Ravens Notebook

The Baltimore Ravens had seen more than enough from coach John Harbaugh in three seasons to reward him with a three-year contract extension in February worth roughly $12 million. And general manager Ozzie Newsome defended Harbaugh and his game management during a conference call when a season ticket holder described his work in that area as questionable

"As far John and his game management, first and foremost, there's nothing that prepares you for being a head coach in the National Football League up until you get in the position," Newsome said. "As far as him managing the game, I can only think of a very few instances where you could second-guess what he did or what he didn't do. When I look at the big picture, I try not to look at the one or two mistakes anyone makes. From my vantage point, I think he does a very good job of managing the game."

The former Philadelphia Eagles special teams coordinator has made the playoffs in all three seasons as head coach.

Under Harbaugh, the Ravens are the lone NFL team to win a playoff game in each of the previous three seasons. And Harbaugh has gone 32-16 in the regular season with a 4-3 record in the playoffs. His salary now ranks near Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, a Super Bowl winner. Harbaugh, 48, joined Dennis Green, Bill Cowher and Barry Switzer as the fourth NFL coach in the past two decades to make it to the playoffs in his first three seasons.

"If you look at what we did in the first year, being able to control the football with a young quarterback, that all came down from John," Newsome said. "I know he's not perfect and I know he's continuing to work to get better in every facet of being a head coach, but I will say this: There's no school that you can go to that says this will teach you to be a head coach and can learn to manage all the things you have to manage."

BREAKOUT PLAYER: Nose guard Terrence Cody had an encouraging finish to his rookie season, enough so that Newsome predicted that he'll become the Ravens' breakout player whenever the labor dispute is resolved. "I'm going to take the Alabama guy," Newsome said. "I'm going to go with Cody. Cody is going to have a great year this year. He got a taste of it. So, if someone is going to step up, he also appreciates playing next to Haloti Ngata, I would say Terrence Cody." By the end of the season, Cody shed weight and improved his mobility and stamina. Cody had arthroscopic knee surgery befor the season to repair his lateral meniscus. He started one game and played in 13 games after missing the first three games.

The second-round pick from Alabama recorded 13 tackles during the regular season.

"I think Terrence Cody is a guy that as the season progressed he got more and more reps and he started to make some big plays and really impacted some things in the running game," Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said after the season. "He's a big, strong, physical guy with a ton of upside. We're very, very excited about him."

The 6-foot-4, 349-pounder forced a fumble during the Ravens' wild-card playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Cody separated Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles from the football.

"Yeah, it was positive," Cody said after the season. "It started off slow and it got better each game. I was playing faster by the end of the season . Hopefully I can start next year if I dominate in offseason and camp.

"I just want to learn more about the defense and how they want me to play and little things in general and get in the weight room and get faster and stronger. I started getting in better playing shape and that's important for me."

FLACCO RANKED 90TH: Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was ranked 90th on the NFL Network's top 100 players list. The voting was conducted by NFL players. "I'm not surprised at all that he's on the list," NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said. "And at 90, he might even be a shade low."

Flacco passed for a career-high 25 touchdowns last season and became the Ravens' all-time leading passer in every major statistical category.

Flacco has never missed a start since being drafted in the first round out of Delaware.

"Durability is a big part of what makes a guy successful in this business, especially at quarterback," former NFL lineman Brian Baldinger said. "He's there every single week, week-in and week-out, in the postseason has played well."

Added Davis: "The Ravens since they've won the Super Bowl have been doing what? Searching for that quarterback to take over the team again so that everything else can roll. Joe Flacco has solidified that position and makes them Super Bowl contenders each and every year now." http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/sports/ravens/

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