Tag:Joe Flacco
Posted on: January 28, 2011 3:30 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Was there Jim Zorn drama in Baltimore?

Posted by Andy Benoit
J. Zorn (US Presswire)
For the second straight year, Jim Zorn finds himself looking for a new job. The Ravens fired their quarterback coach earlier this week, reportedly because of communication problems between Zorn and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Jamison Hensley and Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun write, “One of the main reasons why the Ravens fired Zorn was his teaching methods, according to a league source. Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Cameron spent all day Tuesday questioning Zorn about how he was coaching quarterback Joe Flacco and were concerned about Zorn being insubordinate, the source added.”

Harbaugh disputed the report Friday, saying, “Jim’s departure from the Ravens will remain as private as these matters can be, but we feel it’s necessary to at least point out that this report is inaccurate. It is not true in any way, shape or form.”

Zorn’s West Coast background did not jive with Baltimore’s system, so this was a marriage that likely wouldn’t have lasted long anyway.

Zorn will find work again. One destination that makes sense is Cleveland, where his former colleague Mike Holmgren is president.

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Posted on: January 27, 2011 5:27 pm
 

Ravens give boot to QB coach Zorn

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Although Ravens QB Joe Flacco statistically had the best season of his career (his 25 touchdowns and 3,622 passing yards were career highs, while his 10 interceptions were the least amount he’s ever thrown), it didn’t really feel like it.

He didn’t regress last season (obviously), but he also seems to have been passed on the league’s-best-young-QB list by players like Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman.

Now, Flacco will have this second QB coach in two years, because Ravens coach John Harbaugh has fired Jim Zorn, according to the Baltimore Sun. The Sun’s source said Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron met with Zorn for seven hours, and it was determined that Zorn wasn’t a good fit with the rest of the coaching staff.

According to media reports, Zorn – who was fired as the Redskins head coach in 2009 – is a bit quirky, as are some of his quarterback drills. Or you could call him an “outside the box” thinker. But he did help Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck when Zorn was the quarterbacks coach in Seattle, turning him into a Pro Bowl signal-caller.

He likely won’t be out of a job for long. 

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Posted on: January 21, 2011 10:51 am
 

Hot Routes 1.21.11: what does Mean Gene think?



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Mean Gene Okerlund weighed in on Bart Scott’s post-game rant last Sunday. Said Mean Gene: “On a scale of one to 10, I would give him an eight. A good interview has to create emotion. You can do that through love or hate, or just by entertaining people, and he does that.”
  • Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti lays down the gauntlet for new OL coach Andy Moeller: there better not be any more alcohol-related incidents, or you’ll be fired.

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Posted on: January 15, 2011 8:15 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2011 8:18 pm
 

Did Ravens lose it or did Steelers win it?

Posted by Andy Benoit

All season long, T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been carping for more balls to come his way. On fourth-and-18 on Baltimore’s final drive at Pittsburgh, it was Housh who let the pigskin bounce off his mitts. It was one of a handful of mistakes made by the Ravens during a second half that included three turnovers, J. Harrison (US Presswire)a holding penalty to negate Lardarius Webb’s punt return score and, on the series before Housh’s drop, an equally egregious drop by Anquan Boldin in the end zone.

But before we declare that Baltimore lost the game Saturday night, let’s acknowledge everything Pittsburgh did to win it. On the final touchdown drive, Ben Roethlisberger, who had a few accuracy issues on the night, completed a chains-moving strike to Hines Ward on third-and-10. A few plays later, on third and forever, he launched a bomb to Antonio Brown, who “David Tyree’d” the ball against his helmet inside the five. It was a brilliant play-call by offensive coordinator Bruce Arians; Roethlisberger’s pass would either fall incomplete or be picked off for what would amount to a really good punt. Or, it would be caught near the goal-line to set up Rashard Mendenhall's go-ahead touchdown.

As many plays as the Steelers offense made late in the game, it was the defense that carried the night. The Steelers sacked Joe Flacco five times. James Harrison was overshadowed by Terrell Suggs’ monstrous performance (three sacks, two tackles for a loss and the forced fumble in the second quarter on the play where Cory Redding was the only player who realized that the whistle hadn’t blown). But it was Harrison who exploited the one-on-one mismatch against left tackle Michael Oher (a bright young player but one whom raised some serious questions down the stretch) and took over in the fourth. Harrison finished with three sacks and a host of quarterback hurries.

