Monday, October 31, 2022

Tyler Linderbaum

Ravens Offensive Line Dominating ... Led by Rookie Tyler Linderbaum


Baltimore Ravens Tyler Linderbaum is turning the corner at center.


OCT 30, 2022 3:27 PM EDT


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens offensive line has bullied opponents over the past several games. The run blocking has been especially dominant, and the Ravens have rushed for more than 200 yards in two of the last three games. 

Rookie center Tyler Linderbaum has helped set the tone for that unit and he's turning into a dominant player. In this week's 27-22 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Linderbaum had a team-high 91.3 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus.

The Ravens are now looking smart for drafting Linderbaum in the first round of the 2022 draft

"He told me after Week 4, we were talking about a couple of things, he said, ‘Hey, it’s only my fourth game. I’m going to keep getting better,’" coach John Harbaugh said. "And I believed him, and it’s been true. He’s just that kind of guy; he’s all business, he’s all ball, he loves it, he works really hard at it.

"He’s been playing well. He’s already playing really well, so to say that he’s going to keep getting better is quite a statement, and that’s a good thing.”

The return of left tackle Ronnie Stanley also has helped stabilize the offensive line. Left guard Ben Powers has quietly put together a solid season. The right side of the line is anchored by stalwart guard Kevin Zeitler and tackle Morgan Moses. Pat Mekari has also been a key contributor at both tackles and is rewarding the team for his contract extension in the offseason.

"The offensive line is coming together," Harbaugh said. "They’re time on task, and I just think that they’re playing at a really high level right now, but we have to keep doing it, keep building it."

How the Seahawks Keep Winning



October 31, 2022

After a decade of having [Russell] Wilson, Seattle’s adjustment away from him has gone considerably smoother than Denver’s adjustment with him. And that is, in large part, because the Seahawks didn’t overhaul the position. They kept Geno Smith. They brought in Drew Lock, as part of the Wilson trade, to compete with him. And they kept the team mostly together, while adding an ultra-talented rookie class to the roster.

That continuity counted on Sunday at the most important time.




All this has done is validate what the Seahawks thought they had in the summer—something they told everyone who would listen was there, even as most expected the first year post-Wilson to be a total rebuild, -throwaway year. They believed it, because they saw it, and now everyone else can, too.


“Just watching ourselves on tape, we’re one of the fastest teams in the league,” [Geno] Smith said. “We’ve got a lot of explosive players. We have a great offensive line. It starts with our center [Austin Blythe] who’s played a lot of football, and he knows what he’s doing. And then we have coaches who believe in us,” Smith said. “We have coaches who put a lot on our plate; they’re not afraid to put us in situations that are going to be tough because they believe that we’re going to make the plays. And so we just gotta continue to stay focused and stay together.”

Buckeye and Olympian Katie Smith to speak at Ohio State autumn commencement


Basketball star to give address on Dec. 18

October 28, 2022

Katie Smith, former Ohio State women’s basketball player, Olympian and WNBA coach, will be the speaker at The Ohio State University’s autumn commencement.

Katie Smith playing for Ohio State


The ceremony will be held on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center, with approximately 3,600 diplomas issued.

“Olympian. WNBA champion and coach. Big Ten champion. Record-breaking Buckeye. Katie Smith knows what it takes to win, and she is dedicated to teaching others how to do it – both on and off the court,” said President Kristina M. Johnson. “Smith’s message of how perseverance, dedication, and hard work breeds success in all aspects of life – be they in the gym, the boardroom, or any other arena – is one I believe will be invaluable for our graduates, their friends and family, and our entire campus community.

“We couldn’t be more excited that she will be speaking at autumn commencement. I am looking forward to hearing from her and to welcoming her back to campus.” 

Smith was a forward on Ohio State’s women’s basketball team from 1993-1996. She broke the Big Ten’s scoring record, for both men and women, and was named Big Ten Conference Player twice. The university retired her number, 30, after she graduated. She completed her bachelor’s in 2008 and also earned a master’s at Ohio State in 2014.

Smith spent 15 years playing in the WNBA. She was a seven-time All-Star, won two WNBA Championships and was named to the league’s W25, the top-25 players in its 25-year history. She is also a three-time Olympian, winning gold medals with the USA national team in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

After retiring from play, Smith coached the WNBA’s New York Liberty before joining the Minnesota Lynx’s coaching staff in 2020. She was named associate head coach in 2022. She has been inducted into both the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.


Thursday, October 27, 2022

Bill Belichick expresses confidence in Patriots backup center James Ferentz: ‘He definitely knows what to do’


Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots’ loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday night was a costly one for more reasons than the final score. The Patriots also saw several players go down with injuries, including their starting center.

David Andrews sustained a head injury in the fourth quarter after absorbing an illegal blindside block. The team captain walked off under his own power, but he did not return to the game and eventually was placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Andrews’ status for the Patriots’ upcoming game against the New York Jets is therefore in question, especially after he missed Wednesday’s practice.

If the veteran is unable to return in time, New England already has a replacement ready: James Ferentz, who took the field on Monday after Andrews’ departure and played the game’s final eight snaps at the center position. Two days later, head coach Bill Belichick expressed confidence in the backup center.

“He’s been in our system a long time,” Belichick said during a press conference on Wednesday. “He definitely knows what to do. Smart kid. Played all three positions in there, center and guard.”

A rookie free agent out of Iowa in 2014, Ferentz has been with the Patriots since 2017. Over the next six seasons, he moved between the active roster and practice squad on a regular basis but still managed to start six games for the team.

This season so far, the 33-year-old has only seen spot duty. He took the field in Week 1 against Miami, replacing rookie Cole Strange for eight total snaps. As noted above, he added eight more snaps to his tally after Andrews’ concussion against the Bears.

Heading into Week 8, there is a real possibility Ferentz will have to move into starting the lineup — something he did two times each during the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons. If such a promotion happens, he will be a downgrade from Andrews (which is not necessarily what New England needs against a defensive line as talented as New York’s).

Still, Belichick is confident Ferentz will be ready for the challenge should push come to shove.

“If James has to play, I’m sure he’ll play well for us.”

Ravens HC John Harbaugh praises play of C Tyler Linderbaum


Steve Rudden 

The Baltimore Ravens drafted center Tyler Linderbaum in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft with the pick they received when they traded wide receiver Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals. There were a few concerns about Linderbaum’s size coming out of college, but so far he’s played exceptionally well for a Baltimore offensive line that needed to perform at a high level.

Heading into their Thursday night game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 8, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh praised the play of the rookie, saying that he’s all business and already playing really well.

The offensive line is extremely important when it comes to offensive success, and Linderbaum has provided a steady presence in the middle of their unit. He’s stifled some of the best interior players in the NFL over the course of his young career so far, something he’ll hopefully be able to do for years in Baltimore.

Two-Time Super Bowl Champion Anthony Pleasant Defines Success For The Northview Chiefs


October 25, 2022

Two-time Super Bowl champion and Century native Anthony Pleasant spoke to the Chiefs Monday in Tommy Weaver Memorial Stadium in Bratt as they passed around his rings. Pleasant, a 1986 graduate of Century High School,  played defense for the New England Patriots when they won two Super Bowls.


Pleasant told the Chiefs that it does not matter that they attend a small school and live in small towns. He said success in football — and life — is about a willingness to work hard and be dedicated.


“No matter what background you come from, from the suburbs, from the hood, wherever you come from,” he said, “didn’t have a dad, grew up in poverty, rich. At the end of the day, it’s how can we come together at one time to win a championship. That’s all that matters.”


“If you want to be successful in life, hang around with successful people,” he said.


But he was quick to caution the Chiefs about how they measure success.

The Northview Chiefs are motivated as they are just two games away from an undefeated season with their eyes set on state championship rings. But there’s something about wearing that football uniform and holding two Super Bowl rings that provides extra motivation.



Pleasant said he was deemed successful with two Super Bowl wins and a career in the NFL because he was on national TV and in the media for years.


But just as successful in life, he said, is a man like Anthony Robinson of Century who also present for Monday’s event. We introduced you to Robinson last week as the Century Blackcats youth football program is looking to provide their players with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education during the off season.


“He was an electrical engineer,” Pleasant said about Robinson. “He’s also from Century, but he’s successful. You see me being successful because of what the media puts out there, but you don’t see what he’s doing.”


“He made it; well then we all can make again. Again, what I just do for a living is glorified is because you see me on national TV. But this man right here he coached a little league football; what they don’t see is that that he’s preparing those young kids to play for the coach right here to make this job easier,” he added, pointing to Northview head coach Wes Summerford.


“So, no matter what you do in life, you are doing something positive, no one may not see it but you may not get the attention but you are also successful  because you’re doing something positive to give back to the community. It’s now you’re making a difference.”

Anthony Pleasant’s visit with the Northview Chiefs football team was facilitated by

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Austin Blythe: A Top Performer


Report Card: Top Performers in Seahawks 37-23 Win vs. Chargers


October 25, 2022

Vaulting into first place in the NFC West, the Seahawks used a balanced, explosive offensive attack and an opportunistic defense to race out to a 17-point lead and earn a convincing 37-23 road upset victory over the Chargers on Sunday.

