ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer Thursday attributed Ed Reed's negative comments earlier in the week about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to "insecurity" on the part of Reed and the Ravens defense.
"I took that comment as a little insecurity by Ed and the defense," Dilfer said in answer to a Sun question during a conference call. "[I see it as Reed saying] 'Hey, we know we're going up against Tom Brady. Maybe, we can't hold him like we did the Houston Texans. And we need a little bit more from the offense.'"
Dilfer, who quarterbacked the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl championship, said, "That's how I kind of read it between the lines. We didn't have that issue [when Dilfer's Ravens team played in the AFC championship game.] We're going to play the Oakland Raiders with Rich Gannon, and they were one of the league leaders in offense. And Rod Woodson and I were in a helicopter going over from the hotel to the AFC championship press conference, and he looks at me and says, 'All we need is a touchdown.'
Speaking of that Ravens defensive crew, Dilfer said, "And that's how they felt. They didn't feel insecure with their ability to be able to stop that team. And I think this Ravens team is looking at this Patriots offense and saying, 'Wait a second, we need our offense to play better, and maybe this is the way to call him out and get more out them. Whether it's right or wrong, that's how I took the comment."
As reported by the Sun's Matt Vensel, the comments to which Dilfer referred were made by Reed in a Monday interview with SiriusXM satellite radio. They included Reed saying Flacco “was kind of rattled a little bit” Sunday.
“They had a lot of guys in the box on him and they were giving it to him. I think a couple of times he needed to get rid of the ball. It just didn’t look like he had a hold on the offense,” Reed said. “I don’t know how much of [that was] the play calling … but it just didn’t look like he had a hold on the offense, you know, of times past."
When asked Thursday if any defensive members of the Ravens team of which he played ever called him out that way, Dilfer said no.
"It did not happen to me privately or publicly," Dilfer said. "I think the reason is that we were very secure in who we were as a team. Others wanted us to maybe win a different way or do something else. But we spoke very openly within our locker room about our profile for success and kind of roles each player had. And we were very secure about what the offense had to do to complement the defense and special teams and vice versa."
Dilfer did the teleconference Thursday with ESPN analyst and former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, and the takeaway quote from the session might this one from Bruschi on Flacco.
I think the quote matters because remarks like the ones Reed made about Flacco contribute to the kind of negative perception of Flacco that Bruschi gave voice to in comparing Baltimore's quarterback to Fredo in the 1972 feature film "The Godfather."
Here's the quote from Brushi. Please let me know what you think.
Joe Flacco, he wants his respect, he hasn't gotten it, and he's going to get his opportunity against New England, because there's going to be multiple lead changes. He may have to bring his team back in the fourth quarter. You want it, you've got it, Joe Flacco. Here's opportunity right now, because right now Tom Brady is Michael Corleone and Joe Flacco is Fredo. That's who he is. He's Fredo. He wants his respect. Well, if you want your respect, you're going to have to be that quarterback that plays -- well, not better than Brady, but leads your team to victory. So you want it, you've got it.