Wednesday
October 5, 2022
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#2963


next year this time


Six years ago yesterday, the Orioles last played in the post-season.

You might remember it by these two words: Zack Britton.

Actually, four words better sum up that 5-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in the A.L. wild card game: Zack Britton didn't pitch.

There...now you remember it.

Buck Showalter will be best remembered as a guy who showed up here during the darkest days and helped the O's make three playoff appearances in five seasons. But no one will ever forget that Showalter fell asleep in the dugout on that Tuesday night in Toronto and left Ubaldo-freakin'-Jimenez in the game to pitch to Edwin Encarnacion -- while Britton, the team's best pitcher, wasted away in the dugout listening to Rush's "Moving Pictures" album on his headphones.

This time next year, you'll be seeing the sweet swing of Adley Rutschman in the playoffs.

Encarnacion homered into the left field seats to give the Blue Jays the 5-2 win. The Orioles haven't been back to the playoffs since then.

I'm pleased to report to you this morning that the six-year absence of playoff baseball will end next season. Yes, the Orioles will play post-season baseball in 2023. You can make book on that one, my friend.

When the dust settles tomorrow and the regular season ends, the '22 edition of the O's will miss the post-season by five or six games, depending on whether the Jays, Mariners, Rays and Orioles all wind up playing out the entirety of the schedule. Six games out of 162 is nothing, basically. Sure, every team can say that. But the fact remains the O's will miss the playoffs by a whisker in 2022.

They won't miss the playoffs next year.

There are rumors starting to waft through the streets of Baltimore that Mike Elias has his eyes on two soon-to-be-free-agents; shortstop Dansby Swanson (Braves) and left-handed starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (Giants). Either of those guys would be a nice addition. Swanson is high quality player and a significant offensive upgrade over Jorge Mateo. Rodon would give the O's the left-handed starter they need and serve as the top-of-the-rotation guy they haven't had in -- forever, it seems.

Add those two to the returning roster and you're in 95 win territory, particularly given the changing schedule in 2023. A full season of Rutschman and Gunnar? Feels like 95 wins to me.

Oh, and speaking of Rutschman, he was named the team's Most Valuable Player on Monday. That's quite a feat for a guy who didn't even show up in Baltimore until May.

While I will agree that Adley was "the most valuable" Oriole, I don't think he had the best season of anyone on the roster. That honor goes to Anthony Santander, who hit a career-high 33 home runs with 24 doubles and 89 RBI. It's only a "slight distinction" between "MVP" and "Best Season", but there you have it. When Rutschman showed up, the pitching improved and the team won more games than they lost.

But by anyone's standards, Santander had a breakout season. The only slight blemish was his .243 batting average. But consider this: 12 more hits and he'd be a .265 hitter. In other words, one more hit EVERY OTHER WEEK and he'd be a .265 hitter with 33 home runs and 24 doubles.

Back to the 2023 season and the Orioles' return to the playoffs.

The Yankees will be a tough out again next season. It's likely they won't lose Aaron Judge. Harrison Bader will become their full-time centerfielder. They might need to find themselves a new, real closer, but they'll get one. Their starting pitching is solid. They'll probably scoop up a key free agent in the off-season, too, just for kicks.

Toronto will be good in 2023. Their injury riddled squad still managed to get into the post-season this year and it's reasonable to assume they'll add a free agent or two this winter.

Tampa Bay? They never go away. You can go ahead and say "next year they won't be any good" at your own peril, because every year we say those words and the Rays wind up playing in October once again.

Boston won't be a divison doormat for long. Whether they sign a few quality pitchers and get themselves straightened out in 2023 is the big question. They'll need a new DH bat to replace the (likely) departed J.D. Martinez. But they're the Red Sox. They won't stay in last place.

But the Orioles??? They'll be playing post-season baseball this time next year. 2016 will be nothing but a memory on October 5, 2023 when the O's are beating someone 6-2 in Game 1 of the playoffs.


Two other cool things happened in baseball last night; Aaron Judge hit his record breaking 62nd home run of the year and Justin Verlander capped off what will be a Cy Young season by not allowing a hit in five innings and striking out 10 in Houston's win over Philadelphia.

For Judge, the record breaking home run came in the Yankees' 161st game of the season. He tied the record a week ago in Toronto, then didn't homer again until last night in the first inning of a doubleheader nightcap in Texas.

The swing that broke the record. Aaron Judge homers here to set the all-time American League record with his 62nd of the '22 season.

The home run makes Judge not only the single-season record holder for the Yankees, but also gives him the all-time American League record, previously held by Roger Maris.

Because we Americans will argue about anything, there have been people the last week or so trying to make a case for Judge's 62 home runs being the "all time single season record" because of the steroids/PED speculation surrounding Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, each of whom hit more than 62 home runs in a season.

Bonds, of course, holds the record with 73 home runs in a season.

Like I wrote above, we'll argue about anything. But in this case, there is no argument. Bonds is the all-time single season leader with 73 home runs. That he likely accomplished that while on the juice is neither here nor there. That McGwire and Sosa were both loaded up on steroids isn't something we can factor in.

What can not be argued is that no one in the history of the American League has hit more home runs in a single season than Judge, who will eventually be named the A.L. MVP for the 2022 season. It will be interesting to see if next year's balanced schedule helps Judge or hurts him in his (assumed) quest to hit 74 home runs and pass Bonds and his record.

As I wrote on Twitter last night in the aftermath of Judge hitting #62, I've always thought he was a good man and a good representative of a sport that doesn't produce many of them. If someone not on the Orioles was going to hit 62 home runs and received the fan fare and adulation that goes with breaking the Maris record, I have no issue at all with that man being Aaron Judge.

He seems humble and grounded and even took a few seconds last night to to thank God for his ability. It always warms my heart to hear someone, in a moment of personal glory, instead turn the spotlight on God. "I couldn't have done any of this without the power of God and the abilities he has given me in my life," Judge said last night.

His Twitter bio includes the quote: "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

God gave us all certain abilities we use in our every day lives. Some of those we might take for granted, but there's no doubt that God is the one who put us here. Aaron Judge used his God given abilities to do something last night that no one in the history of the American League has ever done before.


As for Justin Verlander, his performance in Houston last night was the cake-topper on a remarkable return from Tommy John surgery at age 37. He finished the '22 regular season at 18-4, with a 1.75 ERA and incredible 0.83 WHIP in 28 starts.

Verlander was going to the Hall of Fame before he did what he did this season. Now, the only question is whether or not he'll get to Cooperstown the first time he's listed on the ballot.

In an era where 250 wins is like 300 in the old days, Verlander now owns 244 career wins. His lifetime ERA is 3.24 and he's pitched every inning of his career in the American League. Unlike some veterans, who opt for a few years of luxury pitching in the National League, Verlander has only pitched in Detroit and Houston.

His 21-6 season in Houston in 2019 was outstanding, but the ERA that season (2.58) was almost a run higher than the 1.75 ERA he posted in 2022.

At age 39, Verlander's '22 campaign was his Mona Lisa. He struck out 185 batters and walked just 29. He made 28 starts in the 2022 season and, get this, allowed 1 or 0 earned runs in 20 of them. He allowed more than 3 earned runs in a game twice...all season.

It's likely he'll return in '23 for one more season, either in a quest to reach 250 wins or just because this past season was such a breeze, he figures "why not?". And the money is good as well.

Oh, and get this: Verlander has a 2-year deal with the Astros that he can opt out of after this winter. Would Mike Elias throw a crazy $40 million offer at the Cy Young winner to get him to Baltimore next season?


There's an ugly, ugly story hitting the headlines this week about the National Women's Soccer League and the behavior of three coaches and their organizations.

We don't do much "linking" here, but this story has been expertly followed by the nation's best soccer writer, Jeff Carlisle of ESPN, so we encourage you to read it here.

Warning: If you have a daughter -- athlete or not -- you won't like what you read. The conduct of the three male coaches was beyond awful and the cooperation (or, unfortunately, lack thereof) of the organizations who were aware of the inappropriate behavior is just as hard to stomach.

We're a country that generally considers women's sports to be second-tier. Female athletes have always received less pay, fewer endorsements and reduced quality of working conditions. Part of the argument lodged recently by the women's national soccer team has helped to erase some of that, but it still stands to reason that in the U.S., it's men's sports first, women's sports second.

Male soccer coaches creating inappropriate work conditions with female players doesn't do anything at all to advance the aspirations of women being treated equally both on and off the field.

I happen to know two men who spent time coaching in the NWSL. Neither of them were involved in the story by Jeff Carlisle, I'm happy to report, but one of them made an interesting observation to me yesterday during a text exchange.

"It stinks for those of us (men) who did it the right way, because what's probably going to wind up happening in women's soccer down the road is that most schools or pro teams will lean heavily towards hiring only females to coach women's teams," he said. "It might wind up costing a lot of job opportunities. And I understand why. But it's a shame."

What goes unsaid there, of course, is that women soccer coaches are capable of creating hostile or inappropriate work conditions as well. But their track record isn't anywhere near as dark and shady as the men who were part of the NWSL fallout you read above.

So perhaps my coaching friend is right. Male soccer coaches might see their opportunities dwindle over the next decade as college and pro teams shy away from them in favor of female coaches.

The report by former U.S. deputy attorney Sally Yates that documented the behavior and the cover-up by NWSL teams was extremely disturbing. It's 2022. We need to be better. In this case, specifically, the coaches and teams needed to be much, much better.

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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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With the roster more or less determined after we saw who was called in to the last two games for the US, I’m scrapping the positional focus in this section and returning to just general highlights from the week.

Several USMNT starters shook off the dismal international performances and helped their clubs to wins over the weekend. Weston McKennie started at right midfield for Juventus in a 3-0 win over Bologna. It was a decent outing for McKennie, who provided a nice assist on the second goal, overlapping down the wing and hitting a curling cross to the back post that found Dusan Vlahovic for a headed goal. The US midfielder wasn’t on the ball a ton in the game, but he completed 19 of 25 passes and helped Juventus get back on track with a comfortable win.

Christian Pulisic did not start for Chelsea against Crystal Palace, but he came off the bench late in the game with the score tied and helped deliver the decisive moment. With the game tied 1-1, Pulisic got the ball on the wing and drove toward the box, beating a couple defenders then laying a pass off to Connor Gallagher, who made space and hit an outstanding strike into the top corner. The goal gave Chelsea the lead they preserved to get the win.

Ricardo Pepi continued to ingratiate himself to his new team in the Netherlands. He scored the only goal for Groningen in their 4-1 loss to first place AZ Alkmaar. Pepi made a nice effort to chase down a long ball into the box, then win a physical battle with the defender and finally hit a decent strike to beat the keeper while on the ground to complete the goal. He was also active in building attacks, completing 17 of 20 passes in the game.

Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson helped Leeds United pull out a tough 0-0 draw with Aston Villa. Leeds was down a man for the entire second half after winger Luis Sinisterra was sent off with a red card. Adams had a great effort to lead the defense, picking up 6 ball recoveries and covering a ton of ground in the middle of the field. Adams was voted player of the game by Leeds fans for his effort.

Aaronson had a quieter day, doing some good defensive work but not finding the ball very much on the shorthanded side. He had just 31 touches, but did nearly score a game winning goal when he almost poked in a rebounded shot late in the second half.

In the second division in England, Josh Sargent had another strong game for second place Norwich City in a 1-0 win over Blackpool. Sargent was 18 of 23 passing and created two chances while winning 8 of his 10 duels. He nearly had a goal when he hit a hard shot past the keeper but it was cleared off the line by a defender.

In MLS, starting center back Walker Zimmerman had a strong game for Nashville despite losing 2-1 to Houston. Zimmerman scored the only goal of the game for Nashville with a well placed header off a corner kick. He was 36 of 47 passing, getting the ball into the attack with 10 passes into the final third. He was strong in the air, winning 5 of 6 aerial duels.

In France, one potential partner for Zimmerman, Erik Palmer-Brown had a solid return for Troyes in a 2-2 draw with Rennes. He had a good day passing the ball, hitting on 60 of 67 and creating two chances. Palmer-Brown was 5 of 8 on long balls and had 11 passes into the final third to go along with 7 ball recoveries and a perfect 5 of 5 duels. After the last window it appears he is a few slots down on the depth chart, so he’ll need to continue to perform well for Troyes to keep his name on the US radar.

Finally, some other good news from France came with Tim Weah making the gameday squad for Lille on Sunday. Though Weah didn’t get any minutes, it's a great sign that he is back in the team after missing the entire beginning of the season with an injury. The US really needs Weah’s dynamic attacking ability on the right side in the World Cup.

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     October 05
I gave up on Dem O's years ago for a multitude of great reasons so I have no dog in the fight. But I did laugh out loud over someone claiming the O's a playoff team next year absent the knowledge of their roster or schedule. Especially when the same person told everyone for the last two months they'd make the playoffs this year knowing the roster and schedule. I'm wrong so rarely I can't remember what it felt like but if I remember correct the proper response after being wrong for two months running would be some humility. Not doubling down on predictions. But around here the SOD has a one day memory so you can tell them just about anything day in and day out and they forget how wrong you can be fresh the next morning.

Jason M     October 05
Not to mention the competition, but Mike Preston dropped a pretty big hint that Nick Boyle is done in his column today. The fact that he has not sniffed the 53 man roster yet this season would seem to bear that out. If that is so, we have lost one of the most effective run blocking tight ends that we've ever had. We have missed him on short yardage situations, and our tight ends not wearing 89 haven't done much of note so far. We'll see Hurst on Sunday, miss that guy, I'm sure Lamar does too.

unitastoberry     October 05
When is the court date for Angelos Vs Angelos?

Chris in Bel Air     October 05
O's definitely need another arm and a bat or two. Big bonus if some of the players performing in the minors (Westburg, Cowser, etc) are able to be contributors too. I know he can't hit but I like Mateo. Fielding, speed and energy are good for the team. It's been several years but we have an actual O's off-season coming up and carrying some sense of optimism. Heading down to the Yard now to take in the last game.

Delray RICK     October 05
ERIC...Hope you are right bout MATEO. Stolen base leader in AMERICAN LEAGUE. GREAT fielder like BELANGER.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 05
Drew putting his jinx out a year early. Just a reminder - White Sox were a lock to win the Central Os were a lock to win 60 or so games. I dont believe the Swanson rumors. Os officials have been whispering to LaConfora for months that Mateo is locked in at SS. Hopefully his baseball sources are as bad as his Ravens sources. Plenty of quality pitchers available by trade per Athletic - Burnes Snell Bieber Singer to name a few. I still say return of Means and G Rod makes our bottom 10 offense the bigger priority but ill gladly take a top arm too

TC     October 05
Swanson would be a perfect free agency target, except he's from Kennesaw, Georgia. There'd probably have to be a premium paid to get him out of Atlanta, and he is the only one of their infielders not locked up long-term.

HERMAN     October 05
It's pretty sad when you have to google the PGATour website to see if there is even a tour stop this week, or where they are. It would make perfect sense for the Tour to partner with LIV and allow them to take over what used to be called "the silly season", and operate in conjunction with the Tour. And 54 holes ending on Saturday would dovetail nicely as they wouldn't have to compete with the monster that is the NFL.

Like pro baseball the Tour needs to shorten the over-all season and make each individual tournament more meaningful. As it is everyone gets jazzed for the majors and maybe one or two more stops, past that interest seems to wane. It's possible that the Tour could end a month earlier or so, give up late Summer and Fall to LIV and have the truncated format and field, together with changes of team play, atmosphere and design create a new and different interest and audience in this new "season". These past few weeks I've been checking Tour results over the weekend, couldn't recognize more than one name in ten on the leaderboard. If the Tour had yielded to LIV for the Fall of course you'd know the leaderboard of names. To continue battling is in no one's interest.


Delray RICK     October 05
Hope DREW is right because DEM O'S have to face the 3 menaces in their division and they DEFINITELY need better bats and hitters above .260 mark. DEM O'S pitching staff an't going to make it with this group. PLEASE move the wall BACK.

Nathan Aparisto     October 04
I just heard the despicable rumor that Gisele was unfaithful to the greatest quarterback to ever live by cheating on him with Antonio Brown.



If this is true, Tom Brady should sue her for every last penny!

Erick     October 04
So Ravens were predicted to win- they lose. We state - Bills are good if not great- we are cast as doubting thomas…and…..”dont get it”…..now they lose, people vent and its more predictions of victories….of games not yet played!

vernon     October 04
These guys who think Drew is taking "veiled" shots at Herman are hilarious. If true, then it sure is clear who is the one living rent free lol

Larry     October 04
Drew's subtle but clever jab at Herman today was pretty funny. All part of the game..................

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy Yup that is good analysis. I would lean over on that 36 number but they play a hell of a lot of games this season (even without him playing WC) Obv an injury can happen at any time. I remember getting so frustrated by Sterling and now this guy is just silly good. He's so big and fast...just an animal

Dan noonan     October 04
Who are these people getting all pumped up about "Drew schooling Herman"? Must be that SOD gang I hear about often. Must be like a special dog whistle only those guys can hear, I see no roasting or calling out of one individual here today. the childish "rent free" crowd is awake today that is for sure.

Don't agree with all the talking points re: the Ravens game, but it was indeed a nice calm summary and not at all like what the #BP guy or the FM guys do on the radio. In that sense, DMD is schooling 105.7 and 1570!


TimD in Timonium     October 04
Not only does @Herman survive the brutal Florida hurricane, he jumps back into the fray with his A-Game still intact.



"who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status."



LOL. Bravo, sir, well-played.


Chris     October 04
DF roasting Herman is why I come to DMD every day!

HERMAN     October 04
I didn't Make that last post. I never do anything I have to apologize for so I never apologize.

Randy     October 04
@Stats Nerd

Great question, I'm going to use some geek speak to make a projection, I think you'll appreciate that. So far Haaland has 14 goals in 8 games, but he only has 7.6 xG (expected goals). So he has been scoring at a better rate than expected, however he's consistently produced about 3-5 goals above expectation in his career.



For Dortmund in the Bundesliga he average about 1 goal/game when healthy. Now the EPL is a higher competition level, but also Man City produced 2.14 xG last year to just 1.6 for Dortmund, so he should have more scoring opportunities this year.



So if we expect his luck to even out a little bit and him to stay around 1 g/g of xG, that would put him around 40 goals for the season. The biggest caveat is that he did miss time in both the last two Dortmund seasons with injuries. So I'll deduct 10% for injury risk (just pulled a number) and that lands us on.....



36.



I swear I didn't do that on purpose.



If I were to bet, I'd take the over. Haaland is going to get a big rest midseason since Norway isn't in the World Cup, so that should reduce the injury risk. They also may give him all the penalty kick chances if he's chasing a record and look to feed him towards the end of the season if they run away with the title.

Chris in Bel Air     October 04
The Yankee fans meltdown over the weekend was comical. Did they expect the O's to just throw 85 mph meatballs to him? That's not being entitled at all. For the record, Judge walked 5 times but he was also 1 for 7 with 6 Ks. He had his chances and couldn't connect. Sorry fans. I also like Judge. He seems to be a "good guy" and would take him on the O's any day. But I certainly didn't want to see the O's give up the 62nd HR and certainly found the Yankee whining to be laughable.

Herman     October 04
I will admit I definitely go above and beyond occasionally on the site owner but he brings out the worst in me for whatever reason. Ask my friends, I'm normally not nearly as angry as I come across here at the site. The site owner just gets under my skin for some reason.

Jason M     October 04
Like DF said in his recap, if you think the bad decision lost them the game, you don't know football. They lost that game a 100 ways in the second half. Harbaugh did his part to contribute, but so did many others.

J.R.     October 04
LMAO at @DF taking a swipe @Herman like that.

unitastoberry     October 04
@ Steve of Pimlico I bet Mad Dog had the better tackle on the fan in Baltimore. I don't get ESPN did the announcers bring up Mikes forearm shot on the drunk in Baltimore on TV? I was there too. Mike was a HOFer I don't care what the NFLHOF thinks or Dion. Ask Mike Singletary about Mike Curtis....he will put you all straight.

Pratt     October 04
Herman, why shouldn't Drew single you out? You single him out every day here. Talk about rent free in someone's head, you can't go a day without referencing him. So tell us again why he shouldn't single you out. You're a first rate prick and you know it.

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy What line would you set as an O/U for Haaland goals this season? The number in the UK betting lines seems to be 36-ish. Assuming he stays healthy I suspect he gets there fairly easily

HERMAN     October 04
@RC

You don't really believe the site owner penned that line for just one random commenter do you? I mean, I know I set up full residency in his caddy lawyers head based on his childish response he penned here in the comments last week. The one who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status. But the site owner wouldn't take aim at just one simple commenter. Especially not one who could potentially help him take this site to Barstool heights singlehandedly. In his new Country Club world he has to be above that.

Steve of Pimlico     October 04
Mike Curtis would have been proud of the Ram player for decking that num nut who ran on the field last night with the smoking device.I was actually at that game back in the day.

Tim D     October 04
Ravens Recap - well said Drew.

Kevin     October 04
When Drew starts making more coaching sense than the actual football coach in town, I think we know what that means. And I'm saying that with no disrespect to Drew. It's actually a compliment.

Albert c     October 04
Lamar is a QB and he got to throw the ball, how is that not letting Lamar be Lamar?

MFC     October 04
I turned to watch a bit of the O's last night, if there was 800 people in the stands I'd be shocked. I did get to see some great fan interaction by our stadium ushers.

Two fans, looked like husband and wife, walk down and sit in the front two seats to the right of the screen behind home plate. It's the 7'th inning. It's miserable, rain pouring down. Well it didn't take 45 seconds before our usher is seen walking down the steps and our fan faithful asked to relocate to their seats. I literally laughed out loud, why? Ok, they didn't pay for those seats but the weather is horrible, there's no one in the stadium to speak of, it's the 7'th inning. Why can't you just look the other way at that point. In fact why not take a proactive position and tell the crowd to sit where they want. If you're one that would get upset because you "paid" for the best seat you need to get over it. Say thanks to the 800 people that braved the conditions to support the team.



It's a shame that during that sequence at the goal line we really didn't let Lamar be Lamar. One of the top offensive players in the game and we don't let him win it. I did not remember that Roman was the OC for the 49'ers in the SB. Wow, good memory by the site owner. That explains a lot.



Saw a stat that's incredible. Judge has struck out 167 times this year. Tony Gwynn didn't strike out that much in the 90's. How great was Gwynn.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw Tucker 2 weeks ago put Ravens up 38-35 and watched Avg QB march right down the field and win. Why she he trust this D vs Allen???

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw two weeks ago Tucker give Ravens 38-35 lead late only to watch Avg QB march right down the field. Why in Gods name should he trust this D vs Allen???

Frank     October 04
Love Harbs - but I think he missed an opportunity by not taking blame for the call and saying he should have kicked the FG. Now that he is sticking to his decision, it puts the blame on execution and players - where otherwise he could have taken it all himself.... take a bullet for your team!

David Rosenfeld     October 04
You said: "But they're now playing from behind, where their play calling has to be a smidgen more carefully planned and their execution has to be spot-on."

John said: The exact opposite of that!

Paraphrasing: A team that is behind in that situation is going to play more aggressively, not less. They will be willing to use all 4 downs in a way they might not if they are too close to their end zone, etc.

It's interesting. From a fan perspective, it's a liability for Buffalo that they would be "forced" to use all 4 downs. From the analytic perspective, it might be an advantage.

Just a discussion. Reiterating that I would have kicked the FG...


RC     October 04
DF throwing shade at Herman with the "ocean breeze erodes your brain". Hilarious.

Kenny G     October 04
While Drew touched on the statistical analysis a bit, I will take it a step further. My problem with the analytics is what factors are considered. Are the stats influenced by going against a strong defense or weak? Good run defense? At home vs on the road? In rain, on turf, etc? Which quarter? You can probably think of several more. Additionally there needs to be a feel for the tempo of the actual game. If its a 35-32 game or a 10-3 game in the fourth quarter - is that factored in? Maybe the matchup does not favor going for it?

Butch (aka Big Fat Daddy)     October 04
George: The Orioles game was called and made an "Official" game due to weather. By MLB rule - a game can be Official after 4 and 1/2 innings - if ended by the Crew Chief. Now what really happened was the Umps, the league office and both Managers went into the tunnel and agreed to end the game. It was terrible weather for a baseball game. No need to play and get any player or players hurt. The Blue Jays have playoff games coming up and the Orioles have next season.

Delray RICK     October 04
The RAVENS have won games they shouldn't have and lost games...whatever. what goes around comes around.

HERMAN     October 04
Counting chickens before they hatch. A 12-5 prediction, predicated on looking at the future schedule. Sure. This team, as is presently constituted, without potential injuries, and with the current coaching braintrust is going to win one they should lose and lose a few they should win. A 12 win prediction is best-case scenario and about as reliable as all those columns with "Dem O's are going to the playoffs, this year, I believe".

Right now with this roster the Ravens are a mid-level mediocre team who can shine on any given Sunday or just mess the bed with a fourth quarter meltdown against another mediocre team. They are no 12 win team.

Baltimore fans are closer to Cleveland fans than I thought, they both show up expecting the "best case scenario" despite all prior evidence to the contrary. Then whine over a play, a call, some small detail within a game that derails their vision of the mind.

Smalltimore; Cleveland of the Chesapeake.

George     October 04
Have searched the Internet diligently but can't find an explanation of how the Orioles game ended after 7.5 innings. Can anyone enlighten? Thanks.

larry     October 04
Oweh almost made a great play, it was clear Singletary was not going to go into the end zone but give himself up at the one. Oweh got the ball loose but not out. Ball comes out and Ravens recover, all the sudden Oweh is a genius.

Also FG with 4 minutes less hardly puts pressure on Bills. Now I would have kicked it anyway, but let's not act like kicking the FG means they are 3-1, the D still would have had to make plays. Given the chance to do so at 20-20, they did not.

Chris in Bel Air     October 03
Agree with many posts here on Drew's recap. Good summary. Also agree with @ MFC on the refs. The Ravens did not lose because of the refs but they were certainly another obstacle to overcome. The seemingly random application of the rules within a game and per week is difficult to watch at times. I will also add that it was not a good day for many first-round draft picks. Certainly Lamar didn't have his best day. Bateman with a couple drops and then was injured. Linderbaum with 2 false starts. Queen exerting lots of energy but didn't seem to make a tackle when it mattered most. Queen sometimes plays like a 5 year old playing soccer for the first time - chasing the pile around the field but not making much of a difference. Oweh had the sack and forced fumble but also was badly fooled on Allen's TD run and did not keep the edge. Of course, plenty to question with Harbs too. Not a good day at all as a team. On a more positive note, I thought JPP did fairly well for just coming off the street. Dobbins also looked pretty good. I thought he made something out of nothing on a couple runs and turned small gains into a more substantial gains a few times. He will be a big boost to the offense if he stays healthy. In addition, the remaining Ravens schedule doesn't look to be very daunting at all. Plenty of season left... Of course, that is all based on the Ravens team I expect to see. Not the one that has only figured out how to play for 2 quarters.

MFC     October 03
The site owner unpacked it really well this morning, except he meant snowangels instead of snowballs but that's nitpicking a really good recap. Nothing much to add that's not already "unpacked".



I will say something about NFL refs, they're BS. I watched last night night as Mahonnes made the exact same play as Lamar running oob's, almost scary how similar. He gets the first down spot. Lamar doesn't and we have to lose a TO because they upheld the BS call on the challenge. Andrews OPI was BS and the roughing the passer. They're needs to be an overhaul and some type of new review. Consistency is paramount to reffing and they're anything but.

HERMAN     October 03
Man I wish there was some way to invest in the NFL. I'm not talking about betting, I'm talking ownership. For the common man. Because with fans like those in Baltimore it's a pure growth industry. They somehow convince themselves that their completely mediocre franchise is one of the best in the league despite all evidence. You fans are "all-in". Past Lamar they have not a player that excites, that just makes plays, who can perform and change the game. The coach is serviceable but flawed, the coordinators as mediocre as the team.

This phenomenon actually extends to all sports in Baltimore. These same commenters wailing about the loss are the ones like the site owner who just believed and believed that the low payroll O's were going to the playoffs. They don't make fish hooks big enough I'm telling ya. And this is how gullible they are, after months of either being told Dem O's were going to the playoffs, or being given betting advice, when it all disappears they move on, no need to examine how wrong one can be. Look over here at this new shiny thing, pay no attention to that old shiny thing. Oh it wasn't the 4TH down call, it was the whole second half. No, it was the bad penalty for hitting the quarterback. No it was that retread O coordinator.

Maybe it's just as simple as your expectations being ridiculous. As ridiculous as Dem O's making the playoffs this year. You can't invest emotion into a Harbaugh coached team. You're destined for disappointment.

Alas only one man can invest in Baltimore football. No wonder he is a billionaire. Fish in a barrel.


Such     October 03
I was never very good at math, let alone things like Algebra and Trigonometry and Calculus and "Advanced Metrics", but I do know that 23>20 and 3>0. I would rather play with a 3 point lead than try and fend off that Bills offense in a tie game with 4 minutes remaining.

And 3-1 > 2-2. Oh well.

Jason M     October 03
It's a real slap in the face to the Ravens faithful who geared up and sat through the remnants of a damn hurricane, shouting down the Bills Mafia who travelled well, only to watch the Ravens do their best impersonation of a pack of choking dogs. 5 straight at home people, this is unacceptable. I see the other team adjusting at half time, where are our adjustments? Or do we make them and they just make things worse? How can it be that we are good enough to run up a lead, but not good enough to hold it?

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 03
Not a doubt in my mind if Lamar throws for a TD there Allen ties it and wins in OT. Thats what Ravens have been since 2014 blowing 2 TD lead in NE. 4th and 17 vs Cincy. Choking as a 14-2 seed. 5 straight home games blowing 4th Q leads. Russell street report said it best ...fact that majority of fanbase at halftime up 10 at home expected to lose shows you this franchise has deep issues.

Daveinlutherville     October 03
Frank: bless you for your confidence. I don’t think most people think this is anywhere near a 12-5 team, but we shall see.

Tuesday
October 4, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2962


odds and ends


"Fire the coach!"

"The NFL is out to get the Ravens."

"Greg Roman's the worst."

"Three years in and Patrick Queen hasn't improved one bit."

John Harbaugh and the Ravens are under the gun in Baltimore after a 2nd straight home loss in 2022.

"When is DeCosta going to be held accountable for all of his bad drafts?"

"Lamar had the game in hand in the 4th quarter and couldn't get it done."

"When's Bisciotti going to wise up and get rid of these coaches?"

Well........

Did I leave anything out?

Those were the main comments I heard over and over on Monday. The aftermath of that loss to the Bills was never going to be anything other than ugly, of course. But everyone got hammered yesterday. Everyone.

Because it's a week-to-week league, all the Ravens need to do this Sunday to help stitch up the wounds from last Sunday's loss to the Bills is ----- beat the Bengals. That's it. That's all. A win to move to 3-2 and everything's back on track.

Until the next loss, that is.

You can read it in the comments here if you don't catch it on the radio or see it elsewhere on the internet. There are some people -- in all of those places -- who understand how sports works.

There are others, though, who just don't get it. Maybe it's the scorching Maryland heat or the cool ocean breeze that erodes people's brains. Whatever the case, folks who claim they know sports are the first ones to howl at the moon about losing football games, as if somehow we're entitled to a perfect season and a Super Bowl title every season.

This is what happens annually, not only in Baltimore but probably 20 other cities in the country. When the team wins, everything's great. When the team loses, everyone should be fired or cut.

It's as predictable as the sun rising in the East every morning.

The good news is the Ravens will beat the Bengals this Sunday, the Giants the following Sunday and the Browns on October 23 in Baltimore. That will get the team to 5-2 and all will be well with the world.

Until the next loss, whenever that might be.

In reality, the Ravens schedule for the rest of '22 is of the cupcake variety. Carolina, Atlanta, Denver, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh (twice). There's six wins right there, to go with the two they already have and the three they're about to accumulate in the next three weeks. They should be able to get to 12 wins providing everyone that matters stays healthy.

Of course, even a 12-5 record and a playoff spot won't be nearly good enough. A loss in the first round and the haters will surface once again. A loss in the second round and the haters will still be there. It's like American Idol. Only one person is really happy at the end of it all.

If the Ravens don't get to the Super Bowl, the knives will come out.

As for you, pick a side. Join with the critics and haters and sit around every week waiting and even awkwardly hoping for a loss so you can scream to the masses about how the coach is terrible, the quarterback can't get it done in crunch time, the offensive coordinator stinks and the NFL never gives us a fair shake.

Or you can try to stay sane about it all and understand that crushing losses, playoff defeats and falling short yet again are all part of sports. Only one team is happy at the end of the season. Try to remember that if you decide to rest among the sane.


Speaking of the head coach and how much grief he took on Monday, John Harbaugh doubled down during his weekly press conference and reiterated how he felt like going for it on 4th and 2 on Sunday was the prudent decision, despite the eventual outcome.

I get that Harbaugh wasn't going to stand up there yesterday and say, "You know, now I definitely realize it was wrong to go for it and I have to admit it stupid of us to do that." There's just no way the head coach was going to say that to the media on Monday.

But going for it on 4th and 2 on Sunday was the wrong call.

I understand the statistical history favored the 4th and 2 decision. But wait...

What was the statistical history when a team was tied 20-20 and went for it on 4th and 2 and failed to get it?

And what was the statistical history when the team that went for it on 4th and 2 threw an interception in the end zone?

In other words...when evaluating "data", do you just evaluate the data of the two most probable outcomes? "OK, if we kick a field goal here, what are our chances of winning?" And, "If we go for it here and score a touchdown, what are our chances of winning?"

Those two outcomes should be factored, yes.

But what about the others? What if you don't get it? What if you throw an interception? What happens then?

And I certainly appreciate that Harbaugh is apparently not afraid of any short yardage situation. "Coaching scared" is a recipe for being unemployed, in any sport. Harbs isn't afraid to take a chance. I get it. And most times, I like it.

But there are times when you have to take what the game (or the opponent) has given you. You can't just say "we're a team that goes for it in these situations" every single time you decide to eschew the safe play for the dangerous one. The Ravens have turned into that team, I'd say.

If it's 4th and 1 or 4th and 2, they're going for it. Fair enough. But you're gonna get burned on occasion.

I'll continue to go back to this issue when deciding if going for it on 4th and 2 was the right decision.

If Harbaugh elects to kick the field goal to make it 23-20, the Bills get the ball back on the ensuing kick off and have four minutes to tie or take the lead. But they're now playing from behind, where their play calling has to be a smidgen more carefully planned and their execution has to be spot-on.

At 20-20, they don't have that same pressure. If they get to, say, their own 48 yard line and the drive stalls, they simply punt the ball away with a minute remaining (assumed) and the game likely goes to overtime.

But trailing 23-20, they don't have that same luxury. If they get to the 48 and it's 4th and 4, they're going to have to go for it there. And maybe they convert, maybe they don't. But every play when you're down 23-20 has game-ending implications attached to it, unlike when you're tied 20-20.

The entire sequence on 4th and 2 was totally about the score of the game. You kick the field goal, take the lead, and hope your defense can get a stop.

If you think about it, isn't that what you do every time your defense takes the field? You hope they can make a stop, somehow, and keep the other team from scoring.

Well, that's what the Ravens would have needed in the final four minutes on Sunday had they taken the lead. One defensive stop.

Would you rather your defense need to make one defensive stop ahead 23-20 or tied 20-20?

If you said "20-20", you're drinking more than your Royal Farms coffee this morning.

Taking the points and going up 23-20 was the answer on Sunday.

That Harbaugh let either his analytical staffers or Lamar Jackson talk him into going for it on 4th and 2 is totally on him. At some point, the coach has to know better.

And let me say, as I did on Monday, that going for it on 4th and 2 wasn't the only reason the Ravens lost to the Bills. It was a key part of the outcome, sure. But it certainly wasn't the only reason.


And now, from the Q&A mailbag:

Matt asks -- "What did you think about the New York media people criticizing the Orioles for the way they pitched to Aaron Judge over the weekend?"

DF says -- "I think they're mostly insane. The Orioles didn't treat Judge any differently on September 30 as they did on May 30 or July 30. Now, if they wouldn't have thrown him a strike last weekend and pitched around him just so he didn't hit a home run off of them, that would have been bush league for sure. But that's not what they did at all. They threw to him the way the game, at the time, dictated they should throw to him. On Sunday, in particular, they couldn't afford to put him on because the game was close. He had a number of chances and good pitches to look at on Sunday and didn't get the job done.

I get it. Everyone wanted to see him hit #62 in New York. And I totally understand that. But I didn't see the Orioles doing anything "wrong" or "cowardly" all weekend. They pitched to him the same way they would have pitched to him in late June."


B.O. asks -- "The current Steelers win total for '22 is 6.5. I'm thinking of wagering on it. They're 1-3. Can they get to 7 wins? I don't think they can. What do you think?"

DF says -- "Well, here's their schedule. At Buffalo, vs. Tampa Bay, at Miami, at Philadelphia, vs. New Orleans, vs. Cincinnati, at Indianapolis, at Atlanta, vs. Baltimore, at Carolina, vs. Las Vegas, at Baltimore, vs. Cleveland. You tell me how they're going to go 6-7 in those 13 games. Answer: They can't. They're a 5 or 6 win team, max. I don't see any way they get to 7."


Rick Geiler asks -- "Hearing any rumblings about the Orioles making a managerial move or will Hyde be back in '23?"

DF says -- "They're gonna fire the guy who managed them to an 82 (or more) win season? After they lost 100 games the year before? If they did that they would be some cruel-hearted people. I realize Hyde's a polarizing figure in town but it's a results-oriented business and he get results in '22. There's no chance they're firing him this off-season."


Mark P. asks -- "I'm a bit of a golf beginner and had two questions for you after watching the PGA golf last weekend. The announcers kept referring to shots by saying "stock 7 iron" or "stock 8 iron" and they also mentioned on numerous occasions that a player would "short side himself". Definitions of those terms? Thank you."

DF says -- "Welcome to golf, Mark! I hope you have a great experience with it! A "stock 7 iron" (or "stock" anything) is simply the standard yardage for that club you're hitting. It means you don't have to hit it a little harder (to get more yards out of it) or any easier (to take yards off). If you hit your 7-iron 150 yards and you have a 149 yard shot to the green, you'd be hitting a "stock" 7 iron from there. It's just another way of saying "normal" or "standard".

If the pin is on the left side of the green and you hit your approach shot to the left side of the green, you're not giving yourself much room to land the ball on the green for your next shot. Hence, you've "short sided" yourself. You would much rather have a longer chip shot into the green...from the right side, instead of the left. The left side might be "shorter", distance wise, but you don't have much room. "Short sided" is the term used when you've hit it too close to the pin in the rough."

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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 recap


The European leagues resumed this weekend after a short break for international games. The English Premier League had a couple of high profile matchups that resulted in some separation at the top of the title race. Italy’s title race remained congested at the top with a handful of teams bunched together. Barcelona gained some ground in Spain and Paris St. Germain continued to dominate in France. Bayern got back on track in the Bundesliga in their return from the break.

American players returned to their clubs and looked to shake off the poor performances with the USMNT. Several found more success with their clubs, helping them to get on the scoreboard. The US got a promising sign when a key player from qualifying returned to his club from a season-long injury.

Key Results Around Europe

England –

The Premier League returned with two headliner “derby” games this weekend. In the capital, it was the North London Derby between first place Arsenal and third place Tottenham. Arsenal went up early on a beautiful long range, curling shot from midfielder Thomas Partey. Tottenham answered midway through the first half with a Harry Kane penalty kick.

Erling Haaland now has 14 goals on the season after scoring two more last weekend against Manchester United in a 6-3 win.

In the second half Arsenal went back on top when Gabriel Jesus pounced on a rebound off a Bukayo Saka shot and directed it past the keeper. Shortly after, Tottenham right back Emerson Royal was sent off with a red card, tilting the game heavily in Arsenal’s favor. They took advantage of the extra man, with Granit Xhaka scoring on a shot in the box that provided the insurance goal in a 3-1 win. With the win, Arsenal held their spot at the top of the standings.

On Sunday, the Manchester Derby took center stage with Man City and Manchester United facing off. This one was lopsided from the start, as City jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.

Erling Haaland and Phil Foden scored two goals each in the first half, en route to dual hat-tricks. Kevin De Bruyne was outstanding as well, providing two assists as the blue half of Manchester came away with a 6-3 destruction of the red side to remain one point behind Arsenal for the top of the league.

Man City and Arsenal got some separation at the top of the table as well, with Liverpool dropping points in a 3-3 draw against Brighton, to fall all the way down to 9th place, 11 points off the leaders.


Italy –

Serie A remained congested near the top after the weekend. Napoli beat Torino 3-1 with two goals from midfielder Andre-Frank Anguissa and a goal from winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia to remain top of the standings. Atalanta stayed tied with Napoli, pulling out a hard fought 1-0 win over Fiorentina despite managing just 38% possession in the game.

Udinese continued to surprisingly hang in third place just a point behind with a 2-1 win over Hellas Verona. AC Milan and Lazio both got wins to hold their tie in fourth place, three points off the top. Milan won 3-1 over Empoli in a crazy ending that featured three injury time goals.

Empoli tied the game at 1-1 from a free kick in the first minutes of injury time, then Milan answered back with a goal right from the ensuing kickoff. Rafael Leao put the game away with a breakaway goal and classy chip over the keeper in the final seconds.

American Sergino Dest subbed on for the final 20 minutes of the game at right back for AC Milan and helped create one chance with a clearance out of the box. He completed all 7 passes in his cameo.

More importantly he entered due to an injury to starting right back Davide Calabria, who is now expected to miss the rest of the calendar year. This provides Dest with a chance to accumulate some high leverage minutes before the World Cup.

Lazio downed Spezia in a dominant 4-0 win, getting two more goals from star Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Further down the table, Roma defeated Inter Milan with a dramatic late game header from center back Chris Smalling to hold in 6th place. The loss dropped Inter Milan all the way down to 9th, 8 points behind the leaders.


Germany –

Bayern Munich got back on track in the return from the international break. They blew away Bayer Leverkusen on Friday in a 4-0 win. Teenage prodigy Jamal Musiala led the way with a goal and two assists as the perennial champions look to regain their footing in the league.

The win moved them closer to the top as leaders Union Berlin lost to Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1. Bayern stayed in third place, behind second place Freiburg who beat Mainz 2-1.

Borussia Dortmund missed the opportunity to jump into first place, suffering a 3-2 loss to Koln while missing multiple starters to injury. American Gio Reyna missed the game with the injury that forced him out of the US game against Saudi Arabia, but he is reported to only be out for a few days.


Spain –

The race tightened in La Liga as Barcleona got a 1-0 win over Mallorca thanks to another goal from league leader Robert Lewandowski. The win vaulted them into a tie at the top of the standings with Real Madrid, who dropped points in a 1-1 draw with Osasuna. Madrid had a chance to pull out the win late, but a Karim Benzema penalty missed off the crossbar.


France –

In Ligue 1, Paris St. Germain continued their dominance with a 2-1 win over Nice. PSG was led by goals from Leo Messi and Kylian Mbappe to maintain their spot in first place. Marseille kept pace, remaining two points behind PSG after a 3-0 win over Angers.


Champions League –

The top competition in Europe returns this week with the third round of group stage games. On Tuesday there are key matchups in Groups A and C. Barcelona travels to take on Inter Milan in a critical Group C game, with the winner gaining the upper hand for the second spot in the group behind Bayern Munich. In Group A it's Napoli traveling to Amsterdam to play Ajax, with Napoli leading the group and Ajax needing to keep pace with Liverpool for second place.

Wednesday will be headlined by the Group E showdown in London between AC Milan and Chelsea. The game is likely to feature American star Christian Pulisic and Sergino Dest going head to head for some portion. It’s a crucial match for Chelsea, who currently sit at the bottom of the group with one point and desperately need a win to get back on track.

Gio Reyna could be available for Dortmund in the other big game Wednesday, when they travel to Spain to face Sevilla with a chance to create some distance in second place in the group.


Team of the Week

G: Ramsdale - Arsenal

D: Clauss - Marseille; Saliba - Arsenal; Smalling - Roma; Llorente - Atletico Madrid

M: De Bruyne - Man City; Partey - Arsenal; Milinkovic-Savic - Lazio

F: Foden - Man City; Haaland - Man City; Trossard - Brighton & Hove


Player of the Week

Erling Haaland - Manchester City

The Norse God of Goals continued to maurade through his first Premier League season. Haaland not only scored a hat-trick in Man City’s 6-3 demolition of Manchester United, but he also assisted two of the other goals. The 22 year old striker now leads the league with 14 goals in just 8 games and is on pace for 66 goals. To put into perspective how insane that is, the current Premier League season record is 34 goals (in a season with 4 extra games).

Haaland is currently on pace to shatter the record in a Ruthian manner. It's just a shame that he will not be seen at the World Cup since Norway failed to qualify. Though it may just give him more energy to pursue this historic club season.


Tomorrow here at #DMD, we’ll look at how the American players fared in MLS and elsewhere internationally over the weekend.

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Monday
October 3, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2961


we need a bigger storage unit


There's so much to unpack from that Ravens loss yesterday.

It was, as I noted immediately after Buffalo's game-winning field goal at the buzzer, a far worse loss than the one John Harbaugh's team suffered at the hands of Miami on September 18.

And so, we're going to need some extra storage units, a dozen more boxes and a few additional men to move everything into place once we unpack it all. We have a lot of work to do this morning.

These two...in the crosshairs once again after the Ravens fell to Buffalo yesterday, 23-20.

I'll start off the review of yesterday's 23-20 loss to Buffalo by saying this: If you think the entire loss should be pinned on John Harbaugh and his decision to eschew a go-ahead field goal late in the game, you didn't actually watch the game.

And if you do believe, in your heart, that decision by Harbaugh was the entire reason the Ravens lost yesterday, you should probably recuse yourself from reading and commenting here as well.

Was it a factor in the loss? Of course. But it certainly wasn't the only reason the Ravens came up short yesterday. Not by a longshot.

Now, let me also put this into play right away: I thought the decision to go for it on 4th down was wrong.

Immediately after the Ravens failed on 3rd down and TV play-by-play man Ian Eagle said "And they're leaving Lamar and the offense on the field for 4th down", I typed this into Twitter and hit the send button -- "This is a terrible decision. Kick the field goal here John."

There might be trends and data that led the guys upstairs to coax Harbaugh into going for it there, but the biggest issue wasn't the 2 yards they had to get. The score of the game dictated that the Ravens should have kicked the go ahead field goal there.

Here's why...

If, say, the Ravens are winning 22-20 and Harbaugh wants to make the argument that punching it in for a touchdown there give the Ravens a 9 point lead and likely puts the game away, we might be able to buy that. You can hear the coach now: "We were trying to put the game away right then and there." Fair enough.

But with the game tied at 20-20, the one thing you didn't want to do is give Buffalo the ball and allow them to free wheel it on offense. Trailing 23-20 (or 29-20), Buffalo would have been faced with "do or die" on almost every play. One mistake -- if they're trailing -- and they lose.

But at 20-20? There was zero pressure on Josh Allen to do anything, really, except try to move his team down the field and get them into field goal position. At 20-20, the pressure is entirely on the Baltimore defense to make a stop. Trailing 23-20, the pressure would have been totally on the Bills to play error free football for the final 4:15 of the game.

It was the wrong time to pass up a free three points. I didn't take Football 101, but I'm almost positive a 23-20 lead with 4:15 to play is better than a 20-20 tie with 4:15 to play. If I'm wrong, I'll sign up for the next class, I guess.

And anyone who says, "The Bills were just going to go right down the field and score a TD if we would have kicked the field goal there" is just saying that to say that. You think the Bills were going to score a touchdown there. You don't know that. All it would have taken was one pass to slip through someone's hands or the wet football to get knocked out and recovered by the Ravens.

If Harbaugh has, in fact, lost confidence in his defense, that's entirely understandable. They were awful against the Dolphins in the second half, weren't exactly the '85 Bears in New England last Sunday and then couldn't stop Josh Allen in the second half yesterday.

But with 4 minutes remaining yesterday, you kick the field goal, confidence or not, and run your defense back out there to hopefully get you a stop.

Alas, going for it on 4th and 2 there was a bad decision. But the play call on 4th and 2 was far worse than just a "bad decision" -- it was a horrendous call. Two yards. Six feet.

The play? Real simple. Snap the ball to Lamar and have him figure out a way to get in the end zone with his legs. Play-action might have worked there, too. Who knows? Sure, the Ravens lack of a running game (other than Lamar) probably helped Buffalo in that case, but calling for a pass play there -- from 2 yards out -- was amateur hour stuff.

No wonder the 49'ers couldn't score a touchdown from the 5 yard line in the last two minutes of the Super Bowl against the Ravens.

The same guy who called that 4th and 2 play yesterday was at the helm in New Orleans that night when he had Colin Kaepernick with the ball in his hands. But I digress...

Grab a couple of more boxes, please. We have more to unpack.


The interception in the end zone with 4:15 to play was also a huge turning point. Lamar could have done anything there and it would have been infinitely better than throwing the ball to the Bills, who then got to start on the 20 instead of their own 2 yard line.

Again, we'll use the word "free wheel" to define what the Bills could do on offense when they got the ball on the 20 rather than the 2 yard line. Everything changed when Lamar threw that pick.

For the second straight home game, Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald saw his defense cough up a 4th quarter lead in yesterday's loss to the Bills.

But even then, the Baltimore defense still had the opportunity to make a stop and get the ball back to their offense. And they couldn't do it.

Marcus Peters, who was busy barking at John Harbaugh at the end of the game, should have used that energy to defend a couple of passes late in the game. He was beat on a key throw to Dawson Knox on the game-winning drive that was lobbed over his head and resulted in a 20 yard gain.

About that fiery exchange at the end of the game: No one knows why it happened, but it's an awful scene to see a veteran and a coach jawing at one another on the sidelines. If you have a beef, take it to a private location and keep it there. Nothing's gained from sniping at each other in full view of the TV cameras. All that shows is people losing their cool, which isn't the way to turn things around and win football games.

Peters, you probably know, is on his 3rd NFL team in just 7 seasons in the league. He might not be wearing out his welcome in Baltimore just yet, but Sunday's display certainly didn't reflect well on him.

Patrick Queen gave up on a 3rd quarter Josh Allen 11-yard TD scamper that made it a 20-20 game. Queen was outstanding in the opener at New York on September 11 but hasn't done much of anything since then. He was exposed on several occasions yesterday and even mishandled an easy interception in addition to his lackluster linebacking play.

A roughing the passer penalty on Brandon Stephens was a killer as well. Sure, it was ticky-tack, but the call was made and that was that. Instead of 2nd and 15 at the Baltimore 41, the penalty gave Buffalo a first down on the Ravens 26 yard line. From there, the Bills were able to dink and dunk their way down to the Baltimore 11 yard line, where another crucial defensive mistake would be made.

After the Ravens called time out with 1:50 remaining, the decision was made -- according to John Harbaugh in the post-game presser -- to let the Bills score a touchdown. It doesn't happen often in the NFL, but in that moment, right then, just allowing the Bills to score was the right thing to do.

Everyone on defense got the message except Odafe Oweh, apparently. As Devin Singletary slipped untouched through the defensive line, he was on his way to the end zone when Oweh inexplicably tackled him at the 3 yard line. That faux pas did two things. It forced the Ravens to use their 3rd and final time out and it also created a 2nd and 2 situation for the Bills. If they could get a first down, they'd be able to run the clock down and kick the game-winning field goal at the buzzer.

And that's exactly what happened.

Josh Allen kept the ball on the very next play and picked up 2 yards, moving the ball down to the Baltimore one yard line. Two kneel-downs from the QB and Tyler Bass came in to split the uprights from 21 yards away. Ballgame. Buffalo wins, 23-20.

The Bills never led once in the game...until Bass hit the winning kick as the clock expired.

When the Ravens gave up 28 points in the 4th quarter against Miami two weeks ago, it was a stunning collapse. But it could also be chalked up as an "outlier", the kind of thing that happens to a team once a decade or so.

What happened on Sunday against the Bills was worse than coughing up that 21-point lead to the Dolphins. The Ravens did it all to themselves yesterday. Sure, Josh Allen manned up in the second half and had a big time performance, particularly in the 4th quarter. But the Ravens gave the game away yesterday with equal degrees of carelessness and negligence.

They dropped interceptions in the first half that, at the time, seemed harmless. Players laughed at one another on the bench. Rashod Bateman had a big drop. Patrick Queen had an interception in his gut that he dropped in the second half. Those kind of plays -- made or not -- change the direction of football games.

Lamar not seeing Devin Duvernay wide open on the much-discussed 4th and 2 play? That was a killer as well. The interception was only compounded by the fact that Duvernay was making snowballs in the end zone waiting for Lamar to get the ball to him for the go ahead score.


And, so, the Ravens find themselves at 2-2 and have a fan base in almost full meltdown mode with the Bengals set to come to town next Sunday night.

The fans have a right to be frustrated, of course. Not only have the Ravens lost an unthinkable five straight games at home, but dating back to last season, they've lost a handful of games by failing to either convert a key 4th down opportunity or two point conversion. Short yardage situations have not been kind to Lamar and the offense over the last calendar year, for whatever weird reason.

Greg Roman's offense didn't score a single point in the final 33 minutes yesterday.

And when games are decided by the slimmest of margins, there's always someone or something to blame for that particular moment. Yesterday's critical 4th down issue was the big story after the game, but people conveniently forgot that Lamar and the offense didn't score a single point in the final 33 minutes of the game.

People also forget that Oweh was supposed to let Singletary score from the 11 yard line with 1:43 remaining and either misunderstood the play call or just decided to free lance it and try to make a game changing play. Either way, it was a horrible mistake from the 2nd year player.

And people also forget that Baltimore's defense accounted for just one quarterback sack and five quarterback hits on Josh Allen yesterday. It's hard to make the quarterback play scared if you hardly touch him for sixty minutes.

Losing to the Bills isn't shameful or anything like that. They've started the campaign at 3-1 with wins over three perenial contenders; Rams, Titans and Ravens. Josh Allen, like Lamar, is one of the game's best and most valuable performers.

It's the way the Ravens lost that's alarming. The game was on skates at 20-3. But a dropped interception, a late second quarter TD by Buffalo and, suddenly, the game was "on" again.

And when the Baltimore offense stalled in the second half and Buffalo felt the game coming back to them, it turned into a nailbiter.

A bad coaching decision.

A lousy play call on 4th and 2.

A defense that couldn't make a stop -- again -- when the game was on the line.

And a 2nd year player not following through on the established play call.

It all adds up to 2-2.

And the natives are......for sure.....getting restless in Charm City.

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at the (almost) quarter mark


Because the goofy NFL owners want a 17-game schedule instead of the smart, traditional 16-game schedule, we're only sorta-kinda at the quarter mark of the '22 season.

For purposes of today's column, we're going to play along as if we're a quarter of the way through the 17-game season.


Super Bowl teams will be: Kansas City and L.A. Rams -- This is more about no one else in the NFC being any good, really. I'm not ready to buy stock in the Eagles just yet. Check back in another month. Meanwhile, if Mahomes and his key offensive performers stay healthy, the Chiefs are going to cruise through the AFC West and will likely have home ice throughout the playoffs.

With last night's win over Tampa Bay, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs improved to 3-1 on the year.

Most surprising AFC team to date: Miami Dolphins -- If Tua doesn't get hurt on Thursday night, they might be 4-0. If he's able to come back in a week or two and is healthy and 100%, they're going to be a tough team to beat.

Most surprising NFC team to date: New York Giants -- Mind you, I'm convinced they're not any good. But they have 3 wins right now and I thought there was a chance they might only win 4 or 5 games all season (which, they still might only win 4 or 5).

Most disappointing AFC team to date: Indianapolis Colts -- At 1-2-1, they're throwing away a golden opportunity to cruise to a division title in the watered down AFC South. Matt Ryan was supposed to help. Well.....we're waiting.

Most disappointing NFC team to date: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- I realize their two losses came against a pair of quality quarterbacks (Rodgers and Mahomes), but they haven't looked any good in their two wins (Dallas and New Orleans) either. They'll win the NFC South by accident, but they aren't going to be much of a threat in January.

Team to watch in the next four games: Jacksonville is now 2-2 after yesterday's loss at Philly. But their schedule softens for the next four weeks. They host Houston, go to Indy, and then host the Giants and Broncos. The Jaguars should be 5-3 at the (almost) halfway mark.

Team who will fall off in the next four games: The Giants are in trouble. They're 3-1 now, but not for long. They go to London next Sunday to play Green Bay. Then they host the Ravens. Then they're at Jacksonville and at Seattle. That could be an 0-4 stretch for the G-Men.

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"Regular Joe"
on the 2022 Orioles and their minor league teams


"Regular Joe" has been following the Orioles for the better part of four decades. He'll be our eyes and ears in 2022 on both the Orioles and their various minor league teams as the Birds look to rebuild a winner in Baltimore.


over for now, but the future is bright


“Playoff Contention” lasted until September 30 for the Orioles, when I imagine the over/under for such a date in March was closer to late August. That constitutes a good year for a team that lost 333 games in its last full three seasons.

I don’t think they “choked” – this was a team that over-achieved most of the year until they got a dose of reality in September. The front office may actually have “gagged” a bit when they were surprisingly still in contention at the trading deadline, stubbornly trading away Trey Mancini when that probably wasn’t the right move, as we needed hitting and got little in return (for now).

The last 30 days exposed plenty of flaws that hopefully will be addressed, by players hopefully making adjustments and ownership following through on their commitment to spend money where needed. We will talk more about those necessary actions after the season officially ends.

The minor leagues have ended at various dates during September, and the four primary Orioles affiliates ended at a combined 269-281, with a playoff finalist in Aberdeen, where the Ironbirds lost in the league’s championship series.

Bowie also contended until the end for a playoff spot at Double A. Delmarva had a rough year at 49-81, but actually improved during the last part of the season, which could be explained as they housed a number of new international draftees who were in their first year of pro ball in the states.

All in all, an average year on paper for the minor league teams, but by most accounts a very good year for player development. The easy 1 and 1A examples are Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, who both “graduated” to the big club in 2022 and look like the real deal.

A quick review of some other names on the club’s Top 30 Prospect list shows where the club likely has some excess (middle infield) and areas which need shoring up, likely through free agency and future drafts (pitching depth). As always, prospects are still prospects until they can do it in the big league.

Should be in Camden Yards at Some Point in 2023

#1 – Gunnar – the recent call-up only solidified his position as next year’s 3B.

#2 – Grayson Rodriquez – despite nagging injuries, his 6-2 record and 2.62 ERA put his name on the list as a starter candidate for 2023. Innings limits will be an issue, after only 75 in ‘22.

#5 – Jordan Westburg – hit .265 with 27 home runs and 106 RBI across 500+ ABs. Actually hit better at AAA than AA. Will compete for a utility role, or could even start at 2B.

#6 – DL Hall – inconsistent in the minors this year with 50 walks in 84 innings, Hall’s big arm likely rates him a long look in 2023. I believe he’s better suited to the bullpen in the short term.

#11 – Connor Norby – just the fact that he is on the list is a tribute to his big year where he led the organization with 29 homers, along with a .360 OBP. Likely to start at AAA, I believe this infielder will get some ABs in the majors next year – only 22 years old.


Others Who Should Show Up by 2024

#4 – Colton Cowser – the big outfielder should be in the mix by ’24, as Santander may price himself out and Austin Hays may not be good enough. 2021’s first round pick hit almost .280 with a +.400 OBP and can play anywhere in the OF.

#17 – Joseph Ortiz – the diminutive shortstop had an outstanding 2nd half this summer, hitting .346 in his 100 ABs with Norfolk, showing some pop along the way with 19 home runs. Because of the depth in the middle infield, Ortiz or Westburg could be trade bait this winter.

Several other prospects had good years, like 21 year olds 3B Coby Mayo and SS Darell Hernaiz, but probably still need two good years in the minors to develop. Mayo has serious power (which the system needs) and Hernaiz is tall and lanky with raw talent.

What we don’t see enough of on the list is soon to be ready pitchers from recent Elias drafts – his selections have been mainly on the offensive side, and his list of acquisitions from the Mancini and Lopez trades have been suspects more than prospects. Be ready for possible trades of people listed above for more young pitchers who are close to major league ready.

All in all, just to have 4 more players (outside of Henderson who already landed) ready for major league action next year would be impressive. Let’s hope we can continue the progress we made this year and NOT be sitting on the sidelines come playoff time next year.

I won’t even say have a good week – the Ravens already put a damper on that. Stay well all.

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#DMD GAME DAY
Week 4


Sunday — October 2, 2022
Issue #2960

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens

1:00 PM EDT

M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore, MD

Spread: Bills (-3.0)



back in the saddle


The season is only in its 4th week and already the Ravens have a "showdown game" in their midst.

The Buffalo Bills roll into town today as the general favorite to win the AFC title by most NFL pundits. That they're coming off a loss to Miami last Sunday makes today's game in Baltimore even more important for Josh Allen and Company. And it's a big one for the Ravens, too, as they've lost four straight home games (dating back to last season) and face the Bengals next Sunday night in Charm City.

Can Lamar Jackson beat Josh Allen today in rainy Baltimore?

Both teams have a lot to play for today.

And you just know it will likely wind up being Josh Allen vs. Lamar Jackson.

For Buffalo, it's the opportunity to knock off one of the AFC's best home teams over the last decade and finish a difficult four game stretch at 3-1. The Bills started the season with wins over the Rams and Titans before falling to Miami last Sunday. When the schedule was released last April, you can bet the Buffalo front office privately relished the thought of starting 3-1. They have that chance today.

Meanwhile, the Ravens are looking to further distance themselves from the home fiasco against the Dolphins two weeks ago. Step one took place last Sunday in New England when Lamar and the offense lit up the Patriots in a 37-26 win. A win over the Bills today and that 4th quarter collapse against Miami can officially be filed away as an outlier.

The winner of this afternoon's game gets a big feather in their cap. If the Ravens want to prove to the rest of the AFC they're legit, a win over the Bills will do just that. And if the Bills want to flex their muscles to their conference foes, winning in Baltimore will certainly garner them even more respect around the league.

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today's three key storylines


1. Stop the Bills running attack -- So far this season, the Bills have run the ball for a total of 337 yards. And Josh Allen has accounted for 113 of them. The actual running back with the most yards gained on the ground in three games is Devin Singletary with 80 yards on 23 carries.

That's 80 yards in three games, folks. Total.

What the Ravens have to do today is make sure Buffalo's awful run game continues to churn out awful numbers. Making Josh Allen and the Bills offense one-dimensional -- as in, "throw only" -- will be a key to beating the visitors today. There's no reason at all to think the Ravens can't limit Buffalo to under 100 yards on the ground. If they can do that, they're on their way to a win.


2. 3rd down is critical -- It's rare you see a team as efficient on 3rd down as the Bills. And that goes for both sides of the ball.

Josh Allen and the offense are an incredible 25-of-41 on 3rd down conversions this year for a 60.98% success rate.

When the Buffalo defense has to stop the other team on 3rd down? They're outstanding in that area, too, allowing just 13 first downs in 33 attempts for a 60.61% efficiency rating. When you're converting on 61% of your 3rd down chances on offense and stopping the other team 61% of the time on defense, you're doing it right.

The Ravens need to get both of those numbers under 50% today. That's a huge key for both Greg Roman and Mike Macdonald. Succeed on 3rd down when on offense and get the Bills off the field on 3rd down on defense.

Offensively so far in '22, the Ravens are lousy at converting offensive third downs. They're just 13-of-34 for a success percentage of 38.24.

Thankfully, they're sporting solid numbers on defense, allowing just 11 first downs in 34 attempts, for a 67.65% success percentage.

A critical element of today's game will be 3rd down, particularly when the Bills have the football. If the Ravens can keep them under 50% for the day, that's huge.


3. Kicking and special teams -- The Bills went 0-6 in one score games last season. This year, their wins were by 21 and 34 points and their loss was by two points. They've now failed to win seven consecutive one score games, which seems almost impossible for a really good team like the Bills.

If today's expected rainy weather does come in and stick around throughout the game, kicking and special teams takes on even more importance. While Justin Tucker has been outstanding thus far in '22, new punter Jordan Stout hasn't been all that great. Field position is likely going to be a factor today, so Stout needs to step up with a big game.

Securing the football on kick offs and punt returns is also going to be important given the anticipated slippery conditions. One turnover either way on special teams could be the difference in the football game.

The edge always goes to the Ravens if the game goes down to the wire and Justin Tucker has a chance to win it for John Harbaugh's team. In Baltimore, particularly, Tucker is almost as automatic as they come.

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how drew sees today's game


There are some real variables in play today that must be weighed and considered.

Are the Ravens really going to start the season losing their first two home games? And a loss today would give them five straight home defeats dating back to last season.

Drew sees a 3-point outcome in today's game in Baltimore.

Is Lamar Jackson really going to let Josh Allen beat him in his own building? Jackson rose to the occasion in a big way last year when Patrick Mahomes came into Baltimore early in the season for a nationally televised showdown. Will he do the same today against Allen?

On the flip side, are the Bills going to lose two straight? Most people feel like Buffalo is looking at a 13-4 or 14-3 season based on their schedule. A loss today and they're already 2-2.

It's difficult to predict how this one will go because the weather could play a huge factor. Sunny and 70 and we'd be calling something in the mid 60's for a point total. But we're going to assume it will rain hard throughout the game based on the way we see the things playing out.

The Ravens lead 13-10 at the half, with Lamar throwing a short touchdown to Mark Andrews and Josh Allen running it in himself from 6 yards out for Buffalo's only TD of the opening 30 minutes.

Buffalo takes a 17-13 lead on Allen's 3rd quarter TD throw to Isaiah McKenzie, but the Ravens come right back and score a TD of their own with 3 minutes left in the third quarter, as Lamar finds Rashod Bateman on 3rd and 11 from the 29 yard line.

After a Chuck Clark interception, the Ravens connect on another TD -- Dobbins running it in from 3 yards out -- to take a 27-17 lead early in the 4th quarter.

The Ravens hold the ball for nearly 7 minutes but turn the ball over on downs at the Buffalo 44 yard line. Four plays later, Allen finds Stefon Diggs on a 48-yard TD pass to make it 27-24.

Lamar and the Baltimore offense need to kill the final 4 minutes of the game but they can't do it, as the Bills force a quick three and out and get the ball back with 3:49 remaining in the 4th quarter.

Allen drives Buffalo down to the Baltimore 27 yard line before the drive stalls. With 11 seconds left, Calais Campbell gets a finger on Tyler Bass's 44 yard game-tying field goal attempt and the Ravens hand the Bills their 7th straight loss in a one score game with a 27-24 victory.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner

around the nfl


Vikings at Saints (London) -- Vikings have a great chance to get to 3-1 today and keep pace with the Packers. Looks like New Orleans will start Andy Dalton at QB. Enough said. Our pick to win: Vikings

Browns at Falcons -- While Cleveland waits for Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brissett continues to keep the Browns afloat in the AFC North. This is a big one for them today, since it's a game they probably should win. The Falcons are coming off of their first win in Seattle last Sunday. Our pick to win: Browns

Can Derrick Henry and the Titans improve to 2-2 with a win in Indy today?

