Ravens have gotten high marks after the bye

Team has won 8 of its last 9 following a week off

October 15, 2011|By Edward Lee

The Ravens have made a habit of turning post-bye performances into happy returns.

The Ravens have compiled a 10-5 record after the bye week since moving from Cleveland for the 1996 season. The team has won eight of its last nine after the bye and is 3-0 during John Harbaugh’s tenure as head coach.

The Ravens’ 8-1 post-bye record since 2002 is tied with the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots for the second-best mark in the NFL. Only the Philadelphia Eagles have won all nine of their games in that span.

To right guard Marshal Yanda, the recipe for the team’s success after byes can be summed up in one word.

“Rest,” he said emphatically. “You get a week off, you get your legs back. I’m not necessarily saying that your legs were gone, but it’s definitely nice. Your body feels better, and then the team that you play normally hasn’t had the bye. So they’re still playing through that grind.”

The week-long respite has proven beneficial for bouncing back from injuries. Sunday, several injured Ravens like inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring), free safety Haruki Nakamura (right posterior cruciate ligament) and wide receiver/kick returner David Reed (left shoulder strain) are expected to play against the Houston Texans.

But the bye has also been a time for introspection. The coaches use the time not only to scout the team’s next opponent, but also to scour their own past performances to pick out tendencies and tinker with the playbook.

“Teams are watching you on tape, but that’s not the team they’re necessarily going to see,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “So the first thing we do on offense is work on us — no matter who we were playing. And then we transition into Houston. So to me, it always starts with us and our ability to improve and be as good as we can be. Then the opponent comes into play, and you hope all of those things come together and you play well. Does it always work? No. But that’s what you’d like to do.”

Yanda said when the players returned from enjoying six days of rest, they were greeted by the coaches who had plenty to review with them.

“When we came back, they had some evaluations for us, saying, ‘Hey, we did this right, and we’ve done this right. But these are the top three things that we need to work on as an offense, an offensive line and you individually,’” Yanda said. “They definitely have broken down everything. So it’s good to kind of just get a quarterly report and do what you need to work on and just keep getting better.”

The Ravens were one of six teams that enjoyed a bye last week, but now they have 12 consecutive weeks of games before the end of the regular season. That might sound like a daunting task, but running back Ray Rice said he had no issue with the timing of the week off.

“We had a grueling camp, the offseason was different, you had to pack a lot of things into one,” he said. “So, technically, the way the preseason games were played, it was really eight [games]. So I think our bye week came at a perfect time.”


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