Wake-up caw: A rush to meet Rodgers
October, 8, 2013
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
Here's your Tuesday edition of the Baltimore Ravens' Wake-up caw ...
- The key to beating the Green Bay Packers is the Ravens' improved pass rush. "Of course, everyone was excited about the way Rice bounced back and the toughness that Joe Flacco displayed in scratching out a tough win against a much-improved Dolphins team, but the Ravens aren’t built to go up and down the field with a team like the Packers," The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck wrote. "If Aaron Rodgers gets comfortable in the pocket, nothing else is going to matter." Rodgers, though, has only been sacked 11 times this season, which means 18 quarterbacks have been sacked more times than him.
- Someone else believes the key to beating the Packers is the Ravens' running game. "The best way to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday is to keep him off the field," Comcast SportsNet's Clifton Brown wrote. "(Running back Ray) Rice looks ready to roll. The Ravens need to keep feeding him."
- The Ravens still need to make a lot of progress with their running game despite gaining 100 yards in the second half, according to The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston. "Besides the poor play of the offensive line in the first half, running back Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce were both hesitant and slow to accelerate," Preston wrote. "Throughout his career, Rice has been one of the toughest runners to tackle because of his power, leverage and body lean. But he hasn't broken many tackles this season and Pierce, a downhill runner last season, has been juking too much."
- Justin Tucker kicked his fourth game-winning field goal Sunday, an impressive number considering he's played 25 career games. This was his first since the overtime one in the AFC divisional playoff game in Denver. “To be able to put ourselves in that position where we have the upper hand in the 2-minute drill, that’s big-time for us,” Tucker told the team's official website. “It’s just a great team effort and great preparation.” Tucker now has 11 field goals, which is tied for fifth-most in the NFL this season.
- On the other side of the special teams' spectrum, punter Sam Koch struggled with a season-low 34.2-yard average, which included a pair of 26-yard punts in the first half. "That was very un-Sam-like," coach John Harbaugh said, via The Baltimore Sun. "Those are two shanks that he usually doesn't have. We try to punt to the sideline. If you hit it a little bit off-center, that's what happens: real short punts. We've asked Sam to do that a lot and he's done a great job of it. On those two, it didn't work out so well."