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John Harbaugh Press Conference Transcript

Posted Oct 9, 2017

JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE: WEEK 6

Opening statement: “Good to see everybody – appreciate you guys being here. Obviously, we’ve studied hard, and we’re happy with the outcome. We’re on to Chicago. So, what do you have?”

Yesterday, you said it was a good win, but every win is a win. But, QB Joe Flacco was talking about the fact how [the win] was a confidence builder for this team, and particularly, the offense. Is there some credence to that, in terms of a win providing confidence for team that had lost two straight? (David Ginsburg) “What I talked about last week regarding that was [that] it’s hard to have confidence if you’re not doing anything to generate confidence. It’s one thing to believe – and you have to believe, a lot of times, on the unseen. That’s what faith is. But in terms of confidence in athletic ability, there’s something in going out there and doing it. So, that’s what Joe is probably referring to.”

Was the team aware of the Steelers situation? Did you guys scoreboard watch at all or pay attention to any of that? (Jerry Coleman) “I don’t know. I heard about it after our game.”

As far as the way the division is shaping up, everyone thought that the Steelers coming into Baltimore, beats them, and they have total control of the division. Now, you’re tied for first place with them. Your message to the guys was what? (Jerry Coleman) “We don’t listen to what everyone says; we never do. You say ‘everyone,’ but it wasn’t us. We all understood and said last week that it’s a week-to-week league, a week-to-week sport. Things change in a week, so nothing has really changed that way.”

How happy were you with the offensive line play yesterday? (Stan Charles) “[I was] very happy with the offensive line play. They played very well, thank you. They stepped up. The pass protection, I thought, we had a very good pass protection plan. They have three very good end and inside pass rushers, four – if you count [Mario] Edwards, who is more of an always inside guy. Then, some of those guys move around, they switch sides. Our coaches did an excellent job of game-planning and setting up different types of protections to keep them off-balance. Our guys executed very well. The offensive line, the tight ends and the running backs all did a very good job.”

You lost RB Terrance West yesterday. Do you have a plan to fill that position? (Peter Schmuck) “We do. We have to see if we can execute it, right now, in terms of what we’re going to do, who we’re going to look at. We’ll just wait until we know. I don’t want to start putting the plans out there until we know if we can pull it off.”

Is there any kind of timetable for RB Terrance West (Jamison Hensley) “It’s already been reported, so just go with that. That’s out there. We’ll just leave it at that.” (Reporter: “Anything other than the report?”) “I’m not changing my policy; my policy hasn’t changed.”

You did say you play a doctor at press conferences. Do you have any word, “Dr. Harbaugh,” on DT Brandon Williams? (Jerry Coleman) “No. I have no information.” (laughter)

The things that QB Joe Flacco was saying about confidence – they’re ethereal, they’re not definable. How much of what happened yesterday was just flat-out executing well? Is the whole thing about confidence a cliché? (Peter Schmuck) “Well yes, [it’s] indefinable. Is it eth-E-real? E-re-ther-eal? I think I know how it’s spelled; I’m a good speller, but I’m not a good pronouncer, sometimes.” (Reporter: “How do you spell it?”) “I’m going to say it’s: e-t-h-e-r-e-a-l.” (Reporter: “That’s it.”) “Man! I won the sixth-grade spelling bee – for the record. But, I think you’re right. To me, it’s doing, it’s going out and executing. All that other stuff, to me, is interesting corner-of-the-bar conversation. To me, as a coach, you go by what you see; and what you see is what you evaluate and what matters; and what you see is what you attack, in terms of what you want to improve, things you chose to do or include in the next gameplan, or don’t include. It’s based on what you see. Of course, it’s also based on what you believe your players are capable of doing going forward, and what they think, too. We have great conversations with those guys. So, that part of it plays in. But confidence is something that’s just hard to define. I think you know it when you see it, and it’s important to have it. I believe if we execute well, we’re going to be very confident.”

The offense had a great half. I think the first half started, they scored on three out of their four drives. Then you had mentioned, they come down the first two drives and they were three-and-outs. Is there something, in particular, that kind of got you out of that two-drive lull? Adjustments you may have made? (Jeff Zrebiec) “Well, you were there. It was the plays that didn’t work. We didn’t get yards on those plays; we ended in third-and-long, I think, twice in a row, and our first- and second-down plays didn’t net us anything. Now, we can look at all those particular plays and dissect them – which we certainly do – and we can go through that. But the bottom line is that they didn’t work, and we were third-and-long, and that’s why you’re three-and-out. It comes back to that execution part of it.”

