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Tag:Terrell Suggs
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:15 pm
 

Keep an Eye on: Week 15's finer points

Palmer and Netwon face stiff tests this week. Suggs, meanwhile, has been a beast in 2011. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Lions vs. Raiders

A few weeks ago, Carson Palmer was throwing interceptions but still playing great football for his new team. Lately, Palmer has just been throwing interceptions. What’s changed?

For one, Oakland’s pass protection. It has been shaky the last two games, particularly when it comes to sorting out blitz pickups. Also, general protection on the right outside has been an issue. Even when the Raiders go with a six-man line – which they do frequently – Palmer knows that Khalif Barnes and Stephon Heyer don’t consistently move their feet well. Consequently, Palmer has started to anticipate, and even perceive, pressure. This makes him jittery in the pocket.

What’s interesting is that one of Palmer’s brightest shining traits earlier this season was how firm he was in the pocket even when there was pressure closing in on him. You’d think that the time away from football would have made Palmer more frenetic in the pocket, and that he’d settle down after getting more games under his belt. Instead, the opposite’s been true.


A lot of Palmer’s interceptions have come when he’s trying to force a play. He’s made some careless decisions outside the pocket and on third-and-long situations. That may partly be a function of not knowing his own personnel (no other quarterbacks have found Darrius Heyward-Bey as trustworthy as Palmer has).

Things won’t get easier this week. The Lions picked off Christian Ponder three times last Sunday and, with Ndamukong Suh back, have a pass-rush that Palmer can legitimately worry about.

Panthers vs. Texans

Cam Newton is facing his most difficult test yet. The sensational rookie has gone up against some good cover corners (Charles Woodson, who played exclusively outside against the Panthers in Week 2, Cortland Finnegan in Week 10 and Aqib Talib in Week 13). He’s also faced some aggressive pass-rushes (Ray Horton’s blitzing Cardinals in Week 1, Gregg Williams’ blitzing Saints in Week 5 and Gunther Cunningham’s tireless Lions in Week 11).

He’s yet to face a combination of both, though. That’ll change Sunday. The Texans’ pass-rush is as fast and relentless as any in football. Their four-man linebacking unit might be the only group capable of chasing Newton down. Behind them, Johnathan Joseph is not just a good cover corner, he’s a great corner period. Joseph is one of just three players in the league this season who appears to possess the skill set necessary for shutting down Steve Smith (the others are Darrelle Revis and Champ Bailey, though strong arguments could also be made for Ike Taylor, Corey Webster and Patrick Peterson).

What sets Joseph apart is his acumen for defending the deep ball. And it’s the deep ball that has set Newton and Smith apart (they’ve hooked up for a league-high 25 passes over 20 yards). Aside from in the Week 3 monsoon at Jacksonville, Newton has not yet faced a defense that could wipe Smith out of the equation with just one player. We’ll find out just how much the young quarterback has really grown as a progression passer this Sunday.

Chargers vs. Ravens

Ray Lewis is an icon. Ed Reed is perhaps the greatest free safety who ever lived. Haloti Ngata is unblockable. But the best player on Baltimore’s No. 3 ranked defense is Terrell Suggs. In fact, one could argue that Suggs has been the best player on any defense this season. We’ve highlighted him in previous Film Room posts, but not with an outright endorsement for his Defensive Player of the Year campaign.

Last week against the Colts, Suggs forced three fumbles and recorded his second three-sack game in 17 days. He has a career-high 13 sacks on the season. Great as he’s been rushing the passer, his impact has been larger in other areas. His dropping back into coverage to take away quick slants played a big role in Baltimore’s win at Cleveland two weeks ago. In all games this season, Suggs has been a demon against the run. His length and speed are critical in backside pursuit, and his leverage and sheer physical force have long made him the best playside run defending linebacker in the game. Right now, there isn’t a better all-around defensive player than the ninth-year pro out of Arizona State.

