Ravens coach John Harbaugh talks about the final roster and the tight end position, along with rookie Breshad Perriman and former Raven Jah Reid. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
The NFL didn't do the Ravens any favors by scheduling five of the first seven games on the road, including four on the West Coast.
In fact, I don't know of any teams that have traveled to the West Coast four times within a two-month period. But with that said, these games will define the Ravens for 2015. It will take special character to make it through such a stretch, and Ravens coach John Harbaugh has been very successful when his team has had its back against the wall.
He knows how to motivate and rally his team around a common cause and he'll have some theme or point of emphasis for his team to work through the first half of the season. There will be some new T-shirts with some slogan that he'll be passing around.
For the most part, the players don't want to talk about the road games and that's because it isn't something Harbaugh has harped on. The Ravens aren't sweating it, and that's a good sign. That means they are already accepting what has been preached.
"We have eight road games. We have eight home games. It doesn't really matter when you play them," Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. "You have to win as many as you can. Yes, I guess if you come out and play well in the beginning games and a lot of them are on the road, you're kind of getting them all out of the way. And if you're a good home team, then you have a lot to look forward to.
"But that's just dangerous territory to say, 'Hey, we have some early road games. If we win them, man, it's going to be really good,' because then you start feeling comfortable, and it's just not a good thing. You might take somebody for granted, or get a little bit too comfortable in how well we as a team are playing. Next thing you know, you lose two straight games and you're in a big hole."
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs welcomes the challenge because the Ravens have had success on the road, especially in the playoffs.
"Hey, man, it's tough on everybody else and just right for us," Suggs said. "We kind of like the road, so every night we'll get some of that California sun. We'll go out to Denver and get some of that altitude. We'll get a little bit of everything the first part of the season. If we can come out pretty good on this … It'll help us down the stretch."
The Ravens came out flat against the Eagles in a preseason game. Before that, the Ravens spent several days practicing in Philadelphia against the Eagles in preparation for the road trips to the West Coast.
It will be interesting to see what changes, if any, Harbaugh has made with that routine and travel arrangements.