Jadeveon Clowney, who signed with the Ravens last week, says one of his main goals at age 30 is to play every game this season.
As he enters his 10th seasons, Clowney has played every game in a season just once, in 2017. Last year, he played in 12 games.
"I feel great. I think I'm going to play very well," Clowney said. "I don't want to talk about it. My goal is to play 17 games this year. That's the only goal I'm shooting for. I'm going to put my pads on and show up and play every game, week in and week out.
Clowney has made the Pro Bowl three times since he entered the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick in 2014, but he's also dealt with serious injuries. His knee injury as a rookie with the Texans led to microfracture surgery that Clowney said was difficult to overcome.
"I got hurt my first game of my career. I had one of the worst injuries you could have," Clowney said. "I battled back nine years straight, and it's been a ride. I'm telling you all – nobody knows how much pain I've been in or what I've been through, but I do and my family. I'm just trying to win on the backend right now and keep playing at a high level. I have a lot left in me. I just want to keep showing that."
Clowney has played against Baltimore many times, including the past two seasons playing for the AFC North rival Browns. He admired the Ravens' culture from afar and welcomes the opportunity to experience it.
"I've been a fan of John Harbaugh since I've been in this league," Clowney said. "I just felt like watching him on TV, he was all about his players – asking them, 'What do you all want to do, what do you all want to do?' So, I want to be a part of it."
Clowney expects the Ravens to use his ability be an effective pass rusher both on the edge and inside, and he reported in excellent shape. Clowney wasn't sure if he would play Saturday night in the preseason finale against Tampa Bay, but is ready if called upon.
"I'm not the coach. It's the preseason," Clowney said. "I told the coaching staff, it's up to you. I'm physically ready. I'm mentally ready. Just let me know ahead of time what you've got planned for me and I'll make sure I'm ready for it.
"They said they're going to take my time with me, see how it goes. Once the season gets rolling, you never know. Your role changes very quick when you're playing. I'm available to do just about anything up front. I think they know that. They've put me in a lot of situations already, [even though] I just got here. I'm just trying to win on the back end right now. I've got a lot left in me. I'm just going to keep showing it."
Sam Mustipher Could Be the Backup Center
Owings Mills native Sam Mustipher, who played high school football at Our Lady of Good Counsel, could be the Ravens' backup center this season behind Tyler Linderbaum. Patrick Mekari can play any position on the offensive line, but Mekari could be the primary backup at left tackle or either guard spot.
Mustipher, who signed with the Ravens in May after three seasons with the Bears, has been impressive since arriving in Baltimore and enters the final preseason game competing for a roster spot. The Ravens lost backup center Trystan Colon to the Jets in free agency.
"Sam has played very well," Harbaugh said. "He's picked up the offense very well, but he's a guy that has started numerous games, so he's been there. He understands the concepts. He's held up really well from a base and an anchor standpoint. He's moved his feet well in reach blocks and things like that's. He's definitely put himself in the position to be a contributor for us."
Patrick Queen Looks Laser Focused to Zach Orr
Inside Linebackers Coach Zach Orr continues to be impressed with Patrick Queen's focus since training camp started. Queen is coming off his best season, but Orr expects to see another level in 2023.
"This is probably the most focused I've seen him since being around him," Orr said. "He's always been a focused guy, but this year he's got a different look in his eye. We talked after the season and he wanted to get better in all aspects. I think he's done that. He's ready to be unleashed."
Queen is entering a contract year after the Ravens declined picking up his fifth-year option. General Manager Eric DeCosta has made it clear that Baltimore remains open to signing Queen to a long-term deal, but this is clearly a pivotal season for Queen who doesn't seem distracted by what's at stake.
"It just shows his maturity," Orr said. "The business side is something we don't shy away from. We want these guys to do what's best for them in their career. He understands that at the end of the day, to get what he wants and get where he wants to be, he has to come out here and perform. He's taken the right approach about it."
Ronald Darby, Ar'Darius Washington Take Advantage of Opportunity
Ar'Darius Washington has probably been the team's most impressive cornerback the past two weeks. Ronald Darby has stepped in and looked comfortable in practice since being signed Aug. 18.
With Marlon Humphrey (foot) and Pepe Williams (ankle) both recovering from surgery, the Ravens' cornerback rotation has not been decided and Harbaugh said Darby and Washington are making a case for playing time.
"Ronald has done well. He looks like a starting corner," Harbaugh said. "He's been there. He's very talented. He knows how to play. He's a great addition to our team."
Washington has the body type of a nickel cornerback at 5-foot-8, but he's playing bigger than his size. He led the team with three pass breakups against Washington on Monday night and tied for the lead in tackles with seven.
"He jumps really well. I mean, he's really explosive," Harbaugh said. "I've seen him go way higher to get a football. The play he made in the game against Washington on that zero blitz where he threw the ball up in the air, and you got the ball out – that's as good a play you're going to see."