Haloti Ngata On Lions: Never Been Part Of Defense Like This
Former Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has played on some pretty dang good defenses during his nine years in Baltimore, but apparently they don't compare to his new unit in Detroit.
"It's exciting, man," Ngata said, per the Detroit Free Press. "I've never been a part of a defense like this."
"You have so many athletes: J.J. [Jason Jones], Ziggy [Ansah], Caraun [Reid], and Darryl [Tapp]," Ngata continued."You just have so many playmakers all over the front on the D-line. I'm just excited to be a part of it. I've been down in Baltimore a long time and changing to this type of defense, it's just exciting. I'm excited to do it and I'm excited to be here. Just can't wait to put the pads on to see how it really feels."
His comments have Baltimore fans and media talking quite a bit.
Some feel Ngata is being disrespectful to his former teammates and coaches, while others think he's simply saying what all athletes say to support their current teammates with no ill-intent toward former colleagues.
"The nose in 'nose tackle' elongated today for [Ngata], after spouting a white fib that would have made Pinocchio proud," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Daniel Park. "While the Ravens will dearly miss their defensive lineman, this statement is a low blow to Dean Pees."
Eh, I'm not sure Pees will take it very hard. He may just view Ngata's comments the same way The Baltimore Sun's John Meoli does, writing, "It's unfair to take Ngata to task too badly, considering you'd expect any player to say he's excited to play in a new scheme on a new team with new teammates, even if it's not true."
I agree with Meoli. Ngata is just talking up his new teammates. Plus, my father once told me, "One who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and one who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool." So unlike some Ravens fans, I take zero offense and wish the best for Ngata.
That said, this does give us a chance to compare the two defenses.
The Lions finished last season as the second-best overall defense, while the Ravens finished at No. 8. We'll see if either unit can continue its success now that Detroit has lost its best defensive player in Ndamukong Suh and Baltimore lost Ngata.
Looking back over the years, Ngata has been part of some very special defenses. Park pulled Baltimore's defensive rankings since Ngata arrived in Baltimore in 2006:
2014: 4th vs. the run
2013: 11th vs. run
2012: 17th overall
2011: 2nd vs. run, 3rd overall
2010: 5th vs. run
2009: 3rd overall
2008: 2nd overall
2007: 6th overall
2006: 1st overall
Ngata listed four different Lions to be excited about, but it didn't seem to help his argument.
"Forgive me if I've never heard of any of them except Ansah, the former first-round draft pick, before Ngata spoke their names," wrote Meoli. "If we're being specific, Ngata may be right in saying that, given the fact that some of the superior athletes like he's referring to on the Ravens defense have played outside linebacker and don't technically classify as defensive linemen.
"But then you think about Pernell McPhee, an outside linebacker by trade, lining up as a nose tackle alongside Ngata in passing situations. You think of Arthur Jones and Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan, all big players in their own right who could explode through the line. … I doubt there are many outside Detroit who would take Ngata's new defensive line over the one he left."
Bisciotti Envisions Many More Super Bowl Rings For Flacco
Owner Steve Bisciotti thinks his quarterback, Joe Flacco, will have some serious bling on multiple fingers before all is said and done.
Flacco got his first Super Bowl ring when he was 28 years old, giving him plenty of time to add a few more to his collection. Flacco hopes to play until he's 40, and if he can reach that goal healthy, that means he'll have 10 more chances to win it all.
"I believe that Joe at 30 can still win a couple Super Bowls," Steve Bisciotti told Russell Street Report's Tony Lombardi. "I think he will!
"And I hope that he gets an opportunity to do what [Broncos quarterback John] Elway did (although [Elway] wasn't sitting on one when he won his last two) – to win one and then call us to say that this is my last year, like Ray [Lewis] did."
Three Super Bowl wins? That would put Flacco up there with some of the all-time greats. Only three NFL quarterbacks have won more. Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady all won four, and only Troy Aikman won three.
That would make for a prolific Ravens history, as long as General Manager Ozzie Newsome can keep Flacco in Baltimore for his whole career.
"As a fan and a supporter of Joe, I hope he wins another in the next few years and I hope he wins another at 38 years old and says, 'Sayonara,'" Bisciotti said. "I hope that we don't have to see him in San Diego like we saw Johnny U."
It wouldn't be surprising if people outside of Baltimore scoffed at Bisciotti's prediction. It certainly wouldn't be surprising to Bisciotti himself.
"I don't think that anybody in the NFL appreciates Joe Flacco more than we do in the Ravens," the owner said. "He has been maligned and ridiculed for being average for seven years and yet he has some stats that put him, when we talk about the postseason, among the all-time greats."
Ravens Have One Of Best NFL Home-Field Advantages
NFL teams don't like to play on the road. Ever.
But they especially don't like to play in Baltimore.
"The Baltimore Ravens fan base doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves for its dedication and ability to make M&T [Bank] Stadium a daunting place to play," wrote Bleacher Report's Garrett Baker.
The loud environment created by Ravens fans is one reason why Baker listed Baltimore as one of the best five home-field advantages in the NFL.
Per Baker, since 2010, the Ravens have amassed a 27-5 record at home during the regular season. That's a whopping 84.3 percent of games ending in victory at M&T Bank Stadium.
"[I]t continues to be one of the hardest places for opponents to play," wrote Baker.
The other four teams in Baker's list are the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles.