*As the Ravens prepare for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, two members of the enemy team answered a few questions about their squad. *
BR.com gives you head coach Todd Haley and running back Larry Johnson.
Head Coach Todd Haley
Will Larry Johnson run for 100 yards against the Ravens again, because he was the last player to do so?
Haley:"He was, huh? That's been a while, I would think. In my history here coaching, being an assistant, assistant receivers coach, coordinator, I had to play the Ravens a bunch going all the way back to the Jets days, and there isn't one time you ever looked forward to it, because to me, there is no better run defense than Baltimore. They've been able to consistently keep that even though they've lost players. They've brought in other players that are able to do the same job it appears, and they do an unbelievable job of stopping the run, so it's not something that I'm looking forward to."
What does Johnson bring to the table as a running back?
TH:"I think that Larry is a big back that can get some yards when they're not there. He's obviously somebody that's put up some numbers over the years. He had an off year last year, obviously, for a bunch of different reasons, but I think he's worked hard, and I think he's excited for this season to start."
Do you approach the Ravens' defense schematically or try to be more physical?
TH:"I don't know that you can be more physical than they are, I really don't. So, you have to figure out ways to move the football against a defense that doesn't want you moving it. Again, I think they're obviously a physical, physical group, and it starts with 52 [Ray Lewis] in the middle. And I think it'd be tough, I think you'd have your work cut out for you trying to be more physical than them."
How is Matt Cassel's knee?
TH:"I'm going to list him as questionable. He got through some practice, but we've got a couple of more days of practice here to evaluate where he's at."
Does your team feel that you coming in is a fresh start?
TH:"I'm mad at Coach Harbaugh, because he and [Miami Dolphins] Coach [Tony] Sparano, they set the bar a little high I think. What Baltimore was able to do last year in the turnaround was a tremendous job by the whole organization to bounce back after an off year. We've got a big job ahead of us, and we knew that coming in, and we're working every day as hard as we can to give the Chiefs the best chance to start winning football games."
Running Back Larry Johnson
What does it mean to you being the last running back to rush for 100 yards against Baltimore?
LJ:"To me, I take it as a great honor, because that's a great defense that I was playing against. And still, as long as they have Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, those guys back there, then I still have a certain respect for them. But it was obviously a great game, and a game for me, but it still hurt me more after the game, because of the fact that those guys didn't give me an inch and they hit me most every play."
Can you take anything from what the Ravens accomplished last year regarding change and new coaches?
LJ: "I mean, as long as you have that quarterback position locked up and they know who's going to be the leader at that position, I think everything else falls in place. And of course, having Todd [Haley] calling the plays in a great offensive system, you can rest your laurels onto knowing that those thing – that you do in the football game – those things can easily get corrected as long as you have those two things in place."
How can receiver Dwayne Bowe help to loosen things up for you as a running back?
LJ: "It's great. They don't expect to have eight guys in the box like they usually used to have, where they used to try to challenge us to throw the ball by having eight guys in the box. Now that we have Dwayne Bowe and the other receivers to help him out, they can't just bring guys into the box like they used to on first and second down like they were predicted to do when we first got going; when we didn't have Dwayne Bowe and those other receivers."
Do you expect to see eight or nine guys in the box in the event that Matt Cassel is out Sunday?
LJ:"I expect it. But at the same time, I expect to do what I have to do as far as… This isn't the first time I've played against eight or nine boxed guys and been successful, especially when I carried the ball 416 times that season. I was seeing eight or nine in the box against almost all the great rush defenses and was still able to put up a good amount of numbers. So, it's something I prepare myself for."
How did you attack the Ravens defense last time you rushed for 100 yards? Can you do it again this Sunday?
LJ: "It was basically just – it was funny – it was kind of a cat and mouse game with Ray Lewis, because of some of our plays. But, it's usually you have to stay in there and run hard and stick it in there. It may not be pretty, but I didn't think it was pretty. I only had one long run, but I was running into Ray Lewis for three yards, four yards, five yards. And then by the end of the game it magically came out to 100-and-some yards, but it's just being tough and staying in there."