By Bruce Allen, Patriots Daily Staff
Last season we had a couple of opportunities to trade posts with the Ravens blog Right Off Russell. They are now the Baltimore Sports Report, and they asked if we could take a few minutes to chat with them about this afternoon’s game. I answered some questions for them on their site, and Matt Sadler was kind enough to answer five questions from me, here below:
In the January game, the Ravens actually pressured less than usual, resulting in three interceptions of Brady. Do you anticipate a similar game plan this time around?
The Ravens have seemed to blitz more this season, at least they are blitzing more effectively. I think you will see the Ravens mix it up. Last week against the Broncos, the Ravens defense actually gave up the big plays when they dropped 8. So yes, I have no idea what Mattison proposes.
In a related question, the Ravens secondary is a bit banged up right now, can they be as effective in coverage as they were in January?
Absolutely. Fabian Washington has more than covered up for the absence of Domonique Foxworth. Ladarius Webb and Chris Carr are getting the job done on the other side. The biggest missing piece is Ed Reed. Tom Zbikowski has done an admiral job replacing Reed. While he does not have the same big play capability, he plays well within the scheme.
It is hard to tell. He has moments of brilliance and then lapses into periodic funks. I think everyone feels like Flacco grew up in the win against the Steelers on the road. He is showing more confidence and we all love the idea of Zorn being his coach. At the end of the day. the Ravens are too balanced for Flacco to be putting up big numbers every week. His maturity will show when he has to come up in clutch situations.
How has the Ravens new-look receiving corps come together? Have they been able to open up the running game even more?
The receiving corps are great. i think people are still trying to understand their role in the offense. Boldin has made some clutch catches while at other times freeing up TJ and Mason to make big plays. Todd Heap and the other TE also play a big role in the offense.
The running game has looked week until last week.Granted the Ravens have played the Steelers, Bengals, and Jets defenses already so it hard to get a great read. it seems like teams are committed to making Flacco beat them, and except for week 2, he has.
Block some kicks and punts. With the offense, you have to rattle Flacco. The Bengals know how to do it, but other teams can’t- including the Jets and Steelers. The defense needs to keep Flacco guessing. He is tough once he gets into a rhythm. As for the defense, the Ravens have shown little weakness. They gave up some deep balls in mop up time last week. I would guess that would be worth trying to expose again. I Think the Pats best chance is to win the possession battle with special teams. Give Brady good field possession, and likewise make the Ravens play with their backs to the wall.