Harbaugh Explains Starting Williams Over Harewood


Veteran Bobbie Williams made his first start of the season on Sunday, getting the nod at left guard in place of Ramon Harewood.

Williams, a 13-year veteran, had ankle surgery this offseason and spent the first five games primarily watching from the sidelines.

So what led to the Ravens' decision to start Williams?

"Bobbie is getting healthy right now, and that ankle is starting to really come around," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We felt like the experience was something that would benefit us."

The decision worked in the Ravens' favor, as the offensive line gave quarterback Joe Flacco time to throw throughout the game. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Flacco was hit or sacked on just 2-of-18 dropbacks against a four-man rush, and on 6-of-9 dropbacls when the Cowboys brought five or more pass rushers.

The running attack was also effective, and Ray Rice finished with 63 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Williams held his own against a talented Cowboys' front, and maybe most importantly, he said that he came out of the game with his ankle feeling healthy, without any pain or swelling.

"It felt good, and it was definitely something to build upon," Williams said.

Moving forward, it's unclear whether Williams or Harewood will get the starting nod at left guard. Williams has started 131 games over his career, but his ankle will have to withstand the pounding of the season.

For Harewood, a third-year player who spent the last two seasons on injured reserve, Harbaugh was pleased with the way he played through the first five games of the season.  

"Ramon had been playing well, that's the thing I want to make sure everyone understands," Harbaugh said. "It's not that we're down about Ramon. It's nothing that Ramon did. He stepped in there and played well for a guy who hadn't played much football at all is a testament to him and what kind of football player he's going to be."

The one noticeable miscue for Williams against the Cowboys came in the third quarter on a stunt from defensive end DeMarcus Ware. Williams tripped on the play, which allowed Ware to get to Flacco for the Cowboys' lone sack on the day.

Beyond that, Williams held up in pass and run blocking and his focus now is to knock off the rust and make improvements.

"I think I did pretty well," Williams said about his overall performance. "There are always some things that you could do better and that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to beat this film up and correct the things that I can correct."

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