Suggs is in perfect position to make a late push for Defensive Player of the Year this week. He has a game on Sunday Night Football, where you can bet Cris Collinsworth will share with the national television audience many of the items we’ve covered here. That game happens to be against a Chargers team that, because of Marcus McNeil’s neck injury, is starting recently signed journeyman Jared Gaither at left tackle.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:05 pm
 

Report: Ray Lewis to return for Ravens Sunday

By Will Brinson



The Ravens are 4-0 since Ray Lewis was sidelined with a toe injury, but that doesn't mean the team isn't "very hopeful" he'll return for the stretch run. And, according to a report Wednesday, Lewis will be back on the field Sunday night in San Diego.

Lewis, who told reporters he's "feeling way better" Tuesday, is expected to play Sunday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

However, Lewis was non-committal on returning when asked Tuesday at a charity event near Baltimore.

"I'm feeling way better," Lewis said, per the Baltimore Sun. "Way better. I thought I had a good chance the last four weeks to play, but the coaches are going to make those decisions. They're just being smart. I don't mind being smart. The warrior side of me of course is always going to want to get back out there."

The Ravens, at 10-3, are in a dogfight with the Patriots, Texans and Steelers for the top spots in the AFC. And their battle with Pittsburgh is even tougher; both are 10-3 and the difference between winning the division and finishing second can't be overstated -- the fifth seed travels on the road and plays an extra playoff game.

Baltimore also got somewhat lucky with the timing of Lewis' injury, as they played the run-heavy offenses of Cincinnati and San Francisco before beating the neutered attacks of Indy and Cleveland in the last two weeks, each by a score of 24-10.

San Diego, who's in a must-win situation, presents a much more difficult problem for the Baltimore defense, particularly they way they've played the last two weeks.

It was previously believed Lewis could be kept out as long as Week 17, but at the time, the Ravens intimated that if the game against the Chargers was "big" then he could return. Clearly, this qualifies as a "big" game, particularly with the Steelers not playing until Monday.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:03 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 3:57 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 14

Posted by Will Brinson



Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 14 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman  Gronk   JPP  Prater Coughlin
Judge Sanchez   JPP  Prater  Kubiak
Prisco  Ryan   JPP Cloherty   Whiz
Brinson   MJD   JPP  Prater Coughlin
Katzowitz   Eli   JPP  Prater  Kubiak
Wilson   MJD  Suggs  Prater Coughlin
Week 14'ss over and we're getting close to the -- gulp -- end of the regular season in the NFL. Before we get too sad, let's hand out some awards.

On offense, there were a number of guys that warranted consideration, but eventually Maurice Jones-Drew's four touchdown game in Jacksonville's blowout win over the Buccaneers was just too much and he's our Eye on Offense Award winner.

The Eye on Defense Award wasn't quite as close as Jason Pierre-Paul's performance on Sunday night was dominant enough to nearly net him a sweep of the votes.

And since Tim Tebow isn't eligible for the Eye on Special Teams Award, we just had to give it to Matt Prater.

Meanwhile, Gary Kubiak's win over the Bengals to get the Texans into the playoffs was just enough to squeak by Tom Coughlin in the Eye on Coaching Award voting.

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Clark Judge
Rob Gronkowski Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
Gronkowski ran over, through, around, under and did I mention through half of the Washington defense. He humiliated the Redskins and in doing so set an NFL record for most touchdown catches in a season by a tight end. Not bad at all.
Mark SanchezMark Sanchez, QB, Jets
He's cheered. He's booed. He's cheered again. Finally, Jets' fans seem to have warmed up to the guy, and for good reason: Sanchez not only is playing well; he's winning. His two touchdown passes and two TD runs in a victory so lopsided it cost Kansas City's Todd Haley his job.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Matt Ryan Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
He threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns in rallying his team from being down 23-7 at the half against the Panthers. Ryan threw for 232 yards and three scores in the second half.
Maurice Jones-DrewMaurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
Mojo didn't just break the all-time record for touchdowns by a Jaguars player, he shattered it. With gusto -- Jones-Drew got in the end zone four times on Sunday against the Bucs, scoring twice on the ground and catching two teeters as well. He doesn't get nearly enough credit.
Josh Katzowitz Ryan Wilson
Eli ManningEli Manning, QB, Giants
Rob Ryan called Manning elite and unfortunately for Ryan Manning proved why Sunday. New York was down 12 points late but Manning threw for 400 yards and two TDs to lead the Giants to victory. Those who say Eli is more clutch than Peyton might be right and Ryan might agree.
Maurice Jones-Drew Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
MJD hasn't had much to smile about this season, but he went off on Bucs, Florida's worst NFL team. He had four touchdowns (2 rushing, 2 receiving) in Mel Tucker's first win as an NFL head coach.

Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Judge
Jason Pierre-PaulJason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
Giants players are comparing him to LT which is a little much. Taylor is the second best defensive player of all time behind Deion Sanders (yeah, I said it). A little much, yes, but JPP is doing some special things. He singlehandedly obliterated the Cowboys with two sacks and a blocked kick.
Jason Pierre-Paul Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
He had two sacks, one forced fumble and blocked the game-tying field goal. Pierre-Paul's block not only saved the game; it might have saved the season for the Giants and a job for head coach Tom Coughlin.
Prisco Brinson
Jason Pierre-PaulJason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
He had two sacks and blocked the potential tying field goal in the final seconds in the Giants 37-34 victory over the Cowboys Sunday night. He was all over the field with his relentless style of play. He's a Pro Bowl player this season.
Jason Pierre-PaulJason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
Pierre-Paul gets most of the credit for blocking the would-be game-tying field goal from Dan Bailey, but he owned the entire game against the Cowboys Sunday night, forcing a fumble and picking up two sacks against Dallas. An absolutely beasty performance.
Katzowitz Wilson
Jason Pierre-Paul Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
A star was born Sunday when Pierre-Paul recorded eight tackles, two sacks and a blocked kick that might have saved the Giants. Without Osi Umenyiora in the game and with Justin Tuck not healthy, he was an absolute lifesaver for the Giants.
Terrell Suggs Terrell Suggs, DE, Ravens
Suggs terrorized poor Dan Orlovsky (who is now 0-9 as an NFL starter) all afternoon, registering three of the Ravens' four sacks and forcing three fumbles. Mr. T-Sizzle now has seven sacks in his last three games. 
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Judge
Matt PraterMatt Prater, K, Broncos
A 59-yarder to tie the Chicago Bears. A 51-yarder to win in overtime. He becomes only the second kicker in league history to connect on two 50-plus yard kicks to tie and then win a game. Mike Vanderjagt was the other.
Matt Prater Matt Prater, K, Broncos
First, he hits a 59-yard field goal to tie the game; then he nails a 51-yarder to win it in overtime. It marked the third straight week and fourth time in the last eight games that Prater won a game with a last-second field goal.
Prisco Brinson
Dan BaileyColin Cloherty, TE, Jaguars
He scooped up a fumbled punt by Preston Parker and returned it 9 yards for a touchdown. This tight end was recently signed and had considered getting on with another career before the Jaguars signed him off the street.
Matt PraterMatt Prater, K, Broncos
All the credit goes to you-know-who, but Prater deserves a ton of love for his kicking performance on Sunday. He nailed a 59-yard field goal to push the game to overtime, and hit a 51-yarder in OT to win. That doesn't even take into account his near-perfect onsides kick in regulation.
Katzowitz Wilson
Matt Prater Matt Prater, K, Broncos
Prater was the real hero in the Broncos stunning overtime win against the Bears. He matched a career-high with a 59-yard field goal at the end of regulation to force OT and  blasted a 51-yarder to win it. Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. But save a little credit for Prater, who has four game-winning kicks since Tebow took over.
Matt Prater Matt Prater, K, Broncos
Prater striped a 59-yarder to send the game to overtime and did it again in the extra period from 51-yards to give the Broncos the win. It might've been the best special teams performance of the season.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Judge
Tom CoughlinTom Coughlin, HC, Giants
Coughlin beat Jason Garrett like the Cowboys coach stole something from him. And he just happened to take control of the NFC East when it looked like the ship be sinking after four straight losses. Great, gutty win for a Giants team that desperately needed it.
Mike Munchak Gary Kubiak, HC, Texans
He's overcome losses of key players all season, so clinching the Texans' first-ever playoff spot with a win on the road and with a rookie third-string quarterback should be no big deal. But it is. Kubiak consistently beats the odds, and he just beat Cincinnati with T.J. Yates making the game-winning pass with two seconds left. Impressive.  
Prisco Brinson
Tom CoughlinKen Whisenhunt, HC, Cardinals
His team upset the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, even though starting quarterback Kevin Kolb was knocked out of the game with concussion problems. John Skelton came off the bench to lead the upset.
Mike MunchakGary Kubiak, HC, Texans
Houston clinched the franchise's first-ever playoff berth on Sunday and they did it by beating a second-straight playoff contender (Cincy, a week after Atlanta) without Arian Foster being productive. Kubiak refuses to let this team get derailed, even if it means T.J. Yates winning games.
Katzowitz Wilson
Jim Schwartz Gary Kubiak, HC, Texans
He’s done a wonderful job saving his job with Houston’s first-ever playoff-clinching win. Plus, the decision to stick with T.J. Yates instead of trying to acquire Donovan McNabb (or any other QB for that matter) was a good one. The fact the Texans, even with three starting quarterbacks this season, continue to win is one reason Kubiak will stay employed.
Tom Coughlin Tom Coughlin, HC, Giants
I'm still unclear why Coughlin is on the hot seat but the Giants went into the Jerry Dome Sunday night and not only beat the Cowboys in a huge NFC East matchup, they overcame a late-fourth quarter 12-point deficit. Oh, and they now lead the division. Maybe Jason Garrett and/or Rob Ryan should replace Coughlin on said hot seat.

