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John Harbaugh Feels Good About Third-Down Play Calls

Posted Sep 17, 2012

Philly was stacking the box against the run, and the Ravens want to continue to be aggressive.

The Ravens had six third- and fourth-down opportunities with less than two yards to go Sunday in Philadelphia.

They threw every time and didn’t get a single first down.

On the day overall, the Ravens were just 4-for-14 (29 percent) on third down.

But after watching the film, Head Coach John Harbaugh didn’t fault the play calling in those situations. In fact, he liked that the Ravens kept taking shots.

He simply wants to see better results, and is confident that he will.

“It’s not a league of perfection; it’s a fight,” Harbaugh said.

“We expect to be really good on third down; we’ve got the players to do it, coaches to do it, and I’m confident we’re going to be really good at it this year.”

Harbaugh said the combination of Eagles defensive pressure up front and Ravens receivers’ lack of separation – which was impacted by the amount of unflagged contact– mainly led to the Ravens not converting more on third down.

Harbaugh said the Eagles were stacking the box against the run in third-and-short situations. That left their secondary in one-on-one coverage, which Baltimore feels it can beat with its speed receivers and sure hands of its tight ends and Anquan Boldin.

The Ravens felt like their best shot in each of those situations was to go to the air.

“We had some options in there to throw or run, a lot of it was called passes, all things we have a lot of confidence in,” Harbaugh said. “I feel good about that, and I think we’re going to make [the] most of those, but we didn’t. I’m disappointed by the fact that we didn’t convert those.”

Harbaugh doesn’t want to back off the Ravens’ aggressive offensive approach, however. He indicated that in order for the offense to keep growing, the team must have confidence to let them take shots.

“I think most times as we go forward here, as we build this – especially with this young offense – that putting it in their hands and giving them chances to make plays is going to be the thing to do,” Harbaugh said.

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