CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden knows well the challenges the Baltimore Ravens present, and he expects a busy day for the secondary against quarterback Joe Flacco and Company at FirstEnergy Stadium today.
A defensive captain for the first time in his career, Haden knows that for the Browns to even their record at 1-1 and start off AFC North Division play with a victory, he and the secondary have to step up their play.
“Just making sure that we study the film, understand what is going on and we just have to definitely make sure that they keep the ball in front of us,” Haden said. “That is the biggest thing. They do a really good job of just taking shots.
“They line it up and throw the dudes deep. They do a really good job of just making sure they take shot plays every, single quarter. We are just making sure that they catch the ball coming back to the quarterback.”
In 15 career starts against the Browns since being taken in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of the University of Delaware, Flacco has posted a 13-2 record. He has completed 272 of his 444 attempts (61.3 percent) for 3,237 yards and 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions against the Browns.
Flacco’s 19 touchdowns passes against the Browns are his most against any other opponent, and he has thrown for at least one touchdown in eight straight games versus Cleveland.
Flacco’s .867 winning percentage against the Browns is the third-best active success rate in the NFL. Only Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger against the Browns (19-2, .905) and Tom Brady against the Buffalo Bills (25-3, .892) have better winning percentages against a single opponent than Flacco.
“Joe Flacco, he is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback,” Haden said. “He can make all the throws. He is in control of the offense. They have very, very fast, capable receivers. Every time, we have to make sure we stay on top, making them catch the ball coming back to the quarterback.”
In Smith, the Ravens have a 16-year pro who has turned 966 catches into 13,951 yards and 76 touchdowns while playing in 14 or more games in 13 of his 16 seasons. However, since coming to the Ravens, Smith has been limited to eight games over two years.
With Wallace, the Ravens get a deep threat who has turned 417 career receptions into 6,398 yards and 50 touchdowns. Of those touchdowns, Wallace has scored from 56, 60, 66, 82 and 95 yards away in his career.
“Mike Wallace, I don’t feel like he has lost a step,” Haden said. “He is still the same guy. Steve Smith, very physical veteran, very crafty. They have very capable guys, so we have a big challenge ahead of us.”