Ravens see benefits of bonding in Arizona
The Ravens are on a liaison trip, but it’s also a work trip.
Afternoon temperatures were in the mid-90s on Friday in Tempe, Ariz., but that didn’t stop the Ravens from practicing for more than two hours outside the training facility at the Arizona State. Their four-day stay in Arizona will culminate with Sunday night’s preseason game against the Cardinals, and it’s the kind of extended trip the Ravens couldn’t plan for during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. .
Head Coach John Harbaugh and many players thought it would be important to take a pre-season trip that would build camaraderie and build relationships for a 17-game regular season that will put them to the test of many manners. Even before Friday night’s team dinner, Harbaugh saw the benefit of deciding to leave early for Arizona. The Ravens left Thursday afternoon and won’t return until after Sunday’s game.
“We went through a situation in a recent season where we had to train and go home, and either we had to have zoom meetings, or we had to keep six feet apart,” Harbaugh said after Friday’s practice. “It weighs on the teams and on people in general.
“Now that we’re back together, we felt we should take advantage of the situation. Let’s see if we can spend four or five days together on the road. What starts on the pitch, it shows on the pitch. Whether that whether it’s work ethic, discipline, or relationships, building those kinds of connections is important.”
The Ravens had originally planned to practice indoors on Friday, but the players preferred to practice on grass which is easier on their legs than on an artificial surface. So, Harbaugh made the switch to work on the outside court, and the players showed their commitment with a solid session.
“The practice was sharp, it was sharp, it was hot,” Harbaugh said. “But we had another good day at work, and the guys were in good spirits.
“It was the player’s request to come out and Arizona State was good, they asked us to change our plans. It was great. Now we have the team dinner tonight to look forward to.”