Tag:Le'Ron McClain
Posted on: March 24, 2011 12:35 pm
 

Offseason checkup: Baltimore Ravens

Posted by Andy Benoit 



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Another strong Ravens season ended with a playoff loss to the Steelers. While a 12-4 regular season record is nothing to scoff at, in the absence of postseason success the Ravens presumably at least wanted to see more progress from their young offense.

Joe Flacco made strides in his third season, but it wasn’t reflected in his numbers. Very telling was that Flacco’s de facto mentor, Jim Zorn, was fired less than 12 months after coming aboard. Fellow third-year star Ray Rice wasn’t healthy early on and struggled to find his rhythm.

A superstar-laden defense continued to mask most of the offensive inconsistencies (and to be clear, Baltimore’s wasn’t a bad offense overall). Ed Reed was in his usual All-World form (NFL leading eight interceptions), while defensive lineman Haloti Ngata surpassed Ray Lewis and the perpetually underrated yet still well known Terrell Suggs as the brightest star up front.




SYMPTOMS, SYMPTOMS

Willis McGahee was stellar as the team’s backup running back and short-yardage specialist. But Le'Ron McClain, though considered a fullback, could be a cut better than that. For starters, recall that McClain rushed for 902 yards as the team’s featured ballcarrier in 2008. At 260 pounds, he’s one of the most physical lead-blockers in the game. That physicality can easily apply to short-yardage running situations.

Surprisingly, McClain is also light-footed enough to handle the rock in space. What’s more, he has softer hands than McGahee and quicker hips which allow him to catch and turn upfield. This isn’t to say the fifth-year pro is a lightning bolt, but in filling McGahee’s void, he’d be an upgrade.

If McClain became the No. 2 running back, the Ravens could still use him as the primary fullback. In that case, they would just need to find a No. 2 fullback (if they want someone other than incumbent Jason McKie). A No. 2 fullback can be had on the cheap.




1. Wide Receiver
This somehow is a need every year in Baltimore. The addition of Anquan Boldin has given Joe Flacco a true go-to target, though watch closely and you’ll see that Derrick Mason was actually Flacco’s first option whenever the chips were down last year. Mason is 37 but shelved his annual retirement vacillation early this offseason. Even with his return, a long-term replacement must be sought. And in the short-term, that long-term replacement could fill the No. 3 receiver void if petulant T.J. Houshmandzadeh and non-achieving Donte’ Stallworth are not brought back. In that case, consider the Ravens not just in need of a wide receiver, but rather, a speedy wide receiver. There’s no one on this offense fast enough to stretch the field at this point.

2. Running Back/Fullback
GM Ozzie Newsome will wisely not pay Willis McGahee the $5 million he’s owed in 2011, so a backup to Ray Rice is needed. Fullback Le'Ron McClain could fill this void (as mentioned above) but either way, depth is an issue.

3. Cornerback
Getting Domonique Foxworth back healthy helps, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be the same as before his knee operation. Lardarius Webb is arguably the best deep ball defender in the NFL, but he lacks size and might be better suited for a No. 3 role (the jury is still deliberating). Josh Wilson came on strong down the stretch, making cornerback a less dire need than it’s been in recent years. But Wilson is not under contract long-term.




The Ravens remain stacked on both sides of the ball. If Flacco can take that next step (which includes having greater presnap authority in shifting formations and plays, as well as throwing more over the middle of the field) the rest of this offense will follow.

Defensively, Ray Lewis is aging, but he’s surrounded by enough stars to still thrive. The expectations for 2011 are pretty simple: win the AFC.

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Posted on: December 19, 2010 11:34 am
Edited on: December 19, 2010 11:53 am
 

Week 15 AFC Inactives

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

First, those who ARE active today: Chiefs QB Matt Cassel (it’s unclear right now if he’s starting); Raven sRB Le'Ron McClain, Ravens WR Willis McGahee, Colts WR Austin Collie, Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew.

And those who are NOT active today:

Donte Stallworth, WR, Ravens: Though Baltimore had talked about utilizing its downfield passing game more, which seemingly would increase Stallworth’s role in the offense, he’s out today. This doesn't appear to be because of injury.

Joseph Addai, RB, Colts:
Out since Week 6, when is Addai going to be back in uniform? Also, RB Mike Hart is inactive.

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Posted on: November 10, 2010 10:31 pm
 

And speaking of the Ravens ...

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

FB Le’Ron McClain, who was accused by Dolphins LB Channing Crowder last Sunday of spitting in his face and who denied it before saying he might have done it unintentionally, will not be fined by the NFL.

Though there was video of the incident – seen in this post – the NFL concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to rule one way or the other.

Dolphins coach Tony Sparano is upset, because he believes there’s no question McClain spit in Crowder’s face. Meanwhile, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh is OK with the no-fine decision because he believes there’s no question the incident didn’t happen.

My question: why would Crowder make up something like that? The answer: he probably wouldn't.

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 4:43 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2010 4:44 pm
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Delightfully average

Miami, despite what the sign says, has been delightfully average this season (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’re halfway through the season, which means we get plenty of first-half best-of lists from every corner of the Internet. Which, don’t get me wrong, is totally cool. In fact, here are two well-done lists – one from our own Pete Prisco and one from our own Clark Judge .

Or you can go snarky and talk about the worst of the worst through the first nine weeks of the season (Cowboys, Bills, Panthers, etc.) That’s fine too. I certainly don’t mind a worst-of list every now and again. As long as I’m not on it.

But I’ve decided to play to the middle: how about an award for the Most Delightfully Average (fill-in-the-blank)? I think this needs to happen, because, really, most of us in life are pretty average (present company excluded, of course. I’m talking about those other people that aren’t reading this article – which, by the way, is far above delightfully average).

There are a handful of us that are really, really good at what we do, and there are some of them who are absolutely terrible at their jobs. Yet, most of us fit somewhere in the middle. That said, here are the most delightfully average awards from the first half of the season.

10. Average offense – Bengals: They rank 15th in yards per game (345.0) and 17th in points per game (20.9), and despite the terrific addition of WR Terrell Owens (who would have guessed we’d be saying that a few months back?), the offense seems stuck in mud. Much of it rests on QB Carson Palmer’s arm, because he has plenty of weapons around him. He just hasn’t been very good.

9. Average defense – Colts: For a potential Super Bowl contender, this defense sure is mediocre. In order to go far in the playoffs, the Colts will have to improve on their 344.6 yards allowed average (20th in the NFL), their 21 points allowed (tied for 14th), and, in particular, the 140.9 rushing yards allowed (29th). Not having S Bob Sanders or his replacement, Melvin Bullitt, because of injury hurts the secondary, but the defensive line, even with Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, has just 17 sacks. Which ranks, you guessed it, 16th in the 32-team league.

8. Average quarterback – Jay Cutler, Bears: When you think of Cutler, you might rank him somewhere near the bottom of the quarterbacks list. Perhaps that’s because, whenever the Bears are playing on national TV, he always seems to be throwing four interceptions per game or taking a big-time pounding from the opposing linebackers. Plus, he has that sour look on his face that probably just makes you sad. But no, Cutler ranks 16th in passer rating, 18th in passing yards, 19th in touchdown passes, 12th in interceptions and 19th in completion percentage. So, he’s simply stuck in the middle.

7. Average running back – Brandon Jackson, Packers: After Ryan Grant was placed on the IR list following an ankle injury, it was left to Jackson and John Kuhn, the only two running backs remaining on the roster, to try to replace his production. Jackson has been fine, though unspectacular. He rushed for 115 yards in Week 5, but he averages 4.3 yards per carry for a Green Bay rushing game that ranks 20th in the league. QB Aaron Rodgers probably wouldn’t mind a little more assistance.

