The Ravens Are The Latest Change In The NFL

NEW YORK, N.Y.- Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, described the NFL best when he said, “Change is the only constant in life.” Nothing speaks truer about the parity, turnover and landscape of the NFL. Change is rampant, from players to coaches to philosophy.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has been at the center of the latest philosophical change in the NFL, engineering a pass-happy, wide-open offensive system that took the league by storm and helped guide the Rams to the Super Bowl in just his second season at the helm. At the time of the hire, McVay was the youngest head coach in NFL history, which has since changed the way executives look at head coaching candidates.

NFL offenses have changed dramatically, now geared towards establishing the pass, spreading defenses out with four and five wide receiver sets, and emphasizing speed. Enter the Baltimore Ravens, whose offensive game plans have been the latest change agent in the NFL, deviating from the throwing craze and instead opting for an old-school approach that has been unstoppable up to this point.

The Ravens, led by Lamar Jackson, have not only set the league on fire with their dominant run style, they have changed the way the quarterback position is defined. In an era that is predicated on and dominated by throwing the ball, the quarterback position has become the most important in all of sports. With that comes a certain pigeonholed set of standards that a quarterback must check off in order to succeed in today’s NFL. This was especially the case for the Louisville great during the draft process, as teams continued to quibble over whether they could fit the square peg that was Jackson’s skillset into the round hole of what NFL offenses should be.  

What many of us failed to see coming was the latest change in philosophy: the Ravens scrapped the idea of the traditional quarterback and catered their entire offense to fit the style of their first round pick.

After the rookie had his ups and downs in an offense built for Joe Flacco, head coach John Harbaugh decided to go all-in on the style that helped guide Jackson to win the Heisman Trophy and promoted Greg Roman to offensive coordinator. This decision has helped to reinvigorate the Baltimore franchise and flip the narrative that more passing equals more winning.

This idea of the Ravens zigging when the rest of the league is zagging has paid immediate dividends. The Ravens are currently second in the NFL in total offense, averaging 428 yards per game, while leading the league in rushing yards per game with 203. What makes Baltimore so dynamic is that they aren’t just running the ball with their running backs; they are using Jackson at the point man for the entire operation. The second year starter is the leading rusher on his team and 10th in the entire league in rushing, amassing 781 yards.

With defenses focused on containing the pass game and getting after the quarterback, the Ravens have feasted on a scheme that’s extremely difficult to game plan for and defend on a weekly basis. They’ve swung the pendulum so far in the other direction that while they are the only offense averaging over 30 points per game, the Ravens have actually attempted to throw the ball the least amount of any team in the NFL.

Baltimore has blended the perfect combination of smash mouth football with current speed concepts that has resulted in highlight-worthy runs and spin moves that leave defenders bewildered. While Jackson has been extremely successful with his legs, the 22-year old has actually been more dangerous with his arm.

Lamar is completing 66% of his passes, a percentage that is higher than Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes. He’s thrown 19 touchdown passes, which are more than Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson while his five interceptions are the same amount as Tom Brady. His quarterback rating is 106.3, which is good enough for fourth in the NFL. So while the passing attempts may be limited, Jackson is making the most of his opportunities and flat out torching defenses.

Baltimore isn’t just having success against bottom of the barrel teams. Jackson and the Ravens already own wins over the Seahawks in Seattle, the Patriots and most recently the Texans. The big question for the rest of the league is how long will this last? The litmus test for this run heavy, throwback system continues the next few weeks as the Ravens travel to face the Rams, host the 49ers and visit the Bills in consecutive weeks.

There’s no doubt Lamar Jackson with this new offense have changed the fortunes of the Ravens. Sitting in second place in the AFC winners of six in a row, including handing the Patriots their lone defeat of the season, has hopes bright in Baltimore. Not to mention the last pick in the first round of the 2018 draft has catapulted all the way the MVP rankings, currently owning the best odds to take home the award.

Louise Penny once said, “Life is change. If you aren’t growing and evolving, you’re standing still, and the rest of the world is surging ahead.” It’s safe to say the Ravens have changed, and right now, they are surging ahead of everyone else in the NFL.

Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes takes batting practice

The New York Mets enter the offseason looking for answers regarding their bullpen, outfield, third base and a starting pitcher with the potential departure of Zack Wheeler. There is another situation regarding the Mets in 2020, Yoenis Cespedes.

Cespedes missed most of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season with heel and ankle injuries requiring surgery. The status of Cespedes is up in the air for 2020, but the team got a very good sign about their superstar outfielder.


Yesterday, Cespedes was taking batting practice with former Met and current Brooklyn Cyclones coach, Endy Chavez

While there is still a long way to go until the Mets can find out when exactly Cespedes will return to the field, but him already taking batting practices is good news. That alone is big, because there hasn’t been much good news for Cespedes these last two years

There’s No Spying In Baseball!

There’s no spying in baseball! – at least there shouldn’t be – not to this extent. The Houston Astros are in the midst of what could prove to be one of the biggest cheating scandals in all professional sports. Sure, we’ve all heard the phrase, “if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin,” but these accusations take that philosophy to a-whole-nother level.

