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Ravens' Plan for Bye Week: 'Stay Loose, Stay Focused'

Head Coach John Harbaugh
Head Coach John Harbaugh

Ronnie Stanley thinks there are lessons to be learned from 2019, when the Ravens had a first-round bye, then lost in the divisional round when they didn't play up to their standards.

"2019 gave us a lot of insight into the things we could've gotten better at, using this time to prepare," Stanley said. "Not be rigid about it, but be focused.

"I think that's been our mindset all season. Harbs (Head Coach John Harbaugh) has preaching about stay loose, stay focused. Trying to stay away from being rigid and uptight."

The Ravens have tweaked their schedule compared to what they did in 2019, but haven't made drastic changes. In 2019 during the bye, they practiced Tuesday, took Wednesday off, and practiced Thursday and Friday before taking the weekend off.

This week, the Ravens will practice from Wednesday through Saturday, including a practice at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday. It will be like a traditional "game" week except a stadium practice and no game.

Defensive tackle Michael Pierce, who was with the team in 2019, agrees with Stanley that this current team is in a good headspace to approach the bye. Losing 28-12 to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round after falling behind 14-0 in the second quarter is a loss that still doesn't sit well with Pierce.

"I remember we came out really, really slow in that Titans game," Pierce said. "Derrick Henry ran for Jesus knows how many yards (195). We have a good plan, and Coach Harbs has a good plan. We'll be working mostly through the break and obviously getting guys healthy, but we'll be working, and we're definitely mindful of what happened last time."

Stanley is among the Ravens who's dealt with injuries this season, and he's grateful to have an extra week to rest his body.

"I think it's going to be huge, for myself personally dealing with injuries throughout the season. Build up from where I am," he said. "I feel really good about this team. We know the things we need to work on, how we're going to handle things this week off. I'm confident that guys will do what they need to get done."

Stanley expects to hear often about 2019 over next two weeks, but he understands why.

"I don't think it will get annoying," Stanley said. "That stuff's in the back of our heads, guys that experienced it. The feeling has stuck with us. We don't want to feel that again.

"I'm still not completely over it to be honest. Those opportunities don't come too often. Luckily, we have another chance this year. We're going to make sure we don't take it for granted."

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