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Ravens Transcripts: Super Bowl Prep Week

Posted Jan 24, 2013


Head Coach John Harbaugh

 

Opening statement: “Thanks for coming. Welcome. We’ve got a few more cameras than usual. There must be a big game coming up. (laughter) Our guys have started the preparation. Coaches have been game-planning now for three days. We’ve pretty much put our game plan together for the 49ers. We started practice today. We had meetings this morning, starting at 8:10. We just finished up with our early, what we call A.A.C.T. practice, which is alignment, assignment, communication and technique practice. It went well, so we’ll go to lunch now, [do] a little bit of media work, obviously. We’ll come back and practice, starting with special teams, later. After practice, we’ll have post-practice meetings with each position group, and that’ll be our day.”

 

Everybody knows who the coaches are in this game. We just had your parents and Joani on the phone. You’ll be a member of this family forever, but as much as you love all of those people, is it time to put all that aside now? “Well, I don’t think you ever put your family aside. But yeah, we have a job to do. All of us have a job to do. Jim [Harbaugh] has a job to do, all of his coaches, all of our coaches, all of our players. Everybody is going to be focusing on doing their job. The thing that we try to emphasize to our guys is … It’s not hard to get everybody’s attention, for one thing. Everybody is excited to do their job. It’s the last time we’re going to be together as a football team, and what a glorious opportunity to be together for two more weeks. We told our guys it’s the best week of football in the National Football League, and it lasts two weeks – that’s Super Bowl weeks. We’ll be here together, working hard, doing what we always do, focusing and concentrating on our process. You’re right, that’s the priority.”

 

Ray Lewis has played quite a role here since coming back, leading the team in tackles. What does his experience in the playoffs mean for you guys and also his background as a Super Bowl MVP and him coming back to the Super Bowl? “That’s a good reminder. Ray is a Super Bowl MVP. His leadership, obviously, is really important for us. His leadership off the field and understanding how to approach a game like this is big for our younger guys. Also, as a football player, he has played really well. He’s played just like he’s always played.”

 

How important has Ozzie Newsome been to the success of your teams? You’ve made it to the playoffs in five-straight years. “Ozzie is the foundation of the Ravens. He has been since 1996. He’s been the G.M. He’s been the G.M. since the beginning. He drafted Ray [Lewis]. He drafted Jonathan Ogden. He’s drafted every player. He’s made every free agent signing that’s come through here. There is no us without Ozzie. We’re not here without Ozzie Newsome. Ozzie would be the first guy to point to the rest of the scouts. You work right through the group: [assistant general manager] Eric DeCosta, [director of college scouting] Joe Hortiz, [senior personnel assistant] George Kokinis, [vice president of football administration] Pat Moriarty, the whole group. They do a great job.”

 

What do you preach to your group about Colin Kaepernick and the ride-into-the-side offense? “Ride-into-the-side offense? Thanks. Now we have a name for it. We just thought it was really tough. We’re going to have to tackle him. We’re going to have to keep him inside and in front of our defense. We’re not going to be able to run past him. He’s fully capable of putting 200 yards on you in a second, just as capable as Frank Gore is, or any of their running backs. So, he’s not just an integral part of their passing game; he’s a huge part of their run game. So, we’ll have a plan for it. Assignment football is going to be really important for us. Change-ups are going to be important for us. We’ll just have to play well against it.”

 

I remember before the game vs. the Redskins, [Terrell] Suggs basically said he couldn’t play in the game because he was concerned his arm wouldn’t be able to contain on the outside. Having him in this game against Colin Kaepernick, do you see that being a difference? “He’s planning on playing in this game. (laughter) So, it should be good for us. He’ll be part of it. We did a pretty good job in that game once we got our feet on the ground against RGIII [Robert Griffin III]. They took the first drives down there, but once we had a feel for the offense, I thought we did OK. It’s a similar offense, obviously, style-wise, but it’s not the same offense by any stretch. So, it’s hard to compare those two games.”

