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Ravens Friday Quotes: Week 15 vs Broncos

Posted Dec 14, 2012

Head Coach John Harbaugh


Opening statement: “Good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys coming out. Not quite as big of a crowd as Wednesday, but we do appreciate that you guys are here on Friday. [There are] really no announcements to make. Jameel McClain will not play in the game. He was getting looked at out in L.A. [Los Angeles] by a back specialist. We will know more about that on Monday or Tuesday. And really, the rest of the guys are going to be up in the air. It’s not something that we’re probably going to want to share, because there is no advantage to us to let anybody know whether guys are going to play or not. We’ve got an idea on some guys. We have a lesser idea on some other guys. It’s just not information that we are going to put out there. We’re just going to let it go until Sunday.”

 

Can you expand at all or say anything about [Ray] Lewis or [Terrell] Suggs? (Michelle Beisner) “No, I can’t. But thanks for asking.” (laughter)

 

Jim Caldwell yesterday said that the plan was for him to be upstairs in the booth, but said it would be your final decision. Have you made that decision? (Luke Jones) “Yes, unless something changes today after practice today in our conversations, that’s the way we’ve been practicing it all week – Jim Caldwell communicating to [wide receivers coach] Jim Hostler, and then Jim Hostler communicating with Joe [Flacco]. That will be from the press box to the field. That’s a little more seamless for us because Jim has been in the box all year.”

 

I’m not talking about specific injuries per se, but how difficult is it to have so many guys injured and how much does that affect your decision on who to make active, like a guy who might be able to give you some but you can’t count on him. Do you almost have to shut him down because you don’t have enough … (Jeff Zrebeic) “Are you talking about anybody specifically? (Reporter: “No, just that they might be close, but you’re not sure.”) That’s a factor. Since we have so many injuries right now, that’s going to be in consideration. Will we have enough healthy guys to get to 46? That’s a consideration. What you are talking about will come down to one or two guys at end that we will have to make a decision [on].”

 

One guy who appears to be healthy and I thought played one of his best games last Sunday, Haloti Ngata. Are you encouraged by his ways the last couple of weeks? He’s worked with the knee injury most of the year. (Luke Jones) “That’s a big one for us. If Haloti [Ngata] can get to the level that we are accustomed to seeing him play at with being healthy, that would be a big boost for us. I think he’s really getting close. Like you said, he played really well last week. If he can take that a notch up this week, that’s big for our team.”

 

Peyton [Manning] is Peyton, but their running game has really stepped up recently, even with Willis [McGahee] out. Knowshon [Moreno] and [Ronnie] Hillman have had some good games. What do they bring to the table? (Jason Butt) “It’s all driven by the Peyton Manning offense – the idea that they are going to try to run and pass against the most favorable look. When Willis [McGahee] was in there, all year their running game has been really effective. Of course, there is not much drop off with Knowshon [Moreno]. They just have a really good offensive line – physical offensive line – and they have three really good running backs. But, they run against light boxes, because that’s what they want to do. That’s what Peyton [Manning] does. If you are going to defend the run, then he’s going to throw. It’s not complicated, but the way he does it and what he recognizes, it becomes a little bit of matchup of trying to fool him a little bit and him trying to fool us a little bit. They’ll run when you play single-high, and they’ll throw when you play two-high and all that. It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out, but really it’s up to us to play good fundamental defense – good up front, knock-back defense, play downhill with our linebackers, recognize play-action, those kinds of things. If we do that, we’ll stop the run.”

 

It’s only been a couple of days since you made the announcement – Jim Caldwell. How do you think it’s been accepted in the locker room? (Bill West) “Two things: First of all, our players take responsibility for the fact that there even had to be a change. That is something that speaks very well. The coaches the same way – we all feel responsible that there was even a feeling that a change would help us. If everybody was doing a better job, we probably wouldn’t have gotten to that point. That’s where it starts and to me that speaks well of our chances going forward. On the other side of the coin, everybody is excited. Jim [Caldwell] has done a great job in the meeting room. The coaches have done a great job. The players have done a great job of rallying. It’s very seamless. It’s what we do. We operate this way all year. We don’t really miss a step as far as the process. Now it’s just a matter of putting it together and taking what we’ve done on the practice field to the game field on Sunday.”

 

Worst case scenario if you don’t get [Terrell] Suggs or [Ray] Lewis in the mix and you try to beat Peyton Manning, which you guys haven’t been able to do for quite a few years, how do you go about doing it and do you believe in this group that you have that they can execute and beat Peyton? (Michelle Beisner) “You play a team. You always play a team. He’s been the quarterback of teams that have beaten the Ravens for many, many years, obviously. That’s a point of pride. No doubt about it. We hear it from everybody, like you. It definitely bristles you up a little bit if you have any kind of pride at all. It’s part of the deal, but that’s not what wins you football games. Playing well wins – all three phases, playing complimentary football – good, tough, physical, solid, sound, fundamental football is what wins games. That’s what we’ll try to do.”

 

This year, I think you are No. 2 in terms of penalties. In previous years you’ve been towards the bottom of the table with that. Do you attribute that to having so many new pieces on the field or is that a discipline thing? What can you tell the guys? Is there anything that you can tell them to kind of prevent that? (J. Michael) “A lot of it earlier in the year was pre-snap penalties on offense. We’ve had a couple games recently where there have been too many of those. That sets you back behind schedule – it came up in the Washington game. That’s something that you really have to work on. That’s not OK. We can’t be going first-and-15. That’s been a number of the penalties. We had a couple of replacement referee games that were high-penalty games. That’s part of it. They still factor those in. I think they are still counting them, aren’t they? (laughing) Maybe they should wipe the slate clean from the first three weeks. (laughter) Would we still be in that ranking? I don’t know. I’m not going to dismiss that part of it either, to be truthful. There have been a lot of them that you look at and go, ‘That shouldn’t have been called. That’s not a penalty by any measurement,’ and the league tells us it shouldn’t have been called. So, you just look at each penalty case by case and say: ‘OK, we are going to address it.’ In the big picture, absolutely, there is no way in the world it’s beneficial for us to be a highly-penalized team. It’s not something that we’re interested in. I know some coaches say it’s not important. If you look statistically over the years, it has not been a determiner for a win-loss record. But, we don’t care. We think it’s important, and we’re going to try to play as clean as we can for the rest of the way.”

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