Titans pass-rusher Brian Orakpo knows he and every other defender is walking a thin line.
“It’s definitely unfortunate,” Orakpo said, via Jason Wolf of the Tennesseean. “But Flacco needs to get down a little earlier if you want to avoid that. I mean, just play the next down. Don’t be trying to reach for the first down. That’s what happens. Old buddy Kiko was in the situation where the guy’s still running the ball, and any defender will tell you they’ll do the same thing.
“Just get down early, play the next down, and you won’t be in that situation. That goes for any quarterback that’s out there, man. Don’t go out there running around, trying to make a play when it’s not necessary.”
“It was a pretty nasty hit,” Byard said. “Do I think it was legal or not legal? I don’t really think that’s up to me, but I know for a fact, playing defense, knowing it was third-and-long, he was trying to get the first down, and I’m pretty sure Kiko Alonso didn’t want him to get the first down, so it’s kind of a bang-bang type deal.
“It’s tough, because I had a situation like that in college, where I had got a flag where I hit a quarterback when he was sliding. You kind of want to get those free shots on a quarterback a lot of times, so when you’re kind of zoned in, running full speed, it’s kind of hard to put on the breaks real fast. He probably already made up in his mind five yards before that he was going to hit him, and he really couldn’t turn the switch off fast enough.”
That five-yard gap is what the Ravens have a problem with, and something Flacco will have to be mindful of, if his brain injury clears up in time to play the Titans Sunday.