Posted on: November 29, 2011 3:18 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 12

Posted by Will Brinson



Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 12 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman  Brees  Ravens Peterson  Payton
Judge  Brees  Ravens Peterson Harbaugh
Prisco  Brees  Barwin Peterson   Fox
Brinson  Brees  Suggs  Lechler Harbaugh
Katzowitz  Wells  Barwin  Raiders Harbaugh
Wilson  Wells  Suggs Peterson Kubiak
Week 12's over and the NFL's playoff picture is getting a little more clear. Maybe. Whatever, it's time to hand out awards.

Offensively speaking, there's a great case for either of our nominees this week. Beanie Wells had a dominant performance against the Rams, but, hey, what have you done for me lately? Well, Drew Brees played on Monday and he carved up the Giants.

Defensively, everyone was on board with either Connor Barwin or some form of the Ravens defense -- given that Terrell Suggs was t-sizzling all day long against the 49ers, he gets the nod. (But it was definitely a team effort.)

Patrick Peterson got in the record books this weekend and, I believe, he's now the all-time winningest Eye on Special Teams player in Eye on Special Teams history, with as many awards as he has punt returns over 80 yards this season.

As far as the Eye on Coaching award goes, well, John Harbaugh kicked the mess out of his little brother in front of the entire family on Thanksgiving. That has to count for something right?

