Only Terrell Suggs Gets Away With Calling Big Ben This and Makes Everyone Laugh
Oh, Sizzle. We love you.
Of all the amazing quotes you've given about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers over the years, this will certainly rank among the best.
The Ravens linebacker literally called the Steelers quarterback a "rat bastard" and got the entire Baltimore press corps to bust up laughing. And before anyone gets offended, yes, the term was used in jest, and was actually also a sign of respect. You know, the way you "hate" your toughest competition, but admire it at the same time.
Here's the backstory:
After going into Chicago as strong favorites last week, the Steelers surprisingly suffered an overtime loss to the Bears. In the locker room yesterday, Roethlisberger was asked by reporters what the offense needs to do better to win.
"The quarterback needs to play better," Big Ben quickly replied and elaborated in the ESPN video below.
Roethlisberger's quote was brought back to Suggs, who has been terrorizing Roethlisberger at least twice a year since the quarterback came into the league in 2004, and was asked for his reaction. Basically, Suggs thinks Big Ben is trying to lull the Ravens into a false sense of security so they come into Sunday's AFC North showdown overconfident.
Oh, Ben," Suggs says in the video above. "He is setting us up. He is playing mind games. Rat bastard. *(laughter) *He is setting us up. Tell Ben I am on to his tricks. I know what he is doing. I am not going to let him fool me with trickery and Jedi-mind tricks."
So true, Ryan.
That's because A) Suggs is just funny, and B) he respects the … you know what … out of Roethlisberger.
I'm not sure there's another quarterback in the league that Suggs reveres more than Big Ben, who has taken multiple beatings over the last decade and a half, while also delivering some daggers of his own. It may surprise you that Suggs has actually gone six straight games without notching a sack against the Steelers.
Still, the respect is mutual.
"This game is crazy. It's a special game. I am still here. Suggs is still over there. We've got a lot of respect for each other in this rivalry," Roethlisberger said Wednesday. "Suggs is still him. He is still getting after it. A lot of respect for him doing it this long."
Even though the Steelers only rank No. 22 in the league right now in total offense (302.3 yards per game), despite having dangerous weapons like Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, the Ravens know that Pittsburgh is only getting started.
"You're just saying that because you're trying to soften us up," safety Eric Weddle said to reporters when they also told him of Roethlisberger's quotes. "No, man, they start out a little slow every year, but they're fine. They've got weapons everywhere, matchups. So we expect them to play great, and we've got to play an amazing game as a team for us to get this win."
Some Confusion May Have Gotten Hopes Too High on Brandon Williams
Yes, technically Brandon Williams was at practice yesterday.
But if you saw a headline like this and got your hopes up …
… sorry to burst your bubble.
According to the official injury report released by the team yesterday, the Ravens defensive tackle did not participate during Wednesday's practice session. So how did all the confusion begin?
It was an honest mistake. The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec explains:
"[I]t's still too early to know if [Williams will] be able to play Sunday when the Ravens (2-1) face the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)," Zrebiec added on The Sun's website.
There was also some confusion over the status of tight end Benjamin Watson. The 14-year veteran spoke to media before practice and gave no indication of an injury, so when he was missing from the field later that afternoon, many assumed it was because he was given a veteran's day off.
But based on the injury report, he was held out because of a calf injury. The calf issue isn't expected to put Watson's status for Sunday in jeopardy, as he indicated to reporters that he expects to play.
"I am definitely going to be excited to take part in [this rivalry] for the first time on the field," Watson said.
We'll see if he returns today, but if the injury is serious, it would leave the tight ends corps thin as Maxx Williams was sidelined Sunday with an ankle injury and also didn't practice Wednesday.
Injuries Have Effects Well Beyond a Single Season
Thanks for the reminder, Field.
Not only does having the league-leading number of players on injured reserve (IR) hurt the Ravens this season, but Zrebiec suggests that injuries have some long-term effects that may even be worse, especially when they happen to young players.
"Forget not having players available on gamedays," Zrebiec wrote. "The injuries are far more damaging on a broader scale while trying to build a young core.
"I've written this before, but there's been no bigger reason for the Ravens not making the playoffs in three of the past four years than the rash of significant injuries suffered by young players. It stalls a promising player's development in a big way to miss part of a season, a full season or more."
Zrebiec noted the Ravens have missed on draft picks, which have also hurt the team. But he said nobody could've predicted injuries to Brent Urban, Bronson Kaufusi, Crockett Gillmore, Alex Lewis, Maxx Williams, Carl Davis, Tavon Young, Kenneth Dixon, Maurice Canady and Nico Siragusa because they were all durable during their college careers.
These players were all drafted in the last four years, and they've all missed (or will miss) a full year of football while on their rookie contracts.
As for Urban, who was the latest to land on IR, he will be a free agent after this season. While he's shown plenty of talent, injuries have derailed a majority of his NFL career since the Ravens drafted him in 2014.
Now that we know his season is over, the question going forward is whether this injury will spell the end to Urban's career in Baltimore.
"[I]t would be foolish to close the door on Urban. Kaufusi and Wormley could both struggle, and Urban's injury history — he'll likely end up playing just 25 of 64 regular-season games for the Ravens over four seasons — could depress his market," Zrebiec wrote. "However, you couldn't blame the Ravens if they decided to go with younger, cheaper and more durable options."
Ravens Plummet Down National Rankings
We all expected this, right?
After losing by 37 points in London, the Ravens fell, and fell hard, in the national power rankings.
Baltimore was downgraded by an average of 8.5 spots, giving it an average No. 20 ranking in the lists below. By comparison, this week's opponent and the divisional rival Pittsburgh Steelers average a No. 7 ranking.
Both are 2-1 after surprising losses last week, and they'll battle it out for the division lead at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday.
Bleacher Report: No. 14 (down seven spots from last week)
Chris Simms: "Baltimore's defense was asked to do too much. It eventually got exhausted and began surrendering big plays. This cannot be the formula for Baltimore if it hopes to be a contender this year. The offense has to figure out a way to carry its weight."
ESPN.com: No. 18 (down eight)
"Remember all of those deep balls Flacco hit during the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl run? Fast-forward to 2017 and Flacco's average pass distance is shortest in the NFL and led to the second-worst Total QBR. The Steelers and Raiders await the Ravens the next two weeks, so Flacco needs to figure it out soon."
Pro Football Focus: No. 20 (down 10)
NFL.com: No. 20 (down nine)
Elliot Harrison: "OK, running the football and playing defense is an age-old formula for winning -- but teams haven't been able to actually claim a W in a game in which their starting QB threw for 28 yards, as* *Joe Flacco did Sunday, since about 1928. While it would be easy to point to the defense in a 44-7 blowout loss for Baltimore, an offense that gains all of 186 yards and holds the ball for 25 minutes isn't doing that defense any favors."
USA Today: No. 22 (down 11)
"Joe Flacco passed for 48 yards in Sunday's loss - 28 on eight completions to his teammates, and 20 more on two completions to Jacksonville."
Yahoo! Sports: No. 22 (down six)
Frank Schwab: "I don't think that debacle in London was a one-off performance by the Ravens offense. It was extreme, but this Baltimore team doesn't have much on that side of the ball especially without guard Marshal Yanda, by far the Ravens' best player on offense. They'll win games because they're coached well and have a good defense, but that offense is simply not good."
CBSSports.com: No. 23 (down nine)
Pete Prisco: "They have issues, even at 2-1. The offense is dreadful, and Joe Flacco doesn't look right."
- "Lost in the fallout from the poor performance against the Jaguars on Sunday was that Patrick Onwuasor played more snaps than Kamalei Correa by a significant margin (40 to 23) at weak-side linebacker for the first time this year," wrote Zrebiec. "It will be interesting to see whether Onwuasor's elevated snap count Sunday was a sign of things to come or just a function of the Ravens believing he was a better fit against the Jaguars." [The Baltimore Sun]
- Quarterback Joe Flacco uncharacteristically spoke up to defend his offense yesterday, saying the stats are being overblown and the unit has not struggled through the first three games. He said people are taking the London game, which obviously was bad all around, and applying it to all three games. "Flacco's point about the first two weeks of the season has merit as the Ravens led by a combined score of 38-7 at halftime and spent the rest of the day running out the clock while also easing Flacco back in after his back injury this summer," wrote Josh Alper. "Keeping things conservative won't work every week, though, and the Ravens offense needs to show some signs that they're capable of living another way if they're going to hold onto a winning record beyond the opening weeks of the season." [ProFootballTalk.com]