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10 Issues Ravens Want To Correct Over Bye


The bye is not only a time for rest. There's a reason the coaches hang around longer than the players.

While normal NFL weeks are one sprint after another that leave little time for deep problem solving, the bye is a time when Ravens coaches look inward to do a thorough self-scout, as if they were preparing to play themselves.

What tendencies have they developed? What bigger issues can they correct?

On Tuesday, all three Ravens coordinators were asked what issues they are honing in on this week. Here are their answers:

Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak

Joe Flacco's recent playFlacco threw 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions during the first six weeks. He's thrown five touchdowns and five interceptions since.

"I'm trying to go back and really look at the things that he's very comfortable with and doing very well, and maybe some of the things I've asked him to do here over the course of a few weeks that maybe got him out of that comfort zone."* *

Third downsOver the past three weeks, the Ravens are 12-of-39 on third down conversions (30.8 percent). That's just ahead of the pace of the worst team in the league (Tennessee, 29.9 percent).

Kubiak: "We had been a very good third-down team through the first six, seven weeks; we've trailed off the last few weeks. We struggled, so we're trying to … We have to get that back on course, because that's what keeps you on the field."

Short-yardage runningThe Ravens rank 23rd in the NFL in converting on third-and-short rushing situations (60 percent).

"That's been a disappointment for us. Last week was a big improvement* *– we made some plays in short yardage. But for us up front, with some of the guys we have a chance to run behind, we should be better in that phase. If we were much better in the short-yardage phase, we'd be a much better third-down team, too. That's something that we're very focused on right now. In this league, if it's third-and-1, you have to be able to say, 'We're coming right here and we're going to get a yard.'"

Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees

No more big plays allowedThe Ravens have allowed 40 plays of 20 or more yards (pass and run) this season. Only five teams have surrendered more. They directly led to both losses against Cincinnati and a blowout in Pittsburgh.

Pees: "It's not magic. There's no secret. If you don't give up big plays generally in a game … Make a team drive the distance on you, and maybe they'll make a mistake."

Get more turnovers
The Ravens have 15 turnovers this year, tied for 14th in the league. They only have six interceptions, which is tied for 21st, and only two of those were made by the secondary.

"When you're playing a lot of man coverage, you're not going to get a lot of interceptions. You're going to get more interceptions when you play zone.

"We want to have more interceptions than we've had. [Part] of that too is a secondary working together all the time helps a whole lot too and [with] communication. And when you have different moving parts – which we have kind of had in this first 10 weeks, a lot of different ways – sometimes that's not great, but that's not an excuse. We need to get more interceptions, and I know that the coaches are emphasizing that."

Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

Kickoff return coverageThe Ravens rank 16th in the league in average yards allowed on kickoff returns (23.9 yards).

Rosburg: "Our kickoff return average allowed is higher than we'd like it to be. One of the reasons for that is when teams are bringing the ball out from 6, 7 yards deep in the end zone, they're going to get some yards even if they only get to the 20-yard line. That's an area where we have to continue to strive for better production."

Punt coverageThe Ravens rank 12th in the NFL in average yards allowed on punt returns (7.8 yards).

"Our punt team has, as you also know from the start of the year to the current point, has improved week by week. We're able to limit yards on punt returns, but our numbers are still not where we want them to be."* *

More explosive kick returnsThe Ravens are tops in the NFL in kickoff returns, averaging 31 yards per return. They've had one touchdown (Jacoby Jones in Pittsburgh).

"It's something that even though our kickoff return numbers are very high, we see areas where we can get more. I told the players the other day, 'I think you all see this. There's still meat on the bone here. We need to get more from what we see.' So, we're going to keep chasing that."

Punt return average
Baltimore is ranked 17th on punt returns, getting 8.2 yards per return.

"Our punt return game still isn't where we want it to be. We had a big one the other day that we got called back, and real honestly, that one should've been in the end zone – if we had done it right, it would've been. It's a constant chase. We're always trying to get better, and the way we look at it, if the fundamentals are really good, then typically the play is really good."* *

Cut down on penalties
The Ravens rank 14th in the league in special teams penalties. They average 1.10 per game.

"The other area that we always address this time of year is we study penalties – ours and the opponents' – and we've had a tendency these last two weeks to get fouls, and we have to knock it off, real honestly. Unnecessary fouls really hurt our team. We had a 52-yard penalty on that punt return [against Tennessee]. That's something we have to eliminate."

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