Defensive coordinator Dean Pees yelled at the defensive unit during halftime of Sunday’s victory over the Chargers. The Ravens (2-6) have struggled to hold leads, and have given up too many big plays. Pees did not want to see that again in the second half, so he let his players know – loudly.
“Our defensive coordinator came down at halftime and was basically like, `We have got nothing to lose,”’ said cornerback Jimmy Smith. ‘“So I’m going to go out there and call it, and you guys play it.’ We rallied around each other defensively on the sideline, and we knew we had to make plays.”
Trailing 16-13 at halftime, the Ravens gave up just 10 second-half points and defeated the Chargers, 29-26.
Asked if Pees had a different demeanor than normal on Sunday, Smith said, “I wouldn’t say he was different. He just came down with a lot of energy and basically (put) everything out on the table…He challenges us every week, but this time he came down yelling.”
Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil was amused when told of Smith’s comments.
“He (Pees) always gets on us at halftime, maybe Jimmy was just paying attention this time,” Dumervil said.
Pees had already called out Smith a few days earlier, saying the cornerback had been playing “tentative.”
Then before Sunday’s game, former Ravens great Ray Lewis gave an impassioned pre-game speech to the team, imploring quarterback Joe Flacco to lead, and for his teammates to follow.
There was no shortage of emotion in the locker room Sunday, and it translated into a Ravens’ win. Smith hoped the Ravens’ defense would build on that emotion after their bye.
“We’ve got eight more games to prove what our defense can do,” Smith said. “We’re up for the challenge.”