Tag Archives: Baltimore Ravens



Week 1: Aug. 12 – at Green Bay Packers – 8 p.m./WEWS

Week 2: Aug. 18 – Atlanta Falcons – 8 p.m./WEWS

Week 3: Aug. 26 – at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8 p.m./CBS

Week 4: Sept. 1 – Chicago Bears – 8 p.m./WEWS



Week 1: Sept. 11 – at Philadelphia Eagles – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 2: Sept. 18 – Baltimore Ravens – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 3: Sept. 25 – at Miami Dolphins – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 4: Oct. 2 – at Washington Redskins – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 5: Oct. 9 – New England Patriots – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 6: Oct. 16 – at Tennessee Titans – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 7: Oct. 23 – at Cincinnati Bengals – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 8: Oct. 30 – New York Jets – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 9: Nov. 6 – Dallas Cowboys – 1 p.m./FOX

Week 10: Nov. 10 – at Baltimore Ravens (Thursday) – 8:25 p.m./NFL Network

Week 11: Nov. 20 – Pittsburgh Steelers – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 12: Nov. 27 – New York Giants – 1 p.m./FOX

Week 13: BYE

Week 14: Dec. 11 – Cincinnati Bengals – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 15: Dec. 18 – at Buffalo Bills – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 16: Dec. 24 – San Diego Chargers (Saturday) – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 17: Jan. 1 – at Pittsburgh Steelers – 1 p.m./CBS


*Home games in bold print*


Here’s the podcast of my show open on Friday, December 26th as we found out that the Cleveland Browns would start Connor Shaw at quarterback against the Baltimore Ravens in the 2014 season finale, making him the 22nd different quarterback to start for the Browns since they returned to the NFL in 1999.

Listen Here – 

Kenny Roda WHBC Promo Photo




Browns Stadium vs SteelersWithout any hesitation I can say that the Cleveland Browns were the far better football team yesterday in all aspects – offense, defense, special teams and coaching. I picked the Browns to win the game because after watching the Steelers over the last 2 weeks I was able to see that they are an old team that lacks talent and should replace both of its coordinators.  The Browns are a young team that has some proven talent and some potential young talent, with a head coach who actually seems to know what he’s doing and really loves his job. Kudos to Mike Pettine and his staff for making this team respectable this early in the season. Now let’s see how they handle prosperity.

The Browns should be favored in their next three games; at Jacksonville, then home against Oakland and Tampa Bay. I expect them to go no worse than (2-1) in those games and be at least (5-3) if not (6-2) after 8 games. Then the schedule gets tough with games at Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina and Baltimore. Plus home games with Houston, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. So you better win the games you’re supposed to win and see if you can play .500 ball the second half of the season. If the Browns can do that, they could be looking at 8, 9 or even 10 wins. If you get to 9 or 10 wins, then you could be talking playoffs.

Having said all that, the Browns were (3-2) after 5 games last year and ended up (4-12). The difference this year I believe is an easier schedule over the next 3 weeks, Brian Hoyer is your QB and not Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell, and a coach who the players actually believe in. Those 3 things should make a huge difference.

alex-mackHowever the Browns are going to have to do it without one of their best and most respected players – Alex Mack. The Pro Bowl center reportedly broke his leg in yesterday’s 31-10 win over the Steelers and is expected to be lost for the rest of the season. John Greco filled in nicely on Sunday against Pittsburgh, but how he performs moving forward will affect the Browns offense in a big way, not to mention Paul McQuistan moving over to take Greco’s spot at left guard. The offensive line has been this team’s MVP’s so far this season. Their depth is going to be tested the rest of the way.

Nobody was harder on the Browns front office for ignoring the wide receiver position in the draft and in free agency than yours truly. Early on it looks like Ray Farmer and the Browns were right and I was wrong. We’ll see if Taylor Gabriel and Travis Benjamin can both continue to make plays and if Miles Austin can stay healthy, but this group with some help from the O-line and Brian Hoyer have performed better than I thought they would. Plus they’ll get All Pro wide out Josh Gordon back for the 11th game of the season at Atlanta, which will have a huge, positive impact on the entire group.

Hats off to Chris Tabor and the special teams.  A few weeks ago they were a laughing stock. The last 2 weeks, they have been solid and made big plays to change the momentum of the game. They were a big reason the Browns won in Tennessee and also against Pittsburgh yesterday. Good decisions, fundlemental play and no mental mistakes go a long way in helping your team win.  Some of those things might not be sexy, but they help you win.

