Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baltimore Ravens [Print without images]

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Flacco continues to become voice of team

By Jamison Hensley

If Ray Lewis wants to know where the Baltimore Ravens' leaders are, he should take a look at how quarterback Joe Flacco responded to the former linebacker's criticism.

Lewis questioned the Ravens' lack of leadership on Monday after a report surfaced about wide receiver Jacoby Jones getting hit over the head by a stripper wielding a champagne bottle.

"Ray knows better than that," Flacco said Wednesday. "Things happen. We’re usually a pretty good team with stuff like that. If you look around the league, there’s a lot of leadership problems then. Like I said, Ray knows better."

This is just another example of how Flacco has become the voice of the Ravens. Of all the Ravens asked about Lewis' comments, Flacco was the one who came out the strongest against them.

Some will say Flacco has stepped up because Lewis and Ed Reed are no longer on the team. But I believe Flacco has taken more control because of what he's done on the field.

From my viewpoint, Flacco didn't assert himself previously because he really didn't earn the right to do it. After winning the Super Bowl and becoming the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, Flacco felt empowered to take a bigger role on the team.

Listen to how Flacco addressed the insinuation from Lewis that this type of incident wouldn't have occurred if he and Reed were still on the team.

"People are going to go out and do things after games and celebrate and do that kind of stuff," Flacco said. "Everybody cannot be everywhere. Nobody can prevent crazy things from happening. Stuff’s going to happen and you just have to deal with it."

Asked if he has addressed this incident in the locker room, Flacco said, "When you get the information of what happened, it is what it is. You laugh about it kind of. It’s funny some of the things we deal with. I don’t have too many comments on it because it would be taken the wrong way. It’s not really an issue."

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs texted Lewis about his comments this morning.

"We have a lot of leaders on this team," Suggs said. "I don’t think that’s one thing we’re stressed (about). We don’t worry about that. We’re worried about what we’re trying to do as a team."

Lewis' questioning of the Ravens' leadership didn't bother guard Marshal Yanda.

"We understand the leadership that we have with our team guys and our team," Yanda said. "Obviously, Ray was a huge vocal leader and very enthusiastic. We all loved him and miss him. It’s going to be a different type of leadership obviously. No one is going to jump into Ray Lewis’ role and be exactly the same. We have a lot of good leaders on this team and we’re not sweating it one bit."