Harbaugh ‘not surprised or insulted’ over queries on future
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — The Ravens have a losing record and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, so coach John Harbaugh now finds himself fielding questions about job security as he tries to bring Baltimore back into contention.
Not long after the Ravens (4-5) lost their third straight, 23-16 to Pittsburgh on Sunday, Harbaugh was asked if he was apprehensive about his future with the team.
“I’ve never been someone who’s worried about keeping a job,” he said. “It’s always been, for me, doing the job.”
On Monday, Harbaugh was asked how it felt to deal with that line of questioning with two months left in the season.
“I’m not surprised or insulted,” he said. “I understand that’s part of it and probably not surprised because you have to win games in this league. That’s the bottom line.”
Harbaugh is in his 11th season with the Ravens. Since taking over for Brian Billick in 2008, he’s compiled a 108-76 record, reached the playoffs six times and won a Super Bowl.
But the Ravens are in the midst of a serious dry spell, and owner Steve Bisciotti acknowledged last February that firing Harbaugh after the 2017 season “was certainly a consideration.”
This year’s team jumped to a 4-2 start but has since stumbled. Entering a long-awaited bye week, Harbaugh spoke about how badly the Ravens needed the break to rest and heal.
“If you watch the tape, we played fast, we played hard,” Harbaugh insisted. “But are we as fast as we were early in the year? Probably not, probably a step off just because it’s Week 9. So this week is going to help us. It’s going to help us pick up that step back, and I’m really kind of excited about that.”
From here on out, Harbaugh might have to coach as if his job depended on it. He does not, however, apologize for how he’d guided the Ravens to this point.
‘I feel real good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks,” he said. “So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me. We’ll keep fighting. That’s what we do.”
The Ravens looked sensational in a 21-0 win over Tennessee on Oct. 14. After that, however, a botched extra point cost them a shot at overtime in a 24-23 loss to New Orleans, and Carolina put a 36-21 whipping on Baltimore before the Steelers avenged a Sept. 30 loss to the Ravens on Sunday.
“It’s been a tough stretch,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve played three really good football teams the last three games. We haven’t won them. The plus part is they’re good football teams and our players have been playing hard.”
New Orleans and Carolina were coming off a bye before playing the Ravens. Now it’s Baltimore’s turn to sit back, reload, and tweak the playbook before hosting Cincinnati on Nov. 18.
“That’s what the bye is for,” Harbaugh said. “Teams use it for that purpose, and we’re going to get a chance to do that this week, too.”