Podcast Episode 4: Pop the champagne, Chris Davis has been benched!

Welcome to Episode 4 of the new Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with Nolan McGraw and Jake McDonnell. Things sound a little different this week with Nolan hosting the show as Jake enjoys his vacation.

The podcast begins with a look at a few of the famous figures in Baltimore to wear the number four in their career. The guys follow that up by diving right into a few of the big Orioles stories from this past weekend, including Chris Davis being benched and the Orioles interviewing Ned Colletti.

After discussing the tough news surrounding Richard Bleier and his injury, the guys transition into some Ravens talk. Lamar Jackson got the opportunity to run the offense during practice this past Thursday which quickly caught the attention of the national media. Nolan and Jake give their opinions on Jackson’s progress thus far and comment on the media circus forming around the rookie QB and starter, Joe Flacco.

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Podcast Episode 3: Nothing can JUSTIFY how bad the Orioles are

Welcome to Episode 3 of the new Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell and editor Nolan McGraw.

The guys kick off the show today talking about two monumental events in the Baltimore/D.C. sports community – the Washington Capitals winning the first Stanley Cup in franchise history, and Justify becoming the 13’th Triple Crown winner.

Ravens mandatory minicamp is underway this week, with the team holding three mandatory practices through Thursday. What did Nolan and Jake take away from the first day of camp?

Not much changes through the weeks when it comes to the Baltimore Orioles. The team now holds a 19-47 record, but no changes have been made as of now. The Charm City Bird Watch gang discusses Buck Showalter’s questionable managing decisions and the returns of both Zach Britton and Darren O’Day.

Last but not least, the return of one of our many new segments, Don’t Be A Jerk! Which sports figure will Jake call out this week for being a jerk? Listen and find out!

Subscribe to the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes. Please leave us a review, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode!

Podcast Episode 2: Yes, we talked about hockey

Welcome to Episode 2 of the new Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell and editor Nolan McGraw.

We don’t normally talk hockey here on the podcast, but we would be remiss if we didn’t kick off the show by discussing the Washington Capitals 3-1 (2-1 during recording of podcast) lead in the Stanley Cup Finals over the Vegas Golden Knights. After years of coming up short, will Alex Ovechkin and the Caps finally bring the cup home to D.C.? Nolan and Jake discuss.

The Orioles are now 17-41 and on a seven-game losing streak. Over the weekend, Dan Duquette said that the team needs to “put a sharper focus on the future.” Will the ownership actually go for it, even with Duquette and Buck Showalter’s contracts expiring after the season? The CCBW crew dive into this ever-important debate.

There’s not much new to report on the Ravens front this week, but Nolan and Jake spent some time digging into OTA nuggets and contemplating the potential starting offensive line combinations. Hear who the guys see winning the spots at left guard, center, and right tackle.

Last but not least, we debut our second newest segment in as many weeks, What an idiot! And guess what? There are multiple culprits this week!

Subscribe to the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes. Please leave us a review, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode!

Podcast Episode 1: It’s time for a yard sale at the warehouse

Welcome to Episode 1 of the new Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell and editor Nolan McGraw.

Last week, the NFL released a new set of rules for players to follow during the National Anthem. Without going into the political side of the discussion, Jake and Nolan ponder what impact the new rules will likely have on the NFL and potentially the country.

Also last week, organized team activities (OTA’s) began for the Ravens in Owings Mills. After hearing from Joe Flacco, the CCBW crew analyze Flacco’s response to the Lamar Jackson questions after the two were on the practice field together for the first time.

With the Orioles now 20 games below .500 and 20 games out of first place in the American League East, Nolan and Jake reinforce the importance of a rebuild that the franchise continues to put off. The two also discuss Jim Palmer’s comments about Chris Davis last week on MASN, and question what the Orioles should do with their slumping $160 man.

Last but not least, we end the episode by introducing a new segment called Don’t Be A Jerk! Who will Jake and Nolan call out this week? Listen and find out!

Subscribe to the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes. Please leave us a review, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode!

Podcast: Jake and Nolan analyze where the Orioles are, and talk Ravens as OTA’S begin

Welcome to the latest episode of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell and author Nolan McGraw.

With the Orioles 17.5 games back in the American League East, some decisions need to be made in the warehouse. At what percentage do Jake and Nolan think players like Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Zach Britton, and Brad Brach could be moved? The guys also ponder what to do with Chris Davis, and look ahead to this week’s series against the White Sox.

On Monday, Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) begin for the Ravens in Owings Mills. The CCBW duo go over the biggest storylines surrounding the Ravens at this point in the offseason, including the relationship between Joe Flacco & Lamar Jackson, the retooled receiving core, the position battles along the offensive line, and the impact of concession price reductions at M&T Bank Stadium.

Subscribe to the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes. Please leave us a review, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode!

Round 4 recap: Ravens make first defensive selections

The Ravens entered the final day of the 2018 draft with a surplus of picks. After trading back four times between Thursday and Friday, Ozzie Newsome and company had stockpiled seven picks for the final three rounds, three of which came in the fourth round.

