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Late For Work 6/21: Ed Reed Takes On Ryan Clark In Joe Flacco Debate


Reed Takes On Clark In Flacco Debate

Former Ravens safety Ed Reed battled Joe Flacco every day in practice.

Steelers safety Ryan Clark has to face Flacco in high-stakes divisional matchups at least twice a year.

So there may not be two players who know the Ravens quarterback better. Yet they couldn't disagree more on Flacco's 19th ranking on the NFL Network's Top 100 Players.

The list, which is voted on by the players, is a compilation of the best players in a single season only, not a reflection of their entire careers.

"That is troubling to me," Reed said of Flacco being ranked the seventh-best quarterback. "Beside Adrian Peterson, I don't think there was a better guy to perform the way Joe did last year for us. Ultimately we are judged on what we do; one year is what we are talking, [so] Joe Flacco is definitely an elite quarterback."

Clark jumped into the conversation, sharing his point of view as a Ravens' opponent, saying Flacco didn't instill fear last season the way some other top-5 quarterbacks did.

"OK, Ed. We're talking about last season," Clark said. "I can be honest, going into to the two games playing you guys, I wasn't scared of Joe. I didn't walk into the game thinking Joe was the focus of the offense or Joe was the guy we had to stop going into the game."

Clark asked the future Hall of Famer if he thought Flacco was the type of quarterback that should demand other NFL safeties to focus their time and energy on studying him during the week and try to disguise what they'll do to defend him.

Reed didn't hesitate.

"Yes. I faced him every day in practice," Reed responded. "I know what Joe can do and what he is capable of. I know what we did last year. I know what he did in the playoffs. He did something no quarterback has ever done in history. Check the stats. I really think Joe is one of those guys that you have to be reckoned with, with Tom Brady being right there."

I've checked the stats, Ed.

And the most impressive one during his run to the Super Bowl (beating both Brady and Peyton Manning along the way) was tying Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana by throwing 11 touchdowns to no interceptions in the postseason.

Flacco jumped 55 spots from last year's No. 74 ranking, but Reed doesn't think it was enough because the Super Bowl MVP is still ranked behind six other quarterbacks, including last year's rookie sensation Robert Griffin III.

His critics say Flacco has to do more than come on strong in the playoffs. He has to play at a high level over the course of the entire regular season, where Flacco has traditionally been inconsistent. If he can do that in 2013, following a historic playoff run, then Clark, and presumably his other critics, will become believers.

"The biggest question from me is seeing it week in and week out," Clark said. "I know he has a huge upside, I just want to see it every week."

Clark Claims Ravens Championship Doesn't Bother Him

While Clark was in the NFL Network studios, host Andrew Siciliano flashed images of Flacco hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, and asked Clark what it does to him to watch his arch-nemesis celebrate as the confetti fell.

"Nothing," Clark said, drawing laughter from the panel. "Because one thing you know is that when you don't have an opportunity to win it, you're not the team playing for the Super Bowl, that somebody else who deserves the opportunity to get it. And the Baltimore Ravens, they earned it."

Nice try, Ryan, but I'm not buying it.

For an NFL player to get to this level and be successful, he has to be ultra-competitive. It has to burn Clark up to see his top rival win it all.

At least, Clark did admit he hates seeing Terrell Suggs get "giddy" when they see each other.

"Now, am I happy about it? Do I want to listen to T-Suggs every day while I'm training in Arizona talk about when the Super Bowl? No.

"He's a big giddy dude."        

Ravens Players Defend LeBron Like He's Flacco

If you're a Ravens fan, you have to love the way Flacco's teammates, like Reed and Suggs, defend him.

Other than Flacco, I haven't seen Ravens players defend an athlete as much as they defend LeBron James, who was named MVP after the Miami Heat won its second straight NBA title.

And if you follow the players on Twitter, last night was no different. is a PG-rated website, maybe even PG-13, so I can't share Suggs' passionate tweet after LeBron grabbed his second championship trophy.

I'll only say that the Suggs essentially asked others to respect "The King." And Torrey Smith could only respond to Suggs by tweeting, "No filter."

Several other Ravens were happy, to say the least.

@torreysmithwr: Congratz to the Heat... @KingJames @DwyaneWade #beast

@rayrice27: That was a great series I enjoyed every moment of it!

@mspear96: LBJ!!!!!!!!! give him his respect please!!! Never ins he earned all y'all respect

@bobbyrainey: Got a championship for ya Spurs oooooo y'all almost had it, gotta be quicker than that!

@a_mellette3: People really can't talk about lebron anymore.. He really doesn't have nothing left to prove

@torreysmithwr: Folks are mad at me for being a Lebron fan but we can all'll feel good knowing football season is around the corner

Suggs' Workout Almost Makes Him Retire

Suggs caught everyone's attention when he reported to minicamp last week looking incredibly fit.

The 2011 Defensive Player of the Year is motivated for a bounce-back season, and by the looks of some of his tweets yesterday, he isn't letting up.

Got my ass kick at workout 2day so bad I'm almost retired!!!!! #praytoworkhard — T.S STARK (@untouchablejay4) June 20, 2013

Quick Hits

  • Ray Lewis and Brad Pitt are connected, kind of. Lewis is headed to Tanzania with Brad's brother, Doug, who is the Goodwill Ambassador to Tanzania. So to celebrate the premiere of Brad's new movie "World War Z", Lewis invites fans to guess his favorite movie starring Brad. Right or wrong, you can win a replica Ravens championship key ring. []
  • @LWebb21: Me and Rey Mysterio! #honored #legend #kidagain [Twitter] 
  • For all you fantasy buffs, check out the advice on drafting running back Bernard Pierce and Smithin your leagues this season. [ESPN |]
  • According to Gil Brandt, General Manager Ozzie Newsome is the leauge's fifth-ranked "power broker." []
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