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Following Sunday’s 34-17 victory, Head Coach John Harbaugh said key veterans and coaches “negotiated” with him for time off during the Ravens’ bye.
Following offensive and defensive meetings and a team jog led by linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, Ravens players were given the rest of the week off.
“I’ll tell you, nobody likes practice more than me,” said Harbaugh, who has built a reputation with his workmanlike approach.
“With our numbers, we just didn’t see a way to put together a viable practice. Our rehab is more important. We think the practices really would have done us more harm than they would have done us good.”
Linebacker Jarret Johnson said the players were “shocked” when Harbaugh delivered the news.
“I think it was a very wise decision,” Johnson said. “It’s easy to say, ‘We’re just going to work, we’re going to grind and grind and grind.’
“That just shows the maturity of Coach Harbaugh and this team to say, ‘What’s best for this team?’ … I think it shows a lot of trust on our coaches’ part because they know we’re going to go home and work out and keep in shape and do as much as you can to improve your body going down this stretch.”
The Ravens have a number of injuries that will now have more time to recover.
Baltimore’s injury list includes: wide receiver Lee Evans (ankle), cornerback Chris Carr (hamstring), left guard Ben Grubbs (toe), cornerback Jimmy Smith (ankle), wide receiver David Reed (shoulder), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) and safeties Haruki Nakamura (knee) and Tom Zbikowski (concussion).
All seven players who were inactive for Sunday’s game against the Jets were injured, meaning every healthy player suited up. Thus, as Harbaugh said, the bye couldn’t have come at a better time.
Harbaugh said he hopes to get all the players back in time for the Ravens’ next game against the Houston Texans on Oct. 16.
“I’d probably be a little disappointed if we don’t get them all back,” Harbaugh said. “Probably the No. 1 goal this week is to improve the health of our football team.”
Coaches will spend three or four days getting a head start on game planning for the Texans, who carry a 3-1 record and are tied atop the AFC South. They will also spend a day self-scouting, deciding which schemes they like and which ones they’ll ditch.
Some of the players will stick around Baltimore to get treatment and many will go back home.
Running back Ray Rice said he’s going back to New Jersey to watch his two younger brothers play in their football games. After getting in some treatment and a lift at the Ravens’ complex, Johnson plans on heading back home to Florida.