Sitting at 3-4 entering the bye week is certainly not where the Ravens players, coaches, or fans thought they would be just seven weeks into the season. Or is it?
While the AFC North is still up for grabs, the Ravens find themselves in a precarious position, two games back of the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals.
The season thus far has produced a stagnant offense, breakdowns in pass protection and a complete disaster of a running game – among other things. On defense the Ravens are giving up rushing yards in bunches, despite spending the offseason upgrading the front seven. Add in the special teams’ less than “special” play of late as well as some questionable play calls and the outcome is the 2013 Baltimore Ravens so far.
“We’ll do whatever it takes,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll trade guys, we’ll cut guys, we’ll sign guys. We’ll coach guys, we’ll change schemes. It doesn’t matter. We have to find a way to get better. That’s the business we’re in. We’ve got the men for the job. I like our guys, but that’s what we’ve got to work on, continue to work on. This week’s a chance to really focus on that.”
Coach Harbs stated that the team will work to improve their weaknesses over the next two days before the players are given off for the bye week. The NFL rules mandate that the players be given off, otherwise you can bet they would be staying around the Castle working.
“We’ve got run the ball and we need to stop the run,” he said. “We’ve got to get turnovers, we need to not turn the ball over. We need to protect the quarterback, we need to get sacks. We need to score in the red zone, we need to continue to stop people from scoring in the red zone. We need to get big plays, we need to stop people from having big plays.”
After losing three out of the last four games by three points or less, I would hope so. The team has been stuck in idle and waiting to the second half to start producing offensively is not going to win football games.
On Sunday the Ravens defense, which was the focus of the offseason – especially run-stuffers – allowed Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell to rush for a season-high 93 yards on 19 carries.
“We haven’t played as good run defense,” Harbaugh acknowledged on Monday. “We haven’t gotten off blocks. We haven’t tackled as well as we’ve needed to.”
Well no doubt that is a recipe for disaster and it must improve with the backs they will face the remainder of the season.
On a positive note from the game on Sunday, the Ravens reported nothing major in the injury department. One has to wonder though, if Justin Tucker will perhaps be listed on the injury report after the vicious hit he suffered on the attempted onside kick.
With the bye week here, now is the time to right the ship from the direction this team is heading. Linebacker Terrell Suggs bellowed after the game that the Ravens are in a “state of emergency,” to which Harbaugh replied, “a sense of urgency is a good thing.”
With the report of some dissension in the ranks regarding the run schemes, the upcoming bye week could not have come at a better time for a team desperately in search of an identity.
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