A pair of new Ravens veterans had a chance to interact with its new fan base Tuesday evening.
Safety Eric Weddle and tight end Benjamin Watson held a conference call with Ravens season ticket holders, and the fans had a chance to ask anything they wanted of the newcomers.
The veterans were relaxed and entertaining during the hour-long call, and here were eight things we learned from them:
- They both expect the Ravens to be in the hunt for another Lombardi Trophy. Coming to a winning franchise was important as they went through the free agency process, and Weddle expressed optimism about what this team could do. "We feel this team is close," Weddle said. "Baltimore was everything I wanted and more, and it has exceeded everything I want. The only thing that will top it off will be to bring a Super Bowl back here, and that's my main goal."
- Weddle has high goals specifically for what the Ravens defense can do this season. "That's what I expect out of us, to be a top defense in this league," he said.
- Watson reached out to wide receiver Breshad Perriman last season as the first-round pick missed the entire season because of a training camp knee injury. Watson actually tore his ACL his first season in the NFL, and he sent Perriman a text out of the blue to offer some encouragement. "I just texted him and told him that he could still be great in this league and he could come back from this," Watson said. "Ironically we end up on the same team a year later. I've really been impressed with him."
- Weddle is definitely open to being the defensive play caller who wears the helmet with a headset input from the sidelines. "It's awesome for me because I don't have to wait on anyone to get the call," Weddle said. "I give the call out and communicate from there." Weddle wore the headset his last few seasons in San Diego, but he hasn't talked with Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees about that possibility in Baltimore. The Ravens traditionally have a linebacker perform that role, and C.J. Mosley has done it the last two years.
- Weddle is already bringing back the long beard that everyone was accustomed to in San Diego. "I'll for sure have to dye it purple for one of the games," he said.
- Young safeties Matt Elam and Terrence Brooks have impressed Weddle throughout the offseason program. Both young safeties are at a critical point in their careers, and the veteran said they are "ready to take the next step and carve out a role and get on the field. They both are extremely talented, they're eager to learn, they're eager to get out there and help and be a Raven. I know both have struggled with injuries and up and down play, but it's exciting to see their growth." Weddle also expects safety Anthony Levine to play himself into the dime role when the Ravens go with a heavy defensive back lineup.
- Both players are glad the Ravens made the switch from turf to grass at M&T Bank Stadium this offseason.
- Neither of them plan to challenge defensive tackle Brandon Williams in a dance off anytime soon. "I've seen his moves and I'm not going to try to get into that," Weddle said.