Commanders at Cowboys -- Dallas is similar to Cleveland in that the Cowboys are just looking to stay in it until Dak Prescott returns in a couple of weeks. D.C. is lousy. Weird things happen in the NFL, but not in this game. Our pick to win: Cowboys

Seahawks at Lions -- Detroit is improved and Seattle isn't. That sums this one up in six words. We see the Lions pouring it on today to run their record to 2-2. Our pick to win: Lions

Titans at Colts -- Indy (1-1-1) needs this one today to get the stink of that divisional loss to the Jaguars off of them from a couple of weeks ago. Yes, they beat the Chiefs last Sunday, but getting shut out by Jacksonville takes more than one win to erase. Tennessee's season isn't on the line today, but they need a win, badly. Our pick to win: Colts

Bears at Giants -- Did the real New York Football Giants come back to earth last Monday night or was just an outlier vs. the Cowboys? The Bears could be 3-1 after today's game, which represents a solid start for them. Our pick to win: Bears

Jaguars at Eagles -- Who would have thought last April when the schedule was released that this could be one of the better games on the week 4 schedule? Can Jacksonville end Philly's unbeaten run to start the '22 campaign? Or are the Eagles the real deal? Our pick to win: Eagles

Jets at Steelers -- Zach Wilson gets the start in Pittsburgh. What could go wrong? Meanwhile, Pittsburgh needs all the help (and wins) they can get now. Their schedule gets more difficult starting next Sunday when they face a 4-game stretch against the Bills, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Eagles. Our pick to win: Steelers

Chargers at Texans -- This is one the Chargers circled at the beginning of the season as a guaranteed win. Now? Not so guaranteed. Houston's lousy, but so, too, are the Chargers, apparently. Our pick to win: Texans

Cardinals at Panthers -- Arizona's not very good, but they get a half-a-lay-up today in Charlotte. The question is: Can they take advantage of it? If Arizona thinks they're a playoff contender, they have to go to Carolina and win today. Our pick to win: Cardinals

Patriots at Packers -- We were bullish on the Patriots at the beginning of the season, but not much has gone right for them thus far and now Mac Jones is out and Brian Hoyer is in. Aaron Rodgers is going to have a field day this afternoon. Our pick to win: Packers

Broncos at Raiders -- This game could be "Dud of the Week" material. The Raiders season is pretty much kaput if they don't win today. Denver? The same goes for them. The loser of today's game is done. Our pick to win: Raiders

Chiefs at Buccaneers -- Who doesn't like a Patrick Mahomes vs. Tom Brady Sunday Night showdown, right? Rodgers went into Tampa Bay and won last week and now Mahomes gets the same opportunity -- to beat the G.O.A.T. in his own building, on national TV. The thought here is this one turns into a mini-blow-out. Our pick to win: Chiefs

Editor's note: The summary of today's NFL games and selection of certain teams to win is not intended to serve as gambling advice or an encouragement to wager on these or any other sports contests.


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Saturday
October 1, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2959


and the o's......are done


It took until September 30 for me to write these three words, but here they are: I was wrong.

No, not about the Ravens. I've been right about them in all three games this season.

No, not about Led Zeppelin being better than The Beatles. I've never been more right about anything in my life. Listen to Kashmir and The Rover and then listen to two of The Beatles' four good songs if you need further proof.

I was wrong about the Orioles.

It turns out Mike Elias was right back in July. The Orioles didn't have a playoff team in 2022.

They will not make the playoffs in 2022 after both Tampa Bay and Seattle won on Friday night to clinch their respective places in the upcoming American League post-season.

I never gave up hope, even after last night's 2-1 O's win in New York and the Rays' 7-3 win in Houston.

"We could win out and the Mariners could lose all the rest of their games," I said to myself while checking in every inning or two on what was going on out in Seattle.

The good news? I don't have to spend the last five days scoreboard watching. It no longer matters what the Mariners or Rays do. It's over.

The bad news? We'll have to wait another year for that magical month of October baseball, where you wear hoodies to the games and drink hot chocolate or coffee in the bottom of the 4th inning on a brisk, 57 degree evening in Charm City.

A friend texted me after the Rays won and it was all but inevitable (barring a complete choke job by Seattle) that the O's were not going to make it and he simply wrote: "Well?"

"Wasn't meant to be," I texted back. Occasionally in sports, you get those wild, out-of-left-field stories that are almost too impossible to believe. The O's authored one of those back in 2012 remember, going from last place the year before to the playoffs the following season and giving the Yankees all they could handle in a 5-game series.

The Cincinnati Bengals had one of those "out of left field" seasons in 2021, where they pulled off improbable post-season road wins in Nashville and Kansas City to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in a gazillion years.

I thought the Orioles might have one of "those seasons" in 2022, particularly when they got to the month of September and their schedule wasn't as difficult as the one the likes of Toronto and Tampa Bay were facing.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

And, like it has been since 2014, the baseball stadium will be empty this October. But we're getting closer to wearing those hoodies and drinking hot chocolate in the bottom of the 4th.

Next year? Same place, same time? I bet I'm writing about the O's and their first round playoff opponent.

Next October 1st, I'll be saying "I was right" instead of "I was wrong".


I see in the comments section there's some hearty deliberation on the concept of "choking", which is probably one of the hardest things to identify or prove in the world of sports.

When I wrote earlier this week the Orioles "coughed and gagged" or "sputtered" in September, I was trying to create what I thought was an accurate description of their overall play in the final month of the regular season.

The actual definition of sputtered isn't anything like what I thought the Orioles did this month: "A series of soft, explosive sounds" isn't what the Orioles did.

A dejected Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters as he chokes away a 6-shot lead.

Rather, they moved along, stopped, started again, stopped, started again, etc. That's the way I was trying to explain their play in September. When I think of a car "sputtering", that's what I see in my mind.

Coughing, gagging, sputtering -- to me they are all signs of "interrupted flow", which is really the description I think accurately portrays what we saw from the Birds in September.

I don't think the Orioles, as a team, choked. There might have been individuals who "choked" in certain situations this month. The two bullpen meltdowns against the Astros last weekend in critical situations come to mind right away. But, as a team? I think it's really hard to quantify "choking" by a team.

George brought up the question: "What is choking?"

I've always thought of it as something simple and yet abstract: It's when the moment and the possible result get so big and important that you can't perform to the level you're normally accustomed to playing to.

The all-time great example in golf is, sadly, Scott Hoch. It's important to note that the 28 inch putt he had on the 10th green at Augusta National on the first playoff hole of the 1989 Masters was not, by any stretch, a "gimmee". It required some degree of ability to coax in there, given that it was a speedy putt and above the hole.

But it's a putt Hoch makes 9.5 out of 10 times if it's not the first playoff hole of the 1989 Masters and he has that putt to change his life. I despise the word "choked" in sports. As Stats Nerd referenced yesterday, it would drive me nuts to hear Johnny Miller say "if you can't hit the green with a 6-iron from 184 yards away, you're definitely choking".

That said, there are occasions when it happens, especially in individual sports where the onus of performance and accomplishment falls mainly on one person.

And in that 1989 Masters playoff, I think it's fair to say Scott Hoch choked. The importance and the value of the moment got to him in such a way that he couldn't make the stroke he needed to make in order to roll that short putt into the hole.

I think, sticking with golf for a second, that Dustin Johnson choked in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. I won't bore you with the details, but on both his attempted winning and tying putt on the final green, he didn't look like himself. His putting stroke was hurried and out-of-sync and he missed both a 12-footer to win and a 4-footer to tie, handing the trophy to Jordan Spieth.

We all believe to this day that Greg Norman choked in the 1996 Masters, when he frittered away a 6-shot lead heading into the final round in search of his first green jacket.

Those are golf examples. You can probably come up with your examples from other sports, including team competitions.

Did Billy Cundiff choke in the playoffs at New England? That was a 33-yard field goal, after all. Did the moment get to him?

Did the Ravens, as a team, choke in January of 2020 when they lost at home to Tennessee in the Divisional round of the playoffs after cruising through the regular season at 14-2 and facing a Titans team that barely made the post-season at 9-7? Maybe? The Ravens were playing for the right to host the AFC Championship Game the following Sunday. It sure looked like the moment, that day, just got too big for them.

"Choking" in sports is a terrible word, I believe, because most people think it's a "personal trait" of some kind. How many times have you heard it? "He won't make these foul shots at the end of the game, he's a choker."

Funny enough, that's precisely why teams foul poor free throw shooters at the end of a game when they're trying to get the ball back. They don't foul the best shooter. They try to foul the worst one, statistically, because he/she is "prone" to missing, as their stats and data tell them. Do they miss because their technique is bad? That's probably the biggest reason, yes. But they might also miss because, late in games, they're not able to rise to the occasion for whatever reason.

So when I wrote the Orioles "coughed and gagged" or "sputtered", I certainly wasn't trying to say they flat-out choked, as a team. That wasn't my intention. I was simply trying to point out that they never had any kind of "smooth flow" to their final month, losing 3 of 4, winning 3 straight, losing 2 of 3, winning 2, losing 2, etc.

People get antsy when "choking" is mentioned or referenced, for whatever reason. I think it's more than safe to say that anyone who has ever competed in sports at a significant level has, in fact, had their performance impacted by the importance of the moment. It's almost inevitable that you, at some point, will choke.

Welcome to the club.


I'm going to ask you to do something right now that might be impossible for you to do, but try and do it anyway, OK? This only applies to you if, in fact, you're in the camp that believes the Dolphins and their medical staff have handled the Tua Tagovailoa situation completely wrong.

Is that you? Do you think, like many do, that the Dolphins are a shameless, win-at-all-costs organization that sent a concussed quarterback out on the field last Sunday against Buffalo and then again on Thursday night against the Bengals? Do you believe that?

By extension, then, that also means you believe the medical professionals who were part of Tua's initial diagnosis last Sunday and his on-going recovery from that incident all performed their duties either inadequately or negligently.

Was Tua's injury misdiagnosed last Sunday vs. Buffalo?

Is that really what you believe?

I don't.

And so I'm going to ask you to consider whether it's possible that you are the one who is wrong. I know, as humans, we don't like to think about that. But do that for a minute, please.

I see a lot of people play "doctor" on Twitter, including, frankly, people who actually are doctors. In every NFL game when there's a significant injury to a player, there are real-life doctors who immediately go on Twitter and tell everyone what they think the injury is to that particular player.

I'm not sure what value there is to that exercise, but it happens every week in the NFL season. "That looks like an achilles tear to me," or "That's likely a sprained MCL, which could keep him out anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks."

I was extremely fortunate during my days with the Blast to be surrounded by some of Baltimore's best sports medicine physicians; Bill Howard, Les Matthews and John O'Donnell, just to name three. Les operated on both of my knees, in fact. Those three would work our home games (one at a time, obviously) and were the trusted source for in game injuries that required more than just our athletic trainer's opinion.

When Cris Vaccaro got hit in the face with a point-blank shot in Cleveland in 1995 and was briefly knocked out, our team doctor said, "He shouldn't play the rest of the game." It didn't matter that it was 6-6 early in the third quarter. Not to us, at least. Vaccaro sat out the rest of the game because that's what our doctor said we should do with the All-Star goalkeeper.

Fast forward to 2022 and the Ravens. Richard Levine is one of the team doctors. He's at every game, home and away. I "know" Richard, which is to say he treated me for an elbow injury in 2007 that eventually required surgery, which he performed. He doesn't work "for the Ravens". Neither does Dr. Leigh Ann Curl. They both work for MedStar Health, whom the Ravens have a corporate sponsorship with and use their doctors for games and/or practices.

Richard Levine and Leigh Ann Curl have built significant private practices in Baltimore over the last 30+ years. They don't make any money directly from the Ravens. They have an obligation to treat an injured Raven player the exact same way they'd treat you if you walked into their office with an ACL injury or a sports concussion.

If you believe either of those professionals would ever let Lamar Jackson play a game (or a minute of a game) while his health and/or career are potentially in jeopardy, you're casting a terrible dispersion on them. It's probably the worst thing you could say or even "hint at saying", honestly.

And, so, that takes me to the Miami Dolphins.

Tua got hurt last Sunday against the Bills and it certainly "looked" bad. He stumbled and staggered and gave off every appearance that he was concussed. But when the medical professionals in Miami evaluated him at halftime, they discovered he wasn't concussed.

Would doctors really tell a coach to play a player who was concussed and, then, would the coach say, "Well, Tua with a concussion is still better than Teddy Bridgewater without a concussion"?

I realize everything appears as if the Dolphins were guilty of some sort of massive moment of negligence, both last Sunday and again on Thursday. But they're totally relying on what the doctors tell them. If a doctor (and in this case, it's several doctors, one of whom is on site in an independent role) tells the Dolphins Tua can't play, he's not playing. If they say he can play, he's playing.

The NFL has a long history of concussion issues. We all know that to be true. And this could be one of those, yes. But it's also very possible that no one was negligent. You're not a doctor. I'm not a doctor. I don't think a "real" doctor would ever let someone do something that they know could be dangerous to them or others.

And in the case of Tua, I think the doctors in Miami know far more about him and his condition than anyone in the media or on on the internet. We know nothing. They know it all. Which one of us is more likely to be right?

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Friday
September 30, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2958


looking ahead to 2023


Because the Rays and Mariners can't put the Orioles away, there's still a sliver of hope for the Birds and their playoff hopes. And by "sliver", we're talking about the narrowest of openings. Sliver-of-a-sliver might be more appropriate.

Alas, it might be time to start looking ahead to 2023. The Orioles will reconvene in Sarasota next February and fancy themselves post-season contenders. And why shouldn't they? Had they not coughed and gagged over the final three weeks of this regular season -- losing 5 of 7 games to Detroit and Boston, among other things -- they very well might have made the playoffs this season.

Someone on Twitter responded to something I posted about the O's failing to make the post-seasson by saying, "It's completely OK because they made huge strides this season."

A full season of Gunnar Henderson in 2023 should increase the O's playoff chances right away.

I don't think that's true.

It's never "completely OK" to have a playoff spot in your grasp and not finish the job. I don't care if it's a team full of rookies or if you start the season 20-50 and win 25 in a row to get yourself back in the race.

I totally understand the O's had a good season. There are far more highlights than lowlights. In no way am I trying to be a Debbie Downer. But I'm also not going to say "It's completely OK" that they failed to make the post-season after sputtering like they did over the last three weeks of the season.

Make no mistake about it, though. The 2022 season was "enjoyable" in a big way. That will be my takeaway from the last six months. It was fun watching baseball again.

But how do they improve next season? The mere fact that Adley and Gunnar will be available for all of 2023 increases their playoff chances. The anticipated return of pitcher John Means will help, too. And the balanced schedule in 2023 should help the O's (and others in the A.L. East) as well.

They have their first baseman. Ryan Mouncastle's bat wasn't great in '22, but he definitely improved with the glove. He might not be the first defensive first baseman in the A.L, but he's in the top three. A better approach at the plate and he'd be a very complete player.

Second base is open. We'll get to that in a minute.

Shortstop is good, for now. Jorge Mateo will start there in '23, but his offensive skills need an upgrade. A .221 batting average and .266 on-base-percentage won't cut it, career wise. "For now", though, Mateo's the team's shortstop.

Gunnar Henderson will own third base in Baltimore for at least the next six years. If Mateo's bat doesn't improve, the O's could always shift Henderson to shortstop and find someone else to play third. The '23 season will see Henderson at third, at least to start.

The catcher position is in concrete, obviously. Rutschman could be a contender for the A.L. MVP award next season. IF he avoids the dreaded sophomore slump, Adley's in store for a huge 2023.

In the outfield, the O's have a decision to make with Anthony Santander. Give him the right field spot, full time, and supplement him as the team's DH on occasion? That seems like the wisest move. He's not great with the glove, but his arm is terrific. Either way, Santander's bat has to be in the lineup nearly every day next season.

Cedric Mullins is the opposite of Santander. He's outstanding defensively but his arm is suspect. At the plate, he had a bit of a down year in '22, but he'll still finish the campaign hitting .260 with an OBP of .325. Not great. But not horrible.

Kyle Stowers in left field next season? Austin Hays? Platoon situation? Take your pick. Hays has basically been the same guy for two straight seasons. A .250 hitter with a .310 OBP. Not all that great. He does have some power, with almost 40 home runs combined in the last two years. But Stowers needs a chance to prove himself the same way Hays has been given two years to show we he can do.

As for pitching, these starters seem locked in: Dean Kremer, Kyle Bradish and the aforementiond John Means, if he's healthy and ready to return in April.

Jordan Lyles probably wouldn't be a bad idea for one more season, but there are several other veteran starters available in free agency that the O's could bring in to replace Lyles.

Grayson Rodriguez will certainly get a long look in spring training but there's no telling if he'll be a full-season starter in Baltimore or might the Birds leave him in the minors until early June to offset the service time issue.

Tyler Wells was decent at times this season. Austin Voth was, too. If nothing else, you have two bullpen arms with starter's experience for the inevitable injuries and what not that pop up every season.

Will D.L. Hall turn into a full-time starter in '23 or will he serve in a bullpen/starter combo for most of his first full season in the big leagues? I heard one of the local talking heads compare him to Brian Matusz on a show earlier this week. I certainly hope that doesn't wind up being the case.

Four veteran free agent pitchers could be intriguing:

Giants lefty Carlos Rodon has a player-option of $22 million for 2023. Surely he can do better than that on the open market after another outstanding campaign in 2022.

Michael Wacha (Boston) is having an excellent season in Boston and at an incredible bargain of just $7M. The 31-year old righthander sports a 3.06 ERA with 100 strikeouts and 30 walks and could be a better (and cheaper) version of Jordan Lyles '22.

If lefty Carlos Rodon (Giants) declines his $22M player option for '23, the O's could make a 3 or 4 year investment in the soon-to-be 30-year old. He has American League experience with the White Sox, remember. He's having an outstanding year in San Francisco (30 starts, 2.98 ERA) and the thought within baseball is that he'll opt out of his Giants deal in search of a long-term contract elsewhere. The Orioles could use a left handed starter.

When Mike Elias spoke at the All-Star break about spending off-season money, I have to think Rodon is one of the primary guys he'd consider. But other teams will covet him as well. Rumors are flying already that the Rangers, Red Sox and Blue Jays are interested in him.

Jameson Taillon (Yankees) is having an excellent year, particularly at his $5.8M salary. The Yankees will likely try to re-sign him to a 3-year deal, but if the Orioles are serious about spending free agent money this winter, they could do worse than signing Taillon, who is currently 14-5 with a 3.83 ERA. He had an outstanding first half of '22 but has flattened a bit in the second half. That might help keep his price down a bit over the winter, too.

And all joking aside, how about a one-year flyer on Rich Hill (Boston)? If nothing else, he won't beat the Birds four times in '23 if he's in orange and black. If Rodon winds up signing elsewhere, Hill could be a stop-gap southpaw who is both reliable and affordable.

As for second base, we'll assume the Rougned Odor experiment will conclude at the end of the '22 campaign. So what next?

If the Brewers don't pick up the $10M option on Kolten Wong, the O's could look to add him for a year or two. His offensive numbers are far superior to that of Odor's. In 2022, he's hitting .252 with 15 HR's and an OBP of .338.

All of this free agent talk presupposes that the O's don't promote anyone from the farm system or make a trade of some kind in the off-season to fill a few of their open spots.

Everything being equal, the Birds need a 2nd baseman and at least one reliable starting pitcher, if not two. A veteran back-up first baseman wouldn't hurt, either, although there continues to be talk that Anthony Santander might eventually be considered at first base if he picks up the defensive nuances.

A lot has changed in a year, though. In September of '21, the Birds were floundering in last place and just hoping beyond hope that Adley's arrival would spark a new era of Orioles baseball. 12 months later, they're going to finish above .500 and will be a trendy pre-season pick by the experts in 2023.

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faith in sports


On Thursday, Archbishop William E. Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore distibuted an important message to members of the Catholic church.

While I realize not everyone reading this edition of Drew's Morning Dish is Catholic, I found Archbishop Lori's message to be something everyone can understand and, potentially, support through prayers of your own.

One of the discussion points we constantly hear in Baltimore is, "How do we fix our city?" Archbishop Lori and the Archdiocese of Baltimore have a plan to help with that through an undertaking called "Seek The City to Come".

Below is Archbishop Lori's e-mail to the Catholic community. Please pray for the success of both "Seek The City to Come" and the city of Baltimore.


Today, I am blessed to share with you the important news that we are taking our first steps to reimagine Catholic life in Baltimore City and some nearby suburbs. I invite you to join me in this shared effort — an undertaking we’re calling Seek the City to Come (Heb 13:14) — that will enable the Church to become more fully alive and better serve the diverse needs of our faith community and beyond in and around Baltimore.

Seek the City to Come is about fortifying the Church in our mission of proclaiming the Gospel and celebrating the Sacraments. We are calling on the people of God to creatively renew the foundation and footprint in the city to bring new life, new enthusiasm, new pastoral activity and, yes, a new use for some structures.

Guided by our Urban Vicar, Bishop Bruce Lewandowski, C.Ss.R., we are prayerfully embarking on a listening campaign. Over the coming months, we will be exploring the ways we are meeting the pastoral needs of congregations and communities in Baltimore City and some parishes along the Baltimore County line. We are entering this phase of the process without a pre-determined outcome. Future phases of discernment will eventually lead us to decision-making in the next few years. Our singular goal is simple: to position the Church to best meet the needs of the people of God for the century to come.

Our intention is to channel energy and resources to foster parishes that are vibrant and welcoming centers of evangelization, where mercy, trust, and the love of Jesus abound. We approach our task with prayer, great hope and compassion.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore is considered by many to be the home of Catholicism in the United States. Ours was the first diocese in this fledgling nation and at one point encompassed all the territories. The work before us as missionary disciples is as vital today as it was when the Diocese of Baltimore was established as the Premier See in 1789.

While much has changed since then, we remain disciples of Jesus who are each called to share the Good News that is available to all of us through the Holy Spirit. We, too, remain steadfast in our commitment to provide for the increasing ever-present social and spiritual needs of those around us. Though this call can feel daunting, and we may easily feel overwhelmed by the need, Seek the City to Come is about doubling down and refocusing on our commitment to the City.

Some might dismiss this effort as the church’s retreat from an increasingly secular world, but I invite you to believe with me in the power of exploring how best we can shine God’s healing love and saving message on our City. We cannot be so entrenched in our history that we do not recognize the needs of the present or future, or the reality of our decades-long challenge to do more with less. We value our place in history and we are mindful stewards of our traditions, knowing, however, the mission we are on is not born of brick and mortar. The physical presence of the Church in Baltimore will not look the same in 10 years as it does today; indeed, I question why it should.

Your participation is central to this work and vital to its success. Lend your voices to the discussion. Join our open prayerful discussions and seek out opportunities to provide thoughtful feedback on your hopes and dreams for the new city that will come from our collective prayer, visioning, and discernment.

Visit www.seekthecity.org to learn more about why Seek the City to Come is so vital to our service in Baltimore and find ways you can participate.

Please know of my prayers for you, and I ask you to join me in praying daily for the success of this important initiative. Be open to God’s will for us and embrace the collaboration this process will require.

With confidence in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, let us begin this journey — together.

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Thursday
September 29, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2957


points to ponder


With last night's 3-1 loss in Boston and the Mariners beating Texas by that same score, the O's now have 75 losses and both Seattle and Tampa Bay have just 70 losses.

Tampa Bay sits at 85-70. Seattle is 84-70. The Orioles are at 80-75.

It's not over. But if this were a golf match, the Birds would 3 down with 3 to play. They'd need to win the last 3 holes just to force a playoff, in other words.

It's looking bleak.

Brandon Hyde trotted out a lineup on Wednesday night in Boston that was supposed to lose and, BAM!, the Orioles lost. Go figure.

Funny enough, though, had the Orioles bullpen not coughed up the games with the Astros last Saturday and Sunday, they'd still be in the thick of the wild card chase. Every loss matters, as I always say, but those two last weekend were buzz killers for sure, particularly with the Mariners only winning once every four days over the last 2 weeks or so.

And the worst thing of all? Unless the Birds just intentionally walk him every time he faces them this weekend in the Bronx, Aaron Judge is likely going to make baseball history at the expense of the Orioles when he hits his record breaking 62nd American League home run. As if we needed to be involved in another highlight reel moment in New York, right?

Oh, and about last night's game one more time.

What on earth was that lineup about?

You're on the verge of being eliminated from the playoff race and you trot out the Bad News Bears? No Rutschman, no Henderson, no Mullins to start the game?

Instead of Mullins, we got Ryan McKenna. Robinson Chirinos and his .180 average started at catcher. (Editor's note: Chirinos was responsible for the only Baltimore run on an 8th inning homer.) And .200 hitting Tyler Nevin got the start at 3rd base over Henderson.

Yes, I'm aware Rich Hill got the start for Boston and the thought was to match-up right handed bats against a southpaw pitcher. But if the right handed bats can't hit, what's the difference?

That lineup last night was a joke. I have no idea what Brandon Hyde or the O's super-smart analytics team was thinking when they put those nine bats together, but it was laughably inept from the start.

The O's are 3-down with 3-down to play and they're hitting a 4-iron off the 16th tee, a 540 yard par-5 they could reach in two with a good drive. I don't get the play.


As I read comments here and listen to talk radio in town, I keep coming back to something about the Lamar Jackson contract situation.

People seemingly have no idea how much of an impact it would be on the league if the Ravens would have caved in over the summer and signed Lamar to a long-term, fully-guaranteed deal.

This is not about money. It's not about silly pie-in-the-sky takes like "with all the streaming money and gambling-related money coming in, the owners have more money than ever before" to give to the players. This is not about owners like Steve Bisciotti being "rich enough" to pay for $300 million contracts.

The whole thing is a battle to avoid having multi-year contracts be fully guaranteed. Nothing more, nothing less.

I don't know this for sure, but I'm guessing football owners have looked at the way things unfolded in Major League Baseball and realized giving a guy a 5-year deal for $140 million and then watching him hit .214 in year 5 and .199 in year 6 isn't a great return on your investment. Giving a pitcher $100 million for 5 years and then having him sport a 5.84 ERA in year 3 and blowing out his arm in year 4 doesn't do justice to the bottom line of winning and being fiscally responsible.

Football owners aren't unwilling to guarantee some portion of a player's contract. They just don't want to guarantee every year of it, particularly the kind Lamar (and the top players) is looking for in 2022.

And when the Browns cave in and the Ravens cave in, the Steelers will have to cave in for T.J. Watt. And the Bengals will have to cave in for Joe Burrow. And Ja'Mar Chase. And the Rams will have to cave in for Cooper Kupp. And the Vikings will have to cave in for Justin Jefferson. And the Bills will have to cave in for Stefon Diggs. And the Jets will have to cave in for Sauce Gardner.

You get the picture. At some point -- sooner rather than later -- it won't be just the quarterbacks looking for fully guaranteed deals. Every player will be looking for one. Tight ends, offensive tackles, cornerbacks, rush ends, linebackers, etc.

You're telling me Ed Reed and Ray Lewis wouldn't have been first in line for a fully-guaranteed multi-year contract circa 2006? Of course they would have.

This concept of being "Number 2" is the hot button topic among league owners, I'm sure. It has nothing to do with how much money they have or how much they might make in 2022, 2023 or 2024. It has everything to do with changing the entire landscape of the way the NFL does business with the players.

Giving out fully-guaranteed contracts is a landscape changing decision. That's why everyone in the league fainted when the Browns signed Deshaun Watson to that deal over the summer. The first domino fell. Once the second one falls, the third one falls. And then the fourth, and the fifth and the sixth. Once they all start falling, business changes.

All you have to do is equate this to your own industry, line of work or company you own.

You've been at Smith Manufacturing for 10 years. You hear through water-cooler talk that Bill, who works in your department and does the same thing you do, just got his $75,000 salary "fully guaranteed" for the next three years. How long would it take for you to be in the boss's office asking for your salary to be fully guaranteed?

And if you're the owner and Bill walks in with a demand to have his salary guaranteed for three years, you just know others will be coming in next week, next month and next year when they all learn about Bill's good fortune. You know, once you give out one fully guaranteed compensation package, others are coming shortly thereafter.

Football is a business, just like Smith Manufacturing. We just watch it on TV every Sunday.

I've said this from the very start: This is one of those rare occasions in sports negotiating where both parties are right and both parties are fairly sticking to their guns.

Lamar looks around and says, "The rest of these chumps pretty much stink. If they're getting $25 million, I should be getting $50 million. And if Deshaun Watson's deal is fully guaranteed, mine should be as well." And he might very well be right on those points.

And the Ravens say, "We love you. We want you on the team. We'll give you $50 million a year to play quarterback for us. But we're not going to give you $300 million over 6 years without knowing what you might or might not be doing in years 5 and 6 of that deal." And they might very well be spot-on with that line of thinking as well.

The one thing I know for sure. The Ravens don't want to be #2. Maybe if two other teams step over the line and sign guys to fully guaranteed deals, the pressure would be off of Bisciotti and he'd do the same thing? I have no idea. But the thought of being #2 is a scary position for every owner.

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The Stats Nerd
And His Numbers


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


Rather than dwell on the obvious issues that the Ravens are doing well versus what needs some improvement, I thought a look around at some trends in the league through the first 3 games was in order. 3 weeks doesn’t really mean much in a statistically significant way but some things to keep an eye on.


Scoring Down –

Average points per team per game through the first three weeks are just over 21. The leaders are the Ravens averaging 33 points per game followed closely by Detroit (yes the Lions!) and the Bills. The laggards through that same period are the Colts, Broncos and Cowboys.

For all of 2021-2022 regular season teams averaged almost exactly 23 points per game. While roughly 2 points per team doesn’t seem like a lot it is approaching a 10% reduction.

Why it is happening is a tougher question to answer. Defenses have adjusted to the pass happy nature of the league by implementing more safer coverage schemes (ie Cover 2). This seems to be supported by the fact that combined passing yards per game are down by roughly 30 yards.


Offense –

Oddly we should expect a bit of an upsurge in running the ball with the Cover 2 defenses but that has not yet occurred. Rushing attempts per game are in line with 2021.

Scoring drives are down by over 3%. It’s a little difficult to parse why exactly but # punts are up as a percentage of drives and TDs and FGs are noticeably down.

The culprit seems to be that 3rd and 4th down tries have not been as successful in 2022 as they were in 2021. The success rates through 3 games are down 3% and 5% respectively for 3rd and 4th down tries. Not sure that’s entirely accounting for the decrease in scoring but should be a part of the reason.


Risers and Fallers –

The teams on the rise seem obvious. The Jags most notably are 1 win away from matching their win total from a year ago and in perhaps the weakest division in the NFL might be the favorite to emerge from their division.

The Dolphins and the Eagles are the sole remaining undefeated teams and while both were 9-8 last season they each have the look of a more dangerous team this year. The Eagles in particular benefit from a weak division.

Teams that look to be going in the wrong direction both statistically and in the win column include the Cardinals who don’t seem to have anything that they are particularly good at and in a surprise, the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos were something of a sexy pick preseason to make a deep run this season but the match of 1st time coach Nathaniel Hackett and their prized new QB Russell Wilson seems rocky at best.

They are second to last in points scored and in the bottom half of the league in both total yards and yards per play. With a 33 year old QB that just signed a 5 year contract worth over $245MM ($165MM guaranteed) that is a bit of a yikes through 3 games. He hasn’t looked ANYTHING like the QB he was several years ago in Seattle.

Obviously, the season is very early but these are a few of the items I’ve noticed so far this season.


There was a college analytics situation that came up in the Florida/Tennessee game last Saturday that created a bit of buzz on social media and amongst the commentators. Florida scored a TD with about 4:50 left to go in the game. That pulled them to within 11.

Inexplicably, they managed to recover an onside kick with less than 20 seconds left in the game. Fans were, of course, quick to point out that had they kicked 2XP they would have only needed a FG to tie the game rather than a TD3.

Of course, I hate this type of post game analysis because it focuses on the result rather than the thought processes. By going for 2 Napier effectively increased his win probability SIGNIFICANTLY. How?

Well this is similar to the discussion of going for 2 when TD1 gets a team within 8 in the fourth quarter. The thought process being if they are 50/50 to succeed on a 2P try they will score 3 points more often than 2 points or 0 points over the 2 tries.

Specifically, if they are successful on the FIRST 2p try they will obviously kick the XP after TD2 for a total of 3 points. Given that the initial 2p try is 50/50 that scenario (successful try) will play out 1/2 the time. If they fail on the FIRST 2p try, they will try again after TD2 and again will have a 50/50 success rate. So half the time they will succeed on that second try and half the time they will again fail.

So assuming all XP are good their point distributions in this fact pattern will be 3 pts 50% of the time, 2 pts 25% of the time and 0 pts 25% of the time. Their expected point total from all these tries is STILL 2 points. But now in 50% of the cases they avoid yet ANOTHER coin flip scenario in the form of overtime. And by the way, college overtime is even more of a coin flip than NFL overtime just based on the form of play in overtime.

So back to Florida. Napier knew he needed 3 scores to win the game. 2 TDs and a FG. He can play for those 3 scores (which admittedly isn’t very likely) and then hope to win an Overtime coinflip. Or he can play for 8 points, 7 points and 3 points which should come half the time. If 2p try #1 is unsuccessful, he will try for 6 points, 8 points and 3 points and then go into the OT.

So there was certainly logic to what he was doing. It wasn’t a YOLO situation where a coach made a seat of the pants decision. It is the mathematically correct decision UNLESS the coach believes that his teams success rate on 2p tries is considerably less than 50%.

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     October 05
I gave up on Dem O's years ago for a multitude of great reasons so I have no dog in the fight. But I did laugh out loud over someone claiming the O's a playoff team next year absent the knowledge of their roster or schedule. Especially when the same person told everyone for the last two months they'd make the playoffs this year knowing the roster and schedule. I'm wrong so rarely I can't remember what it felt like but if I remember correct the proper response after being wrong for two months running would be some humility. Not doubling down on predictions. But around here the SOD has a one day memory so you can tell them just about anything day in and day out and they forget how wrong you can be fresh the next morning.

Jason M     October 05
Not to mention the competition, but Mike Preston dropped a pretty big hint that Nick Boyle is done in his column today. The fact that he has not sniffed the 53 man roster yet this season would seem to bear that out. If that is so, we have lost one of the most effective run blocking tight ends that we've ever had. We have missed him on short yardage situations, and our tight ends not wearing 89 haven't done much of note so far. We'll see Hurst on Sunday, miss that guy, I'm sure Lamar does too.

unitastoberry     October 05
When is the court date for Angelos Vs Angelos?

Chris in Bel Air     October 05
O's definitely need another arm and a bat or two. Big bonus if some of the players performing in the minors (Westburg, Cowser, etc) are able to be contributors too. I know he can't hit but I like Mateo. Fielding, speed and energy are good for the team. It's been several years but we have an actual O's off-season coming up and carrying some sense of optimism. Heading down to the Yard now to take in the last game.

Delray RICK     October 05
ERIC...Hope you are right bout MATEO. Stolen base leader in AMERICAN LEAGUE. GREAT fielder like BELANGER.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 05
Drew putting his jinx out a year early. Just a reminder - White Sox were a lock to win the Central Os were a lock to win 60 or so games. I dont believe the Swanson rumors. Os officials have been whispering to LaConfora for months that Mateo is locked in at SS. Hopefully his baseball sources are as bad as his Ravens sources. Plenty of quality pitchers available by trade per Athletic - Burnes Snell Bieber Singer to name a few. I still say return of Means and G Rod makes our bottom 10 offense the bigger priority but ill gladly take a top arm too

TC     October 05
Swanson would be a perfect free agency target, except he's from Kennesaw, Georgia. There'd probably have to be a premium paid to get him out of Atlanta, and he is the only one of their infielders not locked up long-term.

HERMAN     October 05
It's pretty sad when you have to google the PGATour website to see if there is even a tour stop this week, or where they are. It would make perfect sense for the Tour to partner with LIV and allow them to take over what used to be called "the silly season", and operate in conjunction with the Tour. And 54 holes ending on Saturday would dovetail nicely as they wouldn't have to compete with the monster that is the NFL.

Like pro baseball the Tour needs to shorten the over-all season and make each individual tournament more meaningful. As it is everyone gets jazzed for the majors and maybe one or two more stops, past that interest seems to wane. It's possible that the Tour could end a month earlier or so, give up late Summer and Fall to LIV and have the truncated format and field, together with changes of team play, atmosphere and design create a new and different interest and audience in this new "season". These past few weeks I've been checking Tour results over the weekend, couldn't recognize more than one name in ten on the leaderboard. If the Tour had yielded to LIV for the Fall of course you'd know the leaderboard of names. To continue battling is in no one's interest.


Delray RICK     October 05
Hope DREW is right because DEM O'S have to face the 3 menaces in their division and they DEFINITELY need better bats and hitters above .260 mark. DEM O'S pitching staff an't going to make it with this group. PLEASE move the wall BACK.

Nathan Aparisto     October 04
I just heard the despicable rumor that Gisele was unfaithful to the greatest quarterback to ever live by cheating on him with Antonio Brown.



If this is true, Tom Brady should sue her for every last penny!

Erick     October 04
So Ravens were predicted to win- they lose. We state - Bills are good if not great- we are cast as doubting thomas…and…..”dont get it”…..now they lose, people vent and its more predictions of victories….of games not yet played!

vernon     October 04
These guys who think Drew is taking "veiled" shots at Herman are hilarious. If true, then it sure is clear who is the one living rent free lol

Larry     October 04
Drew's subtle but clever jab at Herman today was pretty funny. All part of the game..................

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy Yup that is good analysis. I would lean over on that 36 number but they play a hell of a lot of games this season (even without him playing WC) Obv an injury can happen at any time. I remember getting so frustrated by Sterling and now this guy is just silly good. He's so big and fast...just an animal

Dan noonan     October 04
Who are these people getting all pumped up about "Drew schooling Herman"? Must be that SOD gang I hear about often. Must be like a special dog whistle only those guys can hear, I see no roasting or calling out of one individual here today. the childish "rent free" crowd is awake today that is for sure.

Don't agree with all the talking points re: the Ravens game, but it was indeed a nice calm summary and not at all like what the #BP guy or the FM guys do on the radio. In that sense, DMD is schooling 105.7 and 1570!


TimD in Timonium     October 04
Not only does @Herman survive the brutal Florida hurricane, he jumps back into the fray with his A-Game still intact.



"who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status."



LOL. Bravo, sir, well-played.


Chris     October 04
DF roasting Herman is why I come to DMD every day!

HERMAN     October 04
I didn't Make that last post. I never do anything I have to apologize for so I never apologize.

Randy     October 04
@Stats Nerd

Great question, I'm going to use some geek speak to make a projection, I think you'll appreciate that. So far Haaland has 14 goals in 8 games, but he only has 7.6 xG (expected goals). So he has been scoring at a better rate than expected, however he's consistently produced about 3-5 goals above expectation in his career.



For Dortmund in the Bundesliga he average about 1 goal/game when healthy. Now the EPL is a higher competition level, but also Man City produced 2.14 xG last year to just 1.6 for Dortmund, so he should have more scoring opportunities this year.



So if we expect his luck to even out a little bit and him to stay around 1 g/g of xG, that would put him around 40 goals for the season. The biggest caveat is that he did miss time in both the last two Dortmund seasons with injuries. So I'll deduct 10% for injury risk (just pulled a number) and that lands us on.....



36.



I swear I didn't do that on purpose.



If I were to bet, I'd take the over. Haaland is going to get a big rest midseason since Norway isn't in the World Cup, so that should reduce the injury risk. They also may give him all the penalty kick chances if he's chasing a record and look to feed him towards the end of the season if they run away with the title.

Chris in Bel Air     October 04
The Yankee fans meltdown over the weekend was comical. Did they expect the O's to just throw 85 mph meatballs to him? That's not being entitled at all. For the record, Judge walked 5 times but he was also 1 for 7 with 6 Ks. He had his chances and couldn't connect. Sorry fans. I also like Judge. He seems to be a "good guy" and would take him on the O's any day. But I certainly didn't want to see the O's give up the 62nd HR and certainly found the Yankee whining to be laughable.

Herman     October 04
I will admit I definitely go above and beyond occasionally on the site owner but he brings out the worst in me for whatever reason. Ask my friends, I'm normally not nearly as angry as I come across here at the site. The site owner just gets under my skin for some reason.

Jason M     October 04
Like DF said in his recap, if you think the bad decision lost them the game, you don't know football. They lost that game a 100 ways in the second half. Harbaugh did his part to contribute, but so did many others.

J.R.     October 04
LMAO at @DF taking a swipe @Herman like that.

unitastoberry     October 04
@ Steve of Pimlico I bet Mad Dog had the better tackle on the fan in Baltimore. I don't get ESPN did the announcers bring up Mikes forearm shot on the drunk in Baltimore on TV? I was there too. Mike was a HOFer I don't care what the NFLHOF thinks or Dion. Ask Mike Singletary about Mike Curtis....he will put you all straight.

Pratt     October 04
Herman, why shouldn't Drew single you out? You single him out every day here. Talk about rent free in someone's head, you can't go a day without referencing him. So tell us again why he shouldn't single you out. You're a first rate prick and you know it.

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy What line would you set as an O/U for Haaland goals this season? The number in the UK betting lines seems to be 36-ish. Assuming he stays healthy I suspect he gets there fairly easily

HERMAN     October 04
@RC

You don't really believe the site owner penned that line for just one random commenter do you? I mean, I know I set up full residency in his caddy lawyers head based on his childish response he penned here in the comments last week. The one who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status. But the site owner wouldn't take aim at just one simple commenter. Especially not one who could potentially help him take this site to Barstool heights singlehandedly. In his new Country Club world he has to be above that.

Steve of Pimlico     October 04
Mike Curtis would have been proud of the Ram player for decking that num nut who ran on the field last night with the smoking device.I was actually at that game back in the day.

Tim D     October 04
Ravens Recap - well said Drew.

Kevin     October 04
When Drew starts making more coaching sense than the actual football coach in town, I think we know what that means. And I'm saying that with no disrespect to Drew. It's actually a compliment.

Albert c     October 04
Lamar is a QB and he got to throw the ball, how is that not letting Lamar be Lamar?

MFC     October 04
I turned to watch a bit of the O's last night, if there was 800 people in the stands I'd be shocked. I did get to see some great fan interaction by our stadium ushers.

Two fans, looked like husband and wife, walk down and sit in the front two seats to the right of the screen behind home plate. It's the 7'th inning. It's miserable, rain pouring down. Well it didn't take 45 seconds before our usher is seen walking down the steps and our fan faithful asked to relocate to their seats. I literally laughed out loud, why? Ok, they didn't pay for those seats but the weather is horrible, there's no one in the stadium to speak of, it's the 7'th inning. Why can't you just look the other way at that point. In fact why not take a proactive position and tell the crowd to sit where they want. If you're one that would get upset because you "paid" for the best seat you need to get over it. Say thanks to the 800 people that braved the conditions to support the team.



It's a shame that during that sequence at the goal line we really didn't let Lamar be Lamar. One of the top offensive players in the game and we don't let him win it. I did not remember that Roman was the OC for the 49'ers in the SB. Wow, good memory by the site owner. That explains a lot.



Saw a stat that's incredible. Judge has struck out 167 times this year. Tony Gwynn didn't strike out that much in the 90's. How great was Gwynn.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw Tucker 2 weeks ago put Ravens up 38-35 and watched Avg QB march right down the field and win. Why she he trust this D vs Allen???

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw two weeks ago Tucker give Ravens 38-35 lead late only to watch Avg QB march right down the field. Why in Gods name should he trust this D vs Allen???

Frank     October 04
Love Harbs - but I think he missed an opportunity by not taking blame for the call and saying he should have kicked the FG. Now that he is sticking to his decision, it puts the blame on execution and players - where otherwise he could have taken it all himself.... take a bullet for your team!

David Rosenfeld     October 04
You said: "But they're now playing from behind, where their play calling has to be a smidgen more carefully planned and their execution has to be spot-on."

John said: The exact opposite of that!

Paraphrasing: A team that is behind in that situation is going to play more aggressively, not less. They will be willing to use all 4 downs in a way they might not if they are too close to their end zone, etc.

It's interesting. From a fan perspective, it's a liability for Buffalo that they would be "forced" to use all 4 downs. From the analytic perspective, it might be an advantage.

Just a discussion. Reiterating that I would have kicked the FG...


RC     October 04
DF throwing shade at Herman with the "ocean breeze erodes your brain". Hilarious.

Kenny G     October 04
While Drew touched on the statistical analysis a bit, I will take it a step further. My problem with the analytics is what factors are considered. Are the stats influenced by going against a strong defense or weak? Good run defense? At home vs on the road? In rain, on turf, etc? Which quarter? You can probably think of several more. Additionally there needs to be a feel for the tempo of the actual game. If its a 35-32 game or a 10-3 game in the fourth quarter - is that factored in? Maybe the matchup does not favor going for it?

Butch (aka Big Fat Daddy)     October 04
George: The Orioles game was called and made an "Official" game due to weather. By MLB rule - a game can be Official after 4 and 1/2 innings - if ended by the Crew Chief. Now what really happened was the Umps, the league office and both Managers went into the tunnel and agreed to end the game. It was terrible weather for a baseball game. No need to play and get any player or players hurt. The Blue Jays have playoff games coming up and the Orioles have next season.

Delray RICK     October 04
The RAVENS have won games they shouldn't have and lost games...whatever. what goes around comes around.

HERMAN     October 04
Counting chickens before they hatch. A 12-5 prediction, predicated on looking at the future schedule. Sure. This team, as is presently constituted, without potential injuries, and with the current coaching braintrust is going to win one they should lose and lose a few they should win. A 12 win prediction is best-case scenario and about as reliable as all those columns with "Dem O's are going to the playoffs, this year, I believe".

Right now with this roster the Ravens are a mid-level mediocre team who can shine on any given Sunday or just mess the bed with a fourth quarter meltdown against another mediocre team. They are no 12 win team.

Baltimore fans are closer to Cleveland fans than I thought, they both show up expecting the "best case scenario" despite all prior evidence to the contrary. Then whine over a play, a call, some small detail within a game that derails their vision of the mind.

Smalltimore; Cleveland of the Chesapeake.

George     October 04
Have searched the Internet diligently but can't find an explanation of how the Orioles game ended after 7.5 innings. Can anyone enlighten? Thanks.

larry     October 04
Oweh almost made a great play, it was clear Singletary was not going to go into the end zone but give himself up at the one. Oweh got the ball loose but not out. Ball comes out and Ravens recover, all the sudden Oweh is a genius.

Also FG with 4 minutes less hardly puts pressure on Bills. Now I would have kicked it anyway, but let's not act like kicking the FG means they are 3-1, the D still would have had to make plays. Given the chance to do so at 20-20, they did not.

Chris in Bel Air     October 03
Agree with many posts here on Drew's recap. Good summary. Also agree with @ MFC on the refs. The Ravens did not lose because of the refs but they were certainly another obstacle to overcome. The seemingly random application of the rules within a game and per week is difficult to watch at times. I will also add that it was not a good day for many first-round draft picks. Certainly Lamar didn't have his best day. Bateman with a couple drops and then was injured. Linderbaum with 2 false starts. Queen exerting lots of energy but didn't seem to make a tackle when it mattered most. Queen sometimes plays like a 5 year old playing soccer for the first time - chasing the pile around the field but not making much of a difference. Oweh had the sack and forced fumble but also was badly fooled on Allen's TD run and did not keep the edge. Of course, plenty to question with Harbs too. Not a good day at all as a team. On a more positive note, I thought JPP did fairly well for just coming off the street. Dobbins also looked pretty good. I thought he made something out of nothing on a couple runs and turned small gains into a more substantial gains a few times. He will be a big boost to the offense if he stays healthy. In addition, the remaining Ravens schedule doesn't look to be very daunting at all. Plenty of season left... Of course, that is all based on the Ravens team I expect to see. Not the one that has only figured out how to play for 2 quarters.

MFC     October 03
The site owner unpacked it really well this morning, except he meant snowangels instead of snowballs but that's nitpicking a really good recap. Nothing much to add that's not already "unpacked".



I will say something about NFL refs, they're BS. I watched last night night as Mahonnes made the exact same play as Lamar running oob's, almost scary how similar. He gets the first down spot. Lamar doesn't and we have to lose a TO because they upheld the BS call on the challenge. Andrews OPI was BS and the roughing the passer. They're needs to be an overhaul and some type of new review. Consistency is paramount to reffing and they're anything but.

HERMAN     October 03
Man I wish there was some way to invest in the NFL. I'm not talking about betting, I'm talking ownership. For the common man. Because with fans like those in Baltimore it's a pure growth industry. They somehow convince themselves that their completely mediocre franchise is one of the best in the league despite all evidence. You fans are "all-in". Past Lamar they have not a player that excites, that just makes plays, who can perform and change the game. The coach is serviceable but flawed, the coordinators as mediocre as the team.

This phenomenon actually extends to all sports in Baltimore. These same commenters wailing about the loss are the ones like the site owner who just believed and believed that the low payroll O's were going to the playoffs. They don't make fish hooks big enough I'm telling ya. And this is how gullible they are, after months of either being told Dem O's were going to the playoffs, or being given betting advice, when it all disappears they move on, no need to examine how wrong one can be. Look over here at this new shiny thing, pay no attention to that old shiny thing. Oh it wasn't the 4TH down call, it was the whole second half. No, it was the bad penalty for hitting the quarterback. No it was that retread O coordinator.

Maybe it's just as simple as your expectations being ridiculous. As ridiculous as Dem O's making the playoffs this year. You can't invest emotion into a Harbaugh coached team. You're destined for disappointment.

Alas only one man can invest in Baltimore football. No wonder he is a billionaire. Fish in a barrel.


Such     October 03
I was never very good at math, let alone things like Algebra and Trigonometry and Calculus and "Advanced Metrics", but I do know that 23>20 and 3>0. I would rather play with a 3 point lead than try and fend off that Bills offense in a tie game with 4 minutes remaining.

And 3-1 > 2-2. Oh well.

Jason M     October 03
It's a real slap in the face to the Ravens faithful who geared up and sat through the remnants of a damn hurricane, shouting down the Bills Mafia who travelled well, only to watch the Ravens do their best impersonation of a pack of choking dogs. 5 straight at home people, this is unacceptable. I see the other team adjusting at half time, where are our adjustments? Or do we make them and they just make things worse? How can it be that we are good enough to run up a lead, but not good enough to hold it?

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 03
Not a doubt in my mind if Lamar throws for a TD there Allen ties it and wins in OT. Thats what Ravens have been since 2014 blowing 2 TD lead in NE. 4th and 17 vs Cincy. Choking as a 14-2 seed. 5 straight home games blowing 4th Q leads. Russell street report said it best ...fact that majority of fanbase at halftime up 10 at home expected to lose shows you this franchise has deep issues.

Daveinlutherville     October 03
Frank: bless you for your confidence. I don’t think most people think this is anywhere near a 12-5 team, but we shall see.

Wednesday
September 28, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2956


lamar's case


If you're Lamar Jackson and you watched Sunday Night Football between Denver and San Francisco, you laughed and said, "All these jokers at quarterback are doing now is making me more money down the road."

Russell Wilson? Can't hold a candle to Lamar at this point. Whatever Wilson's getting, give Jackson 30% more. At least.

Same for Kyler Murray. Sure, about every 4th game he does something special and has a big performance. Sometimes when he plays well, the Cardinals even win the game. But the truth is Murray isn't half the quarterback of Lamar Jackson.

Lamar's exceptional play and the so-so performances from other highly paid quarterbacks have served to increase his value significantly.

Deshaun Watson? He hasn't played since getting that gift-of-a-lifetime from the Browns over the summer. But when he does play, I'd wager he won't look anything like Lamar Jackson.

Now, Rodgers, Mahomes and Allen? Sure, they're worth what they're getting. And you can make an argument their value is just as high as Lamar's. They're three outstanding quarterbacks.

But when Lamar watches guys like Wilson, Murray and (eventually) Watson play, all he sees is how much more money he should make than those three are making.

This isn't intended as a way of saying Lamar isn't playing well. He is playing well. Better than "well", in fact. But it becomes more and more evident how valuable Jackson is when you watch a number of the other highly paid quarterbacks play like a slightly better version of Jay Cutler or Ryan Fitzpatrick.

So you can understand how Jackson might say to the Ravens, "It's $300 million for six years, guaranteed. When you're ready to fork that over, you know how to reach me. Until then, I'll just keep watching these chumps play every week. And then next Monday, it's $305 million. And the Monday after that, it's $310 million."

And it's worth remembering -- as I'm sure Lamar's agent would point out if, in fact, there was one -- that Lamar has done most of this damage over the last five years without a cast of All-Pro players helping him out on offense. It's been Mark Andrews, mostly. With a smattering of assistance from guys like the departed Hollywood Brown, Rashod Bateman and..........did I mention Mark Andrews?

The Baltimore run game has been solid during Lamar's tenure, save for this year, when Jackson is basically doing it all on his own while the ball carriers and their cement shoes pick up 2 yards a carry. But over the last five years, it's been Lamar's offense and he's been as "valuable" as any player in the league, on either side of the ball.

This is where Lamar critics will say: "Yeah, but what about the playoffs?"

Sure thing. The stats don't lie. He's 1-3 in the post-season, although you can hardly blame him for the loss vs. the Chargers in January of 2019. He was drinking from the fire hose in the second half of his rookie season when he took over for the injured Joe Flacco and never gave the former Super Bowl his starting job back.

So, yes, he's 1-3 in the playoffs. Do those four games really change your opinion of his value based on what you've seen him do week in and week out against the rest of the NFL during the regular season?


I've been saying this for the better part of eight months now: The Lamar Jackson contract saga is perhaps the most interesting storyline in the history of the Ravens franchise. As it stands right now, it's certainly the most interesting storyline in the NFL in 2022.

But the Jackson situation in Baltimore is incredibly polarizing. On one side, you have the quarterback almost single-handedly beating opposing defenses every Sunday. On the other side, you have an organization that is not interested in being team #2 to hand out a league-altering, fully-guaranteed, multi-year contract.

Steve Bisciotti continues to ponder the biggest issue in the NFL. To fully guarantee...or not fully guarantee?

And therein lies the rub. And it's a real rub, because, as we saw with the Browns this past summer, the landslide begins with one small snowball. And it builds when team #2 falls into place. And then team #3. And team #4. And so on.

The Browns didn't care about being the team to start the landslide because they're the Browns. They're predisposed to doing dumb stuff. Don't believe me? Remember Johnny Manziel? I won't bore you with the six others. You already know the story. Browns gonna Browns.

But other teams care about being #2. No one wants to be the next team to sign off on one of those multi-year guaranteed contracts. It really is that simple.

Owners like Steve Bisciotti have two factors to constantly evaluate: How they provide their city with the very best team possible and, equally as important, how they help the NFL continue to run its business model as effectively as possible. Sometimes, those two factors collide and one of the two has to be given priority over the other.

In the case of Lamar Jackson, Bisciotti is clearly drawing his line in the sand. He's going to do everything he can to protect the other 30 (not including the Browns) teams in the NFL, all of whom aren't interested in giving their star player(s) a fully guaranteed deal.

He won't say that publicly, obviously. To do so might reek of collusion, which is the worst word a sports owner can hear or be connected with. But the reality is Bisciotti is an owner first. And part of the fraternity within the NFL is that owners generally protect owners.

The Ravens are more than willing to pay Lamar Jackson top dollar. They're willing to overpay him, frankly. And they don't mind if he becomes the NFL's highest paid player, even. They're just not willing -- at this point -- to obligate themselves to giving him $300 million (or whatever the number is/becomes) without an inch of wiggle room on their part.


The only way this whole thing unravels is if, somehow, and unfortunately, Lamar gets seriously injured in 2022. That would definitely throw a wrench into the entire situation. And please, please don't say that kind of thing can't happen to Jackson. If you believe that, you must not have heard of Ronnie Stanley and his story in Baltimore over the last 22 months.

The Ravens are reeling, somewhat, from that Ronnie Stanley deal they signed in-season back in 2020, but at least the entire thing wasn't fully guaranteed. If they fully guarantee Lamar's $300 million deal and three games into next season he suffers the "Stanley injury", what happens then? Those are the things the Ravens concern themselves with while talk show hosts and callers prattle on about how Bisciotti is "cheap" or "not willing to do whatever he has to do to win".

No matter how this all unfolds, the Ravens will come out on the good end of things.

They can eventually re-sign Lamar on their terms, lock him up for 5-7 years, not obligate themselves to a fully-guaranteed deal, and they have themselves a franchise quarterback until the end of this decade.

They can apply the franchise tag to Lamar for the 2023 season and make him "prove it" again next year. This is one of the more likely solutions if Jackson simply refuses to sign any kind of long term extension that isn't fully guaranteed. The Ravens have all the leverage when it comes to 2023. He will either play for the franchise tag price or sit out and get zero.

They could apply the franchise tag and then trade Jackson this off-season. There's no telling what they can get in exchange for Jackson, but some draft/trade experts say the minimum would be four first round picks and two quality, veteran players. Who would give that up for Lamar? Who knows? But it only takes one team to say "yes" to the Ravens.

It's impossible for either party to "lose" in this entire ordeal, barring some sort of significant, career-changing injury to Jackson.

Other than that, everyone's going to win. Lamar's eventually going to get paid. It might be 40-some million in 2023 or it could be a $275-$300 million contract with $200 or more of that guaranteed. He won't be eating Ramen noodles in either situation, that's for sure.

The Ravens are going to win both on the field and off the field. As long as Jackson keeps performing like he has in the early stages of 2022, they're going to be a contender this season. That's a "win". And if they have to franchise him in 2023, they will. Maybe he plays in Baltimore on the franchise tag or maybe the Ravens get a remarkable draft haul for him. Either way, their toes are still tapping.

Now, if they somehow have to unload Jackson because they can't come to terms with him, there will be some collateral damage from that episode. People in Baltimore will not be happy, particularly given how quarterback-heavy the league has become over the last decade or so.

But Bisciotti has to navigate this whole thing keeping both the league and his franchise in mind. That's his biggest challenge moving forward.

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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 v saudi arabia recap


The US men concluded their two game World Cup warm up series with another concerning performance in a 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia.

The game was an opportunity for the US to recover from the loss to Japan and build some confidence against one of the lowest ranked (53rd in FIFA rankings) teams that qualified for the World Cup. Instead, a lack of offensive spark will leave lingering doubts as the team heads into November’s World Cup.

Saudi Arabia presented a different type of challenge to the US from the Japan game. While they pressed occasionally in the game, it was not as aggressive or organized as the Japanese and they were more willing to drop into a low defensive block and force the US to break them down.

There are some instances when a scoreless draw is deceiving and one side has many good chances they just can’t finish, this was not one of those games. The scoreline was a fairly accurate reflection of competitive balance.

The US had slightly more of the ball, with 55% possession but were only slightly more effective at generating chances, with one big chance against none from Saudi Arabia. The expected goals formula credited the US with just 0.47 xG to 0.53 xG Saudi Arabia, demonstrating that neither team was particularly threatening in attack.


Game Summary –

Coach Berhalter opted to start the same corps of players that went against Japan, but there were a few changes. Christian Pulisic recovered and was ready to start in this one, he was joined in the attacking line by teenagers Ricardo Pepi and Gio Reyna.

The midfield was anchored by Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie again, with Kellyn Acosta joining them in place of Luca de la Torre.

The center backs remained the same with Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long starting next to each other, but Sergino Dest moved over to left back and DeAndre Yedlin got the start at right back. Matt Turner manned the goal again.

An early departure for Gio Reyna was one of the more disconcerting parts of the U.S. team's 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

The US got off to a shaky start with Saudi Arabia surprisingly controlling possession for the first few minutes. After that initial 10 to 15 minutes the US settled down and gained hold of the game.

They got their first chance in the 9th minute when a Walker Zimmerman long ball found Weston McKennie over the top of the defense. McKennie was able to bring the ball down and get a shot off from the top of the box, but it was a weak effort right at the keeper. The ball did signal a shift in approach from the US, who were much more willing to play direct and look for long balls over the Saudi defense.

The 19th minute brought one of the better sequences of the game for the US as Pulisic and McKennie played a nice passing combination that put Pulisic in behind the defense on the left wing where he played a dangerous cross that was cut out by the defense for a corner.

A few minutes later the US had another good look when Tyler Adams pounced on a loose ball just outside the box and fired a low shot just wide of the post.

It was a concerning moment when Gio Reyna subbed out in the 30th minute. Reports are that it was a precautionary measure when he felt some muscle tightness, but given his recent injury struggles it is not positive to see him forced from the game.

In the 33rd minute, Saudi Arabia had one of the better looks in the game when a McKennie turnover gave them a counter attack that produced a close range shot. The US was able to block the shot and then clear a dangerous rebound, but they were lucky not to go down 1-0.

The teams went into halftime scoreless and there were no major changes at the break. Early in the second half each team had a shaky giveaway playing out of their own box. Matt Turner had a poor pass that was picked off but he was able to recover the ball in the box when the attacker took a loose touch.

A minute later it was Saudi Arabia passing it directly to Paul Arriola at the edge of their box, he quickly found Jesus Ferreira but his shot went right at the keeper.

The Saudis were more aggressive in the second half, applying pressure higher up the field that troubled the US a few times. In the 70th minute, substitute center back Mark McKenzie was caught on the ball by the press and turned it over, leading to a shot in the box that forced Matt Turner into a tough save.

A couple minutes later the US unlocked the pressure with a nice crossfield long ball from Walker Zimmerman to substitute right back Joe Scally. Scally used a nice touch to settle the ball and played a dangerous cross but no one got on the end of it. Saudi Arabia had one more good chance in the 80th minute when they got free for a header off the corner kick but they hit it over the bar from close range.

The US had one final chance to find a winning goal in the 86th minute when Ferreira took a nice touch off a throw-in to set up Arriola in the box but he hit his shot way high and wide. The game finished scoreless, leaving both sides with questions about how they will find goals in Qatar.


Tactics –

Gregg Berhalter made a small tactical adjustment to the US midfield in this game, lining the team up in a 4-2-3-1 instead of the previous 4-3-3. This gave them two deeper midfielders to help build out against the press and allowed Weston McKennie to move farther forward to get more involved in the attack.

In defense the US was closer to their 4-3-3 shape, however, in this game their wingers pinched in to press the Saudi center backs and the striker, Ricardo Pepi, dropped back to cover the deepest midfielder. This did make it tougher to play through, but Saudi Arabia largely opted to play long to avoid the pressure instead of playing between the lines.

Saudi Arabia pressed occasionally, but was not nearly as aggressive as Japan. They were often content to fall back into a 4-5-1 formation with a high back line. The US looked to exploit that high line by playing more long balls over the defense to try to get runners in behind. They also attempted to play long diagonal balls to get it out to Pulisic or Yedlin on the wings.

Sergino Dest was a key to bypassing Saudi Arabia when the US didn’t play over the top, as he dropped back to help progress the ball and was able to connect with McKennie and Pulisic along the left side. This may have been partially due to Aaron Long’s weakness at passing through the lines or progressing the ball.

In the second half Saudi Arabia adjusted a bit, pressing higher against the US and were able to force some errors. They also seemed to make some tweaks to better defend the long balls the US found earlier in the game.

Overall the US had a better approach for avoiding pressure and getting the ball into the final third. Unfortunately they often didn’t have much of a plan when they got there and they failed to create many dangerous chances.


What We Learned –

From a personnel standpoint it seems like Berhalter has settled on his preferred players for the squad that will head to Qatar. In my opinion, Aaron Long doesn’t belong anywhere near this team, let alone starting, and he showed why in both games in this window. However, Mark McKenzie wasn’t much better when he came on against Saudi Arabia.

Either way it seems like Long is Berhalter’s choice. Hopefully Chris Richards and Cameron Carter-Vickers can recover their health and continue to impress for their clubs and potentially provide an upgrade in November.

At striker, no one really distinguished themselves in this pair of games, but they also didn’t get much in the way of service. For a team that struggles to score goals, it does seem a little silly to leave a guy off the roster who is consistently scoring on the first place team in one of the best leagues in the world.

Jordan Pefok may not fit Berhalter’s system, but also, the system doesn’t seem to be working very well. So maybe Berhalter will have a change of heart and bring him as a plan B option in the World Cup.

Joe Scally was one of the few bright spots in this game. He got a short substitute appearance at right back and looked like an instant upgrade on DeAndre Yedlin. This shouldn’t be shocking considering one is a reliable starter on a mid-table German Bundesliga team while the other has been average for a mid-table MLS team. It remains to be seen if Berhalter will choose Yedlin anyway since he is the only player with World Cup experience.

Pulisic and McKennie both have not been in top form for their clubs and neither looked much better for the US. McKennie was better in this game, playing a more advanced role, but still had some poor turnovers.

Gio Reyna’s health remains a huge question mark with him forced to leave the game after just 30 minutes. At least Matt Turner looks like he has locked up the starting keeper job and his ability to stop shots seems like it could help the US steal a game they may not deserve in the World Cup.

After attending the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, I have waited eight long years to see the US in the sport’s main event again. I would love nothing more than to be fully enthusiastic and optimistic heading into the opening game against Wales on November 21st. Having followed this team closely for the last several years the reality is these performances make that very difficult.

So I’ll give you two versions of my takeaways from this window and you can choose which to believe. First I’ll give an optimistic take that provides hope the team can bounce back and make a run in Qatar. The second will be a more pessimistic view based on what we’ve seen on the field.


Optimistic View –

This is still a very young team and they got a clear wake up call in these two friendlies. They were missing a few key players who could vastly improve with their likely return in November.

Inserting Yunus Musah into the midfield can resolve many of the ball progression issues. Antonee Robinson’s return to the left back position will also help with ball progression and provide a better complement to the attackers. Tim Weah will return at right wing and give the team more verticality and cutting edge in the attacking third.

In addition, two of the three teams they will meet in the group stage are experiencing their own crises of confidence. Wales lost both games in this window, to Belgium and Poland and have a star who looks like he is on the way to being washed up.>/p>

England was relegated from the A division of the UEFA Nations League with a loss to non-World Cup qualifying Italy and a draw at home against Germany. Their coach may be in even more hot water than Berhalter for doing relatively little with an amazing collection of talent.

November is still a long time away and this team will regroup hardened from this experience and ready to take on the world in Qatar.


Pessimistic View –

This team has struggled to produce in attack throughout the entirety of the qualifying cycle and the issues remain on the eve of the World Cup. Berhalter’s main goal when he took the job was to change the way the world viewed American soccer by turning us into a possession based team who could disorganize opponents and create chances.

Four years later that seems no closer to reality than when he started. Against World Cup level competition the team just does not find solutions in attack and may need to look for a more pragmatic approach in Qatar.

The team just played an average World Cup team and then one of the weakest teams that qualified for the tournament. They lost 2-0 to the first and played an even 0-0 draw against the second.

If this were an actual World Cup group stage, they would likely be facing one of the tournament favorites in their final group stage game and needing a win to have any hope of advancing. This would be the nightmare scenario if it happens in the real thing.

The team clearly has the most top end talent and depth of talent the program has ever seen, yet they continue to be less than the sum of their parts. The coach still has not figured out how to play to the strengths and weaknesses of his best players.

Anything can happen in three soccer games. It is a high variance sport. However, it looks like the US will need a lot of grit and perhaps a decent dose of luck to get out of a group where they should be the second most talented team.

It’s possible that with the youngest team in the tournament, Qatar will need to be viewed as a learning exercise in preparation for a run at the 2026 World Cup which the US will be hosting.