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Clark Judge
Drew Brees Drew Brees, QB, Saints
Wait. This is a question? Did you people see Drew Brees? The only quarterback right now in the same stratosphere with Aaron Rodgers is Brees and dare I say it...they are playing on the same level. Brees, Brees, Brees, Brees. One more time. BREES!
Drew BreesDrew Brees, QB, Saints
He didn't just dissect the Giants' defense; he shredded it, throwing so accurately and maneuvering so expertly he looked as if he was running a 7-on-7 drill. I feel for Brees. In any other year he'd be the NFL MVP. In any other year, the Saints might be a slam dunk for the Super Bowl. In any other year, he wouldn't have to go to Green Bay to get to the top.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Drew Brees Drew Brees, QB, Saints
I was there to see Brees' performance on Monday night in New Orleans against the Giants, and was it impressive. He threw four touchdown passes and ran in for another. Brees is on pace to break Dan Marino's single-season record for passing yards.
Drew BreesDrew Brees, QB, Saints
There's really nothing better than a quarterback performing a clinical dissection of a defense, and that's precisely what Brees did on Monday night, becoming the first quarterback to throw for 350 yards, four passing touchdowns and rush for another score in a beatdown of the Giants.
Josh Katzowitz Ryan Wilson
Beanie WellsBeanie Wells, RB, Cardinals
There were some, including myself, who were pretty confident we’d never see a stat line like this (27 carries, 228 yards, one TD) from Wells. But, after the Cardinals used a second-round pick on running back Ryan Williams, Wells seems extra motivated this season. And after hurting his knee in the fourth quarter Sunday, he returned and busted out a 53-yard run.
Beanie Wells Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals
The Cardinals thought so much of Wells, their 2009 first-round pick, that they selected running back Ryan Williams in the second round of the 2011 draft. Williams went down with a season-ending injury in training camp and Wells has finally emerged as a top-flight back. He rushed for 228 yards against the Rams, more than 50 coming after what looked like a serious knee injury.
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Judge
Terrell SuggsTerrell Suggs, LB, Ravens
Another easy choice given the way Baltimore's defense performed on Thanksgiving night. They sacked San Francisco's Alex Smith nine times and shut down the 49ers' running game. Now, I think the 49ers are extremely overrated, but that was still an impressive performance.
Terrell Suggs Baltimore Ravens, DST
The Ravens sacked San Francisco's Alex Smith nine times, clinching an important victory in their drive to win their division. I might nominate Terrell Suggs for this award because of his three sacks ... except teammate Cory Redding had 2.5 and Haloti Ngata had two. Nope, this one goes to Chuck Pagano and his entire defensive unit.
Prisco Brinson
Connor BarwinConnor Barwin, DE, Texans
Barwin was all over the field for the Texans on Sunday, getting four sacks against the Jaguars last week. With Mario Williams gone, Barwin has emerged as a top pass rusher for the NFL's top-rated defense.
Terrell SuggsTerrell Suggs, LB, Ravens
Alex Smith likely spent Thanksgiving night in full-body heat pack, giving thanks that he actually managed to survive against the Ravens defense, which sacked him nine times on Thursday night. Suggs picked up three of those en route to terrorizing Smith all night in a dominant defensive effort.
Katzowitz Wilson
Connor Barwin Connor Barwin, DE, Texans
This was the kind of production the Texans have salivated about when they drafted the former tight end/University of Cincinnati basketball player in the second round in 2009. Against the Jaguars, Barwin dominated with a franchise-record four sacks and 10 tackles. Barwin now has 6.5 sacks in the past three games.
Terrell Suggs Terrell Suggs, LB, Ravens
I'm not sure if the 49ers' offensive line was tired from the short week or the constant barrage of pressure, but by the second half of their Thanksgiving night game against the Ravens, they had no answer for Baltimore's four-man pass rush and Terrell Suggs in particular. Suggs had three sacks and the Ravens sacked Alex Smith nine times.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Judge
Patrick PetersonJohnny Knox, WR, Bears
Peterson is quickly becoming one of the most feared weapons in football. I think he's surpassed DeSean Jackson as a return specialist and is Devin Hester-light. He's immensely talented and I get the feeling we'll be talking about this guy for years.
Patrick Peterson Patrick Peterson, CB/KR, Cardinals
OK, it's  time to start asking the same question here that we pose with Devin Hester: Why in the world punt to this guy? I mean, he already beat St. Louis in one game with a return. So the Rams let him do it again. He has four returns for touchdowns, and that's enough for me. Someone, anyone, start kicking the ball away from him.
Prisco Brinson
Patrick PetersonPatrick Peterson, CB/KR, Cardinals
He returned his fourth punt for a touchdown this season last Sunday against the Rams, tying an NFL record. All four have been 80 yards or more. Amazing.