Brian Hoyer Sidelines vs SteelersAnd last but not least, happy 29th birthday to local “Mr. Hero” Brian Hoyer. I used it as a trivia question yesterday at my Browns appearance at Jo Jo’s Sports Bar in Medina and someone knew right away that October 13th was the Browns starting quarterback’s birthday. A year ago I don’t think anyone would have known or cared, but after you lead the biggest road comeback in the history of the NFL and your kicking the Steelers butts all over the field, people start to notice and pay attention. It’s still a small sample size (8 starts), but it’s getting bigger and the results are the same. Hoyer is now (6-2) as the Browns starter and can be a free agent at the end of the season. Your call Jimmy Haslam and Ray Farmer. Do you believe enough in him to sign him now and maybe save some money, or do you wait until the end of the season and roll the dice? Yes you have Johnny “Jam Boogie” waiting in the wings, but he is nowhere near being ready to be a starting QB in this league. The Hoyer contract situation will be another story line to follow as this season progresses.



The Browns rushing defense continues to struggle as they gave up 160 yards on the ground to the Ravens third and fourth string running backs.

For the season the Browns defense is giving up an average of 153.7 yards per game on the ground at a 5.2 yards per carry average.

The Browns racked up 94 yards on 12 penalties yesterday and through 3 games they have been penalized 24 times for 179 yards.

In the last 2 games the Browns have been outscored 13-3 in the fourth quarter.

The Browns have yet to commit a turnover this season and are a +4 in the giveaway/takeaway category.

The Browns have scored at least 21 points in all three games this season. The last time the team scored at least 21 points in the first three games of a season was 1969, when the team accomplished the feat in each of the first seven games.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer has thrown 156 consecutive passes without an interception and through 3 games this season has a QB rating of 97.5.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is now 12-1 lifetime against the Browns. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is 18-1 lifetime against the Browns. So Cleveland’s two biggest rivals have quarterbacks who have combined to go 30-2 versus the Browns.



Mike Pettine Game Sideline Photo


On the 23-21 loss:

“(We’re) obviously very disappointed. I thought for the bulk of it the players played well enough to have a victory. I put this one on me. We didn’t coach well enough to win today. I’m not going to get into too much of the specifics until I get a chance to go through it. The list is long.”

On what would have happened if WR Travis Benjamin caught the ball on the punt at the end of the game:

“You’d like him to. I just don’t know. It was obviously windy. That’s one that you hope that even if he bombs it that he can still fair catch it. That’s a couple first downs worth.”



 On the last punt of the game:

“I wasn’t afraid at all. I got up under the ball correctly and at the last minute, a gust of wind blew it and it went past my hand. I didn’t want to go back and reach for the ball, so I just let it pass by.”

Joe Haden beat by Steve Smith vs Ravens   9-21-14


On giving the Ravens too many chances:

“There were a lot of opportunities, but we pride ourselves on going on the field, making plays and getting stops and I just didn’t do that today. It was a really good play. He (Ravens WR Steve Smith, Sr.) just got me on a go route.”

On if there’s anything he could have done differently:

“It was a good throw and catch, but I put it on myself and I understand I have to make that play.”

On Head Coach Mike Pettine putting the loss on himself:

“That is what he said, but that doesn’t make any sense. He did a great job out there. We had a lot of chances to win, and there are a lot of things we could have done better, but we just didn’t finish.”

 Brian Hoyer In Game Close Up


On the loss despite good offensive production:

“It’s tough; it’s heartbreaking.  We were on the other side this week, and it doesn’t feel good.  Really when it comes down to it, we made a lot of plays but we didn’t make them when we really needed to.  In this league, you have to do it when it’s on the line.  We did it last weekend; we didn’t do it this week.  As good as we felt the whole game, when it comes down to critical moments, we just have to make more plays.”

On the last third-down pass attempt to WR Andrew Hawkins:

“It was a little bit behind him.  I think I got to him a little quicker than we usually do it because of the progression.  If I could put it in front of him, Hawk’s just turning.  That’s on me, I have got to put it in front of him.”




 On the defense at the end of the game:

“We will go back and watch the film.  I didn’t do a good job of getting to the quarterback.  Up front, we didn’t do a good job. That’s on us. We have to go and get to the quarterback. We need to make plays.”

On not making enough plays at the end of the game:

“There were plenty of plays at the beginning of the game. We have to execute early, play disciplined, sound, and make plays early. Nothing to do with what happened at the end of the game, there were a lot of opportunities we missed in the first half.  We gave up too many points.”

On new Coach Mike Pettine saying the coaches were out-coached today:

“I don’t know what they are talking about.  I take it on us. We let them rush for too many yards up front. We didn’t get any sacks. That’s what we are here for up front, that’s what we have to do.”

On the multiple 12 men in the huddle penalties:

“We have to be more sound and pay attention to the sidelines to see what’s coming in or what’s going on. The stadium is pretty loud.  We just have to be more sound. That’s on us.”


A mistake filled 4th quarter cost the Browns a big home, divisional win against the Ravens. Here’s my breakdown of the disastrous 4th quarter in the 23-21 loss on this field goal by Justin Tucker at the gun.



Justin Tucker Game Winning FG #2 - 9-21-14


Mike Pettine Head Set Photo


Opening statement:

“(We’re) obviously very disappointed. I thought for the bulk of it the players played well enough to have a victory. I put this one on me. We didn’t coach well enough to win today. I’m not going to get into too much of the specifics until I get a chance to go through it. The list is long. I’ll open it up.”


On what happened on the missed field goals and if the snap was OK:

“I’m not sure. Some of the snaps, to me, looked a little low throughout the day, so I’m not sure.”


On the run defense throughout the day:

“Not good enough. It was inconsistent. There were times we were solid at the point. Then other times it was guys in the wrong spots, playing the wrong technique, giving up too many big runs. On some of those big runs we missed some tackles too. Not near good enough to be successful.”


On what was going on with the substitution on defense that caused the Browns to use timeouts:

“It’s one of the things I’m talking about. We need to be better with our procedures, with our communication to the guys that are on the field – with the procedure of getting guys in and out.”


On what would have happened if WR Travis Benjamin caught the ball on the punt at the end of the game:

“You’d like him to. I just don’t know. It was obviously windy. That’s one that you hope that even if he bombs it that he can still fair catch it. That’s a couple first downs worth.”


On the plays that hurt the team after the DB Tashaun Gipson pick and the big WR Taylor Gabriel catch:

“Yeah. Absolutely. You miss chances. You can’t blow opportunities like that. We need to be more on point when we get opportunities like that to take advantage of them – not go backwards.”


On what he saw on the Gabriel catch and if he was losing the ball in the air:

“I’m not sure. It was windy. He was tracking the ball. The long balls and punts obviously weren’t easy to track. He made a heck of a play scrambling to his feet.”


On how unfortunate it is that they lost after such a great performance by QB Brian Hoyer today:

“Yeah, he played well. (He) made some great throws. That’s what this league is all about is making enough plays to win and as coaches, putting your players in the best circumstances and the best situations to be successful. We didn’t do near a good enough job to do that today.”


On the penalties, specifically those committed by DBs Joe Haden and Justin Gilbert:

“What do you want me to say? Penalties are bad.”


On if the penalties were tick-tack calls:

“No, until I see it I can’t speak on them, until I see the coaches’ copy.”


On if the throws to WR Andrew Hawkins were catchable late in the game:

“Yeah, it’s hard. We needed some first downs at the end. We needed to convert, and we weren’t able to do it. Again, it’s at the end of the game. We need to make plays to win, and again put our guys in situations to be successful.”


On if the offense got away from what it was doing late in the game or if it was a matter of execution:

“Probably a little bit of both. They made some adjustments too, but I thought – this was already mentioned – I thought Brian played well. We did hit some runs, but I think just overall they played better than we did in the fourth quarter. Obviously, that was the reason.”


On the pass play to QB Johnny Manziel being an illegal play because Manziel was within five yards of the sideline and if the Browns were aware of that:
“Yes. It was our understanding that where he was lined up was sufficient.”


On if he thought RB Terrance West was moving as the ball was snapped on Hoyer’s completion to Manziel:

“It’s hard to tell. I was more looking at their coverage to see if they recognized it.”


On if Hoyer’s pass to Manziel was just to catch the defense off guard:

“Sure, just when you’re multiple personnel groupings you just have a chance to… Defensively, you always teach your guys, ‘Make sure you scan the field.’ It’s a play that surfaces throughout the league a couple times a year.”


Mike Pettine Head Set Photo

On the chance of rain on Sunday:

“It’s looking like it. The last report I got (indicates) it will rain early. (It will) hopefully blow on through by kickoff, but you never know. We do know there should be a decent amount of wind, but we’ll see. Like we said before, our theory of all-weather could potentially get tested.”


On what is more difficult – throwing a wet ball or catching a wet ball:

“I just saw (QB Brian) Hoyer almost get his nose broken. I think both are tough. I think it’s something that you have to work on. It’s important for the quarterback; they have to adjust their grip a little bit. It’s something that I’m sure over time here we’re going to have to deal with.”


