to get into Cooperstown. Rolen picked up 63% last year. Close but not enough.

This should be his year.

Rolen was an 8-time Gold Glove third baseman. His "average" season at the plate in his 17 year career: 25 HR's, 41 doubles, 102 RBI and a batting average of .281. You put up those kind of numbers, you're one of the best defensive third basemen of your generation, and you're not a Hall of Famer? #clownshoes for every HOF voter

Oh, and stat nerds will point to his 70 WAR number when they say, "Scott Rolen is definitely a Hall of Famer!"

If I had a ballot this year, Rolen would be on it.

Frankly, he might be the only guy on it. I think a lot of other players were good. Some were really good. Scott Rolen was great.

Hall of Fame players should be the best at their position for some extended period of time. Rolen was one of the best third basemen of the last 25 years. Send that man to Cooperstown.

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The Stats Nerd
And His Numbers


Contributed by #DMD's data and numbers analyst
The Stats Nerd


a couple of random thoughts


Not a lot exciting happened in the Ravens/Panthers game on Sunday (that may be an all time understatement) so I thought I’d bring up 2 things that I found interesting over the last week or so. One is analytics related while the other isn’t really.

Brandon Staley –

A year ago Brandon Staley of the Chargers was one of the hot young coaches in the NFL. He embraced analytics wholeheartedly which made a lot of sense with a rising star of a QB in Justin Herbert. He was seen, at least amongst the analytics community, as a shining light in the coaching ranks for making savvy in game decisions and defending those process based decisions regardless of outcome.

Some of the decisions he made flew in the face of conventional wisdom. I recall a 4th and short on their own 18 in last year’s season finale where the Chargers had to win to make the playoffs. There was a series of failed 4th down conversions in a Thursday night game against Kansas City that ultimately ended in a loss.

In the eyes of some, he was a swashbuckling gambler who was, maybe, in over his head. To others he was the face of process oriented decision making that should be the model for the league. After all, his 4th down decisions to go for it were successful 22 out of 34 attempts last season. Clearly he was onto something right?

Well the traditional media types disagreed. They labeled him reckless and lacking in experience. They snickered that this was not the way the NFL worked. In some cases, commentators seemed to show contempt that Staley and the Chargers would dare challenge conventional strategy.

Never mind that in most cases the decisions made last season were largely +EV from a win probability perspective (ie pre snap WP%). That they didn’t work in some high leverage spots became a rallying cry for the perceived simplistic nature of his decision making.

Well something weird has happened this year. Staley has toned down his 4th down decisions CONSIDERABLY and the pendulum has swung entirely in the other direction. He seems to be making poor decisions that steal valuable WP% points from his team.

For example, in two games against the Chiefs this season Staley has eschewed +WP% 4th down decisions for the “traditional” decision to punt. In the first game back in Week 2 Staley’s punt decisions cost the Chargers a cumulative 7+% JUST IN THE FIRST HALF! That is incredibly hard to overcome.

This past Sunday night a situation arose that Staley himself last season would have called a “Green Light special”. The Chargers had the ball on their own 34 yard line facing a 4th and less than 1 and he elected to punt. The various models I reviewed showed this as a loss of 4-6% in WP%.

But even more disappointing than the decisions themselves was Staley’s response to questions about these spots. A year ago he was decisive and clearly articulated his goal of increasing his team’s win probabilities. He recognized that in doing so sometimes outcomes would “look” bad but that he trusted in his process and the work he and his staff did off the field.

This Sunday his responses were a word salad of “...I didn’t want to swing momentum their way” and “We had been stopped on a couple of short yardage plays”. Which is strange because at that point the Chargers had been 5 of 6 on 3rd/4th and 1 in the game including 3 of 3 on QB sneaks.

He sounds like a totally different coach. Did all of the media scrutiny get to him and force him to back off the analytic decision making? That would be bad. Did his GM or management give him an edict to play more “by the book”? Also bad.

Or did he truly feel in that situation that his team’s chances weren’t as good as the modeling suggested? That could make some sense although he kinda, sorta never really says that. Also I would say that giving up large WP% based on gut and on the field instinct isn’t good long term. In close decisions then sure that additional color or gut can be important and can make sense to factor. But giving up 4-6% WP in ONE PLAY against a team with Patrick Mahomes as their QB is a recipe for a loss.

Of course, the response to these mistakes creates nowhere near the reaction that unsuccessful though mathematically correct decisions create. It seems these more “hidden” errors aren’t really even recognized or seen by most commentators while the unsuccessful tries are often uniformly lambasted. It’s a strange dichotomy of thought.

Punting the ball is by definition a turnover. Admittedly, it does have the benefit of improved field position but nevertheless it is a decision to turn the ball over to the other team’s offense. In the incredibly competitive AFC these incorrect decisions could accumulate and just might keep the Chargers out of the playoffs.


Jeff Saturday –

Look no one wants the Colts and Irsay family to fail as much as most of us DMD readers. But the reaction to Jeff Saturday being named INTERIM head coach after the firing of Frank Reich by ex coaches and players was positively embarrassing. It almost made me want to see the Colts succeed just to shut down some of these blowhards. Almost.

By all accounts, Saturday is a well liked guy that shouldn’t have trouble garnering the respect of his players for an organization that he spent most of his career with. He is a 6 time Pro Bowler, 2 time All Pro and a member of the Colts Ring of Honor. The man was a heck of a football player.

Now admittedly he had virtually no coaching experience. In fact, he had previously turned down opportunities to be on the Colts staff but declined for personal, lifestyle reasons.

Meanwhile, the Colts were in disarray, for whatever reason, under Frank Reich this season. The offense was struggling mightily and they were 3-5-1 when Reich was relieved of his duties. Perhaps Irsay wanted a voice in the room that he was comfortable with or knew what the Colts Way (whatever that may be internally). And so he turned to a familiar face.

But the vitriol that was slung at Saturday was ridiculous. Bill Cowher called his INTERIM hiring “a disgrace to the coaching profession”. He continued saying “coaching is about commitment and sacrifice” and “it’s not just a job. It’s a lifestyle”. Rex Ryan echoed those same sentiments on his TV show. Kyle Brandt had a long winded diatribe on NFL Network saying it was a “huge backhand to every man or woman” who has dedicated their lives to coaching.

To which I say…give me a break. You aren’t doctors saving cancer patients. You aren’t lawyers defending innocent defendants.

It’s football. A game. A high stakes, big money game to be sure. But still a game.

Perhaps, Saturday and Irsay reached an agreement that this would truly be an interim thing. Maybe the Colts will do a truly exhaustive search for their new head coach in the offseason and Saturday has stated clearly that he only wants to play out this season.

The thing is…of course the coach is important, very important. They set the tone for the team, how they are organized, what they are going to focus on, etc. All of those things are true over the long term. And it is also true that coaching IS hard and does require commitment.

But in this case, the Colts were a garbage team with an impotent offense. They appeared listless in their games and yet somehow managed not to be out of their division race (at the time). No matter who came in it wasn’t going to be some massive shift in focus or team strategy. They were 9 games into the season and completely turning everything around would have been unrealistic.

But lo and behold they won their first game under Saturday 5 days after his hiring. And then this past weekend they led the NFC leading Eagles by 10 heading into the 4th quarter. They ultimately lost by 1 point but from what I saw (admittedly limited) played hard throughout the game.

Coaches can’t control everything. Of course, they have a target on their back but a coach can do everything right and their team still struggle to win games. Injuries happen, players underperform, fluky plays happen, whatever. The reality is that roughly half of the games in the NFL are one score games. The edges are often razor thin.

As much as we fans want to find a culprit for every team's misfortune, sometimes it’s a lot of things. Some coaches are clearly not meant for the league: see Joe Judge. While others seem made to order as head coaches. But not every team failure can be the fault of one singular person. In fact, I’d argue that rarely is the case.

The sanctimony of some of these former NFL coaches and players is really quite ridiculous. We don’t know what is going on behind closed doors and even if we did, the idea that whole groups of millionaire coaches are being disgraced is simply laughable.

Do I think this hiring strategy should be the wave of the future? Absolutely not. There are rules in place, namely the Rooney rule, that must be adhered to before naming a permanent coach. I assume that the Colts will go through that process in the offseason. Perhaps I’m being naive.

But the hand wringing and navel gazing of Cowher and his ilk is off putting at least to me. In many ways, it reminds me of the way these same characters are dismissive of analytics or anything that doesn’t comport with their world view of how football should be played.

Relax. It’s a game. Yes it matters to us week to week but in the grand scheme of things it just isn’t that important that people’s character or motivation should be questioned. Not every decision needs an outsized reaction or hot take to go with it.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


world cup daily


Argentina v Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia gets the stunner of the tournament with a 2-1 win over one of the top favorites.

A Leo Messi penalty kick put Argentina up 1-0 early on then they nearly blew the game open but three other potential first half goals were called back for offside.

Saudi Arabia came up with two outstanding strikes early in the second half when defensive lapses by Argentina provided them a window and went up 2-1. The Saudi Arabian keeper then made a few outstanding saves to preserve the huge upset.

While the result is terrible for Argentina, the underlying numbers are less concerning as they generated 2.23 expected goals to just 0.14 for Saudi Arabia, and that doesn’t even count the goals called back for offside.

In other words, Argentina was very unlucky not to win this game going away and they are still plenty capable of winning the group, though there are some concerns about the stability of their back line.


Denmark v Tunisia

Denmark had the better of the game, coming close a couple of times in the second half, including a header off the post, but Tunisia fought hard and came away with a point in a 0-0 draw.


Mexico v Poland

Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa made a huge save on a Robert Lewandowski penalty in the second half to preserve a shutout in a 0-0 draw that lacked offensive fireworks. Neither team was able to take advantage of a big opportunity with Argentina upset by Saudi Arabia.


France v Australia

France got shocked by a 9th minute Craig Goodwin goal while at the same time losing left back Lucas Hernandez to injury. However, the reigning champs bounced back for a dominant 4-1 win with substitute left back, and Lucas’s brother, Theo Hernandez coming on to provide an assist on their first goal.

Another injury replacement, striker Olivier Giroud, who started in place of missing Ballon D’Or winner Karim Benzema, added two goals as the French pulled away in the second half.


Wednesday Preview

Group E

Germany v Japan

Key Players –

Germany - Joshua Kimmich - Midfielder

Japan - Wataru Endo - Midfielder

Prediction: 2-1 Japan; A Japanese team with a lot of German Bundesliga veterans aren’t intimidated by Germany and pull off the upset.


Spain v Costa Rica

Key Players –

Spain - Pedri - Midfielder

Costa Rica - Keylor Navas -Goalie

Prediction: 2-0 Spain; Spain will have the ball nearly the whole game and pass their way through the Ticos defense several times. Navas May keep Costa Rica in the game for a while but Spain will eventually find the net.


Morocco v Croatia

Key Players –

Morocco - Achraf Hakimi - Fullback

Croatia - Luka Modric - Midfielder

Prediction: 3-1 Croatin; Croatian midfield will dictate the game and set them up for a comfortable win over Morocco.


Belgium v Canada

Key Players –

Belgium - Kevin De Bruyne - Midfielder

Canada - Alphonso Davies - Fullback/Winger

Prediction: 1-1 draw; Belgium will dominate the ball but find Canada hard to break down. Will take a moment of individual brilliance from De Bruyne or Tielemans for a goal. Canada will get one on the counter through Davies or David.

Open Again
Tuesday
November 22, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3011


very typical


Minutes after the U.S. authored what could only be described as a "dismal" 1-1 draw with Wales yesterday in their World Cup opener, a friend fired away with a simple, one-word question.

"Well?"

I knew precisely what he was asking.

My opinion on what happened and the eventual result contained only two words: Very typical.

Here we are, eight years removed from our last World Cup appearance, and the U.S. is still making the same mistakes. To the untrained eye, they might go unnoticed. But a handful of critical mistakes by the Americans yesterday were significant factors in playing themselves out of an almost-certain win at halftime into a tie that could make Friday's game with England a "must-get-a-point" affair.

The game started out perfectly. The American side controlled the ball, controlled the game and, for at least the opening 30 minutes, looked like the kind of team that could play with just about anyone in the tournament field, let alone a (then) wildly overmatched Wales team.

Timothy Weah's 36th minute goal gave the U.S. an early 1-0 lead over Wales in their 2022 World Cup opener.

Tim Weah's goal in the 36th minute was a thing of beauty. That Christian Pulisic slid Weah the ball in advance of his tally was fitting given that most of the American hopes in this World Cup hinge largely on Pulisic.

But the 1-0 halftime lead should have been 2-0 if not for an early missed opportunity off the head of Josh Sargent. In the game's opening 10 minutes, with Wales on their heels defensively, Sargent's close range header was off the mark, keeping the game scoreless. That goal -- along with Weah's tally later in the half -- would have loomed large in the second half.

There's a tradition in international soccer where players from both teams exchange jerseys after the game. It's nothing more than a sign of respect for the opposing player. It also serves as a lifetime reminder of the team you faced on that particular day.

Yesterday, it looked like the U.S. and Wales swapped jerseys during the intermission. For as good as the United States looked in the opening 45 minutes, they looked the complete opposite in the second half of the contest.

In the first half, the Americans were bold, energetic and firmly on top of the pace of the game. They were, without question, in control of the action.

In the second half, that same squad was cautious, a step behind and playing not to lose.

Wales, to their credit, took their first half thrashing like the professionals they are and regrouped during the intermission. They moved a midfield player closer to the top to help create some odd-man situations when the ball bounced their way and they were far more willing to knock the ball to the wing and start the play from outside to in, something they didn't do in the opening 45 minutes.

The Americans, with three players on yellow cards, weren't quite as convicted to defend with authority as they were in the first half. And with the U.S. offense in stall mode, it seemed by the time the game reached the 70th minute that it was only a matter of time before Wales struck with the tying goal.

Another mistake led to that moment, where all of the hard work the Americans had put in was leveled off by a careless faux pas near the sideline and ball played into the box that led to disaster.

After a ball was played out of bounds by the U.S., Wales quickly grabbed the ball and tossed it in before the American defenders had a chance to set themselves in position. Three U.S. players -- Acosta, Robinson and McKennie -- let a man slip in between them and collect the throw in. With Tim Ream slow to close him down, the Welsh player played a quick ball into the penalty area for Gareth Bale, one of the best finishers in international soccer over the last decade.

Because everything happened so quickly, American defender Walker Zimmerman was a step behind the necessary pace -- and he slammed into Bale with a reckless tackle that was unarguably a penalty kick. If there's any saving grace, it's that the call on Zimmerman was in no way controversial or suspect. It was a penalty kick today, tomorrow, next week and next year.

Bale buried the freebie from 12 yards out and the score was knotted at 1-1.

How two Welsh players were able to get the ball from point A to point B with seven American players in the penalty area (eight if you include the goalkeeper) is one of the reasons why the United States is still looked upon as an average "side", as they call it in soccer.

Most of the top soccer playing countries would never allow a shabby goal like that, particularly in the World Cup where every goal you give up might be the difference between going home early or playing in the knockout stage.

The final 20 minutes of the game (including roughly 12 minutes of stoppage time) came and went without many highlights. The Americans looked weary, the Wales squad looked invigorated. But other than a few cramps and a hobbled Christian Pulisic at game's end, nothing came of the contest after the Bale penalty kick goal.

Eight years later, and the U.S. still can't put away an inferior opponent, even when they stake themselves to a 1-0 advantage.

It was, I remarked to my friend, "very typical".

The U.S. squad played stretches of great soccer on Monday. And stretches of acceptable soccer. But a few mistakes, at critical times, also led to patches of poor soccer that kept Wales alive long enough to give them hope.

And now, Friday vs. England becomes one of those games where the U.S. desperately needs to secure at least one point (tie). A win would be remarkable. A tie, unlike yesterday's result, would be more than acceptable given that the Americans face Iran in next Tuesday's group play finale.

But a loss to England would put the U.S. in a bad, bad spot. They could still advance with a win over Iran but they'd need some help from either Wales, Iran or both.

That's why, no matter what the American players said in the aftermath of yesterday's tie, the failure to finish off the Wales win was potentially very damaging to Gregg Berhalter's team. You have three games to get at least five points. Five gets you through in almost every case. Four points gets you through quite often, like it did for the Americans in 2014. But you can also miss out with four points, which is another reason why at least one point vs. England this Friday is supremely critical.

It didn't have to be this tight. Especially when the Americans put on a clinic in the opening half yesterday. Everything looked great...right up until the second half kicked off and the U.S. team's quality vanished into thin air.

It truly was a game of two halves. Each team won a half 1-0, but it had to feel a lot like a loss to Gregg Berhalter and his U.S. side.


U.S. grades (1 is the worst performance, 10 is the perfect performance)

Matt Turner, GK -- 7 (made a remarkable save to keep the score at 1-0 early in the 2nd half...couldn't be faulted on the Bale PK goal...wandered out of net late in the game and helped cause a Kellyn Acosta yellow card with his daring play)

Antonee Robinson, DEF -- 6 (was part of the group that got beat on the quick thrown in that led to the Bale penalty kick...had no impact on set pieces in the offensive end, but in fairness the balls that were delivered weren't on target...defended his portion of the field well for the most part)

An early yellow card to American Sergino Dest put the talented defender on his heels for most of the 1-1 draw with Wales.

Tim Ream, DEF -- 6.5 (handled his duties well in the first half and was lock-step with Bale throughout the opening 80 minutes, but was lazy on the build-up to the ball played into Bale for the penalty kick...had two good blocks on short range Wales scoring chances)

Walker Zimmerman, DEF -- 5.5 (the penalty kick foul was on him, but if he doesn't foul the Welsh star there, Bale turns and faces Turner from 12 yards out...prior to that massive mistake in the 82nd minute, he was putting together a reasonable performance)

Sergino Dest, DEF -- 6 (picked up a senseless early yellow card and seemed to play soft from that point forward...worked hard on his side of the field and was effective in distributing the ball to midfielders in transition, but didn't do enough to stand out before being subbed for midway through the 2nd half)

Tyler Adams, MF -- 8 (was, by far, the best American performer on Monday...patrolled his area with sublime expertise and was one of the few U.S. guys who got better and stronger as the game went on...the U.S. "Man of the Match")

Yunas Musah, MF -- 6 (was somewhat involved in the early formation of the U.S. goal and had a solid stretch of 15 minutes from the 30-minute to 45-minute mark of the first half...disappeared quickly in the second half and was eventually subbed for)

Weston McKennie, MF -- 5.5 (whether he was impacted by a September injury that's still lingering or the early yellow card he picked up (or both), McKennie was a non-factor on Monday...also was one of the three who got caught lollygagging on the throw-in that started the sequence prior to the Bale penalty kick...did nothing offensively...for a player of his caliber and stature, it was a miserable performance)

Timothy Weah, F -- 7 (finished his one and only chance with the confidence of a World Cup veteran but other than that he wasn't dangerous in the least...even still, that goal was enough to warrant another start vs. England, particularly in light of the fact that it looks like he and Pulisic are developing some chemistry)

Josh Sargent, F --7 (worked hard, got into good positions, but didn't finish...fared as well as could be expected given he barely played in the 14-game qualifying series...was very active in the opening 30 minutes, which helped set the stage for the Weah goal that he helped orchestrate)

Christian Pulisic, F -- 7.5 (created a wonderful goal with Weah in the 36th minute, but failed to generate any other scoring chances and was off target on his free kick and corner kick deliveries...battered throughout the game by several late and reckless Wales tackles but stood tall and played all 90 + minutes...)

U.S. substitutes were: Yedlin (7), Aaronson (7), Acosta (6), Wright (6), Morris (6)

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nfl week 12 - 12 nfl points


At the beginning of the season, I had San Francisco beating Las Vegas in the Super Bowl. The 49'ers could still be a threat in the NFC. The Raiders? They're done. If you gave me a mulligan, I'd go with Kansas City and Dallas right now to play on Feb. 12 in Glendale, AZ.

I don't know who they'll lose to, but the Ravens will somehow drop two more games this season to finish at 12-5. I'm guessing that nets them the #3 seed in the AFC and puts them up against the #6 seed in the first round of the playoffs, which will likely be either the Bengals, Dolphins or Patriots.

Patrick Mahomes...the front runner for NFL MVP through 11 weeks of the season?

I have no idea who will wind up winning the NFL MVP award but there's almost no doubt the most valuable player in the league is Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs. Without him, they're hard-pressed to win 6 games. With him, they might be the best team in the entire league, AFC and NFC combined. How much more "valuable" do you have to be than that, right?

Washington's now 6-5. Here's their remaining schedule: vs. Atlanta, at Giants, vs. Giants, at 49'ers, vs. Browns, vs. Cowboys. They're looking like a 9-8 team for sure and if they can snag one "extra" win vs. the Giants, 49'ers or Cowboys, they could win 10. In other words, believe it or not, D.C. might wind up in the playoffs.

The team no one will want to play in the NFC is....Tampa Bay. They're going to win the NFC South, which means you'll have to go to Florida to take on Tom Brady in his own barn. Oh, and you have to beat the referees in that one, too. I'm telling you, no one wants to play Tampa Bay when it's playoff time.

On the flip side, of the teams we sorta-kinda know are going to make it, no one will be afraid to go to Seattle if they somehow wind up nosing out San Francisco for the NFC West title. You're really going to be worried about Geno Smith in the post-season? Didn't think so.

There's a lot of time between now and next season, but two teams who are on the upswing in '23 might actually wind up being legit good next season; the Jets defense is really improving; if they get some decent offensive players in the off-season, watch out for them in 2023. And we're going to buy a little bit of stock in the Lions and what they've done on offense in '22; if they can fix their defense a little (OK, maybe a lot) and add a little more offensive line help for Jared Goff, Detroit could threaten the post-season next year.

Jacksonville started their game in K.C. a couple of weeks ago by trying (and successfully completing) an onside kick. It made me wonder. Why don't more teams try that? And even if it's not at the beginning of the game, why not try it in the 2nd or 3rd quarter? You know, when no one is expecting it. When it's unexpected, it's 50-50 that it's going to work. At least that's what I think.

I've asked this question several times throughout the season. So here it is again. If, let's pretend, Lamar "thought" he was worth $250 million guaranteed prior to the start of this '22 campaign, what's he worth now, based on his play in the first 10 games? Is he worth $250 million based on what you've seen? Or less?

If the Ravens have their choice of wild card teams to face in the first round, I'm guessing they'd most like to see the Patriots come to Baltimore. They already dusted the Patriots once, in New England no less. They'd probably prefer to not play a team that can score points in the air, like Miami or Cincinnati.

What do you think happened to Baker Mayfield? Was he just never all that good in the first place? Did Cleveland scar him to the point where he's no longer decent? Could he be good if he was in the right spot with the right reeivers at his disposal? It looks to me like he just stinks...sort of like guys like Mark Sanchez and E.J. Manuel wound up going from totally chic to totally geek in a short amount of time.

You don't fire Mike Tomlin after this season, right? The first losing season of his career doesn't warrant a termination does it? But Pittsburgh hasn't really been all that good for 3-4 years now. At what point do the Steelers put a lid on Tomlin's career in Pittsburgh? He's had a great run. But when is enough enough?

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


usa vs. wales recap and world cup daily


The US came out sharp in their first World Cup game in over eight years, but ultimately came away with a draw that feels like a loss. After a strong first half, Wales turned the tide on the US in the second and got a hard fought 1-1 draw that leaves both teams alive but with a lot of work left to do.

Coach Gregg Berhalter lined the US up in the 4-3-3 formation they have used most frequently over the past year. There weren’t many surprises in the lineup, as Matt Turner started in goal fronted by a back line of Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Walker Zimmerman and Sergino Dest.

Selecting Ream over Aaron Long was one of the two big decisions for Berhalter, the other was the choice of Josh Sargent to start at striker. Both seemed to be the right decision as each player acquitted themselves well. It was the “MMA” midfield of Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah and Tyler Adams and then Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah flanking Sargent on the front line.

U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner surrendered just a lone penalty kick goal in Monday's 1-1 tie with Wales.

The Americans opened the game with great energy, setting up their defensive line about three quarters of the way into the Wales end while occasionally springing presses all the way up to the end line. For most of the first half, Wales failed to match the US intensity. They played a more passive structure, setting up their defense around the half line and allowing the US center backs to possess the ball.

The US played in the Wales end early, creating several decent chances. Christian Pulisic was lively at the start, drawing a foul and then a corner in the first five minutes. Unfortunately his delivery on free kicks and corner kicks left a lot to be desired in this game, and was part of the US struggles to score.

The first big chance of the game came in the 9th minute when Sergino Dest hit a nice long ball over the defense for Tim Weah. Weah took it down well and hit a sharp cross that pinged off a defender forcing a save and nearly ending in an own goal. On the ensuing action, Antonee Robinson put in a near post cross that found Josh Sargent but his header hit the outside of the post.

For the majority of the first half, the US kept Wales pinned in their own end. The Welsh midfield struggled to connect passes and consistently played balls out of bounds or right back to the US defense.

In the 35th minute the US broke through with a great team goal to take a 1-0 lead.

After Walker Zimmerman won a long ball off a Wales goal kick, the US played a few passes to find Josh Sargent with a defender draped on his back. Sargent took a nice touch to lay it off to Pulisic who burst past the defense then played a perfectly placed through ball to free Weah one on one with the keeper in the box and Weah hit a sublime first time shot past the keeper.

The goal was one of the prettiest sequences this team has produced in the past few years and at that moment it seemed inevitable that the US would tack on another goal and leave with a win. Sadly, they failed to reproduce that magic for the rest of the game, getting plenty of opportunities in dangerous areas but struggling to find effective final balls.

Although it is a sports cliche, this game very much was a game of two halves. Down a goal, Wales made several halftime adjustments and came out much stronger in the second half. The biggest change was dropping speedy attacker Daniel James for large target man Kieffer Moore. James had been ineffective, often unable to find the ball, but Moore gave Wales the outlet they needed to play long over the US press.

The other tweak that Wales made was pushing their defensive line higher and pressing much more aggressively in the second half. This pressure made it much more difficult for the US to control possession, often forcing them into ineffective long balls. The US actually managed well in the early stage of the second half, getting a few decent half chances down the left wing with some good combinations between Pulisic and Musah, but they began to fade about ten minutes into the half.

It seemed that some of the US starters began to lose their legs after aggressively pressing and hounding the ball throughout the first half.

Weston McKennie looked notably gassed just a few minutes into the second half, which shouldn’t have come as a big surprise given he hasn’t played a competitive game for the past few weeks due to injury.

Sergino Dest and Yunus Musah both seemed to be less energetic in the second half as well.

The lack of energy in the midfield allowed Wales to have better success pushing the ball up the wings, with the US midfield unable to close down the space as quickly.

In the 65th minute Wales got their first big chance of the game. After a free kick into the box, the ball pinged around off a few heads and fell to a diving Ben Davies, who headed on target, forcing a great reflex save from Matt Turner. On the following corner it was Kieffer Moore finding space for a free header but luckily he hit it over the bar. The warning shots had been fired however.

Berhalter sensed the game slipping and made several substitutions. Brenden Aaronson came on for McKennie and brought an instant surge in energy. The other replacements were less effective with a clear dropoff in talent when Kellyn Acosta replaced Yunus Musah and DeAndre Yedlin replaced Sergino Dest. Around this time several Americans took hard knocks that had them limping around as well. One of which was Musah who was forced off, but also Pulisic and Weah both went down several times.

Wales had really turned the momentum by this time and were threatening the US end. Finally in the 82nd minute the US resistance broke down. Wales caught Acosta a step behind with a quick throw in and got free on the end line then played a cut back ball across the box. Though the pass wasn’t clearly dangerous, Walker Zimmerman rashly slid to clear it, instead going right through Gareth Bale and getting called for a penalty. After doing next to nothing all game, Bale stepped up and ripped the penalty past Turner, who guessed right but just couldn’t stop the powerful shot.

The game became quite stretched for the final twenty odd minutes, but neither team could muster much more than hopeful crosses. The US found ample space down the right wing in the latter stages of the game, but DeAndre Yedlin seemed unable to take advantage of it, with his crosses rarely finding a target in the box.

Curiously, despite using all five substitutes, Berhalter opted not to bring in perhaps the most talented offensive player on the roster, Gio Reyna, instead choosing Jordan Morris as his last sub for Tim Weah. The US may have benefited from Reyna’s composure and sharpness on the ball in the final moments, instead of just winging hail mary crosses.

In the end, neither side could find another threatening chance and they settled for the 1-1 draw. The result keeps both teams hopes well alive to still advance from the group, but now each will either need a result against England or to win the goal differential race.

At the end of the day this isn’t a terrible outcome for the US, but they will be disappointed with the way it went down. Berhalter had a good initial game plan but failed to come up with an effective counter punch when Wales made their halftime adjustments. This young team came out of the gates full of fire but may have learned that it's better to conserve some energy so as to not burn out in the second half.

From an individual perspective there were a couple standouts, though most of the team was a mixed bag.

Tyler Adams was the Man of the Match, delivering the same consistent performance that has become his signature for club and country. Adams was an eraser all over the field, helping the US to constantly recycle possession in the first half when they were on the front foot and making several key stops in the second when they were under more pressure.

Matt Turner proved his worth in goal as well, coming up with a couple of key saves, though his distribution from the back waned as the game went on. Tim Ream also proved he was worthy of the starting role, demonstrating a calmness on the ball that the US has lacked in the back line at times, while not allowing his limited pace to cause any issues. Christian Pulisic had many good moments in this game, and was often the driving force for the US attack, but aside from the play to set up the goal he often lacked the final ball and his set piece delivery was notably poor on the day.

With one point on the board and two games remaining, the US objective is clear: they need to win at least one of the final two games. If they can do that and get a draw in the other, they will get through to the knockouts. If they win one and lose one then they will be in a battle for the goal differential tiebreaker.

Next up on Friday are the group favorites, England, who looked dominant in their 6-2 win over Iran yesterday morning. Though it will be a very different challenge, the US will need to quickly turn around and apply the lessons they learned in what was the first World Cup game for nearly the entire squad.


Monday Recap:

Senegal v Netherlands

Senegal held up well for most of the game, making it difficult for the Dutch to create chances. However, the Dutch finally found a way late in the game, getting an 84th minute header from Cody Gakpo off a cross from Frenkie de Jong and then tacking on an insurance goal in the final moments of injury time.


England v Iran

In the other game in the USA’s group, England thoroughly dominated an outmatched Iran team. The English scored early and often, getting goals from five different scorers, including two from 21 year old Bukayo Saka. With goal differential the first tiebreaker, it is a costly loss for Iran.


Tuesday Preview:

Group C

Argentina v Saudi Arabia

Key Players:

Argentina - Leo Messi - Forward

Saudi Arabia - Salem Al-Dawsari - Left Wing

Prediction: 4-0 Argentina; Messi and company will get off on the right foot, pouring on the goals on a much weaker opponent.


Mexico v Poland

Key Players:

Mexico - Hirving Lozano - Forward

Poland - Robert Lewandowski - Striker

Prediction: 2-2 draw; This crucial showdown in Group C is the game of the day. This result will likely go a long way to determining who goes through in second place. Two flawed teams both get on the board but finish even at the end of the day.


Group D

Denmark v Tunisia

Key Players:

Denmark - Christian Eriksen - Midfielder

Tunisia - Aissa Laidouni - Midfielder


Prediction: 1-0 Denmark; The Danes will control the game but Tunisia are tough to score against. The Danish ultimately find a way through via one of their talented attackers in Eriksen, Olsen or Damsgaard.


France v Australia

Key Players:

France - Kylian Mbappe - Forward

Australia - Ajdin Hrustic - Midfielder

Prediction: 3-0 France; Mbappe re-opens his World Cup goal scoring account with a brace to lead France to an easy win.

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#dmd comments








unitastoberry     November 27
I hope they let Faalele start at O left tackle lets see what he has> Save Merkari for down the road.

CIK     November 27
The Raven’s are not favored by the oddsmakers? I see Balt -3.5. That would make them the favorite…and also make them favored by the oddsmakers. I agree though that the game is tricky…hence the 3.5 point line. I like under 52.5 (-110) Lamar rushing yards. Hoping for a bad hip & sloppy track. But that kind of bet could also be a loser on the 1st play of the game. Gambling makes this watchable. And the TV ratings are popping right now.

Chris in Bel Air     November 27
Ravens will win today. It won't be pretty, again, but like Drew stated, just get another in the win column. I think the Ravens D will again be the star of the game today. It would be great if they can get healthier. Difficult task this time of year.

Drew - Caps are just past the quarter pole for the season. They have 5 wins in their last 16 games and they are only 2 points ahead of Flyers, even with them losing 10 in a row. Any additional thoughts on their performance and probability of turning it around? It looked like they had a little spark with Oshie's return, until they were waxed last night. Also, their former goalies Vanacek and Samsonov are 2nd and 4th in the league respectively for GAA with their new teams. Keumper has been decent and is currently 16th for GAA. I think that is more about the Caps overall defensive play then anything.

thomas     November 27
Likely being out is an issue for the Ravens? Stanley, absolutely, but Likely? Come on man.

But good to see Drew is back with his weekly picks, time to build up the Christmas gift fund!

Can someone tell me which of these picks will be winners so I don't bet the losers? Thanks

Jk     November 26
Was going to say the same thing as Mike C but he posted first.

Mike c.     November 26
By tying England the USA can still win the group. A loss would have meant they couldn't win the group. If you win the group your first opponent is easier in knock out play. The tie was valuable. Maybe you should do better next time.

Hank     November 26
And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining,



What makes it valuable? A loss would have meant the same - win vs Iran and in.



Do better.

Richard     November 26
I am not really a soccer fan. I’ll keep it on for background noise sometimes. For years I’ve been saying there doesn’t need to be more goals in soccer, but more action around the goals. Moving the goals closer together would ensure more action and for those that don’t like 0-0, I think this would create more fun. Thoughts, but not necessarily from the true soccer fan.

Josh     November 26
0-0 draw is pretty boring. Why not play until someone wins?

Delray RICK     November 26
STEVE CAPE....Don't understand 3 hours of 0-0. If we had that infootball NOBODY WOULD WATCH

henry     November 26
Don's Dad is correct, CHC coach admitted the fake was not called by him, some kind of rugby punt but run if you want option. Kid made up his mind to run on his own, ballsy move for sure. Wonder what the coach would think if he had not made a first down?? Also wonder if no one on Loyola side noticed the regular punter was not in the game?

@Dan, if true, makes your comments even more embarrassing lol. But all good, I know we are all focused on online gambling these days, no time to dwell on the past. Hope everyone is aware eventually the free bets will go away lol.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 26
Like I said before, watching soccer is like watching paint dry !!! Change that, watching paint dry is way more exciting !!!

Eric in Gaithersburg     November 26
Jax has better point differential than Tenn. Theyve lost 5 games by 5 pts or less. This was always gonna be a tougher than people realized game. The story of the Jaguars season is major problems in the redzone. This game comes down to Ravens scorching hot defense controlling Etienne and forcing a few turnovers and somebody stepping up on offense to break the 20 pt barrier. Ill guess a Jags win which should guarantee a Ravens victory😜

Dons dad     November 25
I believe Loyola had a time out left on 4th down yesterday. If they would have made the first down they would have called T.O.

Players on CHC told my son after the game the fake punt wasn't called from the sideline, the CHC player did it on his own.

Dan     November 25
To Henry, I didn't go to Calvert Hall, I attended high school in New York.

Richard     November 25
Happy belated Thanksgiving to Drew and everyone else here. I watched the game yesterday and it really left me scratching my head. It was a very good, well played, and exciting game. However, the coaching in the last 5 minutes was weird. A fake punt, from your own 16 on 4th and 18 is crazy(and I mean that in a nice way). Then Loyola drives the field and on 4th and 1 with 11 seconds left, they run a sweep. If the play doesn’t score, it will use the 11 seconds, as the runner got tackled for a loss with 4 seconds left. I understand(kind of) not kicking the fg(no confidence in kicker), but a sweep-strange.

Unitastoberry     November 25
Lou Michaels rip was probably the worst field goal kicker in Baltimore history. He was also a back up defensive tackle. He missed two chip shots in SB 3? Question is was he paid to miss?

Great soccer coverage.

Delray RICK     November 25
STEVE....At least spell the "GREATEST QB IN HISTORY" right.

Steve of Pimlico     November 25
One of my favorite Memorial Stadium Colt memories was a game the Colts were losing 10- 0 to the Packers.Unitus hit Willie Richardson on a slant pattern for a TD against Herb Adderley.XP attemt by Lou Michaels no good.Colts recover inside kick drive down the field.Facing a 4th and 6 can't kick a FG for tie,Unitus drops back to pass,ducks HOFer Willie Davis and scrambles for a first down.Then he hits Richardson again for game winning TD.

D. Schrute     November 25
Re: Breakfast Bytes... North Carolina actually held off the Portland Pilots not the Portland State Vikings who are playing Gonzaga right now in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

henry     November 24
Dan and the CHC crowd on the ones embarrassing themselves, particularly if you are grown men. It's high school football man, time to move on fellas.

Dan     November 24
Love all the griping on Facebook by Loyola peeps.

You lost. You tried hard and lost. Just take the loss the right way and stop embarrassing yourselves.


William     November 24
@John L, you might want to look up record for the entire series genius.

paul     November 24
People like Billy came here running their mouth last year when LB won. Take your "L" like a man this year.

John L.     November 24
Calvert Hall has won 11 of the last 13 Thanksgiving Day games. Maybe the Dons should move to the C Conference.

Billy     November 24
LOL at KC. No man for others with that guy. Or Hal

K.C.     November 24
Allan crying like a Loyola Loser. You weren't crying last year when the refs gave your TE a first down catch on 4th and 14 were you??????



Like Hal said, can't spell "Loyola" without that Thanksgiving Day "L" !!!



Go Hall!!!

Allan     November 24
And CHC faithful need to give thanks to the refs for that gift of a win. Amen.

Hal     November 24
You can't spell Loyola without the "L".

Hahahahahahahaha

lou@palo alto     November 24
yes, Steve--the old City-Poly game. when we were seniors we beat poly 52-6 w Schmoke at QB. I too remember the Unitas pass to Hinton--what a play caller #19 was! Out here, some golf (72 today) and 9 for turkey at 3p--enjoy the peace!!

Unitastoberry     November 24
@Delray/James -Dundalk. That might have been the longest standing ovation in the history of sports from the time the plane with the banner flew over until after the td pass. Incredible moment still jacks me up after 50 years.

JMP     November 24
Where are todays NFL picks? I need new shoes.

henry     November 24
Loyola played in B conf final the Sat before last year's game, stop making excuses lol.

Delray RICK     November 24
UTB..Was there til the end.

Even the dummyin the plane.




James - Dundak     November 24
To Drew & all the other commenters Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Ravens Go Terps

James - Dundak     November 24
@ U2B I was there as well. My memory is a little fuzzy but, was that also the game with the plane flyover pulling the Unitas We Stand banner. That was classic too.

CIK     November 24
What is the scenario if Calvert Hall & Loyola end up meeting in the MIAA title game? Do they play twice?

Steve of Pimlico     November 24
City Poly was always the best game of my youth played at the Stadium at 1pm.Calvert Hall Loyola was the prelim in the morning.

Unitastoberry     November 24
I'm thankful for so much including being able to keep my nickname on DMD. John Unitas is still the best QB to ever play in Baltimore and his last snap on 33rd Street was in 1972. Came off the bench for Marty Domres and hit #33 Eddie Hinton who yaced it in for a td. I was there. Thank you Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank your creator today and every day.

henry     November 23
Roll Dons roll!

Delray RICK     November 23
AGREE with JOSH. To many getting in HOF that weren't GREAT!! THE HOF ISFOR GREATEST...not a good average year. MANNY could but did he do the nasty?

Josh     November 23
Nah…. Rolen is Hall of Vey Good

Stats Nerd     November 23
I'm not sure the NFLPA is considering that this position would have unintended consequences. Well I'm sure they have considered it but it's apparent they don't care. It could more specifically be called the Guaranteed Quarterbacks Contracts. The Salary Cap is the Salary Cap and any decision to guarantee contracts will have downstream effects on other less "valuable" positions.

So it seems like the guaranteed contract push is not necessarily in the best interest of most of the rank and file but rather just the star QBs and maybe a handful of other players. By definition this will mean less money for other players.

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     November 23
I believe SB said pray for us after the Ravens kicked the tires on Kaepernick. The WC coverage has been excellent. Thank you. It’s not a stretch to think the Brazilian team should win it all. They have enough great players to field 2 teams in the WC. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Go Hall.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
@Chris K - thanks for clarifying. I'm in agreement with Drew as well. Just went about my thinking in a less direct way. Unless there is direct evidence of the owners stating their intentions and collaborating with others then this just seems to be a bunch of hot air.

Dirk,Lerxst & Pratt     November 23
Go Hall! Beat Loyola!



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. F inest T hanksgiving D ay to all!

Chris K     November 23
@chris in Bel Air collusion would be all owners agreeing as a group that they won’t offer guaranteed contracts. Each owner individually can make the personal decision to not do it but if they consulted with another owner or more before making the decision then it’s collusion. I agree with Drew that it’ll be nearly impossible to prove unless there is an electronic or paper trail.



Having said all of that, I completely understand why Bisciotti chooses not to speak publicly because every time he does he sticks his foot in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he say something like “we have our own decision making process and don’t compare ourselves to other team’s decisions”. Reminds me of when he said pray for us after attempting to sweep the Ray rice abuse under the rug. I agree with his decision to not speak publicly because he’s not good at it.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
"For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts."

Sorry, I'm a little dense at times but I'm not completely tracking this. Why do the owners have to be nervous? Are they obligated in some way to offer guaranteed contracts? Is it part of collective bargaining? If it is widely accepted as a "bad business practice" then why would anyone, including the players, think it must happen? If the Raiders, for example, had given D Adams $50M / year to sign with them last offseason, does that mean all other teams should overpay for a WR too? Or are they free to make the best decision for their team? Just because all teams make the same business decision, is that collusion?

With this said, another owner will offer a guaranteed contract. Maybe it will be Lamar and the Ravens. Maybe it is Lamar for another team. Maybe it will be Herbert or Burrow when their five years are up. But someone else is going to view player X as the one that will get them to the Super Bowl and they will over-pay. That much I know.

@Stats - thanks for the added info on the diving and EPL. In the end, I'm just not a fan of the flopping.

Unitastoberry     November 23
Little Jimmy only got 1 championship with Manning. Then he let him go and he did it again in Denver despite neck surgery. He's a jack arse of epic proportions. Chemically infused like his dad. Watson the perv changed the demographic in the league. Wrong person to do it with. If I was SB I'd sell now. I hope he doesn't.

TimD in Timonium     November 23
Well, I'll say this about @MFC - he's here commenting Every Single Day.



Kinda like the Cal Ripken of DMD commenters.

Monday
November 21, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3010


eight years later...


To be exact, it's 8 years and 4 months later.

The last time the United States played a World Cup soccer game was July 1, 2014 in Brazil.

I was still on the radio, in fact. When I put it that way, the 2014 World Cup seems like a lifetime ago.

After squeaking out of group play in 2014 with a win (Ghana), a loss (Germany) and a draw (Portugal), the U.S. fell to Belgium, 2-1, in the first round of knockout play.

U.S. World Cup hopes in Qatar hinge largely on the play of goalkeeper Matt Turner, who will face Wales today.

Little did we all know that some guy named Julian Green would score in the 107th minute of that game and no other player from the United States national team would score a World Cup goal for at least the next eight years.

Green hasn't been heard from since, for the most part. And neither has the U.S. team. The Americans, of course, coughed up a chance to qualify for the 2018 World Cup when they couldn't muster a point at Trinidad and Tobago in the final game of CONCACAF qualifying.

So Russia 2018 came and went and we watched in the U.S. as the rest of the world played for the most coveted international trophy sports has to offer.

Today at 2:00 pm, the rest of the world gets to watch us. And they get to watch Wales, too. The U.S. is back in the World Cup after finishing 3rd in the qualifying stage in '21-22. That they get Wales today in the opener in Qatar is perhaps a major blessing. A win today and Monday's game vs. England becomes far less desperate for the American squad.

For the uninitiated, World Cup soccer is really two tournaments in one. The first stage, called "Group play", pits each team against the other in their 4-team group in round-robin play. Each game offers three points to the winning team and one point to each team if the match ends in a tie. The top two teams who accumulate the most points from each group then advance to the "Knockout stage".

The knockout stage is simply single-elimination. Once you lose, you go home.

For the Americans -- who are exempt from qualifying in 2026 because they're the main host country of the event (along with Canada and Mexico) -- this World Cup will be considered a failure if they fail to advance out of their group. England is a formidable foe, but both Wales and Iran should be teams the United States can handle. Six points will almost certainly get them through to the knockout stage.

It all starts today. The question everyone seems to be asking is the one only 90 minutes of soccer can answer: "Are we good enough?"

The American style of soccer is still far behind the international powers that will likely be playing in mid-December when Qatar '22 reaches the semifinal and finals. We're "good" at soccer. But we're not great. We have flashes of brilliance, sure, but rarely do we string together 90 minutes of soccer that makes the rest of the world say, "Wow, those Americans have really improved."

Three games can change the way the rest of the world sees us, though.

What will Christian Pulisic do in his World Cup debut? By far the most talented American player -- maybe ever -- the U.S. offense will likely go as far as the Hershey, Pennsylvania native takes them.

Is the American defense sturdy enough to hold up under the pressure of the World Cup microscope? To me, this edition of the American team is far more about defense than offense. Can they keep the other three teams under wraps? Is goalkeeper Matt Turner good enough? Will the U.S. backline make a critical mistake at the worst possible time, as has been their habit from time to time in big game situations?

Those are the questions facing Coach Berhalter's team starting today.

There's no room for error. One mistake can lead to a goal that winds up being the only scoring of the entire 90 minutes. And one loss, depending on what you do elsewhere, can keep you from moving on to the knockout stage.

Every pass. Every marking assignment. Every goal scoring opportunity. They all matter. They're all critical, both in this game and for the entire World Cup.

The U.S. needs to win today. That gets everything rolling in the right direction.

Eight years have gone by since the American team faced the situation they're facing today. And, yes, that's a long time to wait for soccer glory.


Yes, I'm going to be "that guy" in today's edition of #DMD. The guy that says, "It was a win, let's move on." I realize a lot of folks on social media yesterday didn't feel that way about the Ravens 13-3 win over Carolina.

People put Lamar on blast, Greg Roman on blast, John Harbaugh on blast and, well, just about anyone not named Marlon Humphrey, Mark Andrews or Patrick Queen on blast.

Nearly everyone in town expected a walk in the park. I mean, did you see Carolina's offense yesterday? Kyle Boller watched from California and snickered.

John Harbaugh wasn't smiling at "how" his team won yesterday, but a win is a win is a win.

So, yes, it wasn't pretty.

Yes, Lamar wasn't very good.

We all probably expected more efficiency given that the Ravens came into the game on 13 days rest. I assumed they'd be much better than they showed yesterday. There's no sense in denying that.

But the game's over and the result is in the books. And the Ravens are 7-3, no matter if they squeaked out a 13-3 win or plastered the Panthers, 40-3. A win is a win. Yes, I'm "that guy".

It would appear based on Lamar's post-game comments that Ronnie Stanley's ankle injury isn't serious. If that's the case, the Ravens dodged a major bullet and their championship hopes are still intact. Losing Stanley would have been a backbreaker. If he misses a week or so and then returns, all is well. We'll take Lamar at his word that Stanley seemed OK after yesterday's game.

Games like the one the Ravens pieced together vs. Carolina are really no different than a 40-30 shootout, except there's a lot more scoring. But in reality, if you win 40-30, it stands to reason that one side of the ball played well and one didn't. A 13-3 win is the same thing. One side (defense) was exceptional. One side (offense) wasn't. It just depends on whether you have the sophistication to see it that way, that's all.

I thought the Panthers offense would stink yesterday and it did. I had them scoring 7 points, which was 4 more than they were fortunate enough to score.

Moving forward, I think teams are going to have a tough time with the Baltimore defense. Check back with me in early January and see if I'm right on this one, but I don't see the Ravens giving up more than 14 points per-game in their final 7 contests.

The Bengals could put together a game in the 20's, perhaps. I'm not sure I see any other Baltimore opponent getting into the 20's, though. And if the Ravens can average 14-points-allowed (or less) in their last 7 games, they're probably winning 6 of those. If not all 7.

I've been singing this tune for a few weeks now, in case you haven't been paying close attention. This Ravens team is going to be a tough, tough out come January. Sure, there's potentially a team in the AFC we're not thinking about right now who might get hot in December and be last year's version of the Bengals. The Titans have started perking up over the last month and we all know what Derrick Henry can do on any given Sunday.

But the Ravens are going to be right there in January. Watch and see.

I like our chances, sports fans.


The "OneLove armband" at World Cup 2022 made a quick exit early today when the teams who had threatened to wear it in their opening match finally relented after FIFA confirmed any captain wearing it would be given a yellow card prior to kick-off.

FIFA previously designated seven different permissable arm bands that captains can wear in Qatar, but the popular "OneLove" version that many European and international teams wear to show their support for the LGBQT community was not one of them. Despite that, several teams, including Germany and England, said they planned on wearing the armband in their opening game of World Cup '22.

It was announced on Monday that captains can wear the FIFA-approved "No Discrimination" armband throughout the tournament.

This, of course, was always bound to happen once FIFA sold its soul and filled its bank account with monies from Qatar, where homosexuality is still considered a crime, punishable up to three years in prison. Although it hasn't been enforced in years, females engaging in same-sex activity can be put to death under Muslim (sharia) law.

So when Qatar and FIFA signed on the dotted line seven years ago, part of the agreement almost certainly came with a "no public protest" clause, which is one of the reasons why last week's announcement -- that one U.S. logo on display in Qatar would included rainbow colors, symbolic of support for the LGBQT community -- drew such attention.

When word trickled down that players from several different teams were opting for the rainbow-themed "OneLove" armband, FIFA got nervous. Their only form of punishment became something in the game that was significant, hence the yellow card before play started to any player wearing it.

Two yellow cards in group play (three games) is a one-game suspension, so a yellow card is certainly a major penalty to pay for wearing an armband.

And so, starting today, players will likely opt for the broader "No Discrimination" statement on their armband. It realistically carries the same message as "OneLove", without the open acceptance of the LGBQT community through the display of their rainbox-themed symbol.

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around the nfl


FALCONS 27 - BEARS 24 -- We called this one 27-25 in favor of Atlanta. Missed it by *that much*. Atlanta is having a surprisingly pleasant season with Marcus Mariota at quarterback. And despite now sporting a 3-8 mark, the Bears might have found their guy in QB Justin Fields, who continues to put up "Lamar like" numbers each week on the air and ground. Atlanta is still on the outside of the NFC playoff race, but they're going to play meaningful games in December, which is probably not something we all thought possible back in August.


BILLS 31 - BROWNS 23 -- Wow, we called this one 31-24, Bills. Another one we almost hit precisely. Buffalo bounces back from that bizarre home loss to the Vikings and the Browns gonna Browns. Cleveland got a decent day from QB Jacoby Brissett in this one (324 yards, 3 TDs) but they couldn't stop the Buffalo offense. The Browns are 3-7 heading in the direction of another 7-win season...if they even get to 7, that is.


A week after falling at home to the Vikings, Josh Allen and the Bills got back on track with a win over Cleveland in Detroit.

EAGLES 17 - COLTS 16 -- We called the Colts getting +6.5 our "play of the day". You're welcome. Philly sneaks out of Indy with a one-point win on a late TD while the Colts are now just about playing out the string at 4-6-1. The Eagles are not only 9-1 but they're 5-0 on the road. That away record is more impressive than their overall mark, I'd say. I'm still not 100% sold on the Eagles, but coming back to win on the road after a Monday night home loss is impressive, no matter who they played yesterday.


PATRIOTS 10 - JETS 3 -- And we thought that Ravens/Panthers game in Baltimore was dreadful? This one wasn't decided until New England ran a punt back for a TD in the final half minute of the game. Both teams now sit at 6-4, which means, in the watered down NFL playoff format, they're both going to play important December games in quest of a playoff berth. There's no telling if either of these teams are any good. The bet here is they aren't. But it's likely one of them gets to 9 wins eventually and has a shot at the post-season somehow.


SAINTS 27 - RAMS 20 -- Two bad teams locked horns in this one. The Rams are experiencing the dreaded "post Super Bowl hangover" that is almost inevitable, particularly with a squad like the one they had last year that probably wasn't even the 3rd best team in the league, truth be told. When you lose to this 2022 New Orleans squad, you know you stink.


LIONS 31 - GIANTS 18 -- OK, we were waiting for the "real Giants" to show up and it took 10 weeks, but there they were yesterday, losing at home to a Detroit team that has now won back-to-back road games for the first time since Paul was writing to the Corinthians. Sure, the Giants are still alive in the NFC playoff race at 7-3, but this is a team no one in the league fears. If they win 10 games it will be a minor miracle.


COMMANDERS 23 - TEXANS 10 -- We missed this one, big time. We assumed Houston had an ounce of quality -- enough to beat a bad D.C. team, at least. Alas, they have no quality in Houston, other than the best logo and helmet in the NFL. D.C. now has 6 wins on the year and they've been surprisingly competitive ever since Dan Snyder announced he was selling the team. Maybe he should have tried that 10 years ago.


RAIDERS 22 - BRONCOS 16 OT -- Another one we hit in the bullseye. We told you Las Vegas couldn't go all year without winning a road game. Derek Carr to Davante Adams in OT was the difference in this one, as Russell Wilson threw for a meager 247 yards in Denver's home loss. If you thought that Panthers offense was bad yesterday, wait until Russ and the Broncos come to town in a couple of weeks. They might not generate 250 yards of total offense against the Ravens.


COWBOYS 40 - VIKINGS 3 -- Ummmm, yep, we told you Dallas was beating Minnesota outright. Yes we did. We didn't see 40-3 coming, though, but that's what happened in Minnesota, where the Vikings went from beating Buffalo in Buffalo last Sunday to getting blistered at home by a Dallas team that lost in Green Bay last Sunday. The NFL is insane. Dallas could be a legit threat in the NFC. This could be the year Jerry Jones gets back to the Super Bowl. No one else in the conference but the Eagles is really all that great. Maybe it's the Cowboys turn?


BENGALS 37 - STEELERS 30 -- I'm not sure what to make of this one. If you're the Bengals, how thrilled are you at giving up 30 points to that awful Pittsburgh offense? Sure, you scored 37 and you won, which is all that matters. But Kenny Pickett sliced and diced you for 30 points? Not. Very. Good. Cincy improves to 6-4 with the win but they're still only a sliver of a threat to the Ravens. Their schedule moving forward is still awfully tough. 10 wins? Maybe.


