Usually prepartion comes easy to Arthur Jones, himself an easy-going guy.
The third-year defensive end should be in good spirits. The Ravens (9-3) are in first place in the AFC North, competing for a first-round playoff bye with the Denver Broncos and New New England Patriots.
Jones' playing time had expanded with a knee injury to starter Pernell McPhee, who only returned last week. Jones has three sacks in the last two games after none in the first 10.
But Jones is still getting over some tragic news. He's still in shock after childhood friend Jovan Belcher of the Kansas City Chiefs committed suicide with a gunshot to the head outside of Arrowhead Stadium last weekend after fatally shooting his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, at their home.
"I’m doing a lot better, taking it day by day. It’s really unfortunate to see a friend go," said Jones, who grew up in Endicott, N.Y., while Belcher came from Long Island. "But I got to keep on living. I got a job, responsibility to take care of. I can’t my off-field issues get involved. When you got guys like Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis as your backbone, it helps out a lot."
Jones last talked to Belcher, a linebacker, on Oct. 7, when the Ravens went to Kansas City and pulled out a 9-6 victory.
An accomplished wrestler, Jones and Belcher ran in the same circles. Belcher wrestled, too.
"I knew him since middle school and high school. We wrestled on the same summer team," Jones said. "We’re both New York guys so we’d see each other a lot during the year, during wrestling tournaments. We’ve knew each other very well."
Sunday, Jones will get acquainted with Redskins rookie sensations Robert Griffin III and tailback Alfred Morris. The Ravens faced Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, but this matchup isn’t quite the same.
The Ravens have gotten a lot of practice preparing for the Pistol offense of the Redskins, with practice squad quarterback Dennis Dixon leading the way. Dixon ran the offense exclusively when he was in college at Oregon.
"Theyr’e two different players," Jones said of the Vick and Griffin comparisons. "Different schemes. Different offenses. I think we have the best work ever having (backup) Tyrod Taylor and Dennis Dixon back there this week. Those guys did an excellent job. I think we’re well prepared.
"It’s not about the Redskins. It’s about us taking care of business. Every game is a must-win. The ultimate goal is to get to the Super Bowl. Theyr’e just a team that’s in the way."
Moving on from Belcher hasn't been easy. Jones hasn’t spoken to anyone in Belcher’s family, but less than a week later he still can’t put what happened out of his mind. Even with such an important game with the Redskins on the horizon.
"I still think about the situation," Jones said. "I just try to keep my mind off it, keep my head in the playbook and stay focused."