Podcast Episode 29: Baltimore Sports whip-around with 105.7 The Fan late-night host Terry Ford

Image Credit: The Baltimore Feather 

Welcome to Episode 29 of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz.

Following a a heartbreaking 27-24 overtime loss to the Chiefs, the top of Episode 29 revisits the Ravens’ valiant effort at arrowhead stadium (3:20). We’ll also take a look at recent quotes from Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (18:23), reveal our lists for Who’s Trending (32:20), and go over some things to watch for on Sunday when the Ravens return to M&T Bank Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (45:42).

Up next, we welcome in this week’s guest, 105.7 The Fan late night talk show host Terry Ford (54:58). In our exclusive interview with Uncle Terry, you’ll hear his takeaways from the Ravens loss and his thoughts on the six managerial candidates for the Orioles (interview was recorded hours before the Brandon Hyde story broke). At the end of our conversation with Terry, he shares some interesting stories from his long radio career, such as the strangest phone call he’s ever taken on the air.

After Mr. Ford hops off the phone line, we get you caught up with all things Maryland Basketball (1:11:07). Both Nolan and Jake got a chance to watch the Terps in-person from the Royal Farms Arena on Saturday when the Terps took down Loyola Chicago 55-41. With the Terps now at 9-2, does this team have what it takes to make some noise in March?

To wrap up the show, we dive into our weekly numbers segment, taking a look at the best Baltimore sports athletes to wear the number 29 (1:20:51). In addition, you’ll hear our raw reactions to the Orioles reportedly hiring their new manager, Chicago Cubs Bench Coach Brandon Hyde, as the story broke in the middle of the numbers segment.

You can find the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloudiTunes, and Google Play. Please leave us a review on iTunes, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode. Thank you for listening!

The Charm City Bird Watch Podcast is brought to you by Seven Sports Bar & Grille. For a limited time only on behalf on Charm City Bird Watch, you can receive a 10% discount off any entree dish when you tell your server or bartender the promo code ‘Charm City.’

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Three things we learned from Ravens 27-24 overtime loss to Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MO — Having a 24-17 lead with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Baltimore Ravens found themselves one play away from picking up one of the biggest road wins of the John Harbaugh era. But after Patrick Mahomes found Tyreek Hill for 48 yards on fourth down, the momentum shifted.

The Chiefs tied the game up with less than a minute left in regulation and got the ball back again when Justin Houston strip-sacked Lamar Jackson. Even though Harrison Butker‘s missed 43-yard field goal sent the game into overtime, the Chiefs won the overtime coin toss and Butker redeemed himself with a 35-yard field goal on the Chiefs’ first possession. That kick ended up being all the Chiefs needed, as the Ravens’ ensuing drive stalled on downs and the Chiefs walked away with a 27-24 comeback win.

Here’s three things we learned from Sunday’s valiant but disappointing overtime loss.


1. Once again, defense crumbles in crunch time 

Yet again, the Ravens defense played one hell of a game on Sunday. The NFL’s #1 defense limited the league’s #1 offense, which averages over 35 points-per-game, to 27 points. With a lead in the fourth quarter, the pass rush got consistent pressure. But twice on fourth down when it mattered the most, the unit allowed two daggers – the 48-yard completion from Mahomes to Hill on 4th-and-9, and the five-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Damien Williams on 4th-and-3.

Before Kansas City’s 11-play, 75-yard drive the tied the game up at 24, the Chiefs had not scored in the second half. On their first possession of the third quarter, Chuck Clark snagged the Ravens’ first interception in nine weeks. The next two Chiefs drives before the touchdown drive resulted in punts. Containing the NFL’s top offense in the manner that the Ravens did is great, but when it mattered most the defense just couldn’t find the one stop they needed to seal the win.

To be fair, due to Houston stripping Jackson on the third play of Baltimore’s last possession of regulation, along with the Chiefs winning the overtime coin toss, the Ravens defense was on the field an awful lot at the end of the game. And it showed. It’s not the defense’s fault that the offensive line completely collapsed at the end of the game. With that said, not getting off the field twice on fourth down brought back the all-to-familiar memories of 4th-and-12 against Cincinnati from last season.

Hill is the most explosive receiver in the NFL and finished the game with 139 receiving yards on eight receptions despite playing through and injured ankle and wrist. The discouraging part of the 48-yard completion is seeing defensive leaders like C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle come up short of making the big play yet again.

After the game, Brandon Carr said that the Ravens need to find ways to close out games against tough opponents. It’s been a struggle for the Ravens for some time now. If they can’t figure that out against the Chargers or hypothetically in the playoffs, the 2018 season could end exactly like it has the last two years for Baltimore.


2. Kenneth Dixon: From afterthought to arguably the Ravens top option at running back

When Kenneth Dixon went down with yet another knee injury in week 1 against the Bills, many thought that would be the end for him. Since the Ravens drafted Dixon in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, Dixon has only played in 15 games due to injuries and suspension.

