Late For Work 10/19: Suggs, Bayless Go To Battle Over Flacco

Suggs’ take on Sanchez winning a Super Bowl; Tebow vs. Suggs’ beard; power rankings.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 at 9:12 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Suggs, Bayless Go To Battle Over Flacco

Skip Bayless has never been afraid to stir up controversy. Terrell Suggs has never been afraid to speak his mind.

Put the two together on ESPN’s First Take and you get fireworks.

Ravens fans have heard endless arguments about whether Joe Flacco is “elite,” but the argument between Suggs and Bayless became about whether Flacco’s teammates believe they can win a Super Bowl with him under center.

Only Bayless could essentially tell a 6-foot-3, 260-pound NFL linebacker to his face, “I don’t believe you,” after the said linebacker told the talking head that he is “100 percent sold” on Flacco.

Here’s how it all unfolded, which you can watch in the video below:

“I told Hines [Ward, Steelers receiver] the difference is they have [Ben] Roethlisberger and you’re stuck with Joe Flacco,” said Bayless.

“Oh my God. We’re stuck with Joe,” Suggs said sarcastically. “How many quarterbacks can you say in his first three seasons as an NFL starting quarterback made the playoffs?”

The answer is three: Flacco, Cleveland’s Bernie Kosar and Miami’s Dan Marino. But Bayless responded, “He’s with a really good football team, including your defense, right?”

“And he’s becoming a really good football player,” Suggs said. “He’s coming into his own now.”

“Is he a match for Roethlisberger in a playoff game?”

“Absolutely.”

“Is he? Was he last year?”

“Uuuuhhhh, excuse me. In 2009, who did he beat in a playoff game? You know the answer to this. Go ahead and answer this. Go, go ahead and answer it. He beat Tom Brady.”

The two shot back and forth over who deserved the praise for winning that game. The Ravens rushed for 234 of the 268 total yards. Flacco completed four of 10 attempts for 34 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.

They followed that up with an argument over who deserved the blame for the playoff loss to the Steelers in last season’s divisional round. Bayless blamed Flacco, who was 16 of 30 for 125 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Suggs said the entire team let the game get away from them.

“This is my psychoanalysis of T-Sizzle,” said Bayless, ending the discussion on the playoff loss. “In your heart of hearts, I don’t think you’re sold on your quarterback.”

“I am 100 percent sold,” Suggs said emphatically. And then pointing with two fingers at the camera and then back to his eyes he continued, “You can put the camera on me. Go ahead put the camera on me.”

“I’m 100 percent sold on ‘Cool Joe.’”

“I’m not buying one second of what you just said. I think you’re a great actor,” Bayless responded incredulously. Bayless explained the Steelers told him the Ravens locker room didn’t believe in Flacco.

“[That's] because you got a little alliance with the boys in the black over there.” Suggs shot back. “You got a little alliance. Everybody knows you got a little soft spot for them boys over there, but that’s OK. We don’t blame you for that.”

“So I want you to tell me there was 100 percent no doubt [about Flacco] in your locker room after that game in Pittsburgh.”

Before he could even finish the question, Suggs responded, “No.”

“None. None. None.”

Not included in the video below, Suggs later said of Flacco, “I like his leadership. I like his demanding of perfection in the huddle. I’m at practice with him. He is overlooked. … He’s in a perfect position. He’s going to get in that flow, just like Eli [Manning] did, just like Aaron Rodgers is in now. When those quarterbacks start getting in that flow where they start narrowing that mechanism, they start playing with a certain swagger, with a certain confidence.

“I can see it every time Joe walks up in the building. I’ll just be like, ‘Oh my God, look at my quarterback.’”

Suggs: Sanchez Needs Phenomenal Defense To Win Super Bowl

The quarterback debate didn’t end with Flacco. The conversation turned to Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who Suggs faced two weeks ago.

When asked if the Jets can win a Super Bowl with Sanchez as their starting quarterback, Suggs said Sanchez would need an incredible defensive performance, just like most any Super Bowl champion would.

“Not if he’s got to do it for them. Absolutely not. I don’t think he can do it. I think he’s good at what he does, good at selling magazines, good endorsement guy.

