Ladies and gents, The Game is upon us. It's Ravens vs. Steelers week, and that means shots are inevitably going to be fired one way and the other. It is what it is with these two organizations, isn't it?
Ask Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, whose little tricks and "disrespectful" tactics were revealed by Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen following Baltimore's practice on Wednesday.
Queen revealed a pivotal moment from his rookie year. According to the linebacker (per Clifton Brown of BaltimoreRavens.com), Tomlin, on the opposing sideline in a matchup between Ravens and Steelers, aggressively yelled, "You're not a Raven. You're not supposed to be there. You're not one of them."
Queen, taking it as "kind of disrespectful," added that from that point on, "every time I play them, it's something personal." Uh, oh, can cut the tension.
With a completely unbalanced 1–5 record against the Steelers throughout his pro career, Queen sounded driven to correct that trend and change the narrative, no need to mention that doing so would immensely help him fill his bag upon the expiration of his rookie deal next winter.
Fellow Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith emphasized the significance of beating the Steelers. Last season, Baltimore defeated Pittsburgh in a game in which both Smith and Queen intercepted Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett.
“I remember last year: You’re not a Raven until you beat the Steelers. I carry that over into this year," Smith said, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN. "I’m not a Raven this season until I beat the Steelers. I take pride in being a Raven. I want to make sure I earn that right as well."
Smith and Queen have been the absolute best linebacker duo in the NFL through the first month of play, and there's no possible arguing against that. Smith has 15 blitzes and Queen has already racked up 16. They have 43 and 36 tackles respectively missing only five between them.
Most impressively, they have combined for 3.5 sacks through four weeks putting them on pace to approach the 15-mark plateau. The future is bright, the present is brighter, and if these two keep up their current levels of play then the Steelers will be in for a tough one on Sunday.