Podcast Episode 15: Empire Writes Back’s John Carroll Jr. helps us break down Ravens’ season opener vs. Bills

Welcome to Episode 15 of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz.

Fake football is finally over, and on Sunday at 1:00 pm the Ravens will kick off the 2018 season against the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium for the second time in three years. After the guys give their final thoughts on the Ravens’ 53-man roster (3:00) and react to the scary Kaare Vedvik incident from Labor Day Weekend (13:02), they tell you what to watch for during Sunday’s game (16:08).

Up next, we welcome in our special guest this week, John Carroll Jr. of Empire Writes Back, to help us break down Sunday’s game from the enemy’s perspective (28:13). Carroll Jr. is a college friend of Jake and the two spend several Sundays together in Bloomsburg watching their teams. Carroll fills us in on Nathan Peterman and goes over the 2018 outlook for Buffalo. You’ll also hear his predictions for the game.

Following the interview with Carroll Jr., the guys dive into the recent Orioles headlines (41:15) as Chance Sisco returns to the big league club hoping to end a disappointing 2018 season on a respectable note. The crew also talked about Josh Rogers and how he configures into the rebuild of the O’s.

After the Orioles segment, Jake, Nolan, and Ian recap the Terps’ 34-29 victory over Texas that opened up the 2018 season in a positive way after an absolutely terrible summer (48:16).

To wrap up the show, we dive into our weekly numbers segment, taking a look at the best Ravens & Orioles players to wear the number 15 (54:07).

You can find the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloudiTunes, and now 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!


Ravens officially land wide receiver Willie Snead

OWINGS MILLS — On Friday, the Baltimore Ravens signed restricted free agent wide receiver Willie Snead to a two-year, $10.4 million offer sheet. The New Orleans Saints had a five-day window to match the Ravens’ offer and retain Snead. According to NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport, the Saints will not match the offer, officially landing Snead in Baltimore.

Snead, a four-year veteran out of Ball State, went undrafted in 2014. He bounced around in Cleveland and Carolina before being signed to the Saints’ practice squad in December 2014. Snead made the Saints’ 2015 53-man roster after a strong showing in training camp.

In three seasons, Snead has accumulated 149 receptions for 1,971 yards and seven touchdowns. 2015 marked Snead’s most productive season when he posted 69 receptions for 984 yards and three touchdowns.

Now in Baltimore, Snead looks to bounce back from a disappointing 2017 campaign. He served a three-game suspension early in the season for a DUI. After Snead returned from suspension, he suffered a thigh hamstring injury that lingered through the rest of the season and hurt his production. He finished the 2017 season with just eight receptions for 92 yards.

The signing of Snead marks another change to the Ravens’ wide receiver room. Baltimore cut Jeremy Maclin early in the offseason. Mike Wallace and Michael Campanero signed one-year contracts elsewhere. Snead will join fellow free agent acquisitions Michael Crabtree and John Brown on the Ravens’ revamped wideout corps, with Breshad Perriman (for now) and Chris Moore set to return.

Snead could develop into the slot receiver that the Ravens have long been searching for. Although last season was disappointing, when healthy, Snead has produced. With the NFL Draft just days away, the Ravens will likely add one or two more wideouts. There will be plenty of competition among wide receivers in training camp, and Snead will be hungry to put last season behind him and solidify a role in the Ravens’ passing attack.

Image Credit: Barstool Sports 

O’s Look to Take Flight in Motor City

The Orioles escaped the cold in Boston, only to find themselves right back in frigid conditions in Detroit to take on the Tigers. For how poorly the Orioles (5-11) have played through their first 16 games, the Tigers (4-9) have been less than stellar as well. Detroit hasn’t been able to score runs, and even when they have, Jordan Zimmerman (8.18 ERA) and Ryan Carpenter (9.00 ERA) have allowed more than they should’ve.


If the Orioles are going to get it back in gear, this is the team to do it against. With Jonathan Schoop on the 10-day DL, the birds had to do some reshuffling on defense. Danny Valencia and Luis Sardiñas are the likely candidates while Manny Machado stays at shortstop. The Orioles, after a promising series in the Bronx last weekend absolutely fell apart against the division rival Blue Jays and Red Sox.



GAME 1: Tuesday, April 17th , 6:40 PM, 36 Degrees. Pitchers: Andrew Cashner (2.50)  vs. Francisco Liriano (2.13 ERA)


  • Cashner and Liriano have been lights out thus far this season, but although the low ERAs, they haven’t gotten much run support. Look for a low scoring affair in a chilly night in Detroit.


GAME 2: Wednesday, April 18th , 1:10 PM, 34 Degrees. Pitchers: Kevin Gausman (6.60 ERA) vs. Matthew Boyd (1.38 ERA)


  • Gausman has had a rough start to a season once again, trying too hard to become a finesse pitcher instead of using his power pitches. If he can find his niche, he will become a very solid pitcher. Boyd has attempted to switch more to a finesse style as well, but it has actually worked.


GAME 3: Thursday, April 19th , 1:10 PM , 28 Degrees. Pitchers: Alex Cobb (17.18 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (8.18 ERA)


  • After a disastrous debut at Fenway Park, Alex Cobb gets a chance to shrink his ERA against a lineup that’s had trouble against more experienced pitchers. Zimmerman has looked like a different pitcher this season thus far and his ERA shows it.



Games will be seen/heard on MASN and 105.7 the Fan