 

Shane LechlerShane Lechler, P, Raiders
Anyone who can keep the ball out of Devin Hester's hands deserves some recognition, and Lechler did just that, limiting the specialist to seven yards on two returns. He also gets credit for kicking the punt of a lifetime, as he boomed a net 60- and gross 80-yard bomb.
Katzowitz Wilson
Sebastian Janikowski Shane Lechler/Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders
These two were the co-MVPs in the Raiders win against the Bears, with Janikowski kicking a franchise-record six field goals and Lechler winning the battle against Devin Hester, including an 80-yard (!) punt. Lechler and Janikowski are the only two players from the last Raiders playoff squad, and these two, if they keep playing like this, will lead Oakland back again.
Patrick Peterson Patrick Peterson, CB/KR, Cardinals
Peterson is the new Devin Hester: teams are going to have to give serious consideration to just not kicking him the ball. Or, at the very least, the Rams need to have that conversation. Peterson has twiced returned punts for touchdowns against St. Louis, and twice it was the difference in the game. Peterson has taken four punts to the house this season and there's still five games to go.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Judge
Sean PaytonSean Payton, HC, Saints
Can't stand Payton. He's a phony, abusive of the local media, and overall a very nasty man but damn he can coach. He picked apart not a great Giants defense but a solid one. Made it look like child's play. It was amazing to watch. You rarely see a team so totally dissected.
John Harbaugh John Harbaugh, HC, Ravens
He beat an opponent that won its four previous games in EST, was a field goal in overtime from being unbeaten, but he beats his younger brother, too. Trust me, this was a huge hurdle for Baltimore, which has one winning opponent (Cincinnati) on its schedule ... and that's the season finale. Winning the division is crucial to the Ravens, and they just took a big step in that direction. Who's got it better than Harbaugh and the Ravens? Noooooobody!
Prisco Brinson
John FoxJohn Fox, HC, Broncos
Say what you want about the read-option, but Fox has created a winning environment with Tim Tebow and that crazy offense. They have turned into a playoff contender, thanks to that big win at San Diego in overtime.
John HarbaughJohn Harbaugh, HC, Ravens
Even though the game was in Baltimore, the matchup didn't look good for the Ravens. But John took Jim out in the backyard and sicked his defense on lil' bro's QB at Thanksgiving. The result? A dominant defensive effort that put the Ravens in the AFC driver's seat.
Katzowitz Wilson
John Harbaugh John Harbaugh, HC, Ravens
He knocked off his brother’s squad on Thanksgiving, and at the same time, he exposed some major flaws in the 49ers roster. John Harbaugh’s teams have been wishy-washy as hell this year, but if the Ravens can beat one of the NFC’s best with relative ease, you have to figure that Baltimore will be a force in AFC playoffs.
Gary Kubiak Gary Kubiak, HC, Texans
The 7-3 Texans were supposed to beat the 3-7 Jaguars, but Houston began the game with backup Matt Leinart, and by the final whistle, third-stringer T.J. Yates was the starter. The Texans are currently the No. 1 team in the AFC but barring some Tim Tebow-inspired magic, this could be the high point of their season.

Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:23 am
Edited on: November 17, 2011 1:06 pm
 

Ray Rice: '5 carries is not going to cut it'

Posted by Will Brinson



The situation involving the Ravens offense -- and Baltimore's inability to win games when running back Ray Rice doesn't get many carries -- is coming to a head, thanks to Ray Lewis complaining about Rice's touches.

But Rice himself has been quiet thus far, declining to speak after the loss to Seattle. Until now -- on Wednesday Rice pointed out, in a "diplomatic" fashion according to Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times, that he needs more carries.

"I'm never going to be the guy that talks about touches, but obviously we know five carries is not going to cut it," Rice said. "I know five carries is not going to do us any justice, but we found ourselves so deep in the situation that we had to climb our way out. We were looking for answers. Whether it was running or passing, we have to find our way out of a situation."

