This week, the Ravens return home, where they look to improve their record to 3-1 against a Carolina Panthers team that’s fresh off getting embarrassed at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers. We know that Steve Smith has had this game circled since coming over from the Panthers this offseason, but he’s going to need a big effort from his teammates to send this redemption-minded Carolina squad home “icing up.”
The big question on everyone’s mind is, how will rookie James Hurst hold up at left tackle in Eugene Monroe’s absence? We’re just under 24 hours shy of finding out…
Let’s take a look at the quotes, stats, and notes in this week’s Crab Bag brought to you by Conrad’s Crab House.
KNOW THY ENEMY
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees on Baltimore’s home crowd:
“This crowd here, defensively, there is no place like this place – none. I don’t care how loud they cheer or how long they cheer. When they’re chanting, ‘Defense,’ I’m happy. This is a unique, unique place.”
OLB Terrell Suggs on the Ravens facing adversity and dealing with potential distractions:
“It’s not really an ‘us-against-the-world’ mentality, but we are a very close-knit group. … We’re a team, and we’re an organization, and united we stand. We’re not going to flinch. Who knows what an NFL season will bring? You’ve just got to band together and sit together and do it.”
G Kelechi Osemele on what C Jeremy Zuttah brings to the Ravens’ offense:
“He is really athletic. He is stronger than he looks, and he is highly intelligent. Having a guy that can go out there and make the calls quickly – and be agile and athletic enough to also help in the run game, as well as be the center that has to be the quarterback for the offensive line – it’s a pretty potent combination.”
Head coach John Harbaugh on K Justin Tucker’s perfectionism and consistency of the Ravens’ specialists:
“That’s the thing about ‘Tuck’ that’s so great – he’s so motivated. He’s never satisfied. He’s never happy. He can kick a ball straight down the middle and come back and tell me what was wrong with it. As a coach, you feel pretty good about that. It’s the guy that’s missing it 3 yards to the right that’s telling me how good a kick it was that you kind of really don’t want to hear. He’s a perfectionist. They all are – Sam [Koch] is, Morgan [Cox] is. That’s a great group. I really think it’s the best group of specialists in football.”
Ravens Assistant GM Eric DeCosta on the Ravens’ development process for young draft picks:
“I think we’ve got a wonderful structure in place with our scouting staff and our coaches working very, very well together. When you have the scouting, the coaching and the strength and conditioning program all working together, most of our guys really do improve. I think that’s been the biggest part of the success we’ve had.”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Jeremy Zuttah
What has been the best part about joining the Ravens after several years in Tampa?
“I would probably say the fans and the atmosphere. It’s different [than] just about anywhere else in the NFL. I think we have the best fans in the league, and they show their appreciation for us every time we do something.”
Being a seven-year veteran, what leadership qualities have you brought to the offense since joining the team?
“I bring in a strong work ethic. I’m not a big ‘rah-rah’ guy. I put my pads on and go to work every day.”
What has it been like to work with offensive line coach Juan Castillo, and how has he prepped the line to face tough defenses throughout the season?
“Coach Castillo is a great coach, one of the best coaches in the league. He stresses the fundamentals and techniques to help us do things consistently so we can give ourselves a chance.”
What is the best characteristic of the offensive line as a group?
What is the best advice that you have ever received?
“Don’t make excuses. If you make excuses, you’re not really giving yourself a chance. You put the ownership on yourself and work through things.”
Which Raven is …
“Kelechi Osemele or Brandon Williams.”
Most likely to become a sports analyst?
Most likely to become a coach?
“‘The Lion King’ or ‘Gladiator.’”
Favorite vacation spot:
Favorite NFL stadium other than your own:
The Return of the Running Game
HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! ~ Key Connections
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and Panthers head coach Ron Rivera both served together on the Philadelphia Eagles’ coaching staff. Harbaugh was the special teams coordinator (1998-2006) and secondary coach (2007) while Rivera was the LBs coach (1999-2003). Several other coaches from these teams were part of the Eagles’ coaching staff during this span:
Ravens offensive line coach Juan Castillo was an offensive assistant (1995-96), TEs (1997) and offensive line coach (1998-2010). Ravens secondary/assistant head coach Steve Spagnuolo was the defensive assistant (1999-2000), DBs (2001-03), and LBs (2004-06) coach. Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was a scouting administrative coordinator (1999-2000), assistant to the head coach (2001), defensive assistant/quality control (2002-03), assistant DBs (2007), secondary/safeties (2008), LBs (2008), LBs/secondary (2009-10) coach in Philadelphia.
Ravens WR Steve Smith Sr. was originally selected by the Panthers in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft and played 13 seasons for Carolina (2001-13). Smith Sr. is the Panthers’ all-time leader in receptions (836), receiving yards (12,197), receiving TDs (67), and also set a Panthers’ franchise record with 75 total TDs.
Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs (2003 & 2011) and Panthers LB Luke Kuechly (2012 & 2013) are in a select group of players to have won both The Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year and AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Panthers offensive line coach John Matsko previously served as the Baltimore Ravens’ “O” line coach (2008-11).
Panthers TE Ed Dickson was originally selected by the Ravens in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Dickson played in 60 games for the Ravens from 2010-13 and was a member of their Super Bowl XLVII team.
Panthers DT Dwan Edwards was originally selected by the Ravens in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft and recorded 89 tackles for Baltimore from 2004-09.
Panthers QB Derek Anderson was originally selected by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft and went on to play for the Cleveland Browns (2005-09), Arizona Cardinals (2010) and Carolina Panthers (2011-present).
Panthers K Graham Gano was originally signed by the Ravens as a rookie free agent in 2009.
LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT