Ravens flock to Flacco's defense


Ravens flock to Flacco's defense

On Monday, Ravens safety Ed Reed made some impolitic remarks about quarterback Ed Reed.
"I think Joe was kind of rattled a little bit by that defense, Reed said. "I think a couple times he needed to get rid of the ball. I dont know how much of the play calling, he could have made audibles or anything like that, checks or whatnot, man, but it just didnt look like he had a hold on the offense, you know, of times past. You know, it was just kind of like they was telling him what to do, throw the ball or get it here, you know, get it to certain guys. And he cant play like that."
On Wednesday, the Ravens assembled to put the toothpaste back in the tube.Ravens coach John Harbaugh went first, saying of Reed, "Heand I had a chance to have a conversation. And I had a chance to talk to some of the other guys about it and I understand where we are. Were getting ready for Sunday.Asked if the timing could have been better, Harbaugh said, I understand where Eds heart is. All of our guys, when they say things and you get a chance to talk about it Were together all the time. We know each other. We understand where each other is coming from. Im sure there are some things he would have like to have said a little better.
"If you look at the whole context and hear the tone of his voice and the message he was trying to communicate, its a good message. But obviously, things could have been said differently. The way you read them and stuff like that, Im sure hes not really happy about that.Flacco acknowledged he was initially put off by the comments, saying,"When I first saw it, I was like, Whats going on? Like I said, we talked about it. We are a team around here. Its not really that big of an issue. I dont really take things that bad. It is Ed. It is what it is.

He spoke to Reed.Flacco also was aware that both Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis defended him. That's something that - because of Flacco's inconsistency - happens often.

"I wish those guys didnt have to come to my defense on all kinds of things," Flacco admitted. "I dont really think they have to. The way things are talked about, it just makes it that someone has to come out and say something. Terrell, all along, knows how to go out there and stick up for all of us.

Lewis was particularly impassioned in his defense of Flacco.

"There is no one player that makes the team great.," said the 36-year-old future Hall of Famer."It takes a team effort. For Joe, who came in here and did what hes done for us Ive told people from Day One when I first saw that kid throw the football, I said, That kid is special, You watch all of these guys who went in the top, first draft picks, and they arent even in football anymore. Youre talking about a guy who came into this league, has been to the playoffs all four years and has given his team the opportunity to win games.
"Joe doesnt play defense. So, when we gave up touchdowns on defense, that wasnt Joes fault. When people beat us on defense or scheme something against us, thats not Joes fault. The times that Pittsburgh was scrambling and made a big play on us, that wasnt Joes fault. So, a lot of things that people always try to put on the quarterback, I understand that, but it isnt about that. Its about the Baltimore Ravens. We are a complete team. We go into games and we win as a team, we lose as a team.

Said Suggs, I dont have to stick up for Joe. His reputation speaks for itself. I just say what people seem to forget sometimes. Thats all that its about. I aint even going to get into that anymore.
Flacco attempts to seem bemused by the whole situation but - given his comments this season about not getting credit -thereis a level on which the questions seem to bother him.

Will a Super Bowl championship back off the critcism?

"I dont care," he said. "I will be wearing a ring, and we will be holding a trophy. The perception probably wont change, but it does not really matter.

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six

After leaving Thursday night's game in the fifth inning and missing Friday night's game, Dustin Pedroia is back in the Red Sox lineup Saturday as they look to extend their winning streak to six in a 4:05 game against the Seattle Mariners.

Pedroia felt pain his left knee Thursday night and was taken out of the game by manager John Farrell as a precaution. The rainy conditions and wet field were also factors in keeping the second baseman out Thursday and Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on the knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked various confrontations between the Orioles and Red Sox.

Left-hander Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to make his second start of the season for Boston and right-handed reliever Ben Taylor was optioned to the PawSox. Right-hander Rob Whalen, 23,  comes up from Triple-A Tacoma to make his first start of the season for the Mariners. 

The lineups:

Jean Segura SS
Danny Valencia 1B
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Taylor Motter LF
Guillermo Heredia RF
Mike Zunino C
Jarrod Dyson CF
Rob Whalen RHP

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Deven Marrero 3B
Brian Johnson LHP