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Baltimore Ravens welcome extra time to prepare for Denver Broncos

By
Todd Karpovich, The Sports Xchange
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws under pressure from the Cincinnati Bengals' defense during the second half of play on September 13, 2018 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws under pressure from the Cincinnati Bengals' defense during the second half of play on September 13, 2018 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Keep grinding.

That was the message Ravens head coach John Harbaugh had for his players as they watched tape and absorbed a disappointing loss to the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.

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Now, the Ravens (1-1) have a couple of extra days to prepare for the Denver Broncos, who improved to 2-0 with a victory over Oakland on Sunday.

The key for the Ravens is maintaining the overall confidence heading into Week 3 despite the recent subpar performance. Harbaugh watched several top-tier teams struggle on Sunday.

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"Everything is tough," Harbaugh said. "Guys make plays, guys make mistakes, games go down to the wire, somebody gets blown out that you don't expect to get blown out. You just can't beat yourself up too much, because if you do, that just takes you to a downward path.

"You can't do it. What it's going to boil down to in the end is who is mentally tougher over the long haul."

Baltimore will enter the game without top linebacker C.J. Mosley, who is out with a bruised left knee, and Maurice Canady, who was placed on IR with a thigh injury.

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Mosley had been in charge of calling the plays on defense. Safety Eric Weddle will now assume that role while Mosley is sidelined.

On Monday, the Ravens added depth by signing veteran linebacker Albert McClellan, who played six years in Baltimore before being released on Sept. 1.

"Albert is a veteran player," Harbaugh said. "He's a very good football player. He knows everything we do. He gives us a lot on special teams, as well.

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"He can play middle linebacker, to your point. It's a very good point. I would say [he] kind of solidifies us in there a little bit, having so many young players in the group."

Baltimore dominated Buffalo 47-3 in the opener. However, the Ravens struggled on a short week against the Cincinnati Bengals, falling behind by three touchdowns before losing 34-23. The secondary allowed A.J. Green too much space and he finished with three scores.

Harbaugh, however, is not overly discouraged by the result because it's still early in the season. He knows the landscape around the league can change dramatically week to week.

"Nobody in the NFL is a good football team yet," he said. "It remains to be seen who the good football teams are, and that's what we've got to try to become."

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The Ravens will have one advantage over the Broncos with the extra days to rest from the previous physical game against the Bengals. This should allow several players to be fully healthy for the matchup.

"That's valuable to have that," Harbaugh said. "As far as recovery and things like that, and studying. This will be our opportunity. Everybody will get that at some point in time during the season, so it has value."

To help bolster the offensive line, the Ravens held tryouts Saturday for guards Jonathan Cooper, Jamil Douglas, Jordan Morgan, Austin Pasztor and Ian Silberman; centers Dillon Day, Hroniss Grasu, T.J. Johnson and Wesley Johnson; and tackle Darrell Williams.

Safety Kai Nacua was signed to the practice squad.

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