Ravens left guard John Simpson went viral Tuesday for a few nice blocks and a few choice words captured on a hot mic.
But all his teammates want to bring up from Sunday’s win over the Seattle Seahawks is the touchdown celebration before things got a little PG-13. Those jumps for joy and the full-body excitement were notable for a man his size.
“The guys, they make fun of me all the time because of my celebrations,” Simpson said Thursday. “But I was telling somebody, I was like, ‘D-linemen, they can celebrate when they get a sack. O-linemen don’t celebrate. I’m going to celebrate when we get a touchdown.’ Why not? So I just go all out. I get crazy.”
Simpson won the battle for left guard after competing with Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and Ben Cleveland for the spot. Despite the sleepless nights and big adjustment to being a new dad, he’s on an upward trajectory, center Tyler Linderbaum said.
“He definitely deserved that starting job,” Linderbaum said. “[He’s] just coming in here every day working his tail off. The thing with him [is] just gaining confidence each and every week. He practices hard [and] goes out there and performs on game days. When you’re looking at teammates, that’s what you want out of your teammate.”
Simpson and Linderbaum were key parts of running back Keaton Mitchell’s touchdown run Sunday, which gained both of them a lot of attention on the internet.
Rooting for the opponent
When the Ravens host the Browns on Sunday, they will welcome back a familiar face, wide receiver James Proche, who played 43 games across three seasons for them before the Browns picked him up after training camp.
Proche rapidly fell down the depth chart after the Ravens drafted Zay Flowers and signed Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor. But his spot on the roster didn’t signify his importance to the team. Rashod Bateman said the wide receivers were all close to him and each one had a personal relationship with him.
Bateman has kept in touch with Proche through the season and has been happy to see him land on his feet despite the struggles he went through on the field and off the field. Proche faced one of his biggest challenges when he suddenly lost his mother in May. At the time, many Ravens sent him messages of support.
“We’ve been talking throughout the whole process,” Bateman said. “So I’m definitely happy for him, proud of him. And we both went through a lot kind of at the same time. So it’s definitely beautiful to see.”
Proche, who is playing for his mom, played his first game for the Browns last weekend in their 27-0 win over the Arizona Cardinals after the Browns traded receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and ruled David Bell out. He played six offensive snaps and 10 special teams snaps in that game. Although he is the enemy this weekend, Bateman is cheering for Proche.
“I’m really happy for him no matter where he’s at,” Bateman said.
The Ravens will also face running back Kenyan Drake. He played in Weeks 3 and 5 for the Ravens before being picked up by the Browns, who lost their top running back, Nick Chubb, to season-ending knee surgery. Drake has not played for the Browns yet. Coach John Harbaugh said there is no concern about former players giving away trade secrets because the Ravens change their play calls and signs constantly.
Waiting to hit paydirt (as in candy)
For some reason, Geno Stone has been taking up a lot of space in the locker room. Sure, sure, he’s the NFL interception leader and people want to interview him. But he’s infringing on longtime veterans Ronnie Stanley’s and Morgan Moses’ space, Moses complained loudly last week. Stone is on the end of a wall of lockers perpendicular to Stanley’s and Moses’.
When the team returned to practice this week, after yet another Stone interception, Moses decided it was time to take action. He gathered some workout bands and went around the locker room collecting the hand sanitizer dispenser stands.
“Geno needs to pay rent if he’s going to take up extra space,” Moses yelled as he hauled one of the dispensers over.
“He doesn’t even bring groceries or snacks,” Moses added later.
Then Moses went to work figuring out how to form a barrier. He ended up tying the workout bands between the dispensers, forming a makeshift stanchion.
Safely behind the rope, Moses and Stanley settled in and contemplated what the third-year Ravens safety could do to earn his rent. Stanley settled on gummy worms as a good payment. But not just any gummy worms — specifically, the Black Forest Gummy Worms from Wegmans.