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Ravens must make fixes in three key areas

Finding a third receiver, establishing a pass rush and getting the secondary healthy becomes the focus

September 19, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

"I'm sure everybody … is saying, 'We got so much pressure last week and we hit Roethlisberger.' Roethlisberger is a different animal. He's going to stand there like a man and throw it," said Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson. "I'm not saying that Hasselbeck is not, but he's a West Coast rhythm guy and he's throwing that football. There's no sense in sending seven or eight guys and putting pressure on the back-end guys. You might as well leave the extra guys in coverage."

The Ravens faced a similar approach before, and they will again. When they do, Harbaugh said that any success will start with getting better coverage from the secondary.

"The bottom line is, you cover them and you mix up coverages and you change up coverages," Harbaugh said. "We can do a better job of disguising coverages, I think, although a guy like [Hasselbeck] is pretty good at reading them. You have to cover their receivers. We hit them a lot, and we'll continue to. It's like last year when we got the three-step stuff. You'll go get the guy, but the ball is probably going to be out. You get some batted balls. That's important, but you have to cover their receivers."

•Finally, the Ravens need to work at solidifying the cornerback position, which has been decimated by injuries.

Jimmy Smith remains out with a high left ankle sprain and Chris Carr missed Sunday's game with a hamstring injury. Domonique Foxworth is a little over a year removed from knee surgery and Harbaugh acknowledged Saturday that it's clear that he's not 100 percent.

Of the two starters, Cary Williams had started one game in his career before this season and Lardarius Webb only four. Their inexperience showed Sunday as they struggled to keep up with Washington and Britt.

"When we play good technique in the back end, especially on the outside, we cover them just fine. When we played bad technique, we didn't cover them," Harbaugh said. "Maybe it's a function of being young out there a little bit, but that's going to get better real fast."

Carr would certainly help and he said Sunday that he'll be back in time for the next game, against the Rams.



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