Quick Links

Harbaugh on Ravens: 'We need to get better'

201211041249461500678-p2.jpeg

Harbaugh on Ravens: 'We need to get better'

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) There's really nothing eye-catching about the Baltimore Ravens this season - except their record.

Baltimore's inconsistent offense and defensive deficiencies were on full display Sunday in Cleveland, yet the Ravens emerged with another lackluster victory to improve to 6-2 and remain atop the AFC North.

At the midpoint in its season, Baltimore owns the second-best record in the conference and appears on course to reach the playoffs in a fifth straight year.

``By the same token, we're not the team that we need to be. We need to be better,'' coach John Harbaugh acknowledged Monday. ``We need be better on third down. We need to run the ball more consistently. We need to protect our quarterback more consistently. We need to throw and catch better. And that's just on the offensive side.''

Baltimore went six straight possessions without a first down in Sunday's 25-15 win. Ray Rice gained 66 yards rushing in the first half and finished with 98. Joe Flacco completed 15 of 24 passes for 153 yards.

Not exactly the production that Ravens want from an offense that has been called upon to offset a struggling defense that's without injured starters Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb.

``A lot of things have to get better or we're not going to be 6-2 in the second half,'' Harbaugh said.

The offense begins with Rice, a Pro Bowl running back who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last year. Against Cleveland, he started strong but garnered only 40 yards on the ground after the opening two series.

``We need to be able to run the ball. Absolutely. That's kind of our identity,'' Harbaugh said. ``We want to be a physical football team. ... The truth is, it's going to take different things in different games to win.''

Against the Browns (2-6), it took a fast start and a fourth-quarter rally for Baltimore to secure its 11th consecutive division win. But the Ravens gave up five scoring drives, were outgained 290-282 and allowed 105 yards rushing to rookie Trent Richardson.

Following a season-opening 44-13 win over Cincinnati, Baltimore has won by 1, 7, 3, 2 and 10 points.

``I'm all for blowouts - as long as we're the ones doing the blowing out,'' Harbaugh said. ``We were on the short end of one two weeks ago (43-13 at Houston) and that wasn't too much fun. But blowouts are tough to come by.''

That's why the Ravens aren't about to complain about winning ugly. Especially on the road, where they evened their record at 2-2 after squeezing past the lowly Browns.

``To win a division game on the road is huge,'' Rice said. ``We've never been fancy and pretty, but we find ourselves on top most of the time. That's Ravens football. Our wins are not pretty, but when you are 6-2, there's no complaining about it.''

The second half of the season offers a challenging schedule that begins Sunday at home against Oakland, includes two games with Pittsburgh and features home matchups with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos.

``We've got the men for the job,'' Harbaugh said. ``We're going to work hard and we're going to improve.''

If the Ravens can perform as they did during the first two series against the Browns - both of which ended in touchdowns - they will flourish. But that kind of consistency has eluded them since the season opener.

``I wish we would go out there and continue to play like we were in the first quarter, and go up and down the field the whole game,'' Flacco said. ``But sometimes it doesn't work out that way, and you have to be ready to continue to play the whole game and play the full 60 minutes, take whatever is thrown your way and go make the best of it.

``Hey, we're a good team. We've been in a lot of situations like this before. So when it does happen, we know how to react, we know how to go out there and keep our heads down and play until it's all over.''

Watching tape of Sunday's game probably caused Harbaugh and more than a few players to wince. But it wasn't all bad.

``Lost in all the talk about things we have to get better at was the fact that we had to win that game,'' Harbaugh said. ``We did not turn the ball over, we had no major negative play in our own end that cost us the game. ... It took some patience, but I was proud of the fact we were able to pull it off.''

Notes: Harbaugh said G Marshal Yanda, who missed several series Sunday, ``tweaked a knee a little bit and tweaked his ankle a little bit.'' Yanda received an MRI and the results showed nothing significant, Harbaugh said. ... G Bobbie Williams sprained an ankle and will likely be rested during the week but is expected to play Sunday.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Former Ravens RB Trent Richardson arrested on domestic violence charge

Former Ravens RB Trent Richardson arrested on domestic violence charge

Former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson, who was signed by the Ravens in April 2016, was arrested Thursday night in Hoover, Ala. on a domestic violence charge, according to Hoover police.

Richardson, who was drafted by the Browns with No 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, joined the Ravens during the 2016 offseason before being waived prior to the start of training camp in August.

According to the report, Richardson was arrested following an incident at the Hyatt Place Hotel and was charged with one count of third-degree domestic violence. 

The argument between Richardson and the women began at a nearby Walmart before the altercation turned physical. 

RELATED: RICHARDSON DISCUSSES FAMILY FREELOADING

"Officers were able to make contact with an adult male and adult female who were involved in a domestic altercation," police said in the official release.

"After interviewing both parties it was determined that the two individuals had been arguing earlier while at the Walmart on John Hawkins Parkway and that the dispute continued after they arrived back at the hotel. At some point the situation turned physical and the female sustained injuries (scratches and bruising) about her face."

Richardson's NFL career has been wrought with disappointment.  He played just 17 games for the Browns — averaging 3.6 yards per carry—  before he was traded to the Colts in 2013. His numbers declined even more, and he was released at the end of the 2014 season. He spent the 2015 offseason with the Raiders, but was released before the beginning of the Regular season.

Richardson's last appearance in a regular season NFL game took place in a December 2014 Colts' victory over the Patriots in which he ran for 11 yards on six carries.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

Quick Links

NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. predicts Ravens will select cornerback Sidney Jones

usatsi_8097252.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. predicts Ravens will select cornerback Sidney Jones

The Ravens desperately need help at cornerback, which ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes they will address early.

In his second mock draft of the year, Kiper forecasts that Baltimore will selecting University of Washington corner Sidney Jones with the No. 16 overall pick. 

He reasons that the Ravens hope to get more than one cornerback out of this draft, so they'll start as soon as they get the chance. 

The 2017 draft class is exceptionally deep with cornerback talent, but Jones stands out nonetheless.

Mike Mayock of NFL Network considers Jones the top corner of a lot that also includes players like Marshon Lattimore of Ohio State and Teez Tabor of Florida. 

ESPN's Jamison Hensley makes the case for Jones thusly:

He has the experience (three-year starter), football intelligence and playmaking skills (nine interceptions and eight force fumbles in his career) to be an immediate starter. He also has traits that the Ravens love out of their prospects: strong character, aggressive and durable.

The negative trait identified by both Kiper and Hensley is Jones' size. He stands 6-feet even and weighs 180 pounds, creating potential match-up problems against large, physical receivers like A.J. Green or Mike Evans. 

Both note that he'll need to add more muscle to his frame to compete at the professional level. 

CSN draft analyst Ben Standig recently projected the Ravens to select wide receiver Josh Ross with the 16th overall pick. Click here to view the full NFL Mock Draft: 3.0

MORE RAVENS: Speedy receiver Ross could fit Ravens in first round