OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Given the number of former players and coaches employed by their first opponent, it is not a stretch to assume that the Baltimore Ravens will be facing a more emotional test when they visit the New York Jets Monday night at New Meadowlands Stadium.
In fact, the only really surprising part has to be the fact that it took until four days before the Monday Night Football showdown in East Rutherford for any member of the Ravens to really speak their mind. Of course, it isn’t particularly surprising that the one to do it was future Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis.
“We’re talking about the Jets like we’re talking about the Saints” said Lewis. He added “until they play tonight, (they’re) the only people that can be dethroned-Drew Brees and the Saints, not Mark Sanchez and the Jets.” Lewis unloaded on his former Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan and company. “All this pressure (Ryan) wants to put on his team, I hope they can cash the check that he writes” said the Pro Bowler.
Lewis’ entire rant can be heard currently in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.
The Jets have captivated the attention of the NFL world and the pop culture world in general as they were profiled on this season of “Hard Knocks” on HBO. Television clip shows like E!’s “The Soup” featured clips of Ryan and CB Antonio Cromartie during Training Camp and leading up to the start of the regular season. Ryan has been no stranger to the spotlight since leading his team to an appearance in the AFC Championship Game last year, as he gained plenty of attention (not always for the right reasons) when he made offseason appearances at a Strikeforce fight in Miami, a Carolina Hurricanes game and Yankee Stadium.
Ryan wasn’t particularly concerned with Lewis’ comments, saying “I’m laughing” when asked about them during a Thursday afternoon conference call with Charm City media members. Ryan said he’s not concerned about talking too much himself or as a team, saying “we don’t have to sneak up on people to tell them what we think.”
The Jets and Ravens have both been amongst media favorites to win the AFC and reach Super Bowl XLV in Dallas/Arlington.
ROSTER MOVES: The Ravens released practice squad QB Hunter Cantwell Thursday just four days after signing him. Cantwell is replaced on the practice squad by former Miami Dolphins and Georgia Tech OT Andrew Gardner. Gardner told reporters he was “really happy to have the opportunity” to join a team like the Ravens.
When asked about who his emergency 3rd quarterback would be with just two on the roster, coach John Harbaugh said it would “probably” be WR Anquan Boldin. Boldin played QB at Pahokee High School in Florida and was pressed into emergency duty for Florida State in the 2003 Sugar Bowl against Georgia.
The Ravens also reached an injury settlement with FB Mike McLaughlin. McLaughlin had been placed on IR over the weekend due to a hip flexor issue and sports hernia.
PRACTICE NOTES: WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot), DT Terrence Cody (knee) and OR Jared Gaither (back) were not present during the portion of practice open to the media. All three have been officially ruled out for Monday night according to the team’s Injury Report.
OT Oniel Cousins (concussion) and CB Lardarius Webb (knee) were again active participants in practice, both listed as having fully participated. Harbaugh said of Cousins “I think he’s come along and I think he’ll be able to do something over there.” Webb fielded punts during practice, along with S Tom Zbikowski and RB Ray Rice. Zbikowski is listed as the punt returner on the team’s official depth chart.
Stallworth met with reporters in the locker room, saying he got his cast off earlier in the day. He said the prognostication for return was eight weeks, but his doctor informed him one “crazy guy” had made it back in four weeks. That “crazy guy” was New Orleans Saints TE Jeremy Shockey, who Stallworth reached out to for tips on how to get back quicker.
DE Paul Kruger (shoulder) did not participate in practice according to the Injury Report. His status for Monday night is unknown.
Jets LB Calvin Pace (foot) has been ruled out Monday night. S Brodney Poole (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday and DE Shaun Ellis (knee) was limited in practice.
NOTES: Hear from Lewis, Harbaugh, Boldin, Stallworth, QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice, LB Jarret Johnson, DE Trevor Pryce and WR Derrick Mason NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Lewis received good natured ribbing from his teammates regarding his popular new Old Spice commercial. He said teammates have poked at him, including leaving suds in front of his locker room. “I’ve just gotta weather the storm” said Lewis……OL Marshal Yanda joined Drew Forrester Thursday morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. If you missed the chat, you can hear it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault. New CB Bryan McCann is scheduled to join Forrester Friday morning at 6:30am.