Live from Owings Mills: “53 Mighty Men of Baltimore” Begin Preparation for Chiefs

September 09, 2009 | Glenn Clark

5:36-Here’s the official injury report from both teams for Wednesday:

Ravens:

TE LJ Smith-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Hamstring
LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-LIMITED-Foot
LB Dannell Ellerbe-LIMITED-Knee
DT Haloti Ngata-LIMITED-Foot

Chiefs:

QB Matt Cassel-LIMITED-Knee
CB Brandon Flowers-LIMITED-Shoulder
RB Jackie Battle-LIMITED-Illness

2:37-Some quick notes from Larry Johnson’s conference call:

-Johnson believes it is a “great honor” to have been the last back to rush for 100 yards in a game against the Ravens.
-Described 2009 season as a “fresh start for me” with a new head coach (Haley) and new GM (Scott Pioli)
-When asked about the similarities between the ’09 Chiefs (new QB, new head coach) and ’08 Ravens (new QB, new head coach), LJ said “once you have the QB position locked up, I think everything falls into place.”
-Johnson said he “expects” to see 8 or 9 men in the box from the Ravens if Matt Cassel can’t go Sunday
-Johnson said he was “not mad” at Terrell Suggs for taunting him the last time the Ravens played the Chiefs

2:25-A couple of notes from Todd Haley’s conference call with the Baltimore media:

-Most importantly, QB Matt Cassel “got through some” practice, and will be listed as “questionable” for Sunday’s game.
-Coach said “there isn’t one time” you look forward to playing the Ravens, noting that he has faced them a number of times as a coordinator. He praised the Ravens’ run defense, noting that it would be difficult to try to beat them physically.
-Haley feels as though the success last year of coaches like John Harbaugh and Tony Sparano (Dolphins) “set the bar high” for first year coaches like himself.
-After taking over as offensive coordinator (following the firing of Chan Gailey), Haley said it “feels like Week 15 already” given the amount of work he’s put in.
-Haley said WR Dwayne Bowe “has made very good progress” in the Chiefs’ new system and “wants to be good.” There was a rumor that Bowe might have been on the trade block earlier this offseason.

2:09-In fairness, the Ravens are very limited in what they allow the media to watch during practice. Marshal Yanda may have practiced more than I noticed, but it could have come after members of the media were given the boot. Yanda was out there during O-Line drills; as was Oniel Cousins.

Dannell Ellerbe was also out on the practice field, I had thought he would be a longshot to play Sunday after he didn’t see the field at all in Atlanta.

1:58-Awkward scene at practice today, as John Harbaugh yelled at cameramen to stop filming during special teams drills at practice. Harbaugh was particularly miffed, using some choice language.

LJ Smith was seen doing solo drills on the side during practice, Mark Clayton appeared to be practicing fully. Clayton had told reporters earlier in the day that he would be “ready to go” Sunday.

I did not notice Marshal Yanda doing anything out on the practice field. It looks as though Chris Chester may be the guy on Sunday at right guard.

1:28 p.m. — Here is a picture of the logos on the left chest of the “53 Mighty Men of Baltimore” jackets that John Harbaugh puchased and distributed to the “mighty men” who made the team.

53 Mighty Men

1:18-In the Audio Vault at WNST.net today, hear from:

Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
LB Terrell Suggs
LB Ray Lewis
S Ed Reed
WR Kelley Washington
RB Willis McGahee
OL Tony Moll

I’m going to duck out and watch a bit of practice, I will be joining Bob Haynie in just a few minutes.

1:17-Another theme today was the level of comfort players now feel with 2nd year head coach John Harbaugh. Ray Lewis admitted that Harbaugh is “definitely more of a players coach” in his 2nd year. Terrell Suggs went as far as to say that the players are so comfortable around John Harbaugh that they can now “fart around” him. Which was even more humorous given the fact that T-Sizzle had just described the team as more “mature.”

1:11-A lot of respect given to Chiefs RB Larry Johnson by Ravens players today. Johnson was the last RB to rush for 100 yards against the Ravens defense (some 35 games ago), but Suggs admitted the Ravens “don’t remember” that performance. Suggs went on to say he looked forward to the challenge of facing LJ because players “always want to go up against a great back.”

Ray Lewis said the Ravens “don’t believe in” 100 yard rushers, but went on to praise both Johnson and fellow Chiefs back Jamaal Charles.

Johnson and Chiefs coach Todd Haley are scheduled to be available via teleconference this afternoon for members of the Baltimore media.

1:09-John Harbaugh said the Ravens “saw a lot” from former Giants WR David Tyree; who visited with the Ravens yesterday. Harbaugh spoke of the respect he had for Tyree while coaching against him in the NFC East; but said the Ravens are going to continue to monitor him physically and admitted that Tyree might sign elsewhere in the meantime.

1:05-A few injury-related updates:

-John Harbaugh described Mark Clayton’s situation as a “wait and see.” Clayton has been dealing with a hamstring injury; and was unable to return in time for the 4th preseason game in Atlanta. I expect to see him back at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday, but wouldn’t be surprised if he played fewer snaps as a precautionary measure.
-Harbs also described TE LJ Smith as a “possibility” to play in Sunday’s game. LJ is also dealing with a hamstring, I would be a bit more surprised to see LJ play against the Chiefs.
-Ed Reed said he is “as ready as (he’s) going to be” physically going into the season. Ed is still battling the shoulder and neck injuries that hampered him a season ago.
-When asked if he was ready to go a full game with his injured heel, Terrell Suggs responded “I think I am”, but admitted he would have rather came back a week earlier in the preseason (against the Panthers) to have had more time to prepare for the regular season.

12:54-The biggest theme of the day appeared to be a common thought that the Ravens can’t be concerned about who’s playing for Kansas City on Sunday or what kind of strategy the Chiefs are going to have.

Ed Reed said “all we can do is focus on us.” Terrell Suggs added the Chiefs are “gonna come ready to play.” John Harbaugh said the Ravens have to “prepare for a volume of things” they don’t usually have to.”

This would be true no matter who the Ravens were playing on Sunday, but is especially true for a Chiefs team with a first year Head Coach (Todd Haley) and a first year QB (Matt Cassel), who may or may not play due to injury (Tyler Thigpen would start otherwise).

The Ravens will be forced to gameplan for the Chiefs without knowing exactly what to expect. Therefore, they must rely on doing what THEY do well, and adapt to what they see from KC.

12:48-Sorry for the late start today, the wireless at 1 Winning Drive has been spotty at best. Hopefully you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST), where I used my pricey new phone to post updates earlier today.

We’ll start with the obvious. Ravens players today were seen wearing a jacket with the term “53 Mighty Men of Baltimore” enscribed over the left side of the chest. On the back, a Ravens logo was accompanied by a sword.

Ed Reed told us that the players were given the jackets by the coaching staff as a reward for making the team. John Harbaugh said that only 53 jackets were made, so no one else-even in the organization-will receive one. “Mighty Men of Baltimore” was a popular phrase around the team a season ago, and we have seen members of the team wearing t-shirts with that phrase previously.

A picture of the jacket will be coming.

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