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1. On the Ravens’ outlook: â€œI do get a good feeling, but you have to reserve that about this team until the season ends and you see where you wind up in the playoff picture. A lot of the guys are just now getting used to all the attention and the eyes of people saying weâ€™re the best team in football. You have to take all that with a grain of salt, because the next week, if something goes bad, you could be the worst team in football.â€
2. On not buying into the hype: â€œItâ€™s very easy. If we donâ€™t read our press clippings too much, then weâ€™ll be all right and keep that same focus. What you have to do is block out the good and the bad. Just like you block out the bad when things arenâ€™t going well, you block out the good when things are going well, because it all takes away from what you have to accomplish to get where every NFL team wants to get.â€
3. On the Ravens’ defense: "It terrifies a lot of people — especially when you have a Corey Ivy, who is really a pit-bull with two legs, or Adalius [Thomas], who is 270 pounds that nobody blocks because itâ€™s pointless — getting to the quarterback. Itâ€™s frightening to me just to watch it. Somebodyâ€™s going to get hurt. Iâ€™m not laughing. When you get to the quarterback enough times, yeah, the quarterbackâ€™s eyes will get wide. Every quarterback does that, no matter who he is."
Three downs with Marvin Lewis
1. On the Bengals beginning to hit stride: â€œWeâ€™ve got to play better football all the way down. In order to be a playoff team, youâ€™ve got to beat teams like this that are winning the division right now and playing the best football in the AFC right now. Youâ€™ve got to play good football. Itâ€™s a great team.â€
2. On the importance of protecting Carson Palmer: â€œYou have to protect every week in the NFL or else theyâ€™ll knock your quarterback out. Thatâ€™s the way you play defense in the NFL. You know the owners donâ€™t like that guy behind center getting knocked around, nor do the head coaches. Thatâ€™s something youâ€™ve got to do each and every week is you always make sure you protect the quarterback first.â€
3. On the challenge of the short week: â€œI think it is probably the physical challenge: to make sure that you keep your freshness but be alert. They obviously present a lot of looks, so our offense and so forth have our work cut out for us that way. Weâ€™ve got to present them with some new looks and donâ€™t let them stay in their comfort zone.â€
Dating back to 1996, the Ravens have scored 32 defensive touchdowns, including five this season on four interception returns and one fumble return, in 31 games. The Ravens are 27-4 when they score on defense. Even in games where the Ravens haven’t pulled out a win after scoring on defense, the average margin of victory has been 2.5 points. Since 2003, no other NFL team has totaled as many defensive touchdowns as the Ravens’ 19. In those games, Baltimore is 16-2. The next closest scoring defense in the past four seasons is the Chicago Bears with 13 touchdowns.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Join the GAMETIME crew, Ravens mascot Poe, Ravens cheerleaders and other surprises at Della Rose’s Avenue Tavern in White Marsh prior to the Ravens @ the Bengals TONIGHT Nov. 30 at 6:30PM. There will be authentic autographed memorabilia given away and there is a free sign up for a Toyota raffle — the prize being a brand new 2007 Yaris!