OWINGS MILLS, Maryland — Ravens coach John Harbaugh has never found it easy to accept losing, even when it comes to a preseason game that probably won't be remembered beyond the first week of September.
After Baltimore followed a 40-17 defeat in Philadelphia with a 31-13 home loss to the Washington Redskins last Saturday, it would have been easy for Harbaugh to shrug his shoulders and say, "So what?"
Instead, he said Monday: "I have to admit, I care. And our players care. In the heat of battle during the game, you want to win. You want to play well, you want to acquit yourself well as a group. As far as the score goes, we didn't do that in either game."
At halftime last weekend, Harbaugh snapped at the sideline reporter during a previously arranged interview. After providing three brief retorts, Harbaugh finally said, "Give me a good question and I'll answer it" as the interviewer ended the awkward session.
Harbaugh addressed that Monday, acknowledging that when it comes to halftime interviews, "I'm not very good at it."
He added: "I'm not really thinking about the media in that moment. You're thinking about your team and what you're going to say to your guys and your halftime adjustments. I've got to get to better at that."
On a day in which cut eight players, Harbaugh expressed confidence that his squad is better now than it was a month ago. He liked watching the starters build an early lead against the Redskins before the backups gave it away.
"As far as the type of team we've developed in training camp, I'm pleased with that. We did a lot of good things in both those games," he said. "But no, we don't ever want the score to be that. I don't care if it's a pick-up game or a racquetball game in here, that's not what we're trying to do."
Baltimore concludes its preseason Thursday night in Atlanta. Most of the starters won't see action, although the competition at wide receiver remains heated. Steve Smith is for now the go-to guy for quarterback Joe Flacco, and with top draft pick Breshad Perriman out with a knee injury, it's up to Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanaro and Jeremy Butler to prove they can contribute.
"As far as sorting it all out, I think we'll continue to do that in terms of who steps up and makes plays, even this week and on into the regular season," Harbaugh said. "They've all got talent and ability."
The eight players cut Monday were: wide receivers DeAndre Carter, Trent Steelman and Aldrick Robinson; punter Justin Manton; cornerback Tramain Jacobs; offensive linemen Marcel Jones and Leon Brown; and long snapper Patrick Scales.
"Tough day," Harbaugh said. "Every one of those guys that we let go had a real good camp. They really forwarded their case to play in this league."
Baltimore also placed four players on injured reserve: Safety Matt Elam, linebacker Steven Means, cornerback Chris Greenwood and tight end Allen Reisner. In addition, offensive tackle Darryl Baldwin was placed on the reserve non-football illness list.
The Ravens must reduce the roster by two more players Tuesday to reach the league-mandated limit of 75.