CHIEFS 30 - CHARGERS 27 -- Man, that Patrick Mahomes-Travis Kelce connection is something else. It's definitely right up there with Brady-Gronk as one of the most lethal QB-receiver combos in league history. On a night when he had almost no wide receivers of quality to throw to, Mahomes hit Kelce for three TD's and the heartless Chargers once again lost at home, where they are now 2-3 on the season. I didn't think Mahomes could win without JuJu and Hardman. I was wrong. That kid is remarkably friggin' good.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


World Cup Daily

Yesterday’s Results –

Qatar v Ecuador

Ecuador was too much for the hosts to handle. After an early goal was called back by VAR for offside, Ecuador came back and scored in the 16th minute. After winning the ball in midfield, they launched a quick counter that led to a penalty that Enner Valencia converted.

Valencia added another in the first half with a headed goal and Ecuador held the lead through the second half for a 2-0 win.


Today’s Games:

England v Iran

Players to Watch

England - Jude Bellingham - Midfield

Iran - Mehdi Taremi - Forward

Prediction: 2-0 England

England is the heavy favorite to open the group with a win. Bellingham will be the driving force in midfield in a game England should control from start to finish. They will need to keep tabs on Taremi, who is dangerous on the counter and if he gets loose in the box.


Senegal v Netherlands

Players to Watch

Senegal - Ismaila Sarr- Forward

Netherlands - Frenkie de Jong - midfielder

Prediction: 1-0 Netherlands

Even without the injured Sadio Mane, Senegal will be difficult to score against. The Dutch should control possession and eventually find a a way through for a winning goal. De Jong is the one that makes the Dutch tick in midfield, handling the bulk of progression to set up the attack. Sarr will shoulder the attacking burden for Senegal with Mane out and will likely be targeted when they try to spring counters.

#DMD GAME DAY
Week 11


Sunday — November 20, 2022
Issue #3009

Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens

1:00 PM EDT

M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore, MD

Spread: Ravens (-13.0)



are you staying for the whole game?


That's the question I texted a handful of my friends this morning as they face a bitterly cold, windy day at M&T Bank Stadium.

"Are you staying for the whole game?"

It should be over by halftime. So why would you stay? Just to freeze and watch the Ravens pile up a bigger second half lead?

Of course, there's always the other side of the coin with what I call these "tricky" games. Carolina could somehow hang around and make a game of it. And you might find yourself sitting there with nine minutes remaining and the Ravens clinging to a 26-20 lead and thinking to yourself, "I'm glad I didn't leave at halftime when it was 23-3."

Today could be a day where Lamar thrusts himself back into the MVP discussion with a bunch of yards both on the ground and in the air.

The Ravens are going to face a slew of these "tricky" games between now and the end of the regular season. By loose definition, a tricky game is one you should win with ease, but because it's the NFL and both teams try and, well, weird things happen in the league, you're never out of the woods with a "tricky" game until the final whistle blows and you've won.

Jacksonville next week? Tricky game.

Pittsburgh, twice? Both tricky games.

Denver, Atlanta? Two tricky games.

The Ravens should go 5-0 in those five. None of those teams are really any good, just like today's opponent, the Panthers, isn't any good.

But the really good teams -- which it's starting to look like the Ravens are one of those -- don't lose "tricky" games.

Sure, the Ravens fell to the Bills and the Bills lost to the Vikings and the Chiefs lost to the Bills, but losing to a good team with a winning record isn't anything to worry about. It happens.

You just can't cough up these gift-games, especially at home, which the Ravens have on their plate today with Carolina (3-7) in town.

There is nothing that Carolina does better than the Ravens. They score fewer points per-game, give up more yards, generate less yards and, as a by-product, have just 3 wins in 10 games. Oh, and the guy at quarterback today, Baker Mayfield, is actually the Panthers' back-up QB these days. He's playing today out of necessity.

But if you're a Panthers fan and you're looking for a sliver of hope that perhaps today could be one of those rare occasions where a 13-point underdog pulls off a miracle, Mayfield is the only way you can even consider something like that happening.

Despite his career tumble and last summer's extrication to Charlotte, the former Browns QB does have some idea what he's doing. With a couple of capable receivers at his disposal, it's not out of the question that Mayfield's chakras could line up correctly today and he produces a NFL-worthy game for the visitors.

It's unlikely the other 45 players could experience the same sort of one-day upgrade in quality, but it's worth noting that Mayfield has been on the good end of things against the Ravens in previous years and that he deserves a morsel of respect heading into today's game in Charm City.

But all things being equal, Mayfield's getting on that plane a losing quarterback around 6:00 pm tonight. He can't beat the Ravens by himself.

Unless he's a magician and the rest of his team learns magic before kick-off, Baker isn't winning this tricky game.

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how drew sees today's game


If you're looking for a game where the Ravens really flex their muscles and show the NFL they're a force to be reckoned with, today's that game.

I'm calling a blowout.

Drew sees a Ravens blowout win this afternoon in Baltimore.

Sure, the weather is awful and the winds might play havoc with the passing game, but it's always less windy down on the field than it is outside of the stadium. Lamar will still be able to throw the ball, don't worry about that.

I don't see the Carolina offense being able to do anything.

They average 190 yards per-game in the air and 118 yards per-game on the ground. It stands to reason they might throw for more than 190 today simply because they'll be behind by two or three scores throughout the afternoon, but I don't see any way Carolina rushes for more than 118 yards this afternoon.

I'll say the Panthers generate 303 yards of total offense. 220 of it through the passing game and 83 of it in rushing yards.

The Baltimore defense will be the story of the day, with 6 sacks and 3 turnovers, including a pick-six from Marcus Peters.

On offense, Lamar will throw for 201 yards and rush for 69 more. The Baltimore run game will account for another 123 yards.

It's 17-0 at the half, Ravens, and becomes 24-0 early in the third quarter on Peters' interception and 30 yard romp into the end zone.

The Panthers manage a late 3rd quarter score to spoil the shutout, but Lamar's TD throw to Isaiah Likely in the 4th quarter puts the Ravens back ahead by 24 points.

Baltimore improves to 7-3 with an easy 31-7 win over Carolina.

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around the nfl


BEARS AT FALCONS (-2.5) -- Two teams trying to figure out if they're actually any good or not meet today in Atlanta. Both teams coming off of what they probably thought were "bad" losses, as Chicago fell at home to Detroit and Atlanta lost at Carolina a week ago. We're thinking this is a good spot for the Falcons. They're home, still in the NFC South race, believe it or not, and this one becomes almost "must win" for them. Falcons 27 - Bears 25


BROWNS AT BILLS (-8.0) -- This one's in Detroit, which removes the "cold weather factor", but it probably helps the Bills and their prolific offense all things being equal. But the Bills might be in a tricky spot here. Cleveland can definitely run the ball and that could be something Buffalo has difficult handling. If Garrett and the Browns defense can get to Josh Allen early and knock him out...who knows what might happen? It's probably too much to ask for a Cleveland win here but we see them keeping it close and throwing a scare into the Bills before falling late. Bills 30 - Browns 23


EAGLES AT COLTS (+6.5) -- We don't generally participate in "Plays of the Week" or anything like that. We don't do nearly enough research to make those sorts of proclamations. But this one, in Indy, feels like our proverbial "lock" of the day. Philly, coming in after a Monday night loss, taking on an Indy team that might have found some new life with Jeff Saturday and Matt Ryan now both at the helm. Could it be that Philly isn't as good as they first appeared? And that Indy is better than they showed? Could Jim Irsay's idea of tanking the season by hiring a media guy to coach the team actually backfire on him? Maybe so. Colts 23 - Eagles 20


Bill Belichick and the Patriots look to hand the Jets their first road loss of 2022 today.

JETS AT PATRIOTS (-3.0) -- Two months into the season and it stands to reason that the New York Jets might be the NFL's most surprising and confusing team. Are they really any good? They're 6-3, yes, but more importantly, they're 4-0 on the road. New England, meanwhile, is very similar. They're 5-4 and have a home loss to Chicago on their 2022 record. Are they really any good? Something has to give today and we're going to assume it won't be Bill Belichick. Patriots 26 - Jets 13


RAMS AT SAINTS (-2.5) -- The Rams are facing the ultimate embarrassment. They're a 2.5 point underdog in New Orleans. That's what not having Cooper Kupp will get you, I guess. Both of these teams are lousy. This could wind up being the worst game of the day. But someone has to win (well, not really, but you know what I mean), so we'll just go with the home team and move on to a better game to feature here at #DMD. Saints 30 - Rams 24


LIONS AT GIANTS (-3.0)-- This one "feels" weird, right? The Giants are only 3 point home favorites over a lousy Detroit team? What's that all about? Detroit's capable of putting points on the board, but they're also capable of giving up 25 in each half. With the cold and wind enveloping the entire east coast, we're going to assume New York runs the ball a lot today. And that spells trouble for the Lions. Giants 27 - Lions 20


COMMANDERS AT TEXANS (+3.0) -- D.C. a 3-point road favorite? In what universe? Ahhh, yes, they're playing the Texans. It makes sense now. Can Houston get their 2nd win of the season today? Maybe. Washington's coming off a huge Monday night road win over the Eagles. If you're a believer in the "letdown game", this is a perfect spot for it. Houston's 1-7-1, but four of those losses have been one score affairs. They're bad, but they might be good enough to win today. Texans 22 - Commanders 20


RAIDERS AT BRONCOS (-2.5) -- Las Vegas is 2-7 and 0-5 on the road. They went out and picked up Davante Adams in the off-season and.....they have 2 wins. He might be the best receiver in football. And they have 2 wins. The NFL is crazy, man. Denver went out and spent $240 million on a quarterback last summer and they have.....3 wins. This is going to be a bad football games. We're going to assume Las Vegas can't go all season without a road win. Raiders 28 - Broncos 24


COWBOYS AT VIKINGS (-1.5) -- This one has "game of the day" material written all over it. Dallas comes in needing a win after last week's toe-stub in Green Bay. Minnesota flies in sky high after beating Buffalo in Buffalo. These usually wind up being duds. Someone winds up winning 30-13 and all the talk about "game of the day" goes out the window. But we're thinking this could be a barnburner with a last second field goal. Cowboys 30 - Vikings 27


BENGALS AT STEELERS (-3.5) -- Like the Ravens, the Bengals face one of those "tricky" games today. They should win this one in Pittsburgh, but Cincinnati hasn't necessarily been hitting on all cylinders in 2022. The Steelers are 3-6, which pretty much makes today's game "must win" for them if they want to make the post-season. It's not "must win", of course. But pretty close. We're going to figure the Steelers have more under the hood than the Bengals in this one. We're not impressed with either team. Steelers 19 - Bengals 16


CHIEFS AT CHARGERS (+5.5) -- We've seen Patrick Mahomes do a lot of great things in his career, but if he goes to L.A. tonight and beats the Chargers without JuJu or Hardman, our respect level goes up another notch for him. The Chargers really need this one if they want to keep pace with K.C. in the AFC West. And we think they're in a good spot. Chargers 33 - Chiefs 27

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 1 day remains


1 - Argentina

Group: C

How they Qualified: 2nd in CONMEBOL (South America)

Best World Cup Finish: Champions - 1978,1986

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $645M (7th)

FIFA Rank: 3

Odds to Win Group: -250

Odds to Advance: -1600

Odds to Win Cup: +500


Key Players:

Lionel Messi - Forward - Paris St. Germain (France Ligue 1)

Lautaro Martinez - Striker - Inter Milan (Italy Serie A)

Rodrigo De Paul - Midfielder - Atlético Madrid (Spain La Liga)


Playing Style and Outlook:

Since taking over Argentina in 2018, Coach Lionel Scaloni has unlocked the team’s full potential, finding the right recipe to maximize Leo Messi’s later stages. Argentina enters the tournament in great form, riding a 35 game unbeaten streak that is just two fewer than the record by an international team

In South American World Cup qualifying they finished second, behind only Brazil, who they defeated in Brazil to win the 2021 Copa America final. They followed that up by winning the “Finalissima” matchup with 2021 European Champions Italy.

Scaloni usually deploys Argentina in a 4-3-3 formation with a lone defensive midfielder paired with two box-to-box midfielders and Messi and Angel Di Maria out on the wings. Up top it will be Lautaro Martinez, who provides Messi with a truly elite striker to partner with for the first time in quite a while for Argentina.

The Argentines prefer to control the ball and dominate the possession battle. They look to work the ball through the opposing defensive lines, using their midfield to progress the ball up and ultimately find the feet of Messi or Di Maria with numbers forward so they can combine and create around the box. This version of Argentina has more attacking talent around Messi than previous iterations, relieving some of the burden and allowing him to be more of a facilitator and chance creator.

Messi will drop back deeper in possession to find the ball and then look to for holes in the defense when they bend their shape to stop him. With players like Martinez, Di Maria, and Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez, Argentina has the pieces to take advantage of defenses that focus too heavily on stopping Messi. Though they prefer a slow build up in possession, Argentina is also capable of playing direct when the opportunity presents itself, as they showed in the Copa America final with a quick long ball from midfielder Rodrigo De Paul setting up the winning goal by Di Maria.

When defending, they will pick their moments to press, usually on goal kicks or when opponents play back into their own end and look vulnerable, but they are not an all out pressing team. They defend the middle third of the field well, pulling up their back line to compact space and preventing opponents from getting into their end of the field. Behind the defense, keeper Emiliano Martinez has been great for Argentina, making several huge saves in their penalty shootout win over Colombia in the Copa America semifinals.

With Leo Messi entering the tournament in great form for PSG and fully embracing his role on a talented and well coached team, Argentina is poised for a deep run in Qatar. They have a favorable group draw with an up and down Poland and a weaker than normal Mexico side, that they should have no issues finishing top of.

After that they could face some challenges in the knockouts, but will be looking towards a potential rematch with rivals Brazil in the semifinals. This is the best team Argentina has built around Messi at least since 2014, when he carried them to the finals, and perhaps of his whole career. That sets up the potential for a storybook last run from one of the greatest to ever play the game.


Players to Watch:

1 - Leo Messi - Forward - Argentina

There was only one choice to top this list. The GOAT? It’s always fraught trying to compare players from different eras, but Leo Messi is inarguably one of the three or four best players to ever take the field. After capturing his first major international trophy in the 2021 Copa America, Messi now seeks the one title that has eluded him in his illustrious career. Adding a World Cup trophy to his resume would likely settle the argument once and for all, that he is indeed the greatest player of all time.

At 35 years old, this is most likely his last World Cup, and certainly the last he will be heavily relied upon for Argentina (though it would be nice if he hung around for the 2026 spectacle in the US). With rumors swirling that he could be heading to Inter Miami in MLS after this season, this World Cup and the subsequent Champions League knockouts may be the last chance to see Messi competing at the highest level before entering a semi-retirement phase.

The origin story of Leo Messi has been rehashed so many times at this point that it seems like an urban legend. After growing up playing for hometown Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, Messi was signed by Barcelona at the age of 13 with a contract written on a paper napkin. He moved to Spain and joined Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, quickly rising through the ranks before making his debut with the first team in 2004 at just 17. He emerged over the next few years to lead a Barcelona team that many consider to be one of the greatest club teams of all time.

Messi’s career achievements are too numerous to list, but they’re highlighted by a record seven Ballon D’Or awards to go along with four Champions League titles and ten La Liga titles. He is the all-time leader in both goals and assists in La Liga and he holds the record for most goals in a single La Liga season and is second in all-time Champions League goals.

Internationally, Messi is Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer. His first major international accomplishment was leading Argentina to the 2008 Olympic gold medal. He then led them to the finals of the 2014 World Cup where they just fell short against Germany, with Messi winning the Golden Ball for best player at that tournament. In Qatar he will join the short list of players to ever play in their fifth World Cup, 16 years after his debut for Argentina in the 2006 event in Germany.

Messi began his career as a speedy winger that could dribble through almost literally the entire team. When he broke out at Barcelona he would make slaloming runs where the ball seemed to be glued to his foot. No matter how fast or how many bumps he took from defenders, he kept the ball right by his side. He quickly became an unstoppable goalscorer, posting eye popping numbers for much of his career.

As he grew older, Messi lost some of his pace and quickness, but he has remained at the top of the sport by adapting and continually evolving his game. He has gradually dropped deeper and more central to take on more of a playmaker and facilitator role, becoming one of the greatest passers the game has ever seen.

He is now more often the one setting up goals for teammates than scoring them himself, though he remains a lethal striker of the ball. He is a threat on free kicks anywhere near the box and can still make his signature runs across the top of the box where he seems to break physics to bend the ball around defenders and into the back corner of the goal.

The only issue he has run into at points in his career for both club and country are his teams becoming too reliant on him and lacking a coherent plan of attack. Too often in his final years at Barcelona, the strategy seemed to be, kick it to Messi and watch him try to do everything. This is not an issue for either team currently, as his club PSG features the other two of the top three players in this countdown playing next to him. For Argentina, Scaloni has built a system to maximize Messi without being over reliant on him. They seem to have found a balance between providing him the freedom to create, while maintaining a structure around him that can’t be easily exploited.

I have been fortunate enough to see Messi in person twice, once when he was just a teenage apprentice to Ronaldinho in a friendly against the New York Red Bulls and again later in his career at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. He was electric in different ways in both games and it is fascinating to see the evolution of the player. If you watch one other team besides the US during this World Cup, I suggest making it Argentina in order to witness what could be Messi’s version of Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals run.


Best Bets:

1 - Argentina to win the cup (+500)

Brazil is deservedly the betting favorite at this tournament and boast the most well balanced roster with star talent and depth. However, I think Argentina is right on their heels, having bested them in Brazil in the 2021 Copa America final. For all the reasons described above, I like getting the additional payout on Argentina at +500 to win the whole tournament.


Opening Game Preview:

Though the headline says one day until kickoff, the World Cup actually kicks off today, since FIFA decided to move up the Qatar vs. Ecuador game one day so the host nation could open the tournament on a stage all by themselves. So the Cup will kick off at 11:00am today on Fox Sports 1.

In this matchup, Qatar will try their best to play through Ecuador but the South Americans may present a level of competition that the hosts are not ready for. Ecuador holds a large talent advantage and were very solid defensively in South American competition. Their midfield trio, led by rising Premier League star Moises Caicedo, should dominate the game and find ways through the Qatari defense. I expect Ecuador to find a few goals in the game, though Qatar may pull one back late via dangerous attacker Akram Afif.

My Prediction: 2-1 Ecuador wins

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#dmd comments








unitastoberry     November 27
I hope they let Faalele start at O left tackle lets see what he has> Save Merkari for down the road.

CIK     November 27
The Raven’s are not favored by the oddsmakers? I see Balt -3.5. That would make them the favorite…and also make them favored by the oddsmakers. I agree though that the game is tricky…hence the 3.5 point line. I like under 52.5 (-110) Lamar rushing yards. Hoping for a bad hip & sloppy track. But that kind of bet could also be a loser on the 1st play of the game. Gambling makes this watchable. And the TV ratings are popping right now.

Chris in Bel Air     November 27
Ravens will win today. It won't be pretty, again, but like Drew stated, just get another in the win column. I think the Ravens D will again be the star of the game today. It would be great if they can get healthier. Difficult task this time of year.

Drew - Caps are just past the quarter pole for the season. They have 5 wins in their last 16 games and they are only 2 points ahead of Flyers, even with them losing 10 in a row. Any additional thoughts on their performance and probability of turning it around? It looked like they had a little spark with Oshie's return, until they were waxed last night. Also, their former goalies Vanacek and Samsonov are 2nd and 4th in the league respectively for GAA with their new teams. Keumper has been decent and is currently 16th for GAA. I think that is more about the Caps overall defensive play then anything.

thomas     November 27
Likely being out is an issue for the Ravens? Stanley, absolutely, but Likely? Come on man.

But good to see Drew is back with his weekly picks, time to build up the Christmas gift fund!

Can someone tell me which of these picks will be winners so I don't bet the losers? Thanks

Jk     November 26
Was going to say the same thing as Mike C but he posted first.

Mike c.     November 26
By tying England the USA can still win the group. A loss would have meant they couldn't win the group. If you win the group your first opponent is easier in knock out play. The tie was valuable. Maybe you should do better next time.

Hank     November 26
And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining,



What makes it valuable? A loss would have meant the same - win vs Iran and in.



Do better.

Richard     November 26
I am not really a soccer fan. I’ll keep it on for background noise sometimes. For years I’ve been saying there doesn’t need to be more goals in soccer, but more action around the goals. Moving the goals closer together would ensure more action and for those that don’t like 0-0, I think this would create more fun. Thoughts, but not necessarily from the true soccer fan.

Josh     November 26
0-0 draw is pretty boring. Why not play until someone wins?

Delray RICK     November 26
STEVE CAPE....Don't understand 3 hours of 0-0. If we had that infootball NOBODY WOULD WATCH

henry     November 26
Don's Dad is correct, CHC coach admitted the fake was not called by him, some kind of rugby punt but run if you want option. Kid made up his mind to run on his own, ballsy move for sure. Wonder what the coach would think if he had not made a first down?? Also wonder if no one on Loyola side noticed the regular punter was not in the game?

@Dan, if true, makes your comments even more embarrassing lol. But all good, I know we are all focused on online gambling these days, no time to dwell on the past. Hope everyone is aware eventually the free bets will go away lol.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 26
Like I said before, watching soccer is like watching paint dry !!! Change that, watching paint dry is way more exciting !!!

Eric in Gaithersburg     November 26
Jax has better point differential than Tenn. Theyve lost 5 games by 5 pts or less. This was always gonna be a tougher than people realized game. The story of the Jaguars season is major problems in the redzone. This game comes down to Ravens scorching hot defense controlling Etienne and forcing a few turnovers and somebody stepping up on offense to break the 20 pt barrier. Ill guess a Jags win which should guarantee a Ravens victory😜

Dons dad     November 25
I believe Loyola had a time out left on 4th down yesterday. If they would have made the first down they would have called T.O.

Players on CHC told my son after the game the fake punt wasn't called from the sideline, the CHC player did it on his own.

Dan     November 25
To Henry, I didn't go to Calvert Hall, I attended high school in New York.

Richard     November 25
Happy belated Thanksgiving to Drew and everyone else here. I watched the game yesterday and it really left me scratching my head. It was a very good, well played, and exciting game. However, the coaching in the last 5 minutes was weird. A fake punt, from your own 16 on 4th and 18 is crazy(and I mean that in a nice way). Then Loyola drives the field and on 4th and 1 with 11 seconds left, they run a sweep. If the play doesn’t score, it will use the 11 seconds, as the runner got tackled for a loss with 4 seconds left. I understand(kind of) not kicking the fg(no confidence in kicker), but a sweep-strange.

Unitastoberry     November 25
Lou Michaels rip was probably the worst field goal kicker in Baltimore history. He was also a back up defensive tackle. He missed two chip shots in SB 3? Question is was he paid to miss?

Great soccer coverage.

Delray RICK     November 25
STEVE....At least spell the "GREATEST QB IN HISTORY" right.

Steve of Pimlico     November 25
One of my favorite Memorial Stadium Colt memories was a game the Colts were losing 10- 0 to the Packers.Unitus hit Willie Richardson on a slant pattern for a TD against Herb Adderley.XP attemt by Lou Michaels no good.Colts recover inside kick drive down the field.Facing a 4th and 6 can't kick a FG for tie,Unitus drops back to pass,ducks HOFer Willie Davis and scrambles for a first down.Then he hits Richardson again for game winning TD.

D. Schrute     November 25
Re: Breakfast Bytes... North Carolina actually held off the Portland Pilots not the Portland State Vikings who are playing Gonzaga right now in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

henry     November 24
Dan and the CHC crowd on the ones embarrassing themselves, particularly if you are grown men. It's high school football man, time to move on fellas.

Dan     November 24
Love all the griping on Facebook by Loyola peeps.

You lost. You tried hard and lost. Just take the loss the right way and stop embarrassing yourselves.


William     November 24
@John L, you might want to look up record for the entire series genius.

paul     November 24
People like Billy came here running their mouth last year when LB won. Take your "L" like a man this year.

John L.     November 24
Calvert Hall has won 11 of the last 13 Thanksgiving Day games. Maybe the Dons should move to the C Conference.

Billy     November 24
LOL at KC. No man for others with that guy. Or Hal

K.C.     November 24
Allan crying like a Loyola Loser. You weren't crying last year when the refs gave your TE a first down catch on 4th and 14 were you??????



Like Hal said, can't spell "Loyola" without that Thanksgiving Day "L" !!!



Go Hall!!!

Allan     November 24
And CHC faithful need to give thanks to the refs for that gift of a win. Amen.

Hal     November 24
You can't spell Loyola without the "L".

Hahahahahahahaha

lou@palo alto     November 24
yes, Steve--the old City-Poly game. when we were seniors we beat poly 52-6 w Schmoke at QB. I too remember the Unitas pass to Hinton--what a play caller #19 was! Out here, some golf (72 today) and 9 for turkey at 3p--enjoy the peace!!

Unitastoberry     November 24
@Delray/James -Dundalk. That might have been the longest standing ovation in the history of sports from the time the plane with the banner flew over until after the td pass. Incredible moment still jacks me up after 50 years.

JMP     November 24
Where are todays NFL picks? I need new shoes.

henry     November 24
Loyola played in B conf final the Sat before last year's game, stop making excuses lol.

Delray RICK     November 24
UTB..Was there til the end.

Even the dummyin the plane.




James - Dundak     November 24
To Drew & all the other commenters Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Ravens Go Terps

James - Dundak     November 24
@ U2B I was there as well. My memory is a little fuzzy but, was that also the game with the plane flyover pulling the Unitas We Stand banner. That was classic too.

CIK     November 24
What is the scenario if Calvert Hall & Loyola end up meeting in the MIAA title game? Do they play twice?

Steve of Pimlico     November 24
City Poly was always the best game of my youth played at the Stadium at 1pm.Calvert Hall Loyola was the prelim in the morning.

Unitastoberry     November 24
I'm thankful for so much including being able to keep my nickname on DMD. John Unitas is still the best QB to ever play in Baltimore and his last snap on 33rd Street was in 1972. Came off the bench for Marty Domres and hit #33 Eddie Hinton who yaced it in for a td. I was there. Thank you Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank your creator today and every day.

henry     November 23
Roll Dons roll!

Delray RICK     November 23
AGREE with JOSH. To many getting in HOF that weren't GREAT!! THE HOF ISFOR GREATEST...not a good average year. MANNY could but did he do the nasty?

Josh     November 23
Nah…. Rolen is Hall of Vey Good

Stats Nerd     November 23
I'm not sure the NFLPA is considering that this position would have unintended consequences. Well I'm sure they have considered it but it's apparent they don't care. It could more specifically be called the Guaranteed Quarterbacks Contracts. The Salary Cap is the Salary Cap and any decision to guarantee contracts will have downstream effects on other less "valuable" positions.

So it seems like the guaranteed contract push is not necessarily in the best interest of most of the rank and file but rather just the star QBs and maybe a handful of other players. By definition this will mean less money for other players.

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     November 23
I believe SB said pray for us after the Ravens kicked the tires on Kaepernick. The WC coverage has been excellent. Thank you. It’s not a stretch to think the Brazilian team should win it all. They have enough great players to field 2 teams in the WC. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Go Hall.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
@Chris K - thanks for clarifying. I'm in agreement with Drew as well. Just went about my thinking in a less direct way. Unless there is direct evidence of the owners stating their intentions and collaborating with others then this just seems to be a bunch of hot air.

Dirk,Lerxst & Pratt     November 23
Go Hall! Beat Loyola!



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. F inest T hanksgiving D ay to all!

Chris K     November 23
@chris in Bel Air collusion would be all owners agreeing as a group that they won’t offer guaranteed contracts. Each owner individually can make the personal decision to not do it but if they consulted with another owner or more before making the decision then it’s collusion. I agree with Drew that it’ll be nearly impossible to prove unless there is an electronic or paper trail.



Having said all of that, I completely understand why Bisciotti chooses not to speak publicly because every time he does he sticks his foot in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he say something like “we have our own decision making process and don’t compare ourselves to other team’s decisions”. Reminds me of when he said pray for us after attempting to sweep the Ray rice abuse under the rug. I agree with his decision to not speak publicly because he’s not good at it.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
"For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts."

Sorry, I'm a little dense at times but I'm not completely tracking this. Why do the owners have to be nervous? Are they obligated in some way to offer guaranteed contracts? Is it part of collective bargaining? If it is widely accepted as a "bad business practice" then why would anyone, including the players, think it must happen? If the Raiders, for example, had given D Adams $50M / year to sign with them last offseason, does that mean all other teams should overpay for a WR too? Or are they free to make the best decision for their team? Just because all teams make the same business decision, is that collusion?

With this said, another owner will offer a guaranteed contract. Maybe it will be Lamar and the Ravens. Maybe it is Lamar for another team. Maybe it will be Herbert or Burrow when their five years are up. But someone else is going to view player X as the one that will get them to the Super Bowl and they will over-pay. That much I know.

@Stats - thanks for the added info on the diving and EPL. In the end, I'm just not a fan of the flopping.

Unitastoberry     November 23
Little Jimmy only got 1 championship with Manning. Then he let him go and he did it again in Denver despite neck surgery. He's a jack arse of epic proportions. Chemically infused like his dad. Watson the perv changed the demographic in the league. Wrong person to do it with. If I was SB I'd sell now. I hope he doesn't.

TimD in Timonium     November 23
Well, I'll say this about @MFC - he's here commenting Every Single Day.



Kinda like the Cal Ripken of DMD commenters.

Saturday
November 19, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3008


and now we'll see what willard can do


Maryland basketball coach Kevin Willard is in the honeymoon phase of his tenure in College Park.

Most married couples would agree; that stage can be a lot of fun.

Willard is the new guy in town, replacing embattled Mark Turgeon, who quit mid-season last December after a decade of trying to mold Maryland into a Big Ten power.

Kevin Willard has his new Terps off to a 3-0 start, but today's game vs. St. Louis will provide a real test for his program.

Early signs from College Park have been extremely positive.

Willard is a hit at the school. Alumni, current students, financial supporters -- they all like the former Seton Hall coach.

His new players -- admittedly, they haven't seen how he reacts when the Terps have lost 3 of 4 -- all speak glowingly of him.

Any media member who has been around for him for more than 5 minutes can't help but think he's the right man for the job. There's coach speak, yes, but Willard has a confident way about him that can impress even the most ardent critic.

The only question left, of course, is the only one that really matters: Can Kevin Willard win basketball games?

While in the honeymoon phase, Willard will get lots of leeway. How long that lasts is anyone's guess, but the new man always gets two or three years, at least, before folks start asking harder, more difficult questions.

For now, Willard pretty much has the proverbial free pass. I mean, let's be honest, there's almost no way he can be worse than Turgeon was last season before he and the school "mutually agreed" that he was no longer the right guy for the job in College Park.

So no matter what happens in 2022-2023, Kevin Willard is fine. He has two returning seniors (Scott and Hart) from last year's dismal outfit that might be good one-season fits and former St. Frances star Julian Reese looks like a potential All Big Ten player a few games into his sophomore campaign at Maryland.

Mix in a few transfers who have looked decent enough early on and it's reasonable to think Willard and the Terps can threaten a .500 season in the Big Ten. It might be a tad ambitious to think that Maryland can reach the 20-win mark in '22-23 and make the NCAA tournament next March, but stranger things have happened.

There are some early flaws surfacing, as is the case with most teams not named Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas and North Carolina. Maryland's 3-point shooting hasn't been very good in November. Their lack of experienced, veteran size under the basket could be a problem on nights where the opposition has a big man or two to win the rebounding wars.

But this Maryland team will certainly look much different than the one that became a conference laughingstock last season.

Honeymoon or not, Kevin Willard isn't letting the marriage get off to a rocky start.


As I say here at #DMD time and time again, we go out of our way to let those with keen analysis take over when the situation calls for it.

And Maryland basketball is certainly no different.

Sure, I watch the games and occasionally opine on what I see. I make it down to College Park two or three times a year, at least, and always enjoy the experience of catching a game live down there.

But when it comes to following the program and the Big Ten and giving you the kind of in-depth coverage you deserve, I'm not the guy for that endeavor.

That's why we turn things over to my longtime, awesome friend, Dale Williams.

As the saying goes, "Dale forgot more about basketball than you and I know..."

And so, I'm pleased to report, that Dale is back for his 8th year of covering the Terps for us here at #DMD. He'll be at College Park for all home games and studies the Big Ten and Maryland's conference foes as closely as anyone you'll find.

I've said this countless times over the years and I mean it. It is not hyperbole. Dale is as astute at the sport of basketball as anyone in the media, anywhere. You won't find better Terps analysis anywhere around here, I can assure you.

So, below you'll see his '22-23 Terps preview as they head into December and begin not only conference play, but entertain a few other upgraded Division I programs as well.

Once Big Ten play hits, he'll provide game-day previews and next-day reviews of Kevin Willard's program.

We're beyond excited to have the state's best coverage of Maryland basketball right here at #DMD.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 8th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2022-2023 season.


Welcome to the 2022-2023 version of Maryland men’s basketball. There’s a new coach and many new players, but will the outcome be any different than last season’s disappointment? We’ll see.

The Terps will play their first “real” game today at 1 pm after dispatching lightweights Niagara, Western Carolina, and Binghamton, all by more than 20 points.

St Louis will offer the first real test of the season for new coach Kevin Willard and his crop of new Terrapins. The Billikens are also 3-0 after handily beating Murray State and Evansville, before besting Memphis 90-64.

Philadelphia, PA native Donta Scott is one of the few holdovers from last year's Maryland team.

While I can offer you a brief outline of the 3-0 start for St. Louis, the usual pregame breakdown can’t be accomplished because I have yet to see them play.

However, there is a fair amount of Terp tape available, and we’ll start with a quick intro of the team.

Willard takes over what’s left of the Turgeon/Manning squad from 2021-2022.

After 12 seasons at Seton Hall, and before that three years at Iona, he brings a solid foundation of winning to College Park.

His win percentage at Seton Hall was 58.3% and his teams made it to 5 of the last 6 NCAA tournaments. That being said, he only managed one win in those March Madness events.

Despite winning a Big East Tournament in 2016, those kind of numbers might not be good enough for Terp fans hungry for a turnaround, and he’ll need to improve on that to have a long tenure in College Park.

My advice to Terp hoop fans: “Be patient”. This might not be the year for high hopes.

After attending all 3 of Maryland’s games, and having seen them practice/scrimmage, some aspects of the team jump out as noteworthy.

First, Willard runs a fast-paced practice that has the Terps in better shape, stamina wise, than previous versions of the men’s team.

This will translate into a team that plays with more defensive intensity, and more pressure. We’ve already seen that during their first 3 contests as the Terps forced turnovers and stayed locked in while playing their half-court defense. Look for more pressing, and more chest-to-chest, in your face, perimeter defense. They’ll have the guard depth to do that this season.

Look for Maryland’s guard play to highlight the Charlotte transfer, Jahmir Young. Young just might be the best ball handler at College Park in quite some time. He’s athletic with a strong body that serves him well when penetrating and getting into the paint.

With Young getting the bulk of the ball handling duties, I’d expect the Terrapin turnover numbers to be much improved.

Familiar faces, Hakim Hart and Donta Scott, will fill the 3 and 4 spot for Maryland. I’ve been impressed with Hart’s more physical style and also with his shooting. He’ll make some strides this year, but he’s still not the athletic 3 man with the type of “wow” factor that can change games.

Scott’s new body (25 pounds lighter) looks good on the court and I see more stamina from the senior forward. His effectiveness is so much a factor of matchups. On some days he’ll have advantages when playing against a slower defender and on others he’ll struggle because of his lack of height. Maryland greatly needs him to return to the 40% three-point shooter he was a couple of seasons ago and not the sub-30% that he posted last season. He also needs to be a rebounding force for a somewhat undersized unit.

The center spot will be filled by Julian (Juju) Reese. At 6’9” and 230 pounds, he may not have the height and girth to push around other Big Ten centers, but he has great length and moves well. My issue with him is he’s yet to establish a go-to move and struggles with his shot. He really needs some seasoning, figuring out how to play against bigger foes. I see him as still very raw and foul trouble could be an issue, again, for him.

Reese's back-up is the much-traveled transfer, 6’7”, 210, Patrick Emilien. Emilien is more of an outside threat than inside, and he’ll play a tough game, but at 6’7” he can only defend inside if the opposite coach decides to play small.

The two-guard spot will be handled by a player who possibly epitomizes this team. Don Carey is a big guard (6’5”) who will play tenacious D and make threes. Don’t be fooled by his early 14.3% efficiency from the three-point line, he’ll hit close to 40% by the year’s end. He’s a seasoned vet having spent a year at Mount St Mary’s, two at Siena, and most recently two at Georgetown.

Besides Emilien, the Terp subs will be guard dominant. Ian Martinez and Ike Cornish are back from last season’s team. (Cornish technically could be considered a 3, but plays more of a guard game). Newcomers Jahari Long and Noah Batchelor will also be counted on to contribute, with the Hagerstown freshman, Batchelor, possessing what may be the best long-range stroke on this squad. He needs to add some bulk, but I expect him to be a scoring threat before his career at College Park is over.

These pieces of Willard’s puzzle add up to a team that needs to “3 and D” to get conference wins. Interior defense, rebounding, and consistent scoring will all be an issue this year. They posted just 71,71, and 76 points against inferior competition during their first 3 games. That translates to games in the 50’s once they hook up with Big Ten teams.

With the guard depth, Maryland will be able to press and pressure. They’ll need to defend their way to wins, and if threes don’t fall, that “D” won’t be enough to get them into the middle tier of the league.

Before they collide with their first Big Ten foe, Illinois on December 2, they’ll need to stop St. Louis. The Billikens have a 12 assist-per-game point guard (Yuri Collins), and two rebounders who grab over 10 boards a piece. This isn’t a very big Billiken team, but they are hitting 38% of their three-pointers.

Again, I’ll reserve making a call on this contest because I’ve yet to see them play. They’ve put up 90 points twice, and racked up 83 in their other game. I’m thinking Maryland needs to keep that number in the 70’s to have a shot today.

Pressure, hustle, scrappiness, and 3-pointers. The Terps success hinges on those factors. We’ll know a lot more about this team after today’s game. Remember these words throughout the season, Maryland fans: Be patient.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


The US kicks off the World Cup on Monday, the first full day of the competition.

Gregg Berhalter named his 26 man roster a couple weeks ago and while there were a few surprises on the fringes, it was mostly the names who have carried the team through qualifying. Unlike the disappointing friendlies in September, the roster enters the World Cup relatively healthy.

There are a couple players who will miss the tournament due to injury, but among the key players the only concern is Weston McKennie. The star midfielder has missed the past few weeks for Juventus, though he did return to training recently. He is expected to be available but may not be up to 100% game fitness.

Many of Greg Berhalter's World Cup roster decisions will potentially play pivotal roles in group play, which starts on Monday for the U.S. when they take on Wales in Qatar.

The other good news is that many of the expected starters will enter the tournament in good form from their clubs. Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams have quickly become fan favorites in their first Premier League season for Leeds United.

Gio Reyna and Tim Weah have both returned to full health for their clubs and head to Qatar ready to spark the US attack.

Christian Pulisic has been up and down for Chelsea, but has mostly played in stints off the bench, preserving his legs for the World Cup. Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream have led Fulham to a surprising spot in the top ten through the early Premier League season.

Josh Sargent enters the tournament as one of the top scorers in the English Championship and Sergino Dest has started to turn his season around with his move to AC Milan.

All of these players in full health and confidence gives hope the US can wipe away the poor memories from September when they take the field on Monday.

The Group

The rest of Group B consists of England, Wales and Iran. England is the heavy favorite to win the group, stacked with talent from the Premier League, they boast the most expensive roster at the tournament.

Wales has punched above its small size in the past few international tournaments, but they enter their first World Cup since 1958 with many of their key players on the downside of their careers. Iran may not be as familiar to fans of the US or European club soccer, but they can’t be overlooked. They are led by several dangerous attackers from top European clubs and play a tight defensive structure under Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz.

The US has slightly better than even odds (-105) to advance from the group into the knockout round. On talent alone they are the second best team, but they will need to put it all together on the field and winning the first game against Wales will be crucial. If they are able to advance from the group they’ll play a team from Group A in the first single-elimination game, consisting of Netherlands, Senegal, Qatar and Ecuador.

As stated above, the US opens the tournament with Wales at 2:00 pm Eastern Time on Monday. They follow that up with a revolutionary showdown with England on Black Friday at 2:00 pm. Then they conclude the group on Tuesday 11/29 with a finale against Iran, also at 2:00 pm.

Unless the US can beat England, their hopes for advancing will likely come down to the final game.

Historically the magic number to get out of the group is five points. You get 3 points for a win in soccer and 1 point for a draw (tie).

Over the past few World Cups, no team that has reached that number has failed to advance. At four points it's possible to advance, but it requires some fortunate circumstances. If they want to progress past the round of 16, it would be a big help to win the group and avoid a difficult matchup with Netherlands.

My full USA vs. Wales preview will appear in Monday’s edition of #DMD.

Below is my “bracket” of the entire tournament. As you can see, I do have the US team advancing past group play and into the knock out stage of the tournament.

I noted yesterday that Drew picked Croatia to win World Cup ‘22. I have a different eventual champion, as you’ll see below.


randy's world cup breakdown


Group play --

Group A:

Winner: Netherlands

Second: Ecuador

Notes:

Mane injury may limit Senegal and allow Ecuador to grab the second spot


Group B:

Winner: England

Second: USA

Notes:

Homer pick, but if the US plays up to their talent they should get through


Group C:

Winner: Argentina

Second: Poland

Notes:

Argentina should breeze through; Lewandowski makes the difference between Poland and Mexico


Group D:

Winner: Denmark

Second: France

Notes:

Denmark has had France’s number recently and French are dealing with some injuries


Group E:

Winner: Spain

Second: Japan

Notes:

Japan surprises and Germany disappoints...again


Group F:

Winner: Croatia

Second: Canada

Notes:

Croatia the more well rounded team; Canada shocks Belgium with their speed on the counter attack


Group G:

Winner: Brazil

Second: Serbia

Notes:

In a tough group with three of the same teams as 2018, Brazil dominates and Serbia gets revenge on Switzerland to go through this time


Group H:

Winner: Uruguay

Second: Portugal

Notes:

Uruguay’s new generation leads them top of the group; Ghana makes a strong push but Portugal rides their talent to advance


Round of 16:

1A v 2B: Netherlands beats USA; US gets a goal but Dutch press forces costly turnovers and US falls

1C v 2D: Argentina beats France; In a final-worthy second round matchup, Messi takes down teammate Mbappe to continue his last run, Argentina gets revenge for 2018 knockout round loss

1E v 2F: Spain beats Canada; Spain dominates possession and finds a goal late for a 1-0 win

1G v 2H: Brazil beats Portugal; Portugal makes it difficult but Brazil pulls out a close one

1B v 2A: England beats Ecuador; England too talented for Ecuador to upset

1D v 2C: Denmark beats Poland; Lewandowski downed by cohesive Danish team

1F v 2E: Croatia beats Japan; Croatian midfield is too skilled for Japanese press

1H v 2G: Uruguay beats Serbia; Uruguayan midfield puts the clamps on Milinkovic-Savic and win a low scoring game


Quarterfinals:

Argentina beats Netherlands; Dutch can’t press as aggressively against dangerous Argentine front three and fail to generate enough attack to out score Messi

Brazil beats Spain; Brazil lets Spain control possession but hits several times on the counter through Vinicius Jr and Neymar

England beats Denmark; England prevails on late set piece goal in defensive battle

Uruguay beats Croatia; Young Uruguayan midfield out-duels the veteran Croatian midfield to get a close win


Semifinals:

Argentina beats Brazil; Messi takes down another PSG teammate, Neymar, in a rematch of the 2021 Copa America final.

England beats Uruguay; Uruguay’s dream run comes to an end in penalties against a similarly defensively sound but more tournament tested England team


Final:

Argentina beats England 2-1 to take home their second ever World Cup and the first for Messi, with a score line that replicates the one from their famous 1986 matchup that produced the iconic Maradona “Hand of God” and “Goal of the Century” goals. Messi scores a free kick and assists Lautaro Martinez for a late game winner.


Team Profiles:

2 - Brazil

Group: G

How they Qualified: 1st in CONMEBOL (South America)

Best World Cup Finish: Champions - 1958,1962,1970,1994,2002

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $1.14B (2nd)

FIFA Rank: 1

Odds to Win Group: -300

Odds to Advance: -1200

Odds to Win Cup: +350


Key Players:

Neymar - Forward - Paris St. Germain (France Ligue 1)

Casemiro - Midfielder - Manchester United (England Premier League)

Richarlison - Forward - Tottenham (England Premier League)


Playing Style and Outlook:

The most decorated country in World Cup history enters Qatar as the favorites once again, with the highest betting odds by a decent margin. Brazil is anxious to add the sixth World Cup trophy to their cabinet, as it's been twenty years since they won their last Cup in Japan. In 2018 Brazil was also favored but got knocked off by Belgium in a tight quarterfinal game.

This version of Brazil is loaded with talent from top to bottom, with a mix of veteran savvy and youthful exuberance. They have stars at each level of the field providing strength in both defense and attack. Brazil topped the difficult South American World Cup qualifying in dominant fashion, without losing a single game. They led that competition in both goals scored and fewest goals conceded, while maintaining the highest possession rate.

Coach Tite has lined Brazil up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, that allows them to get four of their dangerous attackers on the field at the same time, with Neymar as the central hub, playing a true #10 role with freedom to roam around the attack. He is usually flanked by two inverted wingers that like to cut inside, some combination of Raphina, Lucas Paqueta, Vinicius Jr., or Antony. Tottenham star Richarlison has been the choice to lead the line at the striker position, though Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus is also available.

A veteran and defensively stout midfield and back line allows that attacking quartet the freedom to push forward. Casemiro is the anchor of that unit at defensive midfield, usually paired with Manchester United teammate, Fred. That duo is capable of snuffing out counter attacks as well as handling pressure in the build up to get the ball into the attack.

Brazil prefers to use a slow build out from the back in possession, working through the midfield and into the feet of Neymar or the wingers. Of course, they are also capable of lethal direct attacks in behind the defensive line, especially when Vinicius Jr. is on the left wing.

Defensively they are not as aggressive in pressing as other top teams, but they have a solid defensive shape aided by fullbacks that often pinch into midfield while attacking to provide coverage against counter attacks. If teams can breach their defensive lines, they’ll come up against one of the best keepers in the world in Liverpool’s Alisson.

Paired with Serbia, Switzerland, and Cameroon, Brazil has a tricky group, but given the embarrassment of talent they boast, they should have no problem advancing on top of it. In the knockout rounds they could see some familiar South American foes, with Uruguay a strong possibility for a second round matchup and arch rivals Argentina set to see them in the semis if they both get that far. Brazil would love nothing more than to get revenge for their home soil defeat in last year’s Copa America against their bitter rivals, en route to their sixth World Cup trophy.


Players to Watch:

2 - Neymar - Forward - Brazil

Neymar remains the straw that stirs the drink for Brazil. At 30 years old, the star attacker may have one more World Cup in his legs after this one, but this will be his last chance to take home the trophy in the prime of his career. He enters the tournament needing just three more goals to pass the legendary Pele as Brazil’s all-time leading scorer.

After arriving at Barcelona from Brazil in 2013, Neymar was anointed as the next global superstar. The one that teammate Leo Messi would pass the torch to as the greatest in the world. Though injuries and team cohesion have prevented Neymar from quite reaching that pinnacle, he has still been one of the best attackers in Europe over the past decade.

He helped Barcelona to a “treble” in 2015-16, winning the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey alongside Messi and Luis Suarez, in one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory. A year later he became the most expensive player in history when Paris St. Germain exercised his release clause and purchased him from Barcelona. After moving to France he won the Player of the Year in his debut season in Ligue 1 and helped lead PSG to the Champions League final in 2020.

Internationally, Neymar has carried the hopes of Brazil for a decade, after inheriting the star role as the creative hub of the team from Ronaldinho. Qatar will be his third World Cup with Brazil. He made his World Cup debut in the 2014 event hosted in Brazil, where he lead the team through the early rounds but suffered an unfortunate injury in the quarterfinals that forced him to miss out on the rest of the tournament as Brazil got embarrassed in a 7-1 loss to Germany.

Neymar began his career at Barcelona playing mostly as an inverted left winger. He has great speed and exceptional skill on the ball, capable of bursting past defenders or playing the killer pass. Since moving to PSG he has played more in the classic #10 role, moving centrally to be the main playmaker in attack. He is equally adept at setting up his teammates for chances or combining around the box to create and score goals himself. He is also a deadly set piece taker, which could be useful with all the fouls the Brazilian attackers will draw.

With an outstanding roster around him, Neymar has a great chance to lead Brazil to the promised land in Qatar and etch his name alongside those legends in his country that have won the game’s most coveted prize.


Best Bets:

2 - Croatia to win group (+200)

My favorite pick for an underdog group winner is Croatia in Group F. This is a team that returns the core veterans that led them all the way to the final in the 2018 World Cup, most of which are still in great form. They boast one of the best midfields in the tournament, led by the still outstanding Luka Modric. Croatia has played well in their most recent competitions, winning their Nations League group that contained both France and Denmark.

The favorites in Group F, Belgium, have not been as sharp of late. They finished a distant second to Netherlands in their Nations League group. Like Croatia, Belgium also has an aging veteran roster, but in their case it seems to be a detriment more than a strength, with a defense that is not nearly as sharp as it was four years ago. That is why I like Croatia to pull off a minor upset and win the group.


Recommended Soccer Follows/Listens:

Before I conclude this countdown series, I just want to give a few recommendations for some great soccer podcasts and twitter follows that are great for staying informed on all the World Cup happenings.

Total Soccer Show Podcast - @TotalSoccerShow

A great soccer podcast focused on the US but with coverage of the whole tournament. Listen now to their outstanding preview series covering each group for a more in depth look at each teambefore the kickoff.


Scuffed Podcast - @scuffedpod

USMNT focused podcast with great roster analysis and post game reviews.


Men in Blazers Podcast and show - @MenInBlazers

Fun soccer focused podcast by two British ex-pats in America. Aimed at the more casual fan with a mix of humor and pop culture


The Athletic Totally Football Show Podcast

British led soccer podcast from The Athletic. Good way to get the perspective of some of the top soccer journalists in Europe.

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Friday
November 18, 2022
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#3007


and the winner is...


Randy Morgan's our soccer guy.

If you're even a semi-visitor to #DMD, you know by now he's our expert analyst when it comes to the sport of soccer. Yes, I was in the soccer business for 17 years with Baltimore's indoor soccer team (oh, and one summer with "Team America" in the old NASL back in 1982) but I don't follow the professional leagues around the world at all. Randy does. And that's why he's the man around here when it comes to covering soccer.

But one thing still interests me about soccer and that's the national team programs of the United States. When they play games that matter, I'm deeply curious about their players and the results of critical matches and/or tournaments.

So, starting on Monday when the U.S. plays Wales in their 2022 World Cup opener, I'll be opining on soccer here. Randy will handle the site's real heavy lifting, but I'll be a (hopefully) valuable second-stringer providing my insight on what I see from Qatar.

Christian Pulisic and the U.S. soccer team start their World Cup journey this Monday at 2 pm when they take on Wales.

I'll probably chime in here and there about non-U.S. games as circumstances warrant, but I'm mostly interested in what the U.S. team does over the next month. As long as they're still alive, I'm following along closely.

I'm not overly optimistic about our chances in Qatar. I've been on record for a while now with that opinion. The U.S. squad performed adequately in CONCACAF qualifying to reach the '22 World Cup, but nothing more than that. They beat the bottom feeders for the most part and stole a big win from Mexico last November that really spiked their run to Qatar. But all in all, they were "just OK".

They have a solid goalkeeper in Matt Turner but their defensive mainstays are all average-to-good, which is in contrast to U.S. teams of the past, who were generally always more than capable defending their goal but not very good going forward.

This edition of the U.S. National Team is vulnerable in the back, in my opinion. They'll have to score goals to beat Wales, Iran and England. I doubt they win any 1-0 games.

What the U.S. does have, though, are players who fill their positions well when everyone is chugging along with the system in mind. Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Timothy Weah and Brenden Aaronson are critical components for the American side.

The three teams facing the U.S. in group play will all start their film sessions and game plans by focusing on one U.S. player -- Christian Pulisic. "Take him out of the game," opposing coaches will say, "and the U.S. can't beat us."

So, yes, Pulisic is key. But those aforemtioned four -- particularly Weah and Adams in my opinion -- have to step up and over-perform if possible over 270 minutes of soccer in order for the U.S. to advance out of round-robin group play, which is always the first and primary goal of any team competing in the World Cup.

All things being equal and with no crucial in-tournament injuries, the U.S. should beat both Wales and Iran. Expecting to beat England might be a tad ambitious, but a 2-1 record will almost certainly send the Americans to the knock-out stage of the Qatar event.

And that's my "call", if you will, on how things will pan out early on for the Americans. I'm figuring a 2-1 win over Wales (Monday, 11/21, 2 pm), a 3-2 loss to England (Friday, 11/25, 2 pm) and a 3-1 win over Iran (Tuesday, November 29, 2 pm).

My guess is the run stops after that, though. I don't see the American squad winning a game in the knock-out stage, but I'll throw out the one idea that if the U.S. could somehow win their group (which would probably mean having to beat England outright next Friday) they could draw a lesser opponent in the first knock-out stage game and perhaps beat an inferior side in that match-up.

And how do I see World Cup '22 taking shape?

You should have the usual suspects in the hunt. Argentina and Brazil are on everyone's radar and rightfully so. Germany is looking to rebound after a debacle in 2018 in which they lost to South Korea in group play and finished last out of four teams. Spain, France (the 2018 winner) and the Netherlands are also much-discussed.

I have three "quiet" possibilities to follow; Canada, Japan and South Korea. All three have to win one "big" game in their group over an established powerhouse, but all three are capable of doing just that. Of those, I really like what Canada did in qualifying last year and think they could be an upstart in Qatar.

But my pick to win the 2022 World Cup is Croatia. They reached the 2018 final before falling to France and I think their time has finally arrived.

Randy will have his group-by-group predictions and his chosen champion in Saturday's edition of #DMD.

Blow the whistle and let the games begin.


Sometime next week, Maryland -- the state, that is -- will finally merge into 2022 and allow residents of the state to wager legally on sports from the comfort of their cell phone or computer.

For the better part of 16 months now, Marylanders had to drive to Pennsylvania to place an online wager, where their cell phones and computers would be given geographic permission to bet on sports.

Our state and the politicial powers-that-be -- none of whom are the smartest people in the room, clearly -- did the same thing with online gambling that they did with slots and later, casino sports gambling. They watched hundreds of millions of dollars fill the coffers in neighboring states like Delaware, PA and New Jersey for several years before finally wising up and ushering in the same wagering opportunities here in Maryland.

