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Coffee Companion (9/20): your daily Ravens fix

By Matt Vensel

The Baltimore Sun

9:03 AM EDT, September 20, 2012

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Every morning, Monday through Friday, blogger Matt Vensel will hook you up with reading material -- mostly on the Ravens but with some other Baltimore sports stuff, too -- to skim through as you slug down coffee and slack off at the start of your workday. That way he’ll have an excuse to do the same to start his workday, too.

RUNNING IT BACK

The traditionally-stout Ravens defense suddenly looks vulnerable after the first two games of the season. … Bernard Pollard plans to play against the New England Patriots on Sunday, but Pollard missed Wednesday’s practice, as did three other defensive starters. … Dennis Pitta is now officially first on the depth chart at tight end. … Jeff Zrebiec believes one good game or one bad game won't affect Joe Flacco’s contract situation.

RAVENS STUFF, BUT NOT FROM US

The Ravens finally get home-field advantage against the Patriots. … Joe Flacco doesn’t care about outdueling Tom Brady. … Rob Gronkowski could give the Ravens problems. … The Ravens aren’t the only AFC North defense that is struggling. … Here are a few factoids about the Ravens through the first two weeks.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

The Ravens-Patriots rivalry is reaching new heights. … Deion Branch’s patience paid off as he returned to Patriots practice on Wednesday. … The Patriots are trying hard to get Brian Waters to report. … Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton said the Patriots tipped off their plays last weekend. … Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels hasn’t been back in New England for long, but he’s already under fire.

SHAMELESS PLUG(S) OF THE DAY

Here are five Ravens stats that stand out heading into Week 3, including stats on how Tom Brady has fared against the Ravens, issues with tackling against the Philadelphia Eagles, and early struggles on third down.

AWAY FROM THE GRIDIRON

Adam Jones helped give the Orioles another extra-innings win over the Seattle Mariners. … Jim Johnson tied the Orioles save record on Wednesday night. … Dylan Bundy officially joined the Orioles, and former O’s ace Jim Palmer thinks it was a prudent decision by the club. … This year’s Baltimore Hockey Classic was canceled.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Are you worried about the play of the Ravens defense?