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Ravens Have Leonhard’s Undivided Attention

Posted by Eric Allen on September 27, 2011 – 4:17 pm

Jim Leonhard will return to the city of his professional breakout Sunday night when the Jets face off against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

“It’s another chance to play a group of guys you’ve had history with and who you respect. It doesn’t change. Those are the games you want to play,” Leonhard told me on this week’s installment of “Four Quarters.” “They’re a great football team — they’re one of the best football teams in this league. Those are the tests you want to have week in and week out. That’s how you really judge your football team.”

Leonhard, who played with the Ravens under Rex Ryan in 2008 before joining him up north in March of 2009, hasn’t been pleased with the D’s efforts in two of the first three games.

“I think it’s just the fine details. That’s what’s coming up. It’s not necessarily the same thing schematically over and over, but it’s always something,” he said. “A lot of plays there were 10 guys who played the play really well and one guy made a mistake, and that’s where the ball went. There are a lot of issues we need to clean up, but we’re the right people for the job and I think we’ll be fine.”

Jets icon Joe Namath made news this week when he questioned the Green & White’s preparation and wondered if the players were starting to think they were better than they actually are.

“It’s an execution thing,” said Leonhard in reference to Namath’s interview on ESPN’s Michael Kay Show. “It’s one of those things that some Sundays you go out and for whatever reason it is, you don’t execute. There are no excuses for it. This is our job and you go out there to play sound football for 16 regular-season games. That’s your goal and we haven’t done that.

“I don’t think it’s a preparation thing at all and Rex is a confident coach. He’s going to give us confidence and we can’t just live off of that,” he added. “We can’t just show up and say, ‘We’re a good football team.’ You have to go out and prove it week in and week out.”

The defense fell far short of its expectations in Oakland, allowing 234 yards on the ground overall and 171 and two rush TDs to Darren McFadden in the 34-24 loss. That performance moved them back to 31st in the league against the run, but they have already had film review, corrected the mistakes and now must look ahead.

“Baltimore is a great football team if they have 100 percent of your focus. If you are dwelling on a loss and feeling sorry for yourself, that makes them even more dangerous,” Leonhard said. “It’s one of those things where you have a good 24, 48 hours to put it behind you and then you move on. Life in the NFL is whether you win or lose. You have to be able to put it behind you.”

The 2-1 Ravens have the same record as the Jets and they’ve also been inconsistent at times. They spanked the Steelers in Week 1 at home, amassing seven takeaways defensively and getting strong performances from Joe Flacco with three passing TDs and Ray Rice with 107 yards on the ground. But then they got dominated in Nashville in Week 2 as the Titans rolled up 432 yards of total offense and Flacco was intercepted twice.

Last week, the good Ravens flew again as they crushed the Rams, 37-7, in St. Louis. Rookie burner Torrey Smith hauled in a trifecta of scoring passes in the opening quarter and the Edgar Allen Poes rolled up 406 yards of offense in the first half. Rice had a nice day at the office, but he actually had only eight rush attempts as Flacco tossed the rock 48 times in the blowout win.

“I think they are a little bit more a passing-oriented team than they have been in the past. They still want to run the football — don’t get that twisted. But at the same time they realized they have a lot of talent on the outside and Joe Flacco is coming into his own and becoming a very solid quarterback,” Leonhard said. “They aren’t afraid to spread you out and throw the football around if they have to, so they’re definitely a little bit more balanced than they’ve been in the past. Obviously, that defense is everything you expect it to be.”

Former Bills wideout Lee Evans, a teammate of Leonhard’s at Wisconsin, didn’t suit up against the Rams due to a left ankle injury. It’s possible he could make a return and that could mean speed galore on the outside.

“They have some guys who can blow the top off a defense. If you’re on that side, you almost can’t be deep enough. You know they’re going deep and you know they’ll throw it up to them,” said Leonhard.

The physical Anquan Boldin and Rice are tied for the Ravens’ lead with 14 receptions, but second-year TE Ed Dickson is next with 12 and he can get down the field as well.

“He’s becoming that vertical threat down the middle of the field for them, really putting pressure on teams,” Leonhard said of Dickson. “When you have a tight end who can get vertical, it really stresses the defense and they’re doing a great job with him. Anquan Boldin is who he is — he’s a big, physical receiver. They’ll put him in the slot, they’ll put him on the outside, and they’ll run reverses with him. They’ll do everything with him — you have to have your eyes on him every play. They’re doing a lot of very good things with that offense.”

For more, please watch “Four Quarters” Wednesday.