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"Regular Joe"
on the 2022 Orioles and their minor league teams


"Regular Joe" has been following the Orioles for the better part of four decades. He'll be our eyes and ears in 2022 on both the Orioles and their various minor league teams as the Birds look to rebuild a winner in Baltimore.


baseball is a weird game


It isn’t the NFL, which literally captivates much of the country for 10 hours every Sunday, but baseball and its sub-plots give us plenty of drama and intrigue each week, even when the pennant races are somewhat few and far between. Cases in point:

* The Orioles lose 100 games in their last three full seasons, but still remain relevant with 8 games to go in the 2022 campaign.

* Albert Pujols rejoins the Cardinals in 2022, at age 42, to play his 22nd and final year, after finishing out a fairly pedestrian 10 year contract with the Angels.

Pujols finds his own fountain of youth late in the season, totaling 21 home runs in under 300 ABs to reach 700 for his career. Albert hadn’t hit that many home runs since 2019, when he hit 23 in 200 more at bats.

* Slugger Kyle Schwarber joins the Phillies in the offseason to provide some depth. Bryce Harper gets hurt again early in the season, and Schwarber becomes a modern day Dave Kingman , slugging 42 home runs despite only hitting slightly above the Mendoza line.

* Aaron Judge continues to have a potential Triple Crown season, but has been stuck on 60 home runs for the last 7 games. I wouldn’t worry about him eclipsing Roger Maris’s “unofficial” home run record of 61, though, since Judge faces the Orioles this weekend, whom he owns.

These are all fun stories, but let’s focus on the Orioles a bit. It has been a roller coaster week, losing 2 of 3 to Detroit, then winning the first 2 against the Astros with some of the best starting pitching we have seen since the 70s – kudos to Jordan Lyles, Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer on their pitching performances last week.

The killer came with the Bautista and Krehbiel meltdowns on Saturday and Sunday against the Astros – those occurrences are inevitable, but they just happened to the O’s at the exact worst time. If we had won both those games, we would all be asking what crystal ball Drew has been using.

It was very nice to see the offense bounce back against the Red Sox the last two nights, especially in Fenway. But we have been reminded how the young pitching can be wildly inconsistent (like Bradish), and several bullpen arms are running out of gas.

Watch out for Boston next year too – whenever they finish last in the division, they come back with a vengeance the following year.

Also interesting to me is that some of the offensive leaders of the past week – Hays hitting .320, Mountcastle sporting a .467 OBP, and Mullins driving in 9 runs – are all young guys who could be trying to make their case for spots on the Elias train the next few years. Too bad we didn’t see more of this in August and September, but better late than never for those three guys.

I have consistently been an Anthony Santander fan – I would hope his strong recent power surge solidifies that we need to pay him whatever the arb price is next year. We need his bat in the lineup.

As for the pennant races, the American League remains pretty boring, as the divisions are all but wrapped up and the Orioles are the only team with a slight chance to sneak in as a wild card, trailing Seattle by 3.5 games, and Tampa Bay by 5.

Tampa seems to have the toughest schedule over the next week, playing Cleveland, Houston and Boston, but Cleveland and Houston are pretty much locked into their playoff seeds so have incentive to rest key players.

The National League is more compelling, with the NL East still up for grabs and the last two wild cards still in play.

The Braves and the Mets are tied for the East lead, with the winner also gaining a first round bye. These teams square off this weekend to boot.

In the wild card, the pesky Brewers remain 1.5 back of the Phillies and 4 behind the Padres. Milwaukee will likely have to win 6 out of 7 to finish it off to have a chance, as the Phillies and Padres schedules aren’t that difficult.

I hope all are enjoying the crisp beginning of Fall (except me, who much prefers the heat). I will highlight some notable performances of Oriole farmhands in the minors next week.

And remember, the Orioles are still relevant during the last weekend in September – that is definitelya reason to celebrate. Let’s hope it becomes the norm.

Go Os and Ravens!

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Tuesday
September 27, 2022
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#2955


time to empty the bag


I did the smartest thing I could on Monday and basically stayed away from local sports radio. I listened to some golf coverage on Sirius/XM and a little bit of Bruce Springsteen on Channel 20. I felt energized by my decision.

But I did cave in late in the day while on my way to Pine Ridge to work with some of my Calvert Hall golfers. The very first caller I heard said something like "We're not going to beat anyone if we keep playing defense the way we've played it so far this season..."

Criticized last week after a loss and this week after a win...Mike Macdonald is discovering what life is like in the NFL.

That might be true. The defense was pretty decent against the Jets, horrible against the Dolphins and not-all-that-great against the Patriots. It stands to reason if the Ravens keep giving up 400 yards per-game (or more) and 25 points per-game (or more), they won't win many.

Unless...

What if Lamar Jackson and the offense keep doing what they're doing? What if...

I mean, if you're going to bellyache about the defense and question how many games the team can win "if they keep playing defense like that", shouldn't you balance it out by noting how well Lamar has played and "how many games they can win if he keeps playing like that"?

Let's be honest. Other than the middle part of last season when he was clearly playing either hurt or "limited" because of some kind of illness/injury combo, Jackson has been nothing short of a MVP performer since he assumed the starting job in 2018. Without him, the Ravens are a 6-win team, with all due respect to Tyler Huntley.

So, please, at least for now, spare me all the agony and crying about how "we can't win" if the defense continues to play "like this" and mix in a little bit of praise for Lamar and the offense. And by all means, please understand this: If Lamar keeps playing like this, they might give up 25 a game...but I bet they score at least 26 most of the time.

I do understand the need for "media critique". If you can't critique and point out the good and the bad, you're basically working for the team at that point, right?

But it's balance that's needed. Sure, the defense needs to play better. Of course, if they continue to give up 400+ yards per-game and big plays after big plays, they're eventually going to pay the price for that kind of pedestrian play.

But what if no one figures out how to stop Lamar and the offense? Through 3 games, no one has done it. The Jets couldn't do it, the Dolphins couldn't do it and the Patriots couldn't do it. I don't see many teams being able to do it this year. So shouldn't that be added into the customary Monday morning quarterbacking?

"We might not be able to win a lot of games if our defense continues to struggle..."

"We might not lose many games if Lamar continues to play like this..."

Let's just be fair and point out EVERYTHING instead of just the stuff that suits our agenda. Sound good?

And now, let's go to our version of radio callers. The Q&A mailbag. Fortunately, most of these entries are from sane, reasonable folks.


Marty C. asks -- "Drew, how many of the 12 Americans on the Presidents Cup team do you see making the 2023 Ryder Cup team? It won't be all 12, right?"

DF says -- "Most of the 12 will make the '23 Ryder Cup team, but someone new will surface and have a big early part of '23 and sneak their way into the team, I'm guessing. A prediction? Look for Sahith Theegala, who arguably should have been on the Presidents Cup team instead of Kevin Kisner. "Kiz" will be the one guy from the Presidents Cup team who won't be in Rome next year for the American team.

I also think Billy Horschel is a longshot to make the team in Rome. He's a nice player and all, but I don't see him playing well enough in '23 to justify another captain's pick. You have to remember, the only reason he made it on the Presidents Cup team this time around is because Will Zalatoris dropped out due to a back injury. If "Z" is healthy in '23, he's a virtual lock for the Ryder Cup squad in Rome."


Aaron Judge in Baltimore? The soon-to-be A.L. MVP will be a free agent this winter.

Mark Antonelli asks -- "Do you think the Orioles should make a play for Aaron Judge this off-season?"

DF says -- "I don't know. $320 million for 7 years or something crazy like that? I assume he'll get a contract of that nature from someone, right? I realize he's having a great year and he's certainly one of the game's best offensive players, but if I'm the Orioles I'm probably saving my money for Rutschman in a few years when we (hopefully) try to get him to sign an early long-term extension.

I wouldn't be mad or upset if the Orioles wanted to sign Judge (or eventually did sign him), I just don't know if that's the right move knowing we'll have to fork over big bucks for Adley by 2025 or 2026 if we want to sign him before he becomes a free agent.

And it's also worth remembering that I doubt the Orioles get involved in any kind of massive long term free agent contract with anyone while the ownership situation of the franchise is in flux."


C.J. asks -- "For your next Q & A, Is John Harbaugh a first ballot Hall of Famer?"

DF says -- "If he wins another Super Bowl, I'd say "more than likely". If he doesn't, I'm guessing he'll need a couple of years to get in, but make NO mistake about it...John Harbaugh is going to be in the Hall of Fame someday. My official prediction is he'll need two tries, not one, but he's going to Canton."


Ron Collier asks -- "Hey Drew, with two months left until the World Cup, what do you see the U.S. doing over in Qatar? I know there's still time left to get ready but do you see them getting out of group play?"

DF says -- "It's going to be very tight. I don't think they have the horses in the back, defensively, to advance past anything except the group stage. I like Walker Zimmerman but even he has some blemishes. They're not in an incredibly difficult group. They should be able to get past Wales in the opener. Then it's England in the second game and that, obviously, is going to be a very stern test. And then they finish with Iran, which will probably be their make or break game.

Let's see where they are injury wise before I make an official prediction in November. If they're fully (or almost fully) healthy, the U.S. team stands a good chance to get out of the group. But no matter what, I don't see them doing much more than that."


Jim Venerini asks -- "Long time reader but first time sending in a question to you. Love the Dish, keep up the great work! Any chance we'll get to see Mark Suchy or David Rosenfield write again for you someday down the road? I miss their work."

DF says -- "You and I both, Jim. I miss their work! They both know they're welcome back here at any point in the future. I told them both that when they stepped away. Whenever they want to write again, they have a place for their work. Thanks for the note. They're both excellent writers."


GM asks -- "I realize we're not even to 2023 yet, but how about one prediction for the '23 PGA Tour season that you're willing to etch into stone? Thanks, Drew."

DF says -- "I think Jordan Spieth's going to win a major in 2023. He's always a threat at Augusta, of course. I don't know much about Los Angeles Country Club (U.S. Open) but his game should be a real good fit for Oak Hill (Rochester NY, PGA Championship). And the British Open is at Royal Liverpool, which should also fit him quite well.

I think he's made nice improvements to his golf swing and his short game and putter always keep him in the game. I love his chances to win a major next year. He's more than due."


Mike Welke asks -- "My brother in law is assuming golf coaching responsibilities at his high school in Ohio and I told him about you and that I'd ask a question about your "coaching philosophy". What's the best piece of advice you can give him as a starter coach? Thanks and Go Hall."

DF says -- "I'd say the most important thing in any coaching position is to create a "bubble" of sorts where the only people you allow into the inner circle are the players and coaches. In the season, that means no parents, no friends, no outsiders, etc. The only folks who really know what's happening in the season are the people who are at every practice, every meeting, every game, etc. And that's mainly just the players and coaching staff members.

Outsiders "think" they know what's going on, but that's only because they get information from various sources that may or may not be speaking truthfully to them. So my advice to your brother in law is to coach the team the way HE wants to coach it and don't allow others to intervene or get in the way. If you let the parents, supporters or boosters tell you how to run the team and who to play, etc., you're doomed from the start."


Tim A. asks -- "I love your Q & A columns and have a question for one in the future. Hockey season is almost here! How do you think the Caps will do this season?"

DF says -- "I have to admit, I don't follow much of what goes on in the NHL off-season, so I don't know who did what in terms of player movement, etc. I know the Caps got the goalie from Colorado, though, and that should help for sure. In general, I feel like their championship window has closed. A playoff team? Yes, probably. But unless I'm misreading things, I don't see them being a title contender.

At this point, my guess is the organization is just trying to give Ovechkin enough help so that he gets to 825 goals and then the "real count" begins to beat Gretzky's record of 894. Ovi starts the '22-23 season at 780. If he gets to 820 or 825 this season, the club can start doing some real marketing (and make big bucks in the process) as the chase for 894 begins in earnest.

Gretzky's record is one most people thought would never be broken. It's not the 56-game hitting streak or Jack's 18 major championships, but it's certainly going to be an incredibly significant accomplishment if Ovechkin can someday break the record. Ticket prices for that game will be be through the roof."


Gordon asks -- "How and why was Denver/San Francisco the Sunday Night NFL game this past week? I realize it's after the fact now and if the game would have been 30-27 we might be thinking differently but that was a total snoozer. Why that game? Why not Rams/Cardinals or Ravens/Patriots or Chiefs/Colts, which were some other good games yesterday (Sunday)."

DF says -- "The short answer is, "I have no idea." On the surface it certainly didn't have the appeal of those games you listed. I'm sure the league and the networks try to spread the wealth a bit and give some of the more well established franchises a few national games each season, but that one this past Sunday night was definitely a real head scratcher."


Kate asks -- "Hi Drew, back in the summer you gave my husband and I some great music tips and I'm back for more! Anything new in your music library you'd like to share with us? We love your music taste!"

DF says -- "Thanks, Kate. I'll give you an oldie and a (somewhat) new guy, how's that? I assume you've heard of the first one, but I'm guessing you haven't heard of the second one. Go back and listen to the first few albums from Jason Mraz. "Waiting for My Rocket to Come", "Mr A-Z" and "We Dance. We Sing. We Steal Things".

Those were three GREAT albums by Mraz with a number of awesome singles. He's an incredible singer and musical talent.

Now, if you've heard of Frank Turner, I apologize. If not, give him a listen. I've included a video of one of his better, older songs below, just for a small sample, but you should really go through his entire catalog and check him out. I think you'll like Frank Turner. Happy listening!"


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#dmd comments








HERMAN     October 05
I gave up on Dem O's years ago for a multitude of great reasons so I have no dog in the fight. But I did laugh out loud over someone claiming the O's a playoff team next year absent the knowledge of their roster or schedule. Especially when the same person told everyone for the last two months they'd make the playoffs this year knowing the roster and schedule. I'm wrong so rarely I can't remember what it felt like but if I remember correct the proper response after being wrong for two months running would be some humility. Not doubling down on predictions. But around here the SOD has a one day memory so you can tell them just about anything day in and day out and they forget how wrong you can be fresh the next morning.

Jason M     October 05
Not to mention the competition, but Mike Preston dropped a pretty big hint that Nick Boyle is done in his column today. The fact that he has not sniffed the 53 man roster yet this season would seem to bear that out. If that is so, we have lost one of the most effective run blocking tight ends that we've ever had. We have missed him on short yardage situations, and our tight ends not wearing 89 haven't done much of note so far. We'll see Hurst on Sunday, miss that guy, I'm sure Lamar does too.

unitastoberry     October 05
When is the court date for Angelos Vs Angelos?

Chris in Bel Air     October 05
O's definitely need another arm and a bat or two. Big bonus if some of the players performing in the minors (Westburg, Cowser, etc) are able to be contributors too. I know he can't hit but I like Mateo. Fielding, speed and energy are good for the team. It's been several years but we have an actual O's off-season coming up and carrying some sense of optimism. Heading down to the Yard now to take in the last game.

Delray RICK     October 05
ERIC...Hope you are right bout MATEO. Stolen base leader in AMERICAN LEAGUE. GREAT fielder like BELANGER.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 05
Drew putting his jinx out a year early. Just a reminder - White Sox were a lock to win the Central Os were a lock to win 60 or so games. I dont believe the Swanson rumors. Os officials have been whispering to LaConfora for months that Mateo is locked in at SS. Hopefully his baseball sources are as bad as his Ravens sources. Plenty of quality pitchers available by trade per Athletic - Burnes Snell Bieber Singer to name a few. I still say return of Means and G Rod makes our bottom 10 offense the bigger priority but ill gladly take a top arm too

TC     October 05
Swanson would be a perfect free agency target, except he's from Kennesaw, Georgia. There'd probably have to be a premium paid to get him out of Atlanta, and he is the only one of their infielders not locked up long-term.

HERMAN     October 05
It's pretty sad when you have to google the PGATour website to see if there is even a tour stop this week, or where they are. It would make perfect sense for the Tour to partner with LIV and allow them to take over what used to be called "the silly season", and operate in conjunction with the Tour. And 54 holes ending on Saturday would dovetail nicely as they wouldn't have to compete with the monster that is the NFL.

Like pro baseball the Tour needs to shorten the over-all season and make each individual tournament more meaningful. As it is everyone gets jazzed for the majors and maybe one or two more stops, past that interest seems to wane. It's possible that the Tour could end a month earlier or so, give up late Summer and Fall to LIV and have the truncated format and field, together with changes of team play, atmosphere and design create a new and different interest and audience in this new "season". These past few weeks I've been checking Tour results over the weekend, couldn't recognize more than one name in ten on the leaderboard. If the Tour had yielded to LIV for the Fall of course you'd know the leaderboard of names. To continue battling is in no one's interest.


Delray RICK     October 05
Hope DREW is right because DEM O'S have to face the 3 menaces in their division and they DEFINITELY need better bats and hitters above .260 mark. DEM O'S pitching staff an't going to make it with this group. PLEASE move the wall BACK.

Nathan Aparisto     October 04
I just heard the despicable rumor that Gisele was unfaithful to the greatest quarterback to ever live by cheating on him with Antonio Brown.



If this is true, Tom Brady should sue her for every last penny!

Erick     October 04
So Ravens were predicted to win- they lose. We state - Bills are good if not great- we are cast as doubting thomas…and…..”dont get it”…..now they lose, people vent and its more predictions of victories….of games not yet played!

vernon     October 04
These guys who think Drew is taking "veiled" shots at Herman are hilarious. If true, then it sure is clear who is the one living rent free lol

Larry     October 04
Drew's subtle but clever jab at Herman today was pretty funny. All part of the game..................

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy Yup that is good analysis. I would lean over on that 36 number but they play a hell of a lot of games this season (even without him playing WC) Obv an injury can happen at any time. I remember getting so frustrated by Sterling and now this guy is just silly good. He's so big and fast...just an animal

Dan noonan     October 04
Who are these people getting all pumped up about "Drew schooling Herman"? Must be that SOD gang I hear about often. Must be like a special dog whistle only those guys can hear, I see no roasting or calling out of one individual here today. the childish "rent free" crowd is awake today that is for sure.

Don't agree with all the talking points re: the Ravens game, but it was indeed a nice calm summary and not at all like what the #BP guy or the FM guys do on the radio. In that sense, DMD is schooling 105.7 and 1570!


TimD in Timonium     October 04
Not only does @Herman survive the brutal Florida hurricane, he jumps back into the fray with his A-Game still intact.



"who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status."



LOL. Bravo, sir, well-played.


Chris     October 04
DF roasting Herman is why I come to DMD every day!

HERMAN     October 04
I didn't Make that last post. I never do anything I have to apologize for so I never apologize.

Randy     October 04
@Stats Nerd

Great question, I'm going to use some geek speak to make a projection, I think you'll appreciate that. So far Haaland has 14 goals in 8 games, but he only has 7.6 xG (expected goals). So he has been scoring at a better rate than expected, however he's consistently produced about 3-5 goals above expectation in his career.



For Dortmund in the Bundesliga he average about 1 goal/game when healthy. Now the EPL is a higher competition level, but also Man City produced 2.14 xG last year to just 1.6 for Dortmund, so he should have more scoring opportunities this year.



So if we expect his luck to even out a little bit and him to stay around 1 g/g of xG, that would put him around 40 goals for the season. The biggest caveat is that he did miss time in both the last two Dortmund seasons with injuries. So I'll deduct 10% for injury risk (just pulled a number) and that lands us on.....



36.



I swear I didn't do that on purpose.



If I were to bet, I'd take the over. Haaland is going to get a big rest midseason since Norway isn't in the World Cup, so that should reduce the injury risk. They also may give him all the penalty kick chances if he's chasing a record and look to feed him towards the end of the season if they run away with the title.

Chris in Bel Air     October 04
The Yankee fans meltdown over the weekend was comical. Did they expect the O's to just throw 85 mph meatballs to him? That's not being entitled at all. For the record, Judge walked 5 times but he was also 1 for 7 with 6 Ks. He had his chances and couldn't connect. Sorry fans. I also like Judge. He seems to be a "good guy" and would take him on the O's any day. But I certainly didn't want to see the O's give up the 62nd HR and certainly found the Yankee whining to be laughable.

Herman     October 04
I will admit I definitely go above and beyond occasionally on the site owner but he brings out the worst in me for whatever reason. Ask my friends, I'm normally not nearly as angry as I come across here at the site. The site owner just gets under my skin for some reason.

Jason M     October 04
Like DF said in his recap, if you think the bad decision lost them the game, you don't know football. They lost that game a 100 ways in the second half. Harbaugh did his part to contribute, but so did many others.

J.R.     October 04
LMAO at @DF taking a swipe @Herman like that.

unitastoberry     October 04
@ Steve of Pimlico I bet Mad Dog had the better tackle on the fan in Baltimore. I don't get ESPN did the announcers bring up Mikes forearm shot on the drunk in Baltimore on TV? I was there too. Mike was a HOFer I don't care what the NFLHOF thinks or Dion. Ask Mike Singletary about Mike Curtis....he will put you all straight.

Pratt     October 04
Herman, why shouldn't Drew single you out? You single him out every day here. Talk about rent free in someone's head, you can't go a day without referencing him. So tell us again why he shouldn't single you out. You're a first rate prick and you know it.

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy What line would you set as an O/U for Haaland goals this season? The number in the UK betting lines seems to be 36-ish. Assuming he stays healthy I suspect he gets there fairly easily

HERMAN     October 04
@RC

You don't really believe the site owner penned that line for just one random commenter do you? I mean, I know I set up full residency in his caddy lawyers head based on his childish response he penned here in the comments last week. The one who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status. But the site owner wouldn't take aim at just one simple commenter. Especially not one who could potentially help him take this site to Barstool heights singlehandedly. In his new Country Club world he has to be above that.

Steve of Pimlico     October 04
Mike Curtis would have been proud of the Ram player for decking that num nut who ran on the field last night with the smoking device.I was actually at that game back in the day.

Tim D     October 04
Ravens Recap - well said Drew.

Kevin     October 04
When Drew starts making more coaching sense than the actual football coach in town, I think we know what that means. And I'm saying that with no disrespect to Drew. It's actually a compliment.

Albert c     October 04
Lamar is a QB and he got to throw the ball, how is that not letting Lamar be Lamar?

MFC     October 04
I turned to watch a bit of the O's last night, if there was 800 people in the stands I'd be shocked. I did get to see some great fan interaction by our stadium ushers.

Two fans, looked like husband and wife, walk down and sit in the front two seats to the right of the screen behind home plate. It's the 7'th inning. It's miserable, rain pouring down. Well it didn't take 45 seconds before our usher is seen walking down the steps and our fan faithful asked to relocate to their seats. I literally laughed out loud, why? Ok, they didn't pay for those seats but the weather is horrible, there's no one in the stadium to speak of, it's the 7'th inning. Why can't you just look the other way at that point. In fact why not take a proactive position and tell the crowd to sit where they want. If you're one that would get upset because you "paid" for the best seat you need to get over it. Say thanks to the 800 people that braved the conditions to support the team.



It's a shame that during that sequence at the goal line we really didn't let Lamar be Lamar. One of the top offensive players in the game and we don't let him win it. I did not remember that Roman was the OC for the 49'ers in the SB. Wow, good memory by the site owner. That explains a lot.



Saw a stat that's incredible. Judge has struck out 167 times this year. Tony Gwynn didn't strike out that much in the 90's. How great was Gwynn.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw Tucker 2 weeks ago put Ravens up 38-35 and watched Avg QB march right down the field and win. Why she he trust this D vs Allen???

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw two weeks ago Tucker give Ravens 38-35 lead late only to watch Avg QB march right down the field. Why in Gods name should he trust this D vs Allen???

Frank     October 04
Love Harbs - but I think he missed an opportunity by not taking blame for the call and saying he should have kicked the FG. Now that he is sticking to his decision, it puts the blame on execution and players - where otherwise he could have taken it all himself.... take a bullet for your team!

David Rosenfeld     October 04
You said: "But they're now playing from behind, where their play calling has to be a smidgen more carefully planned and their execution has to be spot-on."

John said: The exact opposite of that!

Paraphrasing: A team that is behind in that situation is going to play more aggressively, not less. They will be willing to use all 4 downs in a way they might not if they are too close to their end zone, etc.

It's interesting. From a fan perspective, it's a liability for Buffalo that they would be "forced" to use all 4 downs. From the analytic perspective, it might be an advantage.

Just a discussion. Reiterating that I would have kicked the FG...


RC     October 04
DF throwing shade at Herman with the "ocean breeze erodes your brain". Hilarious.

Kenny G     October 04
While Drew touched on the statistical analysis a bit, I will take it a step further. My problem with the analytics is what factors are considered. Are the stats influenced by going against a strong defense or weak? Good run defense? At home vs on the road? In rain, on turf, etc? Which quarter? You can probably think of several more. Additionally there needs to be a feel for the tempo of the actual game. If its a 35-32 game or a 10-3 game in the fourth quarter - is that factored in? Maybe the matchup does not favor going for it?

Butch (aka Big Fat Daddy)     October 04
George: The Orioles game was called and made an "Official" game due to weather. By MLB rule - a game can be Official after 4 and 1/2 innings - if ended by the Crew Chief. Now what really happened was the Umps, the league office and both Managers went into the tunnel and agreed to end the game. It was terrible weather for a baseball game. No need to play and get any player or players hurt. The Blue Jays have playoff games coming up and the Orioles have next season.

Delray RICK     October 04
The RAVENS have won games they shouldn't have and lost games...whatever. what goes around comes around.

HERMAN     October 04
Counting chickens before they hatch. A 12-5 prediction, predicated on looking at the future schedule. Sure. This team, as is presently constituted, without potential injuries, and with the current coaching braintrust is going to win one they should lose and lose a few they should win. A 12 win prediction is best-case scenario and about as reliable as all those columns with "Dem O's are going to the playoffs, this year, I believe".

Right now with this roster the Ravens are a mid-level mediocre team who can shine on any given Sunday or just mess the bed with a fourth quarter meltdown against another mediocre team. They are no 12 win team.

Baltimore fans are closer to Cleveland fans than I thought, they both show up expecting the "best case scenario" despite all prior evidence to the contrary. Then whine over a play, a call, some small detail within a game that derails their vision of the mind.

Smalltimore; Cleveland of the Chesapeake.

George     October 04
Have searched the Internet diligently but can't find an explanation of how the Orioles game ended after 7.5 innings. Can anyone enlighten? Thanks.

larry     October 04
Oweh almost made a great play, it was clear Singletary was not going to go into the end zone but give himself up at the one. Oweh got the ball loose but not out. Ball comes out and Ravens recover, all the sudden Oweh is a genius.

Also FG with 4 minutes less hardly puts pressure on Bills. Now I would have kicked it anyway, but let's not act like kicking the FG means they are 3-1, the D still would have had to make plays. Given the chance to do so at 20-20, they did not.

Chris in Bel Air     October 03
Agree with many posts here on Drew's recap. Good summary. Also agree with @ MFC on the refs. The Ravens did not lose because of the refs but they were certainly another obstacle to overcome. The seemingly random application of the rules within a game and per week is difficult to watch at times. I will also add that it was not a good day for many first-round draft picks. Certainly Lamar didn't have his best day. Bateman with a couple drops and then was injured. Linderbaum with 2 false starts. Queen exerting lots of energy but didn't seem to make a tackle when it mattered most. Queen sometimes plays like a 5 year old playing soccer for the first time - chasing the pile around the field but not making much of a difference. Oweh had the sack and forced fumble but also was badly fooled on Allen's TD run and did not keep the edge. Of course, plenty to question with Harbs too. Not a good day at all as a team. On a more positive note, I thought JPP did fairly well for just coming off the street. Dobbins also looked pretty good. I thought he made something out of nothing on a couple runs and turned small gains into a more substantial gains a few times. He will be a big boost to the offense if he stays healthy. In addition, the remaining Ravens schedule doesn't look to be very daunting at all. Plenty of season left... Of course, that is all based on the Ravens team I expect to see. Not the one that has only figured out how to play for 2 quarters.

MFC     October 03
The site owner unpacked it really well this morning, except he meant snowangels instead of snowballs but that's nitpicking a really good recap. Nothing much to add that's not already "unpacked".



I will say something about NFL refs, they're BS. I watched last night night as Mahonnes made the exact same play as Lamar running oob's, almost scary how similar. He gets the first down spot. Lamar doesn't and we have to lose a TO because they upheld the BS call on the challenge. Andrews OPI was BS and the roughing the passer. They're needs to be an overhaul and some type of new review. Consistency is paramount to reffing and they're anything but.

HERMAN     October 03
Man I wish there was some way to invest in the NFL. I'm not talking about betting, I'm talking ownership. For the common man. Because with fans like those in Baltimore it's a pure growth industry. They somehow convince themselves that their completely mediocre franchise is one of the best in the league despite all evidence. You fans are "all-in". Past Lamar they have not a player that excites, that just makes plays, who can perform and change the game. The coach is serviceable but flawed, the coordinators as mediocre as the team.

This phenomenon actually extends to all sports in Baltimore. These same commenters wailing about the loss are the ones like the site owner who just believed and believed that the low payroll O's were going to the playoffs. They don't make fish hooks big enough I'm telling ya. And this is how gullible they are, after months of either being told Dem O's were going to the playoffs, or being given betting advice, when it all disappears they move on, no need to examine how wrong one can be. Look over here at this new shiny thing, pay no attention to that old shiny thing. Oh it wasn't the 4TH down call, it was the whole second half. No, it was the bad penalty for hitting the quarterback. No it was that retread O coordinator.

Maybe it's just as simple as your expectations being ridiculous. As ridiculous as Dem O's making the playoffs this year. You can't invest emotion into a Harbaugh coached team. You're destined for disappointment.

Alas only one man can invest in Baltimore football. No wonder he is a billionaire. Fish in a barrel.


Such     October 03
I was never very good at math, let alone things like Algebra and Trigonometry and Calculus and "Advanced Metrics", but I do know that 23>20 and 3>0. I would rather play with a 3 point lead than try and fend off that Bills offense in a tie game with 4 minutes remaining.

And 3-1 > 2-2. Oh well.

Jason M     October 03
It's a real slap in the face to the Ravens faithful who geared up and sat through the remnants of a damn hurricane, shouting down the Bills Mafia who travelled well, only to watch the Ravens do their best impersonation of a pack of choking dogs. 5 straight at home people, this is unacceptable. I see the other team adjusting at half time, where are our adjustments? Or do we make them and they just make things worse? How can it be that we are good enough to run up a lead, but not good enough to hold it?

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 03
Not a doubt in my mind if Lamar throws for a TD there Allen ties it and wins in OT. Thats what Ravens have been since 2014 blowing 2 TD lead in NE. 4th and 17 vs Cincy. Choking as a 14-2 seed. 5 straight home games blowing 4th Q leads. Russell street report said it best ...fact that majority of fanbase at halftime up 10 at home expected to lose shows you this franchise has deep issues.

Daveinlutherville     October 03
Frank: bless you for your confidence. I don’t think most people think this is anywhere near a 12-5 team, but we shall see.

Monday
September 26, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2954


another win, another week of complaining


I'm sure you're just as gung-ho as I am for talk radio today, aren't you?

"I can't believe we gave up that many yards to New England's terrible offense."

"Well, Dobbins didn't fix our putrid run game. What do we next?"

So far this season, Lamar Jackson is #1 in the NFL's MVP race.

"Our defense is so bad. Just wait until next week when the Bills come to town and shred us."

Those are the three primary points you'll hear over and over. I'm sure others will surface, too.

Oh, and in case you didn't hear, the Ravens won yesterday's game in New England. The final score was 37-26.

Based on the reaction from people in town, you would have thought it was the other way around. Alas, the Ravens did go into New England win yesterday, upping their record to 2-1.

But the complaints will far outnumber the praise this week.

The good news: Lamar Jackson did it all yesterday, throwing for 218 yards and four TD's, plus he ran one in himself on a day when he accounted for 107 yards of rushing.

The bad news: Some folks will figure out a way to turn that into a negative. "We can't keep relying on Lamar week in and week out," someone after yesterday's win.

You can't keep relying on Lamar? That's weird. I assumed that's why you were going to pay him upwards of $250 million at some point.

Anyway, this week will be a blast in Charm City. Even when the team wins, it's not good enough.


So the big question in the aftermath of last week's disaster at home to Miami was "how will the defense respond moving forward?"

It was just one game, and the "experts" will pick apart the team's overall defensive play, but when they absolutely needed to make a play and turn the game on its head, that's what happened. Twice.

First, with the Ravens nursing a 30-26 lead, Marlon Humphrey intercepted a 4th quarter Mac Jones pass in the end zone, and next, after a quick 3-and-out by Lamar and Company, Kyle Hamilton then punched the ball out of Nelson Aglohor's hands and Marcus Peters recovered it to put the game away.

The defense stood up at just the right time, I'd say.

Does Mike Macdonald suddenly know what he's doing or was yesterday's improved performance an outlier?

That's another topic for the airwaves this week, I'm sure.

The Ravens did manage three sacks yesterday -- one of which came from Patrick Queen -- but the lack of pressure on Mac Jones was again an issue for John Harbaugh's team. According to the official stats, the Ravens defense only accounted for four quarterback hits. I thought it was more than that, but that's not what the stat guys in New England said.

So, yes, there were some blemishes yesterday on the defensive side of the ball. A late second quarter drive that resulted in a New England field goal was a dismal effort.

The Patriots ran for 145 yards. That's a rather high number.

And Mac Jones threw for 321 yards, including 156 to DeVante Parker. Yikes.

But unlike last Sunday against Miami, the Baltimore defense answered the call in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.

Oh, and last Sunday's result was a loss. Yesterday's result was a win. Nothing else really matters.


It's early, of course. Lamar Jackson got off to a solid start in 2021, remember, and things unraveled in the second half of the season.

But he's certainly off to a MVP-caliber start in 2022. With yesterday's performance vs. the Patriots, Jackson became the first player in the Super Bowl era with three or more passing touchdowns and 100-plus yards rushing in consecutive games.

There are 14 games remaining, obviously, but Jackson is definitely in the MVP discussion thus far.

There's still uncertainty on the offensive line, though, and here's hoping Jackson's able to stay healthy and upright all season based ont he revolving door the Ravens have at left tackle.

Patrick Mekari left yesterday's game with an ankle injury in the first quarter and Daniel Faalele took over and handled things decently enough. But if Ronnie Stanley can't go next Sunday and Mekari is out, how will things pan out against the Bills?

That said, Jackson's quasi-unstoppable at this point, no matter who lines up at tackle, guard and center. As long as he stays healthy in 2022, the Ravens are going to be a tough out.

So while Lamar will get the bulk of the praise this week, general manager Eric DeCosta will get more blame for -- according to a lot of the experts who watch from afar -- not doing a better job of surrounding the team's star QB with 52 other elite, All Pro players. They'll bring up the 2020 draft, the 2021 draft and, yes, even the 2022 draft as evidence to support their claims that DeCosta has been negligent in fielding a thorough, competitive roster.

Meanwhile, the Ravens are 2-1.

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around the nfl


Bears 23 - Texans 20 -- The Bears (2-1) can run the ball. I'm not sure what else they can do. But they had 281 yards on the ground yesterday vs. Houston. The Texans (0-2-1), meanwhile, are really lousy. We knew that, of course. But now we're seeing it play out in living color.

Titans 24 - Raiders 22 -- Some experts (*ahem*) picked the Raiders to go deep in the playoffs. After yesterday's loss to the Titans, Las Vegas is now 0-3. Tennessee, meanwhile, improved to 1-2. I'm not sure if we learned more about Tennessee or Las Vegas yesterday, but I'm leaning towards Las Vegas. They might be a 7-win team at best.

Derek Carr and the Raiders continued their early season woes with a loss at Tennessee on Sunday that dropped them to 0-3.

Colts 20 - Chiefs 17 -- As I alluded to here yesterday at #DMD, it would be "so NFL" for the Colts to beat the Chiefs one week after getting shut out by the Jaguars in Jacksonville. And...that's what happened. Indy (1-1-1) picked up their first win of the season and Kansas City (2-1) lost one they probably thought they wouldn't lose. Long season and all...but the Colts needed that one.

Dolphins 21 - Bills 19 -- Miami has now defeated New England, Baltimore and Buffalo to start the season. That's the AFC's equivalent of "murderer's row". The Dolphins (3-0) couldn't keep Josh Allen from throwing the ball all over the place (400 yards on 63 attempts), but they held Buffalo (2-1) to just 19 points, which might wind up being a season low when it's all said and done in January.

Vikings 28 - Lions 24 -- The Vikings (2-1) got a last minute TD throw from Kirk Cousins to turn back the pesky Lions (1-2), but a Dalvin Cook shoulder injury might have dampened the enthusiasm in Minnesota. One thing for sure: Detroit's much improved. They're definitely on the upswing.

Bengals 27 - Jets 12 -- An old statistical note appeared yesterday in New York, much to the chagrin of the Jets (1-2). Joe Flacco threw for 285 yards -- but he had 52 passing attempts. We all remember from his days in Baltimore -- if Joe throws the ball more than 50 times, you're losing. The Bengals (1-2) finally broke through with a much needed win, but keep in mind it was the Jets they beat.

Eagles 24 - Commanders 8 -- OK, now we know. Philadelphia is for real. They're 3-0 and rolling. D.C. stinks. They're 1-2 and already fading fast. Don't look now, but Philly could be 6-0 three weeks from now. They're home against Jacksonville next week, at Arizona after that, and three weeks down the road they host Dallas.

Panthers 22 - Saints 14 -- I'd love to know the TV ratings for this thriller. Both teams are now 1-2. I'd find something else interesting to say about this game but......I can't.

Rams 20 - Cardinals 12 -- Kyler Murray threw the ball 58 times on Sunday. Hollywood Brown had 14 catches for 140 yards. And the Cardinals lost at home to the defending champs. The Rams (2-1) appear to be back on track after that season opening loss to Buffalo. Meanwhile, Arizona (1-2) continues to struggle, despite Murray's decent numbers.

Falcons 27 - Seahawks 23 -- Atlanta (1-2) picked up their first win of the season at Seattle (1-2) and here's the thing: I have no idea who Atlanta's quarterback is. None. I sorta-kinda think it's Marcus Mariota, but I know that could be wrong. The Falcons ran for 179 yards on Sunday in their win. And, yes, I checked the game report. Marcus Mariota did play quarterback yesterday for Atlanta. But I honestly wasn't 100% certain until I checked it.

Jaguars 38 - Chargers 10 -- In the shocker of the day, Jacksonville took L.A. to the woodshed with a 28-point win. Is Jacksonville legit? Or are the Chargers just overhyped? Trevor Lawrence had himself a day for the Jaguars (2-1), throwing for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns. Justin Herbert, fighting a rib injury, was 25/45 for 297 yards for the Chargers (1-2) in a losing effort. This one probably tells us more about the Jags than the Chargers, I'm thinking. Jacksonville's much better than they were a year ago.

Packers 14 - Buccaneers 12 -- Neither offense was great yesterday, but Aaron Rodgers outdueled Tom Brady by the slightest of margins to give Green Bay (2-1) a much needed win. And don't look now, but Tampa Bay (2-1) is struggling offensively. Through three games, they've scored just four total touchdowns.

Broncos 11 - 49'ers 10 -- I bet NBC is just thrilled they picked this one for the big Sunday Night game, huh? Denver (2-1) is still trying to find their footing with new QB Russell Wilson and Jimmy G is just trying to find his footing -- anywere. He awkwardly stepped out of bounds in the end zone last night to give the Broncos a free 2-points which, of course, turned out to be the difference in the game for the 49'ers (1-2).

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presidents cup: u.s. wins, but it wasn't easy


There was a moment in time yesterday, right around when the final pairing of Christian Bezuidenhout and Kevin Kisner were on the 6th green, where it looked like the International team might very well pull off a monumental Presidents Cup upset.

The Americans had 11 points and needed 15.5 to win the event and were only leading in three matches, many of which were on the back nine at Quail Hollow GC in Charlottle.

The U.S. team staved off a furious weekend rally by the International squad to win the Presidents Cup, 17.5-12.5.

But Tony Finau made 5 birdies on the back nine of his match with Taylor Pendrith to turn that one from a loss to a win and Xander Schauffle finally put away Corey Conners, making a 6-foot par putt on the last hole to give the Americans the needed 15.5 points to secure their 9th straight Presidents Cup triumph.

In the end, the final score was 17.5-12.5, but it was much, much closer than that.

The four Korean players were clearly the shining stars for the International team. Despite Tom Kim's singles loss to Max Homa, Kim had his official coming out party at Quail Hollow. You'll be hearing a lot more from that 20-year old in 2023, that's for sure.

Si Woo Kim and K.H. Lee beat Justin Thomas and Billy Horschel respectively, while Sungjae Im defeated Cameron Young.

Kim and Thomas got things started with a hotly contested opening match that included a couple of non-conceded short putts that the American took offense to. And when Kim rolled in a 10-footer for birdie at the last hole -- with Thomas missing one from the same distance a moment later -- he had the first scalp of the day and the International team had hope.

But Spieth's surprising turnaround against Cam Davis evened things out, as the 3-time major champion made countless long putts for birdie and par to turn a 2-down deficit into a 4&3 romp. With that first win in the books, the U.S. then settled in and went about their business of just trying to accumulate enough points to win, which they eventually did.

It's a credit to International captain Trevor Immelman that he was able to cobble together such a competitive, cohesive team after all of the LIV defectors left him high and dry a month or so ago. The International squad trailed at one point on Saturday, 10-2, and were able to actually make the Sunday singles more than interesting. Hats off to them.

Meanwhile, the Americans got their first glimpse at what will likely be some etched-in-stone Ryder Cup pairings next September when they travel to Rome to take on the European squad.

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth (4-0 together) were unbeaten in both the foursomes and four-ball formats. Despite Scottie Scheffler fighting a balky driver, he and Sam Burns look like a natural fit next year. And Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele are as dangerous as any duo in the sport in either format.

That's three pairings done already. Three more and the U.S. are ready to rock the Europeans on foreign soil for the first time since 1993.

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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. japan friendly recap


The US men played their first of two World Cup warm up games this past Friday in Germany against Japan. In their second to last competitive game before the main event in Qatar, the US delivered a worrying performance. Against a Japanese team stocked full of veterans in top European leagues, the US was thoroughly beaten in a 2-0 loss.

While the US was missing as many as five starters from this game due to injury, they still boasted a squad with a Transfermarkt value of over $100 million more than the Japanese squad. On this day, it was the veteran Japanese team that looked more energetic and disciplined.

The US was missing regular starters Antonee Robinson, Yunus Musah and Tim Weah along with potential starting center backs Chris Richards and Cameron Carter-Vickers due to injury. Christian Pulisic was also a late scratch picking up a minor injury in training, however it was reported he would have been able to play if this had been a World Cup match and he could play on Tuesday against Saudi Arabia.


Game Summary --

Despite the injuries, the US had plenty of talent available in the squad. They lined up with Matt Turner in goal, fronted by a back four of Sam Vines, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, and Sergino Dest. In midfield it was Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Luca de la Torre and in attack Brenden Aaronson, Jesus Ferreira and Gio Reyna.

From the outset, Japan was simply the more organized and better coached side. In just the second minute of the game, Aaron Long justified my anxiety about his deficiencies on the ball in the back line, playing a weak pass that was intercepted by an opponent to set up a counter that produced a dangerous shot for Japan.

Long wouldn’t be the only American to provide opportunities for the opponent, as the US constantly gave away possession in the first half, wilting under the Japanese high press. The US did generate one excellent chance early in the game when Gio Reyna hit a great pass to free Dest on the right wing and he played a sharp cross into the box. The cross found Jesus Ferreira but he couldn’t get high enough on his jump to get the header down on goal and it sailed over the bar.

After that the US struggled to find solutions to the Japan press and seemed to get flustered and frustrated with their inability to work out of their own end. In the 13th minute Walker Zimmerman hit his own poor pass that led directly to a shot in the box for Japan which forced a good save from Matt Turner.

In the 25th minute Japan finally made the US pay for one of their mistakes. An inexplicable first time pass to no one from Weston McKennie put Japan on a break where they found winger Daichi Kamada open in the box and he hit a well placed shot to beat Turner to the far post. The goal was originally called back for offside, but VAR confirmed Kamada was indeed onside and the goal stood.

Things did not get much better throughout the half, with the Americans continually losing the ball with poor touches or misplaced passes and scrambling to prevent Japanese counter attacks.

The US had their only real chance to even the game up in the 81st minute, when substitute midfielder Johnny Cardoso and Tyler Adams combined to win a ball and spark a counter attack that found Brenden Aaronson in space near the top of the box, but Aaronson’s shot went high and wide.

Just a few minutes later, Japan sealed the game, again working the ball down the left side where Cannon’s on-ball defense left a lot to be desired. Japanese winger Kaoru Mitomo torched Cannon and then hit a nice bending shot that beat Turner to the far post.

The improvements in the second half left the US with the possession advantage at 57%, but most of that was feckless possession in their own half of the field. Japan finished with 16 shots to just 4 for the US and the Americans failed to register a single shot on goal, while Japan had 8. In their first major test against World Cup level competition outside of CONCACAF, the result and the performance of the US paint a pessimistic picture of their hopes in Qatar.


Tactical Review --

Japan pressed the US in a 4-4-2 formation with their front line setting up about three quarters of the way up the field, pushing the US center backs to the edge of their own box. The front two in the Japanese press played narrow to prevent passes into the Americans lone deep midfielder, Tyler Adams, but were also alert to spring to pressing the center backs as soon as they moved the ball wide.

Both of the Japan front two played with outstanding energy and aggressiveness, constantly harassing Zimmerman, Long and Adams.

The most noticeable difference in Japan’s pressing setup vs that of the US was the positioning of their midfielders. The Japanese midfielders were consistently staying tight to their American counterparts, closing down passing lanes and making it difficult to turn on the ball.

In the first half, the US pressed in a 4-3-3 formation, with Jesus Ferreira as the lone striker. In addition, their midfield was often drawn back a bit, covering space more than men, allowing the Japanese holding midfielders to drop back and find space on the ball.

Between the two center backs and two holding midfielders, Japan maintained a box with passing triangles around Jesus Ferreira, who was easily bypassed. Japan’s center backs also moved the ball much quicker than Zimmerman and Long, making quick decisions and taking few touches to progress the ball either up the field or wide.

In the second half the US made two adjustments that improved their play, the first discussed above was pulling Reggie Cannon back to give an extra option behind the top of the Japanese press. The second change was to move two players into the front line of the US press to close down their center backs more effectively. It's good to see Berhalter able to identify these issues and make some effective changes, though it would be better if the adjustments were made quicker or a better initial game plan was designed.


What We Learned --

It is hard to read too much into any one game, especially given the key players the US was missing, but with just one more game before the World Cup, some conclusions will need to be drawn. The first takeaway is that we better hope one of our injured center backs is an upgrade on Aaron Long.

The combo of Long and Zimmerman simply was not good enough on the ball and passing to break down the Japanese press. The US will face presses equal to or better than Japan’s in the World Cup, and if their center backs don’t improve, they will need to scrap the plan to play out of the back and look for more long balls.

Between Chris Richards, who is a promising young player with high prospects in the Premier League and Cameron Carter-Vickers, who has been a standout for the best team in Scotland, it's likely one of the two will be an improvement.

The second big lesson is the importance of Yunus Musah to the US midfield. The teenager usually lines up alongside Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie in a position group that has been a strength. Without Musah in this game, the midfield struggled to progress the ball. The US sorely missed his ability to drop deep to pick up the ball and then move the ball through midfield on the dribble.

Even though McKennie was the best player for the US throughout qualifying, he hasn’t been the same player this season for Juventus, looking rusty after missing preseason, and if any player were to drop from the midfield to accommodate Gio Reyna or Brenden Aaronson, it seems it would need to be Weston instead of Adams or Musah.

The lone bright spot in this game was goalie Matt Turner. After a recent move to Arsenal, Turner has seen limited playing time, backing up English keeper Aaron Ramsdale. In this game, Turner alleviated concerns about his form, making multiple tough saves to keep the US competitive. At this point it looks like Turner has staked a claim to the starting spot and it would take something dramatic for anyone to unseat him before the World Cup.

The final takeaway is the recurring theme of this team struggling to produce dangerous chances. In qualifying the struggles often occurred against teams that defended deep and forced the US to dominate possession and pick them apart. In this game, Japan was aggressive and unsettled the US and the Americans were largely unable to play past their press and get the ball into the attacking third.

It is quite worrying that Berhalter still hasn’t figured out how to best use this collection of talent to generate a reasonable attack. The US is going to face both types of opponents in the group stage of the World Cup and they are running out of time to come up with answers.

The team will get their final test before the World Cup on Tuesday against Saudi Arabia in Spain. The Saudis will present a different type of test for the US, as they likely will not press as aggressively as Japan did, instead defending deeper and making the US combine to create chances. There will likely be some roster rotations for the US, but hopefully most of the key players get another chance to problem solve together and try to get some confidence in attack before they show up to play Wales on November 21st.

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     October 05
I gave up on Dem O's years ago for a multitude of great reasons so I have no dog in the fight. But I did laugh out loud over someone claiming the O's a playoff team next year absent the knowledge of their roster or schedule. Especially when the same person told everyone for the last two months they'd make the playoffs this year knowing the roster and schedule. I'm wrong so rarely I can't remember what it felt like but if I remember correct the proper response after being wrong for two months running would be some humility. Not doubling down on predictions. But around here the SOD has a one day memory so you can tell them just about anything day in and day out and they forget how wrong you can be fresh the next morning.

Jason M     October 05
Not to mention the competition, but Mike Preston dropped a pretty big hint that Nick Boyle is done in his column today. The fact that he has not sniffed the 53 man roster yet this season would seem to bear that out. If that is so, we have lost one of the most effective run blocking tight ends that we've ever had. We have missed him on short yardage situations, and our tight ends not wearing 89 haven't done much of note so far. We'll see Hurst on Sunday, miss that guy, I'm sure Lamar does too.

unitastoberry     October 05
When is the court date for Angelos Vs Angelos?

Chris in Bel Air     October 05
O's definitely need another arm and a bat or two. Big bonus if some of the players performing in the minors (Westburg, Cowser, etc) are able to be contributors too. I know he can't hit but I like Mateo. Fielding, speed and energy are good for the team. It's been several years but we have an actual O's off-season coming up and carrying some sense of optimism. Heading down to the Yard now to take in the last game.

Delray RICK     October 05
ERIC...Hope you are right bout MATEO. Stolen base leader in AMERICAN LEAGUE. GREAT fielder like BELANGER.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 05
Drew putting his jinx out a year early. Just a reminder - White Sox were a lock to win the Central Os were a lock to win 60 or so games. I dont believe the Swanson rumors. Os officials have been whispering to LaConfora for months that Mateo is locked in at SS. Hopefully his baseball sources are as bad as his Ravens sources. Plenty of quality pitchers available by trade per Athletic - Burnes Snell Bieber Singer to name a few. I still say return of Means and G Rod makes our bottom 10 offense the bigger priority but ill gladly take a top arm too

TC     October 05
Swanson would be a perfect free agency target, except he's from Kennesaw, Georgia. There'd probably have to be a premium paid to get him out of Atlanta, and he is the only one of their infielders not locked up long-term.

HERMAN     October 05
It's pretty sad when you have to google the PGATour website to see if there is even a tour stop this week, or where they are. It would make perfect sense for the Tour to partner with LIV and allow them to take over what used to be called "the silly season", and operate in conjunction with the Tour. And 54 holes ending on Saturday would dovetail nicely as they wouldn't have to compete with the monster that is the NFL.

Like pro baseball the Tour needs to shorten the over-all season and make each individual tournament more meaningful. As it is everyone gets jazzed for the majors and maybe one or two more stops, past that interest seems to wane. It's possible that the Tour could end a month earlier or so, give up late Summer and Fall to LIV and have the truncated format and field, together with changes of team play, atmosphere and design create a new and different interest and audience in this new "season". These past few weeks I've been checking Tour results over the weekend, couldn't recognize more than one name in ten on the leaderboard. If the Tour had yielded to LIV for the Fall of course you'd know the leaderboard of names. To continue battling is in no one's interest.


Delray RICK     October 05
Hope DREW is right because DEM O'S have to face the 3 menaces in their division and they DEFINITELY need better bats and hitters above .260 mark. DEM O'S pitching staff an't going to make it with this group. PLEASE move the wall BACK.

Nathan Aparisto     October 04
I just heard the despicable rumor that Gisele was unfaithful to the greatest quarterback to ever live by cheating on him with Antonio Brown.



If this is true, Tom Brady should sue her for every last penny!

Erick     October 04
So Ravens were predicted to win- they lose. We state - Bills are good if not great- we are cast as doubting thomas…and…..”dont get it”…..now they lose, people vent and its more predictions of victories….of games not yet played!

vernon     October 04
These guys who think Drew is taking "veiled" shots at Herman are hilarious. If true, then it sure is clear who is the one living rent free lol

Larry     October 04
Drew's subtle but clever jab at Herman today was pretty funny. All part of the game..................

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy Yup that is good analysis. I would lean over on that 36 number but they play a hell of a lot of games this season (even without him playing WC) Obv an injury can happen at any time. I remember getting so frustrated by Sterling and now this guy is just silly good. He's so big and fast...just an animal

Dan noonan     October 04
Who are these people getting all pumped up about "Drew schooling Herman"? Must be that SOD gang I hear about often. Must be like a special dog whistle only those guys can hear, I see no roasting or calling out of one individual here today. the childish "rent free" crowd is awake today that is for sure.

Don't agree with all the talking points re: the Ravens game, but it was indeed a nice calm summary and not at all like what the #BP guy or the FM guys do on the radio. In that sense, DMD is schooling 105.7 and 1570!


TimD in Timonium     October 04
Not only does @Herman survive the brutal Florida hurricane, he jumps back into the fray with his A-Game still intact.



"who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status."



LOL. Bravo, sir, well-played.


Chris     October 04
DF roasting Herman is why I come to DMD every day!

HERMAN     October 04
I didn't Make that last post. I never do anything I have to apologize for so I never apologize.

Randy     October 04
@Stats Nerd

Great question, I'm going to use some geek speak to make a projection, I think you'll appreciate that. So far Haaland has 14 goals in 8 games, but he only has 7.6 xG (expected goals). So he has been scoring at a better rate than expected, however he's consistently produced about 3-5 goals above expectation in his career.



For Dortmund in the Bundesliga he average about 1 goal/game when healthy. Now the EPL is a higher competition level, but also Man City produced 2.14 xG last year to just 1.6 for Dortmund, so he should have more scoring opportunities this year.



So if we expect his luck to even out a little bit and him to stay around 1 g/g of xG, that would put him around 40 goals for the season. The biggest caveat is that he did miss time in both the last two Dortmund seasons with injuries. So I'll deduct 10% for injury risk (just pulled a number) and that lands us on.....



36.



I swear I didn't do that on purpose.



If I were to bet, I'd take the over. Haaland is going to get a big rest midseason since Norway isn't in the World Cup, so that should reduce the injury risk. They also may give him all the penalty kick chances if he's chasing a record and look to feed him towards the end of the season if they run away with the title.

Chris in Bel Air     October 04
The Yankee fans meltdown over the weekend was comical. Did they expect the O's to just throw 85 mph meatballs to him? That's not being entitled at all. For the record, Judge walked 5 times but he was also 1 for 7 with 6 Ks. He had his chances and couldn't connect. Sorry fans. I also like Judge. He seems to be a "good guy" and would take him on the O's any day. But I certainly didn't want to see the O's give up the 62nd HR and certainly found the Yankee whining to be laughable.

Herman     October 04
I will admit I definitely go above and beyond occasionally on the site owner but he brings out the worst in me for whatever reason. Ask my friends, I'm normally not nearly as angry as I come across here at the site. The site owner just gets under my skin for some reason.

Jason M     October 04
Like DF said in his recap, if you think the bad decision lost them the game, you don't know football. They lost that game a 100 ways in the second half. Harbaugh did his part to contribute, but so did many others.

J.R.     October 04
LMAO at @DF taking a swipe @Herman like that.

unitastoberry     October 04
@ Steve of Pimlico I bet Mad Dog had the better tackle on the fan in Baltimore. I don't get ESPN did the announcers bring up Mikes forearm shot on the drunk in Baltimore on TV? I was there too. Mike was a HOFer I don't care what the NFLHOF thinks or Dion. Ask Mike Singletary about Mike Curtis....he will put you all straight.

Pratt     October 04
Herman, why shouldn't Drew single you out? You single him out every day here. Talk about rent free in someone's head, you can't go a day without referencing him. So tell us again why he shouldn't single you out. You're a first rate prick and you know it.

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy What line would you set as an O/U for Haaland goals this season? The number in the UK betting lines seems to be 36-ish. Assuming he stays healthy I suspect he gets there fairly easily

HERMAN     October 04
@RC

You don't really believe the site owner penned that line for just one random commenter do you? I mean, I know I set up full residency in his caddy lawyers head based on his childish response he penned here in the comments last week. The one who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status. But the site owner wouldn't take aim at just one simple commenter. Especially not one who could potentially help him take this site to Barstool heights singlehandedly. In his new Country Club world he has to be above that.

Steve of Pimlico     October 04
Mike Curtis would have been proud of the Ram player for decking that num nut who ran on the field last night with the smoking device.I was actually at that game back in the day.

Tim D     October 04
Ravens Recap - well said Drew.

Kevin     October 04
When Drew starts making more coaching sense than the actual football coach in town, I think we know what that means. And I'm saying that with no disrespect to Drew. It's actually a compliment.

Albert c     October 04
Lamar is a QB and he got to throw the ball, how is that not letting Lamar be Lamar?

MFC     October 04
I turned to watch a bit of the O's last night, if there was 800 people in the stands I'd be shocked. I did get to see some great fan interaction by our stadium ushers.

Two fans, looked like husband and wife, walk down and sit in the front two seats to the right of the screen behind home plate. It's the 7'th inning. It's miserable, rain pouring down. Well it didn't take 45 seconds before our usher is seen walking down the steps and our fan faithful asked to relocate to their seats. I literally laughed out loud, why? Ok, they didn't pay for those seats but the weather is horrible, there's no one in the stadium to speak of, it's the 7'th inning. Why can't you just look the other way at that point. In fact why not take a proactive position and tell the crowd to sit where they want. If you're one that would get upset because you "paid" for the best seat you need to get over it. Say thanks to the 800 people that braved the conditions to support the team.



It's a shame that during that sequence at the goal line we really didn't let Lamar be Lamar. One of the top offensive players in the game and we don't let him win it. I did not remember that Roman was the OC for the 49'ers in the SB. Wow, good memory by the site owner. That explains a lot.



Saw a stat that's incredible. Judge has struck out 167 times this year. Tony Gwynn didn't strike out that much in the 90's. How great was Gwynn.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw Tucker 2 weeks ago put Ravens up 38-35 and watched Avg QB march right down the field and win. Why she he trust this D vs Allen???

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw two weeks ago Tucker give Ravens 38-35 lead late only to watch Avg QB march right down the field. Why in Gods name should he trust this D vs Allen???

Frank     October 04
Love Harbs - but I think he missed an opportunity by not taking blame for the call and saying he should have kicked the FG. Now that he is sticking to his decision, it puts the blame on execution and players - where otherwise he could have taken it all himself.... take a bullet for your team!

David Rosenfeld     October 04
You said: "But they're now playing from behind, where their play calling has to be a smidgen more carefully planned and their execution has to be spot-on."

John said: The exact opposite of that!

Paraphrasing: A team that is behind in that situation is going to play more aggressively, not less. They will be willing to use all 4 downs in a way they might not if they are too close to their end zone, etc.

It's interesting. From a fan perspective, it's a liability for Buffalo that they would be "forced" to use all 4 downs. From the analytic perspective, it might be an advantage.

Just a discussion. Reiterating that I would have kicked the FG...


RC     October 04
DF throwing shade at Herman with the "ocean breeze erodes your brain". Hilarious.

Kenny G     October 04
While Drew touched on the statistical analysis a bit, I will take it a step further. My problem with the analytics is what factors are considered. Are the stats influenced by going against a strong defense or weak? Good run defense? At home vs on the road? In rain, on turf, etc? Which quarter? You can probably think of several more. Additionally there needs to be a feel for the tempo of the actual game. If its a 35-32 game or a 10-3 game in the fourth quarter - is that factored in? Maybe the matchup does not favor going for it?

Butch (aka Big Fat Daddy)     October 04
George: The Orioles game was called and made an "Official" game due to weather. By MLB rule - a game can be Official after 4 and 1/2 innings - if ended by the Crew Chief. Now what really happened was the Umps, the league office and both Managers went into the tunnel and agreed to end the game. It was terrible weather for a baseball game. No need to play and get any player or players hurt. The Blue Jays have playoff games coming up and the Orioles have next season.

Delray RICK     October 04
The RAVENS have won games they shouldn't have and lost games...whatever. what goes around comes around.

HERMAN     October 04
Counting chickens before they hatch. A 12-5 prediction, predicated on looking at the future schedule. Sure. This team, as is presently constituted, without potential injuries, and with the current coaching braintrust is going to win one they should lose and lose a few they should win. A 12 win prediction is best-case scenario and about as reliable as all those columns with "Dem O's are going to the playoffs, this year, I believe".

Right now with this roster the Ravens are a mid-level mediocre team who can shine on any given Sunday or just mess the bed with a fourth quarter meltdown against another mediocre team. They are no 12 win team.

Baltimore fans are closer to Cleveland fans than I thought, they both show up expecting the "best case scenario" despite all prior evidence to the contrary. Then whine over a play, a call, some small detail within a game that derails their vision of the mind.

Smalltimore; Cleveland of the Chesapeake.

George     October 04
Have searched the Internet diligently but can't find an explanation of how the Orioles game ended after 7.5 innings. Can anyone enlighten? Thanks.

larry     October 04
Oweh almost made a great play, it was clear Singletary was not going to go into the end zone but give himself up at the one. Oweh got the ball loose but not out. Ball comes out and Ravens recover, all the sudden Oweh is a genius.

Also FG with 4 minutes less hardly puts pressure on Bills. Now I would have kicked it anyway, but let's not act like kicking the FG means they are 3-1, the D still would have had to make plays. Given the chance to do so at 20-20, they did not.

Chris in Bel Air     October 03
Agree with many posts here on Drew's recap. Good summary. Also agree with @ MFC on the refs. The Ravens did not lose because of the refs but they were certainly another obstacle to overcome. The seemingly random application of the rules within a game and per week is difficult to watch at times. I will also add that it was not a good day for many first-round draft picks. Certainly Lamar didn't have his best day. Bateman with a couple drops and then was injured. Linderbaum with 2 false starts. Queen exerting lots of energy but didn't seem to make a tackle when it mattered most. Queen sometimes plays like a 5 year old playing soccer for the first time - chasing the pile around the field but not making much of a difference. Oweh had the sack and forced fumble but also was badly fooled on Allen's TD run and did not keep the edge. Of course, plenty to question with Harbs too. Not a good day at all as a team. On a more positive note, I thought JPP did fairly well for just coming off the street. Dobbins also looked pretty good. I thought he made something out of nothing on a couple runs and turned small gains into a more substantial gains a few times. He will be a big boost to the offense if he stays healthy. In addition, the remaining Ravens schedule doesn't look to be very daunting at all. Plenty of season left... Of course, that is all based on the Ravens team I expect to see. Not the one that has only figured out how to play for 2 quarters.

MFC     October 03
The site owner unpacked it really well this morning, except he meant snowangels instead of snowballs but that's nitpicking a really good recap. Nothing much to add that's not already "unpacked".



I will say something about NFL refs, they're BS. I watched last night night as Mahonnes made the exact same play as Lamar running oob's, almost scary how similar. He gets the first down spot. Lamar doesn't and we have to lose a TO because they upheld the BS call on the challenge. Andrews OPI was BS and the roughing the passer. They're needs to be an overhaul and some type of new review. Consistency is paramount to reffing and they're anything but.

HERMAN     October 03
Man I wish there was some way to invest in the NFL. I'm not talking about betting, I'm talking ownership. For the common man. Because with fans like those in Baltimore it's a pure growth industry. They somehow convince themselves that their completely mediocre franchise is one of the best in the league despite all evidence. You fans are "all-in". Past Lamar they have not a player that excites, that just makes plays, who can perform and change the game. The coach is serviceable but flawed, the coordinators as mediocre as the team.

This phenomenon actually extends to all sports in Baltimore. These same commenters wailing about the loss are the ones like the site owner who just believed and believed that the low payroll O's were going to the playoffs. They don't make fish hooks big enough I'm telling ya. And this is how gullible they are, after months of either being told Dem O's were going to the playoffs, or being given betting advice, when it all disappears they move on, no need to examine how wrong one can be. Look over here at this new shiny thing, pay no attention to that old shiny thing. Oh it wasn't the 4TH down call, it was the whole second half. No, it was the bad penalty for hitting the quarterback. No it was that retread O coordinator.

Maybe it's just as simple as your expectations being ridiculous. As ridiculous as Dem O's making the playoffs this year. You can't invest emotion into a Harbaugh coached team. You're destined for disappointment.

Alas only one man can invest in Baltimore football. No wonder he is a billionaire. Fish in a barrel.


Such     October 03
I was never very good at math, let alone things like Algebra and Trigonometry and Calculus and "Advanced Metrics", but I do know that 23>20 and 3>0. I would rather play with a 3 point lead than try and fend off that Bills offense in a tie game with 4 minutes remaining.

And 3-1 > 2-2. Oh well.

Jason M     October 03
It's a real slap in the face to the Ravens faithful who geared up and sat through the remnants of a damn hurricane, shouting down the Bills Mafia who travelled well, only to watch the Ravens do their best impersonation of a pack of choking dogs. 5 straight at home people, this is unacceptable. I see the other team adjusting at half time, where are our adjustments? Or do we make them and they just make things worse? How can it be that we are good enough to run up a lead, but not good enough to hold it?

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 03
Not a doubt in my mind if Lamar throws for a TD there Allen ties it and wins in OT. Thats what Ravens have been since 2014 blowing 2 TD lead in NE. 4th and 17 vs Cincy. Choking as a 14-2 seed. 5 straight home games blowing 4th Q leads. Russell street report said it best ...fact that majority of fanbase at halftime up 10 at home expected to lose shows you this franchise has deep issues.

Daveinlutherville     October 03
Frank: bless you for your confidence. I don’t think most people think this is anywhere near a 12-5 team, but we shall see.

#DMD GAME DAY
Week 3


Sunday — September 25, 2022
Issue #2953

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

1:00 PM EDT

Gillette Stadium
Foxborough, MA

Spread: Ravens (-3.0)



a good day for a rebound


Sure, I realize it's the New England Patriots the Ravens are facing today and under normal circumstances, a trip to Gillette Stadium isn't necessarily where you'd want to go in need of a rebound win a week after a disastrous home loss.

But this Patriots team doesn't have Tom Brady.

And the New England offense hasn't been all that great in the first two weeks of the season, scoring just 7 points at Miami in the season opener and then only tacking on 17 vs. Pittsburgh last Sunday in a 4-point win.

It's never easy to go against Bill Belichick, especially in his own stadium.

Bill Belichick is still at the helm, yes. And that does count for something. The New England defense appears to be solid, even if their offense seems somewhat pedestrian.

But this is one of those games the Ravens "need". It's not a must-win situation or anything even close to that, but with Buffalo scheduled for a visit to Charm City next Sunday, a win over the Patriots today would come in quite handy.