Why we're always the last ones to the table is beyond me. But Maryland is, for sure, almost always last.

Starting next week, though, you can open an account and use your phone to bet on sports whenever you like. It's a brave, new world, friends.

While I have personally turned down the opportunity to have one or more of the major sportsbooks advertise with me here at #DMD, I will be aligning with one local media entity at some point in the near future to provide golf analysis during the PGA Tour season. You'll see the details on that joint venture soon enough. If you're someone who likes to wager on golf, you might be interested in the partnership I've been invited to join. If you don't like golf, you likely won't care. Simple enough.

If you're going to take advantage of next week's "wild wild west" here in Maryland and start gambling on football, basketball, hockey and so forth, let me offer you this piece of advice. I say this with the utmost confidence. The odds say you're going to lose over the long run.

You might win initially. Might even have a good month or a good few months. But when all the dust settles and you're sitting in your favorite chair with your calculator, the losses will be more than the wins. As Ben Affleck said to Matt Damon near the end of Good Will Hunting -- "I don't know much. But I know that."

No matter what you do, gamble smartly please. Gamble within your means. If you treat it like a meal at a nice restaurant, that's fine. "I can go out to dinner and spend $50 or I can stay home, eat some soup, and bet $50 on four or five basketball games". If you like soup, that's probably a fun way to spend a Friday night.

But if you get yourself in a position where you can't make the car payment or mortgage payment because you've gambled too much -- and lost -- you're in dangerous territory.

Be smart. And remember...the odds say you're going to lose over the long run.


We've learned over the last few years that nothing is etched in stone when it comes to Tiger Woods. Two years ago, we didn't think he'd ever play again. Then he returned and actually hung around the Masters for a couple of days before vanishing from the leaderboard. A WD at the PGA Championsip and two bad rounds at the British Open got us thinking maybe Father Time had finally won his match with Woods.

One thing we know with Tiger: You never know.

Most of us didn't think he'd get to 82 wins and he did. Most of us didn't think he'd collect that 15th major and he did.

Now, though, he's getting ready to play "silly season golf" and we're once again faced with the question: "Can Tiger get back to the championship form we've seen from him in the past?"

I don't think so.

But we're going to learn a lot about Tiger's future in the next three weeks, that's for sure.

He has a 12-hole exhibition, the Hero World Challenge and the Parent/Child tournament with his son, Charlie. And while none of those tournaments are anything close to the rigors of a major championship (the Hero is actually a "real" tournament, the other two are nothing like PGA Tour events), the mere fact Woods is willing to put his game out there for all to see on three separate occasions in the month of December tells you something. If nothing else, we know he's not hanging it up.

There were rumors bouncing through the golf world in October that Woods produced rounds of 64-66-63 at The Medalist in a funny little 3-day "hit and giggle" he put together with a few of that club's professionals and mini-tour players. No one knows anything about those three days other than the scores that were leaked. We assume the players rode in golf carts. Did they play the ball down? Were all putts holed?

But The Medalist is no Clifton Park or Rolling Road. It's a stern test of golf for even the best Florida players not named Tiger Woods. So when someone goes around there in 64-66-63 over 54 holes, that's good playin' no matter who signed the card.

The real proof, though, will start to show itself in December. And then once the TOUR season resumes in January, we'll see where Tiger surfaces next. Will he play 3 or 4 events prior to the Masters? If so, that's a huge accomplishment. Or will he just practice in South Florida and go into Augusta National "cold" next April? If that happens, we know what that means, too.

One thing we've come to know about Tiger: We just don't know what's going to happen next.

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faith in sports


Paul Goldschmidt won the National League MVP award yesterday. He's a future Hall of Famer if things keep going the way they've gone for him in his Major League career. But it wasn't always easy for him. If you watch this video for just FOUR minutes, you'll see how Goldschmidt's life was changed by a minor league coach he encountered while a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Four minutes. That's all you need to devote to the video below. You'll be glad you did.


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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 3 days to go


Team Profile:

3 - France

Group: D

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: Champions - 1998,2018

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $1.08B (3rd)

FIFA Rank: 4

Odds to Win Group: -250

Odds to Advance: -1400

Odds to Win Cup: +700


Key Players:

Kylian Mbappe - Forward - Paris St. Germain (France Ligue 1)

Karim Benzema - Striker - Real Madrid (Spain La Liga)

Aurelien Tchouameni - Midfielder - Real Madrid (Spain La Liga)


Playing Style and Outlook:

The reigning World Cup holders have the most talented pool of players of any country in the world. France could easily field three full teams that would be competitive in this tournament. They have star players on nearly every top club in the Champions League. All they have done since winning the last World Cup is add the current Ballon D’Or winner to an already stacked roster.

Despite the amazing wealth of talent, France has not played up to their potential in the last two European competitions, the 2021 European Championships or the 2022 Nations League. Another concern for France is that four of the five most recent reigning World Cup Champions have failed to get out of the group stage.

France will play in a 4-2-3-1 formation, as confirmed by manager Didier Deschamps in a press conference. After tinkering with a back three formation in the Nations League, he has decided to go back to the formation that won them the Cup in 2018.

Even though they have two of the best attackers in the world, France is not an all-out attacking team. They play in a more pragmatic defensive style, picking their moments to attack. This has suited them well, in 2018 obviously, and also in qualifying, where they conceded the fewest shots and goals to opponents of any team in the competition. They are not a heavy pressing team either, preferring to remain compact defensively and frustrate other teams into mistakes in their end of the field.

They are exceptionally dangerous on the counter when they can force these mistakes and quickly get the ball up to Benzema and Mbappe on the break. That duo can strike with lightning quickness and devastating precision.

In addition to those two, they have other dangerous attackers like RB Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku, who could line up on the right, and veteran Antoine Griezmann who often plays behind the strike pair, helping to connect and create chances. Whoever pairs with Benzema and Mbappe up top, the attacking line will be capable of breaking down any defense.

The big question mark for France this year will be in the midfield. They are missing the two starters from 2018, N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, with injuries. Instead they will be relying on younger stars to take over the position. The key man will be Real Madrid’s Aurelien Tchouameni.

The 22 year old will be tasked with holding down the midfield in the absence of the two veterans, he is a solid two-way player, with the skill on the ball to receive from the back line and the range and physicality to win challenges in midfield. He took a step up at club level this year and now he will need to step up in the international game as well.

Despite the injuries hampering France, they remain one of the most talented teams in Qatar, evidenced by the fact they can replace two injured midfielders with starters from Champions League title contenders. France’s talent and defensive stability should make them difficult to knock out in this tournament, whether they repeat their 2018 run will largely depend on whether their dynamic duo in attack can generate enough scoring to carry them to the finish line.


Players to Watch:

3 - Kylian Mbappe - Forward - France

The 23 year old star French attacker has quickly inherited the mantle as the greatest player of a generation. With Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo nearing the end of their storied duopoly at the top of the sport, Mbappe, along with Norwegian Erling Haaland, has emerged to start a new ongoing debate about who is the best in the world.

After bursting on the scene for Monaco, Mbappe moved back to his hometown of Paris to play with the biggest team in France, Paris St. Germain, starring alongside global icons like Messi and Neymar. At PSG, Mbappe has won the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award three times and led the league in scoring the past four seasons.

His international breakout came in the 2018 World Cup, where he became the youngest French goal scorer at the event at the age of 19. He helped France to capture the Cup, finishing as the tournament’s second leading scorer with four goals and winning the Best Young Player award.

Mbappe is a truly generational talent, combining blazing speed with exceptional body control and an outstanding scoring touch. He will be the most exciting player to watch at the tournament. When slaloming through defenders or breaking free behind the back line, he recalls a young Randy Moss galloping past defenders into the endzone.

He is most effective when he can play out wide on the left, combined with more of a target forward, but can also play as a lone striker up top. Mbappe has great awareness to pick out dangerous runs off the ball, getting him on the end of many great passes from Messi and Neymar at PSG this season.

He has also already developed his own signature move, when dribbling in from the left, he opens his hips, appearing to look for a shot to the far post, then cuts across the ball and catches the defender and goalie off guard with a shot to the near post. Even with defenders expecting to see it, the execution is so flawless it can’t be prevented.

In Qatar he will have the chance to be the first player since Pele to lead his country to two World Cup trophies before the age of 24. Already well on his way to being one of the best of his generation, another star performance on the game’s biggest stage and a deep France run, could begin to nudge him into the stratosphere of the all-time greats.


Best Bets:

3 - Uruguay to make the semis (+550)

Uruguay has long had a reputation as a stout defensive team that can battle with the best in the world. In Qatar they will see the transition to an accomplished veteran group like Luis Suarez and Edson Cavani to a young generation of new stars. Their midfield duo of Fede Valverde and Rodrigo Bentancur are as good as any in the tournament, with both playing outstanding for their clubs this season.

Uruguay is favored to advance from their group and has a decent chance to win it over a Portugal team that has failed to play up to their talent level recently. If they can top the group they would avoid a second round matchup with Brazil and find themselves on what should be the weaker side of the knockout bracket. At +550 that makes them an intriguing bet for a dark horse run to the semifinals.

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Thursday
November 17, 2022
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#3006


"now this...is real golf"


This will be a 6-furlong edition of #DMD, for those who keep track of that sort of stuff.

I'm authoring this while I stare out at the whitecap-filled Chester River just after 6 am Thursday morning. I'm here, at the awesome Queenstown Harbor golf resort, with 15 other men who have joined me for two days of golf, fun and fellowship to support Maryland FCA Golf.

When I looked at the calendar back in August and decided to put this season-ending event together, I remember saying to my good friend, Brian Hubbard, "It's mid-November and we'll be on the Eastern Shore -- how cold can it get?"

Advance weather forecasts didn't look all that promising, which made me feel good. Ten days ago, when the outlook for Wednesday and Thursday of this week was, "High temps in the mid 40's with 10-15 mph winds", I reasoned that weather predictions in this area are generally wrong. If they're calling for a "light dusting", we get six inches of snow. If they tell us we're getting 8-12 inches of snow, we get three inches of the white stuff, maybe.

Our group of 16 with blue skies overhead at Queenstown Harbor on the Eastern Shore.

Sadly, the weather professionals were right this time around. Yesterday was 48 and windy and today will be more like 44 and windy. It figures.

We played the Queenstown "Lakes Course" yesterday and it was, to say the least, a real challenge. Only a handful of players broke 80 and I think, if I read the scorecards correctly last night, there were a total of only 8 natural birdies within the group of 16. There were far, far more double bogeys than birdies, I know that for certain.

"Now this is real golf," one guy in my group deadpanned on the par 3 11th hole as we all contemplated whether to hit a hard 6 iron or easy 5 iron on the 140 yard hole.

"Yeah," another said. "I'd hate to be sweating and swatting mosquitoes on a 91 degree day."

As I said to the guys in my group on one of the tees, "The shame of it? I've played in far, far worse conditions than this..."

And that's true. One January afternoon, circa 2000, my friend Greg Ruark and I walked 27 holes at Mount Pleasant. It was 17 degrees when we teed off and 11 degrees when we finished. True friggin' story. We were, of course, nuts. But we played nonetheless.

But adverse conditions can't bring this group down. We had an incredible chaf-catered meal last night at our two cottages on the back end of the golf course, along with music, faith discussion and an update from me on what's happening with Maryland FCA Golf. This event will close out the 2022 portion of our first year and all 15 guys who joined me on the Eastern Shore for this two-day venture are helping us get ready for a bright 2023.

What stood out to me most last night was the diversity in our group: Calvert Hall grads, Loyola Blakefield grads, Boys' Latin grads, public school grads, military school grads and fathers of junior golfers from 11 different schools in the area.

We joke a lot in Baltimore about the whole "what school did you attend?" comment. Elsewhere around the country, that question generally relates to the college you attended. In Baltimore, we ask that question to discover what high school you attended.

We also tend to rib one another a lot in Baltimore about our varying school rivalries. My friend Tim Miller (Old Mill) and I exchanged playful texts last week when his Patriots met my Glen Burnie Gophers in the state high school football playoffs. He has pride in his alma mater and I have pride in mine, but when his Old Mill team won 32-0, I honestly couldn't have cared less. There's no "real" rivalry, just smiles and laughs about our old high schools competing on the field.

The same goes for Baltimore. Calvert Hall and Loyola are obviously "rivals" and the upcoming Turkey Bowl football game is the biggest one-off sporting event of the year for both educational institutions, but the reality is the rivalry doesn't go much deeper than a four quarter football game on Thanksgiving Day.

Calvert Hall grads hire Loyola grads all the time and vice versa. We joke around amongst ourselves about the rivalry, but some of my best friends went to Loyola. As I always say to them, "It's not my fault you couldn't pass the Calvert Hall entrance exam that year..."

I bring up the "school issue" simply to highlight and support our mission statement at FCA Golf. We're trying to reach every student-athlete in the area who wants to learn more about golf and a relationship with Jesus and His church. We don't care where they go to school. Loyola? That's great. Perry Hall? That's great. Mount Saint Joseph? That's great. Boys' Latin. That's great. Dulaney? That's great. Calvert Hall? That's great.

So when you're in a cottage overlooking the Chester River on a windy Wednesday night and a Loyola grad and father of a Loyola varsity golfer (that you'll be competing against twice next spring) is helping you clean the kitchen and put dishes away after dinner, you quickly realize "what school your kid attends" is the least of your worries.

When the father of a Boys' Latin golfer comes up to you privately and hands you money "from the guys" and offers his support in 2023 and beyond, "what school your kid attends" is the least of your worries.

And when the dad of a swimmer at Loyola tells a story about how our FCA Golf clinics this summer "changed his son's outlook on faith and God", I couldn't care less where that young man goes to school. He's not even a "golfer" per-se, and we were blessed to somehow impact him over a 6-month period.

God works in mysterious ways, they say.

And indeed He does.

In just under 10 months, we've not only developed Maryland FCA Golf but we've introduced men to others in their community that have helped them in their own businesses and entreprenurial efforts. That wasn't the design of Maryland FCA Golf, more like the nature of unintended consequences. One business owner in our group yesterday just moved into a new building and one of his first priorities was putting a new roof on the structure. Guess who he played with yesterday? Someone who owns a roofing company. Incredible...

So thank you for bearing with me today as I share just a smidgen of what's important to me in my life right now. I love sports, of course. I love the Ravens, Orioles, Capitals and so on.

But today, at least, what's most important is sharing another round of golf with these men who have helped me grow Maryland FCA Golf from an idea on a napkin this time last year to what it has become in just 12 months.

And we have a lot of work left to do. A lot of good work. A lot of meaningful work. And a lot of fun work, on top of that.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also thank those of you who have donated to our program over the last year. No matter the amount, you helped us hold clinics, host junior tournaments and buy apparel and equipment for junior golfers throughout the state.

You're helping us reach people and promote our FCA message in a way that we'd never do if not for your support. Thank you.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 4 days to go


Team Profile:

4 - Spain

Group: E

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: Champions - 2010

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $902M (5th)

FIFA Rank: 7

Odds to Win Group: -115

Odds to Advance: -750

Odds to Win Cup: +850


Key Players:

Pedri - Midfielder - Barcelona (Spain La Liga)

Pau Torres - Center Back - Villarreal (Spain La Liga)

Alvaro Morata - Striker - Atletico Madrid (Spain La Liga)


Playing Style and Outlook:

After one of the most successful runs in international history during the early 2010s, Spain brought an aging team to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and were upset by the hosts in the round of 16. During this World Cup cycle they have largely handed the keys over to a new generation, while still playing in the typical possession-heavy Spanish style. Thus far that new generation has been exciting, outplaying eventual champions Italy at the 2021 Euros then winning their qualification and Nations League groups.

This is a team that is more centered around a philosophy and tactical strategy than a specific set of stars. Manager Luis Enrique has constantly chopped and changed the lineup throughout qualifying and Nations League, leveraging the wealth of technical players at Spain’s disposal.

As has been the case since the early 2000s, Spain will line up in a 4-3-3 formation with a distributing player at the base of midfield, either Segio Busquets or Manchester City’s Rodri.

They strive to control the ball and work meticulously to find high percentage shots in the box. Spain was the most possession heavy team in Europe by a good margin during both World Cup qualification and Nations League.

They will use control of the ball not just to generate attack, but also as a defensive measure. If the other team doesn’t touch the ball, it is hard for them to score. Spain will also aggressively press to win the ball back as soon as they lose it, to snuff out any chance for the other team to get comfortable in possession.

Most of the time they will build from the back, looking to play between the lines with their ball playing center backs and sure-footed midfielders. When they get the ball in the opponent’s end they will try to find space around the box for their overlapping number 8s, Pedri and either Gavi, Carlos Soler or Koke. The Spanish fullbacks are also capable of delivering dangerous crosses when the defense is pinned back.

Spain’s biggest weakness has been generating enough goals from all their possession. Teams tend to sit in a low defensive block against them, making it hard to find space around the box. Without a dominant target forward to get on the end of crosses, Spain has had some difficulty scoring. This was also an issue in 2018, when they out passed Russia a ridiculous 1008 to 192, but ended up drawing 1-1 and losing in a penalty shootout.

If they are going to make a run at the Cup, they will need a big tournament from on and off striker Alvaro Morata. The Atletico Madrid man has always been talented but has never put it all together to be an elite player. If he can’t find the net then they will need a breakout from one of their other young attackers like Ferran Torres or Ansu Fati.

This is a well coached team where every player understands their tactical approach and their role within it. They have more depth than star power, but with an emerging generational talent like Pedri pulling the midfield strings they hope to be more potent this time around. They will be for any team at the tournament to score against, but if they can’t solve their own scoring woes, they’re likely to suffer the same fate they saw in 2018.


Players to Watch:

4 - Kevin De Bruyne - Belgium - Midfielder

The star Manchester City midfielder has arguably been the best player in the Premier League over the past five years, winning four league titles while collecting the Player of the Year award twice.

At 31 years old, De Bruyne may still have another World Cup left after this one, but with the rest of the Belgian golden generation aging quickly, this might be his last best shot to lift the trophy.

In 2018 he helped lead Belgium to within a goal of the final, falling just short in a 1-0 loss to eventual winners France.

With a slightly weaker supporting cast, De Bruyne will need to carry an even heavier load to make a run this year. Still at the top of his game, De Bruyne is one of, if not the best midfielders in the world. He can dominate games in multiple ways, whether driving the ball in transition, dribbling through defenders, or blasting long range strikes.

However, his biggest asset is his uncanny passing ability. De Bruyne is the best passer of the soccer ball in the last decade not named Lionel Messi. He is often seen delivering pinpoint crosses into the box for Manchester City, but is equally capable playing killer through balls from deeper in midfield or low balls across the box from the channels.

De Bruyne is also an aggressive defender who uses his body well to battle for balls in midfield. Whether or not Belgium makes a deep run in Qatar, De Bruyne will be a joy to watch in what may be his last time on the international stage at the peak of his powers.


Best Bets:

4 - Japan to qualify from group (+300)

Most will expect perennial powers Spain and Germany to get out of this group, but each World Cup there is at least one surprising big team that fails to get out of the group. With two other potentially tricky opponents in Costa Rica and Japan, this could be the group that produces that shock.

Japan was extremely impressive in a comprehensive win over the US in September and they were outstanding throughout Asian qualifying. They boast a veteran roster that is well organized and does a great job implementing their tactical plan. I think they are a good bet to shock one of the traditional powers and sneak past them into the knockouts. With many players at top leagues in Europe, including Spain and Germany, the Japanese will be familiar with their foes and won’t fear their talented opponents.

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Wednesday
November 16, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3005


did you know?


Some of these, you might know. Some you might not.

Somehow, I missed Towson beating UMass last Thursday night, so even I didn't know the Tigers are off to a 3-0 start.

Pat Skerry's Towson Tigers, like Maryland, are off to a 3-0 start in the '22-23 campaign.

Alas, they are. Pat Skerry's team has a home win over Albany and a victory at The Palestra over Penn to go along with their victory at UMass.

One of the best things in college basketball must be when you get "invited" to play someone in their barn and they're even willing to write you a nice check for the privilege of smacking you around early in the season -- and then you take their check AND beat them in the game.

What could be better than some school paying you $200,000 to beat them?

So I thought Towson was 2-0. Little did I know they're 3-0. And tomorrow night they're at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro for a shot at a 4-0 start.

Towson hasn't been to the NCAA tournament in 30 years. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the year they go back to the Big Dance. If anyone deserves it, it's Skerry.

In other "Did you know?" news...

We all know Tony Gwynn was a great hitter. You could certainly make an argument he's the best all-time, even.

MLB started keeping "2 strike" statistics in the 1970's. Wade Boggs is currently #2 all-time with a .262 batting average when he was sitting on two strikes.

You might not know that #1 in that category goes to Tony Gwynn. What was his average when facing a 2-strike count in his career? Try .302. And it gets better. In 1994, Gwynn hit an amazing .397 in two-strike counts. Yes, that's true! The man almost hit .400 when sitting on two strikes.


Everyone knows Tom Brady has enjoyed a magnificent NFL career. What you might not know is that Brady has won more playoff games (35) than 13 other franchises have appeared in throughout their existence!

You might also know (or not) that only one NFL quarterback over the age of 40 has ever appeared in a Super Bowl. It's Tom Brady, of course. He's played in three after age 40.

And speaking of Brady's 35 career playoff wins, guess how many franchises in NFL history have at least 35 post-season wins? Three. That's it. Just three; Green Bay, Pittsburgh and, naturally, New England.


If you don't know this, you should. Barry Bonds once saw 663 consecutive pitches (a span of 31 games) without swinging and missing at two pitches in a row. There are a lot of wild, wacky baseball stats that are beyond impressive and that's definitely one of them.


Going 110 straight holes without a bogey is one way to silence your critics.

I know you don't know this. I didn't even know this. Tiger Woods once went 110 straight PGA Tour tournament holes without making a bogey. Imagine for a second going 10 holes in a row without a bogey on your card. Then imagine you were able to go an entire 18-hole round without a bogey.

And now, think about going, say, three straight rounds (54 holes) without making a bogey.

Tiger went 110 straight holes. In real golf tournaments. On real golf courses. Where every shot and every putt counts and matters.

Because I'm a golf nerd and I keep records of that kind of stuff, I know I once went 23 consecutive tournament holes without making a bogey. It happened at Bonnie View CC in the 2000 U.S. Amateur qualifier. I went bogey-free in the first round with a 4-under 66 and I started my second round with a birdie and four pars. I made it 23 holes without a bogey. Tiger went 110.

Unreal, huh?


You might not know about this one and on the surface it might even be considered urban legend, but more than one former Duke basketball player has confirmed it. Once, after missing a foul shot in a crucial game at North Carolina State, J.J. Reddick went back to Cameron Indoor Stadium when the Blue Devils returned from Raleigh and told his teammates, "I'm going in and making 100 straight free throws."

He had a team manager go with him to fetch the basketballs and then proceeded to make 136 consecutive foul shots in 30 minutes.

Several players snuck in quietly and watched from various points in the arena. Many of them stopped counting at 100. Reddick wanted to reach 200 once he finished off the first 100 but he finally missed on free throw #137.


I think you know Joey Votto is a great hitter. What you probably don't know, though, is this: Votto once went 6,827 plate appearances consecutively without popping out to the first baseman.

It took Votto until his 10th season in the big leagues to pop out to the first baseman.

10 years. 6,827 trips to the plate with a bat in his hand. And he finally popped out to the first baseman in April of 2019.


Billy Joel is awesome and all. I think you know that. But I'm not sure you know this little tidbit about him. Joel has sold out Madison Square Garden 144 consecutive times he's played there. And he makes $2 million per-show at "The Garden".

I realize there are a lot of people in New York. But 144 consecutive sell-outs? He plays there every month, in case you don't know. In fact, I'm going up to MSG in January to see him there for the fourth time myself.

I do marvel, though, at how "the piano man" can sell-out a building 144 consecutive times. And remember, those shows are virtually any day of the week. Sometimes on a Wednesday, sometimes on a Friday, etc. It's not like they're all Saturday nights. He's selling out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and so on.

In case you care -- and I'm not sure you know this, either -- my favorite Billy Joel song is the one below.


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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 5 days to go


5 - Netherlands

Group: A

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: 2nd - 1974,1978,2010

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $587M (9th)

FIFA Rank: 8

Odds to Win Group: -280

Odds to Advance: -1200

Odds to Win Cup: +1200

Key Players:

Virgil Van Dijk - Center Back - Liverpool (England Premier League)

Frenkie de Jong - Midfielder - Barcelona (Spain La Liga)

Memphis Depay - Forward - Barcelona (Spain La Liga)


Playing Style and Outlook:

The three time runners up are back in the World Cup once again, looking to capture their first ever trophy. After failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament, Netherlands returns with a strong side that topped one of the more difficult qualification groups in Europe and dominated their recent Nations League group as well.

The Dutch began qualifying using a 4-3-3 formation, but have more recently switched to a 3-4-1-2 that they are likely to continue using in Qatar. The three center backs, anchored by all-world Liverpool star Virgil Van Dijk, provides Netherlands the defensive coverage necessary to push their dynamic wingbacks high into attack. Right sided wingback Denzel Dumfries often plays especially high, functioning more as an attacker than a defender.

The Dutch have had a potent attack in the past few competitions, finishing near the top in goals scored in both UEFA qualifying and the Nations League. They also created the most chances of any team in attack, many of which came off crosses from those wingbacks.

In defense they often apply heavy pressure, relying on a high back line led by Van Dijk to compact the field and make it difficult for opponents to play through. This led to ample high value turnovers, with the second most balls won in their opponent’s end during qualifying. They like to use this pressure to squeeze opponents and quickly win back possession, so they can dominate the ball and funnel it back into the attack. They are able to generate chances both from patient build up and through quick counter attacks.

Netherlands may not seem as threatening heading into this World Cup, with several of their top players not in their best form at club level. However, many of those stars seem to shine brighter in the Orange than they do for their clubs.

Frenkie de Jong may be the prime example, while he has been up and down at Barcelona, his exceptional talent blossoms in the Dutch midfield, where he is the engine that drives the team, progressing the ball from defense to attack. Memphis Depay has also not seen much time on the field for Barcelona, but was one of the top scorers in qualifying and is a threat to light it up in Qatar.

The Netherlands are perhaps the most storied soccer country to never win the World Cup trophy, but with a relatively easy group and what should be a favorable second round matchup, they have to like their chances for a run this year.


Get to Know the US Team:

Haji Wright

Baltimore Doppelganger - Gus Edwards

The 25 year old Antalyaspor (Turkey) striker was the most surprising inclusion on the US World Cup roster. After a short stint with the team in the summer friendlies, Wright was left off the roster in September and appeared to be well down the depth chart before the roster was announced. However, his scorching goal-scoring form in Turkey seems to have won him a spot at the buzzer.

Coach Gregg Berhalter stated that it came down to a decision between Haji Wright and Jordan Pefok, with both providing a more physical presence than the top two strikers on the depth chart, Jesus Ferreira and Josh Sargent. Berhalter said he went with Wright based on recent form, since he has been scoring more frequently in Turkey than Pefok has in Germany. At 6’ 3”, Wright has the size to bang with more physical defenders in the international game, something the younger Ricardo Pepi may be lacking.

In some ways, Wright reminds me of Ravens running back Gus Edwards. Both players are able to leverage their size to their advantage in their positions. Wright is likely to be used as a type of change of pace to the other two US strikers, coming off the bench if the US needs to try a different attacking approach. Likewise, Edwards provides a different approach than fellow Ravens running backs JK Dobbins, Kenyan Drake or Justice Hill. Similar to Edwards, Wright is not all size, he has deceptive speed and nimble feet for a larger man.


Players to Watch:

5 - Joshua Kimmich - Germany - Midfielder

The star Bayern Munich midfielder enters this World Cup in the prime of his career at 27 years old. Kimmich has been the heart and soul of the Bayern midfield for the better part of a decade now, winning seven German Bundesliga titles with the club and one Champions League. This will be his second World Cup with Germany, after taking part in their disastrous 2018 campaign that saw them eliminated in the group stage.

Kimmich has long been considered the heir apparent to legendary Bayern Munich and German National teamer Philipp Lahm. Similar to Lahm, Kimmich started his career as a right back and gradually moved over to midfield. He remains outstanding defensively, providing defensive cover at the base of the midfield for both club and country, but has grown into a midfielder that can do it all.

Kimmich is at his best when he can function as the deep lying playmaker, finding space to receive the ball from the back line and then spraying passes all around the field to cut open the defense. He operates like the quarterback/point guard of the German attack, deciding when to push the ball forward and when to switch it to the open side of the field. In addition to his incredible passing range, Kimmich has a non-stop motor, able to surge forward into the attack when needed, and he has the ability to be a dangerous finisher around the box when he gets there. He is also a sharp set piece taker, which is often quite useful in tight World Cup games.

Kimmich has been one of the best midfielders in the world for the past few years at club level. This tournament will be his chance to stamp his mark on the international game by leading Germany back to prominence after a few poor showings at big tournaments. If he can do that, his name will start to be spoken in the same manner as those legends before him, like the aforementioned Lahm.


Best Bets:

I’m running out of soccer terminology as we get close to the real games. So in honor of online sports betting finally going live in Maryland sometime in the next couple weeks, I will run down my top five bets for the World Cup during these last few countdown days.

5 - Richarlison to win Golden Ball (+3500)

The Brazilians are once again the odds on favorites to win the World Cup. They have talent on their roster from top to bottom, with stars like Neymar and Vinicius Jr. The Golden Ball is essentially the MVP trophy for the World Cup, given to the best player at the tournament as determined by the voters. This player typically, though not always, comes from the winning team, or at least one of the finalists. It also typically goes to the highest goal scorer.

Richarlison is likely to be the starting striker in the Brazilian attacking line, so while Neymar and Vinicius Jr. may be more key to Brazil’s success, it may be Richarlison feasting off the chances they create. The Tottenham star has been in good form this season, though at his club it’s Harry Kane who usurps the goal scoring chances.

With Brazil, Richarlison gets to be the target striker and during qualifying he led Brazil with six non-penalty goals. If he can reproduce that in the World Cup he could come away with this award, and at 35-1, it's a decent longshot bet to throw a few bucks on.


European Roundup

With the European club season poised for a long break for the World Cup, today we have an abbreviated roundup of where the top leagues leave off.

England –

In the Premier League Arsenal extended their lead at the top to five points, winning 2-0 over Wolverhampton thanks to two goals from Martin Odegaard. They got help from Brentford as well, who shocked Manchester City in Manchester, getting a late counter attack goal for a 2-1 win.

Newcastle held their place in third with a 1-0 win over Chelsea while Tottenham jumped back up to fourth with a late comeback featuring two Rodrigo Bentancur goals to beat Leeds 4-3.


Italy –

There were two rounds in Serie A this week and Napoli remained on fire, opening up a seven point lead at the top of the league with wins over Empoli and Udinese. Behind them AC Milan dropped points in a 0-0 draw with Cremonese then beat Fiorentina. Juventus jumped up to third place with a 3-0 win over Lazio and Atalanta slid all the way to sixth place with losses to Lecce and Inter Milan.


Germany –

In the Bundesliga Bayern Munich continued to put distance between them and the chasing pack with wins over Werder Bremen and Schalke thanks to four goals from Serge Gnabry. Union Berlin continued their slide in form with a tie against lowly Augsburg and a loss to Freiburg, who moved up to second. Borussia Dortmund dropped to six with a bad week, losing 2-0 to Wolfsburg and 4-2 to Borussia Monchengladbach.


Spain –

In La Liga, Barcelona came from behind to beat Osasuna 2-1 to retain their top spot while Real Madrid kept pace with a 2-1 win over Cadiz.


France –

In Ligue 1, Paris St. Germain dominated in a 5-0 win over Auxerre to maintain a five point lead in first place.

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#dmd comments








unitastoberry     November 27
I hope they let Faalele start at O left tackle lets see what he has> Save Merkari for down the road.

CIK     November 27
The Raven’s are not favored by the oddsmakers? I see Balt -3.5. That would make them the favorite…and also make them favored by the oddsmakers. I agree though that the game is tricky…hence the 3.5 point line. I like under 52.5 (-110) Lamar rushing yards. Hoping for a bad hip & sloppy track. But that kind of bet could also be a loser on the 1st play of the game. Gambling makes this watchable. And the TV ratings are popping right now.

Chris in Bel Air     November 27
Ravens will win today. It won't be pretty, again, but like Drew stated, just get another in the win column. I think the Ravens D will again be the star of the game today. It would be great if they can get healthier. Difficult task this time of year.

Drew - Caps are just past the quarter pole for the season. They have 5 wins in their last 16 games and they are only 2 points ahead of Flyers, even with them losing 10 in a row. Any additional thoughts on their performance and probability of turning it around? It looked like they had a little spark with Oshie's return, until they were waxed last night. Also, their former goalies Vanacek and Samsonov are 2nd and 4th in the league respectively for GAA with their new teams. Keumper has been decent and is currently 16th for GAA. I think that is more about the Caps overall defensive play then anything.

thomas     November 27
Likely being out is an issue for the Ravens? Stanley, absolutely, but Likely? Come on man.

But good to see Drew is back with his weekly picks, time to build up the Christmas gift fund!

Can someone tell me which of these picks will be winners so I don't bet the losers? Thanks

Jk     November 26
Was going to say the same thing as Mike C but he posted first.

Mike c.     November 26
By tying England the USA can still win the group. A loss would have meant they couldn't win the group. If you win the group your first opponent is easier in knock out play. The tie was valuable. Maybe you should do better next time.

Hank     November 26
And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining,



What makes it valuable? A loss would have meant the same - win vs Iran and in.



Do better.

Richard     November 26
I am not really a soccer fan. I’ll keep it on for background noise sometimes. For years I’ve been saying there doesn’t need to be more goals in soccer, but more action around the goals. Moving the goals closer together would ensure more action and for those that don’t like 0-0, I think this would create more fun. Thoughts, but not necessarily from the true soccer fan.

Josh     November 26
0-0 draw is pretty boring. Why not play until someone wins?

Delray RICK     November 26
STEVE CAPE....Don't understand 3 hours of 0-0. If we had that infootball NOBODY WOULD WATCH

henry     November 26
Don's Dad is correct, CHC coach admitted the fake was not called by him, some kind of rugby punt but run if you want option. Kid made up his mind to run on his own, ballsy move for sure. Wonder what the coach would think if he had not made a first down?? Also wonder if no one on Loyola side noticed the regular punter was not in the game?

@Dan, if true, makes your comments even more embarrassing lol. But all good, I know we are all focused on online gambling these days, no time to dwell on the past. Hope everyone is aware eventually the free bets will go away lol.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 26
Like I said before, watching soccer is like watching paint dry !!! Change that, watching paint dry is way more exciting !!!

Eric in Gaithersburg     November 26
Jax has better point differential than Tenn. Theyve lost 5 games by 5 pts or less. This was always gonna be a tougher than people realized game. The story of the Jaguars season is major problems in the redzone. This game comes down to Ravens scorching hot defense controlling Etienne and forcing a few turnovers and somebody stepping up on offense to break the 20 pt barrier. Ill guess a Jags win which should guarantee a Ravens victory😜

Dons dad     November 25
I believe Loyola had a time out left on 4th down yesterday. If they would have made the first down they would have called T.O.

Players on CHC told my son after the game the fake punt wasn't called from the sideline, the CHC player did it on his own.

Dan     November 25
To Henry, I didn't go to Calvert Hall, I attended high school in New York.

Richard     November 25
Happy belated Thanksgiving to Drew and everyone else here. I watched the game yesterday and it really left me scratching my head. It was a very good, well played, and exciting game. However, the coaching in the last 5 minutes was weird. A fake punt, from your own 16 on 4th and 18 is crazy(and I mean that in a nice way). Then Loyola drives the field and on 4th and 1 with 11 seconds left, they run a sweep. If the play doesn’t score, it will use the 11 seconds, as the runner got tackled for a loss with 4 seconds left. I understand(kind of) not kicking the fg(no confidence in kicker), but a sweep-strange.

Unitastoberry     November 25
Lou Michaels rip was probably the worst field goal kicker in Baltimore history. He was also a back up defensive tackle. He missed two chip shots in SB 3? Question is was he paid to miss?

Great soccer coverage.

Delray RICK     November 25
STEVE....At least spell the "GREATEST QB IN HISTORY" right.

Steve of Pimlico     November 25
One of my favorite Memorial Stadium Colt memories was a game the Colts were losing 10- 0 to the Packers.Unitus hit Willie Richardson on a slant pattern for a TD against Herb Adderley.XP attemt by Lou Michaels no good.Colts recover inside kick drive down the field.Facing a 4th and 6 can't kick a FG for tie,Unitus drops back to pass,ducks HOFer Willie Davis and scrambles for a first down.Then he hits Richardson again for game winning TD.

D. Schrute     November 25
Re: Breakfast Bytes... North Carolina actually held off the Portland Pilots not the Portland State Vikings who are playing Gonzaga right now in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

henry     November 24
Dan and the CHC crowd on the ones embarrassing themselves, particularly if you are grown men. It's high school football man, time to move on fellas.

Dan     November 24
Love all the griping on Facebook by Loyola peeps.

You lost. You tried hard and lost. Just take the loss the right way and stop embarrassing yourselves.


William     November 24
@John L, you might want to look up record for the entire series genius.

paul     November 24
People like Billy came here running their mouth last year when LB won. Take your "L" like a man this year.

John L.     November 24
Calvert Hall has won 11 of the last 13 Thanksgiving Day games. Maybe the Dons should move to the C Conference.

Billy     November 24
LOL at KC. No man for others with that guy. Or Hal

K.C.     November 24
Allan crying like a Loyola Loser. You weren't crying last year when the refs gave your TE a first down catch on 4th and 14 were you??????



Like Hal said, can't spell "Loyola" without that Thanksgiving Day "L" !!!



Go Hall!!!

Allan     November 24
And CHC faithful need to give thanks to the refs for that gift of a win. Amen.

Hal     November 24
You can't spell Loyola without the "L".

Hahahahahahahaha

lou@palo alto     November 24
yes, Steve--the old City-Poly game. when we were seniors we beat poly 52-6 w Schmoke at QB. I too remember the Unitas pass to Hinton--what a play caller #19 was! Out here, some golf (72 today) and 9 for turkey at 3p--enjoy the peace!!

Unitastoberry     November 24
@Delray/James -Dundalk. That might have been the longest standing ovation in the history of sports from the time the plane with the banner flew over until after the td pass. Incredible moment still jacks me up after 50 years.

JMP     November 24
Where are todays NFL picks? I need new shoes.

henry     November 24
Loyola played in B conf final the Sat before last year's game, stop making excuses lol.

Delray RICK     November 24
UTB..Was there til the end.

Even the dummyin the plane.




James - Dundak     November 24
To Drew & all the other commenters Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Ravens Go Terps

James - Dundak     November 24
@ U2B I was there as well. My memory is a little fuzzy but, was that also the game with the plane flyover pulling the Unitas We Stand banner. That was classic too.

CIK     November 24
What is the scenario if Calvert Hall & Loyola end up meeting in the MIAA title game? Do they play twice?

Steve of Pimlico     November 24
City Poly was always the best game of my youth played at the Stadium at 1pm.Calvert Hall Loyola was the prelim in the morning.

Unitastoberry     November 24
I'm thankful for so much including being able to keep my nickname on DMD. John Unitas is still the best QB to ever play in Baltimore and his last snap on 33rd Street was in 1972. Came off the bench for Marty Domres and hit #33 Eddie Hinton who yaced it in for a td. I was there. Thank you Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank your creator today and every day.

henry     November 23
Roll Dons roll!

Delray RICK     November 23
AGREE with JOSH. To many getting in HOF that weren't GREAT!! THE HOF ISFOR GREATEST...not a good average year. MANNY could but did he do the nasty?

Josh     November 23
Nah…. Rolen is Hall of Vey Good

Stats Nerd     November 23
I'm not sure the NFLPA is considering that this position would have unintended consequences. Well I'm sure they have considered it but it's apparent they don't care. It could more specifically be called the Guaranteed Quarterbacks Contracts. The Salary Cap is the Salary Cap and any decision to guarantee contracts will have downstream effects on other less "valuable" positions.

So it seems like the guaranteed contract push is not necessarily in the best interest of most of the rank and file but rather just the star QBs and maybe a handful of other players. By definition this will mean less money for other players.

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     November 23
I believe SB said pray for us after the Ravens kicked the tires on Kaepernick. The WC coverage has been excellent. Thank you. It’s not a stretch to think the Brazilian team should win it all. They have enough great players to field 2 teams in the WC. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Go Hall.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
@Chris K - thanks for clarifying. I'm in agreement with Drew as well. Just went about my thinking in a less direct way. Unless there is direct evidence of the owners stating their intentions and collaborating with others then this just seems to be a bunch of hot air.

Dirk,Lerxst & Pratt     November 23
Go Hall! Beat Loyola!



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. F inest T hanksgiving D ay to all!

Chris K     November 23
@chris in Bel Air collusion would be all owners agreeing as a group that they won’t offer guaranteed contracts. Each owner individually can make the personal decision to not do it but if they consulted with another owner or more before making the decision then it’s collusion. I agree with Drew that it’ll be nearly impossible to prove unless there is an electronic or paper trail.



Having said all of that, I completely understand why Bisciotti chooses not to speak publicly because every time he does he sticks his foot in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he say something like “we have our own decision making process and don’t compare ourselves to other team’s decisions”. Reminds me of when he said pray for us after attempting to sweep the Ray rice abuse under the rug. I agree with his decision to not speak publicly because he’s not good at it.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
"For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts."

Sorry, I'm a little dense at times but I'm not completely tracking this. Why do the owners have to be nervous? Are they obligated in some way to offer guaranteed contracts? Is it part of collective bargaining? If it is widely accepted as a "bad business practice" then why would anyone, including the players, think it must happen? If the Raiders, for example, had given D Adams $50M / year to sign with them last offseason, does that mean all other teams should overpay for a WR too? Or are they free to make the best decision for their team? Just because all teams make the same business decision, is that collusion?

With this said, another owner will offer a guaranteed contract. Maybe it will be Lamar and the Ravens. Maybe it is Lamar for another team. Maybe it will be Herbert or Burrow when their five years are up. But someone else is going to view player X as the one that will get them to the Super Bowl and they will over-pay. That much I know.

@Stats - thanks for the added info on the diving and EPL. In the end, I'm just not a fan of the flopping.

Unitastoberry     November 23
Little Jimmy only got 1 championship with Manning. Then he let him go and he did it again in Denver despite neck surgery. He's a jack arse of epic proportions. Chemically infused like his dad. Watson the perv changed the demographic in the league. Wrong person to do it with. If I was SB I'd sell now. I hope he doesn't.

TimD in Timonium     November 23
Well, I'll say this about @MFC - he's here commenting Every Single Day.



Kinda like the Cal Ripken of DMD commenters.

Tuesday
November 15, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3004


tuesday ramblings


Another NFL game, another botched call by the refs.

Everyone in Philadelphia is outraged by the turn of events last night, where an obvious missed grabbing-the-face-mask penalty swung things in Washington's favor in a 32-21 win that spoiled the Eagles perfect season.

You know me...when a Philadelphia team loses, an angel gets its wings. So, there's that.

But I can certainly admit that was a terrible call for the zebras to miss. And it definitely impacted the game, just like Philadelphia's other fumbles and sloppy play did as well.

I think we all suspected the bloom would drop from the Eagles' rose at some point. I mean, yes, they're good...but they're not that good. It's still anyone's game in the NFC, with the Vikings, Cowboys and three or four other teams all capable of stringing together a hot streak in January and reaching the Super Bowl.

But it's not cool to see missed calls cost a team a game, whether it's the worst team in the league or the team with the undefeated season on the line. The Ravens have been victimized by bad calls over the years and it definitely stings. It's hard enough to win in the NFL without having to beat the other team and the officials.

Last night's episode is yet another example of how a simple, 15-second intervention could have changed the landscape of the game. As soon as the hit was made on Dallas Goedert and the ball was jarred loose, everyone watching said, "That's a face mask penalty!"

Watching at home, Stevie Wonder even said, "Gotta be a penalty, right?"

If the NFL had its act together, the replay judge upstairs would have watched that play one time -- and one time only -- and said, "Yep, you guys missed a face mask penalty there before the ball came loose. Give the ball back to Philly and tack on 15 yards."

Total time: 15 seconds.

Fairness restored.

And maybe the Eagles go on to win. Or maybe they don't. That would have been decided over the last 13 or so minutes of the game.

But that was clearly a penalty and should have been called. End of story.

And it would be so easy for the NFL to fix it. But maybe...just maybe...they like it "this way", if you know what I mean.


The World Cup begins in less than one week for the United States Men's National Team and there's already controversy and not a single ball has yet been kicked.

In fact, the story has nothing to actually do with soccer.

As folks started arriving in Qatar over the weekend, they noticed something different about the U.S. team's "shield" (formally called a "crest") that is on display both around town and at the stadium. Gone are the familiar red stripes and, in their place, there are now rainbow colored stripes symbolizing the team's support of LGBQT rights.

The rainbow shield will only be displayed in places in Qatar where the U.S. team controls their marketing and promotional message and it will not be displayed on the team's uniform for at least the first game vs. Wales next Monday.

For the last 12 months, the U.S. men's team, in support of challenges the U.S. women's soccer program was facing, adopted a slogan of "Be The Change". This, they say, is another outreach effort on their part to help the world better understand the LBGQT community.

The new shield could become a political matter in Qatar, where homosexuality is still banned by the conservative Muslim country.

But that didn't stop the U.S. team from changing the colors and making their statement leading up to the start of next week's international event.

Neil Buethe, the USMNT's Chief Communications Officer, told the media on Monday: "Our rainbow badge has an important and consistent role in the identity of U.S. Soccer.

As part of our approach for any match or event, we include rainbow branding to support and embrace the LGBTQ community, as well as to promote a spirit of inclusiveness and welcoming to all fans across the globe.

As a result, locations that we will manage and operate at the FIFA World Cup, such as the team hotel, media areas and parties, will feature both traditional and rainbow U.S. Soccer branding."

How that will go over in Qatar remains to be seen.

It didn't go over particularly well yesterday here in the U.S., where social media was predictably split on the matter.

Opinions varied from "outraged!" to "love to see it!" once photos of the new crest started to circulate. And this was all in advance of the team's initial three games in group play, which will determine just how far the squad goes in the 2022 World Cup.


The tragedy in Charlottesville involving the three UVA football players and two others who were injured will once again bring gun control to the forefront of the story.

It also gives people the opportunity to mock the idea that "prayer" is a reasonable add-on when a tragedy occurs.

I have no idea where the suspect (in custody) got the gun he used in the shooting incident. Perhaps he obtained it legally. Christopher Jones is 22 years old. It's entirely possible the gun was legally purchased.

There are, as we all know, millions of "illegal guns" on the streets throughout our country. There are also a lot of legal weapons owned, some of which are used and some that are never fired but are in place for protection of family and personal property.

We've been going through this issue -- guns and senseless violence -- in our country for a long, long time. It's not a "now" thing, no matter how many people in the country want to blame it on one political party or one specific entity. Because we've become an agenda-driven society, the thing we do now is find one person or one party to blame and then we drive that into the ground until we've exhausted that option.

Three UVA football players are sadly the latest victims. But there were people killed last night in Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Chicago and virtually any other major city in America. That it happened within the (assumed) safety of a college field trip heightens the exposure of the story, but a 22-year old killed for no reason in Detroit is just as important.

We've become a nation that stopped emphasizing kindness the way God wants us to show it to one another. We've slowly removed the importance of God and kindness from our society and replaced it with "you do you".

I don't have the answers.

But I'm praying about it this morning.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 6 days to go


Team Profile –

6 - Croatia

Group: F

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: 2nd - 2018

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $378M (12th)

FIFA Rank: 12

Odds to Win Group: +225

Odds to Advance: -280

Odds to Win Cup: +5000


Key Players:

Luka Modric - Midfielder - Real Madrid (Spain La Liga)

Mateo Kovacic - Midfielder - Chelsea (England Premier League)

Marcelo Brozovic - Midfielder - Inter Milan (Italy Serie A)


Playing Style and Outlook:

The runners up from the 2018 World Cup in Russia return the core of that team and remain a strong contender heading to Qatar. Once again they are led by one of the best midfield trios at the tournament in Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic and ageless wonder Luka Modric. Despite being four years older, this midfield remains formidable, with each player a well rounded piece able to contribute on both sides of the ball.

Those three are the central hub of the 4-3-3 formation that Croatia prefers to play. Unlike some of the other top contenders, Croatia is usually not a high pressing team, they were far down the list of possession won in their opponent’s end of the field in both World Cup qualifying and the UEFA Nations League.

They are able to control possession against weaker teams and like to use the build up to create chances. However, against stronger teams they have played more pragmatically, willing to concede some of the possession advantage to remain organized defensively. In attack, they like to work the ball into wide areas for their wingers and fullbacks to create chances from crosses into the box.

Croatia has been good at taking advantage of their opponents mistakes when defending deeper. Their midfield thrives in transition, with all three players capable of quickly turning defense into attack.

This will be one of the tougher groups at the tournament, with two of the favorites to win along with a Canada team that finished top of CONCACAF and a talented Moroccan team. In 2018 it seemed like Croatia was a veteran team making potentially their last run at glory. Now, four years later the group seems to have aged like a fine wine and they are poised to make one more run at the Cup.


Get to Know the US Team:

Jesus Ferreira

Baltimore Doppelganger - Devin Duvernay

The FC Dallas striker is one of the top candidates to lead the attacking line for the US at the World Cup. Ferreira plays the position somewhat differently than the typical striker. With good skills on the ball and an ability to receive passes in between the lines, Ferreira often plays more like a “false nine”, dropping back into the midfield to be more of a creative hub.

In previous seasons at FC Dallas he often played as an attacking midfielder, especially when Ricardo Pepi was there leading the line. This season he moved up to play striker and had a breakout season as a goal scorer. He has deceptive speed, but a smaller frame that makes it difficult for him to win physical battles with bigger center backs.

The Baltimore player that comes to mind for Ferreira is current Ravens wide receiver Devin Duvernay. Like Ferreira, Duvernay brings a versatile skill set to the receiver position and plays differently than most starting wideouts. With Marquise Brown traded in the offseason, Duvernay stepped into a starting role and the Ravens have found creative ways to use him in the offense. So while he may not have all the prototypical receiver tools, he can make the team more dynamic in his own way.


Players to Watch:

6 - Robert Lewandowski - Poland - Striker

One of the greatest strikers of all time is entering what could be his last World Cup at 34 years old. This will only be his second time on the top international stage since Poland failed to qualify for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Lewandowski is one of the most prolific goal scorers of all time. He is the third highest scorer in Champions League history and second all-time scorer in German Bundesliga history. He has racked up ten Bundesliga titles between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and one Champions League trophy, while winning the Bundesliga Player of the Year five times. Lewandowski would have multiple Ballon D’Or awards if it weren’t for another player he’ll face in Group F, finishing close to the top of the voting multiple times.

The Polish star possesses an all-around skill set at the striker position, able to create and finish chances. What sets Lewandowski apart is his goal scoring ability. He is one of the best finishers of all time, with great intuition to find space in the box and an uncanny nose for the ball. He puts away the easy chances and the hard ones and has the ability to create goals out of seemingly nothing. Poland will need him to put those skills to use to help them get out of a difficult group containing Argentina and Mexico.


Soccer Terminology 101:

Back Three/Back Four

These terms are used to describe the configuration of a team’s defensive line. Throughout the years, the popularity of different formations have ebbed and flowed, but in general a team will line up with a “back four” meaning two central defenders and two outside fullbacks, or a “back three” with three central defenders flanked by two wingbacks. The “back three” setup can be more defensive if the wingbacks play deep, looking more like a back line of five, or it can be more attacking with the wingbacks getting high in the attack.

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Monday
November 14, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3003


book the rooms?


A friend called me on Saturday, long before Josh Allen and the Bills coughed up a home game to the Vikings and Patrick Mahomes had trouble disposing of the Jaguars in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon.

"I know this is going to sound crazy," Rick said. "But I found hotel rooms in Phoenix during Super Bowl week and I'm thinking about buying them."

"First," I said. "How did you find rooms? And second, what's the freight? Don't most of those places have four or five night minimums during Super Bowl week?"

I recalled during my days on radio row at the various Super Bowls I covered that rooms were not only expensive but almost always required a lengthy stay.

February 12 in Phoenix? John Harbaugh holding the trophy? Could it happen again?

It turns out Rick was home with Covid-19, going through the last two days of self-isolation and boredom set in while he was college football late Saturday afternoon.

"I just started calling places in Phoenix," he explained. The first five I called, all I got on the other end of the phone was laughter.

But then I found a place with rooms, but they were $599 a night with a five-night minimum. I didn't take those but I figured if they had rooms, maybe some other places did as well."

Glendale is about 10 miles from Phoenix and about 20 miles to Scottsdale. All three of those cities have hotels, with Phoenix having the most, of course. It's also worth noting that during Super Bowl week in February, the PGA Tour will be hosting their popular stop at TPC Scottsdale. So the Phoenix-Scottsdale-Glendale area will be jam packed that week for certain.

Rick said he continued calling and finally, found a hotel in the Biltmore area that was "only" $449 a night and required just a four night minimum.

"It took me an hour and a half," he said. "But I found something."

Rick went on to explain he had booked the airfare back in the spring of 2022 but because of the travel chaos flying out of Phoenix on Monday he and his wife would drive to San Diego first thing Monday morning (5 hours) and fly back to Baltimore from San Diego late Monday afternoon.

"I could always just bank the airline tickets if I don't go," he said. "But what about the hotel rooms? Should I take them?"

Rick had 24 hours to cancel them without penalty. After that, he can't cancel without a two-night penalty. Thirty days before the game, the full four-night stay is guaranteed.

So, now he was asking me if I thought buying four nights of hotel rooms and basically paying $2,000 for said privilege was the smart thing to do, having no real idea if the Ravens will even be there.

"Do you think the Ravens are going to the Super Bowl?" he asked.

"Before I even answer that, you should know that you can definitely get rid of the hotel room if they don't make it. Someone will buy the room from you on the open market in late January."

"How would that work?" he asked.

"I have no idea, honestly, but if you buy the room and the Ravens don't make it, you could always call the NFL or the two teams that do make it and tell them you have a room and they'd figure out a way to make it happen and take the room off your hands."

"But if they don't, I'm out $2,000," he said.

"Right. But I don't think you can worry about that right now. You stumbled onto this hotel room. It's like gold at this point. It has real value, either to you or someone else. Keep the room."

I could tell by the hesitation in Rick's voice he wasn't sure that was the right road to take.

"Do I think the Ravens can make it? I definitely do," I said. And remember, this was a day before we saw Josh Allen turn into E.J. Manuel up in Buffalo against the Vikings.

"And do I feel confident enough in their chances to tell you to plunk down your credit card and sign up for a $2,000 expense that you don't know you'll need?"

