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October 20, 2008

Ravens: What's up with McAlister?

mcalister.jpgChris McAlister was conspicuous in his absence for much of yesterday's victory over Miami, which was examined by Mike Preston in his Ravens Insider column in today's paper and on the Web site. So, what does it all mean?

Don't know that you're going to get a straight answer out of coach John Harbaugh this week, but I think just about anyone can read the writing on the locker room wall. McAlister sat for much of the afternoon because he got torched against the Indianapolis Colts last week. He got caught by Peyton Manning biting on pump fakes and first moves and was one of the major reasons the Colts were able to get such a jump on the Ravens in the first quarter.

Harbaugh has no way of knowing for sure whether that was because he's favoring a gimpy knee or trying too hard to make spectacular plays, but he was able to address either possibility by limiting McAlister's playing time yesterday. Chris obviously wasn't happy about it, but that's probably the idea.

It might be too early to tell whether this is a "who's-the-boss" scenario, but I'm impressed with the way Harbaugh has established his authority during his first year as a head coach. He has already shown he'll sit players who have trouble taking care of the ball. Maybe now he's working on the guys who want to be cowboys out there.

Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 1:28 PM | | Comments (25)
Categories: Just football


Hopefully Harbaugh recognized the same thing I have been saying for eight years. McAlister is not as good as McAlister thinks McCallister is. I hope this was a wakeup call to C-Mac that there is no I in team (unless you play in Dallas).

Cmon Peter.

You know the reason for McAlister's benching wasn't about on the field issues.

You on the Ravens Payroll or something?

I highly doubt your the only one in Baltimore that doesnt know what REALLY happened.

You dont bench one of the best Corners in the league after one bad game. That is just plain stupid.

THere is much more to this story.

Sure you aren't doing damage control, Peter??

I could be wrong, but I really don't think McAlister's on-field performance against the Colts (or his bad knee)had anything to do with his benching. It has all the appearances of an informal disciplinary measure being taken for off-the-field conduct. I expect more information will be coming out over the next few days.

Pete's reply: You may be right. I don't have any new info yet.

I've said for years Mcalister is a mediocre cb.He's had some flashes,but has always gotten burned alot.

Mac had a terrible game against Indy. But I don't think you bench a proven player for one bad start UNLESS he refuses to take the remedial coaching, argues, or misbehaves some other way. PS To say he is mediocre is rediculous.

Touchy subject for me being that McAlister is my favorite Raven for the last 10 years. I'm not sure why he was benched. I'd like to believe it was to send a message that he needs to play sound defense and stop looking into the backfield. The Colts know this and old, slowed down M. Harrison burned him "again." If this was strickly on the field related then I agree with coach and hope he got the message.

"Maybe now he's working on the guys who want to be cowboys out there."

Its no surprise here. Mac was playing outside the system against the colts. He gamebled twice with no over the top help and an inexperienced secondary. Instead of trying to hit the home run every time how about locking down and playing hard and physical every play. The Ravens can't afford to take plays off or play on their own. Thats the issue period.

"To say he is mediocre is rediculous." Thanks Paul B. What else is rediculous? Ravens "fans" who are ready to throw any given player or coach under the bus at any given moment. In fact, it seems like some people spend their Sunday evenings trying to figure someone out to target. Flacco? No. Okay, McGahee? No. Um, okay, McAllister? Go with it. It would be nice if we could collectively consider ourselves (and behave like) a more intelligent fan base.

This guy is lights out on the best receivers week in and week out. He is one of the main reasons we are a perennial top D. To say otherwise is rediculous.

He is mediocre because he doesn't always show up to play, when he does he is good , but he shows up way too infrequently!

I'm glad we finally have a coach who is not afraid of his players. Right or wrong, he is the boss. Good for Harbaugh


I think this is over C-Mac taking some plays off. I have seen it for years and it gets old. Also playing within the scheme. He tends to free lance a bit too much and get burned.

He is just not that one man show anymore. His free lancing and taking plays off is not something that he can get away with anymore. The guy plays within the scheme and plays 100 each down and he is one of the best out there. That is the message I think being sent. Also anyone else think that this is just Harbaugh ?? I think a few other coachs are behind this move as well.

The Brian Billick you are all men and I will treat you like men even when you are not living up to that days are over folks.

Hi Peter,

Would you say that the reason John Harbaugh didn't start because of his rather lazy performance at Indianapolis? I mean, he got burned out two or three times, not a very good note for our defense I must say.

On the other hand, I was proud to see Ravens defense get back in the game in Miami yesterday. Definitely makes up for last weeks freakshow.

Pete's reply: I don't know the reason. Lots of speculation but no facts.

when mcalister doesn't play, the ravens D is mediocre (see 2007 season)...he does jump routes, but more often than not he makes the big plays or at the very least shuts down opposing WRs...this guy has been around for a long time, and I can't remember once that he didn't get destroyed against the colts, it just seems like peyton always has his number...mcalister is a pro-bowl caliber player year in and year out, and i hope to see him retire as a baltimore raven

No one is bigger than the team. Thank you John Harbaugh! Brian Billick let a lot of stuff slide and paid the price for it eventually. Harbaugh is a different style coach, no Prima Donna's allowed. Wake up C-Mac and smell the espresso.

Pete, as usual you bring some stability to an issue that has all the experts pondering. I guess the bottom line is Harbaugh is the boss and his career lies on his decisions. It's good to see a coach who isn't going to let players do their thing. Isn't that what everyone was saying about Billick not controling the locker room?

I like the idea that it was a message for his performance in the Indy game rather than something else. At least you could take some positive out of that scenario. Given his history, you would have to expect all the speculation on alternative explanations. Here's to hoping that you are right.

Good. I hope he is being bench for attitude towards coaches. Someone needs to let the spoiled brats know who is in charge. It was obvious that he has always been a hot head on the field, and I bet you he is no different in the locker room. If sitting doesn't work, than maybe it is time to put a trade package together for maybe some offensive line players or a WR. We have plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball that can easily replace him. He is not the same player he once was. I think that is th primary reason we were getting burned in the secondary. His lack of covering his zones or his matchup, makes everyone else that much more weak. So sit his whiney butt down, maybe it will teach something to him about what the word 'team' means. I think there may be some others that should get the same as well. McAlister IS NOT a pro-bowl caliber player anymore. He is just an average CB that gets burned 50% of the time. I love the devotion some people have for him. Are you one of them Pete?

Pete's reply; I don't think he's an average CB. I think he's a very talented CB who makes some bad decisions.

I'm a Ravens fan through and through. And as a fan, I can admit without bias that C-Mac isn't what he used to be. Is he still one of the best corners in the league? Yes. Does he have the ability to take a teams best receiver and make them a non-factor in the game? Yes. Is he quickly approaching the end of his career? YES. Harbaugh obviously knows something that we don't, and I trust him as a coach. We know that Harbaugh is here for the long run, and it's possible that C-Mac might not be. Either way, the people behind him need to step it up.

even if they do decide to let cmac go, who's going to step in for him? rolle is done in the next 1-2 years, ivy is god-awful at everything, walker hasn't impressed anyone yet either. Fabian Washington should be their #2 cb behind mcalister, and the draft should be used to take another top-notch, shut-down corner (like mcalister) and a WR

How soon we all forget...Last year we played without McAlister for much of the year and every QB who lined up against us took advantage of that. For all of you who think having Frank Walker (who couldn't start in GREEN BAY'S SECONDARY) is an upgrade over C-Mac, you all might as well be Steelers' fans. Where is the loyalty, Ravens fans?? Who haven't Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison embarrassed over the years?? Even Champ Bailey has had a bad day or two (getting burned by T.O. for a 90 yard TD a couple years ago, to be specific). Harbaugh can get away with that against the Dolphins (Pennington has NO arm), but if he benches C-Mac against some of the better passing offenses, he's gonna be facing MUCH tougher questions in the weeks to come... can say most the NFL players are 'talented' because they made it to the pro level. My loyalties go as far as production on the field. McAlister has had the route jumping issues his whole career - nothing new there. In his earlier 'prime' years, he could make up for it with his speed and physical play and either shutdown a WR or get a INT and take it to the house. Problem is, he has not been like that for several years now - and is getting worse. Maybe he is hurt like some have been saying? I say he is nearing the end of his career and we need to start looking to new options - or training others (new guys) at the position better. Pete, when I say 'average player', I don't mean he is no good at his position and by no means am I calling him a no-talent. That said, he has shown that he can get beat by the worst - and the best - WR's this season. Sure, he has come up with some good plays, but when he misses - they usually ALWAYS end up being touchdowns.

I bet there are some guys eyeing his spot and it is getting under his skin...and maybe there could be a little poison (coming from McAlister) in the locker room related to it? I am just making stuff up at this point Peter.

Wow! There are a lot of C.Mac haters here. He is the best CB we have on our team. There's no doubt that he's on the slight delcine; come on he's 31. Regardless though, he is a very strong corner. He has blunders every now and then, but so does every other CB in the NFL. It is the most physicaly demanding position in the game, and no one has been a true shutdown corner since Primetime. Cut Mcalister a break, he is the best we have in an injury plaugued secondary.

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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