The good news? J.K. Dobbins is slated to return to the lineup after missing all of last season after a training camp knee injury. His presence alone -- assuming he's fully healthy and not still ailing, a la Marcus Peters last Sunday -- should help the Baltimore offense do more than just rely on Lamar Jackson over and over...and over.

The bad news? Ronnie Stanley will once again not be suited up. That means Patrick Mekari will make a second straight start at left tackle. Mekari was actually solid in last Sunday's loss to Miami, but the depth on Baltimore's offensive line is stretching thin with each passing week. One injury and they're in trouble.

How the Ravens defense responds to last Sunday's fourth quarter fiasco is perhaps the most interesting sidebar today. That's the kind of performance that could unsettle a defense and rattle them for a month. Or, they'll pin their ears back today and prove without question that what happened last Sunday was an outlier.

Which way will it go? That's the big question.


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today's three key storylines


1. How does Dobbins impact the running game? -- This is the most pressing question of the day given how stagnant the Ravens have been in the running game thus far in 2022. We've seen that Mike Davis, Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill simply can't get the job done on their own. Will Dobbins not only help the running attack but also allow for one of those other three to fall into a more suitable number two role in the backfield?

The first key for Dobbins, obviously, is his health. Can he get 15-20 carries in today's game and come out of it OK? That's huge for the Ravens, particularly with Buffalo coming to town next week and conventional wisdom telling us they'd like to run the ball as much as possible to shorten the game and keep Josh Allen off the field.

But can Dobbins be effective on 1st down? Can he be a help on 3rd and short? It's a lot to put on him in his first game, granted, but this is a Ravens team in dire need of help in the offensive backfield.

One thing we can assume: If the Ravens running game stalls again today and winds up gaining 65-80 yards in total, the outcome will be very much in doubt unless Lamar can pull a rabbit out of his hat.


2. Pressuring Jones is paramount -- We saw what happened in week one in New York when the Ravens pass rush made life miserable for Joe Flacco. He was no factor in the game and the Ravens coasted to an easy season opening win.

Last week? The first half was OK, but Tua and the Dolphins offense had a field day in the second half. With no pressure on him in the final 15 minutes, Tua picked the Ravens apart for 28 points in the fourth quarter.

Mike Macdonald has quite a task on his hands today. He needs to get his defense to forget about last Sunday and dial up some pressures and blitzes that keep Jones off balance. If the Baltimore pass rush isn't able to force the New England QB into hurries and bad throws, that spells trouble in Foxborough.


3. Penalties and mistakes kept to a minimum -- It's been a while since the Ravens have had one of those disastrous 12-penalty games. They're usually good for a couple of those a season. Let's hope they can stay disciplined today and avoid having a game where the referees help determine the outcome.

It's hard enough to win on the road in the NFL. Penalties and mistakes -- turnovers, poor punts, etc. -- are almost always a tonic for failing to win away from your home stadium. If the Ravens can keep the yellow flags and turnovers to a minimum today, their chances of winning greatly increase.

This shouldn't read as if the Ravens have to play "perfect" football today. They don't have to do that. But they can't get on the wrong side of the officials and they can't give the ball to New England two or three times and expect to win.

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how drew sees today's game


I'm banking on J.K. Dobbins being healthy and ready to go today. I think his presence will make a difference.

And as long as the Baltimore offensive line stays healthy for 60 minutes, I see Lamar Jackson and Company being able to put up at least 23 points on the New England defense.

#DMD sees two passing TD's for Lamar in today's game vs. New England.

Jackson runs for 44 yards and throws for 229.

Mark Andrews has 7 catches for 102 yards and a TD.

Rashod Bateman has 7 catches for 88 yards and a TD.

Dobbins carries the ball 17 times for 88 yards. He's what the Baltimore offense needs on a day where the team's running backs gain a total of 105 yards on the ground.

The Ravens intercept Mac Jones twice, including a key 4th quarter interception with the Patriots driving to potentially tie the game.

Baltimore leads 10-6 at the half. They extend that lead to 17-6 before New England scores a third quarter TD to make it 17-13.

Justin Tucker's field goal at the beginning of the 4th quarter makes it 20-13. After a Chuck Clark interception with 9 minutes left, Tucker hits another field goal to make it 23-13.

New England kicks a field goal of their own on the next drive to make it 23-16.

But the Ravens offense is able to run out the final 3 minutes of the game and Baltimore wins in New England for the first time ever in the regular season, 23-16.

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around the nfl


Week #3 of the '22 schedule isn't all that hot, honestly. There are a few games worth highlighting, but there are also some early-season duds, like Houston vs. Chicago, Carolina vs. New Orleans and Atlanta at Seattle.

What does Bill Belichick have up his sleeve for Mitch Trubisky and the Pittsburgh offense today?

But there a few games worth watching, for sure, including that game in Foxborough between two 1-1 teams.

Miami at Buffalo -- The Dolphins looked at their schedule when it was released last April and said to themselves, "Who did we tick off in the league office?

They started with New England, went to Baltimore, and now host Buffalo in week 3. And yet, they're a win away from an improbable 3-0 start. If you weren't sure if the Dolphins are "for real" after beating the Ravens in Baltimore last Sunday, today will really be their "proof in the pudding" game. If Miami wins today...they are, for sure, legit.

Kansas City at Indianapolis -- I know, I know. The Colts are 0-1-1. How are they involved in a "marquee" game? Well, Kansas City is on their typical early-season roll where they are dismantling everyone in their path. And Indy really needs a victory today to get themselves back on track in what is a terrible AFC South.

The Colts were shut out last Sunday in Jacksonville. Because the NFL is completely crazy and upside-down, you just know they're going to man up today and perform well against the Chiefs. Right?

Green Bay at Tampa Bay -- It's Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady. The only question? How did this game not wind up on Sunday Night Football? FOX probably snagged it as one of their "protected" games, that's how.

But no matter where it lands on the tube, this one should be a doozy. Rodgers and the Packers are still looking to settle in after a 1-1 start to their season and a disapppointing opening game loss at Minnesota where Rodgers lost to Kirk Cousins of all people.

The Buccaneers, meanwhile, have a 2-0 record but haven't been overly impressive on the offensive side of the ball in either victory.

But when it's Brady vs. Rodgers, it's "must-see" TV.


UPSET OF THE DAY -- We're not sure what's going on Cincinnati or why they didn't fix their offensive line in the off-season, but we're going with the Jets and their defense to hold off Joe Burrow and the defending AFC Champs. The Bengals fall to 0-3 with a 20-19 away loss to the Jets, as Joe Flacco drives New York down the field for the game-winning 42 yard field goal at the buzzer.

LOCK OF THE DAY -- I think Detroit is improving and all, but I don't think they can handle the Minnesota offense or their improving defense. Six points is quite a number for a division game, yes, but it feels like Minnesota is poised for one of those afternoons where they flex their muscles a bit in the air and post a fairly convincing home win. We'll go with Minnesota to cover the six points and beat the Lions, 34-27.

TWO-GAME PARLAY -- A week after laying it on the Baltimore offense, the Dolphins won't find it nearly as easy to score on Buffalo today. The over/under in this one is 53.0. We like this to be a 46-48 point game. So we'll go with the under, obviously. And the total in the Panthers/Saints game in Charlotte is 41.0. We're taking the over in that one, with a point total of 44 or so. So our two-game parlay is the "under" in Dolphins/Bills and "over" in Saints/Panthers.

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Saturday
September 24, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2952


still doubting?


Leave it to Albert Pujols to upstage the Orioles. Rat fink...

In what could only have been better had he returned to L.A. and hit home run #700 against the Angels, Pujols capped off a Hollywood night with career home runs #699 and #700 against the Dodgers on Friday evening in an 11-0 St. Louis win in Southern California.

A lot of people doubted Pujols heading into 2022. It looked all but a foregone conclusion he wouldn't reach the 700-home run plateau.

No more doubting that, I guess.

Imagine what his numbers would look like if not for the Covid-19 shortened season in 2020. He lost 100 games there.

Only Bonds, Aaron and Ruth hit more home runs than Albert Pujols.

Or, what if he wouldn't have endured several injury-riddled campaigns in L.A. with the Angels? We might be looking at baseball's all-time home run leader instead of just the fourth man to ever reach 700.

That Pujols did it back in Los Angeles was extra special, but just getting to 700 in advance of his pending retirement is all that really matters. And given the season the Cardinals are having, coupled with this final season burst Pujols is experiencing, there's a definite chance the slugger leaves the game with another championship ring. St. Louis is that good.

There's always that "question" about Pujols that looms around him, but not because he's ever produced even a piece of tangible evidence other than being big, strong, and hitting a baseball a long way. He faced the steroids question head on 15 years ago and said he wasn't a user.

Then again, Rafael Palmeiro wagged his finger at Congress in one of the more embarrassing moves of defiance in baseball history. So there's that.

But taking Pujols at his word, he's one of the greatest home run hitters ever and certainly one of the most dangerous offensive players of the last 25 years. Few have done it better than Albert.


OK, chew on this for a second. If Kyle Bradish doesn't give up a two out, 9th inning single on Thursday night in a 2-0 game and finishes that contest, the Orioles would now have 3 straight complete games after last night's gem from Dean Kremer.

Here's why baseball is crazy.

Before Jordan Lyles went the distance on Wednesday night in the 8-1 win over Detroit, the Orioles last complete game was the no-hitter authored by John Means in Seattle back in May of 2021. No complete games from May of 2021 until September of 2022 -- and then nearly three consecutive nine inning efforts, including back-to-back shutouts of the vaunted Astros.

The only real piece of the Manny Machado trade that the Orioles can call "value" is, in fact, Dean Kremer, who stymied Houston on 4 hits last night and struck out 6 while walking just 2 batters.

The only piece of value the Orioles picked up in the Manny Machado trade is starting pitcher Dean Kremer.

Kremer has quietly put together an excellent 2022 campaign. He's now 8-5 with a 3.07 ERA. His WHIP is an improving 1.224 (down significantly from 1.640 a year ago) and in 19 starts this season, he's allowed just 8 home runs.

So it turned out to be Machado for Kremer, basically. It won't go down as the trade of the century or anything like that, but it's at least somewhat heartwarming to see that the O's got something out of that deal with the Dodgers.

Back to last night's win before almost 23,000 at Camden Yards...

An Adley Rutschman 4th inning homer gave the Birds a slim 1-0 lead and it stayed that way until a five-run uprising in the bottom of the 7th put the game away.

With Seattle's loss in Kansas City, the Birds are now just three games behind the Mariners with 12 to play. Seattle, in case you haven't noticed, is mired in an awful slump. The Orioles have now won three straight.

There are plenty of people in baseball, in Baltimore, and here at this very website who are still doubting the Orioles. As I've written several times recently, the other teams ahead of the Orioles still have to win. And all it takes is one team to go on one of those ill-timed 2 week runs where they go 3-9 or 2-10 and, voila!, you're right back in the race.

And that's precisely what's happening. The Jays, Rays and Mariners have simply not won enough games in the last two weeks to distance themselves in the wild card race. And the O's, despite struggling themselves last week, are still very much alive with 12 games left to play.

Still doubting the Birds? Maybe you shouldn't be. They're going to make it. Oh, and if they finish as the #3 wild card team, the Birds would face the Guardians in a best-of-3 playoff series with all three games played in Cleveland. If, somehow, the Birds sneak into the #2 spot, they'd play the #1 seed wild card team in a best of 3 with the #1 seed hosting all three games.

And if something really wacky happens and the O's wind up the #1 wild card seed, they'd host the #2 seed in Baltimore.

Yes, in case you're wondering, the Orioles could still finish as the #1 wild card seed. The Blue Jays and Rays still have to win games, just like the Mariners and Orioles have to continue winning.


Not that there was a lot of doubt about this Presidents Cup heading into the week, since the Americans were heavily favored, but there were some doubts about a couple of the captain's picks -- namely Max Homa and Billy Horschel.

Well, those doubts have been eliminated in a big way, particularly from Homa, who made two big-boy putts on the 17th and 18th holes yesterday to give the U.S. team another win in the 4-ball competition and extend the American's lead to 10-2 after two rounds of the bi-annual competition.

Max Homa has started to prove the doubters wrong...really wrong...in 2022.

NBC is taking gas, of course. They were hoping for the event to be close enough to be even "remotely compelling" on Sunday for the singles competition, but that looks like a virtual impossibility after the U.S. won 5-1 on Thursday and 5-1 won on Friday.

If they were playing "horse" at Quail Hollow GC in Charlotte but they were using the word "over", the U.S. would have O-V-E at this point.

None of this is a great surprise. And here's the thing, the International team has actually played solid golf, save for unexpected dreary performances from Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott, the two stalwarts on Trevor Immelman's team. Matsuyama hasn't even seen the 17th tee in his two matches thus far.

But while the International side has mostly played solid golf, the Americans have been more-than-outstanding. The team of Cantlay-Schauffele (who are sitting out the alternate shot format this morning and will likely play the better ball this afternoon) and Spieth-Thomas have buzzed through their matches with relative ease.

I'm sure 2023 Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson is paying attention. He has two pairings on lockdown for next year's event in Italy.

And he also now knows that Max Homa can handle the heat. Horschel -- who teamed with Homa for a stirring win over Taylor Pendrith and Corey Conners on Friday afternoon -- is a former FedEx Cup winner who has enjoyed a nice career without a major championship victory, but it's Homa who came to Quail Hollow trying to prove he belongs among the world's best players. And in both matches he's played, Max has delivered in a big way.

They'll play one less match in today's format (4 matches instead of 5) but they'll also play 36 holes today. This morning it's the alternate shot (foursomes) format and then in the afternoon, four more better-ball matches will take place.

The International team has to be careful that they're not officially out of it by the end of today. If they trail by 12 points or more after today's two sets of competition, it's O-V-E-R.

Here are this morning's alternate shot pairings:

Spieth/Thomas (USA) vs. Im/Conners (Int)

Young/Morikawa vs. Scott/Matsuyama

Scheffler/Burns vs. Lee/Tom Kim

Finau/Homa vs. Davis/Si Woo Kim

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     October 05
I gave up on Dem O's years ago for a multitude of great reasons so I have no dog in the fight. But I did laugh out loud over someone claiming the O's a playoff team next year absent the knowledge of their roster or schedule. Especially when the same person told everyone for the last two months they'd make the playoffs this year knowing the roster and schedule. I'm wrong so rarely I can't remember what it felt like but if I remember correct the proper response after being wrong for two months running would be some humility. Not doubling down on predictions. But around here the SOD has a one day memory so you can tell them just about anything day in and day out and they forget how wrong you can be fresh the next morning.

Jason M     October 05
Not to mention the competition, but Mike Preston dropped a pretty big hint that Nick Boyle is done in his column today. The fact that he has not sniffed the 53 man roster yet this season would seem to bear that out. If that is so, we have lost one of the most effective run blocking tight ends that we've ever had. We have missed him on short yardage situations, and our tight ends not wearing 89 haven't done much of note so far. We'll see Hurst on Sunday, miss that guy, I'm sure Lamar does too.

unitastoberry     October 05
When is the court date for Angelos Vs Angelos?

Chris in Bel Air     October 05
O's definitely need another arm and a bat or two. Big bonus if some of the players performing in the minors (Westburg, Cowser, etc) are able to be contributors too. I know he can't hit but I like Mateo. Fielding, speed and energy are good for the team. It's been several years but we have an actual O's off-season coming up and carrying some sense of optimism. Heading down to the Yard now to take in the last game.

Delray RICK     October 05
ERIC...Hope you are right bout MATEO. Stolen base leader in AMERICAN LEAGUE. GREAT fielder like BELANGER.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 05
Drew putting his jinx out a year early. Just a reminder - White Sox were a lock to win the Central Os were a lock to win 60 or so games. I dont believe the Swanson rumors. Os officials have been whispering to LaConfora for months that Mateo is locked in at SS. Hopefully his baseball sources are as bad as his Ravens sources. Plenty of quality pitchers available by trade per Athletic - Burnes Snell Bieber Singer to name a few. I still say return of Means and G Rod makes our bottom 10 offense the bigger priority but ill gladly take a top arm too

TC     October 05
Swanson would be a perfect free agency target, except he's from Kennesaw, Georgia. There'd probably have to be a premium paid to get him out of Atlanta, and he is the only one of their infielders not locked up long-term.

HERMAN     October 05
It's pretty sad when you have to google the PGATour website to see if there is even a tour stop this week, or where they are. It would make perfect sense for the Tour to partner with LIV and allow them to take over what used to be called "the silly season", and operate in conjunction with the Tour. And 54 holes ending on Saturday would dovetail nicely as they wouldn't have to compete with the monster that is the NFL.

Like pro baseball the Tour needs to shorten the over-all season and make each individual tournament more meaningful. As it is everyone gets jazzed for the majors and maybe one or two more stops, past that interest seems to wane. It's possible that the Tour could end a month earlier or so, give up late Summer and Fall to LIV and have the truncated format and field, together with changes of team play, atmosphere and design create a new and different interest and audience in this new "season". These past few weeks I've been checking Tour results over the weekend, couldn't recognize more than one name in ten on the leaderboard. If the Tour had yielded to LIV for the Fall of course you'd know the leaderboard of names. To continue battling is in no one's interest.


Delray RICK     October 05
Hope DREW is right because DEM O'S have to face the 3 menaces in their division and they DEFINITELY need better bats and hitters above .260 mark. DEM O'S pitching staff an't going to make it with this group. PLEASE move the wall BACK.

Nathan Aparisto     October 04
I just heard the despicable rumor that Gisele was unfaithful to the greatest quarterback to ever live by cheating on him with Antonio Brown.



If this is true, Tom Brady should sue her for every last penny!

Erick     October 04
So Ravens were predicted to win- they lose. We state - Bills are good if not great- we are cast as doubting thomas…and…..”dont get it”…..now they lose, people vent and its more predictions of victories….of games not yet played!

vernon     October 04
These guys who think Drew is taking "veiled" shots at Herman are hilarious. If true, then it sure is clear who is the one living rent free lol

Larry     October 04
Drew's subtle but clever jab at Herman today was pretty funny. All part of the game..................

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy Yup that is good analysis. I would lean over on that 36 number but they play a hell of a lot of games this season (even without him playing WC) Obv an injury can happen at any time. I remember getting so frustrated by Sterling and now this guy is just silly good. He's so big and fast...just an animal

Dan noonan     October 04
Who are these people getting all pumped up about "Drew schooling Herman"? Must be that SOD gang I hear about often. Must be like a special dog whistle only those guys can hear, I see no roasting or calling out of one individual here today. the childish "rent free" crowd is awake today that is for sure.

Don't agree with all the talking points re: the Ravens game, but it was indeed a nice calm summary and not at all like what the #BP guy or the FM guys do on the radio. In that sense, DMD is schooling 105.7 and 1570!


TimD in Timonium     October 04
Not only does @Herman survive the brutal Florida hurricane, he jumps back into the fray with his A-Game still intact.



"who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status."



LOL. Bravo, sir, well-played.


Chris     October 04
DF roasting Herman is why I come to DMD every day!

HERMAN     October 04
I didn't Make that last post. I never do anything I have to apologize for so I never apologize.

Randy     October 04
@Stats Nerd

Great question, I'm going to use some geek speak to make a projection, I think you'll appreciate that. So far Haaland has 14 goals in 8 games, but he only has 7.6 xG (expected goals). So he has been scoring at a better rate than expected, however he's consistently produced about 3-5 goals above expectation in his career.



For Dortmund in the Bundesliga he average about 1 goal/game when healthy. Now the EPL is a higher competition level, but also Man City produced 2.14 xG last year to just 1.6 for Dortmund, so he should have more scoring opportunities this year.



So if we expect his luck to even out a little bit and him to stay around 1 g/g of xG, that would put him around 40 goals for the season. The biggest caveat is that he did miss time in both the last two Dortmund seasons with injuries. So I'll deduct 10% for injury risk (just pulled a number) and that lands us on.....



36.



I swear I didn't do that on purpose.



If I were to bet, I'd take the over. Haaland is going to get a big rest midseason since Norway isn't in the World Cup, so that should reduce the injury risk. They also may give him all the penalty kick chances if he's chasing a record and look to feed him towards the end of the season if they run away with the title.

Chris in Bel Air     October 04
The Yankee fans meltdown over the weekend was comical. Did they expect the O's to just throw 85 mph meatballs to him? That's not being entitled at all. For the record, Judge walked 5 times but he was also 1 for 7 with 6 Ks. He had his chances and couldn't connect. Sorry fans. I also like Judge. He seems to be a "good guy" and would take him on the O's any day. But I certainly didn't want to see the O's give up the 62nd HR and certainly found the Yankee whining to be laughable.

Herman     October 04
I will admit I definitely go above and beyond occasionally on the site owner but he brings out the worst in me for whatever reason. Ask my friends, I'm normally not nearly as angry as I come across here at the site. The site owner just gets under my skin for some reason.

Jason M     October 04
Like DF said in his recap, if you think the bad decision lost them the game, you don't know football. They lost that game a 100 ways in the second half. Harbaugh did his part to contribute, but so did many others.

J.R.     October 04
LMAO at @DF taking a swipe @Herman like that.

unitastoberry     October 04
@ Steve of Pimlico I bet Mad Dog had the better tackle on the fan in Baltimore. I don't get ESPN did the announcers bring up Mikes forearm shot on the drunk in Baltimore on TV? I was there too. Mike was a HOFer I don't care what the NFLHOF thinks or Dion. Ask Mike Singletary about Mike Curtis....he will put you all straight.

Pratt     October 04
Herman, why shouldn't Drew single you out? You single him out every day here. Talk about rent free in someone's head, you can't go a day without referencing him. So tell us again why he shouldn't single you out. You're a first rate prick and you know it.

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy What line would you set as an O/U for Haaland goals this season? The number in the UK betting lines seems to be 36-ish. Assuming he stays healthy I suspect he gets there fairly easily

HERMAN     October 04
@RC

You don't really believe the site owner penned that line for just one random commenter do you? I mean, I know I set up full residency in his caddy lawyers head based on his childish response he penned here in the comments last week. The one who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status. But the site owner wouldn't take aim at just one simple commenter. Especially not one who could potentially help him take this site to Barstool heights singlehandedly. In his new Country Club world he has to be above that.

Steve of Pimlico     October 04
Mike Curtis would have been proud of the Ram player for decking that num nut who ran on the field last night with the smoking device.I was actually at that game back in the day.

Tim D     October 04
Ravens Recap - well said Drew.

Kevin     October 04
When Drew starts making more coaching sense than the actual football coach in town, I think we know what that means. And I'm saying that with no disrespect to Drew. It's actually a compliment.

Albert c     October 04
Lamar is a QB and he got to throw the ball, how is that not letting Lamar be Lamar?

MFC     October 04
I turned to watch a bit of the O's last night, if there was 800 people in the stands I'd be shocked. I did get to see some great fan interaction by our stadium ushers.

Two fans, looked like husband and wife, walk down and sit in the front two seats to the right of the screen behind home plate. It's the 7'th inning. It's miserable, rain pouring down. Well it didn't take 45 seconds before our usher is seen walking down the steps and our fan faithful asked to relocate to their seats. I literally laughed out loud, why? Ok, they didn't pay for those seats but the weather is horrible, there's no one in the stadium to speak of, it's the 7'th inning. Why can't you just look the other way at that point. In fact why not take a proactive position and tell the crowd to sit where they want. If you're one that would get upset because you "paid" for the best seat you need to get over it. Say thanks to the 800 people that braved the conditions to support the team.



It's a shame that during that sequence at the goal line we really didn't let Lamar be Lamar. One of the top offensive players in the game and we don't let him win it. I did not remember that Roman was the OC for the 49'ers in the SB. Wow, good memory by the site owner. That explains a lot.



Saw a stat that's incredible. Judge has struck out 167 times this year. Tony Gwynn didn't strike out that much in the 90's. How great was Gwynn.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw Tucker 2 weeks ago put Ravens up 38-35 and watched Avg QB march right down the field and win. Why she he trust this D vs Allen???

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw two weeks ago Tucker give Ravens 38-35 lead late only to watch Avg QB march right down the field. Why in Gods name should he trust this D vs Allen???

Frank     October 04
Love Harbs - but I think he missed an opportunity by not taking blame for the call and saying he should have kicked the FG. Now that he is sticking to his decision, it puts the blame on execution and players - where otherwise he could have taken it all himself.... take a bullet for your team!

David Rosenfeld     October 04
You said: "But they're now playing from behind, where their play calling has to be a smidgen more carefully planned and their execution has to be spot-on."

John said: The exact opposite of that!

Paraphrasing: A team that is behind in that situation is going to play more aggressively, not less. They will be willing to use all 4 downs in a way they might not if they are too close to their end zone, etc.

It's interesting. From a fan perspective, it's a liability for Buffalo that they would be "forced" to use all 4 downs. From the analytic perspective, it might be an advantage.

Just a discussion. Reiterating that I would have kicked the FG...


RC     October 04
DF throwing shade at Herman with the "ocean breeze erodes your brain". Hilarious.

Kenny G     October 04
While Drew touched on the statistical analysis a bit, I will take it a step further. My problem with the analytics is what factors are considered. Are the stats influenced by going against a strong defense or weak? Good run defense? At home vs on the road? In rain, on turf, etc? Which quarter? You can probably think of several more. Additionally there needs to be a feel for the tempo of the actual game. If its a 35-32 game or a 10-3 game in the fourth quarter - is that factored in? Maybe the matchup does not favor going for it?

Butch (aka Big Fat Daddy)     October 04
George: The Orioles game was called and made an "Official" game due to weather. By MLB rule - a game can be Official after 4 and 1/2 innings - if ended by the Crew Chief. Now what really happened was the Umps, the league office and both Managers went into the tunnel and agreed to end the game. It was terrible weather for a baseball game. No need to play and get any player or players hurt. The Blue Jays have playoff games coming up and the Orioles have next season.

Delray RICK     October 04
The RAVENS have won games they shouldn't have and lost games...whatever. what goes around comes around.

HERMAN     October 04
Counting chickens before they hatch. A 12-5 prediction, predicated on looking at the future schedule. Sure. This team, as is presently constituted, without potential injuries, and with the current coaching braintrust is going to win one they should lose and lose a few they should win. A 12 win prediction is best-case scenario and about as reliable as all those columns with "Dem O's are going to the playoffs, this year, I believe".

Right now with this roster the Ravens are a mid-level mediocre team who can shine on any given Sunday or just mess the bed with a fourth quarter meltdown against another mediocre team. They are no 12 win team.

Baltimore fans are closer to Cleveland fans than I thought, they both show up expecting the "best case scenario" despite all prior evidence to the contrary. Then whine over a play, a call, some small detail within a game that derails their vision of the mind.

Smalltimore; Cleveland of the Chesapeake.

George     October 04
Have searched the Internet diligently but can't find an explanation of how the Orioles game ended after 7.5 innings. Can anyone enlighten? Thanks.

larry     October 04
Oweh almost made a great play, it was clear Singletary was not going to go into the end zone but give himself up at the one. Oweh got the ball loose but not out. Ball comes out and Ravens recover, all the sudden Oweh is a genius.

Also FG with 4 minutes less hardly puts pressure on Bills. Now I would have kicked it anyway, but let's not act like kicking the FG means they are 3-1, the D still would have had to make plays. Given the chance to do so at 20-20, they did not.

Chris in Bel Air     October 03
Agree with many posts here on Drew's recap. Good summary. Also agree with @ MFC on the refs. The Ravens did not lose because of the refs but they were certainly another obstacle to overcome. The seemingly random application of the rules within a game and per week is difficult to watch at times. I will also add that it was not a good day for many first-round draft picks. Certainly Lamar didn't have his best day. Bateman with a couple drops and then was injured. Linderbaum with 2 false starts. Queen exerting lots of energy but didn't seem to make a tackle when it mattered most. Queen sometimes plays like a 5 year old playing soccer for the first time - chasing the pile around the field but not making much of a difference. Oweh had the sack and forced fumble but also was badly fooled on Allen's TD run and did not keep the edge. Of course, plenty to question with Harbs too. Not a good day at all as a team. On a more positive note, I thought JPP did fairly well for just coming off the street. Dobbins also looked pretty good. I thought he made something out of nothing on a couple runs and turned small gains into a more substantial gains a few times. He will be a big boost to the offense if he stays healthy. In addition, the remaining Ravens schedule doesn't look to be very daunting at all. Plenty of season left... Of course, that is all based on the Ravens team I expect to see. Not the one that has only figured out how to play for 2 quarters.

MFC     October 03
The site owner unpacked it really well this morning, except he meant snowangels instead of snowballs but that's nitpicking a really good recap. Nothing much to add that's not already "unpacked".



I will say something about NFL refs, they're BS. I watched last night night as Mahonnes made the exact same play as Lamar running oob's, almost scary how similar. He gets the first down spot. Lamar doesn't and we have to lose a TO because they upheld the BS call on the challenge. Andrews OPI was BS and the roughing the passer. They're needs to be an overhaul and some type of new review. Consistency is paramount to reffing and they're anything but.

HERMAN     October 03
Man I wish there was some way to invest in the NFL. I'm not talking about betting, I'm talking ownership. For the common man. Because with fans like those in Baltimore it's a pure growth industry. They somehow convince themselves that their completely mediocre franchise is one of the best in the league despite all evidence. You fans are "all-in". Past Lamar they have not a player that excites, that just makes plays, who can perform and change the game. The coach is serviceable but flawed, the coordinators as mediocre as the team.

This phenomenon actually extends to all sports in Baltimore. These same commenters wailing about the loss are the ones like the site owner who just believed and believed that the low payroll O's were going to the playoffs. They don't make fish hooks big enough I'm telling ya. And this is how gullible they are, after months of either being told Dem O's were going to the playoffs, or being given betting advice, when it all disappears they move on, no need to examine how wrong one can be. Look over here at this new shiny thing, pay no attention to that old shiny thing. Oh it wasn't the 4TH down call, it was the whole second half. No, it was the bad penalty for hitting the quarterback. No it was that retread O coordinator.

Maybe it's just as simple as your expectations being ridiculous. As ridiculous as Dem O's making the playoffs this year. You can't invest emotion into a Harbaugh coached team. You're destined for disappointment.

Alas only one man can invest in Baltimore football. No wonder he is a billionaire. Fish in a barrel.


Such     October 03
I was never very good at math, let alone things like Algebra and Trigonometry and Calculus and "Advanced Metrics", but I do know that 23>20 and 3>0. I would rather play with a 3 point lead than try and fend off that Bills offense in a tie game with 4 minutes remaining.

And 3-1 > 2-2. Oh well.

Jason M     October 03
It's a real slap in the face to the Ravens faithful who geared up and sat through the remnants of a damn hurricane, shouting down the Bills Mafia who travelled well, only to watch the Ravens do their best impersonation of a pack of choking dogs. 5 straight at home people, this is unacceptable. I see the other team adjusting at half time, where are our adjustments? Or do we make them and they just make things worse? How can it be that we are good enough to run up a lead, but not good enough to hold it?

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 03
Not a doubt in my mind if Lamar throws for a TD there Allen ties it and wins in OT. Thats what Ravens have been since 2014 blowing 2 TD lead in NE. 4th and 17 vs Cincy. Choking as a 14-2 seed. 5 straight home games blowing 4th Q leads. Russell street report said it best ...fact that majority of fanbase at halftime up 10 at home expected to lose shows you this franchise has deep issues.

Daveinlutherville     October 03
Frank: bless you for your confidence. I don’t think most people think this is anywhere near a 12-5 team, but we shall see.

Friday
September 23, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2951


friday stuff


After Jesus rises from the grave and reappears in town, showing himself to his faithful disciples and friends, one of them, Thomas, is steadfast in his belief that none of it is real.

"Until I see him myself, with my own eyes, I will not believe," Thomas says.

Days later, Jesus appears and shows Thomas the wounds in hands where he had been nailed to the cross upon his crucifixion.

"Now do you believe it, bro?" Jesus asked Thomas.

Kyle Bradish continued to prove the doubters wrong last night as he outdueled Justin Verlander in a 2-0 O's win over the Astros.

OK, so Jesus didn't say "Now do you believe it, bro?" But you get the point. Thomas doubted Jesus and his ability to rise from the dead and Jesus showed up to put those doubts to rest.

And, so, the term "doubting Thomas" was born.

What's this have to do with sports?

Because...the Orioles beat Justin Verlander last night and they're still in the playoff race and I'm still here, still saying, "The O's are going to make the post-season."

And you might not believe me now, because you can't see it for yourself. You're a "doubting Thomas". But you will see it. In about 12 days you'll see it. And when the O's sneak in on the final day of the regular season with a stirring 5-3 come-from-behind win over Toronto (in case you care, Jorge Mateo hits a 2-run double in the bottom of the 7th to cap a 4-run inning), you will, at that point, be a believer.

I'm not saying you'll be a believer in me, by the way. You'll be a believer in the Orioles. Watch and see. It's happening.


Of course, because baseball is crazy and the Orioles '22 season is completely out-of-this-world-crazy, they would lose to a pair of rag-a-muffin Detroit pitchers on Monday and Tuesday and then come back on Thursday and beat the best pitcher in baseball on Thursday. Granted, Verlander wasn't terrible or anything like that last night, but he entered the game 17-3 and left the ballpark at 17-4 after the O's got great pitching themselves from Kyle Bradish (again) in a 2-0 win.

Predictably, Tampa Bay and Seattle both won on Thursday to stay four games ahead of the O's in the loss column. But the O's are playing with their backs against the wall right now and any win keeps them alive until the standings have that "e" next to their name in the standings.

Tampa Bay's schedule is incredibly difficult down the stretch. More than anything, that's why the O's have a legit shot at bypassing them for a wild card berth.

The Rays have three more home games with Toronto this weekend. And then they finish the year with 9 straight road games.

Three in Cleveland (Guardians closing in on the A.L. Central. Have to win every game they can.)

Three in Houston (who just swept them three straight days in Tampa Bay, don't forget).

Three in Boston (nothing to play for, granted, but it's still Fenway and anything can happen.)

Tampa Bay currently sits at 83-67. What do you realistically think they can do over their last 12 games? If they go 6-6, that puts them at 89-73. That means the O's would have to finish with 90 wins to snag the wild card spot because Tampa Bay won the season series.

At 78-71 currently, the O's would have to finish 12-1 to go 90-72. That seems nearly impossible, right?

But what if the wins are harder to come by for the Rays, which is clearly what is needed. What if, say, they can only go 3-9 in their last 12 games? Things get interesting then.

It's all clearly on Tampa Bay, Toronto and Seattle to finish the job. If they continue to win, there's not much the O's can do to help their cause. Seattle, by the way, has a three-game series with the pesky Royals in Kansas City this weekend and then closes out the year with 10 home games against Texas, Oakland and Detroit (4).

Seattle's rookie superstar Julio Rodriguez left Thursday's win over the A's with lower back tightness. Just to add a little intrigue to the whole storyline.

Is it a dire situation for the O's? Sure, that's probably a fair word. Tampa Bay, Toronto or Seattle would have to almost collapse down the stretch -- and the O's would still have to something like 10-3 or 11-2 -- in order for the Birds to make it.

But I'm not giving up hope until that "e" is next to their name. I'm not doubting them. I'm sticking with them until all the dust settles on Wednesday, October 5.


The U.S. Presidents Cup team got off to a strong start yesterday, taking a 4-1 lead over the International squad in the foursomes (alternate) format on Thursday.

Jordan Spieth teamed up with Justin Thomas for a win on day one of the Presidents Cup on Thursday.

But it wasn't nearly as emphatic as you might think a 4-1 lead should be. Four of the five matches were of the "go either way" variety, including the final match of the afternoon, which eventually went to Tony Finau-Max Homa by virtue of winning the last hole of Mito Pereira and Taylor Pendrith.

Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young were winners in their match over K.H. Lee and Tom Kim, but that one needed a 17th hole birdie by Young to slam the door on their International counterparts.

Interestingly, the Americans have never played the foursomes format well in the Ryder Cup, but have somehow figured out how to play the exact same format well in the Presidents Cup. It's one of the more odd statistical nuances of the two events.

Today, the event shifts to the "better ball" (four-ball) format, which the U.S. has routinely excelled in throughout both their Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup history.

Here are the pairings for today's competition:

Thomas/Spieth (USA) vs. Scott/Davis (Int)

Scheffler/Burns (USA) vs. Im/Munoz (Int)

Kisner/Young (USA) vs. Pereira/Bezuidenhout (Int)

Cantlay/Schauffele (USA) vs. Kim/Matsuyama (Int)

Horschel/Homa vs. Conners/Pendrith (Int)

Sitting out for the U.S. team: Morikawa and Finau

Sitting out for the International team: Lee and Si Woo Kim


The Ravens signed veteran defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul on Thursday with an eye towards boosting their lackluster pass rush early in the 2022 season.

What will that get them?

It's hard to say.

JPP has enjoyed a good NFL run, no doubt. But the 33-year old is likely in the November of his career, getting little interest from other teams around the league during the off-season. That it took him until week three to find a landing spot is a good indication of his value at this point in career.

Pierre-Paul only had 2.5 sacks last season in Tampa Bay, but it's fair to point out he played a significant part of the season with a torn rotator cuff. Off-season surgery has hopefully restored to him to full health which, the Ravens believe, will give them a player who can pressure the quarterback and help take pressure off the team's ailing secondary at the same time.

Something had to happen, obviously. After a decent first game pressuring Joe Flacco, the Ravens were unable to do much of anything last Sunday against Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami offensive line. With Odafe Oweh strugging to gain consistency and Tyus Bowser still out recovering from a torn achilles, the Ravens desperately needed to add someone with a presence on the edge.

And that presence, they hope, will be Jason Pierre-Paul.

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faith in sports


Former NFL quarterback Jason Campbell is the subject of today's "Faith in Sports" series and it's one of the more enlightening sessions you'll see in our Friday feature here at #DMD.

I'd love for you to take 10 minutes out of your day to enjoy a cup of coffee or your morning beverage and listen to Campbell talk about his faith and how it has impacted him both as a man and an athlete.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and "Faith in Sports" every Friday.


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JERRY'S TOYOTA banner
Thursday
September 22, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2950


good people, even in new york, still exist


I don't have my finger on the pulse of the collectibles industry, so I have no real idea what Aaron Judge's 60th home run ball might have fetched on the open market.

I mean, sure, it was #60, which was historic, but will #60 have more value than #61? And what about when he hits #62 to pass Roger Maris? Won't #62 be more valuable than #61 and #60?

I'd be guessing here, nothing more, when I throw out the figure of $100,000 for home run ball #60. Like I said, I have no clue. I could be way off -- in either direction -- and it wouldn't surprise me.

Aaron Judge still sits at 60 home runs despite the Yankees scoring 14 runs last night in a win over Pittsburgh.

But what happened on Tuesday night was the exact opposite of what we all assumed would have taken place.

The guy that caught the ball didn't want to make any money from it. He didn't, in fact, make a nickel off the ball. Because he gave it back to Judge after the game.

20-year old Michael Kessler snagged the ball amid a scrum in the seats. It wasn't like he "caught" the ball, not that it matters. In reality, the ball bounced off of several people's hands until it landed at Kessler's feet, where he promptly scooped up the treasured piece and stuffed it in his pocket for sake keeping.

Team officials quickly approached him, identified the ball's authenticity through pre-game markings, and asked him if he'd be willing to meet with Judge after the game.

"I told them right then and there, 'He can have the ball, I don't need it,'" Kessler said afterwards. "Aaron has done so much for the Yankees and New York, I wouldn't have felt right hanging on to the ball. He hit it. It's his ball, not mine."

Kessler settled for some signed bats and other items and got a private and group photo opportunity with Judge.

Judge got the baseball.

And the kid got his name in bright lights for being a good man who did the right thing.

In his song "You Might Die Trying", Dave Matthews sing these lyrics at the outset:

"To change the world...

It starts with one step...

However small...

The first step is hardest of all..."

Some folks would have held on to the ball and milked it for whatever dollar amount they could have garnered from Judge or the Yankees.

Michael Kessler said on Tuesday, "I'd like to think I'm not the only guy who would have done what I did. I think there are lots of others who would have given Aaron the ball."

If you want to change the world and make it less greedy, you need to be willing to take the first step yourself.

Michael Kessler did the right thing on Tuesday, that's for sure. Kudos to him for understanding he was just the caretaker of something that had far more value to Aaron Judge than it did to Michael Kessler.


The Orioles are, no matter what your "expert opinion" might say otherwise, still very much alive in the A.L. wild card race. Thanks to a Baltimore win (8-1 over Detroit) and losses by the Rays and Mariners, the O's are only four games behind each team in the loss column.

Yes, technically it's five games behind both teams because of the first tiebreaker. I'm aware of that. But the fact remains the Birds can still navigate their way to the 86 win mark by going 9-5 over their last 14 and 86 wins might be enough for a playoff spot.

Jordan Lyles tossed a complete game 3-hitter last night for the O's in their 8-1 win over Detroit.

It's still up for grabs, trust me. I don't see Tampa Bay or Seattle doing anything great over the last week. They're struggling for wins just like the O's are in this final three week stretch of the season.

These four games with Houston in Baltimore, starting tonight, will likely be what makes or breaks the Birds as far as their post-season dreams go. Three out of four is paramount. Anything less than that and they might lose ground.

But these other teams all have to continue winning, remember. And none of them won on Wednesday, as Seattle lost again to the lowly A's, Toronto coughed up a 3-0 lead to the Phillies en-route to a 4-3 loss and Tampa Bay fell to Houston, 5-2.

While everyone around town keeps lamenting the Orioles season is "over", they forget that the other teams above the Birds have to continue winning, which, at least this week, they haven't.

After the 4-game series with the Astros, the Birds head to New York for three, Boston for four and end the year hosting Toronto in Baltimore for a 3-game series October 3-4-5.

It would be *really* interesting to see what the crows would be at Camden Yards in that Blue Jays series if the wild card slot was still up for grabs.

Speaking of attendance, 29,000 people saw the Orioles take on the Tigers this week.

No, not 29,000 people last night. 29,000 people. Total. Over three games. Last night's crowd was 9,300, or about 4,000 less folks who braved the 77 degree night to see New Order and Pet Shop Boys at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

When you're getting outdrawn by New Order and the Pet Shop Boys, you're in trouble.

9,300 on Wednesday and 29,000 in total for the three game series shouldn't be a shock to anyone. I mean, the Birds drew 20,000, total, for two games vs. Toronto in Baltimore (Tues-Wed) two weeks ago. If you're not going to draw any fans when you're playing the Blue Jays, you surely aren't bringing folks in to see the Tigers.

But these crowds...

I'm not here to say the club should be drawing 25,000 on a Tuesday night in late September or anything like that. I realize we're a "B" baseball town, at best. We're not St. Louis or Chicago or Philadelphia. Heck, we're not even San Diego or Milwaukee at this point.

The Brewers, involved in their own wild card chase out in Milwaukee, had 25,000 last night. The Padres drew 38,000 in San Diego on Wednesday evening. And remember, National League attendance is *real* attendance. They count tickets used, not tickets sold. For all we know, the O's might have 8,000 there last night out of the 9,300 tickets sold.

Imagine for a second what the stadium would look like if the Birds were 60-88 at the 148 game mark instead of 77-71.

I know I sound like Gene Hackman at the end of the movie "Birdcage" when he discovers Nathan Lane's character is a male cross-dresser when I say this ---but I don't understand. I don't understand 9,300. I just don't understand how the crowds can be *this poor* for a team that's still relevant in the playoff race.


Someone mentioned something in the comments section recently that was so spot-on that spot-on called and said, "Dude, that was a great point you made."

It's about Lamar's contract saga.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti continues to deal with the pressure of being the 2nd team to potentially fully guarantee a player's contract.

This is it...in a nutshell. The Ravens don't want to be team #2.

The Browns, of course, were team #1. They're the buffoons who upset the apple cart by giving Deshaun Watson a fully guaranteed contract. Until then, every NFL owner had held the line on that sort of thing.

Then along came the goofy Browns and now, suddenly, there's a problem.

And the Ravens, clearly, don't want to be "the next team" to enter the guaranteed contract world.

They know two things if they do wind up guaranteeing Lamar's deal.

First, the next QB in line will expect his contract to be guaranteed. Some team will cave in at that point and become team #3. And you know what happens from there. Pretty soon, every QB contract is fully guaranteed, even for someone like Mac Jones or Trevor Lawrence or Jalen Hurts.

And the Ravens also know that once they give Lamar a fully guaranteed deal, there will be others within their own organization who ask for the same golden parachute. It won't be as much money as what Lamar gets, of course, but guaranteed money (in the NFL) has to be put into escrow and gets assigned withdrawal dates where the money automatically goes from the team to the player.

So after Lamar, you have Bateman at your office door wanting his new wide receiver deal guaranteed. There's another $100 million you have to cough up right away. Others will follow. Future draft picks, free agents you sign, etc. They'll all want that guaranteed contract.

And so that's precisely what's been holding up the Lamar Jackson contract. The Ravens don't want the stigma that's attached to the Browns right now. You know, the stigma of being dumb and reckless and, more importantly behind closed doors, making life miserable for the other teams in the league.


The Presidents Cup begins today in Charlotte at Quail Hollow Golf Club, where the heavily-favored American team tries to hold off a LIV-ravaged International squad.

The bi-annual event was shaping up to be perhaps be one of the more hotly contested in the event's history, only to see a bunch of International players opt for the life and luxury of the LIV circuit, which immediately rendered them "unavailable" for the Presidents Cup because it's run by the PGA Tour.

World #1 Scottie Scheffler leads the American Presidents Cup team into action starting tonight in Charlotte.

So, instead of seeing Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann and Louis Oosthuizen, you get to watch Tom Kim, Sebastian Munoz and Cam Davis. That's quite a drop off in talent. In fairness, Kim had a sensational late summer run and won a TOUR event, while Munoz also had a solid second half of the TOUR campaign. They're not chipped liver, but they are a step down from Smith, Niemann and Oosthuizen.

The Americans are missing Presidents Cup regulars like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau, but the U.S. cupboard is so stocked those four were easily replaced.

In fairness, those four defecting to LIV probably saved team captain Davis Love III a tough talk or two. He still gets the likes of Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Max Homa on the team. Those three were captain's picks by Love, who would have ended having to choose those three over the LIV guys.

There's a decent chance the Presidents Cup -- as an event -- is slowly starting to circle the drain. The TOUR will likely hold on for at least one more go of it and shift the 2024 event to the Internaional location, where they'll likely make more money than they do here in the States. But over time, the event just hasn't taken hold the way the PGA Tour thought it might.

It does serve as a nice "audition" for young players who haven't yet made a Ryder Cup and need to feel what team competition is all about. But it's really just another four days of golf to most of the veteran guys, particularly those who have played in previous Ryder Cup events.

I'm a golfer and an enthusiastic one at that, and I'm not sure how much of the Presidents Cup I'll watch this week/weekend. The Ryder Cup? I hardly miss a shot over three days. The Presidents Cup? I'll watch...as long as I'm not playing myself. There's the difference.

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The Stats Nerd
And His Numbers


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


ravens-dolphins review


There are weeks where I think the analytics can provide some color on what was happening on the field in a given game. After all, analytics are really just statistical measurements that try to hone in on one specific part of a game or play and help us understand what is really happening.

Oftentimes, that color may be a bit different than what our eyes see or at least allow us to look at something slightly differently than traditional statistics do.

This week will not be such a revelatory column. Your eyes saw what happened, my eyes saw what happened, everyone’s eyes saw what happened. But since this is ostensibly an analytics driven column, let’s take a look at the measures from Sunday’s game. I’ll warn you that nothing pretty is incoming.


Run Blocking –

Quite frankly, the offense is generally rather efficient. If I told you the Ravens and Bills offenses have mirrored each other through 2 weeks, would that surprise you? Both have been VERY efficient through the air and very poor on the ground.

This is usually quantified by looking at Expected Points Added (reminder that EPA generally measures the team’s points relative to expectation given their starting field position). Two game samples and the Bills have played objectively better teams, so do with that what you will.

Last week I wrote that the Ravens were dead last in yards before contact (YBC) while running. Well now they are 8th! Good news right?

Well not really. If we remove Lamar’s YBC the Ravens other ball carriers have a whopping 57 yards before contact. That total puts them in 29th place in the league.

Upshot: Without Lamar running the ball they are zero threat to gain material yardage on the ground. Either there are no holes being created by the OL or the backs aren’t getting to whatever sliver of a hole is there quick enough.

Would a change at LG help? Maybe. Ben Cleveland is generally regarded as a better run blocker than Ben Powers while Powers better in pass protection. I don’t know if the difference between these two is noticeable but it’s clear that the current OL construction is not producing any run openings through the first two weeks.


Pass Rush –

The pass rush was fine in the first half. Progressively throughout the game it got worse (I can’t seem to find the stat but I had seen that the Ravens Pass Rush effectiveness was cut in half in the 4th Q vs. the first half). With only 2 healthy EDGE rushers (Oweh and Huston) they seemed gassed. Whatever pressure they had been getting disappeared in Q4.

While Stephen Means was not particularly productive over the first 2 weeks he had taken nearly 50 snaps before his unfortunate achilles injury. Those snaps will have to go somewhere.

Will a veteran like Jason Pierre Paul be called upon? Or will another unproven player take those snaps? Will Ojabo really be ready at some point later in the season or is that wishful thinking?

We knew before the season started that EDGE was a thin position on defense and Sunday’s results versus the Dolphins exposed this. They simply don’t have horses on the EDGE to get after the QB consistently. And once they get tired the production becomes a problem.


Secondary –

Three rookies in the secondary played over 50% of the snaps against the Dolphins: Hamilton, Pepe Williams and Armour-Davis. I doubt any of the coaches wanted or expected that to be the case.

The Dolphins wisely attacked this inexperienced group with 2 of the best receivers in football. You may have seen the Next Gen statistic that the Dolphins stretched the field forcing the Ravens DBs to cover the most yardage in a game since 2020.

Simply put, the Dolphins receivers ran them ragged. And with Peters in his first game since 2020 and Humphrey nursing a strained groin this was a great strategy. The DBs had to be all over the field covering these fast receivers and simply couldn’t do that for 60 mins. Couple that with a lack of pass rush in the 4th Quarter and this seems like the recipe for defensive disaster.


Takeaway –

It’s a terribly disappointing loss for the Ravens but it is week 2. There are 15 more regular season games to be played. And but for mental breakdowns late in the secondary, the Ravens likely would have won this game. All they needed to do was keep the receivers in front of them and force them to sustain drives. For whatever reason they could not do that.

Offensively at this point, Lamar is playing at an elite level. Bateman seems to be on the verge of a big season with explosive plays (he needs more targets). Andrews is his normal reliable self and has more receptions than any other TE in the league (2nd in yards).

But other than those two with the occasional target of Robinson or Duvernay where are the weapons? It certainly isn’t in the backfield. Can Dobbins step in and elevate that position group? I’m hopeful but not convinced for the reasons mentioned above.

New England is a pretty big game to my eyes. They follow that with home games against the Bills and Bengals. Both of these teams have high powered receiving options that will likely give the Ravens fits unless they can find some sort of consistent pass rush.

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JERRY'S TOYOTA banner
Wednesday
September 21, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2949


the shark gets uninvited


33 years ago, because he was looking to jump start the promotion of his apparel company and keep his "Shark" brand alive and well in the golf world, Greg Norman started a silly season event in Naples, Florida.

The idea was simple. Throw a bunch of money at some of the game's top players in December, when they weren't doing anything else, and have them converge on a resort course in Florida for two days of hit and giggle golf, where some well-heeled executives got the chance to tee it up with the big boys and a charity or two benefitted from Norman's generosity.

Back in the old days, the PGA Tour was looking for events in November and December to keep the golf fire burning until after football season ended and the TOUR schedule resumed in January. The annual Thanksgiving Weekend "Skins Game", the Father-Son tournament and the event Norman put together in Naples became part of the fabric of "silly season golf".

Later, Tiger Woods created his own event, the Hero World Challenge, which is still part of the annual calendar each December. Industry sources once reported that Norman thought Tiger's event was a rip-off of his "Shootout" tournament and that Woods tried to upstage him by playing his 2-day get-together in the Bahamas instead of Florida.

Norman's tournament, naturally, was called "The Shark Shootout. And it was a hit. It also did good deeds in South Florida as well, which made it all that much more reasonable for the PGA Tour to accept it as an "official event" on their calendar even though only a smattering of the game's top players actually played in it.

There were lots of silly season golf tournaments that came and went in the late 80's and beyond, but Norman's gathering in Naples always stood the test of time. Whether through his influence or just the fact some players felt dumb turning down $50,000 or $100,000 for two days of "work", Norman's tournament stayed alive through the good times and the lean times.

The tournament, I'm happy to report, will go on again this December at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples. The event will be able to add to the reported $15 million they've raised for charity over the last three decades (plus).

Norman, however, will not be there.

He says he's been asked not to attend.

For reasons only he knows, the 2-time major champion won't reveal who it was that told him this week he has been uninvited. But we'll take him at his word, since it's entirely reasonable to think that someone from the PGA Tour would tell Norman not to attend a Tour-sanctioned event since -- here's a quick reminder for ya, Greg -- he is part of a lawsuit against the PGA Tour initiated by his employer, LIV Golf.

I mean, did Greg Norman really believe he was going to just pull his car into the Shootout parking lot and set up shop like the old days? He can't possibly be that naive. Can he?

Think of it like this.

You work for Smith manufacturing, the industry leader in making and selling widgets.

After 10 years at Smith Manufacturing, you start a charity softball tournament that raises $50,000 for the local community. You run the event for 15 years. You do all the work. You get the sponsors, teams, venue, etc. It's "your baby".

Suddenly, Jones Manufacturing comes along and wants to try their hand at the widget business. They do the smart thing and poach you and two other execs from Smith Manufacturing. You move from Smith to Jones, sign on for big bucks, and take your talents and expertise to Smith's direct, new competitor.

The following summer, you call your ex-boss at Smith Manufacturing and say: "Hey, just wondering...am I still going to be able to run the charity softball tournament that I started 15 years ago?"

Your ex-boss would likely say, "Ummm, no. We're actually running that tournament ourselves since you left us for our competitor. But thanks anyway."

And if you had a reasonable, functioning brain, you would understand that once you left Smith Manufacturing, you were no longer invited to any of their events.

That's how it works in the real world. Greg Norman mustn't see it that way, because he spent time on Tuesday singing the blues and crafting social media messages asking anyone and everyone to explain to him why he was being shut out of "my own tournament".

News flash, Greg: The guys playing in what's now called the QBE Shootout, which is a PGA Tour-sanctioned event (because once upon a time, you wanted it that way in order to maximize your charitable contributions and such), are PGA Tour golfers. You know, the very golfers you and LIV are suing in court for anti-trust violations. Those golfers, yes.

Norman isn't invited because he works for the competition now. Plain and simple. He's persona non grata, as far as the PGA Tour goes, and why wouldn't he be? He built the pit, brought the wood, lighter fluid, matches and then -- he started the fire. Of course he's not invited. What a doofus.

So, once again, Greg just doesn't get it. He doesn't understand how he's been shunned "like this". It's hard, he says, to fathom the event going on without him.

Poor guy. One too many Foster's, I guess. If you don't know why you're not invited to an event hosted by the business you're currently suing, there's no really no helping you.



Our monthly free FCA junior golf clinic is tonight at 6 pm at Pine Ridge Driving Range. Juniors ages 6-18 are invited to attend. We meet at the far left side of the driving range, for those who are newcomers to the clinic.

All you need are golf clubs and a willing ear. We'll do the work, supply the golf balls, and teach you the basics of the golf swing.

Our guest instructor tonight is Nick Smearman, a former Towson University golfer who earlier this summer played in the 2022 U.S. Amateur Four Championship. The former Calvert Hall golfer was also recently the club champion at Baltimore Country Club. He'll provide a lot of good insight for our junior golfers tonight.

Please come out and join us from 6 pm to 7:30 pm.



A Ravens shocker and the Orioles slipping out playoff contention have the mailbag quite full these days. Here are a few of this week's greatest hits.

Ryan P. asks -- "Hey Drew, last year on football Sunday's you posted games for betting interests and in weeks 1 and 2 this year you haven't done it. What's up? Will you bring it back at some point?"

DF says -- "What, I didn't make you enough money last year? You could have sent your kids to Calvert Hall or NDP with all the winners I gave you in 2021. I didn't eliminate the five games on purpose or anything like that. I just haven't been invested enough early on in the season to take a real close look at everything you need to look at from a wagering standpoint. I'm sure I'll get back into it at some point this season. I've been listing some games and parlays and things like that thus far but mostly just for fun. If you're goofy enough to bet on the NFL, you need some real therapy. No one can effectively wager on those games."


Bill asks -- "Fast forward a couple of weeks. The O's stumble in September and finish 83-79 and miss the wild card by 5 games. Do you think Brandon Hyde has a legit shot at manager of the year?"

DF says -- "Well, Hyde's done an excellent job, obviously. But if the Guardians (nee: Indians) hold on to win the A.L. Central and finish with 90'ish wins, how does the award not go to Terry Francona? I don't know five guys on Cleveland's roster. Houston is loaded. The Yankees are loaded. Toronto's lineup is crazy good. What about Kevin Cash and the job he's done with the Rays? After all of their injuries, getting them into the post-season -- if it happens -- is a monumental accomplishment.

Honestly, I'm going with Francona if the Guardians win the A.L. Central. If Hyde gets the O's into the post-season, he has to get some consideration too."


Remy asks -- "Would you give up Grayson Rodriguez, Kyle Stowers and two other high prospects for Shohei Ohtani? Thanks!"

DF says -- "I never know when you guys are kidding or serious. This is a joke, right? Of course you'd give up four prospects for perhaps the most valuable player in all of sports. He's an "A" pitcher and an "A" hitter. What else does he need to do, manage the team as well? I realize part of the gamble with trading for Ohtani is, at some point, you'll have to pay him, but he's a better version of Babe Ruth. In our lifetime, we've never seen anyone like him."


John L. asks -- "Thoughts on the Presidents Cup this week? Who wins? Score? Players to watch?"

DF says -- "Well, it would be a monumental upset considering the International team has never once won the event on U.S. soil. The American lineup is imposing, obviously, even without the likes of Brooks, D.J. and Bryson. The International lineup was wrecked with LIV defectors. They're really in shambles.

That said, I don't think this thing is as automatic as people say. I mean, yes, the Americans should win. They likely will win. But there are some legit ballstrikers and tournament savvy guys on the International team who are on the verge of being Top 15 players in the world. If the U.S. team thinks it's going to be a blowout, they might be in for a surprise.

I think Max Homa and Billy Horschel will be on top of their games for the U.S. As far as the International guys, be on the lookout for Tom Kim, Corey Conners and K.H. Lee. Those three will be tough to beat this week, no matter what Americans line up against them."


K.C. asks -- "Just wondering if you have any inside information from 1 Winning Drive as it relates to your former boss's tirade about his media credential and the team's reaction to it? If you do, maybe shed some light on it in your next Q & A segment. Thanks."

DF says -- "I don't need to comment on it. I know the Ravens are disappointed that the whole thing turned into public discourse, but that's about all I'll say on it. At this point, it's a non-story. The season has started and they're playing football and the media folks in town are doing their thing. Life has gone on...as it always does."


Creston asks -- "Knowing you're a huge Springsteen guy (so is Ken Weinman at 105.7 in case you didn't know!), I thought I'd throw this one your way for your Mailbag column. Where do you rank the song "Born to Run" with these other four anthem kind of songs of our generation? Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin), Dream On (Aerosmith) and Free Bird (Lynyrd Skynyrd). Thanks! Go Hall!!"

DF says -- "Yes, Creston, Go Hall! This is a good one. And I don't even know the answer or how to go about figuring it out, other than to say I think "Stairway to Heaven" is the anthem (good word) of my lifetime. So that's #1. I'd selfishly say "Born to Run" is just as good as the other songs, but, again, I don't know how to do the ranking part of it. I love all of those songs, although I honestly think Queen's best song was "Someone to Love", not "Bohemian Rhapsody". By the way, as you can see below, I've included an amazing version of Aerosmith's "Dream On". It's an incredible performance."


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"Regular Joe"
on the 2022 Orioles and their minor league teams


"Regular Joe" has been following the Orioles for the better part of four decades. He'll be our eyes and ears in 2022 on both the Orioles and their various minor league teams as the Birds look to rebuild a winner in Baltimore.


a rough few days in charm city


This past weekend was a tough one for local sports fans. The Blue Jays took it to the Orioles in the first two games of their weekend series, which for all intents and purposes ended the Birds’ chances of making the postseason.

Then the Ravens staged what was hopefully a "once in a lifetime" 4th quarter collapse at home against the Dolphins on Sunday.

Finally, the Tigers put an exclamation point on the series of events with an 11-0 whitewashing of the Orioles on Monday night. At least Terps football gave us some hope with their close win over SMU on Saturday.

Anthony Santander is one of the few Orioles having a stellar 2022 season at the plate.

The Orioles demise seemed inevitable on paper, as the lack of starting pitching depth and continued poor hitting performances by many of the regulars in the lineup finally took hold. The positive is that the front office can plainly see some of these shortcomings and take action on them this off-season.

Here is a case in point on the offense. The Orioles team batting average (.235) and OBP (.304) rank 24th and 25th in MLB ytd. Two players have more than 500 ABs, Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander, and both have hit comfortably above those team averages.

The real problem exists in the next 5 hitters in terms of ABs (Mountcastle, Hays, Mateo, Odor, and Urias). They have accumulated over 2200 ABs thus far, with a range of averages from .196 to .248, with only one OBP above .300 (Hays).

These players and positions will all be up for grabs in the offseason. Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson should join Mullins and Santander as the only players with set places in the lineup next year.

As of this writing the Orioles stand at 76-70. A winning season of 82 games would be great, and for the first time in a long time the offseason will have serious expectations for the front office to be active looking for real major league talent, and not care as much about Rule 5 players and free agents looking for the veteran minimum.


Around the league --

In the American League, there isn’t a ton of drama headed into the post season. The playoff field is close to set, although the White Sox could make a late run at Cleveland for the Central title. The two byes should be the Astros and Yankees, with Toronto, Tampa Bay, the Guardians and the Mariners completing the field.

We could have a final two weeks in which the biggest story is Aaron Judge winning the first Triple Crown in 10 years (and only the 2nd since 1967). I hope he does it so the Yankees have to give him $50m per year in free agency, or even lose him.

The National League races are a bit more interesting, even though the lack of parity is even worse. In the NL, 7 of 15 teams have less than 70 wins. The NFL has figured out that parity is good for ratings; baseball, not as much.

At least there are two good races to watch here. The Braves are right behind the Mets after being more than 10 games back earlier in the season, staging another second half charge similar to 2021.

They are loaded on the mound, with their five primary starters sporting a 61-28 record. One of their rookies, Spencer Strider, has gone 11-5 with 200 strikeouts in only 131 innings. These type stories give good reason to watch playoff baseball even when the Os aren’t involved.

The second race is for the last wild card in the NL, where the Brewers are only a few games back of the Phillies and the Padres. If the Padres miss the playoffs, their numerous mid-season acquisitions, including ex-Nat Juan Soto, are going to look really bad.

Another team you have to appreciate is the Cardinals – they just win, baby. After a sluggish first half, they have steamrolled the NL Central and are rolling heading into the playoffs, with Albert Pujols chasing 700 home runs to boot. Their acquisition of Jordan Montgomery from the Yankees in July seemed to kick-start their surge, as Montgomery has stabilized their rotation.

More to come on the playoffs in the coming weeks.

Let’s hope this weekend is better for those of us here in Bawlmer. Last weekend was the pits.

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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 Tuesday here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


american stock report


The big news for the US men’s team this week was the roster announcement for the two “friendly” games coming up. These are the final two games the US will play before they board the plane to Qatar, and with just a week between the pausing of the club season and the World Cup, this represents the last significant preparation.

The US will play Japan on Friday and Saudi Arabia next Tuesday. Both opponents qualified for the World Cup from the Asian federation and will provide a decent test. Japan is the stronger of the two sides and should give the Americans a good idea of the level of competition they will face in November.

There are a disconcerting number of injuries keeping players out of these games. Tim Weah, Antonee Robinson, and Zack Steffen were left out of the original roster with injuries and then Yunus Musah, Chris Richards, and Cameron Carter-Vickers were also ruled out this weekend.

All of the players are expected to return to health in time for the World Cup, but they will miss this important chance to build cohesion among the key starters against solid competition. The injuries to the center backs are especially concerning since the starter next to

Walker Zimmerman is still unsettled.

Richards and Carter-Vickers were two of the top candidates for a shot at the starting job and now they won’t get that chance until the brief run-up to the World Cup. This likely means Aaron Long will get the nod as the other starter, and the prospect of him starting in the World Cup gives me more anxiety than any other player in the pool.


Striker Watch –

Gregg Berhalter seems to have made his decision among the strikers, choosing to call in Jesus Ferreira, Josh Sargent, and Ricardo Pepi into this roster and leaving off Jordan Pefok and Brandon Vazquez.

Despite struggling for most of the last 12 months, Ricardo Pepi has been called in to participate in a pair of World Cup "warm up games" by U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter.

Ferreira was given a rest this week, starting on the bench in FC Dallas’s 1-1 draw with San Jose. He did sub on in the second half but had a quiet night with just eight touches in his 30 minutes on the field.

Josh Sargent got two starts for Norwich City this week, first in a 3-2 win over Bristol City and then in a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich over the weekend. Sargent was solid in both games, scoring another goal in the win over Bristol City, keeping him tied for second in the league in goals. He also set up several chances for teammates in that game and played solid defense with 5 ball recoveries.

He didn’t have as much success in attack against West Bromwich, but did battle well, winning 8 of his 10 duels. Sargent has played his way back into the US picture after being out of the team for most of qualifying and he will likely get a shot in these two games to make his case for the starting job.

Ricardo Pepi is off to a good start in his new setting at Groningen in the Dutch league after struggling to start the season with Augsburg. Pepi got his first start for Groningen over the weekend and delivered with a goal. He found some space in the box and hit a glancing header to the back post to beat the keeper for their only goal in a 2-1 loss to Sparta Rotterdam.

Pepi was perhaps the most controversial inclusion on the roster, given that Berhalter chose him over a striker scoring goals for the top team in the German Bundesliga, where Pepi just failed to produce. The coach prefers the skill set that Pepi brings to the team and believes he can get the best out of him. The young Texan may have more at stake than most in this camp, as he will need to prove that he is up for the task.

Jordan Pefok was easily the biggest snub from the US roster. Berhalter said he knows what he has in the Bundesliga striker, leaving the door open to possibly call him back for the World Cup. Pefok continued his strong season over the weekend, scoring once again in Union Berlin’s 2-0 win over Wolfsburg that kept them top of the league standings.

The goal came off a well placed glancing header from the near post where Pefok timed his run perfectly to set up the defender and beat him to the ball. He had a good game aside from the goal, creating two chances and battling well in the air. The performance earned him a spot on Fotmob’s Bundesliga team of the week.


Center Back Watch –

The center back picture became a little clearer this week with the roster selections, however the injuries will prevent two of the top options from getting reps beside Walker Zimmerman. Berhalter called in Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and Chris Richards for the initial roster.

Carter-Vickers and Richards then had to be replaced by Erik Palmer-Brown and Mark McKenzie.

