By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens have had a very tumultuous week leading up to their game against the Denver Broncos. After suffering a heartbreaking loss to the Washington Redskins, Coach John Harbaugh fired Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron and promoted Jim Caldwell to take his place. Since then, the Ravens coaching staff has worked hard to implement new wrinkles into the offense to suit what Caldwell is trying to do. And the players are ready for the challenge.
“Coach Caldwell has the respect of this team, the locker room, said Rice. “The pressure is for us to win, but it’s for us as players to help out with the pressure. He’s going to put us in the right position to go out there and execute. We have to go out there and do it. This week definitely is going to be the challenge.”
Ray Rice is absolutely correct. This is not only new for the players, but also new for Jim Caldwell. This will be his first time calling plays for an NFL team. But the Ravens shouldn’t be too concerned. He has a vast knowledge of the offense and should be able to get the job done. Denver is at a disadvantage because it’ll be hard to gameplan for the play-calling with a new OC so late in the season. But fans should expect a high-tempo offense. The likes of which were seen early on in the season against Cincinnati and New England.
On defense, the Ravens could be in deep trouble. They will they be up against one of the greatest QB’s in the history of the game in Peyton Manning. They’ll also have to do it with an extremely banged up unit. Jameel McClain has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game. Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe didn’t practice on Wednesday either making this the thinnest linebacker corps in the NFL. That can be extremely dangerous when you’re up against a quarterback that makes a living out of exploiting defenses weaknesses.
“It’s always tough when you get guys hurt,” Reed told reporters on Wednesday. “Lardarius [Webb] went down, Ray [Lewis] went down, [Terrell] Suggs was out. It’s always tough, but this is the NFL. Guys get paid to be professionals, so you expect that guys will come in and do a good job. We had to sign some guys, C.J. [Chris Johnson] being one who had to come in and just play right now. So, it’s tough, because your communication and everything has to change a little bit more. It puts more on guys like myself, which comes with the territory. You are a professional, this is your job, and you should be willing to want to do that.”
Communication issues played a big role in the loss to the Redskins. That won’t change much at home against Denver. Baltimore get’s loud when the opposing offense is on the field. Look for Baltimore to use hand signals and various other techniques to get the plays out to their unit.
The Ravens have a great chance to get back in the hunt for the first round-bye. A win not only puts them in contention for the 2 seed, but also grants them the division title. The playoff like atmosphere should make for an interesting game.
For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Ravens news, see CBS Sports Baltimore.
Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.