Quoth the Ravens

Rice also discussed why he didn't talk to the press following the Seahawks loss.

"As a professional, you have to sometimes gather your thoughts up," Rice said. "You have to look at a situation before you express yourself, bottled up with emotional thoughts. My reason for not speaking after the game was more frustration on how we lost the game, it had nothing to do with you guys."

Rice added that speaking after "an emotional loss" "leads to disaster," "trouble" and "people pointing fingers." This is 100 percent correct, just like Rice's point about needing more carries.

He's handling it the right way, which is the same way that Rice has handled his ongoing contract situation. (One has to wonder how those negotiations are progressing the week after Rice receives five or eight carries in a game, especially if it's a Ravens loss. "Contentious" sounds about right.)

Now it's just up to the coaching staff to handle things the right way, by giving Rice the ball more.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:34 pm
 

Ray Lewis: Ray Rice needs more touches for Ravens

Posted by Will Brinson



Over the past few days, we've pointed out that the Ravens would be wise to get the ball in the hands of their best player more often. That player is Ray Rice. When the Ravens win, he gets an average of 18-plus carries. When they lose, it's about eight carries.

On Tuesday, John Harbaugh refuted the claim that there's a connection between Rice's carries and the losses, but everyone's not in agreement with him on that. Specifically, Ray Lewis, who, according to our Ravens Rapid Reporter Jason Butt, believes that Rice needs more touches if the Ravens want to win.

"That's our bell cow," Lewis said. "If that talent right there isn't touching 25-30 times then you have to question yourself, what are we actually doing balance-wise?"

This isn't the first time a Ravens defender has spoken out about Rice's touches -- after the loss to Jacksonville in Week 7, Terrell Suggs basically told CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco the exact same thing.

"I don't really know what the game plan was," Suggs said at the time. "When I have a Pro Bowl running back, and he's not getting his touches, I'm going to feel some kind of way about it. He wants the ball. And I think we should feed him. Ray Rice is a phenomenal player. You have to use your phenomenal players."

Over the next few days, everyone started pointing fingers everywhere, even though the obvious solution was, in almost everyone's opinion, to give Rice more touches.

And yet, three weeks later, he got less touches in another game against another mediocre team in another non-blowout. The Ravens have the talent to win the Super Bowl this year, but if they're not utilizing it to properly beat the teams they should beat, they might not even make the playoffs.

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Posted on: November 5, 2011 2:56 pm
 

For the gambler in you, Week 9

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Each Saturday, we’ll take the best -- and most clever -- odds collected by bodog.com for the upcoming week and give our take. This is important stuff, perhaps the most important post you’ll read all week. Because if you can’t lose money while watching a game in which you have absolutely no effect, what’s the point of watching sports at all?

Total number of 15-yard Penalties in the Ravens/Steelers game Week 9    
   
Over 1½ (-140)

Under 1½ (EVEN)

I don’t know, taking the under seems like a ridiculous choice to me. These two teams hate each other. To paraphrase Terrell Suggs, one team makes the other team’s urine feel warmer (or something like that). These squads aren’t fond of each other -- like, at all -- and last season in three games, they combined for 51 flags for 421 yards (an average of 8.5 penalties per team for 70.2 yards). Of course, they’ll go over.

Will the 49ers score a rushing TD and not allow a rushing TD Week 9? (The 49ers are the first team in 91 years to score, but not allow a rushing touchdown in each of their first seven games of the season)     

Yes 5/2

No 1/4

Frank Gore has five touchdowns this season. He’ll score again vs. the 21st-ranked Redskins rush defense. Meanwhile, Washington ranks 27th in rush offense. Go with the 5/2 odds and make some money. 

What will Chris Johnson's yards per carry be in the 2011 regular season? (He’s currently averaging 2.8 yards per carry)

Over/Under 3.7  
 
All right, let’s get out the calculators here. Right now, Johnson is averaging 15.3 carries per game, and since he’s currently splitting carries with Javon Ringer, that might not change. He’s looking at about another 138 carries for the rest of the season.* Which means he’d have to gain 629 yards (4.6 yards per carry) in nine games for the rest of the season in order to reach 3.8. Does anybody see that happening? Me neither.

