Flacco's Agent Reacts To Monster Opener
One could only imagine a Grinch-like smile forming on agent Joe Linta's face as his client took command of the Ravens offense Monday night and churned out 299 passing yards for two touchdowns and no interceptions.
With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Head Coach John Harbaugh declared after the game that the team should, "Pay [Flacco] whatever he asks for." The two sides are still engaged in contract extension negotiations.
Linta and his client spoke for almost an hour Tuesday, according to CSNBaltimore.com, and the message was the same as it was before Flacco's monster performance: Just keep playing hard and wait it out.
"My biggest negotiating tactic is his play on the field," Linta said, per J. Michael. "Nothing that I say surpasses anything he does on the field. If [Owner] Steve [Bisciotti] wants to call me, he's got my number. At this point, it's up to them. ... [Flacco's] silence is my leverage."
Linta famously declared Flacco one of the top five quarterbacks in the league this offseason, an assertion many scoffed at. But he hasn't backed off the comment, and will only be justified if Flacco continues to play like he did against Cincinnati.
"The only way you get categorized as an elite quarterback is by the money and the contract you're offered," Linta said. "For someone to say you're great is one thing. To pay you like you're great is another. …
"You've never missed a game, you've started every game and you've been a consummate citizen in terms of the way you are in the community and handle yourself publicly. If that doesn't make you a top five guy I don't know what does."
As for Flacco, he continues to keep the same attitude he's had all along during the contract talks. He is focused on the season and getting into the playoffs.
"I don't concern myself with that stuff," Flacco said after the game Monday night. "I feel like I always go out there … and we play pretty damn good every week. The stats might not always say 299 yards or 300 yards or 450 yards, whatever it is, but the bottom line is I go out there and I play hard. I play tough and we win a lot of football games around here.
"So, all that stuff will take care of itself."
Power Rankings: Week 2
There was a lot of movement with Ravens in this week's power rankings, especially for those who doubted whether the offense could take the next step and the defense could overcome the loss of Terrell Suggs.
That said, these rankings can sometimes be a knee-jerk reaction to just one week, so Baltimore could fall as quick as it rose.
ESPN.com: No. 3, moved up three spots
Maybe Joe Flacco wasn't as far off as many thought when he said he was the best quarterback in the NFL.
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: No. 3, moved up one spot
It wasn't [as] stirring as last year's Week One win over the Steelers, but it'll do.
Vinnie Iyer, Sportingnews.com: No. 2, moved up two spots
It has been Ray Lewis' team, it has been Ray Rice's team. This is the year the Ravens finally let Flacco loose and take ownership with his leadership—matching that with the glossier stats, elusive Pro Bowl nod and more playoff wins.
Brian Billick, Foxsports.com: No. 3, moved up two spots
This may be the best team the Ravens have ever fielded. Even without the injured Terrell Suggs, the defense applied consistent pressure and made Bengals QB Andy Dalton uncomfortable all day. Ray Lewis looks ageless as he continues to fly around the field.
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: No. 5, moved up seven spots
Joe Flacco and that up-tempo offense impressed against the Bengals. Can they keep it up?
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: No. 4, moved up four spots
The top three scoring teams in Week 1: New York Jets (48), Baltimore Ravens (44) and Chicago Bears (41). Those clubs, in theory, could all finish in the top five in defense this season. On that note, how does Ed Reed still have that explosion in his 11th season?
Less Is More For Rice
Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice only got 13 touches in Monday night's game, but that could prove to be a good thing for the fifth-year veteran and the Ravens down the stretch.
Less touches now, may mean more in production as the grueling 16-week schedule grinds on.
"Now one thing that I think is going to be a common thread is Ray Rice," said J. Michael. "He only had 13 total touches last night, that's significantly down from his production the past few years, but I think what you may see is that his averages may rise. Ten carries for 67 yards [Monday], that's a 6.8 average, that's a pretty good clip.
"So I think you're going to look for more of that. He's going to be fresher by the end of the season."
Harbs: Webb Didn't Lead With Helmet
Harbaugh said in his press conference yesterday that he plans to send some referee rulings into the league for review, just as he typically does after each game.
One that will need some clarification is the personal foul penalty called on cornerback Lardarius Webb when he hit quarterback Andy Dalton from behind just as he was releasing a pass.
"The rule in that case, crown of the helmet, hairline of the helmet, square shot into the body anywhere," Harbaugh told CSNBaltimore.com.
"And [Webb] didn't lead with his head in any way, shape or form."
