Several Ravens are “going home” this week. Coaches Gary Kubiak, Rick Dennison, and Brian Periani, as well as tight end Owen Daniels (more below) were all members of the Houston Texans as recently as last season. Then of course, there’s Jacoby Jones, who got his start in Houston under Kubiak before coming to Baltimore in 2012, and Justin Forsett, who was a Texan in 2012. This is no time to take a trip down memory lane, though; the Ravens find themselves fighting tooth and nail for a playoff position, and if they win out and get some help along the way (one more loss by BOTH Pittsburgh and Cincinnati) they may yet find themselves AFC North Champions for what would be the third time in four years.
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
The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer on why the Ravens are a playoff contender:
“In a word, the defense. Of course, they have their own Super Bowl winner and game MVP in Joe Flacco, who got hot to buzz past the Broncos and the Patriots in the playoffs just two years ago. But in that short time, they’ve also rebuilt their defense to be nasty again. Don’t tell Ray Lewis, but C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith are much more impactful inside than Lewis was in 2012. They’ve had some major injuries and other issues in the secondary, but their front seven, even without Haloti Ngata, has been a swarming, sacking, run-stuffing force because again, they have the best linebackers in the game.”
OLB Elvis Dumervil on the Ravens’ defensive tradition:
“When I decided to come to Baltimore [in 2013], it was one of the reasons I wanted to come here because of the proud defensive [tradition] that has been here – Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Peter Boulware, those guys. So, to be a part of something like that, it’s humbling.”
OLB Terrell Suggs on rookie LB C.J. Mosley:
“He is playing special, phenomenal. That’s why we call him half man, half amazing. I’ve never seen a rookie come in and play like him. There is great potential there, and it comes down to what he does with it. He plays every snap. He never comes off the field. Never.”
Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley on the difficulties of preparing for an offense run by Gary Kubiak:
“Knowing coach Kubiak in his time at Houston, and then really what his mindset is – to run the ball – they’re very, very talented up front. Very talented. And what I like about him is his conviction. I’ve always told our team it’s about a culture of execution. I believe it’s a precision league. And it’s not about how much you do, but what you do, and you must do it very well. And when I look at Baltimore’s offense, that’s what I see – a team that really executes, a team that really operates under that precision; split the front line with their backs. I think the world of him and think the world of how he goes about it.”
RB Justin Forsett on crediting his production to the Ravens’ offensive line:
“They’re great – the best I’ve ever been around. They do a great job of working hard throughout the week, and we come out and produce big numbers. It’s all due to them.”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Owen Daniels
Are you going to look at this Houston game a little differently than the other road games?
“I’m going to approach it the same way. When I get there, though, it’s going to be a little different, because it’s where I live, it’s my home, and I know a lot of the guys that I played with for a number of years. It’s going to be different going into the visitors’ locker room and everything that goes into going back somewhere as a visitor. I’ve never had that experience before, so it’s going to be new for sure.”
What was your impression of the Ravens before arriving in Baltimore?
“From an outsider’s perspective, I just thought the Ravens were a bunch of bullies on the field. Being here, I guess that hasn’t really changed, but I don’t look at it as a negative thing. There are a lot of people that love to hate the Ravens, but when you’re part of this organization, it clearly does things differently than anywhere else, and you hear that from players that come from different teams around the league. It’s a standup organization. They do everything the right way, and I have a lot of confidence in what we’re doing.”
What have you enjoyed most about playing in Baltimore?
“I think living in the city. I live downtown, so you get a great feel of the history of the city. And really it’s their two bird teams; it’s the Orioles and the Ravens, and they really take ownership of their teams. They’re very serious about it, but they’re very fair about how they look at things no matter how we’re doing year-to-year, game to game. The fan base has been amazing.”
You have also played under Gary Kubiak your entire career, which a lot of players can’t say. What’s your favorite thing about Gary as a coach?
“I think the fact that he played for as long as he did. He’s very relatable to us, and he knows what we’re going through, like at the end of training camp when it’s getting tough. He knows what our bodies are going through and what our minds are going through, and the same thing in the season. So, playing for a coach that played and is as good as he is at what he does, I feel very lucky to have played for him for nine years.”
How do you describe the following people?
“He’s like a big kid. I love his enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter coming off a big win or a tough loss, whether it’s in the offseason or mid-season, he’s always upbeat and really confident in what’s going on.”
“He’s just a cool dude. I think that’s how he comes across to most people. If you can’t get along with him, then there’s something wrong with you.”
“He’s like Rain Man. He’s so smart and detailed when it comes to football, and half the time you don’t know what he’s talking about, but he knows what he’s doing. He’s very smart with everything he does.
HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! ~ Key Connections
Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak was the Texans’ head coach from 2006-13, earning back-to-back AFC South crowns in 2011 and 2012 and two playoff berths. Ravens QBs coach Rick Dennison was Houston’s “O” coordinator (2010-13), and Ravens TEs coach Brian Pariani served in the same capacity for the Texans from 2006-13.
Ravens TE Owen Daniels was originally selected by Houston in the fourth round (98th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft and spent seven seasons with the Texans (2006-13). Daniels ranks second all-time in Texans history in receptions (385) and receiving yards (4,617).
Ravens WR/RS Jacoby Jones was originally selected by the Texans in the third round (73rd overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft and played five seasons in Houston (2007-11). Jones is the only player in Texans’ franchise history to have 4 career returns for a TD.
Ravens RB Justin Forsett played one season with the Texans (2012), carrying the ball 63 times for 374 yards and 1 TD.
Ravens TE Phillip Supernaw originally signed with the Texans as an undrafted free agent and spent two seasons (2012-13) in Houston.
Texans OLB John Simon was originally selected by Baltimore in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Ravens asst. O-line coach Todd Washington played in Houston from 2003-05. He saw action in 46 games (including 14 starts at LG in 2003).
Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees held the same position with the Patriots (2006-09) while Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was New England’s offensive assistant (2007), wide receivers (2008) and quarterbacks coach (2009-10).
Several Ravens hail from Texas: O-line coach Juan Castillo (Port Isabel), TE Crockett Gillmore (Bushland), LB Zachary Orr (DeSoto), G Kelechi Osemele (Houston), TE Phillip Supernaw (Katy) and K Justin Tucker (Austin).
Texans OLB Jason Ankrah (practice squad) attended Quince Orchard (Gaithersburg, MD) HS.
LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT