I haven’t been able to get behind this whole “root for losses for draft position” thing that many fans have embraced. A few weeks ago, our own Dev Panchwagh tweeted that there aren’t really any can’t-miss prospects at the top of the draft anyway, and I’m going to trust him on that one. With that in mind, I watch football to see WINS. Not to worry about where the team is drafting next season. That’s a loser’s mentality right there, and I’m not ready to play the role of Browns/Lions fan.
However, where I can bring myself to root for a Ravens loss is when (they’re already eliminated and) a loss would hurt Pittsburgh’s playoff chances. The Steelers are behind the Chiefs and Jets in the AFC Wild Card race at the moment, and while I haven’t looked into all the tie-breaker scenarios if all three teams win out (and assuming Cincinnati can win another game or two to stay ahead of Pittsburgh), right now a Chiefs win is bad for the Steelers. The two teams have the same record, and Kansas City owns the head-to-head tiebreaker, at least.
If the Ravens fall to the Chiefs, then by some miracle could beat Pittsburgh next week, it would go a long way toward Baltimore being able to watch the postseason in relative peace.
So, for tomorrow, Go Chefs.
On to this week’s stats, quotes, and more:
KNOW THY ENEMY
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
John Harbaugh on what he tells his players after a loss such as the one vs. Seattle last Sunday:
“I talked to them about what we needed to talk about. I feel like they understand where we’re coming from. We’ve walked through this together. It has been a really, really tough season, right from the get go. There hasn’t been any break, really, from it. We haven’t been good enough to overcome misfortune, or the mistakes that we’ve made. There’s no magical thing that you say. We’re a bunch of grown men in there; we know what to talk about. We just have to find a way to get better. We have to improve. It goes now. It goes on into next year. It’s where we’re at right now.”
WR Kamar Aiken on whether he views himself as a veteran player now that he’s the team’s No. 1 wideout:
“[At 26], I am older than a lot of those guys, so I would say that. (laughter) But, all of us are pretty much young. We’re a young group, and we’re just ready to go.”
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll on how he views the Baltimore Ravens organization:
“I have tremendous respect for what these guys have been through over the years, their accomplishments, their style. Ozzie [Newsome] is incredible. John [Harbaugh] is an amazing coach. He has done everything in the style that I respect as much as I can – tough, physical, hard-nosed, consistent, upfront, straightup guy, the whole thing. I hold them in the highest of regard, because they’ve been a team to deal with for a long time, and that’s what I take the most pride in. The way that they’ve dealt with this season – and the schedule that [they] faced early and the challenges of it – and the injuries that have come up and the toughness and the fortitude that they’ve demonstrated and [the games have] been so close. Their season could be so easily flip-flopped. We know what that’s like, and we have tremendous respect for them. It’s all that kind of stuff. I think the way that they’ve put teams together, the way that they’ve reconstructed stuff – all that kind of stuff – they’ve been so straight up and so stout for so long. That’s how I think if them.”
G/T Kelechi Osemele on switching from LG to LT last week vs. Seattle and if he wants to play LT going forward:
“Obviously, at first, I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to get the technique down in time, but I just honestly wanted to help the team any way I could. [GM and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] approached me, and [John] Harbaugh approached me, and they felt that this was the best way to go. So, when I got the news, I just jumped into my playbook, took some sets, started working out, tried to get my body ready to play a more athletic position and just took it from there. … It felt pretty good out there. I felt comfortable. The more sets I took out there, the more it started coming back [from his time playing LT in college]. So, it felt good.”
CB Jimmy Smith on facing Kansas City this week and bouncing back after a tough loss to Seattle:
“We have all the confidence in the world in our group. That’s never faltered. We definitely believe we’re going to go out against Kansas City [and play well]. The one thing you always know is we are going to fight to the last whistle.”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Timmy Jernigan
What about rushing the QB do you enjoy the most?
“I feel like it’s definitely a reward whenever you get to the quarterback, because in this league, going against these offensive linemen, they’re so big, strong, talented, and they’re smart on top of that, so it’s hard to make those plays. Every time you get to the quarterback – especially playing defensive tackle – it’s special. It’s a little bit easier when you’re coming from the end, but as a tackle, it’s pretty tough.”
What is the most underrated part of the game?
“As a defensive lineman, I think a lot of inside players go unnoticed, like defensive tackle, nose guard. I feel like you have to be a really special player to stand out in there. I think they get overlooked a little bit. But at the end of the day, it’s part of the game when you’re playing that nose guard. You have to do a lot of the dirty work to help everybody out and make plays.”
You’ve said that OLB Elvis Dumervil makes suggestions to you during games. What is that process like?
“It’s fun. He makes life easy on me when I’m out there with him. Even last year with guys like [Terrell] Suggs, he did the same thing. Playing with those veteran guys – guys that know the game, have been around the game – it makes it so much easier for me. It just slows it down for me.”
What was it like being coached by your dad in high school?
“He helped coach me on the defensive line. It was fun. He came out to work every day. He motivated me, because he played the same exact position when he was in high school. Picking his brain a little bit and getting knowledge from him, it definitely helped me. [My dad’s team] went to the fourth round [of the Florida High School Football Playoffs] this year and lost the game before the State Championship. That was a bummer for them.”
Your dream job:
“To be a D-line coach. That’s my dream job when I’m done with playing. That’s why I try to pay attention to every little technique – every little thing that my coaches tell me – to have it in my arsenal when I get ready to do the same thing. I would coach high school, college, maybe. I don’t know if I would want to be an NFL coach.”
“I have an antique car – a 1964 Chevy Impala.”
“There was a quote I got from a Navy SEAL when I was at Florida State. He said, ‘The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.’ I think that pertained to me a lot. The more you work – the more you put in when you’re away from it – when it’s time to play the game, the less you’ll sweat and the more it’ll be easier to you.”
HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! ~ Key Connections
Chiefs OL Ben Grubbs (IR) and OL Jah Reid began their careers in Baltimore. Grubbs, a 2007 first-round selection, earned a 2011 Pro Bowl bid as a Raven, and Reid played 38 games (all 16 as a rookie) after being picked in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Ravens S Kendrick Lewis played four years in Kansas City after being drafted in the fifth round by the Chiefs in 2010.
Ravens WRs coach Bobby Engram finished his 14-year NFL playing career with Kansas City in 2009.
Ravens TE Richard Gordon began this year with the Chiefs and spent parts of 2013 and 2014 seasons in Kansas City.
Several Ravens coaches were on Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia: head coach John Harbaugh (1998-2007), O-line coach Juan Castillo (1995-2012), QBs coach Marty Mornhinweg (2003-12) and strength and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki (2006-07).
LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT
If you remember this, you’re old like me: