(247SPORTS) – Bulletin board material. The coaches’ lament.
Heading into an upcoming matchup, NFL coaches hope that none of their players will give the opposing team any remarks that can be interpreted as trash talk, or slights.
It’s all fun and games, but if a team perceives disrespect from another NFL city, it can add a deeper emotional element to the coming contest. Sometimes that’s a good thing, if you’re on the other side, looking for a way to amp up your squad for a war of attrition against a better opponent.
But football is an already emotional game, and bulletin board material rarely helps the team or players who think they’re talking trash. Denver’s three-time All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. either doesn’t realize he gave the Baltimore Ravens some bulletin board material, or he does, and simply doesn’t care.
On Wednesday, Harris was asked about the difference between Raiders QB Derek Carr and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco.
“Flacco is different,” Harris said. “Carr, he just wants to get the ball out fast, quick dink and dunks. When you look at Flacco, he wants that home-run ball. He wants to take you up top.”
So far so good. You could even interpret Harris’ remarks as a compliment to Flacco. Then Harris was asked if he likes playing against QBs who throw deep.
“I like Flacco,” Harris said. “He’s thrown me a couple picks so I like going against him (laughs).”
Harris has had some good games against Flacco, including a 2012 tilt in Baltimore in which the then second-year corner took an interception back to the house. The Broncos blew out the Ravens that game, with Peyton Manning at the helm.
Flacco got the last laugh, unfortunately, when the Ravens came into Denver in the Divisional Round of the playoffs later that season and shocked the Broncos with an overtime win. Harris and his teammates were sent home to the couch, while Flacco and the Ravens would go on to win the Super Bowl.
It feels like ancient history, because the Broncos have won both games against the Ravens since 2012, but they were both in Denver. Baltimore is a difficult place to play for road teams, which Denver’s 1-4 all-time record in Baltimore showcases (.200).
As Head Coach Vance Joseph pointed out in his Wednesday remarks, the Ravens bear a lot of striking similarities to the Raiders, whom the Broncos struggled to beat at home, narrowly eeking out a 20-19 come-from-behind victory. Baltimore has a big, physical offensive line, a powerful running back in Alex Collins, and savvy, veteran receivers.
Throw in two wily, and perennially underestimated QBs, and the parallels are apparent. The difference between Oakland and Baltimore lies on the other side of the ball.
The Ravens always have a well-coach, aggressive and physical defense. It’ll be a real test for Case Keenum and the Broncos offense, especially as a Western team on the road in an early East Coast game.
Best not to give Baltimore any additional arrows for their quiver… too late.
Oh well. Regardless of bulletin board material, and emotional lightning rods, teams still have to go out on the grid-iron and execute. We’ll see whether the Broncos are the team able to impose their will, and emerge the victors.