On if the bye week coming up factors into whether or not LB Barkevious Mingo and TE Jordan Cameron play in this game:

“No, if they’re healthy, they’ll play. There’s no, ‘Listen, they’re a little more at risk, but they get an extra week to recover from it.’ We don’t think that way. If they’re ready to go, they’ll go.”


On if he’s optimistic that they’ll play:

“Still, I’ll have to see when they come off the field and they get with (head athletic trainer) Joe (Sheehan). He’ll give me the report this afternoon. They got some work done today.”


On if he thinks that sitting on the sideline is hard for QB Johnny Manziel or if he thinks that he OK with it and knows his time is going to come:

“I think it’s hard to speak for him. Knowing the type of kid he is, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t a little bit of both. Part of him wants to be out there, and then the other part says, ‘OK, this is a good learning experience for me.’ He went through it at Texas A&M when he red shirted and was behind (Dolphins QB Ryan) Tannehill.”


On if he looked at the schedule when it came out and thought that the first part would be tough because they’re up against three Super Bowl winning quarterbacks:

“Maybe the defensive coaches looked at it that way. As a head coach, you just kind of…the schedule falls the way it falls. We were more…when the schedule came out it was just all about Pittsburgh at that point. You kind of peak ahead a little bit to see what kind of offseason projects you want to do, but we don’t get too wrapped up in which quarterbacks we’re facing and when.”


On if Ravens QB Joe Flacco’s biggest asset is his big arm:

“That’s part of it, but I think he’s really very intelligent. I think he’s really good with understanding the offense. If he has to check a player or change the protection…just the year I was around him when he was a rookie he was well ahead of the game from a football aptitude standpoint. He’s intelligent. He can make all the throws. Then he’s also a guy who I think is a better athlete – he’s a long strider. He’s a better athlete than people think.”


On which year he left Baltimore:

“I was there for (Ravens Head Coach) John Harbaugh’s first season, so I was there in ’08 and in New York in ’09.”


On if the division has changed since he left Baltimore as far as the competitive balance:

“It was Baltimore and Pittsburgh when I was there. Then, it was Cincinnati. I don’t remember exactly how it ended up that season. I don’t think we won the division, but I think we ended up going to the AFC Championship game. You get beyond last year they’re all a blur to me anyway.”


On if there is a window now in the AFC North:

“To me, it looks like it’s a very competitive division. I think they interviewed Harbaugh the other bad and he said the same thing. They’re seeing it firsthand because they’re starting the season out, which is rare playing all the division opponents right out of the gate.”


On how it feels to face his old team:

“I kind of got over that when I was in New York and we played against them. It was different. It was tough for me then because all three of my kids were still school age. They were in school at very sensitive ages in Maryland, and we went down there and got beat. They took a little razzing at school, had some hurt feelings. Now at this point, it’s been five years since I’ve been there. Baltimore will always be special to me because that’s where I got my start, but I think when it gets to this point – this far beyond it – there’s not that much to it.”


On if the Ravens pass rush with Ravens OLBs Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil is the best they’ve faced this season:

“Yeah, I would say that’s accurate. They go four deep there because you can add McPhee. That’s a good group and the fact that they have depth there is they can roll those guys and be fresh.”


On if the Ravens only having two sacks on the season and if their pass rush is getting pressure without recording sacks:

“I don’t get much into sack totals because I get asked this too. Sometimes, when you have the threat of the rush the ball ends up coming out quicker. To me, the key state is – and you don’t chart it on the outside – is how much was the quarterback truly affected. Was he off his spot? Did he have to step up? The outside backers, you would have players that don’t have big production, but they cause production, whether they’re collapsing one side and then forcing the quarterback up and out or up into maybe another player. We don’t get too wrapped up into the sack numbers.”


On if he has detailed way to keep track of that:

“We do. We chart it.”


On if he gave the rookies and young players a history lesson on the Browns moving to Baltimore in 1995:

“I did. It was the whole team, just to give them a bit of a background on if our fans seem a little bit more venomous than usual. This is why (laughs). I would have been surprised if most of the guys in the room did know the history because I think some of these guys were born in the 90’s. They have no idea.”


On when he gave the history lesson to the team:

“Wednesday when we introduce the opponent and just talk about their roster and kind of the state of their team and offense, defense, special teams. The introductory part of that was just the history between the teams.”


