Harbaugh: Flacco ‘getting hit too much’
OWINGS MILLS — Ravens head coach John Harbaugh listed a number of reasons his team has found itself on the wrong side of a lopsided game in consecutive weeks.
Baltimore’s defense has forced one turnover in the last two games. The Ravens have been more susceptible to giving up big plays. But the primary problems can be found on the offense, beginning with quarterback Joe Flacco, who Harbaugh says is winding up on the ground far too frequently.
“He’s getting hit too much. We’ve got to work on that,” Harbaugh said Monday. “You keep your quarterback clean, your quarterback is going to be a lot better. Joe is tough. Joe just wants to get the ball out in an accurate way and he wants to be able to read things out. When you con- sistently keep the quarterback clean, I think it builds a certain rhythm to your offense. We have to figure out how to do that.”
Flacco was sacked four times by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. He was hit six more times.
The Ravens are playing with a patchwork offensive line that features a single starter from last year’s unit – left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Starting guards Alex Lewis and Marshal Yanda have been lost for the season to injury.
Matt Skura started the past two games at right guard in place of Yanda, arguably the best guard in the NFL. Skura started all four preseason games, but was waived by Baltimore just before the season. He signed to the practice squad on Sept. 5 and was promoted to the 53-man roster two weeks later following Yanda’s injury.
James Hurst, who began training camp at right tackle, has played left guard after the team signed free agent Austin Howard to start in the spot.
“There’s young guys out there who are learning how to run, especially at right guard. James [Hurst], at left guard, has been pretty good. A couple of times yesterday, they’ve got some really good defensive linemen, they got on our edges a few times. We were sliding a certain direction, they were bringing a nickel off the edge, we were just a tick late getting out there and getting on those guys,” Harbaugh said. “We just have to keep working all those things that we do. We’re not going to change dramatically what we do. You can’t panic and say, ‘Ok, we’re going to do something different.’”
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Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree (48) drills Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco while defensive end Stephon Tuitt (below) helps drop him for a 9-yard sack during the fourth quarter on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Pittsburgh prevailed, 26-9, handing Baltimore its second embarrassing defeat.