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The New Orleans Riverwalk has become the Ravenswalk.

The walkway lining the Mississippi River is the site of one of the weekend fan fests, and fans of all teams are there listening to music, eating New Orleans food and just enjoying the warm, sunny weather. But a section across from Jackson Park has turned into a gathering place for Ravens fans. A Baltimore radio station broadcasting from a riverboat on the section across from Jackson Park, and the whole area is a sea of purple.

- Nancy Armour -http://www.twitter.com/nrarmour


EDITOR'S NOTE - ``Super Bowl Watch'' shows you the Super Bowl and the events surrounding the game through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across New Orleans and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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John Harbaugh defends Joe Flacco's play during difficult season for Ravens

John Harbaugh defends Joe Flacco's play during difficult season for Ravens

OWINGS MILLS – Ravens coach John Harbaugh strongly defended quarterback Joe Flacco after Wednesday’s practice, in the midst of a difficult season for his franchise quarterback, and with the Ravens (3-4) riding a four-game winning streak.

Flacco’s current quarterback rating is 75.4, which would be the second-lowest of his nine-year career if the season ended today. He has thrown more interceptions (six) than touchdown passes (five).

So does Harbaugh think Flacco is “elite”? Asked how he assessed Flacco’s play at this point in the season, Harbaugh did not hold back.

“I’m a Joe Flacco guy, and I believe in Joe,” Harbaugh said following Wednesday’s practice.  “Joe Flacco is a great football player. Joe Flacco is the key to our success. So we need to all do everything in our power, so all the things fall into place for him. He can play. He can throw it, he can make decisions, he can score touchdowns for us, he can do all the things we need to do. We need to make sure that we give him a chance to do that. Joe will take care of what he needs to do.

“I’m not worried about Joe taking care of what he needs to do. Joe works on it harder than anybody, cares about it more than anybody. But we need to protect him, we need to run routes, we need to create confidence in our passing game, we need to run the ball well.”

But after Wednesday’s practice, Flacco admitted he needed to play better, regardless of injuries along the offensive line, or struggles with the Ravens’ running game.

“I am obviously not playing good enough,” Flacco said. “We are not a good offense, and it starts with the quarterback. I have to be better. We have to be more precise, and that starts with me – just more consistent overall.”

How well Flacco performs after the bye will be a major key to the Ravens’ fate. But despite Flacco’s recent struggles, his coach still has his back.

MORE RAVENS: Hester counting on bye week to rehab groin injury

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Ravens' Devin Hester hopes to use bye week to overcome groin injury

Ravens' Devin Hester hopes to use bye week to overcome groin injury

OWINGS MILLS – Dealing with a groin injury that has severely hampered his play, Ravens returner Devin Hester planned to rehab during the bye week, hoping for a better second half of the season.

“I’m spending tomorrow here, get some more treatment,” said Hester following Wednesday’s practice. “I’m not going to really treat it (the bye) like a vacation.

“It’s tough. You can’t really be yourself. But it’s the NFL. Things like this come up all over the league. There’s not one team that’s out there that’s injury free. You got to spend more time in the training room, get your body right.”

Hester said he originally injured his left groin Week 2 against the Browns, and aggravated his right groin two weeks later during practice. Not only has Hester fumbled four times, he has not shown the explosiveness that made him the NFL’s all-time leader in return touchdowns.

Hester will turn 34 years old Nov. 4, which raises the question if he is too old, or too injured, to be a consistent returner anymore.  Hester remained optimistic he could use the bye week to get healthy.

“I just want to contribute and do my part,” Hester said. “There’s always going to be a clock ticking. During this bye week, hopefully I can bounce back next week and be up to par.”

MORE RAVENS: Ravens anxious for Perriman to ramp up production