Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco took a bit of a different stance Wednesday when talking about the direction of the team's offense.
After Monday night's win over the Houston Texans, Flacco expressed a desire to "let it loose" to prepare the offense for tough potential playoff matchups, with the goal of becoming Super-Bowl ready.
Flacco was asked again Wednesday for his take on the struggling offense, which ranks 31st overall and last in the NFL in passing. And with the Ravens still in the midst of a tight AFC playoff race with five regular-season games to go, Flacco dialed back his comments.
"Right now, we're just keeping our head down," he said. "It may not always look pretty, it may not look pretty moving forward, but we're going to do what we have to do to win football games and put ourselves in a good position at the end to win them."
The Ravens have leaned on their turnover-happy defense, which leads the league in total takeaways (26) and interceptions (18). Baltimore is third in the NFL in points off takeaways (84). A very strong defense has sometimes been the best offense, or at least a big boost.
Baltimore has also relied on protecting the football on offense. The Ravens have a league-best plus-11 turnover ratio. Flacco has thrown three interceptions in the Ravens' six wins and eight in their five losses (two in each game except against the Minnesota Vikings).
Winning the turnover battle has been a successful formula, and it was apparent in the Ravens' victory over the Texans. The Ravens didn't sustain much offensive firepower, but a couple fourth-down gadget plays and back-to-back turnovers on Houston's final two drives sealed the 23-16 win.
"The bottom line is the way the game went and the way we played, it was a winning performance," Flacco said.
Flacco was asked whether it's an ongoing conversation about how aggressive the offensive approach is going to be each week.
"What do you think we do here every day and every week? We're working on getting better, and that's all we can really do," he said.
Quarterbacks often shun the label of "game manager," and Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday that he didn't want to assign any such sticker to Flacco's role this year. Flacco, however, said, "Yeah, that's the way it is sometimes."
"You do what you have to do to win football games, especially in the second half when we get up on teams and our defense is turning the ball over," Flacco said.
"The misconception is that some of those games are easy to play in. They really end up being the tough games to play in. One turnover by us and one less turnover by them in that game the other night, it's a completely different game."
The Ravens offense will keep plugging away at finding ways to improve, and Flacco said* *there are things players are doing well to help the team win that are getting overlooked.
For example, the offensive line did a stellar job Monday night of adjusting to the early destruction of Texans linebacker/defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who looked like he might take over the game. Houston also featured a lot of schematic wrinkles, but the Ravens countered with the right moves.
Baltimore is healthier now on offense, and the Ravens had a couple shots at big plays against the Texans. Flacco simply overthrew Mike Wallace on one, and another went through Wallace's hands.
"We're going to make it happen," Flacco said. "We have a little bit to go, but it's not anything crazy. We definitely have guys that can make plays and get us rolling."
Safety Eric Weddle believes the offense will have to get going at some point for the Ravens to reach their goals. The Super Bowl-winning 2000 and 2012 Ravens teams both had offenses that finished the regular season ranked No. 16 overall – in the middle of the pack.
"As well as our defense has played over the last few weeks, we're going to need special teams and offense to make this stretch run and get into the playoffs," Weddle said.
"There will be a game, whether it's this week, next week, season's on the line, that our offense is going to bail us out. I really believe that."