Sign stealing, or pitch tipping, have always been part of baseball. Coaches and players will do just about anything to gain an edge over their competition. Sometimes a pitcher will have a ‘tell,’ and unconsciously reveal what pitch they’re about to throw. Or, if a batter reaches second base, they obviously have a view of what sign the catcher is putting down, so in an effort to prevent the base runner from relaying signs to the batter, the catcher will give a series of signs that only the pitcher and catcher understand. That’s gamesmanship. But using an intricate system of surveillance, where players used a video feed that was piped into a monitor near the dugout to decode signs and relay them to batters using loud banging sounds during games – that’s crossing the line. Now you’re ruining the integrity of the game. People’s livelihoods are being affected, young pitchers get sent down, jobs of opposing coaches were lost as a result of this scandal.

Well, there will most certainly be more jobs being lost – especially in the Houston Astros Front Office. Who knows, maybe this scandal goes deeper than we know now, maybe other teams are guilty of similar cheating schemes. But now, the eyes of the sports world are fixated on how Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is going to punish the guilty parties. All we can hope for is that the punishment is severe enough that teams will think twice about trying something like this again down the road.

As for what the right punishment should be? Well, obviously we can expect heavy fines and suspensions. I’ve heard people bring up things like taking away their 2017 championship, or no longer recognizing Jose Altuve as the 2017 AL MVP. Fans of teams the Astros faced on their way to winning the 2017 World Series are obviously upset – and have every right to be – but don’t expect any of your teams (Yankees, Dodgers) to be put in the Astros stead as champions. Besides, Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks character from A League of Their Own) said it best – “There’s no crying in baseball!” Let’s hope there’s no more spying in basbaseball either.

Super Bowl Halftime Show Won’t Rock

Brace yourself, here we go again with the Super Bowl half time performance selection. This Super Bowl the half time performers with be Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. Honestly, I couldn’t be less interested. After last year’s circus with Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi (yeah that’s for real) I think I will volunteer myself to make the half time beer run.
I have no clue who is in charge of the half time talent selection and I am sick of seeing pop music half time shows with wardrobe malfunctions.

I want to hear the music that rocks out in the stadiums during the games and guess what that isn’t pop music! Rock Music is what rocks out the stadiums- you can’t go to a game without hearing Queen’s We Will Rock You. We Will Rock You is the #1 stadium anthem song played. Why can’t the NFL invite a rock band to perform? Why is rock shunned when it comes to halftime shows? Dee Snider of Twisted Sister shares my sentiments and called out the NFL in a tweet after the announcement of this year’s performers. His tweet recognizes that rock/heavy metal music is the music that rocks out the stadium each week, game after game and yet Rock/Heavy Metal performers are shunned for those that shake their money makers. All the world’s a stage unless you are a hard rock band looking to play the Super Bowl half time show.

“Why Golden Boy Promotions Is Ruining Boxing”

Oscar De La Hoya for years dominated boxing with his good looks and charm, while winning championships in six different weight classes. As a fighter he was known for his Mexican style fighting and won a gold medal in the olympics for the United States and became one of the most beloved fighters in his era. But nothing would change what he has done to boxing since he has retired in 2008. After he retired Oscar really wanted to push his company Golden Boy Promotions, signing one of the biggest upcoming fighters in boxing Canelo Alvarez. Since the time he sign Canelo he has help pick and choose the fights for him, that has protected Alvarez from falling off the best pound for pound list in the last 5 years. Since that time Canelo has fought the likes of James Kirkland, Rocky Fielding, Liam Smith, Amir Khan and a washed up Miguel Cotto.

Oscar has been feeding garbage fighter after garbage fighter to Alvarez to protect his record so he could get him his big pay day. Over the last 3 years Oscar has not only made Canelo the richest man in boxing, he also has robbed boxing the chance to see some of the greatest fights boxing has ever seen. On September 2017 the fans finally got the fight they always wanted to see GGG vs Alvarez in Vegas in front of a sold T-mobile arena. The fight was everything we expected, GGG dominated the last 6 rounds of the fight and look like he was going to dethrone Alvarez as the prince of boxing. As the card was about to be read everyone and there mother thought GGG was the winner of the fight, but with a shock to the boxing world the fight scores came out to a draw. As everyone in the boxing world realized GGG was robbed, stories were coming out that the boxing commission was suspending Adalaide Byrd for her controversial card score for the fight. We as boxing fans know that boxing has been crooked since the beginning of time and many believe Del La Hoya was behind it. A few weeks after the fight a story came out that Alvarez was tested for steroids and again Oscar found a way to keep him from being suspended for a significant amount of time. The build up for GGG vs Alvarez 2 was huge, and became one of the biggest box office Draws in boxing history. The boxing world was not surprised that the fight had a similar outcome in the end of fight two. This time there was no draw they decided to rip GGG heart out one last time by giving the win on two of the three cards to Alvarez.

Del La Hoya not only has hurt boxing but has made boxing a mockery, by picking and choosing garbage fights for Canelo he has taken away the reason we watch prize fighting. I believe we will never see a GGG vs Alvarez 3 because Del La Hoya is too chicken to watch his Golden Boy get knock off a third time in 3 years. I believe that until boxing get rid of promoters like Oscar Del La Hoya, it will never get back to the times when boxing was on top of the fighting world.