BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In a season where injuries became a major storyline before a game was even played, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh never used the losses on his roster as an excuse, and he didn’t do so Monday during his end-of-the-year press conference.

Every NFL team deals with players getting hurt.

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Following key injuries in 2015 — quarterback Joe Flacco missed six games, linebacker Terrell Suggs missed 15 games, and wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. missed nine games — the Ravens have bounced back and been relatively healthy, Harbaugh noted.

“And this year, we just got smashed with them,” he said.

While he wouldn’t play “what if,” Harbaugh did say the team is conducting a top-to-bottom review of practice schedules, training camp schedules, strength and conditioning workloads, and other workout regimens in an attempt to stave off the injury bug.

“You can say it’s bad luck, you can say it’s fluke, and I get that, but I don’t feel like we have the luxury to live there,” he said. “It’s not something that we can say that that’s it. We’ve got to turn over every stone. We’ve got to look at every possible avenue to do the best we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Harbaugh said he held a four-hour meeting with the Ravens’ training staff two weeks ago to discuss the team’s protocols and models.

“We’re going to look at everything, and we’re going to change a lot,” he said.

He also hopes the team’s injury rehabilitation will be “cutting-edge” and at its highest level going into the 2022 season.

During the preseason, running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill all went down with season-ending injuries, as did cornerback Marcus Peters and linebacker L.J. Fort.

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley played the season opener after rehabbing an ankle injury, didn’t feel right, and opted for season-ending ankle surgery for a second straight year. Safety DeShon Elliott was lost for the year in November. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey went down with a torn pectoral muscle in December. After suffering a bone bruise early in the team’s Week 14 game against the Cleveland Browns, quarterback Lamar Jackson effectively missed the final five games of the season.

Even without the key contributors from their running back room and the best ballhawk on defense, the Ravens started the season 8-3 and were one of the top teams in the AFC.

And the Ravens were a 2-point conversion away from getting the win in the Week 13 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers when they ultimately lost Humphrey. Jackson’s pass was just out of the reach of tight end Mark Andrews.

Two weeks later, with Jackson out, the Ravens went for 2 again at the end of the game against the Green Bay Packers, only to miss again.

After the Pittsburgh loss, Baltimore still had a 83% chance of making the playoffs, according to Green Bay. Following the Green Bay defeat, the odds were down to 54%.

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The team would lose its final three games, closing out the season with an 0-for-6 streak. In five of those games, they lost by three points or fewer.

In a final blow, linebacker Tyus Bowser tore his Achilles tendon in the season finale against the Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium, Harbaugh confirmed Monday.

Assessing the season, Harbaugh said the offense did well gaining yards — the unit was 6th in overall yards, ranking 3rd in rushing (2,479 yards) and 13th in passing (3,961 yards) — but didn’t turn enough drives into points (ranked 17th) and too often settled for field goals.

The unit lacked explosive plays for big gains both on the ground and through the air, he said. And even when the offense gained chunks of yards on scrambles from Jackson and backup quarterback Tyler Huntley, they were often pushed back by sacks and penalties.

Throughout the season, but especially during the team’s six-game losing streak, the defense could not get a stop to close out the game, Harbaugh said, even with players often being in the right spot.

“For whatever reason, we just didn’t come up with a play that we needed to get a win down the stretch,” he said. “And all we really needed was one, I guess two, down the stretch, and that would have gotten it done for us.”

The Ravens and defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale agreed to part ways on Jan. 21.

Speaking about it publicly for the first time, Harbaugh reiterated that both parties felt like it was the right time for a change.

“Don’s a great coach, is a proven coach and a great guy, a guy I’ve known for a long time. And we worked really well together,” he said. “But sometimes it is just time. I feel like we both felt that way.”

Harbaugh said he’s looking forward to building out the defensive staff with new hire Mike Macdonald, who served as defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan this season after seven years with the Ravens. Macdonald is scheduled to have an introductory press conference on Tuesday.

And Harbaugh is planning on having offensive coordinator Greg Roman back for the 2022 season.

“We’ve done some pretty darn good things here over the last three years offensively,” he said. “I think we have a really good vision and understanding of what we want to build offensively — players we want to build around and what we need to do it.”

The team is reportedly nearing an extension with Harbaugh, who is entering the last year of his contract. After praising owner Steve Bisciotti, executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta, executive vice president Ozzie Newsome, and all the players and staff, Harbaugh said he would like to stay in Baltimore.

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“I just love to coach, and that’s what I’m thinking about,” he said. “If the Ravens want me still, then I want to be here. And we’ll do the best we can as long as we can.”

Brandon Weigel