For years, the Baltimore Ravens and their fans were used to seeing one of the all-time greats at either safety position in Ed Reed command the defense from the secondary. Ravens’ second year strong safety Matt Elam has done his part holding that tradition down.
During the 2013 season, Elam had his ups and downs like any rookie would. In the first game of the 2013 season against the Denver Broncos, Elam learned pretty quickly about the level of competition the NFL had in store for him as Peyton Manning lit up the entire Ravens defense for seven touchdowns.
As the 2013 season went on, Elam grew enough confidence to create some trash talking against Detroit Lions’ wide receiver Calvin Johnson who many recognize as the best receiver in the game today.
“He’s pretty old, so I don’t know how physical he’ll be,” Elam referring to Johnson via ESPN.com last season. “He’s a big guy, but he’s older. I guess when they get older they’re not going to be as physical, you know what I’m saying? We’re going to have to be physical, make him uncomfortable.”
The Ravens’ defense had to go out and back up the words Elam noted and they did just that by holding Johnson to zero touchdowns defeating the Lions on the road 18-16.
It seems like Elam’s confidence has carried over into the offseason. Elam feels like he has a clear understanding of the defense in his second year due to experience.
“Last year was more me afraid of making the wrong call,” Elam discussed via Baltimoreravens.com. “Now I just have more knowledge of the playbook. I’m more comfortable because I know more and understand why we’re doing things.”
It takes time for a young player like Elam to finally get the respect of veterans especially when you think of the outspoken personalities in the Ravens locker room and guys like Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith who both may arguably be the most underrated cornerback tandems in the NFL look at Elam and take him seriously.
“They’re listening, they respond to what I say,” Elam continued via Baltimoreravens.com. “They’re doing a good job of responding positively.”
If Elam can continue to command the secondary, the Ravens will be back to their elite form on defense this upcoming season.