I let one of those famous Bob Haynie pregnant pauses drift in the air for four or five seconds...

"I think they have a great chance, actually," I stated. "I really do. Barring something goofy happening to Lamar, injury wise, they're going to be completely healthy by early-to-mid-December. Adding Roquan Smith was huge. They'll get Dobbins back pretty soon. Andrews will be healthy. I really think they have a great chance."

"So I should do it?" he asked one last time, looking for a final piece of confirmation.

"Absolutely. You have the golden ticket. Four nights of hotel in the Phoenix area during Super Bowl week. Just make sure the room and hotel are legit and that you're not getting scammed.

For good measure, Rick e-mailed me the confirmation he received from the hotel with the "free cancellation within 24 hours" fine print.

It's legit. He has a hotel room Thursday night through Sunday night in the Biltmore area. Nothing scammy about it.

"I feel really good about the Ravens chances," I said as we exchanged small talk about kids and how they were doing in school and all that other stuff you chat about when you haven't had a conversation with someone in a few months.

"I hope you're right," Rick said.

"I do, too," I said. "I have a betting slip from last August at 20 to 1 that needs to be cashed."

When the Bills lost yesterday, Rick shot me a quick text.

"Looking better now!" he wrote.

"I hope it works out for you," I replied. "And me..."

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around the nfl


BUCCANEERS 21 - SEAHAWKS 16 -- That's two straight wins for TB12 since the divorce. Maybe Giselle was the problem all along. I'm sure everyone in the NFL has the same weird feeling; Tampa Bay will limp into the post-season at 9-8 or 10-7 and then beat an 11-6 wild card team in Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs. You can just feel it coming around.

VIKINGS 33 - BILLS 30 OT-- The "game of the season" thus far, for sure. But only because goofy Josh Allen couldn't collect a snap from center on his own goal-line that led to the Vikings taking a late lead on a fumble recovery in the end zone. Imagine for a second if you wagered on that football game and had the Bills winning outright? Holy heart attack. Minnesota definitely has something going now with their offensive firepower, but will their defense be good enough in January? That's the question. Meanwhile, the Bills might on the verge of coughing up one of the the top two seeds in the AFC. You hate to see it.

LIONS 31 - BEARS 30 -- Detroit gave up 30 points yet again, the 4th time this season they've managed to do that, but they scored 31, which is all that matters. Justin Fields ran for 147 yards for the Bears, which is interesting since.......he's.......a quarterback. He also managed to throw for 167. Where are all the jokes about him and "not bad for a running back", huh? Lamar's not the only one who should get that heat.

Could Tua be in the MVP running for 2022? #DMD says yes.

TITANS 17 - BRONCOS 10 -- One of those "we won, let's move on" games for the Titans, where it wasn't pretty or anything like that, but they're now 6-3 and in complete control of the AFC South. They don't have the easiest schedule in the world remaining (Bengals, Chargers, Cowboys, Packers, Eagles) so winning the ones they should win are important for Mike Vrabel's team. Denver stinks. Enough said there.

CHIEFS 27 - JAGUARS 17 -- Funny...the Chiefs were favored by 9.5 and won by 10. Weird how that works, huh? Not much to see here. Jacksonville hung tough, but they could play K.C. every day for two weeks and they'd never beat them.

DOLPHINS 39 - BROWNS 17 -- Tua for MVP? I'm not kidding. He has to be in the discussion. With Tua starting and playing the entire game, Miami is 7-0. They're 0-3 without him. I get it, it was the Browns yesterday, but he continues to torch oppoosing defenses. Granted, having Hill and Waddle helps. They're also getting some surprising production from their running game. The Browns are the Browns. They win once every three or four weeks. They're just waiting to get DeShaun Watson in the fold and hoping that his return doesn't rub people the wrong way.

GIANTS 24 - TEXANS 16 -- Barkley only had 152 yards rushing for the Giants, which has to be considered a "win" for the Texans. Somehow New York is 7-2. Their schedule toughens up now and I still think they're "only" a 9 win team, maybe 10, but they'll be in the playoff hunt come December and if they can pull off a win over the Cowboys, Eagles (they still play them twice) or Vikings, they could squeeze into the playoffs, believe it or not.

STEELERS 20 - SAINTS 10 -- We thought New Orleans was bad once we saw them in high-def last Monday against the Ravens, but yesterday proved it. They lost to the Steelers. Yikes.

COLTS 25 - RAIDERS 20 -- Take that Bill Cowher. After the CBS analyst went into a pre-game tirade about the embarrassment of hiring Jeff Saturday as their new coach, the Colts went out and beat the Raiders in Vegas. And Matt Ryan returned to his starting QB spot and wound up having a decent enough day. Both of those teams are awful. Indy was just "less awful" yesterday.

PACKERS 31 - COWBOYS 28 OT -- This was a heckuva game, actually. Aaron Rodgers looked like Aaron Rodgers for one of the rare times in 2022. Dallas, as they typically do with Mike McCarthy at the helm, figured out a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Dallas led 28-14 in the 4th quarter and couldn't keep that lead, then they won the coin toss in OT and still couldn't put any points on the board. Green Bay is barely breathing still, at 4-6, but and their schedule is pretty difficult moving forward, but for one day, at least, there's still hope.

CARDINALS 27 - RAMS 17 -- Admit it. You had no idea Colt McCoy was still in the NFL until you saw the highlights of this game. I thought he left the league in 2019. If you're the Rams and you lose to Colt McCoy in your own stadium, everyone should give their game check to charity. Holy embarrassment.

49'ers 22 - CHARGERS 16 -- This was a game between the league's two weirdest teams. I can't figure either of them out. I "think" the 49'ers are good. But they never really show that they are. And I "think" the Chargers are on the verge of being good....and then they lay an egg like they did last night in San Fran.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 7 days to go


Team Profile –

7 - Denmark

Group: D

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: Quarterfinals - 1998

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $316M (15th)

FIFA Rank: 10

Odds to Win Group: +225

Odds to Advance: -280

Odds to Win Cup: +2500


Key Players:

Christian Eriksen - Midfielder - Manchester United (England Premier League)

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - Midfielder - Tottenham ( England Premier League)

Mikkel Damsgaard - Forward - Brentford (England Premier League)


Playing Style and Outlook:

There are not a ton of star names on the Denmark squad, but they are a cohesive team that impressed in both UEFA qualifying and the recent Nations League. The Danes usually play out of either a 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 formation. They are a disciplined defensive team that led qualifying in shutouts. They have a solid back line to pair with a good keeper and a defensively rigid midfield led by Tottenham standout Hojbjerg.

Denmark is not a possession hungry team, they are more than willing to play against the ball, conceding the majority of the ball but maintaining their shape and picking their spots. They used this tactic to defeat the favorites in Group D, France, twice in the most recent Nations League competition.

So while they are not the betting favorites to win this group due to France’s wealth of talent, Denmark will certainly not be intimidated by the group favorites. Denmark has held their own against the best teams in the past few European competitions, including a run to the semifinals of the Euro Championships in 2021, where they lost to England in overtime. It would be a huge upset if the Danes won the World Cup trophy. However, with their combination of a veteran backbone from top European leagues, combined with several rising talents, they have a good chance to be the dark horse team that makes an unexpected deep run.


Get to Know the US Team:

Cristian Roldan

Baltimore Doppelganger - Rougned Odor

Cristian Roldan may be a surprise inclusion on the US World Cup roster for some. He had very limited contributions throughout the qualifying campaign, but he was often in the roster for those games due to his great rapport with the team and the coach. From all reports, Roldan is the epitome of a clubhouse guy. He has been described as another coach on the field and in the locker room.

A key player for the Seattle Sounders in MLS for many years. Roldan is a respected veteran with a versatile skill set. However, he struggled when he got on the field in qualifying and seemed like he may not be up to the level of the top internationals.

He reminds me of a player on last year’s Orioles, infielder Rougned Odor. Odor was by all accounts one of the more popular players in the locker room for the Os and he continued to get playing time well after his on field performance deserved. He did have a knack for coming up with hits in critical situations, but aside from that, most of his value seemed to come off the field.

With a 26 player roster for the US, it seems Roldan was included more for his off the field contributions as well, and the hope is that he isn’t needed on the field for more than a few substitute minutes.


Players to Watch:

7 - Karim Benzema - France - Striker

The current Ballon d’Or award holder for best player in the world, Benzema will make his return to the World Cup for the first time since 2014. At 34 years old, Benzema was the second oldest player to ever win the Ballon d’Or. After spending years in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, he had a late career breakout as one of the most complete strikers in the world once Ronaldo left the team.

Benzema was outstanding last year, leading Real Madrid to the Champions League and La Liga titles. He was the leading goal scorer in both competitions, with 27 La Liga goals and 15 in the Champions League, including incredible back to back hat tricks in the knockout rounds to help carry Madrid through that tournament.

Benzema was left off France’s 2018 World Cup winning team largely due to off the field issues. Adding him to a team that returns the core from that World Cup is a scary proposition for everyone else. The Real Madrid man is a complete striker, able to fill the role of playmaker, creating chances for his teammates or be the finisher on the end of chances from others. Benzema has incredible touch on the ball, has great instincts around the box, can pick out a pass and is a clinical finisher.

It will be up to French coach Didier Deschamps to figure out how to fit this talented piece into an already stacked team, but Benzema will be looking to continue his great club form to lead his country and add a World Cup trophy to his already impressive collection.


Soccer Terminology 101:

Clinical

This term is often used to refer to high volume goal scorers. It simply means they are efficient at scoring and are more likely to take advantage of their chances than the average player. You’ll often hear it used in reference to players like the aforementioned Benzema, who seem to never let you off the hook for giving them a good look at goal.

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#dmd comments








unitastoberry     November 27
I hope they let Faalele start at O left tackle lets see what he has> Save Merkari for down the road.

CIK     November 27
The Raven’s are not favored by the oddsmakers? I see Balt -3.5. That would make them the favorite…and also make them favored by the oddsmakers. I agree though that the game is tricky…hence the 3.5 point line. I like under 52.5 (-110) Lamar rushing yards. Hoping for a bad hip & sloppy track. But that kind of bet could also be a loser on the 1st play of the game. Gambling makes this watchable. And the TV ratings are popping right now.

Chris in Bel Air     November 27
Ravens will win today. It won't be pretty, again, but like Drew stated, just get another in the win column. I think the Ravens D will again be the star of the game today. It would be great if they can get healthier. Difficult task this time of year.

Drew - Caps are just past the quarter pole for the season. They have 5 wins in their last 16 games and they are only 2 points ahead of Flyers, even with them losing 10 in a row. Any additional thoughts on their performance and probability of turning it around? It looked like they had a little spark with Oshie's return, until they were waxed last night. Also, their former goalies Vanacek and Samsonov are 2nd and 4th in the league respectively for GAA with their new teams. Keumper has been decent and is currently 16th for GAA. I think that is more about the Caps overall defensive play then anything.

thomas     November 27
Likely being out is an issue for the Ravens? Stanley, absolutely, but Likely? Come on man.

But good to see Drew is back with his weekly picks, time to build up the Christmas gift fund!

Can someone tell me which of these picks will be winners so I don't bet the losers? Thanks

Jk     November 26
Was going to say the same thing as Mike C but he posted first.

Mike c.     November 26
By tying England the USA can still win the group. A loss would have meant they couldn't win the group. If you win the group your first opponent is easier in knock out play. The tie was valuable. Maybe you should do better next time.

Hank     November 26
And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining,



What makes it valuable? A loss would have meant the same - win vs Iran and in.



Do better.

Richard     November 26
I am not really a soccer fan. I’ll keep it on for background noise sometimes. For years I’ve been saying there doesn’t need to be more goals in soccer, but more action around the goals. Moving the goals closer together would ensure more action and for those that don’t like 0-0, I think this would create more fun. Thoughts, but not necessarily from the true soccer fan.

Josh     November 26
0-0 draw is pretty boring. Why not play until someone wins?

Delray RICK     November 26
STEVE CAPE....Don't understand 3 hours of 0-0. If we had that infootball NOBODY WOULD WATCH

henry     November 26
Don's Dad is correct, CHC coach admitted the fake was not called by him, some kind of rugby punt but run if you want option. Kid made up his mind to run on his own, ballsy move for sure. Wonder what the coach would think if he had not made a first down?? Also wonder if no one on Loyola side noticed the regular punter was not in the game?

@Dan, if true, makes your comments even more embarrassing lol. But all good, I know we are all focused on online gambling these days, no time to dwell on the past. Hope everyone is aware eventually the free bets will go away lol.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 26
Like I said before, watching soccer is like watching paint dry !!! Change that, watching paint dry is way more exciting !!!

Eric in Gaithersburg     November 26
Jax has better point differential than Tenn. Theyve lost 5 games by 5 pts or less. This was always gonna be a tougher than people realized game. The story of the Jaguars season is major problems in the redzone. This game comes down to Ravens scorching hot defense controlling Etienne and forcing a few turnovers and somebody stepping up on offense to break the 20 pt barrier. Ill guess a Jags win which should guarantee a Ravens victory😜

Dons dad     November 25
I believe Loyola had a time out left on 4th down yesterday. If they would have made the first down they would have called T.O.

Players on CHC told my son after the game the fake punt wasn't called from the sideline, the CHC player did it on his own.

Dan     November 25
To Henry, I didn't go to Calvert Hall, I attended high school in New York.

Richard     November 25
Happy belated Thanksgiving to Drew and everyone else here. I watched the game yesterday and it really left me scratching my head. It was a very good, well played, and exciting game. However, the coaching in the last 5 minutes was weird. A fake punt, from your own 16 on 4th and 18 is crazy(and I mean that in a nice way). Then Loyola drives the field and on 4th and 1 with 11 seconds left, they run a sweep. If the play doesn’t score, it will use the 11 seconds, as the runner got tackled for a loss with 4 seconds left. I understand(kind of) not kicking the fg(no confidence in kicker), but a sweep-strange.

Unitastoberry     November 25
Lou Michaels rip was probably the worst field goal kicker in Baltimore history. He was also a back up defensive tackle. He missed two chip shots in SB 3? Question is was he paid to miss?

Great soccer coverage.

Delray RICK     November 25
STEVE....At least spell the "GREATEST QB IN HISTORY" right.

Steve of Pimlico     November 25
One of my favorite Memorial Stadium Colt memories was a game the Colts were losing 10- 0 to the Packers.Unitus hit Willie Richardson on a slant pattern for a TD against Herb Adderley.XP attemt by Lou Michaels no good.Colts recover inside kick drive down the field.Facing a 4th and 6 can't kick a FG for tie,Unitus drops back to pass,ducks HOFer Willie Davis and scrambles for a first down.Then he hits Richardson again for game winning TD.

D. Schrute     November 25
Re: Breakfast Bytes... North Carolina actually held off the Portland Pilots not the Portland State Vikings who are playing Gonzaga right now in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

henry     November 24
Dan and the CHC crowd on the ones embarrassing themselves, particularly if you are grown men. It's high school football man, time to move on fellas.

Dan     November 24
Love all the griping on Facebook by Loyola peeps.

You lost. You tried hard and lost. Just take the loss the right way and stop embarrassing yourselves.


William     November 24
@John L, you might want to look up record for the entire series genius.

paul     November 24
People like Billy came here running their mouth last year when LB won. Take your "L" like a man this year.

John L.     November 24
Calvert Hall has won 11 of the last 13 Thanksgiving Day games. Maybe the Dons should move to the C Conference.

Billy     November 24
LOL at KC. No man for others with that guy. Or Hal

K.C.     November 24
Allan crying like a Loyola Loser. You weren't crying last year when the refs gave your TE a first down catch on 4th and 14 were you??????



Like Hal said, can't spell "Loyola" without that Thanksgiving Day "L" !!!



Go Hall!!!

Allan     November 24
And CHC faithful need to give thanks to the refs for that gift of a win. Amen.

Hal     November 24
You can't spell Loyola without the "L".

Hahahahahahahaha

lou@palo alto     November 24
yes, Steve--the old City-Poly game. when we were seniors we beat poly 52-6 w Schmoke at QB. I too remember the Unitas pass to Hinton--what a play caller #19 was! Out here, some golf (72 today) and 9 for turkey at 3p--enjoy the peace!!

Unitastoberry     November 24
@Delray/James -Dundalk. That might have been the longest standing ovation in the history of sports from the time the plane with the banner flew over until after the td pass. Incredible moment still jacks me up after 50 years.

JMP     November 24
Where are todays NFL picks? I need new shoes.

henry     November 24
Loyola played in B conf final the Sat before last year's game, stop making excuses lol.

Delray RICK     November 24
UTB..Was there til the end.

Even the dummyin the plane.




James - Dundak     November 24
To Drew & all the other commenters Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Ravens Go Terps

James - Dundak     November 24
@ U2B I was there as well. My memory is a little fuzzy but, was that also the game with the plane flyover pulling the Unitas We Stand banner. That was classic too.

CIK     November 24
What is the scenario if Calvert Hall & Loyola end up meeting in the MIAA title game? Do they play twice?

Steve of Pimlico     November 24
City Poly was always the best game of my youth played at the Stadium at 1pm.Calvert Hall Loyola was the prelim in the morning.

Unitastoberry     November 24
I'm thankful for so much including being able to keep my nickname on DMD. John Unitas is still the best QB to ever play in Baltimore and his last snap on 33rd Street was in 1972. Came off the bench for Marty Domres and hit #33 Eddie Hinton who yaced it in for a td. I was there. Thank you Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank your creator today and every day.

henry     November 23
Roll Dons roll!

Delray RICK     November 23
AGREE with JOSH. To many getting in HOF that weren't GREAT!! THE HOF ISFOR GREATEST...not a good average year. MANNY could but did he do the nasty?

Josh     November 23
Nah…. Rolen is Hall of Vey Good

Stats Nerd     November 23
I'm not sure the NFLPA is considering that this position would have unintended consequences. Well I'm sure they have considered it but it's apparent they don't care. It could more specifically be called the Guaranteed Quarterbacks Contracts. The Salary Cap is the Salary Cap and any decision to guarantee contracts will have downstream effects on other less "valuable" positions.

So it seems like the guaranteed contract push is not necessarily in the best interest of most of the rank and file but rather just the star QBs and maybe a handful of other players. By definition this will mean less money for other players.

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     November 23
I believe SB said pray for us after the Ravens kicked the tires on Kaepernick. The WC coverage has been excellent. Thank you. It’s not a stretch to think the Brazilian team should win it all. They have enough great players to field 2 teams in the WC. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Go Hall.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
@Chris K - thanks for clarifying. I'm in agreement with Drew as well. Just went about my thinking in a less direct way. Unless there is direct evidence of the owners stating their intentions and collaborating with others then this just seems to be a bunch of hot air.

Dirk,Lerxst & Pratt     November 23
Go Hall! Beat Loyola!



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. F inest T hanksgiving D ay to all!

Chris K     November 23
@chris in Bel Air collusion would be all owners agreeing as a group that they won’t offer guaranteed contracts. Each owner individually can make the personal decision to not do it but if they consulted with another owner or more before making the decision then it’s collusion. I agree with Drew that it’ll be nearly impossible to prove unless there is an electronic or paper trail.



Having said all of that, I completely understand why Bisciotti chooses not to speak publicly because every time he does he sticks his foot in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he say something like “we have our own decision making process and don’t compare ourselves to other team’s decisions”. Reminds me of when he said pray for us after attempting to sweep the Ray rice abuse under the rug. I agree with his decision to not speak publicly because he’s not good at it.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
"For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts."

Sorry, I'm a little dense at times but I'm not completely tracking this. Why do the owners have to be nervous? Are they obligated in some way to offer guaranteed contracts? Is it part of collective bargaining? If it is widely accepted as a "bad business practice" then why would anyone, including the players, think it must happen? If the Raiders, for example, had given D Adams $50M / year to sign with them last offseason, does that mean all other teams should overpay for a WR too? Or are they free to make the best decision for their team? Just because all teams make the same business decision, is that collusion?

With this said, another owner will offer a guaranteed contract. Maybe it will be Lamar and the Ravens. Maybe it is Lamar for another team. Maybe it will be Herbert or Burrow when their five years are up. But someone else is going to view player X as the one that will get them to the Super Bowl and they will over-pay. That much I know.

@Stats - thanks for the added info on the diving and EPL. In the end, I'm just not a fan of the flopping.

Unitastoberry     November 23
Little Jimmy only got 1 championship with Manning. Then he let him go and he did it again in Denver despite neck surgery. He's a jack arse of epic proportions. Chemically infused like his dad. Watson the perv changed the demographic in the league. Wrong person to do it with. If I was SB I'd sell now. I hope he doesn't.

TimD in Timonium     November 23
Well, I'll say this about @MFC - he's here commenting Every Single Day.



Kinda like the Cal Ripken of DMD commenters.

Sunday
November 13, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3002


no one kneeling in baltimore


Good news, bad news.

First, the good news: The Flyers lost at home on Saturday to the lowly Ottawa Senators, 4-1.

I guess most of us would actually label that "great news" but the old saying is "I have good news and bad news, which do you want to hear first?"

So, we'll stick with "good news". The Flyers lost at home.

Otherwise known as: the Mona Lisa of sports pictures.

Anytime they lose it's good news (or, "great news", but -- well, never mind), but when they lose at home it's especially sweet. I just close my eyes and think about the thousands of sad people streaming out of the Wells Fargo Center with 3:54 left in the game when Ottawa scored into the empty net to close out the scoring at 4-1.

The fact that former Flyers star Claude Giroux returned to Philly with the Senators and had three assists in the win makes it even better. Apparently even Giroux can't stand the Flyers these days. You gotta love it.

The Caps and Flyers meet four times in the '22-23 campaign. The first of those get togethers comes on Thanksgiving Eve in D.C. I'll be unable to attend that one.

But the Caps and Flyers meet again a couple of weeks later in Philly, on Wednesday, December 7. That one...I'm thinking about seeing in person.

Anyone have an old Bobby Clarke hockey card laying around they no longer want?


And now for the bad news: We have another football-less Sunday in Bawlmer today, as the Ravens enjoy their bye week after disposing of New Orleans last Monday night.

I don't know this to be true but I assume it is: I'm guessing this is the first time ever, in the regular season, that the Ravens went three consecutive Sundays without playing. Yes? And even more interesting would be to see if any team has ever gone three straight Sundays without playing in the regular season.

I'm assuming it's happened somewhere along the way, just like it did with the Ravens. Maybe someone played a Thursday night game, didn't play the following Sunday and then played the next Monday after that? That would be three Sundays in a row. I'd bet it's happened at least once, if not more.

But it sure does feel weird to have another Sunday in Charm City without a game to watch.

The more you look at the Ravens and where they currently stand, the better you have to feel about their chances in the post-season. Right now they're 6-3 and have a cupcake schedule on the horizon, thanks in large part to the other AFC North teams being bad, lousy and basically average. In case you're wondering, in order, that's the Steelers, Browns and Bengals.

Allowing for one toe-stub somewhere along the way, this is a Ravens team pointing to a 13-4 record, with 12-5 being the absolute worst mark they should post. And that will get the AFC North crown with ease.

And depending on what happens with Josh Allen's elbow in Buffalo, the Ravens could still snag one of the top two seeds in the AFC.

Things sure have changed in the last three weeks, huh?


I made my way down to the football stadium yesterday for the Navy-Notre Dame game and nothing about the day was a disappointment, as the Midshipmen battled back from a 35-13 halftime decifit to lose 35-32.

By my eyes, I'd say it was 80-20 in favor of Notre Dame fans. The place was packed with green.

As it was a Navy home game, all of the pre-game pageantry was presented in full color. The field was lined with Midshipmen before the game, the American flag arrived via parachute and the traditional flyover was held just prior to kick-off.

No one was kneeling in Baltimore yesterday, which was great to see.

Respect for the service our U.S. Navy provides was the theme of the day. Just looking at the young men and women on the jumbo-tron and knowing our safety is partially in their hands made you feel good about the afternoon. The lengths the Midshipmen go to even get into the Naval Academy is jaw-dropping. And then to know they're the ones protecting us? It makes for a wonderful feeling and the football game becomes almost secondary.

One other thing did cross my mind yesterday while I was in the stadium and it had nothing to do with Navy-Notre Dame.

For the better part of 15 years, Calvert Hall and Loyola played their annual "Turkey Bowl" game on Thanksgiving Day at the downtown football stadium.

A while back, word came down from the Ravens that they were no longer willing to make the stadium available on Thanksgiving Day if the Ravens played at home either the next Sunday (three days) or the following Sunday, even. Keep in mind, the field paint wasn't changed for Calvert Hall-Loyola, unlike yesterday when the entire stadium was painted and done up with "NAVY" everywhere.

Anyway, with those stipulations in mind, it forced Calvert Hall and Loyola to look for an alternative site, which they found in Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Eventually, I think the Ravens just said, "You can't play here any longer..." and that was that.

But seeing Navy-Notre Dame yesterday made me ask the question: Why can they play a major college football game in the stadium on a Saturday and the Ravens play a home game eight days later on the following Sunday? That's not a problem?

Apparently it isn't a problem.

And, so, on Thanksgiving Day 2022, the annual Turkey Bowl will be played on the campus of Towson University. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, the Ravens are in Jacksonville. The next Sunday, December 4, they're home against Denver. The following two Sundays, they're away against Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

From Thanksgiving Day through December 18, there would be exactly TWO football games played in the stadium. One would be a high school game and one would be a NFL game.

I can't imagine the turf would be negatively impacted by those two games.

It's a shame the traditional Thanksgiving Day game can't be played in the city's premier football complex. In a lot of ways, the Ravens owe it to the community at large to open the stadium for that game or any other traditional rivalry game that's played on Thanksgiving Day.

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around the nfl


SEAHAWKS AT BUCCANEERS (GERMANY) -- The odds-makers must be watching a different league than the rest of us. Tampa Bay is FAVORED in this one? By 2.5 points? OK then. I guess they're figuring Tom Brady has to eventually become Tom Brady again. Or, even better, Geno Smith has to become Geno Smith again. Either way, Vegas thinks Tampa Bay wins by three points. I'm not so sure about that.

VIKINGS AT BILLS -- The "Josh Allen story" is the only thing that matters in this one. Does he play? Is he healthy? Can he go all 60 minutes if he does play? If he doesn't play or leaves early, can Case Keenum lead his new team over his old team? Meanwhile, Minnesota is prancing along at 7-1, albeit while playing an incredibly soft schedule. Their marquee win came in Miami and Tua wasn't around for that one. Buffalo's favored by 6.5 points, which tells me Vegas "thinks" Allen is going to play. Either way, 6.5 points seems like a lot to me. If the Bills wore their throwback helmets with the grazing Buffalo, this would be a blowout. Alas, they're not. So.....

LIONS AT BEARS -- Detroit's defense is gaining steam in an effort to have the worst season ever, statistically, and today's game in Chicago should definitely help their cause. Bears QB Justin Fields might become the first quarterback in league history to run for 200 yards and throw for 200 yards in the same game. It's curious that Chicago's only a 2.5 point favorite in this one. It feels like a game they might win 55-33. Fields is going to have -- wait for it -- a "Fields day" in this one. Sorry, I'll show myself out now.

Derrick Henry and the Titans should pile up the yards -- and points -- today vs. Denver.

BRONCOS AT TITANS -- Vegas is getting more weird by the minute. The Titans just took K.C. to overtime in K.C. on Sunday night and Denver stinks...and Tennessee is only a 2.5 point favorite? I don't get this one. I mean, I guess Russell Wilson could suddenly become Russell Wilson again, but I doubt it. And the Titans, despite last Sunday's loss to the Chiefs, look like they're starting to find their footing in the AFC playoff race. This smells like a Titans romp to me. But the guys in Vegas all have big swimming pools in their backyards and all I have is a patch of grass where I hit 10 yard chip shots to an old Mountain Branch flag I took from the cart barn 15 years ago.

JAGUARS AT CHIEFS -- OK, they finally got one right. K.C. is favored by 9.5 points in this one. I'm one of the folks who took a bath on my Jags stock in 2022. I thought they would be much better than they've displayed thus far. They can run the ball decently, which might keep them in this one today, but K.C. just has way too many offensive weapons to come up short this afternoon. (You just know Jacksonville's winning 22-21, right?).

BROWNS AT DOLPHINS -- I had to chuckle when I saw Miami was a 3.5 point favorite. Is that "per quarter"? I can see Miami winning each quarter by at least 4 points in this one. Cleveland stinks. There's no way their secondary can contain Tua and those wide receivers. And how's Cleveland going to score? Then again, the Browns took the Ravens down to the final 3 minutes a few weeks ago in Baltimore, so who knows? All the Browns are hoping for is to stay in the playoff race somehow until Deshaun Watson returns and then they might take flight down the stretch and get that happy ending they were hoping for when they signed the former Texans QB.

TEXANS AT GIANTS -- What's the single game rushing record in the NFL? Do you know off the top of your head? Well, there's a 60% chance Saquon Barkley smashes that mark today against the Texans. He has 779 yards in 8 games this season. He might rush for 350 today against Houston. The Giants will be 7-2 after today's throttling of the Texans. I still can't figure out how Houston ever loses a game wearing "those" helmets, but they do. It's amazing. (By the way, Adrian Peterson has the single game record at 296 yards).

SAINTS AT STEELERS -- This one should be a real doozy today up in the Steel City. Two awful teams, going nowhere, battling it out. I wish I had great seats for this one, don't you? In the ultimate slap in the face, the Steelers are actually one point underdogs today. My how the mighty have fallen. Remember all those "Stillers" fans who couldn't wait to see Big Ben hit the road? Well, this is what yinz get now. Lousy QB play and lousy football. Enjoy it.

COLTS AT RAIDERS -- Another thriller. Both teams entered the season thinking they were going to be good and both teams are pretty much terrible. Las Vegas has 2 wins this season. And they gave away a 17-0 lead last week in Jacksonville, you might remember. Indianapolis is in such turmoil they hired a color analyst who used to play for them to coach the team this week. It would be akin to the Ravens canning Harbaugh tomorrow and hiring Rod Woodson to coach them for the remainder of the season. The Raiders are 4-point favorites in this one, which says far more about Indy than Las Vegas, I can assure you.

COWBOYS AT PACKERS -- This is today's "Under the Hood" special. Is Dallas legit? Is Green Bay really that bad? We're going to know for sure today. Dallas is a 4-point road favorite in this one. Aaron Rodgers a 4-point home underdog? Dark days in Green Bay, for sure. A loss today to fall to 3-7 and A-Rod might pack it in for the season with a "back injury". He's not going to put himself out there in December in 10 degree temperatures with a 4-9 team. Come on now, we all know that.

CARDINALS AT RAMS -- What a dud this one is turning out to be. When you first looked at the schedule in April, you thought a mid-season clash between these two would be worth watching. Instead, they're both three games behind the Seahawks, of all teams. The Rams are favored by 2.5 points, but this is precisely the kind of game Arizona wins. They always lose the ones they shouldn't and win the ones they shouldn't.

CHARGERS AT 49'ERS -- This one will be worth watching tonight, as both teams desperately need a win. San Francisco is favored by 7.5 points over the injury riddled Chargers, who look a bit like the Cardinals. They win when they shouldn't and lose when they shouldn't. At the beginning of the season I had the 49'ers winning the Super Bowl, so you probably know where my rooting interests lie tonight.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 8 days to go


Team Profile –

8 - Portugal

Group: H

How they Qualified: Second in UEFA (Europe) qualification group; won playoff over

North Macedonia

Best World Cup Finish: 3rd - 1966

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $937M (4th)

FIFA Rank: 9

Odds to Win Group: -145

Odds to Advance: -650

Odds to Win Cup: +1400


Key Players:

Ruben Dias - Center Back - Manchester City (England Premier League)

Ronaldo - Striker - Manchester United (England Premier League)

Bruno Fernandes - Midfielder - Manchester United (England Premier League)


Playing Style and Outlook:

Portugal may be the most talent-loaded team in the tournament besides Brazil and France. They boast a bevy of players at all levels of the field playing for the top clubs in Europe. Despite their abundance of attacking talent, they tend to play a more defensive style. While they will control possession against weaker opposition, when they come against other top teams they generally take a more defensive approach and look for moments to counter punch.

This approach has largely served them well in international tournaments, helping them to win the 2016 Euro Championships and the 2019 UEFA Nations League. They also had the fewest goals conceded in the most recent UEFA Nations League competition this year. With their dynamic attacking group, they have been able to make the most of more limited possession.

They are capable of pressing effectively at strategic moments, in order to disrupt their opponents from playing out of the back, although this is usually less effective when the aging Ronaldo is leading the line.

When in attack, Portugal is able to play direct, with balls in behind to speedy wingers like Rafael Leao or Joao Felix, or build up through the lines with midfield technicians like Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes. They also deploy one of the most attack minded full back pairings in the Cup, with excellent technical players Raphael Guerreiro on the left and Joao Cancelo on the right.

With their plethora of talent, it is somewhat curious that Portugal takes such a pragmatic tactical approach. However, international tournaments tend to be scrappy affairs, with the teams most able to grind out wins the ones that advance. So while their approach may make them vulnerable to lesser teams, leaving less room for error, it can make them very dangerous in the knockout rounds and is one of the reasons they could make a deep run in Qatar.


Get to Know the US Team:

Jordan Morris - Forward

Baltimore Doppelganger - Jacoby Jones

Jordan Morris was one of the more surprising inclusions on the 26 man US World Cup roster. The Seattle Sounders attacker has been in and out of the team throughout qualifying, but did not have many significant contributions. Gregg Berhalter probably opted for Morris over players like Paul Arriola or Malik Tillman for one reason, speed.

Morris has an effective combination of size and speed, able to stretch the defense with the threat to get in behind and able to use his body to battle with defenders to win balls. He is not the most technical player on the ball, but he has shown the ability to be an effective crosser of the ball in MLS. He likely won’t be in any starting lineups unless there are a wave of injuries, but Morris will provide an option off the bench if the US is down and needs to try something different to score a goal.

He reminds me of former Ravens wide receiver and kick returner Jacoby Jones. Jones also possessed a dangerous combination of size and speed that made him an effective deep threat, most notably catching Flacco’s bomb in the Mile High Miracle game during the Super Bowl run. Jones had his limitations, which is why he never became a top receiving option, but like Morris, his speed and ability to take the top off the defense made him a dangerous weapon in the right situations.


Players to Watch:

8 - Pedri - Spain - Midfielder

The 19 year old Pedri is another of the young stars at this tournament with a chance to come home with the Best Young Player award. The Barcelona midfielder burst onto the scene in the 2021 Euro Championships, where he became the youngest player ever to play for Spain in that competition, at just 18 years old.

Pedri had a star-making performance in the semifinals of those Euros, dominating the midfield against eventual champions Italy. He barely put a foot wrong the whole game, completing an incredible 65 of 66 passes as the hub of the possession-heavy Spain attack. He has followed that up by becoming one of the key players in a new generation at Barcelona.

Along with the previous two players we covered, Jamal Musiala and Jude Bellingham, Pedri is part of the next wave of superstars in the game, who will get their first glimpse of the game’s biggest stage in Qatar.

As the heir apparent to Barcelona and Spain legend, Iniesta, Pedri has a more subtle style than the aforementioned Musiala. He is not as much of a goal threat, doing more of the dirty work further back in the field to get the ball into advantageous positions. He is more likely to set a teammate up for a goal than to score himself. Pedri is exceptional on the ball, with great intelligence to find pockets of space to exploit. Even at his young age he seems to always read the game two moves ahead.

He is equally adept at dribbling through opponents in midfield or unlocking the defense with his passing. He is also an underrated defensive presence, doing a lot of strong work battling and winning balls back for his team despite his slight frame.

This Spain team is integrating a new generation of players but they still like to dominate possession of the ball to try to break down their opponents. Pedri will undoubtedly be one of the key figures in their build up and attack. A strong tournament from him could mean a deep run for one of the tournament favorites.


Soccer Terminology 101:

Playing out of the back

This phrase describes the strategy of passing the ball through the defense instead of playing long balls to a target forward or over the top of the defense. It has become the default tactic for most top club teams in the world. It is especially noticeable on goal kicks where defenders will drop deep in their own end to receive passes from the goalie and then look to pass the ball through to the next line. If a team has the technical ability to implement this strategy it can allow them to more easily maintain possession and control the game.

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#dmd comments








unitastoberry     November 27
I hope they let Faalele start at O left tackle lets see what he has> Save Merkari for down the road.

CIK     November 27
The Raven’s are not favored by the oddsmakers? I see Balt -3.5. That would make them the favorite…and also make them favored by the oddsmakers. I agree though that the game is tricky…hence the 3.5 point line. I like under 52.5 (-110) Lamar rushing yards. Hoping for a bad hip & sloppy track. But that kind of bet could also be a loser on the 1st play of the game. Gambling makes this watchable. And the TV ratings are popping right now.

Chris in Bel Air     November 27
Ravens will win today. It won't be pretty, again, but like Drew stated, just get another in the win column. I think the Ravens D will again be the star of the game today. It would be great if they can get healthier. Difficult task this time of year.

Drew - Caps are just past the quarter pole for the season. They have 5 wins in their last 16 games and they are only 2 points ahead of Flyers, even with them losing 10 in a row. Any additional thoughts on their performance and probability of turning it around? It looked like they had a little spark with Oshie's return, until they were waxed last night. Also, their former goalies Vanacek and Samsonov are 2nd and 4th in the league respectively for GAA with their new teams. Keumper has been decent and is currently 16th for GAA. I think that is more about the Caps overall defensive play then anything.

thomas     November 27
Likely being out is an issue for the Ravens? Stanley, absolutely, but Likely? Come on man.

But good to see Drew is back with his weekly picks, time to build up the Christmas gift fund!

Can someone tell me which of these picks will be winners so I don't bet the losers? Thanks

Jk     November 26
Was going to say the same thing as Mike C but he posted first.

Mike c.     November 26
By tying England the USA can still win the group. A loss would have meant they couldn't win the group. If you win the group your first opponent is easier in knock out play. The tie was valuable. Maybe you should do better next time.

Hank     November 26
And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining,



What makes it valuable? A loss would have meant the same - win vs Iran and in.



Do better.

Richard     November 26
I am not really a soccer fan. I’ll keep it on for background noise sometimes. For years I’ve been saying there doesn’t need to be more goals in soccer, but more action around the goals. Moving the goals closer together would ensure more action and for those that don’t like 0-0, I think this would create more fun. Thoughts, but not necessarily from the true soccer fan.

Josh     November 26
0-0 draw is pretty boring. Why not play until someone wins?

Delray RICK     November 26
STEVE CAPE....Don't understand 3 hours of 0-0. If we had that infootball NOBODY WOULD WATCH

henry     November 26
Don's Dad is correct, CHC coach admitted the fake was not called by him, some kind of rugby punt but run if you want option. Kid made up his mind to run on his own, ballsy move for sure. Wonder what the coach would think if he had not made a first down?? Also wonder if no one on Loyola side noticed the regular punter was not in the game?

@Dan, if true, makes your comments even more embarrassing lol. But all good, I know we are all focused on online gambling these days, no time to dwell on the past. Hope everyone is aware eventually the free bets will go away lol.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 26
Like I said before, watching soccer is like watching paint dry !!! Change that, watching paint dry is way more exciting !!!

Eric in Gaithersburg     November 26
Jax has better point differential than Tenn. Theyve lost 5 games by 5 pts or less. This was always gonna be a tougher than people realized game. The story of the Jaguars season is major problems in the redzone. This game comes down to Ravens scorching hot defense controlling Etienne and forcing a few turnovers and somebody stepping up on offense to break the 20 pt barrier. Ill guess a Jags win which should guarantee a Ravens victory😜

Dons dad     November 25
I believe Loyola had a time out left on 4th down yesterday. If they would have made the first down they would have called T.O.

Players on CHC told my son after the game the fake punt wasn't called from the sideline, the CHC player did it on his own.

Dan     November 25
To Henry, I didn't go to Calvert Hall, I attended high school in New York.

Richard     November 25
Happy belated Thanksgiving to Drew and everyone else here. I watched the game yesterday and it really left me scratching my head. It was a very good, well played, and exciting game. However, the coaching in the last 5 minutes was weird. A fake punt, from your own 16 on 4th and 18 is crazy(and I mean that in a nice way). Then Loyola drives the field and on 4th and 1 with 11 seconds left, they run a sweep. If the play doesn’t score, it will use the 11 seconds, as the runner got tackled for a loss with 4 seconds left. I understand(kind of) not kicking the fg(no confidence in kicker), but a sweep-strange.

Unitastoberry     November 25
Lou Michaels rip was probably the worst field goal kicker in Baltimore history. He was also a back up defensive tackle. He missed two chip shots in SB 3? Question is was he paid to miss?

Great soccer coverage.

Delray RICK     November 25
STEVE....At least spell the "GREATEST QB IN HISTORY" right.

Steve of Pimlico     November 25
One of my favorite Memorial Stadium Colt memories was a game the Colts were losing 10- 0 to the Packers.Unitus hit Willie Richardson on a slant pattern for a TD against Herb Adderley.XP attemt by Lou Michaels no good.Colts recover inside kick drive down the field.Facing a 4th and 6 can't kick a FG for tie,Unitus drops back to pass,ducks HOFer Willie Davis and scrambles for a first down.Then he hits Richardson again for game winning TD.

D. Schrute     November 25
Re: Breakfast Bytes... North Carolina actually held off the Portland Pilots not the Portland State Vikings who are playing Gonzaga right now in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

henry     November 24
Dan and the CHC crowd on the ones embarrassing themselves, particularly if you are grown men. It's high school football man, time to move on fellas.

Dan     November 24
Love all the griping on Facebook by Loyola peeps.

You lost. You tried hard and lost. Just take the loss the right way and stop embarrassing yourselves.


William     November 24
@John L, you might want to look up record for the entire series genius.

paul     November 24
People like Billy came here running their mouth last year when LB won. Take your "L" like a man this year.

John L.     November 24
Calvert Hall has won 11 of the last 13 Thanksgiving Day games. Maybe the Dons should move to the C Conference.

Billy     November 24
LOL at KC. No man for others with that guy. Or Hal

K.C.     November 24
Allan crying like a Loyola Loser. You weren't crying last year when the refs gave your TE a first down catch on 4th and 14 were you??????



Like Hal said, can't spell "Loyola" without that Thanksgiving Day "L" !!!



Go Hall!!!

Allan     November 24
And CHC faithful need to give thanks to the refs for that gift of a win. Amen.

Hal     November 24
You can't spell Loyola without the "L".

Hahahahahahahaha

lou@palo alto     November 24
yes, Steve--the old City-Poly game. when we were seniors we beat poly 52-6 w Schmoke at QB. I too remember the Unitas pass to Hinton--what a play caller #19 was! Out here, some golf (72 today) and 9 for turkey at 3p--enjoy the peace!!

Unitastoberry     November 24
@Delray/James -Dundalk. That might have been the longest standing ovation in the history of sports from the time the plane with the banner flew over until after the td pass. Incredible moment still jacks me up after 50 years.

JMP     November 24
Where are todays NFL picks? I need new shoes.

henry     November 24
Loyola played in B conf final the Sat before last year's game, stop making excuses lol.

Delray RICK     November 24
UTB..Was there til the end.

Even the dummyin the plane.




James - Dundak     November 24
To Drew & all the other commenters Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Ravens Go Terps

James - Dundak     November 24
@ U2B I was there as well. My memory is a little fuzzy but, was that also the game with the plane flyover pulling the Unitas We Stand banner. That was classic too.

CIK     November 24
What is the scenario if Calvert Hall & Loyola end up meeting in the MIAA title game? Do they play twice?

Steve of Pimlico     November 24
City Poly was always the best game of my youth played at the Stadium at 1pm.Calvert Hall Loyola was the prelim in the morning.

Unitastoberry     November 24
I'm thankful for so much including being able to keep my nickname on DMD. John Unitas is still the best QB to ever play in Baltimore and his last snap on 33rd Street was in 1972. Came off the bench for Marty Domres and hit #33 Eddie Hinton who yaced it in for a td. I was there. Thank you Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank your creator today and every day.

henry     November 23
Roll Dons roll!

Delray RICK     November 23
AGREE with JOSH. To many getting in HOF that weren't GREAT!! THE HOF ISFOR GREATEST...not a good average year. MANNY could but did he do the nasty?

Josh     November 23
Nah…. Rolen is Hall of Vey Good

Stats Nerd     November 23
I'm not sure the NFLPA is considering that this position would have unintended consequences. Well I'm sure they have considered it but it's apparent they don't care. It could more specifically be called the Guaranteed Quarterbacks Contracts. The Salary Cap is the Salary Cap and any decision to guarantee contracts will have downstream effects on other less "valuable" positions.

So it seems like the guaranteed contract push is not necessarily in the best interest of most of the rank and file but rather just the star QBs and maybe a handful of other players. By definition this will mean less money for other players.

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     November 23
I believe SB said pray for us after the Ravens kicked the tires on Kaepernick. The WC coverage has been excellent. Thank you. It’s not a stretch to think the Brazilian team should win it all. They have enough great players to field 2 teams in the WC. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Go Hall.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
@Chris K - thanks for clarifying. I'm in agreement with Drew as well. Just went about my thinking in a less direct way. Unless there is direct evidence of the owners stating their intentions and collaborating with others then this just seems to be a bunch of hot air.

Dirk,Lerxst & Pratt     November 23
Go Hall! Beat Loyola!



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. F inest T hanksgiving D ay to all!

Chris K     November 23
@chris in Bel Air collusion would be all owners agreeing as a group that they won’t offer guaranteed contracts. Each owner individually can make the personal decision to not do it but if they consulted with another owner or more before making the decision then it’s collusion. I agree with Drew that it’ll be nearly impossible to prove unless there is an electronic or paper trail.



Having said all of that, I completely understand why Bisciotti chooses not to speak publicly because every time he does he sticks his foot in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he say something like “we have our own decision making process and don’t compare ourselves to other team’s decisions”. Reminds me of when he said pray for us after attempting to sweep the Ray rice abuse under the rug. I agree with his decision to not speak publicly because he’s not good at it.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
"For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts."

Sorry, I'm a little dense at times but I'm not completely tracking this. Why do the owners have to be nervous? Are they obligated in some way to offer guaranteed contracts? Is it part of collective bargaining? If it is widely accepted as a "bad business practice" then why would anyone, including the players, think it must happen? If the Raiders, for example, had given D Adams $50M / year to sign with them last offseason, does that mean all other teams should overpay for a WR too? Or are they free to make the best decision for their team? Just because all teams make the same business decision, is that collusion?

With this said, another owner will offer a guaranteed contract. Maybe it will be Lamar and the Ravens. Maybe it is Lamar for another team. Maybe it will be Herbert or Burrow when their five years are up. But someone else is going to view player X as the one that will get them to the Super Bowl and they will over-pay. That much I know.

@Stats - thanks for the added info on the diving and EPL. In the end, I'm just not a fan of the flopping.

Unitastoberry     November 23
Little Jimmy only got 1 championship with Manning. Then he let him go and he did it again in Denver despite neck surgery. He's a jack arse of epic proportions. Chemically infused like his dad. Watson the perv changed the demographic in the league. Wrong person to do it with. If I was SB I'd sell now. I hope he doesn't.

TimD in Timonium     November 23
Well, I'll say this about @MFC - he's here commenting Every Single Day.



Kinda like the Cal Ripken of DMD commenters.

Saturday
November 12, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3001


saturday stuff


I'm heading to the football stadium in Baltimore today to see Navy and Notre Dame tangle.

In most places, I see it billed as "Notre Dame and Navy". I refer to it as Navy vs. Notre Dame because it was Navy who first helped Notre Dame, not the other way around.

Navy, as it turns out, should always receive top billing when they face their opponent from South Bend.

Have you ever wondered why Notre Dame plays Navy in football every year?

Did you assume it was just to pick up an automatic win?

I figure that's what most people assume. Sure, every once in a while the Midshipmen will stun the Irish with a victory of their own, but Notre Dame owns a lifetime record of 80-13-1 in the series. Before Navy's stirring 3 OT win in 2007, the Irish beat our friends in Annapolis 43 consecutive times.

But Notre Dame plays Navy for reasons other than trying to gobble up an automatic win.

They owe Navy. Big time.

Notre Dame, like many U.S. colleges, faced severe financial difficulties during World War II, which were exacerbated by the fact that it was then still an all-male institution. The U.S. Navy made Notre Dame a training center for V-12 candidates and paid enough for usage of the facilities to keep the University afloat.

Notre Dame has since extended an open invitation for Navy to play the Irish in football and considers the game annual repayment on a debt of honor.

So while Notre Dame is favored to win by 15.5 points today, the game means much more to the institutions than just a score and a result. If it wasn't for the U.S. Navy stepping in and helping out in World II, there might not be a football game today or a college in South Bend, Indiana.

I'll be attending today's game with some friends from the Archdiocese of Baltimore. You can imagine which team they're rooting for this afternoon.


For the first time in forever, I'm expecting the Orioles to be spenders in the free agent market this winter. If they don't gobble up a coveted free agent or two before spring training, I think everyone has the right to be upset.

But who?

Well, I think that answer is fairly easy.

Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox could be on the O's list of potential free-agent signings this winter.

There are four prominent shortstops available on the market. The Orioles should sign one of them. I'd go as far as saying they "must" sign one of them.

Xander Bogaerts (age 30) -- Career 162 game average: 20 HR, 88 RBI, .292 batting average

Dansby Swanson (age 29) -- Career 162 game average: 20 HR, 81 RBI, .255 batting average

Carlos Correa (age 28) -- Career 162 game average: 28 HR, 101 RBI, .279 batting average

Trea Turner (age 29) -- Career 162 game average: 24 HR, 83 RBI, .302 batting average

Pick one. Any of them. And sign one of them.

Lots of things are working in the O's favor this winter. They have money to spend, for starters. And they're a team on the upswing, for sure, which should be attractive any of those four.

The only small negative could be the left-field-wall situation in Camden Yards. A savvy agent might steer his (right handed hitting) client away from Baltimore thinking that his home run totals could diminish if he winds up hitting 81 games in OPACY.

But that's part of the risk involved with leaving the comforts of your current club. Bogaerts, for example, will go from Fenway Park to OPACY. That's a huge difference. But no matter where he goes, Bogaerts will have to overcome leaving the cozy confines of Fenway.

Me, personally? I'd go after either Turner or Correa.

But I'd take any of the four, obviously.

All I know is the Orioles are *this close* to being a legit contender in the American League. They need a real shortstop, one that can hit for average and power. Now...they need to go get one.


Bruce Springsteen's new album dropped yesterday and it's been mostly received well by the critics. In case you don't know, Bruce's 21st studio album -- Only The Strong Survive -- is actually an entire album of soul and R&B covers from various artists that have inspired Springsteen throughout his career.

A few folks of national prominence didn't care for it but the majority of the national reviews have been favorable. Perhaps some of the critics were a tad lenient because they didn't want to hurt The Boss's feelings.

Personally, I don't even count the new effort as a true Bruce Springsteen album. It's not his work, after all. Every song was written and previously recorded by someone else. It's just Bruce putting his own spin on it and recreating it the way he thinks it should sound.

If you're thinking I'm giving it a thumbs-down, that's probably right. I think Bruce "sounds" great on the album. Vocally, this might be the best his voice has come across since the "Magic" album in 2007. In the various late night interviews he's been doing over the last two weeks to promote the album's unveiling, he mentions over and over how he wanted his voice to carry the record this time around.

And, so, I'll give him credit for that. Bruce's voice and range sounds good on this album. He won that battle with himself.

I've noted here before that I understand why Springsteen is taking this opportunity to record an album like Only The Strong Survive. He's 73 years old. He's been making music since the early 1970's. He's one of the most successful recording artists in the history of music. He has more money than he'll ever need, his kids will ever need and their kids will ever need.

So, at this point, he probably just wants to do what he wants to do. If it flops and he loses a million bucks, who cares? If it flops and no one downloads it, who cares? When you're the guy who wrote Born To Run, everything after that is pretty much icing on the cake, I guess.

Sure, Bruce could have written a new album of his own words and music. I'm guessing he has another one or two of those left in the tank before he calls it quits at some point this decade. Now, though, he wants to record an album of soul and R&B covers and that's what he's going to do.

I get it.

But it's just not "Bruce Springsteen" the way I've come to know him over the last 50 years. I want to hear Bruce singing songs that he wrote and organized musically. I don't want to hear him doing other people's stuff.

It's also fair to point out that I largely feel the same way about other musical acts that I greatly admire. Dave Matthews has a number of covers they perform in concert; All Along The Watchtower, Sledgehammer and, most recently, Led Zeppelin's Fool In The Rain. The Zeppelin song, in fact, is one of my Top 10 favorites by that band.

But I don't want to go to a Dave Matthews Band concert to hear them cover a Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix tune. I'd rather hear them play Idea of You or You Never Know, two of of my favorites they rarely play live these days. I barely liked Sledgehammer when Peter Gabriel did it. I don't like it at all when Dave Matthews does it.

So, it's not just Springsteen doing covers that I don't care for all that much. It's anyone covering another artist's song.

It's here, by the way, where I'll acknowledge that for some weird reason, Van Halen covering other people's music always "felt" different to me. And I don't know why. But that's another story for another day.

Anyway, Springsteen's new album is out and old people like me might appreciate some of the risks Bruce takes on a number of the old tunes by Doby Gray, Diana Ross and The Commodores.

Here's the video from the song "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)", originally done by Frank Wilson in 1965.



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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 9 days to go


Team Profile –

9 - Belgium

Group: F

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: 3rd - 2018

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $543M (8th)

FIFA Rank: 2

Odds to Win Group: -190

Odds to Advance: -750

Odds to Win Cup: +1600


Key Players:

Kevin De Bruyne - Midfielder - Manchester City (England Premier League)

Thibaut Courtois - Goalie - Real Madrid (Spain La Liga)

Romelu Lukaku - Striker - Inter Milan (Italy Serie A)


Playing Style and Outlook:

Belgium lines up in a 3-4-2-1 formation with Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard playing behind a striker (usually Lukaku) on the front line. They use aggressive attack minded wingbacks to help create numbers in attack. The Belgians tend to dominate possession and try to use ball movement to pull the defense apart and create chances around the box.

In attack they look to get the ball into the feet of playmakers De Bruyne and Hazard to play the final ball. When Lukaku is healthy they will look to get it forward to him in the channels between defenders to stretch the back line. In De Bruyne, they have one of the most creative passers of a generation, who is capable of unlocking a defense from anywhere on the field.

Defensively Belgium will press strategically in moments but are not as aggressive as several of the other top contenders. They rely on a veteran back line to keep the team organized defensively.

This tournament represents the last hurrah for what has been called the golden generation of Belgian players, comprising talents such as De Bruyne, Hazard, Lukaku, Alderweireld, Courtois and Vertonghen. That group produced a great run in the 2018 World Cup, falling just short of the final and winning third place.

