Wednesday was the first real media day at the Owings Mills facility. What does that mean? It means nobody is hands off. The superstars go to the podium — Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Terrell Suggs — and the coaches and locker room are open to everyone with a credential. That also means we got a true sense of how this team feels about facing their division rivals in Week 1 after a shortened training camp.
First of all, on the injury front, all 53 players practiced Wednesday and there were no reported injuries by the Ravens at the conclusion of practice. However, Matt Birk is still unsure if he will be ready to start Sunday after undergoing knee surgery. With an already suspect offensive line that hasn’t had enough time to properly gel, Birk may be replaced by the newly acquired Andre Gurode, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys. Gurode is up for the challenge:
“I’m a team guy,” said Gurode. “It’s whatever I can do for the team. Matt [Birk] is a guy who has taught me a lot over the years. He was actually at my first Pro Bowl, and we have been talking back and forth over the practice schedule and things of that nature. He has helped me fit into the offense, and I am here to do whatever I can to help the team win.”
While some players may not be mentally or physically prepared for a tough opponent like the Steelers in Week 1, Ray Lewis shed some light (and positivity) on the situation.
“If you go back with me,” Lewis said, “ten years ago when we won our Super Bowl, we started with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I remember beating them 16-0. So, it’s never too late to get it on. What it defines right now is not what your season is going to be like or not. What it defines is – it’s an AFC team, it’s in your division – deal with what you’ve got to deal with right now.”
Ed Reed later chimed in and said Week 1 is not “do or die” because there are 15 other important games to follow. Ray Rice agreed.
“At the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world if you win or lose in Week 1. But, to kick off your season with a win, it gets your confidence going for the rest of the year. The first couple weeks of the season are always pretty interesting, especially with the lockout and everything that’s happening. It’ll be interesting to see who goes out there and can execute the best having the short amount of time and that sort of thing. But, I think our team is as far along as we’re going to be right now. We got a lot of work done [and] we added some new additions. From where we’re at right now, I think we’re a really great team.”