BALTIMORE – (Wire Service Report) – One of the keys for the Baltimore Ravens will be keeping cooler heads in the heated matchup against the New England Patriots on Monday night. This is especially true for receiver Steve Smith, who was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct against the Bengals in Week 12 and an illegal use of the hands last week against the Dolphins in another heated exchange.
Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan also received a taunting penalty versus Miami. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he has addressed the importance of avoiding those types of mistakes.
“I have my ways of expressing it to those guys,” Harbaugh said. “They understand where we’re coming from on it. It’s communication, it’s relationship, and that’s what it is.”
While the Ravens have to play smarter against the Patriots, they simply will not back down when the game becomes physical.
“Every player on this team isn’t going to take any mess from anybody,” linebacker Zachary Orr said. “That is just how we are raised up here in Baltimore. We are not going to get any flags, but we are not going to take any mess from anybody.”
— Lardarius Webb seamlessly has made the transition from cornerback to safety this season. This has been a boost to the Ravens’ secondary and has opened the door for rookie cornerback Tavon Young to get on the field and make plays.
Webb has also played a key role in Baltimore’s late-season surge with an interception, a sack and 25 tackles over the past five games. He credits fellow safety Eric Weddle with helping make the transition easier to a new position.
“Every day. I’m just learning from Weddle,” Webb said. “He’s teaching me different types of stuff every week. You’re never too old to learn. I just keep pushing, I just keep doing my job. It’s not about me, it’s about the team, so I’m always doing my job. But the front seven makes it so much easier for us.”
The Ravens enter the contest against New England with the league’s seventh-ranked pass defense and allow just 222 yards per game. Webb has helped keep the secondary organized and efficient.
“We are talking about playing a position at the highest level,” Harbaugh said about Webb. “Although he had played (safety) in college, it had been a long time. But ‘Webby’ brings some intangibles to the table. He is a natural cover man.”