"Looking at Cincinnati, you've got to go after the corners," said Dierdorf, a former St. Louis Cardinals offensive tackle who will be calling Sunday's game with Greg Gumbel. "Johnathan Joseph is gone, Leon Hall is on injured reserve, Nate Clements is an older guy. You've got to go after the corners."

Forcing a change

Theismann said there are two ways to beat the cover-2. One is attacking the middle with a pass-catching tight end. Theismann said that unlike former Raven Todd Heap, the duo of Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta are athletic and fast enough to get separation from middle linebacker Rey Maualuga.

The second method involves running the football. If a running attack led by Ray Rice and Ricky Williams can gain yards on the ground, Cincinnati could be forced to drop a safety into the box and abandon the cover-2.

"The best way to get somebody out of a Cover-2 is to run the football," Theismann said. "Ray Rice touching the ball five times in the running game [as he did in Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks] is not going to get it done against the Cincinnati Bengals. And Joe Flacco throwing it over 50 times [as he did Sunday] is not going to get it done either."

Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who will call the plays this Sunday, disagreed with the theory that the pressure is squarely on Flacco this week.

"It's really like any other week," he said. "But it's been a couple years now where people have quit putting the safety in the middle of the field. They've done that to a lot of quarterbacks this year, a lot of young quarterbacks or guys they thought couldn't beat them outside. So there's no doubt. We'll come out and we'll see what most people do to us: give us a [cover-2] shell and try to disguise what they're doing."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun writer Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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