 

What are the major differences? “Just the way they run the offense. The foundation of the offense is different. It’s not the same base offense. Even the blocking schemes and the read option stuff is a little bit different. And, I think the style of the play of the two quarterbacks is different. They are both great in their own right, but they bring different things to the table.”

 

Will Dennis Dixon work as Colin Kaepernick as he did RGIII? “Dennis will be a big part of that for us. He understands the scheme and the reads and things like that. He’s very valuable for us.”

 

How proud are you to be at a national stage? How does it feel to be representing the cradle of coaches like this, being able to draw attention back to Miami (Ohio)? “We’ve got a Miami guy here, huh? It’s great pride, great pride of Miami. You look at the tradition at Miami, it’s something that when you go there, they make sure you understand pretty well. Players and coaches and the football tradition there just mean so much. What [head coach] Don Treadwell is doing there is something that I am really proud of and can’t support that enough. Love and honor to Miami. I love that school, love the people there.”

 

Is it inspiring when you see and know the cradle of coaches and those names? “I’m just trying to live up to that some way. That’s the pressure in this game. You look at the names that are up there – maybe some of you guys know it. You go back to the [former Miami (Ohio) coaches] Ara Parseghians and the Sid Gilmans, and you keep going back and you work through Bo [Schembechler] and Woody [Hayes], Earl ‘Red’ Blaik. They’ve had some pretty good coaching names. So, we take pretty good pride in that.”

 

Six out of the last eight Super Bowl Champions have played in the first round of the playoffs. Is there any advantage in that path? “There are advantages in that path. There are advantages in both paths. Just assuming when you get the bye that that’s necessarily a plus is not necessarily true. There are advantages going both ways.”

 

With all these injuries on defense, we found out how deep your roster is. Is it as deep as it’s been since you got here? “Probably so. We’ve probably never tested it as deep as we did this year since we’ve been there. Our young guys always came through. Our young guys were up to the task.”

 

You were on the Eagles’ staff. How much has that helped you heading into this Super Bowl, knowing that you have been there already once? “It is a plus. We had a good conversation last night – my wife [Ingrid] and I – talking about experiences and just having been through that, having gone through the practices, having walked on the field before the game, understanding the dynamic. How the timeline works out through the course of the game is going to be a positive for us.”

 

Have you made a plan for discipline, when guys need to be in next week, bed checks, things like that? “We do have a plan for that, thanks. And, our players thank you for that, too, I’m sure. (laughing) Our leaders, we have already had that conversation. It will be very important for us to understand that this is a business trip first and foremost. Yes, we want to enjoy it, but we want to enjoy all the things about it that make it special. You can do all those other things anytime. You can do them next week if you want, but you aren’t going to be going to the Super Bowl next week. You are going to be going to the Super Bowl this week. It’s a very special moment, so let’s enjoy all the things pertaining to the football game and the preparation and all those things and a little time with our families. That will be our priority. I will be shocked if our guys have their focus anywhere other than that. I know that are leaders – starting with this guy right over here [points to Ray Lewis] – are going to be a big part of that.”

 

QB Joe Flacco


On how he decides who gets to come to the Super Bowl from his family: “I kind of don’t. [I] let everybody else handle it. You get a certain amount of tickets – that’s what you get. I have more people coming down for all the festivities and things like that, but once again, [that’s] not for me to worry about.”

 

On what impresses him about the 49ers’ defense: “The biggest thing about them is how aggressive and physical they play. When they see something … They play at a high tempo. They’ve got physical guys up front and guys that react quickly and come downhill in the back end. So all around, they’re a pretty physical defense that flies around and gets to the ball really quick.”

 

On the key to having success against the 49ers: “I just think you’ve got to get in a rhythm – get some completions, up-tempo them a little bit, try to wear them out. Get that first first down, get the drive going so that you can keep them on the field. They’re very good at getting teams off the field quickly, and I think that’s why they’ve been successful.”

