Will Ravens continue momentum in Detroit?
Ravens coach John Harbaugh was smiling Thursday, but he was not thrilled. Naturally, Harbaugh had heard about Ravens safety Matt Elam calling Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson “pretty old.” Trash-talking the Lions, even though Elam also complimented Johnson and said he meant no disrespect, was not something Harbaugh wanted prior to their Monday night matchup.
“I think everybody’s old to Matt Elam,” Harbaugh said. “Matt’s pretty young, and hopefully he learns from his opportunity to speak with the media.
“I don’t appreciate it. It doesn’t help us. Get a guy like Calvin Johnson all fired up, that’s really not the idea. It’s Monday Night Football. They’ve deemed it a playoff game for them. They’re going to be pretty juiced up I’m sure. The crowd’s going to be fired up, the team’s going to be fired up as they should be. I don’t think they needed that to get fired up, but we didn’t need to give it to them either.”
Elam’s teammates had various reactions to his comments. Joe Flacco, speaking on a conference call to Detroit reporters, felt like Harbaugh did.
“You just kind of look at him and say, ‘Dude, what are you thinking?”’ Flacco said. “It’s Calvin Johnson.”
However, safety James Ihedigbo and cornerback Jimmy Smith offered Elam their support.
“He’s a rookie, he’s fired up about this game,” Ihedigbo said. “Nothing that we’d ever not back him up on. We’re going to let our game talk for us. Nothing really needs to be said about what Matt said.”
Smith thought it was much ado about a small issue.
“Honestly, it doesn’t bother me,” Smith said. “Would you think that Calvin Johnson is not going to come to a Monday night game on national television and not play his best game anyway, because a rookie said something? If they’re going to take it as ‘That’s poster board (material), we’re going to take it even harder now,’ then they don’t have the right mentality coming to play a Monday night game anyway.”
Johnson did a little verbal sniping of his own Thursday during a conference call, referring to the Ravens safety tandem of Elam and Ihedigbo, “nothing extraordinary.” Asked for his response, Ihedigbo said he looked forward to Monday.
“He’s a dominant player in this league,” Ihedigbo said. “He’s going to have that mindset. We have to make plays to win the game. It’s going to be a good battle. Talking really doesn’t do anything. The game is played on Monday. I’ll be readyMonday night, as will he.”