Ravens Facing ‘Dream Team’

The Eagles have certainly raised expectations after a few free agent splashes.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Thursday, August 11th, 2011 at 10:58 am | Categories: Mike Duffy

When the Ravens take the field Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, they’ll be facing what many have called the NFL’s “Dream Team.”

After making several big splashes in free agency by signing the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, Vince Young, Steve Smith and Ronnie Brown – in addition to acquiring cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie via trade – the Eagles seem to be taking an all-in approach.

“It’s a great test,” said Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh.  “It’s going to be interesting to see how we stack up. It’s a very talented team.  It’s not going to take them long; they’ve got a lot of guys back. Their whole team isn’t new; they’re just plugging some guys in.

“So, obviously, they’re one of the best teams in the NFC.”

It is still uncertain which of the Eagles’ stars will suit up in the preseason opener, but Philadelphia has fashioned one of the most high-profile rosters in the league.

Led by Pro Bowl quarterback Mike Vick and electrifying wideouts Jeremy Maclin, who hasn’t participated in training camp due to an undisclosed illness, and DeSean Jackson, the Eagles’ offense is certainly explosive.

And Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie could combine with Pro Bowler Asante Samuel to make a terrifying set of cornerbacks.

“It’ll be good for our defense to see those good quarterbacks and running backs,” said Harbaugh.  “I’m not sure if Nnamdi will play, but I hope those guys play a lot. It’ll be good for us.”

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who grew up just outside of Philadelphia in Audubon, N.J., said he is looking forward to facing Asomugha, the top free agent of 2011.

“It’ll be fun to go against Nnamdi,” said Flacco.  “Anytime you go against a corner like that, it’s kind of just fun to have that challenge for the receivers, for myself.”

Since Young coined the phrase of “Dream Team,” Eagles brass has tried to manage the Super Bowl expectations that came with their blockbuster moves.

“We’re about as far from a dream team as you can be,” Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie said last week. “We’re playing catch-up. The only dream team I know about is the Green Bay Packers. We dream to become as good as the Green Bay Packers and hold that trophy.”

Whether the Eagles are holding the Vince Lombardi trophy at the end of the day remains to be seen, but at least the Ravens get to test the super squad first.

“They went out and bought, I don’t know, the greatest team ever,” Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano said with a laugh.  “I don’t know if you can just do that. There is so much that has gone into this place over a long period of time, I don’t think you can just do that. So, we’ll see where we’re at.”

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