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What they're saying about the Ravens -- Jan. 18

Here's a look at what other media outlets are saying about the Ravens as they head into the offseason:

• In his Tuesday Morning Quarterback column, ESPN.com's Gregg Easterbrook analyzes the Ravens-Steelers game.

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"This better not be another three-man rush!" Your columnist exclaimed those words -- I've got multiple witnesses -- as the Steelers broke the huddle, game tied, facing third-and-19 on their 38 just before the two-minute warning.

All football tactics involve an element of luck -- something that's not worked earlier might work now. But for the Ravens, the three-man rush had been a disaster in the second half. Early in the third quarter, Pittsburgh had first-and-goal on the Baltimore 9, and the Ravens rushed three. The result was a touchdown pass to Heath Miller, who was open even though Baltimore had eight players dropping into coverage to cover five receivers in a small space. Late in the third quarter, Pittsburgh had third-and-6 on the Baltimore 8, and the Ravens again rushed three. The result was a touchdown strike to Hines Ward, again despite eight defenders covering five receivers. On third-and-10 with 3:25 remaining, the Ravens rushed three and allowed a 12-yard reception by Ward, though they had eight dropping into coverage to cover four on that snap. Then came the third-and-19 breakdown -- 58-yard reception by Antonio Brown, even though two safeties were lined up more than 20 yards off the ball at the snap.

A three-man rush can work when it's a surprise: when the quarterback expects a three-man rush, he can pat the ball and wait for someone to uncover. Roethlisberger took his sweet time on third-and-19 and created the game's decisive down. The Ravens list 20 assistant coaches and six scouts. None of them noticed the three-man rush wasn't working? The winning Steelers, by contrast, used a three-man rush on just one snap. In the final minute, leading 31-24 and Baltimore possessing the ball at midfield, the Steelers rushed either four or five to sustain pressure on the visiting quarterback.

I don't blame Joe Flacco in the vociferous way many Raven fans do. If Anquan Boldin catches a ball that hits him in the numbers in the end zone, Baltimore leads 28-24 with four minutes left; instead the Ravens kicked a field goal to tie it. With one minute left, Flacco should have converted a fourth-and-18, but a perfect pass bounced off T.J. Houshmandzadeh's chest at the Steeler 24. Those balls get caught? Very well could be a different game. But in a series like Baltimore-Pittsburgh, those type of mistakes decide games.

• ESPN.com's James Walker looks at the road ahead for the Ravens, including some of their needs.

Look for Baltimore to be in the market for an offensive tackle. The Ravens' pass protection was very inconsistent, and quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked five times in Saturday's defeat to the Steelers.

With the season-ending back injury to Jared Gaither, Baltimore rotated players such as Tony Moll, Oniel Cousins and Marshal Yanda at right tackle. None of them was very stout. Former first-round pick Michael Oher also struggled at times playing his first season at left tackle. He excelled as a rookie right tackle. So if Baltimore can find a blue-chip left tackle, it may want to consider putting Oher back to the right side and upgrade both positions.

• The (Northern Ohio) News-Herald's Jeff Schudel writes about Jim Zorn's potential to become the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator.

Jim Zorn, currently the quarterbacks coach of the Baltimore Ravens, could be the Browns' next offensive coordinator, according to league sources.

Zorn was the quarterbacks coach under Browns president Mike Holmgren in Seattle from 2001-2007 when Holmgren was the Seahawks' head coach. Zorn helped develop Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in the West Coast offense. It is the same offense new Browns coach Pat Shurmur will run.

Shurmur plans to call plays initially, he said at his introductory news conference. Zorn would be able to take over eventually and in the meantime tutor Colt McCoy as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.

• Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News reports that Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is a candidate for the same position with the University of Michigan.

Another consideration is Greg Mattison, the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator. Mattison was with Michigan from 1992 to 1996, serving as defensive coordinator the last two seasons before leaving for Notre Dame, where he worked from 1997-2004. He then went to Florida where he was co-defensive coordinator from 2005-07.

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Mattison and Hoke, from all accounts, are very good friends. They worked together on Jack Harbaugh's staff at Western Michigan -- Mattison was there from 1982-86, and Hoke was there from 1984-86 - and they both worked under Lloyd Carr at Michigan.

Mattison did not return a call on Monday.

[Compiled by Dean Jones Jr.]

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