They return the core of that team to Qatar in hopes they can recapture that magic. That brings pros and cons as their aging back line is a bit of a concern heading into this competition. They have been better at scoring goals than preventing them and that is often not a great formula at a World Cup. They will heavily rely on the outstanding Courtois in goal to provide the last line of defense and perhaps win them a game they don’t deserve.

The one big question mark for this team is the health of Romelu Lukaku. The dynamic striker has missed nearly the whole season for Inter Milan, but they hope he can get back up to speed to help lead their attack.


Get to Know the US Team:

Kellyn Acosta

Baltimore Doppelganger - Caleb Joseph

Kellyn Acosta will head to Qatar with the US team as the main backup to defensive midfielder Tyler Adams. After rising to prominence as a young player for FC Dallas, Acosta worked his way into the national team picture in 2016 but dropped off the radar for a long period before he was brought back in by Gregg Berhalter to deputize for Adams.

He has served as an adequate replacement in that role when Adams has been unavailable but has failed to impress when played at other midfield spots. He does bring the ability to hit dangerous free kicks, as displayed on his goal in the MLS Final last week.

Acosta reminds me of former Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph. Like Acosta, Joseph’s role on the team was to provide a reliable backup option to one of the star players on the team, Matt Wieters. Each of these players is capable of filling in the role temporarily and keeping the ship from running aground, but you wouldn’t want to rely on them for a longer term.

Joseph was able to fill in and play solid defense when Wieters was rested or missing with an injury, but he didn’t provide nearly the ceiling with the bat that Wieters did. Acosta has decent range to cover defensively and can pass the ball well at times from the base of midfield, but there is a clear dropoff from the unique abilities that Adams possesses.


Players to Watch:

9 - Jamal Musiala - Germany - Midfielder

This is another of the players that will be vying for the Best Young Player award at the World Cup. The 19 year old Musiala has broken out as a star attacker for Bayern Munich over the past year. Born to German and Nigerian parents, Musiala grew up in England playing in Chelsea’s youth system and was eligible for both England and German national teams.

He moved to Bayern Munich in 2019 and ultimately opted to represent Germany on the international stage. This season he has not only been one of the best young players in the league, but arguably the best midfielder regardless of age. He has a versatile skill set, able to play in tight spaces in midfield, collect the ball in between the lines, or attack defenders one on one from the wings.

His game is somewhat reminiscent of his Bayern and Germany teammate, Thomas Muller. In addition to his playmaking abilities, this season he has found a goal scoring touch, netting nine goals so far in the Bundesliga campaign, leading Bayern and good for third in the league.

For Germany he could line up as a winger or as a more attack minded central midfielder to pair with the more defensive Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan. He will be a threat to both create and score goals and is another player who could exit the tournament a household name with a breakout performance.


Soccer Terminology 101:

Low Block/Bunker

A low block in soccer is a defensive strategy where the team focuses on defending the final third of their end of the field. The team will drop nine or even ten defenders back behind the ball in order to remain compact and reduce the space the opposition has to work with in attack.

The back line positions itself deep to prevent room to run in behind, forcing the opponent to work the ball through the lines or hit crosses into a packed box. The tactic is often used by teams that are heavy underdogs, to make it difficult for the opposition to score while they look for momentary lapses to attack on the counter.

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unitastoberry     November 27
I hope they let Faalele start at O left tackle lets see what he has> Save Merkari for down the road.

CIK     November 27
The Raven’s are not favored by the oddsmakers? I see Balt -3.5. That would make them the favorite…and also make them favored by the oddsmakers. I agree though that the game is tricky…hence the 3.5 point line. I like under 52.5 (-110) Lamar rushing yards. Hoping for a bad hip & sloppy track. But that kind of bet could also be a loser on the 1st play of the game. Gambling makes this watchable. And the TV ratings are popping right now.

Chris in Bel Air     November 27
Ravens will win today. It won't be pretty, again, but like Drew stated, just get another in the win column. I think the Ravens D will again be the star of the game today. It would be great if they can get healthier. Difficult task this time of year.

Drew - Caps are just past the quarter pole for the season. They have 5 wins in their last 16 games and they are only 2 points ahead of Flyers, even with them losing 10 in a row. Any additional thoughts on their performance and probability of turning it around? It looked like they had a little spark with Oshie's return, until they were waxed last night. Also, their former goalies Vanacek and Samsonov are 2nd and 4th in the league respectively for GAA with their new teams. Keumper has been decent and is currently 16th for GAA. I think that is more about the Caps overall defensive play then anything.

thomas     November 27
Likely being out is an issue for the Ravens? Stanley, absolutely, but Likely? Come on man.

But good to see Drew is back with his weekly picks, time to build up the Christmas gift fund!

Can someone tell me which of these picks will be winners so I don't bet the losers? Thanks

Jk     November 26
Was going to say the same thing as Mike C but he posted first.

Mike c.     November 26
By tying England the USA can still win the group. A loss would have meant they couldn't win the group. If you win the group your first opponent is easier in knock out play. The tie was valuable. Maybe you should do better next time.

Hank     November 26
And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining,



What makes it valuable? A loss would have meant the same - win vs Iran and in.



Do better.

Richard     November 26
I am not really a soccer fan. I’ll keep it on for background noise sometimes. For years I’ve been saying there doesn’t need to be more goals in soccer, but more action around the goals. Moving the goals closer together would ensure more action and for those that don’t like 0-0, I think this would create more fun. Thoughts, but not necessarily from the true soccer fan.

Josh     November 26
0-0 draw is pretty boring. Why not play until someone wins?

Delray RICK     November 26
STEVE CAPE....Don't understand 3 hours of 0-0. If we had that infootball NOBODY WOULD WATCH

henry     November 26
Don's Dad is correct, CHC coach admitted the fake was not called by him, some kind of rugby punt but run if you want option. Kid made up his mind to run on his own, ballsy move for sure. Wonder what the coach would think if he had not made a first down?? Also wonder if no one on Loyola side noticed the regular punter was not in the game?

@Dan, if true, makes your comments even more embarrassing lol. But all good, I know we are all focused on online gambling these days, no time to dwell on the past. Hope everyone is aware eventually the free bets will go away lol.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 26
Like I said before, watching soccer is like watching paint dry !!! Change that, watching paint dry is way more exciting !!!

Eric in Gaithersburg     November 26
Jax has better point differential than Tenn. Theyve lost 5 games by 5 pts or less. This was always gonna be a tougher than people realized game. The story of the Jaguars season is major problems in the redzone. This game comes down to Ravens scorching hot defense controlling Etienne and forcing a few turnovers and somebody stepping up on offense to break the 20 pt barrier. Ill guess a Jags win which should guarantee a Ravens victory😜

Dons dad     November 25
I believe Loyola had a time out left on 4th down yesterday. If they would have made the first down they would have called T.O.

Players on CHC told my son after the game the fake punt wasn't called from the sideline, the CHC player did it on his own.

Dan     November 25
To Henry, I didn't go to Calvert Hall, I attended high school in New York.

Richard     November 25
Happy belated Thanksgiving to Drew and everyone else here. I watched the game yesterday and it really left me scratching my head. It was a very good, well played, and exciting game. However, the coaching in the last 5 minutes was weird. A fake punt, from your own 16 on 4th and 18 is crazy(and I mean that in a nice way). Then Loyola drives the field and on 4th and 1 with 11 seconds left, they run a sweep. If the play doesn’t score, it will use the 11 seconds, as the runner got tackled for a loss with 4 seconds left. I understand(kind of) not kicking the fg(no confidence in kicker), but a sweep-strange.

Unitastoberry     November 25
Lou Michaels rip was probably the worst field goal kicker in Baltimore history. He was also a back up defensive tackle. He missed two chip shots in SB 3? Question is was he paid to miss?

Great soccer coverage.

Delray RICK     November 25
STEVE....At least spell the "GREATEST QB IN HISTORY" right.

Steve of Pimlico     November 25
One of my favorite Memorial Stadium Colt memories was a game the Colts were losing 10- 0 to the Packers.Unitus hit Willie Richardson on a slant pattern for a TD against Herb Adderley.XP attemt by Lou Michaels no good.Colts recover inside kick drive down the field.Facing a 4th and 6 can't kick a FG for tie,Unitus drops back to pass,ducks HOFer Willie Davis and scrambles for a first down.Then he hits Richardson again for game winning TD.

D. Schrute     November 25
Re: Breakfast Bytes... North Carolina actually held off the Portland Pilots not the Portland State Vikings who are playing Gonzaga right now in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

henry     November 24
Dan and the CHC crowd on the ones embarrassing themselves, particularly if you are grown men. It's high school football man, time to move on fellas.

Dan     November 24
Love all the griping on Facebook by Loyola peeps.

You lost. You tried hard and lost. Just take the loss the right way and stop embarrassing yourselves.


William     November 24
@John L, you might want to look up record for the entire series genius.

paul     November 24
People like Billy came here running their mouth last year when LB won. Take your "L" like a man this year.

John L.     November 24
Calvert Hall has won 11 of the last 13 Thanksgiving Day games. Maybe the Dons should move to the C Conference.

Billy     November 24
LOL at KC. No man for others with that guy. Or Hal

K.C.     November 24
Allan crying like a Loyola Loser. You weren't crying last year when the refs gave your TE a first down catch on 4th and 14 were you??????



Like Hal said, can't spell "Loyola" without that Thanksgiving Day "L" !!!



Go Hall!!!

Allan     November 24
And CHC faithful need to give thanks to the refs for that gift of a win. Amen.

Hal     November 24
You can't spell Loyola without the "L".

Hahahahahahahaha

lou@palo alto     November 24
yes, Steve--the old City-Poly game. when we were seniors we beat poly 52-6 w Schmoke at QB. I too remember the Unitas pass to Hinton--what a play caller #19 was! Out here, some golf (72 today) and 9 for turkey at 3p--enjoy the peace!!

Unitastoberry     November 24
@Delray/James -Dundalk. That might have been the longest standing ovation in the history of sports from the time the plane with the banner flew over until after the td pass. Incredible moment still jacks me up after 50 years.

JMP     November 24
Where are todays NFL picks? I need new shoes.

henry     November 24
Loyola played in B conf final the Sat before last year's game, stop making excuses lol.

Delray RICK     November 24
UTB..Was there til the end.

Even the dummyin the plane.




James - Dundak     November 24
To Drew & all the other commenters Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Ravens Go Terps

James - Dundak     November 24
@ U2B I was there as well. My memory is a little fuzzy but, was that also the game with the plane flyover pulling the Unitas We Stand banner. That was classic too.

CIK     November 24
What is the scenario if Calvert Hall & Loyola end up meeting in the MIAA title game? Do they play twice?

Steve of Pimlico     November 24
City Poly was always the best game of my youth played at the Stadium at 1pm.Calvert Hall Loyola was the prelim in the morning.

Unitastoberry     November 24
I'm thankful for so much including being able to keep my nickname on DMD. John Unitas is still the best QB to ever play in Baltimore and his last snap on 33rd Street was in 1972. Came off the bench for Marty Domres and hit #33 Eddie Hinton who yaced it in for a td. I was there. Thank you Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank your creator today and every day.

henry     November 23
Roll Dons roll!

Delray RICK     November 23
AGREE with JOSH. To many getting in HOF that weren't GREAT!! THE HOF ISFOR GREATEST...not a good average year. MANNY could but did he do the nasty?

Josh     November 23
Nah…. Rolen is Hall of Vey Good

Stats Nerd     November 23
I'm not sure the NFLPA is considering that this position would have unintended consequences. Well I'm sure they have considered it but it's apparent they don't care. It could more specifically be called the Guaranteed Quarterbacks Contracts. The Salary Cap is the Salary Cap and any decision to guarantee contracts will have downstream effects on other less "valuable" positions.

So it seems like the guaranteed contract push is not necessarily in the best interest of most of the rank and file but rather just the star QBs and maybe a handful of other players. By definition this will mean less money for other players.

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     November 23
I believe SB said pray for us after the Ravens kicked the tires on Kaepernick. The WC coverage has been excellent. Thank you. It’s not a stretch to think the Brazilian team should win it all. They have enough great players to field 2 teams in the WC. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Go Hall.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
@Chris K - thanks for clarifying. I'm in agreement with Drew as well. Just went about my thinking in a less direct way. Unless there is direct evidence of the owners stating their intentions and collaborating with others then this just seems to be a bunch of hot air.

Dirk,Lerxst & Pratt     November 23
Go Hall! Beat Loyola!



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. F inest T hanksgiving D ay to all!

Chris K     November 23
@chris in Bel Air collusion would be all owners agreeing as a group that they won’t offer guaranteed contracts. Each owner individually can make the personal decision to not do it but if they consulted with another owner or more before making the decision then it’s collusion. I agree with Drew that it’ll be nearly impossible to prove unless there is an electronic or paper trail.



Having said all of that, I completely understand why Bisciotti chooses not to speak publicly because every time he does he sticks his foot in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he say something like “we have our own decision making process and don’t compare ourselves to other team’s decisions”. Reminds me of when he said pray for us after attempting to sweep the Ray rice abuse under the rug. I agree with his decision to not speak publicly because he’s not good at it.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
"For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts."

Sorry, I'm a little dense at times but I'm not completely tracking this. Why do the owners have to be nervous? Are they obligated in some way to offer guaranteed contracts? Is it part of collective bargaining? If it is widely accepted as a "bad business practice" then why would anyone, including the players, think it must happen? If the Raiders, for example, had given D Adams $50M / year to sign with them last offseason, does that mean all other teams should overpay for a WR too? Or are they free to make the best decision for their team? Just because all teams make the same business decision, is that collusion?

With this said, another owner will offer a guaranteed contract. Maybe it will be Lamar and the Ravens. Maybe it is Lamar for another team. Maybe it will be Herbert or Burrow when their five years are up. But someone else is going to view player X as the one that will get them to the Super Bowl and they will over-pay. That much I know.

@Stats - thanks for the added info on the diving and EPL. In the end, I'm just not a fan of the flopping.

Unitastoberry     November 23
Little Jimmy only got 1 championship with Manning. Then he let him go and he did it again in Denver despite neck surgery. He's a jack arse of epic proportions. Chemically infused like his dad. Watson the perv changed the demographic in the league. Wrong person to do it with. If I was SB I'd sell now. I hope he doesn't.

TimD in Timonium     November 23
Well, I'll say this about @MFC - he's here commenting Every Single Day.



Kinda like the Cal Ripken of DMD commenters.

Friday
November 11, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3000


"and now there are 34..."


Recently it's been the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre and Albert Pujols who have joined "the club".

Did you know there are only 33 players in the history of baseball to gain entry into the "3,000 club"??

I thought there were more, honestly.

Today, one more joins the club.

#DMD joins it.

Just like Ichiro, we tip our cap to all of you reading this on Issue #3000 of #DMD.

Today is our 3,000th consecutive issue. We're in the "3,000 club", along with guys like Al Kaline (from Baltimore, you might know), Wade Boggs (he barely made it, which I didn't know, finishing with just 3,010 hits) and Roberto Clemente, who ended his brilliant career with exactly 3,000 hits.

I'll be the first to admit that I never envisioned publishing 3,000 consecutive issues when I started this project back on August 25, 2014. I didn't set out to do it and, even now, I'm not sure there's anything of value that I'm gaining from it today.

When a baseball player records his 3,000th hit and joins that esteemed club, his "value" for post-baseball earnings increases. He's one of only 33 (currently) who can scribble their name and "3,000 hits" on a baseball or a picture. It's a big, big deal.

Reaching 3,000 consecutive issues of #DMD is probably only a big deal to.....me.

Alas, here we are, me, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr., Derek Jeter, Willie Mays, Paul Molitor and the rest of the guys.

Is someone throwing me a party to welcome me to the club? If so, I want to be there. I've always wanted to meet Ichiro. He's my favorite baseball player of the last 30 years. I'd love to get a picture with him.

All joking aside, these "milestones" are becoming less and less important to me. And that, I think, seems kind of odd. Shouldn't they be more important as time goes on?

Publishing 2,000 consecutive days was really cool. 2,500 was awesome. I made a big deal out of 2,632 because I playfully "broke Cal's record" and even had Cal join me via ZOOM to talk about it.

And now, here we are at 3,000.

Honestly? it's just like another day here. And maybe that's what it's supposed to feel like. This is what I do every day. Why should today feel any different than yesterday?

Maybe I'm wrong, but sometime in early 2024 if I reach 3,500, I don't think it will be all that important. I hope we're all around to find out if that's true.

I'm just grateful that God has given me this opportunity to spend a little time with each of you every day. The glory, really, is all His.


On that subject, I note where some of you are offended or off-put with the inclusion of religious/faith themes in Drew's Morning Dish.

We all change and evolve as time goes on. 30 years ago, had I published a website like this, I wouldn't have had the same general interests as I do now, in 2022.

I wasn't married with two children. I wasn't the golf coach at Calvert Hall. I didn't work for my church. I wasn't involved with the golf division of Maryland Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

And I didn't have a website 30 years ago, either.

Almost without fail, anything I contribute here is put in front of you because it interests me. For example, I'm one of the least-interested-adults in the world when it comes to politics. In general, I couldn't care less.

But what does interest me are people. And, so, when elections come around, I focus on the people running for office and see if any of them captivate me. I don't have to vote for any of them to find them interesting.

That was the case in this week's election. I found the two men running for Governor to be "interesting", both in a good and not-so-good way. So, once every few years, you'll read some brief political commentary from me because I'm interested in it at that particular moment.

I know nothing at all about MMA or UFC so, as I've noted here before, you'll never find me opining on mixed martial arts here at #DMD. If you or someone you know would like to be our "UFC writer", my e-mail inbox is open. Just because it doesn't interest me doesn't mean it doesn't have a place here.

Faith and Christianity are important to me. I want to share that with others, hoping I can either help you grow closer to God or you can help me grow closer to God.

I am by no means perfect, so falling short of His glory every day has me on a never-ending quest to do what I need to do to prepare myself for the day I'm judged by Him.

If you're not interested in faith, I understand. I talk with people every single day who aren't interested in learning more about God and His son, Jesus. We have great conversations, whether that's over lunch, coffee or a round of golf.

Whether I make an impact with them is something only they know. But I certainly understand there are lots of people in the world who don't believe in God and His power. It's all good.

And, so, once or twice a week here, you'll see something related to faith and Christianity because that's what interests me. If that somehow drives you away from the website, please know that's not something that pleases me. I guess it falls under the category of "It Is What It Is."

I'm not changing and I suspect it's unlikely you'll change. So on we go. No matter what you think or do, always remember that God loves you.

As the great Denzel Washington once said: "I ran away from God a lot in my life, but he never ran away from me. Every time I came back to him, there he was, waiting for me."


So, as we hit the 3,000 issue milestone here at #DMD, I just want to thank all of you. Every writer, every sponsor, every "technical support member" and every reader.

I'm eternally grateful for all of you. Sure, it's "Drew's" Morning Dish and I'm the one that eventually hits "publish" every morning, but the reality is I'm just the person who gets to press the final button. The rest of you are really the ones who make it happen.

God willing, I'll be back here tomorrow for issue #3001.

And on Sunday, it's #3002.

I'll warn you though. If we ever get to issue #4,257 and pass Pete Rose on the all-time list, we're making a big friggin' deal about that!!

I hope to see you on April 20, 2026. Right here...


You do need to be remotely connected to golf to know about Charlie Woods.

You don't need to be connected to golf to know about his father, Tiger Woods.

82 career wins for Tiger.

15 major championships.

142 consecutive cuts made.

More weeks at #1 than anyone else, ever.

And so on, and so on and so on.

"There'll never be another Tiger", they've been saying for years and years now.

And perhaps there won't be. 82 wins is something only one other player (Sam Snead) has ever done. Jack didn't do it, Hogan didn't do it, Arnie didn't do it.

It's highly unlikely no one will come along -- at least not in my lifetime -- and do what Tiger has done.

Enter Charlie Woods.

Tiger's 13 year old son has, not surprisingly, risen through the ranks of junior golf in Florida at a rapid pace. In mid-December, he'll put his game on national display when he competes with his dad in the Parent-Child event that's televised by The Golf Channel.

Last year, you might remember, Charlie was the star of the show as he and his dad finished 2nd in the event. You might also recall that on seven occasions during the two day event, the (then) 12-year old hit a pitching wedge approach shot closer to the pin than either his father or Justin Thomas, who was in the same foursome with those two.

Charlie Woods is going to be a star someday. Perhaps sooner rather than later.

It rarely works out that the son of a great athlete is able to duplicate his father's successes. I'm not here to suggest Charlie will 82 tournaments or 15 majors. But I'm here to say: You will hear about this young man a lot over the next 40 years.

Just look at this golf swing. It's nearly flawless. And he's 13 years old.


DMD-TV


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faith in sports


I say this a lot. Noting makes me smile more than when an athlete is interviewed after a huge moment and they have the opportunity to speak about THEMSELVES and, instead, they speak about God or Jesus Christ.

This video shows athletes from all sports taking the opportunity to glorify God. Some of the names might surprise you. You know them all, but maybe you didn't know how much love they have for God.

Well, if you'll watch this 8-minute video, you'll see who they are.

This particular video has been a regular feature here. It runs a couple of times a year because of how important it is. I thought today would be the perfect occasion to run it on "day 3,000" of #DMD. We're here because God put us here.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and our "Faith in Sports" segment.


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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 10 days to go


Team Profile –

10 - England

Group: B

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: Champions - 1966

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $1.41B (1st)

FIFA Rank: 5

Odds to Win Group: -280

Odds to Advance: -2000

Odds to Win Cup: +850

Key Players –

Harry Kane - Striker - Tottenham (England Premier League)

Jude Bellingham - Midfielder - Borussia Dortmund (Germany Bundesliga)

Raheem Sterling - Forward - Chelsea (England Premier League)


Playing Style –

England has the most expensive roster at the World Cup based on player transfer values. Some of that is due to most of their team coming from the richest league in the world in the Premier League, but it's largely a reflection of how talented this group is.

Manager Gareth Southgate has created a solid defensive structure that has led to a good deal of success for the Three Lions over his tenure. They play in either a 3-4-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation with two defensively solid holding midfielders and a dangerous attacking line.

This team was very effective during UEFA World Cup qualifying, leading Europe in goals scored and tying for fewest conceded. While they are not as possession hungry as Spain or Germany, they usually dominate the ball in games, finishing with one of the higher possession rates in qualifying.

They have enough talent all over the field to adapt to their opponents, able to press high at times or play more compact defensively when needed. In this group with the US, Iran and Wales, England should dominate the ball with their underdog opponents more likely to pick and choose moments to attack.

Their attack centers around star striker Harry Kane and dynamic winger Raheem Sterling. They both have the ability to test the back line with their speed and skill on the ball. Kane often also looks to drop deeper to be the playmaker in their offense.

After a recent history of underachieving, England made a great run to the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup, losing on penalties to Croatia. They followed that up with a run to the Finals of the 2021 European Championships, where they again just narrowly missed taking home the trophy in a penalty shootout.

The only reason they aren’t on the top line of favorites in this tournament are some recent injury struggles and some questions around their back line. Though England was strong again in World Cup qualifying, they did have a poor showing in the most recent UEFA Nations League, finishing last in their group and getting relegated.

They are down several defenders, with Reece James, Kyle Walker and Ben Chilwell all out injured. Top center back Harry Maguire has also been out of form, losing his starting spot at Manchester United this season. Even with these injuries and concerns, England easily has the talent to win their first World Cup since 1966. They are heavy favorites to win the group and should have a favorable matchup in the second round if they do. From there anything can happen for this team.


Get to Know the US Team –

Luca de la Torre

Baltimore Doppelganger - Austin Hays

Luca de la Torre has returned from an injury just in time to be included in Gregg Berhalter’s 26 man roster for the World Cup. He joins the team as a depth option in midfield and will only see significant minutes if there is an injury to one of the first choice players. He had a strong season in the Dutch Eredivisie last year, despite his team playing poorly and getting relegated. He moved to Spain this season to play with Celta Vigo but has had limited minutes off the bench.

In his time with the US he has shown good composure on the ball and the ability to work in tight spaces in midfield. In the Baltimore sports scene he reminds me of current Orioles outfielder Austin Hays. Both players were solid prospects who came up to play a role on the big league team. Like Hays, de la Torre can shine in spurts, but he’s not quite at the level of a full time starter on a strong team. Each player is a solid backup that you can feel comfortable with coming off the bench when needed, but neither is likely to be a game changer.


Players to Watch –

10 - Jude Bellingham - England - Midfielder

The 19 year old Borussia Dortmund midfielder has quickly emerged as one of the key players for both club and country over the past two years. Bellingham came up in the English system, playing in the lower divisions before moving to Dortmund to test himself in the German top tier.

He has passed with flying colors, becoming the anchor of the team’s midfield in short time. His talent did not go unnoticed by England manager Gareth Southgate either, who has rapidly integrated Bellingham into his England structure.

A true box-to-box midfielder, Bellingham stands out for his aggressiveness, winning balls all over the field as well as his ability to convert those turnovers into dangerous attacking chances. He is adept at making late runs into the box to get on the end of cutback passes or crosses from wide and has a good goal scoring touch for a midfielder. He has also shown the ability to work in tight spaces around the box to create chances for his teammates, often combining at Dortmund with US star Gio Reyna.

Though he is already pretty well known in England and Germany, this World Cup could be the stage for a major star breakout for the young Englishman. He will be one of the top candidates for the Best Young Player award and could end the tournament as a household name.


Soccer Terminology 101 –

Ball Recovery

A ball recovery occurs when a defensive player wins the ball back from the opponents in possession. It can be by tackling the ball carrier, winning a loose ball or intercepting a pass. These are key plays that can disrupt opposing attacks and create dangerous counter attacking chances. A high ball recovery rate suggests that a player is getting involved defensively and making it difficult for the opponent to control the ball.

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Thursday
November 10, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2999


a nice "thank you" to jordan lyles


The Oriole Way.

Still a thing, apparently.

Last off-season, the O's took a chance on veteran right hander Jordan Lyles. Or, perhaps even more accurately, Lyles took a chance on the Orioles, joining an organization that hadn't posted a winning season since 2016.

Either way you look at it, Lyles was given a 1-year deal with a club option for 2023. Those kind of contracts are fairly obvious to understand. You're a (then) 31 year old pitcher who is probably in the October of his career and, to some, you're fortunate to even get a Major League deal in the first place.

After making 32 starts for the Orioles in 2022, Jordan Lyles got the ultimate thank you gift yesterday -- a pink slip.

Most teams would have probably done the same thing as the Orioles; a 1-year deal with an option in the event your performance warrants a return the following season.

Lyles made 32 starts for the Orioles last season. He went 12-11. His ERA was 4.42, just a tick below the league average. His WHIP - 1.385 - didn't make him resemble Justin Verlander or anything like that.

But he did exactly what the Orioles asked of him when he showed up in Spring Training last February. They needed starts and innings. He gave them 179 innings in his 32 starts. He wasn't a Cy Young candidate or anything like that. But he did precisely what the Orioles asked of him and expected of him.

And...yesterday...the Orioles cut him loose.

Lyles was due to make $11 million in 2023. Rather than give him that, the O's handed him a $1 million check and told him to test free agency.

There's little doubt what the strategy is as far as the O's are concerned. They're hoping Lyles tests the waters, gets no multi-year bites, and comes back to Mike Elias and company ready and willing to take a one-year deal. Only this time, instead of the $11 million he would have received, the Birds will shortchange him and probably throw a $7.5 million or $8 million one-year deal his way.

It's a bush league way of doing things. And it's more than fair to point out that the Orioles, for the most part, haven't pulled chicanery like this under Mike Elias. The O's have actually become an organization some players might consider during free agency. The times have definitely changed in Baltimore.

But then the Jordan Lyles thing happens and you realize, sadly, that Orioles-still-gonna-Orioles once in a while. They're capable, despite their recent progress, of doing dumb stuff, like kicking a guy to the curb who gave them 179 innings in 2022 and was set to only collect $11 million in 2023.

Three million or four million bucks means that much to the Orioles? That seems a bit concerning, I'd say.

And in some ways it's not even about the money, per se. It's more about treating a guy like Lyles poorly after he fulfilled his end of the bargain in 2022. Then again, you're talking about an organization that is somehow still at odds with Adam Jones, one of the more popular players in team history. Orioles-gonna-Orioles on occasion, I guess.

It's one thing if Lyles gets word that his contract option isn't being picked up and he immediately goes out and signs a 2-year deal with, say, the Pirates, Red or Royals. I think we'd all "get" that.

But when the Orioles are penny pinching and won't give him the $11 million he rightfully earned from them, something doesn't add up. Like I referenced above, it's possible -- maybe even probable -- that Lyles winds up in Charm City in 2023, but at a reduced salary.

If that happens, shame on him. Lyles shouldn't settle for a penny less than $11 million.

In other words, he shouldn't accept the Oriole Way.

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The Stats Nerd
And His Numbers


Contributed by #DMD's data and numbers analyst
The Stats Nerd


After the Ravens win over the Saints on Monday night they are well positioned for the second half of the season. At 6-3 they lead the AFC North and, at the moment, hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their head to head win versus the Bengals.

Given that it is now a 17 game season it is not the EXACT halfway point for the Ravens though it is for the AFC North with the Ravens and Bengals having played 9 games while the Browns and Steelers have played 8.

Since it is the midway point, I think it is a good time to look at the division and see where the Ravens competition stands statistically. They have 4 remaining games in the division and their results in those games will go a long way in determining their season record and potential playoff seeding. Football Outsiders currently lists the Ravens odds of making the post season at 93.6% (2nd only to BUF in the AFC).

So let’s take a look at the divisional competition:

Cincinnati Bengals –

Unsurprisingly the Bengals appear to be the Ravens stiffest competition for division supremacy. In some ways, the Bengals and Ravens are quite similar. They have scored and allowed almost the same number of points. Both have been a bit inconsistent at times on defense and both teams have lost close games (save one for the Bengals). But how they got there couldn’t be much different.

Bengals QB Joe Burrow has to keep Cincy in the playoff race until Ja'Marr Chase returns late in November.

They are currently 5-4 but have benefited from beating up on the NFC South 3 of the last 4 weeks. In the middle they were largely embarrassed on Halloween night by the Browns. They are a bit schizophrenic in all categories and it shows in their statistics.

What They Do Well- They are pretty balanced in their play calling with almost equal passes and rushes. But they are far more efficient and effective through the air. This shouldn’t be surprising with their stable of receivers (when healthy).

Statistically they are top 5 or so in most passing categories (both traditional and advanced). One statistic that really pops off is the Yards after Catch and Broken Tackles. They are 1st or 2nd in both of those categories and all their various iterations. Bottom line you have to wrap up and tackle those receivers or they will burn you.

What They Don’t Do Well- Despite Joe Mixon’s massive game on Sunday versus the Panthers, they don’t run the ball particularly well. Almost all of their rushing statistics are middle of the league and nothing is outstanding.

The ho-hum rushing game shouldn’t be surprising as the rebuilt offensive line has not lived up to the pre-season billing. They aren’t terrible but they aren’t exceptional either. While the pressure rate on Joe Burrow is middle of the league he is again amongst the league leaders in sacks and QB hits despite facing one of the lowest blitz rates.

Outlook- They have to get Ja’Marr Chase back and healthy. When he is on the field they look like an entirely different offense. The Bengals schedule is currently rated the 2nd toughest down the stretch with games at Tennessee and Tampa while having home games against Kansas City, Buffalo and Baltimore. If they get through that stretch, say, 6-2 that would be a heck of an accomplishment. And with those weapons on the outside they will always have at least a puncher’s chance in the playoffs.

Football Outsider’s lists the Bengals odds of making the post season at 49.2% currently.


Cleveland Browns –

What a mess this team seems to be. They clearly went all in this past offseason highlighted by the signing of Deshaun Watson. They have 3 more games until he returns and it remains to be seen how effective he will be after essentially not playing for 2 full seasons.

What They Do Well- Between Nick Chubb and Myles Garrett, the Browns have arguably the best player in the league (or close to it) at their respective positions. Chubb is helped by a strong offensive line. But other than that nothing jumps out as particularly good for the Browns.

What They Don’t Do Well- Like the Ravens, the Browns have had a few 4th quarter collapses that has them at 3-5. Their defense is close to league average against the pass but boy are they bad against the run. They are bottom of the league against the run in the advanced metrics and have three games where they were positively gashed (BAL, ATL, LAC).

Outlook- Like the Bengals, the back half of the Browns schedule is tough. They will play 3 more games against MIA, BUF and TB before Watson returns. And as stated above, who knows how Watson will look when he is back on the field? Even when he returns the Browns receiving corp is probably on par with the Ravens and certainly isn’t scaring anyone. Unless Watson is close to his old self, I don’t see a strong finish for this team.

Football Outsider’s lists the Browns odds of making the post season at 10.6% currently.


Pittsburgh Steelers –

Hooooo boy. This is a dumpster fire. To be fair they have played statistically the toughest schedule the first 8 games of the season and have largely done so without their best player, TJ Watt. But they just don’t do much well and should clearly be in a rebuilding mode and figure out if their 1st round QB draft pick Kenny Pickett is the answer.

Mike Tomlin and the Steelers will be watching the playoffs from their couch in January.

I’m not even going to get into their strengths (not many!) and weaknesses (a lot!). They can’t run the ball effectively and the rookie QB is prone to some mistakes. On defense they are maybe marginally better but without Watt they have given up a lot of points and a lot of yards.

But I did see something that made me chuckle last week. As I’ve said before I get a laugh out of the TV “Analysts” that scream and yell about whatever the topic of the day is. In this specific instance it was last Sunday. The Ravens had played their Thursday night game against Tampa so I was basically watching NFL Red Zone.

For whatever reason, I flipped to CBS just after the Pittsburgh loss to Philadelphia. On the postgame show former Steelers coach Bill Cowher passionately pleaded with the Steelers coaching staff to “take the ball out of (Pickett’s) hands” so he doesn’t lose his confidence. His suggestion was that they needed to simply run the ball and shorten the game.

Except, they can’t run the ball. Their lead back is averaging 3.3 yards per carry and doesn’t break many tackles. The line doesn’t open many holes and his yards before contact is amongst the worst of any starter in the league. The OL pass block win rate is amongst the worst in the league.

None of this is new. They have had OL trouble for multiple seasons now. But with Big Ben back there they were able to mask it to some extent by getting the ball out quick to their talented receivers.

So yes while shortening the game sounds great, is that team equipped to do that? Their best offensive players are the receivers and the big TE Freiermuth. I would think their best option to win some games or at least improve the offense is to let those playmakers get the ball.

To say nothing of figuring what they have in Pickett and maybe, just maybe, win a game or two. Can they win a game with the old school Steelers style behind Jerome Bettis and Le’Veon Bell. It sure doesn’t look that way.

Obviously, Cowher knows more about football and building a NFL team than I ever will. He’s a Hall of Famer and rightfully so. But screaming and yelling for the team to do the thing that he thinks they need to do because that’s how his team always did it doesn’t make much sense when the current version of the team is completely ill equipped to do that thing.

Anyway, Pittsburgh is likely going nowhere fast this season. If I were a fan I would want to know if Pickett is the guy of the future sooner rather than later instead of trying to protect him at all costs.

Outlook- They had a tough first 8 games with matchups against BUF, PHI, and MIA. Their remaining schedule is considerably easier with games against IND, CAR and LV. But I think they are staring at a 4 or 5 win season unless their defense improves dramatically with Watt coming back this week.

Football Outsider’s lists the Steelers odds of making the post season at 2.4% currently (the only lower AFC team is Houston).

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 11 days to go


Team Profile –

11 - Germany

Group: E

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: Champions - 1954, 1974, 1990, 2014

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $724M (6th)

FIFA Rank: 11

Odds to Win Group: +115

Odds to Advance: -650

Odds to Win Cup: +1000


Key Players –

Joshua Kimmich - Midfielder - Bayern Munich (Germany Bundesliga)

Manuel Neuer - Goalie - Bayern Munich (Germany Bundesliga)

Leroy Sane - Forward - Bayern Munich (Germany Bundesliga)


Playing Style –

Starting today with the Germans, we have reached the portion of the countdown where the teams have a real chance to take home the World Cup trophy. Germany is usually one of the favorites heading into the World Cup as four time winners, but they haven’t been up to their usual standards of late. They finished third in their recent UEFA Nations League group, behind Italy and Hungary and they benefited from a very weak group in UEFA World Cup qualifying.

They have shifted between a 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-2-1 formation, though in either setup they look to dominate possession and press hard to suffocate the opposition and win the ball back quickly. The Germans finished second in possession rate and first in balls won in the opponent’s end during qualifying and have been able to dominate possession even against stronger teams like England and Netherlands.

Germany likes to play through Joshua Kimmich in midfield, using him as a true pivot to spray long balls out to their wingers and using quick switches of the field to gain numerical advantages. This allows their speedy wide players like Sane and Serge Gnabry to go one on one with defenders and create chances.

Their biggest issue has been the lack of a consistent striker. With Timo Werner out injured the job will likely fall to Kai Havertz. The two players bring different skill sets to the position and Germany will miss Werner’s speed to get in behind the defense. This may call for a more patient approach in attack and possibly more crosses from the wingers and fullbacks.

Germany boasts a large group of players from Bayern Munich. That familiarity at a top club could help in the international setting where other teams may have less cohesion. They will be favored to advance along with Spain from Group E, but will need to remember their failures in 2018 and not overlook Japan and Costa Rica.


Players to Watch –

11 - Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal - Forward

One of the greatest players of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo enters his final World Cup at the age of 37, looking for the one trophy he hasn’t captured in his storied career. If it weren’t for a certain small Argentine man, Ronaldo would be easily the best player of the past two decades. He has won five Ballon d’Or awards, five Champions League titles, seven league titles, and the 2016 Euro Championship for Portugal. He is the all-time leader in both goals and assists in the Champions League as well as the all-time leader in international goals.

Ronaldo finally captured international glory with Portugal in 2016 when they claimed the Euro Championship, but he was forced off the field with an injury early in the game and was not able to personally influence the result. This will be his last chance to make an impact on the international stage.

The veteran attacker creates both good and bad problems for a Portugal team loaded with attacking talent. With Bruno Fernandes, Rafael Leao, Bernardo Silva, Rafa Silva, Diogo Jota, Otavio, and Ronaldo, Portugal has many more attackers than places to play them. Despite a dip in his athletic ability later in his career, Ronaldo remains a deadly finisher with a sixth sense to find the ball in and around the box.

The big question for Portugal is how they fit him into their team structure with his lack of presence defensively. Including Ronaldo may force them to compensate in other areas of the field and make some sacrifices. For Ronaldo the question is whether he can relinquish some of his playmaking drive and play in a more complementary role to make the most of his skill set and his teammates. If Portugal can find the right balance, they have a real shot at winning the trophy.


Soccer Terminology 101 –

Duel

A duel in soccer is any encounter where two players are in direct competition to win possession of the ball. They can occur on the ground or in the air and are usually tallied in the stats to give an indication of how aggressive and successful a team or player was in their challenges.

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Wednesday
November 9, 2022
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#2998


trea turner is the answer


Maryland, you might have heard last night, has a new Governor.

His name is Wes Moore.

He has an impressive resume and a decorated past. I don't think anyone from either party would debate that statement. There's no disputing his birthplace, college history or military background. His business accomplishments are vast and impressive. My hunch -- and it's certainly not mine only -- is that someday fairly soon he'll be a candidate for the office of President of the United States.

Now, all he has to do is govern the state and fulfill his campaign promises. That, as we know in politics, is much easier said than done. Virtually everyone who wins office on any level promises things and then fails to act on them once they're actually in the position they wanted to win.

That I perhaps voted for Wes Moore is neither here nor there. Maybe you voted for him. Perhaps you voted for the other guy. No matter which way you went yesterday, the state of Maryland is now in Moore's hands.

He talked a good talk last night in his victory speech. Said all the right things. Got misty eyed at just the right time. Spoke about hope and making a difference and all the things someone says when they're not yet in office and can get away with only impressing you with their words.

Let's see how our new Governor does when he's pressed into duty. That's what matters most.

As I watched his speech last night, it reminded me of the day after the NFL Draft. All of the experts post their draft grades and talk about which teams did great and which teams did lousy.

The smart football fan never buys into that stuff, because they know the only thing that matters is what the player does on the football field. If he succeeds, it was a good pick. If he doesn't, it was a bad pick.

The Raiders drafted safety Jonnathan Abram in the first round back in 2019. In his fourth season yesterday, the Raiders cut him. From first round guy to looking for work before his rookie contract expired. Tough league...

So, the Raiders thought he was the right guy in 2019. He was, perhaps, for a while. And then he wasn't.

As I watched our new Governor last night, I thought the same thing about him. Tonight, he's our first round pick. We had choices and went with him. He said all the things he was supposed to say last night after we announced his selection.

But what we will he do to back that up "on the field of play" and show us we did the right thing?

Time will tell. Let's hope we made the correct selection.


David Partridge asks -- "Saw your Twitter post about the golf match involving Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy being played at night and wondered if you think there will ever be a day when a PGA Tour event is played at night? It seems like the novelty of that alone would captivate sports fans, yes?"

How cool would it be to play this course?

DF says -- "I went from "not interested at all" in watching it to "much more interested" once I discovered they're playing the 12 hole exhibition match under temporary lighting. 30 years ago or so, I played "night golf" at a 9-hole course outside of Los Angeles and it was a total blast. I've always remembered it.

I think the match between Tiger/Rory and J.T./Spieth probably could hold its own on a Saturday afternoon, but the fact they're starting at 6 pm and playing under the lights definitely makes it intriguing. Likewise, if a TOUR event had lighting, say, over the last six holes, I do think it would make it more interesting.

Golf, of course, has always been hamstrung by the fact that they're only able to generate revenue during daylight hours. If courses could figure out how to light their property, they'd be in a position to make more money. Now, whether they could make enough to offset the additional costs in electricity and staffing is anyone's guess. But the novelty of it would be a huge selling point for a few years, at least.

It's also fair to point out that having four of the best players in the world playing under the lights is easier than having you, me and your Uncle Al playing night golf. Those guys rarely hit the ball off line. We have trouble finding out errant tee shots in broad daylight. Imagine what it would be like playing in the dark with lighting. We might be out there for six hours.

I'm still not sure I'll watch the whole thing. I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow, let alone on December 10. But the event being played under the lights will definitely have me looking for it that night if I have nothing else going on."


Mark C. asks -- "Mike Elias brings you in and asks you to help him sign one big-time free agent this off-season. Who are you giving the money to and why?"

DF says -- "Trea Turner is the answer. I do think Carlos Rodon would be a wise investment as well. But if I'm giving someone $200 million for six years, it's Turner. He's as close to "complete" as a player can be and he's just 29 years old. I realize we have Jorge Mateo at shortstop but Turner is light years better than Mateo. Mateo's a good baseball player. Turner's a potential superstar. He might already be, in fact. If they add Turner to that lineup and that infield, the playoffs are almost a definite. They'd just need a pitcher or two and......watch out."


Ron asks -- "For your next Q&A column. Is there anything Lamar Jackson can do in the regular season to make the Ravens change their minds about his contract?"

DF says -- "I assume you mean like, win the MVP or throw for 8 touchdowns in one game or something like that? I don't think so. I assume the Ravens and Lamar have essentially agreed on the per-season money for his contract. He wanted $55 million, they wanted $45 million and they compromised on $50 million per-season. What they're haggling over is the guaranteed money. And I don't think they're suddenly going to say, "Yeah, we get it now. We have to guarantee all of it because you won another MVP award."

Maybe I'm wrong, but if the Ravens weren't going to guarantee all of his salary before the 2022 season, I can't see them suddenly switching gears and guaranteeing him the money after the 2022 season. Remember, they can give him $40-some million next year and keep him around without having to guarantee him $250 million."


J.C. asks -- "Drew, here's a very serious mailbag question for you. After listening to you from about 1:30 to 3 pm on Sunday, it really struck me at how good you are on the air. So the question is, why wouldn't you go back on full-time? Is the money not good enough? If that's it, that makes complete sense. Is there some other reason? I'd love to hear the answer and I guess others would do if you'd shed some light on it. Thanks and Go Ravens!!"

DF says -- "Thanks for the kind words. I'd say, regarding my shift on Sunday, that it's fairly easy to do one 12-3 pm show during football season -- on a Sunday no less. It's awfully difficult to do that kind of show fours a day, five days a week, particularly if you're solo. Having a co-host certainly helps a lot.

I've said this from the very beginning. I love radio. I enjoy doing sports talk. And I'd never rule out going back in some kind of "regular" or full time capacity, but the shift would have to be perfect for my lifestyle and I'm not sure that's possible right now given what I'm doing in my life. I work at my church's Outreach office a few days a week in the morning. I love doing that.

I run Maryland FCA Golf, which requires me to do something almost every day, even if it's just lunch, a meeting, a couple of hours of planning or an actual clinic or interaction with FCA golfers. I wouldn't give that up. I love being involved with FCA and junior golf.

And I coach the Calvert Hall varsity golf team (January through May is most of the activity there) and I love doing that, too.

Oh, and I publish a website every single day. That also keeps me busy.

So it's not about the money at all. It's that I have other things going on in my life that are far, far more important to me than going on the radio and talking about sports five days a week. I'm happy to fill in on 105.7 when they ask, if my schedule allows, and I'm hoping to do once again do the weekly golf show there starting next February. That's more than enough "radio" for me right now.

And I also discovered the same thing anyone who is essentially self-employed discovers: It's pretty much a guarantee that you're never going to fire yourself on a Friday morning without warning. If nothing else, you're safe from the tyranny."

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 12 days to go


Team Profile –

12 - Switzerland

Group: G

How they Qualified: Won UEFA (Europe) qualification group

Best World Cup Finish: Quarterfinals - 1934,1938,1954

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $189M (28th)

FIFA Rank: 15

Odds to Win Group: +550

Odds to Advance: even


Key Players –

Granit Xhaka - Midfielder - Arsenal (England Premier League)

Xherdan Shaqiri - Forward - Chicago Fire (MLS)

Yam Sommer - Goalie - Borussia Monchengladbach (Germany Bundesliga)


Playing Style –

Switzerland usually lines up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler at the base of midfield and Xherdan Shaqiri pulling the attacking strings in front of them. The Swiss are a well organized team with a sound defensive structure that is hard to break down. They tied for the lead in fewest goals conceded during UEFA qualifying. A team full of veterans from the “big five” European leagues, Switzerland isn’t overly reliant on any star players.

They have a solid defense and keeper capable of excellent games in Borussia Monchengladbach’s Yan Sommer. They prefer to work the ball through the lines with their center back pair able to pick out passes as well as their midfield duo. They look to get the ball to Shaqiri or Djibril Sow to create chances and have several physical striker options in Breel Embolo and Haris Seferovic.

The Swiss are slight favorites to advance from the group ahead of Serbia. In a competitive group their consistency could be what sees them through. After a good run at the 2021 Euros, they will be striving to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 1954.


Get to Know the US Team –

Matt Turner

Baltimore Doppelganger - John Means

Matt Turner will likely be the starting goalie for the US at the World Cup. A relative late bloomer, Turner rose to prominence in MLS for the New England Revolution, pushing his way into the US team with his outstanding performances over the past few years. Turner also earned himself a move to the top league in the world to play with current Premier League leaders Arsenal.

The Baltimore player he most reminds me of is current Orioles pitcher John Means. Another lightly regarded prospect, Means seemingly emerged out of nowhere to become the ace of the Orioles rotation. Means is not a flashy pitcher, lacking the velocity and strikeout numbers of most top aces, he gets the job done in more subtle ways.

In a similar manner, Turner doesn’t always jump off the screen. He isn’t a standout with the ball at his feet or making daring sweeper-keeper plays. While he is capable of the acrobatic save as a prolific shot stopper, he often just makes difficult saves look easy due to his superb positioning and awareness.


Players to Watch –

12 - Luka Modric - Croatia - Midfielder

The ageless wonder Luka Modric continues to be the engine of the Real Madrid midfield this season at 37 years old. Still near peak form, Modric helped lead Madrid to the double of Champions League and La Liga titles last season.

One of the greatest players of his generation, Modric has collected five Champions League trophies, three La Liga titles as well as the 2018 Ballon D’Or for the world’s best player. In that year he also led Croatia on a run to the final of the World Cup, earning the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

A true box-to-box midfielder, Modric can do it all on the field. His small stature belies his defensive bite and he is equally adept at dribbling through tight spaces or picking out incredible passes. Modric returns with Croatia for one final run at the World Cup.

This will be his fourth World Cup for his country, going all the way back to his 2006 debut in the tournament. Modric will once again be the centerpiece of a talented Croatia team with a real chance to make another deep run at the cup. Leading Croatia to another strong showing could push Modric even further into the realm of the game’s all time greats.


Soccer Terminology 101 –

Unplayable –

This term confused me for the longest time when I heard it in a soccer context. When used in that context, especially by British or European commentators it essentially means the opposite of what you would suspect. Whereas in American sports we might describe a bad player as “unplayable” because you can’t afford to have him on the field, when used in reference to soccer players it is a positive, meaning the player is unguardable or can’t be defended because he’s so good.

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Tuesday
November 8, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2997


easy night...easy morning


So I tried something a little new with today's edition of #DMD.

I wrote it last night.

Early last night, in fact.

Follow along, you'll understand.


8:10 pm -- Having now seen the inactives for tonight's game, I'm more convinced than ever that the Ravens are going to win tonight in New Orleans.

Sure, they're without Andrews and Edwards. And Ojabo isn't playing, either. But DeMarcus Robinson is active, which helps, and we'll get a glimpse of Tyus Bowser for the first time in 2022.

I'll stick with my 27-26 score only because I assume the Saints will figure out a way to make it close, late, but I wouldn't be shocked at all to see the Ravens win by 14 or 17 points.

Remember...Harbaugh's history against NFC teams is really good, this year's messy egg in the Meadowlands vs. the Giants notwithstanding.


It didn't take long for John Harbaugh's smile to break out last night in New Orleans as his Ravens cruised to an easy victory over the Saints.

8:40 pm -- That nice pass to Isaiah Likely for the opening TD has the early look of a blowout in New Orleans. The Saints can't stop Lamar. They can't stop the Ravens on 3rd down. And they can't get enough pressure on Jackson to create a turnover. This one might get ugly for Saints fans before long.


8:55 pm -- There's no way the Saints are winning this game. It's still only 7-0 in favor of the Ravens, but Andy Dalton looks awful and Roquan Smith is having himself a marvelous debut in purple (or white, as it is tonight). Credit to Mike Macdonald for a nice game plan thus far, although I think a handful of MIAA football coaches could put the clamps on Dalton at this point in his career.


9:15 pm -- The Ravens are one more touchdown away from putting this thing to bed. There's no way New Orleans scores 14 points given what we've seen thus far. Greg Roman, like Macdonald, is having a heckuva night in the play-calling department. Twitter has been very quiet throughout the game, in fact. Most games, the Roman haters are loud and proud. Tonight? Crickets.


9:20 pm -- And there it is. That's the ballgame. Ravens go up 14-0 on a Kenyan Drake one yard TD run. You can start the planes and get the meals prepared. This one's done. The only question left: Will the Saints score a touchdown tonight? I'm not feeling it. Maybe two or three field goals. But this is feeling like a 24-6 or 27-9 win for John Harbaugh's team.


9:45 pm -- I know NFL coaches don't like making mid-game changes at quarterback, but if I'm Dennis Allen, I tell Dalton it's not his night and to take a seat. And I throw Taysom Hill in there to give this game a different look for the New Orleans offense. They're not winning tonight with Andy Dalton at the helm. It's just not his night. Hill might shake things up and add some life to the Saints offense. I doubt Allen does it...but he should.


9:55 pm -- Ravens go up 17-3 and the rout is on. Oddly enough, Lamar has done some great things tonight -- mostly with his legs -- but has been "off" on a bunch of relatively simple NFL throws. I wouldn't call it a great game for him thus far. But he's certainly way better than Andy Dalton, who is just about fully cooked at this point in his career. I don't think there's much left in his tank.


10:25 pm -- Mike Macdonald is having the best game of his 2022 campaign tonight, in my opinion. It certainly helps to have Roquan Smith. And Justin Houston has somehow discovered the fountain of youth. But Macdonald has done an awesome of job of calling for pressure at the right time, which is making life miserable for Dalton and the New Orleans offense. It's 17-6 now. And the game is totally over. They could play until 3:00 am and the Saints would never take the lead.


10:30 pm -- Kenyan Drake looks like Gayle Sayers against this New Orleans defense. He just keeps gashing them for 7 or 8 yards per-carry. Lamar is running through them like...he's Lamar. The Saints have no idea what's hit them tonight on both sides of the ball. This is a masterclass by the two coordinators. And it also shows how much better the Ravens are now than they were, say, four weeks ago.


10:35 pm -- That was a weird sequence. Lamar showing up his center by throwing the ball into the ground because the snap didn't come quickly enough wasn't cool. Lamar takes the clock down to 3....2....1.....all the time. It drives me nuts. And then Isaiah Likely bobbling a pass and having it almost picked off was quite unsettling as well. But it's all good. Tucker comes in for the automatic 3 points and it's 20-6 and all that's left now is for no one to get hurt.


10:38 pm -- While they're at a commercial break after the Tucker field goal, I'll say it again: Dennis Allen should make a change at quarterback. Andy Dalton couldn't beat Notre Dame tonight, let alone the Ravens. Allen should go to the bullpen and let Taysom Hill finish the game.


10:40 pm -- LOL, when you're hot, you're hot. I'm hot. Andy Dalton isn't. Dalton comes back in and.....throws an interception. Ravens are about to score a TD here to go up 27-6. Planes? Fired up. Meals? Prepared. Pilots? Ready to fly the winners home to Baltimore.


10:43 pm -- And it's now 27-6 after a Drake TD run and that's all she wrote. It's only one game, yes, but if the Ravens can duplicate this kind of defensive effort over the last eight games and into the playoffs, they could be a tough out in January. The offense was plenty good enough tonight, even with a few of Lamar's off-target throws. Drake had a nice night running the ball. He's also adept at catching the ball out of the backfield. I realize he's not Zeke Elliott or anything like that, but hats off to Drake. When his number gets called, he runs hard.


10:50 pm -- The good thing about games like this is that I knew it was over by the 2nd quarter and I could do a few other things during the night that made publishing today's edition of #DMD that much easier. There's almost nothing better than a road blowout, is there?


10:53 pm -- Why on earth is Andy Dalton still in there? I mean, the game's over and all. But why leave Dalton in there to get pounded by this rabid Baltimore defensive line? It's also worth mentioning that Taysom Hill did throw one pass earlier and completed it for 13 yards.


