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Joe Flacco On Leadership Criticism: Ray Knows Better

Posted Sep 25, 2013

Despite Ray Lewis saying this year’s team lacks leadership, the Ravens are confident they have plenty of leaders.

Ray Lewis questioned the leadership in the Ravens’ locker room in light of a late-night party bus incident involving Jacoby Jones and Bryant McKinnie.

The former Ravens leader said on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown that without him and Ed Reed, the Ravens are “missing leadership right now.”

Ravens players, coaches and front-office members have stressed that leadership is not a concern despite losing their long-time veterans, and some of the team’s current leaders explained Wednesday that they think Lewis was off-base with his comments.

“Ray knows better than that,” quarterback Joe Flacco said lightheartedly. "Things happen. We’re usually a pretty good team with stuff like that. If you look around the league, there’s a lot of leadership problems then. Like I said, Ray knows better."

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs has been one of the players to replace Lewis as a vocal leader on defense, and he said that he texted Lewis Tuesday about the comments.

“We got a lot of leaders on this team. I don’t think that’s one thing [we’re stressed about],” Suggs said. “We don’t worry about that. We worry about what we’re trying to do as a team and like I said, we have a lot of leaders on this team and we like it that way.”

Suggs also explained that the media may be making too much out of Lewis’ comments, and that the team is “just having fun with it.”

“It’s something that I would have to hear him say. We all know the media can wordplay and misconstrue things,” Suggs said. “It’s one guy’s opinion. But like I say, we don’t know what was actually said. You can never take anything for face value.

“I don’t really know what was said, but it’s Week 4, we got the Buffalo Bills. We can’t be worried about a comment that was made.”

Despite the criticism of leadership, the Ravens are still off to a 2-1 start and tied with the Bengals for the best record in the AFC North. The Ravens are seemingly being led in the right direction after replacing a large portion of the Super Bowl roster and also dealing with significant injuries.

Lewis was the team’s vocal leader during his 17 years in Baltimore, and was known for his fiery pre-game speeches and dances. 

The Ravens now have a new crop of leaders like Suggs, Flacco, Ray Rice, Marshal Yanda, Elvis Dumervil, Lardarius Webb and Daryl Smith, and their style of leadership may not match exactly what Lewis’ approach.

"Obviously, Ray was a huge vocal leader and very enthusiastic,” Yanda said. “We all loved him and miss him. It’s going to be a different type of leadership obviously. No one is going to jump into Ray Lewis’ role and be exactly the same. We have a lot of good leaders on this team and we’re not sweating it one bit."

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