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Patrick Willis Praises Ravens' New Offense


The Ravens' new offense has gotten rave reviews so far, but it's always good to get an outside perspective.

There's not a better source than seven-time Pro Bowl 49ers inside linebacker Patrick Willis.

After two practices with the Ravens, Willis had praise for what he sees on the other side of the line of scrimmage, and thinks the new offense could particularly do some damage with play-action passing.

"The offensive coordinator [Gary Kubiak] is from Houston and I always thought Houston had some of the best play-action in the game," Willis said.

"They run the ball really well, especially with Ray Rice. Then you take that play-action that they do and you have receivers like Steve Smith and Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. If you get guys biting, those guys can stretch the field."

Willis also noticed the influence of the Ravens tight ends. Baltimore has used them all a lot, from starters Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels to rookie Crockett Gillmore and former Texan turned Raven Phillip Supernaw.

"Their offense isn't that complicated, but it's really put together right," Willis said.

Willis has played against quarterback Joe Flacco a couple of times during his career, both in the regular season in 2011 and in Super Bowl XLVII, where Flacco was named the MVP.

"He's the 100-million dollar guy," Willis said with a smile. "The guy has a strong arm, knows how to release the ball, is very accurate. He's the leader of their team."

Willis has also taken notice of wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., who had a monster practice on Saturday with a couple of long receptions. Willis played against Smith for the past seven years in the NFC when Smith was a member of the Carolina Panthers.

"Just watching him out here in practice, the guy can still move as fast as a young guy," Willis said. "He's still as quick as I've seen over the years. I think he's really going to


add some good things to their offense."

One player Willis wishes were still in Baltimore is Ray Lewis. Willis and Lewis were very close during their playing days, as Lewis saw Willis playing the game in a similar, passionate way.

"It would have been fun to be here with him for three days," Willis said. "I'm pretty sure I would have been peeking over there and seeing what's going on [with him] at times when I could.

"He's a guy that will forever have my respect because of what he's done for the linebacker position, for the way he played it for so many years. I told people all the time when people would compare me to him, I would say I'm grateful but I still have a long ways to go. That guy did it consistently for a bunch of years and I just pray that when I'm done I can leave a legacy of my own like the one he left here. I've still got to win some Super Bowls and get some Defensive Players of the Year. I'm still working at it, and that's what makes it fun."

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