OWINGS MILLS – Coach John Harbaugh challenged his defensive players at his Monday press conference, saying he did not recognize Sunday’s performance in Oakland as Ravens football.
“We had missed tackles,” Harbaugh said. “We had missed assignments. We had breakdowns in coverage. We had missed alignments. We played about as unsoundly as you can play in a lot of different ways. We had effort, for the most part. But I’ll even say we didn’t have the kind of effort we need to have on defense, the kind of all-out, flying around effort that we expect from the Ravens’ defense.
“Our defense played the way we expect them to play the week before (in Denver), and didn’t play the way we expect them to play this week (in Oakland). If we’re going to have a chance to be a successful football team, our defense has got to step up and play defense like the Ravens play. And that’s the expectation, that’s what the bar is set. We’re going to have the guys out there that do that. It’s on us as coaches to put the right guys out there, teach them to do the right things, and have the right schemes in place.
“If guys aren’t lining up right, that’s on us.... all of us, coaches and players together. It’s our job to get that fixed It’s not the fans’ job. It’s not the media’s job. It’s our job and we need to get it done. We expect to play great defense around here. And that’s just not what we did on Sunday.”
The Ravens made a trade Monday aimed at helping the secondary, acquiring cornerback Will Davis from the Dolphins in exchange for a future late-round pick.
However, since late last season, the Ravens’ defense has developed a troubling habit of surrendering late leads.
Harbuagh has delivered his message. We’ll see how the defense responds in Sunday’s home opener against the Bengals.