 

On what changed for him after the interception in the regular season against the Broncos to now, with no interceptions in the postseason: “No, nothing’s changed, and I wouldn’t really say it was because of [offensive coordinator] Jim [Caldwell] either.”

 

On how it feels to be going to the Super Bowl after three tries: “It feels good. There are a lot of people in this league that can’t say they’ve ever gotten to this point, so it definitely feels good to get here. We’ve got a lot of guys on our team that have played long careers, and this will be their first time here. So, we realize that opportunity and realize how special it is. That’s why we’ve just got to work hard and make sure we make the most of it.”

 

On the keys to the success of the recently-changed offensive line: “I think it’s a pretty solid group that we have up there right now. Bryant [McKinnie] is fresh and playing quick and moving well, and obviously, with his stature out there, he’s a big strong guy. So, I think that allowed us to put Mike [Oher] on the right side, bring K.O. [Kelechi Osemele] over to the left guard. He’s a great young player. It gives us five really good talents up there, and they’ve been playing really well together, so you’ve got to give the credit to those guys.”

 

On his thoughts on becoming a more vocal leader in the future: “No, I haven’t worked on it. I haven’t worked on it – don’t know if I agree with it. There are a lot of different ways to lead, and the bottom line is it’s about motivating your players to get the best out of them and having belief that you can go do it in any situation. And Ray [Lewis] does a great job of that in his own way, and I don’t know if there’s anybody quite like him in that category. So, in an effort to do something along the lines of the way he does it would be a mistake, just because I don’t think you’re going to live up to it. You’ve got to do it your own way, and I think naturally as you get more comfortable with people and people understand you more, and you become more confident in them, and they become more confident in you, you become more vocal as time goes on.”

 

On the naysayers and finally getting the respect that he deserved a long time ago: “I really don’t care. You know, there are guys out there that have got to make a living on hating on somebody. If that’s going to be us, if that’s going to be me, then I plan on being around for a while. And if you want to continue to do it, I’ll be here.”

 

On how he feeds off of making long plays: “I don’t know if I feed off of it. I think those guys definitely feed off of it. When you give them the opportunity one-on-one to go up and make plays and they make them, it gets them going. It gets the other guys going. ‘Hey, Joe’s going to put the ball up there today, we’ve got to go get it.’ And, it’s not like we’re throwing it up in triple coverage. Those guys have got one-on-one situations, and in those kinds of situations, especially down in the red zone, I’ve got to give those guys a chance to make a play. That’s what they’re out there for, and that’s what they get paid to do. Down the stretch here they’ve been doing a great job of that, and that’s why we’ve been successful down in the red zone and putting touchdowns on the board.”

 

On how he feels about playing with people in the Super Bowl that came from the same New Jersey area as he did, such as T Bryant McKinnie and TE Alex Silvestro: “It’s pretty cool. Bryant [McKinnie] played a little bit before my time, and Alex [Silvestro] played a little bit after me. We play in a small conference down in South Jersey, and it’s definitely pretty neat to be able to be with those guys and especially go to the Super Bowl with them. Isaac Redman is another guy that plays for Pittsburgh that has been there, and it’ll be cool. When you think about my conference and the size of the schools – the high schools – that these guys came from, especially Alex [Silvestro] and Bryant’s [McKinnie] schools, I mean they’re very small schools. So, to see us in the Super Bowl is pretty cool, and I hope it’s kind of a cool thing for everybody back in South Jersey.”

 

On how difficult it will be to make this trip a business trip and if he has been in touch with other players that have played in the Super Bowl about it: “No, I haven’t. I don’t envision it being very hard. I think we all know what’s at stake for this game, and I think you have to enjoy it. There’s going to be certain points of being down there that you have to enjoy. This is something that doesn’t come up very often, so talking to the media, everything that goes on surrounding the game, that, to us, is secondary. But everybody else is really like the prime reason that we’re playing the game. You have to enjoy that. We all understand what that means and how to be smart about it. I think we have a team that does a great job doing that, and we will this week, too.”

