A well-deserved week off

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, NFL teams are limited in the number of practices that they can put their players through during the bye week.

The Ravens aren't messing around with any of that. John Harbaugh is just giving his team the full week off.

Following a 34-17 win over the Jets last night and a sit-down with key veterans and the coaches today, Harbaugh sent his players home once afternoon meetings and an NFLPA meeting had wrapped. The rationale, according to Harbaugh, was that the team wouldn't have been able to accomplish enough in two days of practice with a number of players battling injuries.

"They are not afraid of work, but really, with our numbers, we just didn't see a way we could put together a viable practice," Harbaugh said. "The rehab is more important, I thought. We think the practices really would have done us more harm than they would have done us good in the next two days.

"Now, if we could have practiced like Thursday or Friday or something like that, it might have helped us a little bit, but we are not really allowed to do that. I think we will be better off by taking the week away."

What was linebacker Jarret Johnson's reaction when Harbaugh announced he'd be giving the team the full week off?

"Shock, first of all," Johnson said with a laugh. "I think it was a very wise decision. That just shows the maturity of coach Harbaugh and this team to say, 'OK, what's really best for this team?' You've got five (healthy) DBs right now. You have a lot of guys that are banged up. How much production are you going to get out of guys who have been in the league eight or nine years by two practices where you're not even preparing for an opponent (and) you're just practicing?

"I think it shows a lot of trust on our coaches' part, because they know we're going to go home and we're going to work out. We're going to keep in shape and do as much as you can to improve your body going down the stretch. But I was pretty shocked."

The Ravens' coaches will take this time to go through a period of self-scouting, and will get some advance prep in for the Texans game two weeks from now.

The players? They'll have access to team headquarters and can train, rehabilitate any injuries and watch film if they plan on remaining in the Baltimore area. If not, they'll be expected back ready to go next week.

"Guys will still be training, they will be lifting, (the facility) will be open," Harbaugh said. "I'm certain, knowing our guys, that they will train hard with the cardiovascular stuff, and the rehab stuff will be probably the most important thing we do."

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