Bryant McKinnie was traded to Miami for a late draft pick….and so the mid-season housecleaning begins for the Ravens and John Harbaugh.
Head Coach John Harbaugh emphasized that no stone will be unturned when it comes to turning around the reigning Super Bowl champions.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes,” Harbaugh told the media Monday following a 19-16 loss in Pittsburgh.
“We’ll trade guys, we’ll cut guys, we’ll sign guys, we’ll coach guys, we’ll change schemes. It doesn’t matter, we’re going to find a way to get better. And that’s the business we’re in.”
Harbaugh indicated one of the upcoming changes could also be making roster or lineup moves on special teams. The unit didn’t execute a surprise onside kick and allowed a big kickoff return that set up the Steelers’ game-winning field goal in the loss.
Special teams isn’t the only area of focus for the Ravens over the bye. Harbaugh essentially had a checklist for reporters, starting with improving in the trenches.
“We’ve got run the ball and we need to stop the run,” he said. “We’ve got to get turnovers, we need to not turn the ball over. We need to protect the quarterback, we need to get sacks. We need to score in the red zone, we need to continue to stop people from scoring in the red zone. We need to get big plays, we need to stop people from having big plays.
“Those are all of the things that you’re asking about that we have to do better. How do you go about doing that? That’s the challenge.”
Harbaugh said the Ravens will spend the next two days working on their weaknesses with the players before excusing them, per NFL rules, Wednesday afternoon.
Baltimore’s coaching staff will also go through a full self-scouting process and likely look at the other side of the ball as well as try to pinpoint flaws. They’ll determine what in the playbook and schemes are working well and what’s not.
It’s also a time for the players to rest and get healthy before returning for a nine-game stretch that will determine whether the reigning champions get back in the playoffs.
“We’ve got a lot to improve on,” Harbaugh said. “It’s going to be a long season, and we have an opportunity going forward. We’ve just got to become a good football team.”
The Ravens have been through stretches like this before where the offense effectively dries up for a spell, the team dips below .500 at midseason, then the team goes into high gear the rest of the way. A lot of people forget that in Brian Billick's championship season with the Ravens in 2000, they were actually 4-5 at one point, and hadn't scored an offensive touchdown in 4 straight games.
Of course, 2013 is a different defense!
Here are some inside looks at what the Ravens are pondering during their Bye week: