John Harbaugh Confident Ravens Can Have An 'Excellent Offense'


After looking at the tape of the Ravens' 28-27 loss to the Oakland Raiders, Head Coach John Harbaugh isn't hitting the panic button on his offense.

He sees an offense that is playing hard, playing fast and finding success in spurts. Now it's a matter of bringing it all together.

"We're capable of being an excellent offense – a really good offense – and we're going to get there," Harbaugh said.

"Our guys are capable of doing it. I'm going to keep pushing them and prodding them, and encouraging them. And we're going to keep working hard to get to the point where we translate plays and yards into points. "

The Ravens now rank 19th in the NFL in yards per game (346.3) and 18th in points per game (21).

Baltimore posted 412 total yards against the Raiders defense, which entered the game ranked at the bottom of the league in total defense. Baltimore controlled time of possession.

Still, Harbaugh, the players and fans can all see that the Ravens aren't operating smoothly.

The Ravens offense slogged through much of the first half and posted just six points. Baltimore found its run game in the third quarter, then posted two touchdowns in the fourth, before coming up short at the 50-yard line to end the game.

"We know what we want it to feel like and look like from a production standpoint, and we are not there. We have to dive down inside and find a way to get it there," Harbaugh said.

"I have my ideas. [Offensive Coordinator] Marc [Trestman] has his ideas, all the coaches [have ideas]. We talked to Joe [Flacco], we talked to different players, but one thing you don't do is you don't overreact. That is the starting point; you don't overreact. That is when things get rough. We have a good plan."

Harbaugh said that after four weeks, the Ravens now have a good idea of what they're good at. It was tough to know that at the start of the season when so many key parts of the offense came together at the last minute.

Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and tight end Dennis Pitta didn't play at all in the preseason. Pitta hadn't played for two years. Wide receiver Breshad Perriman played in one preseason game (not with Flacco) and missed his entire rookie year. Mike Wallace played, but is still new to the group.

"I feel like we all kind of can see now what we have and how to utilize these guys," Harbaugh said. "I want to get consistent at what we were doing. I want us to get out there and look certain and understand how we are going to execute things and get good at it."

A big part of the problem on Sunday, particularly in the first half, was self-inflicted wounds. The Ravens had five holding calls (three in passing situations, two running). Two were on left tackle James Hurst, who stepped in for rookie Ronnie Stanley (foot), one was on left guard Ryan Jensen, who stepped in for rookie Alex Lewis (concussion) and the two in running situations were on center Jeremy Zuttah.

Harbaugh said there are improvements to be made on two of the holding penalties but there wasn't much to change on three calls. Still, they were flagged, and the Ravens need to be digging themselves out of fewer holes moving forward.

"Those can be drive killers," Harbaugh said. "That's what we have to eliminate. We're way better on offense than we've showed because we're way more capable of playing winning football. We have to do it more often."

While Flacco threw a whopping 52 times, he only threw for 298 yards. Of those yards, 52 came on one play that Steve Smith Sr. made happen by stiff-arming a defender and scampering into the end zone. After the game, Flacco talked about the need to pick up more chunk plays, and Harbaugh agrees.

"We have to keep calling them. We have speed out there, and we have to start hitting them," Harbaugh said. "We just have to get better, whatever we decide to do. Joe is making a great point; you have to get big plays in this league. That is what we are searching for. We really think we have the players to do it."

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