It looks like DT Willie Henry is starting to emerge. When you watch the tape, what do you see him doing now? (Ryan Mink) “I see him playing defensive tackle very well. He’s doing a good job. Do you want me to go through all the different things that the defensive tackle does?” (Reporter: “No; what is he doing well, right now, to emerge?”) “He’s playing defensive tackle really well. He’s knocking people back, he’s getting off blocks and making tackles, and he’s rushing the passer. He’s playing well. Now, he’s not 100 percent. He’ll look at a couple of his plays, we will too, and he and I will talk about a couple plays where he got pushed back or pushed past or something like that. Screens, he knows I’ve been getting him about how he plays screens a little bit. So, he’ll pick that up. He stayed onside this week – which was big, because they tried to get him again. But, he was against a really good left guard a lot of times. He held his own – more than held his own – a number of times. You guys saw it in the game. I was really proud of the way he played and the way he stepped up.”

Were you pleased with the way the number of penalties have decreased? Was the one penalty legit? (Jerry Coleman) “The one penalty was clearly legit. We weren’t lined up. Yes, I was happy about it.”

Do you think WR Breshad Perriman is capable of breaking out of where he is right now? (Stan Charles) “Of course. If we didn’t think he was capable of being a topnotch receiver … That goes for any player, really. If you don’t think they can do it, you’re not going to have them around. We don’t keep guys around for charitable reasons. This is a business, and this is world-class competition. He’s here to make plays. He made a huge play on that third-down – that drive was a big drive. That drive flipped the momentum back. So, if we’re dwelling on the two drives we didn’t get, well, let’s dwell on that drive for a minute. Because they scored, got within one score, and we had two big passes in that drive: one to Mike [Wallace] and one to Breshad. Breshad made a diving catch on a third-and-11, so we’re back in third-and-long again, and he makes a play. That’s what you look for, and we want to see more of that. When you see that a guy can do it, then you feel like he can do it consistently. That’s what he has to prove now. He’ll tell you, ‘Give me more chances,’ and I’ll say, ‘Earn more chances.’ He did that in this last game. That was good to see.”

Do you like the way RB Alex Collins ran and held the ball? It seemed like the fumbling wasn’t an issue at all or that he even thought about it. (David Ginsburg) “I think you’re right. I think he was thinking about it, and that is why it didn’t seem like it was. He was very conscious of his technique, and he did a good job of it. That is important. That is non-negotiable.”

Along those lines, no turnovers. Obviously that is the formula. How pleased were you with the fact that you guys played a completely clean game? (David Ginsburg) “To that point, we didn’t take any steps back during the game. We had some negative-yard plays, [but] not as many as we have had in the last two games. That was one emphasis. We wanted to minimize the negative-yardage plays as much as we could, and that got better. We wanted to eliminate the turnovers. We wanted to get some turnovers, and we got the touchdown; that was a big one. We wanted to continue to play clean football as much as we could with the penalties. You can’t control that 100 percent. Usually as a coach, you know the ones you are concerned with and the ones you are not. To have only one penalty in the game, I thought was really a statement. Those are all moving in the right direction, but again, it is week-to-week. We have to put all our focus on this next game. There really are no trends. The only trend is the next game and getting ready for the next opponent.”

Is there a benefit of being able to watch tonight [in the Chicago-Minnesota game] to see who figures to be at quarterback against you? (Stan Charles) “Normally on these Monday nights, I get home maybe at halftime and decide if I want to stay awake or not. Usually the answer is no. Sometimes if it is an AFC North team, you have to do it, or the Patriots or somebody like that. But this game we will be watching. I will get home in time to watch this one. I think all of Baltimore probably will. The real fans will be watching this game. The next two opponents we play [the Bears and the Vikings] will be out there.”

With them playing tonight, does it give you an advantage because you have an extra day to prep for Chicago? (Ed Lee) “That is just the schedule. We play Monday night, we play Thursday night, whatever. I don’t know.”

I know when players are injured, you always try to say, “Next man up,” and you want to keep moving forward. With the offensive line, you are dealing with multiple injuries. How difficult is it to put a cohesive offensive line when they really have not had many steps together as that group of five? (Jamison Hensley) “It just doesn’t matter. It is not something we think about. It is not something we quantify. We don’t waste any energy thinking about that. You just go and get ready for the next game.”

