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John Harbaugh Press Conference Transcript

Posted Sep 18, 2017

JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE: WEEK 3

Opening statement: “Thanks for coming out; I appreciate it. In studying the game, I’m really happy with the effort. I thought it was outstanding throughout. Obviously, there are many things that we can work on and improve upon. But, it was a winning effort, and our guys care, and they want to get better. That’s why they continue to improve. The crowd was great; the place was pretty lively right out of the gates. Early on, the stands were pretty full, and they were full for warm-ups. I looked around during the introductions – which were really exciting, right, the new introductions – and the whole stadium was standing. That was exciting to see. That’s Baltimore; that’s Ravens fans. That’s really something you’re really proud of. I was proud about that when I saw that. The schedule this week – obviously, we’re going to London. But, it’s going to be the same schedule. We’re just going to sleep on the plane on Thursday night and after that, we’ll be in London. We’re not taking a ship over there. (laughter) I heard there were people over at ESPN that actually believed it. We’re excited about playing the football game. We’re really not too … I can’t honestly say we care where we play. We just want to go play the football game. We’re playing a very good team, a team that we respect and we’ve played now three years in a row. We’re looking forward to the football game.”

As far as when you get over there, I know your focus will be on the football game. Will you have any chance to see any parts of London while you’re over there? (Jamison Hensley) “I don’t know – not really. I mean, I don’t know, probably not. How far away are we from anything? I don’t even care. I don’t even know.” (Reporter: “Long.”) “Long? So no, the answer is no.”

Have you made any special requests while you’re over there, in terms of logistics? For instance, when you were practicing at Super Bowl XLVII, you ended up practicing on a baseball field. Have you checked out the conditions of where you’re going to be practicing? (Jerry Coleman) “No, I have not checked out the conditions. I’m counting on the league to get that right. I didn’t have a lot of time to go over there and look at the fields. From what I understand, the place we’re going is the place the teams have been going. It’s the same hotel the teams have used, same practice fields. We got good reports on all that. [The NFL] has been doing this for quite a long time now, and I think all the kinks have been worked out. We’re trusting that to be right. We’re not really too worried about that; we’re just worried about trying to improve as a football team.”

Are you comfortable with the notion that your team will be in a position, mentally and physically, to give the kind of effort they could in the United States? (Stan Charles) “Yes, we’re both playing in London. We’re going against the Jaguars. They have to go over there, as well. We’re going over there to win a football game – that’s it. We’re not thinking about too much else besides that.”

The game is set for 9:30 a.m. ET, and coaches are a creature of habit. Are you OK with this, or have you made plans way in advance to deal with all the distractions, press conferences and things that will make this week a different week? (David Ginsburg) “There are not too many press conferences now, which is kind of good. It’s a little more normalized than it used to be, from what I understand.  It’s 2:30 p.m. their time, so some of us will have been up for quite a few hours before we play the game. We’ll try to get our guys on London-time as much as we can, in that sense, throughout the course of the week. We have a plan for all that. We practiced every day at training camp at 8:45 a.m., so they were rolling at 8:45 a.m. So, 9:30 a.m., that’s 45 minutes later than 8:45 a.m. That’s what we’re going with, and we think we’ll be ready to go.”

Do you have any safety concerns? (David Ginsburg) “You have to go live your life. We’re not going to be cowed or anything like that. We’re going to do our thing. That’s what liberty and freedom is all about. That’s what we believe in, and that’s what we fight for. We’re not backing down from that.”

Any word on DT Brandon Williams’ injury? (Jerry Coleman) “Don’t have any word on those guys at this time. Those were not long-term injuries, so you probably won’t be getting any updates on that.”

Did you have a chance to speak with G/T Marshal Yanda? (Jerry Coleman) “I don’t know the schedule [of his recovery]. He’ll have his surgery soon. He had a couple things in there he had to deal with. But, he was really disappointed. You’ll get a chance to speak with him. He’ll definitely speak for himself on that, but it’d be sufficed to say [that] it was tough, hard for him. As tough as it is for the team, and for all of us, the thing you have to keep in mind how tough it is for the player. The player is the one, the individual, that has to go through it. That’s the one that suffers the most adversity. A guy like Marshal Yanda pours his heart and soul into the game. He’s really going to need everyone’s support. He has a great family, and he even said in his text to me last night that he’ll be back better than ever.”

