From the Ray Rice saga to the heartbreaking 35-31 playoff loss to the Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens are ready to put last season behind them.
And they have.
“We put a lot of good quality work in,” Ravens defensive tackle Chris Canty said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “We built a foundation for our football team. We still got some things we got to clean up, though. From an execution standpoint, there are some things that (we’ve done in the preseason) that are not resembling Raven football. We allowed some big plays, (had) a lot of penalties, mental errors – those are things that we just don’t do, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. And so those are things we got to get cleaned up in the next couple weeks. We don’t have any slouch coming up Week 1 out in Denver. We got our work cut out for us.”
The Ravens had their personal safety cut out for them in a preseason loss to Washington this past Saturday, as Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson pile-drive tackled Ravens receiver Kamar Aiken into the ground. Needless to say, things escalated quickly, as Ravens coach John Harbaugh angrily confronted Redskins coach Jay Gruden for Robinson’s shenanigans.
“I mean, you like to see a head coach wanting to get fired up and wanting to protect his guys,” Canty said, chuckling. “In all honesty, I was thinking to myself, ‘Man, if there was a cage match with Gruden and Harbaugh, I would gladly pay $99.95 to see that one. That would be hilarious.’ But to know a coach has your back is always a good thing. That’s one of the things that we use as a motivating factor moving forward for our football team.”
The Ravens, who are vying to make the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons, will have to replace Haloti Ngata in their front seven. Ngata was traded to Detroit in March.
“Well, he’s a loss that you can’t replace,” Canty said. “He’s a future Hall of Famer. He’s a great friend, so you can’t just replace him with one guy. It’s something that we’ve got to do by committee. Everybody’s got to kind of pull their weight in that respect, but we have confidence in the guys that are in our locker room that we can get the job done.”
While the front seven has changed, Joe Flacco hasn’t. The Super Bowl XLVII MVP threw for career highs in yards (3,986) and touchdowns (27) last season, leading the Ravens to the playoffs despite an offseason full of controversy.
“Joe is who he is,” Canty said. “He’s unflappable. He’s got that killer instinct that moment that you really really need it. He’s one of the best pure passers in the National Football League. We believe in his ability no matter what the circumstances are for our football team. It’s always exciting when you’re going to war with a quarterback like that and you know he can get the job done.”