Mike Preston: Ravens need to beat Jaguars, and other dispatches from London
By Mike Preston
Sep 22, 2017 | 2:10 PM
Former Raven Ray Lewis works with youth at the Hazelwood sports complex outside of London. (Mike Preston/Baltimore Sun video)
It's too early in the season to label the Ravens' game here Sunday against Jacksonville as "must-win," but they need the victory.
If, as expected, the Ravens beat the Jaguars, they would improve to 3-0 with a home game against the Steelers next Sunday. They then travel to Oakland to face the Raiders the following week.
Those will be tough games and if the Ravens win Sunday, and split with Pittsburgh and Oakland, that still puts them in pretty good shape.
The Ravens don't like to talk about future games and they stay with the "one game at a time philosophy," but the coaching staff and front office know the importance of Sunday's game against Jacksonville, one of the league's perennial losers
The Jaguars have some good young talent but might be a year or two away from being serious competitors.
>>Working it out: Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and wide receiver Mike Wallace displayed diplomacy and common sense this week.
In the Ravens first two games Wallace has barely touched the ball and he probably would have squawked except the Ravens won both contests. But when approached about the subject Wallace playfully said he wanted the ball more and Mornhinweg agreed that he needed to get the veteran receiver more involved in the offense.
It makes sense. Wallace is one of the fastest players on the team and that speed allows him to turn any short pass into a possible long touchdown.
>>Good suggestion: I can't take credit for this and it came from a media colleague. He suggested that the Ravens turn receiver Breshad Perriman into a running back.
"Well, since he can't catch the ball they might as well make him a running back so they can hand it to him," he said.
>>Sure coach: John Harbaugh was very complimentary of guard Tony Bergstrom earlier this week, claiming he played well after starter Marshal Yanda went down with an ankle injury in the third quarter of the Ravens' win against Cleveland last Sunday.
I understand that the coach didn't want to throw Bergstrom under the bus, but maybe he could have couched it better by saying Bergstrom was new to the offense and is expected to improve.
I watched him in practice Friday again and he looks slow and he got overpowered in the Cleveland game. He is a stop-gap player, but not the full-time answer to replace Yanda. Matt Skura is a candidate, but he isn't much better than Bergstrom. The Ravens need to hit the waiver wire.
>>Owner sighting: Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has been appearing less at practices during the last couple of seasons but he showed up here Friday.
I'm glad he did because Bisciotti is one of the driving forces behind playing in London. Most others in the organization would prefer to play the Jaguars in Jacksonville.
The good thing is that Bisciotti got his team here early enough to let them at least absorb some of the culture and that's a lot better than flying in on a Saturday and leaving right after the game.
That would irritate a lot of people within the organization.
>>Media friendly?: It had to be hard on Harbaugh having 50 to 100 media members watch his team practice two days before the Ravens play Jacksonville.
During the regular season, Harbaugh allows the media to watch just the opening 20 minutes of practice and they can't use cell phones during that time. That wasn't the case Friday and Harbaugh could do nothing but basically let it happen.
>>Don't forget Collins: Looks like running back Terrance West is back at full tilt and ready to go even though Buck Allen took a lot of reps with the first team Friday. Regardless, I want to see more of running back Alex Collins. After last week he showed more explosion than any recent Ravens runner.