10:55 pm -- What the heck just happened? Marcus Peters whiffed on an easy tackle and Chuck Clark let the New Orleans receiver walk into the end zone untouched. What a joke. Make a football play, Peters. And stop bellyaching about it on the sidelines with Harbaugh. You screwed up. Own it, bro. #clownshoes


11:00 pm -- Drake runs for a first down with 3:05 remaining and it's nighty-night time for the Saints. And me, too. This is the easiest #DMD I've published in a while. Remember a couple of hours ago when I told you it was a blowout at 7-0? And that the Saints couldn't score 14 points? I was right. And right.

Easy night. Easy morning.


6:40 am, Tuesday -- So the summary of last night's 27-13 win in New Orleans?

The Saints aren't very good.

And they might be the 2nd best team in the NFC South. Which tells you a lot about how bad that division is, huh?

And the Ravens are starting to look like a team that might be getting ready to hit on all cylinders.

The schedule eases up from here. The Ravens hit their bye-week and have 13 days to get Andrews and Edwards healthy, plus Ojabo should be ready to go on November 20 in the 37-10 romp over Carolina.

Everything's pointing to a 12-5 or 13-4 campaign for the Ravens, which should be plenty good enough to win the AFC North.

And if that Josh Allen elbow injury in Buffalo turns out to be serious -- we all know what that means for the Bills.

Yes, I'm feeling good about the way this Ravens season is unfolding. Getting better week by week. Beating the teams they're supposed to beat (for the most part). And they're starting to look like a true "Ravens defense" both on the interior and the edge.

There's a lot of football left, though. Soft schedule and all, the whole "anything can happen" phrase applies to any team, including the Ravens.

The Bills are chewing their fingernails today waiting for the Josh Allen MRI results to come in. I bring that up to remind everyone that the Ravens are one Lamar injury away from bottoming out like they did a year ago. But all things being equal, if this team stays relatively healthy for the remainder of 2022, they're going to play more than one playoff game in January.

You can make book on that, my friend.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 13 days to go


Team Profile –

Team Profiles –

13 - Senegal

Group: A

How they Qualified: Won CAF (Africa) Qualifying Group and beat Egypt in Playoff

Best World Cup Finish: Quarterfinals - 2002

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $282M (19th)

FIFA Rank: 18

Odds to Win Group: +350

Odds to Advance: -145


Key Players –

Sadio Mane - Forward - Bayern Munich (Germany Bundesliga)

Kalidou Koulibaly - Center Back - Chelsea (England Premier League)

Edouard Mendy - Goalie - Chelsea (England Premier League)


Playing Style –

Senegal will line up in a 4-3-3 formation with Koulibaly anchoring the back line and Mane out on the wing. In African qualifying and the Africa Cup of Nations Senegal excelled with a stout defense, conceding the fewest goals in the latter tournament. They were one of the top pressing teams in Africa, able to suffocate their opponents and win the ball back to gain the edge in possession.

When they have the ball, Senegal likes to work the ball through the defensive lines and try to get it to Mane in positions to take on defenders and make plays. Mane is adept at beating defenders off the dribble or making runs in behind the defensive lines.

The top team from Africa, Senegal pairs their top stars with a solid group of veterans from big European leagues. Drawn in the group with host nation Qatar, they are favored to advance from the group and will hope to match or exceed their best ever World Cup showing. Coming out of Group A, there is also a decent chance the US could run into them if they’re able to get out of Group B.


Get to Know the US Team –

Christian Pulisic - Forward

Baltimore Doppelganger - Lamar Jackson

Christian Pulisic will have all eyes on him when the US kicks off the World Cup against Wales on November 21. Though there are multiple other talented players that have emerged to help lead the US team since Pulisic burst onto the scene as a teenager, he remains the star man and the household name.

There’s only one current athlete in Baltimore that garners a similar spotlight and that is Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Like Jackson, Pulisic is the focal point of the US offense and he’s often praised or derided based on how the team performs. Also similar to Lamar, Pulisic has been a lightning rod for conversation in his club teams, with his status as the most prominent American ever in European club soccer.

Both players know they bear the creative burden for their respective teams and that can lead each to sometimes try to do too much to make things happen. Each player is capable of amazing individual feats, but is often better off when playing within the system and making the most of their teammates.


Players to Watch –

13 - Christian Eriksen - Denmark - Midfielder

Eriksen is the feel-good story of this World Cup. The Danish great will return to the international stage in Qatar after the horrific scenes at the Euro Championships in the summer of 2021, where he collapsed on the field and was resuscitated thanks to quick reactions from players and emergency personnel.

A longtime star for Tottenham in the Premier League and later Inter Milan in Italy, Eriksen was forced out of the game for the rest of 2021 due to a heart condition that caused the collapse. He returned to the Premier League early in 2022, signing with Brentford, where he quickly reestablished himself as a top player.

Over the summer he moved to Manchester United to help them rebuild under a new coach and he has been a regular for them this season. At 30 years old, this will be Eriksen’s third World Cup, after appearing as the youngest player in the 2010 event and leading Denmark to the round of 16 in 2018.

A classic “number 10” or attacking midfielder, Eriksen is the leader of a strong Denmark team that impressed in UEFA qualifying. He will be the creative hub for them as they look to make a deep run in the Cup.


Soccer Terminology 101 –

Clean Sheet

A clean sheet is another name for a shutout. The stat is often referenced when talking about goalies, but is really a reflection of effective team defense.

#DMD GAME DAY
Week 9


Monday — November 7, 2022
Issue #2996

Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints

8:15 PM EDT

Caesars Superdome
New Orleans, LA

Spread: Ravens (-1.5)



keep stacking wins and holding off cincy


The Ravens are in New Orleans tonight for a Monday night tussle with Andy Dalton and the Saints.

This is a game the oddsmakers pretty much consider "up for grabs", even though the Ravens are 5-3 and New Orleans sits at 3-5. Statistically, the Saints do a lot of things better than the Ravens -- on both sides of the ball. But the Ravens are a slight favorite with the guys in Las Vegas, so they must think Baltimore has the better team.

This one looms important because the Bengals easily disposed of the Panthers yesterday to climb back above .500 at 5-4. A win tonight and the Ravens are 6-3 and, for now at least, have a full one-game-lead and own the tiebreaker by virtue of their win over Cincy in Baltimore last month.

Once a thorn in the Ravens' side while with Cincinnati, Andy Dalton will be behind center tonight for the Saints in New Orleans.

A loss and both the Bengals and Ravens are 5-4.

This is a game, in my opinion, that I "expect" Baltimore to win. It might be 23-20 or 30-27, but I expect a win. It could come down to a last second Justin Tucker field goal, but I expect the Ravens will pull it out somehow. I wouldn't be shocked if the Saints were to win tonight, but I'm fully expecting a Ravens triumph.

The key word: "Expect".

I just don't see the Ravens losing tonight.

I know, they don't have Mark Andrews. And it's likely they won't have Gus Edwards in the backfield, either. But they're probably going to get Desean Jackson added to the offensive mix and Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo are both expected to make their 2022 debuts tonight on the defensive side of the ball.

I don't like that they're missing Andrews, but in the short term, Isaiah Likely can pick up the slack, like he did 11 days ago in Tampa Bay. And the aforementioned Jackson can prove, starting tonight, that he still has gas left in his tank.

I suspect both of those guys will figure out a way to make an impact this evening, along with Bowser and Ojabo. This is a Ravens team that just might be starting to find their stride as the season shifts into November and the playoff picture starts taking shape.

A win tonight and a win on November 20 over Carolina at home will put the Ravens in great position at 7-3. They still have wins remaining at Jacksonville, home vs. Denver and home vs. Atlanta. That gets them to 10 wins right there. All they would then need to do is figure out a way to win 2 of the other 4 (twice vs. Pittsburgh and one each vs. Cleveland and Cincinnati) and they're at 12-5 and most likely a division champion.

This one, tonight, is very important in the quest to reach that 12-win mark. The Ravens should sweep Pittsburgh to get to the 12-win mark and even if they somehow split vs. Cincy and Cleveland, that's still a 13-win campaign.

I said it a month ago and it bears repeating now: The Ravens cupcake schedule in 2022 is a massive benefit for them. Even though they were 3-3 at one point, the softness of the schedule in November and December will yield great results for John Harbaugh's team in this year's stretch run.

And don't rule out something goofy happening with either Buffalo or Kansas City where the Ravens could still somehow slide into the #1 or #2 spot in the AFC.

Buffalo lost to the Jets yesterday. The same Jets team that got blistered by the Ravens on opening day. And the same Jets team that got blistered at home by New England last week. The Bills are really good, don't get me wrong. But, as they showed yesterday, they're capable of a toe-stub just like everyone else in the league.

And the Chiefs nearly got beat at home last night by a Titans team that featured a rookie quarterback who threw the ball 16 times for 80 yards the entire game. So, while K.C. and Buffalo are still the top two teams in the AFC, they're not doing much of anything to separate themselves from the likes of Baltimore, Tennessee and Miami, even.

Don't look now, but Miami is 6-0 with Tua at quarterback (and playing the entire game) and 0-3 in the games they played without him. The Dolphins offense is definitely legit. Their defense might not be all that great, but they're able to score 30 or 35 points at the snap of a finger, it would appear.

If the Ravens hope to win the AFC North, a win tonight will go a long way in that endeavor. If they lose, it's not the end of the world, but a division champion type of team should go into New Orleans this evening and leave with a victory. Style points are not needed tonight. Just score one more point than the Saints, that's all.

And that's what I see the Ravens doing tonight, as Lamar and the offense get going and hold off the Saints in a 27-26 win that comes down to Baltimore's defense stopping Andy Dalton on the final series of the game. The Saints miss a 56-yard field goal at the buzzer and the Ravens escape with a win and move to 6-3 on the season.

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an instant classic in catonsville


It doesn't always happen, but the two best regular season teams met for the third and final time last night at UMBC Stadium in the MIAA A-Conference boys soccer championship game.

Calvert Hall, the best high school team in the state at 19-0-1 in the MIAA, took on John Carroll, who lost just twice in 20 games during the recently completed regular season and finished the campaign at 16-2-2.

The only blemish on the Cardinals 2022 campaign came against John Carroll in Bel Air back in mid-September when the two squads played to a 3-3 tie. In early October at Calvert Hall, the Cardinals romped past the Patriots, 5-1.

But throughout the regular season, the two teams proved time and time again they were the best of the best in the A-Conference. Calvert Hall scored 86 goals and allowed just 14, while John Carroll scored 78 goals and surrendered just 16.

"Showdown games" often never materialize for whatever reason. Sometimes the moment gets the better of one of the two teams or they both game-plan so much for the opposition that they forget to play their own style that got them to the championship game in the first place.

Last night's game was worth the price of admission. And then some.

It was, to borrow a familiar phrase, an instant classic.

Calvert Hall prevailed 2-1 in double OT on a goal from senior Richie Monath, who accomplished the exact same feat last year against McDonogh in the championship game.

Monath collected a pass from Rocco Pastore and back-heeled a seemingly harmless ball for senior Justin Crow in the left corner. Crow one-touched the ball back to Monath and he had time to settle and hit a shot past the goalkeeper's outstretched left arm and into the net for the title-clinching goal.

The golden goal can be seen below.



DMD-TV




John Carroll struck first on a misplayed throw in and led from the 5th minute of the game until the 72nd minute. In between, Calvert Hall dominated the contest for large stretches of time, but the Patriots defense and goalkeeper were up to the task throughout the evening. Ryan Balal's goal for the Cardinals with eight minutes left in regulation knotted the score at 1-1 and the two teams moved into overtime after 80 minutes of play couldn't decide a winner.

Neither team had any serious chances to score in the first OT, but the feeling at UMBC Stadium was that it was only a matter of time before the Cardinals would strike again and win the title.

And once again, it was Richie Monath delivering the win for coach Rich Zinkand and the Cardinals.

The records and video clips will show that the 2022 MIAA championship game was an instant classic, played exceptionally by two talented teams who were the cream of the crop in the A-Conference all season long.

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around the nfl


I had one of those weird, one-off days where nearly everything went my way yesterday. I was an an extrordinary 10-1 picking outright winners, with my only blemish of the day coming in the Bills/Jets game. You know what they say: occasionally you're the bug, sometimes you're the windshield.

Yesterday was "windshield Sunday" for me. 10-1. Great stuff.

Here's how things unfolded yesterday in the NFL.

Chargers 20 - Falcons 17 -- Somehow the Chargers are in the thick of the AFC playoff race at 5-3, despite not really playing all that well all season. Yesterday was critical for them, especially without Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Atlanta continues to play decent, sometimes-impressive football, even with Marcus Mariota at QB. They're not a pushover win right now.

Dolphins 35 - Bears 32 -- Miami just keeps figuring out ways to win. They also might want to eventually figure out how to play defense, too. Without question the best "new addition" to any team in the league in the off-season was Tyreek Hill landing in Miami. He's been huge for them. 7 catches for 143 yards and a TD yesterday. Miami's legit.

The Dolphins have yet to lose a game this season that Tua Tagovailoa started and finished.

Bengals 42 - Panthers 21 -- This one got so out of hand the Panthers gave Baker Mayfield some mop-up playing time. Cincinnati poured it on, leading 35-0 at the half and barely breaking a sweat in the final two quarters. Carolina comes to Baltimore in two weeks. Let's hope the same ragged Panthers show up.

Lions 15 - Packers 9 -- On every occasion where the TV cameras panned to Aaron Rodgers on the sideline, it looked like his head was about to blow off. Green Bay is now 3-6 and, while not out of the playoff race yet, you can just feel it coming. This is going to spiral out of control, they'll be 4-7 with six games left, and Rodgers will suddenly get a "back injury" and pack it in for the last six weeks of the season. No way he's going to endure a 4-13 or 5-12 season. He'll bolt.

Patriots 26 - Colts 3 -- New England has to be one of the more odd teams in the league. Blown out at home by the Bears, went to New Jersey and beat the Jets, and then completely dominated Indy, holding them to under 200 yards of total offense. "With the 3rd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select..." Serves those creeps right for stealing our helmet and colors in 1984.

Jets 20 - Bills 17 -- This one tells us more about the Jets than it does Buffalo, I'd say. New York's defense is pretty stout and they do just enough on offense to keep the game close and give themselves a chance to win. They still have a fight on their hands to make the post-season, but this 6-3 edition of the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets is not a fluke.

Vikings 20 - Commanders 17 -- Minnesota is 7-1, somehow. They pulled a rabbit out of their hat yesterday in D.C., thanks to a big day from receiver Justin Jefferson (115 yards) and a late game-winning drive engineered by former D.C. quarterback Kirk Cousins. Washington, by the way, deserved to lose wearing those hideous uniforms they sported on Sunday. Absolutely awful.

Jaguars 27 - Raiders 20 -- Las Vegas led 17-0 at one point and still couldn't finish off the Jaguars. That tells us a lot more about the Raiders than it does the Jags, I'm figuring. Davante Adams had 146 yards receiving and 2 TD's in a losing effort. On the flip side, at least he's losing in beautiful Las Vegas and not frigid Green Bay.

Seahawks 31 - Cardinals 21 -- I have no idea what award Geno Smith is in the running for, but he deserves an award of some type. The Seahawks are now 6-3 after yesterday's win and -- get this -- they're in complete control of the NFC West. They've swept Arizona (no great feat) and are in control of their own destiny at this point. Geno Smith for MVP? Think about it...

Buccaneers 16 - Rams 13 -- Two teams that thought they'd be really good in 2022 but aren't really good at all battled it out down in Tampa Bay yesterday and Single Tom Brady did his thing again, overseeing a last minute drive that culminated in a touchdown and a 3-point win over a slumping Rams team. Tampa Bay still has hope because they play in a lousy division. The Rams are just about done.

Chiefs 20 - Titans 17 OT -- Kansas City was lucky to win last night. There, I said it. If Tennessee would have had Ryan Tannehill at QB, thinks would have been much different. The Titans dropped to 5-3 but they'll still win the AFC South by 3 or 4 games, at least. And they could be dangerous come playoff time with their improving defense and Derrick Henry bulldozing over people every Sunday. The Chiefs looked vulnerable against the run last night. I hope Greg Roman was watching.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 14 days to go


Team Profile –

14 - Serbia

Group: G

How they Qualified: Won UEFA Qualifying Group (Europe)

Best World Cup Finish: 4th Place - 1930, 1962 (as part of Yugoslavia)

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $331M (16th)

FIFA Rank: 21

Odds to Win Group: +650

Odds to Advance: +130


Key Players –

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic - Midfielder - Lazio (Italy Serie A)

Dusan Vlahovic - Striker - Juventus (Italy Serie A)

Filip Kostic - Forward - Juventus (Italy Serie A)


Playing Style –

Serbia tends to line up in some version of a 3-4-3 formation, with the dangerous Kostic as a wingback and one or both of their target strikers up top. Throughout European qualifying they usually came out ahead in the possession battle against their opponents though they weren’t one of the most possession heavy teams in the competition.

They are not a heavy pressing team but can apply pressure when needed. They like to play long balls up to their target strikers or out to their wide players. Kostic is an especially effective crosser, playing balls into the box for Vlahovic and Fulham striker Aleksander Mitrovic. Serbia was second in Europe in accurate crosses. The talented Milinkovic-Savic helps control the midfield and get the balls out to the wide players.

Serbia didn’t have the best of luck drawing one of the top favorites, Brazil, into their group, along with a strong Switzerland team and a solid Cameroonian team. This team shouldn’t feel overmatched by either of the non-Brazil teams though, with elite talent in the midfield and attack, they are a decent bet to advance to the knockouts and could be dangerous if they get there.


Get to Know the US Team –

Aaron Long - Center Back

Baltimore Doppelganger - Chris Davis

Aaron Long appears to be one of Gregg Berhalter’s favorites to start at center back next to Walker Zimmerman. He was the first choice at that position in the September friendlies and with Chris Richards still nursing an injury he very well could be the man in Qatar.

Long rose to prominence in MLS for the New York Red Bulls, earning multiple All-Star selections and winning the MLS Defender of the Year award in 2018. In the same year he earned his first call up to the national team and began to cement a spot in the team. Unfortunately he suffered a serious achilles injury in 2021 and has never really been the same player since.

Despite that, he has been a regular for the US, especially after Miles Robinson was lost to an injury. His post-injury tenure has had mixed results at best and many in the fan base question the decision to keep running him out there when there are other qualified contenders.

In this way, he reminds me of a former Orioles slugger Chris Davis. The power hitting first baseman had a couple of outstanding years for the Orioles in the 2010’s, finishing third in the AL MVP voting in 2013. A couple years later the Orioles gave Davis the largest contract in their history to stay with the team and subsequently his performance fell off a cliff. To the dismay of many fans, the Os refused to realize the sunk cost and kept running Davis out for several years, despite a batting average below the Medoza line.

If you follow my coverage you may think I have a vendetta against Long. This is far from the case, and it is nothing personal. I’m sure he’s a decent guy. It's not really Long’s fault that Berhalter refuses to see his flaws and keeps starting him in a system that doesn’t necessarily fit his strengths. If Long is our starter in Qatar, I will be rooting for him as hard as the rest of the team, but I hope Berhalter gains some clarity and finds a better solution at the position.


Players to Watch –

14 - Virgil Van Dijk - Netherlands - Center Back

The 31 year old Van Dijk is the leader of the Liverpool defense and one of the key figures in their outstanding run over the past five-plus years. The Dutchman moved to Liverpool from Southampton in 2017 for one of the largest transfer fees ever paid for a defender.

Almost immediately, Van Dijk solidified the Liverpool defense and sent them on their run as the top competitor to Manchester City in the Premier League and a European power. One of the most decorated defenders of this generation, Van Dijk has won both Premier League and Champions League titles and finished runner up to Leo Messi for the Ballon D’Or in the 2019-20 season.

A do-it-all defender, Van Dijk will anchor the Netherlands defense in Qatar in what will amazingly be his first World Cup, with the Dutch having failed to qualify in 2018. Van Dijk possesses the size and speed to battle and shadow nearly any attacker one on one and has the discipline and awareness to organize the back line. He is also adept on the ball, able to dribble past the first line of defense or initiate attacks with a wide passing range. After years as the top defender in club soccer, he will finally get his chance to make his name on the biggest international stage.


Soccer Terminology 101

Woodwork –

In soccer, the “woodwork” refers to the goal posts, either the uprights or the crossbar. It is also often referred to as “the goalie’s best friend”, with shots clanging off the posts frustrating attackers and bringing relief to the defense.

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Sunday
November 6, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2995


this feels like 1992 for two reasons


It's a weird Sunday in these parts.

For the second straight week, the Ravens won't play a football game today. Last Sunday they were off after their win over Tampa Bay the previous Thursday night. And today they're off because they won't play their week nine game until tomorrow night in New Orleans.

Oh, and last night in Houston, the Astros won their second World Series in five years with a 4-1 win over Philadelpia.

It feels like 1992 all over again.

No football in Baltimore on a Sunday. And we were forced to watch a team other than the Orioles win the World Series last night.

Houston battled back from a 2-1 series deficit to beat the Phillies, 4-2, and win the 2022 title last night.

I often remind people on those rare in-season "off days" for the Ravens that this was precisely what it was like back in, say, 1992. Everyone else around the country played football. Baltimore watched football.

Sure, we found other things to do from 1984 through 1995. A few people latched on to the Redskins. Some folks took to liking other NFL teams in lieu of the Colts playing in Baltimore. Others in the area just did more yardwork, played more golf, visited more with family and friends and so on.

It was a weird, weird time in these parts.

In 1992, the Orioles were just about to start a quick period of time where they were actually going to be decent for a few years. Alas, they still didn't make it to the World Series during those days. They haven't played in one of those since 1983, you might remember.

I bumped into former O's catcher Nick Huntley at the FCA national golf tournament on Friday. You might recall the Birds acquired him in 2014 when they won the division title and faced off with the Royals in the ALCS.

We chatted briefly about the team and that season.

"We knew were in trouble when Kansas City won the first two games in Baltimore," he lamented. "Their bullpen was so darn good that year..."

That's the last time the O's even threatened to advance to the World Series. Better days loom ahead, though, and it might not be long until we see Gunnar, Adley and the others playing on November 5 against a N.L. team.

But last night, like we've done every year since 1983, we watched "someone else" dance around on the field and celebrate a world title.

That Houston won it again might grate on you or you may not even care at this point. They're so very obviously skirting the rules, as they did back in 2017 when it eventually became "not so obvious", that you might be of the mindset they're not the legitimate champion.

But you might also dislike Philadelphia and its teams so much you don't care who beats them. As long as a Philly team loses, all is well.

Either way, though, you were watching Houston and Philadelphia last night. Not Baltimore and Philadelphia. Not Baltimore and the Mets. Not Baltimore and the Cardinals. Baltimore hasn't played late October baseball since 1983.

So today is one of those days where we go back to 1992. Twenty years ago, Baltimore felt just like it does today.


Don't forget, I'll be on 105.7 this afternoon from 12-3 pm, talking Ravens, Orioles and even a little high school soccer as well. Rich Zinkand of Calvert Hall will join me at 12:30 and John Carroll's Jim Fendryk will check in at 12:45 as the coaches help me preview tonight's MIAA boys A-Conference championship game at UMBC (5:30 pm).

I hope you get the chance to tune in. I'm not promising you a rose garden or anything like that, but we'll talk Lamar's contract and the O's off-season plans, so that should be enough to stir up the masses.

And we'll keep a running tab on what's going on in the NFL on this Sunday in the Land of Pleasant Living.


I've been fortunate enough to play a lot of great golf courses, but I played one yesterday that immediately makes my top 10 list.

It's that good.

The beautiful 18th hole at the Dormie Club in Pinehurst, NC.

Funny enough, I actually played the Dormie Club when it first opened a decade ago, but back then it was nothing at all like I experienced on Friday and Saturday.

Yesterday, as a wrap-up to our trip to Pinehurst to play in the FCA national tournament, we played Dormie again. And this time, it was absolutely spectacular. Beyond spectacular, really.

Now, two quick qualifiers for those of you who are golfers. A) You have to either be with a member of The Dormie Network or be sponsored by said member in order to play there unaccompanied. It is a private club. It's not public.

And B), it's on the expensive side. I don't have the final bill yet, but I might need to shovel snow for a few days to cobble together the funds to pay for the experience. If you're fortunate enough to somehow get on the course, just know that it's expensive.

Everyone who plays the course must stay overnight in one of the cottages located throughout the property. Those cottages, as you can imagine, are wonderfully appointed and missing nothing at all. Four golfing buddies could live in one of those cottages for a month and never once feel squeezed or "too tight". They're extraordinarily well done.

You never have to leave the property. Food and drink is available pretty much around the clock there. You have a golf cart at your cottage at all times in the event you want to ride up to the restaurant, putting green or cornhole "course" (?). Once you settle in at the Dormie Club, you're there for the duration. There's no reason to leave, so no one does.

But amenities aside -- and the food and drinks are off the charts good, of course -- the golf course is sensational. It's a Coore-Crenshaw design and those two didn't miss a beat. There's an incredible mixture of short and long holes, including a 113 yard par 3 (which played 130 yesterday) and a 600 yard par 5 (which played about 660 yesterday). There's not a blade of grass out of place.

If you and your golf buddies are planning a trip to Pinehurst, which is a popular destination for mid-Atlantic players, please find out if anyone you know belongs to The Dormie Network and can help facilitate a stay-and-play at Dormie Club in Pinehurst.

Start saving now...and have a great time!

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around the nfl, week nine


CHARGERS AT FALCONS -- L.A. sits at 4-3 and needs this one in the worst way and they'll be without talented wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams in Atlanta. Atlanta is right in the thick of the NFC South race at 4-4. On the "worth watching scale", this one's a 4 at best.

DOLPHINS AT BEARS -- Can Tua and the Dolphins continue their surprising run in the AFC East? Miami is alive and well in the playoff race but this one in Chicago feels like a game that a "good" team should win, by any means necessary. The Bears (3-5), meanwhile, are just trying to figure out if they have the right quarterback in place to build around. Worth watching scale: 6

Can Joe Burrow and the Bengals atone for Monday's dismal loss in Cleveland with a win over the hapless Panthers today?

PANTHERS AT BENGALS -- This one feels like it could be borderline dreadful, although it would be very Bengals-like for Cincinnati to cough this one up today. Cincy sits at 4-4 after being lit up in Cleveland last Monday night. A loss today against the hapless Panthers would potentially be crushing for them. Worth watching scale: 5

PACKERS AT LIONS -- Who would have thought that on November 6, the Packers and Lions would combine for four wins? Total. Four freakin' wins. Green Bay (3-5) simply can not afford to lose today in Detroit (1-6). Aaron Rodgers and the Packers simply have to figure out a way to win. It feels like the Lions are due to win one they shouldn't. Despite their records, this could be a good, high scoring game. Worth watching scale: 7

COLTS AT PATRIOTS -- There was a time, circa 2008, where this game would have been on Sunday Night NFL with the entire world fixated on two of the greatest QB's to ever play the game. Now, in 2022, it's a complete dud of a game. Two non-descript QB's leading two "average" teams at best. The only way this game gets saved is if New England wears the old school throwback red jerseys with the Pat the Patriot helmet. Other than that, this one stinks. Worth watching scale: 4

BILLS AT JETS -- I wouldn't have ever guessed that the week 9 Bills/Jets game in the Meadowlands would be one of the three "marquee" games of the day...but here we are, with the Bills coming in at 6-1 and the Jets sitting nicely at 5-3. This, today, is when we find out just "real" the Jets have become under Robert Saleh. Are they a paper tiger, as most people suspect? Or are they legit and capable of going toe-to-toe with high-powered Buffalo? Worth watching scale: 8

VIKINGS AT COMMANDERS -- Minnesota has to continue to take advantage of Green Bay's fall from grace and win the games they should win and today is one of those opportunities when they travel to D.C. The Commanders are somehow 4-4, which is really hard to figure out. Minnesota (6-1) needs to keep winning in the event that Philadelphia stubs their toe in the race for the overall best record in the NFC. This one "feels" like it could be a dud. Worth watching scale: 6

RAIDERS AT JAGUARS -- This one should be a doozy, huh? Las Vegas comes in at 2-5 overall and 0-4 on the road. Jacksonville sits at 2-6 and 1-3 at home. There's nothing at all about this game that's even remotely interesting. Two terrible teams going at it. I can't imagine anyone outside of the folks in Vegas and J'Ville will tune in. Worth watching scale: 3

SEAHAWKS AT CARDINALS -- The surprising Seattle team (5-3) faces a nice test in Arizona today. Can Geno Smith really take Pete Carroll's team to the playoffs? If the Cardinals (3-5) fancy themselves a playoff team, they need to figure out a way to win today. These NFC West games are usually either barnburners or flops. Which one will we see today? Worth watching scale: 6

RAMS AT BUCCANEERS -- A rematch of last year's playoff game in Tampa Bay, except Tom Brady's now single and has lost a step or two. Tampa Bay sits at 3-5 and can not afford yet another home loss. The Rams are 3-4 and in danger of not making the playoffs the year after they won the Super Bowl. Weird times today in Tampa. Worth watching scale: 7

TITANS AT CHIEFS -- This one should be really good. Tennessee is finding their form after a slow start and the Chiefs are looking to prove that the home loss to the Bills a few weeks back was just one of those weird things that happens from time to time. If the Titans go into K.C. and win tonight, watch out. Worth watching scale: 8

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 15 days to go


Team Profile –

15 - Uruguay

Group: H

How they Qualified: 3rd in CONMEBOL (South America)

Best World Cup Finish: Champions - 1930, 1950

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $400M (11th)

FIFA Rank: 14

Odds to Win Group: +185

Odds to Advance: -220

Key Players –

Federico Valverde - Midfielder - Real Madrid (Spain La Liga)

Darwin Nunez - Striker - Liverpool (England Premier League)

Rodrigo Bentancur - Midfielder - Tottenham (England Premier League)


Playing Style –

Uruguay is traditionally known for their stellar defensive approach which usually makes them a difficult matchup at international tournaments. This team continues that legacy, but they bring a more energetic pressing style compared to more bunkered teams of the past. They also have some promising young attacking talent to make the most of the chances they create.

Uruguay is still more comfortable allowing their opponent’s to dominate possession and playing against the ball. A pragmatic approach necessitated by their underdog status in South America compared to their two larger neighbors, Brazil and Argentina. In qualifying they possessed the ball less than 50% of the time, but they pressed effectively, leading the competition in balls won in the opponent’s end.

They use a variety of formations all based on a back four defensive line. They have lined up in a 4-4-2, 4-3-3, and 4-2-3-1 at various times. With talent at all levels of the field this is a team that is more than capable of making a deep run at the World Cup.

Uruguay is completing a transition phase from their last group of stars, like Luis Suarez and Edson Cavani, to a new generation including Fede Valverde, Darwin Nunez and Rodrigo Bentancur. These young players are all starting to hit their prime at the same time and that will make Uruguay a dangerous team to come across in Qatar.


Get to Know the US Team –

Cameron Carter-Vickers

Baltimore Doppelganger - Ramon Urias

Carter-Vickers is a 24 year old center back who is in the running to start next to Walker Zimmerman for the US at the World Cup. A stoutly built and physical defender, Carter-Vickers had a nomadic career until the past few years. After moving around multiple clubs in Europe he settled in at Scottish giants Celtic, where he locked down a starting job and became the team’s captain.

Carter-Vickers reminds me of current Orioles 3rd baseman Ramon Urias. The recent Gold Glove winner provided the Orioles with stellar defense this season as well as a decent bat, able to spark the offense with streaky hitting. Carter-Vickers is a well rounded center back who provides solid defense as well as the ability to pass the ball from the back to initiate attacks.

Neither player has superstar potential but both are solid role players who can contribute to a winning team. While Urias was a solid contributor for the Os this season, it's possible he will get usurped or forced to move positions with several promising prospects on the rise. In the same manner, Carter-Vickers should be able to hold down the center back position for the US at this World Cup if needed, but there are several other promising younger center backs who will likely supplant him for the next World Cup.


Players to Watch –

15 - Harry Kane - England - Striker

The star man on an England team loaded with talented and expensive players, Harry Kane will have the spotlight on him in Qatar. The 29 year old Tottenham striker has been one of the top players in the Premier League for many years, playing nearly his entire career at the London club despite constant rumors of transfers to Europe’s most elite clubs.

Kane is an all around talent at striker, equally adept at dropping deeper and creating chances for teammates with a keen passing eye or leading the line and providing a clinical finishing touch in the box. He has led the Premier League in scoring in multiple seasons and won the Player of the Year in the 2016-17 season.

This will be Kane’s second World Cup for England. He helped lead them on a deep run in 2018 where England came short of making the Final on a penalty shootout loss to Croatia. Kane won the Golden Boot in that tournament as the top goalscorer. He will look to reproduce that feat this time around, as England enter Qatar as one of the heavy betting favorites to take home the trophy.


Soccer Terminology 101 —

Manager

The manager is the same as the coach in soccer parlance. Managers in the World Cup have a unique challenge. Managers of club teams have a whole preseason and season to implement their tactics and plans and the ability to bring in players that fit their style. In contrast, national team managers only get short sporadic windows to work with their teams and aren’t able to easily aid in the day to day development of their players. They are also forced to work with the players eligible for their nation, so they must adapt any system or tactics to the strengths and weaknesses of those players available.

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#dmd comments








unitastoberry     November 27
I hope they let Faalele start at O left tackle lets see what he has> Save Merkari for down the road.

CIK     November 27
The Raven’s are not favored by the oddsmakers? I see Balt -3.5. That would make them the favorite…and also make them favored by the oddsmakers. I agree though that the game is tricky…hence the 3.5 point line. I like under 52.5 (-110) Lamar rushing yards. Hoping for a bad hip & sloppy track. But that kind of bet could also be a loser on the 1st play of the game. Gambling makes this watchable. And the TV ratings are popping right now.

Chris in Bel Air     November 27
Ravens will win today. It won't be pretty, again, but like Drew stated, just get another in the win column. I think the Ravens D will again be the star of the game today. It would be great if they can get healthier. Difficult task this time of year.

Drew - Caps are just past the quarter pole for the season. They have 5 wins in their last 16 games and they are only 2 points ahead of Flyers, even with them losing 10 in a row. Any additional thoughts on their performance and probability of turning it around? It looked like they had a little spark with Oshie's return, until they were waxed last night. Also, their former goalies Vanacek and Samsonov are 2nd and 4th in the league respectively for GAA with their new teams. Keumper has been decent and is currently 16th for GAA. I think that is more about the Caps overall defensive play then anything.

thomas     November 27
Likely being out is an issue for the Ravens? Stanley, absolutely, but Likely? Come on man.

But good to see Drew is back with his weekly picks, time to build up the Christmas gift fund!

Can someone tell me which of these picks will be winners so I don't bet the losers? Thanks

Jk     November 26
Was going to say the same thing as Mike C but he posted first.

Mike c.     November 26
By tying England the USA can still win the group. A loss would have meant they couldn't win the group. If you win the group your first opponent is easier in knock out play. The tie was valuable. Maybe you should do better next time.

Hank     November 26
And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining,



What makes it valuable? A loss would have meant the same - win vs Iran and in.



Do better.

Richard     November 26
I am not really a soccer fan. I’ll keep it on for background noise sometimes. For years I’ve been saying there doesn’t need to be more goals in soccer, but more action around the goals. Moving the goals closer together would ensure more action and for those that don’t like 0-0, I think this would create more fun. Thoughts, but not necessarily from the true soccer fan.

Josh     November 26
0-0 draw is pretty boring. Why not play until someone wins?

Delray RICK     November 26
STEVE CAPE....Don't understand 3 hours of 0-0. If we had that infootball NOBODY WOULD WATCH

henry     November 26
Don's Dad is correct, CHC coach admitted the fake was not called by him, some kind of rugby punt but run if you want option. Kid made up his mind to run on his own, ballsy move for sure. Wonder what the coach would think if he had not made a first down?? Also wonder if no one on Loyola side noticed the regular punter was not in the game?

@Dan, if true, makes your comments even more embarrassing lol. But all good, I know we are all focused on online gambling these days, no time to dwell on the past. Hope everyone is aware eventually the free bets will go away lol.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 26
Like I said before, watching soccer is like watching paint dry !!! Change that, watching paint dry is way more exciting !!!

Eric in Gaithersburg     November 26
Jax has better point differential than Tenn. Theyve lost 5 games by 5 pts or less. This was always gonna be a tougher than people realized game. The story of the Jaguars season is major problems in the redzone. This game comes down to Ravens scorching hot defense controlling Etienne and forcing a few turnovers and somebody stepping up on offense to break the 20 pt barrier. Ill guess a Jags win which should guarantee a Ravens victory😜

Dons dad     November 25
I believe Loyola had a time out left on 4th down yesterday. If they would have made the first down they would have called T.O.

Players on CHC told my son after the game the fake punt wasn't called from the sideline, the CHC player did it on his own.

Dan     November 25
To Henry, I didn't go to Calvert Hall, I attended high school in New York.

Richard     November 25
Happy belated Thanksgiving to Drew and everyone else here. I watched the game yesterday and it really left me scratching my head. It was a very good, well played, and exciting game. However, the coaching in the last 5 minutes was weird. A fake punt, from your own 16 on 4th and 18 is crazy(and I mean that in a nice way). Then Loyola drives the field and on 4th and 1 with 11 seconds left, they run a sweep. If the play doesn’t score, it will use the 11 seconds, as the runner got tackled for a loss with 4 seconds left. I understand(kind of) not kicking the fg(no confidence in kicker), but a sweep-strange.

Unitastoberry     November 25
Lou Michaels rip was probably the worst field goal kicker in Baltimore history. He was also a back up defensive tackle. He missed two chip shots in SB 3? Question is was he paid to miss?

Great soccer coverage.

Delray RICK     November 25
STEVE....At least spell the "GREATEST QB IN HISTORY" right.

Steve of Pimlico     November 25
One of my favorite Memorial Stadium Colt memories was a game the Colts were losing 10- 0 to the Packers.Unitus hit Willie Richardson on a slant pattern for a TD against Herb Adderley.XP attemt by Lou Michaels no good.Colts recover inside kick drive down the field.Facing a 4th and 6 can't kick a FG for tie,Unitus drops back to pass,ducks HOFer Willie Davis and scrambles for a first down.Then he hits Richardson again for game winning TD.

D. Schrute     November 25
Re: Breakfast Bytes... North Carolina actually held off the Portland Pilots not the Portland State Vikings who are playing Gonzaga right now in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

henry     November 24
Dan and the CHC crowd on the ones embarrassing themselves, particularly if you are grown men. It's high school football man, time to move on fellas.

Dan     November 24
Love all the griping on Facebook by Loyola peeps.

You lost. You tried hard and lost. Just take the loss the right way and stop embarrassing yourselves.


William     November 24
@John L, you might want to look up record for the entire series genius.

paul     November 24
People like Billy came here running their mouth last year when LB won. Take your "L" like a man this year.

John L.     November 24
Calvert Hall has won 11 of the last 13 Thanksgiving Day games. Maybe the Dons should move to the C Conference.

Billy     November 24
LOL at KC. No man for others with that guy. Or Hal

K.C.     November 24
Allan crying like a Loyola Loser. You weren't crying last year when the refs gave your TE a first down catch on 4th and 14 were you??????



Like Hal said, can't spell "Loyola" without that Thanksgiving Day "L" !!!



Go Hall!!!

Allan     November 24
And CHC faithful need to give thanks to the refs for that gift of a win. Amen.

Hal     November 24
You can't spell Loyola without the "L".

Hahahahahahahaha

lou@palo alto     November 24
yes, Steve--the old City-Poly game. when we were seniors we beat poly 52-6 w Schmoke at QB. I too remember the Unitas pass to Hinton--what a play caller #19 was! Out here, some golf (72 today) and 9 for turkey at 3p--enjoy the peace!!

Unitastoberry     November 24
@Delray/James -Dundalk. That might have been the longest standing ovation in the history of sports from the time the plane with the banner flew over until after the td pass. Incredible moment still jacks me up after 50 years.

JMP     November 24
Where are todays NFL picks? I need new shoes.

henry     November 24
Loyola played in B conf final the Sat before last year's game, stop making excuses lol.

Delray RICK     November 24
UTB..Was there til the end.

Even the dummyin the plane.




James - Dundak     November 24
To Drew & all the other commenters Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Ravens Go Terps

James - Dundak     November 24
@ U2B I was there as well. My memory is a little fuzzy but, was that also the game with the plane flyover pulling the Unitas We Stand banner. That was classic too.

CIK     November 24
What is the scenario if Calvert Hall & Loyola end up meeting in the MIAA title game? Do they play twice?

Steve of Pimlico     November 24
City Poly was always the best game of my youth played at the Stadium at 1pm.Calvert Hall Loyola was the prelim in the morning.

Unitastoberry     November 24
I'm thankful for so much including being able to keep my nickname on DMD. John Unitas is still the best QB to ever play in Baltimore and his last snap on 33rd Street was in 1972. Came off the bench for Marty Domres and hit #33 Eddie Hinton who yaced it in for a td. I was there. Thank you Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank your creator today and every day.

henry     November 23
Roll Dons roll!

Delray RICK     November 23
AGREE with JOSH. To many getting in HOF that weren't GREAT!! THE HOF ISFOR GREATEST...not a good average year. MANNY could but did he do the nasty?

Josh     November 23
Nah…. Rolen is Hall of Vey Good

Stats Nerd     November 23
I'm not sure the NFLPA is considering that this position would have unintended consequences. Well I'm sure they have considered it but it's apparent they don't care. It could more specifically be called the Guaranteed Quarterbacks Contracts. The Salary Cap is the Salary Cap and any decision to guarantee contracts will have downstream effects on other less "valuable" positions.

So it seems like the guaranteed contract push is not necessarily in the best interest of most of the rank and file but rather just the star QBs and maybe a handful of other players. By definition this will mean less money for other players.

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     November 23
I believe SB said pray for us after the Ravens kicked the tires on Kaepernick. The WC coverage has been excellent. Thank you. It’s not a stretch to think the Brazilian team should win it all. They have enough great players to field 2 teams in the WC. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Go Hall.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
@Chris K - thanks for clarifying. I'm in agreement with Drew as well. Just went about my thinking in a less direct way. Unless there is direct evidence of the owners stating their intentions and collaborating with others then this just seems to be a bunch of hot air.

Dirk,Lerxst & Pratt     November 23
Go Hall! Beat Loyola!



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. F inest T hanksgiving D ay to all!

Chris K     November 23
@chris in Bel Air collusion would be all owners agreeing as a group that they won’t offer guaranteed contracts. Each owner individually can make the personal decision to not do it but if they consulted with another owner or more before making the decision then it’s collusion. I agree with Drew that it’ll be nearly impossible to prove unless there is an electronic or paper trail.



Having said all of that, I completely understand why Bisciotti chooses not to speak publicly because every time he does he sticks his foot in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he say something like “we have our own decision making process and don’t compare ourselves to other team’s decisions”. Reminds me of when he said pray for us after attempting to sweep the Ray rice abuse under the rug. I agree with his decision to not speak publicly because he’s not good at it.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
"For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts."

Sorry, I'm a little dense at times but I'm not completely tracking this. Why do the owners have to be nervous? Are they obligated in some way to offer guaranteed contracts? Is it part of collective bargaining? If it is widely accepted as a "bad business practice" then why would anyone, including the players, think it must happen? If the Raiders, for example, had given D Adams $50M / year to sign with them last offseason, does that mean all other teams should overpay for a WR too? Or are they free to make the best decision for their team? Just because all teams make the same business decision, is that collusion?

With this said, another owner will offer a guaranteed contract. Maybe it will be Lamar and the Ravens. Maybe it is Lamar for another team. Maybe it will be Herbert or Burrow when their five years are up. But someone else is going to view player X as the one that will get them to the Super Bowl and they will over-pay. That much I know.

@Stats - thanks for the added info on the diving and EPL. In the end, I'm just not a fan of the flopping.

Unitastoberry     November 23
Little Jimmy only got 1 championship with Manning. Then he let him go and he did it again in Denver despite neck surgery. He's a jack arse of epic proportions. Chemically infused like his dad. Watson the perv changed the demographic in the league. Wrong person to do it with. If I was SB I'd sell now. I hope he doesn't.

TimD in Timonium     November 23
Well, I'll say this about @MFC - he's here commenting Every Single Day.



Kinda like the Cal Ripken of DMD commenters.

Saturday
November 5, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2994


is there a chance it's "too much"?


I got involved in a discussion with a friendly late 40's golfer from Nebraska yesterday as we wrapped up day two of our FCA national golf tournament in Pinehurst.

We went from subject to subject. He wanted to know more about what we were doing with FCA Golf in Maryland and I was curious about his ministry work at the University of Nebraska, where he's been the FCA leader there for almost two decades now.

He joked about Nebraska football and how "it used to be a big deal" but the Cornhuskers, like Maryland and a lot of other schools, bit the hook for the big money from the Big Ten and things just haven't been in the same in Lincoln ever since.

Dabo Swinney and his Clemson football program don't "only" play on Saturdays any longer.

"I don't even follow sports that much any longer and I grew up a 'Huskers nut and went to every home from the time I was six until I was, maybe 30 years old."

"What happened?" I asked.

"I'm not sure," he replied. "I talk about this a lot with people back home. I really wonder if there's just too much sports. On too many days. Is that even possible?"

To wit, as he pointed, last night there were a bunch of college football games.

"I have no idea who's playing tonight but I bet you there's college football being played somewhere," my Nebraska friend stated.

We both reached for our phones.

To wit, there were three games last night. UConn vs. UMass, Duke vs. Boston College and Washington vs. Oregon State.

Sure, it was only three games. But ten years ago, there were no college games on Friday night. Friday was always "high school football night", but apparently that's no longer their night and their night only.

"And now you have NFL football on Thursday, Sunday and Monday," he continued. "And I'm sure somewhere down the road this season they'll play a bunch of games on a Saturday, right?"

The quirky nature of this year's NFL schedule is that Saturday, December 24 will feature a full slate of games and three on Christmas Day (Green Bay at Miami, Denver at L.A. Rams, Tampa Bay at Arizona). So, yes, Saturday will even get a healthy dose of NFL action this year, but that's mainly because Christmas falls on Sunday.

But still, my new friend continued to make his point.

"We're not huge ice hockey fans back home and I hardly ever watch the NBA but I get up and read the internet every morning and it's filled with games and scores and big plays and highlights. It never seems to stop."

"Is it possible that these teams and leagues just play too much?," he asked.

I didn't have much of a counter argument to make. I mean, he's right. There are sports played virtually every single day, somewhere in the country. It could be construed as "too much". College football on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night seems a little bit excessive too me, for example.

I get it. College sports are a money factory. And the greed of the schools, coupled with the greed of the coaches, mixed in with the greed of the student-athletes, means they have to figure out new ways to make more money to keep feeding the monster. I always assumed just playing college football on Saturday, where they totally own the landscape, would be good enough. But that's no longer the case.

But I do understand. It's all driven by money. Nothing else. Just money.

The college football example is one reason why I have so much respect for the story of Chick fil-A, who run their business six days a week and close on Sunday.

College football used to be "open" one day a week and that was it. Then they opened a second day. And a third. They need to feed more people, as it were.

Chick fil-A has never been open on Sunday. They're not even open on Sunday inside the Atlanta football stadium, despite the fact they have a huge concession stand in the venue. If the Falcons play on Thursday or Monday night, Chick fil-A opens and serves their food. For Sunday home games, a company called "Fries Up" takes over the space and no Chick fil-A food gets served.

There are lots of other events in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. High school football, college football, professional soccer and more. On any non-Sunday day, Chick fil-A is open in the stadium. But they take a pass on upwards of 8 or 9 money making opportunities every NFL season because the restaurant -- based out of Atlanta, by the way -- will not open on Sunday for anyone.

That's a lot of money they're passing up at Chick fil-A. A longtime friend of mine owned a Chick fil-A store in Charlotte for 15 years and told me once his business averaged about $16,000 a day in gross sales. Do the math on $16,000 times 52 Sunday opportunities and you'll see how much he and the company are passing up. It's.....a lot.

Connecting college sports to Chick fil-A probably seems weird. I was just trying to point out that not everyone in the world is filled with greed and greed is not a mandatory prerequisite for success.

And I applaud Chick fil-A for their conviction, rooted in faith and testimony that no one in their company will work on a Sunday. Ever.

But my friend from Nebraska got me thinking yesterday. Is it all just too much? College football four days a week. Pro football three days a week. Basketball and hockey every night. And so on and so on.

Are we tired of it, even though we don't realize we are?

Funny enough, even last night at the cottage where we're staying in Pinehurst, "some kind of golf" was on the Golf Channel in the main living area and several of us were enjoying a glass of wine and talking about our day and one of the guys looked up at the TV and said, "Is anyone watching this?" and turned the volume down.

We were golfers. At a golfing destination. In a cottage adjacent to one of the holes on the course. And we weren't even interested in watching whatever golf was on the TV in front of us.

Is it possible that it's all just too much for us?


Don't forget, I'll be hosting the 12-3 pm slot tomorrow (Sunday) on 105.7 The Fan. We'll talk Ravens, Orioles, World Series and anything else that comes along between now and then.

And at 12:30 and 12:45 pm tomorrow, I'll welcome in the two head coaches who will be going up against one another in Sunday night's MIAA boys soccer A-conference championship game between Calvert Hall and John Carroll at UMBC. Rich Zinkand (Calvert Hall) will join me at 12:30 and Jim Fendryk (John Carroll) will jump in at 12:45.

The two teams played twice in the regular season, with John Carroll handing the Cardinals their only blemish of the season with a 3-3 tie in Bel Air in early September. The Cardinals won the much-anticipated showdown on Goucher Boulevard later in the season, 5-1.

I hope you get the chance to listen in tomorrow.


Steve in Hunt Valley asks -- "As you approach 3,000 consecutive publications of Drew's Morning Dish, I'm wondering what you're most proud of about the website? Thanks and Go Hall on Thanksgiving Day!"

DF says -- Good question, Steve. Thanks. I'm probably most proud of the fact that we've had a number of very talented and smart people contribute to the site as writers over the years. Bo Smolka and Matt Carroll in the old-old days, Brien Jackson and David Rosenfeld after that.

Dale Williams has been our Maryland hoops writer for the better part of six years now. He knows his basketball, that's for sure. Mark Suchy, Regular Joe and the Stats Nerd have all been outstanding contributors as well. And Randy Morgan's soccer work has been outstanding over the last few years. I'll put his soccer knowledge up against anyone in Baltimore.

So I'd say I'm just most proud of the fact that those talented people stopped by (some are still here, obviously) to help make this place better. No one else in Baltimore does what we do here.


Mark Cassidy asks -- "What are your thoughts on "The Match" between Tiger Woods/Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth? Worth watching or no?"

DF says -- "Thanks for the news. I had no idea. I just looked it up. December 10 in Tampa. Tiger/Rory vs. Justin/J.T., huh? OK, well, I doubt very seriously I'll watch it, but at least they have four good "needlers" in the event. It's the "old guys" vs. the "young guys", pretty much. Tiger and J.T. are the two captains, I guess. Rory and Jordan are there for relief when Tiger and J.T. need a break for razzing the other guys.

I understand the need for "off-season golf". This kind doesn't really interest me all that much, but obviously anything Tiger plays in gets maximum exposure from the media. When he plays the Parent/Child event the following week, it will look a lot like a TOUR event at the course because....of.....Tiger.

I don't know. I just don't like sitting around watching "exhibition golf", where they're just playing to play. But it will certainly be good to see Tiger on the course and swinging a club again."

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 16 days to go


Team profile --

16 - Canada

Group: F

How they Qualified: 1st in CONCACAF

Best World Cup Finish: Group Stage - 1986

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $165M (32nd)

FIFA Rank: 41

Odds to Win Group: +200

Odds to Advance: +275


Key Players –

Alphonso Davies - Left Back - Bayern Munich (Germany Bundesliga)

Jonathan David - Striker - Lille (France Ligue 1)

Stephen Eustáquio - Midfielder - Porto (Portugal)


Playing Style –

Canada tends to adapt their approach to the opponent they’re facing. They have mostly played in a 4-2-3-1 formation against weaker teams and a 3-4-3 against stronger teams. During qualifying they dominated possession against opponents where they had the talent edge, but took a more pragmatic approach against the US and Mexico, allowing those teams to control the ball but effectively finding moments to counter attack.

In either case they did not just sit back in a defensive shell, they were able to press effectively, leading CONCACAF in balls won in the opponent’s end. In attack Canada likes to take a direct approach, getting the ball in behind the defense or out to their talented and speedy wing players. The Canadians are very dangerous when they can get on the break and take advantage of the incredible speed of Alphonso Davies, Tajon Buchannon and Jonathan David.

This team impressed greatly in qualifying, leading CONCACAF in both goals scored and fewest goals conceded and competing well with the two traditional regional powers. They got a tough draw in a group with European powers Belgium and Croatia as well as a good African team in Morocco. Despite that, this team has the talent to advance from the group in their first World Cup appearance since 1986.


Get to Know the US Team –

Joe Scally - Right Back

Baltimore Doppelganger - Kyle Hamilton

Joe Scally is in contention for one of the reserve full back spots on the US roster. The 19 year old New York native has been a regular starter for German Bundesliga team Borussia Monchengladbach for most of the past two seasons. In that time he has proven his ability to hang with professionals at the top level and demonstrated why he has a bright future.

His current situation is a bit like that of Ravens rookie safety Kyle Hamilton. Like Hamilton, Scally has not been given a large role with the US team yet, but he has played in spot duty and clearly has talent. He may be more of a prospect for the future than a major contributor in this World Cup, but if injuries strike the full back position he should be capable of holding down the fort at either left or right back.

It remains to be seen if Berhalter will choose to call him into the team or one of the more veteran options that haven’t played as well for their clubs.


Players to Watch –

16 - Manuel Neuer - Germany - Goalkeeper

The 36 year old has had an illustrious career and is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, keepers of his generation. Neuer became known for his aggressive “sweeper-keeper” style of play, coming far out of his box to win balls and thwart attacks. The style has proliferated since he burst on the scene and now many of the top keepers implement some elements of his game.

Entering his fourth World Cup for Germany, Neuer is one of the more decorated active players. He has been the backstop for Bayern Munich since arriving in 2011, where he has captured ten straight Bundesliga titles as well as two Champions League trophies.

In the international game he has featured at the 2010, 2014, and 2018 World Cups for Germany, helping them to take home the trophy in 2014 while winning the Golden Glove award for best keeper at the tournament. He is also one the few goalkeepers to ever finish in the top three for the Ballon D’Or award given to the best player in the world each year.

Over the past several years there have been a number of heirs in line to claim Neuer’s starting spot with the national team, but he remains the top option. He has missed time recently for Bayern with an injury, but he hopes to return to health in time to lead Germany in what could be his final World Cup.


