Sam Lawrence

January 26, 2016

by Sam Lawrence, sports reporter AM1450

In the NFL, there are two ways the season ends: by going to the playoffs or cleaning out lockers and getting ready for the next season. In Baltimore the latter was just what was going on. After a dismal and disappointing 5-11 season the Ravens cleaned out their lockers with multiple questions on their minds; what will the team do with the pressing needs at cornerback, who will the Ravens turn to after Steve Smith retires at wide receiver next year, how will all of those injured players bounce back, and who will return?

Baltimore differs from many other teams in the way of team unity and faith. Head Coach John Harbaugh’s motto for the team is: The Team, The Team, The Team. The locker room is randomly organized in such a way that anyone can be put next to anyone. Punter Sam Koch is next to linebacker Elvis Dumervil, wide receiver Steve Smith has his locker next to linebacker Terrell Suggs and so on. This connects everyone to each other not just keeping defense, offense, or special teams grouped in their respective “teams”. When walking through the locker room, I heard some players talking about the end of the season and hanging out with each other. Steve Smith even mentioned that he would be hanging out with Terrell Suggs later that day and before he headed back to Charlotte, North Carolina.

I feel that this has been a catalyst to the success of the Ravens in their short history. In interviewing players like wide receiver Chris Givens, who began the year with the St. Louis Rams, I asked him what the major difference was between the two teams and which did he feel most at home with. Givens said that the preparation and dedication of Baltimore was the major difference and that while he could feel at home wherever he had to go for his job, Baltimore was the place he felt most at home with. Givens provides insight into how a newcomer to the team feels when coming to Baltimore. While he is a newcomer who’s season has ended, veterans Sam Koch and Marshal Yanda still have one more game to play. The two are the only Ravens who will represent the team in Honolulu, Hawaii in the Pro Bowl. Koch has been considered one of the NFL’s best punters since he was drafted in 2006; however, he has never been elected to the Pro Bowl to which many fans, players, and coaches have thought it a snub. They believe that it has taken so long for him to finally be sent to the Pro Bowl. Yanda has been a 5-time Pro Bowler and is considered one of the best guards in the NFL.

The players did feel optimistic about the 2016 season as they spoke of building and learning from the struggles and mistakes of the 2015 season. The last time Baltimore went 5-11, they bounced back to 11-5 and made a trip to the AFC Championship where they eventually lost to their archrival Pittsburgh Steelers. It is safe to say that the Ravens will bounce back but the question is how and who will be with them when they do?

Sam Lawrence
AM1450 Sports Reporter