|Anderson tackles Ravens playbook, debuts Sunday|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 17 September 2008 10:17|
Anderson knows all about facing the Cleveland Browns, arguably his most hated rival when he played right tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals. This confrontation, however, will be decidedly different.
For the first time in his 13-year career, Anderson will pull a Baltimore Ravens jersey over his shoulder pads before confronting the Browns.
Released by the Bengals before the season because he refused to take a pay cut, Anderson signed a three-year, $11 million contract with the Ravens on Sept. 5. The four-time Pro Bowler sat out the opener because he wasn't acquainted with the playbook, but he got an extra week to study when Hurricane Ike postponed Baltimore's game in Houston last week.
, meet my teammates and see the city a little bit,'' Anderson said Wednesday. ``It's been a good transition.''
Anderson has blended in well with the Ravens, perhaps because he respected them and they admired him. After banging helmets against each other for 12 years, both sides are happy to be working for a common cause.
``I went against him when he was at Cincinnati, so if anyone's a big Willie Anderson fan, it's definitely me. I know what he brings, I know what he's capable of,'' Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs said.
In the opener against Cincinnati, the Ravens ran for 229 yards and did not allow a sack. The addition of Anderson makes a good line even better.
``He brings tremendous veteran experience,'' center Jason Brown said. ``He's a Pro Bowler, which means he's one of the best at his position. That means a lot to us. Of course, we lost that veteran presence with Jonathan Ogden (retiring), but bringing in Willie definitely gives us more confidence. He's already picked up this offense and is making a difference.''
It didn't take long for Anderson to ditch his Cincinnati roots and embrace the idea of being with Baltimore.
,'' coach John Harbaugh said.
Although many fans believe that football players hate the guys on the other team, Anderson said that emotion was limited to the three hours he spent on the field during a game.
``We looked at this organization with the utmost respect. We kind of envied them a little bit,'' he said. ``That's one of the reasons I wanted to come here and take a look. I know the guys on this team. We battled against each other for 12 years, and it's a good fit.''
Anderson is a perfect fit for a young line in need of experience. He has started 173 of 181 career games since being drafted in the first round in 1996 out of Auburn; in contrast, Baltimore tackles Jared Gaither and Adam Terry have 15 career starts between them.
At first, Anderson will alternate with Terry at right tackle. But it seems hard to imagine the Ravens won't increase Anderson's playing time after his understanding of the playbook becomes complete.
``I'm fine with whatever opportunity they give me,'' the 6-foot-5, 340-pounder said. ``I wanted to come here and wanted to be a part of this team, and my role will be whatever they want it to be. I'm just excited about getting work.''
get their hands on rookie quarterback Joe Flacco.
``I'm pretty sure Joe Flacco is sleeping a lot better knowing he's got a Hall of Fame veteran right tackle on his team,'' Suggs said. ``I'm just so happy we got him. He does a lot for us in the passing game, but he can bring us back to that smashmouth identity we're known for. I just can't wait to see him out there.''