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Late For Work 4/22: Expect Ravens' Season Opener At Home


Expect Ravens' Season-Opener At Home

About this time last year, Baltimore was up in arms because the Ravens didn't get a home opener, as is tradition for defending Super Bowl champs.

But there was a scheduling conflict with an Orioles game across the street, so the Ravens ultimately opened the year in Denver.

Taking a cue from the Orioles schedule again this year, you can expect the Ravens to play** **at M&T Bank Stadium Week 1, says ESPN's Jamison Hensley.

"As you remember from last year's NFL kickoff game controversy, the Ravens and Orioles can't play games on the same day, and the Orioles aren't inclined to alter their schedule for the Ravens," the blogger wrote.

The complete 2014 Ravens schedule reveal is being targeted for Wednesday, with a possibility of it being nudged to Thursday, according to's Mike Florio.

Until we get the official calendar of the league's 256 regular-season games, here's what you can expect through Week 4, per Hensley:

Week 1: Home season opener either Sunday Sept. 7 or Monday, Sept. 8 (Orioles @ Rays, @ Red Sox)
Week 2: Road game on Sept. 14 (Orioles vs Yankees)
Week 3: Road game on Sept. 21 (Orioles vs Red Sox)
Week 4: Home game on Sept. 28 (Orioles @ Blue Jays)

Of course, Weeks 2-4 could be altered if the Ravens play on a Thursday or Monday night. After that, it's a guessing game because the Orioles' regular season concludes Sept. 28.

As for who the Ravens could open at home against, that's still up in the air.

But we already know the eight teams the Ravens will battle at home, and Hensley points out that the last three home openers have come against AFC North opponents.

HOME OPPONENTS: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers

AWAY OPPONENTS: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers

Rolando's Strange Ravens Tenure ... Why Did He Attempt Comeback?

Monday was supposed to mark linebacker Rolando McClain's first step toward his NFL comeback.

Instead, he called it quits again, an ending that surprised few based on his up-and-down history with the Ravens, which went like this:

-          Signed a reported one-year, $700,000 contract (April 12, 2013)

-          Arrested in his hometown of Decatur, Ala. (April 21, 2013)

-          Retired from the NFL at age of 23, noting he'd like to play for Ravens someday after he gets his personal life on track (May 15, 2013)

-          Re-enrolled at the University of Alabama (June 11, 2013)

-          Started talking about a comeback (March 11, 2014)

-          Struggled in a workout with the Ravens, reportedly failing to finish the conditioning test (April 15, 2014)

-          Activated from the reserve-retired list (April 17, 2014)

-          Announced second retirement* * rather than participate in Ravens workouts (April 21, 2014)

"The day 'I' start living for other people will be the day I die," McClain wrote Monday on his Twitter account. "You only get one life, and only God can judge u for what you did with it. .. Kai and Jordy said they wanted daddy to come home. That's all the reassurance I need!!"

While one can't begrudge McClain for walking away from football if it doesn't make him happy, many are now wondering why he talked so much about a comeback and reached out to the Ravens for another chance in the first place.

Hensley speculated that the struggles McClain faced at the Ravens' workout served as a wake-up call.

McClain told reporters on several occasions this offseason that he had been working hard and was in great shape. But after he was unable to finish the Ravens' conditioning test, McClain may have realized that the NFL is not for him.

"I think that may have been a reality check for him," Hensley said.

"Just to see that everything he put in wasn't enough for the NFL. I think the Ravens gave him this past weekend to think over where's his commitment. Does he feel like he can really put his heart into coming back or does he just want to walk away? I think he gave them his answer [Monday]."

Arthur Brown Focused On Starting

With McClain's second retirement, the Ravens lost little in their investment in the 24-year-old linebacker. His contract wasn't guaranteed, and he was likely only going to provide depth to the position.

Daryl Smith is expected to start, and Arthur Brown appears to be the next in line to start alongside Smith.

In his second year, Brown is primed to emerge as the replacement to Jameel McClain after he signed with the New York Giants.

"It's an honor to even be considered and compete for that spot," Brown told The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. "I'm looking forward to it. Some strengths to my game are my explosiveness, my speed and being a sideline-to-sideline defender that has a high motor and has great instincts to the ball. I take that into account and play to my strengths and work on the other levels of my game to make me the complete package as a player.

"That's what I'm working on. Last year was a stepping stone for me and a lot of the other rookies to learn and gain from our experiences. I'm looking forward to making a greater impact and a greater contribution this year."

Trading Back Makes Sense For Ravens

While the Ravens don't have the ammunition to trade up in the first round of the draft, The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston thinks there's a possibility the Ravens could trade back.

But only if they move back a couple spots.

"Trading back is one of many options, but one being talked about more often at The Castle these days," Preston wrote. "The consensus among most top team executives and so-called experts is that this is a deep draft, and that most of the top 10 to 15 players will be gone when it's time for the Ravens to choose.

"So unless a highly rated player falls to the Ravens, general manager Ozzie Newsome could decide to move back to a slot between Nos. 24 and 28 in the first round. He could pick up another pick or two and still fill needs. Right now, the Ravens have pressing needs at free safety and along the offensive line, and must come away with depth at the running back and inside linebacker positions."

Quick Hits

  • @aqshipley: First day back for #ravens offseason workouts! Great turnout great to see everyone back working ready to go! #workwins [Twitter]
  • @RavensInsider: Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Jacoby Jones, Lardarius Webb, Steve Smith, Matt Elam among the players at offseason program per Ravens team site video [Twitter]
  • @LWebb21: Happy to say @TwentyER is playing in my charity softball game 6/1 at M&T [Twitter]
  • Former Ravens kicker Matt Stover will receive an award for "Most Outstanding Service By A Professional Athlete." []
  • @RavensInsider: Ravens defensive line coach Clarence Brooks spent extra time working with Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley at his Pro Day last week [Twitter]
  • Hey Jamison, who will start at right tackle Week 1?  "Here is my gut feeling in terms of percentages: high draft pick (45 percent), Rick Wagner (30 percent), free agent after draft (15 percent) and Jah Reid (10 percent). I put high draft pick first because I'm buying the talk about the Ravens taking Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin in the first round. He's that tough offensive lineman that the Ravens love. The biggest concern is his short arms, which could make him a better guard. I also wouldn't rule out Wagner, although he probably needs another year of development. Wagner, a fifth-round pick from a year ago, would be a solid backup." [ESPN]
  • Joe Flacco is grandpa friendly. [Instagram]
  • @l_webb21: The Black John Harbaugh!! Lol [Instagram]
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The Black John Harbaugh!! Lol

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