Every week during the regular season, the opposing head coach and sometimes a player speak to the Detroit media via conference call. This week it was Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco on the conference calls. I also perused baltimoreravens.com to see what else Baltimore players were saying this week.
So, what did they have to say about Sunday’s matchup?
1. Harbaugh is under the belief that the NFL is a .500 league, and then it's all about what teams can do to pull themselves one way or other above or below that line. Historically, under Harbaugh, the Ravens have been able to win tough games down the stretch that get them over that benchmark and usually into the playoffs.
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2. When asked about Detroit’s defense, the two names Flacco singled out were safety Glover Quin and cornerback Darius Slay. Flacco said of Quin: “You definitely have to be aware of him out there in the run and pass game.”
3. The Ravens are among the NFL leaders in scoring defense, total defense and passing defense. They lead the NFL with 26 takeaways, 18 of which have been interceptions, which also leads the league. Harbaugh raved about his defense, and said they are better right now than they’ve been in previous years.
4. Flacco wasn’t too surprised when he was told Detroit hasn’t had a 100-yard rusher in over four years. He said looking at Detroit, they’re a team that’s built to throw to set up the run. He said Detroit’s screen game and short passing offense work similarly to the run game.
5. Veteran safety Eric Weddle admitted that Matthew Stafford, Marvin Jones Jr., Golden Tate and the rest of Detroit’s passing attack can pose a serious challenge to Baltimore’s second-ranked passing defense if they let them.
“They’re explosive wideouts,” Weddle said. “Marvin is a playmaker up the field, dynamic catching the ball, in the air. Golden has been making plays since I can remember ... with the ball in his hands. Good route runner, but when he has the ball in his hands, he turns into like a running back/rhinoceros and just spins out of tackles and is a huge playmaker.”
6. Harbaugh is a former special teams coordinator, so he has a great respect for those units. He said Detroit’s special teams unit is one of the best in the NFL, and not just because of Matt Prater, Sam Martin and Jamal Agnew. Harbaugh said Detroit has a great group of core players on special teams.
He did call Prater and his kicker, Justin Tucker, two of the best in the game.
7. How does Terrell Suggs continue to play at a high level at age 35? Harbaugh had a rather easy answer: “He works at it.” Suggs has 9.5 sacks heading into Sunday’s game in Baltimore. Besides having extraordinary genes, according to Harbaugh, Suggs is also in the weight room every morning at 7:30 a.m., and takes terrific care of his body.
8. Danny Woodhead has returned to Baltimore’s lineup as a dual-threat player out of the backfield. Flacco said the Ravens have to continue to work him more into the offense because he’s a man-coverage buster underneath.