Being thrust into a prominent role wasn't expected for running back Ty'Son Williams, but he has plenty of veterans to learn from.
The Ravens have signed three backs that have rushed for over 1,000 yards in a season – Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell. That's a valuable environment for Williams, who made his first NFL start Monday night and played well with nine carries for 65 yards, including an explosive 35-yard touchdown run.
Williams has looked unfazed by his expanded role since season-ending injuries to J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. However, Williams is thrilled to have so many experienced backs he can lean on for advice.
"It's been huge for me," Williams said. "They play the game at the highest level. Being able to poach things from their game, ask them questions because I've always got questions for them, it's been great for me."
Williams isn't sure how many carries he'll get Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, but Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said he plans to stick with a committee approach.
"We're not going to put one back in there and have him play the whole game – those days are over, really," Roman said. "So, we're going to rotate guys in and out and try to keep them as fresh as we can."
That's fine with Williams, who says he'll find his rhythm however he is used.
"You just have to be ready for whatever – however the game is flowing," Williams said. "You need to be effective. No matter how many times you touch it, you want to be effective every time you touch it."
Williams Gets Twitter Shoutout From NBA Star Ja Morant
Scoring a touchdown on "Monday Night Football" thrust Williams into the limelight and he's heard from many past friends and acquaintances. NBA star Ja Morant, who went to the same high school (Crestwood) as Williams in Sumter, S.C., gave Williams a shoutout on Twitter.
The 25-year-old Williams was two years ahead of Morant, the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2020 who led the Memphis Grizzlies to the playoffs last season. Williams is glad another athlete is putting their hometown in the limelight, although they didn't spend much time together in high school due to their age difference.
"We spoke and of course we knew about each other," Williams said. "He was there when I was there. We're kind of just trying to put on for our city."
Patrick Mekari's Versatility Is Valuable for Offensive Line
Patrick Mekari played center, right guard and right tackle for the Ravens in games last season and he is capable of playing all five offensive line positions.
His versatility may be crucial for the Ravens again on Sunday night. All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley has not practiced all week and is listed as questionable to play. If he does not suit up, starting Mekari at right tackle and moving Alejandro Villanueva back to left tackle is an option.
While not discussing any player's injury status, Harbaugh talked about the value of Mekari's wide skillset.
"[It's] very valuable," Harbaugh said. "I think that's a trait that's rare. He's a technician. He knows his assignments at every position, all the time, completely, and he plays hard. He'll play well."
For Harbaugh, Facing Chiefs Means Going Against Friend Andy Reid
Harbaugh became close friends with Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid during a 10-year run with the Philadelphia Eagles when Harbaugh was a member of Reid's staff. Watching the Chiefs on film, Harbaugh sees elements of things that Reid's teams have always done, mixed with newer things that are added along the way.
"He's always looking for a new play, and he was always like that," Harbaugh said. "Obviously, he has guys who have been with him forever; [Defensive Coordinator] Steve [Spagnuolo], he has [Assistant Head Coach/Special teams Coordinator] Dave [Toub] on special teams [and] he has [Offensive Coordinator] Eric [Bieniemy] on offense. Those guys know him, they know each other, and they're well-coordinated."
The Chiefs have defeated the Ravens each of the last three years, and a loss Sunday night would drop the Ravens to 0-2. However, Spagnuolo, who was also a member of Harbaugh's staff with the Ravens (2013-14), said he expects Baltimore to be at its best Sunday night.
"The thing I know about this Baltimore crew, it's a gritty crew," Spagnuolo said via the Chiefs' website. "I came to learn they play better in situations like this – coming off a Monday night, tough loss, first home game, fans will be in there. So we're expecting a pretty tough go at it."