Soccer Terminology 101 –

False Nine

This has become a bit of a hot button term in the soccer community over the past several years, with some thinking it is overused and often misapplied. Generally speaking, the term refers to a striker or center forward who positions himself deeper toward his own end or continually drops back to help aid in possession and build up, instead of playing at the top of the attacking line near the last defender.

The term came into being because the striker, which traditionally wears the number nine jersey, in this case is playing in areas where you wouldn’t expect the “#9” to be and leaving the traditional space vacant.

The best example of someone playing the false nine role was how Leo Messi played for the Barcelona teams under Pep Guardiola. He would drift back away from the center backs to get on the ball and create scoring chances for his wingers instead of the other way around. When the US team uses Jesus Ferreira at striker, he often plays in a manner that could be described as a false nine, with his tendency to play closer to the midfielders rather than stretching the back line.

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#dmd comments








unitastoberry     November 27
I hope they let Faalele start at O left tackle lets see what he has> Save Merkari for down the road.

CIK     November 27
The Raven’s are not favored by the oddsmakers? I see Balt -3.5. That would make them the favorite…and also make them favored by the oddsmakers. I agree though that the game is tricky…hence the 3.5 point line. I like under 52.5 (-110) Lamar rushing yards. Hoping for a bad hip & sloppy track. But that kind of bet could also be a loser on the 1st play of the game. Gambling makes this watchable. And the TV ratings are popping right now.

Chris in Bel Air     November 27
Ravens will win today. It won't be pretty, again, but like Drew stated, just get another in the win column. I think the Ravens D will again be the star of the game today. It would be great if they can get healthier. Difficult task this time of year.

Drew - Caps are just past the quarter pole for the season. They have 5 wins in their last 16 games and they are only 2 points ahead of Flyers, even with them losing 10 in a row. Any additional thoughts on their performance and probability of turning it around? It looked like they had a little spark with Oshie's return, until they were waxed last night. Also, their former goalies Vanacek and Samsonov are 2nd and 4th in the league respectively for GAA with their new teams. Keumper has been decent and is currently 16th for GAA. I think that is more about the Caps overall defensive play then anything.

thomas     November 27
Likely being out is an issue for the Ravens? Stanley, absolutely, but Likely? Come on man.

But good to see Drew is back with his weekly picks, time to build up the Christmas gift fund!

Can someone tell me which of these picks will be winners so I don't bet the losers? Thanks

Jk     November 26
Was going to say the same thing as Mike C but he posted first.

Mike c.     November 26
By tying England the USA can still win the group. A loss would have meant they couldn't win the group. If you win the group your first opponent is easier in knock out play. The tie was valuable. Maybe you should do better next time.

Hank     November 26
And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining,



What makes it valuable? A loss would have meant the same - win vs Iran and in.



Do better.

Richard     November 26
I am not really a soccer fan. I’ll keep it on for background noise sometimes. For years I’ve been saying there doesn’t need to be more goals in soccer, but more action around the goals. Moving the goals closer together would ensure more action and for those that don’t like 0-0, I think this would create more fun. Thoughts, but not necessarily from the true soccer fan.

Josh     November 26
0-0 draw is pretty boring. Why not play until someone wins?

Delray RICK     November 26
STEVE CAPE....Don't understand 3 hours of 0-0. If we had that infootball NOBODY WOULD WATCH

henry     November 26
Don's Dad is correct, CHC coach admitted the fake was not called by him, some kind of rugby punt but run if you want option. Kid made up his mind to run on his own, ballsy move for sure. Wonder what the coach would think if he had not made a first down?? Also wonder if no one on Loyola side noticed the regular punter was not in the game?

@Dan, if true, makes your comments even more embarrassing lol. But all good, I know we are all focused on online gambling these days, no time to dwell on the past. Hope everyone is aware eventually the free bets will go away lol.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 26
Like I said before, watching soccer is like watching paint dry !!! Change that, watching paint dry is way more exciting !!!

Eric in Gaithersburg     November 26
Jax has better point differential than Tenn. Theyve lost 5 games by 5 pts or less. This was always gonna be a tougher than people realized game. The story of the Jaguars season is major problems in the redzone. This game comes down to Ravens scorching hot defense controlling Etienne and forcing a few turnovers and somebody stepping up on offense to break the 20 pt barrier. Ill guess a Jags win which should guarantee a Ravens victory😜

Dons dad     November 25
I believe Loyola had a time out left on 4th down yesterday. If they would have made the first down they would have called T.O.

Players on CHC told my son after the game the fake punt wasn't called from the sideline, the CHC player did it on his own.

Dan     November 25
To Henry, I didn't go to Calvert Hall, I attended high school in New York.

Richard     November 25
Happy belated Thanksgiving to Drew and everyone else here. I watched the game yesterday and it really left me scratching my head. It was a very good, well played, and exciting game. However, the coaching in the last 5 minutes was weird. A fake punt, from your own 16 on 4th and 18 is crazy(and I mean that in a nice way). Then Loyola drives the field and on 4th and 1 with 11 seconds left, they run a sweep. If the play doesn’t score, it will use the 11 seconds, as the runner got tackled for a loss with 4 seconds left. I understand(kind of) not kicking the fg(no confidence in kicker), but a sweep-strange.

Unitastoberry     November 25
Lou Michaels rip was probably the worst field goal kicker in Baltimore history. He was also a back up defensive tackle. He missed two chip shots in SB 3? Question is was he paid to miss?

Great soccer coverage.

Delray RICK     November 25
STEVE....At least spell the "GREATEST QB IN HISTORY" right.

Steve of Pimlico     November 25
One of my favorite Memorial Stadium Colt memories was a game the Colts were losing 10- 0 to the Packers.Unitus hit Willie Richardson on a slant pattern for a TD against Herb Adderley.XP attemt by Lou Michaels no good.Colts recover inside kick drive down the field.Facing a 4th and 6 can't kick a FG for tie,Unitus drops back to pass,ducks HOFer Willie Davis and scrambles for a first down.Then he hits Richardson again for game winning TD.

D. Schrute     November 25
Re: Breakfast Bytes... North Carolina actually held off the Portland Pilots not the Portland State Vikings who are playing Gonzaga right now in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

henry     November 24
Dan and the CHC crowd on the ones embarrassing themselves, particularly if you are grown men. It's high school football man, time to move on fellas.

Dan     November 24
Love all the griping on Facebook by Loyola peeps.

You lost. You tried hard and lost. Just take the loss the right way and stop embarrassing yourselves.


William     November 24
@John L, you might want to look up record for the entire series genius.

paul     November 24
People like Billy came here running their mouth last year when LB won. Take your "L" like a man this year.

John L.     November 24
Calvert Hall has won 11 of the last 13 Thanksgiving Day games. Maybe the Dons should move to the C Conference.

Billy     November 24
LOL at KC. No man for others with that guy. Or Hal

K.C.     November 24
Allan crying like a Loyola Loser. You weren't crying last year when the refs gave your TE a first down catch on 4th and 14 were you??????



Like Hal said, can't spell "Loyola" without that Thanksgiving Day "L" !!!



Go Hall!!!

Allan     November 24
And CHC faithful need to give thanks to the refs for that gift of a win. Amen.

Hal     November 24
You can't spell Loyola without the "L".

Hahahahahahahaha

lou@palo alto     November 24
yes, Steve--the old City-Poly game. when we were seniors we beat poly 52-6 w Schmoke at QB. I too remember the Unitas pass to Hinton--what a play caller #19 was! Out here, some golf (72 today) and 9 for turkey at 3p--enjoy the peace!!

Unitastoberry     November 24
@Delray/James -Dundalk. That might have been the longest standing ovation in the history of sports from the time the plane with the banner flew over until after the td pass. Incredible moment still jacks me up after 50 years.

JMP     November 24
Where are todays NFL picks? I need new shoes.

henry     November 24
Loyola played in B conf final the Sat before last year's game, stop making excuses lol.

Delray RICK     November 24
UTB..Was there til the end.

Even the dummyin the plane.




James - Dundak     November 24
To Drew & all the other commenters Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Ravens Go Terps

James - Dundak     November 24
@ U2B I was there as well. My memory is a little fuzzy but, was that also the game with the plane flyover pulling the Unitas We Stand banner. That was classic too.

CIK     November 24
What is the scenario if Calvert Hall & Loyola end up meeting in the MIAA title game? Do they play twice?

Steve of Pimlico     November 24
City Poly was always the best game of my youth played at the Stadium at 1pm.Calvert Hall Loyola was the prelim in the morning.

Unitastoberry     November 24
I'm thankful for so much including being able to keep my nickname on DMD. John Unitas is still the best QB to ever play in Baltimore and his last snap on 33rd Street was in 1972. Came off the bench for Marty Domres and hit #33 Eddie Hinton who yaced it in for a td. I was there. Thank you Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank your creator today and every day.

henry     November 23
Roll Dons roll!

Delray RICK     November 23
AGREE with JOSH. To many getting in HOF that weren't GREAT!! THE HOF ISFOR GREATEST...not a good average year. MANNY could but did he do the nasty?

Josh     November 23
Nah…. Rolen is Hall of Vey Good

Stats Nerd     November 23
I'm not sure the NFLPA is considering that this position would have unintended consequences. Well I'm sure they have considered it but it's apparent they don't care. It could more specifically be called the Guaranteed Quarterbacks Contracts. The Salary Cap is the Salary Cap and any decision to guarantee contracts will have downstream effects on other less "valuable" positions.

So it seems like the guaranteed contract push is not necessarily in the best interest of most of the rank and file but rather just the star QBs and maybe a handful of other players. By definition this will mean less money for other players.

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     November 23
I believe SB said pray for us after the Ravens kicked the tires on Kaepernick. The WC coverage has been excellent. Thank you. It’s not a stretch to think the Brazilian team should win it all. They have enough great players to field 2 teams in the WC. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Go Hall.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
@Chris K - thanks for clarifying. I'm in agreement with Drew as well. Just went about my thinking in a less direct way. Unless there is direct evidence of the owners stating their intentions and collaborating with others then this just seems to be a bunch of hot air.

Dirk,Lerxst & Pratt     November 23
Go Hall! Beat Loyola!



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. F inest T hanksgiving D ay to all!

Chris K     November 23
@chris in Bel Air collusion would be all owners agreeing as a group that they won’t offer guaranteed contracts. Each owner individually can make the personal decision to not do it but if they consulted with another owner or more before making the decision then it’s collusion. I agree with Drew that it’ll be nearly impossible to prove unless there is an electronic or paper trail.



Having said all of that, I completely understand why Bisciotti chooses not to speak publicly because every time he does he sticks his foot in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he say something like “we have our own decision making process and don’t compare ourselves to other team’s decisions”. Reminds me of when he said pray for us after attempting to sweep the Ray rice abuse under the rug. I agree with his decision to not speak publicly because he’s not good at it.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
"For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts."

Sorry, I'm a little dense at times but I'm not completely tracking this. Why do the owners have to be nervous? Are they obligated in some way to offer guaranteed contracts? Is it part of collective bargaining? If it is widely accepted as a "bad business practice" then why would anyone, including the players, think it must happen? If the Raiders, for example, had given D Adams $50M / year to sign with them last offseason, does that mean all other teams should overpay for a WR too? Or are they free to make the best decision for their team? Just because all teams make the same business decision, is that collusion?

With this said, another owner will offer a guaranteed contract. Maybe it will be Lamar and the Ravens. Maybe it is Lamar for another team. Maybe it will be Herbert or Burrow when their five years are up. But someone else is going to view player X as the one that will get them to the Super Bowl and they will over-pay. That much I know.

@Stats - thanks for the added info on the diving and EPL. In the end, I'm just not a fan of the flopping.

Unitastoberry     November 23
Little Jimmy only got 1 championship with Manning. Then he let him go and he did it again in Denver despite neck surgery. He's a jack arse of epic proportions. Chemically infused like his dad. Watson the perv changed the demographic in the league. Wrong person to do it with. If I was SB I'd sell now. I hope he doesn't.

TimD in Timonium     November 23
Well, I'll say this about @MFC - he's here commenting Every Single Day.



Kinda like the Cal Ripken of DMD commenters.

Friday
November 4, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2993


tgip


No, that's not a typo in the headline.

You were expecting "TGIF", probably. Thank. God. It's. Friday.

Instead, it's TGIP today. Thank. God. It's. Pinehurst.

As in, the Pinehurst golf resort, home of Pinehurst #2, one of the truly iconic golf courses in our country. It was home to Payne Stewart's memorable 1999 U.S. Open win, Martin Kaymer's victorious four-day stroll in 2014, and #2 will serve as the host course for the 2024 U.S. Open as well.

The Payne Stewart statue behind the 18th green at Pinehurst #2.

I haven't played all of America's great courses. Not by a longshot. I've been blessed, though, to play a healthy number of our country's top and toughest layouts and Pinehurst #2 is right up there with the best of the best.

If you're a golfer and you've never been to Pinehurst, it's a must-do. From Baltimore, it's a six hour drive. We drove here Wednesday morning and played Wednesday afternoon. It's an easy trip.

Pinehust and Southern Pines are the host courses for this week's national Fellowship of Christian Athletes golf tournament. Yesterday we played #2, today we'll play Southern Pines. Our traveling party is also playing another distinguished course on the way back to Baltimore on Saturday. We have two days of great golf still left to play.

This is a particularly exciting week for me, personally, because so many people here at Pinehurst are interested in Maryland FCA Golf and how we've established ourselves in the first 10 months of 2022. Word has spread quickly throughout FCA that something interesting is happening in Maryland with regard to golf and the vision of bringing every coach and athlete closer to Jesus.

As I always do whenever I mention or highlight Maryland FCA Golf, I want to take a minute to thank any of you reading this right now who have donated, supported or participated in some way with the early stages of the golf program I've put together. Without your help, we'd still be at square one.

Over the last 10 months, we've held eight different clinics, talked about FCA with hundreds of junior golfers and area students, and held two sold-out junior golf tournaments. We're currently waiting for the apparel and equipment to come in that we'll distribute to our "team" of FCA junior golfers. All of that was made possible by your financial support. So, again, thank you so much for investing with me and Maryland FCA Golf.

This event that FCA hosts every November has become one of my favorite tournaments of the entire golf season. And it's not about the competition. It's about the fellowship (no pun intended) and getting to talk with other FCA staffers throughout the country. Wednesday night we sat at a dinner table with guys from Florida. Last night it was a table of California golfers we had the pleasure of meeting.

That golf brings us all together is just icing on the cake. There are former PGA Tour players here, former Division I All-Americans here and even a former NFL head coach (Chan Gailey) here competing and talking about how we can all make FCA better in 2023 and beyond.


Tim asks -- "As a sports fan who is on the other side of 50, what are your three biggest "get off my lawn" moments? You know, those moments where the "older generation" gets easily aggravated and irritated. In no particular older, mine are: Baseball players who wear more jewelry than Mr. T and more protective equipment than a NFL player when they're at bat. The decline of quality in officiating in both college and professional football. And college athletes complaining about "not getting paid" when they're receiving $250,000 worth of an education in exchange for their athletic services. What are yours? Oh, and Go Old Mill Patriots!"

DF says -- "Go Old Mill? Are you crazy? OK, I think we all have these "get off my lawn" moments, don't we? I like your three. Here are three of mine: Wide receivers who get touched or bumped, fall down like they've been hit with a 2x4, then immediately shoot up to their feet and wave their arms for a penalty flag. That drives me crazy.

I can't stand when baseball umpires go on their power trip and throw a guy out of the game because he had the audacity to question their call. When I see "an ump show", it makes my blood boil.

My other one is a very recent point of aggravation for me. It drives me nuts when I hear or read people blaming John Harbaugh for "not telling the truth" about injuries to his players. Please. Shut. Up. The coach has no reason at all, not one, to disclose to anyone who is out, injured, feeling better, etc. We all know why you want to know. Because you're gambling on the games and it would help, for example, if you knew for sure if Mark Andrews was "in" or "out" on Monday vs. the Saints. But John Harbaugh is trying to win football games. End of the story. Disclosing injury information could keep him from doing that. Oh, and Go Gophers!"


Chris P. asks -- "Phillies are in the World Series. Philadelphia Union soccer in the championship of MLS. Eagles are 7-0 (Editor's note: 8-0 after last night's win in Houston) and the Flyers are off to a great start. What are you going to do if all of those Philadelphia teams win world titles in one year? LOL"

DF says -- "Well, the Phillies will need a minor miracle after last night's 3-2 loss in Game 5. Might not have to worry about them. Couldn't care less if Philly wins in MLS. I couldn't name 10 players in MLS. The Eagles are definitely off to a great start. But will they be "this good" in mid-January? That's the only time it really matters.

As for the Flyers...I'm not worried about those rat finks at all. They might wind up being as good as the Caps, or maybe even better, but they're not a threat to win the title or anything like that. They haven't won since 1975. Let the good times continue to roll!"


Dave asks -- "Why can't the Ravens keep their wide receivers healthy? Hollywood was always hurt. Sammy Watkins was always hurt. Now Bateman is hurt again, for the second straight year. What's the story with that, Drew? Anything they should be looking into to figure out why their receivers can't stay on the field?"

DF says -- Watkins was hurt all the time before he joined the Ravens. Nothing to see there. The other two? It's football. Guys get hurt. I don't think the Ravens are doing anything "weird" or "negligent" that leads to wide receivers getting hurt. It's a contact sport. Receivers go up in the air to catch a pass and come down on their feet. Sometimes they come down awkwardly and get hurt as a by-product of that. Bateman's injury definitely came from a play in a game. It happens to everyone.

I realize people want to blame the Ravens coaching staff or front office for everything "bad", but I don't think injuries can be attributed to anything other than the physical nature of the sport."


Dan Handley asks -- "In your opinion, who has the greater chance to be a negative influence on the NFL, Daniel Snyder (toxic workplace culture, etc.) of the Commanders or Jimmy Haslam of the Browns, who signed Watson to that guaranteed contract last summer?"

DF says -- "Can I answer with "both"? They're both a terrible influence on the league. I think Snyder is terrible for the people who work in that organization and I think Haslam is terrible for the NFL's business model. I know what you're getting at with your question; which is worse, mistreating people or creating unrest within the ownership group?

Both of the situations are not good for obvious reasons.

I hate seeing people mistreated. And I hate seeing the NFL's business plan get thrown in disarray because of one dumb contract. But if you make me choose one that's more terrible than the other, I'm going with the workplace culture that Snyder allowed to exist in his organization. It was reprehensible."

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faith in sports


We shared this video a few years back, but it seems appropriate to give it another run here at #DMD given that it involves FCA and I'm in North Carolina as I write this participating in a national FCA event.

Members of the Kansas City Chiefs speak about their faith and give their testimony as part of a video series produced by Kansas City's FCA office. If you can spare six minutes today and watch this, I'd be very thankful.


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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 17 days to go


Team Profiles –

17 - Japan

Group: E

How they Qualified: 2nd Place in AFC (Asia) Qualifying Group

Best World Cup Finish: Round of 16 - 2002, 2010, 2018

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $152M (37th)

FIFA Rank: 24

Odds to Win Group: +1000

Odds to Advance: +300


Key Players –

Junya Ito - Forward - Reims (France Ligue 1)

Takumi Minamino - Forward - Monaco (France Ligue 1)

Takehiro Tomiyasu - Defender - Arsenal (England Premier League)


Playing Style –

Japan generally lines up in some version of a 4-3-3 formation and likes to press aggressively high up the field. They are able to break quickly off turnovers or use the ball in possession. They led Asian qualifying in possession won in the opponent’s end and were second in average possession rate.

They were able to capitalize on that control of the game to generate many good goal scoring chances, which they led by a wide margin in qualifying, and turn that into the highest goal scoring rate. When they use the ball in possession they like to spread it to their wide players and attack from the wings, looking to find quality crosses into the box.

Japan was solid defensively in their qualifying campaign as well, tying for the fewest goals conceded in that competition. Based on their performance against the US, they look like a very well coached and disciplined team, as they were able to frustrate the US with their press even while missing some of their top players. They have been successful due to their team structure and system and are not reliant on any one star.

Japan got a tough draw, being placed in the same group as perennial World Cup favorites Spain and Germany. However, this team should not be overlooked, they have a good chance to surprise the favorites and could be a good dark horse candidate to advance from the group.


Get to Know the US Team –

Tim Weah - Forward

Baltimore Doppelganger - Dennis Pitta

Tim Weah was a crucial piece of the USA’s qualification for the World Cup. It seemed like most of the time the US needed a spark on offense, it came down the right wing from Weah. The son of legendary player George Weah (and president of Liberia), Weah was born into the game and combines great athleticism with great instincts.

Weah’s most valuable skill is his off the ball movement. He uses his pace and awareness to make runs that either free himself or open up space for his teammates. This is part of the reason he reminds me of former Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta. Pitta was a standout player for several years during the Flacco era. Despite not standing out physically, he was often the man that Flacco turned to when he needed a big play.

Unfortunately Weah is like Pitta in another way. Both players have had recurring injury concerns. For Pitta it ultimately ended his career prematurely. For Weah, injuries have hampered his progress at his club Lille, where he’s shown glimpses of his talent but hasn’t had quite the impact as he has for the US.

An injury kept Weah out for most of this season, as he just returned in the past few weeks for his first action on the field. He looks like he is hitting full stride now, with a start for Lille last weekend. If he stays healthy he will surely be one of the top attacking options for the US. He brings a different dimension on the right wing than Brenden Aaronson and Gio Reyna, with his speed and ability to stretch the defense.


Players to Watch –

17 - Sadio Mane - Senegal - Forward

Now at Bayern Munich, the 30 year old attacker was a huge part of Liverpool’s incredibly successful run over the past several years. Mane is a complete attacker, with the speed and agility to play on the wings and the touch and vision to play as a striker. He is equally capable of setting up goals for teammates or getting on the end to finish them himself. In addition to his on the ball prowess, he is an intense and energetic presser, able to frustrate and harry the opposition into mistakes.

He will be playing in his second World Cup in Qatar and will be the star man for Senegal this time around. Mane led Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations title last year, where he scored the championship winning penalty and was named the player of the tournament. He will be the player opponents' gameplan around and can make or break his country’s chances.

Soccer Terminology 101 –

Extra Time

Not to be confused with injury or stoppage time, which we’ve covered earlier, extra time is overtime. Played when the game is tied in knockout style games. In the World Cup, extra time consists of two fifteen minute periods, with the winner determined by whichever team scores more over the two periods. If neither team scores in the two extra time periods then the game goes to a penalty shootout.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner
Thursday
November 3, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2992


they stole my idea!


I saw the story last night on the website of a Philadelphia TV station. The headline was hilarious.

Stadium urinals used for Game 3 prank

Some Philly wise guys apparently scattered Houston Astros baseball cards in all of the urinals in the upper deck at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night. Most people thought it was funny. Well, the Phillies fans did, mainly.

A lot of people in Houston were offended. My guess is they're mostly offended because they didn't think of it first. I mean, if you're an adult and you get your feathers ruffled over something as trivial (or, perhaps, "juvenile") as that little episode, I don't know what to say in your defense.

But it didn't bother me that Houston fans were whining. And it didn't even bother me that a couple of national sports sites lit into the Phillies fans who were involved in the prank. Like I said, if you're the type to throw a hissy fit over something as benign as baseball cards being left in urinals, I can't help you.

What bothered me the most?

I engineered that very prank about 12 years ago, in that very same arena.

Only mine was way better.

I was in Philly for a Caps-Flyers game. February, maybe? I knew, from past experiences up there with those maniac fans, that wearing Caps gear was a no-no.

Sure, if you're there with a pack of people and you're all sporting Caps gear, that's probably safe. But I happened to be there with my longtime friend Tony Seaman and a guest of his. The three of us weren't going to win any kind of fight in Philadelphia that night, so I left my pride and my Caps gear in Parkville and vowed to enjoy myself.

And I thought of a funny gag that I hoped to pull off in the Wells Fargo Center that night.

Several months prior to that game, I was in the process of moving some old baseball, football and hockey cards from a few storage boxes in my home into a climate-controlled container that would help preserve them over time. My thought was that someday, perhaps, those cards could help pay for my children's children's high school edcuation or something of that nature.

And while I was moving those old cards from one box to another, I stumbled upon a card of Bobby Clarke, the longtime, Hall of Famer of the Philadelphia Flyers.

I set the card aside.

I'd be lying if I said the "idea" came to me right then and there. But for whatever weird reason, I set the Clarke card aside. I had no idea if it was valuable or not but something in the moment told me "don't put that card away with the rest of them".

A few months later came the trip to Philly and the Caps-Flyers game.

Late in the first period, I headed off to the bathroom.

"Smart move," Seaman said. "Get in there before the period ends and it gets jam packed."

I ran up the steps to the concourse and found the men's room.

Because these plans are always either perfect or completely flawed, I walked in and found the place.....completely empty. That, of course, was the "perfect" scenario for what I was about to pull off.

I quickly moved to the row of urinals and shot a quick glance to make sure no one was coming in behind me. The coast was clear. The "perfect" plan was still intact.

I dropped the Bobby Clarke card face up in the first urinal I approached and then quickly walked down to the end of the row, some 10-12 urinals away from the Clarke card.

The radio broadcast was being played on speakers in the bathroom. "And the puck gets dumped back to center ice and the Flyers will be content to just let the last five seconds of the period expire..."

A second or two later, I heard the horn sound to end the period.

And ten seconds later, the men's room was no longer empty.

It didn't take long.

"Hey!!! What the "eff" is this? In the toilet here? Some a**hole put a Bobby Clarke card in here!"

I glanced over. Someone moved in behind the guy at the urinal to confirm it.

"What kind of son-of-a-b**ch would do that?" he yelled out.

"It's definitely a Bobby Clarke card," he then said as he peered into the urinal.

"I'm not taking it out," the first guy who saw the card said.

"I'm not either," guy number two said, "but we're not going to let people stand here and (pee) on it either."

A few people laughed. A couple of other curious Flyers fans wandered over to look at it themselves.

One or two diehards in their orange old-school Flyers shirts were not happy.

"Low class Capitals fans," one of them murmered. "You know that's who did it."

Someone eventually walked over with a large paper towel, reached in, removed the card and threw it away.

"That was the proper thing to do, thank you so much," the first guy said. "I can't believe someone would do that to Bobby Clarke."

I high-tailed it out of there, stealing one last glance back at the six or seven people gathered around the urinal as if they'd seen some kind of traffic accident.

The mystery of it was what made me laugh the most. They were truly perplexed how anyone in Philadelphia would put a Bobby Clarke card in the urinal. "That's the lowest of the low, man," one guy said.

This past Tuesday night, Philadelphia sports fans pulled a similar stunt with Astros' baseball cards. But there's no way their prank was "better" than mine. I was the innovator. I thought of it first, and, excecuted it first, too.

As it turns out, I was ahead of my time.


Bill Pooley asks -- "Before his career is over, what distance will be Justin Tucker's longest made field goal?"

DF says -- "Great question! He'll hit a 70-yarder. He was making them from 70 in Tampa Bay last week during warm-ups. If he gets a favorable weather night with a helping wind and a dry turf, he can bang one from 70 for sure. Everything just has to be lined up correctly for him, that's all. But in his career, he'll make at least one from 70."


R.C. asks -- "I've hit you up with this question before. I'm in a pool that allows you to pick the final four NFL teams before week 1, before week 10 and before week 16. You get points based on your picks and how the NFC and AFC eventually pan out. Before the season started, I picked Green Bay, Tampa Bay, L.A. Chargers and Buffalo was my final four. What should I do next week when I have to make my picks prior to week 10? What's the final four going to be?"

DF says -- "Right now you'd have to think it's going to be Buffalo and K.C. for sure in the AFC. It is still possible for the Ravens to finish top 2. They have 3 losses right now and K.C. has two, for example. In the NFC, something tells me either Minnesota or the Eagles will stub their toe in the post-season. I think I'll gamble a bit and say in the NFC it's going to be Dallas and San Francisco, although it's possible they play one another before the NFC championship game. Right now, those are my four."


Matt asks -- "I need one great golf tip, please. I'm going on a work trip November 7-12 and we're playing business golf three days and I don't play hardly at all. I might have carded three 18 holes rounds this year. Please give me one great tip to get me through the three days."

DF says -- " I don't know where to start with this one. I'll just say this: When all else fails, try to actually "see" the club hit the ball on the downswing. Just keep your head down and your eyes on the ball and see if you can stay in the shot long enough to make decent contact. That's about all I can say without seeing you swing or knowing anything about your tendencies. Good luck! Have fun!"


Creston asks -- "For your next Q&A, I'd love for you to give your 5 favorites of these: Favorite album, Favorite movie, Favorite sports moment, Favorite golf course, Favorite broadcaster. Thanks, DF."

DF says -- "These are all pretty easy. Favorite album is Springsteen's "Darkness On The Edge Of Town". Favorite movie is "Training Day".

Favorite sports moment is the "1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team" beating the Soviets and then later winning the gold medal.

Favorite golf course that I've played has to be "Plainfield Country Club" in Edison, New Jersey. I've played it a dozen times now and it never, ever gets old.

My favorite broadcaster of all time is Ron Weber, longtime radio voice of the Capitals on WTOP in Washington D.C."


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The Stats Nerd
And His Numbers


Contributed by #DMD's data and numbers analyst
The Stats Nerd


There wasn’t really a lot going on last weekend in the NFL, at least through the lens of analytics. In fact, most of the NFL media oxygen has been sucked up by the trade deadline which was Tuesday at 4 pm.

But what is the real on-field impact of these trades at least in the short run? I’d argue the impact is much smaller than the press that it garners.

There is no question that there is FAR more interest and activity in the trade deadline in the NFL than ever before. With 7 teams making the playoffs from each conference that means more teams can claim to be “in it” longer thus justifying these moves.

Will the acquisition of Roquan Smith enhance Harbaugh's chances of another Lombardi trophy?

But for every Von Miller trade (2021 DEN to Rams) where the team goes on to win the Super Bowl there are a handful of trades that have no meaningful impact. The Ravens are not immune to this having previously traded for the likes of EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, OT Eugene Monroe and CBs Will Davis and Marcus Peters. Only Peters really had an impact beyond the season he was acquired.

Did Von Miller make the Rams a better team last year? Of course. But even still they needed a field goal as time expired against Tampa on the road, overcame a 10 point 4th quarter deficit against SF in the NFC Championship for yet another late game winning field goal and managed to not have to face KC in the Super Bowl. Good team no question. Some good fortune along the way? Also no question.

To my way of thinking, if asked to list the top 10 things that have to go right for a team to reach Glendale and the Super Bowl, acquiring the ONE perfect player for a team probably isn’t on that list. Can the right player make a team better? Of course.

But the reality is the Ravens are probably only marginally more likely to make a deep run in the playoffs with Roquan Smith than without him. And Vegas seems to agree with that assessment.

Coming out of the Tampa Bay game last Thursday the Ravens odds of winning the Super Bowl were 14-1 to 16-1 (depending on where you look). As of this morning’s writing their odds of winning the Super Bowl were…14-1 to 16-1. At least in the eyes of oddsmakers, this move doesn’ t change things considerably.

The same analysis could be done for most of the other teams in the NFL. You may have seen RG3 tweet that the Dolphins acquisition of Bradley Chubb from the Broncos “launched their Super Bowl chances to the moon”. He was fairly quickly “dunked on” with the masses pointing out that the odds of the Dolphins winning remained unchanged before and after the trade at 28-1.

The reality is that they are unlikely to win the AFC East. They are currently 3rd by virtue of tiebreaker. So their path would require them to likely go on the road and beat one of Kansas City and/or Buffalo to say nothing of Baltimore, Tennessee or whatever other team may get rolling in December and January.

This is not to say that Chubb doesn’t make them a better team. I suspect he probably does. But to expect one player to have such a large impact seems overly optimistic.

To me things like injuries, home field, match ups, and yes, a little luck will go further in determining the Super Bowl champ than just one player’s arrival.

In the case of the Ravens, there is no question that the middle of the field has been a trouble spot for the last few years for the Ravens Defense. TEs like Waller and Kelse feasted across the middle last season as did lesser TEs like Uzomah and Njoku. In addition, the Ravens are bottom 10 in the advanced rushing defense statistics.

So a sure handed tackler like Smith that can also cover backs and tight ends in space makes a ton of sense. The hope is that a well rounded LB like Smith will take some pressure off of Patrick Queen and allow him to do what he does best; fly around and shoot gaps.

So while I am optimistic that Roquan Smith makes the team better, I don’t believe his addition alone materially changes the Ravens fortunes. Perhaps the addition of Smith, Bowser and Ojabo along with a returning Marcus Williams in a few weeks WILL make the difference. To Drew’s point, perhaps this strengthens the defense to the point that they can win a relatively low scoring affair with KC or Buffalo in December.

What would materially impact the Ravens chances of winning the Super Bowl would be running the table and having the 1 seed. Since that seems unlikely given that the Bills are 6-1 and own the tiebreaker with the Ravens the next best result would be winning the AFC North and having at least one home playoff game. But above all else, the most important thing would be for the team to remain healthy the remainder of the season.

Do I believe the Ravens can win the Super Bowl in Glendale? Absolutely they can. Do I think that the odds of that occurring changed materially since the Roquan Smith trade happened? I do not. And apparently Las Vegas agrees.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup - 18 days to go


Team Profiles –

18 - USA

Group: B

How they Qualified: 3rd Place in CONCACAF (North America)

Best World Cup Finish: 3rd Place - 1930 (Quarterfinals in 2002 in the modern era)

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $226M (28th)

FIFA Rank: 16

Odds to Win Group: +500

Odds to Advance: -105


Key Players –

Christian Pulisic - Forward - Chelsea (England Premier League)

Tyler Adams - Midfielder - Leeds United (England Premier League)

Weston McKennie - Midfielder - Juventus (Italy Serie A)


Playing Style –

Under coach Gregg Berhalter the US has mostly used a 4-3-3 formation with Tyler Adams as the single defensive midfielder and the full backs pushing high up the field in attack. In the World Cup we may see them shift to more of a 4-2-3-1 formation against defensive minded teams like Wales and Iran.

That formation would allow them to get an extra attacking player on the field with Brenden Aaronson and Gio Reyna both capable of playing in that attacking midfield role. They could also use this shape if Weston McKennie is unavailable, moving Yunus Musah back to pair with Tyler Adams.

Berhalter has generally had the US well organized in defense and his philosophy in attack is to win the possession battle and use passing and movement to break down opposing defenses. The team deploys a high pressing system to try to win the ball back in advantageous positions and spark dangerous counter attacks. They finished second in both possession rate and balls won in the opponent’s end in the qualifying campaign.

Despite their possession advantage, the US often struggled to break down teams that defended in a well organized low block, denying space to the dynamic American wingers. They will need to solve this problem in Qatar as they’ll likely see a similar strategy from both Wales and Iran.

Berhalter did show some willingness to alter the plan of attack against certain opponents. Against the Mexican press the US found success playing in a more direct manner rather than trying to work the ball through the defense.

They will need to find ways to get their best attackers in space, whether that is through slow progression or balls from the defenders over the back line. If they get out of the group stage and face some of the more talented and technical teams in the tournament, they may also need to play a bit more pragmatic and take a more defensive approach.

This is undoubtedly the most talented collection of players the US has ever brought to the World Cup, with many players at Champions League level clubs from the top leagues in the world. However, they are lacking experience at a major tournament like this. They will be the youngest team at the World Cup by a good amount, so they will need to learn quickly to progress in the tournament.

Success in Qatar for this team starts with advancing from the group. They are the second most talented team in the group and have a great chance to get through to the knockouts. Their betting odds are even with Wales, so it's not a sure thing, but that should be the expectation. If they get out of the group, their chances will totally depend on matchups.

Anything can happen in a one-off knockout soccer game. In 2014 the team got out of a difficult group and then nearly advanced past a strong Belgium team despite being thoroughly outplayed, thanks to an outstanding effort from goalie Tim Howard. If they advance this fall they will face a tough opponent from Group A, containing Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador and Qatar, but they wouldn’t be huge underdogs against any of those besides Netherlands.

This roster has the individual talent to hold their own against all but the very elite teams in Qatar, it will be up to the coach and the players to come together and realize that potential. Regardless of the end result, the hope will be that this young core of players can use this World Cup as a learning experience to build a stronger unit in preparation for the World Cup to return to American soil in 2026.


Get to Know the US Team –

Yunus Musah - Midfielder

Baltimore Doppelganger - Gunnar Henderson

Yunus Musah emerged on the scene for the USMNT in November of 2020 as a 17 year old. Gregg Berhalter successfully recruited Musah away from England, where he grew up and played his youth international soccer. He has been a revelation for the US, almost immediately making himself an integral part of their strong midfield trio.

His current trajectory reminds me of one of the Orioles breakout stars of the season, Gunnar Henderson. Both of these players have immense potential and are on the verge of a major breakout. Henderson was a top prospect in the minor leagues and came up to immediately contribute to the Orioles stretch run. He looks to be a cornerstone of the team for the future and should be one of the top young players in the MLB next season.

For Musah, this World Cup could be his breakout moment. He has become a valuable starter for his club Valencia this season, but this tournament gives him the opportunity to make himself known on the global stage. Like Henderson, Musah has the potential to take this team to another level and become a cornerstone of the team not just in November, but heading into the 2026 World Cup, where he will still only be 23.


Players to Watch –

18 - Joao Cancelo - Portugal - Fullback

Cancelo has proven himself to be one of the best fullbacks in world soccer as a mainstay for Manchester City during their incredible run over the past few seasons. The 28 year old is essentially a midfielder playing fullback.

He is incredibly skilled for a defender, giving him the ability to move into midfield positions in possession to help break down a defense or to get high and wide to deliver dangerous crosses into the box. Cancelo’s dynamic skill set gives a hugely talented Portugal team yet another incisive piece to their attack.


Soccer Terminology 101 –

Penalty

A penalty is awarded in soccer when a foul occurs inside the box. This gives the offense a free kick from the penalty spot, approximately twelve yards from the goal, with just the keeper to beat. Earning a penalty is an incredibly valuable moment in a soccer game, since they are converted about 75% of the time.

With this in mind, defenders must be extra cautious not to give away careless fouls in the box. VAR has also added a new dimension to this, as many glancing handballs that were not called/caught before, are now easily detected on replay and awarded a penalty.

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Wednesday
November 2, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2991


my vote goes to...


Someone said something interesting to me yesterday.

"Make sure you get out and vote," he said.

"I will as soon as I find someone worth voting for," I asked.

"It doesn't matter. Just vote. It's your duty," he replied.

No, I explained to him, it's not my "duty" to vote for someone that I don't believe would be a good addition to our government. That's not the way it's supposed to work.

You vote for someone you believe in. You vote for someone you believe would be a good representative of your community. You vote for someone you value, trust and are willing to support by telling others, "I voted for (insert name here) and I'm proud of that."

I've been paying attention for two or three months now, listening to and following these people who are running for various positions within the state, county, etc. and almost none of them seem like rock-solid candidates to me. Most of them, in my opinion, are whiffs. At least that's how they come across to me.

And while I may -- or may not -- vote between now and November 8, I most certainly won't tell you that you absolutely, without question, must vote.

I saw former President Barack Obama on TV last night, talking about "his friend" Wes Moore, Maryland's Democratic candidate for Governor. I laughed out loud. That would be like me going on TV and telling you to vote for "my friend" Bruce Springsteen for rock artist of the century. I know Bruce about as well as the former President knows Wes Moore.

I do believe the former President and Mr. Moore have met, by the way. I met Springsteen once, too: In Tampa, when he was there on Radio Row during Super Bowl week as part of his publicity campaign for that Sunday's halftime show. But meeting and talking to Bruce for all of about 90 seconds doesn't mean he's "my friend" any more than the former President and Wes Moore are friends because of a photo op and a TV endorsement.

I'm not picking on the former President, by the way. I suspect he's a decent guy to have a beer with and play a round of golf with, too. Whether he was a good President is something still debated to this day, but I don't think he writes a "4" down on the card when he actually made a "5" -- the way the 45th President is known to do virtually every time he plays golf. But I digress...

All I'm saying is don't be swayed by endorsements and popular people saying "he's great" or "she's outstanding". If you've done the research and feel great about a candidate, please go out and vote. Vote hard. Vote as much as you want.

But don't vote just for the sake of voting. Don't just do "eeny-meeny-miney-mo" and pick 8 people you've never heard of, no matter their political affiliation and whether it aligns with yours.

In the song "Freewill", Geddy Lee of Rush says it perfectly: "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

Make those people running for office earn your vote. If they don't impress you enough -- as nearly 95% of them haven't with me -- you're not obligated to do anything.


Back to the mailbag we go. The questions are piling up. I'm doing my best. Hang in there with me if you've sent one in recently. I'm trying to get some in every day.

Brad asks -- "In your opinion what's the hardest 18th hole in golf among all of the Baltimore courses? I'd like to throw in two to get your opinion on: #18 Hayfields and #18 at Baltimore Country Club East Course. Thanks, Drew. Go Hall!"

DF says -- Yes, sir, Go Hall! Both holes you listed are difficult, for sure. That said, I'm not all that certain that #18 on the East at BCC is harder than #18 on the West. #18 on the West course requires a long, straight drive that finishes on the left side of the fairway so you can easily negotiate the trees down the right side. Then you have to hit a really good second shot just to have 120-140 yards to the hole for your 3rd shot.

#18 at Hayfields is definitely hard if you don't hit a good drive. And the green is really big, so anything on the putting surface is a challenge.

I realize it's a wonky finishing hole and all, but the 18th hole at Hunt Valley (a 215 yard uphill par 3) is very tough to par. To me, it's one of the hardest holes on the entire course, which is pretty rare for a par 3.

I might cop out a bit here, since Bel Air isn't "really" Baltimore, but the toughest finishing hole in the area is #18 at Maryland Golf and Country Club. From the back tees, it's a total monster. 440 yards to a green that plays plus 15 yards uphill to a green that is insanely difficult to putt.

#18 at Bulle Rock is also very difficult. But if Bel Air isn't "Baltimore", than neither is Havre De Grace. Great question, Brad."


Henry L. asks -- "A few weeks back someone asked you about the new Springsteen album that's all covers of old soul and R&B songs and you said you hadn't heard enough to say whether you liked it or not. Any update? I know it comes out soon but I've heard 5 or 6 of the songs and I'm wondering what your opinion is of the album if you've heard enough of it."

DF says -- "Still haven't heard enough to say whether the album is good or not, but I will say this. Of the four songs I've heard, I think Bruce's voice sounds great. I've heard him talk in interviews about how he really poured his heart into this particular album for whatever reason and I think that comes out in his vocal performance. Now, I realize there might be a little bit of computer enhancing going on, because any 73 year old voice probably needs a little help. But that voice is definitively Bruce...and it sounds more like Bruce from 2007 or thereabouts.

Is it the kind of music I like to hear from? Not really. I mean, he might only have 2 or 3 albums left, max. I want to hear Bruce. And the E Street Band. And I want to hear "his music" and his lyrics, not a cover of Diana Ross and the Supremes, Otis Redding or Billy Preston. But I understand what he's doing at this point. He's saying, basically, "I'm 73 years old, I've entertained you folks for 50 years, and if I want to do an album of soul music covers, that's what I'm going to do. I don't need the money. I don't need another Grammy. I don't need anything, really." And so, I respect that. He gave us Born to Run. What else do we need from him, right?"


Tom Barker-Mears asks: "Is there any way the Ravens wind up keeping Roquan Smith via the franchise tag and just let Lamar walk at the end of the season?"

DF says -- "In short...no. There's no way Lamar ever leaves Baltimore simply as a free agent. I've said all along I think this season -- the one they're playing right now -- will determine Lamar's fate. If he has a great year and the Ravens get to the AFC title game and/or the Super Bowl, he'll get his asking price and then some, as long as the "guaranteed portion" gets resolved to everyone's agreement.

But if Lamar -- who thus far has been "good" in 2022, but nothing more, really -- doesn't have a great year and the Ravens win the North but bow out quietly in the first round at home, they're either going to franchise him for a year or franchise him and then trade him for draft picks. So, to me, the franchise tag is almost inevitable for Lamar unless the Ravens make a huge run through the AFC and beat some teams in January. One thing for sure, though. He'll never just finish out his contract and leave as a free agent. That's not happening."


J.R. asks -- "I thought this would be fun for your Q&A section, but you have to play along. Will you? When you read the following words and descriptions, what's the first thing that comes to your mind?

Pearl Jam. Will Ferrell. Joe Buck. Erin Andrews. My Cousin Vinny. The perfect chinese meal."

DF says -- "I love it. I'll play along. Here goes: Pearl Jam - Extraordinarily underrated. One of the top 5 bands of the last 30 years.

Will Ferrell - Not nearly as funny as he thinks he is. Wouldn't say he's overrated, per se, but he's not underrated, that's for sure.

Joe Buck -- Has grown a lot as a broadcaster, I believe. Better at baseball than football, in my opinion.

Erin Andrews -- One of the top 5 sideline reporters in the entire NFL. Very, very solid.

My Cousin Vinny -- Hilarious. Great plot for a silly, goofy movie. Joe Pesci steals the show, obviously. That role was made for him, without question.

The perfect chinese meal -- I guess you mean the "what" and not the "where". For me, a great bowl of wonton soup, moo goo gai pan without peppers of any kind, and some simple, good, beef fried rice."


Ken asks -- "What did you make of Framber Valdez of the Astros in Game 2? Cheating? Or just trying to be deceptive and make the Phillies think he was rubbing something on the ball?"

DF says -- "Totally cheating. Those guys are so good at it that it's almost not even worth trying to stop. But let's not think it's "just the Astros" who are doing it. Every team has guys who doctoring the ball or fiddling with their bats. Baseball players have been skirting the edge forever, although the way back to "speed" and other stimulants.

As for Valdez and what we saw on Saturday, he definitely had some kind of substance on the inside of his glove hand. He can talk all he wants about "just trying to throw the Phillies off" but he knows the deal. Like I said, these guys are so good at their chicanery they almost deserve to get away with it."

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


american soccer stock report


This week featured a handful of Americans playing in the Champions League, but the weekend was less eventful than normal with several players out with injuries or suspensions. The American trio at Leeds pulled off a major upset in the Premier League and the American duo at Fulham had another good week. In MLS, the conference finals saw the two favorites advance to set up a good matchup for the finals.

Let’s start this week with the injuries. With the World Cup less than three weeks away now, there were several concerning reports that could cause Gregg Berhalter some headaches. Most prominently, Weston McKennie left Juventus’ weekend win over Lecce at halftime and Italian media is reporting he will be out for at least 15 days. As long as that projection is correct, he should be on track to get back a week or so before the World Cup, but it will certainly be cutting it close and he may need time to build back up his fitness, so he could be doubtful for at least the first US game against Wales.

Weston McKennie's injury could be a concern for Gregg Berhalter amd the U.S. team as World Cup '22 comes around.

The other large injury news was that Luca de la Torre picked up an injury for Celta Vigo that could keep him out a month. That would likely force him to miss the trip to Qatar and will require Berhalter to find another depth option in the midfield.

Center back Chris Richards remains sidelined for Crystal Palace in the Premier League with an injury that has kept him out most of the season. He is reported to be on his way back, with hopes he can return to the team in the next week or two. It will still be a quick ramp up for him to be ready for the Wales game, especially with limited playing time available for Crystal Palace.

Matt Turner and Josh Sargent both missed their teams games this week with injuries, but they are both reported to be minor and shouldn’t affect their status for the World Cup.

In more positive news, the American influenced Leeds United pulled off the biggest upset of the weekend in the English Premier League, beating Liverpool in their storied home stadium of Anfield. Both Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams started for Leeds and helped get a huge victory for coach Jesse Marsch, who had come under pressure after a poor streak from the team.

Aaronson played a part in the 4th minute goal that put Leeds on the front foot. The American attacker lost the ball in the Liverpool end, but immediately applied heavy pressure to Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, forcing him into an ill-advised pass back to the keeper that was intercepted by Leeds and scored on an empty net. Aaronson nearly doubled the lead later in the half when he got on the end of a hard cross and hit a well struck volley that pinged off the crossbar.

The former Philadelphia Union player was a nuisance to Liverpool all night, clearly frustrating their defenders. He finished 20 of 25 passing while picking up 4 ball recoveries. Tyler Adams had a solid game as well patrolling the midfield. Adams was 32 of 44 passing and did a good job pushing the ball forward through the Liverpool defense, with 11 passes into the final third. He also did the dirty work defensively, collecting 12 ball recoveries and winning 5 of his 8 duels.

The win pulls Leeds out of the relegation battle and gives them a chance to get on firm footing with some winnable games before the World Cup break.

The other Premier League team with multiple Americans got a decent result, with Fulham drawing 0-0 against Everton and keeping themselves near the top of the table. Both Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream had positive performances in the game. Robinson was voted Man of the Match by the Fulham fans, with most of their attacking moves coming through him down the left wing. He had several dangerous crosses that his teammates weren’t able to make the most of. With injury concerns at center back for the US, one has to wonder if Berhalter will consider calling Ream back into the team for the World Cup.

There were seven American players who got on the field in the penultimate round of the Champions League group stage. Gio Reyna had the top performance of the contingent, continuing to impress in his return from injury. He was one of the most dangerous players on the field for Borussia Dortmund in their 0-0 draw with Manchester City. He created several good chances and set up what should have been a go ahead goal early in the second half with a beautiful chipped ball to the back post that was squandered. Most importantly for the US, he finished the game healthy.

Christian Pulisic also had a good outing in the Champions League, helping Chelsea get a 2-1 win over Salzburg. Pulisic went 23 of 29 passing and created two good chances, the second of which was an assist on the game winning goal. The American star took off on a nice dribbling run at the top of the box, drawing in three defenders and then slipping a pass to an open Kai Havertz who hit a nice strike for a goal. Pulisic started again over the weekend in a 4-1 loss to Brighton, but was not as effective in that game.

Weston McKennie also had a positive impact for Juventus in the Champions League, despite losing 4-3 to Benfica. McKennie scored a late goal to cut the lead to one, pouncing on a rebound in the box and directing it in with a good left footed shot. He was so-so in the rest of the game, but has been on a good streak for his club after a slow start to the season.

Cameron Carter-Vickers had an up and down performance in Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk. The American center back captained Celtic in the game and was solid on the ball, completing 100% of his 103 passes as they dominated possession. He did have a couple shaky defensive moments however, misjudging a few tackles that led to chances for the opposition.

James Sands and Malik Tillman both started for Rangers in their 3-0 loss to Napoli. Sands was mostly anonymous while Tillman had a few nice moments on the ball but couldn’t finish any of his chances. Josh Cohen also started and had a rough day in goal for Maccabi Haifa in their 7-2 loss to Paris St. Germain.

A few other notable performances from the weekend included Tim Weah getting his first start of the season for Lille in a big game against Lyon. Weah looks like he is back to full health, showing his speed to get behind the defensive line a few times.

Mark McKenzie started for Belgian leaders Genk in a 3-1 win over KV Mechelen. There was good and bad for McKenzie, with several nice stops but also a poor giveaway that led to the only Mechelen goal. He could be a key figure for the US if Chris Richards is not fit in time for the World Cup.

Erik Palmer-Brown started at center back for Troyes in a tough 4-3 loss to Paris St. Germain. Against the best attacking line in the world, Palmer-Brown held his own and had a decent game despite the scoreline.

Finally, the MLS playoffs continued with the two conference final matchups on Sunday. First off, it was Los Angeles FC hosting Austin FC, with the California club coming out with a dominant 3-0 victory. LAFC got a first half goal from Chico Arango off a header and then tacked on two more in the second half, while suffocating Austin’s attack in the process. They were led by a strong effort from star attacker Carlos Vela, who assisted the first goal.

In the Eastern Conference it was the Philadelphia Union hosting reigning MLS Cup champions New York City FC. The Union also won in a fairly dominant performance, coming out on top 3-1 after giving up the first goal early in the second half.

Attacker Julian Carranza led the way with a goal and an assist, and teenage American prospect Jack McGlynn pitched in with a nice cross-field pass to help set up the final insurance goal. For the Union this was a redemptive win after they lost to NYCFC at the same stage last season, largely due to missing many of their starters with Covid. The win sets up a showdown of the two top regular season teams in the MLS Cup Final.

LAFC and Philadelphia both finished the season with 67 points, winning their respective conferences and posting huge advantages in goal differential as well. The Final represents a clash in team building philosophies, with the Union built more through youth development and LAFC featuring more high profile acquisitions like Carlos Vela and Giorgio Chiellini. The pair should provide a high quality and entertaining final next weekend.

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countdown to the world cup - 20 days to go


Team Profiles –

20 - Poland

Group: C

How they Qualified: 2nd Place in UEFA Group, Beat Sweden in Playoff

Best World Cup Finish: 3rd Place - 1974, 1982

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $333M (23rd)

FIFA Rank: 26

Odds to Win Group: +400

Odds to Advance: -110


Key Players:

Robert Lewandowski - Striker - Barcelona (Spain La Liga)

Piotr Zielinski - Midfielder - Napoli (Italy Serie A)

Wojciech Szczęsny - Goalie - Juventus (Italy Serie A)


Playing Style –

Poland’s most common formation in their recent games has been a 3-4-2-1 with Lewandowski leading the line and Zielinski occupying one of the two attacking midfield spots behind him. Against weaker opponents, Poland has preferred to work the ball with possession to try to find cracks and get Lewandowski looks on goal.

They were slightly above average in UEFA qualifying, averaging 61% possession. They were able to use that possession to generate good chances, finishing fourth in Big Chances Created throughout the campaign.

They will probably bring that possession based approach in their matches with Mexico and Saudi Arabia, though they may take a more pragmatic approach against Argentina. Either way, they will look to work the ball into Zielinksi to set up chances for one of the best finishers the game has ever seen in Lewandowski.


Get to Know the US Team –

Brenden Aaronson - Forward/Midfielder

Baltimore Doppelganger - Brian Roberts

Brenden Aaronson will be a key attacker for the US in Qatar, whether he starts or comes off the bench. He is having a breakout season in his first year in the English Premier League after working his way up through the Philadelphia Union and Austrian powerhouse RB Salzburg.

Aaronson reminds me of former Oriole Brian Roberts. These players were both homegrown prospects who worked their way through the system to become important pieces of the team. Both have a reputation as scrappy overachievers, proving doubters wrong along the way.

Roberts was drafted 50th overall by the Orioles back in 1999 and gradually worked his way up to become a key member of the early to mid 2000s teams. Aaronson is the best American soccer player to come all the way through the American system. He came up through the Philadelphia Union youth system before bursting onto the MLS scene where he impressed enough to earn a big move to Europe.

Unlike US stars such as Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, and Weston McKennie, who moved to Europe before turning pro, Aaronson proved himself in MLS in order to earn his move. He had many doubters when he made the leap to Europe, but thrived for Salzburg and earned another big leap to the Premier League this season, where he has also impressed.