On if there were players that we’re surprised to learn that the Ravens hadn’t always been in Baltimore:

“Yeah. I get a lot of quizzical looks during team meetings anyway, but it was more so than usual (laughs).”


On if he felt that venom when he came here as part of the Ravens coaching staff:

“Yes, very much so.”


On if he felt it in the atmosphere:

“You just felt it, and knowing the history maybe you put a little bit more on in your mind anyway. You definitely felt it, and I working with…I was in the video department. I worked with (Ravens senior director of football video operations) Jon Dubé and he was the video director here. (Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations) Kevin Byrne was here, obviously, (Ravens General Manager) Ozzie (Newsome) and just some of the people that were here and told the stories. A lot of it’s been chronicled already in the Cleveland ’95 thing, but haven’t heard what happened towards the end. You understood it.”


On if it was emotional when he was with the Ravens when he got there four years after the Browns came back to Cleveland in 1999:

“Yeah, I got there in ’02, so yeah you could definitely feel it.”


Mike Pettine Head Set Photo

Opening statement:

“New week, new challenge. Makes it a little bit more involved with this one because it is a division opponent. This is a good football team. The film doesn’t lie. I don’t think they were really themselves – they’ll be the first ones to admit it – when they played Cincinnati. I think you saw how they want to play going back to the Thursday night game. It’s a big challenge for us. I think it’ll be our stiffest challenge to date, and just wanted to make sure our guys got re-focused today in the team meeting and just still (have) that ability to compartmentalize wins and losses and move onto the next one I think is critical for our success moving forward. We’re two games in, and the guys I think have done a good job realizing that essentially the only thing the Saints game did for us was guarantee that we won’t go 0-16. I have a lot of respect for this franchise we’re getting ready to go against having spent some time there, knowing a lot of people down there that I worked with – a lot of respect for it. Having that information, it’s easy to figure out how big of a challenge this is going to be for us.”


On if there has been any recent news on the length of WR Josh Gordon’s suspension:

“No news, and I know there’s talk with upper level of management, but I’m bunkered in. We’ve got team meetings. We’ve got group meetings. Then, we go into position meetings. Until he’s here and we get official word, then I’ll deal with it at that point, but at this point, I think there’s still a lot of stuff floating out there as far as what – and I’ve heard a lot of different things, and it’s just hard to react to it until we actually get definitive word from the league.”


On if he thinks being around the team would be helpful to Gordon:

“I think so. I think that’s true of any player. I just think the structure, the ability to be around the guys, the camaraderie, just all that goes with it, and going back to the structure part of it – to be able to eat here and to lift here and be under the guidance of our strength and conditioning program, (Director of player engagement) Jamil Northcutt with the player development and (head athletic trainer) Joe Sheehan – just to have that support and that structure around, not just for Josh, I just think that anybody that’s going through anything like that it’d be helpful to be back.”


On if the game can be a statement in regards to the Browns’ past games against divisional opponents:

“We don’t really get into the past other than we looked briefly at the history here so our guys know what we’re dealing with, but previous struggles in the division – that has no bearing on this game, just like what happened this past Sunday has no bearing on this game. I think we have to have that ability to close that noise out so it doesn’t become a self-fulfilling prophecy like, ‘Hey, we’re not supposed to be good in the division, therefore we won’t be.’ I just think that we know it’s a little bit extra when it is a division game, and I just think it’s important for us to play well in the division. You see a lot of teams play well outside of it and can’t get business done in the division, and I just think it’s important when you look at long term, whether it’s any team – any of the 32 – that you’re direct path to the playoffs is through your division. That, to me, just goes with it. You see some teams that are in tough divisions. They fight their way to be 8-8, 9-7, and they get in and make a run because they’ve been battle-tested by the strength of their own division. Again, I don’t want you put too much on it. There’s a little bit more on it because it is a division game, but we don’t look at it that way.


On the defense having trouble stopping the run:

“It was more by design this past week. We were in some smaller groupings and some lighter-spacing defenses more to encourage the run. Sometimes when you go against those elite quarterbacks, you have to have that mentality a little bit that you understand you’re going to concede some rushing yards, but in the long term, the clock’s moving, you’re shortening the game. I think they ended up with 10 possessions for the game, which is below the NFL average. Pittsburgh, I think, was more of a product of us missing tackles. I thought we tackled better against New Orleans, but we still want to go into each week…this week will not be a, ‘Hey, let’s them run the ball.’ I think, going against this team, they ran the ball extremely well against Pittsburgh. I think this’ll be more of a typical AFC North, old school kind of game. We want to run the ball, so do they. I think it’s important for us to take that mentality that we’re going to stop the run.”


