Ravens kicker Justin Tucker said the footballs used for kicking plays in Saturday night's game at the Los Angeles Chargers were "just different than what we’re used to experiencing on your typical NFL Sunday.”
New Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban worked with Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick with the Philadelphia Eagles and then moved to the Cincinnati, where he mentored Bengals receivers, including A.J. Green.
One year ago, Rice was the talk of the NFL following a career-high 2,068 combined rushing and receiving yards in 2011. He was celebrating his newly-minted five-year, $40 million maximum value contract that included a $15 million signing bonus, the highest in league history for a running back.
In his role as an NFL Network analyst, McNabb criticized Rice this summer for fumbling. Rice fumbled twice in an AFC wild-card victory over the Indianapolis Colts and lost a fumble in the second half of the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII win over the San Francisco 49ers.
The biggest storyline of free agency, one that will send ripples throughout the rest of the offseason, is the fate of Peyton Manning, who could be released by the Indianapolis Colts, the franchise that Manning quarterbacked to a Super Bowl title in 2006. Here is a look at Manning and four other top free agent quarterbacks and where they could wind up in 2012.
I'm not very good at making preseason predictions. Two years ago, I picked the Giants to beat the Chargers in the Super Bowl. Last season, I wrote a column saying the Ravens would go all the way, and they might have had they not fallen apart against the Steelers. This year, I'm feeling good about the Patriots and the Packers -- and yes, I felt that way before Thursday night -- but considering my track record, neither will win it all in 2011. That's why I'm picking nine different teams to lift the Lombardi Trophy, with a reason why each of the NFL's true contenders will be showered with confetti at season's end. I like my chances of getting it right this year.
In early August, when I released my monthly power rankings at the start of the preseason, some of you said it was too early to gauge how the NFL's 32 stack up against each other. Too early for power rankings? Psssh. A little premature speculation has never hurt anyone. After all, it's just that -- speculation and nothing tangible.
My apologies for interruptions in this week's blog schedule. I was actually doing real reporting for a change. (I know, crazy talk.) But I have still had time to stay on top of my many fantasy football leagues. I completed another draft last week, and I have three more between now and next Thursday's regular season kickoff.
Let's jump in the time machine and flash back in time to the early 2000s when Tom Cruise wasn't a known crazy person, "Freedom Fries" were an innovation in redneck culinary circles and men under the age of 40 wearing visors in public was considered to be socially acceptable. Thanks to Al Gore's Internet invention, fantasy football was starting to blow up -- and we were advised to select running backs with our first 13 or so picks.
I'm pleased to announce that I will be bringing back my weekly fantasy football column this fall. Why am I so pleased? Because it gives me an excuse to tinker with my fantasy football teams when I'm on the clock.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will experience a fun first on Thursday night: He has never played an NFL game at Philadelphia¿s Lincoln Financial Field, which is a short ride from his hometown, Audubon, N.J.
Jake Arrieta turned in his first quality start in more than a month Wednesday, but the Orioles were held to two hits in a 4-0 loss to the Red Sox. ... The Orioles are playing the waiting game with their unsigned draft picks, but they have had talks with Dylan Bundy. ... Ravens safety Ed Reed declared himself "full go" for training camp Wednesday, but he hopes the Ravens will "be smart" with his reps this summer. Reed also clarified last month¿s comments about wanting Rex Ryan as coach over John Harbaugh. ... Maryland President Wallace D. Loh has created a committee to examine the athletic department's finances after recent financial losses.
NFL Network continues to reveal its list of the top 100 players in the NFL for 2011, which is determined by a player poll. NFL.com recently released a sneak preview of Terrell Owens hyping up Reed for the list, and the outspoken wideout said Reed is one of the best safeties in the game and a Hall-of-Famer.
He has skin like an armadillo. He keeps wrestling championship belts in his locker. He poses for photos with dead animals. He has had a rocket arm since he was an infant. His mullet has become legendary. Former Ravens third-stringer John Beck is suddenly the most interesting quarterback in Washington.
If Marc Bulger leaves Baltimore as a free agent this offseason to become a starter elsewhere, the Ravens will likely be in the market for another able veteran to back up quarterback Joe Flacco. Might that veteran signal-caller be Donovan McNabb, who is on the outs in Washington?