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Pees: Defensive play 'makes me sick'

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Pees: Defensive play 'makes me sick'

On Wednesday, Ravens safety Bernard Pollard tried to deflect criticism for the Ravens' subpar defensive play away from defensive coordinator Dean Pees, saying, in part,  "Don't blame the coach. Don't blame the coach, because the coach doesn't play."

The next day, Pees pointed a finger squarely at himself, saying the coaches bear responsibility for lapses in fundamentals and overall defensive play recently that "makes me sick."

The Ravens have surrendered more than 200 rushing yards in back-to-back games for the first time in franchise history and rank 26th in the league in both total defense and against the run.

"An old coach told me a long time ago 'Nothing happens by circumstance. There's a reason for everything.'" Pees said. "So you gotta look at it and find it."

And looking at things closely over the past week, Pees said much of the problem boils down to fundamentals.

"One of the things we gotta do ... it's the players, but it's the staff just as much, and it falls on me, is just do better fundamentals," Pees said.

"It isn't about the calls. If you don't play the call fundamentally correct, it doesn't really matter what the call is, whether it's a pressure, not a pressure, three-man rush, four-man rush, five-man rush,  it does not matter.  So we gotta get better at technique, and it's the same thing when it comes to missed tackles, which we had a bunch of in the last game. That's technique, and we gotta do a better job of coaching it throughout the entire practice."

Pees said he appreciated Pollard sticking up for him and pointed that out in a defensive meeting.

"Yes, it's the players that gotta go out there and make the tackles," Pees said. "But you know what? It's up to the coaches to No. 1, for me as coordinator, to put them in a position to make the tackles. That's No. 1. And then no. 2, if we see something (bad) in practice ... that's on us as coaches to stop it right there. That wasn't good enough. That wasn't good enough. We gotta come back and do it."

"If you allow it to happen, then when it happens in the game, don't blame the player for that. You had a chance to correct it during the week and didn't get it corrected."

It would be easy to use injuries as an excuse, with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs (Achilles) out all season thus far, and now injuries to linebackers Ray Lewis (torn tricpes) and Lardarius Webb (knee) likely ending their seasons as well.

Pees, though, said the talent is there even without those three.

" We have enough talent to succeed. We just have to play better."

If there is a silver lining, it's that despite the defensive woes, the Ravens sit at 5-1 and are tied for the AFC's best record.

"I'm happy as I can be to be 5-1, but I also feel fortunate to be 5-1 the way we're playing on defense," Pees said.  "Let's be honest, OK? We're not playing well enough. To say it any other way would sound like a political debate."

 

 

 

 

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Ravens not counting on having LB C.J. Mosley vs. Broncos on Sunday

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Ravens not counting on having LB C.J. Mosley vs. Broncos on Sunday

BALTIMORE -- Coming off a long weekend following their first loss of the season, the Baltimore Ravens have implemented a contingency plan for moving forward without three-time Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Mosley bruised his left knee Thursday night in a 34-23 defeat at Cincinnati. Although the fifth-year standout receives a few extra days to recover, it's unlikely he will ready for Sunday's game against unbeaten Denver.

"It isn't a structural issue. That's good news," coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "We'll just see how that thing comes along and keep our fingers crossed."

Rookie linebacker Kenny Young and Patrick Onwuasor played the position after Mosley left in the first quarter. Though the Ravens tightened up defensively in the second half, they yielded touchdowns on four straight series after Mosley's departure.

"It definitely seemed like things were a little bit scrambled when you lose a guy like that," cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. "Just him being out there makes everything smoother."

To help fill the void, the Ravens on Monday signed Albert McClellan , who played six years for Baltimore before being cut on Sept. 1.

McClellan missed all of last year with a knee injury but has 90 games of NFL experience, all with the Ravens.

"Albert is a very good football player. He knows everything we do," Harbaugh said. "He gives us a lot on special teams and can play middle linebacker. I would say he kind of solidifies in there a little bit, having so many young players in the group."

To make room for McClellan, the Ravens placed cornerback Maurice Canady on injured reserve with a thigh injury. Harbaugh said it's not a season-ending injury, and it's possible that Canady could return later in the season.

Mosley led the Ravens last year with a career-high 132 tackles and is in charge of calling the plays on defense. That role has been handed to safety Eric Weddle.

Young appears in position to make his first NFL start. Selected out of UCLA in the fourth round of the NFL draft, the 23-year-old Young made a favorable impression before his making seven tackles last week in Cincinnati.

"He's going a great job. We're real happy with him," Harbaugh said. "He's very smart, very studious, very conscientious. I think his learning curb is steep."

After beating Buffalo 47-3 in the opener, the Ravens (1-1) took a huge step back last week. The Bengals led 28-7 in the second quarter and cruised to the finish.

Following a short week, the Ravens enjoyed a rare weekend that did not involve playing football.

"Yeah, that's valuable to have that, as far as recovery and things like that, and study," Harbaugh said.

It also provided the team some extra time to get over the Cincinnati game.

"You just can't beat yourself up too much because if you do, that just takes you in a downward path," Harbaugh said. "What it's going to boil down to in the end is, who's mentally tougher over the long haul? You've got to keep grinding."

There are plenty of unbeaten teams remaining, including the Broncos, but Harbaugh believes it's way too early to start identifying the best clubs in the league.

"Nobody in the NFL is a good football team yet," he said. "It remains to be seen who the good football teams are, and that's what we've got to try to become."

Harbaugh said tight end Hayden Hurst (foot) and defensive tackle Willie Henry (abdomen) won't practice this week.

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Ravens Week 2 Player of the Game: WR John Brown

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Ravens Week 2 Player of the Game: WR John Brown

Coming off a strong Week 1 performance, the Ravens marched into Cincinnati for Week 2 and put up a dud.

The defense struggled immediately without C.J. Mosley, and Joe Flacco and the offense saw their share of unfortunate turnovers. 

While there was much to be concerned about in their 34-23 loss, one Raven that brought a high to a mainly low night was offseason addition John Brown.

Brown's night was highlighted by an insane 21-yard touchdown that put the Ravens within five in the fourth quarter. Prior to that, Flacco connected with the wide receiver for a 45-yard completion on third down. 'Smoke' also drew a 30-yard penalty that helped set up a touchdown, finishing his night with four catches for 92 yards.

The connection between Flacco and Brown was apparent throughout training camp, and in two games, the 28-year-old has become a trusted target. He currently leads the Ravens with 136 yards and two touchdowns and his 19.43-yard average is well above his fellow receivers. The speed he possess makes it difficult for defenses to keep up, and if Brown can stay healthy, he could be the consistent deep-threat the team's been looking for for years. 

 “I’m satisfied, and I did pretty good," Brown said after the Ravens' Week 1 win. "But it doesn’t stop right here.”

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