Late For Work 4/8: Early Look At Ravens Regular-Season Schedule

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Early Look At Ravens Regular-Season Schedule

The NFL released the Ravens' four-game preseason slate, whetting our appetite for the full 16-game schedule that is traditionally released in mid-April. Last year, it was unveiled on Tuesday, April 21.

We already know Baltimore's opponents in 2016; we just need the dates and times.

Home opponents: Buffalo, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington, Oakland, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh

Away opponents: New England, New York Jets, Dallas, New York Giants, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh

Based on the opponents and away games alone, ESPN's Jamison Hensley sees this year's schedule being much easier on the Ravens than last year.

"If nothing else, the travel is going to be a lot smoother in 2016," he wrote. "After flying four times out west in the first two months of this season, the Ravens have only one away game outside of their time zone (Dallas) next year. The schedule doesn't look as tough as this year."

"Right now, Baltimore has only six games against playoff teams [Washington, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New England]. It will be decidedly easier if the NFC East has another down season."

Terrance West Suing Hotel After Two Robberies In Same Day

Ravens running back Terrance West is suing a South Florida hotel after he says he was robbed twice in the same day, according to Deadspin and multiple subsequent news outlets.  

West filed a lawsuit Wednesday in which he claimed a hotel employee made a copy of his room key for two women he had briefly met and talked with on Feb. 27 at Metropole South Beach. The hotel also provided a bellman as an escort up to the room, and while the two women were inside, they allegedly stole two Rolex watches from West.

Upon returning to the room, West discovered the missing watches and filed a police report. According to the lawsuit, about an hour later, there was a knock on West's door and he opened it believing it was the police following up on an investigation.

Instead, West was met by an unidentified man, who forced his way into the room and threatened his life. West believed the man was carrying a gun, and fearful for his safety, gave the assailant $5,000, Christian Louboutin shoes, and other items in the suite.

According to the lawsuit, the man threatened West saying, "If you don't give me what I want, I have people in the car that will burn this whole place down."

West said he tried to resolve the matter with the hotel, but was ignored. He is seeking $53,129 in damages from the hotel and the employee that allowed people into his room.

West, 25, is a Baltimore native and played football at the University of Towson.  He was drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Browns in 2014 and was subsequently traded to the Tennessee Titans at the start of the 2015 season. He signed with the Ravens after being released by the Titans in November.

More Motivation For Steve Smith To Return?

Many fans would prefer to not see receiver Steve Smith Sr. suit up in any preseason games, risking a setback in his rehab from a torn Achilles or opening him up to a new injury.

However, with the Carolina Panthers coming to town for the preseason opener on Aug. 11, it might be Smith's last chance to suit up against his former team. (It will also be Carolina's first game after losing Super Bowl 50.)

"There hasn't been an exact timetable on the return of wide receiver Steve Smith … but would he miss a chance at playing against his former team even if it's only for a couple of series?" asked Hensley. "Considering this could be Smith's final game against the Panthers, this will serve as extra motivation for him to get back in time for the preseason opener."

Will Ravens Hold Joint Training Camp Practice Again?

Here's another scheduling clue …

It appears the earliest the Ravens can start training camp is Wednesday, July 27, based on an NFL rule Hensley pointed to that prohibits teams from opening camp more than 15 days before their first preseason game.

Last year, the Ravens held a three-day joint practice with the Philadelphia Eagles prior to their Week 2 preseason matchup. The year before, Baltimore hosted the San Francisco 49ers for three days with John and Jim Harbaugh leading their teams.

"It remains to be seen if the Ravens will schedule joint practices with any of their preseason opponents," wrote CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown.

If the Ravens were to do joint practices, the most likely candidates would be with the Panthers before the opener or with the Colts before the Week 2 matchup.

Reminder Not To Place Too Much Emphasis On Pre-Draft Visits

As reports swirl around the league about NFL teams bringing in prospects for pre-draft visits, including the Ravens, The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec reminds us not to place too much emphasis on these meetings.

The most important factor in drafting a player, far and away, is the tape. Of course, measurables, medical reports and, yes, interviews are also influencing factors. But these pre-draft visits are just one of many times that teams interact with players.

"There's a lot of attention on visits, especially this year given that the Ravens are choosing earlier than they are used to in the first round," wrote Zrebiec. "However, it's important to remember that the Ravens meet with or speak to many, many prospects, whether it's at the combine, Senior Bowl, pro days or individual workouts.

"And that doesn't necessarily mean that they always have significant interest in that player. Sometimes, they are just doing due diligence on a future opponent. Other times, they want other teams in front of them to think that they are interested in a certain player to better the chances that the player that they do covet falls to them. In other words, visits are important, but they don't always tell the whole story."

Ravens Show Faith In Za'Darius Smith

When the Ravens chose not to match the one-year, $1.25 million offer that outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw received from the Atlanta Falcons, they lost a huge run stuffer who can seal the edge.

Somebody is going to have to fill that role, and the Ravens must have faith that someone already on the roster can do it, right?

"[That] tells you what the Ravens think about second-year player Za'Darius Smith," wrote Zrebiec. "They are confident that Smith will be able to set the edge in the run game and provide more of a pass-rushing threat."

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