Last week the Raiders added pass rusher Aldon Smith to the team just two days before their season opener. That's not a lot of time to acclimate to a new team. This week the Ravens have had to do the same thing in signing free agent Jason Babin. The difference is their addition is out of absolute necessity.
All Pro pass rusher Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles in the Ravens' opener and is lost for the season. This is as huge loss for a team which was already trying to replace many other departed players.
"It's hard to put a number on it, but it does affect us," said Ravens head coach Jon Harbaugh. "Obviously, he's a great player and a great leader. When you lose someone of that caliber, it's going to have an impact."
The Raiders, of course, will act like the Ravens will still be just as tough without their 6-time Pro Bowl pass rusher.
"Not really," Jack Del Rio said of if Suggs loss affects his thinking. "They have a system in place that they've been running for a number of years. They're a pretty veteran group. They have a lot of depth, so they'll plug in. Whether they move [Elvis] Dumervil over there or they play someone else there and leave Dumervil alone, they have very capable people there. It'll be more about their scheme, understanding what they like to do. I don't see them drastically changing what they like to do because Terrell [Suggs] is out, even though he's a great player. When you lose a great player like that, it does affect you a little bit, but they have a lot of depth, so we're getting prepared for that."
Without Suggs, the Ravens have Dumervil and not much else. Courtney Upshaw and Za'Darius Smith will try and contribute in the pass rush as well. Upshaw started 14 games last season but had no sacks and just 3.0 sacks in three full seasons in the NFL. Smith is a rookie fourth round pick out of Kentucky.
In a desperation move, the Ravens signed 35-year-old Jason Babin this week. He spent last season with the Jets and was among the team's final cuts prior to this season. He will now have three practices to try and get up to speed with his new team.
"They sprinkled me in a little bit today," Babin said Wednesday. "Obviously Thursday with the pass emphasis, they'll be a little more of me sprinkled in. But they're going to keep it simple for me. I basically had a bye week last week. I'm ready to rock and roll."
Babin isn't exactly a suitable replacement for the loss of Suggs. Few are. Finding young, stud pass rushers on the street is not easy to do. It's the reason when the Raiders signed Aldon Smith, they were among of host of teams vying to do so as well.
Smith played limited snaps in the team's opener, and managed one pressure and one QB hit in the game. He will likely play a few more snaps this week as the Raiders try to take advantage of the Ravens' suspect offensive line. Like the Ravens with Babin, the plan will be simple for Smith - as Ken Norton Jr said - is to "Go get the quarterback".