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Why the Ravens See the Chargers as a "Hard-Playing, Vicious Group"
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Heading into Week 8, few figured the San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens’ records would be what they are. At 2-5 and 1-6 respectively, both teams have faced much adversity in recent weeks they haven’t been able to overcome.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco previewed Sunday’s match against the Chargers and said the inability to close out and win games in recent weeks has been nothing short of frustrating.
“That’s part of the NFL, when you’re not good enough, you’re going to be frustrated,” Flacco said. “It’s just where we are right now. There’s a fine line between winning and losing and you can’t make one error. One play here or there is a difference. We haven’t been good enough to overcome some of the mistakes we’ve been making...we’re not quite explosive enough and we’re not quite good enough right now. It’s frustrating when you’re going out there and playing week after week and you’re in a position to win football games and just can’t do it.”
In addition, the Ravens are minus-7 in the turnover ratio and Harbaugh alluded that their propensity to turn the ball over and inability to take the ball away from their opponents has certainly contributed to their losing record.
“It’s really a big part of it,” Harbaugh mentioned. “It’s a huge deal (and) it always is when teams aren’t winning games. Usually that’s a major part of it so we have to turn it over less and we have to get more. We really haven’t made plays in the back end. People haven’t fumbled, which means we aren’t hitting them hard enough or we aren’t around the ball enough like we need to be on defense.”
As for what stands out about the Chargers, Harbaugh called San Diego’s defense a “hard-playing, vicious group.” Offensively, he acknowledged it all starts and ends with number 17 and the weapons around him.
“Philip Rivers. He’s pretty good. Obviously, a great quarterback (and) a great player. They built the offense around him and their skill players. They have a big, physical offensive line and really good backs. They’ve got the young kid, (Melvin) Gordon, who’s a bell-cow type guy and a talented guy. And (Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver) do a great job out of the backfield. They’re very diversified (with) screens, lining up as wide receivers, pass protection (and) also can run the ball. I think the receivers speak (for) themselves. Good receivers. They’ve got two really good tight ends as far as pass catchers and two guys who are kind of versatile blockers. It’s a well-rounded group on offense.”
One of the offense’s key weapons is Keenan Allen. In the Chargers’ 34-33 comeback victory over the Ravens last year, Allen had a season-high 11 receptions for 121-yards and two touchdowns. Heading into Sunday, Harbaugh knows Allen is a player you have to game plan for.
“He’s a guy that you really have to know where he’s at and keep tabs on him because he can do it all. He’s a really good route-runner and he has size. That’s kind of a great combination and you don’t see that often. He’s a play-maker down the field underneath and after the catch, he’s a really good run-after-catch guy. I think he’s one of the top guys in the league.”
One player both teams are familiar with is Jacoby Jones. Jones, who spent three seasons with the Ravens, will make the trip back to Baltimore this weekend as member of the opposition. However, both Harbaugh and Flacco are looking forward to reuniting with number 12.
“Jacoby is just a wonderful guy to be around,” Harbaugh said. “We loved having him here. His light shined every day, that’s for sure. Just enjoyed the experience of being around Jacoby. He had big plays for us, he made some big plays in the passing game and had huge returns for us at critical moments.”
“Jacoby is great,” added Flacco. “He’s an awesome locker room guy and he’s a great football player. He gave a lot of things to our team in the return game and as a receiver getting downfield and using his speed…it’s obviously tough to see a guy like that move on, but at the same time you wish him the best as well.”