Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco on the Ravens offense: 'We need to take our shots'

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Quarterback Joe Flacco declined to specifically address the Ravens' myriad offensive shortcomings immediately following their 19-13 loss to the Denver Broncos last Sunday. But given a couple of days to digest the performance, he pinpointed one thing that he says has to change.

"The first thing we got to do, in this past game, we didn't really ever attempt to do it. We've talked about that. We need to take our shots," Flacco said following the Ravens practice Wednesday at San Jose State. "If nothing else, at least it lets teams know that we're going to do that and have the confidence in ourselves in doing that."


Flacco attempted only one pass over 20 yards against the Broncos, a 22-yard completion to Marlon Brown along the sideline. The majority of his 31 passing attempts were dump-offs to running backs and tight ends. The Ravens' top four receivers — Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Brown and Michael Campanaro (River Hill) — combined for just five catches for 45 yards.

Flacco is considered one of the best deep ball throwers in the league. Since his rookie year in 2008, Flacco leads all NFL quarterbacks with 493 attempts over 20 yards in the air, according to ESPN Stats & Info. However, the deep ball was noticeably absent from the Ravens' game plan against the Broncos.


It obviously didn't help that Flacco was pressured on more than 60 percent of his drop-backs, giving him very little time to look downfield. The Ravens also lack top-end speed on the outside with rookie Breshad Perriman still ailing. But Flacco wasn't using either of those things as an excuse. He says that they need to take their shots down the field regardless.

"As far as confidence goes, I think it also translates to us," Flacco said. "If we're going to call those things and get them going, I think it'll give us the confidence to go out there and execute plays and have some explosiveness to us. It's tough to maintain 15-play drives consistently and score points. So, we're going to have those as part of our game. So, to start off, I would say that. And then we have to make sure that we protect and I find the soft zone in the pocket and put the ball where it needs to be."

Three Ravens return

Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (knee) and cornerback Rashaan Melvin (thigh) all were held out of last Sunday's opener, but they all practiced Wednesday. Taliaferro and Jernigan practiced in full, which bodes well for their availability for Sunday's game. Melvin and running back Justin Forsett (shoulder) were limited participants.

The only two Ravens who didn't practice were Perriman (knee) and starting left tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion). Perriman hasn't practiced since July 30 and isn't expected to play Sunday.

As for the Raiders, quarterback Derek Carr, who sprained the thumb on his throwing hand in last Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, practiced and will start against the Ravens barring any setbacks.

Del Rio's Ravens' ties

Jack Del Rio, the Raiders' first-year head coach, is trying to turn around an organization that hasn't had a winning season since 2002, and went 3-13 last year. For inspiration, he acknowledges that he looks back on the transition the Ravens made while he was an assistant on coach Brian Billick's staff.


Del Rio was the Ravens' linebackers coach from 1999 to 2001. In 1999, the Ravens went 8-8, their fourth consecutive non-winning season since arriving in Baltimore. However, the next year, the Ravens went 12-4 and captured the franchise's first Super Bowl.

"Certainly, you draw on all the experiences that you had, and that was a great experience there in Baltimore — a special place, and obviously, we got it turned around in a hurry and end up going on and winning the Super Bowl in our second year there," Del Rio said Wednesday. "I think that was a special time, a lot of special relationships that remain with me, but anyway, right now we're just busy trying to put a football team together."

Lacking cohesion

Much was made about how the Ravens returned the same starting offense line for the first time in franchise history. Yet, the group didn't exactly pick up where it left off in terms of run blocking.

The Ravens gained just 73 yards on 23 rushes, an average of 3.2 yards per carry, in the loss to the Broncos and Harbaugh said a lack of cohesion might have had something to do with the struggles.

All five starting linemen played together briefly in the first preseason game against the New Orleans Saints. However, right tackle Rick Wagner and left guard Kelechi Osemele didn't play in the second preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles because of injuries. Osemele and left tackle Monroe were sidelined for the third preseason game against the Washington Redskins. None of the starters played in the preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons.


"I think early in the season, you look around the league, and you'll see a lot of that — guys playing for the first time, units being together for the first time. There's going to be some rough patches," Harbaugh said. "From a cohesive standpoint, there are plenty of things to work on. … It's the offensive line, it's the running backs, it's the scheme, it's the formations — it's all of it. We all take responsibility for that."

End zone

Asked who will be the guy to deliver the pregame speech with Terrell Suggs out, Flacco joked, "Not me." … The Ravens terminated the contract of quarterback Bryn Renner, replacing him on the practice squad with offensive tackle Tony Hills. Hills, a fourth-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008, has played for eight different teams in a seven-season span, appearing in only 13 games during that span. Hills or fellow practice squad offensive tackle De'Ondre Wesley could be candidates to join the active roster in time for Sunday's game if Monroe remains unavailable. … Former Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward, now with the San Jose Sharks, attended Ravens practice today. Ward is a Ravens' fans.

Tonight's picks



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Jennifer Badie: Chiefs

Jon Meoli: Chiefs

Alexander Pyles: Broncos

Mike Preston: Chiefs

Peter Schmuck: Chiefs


Childs Walker: Chiefs

Jeff Zrebiec: Chiefs