The months of rehabilitation to strengthen the area around his twice fractured and dislocated right hip challenged Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta physically. Not being able to play all of last season and most of the previous two years tested his faith and patience. The weight of the decision he faced last spring on whether to attempt another comeback consumed him.
If outside forecasts of the defense's pending demise had seeped into their locker room, the Ravens weren't saying. The knowing nods and wry smiles, though, suggested the players were well aware of what was being said and written. They haven't played anyone. They are too slow, too reliant on veterans. They don't stand a chance of stopping the Cowboys and their vaunted running game.
They won't meet on the field tonight, but Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald are competing nonetheless. Fitzgerald, 32, has 952 career receptions. Smith, 36 and perhaps in his last NFL season, has 951.
Responding to a question about whether rookie safety Terrence Brooks could be an option in the nickel back role, Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees' answer probably could have applied to several positions.
Former Ravens center Matt Birk, the NFL¿s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2012 and a Super Bowl champion, will be back in the Baltimore area this Thursday for a signing for his new book, ¿All-Pro Wisdom: The 7 Choices that Lead to Greatness.¿
The Ravens last Thursday couldn't cover Broncos tight end Julius Thomas. Now the Ravens are preparing to face another former college basketball player turned NFL tight end, Jordan Cameron of the Browns.
Joe Flacco was mocked last month when he said that he thinks of himself as the NFL's best quarterback. "I wouldn't be very successful at my job if I didn't feel that way," the Baltimore Ravens quarterback explained.
It's a good thing the Ravens aren't looking for a pass-catching tight end in free agency because pickings are slim. Jermichael Finley, the top free agent tight end in this year's class, won't hit the market as the Green Bay Packers re-signed him to a two-year deal last month. That leaves the Washington Redskins' Fred Davis as the top free agent at the position, but there is a chance the Redskins could use their franchise tag to keep Davis.
There are very few slam-dunk picks in fantasy football. For years owning LaDainian Tomlinson guaranteed you a spot in the playoffs. Peyton Manning has been an elite fantasy QB for more than a decade. And though he's now in the twilight of his career, Terrell Owens used to be good for 1,000 yards and 10 TDs a season. Chargers tight end Antonio Gates falls into this category.