6. Average wide receiver – Michael Crabtree, 49ers: I’m sure this is what San Francisco expected when it took him with the 10th overall pick in 2009 and then waited as he embarked upon an extended hold-out. On the season, he ranks 32nd in the NFL with 31 catches, and he averages 12.4 yards per reception (just kind of meh). One silver lining to Crabtree’s game, though: 80 percent of his catches go for first downs.

5. Average fans – Bengals: There wasn’t much analysis with this one. I just went down the list of total attendance by percentage of seats sold, and at 98.0 percent, Cincinnati was No. 16 (No. 1 is Dallas at 108 percent?!? (Wade Phillips must have been REALLY popular in the Big D); No. 32 is Oakland at 71.6 percent).

4. Average saliva-tosser – Le’Ron McClain, Ravens: If you’re going to spit into somebody’s face, you either have to be discreet or you have to go all-out (think Roberto Alomar spitting into John Hirschbeck’s face (I can’t believe that I didn’t have to look up the umpire’s name to make that analogy)). McClain did neither. He wasn’t discreet, you see his face move forward forcefully toward Miami’s Channing Crowder in the video, and he didn’t just hawk the loogie like Alomar did. Really, just an average performance.



3. Average division – AFC South: If the NFC South (with three teams at 5-3 or better) is the best division in the NFL and if the NFC West (nobody better than .500) is the worst, the AFC South has to be the most average. The Colts and Texans are tied for first place at 5-3, while the Jaguars and Texans are tied for last with 4-4 records. All of these teams have shown major flaws during their quest to compete for a division crown. I don’t think the Jaguars have much of a chance, but of the other three, I really don’t have any idea who will make the postseason.

2. Average coach – Gary Kubiak, Texans: Three weeks ago, there’s no way Kubiak would have “won” this award. Behind Kubiak, the Texans surprised the Colts in the opener with a big victory, and despite losing to Dallas (who in the hell loses to the Cowboys, anyway?), Houston was 4-2. But the Texans have lost their last two, and for some reason, Kubiak forgets about RB Arian Foster at times while his defense plays horribly. Once again, the Texans might not make the playoffs, meaning Kubiak might be gone at the end of this season.

1. Average team – Dolphins: Miami has been a rather tough team to pin down this season. Sometimes, the Dolphins look very good, using a tough defense to beat the Vikings and Bengals, or being resilient enough to upend the Packers. Other teams, they look absolutely horrid (last week’s 26-10 loss to the Ravens, and the 41-14 debacle to the Patriots). It feels like Miami should be better, but in the end, the Dolphins are humbly – and delightfully – average.

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Posted on: November 8, 2010 1:18 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 1:21 pm
 

Video backs up Channing Crowder's accusations

Posted by Andy Benoit

It doesn't necessarily excuse Channing Crowder for losing his mind after Sunday's game at Baltimore, but for what it's worth, it appears the Dolphins linebacker wasn't lying when he said Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain spit in his face. Take a look at this (and thank you to Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald for passing this along):





It will be interesting to see how the NFL disciplines McClain for this.

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Posted on: November 7, 2010 5:44 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2010 6:54 pm
 

Dolphins, Ravens get into war of words (UPDATED)

D. Mason and his Baltimore teammates had a big day against Miami today (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Oh, to be a scribe in the locker rooms of the Dolphins and the Ravens after Baltimore knocked off Miami 26-10.

First, you’ll have to recall that Ravens WR Derrick Mason, who’s 36 years old, didn’t like the fact Dolphins LB Channing Crowder called him “the old guy” earlier this week. And yeah, it didn’t seem that it should have been a big deal, because after Crowder called him old, he still said Mason was one hell of a receiver. He might have been disrespectful, but it didn’t seem intentional.

Even so, Mason fired back, saying, “He was still peeing himself when I was playing football."

Naturally, Mason had a decent enough day, catching four passes for 42 yards and a touchdown as Baltimore routed the Dolphins, and afterward, he said Crowder is a horrible football player and that he’ll probably be out of the NFL before Mason retires. Apparently, the game got pretty nasty as well.

After the contest, Crowder accused Ravens FB Le’Ron McClain of spitting in his face in the third quarter.

