Late For Work 1/8: 6 Things Casual Fans Should Know About Suggs-Brady Feud

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6 Things Casual Fans Should Know About Suggs-Brady Feud

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Tom Brady shocked the Ravens this week.

How?

He was nice!

Brady and Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs are known for trading barbs and trash talk, and they've been doing it for a solid six years. But this time around, things have been much more cordial, which isn't fun for reporters who are always looking for a good story to tell. Count The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck as one who is disappointed in both sides for taking the higher road.

"Everyone on both sides has been so irritatingly polite and proper through the first couple rounds of media interviews, you've got to wonder if both teams spent Sunday night watching the season premiere of Downton Abbey instead of the Dallas Cowboys game," wrote Schmuck. "Not very exciting stuff, to be sure. It was a lot more fun when Suggs was publicly chiding the Patriots about the Spygate scandal and Brady was answering in kind."

Head Coach John Harbaugh and Suggs were taken aback when reporters told them that Brady called Suggs a "phenomenal" player.

"Say what?" asked T-Sizzle. "Did they record him? I'd love to see his face [when he said it.]"

So why is this so shocking? If you're a casual fan who loves your Ravens but only checks in from time to time, you probably don't know the history between Suggs and Brady. The Boston Globe reviewed it for the Bostonians, so here it is for you.

Here are six things every fan should know about the Suggs-Brady feud:

How and when it all began. It all started in a 2009 game when Suggs simply fell next to Brady's feet, grazing the quarterback's legs as he hit the turf. Brady motioned to the nearest referee, who pulled out a yellow flag and penalized Suggs with a roughing the passer call. The penalty led to a touchdown and Baltimore lost 27-21.

Suggs believes the league gives Brady and the New England Patriots preferential treatment.The flag above was viewed as a terrible call, but Suggs believes it fell because of special treatment the NFL gives the Patriots quarterback. The Ravens defensive leader pointed out that several quarterbacks have blown out their knees, including Carson Palmer and Drew Brees, but when Brady had a season-ending injury in 2008, the league's Competition Committee adopted a clarification to the rules about hits to quarterbacks in the knee area. The rule change prohibits a defender on the ground who hasn't been blocked into the quarterback from lunging or diving at his lower legs. It's commonly known as the "Brady Rule."

"So I guess those other quarterbacks' knees don't count," Suggs told E:60 in the video below. "Everyone just seems to worship the guy so much. Not me, though."

Suggs won't refer to Brady by his name.While things have become more respectful this time around, Suggs is staying true to one tradition: he refuses to call Brady by his name, opting instead to call him "number 12," "the pretty boy up North" or "the nephew of God," referring to a Saturday Night Live skit. When a reporter asked Tuesday who the quarterback of the New England Patriots is, Suggs responded: "He's the quarterback for the New England Patriots."

Suggs infamously voted for Ryan Fitzpatrick on his Pro Bowl ballot in 2010, excluding Brady.The Patriots quarterback played out of his mind that year, throwing 36 touchdowns to just four interceptions to go along with the team's 14-2 record. Instead, Suggs voted for Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Fitzpatrick, who just barley threw for 3,000 yards that year. So why exactly didn't Suggs vote for the league's MVP? "I'm pretty sure he didn't vote for me, either," Suggs said.

The Patriots three championships are "questionable*," says Suggs. *New England was caught and punished by the league for "Spygate" in 2007, and the "Tuck rule" was instrumental in helping the Patriots advance to the Super Bowl in 2001. Suggs thinks both contributed to getting rings. "Oh, you know, you've got the Tuck rule incident and then you've got the videotaping of the other team's practices," Suggs said in January 2011. "It's just like, OK, what's going on here?"

Brady can dish it out, too.After a 2010 game, in which Brady and Suggs were jawing facemask-to-facemask, Suggs said the Patriots better hope they don't see the Ravens again. The next day, Brady responded via a Boston radio station: "They talk a lot for only beating us once in nine years."*  *

Spagnuolo Among Leading Candidates For Giants Defensive Coordinator

As soon as the New York Giants announced the firing of Perry Fewell yesterday, tweets like these started to pop up:

Ravens DB coach Steve Spagnuolo is absolutely on the short-list to replace Fewell, sources say. Hard to say if he's at top, or just on it. — Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) January 7, 2015

Will be interesting to see if Ravens ass't head coach Steve Spagnuolo gets a call from the Giants about their coordinator opening. — Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 7, 2015

The Giants will keep their options open during their search, but Spagnuolo, the Ravens secondary and assistant head coach, is considered to be on the short list, according to The New York Daily News. Spags was the Giants defensive coordinator when they won Super Bowl XLII, and went on to become the Rams head coach.

