View Full Version : Poised passer Joe Flacco faces a Broncos rush that has bucked more than its share of

Bronco Rob
11-01-2009, 04:05 AM
The task of ending a three-game losing streak against the undefeated Denver Broncos is only part of the pressure facing the Ravens today at M&T Bank Stadium.

The other comes from the Denver defense and its ambush-style pass rush. The revamped Broncos attack from all directions with safeties, linebackers and the NFL's sacks leader.

Denver wants to do everything possible to make a quarterback feel uncomfortable. Yet Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco feels surprisingly comfortable.

"I would say the most similar defense [to the Broncos] would be playing against our guys," Flacco said. "They do a lot of the things that our guys have done in the past, and I think that plays well for us because we know how to react to it."

The Denver defense should look similar to the Ravens' old ones because they share similar bloodlines. Mike Nolan spearheaded the transitions to a 3-4 defense for the Ravens and Broncos.

He oversaw the switch for the Ravens in 2002, and he has done the same for the Broncos this season. With Nolan's unpredictable and unrelenting schemes, Denver leads the NFL in sacks per pass play and fewest points allowed (11 per game).

"In the NFL, it's tough to go into every game and think you're going to just kick somebody's tail with a straight-up defense because everybody has good players," Nolan said earlier this season. "So, if you don't utilize some scheme to assist your players and give them a chance to win some battles, or throw an offense off balance a little bit, it's hard in the long run to be good.

"Every now and then you'll just be better than somebody and you can stay vanilla and beat them, but that's not very often. If you get to the playoffs, I don't care if it's offense, defense or special teams, if you don't have some different tools to use, then you don't really give your players a good chance to win that game."

The Pittsburgh Steelers' 3-4 defense caused Flacco to have some of his worst games as a rookie. But the NFL's eighth-leading passer has handled pressure.

Against the San Diego Chargers, the only 3-4 defense he has faced this season, Flacco threw for 190 yards and two touchdowns. And against the blitz this year, he has completed 65 percent of his passes, throwing for five touchdowns and one interception.

"There are times throughout a game where you feel uncertain about certain things," said Flacco, who has dealt with an ankle injury the past two weeks. "But I think I do a pretty good job of keeping myself levelheaded and reacting to those things on the fly and adjusting to them."

It would be difficult to question Flacco's tenacity after the last game, a loss to the Minnesota Vikings. He got hit. He got thrown to the ground. He got stepped on.

Every time, he got up and walked - sometimes limped - to the huddle. Every time, he would drop back and not flinch when defenders crashed down around him.

"If he has to stand in the pocket again for the team, he does it," wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "That's something you can't teach. It has to be in you. Fortunately for us, we have a quarterback that has sort of a defensive mentality when it comes to standing in the pocket."

The Broncos will test Flacco by sending everyone at him. Eight players have recorded sacks for Denver: defensive ends, outside linebackers, inside linebackers, a cornerback and a safety.

The most disruptive pass rusher is outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who tops the NFL with 10 sacks.

"They're throwing everything out there, and they don't give the same look a lot," tight end Todd Heap said. "That's why we really have to be on our game. We really have to be prepared and have watched everything that they've done to be ready for this game."

The Ravens, who are 1 1/2 games off the AFC North lead, need a sense of urgency about this game. They can't afford a loss with what's ahead in November: back-to-back AFC North road games (at Cincinnati and Cleveland) and home games against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts and the defending Super Bowl-champion Steelers.

The Ravens say they're ready to handle all the pressures of this game.

"You really set your offense for these kinds of defenses, because you know you're going to face them eventually," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "That's what we're trying to do. Our techniques are built around these types of defenses, and that's why it becomes such a great test to what we're all about."

NOTE: The Ravens tried out kickers Mike Nugent and Connor Barth but didn't sign either. It's likely a precaution if Steve Hauschka can't kick today. He is probable with a right ankle injury.

Unstoppable force vs. immovable object
A comparison between the Ravens' offense and the Broncos' defense:

Category Ravens Broncos
Total YPG 393.2 (5th) 262.5 (2nd)
Rush YPG 124.8 (10th) 79.7 (3rd)
Pass YPG 268.3 (8th) 182.8 (8th)
Points PG 28.1 (5th) 11.0 (1st)
Note: NFL rank in parentheses

Copyright 2009, The Baltimore Sun


11-01-2009, 07:09 AM
Ditto on the good find B Rob,

This is a tough game any way you slice it. The home field advantage for the Ravens , their desperation not to lose 4 in a row, our bye week advantaged nullified (their's too).

