Matt Elam opened his mouth and targeted — intentionally or not — the best receiver in the NFL.
It was only a matter of time before Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson would respond to being called "pretty old," with the rookie safety wondering if the veteran could continue his physical style of play (at the age of 28).
It appears Johnson laughed off what Elam had to say, but did throw a shot back at him.
"I think Matt does a good job with his eyes," Johnson told reporters. "If we get those guys out of position, though, we can make some plays. Just safeties — nothing extraordinary, but I think definitely [they're] guys that we can make plays on."
In a sense, maybe Elam — as well as James Ihedigbo in this instance — could use that for motivation of their own.
Here are a few other comments Johnson had in response:
On being called old: "I am getting old. It's all good, though. I'll show him what that old man strength is about."
On if Elam's comments add motivation: "I don't need motivation. Anything negative that comes at me throughout the week ... You just take it, put it over in that box for motivation and use it on Sunday."
On if Elam's choice of words surprised him: "It doesn't surprise me, because he doesn't have to see me on the field. He can talk all he wants. He plays back, so I don't see him every play — unless I run past him. I'm not worried about it."
Elam will probably see a lot of Johnson, as he figures to be the safety shadowing whichever side of the field Johnson lines up on. It's practically a guarantee that the Ravens won't leave Johnson in single coverage.
So for Elam, he'll have to hope Johnson isn't running past him Monday night.