Spagnuolo has done an admirable job with the Ravens secondary, who has seen seven starting cornerbacks and four starting safeties due to injury or ineffectiveness. He has groomed young players to step in, including corner Rashaan Melvin, who is admirably filling in and played well against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.

National Media Underrates Flacco During Regular Season

Everybody knows quarterback Joe Flacco raises his game to a whole other level in the playoffs. His 166 postseason passes without an interception is proof of that. It's the fourth-longest streak in NFL history behind Drew Brees, Joe Montana and Steve Young.

But is the difference in Flacco's play as stark as the national media make it seem compared to the regular season?

"Count me among those who simply think his good games in January get more notice than they do in the regular season, when there are plenty of reasons to simply not pay attention to it — a dominant Ravens defensive performance, or the running game, or whatever else," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli.

"Now, with a handful of games per weekend and a national audience, those performances stand out. It's a weird phenomenon when you have to explain how and why you're playing well, but I suppose it's better than the alternative."

Re-Evaluating Steve Smith-Julian Edelman Decision

Before Steve Smith Sr. ever became available as a free agent this offseason, it was reported that the Ravens were interested Patriots free agent wide receiver Julian Edelman.

But then Smith was cut by the Panthers, and the Ravens pounced.

ESPN's Jamison Hensley looks at the Ravens' decision to turn away from Edelman and instead go with Smith. Hensley says that the short-term results prove the Ravens made the right choice, but the long-term effects are still unknown.

"For the short term, the Ravens got a better value in signing Smith over Edelman," Hensley wrote. "Smith finished with more yards receiving (1,065), touchdowns (six) and 20-plus-yard catches (15) than Edelman (972 yards receiving, four touchdowns and seven 20-plus-yard catches). Those numbers look even better when you factor in that the Ravens signed Smith to a three-year, $10.5 million deal. A Ravens official later said the team was considering paying Edelman $5 million per season."

Even if the Ravens and Patriots swapped the two wide receivers (New England was also interested in Smith), Hensley believes both would still be playing for a trip to the AFC championship.

The jury is still out on the long-term effects.

Smith is turning 36 this year, and it's unknown how much longer he plans to play. Edelman is seven years younger than Smith and Hensley believes he has a better chance of completing his four-year contract.

Tomlin Offended By Suggestions He Didn't Follow Concussion Protocol

A few eyebrows rose last Saturday when Roethlisberger and tight end Heath Miller returned so quickly after refs sent them to the sideline to be evaluated for concussions.

Neither player missed more than three plays, so some in the media questioned whether the NFL's concussion protocol was followed properly.

"I assure you the proper protocol was followed," Tomlin said, per The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "That's how we do business. I have that level of trust in our medical staff and the understanding they have of how we do business.

Remember When Ed Reed Said Flacco Was Rattled? Reed Re-Visits

Back in 2012, Ed Reed said he thought Flacco got "rattled" by the Houston Texans and barely eeked out a 20-13 win to advance to the AFC championship.

Now, Reed is watching Flacco and the Ravens continue their five-game postseason winning streak, and the future Hall of Fame safety was asked to reflect back on that comment.

"I think Joe knew where I was coming from. I even said that I was rattled that game," Reed said.

Reed doesn't think Flacco needed that extra motivation, but he thinks his words did help Flacco get going.

When it comes to the long-debated question of whether the Ravens have leadership since Reed and Ray Lewis left, Reed said there has always been a core of leadership that remains today  and it starts with Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh.

Quick Hits

  • A Smith Sr./Darrell Revis bromance seems to be developing. [CSNBaltiomre.com]Your browser does not support iframes.

"@Cullison11 @TorreySmithWR thank you for making my dad smile during a time when its so hard too #GoRavens pic.twitter.com/TNbKnMQRA5"..no prob

— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) January 8, 2015

It's a full house for Steve Smith Sr. in the locker room. pic.twitter.com/IyZN2aUaAu

— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 7, 2015

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