Awesome Bet Between Joe Flacco, Steve Smith … Flacco Is Winning
Who is better at reading opposing defenses: quarterback Joe Flacco or receiver Steve Smith Sr.?
The two teammates have set out to prove their superiority, and so far, it's the franchise quarterback who is beating the 14-year veteran pass catcher.
Flacco and Smith wager $25 coffee cards when they disagree on making on-field reads, MMQB.com's Peter King discovered when he visited Ravens training camp last week.
"Case in point: Smith and Flacco viewed one adjusted Smith route differently, causing an errant throw; Smith said he was reading a Cover-2 alignment by the defense," wrote King. "Flacco said it was Cover-3. They went to the videotape."
Well, the film revealed two corners covering the deep third of either side of the field. The free safety dropped to the deep middle.
Thus, it was Flacco who was right. And it wasn't the first time.
Flacco apparently has a two-coffee card lead on Smith.
"Oh, and Smith pays up —* *usually the next day," King wrote.
It should be noted that Flacco has yet to throw a pick during the first four days of training camp, which is a good sign after he threw a career-high 22 last year.
As for Smith, in addition to having glue on his hands out on the field, he might be the most entertaining Raven on social media. He is putting his impressive camp practices on blast for all of his critics to see, and is playing up "The Law Firm."
Ravens Try Out Another Cornerback
The Ravens suddenly have an injury-riddled cornerback position, and that's on top of still potentially looking for a No. 3 corner for the season.
So it's not very surprising to see reports that the team is auditioning another corner.
Former San Jose State cornerback and Baltimore native Brandon Driver tried out Sunday, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.
"By all accounts, the workout went well for the cousin of former Maryland basketball star Juan Dixon, who's now an assistant coach for the Terps," Wilson wrote. "Although the Parkville graduate wasn't immediately signed to a contract, the Ravens told him to stay in shape in case they need to sign another cornerback."
Driver, 26, hasn't made it onto an NFL team yet, instead playing with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League and the San Jose Sabercats of the Arena Football League. He ruptured his left Achilles tendon his senior year at San Jose State, which hurt his audition for NFL scouts the following spring.
"I'm 100 percent now, but the timing was bad for the injury obviously," Driver told Wilson. "I feel great now. I've been working out hard and just need a chance."
Driver was a former junior college All-American, recording 50 tackles, one interception and seven passes defensed in 17 games at San Jose State. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder said he "would love" to play for his hometown Ravens.
Meanwhile, the Ravens are awaiting the return of Lardarius Webb (back spasms) and Chykie Brown (hamstring). Aaron Ross was put on injured reserve after tearing his Achilles, and Dominque Franks made it to the field for the first time in training camp after he passed his conditioning test Sunday.
Asa Jackson was moved to the No. 2 corner over the weekend with all the injuries taking people down.
"Biggest area of concern right now is cornerback," wrote WBAL's Gerry Sandusky.
Even when Webb and Brown return, analysts still question whether the Ravens have an answer for the No. 3 cornerback spot.
"Still having my doubts whether the #Ravens' No. 3 cornerback is on the roster right now," tweeted WNST's Luke Jones. "Chykie Brown has really struggled early on."
Added ESPN's Jamison Hensley: "One of the lasting images of the first three days of camp has been Brown getting beat on deep passes. It happened twice Saturday, when Jacoby Jones and Steve Smith both caught throws downfield against Brown."
Suggs 'Far And Away' The Best
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was "far and away" the best Raven on the field Sunday, with neither offensive tackle Eugene Monroe or Rick Wagner able to "deal with him," tweeted The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
Suggs put on show, as he "dominated" the starting offensive tackles, and just in case anyone missed it, he let everyone one know it vocally.
The same was true Saturday, when Flacco got past Monroe and would have had a clean shot on Flacco had it been a real game. Suggs pulled up, and shouted,* *"I don't want to get my coach fired!"
'Simple Logic' Behind Will Hill Signing
Many pundits have questioned the Ravens' decision to sign free safety Will Hill.
The day after news broke that running back Ray Rice would be suspended two games, they signed the free safety, who is already suspended for six games for violating the league's drug policies.
