Reporting Mike Popovec
Filling in for Glenn, Mike Popovec spoke with Ravens Senior VP of Public and Community Relations, Kevin Byrne, about the start of Training camp, and what this season holds for the Baltimore Ravens.
Byrne said the one thing the team does not do is expect the same success they had in previous seasons.
“I think it’s the case with every team we go in with: the idea that you can’t depend on your previous success.This is a new team, new rivalries internally for positions, for playing times. When you go in in with that mindset, I think that it helps you try to achieve on a high level every year,” he said.
Byrne credits Ravens General Manager, Ozzie Newsome, with making the decisions that will help the team get over the hump.
“Well you know in the end, that’s why we pay Ozzie Newsome the big dollar. He really has to make decisions like that. Do you keep the offensive line the same? Do you keep the secondary the same? What do we have to do on the defensive line to get more of a pass rush? So, all of those things are constant. You tweak your roster, you change your scheme,” he said.
The Ravens are in the AFC North division, and three of the four teams went to the playoffs last year. Byrne said things could be even tougher for the Ravens this year.
“Everyone’s saying Cincinnati is going to be better because they played a lot of young guys last year. Their quarterback [Andy Dalton] is in his second year. So will they be better? Their revamping the offensive line that caused some problems in Pittsburgh last year. Will they be better?” he said.
Running Back, Ray Rice, signed a long term deal on Monday and Byrne said the Ravens couldn’t have signed a better guy.
“He is a special person. We all know he’s a great ball player, that’s obvious and we paid him as such. But he’s a special person, his mother, whose an aid in special education, we have to give her a lot of credit for the way she raised Ray Rice because Ray Rice is a good good man, and we’re proud to have him,” he said.
In terms of what players the Ravens look to hold onto and draft, Byrne said the Ravens look at not only the player’s talent, but their off the field behavior as well.
“We bring in guys who like being in the weight room, like to practice, like the physicality of the game, and then beyond that we try to bring in good guys who are good people and who are going to be good teammates,” he said.