Each week, Baltimore media has a chance to speak with two key members of the Ravens' upcoming opponent.
With the Cleveland Browns up next on the schedule, Head Coach Eric Mangini and explosive receiver and returner Joshua Cribbs offered their thoughts on issues surrounding the game.
Here are some highlights:
How is Jake Delhomme's ankle and how does having Seneca Wallace change what you might do at quarterback? EM:"I think Jake's gotten better and I'm optimistic about where he is. Now, we've got to take it day-by-day with this, like we did last week. With both quarterbacks, I'm comfortable that they can run any of the calls that we have, but what we do with our quarterbacks – which I'm sure is the same thing in Baltimore or anywhere else – is you cater the game plan to the things that they do well.
"You work with the quarterback, because he's the guy that has to make the decisions on the field to make sure he's comfortable with the calls, and comfortable with the plan. So, it's a collaborative process, and we have some plays that Seneca may like better than Jake, and vice versa. But you plan for both."
Have you seen teams kick away to Joshua Cribbs on kickoffs? EM:"Well, I know last week that they weren't going to kick to him. They pop-kicked it pretty much every time, and that's going to happen. Now, what we need to be able to do is when that does happen, make sure that the field position changes.If you're going to get a short kick like that, be able to push the ball to the 40- or 45-yard line so that a decision has to be made. If you want to go that route, it's going to cost you, or you kick it to Josh and see what he can do."
Does Cribbs get frustrated by not getting as many touches as he thinks he could? EM:"There's not a lot Josh can do about it, and he's just going to maximize the chances that he does get. He's pretty level-headed with that, and he contributes in a lot of ways. That's one of the ways he contributes; he had, obviously, a big play for us last week as a receiver, and he develops in that role. He plays in the Wildcat [and] he does a lot of different things that can impact a game.And the great thing about Josh is, there's no ego there, there's no selfishness there, he just wants to do whatever he can to help us."
What's your assessment of Joe Flacco? EM:"Well, he's gotten better. And I know his numbers aren't what he'd like them to be right now, but he's got great pocket presence, he's got a strong arm and can throw it anywhere. Whether it's deep, whether it's comebacks, whether it's short touch-passes; I think he's going to be a really good quarterback for a long time, and each year that you gain experience, and recognize defenses and get used to the things that are being done, you get that much more effective. And that's the natural growth. And with his talent – he's a smart guy – he's going to keep getting better."
Why have you been so successful against the Ravens? JC:"Well, I grew up watching the Ravens because I'm from Washington D.C., and every time we play at their home I have a lot of family there and friends that come to the game. But most importantly, they're a division opponent. You know, we see them twice a year [and] we really get a chance to get a bead on their players because we see them so often. And their coaching staff, you know [Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Jerry] Rosburg, he coached a lot of the guys that play on the Browns and we're anxious to get at him."
Does that success hinge on anything the Ravens do schematically? JC:"No, they're a very aggressive defense. You know, there's nothing out of the ordinary. They are a fast-flowing defense, which at times can work against them. But it's no correlation why Baltimore, that I'm able to do some good things against them. We just know that when we play our division opponent, when we play a team like Baltimore, someone of that caliber, we have to be up on our game. I have to play up to my game in facing an opponent like that."
Do you expect the Ravens to kick to you Sunday? JC: "Definitely. Rosburg is the kind of guy not to back down. He doesn't back down. Even when we played here, we used to play good returners and we used to get up for games when we'd have good returners. That's the kind of coach that Coach Rosburg is."
What does the Wildcat do for your offense? JC:"It forces defenses to not only cover, but take time out of their schedule to prepare a plan for it. If they don't prepare a soundproof-enough plan for it, then we can burn them with it. So they have to actually take time from their normal game plan to plan for specifically the wildcat plays as opposed to our regular offense. It just gives them more to have to contain in one week's time. Just the versatility of it – me being able to throw and Seneca being able to run the ball and throw it – it's hard for the defense to get a beat on it when utilized."
Do you view yourself as a game breaker? JC:"I do my job and I try to do it well. That's why you'll hear that. A game breaker is somebody who consistently makes plays when the opportunity is given. When the opportunity is given, every guy on our team strives to make plays. As of right now, I'm just one of those guys who's been able to do it consistently, but more guys are working at it to make game-changing plays. I'm going to accept my role and I'm going to run with it."