Hampered by a growing injury list, Ravens coach John Harbaugh on Monday turned players loose for the bye week rather than trying to squeeze an extra practice out of his depleted troops.
Linebacker Jarret Johnson said he was shocked by the move, but he called it a “very wise decision” to let players start healing immediately.
The Ravens finished with five defensive backs in Sunday’s game against the Jets after safety Tom Zbikowski went out with a concussion. Chris Carr was a pregame scratch with a left hamstring issue, and that led the Ravens to use three safeties in their nickel package.
Harbaugh saw little good coming from two more practices early this week.
“Really, with our [injury] numbers, we just didn’t see a way we could put together a viable practice,” Harbaugh said. “And the rehab is more important. I thought the practices really would have done us more harm than they would have done us good in the next two days. Now if we could have practiced Thursday or Friday, it might have helped us a little bit. But we’re not allowed to do that. I think we’ll be better off with taking the week away.”
According to the new collective bargaining agreement, the Ravens are not allowed to hold practice after Tuesday during a bye week. Their next practice, before facing the Houston Texans on Oct. 16, will be Monday.
Harbaugh said he spoke with “key veterans” and assistant coaches before deciding to send players home, although injured players will still receive treatment during the week.
The coaching staff, meanwhile, will do advance work on the Texans and also conduct a self-scouting procedure designed to break tendencies the team may have shown through the first four games.
“We built both of our schemes for the first four games,” Harbaugh said. “So we’ll have to kind of take a look now and see … what we like, what don’t we like, what do we want to add, and kind of look at the next four weeks and see what kind of broad package we want to put together.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun