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Byrne Identity: I'm Just Sayin' ... The NFL Is Nuts!

Posted Oct 11, 2013

Kevin Byrne has a lot on his mind. He shares his thoughts as the Ravens prepare to take on the Packers.


I’m Just Sayin’… The NFL Is Nuts! 

I’m just sayin’:

  • The Ravens are getting the best of every team they face. Opponents are using us as a measuring stick for themselves. It comes with the territory.
  • First, defending Super Bowl champions are targeted – you beat us, and teams believe they have a chance to win big this season. And, there’s another part of the Ravens that is bringing the best and beast out of the opposition. We are a tough, aggressive, physically dominant group. If you can’t match our robust play, we’ll push you around all day. Clearly, opponents are stepping up to try and meet that intensity. Our games are not for the meek. There is no soft part of any Ravens’ game.
  • As Coach John Harbaugh likes to say: “We’re just the men for the job.”

I’m just sayin’:

  • NFL competition is crazy good, and it’s why we are on the edges of our seats every week.
  • Let’s see: Green Bay, our opponent this Sunday, lost at Cincinnati (34-30); Cincy then lost at Cleveland (17-6); we beat the Browns (14-6); Cleveland won at Minnesota (31-27); and the Vikings topped the Steelers (34-27).
  • Think what it all means is that we can all beat each other.
  • Here are a few more to drive home the point: the Packers lost at San Fran (34-28); the 49ers then lost at home to the Colts (27-7); Indy then was beaten at home by Miami (24-20), the team we beat at their place last Sunday (26-23) – and this is just in the first five weeks of the season
  • There are no layups or Little Sisters of the Poor in the NFL. “On Any Given Sunday” rules.

I’m just sayin’:

  • Every week I’m nervous about winning and look for assurances from people in the office that we’ll win. No one really ever gives me that satisfaction, even those who say every week: “We’ll win this game.” You can’t trust them, because I know we won’t win every week. Remember, there is only one undefeated team in the history of the NFL – the 1972 Dolphins.
  • Coach Harbaugh is one of those who is not dependable for these assurances. First, he makes me fret when I ask him on Tuesdays, when he’s deep into the study of the upcoming opponent, “How good are they?” John will then list the assets of that team and talk about how difficult it will be to cope with their strengths. By Friday, when all the study, the game-planning and heaviest practices are near complete, John is Muhammad Ali: “We’ll win this game. In fact, we might even blow them out if all goes well.”
  • So, I can’t count on Harbs. (But, I do love his confidence and how he gets the Ravens emotionally ready to play.) Ozzie Newsome will hear my plea for assurances, see my concern, not give a prediction, but sometimes – sometimes – will say, “We’re good too, Kevin.”
  • I could use one of those right now, Oz. (In fact, I could use it every week.)

I’m just sayin’:

  • There’s only one wideout in the NFL who has produced at least 85 receiving yards in every game this season – and he doesn’t catch passes for Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. It’s Torrey Smith, who has 27 catches for 556 yards for a 20.6 average so far this season. Only the Jets’ Santonio Holmes (24.3 yards), with just 10 catches, has averaged more per grab. Torrey’s 556 yards are third in the league behind the Saints’ Jimmy Graham (593) and the Falcons’ Julio Jones (580).
  • I asked linebackers coach Ted Monachino on our return flight from Miami what he said to Terrell Suggs before “Sizzle’s” three fourth-quarter sacks against the Dolphins. “55, it’s time for you to go make some plays,” Ted said.  In Miami’s next nine plays after the coach’s words – with the game on the line – the Dolphins ran once and attempted to pass 8 times. Suggs earned his three sacks in this sequence. That’s good coaching – and even better playing. Monachino also pointed out how tough Suggs is against the run. “He’s a real man out there. He plays the run just as good as he rushes the passer, and you can’t say that about every pass rusher in the league,” the Ravens’ assistant said.
  • We’ll introduce the defense this Sunday and bring Suggs out last. We should all let him know how much we appreciate his play.
  • It was really hot in Miami. Air temperature at the end of the first quarter was 90, and it was near 100 in the bench areas, which were covered by heat-producing tarps. What does it say about the condition of our players with the way we wore down the Dolphins, who practice in that heat and humidity every day? Mighty impressive for the Ravens.

I’m just sayin’:

  • Sunday’s game against the Packers is likely to be very close. They’re good. We’re good, and I love that it’s at M&T Bank Stadium. Look at these numbers: since John Harbaugh became our head coach in 2008, we are 10-0 at home against NFC teams; dating back to 2006, we have beaten NFC teams 13 times in a row in Baltimore; and our all-time record against visiting NFC teams is an impressive 26-5-1. Bring on the noise! Rodgers loves to call the Packers’ offense at the line of scrimmage.
  • By the way, the Ravens have won 26 of our last 29 home games, and we are 35-7 at M&T Bank Stadium since 2008. That’s the second-best home record in the NFL in that span to the Patriots’ 36-6 mark – a one-win difference. Right behind Baltimore is Green Bay with a 34-8 record at Lambeau.
  • We’ll be watching the two best NFL franchises when Baltimore and Green Bay square off. ESPN The Magazine ranks all the professional sports teams in the country according to criteria that ranges from on-field performance, bang for their buck, to gameday presentations. The Packers and Ravens were one-two among NFL teams and No. 5 and 10 among all sports franchises.

I’m just sayin’:

  • A top executive from the Jaguars called me last week after we obtained Eugene Monroe from them in a trade. (This person is not involved in Jacksonville’s scouting or coaching.) The guy said: “Quit taking all of our good players and good guys. You now have two of our best in each way – players and persons.” Like Daryl Smith, who played for the Jaguars for nine seasons, Monroe is the real deal. Not only are both top-notch players, they are first-class gentlemen devoted to be the best players they can be. Eugene has been in this building constantly since he arrived, studying his assignments and learning the language of our offense. He is grinding to be ready. That should pay off soon.
  • That wasn’t thunder somewhere over North Carolina last Sunday night near the end of the Denver/Dallas game. Those were just the collective moans coming from our players on our charter flight from Miami when Tony Romo threw the interception at the end of the loss to the Broncos. Looked like everyone was tuned into the game on the little TVs located at each seat. There was a loud “ROMO” shouted out that almost vibrated seats. … Turns out, that was Suggs who was yelling it.
  • Sunday’s game against the Packers is our only home appearance in a five-game stretch. We’re playing one of the league’s best teams against a quarterback many believe is tops in the NFL, despite Peyton Manning’s start. It would be really sweet to get this one. Let’s beat the Packers. 

Talk with you next week, 

Kevin

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