The work put in by the Ravens during their bye week was a welcome sight for the few remaining members of the 2006 team that lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round following the other only postseason bye in franchise history.
Linebacker Jarret Johnson and Suggs both alluded to the extended amount of time off given to players that week as a factor that may have contributed to their 15-6 loss to Peyton Manning and the Colts in Baltimore.
“We took like seven days off,” Johnson said. “We went home. We didn’t see each other for a long time. Was that the reason we lost? I don’t know. Probably not, but I like what we’re doing out here. We had two really good days of working out, got two good lifts, and just being able to be around each other and then get a break, get these next three days off [is important]. You never lose your routine, and you don’t get out of whack.”
While many players will elect to get out of town for their three-day weekend before returning to the practice facility on Monday, the sense of wanting to maintain a workmanlike approach was palpable among a loose group of players this week.
“I like that we all stayed around,” said Suggs, who recollected flying back to the West Coast for the bye five years ago. “We’re not taking the noose off; they say never take the noose of a mule, because it’s not going back on there. I like that we still all stayed in football and kind of stayed grounded in football.”
In addition to naming Rice the team’s MVP, local reporters awarded the Media Good Guy honor to safety Bernard, an award given to the Ravens player considered most helpful to the media.
In his first year with the Ravens, Pollard was helpful in granting interviews or simply offering a quick squote regarding one of his teammates.
“I guess this is [due in part to] the way I’ve been raised,” Pollard said. “I’m always going to be there to talk and give you whatever you need. … It comes with the job.”
As part of tradition, the media awarded a gift to to the recipient. This year, Pollard received a pair of boxer shots.
With most interviews conducted in the Ravens locker room, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from that one.