Monday Morning Harbaugh

Every Monday, win or lose, John Harbaugh steps infront of the mic to take questions about the game from all of Baltimore’s media members. Here are some of the highlights of what went down in today’s press conference:

Is there anything that is similar or that concerns you about the last two games where the Ravens had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and then had the game go into overtime?
“Certainly, we’re concerned about that. We’re not happy about it. We need to get stops in the fourth quarter. We need to find a way to do that. We need to get first downs in the fourth quarter, and I would prefer if we score some points. You can look at each of those two games and see where those things didn’t happen. You have to look at it specifically, play by play, and try to improve in those areas. But, those are things that we [need to improve]. We could have won both of those games. Obviously, this one, but neither one of them would have gone into overtime. But, that’s a concern.”

What are you thoughts on pass coverage on the deep ball and your decision to take Fabian Washington out of the game?
“Fabian is going to play a lot of football. We don’t get quite as caught up in starter or non-starter labels as some people do. But obviously, that’s part of it. We always play the best guys the most. And who are the best guys? The guys who are playing the best. That having been said, I have confidence in Fabian. He’s a good football player. It’s a very competitive sport. You line up against really good players, and sometimes it’s not your day. He said he had a tough day and he did. That was kind of the bottom line of the whole thing. It was in one-on-one cover situations. I think it’s technique, basically, fundamentals, things that we can certainly do better.”

When a guy struggles like Washington did on Sunday, do you talk them through that or just let them kind of work it out?
“To me, what you do is you go back to the basics. You go to fundamentals. You know, it’s fundamental football, it’s technique, it’s the same... And [it is for] corner probably more than any other position. I don’t know. You’re out there on an island. Fundamentals are important at every position, but when you’re on an island, you’ve got to pay attention to fundamental technique. And as soon as you get away from that, boy you’re really putting yourself at risk. And I think that’s a little bit what happened in the game, because of the way they were attacking him. And I know he can get right back on that right away. But it’ll be our job as coaches to emphasize that and kind of take him back through that. And that will be the same with all the players. So, you’re talking about one guy, but we’re really talking about everybody.”

You said earlier in the week that Ryan Fitzpatrick has always given the Ravens trouble in the past, and on Sunday he looked liked Jim Kelly. What did he do that made him so effective?
“Well, you know, I tell you what: He made some accurate throws under pressure. I mean he made... The throw to Roscoe Parrish on the sideline - that’s as good a throw as you’re going to see any quarterback in the league make. And, he scrambled around. I think two or three times - two that I remember off the top of my head on third down to convert third downs - which he’s done against everybody so far this year. I think his quarterback rating is third or fourth in the league right now [it’s second]. Coming into our game it was fourth. OK, so he’s played well against everybody. They made the change for a reason. He’s a good player. I wish we could have done a better job against him, but he’s a good football player.”

How disappointed are you or confident in the pass rush? And what’s your take on say, pressure versus a sack? Do you prefer one over the other?
“Yeah, I prefer sacks. We want to get as many sacks as we can. I think we got good pressure in that game. It’s funny, it’s real easy to say, ‘We’ve got to get more pressure.’ Sure. We’ve got to get better coverage. Sure. We’ve got to stop the run better. Sure. All those things are true. But, if you look at the tape, the pressure is pretty darn good. He got hit a number of times. The ball was forced out quickly. If they’re going to throw the ball quickly, the idea of pressure is to force a quick outcome. So, we want to force a quick throw, because if we have an idea that the ball is going to come out quickly, it helps us in coverage. We can cover the quicker routes or he’s going to get hit. He got hit a number of times. I don’t think you saw him holding the ball, holding the ball waiting for routes to come open. Unfortunately, they got some guys open on vertical routes that they were able to make plays out of, and that’s what hurt us more than anything.”

How much more comfortable are you with the kicking situation this year compared to last year?
“I feel comfortable with our kicking situation this year. I like Billy; I think he’s a heck of a kicker, and obviously that’s been proven. He’s probably leading the league in touchbacks [currently ranks second]. And I’m not sure what his field goal percentage is, but... Has he missed one? (Reporter answers: “Two.”) Two, OK. He’s made some big kicks for us, so he’s done a great job. I think everybody can see that.”

Are you satisfied with where you are as a team at 5-2 going into the bye week?
“Never satisfied, always content. That’s a life motto, OK? I’m content with the way our guys have approached the season. I like the work ethic, I like the attention to detail, I like the way they compete. We’d rather be 7-0 than 5-2, but we’re not. And what we need to do is focus on being 6-2, and I think part of that is going to be our guys getting a little rest this week, and part of that is going to be us doing everything we can to - when they come back - be able to present them with some things that are going to help them be a better football team.”

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