2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Ravens' running game needs improvement

By DAVID GINSBURG - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-30 17:28

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - John Harbaugh knows the Baltimore Ravens must improve their running game if they are to reach the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season.

Against Buffalo on Sunday, however, Harbaugh was convinced Baltimore couldn't win by rushing the ball. So he called upon Joe Flacco to throw on virtually every play.

Flacco attempted 50 passes, at one point on 31 consecutive offensive plays. In contrast, the Ravens (2-2) had a franchise-record low nine rushing attempts, just two after halftime, in a 23-20 defeat.

``I just felt like we weren't running the ball well enough to win the game,'' Harbaugh said Monday. ``Looking back on it, I feel the same way. No second-guessing myself on that. That was my decision, and that's the way we went with it. If you feel like we should have run the ball more in the second half, then I definitely respect that opinion, but it didn't look that way to me.''

Baltimore finished with 24 yards rushing and Flacco threw five interceptions. That's five more pickoffs than he had in four playoff games last season during the Ravens' run to a Super Bowl victory.

But Flacco doesn't deserve all the blame for the stunning loss to the Bills. He was sacked four times and under pressure throughout the afternoon.

``When you're hurried through your progression, or you can only get through one or two aspects of your progression and you don't have a chance to let things develop, then you've got to push the ball somewhere pretty quickly before the route develops,'' Harbaugh said.

Running back Ray Rice returned from a hip injury that kept him sidelined one week earlier, but that's not why the running game was so pitiful. There's plenty of blame to spread around on an offense that has yet to produce 100 yards rushing in any game this season.

``We've just got to become maybe a bit more physical, maybe mix it up a little bit more early on,'' Flacco said. ``We get some of our passing game going and we can get on top of those runs. We are just not good enough right now, I guess. That is probably the simplest explanation.''

It can't continue. Not if the Ravens intend to get some separation between themselves and the rest of the mediocre AFC North.

``We have to become a good run-the-ball football team,'' Harbaugh said. ``We need to be physical up front, and that needs to be evident in the way we play. Altogether, we've got to work on getting there, and that's what we'll do.''

This is the same offensive line that played in the Super Bowl, with one notable exception. Second-year center Gino Gradkowski has taken over for Matt Birk, who retired after the 2012 season. Gradkowski calls the blocking assignments on the line, and at this point, well, he's no Matt Birk.

``We're feeling that in there right now,'' Harbaugh said. ``Gino is a really smart guy, but Matt had been at it for a lot of years. So, that's something that we're working through.''

And it's only part of the problem.

``The rest of the offensive line, we've just got to get better,'' Harbaugh said. ``We've got to come off the ball in the run game a lot better than we're doing, and we've got to be more physical with the inside part of our pass protection. Joe does not need to be under the pressure he's under. ``

Rice proved more effective at pass blocking than running the ball.

``It's hard to run the ball when you get behind, so I just played my role and tried to protect Joe and keep him upright,'' he said.

The Ravens next face unbeaten Miami (3-0) on Sunday.

``We haven't played well on the road, twice now,'' Harbaugh said. ``We've got to figure that one out this week. We hope that by the end of the year, we have a good track record playing on the road. That's going to be the goal and we've got to get past that.''

On the positive side, Baltimore shares first place in the division with Cleveland and Cincinnati.

``It's a consolation, no doubt,'' Harbaugh said. ``Here, we sit, tied for the lead in our division with a tiebreaker on Cleveland.''

On the injury front, Harbaugh said wide receiver Jacoby Jones (knee) should return to practice this week, and wide receivers Marlon Brown (hamstring) and Deonte Thompson (concussion) should be OK for Sunday.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Travis KelceSep 1 03:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ankle) would be able to play if the Chiefs had a game Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to head coach Andy Reid. Kelce is recovering from an ankle sprain.