On if the Jets defense allowed the Patriots to run the ball when he was on the coaching staff in order to defend Patriots QB Tom Brady:

“Correct, at times. Yes.”


On what he looks for in a MIKE linebacker and if LB Karlos Dansby has ‘it’:

“He absolutely does. That’s why he’s here. We’re looking for a guy that – first and foremost – can be a leader, take charge of the huddle, that is smart, can know the package inside and out, if guys have to be moved or calls need to be changed or check made that he’s capable doing it. The way that we play with our front guys and how we want to them to…if they’re getting double-teamed, to make sure that they anchor in. We have a saying with our d-linemen, ‘Keep your double teams to yourself.’ We don’t want those guys to be able to get off on the linebackers. That Mike linebacker needs to be a playmaker. He’s going to have opportunities where he should be clean to the ball in a lot of situations, and he needs to make plays. He fits that mold. That was something when we evaluated him on tape. We actually had done it in Buffalo and had him in for a visit, free agent visit, and he chose to go to Arizona. As staff, he was on our radar when he came available this year, as well.”


On what about his defensive scheme helps LB Paul Kruger:

“We’ll move him around some, won’t always have him on one side. We’ll give him some freedom with some of his pass rushes where we rarely talk in terms on contain. As a pass rusher, if a tackle presents him with a…it’s an over-set situation and he can come underneath we can give him the green light to do that. I think the guys that have played in it, some of the feedback you get is, ‘Hey, they kind of let me be me.’ There’s structure, but there’s some ability to freelance within it, as long as it’s tied in with everybody else and there’s some awareness of that. I think that’s true at certain positions. Outside linebacker is one of them, but as long as the guy that’s rushing next to me knows that there’s a chance I might take an inside entry then he’ll have to know that because there’s a chance that he might have to overlap. I think those guys do a good job of playing off of each other, but I think that’s important as a pass rusher that you aren’t always in that mold where, ‘Hey, I’ve got to set an edge. I’ve got to contain the quarterback.’ When offenses know that, it makes life easy on the tackles.”


On if it is accurate that Kruger is playing well against the run:

“It is, and I think that was more of a…I think he was always very physically capable of doing it. I just think it was our commitment to doing it at that position and just the techniques that we use, and I think it just became more of stressing it and an aiming point thing. I think a lot of that is just how they’re taking on blocks and the direction where they go towards the tackle. If you’re too far up the field, you’re going to get bounced up field. It’s simple physics. You’re usually outweighed by a lot when you’re going against tackles. If we’re thinking run, then we’re going to tighten those aiming points down, give him more of a chances. He’s bought into it, and there we’re some growing pains with it. There were a couple times in the preseason where he was running up the field. That’s when we hit him with the old, ‘Hey, you can’t get a sack on a running play.’ I overuse the phrase, but he’s one of the ones if you say, ‘Hey, who’s really bought in?’ It’s been ‘Krug.’”


On the physical and mental toughness the Ravens had when he was on their coaching staff and if that’s what he wants the Browns to look like now:

“It is. That’s what I know, and we tried to mold the Jets the same way. I think when you have that err about you – this goes back to the opening press conference – we talk about being tough, mentally tough, physically tough. When you look over the long haul those are the teams that win consistently. You can have long-term, sustained success if that’s your M.O. Even from an offensive standpoint, talking about running the football, sometimes conditions aren’t going to allow you to spread the field and air it out. Defensively, it’s just simple that if you have a great, tough defense and it’s hard for a team to score you’re going to be in most games. It’s something that I learned. It was a blueprint there for sure. When we had our success that’s what it was based on, and when we were successful in New York it was the same way.”


On why running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery is a guy he thought he’d like to have on his staff:

“I was fortunate enough to have worked with not just Wilbert, but with (offensive line coach) Andy (Moeller) for a year. It was on (Ravens Head Coach) John (Harbaugh)’s staff. His first year, Wilbert was the running backs coach and Andy was the offensive line coach. I got to know those guys really well. I was a little bit star struck when I first met Wilbert. I grew up a (Philadelphia) Eagles fan. I had a big poster of him. I had a Wilbert poster and my (Hollywood actress) Farrah Fawcett in my room (laughter). I mean, my hands were shaking when I met him. He’s Wilbert Montgomery. Being an Eagles fan, that was special. I learned very quickly just what a good football coach he is. He’s passionate. He’s tough. I think you need at least one guy like that. Fortunately for us, Andy brings a lot of that mentality, too. It was really a no-brainer to hire both of them.”


