Ravens preparing for NFL’s 4th-toughest schedule
The Baltimore Ravens will face a demanding schedule when they
begin defense of their AFC North division title this fall –
including eight games against playoff teams from last season.
The Ravens’ schedule is statistically the fourth-toughest in the
league as their opponents had a combined record of 134-122 last
season, a .523 winning percentage.
And the Ravens face 11 quarterbacks who have been named to at
least one Pro Bowl. They square off with the Manning brothers,
Peyton and Eli, in consecutive December games.
”It’s a tough schedule, but it’s a schedule for the Baltimore
Ravens,” said cornerback Lardarius Webb, who signed a $50 million
contract this month. ”It’s a schedule they always give us because
they know that we can take that schedule. We’re ready for it. It
makes us work a little harder.”
The Ravens open the season by playing four games in 17 days with
contests against the Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, New
England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns.
And the Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers are the lone teams to
play both Super Bowl teams from last season: the champion New York
Giants and the Patriots.
”Every Sunday is tough,” offensive tackle Michael Oher said.
”You’re going to have to come out the same way every Sunday, so
get ready for your opponent.”
Under coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens have made the playoffs for
four consecutive years and have reached the AFC title game twice.
They’re the lone NFL team to win a playoff game each of the past
The NFL’s third-ranked defense from a year ago will need to have
another strong campaign while breaking in a new starter in outside
linebacker Paul Kruger, the top candidate to replace Jarret
Johnson. The Ravens also have Arthur Jones and Pernell McPhee
competing at defensive end to replace Cory Redding, who signed with
the Indianapolis Colts.
”It’s a great opportunity for me,” said Kruger, a former
second-round draft pick who recorded 5 1/2 sacks last season as a
situational pass rusher. ”I couldn’t ask to be in a better
situation, so I’m going to be grinding as much as I can from here
until August to prepare myself for camp as much as possible. I’m
Johnson, one of the most durable players in franchise history,
signed a four-year, $19 million contract with the San Diego
Before Johnson left, he imparted some of his knowledge of the
game to Kruger.
”He taught me a number of things, mainly just how to be a
student of the game and how to make yourself better in the
classroom,” Kruger said. ”So, that’s one thing that I’m going to
take from him for sure. My main focus this offseason, is just
grasping everything, understanding the defense through and
The Ravens also will have a new left offensive guard as Pro Bowl
guard Ben Grubbs signed a $36 million contract with the New Orleans
Saints during free agency.
Jah Reid, a third-round draft pick last year who played
sparingly as a rookie, has shifted from offensive tackle and is now
ranked first on the depth chart at left guard.
”They told me to expect to be a starter, work to be a starter,
expect to come in and play and work hard,” Reid said. ”That’s
what I’ve been doing.”
Notes: The Ravens have signed former Indianapolis Colts
quarterback Curtis Painter to a one-year deal. Painter, former
Baltimore starting quarterback Kyle Boller and former Pittsburgh
backup Dennis Dixon all worked out for the team on Thursday.