The sheer difficulty of continuing to win every week with such a brutal schedule as ours.

Flacco and Rice playing at such high level, and Getting their LT Gaithers back allowing Oher back on the right side and thus strengthening considerably their Oline/defense against our pass rush ... a week too soon for our luck. :-\

All those things favor the Rat birds ... not to mention a well rested Ravens defense which can still bring it even with Foxy and Fabian leaking like an open bucket at Corner.

NOW we have Josh and Mike .... enough said :-)

....Plus Orton, Clady, Marshall, Royal, Know/Buck and the Offense .. Dawkins, Champ, Doom, Davis, DJ and Ayers and the Defense ....

Broncos 34 Ravens 17.:strong:

Actually, I think Doom might take Gaithers to school. Gaithers is 6'9" 330lbs and a big dude and stout against normal sized DEs. But he's a bit lanky even at that weight with that height.

Give Doom a bit to figure out how to get under those long arms and its going to be very tough for Gaither to get low enough to block Doom, and by the second half Elvis is likely to be Singing "My Way" in better form than did his namesake 40 years ago :)

I also think Ayers is going bust a move soon too .... no better time to put it all together than today! Before long, Ayers and Doom will be rocking it from both sides, and then look out! Ayers has been getting closer the last few games and bringing good pressure as it is.

Also, I remember Robert giving Oher more than he could handle at the Senior Bowl practices. He spun past 'The Blind Side' on multiple occasions and dumped him on his ass as well a couple times. Hopefully, he can pick up where he left off then!

I hope we start fast and take a solid lead into the half for a change. We MUST shadow Rice and wrap his ass as soon as he catches the ball. No pansy tackling like the Chuggers and VikQueens tried on him or it will be a long day for us.

He's like a stronger Sproles, though maybe not quite as fast and shifty, he is very hard to tackle once he gets going. We have to really be on our game against Flacco/Rice screens and play action today.

Job one, prevent Rice from busting loose with Dawkins, Davis and DJ, Put Champ on Mason & Goodman on Clayton .. DJ and/or Woodyard on Heap

Harrass and Knock Flacco on his butt regularly in the first half and sack his ass repeatedly in the second and not let him get going ... test that sore ankle of his. We do all that we should be fine :-))...

On Offense, Orton needs to have another solid game, improving again as he has each game. Less penalties on the O, establish backfield presence even if necessary by play action and screens to Knowshon and Bucky. if the going is too tough trying to run through Haloti/Lewis ...

Memo to Josh ... DON'T run Knowshon at Haloti/Lewis on 3rd and 1 !!!! 8')

Repeatedly TORCH Foxy and Fabian with Marshall, Royal and Stokely ...

Kyle must account for #20 , #52 and #55 on all plays. Its all a tall order by doable. Another very tough game .

If we have any post bye let down, we'll be 6 and 1 well before it gets dark. Don't expect that .... Go Broncos!

11-01-2009, 07:16 AM
This won't be a blow out. This will be another last play of the game type day.

11-01-2009, 07:26 AM
Joe Flacco? aka Evil Bert?


11-01-2009, 07:39 AM
This won't be a blow out. This will be another last play of the game type day.

No doubt you are right.. but we can still hope for a surprise its three and a half hours till kickoff.... this season has been full of them so far :-)

Maybe not this game or the next, but I do expect this offense to really start catching up to the D before long with the talent we have and the disciplined high standards Josh sets for everyone each week.

Orton and the WRs/TEs, and Knowshon as a rookie, are all still learning every week. We've left a lot of points on the field too each week, just from that learning curve and things the offense did not execute as they should, not only from what the opposition defenses have done well against us.

It is those things I think we can, and will, clean up as time goes on, as all the little timing connections with the WRs and TEs continue to improve by the week and as Knowshon gets more use to the NFL and hitting the holes just right ... those are the things that can make the difference between 34-17 and 20-17.

Assuming, of course, our Defense is on the money again.

Circle Orange
11-01-2009, 07:45 AM
Flacco is short for flaccid, and he has cro-magnon eyebrows. Thus, this implies an overall lack of intelligence. Probabilty of failure in the NFL is high...it's not so simple a caveman can do it. ROFL!