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Late For Work 9/10: 2010 Ravens Better Than 2000 Ravens?

Plus, the Jets show some respect and Ray is declared winner in war of words.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Friday, September 10th, 2010 at 9:17 am | Categories: Late For Work, Ryan Mink

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2010 Ravens Better Than 2000 Ravens?

Who better to tell you how good you are than those who went through it themselves?

The Baltimore Sun’s Jamison Hensley’s tracked down members of the Ravens’ 2000 Super Bowl team to get their thoughts on Baltimore’s current Super Bowl chances.

You’re going to like their answer. A few feel like this year’s Ravens are poised to be perhaps better.

“On paper, they have the makings of being a Super Bowl team, probably better than what we had in 2000,” former tackle Jonathan Ogden said. “I like their chances. I really do.”

Added former wideout Qadry Ismail, “This [2010] team is a better team. Outside of trading out veteran Ray [Lewis] for the younger Ray, this team is just better.”

The two teams aren’t twins, however.

Theis year’s unit has a high-octane passing attack that’s going to be expected to win games, not just manage them as Trent Dilfer did. The 2000 roster had the greatest defense of all time and a secondary that haunted opposing quarterbacks. This year’s defensive backfield is trying to survive a rash of injuries, including to Ed Reed.

“We had something that not many teams can replicate,” Dilfer said. “We absolutely trusted one another beyond a shadow of a doubt. We were physically more dominant than anybody else. We had the greatest defense that ever lived. So, it would be very hard to compare the two teams.”

Most importantly, the 2000 team finished it off. So far, this year’s Super Bowl hype is just that – hype.

“Myself, Goose, Rod Woodson … we’ve posted our score and we’re drinking lemonade in the clubhouse,” former Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe said. “So, we’ll see what the 2010 Ravens can do.”

Jets Show Some Respect

Baltimore fans and the media have done plenty of talking about how much better the Ravens’ offense should be this year.

But there’s nothing quite like hearing it from the mouths of the opponent – especially the New York Jets. For all the back-and-forth between the Ravens and Jets, there is underlying admiration, says Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun.

When comparing the Ravens’ current offense to the one he practiced against in Baltimore, former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott said, “It was a one-dimensional offense. They really didn’t have an identity other than running the ball. Now they’re a balanced attack. I think they’re a respected attack, and they have the capability to make a lot of noise.”

Scott said teams can’t just stack eight men in the box to stop Ray Rice because the Ravens have receiving threats who can win one-on-one battles. Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan shared his praise of Rice and Joe Flacco.

“They’re outstanding,” Ryan said. “And you know, it’s funny to see … both of them were excellent players when I was there, their rookie years, but you saw how they matured last year. Obviously, Ray Rice being a Pro Bowl running back his second season, and then the way Joe improved, they really did a great job. I think you’ve got to credit the coaches as well.”

Ray Wins War Of Words

By now you’ve surely heard about or seen Ray Lewis’ rant on the Jets yesterday. If not, you can find the full thing here.

Ryan responded yesterday at his press conference, specifically to Lewis’ problem with him saying on “Hard Knocks” that Lewis “tapped out” after being permitted to call some plays during a preseason game during Rex’s time in Baltimore.

“By speaking the truth, what I believe to be the truth, I don’t think it’s anything to get fired up about,” said Ryan, who seemed a bit nervous for once. “If you need to put it in your locker room, go for it.”

Pretty sure Lewis doesn’t need any bulletin board material to get him fired up. Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon of ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption sided with the future Hall of Fame linebacker.

Ravens Still Underdogs

Yesterday I wrote about how the Ravens are being touted as the Super Bowl favorites. Today I see ESPN’s picks for this weekend, where six of nine votes go to the Ravens over the Jets.

So why then does the Vegas line have the Ravens listed as 2.5-point underdogs heading into Monday night?

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh took notice as well.

“We want to be the underdog,” Harbaugh said on his weekly radio show, The John Harbaugh Show. “I think they picked us to be the underdog on Monday night as well. So that’s exactly where we expect to be and we appreciate that spot.”

As far as other picks, the Baltimore Sun released its predictions for 2010 yesterday. Hensley picked the Ravens to win it all. Check out the rest of the Sun’s picks.

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