Eagles Face Tough Ravens Team in Week 2
The Philadelphia Eagles will face a step up in competition in Week two in the form of the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore's electrifying offense scored 44 points in their opener against Cincinnati, while their tough-nosed defense held the Bengals to just 13 points.
The Ravens offense is led by Delaware alum Joe Flacco and Rutgers alum Ray Rice.
The duo burst on the scene together five years ago and have given the Ravens, who have been know as a defensive team, a face on the offensive-side of the ball. Rice is already the Ravens second all-time rusher in yards and is ranked third all-time for touchdowns. Flacco is ranked first all time in Ravens history for passing yards and passing touchdowns (82).
Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans knows the Eagles will have their hands full trying to slow down Rice, who is one of the versatile running backs in the league.
“Ray Rice is a nice player," Ryans stated. "He’s a very durable guy and you see the last few years that he has been in the league, he has gotten it done with both rushing and passing. He doesn’t miss a lot of games and doesn’t miss a lot of snaps. He’s a very durable player. He’s a very good player.”
As for Flacco, the talk this week following his impressive performance against the Bengals where threw for 299 yards on 21-29 passing and two touchdowns, was wheather he was an "elite" quarterback in the NFL.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid likes how the Ravens are using Flacco.
“I think the offense suits him," Reid stated. "What they’re doing with the hurry-up game, I think he handled that very well. [Ravens quarterbacks coach] Jim [Caldwell] is down there and he’s done a nice job. You can see his influence in there mixed in with what [Ravens offensive coordinator] Cam [Cameron] does. I like what they’re doing. It was effective the other night. They’re playing good football.”
But it won't be a walk in the park for Flacco and Rice. The Eagles defense looks like it could be a strength this season. Juan Castillo's unit got quality performances in the Eagles' victory over Cleveland, especially from newcomers Ryans and rookie Mychal Kendricks at linebacker. Plus in the secondary from third-year safety Kurt Coleman and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who each picked off two passes in the win over the Browns.
“It’s about our defense coming and working together,' said Ryans. "Everybody was trying to make a play. It’s everybody working together.”
The Ravens offense should be a challenge for the Eagles defense, Baltimore came out with a no-huddle offense that could give the Eagles aggressive defense problems.
“They do a good job with that,' Reid admitted. 'That’s something we worked on in camp and actually very hard in camp. We’ll see how it all works out.”
"You have to be poised with the no huddle – you can’t panic," Ryans added. "That’s the biggest thing they want you to do is panic and change personnel and match up with what they’re doing. You can’t panic. You just have to be calm, play solid, and stop them on first and second downs to get them at third-and-long. That’s the thing to do is get it to third-and-long and get them off the field quick.
While the Ravens offense is getting a lot of attention this week, they have always been known for their tough defense. Led by pro bowlers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, the Ravens showed they still have a tough defense even though they have gotten older.
“They’ve got a lot of experience," Reid explained. "They have their whole secondary back and their linebackers are back. They’ve got good experience there. They’re big and strong up front. They led a few of the categories defensively last year, particularly in the pass game and so we’ve got to make sure that we’re sharp and do the things that we do. We need to focus probably more on what we’re doing and make sure that we take care of our business and then go into the game that way.”
“He’s a Hall of Famer, Reid added about Lewis. "If nobody else is putting him in then I’m putting him in the Hall of Fame. He’s a heck of a player. He’s a good man. He’s good for the game. He understands how to play the game. He’s doing what it takes to play in today’s football and doing whatever he feels it takes. I have a lot of respect for him. “Ed Reed, [jokingly] even though he spells his name wrong, he’s a heck of a player too.”
Regardless of whether Baltimore is an offensive or defensive-minded team they are much more talented then Cleveland was and week two sets up a whole new set of set of challenges for the Eagles this week.
“I think just the whole team stands out on both defense and offense, Trent Cole said. "Those guys are playing very well and they are a good team. We just have to go out there. [Head] Coach [Andy] Reid just told us that it’s not the players who win games but it’s the guys who do the best in that game.”