Sep 5, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (92) and defensive tackle Chris Canty (99) and defensive end Marcus Spears (96) during the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Ravens 49-27. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
As we prepare for tomorrows Cleveland Browns Baltimore Ravens game tomorrow we caught up with the editor of Ebony Bird to learn more about the Ravens’. As both teams look to rebound from opening week losses we go In The Enemy’s Camp.
1. The Ravens defense gave up 7 passing touchdowns in Week 1, besides playing Brandon Weeden and not Peyton Manning, what will be different this week?
1. For starters, communication. This defense is almost entirely rebuilt from a year ago. Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Arthur Jones and Lardarius Webb are the only players who started more than a couple games last year, and of those four Suggs and Webb both missed half of the season or more. Communication is everything for them right now and I think you will see it improve week to week. The Ravens secondary was eaten alive by Peyton Manning. the root of the problem was corners and safeties not being on the same page when handing off pass catchers to each other in coverage and missed tackles. I would expect to see the Ravens improve in both categories. It will also help that the Browns wont run as much no huddle and Weeden isnt nearly as adept at forcing mismatches as Peyton Manning is.
2. Torrey Smith and Dallas Clark were the big pass catchers against the Broncos, will anyone else besides those two have a big impact on the passing game against the Browns?
2. Torrey Smith is always a stud. What most people don’t realize is that Torrey has drawn the best corner, and often double coverage in addition to the best corner, of the opposing team. People watched Boldin making play after play last year and saw a number one receiver, but Boldin got one on one coverage constantly because Torrey is among the most dangerous players in the league. Joe Haden swallowed up Mike Wallace last week, but Wallace is a strictly vertical player, Torrey plays the entire field and will be much tougher to defend. Dallas Clark, at this point, looks awful. He had 87 yards last week, but they came at the cost of at least 3 drops, one of which was a walk in TD, and a bad fumble. Clark is the last player the Ravens need to be throwing too. The real standout from last week was Undrafted rookie Marlon Brown. Brown was terrific after Jacoby Jones went down and he should be able to have a lot of success against the Browns coverage units. look for Brown to have a huge game.
3. Reports from the first game was that the safeties struggled including free agent signing Michael Huff and high draft pick Matt Elam. Who will get the most playing time between the two of them this week and why?
3. Huff was maybe the worst looking Ravens player during week one. Mostly he just missed tackles… constantly. He had at least 3 or 4 complete whiffs and another handful of plays that he just took bad angles on and ended up missing out on making a play. His coverage was bad as well, but I blame that more on the communication as a whole than anything else. Elam was better than Huff, but he suffered from miscomunications and missed assignments just like every other DB on the team. Really both guys should play pretty much the entire game. Huff is the Ravens only true free safety. their only option to get him off the field would be to move Elam into the spot and play James Ihedigbo alone at SS. Elam doesnt have a FS build or skillset so I doubt we will see that happen. Ihedigbo was terrible last week so it is very conceivable that we could see Elam start and play the vast majority of the game.
4. How will the combination of Week 1s defeat, the home opener and raising the championship banner have on the team and crowd?
4. Its the return of football in Baltimore. The crowd is going to be insane and the team is going to be as motivated as they have ever been. There is absolutely no chance the Browns will catch the Ravens napping in this one.
5. What do you see as the 1 key for the Ravens to secure the victory?
5. Pass protection. simple as that. If Flacco stays clean, the Ravens will win. The Browns have a great front seven, but their secondary, aside from Haden, is suspect and open to big plays. The Dolphins last week completed passes for close to 200 yards to their 2nd and 3rd WRs. Give Flacco time in the pocket and he will pick the Browns apart and no matter how poorly the Ravens D plays, the Browns wont be able to keep up.
Now you know more from the Enemy’s camp and are better prepared for the game tomorrow and for FoS predictions later today. As for the Ebony Bird they asked me the following questions (Check their site later for the answers):
1. Joe Flacco has never lost to the Browns, 10-0 record. He needs one more win to tie John Elway for most wins by a QB against any team without a loss(11-0 against the patriots). Do you think that means anything to the Browns in terms of motivation for this game?
2. Aside from Joe Haden, how do you expect the Browns secondary to play moving forward and who needs to step up their game for them to do so.
3. The Browns missed Josh Gordon week one, what can they do this week to compensate for that loss and who is the sleeper that can carry the Browns passing offense?
4. Jordan Cameron looked great last week. Do you think he can exploit some of the same issues in the Ravens D, exposed by Julius Thomas last week?
5. Is this the game where the Browns finally beat Flacco and John Harbaugh, or will Flacco add another achievement to his resume by tying Elway’s consecutive wins mark?