By the time Kyle Van Noy signed with the Ravens, he was ready to prove a point.
The veteran outside linebacker has won two Super Bowls during a distinguished 10-year career and didn't think he'd still be a free agent in late September.
"I've bounced around the last four years, and I think people were saying, 'Why does he keep getting moved around, he must not be good,'" Van Noy said. "Honestly, I've played well everywhere I've been, and I think that's been a misconception about me.
"Every team I play for, I make plays. That's the standard I've held myself to. And I win more than I lose. That's my attitude. Watching football wasn't fun, especially when you know you could be out there helping a lot of teams. The Ravens called and I felt like it was an awesome opportunity."
Van Noy made a strong first impression, playing 23 snaps in his Ravens debut in Week 4 after just three days of practice, as part of a stellar team defensive effort in a 28-3 victory at Cleveland. He was credited with three hurries, one quarterback hit, and a pass defensed in his first game. Known for his intelligence and toughness, Van Noy made the quick transition look easier than it was.
"I don't think a lot of people could do that, be able to come in and make some plays right of the streets," Van Noy said. "It's not easy to do. I pride myself on always making plays, no matter where I go. I'm confident in my play, and they were confident to put me in that position. The guys rallied around me too, it takes everybody. Guys were able to point me in the right direction to get the job done."
Van Noy is happy to have landed in Baltimore, and feels his best football is ahead once he gets even more comfortable.
"This was my No. 1 choice," Van Noy said. "You always want a chance to play and a chance to win. I get a chance to compete with a really good team."team."
Ravens-Steelers Rivalry Is Personal for Patrick Queen
The Ravens-Steelers rivalry is always intense, which Patrick Queen learned as a rookie. Queen had already heard the saying, "You're not a Raven until you've beaten the Steelers." That message was reinforced by Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin.
"When I was on their sideline, my rookie year, Mike Tomlin was looking at me and yelling at me, 'You're not a Raven. You're not supposed to be there. You're not one of them,'" Queen said. "So every time I play them, it's something personal.
"I don't care if he was joking. I don't care if he was serious. At the end of the day, I'm on your sideline, and you're telling me I'm not a Raven. It's kind of disrespectful."
Queen has definitely earned Tomlin's respect, judging from his remarks to Pittsburgh reporters during this week's press conference.
"Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen man is a dynamic duo," Tomlin said. "You could put five wideouts on the field, I would imagine that those two guys are still going to be on the field, and I think that just speaks to how significant they are. In run circumstances and pass circumstances whether it's in coverage, or as blitzers, they are impactful. We got to work our tails off to get hats on those guys at all times."
Arthur Maulet Looks Forward to Facing Former Team
Ravens cornerback Arthur Maulet was released by the Steelers after last season when he did not get the contract extension he was seeking. Now he's with the Ravens and Maulet will experience the Ravens-Steelers rivalry from the other side.
Maulet said he wouldn't have trouble keeping his emotions in check.
"There's obviously a little extra motivation, but the biggest thing is for us to just play well and win the game," he said.
Maulet saw his most extensive action of the season at Cleveland, playing 65% of the defensive snaps at nickel cornerback after Daryl Worley left the game with a shoulder injury. Maulet was thrilled to contribute after being hampered by a hamstring injury suffered during training camp.
"It was definitely a weight off my shoulders," Maulet said. "I've been working my butt off to get healthy and I'm finally getting to the spot of being 100%. I was grateful to be out there."
Ravens May Need 'Roster Gymnastics' at Running Back
Rookie running back Keaton Mitchell (shoulder) returned to practice on Wednesday and began his 21-day window to be activated from injured reserve to the 53-man roster.
If activated, Mitchell would give the Ravens another option for backfield depth behind Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. Kenyan Drake has two practice squad elevations remaining, but the third and final practice squad elevation for Melvin Gordan III was used Week 4 against the Browns.
For Gordon to be active on game days, he must now be elevated to the 53-man roster. Head Coach John Harbaugh praised Gordon for how well he has played and said the Ravens would make decisions about the running back room and adjust the roster accordingly.
"He played very well," Harbaugh said of Gordon. "Obviously, that catch [in the Cleveland game], the run – he's something. We really appreciate it. It's what we thought he was going to be when he came in. He's been all that and more.
"Now we have to figure out the roster gymnastics of all that. (General Manager) Eric [DeCosta] will be working on that and trying to do the math on that."