The Baltimore Ravens officially placed veterans Ja’Wuan James and Kyle Fuller on season-ending injured reserve on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, and filled one of the two spots that opened up on their active roster the same day by signing veteran edge defender Steven Means to the 53 from the practice squad.
The team entered the year with just two outside linebackers on the active roster in veteran Justin Houston and second-year pro Odafe Oweh. They elevated Means from the practice squad to play in the season opener and he played play 28 defensive snaps, nine on special teams, and recorded one solo tackle.
The 10-year journeyman is back for his second stint with the team and is coming off a strong preseason in which he recorded five total tackles including one for a loss, a sack, and several pressures in two exhibition games. Many pundits predicted that he would make the initial 53-man roster before he ultimately got released and signed to the practice squad shortly thereafter.
Early in training camp, Means said that the Ravens “resurrected” his career in his first couple of years in the league during a time in which he questioned his desire to play the game.
“There was a point where I was almost done with ball,” Means said in a press conference on August 16. “Then, I got here and started having fun again and started loving the game again.”
“I wanted to come back here, I prayed to come back here,” Means said. “What most people don’t know is that this place resurrected my career. There was a point where I was almost done with ball. Then, I got here and started having fun again and started loving the game again. Eight years later, I wind up coming back, and it’s a blessing. I owe a lot to this organization.”
Patrick Queen Feels Refreshed With New Play Caller
The Ravens selected the former LSU standout in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft and the third-year inside linebacker is coming off arguably his best and certainly most complete game as a pro. Against the New York Jets in Week 1, Queen played all 84 defensive snaps and proved that he has become the every-down defender that the team envisioned when they drafted him.
A big reason for his apparent bounceback and rapid turnaround from an up-and-down 2021 season is the return of Mike Macdonald to the Ravens’ coaching staff. He was Queen’s position coach as a rookie in 2020 and is back as the team’s defensive coordinator this year where his simplified yet still holistic approach has the ascending young defender feeling rejuvenated.
“It’s very refreshing, just to be able to go out there and just play football [and] know everything,” Queen said in a press conference on September 14, 2022. “When every defense is called, everybody on the field knows what they’re supposed to be doing.”
Ravens Show Dolphins Offense Respect
The team will host the Miami Dolphins this Sunday, September 18, 2022, for their home opener. While Lamar Jackson said they’ll “have an answer” to counter their AFC foe’s relentless prowess for blitzing, the Ravens are fully aware of the dangerous threat that their new-look offense presents.
“They have two of the fastest receivers in football playing for them, two running backs who run that scheme extremely well, and what I mean by that [is] the wide-zone-type scheme,” head coach John Harbaugh said in a press conference on September 14, 2022.
The two speedy receivers that Harbaugh was referring to in his comments are six-time Pro Bowler Tyreek Hill and 2021 first-round pick Jaylen Waddle who combined for 177 yards from scrimmage in their team’s Week 1 win over the New England Patriots. The veteran running backs he was talking about is Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds who the team added this offseason and possess the explosive speed to score from anywhere on the field as well.
“Any time you face people like that, it’s a tough challenge, and you’ve just got to give respect where it’s due,” Queen said. “The biggest thing for us is just to come out there, [take] good angles to the football [with] everybody running to the ball at the stack and just try to get these guys on the ground – get shots on them.”
Queen also showed some respect toward the Dolphins’ starting quarterback and his fellow 2020 first-rounder, Tua Tagovailoa, by praising his accuracy and underrated athleticism.
“He is very accurate, and like you said, he can run the ball, too,” he said to reporters. “Dealing with a dual-threat quarterback, just everybody has got to be on their keys, everybody has got to be doing their responsibilities. People in the media try to say he’s not a good quarterback – this and that. Obviously, if you start for an NFL team, you’re a good quarterback. So, we’re just going in being prepared, trying to take away those reads and just play football.”