Tim Ream appears to be the other large snub from this team, as the veteran was not called in despite his stellar start to the season for Fulham in the Premier League.

Ream started at left back for Fulham this weekend, in place of the injured Antonee Robinson and did an admirable job playing out of position. He helped his team to a 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest, earning praise from his head coach for his effort.

Before picking up his injury, Carter-Vickers played a solid game for Celtic in their 1-1 Champions League draw with Shakhtar Donetsk. He did well to push the ball into attack, connecting on 90 of 95 passes with 15 into the final third. He was reliable defensively winning 3 of 5 duels and providing 6 ball recoveries.

Aaron Long was ok for the New York Red Bulls in a 2-0 loss to city rivals New York City FC. Long wasn’t directly at fault for either of the goals but struggled with his passing, connecting on just 67%. He did have 7 ball recoveries and was strong in the air, winning 8 of 10 aerial duels. With the injuries to Richards and Carter-Vickers, Long has a huge opportunity to grab hold of a starting spot if he performs well in these two games.

James Sands had another rough day in Rangers 3-0 loss to Napoli in the Champions League. He had a hard time with Napoli’s dangerous attack, picking up a yellow card early in the second half and then getting another to get sent off just three minutes later on a foul that drew a penalty for Napoli.

After a good start to the season, Sands has hit a rough patch and was back on the bench for the weekend Scottish league match. He was left off the roster by Berhalter but still could have a bright future for the US after this World Cup.

Mark McKenzie had another good game for Genk, helping to keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Gent. He hit on just 74% of his passes but was solid in defense, with 10 ball recoveries, 4 pass interceptions, and winning 10 of 16 duels. Injuries have provided McKenzie a big chance to earn a spot in Qatar after being left off the initial roster.

Erik Palmer-Brown played well again for Troyes in a 3-1 win over Clermont Foot in the French league. He was 23 of 32 passing and came up with 8 clearances and 5 ball recoveries. He too will have a big chance to prove himself with the US team this week with a trip to Qatar up for grabs.


Other Highlights –

The top American highlights this week came from two young players in Germany. Gio Reyna had a big week for Borussia Dortmund, starting in a tough Champions League showdown with Manchester City and coming on as an early substitute in a rivalry game with Schalke.

Reyna was good in both games. In his 61 minutes against Manchester City he helped create a couple of chances. He had a nice cross from the edge of the box on a counter attack and then he took the corner that led to the only Dortmund goal.

Against Schalke he was forced on in the 32nd minute when veteran German attacker Marco Reus went down with an injury. Reyna was sharp again, connecting on 26 of 30 passes and consistently prodding the Schalke defense.

He helped to set up the only goal of the game, coming back into the center of midfield to pick up a pass and then spraying the ball wide to set up the cross that was headed in. A couple minutes later he missed just wide with a curling shot on a counter attack. Dortmund has managed his minutes meticulously this season after he lost most of last season to injury. It will be interesting to see how much Berhalter plays him in the two friendlies. The most important thing for Reyna is staying healthy for Qatar.

The other top performance of the weekend came from teenage right back Joe Scally.The New York native faced a tough test against RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga and rose to the occasion in a 3-0 Borussia Monchengladbach win. Lined up across from dynamic attacker Christopher Nkunku and marauding left back David Raum, Scally held his own, winning 7 of 10 duels and picking up 5 ball recoveries. He also got forward in the game and helped set up one of the Gladbach goals, beating an opponent to a loose ball and then hitting a nice cross that resulted in the goal.

Several other USMNT stars got on the field in the Champions League this week. Weston McKennie started for Juventus against Benfica in a tough 2-1 loss. McKennie was decent in the game but wasn’t a difference maker. He may be happy to join his US teammates after a rough start to the season for Juventus.

Sergino Dest subbed on late in AC Milan’s 3-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb. He was pushed high as an attacker for most of his time and nearly got a head on a few crosses. He also had one nice tackle to regain possession. He had a rougher outing in the weekend loss to Napoli. As mentioned in the European recap, he was called for a foul that gave Napoli a penalty for their first goal. Aside from that mishap, he was decent, but looked to play conservatively after the foul.

Christian Pulisic did not vault to the starting lineup under his new coach at Chelsea. He instead subbed on in the 84th minute of the 1-1 draw with Salzburg. He was lively in his short stint, sending in one nice cross that found Hakim Ziyech on the back post, who was unable to make the most of it.

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Tuesday
September 20, 2022
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#2948


we had low expectations for you rex, but wow...


It's one thing for people on the street to call in to talk shows or plaster their opinions all over social media.

90% of those folks are just saying stuff to say it. You hear it or read it all the time, like I do, and you shake your head.

"I'm telling you, Harbaugh's a terrible coach..."

"You might think I'm crazy, but I honestly think I can call better plays than Greg Roman..."

"What did this team's GM and scouting department see in Kyle Hamilton? He's awful..."

We come across those opinions all the time -- always after a loss, of course -- and generally just let them pass through without much regard for their validity.

Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald was under fire on Monday after his defense gave up 28 fourth quarter points on Sunday vs. Miami.

Let's call it like it is: There are occasionally even opinions contributed here in our own comments section that are of the madman variety. This is, after all, still the internet.

So when I hear neanderthals on talk radio say outrageous stuff, I just giggle and shake my head. I probably shook my head 15 times on Monday alone.

There was a time, of course, where I spent the better part of a dozen years entertaining those calls and insights every Monday morning during football season. I handled most of them well, but a few of the wildly stupid calls initiated a loud and combative reaction from me, even though I always knew in the aftermath I probably sounded like a goofier version of Jim Rome.

But the one thing I did when I fielded those calls from crazy people was remind myself the very forum itself is supposed to connect with the crazies. I sat in the front of the microphone for four hours every day, five days a week. Some people got one chance a week to say something on the air, stupid or not. So I constantly reminded myself that, dumb or not, these folks wanted to be heard.

Alas, the reaction on Monday in Baltimore was about what you'd expect. Nothing was off-limits. Bisciotti got hammered (for keeping Harbaugh as the coach), Harbaugh got hammered (for keeping Roman as the coordinator) and Roman got hammered (for not being able to get a first down late in the game on 4th and 1).

I even heard Stout, the new punter, get hammered by one caller who said, "We could have just signed some guy off the street to punt. This guy is terrible."

When your team loses 42-38 and the opposing team scores 28 points in the 4th quarter to come back and win and the best you can do is call in and gripe about the punter, you probably shouldn't be calling the talk shows next week. But anyway...

I understand all of "those people". I really do. They're fans. Somehow, a large portion of them really do believe, somewhere deep down, that they could probably call plays better, challenge controversial plays better, punt the ball better, draft the players better and coach the team better.

But they're fans. They're invested. And, if I'm being honest, the fact that they don't really know what they're talking about doesn't necessarily mean they aren't at least entitled to their opinion.


There's an unwritten code among coaches in sports that goes something like this: "Coaches don't openly criticize coaches."

You hear it all the time. Even when the score is lopsided, the winning coach always takes a moment to applaud the losing coach.

"I'll tell you something, that's a well coached team we just beat today," says Coach X, moments after his team's 55-14 win.

The 8-1 team could be facing a 1-8 team this Sunday and you know what you're going to hear from the 8-1 coach leading up to the game. "These guys we're lining up against on Sunday are extremely well coached."

Whether any of that is true or just eye wash is neither here nor there. It's very possible for 1-8 teams in sports to be "well coached". But the point is, you simply never hear coaches criticize or publicly tear down another coach or their coaching staff.

I've always respected that part of sports. As I've said for years and years, the coaches all want to win far more than the players. That doesn't make coaches "better" or anything like that. But coaches and players see the games and their importance in a much different light. They just do.

The Ravens lost on Sunday, as you know. The game ended around 4:25 pm. By 6:30 pm, Marlon Humphrey was tweeting something out that went something like this: "It makes me feel slightly better that everyone in the division lost today, but still......"

By 8:30 pm, players were dining in popular Baltimore establishments. Some probably ventured down to Washington D.C., even, an off-the-radar-screen location for Ravens players who need to blow off some steam and not be subject to a lot of "local publicity" via social media.

By 9:30 pm on Sunday night, the head coach, three coordinators and a significant number of position coaches and assistants were drinking coffee and watching game film at the team's offices in Owings Mills. The bet here is that more than one of those coaches spent the night in the facility.

That's the life of a NFL coach. It's why John Harbaugh gets $10 million annually. It's part and parcel of the gig. In football season, coaches work. Their family comes second. It ain't Ozzie and Harriet, in other words.


Rex Ryan failed as a head coach in the NFL but, by the grace of TV executives who are constantly looking for the next ex-coach-windbag who isn't afraid to let his voice be heard, Ryan has held a variety of media positions over the last few years. His current role at ESPN allows him to pontificate endlessly on Sunday mornings as if he's some sort of retired Hall of Famer.

That he was once part of both Brian Billick's and John Harbaugh's staff shouldn't be lost on any of us. He was also passed over as the head coach when Steve Bisciotti fired Billick and hired Harbaugh. Rex's brother, Rob, also had a cup of coffee with the Ravens and that ended more quickly than I'm sure Rob hoped it would.

Rex Ryan shredded the Ravens and new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald on Monday. "They don't know what the hell they're doing," Ryan said.

Unfortunately, former coach or not, Rex has developed a nasty habit of blasting other NFL coaches. There aren't many he won't nip at, but it seems like he's always willing to go just a bit harder on Harbaugh and/or the Ravens. On Monday, a day after the 42-38 loss to Miami, Rex unloaded on the Ravens.

"They don't know what the hell they're doing. Schematically. There's something wrong with his team. And they have a lot of players individually...why the hell aren't you playing better? They're busting coverages, communication is bad...they can't finish games anymore. It used to be we'd be up 7 points: game, set, match. Done. They're up 21 and lose this game. Their defense, this new hot-shot coordinator, is terrible."

I know exactly what you're thinking.

"Drew, are you sure that wasn't Dan in Towson calling into one of the local talk shows on Monday and barking about the Ravens?"

Yes, I'm sure. It wasn't Dan in Towson. It was Rex Ryan who said that. That kind of hyperbole wouldn't come out of an ex-coach's mouth, right? Well, it did.

Ryan didn't mention Harbaugh by name, but he didn't have to. "They don't know what the hell they're doing" is enough of an indictment on Harbaugh without saying "Harbaugh".

"Their defense, this new hot-shot coordinator, is terrible." I assume he knows the guy's name is Mike Macdonald. Maybe he didn't want to say "Mike Macdonald" or maybe he just figured by simply calling the defensive coordinator and his defense "terrible" that the message would be heard loud and clear.

Let's be clear about this: Rex Ryan should be ashamed of himself. Entirely.

To offer that kind of commentary about coaches when he knows, as someone who once had the same job as both Harbaugh and Macdonald, how much work those men put into their profession is #clownshoes x 10.

Would Tony Dungy or Bill Cowher ever say that about another coach? Ever? Of course not. Because they have respect for the work ethic of every coach in the NFL who pours their heart and soul into the next game, whether the team is 6-2 or 2-6.

This does not mean coaches who work in media can't offer opinions on various teams, players and game outcomes. But a former coach should know better than anyone about the effort and diligence a coach puts into every single game.

And that's really one of the main things we ask of coaches who turn into broadcasters. We want the "inside scoop" on game planning, tactics and things like that, yes. But we also want to know about the sleepovers on air mattresses, the 8-hour film sessions and other things we're not privvy to as outsiders.

In fact, coaches turned broadcasters are the one source we can assume -- except for Rex -- will carefully spread out "the blame" and make sure it's properly assigned. If a safety blows the coverage on a go route, the former coach can say that just as easily as the moron on talk radio can say "the defensive coordinator stinks", but the former coach carries more weight because...he's actually been there.

If some goof on the radio wants to call in and say Mike Macdonald and his defense are "terrible" after two games, that's fine.

If a sportscaster in search of a hot take to get the phone lines going wants to suggest that Eric DeCosta "doesn't have a damn clue" about drafting players, so be it.

But when Rex Ryan shreds Harbaugh and Macdonald like he did on Monday, the point must be made that he's not only stepped over the line, he's done so in a way that actually renders his opinion almost useless.

What Rex should have said on Monday is this: "That was definitely not a great 4th quarter on Sunday against the Dolphins, but you have to remember something. The Ravens have a new defensive coordinator and those kind of hires take time to settle in. I should know all about that...I was a new hire once upon a time and it took me a few months to get it right.

New schemes, new players, some guys coming back from injury a year ago...it all adds up to being a little unsettled for the first month or so. But John Harbaugh's been there since 2008 and that franchise knows how to win. Once they get their healthy players back and a few of the new guys and draft picks settle in, they'll have a better chance of playing that Ravens style of defense the franchise has been known for."

None of that would have been silly "coach speak" or anything like that. In fact, brace yourself, it all would have been...true. Macdonald is new. He does have a few new players he's trying to press into the team's system. Injuries to Peters and Bowser (and Humphrey, this season) have probably set them back a hair.

Mike Macdonald might turn out to be a lousy NFL defensive coordinator.

Just like Rex failed when "stepping up" from coordinator to head coach, Macdonald might not cut it trying to step up from college coordinator to professional coordinator. He wouldn't be the first one to stumble making that move.

But two games in?

You're crushing him after two games?

Lame. Really, really lame.

Dungy and Cowher have become professional brodcasters who once were outstanding football coaches.

Rex is a former football coach who just talks about football on TV.

There's a huge difference. And everyone in the NFL knows it.

Hopefully you do as well.

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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 Tuesday here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


weekend soccer recap


The Champions League continued this week with several important group stage matchups on Tuesday and Wednesday. Over the weekend it was Italy’s Serie A that took center stage with a pair of top of the table clashes. Soccer returned in the UK, though several of the top games were once again postponed due to the Queen’s services. There was another big upset in Germany, while the favorites remained on top in Spain and France.

There were a handful of Americans on the field in the Champions League once again, as the USMNT prepares to convene in Europe for their last two pre-World Cup warm up games. During the weekend there were more goals from American strikers, including a strong game from one player left out of the newest roster. There were also big tests for a pair of young American defenders against top competition in their leagues.


Key Results Around Europe

Champions League --

In the Champions League the headline grabber was the heavyweight tussle between Bayern Munich and Barcelona. With former Bayern star Robert Lewandowski now a part of the Catalan club, they hoped to exact some revenge for a series of recent one-sided losses to the Bavarians.

The game delivered on its promise, with both sides playing attractive styles and going toe to toe. Despite getting the better of the game with 53% possession and a few better chances, Barcelona couldn’t pull off the road victory and fell 2-0. Barcelona came out strong in the first half, setting up several good chances for Lewandowski, but his former teammate, goalie Manuel Neuer, was up to the task and kept it scoreless at halftime.

Bayern flipped the tables in the second half with two goals in quick succession after halftime. In the 50th minute, center back Lucas Hernandez headed home a corner kick to give Bayern the lead and then four minutes later Jamal Musiala set up Leroy Sane for a nice goal to double the lead. Though Barcelona were beaten again by the German champions, they may have gained confidence that they’re on a more level footing with Bayern this season and can get the points back in the return leg.

Among the other big games this week were Liverpool getting back on their feet with a 2-1 win over Ajax on goals from Mo Salah and Joel Matip. Liverpool was more dominant than the score would indicate, producing 24 shots to just 3 for Ajax for a 2.09 expected goals to just 0.25. However, Ajax managed to stay in the game to the end, with Matip’s 89th minute header securing the win for the English side in the final moments.

Manchester City won again despite being thoroughly tested by an energetic Borussia Dortmund team. Dortmund defended rigorously throughout the game and looked like they were heading for an improbable win when Jude Bellingham nodded in a cross in the middle of the second half for a 1-0 lead.

However, City stormed back in the final ten minutes with a wondergoal long range blast from defender John Stones and then an acrobatic flying volley from none other than Erling Haaland to steal the win in the closing minutes. We will cover this more on Wednesday in the American section, but Gio Reyna started it this one and played well, helping to set up the lone Dortmund goal.

Other key results around the Champions League included Benfica going on the road to beat Juventus 2-1 in a crucial Group H match, that leaves Juventus with zero points after two rounds and in grave danger of missing out on the knockout round.

Chelsea failed to show much immediate improvement under Graham Potter and settled for a disappointing 1-1 draw at home against Salzburg. In that same group, AC Milan won 3-1 over Dinamo Zagreb to take a strong hold of the top of the group.

Star studded Paris St. Germain got a stiffer than expected test from Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa, but came away with a 3-1 win thanks to a goal and an assist from Leo Messi.


Italy --

Serie A produced the game of the weekend with the top of the standings clash between reigning champions AC Milan and red-hot Napoli. Both teams were missing star attackers with Rafael Leao out on red card suspension for AC Milan and Victor Osimhen injured for Napoli.

That didn’t prevent this from being one of the more entertaining games of the weekend. Napoli’s attack was led by one of the breakout stars of the season, Georgian (the country) sensation Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who drew yellow card fouls on Milan’s right back Davide Calabria and center back Simon Kjaer in the first half.

American right back Sergino Dest came on at halftime to replace Calabria and fared no better. After a scoreless first half, Kvaratskhelia drew a foul for a penalty kick on Dest just six minutes into the second half. Matteo Politano converted the penalty to give Napoli the lead.

Milan answered in the 69th minute, when a nice combination down the left side ended with left back Theo Hernandez pulling back a low pass to the middle of the box to set up Olivier Giroud for a first time goal.

Nine minutes later Napoli jumped back on top when a cross from left back Mario Rui found the head of substitute striker Giovanni Simeone. AC Milan nearly pulled back another equalizer when center back Pierre Kalulu surged forward and found space in the box and beat the keeper with a shot, but it clanged off the crossbar and bounced out. Napoli held on from there with the help of an outstanding effort from defensive midfielder Stanislav Lobotka to see out a 2-1 win to stay at the top of the standings.

In the other big match of the weekend, Atalanta pulled out a 1-0 win over Roma despite being out shot 21 to 4. The win kept Atalanta tied with Napoli at the top of the league. They both gained some separation from Inter Milan and Juventus, who each suffered disappointing losses to Udinese and Monza respectively.


England --

Most games in England went on as scheduled after taking a week off to mourn the Queen’s passing, however two of the top billed matches were postponed once again. Both Chelsea vs. Liverpool and Manchester United vs Leeds were postponed due to lack of police staffing available.

In the other games, Arsenal remained top of the league with a comfortable 3-0 win over Brentford with two assists from Bukayo Saka and a goal from Gabriel Jesus. Manchester City kept pace, one point behind Arsenal, with a 3-0 win of their own over Wolves, getting early goals from Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland en route to an easy win. The goal extends Haaland’s tally to eleven, five more than the next top scorer in the league. Tottenham also kept pace, remaining tied for second by smashing Leicester City 6-2 with a hat-trick for second half substitute Heung-Min Son.


Germany --

In the Bundesliga it was another surprising upset for Bayern Munich, who lost 1-0 to Augsburg. Though Bayern managed 77% possession in the game, they only generated four big chances and Augsburg keeper Rafal Gikiewicz had a great game to keep a clean sheet and secure the upset.

The loss further opened the door for a true title race in Germany and other top contenders took advantage. Current leaders Union Berlin continued their strong season with a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg. Union was helped by a goal and overall solid performance from USMNT roster snub, Jordan Pefok.

Borussia Dortmund also leveraged Bayern’s demise with a 1-0 win over rival Schalke in the Revierderby. The game was more lopsided than the score indicated, with Dortmund controlling 67% possession and Schalke generating next to nothing in attack. Gio Reyna was forced into this game in the 32nd minute when Marco Reus went down injured and the young American delivered a strong performance.


Spain --

In La Liga it was more of the same at the top of the standings. Real Madrid won 2-1 over Atletico Madrid in the rivalry match in Spain's capital. Aurelian Tchouameni delivered an outstanding chipped pass that Rodrygo finished with a classy first time shot past the keeper to put Real Madrid up in the 18th minute.

Later in the first half it was Luka Modric springing Vinicius Jr. in behind the defense whose shot hit the post but the rebound was directed in by an alert Fede Valverde. Atletico got a goal back late in the game off a corner kick but couldn’t complete the comeback.

Barcelona got a comfortable 3-0 win over Elche with two more goals from Robert Lewandowski. They were given a big advantage when an Elche defender was sent off with a red card for pulling down Lewandowski on a break in just the 14th minute.

Teenage midfielder Pedri had a field day with all the space in midfield and helped to orchestrate the attack by connecting on 92 of 96 passes and creating five chances. The win kept Barcelona two points behind Real Madrid.


France --

In Ligue 1, Paris St. Germain got a test from a good Lyon team, but prevailed with a 1-0 win thanks to a strong outing from Leo Messi. He and Neymar combined to break down the defense on an early goal that Messi slotted home from near the penalty spot. Messi came close to extending the lead several times but was thwarted by several diving saves. PSG held on defensively to get the win anyway.

The win moved PSG to the top of the table as Marseille fell two points behind after drawing 1-1 with Rennes.


Team of the Week

G: Gikiewicz - Augsburg

D: Theo - AC Milan; Hummels - Dortmund; Saliba - Arsenal; Cancelo - Man City

M: De Bruyne - Man City; Bentancur - Tottenham; Lobotka - Napoli; Valverde - Real Madrid

F: Son - Tottenham; Messi - PSG


Player of the Week

Rodrigo Bentancur - Tottenham

The 25 year old Uruguayan midfielder played a complete game in Tottenham’s rout of Leicester City. He scored a goal and assisted another while providing stellar box to box defense. Bentancur created Tottenham’s third goal entirely himself, stripping Leicester midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, driving to the top of the box and then pinging a shot off the post and in. He completed 89% of his passes and helped retain possession with 4 interceptions and 11 ball recoveries.


Tomorrow here at #DMD, we'll look back at how American players fared both internationally and in the U.S. last weekend.

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     October 05
I gave up on Dem O's years ago for a multitude of great reasons so I have no dog in the fight. But I did laugh out loud over someone claiming the O's a playoff team next year absent the knowledge of their roster or schedule. Especially when the same person told everyone for the last two months they'd make the playoffs this year knowing the roster and schedule. I'm wrong so rarely I can't remember what it felt like but if I remember correct the proper response after being wrong for two months running would be some humility. Not doubling down on predictions. But around here the SOD has a one day memory so you can tell them just about anything day in and day out and they forget how wrong you can be fresh the next morning.

Jason M     October 05
Not to mention the competition, but Mike Preston dropped a pretty big hint that Nick Boyle is done in his column today. The fact that he has not sniffed the 53 man roster yet this season would seem to bear that out. If that is so, we have lost one of the most effective run blocking tight ends that we've ever had. We have missed him on short yardage situations, and our tight ends not wearing 89 haven't done much of note so far. We'll see Hurst on Sunday, miss that guy, I'm sure Lamar does too.

unitastoberry     October 05
When is the court date for Angelos Vs Angelos?

Chris in Bel Air     October 05
O's definitely need another arm and a bat or two. Big bonus if some of the players performing in the minors (Westburg, Cowser, etc) are able to be contributors too. I know he can't hit but I like Mateo. Fielding, speed and energy are good for the team. It's been several years but we have an actual O's off-season coming up and carrying some sense of optimism. Heading down to the Yard now to take in the last game.

Delray RICK     October 05
ERIC...Hope you are right bout MATEO. Stolen base leader in AMERICAN LEAGUE. GREAT fielder like BELANGER.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 05
Drew putting his jinx out a year early. Just a reminder - White Sox were a lock to win the Central Os were a lock to win 60 or so games. I dont believe the Swanson rumors. Os officials have been whispering to LaConfora for months that Mateo is locked in at SS. Hopefully his baseball sources are as bad as his Ravens sources. Plenty of quality pitchers available by trade per Athletic - Burnes Snell Bieber Singer to name a few. I still say return of Means and G Rod makes our bottom 10 offense the bigger priority but ill gladly take a top arm too

TC     October 05
Swanson would be a perfect free agency target, except he's from Kennesaw, Georgia. There'd probably have to be a premium paid to get him out of Atlanta, and he is the only one of their infielders not locked up long-term.

HERMAN     October 05
It's pretty sad when you have to google the PGATour website to see if there is even a tour stop this week, or where they are. It would make perfect sense for the Tour to partner with LIV and allow them to take over what used to be called "the silly season", and operate in conjunction with the Tour. And 54 holes ending on Saturday would dovetail nicely as they wouldn't have to compete with the monster that is the NFL.

Like pro baseball the Tour needs to shorten the over-all season and make each individual tournament more meaningful. As it is everyone gets jazzed for the majors and maybe one or two more stops, past that interest seems to wane. It's possible that the Tour could end a month earlier or so, give up late Summer and Fall to LIV and have the truncated format and field, together with changes of team play, atmosphere and design create a new and different interest and audience in this new "season". These past few weeks I've been checking Tour results over the weekend, couldn't recognize more than one name in ten on the leaderboard. If the Tour had yielded to LIV for the Fall of course you'd know the leaderboard of names. To continue battling is in no one's interest.


Delray RICK     October 05
Hope DREW is right because DEM O'S have to face the 3 menaces in their division and they DEFINITELY need better bats and hitters above .260 mark. DEM O'S pitching staff an't going to make it with this group. PLEASE move the wall BACK.

Nathan Aparisto     October 04
I just heard the despicable rumor that Gisele was unfaithful to the greatest quarterback to ever live by cheating on him with Antonio Brown.



If this is true, Tom Brady should sue her for every last penny!

Erick     October 04
So Ravens were predicted to win- they lose. We state - Bills are good if not great- we are cast as doubting thomas…and…..”dont get it”…..now they lose, people vent and its more predictions of victories….of games not yet played!

vernon     October 04
These guys who think Drew is taking "veiled" shots at Herman are hilarious. If true, then it sure is clear who is the one living rent free lol

Larry     October 04
Drew's subtle but clever jab at Herman today was pretty funny. All part of the game..................

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy Yup that is good analysis. I would lean over on that 36 number but they play a hell of a lot of games this season (even without him playing WC) Obv an injury can happen at any time. I remember getting so frustrated by Sterling and now this guy is just silly good. He's so big and fast...just an animal

Dan noonan     October 04
Who are these people getting all pumped up about "Drew schooling Herman"? Must be that SOD gang I hear about often. Must be like a special dog whistle only those guys can hear, I see no roasting or calling out of one individual here today. the childish "rent free" crowd is awake today that is for sure.

Don't agree with all the talking points re: the Ravens game, but it was indeed a nice calm summary and not at all like what the #BP guy or the FM guys do on the radio. In that sense, DMD is schooling 105.7 and 1570!


TimD in Timonium     October 04
Not only does @Herman survive the brutal Florida hurricane, he jumps back into the fray with his A-Game still intact.



"who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status."



LOL. Bravo, sir, well-played.


Chris     October 04
DF roasting Herman is why I come to DMD every day!

HERMAN     October 04
I didn't Make that last post. I never do anything I have to apologize for so I never apologize.

Randy     October 04
@Stats Nerd

Great question, I'm going to use some geek speak to make a projection, I think you'll appreciate that. So far Haaland has 14 goals in 8 games, but he only has 7.6 xG (expected goals). So he has been scoring at a better rate than expected, however he's consistently produced about 3-5 goals above expectation in his career.



For Dortmund in the Bundesliga he average about 1 goal/game when healthy. Now the EPL is a higher competition level, but also Man City produced 2.14 xG last year to just 1.6 for Dortmund, so he should have more scoring opportunities this year.



So if we expect his luck to even out a little bit and him to stay around 1 g/g of xG, that would put him around 40 goals for the season. The biggest caveat is that he did miss time in both the last two Dortmund seasons with injuries. So I'll deduct 10% for injury risk (just pulled a number) and that lands us on.....



36.



I swear I didn't do that on purpose.



If I were to bet, I'd take the over. Haaland is going to get a big rest midseason since Norway isn't in the World Cup, so that should reduce the injury risk. They also may give him all the penalty kick chances if he's chasing a record and look to feed him towards the end of the season if they run away with the title.

Chris in Bel Air     October 04
The Yankee fans meltdown over the weekend was comical. Did they expect the O's to just throw 85 mph meatballs to him? That's not being entitled at all. For the record, Judge walked 5 times but he was also 1 for 7 with 6 Ks. He had his chances and couldn't connect. Sorry fans. I also like Judge. He seems to be a "good guy" and would take him on the O's any day. But I certainly didn't want to see the O's give up the 62nd HR and certainly found the Yankee whining to be laughable.

Herman     October 04
I will admit I definitely go above and beyond occasionally on the site owner but he brings out the worst in me for whatever reason. Ask my friends, I'm normally not nearly as angry as I come across here at the site. The site owner just gets under my skin for some reason.

Jason M     October 04
Like DF said in his recap, if you think the bad decision lost them the game, you don't know football. They lost that game a 100 ways in the second half. Harbaugh did his part to contribute, but so did many others.

J.R.     October 04
LMAO at @DF taking a swipe @Herman like that.

unitastoberry     October 04
@ Steve of Pimlico I bet Mad Dog had the better tackle on the fan in Baltimore. I don't get ESPN did the announcers bring up Mikes forearm shot on the drunk in Baltimore on TV? I was there too. Mike was a HOFer I don't care what the NFLHOF thinks or Dion. Ask Mike Singletary about Mike Curtis....he will put you all straight.

Pratt     October 04
Herman, why shouldn't Drew single you out? You single him out every day here. Talk about rent free in someone's head, you can't go a day without referencing him. So tell us again why he shouldn't single you out. You're a first rate prick and you know it.

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy What line would you set as an O/U for Haaland goals this season? The number in the UK betting lines seems to be 36-ish. Assuming he stays healthy I suspect he gets there fairly easily

HERMAN     October 04
@RC

You don't really believe the site owner penned that line for just one random commenter do you? I mean, I know I set up full residency in his caddy lawyers head based on his childish response he penned here in the comments last week. The one who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status. But the site owner wouldn't take aim at just one simple commenter. Especially not one who could potentially help him take this site to Barstool heights singlehandedly. In his new Country Club world he has to be above that.

Steve of Pimlico     October 04
Mike Curtis would have been proud of the Ram player for decking that num nut who ran on the field last night with the smoking device.I was actually at that game back in the day.

Tim D     October 04
Ravens Recap - well said Drew.

Kevin     October 04
When Drew starts making more coaching sense than the actual football coach in town, I think we know what that means. And I'm saying that with no disrespect to Drew. It's actually a compliment.

Albert c     October 04
Lamar is a QB and he got to throw the ball, how is that not letting Lamar be Lamar?

MFC     October 04
I turned to watch a bit of the O's last night, if there was 800 people in the stands I'd be shocked. I did get to see some great fan interaction by our stadium ushers.

Two fans, looked like husband and wife, walk down and sit in the front two seats to the right of the screen behind home plate. It's the 7'th inning. It's miserable, rain pouring down. Well it didn't take 45 seconds before our usher is seen walking down the steps and our fan faithful asked to relocate to their seats. I literally laughed out loud, why? Ok, they didn't pay for those seats but the weather is horrible, there's no one in the stadium to speak of, it's the 7'th inning. Why can't you just look the other way at that point. In fact why not take a proactive position and tell the crowd to sit where they want. If you're one that would get upset because you "paid" for the best seat you need to get over it. Say thanks to the 800 people that braved the conditions to support the team.



It's a shame that during that sequence at the goal line we really didn't let Lamar be Lamar. One of the top offensive players in the game and we don't let him win it. I did not remember that Roman was the OC for the 49'ers in the SB. Wow, good memory by the site owner. That explains a lot.



Saw a stat that's incredible. Judge has struck out 167 times this year. Tony Gwynn didn't strike out that much in the 90's. How great was Gwynn.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw Tucker 2 weeks ago put Ravens up 38-35 and watched Avg QB march right down the field and win. Why she he trust this D vs Allen???

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw two weeks ago Tucker give Ravens 38-35 lead late only to watch Avg QB march right down the field. Why in Gods name should he trust this D vs Allen???

Frank     October 04
Love Harbs - but I think he missed an opportunity by not taking blame for the call and saying he should have kicked the FG. Now that he is sticking to his decision, it puts the blame on execution and players - where otherwise he could have taken it all himself.... take a bullet for your team!

David Rosenfeld     October 04
You said: "But they're now playing from behind, where their play calling has to be a smidgen more carefully planned and their execution has to be spot-on."

John said: The exact opposite of that!

Paraphrasing: A team that is behind in that situation is going to play more aggressively, not less. They will be willing to use all 4 downs in a way they might not if they are too close to their end zone, etc.

It's interesting. From a fan perspective, it's a liability for Buffalo that they would be "forced" to use all 4 downs. From the analytic perspective, it might be an advantage.

Just a discussion. Reiterating that I would have kicked the FG...


RC     October 04
DF throwing shade at Herman with the "ocean breeze erodes your brain". Hilarious.

Kenny G     October 04
While Drew touched on the statistical analysis a bit, I will take it a step further. My problem with the analytics is what factors are considered. Are the stats influenced by going against a strong defense or weak? Good run defense? At home vs on the road? In rain, on turf, etc? Which quarter? You can probably think of several more. Additionally there needs to be a feel for the tempo of the actual game. If its a 35-32 game or a 10-3 game in the fourth quarter - is that factored in? Maybe the matchup does not favor going for it?

Butch (aka Big Fat Daddy)     October 04
George: The Orioles game was called and made an "Official" game due to weather. By MLB rule - a game can be Official after 4 and 1/2 innings - if ended by the Crew Chief. Now what really happened was the Umps, the league office and both Managers went into the tunnel and agreed to end the game. It was terrible weather for a baseball game. No need to play and get any player or players hurt. The Blue Jays have playoff games coming up and the Orioles have next season.

Delray RICK     October 04
The RAVENS have won games they shouldn't have and lost games...whatever. what goes around comes around.

HERMAN     October 04
Counting chickens before they hatch. A 12-5 prediction, predicated on looking at the future schedule. Sure. This team, as is presently constituted, without potential injuries, and with the current coaching braintrust is going to win one they should lose and lose a few they should win. A 12 win prediction is best-case scenario and about as reliable as all those columns with "Dem O's are going to the playoffs, this year, I believe".

Right now with this roster the Ravens are a mid-level mediocre team who can shine on any given Sunday or just mess the bed with a fourth quarter meltdown against another mediocre team. They are no 12 win team.

Baltimore fans are closer to Cleveland fans than I thought, they both show up expecting the "best case scenario" despite all prior evidence to the contrary. Then whine over a play, a call, some small detail within a game that derails their vision of the mind.

Smalltimore; Cleveland of the Chesapeake.

George     October 04
Have searched the Internet diligently but can't find an explanation of how the Orioles game ended after 7.5 innings. Can anyone enlighten? Thanks.

larry     October 04
Oweh almost made a great play, it was clear Singletary was not going to go into the end zone but give himself up at the one. Oweh got the ball loose but not out. Ball comes out and Ravens recover, all the sudden Oweh is a genius.

Also FG with 4 minutes less hardly puts pressure on Bills. Now I would have kicked it anyway, but let's not act like kicking the FG means they are 3-1, the D still would have had to make plays. Given the chance to do so at 20-20, they did not.

Chris in Bel Air     October 03
Agree with many posts here on Drew's recap. Good summary. Also agree with @ MFC on the refs. The Ravens did not lose because of the refs but they were certainly another obstacle to overcome. The seemingly random application of the rules within a game and per week is difficult to watch at times. I will also add that it was not a good day for many first-round draft picks. Certainly Lamar didn't have his best day. Bateman with a couple drops and then was injured. Linderbaum with 2 false starts. Queen exerting lots of energy but didn't seem to make a tackle when it mattered most. Queen sometimes plays like a 5 year old playing soccer for the first time - chasing the pile around the field but not making much of a difference. Oweh had the sack and forced fumble but also was badly fooled on Allen's TD run and did not keep the edge. Of course, plenty to question with Harbs too. Not a good day at all as a team. On a more positive note, I thought JPP did fairly well for just coming off the street. Dobbins also looked pretty good. I thought he made something out of nothing on a couple runs and turned small gains into a more substantial gains a few times. He will be a big boost to the offense if he stays healthy. In addition, the remaining Ravens schedule doesn't look to be very daunting at all. Plenty of season left... Of course, that is all based on the Ravens team I expect to see. Not the one that has only figured out how to play for 2 quarters.

MFC     October 03
The site owner unpacked it really well this morning, except he meant snowangels instead of snowballs but that's nitpicking a really good recap. Nothing much to add that's not already "unpacked".



I will say something about NFL refs, they're BS. I watched last night night as Mahonnes made the exact same play as Lamar running oob's, almost scary how similar. He gets the first down spot. Lamar doesn't and we have to lose a TO because they upheld the BS call on the challenge. Andrews OPI was BS and the roughing the passer. They're needs to be an overhaul and some type of new review. Consistency is paramount to reffing and they're anything but.

HERMAN     October 03
Man I wish there was some way to invest in the NFL. I'm not talking about betting, I'm talking ownership. For the common man. Because with fans like those in Baltimore it's a pure growth industry. They somehow convince themselves that their completely mediocre franchise is one of the best in the league despite all evidence. You fans are "all-in". Past Lamar they have not a player that excites, that just makes plays, who can perform and change the game. The coach is serviceable but flawed, the coordinators as mediocre as the team.

This phenomenon actually extends to all sports in Baltimore. These same commenters wailing about the loss are the ones like the site owner who just believed and believed that the low payroll O's were going to the playoffs. They don't make fish hooks big enough I'm telling ya. And this is how gullible they are, after months of either being told Dem O's were going to the playoffs, or being given betting advice, when it all disappears they move on, no need to examine how wrong one can be. Look over here at this new shiny thing, pay no attention to that old shiny thing. Oh it wasn't the 4TH down call, it was the whole second half. No, it was the bad penalty for hitting the quarterback. No it was that retread O coordinator.

Maybe it's just as simple as your expectations being ridiculous. As ridiculous as Dem O's making the playoffs this year. You can't invest emotion into a Harbaugh coached team. You're destined for disappointment.

Alas only one man can invest in Baltimore football. No wonder he is a billionaire. Fish in a barrel.


Such     October 03
I was never very good at math, let alone things like Algebra and Trigonometry and Calculus and "Advanced Metrics", but I do know that 23>20 and 3>0. I would rather play with a 3 point lead than try and fend off that Bills offense in a tie game with 4 minutes remaining.

And 3-1 > 2-2. Oh well.

Jason M     October 03
It's a real slap in the face to the Ravens faithful who geared up and sat through the remnants of a damn hurricane, shouting down the Bills Mafia who travelled well, only to watch the Ravens do their best impersonation of a pack of choking dogs. 5 straight at home people, this is unacceptable. I see the other team adjusting at half time, where are our adjustments? Or do we make them and they just make things worse? How can it be that we are good enough to run up a lead, but not good enough to hold it?

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 03
Not a doubt in my mind if Lamar throws for a TD there Allen ties it and wins in OT. Thats what Ravens have been since 2014 blowing 2 TD lead in NE. 4th and 17 vs Cincy. Choking as a 14-2 seed. 5 straight home games blowing 4th Q leads. Russell street report said it best ...fact that majority of fanbase at halftime up 10 at home expected to lose shows you this franchise has deep issues.

Daveinlutherville     October 03
Frank: bless you for your confidence. I don’t think most people think this is anywhere near a 12-5 team, but we shall see.

Monday
September 19, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2947


you don't see that every sunday


How about those Orioles, huh?

Still alive.

And now the lowly Tigers come to town for three games.

Just remember, it ain't over 'til it's over.

Anything else happen on Sunday we should cover here today?





Oh, right, the Ravens. Yep, they played. Miami was in town.





Just when you think you've seen it all in the NFL...yesterday's 4th quarter in Baltimore comes along and reminds you that we most certainly haven't seen it all. Not by a longshot.

Where to start?

Let's get the simple stuff out of the way first.

Tua Tagovailoa ripped the Ravens defense for 6 touchdowns on Sunday in Miami's shocking 42-38 win in Baltimore.

There's no way to sugarcoat it. Or try to make it seem different.

It was an epic collapse by the Ravens on Sunday in the 42-38 shocker-of-a-loss to the undefeated Dolphins.

The Baltimore defense allowed 28 points in the fourth quarter.

Tua, Hill and Waddle were unstoppable in the final 15 minutes. Everything they did worked like a charm.

Tagovailoa threw 6 touchdown passes on the day. Miami came to Baltimore, stared a 28-7 halftime lead in the face, got their chakras in line, and came back to win in dramatic fashion.

It goes down -- probably -- as the second worst regular season home loss in the John Harbaugh era, trumped only by the New Year's Eve disaster when Andy Dalton hit Tyler Boyd for a 4th and 12 TD pass that kept the Ravens from the playoffs in 2017.

Sure, the offense played a role in yesteday's loss. They scored 38 points, yes, but they also bungled an easy TD opportunity in the first half and were mostly miserable on 3rd and 4th down all day. And the running game? "Inefficient" would be too kind of a description.

So let's summarize it like this: The defense was mainly responsible for what happened yesterday. The offense contributed to what happened yesterday. Is that a fair way of putting it?


It's also fair to give Miami the credit they deserve. It was 28-7 at the half. The game was pretty much over by that point, and it was definitely all-but-over when it was 35-14 in favor of the Ravens heading into the 4th quarter. I mean, the Ravens don't squander 21 point leads at home. Like, ever. They just don't.

Except they did yesterday.

Everything Tua did in the 4th quarter was perfect. Short throws, deep throws, whatever-throws-he-needed-to-make, he made.

Tyreek Hill was Jerry Rice, but faster and more wide open. Any thought he'd suffer without Patrick Mahomes seems off base after two games in South Florida.

Jaylen Waddle went up and caught everything thrown his way, including the game-winning toss with 14 seconds left that capped off a 171 yard day for the talented Miami receiver.

So, yes, credit goes to Miami. You've heard it here forever, even though you hate the thought of admitting that it's the truest of all the sports axioms -- the other team tries, too.

And Miami is now 2-0 and, you assume, have to be feeling their oats just a bit after polishing off the Patriots rather easily in the season opener and then mounting that remarkable comeback yesterday in Baltimore.

You know what I always say: "The team that thinks they're really good is sometimes more dangerous than the team that actually is really good." Right about now, the Dolphins probably think they're really good. And they might very well be.


I'm sure you know why Charm City was spitting nails yesterday afternoon. The Ravens just don't lose many games like that. And, so, when they do, things are going to get tight in these parts.

If John Harbaugh thought the local talk show guys were nipping at his heels last season, he should probably stick with Sirius/XM this week. They're going to be out for blood.

This is probably a good week for first year defensive-coordinator Mike Macdonald to just listen to country music on his way to and from work. If the phone calls that were made yesterday after the game were any indication of what might come along this week, Macdonald was whipping boy favorite #1 last night.

Marcus Peters gets an "A" for effort, but he looked like a guy who probably was still a week or two away from being 100% game-ready. I get it. With Hill, Waddle and ultra-talented tight end Mike Gesicki set to invade Charm City, Harbaugh and Macdonald both likely thought Peters was a key component for their secondary. Not so much.

And it didn't help that Marlon Humphrey's groin strain appeared to slow him down a step or two as well. It's hard enough to go up against Hill and Waddle when you have all of your horses at 100%. The Ravens' secondary wasn't at 100% yesterday, as the 4th quarter showed in high definition.

As crazy as it sounds, Lamar Jackson even got knocked around by the talk show callers yesterday. If it's possible to play a great game and pretty much be the only reason your team almost won (which, he did) and, yet, still make a couple of key mistakes that helped the other team eventually win (which, he did), then that's pretty much what Lamar accomplished on Sunday. The fumble early in the game on the goal-line didn't appear to be a game-changer in the moment...but it turned out to be 7 lost points they could have used three hours later.

And even during the 4th quarter when the Dolphins were steamrolling through the Baltimore defense, Lamar and the offense got the ball back and had chances to salt the game away and couldn't get it done. That's what happens when you can't run the ball a lick. 3rd and short or 4th and short becomes a problem.

It's also more than fair to point out that Lamar and the offense did manage to coax a late 51-yard field goal out of Justin Tucker to go up 38-35, but that wasn't enough. The defense didn't hold up their end of the bargain on the ensuing series.

All that said and noted, 38 points -- at home -- should always be enough to win. That's what I say, anyway.

Harbaugh got blistered on the various shows last night because he's the coach and everyone just assumes he must be the problem. When the Ravens staked themselves to a 35-14 lead, it was Lamar, Marcus Williams, Rashod Bateman and the players who were responsible.

But after the Ravens couldn't hold on to that 21-point 4th quarter lead, one guy called in last night and said, "Did you see the look on Harbaugh's face with five minutes left? He wasn't doing anything. He was just starting straight ahead, not even part of the game. When they needed him to coach, he just stood there like a statue and blacked out."

Yeah, I'm sure that was it. Harbs just sort of "blacked out" with five minutes left and forgot he was coaching in a NFL game. Got it. Anyone have an extra pair of size 12 #clownshoes for Dan in Towson?

When teams lose the way the Ravens lost yesterday, there's always one golden rule: Someone has to get the blame.

If you listen to the various shows today, you'll hear that common theme. Harbaugh and Macdonald will get the bulk of the on-air chiding, even though they never stepped foot on the field.

Most people won't ask why the Ravens got zero pressure on Tua in the second half or why the Ravens can't run the ball for squat two games into the season.

Most callers won't ask about Peters or Humphrey and whether they should have played in light of their injuries. Most people will just blame the coaches because...well...that's the easiest thing to do.

The truth is, of course, that everyone is to blame. Coaches get blame, for sure. Macdonald is the leader of the defense that got torched for 28 points in the game's final 15 minutes. If you can't assign some degree of blame to him, when can you hold him accountable?

As far as the players go, a mistake in the first quarter that keeps you from putting points on the board is as valuable as a mistake in the 4th quarter that keeps you from putting points on the board. A missed tackle on a Miami touchdown drive in the first quarter is as harmful as a missed tackle on Miami's game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. Everything matters. For 60 minutes.

When it all got settled yesterday, the Ravens played outstanding football for 45 minutes and the worst possible football they could play for the final 15 minutes. It's not like Miami thrashed them. The Dolphins needed a miracle to win Sunday's game. But they got it done.


And the Ravens have themselves a tough, tough week ahead, not only in recovering from a game they gave away, but their upcoming schedule is problematic as well.

They head to New England next Sunday for the Patriots' home opener. And the following Sunday, Josh Allen and the Bills come to town.

On Sunday night, October 9, Cincinnati visits Baltimore. Despite their rocky start, the Bengals offense is similar to the one the Ravens fell victim to yesterday at home. They can put up points in a hurry.

Imagine coming in to Owings Mills today and facing the prospect of watching game film and seeing up-close-and-personal just how you coughed up a 21-point fourth quarter lead. It won't be "family viewing" at 1 Winning Drive today, that's for certain.

And while it's entirely too early to get the cart before the horse, that's what we'll do when we remind you that losing to the Dolphins means they own the tiebreaker in the event it's needed to settle a wild card spot later on down the road. And losing to Miami also gives you a conference loss, which is also a potential tiebreaker application as well.

That one yesterday was a bad, bad, loss.

There's no need to panic, obviously, but these are rocky waters in September that no one thought the Ravens would be encountering. Yet, here they are.

Buckle up. This could get really interesting over the next couple of weeks.

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around the nfl


Jets 31 - Browns 30 -- Unreal. Just unreal. Nick Chubb could have fallen down at the 1-yard line with 1:55 remaining and the Browns would have won the game. Instead, he scampered into the end zone to put Cleveland up 30-17. And...the Jets scored two TD's to win, 31-30. Browns gonna Browns. What else can you say?

Lions 36 - Commanders 27 -- Detroit has put some points up in their first two games. Maybe Jared Goff is going to turn into a legit NFL QB after all? Carson Wentz had a decent day (30-46, 337, 3 TD's) in a losing effort.

Joe Flacco guided New York to a miracle win of their own on Sunday, as the Jets struck for a pair of late touchdowns to beat the Browns in Cleveland.

Buccaneers 20 - Saints 10 -- Tom Brady specializes in these kinds of wins now. In the old days, his New England teams would have gone in there and won 33-10. Now, at age 45, Brady just stays upright long enough to bore the other team to tears and eventually throws a TD pass and leaves town with a win. The man is amazing.

Giants 19 - Panthers 16 -- This one is probably in the running for "most forgettable game of the season". The Giants won, somehow. Baker's career in Charlotte isn't off to the greatest of starts. I don't know what else to say about this one.

Patriots 17 - Steelers 14 -- News flash: Pittsburgh's offense is lousy. And New England's defense is pretty good. The Steelers will be lucky to win 8 games this season. We're still not 100% sure the Patriots are going to be any good, but we'll find out more about them this coming Sunday when Lamar strolls into Foxborough.

Jaguars 24 - Colts 0 -- What's worse? Giving up 28 points to the Dolphins and losing at home -- or getting shut out by the Jaguars? Jacksonville is steadily improving. Indianapolis? We were bullish on them at the start of the season, but a road tie and a road loss aren't doing much for our confidence in the Colts.

Rams 31 - Falcons 27 -- L.A. built a 28-3 second half lead and then had to hold for dear life. I'm not sure if that tells us more about the defending champs or the Falcons. I don't see Atlanta being much of a threat in 2022. The Rams have to fight off the Super Bowl hangover and they could be right there once again in January.

49'ers 27 - Seahawks 7 -- Trey Lance is done and it's Jimmy G's team once again in San Fran. And that, I'd say, is a good thing for the 49'ers. Seattle is in for a long season. Poor Pete Carroll.

Cowboys 20 - Bengals 17 --It's hard to laugh too loudly at the Bengals. They're a season removed from going to the Super Bowl, remember. But losing to the Cowboys yesterday, minus Dak Prescott, is one of the NFL's early "LOL moments" of the '22 season. I said from the outset I didn't think Cincy would make the playoffs this season. I'm looking right thus far.

Broncos 16 - Texans 9 -- Did Denver keep the receipt on that Russell Wilson contract? Sure, they won yesterday, but Wilson has been less than spectacular thus far. I'm sure Houston is going to struggle for wins, but at least they look like a team that will fight for 60 minutes.

Cardinals 29 - Raiders 23 -- The Raiders were up 23-0 and were chest-bumping and laughing and doing TikTok videos on the bench early in the 4th quarter. Next thing you know, Kyler Murray is slicing and dicing them up and scoring a TD on the final play of regulation, then hitting the 2-point conversion to send it to OT. Arizona wins on a scoop-and-score fumble return. Will this win spark Arizona or doom Las Vegas? Maybe both?

Packers 27 - Bears 10 -- I don't know what's worse. Green Bay running the ball for 203 yards vs. Chicago or the Bears racking up 180 yards on the ground against the Packers. Either way, Aaron Rodgers still owns the Bears, although Green Bay certainly isn't looking like a Super Bowl contender early on in 2022.

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#DMD GAME DAY
Week 2


Sunday — September 18, 2022
Issue #2946

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens

1:00 PM EDT

M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore, MD

Spread: Ravens (-3.5)



another "lamar test" today vs. miami


You're going to hear it a lot this season. It's always going to come down to Lamar and what he can do to help the Ravens overcome their opponent.

Next Sunday in New England, it will be the old fox, Bill Belichick. Can Lamar "beat" the Hall of Fame coach and his defense in Foxborough?

A return to the lineup by running back J.K. Dobbins would be huge for the Ravens today.

The following Sunday, Buffalo comes to Baltimore and it will be pitted as Lamar vs. Josh Allen.

Keep on scrolling through the schedule and you'll see it, week after week. It's always going to be "Lamar vs. (so and so)."

Today, it's Lamar vs. the Dolphins defense that completely stymied him last November in Miami.

"This is the defense that started Lamar's demise last year!" a sports radio show in town screeched for a couple of days last week. "They threw every blitz in the book at him and Lamar couldn't see straight!"

OK, so that much was true. Lamar had a stinker last year against the Dolphins on November 11. There's no denying that.

Last year.

Because we have to conjur up something to throw out there, this week's narrative is about last year's game. Forget about the fact that Lamar went down to Miami back in 2019 and beat the Dolphins 59-10. That game is too far back, apparently, and doesn't fit the narrative. Last year does, though. Last year matters.

Well, it matters to some people. But not to me.

Sure, the Dolphins have a good defense and an improving team overall, but nothing about September 18, 2022 has anything to do with November 11, 2021. It just doesn't.

But this is the sort of stuff you're going to have to deal with as a Ravens fan in 2022. Every. Single. Week. The media throughout the area and the country will pick an angle for the game that will largely connect, somehow, with Lamar Jackson. As if he's the only guy on the field for John Harbaugh's team.

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today's three storylines


1. Tua Tagovailoa -- I'm not well connected to the Dolphins and what they've done down there in the last couple of years but a win today in Baltimore would be, I'm guessing, the signature career victory to date for Tua Tagovailoa.

The list of young'ish quarterbacks who have come into Baltimore and defeated the Ravens in the John Harbaugh era is short, indeed. And the Dolphins are 0-3 in Baltimore since 2008, having been outscored by the Ravens in Charm City by the tune of 104-16. You read that right. 104-16.

Baltimore has not been a memborable visit for the Dolphins when John Harbaugh has coached against them at M&T Bank Stadium.

So for Tua to come to Baltimore and win today would be something extra special. Is he capable of that? Sure. He's a talented kid and the Miami offense isn't chopped liver these days.

But please remember, although this isn't the defense of Ravens 2000 or anything like that, they still have some legit talent on that side of the ball and if you make a mistake of any kind, they're going to punish you.

Simply put, Miami can't win today if Tagovailoa has a stinker.


2. Tyreek Hill vs. Mike Macdonald -- Going back to the likes of A.J. Green (when he was still good, in Cincinnati) and Antonio Brown (when he was sane, in Pittsburgh), the Ravens have occasionally had issues with elite wide receivers, no matter the year or the defensive coordinator.

Today, Tyreek Hill comes to town in his first away game as a Dolphin and Ravens d-coordinator Mike Macdonald faces his first stern test trying to negate the opposing offense's #1 threat. Who gets the task of trying to shut down Hill? Marlon Humphrey seems like the natural choice. Marcus Peters might very well be activated today but it's hard to imagine Macdonald would assign the Hill role to a guy coming back after an ACL injury.

No matter who gets the job, they have to perform effectively. Sure, Tua isn't Patrick Mahomes or anything close, even, but Hill is the kind of speedy receiver who gets so open, so often, even Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite could hit him with a few passes over sixty minutes.

Tyreek Hill isn't the only way the Dolphins can beat the Ravens today, but he's the primary way. If Macdonald and the Baltimore defense can hold him to 60 yards or less receiving, they have a great chance of winning. Hill had 94 yards on 8 catches in last week's win over New England. While he didn't score a TD, he certainly helped move the chains for the Dolphins.

Mike Macdonald vs. Tyreek Hill. Who wins?


3. Ravens on the run-- Last week was, to put it nicely, not a great day on the ground for the Ravens. Even Lamar Jackson put up some unordinary numbers (17 yards rushing) in the 24-9 win over the Jets. But the rest of the running game -- you know, the guys who are actually supposed to run the ball -- was just as ineffective. Credit goes to the Jets, of course. They were trying, too. But if the Ravens don't run the ball better today vs. Miami, they could be in trouble.

The Ravens upgraded J.K. Dobbins to questionable for today's game, which tells me they simply don't want to tell the Dolphins that he is, in fact, playing. The guess here is Dobbins suits up and carries the ball a dozen or so times today. He would be a big help, for certain.

With Ronnie Stanley (listed as doubtful) expected to remain out of the lineup today, the Ravens won't have their premium offensive line available to them, but even without Stanley, they need to at least hit the 100-yard mark as a team running the football. That's a critical element today, particularly given that Lamar looked sharp throwing the ball in the second half of last Sunday's win over the Jets.

If Greg Roman can use the run today to keep Miami's defense honest...that could lead to a big day for Jackson in the air.

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how drew sees today's game


I thought last week's game vs. the Jets was a lay-up and I was right. They could play that game 10 times and the Ravens would go 10-0. New York stinks.

I don't feel nearly as confident about today's game.

It's rare, but #DMD sees a Baltimore home loss today vs. the Dolphins. We sure hope we're wrong.

When a team that isn't supposed to win finds a way to win, particularly on the road, here's generally how it happens.

* Something wonky happens once or twice on special teams. A blocked punt, a long kick-off or punt return, a missed field goal that gets negated because of a penalty and then a TD is scored after the penalty is applied. You can dream up a variety of ways that special teams influences the game.

* A controversial play gets overturned early in the 4th quarter that shifts the momentum of the game. Follow along: Ravens trail Miami today, 23-10. They score a TD to make it 23-17 and then force an immediate 3 and out. The Ravens get the ensuing kick-off, then face 3rd and 7 at their own 21 yard line. Lamar throws a ball that's tipped at the line of scrimmage and bobbled by a Dolphins defender as he hits the ground.

The game official calls it an incomplete pass. It looks like the ball touched the playing surface before the defensive player maintained possession of it. But the Dolphins challenge it anyway. And, somehow, a keen eye in New York sees it differently and rules the play an interception. Three plays later, the Dolphins score to go up 30-17.

* The other team's Hall of Fame wide receiver has one of those days where he just terrorizes you. In this case, Tyreek Hill not only catches 7 passes for 120 yards and two TD's, but he also forces a pair of long pass interference penalties that take the Dolphins from their own territory deep into Ravens territory, where Miami is able to tack on 10 points they weren't expecting to get.

When the stats are displayed at the end of the game, the Ravens have the better of them. More passing yards (257 to 244) and more rushing yards (98 to 73), but fewer points, unfortunately.

Miami gets a special teams score, a controversial play goes their way, and Tyreek Hill is the difference. The Dolphins come into Baltimore and post a surprising 27-24 win.

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around the nfl


The schedule makers did a great job of getting the '22 season off to a rousing start last week with some great opening Sunday games.

To borrow a horse racing term, they "threw a shoe" this weekend. There are three games on the slate that are even close to marquee-value. And three might even be pushing it, a bit.

What does Bill Belichick have up his sleeve for Mitch Trubisky and the Pittsburgh offense today?

Tampa Bay at New Orleans -- I guess any game involving Tom Brady is "marquee" at this point in his career. He's likely making his final visit ever to New Orleans today. The Saints were really lucky to beat Atlanta last Sunday. I don't know that today qualifies as an early-season test for the Bucs, but it's a division game and New Orleans has been always been a tough out in their own building.

New England at Pittsburgh -- When it was Brady vs. Roethlisberger, this was MARQUEE in all caps. Alas, it's Mac Jones vs. Mitch Trubisky and, well, that's far from marquee. But it's a vitally important game for New England. They come in at 0-1. They have the Ravens at home next Sunday. And then they're at Green Bay. See where I'm going with this? The Patriots could start 0-4. This is a big one for them today.

Chicago at Green Bay -- The only reason Chicago is involved in what consider an-almost-marquee-game is because the week #2 schedule is so lousy. Alas, if the Bears think they're any good, tonight's the night to prove it, as they visit Aaron Rodgers and Company for a Sunday Night NFL match-up. The Packers are coming off of a dismal opening day performance in Minnesota. Starting 0-2 in the division would be eye-opening to say the least. There are some early signs that Rodgers is less than satisfied with the receiving corps he's been gifted by Green Bay management. This one could be interesting tonight. Chicago has everything to gain from this one.


UPSET OF THE DAY -- The Jaguars are 3-point underdogs at home vs. Indianapolis. We're going to go against Matt Ryan until he wins a game in blue and white. And we're a tad bullish on Jacksonville this season. We think they're going to be a team you have to respect in 2022, even if that only equates to them winning 5 or 6 games, tops. Today is one of those wins, though. We'll take Jacksonville in the upset, 23-21.

LOCK OF THE DAY -- There's just no way the Bengals go to Dallas and stub their toe, right? The Cowboys were already offensively challenged with Dak Prescott at quarterback. Now that he's out, how will the Cowboys score at all? And the Bengals need to rebound after that fiasco of a loss to the woeful Steelers last Sunday. We see Cincinnati flexing their muscles today. Bengals 38 - Cowboys 17

TWO-GAME PARLAY -- We're going back to the Bengals/Cowboys game and looking at the point total of 41.5. Sure, Dallas is going to be challenged to score, but they'll tack on some 4th quarter points when Cincy has the 3rd string in during mop-up time. We love the "over" 41.5 in that one. And the 51.5 point total in Las Vegas seems ripe, too, as both teams will go up and down the field in this one and score gobs of points. We figure 58 or 59 points will be scored by the two teams.So our two-game parlay today is the Dallas/Cincy over 41.5 points and the Arizona/Las Vegas over 51.5 points.

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Saturday
September 17, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2945


when others lose...you need to win


I got upgraded from morphine to dilaudid yesterday to help me handle this kidney stone.

So far, so good.

Let me rephrase that: So far, so really good.

Gunnar Henderson homered last night in Toronto, but it wasn't enough as the Birds fell in game one of a crucial 3-game series, 6-3.

It looks like today's the day for the stone to make its appearance. It better be, anyway. I don't know what upgrade you get from dilaudid.

Anyway...squandered chance for dem O's last night, as they lost 6-3 in Toronto while both Tampa Bay and Seattle were losing. You know what I'm about to say: This thing is still far from over.

As I mentioned to someone the other day as we chatted about the playoffs and the neanderthal mindset of people who say, with 20-some games remaining, "It's over..." The other teams have to win, too. You know, those above you that you're trying to catch. If they don't win, no one moves anywhere. And if you can win while they lose, well, you know what happens there."

So the Birds are still four games behind Tampa Bay in the loss column, but it's sorta-kinda five games because the Rays won the season series, which is the first tiebreaker application. But the Rays, like the O's, have to somehow manage at least 86 wins (so say the experts) and perhaps as high as even 87.

Until they put that "E" next to Orioles for "eliminated", I'll keep singing the same tune. There's still baseball left to be played and the Orioles have a chance to make the post-season.


Two quick baseball notes about aging, veteran players who are enjoying remarkable 2022 campaigns.

Justin Verlander closed in on his 3rd Cy Young Award last night with yet another gem, pitching for the first time since suffering an injury vs. the Orioles back on August 28. Verlander went 5 innings, didn't allow a hit, struck out 9 and walked just 1 batter as Houston clinched a sixth straight playoff spot with a 5-0 win over the Athletics.

Verlander is now 17-3 with a 1.78 ERA. The 39-year old has a WHIP (walks and hits allowed per inning) of 0.834. He's allowed more than 2 earned runs in exactly 6 of his 25 starts this year. Verlander and the Fountain of Youth share a locker in Houston, apparently. This is setting up to be one of the best pitching seasons of the last 50 years.

He was already likely destined for Cooperstown anyway, but the 2022 campaign is Verlander's Mona Lisa.

And Albert Pujols climbed within two home runs of reaching the historic 700-plateau with a dinger in last night's 6-5 win over the Reds.

Pujols is looking to become only the 4th player in baseball history to reach 700 homers. He would join, of course, Bonds, Aaron and Ruth as the only guys with 700 or more if he can get there. Pujols is set to retire at the end of this season, so here's hoping he can get two more over-the-plate meatballs from someone between now and the end of the regular season.

Like Verlander, he's also headed to Cooperstown, no matter if he gets to 700 or not. But, at this point, not getting to 700 would be akin to finishing your career with 2998 hits. You'd still be a Hall of Famer, but you wouldn't be in the 3000 hit club.

There will be debate after debate about whether Pujols used steroids "back in the old days" or played clean his entire career. Pujols, naturally, claims he never used PED's. On the surface, he seems like a guy who is easy to believe. But your mileage may vary on that one.

In both cases, we'll get to see Verlander and Pujols play October baseball. This is a wild dream, of course, but here goes: The Astros and Cardinals meet in the World Series. Verlander starts Game 1 and Game 5. Game 7 has Houston ahead 3-2 in the top of the 9th and the Cardinals load the bases. They bring in Verlander to get them out of the inning and deliver another World Series title to Houston.

And up comes Pujols to pinch hit, with the bases loaded.

That's a wild dream, huh?

Blame it on the dilaudid.

We'll be back here tomorrow, hopefully kidney-stone-free, and ready to tackle the Ravens and Dolphins match-up in Baltimore.

Here's a hint: I'm not feeling so good about tomorrow's game.


Oh, I almost forgot about yesterday's Underrated and Overrated column, where I asked you all to opine on a list of 15 greats and tell me if they were Underrated and Overrated.

Some of you played along, which was cool. Thanks for taking the time to actually make a legitimate contribution with your opinion and insight. Those who didn't troll were noted and will receive a prize.

I told you I'd give you my answers today. And I will do just that.

Every person on that list is or was underrated.

Yes, every single one of them, including Harbs, including Mullins, including Judge, including Spieth, and even including LeBron James, who gets more criticism than I've ever seen for a guy who has basically dominated his sport for 20 years. James hasn't been a great player. He's been a dominant player. He is -- depending on your breakdown and positional values -- one of the 10 greatest players in NBA history. And somehow people out there claim he's overrated. No chance.

So, yes, it was a bit of a trick question yesterday. I knew going in every one of those guys is underrated. To me, at least.

Now, do you want the names of some folks who were or are overrated? Just so you can see that I'm capable of doing that?

Sure thing.

James Harden is overrated.

Russell Wilson is overrated.

Giancarlo Stanton is overrated.

Manny Machado is overrated.

Bubba Watson is overrated.

Eli Manning was overrated.

And Ray Lewis was overrated*.

So, there. A list of overrated guys you can chew on.










*Ray Lewis is not overrated. He was actually underrated. I just wanted to see if you got to the bottom of the page and were actually paying attention.

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Friday
September 16, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2944


your turn


Let's have some fun today, shall we?

We're gonna play a game of Underrated and Overrated, except today's your day to play. Tomorrow I'll give you my answers.

Use the comments section below and fire away. Add commentary if you like.

And remember the golden rule of Underrated and Overrated. You can not "fence sit". He/she is either underrated. Or overrated. No one is rated "just right". Not in this game, anyway.

There's going to be some tough ones, by the way. I'm anxious to see what you all have to contribute.

By the way, I'm dealing with the third kidney stone of my illustrious career this morning. I thought I'd be writing this from GBMC. Instead, I'm curled over on my bed pecking away word by word. Forgive any typos today, please. Writing and morphine -- not a great mix.


1. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh

2. Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols

3. Former O's center fielder Adam Jones

4. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow

5. O's center fielder Cedric Mullins

6. Yankees superstar Aaron Judge

7. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson

8. Lakers superstar LeBron James

9. Former Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith

10. PGA Tour star Jordan Spieth

11. Fomer Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy

12. NFL analyst/broadcaster Tony Romo

13. Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey

14. Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid

15. MLB all-time hits leader Pete Rose

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faith in sports


This is a great 9 minute video of NBA player Cody Zeller talking about the impact faith has had on his journey to the top of the sports world. Taylor Davis is a wonderful host of this series and the video below is one of her better interviews in this series. Zeller, as you'll see, is as grounded in his faith and love for Jesus as anyone can be.



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Thursday
September 15, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2943


emptying the bag of mail


It would warm my heart so much to see the Orioles sneak into the playoffs, just to see the reversal by the "fans" who gave up on the team after they lost 3 of 4 to the Blue Jays last week.

"Well, that's the season. It was fun while it lasted."

I very, very rarely ever snipe back at a goof who says silly things on the internet. I mean, if I did that every time I saw something dumb on Twitter, I'd never have time for anything else.

