In August, former Ravens safety Eric Weddle said he wouldn’t share Baltimore’s defensive secrets – even when it came time to play against them.
Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit was in a film session with Weddle when he asked him how Baltimore’s cornerbacks communicated to each other that they were going to pass off coverage assignments.
“I can’t give all the secrets away, man!” Weddle said, prompting Benoit to remind him that he doesn’t play for the Ravens anymore.
“Those are my guys though,” Weddle replied. “Could never turn back on my guys over there.”
But Weddle would surely tell Rams Head Coach Sean McVay, who orchestrates their offense, right? Nope, not even him.
“Coach McVay knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t need much,” Weddle said. “What kind of man would I be if I rat out my guys that I played three years with?”
That was August. Now we’re four days away from strapping up in Los Angeles, Weddle is keeping the vault closed.
"I could tell them a lot of stuff, but that's just not who I am," said Weddle said, via ESPN's Lindsey Thiry. "So we're going to play it on the field, and the best team is going to win.
"I have a lot of respect for that place, not only how it helped my career and rejuvenated my career, how they treated myself and my family," Weddle said. "But it's a very tight-knit group, and what would I be -- what kind of man would I be if I just turned my back on all of them?"
McVay said "it's totally at each person's individual approach," whether they share information about their former team with their current team.
"It's a small demonstration of why he's a special guy," McVay said. "But we'll talk some ball. We've talked before. Maybe I already asked those questions in the free-agent visit, he just didn't realize it."
Weddle has kept in close contact with his former teammates and coaches, who all built a special bond during his three years in Baltimore. He still often interacts with Ravens players on social media, getting into the middle of their bickering as usual. Some Ravens are still in a group text with Weddle.
He keeps an eye on how the Ravens are playing too. On Sunday, with the Rams playing on Sunday Night Football, Weddle was watching Baltimore take on the Texans.
Weddle got to see Lamar Jackson in action over the second half of last season, and watched the transformation of the Ravens’ offense first-hand. Baltimore has changed a lot since Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman and his staff rebuilt the offense this offseason, but the basic principles are the same.
“I don't know how you can counteract his intelligence other than just know that he kind of knows, I guess,” Harbaugh said. “He knows how to match routes. He'll recognize formations. He'll get his guys lined up, and he'll be in the right spots.”
It’s still a question of how much Weddle’s understanding of the Ravens offense will impact Monday night’s game.
“Obviously the tape is out there of every single game we’ve played. It’s not a secret or mystery of what we’re doing,” guard Marshal Yanda said. “Yeah, he might have more of a grasp on it, but still at the end of the day, it’s executing football, it’s blocking people, it’s running crisp routes, it’s making good throws and all that stuff.”
Yanda stressed how much respect he has for Weddle, who was part of the team’s leadership council and workout warriors. Clark talked about how much he learned just from studying how Weddle went about his business. Weddle’s enthusiasm was a catalyst for Baltimore the past few years, and he's had the same influence on the Rams.
Weddle has started every game this season and made 72 tackles through 10 games, which is already more than he had each of the past two years. He has three pass deflections but no interceptions so far.
“He's playing very well – making tackles,” Harbaugh said. “He's making plays on the ball. He looks like he's always looked, to me.”