Posted: 8:10 p.m.
Here is a slice of what came out of the Ravens locker room Wednesday:
When the Bengals blanked Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason last month, it was a defensive effort for the ages. Mason, 34, in his 13th season, has 820 catches and 10,482 yards, 19th and 27th, respectively all-time, and his 11 third-down catches (tied for seventh in the AFC) this season account for more than a third of his 30 catches.
"The first six or seven games of the season, those guys have been fairly healthy, and it has shown because they're playing lights out on defense," Mason told the Baltimore media in reference to the Bengals defense. "Now, they have a few injuries here and there, but they're still playing well. I think that's been the biggest thing for them, is that they've been able to keep guys on the field. You've got to understand that they've got a bunch of first-rounders on that defensive side of the ball. Now, when you can get all those guys healthy and playing, that's going to be a very good defense. Coach [Marvin] Lewis has those guys playing."
Mason scored one of his four touchdowns this season last Sunday against Denver on a 20-yarder and sounded like somebody we know.
"You can't cover me single coverage. You can't. It hasn't been done in 13 years, and it won't be done," Mason said. "But it is what it is. You try to take advantage of coverages and how they play you. But Cincinnati did a good job, a very good job, the first game at totally taking me out of the game. In the back of my mind, I just need to go into this game, work a little bit harder, find a way to, if they choose to do that again, find a way to get open. If not, then other people will be open. One person, it won't happen. But with two or three ... two is a possibility. Three, I've got to work a little bit harder. Four, then Mark Clayton's open, Todd Heap's open, Kelley Washington's open, so I don't mind."
SQUIRREL SCURRIES:Ah, Washington, the Bengals third-round pick in 2003 who danced "The Squirrel" in the end zone, has had a rebirth in Baltimore, where he is tied for ninth in the NFL in third-down receptions with 12.
In his conference call with the Baltimore media Wednesday, Lewis threw out a reminder that the Bengals would have liked Washington back but that he didn't see there being many more balls after those caught by Chad Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
"When he left and had an opportunity, he wanted to play more, and he went up to New England, and he did some things there and got an opportunity to play on special teams," Lewis said. "Particularly, I don't think he was able to catch the balls that he quite wanted, but when Kelley was here with us, he always was a good contributor, and a guy that we could count on."
REY REY: When the Bengals drafted USC middle linebacker Rey Maualuga in the second round, the idea is that he was going to bring the same intensity and pop to the defense that middle linebacker Ray Lewis brings to the Ravens, complete with the same first name. Lewis gets that even though he hasn't seen Maualuga in the pros.
"I don't think I've watched him enough. I really haven't. I've watched the games I could pretty much catch at times, but I haven't watched him enough to really say how good he is," Lewis said. "I've watched him at USC. I think he was a young kid who liked flying to the ball. I think they're kind of bringing that same atmosphere over there. Marvin's got him somebody who can turn into a thumper and be a leader over there. But outside of that, I don't know that much."
MIS REED:Here is one guy that doesn't like to get Trash Tweeted by The Ocho. And, of all people, it is Baltimore's Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed that Ochocinco has mad.
"No, I don't," said Reed, when asked if he reads The Ocho's tweets. "Next question. I don't care for his Tweets."
Reed is also keeping his eye on Bengals running back Cedric Benson, the man that broke the Ravens streak of holding rushers to less than 100 yards at 39 games last month. And Reed isn't ready to be put in the Hall of Fame, where Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer put him during Wednesday's conference call with the Baltimore media.
"It's somebody else you've got to pay attention to," Reed said of Benson. "You definitely want to stop the run, so you've got to pay attention to it. And, they're running the ball good. He's a very capable back. I've been watching Cedric since he was at Texas. He's more than capable. You've got to make sure you know where he's at.
"I couldn't care less about Hall of Fame and all that stuff right now. I've still got this year to play. We've still got games on the schedule. That stuff is out the door for me, man. I'll think about that when the ballots are coming."