On Ed Reed deserving the Most Valuable Player award...
Ed Reed, sir, you are a freak of nature. Whatever you have is not taught by any coach, or practice drill. In my humble opinion, you the man. I knew that water covered 2/3 of the earth and you cover the rest. I think we can all say that you have gone air, land, and sea on us. Two picks in five of the last seven games, and Peyton (Manning) is MVP? Yeah, ok. We, the fans, know who the MVP is: Ed Reed. Now I have to try to find a ticket to Tennessee so I can see the GREATEST safety to ever play the game. Yeah, I said greatest. Look out for Jim Leonard too.
On new award categories for the Ravens…
I am going to give my own awards out:
1.*J. Flacco: Rookie of the Year Award.
2. D. Mason: Most Will Power Award.
3. E. Reed: Game Changer Award.
4. F. Washington/J. Leonard: Most Reliable Award.
5. O-Line/L. Neal: Unsung Heroes Award.
6. R. Lewis*: Commander-in-Chief Award.
7. Running backs, who I call Snap, Crackle and Pop: Workhorse Award.
8. The rest of the Ravens squad: Heart and Soul Award.
9. All the players on IR: Purple Heart Award.
10. Coaching staff: Breath of Fresh Air Award.
Quinton MitchellAnchorage, AK
On NFL teams firing and hiring coaches…
Another January, and another series of NFL organizations cleaning the proverbial house. Most recently, the shocking-to-some release of Denver's one time "coach for life," Mike Shanahan. Apparently NFL "life" is like dog years. Many teams around the league are rethinking the once vogue "one king for all things" mentality that gave us the Shanahans and Holmgrens of yore. There may be no better example of coaching by committee than the Baltimore Ravens. Rookie Head Coach John Harbaugh has directed a turnaround in '08 that is nothing short of epic. With offensive and defensive coordinators who are arguably the best in the NFL at their respective tasks and the Wizard of Oz overseeing personnel, Harbaugh has been able to stick to coaching. He can focus on the game planning effort from all three facets of the team and work toward putting a "W" on the board every week. He can motivate the players to be all that they can be. So New York, Detroit, Denver, et al, take note.
On the Ravens 2008 road through the playoffs looking similar to the 2000 road…
The reason I write is because of the almost stunning similarities between this year and the 2000 season when the Ravens won their first Lombardi Trophy. The Ravens entered the playoffs that year as the wild card team, and the Tennessee Titans entered as the number one seed. The 2000 Ravens defense was dominant and the offense didn't score so much, but protected the football.
Fast forward to now, and you can see some striking similarities. I'm sure there is more to say about it, but the biggest similarity is the play at quarterback. Trent Dilfer didn't make mistakes. His statistics weren't eye opening, but he protected the rock, and our defense did the rest. Joe Flacco doesn't have great numbers like fellow rookie Matt Ryan, but has played elite defenses unlike Ryan. He plays smart and plays big.
These are just my thoughts, and I REALLY hope the Baltimore Ravens win big this year! Go Ravens!!
On meeting Ravens Director of Pro Personnel O.J. Brigance…
After the last regular season game, I was waiting for my son (Chris Chester) to come up from the locker room. As usual, he was one of the last players out, so I decided to go back down stairs and get a bottle of water. As I entered the room, I came up behind Mr. Brigance [who is fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)]. I introduced myself and he immediately recognized me. After a brief conversation, I thanked him for all that he has done for my son and he gave me a smile that could have lit up all the lights in the stadium. Seldom do we as parents get the opportunity to meet front office personnel, but I must say that this is one very special man. A man that we all could pattern our lives after.
*Fort Worth, TX*
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On Joe Flacco deserving votes for the NFL Rookie of the Year award…
When I heard Joe Flacco received ZERO votes for NFL Rookie of the Year, I could not believe what I had heard and wanted to pay a visit to the AP voter in Baltimore who didn't vote for Bazooka Joe. For Flacco to not even be considered for this award is a travesty.
Don't get me wrong, Matt Ryan has done wonders for an ailing franchise in Atlanta and deserves the honor, but what has Ryan done that Flacco has not done this year? Flacco resurrected a franchise that had no direction after their first two starting quarterbacks went down and didn't know what to expect with their brand new coaching staff. He has thrown more TDs than INTs this year. He led his team to the playoffs and an 11-5 record. He has an 80.3 quarterback rating. There were no votes for Flacco, but two for an insignificant offensive lineman from Denver no one had even heard of? Come on, NFL!
Flacco's ability to make a play out of the pocket and scramble for extra yards sets him apart from other quarterbacks in the NFL. He doesn't just sit there in the pocket and take the hit, he makes the play.
I would take Flacco into this playoff run over any other savvy veteran who has "been there and done that." The future in Baltimore looks bright with this rookie sensation leading the way. LET'S GO FLACCO!
On the offense scoring points after the defense creates turnovers...
5 TURNOVERS!!! That's awesome. You know what I like more than turnovers? Points off turnovers. If we are to win the Super Bowl, we have to convert these turnovers into points. If we can put six points on the board even half the time the defense gets it for us, then we are all but guaranteed a victory. It seems that each time we get great field position, the playbook shrinks to nothing but runs and quick passes. It works some of the time, but I think that if we keep the playbook open, Flacco will put points on the board and the Lombardi Trophy will be MINE!! I mean ours...
On the Ravens' offense posing as a legitimate threat to opposing defenses…
Well Baltimore, we've waited a long time for this. By "this," I mean an offense capable of posing a legitimate threat to opposing defenses, an offense that is capable of winning games on their own merit, and an offense that compliments a defense that has been so dominant for so long. A defense like ours only comes around once in a great while and I always felt like if we only had an average offense over the past decade, then we could have been serious contenders for the Super Bowl again and again. At the end of last season, it seemed like that window of opportunity was just about closed due to injuries, old age, free agency and a lack of team unity. Now we see that same closing "window" has been ripped back open by John Harbaugh and his talented coaching staff who reinvented what TEAM means in the locker room and by Joe Flacco's ability to lead the young offense with the poise of a savvy veteran. It seems our defense has taken all this in like a huge breath of well needed fresh air and they are playing more inspired than ever. Regardless of how this season ends, as Baltimore fans, we have a heck of a lot to be excited about going forward. WHAT'S OUR NAME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
On allowing Willis McGahee to heal before giving him the majority of the carries…
I've been annoyed on several occasions with people who are saying that we are paying McGahee too much money to not give him the ball and that he should confront the coaching staff and demand to get more carries. Obviously Willis has unfortunately had several injuries throughout the season. So why do you want to put a banged up McGahee in there and have him receive the majority of the carries just because we are paying him millions? I believe that sitting him out during several games has actually helped the team because now with Rice out we have two solid backs and Willis is obviously able to do a lot more now that he has had time to heal. We pay him so much money so that he can perform when it counts the most, which is in January. I think his runs as of late speak for themselves. It's a team game and having three backs has proven to be more beneficial than one premier back that, most of the time, becomes worn down come the postseason.