M&T Bank Stadium undergoes facelift
EARLY BIRD: Waking up with the Ravens, Wed. Aug. 7. The team flies to Tampa this afternoon for Thursday’s preseason opener against the Buccaneers.
Two-minute topic: The defensive line could be the Ravens’ strongest position group.
Owings Mills, MD – The Ravens plan to rotate as many as six linemen along the defensive front this season - Haloti Ngata, Chris Canty, Arthur Jones, Marcus Spears, Terrence Cody, and rookie Brandon Williams.
Look for that depth to come in handy Thursday night, when the Ravens face the Buccaneers. It’s expected to be a hot, humid night in Tampa. It’s the first game of the preseason. Fatigue will be an issue. Players on both sides could suffer from dehydration and cramps.
The Ravens will face another fatiguing situation in the regular-season opener at Denver. High altitude. Trying to contain an offense choreographed by Peyton Manning, who will surely use some no-huddle. Thursday night will be is a good audition for the Ravens’ defensive line.
Ngata may not play much, but the Ravens already know what their four-time Pro Bowler can do. The priority is to get Ngata ready for the regular season.
However, others could see plenty of action, particularly Williams and Jones. According to coach John Harbaugh, Jones has been one of the stars of training camp, shuttling between tackle and end.
“Art is having a tremendous camp,” Harbaugh said. “He’s quick, he’s fast, and he’s playing with better technique than he ever played before.”
Jones is thriving against the competition in camp.
“Every single day we challenge each other,” Jones said. “Chris Canty pushes me. We feed off each other. We can really be something special if we keep working hard.”
Strengthening the defensive line was an offseason priority. The Ravens were porous at times against the run in 2012. General manager Ozzie Newsome reacted by signing Canty and Spears during free agency, and drafting Williams in the third round.
The Ravens envision a defensive line with interchangeable parts. When one defensive lineman gets tired, he taps out, a replacement taps in, and the line doesn’t suffer.
Sounds good in theory. Thursday night, the Ravens get to see their new-look defensive line in action.
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