Immediately after the Ravens lost to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, coach John Harbaugh placed much of the blame on himself and his staff, but on Monday he defended his use of timeouts in the second half.
Immediately after the Ravens lost to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, coach John Harbaugh placed much of the blame on himself and his staff.
Specifically, Harbaugh faced criticism for squandering two timeouts — one on his team's first possession of the second half and another on a failed challenge — that could have helped extend the Ravens' final drive.
Harbaugh said the first timeout couldn't be helped because the play the Ravens had called would not have worked.
"When you have a play up that's going to be a disaster for certain reasons, football-related reasons, you have to use a timeout," he said. "Every team in the league has to do that."
Harbaugh said he never considered taking a delay of game instead. "We wanted to get a good play off there," he said. "A timeout's not always the most important thing, especially when you're behind."
He acknowledged his later challenge of Anquan Boldin's 51-yard catch was a risk but said he wanted to prevent the 49ers from going up two scores.
"I took a shot there because it was a big play," he said. "We had nothing definitive, but I thought it was worth taking a shot there, especially given what the score was."
CBS analyst and former NFL MVP Rich Gannon also questioned the Ravens' urgency in hustling to the line on the last drive of the game. But Harbaugh defended his players on that point.
"We were trying to get up to the line as fast as we could and get the plays called as fast as we could," he said. "Could it have been done faster? Sure, we want to get it done as fast as we possibly can. It's not like we're not trying to do that. We just have to execute it better."
Despite their worst start in franchise history, the Ravens celebrated one bit of good news last week when they agreed to a four-year contract extension with All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda.
"It's great to sign Marshal," Harbaugh said. "Very deserving player. He speaks to what we believe we're all about as an organization. It's good to get a guy like that back. We'd like to do more of that with guys who are here and have proven themselves. … To get that done is a real big plus for us."
The four-year deal, worth $32 million with almost $18 million guaranteed, will keep the 31-year-old Yanda under team control through 2019.
No injury update
A Ravens secondary already plagued by injuries and poor performances suffered another blow Sunday when safety Kendrick Lewis left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter and was seen walking on crutches after the game.
Harbaugh said he didn't have an update on Lewis' injury Monday, when the safety was supposed to have an MRI.
The loss of Lewis stung worse because second-year safety Terrence Brooks was inactive against the 49ers with a thumb injury. Brooks had demonstrated his versatility the previous week against the Cleveland Browns with a cameo appearance as a nickel defensive back.
The injuries forced the Ravens to play Brynden Trawick, generally a special teams performer, at safety.
Harbaugh acknowledged the secondary has allowed too many big plays this season and said the Ravens might bring in new defensive backs for auditions this week.