In training camp, you talked a lot about finishing and about some of the things that didn’t happen last year. Most people think about that in terms of the defense closing out when the other offense is coming back. Yesterday’s game featured that last clock-killing drive where your offensive line had already played almost a full game and you guys got eight yards after eight yards. Just talk about that, in terms of what happened there and why they were so successful. (Peter Schmuck) “That is a great observation. Finishing is … It is a three-phase event – finishing a game. For the offense to be able to get first downs in the fourth quarter when primarily you are running the ball, and they know you are going to run the ball … Still, we were able to block them, and our [running] backs were able to find holes. Our backs ran north and south. They got their pads down. They got the extra two or three yards, which is kind of the key sometimes. If you can get three or four yards on the first one, and then you can get another three on the second one, now you can convert. It is a little tougher in four-minute to convert a third-and-eight, because you have to take a risk. That is not a risk you usually want to take, because you do not want to turn the ball over, and you are more happy or adept or comfortable just punting than you are just taking that risk. The running game came through when it had to. That just goes to show you that techniques were really good and the effort and tenacity, the physicality – it was definitely there. We were strong at the end of the game. That is a statement for our guys.”

I think CB Jimmy Smith played four defensive snaps after the touchdown. How much easier is it to be selective with him and maybe put a eye on the big picture with the depth that you have added with CB Marlon Humphrey and CB Brandon Carr? You know that you want to have Jimmy out there, but maybe there is not going to be that major drop-off. (Luke Jones) “We just have guys that we can play. We are very good with the guys that we have. We want Jimmy out there. He is a topnotch corner. I think he is one of the best corners in football. I am a big Jimmy Smith fan. I think Jimmy will prove in the next couple years to be maybe the best, maybe the best. I think he has a chance to do that. I feel that strongly about Jimmy. To have other guys that can play … Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey played well; [Lardarius] Webb is playing well. We have some other young guys that are working their way in there or getting healthy. I am pretty excited about the fact that we have some depth in the secondary.”

What were your impressions of CB Marlon Humphrey? He really was going toe to toe with one of the great veteran receivers in the league, WR Michael Crabtree. They were talking a little bit of trash. (Stan Charles) “Yes. He didn’t back down, did he? He did not back down. Crabtree is pretty special. We have had some experience with him, haven’t we, in Baltimore? He is a great one. Marlon didn’t back down. Marlon is confident. They got him on the three-stop nines or hitch [routes], if you want to call them that, versus press [coverage]. Marlon played him a certain way. That was really the plan. Hindsight being 20-20, I think we might have played that with a little different technique than we did and helped Marlon out a little bit. Those are great learning experiences.”

Going back to CB Jimmy Smith, [do you mean] the potential to be the best Raven corner? Is that what you are referring to? (Jerry Coleman) “No, I am talking about the best in the league. I am not talking about history. I do not really think about history. I am talking about here, in the now – the present. That is for you to decide – who the best ever was – when you write your book. You can’t write? Is that what you said?” (laughter)

Knowing that the most important thing was winning yesterday, if you could draw a formula, was that the Ravens’ formula for victory? Getting out to a lead, strong defense when you needed it and running out the clock. (Jerry Coleman) “I don’t know. The formula is going to be different every week. Getting a lead is always a good thing. That is no revelation. When you get the lead, you have to keep the lead. After you keep the lead, you try to extend the lead. That goes without saying. That is philosophy; that is football. That is what you do; you try to do that. It is probably true for every sport. But how that plays out is week-to-week.”

Are the white cleats part of the formula? (Garrett Downing) “We will see. We will see. The guys liked them. They looked good, didn’t they?”

Being a special teams guy, how cool was it to see TE/WR Vince Mayle score a touchdown, even though he has not played a whole lot on offense until to this point? (Luke Jones) “It was great. The guys were excited. Did you see the offensive line run over and pick him up and everything? They were happy for him. Vince is a serious dude. He takes it seriously. Sometimes I have to jab him a little bit and get him to crack a smile. He was all smiles after that. We had him in the gameplan; he was in there for some other things. He was actually a decoy on a run that we had, which worked out really well, and he blocked well. He did a good job. He played well.”

How pleased are you with what you have seen from C Ryan Jensen so far this year? (Ryan Mink) “Pleased. Ryan has done a really good job. I thought he had his best game yesterday. He is who he is. You know the kind of style he plays with, and we appreciate that. He is very disciplined with it. He knows the offense, makes the calls. He is very smart. He is playing well, and we want him to continue to build on that.”

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