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
Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has quieted the critics who questioned his offseason weight gain with a strong start to the season. … Mike Preston says that linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is finding his place with the Ravens defense. … Penalties have been a problem for the Ravens so far. … The Ravens offense is focused on limiting the damage done by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali. … Wide receiver David Reed, linebacker Michael McAdoo and defensive tackle Ryan McBean are working their way back from surgeries.
RAVENS STUFF, BUT NOT FROM US
The Ravens will have their hands full with Dwayne Bowe. … The veteran upgrades on special teams have paid dividends for the Ravens. … The decision to go with Justin Tucker was the right one. … The Baltimore defense could find Kansas City turnovers to be delicious. … Is Ray Lewis still one of the best linebackers?
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
Chiefs backup quarterback Brady Quinn, next in line behind Matt Cassel, says this week hasn’t been different than any other. … Cornerback Brandon Flowers returned to practice Thursday, but linebacker Derrick Johnson missed his second straight practice. … Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert is playing at a high level. … There is a common thread throughout Kansas City’s struggles: the lack of a good quarterback to go with a good coach.
SHAMELESS PLUG OF THE DAY
To preview Sunday's game, I did a Q&A with Kansas City Star beat writer Adam Teicher, who explains what has gone wrong for a once-promising franchise that won the AFC West in 2010.
AWAY FROM THE GRIDIRON
Buck Showalter’s attitude and hands-on approach were needed to turn the Orioles into winners. … Former Orioles from recent losing seasons are pulling for the current ballclub. … The Orioles were constructed with a combination of long-term planning and short-term creativity. … Friday night’s starter, Joe Saunders, has had a rough time against the Texas Rangers in the past. … Jim Johnson’s value goes beyond closing games. … The fabled Harrison Twins are not coming to play hoops at Maryland.