Ravens Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak's top priority with quarterback Joe Flacco this year was to get him to cut down on interceptions.
Flacco tossed 22 picks last year, tied for second-most in the league. He had just three in his first six games this season, but Flacco has tossed two in back-to-back games.
Now Kubiak is re-stressing that point in practice this week. Protect the football.
"I think our biggest issue right now the last two weeks [is] we [have] turned the ball over," Kubiak said. "[That is] something we have to fix if we're going to be successful, so it's been a big point of emphasis this week."
Flacco knows the importance of protecting the football against Pittsburgh.
He has thrown just one interceptions in his last seven meetings against Pittsburgh, including three straight meetings without a turnover. The last time Flacco was picked off in the Steel City was in the divisional championship in 2010.
So how does Kubiak emphasize protecting the football in practice?
"You know, it's interesting," Kubiak said. "It seems sometimes – I told John [Harbaugh] this the other day – sometimes you talk about them so much and they don't go away. Sometimes you have to maybe just not say anything.
"We've been pretty good protecting the ball, and I think as a team we have 12, and as an offense we have 10 of those 12. But five of those turnovers have come in the last two weeks. That's not good. We have too good of a football team."
The Ravens' downfall this season has been turnovers. Flacco has thrown at least one interception in each of Baltimore's three losses. He threw an interception in a Week 1 loss against the Bengals, threw one in Indianapolis and two in Cincinnati.
Outside of those turnovers in Cincinnati last week, the Ravens offense marched on the Bengals defense.
"If we're protecting the ball, I think we're going to play really well," Kubiak said.
"I think Joe has played well. It's like anything else: Everybody can play better. We have to continue to do a better job with Joe – me and Rick [Dennison] – as we continue to grow with him and what he does best and what he's most comfortable with. We went into a real tough environment last week, [and we are] going into an even tougher environment this week. So, you want that guy as comfortable as you can get him, but we need Joe to play well. We need Joe to play solid, protect the ball and play well for this team to be successful. And that's what we have to continue to work at, because he's doing his part – he's doing the work."