John Harbaugh Defends Cornerbacks' Preseason Play


Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones put up 109 yards against the Ravens defense in the preseason opener. Detroit's Calvin Johnson put up 111 the next week.

Head Coach John Harbaugh isn't reading too much into it.

He came to the defense of his cornerbacks' preseason play Monday afternoon after practice, saying he didn't give them any safety help or come up with elaborate schemes.

"We are lining up and matching guys up one-on-one," Harbaugh said. "There is no game plan involved in what we are doing now [during the preseason]. We didn't roll over top of Calvin Johnson. We didn't roll over top in Atlanta of any receiver. We didn't mix our coverages at all. We just put those guys out there and let them play."

Harbaugh said the point of preseason games is to somewhat expose the cornerbacks so that they can identify errors and correct them before it really matters.

"We just want to develop our technique," Harbaugh said. "When there are things that you struggle with, that's what you want to find out. It's only going to make us better."

The Ravens often left* *their cornerbacks to fend for themselves in Friday's game against Detroit. And it was exactly what the Lions' Johnson wanted. He ended up making a play on cornerback Jimmy Smith  for an 18-yard touchdown.

"They were blitzing a lot," Johnson said. "They leave their DBs on an island. When that happens our eyes get wide and we can't wait."

So will the Ravens continue this practice during the regular season?

With outside linebacker Terrell Suggs out indefinitely with his Achilles injury, Baltimore will be looking for others to step up and fill the pass-rush void. Those people could come from the secondary, such as safety Bernard Pollard. Some analysts believe that may put more responsibility on the shoulders of the cornerbacks.

Smith and Cary Williams didn't see that being the case, however.

"I feel like every corner in the league is man-on-man, on an island. That's the description of our job," Smith said. "It's not like we have to do extra good because Sizzle is missing."

"We had those calls in last year too, and those things don't change," Williams said. "We've just got to go out there and play like we're supposed to. The last couple weeks we haven't really been doing that. This week, we want to play like we expect and play like what is expected of us."

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