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Posted in Eric Allen | 42 Comments »

42 Responses to “Ravens Have Leonhard’s Undivided Attention”

  1. By GaryC on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

    In two years the ravens have added boldin, lee evans, and drafted speed in torrey smith,none is over 34 and on the downside of their career.

  2. By Pranit on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

    i really really like Leohnard. I think he is a good football player. But i was so dejected to see that he missed the tackle on McFadden on his 70 yard TD. I expect that from Cromartie (who didn’t even attempt a tackle; happy to be blocked by a receiver) but not from you, Jim.

  3. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

    GaryC, Holmes smokes Boldin, especially in the clutch, and Plax and Mason are easily as good as Lee Evans on their worst days. The problems aren’t with our WRs, as you know all too well, they’re our OC, our on-and-off QB, and now our banged-up and thin OL. Pranit, I admire Leonhard’s guts and smarts but I still don’t think he’s big enough to start in this league — Canada, maybe. And the evidence of that seems to pour in week after week. To some extent he makes up for his coverage deficiencies with his tackling but there’s only so much a guy his size can do. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for him to bring down an RB as big and fast as McFadden in the open field.

  4. By dougmc on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

    Jim’s playing pretty good since coming back from injury. Should be good for Ravens game.Watching replay on NFL Network…lots of good things-lots of bad things vs. the Raiders A good Lineman or TE will really help.Need Turner and Kerley to get better Play bigger and faster on “D” and try to score on every play on “O” and we’ll be alright. Oakland is a better than than they used to be.Game plan better these next 2 weeks and win entering the bye-weeks and we’ll be cool. We are in a two minute drill the next 2 weeks Schotty…Go get this and stay injury free and we should have a nice second half of the season.

  5. By Gmany3k on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    31st run defense need I say more .Jim rarely misses a tackle but Mcfadden was blazing at the time.

  6. By Gabriel on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    jim just took a chance he kind of had a bad angle and couldnt grab his ankles it happens. Cro did try but mcfadden was already at full speed where cro had to accelerate but by then mcfadden was already at the 30 while cro was jsut turning around from his block

  7. By IRA on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Pranit, Nobody is perfect. How about Cro laying out a WR after a catch this past week. Thats something you never saw from him before. Hope Cro can play this week they are going to need him with all the offensive weapons the Ravens have. Plus our old friend Lee Evans who feasted on the Jets during his Bills career is there. That loss on Oakland has put a lot of pressure on them for this week. Its a tall task but hey they have usually bounced back well after a bad loss since Rex is here. One thing for sure this game is going to be a real physical game…

  8. By IRA on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    …Coming out of the gates slowly to me is because of their success last season when they pulled out 4 games plus the Indy game in the PO’s. Maybe the players feel no matter what the situtation is they can come back to win a game in the last few minutes. Maybe thats a good thing or just maybe thats the problem with their slow starts.

  9. By no one listens to Blinka on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Sorry folks:
    But Sunday night will be another testimonial that we have woeful lack of talent, especially in our defensive front 7 and our offensive line.

    Against many teams their guy will beat our guy and Rex’s schemes have been studied, game planed and executed against us. You think teams can run against us and we can’t run for no reason?

    We had some luck last year and now we will face the cold breath of reality.
    No one can be more upset about this than me.

    Eh who cares what I think, no one sells my jersey.

  10. By Tom Spicer on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Watching NFL replay last night I saw the play where Cumberland hurt his knee. He actually had a TD pass hit him in the chest in the endzone & I guess he came down awkward & hurt his knee & dropped the ball that could have been a game changer.

  11. By GaryC on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    see jet fan tom,when you lauded mason’s per reception average during his time with ravens, I said because flacco throws the ball down the field,have you seen mason’s average per catch with jets,mcfadden averaged more per run against jets then mason has averaged per catch during the year.Of course they do have Cam Cameron as their OC, that has a lot to do with it.

  12. By Frank on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Great move resigning Maybin….now put him on the field. He showed more pass rush ability than anyone else on the roster during the preseason. He certainly has the speed and motor to get it done. This was a no brainer they should have never let him go in the first place.

