As the Ravens gear up for their final dress rehearsal before officially starting the “defense” of their second Lombardi Trophy (I know, Coach Harbaugh doesn’t consider it a defense, but for some of us it’s still fun to think of that way) next week in Denver, there are still some battles to be won.
“Bubble” players will be giving it their all tonight, as they strive to avoid facing “The Turk” and play their way onto the Ravens. For some, this will be the last NFL action they are ever a part of. Others will put enough on film to garner a look from another team. Either way, what you’ll see tonight are guys quite literally playing for their futures.
Tough decisions loom for NFL coaching staffs in the coming week.
While the starters won’t see much (if any) action tonight, the level of intensity on the field will be as high as it’s been all preseason, as these players leave it all on the field hoping to keep a dream alive.
KNOW THY ENEMY
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“I’ll say it again: The Ravens will win the AFC North. No Ray Lewis? No Ed Reed? No problem. Baltimore will field a better defense in 2013 than it did last season – a season that ended in Super Bowl triumph.” - NFL.com’s Adam Schein on the 2013 Baltimore Ravens
“They’re both the real deal. I think [Terrell] Suggs is rushing the passer better than I’ve seen in the time I’ve been here. Obviously, Elvis Dumervil is as good as advertised, but to me he looks the best that we’ve seen him look from afar. He’s just doing a great job every day.” - Head coach John Harbaugh on the pass rushing duo of OLB Terrell Suggs and OLB Elvis Dumervil
“People ask if I can give them information, what the structure should look like, how much involvement should this individual have, who should they report to. I just tell them, ‘I’d like for you to speak to Harry Swayne who is in Baltimore.’ That’s the winning model. He has it all. He’s the benchmark.” - NFL VP of Player Engagement Troy Vincent on the Ravens’ player development program, led by Harry Swayne
“I don’t think there’s a better pair of guards in the NFL than [Marshal] Yanda and [Kelechi] Osemele. Yanda is as nasty as they come, and I don’t know if people really know how good that ‘K.O.’ guy is. He’s unbelievable.” - SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Ross Tucker on the guard combo of Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele
“I feel so good about where we’re going. I think our defense has the chance to be dominant – if you look at our defense on paper, I don’t know how you don’t think they’re better – and our offense is just becoming more and more dominant, and we’re still young. So it’s exciting to see where we can go.” - QB Joe Flacco on the 2013 Ravens
“You don’t. You can never replace a guy like Ray Lewis. The only thing I can do is focus on what I do. I’ve never been a me-person. This is a team sport. It takes all of us together to have great chemistry. We all have to play well as a group. I guess I could have gone to Pro Bowls [in Jacksonville] if we had won more games, but I can’t go back and change things. I can only take what I’ve learned there and hope I can be better for this team.” - Newly-acquired LB Daryl Smith on how you replace former Raven great LB Ray Lewis and how he views his standout career with Jacksonville the past nine years
HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! Key Connections
Ravens senior defensive assistant Steve Spagnuolo was head coach of the Rams from 2009-11.
Ravens RBs coach Wilbert Montgomery coached for the Rams from 1997-2005. Montgomery tutored the Rams’ RBs from 1997-99, the TEs from 2000-02 and then switched back to RBs in 2003. Over his nine-year tenure, the Rams boasted the NFL’s No. 1 offense (378.8 ypg) and ranked third in scoring (25.0 ppg).
Ravens senior advisor to player development O.J. Brigance played with the Rams from 2001-02, helping the team to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Ravens director of pro personnel Vincent Newsome spent eight seasons with the Los Angeles Rams (1983-90). A standout safety, he recorded 12 INTs in 110 games with the Rams.
Rams special teams coordinator John Fassel was Baltimore’s assistant special teams coach from 2005-07.
Rams WR Tavon Austin is from Baltimore and attended Dunbar HS, where he was the two-time consensus Maryland Player of the Year honoree and finished his career as the state record holder with 790 points scored, 123 TDs, 9,258 all-purpose yards and 7,962 rushing yards.
Rams S Rodney McLeod is from Oxon Hill, MD, and attended DeMatha (Hyattsville, MD) HS.
LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT THE EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT
Kyle Boller started four games for you in 2009. Did we not give you enough evidence to understand why this would be a bad idea?