Pick #18 (#118 overall): Anthony Averett – CB, Alabama

Cue the Alabama jokes. It’s no secret that Ozzie loves defensive players from his alma mater, but Averett provides the Ravens secondary with even more depth. Last year Baltimore added Brandon Carr in free agency and drafted Marlon Humphrey from Alabama. Both pick ups helped bolster a secondary that suffered from injuries in previous seasons and allowed the defense to withstand the test of a full season. With Jimmy Smith likely sidelined for a portion of the 2018 season, this pick makes a lot of sense.

The Ravens dedicated their first four picks to helping the offense but ending the weekend with another unbalanced draft would not do the team any favors. We saw this last year when the Ravens went all in on the defense.

Averett did not see any play time in his first two years at Alabama due to a stacked depth chart and some injuries. When he finally made it on the field as a junior and senior, Averett showed good consistency. Scouts commend his athleticism but note that he could become a target for QB’s to pick on.

Fun fact: Averett is the nephew of Bryant McKinnie, the former Ravens left tackle who was a part of the 2012-13 super bowl run.

Pick #22 (#122 overall): Kenny Young – ILB, UCLA

Just a few picks later the Ravens added another defensive player. Kenny Young really started turning heads during his senior year when he led the Bruins with 110 tackles and was named a first-team All-Pac-12 linebacker.

The Ravens already have their anchor at the linebacker position with C.J. Mosley but Young could come in and compete with the likes of Albert McClellan, Patrick Onwuasor and Kamalei Correa for play time. His speed and agility makes him a valuable defender against the run but scouts question his physicality.

Pick #32 (#132 overall): Jaleel Scott – WR, New Mexico St.

After missing out on and passing up some receivers in the first three rounds, the Ravens finally selected one in the fourth. Jaleel Scott is not a big name like D.J. Moore or Calvin Ridley but he will join a diverse receiving core with good veteran leadership and talent around him.

Scott struggled academically out of high school making him ineligible for many of the D1 schools that were recruiting him. After redshirting his first year at Ellsworth Community College, Scott made an immediate impact and finished with all conference honors in 2015. Scott was able to transfer to New Mexico State in 2016 and played his final two years there. Scouts started to take notice during his senior season when he racked up 1,079 yards and nine touchdowns on just 76 receptions.

The Ravens were likely attracted to Scott’s size and reach. Standing at 6’5″ and weighing 218 pounds, Scott is a physical receiver with the ability to battle defenders for the ball. He doesn’t shy away from contact but lacks the speed and route running ability of other receivers drafted before him.

Photo credits: Rick Scuteri / Associated Press, Harry How / Getty Images, Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports

Ravens continue offensive overhaul in third round by selecting OT Orlando Brown and TE Mark Andrews

After trading back twice in the third round, the Ravens continued to build on the offensive side of the football by drafting two Oklahoma players – offensive tackle Orlando “Zeus” Brown (83’rd overall) and tight end Mark Andrews (86’th overall).

The Ravens were supposed to kick off the third round with the 65’th overall pick, but traded back to pick #75 from the Oakland Raiders. As a part of the trade, Baltimore received picks #152 (fifth round) and #212 (sixth round) from Oakland. Then, a few picks before pick #75 approached, the Ravens traded back yet again with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens received Kansas City’s 86’th overall pick and the 122’nd pick (fourth round).

Brown’s father, Orlando “Zeus” Brown, also an offensive tackle, played for the Ravens from 1996-98 and passed away in 2011 due to diabetic ketoacidosis.

Brown, 6’8″, 345 pounds, is not the best athlete in the world, but he knows how to use his size to his advantage. His hands and his arms are perhaps his best attributes, as he is able to extend his arms to prevent pass rushers from advancing into the pocket. However, his feet are slow, he lacks strength, and he has a tendency to hold.

Brown’s NFL combine performance was especially concerning. He finished at the bottom of the list of NFL lineman in the 40-yard dash (5.85 seconds), vertical jump (19.5 inches), and posted the worst bench press total in the vertical jump for all offensive lineman (14 reps, 225 pounds). His stability and toughness are a major concern going forward.

Andrews, a former wideout, caught 62 passes for 1,765 yards and 22 touchdowns over three seasons at Oklahoma, averaging 15.8 yards-per-catch. He knows how to produce in the red zone, catching one touchdown for every five catches. He’s a big frame at 6’5″, 256 pounds, but he can still make defenders miss. His speed declined over his collegiate career, his blocking needs to improve, and he could be a liability in the run game.

The Ravens have now used their first four picks of the 2018 draft on offense, with two picks dedicated to the tight end position. Along with Andrews, the Ravens drafted South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst on Thursday. Andrews and Hurst will join a tight end room with Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle.

Brown’s case will be interesting. Ronnie Stanley will be the starting left tackle in 2018, but the right tackle spot will be Brown’s position to lose. The Ravens gave James Hurst a four-year, $17.5 million contract in the beginning of the offseason, but he has not proven to be reliable at either tackle position. He is better suited as a left guard. Marshal Yanda will return, along with Alex Lewis and Matt Skura. Skura and Lewis look to lock down starting jobs along the offensive line. Brown will certainly have an opportunity to lock down the right tackle job, but there are several concerns with his technique and work ethic.

Rounds 4-7 will take place tomorrow, Apr. 28, beginning at 12:00 p.m. EST. The Ravens will pick seven times on Saturday; three times in the fourth round (#118, #122, and #132), once in the fifth round (#152), twice in the sixth round (#190 and #212), and once in the seventh round (#238).

Image Credit: Dani Krempasky