"Why add a player with so many off-field problems, including an arrest last year for failure to pay child support, one day after running back Ray Rice was suspended for two games for violating the NFL personal-conduct policy?" asked Wilson.
"All valid questions, but there's a simple logic behind the transaction. First, there's no financial risk by signing Hill to a one-year, $570,000 contract with no guaranteed money or signing bonus. If Hill has another misstep, the Ravens can simply cut him and move on without any regrets.
"Hill amounts to a no-risk insurance policy. What if there's an injury to starters Darian Stewart or Matt Elam? Or what if they're not playing well? Under those scenarios, Hill could provide a midseason lift to the secondary."
On the field, Hill is "extremely" gifted, and was in line to start for the New York Giants this year. At 24 years old, he has a big upside.
And* *Hill is aware that if he squanders this opportunity his NFL career could be over.
"Do the Ravens worry about the public relations aspect of signing Hill after all the negative fallout from Rice's felony aggravated assault case involving his then-fiancee whom he later married?" asked Wilson. "Or signing a player with baggage after a rocky offseason where five players were arrested?
"Obviously not to the point that it stopped them from signing Hill."
- "Cornerbacks have been more physical in this training camp compared to previous ones," wrote Mike Preston. "During one play, Jimmy Smith never allowed receiver Deonte Thompson to get off the line of scrimmage." [The Baltimore Sun]
- Jimmy Smith is not optimistic about a contract extension. [ESPN]
- Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro says his destruction of property case will be resolved soon. "No, I don't have to go to court," Taliaferro said. "It's dismissed. It will be soon." [The Baltimore Sun]
- Former Ravens linebacker Rolando McClain was impressive in his Cowboys debut. [ESPN]
- Baltimore County police believe they have identified the man who videotaped himself urinating on former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell's grave, and prosecutors are reviewing the case with charges possible early next week. [The Baltimore Sun]
- After work at tackle, the Ravens' Ryan Jensen is back at guard 'for good.' [The Baltimore Sun]
- Having lost weight, Jah Reid is competing for the right tackle job again. Reid is entering the final year of a four-year rookie contract. "I'm going to do my best and compete," Reid said. "It feels really good. I'm glad to get a couple reps and knock off some rust and get ready to go. It's always disappointing to suffer an injury and a setback like that and not be able to practice. You feel like you're a little behind, but these couple of days I'm making up a little bit what I missed out on. No restrictions, I'm ready to go. I'm feeling good. I'm getting my wind back." [The Baltimore Sun]
- "Right guard Marshal Yanda struggled with a shoulder injury most of last season but it doesn't appear to be a problem through the first two days of training camp," Preston wrote. "Yanda doesn't take a play off. He plays at full tilt through every play and every drill. He has been playing like a man who has something to prove." [The Baltimore Sun]
- John Harbaugh said running back Bernard Pierce is seizing the opportunity in front of him, and it appears Jeff Zrebiec agrees, writing, "The way that the third-year back has hit the hole and initiated contact is a good indication that Pierce isn't concerned — mentally or physically — with the strength of his surgically-repaired right shoulder. His quick cuts and shiftiness speak to the importance of his offseason workout regimen and just how dangerous he could be in new coordinator Gary Kubiak's offense, which emphasizes a power running game." [The Baltimore Sun]
- @GerrySandusky: The young Ravens player who intrigues me most is rookie WR Michael Campanaro. Crazy quickness. Big vertical. Potential impact player. [Twitter]
- @GerrySandusky: Observations continued: RT Rick Wagner looks solid. Oline much improved. [Twitter]
- @MikePreston: On the first day of contact, rookie DT was outstanding. Showed a lot of raw power and explosion in pass rushing drills. [Twitter]
- @RavensInsider: New safety Will Hill intercepted rookie quarterback Keith Wenning today [Twitter]
- @RavensInsider: Ravens sold out their single-game tickets for 1st four home games in 30 minutes Friday. Limited number available for last four home games [Twitter]
- @EdBouchette [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]: Roethlisberger, once suspended 4 games by NFL, on Ray Rice's 2-games: "We all know the league has its reasons for things .'' [Twitter]
- @RavensCommunity: We had such an awesome day today at @ravens training camp thanks to our amazing guest families from @CaseyCares! [Twitter]