Ronnie Stanley has faced Terrell Suggs many times in practice, but Sunday will be different. They are no longer teammates.
Stanley and Suggs will ramp up the intensity of their practice battles to game speed when the Ravens host the Arizona Cardinals. It’s Stanley’s job as the starting left tackle to protect Lamar Jackson’s blindside. It’s Suggs’ job as the Cardinals’ most experienced pass rusher to beat Stanley and cause havoc in the Ravens’ backfield.
With Suggs making his return to Baltimore after 16 seasons playing for the Ravens, Stanley expects a major test.
“He’s going to come in here fired up, juiced up, trying to come in and make a statement,” Stanley said. “I’ve got to be on my best game. That’s all I’m thinking about.”
In his fourth season with the Ravens, Stanley has been a starter since his rookie year, and entered this season with aspirations of making his first Pro Bowl. After watching Stanley develop as a player every season, Suggs does not think his familiarity Stanley and right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. will give him an edge Sunday.
“Those guys are just coming into their own,” Suggs said during a conference call. “The guys who I used to practice against every day, they’re all grown up now. They’re not my little brothers. They’re the big little brothers now.”
Stanley suspects Suggs could try a few new tricks in his attempts to reach Jackson. Suggs had two sacks and a forced fumble in Week 1, and keeping him and Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones away from Jackson will be a key to Baltimore’s offensive success.
“He’s probably added some moves over there with Chandler to his arsenal,” Stanley said. “Going against him every day helps me get a feel. (But) he hasn’t seen me in a game. I haven’t seen him in a game. This will be different.”
Lamar Jackson Could Run More on Sunday, But Maybe He Won’t
The Ravens had no problem with Lamar Jackson rushing just three times in Week 1. Not after scoring 59 points, with Jackson throwing for five touchdowns.
How much Jackson will run this season has been a major topic among pundits, but the Ravens hope to be consistently explosive on offense, no matter how opponents defend them. After Mark Ingram opened Week 1 with a 49-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, the Miami Dolphins were determined to contain Baltimore’s rushing attack. The Ravens countered by hurting Miami consistently through the air.
“They kind of built a wall at the line of scrimmage with a bunch of guys, so really it was probably more prudent for us to throw it,” Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said. “It kind of dictates where you want to direct the attack. It’s kind of a play-by-play thing in this league. You don’t want to just be able to just run it. You don’t want to just be able to throw it. We’ve all seen how that can go, league-wide.
“What are people generally going to try to do? They’re going to take away your strengths and make you fight a left-handed fight if you’re a righty. So it’s good to be ambidextrous.”
Scoring 59 points in Week 1 gives the Ravens offense a tough act to follow, but Roman sees areas for improvement.
“A lot of it lies in the details,” Roman said. “You have a game like that and you think, ‘Wow, that was perfect,’ but it really wasn’t. Every guy has things on a play-by-play basis they can learn from.”
Robert Griffin III Still Floating After “Perfect” Weekend
It’s hard to keep a smile off Robert Griffin III’s face these days. He and his wife, Grete, welcomed baby daughter, Gameya, into the world Saturday evening. Then on Sunday, Griffin was a perfect 6-for-6 passing, throwing his first touchdown pass since 2016. Griffin will be giving the ball to his new daughter as a present.
“Gameya is great, she’s healthy, mom is healthy, everybody’s home,” Griffin said. “Perfect weekend and it’s continued to be great at home. She’s a great sleeper. I get up pretty early in the morning. I’m able to get my sleep and my wife has been able to get her sleep. We hope it continues that way. There’s no other way for it to describe it other than a perfect weekend.”
This is a time of reflection for Griffin, who has preserved through adversity to resurrect his career. He went from Heisman Trophy winner and No. 2 overall pick to the Washington Redskins in 2012, to out of the NFL entirely by 2017. But since earning a roster spot with the Ravens last year, his career has continued its upward trend, and he hopes the best is yet to come. Griffin gives part of the credit to those who have stuck by him.
“My wife, my family, friends that have been there. They’ve really pushed me to keep going,” Griffin said. “I’m a self-motivated person, but you have those moments when you doubt yourself. The [Instagram] post was to tell people that everyone celebrates the outcome, but nobody really knows what you went through to get there.
“I’m a lot closer to what I want to be than back in 2017 when I was out of football. I signed as the third-string quarterback here and was able to make the team because of my talent, not because of anything else. I was guaranteed nothing. Sometimes you have to go all in. Give it a shot, and if you come up short, keep going. But this situation, I didn’t fall short.”
Marquise Brown Prepares to See Close Friend Kyler Murray
The close friendship between Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown and Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray will be placed on hold during Sunday’s game.
However, the former Oklahoma teammates have continued to communicate this week. That’s how close they are, and Brown is looking forward to seeing Murray as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback.
“He’s ready to play. I talked to him yesterday,” Brown said. “He’s going to come out and compete. He knows what’s coming though. He knows that we’re going to get after him.
“For the (Cardinals) organization to built around him is pretty cool. He has to hold himself to a high standard. He accepts all of that. He knew he was going to be at this level his whole life.”
Murray was one of many people who reached out to Brown after his sensational NFL debut in Miami. Brown caught touchdown passes the first two times he touched the ball.
“He was like, ‘You’re going crazy. Proud of you,’” Brown said. “He knows what I’ve been through. He’s one of my best friends. We speak every day. We’re pretty close.”
Murray, who is one of the game’s fastest quarterbacks, has suggested he would beat Brown in a 40-yard dash, but that Brown would likely pull away in a 100-yard race. Brown doesn’t believe Murray would win, regardless of the distance.
“He’s wrong,” Brown said with a smile. “He’s got a quick start, so he feels like if he got off quick enough he would win. I don’t see it happening.”