Late For Work 10/27: Suggs Says Comments Were ‘No Big Deal’

Could Flacco call plays in the hurry-up offense? Rice sheds tears watching his own story.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, October 27th, 2011 at 9:59 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Suggs Says Comments Were ‘No Big Deal’

For two days, Baltimore has been buzzing about the comments outside linebacker Terrell Suggs made Monday after the Ravens’ loss in Jacksonville.

Suggs said it “baffled” him that running back Ray Rice carried the ball just eight times in the team’s 12-7 losing effort. He also felt receiver Anquan Boldin should have been more involved too.

Speculation ensued about the sentiment in the locker room toward the offensive game plan. A few days removed from the loss, reporters followed up with Suggs to see if he stood by his comments. While Suggs didn’t back off his words, he admitted they were made in frustration.

“We were just frustrated,” Suggs told The Baltimore Sun. “We have to do the things that we win with. We have a pretty good chance of winning when those guys touch the ball. That’s all I really meant by it. You all can take it however the way you all want to.”

Asked if too much was made of the comments, Suggs said, “There’s really no big deal about that. We’re a great team when those guys get the ball. That’s what I meant. We have to take our hats off to Jacksonville. They went out there and they played a physical game. They won the game, but we can’t give them any help. That’s what I meant by it.”

Rice, who was at the center of all the chatter, commented on the situation for the first time yesterday.

He said he knows his carries will come as the offense succeeds and doesn’t want coaches to force the ball to him. “I’m going to be one of the guys that brings this offense together. I’m not going to be pointing my finger everywhere,” he said.

As for Boldin’s response to Suggs’ campaign, the receiver said he’s simply focused on winning.

I don’t care who touches it as long as we win,” Boldin told reporters, via The Carroll County Times. “I’m not a guy who goes to a coach and says, ‘I need the ball.’ Just put it in whoever’s hands, I don’t really care, as long as we’re winning.”

Boldin caught four of a team-high 12 targets for 40 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars. He leads the Ravens with 27 receptions for 394 yards and two touchdowns.

“There’s nothing to worry about,” Boldin said. “For us, we know what we’re capable of. We go out and we execute. There’s no reason to panic.”

Clayton: Have To See Flacco Through Growing Pains

ESPN’s John Clayton says he has been “bashed” in the past for saying that Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback.

And while The Professor still stands by Flacco’s elite status, he also feels the Ravens’ signal caller has taken a step back in his development so far this season.  One of the biggest knocks on Flacco is that his 52 percent completion rate is remarkably lower than his 62 percent career rate.

“Flacco, to me, it looks like he has regressed,” said Clayton.

“Yes. I still have him as an elite quarterback, but you look at the numbers, you look at some of the performances … I still think that one of the main problems – cause I’ve seen it so many times over the last three years – is that when teams matchup against the receivers in man it causes problems for Flacco because there is not enough separation among the wide receivers and the tight ends. Now all of a sudden you have Flacco back there holding the football. If nobody is out there all you have to do is hold the football or throw it away. What do you do? I think this is now starting to affect him to a point that they’ve got to find some answers.”

Clayton says some of those answers will come when receiver Lee Evans returns from an ankle injury and rookie receiver Torrey Smith continues to develop into more than just a deep threat and can run various types of routes.

Despite the drop off in stats this season, Clayton said Flacco is still the franchise quarterback. The ESPN analyst would also give Flacco a contract extension at the end of the season for a few reasons.

First, the Delaware alumnus has notched four postseason wins in his young career. Second, not re-signing Flacco could set the franchise back by as many as 10 years.

“It’s still hard to find quarterbacks as talented as Joe Flacco,” Clayton said. “It’s hard to find quarterbacks that are simply good enough to win playoff games and he’s won playoff games. I know you can say the same thing about [Jets quarterback] Mark Sanchez, but when you compare the skills of Mark Sanchez and Joe Flacco, I think it’s solidly [in favor of] Flacco because he still has the deep arm, he still has the accurate arm.”

“You’ve got to stay with [quarterbacks during the growing pains] because the problem is, it can takes sometimes as long as 10 years to replace a quarterback as talented as Joe Flacco,” Clayton concluded.

Van Valkenburg: Flacco Should Call Plays In Hurry-Up Offense

Down 9-0 with less than six minutes left to play in Jacksonville, the Ravens turned to their hurry-up offense and put together a 13-play, 90-yard touchdown drive.

The drive lasted three minutes, 20 seconds to execute.

For some observers, like The Baltimore Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg, the hurry-up offense isn’t fast enough. The Sun columnist said it looked like Flacco spent too much time waiting for the play to be called in. He asked Flacco if it would speed things up if he called his own plays in those situations.

“I guess there is probably truth to that,” Flacco said.  ”It’s just how quickly can I think on my feet and get the play out there. I guess there is truth to that. It’s just a matter of how we want to do it.”

Van Valkenburg believes it would save “precious seconds” for Flacco to call the plays when time is running down.

“The Ravens hurry-up offense hasn’t been particularly efficient this season, at least in terms of scoring quickly,” he wrote. “In situations where they need to run the 2-minute offense, it’s probably time to hand the reigns to Flacco. He’s not a rookie anymore. It’s time to give him the freedom, at least in those situations, to succeed or fail quickly instead of taking 20 seconds off the play clock every snap.” 

Rice Sheds A Few Tears

After watching his own life story on E:60, running back Ray Rice said he shed a few tears.

Rice was one year old when his father, Calvin Reed, was unintentionally killed in a drive-by shooting. Rice’s cousin and mentor, who served as a father figure to the young boy, died in a car accident when Rice was just 11.

“There were certain times in my life that I didn’t know whether to revert to good or bad. That was one of those moments,” Rice said after he lost his cousin.

Watch the 10-minute video. You may shed a few tears too.

Quick Hits

  • Former long-time Ravens tight end Todd Heap is battling a hamstring injury and said there’s “no question” that it would be difficult for him if he had to miss Sunday’s Arizona-Baltimore matchup. Heap said he was surprised by his release in July when the Ravens made a move to create salary cap room. “In my mind, I could honestly say I felt like I was going to end my career there,” Heap told Jamison Hensley. “That’s what I planned on and thought about. I really didn’t think about anything else.” [ESPN]
  • ESPN’s AccuScore has the Ravens beating the Cardinals 81 percent of the time after simulating the game 10,000 times. [ESPN]
  • John Eisenberg has six things the Ravens can do to get the offense going again in the wake of Jacksonville. []
  • In a poll asking who is the top defensive player in the AFC North right now, 39 percent of 4,827 voters say its Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley, 24 percent say its Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, 19 percent say Browns cornerback Joe Haden and 18 percent say its Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga. [ESPN]

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