Harbaugh: Passing Yards Allowed A Concern

After allowing 365 yards, Harbaugh believes the coverages, not players, need improving.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Monday, August 23rd, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

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According to the scoreboard, the Ravens’ pass coverage was spectacular Saturday night versus the Redskins. No touchdowns, only one field goal.

But 401 yards through the air, including 206 in the first half at the hands of Donovan McNabb, is too much for Head Coach John Harbaugh.

“The passing yards are a concern, obviously,” Harbaugh said Monday. “When I stood up there after the game I didn’t realize they threw for that many yards against us because I felt we were playing pretty well for the most part.”

Much of the damage was done over the middle of the field, particularly against the Ravens’ linebackers. McNabb completed seven of his 11 completions to the short middle of the field, where linebackers are often left in coverage, especially if others are blitzing.

Washington converted three third downs on the first drive alone, including a 13-yarder to Santana Moss, who hung on despite getting leveled by Ray Lewis. Then Redskins tight end Chris Cooley converted a third-and-14 by breaking away from middle linebacker Tavares Gooden. That set up the 45-yard bomb over the deep middle that eventually led to Washington’s only points.

Gooden is one of the Ravens’ top coverage linebackers and Jameel McClain, who started Saturday’s game, has also shown great improvement in that area. Brendon Ayanbadejo, who remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list, excelled in that role last year but when he will return is unknown.

Harbaugh thought the players themselves did a good job.

“We have guys that can cover, no question about it,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not worried about that at all.”

Harbaugh said the Ravens have a lot of different coverages from last year. He said they need to work out some details in two-deep coverage and quarters coverage, but that’s what the preseason is for.

“It’s funny because during the week of practice I felt like we really made progress with our basic zone drops with the linebackers handling routes,” Harbaugh said. “Then in the game we weren’t quite there. We want to transfer that improvement to the game this week if we can.”

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