The 2016 Pro Bowl from Aloha Stadium in Hawaii is just hours away. Kickoff is slated for 7:15 p.m. on ESPN.
In case you missed it, the Ravens have four representatives with punter Sam Koch, guard Marshal Yanda, outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and long snapper Morgan Cox.
Here's what you should be looking for:
Trick Plays For Ravens?
Koch says he wants to fake every single kick in the Pro Bowl. Considering Koch and the Ravens have a penchant for the fake, and since risk-taking is part of the fun of the Pro Bowl, it wouldn't be all that surprising to see a fake or two (probably not every time). Even Michael Irvin, the pseudo general manager of Team Irvin, joked that he wants Yanda running some routes as a receiver.
Koch really wants to put on a good show in his first Pro Bowl. He even showed up to the first practice of the week early and stayed late, just to work on his timing with Texans long snapper Jon Weeks. Koch won't have his usual pinpoint accurate long snapper since Morgan Cox is on the other team (Team Rice), so Koch will have to adjust a bit. He's certainly put in the work in Hawaii to do it.
Can Dumervil Tone It Down?
Last year, Dumervil caught the ire of the opposing Pro Bowl head coach (Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh) because he was rushing the passer more than rules allow. Rules call for all simple rushes and no blitzing, but Dumervil hardly ever went in coverage and came up with two sacks. When asked if he can control his quarterback-pestering tendencies for the sake of player safety, Dumervil said, "It's just something where you let it happen." Expect to see Dumervil enter the game a little later considering he was an alternate.
Protection Duty For Team Irvin
Irvin lost out on Giants wide receiver Odell Beckam Jr., but he got a beefy and physical offensive line full of AFC North guys. Yanda anchors the unit and is joined by Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth, center Alex Mack and Steelers guard Davis DeCastro. There's an AFC North player from each team on Team Irvin's offensive line. Starting Team Irvin quarterback Russell Wilson will feel like a whole new man after taking 44 sacks this season (tied for third-most in the league). With a lot of the firepower at receiver, Yanda is going to be called on to hold up his end of the bargain and keep Wilson clean.
The Intensity Level Rises
The NFL is always worried about the appetite for Pro Bowl content. However, the league has incentivized the players with different payouts for winning and losing. Expect to see the players start to take things a bit more seriously in the second half. That's when some of the game's biggest stars may be already finished, but rooting on their replacements to deliver that bigger payout.