 

LB Ray Lewis


On the Super Bowl being the final game of his career: “Honestly, outside of putting my head in the playbook and really just studying San Fran, I haven’t really thought about anything else. It’s going to be a great day – period – no matter what happens. And that’s kind of the way I’ve approached it. I haven’t even said, ‘Oh man, this is your last game, what do you think?’ I really haven’t, because I just really am keeping my teammates focused on the real prize. I heard coach [John Harbaugh] speak about it earlier, and the real prize is actually going and winning the Super Bowl. It’s great to get there, don’t get me wrong, but to win it is something special. [When] you feel that confetti drop, then I’ll probably reflect then, when I’m there.  But, it really hasn’t crossed my mind like that.”

 

On telling QB Joe Flacco in Denver it was his time to take over as leader of the team: “When I do that, everything is, you always have a hidden agenda or reason why I do things. I knew for us to go in there and win that particular game that Joe Flacco had to play exceptionally well – which he did. So to pass that along to him is whatever it is. And, who knows who turns into that next leader here? There are a lot of guys that can definitely step in that role. But, I think Joe has a great advantage and head start to really becoming that next true, true leader. He kind of has to come out of his quiet shell a little bit, but outside of that, Joe is definitely a great candidate for it.”

 

On why he asked to have the Lombardi Trophy removed from the Ravens’ CBS pre-game shoot yesterday:  “You see [the trophy here and] everybody wants to have you take pictures with it. Like I told my team, don’t ever take pictures with nothing that’s not yours, nothing that you haven’t earned. When we hold that Lombardi, whoever holds that Lombardi next Sunday, you’ve earned it when you touch it. And don’t fool yourself and try to trick yourself [by saying], ‘This feels great.’ Don’t go through that. And don’t even [think about it]. I don’t believe in jinxes and all that, I just believe in don’t set yourself up for something. Just really work for it.”

 

On his performance in the playoffs and how it has contributed to the team’s success: “My mind is probably as sharp as it is going to be. I’ve always said that anytime you can give your body a true rest – not just your body, anytime you can give your mind a certain rest from the game and from the every week wear and tear – when you come back you come back just as fresh as ever. For me right now, I feel fresh. My mind is fresh, my body is fresh and I’m just excited to really be able to end this thing up the right way.”

 

On how he is perceived in his hometown and if he feels the perception of him has changed there over the last 12 years: “In my hometown, which is Lakeland [Florida]? (Reporter: “Yes, sir.”) That’s always home. That’s where everything that I’m connected to [is]. The only reason that I’m here now is because of my hometown, because of the way we are. We are way more country than people think we are. We have a certain sense of love and togetherness there. And everything that I know is one of the major reasons why I am here because of my hometown. And that’s why I have so much stuff [I am] putting in there. My foundation [is there] and I have a huge event – kind of like what I do here with the Ray’s Summer Days – I have that now in Lakeland for the last two years, and that’s growing big and a lot of people are coming along. So, there are a lot of good things going on.”

 

On San Francisco LB Patrick Willis: “P. Willis, that’s a young lion, man, that I talk to a lot. I talk to him a lot. We just got to texting two days ago. He was just really talking about the feeling and how surreal it is for him. Since he has come into this league, I’ve always been [talking to him] – since we met each other at the Pro Bowl and I knew his story and why he wears 52 and all that. It’s a special story to become close with him like that. I always try to throw the smallest tidbits out to help his career out, to help him [know] how to get better. [I tell him], ‘You should do this, you should do that.’ We talk a lot. We talk a lot. But he’s a great, great, great young man, and I’m really excited for him and happy for him as well.”

