OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens enter their bye week on a three-game losing streak, amid questions of coach John Harbaugh’s job security and Joe Flacco‘s hold on the starting quarterback job.
In an attempt to help turn around a season that is quickly unraveling, Harbaugh has gone with an unorthodox approach: no practices during the bye week.
He’s hoping fresh legs will pick up the 4-5 team.
“I know that we’re better off resting at this point,” Harbaugh said Tuesday. “I think our guys have been hard at work, at it through a long training camp, and it will be good for us to get an opportunity to get off our feet and get our legs back. So I’m looking forward to that.”
The Ravens will hold meetings and perform conditioning work through Wednesday before giving players the rest of the week off. The expectation is that all of Baltimore’s injured players will be recovered by next week, when they play an important game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Heading into Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens had 10 players on the injury report. Starting offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and James Hurst (back) didn’t play, and Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley (thigh) was playing hurt.
“We’ve got to get healed up. A lot of guys are banged up,” safety Eric Weddle said. “Get some guys back on offense. And obviously, defensively, we’ve got a lot of guys who are hurting. We’ve got seven games left. There’s still an opportunity, and nobody knows what’s going to happen, right?”
It was only last month when the Ravens were 4-2 and sitting atop the AFC North. Baltimore has since lost to the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers and Steelers to significantly diminish their playoff hopes.
That has led to questions about the quarterback position and whether rookie first-round pick Lamar Jackson should replace Flacco.
It has also ratcheted up the pressure on Harbaugh, who hasn’t led the Ravens to the postseason since 2014.
“I understand that’s part of it — and probably not surprised, because you have to win games in this league,” Harbaugh said about the questions surrounding his job security. “That’s the bottom line.”
After reporters had asked all of their questions, Harbaugh ended his media session with a closing statement, which has never happened before.
“When you watch the tape [of Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh], we played fast, we played hard,” Harbaugh said. “But are we as fast as we were earlier in the year? Probably not. We’re probably a step off just because it’s Week 9.
“This week is going to help us. It’s going to help us pick that step back up. I’m really excited about that.”