BALTIMORE — Just under two weeks ago, neither Josh Bynes, L.J. Fort or Jihad Ward were on the Ravens roster.
On Sunday, the three of them contributed to the defense much more than anyone would have thought a few weeks, or days, ago.
Through two games, it’s fair to say that the new additions are working out.
“I give the credit to them,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Our coaches have done a great job, obviously. And the good thing is, they’re veteran players. So they’ve been coached, they know how to play schemes. They know how they fit certain fronts.”
Bynes was a free agent that didn’t have a team from March to October, when the Ravens came calling. He had an interception last week in Pittsburgh and tipped a pass which led to an interception on Sunday against the Bengals.
Fort was released by the Eagles at the end of September and brought onto the Ravens roster three days later. He played mostly special teams last week, but saw an increase in defensive snaps against the Bengals.
Both linebackers, Bynes and Fort were brought in to help fortify the Ravens run defense.
Ward, a defensive lineman, was signed on Oct. 7 and immediately made active in his first game in Baltimore. Ward and Fort each had two combined tackles.
“I’ve been on the field plenty of times, just keep it simple, just ball,” Ward said. “Just do what I’ve got to do. Give it all I got. Just show my respect to let them know me, that I’m a Raven. Just keep hustling to the ball, do what else we’ve got to do.”
The trio has come in and made an immediate impact on a Ravens defense that struggled through the first three weeks.
While none of the new additions have been game-changers, they’ve filled their roles admirably in the best way they could.
“We need more vets in the NFL,” Pernell McPhee said with a chuckle. “They want to go young now, the NFL wants to go young, they want to cut all of us out. It is all good, but that is what happens when you get guys that know how to play the game and have been in the game a long time.”
All of the new additions downplayed the difficulty of learning the playbook, since they’ve been in the league for a few years now.
Teammates have raved about how they’ve come in and done their jobs, too.
There might not be a ton of game-changing plays from them yet, but for now, they’ve been exactly what the Ravens defense needed.
“They’re proud to be here,” Harbaugh said. “They want to be here and they’re playing at a high level for us. And really, just what we needed at the right time.”
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