Summertime superiority: Inside the Baltimore Ravens’ historic 20-game preseason winning streak – Baltimore Ravens Blog

BALTIMORE – Josh Woodrum has been a distributor for a construction supply company and a Master Club Fitter for a custom golf manufacturer for the past several years.

His previous job comes up every now and then.

“Didn’t you once play for the Ravens?” a customer will ask.

Woodrum, 29, played for seven NFL teams, including 13 months in Baltimore, and yet never got on the field for a regular-season game. He holds that honor — he’s as influential as Lamar Jackson on a particular Ravens winning streak.

As Baltimore opens the preseason Thursday night, the Ravens have won 20 straight preseason games, dwarfing the Vince Lombardi-led Green Bay Packers, who won 19 straight games from 1959-62. Although the official record is unknown, Baltimore’s streak is the longest by any team confirmed by the Elias Sports Bureau since 1995.

The reason this streak has lasted six years isn’t because Ravens coach John Harbaugh plays his starters longer than other teams. That’s because Woodrum and other bubblers for Baltimore have repeatedly proven they’re better than other teams’ reserves in the second half.

Woodrum played in seven games in Baltimore’s preseason run, completing 67% of his passes (37 of 55) and recording a 102.2 passer rating. In the 2017 preseason opener, his first pass for the Ravens went to wide receiver Tim White for a 33-yard touchdown against Washington. The next play, Woodrum scored on a 14-yard run. A week later, he threw Taquan Mizzell a 15-yard touchdown pass that proved to be a game winner against the Buffalo Bills.

“It’s not just about winning for the Ravens,” Woodrum said. “It’s a way of stamping your career and adding something to your resume. You came in and played even though people think it’s the end of the game. That does not matter. It’s really important for half the squad because that’s the only playing time they can get. In that regard, it’s super important.”

The Ravens have heard others rip them because they think this series is special if it isn’t recognized by the NFL record books and occurred during the portion of the league calendar where games technically don’t count.

But Baltimore is proud that the team’s last preseason loss was on September 3, 2015. There’s also a sense of widespread accomplishment when counting the number of players who contributed to that summer dominance.

During the Ravens prep series…

  • There have been 12 quarterbacks who have thrown passes for the Ravens, including Josh Johnson and Jerrod Johnson.

  • 35 players scored touchdowns, including De’Lance Turner’s 65-yard run and Kai Nacua’s 23-yard interception return.

  • There were 25 players who forced turnovers, including Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard’s two forced fumbles (when he was playing on the defensive line) and Stanley Jean-Baptiste’s two interceptions. “I think it’s proof of that [current general manager] Eric [DeCosta]Harbs [John Harbaugh] and [former GM] ozzie [Newsome] and how they build the roster,” said kicker Justin Tucker, one of three current Ravens players whose tenure spans the entire preseason winning streak. “Our 90-man squad has really, really good depth. All these guys can play legally. “Many of the Ravens had forgotten about the streak until reporters brought it up this week. They couldn’t guess how many straight games Baltimore had won or how many years the streak had lasted. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the roster change: In the last two offseasons, 59 players were added by draft, free agency or trade (65%). [the streak]’Cause I don’t want anything to happen,” said Ricard, who was obviously suspicious of hexing his team. “I think it’s a really cool series. It just shows that we are always a ready team for the pre-season.”

    The Ravens’ August dynasty has carried over into the regular season. Since the preseason began in 2016, Baltimore has the fourth-best record in the league (14-6) as of September.

    A change in training camp routine could spell a reversal of fortunes in preseason. The Ravens, who placed a total of 25 players on injured reserve last season, have sought to reduce the risk of injury by scaling back their full-contract practices. Baltimore is playing against air (no defenders) more than ever.

    “That’s what we’re chasing: execution before physicality,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see how it goes and we’ll see how good we are, especially at the beginning [regular] Season.”

    The second-longest current preseason winning streak belongs to the Bills, who have won eight straight games. To surpass where Baltimore is now, Buffalo would need to win every preseason game by 2025 and then win the preseason opener in 2026.

    Baltimore needs to beat the Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals and Washington Commanders to record its sixth straight perfect preseason (there were no preseason games in 2020 due to COVID-19).

    Professional players have taken note of Baltimore’s streak, even though preseason games don’t typically generate much action.

    “From the odds makers I’ve spoken to, preseason sportsbooks don’t take much from public recreational bettors, even with a ridiculous streak like this,” said ESPN sportsbook analyst Doug Kezirian. “So it’s not like the house is being beaten. But the pro bettors betting on the preseason are surely aware of Baltimore’s dominance.

    “In fact, their 18-2 record against point spread is even more impressive considering the spread is designed to make the game a coin flip outcome.”

    Woodrum, who lives in the Philadelphia area, will be watching the Ravens’ summer success, much like many of the other players who have adapted during this run.

    “I kind of have a soft spot for them,” said Woodrum, who has a Ravens helmet and jersey on display in his basement. “You’ve always been good to me. You can’t play in the league forever, but my time there was great.”

https://www.espn.com/blog/baltimore-ravens/post/_/id/56158/summertime-superiority-inside-the-baltimore-ravens-historic-20-game-preseason-win-streak Summertime superiority: Inside the Baltimore Ravens’ historic 20-game preseason winning streak – Baltimore Ravens Blog

Emma Bowman

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