Ravens Enter Training Camp With A Different Feeling


The day veterans report for training camp is always a cheery one around the NFL. It's like the first day of school.

But there's a slightly different vibe in Baltimore this year.

Last year, the Ravens came to training camp as the defending Super Bowl champions. This season, they report after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007, breaking an NFL-long string of five seasons.

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was asked if there's a different feel this year.

"Definitely," he said. "I think there's a little bit more 'get after it,' so to say. We had a bad taste in our mouth. It's been the first time since Coach got here in 2008 that we didn't make the playoffs. It's clear how something like that can be taken for granted."

The Ravens finished last year with an 8-8 record, and were eliminated from playoff contention in a Week 17 loss in Cincinnati. Under Head Coach John Harbaugh, they had always had more wins than losses.

Suggs said there has always been a feeling at the end of the regular season that it was just the start of another season – onto the next opponent, the next challenge. Instead, there were exit physicals.

"When we all left, we all felt like we all kind of let each other down," Suggs said.

"It was definitely a rude awakening. It sucks. It sucks. You just have to watch teams compete and teams that you played get the opportunity to win a championship. It sucks, and it's definitely something we don't want to feel again."

After the season is over, players can take a step back and look at the big picture. They can try to figure out what went wrong. Suggs alluded to some of those conversations.

"Talking to the guys during the offseason about what happened, it was like, 'You know what, we need to rededicate ourselves to our purpose and to our standard and things we're used to achieving around here,'" he said.

"We know what our mission is, we know what our goal is, and we're here to achieve some good things – some great things."

Head Coach John Harbaugh alluded to the team being motivated by the 8-8 season when asked about it at the end of minicamp.

"To me, [the media] just keep hammering it," Harbaugh said in late June. "It's good for us to hear it. Keep beating the crap out of us with it. It's good for us. It motivates us."

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