BALTIMORE — A lot was made about who was the best cornerback in the NFL this past summer. The Baltimore Ravens will take on a New England Patriots team that features two of the better corners in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Torrey Smith were asked at a press conference about the challenge that they’re facing.
Flacco said that he has zero plans of staying away from the talented Patriots defensive backs. “This game is about being aggressive and putting the other side on their heels. You have to dictate as an offense. You have to do your best to dictate what’s going on in that game.” Flacco said, “They’re doing their best to dictate what you have to do. Coming out and being aggressive, it shows from a coaching standpoint that they have confidence in us to go out and make plays.”
The quarterback mentioned the importance of scoring points on the majority of drives. In his eyes, it is important to “hit chunks here and there and create opportunities to hit those chunks.” The plan for the Ravens is to give guys chances to make plays down the field.
Flacco identified Torrey Smith as a top target on big plays. “He’s doing a great job of winning whether it is beating press or getting on top of a zone, he’s putting himself in favorable positions.” Flacco continued, “Torrey puts himself in position to make a big play and puts the defender in a recovery type of mode. He forces their hand and makes him do something that he doesn’t want to.”
The mojo that is necessary to find the road success that Flacco and the Ravens have reached doesn’t come by allowing the opposition to change what they want to do. This was a point that Flacco made at clear at the post game press conference.
“When you go out there as a quarterback or a play caller and try to change things around and avoid a guy or pick your spots to go at a guy, you’re usually taking away a piece of your offense that you rely on a lot. You allow them to dictate something by who they match him on,” Flacco said. “As a play caller, you have to go out there and rely on your guys. As a quarterback you have to rely on your reads. If he’s open, throw it to him. If he’s not, don’t. You’re going to have to make contested throws and catches. In the past, we played some guys and tried to avoid them or done things game plan wise to get match ups in other places. It takes away from what you should be doing. That has a bigger effect at times than the actual guy does.”
Torrey Smith was more direct when he was asked about the Ravens defensive backs. There’s no doubt that he respects Revis and Browner, but he feels that it will be business as usual.
“They have some talented guys that we have respect for but we go against NFL corners all of the time. Obviously, Darrelle is one of the best. We go against Joe Haden throughout the year, he’s one of the best as well. Browner is one the other side too. It’s important to get things going. We have to be aggressive but we have to execute. “ said Smith.
Smith expects a physical match up from Browner. “You have to prepare for both but I am probably watching Browner a little bit more. I think they will try to have a bigger body on me and try to be physical at the line.”
The physical play is something of little concern for Smith. “We play against physical guys all of the time. He’s definitely one that you respect a lot, Revis as well. It’s going to be a challenge and I am looking forward to it. I played against both of them. I was a young pup and got a lot better since then. I’ll be ready for it. It is definitely different seeing Revis walk out on me as a rookie but now it’ll be pretty cool.”
The Ravens feel good about their chances against the Patriots. They have a winning postseason record against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. This team is the #6 seed that will travel to the top seed in the conference. That won’t affect the confidence of this Ravens team. As Torrey Smith said; “We can be going to play on Mars and I will still be confident. We are confident in the work that we put in. We feel like we aren’t here by surprise.”