Joe Flacco is unimpressed with Matt Elam's comments

Normally quiet quarterback Joe Flacco had some stern words for rookie safety Matt Elam.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson doesn't need a lot of motivation to have huge games, and Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is bewildered by rookie safety Matt Elam poking a sleeping giant.

Elam said early in the week that Johnson was "pretty old," questioning whether the 28-year-old receiver still had what it took to be physical with defensive backs. Flacco pulled no punches when he spoke with the Detroit media on Thursday, as Chris Wesserling of reports.

"You just kind of look at him and say 'Dude, what are you thinking? It's Calvin Johnson,'" quarterback Joe Flacco said Thursday, on a conference call with Detroit reporters.

Johnson acknowledged that he's getting older, but vowed to show Elam the meaning of "old man strength" when the sides meet on Sunday. The seventh year wide receiver is aging, but he's not showing it. Johnson is on pace for more than 1,600 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns -- all while posting a career-high 18.0 yards per reception.

An overly confident rookie player making waves with his comments is nothing new, but Ravens head coach John Harbaugh hopes Elam will learn that there's a time and place for bravado.

"Hopefully he learns from his opportunity to speak to the media," Harbaugh said, via the Baltimore Sun.

The Ravens are doing their best to prepare Elam for a potential onslaught, routinely testing deep passes against the rookie when the team practiced on Thursday.

Sunday is a critical game for both teams. The Ravens and Lions are in need of a win to reach 8-6 and solidify their spot in the playoffs. Detroit is currently sitting atop the NFC North while being challenge by Chicago, while the Ravens are holding a tenuous wild card spot in an ever-fluctuating AFC.

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