The careers of Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco will forever be linked, as they were the first two quarterbacks chosen in the 2008 Draft. As far as recent quarterbacks taken in the draft, having two guys from the first round as successful as these two have been is remarkable in itself. Still, the debate rages on over which QB is the better at his position. Ryan has the numbers, Flacco has the postseason wins…and the ring.
The only time they’ve met head-to-head, Flacco engineered an incredible late drive to put the Ravens on top, only to be immediately bested by Ryan, who quickly stole back the lead, and the game, for the Falcons in Atlanta back in 2010. Here’s hoping Joe can get some revenge on his own home turf this Sunday.
Let’s take a look at the stats, quotes, and more on Ravens/Falcons, in the CRAB BAG brought to you by Conrad’s Seafood.
KNOW THY ENEMY
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
QB Joe Flacco on Baltimore and its sports fans:
“This is a great sports town. It’s a typical East Coast, hardworking, blue-collar town where people really care about their sports teams. And they care about the people that are out there on the field, and they really want to see them do well. They’re with you no matter what, and they’re always giving you encouragement when they see you outside. So, I think, obviously, the players have to go out there and play well, but what always makes a city a good sports town is the people that live here and the people that go to the games.”
WR Torrey Smith on his confidence and performance in last Sunday’s win over Tampa:
“I expect to play that way every week; it just doesn’t happen. It’s important to build some positive momentum for myself to get going for our team, because the better I play, the better situations our team can be put in. I understand that I have a major role on this team, which I love and embrace. It’s important for me to play at a high level all the time.”
SI.com’s Don Banks on the Ravens’ offense and win at Tampa Bay:
“Baltimore has already won two road games this season, the same number it won in all of 2013. The Ravens’ offense is so much better with Steve Smith [Sr.] in the lineup. Smith’s longest reception of 2013 was 44 yards, but in just six games for 4-2 Baltimore, he has already scored on bombs of 80, 61 and 56 yards, the final of the three coming against the Bucs on Sunday. Yeah, I think he’s got something left in the tank, Carolina.”
MMQB.com’s Andy Benoit:
“The best guard in football right now: Baltimore’s Marshal Yanda.”
Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager on Ravens rookie LB C.J. Mosley:
“How good is Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley? Well, he’s hands-down my pick for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year five weeks into the 2014 season. Wearing the No. 57 in Baltimore is a major honor. O.J. Brigance and Bart Scott are two Ravens players who have donned the jersey in the past, and so far Mosley is doing them proud. Oh, and playing middle linebacker in Baltimore is a fairly big deal, too. But Mosley’s exceeded all expectations. ‘Some of the plays he made on the field today, it’s unbelievable,’ cornerback Lardarius Webb said after [the Week 5] loss in Indianapolis. ‘He reminds you of Ray [Lewis].’ Laugh if you want. Then watch Mosley on any given Sunday. You’ll see that he’s right.”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Justin Forsett
What has been the best part about joining the Ravens organization?
“Just being around this organization, it’s first-class. I’ve been on a lot of teams, but this team, they really care about the players and their families.”
You have an interest in writing. How did that start?
“The opportunity came with The Sporting News this offseason, and I really wasn’t inclined to write my whole life, but this offseason it came about, and I was like, ‘OK, let me try it out.’ I started liking it. So, it’s a positive way for me to express myself on different viewpoints.”
You recently wrote a blog for the NFLPA describing how you graduated from college in the offseason. Did you have a favorite class from your time at the University of North Florida?
“I took a social psychology class that was pretty cool. The professor was really engaged, talked to the students and was really lively. It was good being back in that environment and being in a group setting.”
What did you learn in the social psychology class?
“[In] social psychology, we talked about social behavior. We talked about things like the control of media and perception, so that was pretty cool.”
Can you talk about versatility being one of your strong suits?
“Versatility, I love, because it lets me showcase it here in Gary Kubiak’s offense. It’s something I’ve been doing my whole career, my whole life, but I haven’t had an opportunity like this. So, I love going out, catching balls, being able to block for Joe [Flacco] and run the ball since it’s what everybody wants to do. It has been fun.”
Talk about your athletic hygiene company ShowerPill and interest in marketing.
“It’s a different type of drive for me. I love to compete on the field, but being a business owner, you have to be able to go out, make your sales pitch and be able to have those people bring in your product. You’re trying to sell them, and I love that aspect.”
Is there someone you would like to meet if given the chance?
“Barry Sanders, because growing up, he was the first poster I had in my room. He was a guy I looked up to. He is my favorite running back of all time.”
HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! ~ Key Connections
Falcons head coach Mike Smith began his NFL coaching career in Baltimore as a defensive assistant/D-line coach (1999-2001) and LBs coach (2002).
Falcons “D” coordinator Mike Nolan was the Ravens’ WRs coach in 2001 and defensive coordinator from 2002-04. Nolan got his NFL start as a special teams coach (1987-88) and LBs coach (1989-92) in Denver when Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak was a Broncos’ QB (1983-91).
Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg held the same title with the Atlanta Falcons in 2007.
Falcons assistant O-line coach Wade Harman spent 15 seasons (1999-2013) as Baltimore’s tight ends coach. Harman, who won two Super Bowls with the Ravens (2000 and 2012), helped fine tune and develop standout TEs such as Shannon Sharpe, Todd Heap and Dennis Pitta.
Falcons QBs coach Glenn Thomas was an offensive assistant in Baltimore in between seasons coaching as an offensive coordinator at Midwestern State. Thomas worked with the Ravens’ WRs in 2002-03 and 2005 and also helped out with the QBs.
Falcons QB T.J. Yates was originally selected by Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s Houston Texans in the fifth round (152nd overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft. Yates played for Kubiak and Ravens QBs coach and former Houston “O” coordinator Rick Dennison from 2010-13.
Falcons CB Josh Wilson played for the Ravens in 2010, registering 40 tackles (37 solo), 14 PD and 3 INTs in 14 games (nine starts).
Falcons “D” coordinator Mike Nolan is a native of Baltimore, MD.
Falcons CB Josh Wilson attended DeMatha Catholic (Hyatsville, MD) HS and the University of Maryland (2003-06), where he was a two-year starter and earned All-ACC honors in 2006.
Falcons CB Robert McClain prepped at Patuxent (Lusby, MD) HS, where he was an All-State selection.
LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT