Ravens see improvement from O-line, running game (plus Monroe note)

One week after calling the Ravens’ offensive line play unacceptable, coach John Harbaugh had a distinctly different tone on Monday.

Harbaugh was much more positive about the job his offensive front did at Miami, leading to a season-high 133 rushing yards and just two sacks allowed.

The Ravens’ running game was still pretty close to non-existent in the first half of the Dolphins game with just 33 yards on 15 carries for a 2.2-yard average.

Things turned around in the second half, when Baltimore ran for 100 yards on 25 carries, a 4.0-yard average.

“The offensive line played even better than we thought when you watch the tape. As far as the run blocking, they blocked exceptionally well,” Harbaugh said.

The Ravens abandoned running the ball when they struggled to do so at Buffalo. That didn’t happen again this week.

“I thought we could be successful at it in the second half, whereas last week I did not think we could be successful at it in the second half the way we were blocking,” Harbaugh said. “We blocked better. That’s what we did better. We blocked better.”

The line wasn’t just better in the ground game, but Harbaugh wasn’t quite as upbeat about the pass protection.

The Ravens allowed just the two sacks, but quarterback Joe Flacco faced pressure all game.

“I would say it was improved,” Harbaugh said. “We lost a couple one-on-one battles in there that got to Joe. Again, Joe I would say was still under too much duress, but they were one-on-one battles. They weren’t situations where we had miscommunications or protection errors, so that was positive. And we had a lot of good protections, too.”

Harbaugh likes Flacco’s ability to handle that kind of pressure, stay in the pocket and take hits.

“I think that’s part of Joe’s greatness. I think that’s part of what makes Joe who he is,” Harbaugh said. “You look around the league and you’ll see a lot of quarterbacks not doing those things, not standing there the way he stands in there. He’s special that way and we don’t win that game without his willingness to stand in there and make those throws.”

Even with the improved play, the offensive line could see a major adjustment made for Sunday’s game against the Packers if Eugene Monroe is inserted at left tackle in the place of Bryant McKinnie.

McKinnie was beaten a few times in the first half Sunday, but Harbaugh wasn’t sure if Monroe will be making his first appearance since being acquired from the Jaguars last Thursday. Monroe was inactive for the Miami game.

“I think we’re going to wait and see about it right now. We’ll see what happens over the course of the week. I don’t really know for sure right now,” Harbaugh said. “He looked good last week. He looked really good. We’re just going to have to see how this plays out. This is uncharted territory for us. It really is and we’ve never been down this road before. So we’ll see what happens.”