OK, so the last two weeks haven’t featured the prettiest Ravens football.
That might be a bit of an understatement.
But, despite the recent issues closing out games and slowing down opposing offenses, head coach John Harbaugh and his team enter the bye week coming off an overtime win and now sport a 5-2 record, tied for the second-best mark in the NFL.
There’s lots of work to be done after the players return from some time off, but that 5-2 mark after a tough start to the schedule is enough to leave those at Ravens HQ in a positive mood as they head into the bye.
“Never satisfied, always content,” Harbaugh said. “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.”
Last season, the Ravens came out of the gate with three wins in a row, and had many around the league predicting a deep playoff run. Three weeks later, the Ravens were back at .500, and had a lot of questions to answer as they went into their bye week 3-3.
That’s why this time around, while they might not be clicking on all cylinders, the Ravens are fairly pleased with the spot they’re in.
“We’re feeling pretty good,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “[Quarterbacks coach] Jim Zorn always talks about [how] there are four quarters to the season, and we went 3-1 in the first, 2-1 in the second so far. And as long as we keep that up, then I think we’re going to put ourselves in a good spot to continue to be successful.
“I think we’re feeling pretty confident about where we are. We just have to continue to go out there and play hard and play our best every week.”
Of the Ravens’ seven games thus far, four have been on the road, and three of those road contests came against teams with 5-1 records. They earned wins against the Jets and Steelers, giving them potential tiebreakers against each of those teams.
Now, they’ve got time to rest. Some players will use this time to go on vacation and relax, others will hang around the Baltimore area and just get some rest.
Cornerback Chris Carr said that while it’s OK for guys to unwind a bit during the bye week, it’s important to stay focused on the task at hand.
“It’s one of those things where I think our attitude is we’re 5-2, we’re in good position, but we need to get better,” Carr said. “[The Bills game] was the first game where it wasn’t X’s and O’s, it wasn’t any communication problems we had as a secondary, they were just beating us. We’re too talented for that to happen.
“People really need to buckle down and not think about having fun [during the bye]. People need to think about getting their bodies right and getting ready to come back, because we have a tough stretch ahead of us.”