Belichick: Ravens loaded with explosive players

Belichick: Ravens loaded with explosive players
January 16, 2013, 8:00 pm
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FOXBORO -- In Baltimore's attempt to make big plays offensively, sometimes its quarterback Joe Flacco will just throw it up and see if someone can come down with it. Sometimes the throw is right on the money.

Either way, the Ravens aren't afraid to throw the ball. And they won't be afraid to throw the ball against New England's secondary in Sunday's AFC Championship at Gillette Stadium.

And why would they be? Their receivers have been pulling in everything that comes their way during the playoffs.

But as Patriots coach Bill Belichick pointed out on Wednesday, the Ravens' receivers and running backs are dangerous in more ways than just the deep ball.

"Torrey Smith's good," said Belichick. "They're all good. It's Torrey Smith, but that's all of them. It's Jacoby Jones, it's obviously Anquan Boldin. It's Dennis Pitta. It could be Ed Dickson, Tandon Doss, I mean, you could go right down the line. They throw it to all of them. And then they also have explosive players like Ray Rice, like Bernard Pierce, like Pitta, like Boldin, even Smith on some catch-and-run plays, where they take the ball on a five, six, 10-yard pass, and end up getting 40 or 50 with it because they're fast and they're tough to tackle.

"Some of them, they just launch it down there and throw it up, and the receivers go up and get it. Or they make great plays like they did last week against Denver. But sometimes it could be a screen pass or an under route or something like that, and they could turn it into a 50-yard gain too, because of their ability to run with the ball."

Either way, the Patriots are ready to face an explosive offense.

"All these guys can run," said Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo on Wednesday. "They can do multiple things. And then you have Anquan Boldin who's lining up at different spots. He always seems to come down with the ball no matter if he's in the slot, at the one spot, he's always making plays and doing a good job for them. So it's a good test for us. But it's not only for our secondary. I think it's for everyone across the board. It comes down to the pass rush. It comes down to us checking the tight ends and backs and the secondary holding up in the back end.

"So, it's a very explosive team, with a lot of big plays," Belichick added. "It's a lot of long balls, but it's not all long balls. It's a lot of catch-and-run plays too. So they get you both ways. If you play off them and give them a lot of space, then they'll kill you on the catch-and-run plays. If you get up there and try to take those away, they can kill you on the deep balls. They're very well-balanced. They execute well, and they can get a lot of yards in a hurry. They do a real good job on the deep balls. Real good."