Harrison was complemented by a multitude of unsung defensive heroes wearing black and gold. Up-and-coming defensive end Ziggy Hood was stout against the run. Ryan Clark was the most dominant safety on the field, registering a handful of openfield tackles in the first half and picking off Joe Flacco during the momentum swing in the third quarter. And, finally, maligned nickelback William Gay was brilliant stepping in on the outside role for injured Bryant McFadden.

The Ravens, with all their mistakes, didn’t do themselves any favors in the second half. But isn’t it funny how mistakes seem to occur more when you’re facing a great team?

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Posted on: January 13, 2011 10:47 am
Edited on: January 13, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Steelers vs. Ravens: 7-Point Divisional Preview

Posted by Josh Katzowitz



CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. As an added bonus, check out our playoff podcast preview:



1. Baltimore Ravens (No. 5, AFC, 13-4) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 2, AFC, 12-4)

This is perhaps the best rivalry in the NFL today. No, strike the “perhaps.” It is the No. 1 rivalry for toughness, defensive struggles, bloody and broken noses and grit. We’re lucky enough to see these two AFC North squads play twice a year, but it’s always an extra treat to watch them face off in the playoffs.

These two had the same regular-season record, and when they met in Week 4 and Week 13, both contests were decided by three points – one win for the Ravens and one for the Steelers. LB Terrell Suggs said earlier this week that the winner of this game will triumph in the Super Bowl. He might very well be right.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking



I hate going five out of five, but in the Divisional Playoffs, to get this matchup, there’s really no other choice.

3. Key Matchup to Watch: Ravens offensive line vs. Steelers linebackers

For the second straight week, Baltimore’s tackles will have to figure out how to slow down the opponent’s 3-4 defense linebacking corps. Last week, the Chiefs sacked Ravens QB Joe Flacco four times and put pressure on him throughout the game, and Kansas City linebacker Tamba Hali made life very difficult for the Ravens offensive line.

Baltimore LT Michael Oher had a particularly tough time protecting his quarterback, and if he continues to struggle, Steelers LBs James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons will be happy to take shots at Flacco.

But it’s not just about pass protection. The offensive line also has to open holes for RB Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, and if they can’t get into the second level of the Pittsburgh defense, the Ravens are going to have big problems. The Steelers allow only 62.8 rushing yards per game – by far, the best number in the league – and the two times these two teams played this year, Rice combined for 17 carries and 52 yards.

If the offensive line can’t help him improve on those numbers, it’s going to be very tough for Baltimore’s offense to find enough balance to beat the Steelers.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

Those Troy Polamalu Head & Shoulders commercials are pretty hit or miss. Some are fairly funny; some are disastrous. But what I like best about them is that Polamalu is actually a pretty effective comedy actor. “You asked with your eyes, Trent. You asked with your eyes."



5. The Ravens will win if ...

QB Joe Flacco continues to hit TE Todd Heap every chance he gets. Flacco targeted Heap 13 times last week in Kansas City, and Heap caught 10 of those passes for 108 yards. If he finds the end zone a couple times vs. the Steelers, Baltimore could pull off its second-straight road playoff win.

6. The Steelers will win if ...

QB Ben Roethlisberger can pick apart the Ravens secondary. Which he should do. Aside from Reed, who’s still world class, and Chris Carr, Baltimore’s defensive backs corps is awfully mediocre.

7. Prediction: Steelers 16, Ravens 10



Posted on: January 11, 2011 1:47 pm
 

Hot Routes 01.11.11: Polian, Caldwell not jiving?

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Jim Caldwell called a really dumb timeout against the Jets. It might have cost his team a chance to continue advancing in the playoffs. But Bill Polian doesn't think so, and he called the timeout a "moot point" on his radio show Monday, according to Big Blue Shoe at Stampede Blue. More interesting though -- Polian offered a different reason for the timeout -- he said the defense was trying to get set. That's certainly more rational than Caldwell's "we wanted to make them snap the ball" excuse, but then Polian apparently went off on a tangent about how he thought the Colts were done after Antonio Cromartie's return, barring an interception, fumble or sack. Which, um, well, no -- Nick Folk needed a 50-plus-yard field goal to win before the deep ball to Braylon Edwards. So, yeah, this timeout thing's getting awkward.
  • Speaking of awkward head coaches, Wade Phillips thinks he's probably done as a head coach, because of "perception." Which is actually a good point, because Wade's 82-61 as a head coach, and yet people think he's a goof, mainly because of his 1-5 playoff record. Poor Wade.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 4:21 pm
 

Hot Routes 1.10.11 wild card aftermath

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit


The NFL wild card games averaged over 32 million viewers -- a new record.


