2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Flawed Ravens seek answers after dropping to .500

By DAVID GINSBURG - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-14 17:22

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - The Baltimore Ravens have identified the long list of problems that have contributed to their poor start.

Their task now is correct those flaws before it's too late to salvage what has become a trying season for the defending Super Bowl champions.

After losing two of three - including Sunday's 19-17 defeat at home against Green Bay - the Ravens at .500 after six games for the first time since 2009. Their running game is ineffective, they're having trouble protecting quarterback Joe Flacco, they're starting slowly in games and struggling on first and second downs.

Coach John Harbaugh acknowledged the issues on Monday.

``There are plenty of specific things that we need to do differently, or we need to do better,'' he said. ``We're going to find our way into our run game. This is a process; we're fairly early on. I would have sure liked for it to happen sooner. Thought it would. But that doesn't mean we're not going to keep going after it. And that's not just the run game. It's everything we do, all three phases.''

The biggest and most perplexing problem is Baltimore's inability to gain yardage on the ground. The Ravens could muster only 47 yards rushing against the Packers and have eclipsed 100 yards only once.

``Nothing's simple, but it can be fixed and we have the guys that can do it,'' Harbaugh said. ``I feel strongly about our offensive line. I think we've got the men for the job.''

The run game against Green Bay wasn't as bad as it was at Buffalo in Week 4, when Baltimore attempted a franchise-record low nine rushes for 24 yards. But of the Ravens' 22 carries on Sunday, five went for losses and five others resulted in no gain. Most notably, Baltimore was stuffed on four straight runs in the second quarter after getting a first-and-goal at the 4.

``We had too many negative plays in the run,'' Harbaugh said. ``We had some mental mistakes, some errors. That cost us.''

In the season opener, the problem was a defense that Peyton Manning riddled for seven touchdown passes in a 49-22 Denver victory. Since then, Baltimore's offense has been the team's most glaring weakness.

The Ravens are averaging 4.55 yards on first down, a figure that's better than only Miami, Tampa Bay and Tennessee. Against the Packers, Baltimore converted only two of 14 third downs, in part because the average yardage needed was 11.214 yards.

``Getting more yards in the run game would be big. That would help us a lot,'' Harbaugh said. ``We sure expect to do better with the run game and we need to. You can't consistently run for two yards a carry and be what you want to be as an offense. We need to do a better job of passing on first down, too. Early downs have not been good to us.''

During their Super Bowl run, the Ravens could count on Ray Rice to pick up some solid yardage on the ground on first down. This year, however, Rice hasn't run for more than 74 yards in a game and three times has been held under 40 yards.

That makes it difficult to be creative on first down.

``I always feel like we can mix it up a little bit more on first and second down just to get everybody going,'' Flacco said. ``It's tough to say that when we're just not running the ball up to the ability that we think we should run it. If we were running the ball better, we wouldn't be talking about it. We're just not getting the yardage and the creases that we need right now in that part, and we're kind of unsuccessful at a lot of other things we do just because of that.''

The passing game has been inconsistent, mainly because Flacco has been throwing under pressure. He was sacked five times on Sunday and has been collared behind the line 19 times thus far.

There's also the problem of starting slowly. The Ravens were blanked in the first half by Green Bay and also went scoreless before halftime against Cleveland earlier this season. Baltimore has been outscored 68-47 in the first half overall.

``We need to start faster,'' Harbaugh said. ``We'd love to start with a lead and try to build on that. We haven't done that as often as we need to.''

Baltimore faces division rival Pittsburgh (1-4) this Sunday.

``We'll try to be at our best when our best is needed,'' Harbaugh said.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Eric DeckerSep 19 03:07p

New York Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19. Head coach Rex Ryan suggested that Decker would not have to practice to be [ More ]

Jamaal CharlesSep 19 03:05p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (ankle) was practicing with the team for the second straight day Friday, Sept. 19, after missing practice Wednesday, Sept. 17, with a high [ More ]

Josh GordonSep 19 03:02p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon's suspension has officially been reduced from 16 games to 10 games, according to the NFL and NFL Players Association.

Josh McCownSep 19 03:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) will start Week 4 if he is healthy enough to play, according to head coach Lovie Smith.

