Head coach John Harbaugh spoke to the media on Monday afternoon in detail for the first time since Saturday’s 37-30 victory over the Cowboys in Dallas.
Some points the Ravens troop leader commented on included:
Tackling Remains Issue
The Ravens’ penchant to miss tackles and fail to wrap up after contact was on full display to all those that tuned in on Saturday evening. Fans also got a small sampling of the lack of depth at the safety and cornerback positions.
On one play in particular, on 3rd-and-19, a communication breakdown resulted in a Cowboys conversion as safeties Matt Elam, Darian Stewart and cornerback Chykie Brown all put down some film they’d like to soon forget.
“Both those guys…and it wasn’t just him,” Harbaugh said when asked about his safeties on that play. “Chykie [Brown] was involved in that, also, right? It was Matt coming across, and Matt played for the ball. When you’re trailing like that, you have to have your eyes on the upfield shoulder, you play through the upfield shoulder.
“[Elam] should’ve played with his right hand [and] got the tackle first. Then late, if you can play for the interception, that’s what you do, but he played the interception too early. That’s what we call eye discipline. His eyes weren’t right. And then Chykie and somebody else – maybe it was Darian [Stewart] – came in and got good bodies [and] they were in good position, but they didn’t wrap. And then a great athlete ends up falling for eight to 10 more yards than he should have gotten. So yes, that was what happened there.”
Brooks Continues Experiment
Safety Terrence Brooks led the defense in snaps against the Cowboys, as the rookie third-round pick played 44 snaps including 30 at the cornerback position. With his rank on the depth chart at safety behind the likes of Stewart and even Jeromy Miles, Brooks has taken reps at corner in relief of Asa Jackson, who is recovering from an ankle injury.
The former Florida State Seminole had his ups and downs against Dallas, as our own film study guru Ken McKusick pointed out in his latest post:
After just 19 snaps in the opener, [Brooks] was in for 41 plays to tie for the defensive lead. He stopped Dunbar for a gain of 4, ranging up from deep safety to do so (Q2, 10:33). He was a little late getting over to bracket Escobar on a ball dropped in perfectly by Weeden (Q3, 9:44). He rushed up to take down Hanna for a gain of 2 (Q3, 8:25). He was unable to escape Hanna’s block (Q3, 2:06) on Randle’s 12-yard run. He blitzed untouched off the slot for a QH (Q4, 11:14). It was a mixed effort for a player the Ravens need to step up in coverage.
With Jackson on the mend and fighting to get back for the upcoming game against Washington, could we see Jackson and Brooks splitting reps for the remainder of the preseason?
Daniels “Resting” Tired Legs
Veteran tight end Owen Daniels remained sidelined for the fourth straight practice on Monday with what Harbs described as “tired legs.”
Harbaugh acknowledged that Daniels, who is in his first year with the Ravens, was not injured but is getting better and is eyeing a return shortly.
“I don’t want to get into specifics too much,” the coach said, “but when you have legs and you have hamstrings and groins and stuff like that, there’s wear and tear on those things. There’s no pull; there’s no strain of any kind. There’s just a little fatigue.
“You get a little swelling in there, just like I have a little swelling right now from standing around through training camp. You have to take some time to get the legs back, and we really felt like he needed to get his legs back, especially as an older guy. We wanted to give him this time to do that. I’m counting on him being there this week. As I said, that’s what I’ve been told. There’s no kind of injury in there. It’s just a fatigue factor, and he needs time.”
In Daniels’ absence against the Cowboys, rookie Crockett Gillmore played opposite Dennis Pitta on 25 snaps.
Lardarius Webb (back), Jimmy Smith (chest), Asa Jackson (ankle), Terrence Cody (hip), Owen Daniels (rest), Brett Van Sloten (knee) and Will Rackley (head) were not present on the field in the open portion of practice on Monday.
Running back Ray Rice, who left the game early against Dallas on Saturday, was practicing fully.
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