Lamar Jackson was trying to lure Dalvin Cook to the Ravens long before he signed with the practice squad last week.
Jackson said he reached out to Cook during the summer when he was a free agent. The 28-year-old Cook elected to sign with the New York Jets in August, but now that he’s with Baltimore, Jackson is excited to have another South Florida native in the backfield.
“It’s awesome, 954, 305 combination going on,” Jackson said, referring to their respective South Florida area codes. “I’m really excited about the situation. I reached out to him before the season and when he was signing with the Jets. But God works in mysterious ways and he’s here now. That’s dope.”
Cook wasn’t activated for the regular-season finale, but now has two weeks to prepare for the divisional round. Should the Ravens decide to activate him during the playoffs, Cook will add a proven weapon as a running back who had four straight 1,000-yard seasons in Minnesota prior to this year.
“We view him as a potentially very valuable weapon on our offense,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “Dalvin Cook is a high pedigree, highly decorated player. He’s still got talent and ability, he’s smart, he’s in great shape. He’s in football shape, he looked very good in practice.”
Pro Bowl safety Kyle Hamilton, who is 22 years old, is always excited to see players sign with the Ravens who he admired while growing up.
“It’s pretty cool, it never gets old,” Hamilton said. “Guys I’ve looked up to like Jadeveon Clowney, he’s a real cool guy. Kyle Van Noy, Odell (Beckham Jr.), Dalvin Cook, I’ve been watching him dominate since Florida State. It’s cool to be on a team where we have a bunch of guys like that who made names for themselves.”
Harbaugh Is Happy to See Members of His Staff Being Sought After
This is a busy time for the Ravens’ coaching staff, not only preparing for the playoffs but reportedly being sought after for head coach vacancies.
Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Anthony Weaver, Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken and Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald have all reportedly been requested to interview for head coach positions.
The Titans are reportedly another team on Macdonald’s list, joining the Panthers and Commanders. The Panthers and Chargers have reportedly reached out about Monken, and the Commanders reportedly want to interview Weaver.
Harbaugh is pleased to see his staff drawing interest from teams looking for dynamic coaches to lead their franchises.
“It’s great, I’m really proud of our guys,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve said many times I think we have the best coaching staff in the world. I love the jobs they do. I think we have a bunch of coaches that are going to be coordinators and head coaches on this staff, and they are going to be very successful for a long time. Any opportunities they get I’ll support. I’m excited for them.”
Harbaugh said the pending interviews will not interfere with Baltimore’s playoff preparations.
“Everything they do with the interview is set up outside the work here. They do their full obligation here during the course of the week, and then they have one, two, some guys have three interviews. But that’s all done later in the evening or possibly on the weekends.”
Harbaugh Discusses Why Ravens Will Practice on Saturday
After practicing at the Under Armour Performance Center on Wednesday through Friday, the Ravens will have a closed practice Saturday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. It’s another method the Ravens are using to get the most of their bye week as they prepare for the divisional round.
“It will be the normal practice that we would do here (Under Armour Performance Center),” Harbaugh said. “We sat down and talked about it and it came up in the conversation, ‘Why don’t we take it to the stadium?’
“I don’t think we practiced on Saturday last time (during their bye in 2019). We thought that would put us in more of a rhythm, as if we were playing a game this weekend.”
Ravens Happy for Joe Flacco, But Not Rooting for Browns
The potential that Joe Flacco returns to M&T Bank Stadium in the playoffs as a member of the Cleveland Browns is such a juicy storyline that reporters are already asking about it.
The Browns are one of four teams the Ravens could face next weekend, along with the Texans, Dolphins, or Steelers.
Many Ravens fans have expressed their desire not to face “January Joe” in the playoffs, but Harbaugh and players don’t have a rooting interest.
The Ravens will play the Texans, Browns, Dolphins, or Steelers in the divisional round.
I’m curious what you think. Rank them from best matchup to worst:
— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) January 8, 2024
“Joe is a friend and family to me. So, heck yeah, I root for Joe Flacco,” Harbaugh said. “But I don’t root for any opponent that we’re playing, so it doesn’t really matter this week. We’ll play whoever wins, and we’re taking on all comers, so to speak. Then if it comes to them, if we’re playing Joe – and we know a lot of other people on other teams, too, whoever you’re playing – they become the opponent. And you’re trying to defeat the opponent by any means necessary.”
Kicker Justin Tucker is the only current Ravens player who was on the Super Bowl XLVII team with Flacco, and they spent seven seasons together. Tucker expressed a similar sentiment.
“Those of us that know Joe and were fortunate enough to be around Joe for a long time are happy for him as a friend and former teammate,” Tucker said. “I’m not happy for him as a division opponent. Not happy for the Cleveland Browns. But in a way it is cool to see him doing well. If we get that opportunity to face off with him in a playoff game, I just think it would be a really cool opportunity.”