Late For Work 6/16: Ward Doesn’t Back Woodley; Says Flacco Can Win

Plus B.A. compares workouts with Flacco, Pryor. Is Reed the best defensive player today?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, June 16th, 2011 at 9:29 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Ward Doesn’t Back Woodley; Says Flacco Can Win

Not everyone agrees with Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who said Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco won’t win a Super Bowl “in this lifetime.”  

Not even teammate and 14-year veteran receiver Hines Ward agrees.

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“I don’t disrespect the Baltimore Ravens,” Ward told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen. “LaMarr is LaMarr – he’s the younger LaMarr. The veteran Hines is not going to put bulletin board material out there. They have a great team.

They can win with Flacco.”

Ward added that he understands “Willy” and the rest of his teammates have to have a confident mentality when they get ready for a battle with the Ravens. His team needs believe they are going to kick any opponents’ tail.

That said, the older and wiser Ward avoided adding fuel to the fire that is already blazing in the Ravens-Steelers rivalry.

When asked if his team would use Woodley’s comments as a “big fat piece of bulletin board material” Head Coach John Harbaugh said, “We don’t need any bulletin board material to get ready for those guys or anybody else, but we’ll be ready for LaMarr Woodley and the rest of that football team and they know it.”

Woodley’s confidence is bolstered by the fact that his team has twice ended Flacco’s Super Bowl run in the last three years. Pittsburgh beat Baltimore in the 2008 AFC Championship and again in last season’s Divisional Playoff Round.

But Harbaugh knows his team should not be underestimated.

“We love LaMarr, we love what he says, especially when he says things like that. … We appreciate being underestimated, we do. If the Steelers choose to underestimate us, we appreciate that. We’ll show up right on time. Those buses will pull in [and] we’ll come walking into that locker room.

“[Woodley] knows that.”

B.A. Compares Working Out With Flacco And Pryor

He admits this prediction is a “bit of a stretch.”

But John Clayton went out on a limb regardless by predicting the Ravens are one of five teams who could take a chance on Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the NFL Supplemental Draft (which has yet to be scheduled).

“As a lower-round selection Pryor could interest the Ravens as a receiver,” wrote The Professor. “Having him learn under Anquan Boldin would be the key. Boldin was a quarterback in college and uses the knowledge gained there to put himself in position to help his quarterback.”

Clayton added that coaches may be reluctant to try to prep an unknown rookie in a shortened offseason program, especially one that teams haven’t seen much of.

But if the Ravens are looking for tidbits of information on Pryor, they could chat with Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who recently worked out with the former Ohio State QB and several other Drew Rosenhaus clients in Florida earlier this week.

In an interview on SportsCenter, Ayanbadejo was asked how he would compare what he saw from Pryor in his first workouts with NFL players to what he saw from Flacco when the Delaware product participated in his first NFL camp.

“Well, I saw a lot more of Flacco, especially in a football setting. I watched a little bit of ‘T.P.’ during his throwing drills yesterday, but mostly I worked out with him on the field, I worked out with him in the weight room.

“The thing they had most in common is probably their focus and their drive and not trying to do things that were outside their realm. They are quarterbacks, they have certain workouts, they have certain things that are different than the other athletes, like linemen and linebackers, and they stuck within their realm and did what they were supposed to do and got the job done.”

ESPN: CBA Talks ‘Almost Blew Up’

The herky-jerky reports that are trying to gage the optimism/pessimism in CBA talks is borderline impossible to follow.

A day after several media outlets said a new labor deal could be reached in the next two to three weeks, ESPN published another report saying the talks “almost blew up.”  Two sources told Adam Schefter that NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith instructed his lawyers to "stand down" as tensions rose at one point.

Yet CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman wrote that he can’t find a single source who will say talks almost “blew up” and stands by his report that a new deal is 80 to 85 percent complete.

So, what can we take from all of this?

I appreciate yesterday’s advice given by The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck, who has covered baseball labor disputes for over three decades.

“The guys and gals from ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL.com and all the other print, television and internet reporters are working very hard to give you a feel for what’s going on at the super-secret negotiating site outside Washington, D.C., but they are filtering countless small fragments of information that may or may not fit together to give a true sense of where the negotiations stand,” wrote Schmuck.

“Here’s what everybody knows. The soft deadline for starting the season on time is about Aug. 10, so it seems unlikely that either side is going to make any dramatic concessions on June 15. … In the meantime, I’ll bet you my Orioles playoff tickets that there will be at least a couple of occasions where news outlets jump the gun with a piece of information that seems to indicate an agreement is at hand, so don’t believe everything you read.”

Quick Hits

  • NFL Network’s Warren Sapp and Jamie Dukes say Ed Reed and Ray Lewis belong in the conversation of who the best defensive player is in the league today. [NFL Network]
  • Will an NFL lockout really start a crime wave? LiveScience.com says the crime-reducing effects of the NFL is speculative, but the little research they were able to conduct suggests Lewis’ theory is “actually not as wacky as it sounds.” [LiveSceince.com]
  • Poll: Who will win the Week 1 matchup between the Steelers and Ravens? Of 4,282 SportsNation voters, 33 percent say the Ravens will come out victorious while 53 percent say the Steelers. Thirteen percent don’t believe there will be a Week 1 because of the labor-stoppage. [ESPN]
  • Michael Oher was ranked the third-best left tackle in the AFC North, with only a pair of Steelers tackles – Jonathan Scott and Max Starks who each started about half the season – trailing Oher. It comes as no surprise that the Browns’ Joe Thomas was ranked first in the division, seeing as he was voted the top tackle in the entire league earlier this week. The Bengals’ Andrew Whitworth finished second in the division. [ESPN]
  • ESPN The Magazine published its ninth-annual Ultimate Standings, measuring how much MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL franchises give back to the fans in exchange for all the time, money and emotion the fans invest in them. The Ravens dropped one spot from last year to No. 21 in 2011, with five NFL teams listed ahead of them: Green Bay Packers (No. 1), New Orleans Saints (No. 3), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 7), Indianapolis Colts (No. 14) and Atlanta Falcons (No. 20). [ESPN]
  • Anthony Allen issued a statement about his name being used without permission to promote an erotic expo event. [The Carroll County Times]

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