C. WhitehurstSep 19 03:02p

Tennessee Titans CB Jason McCourty (groin) was limited in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and is questionable for Week 3. QB Charlie Whitehurst (finger) and LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle) fully [ More ]

Colin ColeSep 19 02:52p

Carolina Panthers RB Fozzy Whittaker (thigh) is listed as doubtful for Week 3. WR Jason Avant (thigh) and WR Jerricho Cotchery (thigh) are listed as questionable, while OT Byron [ More ]

Keith RiversSep 19 02:52p

Buffalo Bills LB Randell Johnson (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and has been ruled out for Week 3. LB Keith Rivers (groin) was limited in [ More ]

Jordan CameronSep 19 02:42p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) will be a game-time decision in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens. Head coach Mike Pettine said he was 'cautiously optimistic' that Cameron [ More ]

Wes WelkerSep 19 02:42p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has practiced with the team all week and is ready to play in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks. He practiced in full [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsSep 19 02:32p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (thigh) was limited during practice Friday, Sept. 19, and is listed as questionable for Week 3.

Todd HerremansSep 19 02:22p

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks (calf) has been ruled out for Week 3. WR Josh Huff (shoulder) is listed as doubtful, OT Matt Tobin (ankle) and SS Earl Wolff [ More ]

DeSean JacksonSep 19 02:22p

Washington Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder), who was limited in practice Friday, Sept. 19, didn't look 100 percent fluid in individual drills, but he was able to catch the [ More ]

Steve WeatherfordSep 19 02:12p

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (foot) and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring) both did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and have been ruled out for the team's [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Sep 19 02:12p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and has been ruled out for Week 3.

Ben TateSep 19 01:32p

Cleveland Browns RB Ben Tate (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and has been ruled out for Week 3.

Josh McCownSep 19 01:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) is scheduled to have an MRI on a thumb injury Friday, Sept. 19. The belief is that the thumb is sprained.

DeSean JacksonSep 19 12:42p

Washington Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Head coach Jay Gruden said Jackson made steps in a 'positive direction,' [ More ]

Jordan ReedSep 19 12:42p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) has been ruled out of Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

John AbrahamSep 19 12:32p

Arizona Cardinals LB John Abraham (concussion) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Sept. 19.

Jonathan DwyerSep 19 12:22p

Arizona Cardinals RB Jonathan Dwyer, who was charged in a domestic violence case involving his wife and young son, may not return to the team unless he's exonerated from [ More ]

Josh McCownSep 19 12:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) doesn't yet have a defined timetable to return, head coach Lovie Smith said. Smith also didn't address whether QB Mike Glennon would [ More ]

Paul KrugerSep 19 11:42a

Cleveland Browns LB Paul Kruger has two sacks, eight tackles (three for a loss) and a pass defensed. He's having a breakthrough in the new system designed by head [ More ]

A.J. GreenSep 19 10:52a

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said he feels good Friday, Sept. 19, and is ready to play in Week 3.

Shaun HillSep 19 09:42a

St. Louis Rams QB Shaun Hill (thigh) will be a game-time decision in Week 3.

Cam NewtonSep 19 09:32a

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ribs, ankle) is unlikely to be 100 percent the rest of the season. He experiences pain the night after the games and receives treatment [ More ]

Julio JonesSep 19 09:12a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones, who was probable entering Week 3 of the NFL season, hauled in nine catches for 161 yards and scored twice in a 56-14 win [ More ]

Bobby RaineySep 19 09:02a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Bobby Rainey, starting in place of injured RB Doug Martin (knee), led the team with seven catches for 64 yards Thursday, Sept. 18, against the [ More ]

Josh McCownSep 19 03:22a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said it is too soon to tell how long QB Josh McCown (thumb) may be out following his thumb injury suffered Thursday, Sept. [ More ]

Shelby HarrisSep 19 02:32a

Although the Oakland Raiders waived DE Shelby Harris, the team may still re-sign him back to the practice squad.

Emmanuel AchoSep 19 12:42a

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks (calf) is considered very doubtful for the team's Week 3 game, according to head coach Chip Kelly. LB Emmanuel Acho likely would start at [ More ]

Derek CoxSep 19 12:32a

The Chicago Bears worked out free-agent WR Damian Williams (Dolphins), WR Kyle Williams (Chiefs), CB Derek Cox (Ravens) and CB Brandon Ghee (Chargers) this week.

LaMichael JamesSep 18 11:32p

The Miami Dolphins have expressed interest in free-agent RB LaMichael James (49ers) and it is believed that he has some interest in the team. James is expected to take [ More ]

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