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Ravens Emphasizing Cutting Down Fumbles


Rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro tucked the ball high and tight against his body as the rest of his teammates tried to rip it away during Tuesday's Ravens practice.

After fumbling in Saturday's preseason game, Taliaferro made sure nobody was going to pop the ball out.

"Coughing the ball up is never going to be OK, but nobody is more conscious of that than [Taliaferro] is," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Our guys do a great job of holding our guys accountable."

Taliaferro isn't the only running back who will be focusing on ball security Saturday night against the Washington Redskins in the Ravens' third preseason game. The Ravens collectively want to nip a problem in the bud before it becomes a regular-season issue.

The Ravens have five fumbles in their first two preseason games. They've lost two of them.

Backup running back Justin Forsett has two, and Taliaferro and Bernard Pierce each have one. Third-string quarterback Keith Wenning fumbled as well in Dallas.

Ball security has always been stressed by Harbaugh, and it wasn't a problem with new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak's system in Houston the past couple years. The Texans had just five fumbles in the running game last year and in 2012.

"Our backs have put too many balls on the ground," Kubiak said. "It's a big point of emphasis. No matter how much you move the ball, if you don't protect it, it's going to hurt you."

Taliaferro's fumble came after he caught a screen pass, which he took up the field for a 14-year gain. But Taliaferro had the ball out and somewhat loose when Cowboys linebacker Cameron Lawrence put his helmet directly on the ball. It popped out and the Ravens were lucky that center Gino Gradkowski jumped on it.

"Any reps that I get, I have to take advantage of it. Putting the ball on the ground isn't taking advantage of it," Taliaferro said.

"[Coach] just said that you can't put the ball on the ground. As a running back, you have to have a short-term memory. They said get out there and get after it again."

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