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:
How would you evaluate the progress Joe Flacco has made this season?
"You know what I'm going to say, I haven't had a chance to evaluate his year yet - in total. But, I would say he's playing really well. I think he's better than he was last year or the year before as a quarterback, as you would expect. He's always been a good leader, but the more experience you get and the more comfortable you get in the league and with the team, you probably grow in that aspect as well. He's pretty much grown in every aspect of playing the position and leading the team. He's playing well right now. He's one of the better quarterbacks, production-wise, in the league at this point. So hopefully, he'll keep getting better and keep playing better and keep being a big factor in these games."
My Take: While Harbaugh may not have had a chance to evaluate his young QB yet, I definitely have. Other than his fourth-down throw against the Steelers I can't remember a time I was ever disappointed with Flacco this season. One thing I've noticed is how accurate he is. He throws the out and the deep-ball better than pretty much every QB in this league. It's the first time in a really long time that Baltimore can honestly be confident that their QB will make the big throw when it's needed. Oh, and not to mention his 10,000 yards passing, three playoff appearances and three playoff wins in three seasons. There are not many QB's who can say that. We're lucky to have him in Baltimore.
Do you think the NFL should evaluate re-seeding the postseason once you get to where if you win your division, it guarantees you the postseason, but not necessarily a home game?
"Right... I do this year. (laughter) If we were sitting there with the division championship at 9-7, I'd probably be against it. (laughter) I could probably take the Fifth [Amendment] on that, because I don't know. I think as a coach, you're just in a position where all you really care about is your seed, and we probably are a little bit biased this year. I probably would agree this year as it shook out."
My Take: I'll agree, it sucks. The Ravens won't get a home game even though they'll be playing teams that have worse records. But, it is what it is, no use in complaining. The way I look at it, that team won their division, they deserve a home game. The Ravens had a chance to win their division at home against the Steelers, but couldn't pull it out. Maybe they don't deserve to get a home game. That's the thing, if you win what's the big deal. If the Ravens are as good as they want everyone to think they are, then go on the road and knock off these teams at home. Go against the odds and take it from them. In the end, that's way more impressive to bring home the Lombardi Trophy that way, in my opinion.
Is there any scenario on Sunday where if you look up at the scoreboard and the Pittsburgh Steelers have a significant lead, you will pull some players out of the game to rest them and avoid injuries:
"I don't know. Not for me, I don't look at it that way. I'm sure we'll be watching the scoreboard to see how the game's going, but we're not pulling anybody out of the game. We're going to try to win the game."
My Take: I think this is a valid question that Harbaugh kind of danced around. But, with that being said, the Ravens still have something to play for. It would be nice to finish with the same record as the Steelers knowing that the only thing that separates them from the division leader was a loss against the Bengals. As for taking players out, I think you do it. The concussion bug has killed the Ravens this year and they can't afford one more injury. Todd Heap and Tom Zbikowski are banged up and now Morgan Cox is out for the season. If the Ravens don't have a shot to win the division, sit some starters on the bench and let some of the second-string guys get some snaps. Lets go into the playoffs as healthy as possible.