Onetime backup QB returns as budding star
Optimism fills the Ravens ahead of the season opener ‘It’s not about me,’ Bills’ Taylor says of opener
The Ravens got back into the regular-season routine Wednesday morning, and it was fairly obvious from the upbeat comments of several team leaders afterward that they’re pretty stoked for Sunday’s season opener against the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium. And why not? If you’re Joe Flacco and you haven’t played in a real game since November, you’ve got to be as excited as a kid at Christmas to get back onto the field with a full complement of playmakers, two healthy knees and a clean slate.
If you’re Steve Smith Sr., you’re essentially Season opener
Tyrod Taylor’s conversations with his ex-teammates have pretty much ceased this week, but both sides have four years’ worth of dialogue to put Sunday’s game into proper perspective. From 2011 to 2014, Taylor ran the Ravens scout team. It was the backup quarterback’s job during the week to get the defense ready for the next game.
Taylor played the role of Colin Kaepernick during the lead-in to Super Bowl XLVII, and mimicked Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and many other quarterbacks during his time in Baltimore. All the while, he had plenty of conversations with Ravens defensive players about what it would be like if they had to prepare for him.
resurrecting a career that you expected to be over by now back before your farewell season was cut short in November by a torn Achilles tendon.
If you’re Terrell Suggs, it’s been a year since you’ve been able to be the real “T-Sizzle” and strike terror in the hearts of opposing quarterbacks.
If you’re safety Eric Weddle, you’re entering a new phase of your career after spending nine years in San Diego as one of the top safeties in the league. And the beard has grown back nicely.
“This is an amazing opportunity,” Weddle said. “It’s finally here. Get through the training camp and preseason as healthy as you can be and now it’s upon us. We’ve got an unbelievable challenge ahead of us in [the Bills]. Their talent and toughness present a lot of challenges and matchups for us, but we can’t be more excited for the challenge, excited for the season and ready to show overall about what the 2016 Ravens are going to be.”
There’s a lot we don’t know about this Ravens team, for some of the reasons listed above. There is a sense of great anticipation surrounding them as they prepare to take on old friends Rex Ryan and Tyrod Taylor in a game the oddsmakers say could go either way.
The same can probably be said of the Ravens’ season, but there are plenty of reasons to believe they will bounce back from last year’s injury-marred 5-11 performance.
Last year at this time, coach John Harbaugh and his staff were preparing for a strange first half that included four road games on the other side of the country. The Ravens attempted to ease the strain of their ridiculous travel schedule by staying out west between their opener against the Denver Broncos and Week 2 game against the Oakland Raiders. After losing both games, they scrapped a similar plan for their back-to-back trips to San Francisco and Arizona.
The good news this year is they have just one road stop outside the Eastern time zone (Dallas), and they get the benefit of the third-place matchups with the AFC West and South, though the Raiders are getting some respect this year and it’s never been easy for the Ravens to win in Jacksonville.
The Ravens are coming off a 5-11 record, but they have never stayed down for long and it was apparent from the leadership represented at the media session Wednesday at the Under Armour Performance Center that they’ll have no shortage of leadership and passion as they climb out of that hole.
Suggs addressed some of the uncertainty that will follow his team into the new season.
“It’s all football when it comes down to it, and we’ve got a job to do,” Suggs said. “And
After four years running the Ravens practice squad, Tyrod Taylor signed with Buffalo last year and earned a Pro Bowl selection.