For the second straight season, the Ravens’ playoff fate is up in the air entering the schedule’s final week. While there are plenty of teams around the league who would envy being in such a position (either one a few minutes up or down I-95, for instance), potentially being shut out of the postseason for a second year in a row doesn’t sit well with Baltimore fans. It would be the first time since the 2004-2005 seasons that such a thing occurred, long before the names John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco meant anything in Charm City.
We all know the situation – the Ravens need to beat the Cleveland Browns, and get help from the Chase Daniel-led Kansas City Chiefs to knock the San Diego Chargers out.
Let’s take a look at the stats, notes, and quotes for Ravens vs. Texans, courtesy of Conrad’s Seafood.
KNOW THY ENEMY
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
Joe Flacco on how the Ravens are able to battle through adversity:
“We have a tight group of guys, but I think we’re used to it around here. I think it starts with John [Harbaugh] and his attitude that he brings into the team meeting room after a loss or that he brings every day in there. It definitely starts with him and filters throughout the rest of us. So, we are able to keep that levelheadedness and keep the same mentality no matter what’s happened the previous week and move on and still go out there next week and play well. We’ve lost more games than we would have liked to at this point, but at the same time, we fought through a lot and continue to come back and come back, and we’re right there in the thick of things. Obviously, that’s a credit to the kind of guys we have here, but like I said, I definitely think it starts with the attitude that John has toward the adversity that we’ve been facing.”
Head coach John Harbaugh on his players’ resiliency:
“We have a resilient bunch. They’re mentally tough; they don’t get caught up in the noise; they don’t get easily distracted. We say, ‘Turn neither to the left nor to the right – eyes straight ahead.’ We have a bunch of very mature men and some young guys that are heading in the right direction because of the mature guys around them that are leading them and showing them the way.”
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees on the Ravens’ red zone defense, which ranks No. 2 in the NFL:
“You hope you’re No. 1 in anything, and that’s what you’re always shooting for. … We’ve been a good red zone team for a long time, and I think we have a good scheme. I think we have guys that believe in that scheme, and that’s half the battle. It’s when they believe that they’re going to get them stopped, and so far, we’ve been able to do that for the most part.”
T Eugene Monroe on what it’s like to be in the playoff hunt:
“It’s exciting when you have a chance to do something special. Anytime you have a chance, there’s energy, there’s excitement, there’s emotion towards that, but it all comes down to us being physical on the field on Sundays and being dominant, and that’s the goal.”
OLB Elvis Dumervil on how he and OLB Terrell Suggs strive to be the NFL’s top sack duo:
“I’ve been there before twice [in Denver with Von Miller], so I definitely want to do that with Terrell. … The thing about it is when you have a top duo in sacks, it really helps the team overall. You have two guys really performing well. He’s been doing a great job. He’s been disruptive on his side. It allows me to have one-on-ones and vice versa. So, we both can take advantage of one-on-ones. It definitely helps our defense.”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Terrell Suggs
What makes a Baltimore Raven?
“You have to think about the team first and yourself second. You have to play with unbelievable passion. That brand, that’s what you represent. You definitely want to play physical, smash-mouth football, and you want to hustle.”
You and OLB Elvis Dumervil are having great seasons. How much pride do you take in being “sack artists?
“We take a tremendous amount of pride in it, but it’s not just us two – it’s our whole room, led by [LBs coach] Ted Monachino. We don’t want to be labeled as just pass rushers. That’s what we do, but we have to earn the right to rush the passer, and that’s by stopping the run and having a lot of success on first down. That also has a lot to do with us. It’s the mentality in our room that it’s on us, and it’s on us to change the game and eventually win the game for our team.”
You referred to rookie LB C.J. Mosley as “half-man, half-amazing.” How much of an impact has he made?
“He’s just making phenomenal plays. I wasn’t here for Ray Lewis’ rookie year, but the guys that were – like other reporters who were – they see similar tendencies between C.J. and a young Ray Lewis. It’s been phenomenal. Since I’ve been here, the only rookie I’ve seen come in and click and catch on like that was Haloti [Ngata]. That’s definitely why we call him ‘half-man, half-amazing.’ It’s because of the plays he makes – the phenomenal plays.”
You wear P Sam Koch’s No. 4 uniform during jersey-swap practices on Fridays. Is there any reason behind that choice?
“I like Sam – he’s one of my favorite guys on the team – and No. 4 is my basketball number. I’ve been trying to get it since my senior year in high school. I was always the little kid that had it. I tried to get it in college, [but] another kid had it. You can’t wear single digits in the NFL, but we started a thing called ‘SingleDigit Friday’ when Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Adalius Thomas and Bart Scott were here. It went 1, 2, 3, and I was No. 4. That’s how it started.”