 

On where this year’s team ranks compared to others he’s played on, and what does it mean to be going to the Super Bowl with this group of guys: “When you look at the guys who have been around here for years and years now … I was just sitting there with Haloti [Ngata] and I’m looking at him … I asked him just sitting in his seat the other day, and he was like, ‘What year am I in now?’ [He is in] his sixth or seventh year. Just to have him that long now, and ‘Sizzle’ [Terrell Suggs] and Ed [Reed] and then Ray [Rice] is in his fifth year, and Joe [Flacco] is in his fifth [year] … We really grew together. We have really grown together and not just grown from the perspective of just playing with each other, but we’ve been through a lot of heartaches with each other. And now, that’s what makes this team so special. [It] is that we really believe in each other, and not just on the field, but off the field. Our locker room vibe is different – just the way we interact with each other is so different. And that’s what I truly believe ultimately goes on and wins the championship, is team chemistry.”

 

On Hall of Fame nominees Jonathan Ogden and Art Modell, and why they deserve to be inducted: “Listen, Art, from Day One, from the day I walked in this building, I could never ask for a better father [figure] in my life to play that role. Just the things that that man did, not just for me, but for many thousands of players and organizations and the City of Baltimore … Just to bring football back here to the City of Baltimore … He had a vision and he followed the vision. There is no Baltimore Ravens without Art Modell. So, his legacy will always live on. I think it’s one of the highest honors ever to be recognized for the things he’s done. For Jonathan Ogden, look, since I came in with that guy [in 1996], he was just special from Day One. We were roommates for many years, and to see him go and do it and for us to do it together – to touch the Lombardi together – and see him retire and see him walking around now … There’s just no one like J.O. So, I congratulate everything that he’s going through right now. It’s truly an awesome feeling.”

 

On the similarities between the Ravens’ 2000 Super Bowl team and this year’s team: “I think every team would be able to say this, but when you think about this team and the 2000 [Super Bowl team], the kinds of things you see is we have a great mix of it all. We have youth, we have athleticism, we have wisdom, we have leadership – we have it at all different levels. That’s kind of the thing we had in 2000 that was very, very special. We had a young rookie running back [Jamal Lewis], who was pretty good to take us to a Super Bowl. And we have another young rookie running back [this year], [Bernard Pierce] who is pretty good himself, to take us to the Super Bowl. So, we had the same balance all the way around with all those different aspects that I hit on. That’s the biggest similarity that I see with this team the most.”

 

 

S Ed Reed


On the Super Bowl being in his hometown and if this is his last ride: “No, it’s not my last ride. I just bought a bike not too long ago. Going home … I’m speechless when it comes to talking about going home for this Super Bowl. It’s amazing to me. I just give everything to God on that one. This is just amazing. For me to be in my 11th year, like Joe [Flacco] said, everybody doesn’t get this chance to even play in the Super Bowl, win the Super Bowl. It’s just amazing to me. I’m just soaking it up, just really enjoying it – ever minute, every second, being around my teammates.”

 

On if this tops any awards he’s won in his career: “This is the ultimate, for your team. This is what you always wanted. This is why you prepare in the offseason. This is why you play the game – to get to the ultimate dance. This is it. I told Bernard Pollard in the walk-through, ‘I don’t need anything else in life, outside of my son graduating college, I’m good. I don’t need anything else. I’m set. I’m good right now.’”

 

On if the defensive plan will be to disrupt the 49ers with a bump-and-run and being physical up front: “San Francisco just really started throwing the ball on early downs in the last game – they did it a lot more because they had to throw Atlanta off, from what I was hearing from the commentators. They’re a run team. They have Frank Gore over there, who is an ex-teammate of mine in Miami, who I know is a great running back. I don’t know how much we’re going to throw them off, as far as our plan right now. We’re still kind of implementing it. I know we’ve got to get our hands on their receivers. We pride ourselves about that on defense and as a secondary, to get our hands on the receivers and make sure we try to throw off their timing. It’s all about execution at the end of the day.”