"He spit in my face and that's the reason I got mad," Crowder told reporters, including the Miami Herald. "He's a bitch-ass punk. Write that."

McClain, you may respond:

“Nah, I didn’t spit on him. That’s crazy. That’s not my game. I’m Le’Ron McClain, man. Le’Ron McClain don’t spit on another player. But I will block you. Four quarters. That’s a fact.”

So, McClain denied the charge. Doesn’t matter to Miami LB Karlos Dansby.

"Man, if I'd have seen that, there would have been a damn brawl out there, straight up," Dansby said. "We some tough guys. But if you take a cowardly way like that, you need to be straightened. Hopefully, Roger Goodell will look at the film and he'll do something about it. If he don't, we'll see him in the street and we'll have to handle it like men.

"For you to spit in the guy's face and walk away, that's a coward move. That's a coward move. They supposed to be some tough guys. They ain't all that tough, they pull a coward move like that. They ain't that damn tough."

Tough enough to beat up on the Dolphins, though. Definitely that tough at least.

UPDATED (6:49 p.m.): Didn't see these quotes originally, but ESPN.com had a few bonus comments from Crowder - who probably needs a review of WWII history.

From the story:

Crowder said when he complained to the officials, they told him they didn't see McClain spit at him.

"Then they said something about they let [Dolphins linebacker] Karlos Dansby get away with a facemask the play before," Crowder said. "Who the f--- cares? A guy just spit in my face! I don't give a damn about Karlos pulling somebody's facemask. Like they didn't see [Dolphins quarterback] Chad Henne get hit twice when he slid. Yeah, a little Stevie Wonder and Anne Frank."

Asked what the Anne Frank reference meant, Crowder said "Who was that? Is that the blind girl? Helen Keller ... I don't know who the f--- Anne Frank is. I'm mad right now. F--- it. I'm not as swift as I usually am.

"That's the first time I've ever been spit in my face in my life. And that's the worst thing you can do to a man as another man, spit in somebody's face. Why would you do that? Why would you try to? Because you're scared of me? Really? Spit on me and then walk away real fast and let your team protect you? That's what he did."


Not real good (or swift), eh?

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Posted on: September 30, 2010 4:37 pm
 

Hot Routes 9.30.10: Falcons snub DeAngelo Hall?


Posted by Will Brinson
Got a link for the Hot Routes? Holler at us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) .
  • The Falcons are rocking their throwback jerseys on Sunday as they welcome Mike Singletary and the winless San Francisco 49ers to Atlanta; personally, I think they look pretty dope. But I haven't seen them up close, so I can't be positive. Neither, according to Mike Florio , has DeAngelo Hall. You see, the Falcons are sending the jerseys to all of their former Pro Bowlers as a "thank you" and whatnot -- Florio reports that Hall is the only guy who won't get a jersey, because he had some not-so-choice comments for the organization after he left. However, Rick Maese of the Washington Post now reports that Hall will get a jersey; apparently there was a big debate as to whether or not the team should spite Hall like that
  • Dwayne Jarrett said at Panthers practice that his agent Drew Rosenhaus discussed his release and/or trade with the Panthers this offseason, but said "they don't want to let me go because they still feel like I can help out the team." That noise you hear is every single Panthers fan shaking their heads collectively.
Posted on: September 27, 2010 5:36 pm
 

Rice could be back this week

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Though it was thought the injury might be a knee sprain that could keep Baltimore RB Ray Rice out a while, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said today Rice had a significant knee contusion but he could return for the Pittsburgh game Sunday.

“We'll see how it goes,” Harbaugh said during his Monday news conference. “You've got to see how it heals throughout the course of the week."

Rice hurt himself early in the fourth quarter Sunday after catching a pass from Ravens QB Joe Flacco and making a cut to try to slip past a Browns defender. He left the stadium on a crutch, but apparently, his injury isn’t that serious.

As the Baltimore Sun points out, if Rice can’t play Sunday, look for Willis McGahee, Le'Ron McClain and Jalen Parmele to get more snaps.

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