The Defending Champion Ravens will arrive in Denver with a few new faces on the roster this season. With additions such as Elvis Dumervil, which might just be the most impactful, along with other veterans like Chris Canty and Marcus Spears on the defense. Along with Brandon Stokely and Dallas Clark whom are now playing against Peyton Manning.
This game does not just mean a lot to the players but for the entire organization too, and being that it will the first regular season game without Ray Lewis in the locker room, pumping up the team before the game will be different. However, his impact will not be forgotten according to RB Ray Rice “It’s so funny because I just spoke to him and texted him and said, ‘Bro, are you going to make the game?’ And he said, ‘Man, you’re just trying to get me all crazy and riled up over here.’ I said, ‘You might have to make the trip.’ I think the guys, if he’s not going to be working, would embrace seeing him on the sideline. I’m not sure he’ll take it. He’ll probably want to suit up a little bit. (laughter) I told him that it would be good to see him, because no matter what, everybody is always going to look up to you. What you’ve built in Baltimore will last forever.” Even though Lewis is gone, the players that they have are embracing “the now”. GM Ozzie Newsome has made sure that the team does not have a feeling of decrepitude. When a player’s time is up, he has no problem bringing in a younger one, and key veterans that work hard to get the job done. “In Ozzie We Trust” Terrell Suggs has stressed multiple times to the media.
The Ravens are playing the Broncos for the first time since that decisive AFC Divisional game. Denver fans want to forget the 70-yard bomb that Joe Flacco threw to Jacoby Jones to give them the momentum, although that might be hard to do with a 50-foot poster hanging on Sports Authority Filed at Mile High of the Ravens QB. In response, Flacco said, “I can’t imagine that people in our city would be too happy if somebody from another team was hanging on our stadium. I didn’t have anything to do with it.”
Dumervil is returning to Denver for the first time since being a member of the team, he laced up his cleats’ for them the past seven years. At the age of 29 he joins Terrell Suggs as they look to harass many passers this season. Even though it is hard look back at the end result of last year, now that he is here he doesn’t mind being the “villain”. “Now going [from] there [to] the visiting locker room is defiantly different, but I’m excited. Like I said before, I’m happy to be a Raven. The decision was on me, and I feel good about it.”
Even though this is not officially a playoff game, the players have that sense. One participant that will be anxious for the opening kickoff is CB Lardarius Webb who missed the whole ladder part of last season with a torn ACL. For him to be back with the guys has given him an obvious boost. “It’s a blessing – a privilege. Just knowing how important it is to be on that field, knowing all the hard work I put myself through. I miss it; I miss it to the fullest. I just can’t wait to touch my foot on that field.” Said Webb. So as the lights turn on at Mile High on Thursday for the start of the 2013 regular season, the purple and black will be ready to defend their crown.