There is no panic among the Ravens coaches and players, despite a losing record and an offense that has struggled most of the season.
In fact, coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco expect to see a revamped team for the next game Nov. 19 at Green Bay.
Harbaugh expects the offense to get a boost with the return of running back Danny Woodhead, who injured his hamstring in the season opener and has not played since. Fellow running back Terrance West and tight end Nick Boyle could also be back in the lineup.
Despite their 4-5 record, the Ravens are very much alive in the AFC playoff race. They also have a favorable schedule over the final stretch of the season, playing only one team that has a winning record (Pittsburgh). Also, four of the final seven games are at M&T Bank Stadium.
Nonetheless, Baltimore will have to fix some of the problems on its 24th-ranked offense to have any success. Harbaugh is confident the team can meet that challenge.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we can be a very successful offense throughout the rest of the season,” Harbaugh said. “We show enough flashes of it based on the tape, based on the way I see guys are playing, and who we’ve had and haven’t had out there, that I feel that we’re going to be able to do that. I have a lot of confidence in the coaching staff, I have a lot of confidence in the players, and I can see the way forward.”
Flacco is also defiant in light of this season’s adversity. He has thrown for 1,551 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His 72.7 passer rating ranks 31st among all quarterbacks.
However, he is not gotten much help from his receivers and the offensive line has been marred with injuries. Flacco plans to play much more aggressively in the final part of the season. He contends the Ravens have nothing to lose and they need to more effectively attack their opponents earlier in the game.
“We need to go after it,” Flacco said. “We can’t sit back and just expect us to not lose football games. We got to go attack. We’re a 4-5 football team. You always look at teams that are in this position and feel they have nothing to lose — and we should feel that way. We got to go out there and leave it all out there.”
Even though the Ravens are getting healthier at running back, Alex Collins will likely keep his job as the starter. Collins has been one of the most explosive players on offense and is ranked 10th in the league with 521 yards.
The Ravens will have to make a roster move because of the number of healthy running backs. Bobby Rainey would appear to be the odd man out, but he has been a solid contributor on special teams. Harbaugh has not ruled keeping all of the running backs and tweaking other parts of the roster.
“It will be based on how many guys we can carry at other spots and what other injuries we might have.” he said.
Harbaugh is even confident the Ravens can still to win the AFC North, despite trailing first-place Pittsburgh by 2.5 games. Baltimore likely has to win five or six of their final seven games to avoid missing the playoffs for a third straight season.
If nothing else, the Ravens plan to fight until the end.
“At no point in time are we going to say we can’t win the division or make the playoffs, but we have to get on a roll,” Harbaugh said. “We have to win a game. Then, we have to win another game. We have to win two, three, four games in a row. We may have to win them all. If we have to do it, that is what we have to do. That is how we are looking at it. To get there, we have to become proficient enough at playing the game to win football games.”