Gunnar Henderson drove in four runs last night as the O's swept a 2-game series with the Nationals, winning 6-2 in D.C.

But last week after someone bellyached "it was fun while it it lasted", I couldn't help myself.

LOL, 'fun while it lasted', I wrote. You do know the baseball season is 162 games, not 140 games, right? There's still a lot of time left.

My new friend quickly shot back. "You keep being a homer, I'll keep speaking the truth."

I had no idea pointing out that a team just four games out of the wild card race with 22 remaining is "being a homer". I thought that was actually just "speaking the truth". It sure is weird what the internet teaches you these days, huh?

Anyway, the O's climbed within four games of Tampa Bay in the loss column last night, beating the Nationals 6-2 while the Rays were losing in Toronto, 5-1. Seattle also won, while the White Sox lost. And we can almost dismiss the White Sox at this point. If they somehow finish with 86 wins (seems unlikely at this point), they'll most likely win the A.L. Central and the other teams (Cleveland and Minnesota) will miss out on the post-season.

The Blue Jays and Rays play again today in Toronto and then the O's settle in for a huge weekend series with the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Seattle hits the road for a series in Los Angeles vs. the Angels and the Rays are home vs. Texas.

It's not over, though. Not by a longshot. I still think the Orioles are going to make it. It might take until the final game of the season, but I think they're going to sneak in.

And if they do...........I have some friends on the internet I think I'll reconnect with.


Rich asks -- "I know you're on the record saying you wouldn't fully guarantee Lamar's contract but I'm curious what you think would be a fair deal for him given what we know about the contracts of the other QB's like Watson, Murray and Wilson. Thanks!"

DF says -- "Here's my summary of the Lamar contract. The Ravens wanted to sign him. Lamar didn't want to sign for what they offered and opted to play out his 5th year without a new deal. That's business. I get it.

I see a lot of people in town blame the Ravens for "not signing him". When I see that, it indicates to me those people believe the Ravens should have just caved in and handed Lamar whatever contract he wanted. That's not how it works.

Lamar is just as much to blame for not having a new contract as the Ravens are for not signing him. Both parties drew their line in the sand and said, "Here I am, I'm not moving until you do." That's business. I get it.

I think this situation is playing out perfectly for both parties. Lamar gets the chance to parlay a huge season into, perhaps, the biggest contract in league history. The Ravens get the benefit of seeing him do that -- or not -- and adjusting accordingly. If Lamar has a great season and the Ravens win the Super Bowl, the organization will benefit tremendously from that and then they'll have to pay up or figure out what to do with Lamar in 2023.

I don't know what the "fair deal" is for Lamar because he's playing 2022 under his 5th year. When the season's over, we can discuss what's "fair" based on his '22 season and what, if any, new QB contracts are signed in the meantime."


Craig asks -- "What do you think about Rory McIlroy saying the European Ryder Cup team shouldn't contain any LIV golfers and do you see the U.S. team doing the same thing next year?"

Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday he thinks the 2023 European Ryder Cup team should not include LIV golfers.

DF says -- "I'm mostly in agreement. I think if a LIV golfer somehow earned enough points to be on either team, he should be on the team. But "added" to the team by one of the captains? As a reward of sorts? No thanks.

Eliminating players entirely would require a significant decision by the PGA of Europe and the PGA of America to finally dip their toes into the PGA Tour/LIV waters and make a stand. I have no idea if they'd be willing to do that. Instead, what I think is more likely is that the world rankings saga will keep the top LIV golfers from earning Ryder Cup points in the U.S. and Europe and then the two captains, Johnson and Donald, will not select any LIV golfers with their captain's picks.

The two captains will be nudged that way, of course. "Now, Zach," a PGA of America official will say to him in the corner of a nice restaurant somewhere next spring, "When it comes time to making your captain's picks, we assume you're going to only choose players who remain in good standing with the PGA Tour, right?"

Luke Donald will get the same sort of nudge from his PGA of Europe friends.

Everything that's important in golf revolves around world rankings points. The majors, the big invitationals like The Players, The Memorial, etc. and the Ryder Cup. If you have enough points to be inside the top 50, you're eligible for everything. Once you drop outside of the top 50, which a lot of LIV golfers are going to do by the start of 2023, it's tough to qualify unless you're otherwise already exempt.

As for Rory, he's clearly taking the baton from Tiger in terms of becoming "the face of golf". What he says carries an extraordinary amount of weight, both in the U.S. and Europe. He casts a big shadow these days."


Mark Riccini asks -- "Hey Drew, I'm looking for two sizzling hot takes from week one of the NFL season! Thanks and Go Hall!"

DF says -- "I could probably give you 5 or 6 based on what we saw, but it was week one. Green Bay got smashed by New Orleans on opening day last year, remember, and then went on to go 13-4. Anyway, I'll give you three sizzlers. They might not even qualify as "sizzlers" since some of what you'll read was already mentioned here last week. But here goes.

1. Minnesota's going to be very good. I assume at some point they'll lose a big game because of their quarterback, but they have lots of offensive weapons and their defense is really improved. They could be this year's Bengals from the 2021 season.

2. New England is looking at 6-11 or 7-10, max. They've been able to get by the last two years because the AFC East wasn't all that great and Belichick wanted to prove he can still be relevant in the standings without TB12 as his quarterback. This is the real world, now. Buffalo is great, the Dolphins are good and rising steadily and Bill has to conjur up a new way to rack up 10 or 11 wins and make the playoffs. I think the Patriots are in trouble.

3. Green Bay is going to have to fight to make the playoffs. I assume they'll still get in, somehow, but they might be a 10-win team when it's all said and done. Remember, they basically start the season with 4 wins because they play Chicago and Detroit twice. But if they stub their toe in any of those four encounters, they might be in trouble. Rodgers is really going to miss Davante Adams. And if they can't run the ball well, watch out."


Dave Partridge asks -- "For your mailbag Q & A. Early opinion on Maryland football?"

DF says -- "This is a set-up, right? I could go to Google real quick and learn more about the team and their season and try to impress you...but that would defeat the purpose. I know they're 2-0. They beat Buffalo at home and Charlotte on the road. They have SMU at home this weekend, I think. They might even be a home 'dog in that one. How am I doing so far?

Well, that's pretty much all I know. I do know Tua's brother is the QB and he's pretty good. I couldn't name another guy on the team other than Daniel Owens and the only reason I know Daniel is he went to Calvert Hall and attended our Thursday FCA Huddle at school.

But it's always been that way with Maryland football. "Baltimore" doesn't know anything about Terps' football. They've never marketed to us. They don't play any games here. If they cared at all about capturing the Baltimore market, they'd play one annual game in Baltimore and make a big deal about it and some of us might even circle that one on our calendar and make it a "must go" event. Alas, there are probably about 150 people who travel to College Park from Baltimore to watch Maryland football.

Funny, though. We all know Maryland basketball. Maybe that's because they've been good for 20 years, mostly. Maybe that's because the only football we care about in Baltimore is the Ravens. And maybe it's because Maryland has never done any real marketing in Baltimore when it comes to football.

I do know Tua's brother and Daniel Owens, though. That's a start."


S.M. asks -- "Your ex-boss's manifesto last week about his press credential contained some valid points I thought. I'm sure you have to agree that a team taking away a press credential is a slippery slope, yet your column about it seemed as if you didn't think it was a big deal. Did I read it wrong?"

DF says -- "I'm not sure you read it wrong. I certainly didn't want to come across like I thought it wasn't a big deal. Instead, I tried to say "You're not going to beat those guys when they have a barrel full of ink and you only have a pen full, so use your energy elsewhere." That's the point I wanted to make. I thought I did. Perhaps I didn't.

When I was involved in "Free The Birds" in 2006, we all knew going in that putting that sort of public protest together wasn't going to somehow magically "repair" our relationship with the team. We knew they were going to be upset about it. I have to assume my former boss knew when he released that information last week and "named names" in the organization, publicly, that his relationship with the team was likely altered forever. That's his call, though. His cross to bear, so to speak.

There's zero chance the Ravens will call him today and say, "You know, everything you wrote was right. We were wrong. Come on back in. Here's your credential. Here's your seat. Come back to the press conferences." That's just not happening.

I agree that a team taking away someone's media credential is a slippery slope. I don't feel like getting into the current platform of the radio station where I once worked and how much of that platform is sports and how much of it revolves around politics and public policy. But I will say that other radio stations in town that lean one way politically still have sports reporters on their staff who get media credentials from the teams in town.

Publishing something as personal and viperish as what was published last week was probably the final straw and perhaps the author wanted it that way. Sometimes getting the last word in is movitation enough."

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Wednesday
September 14, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2942


still in it


I have a surprise for local baseball fans who gave up on the Orioles after their dismal homestand against the A's, Blue Jays and Red Sox that left them reeling and in danger of falling out of the wild card race.

They're still in it.

Still alive.

Adley Rutschman had two more hits last night to raise his average to .254 as the O's nipped the Nationals, 4-3.

Last night's 4-3 win in Washington coupled with losses by Toronto, Tampa Bay and Seattle were good news for O's fans. Even the ones who gave up on the team after last week's 3-out-of-4 series loss to the Blue Jays have to remain slightly invigorated by what happened last night.

Editor's note: I know what you're thinking. Didn't Toronto and Tampa Bay play one another last night? How could they both lose? They played a doubleheader in Toronto and split the two games, that's how. So, yes, they also both technically won a game on Tuesday in addition to losing. But anyway...

As they wake up this morning down in D.C., the Birds still find themselves five games behind the Rays and Mariners (both 79-62) in the wild card chase. It's not the garden spot or anything like that, but 5 games out is infinitely better than where Minnesota (10 games out and fading fast) sits on September 14.

There's still a lot of baseball remaining. The Birds head to Toronto for a big series this weekend. Then next week they're home for three against Detroit and home for four against the Astros. We look ahead like this a lot but it's for a reason. After they beat the lowly Nationals again this evening, the Birds need to go 8-2 in those next 10 games to maintain any hope of a late season surge into the playoffs.

Winning 2 of 3 in Toronto this weekend is paramount. Anything less than that isn't going to help at all.

Last night in D.C., Dean Kremer worked out of a couple of tight spots and finished the night going 5 innings and allowing all three Nationals runs. Kremer improved to 7-5 on the season and his ERA is still a tidy 3.34 on the year. He remains the one and only piece of the Machado trade back in 2018 that looks Major League worthy.

Ryan Mountcastle homered off of former Oriole Hunter Harvey last night and Gunnar Henderson had another multi-hit game, as did Adley Rutschman. For the Orioles to make any kind of late push to the post-season, those three need to continue to hit. Henderson, you might not know, is hitting .304 since his August 31 call-up to the big leagues.

This thing's not over yet. Not by a longshot. Sure, the Orioles need to keep winning to maintain any hope of playing in the post-season. But, the Rays, Jays and Mariners also have to keep winning, don't forget. There's just as much pressure on them as there is on our Baby Birds.


Here are the current wild card standings:

1. Toronto, 80-62 (+0.5) -- vs. Tampa Bay (Wed, Thurs), vs. Baltimore (Fri, Sat, Sun)

2. Tampa Bay, 79-62 (---) -- at Toronto (Wed, Thurs), vs. Texas (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Seattle, 79-62 (---) -- vs. San Diego (Wed), at L.A. Angels (Fri, Sat, Sun)


4. BALTIMORE, 74-67 (-5.0) -- at Washington (Wed), at Toronto (Fri, Sat, Sun)

5. Chicago, 73-69 (-6.5) -- vs. Colorado (Wed), at Cleveland (Thurs), at Detroit (Fri, Sat, Sun)

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The Stats Nerd
And His Numbers


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


week one ravens review


The Ravens survived a sloppy first half and did what we all expected them to do in New York this past weekend. At times, they looked dominant and other times they looked lethargic or rusty. Let’s jump into the full scope of what I saw and see what some of the advanced statistics say.

The Good

After what seems like years of poor pass pressure the Ravens got after Joe Flacco early and often.

Although the stat line wasn’t “great” with only 3 sacks, there were 2 additional sacks called back due to penalties. They also had the second most QB hits on Cool Joe and were 4th in Expected Points Added by defense (essentially this means that the defense allowed fewer points than would have been expected given the Jets starting field positions).

ESPNs Pass Rush Win Rate grade for the Ravens was 11th in the league (meaning Ravens rushers beat their offensive blockers within 2.5 seconds).

It’s interesting to note that the pressure rate was not super high for the Ravens defense (17th). But with the game well in hand mid way through the 3rd quarter it’s fair to say the defense went a bit more prevent in play style. Baltimore faced the largest number of pass attempts (59) as the Jets attempted to comeback. But for a late interception by Lamar giving them a short field, the Jets likely would not have gotten into the end zone.

Overall a solid bunch of statistics that probably don’t tell us a ton about the quality of the DL. They played an offensive line without much quality and did what we would hope they would do. But, they can only play the players in front of them so at least for week 1 this group passed the test.


The Bad

As mentioned last week in the season preview there was obvious concern about the offensive line. And at least in week 1, those concerns seem warranted.

The most eye opening statistic to me: The Ravens were bottom 5 in both Yards Before Contact and Yards Before Contact per rush attempt. Translation-There were no holes for the running backs.

There is a wing of football analytics that believes that running backs don’t matter. In fact, one of the best analytically driven sites is called RBDM (Running Backs Don’t Matter). It’s all said with tongue firmly in cheek but the idea is that so much goes into a successful running game that just focusing on the guy getting the handoffs is too simplistic.

So when I heard people calling in to local radio stations saying (more or less) “as soon as we get Dobbins and Gus back the running game will get it together” I have to raise an eyebrow. If the line can’t open holes, I don’t think JK is gonna suddenly be an All-Pro particularly coming off a major injury.

Might he be better than what we saw on Sunday? Maybe he gets to the holes or edges a split second quicker? Perhaps. But the running game is a far cry from 2019 when they led the two categories I described above.

A healthy Ronnie Stanley would seem to be an improvement. But as mentioned last week, I think there is some question how good he can be particularly early in his comeback (whenever that may ultimately be).

The OL was a bit better in pass protection. A really interesting stat is called Intended Air Yards (IAY). Essentially this measures how deep down the field the team’s throws were regardless of if they were complete. At least for week 1, Lamar and the Ravens led the league in total IAY and IAY per attempt. It certainly seemed like they were trying to get the ball down the field. That takes time in the pocket.

So maybe the OL wasn’t really “bad” per se. I think the Jets were viewed as having some defensive stoppers along the line and was probably the strength of the team. But the ineffectiveness of the run game is worth noting as they step into games against better teams.


The Ugly

Sigh…2 starters down, 2 starters out for the season. Have to feel bad for Ju’Wan James fighting back from injuries only to shred the same achilles he just rehabbed. That was a shame. And Charm City’s own Kyle Fuller tearing his ACL late in the 4th quarter is a big blow. The team consciously has a deep secondary but losing a veteran starter is never easy to overcome.

But my vote for the ugly is the continued struggle with time management by the Ravens. I don’t know what the issue is but it seems virtually every play is snapped with 1 or 2 seconds left on the play clock. In fact, many are snapped with Lamar essentially jumping up and down to avoid a delay of game penalty.

This is not a new issue. In fact, they were 5th in Delay penalties last season. I tried to find statistics on snaps relative to the game clock by team but wasn’t able to locate them. My eye test says they have to be close to the league lead in snaps at 1 or 0 on the play clock.

Similarly, there was a clear error in the first half by Harbaugh. Facing a 4th and 1 at midfield, Harbaugh left the offense on the field ostensibly to go for it. Instead, the clock ticked down and I assumed a delay of game was incoming.

Instead, Harbaugh called timeout. Ok, I thought, he didn’t like something and wanted to regroup before the 4th down try. But then they came back from the timeout and punted?? Why? Just take the delay of game if you aren’t going to go for it. That timeout is far more valuable than the 5 yards lost for a delay call.

I like a lot of the decisions Harbaugh and his staff make. They are clearly analytically inclined and understand situational football and process driven decision making as well as any coaching staff in the league. But they seem to have an odd blind spot for timeouts. They consistently burn timeouts in situations that make little sense. Not sure why but it has been a consistent theme during Harbaugh’s tenure.

This week's game against the Dolphins is a good test. The Dolphins are a young, fast team that has a lot of weapons on offense. You might recall that the game last year in Miami was a disaster and the Ravens never got anything going. A win this week is particularly important with the 2 subsequent games in New England and home against Buffalo.

Last week was only one game. I’m not sure I’d read too much into any of the statistics presented…at least not yet. We will check back through the season and see how the preseason concerns play out.

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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 Tuesday here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


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Striker Watch --

In the striker competition it was leading contender, Jesus Ferreira, headlining the week with a man of the match performance in a 2-1 win over one of the top teams in MLS, Los Angeles FC. Ferreira scored both goals in the win for FC Dallas, making a big impression just ahead of this week’s expected roster announcement for the upcoming USMNT games.

Down a goal in the 79th minute, Ferreira capitalized on a smart play by US teammate Paul Arriola, who quickly took a free kick while LA’s defenders were arguing with the ref. The pass found Ferreira in the box and he blasted it in from a tight angle to tie the game.

Jesus Ferreira continues to impress U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter as the Americans prepare for World Cup '22 in November.

Just three minutes later he scored the game winner from a free kick just outside the box, hitting a curling shot that deflected off a defender and beat the keeper. In addition to the goals, Ferreira was active in possession, completing 22 of 27 passes and two long balls, helping to facilitate the Dallas attack.

As mentioned in the Bundesliga recap, Jordan Pefok started in a 1-0 win over Koln. Pefok helped set up the game’s only goal, chasing down a long ball in the channel and winning a battle with a defender, then laying off to his teammate who shot and forced an own goal. He had a chance to extend the lead with a penalty kick in the 10th minute, but hit a weak attempt right at the keeper. Pefok nearly set up one more chance before subbing off in the second half, holding up a ball and laying it off for a shot from a teammate.

In the Netherlands, Ricardo Pepi made his debut appearance for Groningen in the Dutch first division after his recent transfer. The Texas native got an “assist” on the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Camburr, although his teammate did most of the hard work. Pepi intercepted a poor back pass from a defender and then played it wide to a teammate who beat several defenders and the goalie.

He connected on 7 of 9 passes and did solid defensive work in the press, winning 3 ball recoveries and 1 interception. The Dutch league should provide Pepi a good level of competition to grow his game and progress to the next level, however he will probably need an incredible surge to push his way back into the US picture before the World Cup.

In MLS, Brandon Vazquez had a decent game but couldn’t get on the scoresheet in a 6-0 FC Cincinnati win over the San Jose Earthquakes. Vazquez helped set up each of the first two Cincinnati goals, the first with a good lay off pass in the box and the second with a header back into the box off a free kick. He later had a good chance on a rebound saved at point blank range by the keeper.

In Turkey, Haji Wright failed to stand out in a 1-0 loss to Kayserispor. Wright was 12 of 14 passing and created one chance but wasn’t too impactful in the loss.

With the roster due out later this week for the two warm-up “friendlies'' against Saudi Arabia and Japan, the striker field should narrow. It will be very difficult for any player to earn their way to Qatar if they aren’t called in for these two games, with minimal preparation time just before the World Cup.

Gregg Berhalter will likely call three strikers into this camp. It's possible he could bring in an expanded roster to cover all his bases, but there will probably be an emphasis on building team cohesion in these last competitive games before the main event. The way I see the current pecking order, Jesus Ferreira is a lock to be called in and will get most of the starting minutes.

Despite missing the weekend due to the English shutdown, Josh Sargent is in top form and also possesses the skillset that Berhalter values at the position, he would be my second choice.

The third choice is where it gets difficult. Pefok seems the most likely option. Although he doesn’t have the profile Berhalter prefers, he has been playing well at the highest level of competition of any of the options and he could be a good change of pace to sub on late in games. If Berhalter opts to bring one more as an evaluation or just to familiarize in case of an injury, my guess is it would be Brandon Vazquez. He can do enough of the things necessary in the US setup and has had a breakout season in MLS, nearly matching Ferreira’s production.


Center Back Watch --

Two US center backs got big tests in the Champions League this week with varying results. Cameron Carter-Vickers continued to solidify his position in the depth chart with a decent performance against Real Madrid. While he wasn’t perfect, he did show he can hold his own against some of the top competition in the world. Carter-Vickers had several nice line splitting passes and remained calm on the ball under pressure, connecting on 92% of his 49 passes. He also did well on one Real Madrid break to contain dangerous Brazilian attacker Vinicius Jr.

There were several tough moments for the Celtic defender as Real Madrid took control of the game in the second half. Carter-Vickers was pressed into defending Fede Valverede on the wing on a Real Madrid counter, and despite closing the space, he allowed Valverde to hit a difficult cross that found a streaking Vinicius at the back post for a goal. He also got caught upfield on the second Madrid goal, sliding in to make a tackle near midfield, but it was mostly bad luck that the ball bounced free to a Madrid player.

Things didn't go as well for Rangers and James Sands against Ajax. The Scottish team was thoroughly dominated by the Dutch champions and Sands was picked on for several of the Ajax goals. On the first he seemed to lose his mark on a corner kick, allowing Mexican midfielder Edson Alvarez to head in a goal. Then he scored an own goal trying to stop a cross when it deflected off his foot and past his keeper at the near post. Sands has done well to solidify his spot at Rangers but he is probably a long shot for a US call up this week.

Back in MLS, Aaron Long was ok in a 2-1 New York Red Bull win over the New England Revolution but didn’t stand out. His passing wasn’t great as he hit on just 77% and under half of his long balls. He was strong in the air, winning 10 of his aerial battles.

In France it was a rough game for Erik Palmer-Brown in a Troyes 1-0 loss to Lens. Palmer-Brown had several poor passes in the first half that set up counter attacks for the opposition and was lucky not to get called for a penalty early on. He then lost his mark on a corner kick resulting in a Lens goal. He was subbed out early in the second half. It has been an up and down start to the season for Palmer-Brown and he has likely slipped down the US depth chart a bit since being included in the roster for the June exhibition games.

Berhalter could call upon anywhere from four to six center backs in the forthcoming roster. Some of that depends on tactical plans and some depends on how many full backs are called in. Reggie Cannon has been a regular at right back for the US but he has mostly played as a center back for his club and could be seen as cover for both positions if called in.

My guess is Berhalter will bring in five center backs in September. Walker Zimmerman and Chris Richards are locks to be on the roster and it would be very surprising if Aaron Long isn't there as he has been a Berhalter favorite. For the final two I’m guessing he will select Cameron Carter-Vickers and Tim Ream who have both been in good form to start the season against some challenging competition.

Other options like Mark McKenzie, Matt Miazga, Erik Palmer-Brown and James Sands will probably be on the outside looking in. John Brooks remains intriguing, but given his lack of club minutes, it seems improbable Berhalter will have a change of heart about him.


Other Highlights --

The highlight of the week for American fans was surely the extended substitute appearance for Gio Reyna in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-0 win over Copenhagen in the Champions League. Reyna was forced into action in the 23rd minute when Thorgan Hazard went down with an injury.

It didn’t take the teenage American long to make an impact as Reyna delivered an assist in the 42nd minute for Rapahel Guerreiro’s goal that put Dortmund up 2-0. Reyna received the ball in the box on a quick counter attack and showed good patience and vision to settle, force the keeper to commit and then slip a pass back across the box to set Guerreiro up with an easy goal.

He dished out another assist in the 83rd minute when he dribbled into the box and hit a precise cut back pass to the top of the box that Jude Bellingham finished with a first-time shot. In his 67 minutes, Reyna was 28 of 34 passing and created three chances. He also became the first American player ever to register two assists in a Champions League game. The appearance demonstrates the immense potential Reyna holds for the US team. Let us all keep our fingers crossed that he can arrive healthy in Qatar in November.

In addition to Reyna, Carter-Vickers and Sands, several other US hopefuls got on the field for their clubs in the Champions League. As mentioned in the European recap, Weston McKennie subbed on at halftime for Juventus and scored a goal off a corner kick. McKennie was decent aside from the goal, mostly completing conservative passes going 19 of 21 and collecting four defensive ball recoveries.

Christian Pulisic subbed on in the 75th minute of Chelsea’s shocking 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb. He wasn’t too effective in the game, losing the ball with a couple of loose touches and suffering from the malaise that has infected the entire Chelsea attack. In potentially good news for Pulisic, the loss prompted Chelsea to fire manager Thomas Tuchel and replace him with promising Brighton & Hove manager, Graham Potter.

While a new coach is no guarantee that Pulisic will get more playing time, it was clear that he was not favored by Tuchel and hopefully the new coach can bring some fresh ideas to revive an attack that has gone stale this season.

Sergino Dest was one of several players that debuted for their new clubs this week. He subbed on in the 57th minute for AC Milan in their 1-1 draw with Salzburg. He was able to get involved in the attack in his time on the field, creating one chance with an accurate cross from the right wing. He will need to perform to get increased minutes with Davide Calabria currently entrenched as the starting right back.

Goalkeeper Matt Turner also debuted, making his first appearance of the season for Arsenal in their 2-1 win over FC Zurich in the Europa League. Turner wasn’t tested too much in the win, with the only goal coming from a penalty kick. He did have one shaky moment passing out of the back, but otherwise it was fairly uneventful. With Zack Steffen missing the past few games for Middlesbrough due to injury, Turner seems the likely starter for the US in September.

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Tuesday
September 13, 2022
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you're gonna drive yourself nuts


"Can you believe ESPN didn't make a big deal out of Lamar's 55-yard TD throw to Rashod Bateman?"

"If that was Patrick Mahomes, it would have been the number one highlight of week one."

"Why doesn't Lamar get any national love?"

"Burrow turned the ball over 4 times...can you imagine if Lamar did that?"

"It never ceases to amaze me how Lamar gets disrespected by the networks."

Lamar Jackson continues to be a target of sports journalists and Baltimore football fans fall right into their trap of back-and-forth bitterness.

I realize we're all built differently. So when I say what I'm about to say, you might be one of the folks I'm actually trying to reach.

Stop. Worrying. About. Lamar.

I know, it's hard to do.

For some of you, it's actually impossible.

Over the next 16 weeks, you're going to spend countless hours perusing the internet looking through as many social media posts as possible in an effort to find people throwing shade at the Ravens quarterback.

Here's my advice:

Let it go. It's not important. None of it matters. Just let it go.

Nothing written on Twitter or Instagram about Lamar Jackson matters one iota. None of it. If some dude from the New York Post thinks Lamar looked "sluggish" on Sunday, let him think that. It's OK.

If a podcaster in Chicago who claims to be a quarterback guru ranked Jackson's performance in New Jersey on Sunday as the 22nd best out of 32 starting quarterbacks, who gives a rat's rear end? I mean, seriously. Who freakin' cares?

Truthfully, I get more agitated at Ravens fans who go back and forth on social media than anything else. Why do you care so much about what's written about Lamar or any player for that matter?

News flash: Lamar's fine. No matter how he plays next Sunday vs. Miami, he gets $23 million in 2022. Trust me, the joke's on everyone else.

But I can't for the life of me figure out why people are so caught up with defending him day-in-and-day-out. It's exhausting, isn't it?

You watched the game. You saw what he did. You know he's a talented quarterback. Who cares what the beat writer for the Washington Post thinks about Lamar Jackson? I sure don't.

I'm telling you...you're gonna drive yourself crazy if you keep up this pace all season long, that's for certain. Heck, Lamar got chided on Sunday and actually had a good game and the team won. Imagine the outcry when he has an off day and the Ravens lose. You might need therapy.

It's a long season. Consider this a friendly reminder. Social media is a world filled with people who say stuff just to say stuff. It's all about the "hot take" or the little-known-stat that proves the point the author is desperately trying to make.

You're best served to just watch the games, enjoy yourself, and rise above the fray. I promise, you'll feel a whole lot better on Monday and Tuesday mornings.


Because I have friends who are easily bored, one of them sent me a baseball attendance quiz yesterday.

"Five questions," he wrote via text. "How many can you get right?"

I know attendance is a taboo subject in these parts, so I thought long and hard about even publishing this here today. Some folks can't handle even a basic, benign discussion about attendance, as if it's some kind of personal affront.

But here we go...with the attendance quiz. Play along if you want. But if you do decide to take the quiz, don't cheat. Don't Google the questions. Answer them honestly. See how many you get right.

I only came close to getting one right. Out of five. As you'll see below, I was woefully wrong on several accounts.

1. Out of 30 MLB teams, what number do the Orioles rank in average home attendance this season?

(I was close on this one. Off by only two places, in fact.)

2. How many teams in MLB average more than 30,000 fans per-home game?

(I wasn't close on this one. Off by a bunch.)

3. What's the Orioles current average per-game attendance at home?

(I missed this one by roughly 2,000 fans per-game.)

4. Two teams are averaging over 40,000 per-home-game. Who are they?

(I got one of these right. I missed the other one.)

5. Who is the biggest "road draw" in terms of average attendance per-away-game?

(I got this one wrong, too. I probably wouldn't have picked the right team with 5 or 6 picks.)


Answers appear at the bottom of Regular Joe's column below.


Like a lot of you, I'm guessing, I watched a number of shows and documentaries last weekend connected with the 9/11 attacks on our country.

Truth be told, I opted to watch a show on The History Channel Sunday evening in lieu of the Tampa Bay/Dallas NFL game. Every year on September 11, I make it a point to watch videos, TV shows and anything else I can find, all in an effort to follow the "Never Forget" motto that was adopted in the wake of the tragedies.

Captain America taking money from the Saudi government? It doesn't add up.

Even now, some 21 years later, I'm extraordinarily saddened by what happened on September 11, 2001.

I watched one show on Saturday last weekendd that focused primarily on the first responders and the firefighters who first made their way up the steps to trapped men and women in Tower #1.

"We have to get up there and get those people out, now!" one fireman yelled to the others as bodies of jumpers hit the roof above them and made horrific sounds.

"I'll go wherever you need me, Captain," one of them said.

Both of those men, the show told us, went up the steps.

They never made it back down.

I opted not to write about this on Sunday out of respect to the start of the NFL season and knowing, of course, that the primary function of this website is sports.

But there is, for sure, a sports connection to September 11, 2001.

As I watched show after show over the weekend and saw and heard the pain and anguish felt by those people who lost their lives or lost loved ones in the attack, I couldn't help but think about the American golfers who signed up to play LIV Golf and knowingly joined with the Saudi government, whom the FBI says provided a support network to Osama bin Laden and the terrorists who flew the planes on 9-11.

"If they were watching this show right now," I said to myself as a 55-year old mother of two talked about losing her (then) 33-year old husband just six days after the birth of their daughter, "how do they sleep at night?"

"How do they buy a new house with that Saudi money they were given? How do they buy a new car? How do they feel good about their decision?"

The motto for September 11, 2001 is "Never Forget".

Some guys, unfortunately, did forget.


You might know -- but perhaps you don't -- that Bruce Springsteen released an album in 2002 called "The Rising" and the title track from the album was a song Springsteen wrote about the firefighters who bravely faced the 9/11 tragedy and went up the steps to try to save people from the burning fires in both both buildings.

Springsteen has written countless great songs in his 5-decade career. I've never thought he was a "great" singer. But he can write a great song with the best of them. The Rising might be his Mona Lisa.

The chorus for the song, "Come on up for the rising, come on up, lay your hands in mine" is a mystical metaphor for both those trapped in the burning World Trade Center buildings who are waiting to feel the saving hands of someone they don't even know and the firefighter's eventual ascension into heaven, where Jesus is there to pull them in and say, "You've done good work and God is pleased."

He captures every possible emotion in The Rising.

Sorrow, love, mercy, fear, glory. It's all part of what happened on September 11, 2001.

Never forget.

Never forget innocent souls who died in New York, Washington DC and Shanksville PA.

Never forget those emergency professionals who died trying to save others.

Never forget the families left behind.

Never forget the people who rebuilt what was destroyed.

Let's never forget it.


The Rising

Can't see nothing in front of me

Can't see nothing coming up behind

Make my way through this darkness

I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me

Lost track of how far I've gone

How far I've gone, how high I've climbed

On my back's a sixty pound stone

On my shoulder, a half-mile of line


Come on up for the rising

Come on up, lay your hands in mine

Come on up for the rising

Come on up for the rising tonight


Left the house this morning

Bells were ringing and filled the air

I was wearing the cross of my calling

On wheels of fire, I come rolling down here


Come on up for the rising

Come on up, lay your hands in mine

Come on up for the rising

Come on up for the rising tonight


There's spirits above and behind me

Faces gone black, eyes burning bright

May their precious blood bind me

Lord, as I stand before your fiery light


I see you Mary in the garden

In the garden of a thousand sighs

There's holy pictures of our children

Dancing in a sky filled with light

May I feel your arms around me

May I feel your blood mix with mine

A dream of life comes to me

Like a catfish dancing on the end of the line


Sky of blackness and sorrow (A dream of life)

Sky of love, sky of tears (A dream of life)

Sky of glory and sadness (A dream of life)

Sky of mercy, sky of fear (A dream of life)

Sky of memory and shadow (A dream of life)

Your burning wind fills my arms tonight

Sky of longing and emptiness (A dream of life)

Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life (A dream of life)


Come on up for the rising

Come on up, lay your hands in mine

Come on up for the rising

Come on up for the rising tonight



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"Regular Joe"
on the 2022 Orioles and their minor league teams


"Regular Joe" has been following the Orioles for the better part of four decades. He'll be our eyes and ears in 2022 on both the Orioles and their various minor league teams as the Birds look to rebuild a winner in Baltimore.


still a heartbeat, but fading fast


The Orioles have had a good season in 2022.

Their winning record of 73-67 through 140 games far exceeds most expectations. They made September baseball meaningful again, keeping the fans well engaged into football season, which hasn’t happened since 2016.

But with improvement, and any long rebuilds, comes expectations. Two weeks ago, we were looking at 50% probabilities to make the playoffs, and optimism was pretty high around town.

Ryan Mountcastle continues to struggle offensively and #DMD's "Regular Joe" wonders if an off-season trade might be a possibility?

Since last Sunday, the Birds have gone 2-6 and fallen 5.5 games out of the last wild-card slot. Even with one nine run outburst against Toronto, they have averaged only three runs a game. Starter Jordan Lyles got sick, throwing the rotation into brief disarray during the big Blue Jay series, and then Lyles got whacked when he returned against the Red Sox.

The poor play on Sundays continued too. The O's got shut out by 42 year old Rich Hill and a cast of relievers, garnering three hits in the process. After a few innings it was hard not to go back to the NFL games, which were hugely entertaining for an opening week.

Even Brandon Hyde seemed exasperated with the offense, mentioning that they need more walks and implying that many guys were over- swinging.

With 22 games left on the schedule, chances for a playoff spot are very slim. They do still have 6 games remaining with Toronto, so technically anything is possible. The players realize that Mike Elias will be watching closely over these last 3 weeks, as expectations will even be higher in 2023.

What will the team’s off-season priorities be?

Pitching is always a priority, but the 2nd half has at least given us hope that Dean Kremer and Kyle Bradish should be in the conversation. Despite his recent struggles, I would pick up Lyles' $11m option. When counting on young pitchers (add Tyler Wells and Grayson Rodriquez to the two above), it helps to have depth.

Hitting is where the Orioles need serious upgrades.

Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays have both regressed after solid 2021 seasons, as both are hitting below .250 with OBPs around .300. These are not Mike Elias guys and I could see them packaged for some even younger talent in the off-season.

Although I am not convinced Kyle Stowers will hit, I am confused why he isn’t playing more – we need to find out if he can hit big league pitching.

The bench also needs to be improved in 2023. We seem to lose every game Robinson Chirinos catches and Ryan McKenna, although seemingly a favorite of the press, strikes out way too much and, per Sunday's loss, can’t bunt in a crucial situation. Money should be spent on solid veteran reserves like contenders do.

We will talk more about potential moves as the off-season unfolds, but in the meantime, maybe we can go 4-1 against the Nats and Blue Jays this week and get back in the race.

Also, keep following Bowie, as they remain tied with Erie for their 2nd half league playoff spot, and now face Akron, who is only 2 games behind.


Answers to the attendance quiz

1. The Orioles are 24th in MLB in attendance. I thought they were 22nd. The only teams with worse home attendance than the O's -- Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Miami and Oakland.

2. A total of 14 teams are averaging 30,000 or more per-home game in 2022. That's almost half the league. I thought the number was probably 9. Maybe 10. The most surprising? San Diego, Colorado and Milwaukee. I wouldn't have thought any of those three would be over 30,000.

3. The Birds are averaging 17,755 so far in 2022. I figured they were averaging 15,000. Neither of those numbers are very good, of course, but 17K is better than 15K.

4. The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals are both above 40,000. The Dodgers lead all of baseball (47,000) while the Cardinals are just a tick above 40,000. I thought it was the Cardinals and New York Mets. Surprisingly, ,the Mets "only" average 33,000 per-game.

5. The biggest road draw on a per-game basis? The Chicago Cubs at 31,653. I assumed it was the Yankees. Or the Red Sox. Or the Mets. Or the Dodgers. Never would have guessed the Cubs.

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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 Tuesday here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


weekend soccer report


This week brought the start of the Champions League in Europe and with it a packed schedule of games everywhere outside of the UK. All English games were postponed over the weekend after the passing of the Queen. Despite the cancellation, there were still plenty of Americans in action.

The top US striker candidate made his case ahead of the upcoming roster announcement with a strong showing against one of the top teams in MLS. In Europe there were multiple Americans on the field in the opening round of the Champions League and a couple USMNT hopefuls made debuts for their new clubs.

The Champions League got underway with several marquee matchups of potential contenders and an electric start for two young superstars. Over the weekend there was more volatility in the German and Italian title races, while the favorites continued to pace the field in Spain and France.


Key Results Around Europe

Champions League --

The opening round of the Champions League group stage signaled that the torch has officially been passed to the next duo of superstars who could dominate for years to come. Young attackers Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland both lit up the scoreboard, helping their teams to victories.

Man City's Erling Haaland continued his exceptional start to the 2022 season with two more goals in a 4-0 win over Sevilla.

In one of the top billed games of the week, Mbappe scored two first half goals to lead Paris St. Germain to a 2-1 win over Juventus. The young Frenchman opened the scoring in the 5th minute when Neymar chipped a pass over the defense and Mbappe picked it clean out of the air at full stride for a laser volley past the keeper.

He added another in the 22nd minute to put PSG up 2-0. American midfielder Weston McKennie came on at halftime and soon after scored a header off a corner kick to get Juventus back into the game, but they were unable to find an equalizer and PSG won 2-1.

The Norse god of goals, Erling Haaland, helped Manchester City get their campaign off to a dominant start, scoring twice in a 4-0 win over Sevilla. Building on his excellent start to the Premier League season with his new team.

With stars like Messi, Ronaldo and even Robert Lewandowski and Luka Modric entering the later stages of their careers, it is Mbappe and Haaland that represent the vanguard of a new generation taking over the sport.

Perhaps the most shocking result of the first round was Napoli’s destruction of Liverpool. The current Serie A leaders blew the doors off Liverpool in a 4-1 win that could have been even worse for the English club. Napoli stormed out of the gates scoring a 5th minute penalty and tacking on three more before halftime. They had another first half penalty that was missed or it would have been 5-0 at the break.

Napoli was led by a dominant midfield performance from the duo of Piotr Zielinski and Andre-Frank Anguissa. Zielinski scored two goals and assisted one while Anguissa scored one himself. They also rendered Liverpool’s midfield completely ineffective in attack, as the British team couldn’t match the intensity of the Italian side.

In the other clash of titans, Bayern Munich shook off their recent Bundesliga struggles and delivered a commanding 2-0 win over Inter Milan. The German champions were led by a big game from winger Leroy Sane who scored one goal and forced an own goal for the second. Bayern controlled the game with 56% possession, outshooting Inter 21-9.

The feel good story of the round was the emotional 4-1 rout of RB Leipzig by displaced Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk. Shakhtar got a key road win in Leipzig as they will be forced to play all of their “home” games in Poland due to the Russian invasion.

The loss spelled the end of the road for RB Leipzig coach Domenico Tedesco, who was fired after a poor start to the season for the Red Bull club.

The Champions League continues this week with a compacted schedule to complete the group stage before the World Cup. On Tuesday there are a pair of thrilling matchups. In Group C, Bayern Munich will host Barcelona as the Catalans look to exact some revenge from the club that has tormented them in recent seasons. Barcelona will hope the addition of former Bayern superstar striker, Robert Lewandowski, can help them turn the tables and win a key match for the top of the group.

Also on Tuesday, Liverpool will look to bounce back after a week to ruminate on their poor showing in Napoli. They will host Ajax in a game that could have important implications for who advances from the group after Ajax dominated Rangers in week one.

Wednesday brings the other headline game of the week with another former star Bundesliga striker facing his previous team. Erling Haaland and Manchester City will host Borussia Dortmund in a big test for the young German team. Weston McKennie and Juventus also host Benfica in need of a win after dropping their first game to PSG.


Germany --

The Bundesliga title race has been unexpectedly thrown into chaos over the last few weeks. This weekend was no different with Bayern Munich again dropping points in a disappointing 2-2 draw with Stuttgart. The ten-time champions wasted a great game from teenage midfielder Jamal Musiala, coughing up a late lead when Matthijs de Ligt conceded a penalty in the final minutes and Stuttgart converted.

In the top matchup of the weekend, Borussia Dortmund was unable to seize first place because a revamped RB Leipzig shocked them with a 3-0 win under new coach Marco Rose.

Dortmund’s offense never got going and their highly touted center back pair of Niko Schlotterbeck and Niklas Sule had a game they’ll want to forget. Gio Reyna subbed on for the last 30 minutes of the game and delivered one nice cross to go along with several poorly taken corners and free kicks. Overall he was not as effective as in his midweek Champions League appearance.

Jordan Pefok and Union Berlin were able to take advantage of Bayern’s misfortune, squeezing out a 1-0 win over Koln on Sunday to move to the top of the standings. Previous co-leaders, Freiburg, settled for a scoreless draw with Joe Scally’s Borussia Monchengladbach to drop into a tie for second place. Four teams stand within two points of the top.


Italy --

Serie A’s title race is a free-for-all similar to Germany’s with several teams near the top of the table. Napoli continued their momentum from their big win over Liverpool with a 1-0 win over Spezia on the weekend.

Meanwhile, leaders Atalanta dropped points in a 1-1 draw with Cremonese, allowing Napoli to pull even at the top of the standings. Reigning champions, AC Milan, joined them at the top with a 2-1 win over Sampdoria thanks to a second half penalty goal from Olivier Giroud and another strong outing from Rafael Leao.

Weston McKennie’s Juventus got a draw in a wild finish against Salernitana. After giving up two first half goals, Juventus clawed their way back and equalized with a penalty kick goal in injury time. They then seemed to find a winner in the final seconds off a corner kick but it was called back for offside by VAR, leading to a heated exchange and several red cards being handed out as the game concluded. McKennie played 85 minutes in the game but didn’t have a huge impact.


Spain --

In La Liga, Real Madrid and Barcelona continued to separate themselves from the pack. Real Madrid came back to win 4-1 after giving up an early goal to Mallorca. They were led by an outstanding game from midfielder Fede Valverde, who scored a spectacular equalizing goal, dribbling the length of the field and drilling a shot into the upper corner to beat the keeper.

Barcelona got off to a slow start against Cadiz while resting several key players before their big Champions League game against Bayern Munich. In the second half they brought Robert Lewandowski off the bench and he delivered a goal and an assist to lead them to a 4-0 win.


France --

In Ligue 1, PSG got a 1-0 win over Brest in a game that was closer than expected. The Parisians were led by another standout performance from Leo Messi, but had a hard time converting their chances despite 61% possession.

Marseille kept pace at the top of the standings with a 2-1 win over Lille thanks to a second half goal from center back Sameul Gigot.


Team of the Week

G: Handanovic - Inter Milan

D: Davies - Bayern Munich; Rudiger - Real Madrid; Orban - RB Leipzig

M: Musiala - Bayern Munich; De Jong - Barcelona; De Paul - Atletico Madrid; Valverde - Real Madrid

F: Szoboszlai - RB Leipzig; Lewandowski - Barcelona; Messi - PSG


Player of the Week

Dominik Szoboszlai - RB Leipzig

The Hungarian attacker was the key contributor in Leipzig’s impressive win over Borussia Dortmund under new coach Marco Rose. Szoboszlai assisted the first goal of the game when his corner kick found the head of Willi Orban. He then doubled the lead before halftime with a wonderstrike to beat the keeper from well outside the box. He was 31 for 39 passing in the game and created four chances while remaining active defensively with 7 ball recoveries.


Tomorrow here at #DMD, Randy will look at American players and what happened last weekend in MLS and overseas.

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Monday
September 12, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2940


not great, but plenty good enough


It was ragged at times. Concerning at times. And excellent at times.

In the end, it was a win yesterday, which is really all that matters. Sure, we tend to pick the games apart and look for anything we can gripe about, but the Ravens won a NFL road game yesterday, and that's the only result they wanted and needed.

It wasn't the sharpest performance ever, especially in the opening 30 minutes.

The Ravens started out looking very much like a squad that hadn't played most of their real players in the pre-season. It took a half to bang out the opening day jitters and get their feet on solid ground. But when they looked good -- they looked really good. And that, more than anything, was the biggest takeaway I had from the cruise-control 24-9 win over the Jets at The Meadowlands.

Another opening day win for Harbs and Lamar, as the Ravens cruised past the Jets on Sunday in New Jersey, 24-9.

Once things started to percolate in the second half, the Ravens were much the better team. Early on, their inability to run the ball and a sputtering first half from Lamar Jackson kept things close. But there was never a moment where the Jets looked like they might pull off the upset. It was always going to be a Baltimore win.

Lamar, who hadn't played a real football game since last December, looked rusty in the opening 30 minutes. Some of that rust wasn't entirely his fault. Yes, he misread a coverage or two and made a couple of bad throws, but it was his first "live football" in nine months or so. Some slack on that line, please.

Rookie tight end Isaiah Likely didn't endear himself to Greg Roman and the coaching staff with a pair of whiffs on balls thrown right to him. Rashod Bateman let a ball get past him in the first half as well. But Lamar wasn't his normal sharp-self in the first half, that's for sure.

The Baltimore running game was lackluster...and that's being kind. Without Dobbins and Edwards, the Ravens gave the ball to Kenyan Drake, Mike Davis and Justice Hill -- and none of those three did much of anything. Didn't we draft a running back last April?

Oh, that's right, we cut Tyler Badie last month to get the roster down to 53 players. Never mind.

Some of yesterday's offensive malaise could have tied into the first half season-ending injury to left tackle Ju'Wuan James. Some of it might have connected with the fact that New York's run defense was better than advertised. Whatever the case, the Ravens finished the day with just 63 yards on the ground, and Lamar accounted for 17 of those, including an important 8-yard scamper on 3rd and 8 in the third quarter when the game was still (technically) in the balance.

But the story of the day was Baltimore's defensive pass rush and their stout work against the Jets' running attack.

The Ravens finished with 11 hits on Joe Flacco, three sacks, and three tackles for loss. Flacco threw the ball 59 times in the loss, a true recipe for disaster if ever there was one. Joe's performance was about what you and I expected. He made several nice throws to the sideline, like he was always able to do, and certainly wasn't "awful" by any means.

But he's a journeyman quarterback these days and when the Baltimore defense pinned its ears back and went after him, Flacco was just another guy trying to get out of the game healthy and upright.

And to further demonstrate their offensive woes, the Jets managed just 83 total yards on the ground on 17 carries. The Baltimore defense was good in virtually every facet of the game yesterday.

In particular, they got outstanding defensive performances from four players; Marcus Williams celebrated his first game in purple with an interception and a team high 12 tackles. Patrick Queen, Justin Houston and Michael Pierce were eye-openers as well, with Houston pestering Flacco on nearly every first half series, it seemed.


You can slice and splice the win over the Jets any way you choose.

Sure, the Jets stink. Their offense was largely ineffective, either because they're not all that talented or the Baltimore defense was just that much better. Your choice. I won't argue with you either way.

As I noted from the outset, the Ravens were ragged in the first half. You might associate that with a pre-season where most of the regulars didn't play at all. Or you might think the team's wide receiver position is in need of a spark. Again, I probably wouldn't debate you no matter which side of the fence you're on in that regard.

Devin Duvernay had a nice day, for sure. After a bumpy first half, Rashod Bateman acquitted himself well in the final two quarters. And in his first game with John Harbaugh's team, Demarcus Robinson made two catches. I don't think those three are going to scare any of the league's defensive coordinators, but for one day at least, they were good enough to get past the Jets.

There aren't many reactions in week one that turn out to be logical and correct over the long haul.

People around the AFC North are laughing at the Bengals after their season-opening loss to the Steelers. It was one game. Things happen.

The Titans fell at home to the Giants, of all people. Tennessee bungled the clock in the waning moments and missed a potential game-winning field goal at the buzzer. Again, it's football. Weird things happen.

The Packers went to Minnesota and got caught sleepwalking through a 23-7 loss to the Vikings. Aaron Rodgers looks like he's going to miss Davante Adams. Big time.

In Cincinnati, Nashville and Green Bay, they're already in panic mode. After one game. Sixty minutes. The sky is falling.

Win or lose yesterday, the Ravens are going to be a tough out in 2022. That they beat the Jets was icing on the cake, especially when you remember Stanley, Bowser, Boyle, Dobbins, Edwards and Peters all missed the game wit various injury-related issues. Wait until those guys are healthy and available and you'll see a better team all around.

They might not be great on offense or great on defense, but these Ravens are competent on both sides of the ball and they have the best kicker in the entire NFL. John Harbaugh's team won't lose much over the next 16 games.

Should there be concern about the running game? Maybe. Let's see what happens when they get RB1 and RB2 back in uniform. Is the receiving corps still less than dangerous? Perhaps. But the quarterback makes up for that, if you ask me.

Once the first game of the season comes and goes, veteran players can be signed without having to fully guarantee their entire salary. Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered through an injury-riddled 2021, is one guy still available who could be of interest to the Ravens. Other teams needing some pass rush help will probably reach out to him today as well.

I see the Baltimore defense giving team fits in 2022, especially if they can beef up against the run like they did at The Meadowlands yesterday. I don't think they'll average 9-points-allowed or anything spectacular like that, but I don't see the Ravens getting manhandled on the defensive side of the ball.

There's a long way to go, but for one week at least, what we saw from the Ravens is probably what most of us expected we'd see. Our quarterback is usually better than the other team's quarterback, you're not going to run the ball against Baltimore's defensive front with great effectiveness, and turnovers and 3rd down efficiency generally seem to favor the Ravens.

One down and 16 to go.

And remember, you can't win 'em all unless you win the first one.

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around the nfl


Saints 27 - Falcons 26 -- It wasn't Drew Brees vs. Matt Ryan but it was still an entertaining game that went down to the wire. One big takeaway: Atlanta might be really bad in '22. Like 4-13 "really bad".

Bears 19 - 49'ers 10 -- A) Field conditions in Chicago were embarrasingly poor. Rain happens, but that was a joke. B) Jimmy G. better get himself ready. He won't be on the sideline for long. One big takeaway: Trey Lance isn't very good. I suspect the 49'ers know that, but they're just not willing to accept it.

Steelers 23 - Bengals 20 OT -- This one was crazy, with Cincy scoring on the final play of regulation to tie it and then Pittsburgh blocking the game-winning extra point. If the injury to T.J. Watt is serious, the Steelers are cooked. One big takeaway: Don't overreact to Pittsburgh winning yesterday. They're no good. When those two teams meet in Pittsburgh later this season, the Bengals will beat them by double digits.

Patrick Mahomes took the early lead in the NFL MVP chase with a virtuoso performance in Arizona yesterday as K.C. smashed the Cardinals, 44-21.

Eagles 38 - Lions 35 -- Philadelphia virtually sewed up the NFC East yesterday with their win and Dak Prescott's thumb injury last night. Detroit hung tough in this one. Maybe they're on the upswing, finally? One big takeaway: It's hard to tell if the Eagles offense is really "that good" or the Detroit defense is lousy, but for one day at least, Philly looked dangerous when they had the ball.

Dolphins 20 - Patriots 7 -- Miami was very efficient in this one and the Patriots were not, especially on offense. If the back injury to Mac Jones is serious, New England's looking at a 6-win season. One big takeaway: It's only week #2, but Miami's visit to Baltimore next week represents one of those early-season tests that up-and-coming teams like the Dolphins point to as a "show off game". We'll see how that goes for them next Sunday in Charm City.

Commanders 28 - Jaguars 22 -- That this game was fairly entertaining was one of the day's big shockers. Both of these teams are going to stink, obviously, but Jacksonville does appear to be getting its act together little by little. One big takeaway: Carson Wentz will be good this week, bad next week, good this week, bad next week, and so on. D.C. will be lucky to win 7 games.

Browns 26 - Panthers 24 -- Some dude named Cade York hit a 58-yard field goal at the buzzer to give the Browns the win in Charlotte. Baker Mayfield is still Baker Mayfield, I guess. I expected more from a varsity letterman. One big takeaway: The Browns are just going to try to hold serve until they get Deshaun Watson back in November. For one game, at least, they did just that.

Colts 20 - Texans 20 (OT) -- This one has to feel ultra-weird for Indy. They trailed 20-3 heading into the 4th quarter, then shocked Houston with 17 points to send the game to OT. They even had a chance to win it in OT and missed a kick. One big takeaway: Matt Ryan will keep the Colts in almost every game. Whether their defense is good enough week in and week out remains to be seen, but the Colts will be dangerous by season's end.

Giants 21 - Titans 20 -- The Titans have to be kicking themselves losing an opening day lay-up game at home. Give New York credit. They hung tough, scored a late TD and then went for two on the road to try to win the game outright. And that's exactly what happened, as the Titans missed a field goal at the buzzer that would have given them the win. One big takeaway: Tennessee isn't going to be all that good this season. I told you that two weeks ago and I'm telling you that again today. 9 wins if they're lucky.

Vikings 23 - Packers 7 -- Not sure if this one tells us more about Minnesota or Green Bay, but for one day, at least, the Vikings looked legit on both sides of the ball and Green Bay looked lost. One big takeaway: Aaron Rodgers is really going to miss Davante Adams. In a big, big way.

Chiefs 44 - Cardinals 21 -- Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes offered the "performance of the day" as they went to Arizona and demolished the Cardinals. Arizona's supposed to be good? Could have fooled me. One big takeaway: Do the Cardinals still have the receipt on that Kyler Murray contract? Yikes...

Chargers 23 - Raiders 19 -- This was a really good game, with both teams flexing their muscles on offense and defense. If Los Angeles gets that kind of defensive play throughout the season, they're going to be tough to beat. The Carr-Adams combination for Las Vegas should be robust to say the least. One big takeaway: The AFC West is going to be a whopper of a division in 2022. Who knows if the Broncos are going to be any good, but K.C., L.A. and Las Vegas are all legit.

Buccaneers 19 - Cowboys 3 -- Tom Brady goes into Dallas and methodically takes care of the Cowboys. Ho-hum. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott is out 6-8 weeks after suffering a thumb injury in the 4th quarter of last night's game, so the Cowboys' season is over. One big takeaway: I'm still not convinced Tampa Bay is a powerhouse, but Brady continues to look like a guy who simply doesn't age. It's incredible.


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#dmd comments








HERMAN     October 05
I gave up on Dem O's years ago for a multitude of great reasons so I have no dog in the fight. But I did laugh out loud over someone claiming the O's a playoff team next year absent the knowledge of their roster or schedule. Especially when the same person told everyone for the last two months they'd make the playoffs this year knowing the roster and schedule. I'm wrong so rarely I can't remember what it felt like but if I remember correct the proper response after being wrong for two months running would be some humility. Not doubling down on predictions. But around here the SOD has a one day memory so you can tell them just about anything day in and day out and they forget how wrong you can be fresh the next morning.

Jason M     October 05
Not to mention the competition, but Mike Preston dropped a pretty big hint that Nick Boyle is done in his column today. The fact that he has not sniffed the 53 man roster yet this season would seem to bear that out. If that is so, we have lost one of the most effective run blocking tight ends that we've ever had. We have missed him on short yardage situations, and our tight ends not wearing 89 haven't done much of note so far. We'll see Hurst on Sunday, miss that guy, I'm sure Lamar does too.

unitastoberry     October 05
When is the court date for Angelos Vs Angelos?

Chris in Bel Air     October 05
O's definitely need another arm and a bat or two. Big bonus if some of the players performing in the minors (Westburg, Cowser, etc) are able to be contributors too. I know he can't hit but I like Mateo. Fielding, speed and energy are good for the team. It's been several years but we have an actual O's off-season coming up and carrying some sense of optimism. Heading down to the Yard now to take in the last game.

Delray RICK     October 05
ERIC...Hope you are right bout MATEO. Stolen base leader in AMERICAN LEAGUE. GREAT fielder like BELANGER.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 05
Drew putting his jinx out a year early. Just a reminder - White Sox were a lock to win the Central Os were a lock to win 60 or so games. I dont believe the Swanson rumors. Os officials have been whispering to LaConfora for months that Mateo is locked in at SS. Hopefully his baseball sources are as bad as his Ravens sources. Plenty of quality pitchers available by trade per Athletic - Burnes Snell Bieber Singer to name a few. I still say return of Means and G Rod makes our bottom 10 offense the bigger priority but ill gladly take a top arm too

TC     October 05
Swanson would be a perfect free agency target, except he's from Kennesaw, Georgia. There'd probably have to be a premium paid to get him out of Atlanta, and he is the only one of their infielders not locked up long-term.

HERMAN     October 05
It's pretty sad when you have to google the PGATour website to see if there is even a tour stop this week, or where they are. It would make perfect sense for the Tour to partner with LIV and allow them to take over what used to be called "the silly season", and operate in conjunction with the Tour. And 54 holes ending on Saturday would dovetail nicely as they wouldn't have to compete with the monster that is the NFL.

Like pro baseball the Tour needs to shorten the over-all season and make each individual tournament more meaningful. As it is everyone gets jazzed for the majors and maybe one or two more stops, past that interest seems to wane. It's possible that the Tour could end a month earlier or so, give up late Summer and Fall to LIV and have the truncated format and field, together with changes of team play, atmosphere and design create a new and different interest and audience in this new "season". These past few weeks I've been checking Tour results over the weekend, couldn't recognize more than one name in ten on the leaderboard. If the Tour had yielded to LIV for the Fall of course you'd know the leaderboard of names. To continue battling is in no one's interest.


Delray RICK     October 05
Hope DREW is right because DEM O'S have to face the 3 menaces in their division and they DEFINITELY need better bats and hitters above .260 mark. DEM O'S pitching staff an't going to make it with this group. PLEASE move the wall BACK.

Nathan Aparisto     October 04
I just heard the despicable rumor that Gisele was unfaithful to the greatest quarterback to ever live by cheating on him with Antonio Brown.



If this is true, Tom Brady should sue her for every last penny!

Erick     October 04
So Ravens were predicted to win- they lose. We state - Bills are good if not great- we are cast as doubting thomas…and…..”dont get it”…..now they lose, people vent and its more predictions of victories….of games not yet played!

vernon     October 04
These guys who think Drew is taking "veiled" shots at Herman are hilarious. If true, then it sure is clear who is the one living rent free lol

Larry     October 04
Drew's subtle but clever jab at Herman today was pretty funny. All part of the game..................

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy Yup that is good analysis. I would lean over on that 36 number but they play a hell of a lot of games this season (even without him playing WC) Obv an injury can happen at any time. I remember getting so frustrated by Sterling and now this guy is just silly good. He's so big and fast...just an animal

Dan noonan     October 04
Who are these people getting all pumped up about "Drew schooling Herman"? Must be that SOD gang I hear about often. Must be like a special dog whistle only those guys can hear, I see no roasting or calling out of one individual here today. the childish "rent free" crowd is awake today that is for sure.

Don't agree with all the talking points re: the Ravens game, but it was indeed a nice calm summary and not at all like what the #BP guy or the FM guys do on the radio. In that sense, DMD is schooling 105.7 and 1570!


TimD in Timonium     October 04
Not only does @Herman survive the brutal Florida hurricane, he jumps back into the fray with his A-Game still intact.



"who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status."



LOL. Bravo, sir, well-played.


Chris     October 04
DF roasting Herman is why I come to DMD every day!

HERMAN     October 04
I didn't Make that last post. I never do anything I have to apologize for so I never apologize.

Randy     October 04
@Stats Nerd

Great question, I'm going to use some geek speak to make a projection, I think you'll appreciate that. So far Haaland has 14 goals in 8 games, but he only has 7.6 xG (expected goals). So he has been scoring at a better rate than expected, however he's consistently produced about 3-5 goals above expectation in his career.



For Dortmund in the Bundesliga he average about 1 goal/game when healthy. Now the EPL is a higher competition level, but also Man City produced 2.14 xG last year to just 1.6 for Dortmund, so he should have more scoring opportunities this year.



So if we expect his luck to even out a little bit and him to stay around 1 g/g of xG, that would put him around 40 goals for the season. The biggest caveat is that he did miss time in both the last two Dortmund seasons with injuries. So I'll deduct 10% for injury risk (just pulled a number) and that lands us on.....



36.



I swear I didn't do that on purpose.



If I were to bet, I'd take the over. Haaland is going to get a big rest midseason since Norway isn't in the World Cup, so that should reduce the injury risk. They also may give him all the penalty kick chances if he's chasing a record and look to feed him towards the end of the season if they run away with the title.

Chris in Bel Air     October 04
The Yankee fans meltdown over the weekend was comical. Did they expect the O's to just throw 85 mph meatballs to him? That's not being entitled at all. For the record, Judge walked 5 times but he was also 1 for 7 with 6 Ks. He had his chances and couldn't connect. Sorry fans. I also like Judge. He seems to be a "good guy" and would take him on the O's any day. But I certainly didn't want to see the O's give up the 62nd HR and certainly found the Yankee whining to be laughable.

Herman     October 04
I will admit I definitely go above and beyond occasionally on the site owner but he brings out the worst in me for whatever reason. Ask my friends, I'm normally not nearly as angry as I come across here at the site. The site owner just gets under my skin for some reason.

Jason M     October 04
Like DF said in his recap, if you think the bad decision lost them the game, you don't know football. They lost that game a 100 ways in the second half. Harbaugh did his part to contribute, but so did many others.

J.R.     October 04
LMAO at @DF taking a swipe @Herman like that.

unitastoberry     October 04
@ Steve of Pimlico I bet Mad Dog had the better tackle on the fan in Baltimore. I don't get ESPN did the announcers bring up Mikes forearm shot on the drunk in Baltimore on TV? I was there too. Mike was a HOFer I don't care what the NFLHOF thinks or Dion. Ask Mike Singletary about Mike Curtis....he will put you all straight.

Pratt     October 04
Herman, why shouldn't Drew single you out? You single him out every day here. Talk about rent free in someone's head, you can't go a day without referencing him. So tell us again why he shouldn't single you out. You're a first rate prick and you know it.

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy What line would you set as an O/U for Haaland goals this season? The number in the UK betting lines seems to be 36-ish. Assuming he stays healthy I suspect he gets there fairly easily

HERMAN     October 04
@RC

You don't really believe the site owner penned that line for just one random commenter do you? I mean, I know I set up full residency in his caddy lawyers head based on his childish response he penned here in the comments last week. The one who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status. But the site owner wouldn't take aim at just one simple commenter. Especially not one who could potentially help him take this site to Barstool heights singlehandedly. In his new Country Club world he has to be above that.

Steve of Pimlico     October 04
Mike Curtis would have been proud of the Ram player for decking that num nut who ran on the field last night with the smoking device.I was actually at that game back in the day.

Tim D     October 04
Ravens Recap - well said Drew.

Kevin     October 04
When Drew starts making more coaching sense than the actual football coach in town, I think we know what that means. And I'm saying that with no disrespect to Drew. It's actually a compliment.

Albert c     October 04
Lamar is a QB and he got to throw the ball, how is that not letting Lamar be Lamar?

MFC     October 04
I turned to watch a bit of the O's last night, if there was 800 people in the stands I'd be shocked. I did get to see some great fan interaction by our stadium ushers.

Two fans, looked like husband and wife, walk down and sit in the front two seats to the right of the screen behind home plate. It's the 7'th inning. It's miserable, rain pouring down. Well it didn't take 45 seconds before our usher is seen walking down the steps and our fan faithful asked to relocate to their seats. I literally laughed out loud, why? Ok, they didn't pay for those seats but the weather is horrible, there's no one in the stadium to speak of, it's the 7'th inning. Why can't you just look the other way at that point. In fact why not take a proactive position and tell the crowd to sit where they want. If you're one that would get upset because you "paid" for the best seat you need to get over it. Say thanks to the 800 people that braved the conditions to support the team.



It's a shame that during that sequence at the goal line we really didn't let Lamar be Lamar. One of the top offensive players in the game and we don't let him win it. I did not remember that Roman was the OC for the 49'ers in the SB. Wow, good memory by the site owner. That explains a lot.



Saw a stat that's incredible. Judge has struck out 167 times this year. Tony Gwynn didn't strike out that much in the 90's. How great was Gwynn.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw Tucker 2 weeks ago put Ravens up 38-35 and watched Avg QB march right down the field and win. Why she he trust this D vs Allen???

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw two weeks ago Tucker give Ravens 38-35 lead late only to watch Avg QB march right down the field. Why in Gods name should he trust this D vs Allen???

Frank     October 04
Love Harbs - but I think he missed an opportunity by not taking blame for the call and saying he should have kicked the FG. Now that he is sticking to his decision, it puts the blame on execution and players - where otherwise he could have taken it all himself.... take a bullet for your team!

David Rosenfeld     October 04
You said: "But they're now playing from behind, where their play calling has to be a smidgen more carefully planned and their execution has to be spot-on."

John said: The exact opposite of that!

Paraphrasing: A team that is behind in that situation is going to play more aggressively, not less. They will be willing to use all 4 downs in a way they might not if they are too close to their end zone, etc.

It's interesting. From a fan perspective, it's a liability for Buffalo that they would be "forced" to use all 4 downs. From the analytic perspective, it might be an advantage.

Just a discussion. Reiterating that I would have kicked the FG...


RC     October 04
DF throwing shade at Herman with the "ocean breeze erodes your brain". Hilarious.

Kenny G     October 04
While Drew touched on the statistical analysis a bit, I will take it a step further. My problem with the analytics is what factors are considered. Are the stats influenced by going against a strong defense or weak? Good run defense? At home vs on the road? In rain, on turf, etc? Which quarter? You can probably think of several more. Additionally there needs to be a feel for the tempo of the actual game. If its a 35-32 game or a 10-3 game in the fourth quarter - is that factored in? Maybe the matchup does not favor going for it?

Butch (aka Big Fat Daddy)     October 04
George: The Orioles game was called and made an "Official" game due to weather. By MLB rule - a game can be Official after 4 and 1/2 innings - if ended by the Crew Chief. Now what really happened was the Umps, the league office and both Managers went into the tunnel and agreed to end the game. It was terrible weather for a baseball game. No need to play and get any player or players hurt. The Blue Jays have playoff games coming up and the Orioles have next season.

Delray RICK     October 04
The RAVENS have won games they shouldn't have and lost games...whatever. what goes around comes around.

HERMAN     October 04
Counting chickens before they hatch. A 12-5 prediction, predicated on looking at the future schedule. Sure. This team, as is presently constituted, without potential injuries, and with the current coaching braintrust is going to win one they should lose and lose a few they should win. A 12 win prediction is best-case scenario and about as reliable as all those columns with "Dem O's are going to the playoffs, this year, I believe".

