After another close, frustrating loss in Oakland, the Ravens are 0-2, although they could just as easily be 2-0, if, say, the officials watching the final offensive drives in Denver and Oakland had been switched. No flag thrown on Crockett Gillmore being manhandled, but Will Hill brushes a guy and out comes the laundry? Of course, a couple better-thrown balls by Joe Flacco in either game could have turned the tide as well, if you’re one of the “blame the quarterback” crowd.
Regardless of how it happened though, the bottom line is that the team is still winless with just one game left in September. If there is a silver lining to be found at all, it’s that both losses came on the road – “win your home games, split your road games,” right? That’s the magic formula to get to 10-12 wins in the NFL, and while splitting said road games got a bit tougher after losing to Oakland, winning those home games needs to start on Sunday against the division-leading Bengals.
Let’s get to the stats, notes, quotes, and more ahead of a must-win Week 3 contest.
KNOW THY ENEMY
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
QB Joe Flacco on Baltimore’s mindset:
“We have to take it one game at a time. We’re not going to be able to get 2-2, 3-2, 4-2, along this week. We have a tough road ahead, and we have to take it one week at a time. We have to take it one back, one back, one back and claw our way into it. We’ve been in tough spots before; we just have to make sure we keep our head down. We don’t lose any confidence in this situation. We have to stay tight knit.”
G Marshal Yanda on the Ravens’ mission right now:
“It’s just to get better really fast. Obviously, the games don’t get easier, and we’ve got Cincinnati coming to town and they’re playing good football. We understand that we’ve got to play better – way better – than we did [in Oakland] to win. There’s no magical formula. We all have to work at it and we all have to take this thing head on. Everybody has to look in the mirror and we all have to get better as a group – as an offense, as a defense, as a special teams [unit]. We all go up and down together as a group.”
DT Chris Canty on bouncing back after an 0-2 start:
“We’ve got to fix it. We’ve got to get better in a hurry. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We have to realize that we have to earn our victories in this league on Sundays. That means we have to step up, and we have to perform to a level that’s going to allow us to be successful.”
Special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg on having WR Steve Smith Sr. return punts:
“A lot of guys who are really good wide receivers aren’t necessarily punt returners. I’ve alluded to [Steve Smith’s] judgment. The other thing that Steve does is he really tracks the ball well. There are certain people that have the ability to play centerfield on a baseball team; Steve would be one of those guys. Ed Reed was one of those guys. The ball could go over the shoulder, and he would have no problem. He’d run back there, and he’d be right underneath it when it came down. Steve has that ability. His change of direction and strength of his running is something that he does very, very well. And if you’ve watched his tape from Carolina back in the day, he’s a weapon when he’s back there. He was really good. I remember coaching against him when he was younger, and it was a sight to behold.”
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees on players and coaches stepping up to be leaders in the absence of OLB Terrell Suggs:
“Obviously, in no way do I want to diminish the fact of losing Terrell [Suggs] – he’s a great player. When Ray [Lewis] left, that was hard. When Ed [Reed] left, it was [hard]. It is hard when they all leave – ‘Double-J’ [Jarret Johnson] – or in Suggs’ case, getting hurt. But I also don’t want to diminish the opportunity that it is for our guys to raise up and find other leaders. And everybody’s got to take a part in this. It is not one guy that’s going to come up and say, ‘Ok, well, I’m going to be Suggs.’ Everybody has to be their own personality; we’ve got to do it collectively as a defense and as a coaching staff, too. We’ve got to do our part. So, it is the whole defense. We’ve all got to rise up and just play a little harder and do a little more.”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Brandon Williams
You are a featured member of a Ravens D-line that no longer has All-Pro DT Haloti Ngata. What is your focus in knowing that?
“You don’t go out and try to be the next Haloti Ngata. You be your best self and continue doing things you’re supposed to do. I continue doing the things that Haloti taught me when he was here – just taking care of your body, bringing the younger guys under your wing, like he did with me, and helping them out the best you can. That’s all I can think about as a Raven and being a pro and helping the young guys.”
How about your defense not allowing a 100-yard rusher in 28-straight games, the NFL’s longest active streak?
“Our goal every game is to stop the run. We pride ourselves on that, and we take it to heart, even if someone gets a 5-yard run on us. Every practice, every day, every type of gameplan we start with, it is built for stopping the run.”
You are expected “to be dominant pretty much every play,” according to head coach John Harbaugh. Do those types of comments motivate you?
“I appreciate him for saying that. I thank him for saying that. I don’t want to prove him wrong at all, but I’m my own biggest critic. As hard as anyone else can come down on me, I’m even harder on myself. So, I definitely expect just that, to go out and dominate every play and be a force to be reckoned with. I also want to be one of those guys – with team members – who people can feed off of, to kind of bring the crowd up, bring the energy up. I make a big play, Carl [Davis] makes a big play, Chris Canty makes a big play – it all just kind of snowballs to where we can all be playing lights out.”
Can you pinpoint the single-most important “coaching moment” of your career?
“It would be when my college defensive coordinator – coach Daryl Daye – looked me dead in my eyes, and he said: ‘You have what it takes to get there. All you have to do is keep your nose clean, follow the rules, follow my instructions, play as hard as you can, and everything will fall into place.’ And it’s one of those things where I trusted him – even though we just met. He just had that aura, that feeling around him, where you could see that he was genuine about it. He knew what he was talking about, so I put my nose to the grindstone and did exactly what he said, and here I am. I thank him for being there for me and believing in me.”
What do you think when you hear:
“Hard working. Players’ coach. Great guy.”
“Father figure. Great, wonderful guy.”
“Pitbull. He keeps on going, just won’t stop, will not quit, no matter what.”
What is your favorite TV show?
“‘The Walking Dead.’”
“The Incredible Hulk.”
Game as a Raven?
“The game I sacked Big Ben [Roethlisberger].”
HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! ~ Key Connections
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis served as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator from 1996-2001. During the 2000 season, Lewis’ defense set an NFL record for fewest points allowed in a season (165), en route to winning Super Bowl XXXV.
Bengals defensive backs coach Mark Carrier held the same position with the Ravens from 2006-09. While Carrier tutored Baltimore’s DBs, the secondary recorded the NFL’s second-most INTs (93).
Bengals “O” coordinator Hue Jackson served as the Ravens’ quarterbacks coach for two seasons (2008-09). Under Jackson’s guidance, QB Joe Flacco became the first rookie QB in NFL history to win two playoffs games (2008) and the fourth starting QB – since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger – to reach the playoffs in his first two seasons.
In 1998, Bengals ST coordinator Darrin Simmons was Baltimore’s assistant special teams & assistant strength and conditioning coach.
Bengals assistant strength & conditioning coach Jeff Friday was the Ravens’ head strength & conditioning coach from 1999-2007. Also, Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton (1999-2001) served as the assistant strength and conditioning coach for Baltimore.
Bengals HB Cedric Peerman was originally selected by Baltimore in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL draft.
Ravens DT Christo Bilukidi signed with the Bengals during the 2013 campaign and appeared in two games for Cincinnati.
LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT
You know what? We’re not doing this this week. I remember watching the Bengals (and hoping they would win – hey, I was six and I liked tigers) way back in Super Bowl XXIII. They have been a laughingstock pretty much ever since, but no longer. Marvin has turned that organization around. They’ve beaten the Ravens four of the last five times they’ve played, and the Ravens’ only win in that stretch came in overtime after the ridiculous A.J. Green Hail Mary catch.
The Ravens are desperate for a win on Sunday – this is no laughing matter this week. Here’s hoping they come out with the sense of urgency this situation calls for.