"Hopeful" was the word of the day for coach John Harbaugh, who spoke to the media the day after the Ravens clinched a wild-card berth in the AFC playoffs with a 27-7 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Asked about the availability of cornerback Fabian Washington and his injured toe for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, Harbaugh said, "He's doing well. I don't know that we can expect it, but we're hopeful that he will be there."
A little later, Harbaugh said rookie running back Ray Rice's left shin contusion was improving. "But again, I was hoping that Ray would be back last week, I was hoping that he would be back the week before," Harbaugh said. "So we continue to hope that he'll be back this week."
Harbaugh also said the team does not intend to place linebacker Antwan Barnes (pectoral muscle) on injured reserve. "We're going to take a shot at trying to get Antwan back," he said. "We feel like there's a chance we can get Antwan back."
*With speculation that assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Rex Ryan will be interviewed for NFL head coaching vacancies in the offseason, Harbaugh seemed to back his friend's candidacy. "Rex Ryan's going to be a great head coach in the NFL – without a doubt," Harbaugh said. "He's got all the talent, all the ability to do it. I'm hoping that Rex Ryan is here for many, many years to come, and maybe that's been part of our conversation. But whatever happens, happens."
*Harbaugh defended his decision not to pull the starters until the fourth quarter of Sunday's game by pointing out that the Jaguars trailed by less than three touchdowns. "We felt at that point in time, they had a chance to get back into that football game," he said. "Things can turn quickly in this league, and we weren't going to do anything to jeopardize the outcome of this football game."
*Harbaugh declined to reveal the conversation he and Ryan had with free safety Ed Reed after he lateraled an intercepted pass to defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. "Ed Reed's going to do everything he can to win a football game, I can tell you that," Harbaugh said. "We discuss strategy sometimes and what might be the best way of doing that." Asked if he gets nervous watching Reed make those laterals, Harbaugh replied, "What difference does it make if it makes me nervous or not? That's not going to matter."