As I said in our Bold Predictions this week, I was extremely excited to watch this game. However, that was before Jimmy Smith had been officially listed as “doubtful.” I was looking forward to the strength-vs-strength matchup of the Cowboys’ run offense vs. the Ravens’ run defense, but if Jimmy is unable to go, will Dallas even bother trying to beat their heads against the wall against Brandon Williams, C.J. Mosley & Co.?
Or will they just have Dak Prescott go to work on what is suddenly a very suspect Baltimore secondary sans Jimmy?
We’ll have to wait until Sunday to see what happens, but it sure would be nice if Smith’s back stopped bothering him before game time.
Let’s take a look at the stats, quotes, and more in our weekly CRAB BAG.
OLB Terrell Suggs on playing with a torn biceps in the Ravens’ 28-7 win over Cleveland:
“I only know one way to play. It wasn’t anything that I haven’t done before; I have played with a torn biceps before. I have come back from a torn Achilles before, so I guess it is just in my DNA. My mom and dad did something special when they made me. Ozzie [Newsome] knew what he was doing when he drafted me. I have Raven in my DNA. I only know one way to play.”
S Eric Weddle on how much of a lift OLB Terrell Suggs gives the team, especially playing with torn biceps:
“‘Sizz’ is a once-in-a-generation-type player. You just can’t replicate what he brings. Not just on the field, but his whole belief, his mantra, his aura about himself that he brings to our defense. He just brings that confidence to all of us. As an older guy, you get someone like that, you can really lean on them. You can look them in the eyes and say, ‘Hey, we need a play right now. We need to pick each other up.’ And he’s right there with you.
So, I’m at the end of the [Cleveland] game, and I’m like, ‘Sizz, we’ve got to go out there; we’ve got to show them we can finish this thing.’ He comes up with a huge sack/forced fumble. It’s a joy to play with him and a joy to play with these guys. We’re an unselfish group that plays for each other, and we’re showing how we play.”
CSNMidAtlantic.com’s Clifton Brown on rookie RB Kenneth Dixon after his breakout game vs. Cleveland:
“This is the Kenneth Dixon the Ravens saw when they scouted him and what we saw in the preseason when he was the Ravens’ best back. He really hasn’t been healthy since then. Now that he looks healthy again, I think he and Terrance West can really be a good one-two punch going down the stretch. Two young backs, fresh legs running with a lot of fire. West made people miss [Thursday]. I thought he looked good tonight as well. But Kenneth Dixon, I think, seems ready now to make a consistent contribution to this offense. That’s a good sign for the Ravens.”
Head coach John Harbaugh on the Ravens’ offense building off its performance vs. Cleveland:
“We’re in a building process with our team, but most certainly with our offense, which has the furthest distance to go probably. We just have to keep coaching, keep practicing, keep playing and keep deciding what’s going to be right for us to run offensively and keep improving. That’s going to be a process. We had some success in the second half, and that was really important for us to do that. Hopefully, we’ll all look back at this [Cleveland game] at the end of the season and say this was a turning point for the offense.”
WR Steve Smith Sr. on the Ravens building off a win vs. Cleveland:
“This can propel itself to give us momentum. We are going into a hostile environment. Dallas has a good team. They are a young, talented team. So yes, we need to build on this. We also have to have a short memory and erase everything we have done the last week and work just as hard as if we have something to prove, because we actually do.”
What’s your favorite part about the LBs group?
“I love that we are a big family. I don’t think there is anything that could break us. Zach [Orr] and I have had a strong bond ever since we got here [in 2014], and Albert [McClellan] and Coach ‘Wink’ [Don Martindale] were here before us. We have a strong family, and the rookies, ‘Peanut’ [Patrick Onwuasor] and ‘K.C.’ [Kamalei Correa] are becoming part of it. We know each other’s instincts on the field and our personalities off the field.”
What teammate is the most influential?
“Obviously, ‘Sizz’ [Terrell Suggs]. It is not even close. You never know what is going to come out of his mouth – it can be funny, it can be serious, it can be whatever. But no matter what he is saying, everyone is listening when he talks. He is the most inspirational teammate I’ve ever been around.”
What has caused the defense to improve so much at creating turnovers?
“It comes with the scheme. We aren’t worried about what other teams do, we are playing our type of football and playing how we want to play. Also, we have a lot of playmakers. You can’t make plays without playmakers. We have guys who have great range in the secondary, we have fast ‘backers, and our defensive line is great. We have defensive linemen tipping balls, getting turnovers and picking up fumbles. All of us are focused on making plays.”
How has “D” coordinator Dean Pees helped you adjust to the NFL so quickly?
“The system we had at Alabama transferred over to what we do with the Ravens. This is the best situation I could have walked into. Even this year, Coach Pees has kept it simple, because he knows what we are good at. We are a team that likes to stop the run, and once we get them backed up, we like to bring pressure and be aggressive. That is what we have been doing, and it has been working.”
If you didn’t play LB, what position would you play?
“I was a decent running back in high school, so that is probably what I would play. Being a linebacker, you have to have running back vision. A lot of the reads that running backs make are similar to the reads that we have to make. The only thing is, knowing how I like to hit running backs makes me unsure if I’d want to play running back in the NFL.”
What is your favorite trait of head coach John Harbaugh?
“His competitiveness. He is going to ride or die with his players. No matter if we win or lose, if it is a good season or bad season, he is always going to be the same. We went through a 5-11 season last year, and you would not even be able to tell by the way he has coached us this year. He is always going to keep it real with you. He is real competitive, and he just has that fire in his heart.”
Ravens team president Dick Cass represented Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in the acquisition of the team and Texas Stadium in 1989 when Cass was a partner at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering. Cass also advised Jones on a variety of matters, including sponsorship contracts, the Collective Bargaining Agreement and salary cap, NFL broadcast arrangements, NFL Internet policies, stadium financing, estate planning, local broadcast partnerships and the NFL substance abuse programs.
Cowboys director of college scouting Lionel Vital served as the Ravens’ national scout from 2005-07 and as a scout during the team’s inaugural season of 1996.
Ravens assistant director of pro personnel Chad Alexander’s late father, Hubbard Alexander, won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys as the team’s WRs coach (1992-93 and 1995).
Several Ravens hail from Texas: Offensive line coach Juan Castillo (Port Isabel), TE Crockett Gillmore (Bushland), S Marqueston Huff (Texarkana), QB Ryan Mallett (Texarkana), LB Zachary Orr (DeSoto) and K Justin Tucker (Austin).
Ravens LB Patrick Onwuasor (2007-10) and Cowboys DE Benson Mayowa (2005-08) played together at Inglewood (CA) HS. Onwuasor was named PrepStar All-West-Region in his final season, while Mayowa was a first-team All-League choice in 2008.