 

On what defensive coordinator Dean Pees has meant to the team this year: “He’s been the same demanding defensive coordinator as everybody else. We meet with Coach [Pees] every week, even today. So, there really hasn’t been any change as far as attitude and how Chuck [Pagano] did things and our other coordinators, with Rex [Ryan]. There really hasn’t been a change as far as the demand he’s required of us. And he asks us things to make sure we know and want what we put into the scheme. The players really have an impact on it. We talk to each other before we even go to see Coach Pees. We make sure we talk about things that we have seen on tape to make sure he knows what our best attributes are as far as secondary, linebackers, D-line on what we need to do and what we think we should try to get done on the football field.”

 

On QB Colin Kaepernick and if he watched the film of Robert Griffin III to figure out how to defend him: “I actually went back to Michael Vick when I was watching this guy and talking to Ray [Lewis] about him. I remember the days when we played against Vick and just how he can throw the ball and run. RGIII is a little bit different – their blocking scheme, with how [Redskins head coach Mike] Shanahan does things and what they’re doing with Kaepernick. It’s read-option, but there’s no pitch guy, so it’s a little different. I really haven’t looked at our Washington [game] film again. I wanted to. I don’t know if I’ll really get to it. But he’s a little different than what they’re doing with him. Even [Kaepernick’s] running style – I know he’s fast, he can run – but RGII was a little quicker, I think, and probably a little faster. You’re pretty much getting some of the same things, but not totally.”

 

On the 49ers’ offense without a pitch guy: “It’s more for our up-front guys than anything. I still have to watch the pass. My obligation is to watch the pass. And, you know, the majority of the time, I’m the deep guy. We’ve just got to be conscious of what we’re doing, what we’re rotating as far as safety-wise, who’s going to be the down guy. Most of all, who’s responsibility it is to be taking ‘7’ out of the game [plan].”

 

On how the experience of the Ravens’ defense has allowed it to excel during the playoffs: “We’ve been through a lot. We had a bunch of guys who’ve been through a lot, a bunch of guys who’ve stepped up, young guys that got a lot of playing time early in the year when Ray [Lewis] went down. We knew that we wanted to make the playoffs in order for Ray to have a chance to come back. And obviously, when Ray came back – he’s just that engine, he’s that motor that’s going to go all the time. He understands what the offense is trying to do to you when you’re talking about the run game. He’s calling out plays before they even happen. That’s what you really miss when Ray’s out. You don’t have a guy that’s calling the play out. He’s seen so much football. For 17 years, he’s seen a lot of football. So, Ray calling out a bunch of plays definitely helps. To have those guys play early, get that experience, it really helped.”

 

On how he will feel in terms of his career if the Ravens win the Super Bowl in his hometown: “I will be playing next year, if that’s what you’re asking. So, next question.”

 

On the feeling of making it to the Super Bowl with LB Ray Lewis after spending 11 seasons with him: “Awesome. I told him today, ‘This is a Super Bowl practice.’ And he said, ‘Who would’ve thunk it?’ It’s awesome. I can’t explain it. It’s just so much joy, for all of us as an organization, to get to this point, for what we’ve been battling for years, but really since coach [John] Harbaugh got here [in 2008]. From what he implemented as scheme, what he wanted to do as a coach, what he wanted this organization to be – there were some bumps and bruises in there. There was some adversity that we went through in all of these seasons past, and even this season, to get here. You say we’re making plays at the right time, but we’ve earned it. We’ve earned our spot. San Francisco has earned their spot, too. Coach [Jim] Harbaugh over there, pretty much is doing the same things – they went to back-to-back [NFC] Championships, just like us. For both of us to get over that hump – I can imagine how much joy they have.”

 

On the matchup problems TE Vernon Davis presents: “He’s a receiver, to me.  [He’s a] 4.3-4.4 [40-yard dash] guy. That size? He’s definitely a threat that you’ve got to know where he is at all times, kind of like our [TE Dennis] Pitta. So, you’ve got to watch the guy at all times. He might not have been as much as a threat with [Colin] Kaepernick in there, but he’s always a threat. They’re getting him the ball. Usually, when you see him catching it, it’s a touchdown. You definitely have to watch out for Vernon. I have a lot of respect for Vernon – his work ethic, and knowing people who know him, how he works and what he puts into the game and how he’s grown as a player.”

