Harbaugh: Play-Calling Wasn’t Conservative

Harbaugh said the coaches have to do a better job of dealing with opponents’ adjustments.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Monday, October 18th, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Categories: 2010 Season, Mike Duffy, Week 6 at Patriots

After their offense couldn’t get much done in the fourth quarter and overtime of a 23-20 loss to the Patriots, the Ravens have received their share of criticism, most-notably Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron.

Pundits and fans alike thought the Ravens were too conservative during a span when New England switched to a Cover 2 alignment.

On Monday, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh defended his play-caller.

“I think if you understand the coverage that they’re playing, we had good plays called,” Harbaugh said. “We had downfield routes called against it, the check down is always really good against that, you know, if the downfield routes don’t express themselves. And we had runs called against it, which you like against a three-man-rush; especially some draws.

“So, I don’t think there was anything conservative about it in that sense. I don’t think we executed it.”

However, Harbaugh did pin part of the blame on the coaching staff, vowing to address whatever issues that might have caused it.

“I don’t think we did a good enough job as coaches explaining to our players exactly how to attack it,” said Harbaugh. “I mean, we look at this thing, that’s what we do all morning. We look at it and we say, ‘You know what? What can we do better as coaches and players to solve that issue?’”

While the numbers on offense – both running and passing the football – dried up late in the game, many believe the Ravens also could have taken a risk by going for it on a fourth-and-1 situation at their own 47-yard line in the fourth quarter.

With a tenuous 20-17 lead and just under nine minutes remaining, the Ravens instead opted to punt, putting the onus on a defense that had been stingy all day.

But that unit didn’t hold, and the Patriots marched 80 yards in 13 plays, en route to a game-tying field goal.

The Ravens then went three-and-out on their final series of regulation.

“think it could have gone either way,” said Harbaugh. “By virtue of the fact that they drove the ball down the length of the field, [it's] pretty easy to make that decision in hindsight. At the time, we had the lead. I liked the way our defense was playing. I think we stopped them three times after that, so it wasn’t like we couldn’t stop them.

“But, if we’d have gone for it, there’s a good chance we would have made it because it was fourth-and-inches.”

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