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John Harbaugh: Really Believe This Team Will Catch Fire


Last year, when the Ravens had lost three straight games down the stretch, Head Coach John Harbaugh and the front office still held out faith that their team could get hot.

The rest is history. The Ravens beat up on the defending champion New York Giants in Week 16 and went rolling into the playoffs, all the way to Super Bowl glory.

Sometimes the change can come quickly. But it often times takes long-standing faith.

The Ravens have gone through a similar tough stretch this year, albeit earlier in the season. They've lost three of their last four games, leading to much doubt among fans and media about their chances of getting back into the playoffs to defend their crown.

Not Harbaugh. He has parallel confidence when he looks at this year's team.

"I have really high hopes for this team," Harbaugh said. "I really believe this team is going to catch fire."

Harbaugh said he's given his players the same message.

There are signs that back up Harbaugh's claim.

The offense showed improvement in Week 7 against Pittsburgh, including some running room on the ground and a chain-moving passing attack. Lead tailback Ray Rice is healthy after giving his hip an extra week of rest and Bernard Pierce says he's good now too.

Harbaugh said the Ravens are the healthiest they've been all season, as all 53 players on the active roster practiced Wednesday.

Quarterback Joe Flacco sees an improving offense.

"We've got a long ways to go; we haven't been operating the way we want to," Flacco said. "But we're headed in the right direction. I think we're starting to create an identity and go after something. I'm excited to do that."

Harbaugh said the bye allowed the Ravens to get into some deep thought about what kind of team they want to be this year going forward – what their identity will be.

It's difficult to pinpoint it until games are played. And now with a larger sample size, the Ravens better know what direction they want to go for the two critical months of November and December.

"It's the second half of the season, and it's our opportunity to become what we're going to become as a football team," Harbaugh said. "We're always chasing that. We aren't going to be perfect Sunday, but we need to be at our best right now and hopefully that will be good enough. I really believe that we can be a great football team. We've just got to go get it done."

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