The Ravens entered their bye week in unfamiliar territory under Harbaugh. They are 3-4, the latest that they've had a losing record in Harbaugh's six seasons at the helm. They are also two games behind the first-place Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.
Ten months after suffering a spinal cord contusion that had endangered his NFL career, McClain returned to practice for the first time. McClain gained medical clearance last week when his latest magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed no more signs of the bruising damage sustained during a hit last December against the Washington Redskins.
The Ravens are well-rested, motivated and ticked off, not a good combination if you are a Browns team that is looking for its first win in the series since 2007. Cleveland is an improving team and they will pose problems for the Ravens in several areas.
The Ravens endured that breakdown during their 49-27 loss to the Denver Broncos when safety David Bruton shot through the gap between inside linebacker Arthur Brown and strong safety James Ihedigbo and deflected the football off of punter Sam Koch's foot.
The decision, made with the fan base still in the midst of celebrating the organization's second Super Bowl title, was mildly criticized at the time, but the second guessing is growing louder by the day. It certainly didn't help that Boldin's dominant performance came just three days after his former team opened its season with a 49-27 loss to the Denver Broncos.
The Baltimore Ravens' season-opening 49-27 loss to the Denver Broncos on Thursday night featured a team-wide breakdown as the reigning Super Bowl champions were outplayed in every facet. But one group that took the loss particularly hard was the Ravens' defensive backs, who were badly victimized on Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's record night.
Beyond having the leg strength to rocket the football through the uprights, Justin Tucker was about more than just power. He was uncommonly accurate. Tucker connected on 30 of 33 field goals for a 90.9 percent success rate, the second-best mark for a rookie in NFL history.
The Ravens have a new cast of characters on their coverage teams in 2013, but in last week's preseason loss, their punt coverage team experienced the kind of breakdown that plagued them during the playoffs in 2012.
Heading into Thursday's nationally-televised preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens' intent is clear. In what is expected to be the last extended playing time for the starters before the Sept. 5 regular-season opener in Denver, the Ravens are focused on developing some momentum and rhythm on offense.
Newly signed slot receiver Brandon Stokley practiced with the Ravens for the first time Monday, but it was obvious that he was unfamiliar with his new teammates and what he was supposed to be doing on a few plays, which is understandable considering he was lining up on his couch a few days ago.
Justin Tucker is coming off a dream season for any NFL kicker, let alone a rookie. He missed just three field goals in 2012 and he started to write the legacy of a clutch kicker when he nailed a game-winning kick in Denver and made two more field goals in the Super Bowl. But Tucker isn't dwelling on his accomplishments.
As diminutive Ravens running back Bobby Rainey and punter Sam Koch belted several home runs at Ripken Stadium, cornerback Lardarius Webb came away even more impressed by what surrounded his teammates Sunday in Aberdeen.
Sunday afternoon, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it would be tough to find another punter who would press incumbent Sam Koch, who has been Baltimore's primary punter since the Ravens drafted him back in 2006. But is competition even needed for Koch?
As punter Sam Koch was about to kick to Ginn following a safety, Flacco was telling tight end Dennis Pitta and offensive linemen Marshal Yanda and Matt Birk that they shouldn't let Ginn run down the field. If anyone had followed Flacco's advice and run onto the field from the sideline, it would have been an illegal tackle and would have caused the 49ers to be awarde a touchdown.
As Sam Koch prepared to boot a free kick to San Francisco 49ers return Ted Ginn Jr., quarterback Joe Flacco encouraged his teammates to run onto the field and tackle Ginn if it looked like he was going to score.
Quarterback Joe Flacco is getting the credit that he deserves for leading the Ravens throughout the playoffs and then to a victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. It will be interesting if Ravens coach John Harbaugh gets his.
On Sunday, the Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, and they will attempt to win their second Lombardi Trophy with a roster largely constructed with homegrown players raised in the Ravens Way.
His memory is a bit hazy, but Sam Koch remembers watching his first Super Bowl in his family's home in Nebraska and being entranced by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana. So while sitting down for either Super Bowl XXIII in January 1989 or XXIV the following year, Koch discovered what he wanted to do when he was older.