Players to Watch –

20 - Rafael Leao - Portugal - Forward

The 23 year old AC Milan winger has broken out over the past several seasons and pushed his way into a very talented Portugal team. Leao is a dynamic attacker with a dangerous combination of size, speed and skill.

At 6’2” he is tall for a winger, but he combines that with incredible speed along with tight control and a great finishing touch. He helped lead AC Milan to the Serie A title in the 2021-22 season, where he was named Serie A MVP.

He has carried that momentum over to this season and will enter the World Cup on the top of his game. He will be one of the most exciting attackers to watch at the tournament. The only question is how his skill set will fit in with the deep roster of attacking talent Portugal has on hand. In addition to Leao they feature, Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, Benfica’s Rafa Silva, as well as all-time great Ronaldo, among others.

If Portugal can find the right balance between these talents to make a deep run, Leao could end up one of the stars of the tournament and a contender for the Golden Ball award for best player.


Soccer Terminology 101 –

Form

In soccer parlance, form refers to a player’s recent level of performance. Soccer can at times be similar to baseball, with players having streaky performances and their form ebbing and flowing. It will be a buzzword especially for this World Cup, since players will be coming almost directly from their club teams into the national sides without the usual warm up and preparation period.


countdown to the world cup - 19 days to go


Team Profiles –

19 - Ecuador

Group: A

How they Qualified: 4th Place in CONMEBOL (South America)

Best World Cup Finish: Round of 16 - 2006

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $139M (41st)

FIFA Rank: 44

Odds to Win Group: +500

Odds to Advance: +100


Key Players –

Moises Caicedo - Midfielder - Brighton & Hove Albion (England Premier League)

Pervis Estupinan - Left Back - Brighton & Hove Albion (England Premier League)

Piero Hincapie - Center Back - Bayer Leverkusen (Germany Bundesliga)


Playing Style –

Ecuador’s most common formation is a 4-3-3. During South American qualification they featured a solid defense, conceding the third fewest goals, behind only powers Argentina and Brazil. They achieved this with a balance of pressure and possession, as they did not just sit back in a defensive shell.

La Tricolor finished third in possession won in the opponent's final third, demonstrating their ability to press effectively and they were slightly above average at maintaining possession, keeping the ball 51% of the time. In attack they like to find long balls to their wingers and then look for them to hit crosses into the box.

While they don’t feature a plethora of household names, Ecuador proved they are a formidable team throughout qualifying. Reaching the World Cup from South America is no small feat, as it's arguably the most grueling qualifying campaign in the world. They will be a difficult team to play against and definitely have a chance to get out of a group featuring the host nation along with Netherlands and Senegal.


Get to Know the US Team –

Tim Ream - Center Back

Baltimore Doppelganger - Josh Bynes

The 35 year old veteran center back has had a long winding career path, taking him from the MLS to England, with several stints in the Premier League. He now captains Fulham in the Premier League, becoming a stalwart for them since arriving in 2015. For the US he has been in and out of the roster, valued for his leadership and experience as well as his left-footed passing ability.

He reminds me of Ravens linebacker Josh Bynes. After contributing to the 2012 Super Bowl winning team, Bynes has bounced around the NFL, but has often found his way back to Baltimore. Multiple attempts to replace him with more talented prospects have failed and Bynes has dutifully returned to the fold to provide leadership and savvy.

This could be the same story for Ream, who has fallen down the US depth chart behind younger and more physically gifted options. However, with some ahead of him struggling with poor play or injury concerns, Ream could be called back into the US team to help right the ship in the World Cup.


Players to Watch –

19 - Vinicius Jr. - Brazil - Forward

The Real Madrid winger became a star last year with a breakout season leading them to Champions League and La Liga titles. The Brazilian had some initial struggles when he transferred to Real Madrid with high expectations as a teenager, but at age 22 he has put it all together to blossom into one of the most dangerous attackers in the world.

Last season, along with teammate Karim Benzema, he was one of the top two players in La Liga with 22 goals in all competitions. He delivered in crunch time, scoring the only goal in their 1-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League final. He was named the Champions League Young Player of the Year by UEFA for his efforts.

Vinicius Jr. is part of an embarrassment of riches in the Brazilian attack. While Neymar is likely to be the focal point of other teams, it’s Vinicius Jr. who could be the most difficult part of the group to defend. He thrives when he can attack defenders in space, using his speed and agility to dart past opponents and possessing a great scoring touch around goal. Teams will have to remain conscious of him at all times and ensure they don’t get too committed to the attack, leaving gaps for Vincius Jr. to exploit.


Soccer Terminology 101 –

Set Piece

A set piece refers to a dead ball situation that allows the attacking team to execute a planned play. This could be on a corner kick or on a free kick in the attacking end. These plays have increased importance in international competitions, where teams have less time to prepare for opponents and attacking play is generally less fluid with the ball in play.

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#dmd comments








unitastoberry     November 27
I hope they let Faalele start at O left tackle lets see what he has> Save Merkari for down the road.

CIK     November 27
The Raven’s are not favored by the oddsmakers? I see Balt -3.5. That would make them the favorite…and also make them favored by the oddsmakers. I agree though that the game is tricky…hence the 3.5 point line. I like under 52.5 (-110) Lamar rushing yards. Hoping for a bad hip & sloppy track. But that kind of bet could also be a loser on the 1st play of the game. Gambling makes this watchable. And the TV ratings are popping right now.

Chris in Bel Air     November 27
Ravens will win today. It won't be pretty, again, but like Drew stated, just get another in the win column. I think the Ravens D will again be the star of the game today. It would be great if they can get healthier. Difficult task this time of year.

Drew - Caps are just past the quarter pole for the season. They have 5 wins in their last 16 games and they are only 2 points ahead of Flyers, even with them losing 10 in a row. Any additional thoughts on their performance and probability of turning it around? It looked like they had a little spark with Oshie's return, until they were waxed last night. Also, their former goalies Vanacek and Samsonov are 2nd and 4th in the league respectively for GAA with their new teams. Keumper has been decent and is currently 16th for GAA. I think that is more about the Caps overall defensive play then anything.

thomas     November 27
Likely being out is an issue for the Ravens? Stanley, absolutely, but Likely? Come on man.

But good to see Drew is back with his weekly picks, time to build up the Christmas gift fund!

Can someone tell me which of these picks will be winners so I don't bet the losers? Thanks

Jk     November 26
Was going to say the same thing as Mike C but he posted first.

Mike c.     November 26
By tying England the USA can still win the group. A loss would have meant they couldn't win the group. If you win the group your first opponent is easier in knock out play. The tie was valuable. Maybe you should do better next time.

Hank     November 26
And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining,



What makes it valuable? A loss would have meant the same - win vs Iran and in.



Do better.

Richard     November 26
I am not really a soccer fan. I’ll keep it on for background noise sometimes. For years I’ve been saying there doesn’t need to be more goals in soccer, but more action around the goals. Moving the goals closer together would ensure more action and for those that don’t like 0-0, I think this would create more fun. Thoughts, but not necessarily from the true soccer fan.

Josh     November 26
0-0 draw is pretty boring. Why not play until someone wins?

Delray RICK     November 26
STEVE CAPE....Don't understand 3 hours of 0-0. If we had that infootball NOBODY WOULD WATCH

henry     November 26
Don's Dad is correct, CHC coach admitted the fake was not called by him, some kind of rugby punt but run if you want option. Kid made up his mind to run on his own, ballsy move for sure. Wonder what the coach would think if he had not made a first down?? Also wonder if no one on Loyola side noticed the regular punter was not in the game?

@Dan, if true, makes your comments even more embarrassing lol. But all good, I know we are all focused on online gambling these days, no time to dwell on the past. Hope everyone is aware eventually the free bets will go away lol.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 26
Like I said before, watching soccer is like watching paint dry !!! Change that, watching paint dry is way more exciting !!!

Eric in Gaithersburg     November 26
Jax has better point differential than Tenn. Theyve lost 5 games by 5 pts or less. This was always gonna be a tougher than people realized game. The story of the Jaguars season is major problems in the redzone. This game comes down to Ravens scorching hot defense controlling Etienne and forcing a few turnovers and somebody stepping up on offense to break the 20 pt barrier. Ill guess a Jags win which should guarantee a Ravens victory😜

Dons dad     November 25
I believe Loyola had a time out left on 4th down yesterday. If they would have made the first down they would have called T.O.

Players on CHC told my son after the game the fake punt wasn't called from the sideline, the CHC player did it on his own.

Dan     November 25
To Henry, I didn't go to Calvert Hall, I attended high school in New York.

Richard     November 25
Happy belated Thanksgiving to Drew and everyone else here. I watched the game yesterday and it really left me scratching my head. It was a very good, well played, and exciting game. However, the coaching in the last 5 minutes was weird. A fake punt, from your own 16 on 4th and 18 is crazy(and I mean that in a nice way). Then Loyola drives the field and on 4th and 1 with 11 seconds left, they run a sweep. If the play doesn’t score, it will use the 11 seconds, as the runner got tackled for a loss with 4 seconds left. I understand(kind of) not kicking the fg(no confidence in kicker), but a sweep-strange.

Unitastoberry     November 25
Lou Michaels rip was probably the worst field goal kicker in Baltimore history. He was also a back up defensive tackle. He missed two chip shots in SB 3? Question is was he paid to miss?

Great soccer coverage.

Delray RICK     November 25
STEVE....At least spell the "GREATEST QB IN HISTORY" right.

Steve of Pimlico     November 25
One of my favorite Memorial Stadium Colt memories was a game the Colts were losing 10- 0 to the Packers.Unitus hit Willie Richardson on a slant pattern for a TD against Herb Adderley.XP attemt by Lou Michaels no good.Colts recover inside kick drive down the field.Facing a 4th and 6 can't kick a FG for tie,Unitus drops back to pass,ducks HOFer Willie Davis and scrambles for a first down.Then he hits Richardson again for game winning TD.

D. Schrute     November 25
Re: Breakfast Bytes... North Carolina actually held off the Portland Pilots not the Portland State Vikings who are playing Gonzaga right now in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

henry     November 24
Dan and the CHC crowd on the ones embarrassing themselves, particularly if you are grown men. It's high school football man, time to move on fellas.

Dan     November 24
Love all the griping on Facebook by Loyola peeps.

You lost. You tried hard and lost. Just take the loss the right way and stop embarrassing yourselves.


William     November 24
@John L, you might want to look up record for the entire series genius.

paul     November 24
People like Billy came here running their mouth last year when LB won. Take your "L" like a man this year.

John L.     November 24
Calvert Hall has won 11 of the last 13 Thanksgiving Day games. Maybe the Dons should move to the C Conference.

Billy     November 24
LOL at KC. No man for others with that guy. Or Hal

K.C.     November 24
Allan crying like a Loyola Loser. You weren't crying last year when the refs gave your TE a first down catch on 4th and 14 were you??????



Like Hal said, can't spell "Loyola" without that Thanksgiving Day "L" !!!



Go Hall!!!

Allan     November 24
And CHC faithful need to give thanks to the refs for that gift of a win. Amen.

Hal     November 24
You can't spell Loyola without the "L".

Hahahahahahahaha

lou@palo alto     November 24
yes, Steve--the old City-Poly game. when we were seniors we beat poly 52-6 w Schmoke at QB. I too remember the Unitas pass to Hinton--what a play caller #19 was! Out here, some golf (72 today) and 9 for turkey at 3p--enjoy the peace!!

Unitastoberry     November 24
@Delray/James -Dundalk. That might have been the longest standing ovation in the history of sports from the time the plane with the banner flew over until after the td pass. Incredible moment still jacks me up after 50 years.

JMP     November 24
Where are todays NFL picks? I need new shoes.

henry     November 24
Loyola played in B conf final the Sat before last year's game, stop making excuses lol.

Delray RICK     November 24
UTB..Was there til the end.

Even the dummyin the plane.




James - Dundak     November 24
To Drew & all the other commenters Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Ravens Go Terps

James - Dundak     November 24
@ U2B I was there as well. My memory is a little fuzzy but, was that also the game with the plane flyover pulling the Unitas We Stand banner. That was classic too.

CIK     November 24
What is the scenario if Calvert Hall & Loyola end up meeting in the MIAA title game? Do they play twice?

Steve of Pimlico     November 24
City Poly was always the best game of my youth played at the Stadium at 1pm.Calvert Hall Loyola was the prelim in the morning.

Unitastoberry     November 24
I'm thankful for so much including being able to keep my nickname on DMD. John Unitas is still the best QB to ever play in Baltimore and his last snap on 33rd Street was in 1972. Came off the bench for Marty Domres and hit #33 Eddie Hinton who yaced it in for a td. I was there. Thank you Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank your creator today and every day.

henry     November 23
Roll Dons roll!

Delray RICK     November 23
AGREE with JOSH. To many getting in HOF that weren't GREAT!! THE HOF ISFOR GREATEST...not a good average year. MANNY could but did he do the nasty?

Josh     November 23
Nah…. Rolen is Hall of Vey Good

Stats Nerd     November 23
I'm not sure the NFLPA is considering that this position would have unintended consequences. Well I'm sure they have considered it but it's apparent they don't care. It could more specifically be called the Guaranteed Quarterbacks Contracts. The Salary Cap is the Salary Cap and any decision to guarantee contracts will have downstream effects on other less "valuable" positions.

So it seems like the guaranteed contract push is not necessarily in the best interest of most of the rank and file but rather just the star QBs and maybe a handful of other players. By definition this will mean less money for other players.

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     November 23
I believe SB said pray for us after the Ravens kicked the tires on Kaepernick. The WC coverage has been excellent. Thank you. It’s not a stretch to think the Brazilian team should win it all. They have enough great players to field 2 teams in the WC. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Go Hall.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
@Chris K - thanks for clarifying. I'm in agreement with Drew as well. Just went about my thinking in a less direct way. Unless there is direct evidence of the owners stating their intentions and collaborating with others then this just seems to be a bunch of hot air.

Dirk,Lerxst & Pratt     November 23
Go Hall! Beat Loyola!



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. F inest T hanksgiving D ay to all!

Chris K     November 23
@chris in Bel Air collusion would be all owners agreeing as a group that they won’t offer guaranteed contracts. Each owner individually can make the personal decision to not do it but if they consulted with another owner or more before making the decision then it’s collusion. I agree with Drew that it’ll be nearly impossible to prove unless there is an electronic or paper trail.



Having said all of that, I completely understand why Bisciotti chooses not to speak publicly because every time he does he sticks his foot in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he say something like “we have our own decision making process and don’t compare ourselves to other team’s decisions”. Reminds me of when he said pray for us after attempting to sweep the Ray rice abuse under the rug. I agree with his decision to not speak publicly because he’s not good at it.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
"For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts."

Sorry, I'm a little dense at times but I'm not completely tracking this. Why do the owners have to be nervous? Are they obligated in some way to offer guaranteed contracts? Is it part of collective bargaining? If it is widely accepted as a "bad business practice" then why would anyone, including the players, think it must happen? If the Raiders, for example, had given D Adams $50M / year to sign with them last offseason, does that mean all other teams should overpay for a WR too? Or are they free to make the best decision for their team? Just because all teams make the same business decision, is that collusion?

With this said, another owner will offer a guaranteed contract. Maybe it will be Lamar and the Ravens. Maybe it is Lamar for another team. Maybe it will be Herbert or Burrow when their five years are up. But someone else is going to view player X as the one that will get them to the Super Bowl and they will over-pay. That much I know.

@Stats - thanks for the added info on the diving and EPL. In the end, I'm just not a fan of the flopping.

Unitastoberry     November 23
Little Jimmy only got 1 championship with Manning. Then he let him go and he did it again in Denver despite neck surgery. He's a jack arse of epic proportions. Chemically infused like his dad. Watson the perv changed the demographic in the league. Wrong person to do it with. If I was SB I'd sell now. I hope he doesn't.

TimD in Timonium     November 23
Well, I'll say this about @MFC - he's here commenting Every Single Day.



Kinda like the Cal Ripken of DMD commenters.

Tuesday
November 1, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2990


getting closer to glendale...


There are times when being blunt is good. And there are times when the softer, nicer approach is more suitable.

As it relates to the Roquan Smith acquisition yesterday, here's what I'll say. And I'll be blunt.

If you're complaining about it in any way, shame on you. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. And, by all means, do not ask for an invite to your friend's over-the-top Super Bowl party on February 12 when the Ravens take on (insert team here) in Glendale, Arizona.

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta made a major splash on Monday when he acquired linebacker Roquan Smith from the Bears.

Smith was acquired by the Ravens yesterday for a second round pick and a fifth round pick. Oh, and the Bears are going to continue to pay him most of the money he's owed in 2022. The Ravens will be responsible for $575,000. Chicago will fork over more than $4 million.

Are you still complaining?

Shame on you.

You're talking about one of the best defensive players in all of football. And he's now in Baltimore for the final 9 games of the regular season and the playoffs.

Yes, he's a "rental". That's true. Smith will be free to shop himself in the off-season, although it remains possible that the Ravens could franchise him next year. That is, if they don't use their franchise tag on (*ahem*) another prominent player.

But, sure, it's very possible that Smith does his thing in Baltimore for 9 weeks and then some in January (and February, maybe?) and signs with the Commanders, Broncos, Bengals or Saints this off-season. That could happen, in which case the Ravens would likely receive a 3rd round compensatory pick in exchange for his departure as a free agent.

And? So what?

The Ravens are trying to win now. As in, this season. They're 5-3, in first place in the AFC North, and they have a cupcake schedule remaining. Eric DeCosta looks around and sees the Bears shopping one of the best players in the league and figures, "Let's try to get better defensively so in January when we have to beat the Chiefs and/or Bills, we have the horses on that side of the ball to perhaps take care of those two high-powered offenses."

No one told me, specifically, but I'm fairly certain that's how DeCosta, Harbaugh et al see the Roquan Smith acquisition.

In a moment of truth, the Ravens know their reality. They're likely not beating Kansas City or Buffalo in January in some kind of high-scoring shootout. The Baltimore offense can't hold a candle to what Mahomes and Allen can do with what they have at their disposal.

So if you can't beat those two teams 37-33, how are you going to beat them? 24-21? 26-23? That's the only way I see it happening.

Smith will join with Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo to give the Ravens defense three brand new pieces to finish up the regular season and carry on into the post-season. And if they do meet the Chiefs and/or Bills, their chances of beating those two teams just went up dramatically yesterday with Smith's arrival in Baltimore.

DeCosta's hoping he can cobble together two great defensive performances in January to stymie the likes of Mahomes and Allen. And maybe that's how it will all shake out. There will be people who say "offense wins in the NFL now" and they might be right. But that doesn't mean that defense can win a game on any given Sunday (or Saturday in January).

And the price for that gamble? A second round pick and a fifth round pick. The second round pick is a little hefty for a rental, but you're not talking about just any rental. You're talking about Roquan Smith. He's worth a second round pick every day, rental or not. The fifth round pick? Who cares?

DeCosta's been under the gun for most of the 2022 season, as if he was the one covering Tyreek Hill in week #2 or throwing the ball to the Giants secondary in the fourth quarter a couple of weeks ago.

The on-again/off-again play of Kyle Hamilton has been a favorite topic of DeCosta's critics over the last eight weeks. It also hasn't helped him that the club basically gave up on former first round pick Hollywood Brown last summer. Oh, and Rashod Bateman is hurt. Again. You probably heard about that.

But the Ravens GM bounced back in a big way yesterday with the Smith acquisition. He's the perfect compliment to Patrick Queen and, hopefully, also helps the Baltimore linebacking corps do a better job of harrassing Travis Kelce and Dawson Knox in January.

If Smith's time in purple is limited but it still yields a trip to Glendale next February, the whole thing is a massive win for DeCosta and the Ravens.

A second round pick and a fifth round pick in exchange for going to the Super Bowl?

Sounds like a no brainer. Where do we sign?


We've been unintentionally allowing the mailbag to pile up at #DMD. So we'll throw 5 questions (and answers) into the next four editions, starting with today.

Bryce Kittle asks -- "For your mailbag at Drew's Morning Dish, I'm wondering what you think the U.S. team's chances are in the World Cup this year and then again 2026 when the games are in the U.S.?"

DF says -- "I think a successful World Cup '22 for the U.S. will be to advance out of group play. Once it gets beyond group play into single-elimination, anything can happen. A very successful World Cup '22 would be winning at least one game in the knockout stage of the tournament. Two games? Almost a miracle.

It's tough to make any projections about 2026, but the team should definitely be more seasoned at that point. It remains to be seen how not having to endure the rigors of CONCACAF qualifying will help or hurt the U.S. in '26, but they will certainly be expected to win a game or two in the knockout stage by 2026."


Mark Cantrell asks -- "Rank these five golfers in order of their quality and ability to win a golf tournament. Thanks, Drew! Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Patrick Cantlay."

DF says -- "Holy cow! I don't know where to even start. Koepka's 5th out of those 5. When I say "all he's ever really done is win 4 majors" I'm not trying to denigrate how hard it is to win four majors. But other than the majors, he's just not been all that successful in his career.

The other four are tough to rank, but I'll say Cantlay is 4th. Without a major championship, you just can't put him ahead of the other three guys.

Dustin Johnson is 3rd, mainly because of his age. I think his best days are behind him, but it wouldn't shock me to see him win at least one more major championship someday. At his zenith, four or five years ago, Johnson was playing as well as anyone had played besides Tiger over the last 20 years. He's certainly one of the best drivers of the golf ball in modern history, if nothing else.

I think Justin Thomas is a great player, but if you're making me rank Thomas and Jon Rahm, I'm going with Rahm at this point. It's only by a hair, but I think Rahm is the best player of the five you listed."


Dave P. asks -- "My 16 year old nephew just moved to Columbia from Syracuse, New York and he wants to start taking golf seriously. Is there anything I should stress to him as he starts learning how to play?"

DF says -- "Yes. Establish from the start that golf is an "aim sport". The club face has to propel the ball in whatever direction you decide, whether that's into the fairway, on the green, etc. In order for that to happen correctly, the player has to aim his body and the club at the target in the proper fashion. I've found one of the best aiming tactics to be trying to pick something out on the ground 5-10 feet in front of you, parallel to the target line, and set your body and club in proportion to that "spot" 5-10 feet in front of you.

People don't realize how important proper aim is. Without it, your chances of hitting a good shot greatly diminish."


Sean asks -- "What stock are you putting in the rumors that the O's might be players for Jacob deGrom this off-season?"

DF says -- "Not much, honestly. I know Mike Elias has said they're going to buy some players, but I just don't think deGrom is one of those investments. I could see them going after Trea Turner or Carlos Correa for sure. Maybe Carlos Rodon, too. deGrom is going to command a huge deal. I just don't see the Orioles moving in that direction. But if they sign him, I'm all for it!"


J.L. asks -- "What's the most surprising thing about the NFL season at the halfway point?"

DF says -- "I think a lot of people would say the Giants or Jets, but both of those teams are going to flatten out in the second half of the season for sure. The most surprising thing has to be how Green Bay has totally bottomed out. I mean, they lost to both the Giants and Jets in Green Bay. And then they lost in D.C. Oh, and their schedule is really dicey in the second half of the season. The Packers might only win 7 or 8 games. It's remarkable to have that guy at QB and be an 8-9 team. It's understandable to see Tampa Bay struggle. Brady's 45 years old. But seeing Green Bay lose four straight with Rodgers under center and also be in real danger of missing the playoffs is shocking."

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


weekend soccer report


This week featured a critical round in the Champions League group stage as teams began to punch their tickets for the knockout stage with just one round of games remaining.

Over the weekend there were a couple of big upsets in England, but for the most part, the contenders in each of the top leagues took care of business and the standings remained largely unchanged.

Once again there was a large contingent of Americans in action in the Champions League games. Though it was a quiet weekend for US nationals in Europe, aside from a huge upset from the Leeds contingent. Back stateside, the weekend brought the MLS conference finals, where the top two teams from the regular season won at home to set up an intriguing final.


Key Results Around Europe

Champions League –

It was an eventful week in the Champions League, with the penultimate round of the group stage. On Tuesday, the biggest result came from the showdown between Portuguese club Benfica and Italian giants Juventus.

Benfica continued their strong showing in the tournament, jumping out to a 4-1 lead just after halftime with two goals from attacker Rafa Silva. Juventus fought back and made it interesting, scoring two goals, including a header from American Weston McKennie, but they couldn’t find the equalizer and fell 4-3. The win secured Benfica a spot in the next round and eliminated Juventus.

In the same group, Paris St. Germain secured their spot in the knockouts with a 7-2 demolition of Maccabi Haifa, featuring two goals each from the star trio of Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar. They sit ahead of Benfica on goal differential for the top of the group heading into the final round.

Also last Tuesday, Borussia Dortmund played a great game at home to pull out a 0-0 draw against Manchester City that makes them a virtual lock to advance. Dortmund sat deep and compact defensively to limit space for Erling Haaland to hurt them and the strategy largely worked.

They did concede a second half penalty but keeper Gregor Kobel came up with a huge save to preserve the draw. Gio Reyna started for Dortmund in the game and had a strong performance which we’ll detail in the Americans section.

Chelsea got a close 2-1 win over Salzburg to solidify their place at the top of Group E and secure a spot in the knockout round. RB Leipzig also came up with a big win over Real Madrid, defeating them 3-2 to nearly lock up a knockout round spot.

Wednesday featured two fantastic finishes. In a battle for the top of tightly contested Group D, Tottenham scored a late goal to pull even with Sporting at 1-1, then seemed to have a game winner from Harry Kane in the final seconds, only to have it called off by VAR for offside.

At the same time all that went down, Atletico was fighting to keep their hopes alive, needing a win against Bayer Leverkusen. That game was 2-2 in the final moments when Atletico was awarded a penalty that could give them a win and a chance to advance, but the penalty was saved and the rebound clanged off the bar, ending the game in a draw that saw them eliminated.

The top match of the week between Bayern Munich and Barcelona was rendered irrelevant when Inter Milan beat Viktoria Plzen in the earlier window to secure their knockout spot and eliminate Barcelona. Bayern then dominated a listless Barcelona in a 3-0 win to take the top spot in the group.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Porto blew out Club Brugge 4-0 with two penalty saves from keeper Diogo Costa to clinch a knockout spot. Liverpool also dominated Ajax to get a 3-0 win and remain second in Group A.

In this week’s final round of games, there are only two groups with any drama remaining. Group D is the most exciting, with just two points separating first place Tottenham and fourth place Marseille and all teams alive for the two knockout spots. On Tuesday Tottenham will meet Marseille and simultaneously Sporting will play Eintracht Frankfurt, both a point behind Tottenham, with everything to play for.

On Wednesday, Group E will take center stage with AC Milan and Salzburg going head to head for the second spot behind group leaders Chelsea. AC Milan sit on 7 points, one ahead of Salzburg, so a draw will be good enough for Milan to secure advancement while Salzburg will need to get a win to grab the spot.


England –

The top two in the Premier League held firm with Arsenal taking apart Nottingham Forest with ease in a 5-0 drubbing. Second place Manchester City got a close 1-0 win over an improving Leicester City thanks to a masterful free kick goal from Kevin De Bruyne. City was missing star striker Erling Haaland due to a minor injury.

Third place Tottenham remained there with a 3-2 win over Bournemouth featuring a huge second half comeback. Tottenham went down 2-0 at halftime only to fight back in the second half and find an injury time winner from Rodrigo Bentancur.

Newcastle jumped into fourth place with a 4-0 blowout of Aston Villa and Manchester United got a 1-0 win over West Ham on a Marcus Rashford goal to move into fifth.

Chelsea dropped down to 6th place due to an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to coach Graham Potter’s former team, Brighton & Hove Albion. Chelsea was thoroughly dominated, giving up two own goals on the night. American Christian Pulisic got the start for Chelsea.

Finally, Liverpool fell further down the table as American-led Leeds United pulled off a shocking 2-1 upset at Anfield, getting a late goal from winger Crysencio Summerville and a standout performance from keeper Illan Meslier.


Germany –

The Bundesliga featured a dramatic finish that kept first place Union Berlin top of the table. Union came back from a 1-0 halftime deficit to tie the game, then found the game winner on nearly the final play of the game with a header from defender Danilho Doekhi off a corner kick. Americans Jordan Pefok and Joe Scally both started for their respective sides in this one, though neither had a huge impact on the game.

Bayern Munich kept the pressure on the leaders with a 6-2 blowout of Mainz, featuring six different goal scorers. The win keeps them one point behind Union Berlin.

Freiburg won 2-0 over Schalke to stay in third place while Borussia Dortmund got a big win over Eintracht Frankfurt to keep in fourth place. Dortmund was led by an outstanding performance from Jude Bellingham, who scored the game winning goal in the 2-1 victory.


Italy –

In Serie A the top of the table remained intact with Napoli continuing to be unstoppable in a 4-0 win over Sassuolo. They got a hat-trick from striker Victor Osimhen as well as a goal and two assists from “Kvaradona”.

Atalanta got a 2-0 win over Empoli to hold firm in second place and AC Milan remained in third place despite losing 2-1 to Torino. American Sergino Dest came on for the second half of that game and had several nice moments in attack but couldn’t prevent the loss.


Spain –

In Spain the race tightened a bit at the top. Barcelona closed the gap on Real Madrid to one point, pulling out a 1-0 win over Valencia with an injury time goal from Robert Lewandowski. Real Madrid dropped points in a disappointing 1-1 draw with Girona on Sunday.


France –

In Ligue 1, Paris St. Germain moved further ahead at the top, with a closer than expected 4-3 win over Troyes. The leaders went down 2-1 in the first half with Troyes impressing until Leo Messi took over the game.

Messi delivered a laser long range strike to tie the game then picked apart the Troyes defense with a perfectly calibrated pass into the box to set up a Neymar goal. American defender Erik Palmer-Brown started for Troyes and had a decent game against the tough opponent.


Team of the Week

G: Meslier - Leeds United

D: Trippier - Newcastle; Schlotterbeck - Dortmund; A. Silva - Benfica; Carrasco - Atletico Madrid

M: De Bruyne - Man City; Bentancur - Tottenham; Bellingham - Dortmund

F: Gnabry - Bayern Munich; Messi - PSG; Osimhen - Napoli


Player of the Week

Rafa Silva - Benfica

The veteran Portuguese attacker led Benfica to a critical win over Juventus in the Champions League with two outstanding goals. He was a threat all game, connecting on 34 of 38 passes to help secure a knockout spot for this team. Over the weekend he scored again, notching a goal in Benfica’s 5-0 win over Chaves in the Portuguese league that kept them firmly in first place.



Editor's note: We will resume our World Cup previews tomorrow here at #DMD and "double up" to make up for today's (missed) entry.

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#dmd comments








unitastoberry     November 27
I hope they let Faalele start at O left tackle lets see what he has> Save Merkari for down the road.

CIK     November 27
The Raven’s are not favored by the oddsmakers? I see Balt -3.5. That would make them the favorite…and also make them favored by the oddsmakers. I agree though that the game is tricky…hence the 3.5 point line. I like under 52.5 (-110) Lamar rushing yards. Hoping for a bad hip & sloppy track. But that kind of bet could also be a loser on the 1st play of the game. Gambling makes this watchable. And the TV ratings are popping right now.

Chris in Bel Air     November 27
Ravens will win today. It won't be pretty, again, but like Drew stated, just get another in the win column. I think the Ravens D will again be the star of the game today. It would be great if they can get healthier. Difficult task this time of year.

Drew - Caps are just past the quarter pole for the season. They have 5 wins in their last 16 games and they are only 2 points ahead of Flyers, even with them losing 10 in a row. Any additional thoughts on their performance and probability of turning it around? It looked like they had a little spark with Oshie's return, until they were waxed last night. Also, their former goalies Vanacek and Samsonov are 2nd and 4th in the league respectively for GAA with their new teams. Keumper has been decent and is currently 16th for GAA. I think that is more about the Caps overall defensive play then anything.

thomas     November 27
Likely being out is an issue for the Ravens? Stanley, absolutely, but Likely? Come on man.

But good to see Drew is back with his weekly picks, time to build up the Christmas gift fund!

Can someone tell me which of these picks will be winners so I don't bet the losers? Thanks

Jk     November 26
Was going to say the same thing as Mike C but he posted first.

Mike c.     November 26
By tying England the USA can still win the group. A loss would have meant they couldn't win the group. If you win the group your first opponent is easier in knock out play. The tie was valuable. Maybe you should do better next time.

Hank     November 26
And it also earned them a valuable point in the standings with just one game remaining,



What makes it valuable? A loss would have meant the same - win vs Iran and in.



Do better.

Richard     November 26
I am not really a soccer fan. I’ll keep it on for background noise sometimes. For years I’ve been saying there doesn’t need to be more goals in soccer, but more action around the goals. Moving the goals closer together would ensure more action and for those that don’t like 0-0, I think this would create more fun. Thoughts, but not necessarily from the true soccer fan.

Josh     November 26
0-0 draw is pretty boring. Why not play until someone wins?

Delray RICK     November 26
STEVE CAPE....Don't understand 3 hours of 0-0. If we had that infootball NOBODY WOULD WATCH

henry     November 26
Don's Dad is correct, CHC coach admitted the fake was not called by him, some kind of rugby punt but run if you want option. Kid made up his mind to run on his own, ballsy move for sure. Wonder what the coach would think if he had not made a first down?? Also wonder if no one on Loyola side noticed the regular punter was not in the game?

@Dan, if true, makes your comments even more embarrassing lol. But all good, I know we are all focused on online gambling these days, no time to dwell on the past. Hope everyone is aware eventually the free bets will go away lol.

Steve from Cape Coral     November 26
Like I said before, watching soccer is like watching paint dry !!! Change that, watching paint dry is way more exciting !!!

Eric in Gaithersburg     November 26
Jax has better point differential than Tenn. Theyve lost 5 games by 5 pts or less. This was always gonna be a tougher than people realized game. The story of the Jaguars season is major problems in the redzone. This game comes down to Ravens scorching hot defense controlling Etienne and forcing a few turnovers and somebody stepping up on offense to break the 20 pt barrier. Ill guess a Jags win which should guarantee a Ravens victory😜

Dons dad     November 25
I believe Loyola had a time out left on 4th down yesterday. If they would have made the first down they would have called T.O.

Players on CHC told my son after the game the fake punt wasn't called from the sideline, the CHC player did it on his own.

Dan     November 25
To Henry, I didn't go to Calvert Hall, I attended high school in New York.

Richard     November 25
Happy belated Thanksgiving to Drew and everyone else here. I watched the game yesterday and it really left me scratching my head. It was a very good, well played, and exciting game. However, the coaching in the last 5 minutes was weird. A fake punt, from your own 16 on 4th and 18 is crazy(and I mean that in a nice way). Then Loyola drives the field and on 4th and 1 with 11 seconds left, they run a sweep. If the play doesn’t score, it will use the 11 seconds, as the runner got tackled for a loss with 4 seconds left. I understand(kind of) not kicking the fg(no confidence in kicker), but a sweep-strange.

Unitastoberry     November 25
Lou Michaels rip was probably the worst field goal kicker in Baltimore history. He was also a back up defensive tackle. He missed two chip shots in SB 3? Question is was he paid to miss?

Great soccer coverage.

Delray RICK     November 25
STEVE....At least spell the "GREATEST QB IN HISTORY" right.

Steve of Pimlico     November 25
One of my favorite Memorial Stadium Colt memories was a game the Colts were losing 10- 0 to the Packers.Unitus hit Willie Richardson on a slant pattern for a TD against Herb Adderley.XP attemt by Lou Michaels no good.Colts recover inside kick drive down the field.Facing a 4th and 6 can't kick a FG for tie,Unitus drops back to pass,ducks HOFer Willie Davis and scrambles for a first down.Then he hits Richardson again for game winning TD.

D. Schrute     November 25
Re: Breakfast Bytes... North Carolina actually held off the Portland Pilots not the Portland State Vikings who are playing Gonzaga right now in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

henry     November 24
Dan and the CHC crowd on the ones embarrassing themselves, particularly if you are grown men. It's high school football man, time to move on fellas.

Dan     November 24
Love all the griping on Facebook by Loyola peeps.

You lost. You tried hard and lost. Just take the loss the right way and stop embarrassing yourselves.


William     November 24
@John L, you might want to look up record for the entire series genius.

paul     November 24
People like Billy came here running their mouth last year when LB won. Take your "L" like a man this year.

John L.     November 24
Calvert Hall has won 11 of the last 13 Thanksgiving Day games. Maybe the Dons should move to the C Conference.

Billy     November 24
LOL at KC. No man for others with that guy. Or Hal

K.C.     November 24
Allan crying like a Loyola Loser. You weren't crying last year when the refs gave your TE a first down catch on 4th and 14 were you??????



Like Hal said, can't spell "Loyola" without that Thanksgiving Day "L" !!!



Go Hall!!!

Allan     November 24
And CHC faithful need to give thanks to the refs for that gift of a win. Amen.

Hal     November 24
You can't spell Loyola without the "L".

Hahahahahahahaha

lou@palo alto     November 24
yes, Steve--the old City-Poly game. when we were seniors we beat poly 52-6 w Schmoke at QB. I too remember the Unitas pass to Hinton--what a play caller #19 was! Out here, some golf (72 today) and 9 for turkey at 3p--enjoy the peace!!

Unitastoberry     November 24
@Delray/James -Dundalk. That might have been the longest standing ovation in the history of sports from the time the plane with the banner flew over until after the td pass. Incredible moment still jacks me up after 50 years.

JMP     November 24
Where are todays NFL picks? I need new shoes.

henry     November 24
Loyola played in B conf final the Sat before last year's game, stop making excuses lol.

Delray RICK     November 24
UTB..Was there til the end.

Even the dummyin the plane.




James - Dundak     November 24
To Drew & all the other commenters Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Ravens Go Terps

James - Dundak     November 24
@ U2B I was there as well. My memory is a little fuzzy but, was that also the game with the plane flyover pulling the Unitas We Stand banner. That was classic too.

CIK     November 24
What is the scenario if Calvert Hall & Loyola end up meeting in the MIAA title game? Do they play twice?

Steve of Pimlico     November 24
City Poly was always the best game of my youth played at the Stadium at 1pm.Calvert Hall Loyola was the prelim in the morning.

Unitastoberry     November 24
I'm thankful for so much including being able to keep my nickname on DMD. John Unitas is still the best QB to ever play in Baltimore and his last snap on 33rd Street was in 1972. Came off the bench for Marty Domres and hit #33 Eddie Hinton who yaced it in for a td. I was there. Thank you Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank your creator today and every day.

henry     November 23
Roll Dons roll!

Delray RICK     November 23
AGREE with JOSH. To many getting in HOF that weren't GREAT!! THE HOF ISFOR GREATEST...not a good average year. MANNY could but did he do the nasty?

Josh     November 23
Nah…. Rolen is Hall of Vey Good

Stats Nerd     November 23
I'm not sure the NFLPA is considering that this position would have unintended consequences. Well I'm sure they have considered it but it's apparent they don't care. It could more specifically be called the Guaranteed Quarterbacks Contracts. The Salary Cap is the Salary Cap and any decision to guarantee contracts will have downstream effects on other less "valuable" positions.

So it seems like the guaranteed contract push is not necessarily in the best interest of most of the rank and file but rather just the star QBs and maybe a handful of other players. By definition this will mean less money for other players.

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     November 23
I believe SB said pray for us after the Ravens kicked the tires on Kaepernick. The WC coverage has been excellent. Thank you. It’s not a stretch to think the Brazilian team should win it all. They have enough great players to field 2 teams in the WC. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Go Hall.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
@Chris K - thanks for clarifying. I'm in agreement with Drew as well. Just went about my thinking in a less direct way. Unless there is direct evidence of the owners stating their intentions and collaborating with others then this just seems to be a bunch of hot air.

Dirk,Lerxst & Pratt     November 23
Go Hall! Beat Loyola!



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. F inest T hanksgiving D ay to all!

Chris K     November 23
@chris in Bel Air collusion would be all owners agreeing as a group that they won’t offer guaranteed contracts. Each owner individually can make the personal decision to not do it but if they consulted with another owner or more before making the decision then it’s collusion. I agree with Drew that it’ll be nearly impossible to prove unless there is an electronic or paper trail.



Having said all of that, I completely understand why Bisciotti chooses not to speak publicly because every time he does he sticks his foot in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he say something like “we have our own decision making process and don’t compare ourselves to other team’s decisions”. Reminds me of when he said pray for us after attempting to sweep the Ray rice abuse under the rug. I agree with his decision to not speak publicly because he’s not good at it.

Chris in Bel Air     November 23
"For now, though, I'm guessing the NFLPA just wants to make the owners nervous and let them know it's becoming more and more obvious that they're collectively not offering fully guaranteed contracts."

Sorry, I'm a little dense at times but I'm not completely tracking this. Why do the owners have to be nervous? Are they obligated in some way to offer guaranteed contracts? Is it part of collective bargaining? If it is widely accepted as a "bad business practice" then why would anyone, including the players, think it must happen? If the Raiders, for example, had given D Adams $50M / year to sign with them last offseason, does that mean all other teams should overpay for a WR too? Or are they free to make the best decision for their team? Just because all teams make the same business decision, is that collusion?

With this said, another owner will offer a guaranteed contract. Maybe it will be Lamar and the Ravens. Maybe it is Lamar for another team. Maybe it will be Herbert or Burrow when their five years are up. But someone else is going to view player X as the one that will get them to the Super Bowl and they will over-pay. That much I know.

@Stats - thanks for the added info on the diving and EPL. In the end, I'm just not a fan of the flopping.

Unitastoberry     November 23
Little Jimmy only got 1 championship with Manning. Then he let him go and he did it again in Denver despite neck surgery. He's a jack arse of epic proportions. Chemically infused like his dad. Watson the perv changed the demographic in the league. Wrong person to do it with. If I was SB I'd sell now. I hope he doesn't.

TimD in Timonium     November 23
Well, I'll say this about @MFC - he's here commenting Every Single Day.



Kinda like the Cal Ripken of DMD commenters.

Monday
October 31, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2989


monday stuff


This is going to be a banner Monday here at #DMD.

We have a top 10 list.*

And a Q&A mailbag.*

Any top 10 list of logos in the NFL starts with this one -- the Houston Texans.

I'd rank the NFL helmets, too, but we sorta-kinda did that yesterday. I certainly don't want to participate in overkill.

With no Ravens to report on from yesterday, we have to be a little creative in these parts. I wouldn't want any of you to think we were coasting or anything like that.

Speaking of "no Ravens", there's no game next Sunday, either, because the Ravens next play on Monday, November 7 at New Orleans.

And so, next Sunday, I'll be hosting the 12-3 pm slot at 105.7 The Fan. What's on tap? I haven't thought that through yet, but I'm sure we'll preview Ravens/Saints and we'll follow along with the 1 pm games that are played while I'm on the air.

I also plan on previewing the MIAA Boys Soccer final, which will take place next Sunday night at 5 pm at UMBC. The teams for the championship game won't be decided until this Thursday, but I hope to have both coaches on the show on Sunday to preview that evening's game.

You probably remember I hosted a golf show on 105.7 from April through August, which I very much enjoyed. But it's been a long time since I've done actual "sports talk" on my own. I'm excited to get back in there and give it a whirl.

As I've said a number of times over the last few years, I don't really have any interest in doing daily radio any longer. But these one-off kind of invites where I can do 3 or 4 hours a couple of times a month? I'm all in, if my schedule allows for it.


It's been incredibly fascinating listening to talk radio thus far in this Ravens season. My unofficial listener's poll is that 75% of the people who call in and voice their thoughts and/or opinion believe they're capable of coaching football equal to or better than the likes of John Harbaugh, Greg Roman and Mike Macdonald.

Maybe it's just the crazies who stay on hold and eventually get through on the air. Perhaps the reasonable folks don't bother calling in. But the more I listen, the more I realize how nuts people are when it comes to critiquing and evaluating coaching.

This place, of course, is also a slice of the same football community. You come here to provide your opinion on the things that are written about at #DMD. For the most part, I consider a large segment of the contributions in the comments section to be cogent and of sound mind. There are some trolls here, obviously, just like there are on the radio. You know who they are. They're not all that hard to identify.

But a 5-3 season sparks all kinds of discourse. In some ways, it's the media garden spot. If the team is really good, no one has anything negative to say. If the team is really bad, people disconnect quickly and don't follow it closely enough to offer their opinions. It's when you're around the .500 mark, or when you lose a few you shouldn't, where the commentary flows freely.

Perhaps that's why there's been so much fire on the radio over the last eight weeks. Everyone pretty much thinks they can do it better, whether that's the show hosts, the guests who call in, or the listeners who wait on hold for their chance to tell the city how much Greg Roman stinks or John Harbaugh needs to go.

I remember the moment I realized I had no idea what football was all about.

It was the 2006 season. I remember specifically the story I'm about to tell involved a home game against the Atlanta Falcons. A number of the on-air guys from the old radio station were invited by Ravens linebackers coach Mike Pettine to visit the facility in the evening and basically "sit in" on Pettine's game preparation for that week's game vs. the Falcons.

We got there at 5 pm. He had pizza in his office, waiting for us. We left at 10:30 pm. My head was spinning as I drove out of 1 Winning Drive.

Pettine took us through every imaginable piece of the game plan he could. We didn't sign any kind of document, but we all gave a pledge of honor that we'd repeat nothing on the air that he shared with us about the defensive game plan or how he and the rest of the defensive coaches were going to stymie Michael Vick on Sunday.

When I got to the facility, I thought -- on a scale of 1-to-10 -- I might have been a "5" in terms of actually "knowing football".

When I left, I realized I was a "1". And that was being gracious. What Pettine showed us all that night is that we might have thought we knew the ins and outs of it all, but we really didn't.

I remember, at one point, Pettine had game film of a number of defensive formations utilized by other NFL teams against Vick and said to us, "They had the right thought and right game plan...but not the right personnel. We have the right personnel to stop Vick this Sunday."

And stop them they did. Vick went 11-for-21 for 127 yards and the Ravens won easily, 24-10.

It was on that night in Owings Mills, though, where I realized the coaches all forgot more about football while they were sitting on the commode each morning then you and I will ever know.


That doesn't mean we can't offer an opinion. I built this website specifically so you have a forum for your opinion, in fact.

Heck, I've said on several occasions this year that I think Harbaugh and his staff have mistakenly gone for it when they shouldn't have or something of that nature. But I generally don't dive much deeper into coaching decisions, game plans, schemes, etc. because I know, from my own coaching experience, that 95% of the people who are offering their opinion or idea have no real idea what's going on within the team.

You watch the game for 3 hours and think that's the story. That's actually about 20% of the story. The rest of the story involves injuries you don't know about, family strife you don't know about, a contract dilemma you don't know about, locker room tension you don't know about and a game plan you don't know about.

A couple of weeks ago, Twitter lit up in anger when John Harbaugh dodged a question about Mark Andrews and his potential availability for a game due to some kind of injury.

When Harbaugh refused to discuss it, maniacs flipped out and criticzed the coach for "not being honest".

Anyone calling out the head coach of a football team for not openly discussing injuries proves once and for all that he/she has no idea how sports really works.

Why on earth would you EVER give the opposing team any kind of information they might be able to use to help them prepare to beat you?

I bring this up, again, to simply offer a gentle reminder that coaching NFL players and teams is high-level chess. And nearly every single one of us -- at least those of us willing to admit it -- are fairly decent at checkers in comparison.

But we wouldn't know a rook from a knight.

And that's the truth.




Note: * Indicates there really isn't a Top 10 list today or a Q&A Mailbag. I couldn't handle all the crying about it, so I scrapped those two ideas.

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around the league


Broncos 21 - Jaguars 17 -- Another thriller in Europe. These games across the pond are just as useless as the ones they play on Thursday night. The Jags have completely belly-flopped in 2022. Denver, meanwhile, improved to 3-5, but they might only win two or three more games the rest of the way. I'm sure they're thrilled at all that money they gave to Russell Wilson.

Falcons 37 - Panthers 34 OT -- Neither team deserved to win this game. Carolina scored the game-tying TD with 12 seconds left but goofy D.J. Moore took his helmet off during the TD celebration and the ensuing 15-yard penalty turned the extra point into a 49 yarder and the kicker missed it. The Carolina kicker then "Cundiff'd" a 32-yarder in OT that you, me and your Uncle Wayne might have been able to make. And the Falcons then hit the game-winner from 41 yards out to take over first place in the NFC South at 4-4.

Tua and the Dolphins trailed the Lions by 14 points yesterday, but they mounted yet another impressive road comeback to improve to 5-3 on the season.

Cowboys 49 - Bears 29 -- Dallas ran for 200 yards and didn't have Zeke Elliott. The Bears got 151 yards of passing from Justin Fields. That was a nice draft pick, eh? I wouldn't count the Cowboys out of the NFC East just yet. I'd count the Bears out of everything.

Dolphins 31 - Lions 27 -- Tua and the Miami offense did it again. This time, they were trailing Detroit 21-7 early in the second quarter and 27-17 at the half, but they came back with two TD's in the third quarter and held on from there to win. The win puts Miami at 5-3 and firmly in the playoff race. Let's hope that miracle win in Baltimore earlier this season doesn't somehow wind up mattering when playoff spots are handed out.

Vikings 34 - Cardinals 26 -- Minnesota's 6-1. With Kirk Cousins at QB. Crazy, right? Sure, their schedule gets a little tougher over the next month. Next week at D.C., then at Buffalo, home vs. Dallas, home vs. New England, home vs. NY Jets. If they win 3 of those 5, they'll be 9-3 with 5 games remaining. In other words, the Vikings are going to the playoffs. Arizona? They're going to the golf course in January.

Saints 24 - Raiders 0 -- This one was the surprise of the day. Not that the Saints won. But that Las Vegas basically mailed it in. Las Vegas ran for 38 yards. Not in the first quarter. Not in the first half. The. entire. game. That's how you lose 24-0. I haven't thought much about the Saints-Ravens game next Monday night other than to say it won't be a cakewalk for John Harbaugh's team. New Orleans isn't a "terrible" team, despite their 3-5 record.

Patriots 22 - Jets 17 -- The NFL in a nutshell: Patriots host Bears on a Monday night and get run out of the gym. Six days later they go to New York and beat what appears to be a pretty OK Jets team. You go ahead and figure it out. Mac Jones couldn't do anything right on Monday night vs. the Bears. He went 24 of 35 yesterday (albeit only for 195 yards) against a Jets team with a good defense. You understand it? Me neither.

Eagles 35 - Steelers 13 -- You have an extra shovel I can borrow? Why, you ask? To throw more dirt on the Steelers and their 2022 season. As the great Jim Morrison once said: "This is the end...my only friend, the end." Pittsburgh is now 2-6 and moving in the direction of a 5-12 season -- if they're lucky. Such a shame, huh? The Eagles, meanwhile, are now 7-0. I don't see them going undefeated or anything crazy like that, but their schedule is fairly light. Barring any major injuries, they're a 14-3 team, it would appear. Did I mention the Steelers are D-O-N-E? I didn't? Well...the Steelers are done. It's hilarious.

Titans 17 - Texans 10 -- OK, here's what Malik Willis did at QB yesterday. He threw 10 passes. Total. He completed 6 of them. For 55 yards, total. His QB rating for the game was 35.4. 6 of 10 passing for 55 yards. And he was the winning quarterback. Derrick Henry ran for 219 yards and the Titans as an offense ran for 314. I guess it's safe to say the Texans aren't all that solid defending the run, huh?

Commanders 17 - Colts 16 -- The battle of guys you didn't think would be quarterbacking on October 30 went to the Commanders, as Taylor Heinicke outdueled someone named Sam Ehlinger. This one tells you more about Indy than the D.C. team. The Colts are lousy. The Commanders probably are, too, but they were less lousy yesterday.

49'ers 31 - Rams 14 -- The post-Super-Bowl-hangover continues for the Rams, as they lose at home to the 49'ers. Jimmy G was solid for San Fran, going 21 of 25 for 235 yards and a QB rating of 132.5. Christian McCaffrey rushed for 94 yards while the Rams total rush yardage for the day was 56. The NFC West is the 49'ers division to win at this point, despite their 4-4 record compared to Seattle's 5-3 mark.

Seahawks 27 - Giants 13 -- The bloom is off the Giants' rose, much to no one's surprise. I still don't think Seattle's really any good, but 5-3 is 5-3. Geno Smith had another good day for Pete Carroll's team, going 23 of 34 for 212 yards and a QB rating of 104.0. The Giants are now 6-2. That's 6 of the 9 wins they'll have at the end of the season.

Bills 27 - Packers 17 -- It wasn't quite the bloodbath we expected nor was it the shootout NBC had hoped for, but the team we all thought would win, won. Buffalo is just really, really good. Maybe the best team in all of football. And Green Bay...is just circling the drain at this point, which is hard to believe given who plays QB for them. Imagine if the Bills wore their old 1970's helmets all the time -- the one with the "grazing" buffalo -- instead of their current one. They'd NEVER lose.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


countdown to the world cup -- 21 days to go


Team Profiles –

21 - Mexico

Group: C

How they Qualified: Second Place in CONCACAF

Best World Cup Finish: Quarterfinals - 1970 & 1986

Transfermarkt Roster Value: $241M (24th)

FIFA Rank: 13

Odds to Win Group: +450

Odds to Advance: -120


Key Players –

Edson Alvarez - Midfielder - Ajax (Dutch Eredivisie)

Hirving Lozano - Forward - Napoli (Italy Serie A)

Raul Jimenez - Striker - Wolverhampton (England Premier League)


Playing Style –

An opponent US fans are very familiar with, Mexico plays a style heavy on possession and pressing. They led all teams in CONCACAF qualifying with a 61.3% possession rate and were the third most effective pressing team. They normally line up in a 4-3-3 formation and look to attack through their dangerous winger combination.

Unfortunately for them, it looks like they’ll be missing one of those two starting wingers, with Jesus Corona doubtful to make it back from an injury in time for the World Cup. The still have Napoli attacker Hirving Lozano on the other side and are hopeful that top striker Raul Jimenez will recover from his injury in time to make an impact.

Though they finished second in CONCACAF qualifying, the campaign did not meet their normal expectations and they struggled against the top teams, failing to win any of the four games against the USA and Canada. Their back line will get a severe test in Qatar against two all-time great attackers in Leo Messi and Robert Lewandowski.


Get to Know the US Team –

Josh Sargent - Striker

Baltimore Doppelganger - Jake Arietta

Josh Sargent has had an interesting trajectory with the US national team. He emerged as a top prospect for the future with outstanding performances for the youth teams and quickly integrated into the senior team as a teenager. Around the same time he got an exciting move to the German Bundesliga to play for Werder Bremen.

Unfortunately, the move to Bremen didn’t work out as well as hoped and his development stagnated. At the beginning of the qualifying cycle for the US it was presumed Sargent would be the starting striker, but another poor club season after a move to the English Premier League saw him fall out of the US team entirely.

However, like former Orioles prospect Jake Arietta, Sargent was able to revive his career with a move to a new league. Norwich City moved down to the English second division this season allo