Harbaugh confident Flacco, Ravens can bounce back

BY foxsports • September 20, 2010

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 Gaither has been replaced by Marshall Yanda, who usually plays guard, and Chris Chester has assumed Yanda's spot at right guard.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.''

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