Hey all, first, to get it out of the way, yes, there will be a live blog tonight, but it may have to start a few minutes late. Just a few, hopefully no more than 10 minutes after gametime. But keep in mind, it might be on time. Now, we will return to our regularly scheduled programming.
I did another Q&A, but this time, I was asking the questions, to b’s Matt Vensel. b, a free daily Baltimore newspaper (yes, it’s a lowercase b as the title) has been around for over a year now, and is like a daily, less sports-focused version of Press Box. Matt is the main sports guy, whether it be Orioles, Ravens or fantasy columns.
1. Matt, after seeing the Ravens win three preseason games, which players who fans may not normally think of stand out you?
The Ravens have looked good this preseason, and a lot of individuals have stood out. When it comes to the established players, DT Haloti Ngata has impressed me the most. I think he’ll be a shoo-in for the Pro Bowl after last year’s snub and could even get consideration for the Defensive Player of the Year award. As for lesser names, rookie WR Jayson Foster looks like a guy with big-play capabilities, but he’s on the outside looking in when it comes to the roster situation. DE/LB Paul Kruger has been tenacious and athletic. OT Michael Oher has fit in well. CB/S Derrick Martin has played well, too, perhaps even well enough to beat out CB Frank Walker for a spot on the squad. I could go on and on here… The Ravens are a deep team, especially on defense.
2. Who do you see as the team’s starting kicker this season? Do you think there’s any chance of Matt Stover returning?
We’ll have a better idea about this after Thursday’s preseason game against the Falcons, but it’s Steve Hauschka’s job to lose right now. He performed well at training camp, and outside of that terrible shank on a short field against the Panthers, he was flawless in the preseason. The strong-legged second-year kicker has pulled away from Graham Gano in the kicking battle, but Stover’s shadow is still looming over this competition. Hauschka’s the guy if plays well Thursday, though he’s on a short leash with Stover still living in the area. I’ll put it this way, though: There’s a much better chance that Stover will be the team’s kicker than Gano, and that’s all we really know right now.
3. Who would you rather have as your QB this season (JUST this season): Brett Favre or Joe Flacco?
That’s an interesting question, though it would have been more relevant last summer had the Ravens pursued Favre when he was available. That would have been a tough call then, but it’s an easy one now. I’d take Flacco if we’re talking about the Ravens. He’s the younger guy and he makes better decisions, and he’s not going to tear apart your locker room. But if I’m the GM of a contender who needs a QB (you know, like the Vikings), I’d probably go with Favre for a one-year title run because he’s been there before. It all really depends on your team, though. Favre would not fit on this team in Baltimore. The Ravens need stability on offense, not big-play potential.
4. You use Twitter quite effectively. Do you think that it’s replacing websites as a place to find breaking sports news?
I wouldn’t say it’s replacing Web sites, but Twitter is a great resource. I still check ESPN.com and CNNSI.com when I’m trying to find sports news, but I’ve definitely gotten breaking news from Twitter. I’ll always go check the sites I just mentioned or other reputable sites to verify the news, though. You always have to check your facts, you know?
5. Tell us a little bit about b. I just found out about it but find it pretty entertaining. How did you get involved with it?
b is a free daily newspaper from the Baltimore Sun Media Group that has been around the city since April 2008. I’ve been with b since its creation. I was actually finishing up my Master’s degree at Towson when I started working there. We have a little something for everyone: news, sports, entertainment, commentary, etc. I’m the resident sports guy, obviously, which isn’t too shabby. Pick it up and check it out if you’re interested in it. After all, it is free, right?
6. Give us an official prediction for the Ravens’ record this season. Be careful, we’ll revisit it in January!
I have the Ravens going 10-6 this year and locking down a wild-card spot again. I still think the Steelers are the team to beat in the AFC North in 2009, but if the Ravens can add a playmaker on offense or if one or two of their current players can step up as targets for Flacco, it could be a different story. Remember, though: Once you make it into the playoffs, all bets are off. So please, do catch up with me in January!
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