Is this rivalry what it once was? That was the hot topic around RSR this week. My gut reaction is that it’s definitely not (especially after reading yesterday’s article over at The Players’ Tribune where Ed Reed and Hines Ward discussed old Ravens/Steelers clashes) but I’m thinking I won’t really be able to answer until I see those scumbags trot onto the field at M&T Bank Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ask me again then.
Let’s take a look at this week’s stats, notes, quotes and more in the Crab Bag.
KNOW THY ENEMY
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
OLB Terrell Suggs on why he wants to play through a torn biceps injury:
“Man, who am I? What team do I play for? I come from an era where this is just a bump in the road. It may be season-ending for somebody else, but it is not season-ending for a Raven. I played through it before. We have nine [games] left. We are still in second place in the division, and we can still do some things. I want to be here when we do them.”
S Eric Weddle on the Ravens’ goals and outlook:
“Everything is still right there for us to go capture. Our goals are simple: win the division, win the AFC and win the Super Bowl. That’s all attainable. Yeah, we’re struggling right now as a team. The bye comes at a perfect time to get back to the fundamentals, get back to square one and get some guys back. Yeah, we’re banged up, but that’s not an excuse.”
“I think Jimmy is having one of the finest seasons of any corner in the league. You see the work he did against one of the top receivers in the National Football League in Brandon Marshall. You look back to the first half before he had the concussion against the Giants and just take a look at what their offense was doing up until that point. Jimmy is an underrated guy in a lot of ways. He can tackle. He can match up on top receivers. He is having an under-the-radar outstanding season, and hopefully he can stay healthy, and it continues. He allows us to do a lot of things. One of the reasons we were leading the league through five games with the least amount of big plays had a lot to do with the play of Jimmy Smith. As soon as he goes out for a period of time, we had some explosive plays. Getting him back was a big plus, and hopefully, as I mentioned, he will stay healthy.”
John Harbaugh on play of rookie G/T Alex Lewis:
“I’m going to say ‘OK’ in the big picture of a left tackle in the National Football League. He has played ‘OK.’ Now for a rookie, who we drafted to play at guard, who is playing pretty darn good at guard, just to bump out there and play left tackle – the toughest spot – and do ‘OK,’ I think, is a tremendous credit to him. That guy is smart, he is tough, he studies. I really like Alex Lewis and believe he is going to be a really good player for us.”
The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker on DT Brandon Williams:
“Williams is the bedrock on which this defense is built, even though his efforts rarely translate to splashy individual statistics. So I always feel good for him when he produces a game like he did [vs. the NY Jets] with eight tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and a blocked kick. It helps remind everyone the Ravens have a star at nose tackle.”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Mike Wallace
What was it about the Ravens that made you sign here?
“I love their style of football. I wanted to get back to that style. They fit my style, and it’s also the kind of organization I wanted to come to. They throw the ball down the field, and they give their receivers a chance to make plays.”
What gives you so much confidence in QB Joe Flacco?
“I had played against him for four years when I was in Pittsburgh, so I already knew what type of player he was. I knew he had composure and all the intangibles to win a Super Bowl. He is the type of player that gives you a chance to win, week-in and week-out.”
How would you describe WR Steve Smith Sr.?
“He does a lot of things I’ve never seen from anyone besides maybe Hines [Ward], and they are two totally different people. Steve’s personality brings light to the room. He is a funny guy, but he is also a worker. He is a great player.”
What is it like battling with CB Jimmy Smith in practice?
“It is fun. It definitely gets you prepared for the games, because he is a big corner and a competitive guy. It is competitive every single day. He is a great guy to go against and a great teammate. It makes you better, because it isn’t every single day that you get to go against a big, fast, physical corner. You don’t see that every day in the NFL. There aren’t many guys with his size and his speed.”
In what ways are Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh similar?
“They are two really fiery guys. Both coaches know the game in and out, offense and defense. A lot of coaches don’t know about both sides of the ball, but both of those coaches do. That is what makes them great coaches – their knowledge of the game. They are also highly-competitive guys who show a lot of energy, and they are both great to be around.”
Have there been any surprises to you within the Ravens organization?
“I’ve just been surprised at how cool everybody is. You kind of think it will be that way, but once you are actually in the building and see how cool everybody is, it is really nice. From equipment guys to the weight room guys to the business side of things – everybody has been great.”
How do you feel coming out of the bye week?
“I feel great. Even though we are 3-4, we have some great players, and if anybody can come out of this slump, it is us. We have some high-character guys, hard-working guys, and guys who are going to go out there and put it on the line every single day. We are hoping to get some really important impact players back [from injury], and I am excited about it. It is not even the impact of their football ability, but it is just their presence we are missing
HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILAR! ~ Key Connections
Ravens WR Mike Wallace was selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 2009 draft. He spent four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he earned Pro Bowl honors in 2011 after leading the team in receptions (72), receiving yards (1,193) and receiving TDs (8).
Steelers RB Fitzgerald Toussaint started his career as a Raven when the team signed him as a rookie free agent in 2014. Toussaint saw action in four regular season games and both postseason contests before joining the Steelers in 2015.
Steelers WRs coach Richard Mann served in the same capacity for the Baltimore Colts (1982-84) and the Baltimore Ravens (1997-98). In 1985, Mann was hired as the wide receivers/tight ends coach for the Cleveland Browns, where he coached Ravens GM/executive vice president and Hall of Fame TE Ozzie Newsome (1978-90).
Ravens WR Steve Smith Sr. and Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams combined for 17,060 all-purpose yards in Carolina from 2006-13. Steelers S Mike Mitchell joined them in 2013, and Steelers player engagement coordinator Terry Cousin played CB during the 2002-03 seasons while Smith Sr. was with the Panthers.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and Steelers special teams coordinator Danny Smith coached together in Philadelphia in 1998. Harbaugh was the ST coordinator from 1997-2006 and coached the secondary in 2007, while Smith led the special teams units from 1995-96 and the DBs during the 1997-98 seasons. Ravens secondary coach Leslie Frazier (1999-2002) took over as DBs coach after Smith.
LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT