So the Ravens are 3-4, struggling to find their run game, having difficulty stopping the run, experiencing problems on special teams and more.
They’ve addressed all of these concerns specifically in recent weeks.
But on Wednesday, coach John Harbaugh was asked to flip things around from all the “what’s wrong” questions to take a look at what makes him optimistic that this season isn’t going to continue on its current path.
Harbaugh is aware there a lot of doubters out there after the way the Ravens have played thus far, but he believes in his team.
“I’m not going to get into justifying or trying to explain. There are a lot of people out there that are never going to believe in anything. It doesn’t really matter,” he said. “The people that want to see us do well - they’ll stay in our corner. And those are our fans. We love our fans. We’re going to work hard. We’ve done it every year. You hit tough stretches every single year in football. There’s no guarantee. This is tough. There’s no guarantee this year.
“But we have done pretty well over the last five years anytime we’ve hit a tough stretch, going back to work, dealing with the things we need to correct, overcoming adversity. It’s a tough league. We’re right in the middle of the pack right now. So, we can either go down, stay the same or get better. We intend to get better. What we need to do is go win the next game, and then the game after that, and then the game after that, and then the game after that, and do our best and see how the chips fall when it’s all said and done.
“But what makes me optimistic is I’m always optimistic, because I know how hard we work, I know what good people we have - coaches and players - and I really believe in where we’re going schematically. I think we understand how to solve problems. And that’s what football is - it’s a problem-solving business. There always are problems - everybody has them. And I’m very confident in our ability to solve problems, and I know we’ve got the people to do it. So, that’s probably where it starts.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco said there’s “no doubt about it” that the Ravens are still confident they can get where they want to go and have a good season. But is there a greater amount of urgency since the team is now two games back of the Bengals in the AFC North?
“I think you always have a sense of urgency about what we have to do. We always look at our schedule, and we understand that we’ve got to win a lot of games,” Flacco said. “It’s no different this year. We’ve been in different situations where we’ve been similar at this point. We’ve just got to continue to take it one game at a time, and it’ll turn out the best that way. ...
“We’re still right in the middle of things. We’ve just got to win a couple more football games and get headed in the right direction.”
After the loss to the Steelers, linebacker Terrell Suggs said the Ravens are in a “state of emergency.” Wideout Torrey Smith isn’t quite that concerned. Yet.
“I think he’s watching too many movies,” Smith joked. “At the end of the day, we know what’s on the line. When you lose games early, you lose your leverage. Your leverage is your ability to make mistakes. We don’t plan on losing, but it’s better to have more wins than losses. At the end of the season, we’re going to have to count them up, and our room for error is (small) now.”
Smith believes the bye week will be beneficial to the Ravens, who have lost two in a row and three of four.
“We’re going into this bye week a little bit different than it has been in past years,” he said. “Our winning percentage isn’t how we want it to be. You get the opportunity to step back away from the game, enjoy your family, and get away from (football). That way, we’ll focus for the second half, which is going to be a grind for us.”