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Harbaugh: Joe Flacco 'great' amid deluge of injuries

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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Stop me if you've heard this one before: the Baltimore Ravens are banged up.

Heading into Thursday night's bout with the Miami Dolphins, the 3-4 Ravens have two of their starting wideouts (Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman) in concussion protocol and two others on the injury report; Jeremy Maclin (shoudler) was limited after missing the past two games, and Michael Campanaro missed practice with a shoulder injury. Oh, and that's just at one position.

Elsewhere, running back Terrance West (calf) and tight end Maxx Williams (ankle) continue to sit out, while guard Matt Skura (knee) and tight end Benjamin Watson (knee) are limited. The defense fares no better, and Baltimore has already lost All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda for the season.

Long story short, Baltimore is battered and bruised heading into a crucial intra-conference clash with a fellow playoff hopeful, and it doesn't help that its offensive production is one of the league's worst.

But don't expect coach John Harbaugh to make any changes at the most important position, telling reporters Tuesday that the injuries, not Joe Flacco, should be blamed for the Ravens' slow start.

"I don't have my grade book with me, but Joe has done a great job through all of that," Harbaugh said, referring to the team's litany of injuries. "There's been a lot of adversity, and for the quarterback to shoulder that ... Joe is mature, he's tough, he's tough-minded, and he just deals with it.

"There are going to be a lot of good times ahead for Joe Flacco. Stick with him. It's going to be fun to watch."

Flacco ranks 31st out of 32 qualified quarterbacks in passer rating (70.0), right ahead of Browns rookie DeShone Kizer. His 5.31 yards per attempt is a league-worst, and Flacco is third in the league with eight picks. It doesn't help that the quarterback has been bothered by a back injury that held him out of training camp, but Flacco has refused to blame anyone but himself.

"I have to be more consistent," Flacco said. "That is the name of this game. In order to win the majority of your games, you have to play consistent, and you still probably are going to lose a couple.

He added: "The way we are playing right now and the way we have played the last few weeks have been pretty conservatively. We are probably not going to go out there and put up 40 points."

Baltimore isn't out of the playoff picture by any stretch, but if the Ravens want to stick around in the AFC North, they'll need their franchise quarterback to shoulder the burden of carrying an offense, and a team, decimated by injuries.

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