Thin air requires Ravens to have thick skin

Thin air requires Ravens to have thick skin
January 10, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Weather will play no factor for Ravens in Denver

Altitude is the obvious question for the Ravens going into Saturday’s playoff game at the Denver Broncos.

So will the weather.

In what could be the last game of linebacker Ray Lewis’ 17-year career, the Ravens will be playing in temperatures that will get no higher than 20 degrees and windy.  That could slow down Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ potent offense. It could slow the Ravens, too. 

Players are mixed about what they expect from the conditions at Mile High Stadium.

"I've never really been affected by it,” Lewis said about the altitude. “You know you’re going to be playing in some rough climates, but it’s not like we’re playing by ourselves. They’re playing in the same climates we’re playing in. Both teams have to do deal with it.”

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie said the thin air in Denver hasn’t bothered him in the past. Cornerback Corey Graham, however, said the start of the game will be key because that’s when fatigue and chest-burning can kick in.

It'll be a new experience for running back Ray Rice. 

"I haven't seen any mountains. I haven't seen anything. But I've heard it's going to be cold," Rice said. "I've heard it's going to snow. I'm used to playing in the cold. ... I'm a New Yorker, but the altitude is something that you have to get used to."

Safety Bernard Pollard spent his first three NFL seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, an AFC West foe of the Broncos that plays at Mile High each year.

"It’s going to be an issue," Pollard said. "If that means going out at  pregame running as fast as we can trying  to get gassed as much as we can (to adjust) then that’s what we need to do."

Quarterback Joe Flacco, as usual, isn't over-thinking the situation. He tends to shrug off everything. 

"It should be fun. We haven't had to deal with that much over the past couple of years," Flacco said. "We've pretty much had mild weather around here. But I think we'll all adapt pretty well to it and just be ready to go. I don't think it will affect us too much."

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