Ravens Best They Can Be As Journey Begins


The Ravens have been building the last eight months.

The process started all the way back in January when they had to build a new offensive coaching staff. It continued through the draft, into the offseason workouts and through the long hours of training camp.

That building process will reach a bit of a crescendo this week, as the Ravens will travel to Denver for the season opener Sunday to see exactly what kind of team they have.

"Now we're beginning our road for this season, and I think we're going to be a pretty darn good football team," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

"I know coming out of training camp, we're the best team we can possibly be right now."

The Week 1 matchup is about as tough an opening test as the Ravens could get. They have to go on the road to face future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, who has Super Bowl hopes of his own.

As the Ravens made their final cuts over the weekend and shifted all of their attention to Manning and the Broncos, Harbaugh talked with his players about putting the kickoff week into proper perspective.

"You put so much effort into the first game – the buildup and the hype – because that seems to be the pinnacle," Harbaugh said. "That's what you're working toward, but then you realize, what is the first game after all? It's the first game. That's just the beginning of where we're going."

The Ravens have sky-high expectations for where they're going this season.

Harbaugh's teams have made the playoffs in all but one of his seven years in Baltimore, and last year's squad had two 14-point leads over the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots in last year's divisional round loss.

The Ravens have all the pieces in place to get back to that point, and it all starts Sunday in Denver.

"This begins it," Harbaugh said. "We'll be improving and getting better every game after that. We're excited about where we're at, and I can't wait to see what we do when the games are for real."

Baltimore trimmed its roster down to 53 prior to Saturday's 4 p.m. deadline.

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