As expected, Seattle had no shortage of stars on the field on both sides of the ball in the most complete game by the team so far this season. Here are my top five grades and other notable performances from an impressive win at SoFi Stadium in Week 7:

Austin Blythe

Overall Grade: 86.0 (Run Blocking 82, Pass Blocking 90)

In his first season at the pivot position for the Seahawks, Blythe has battled inconsistency, particularly as a run blocker where his smaller stature can lend itself to struggling to create push at the point of attack. But the savvy veteran put together his most complete game thus far against the Chargers, executing several quality reach blocks in the run game and using his wrestling athleticism to get onto defenders at the second level to help aid Walker's monster day out of the backfield. Most importantly, in addition to his usual value as the main communicator for a young offensive line calling out blitzes, stunts, and other line calls, he didn't allow a single pressure in pass protection on 31 snaps, limiting interior pressure on Smith all afternoon. Playing better by week, Blythe seems to be settling in with a scheme he already was well-versed in and his improved play continues to have a positive ripple effect on the rest of the unit.

How Fan Huddle Is Shaking Up the Workplace Wellness Industry With On-Demand Digital Experiences Led by Professional Athletes and Experts


Fan Huddle offers hundreds of on-demand fitness and wellness video classes with categories that range from running to cooking tips.

Former NFL running back Robert Smith, a Pro Bowler for the Minnesota Vikings in 1998 and 2000, has been around the medical field for his entire life. He spent plenty of time around hospitals while growing up in a Cleveland suburb since his mother was a registered nurse. As a student-athlete at Ohio State University in the early 1990s, he took classes in biology, chemistry, and physics before the Vikings selected him as a first-round draft pick in 1993.

“I've always been interested in applied science and medicine. When I was at Ohio State, I worked at a hematology and oncology lab doing cloning and sequencing of genes,” Smith tells SportTechie. “This is all the way back in ‘91, so technology was pretty new at that point and a lot different than what’s being done now.”

Smith retired from the NFL in 2001 at 28 years old after repeated knee injuries kept him from sustaining a longer career. Now, he is the founder and chairman of the digital health and well-being platform Fan Huddle. The app offers hundreds of on-demand video classes spanning categories such as:

  • yoga,
  • core workouts,
  • stretching,
  • nutrition,
  • walking,
  • running,
  • strength conditioning,
  • relationship health,
  • meditation,
  • and cooking tips.

The free content is taught by experts in fitness and mindfulness, with appearances from athletes such as fellow former star running backs Emmitt Smith and Eddie George, current NFL players James Conner, Cam Jordan, Jaylon Smith, Irv Smith Jr., Blake Martinez, as well as Chelsea Gray of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces.

Fan Huddle offers on-demand digital experiences as well as coaching and insights from athletes and Olympians.


“To actually have tips, advice, workouts, and stories from these athletes can really help people in their daily lives,” says Smith, who also works as a football analyst for FOX and the Big Ten Network. “People shouldn't have to pay $1,000 or $2,000 for exercise bikes, or $40 a month for these premium services and content. It should be provided by their insurers, and we want to work with those insurers to help provide that.”

Fan Huddle already has partnerships with healthcare plan providers Optum and BurnAlong, which combined have about 15 million users that are now eligible to access Fan Huddle’s content library. Fan Huddle is also in negotiations with other major corporate health plan providers. The NFLPA has equity in Fan Huddle via OneTeam Partners in exchange for player licensing rights given to the startup.

A lot of people moved to digital solutions. A lot of people are going back to the gym, but I think that they supplement it with that home content as well. Think of Peloton, Echelon, those different companies for home equipment. We're looking to supplement the content they have with the athletes and experts that we have as part of our roster.

“We're the first company founded by a former player that the NFLPA has ever done a deal with,” says Smith, who ranks only behind Adrian Peterson for career rushing yards by a Viking. “Eddie George will give an introduction video talking about why he likes yoga, what he does,” he says, describing content on Fan Huddle. “Then an instructor will take you through different levels. Eddie will have encouragement at the halfway point, telling people to continue with the program, and then Eddie will provide a congratulations at the end.”

Former Minnesota Vikings running back and current Fox Sports analyst Robert Smith founded Fan Huddle.

 The NFLPA also appointed Smith as a member of its Retirement Board to represent the interests of NFL players with regards to pension and disability benefits given by the NFL. Smith hired former Microsoft product manager David Donovick to be CEO of Fan Huddle, which formally operated as Fan Health Network as its previous name. The COVID-19 pandemic served as a lightning rod for Smith to grow Fan Huddle’s health services.

“A lot of people moved to digital solutions. A lot of people are going back to the gym, but I think that they supplement it with that home content as well,” Smith says. “Think of Peloton, Echelon, those different companies for home equipment. We're looking to supplement the content they have with the athletes and experts that we have as part of our roster.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Dolphins' imperfect defeat of Steelers keyed by Josh Boyer's 'tremendous plan' | Schad


Joe Schad

Palm Beach Post

MIAMI GARDENS — On the night they honored perfection, it was, well, you know.

