Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron acknowledged that he enjoyed quarterback Joe Flacco playfully jousting with critics this week.
“That stirred everybody up a little bit,” Cameron said. “It’s really no surprise to us, because we are around him all the time. We just get to see Joe for who he is. Maybe you guys are just getting to see that. The one thing that I just remember, shaking Joe’s hand when we went to Delaware to work him out, and I just looked at him, and his dad was there. I said, ‘You know what? This guy is for real.’ He wasn’t trying to put on.
“I’ve been through a million of those kind of workouts where you can tell that guys, that’s not really who they are. One thing I have loved about Joe is Joe is who he is. He’s not afraid to speak his mind. I think that’s why he has done so well and has just continually improved. Look what this guy has done. I know he’s excited about this game. Criticism, he knows is part of the deal. My man obviously deserves some credit, because he is one of the best I’ve been around.”
Flacco has gone 44-20 as a starter, never missing a start in four seasons.
He passed for 3,610 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season.
Still, he has his share of detractors.
“I guess I don’t get a chance to read all of that stuff,” Cameron said. “And really we can’t get too hijacked by that stuff. Bottom line is I think the world of Joe Flacco. We drafted him at the right place for the right reasons.
“If you do your homework, you can see the greatness in this kid. We’re just fortunate. We get to see him a little bit differently than you guys do. So you guys are a little surprised by that, and we’re not. So, welcome to Joe Flacco.”
QUICK HITS: Special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg praised Texans return man Jacoby Jones, who doubles as a speedy wide receiver, and safety Danieal Manning. “Their return game is highlighted by two very good returners,” Rosburg said. “Jacoby Jones is a very fast receiver, and he translates that into return game. If you get him in his space, he’s one of those guys that can break pursuit angles. He’s one of those guys that will beat the edge when the edge looks to be contained, so it’s our job to keep him contained. Danieal Manning hasn’t had a lot of experience, because he was in Chicago when they happened to have a pretty talented returner [Devin Hester]. He’s a very skilled player as well. He runs hard. He’s very aggressive. We’ve got our hands full. Our guys have been practicing well, and we look forward to the challenge.” …
The Ravens allowed three returns for touchdowns this season, something that hasn’t happened since the 2002 season. “We’ve had our moments,” Rosburg said. “We see individual progression. We see concept progression. We still make mistakes, and we have to eliminate those mistakes against good teams like we’re playing this week.” … The Ravens nearly had a few punts blocked against the Cincinnati Bengals as the protection for punter Sam Koch broke down. He narrowly avoided having punts blocked. Rosburg said the problem has been recognized. “Yes, we did indentify it and we’ve been working on it,” Rosburg said. … Kicker Billy Cundiff made a 42-yard field goal against the Bengals in his lone attempt since returning from a left calf injury. The team felt comfortable enough with Cundiff’s progress to cut kicker Shayne Graham last week, and Rosburg said Thursday that he’s “been kicking well in practice.” … Cameron praised the Texans’ pass rushers, including Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed. “It’s funny, these are guys I remember hearing our defensive coaches talk about before the draft,” Cameron said. “They’ve drafted well. Again, an extremely talented team. You’re not one of the top two or three defenses in this league on scheme alone, even though I do have a lot of respect for] Wade Phillips and the job that he does. He is doing great, I think, with really, really good players. All those guys athletic, play hard, smart. All of them were outstanding college players. So, we’re very familiar with these guys. This is a team that has had everybody’s attention the whole year. Houston is not sneaking up on anybody. We know the quality of the team that is coming in here to play.” Cameron singled out rookie defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who returned an interception for a touchdown against the Bengals last week. “What a play,” Cameron said. “That didn’t surprise any of us. Here is another player that I remember our defensive coaches just raving about before the draft. If he’d have batted that down, that would have been a heck of a play. To not only catch it, then run it for a touchdown, that changed that game. I saw that one in person. That changed that game, and that’s what these games are coming down to – guys making plays. When they do, then when you can take them and turn them into points, it makes it, obviously, that much better.” …
Cameron attended the Texans’ playoff win over the Bengals, scouting it in person by sitting in the stands at Reliant Stadium. “Somebody just asked me that, and it’s funny,” Cameron said. “The first time I went and watched another team play was actually, I was with the Redskins. Came over in 1996 to watch the Ravens play. I had the Sunday off, came up and watched them play. I have just done that for years. I usually take my boys, maybe my daughter to a game. Now when you go scout in person, there is not much to it because you get the digital video, you get the TV copies, you get all the stats, all those things, and you see four preseason games plus a bunch of other games. Honestly, I go as a fan. I never went to a pro game as a kid. Any chance I get to go to a game, much less an NFL game, as a fan, I am going to go.” … Cameron has been struck by how well Boldin has been moving in practice. “To me, he has always looked good,” he said. “It kind of caught me by surprise when he did have his knee [injury], but he is back ready to go. I think he is really excited to play.”