News & Notes: Greg Roman Works Overtime With New Running Backs

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RB Latavius Murray

The Ravens signed four running backs during the past week, dealing with a stunning series of injuries at the position.

However, Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman is confident in the game plan being put together for Monday night's season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders. Latavius Murray and Trenton Cannon are the new running backs on the 53-man roster, while Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell were signed to the practice squad. It remains to be seen which new running backs will be active and to what extent they will be utilized. But Roman said they have gotten up to speed quickly, and he has been working overtime to help them.

"When something like that happens, you really just get into sprint mode, get them as much of a foundation as you can, kind of coach as you go," Roman said. "I call it country coaching. You coach them in the hallway, in the cafeteria, everywhere. It's a sprint and I really trust how these guys are attacking it. These guys are really good players."

Ty'Son Williams enters Week 1 as the expected lead running back after an impressive training camp and preseason that secured his roster spot. An undrafted free agent in 2020 who spent virtually all of last season on the practice squad, Roman believes Williams has the poise to handle the Monday night spotlight.

"We had a scrimmage in the stadium last year when he really jumped off the screen to all of us," Roman said. "We feel great about Ty'Son. He's done nothing but impress."

Roman has designed one of the NFL's most creative running schemes, and he doesn't have to rely on his running backs to fuel it. In Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have the league's most dynamic running quarterback.

"I'm glad to have Lamar – period," Roman said. "We feel really equipped to get out there and compete at a high level. It all starts with Lamar Jackson. Everything runs through him."

Defense Has Accepted Challenge of Losing Marcus Peters

Losing a cornerback like Marcus Peters, who leads the NFL interceptions (31) since entering the league in 2015, would impact any defense. His season-ending knee injury will change some of the Ravens' coverages, but it won't change their belief that they can still be a dominant defense. 

Having Anthony Averett available to step into the lineup for Peters is one reason Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale remains confident.

"Will we miss him (Peters)? Yes," Martindale said. "He's a football savant. We're going to miss the brother, we're going to miss the football knowledge. Yet, I think I'm on record saying Double-A (Averett) has got Pro Bowl talent. This is his opportunity to standup. Everybody else just goes up a rung."

Chris Westry is another cornerback who could see regular playing time after making the 53-man roster with an outstanding training camp and preseason. Westry's 6-foot-4 size makes him a naturally intriguing cornerback, and he plays with swagger. Martindale says he won't hesitate to give Westry reps in key situations.

"His confidence is growing," Martindale said. "I'm not afraid to put him out there. I'm looking forward to that."

Ravens Prepare for Loud Crowd in Vegas

Loud music was pumping through the speakers Saturday during the Ravens' last practice before their flight to Las Vegas. Monday night will be the first regular season game with fans at Allegiant Stadium and a raucous atmosphere is expected.

Playing before a full house on the road is a situation the Ravens haven't faced recently, but the Ravens feel ready to avoid pre-snap penalties and communication issues that can be caused by noise.

"Homefield advantage at a loud stadium - that forces you to prepare for it," Roman said. "We've got a couple different ways to go about that. Our guys are really dialed in on it."

Jackson said earlier in the week that he was confident the Ravens would block out the noise and execute with efficiency.

"We've played in noisy atmospheres," Jackson said. "[The Raiders] are just a great team, great all-around team. We're just going to have a 'Monday Night Fight.' How about that? That's what it's going to be."

Defending Darren Waller is Huge Priority

Raiders tight end Darren Waller, a former Raven, has back-to-back seasons with over 1,100 yards receiving. Martindale remembers Waller having some huge days against his defense during practices. He doesn't want that to happen Monday night.

"He's a great athlete," Martindale said. "It was tough when he was here taking the reps against the defense. Sometimes we'd just say, 'That's Waller.' He's everything we knew he'd be. I'm happy for him, not Monday night, but any other time I'll be happy for him because he's a good person and he's gone through a lot of things to get where he's at. We really respect that."

Ravens Coaches Offer Condolences on 9-11

Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and both Martindale and Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton opened their media sessions by paying their respects.

"We all sit here, we're all blessed and think of our life every day, but in the blink of an eye we know exactly what can happen," Horton said. "As we go through our days, think about those families."

Martindale said he was moved watching television Friday night and hearing various programs discussing the terrorist attacks.

"I'd like to take a minute here and recognize the victims on the 20-year anniversary of 9-11, and their families and the first responders who were running toward it when everyone else was running away from it," Martindale said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them."

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