Harbaugh won’t let this one slide
Flacco’s awkward technique at end of runs puts repaired knee at risk, coach says
John Harbaugh has Joe Flacco’s back on almost every occasion. But if there is one area in which the Ravens coach and quarterback don’t see eye to eye, it’s Flacco’s sliding ability.
For the second time in four games, Flacco finished a nice scramble with an awkward slide on the brace protecting his surgically repaired left knee. In a victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 6, Flacco hopped off the field on his right foot to replace the brace and had to miss three plays. In Sunday’s 19-14 win against the Cincinnati Bengals, he adjusted his brace quickly and didn’t miss any game time.
On Monday, Harbaugh made clear his stance on Flacco’s slides.
“You don’t slide on your knee,” he said. “He and I have had that conversation. He can be mad at me now because I said it publicly. We all played baseball. He wants to talk about a pop-up slide. Maybe that’s what he did in high school. But you can’t do a pop-up slide on a knee brace. It’s just as simple as that. You’ve got to get down there on those glutes. That’s what’s got to happen. It’s not the first time he’s heard that.”
Flacco smoothly slid on his butt in a 28-7 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 10, suggesting he had learned how not to put a scare into his family members, teammates and fans. After Sunday’s game, he acknowledged that he had returned to his earlier form.
“In this game, I’m running, and I was looking for a hole to crawl into, and you just get down as quickly as you can, and my natural slide comes up where I’m just kind of sliding on my knee and my shin and just want to get down quick,” Flacco said. “So I’m probably going to have to deal with it for a while until I can, like, retrain myself to slide on my right side or get on my butt. I don’t want to start diving head-first and doing all that stuff because then you can fumble, and they can hit you and all that stuff. It’s just something I’m going to have deal with and get a little bit better at.” Ex-Raven ailing: Harbaugh opened his Monday news conference by announcing that former tight end Konrad Reuland, 29, is in the intensive care unit at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles because of a brain aneurysm.
“Just want to ask really for some prayers for Konrad Reuland,” Harbaugh said. “He was put into the UCLA Medical Center intensive care unit today. He had an Joe Flacco, scrambling from the Bengals’ Karlos Dansby for 16 yards Sunday, has been using a baseball-type pop-up slide at the end of his runs. Safety Eric Weddle, left, had a chance to tie C.J. Mosley, right, for the team lead in interceptions but dropped one Sunday. aneurysm in his brain, and he’s going to undergo surgery [today]. So he’s in intensive care today and tonight. So we just ask that you remember him in your prayers. Konrad Reuland, tremendous guy, and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family tonight and tomorrow for the surgery.”
From 2014 to 2015, Reuland was signed to the practice squad three times before being promoted to the active roster Dec. 8, 2015. He was released by the team May 3. Weddle blames himself: Strong safety Eric Weddle had a chance to tie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley for the team lead in interceptions, with three, but Weddle dropped a deep pass from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton intended for wide receiver James Wright in the first quarter Sunday.
Weddle, whose 21 career interceptions rank seventh among active safeties, chastised himself for the miss.
“I tell guys every day, ‘Don’t catch with your chest!’ That’s what happens,” said Weddle. “And what do you do? Freaking loser is what I am.”
Weddle said he was contemplating where to run with the interception before actually making the grab. “You’re always thinking you’re going to score. Stupid,” he said. “It’s all right. Just got to get humbled a little bit and make you work harder.” Boyle’s back: Tight end Nick Boyle did not make a catch in Sunday’s win, but he did make a few blocks in his 20 offensive snaps, and was in for 13 more plays on special teams.
It was Boyle’s first appearance of the season since serving a 10-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs for the second time. He acknowledged that he “had a few more butterflies” than he had for previous games.
“It was a little surreal running back out again because it’s been a long time. But it was awesome,” he said. “Obviously, it’s awesome when you win. Everyone’s happy, and it felt great. I’ve got some things to still work on, but I thought it was a great start.” End zone: Harbaugh said cornerback Jimmy Smith, who has sat out the past two games because of a back injury, has made progress in his rehabilitation. “I was hopeful he would get back,” Harbaugh said, referring to Sunday’s game. “He ran again on Saturday. We tried to see how well he ran on the ground. It was better, but it wasn’t good enough to play. So that’s where we’re at.” … Harbaugh said the decision to deactivate outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who had started in four of five games before Sunday, was because his position is crowded with Terrell Suggs, Albert McClellan, Elvis Dumervil and rookie Matthew Judon. “It’s really not so much about Za’Darius Smith and what he was or wasn’t doing,” Harbaugh said. “It’s more about the fact that we had to have a certain number of guys up in certain spots to play positions. We have five outside backers. It’s hard to get five outside ’backers up.” … After making his second straight start at left guard, Marshal Yanda acknowledged that he sometimes finds himself moving to his usual right guard spot, where he has earned five Pro Bowl invitations. “It still doesn’t feel right,” he said. “I still line up on the wrong side when I go out there. [Center Jeremy Zuttah] has to put me on the left side because I just naturally go to his right. But in the end, it keeps me playing football, and that’s what I want to do.” … Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase said center Mike Pouncey (hip) is “probably not ready yet” to return for Sunday’s game. The outlook for left tackle Branden Albert (dislocated wrist) and left guard Laremy Tunsil (shoulder), two other offensive linemen who sat out Sunday’s 31-24 win against the San Francisco 49ers, is also unclear.