John Harbaugh Comes Down Hard On Defense


Head Coach John Harbaugh came down hard on his defense the day after a 37-33 loss in Oakland.

The Raiders put up 448 yards of total offense. Second-year quarterback Derek Carr was 30-of-46 for 351 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Oakland's running attack averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

The Ravens defense allowed Oakland's offense to march 80 yards on nine plays in just one minute, 44 seconds for the game-winning touchdown.

"If you look at the defensive situation of what happened on defense, … it's not hard to figure out what happened," Harbaugh said Monday.

"We had missed tackles. We had missed assignments. We had breakdowns in coverage. We had missed alignments. We played about as unsound as you can play in a lot of different ways."

After most losses, Harbaugh will at least commend his players for playing hard. He didn't even give his defense that after Sunday's loss.

"We had effort for the most part, but I'll even say we didn't have the kind of effort we need to have on defense – the kind of all out, flying around effort that we expect from a Ravens defense," Harbaugh said.

The performance was particularly odd considering the defense nearly completely shut down Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense in Week 1. They kept the Broncos out of the end zone entirely, holding them to just four field goals.

On the flip side, the Raiders offense was held scoreless in the first three quarters against the Cincinnati Bengals a week before. Against the Ravens, Oakland only punted twice all day.

With the Bengals' talented offense coming to Baltimore this Sunday, Harbaugh knows his defense will need to have another dramatic flip back in the right direction.

"If we're going to have a chance to be a successful football team, our defense has got to step up and play like the Ravens play, and that's the expectation," Harbaugh said. "That's where the bar is set, and we're going to have the guys out there that do that."

Harbaugh was asked specifically about a couple blunders.

One came on Oakland's final drive when defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan was flagged for a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty, which moved the Raiders from midfield all the way into field-goal range at the Ravens 35-yard line.

"The Timmy Jernigan one was a foolish penalty – really inexcusable," Harbaugh said. "There was no reason for that whatsoever – at any time during the game, but especially in two-minute. That was just a way late hit, and I don't understand that one, and it hurt us."

The Ravens also had a tough time replacing injured outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (Achilles). Harbaugh was asked about for his impression on the NFL debut of rookie outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith, who got the nod over newly signed veteran Jason Babin.

According to Pro Football Focus, Smith got 35 snaps (25 in pass-rush situations), and got a negative-1.6 rating in that area. He finished with one tackle and an overall rating of negative-0.2.

"I saw OK, average play," Harbaugh said of Smith. "He gave a little effort, and he was out there. Just like everybody else, they all have to play better."

After watching the tape, Harbaugh did say the Ravens' pass rush, which registered just one sack (from cornerback Jimmy Smith on a scramble) and four quarterback hits, had a good reason for not getting more pressure.

The Raiders were getting the ball out quickly, meaning the Ravens had to do a good job defending those quick, short throws by positioning themselves well and tackling quickly. If that would have happened, Oakland would have had to hold onto the ball longer.

However, Harbaugh was bothered by the amount of time Carr had on the few instances where he did hold onto the ball after fakes.

"He was able to stand back there on the keepers and boots almost forever and throw the ball," Harbaugh said. "We have to figure out how to get that changed.

"It's on us as coaches to put the right guys out there, teach them to do the right things and have the right schemes in place. If guys aren't lining up right, that's on us. That's on them and us. It's on us together – all of us – coaches and players together. It's our job to get that fixed. It's not the fans' job. It's not the media's job. It's our job, and we need to get it done. We expect to play great defense around here, and that's just not what we did on Sunday."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content