Is there an official term for G/T Marshal Yanda’s injury? (Jerry Coleman) “I don’t remember it. I know he’s going to have to have his surgery. He’s going to have to have some plating, and things like that, to fix it.”

With what you saw on film, did you feel RB Alex Collins might have earned some more playing time going forward? (Jamison Hensley) “I think he earned [playing time]. When you play well, you earn more playing time. He’ll have to hold on to that football. But, I feel like it was an over-exuberance trying to break that tackle, and he’s going to have to understand the situation. We’re a more north-south, high-and-tight-type of an operation anyway. But, he’s capable of making guys miss; he showed that. Between those three guys [Collins, Javorius Allen and Terrance West], we have three guys that can carry the ball for us. We also have some other guys, too, in the wing, but we’re excited about our young guys.”

How did you think G Tony Bergstrom played? (Jeff Zrebiec) “He played well. He had to shake it off a little bit after the first couple of plays. After he got himself settled down there, he played well. The whole offensive line played extremely well. When you go back and watch [the film] … It’s an early season, but it was the best they’ve played to date.”

How pleased have you been with how CB Brandon Carr has played? (Luke Jones) “Brandon Carr is a really underrated corner in this league, and has been for a long time. He’s big, physical, [plays] with great technique; he has exceptional ball skills. That’s the thing you find – top of the routes, comebacks, he finds the ball. That’s a gift and a knack. It’s very rare to be able to do it to the level that he does it. He played very well. Jimmy [Smith] played well, and Marlon [Humphrey] played very well, and ‘Webby’ [Lardarius Webb] played well. So, to see those guys doing that in there is just what we need.”

You alluded to the fact that you were really happy with the effort yesterday. I have watched you coach for 10 years, and I am ultimately impressed with the effort your teams have put out. Do you take a lot of pride in that aspect of coaching? (Stan Charles) “I appreciate you mentioning that. To me, that’s where it all begins. If you don’t have passion – and especially in football – if you aren’t flying around and getting after it and giving it everything you have, you might as well not be out there. I do take a lot of pride in that, but it is the guys doing it. It is the right guys. Guys have to love the game. [Senior VP of public and community relations] Kevin Byrne and I were just talking about it walking in here – the right kind of leadership. The right kind of leadership, we have always had great leadership here. This group is another evolution of that Ravens leadership. It is never quite the same. It changes a little bit with different guys, but [they are] guys that fans are starting to get to know as Ravens. You can go through the list of names there. Some guys we brought in as free agents, other guys are rookies and draft choices. It is the next generation, and they are playing like a Raven. That is not just a slogan. Thank you, I think that is exactly right. I am proud of the way they are playing hard.”

After G Marshal Yanda and LB Bam Bradley went down with season-ending injuries, the biggest question I have received from fans is, “Why have there been so many injuries?” I do not know if there is one general answer, but they have asked me, and I do not know what to say. (Jamison Hensley) “Who knows what to say? There is no one general answer. There is not an answer for it. Somebody falls on somebody’s leg in a game – that is how guys get injured. We have not had many soft-tissue injuries. That is a credit to our training staff and our strength and conditioning staff. That is something that we have cleaned up. If you look around the league, we do a lot better than the rest of the league with the soft-tissue stuff. The other stuff is just stuff. Guys get in awkward situations in the game of football. You just go straight ahead. Those guys, you bandage them up. They are in there – Tavon [Young]. We don’t forget our guys. Tavon is in there every single day rehabbing and getting ready for next year, and I see him every day and talk to him. Those guys are still part of our team. The team is more than the original depth chart. The team is an evolving process. It is guys on the practice squad. It is young guys developing as players. It is guys you bring in when you have to – when you have some of the injuries we have at certain positions. There is no one single answer. I can’t answer it any better than you can, but I am not trying to. I don’t think you have to. You have to move on and you make the best of it.”

