Roquan Smith has set the tone all season long for the Ravens defense – as he likes to say, from the first snap to the last snap.
Actually, he does it before the first snap. All season, Smith has delivered the final message after pregame warmups.
As Baltimore awaits its divisional playoff opponent, Smith's vocal cords get a break this weekend. But rest assured, he'll be ready to go for the playoffs.
Smith's pre-game speeches have been a must-watch this season. They even got a random camera guy ready to run through a brick wall.
So what's the inspiration behind Smith's speeches? He said some teammates have asked him the same question.
"I just come off the top [of the head] with it," Smith said Wednesday. "Honestly, the only time I ever think about what I'm going to say is right before I go up there. I'll have like 5-10 seconds and be like, 'Oh crap, what are the guys sensing right now? Is there a message I need to echo to the guys?'
"But it's more so what's on my heart. At the end of the day, that's the realest you can be and that's what you're trying to express. It's opposed to trying to get some premeditated stuff you looked up. It's pouring directly from the heart. Guys are attracted to that because it's real. You can't fake that."
Smith said he used to deliver the pregame speech in Chicago too, but it's different in Baltimore.
"It's a little more intense here, honestly," he said. "I don't know. I've always played the game in an intense way, but I feel like some of my speeches here are a little more intense like, 'I want to knock your face in' … having that mindset and echoing that through every single word in your speech. You know what you have here. I know what I had there."
Smith said he grew up watching Ray Lewis' iconic pregame speeches on YouTube. Maybe they've rubbed off some, but Smith has his own flavor.
"His is a little different from mine," Smith said. "We all have our unique styles."
The other question is why Smith curses so much. Curse words aren't part of Smith's everyday lexicon, like they are for, say, Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken.
"I don't really cuss. I've known people for years and they'll be like, 'Oh, I've never really heard you curse,'" Smith said. "I just feel like I don't want to hold back. The only word that I use in there is 'MF.' I don't use the B-word."