Baker Mayfield poses as next challenge for Ravens defense
OWINGS MILLS, Md. This is a challenging week for the Baltimore Ravens defense, which has a history of rising to the occasion.
On Sunday night, the Ravens dealt with veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and posted a win at Pittsburgh.
Baltimore is on the road again this coming Sunday at 1 p.m. in the rugged AFC North. This time, the Ravens will have to deal with Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The Ravens (3-1) likely do not have as much film on Mayfield as they do for Roethlisberger.
“You just look at (Mayfield’s) tape from the preseason and the games he has played so far and go on that,” Ravens safety Chris Clark said on Thursday.
Clark, who was a 2017 second-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech, said the Ravens are confident after Sunday night’s 26-14 win.
“Last week we left with a win,” Clark said. “That is the most important thing going on the road,” Clark said.
Mayfield completed 21 of 41 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-42 loss to the Oakland Raiders last Sunday. It was the fifth-most yards passing for a quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the Super Bowl era.
Mayfield is certainly aware of the Ravens’ defense, which is tied for third in the NFL in scoring defense.
″(The Ravens are) very talented, physical, they come up and intimidate you, try to hit you, set the tone for the whole game,” Mayfield said. “But then on top of that, they’re good at what they do. They trust their guys are going to be in the right spots. They trust the guys on the outside, and they allow the defensive line and linebackers to make plays because of that.”
Carlos Hyde paced Cleveland (1-2-1) last week with 82 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Browns coach Hue Jackson is familiar with the Ravens’ defensive intensity, having previously served as their former quarterbacks coach.
“I just think with how the defense is, they set the tone,” Mayfield said. “Jackson) talked about how they’re the leader of the team, how they want to take control of the game, they want to be physical, stuff like that. I think he just spread the message on what their mindset is, what their mentality is, and that’s important for us to realize that.”
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown for 1,252 yards this season, the second-best total after four games in his career.
Flacco has completed 64.3 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and just two interceptions.
″(The Browns) have a lot of guys that play really hard and really run to the football,” Flacco said. “You think of takeaways, and as a quarterback. you think interceptions and things like that. We’ve played a lot of games with them that have come down to the wire.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked this week if he can question Baltimore reserve quarterback Robert Griffin III, the former Redskins starter, about the Browns since Griffin used to play with Cleveland.
“We played against Hue (Jackson) so much, I feel like we have a good feel for him,” Harbaugh said. “But Robert, as we go through the meetings and stuff like that, can add one thing or another, based on what he sees on tape when we’re talking about it.”
Clark grew up in Portsmouth and Suffolk, Virginia, and was recruited by both Virginia Tech and Virginia.
He played for the Hokies’ legendary coach Frank Beamer and then was part of the current mentor Justin Fuente’s first team in Blacksburg.
“It was different, but we all adjusted to it and we liked everything he brought,” Clark said of the change to Fuente, who is now in his third year in Blacksburg. “It was not much of a problem.”
The Hokies have been known for their defense for years under long-time defensive coordinator Bud Foster. Now, Clark is with another strong defensive unit in Baltimore. The Hokies product seeks much in common between the two defensive units.
“I would just say being physical, fast and smart,” Clark said. “Those three things. That is what I have seen from both defenses, period.”