Team Name: Baltimore Ravens
Division: AFC North
Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD)
2013 Record: 8-8
Head Coach: John Harbaugh (2008 – present), smiles more than his little brother Jim Harbaugh (49ers head coach)
Quarterback: Joe Flacco (2008 – present), Blue Hen (University of Delaware grad), Val had an accounting class with him in college, looks creepy when he grows a mustache
3 Offensive Players You Should Know:
– Steve Smith, Sr., Wide Receiver (89) – See below for more details, but all you need to know is that he’s older than most of the guys playing the game and he’s still pretty darn good.
– Owen Daniels, Tight End (81) – Spent the first 8 years of his career in Houston with Gary Kubiak as head coach. He is taller in person than you would expect. Always manages to get a few touchdowns every year.
– Jacoby Jones, Wide Receiver (12) – Split his career between Houston and Baltimore. He’s does a lot of returns and has a few NFL records (longest kickoff return in a Super Bowl, most all-purpose yards in a Super Bowl). He came in third place on Dancing with the Stars last year.
*Bonus* Justin Forsett, Running Back (29) – You get a bonus offensive player from Michelle because she felt like it. Forsett is splitting runs with Bernard Pierce, but overall has done a nice job taking over for Ray Rice. Also, Justin is also a super nice guy and today is his birthday.
3 Defensive Players You Should Know:
– Terrell Suggs, Outside Linebacker (55) – Also known as T-Sizzle, this self-described “dirt bag,” is always smack talking. He backs it up, though. We’ve lost count of the number of times he’s been to the Pro Bowl. He’s the franchise leader in sacks and forced fumbles. He hates the Pats and really hates Tom Brady. This ESPN E:60 on Suggs is kinda hilarious.
– Haloti Ngata, Defensive Tackle (92) – Another multi-year Pro Bowler, Ngata is a defensive force.
– Elvis Dumervil, Outside Linebacker (92) – Dumervil was the victim of last year’s fax fiasco. He reached an agreement to restructure his contract with the Broncos, but the signed deal was faxed in 6 minutes late and Dumervil was subsequently released from the team to avoid a $12 million guaranteed payment. Are you surprised Dumervil fired his agent after this?
*Bonus* Matt Elam, Safety (26) – You get a bonus player from Val because she thinks his business savvy is fascinating. He negotiated his own rookie contract and declined to hire an agent. Saved himself a bunch of money.
What Happened This Offseason:
– The Ray Rice fiasco.
– The Ravens hired Gary Kubiak from the Texans as their Offensive Coordinator. Gary had a rough year in 2013 – he collapsed on the sideline during a game due to a mini-stroke and then was fired from his head coaching position, to be replaced by Bill O’Brien from Penn State.
– The Ravens signed Steve Smith, Sr. after he spent 13 years with the Panthers. Smith leads all active players in the league with all-purpose yards (17,000+). He’s 35, but certainly hasn’t been playing like it, especially when he faced his former team and put up 139 yards and 2 TDs.
Why You Should Cheer for Them: Cheer for them if you hate the Steelers. Cheer for Joe Flacco if you went to University of Delaware. Cheer for them if you like Edgar Allen Poe. (Their mascot is a raven named Poe.)
2014 Theme Song: Movin’ On (Good Charlotte) – This was another tough one, so I had to cheat and see what musicians were from the Baltimore area. Good Charlotte fits that bill. It’s not Throwback Thursday, but we’ll give you a taste of early 2000s nostalgia with their song “Movin’ On.” Let’s face it – the Ravens haven’t been in the news for good reasons the last few months. I’m sure the Ray Rice scandal has had a profound effect on the players and organization, but at the end of the day, they still need to go out and play football because that’s what they’re getting paid to do. This team had to put the incident behind them, to some extent, and “move on.”
The Last Word: Last year’s 8-8 finish was disappointing for the Ravens. They’re looking better than the Steelers right now and we’d still rank them above the feisty Browns within the division. They lost to the Bengals the first week of the season, but have their second match-up week 8. Should help us get a better feel for who is going to win the division. As long as they’ve got Harbaugh and Mr. Flacco continues to be a steady presence, they’ll always have a shot at being a threat in the post-season.
– Michelle and Val