Ravens focusing on improving special teams

Ravens focusing on improving special teams
October 22, 2013, 3:15 pm
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Harbaugh: We need to get better and win games

Improving special teams play will be a major focus for the Ravens during their bye week.

Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said Tuesday that changes in personnel from last season to this season could not be used as an excuse. The Ravens did not re-sign special teams mainstays Sean Considine and Brendon Ayanbadejo from last year’s Super Bowl winning team.

“Each year, the team takes on a whole different makeup,” Rosburg said. “This year is no different. We don’t have Sean, we don’t have Brendon, but that’s happened before in previous years. Every year you have to reload, and different guys, even the guys that are still here, may have a different role depending on the makeup of your squad. So in that regard, this year is no different.”

However, the results have been different, and not in a good way. The Ravens have already had two punts blocked. On Sunday against the Steelers, they looked disorganized on an onside kick, and were called for an offside penalty that would have negated the play even if the Ravens had recovered the ball. Then late in the fourth quarter, the Ravens covered a kickoff poorly, allowing Emanuel Sanders to make a 44-yard return from seven yards deep in the end zone. Sanders barely stepped out of bounds at the 37, or he would have scored a touchdown. As it was, the good field position made it easier for the Steelers to drive for the game-winning field goal.

Coach John Harbaugh has warned he will be looking for players that have the desire to play special teams. Lineup changes are obviously possible. Rosburg said the Ravens had no excuse for not having solid special teams, regardless of the makeup of their roster.

“We all have the same number of players up, so we have to make the best roster on Sunday that can help us win in all phases,” Rosburg said. “All of that ties into the whole team aspect of football. The guys that are up have got to play.” But for the Ravens to get better, they need their special teams to perform better.