New Ravens pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue grew up in Bowie, Md., about 30 minutes from M&T Bank Stadium.
Now, his first game as a Baltimore Raven after coming back home will be against Pittsburgh in a colossal midseason matchup of AFC North leaders.
“It’s quite ironic,” Ngakoue said. “The Ravens are a team that I definitely used to watch a lot growing up. Those guys had crazy battles as I remember being a kid watching them on TV. It was really low-scoring games, like 10-3 games. It was just a defensive battle.”
“I already knew this was definitely a top defense. I’ve been part of a top defense before in 2017, and I know what it takes to uphold that standard,” Ngakoue said.
“I’m definitely excited about the Steelers game. I had a lot of success, personally, versus that team. And I’m pretty sure as a team, the whole defense will have a lot of success, not this weekend, but the next weekend coming up. I’m definitely, definitely super excited to be able to play my first game – my first Ravens and Steelers game.”
Ngakoue landed on the Ravens’ roster Thursday, and after a bye week, his new team is scheduled to host the divisional rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 1. Time to master an unfamiliar playbook is sparse.
Even an introductory news conference couldn’t pull Ngakoue too far from the study materials Ravens coaches provided.
“I have the iPad right in front of me right now,” Ngakoue said, “going through different installs that they’re implementing for me to try to come in and make an impact.”
Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale holds a reputation for creativity and aggressiveness, but his team prides itself on a playbook that is flexible and designed to streamline communication.
Ngakoue has nine days to grasp the defense. And it helps, he said, that he’d been playing for the Vikings.
DeCosta: ‘We Are Not Finished Building This Team’ - Todd Karpovich
Ngakoue should be a major boost to the team’s pass rush. In six games with Minnesota this season, Ngakoue had 10 tackles, a team-high five sacks and two forced fumbles.
Even if Dez Bryant eventually joins the roster, the Ravens could use another wide receiver that can get behind a secondary. Baltimore also needs depth on the offensive line, and at cornerback because of a recent spate of injuries. The Ravens could also be in the market for a third tight end.
DeCosta has opened the door for perhaps another deal or two to strengthen the team.
“We are not finished building this team, as we continue to chase our ultimate goals,” DeCosta said.
DeCosta wants to make sure the Ravens will be gearing up to host a postseason game for a third consecutive year, and then keep that momentum rolling forward.
Baltimore Ravens to have fans for first time this season Nov. 1 for Pittsburgh Steelers game - Jamison Hensley
The Baltimore Ravens will have fans back in the stands for the first time this season, just in time for the upcoming showdown with their AFC North rivals.
The Ravens will be allowed to have around 4,000 fans at their Nov. 1 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young announced Friday. It will mark the first time this season that Baltimore will have more than 250 friends and family in the stands at M&T Bank Stadium.
Approximately 3,000 fans will be allowed in the lower bowl of the stadium. There will be 800 fans in the club-level section, and another 500 will be allowed in suites.
“We are excited to welcome fans back to M&T Bank Stadium,” Ravens president Dick Cass said.
The theme for players available is older veterans due a lot of money, and that can be said for Giants WR Golden Tate and guard Kevin Zeitler, along with Eagles WR Alshon Jefferywho has been available for a while. Along with being expensive, Jeffery still hasn’t played with foot and now calf issues, making trading him extremely difficult.
There has been some interest in Browns TE David Njoku and Giants TE Evan Engram, though neither team intends to move either guy. Perhaps if they are blown away by a monster deal, but both talented young tight ends figure to stay put.