Going to London will be special for G/T Jermaine Eluemunor because he is from there. I know he has been inactive the last two games, but what have you seen in his development since you drafted him? (Jamison Hensley) “He is getting better. Jermaine is getting better; he is really improving. In all honesty, he was pretty raw when he first got here. He played at Texas A&M, and I’m sure he came a long way there, coming from where he was coming over from England. He has come a million miles. The song, ‘500 Miles’ – it is one of my favorites. He has come 500 miles. A million might be a slight exaggeration, but 500 is just about right. He has come that far. He is about ready to play football for us, so we will see what happens.”

The news came out over the weekend, so we have to ask you about RB Kenneth Dixon. What have you learned with what happened? (Jerry Coleman) “We don’t get that kind of information. That is stuff that is private information, so I don’t know the details on that.”

But to hear something like that – the allegations … (Jerry Coleman) “I do not even know what the allegations are. He has just been suspended for two more games. That is what it is.”

But for someone to be suspended while serving a suspension. Do you have a reaction to that? (Jerry Coleman) “I don’t.”

It seemed OLB Tim Williams got better as the day wore on, especially in the fourth quarter. Being that it was his regular season debut, what did you think of how he played yesterday? (Jeff Zrebiec) “I thought Tim played well. He had a quarterback hit there the last play of the game against Joe Thomas. That is pretty good. Other things he will look at, he will want to improve upon. But, he is a guy that we need to improve quickly and become real viable for us quickly. He has the talent, he has the ‘want to,’ and we just have to keep coaching him up, and he has to keep working at it to get up to speed where he can play more and more for us. I expect him to do that.”

I know keeping up five turnovers a game is difficult, but when you look at it and the way the defense has gelled together and the chemistry they have formed, has it even impressed you how quickly they have come together?  (Shawn Stepner) “Yes. Those are exceptional. That is two exceptional games of getting turnovers. I am not shocked, because I see how fast we play and how hard we play. Our guys are instinctive players, so I am not surprised by it. It was there in the preseason also, so we just have to keep building on it in every way. You are going to do it in different games in different ways. Different things are going to come up during the course of the season. Really, all we are focusing on is being 1-0 this week and trying to find the formula to win this game this week against this team. That is really all we are thinking about. We do not know exactly how it is going to play out, and we have to be prepared for however it does play out.”

Points off turnovers, that happened twice yesterday. It did not happen in the first game as much. Is that something that was talked about? It happened early on after the sack and the fumble. You guys put it right in the end zone. (Jerry Coleman) “Marty [Mornhinweg] did talk to them. It would a bigger question for Marty, but I think he talked to the offense about it. I didn’t make as big a point about the offensive guys in the team thing, but it is something we want to always do, obviously. Especially if we get the turnover in the red zone and we give our offense a short field. You want to turn it into not just points; you want to turn it into seven points. I thought the way the offense executed after the turnover right at end of the half was just outstanding. That is something you could not hope for. We were just trying to get into field goal range, in all honesty. What you try to do there is run the ball – we had a timeout – run the ball, pick up a few yards and give ‘Tuck’ [Justin Tucker] a better kick. Then, it is just blocked really well, and ‘Buck’ [Javorius Allen] hits it. Now, ‘Buck’ is mad he doesn’t score, but we still had five seconds left. We know the timing of that play, and we know exactly how many steps Joe [Flacco] has to take to get the ball off and use up the time. If you put a stopwatch on that play, it is three seconds. That is how long it took. They were gracious enough to give us a second back after the play. We had to kickoff, but at least I knew that we could have kicked the field goal if we had not score a touchdown. I thought the offense just … When you make decisions like that, you have to have a lot of confidence that your guys are going to execute them. Our guys came through that and executed them well. When they do that – as a head coach – when you give your guys a chance to make plays like that and they execute those plays in a winning way, that makes you want to do it more often.”

The tight end position, since training camp started, has been a wild card position. With TE Maxx Williams contributing, are you pretty happy with the versatility and the capability of the three tight ends? (Stan Charles) “Yes. We probably were really wise. Ozzie [Newsome] was really smart to stockpile tight ends. Some of the conversation was, ‘How many tight ends can make it?’ Three or four is all. But, we were trying to get to three or four when it was all said and done. The good thing is all of those guys are good players; they all can play. It is nice to see the skill set of Maxx, who was a high pick for us. For all the fans to be able to see that, it is good for us, and it is good for him.”

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