Steve Smith and Philip Rivers will be on opposite sidelines Sunday, but they share similar personalities. Both are fiery competitors. Both love to talk trash.
When the Ravens (1-6) host the Chargers (2-5) on Sunday (1 p.m.) at M&T Bank Stadium, you can count on seeing passion from the Chargers’ quarterback and from the Ravens’ top receiver. Both play wearing their emotions on their sleeve. And that’s part of what makes them so good.
Stopping Rivers is the focal point of the Ravens’ defensive game plan for Sunday. Watching Rivers on film reminds Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees of game-planning for Smith when he played for the Panthers.
If the Ravens trash-talk Rivers, it will be against Pees’ advice.
“Rivers is a very, very competitive guy, so he always wants to have that last word,” Pees said. “Let me use a guy on our team that I think is like that – Steve Smith Sr. I used to tell our guys when we’d play Carolina, ‘Don’t make him mad. All you’re going to do is make him play harder, and you’re not going to like the results. Just leave him alone. Let him spin the ball and walk away.’ I really think Rivers is a lot like that. I think the more you try to get in his face – the more you try to do any of that – I think he actually loves it. I think he thrives on it a little bit.”
Ravens linebacker C. J. Mosley played against Rivers for the first time last season, and still remembers.
“He threw a pick to Buck (Daryl Smith), and he walked up to Buck and was talking smack to him,” Mosley said. “That was a little funny.”
However, trying to stop Rivers is no laughing matter. He led the Chargers to a comeback victory at M&T last year, throwing two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. On Sunday, the Ravens hope to keep Rivers from having the last word. The Chargers are thinking the same thing about Smith.