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 03:03p

Carolina Panthers WRs Jarrett Boykin and De'Andre Presley were waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jace AmaroSep 1 01:33p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (shoulder) will have season-ending shoulder surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Erik LorigSep 1 12:33p

New Orleans Saints FB Erik Lorig was cut Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Nathan PalmerSep 1 11:53a

Denver Broncos WR Nathan Palmer was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Devonta FreemanSep 1 11:32a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman was the most active in practice Monday, Aug. 31, that he was been since a hamstring injury Aug. 6. It's unclear whether he'll play [ More ]

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 10:33a

Carolina Panthers WR Jarrett Boykin was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jalen SaundersSep 1 09:13a

New Orleans Saints WR Jalen Saunders is being traded to the New England Patriots Tuesday, Sept. 1, for a conditional draft pick, according to a league source.

Caleb SturgisAug 31 11:32p

Miami Dolphins PK Caleb Sturgis remains the front runner in his competition with PK Andrew Franks. Sturgis said he did not have a good early camp, 'but I've been hitting the ball better lately.'

K. ThompkinsAug 31 07:52p

Oakland Raiders WR Kenbrell Thompkins was released Monday, Aug. 31, according to a source.

Trent RichardsonAug 31 07:22p

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson was released Monday, Aug. 31, according to a source.

Josh BoyceAug 31 06:42p

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce and TE Jimmay Mundine were released Monday, Aug. 31.

E.J. GainesAug 31 05:52p

St. Louis Rams CB E.J. Gaines (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Aug. 31. WR Damian Williams was subsequently released.

Travis KelceAug 31 05:32p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (leg) left practice early Monday, Aug. 31, because of a right leg injury. Kelce was able to walk off the field but did not return to practice.

Brad SmelleyAug 31 05:32p

St. Louis Rams WR Tyler Slavin was waived and TE Brad Smelley (undisclosed) was waived/injured Monday, Aug. 31.

Julius ThomasAug 31 04:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (finger) is expected to need surgery on a tendon in his finger and is expected to be out four to five weeks, according to [ More ]

Garrett HartleyAug 31 04:32p

Pittsburgh Steelers PK Garrett Hartley (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Aug. 31.

Kevin NorwoodAug 31 04:32p

Seattle Seahawks WR Kevin Norwood was traded to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a conditional draft pick, according to a source.

Martavis BryantAug 31 04:02p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant's appeal of his suspension has been denied, and he will sit out the first four games of the regular season.

Phil BatesAug 31 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys WR Phil Bates was released Monday, Aug. 31.

Alan BonnerAug 31 03:12p

Houston Texans WRs Alan Bonner and Travis Labhart were released Monday, Aug. 31.

Joique BellAug 31 02:42p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee, Achilles') was activated from the Phyiscally Unable to Perform list Monday, Aug. 31.

DeVante ParkerAug 31 01:32p

Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (foot) said he is making progress in his recovery from foot surgery but would not say if he will be ready for the start of the regular season.

Kirk CousinsAug 31 12:52p

Updating an earlier report, Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins will be the starting quarterback moving forward, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Gruden said 'it's Kirk's team.'

Victor CruzAug 31 12:22p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf, knee) still hasn't received clearance to practice Monday, Aug. 31. Cruz said that the inflammation has gone down and that the team [ More ]

Aldrick RobinsonAug 31 12:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR DeAndre Carter, WR Aldrick Robinson and WR Trent Steelman were cut Monday, Aug. 31.

Tyrod TaylorAug 31 11:42a

Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was named the starting quarterback Monday, Aug. 31, over QB Matt Cassel an QB EJ Manuel.

Devin FunchessAug 31 11:22a

Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess (hamstring) left practice Monday, Aug. 31, with hamstring tightness.

Jeremy StewartAug 31 10:52a

Denver Broncos QB Zac Dysert, TE Joe Don Duncan, TE Jake Murphy and RB Jeremy Stewart were waived Monday, Aug. 31. TE Jeff Heuerman (knee) was placed on Injured Reserve.

Josh ScobeeAug 31 10:42a

Jacksonville Jaguars PK Josh Scobee was acquired by the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday, Aug. 31.

Fred JacksonAug 31 10:42a

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson was released Monday, Aug. 31. He was slated to make $2.35 million this year and wasn't asked to take a pay cut.

Jalen ParmeleAug 31 10:22a

Cleveland Browns RB Jalen Parmele, TE Anthony Ezeakunne and WR Shane Wynn were cut Monday, Aug. 31.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group