What NBA team do you follow?
“I don’t have a team now; I’m a solider without a flag, but I am a big LeBron James fan. Long live ‘The King.’”
As a film buff, what movies have risen to the top of your favorites list?
“Everybody loves a comedy. ‘Horrible Bosses 2’ was pretty funny, but it wasn’t as funny as the first one. I go to the movies all the time. I took my kids to see ‘Big Hero 6,’ and I thought that was pretty awesome. I haven’t seen all the good ones yet like ‘The Theory of Everything.’ And ‘Gone Girl,’ I thought that was pretty amazing.”
If you could play one character from any movie, which would it be?
“Bane. Definitely, I’d be Bane from ‘Batman.’”
HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! ~ Key Connections
Ravens general manager/executive vice president and Hall of Fame TE Ozzie Newsome played 13 seasons in Cleveland, recording 662 catches and 7,980 yards – the most in Browns history. He then held positions as a scout, assistant to the head coach/offense/pro personnel, and director of pro personnel before moving to Baltimore with the franchise as VP of player personnel in 1996.
The Ravens’ staff is comprised of many people who were invited to join the franchise when it moved from Cleveland: Sr. VP of public and community relations Kevin Byrne, Sr. director of football video operations, Jon Dubé, VP of operations, Bob Eller, VP of IT, Bill Jankowski, Sr. VP of football admin, Pat Moriarty and head certified athletic trainer Mark Smith.
Ravens senior personnel assistant George Kokinis was the Browns’ general manager for part of 2008. Kokinis originally began his NFL career as an operations intern with the Browns in 1991 before moving to Baltimore with the franchise in 1996.
Baltimore director of pro personnel Vincent Newsome played the final two seasons (1991 92) of his career for the Browns. He then spent three seasons as a special assignment scout in Cleveland before becoming the Ravens’ West area scout in 1996.
Browns head coach Mike Pettine began his NFL coaching career in Baltimore as a coaching and video assistant in 2002. He was also a defensive quality control coach (2003), defensive assistant (2004) and outside linebackers coach (2005-08) for the Ravens.
Browns offensive line coach Andy Moeller coached the Ravens’ offensive line from 2008-13. During that same period, Browns running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery held the same title in Baltimore. Browns D-line coach Anthony Weaver was a second-round draft choice by the Ravens in 2002. He went on to play four seasons (2002-05) in Baltimore.
Baltimore special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg was the special teams coordinator for the Browns from 2001-06, while Ravens defensive line coach Clarence Brooks served in the same role with the Browns in 1999.
Browns LB Paul Kruger (2009-12) was selected by the Ravens in the second round of the 2009 draft. Kruger led Baltimore with 9 sacks in 2012.
Browns S Jim Leonhard started 13 of 16 games for Baltimore in 2008, recording 68 tackles, 1 sack and 1 INT.
Browns senior player personnel associate and Baltimore native Chisom Opara spent the 2004 season as a player personnel assistant with the Ravens after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2003.
Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was a member of Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s Texans’ coaching staff during the 2006-09 seasons. After spending time as a WRs coach (2006) and QBs coach (2007), Shanahan coordinated Houston’s offense from 2008-09.
Browns RB Terrance West attended Towson (MD) University (2011- 13), where he scored a total of 84 TDs over three seasons. Also, Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil served as the defensive coordinator and DBs coach for Towson in 2005.
Browns assistant LBs coach Brian Fleury was a graduate assistant at the University of Maryland (2003-04) and the secondary/special teams coordinator at Towson University (2009-12).
Hometown/High School Connections
Ravens senior VP of football administration Pat Moriarty was born in Cleveland and inducted into the athletic Hall of Fame at Benedictine HS. Head coach John Harbaugh (Perrysburg), defensive coordinator Dean Pees (Dunkirk), inside linebackers coach Don Martindale (Dayton) and FB Kyle Juszczyk (Medina) were also born in Ohio.
Ravens RB Fitzgerald Touissaint prepped at Liberty (Youngstown, OH) HS, where he earned All-Conference and All-County honors in 2008.
Several Browns players hail from Maryland: DB Johnson Bademosi (Silver Spring), DB Joe Haden (Fort Washington), DL Phil Taylor (Clinton) and RB Terrance West (Baltimore). Assistant LBs coach Brian Fleury is from Germantown, MD.
LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT