Flacco's Bad Lip Reading Spoof
"I need a mustache so bad!"
That's what a humorous voice dubbed over Joe Flacco's lip movements on the sideline of Super Bowl XLVII says in this new, and very entertaining, McDonald's Mighty Wings commercial.
Cut to Flacco with his infamous Fu Manchu from the 2011 season. Oh, and the voiceover has Flacco's lips introduce the mustache with a manufactured trumpet sound.
That's just one of the many hilarious bad lip reading spoofs in the ad. Others include Flacco singing and telling jokes on the sideline. Jacoby Jones and Colin Kaepernick get in on the action too.
All the attention was focused on the McDonald's Flacco-Kaepernick ad that channeled the classic Jordan-Bird commercial. But this one might be the best one yet.
Check it out (mobile users tap "View in Browser" button).
Marlon Brown: Neck Is Fine
With many of Flacco's weapons already down, fans' hearts paused when rookie breakout receiver Marlon Brown unexpectedly missed Wednesday's practice with a neck injury.
But Brown returned to practice Thursday, and was a full participant.
"I'm fine and ready to go," he told reporters yesterday. "I just had a stiff neck. That's all."
Brown has emerged in the first three games with 10 catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns, but he only notched two receptions for six yards against Houston Sunday.
"Assuming he suffers no setbacks this week, Brown is expected to start Sunday," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
How Will D. Thompson Fit In?
Deonte Thompson has participated in back-to-back practices for the first time since he injured his foot in the preseason opener.
That's a good sign the speedy receiver/returner is on his way to a full recovery. But even if he does return in the near future, what will his role be?
"It could be a case where Thompson is ready to play this weekend] but the [Ravens don't need him," ESPN's Jamison Hensley wrote. "Thompson is a receiver-returner, and that's a role being filled by Tandon Doss right now."
The Ravens were high on Thompson before he went down. He is athletic and one of the fastest players on the team, making him a big-play threat on both offense and special teams. The Ravens' passing offense has struggled in the early going, and CSNBaltimore.com's Bo Smolka thinks Thompson might be able to help.
"There's also no doubt that the Ravens could use a jolt – any jolt – to its passing attack, and Thompson has the speed to stretch the field," Smolka wrote. "But the jury is still out on Thompson as a receiver. He made only five catches last season, and four of them came in the regular-season finale when most starters took most of the day off."
The main issue in the passing game has been time; Flacco needs it to develop a rapport with his weapons. Brown, Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokley are all new targets, and Ed Dickson missed the preseason with a hamstring injury.
Thompson may fall into that category too, as it will take some time to get on the same page with Flacco after he returns. But the second-year receiver is confident that process won't take very long because he said the two already had "pretty good chemistry" before his injury.
"It's not going to take too much to get it back going once I get back out there," Thompson said.
Can Ravens' Pass Rush Unnerve Manuel?
That's one of the biggest questions heading into this Week 4 matchup between the Ravens and Bills.
EJ Manuel is a rookie quarterback, and will have two of the best pass rushersin the league coming for him. The Bills offensive line protected Manuel well in the first two weeks of the season, but the blitz-happy New York Jets sacked him eight times last week.
"The Ravens are saying all the right things about Manuel, and he can be dangerous as both a runner and a thrower," wrote CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown. "But Manuel only has three games of NFL experience, and Ravens linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are among the NFL's premier pass rushers."
Added ESPN's Mike Rodak: "The Bills knew the Jets were going to blitz – that's the hallmark of Rex Ryan's defense – and they couldn't stop it. … The concern on the Bills' end, I think, is that teams will copy the Jets’ model going forward, bottling up C.J. Spiller and forcing Manuel to throw downfield."
Ravens Poke Fun At Jones, McKinnie In Practice
After all is said and done with the party bus story, it seems to be nothing more than a great way to poke fun at Jones and Bryant McKinnie.
And that's exactly what the Ravens did in practice this week.
The team frequently practices with loud music blaring to prepare players for the loud noise of jam-packed stadiums with screaming fans. McKinnie revealed on his radio show earlier this week that among the songs that were played this week was Tommy Roe's "Sweet Pea."
I had never heard of the song, but apparently it reached No. 1 on the singles charts in Canada and No. 8 in the United States in 1966.
If you'd like to take a listen, here ya go.
"Listening to the song, you can't help but wish to see the reaction of Jones and McKinnie's faces upon hearing it," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Jason Butt. "For as dumb of a story as this wound up to be, at least Jones, McKinnie, their teammates and coaches can laugh about it now."
Ravens-Bills Picks: Almost Unanimous
Only two of the 43 experts below aren't picking the Ravens to win: Yahoo Sports' Les Carpenter and USA Today's Simon Samano, who did not provide explanations.
Everyone else believes the Ravens defense is starting to click, a bad sign for Manuel.
**The Baltimore Sun**: 7 of 7 pick the Ravens
Matt Vensel (Ravens 25, Bills 9): "The Ravens make it three games in a row without giving up a defensive touchdown, and the offense starts to find its legs in the running game against one of the NFL's worst run defenses."
Jeff Zrebiec (Ravens 23, Bills 13): "This won't be an easy walk in Orchard Park for the Ravens, but the visitors will be able to get their run game revved up, and Dean Pees' defense should confuse rookie quarterback EJ Manuel enough to get the win."
**ProFootballTalk.com**:2 of 2 pick the Ravens
Michael David Smith (Ravens 20, Bills 10): "I picked against the Ravens last week and got it wrong. It looks like Baltimore is starting to get its defense together, and they're going to give EJ Manuel a tough game on Sunday."
Mike Florio (Ravens 24, Bills 13): "Baltimore's young defense is maturing quickly. Buffalo's young offense isn't. The Ravens are the rock and the Bills are the scissors and Baltimore is putting that Week One debacle deeper into its rear-view mirror."
**Sports Illustrated, Don Banks**: (Ravens 20, Bills 16):
"I wanted to pick the Bills to win at home for the second time this season and scratch their way back to .500 in the season's first month. But the Ravens defense is back, and I do believe last week's confidence-building beatdown of Houston was [a] preview of things to come this season. Baltimore is still searching for its identity on offense, but in fairness, Buffalo has been searching for a spark since the turn of the century. Advantage Ravens. I tried to work in a Sweet Pea reference, but it would have felt forced, so I totally avoided it. (Wink, wink.)"
**CBSSports.com, Pete Prisco**: (Ravens 21, Bills 14):
"The Ravens have really impressed on defense the past two weeks. That will challenge EJ Manuel, who has struggled some and did so last week against the Jets. Baltimore hasn't exactly lit it up on offense -- ranking 30th in the league -- but this is a game where the defense will set them up. Ravens find a way."
**NFL.com, Elliot Harrison**: (Ravens 20, Bills 16):
"Prediction? Pain. Well, for the Bills' offensive line, anyway. That group had a tough time last weekend and won't get a reprieve in the Ravens' defense. The Baltimore offense should have some opportunities versus a wounded Buffalo secondary, a group playing without Stephon Gilmore, Jairus Byrd and Leodis McKelvin. Justin Rogers has a bull's-eye on him. Aaron Williams is a safety being asked to cover more than roam. Call it "less than optimal" for Doug Marrone and crew. The Ravens' offense -- which was conservative last week, despite what the final score might lead you to believe -- should take shots this week, even if the vertical game has been lacking. Jägerbombs for everyone! #BALvsBUF"
**The Sporting News, Vinnie Iyer**: (Ravens 24, Bills 13):
"When the Ravens haven't been playing Peyton Manning, their new-look defense has been outstanding. Good luck, rookie EJ Manuel. Facing the Bills, the Ravens should match up with better production and balance from the offense. The Super Bowl birds are flying under the radar, and it's time for a convincing road show to remind us of their reliability."
- Is Torrey Smith concerned that he doesn't have any touchdown catches after the first three games of the season? "Nah, I'm a guy that scores touchdowns," he said. "You say to me Week 16 that I haven't scored and I'll be upset with that one." [ESPN]
- Hey Jamison, was the Ravens' Week 1 blowout loss just an anomaly? "Not to sound too much like an apologist, but the Ravens were in a tough spot in Denver. They were facing a Broncos team that waited seven months for revenge and had seven new starters from the Super Bowl team that faced Peyton Manning. The Ravens have since changed their personnel in the secondary and their attitude in coverage." [ESPN]
- Former Raven Trevor Pryce's take on Ray Lewis' leadership comments: "Here's the thing about the Ray Lewis leadership thing, when you start telling the media that things would be fixed if you were there, that can be a little self-serving." [The Baltimore Sun]
- Today is the 15th anniversary of the debut of the yellow first down line on TV. Turns out, the first time it was used was in a Ravens-Bengals Sunday Night Football game in Baltimore on Sept. 27, 1998. [Mashable.com]
- Two surprising players have been key to the Ravens' turnaround on defense: inside linebacker Daryl Smith and safety James Ihedigbo. [ESPN]
- Dallas Clark says his improvement in the passing game has come from extra film study with Flacco. "Joe has us in there and goes over where he wants us, what he expects on each play," Clark said. "That's a huge help so everyone can see the big picture of where they belong, what their responsibilities are." [USA Today]
- The Ravens are concentrating on blocking Bills pass rush Mario Williams [The Baltimore Sun]
- @cliftonbrowncsn: Are the Ravens ready for the Bills' read option? [Twitter]
- @ravensinsider: Jerry Rosburg on new special-teamer Jeromy Miles: 'He's been a force in our division, and we're really happy he's on our team.' [Twitter]
- @mzenitz: A big play is a pass over 20 or a run over 15. Pees: "I can't recall the last time that I [coached] a game and didn't give up one big play." [Twitter]
- @mzenitz (1 of 2): Jim Caldwell didn't exactly offer a ringing endorsement of the play of McKinnie when asked about him earlier today [Twitter]
- @mzenitz (2 of 2): Caldwell on the play of McKinnie: "There's not anybody on our team that can't get better ... so it's always a work in progress" [Twitter]