  13. By michael on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    that defeat to the Raiders was a gateway to heaven for the rest of the league. first of all, nobody was or is scared of the jets. a bunch of talk is just that, talk. if you claim to have the best defense, back it up. yall can’t. i know the Ravens have never been scared of rex and the jets. do we need to recall week 1 last year! i think the jets are so cocky that they automatically think they will bounce back. wake up call!!! you are about to play the Ravens in baltimore. the ravens offense is dangerous now. speed at every position on offense, WRs, TEs and running back. our o line is monsterous. rex will have to all out blitz to get to flacco, and if he does, that leave that shaky secondary wide opem for a whoopin

  14. By michael on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Revis even looks bad this year. except for that pick against the cowboys, which was a terrible throw, he hasnt been really good. Dez Bryant was winning against him. CRomartie is suspect period. and the thing that your top 2 corners lack, is speed. Evans has been a jets killer, and torrey smith in the slot will be deadly. doesnt look good for yall the next twoweeks

  15. By IRA on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Frank, Totally agree just line him up and let him pin back his ears and and go get the QB. Even if he can’t get there he will draw attention and maybe somebody else gets in. Too much speed not to invest a year with.

  16. By Frank on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Spicer you forgot to add the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage and was thrown way to late. You also did not mention on the last drive Sanchez forced the throw at the goal line to Keller who was double covered meanwhile Plax on the same side was one on one crossing over the middle and should have been an easy TD. Also on 4th down he was intent on running the ball again Plax was one on one on the outside he should have thrown it up to him otherwise what the heck do we have Plax for???????????
    What 64 was saying the other day was Sanchez gets a lot of his yards playing catch up in a rush situation. In the normal flow of the game he is down right awful. Every game he does through long unproductive and ugly stretches.

  17. By Frank on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Ira I am with you on Cro many of the calls against were ridiculous the fumble was boneheaded I am sure he was feeling the pressure to “make up” for those calls and was trying to do too much. They really should use him at key moments on kickoffs rather than using him on everyone. McKnight and Kerley are certainly capable. Plax also made some great blocks on running plays amd layed out a few guys.

  18. By Christopher on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    michael, go back to the ravens boards and stay off our site. Revis has been Revis, but he is only one guy and cannot do it all. If you think Revis is a weak link then plaese throw at him all day see how that works out for you.

  19. By Clarke W. Griswald on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    When B-more got spanked by the Titans, they looked suspect. Sanchez > Flacco.

  20. By Clarke W. Griswald on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Michael when Flacco gets embarrased on Sunday, you’ll be back here on Monday to recant, right?

  21. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks for your support, Frank, and for your smart summation of what I was trying to say to Spicer about Sanchez and garbage time. When I see consistent 1st-half stats from him that have us ahead at half-time and controlling the momentum of the game, I’ll revise my view. I was actually glad when the Raiders scored quickly right out of the gate Sunday — anything to get Rex, Schotty, and the O out of this insane mental space whereby refusing to come alive until the 3rd or 4th qtr is somehow par for the course for a team that’s gonna win the Super Bowl. Michael, take y’all assessments of Revis and the Jets back to whatever faux-country-western bar it was in one of the nation’s dullest cities (yours) where you learned to talk fake Southern.

  22. By gbabynyjets24 on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    what what! maybin is back! yeah buddy!niiiiiiice! we need that speed end to turn things back in to the middle…. i approve

  23. By gbabynyjets24 on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    looking back at the raider game, we did not get outplayed or dominated, we did however get out big played by oakland, we had it

  24. By GaryC on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    jet fan tom,I will take evans in a nano second over burress and mason,hopefully after this year we will bid adieu to both, liked that they brought Campbell back,A YOUNG RECEIVER WITH POTENTIAL.maybe next year it could be holmes, turner, kerley and campbell as the outside receivers.

  25. By gbabynyjets24 on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    for the record, sanchez played a great game, has not much fault the o line wasnt holding up, yes even all pro tackle brick was get tossed around at times, i saw dropped td catches and poor play calling at times

  26. By gbabynyjets24 on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    I would also like to see eddy jones in action, he was solid with the longhorns

  27. By gbabynyjets24 on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Pathetic that a ravens fan has to blog on the jets sight and read up for more insight, lol revis not looking good lol, ur a joke michael ravens fan, ravens havent had a shut down corner since mcallister and maybe rolle… U sir are funny, maybin if plays will be on flaccos behind

  28. By IRA on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Frank, Cro was frustrated on the previous KO return when Connor took it and didn’t flip the ball back to Cro. He was screaming at Connor as they walked off the field. I am so against Cro being the return man on every KO. They need to use him like they did last year when needed. If he plays this week i am sure he won’t be returning kicks. McKnight has shown he can make plays he just needs to hold on to the ball. I am fine with Kerley or McKnight.
    Everybody have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

  29. By walt on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Good move signing Maybin .He is young and might still develop into something.Now get rid of Westerman and sign someone with ability or at least some potential.

