2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Ravens seek cure for inconsistent offense

By DAVID GINSBURG - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-16 13:04

BALTIMORE (AP) - With three weeks left before the start of the regular season, the Baltimore Ravens are still searching for production and consistency from their first-team offense.

The starting unit produced only three first downs and 13 yards rushing Thursday night in a preseason game against Atlanta. A 77-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith was the lone highlight from an offense that last season was the strength of the Super Bowl champions.

Baltimore(2-0) beat the Falcons 27-23 after the backups scored 20 points in the fourth quarter. The victory, however, did not erase the fact that only one of six drives with Flacco on the field lasted more than three plays.

``We were sloppy, and we didn't run a lot of plays because of that,'' Flacco said. ``We were just unable to get into a rhythm. You love the one-play touchdown drives, but at the same time, it would have been nice to get a little bit of a rhythm.''

Getting running back Ray Rice on track would have helped. Rice gained 10 yards on eight carries, with eight of those yards coming on one attempt.

``We definitely need to get better, but it's the preseason. All 32 teams are working on things,'' Rice said. ``We're just trying to execute and get better week-by-week.''

Granted, the Ravens were without Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, who only recently returned to practice after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. Backup running back Bernard Pierce (knee) was also absent, as was newly signed tight end Dallas Clark. In addition, newcomer Brandon Stokley got in for only a few plays as he continues to get acclimated to the offense.

Against Atlanta, however, the offense's problems began on the second play when center A.Q. Shipley - who's fighting for the starting job against Gino Gradkowski - received a 15-yard penalty for a hands-to-the-facemask violation.

The second series was the Smith touchdown, and the third series was three Rice runs and a punt. That set the tone for a long night.

``It wasn't great fundamental football, by any stretch,'' coach John Harbaugh said. ``We didn't run block real well, so we couldn't get the run game going. Then, the penalties and field position really hurt us. If you don't get the first first down, I'm not sure how you're ever going to get rhythm, and we were never really able to get the first first down early on.''

There's no reason to panic - yet. The team will have another week of practice before taking on Carolina at home next Thursday night.

``We're going to go back out there and put a lot of good work in,'' Flacco said. ``That's what we're going to do, and it's going to go well. That's how we're used to doing it.''

The Carolina game will be important because the starters will play into the third quarter and probably won't participate in the preseason finale at St. Louis. It will likely be the last chance for the offense to iron out its problems and for Shipley and Gradkowski to show their skills in the duel to replace the retired Matt Birk.

Shipley acknowledged that his penalty set the tone for what followed.

``Part of it was my penalty on the first play. It started us off pretty bad,'' he said. ``We couldn't get ourselves in a rhythm. We have to play better.''

That seemed to be the sentiment after a victory that really didn't feel like one.

``We kind of beat ourselves with penalties and certain miscues, and it's tough to play from behind,'' Smith said. ``When you're not playing many plays it's tough to recover from that, but we'll be fine. We know what the mistakes were that we made, and you can't make penalties, so obviously we need to correct that.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

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Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

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Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

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Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

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