Right now with this roster the Ravens are a mid-level mediocre team who can shine on any given Sunday or just mess the bed with a fourth quarter meltdown against another mediocre team. They are no 12 win team.

Baltimore fans are closer to Cleveland fans than I thought, they both show up expecting the "best case scenario" despite all prior evidence to the contrary. Then whine over a play, a call, some small detail within a game that derails their vision of the mind.

Smalltimore; Cleveland of the Chesapeake.

George     October 04
Have searched the Internet diligently but can't find an explanation of how the Orioles game ended after 7.5 innings. Can anyone enlighten? Thanks.

larry     October 04
Oweh almost made a great play, it was clear Singletary was not going to go into the end zone but give himself up at the one. Oweh got the ball loose but not out. Ball comes out and Ravens recover, all the sudden Oweh is a genius.

Also FG with 4 minutes less hardly puts pressure on Bills. Now I would have kicked it anyway, but let's not act like kicking the FG means they are 3-1, the D still would have had to make plays. Given the chance to do so at 20-20, they did not.

Chris in Bel Air     October 03
Agree with many posts here on Drew's recap. Good summary. Also agree with @ MFC on the refs. The Ravens did not lose because of the refs but they were certainly another obstacle to overcome. The seemingly random application of the rules within a game and per week is difficult to watch at times. I will also add that it was not a good day for many first-round draft picks. Certainly Lamar didn't have his best day. Bateman with a couple drops and then was injured. Linderbaum with 2 false starts. Queen exerting lots of energy but didn't seem to make a tackle when it mattered most. Queen sometimes plays like a 5 year old playing soccer for the first time - chasing the pile around the field but not making much of a difference. Oweh had the sack and forced fumble but also was badly fooled on Allen's TD run and did not keep the edge. Of course, plenty to question with Harbs too. Not a good day at all as a team. On a more positive note, I thought JPP did fairly well for just coming off the street. Dobbins also looked pretty good. I thought he made something out of nothing on a couple runs and turned small gains into a more substantial gains a few times. He will be a big boost to the offense if he stays healthy. In addition, the remaining Ravens schedule doesn't look to be very daunting at all. Plenty of season left... Of course, that is all based on the Ravens team I expect to see. Not the one that has only figured out how to play for 2 quarters.

MFC     October 03
The site owner unpacked it really well this morning, except he meant snowangels instead of snowballs but that's nitpicking a really good recap. Nothing much to add that's not already "unpacked".



I will say something about NFL refs, they're BS. I watched last night night as Mahonnes made the exact same play as Lamar running oob's, almost scary how similar. He gets the first down spot. Lamar doesn't and we have to lose a TO because they upheld the BS call on the challenge. Andrews OPI was BS and the roughing the passer. They're needs to be an overhaul and some type of new review. Consistency is paramount to reffing and they're anything but.

HERMAN     October 03
Man I wish there was some way to invest in the NFL. I'm not talking about betting, I'm talking ownership. For the common man. Because with fans like those in Baltimore it's a pure growth industry. They somehow convince themselves that their completely mediocre franchise is one of the best in the league despite all evidence. You fans are "all-in". Past Lamar they have not a player that excites, that just makes plays, who can perform and change the game. The coach is serviceable but flawed, the coordinators as mediocre as the team.

This phenomenon actually extends to all sports in Baltimore. These same commenters wailing about the loss are the ones like the site owner who just believed and believed that the low payroll O's were going to the playoffs. They don't make fish hooks big enough I'm telling ya. And this is how gullible they are, after months of either being told Dem O's were going to the playoffs, or being given betting advice, when it all disappears they move on, no need to examine how wrong one can be. Look over here at this new shiny thing, pay no attention to that old shiny thing. Oh it wasn't the 4TH down call, it was the whole second half. No, it was the bad penalty for hitting the quarterback. No it was that retread O coordinator.

Maybe it's just as simple as your expectations being ridiculous. As ridiculous as Dem O's making the playoffs this year. You can't invest emotion into a Harbaugh coached team. You're destined for disappointment.

Alas only one man can invest in Baltimore football. No wonder he is a billionaire. Fish in a barrel.


Such     October 03
I was never very good at math, let alone things like Algebra and Trigonometry and Calculus and "Advanced Metrics", but I do know that 23>20 and 3>0. I would rather play with a 3 point lead than try and fend off that Bills offense in a tie game with 4 minutes remaining.

And 3-1 > 2-2. Oh well.

Jason M     October 03
It's a real slap in the face to the Ravens faithful who geared up and sat through the remnants of a damn hurricane, shouting down the Bills Mafia who travelled well, only to watch the Ravens do their best impersonation of a pack of choking dogs. 5 straight at home people, this is unacceptable. I see the other team adjusting at half time, where are our adjustments? Or do we make them and they just make things worse? How can it be that we are good enough to run up a lead, but not good enough to hold it?

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 03
Not a doubt in my mind if Lamar throws for a TD there Allen ties it and wins in OT. Thats what Ravens have been since 2014 blowing 2 TD lead in NE. 4th and 17 vs Cincy. Choking as a 14-2 seed. 5 straight home games blowing 4th Q leads. Russell street report said it best ...fact that majority of fanbase at halftime up 10 at home expected to lose shows you this franchise has deep issues.

Daveinlutherville     October 03
Frank: bless you for your confidence. I don’t think most people think this is anywhere near a 12-5 team, but we shall see.



#DMD GAME DAY
Week 1


Sunday — September 11, 2022
Issue #2939

Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets

1:00 PM EDT

MetLife Stadium
East Rutherford, NJ

Spread: Ravens (-7.0)



Late this past week, I started wondering how I would combine coverage of today's Ravens season opener and the Orioles ongoing playoff chase.

The Orioles were hammered by the Red Sox last night at Camden Yards, 17-4.

There's your baseball coverage.

Now, let's turn to football.

For the first time since he left Baltimore, Joe Flacco starts against the Ravens today in New Jersey.

Lamar Jackson made the headline of ESPN's website today, but not for anything directly football related. Jackson, ESPN's Adam Schefter claims, recently turned down $250 million from the Ravens because, according to the story, the contract wasn't fully guaranteed by the club.

That connects with what a team associate told me last month. Although I wasn't told a specific number, dollars wise, I was told Jackson wants his deal fully guaranteed and the Ravens, up until now at least, are reluctanct to do that.

But it's important to note, as I wrote here yesterday, that the contract story is going to tag along with Jackson each and every Sunday for the next four-plus months.

Today, ESPN reports Lamar turned down $250 million (by the way, for the record, I'm not so sure about that number).

If he plays well this afternoon at The Meadowlands and the Ravens beat the Jets, the narrative this evening will be, "All Lamar's doing now is just tacking on more money to that contract next season."

If he doesn't play well and the Ravens somehow lose to the lowly Jets, the tune will change. "Lamar's costing himself big bucks by losing to those chumps."

That storyline will follow him every single week in 2022.

Alas, there's real football to be played this afternoon just outside of New York City, where 21 years ago today our nation suffered the most unimaginable tragedy ever.

I'd go on a small rant here about how, perhaps, our country should be recognizing September 11 as a national holiday and no football or baseball games should be played on this date, but I know it wouldn't do any good. So, let's talk football, shall we?


There are games that pop up along on the schedule every season that are, to borrow a basketball term, "lay-ups".

For the good teams in the NFL, there are probably at least a half four of those lay-up games that situate themselves over the four month regular season. Win those four and you're 40% of the way to a playoff spot. The Ravens have one of those today against the Jets. It's a lay-up game.

John Harbaugh and any other NFL coach worth his salt would bristle at the mere mention of "lay-up game" because, they're well aware, weird things happen when the ball isn't round. (Editor's note: Weird things also happen when the ball is round, but anyway...)

Harbaugh knows this is a game his team should win today. With ease, even.

He knows the dangers; opening day, former quarterback going against his team, some key players who were injured a year ago not yet back in the lineup. But Harbaugh knows if his team operates at medium-to-high-efficiency in all three phases of the game, they'll win by double digits.

Here's the thing, though: Just because it's a lay-up doesn't mean it's guaranteed. You still have to win.

And that's what the Ravens face today. It's a game they should win. It's a game they better win. It's a game, come early January, they might regret losing if they somehow stub their toe today against a significantly inferior team.

Good football teams rarely lose lay-up games.

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today's three storylines


1. Joe Flacco -- Because I'm a huge believer in the football gods, Flacco starting against the Ravens today definitely concerns me. I know it shouldn't. I know Joe's in the November of his career and all. I know all about his warts and blemishes and how, for the most part, we shouldn't be worried at all about Joe Flacco today.

But I'm worried. I've seen the football gods intervene too many times to not at least be semi-concerned about today's game. It's perhaps Joe's last and best opportunity to gently remind the Ravens of what he did for them from 2008 to 2018. And it would be just like the football gods to package up a late 12-yard TD throw to some dude for the Jets we've never heard of and give Flacco the most improbable of improbable wins.

As you'll see below, I don't think the Jets are winning today. But I can't help but feel a twinge of concern because it's Flacco under center for them. Weird things happen when the football gods get involved.


2. Ravens offensive line -- With left tackle Ronnie Stanley back in Baltimore still recovering from his 2020 ankle injury, the Ravens will go with veteran Ju'Waun James, who starts an NFL game today for the first time since 2019. He's also not experienced at left tackle, either, but he's been working there enough throughout the pre-season to hopefully have things in order this afternoon vs. the Jets.

The left tackle spot is a critical one for the Ravens, particularly given that Stanley's return is still up in the air. And even when the former 1st round pick is ready to return to live action, how effective will he be and can he play every offensive snap, week in and week out? James, it would seem to me, could be a key figure for the Ravens in 2022. They need him to be productive.

The right side of the offensive line appears to be rock-solid. Newcomer Morgan Moses gets the start at right tackle while Kevin Zeitler returns for a second season at right guard. Zeitler allowed just one sack in all of 2021, you might remember. He was quietly the team's best offensive lineman and it wasn't even close.

1st round pick Tyler Lindenbaum gets the start today at center, with Ben Powers to his left at the guard position. Powers was particularly effective as a run blocker a season ago. With Greg Roman expected to lean heavily on the run game in 2022, Powers will again be an important cog in the Baltimore offense.


3. Don't let them hang around -- The only way this game stays close is if the Ravens can't figure out a way to stop the Jets offense. And that seems highly unlikely given New York's injuries and limitations on the offensive side of the ball. The Ravens should be able to score early and often in this one, which is what good teams do to bad teams in these "lay-up games".

And I suspect you'll see at least two turnovers created by the Baltimore defense in the first half. That's how you dampen the enthusiasm of an inferior team on opening day. Take the ball from them, turn those opportunities into points, and end the game before halftime.

What the Ravens don't want to do today is allow the Jets to stay in the game. That, as we've all seen many times, is how bad teams wind up hanging around and stealing a win they have no business stealing.

It's important for the Ravens to flex their muscles early. Jump out to a quick lead, maybe score twice in the opening quarter, etc. The easiest way to deflate the Jets is by putting points on the board.

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how drew sees today's game


I don't see any way this one's close.

I've outlined the concerns about Flacco above, but even that isn't enough to worry me.

#DMD sees the Ravens jumping out to a big halftime lead and cruising in from there in today's season opener vs. the Jets.

This one's going to be a blowout.

Jackson goes 17-for-22 for 201 yards and runs for another 58 yards and only plays one series in the 4th quarter, giving way to Tyler Huntley to mop up over the final 10 minutes of the game.

Rashod Bateman is the receiving leader with 6 catches for 111 yards and a 33 yard TD reception in the first half.

The Ravens get 68 yards from their running backs and generate 384 yards of total offense.

Patrick Queen records an interception of Flacco in the first half and Marlon Humphrey snags a pick in the third quarter.

The Ravens defense allows the Jets a total of 301 yards of total offense on the day. Flacco finishes 16-for-30 for 234 yards and a touchdown throw.

Baltimore jumps out to a 7-0 lead on their first offensive series as Lamar hits Mark Andrews for a 7-yard TD. It's 10-7 Ravens just before halftime and Lamar finds Bateman on that 33 yard strike to put the Ravens ahead 17-7. A Jets turnover and a Justin Tucker field goal at the buzzer puts Johh Harbaugh's team up 20-7 at intermission.

Two third quarter touchdowns put the Ravens up 34-7. Justin Tucker hits another field goal late in the third quarter to make it 37-7. A 4th quarter TD from the Jets finalizes the scoring.

The Ravens cruise to an easy season-opening win over the Jets, 37-14.

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around the nfl


The schedule makers did a great job of getting the '22 season off to a rousing start.

It all commmenced with a whopper of match-up on Thursday night in Los Angeles between the Bills and Rams. That was "Marquee" with a capital "M".

Joe Burrow and the defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals host Pittsburgh today in one of the best week 1 contests.

But there are five other games that look just as juicy today in Week 1 of the season.

Green Bay at Minnesota.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.

Las Vegas at Los Angeles (Chargers).

Kansas City at Arizona.

Tampa Bay at Dallas (Sunday Night).

Oh, and let's not forget, Baker Mayfield and the Panthers hosting the Browns. Talk about a season opener gifted to you by the scheduling gods, huh?

UPSET OF THE DAY -- I'm not sure Minnesota beating Green Bay at home in Week 1 of the season is all that much of an "upset", but the Packers are the Packers and anytime they lose, it's a surprise. We love the Vikings today, as they flex their muscles a bit and send a quick, week one message that the NFC North might be a dogfight in 2022. Vikings 27 - Packers 23

LOCK OF THE DAY -- After what he went through in Cleveland, there's just no way the football gods are letting Baker Mayfield lose this afternoon. This is his one, glorious opportunity to stick it to the Browns. The Panthers are going to be lousy this season, but today's game is a mini-Super Bowl for them and Mayfield. Panthers 20 - Browns 17

TWO-GAME PARLAY -- If it's raining cats and dogs in D.C. like it's raining in Baltimore this morning, we can't see many points being put up in the Commanders/Jaguars game. The over/under in that one is 44.0 -- and we love the under, obviously. In L.A. this afternoon, the total in the Chargers/Raiders game is 52.0 and we love the over, there. Our two-game parlay for Week 1 is the under in Jags/Commanders and the over in Chargers/Raiders.

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Saturday
September 10, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2938


the big gamble


And now it's football time.

If you believe the Ravens and Lamar Jackson -- and on this matter, I do -- there will be no more contract negotiations until the completion of the 2022 season. That means, of course, it will be at least 2023 when the two parties reconvene and try to figure out how much Lamar is worth and whether the Ravens want to pay him that much money to still be their quarterback next season and beyond.

It's been a wild week in Baltimore, what with the pressure mounting on Jackson to sign a new deal and the Ravens to fork over hundreds of millions of dollars to a player who, as of now, still hasn't appeared in a conference championship game, let alone a Super Bowl.

Everything came to a halt late Friday morning when the Ravens issued a brief press release saying talks were now over and wouldn't resume until after the season.

That, by the way, is the smart way to go about things. Credit to both Lamar and the Ravens for their willingness to shake hands and say, simply, "We have a season to worry about now. Let's go chase that ring and we'll talk money again in January."

Does Lamar Jackson have one more year left in Baltimore or will the Ravens eventually sign their star quarterback to a long-term deal?

In the meantime, though, the moving parts in this narrative are seemingly endless.

Jackson will make $23 million this season, which hardly constitutes chump change. The Ravens have the option of franchising him for 2023, which would net him close to another $40 million. Two years...$60 million-plus. How do I sign up for that?

They could also franchise him one more time in 2024, but we're not even going there right now. That's just too far down the road to even discuss.

The biggest sticking point right now appears to be Jackson's desire to have his contract fully guaranteed, in the same way Deshaun Watson's deal was fully guaranteed in Cleveland over the summer when the Texans shipped him to the Browns.

There aren't any official quotes from either the Ravens or Lamar about the guaranteed contract being the sticking point, but enough hints and anonymous quotes have surfaced to lead everyone to assume that's the hold up in Jackson's new contract.

You certainly can't blame Lamar for wanting his entire Ravens contract quaranteed. He looks at Deshaun Watson's deal and says, "I want one of those."

He also knows he's negotiating not only for himself, but for Justin Herbert, Mac Jones, Joe Burrow and any other young, promising quarterback who becomes a free agent in 3-5 years.

And you can't blame the Ravens for not wanting to guarantee $250 million or more to Lamar just because the Browns went and did something stupid a few months ago. Whereas Lamar looks at Watson's deal and wants his to follow suit, the Ravens look at recent contracts signed by Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray and suggest to Lamar they'd prefer his new deal more closely resemble the one those two signed.


The whole thing is just business. Nothing more. The Ravens don't dislike Lamar. They're not trying to disrespect him. They want him. They want him signed. They want Lamar here for another decade.

But business won't allow for it right now.

We're not talking about $400,000 or even $40 million, remember. We're talking about somewhere around $250 to $300 million. That's a lot of money. It's not the kind of thing you just sign off on without doing due diligence (times 20) to make sure you're making the best decision.

Social media flared up on Friday with accusations that the Ravens were going to wind up looking like fools if they somehow let Lamar "slip away" after the season.

Lamar isn't going anywhere unless the Ravens allow him to go somewhere. They own him, if they so choose, for 2022, 2023 and 2024. Now, they might have to pay a wildly exorbitant amount to keep him for those three years and the betting slip here says they'd never franchise him more than one year, but the reality is they control Lamar for the next three seasons.

So Jackson isn't "slipping away". And the Ravens also aren't going to get "left with nothing", as I saw countless others suggest on social media yesterday. If Lamar somehow isn't the quarterback in Baltimore next season, it will be because the Ravens traded him away for a U-Haul full of draft picks and/or veteran players.

The general theme in Baltimore -- if you're considering popular opinion on social media -- is that the Ravens screwed this one up.

"If we win the Super Bowl, Lamar's gonna ask for $60 million a year and they're gonna have to give it to him!" someone wrote yesterday.

Not true. Not true at all, in fact.

Oh, sure, if the Ravens win the Super Bowl this season and Lamar plays a prominent role in that (which, of course, you have to assume he would, barring injury), he will most certainly be in line for a mega-deal the likes of which the NFL has never seen. $50 million a season for 5 or 6 seasons would be the starting point and it could escalate even higher.

That does not mean, though, that the Ravens would have to pay him that. Not in the least. They could still franchise him in 2023 and pay him roughly $40 million. Or they could trade him in the off-season.

It probably seems weird to even consider trading away the quarterback who just won the Super Bowl, but if you're the Ravens, wouldn't you at least consider these two points?:

1. If Lamar and the Ravens win the Super Bowl in 2022, when will his trade value ever be higher?

2. If you win the Super Bowl in 2022, aren't your fans satisfied enough that you could, if necessary, tear the team apart a bit to stay in line with the salary cap and "reload" for another run using the haul of draft picks you obtained by dealing Lamar?

I'm not suggesting trading Lamar is the best thing to do. Please don't think I'm saying that. But I'm definitely suggesting it has to at least be on the list of considerations this off-season, particularly if Lamar's asking price continues to soar.


And while we're talking about 2023 and beyond and how the Ravens are going to handle this situation, one thing keeps sticking with me that I can't shake.

The Ravens will never get Lamar Jackson at a less expensive rate than they could have had him yesterday.

In January, no matter what happens in the 2022 season, Lamar's price will go up from what the Ravens could have signed him for yesterday. It's just the way NFL business works.

I'm just spitballing these numbers to make a point: Let's say Jackson called Eric DeCosta yesterday morning and said, "$47.5 million a year for 5 years, all of it guaranteed, and I'll be in at 11 am to sign it."

And Eric said in reply, "Lamar, we love you, bro. That $47.5 million number is fine. But we're not going to guarantee all of it. We'll guarantee the first three years of it, but not the final two."

Well, next January, Jackson's number will be $50 million a year with all five of them guaranteed. His price is going up over the next six months, not down.

I assume the Ravens know that. And it makes me wonder about Lamar's long term viability in Baltimore. Yesterday was the cheapest they were going to get Lamar and they passed on signing him. What makes you think they're going to be willing to give him more money in January than they could have gotten away with giving him yesterday?

I wouldn't go as far as labeling that a conspiracy theory, but in the back of my mind, I'm really wondering if the Ravens are dead-red, 100% self-obligated to signing Lamar for 2023 and beyond?

Both parties are saying the right things because they're both smart about stuff like that. Oh, sure, Lamar has done some questionable stuff on Twitter and Instagram over the off-season, "liking" pictures of him photoshopped in a Dolphins uniform and stuff like that, but for the most part both Jackson and the Ravens have said the right things publicly all along.

But what you say to the media and what you believe in-house are often times two totally different things. Just remember that.

And, so, Jackson's big gamble begins on Sunday when the Ravens take on the Jets. And it's a storyline that will follow Lamar every week this season.

When he has a great game, the narrative will be "Lamar's price just keeps going up, the Ravens should have signed him last summer when they had the chance."

When he has an off game, the narrative will be "Lamar's playing his way out of a massive new contract, he should have signed last summer when he had the chance."

Settle in. We're in for a wild next five months.

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wild card update


The crowd at Camden Yards was lousy last night, but the result sure wasn't.

The Orioles only managed five hits in the game, but all five were important enough to give Brandon Hyde's team a much-needed 3-2 win over the Red Sox before 16,000 fans.

Playoff race, gorgeous late summer night, Red Sox in town, every at-bat-matters. And...16,000 were there. (Actually, 16,000 tickets were sold, to be precise).

But playoff berths aren't based on attendance. They're based on wins. And with the O's triumph last night and a loss by the Mariners, the Birds are now within four games of Seattle in the loss column.

The only unsettling news from Friday night -- besides the stadium being 64% empty -- came in the bottom of the 9th when Felix Bautista was nowhere to be seen and Dillon Tate closed out the 3-2 nailbiter over the Red Sox.

"He's dealing with some mild arm fatigue," Hyde said about Bautista afterwards. "Nothing to worry about. We just wanted to give him an extra day of rest."

OK then. Bautista last pitched on Tuesday when the O's beat the Blue Jays, 9-6. The big man did give up a run in that game, but other than that, nothing seemed out of whack. Three days later, he couldn't pitch. Let's hope it's truly nothing to worry about.


Here are the pitching match-ups for the final two games of this series.

Saturday, Jordan Lyles (BAL) vs. Michael Wacha (BOS)

Sunday, Kyle Bradish (BAL) vs. Rich Hill (BOS)


Wacha, you remember, was really good in Baltimore last month. Rich Hill, nearing his 55th birthday, it feels like, is always capable of doing something goofy and allowing 4 hits over 6.2 innings of work.

This isn't a good Red Sox team, but they do have two capable pitchers going for them on Saturday and Sunday.

While Seattle lost last night, the White Sox might have saved their season with a 5-run rally in the top of the 9th at Oakland, as Chicago improved to 71-68 on the year with a 5-3 win.

Tampa Bay turned back the Yankees in New York, 4-2, while Toronto scratched out a run in the top of the 9th at Texas to nip the Rangers, 4-3. The Twins fell at home to Cleveland, 7-6.

Here are the current wild card standings:

1. Tampa Bay, 78-58 (+2.0) -- This weekend, at NY Yankees

2. Toronto, 77-60 (+0.5) -- This weekend, at Texas

3. Seattle, 77-61 (---) -- This weekend, vs. Atlanta


4. BALTIMORE, 73-65 (-4.0) -- This weekend, vs. Boston

5. Chicago, 71-68 (-6.5) -- This weekend, at Oakland

6. Minnesota, 69-68 (-7.5) -- This weekend, vs. Cleveland

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     October 05
I gave up on Dem O's years ago for a multitude of great reasons so I have no dog in the fight. But I did laugh out loud over someone claiming the O's a playoff team next year absent the knowledge of their roster or schedule. Especially when the same person told everyone for the last two months they'd make the playoffs this year knowing the roster and schedule. I'm wrong so rarely I can't remember what it felt like but if I remember correct the proper response after being wrong for two months running would be some humility. Not doubling down on predictions. But around here the SOD has a one day memory so you can tell them just about anything day in and day out and they forget how wrong you can be fresh the next morning.

Jason M     October 05
Not to mention the competition, but Mike Preston dropped a pretty big hint that Nick Boyle is done in his column today. The fact that he has not sniffed the 53 man roster yet this season would seem to bear that out. If that is so, we have lost one of the most effective run blocking tight ends that we've ever had. We have missed him on short yardage situations, and our tight ends not wearing 89 haven't done much of note so far. We'll see Hurst on Sunday, miss that guy, I'm sure Lamar does too.

unitastoberry     October 05
When is the court date for Angelos Vs Angelos?

Chris in Bel Air     October 05
O's definitely need another arm and a bat or two. Big bonus if some of the players performing in the minors (Westburg, Cowser, etc) are able to be contributors too. I know he can't hit but I like Mateo. Fielding, speed and energy are good for the team. It's been several years but we have an actual O's off-season coming up and carrying some sense of optimism. Heading down to the Yard now to take in the last game.

Delray RICK     October 05
ERIC...Hope you are right bout MATEO. Stolen base leader in AMERICAN LEAGUE. GREAT fielder like BELANGER.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 05
Drew putting his jinx out a year early. Just a reminder - White Sox were a lock to win the Central Os were a lock to win 60 or so games. I dont believe the Swanson rumors. Os officials have been whispering to LaConfora for months that Mateo is locked in at SS. Hopefully his baseball sources are as bad as his Ravens sources. Plenty of quality pitchers available by trade per Athletic - Burnes Snell Bieber Singer to name a few. I still say return of Means and G Rod makes our bottom 10 offense the bigger priority but ill gladly take a top arm too

TC     October 05
Swanson would be a perfect free agency target, except he's from Kennesaw, Georgia. There'd probably have to be a premium paid to get him out of Atlanta, and he is the only one of their infielders not locked up long-term.

HERMAN     October 05
It's pretty sad when you have to google the PGATour website to see if there is even a tour stop this week, or where they are. It would make perfect sense for the Tour to partner with LIV and allow them to take over what used to be called "the silly season", and operate in conjunction with the Tour. And 54 holes ending on Saturday would dovetail nicely as they wouldn't have to compete with the monster that is the NFL.

Like pro baseball the Tour needs to shorten the over-all season and make each individual tournament more meaningful. As it is everyone gets jazzed for the majors and maybe one or two more stops, past that interest seems to wane. It's possible that the Tour could end a month earlier or so, give up late Summer and Fall to LIV and have the truncated format and field, together with changes of team play, atmosphere and design create a new and different interest and audience in this new "season". These past few weeks I've been checking Tour results over the weekend, couldn't recognize more than one name in ten on the leaderboard. If the Tour had yielded to LIV for the Fall of course you'd know the leaderboard of names. To continue battling is in no one's interest.


Delray RICK     October 05
Hope DREW is right because DEM O'S have to face the 3 menaces in their division and they DEFINITELY need better bats and hitters above .260 mark. DEM O'S pitching staff an't going to make it with this group. PLEASE move the wall BACK.

Nathan Aparisto     October 04
I just heard the despicable rumor that Gisele was unfaithful to the greatest quarterback to ever live by cheating on him with Antonio Brown.



If this is true, Tom Brady should sue her for every last penny!

Erick     October 04
So Ravens were predicted to win- they lose. We state - Bills are good if not great- we are cast as doubting thomas…and…..”dont get it”…..now they lose, people vent and its more predictions of victories….of games not yet played!

vernon     October 04
These guys who think Drew is taking "veiled" shots at Herman are hilarious. If true, then it sure is clear who is the one living rent free lol

Larry     October 04
Drew's subtle but clever jab at Herman today was pretty funny. All part of the game..................

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy Yup that is good analysis. I would lean over on that 36 number but they play a hell of a lot of games this season (even without him playing WC) Obv an injury can happen at any time. I remember getting so frustrated by Sterling and now this guy is just silly good. He's so big and fast...just an animal

Dan noonan     October 04
Who are these people getting all pumped up about "Drew schooling Herman"? Must be that SOD gang I hear about often. Must be like a special dog whistle only those guys can hear, I see no roasting or calling out of one individual here today. the childish "rent free" crowd is awake today that is for sure.

Don't agree with all the talking points re: the Ravens game, but it was indeed a nice calm summary and not at all like what the #BP guy or the FM guys do on the radio. In that sense, DMD is schooling 105.7 and 1570!


TimD in Timonium     October 04
Not only does @Herman survive the brutal Florida hurricane, he jumps back into the fray with his A-Game still intact.



"who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status."



LOL. Bravo, sir, well-played.


Chris     October 04
DF roasting Herman is why I come to DMD every day!

HERMAN     October 04
I didn't Make that last post. I never do anything I have to apologize for so I never apologize.

Randy     October 04
@Stats Nerd

Great question, I'm going to use some geek speak to make a projection, I think you'll appreciate that. So far Haaland has 14 goals in 8 games, but he only has 7.6 xG (expected goals). So he has been scoring at a better rate than expected, however he's consistently produced about 3-5 goals above expectation in his career.



For Dortmund in the Bundesliga he average about 1 goal/game when healthy. Now the EPL is a higher competition level, but also Man City produced 2.14 xG last year to just 1.6 for Dortmund, so he should have more scoring opportunities this year.



So if we expect his luck to even out a little bit and him to stay around 1 g/g of xG, that would put him around 40 goals for the season. The biggest caveat is that he did miss time in both the last two Dortmund seasons with injuries. So I'll deduct 10% for injury risk (just pulled a number) and that lands us on.....



36.



I swear I didn't do that on purpose.



If I were to bet, I'd take the over. Haaland is going to get a big rest midseason since Norway isn't in the World Cup, so that should reduce the injury risk. They also may give him all the penalty kick chances if he's chasing a record and look to feed him towards the end of the season if they run away with the title.

Chris in Bel Air     October 04
The Yankee fans meltdown over the weekend was comical. Did they expect the O's to just throw 85 mph meatballs to him? That's not being entitled at all. For the record, Judge walked 5 times but he was also 1 for 7 with 6 Ks. He had his chances and couldn't connect. Sorry fans. I also like Judge. He seems to be a "good guy" and would take him on the O's any day. But I certainly didn't want to see the O's give up the 62nd HR and certainly found the Yankee whining to be laughable.

Herman     October 04
I will admit I definitely go above and beyond occasionally on the site owner but he brings out the worst in me for whatever reason. Ask my friends, I'm normally not nearly as angry as I come across here at the site. The site owner just gets under my skin for some reason.

Jason M     October 04
Like DF said in his recap, if you think the bad decision lost them the game, you don't know football. They lost that game a 100 ways in the second half. Harbaugh did his part to contribute, but so did many others.

J.R.     October 04
LMAO at @DF taking a swipe @Herman like that.

unitastoberry     October 04
@ Steve of Pimlico I bet Mad Dog had the better tackle on the fan in Baltimore. I don't get ESPN did the announcers bring up Mikes forearm shot on the drunk in Baltimore on TV? I was there too. Mike was a HOFer I don't care what the NFLHOF thinks or Dion. Ask Mike Singletary about Mike Curtis....he will put you all straight.

Pratt     October 04
Herman, why shouldn't Drew single you out? You single him out every day here. Talk about rent free in someone's head, you can't go a day without referencing him. So tell us again why he shouldn't single you out. You're a first rate prick and you know it.

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy What line would you set as an O/U for Haaland goals this season? The number in the UK betting lines seems to be 36-ish. Assuming he stays healthy I suspect he gets there fairly easily

HERMAN     October 04
@RC

You don't really believe the site owner penned that line for just one random commenter do you? I mean, I know I set up full residency in his caddy lawyers head based on his childish response he penned here in the comments last week. The one who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status. But the site owner wouldn't take aim at just one simple commenter. Especially not one who could potentially help him take this site to Barstool heights singlehandedly. In his new Country Club world he has to be above that.

Steve of Pimlico     October 04
Mike Curtis would have been proud of the Ram player for decking that num nut who ran on the field last night with the smoking device.I was actually at that game back in the day.

Tim D     October 04
Ravens Recap - well said Drew.

Kevin     October 04
When Drew starts making more coaching sense than the actual football coach in town, I think we know what that means. And I'm saying that with no disrespect to Drew. It's actually a compliment.

Albert c     October 04
Lamar is a QB and he got to throw the ball, how is that not letting Lamar be Lamar?

MFC     October 04
I turned to watch a bit of the O's last night, if there was 800 people in the stands I'd be shocked. I did get to see some great fan interaction by our stadium ushers.

Two fans, looked like husband and wife, walk down and sit in the front two seats to the right of the screen behind home plate. It's the 7'th inning. It's miserable, rain pouring down. Well it didn't take 45 seconds before our usher is seen walking down the steps and our fan faithful asked to relocate to their seats. I literally laughed out loud, why? Ok, they didn't pay for those seats but the weather is horrible, there's no one in the stadium to speak of, it's the 7'th inning. Why can't you just look the other way at that point. In fact why not take a proactive position and tell the crowd to sit where they want. If you're one that would get upset because you "paid" for the best seat you need to get over it. Say thanks to the 800 people that braved the conditions to support the team.



It's a shame that during that sequence at the goal line we really didn't let Lamar be Lamar. One of the top offensive players in the game and we don't let him win it. I did not remember that Roman was the OC for the 49'ers in the SB. Wow, good memory by the site owner. That explains a lot.



Saw a stat that's incredible. Judge has struck out 167 times this year. Tony Gwynn didn't strike out that much in the 90's. How great was Gwynn.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw Tucker 2 weeks ago put Ravens up 38-35 and watched Avg QB march right down the field and win. Why she he trust this D vs Allen???

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw two weeks ago Tucker give Ravens 38-35 lead late only to watch Avg QB march right down the field. Why in Gods name should he trust this D vs Allen???

Frank     October 04
Love Harbs - but I think he missed an opportunity by not taking blame for the call and saying he should have kicked the FG. Now that he is sticking to his decision, it puts the blame on execution and players - where otherwise he could have taken it all himself.... take a bullet for your team!

David Rosenfeld     October 04
You said: "But they're now playing from behind, where their play calling has to be a smidgen more carefully planned and their execution has to be spot-on."

John said: The exact opposite of that!

Paraphrasing: A team that is behind in that situation is going to play more aggressively, not less. They will be willing to use all 4 downs in a way they might not if they are too close to their end zone, etc.

It's interesting. From a fan perspective, it's a liability for Buffalo that they would be "forced" to use all 4 downs. From the analytic perspective, it might be an advantage.

Just a discussion. Reiterating that I would have kicked the FG...


RC     October 04
DF throwing shade at Herman with the "ocean breeze erodes your brain". Hilarious.

Kenny G     October 04
While Drew touched on the statistical analysis a bit, I will take it a step further. My problem with the analytics is what factors are considered. Are the stats influenced by going against a strong defense or weak? Good run defense? At home vs on the road? In rain, on turf, etc? Which quarter? You can probably think of several more. Additionally there needs to be a feel for the tempo of the actual game. If its a 35-32 game or a 10-3 game in the fourth quarter - is that factored in? Maybe the matchup does not favor going for it?

Butch (aka Big Fat Daddy)     October 04
George: The Orioles game was called and made an "Official" game due to weather. By MLB rule - a game can be Official after 4 and 1/2 innings - if ended by the Crew Chief. Now what really happened was the Umps, the league office and both Managers went into the tunnel and agreed to end the game. It was terrible weather for a baseball game. No need to play and get any player or players hurt. The Blue Jays have playoff games coming up and the Orioles have next season.

Delray RICK     October 04
The RAVENS have won games they shouldn't have and lost games...whatever. what goes around comes around.

HERMAN     October 04
Counting chickens before they hatch. A 12-5 prediction, predicated on looking at the future schedule. Sure. This team, as is presently constituted, without potential injuries, and with the current coaching braintrust is going to win one they should lose and lose a few they should win. A 12 win prediction is best-case scenario and about as reliable as all those columns with "Dem O's are going to the playoffs, this year, I believe".

Right now with this roster the Ravens are a mid-level mediocre team who can shine on any given Sunday or just mess the bed with a fourth quarter meltdown against another mediocre team. They are no 12 win team.

Baltimore fans are closer to Cleveland fans than I thought, they both show up expecting the "best case scenario" despite all prior evidence to the contrary. Then whine over a play, a call, some small detail within a game that derails their vision of the mind.

Smalltimore; Cleveland of the Chesapeake.

George     October 04
Have searched the Internet diligently but can't find an explanation of how the Orioles game ended after 7.5 innings. Can anyone enlighten? Thanks.

larry     October 04
Oweh almost made a great play, it was clear Singletary was not going to go into the end zone but give himself up at the one. Oweh got the ball loose but not out. Ball comes out and Ravens recover, all the sudden Oweh is a genius.

Also FG with 4 minutes less hardly puts pressure on Bills. Now I would have kicked it anyway, but let's not act like kicking the FG means they are 3-1, the D still would have had to make plays. Given the chance to do so at 20-20, they did not.

Chris in Bel Air     October 03
Agree with many posts here on Drew's recap. Good summary. Also agree with @ MFC on the refs. The Ravens did not lose because of the refs but they were certainly another obstacle to overcome. The seemingly random application of the rules within a game and per week is difficult to watch at times. I will also add that it was not a good day for many first-round draft picks. Certainly Lamar didn't have his best day. Bateman with a couple drops and then was injured. Linderbaum with 2 false starts. Queen exerting lots of energy but didn't seem to make a tackle when it mattered most. Queen sometimes plays like a 5 year old playing soccer for the first time - chasing the pile around the field but not making much of a difference. Oweh had the sack and forced fumble but also was badly fooled on Allen's TD run and did not keep the edge. Of course, plenty to question with Harbs too. Not a good day at all as a team. On a more positive note, I thought JPP did fairly well for just coming off the street. Dobbins also looked pretty good. I thought he made something out of nothing on a couple runs and turned small gains into a more substantial gains a few times. He will be a big boost to the offense if he stays healthy. In addition, the remaining Ravens schedule doesn't look to be very daunting at all. Plenty of season left... Of course, that is all based on the Ravens team I expect to see. Not the one that has only figured out how to play for 2 quarters.

MFC     October 03
The site owner unpacked it really well this morning, except he meant snowangels instead of snowballs but that's nitpicking a really good recap. Nothing much to add that's not already "unpacked".



I will say something about NFL refs, they're BS. I watched last night night as Mahonnes made the exact same play as Lamar running oob's, almost scary how similar. He gets the first down spot. Lamar doesn't and we have to lose a TO because they upheld the BS call on the challenge. Andrews OPI was BS and the roughing the passer. They're needs to be an overhaul and some type of new review. Consistency is paramount to reffing and they're anything but.

HERMAN     October 03
Man I wish there was some way to invest in the NFL. I'm not talking about betting, I'm talking ownership. For the common man. Because with fans like those in Baltimore it's a pure growth industry. They somehow convince themselves that their completely mediocre franchise is one of the best in the league despite all evidence. You fans are "all-in". Past Lamar they have not a player that excites, that just makes plays, who can perform and change the game. The coach is serviceable but flawed, the coordinators as mediocre as the team.

This phenomenon actually extends to all sports in Baltimore. These same commenters wailing about the loss are the ones like the site owner who just believed and believed that the low payroll O's were going to the playoffs. They don't make fish hooks big enough I'm telling ya. And this is how gullible they are, after months of either being told Dem O's were going to the playoffs, or being given betting advice, when it all disappears they move on, no need to examine how wrong one can be. Look over here at this new shiny thing, pay no attention to that old shiny thing. Oh it wasn't the 4TH down call, it was the whole second half. No, it was the bad penalty for hitting the quarterback. No it was that retread O coordinator.

Maybe it's just as simple as your expectations being ridiculous. As ridiculous as Dem O's making the playoffs this year. You can't invest emotion into a Harbaugh coached team. You're destined for disappointment.

Alas only one man can invest in Baltimore football. No wonder he is a billionaire. Fish in a barrel.


Such     October 03
I was never very good at math, let alone things like Algebra and Trigonometry and Calculus and "Advanced Metrics", but I do know that 23>20 and 3>0. I would rather play with a 3 point lead than try and fend off that Bills offense in a tie game with 4 minutes remaining.

And 3-1 > 2-2. Oh well.

Jason M     October 03
It's a real slap in the face to the Ravens faithful who geared up and sat through the remnants of a damn hurricane, shouting down the Bills Mafia who travelled well, only to watch the Ravens do their best impersonation of a pack of choking dogs. 5 straight at home people, this is unacceptable. I see the other team adjusting at half time, where are our adjustments? Or do we make them and they just make things worse? How can it be that we are good enough to run up a lead, but not good enough to hold it?

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 03
Not a doubt in my mind if Lamar throws for a TD there Allen ties it and wins in OT. Thats what Ravens have been since 2014 blowing 2 TD lead in NE. 4th and 17 vs Cincy. Choking as a 14-2 seed. 5 straight home games blowing 4th Q leads. Russell street report said it best ...fact that majority of fanbase at halftime up 10 at home expected to lose shows you this franchise has deep issues.

Daveinlutherville     October 03
Frank: bless you for your confidence. I don’t think most people think this is anywhere near a 12-5 team, but we shall see.

Friday
September 9, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2937


silence isn't always golden


I'll start this by admitting something: I did not read the lengthy story from my former boss that was published on Thursday regarding the loss of his Ravens media credential.

It's not that I didn't want to read it or have a personal reason for not reading it or anything like that.

I didn't have to read it to know what it was about. I perused social media enough on Thursday to garner all of the details.

His opinion on why he lost his credential is neither here nor there. I mean, let's be honest. He lost his credential and isn't going to like the reasoning behind it, no matter what those reasons are. If they told him there was construction in the press box and they had to eliminate eight seats and his seat was one of the ones being eliminated, he'd still be mad.

That my former boss believes his removal and "cancellation" is a personal vendetta and not a professional decision is, of course, his opinion. And he's entitled to that opinion.

Whether scripting a lengthy, incredibly public narrative and exposing the Ravens PR official who ultimately made the decision is the best course of action for long-term solidarity is not for me to say. That was my former boss's decision and I assume he weighed quite heavily the potential negative impact "releasing the story" might have on his future relationship with the team.

The organization's position is whatever they want it to be. They have the power to let you in or keep you out. You don't have to like that, by the way. But you do have to realize it's the way it works.

I lost my Orioles season credential in 2008 over something they basically made up from 2007. How long they were planning my "change in status" I don't know, but they were very creative with the way they went about it.

The truth was the Orioles didn't want me in their press box because, I was told a few years later, I created a "personal crusdade" to get the word "Baltimore" put back on the team's road jerseys. They were right about that. It did become a crusade of sorts. I didn't think there was anything wrong with pushing the club to more closely identify with Baltimore, but they took umbrage with the way I went about doing it.

And they certainly weren't going to admit that publicly as the reason why they took my credential from me.

So, they created a different reason to withhold my season media credential and that was that. I was out. I complained to them and to Major League Baseball and got nowhere. I didn't like it. I thought it was awful of them to do.

But I learned a valuable lesson back then: The guy with the barrel full of ink will always beat the guy with the pen full of ink.

When I lost my credential, I had a variety of prominent Baltimore media folks privately shake their head in disbelief and tell me "you're getting hosed". I knew that. They knew that. But they also knew that nothing would be gained by standing up for me, either.

And, truthfully? I knew that as well. Peter Schmuck or Mark Viv or one of the Washington Post guys who sat near me in the press box or anyone else speaking out on my behalf would have been looked upon by the Orioles as betrayal of sorts. In the end, it was an orange that wasn't worth the squeeze for them or for me, because the Orioles had a barrel full of ink.


Alas, that's the parallel I see with my former boss. I don't know the whole, entire story, but I'm sure the Ravens talked about it internally for quite some time, knowing the firestorm that would come as a result of it. The team's PR department didn't just decide, willy-nilly, to take away his season media credential and press box seat.

And while that's not me issuing a blanket statement of defense for them, I do think it's important and fair to note that when they make a decision about someone's press box seat, it's done with consideration and discussion.

I had a seat in the press box at Ravens Stadium for six years or so and used it for every home game and traveled to many away games as well. When I was fired from the station and started Drew's Morning Dish, the Ravens told me I'd no longer be given a full-time, every game seat, but that I could apply on a game-by-game basis and they would accommodate me, "space provided".

I wasn't overly offended by that. I understood the new landscape. I wasn't with a radio station any longer and was, at least for the time being, involved in an unproven product. Frankly, I looked at it like I got my Sundays back. More time to hang out with my family, opportunities to take my son and daughter to a game if I wanted to and, heck, if a friend called Saturday and said, "We have room for one guy to play Bulle Rock on Sunday", I could go if I so choose.

I don't recall exactly, but I think I took them up on their "game by game" offer two or three times and then realized it just didn't "feel the same" as it did when I was on the air. I still maintained my friendships within the organization, still kept contacts that I needed and also knew, hopefully, that I would always be welcomed back if the urge to sit in the press box really struck me.

When I started the golf show on 105.7 last spring, there was some very basic, preliminary discussion about me being involved somehow in the station's Ravens coverage this season as a back-up-to-the-back-up, which is precisely what I would like to be. "If you need someone to fill in and he can't do it, I'll be second on the fill-in list" is what I told station management.

"We got you a Ravens credential so you have it in the event you need to go down there and work," I was told. That's awesome. I know I can go if needed. So far, I haven't been needed. This Sunday when they play the Jets, I might be playing in the second round of the Maryland State Senior Team Matches. I say "might be" because we have a Saturday match to win first against a tough opponent. But if we win Saturday, I can play Sunday and not have to worry about a conflict covering or watching a Ravens game.

I still love sports and love watching it and opining on it. But I also know the truth is, this isn't 1995 any longer. You don't have to be at the stadium or arena or venue in order to cover the team and the game(s). You just don't. Is it a benefit? Sure it is. But by no means do you have to be on site to do your job to the best of your ability.

Anyway, that's a long-winded way of saying what I think is obvious to see once you don't have the credential any longer: Your life goes on.

You can complain and howl at the moon about how you're being censored or canceled all you want, but the reality is, the team has the barrel full of ink and you have the pen full.

I do understand the sensitivity of it all, though. And I realize my former boss has been an active, diligent member of the sports media scene for a long, long time, the current state of the radio platform he owns and oversees notwithstanding.

In all honesty, I always thought there would come a day -- back when I was on the air -- when the team might tell him he can't wear a Ravens jersey in the press box. Just like we have a dress code at Eagle's Nest and men have to have their shirts tucked in, there's a general dress-code rule of thumb in sports that you don't wear team jerseys in the press box. But that day never came, perhaps because the Ravens simply didn't want that awkward, unsettling conversation with him.

In the aftermath of my former boss getting his credential and seat taken from him, that would be one thing I could point to that the Ravens ignored for a long time and perhaps shouldn't have. But that's neither here nor there now.


I haven't had a conversation with my former boss since a few days after he fired me and we had a semi-heated discussion about some contractual things that were owed to me that I felt were being ignored. Cooler heads prevailed and, over time, those things got worked out to my complete satisfaction.

When his mom passed away five years ago, I sent him a text expressing my sympathy. He didn't return that text. I didn't push it. He was grieving. But I long ago forgave him for what he did to me and the others on August 22, 2014. Details I learned later on about how it all went down were even more hurtful, but he had a barrel full of ink back then and I only had a pen full.

So, life goes on.

And if there was a message I could send to him that would be it. Your life will go on just fine without sitting in the press box or being allowed to go to Owings Mills. I realize it's painful for a moment -- just like getting fired after 12 years of never-missing-a-day was painful to me in 2014 -- but that pain will go away.

I get it. It's embarrassing. It's degrading, in a very unpleasant way.

It's the Ravens saying, in no uncertain terms: "We don't want you here any longer."

Back in 2014, I was told "you're not wanted here any longer" and the initial pain you feel is unimaginable. Getting fired -- or in this case, "removed" -- is like having a kidney stone.

The only people who know how incredibly painful kidney stones are......are people who have had kidney stones. I've had two of them. I can't describe the pain, but whatever you think pain is, multiply that by 33 and you're close to a kidney stone.

I realize we're in a culture these days where people get canceled or shut out if they do or say something that's against the grain or against popular opinion. I believe, personally, it's one of the ugliest parts of our society and culture in 2022.

I have a friend who, last summer, was asked by his employer to work an information table at his town's "Pride Parade". His company signed on as a corporate sponsor of the parade and one of the perks of doing so was having a table set up where they distributed information to those in attendance.

My friend very politely told his employer he didn't want to participate. Six days later, he was brought into a conference room "for a quick meeting", where he was at a table with a human resources professional and two lawyers.

The official reason for his termination: Reduction in force due to declining revenues.

But he knew the truth. He had been canceled. When he reached out to me and said, "What should I do? Should I sue them?", I said to him, "Play a lot of golf over the rest of the summer and get a new job after Labor Day."

Life goes on, even after you've been fired, removed or canceled.

Here's one final, important thing I'll pass along. I discovered this back in 2014. God doesn't look at you any differently because you're no longer in the press box or working for that organization. He loves you just as much today as he did yesterday.

As you might even discover yourself, God never cancels you, even when others do.

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wild card update


I can't imagine the Red Sox really harbor any thoughts of somehow going on a September heater and sneaking into the playoffs.

They're 67-71. Toronto has an 11-game lead on them in the loss column. Boston would have to go something like 20-4 over their last 24 games to finish 87-75. And even then, Tampa Bay, Seattle or Toronto would have to go completely in the tank to allow the Red Sox to scoot over them.

That said, if you're Alex Cora, it seems pretty obvious to me what your message is to the Red Sox tonight when they start a 3-game series with the Orioles in Baltimore: "If we don't win these three games, we're done."

So the Orioles have an ultra-desperate team at Camden Yards this weekend. I'm not suggesting the O's should be scared of Boston, per se. They're 67-71 for a reason, after all.

But the Red Sox are definitely backed into a corner and if they have any heart at all, they'll shoot every bullet they have this weekend.

Here are the pitching match-ups.


Friday, Austin Voth (BAL) vs. Brayan Bello (BOS)

Saturday, Jordan Lyles (BAL) vs. Michael Wacha (BOS)

Sunday, Kyle Bradish (BAL) vs. Rich Hill (BOS)


Wacha, you remember, was really good in Baltimore last month. Rich Hill, nearing his 55th birthday, it feels like, is always capable of doing something goofy and allowing 4 hits over 6.2 innings of work.

This isn't a good Red Sox team, but they do have two capable pitchers going for them on Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, the White Sox have quietly snuck back into the wild card race, albeit just by a nose. They won in Oakland last night, 14-2, to improve to 70-68 on the year. They're still 2.5 games behind the Orioles (72-65), but if the White Sox win the last three games of the series in Oakland and the O's lose 2 out of 3 to Boston, let's say, Chicago starts next week in the thick of the race.

Here are the current wild card standings:

1. Tampa Bay, 77-58 (+1.5) -- This weekend, at NY Yankees

2. Seattle, 77-60 (+0.5) -- This weekend, vs. Atlanta

3. Toronto, 76-60 (---) -- This weekend, at Texas


4. BALTIMORE, 72-65 (-4.5) -- This weekend, vs. Boston

5. Minnesota, 69-67 (-7.0) -- This weekend, vs. Cleveland

Chicago, 70-68 (-7.0) -- This weekend, at Oakland

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faith in sports


This video you'll see today is outrageously good. It features Bryce Young, the star quarterback of Alabama football, talking about faith, discipleship and how he weaves it all together to keep himself composed and successful while playing for Nick Saban's perennial championship program.

I love hearing athletes of all ages talk about their faith, but there's something particularly inspiring about hearing from a young athlete like Bryce Young. That's what we are endeavoring to do with Maryland FCA Golf. We want to bring young junior golfers together to learn more about golf and their faith, so by the time they're ready to head off to college they're as well rounded and solid as Bryce Young most certainly is at Alabama.

If you have the time to watch this over your morning cup of coffee, you will no doubt be impressed with Bryce Young.


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Thursday
September 8, 2022
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#2936


five legit questions about lamar


So the Ravens season starts on Sunday and they're facing their former Super Bowl MVP quarterback and that's not anywhere close to the biggest story surrounding John Harbaugh's team today.

The biggest story does involve a quarterback, of course, but it's the Lamar Jackson contract saga that's grabbing every important headline leading into the campaign opener in New Jersey vs. the Jets.

Lamar now says Friday is the deadline for a contract extension. He had mentioned all along he'd stop negotiating "once the season started", but yesterday he gave the media an actual stop-the-offers date and it turns out to be tomorrow.

Will these two still be fast friends on Sunday morning if Lamar doesn't have a new contract?

I don't know if that means 5:00 pm tomorrow or 11:59 pm tomorrow, so you'll probably have to stay up until midnight surfing the internet to see if the Ravens meet Lamar's deadline.

It's come down to this.

Either the Ravens pay Jackson the money he wants or it looks like he'll play out his contract in 2022 and force the Ravens to either trade him or franchise him for '23 and beyond.

The industry rumor and a Ravens associate both say the same thing; Jackson is looking for a deal that's fully guaranteed. Although the dollar amount isn't known, word on the street is Jackson is looking for $280M guaranteed over six years.

That kind of contract falls loosely in line with what "the next guy" should be looking for based on the Deshaun Watson contract.

But as of today, the Ravens haven't met whatever demands Lamar has laid out in front of them, and the 2019 NFL MVP must not feel like the deal the Ravens have offered is fair enough. So they're at a stalemate as the 11th hour begins.

I think most fans would agree this is a mess. You're mileage might vary on who gets the lion's share of the blame, but that's really neither here nor there. Both sides probably have poignant arguments to back up their position; this really might be the situation where Lamar is right for wanting his mega-deal fully guaranteed and the Ravens might be right for saying, "We love you and we'll pay you a lot of money but we're not guaranteeing every single cent of it."

You can see value in both of those statements, I assume.

So, then, here are the five pressing questions that all need to be addressed if, in fact, Friday comes and goes and the Ravens don't sign Lamar to a long-term extension.


1. Can Lamar play in '22 with the risk of injury and wage loss on his mind? -- This question is not posed in any way to question Lamar's integrity or character. It's posed because any employee -- football or otherwise -- who was on the verge of securing $250 million or more but had to stay healthy for the most part in order to get it would almost certainly have that on their mind.

"Whatever I do, I can't get hurt," would be a very natural reaction for Lamar to have. It doesn't make him a bad guy or a bad teammate. Nearly every human would think the same thing.

Can Lamar play with that kind of conflict in his head for 17 weeks?


2. If something weird happens and the Ravens are losing early, would trading Lamar in-season be an option? -- It's difficult to make deals in-season given the salary cap, but you're seeing more and more of them being made in the middle of the season. The trade deadline in 2022 is November 2.

What if the Ravens get off to a slow start? They play 8 games prior to November 2. Two of those are CTA (close-to-automatic) - the Jets and the Giants.

One is MABYAH (mostly automatic because you're home) - the Dolphins.

The other five games are NECTA (not-even-close-to-automatic) - Patriots, Bills, Bengals, Browns, Buccaneers.

Follow along -- if the Ravens don't get their full compliment of injured/rehabbing players back early on and stumble, say, to a 2-6 or 3-5 start, somehow, would it make sense at all to trade Lamar before the deadline? (Personally, I'm against this option. But I do see the value, trade wise, of sending him to someone who could benefit from him for a half-a-season. Think about the difference in value the Orioles might have received had the traded Machado earlier than they did.)


3. Some have suggested Jackson should announce on Friday he's sitting out the season opener to send a message. Right or wrong thing to do? -- This would be the ultimate "dirty pool" move from Lamar and I can't imagine there's any way he would pull that stunt. But there are those out there who follow along with contract negotiations that say Jackson's biggest moment of leverage before the season comes with a day or two left and there's little time remaining for practicing, game plan changing, etc.

But let's say the team and Lamar are a year apart. He wants 6, they want 5. Lamar says tomorrow, "I'm not playing on Sunday" and he sits out as a show of displeasure. How would you ever recover from that if you're the Ravens? Your quarterback, the team leader, the guy you're willing to pay $200-plus million, bows out of the season opener to prove a point? That move would sever the relationship long-term, I'm guessing.

Jackson wouldn't do that tomorrow, right? I mean, he's getting his $23 million this year for playing football. If he sits out on Sunday, he loses over $1 million and change. It doesn't make sense to sit out, but that leverage issue is tricky indeed.


4. Let's say Lamar has a good year, the Ravens go 12-5 and lose in the playoffs. Franchise him or trade him? Trading a franchise player is a slippery slope, because he has to sign the tender in order to be traded. For Lamar, a franchise tag in '23 at the $40M mark (roughly) can be garnered in Baltimore or anywhere else. So it would make complete sense for the Ravens to tell Lamar to come back to them with the team(s) on his wish list and they then can try to make their best deal possible.

Or, if you're the Ravens, do you franchise him, count the $40M on the salary cap, and continue to try to negotiate a long-term deal? The answer, of course, lies with this question: "Do you really believe you're going to be able to sign Jackson long-term?" If you're the Ravens and you think the answer to that question is "yes", franchise him and keep him for a season.

But if you really believe the answer is "No, he's unsignable based on what he wants", then you franchise him and trade him to the team he wants to go to and the team you get the best deal from. That's not the greatest ending of the relationship, but, as they say, "It's business."


5. Is Lamar setting himself up to be the league's first $60M quarterback? -- OK, here's another scenario. Lamar has an all-world year. The Ravens get off to a somewhat slow start at 5-3, then blow everyone out over the last half of the season and lose a meaningless game on the final day of the regular season to go 13-4. They breeze through the playoffs and beat the Chargers in the AFC title game, 37-20, and Jackson is the star.

Baltimore then goes out to Glendale, Arizona and beats the Packers in the Super Bowl and Jackson outplays Aaron Rodgers in the win.

Lamar will have, for lack of a better term, "Pulled a Flacco." He will have made the ultimate bet on himself, delivered the winning hand, and now can say to Steve Bisciotti, "You're gonna pay me whatever I damn well please. Pass me over a blank check, Stevie-Boy, and let me fill it in."

If all of that happens and the Ravens win the Super Bowl and Lamar is the gem of the entire diamond mine, can he command $60M and get it? Is that what this is all about, ultimately? "I bet on myself, made $340 million, and got an extra $100 million because I stayed patient and I rolled the dice." Is that the game Lamar's playing? If so, that's one heckuva gamble.

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2022 afc preview and super bowl pick


If you were here yesterday, you made note that we didn't go far off the chalk line in the NFC. San Francisco beats Green Bay in the NFC title game. No great shock there.

We're not adverse at all to taking longshots, but there just doesn't seem to be a team in the NFC worthy of a darkhorse prediction with the notable exception, perhaps, of Minnesota. The Vikings probably can't go to the Super Bowl with Cousins at quarterback, but they certainly have some high quality players around him that are more than capable of leading Minnesota to a surprising '22 finish.

Other than the Vikings, though? It's mostly chalk in the NFC.

I'm sorry to report that much of the AFC is the same way, but there is an exception, which you will see below in today's preview.

Josh Allen and the Bills are favorites in the AFC in 2022, but could their schedule become an issue as the season wears on?

As for the chalk picks most of America is making in the AFC, it's important to remember those selections are made under the presupposition that the key players stay healthy; If Allen goes down in Buffalo, Jackson goes down in Baltimore, Mahomes goes down in K.C. or Herbert goes down in L.A., those teams are all done.

Someone will rise up as an unexpected contender this year because someone always seems to do that. The Bengals obviously fit that mold in 2021. They won't be "unexpected" this season, though. Some other team you're not thinking of right now will somehow cobble together a 10-7 season and make the playoffs.

So let's get started with our AFC preview.


AFC East -- It's simply impossible to not pick the Bills, so we're not going to do something dumb and convince you to do it. Buffalo wins the division at 11-6, but an improved Dolphins and Patriots team keep them from piling up a 14 or 15 win season. New England and Mac Jones are starting to get it together. They go 11-6, too, but finish 2nd in the East based on the tiebreaker. Miami fights like they did a season ago but their 8-9 record leaves them home in January. Not surprisingly, the Jets finish in the basement, managing a 5-12 record that leaves most NFL followers asking..."how on earth did the Jets win 5?"

One wacky thing that could happen -- The Bills have a tough schedule. They start out with 3 of 4 on the road (Rams, Dolphins, Ravens) and a home game against the Titans that isn't a walk-in-the-park. Later, they have the Chiefs on the road, the Packers in Buffalo and the Bengals in Cincinnati. They will need to play really well to go 12-5. If they stumble at all and lose a couple they shouldn't, Buffalo could be looking at a 9 or 10 win season. Remember you heard it here first.


AFC South -- This one's our surprise. The Indianapolis Colts win the division at 11-6 and make some serious post-season strides, as you see below. Matt Ryan drinks from the fountain of youth in Indy and Jonathan Taylor runs over every team he faces as the Colts hold off the Titans, who go 9-8 and miss the playoffs on the last day of the season. Jacksonville is definitely better and they're a team to watch in '23, perhaps, but they'll only go 6-11 in '22. The Texans finish with the worst record in the NFL at 3-14. I'm sure that might "rub some people the wrong way" down in Houston. Too soon?

One wacky thing that could happen -- The Jaguars could surprise people. I'm not here to say they could be this year's "Bengals of '21" in the AFC, but if a few things fall in their favor and the Colts and Titans somehow take a major step back, the Jags could win the division. Wacky? Of course? That's why in the "one wacky thing" section.


Could Derek Carr take the Raiders to the Super Bowl? #DMD thinks so.

AFC West -- What happens? Does Mahome miss Hill more than Hill misses Mahomes or does Hill miss Mahomes more? Both of those guys made the other guy better, right? So what takes place when they're no longer able to rely on each other? The guess here is the Chiefs take a step back and the Los Angeles Chargers win the division at 12-5. Justin Herbert has an MVP type season for L.A. and their improving defense buckles down in December with some key performances in big wins. The Chiefs do finish second at 10-7 but it's an uneven 10-7. Still dangerous, but not nearly the dominant team they were in '20, '21 and '22. The Raiders finish third via the tiebreaker, also at 10-7, and make some noise in January. Big noise, actually. The Russell Wilson experiment is an improvement over the last couple of QB's in Denver, but the division is just too tough. The Broncos finish at 8-9.

One wacky thing that could happen -- The Raiders could win the division. Sure, they might win it on a technicality by finishing with an 11-6 record just like K.C. and Los Angeles, but Las Vegas is the real deal on offense and the addition of Davante Adams makes them a 25-point threat in every game. 25 points will win you a lot of NFL games.


AFC North -- While I'll no longer be able to say "Bengals gonna Bengals" after what Joe Burrow and Company pulled off last season, I'm not buying stock in the Bengals suddenly being a dominant team in the AFC. This is still the Ravens division to lose and the thought here is they'll be a tough out every Sunday on their way to an 12-5 finish. You want me to predict their losses? OK, here goes: They'll lose to New England (away), Buffalo (home), New Orleans (away), Jacksonville (away...that one stinker they lose every year, seemingly) and the Bengals (away).

Yes, they're sweeping the Steelers and Browns.

The only way things go sideways for the Ravens is if the injuries to Stanley, Bowser, Peters and Robbins wind up lingering well into the season. Stanley, you'll recall, got hurt midway through the 2020 season, returned for the first game last year in Las Vegas, then didn't play again in 2021. It's been almost two years for him, now. Will he ever return to top form?

The Ravens can still win without those four, but life would sure be easier with them for the last 12 or games of the season. Don't forget, other unfortunate injuries are likely to occur throughout the season, too, so getting those four back and fully healthy for the bulk of the upcoming campaign is critically important and would help offset the expected "other injuries" that are down the road.

We see the Bengals being competitive again in 2022 but they'll miss the playoffs at 10-7. But every team they face this season will respect them, unlike in the recent past. Cleveland chugs along and wins a few they shouldn't and loses a few they shouldn't en-route to a 7-10 finish. The Steelers, we're pleased to report, have a lousy 2022 and match the Browns record at 7-10. No more Big Ben, no more Big Wins in the Steel City. You hate to see it.

One wacky thing could happen -- Dare I say it? Could the Browns use the '22 season to show just how much the internally-disliked Baker Mayfield wrecked them from the inside? It's hard to imagine they'd be a winning team with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, but if they hold on long enough to turn the offense over to Deshaun Watson, who knows how things might end up? You wanted wacky. Well, the Browns being this year's Bengals of 2021 is really, really wacky. But maybe?


AFC playoffs --

Las Vegas beats Baltimore

Indianapolis beats New England

Buffalo beats Kansas City


Las Vegas beats Los Angeles

Indianapolis beats Buffalo


AFC Championship Game -- Las Vegas beats Indianapolis, 30-26.

Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona -- San Francisco 27 - Las Vegas 16

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     October 05
I gave up on Dem O's years ago for a multitude of great reasons so I have no dog in the fight. But I did laugh out loud over someone claiming the O's a playoff team next year absent the knowledge of their roster or schedule. Especially when the same person told everyone for the last two months they'd make the playoffs this year knowing the roster and schedule. I'm wrong so rarely I can't remember what it felt like but if I remember correct the proper response after being wrong for two months running would be some humility. Not doubling down on predictions. But around here the SOD has a one day memory so you can tell them just about anything day in and day out and they forget how wrong you can be fresh the next morning.

Jason M     October 05
Not to mention the competition, but Mike Preston dropped a pretty big hint that Nick Boyle is done in his column today. The fact that he has not sniffed the 53 man roster yet this season would seem to bear that out. If that is so, we have lost one of the most effective run blocking tight ends that we've ever had. We have missed him on short yardage situations, and our tight ends not wearing 89 haven't done much of note so far. We'll see Hurst on Sunday, miss that guy, I'm sure Lamar does too.

unitastoberry     October 05
When is the court date for Angelos Vs Angelos?

Chris in Bel Air     October 05
O's definitely need another arm and a bat or two. Big bonus if some of the players performing in the minors (Westburg, Cowser, etc) are able to be contributors too. I know he can't hit but I like Mateo. Fielding, speed and energy are good for the team. It's been several years but we have an actual O's off-season coming up and carrying some sense of optimism. Heading down to the Yard now to take in the last game.

Delray RICK     October 05
ERIC...Hope you are right bout MATEO. Stolen base leader in AMERICAN LEAGUE. GREAT fielder like BELANGER.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 05
Drew putting his jinx out a year early. Just a reminder - White Sox were a lock to win the Central Os were a lock to win 60 or so games. I dont believe the Swanson rumors. Os officials have been whispering to LaConfora for months that Mateo is locked in at SS. Hopefully his baseball sources are as bad as his Ravens sources. Plenty of quality pitchers available by trade per Athletic - Burnes Snell Bieber Singer to name a few. I still say return of Means and G Rod makes our bottom 10 offense the bigger priority but ill gladly take a top arm too

TC     October 05
Swanson would be a perfect free agency target, except he's from Kennesaw, Georgia. There'd probably have to be a premium paid to get him out of Atlanta, and he is the only one of their infielders not locked up long-term.

HERMAN     October 05
It's pretty sad when you have to google the PGATour website to see if there is even a tour stop this week, or where they are. It would make perfect sense for the Tour to partner with LIV and allow them to take over what used to be called "the silly season", and operate in conjunction with the Tour. And 54 holes ending on Saturday would dovetail nicely as they wouldn't have to compete with the monster that is the NFL.

