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Ravens' Roquan Smith says he will feel at home at Cleveland's 'Dawg Pound': 'I consider myself a dawg'

Baltimore Banner's Jonas Shaffer shares thoughts on Ravens on Purple Connection
Baltimore Banner's Jonas Shaffer shares thoughts on Ravens on Purple Connection 05:22

BALTIMORE - Statistically, the Cleveland Browns have the league's top-ranked offense.

But, as Ravens' linebacker Roquan Smtih says, it's too early to award defensive accolades.

"I think this is week four," Smith said. "You are not defined by the best defense in the league through week four. it's a 17-game season so it's what you are going to do later in the season. Hats off to those guys, I haven't watched them."

The Ravens' defense is pretty stout as well, ranked 10th in the league in total yards.

Despite some injuries to their secondary, Baltimore (2-1) still has Smith and fellow linebacker Patrick Queen in the middle.

"I love a challenge," Smith said. "At the end of the day, I love looking someone square in the face and telling them to bring it on. Chin up, chest out, I live by the saying, 'No regrets.' I can't wait."

The Ravens travel to Cleveland on Sunday to play their AFC North counterpart. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. and will be televised on WJZ.

And just like any AFC North clash, Smith expects a physical, ugly, smash-mouth type of game.

"I'm excited to get back in there," Smith said. "I know they are a physical football team but so are we. At the end of the day, it's going to be the most physical football team that comes out of there, that's who is going to come out victorious."

At one end zone at Cleveland Browns Stadium, the fan base has held the name, the "Dawg Pound," since the 1980s, years before Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore.

The "dawg" moniker, Smith says, will make him feel at home.

"You go in there as the enemy to go take over and that's our plan," Smith said. "I think they call it the 'Dawg Pound.' I consider myself a dawg so I'm right at home in that place."

The Ravens have a big stretch of road games over the next three weeks. They go to Cleveland on Sunday, then play at Pittsburgh and then play overseas against Tennessee in London.

Smith says that he relishes the role of playing the "bad guy" in opposing stadiums.

"At the end of the day, you are considered a bad guy because you are essentially going into another man's house and trying to take over," Smith said. "You are trying to take his wife, kids, everyone's there to watch them. We are going over there to beat their tails in front of their wife and kids. So when you look at it from that perspective, any man is going to fight to the death."

Along the defensive line, Jadeveon Clowney will be lined up against his former team.

He played the past two seasons in Cleveland, which includes a 9 1/2 sack game in 2021. However, according to reports, Clowney was sent home before the end of last season and eventually released.

"I'm not going to sum up nothing that happened there, with no teammates, no coaching staff, nothing. It was locker room talk that got out," Clowney said. "I'm on to a new year right now. I don't care about what happened last year. I'm playing for the Baltimore Ravens now."

Clowney has eight tackles this season and 1 1/2 sacks this season, already nearly matching last year's total of two sacks. He also leads the team with 13 quarterback pressures.

He said he doesn't have any extra motivation against the Browns.

"I don't think I need any extra motivation," Clowney said. "It's a division game. I have a lot of respect for a lot of guys over there, a lot of friends over there, good teammates I played with for two years. I wish them the best, but not against us."

The Ravens (2-1) are looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 22-19 loss at home last week against the Indianapolis Colts.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for 101 yards, but the Ravens lost two fumbles.

"We are just trying to figure it out," Jackson said. "We didn't play preseason so we are just figuring things out. If we clean it up against Cleveland, I feel like the sky's the limit."

Rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers had 21 catches for 188 yards to lead Baltimore's passing attack.

Smith has a team-best 33 tackles on defense, followed by Queen's 31. Safety Kyle Hamilton has three sacks.

"I'm going in like any other game, play to the whistle, play physical and hit anything that moves," Smith said.

The Ravens are hoping to get some of their key players back from injuries.

Hamilton (back), running back Justice Hill (foot), center Tyler Linderbaum (ankle), tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) and safety Marcus Williams (pectoral) returned to practice this week.

Wide receivers Rashod Bateman (hamstring) and Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle), along with cornerback Marlon Humphrey (foot), outside linebacker David Ojabo (ankle/knee) and outside linebacker Odafe Oweh (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Browns (2-1) defeated Tennessee, 27-3, last week in their first game after losing star running back Nick Chubb to a season-ending knee injury.

Their defense, led by end rushers Myles Garrett and Za'Darius Smith, and defensive backs Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome, Juan Thornhill and Grant Delpit, has allowed just one offensive touchdown in three games.

"I know they have some good players over there but I haven't really watched them, and I don't care, if I am being perfectly honest," Smith said. "I'm just more focused on our defense and what we are going to do to make sure we do what we need to win the game.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson leads Cleveland's offense with 678 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, but he has been sacked 12 times.

His top targets are Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore, while Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt have taken the lead running back roles.

They are going to come out and do what they have to do to get the job done and I think with Watson at the helm, they are still going to try and run the ball," Smith said. "Our main priority is stopping the run and I think they are going to try and get the ball to (Amari) Cooper and put 8 (Elijah Moore) in a lot of situations. I don't think it will be anything different."

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