SCOUT Q&A: Gerome Sapp

Ravens safety Gerome Sapp talks about the common thread in the team's three losses, QB Steve McNair, the challenges that the Colts offense present and the keys to Saturday's game from the perspective of someone who has played for both clubs.

Ed Thompson: Who in that Ravens' locker room has been the most amped up this week?

Gerome Sapp: Probably me actually, because I'm going against a lot of my old teammates and friends and I know what kind of competitors they are and they know what kind of competitor I am. When we meet up it's going to be good.  As a professional athlete that's what you yearn for, a good competition, and that's what this is going to be.

ET: Was there any common thread among your three losses this season that the Ravens have addressed since those losses?

GS: I guess the common thread for the defense was a lack of communication. Our defense is so talented, it's probably one of the best of all times if not the best. But you're only as strong as your weakest player, and if you give up a big play it takes the air out of the defense.

ET: How much is it going to help Steve McNair having formerly been a member of the AFC South and having seen the Colts many times?

GS:  Steve's a veteran guy, he's seen almost everything you can see in this league. He's gone against Freeney and Mathis and the mighty Colts and I think his demeanor in the pocket will help us a whole lot. He knows when to step up and when to step out of the pocket to find an open receiver and that's huge. For a young quarterback, playing against Freeney and Mathis is kind of intimidating knowing that they're coming around and doing whatever they have to, to get to the quarterback.

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ET: What do you think are the biggest challenges the Colts' offense brings to the table?

GS: The multiple weapons they have and the relationship they have of knowing where to be and knowing the timing of getting there. The offense already has a challenge because they already know where they're going and they know how to get there. And we just need to try and defend against that. They have an offense that's been together and has a rhythm and has amazing athletes at those positions -- Peyton [Manning], Marvin [Harrison], Reggie [Wayne], the tight ends, and even the running backs. As a defense you just need to play your game and be disciplined in what you do. The thing about Peyton is he's a mastermind at figuring out what a defense is in and how to exploit that defense. We've got to basically play disciplined football -- don't try to jump stuff that's not there and if you're in Cover 2, play Cover 2. And if you're in Cover 3, play Cover 3.

ET: The Colts have brought back some of their special teams personnel from last year to bolster that unit. I think they could have benefited from still having you around this year…

GS: When they traded me, I guess [special teams coach] Russ [Purnell] didn't know. And I remember having a long conversation with him and he wished me well. And he told me how he was going to miss me this year. Looking at the film, I did notice they had some starters playing on there to fill in the gaps, but that's the way the game goes. The guys are actually playing a lot better. The kickoff return team is actually better and that's going to be a challenge for us too.

ET: You know both teams well. What's going to be the key to victory for each of the teams?

GS: One of the most important things is going to be who can be the most physical and disciplined the longest. Who can control the clock and field position are going to be important too.  Those are probably the four big things for this game. That tells me that special teams is going to play a huge role in this game because special teams has the direct correlation to field position. We plan on winning that battle this game. We have a lot of capable athletes and wonderful schemes and it's something we do well.


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