For the third time in as many weeks, the Broncos’ defense will face a different type of quarterback than it faced the recent two.
Russell Wilson was a mobile quarterback with a big arm, Derek Carr could get the ball out super fast, and now Joe Flacco likes to launch the ball downfield.
Chris Harris Jr. seems to like that third type the best.
“I like Flacco. He’s thrown me a couple picks, so I like going against him,” Harris Jr. laughed.
But in truth, Harris Jr. said, it’s a “totally different mindset” to go up against a quarterback like that.
“When you look at Flacco, he wants that home-run ball. He wants to take you up top. He wants the deep 70-yard bomb,” Harris Jr. said. “I’ve had plenty of experience playing against Flacco, so I’ll try to share any information I can to the young guys.”
The Ravens’ QB has been his typical self the past two games - up and down.
He threw for under 300 yards in Week 1 but hit two TDs against the awful Bills while he threw for nearly 400 yards last week and two TDs. But he also threw two interceptions and was sacked four times by the Bengals.
A big part of Flacco’s success this season has been thanks to wide receiver John Brown, who’s averaging almost 20 yards per catch on his seven receptions. Willie Snead IV and Michael Crabtree have also contributed a touchdown reception so far this season, but CHJ doesn’t seem too worried about this receiving corps.
Although he acknowledges that Snead is “actually playing pretty well” and Crabtree is always good at just getting open, Brown is the main guy to key on.
“John Brown, he’s taken the top off. He’s been a guy,” Harris Jr. added. “He’s really a receiver who’s jumped out on the film. He’s run past a lot of receivers, so we’ve got to be aware of where he’s at for the big play for sure.”
Asked if he’d like to be covering Brown, Harris Jr. said he doesn’t care which player. He’s after one thing.
“I want whoever’s getting the ball,” Harris Jr. said. “Just to get some action and be able to play my game. Wherever they put me at, I’ll just try to do the best I can.”
Whoever he’s covering, Harris Jr. will likely not make the mistake of playing off-man this weekend - something he acknowledged was a problem against Oakland (as did almost everyone during that game).
“I think we just played a little too off [of the wide receivers],” he said, adding that the Raiders put the Broncos’ defense in tight splits and made it more difficult to play up. “Whenever we can get hands on them, the outside corners have to, that’s a given when you play outside corner. You always have to be up there and be aggressive. That’s what we are on defense.”
Since it’s a road game, the onus is on the defense to keep the game in Denver’s control.
“When you play on the road, you have to pack your defense. We’ve got to be ready to go and be ready to outplay their defense,” the cornerback said. “That’s how it is on the road. Defense, you’ve got to ball on the road. You always plan on the offense to struggle a little bit on the road, so we have to try and give them a little help — hopefully get an early turnover and get Case [Keenum] going early.”
Harris Jr. feels good about this team on the road this year, though - a change from recent seasons for two main reasons.
“We run the football great, and our special teams are way better,” he said, adding that the defense still needs to show up big. “The defense has to lead the way on the road. We have to be able to come out there and set the tone.”