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News & Notes 10/1: Harbaugh Confident Alex Collins Will Fix Fumbling Issue

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Alex Collins lost his second fumble of the season Sunday night, which would have been disastrous for the Ravens had they lost. They were at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2-yard line, already leading 14-3 in the second quarter with a chance to take a three-score lead. go ahead, 21-3.

However, Collins’ fumbled on first-and-goal a huge turnover that reversed the game’s momentum. By halftime, the score was tied at 14, and instead of taking a comfortable lead into the locker room, the Ravens were in another dogfight in Pittsburgh.

If Collins continues to fumble as the team’s lead back, it will be a liability the Ravens cannot afford. During his Monday press conference, Head Coach John Harbaugh expressed confidence Collins would fix the problem.

“His style lends itself to that a little bit, which has been kind an issue during his career because he’s such an elusive guy,” Harbaugh said. “He tries so hard to make big plays all the time, and that’s why he gets yards. He runs very hard, but sometimes you expose the football when you do that. Fumbling’s always troublesome. You can’t have it. It’s not worth it.

“One thing I know about Alex, he’ll make it his job No. 1 to hold onto the football.”

Coaches have different tactics to address running backs who fumble. Will Collins be given a football to carry out to the team facility? Harbaugh said one way or another, a message will be sent.

“I haven’t asked guys to walk around the meeting for the day with a football,” Harbaugh said. “Maybe I’ll do that with Alex. If I see a guy walking, punch the ball out and stuff. It’s more in practice. One of the things we do, we have our defense challenge the offense. Our defense doesn’t want to see the ball on the ground either. They’ll be very aggressive trying to punch the ball out in practice. It will be a good reminder for them.

“But again, Alex is a trustworthy guy. I fully expect for him to clean that up real quick.”

Will C.J. Mosley or Eric Weddle Call Defensive Plays Moving Forward?

Ravens safety Eric Weddle may continue relaying signals to the defense, despite the return of inside linebacker C.J. Mosley against the Steelers.

Weddle wore the helmet with the green dot and audio transmitter in Pittsburgh, which was the role held by Mosley until he suffered a knee injury Week 2 and missed Week 3’s game against the Denver Broncos.

Harbaugh said the team would decide later in the week if Mosley or Weddle would relay defensive signals Sunday in Cleveland. 

“There was a little question this week with C.J. coming back for the first game and whether he’d be able to make it through or not. So, that was kind of part of our thinking,” Harbaugh said. “If Eric has his say, he’ll probably want to keep the dot. I know how he thinks.”

Hayden Hurst’s Imminent Return Will Force Tough Decisions at Tight End

Rookie first-round pick Hayden Hurst could return to action Sunday from foot surgery, which will create a logjam at tight end for the Ravens. Nick Boyle is their best blocking tight end, and Maxx Williams and Mark Andrews are both contributing as pass catchers. Even if the Ravens dress all four tight ends, finding enough snaps for all of them will be difficult.

That was a subject Harbaugh and General Manager Ozzie Newsome discussed riding from the stadium to the airport following Sunday’s win. They will continue to discuss the tight end situation this week.

“We got some tough decisions to make, but those are good problems to have,” Harbaugh said. “When you’re not going to be able to activate a good productive player, as hard as that is, especially on the player, it’s probably a good thing for your team because you’ve got some depth.”

Tim White and De’Lance Turner Both Factor Into Offense

Two undrafted rookies contributed to Sunday’s victory in the second half, when wide receiver Tim White caught a 14-yard pass from Joe Flacco, while running back De’Lance Turner had a four-yard run and a 10-yard pass reception.

White’s third-down catch and Turner’s 4-yard run came on back-to-back plays in the third quarter, helping set Justin Tucker up for a 47-yard field goal to give the Ravens a 17-14 lead.

“We were rotating players and they needed to get on the field,” Harbaugh said. “Somebody was tired, somebody was nicked up a bit, we had a personnel grouping that had to go on the field. It wasn’t like we were saying, ‘Okay this is their time, let’s get them their first career catch.’ It was just more the flow of the game. When you’re one of the 46 players up, you’re a starter.”

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