Late For Work 7/6: Lewis, Mason Differ On Brady-Peyton Debate

Plus Flacco now more understanding of Woodley’s comments. McNabb as Ravens backup QB?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 at 9:45 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Lewis, Mason Differ On Brady-Peyton Debate

A strong argument for the best player in the NFL can easily be made for either Patriots quarterback Tom Brady or Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

But Brady was anointed No. 1 by his peers, edging out Manning, on the Top 100 Players of 2011.

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis presented the reigning league MVP and three-time Super Bowl champ in an NFL Network segment, calling Brady “the greatest of greats.”

“He’s not the biggest. He was never the strongest. He was never the fastest,” Lewis passionately said. “He was overlooked. He went in the sixth round. So with that being said, all of the intangibles that a quarterback is supposed to have, they overlooked with him because it was burning from the inside of him.”

Lewis is most impressed with Brady’s work ethic and willingness to go beyond limits most people won’t approach.

“You don’t find too many people playing that’s willing to sacrifice that much time to doing that,” Lewis said. “That’s why Tom Brady will always be considered one of the greatest of all time.”

Meanwhile, Mason didn’t agree with Brady’s top spot on the list. He believes the honor should have gone to Manning.

Hands down, it’s Peyton Manning,” Mason told Ed Norris and Steve Davis on 105.7 The Fan.

“You take Tom Brady off New England, they showed they could go 11-5 [without him in 2008]. Now you take Peyton Manning off the Colts, I don’t know where that team goes offensively.”

Flacco More Understanding Of Woodley Now

Joe Flacco seems to have had a slight change of heart toward Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley.

What changed? Context.

Woodley recently said the Ravens can’t win a Super Bowl “in this lifetime” with Flacco at quarterback. At first, Flacco said he was aggravated by the comments, but now the Delaware product says he better understands Woodley’s point of view now that he’s read the interview himself.

“Yeah you know what, I actually did an interview where somebody asked me about that [quote] and I said ‘he has no idea what he is talking about,’” Flacco said on “The Dan Patrick Show,” per  ”I stick by that, but I hadn’t even seen the quote at that point. I made it my goal … I had to see the quote.

“Honestly, I would have said the same thing he said in the context it was presented to him.”

Flacco said when he finally read the question, he realized that for Woodley to say the Ravens would win the Super Bowl he would also be required to admit they would beat the Steelers. To say your own team is going to lose would violate every player and competitive code known in sports.

Flacco explained, “When I read the quote, it looked like he said basically ‘in order to win a Super Bowl that it’s going to mean me saying that they [Baltimore Ravens] are going to beat us [Pittsburgh Steelers], and being on the Pittsburgh Steelers I’m not going to admit they are going to beat us, so no. I don’t think he is going to win. I don’t think the Ravens are going to win.’

“I would say the same exact thing.”

But don’t mistake Flacco’s understanding as a sign of agreement with Woodley

The four-year veteran still plans on showing Woodley he “doesn’t know what he is talking about.” Flacco stoutly believes he can push through the Steelers to win a championship ring.

“Yeah I understand where he was coming from as a player, but at the same time when you hear someone say you are not going to win a Super Bowl, it’s somewhat of an attack on your team,” Flacco said.

“You are going to stick up for yourself and say ‘No. That is not going to happen. We are going to push through you guys and get ourselves a win against you guys or whoever it may be down the road in the AFC Championship game and get ourselves to the Super Bowl.’”

McNabb Or Bulger As Flacco’s Backup?

Just like a year ago today, the Ravens are considered a Super Bowl contender. And just like a year ago, they will need a healthy quarterback to lead the way.

Unlike a year ago, the Ravens are faced with the likelihood of operating under a salary cap.’s John Eisenberg pointed out the Ravens had the luxury of securing an expensive insurance policy for Flacco last season, more expensive than Flacco himself, by signing backup Marc Bulger.

But the same money may not be there when league business resumes.

“The circumstances will be the same in that the Ravens believe they have a Super Bowl-caliber team and thus can’t afford to go without a quality option in case Flacco gets injured,” Eisenberg wrote. “They’ll need to find a quality quarterback on the open market but probably won’t be able to pay the guy more than Flacco, as they did a year ago.”

That being said, Eisenberg believes there are four names that could be in the mix as the Ravens’ backup QB in 2011 …

Bulger could still be in the running if the market is “drier than expected” and ends up returning to Baltimore at a lower price.

Second on Eisenberg’s list is Donovan McNabb.

“Crazy idea? Maybe,” the columnist wrote. “But his days as a top-caliber starter might be over, and if the Redskins cut him, as many expect, he would be free to find a new home. If he was willing to accept a low salary and a backup role in exchange for playing on a team with a shot to go far, this might be a fit.

“McNabb could certainly take over if Flacco went down, but on the other hand, there would inevitably be a quarterback controversy if and when Flacco ever struggled – a good reason not to do it.”

Eisenberg also named Bruce Gradkowsi, who has a nice blend of youth and experience, and 38-year-old Kerry Collins as potential suitors.

Quick Hits

  • Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith will conduct NFL labor talks Thursday and Friday of this week after letting the lawyers handle paperwork for two days. Attorneys are hammering out contract language “that could speed the process in reaching a new collective bargaining agreement.” [Associated Press]
  • jamisonhensley: Lorenzo Neal, who played FB for #Ravens in 2008, was arrested for DUI on 4th of July [Twitter]
  • TorreySmithWR: In order to learn the playbook.. @LibraLadii_ calls out the play and I use @Mizz_Fields son’s toys as lineman and i break the huddle to line up haha [Twitter]
  • WillisMcGahee: I feel like I’m on top of the world right now… [Twitter]
  • Jamison Hensley’s begins his All-Ravens Team by naming his defensive tackles (Haloti Ngata and Sam Adams), defensive end (Michael McCrary), inside linebackers (Lewis and Bart Scott) and outside linebackers (Peter Boulware and Terrell Suggs). [The Baltimore Sun]

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