 

On the team having the Lombardi Trophy removed from the CBS pre-game photo shoot because they haven’t earned it yet: “We’ve always been like that around here. It’s always been about getting better, the next day, getting a little bit better as the days go by, as a player, as a man. Our attitude as far as this game and weeks past has not changed. It’s ‘Come to work. Get prepared.’ And I don’t think it’s going to be any different as these days go by, getting closer with everything going on, like Joe [Flacco] said. We have a focus. We know what we want to do, but at the same time, we’re going to enjoy it. Because that’s what we do – we have a lot of fun. That’s why this season, this ride, has been special.”



RB Ray Rice


On if he is happy he isn’t going to Honolulu: “Yes, now. You are in the Super Bowl. You can’t complain about that. [It is] the greatest feeling ever. We made it.”

 

On channeling his emotions knowing what lies ahead next week: “First off, you have to embrace it. I’m not going shy around and say this isn’t the best feeling of my life. It was just one of those feelings where the game is over and it finally set in that the Ravens are going to the Super Bowl, so you have two weeks to prepare. Obviously, we are going to enjoy this. Obviously, we are going to get to work this week, but you get down there, there’s nothing like it. I said I have never been to a Super Bowl game. I have been down to a few Super Bowl appearances, but I told myself I’m never going to one unless I’m playing in it. This is the one that I finally get to say I’m playing in it.”

 

On what he thought about LB Ray Lewis saying to stay away from the Lombardi Trophy during the CBS per-game shoots: “I think it’s great. I’m not superstitious or anything, but I don’t want to see something that’s not rightfully ours yet. We have to work to get that. That’s why you’re going down to New Orleans. With all the fun put aside, this is indeed a total business trip. We are the last two standing. It’s the biggest stage for everybody to see. The goal is to go down there and win it. I don’t want to see it. We have the Lamar Hunt. We’ve seen that. That was in our locker room. I don’t want to see the Super Bowl trophy unless it’s rightfully ours.”

 

On the mentality of the team after losing several games in November and December: “When we lost four of the last five, the mentality of the team was, obviously, we had to help, but we knew we needed one [win] to get into the playoffs. We knew when we got in the playoffs, that’s when the season was going along. As it was going along, we were going to get some guys back healthy. We got to our [playoff] game, got Ray Lewis back. We had everybody back playing at a high level, and the goal was to get that one and get in The Dance. We wanted to be in The Dance. We knew once we got in no matter what seed we were that we were going to be able to compete with anybody that we played. We got in The Dance and took care of business, but the road wasn’t easy. Nobody likes losing, but losing four of the last five really wasn’t the make or break of our year. But, the team became stronger through the losses. We didn’t point fingers. We didn’t make any excuses. We went out there. We took it on the chin and got to the playoffs and took care of business.”

 

On if he felt like changing offensive coordinators was risky: “Coach [John] Harbaugh made a decision based on what he felt was best for the organization – for our team. Like I said before, Cam [Cameron] has done great things around here. [We] won a lot of games under Cam Cameron. When he made that decision, that was something that the coach felt was best for the team. What coach [Jim] Caldwell has done has kept the offense simple and basic. He put the game into Joe Flacco’s hands, and Joe has done a great job – phenomenal job – of leading us to where we needed to be. We are right here where we want to be right now.”

 

On keeping his emotions in check and dealing with tickets: “I’ll be honest, my tickets, family, flights all of that stuff, that was taken care of yesterday. It’s a work week now. Needless to say, it was stressful; it was very stressful. One thing that’s a 100-percent guarantee is you can’t please everybody. They have nice HD televisions, 3-D, all that good stuff out there, as well. (laughter) Being at the game will be a great feeling, but for those who can’t make it, you won’t be missing out. I know some people that throw some great Super Bowl parties. Ask around.” (laughter)

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