Not surprisingly, there are now questions about Reggie Bush’s future in New Orleans.


The Baltimore Sun wants to know….Joe Flacco’s playoff beard: hit or miss?


Michael Oher spent most of Sunday’s game scuffling with KC players.


A fed up Bengals fan is auctioning off his NFL allegiance to the highest-bidding NFL city.


Monday night's BCS National Championship will feature Clay Matthews’ brother (how many Matthews stars are out there?)


Brian Cushing has fired his agent and hired Drew Rosenhaus.


Roger Goodell dressed like Joe Fan and attended a town hall meeting with 60 randomly selected Chiefs season ticket holders Sunday.


As expected, the Bucs exercised their one-year option on GM Mark Dominik.


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Posted on: January 6, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 4:54 pm
 

Chiefs vs. Ravens: 7-Point Wild Card Preview

Posted by Josh Katzowitz



CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point playoff preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. And as an added bonus, check out our playoff podcast preview:



1. Baltimore Ravens (No. 5, AFC, 12-4) @ Kansas City Chiefs (No. 4, AFC, 10-6)

Despite the fifth seed, the Ravens have to be considered one of the favorites for the AFC title. The Chiefs catch a break by playing Baltimore at Arrowhead Stadium – where Kansas City is tough to beat – but Todd Haley’s squad will be considered the underdogs in this one. The Chiefs aren’t as healthy, they’re not as experienced in the postseason and they’re simply not as talented as the Ravens. Simple as that.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking



After such a hot start to the season, Kansas City wasn’t quite as impressive in the final, oh, 13 games of the season, going an unremarkable (though by AFC West standards, phenomenal) 7-6. But you have to remember, the Chiefs went 2-4 in division play, and, in case you didn’t know, that’s not real good. Besides, in the playoffs you like to see top QBs go head to head (Manning vs. Brady; Favre vs. Vick; etc.). Matt Cassel vs. Joe Flacco isn’t quite as enticing and therefore, only worth 3/5 Moras.

3. Key Matchup to Watch: Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Chiefs LBs

In the Chiefs 3-4 defensive scheme, Kansas City’s LBs are counted on to help stop the opponent’s run game. Overall this season, the Chiefs were pretty average in this regard, ranking 14th in the league by allowing 109.4 rushing yards per game. And Rice is anything but average.

You already know about the 1,220 yards gained this season and the five rushing touchdowns to go with it, but Rice has become of the league’s premier rushers in part because he doesn’t lose fumbles. That’s right. This season, despite 307 carries and 63 catches, Rice fumbled the ball exactly zero times. The Chiefs, by the way, caused 15 fumbles this season, the eighth-best mark in the league.

Kansas City has gotten good production out of LB Tamba Hali – he’s been the most explosive of his career this season with an AFC-best 14.5 sacks – and LB Derrick Johnson on the inside has been more than solid for the Chiefs.

If Hall and company can slow down Rice and make him less effective, that will allow the Chiefs to target Baltimore QB Joe Flacco, who doesn’t play great under constant pressure from the defense. But even then, Rice is still a big part of the team’s offense, catching a variety of passes out of the backfield.

He’s not easy to stop – the Steelers are the only squad this season to make Rice irrelevant – but if the Chiefs linebackers can slow him down, that’ll be a big help in pulling the upset.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

When Chiefs DE Shaun Smith played in Cincinnati, one of the local scribes nicknamed him "Hamburglar." In fact, one day, the reporter asked him if it was OK to call him by the new nickname, and Smith responded, "That’s fine. I like it." That’s why this video is so relevant.



Besides, the McDonald’s gag is better than any number of videos that the infamous Smith could have been involved with this season.

Like this one where, before viewing, you must turn your head to the side and cough.



5. The Chiefs will win if ...

They can continue to rely on their running game. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones have combined for 2,363 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, and with their help, Cassel hasn’t had to be the one to hoist the team on his shoulders.

6. The Ravens will win if ...

They force Cassel to have to beat them. Baltimore ranks fifth in the league against the run, and if they can force Kansas City into third and longs – or better yet, build a big enough lead that would turn the Chiefs into a pass-heavy offense – the Ravens will earn their third road playoff victory in the past three seasons.

7. Prediction: Ravens 20, Chiefs 7
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com