A season opener on Monday Night Football and a division game doesn't get much more high profile in the NFL. While this is nothing unusual for veterans, it is new territory for rookies.
If rookies thought their first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons was a big deal, wait until they're in the national spotlight against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Running back Bernard Pierce, the No. 2 running back, is a rookie. So is Bobby Rainey, who is third, and trying to work his way into playing time through special teams.
"It's more focus now becuase it's the regular season. I go into it the same as I always been," Rainey said of the difference in his preparations. "I'm going to prepare how I've been preparing. That's what's got me here."
That's what center Matt Birk, in his 15th season, would suggest.
"The stage is a little bit bigger and things get a bit more pumped up but at the end of the day its just football," said Birk, who at some point will share offensive line duties with rookie guardtackle Kelechi Osemele. "Its still the same whether youre out there on the practice field or preseason. The fundamentals dont change. Nothing changes in the game. Its just all the external stuff that you can't focus on."
Receiver Jacoby Jones, in his sixth season but first in Baltimore, is the No. 2 receiver behind Torrey Smith. Jones has rookie Deonte Thompson behind him. They were brought in to add depth to a receiving corp that was a major weakness last season.
"You teach a rookie to learn to get yourself into a routine. That's how you become a vet," said Jones. "Every morning, I've got the same routine. Once you get yourself going it makes it easy for you. It's easy on your body. That's what you try to teach those guys."