2014 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

Dwayne AllenNov 23 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) is inactive Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Trent WilliamsNov 23 12:32p

Washington Redskins OT Trent Williams (ankle, knee) is not expected to play in Week 12 because of his injuries.

Danny LansanahNov 23 12:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah is moving from strongside linebacker to weakside linebacker in place of LB Lavonte David (hamstring). LB Orie Lemon will start at strongside linebacker.

Greg JenningsNov 23 11:52a

Minnesota Vikings WR Greg Jennings (rib) is active for the team's Week 12 game.

Blidi Wreh-WilsonNov 23 11:52a

The Tennessee Titans have declared CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, QB Charlie Whitehurst, WR Kris Durham, CB Marqueston Huff, TE Richard Gordon, DL Ropati Pitoitua, OT Will Svitek inactive for Week 12.

Arian FosterNov 23 11:42a

The Houston Texans have declared RB Arian Foster, WR DeVier Posey, OT Jeff Adams, S Josh Aubrey, CB Kareem Jackson, LB Max Bullough, QB Tom Savage inactive for Week 12.

Andre BranchNov 23 11:42a

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, LB Jeremiah George, WR Mike Brown, OT Sam Young, RB Storm Johnson, CB Teddy Williams, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 12.

Crezdon ButlerNov 23 11:42a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared CB C.J. X. Wilson, CB Crezdon Butler, DL Da'Quan Bowers, OT Kevin Pamphile, LB Lavonte David, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron inactive for Week 12.

Jordan CameronNov 23 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared TE Jordan Cameron, LB Karlos Dansby, WR Marlon Moore, CB Pierre Desir, DB Robert Nelson, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 12.

Rex BurkheadNov 23 11:42a

The Cincinnati Bengals have declared CB Chris Lewis-Harris, WR Dane Sanzenbacher, WR Greg Little, DL Margus Hunt, RB Rex Burkhead, OT Tanner Hawkinson, LB Vontaze Burfict inactive for Week 12.

Dwayne AllenNov 23 11:42a

The Indianapolis Colts have declared TE Dwayne Allen, OT Gosder Cherilus, CB Greg Toler, DL Kelcy Quarles, C Khaled Holmes, OG Lance Louis, NT Zachariah Kerr inactive for Week 12.

Arian FosterNov 23 11:33a

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) is out Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Brandon WattsNov 23 11:32a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared OT Austin Wentworth, LB Brandon Watts, OG David Yankey, RB Matt Asiata, LB Michael Mauti, DL Sharrif Floyd, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 12.

Dennis KellyNov 23 11:32a

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 12.

Josh GordonNov 23 11:22a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not receive a fine or suspension for pleading guilty to driving under the influence charge in North Carolina, according to a source.

Reggie BushNov 23 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) was not spotted during early warmups Sunday, Nov. 23, and he's unlikely to play in Week 12.

Lavonte DavidNov 23 10:52a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Lavonte David (hamstring) will miss the first game of his career Sunday, Nov. 23, as he's out for Week 12.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 23 10:32a

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) 'needs a miracle' to play Sunday, Nov. 23, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIINov 23 10:12a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's point of emphasis is to get the ball out quickly Sunday, Nov. 23. Head coach Jay Gruden has dumbed down the offense to [ More ]

Julius ThomasNov 23 10:02a

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) is unlikely to play Sunday, Nov. 23, in Week 12.

Ben TateNov 23 09:52a

Minnesota Vikings RB Ben Tate will be active Sunday, Nov. 23, and have a role in Week 12. RB Matt Asiata will be inactive.

Lamar MillerNov 23 09:52a

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (shoulder, knee) will play Sunday, Nov. 23, according to a source.

Josh GordonNov 23 09:22a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is expected to play 20-30 snaps Sunday, Nov. 23.

Jonas GrayNov 23 09:22a

New England Patriots RB Jonas Gray will play Sunday, Nov. 23, after being late to practice Friday, Nov. 21. He'll split carries with RB LeGarrette Blount in Week 12.

Reggie BushNov 22 05:32p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is likely out for Week 12 and is targeting the Thanksgiving Day game Thursday, Nov. 27, to return.

Marcel ReeceNov 22 04:42p

Oakland Raiders FB Marcel Reece earned more carries after his performance in Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 20. Reece rushed for 46 yards during a crucial 17-play, 80-yard drive late [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 22 04:22p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) is highly unlikely to suit up Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Josh GordonNov 22 01:32p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon was officially activated from the exempt/commissioner permission list Saturday, Nov. 22. In a subsequent move, the team waived LB Keith Pough.

A.J. JenkinsNov 22 12:42p

The Kansas City Chiefs have placed WR A.J. Jenkins (shoulder) on the Reserve/Injured list.

Charles ClayNov 21 05:52p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and he is doubtful for Week 12 against the Denver Broncos. Clay suffered a setback in practice [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 21 05:32p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is questionable for Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Bill O'Brien said Foster would [ More ]

Jason AvantNov 21 04:52p

The Kansas City Chiefs will sign free-agent WR Jason Avant (Panthers), according to a source. Avant worked out for the team Friday, Nov. 21.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group