With Dixon went on injured reserve, Alex Collins and Buck Allen led the Ravens’ backfield. Then Baltimore worked a trade with the Packers for Ty Montgomery before the bye. But as Collins struggled with a foot injury and Allen’s snap count went down, an opportunity opened up for Dixon when he became eligible to return to the practice field. Now, the Ravens backfield looks completely different than it did at the start of the season with Dixon, Montgomery and Gus Edwards sharing the load.

Although Edwards received twice the amount of carries than Dixon did on Sunday, Dixon’s 7.4 yards-per-carry was just over three yards more than that of Edwards. The coaching staff might be limiting Dixon’s snap count due to his injury history, but Dixon has more powerful legs than Edwards or Montgomery. He has the ability to extend runs and can push defenders forward without much assistance. When Dixon is on the field and effective, it’s easy to see why the Ravens used a fourth-round pick on him.

Dixon still needs to prove his sustainability, but right now he’s making a case for the Ravens to hold onto him beyond 2018.


3. Harbaugh’s aggressiveness on fourth down was the right move

On the Ravens’ first drive of the second half, the Ravens faced a 4th-and-1 on the Chiefs’ 39-yard line. Trailing 17-10, Harbaugh elected to go for it instead of punting. When Edwards was handed the ball, he was stuffed at the line for no gain. Kansas City took over and three plays later Clark intercepted Mahomes before the Ravens scored a touchdown open a 14-play drive. That touchdown, a 10-yard completion to Maxx Williams, came on 4th-and-2.

Many were quick to judge Harbaugh’s decision to go for it on fourth down after failing to convert on Baltimore’s previous drive, but relying on field goals wasn’t going to cut it against the NFL’s number one offense. In games like these, coaches need to be aggressive and score as many points as possible. Against an opponent like the Falcons who couldn’t move the ball at all on the Ravens, settling for three points is okay. The Ravens trailed the Chiefs 17-10 at the time of the fourth-down conversion, and if they don’t score the touchdown they still would have trail Kansas City instead of tying the game up.

Rather than knock Harbaugh down for being aggressive in the red zone against the top seed in the AFC, celebrate the fact that the decision worked and that the Ravens ended up with seven points instead of three.


As deflating as yesterday’s loss was for the Ravens, coupled along with the Colts, Dolphins, and Titans all winning their games this week, the Steelers 24-21 loss to Oakland still has the Ravens just a half-game out of first place in the AFC North. While the Ravens still need to go on the road and play the Chargers, the Steelers have the Patriots at home next weekend before facing the Saints on the road in week 16. Don’t look now, but a home playoff game is still very well in reach for the Ravens with the Steelers losing three straight games.

Here’s the current NFL Playoff picture:

Image Credit: The Kansas City Star 

Podcast Episode 28: ‘Astroball’ author Ben Reiter lays out blueprint for how Elias & Mejdal will rebuild the Orioles

Image Credit: Eutaw Street Report 

Welcome to Episode 28 of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz.

The guys spend the first 45 minutes of the show talking all things Ravens. First, Jake, Nolan, and Ian revisit Baltimore’s 26-16 win over the Falcons from this past Sunday (3:30). You’ll also hear an extended Ravens quarterback debate (9:20) as our team has differing opinions on whether Lamar Jackson or a healthy Joe Flacco should lead the Ravens offense to (hopefully) the team’s first playoff berth in four years. As we do every week, we’ll go over Who’s Trending (30:49) and some things to watch for on Sunday as the Ravens enter Arrowhead Stadium for a 1:00 pm tilt with the #1 seed in the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs (39:39).

71TL+MlkkTLUp next, we welcome in our special guest for Episode 28 – Ben Reiter, author of Astroball: The New Way To Win It All (45:44). There’s no one better to tell Orioles fans everything they want to know about Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal than Reiter, who’s written a book detailing the processes Elias and Mejdal implemented to rebuild the Astros under Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow. Along with going over the storyline of Astroball, Reiter gives specific examples of how Elias and Mejdal used analytics. Reiter also provides some insight into how these same techniques will be used to rebuild the Orioles. It’s a must-listen interview for all Orioles fans eager to see what Elias and his team can do.

After Reiter’s call-in, Nolan and Ian jump back in, reacting to the Milwaukee Brewers decision to non-tender former Oriole fan-favorite Jonathan Schoop (1:05:18). Don’t worry, the gang also talked about Caleb Joseph and Tim Beckham being non-tendered by the Orioles too.

With the Maryland men’s basketball team off to a hot 7-1 start, the next part of the show takes a look at Mark Turgeon’s 2017-18 team (1:14:00). With the Terps making the Top 25 last week, the guys lay out their season projections for a talented, young Maryland team.

To wrap up the show, we dive into our weekly numbers segment, taking a look at the best Baltimore sports athletes to wear the number 28 (1:25:22).

You can find the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloudiTunes, and Google Play. Please leave us a review on iTunes, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode. Thank you for listening!

The Charm City Bird Watch Podcast is brought to you by Seven Sports Bar & Grille. For a limited time only on behalf on Charm City Bird Watch, you can receive a 10% discount off any entree dish when you tell your server or bartender the promo code Charm City.’