On if he’s going to address all the stuff going on in the NFL with the team –HGH testing, the Ravens RB Ray Rice situation and the Vikings RB Adrian Peterson situation:

“We will. I think as everything settles down from this and we get later in the week and the beginning of next week because it’s the bye week, we can spend a little bit more time before we kind of turn guys loose with the time off. That’s something that will definitely be brought up and discussed. I know Jamil Northcutt does a good job keeping those guys educated. It’s very much an open door. If guys are having problems, they know they have places to go. It’s important. You can’t ignore it. It can’t all be about football. There’s a human element here, and I think you’re doing yourself and your team a disservice if you just kind of forget that stuff and hope everything works out. We pick and choose our times to talk about it. Now in a game week it’s tough. We’re bunkered in, focused on this game, but there will be times where we kind of poke our heads up and look at the big picture.”


On if he’ll sit WR Josh Gordon down and have a talk with him when he comes back:

“That’s a hypothetical. I’m sure at some point when he is permitted to come back in the building. I’ve already had some good sit-downs with Josh, (General Manager) Ray (Farmer) and I both. When that occurs, we’ll sit down with him and just kind of lay the plan out for him. We’d like to think that all of our players…we’re on the same page with all of them as far as, ‘Here’s what your role is. Here’s what our expectations are.’ I don’t care if it’s the 10th guy on the practice squad or if it’s one of your better players, I just think that communication is important. Too many times you get caught making assumptions. It’s just better to be out in the open.”


On if the AFC North is one of the most physical conferences in football:

“Back for sure when I was with Baltimore through the bulk of the 2000s, it was very physical. Division games were…they called them double chinstrap games. You knew that – both teams – that the ice tubs were going to be filled up after the game. That was just the nature of the division. I think maybe in recent years it trended away from that, but I think it’s starting to circle back. Pittsburgh looks like they’ve committed themselves more to running the football. Certainly Baltimore…you look at the defenses in the division – Baltimore with the tradition, Pittsburgh with the tradition. Cincinnati’s defense has been real good lately. That’s certainly continued this year. We want to get ourselves to the point where we’re being mentioned with top defenses as well.”


On if the Ravens offense is the same as the Browns:

“There are some similarities, but it’s not tear the cover off the playbook. It’s not the same book. I think that (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) took what he liked from (Ravens offensive coordinator) Gary (Kubiak’s) system and kept it and then did some things on his own – changed some things up. I’d say the running game is probably much closer than the passing game is. I’d say the pass concepts between the two teams are different. There are still some similarities with the bootlegs and play action off of it – the early down stuff. I think the third-down pass games are very different.”


On if it’s because of the players’ skill sets:

“I’m not sure. I just think it’s how…I mean Kyle was in Washington and kind of did his own thing. To me, you’re always going to match your scheme to your players. There are some things in Kyle’s playbook that he probably hasn’t used yet just because he’s highlighted a certain area of the book based on who we have here. I’m sure they’re going the same thing. They have two big vertical threats with (Ravens WRs) Jacoby Jones and (Torrey) Smith and then obviously Steve Smith. He’s not as vertical as he was before, but still, he can run all the routes, make all the catches and just brings that high level of energy to that offense.”


On what it is about Ravens LB Terrell Suggs that has made him so successful over the years:

“He had a great position coach when he first started out in the league. I take all the credit (laughter). No Suggs, to me he’s a guy that…he works. He loves football. As goofy as he can be sometimes, at his core he loves the game, loves to compete. Like I said, he’s a fun loving guy, completely unfiltered, but when it’s time to flip the switch, he’s all about it. He’s a unique blend of size, speed and strength. He didn’t time well in the 40 (yard dash), but his short area quickness – which is what you need for a pass rusher – to me, is rare. He’s a guy…like I said, he works at it. He’s gifted naturally, but he’s made himself elite with his work ethic.”


On how glad he was back in 2006 that the Ravens got DL Haloti Ngata when they switched picks with the Browns:

“Oh yeah, when we flipped picks. To me Ngata was one of the top guys on our draft board. We were thrilled that he fell to where he did. I do remember the trade. I think it was (former Browns LB Kamerion) Wimbley, a sixth round pick and (Babatunde) Oshinowo (Jr.), a kid from Stanford. Haloti was a guy that we were thrilled to get. There were some question marks about him coming out that we thought were laughable. To me, we felt it was a steal to get him when we did. Obviously he’s produced at a high level for a long time.”


