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:
During the final timeout of the game, did K Billy Cundiff express confidence in his ability to make the field goal on the fourth-down play?
“He didn’t really express confidence, but he gave me, ‘Hey, let’s try it.’ Billy’s going to feel that way as a kicker, and then since I called timeout, I had a chance to think about it, and you know, we hadn’t made a kick in pre-game over 48 yards. The wind, I thought, was a little stronger towards the end of the game than it was earlier in the game, and it was colder than it was in pre-game. And like I said last night, I really felt that we had a better chance to get the first down on a fourth-and-2 than we had of kicking that field goal. And if we complete the pass, obviously, you’ve got a shorter field goal, you’ve got a catch-and-run opportunity. So, I feel like that was the right decision. You always look back and question yourself, but that would have been a very tough kick to make.”
My Take: It was the right decision, but just a really, really bad throw. Joe Flacco had his man wide open and couldn’t throw it two yards. With that being said, if there were perfect conditions Cundiff could have drilled that kick. I have no problem with Harbaugh going with what he felt was right because he has been right more than not this season. He showed in the press conference that all is not well in Baltimore and that the Ravens need to fix their problems fast. That was refreshing to hear an answer that wasn’t sugar-coated by the head coach. The next comment is where Harbaugh gets specifically more critical.
Is it a concern that the offense doesn’t seem to be totally together at this point, going into the final month of the season?
“We’ve got to find a way to run the ball better, for one thing. I think that’s something that’s really important. I’m disappointed in the fact that we haven’t run the ball for a better yard-per-carry-type average. I think we’re capable of doing better than that, and I think that establishes a lot of other things. And that’s the kind of football team that we believe in being, and we just haven’t been able to get on track there. That would take a lot of pressure off a lot of the other elements, so that’s important. Protection is important; we’ve got far too many sacks, far too many pressures, and it goes on everybody. It’s coaches, it’s Joe [Flacco], it’s the backs, it’s the offensive line, it’s all of us. But, that’s got to be really dramatically reduced. To me, that leads to the other areas.”
My Take: Decide your identity Ravens, and decide quick. At this point in the season the Ravens have actually scored less points than last season. Last year they had an identity. They were a run-first team who dumped off to Ray Rice when times got tough. This year they’re all over the place. One game they try to establish the run and the next the pass. Pick something and run with it. I feel like I’m watching a new offense every game. How can the Ravens perfect something that is constantly changing?
What is your reaction to people who say that the Ravens can’t close out games?
“I think you just look to the next game. We didn’t close games out against good teams at times. We’ve closed out some games this year, but we’ve also not closed out some games. I think if you look at all of our games, we don’t ever get blown out by anybody, do we? We’ve got a bunch of guys that know how to fight, and so when we do lose, and we lose close ones. That’s not closing out. So, I’m disappointed in the four games we lost that we didn’t close them out. We’ve got to find a way to get that done in the next four weeks.”
My Take: Once again, it’s refreshing to hear a real answer. It’s no secret that we haven’t been able to close out games and it’s starting to become a real problem. I’m just glad someone high up in the Ravens finally acknowledged the problem. Now fix it. We’ve had to sit through it multiple times this season and I want to see that killer mentality from our team.
I think it also has something to do with adjusting within a game. It doesn’t seem like the Ravens have changed their gameplan within a game much this season if at all. That’s why the Patriots are so great. Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches in the league with adjusting the gameplan within a game and Harbaugh should take notes. The Steelers changed their defensive scheme to account for the pass and the offense couldn’t answer.