The John Harbaugh who took to the podium Monday afternoon for his weekly press conference looked tired and worn down.
His team, winless in the month of October, faces many questions after suffering their first four-game losing streak since his arrival in Baltimore in 2008.
Harbaugh has faced adversity before, and is known for keeping his team optimistic when times get tough. This season however, he has been under scrutiny for a variety of reasons – and rightly so.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to get to work,” stated Harbaugh when asked about his plans for the team heading into their bye week. “To me, as a coach, that’s what you’re fired up about. We have two practices. We had a two-hour-and-20-minute team meeting in here, where we went through every play [from Week 7’s loss to the Jets].
“[It was] just an opportunity to be very honest with one another, which we always are, and work on the things we need to do to get better. That’s what’s we have. We have a bunch of accountable guys. We just need to find a way to become the football team that we are capable of becoming.
“That’s always a process and always a journey, so yes, I’m excited about that.”
Injuries have reared their ugly heads through the first seven games of the season thus far. Perhaps no injury has been as decimating as that to rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Stanley practiced all week prior to Sunday’s game against the Jets only to find himself on the inactive list 90 minutes prior to game time, leading many to believe the rookie suffered a set back.
Harbaugh offered up little information regarding the valuable first-round draft pick.
“I just do what the trainers and doctors tell me,” he said.
The Ravens will hold practice later today and Wednesday before giving the players some time off during the bye week. Harbaugh is hoping some players will return healthy and ready to go following a week off, while he evaluates where the team stands seven games into the season.
“Both of those things, absolutely. That’s exactly … I think that nails it,” said Harbaugh. “We have a chance to, hopefully, put the finishing touches on a number of these recoveries and hopefully be as close to or at full strength coming back – that would be my hope – and then go to work, continue to go to work.
“Our guys – coaches, players – we work. We’ll find our way. There’s no question about it. That’s what we do. It’s always different. There’s always a different way to do it. Precedents and all that, there are no precedents in life. Everything is a one-timer. That’s how life works. Everything’s a first-timer. You can’t predict anything in this world for sure.
“Our job is to go live our life. I say that in a football sense. Let’s go attack our football life with great enthusiasm and see what we can do with it.”
Despite their 3-4 record, the Ravens are still very much in the thick of things in the AFC North. Tied for second place with the Bengals and trailing the Steelers by just one game and facing them following the bye, the season isn’t over just yet.
There are a lot of problems facing the team that the bye week won’t cure. Dropped passes, quarterback mechanics, and lack of talent at certain positions are just a few.
If there ever was a time for Harbaugh to rally the troops, now’s the time. If he can’t, his seat will increasingly grow warmer with each loss, as it should.
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