  30. By kleckofan on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    don’t know why they took my post about this article down, but here it is again

    Google this WSJ article “it’s the Offensive Line, Stupid”, read it. All of us real NYJ fans should be totally educated when commenting

  31. By Randy Lange on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    kleckofan, you sent me the same comment twice. It’s been posted under the blog headlined “Interesting Developments for Sanchez, Offense.”

  32. By STAYLOADED on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Listen, all I know is that Plax 6’5 and Turner 6’5 do the math they must have a vertical of at least what 12″ throw it up there and jump for it. Wouldn’t hurt Sanchez throws it all over the place anyway. Mason and Holmes down low and Keller across the middle and let’s not forget the man of the hour LT. get this going then hit them with Greene, McKnight,Conner. Defense pick it up a bit, now with Maybin in there, maybe somebody will get a fire under their *** and start attacking the QB it’s been a while.
    COME ON MAN!!! You have the right stuff use it

  33. By Tom Spicer on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Frank, How is a ball thrown way to late when it hits you in the chest? If a ball is tipped & it hits you in the chest does it matter? You are getting paid $3 mil per year to catch a ball 4th & 2 the ball hits you in the chest you catch it period end of story. Its not like someone was hiting him CATCH THE DAM BALL!

  34. By Tom Spicer on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Frank, I love how whenever I bring up how you are wrong about something & I ask you to answer a question about it you ignore it. In a prior post I asked you did you or did you not call McFadden mucfumble & say he was a bust? & did I or did I not say he was going to be the man YES OR NO?

  35. By AlexNYJ on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Why is everyone so high on maybin? There is a reason why he was cut by Buffalo then by the Jets and no1 picked him up. He looked okay in preseason against backup players, but he wont be playing against backups on Sunday. He may not even be playing at all.
    What’s next? VG is coming back? This team is making me nervous, very nervous. Cro looks awful, a few more games like this and I’ll be ready to see Wilson at starting corner.
    And I don’t care that Cro won the defensive player of week 2 award. Every time a pass goes his way it’s either a completion or a penalty. I know we got spoiled with the island but c’mon man, play better.

  36. By gbabynyjets24 on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    Bottom line, qbs need a distraction, make them uncomfortable in the pocket

  37. By jets are overrated on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    i will be at the game sunday night, i am looking forward to seeing the ravens TEs go off on your defense. they are big and have WR speed to go along with that. a mismatch for linebackers and ya’ll small safties. leonhard will be picked on. Flacco wil take his shots at every one. dont be suprised if the Ravens deside to spread yall out and negate the blitz with their speed at WR and TE. it will be close at the start, but baltimore will pull away 3rd quarter and finish yall off. The jets are overrated and just a bunch of mouths

  38. By paul on Sep 29, 2011 | Reply

    Give wilson a chance he has improved and in all fair ness he was thrown in last year playing man coverage on blitz happy plays back to back his rookie year and did ok. Considering the Jets D as a whole kept giving first downs by way of penalties or giving up huge 3rd and longs trying to blitz every down and leaving the middle wide open. He is shown he can hold his own, give him some play time, make cro work for his spot he has been iffy since signing him.with the exception of week two. Just my two scents. This game is critical if the Jets go two down behind new england season over. Play this game like a playoff game bring out the fire early the Jets cannot lose this game or this season is going to be a long one for sure.Go Jets!

  39. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 29, 2011 | Reply

    Hey jets are overrated, you know what else is overrated? Multiple Personality Disorder, decide what the heck your name is before you start trying to sneak your pro-Ravens remarks onto this site. You guys lost the TE I was most worried about in Heep, so I’m not as worried about that as I was. What YOU have to worry about is trying to cover Holmes, Plax, Mason, and LT, who are all strong, fast, and shifty enough to expose the holes in your D which, I admit, are not all that many or serious so far this yr. But Flacco is certainly capable of one of his pathetic games — you know, like the ones he has every post-season for y’all? — so we’ll see who has the mouth and who has the brains.

  40. By Tom Spicer on Sep 29, 2011 | Reply

    Jets are overated, Just be man enough to show your face hear on monday after you take your beating then we will see what you have to say.

  41. By SteveO on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    Cro will come back strong this week, just like he did after Dallas. It was a close game last year with both sides defenses at their best. Both teams come back strong after a hard loss which means the Jets have to be favored.

  42. By wrong on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    the ravens are favored because they have only lost 5 games at home since 06. ravens will win

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