*Unless, of course, he gets injured, which then makes this bet look awfully good.

SUPER BOWL MADONNA SPECIAL -- What will be the first song she performs for Super Bowl half-time show? 
   
Celebration 7/2

Hung Up 4/1

Like Prayer 5/1

Express Yourself 5/1

Ray of Light 15/2

Vogue 8/1

Music 8/1

Papa Don't Preach 10/1

Holiday 10/1

Material Girl 12/1

Lucky Star 15/1

Die Another Day 18/1

Like A Virgin 25/1

I only recognize seven titles on here, but good lord, how awesome would it be if she opened with “Like A Virgin?” I’d go with “Vogue,” but that’s probably as late as my knowledge of Madonna’s catalogue goes.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:46 pm
 

Flacco admits offense played 'like crap' recently

Joe Flacco on the type of offense we'll see Sunday against the Steelers: 'A good one.' (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Eight weeks ago, the Ravens beat the Steelers like they stole something. Earlier this month, Rice told CBSSports.com that that game won't mean much when the two teams get together this Sunday night because Pittsburgh has a history of getting better as the season progresses.

Turns out, Rice was right; the Steelers have played well the past month, highlighted by last week's win over the Patriots. The Ravens, meanwhile, have struggled, losing to the Jaguars on national television two weeks ago, and beating the Cardinals last Sunday but only after trailing by 21 points.

Ravens-Steelers, Part Deux
Both teams have issues -- the Ravens' passing game is a mess and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and quarterback Joe Flacco have taken plenty of heat for it. The Steelers' have injuries to key defensive players and that could be a factor Sunday.

Flacco, who completed 58 percent of his passes the last two games with two picks and a touchdown, thinks the Ravens' offense, despite recent history, can play well against the Steelers.

“A good one,” Flacco said Wednesday when asked why type of offense we'll see Sunday. “We are going to go in there with a game plan, one that we can be successful with – things that we do well – and we are going to go execute it to the best of our ability. That’s going to be the key. We have to go in there, and we have to play the way we know how to play. We can’t go out there and make mistakes, not execute things, [and] look like crap like we have for a little bit the last couple of weeks. We have to go in there and just play the football we know how to – which was most of this season and the second half of last gam

No one would dispute the charge that the Ravens' offense has been dung-tastic at various points this season. Either way, Flacco is using the Week 1 matchup as inspiration for this one. “We have to look back at it and see what we did well, and see what we can carry over to this game plan,” he said, according to the Baltimore Sun.

In that game, Flacco had career highs in touchdowns (three) and passer rating (117.6 passer rating), wide receiver Anquan Boldin scored his third touchdown in four meetings with Pittsburgh, and running back Ray Rice ran for 107 yards, only the third 100-yard rushing performance against the Steelers in their previous 58 games.

But it was Baltimore's defense that was the difference in Week 1. They created seven (!) turnovers, gave their offense great field position, and sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger four times, three courtesy of Terrell Suggs who announced earlier this week that he owns Big Ben.

“God can have his soul, but his [butt] belongs to me,” said Suggs, who has 15.5 career sacks against Big Ben. “You all know the numbers. There’s nobody that does it better than me."


Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens will travel to Heinz Field to take on Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. Who will come out on top? Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan preview this upcoming game.

Roethlisberger, when apprised of Suggs' remarks, offered this (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):

I've heard that quote," Big Ben said. "I've got no problem with it. It is what it is ... I know Terrell a little bit. He's actually a good guy. We joke around on the field, so I don't think he meant anything bad by it. I just think he let out a little emotion after finally beating me."

Receiver Antonio Brown, who has quietly emerged as one of the young Steelers playmakers, added this: “We really owe [the Ravens] one this time around,” he said, referring to the Week 1 loss. “You always remember that, seeing those guys celebrate like they won the Super Bowl, seeing those guys get really hyped.”

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com