“They’ve got to play phenomenal on defense. … Their defense has got to play hands down, shutout.”

Suggs said in the two games Sanchez has played against the Ravens, the third-year quarterback has not thrown a touchdown pass. In Week 4, New York scored 17 points off of a kickoff return, an interception return and a field goal. In the 2010 season-opener, the Jets scored nine points, all coming from kicker Nick Folk’s leg.

In that Week 4 matchup, the Ravens’ defense got to Sanchez early and often. They registered two sacks and a whopping 10 quarterback hits.

“When we started getting to [Sanchez], somebody checked out,” said Suggs. “Open the gates, start the bus. He tapped out.

“They basically had to pick him up. He didn’t get up on his own. You want a quarterback when you’re in a fight, I’m going to fight back, I’m going to get up. I’m not going to have anybody pick me up.”

“So he’s not as tough as Flacco?” asked Bayless.

“Definitely not. Definitely not,” Suggs said. “My quarterback will fight back.”

Suggs: My Beard Has Been Through Tougher Things Than Tim Tebow

You didn’t think we were going to have a quarterback debate and leave out Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, did you? (This is the last of it, I promise.)

Suggs said he isn’t a fan of Tebow because “personality doesn’t win games.”

Bayless countered Suggs by saying the Ravens’ franchise sack leader wouldn’t be able to bring Tebow down to the ground because the 6-foot-3, 236-pound quarterback is too big and strong.

“There’s nobody harder to tackle than our rival [Roethlisberger]. Are you kidding me?” Suggs responded.

“If you and Tebow walked in an alley, Tebow would walk out,” Bayless said.

“My beard has been through tougher things than Tim Tebow,” Suggs retorted. “Are you kidding me?”

Week 6 Power Rankings

The Ravens generally moved up a spot or two in power rankings across the web. The one exception is SI.com’s Peter King. As I mentioned yesterday, Head Coach John Harbaugh’s brother, Jim, took the No. 2 spot on King’s list and pushed the Ravens down to No. 3.

Here’s a roundup (with this week’s ranking and last week’s ranking in parentheses) below:

ESPN.com (3/5): “The Harbaughs – John and Jim – are 9-2 this season.”

SI.com’s Peter King (3/2): “Should be 6-1 entering Week 9 showdown at Pittsburgh, with Jacksonville and Arizona on the slate the next two weeks.”

CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco (3/4): “Coming out of the bye week they had too much on defense for the Texans. The good news is the passing game looked much better than it did against the Jets.”

FoxSports.com’s Brian Billick (2/3): “I said early in the preseason, this is the most balanced Ravens team in franchise history, and they are playing like it. For the rest of October, the Ravens travel to the struggling Jaguars and then host the Cardinals. This team should easily go into the Nov. 6 rematch with the Steelers at 6-1.”

ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio (2/6): “They might be the only team that can beat the Pats in the playoffs, and that can stay within 20 of the Packers in the Super Bowl.”

NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison (3/5): “If you’re a follower of the Ravens, you have to be pleased with a couple of things you saw Sunday: 1. Joe Flacco taking vertical shots downfield, even without Lee Evans; and 2. Closing the door in the fourth quarter, something the Steelers had trouble doing vs. the Jaguars and the Cowboys haven’t been able to do two games in a row.”

Quick Hits

  • vleach44: @untouchablejay4 u trending on twitter one real dude always speaks his mind and a beast on the field glad u on my team #ravennation [Twitter]
  • In this Q&A with Bernard Pollard, the Ravens safety talks about his adjustment to Baltimore and his alter ego “Chocolate Therapy.” [The Baltimore Sun]
  • “If the Ravens make a deep march into the playoffs come winter, fans may look back at the Texans game as a key moment this season,” wrote Stan Charles. [CSNBaltimore.com]
  • Ray Rice’s stock is on the rise after he produced 101 yards rushing and 60 yards receiving against the Texans. In the Ravens’ four wins, Rice has averaged 151 total yards from scrimmage. [ESPN]
  • Who doesn’t Ray Lewis mentor? Put the greatest Olympian of all time Michael Phelps on the list. Phelps called Lewis a friend and mentor in this video (jump to the five-minute mark to hear his comments on the Ravens).

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