Podcast Episode 18: Talking Orioles with MASN’s Steve Melewski, introducing our Maryland Football expert Jay Stavros

Welcome to episode 18 of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz.

At the start of the show, our Maryland Football expert Jay Stavros makes his podcast debut (3:46). Stavros has been covering the Terps all season long for Charm City Bird Watch. Jake and Jay dive into Maryland’s 42-13 win over Minnesota from this past Saturday and examine where the team is after their 3-1 start.

Up next, we welcome in a very special guest as MASN Orioles reporter Steve Melewski joins the program (11:20). In this exclusive interview with Jake, Melewski shares his insight on the futures of Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Buck Showalter, and Dan Duquette. Melewski also offers his opinion for how the Orioles will address these big decisions after the 2018 season ends over the weekend.

After Melewski hops off the phone line, Nolan and Ian come on to react to what was discussed between Jake and Steve (28:04).

READ – 10 for #10: Reflecting on Adam Jones’ Orioles career

Up next, it’s time for more football talk. The guys reveal what they learned from the Ravens’ 27-14 win over the Broncos (42:21), go over Who’s Trending in either a good or bad way (48:32), and break down some things to watch for on Sunday Night Football when the Ravens go to war with the Steelers in Pittsburgh (1:07:51)

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 18 (1:20:48).

The Charm City Bird Watch Podcast is brought to you by Seven Sports Bar & Grille. Starting October 1, you can get 10% off any entree when you mention the promo code ‘Charm City‘ to your server at Seven!

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!

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Ravens release Lardarius Webb

OWINGS MILLS — Just minutes after the Baltimore Ravens signed offensive lineman James Hurst to a four-year contract, it was announced that longtime defensive back Lardarius Webb had been cut from the team. Before the news had even been revealed to members of the media, Webb tweeted a goodbye message thanking Baltimore.

The Ravens, among the teams with the least amount of cap space in the NFL, saved $1.75 million in by cutting Webb, with $800,000 in dead money. This marks the second year in a row that the Ravens released Webb; last offseason the Ravens cut and eventually brought Webb back on a three-year, $10.5 million deal.

Prior to his release, Webb was one of the longest-tenured Ravens on Baltimore’s roster. A 2009 third-round pick, Webb started 85 games for the Ravens in nine seasons. In 127 games, Webb totaled 409 tackles, 15 interceptions (one pick-six), five sacks, and five fumble recoveries. He also played a key role on special teams as a punt and kick returner. He ran back 85 punts and 38 kicks, including one touchdown in both categories.

In 2017, Webb’s production dipped after returning to the Ravens on his new deal. He only started three games, opposed to starting all 16 games in 2016. He did see an increase in interceptions and sacks (two each in 2017 and one each in 2016), but his playing time diminished and he finished with 35 tackles after notching 59 in 2016.

Webb will be remembered as a versatile leader who overcame a lot of adversity in his career. In nine seasons, Webb suffered two ACL tears, one of which forced him to miss the entire 2012 playoff run including Super Bowl 47. Webb also sustained injuries to his back and hamstring, as well as multiple concussions. When Webb came into the NFL, his first few seasons were spent playing outside corner. Following some injuries, Webb thrived in the slot. After the 2015 season, Webb made the transition to safety and played alongside Eric Weddle. After the addition of Tony Jefferson last offseason, Webb’s time at safety declined and he served a lesser role as a slot cornerback.

Bringing Webb back last offseason was understandable, but it’s unlikely that he will return again in 2018. Webb is 32 and the Ravens possess several young corners that played over Webb in 2017, like Marlon Humphrey and Maurice Canady. Not to mention that Tavon Young will return from a torn ACL, and the Ravens will likely keep Brandon Carr after Ozzie Newsome’s comments at the NFL combine. Even with Jimmy Smith’s season-ending Achillies injury last season, Humphrey, Carr, and Canady all played over Webb, and Young’s return will only bump Webb down more. Webb is on the last legs of his career, and his cap number did not justify keeping him on a roster that has several pressing needs on offense.

Image Credit: Baltimore Ravens

Ravens sign James Hurst to four year deal

Just hours before free agency talks can begin, The Baltimore Ravens announced that they had re-signed left guard, James Hurst to a four-year deal worth $17.5 million.

With Hurst set to hit the open market this week, the Ravens saw an opportunity to bring their left guard back on a friendly deal. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has reported that Hurst will receive $8 million guaranteed.

Due to injuries and loses in free agency, the Ravens moved Hurst from left tackle to left guard in 2017. The former undrafted free agent would end up starting all 16 games for the first time in his career while playing a new position.

Hurst is far from one of the best lineman in the league but his stability has been of great value to the Ravens so far. Since joining the league in 2014, Hurst has been available for all 64 games of his career. Despite being graded outside the top 50 at the guard position by Pro Football Focus, the Ravens could always use a durable lineman.

Fellow offensive lineman, Ryan Jensen will start receiving calls from other teams today as he prepares to hit the open market later this week. There are many needs on this Ravens team but solidifying the line is always a safe option. With no concrete depth behind Jensen the Ravens would likely try to make a serious run at retaining him but his breakout year in 2017 could command a larger payday elsewhere.

Image credit: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press