On if the ‘laughable’ question marks on Ngata were about his health:

“No, I think it was an inconsistent motor, but here was a guy that didn’t come off the field very often. He blocked seven kicks, I think, in college, something like that. When you watch the tape, we just didn’t see it, and it was never an issue for us at all. He loves football and was a great teammate right from the beginning. He was one of those rookies that stepped in, and you wouldn’t have known he was a rookie. Just another rare blend of a guy that big that he brought us videos of his…he was a very good rugby player and just him 320 pounds playing rugby and just five, six guys hanging on him. He just showed what a good athlete he was. He could dunk a basketball any way he wanted to. He’s a very unique athlete, and to his credit, his work ethic has had him playing at a very high level for a long period of time.”


On what his early days at the Ravens were like and if he ever had a vision that he would end up being an NFL head coach:

“No, I was thrilled to be there, and I was very much in the…people say, ‘Be seen and not heard.’ I was the not be seen and not be heard mode because I just know a big part of it is just getting in and I was very fortunate that the circumstances played out that I got my foot in the door. It was just bunker in and work. Worked a lot of long days, I was with the video department during the days, during practices. Then, I went and worked with the coaches at night just helping out with some of the computer stuff and overflow, quality control type of stuff and was just very fortunate to just step into a situation where it was (Falcons defensive coordinator) Mike Nolan, (Falcons Head Coach) Mike Smith, (Jets Head Coach) Rex (Ryan) – just guys that were future head coaches in the league. (I was) just very fortunate to have been essentially dropped into that situation.”

On the status of RB Ben Tate, TE Jordan Cameron and LB Barkevious Mingo:
“I don’t see Tate being able to go this week, and I’ll just hold comment on the other guys until we get them out there and see. Those two guys will likely practice today on a limited basis. We’ll see how they develop as the week goes on.”


On if he sees much of Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan’s defense left in Baltimore:

“Some, not much – I think it’s just kind of been a transition over time. I think when (Ravens defensive coordinator) Dean Pees took over there was much more of a New England influence – what he had done when he coordinated there. I think if it was back when it was (Colts Head Coach Chuck) Pagano or (former Ravens defensive coordinator Greg) Mattison you would have seen a lot of it. I think just over time…there are still elements of it, and I don’t know if the terminology has changed at all and how they identify things – just the language. It’s there, but I don’t think it’s…if you watch the two teams play, you wouldn’t say their roots are in the same defense.”


Here’s my team-by-team grade and breakdown of the picks made by all the AFC North GM’s.

AFC North Helmets Photo



AFC North Helmets Photo


CLEVELAND BROWNS   –   GM – Ray Farmer   –   Overall Grade   ( B-)

Manziel & Gilbert Questions Photo 2

1st – 8th –  Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

1st – 22nd – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

2nd – 35th –  Joel Bitonio, OG, Nevada

3rd – 71st –  Christian Kirksey, OLB, Iowa

3rd – 94th – Terrance West, RB, Towson

4th – 127th – Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood

*(Picked up Buffalo’s 1st Round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft)


PITTSBURGH STEELERS   –   GM  –  Kevin Colbert   –   Overall Grade   (B+)

Ryan Shazier OSU Photo

1st – 15th –  Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

2nd – 46th –  Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame

3rd – 97th –  Dri Archer, WR, Kent State

4th – 118th – Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson

5th – 157th –  Shaquille Richardson, CB, Arizona

5th – 173rd –  Wesley Johnson, C, Vanderbilt

6th – 192nd – Jordan Zumwalt, OLB, UCLA

6th – 215th – Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee

7th – 230th –  Rob Blanchflower, TE, Massachusetts


BALTIMORE RAVENS   –   GM  –  Ozzie Newsome   –   Overall Grade   (B+)

1ST – 17TH – C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

2nd – 48th –  Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

3rd – 79th – Terrence Brooks, FS, Florida State

3rd – 99th –  Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State

4th – 134th –  Brent Urban, DE, Virginia

4th – 138th –  Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Coastal Carolina

5th – 175th –  John Urschel, OG, Penn State

6th – 194th – Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State

7th – 218th –  Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest


CINCINNATI BENGALS   –   GM   –   Mike Brown   –   Overall Grade   (B)

1st – 24th – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

2nd – 55th –  Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU

3rd – 88th –  Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia

4th – 111th –  Russell Bodine, C, North Carolina

5th – 164th – AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

6th – 212th –  Marquis Flowers, OLB, Arizona

7th – 239th –  James Wright, WR, LSU

7th – 252nd –  Lavelle Westbrooks, CB, Georgia Southern