Harbaugh said he believes the league does a good job of teaching and coaching its* *referees, and realizes they can't make the correct call 100 percent of the time.
"Everybody makes mistakes," he said. "So I probably wasn't as forgiving in the moment. But after having a chance to reflect upon it, they'll get most of those calls right."
Is O-Line Starting Lineup Still In Flux?
Harbaugh "hinted" Tuesday that the team may still experiment with different combinations along the offensive line, writes Carroll County Times' Matt Zenitz.
"We've got nine good players on the offensive line right now," Harbaugh told reporters last night. "That's a real plus for us. And they all bring some different skill-sets to the table. Where there are pluses... for one group of guys, or certain guys, there are other pluses for other guys that are positive.
"The fact we've got a deep well right now is a plus. I anticipate all those guys playing extensively."
Harbaugh surprised onlookers with a never-before-seen lineup that included third-year player Ramon Harewood starting at left guard and rookie Kelechi Osemele at right tackle with Michael Oher on the left side.
Veterans Bryant McKinnie and Bobby Williams were unexpectedly benched as the Ravens chose to go with the younger, more athletic group.
"John Harbaugh deserves credit for keeping the best-kept secret of the preseason: a new, younger offensive line," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "Sure, the Ravens had trouble blocking the interior rushes of Bengals defensive tackle [Geno] Atkins, but the Ravens showed power and good movement at the line of scrimmage. It helped on Ray Rice runs and kept Joe Flacco pretty clean in the pocket."
Pitta Poised To Break Out
Tight end Dennis Pitta managed to a have a career day Monday after missing the entire offseason with a broken hand.
But good friends off the field, Flacco and Pitta's chemistry was instantaneous and the two hooked up five times for 73 yards and a touchdown. Flacco targeted Pitta nine times, which was four more than Anquan Boldin (second with five targets).
As such, Pitta looks "poised to break out," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel, who added you may want to pick the tight end up for your fantasy team too.
"[Pitta] lined up all over the field, including in the slot, where he could be Baltimore's answer to New England's Aaron Hernandez," wrote Vensel. "His third-quarter touchdown grab was a beauty; Flacco's 10-yard touchdown pass was in the air for three seconds before Pitta out-leaped a Bengals defender to bring it in.
"Their chemistry was obvious on the field Monday night, too, and it looks like Pitta, who said his surgically repaired hand felt fine after the game, seems poised to have a productive season. If you are an avid fantasy football player like I am and need a tight end, you might want to put in a waiver claim for Pitta before Wednesday morning. Because as Suggs put it last Thanksgiving, the white tight end is like American Express – he is everywhere Joe Flacco wants him to be."
Was That Really A Touchdown?
Aaron Wilson says a photograph from Baltimore Sun photographer Gene Sweeney Jr., clearly displays that BenJarvus Green-Ellis's touchdown just before halftime was really no touchdown at all.
"The Law Firm's left elbow and forearm are down on the ground before he broke the plane of the goal line with his right hand," Wilson wrote. "Like all touchdowns, the score was confirmed in the press box by an NFL officiating supervisor. Regardless of whether Green-Ellis got across the goal line before he was down, though, the run would have given the Bengals a first down with roughly 27 seconds to play and two remaining timeouts."
- A touching story about Ray Lewis' relationship with his father after being absent for much of the linebacker's childhood. [ESPN]
- @deemason85: Is anyone other than me concern with M. Vick an the eagles??with all those weapons, someone needs to give Vick the detonation code! [Twitter]
- @RAVE_TV: .@EdDickson84 on Harewood (@mvpbig) starting: "I didn't even notice (he) was in until I saw him on field & said Ramon are you starting?" [Twitter]
- @RayRice27: Prayers for the victims of 9/11 and to the heroes that gave their lives helping others on this day 11 years ago, I salute your sacrifice [Twitter]
- @raylewis52com: Football may appear to be my life, but nothing's more important than our freedom. God bless those who perished on 9/11 and #neverforget [Twitter]
- There's still plenty for the Ravens defense to work out after Week 1. [The Baltimore Sun]
- What's Flacco's fantasy value going to be this season? Eric Karabell breaks down why he thinks that Joe Flacco isn't yet a top-10 quarterback in fantasy football. [ESPN]
- Chris Burke says the Ravens attacking and explosive offense Monday night was no mirage or one-week flash in the pan. It was a trend you'll see throughout the season. [SI.com]
- You've heard this story before, but Gerry with a G Sandusky is still trying to get the word out. The Ravens radio broadcaster is not the former Penn State assistant coach. Good little piece on clearing up the confusion. [ESPN]