It’s been seven months since the Ravens hoisted their second Lombardi Trophy down in the Big Easy. Of course, one of the teams they climbed over on their way there was the Denver Broncos, the AFC’s #1 seed going into the playoffs. Broncos fans, much like Ravens fans did when Lee Evans/Billy Cundiff were fresh in our own minds early last season, feel that the Super Bowl appearance was theirs, and are thirsty for revenge.
The Ravens were able to muster a small bit of redemption in their Week 3 win over New England last year, but we Ravens fans know that the revenge wasn’t entirely complete until the AFC Championship was ours in Foxboro.
So while Broncos fans may consider it “revenge” should their squad beat the Ravens in an opening week game, until Denver bests Baltimore in the postseason, we’ll always have the last laugh.
The Ravens, of course, are in no mood to give the Broncos even the slightest measure of redemption. John Harbaugh is 5-0 in season openers. Can he extend the streak to 6-0?
KNOW THY ENEMY
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“I’ve just been watching, listening and reading what people have been saying about us, and I don’t feel people respect us for what we accomplished last season and the group we have assembled this year. I know critics are supposed to have their opinions, but I’m getting pumped to prove them wrong. I love this new group. We’ve changed personnel, but we haven’t changed the personality. There is a certain standard here in this city, and we have to honor that. It’s about us getting back to business again. Sure, we’ve lost some players, and we’ve added some, too. And, we already have a lot of good players back. It is one team with one purpose, and it is going to take everybody to lead, not just one person, not just me.” – Terrell Suggs on the 2013 Ravens
“The Ravens consistently have been underrated and overlooked in recent years. Even after winning the Super Bowl, many think that the Ravens are destined to collapse. Sorry, but it’s impossible to ignore five-straight postseason appearances, a great head coach, a great quarterback and a front office that knows when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. The Ravens won’t be folding ‘em anytime soon. Though a repeat could be too much to expect, it’s not nearly as out of the question as many presume.” – ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio on the 2013 Ravens
“I think Baltimore, historically, has been one of the best and most consistent drafting teams out there, and it starts with Ozzie Newsome and his philosophy, and it extends to Eric [DeCosta] and his staff. I think they are one of the best staffs that I’ve seen in this league, and part of the reason is they have been together for so long. That’s the first piece. I think there’s a lot of talent on the personnel side led by Ozzie.” – The NFL Network’s Mike Mayock on what makes Baltimore one of the best drafting teams in the NFL
“They both want to put the dagger in the heart of the other football team. I think Joe is just going to talk to the other football team while he does it. You love to see the confidence exuded from Joe, the command that he has in the huddle. It really energizes other guys.” – Former Giant and new Raven DE Chris Canty comparing QB Joe Flacco and QB Eli Manning
“I’ve come to a first-class organization from the owner on down. Head coach [John Harbaugh], Ozzie [Newsome] and those guys really demonstrate the way they want things to be done. And coming in, obviously, the reputation with Ray Lewis, Ed [Reed], those guys – it’s kind of like the picture is there of what you need to do, and I just try to come in and do what I need to do to win.” – OLB Elvis Dumervil on joining the Ravens
GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Jacoby Jones
What’s the greatest play you’ve ever made?
“The Denver bomb. On the series before that, it was third-and-5, and Joe [Flacco] threw a ball I should have caught. I was like, ‘Damn, not this again,’ just like the muffed punt mistake I made playing for Houston the year before against the Ravens. But then our defense gave us a great opportunity, and we made the play.”
What was your emotion like after scoring that touchdown?
“When I was running in the end zone, I couldn’t believe that really just happened. I always do a dance when I score, but I couldn’t even do that. I just blew a kiss to the sky to thank God. I looked up to the sky and thanked The Man. It was the only touchdown I had no dance for last season.”
Are there words to describe that Denver game?
“It was the greatest game I’ve ever played in or seen. For it to go two overtimes, in 1-degree weather, and for it to be a true dogfight – nothing but crazy.”
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
“My mom sends me a scripture every morning. It doesn’t matter what day it is.”
What’s something exhilarating you’d try?
“I will not skydive, I will not mess with sharks, but I might get in a race car to see how fast they go.”
How are the 2012 and 2013 Ravens similar/different?
“Honestly, it’s the same team personality-wise and in character. The only difference is we’re younger and faster. Otherwise, it’s the same type of team.”
What first pops into your mind when you hear the following names?
John Harbaugh: “A big brother.”
Joe Flacco: “Little brother, who’s a lot smarter than I am.”
Elvis Dumervil: “A bully.”
Ozzie Newsome: “He’s like my grandfather – old school. Good man.”
Corey Graham: “Well-rounded individual, family man. Smart and knows how to play the game.”
Mile High Stadium: “See you soon.”
No More “Dink and Dunk”
The Ravens have long had a reputation as a “dink and dunk” offense that doesn’t scare teams deep. Even now, Joe Flacco gets labeled as a “check-down artist” by folks who laud the Brett Favres and Tony Romos of the world for throwing interceptions into triple coverage 30 yards downfield.
The fact is, though, the Ravens are a big play offense. Flacco and third-year WR Torrey Smith have a lot to do with that.
HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! ~ Key Connections
Several Ravens have played for the Denver Broncos: director of player development Harry Swayne (1997-98), WR Brandon Stokley (2007-09, 2012) and OLB Elvis Dumervil (2006-12). Swayne earned his first two Super Bowl rings with the Broncos and later earned two more with the Ravens in 2000 and 2012. Dumervil, a three-time Pro Bowler, ranks fourth on the Broncos’ all-time sacks list with 63.5 quarterback drops. In 2009, he led the NFL in sacks with a career-high and then-franchise-record 17 QB drops for Denver.
Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was the Ravens’ LBs coach from 1999-2001 before eventually becoming head coach of the Jaguars. As Jacksonville’s head coach (2003-11), Del Rio headed a staff that included Ravens LBs coach Ted Monachino (2006-09) and strength and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki (2005). Ravens LB Daryl Smith (2004-11) played eight seasons under Del Rio.
Ravens ILBs coach Don “Wink” Martindale was a member of the Broncos’ coaching staff for two seasons (2009-10). Martindale was the team’s LBs coach in 2009 before being promoted to defensive coordinator for the 2010 campaign.
Broncos QB Peyton Manning (1998-2011) was teammates with several current Ravens while with the Indianapolis Colts: TE Dallas Clark (2003-11) and WR Brandon Stokley (2003-06). Manning also worked closely with Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, who served as the Colts’ QBs coach (2002-07), associate head coach (2008) and head coach (2009-11). Caldwell, Manning, Clark and Stokley were all members of the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI Championship team.
Broncos head coach John Fox (1986-88) and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (1987) and Harbaugh’s father, Jack (1987-88), all served as assistant coaches at the University of Pittsburgh in 1987. Fox served as the team’s defensive coordinator/secondary coach, John as the TEs coach and Jack as an assistant.
LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT THE EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT
Sometimes, the jokes write themselves…