Jim Corbett, USA TODAY Sports 6: 03 p. mirielle. EDT October 31, 2013
NINERS REINSTATE SMITH: Troubled pass rusher seeks come back
The 2012 Ravens went 4-0 last November, lost four of five December games, then rallied to make their Super Bowl XLVII title run.
“I have really higher hopes for this team and I’ve told the players that, ” Harbaugh said Thursday. “I really believe this team is going to catch open fire. ”
In a bet to spark things, Harbaugh plus general manager Ozzie Newsome produced a statement Wednesday by jettisoning disappointing free-agent safety Michael Huff and defensive end Marcus Spears.
“When you see guys like that leave, great guys, experienced guys — some of the guys within the locker room were like, ‘Man, I need to tighten up because anyone could be next out the door, ”’ cornerback Lardarius Webb told USA TODAY Sports.
“This is where you test the character of your team whenever times are tough. We know we have a great ballclub. So we’re just going to keep fighting. ”
Protective end Chris Canty heard the message loud and clear going into Sunday’s AFC North divisional road game against the Cleveland Browns (3-5).
“It’s surprising, ” Canty said of the produces of Huff and Spears. “It’s guys you went to battle with, guys we felt could help us. It does not matter how we as players feel.
“The evaluators have a job to do and make decisions based on what they find. We as players have to move forward with that. ”
Canty pointed to the importance of back-to-back divisional games against the Browns and the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals (6-2). The Ravens, who lost two straight before last week’s bye, trail the Bengals by 2 . 5 games and face Cincinnati twice during the second half.
“We’ve got two division games, two opportunities, ” Canty said. “But we can only focus on the one in front of us now with the Cleveland Browns. ”
Running back again Ray Rice, recovering from a cool flexor injury, called Sunday’s sport against Cleveland a must win. Rice, who is averaging just 2 . 6 yards per carry, spoke associated with starting “a new chapter. ”
“If you want a chance to play in January, you’ve got to look after your business in November and Dec, ” Rice said.
The Ravens back again downplayed an alleged incident in which Browns players said Rice spit on Cleveland defensive tackle Phil Taylor after Taylor dropped Rice for a 3-yard loss early within Baltimore’s 14-6 win in 7 days 2 .
“We had been two guys jawing at each other, and I had my mouthpiece within, so when I went to say something back to him, it looked as if I projected towards him, ” Rice said. “But I had the mouthpiece in, I was saying something. He was saying something, and then, obviously, that’s what happened.
”We’ll leave that at that. ”
“Whatever happened in that game was that game, ” he or she said. “I’m looking forward to this sport. ”
So are the Ravens, who look to hit the reset button.
“Coach Harbaugh talked to us about catching fire and we know what we need to do, ” receiver Torrey Cruz said. “We know we have to go out there and get it done.
“Every game is huge. But obviously, the later within the season you go, the games turn out to be that much more important. ”