Like pro baseball the Tour needs to shorten the over-all season and make each individual tournament more meaningful. As it is everyone gets jazzed for the majors and maybe one or two more stops, past that interest seems to wane. It's possible that the Tour could end a month earlier or so, give up late Summer and Fall to LIV and have the truncated format and field, together with changes of team play, atmosphere and design create a new and different interest and audience in this new "season". These past few weeks I've been checking Tour results over the weekend, couldn't recognize more than one name in ten on the leaderboard. If the Tour had yielded to LIV for the Fall of course you'd know the leaderboard of names. To continue battling is in no one's interest.


Delray RICK     October 05
Hope DREW is right because DEM O'S have to face the 3 menaces in their division and they DEFINITELY need better bats and hitters above .260 mark. DEM O'S pitching staff an't going to make it with this group. PLEASE move the wall BACK.

Nathan Aparisto     October 04
I just heard the despicable rumor that Gisele was unfaithful to the greatest quarterback to ever live by cheating on him with Antonio Brown.



If this is true, Tom Brady should sue her for every last penny!

Erick     October 04
So Ravens were predicted to win- they lose. We state - Bills are good if not great- we are cast as doubting thomas…and…..”dont get it”…..now they lose, people vent and its more predictions of victories….of games not yet played!

vernon     October 04
These guys who think Drew is taking "veiled" shots at Herman are hilarious. If true, then it sure is clear who is the one living rent free lol

Larry     October 04
Drew's subtle but clever jab at Herman today was pretty funny. All part of the game..................

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy Yup that is good analysis. I would lean over on that 36 number but they play a hell of a lot of games this season (even without him playing WC) Obv an injury can happen at any time. I remember getting so frustrated by Sterling and now this guy is just silly good. He's so big and fast...just an animal

Dan noonan     October 04
Who are these people getting all pumped up about "Drew schooling Herman"? Must be that SOD gang I hear about often. Must be like a special dog whistle only those guys can hear, I see no roasting or calling out of one individual here today. the childish "rent free" crowd is awake today that is for sure.

Don't agree with all the talking points re: the Ravens game, but it was indeed a nice calm summary and not at all like what the #BP guy or the FM guys do on the radio. In that sense, DMD is schooling 105.7 and 1570!


TimD in Timonium     October 04
Not only does @Herman survive the brutal Florida hurricane, he jumps back into the fray with his A-Game still intact.



"who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status."



LOL. Bravo, sir, well-played.


Chris     October 04
DF roasting Herman is why I come to DMD every day!

HERMAN     October 04
I didn't Make that last post. I never do anything I have to apologize for so I never apologize.

Randy     October 04
@Stats Nerd

Great question, I'm going to use some geek speak to make a projection, I think you'll appreciate that. So far Haaland has 14 goals in 8 games, but he only has 7.6 xG (expected goals). So he has been scoring at a better rate than expected, however he's consistently produced about 3-5 goals above expectation in his career.



For Dortmund in the Bundesliga he average about 1 goal/game when healthy. Now the EPL is a higher competition level, but also Man City produced 2.14 xG last year to just 1.6 for Dortmund, so he should have more scoring opportunities this year.



So if we expect his luck to even out a little bit and him to stay around 1 g/g of xG, that would put him around 40 goals for the season. The biggest caveat is that he did miss time in both the last two Dortmund seasons with injuries. So I'll deduct 10% for injury risk (just pulled a number) and that lands us on.....



36.



I swear I didn't do that on purpose.



If I were to bet, I'd take the over. Haaland is going to get a big rest midseason since Norway isn't in the World Cup, so that should reduce the injury risk. They also may give him all the penalty kick chances if he's chasing a record and look to feed him towards the end of the season if they run away with the title.

Chris in Bel Air     October 04
The Yankee fans meltdown over the weekend was comical. Did they expect the O's to just throw 85 mph meatballs to him? That's not being entitled at all. For the record, Judge walked 5 times but he was also 1 for 7 with 6 Ks. He had his chances and couldn't connect. Sorry fans. I also like Judge. He seems to be a "good guy" and would take him on the O's any day. But I certainly didn't want to see the O's give up the 62nd HR and certainly found the Yankee whining to be laughable.

Herman     October 04
I will admit I definitely go above and beyond occasionally on the site owner but he brings out the worst in me for whatever reason. Ask my friends, I'm normally not nearly as angry as I come across here at the site. The site owner just gets under my skin for some reason.

Jason M     October 04
Like DF said in his recap, if you think the bad decision lost them the game, you don't know football. They lost that game a 100 ways in the second half. Harbaugh did his part to contribute, but so did many others.

J.R.     October 04
LMAO at @DF taking a swipe @Herman like that.

unitastoberry     October 04
@ Steve of Pimlico I bet Mad Dog had the better tackle on the fan in Baltimore. I don't get ESPN did the announcers bring up Mikes forearm shot on the drunk in Baltimore on TV? I was there too. Mike was a HOFer I don't care what the NFLHOF thinks or Dion. Ask Mike Singletary about Mike Curtis....he will put you all straight.

Pratt     October 04
Herman, why shouldn't Drew single you out? You single him out every day here. Talk about rent free in someone's head, you can't go a day without referencing him. So tell us again why he shouldn't single you out. You're a first rate prick and you know it.

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy What line would you set as an O/U for Haaland goals this season? The number in the UK betting lines seems to be 36-ish. Assuming he stays healthy I suspect he gets there fairly easily

HERMAN     October 04
@RC

You don't really believe the site owner penned that line for just one random commenter do you? I mean, I know I set up full residency in his caddy lawyers head based on his childish response he penned here in the comments last week. The one who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status. But the site owner wouldn't take aim at just one simple commenter. Especially not one who could potentially help him take this site to Barstool heights singlehandedly. In his new Country Club world he has to be above that.

Steve of Pimlico     October 04
Mike Curtis would have been proud of the Ram player for decking that num nut who ran on the field last night with the smoking device.I was actually at that game back in the day.

Tim D     October 04
Ravens Recap - well said Drew.

Kevin     October 04
When Drew starts making more coaching sense than the actual football coach in town, I think we know what that means. And I'm saying that with no disrespect to Drew. It's actually a compliment.

Albert c     October 04
Lamar is a QB and he got to throw the ball, how is that not letting Lamar be Lamar?

MFC     October 04
I turned to watch a bit of the O's last night, if there was 800 people in the stands I'd be shocked. I did get to see some great fan interaction by our stadium ushers.

Two fans, looked like husband and wife, walk down and sit in the front two seats to the right of the screen behind home plate. It's the 7'th inning. It's miserable, rain pouring down. Well it didn't take 45 seconds before our usher is seen walking down the steps and our fan faithful asked to relocate to their seats. I literally laughed out loud, why? Ok, they didn't pay for those seats but the weather is horrible, there's no one in the stadium to speak of, it's the 7'th inning. Why can't you just look the other way at that point. In fact why not take a proactive position and tell the crowd to sit where they want. If you're one that would get upset because you "paid" for the best seat you need to get over it. Say thanks to the 800 people that braved the conditions to support the team.



It's a shame that during that sequence at the goal line we really didn't let Lamar be Lamar. One of the top offensive players in the game and we don't let him win it. I did not remember that Roman was the OC for the 49'ers in the SB. Wow, good memory by the site owner. That explains a lot.



Saw a stat that's incredible. Judge has struck out 167 times this year. Tony Gwynn didn't strike out that much in the 90's. How great was Gwynn.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw Tucker 2 weeks ago put Ravens up 38-35 and watched Avg QB march right down the field and win. Why she he trust this D vs Allen???

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw two weeks ago Tucker give Ravens 38-35 lead late only to watch Avg QB march right down the field. Why in Gods name should he trust this D vs Allen???

Frank     October 04
Love Harbs - but I think he missed an opportunity by not taking blame for the call and saying he should have kicked the FG. Now that he is sticking to his decision, it puts the blame on execution and players - where otherwise he could have taken it all himself.... take a bullet for your team!

David Rosenfeld     October 04
You said: "But they're now playing from behind, where their play calling has to be a smidgen more carefully planned and their execution has to be spot-on."

John said: The exact opposite of that!

Paraphrasing: A team that is behind in that situation is going to play more aggressively, not less. They will be willing to use all 4 downs in a way they might not if they are too close to their end zone, etc.

It's interesting. From a fan perspective, it's a liability for Buffalo that they would be "forced" to use all 4 downs. From the analytic perspective, it might be an advantage.

Just a discussion. Reiterating that I would have kicked the FG...


RC     October 04
DF throwing shade at Herman with the "ocean breeze erodes your brain". Hilarious.

Kenny G     October 04
While Drew touched on the statistical analysis a bit, I will take it a step further. My problem with the analytics is what factors are considered. Are the stats influenced by going against a strong defense or weak? Good run defense? At home vs on the road? In rain, on turf, etc? Which quarter? You can probably think of several more. Additionally there needs to be a feel for the tempo of the actual game. If its a 35-32 game or a 10-3 game in the fourth quarter - is that factored in? Maybe the matchup does not favor going for it?

Butch (aka Big Fat Daddy)     October 04
George: The Orioles game was called and made an "Official" game due to weather. By MLB rule - a game can be Official after 4 and 1/2 innings - if ended by the Crew Chief. Now what really happened was the Umps, the league office and both Managers went into the tunnel and agreed to end the game. It was terrible weather for a baseball game. No need to play and get any player or players hurt. The Blue Jays have playoff games coming up and the Orioles have next season.

Delray RICK     October 04
The RAVENS have won games they shouldn't have and lost games...whatever. what goes around comes around.

HERMAN     October 04
Counting chickens before they hatch. A 12-5 prediction, predicated on looking at the future schedule. Sure. This team, as is presently constituted, without potential injuries, and with the current coaching braintrust is going to win one they should lose and lose a few they should win. A 12 win prediction is best-case scenario and about as reliable as all those columns with "Dem O's are going to the playoffs, this year, I believe".

Right now with this roster the Ravens are a mid-level mediocre team who can shine on any given Sunday or just mess the bed with a fourth quarter meltdown against another mediocre team. They are no 12 win team.

Baltimore fans are closer to Cleveland fans than I thought, they both show up expecting the "best case scenario" despite all prior evidence to the contrary. Then whine over a play, a call, some small detail within a game that derails their vision of the mind.

Smalltimore; Cleveland of the Chesapeake.

George     October 04
Have searched the Internet diligently but can't find an explanation of how the Orioles game ended after 7.5 innings. Can anyone enlighten? Thanks.

larry     October 04
Oweh almost made a great play, it was clear Singletary was not going to go into the end zone but give himself up at the one. Oweh got the ball loose but not out. Ball comes out and Ravens recover, all the sudden Oweh is a genius.

Also FG with 4 minutes less hardly puts pressure on Bills. Now I would have kicked it anyway, but let's not act like kicking the FG means they are 3-1, the D still would have had to make plays. Given the chance to do so at 20-20, they did not.

Chris in Bel Air     October 03
Agree with many posts here on Drew's recap. Good summary. Also agree with @ MFC on the refs. The Ravens did not lose because of the refs but they were certainly another obstacle to overcome. The seemingly random application of the rules within a game and per week is difficult to watch at times. I will also add that it was not a good day for many first-round draft picks. Certainly Lamar didn't have his best day. Bateman with a couple drops and then was injured. Linderbaum with 2 false starts. Queen exerting lots of energy but didn't seem to make a tackle when it mattered most. Queen sometimes plays like a 5 year old playing soccer for the first time - chasing the pile around the field but not making much of a difference. Oweh had the sack and forced fumble but also was badly fooled on Allen's TD run and did not keep the edge. Of course, plenty to question with Harbs too. Not a good day at all as a team. On a more positive note, I thought JPP did fairly well for just coming off the street. Dobbins also looked pretty good. I thought he made something out of nothing on a couple runs and turned small gains into a more substantial gains a few times. He will be a big boost to the offense if he stays healthy. In addition, the remaining Ravens schedule doesn't look to be very daunting at all. Plenty of season left... Of course, that is all based on the Ravens team I expect to see. Not the one that has only figured out how to play for 2 quarters.

MFC     October 03
The site owner unpacked it really well this morning, except he meant snowangels instead of snowballs but that's nitpicking a really good recap. Nothing much to add that's not already "unpacked".



I will say something about NFL refs, they're BS. I watched last night night as Mahonnes made the exact same play as Lamar running oob's, almost scary how similar. He gets the first down spot. Lamar doesn't and we have to lose a TO because they upheld the BS call on the challenge. Andrews OPI was BS and the roughing the passer. They're needs to be an overhaul and some type of new review. Consistency is paramount to reffing and they're anything but.

HERMAN     October 03
Man I wish there was some way to invest in the NFL. I'm not talking about betting, I'm talking ownership. For the common man. Because with fans like those in Baltimore it's a pure growth industry. They somehow convince themselves that their completely mediocre franchise is one of the best in the league despite all evidence. You fans are "all-in". Past Lamar they have not a player that excites, that just makes plays, who can perform and change the game. The coach is serviceable but flawed, the coordinators as mediocre as the team.

This phenomenon actually extends to all sports in Baltimore. These same commenters wailing about the loss are the ones like the site owner who just believed and believed that the low payroll O's were going to the playoffs. They don't make fish hooks big enough I'm telling ya. And this is how gullible they are, after months of either being told Dem O's were going to the playoffs, or being given betting advice, when it all disappears they move on, no need to examine how wrong one can be. Look over here at this new shiny thing, pay no attention to that old shiny thing. Oh it wasn't the 4TH down call, it was the whole second half. No, it was the bad penalty for hitting the quarterback. No it was that retread O coordinator.

Maybe it's just as simple as your expectations being ridiculous. As ridiculous as Dem O's making the playoffs this year. You can't invest emotion into a Harbaugh coached team. You're destined for disappointment.

Alas only one man can invest in Baltimore football. No wonder he is a billionaire. Fish in a barrel.


Such     October 03
I was never very good at math, let alone things like Algebra and Trigonometry and Calculus and "Advanced Metrics", but I do know that 23>20 and 3>0. I would rather play with a 3 point lead than try and fend off that Bills offense in a tie game with 4 minutes remaining.

And 3-1 > 2-2. Oh well.

Jason M     October 03
It's a real slap in the face to the Ravens faithful who geared up and sat through the remnants of a damn hurricane, shouting down the Bills Mafia who travelled well, only to watch the Ravens do their best impersonation of a pack of choking dogs. 5 straight at home people, this is unacceptable. I see the other team adjusting at half time, where are our adjustments? Or do we make them and they just make things worse? How can it be that we are good enough to run up a lead, but not good enough to hold it?

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 03
Not a doubt in my mind if Lamar throws for a TD there Allen ties it and wins in OT. Thats what Ravens have been since 2014 blowing 2 TD lead in NE. 4th and 17 vs Cincy. Choking as a 14-2 seed. 5 straight home games blowing 4th Q leads. Russell street report said it best ...fact that majority of fanbase at halftime up 10 at home expected to lose shows you this franchise has deep issues.

Daveinlutherville     October 03
Frank: bless you for your confidence. I don’t think most people think this is anywhere near a 12-5 team, but we shall see.

Wednesday
September 7, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2935


are you ready for some football?


We're a day away from the start of another NFL season.

That's the good news. Or, depending on your view, maybe even the "great" news.

The only negative to football season starting? Summer's basically over. Heck, Christmas stuff goes up in the stores in another five weeks. If you're a warm weather guy like me, the end of summer is a hard little hard to take. But I digress...

The Bills and Rams get it all going tomorrow night in L.A., with the Ravens opening their season this Sunday in New York against the Jets. There's a very real possibility that John Harbaugh's team will face their former quarterback, Joe Flacco, on Sunday. We'll talk more about that game over the weekend.

Today and tomorrow, we'll preview the NFC and AFC and give you our 2022 season predictions. Our friend "The Stats Nerd" has his Ravens preview below. I won't make you wait a full day to learn what I think about the Ravens. You can relax on that note. I have them making the playoffs -- with ease. Full details on the AFC come on Thursday.

Today we'll preview the NFC.

Can Dak and the Cowboys finally fly high enough to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl?

NFC East -- I'm not sure the Dallas Cowboys will have the passing game they had a season ago, but they can still run the ball as well as anyone and that will take them to the division title at 11-6. The Philadelphia Eagles are a team on the upswing and will challenge Dallas for the division crown, but fall just short at 10-7. It's a total toss-up to see who finishes in last place in this division, because both Washington and New York stink. If Saquon Barkley stays healthy and the Giants establish a decent running game, we'll take them to somehow finish 5-12. Carson Wentz and the Commanders finish 4-13.

One wacky thing that could happen -- The Eagles start the season at Detroit, home vs. Minnesota, at Washington and home vs. Jacksonville. If they can start the season 4-0, they might wind up winning the division over Dallas.


NFC North -- It's obviously Green Bay's division to lose and only some sort of serious injury to Aaron Rodgers will keep them from doing that. We see the Packers cruising to a 13-4 record and winning the North with ease. The Vikings have one of the game's best receivers (Jefferson) and a top running back (Cook) and will put a lot of points up if those two stay healthy. An improved defense gives Minnesota a 10-7 record. The Lions will be better, mainly because they almost have to be, but things really are starting to improve in the Motor City and Detroit winds up finishing a distinctly better 7-10 in 2022. Times are still tough in Chicago, where the Bears will finish in the basement at 6-11.

One wacky thing that could happen -- The Lions start the season with three of four at home and all three are games they very well could win (Eagles, Commanders, Seahawks). Some early season success could spark them and the Lions could threaten to win 9 or 10 games if things really click for them.


NFC South -- This one feels like a Tampa Bay cakewalk, but it all depends on their quarterback, a veteran named Tom Brady. We're going to assume Brady can still be Brady, so we have the Buccaneers finishing at 10-7. Not quite the dominant form they've showed in the last two years, but still plenty good enough to win the South. New Orleans finishes second at 8-9 because the other two teams in the division can't play a lick. Both Carolina and Atlanta are hard pressed for wins; they each finish 5-12.

One wacky thing that could happen -- OK, so this one gets filed under "really wacky", but what if Baker Mayfield really is capable of playing QB in the NFL and what if, somehow, he cobbles together a really good season in Charlotte? Could the Panthers somehow finish above .500 and challenge for a playoff spot? That would be extra, extra wacky.


NFC West -- OK, this division is set to be turned upside down in 2022. We're bullish on San Francisco here at #DMD and we have the 49'ers putting together one of the NFL's best campaigns at 13-4. They easily win the division over the Rams, who still hang tough and overcome the post-Super-Bowl-blues to finish 11-6. We see Arizona dropping off a bit and finishing 8-9. Missing their key wide receiver (Hopkins) for six games and fielding one of the NFC's older rosters hurts the Cardinals. The Seattle Seahawks will finish 4-13 and be fortunate to win four. There's no hope in 2022 in the Pacific Northwest.

One wacky thing that could happen -- The Cardinals are an injury to Kyler Murray from being ultra-lousy this season. As it stands, even with him, they're nothing more than a .500 team. Without him, Arizona could be one of those 4-13 clubs. As you can tell, we're not at all bullish on the Cardinals in '22, with or without their high-paid quarterback.


NFC Playoffs --

Green Bay beats Minnesota

Dallas beats L.A. Rams

Philadelphia beats Tampa Bay


San Francisco beats Philadelphia

Green Bays beats Dallas

NFC Championship Game: San Francisco 27 - Green Bay 24

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The Stats Nerd
And His Numbers


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


Well, finally all the talk and hand wringing about last season can be put behind us. It’s NFL time!

The 2022 Ravens season starts with a trip to New Jersey to face some familiar faces on the Jets. Below are my thoughts on the upcoming season and some key metrics that need to improve from last year. (Note: I’m not getting into the contract for Lamar. There is enough written about it and, frankly, it will or won’t happen when it does.)


Baltimore Ravens

2021 record 8-9 (last in AFC North)

Las Vegas O/U Win Total: 9.5

Strengths: QB, TE, DB

Weaknesses: Offensive Line, Pass Rush


Obviously last year was a disaster. Seemingly everything that could go wrong did. Injuries began in training camp and just kept coming wave after wave until the final blow to Edge Tyus Bowser in the final week of the season.

There's no bigger injury question heading into the '22 season for the Ravens than Ronnie Stanley. Can he return and play the entire season for John Harbaugh's team?

Along the way the Ravens lost significant time for the following players: Bateman, Boyle, Dobbins, Edwards, Fort, Humphrey, Jackson, Peters, Stanley, and Wolfe. All of those players were expected to be key contributors last season and one by one they succumbed to injury. To say nothing of the dozen or so other players from the 53 man that missed time. It was a mess.

ManGamesLost.com calculated that the Ravens had the league's largest impact as a result of the injuries. Their methodology measures not only games lost but the quality of players lost. I think all Ravens fans know the season was a disaster and the team was swimming upstream coming out of training camp. But all of those injuries beg the first two questions I have:

Do the Ravens have better luck in 2022 on the injury front? They have obviously changed their approach to both practice and preseason. Thus far they have gotten through the preseason relatively unscathed.

I’m of the belief that many injuries are just bad luck. It’s a violent game played by massive men. Does that mean the Ravens see a reversion to the mean in terms of injuries? Or perhaps even have a little good luck on their side and make it through the season with less than average injuries? Time will tell.

The second question: How do returning players perform? This is starting to get a little more concerning as we approach Sunday’s kickoff. It looks like Ronnie Stanley is a few weeks away from any meaningful snaps. Same for JK Dobbins. Does Marcus Peters just jump in the lineup and play like his old self?

I think there is reason for concern about these players. Maybe they round in to form through the season but I can’t imagine players that took zero game snaps this preseason or missed large chunks of last season are playing at a Pro Bowl level in Week 1.

A few other non-injury questions that need to be answered:

Can the pass rush get to the QB? I wrote a column last season stating that total QB Pressure Rate ((hurries PLUS knockdowns PLUS sacks) divided by dropbacks) is a more predictive of defensive pass rush success than simply looking at sacks. Well, at least for last year, it didn’t really matter how we parsed the Ravens stats. They were bottom 10 in Pressure Rate, they were bottom 10 in raw sacks, and bottom 8 in QB hurries. Our eyes did not deceive us. They were bad.

And this was all IN SPITE of blitzing the 6th most of any team in the league. Simply put: they were sending the house, not getting to the QB and leaving a depleted secondary to cover. That’s a bad recipe.

Now the Ravens have a new defensive coordinator. Will they continue to be as aggressive? Will Oweh step up and jump from 5 to, say, 10 sacks? Will a healthy secondary mean less need to blitz heavily? Does Travis Jones generate some interior pass rush this team hasn’t seen since Ngata left?

Does Lamar return to form? Lamar was incredible the first 8 weeks last season. The team was 6-2 and on a roll. He engineered comebacks against KC, Indianapolis and Detroit. Everything looked great.

And then that Thursday night game in Miami happened. I was actually shocked to see he only had 1 INT in that game. But by all accounts he was confused and never seemed to get his game going again. A few weeks later Lamar’s season was essentially over in an injury against Cleveland.

It’s clear the Ravens have addressed the offensive line. Last year was a disaster. But as stated above when does Ronnie Stanley get back on the field and what is his form? They added Morgan Moses to the right side which should be rock solid with him and Kevin Zeitler patrolling. But there is no question that the left side seems to be a cause for concern.

Ravens QBs were middle of the pack in Pressure % but Lamar’s On Target Pass % was near the bottom of the league. In addition, his Bad Throw % was in the top 5 in the league. The media, coaches and players have been raving all preseason about the quality of the balls Lamar is throwing. For the sake of the team, I hope that is the case.

Which receivers step up? A continuing concern for as long as I can remember is the lack of playmaking receivers for the Ravens. They have not had an “alpha” receiver since Steve Smith retired after the 2016 season. Will Rashod Bateman develop into that type of receiver? Last year’s performance was promising and I am bullish on this young man’s potential.

I am less concerned about receivers, per se, than a lot of commentators and analysts. Basically I don’t think the distinction between WR and TE is as important for the Ravens as it might be for other teams. Clearly Lamar has great confidence in Mark Andrews and rookie TE Isiah Likely has been the buzz of training camp.

But this Ravens team is very thin. Any injuries to the key guys will leave the team with essentially unproven talent to catch Lamar’s passes.

Does the passing game catch up? There has been a ton of talk over the last several seasons about making the team more balanced on offense. To which I wonder…why? The team was incredibly efficient both through the air and on the ground in 2019. They were far and away the leader in points scored and passing TDs and 2nd in rushing TDs.

Obviously this meant they led the league in points per drive, they were by far the best in terms of ball control per drive. And then, for some reason they felt they needed to fix this. Of course, all heck broke loose after week 8 in 2020 when Ronnie Stanley was hurt. The offense really hasn’t been the same since.

I do think there are a couple of things to look at statistically this season. The first is YAC (yards after catch). Ravens receivers rank near the bottom of the league in both total YAC and YAC per completion. This has been true for the last three years. They clearly need to improve on this. Can a lot of this be attributed to the now departed Hollywood Brown?

Similarly, the Ravens have ranked in the bottom half of the league in Play Action yardage. This makes no sense as teams load the box against the run heavy offense. There is a fine line between RPO and PA which are accounted for differently. But a ranking near the bottom of play action receiving yards for the Ravens makes very little sense and needs to improve.


There are certainly other questions that need to be answered but the above questions will go a long way to determining the success of the team. How will the injuries affect the team? How will injured players perform in their comebacks? How will the pass rush generate pressure? Does Lamar and his receivers click and make defenses respect the pass? Answering these questions positively through the season and the Ravens should be playing well into January.

2022 Prediction: After finishing in last place in the AFC North last season, the Ravens have a relatively easy 2022 schedule, at least on paper. They have relative layups over the likes of the Giants, Jags, Jets, Panthers and Falcons. On the flip side they have a Thursday night road game against the Bucs that looks like a tough one along with normally difficult division games. They also host the Bills and Broncos, two teams many expect to be in the playoff picture at a minimum.

Overall, I think the schedule is pretty favorable. I don’t think the Ravens are a super high ceiling team that could go 14-3, for example.

Conversely, I do see them having a pretty high floor. It seems difficult to imagine them having fewer than 9 wins assuming the injury woes of last year don’t repeat.

My best estimate is that this is a 10-12 win team and, thus, I would strongly lean OVER the 9.5 wins that Vegas has set.

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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 Tuesday here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


american stock watch


Striker Watch --

Once again it was Josh Sargent leading the way in the striker competition. Sargent started at right wing for Norwich City on Saturday and was their top player in a 3-0 win. Sargent finished off a nice attacking move by slotting home a low pass into the box with a first time left footed shot that put Norwich up 2-0.

On the third Norwich goal, Sargent made a nice run onto a through ball in the box, held it up against a defender and then laid it off for the assist. He was 14 of 18 passing with two chances created and two accurate crosses. Sargent has five goals in the last five games for second place Norwich City, and is the second leading scorer in the league.

Not to be outdone, Jesus Ferreira scored two goals of his own in a 3-0 FC Dallas win over Minnesota United. Ferreira scored early in the second half, getting on the end of a nice low cross from fellow US player Paul Arriola and tapping it past the keeper.

He scored another just a few minutes later, heading in a Sebastian Lletget cross past the keeper. Ferreira was highly active in the build up play for Dallas as well, connecting on 34 of 45 passes and creating one chance for a teammate. The two goals pull him even at 16 with Brandon Vazquez for the top American scorer in the league.

Vazquez himself was held quiet in a 2-0 FC Cincinnati win over Charlotte. The big striker completed just 5 of 12 passes and was kept off the scoreboard.

Haji Wright also had a quiet day in a 2-0 Antalyaspor loss to Kasimpasa in Turkey. Wright completed ust 9 of 16 passes on the night.


Center Back Watch --

Two of the contingent of center back candidates were matched up in Scotland’s Old Firm Derby between the leagues top two teams, Rangers and Celtic. With Gregg Berhalter in attendance, Cameron Carter-Vickers and James Sands both started for their respective teams.

Carter-Vickers had the better day as Celtic dominated the game with a 4-0 win. He was not troubled too much defensively but passed the ball efficiently, connecting on 45 of 51 passes, with three into the final third.

He had several nice touch passes in the game, showing the ability to pick out passes under pressure. Early in the second half he had a really nice piece of skill, settling a long ball over his head with a deft touch on the run and then playing a precise pass with a defender on his back.

With Berhalter watching he may have raised his stock for the US team. Carter-Vickers will get another tough test this week when Celtic take on Real Madrid in the Champions League.

James Sands had an up and down game as the Rangers defense struggled. He was solid defensively for long periods, but was beaten for a ball that set up the first Celtic goal and could have marked better on the third Celtic goal where he was in the vicinity of the scorer.

He positioned himself well throughout the game to cut out crosses into the box and was very active on the ball, completing 81 of 91 passes. He has had a good start to the season, winning the starting job at Rangers and will remain in the conversation for the US as he gets some experience in the Champions League.

Walker Zimmerman is a locked-in starter at one of the center back spots and he had another big game for Nashville in their 3-0 win over Austin FC. Zimmerman scored a header off a corner kick and connected on 87% of his 55 passes, while winning 9 of 11 duels.

Tim Ream continues to increase his profile as an option next to Zimmerman. He is the most experienced player in the center back pool and could provide valuable veteran leadership as he does captaining Fulham. Ream had a pretty good week for the club, helping to secure a 2-1 win over a strong Brighton & Hove team midweek and then battling in a 2-1 loss to Tottenham over the weekend.

Ream had a tough task against Tottenham’s talented front three of Harry Kane, Richarlison and Son Heung-Min. He was not perfect on the night with Kane and Richarlison each getting the better of him to set up chances, but he held up relatively well against a player the US will definitely face in the group stage.

Tottenham largely dominated but Fulham managed to keep the game close. Ream was active passing out of the back, hitting on 63 of 71 passes with 10 into the final third. He had 7 clearances and 7 recoveries and won 3 of 3 duels.

Aaron Long is a likely candidate to get playing time next to Zimmerman for the US in September but he continues to be milquetoast in his performances for the New York Red Bulls. Long didn’t really stand out for good or bad in their 2-0 loss to East leading Philadelphia Union. Long wasn’t at fault for either goal and rarely makes critical mistakes in the back, but he connected on just 60% of his passes and doesn’t bring much to the table playing out from the back.

Matt Miazga is a relative long shot to make the US roster for Qatar but he continued to impress after his move back to MLS for FC Cincinnati. He delivered another solid performance, helping to keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Charlotte. He connected on 32 of 39 passes, won all of his duels and created three chances with his aerial ability off set plays.

In France, Erik Palmer-Brown had a solid week for Troyes, helping deliver a 4-2 win over Monaco and then a 1-1 weekend draw with Rennes. The Troyes defense was much improved this week after a poor start to the season. Against Rennes, Palmer-Brown hit 18 of 26 passes and had 4 clearances and 7 ball recoveries.

Mark McKenzie also had a solid week as a starter for Genk in the Belgian League. He helped his team to a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw against St. Truiden, hitting 57 of 69 passes with a strong aerial performance, winning 6 of 7 aerial duels.


Other Highlights --

There were several important off field moves for US players this week with the September 1st European transfer deadline. Most importantly for the US team, presumed starting right back Sergino Dest got a move to reigning Italian champions AC Milan. Dest had fallen out of favor with Barcelona coach Xavi and had not even been on the bench for their early season games.

Dest will have to compete for playing time with entrenched starter Davide Calabria, but with AC Milan in several competitions, there should be minutes to go around and he should have time to build his form before the World Cup.

Another American who had been in major limbo this offseason was John Brooks. The veteran center back was without a team all summer after his contract ended with Wolfsburg. Initially reported to be heading to Mallorca in Spain, Brooks was rerouted at the last minute to Portuguese champions Benfica.

The move could be a great opportunity for Brooks. While he won’t be guaranteed playing time, Benfica will be competing in the Champions League and fighting for a league title, so if he can break in he will get high leverage experience. It remains to be seen if anything can thaw his freeze out from the US team before November.

Ricardo Pepi is also on the move, heading to FC Groningen in the Dutch first division to try to get back on his feet after a slow transition to Europe. Pepi struggled to make an impact at Augsburg and looked like he may not get much playing time, so this move should give him a chance to build some confidence and find his form before the World Cup. It likely gives him a better shot to work his way back into the national team picture before the final roster decisions.

The standout American performer this week outside of the striker pool was 19 year old midfielder Yunus Musah. With Valencia selling several of their top midfielders, Musah is getting valuable experience at his preferred central midfield role, where he lines up for the US. In Sunday’s matchup with Getafe, Musah was instrumental in leading Valencia to a 5-1 win.

Musah delivered an exquisite chipped pass over the defense from the top of the box to set up Valencia’s second goal on a platter for his teammate. In the second half he picked up another assist, receiving the ball with a defender on his back and turning to play a nice through ball between defenders to put his teammate free on goal.

Aside from a few wild passes, it was a comprehensive performance from the teenage midfielder. In addition to the assists he hit 86% of his passes and created three chances. Musah has one of the highest ceilings of any current US player. If he can continue to progress and improve his off ball movement and field awareness, it would not be surprising to see him move to one of Europe’s premier clubs in the near future. He will be a key figure if the US makes a run at the World Cup.

It was a mediocre week for the American-heavy Leeds United. They had a decent performance midweek in a 1-1 draw with Everton, but had a complete defensive breakdown over the weekend in a 5-2 loss to Brentford. Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams both performed fairly well in each game. Aaronson was better in the draw with Everton, assisting the equalizing goal for Leeds. He had some good moments against Brentford but didn’t find the ball enough to make a large impact.

Adams was solid in both games but was especially active in the loss to Brentford. He had a lot of time on the ball, completing 78 of 90 passes with four chances created. He was constantly breaking up play with 13 ball recoveries and won 8 of 13 duels, but he couldn’t cover up a porous Leeds back line.

As mentioned above, the American duo at Fulham got a midweek win over Brighton & Hove but lost to Tottenham over the weekend. The unfortunate news out of the later game was that Antonee Robinson was forced to leave early in the first half with an apparent ankle injury. The severity isn’t known yet, but it seems likely the injury could keep him out of the September US warm-up games.

If Robinson is unavailable for those games, Berhalter could turn to one or both of his other left footed left back options, John Tolkin of the New York Red Bulls, or Sam Vines of Royal Antwerp in Belgium. With Robinson a lock to start if healthy, this could give Berhalter an opportunity to get a thorough evaluation of his backup options.

Christian Pulisic got his first start of the season for Chelsea in a 2-1 win over West Ham. Pulisic didn’t have a significant impact on this game but he was not alone as Chelsea struggled to break down a well organized West Ham for most of the game and the offense seemed to lack any ideas or cohesion. He was often forced to drop very deep to get involved in the play and rarely got opportunities to test the West Ham back line.

In MLS, Djordje Mihailovic scored a nice long range blast for Montreal in a 4-3 win over Toronto. Mihailovic received the ball on the turn and fired a shot under pressure from Michael Bradley that beat the keeper in the upper corner. He finished the day 26 of 33 passing and seems to be returning to the solid form he was in before a midseason injury. He is fighting for one of the last few spots on the roster with other attack minded midfielders like Luca de la Torre, Malik Tillman and Cristian Roldan.

Weston McKennie started for Juvenuts in a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina. McKennie was decent in the game, though Juventus played very defensively, ceding much of the possession to the Florentine club. McKennie doesn’t look fully back to top speed after missing the entire preseason with an injury.

He is a lock for the US team, though there is some strong competition for starting midfield spots with the success of players like Adams, Musah and Aaronson. At his best, McKennie is one of the most important players on the US team.

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Tuesday
September 6, 2022
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2934


bo knows baseball


There's a scene in the great movie Bull Durham where the Bulls, mired in a long losing streak, pull into another dinky Southern town well after midnight and their de facto leader, Crash Davis, vows to put an end to the team's losing ways all by himself.

"What we need is a rain out," one of the team's rookie says.

"A rain out?", Davis replies. "I can get us a rain out."

Just minutes before Monday's second game of the doubleheader with Toronto, Jordan Lyles came down with flu symptoms and was scratched from his scheduled start. The O's fell to the Blue Jays, 8-4.

And so five players take a taxi to the minor league stadium where the Bulls are scheduled to play and Davis, played by Kevin Costner, turns on the infield watering system and soaks the field until it's unplayable. The Bulls got their rain out and then went on a long winning streak thereafter.

I know. It's kind of corny. But it's Hollywood. Just go with it.

I assume you know where I'm going with this.

The Orioles need a rain out, and not because they're on a long losing streak or anything like that. It's only three games, after all. But they way they were handled on Monday in the doubleheader loss to the Blue Jays might require a day of therapy and a rain out gives them that opportunity.

Alas, right on cue, the rain gods have delivered a morning of wet weather in Baltimore and the hourly forecast looks pretty bleak for the rest of the day. The O's just might get that rain out after all.

They could also use a little less Bo Bichette crushing them, too. We'll get to him in a minute.

Monday's twinbill loss to the Blue Jays didn't put an end to the O's playoff hopes no matter how many supposed experts went to Twitter on Monday night and said, "Well, this season is over. It was a great run." But the two losses do put the O's five games behind Toronto in the loss column with 27 games remaining.

These last two games of the home series are pivotal, that's for sure. The Birds can't lose both of them or then they really are in trouble.

Monday was one of those days where the little things that went wrong turned out to be game changers.

In game one, second baseman Gunnar Henderson's inability to turn a couple of grounders into routine double plays helped keep innings alive for the Blue Jays. With those double plays connected, the Birds would have led game one 3-2 after eight instead of trailing 4-3 heading to the last inning. When you have Felix Bautista closing games for you, being up 3-2 after eight innings is critically important.

Trailing 4-3, the O's went to D.L. Hall in the 9th and he wasn't able to get anyone out as Toronto tacked on three more runs to win, 7-3.

It also didn't help that Kevin Gausman was solid and earned the win for Toronto in game one. It's one thing to lose to a former pitcher in mid-May. It's another when he beats you in September in your own barn in the middle of a playoff chase. Yuck.

In game two, dropped foul tips from catcher Robinson Chirinos kept at-bats alive that were then turned into run producing hits as the Birds fell 8-4. But the bad news in that game started before the first pitch was thrown, as Jordan Lyles came down with "flu-like symptoms" and was held out of his scheduled start. Keegan Akin got the nod and things unraveled from there.

Oh, and the Orioles can't seem to get Bo Bichette out, either. That's become very evident. So, from the files of "the other guys try too", let's keep in mind Bichette almost single-handedly beat the O's in the nightcap on Monday, as he hit 3 home runs and drove in 5 runs in the 8-4 Toronto win.

Bichette is hitting .400 over his last 15 games (24 for 60) and seems to have a keen eye for Orioles pitching this season. It might be time to pitch to him "creatively" during these last two games of the series in Baltimore, don'tcha think?

It's far from over, though. As the Yankees have proved over the last month, anyone's capable of going 7-18, including the Mariners (who lost to the White Sox yesterday), Rays and Blue Jays. But the Birds need to win these last two games against the Blue Jays first and cut into that 5-game deficit in the loss column.

A rain out might just be what the O's need to recover from yesterday's doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays.

Looking at today's weather forecast, they're potentially going to get it.


Here are the current wild card standings and a look at each team's schedule through next Sunday.

1. Seattle (76-59, +0.5) -- vs. Chicago, AL (Tues, Wed), vs. Atlanta (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Tampa Bay (75-58, +0.5) -- vs. Boston (Tues, Wed), at New York, AL (Fri, Sat, Sun)

3. Toronto (75-59, ---) -- at ORIOLES (Tues, Wed), at Texas (Fri, Sat, Sun)

4. ORIOLES (71-64, -4.5) -- vs. Toronto (Tues, Wed), vs. Boston (Fri, Sat, Sun)

5. Minnesota (68-65, -6.5) -- at NY, AL (Tues, Wed, Thurs), vs. Cleveland (Fri, Sat, Sun)



The Ravens are in the final week of preparations for this Sunday's season opener in New York vs. the Jets. And the big story still centers on the contract situation of Lamar Jackson, who is entering the 5th and final year of his rookie deal in 2022.

Jackson has said previously he'd negotiate with the team until the first game and then all contract talks get put on the back burner until the completion of the '22 campaign.

John Harbaugh isn't sweating Lamar's contract situation. "He's locked in and ready to go," Harbs said on Monday.

My Owings Mills bird-in-a-tree says the Ravens gave Jackson a revised offer late last week. Whether that offer contained enough guaranteed money to catch Lamar's eye is the big question. My personal guess is the entire contract was not fully guaranteed, by the way.

We'll see what happens on the contract front this week, but on Monday head coach John Harbaugh says Lamar is "locked in" and ready to go no matter the developments. "He wants a new contract and we want him to have one," Harbaugh said. "But that's the business side of things. We're just getting ready for the Jets and Lamar is ready to play football. He's locked in."

But can Jackson play '22 without a new, long-term contract and not let that impact his on-field performance? That's the big question. He's certainly not in need of money. He'll make almost $24 million in '22. But he also knows he's one injury away from being a quarterback who doesn't have a $250 million contract to fall back on, too.

It looks like the Ravens won't be at full strength on Sunday. How long it takes for the likes of Stanley, Peters, Bowser, Dobbins, Edwards and others to return to 100% is anyone's guess, but it's fair to point out that Harbaugh is faced with starting the season without his full compliment of All-Pro caliber players.

The good news? The Ravens got through this '22 pre-season relatively unscathed, injury wise.

The bad news? A loss or two in September because your team wasn't fully healthy counts the same as a loss or two in December. The Ravens open the series against the four AFC East teams. A 3-1 mark would be totally acceptable given the injury issues that still stem from last season. A 2-2 record would be OK. Anything less than 2-2...not so good.

We'll have our full NFL preview tomorrow and Thursday here at #DMD and tell you who makes the playoffs (including a shocker in both the AFC and the NFC) and who wins the Super Bowl.

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yankees or mets?


Jeff Willey asks -- "Kind of a dumb question now that the season is over but since the PGA Tour doesn't want to go head to head with NFL football, why wouldn't they play Wednesday through Saturday? They wouldn't have to play the final round on Sunday against NFL football."

DF says -- "Not the worst idea in the world, but there are three factors. First, you're now playing three tournament days during the week, which makes it harder for volunteers and spectators to get there. Attendance impacts ticket sales, food, concessions, etc. You need those two weekend days to make the bulk of your money. Second, college football is pretty big, you might have heard. Finishing on a Saturday in September means you're competing with the college game which is almost as big as the NFL at this point.

And third is just the general "media saturation" in September. You're not only competing with football, you also have the heat of the baseball season and the pennant races to contend with as well. It's just better to get the PGA Tour season over with before September."


A healthy Jacob deGrom would give the Mets some much needed pitching help in October.

Matt asks -- "Better chance of making the World Series, Yankees or Mets?"

DF says -- "Well, they both have a daunting task ahead of them, that is, assuming the Mets have to meet up with the Dodgers at some point and the Yankees have to battle the Astros. But it might not go that way. Maybe the Dodgers or Astros get eliminated somehow. Who knows? But all things being equal, I think the Mets have a better chance.

The Mets have pitching. The Yankees do, too, but their hopes really hinge on Cortes returning to full health for the stretch run and the post-season. And it feels like the Yankees have hit that patch of their season where things have derailed to the point that they can't get back on track in time. But I feel like the Mets have the pitching, the closer and that "Buck Showalter thing" where he shows up and things suddenly turn around for whatever reason. At this point, I think the Mets have a great chance to make it to the World Series."


D.R asks -- "Is there any room at all for Rougned Odor on the Orioles in '23? It seems like he has brought something extra to this year's team even if his batting average is around .200."

DF says -- "I get it. Odor has become a popular guy in the locker room. He's probably helped a number of the team's younger players navigate their way through the early stages of their MLB careers. There's something to be said for that. But, no, I don't see bringing him back next year as a worthwhile option. His defense is nothing special. He's very limited offensively, although he'll hit the occasional important home run. He is what he is at this point. Just a guy hanging on and trying to fit in with the right team."


Bill Potter asks -- "Do you see the potential for a PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf "Ryder Cup" of sorts where the best 8 players from each group plays each other? That seems inevitable doesn't it?"

DF says -- "Well, that concept is far better and more appealing than the Presidents Cup, that's for sure. I've seen nothing good come from LIV Golf with the notable exception of likely ruining the Presidents Cup, which I'm all for. I've never been interested in the Presidents Cup, other than to watch a few holes here and there if I wasn't on the course playing myself.

If LIV Golf survives three years and the animosity build up continues between the two Tours, then a PGA vs. LIV "Ryder Cup event" would definitely be huge and, most importantly, "must watch TV."

One small suggestion for LIV, though: Don't let Greg Norman play if the final round of the PGA vs. LIV event is on a Sunday."

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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 Tuesday here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


weekend soccer recap


With just a few weeks until a couple vital tune-up games for the USMNT, Gregg Berhalter traveled to Europe to observe several American hopefuls. The US coach was on hand for a heavily American influenced edition of Scotland’s big rivalry, the Old Firm Derby between Rangers and Celtic.

He also got a first hand account of an impressive midfield performance by an important young American in Spain. American strikers continued to produce goals on both sides of the Atlantic, with one player making a strong push to get back in the team in September. There was also some big off field news as three US players got big transfer moves just before the deadline.

The title race in England got more interesting over the weekend, with two of the top contenders dropping points while two others went head to head in the game of the week. The German Bundesliga also had a big upset in a top of the table clash, creating a more competitive title race than expected. Italy featured two of the big heavyweight clashes of the weekend in a wide open title chase while the status quo remained at the top in France and Spain.

Key Results Around Europe --

England

Erling Haaland scored yet another goal for Manchester City last weekend, but it only served to help them earn a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

The Premier League featured one of the top matchups of the weekend with storied clubs Manchester United and Arsenal squaring off on Sunday. Manchester United continued their progress under Erik Ten Hag after a slow start to the season with an impressive 3-1 win over first place Arsenal. English striker Marcus Rashford led the way with two goals as United pulled within three points of the top of the standings.

Despite the loss, Arsenal remained in first as both Manchester City and Liverpool dropped points. City drew 1-1 with Aston Villa, managing just a single Erling Haaland goal from their 72% possession and 13 shots. Liverpool were held to a scoreless draw in their crosstown derby match with Everton thanks to an outstanding performance from England starting goalie Jordan Pickford.

Tottenham and Chelsea both eeked out 2-1 victories over Fulham and West Ham respectively. Harry Kane scored once again for Tottenham while it was left back Ben Chilwell who came off the bench to provide a goal and an assist to salvage a win for Chelsea.


Germany

There was a surprise at the top of the Bundesliga as co-leaders Union Berlin pulled off an upset 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich. Bayern controlled the game with 75% possession and out shot Union 21-7, but were unable to find a winning goal. US striker Jordan Pefok was unavailable for the game due to a muscle injury.

The draw allowed both Borussia Dortmund and Freiburg to leapfrog into a tie for first place. Dortmund beat Hoffenheim 1-0 thanks to a Marco Reus goal and Freiburg took down a reeling Bayer Leverkusen 3-2.


Italy

There were a pair of high profile matchups in the wide open Serie A title race this weekend. The headliner was the “Derby de Madonnina” between AC Milan and Inter Milan. Reigning champions AC Milan came from behind to down their crosstown rival 3-2 behind two goals from dynamic Portuguese winger Rafael Leao.

In the other big matchup, Napoli came back after an early goal from Roman club Lazio for a 2-1 win with a game winning goal from new winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. Meanwhile Atalanta got a 2-0 win over Monza to stay in first place, two points ahead of AC Milan and Napoli.


France

In Ligue 1 Paris St. Germain got another standout performance from Leo Messi en route to a 3-0 win over Nantes. With Neymar resting ahead of a big Champions League match, Messi took the creative role and set up two Kylian Mbappe goals, while nearly missing several chances himself. The win kept PSG atop the standings along with Marseille who won 2-0 over Auxerre.


Spain

The top of La Liga remained unchanged with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Villarreal all winning. Real Madrid maintained their two point lead at the top with a 2-1 win over Real Betis. Barcelona got a 3-0 win over a surprisingly struggling Sevilla, with another goal for league leader Robert Lewandowski. Villarreal delivered an impressive 4-0 victory over Elche and have yet to give up a goal on the season.


Champions League

This week brings the return of Europe’s premier competition, the Champions League. The group stage commences on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the entire group round robin scheduled to take place before the break for the World Cup.

There will be as many as ten Americans participating in the group stage this season and several groups feature multiple Americans. Group H will see USMNT veterans Weston McKennie and John Brooks facing off with Juventus and Benfica, along with American-born Maccabi Haifa goalie, Josh Cohen.

Group E features Christian Pulisic and Chelsea along with AC Milan and new arrival Sergino Dest. The American duo at Rangers were key contributors qualifying the club for the group stage, but they will face a tough draw with three giants, Liverpool, Ajax and Napoli in their group.

The toughest draw is Group C, which contains a trio of perennial contenders in Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and Inter Milan. Barcelona will look to exorcize their demons against Bayern Munich, who blew them out 8-2 in the 2019-20 quarterfinals then delivered two 3-0 beat downs in last season's group stage.

The first round of games features several notable matchups. On Tuesday, PSG and Juventus take top billing in a battle of perennial league title contenders. Then on Wednesday Inter Milan and Bayern Munich will begin the highly competitive Group C and Napoli and Liverpool play a rematch of the 2019-20 group stage where Napoli got a win and a draw.


Team of the Week --

G: Pickford - Everton

D: Chilwell - Chelsea; Mings - Aston Villa; Kim - Napoli; Kounde - Barcelona

M: Messi - PSG; Brozovic - Inter Milan; Fernandes - Manchester United

F: Leao - AC Milan; Toney - Brentford; Rashford - Manchester United


Player of the Week --

Rafael Leao - AC Milan

The 23 year old Portuguese winger had an outstanding performance in AC Milan’s big derby win. Leao had a hand in all three Milan goals, scoring two and assisting one. The game winning goal was an exceptional individual effort where Leao beat three defenders in the box then placed a shot in the far corner to beat the keeper. Leao completed 14 of 16 passesand was 3 for 4 on crosses. AC Milan fought off suitors trying to pry Leao away in the offseason and he will be a key piece in their bid to repeat as champions.


Tomorrow here at #DMD, we'll take a look at American soccer and what transpired last weekend both in the U.S. and abroad.

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     October 05
I gave up on Dem O's years ago for a multitude of great reasons so I have no dog in the fight. But I did laugh out loud over someone claiming the O's a playoff team next year absent the knowledge of their roster or schedule. Especially when the same person told everyone for the last two months they'd make the playoffs this year knowing the roster and schedule. I'm wrong so rarely I can't remember what it felt like but if I remember correct the proper response after being wrong for two months running would be some humility. Not doubling down on predictions. But around here the SOD has a one day memory so you can tell them just about anything day in and day out and they forget how wrong you can be fresh the next morning.

Jason M     October 05
Not to mention the competition, but Mike Preston dropped a pretty big hint that Nick Boyle is done in his column today. The fact that he has not sniffed the 53 man roster yet this season would seem to bear that out. If that is so, we have lost one of the most effective run blocking tight ends that we've ever had. We have missed him on short yardage situations, and our tight ends not wearing 89 haven't done much of note so far. We'll see Hurst on Sunday, miss that guy, I'm sure Lamar does too.

unitastoberry     October 05
When is the court date for Angelos Vs Angelos?

Chris in Bel Air     October 05
O's definitely need another arm and a bat or two. Big bonus if some of the players performing in the minors (Westburg, Cowser, etc) are able to be contributors too. I know he can't hit but I like Mateo. Fielding, speed and energy are good for the team. It's been several years but we have an actual O's off-season coming up and carrying some sense of optimism. Heading down to the Yard now to take in the last game.

Delray RICK     October 05
ERIC...Hope you are right bout MATEO. Stolen base leader in AMERICAN LEAGUE. GREAT fielder like BELANGER.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 05
Drew putting his jinx out a year early. Just a reminder - White Sox were a lock to win the Central Os were a lock to win 60 or so games. I dont believe the Swanson rumors. Os officials have been whispering to LaConfora for months that Mateo is locked in at SS. Hopefully his baseball sources are as bad as his Ravens sources. Plenty of quality pitchers available by trade per Athletic - Burnes Snell Bieber Singer to name a few. I still say return of Means and G Rod makes our bottom 10 offense the bigger priority but ill gladly take a top arm too

TC     October 05
Swanson would be a perfect free agency target, except he's from Kennesaw, Georgia. There'd probably have to be a premium paid to get him out of Atlanta, and he is the only one of their infielders not locked up long-term.

HERMAN     October 05
It's pretty sad when you have to google the PGATour website to see if there is even a tour stop this week, or where they are. It would make perfect sense for the Tour to partner with LIV and allow them to take over what used to be called "the silly season", and operate in conjunction with the Tour. And 54 holes ending on Saturday would dovetail nicely as they wouldn't have to compete with the monster that is the NFL.

Like pro baseball the Tour needs to shorten the over-all season and make each individual tournament more meaningful. As it is everyone gets jazzed for the majors and maybe one or two more stops, past that interest seems to wane. It's possible that the Tour could end a month earlier or so, give up late Summer and Fall to LIV and have the truncated format and field, together with changes of team play, atmosphere and design create a new and different interest and audience in this new "season". These past few weeks I've been checking Tour results over the weekend, couldn't recognize more than one name in ten on the leaderboard. If the Tour had yielded to LIV for the Fall of course you'd know the leaderboard of names. To continue battling is in no one's interest.


Delray RICK     October 05
Hope DREW is right because DEM O'S have to face the 3 menaces in their division and they DEFINITELY need better bats and hitters above .260 mark. DEM O'S pitching staff an't going to make it with this group. PLEASE move the wall BACK.

Nathan Aparisto     October 04
I just heard the despicable rumor that Gisele was unfaithful to the greatest quarterback to ever live by cheating on him with Antonio Brown.



If this is true, Tom Brady should sue her for every last penny!

Erick     October 04
So Ravens were predicted to win- they lose. We state - Bills are good if not great- we are cast as doubting thomas…and…..”dont get it”…..now they lose, people vent and its more predictions of victories….of games not yet played!

vernon     October 04
These guys who think Drew is taking "veiled" shots at Herman are hilarious. If true, then it sure is clear who is the one living rent free lol

Larry     October 04
Drew's subtle but clever jab at Herman today was pretty funny. All part of the game..................

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy Yup that is good analysis. I would lean over on that 36 number but they play a hell of a lot of games this season (even without him playing WC) Obv an injury can happen at any time. I remember getting so frustrated by Sterling and now this guy is just silly good. He's so big and fast...just an animal

Dan noonan     October 04
Who are these people getting all pumped up about "Drew schooling Herman"? Must be that SOD gang I hear about often. Must be like a special dog whistle only those guys can hear, I see no roasting or calling out of one individual here today. the childish "rent free" crowd is awake today that is for sure.

Don't agree with all the talking points re: the Ravens game, but it was indeed a nice calm summary and not at all like what the #BP guy or the FM guys do on the radio. In that sense, DMD is schooling 105.7 and 1570!


TimD in Timonium     October 04
Not only does @Herman survive the brutal Florida hurricane, he jumps back into the fray with his A-Game still intact.



"who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status."



LOL. Bravo, sir, well-played.


Chris     October 04
DF roasting Herman is why I come to DMD every day!

HERMAN     October 04
I didn't Make that last post. I never do anything I have to apologize for so I never apologize.

Randy     October 04
@Stats Nerd

Great question, I'm going to use some geek speak to make a projection, I think you'll appreciate that. So far Haaland has 14 goals in 8 games, but he only has 7.6 xG (expected goals). So he has been scoring at a better rate than expected, however he's consistently produced about 3-5 goals above expectation in his career.



For Dortmund in the Bundesliga he average about 1 goal/game when healthy. Now the EPL is a higher competition level, but also Man City produced 2.14 xG last year to just 1.6 for Dortmund, so he should have more scoring opportunities this year.



So if we expect his luck to even out a little bit and him to stay around 1 g/g of xG, that would put him around 40 goals for the season. The biggest caveat is that he did miss time in both the last two Dortmund seasons with injuries. So I'll deduct 10% for injury risk (just pulled a number) and that lands us on.....



36.



I swear I didn't do that on purpose.



If I were to bet, I'd take the over. Haaland is going to get a big rest midseason since Norway isn't in the World Cup, so that should reduce the injury risk. They also may give him all the penalty kick chances if he's chasing a record and look to feed him towards the end of the season if they run away with the title.

Chris in Bel Air     October 04
The Yankee fans meltdown over the weekend was comical. Did they expect the O's to just throw 85 mph meatballs to him? That's not being entitled at all. For the record, Judge walked 5 times but he was also 1 for 7 with 6 Ks. He had his chances and couldn't connect. Sorry fans. I also like Judge. He seems to be a "good guy" and would take him on the O's any day. But I certainly didn't want to see the O's give up the 62nd HR and certainly found the Yankee whining to be laughable.

Herman     October 04
I will admit I definitely go above and beyond occasionally on the site owner but he brings out the worst in me for whatever reason. Ask my friends, I'm normally not nearly as angry as I come across here at the site. The site owner just gets under my skin for some reason.

Jason M     October 04
Like DF said in his recap, if you think the bad decision lost them the game, you don't know football. They lost that game a 100 ways in the second half. Harbaugh did his part to contribute, but so did many others.

J.R.     October 04
LMAO at @DF taking a swipe @Herman like that.

unitastoberry     October 04
@ Steve of Pimlico I bet Mad Dog had the better tackle on the fan in Baltimore. I don't get ESPN did the announcers bring up Mikes forearm shot on the drunk in Baltimore on TV? I was there too. Mike was a HOFer I don't care what the NFLHOF thinks or Dion. Ask Mike Singletary about Mike Curtis....he will put you all straight.

Pratt     October 04
Herman, why shouldn't Drew single you out? You single him out every day here. Talk about rent free in someone's head, you can't go a day without referencing him. So tell us again why he shouldn't single you out. You're a first rate prick and you know it.

Stats Nerd     October 04
@Randy What line would you set as an O/U for Haaland goals this season? The number in the UK betting lines seems to be 36-ish. Assuming he stays healthy I suspect he gets there fairly easily

HERMAN     October 04
@RC

You don't really believe the site owner penned that line for just one random commenter do you? I mean, I know I set up full residency in his caddy lawyers head based on his childish response he penned here in the comments last week. The one who took the site owner from the depths of Glen Burnie into polite society and country club status. But the site owner wouldn't take aim at just one simple commenter. Especially not one who could potentially help him take this site to Barstool heights singlehandedly. In his new Country Club world he has to be above that.

Steve of Pimlico     October 04
Mike Curtis would have been proud of the Ram player for decking that num nut who ran on the field last night with the smoking device.I was actually at that game back in the day.

Tim D     October 04
Ravens Recap - well said Drew.

Kevin     October 04
When Drew starts making more coaching sense than the actual football coach in town, I think we know what that means. And I'm saying that with no disrespect to Drew. It's actually a compliment.

Albert c     October 04
Lamar is a QB and he got to throw the ball, how is that not letting Lamar be Lamar?

MFC     October 04
I turned to watch a bit of the O's last night, if there was 800 people in the stands I'd be shocked. I did get to see some great fan interaction by our stadium ushers.

Two fans, looked like husband and wife, walk down and sit in the front two seats to the right of the screen behind home plate. It's the 7'th inning. It's miserable, rain pouring down. Well it didn't take 45 seconds before our usher is seen walking down the steps and our fan faithful asked to relocate to their seats. I literally laughed out loud, why? Ok, they didn't pay for those seats but the weather is horrible, there's no one in the stadium to speak of, it's the 7'th inning. Why can't you just look the other way at that point. In fact why not take a proactive position and tell the crowd to sit where they want. If you're one that would get upset because you "paid" for the best seat you need to get over it. Say thanks to the 800 people that braved the conditions to support the team.



It's a shame that during that sequence at the goal line we really didn't let Lamar be Lamar. One of the top offensive players in the game and we don't let him win it. I did not remember that Roman was the OC for the 49'ers in the SB. Wow, good memory by the site owner. That explains a lot.



Saw a stat that's incredible. Judge has struck out 167 times this year. Tony Gwynn didn't strike out that much in the 90's. How great was Gwynn.

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw Tucker 2 weeks ago put Ravens up 38-35 and watched Avg QB march right down the field and win. Why she he trust this D vs Allen???

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 04
Harbs just saw two weeks ago Tucker give Ravens 38-35 lead late only to watch Avg QB march right down the field. Why in Gods name should he trust this D vs Allen???

Frank     October 04
Love Harbs - but I think he missed an opportunity by not taking blame for the call and saying he should have kicked the FG. Now that he is sticking to his decision, it puts the blame on execution and players - where otherwise he could have taken it all himself.... take a bullet for your team!

David Rosenfeld     October 04
You said: "But they're now playing from behind, where their play calling has to be a smidgen more carefully planned and their execution has to be spot-on."

John said: The exact opposite of that!

Paraphrasing: A team that is behind in that situation is going to play more aggressively, not less. They will be willing to use all 4 downs in a way they might not if they are too close to their end zone, etc.

It's interesting. From a fan perspective, it's a liability for Buffalo that they would be "forced" to use all 4 downs. From the analytic perspective, it might be an advantage.

Just a discussion. Reiterating that I would have kicked the FG...


RC     October 04
DF throwing shade at Herman with the "ocean breeze erodes your brain". Hilarious.

Kenny G     October 04
While Drew touched on the statistical analysis a bit, I will take it a step further. My problem with the analytics is what factors are considered. Are the stats influenced by going against a strong defense or weak? Good run defense? At home vs on the road? In rain, on turf, etc? Which quarter? You can probably think of several more. Additionally there needs to be a feel for the tempo of the actual game. If its a 35-32 game or a 10-3 game in the fourth quarter - is that factored in? Maybe the matchup does not favor going for it?

Butch (aka Big Fat Daddy)     October 04
George: The Orioles game was called and made an "Official" game due to weather. By MLB rule - a game can be Official after 4 and 1/2 innings - if ended by the Crew Chief. Now what really happened was the Umps, the league office and both Managers went into the tunnel and agreed to end the game. It was terrible weather for a baseball game. No need to play and get any player or players hurt. The Blue Jays have playoff games coming up and the Orioles have next season.

Delray RICK     October 04
The RAVENS have won games they shouldn't have and lost games...whatever. what goes around comes around.

HERMAN     October 04
Counting chickens before they hatch. A 12-5 prediction, predicated on looking at the future schedule. Sure. This team, as is presently constituted, without potential injuries, and with the current coaching braintrust is going to win one they should lose and lose a few they should win. A 12 win prediction is best-case scenario and about as reliable as all those columns with "Dem O's are going to the playoffs, this year, I believe".

Right now with this roster the Ravens are a mid-level mediocre team who can shine on any given Sunday or just mess the bed with a fourth quarter meltdown against another mediocre team. They are no 12 win team.

Baltimore fans are closer to Cleveland fans than I thought, they both show up expecting the "best case scenario" despite all prior evidence to the contrary. Then whine over a play, a call, some small detail within a game that derails their vision of the mind.

Smalltimore; Cleveland of the Chesapeake.

George     October 04
Have searched the Internet diligently but can't find an explanation of how the Orioles game ended after 7.5 innings. Can anyone enlighten? Thanks.

larry     October 04
Oweh almost made a great play, it was clear Singletary was not going to go into the end zone but give himself up at the one. Oweh got the ball loose but not out. Ball comes out and Ravens recover, all the sudden Oweh is a genius.

Also FG with 4 minutes less hardly puts pressure on Bills. Now I would have kicked it anyway, but let's not act like kicking the FG means they are 3-1, the D still would have had to make plays. Given the chance to do so at 20-20, they did not.

Chris in Bel Air     October 03
Agree with many posts here on Drew's recap. Good summary. Also agree with @ MFC on the refs. The Ravens did not lose because of the refs but they were certainly another obstacle to overcome. The seemingly random application of the rules within a game and per week is difficult to watch at times. I will also add that it was not a good day for many first-round draft picks. Certainly Lamar didn't have his best day. Bateman with a couple drops and then was injured. Linderbaum with 2 false starts. Queen exerting lots of energy but didn't seem to make a tackle when it mattered most. Queen sometimes plays like a 5 year old playing soccer for the first time - chasing the pile around the field but not making much of a difference. Oweh had the sack and forced fumble but also was badly fooled on Allen's TD run and did not keep the edge. Of course, plenty to question with Harbs too. Not a good day at all as a team. On a more positive note, I thought JPP did fairly well for just coming off the street. Dobbins also looked pretty good. I thought he made something out of nothing on a couple runs and turned small gains into a more substantial gains a few times. He will be a big boost to the offense if he stays healthy. In addition, the remaining Ravens schedule doesn't look to be very daunting at all. Plenty of season left... Of course, that is all based on the Ravens team I expect to see. Not the one that has only figured out how to play for 2 quarters.

MFC     October 03
The site owner unpacked it really well this morning, except he meant snowangels instead of snowballs but that's nitpicking a really good recap. Nothing much to add that's not already "unpacked".



I will say something about NFL refs, they're BS. I watched last night night as Mahonnes made the exact same play as Lamar running oob's, almost scary how similar. He gets the first down spot. Lamar doesn't and we have to lose a TO because they upheld the BS call on the challenge. Andrews OPI was BS and the roughing the passer. They're needs to be an overhaul and some type of new review. Consistency is paramount to reffing and they're anything but.

HERMAN     October 03
Man I wish there was some way to invest in the NFL. I'm not talking about betting, I'm talking ownership. For the common man. Because with fans like those in Baltimore it's a pure growth industry. They somehow convince themselves that their completely mediocre franchise is one of the best in the league despite all evidence. You fans are "all-in". Past Lamar they have not a player that excites, that just makes plays, who can perform and change the game. The coach is serviceable but flawed, the coordinators as mediocre as the team.

This phenomenon actually extends to all sports in Baltimore. These same commenters wailing about the loss are the ones like the site owner who just believed and believed that the low payroll O's were going to the playoffs. They don't make fish hooks big enough I'm telling ya. And this is how gullible they are, after months of either being told Dem O's were going to the playoffs, or being given betting advice, when it all disappears they move on, no need to examine how wrong one can be. Look over here at this new shiny thing, pay no attention to that old shiny thing. Oh it wasn't the 4TH down call, it was the whole second half. No, it was the bad penalty for hitting the quarterback. No it was that retread O coordinator.

Maybe it's just as simple as your expectations being ridiculous. As ridiculous as Dem O's making the playoffs this year. You can't invest emotion into a Harbaugh coached team. You're destined for disappointment.

Alas only one man can invest in Baltimore football. No wonder he is a billionaire. Fish in a barrel.


Such     October 03
I was never very good at math, let alone things like Algebra and Trigonometry and Calculus and "Advanced Metrics", but I do know that 23>20 and 3>0. I would rather play with a 3 point lead than try and fend off that Bills offense in a tie game with 4 minutes remaining.

And 3-1 > 2-2. Oh well.

Jason M     October 03
It's a real slap in the face to the Ravens faithful who geared up and sat through the remnants of a damn hurricane, shouting down the Bills Mafia who travelled well, only to watch the Ravens do their best impersonation of a pack of choking dogs. 5 straight at home people, this is unacceptable. I see the other team adjusting at half time, where are our adjustments? Or do we make them and they just make things worse? How can it be that we are good enough to run up a lead, but not good enough to hold it?

Eric in Gaithersburg     October 03
Not a doubt in my mind if Lamar throws for a TD there Allen ties it and wins in OT. Thats what Ravens have been since 2014 blowing 2 TD lead in NE. 4th