Harbaugh Doesn't Buy Into Narrative That Ravens 'Choke' in the Playoffs
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Moments after the top-seeded Ravens were upset by sixth-seeded Tennessee 28-12 in the AFC divisional playoffs, Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey offered a scathing critique.
"I think you have to look at yourself in the mirror, and I think this team's identity right now is to get in the playoffs and choke," Humphrey said. "It is what it is. This is just the hard truth."
Humphrey was also referring to the Ravens' 23-17 loss in the wild-card round of last season's playoffs. Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson has been the focal point of those setbacks because he was the starter in both of those games.
Coach John Harbaugh was not quite as critical when asked about that label.
“I do not see that at all. Our guys are confident guys, and I do not think our guys take too seriously too much of what gets said, especially in the heat of the moment," Harbaugh said. "Frustration, disappointment, I mean, I felt it. We all felt it after the game. You felt it. I am sure a lot of people have said a lot of things. I am sure a lot of people said a lot of things after the game that they might want back. Over the course of our lives we say a lot of things I think that we would [want back]. Maybe we do not always understand the implications of what we are saying. We learn; that is part of what growing is. We all grow.
The Ravens are already looking forward to next season. They have a young roster and the financial flexibility to make another run at a third straight AFC North title.
The oddsmakers are confident in the Ravens chances to bounce back from this year's disappointment. Caesars Entertainment Corp. has the Ravens at 7-1 odd to reach the Super Bowl, one notch behind the Kansas City Chiefs (6-1). The San Francisco 49ers are third at 8-1, followed by the Saints (11-1), Patriots (14-1) and Steelers (15-1).
Meanwhile, Harbaugh is also not concerned about Humprhey's comments, especially in the heat of the battle.
"Marlon Humphrey, just to address that, is one of my favorite, absolute favorite, players and people," Harbaugh said. "I love this guy. He is a great player, but not just that – his attitude, his energy, his effort, his work ethic and his coachability [are great]. You talk to Marlon [Humphrey] about a technique, you talk to Marlon [Humphrey] about something, he tries to do it that way. He will ask you tough questions; he wants to know. So, that is what I appreciate about him. We all learn from everything going forward, and he will handle it the right way, and we will move on.”