Harbaugh confident Flacco, Ravens can bounce back

Quarterback Joe Flacco is a big reason why the Baltimore Ravens

are struggling to score points.

Coach John Harbaugh Monday guaranteed that his third-year

signal-caller will play better. He needs him to turn around

quickly.

The third-year quarterback threw a career-high four

interceptions in Sunday’s 15-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. In

Baltimore’s opener, a 10-9 win over the New York Jets, Flacco lost

a fumble and threw an interception.

Because of their offensive struggles the Ravens trail unbeaten

Pittsburgh in the AFC North despite not having given up a

touchdown.

But Harbaugh defended his quarterback on Monday.

”Hey, four interceptions is too much,” Harbaugh said. ”It’s

not just the quarterback. Joe would be the first to tell you he

wants to play better. (But) I’m not going to single one guy out.

It’s a long season. He’s going to play a lot better, I guarantee

you that.”

Baltimore’s focus during the offseason was to enhance an offense

that has long been overshadowed by a strong defense. But the

addition of wide receivers Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh,

along with a willingness to throw the ball downfield, have not yet

produced the desired results.

The Buffalo Bills, with 17 points, are the only AFC team to

score fewer points than the Ravens after two games.

”It’s going to materialize. It’s going to be a winning offense,

there’s no doubt about that,” Harbaugh insisted. ”We’ve got good

players, we’ve got a good, physical offensive line, we’ve got a

great scheme. You’re going to have ups and downs because it’s

competitive. You’re going against different defenses, they come up

with different ideas.”

The Bengals’ strategy against the Ravens was pretty simple:

Combine a strong pass rush and tight coverage to render Flacco

ineffective.

”This game was a tough game for us,” Harbaugh acknowledged.

”We did not play as well on that side of the ball as we expect

to.”

That physical offensive line is missing tackle Jared Gaither,

and his absence has been felt. Gaither has been replaced by

Marshall Yanda, who usually plays guard, and Chris Chester has

assumed Yanda’s spot at right guard.

Flacco was sacked once and often threw under duress, but

Harbaugh is confident his quarterback will return to form –

hopefully by this Sunday, when Baltimore hosts the Cleveland

Browns.

”He’s always bounced back. He bounced back from a tough first

half and led us on that drive to start the second half,” Harbaugh

said, referring to Baltimore’s lone touchdown march.

”He’s always done it in the past. That’s the type of person he

is,” Harbaugh said. ”He’s a competitive guy, he’s a talented guy.

He’s starting his third year. You look at the history. There’s

going to be ups and downs.”

Instead of being 2-0 with two road wins against teams that

reached the AFC playoffs last season, the Ravens are in rebound

mode.

”It’s a disappointing loss because I think we had an

opportunity the first two weeks to really do some damage and put

ourselves in good position,” Harbaugh said. ”It would have given

us a big leg up. So we move on.”

The Ravens liked the makeup of their roster coming out of

training camp, and that hasn’t changed.

”Nobody’s got a better perspective on it than us, in house,”

Harbaugh said. ”We’re not one bit concerned about our talent level

at any position. We know we can win with the guys we’ve got, and

that’s what we intend to do.”