Entirely imperfect.

The Dolphins will take it. They'll take a nationally-televised defeat of the Steelers even though they punted six times and went for it on fourth down when, well, even coach Mike McDaniel immediately conceded it was a mistake.

They'll take a 16-10 victory because after losing three straight, a home victory on a night the Dolphins honored the 1972 Super Bowl champions will long overshadow the pockmarks.

There were too many misfires by Tua Tagovailoa, after a hot start, and too many drops and too much miscommunication. More than anything, there haven't been nearly enough points based on the number of yards gained in recent weeks.

"We hit a lull," McDaniel said. "It was like we got punched in the stomach."

McDaniel has a way with words. But we are here to cite a reason for optimism.

That reason is Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer. With former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores observing from the Steelers' sideline as an assistant, Boyer had a heck of a night.

"It was a tremendous plan," McDaniel said. "We wanted to make them earn it. It was a winning effort."

Earlier this week, Boyer said it wouldn't be fair to cite Miami's defensive effort against Minnesota as a winning defensive effort, even though the defense forced 10 punts. Because the Dolphins lost.

After a few sluggish defensive outings, Miami's defense seems to have turned a corner. On this night, the Dolphins forced six punts, but also forced three interceptions.

On this night, Miami's defense stood tall, despite a slew of key injuries.

Already playing without Byron Jones, Emmanuel Ogbah, Nik Needham, Kader Kohou and Keion Crossen, Miami lost top tackler Brandon Jones, a safety, to a knee injury.

What did Boyer do? He adjusted. He utilized Verone McKinley III, an undrafted player just promoted from the practice squad, and special teams demons Justin Bethel and Clayton Fejedelem, too.

"(Josh) did a great job just knowing the personnel that we had, especially with everybody being down," said Bethel, who had a first-quarter interception. "It was a plan we could execute at a high level."

The Dolphins missed some tackles earlier this season and McDaniel said that was a point of emphasis entering this game. Miami also wanted to force more turnovers.

Check mark there, too.

Dolphins hampered by Tua's first game in 3 weeks

Look, Miami's offense was slowed by an injury to Tagovailoa that sidelined him for two games. And Tagovailoa conceded late Sunday that he was a bit off rhythm in part due to missed time.

McDaniel is making no excuses. But all along it was Miami's defense that was intended to backbone the team. Early on, that was not happening. Right now, it is.

After the game, Tagovailoa said he did not speak with Flores, the former head coach with whom he had a poor relationship. Flores and Boyer did not have a bad relationship, but it was wondered by some folks, even some players, how Boyer would do without Flores' collaborative input.

It seems more likely now he's going to be just fine.

"He does a great job organizing the plays and the game plan," said safety Jevon Holland, who had a critical interception late in the fourth quarter. "He plays to our strengths."

The Dolphins are about to see Jared Goff, Justin Fields, Jacoby Brissett and Davis Mills and there's no reason there can't be a really good continued stretch of defensive performance.

Boyer hasn't been able to be as aggressive with the blitzing as he was last year for several reasons. First, the loss of Byron Jones opposite Xavien Howard lends itself to more safeties helping corners.

Safety Brandon Jones goes down with knee injury

A pretty bad knee injury to Brandon Jones would take away one of their best overall blitzers.

On this night, Miami felt it could get after Pittsburgh's offensive line. But the Dolphins didn't want to overplay the pass rush to where Kenny Pickett, the rookie, could expose them with the quarterback run.

"He knows how teams are going to attack us," defensive lineman Zach Sieler said of Boyer. "He calls a smart game. He knows the players. He knows the strengths. He knows how to adapt."

There are few coaches who put in as many hours as Boyer does in the film room. He is extremely well-prepared and it really bothers him when he sees poor technique or too many penalties. They're getting better.

The Dolphins are 4-3 and there are 10 regular-season games left. There is plenty of time for Boyer to fully escape Flores' shadow and put that storyline to bed. 

As McDaniel would say, this situation creates great opportunity.

The Sunday night game was sealed when Holland and then oft-criticized Noah Igbinoghene intercepted Pickett on the final two Steelers' possessions of the game.

McDaniel is witty and has a dry sense of humor but he also has a hard time disguising his true emotions. Asked how he felt after the two interceptions, McDaniel quipped, "hoorah."

Exactly. Not a thriller. Not a classic. But they'll take it.

A perfectly imperfect win. With some encouraging signs from a defense and the coordinator.

Joe Schad is a journalist at the Palm Beach Post part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach him at Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.


Popular Posts