Inside the Ravens with Aaron Wilson

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Legends of Lambeau won't spook Ravens

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens say they won't be intimidated by the ghosts of storied Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers and once inhabited by gridiron luminaries Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr and Jim Taylor.

Lambeau is arguably the site of the most tradition-rich flame still burning in the NFL with games held there dating back to 1957.

Mystique and history such as the Ice Bowl only goes so far, though, in the Ravens' opinion.

"After you've been through it the first time and you walk into the stadium, the frozen tundra and all the history that's behind it, once you get out there and you're kind of amazed by the field and the crowd, after that it's football," veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "We're not playing the stadium, so that's a good thing. You go in there and you relish what's going on, but then you have to play against Charles Woodson.

"He's way more of a threat than Lambeau Field. If he could leave and I could play against Lambeau Field, that would be great. He's playing tremendous right now. You can't say anything but good things about him."

Mason is right about Woodson, who has intercepted seven passes and forced four fumbles during a stellar season that has notched him NFC Player of the Month distinction.

The Ravens haven't succeeded in the past in Green Bay, having lost 31-23 to Brett Favre in 2001 and 28-10 against him back in 1998.

The Packers lead the series 2-1 with the Ravens taking a 48-3 blowout win back in 2005 when Kyle Boller strangely outdueled Favre.

Middle linebacker Ray Lewis is the only current player on the roster to play against the Packers at Lambeau for the Ravens.

"It's going to be pretty cool," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. "Everybody hears about Lambeau Field and what a great atmosphere it is."

Added wide receiver Mark Clayton: "It's exciting to me. It's Lambeau. There's a lot of history there. To be in that atmosphere is going to be a lot of fun. I never thought I would play there as a kid."

The cold weather is arguably much more of issue than the history.

According to weather forecasts, it may be well below freezing Monday night when icy temperatures are expected to drop into the teens.

"As long as it's not minus-40, it doesn't matter," Mason said. "Once you start playing, you start to heat up. The worst part is when you stop and go to the sideline, and then you start freezing again. I don't think weather can be an excuse unless it's pouring down rain.

"They have to play in the same weather. You go out there and you hope this time of year that it's snowing. That means it's typically a little bit warmer."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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