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Super Bowl Wednesday Transcripts Part 2

Posted Jan 30, 2013

Quotes from the Baltimore Ravens media session.

GUARD MARSHAL YANDA

(on the experience of the Super Bowl so far) “You try to live in the moment as best you can, as far as taking in all of the experiences, but everybody is having a good time and enjoying it. I’m kind of ready to get back to football though. We start practice today and start game planning stuff, and I’m just excited to get back to running around and get ready for San Fran.”

(on Brian Baldinger saying that there isn’t a better guard in the NFL than Marshal Yanda) “It’s nice to hear. People seeing you and watching you and saying you do great things, it just shows you that hard work is paying off and the most important thing is to play at a high level and just not having bad games, stacking good days, and that’s something that I’ve always been proud and wanted to be a great player. I take a lot of pride in that. I do want to be great. I want to be one of those guys mentioned at the top and at my position.”

(on how he likes being selected for the Pro Bowl but playing in the Super Bowl instead) “You want to have it that way. We all know that last year we were in the AFC Championship game, lose, and then two days later you’ve got to pack up and go to Hawaii. I mean that’s a tough deal when you make it that far, so this year, I wanted to make it, but I didn’t want to play in it. I obviously wanted to make it to this big stage and get here because that’s what we all work for everyday: to make it to this point, and you just keep working one day at a time and getting better and focus.”

(on how Joe Flacco’s release time helps the offensive line) “Yeah, Joe’s got a real strong arm, and he plants his back foot and gets it out of there. We just try to protect him as long as we can. It doesn’t matter if it’s a three-step, five-step or seven-step drop, we’re trying to give him as much time as we can and let him do his reads and just play good football. It’s a combination of understanding where he’s going to be at but also blocking as long as you can, no matter the timing in your head. You try to throw that out and just block as long as you can and give him as much time to make plays.”

(on what Bernard Pierce adds to Baltimore’s running game) “Obviously, the second guy comes in, you might think there would be a drop-off, but he’s showing that he’s a hard, physical running back that makes guys miss, and he’s a great complement to Ray (Rice). When he comes in, it’s not like we’re going to drop-off. He can take it the distance and bust out and make plays. He’s done that, and it’s great to have him. He’s matured a lot this year as a rookie, and he’s got a bright future, no doubt.”

(on the changes made to the offensive line and how it has helped the team) “Yeah, they switched it up, obviously right before the (first) playoff game. (Bryant McKinnie) went to left tackle, (Kelechi Osemele) went to left guard, and then (Michael Oher) went to right (tackle). That’s a big challenge for all three of those guys to be able to switch positions, especially (Osemele) as a rookie, to be able to play every game at right tackle as a rookie and then in the playoffs, switch to left guard. Everything in his mind is flipped, you’re in a left-handed stance. Obviously, your position of power is different when you switch stances, so for him to be able to do that, and be that ready when you haven’t played (there) all year, and then (Oher), being able to just play at a high level. Those three guys, it was very important for them to be able to do that, and they did it with ease. When we went to the playoffs, (the changes) were just in a week, so that was huge.”

(on if players were surprised when coaches told them there would be changes on the offensive line) “Well, we knew Jah Reid got hurt and it was a season-ending injury, so we had to do something. We knew there was a change in effect and something had to happen. We knew it was coming.”

(on the timing of the changes) “It speaks volumes for (McKinnie, Osemele and Oher) to be able to do that because that’s tough to do. You’re really rolling the dice, switching guys around like that and you’re in the playoffs, so if something goes wrong or you have a bad game, we’re done, we’re not here right now. Those guys did a really good job of not missing a beat. That just speaks well to how good of players they are, and for (Osemele) to be able to do that is huge. He’s got a bright future and has shown his versatility and is playing at a high level.”

(on the challenges that San Francisco’s linebackers will present) “You just do your best. You come up there and look at the reads, try to get on the right aiming point, and you just try to finish the block from there. Just their vision, and when they need to be physical, they can bring it. When they need to run, they can run. When they need to juke you to make you miss, they can do all three of those really well. Usually, with a linebacker, all you’ve got to worry about sometimes is a big, physical guy that’s going to run you over. Those guys can do that, and they can also juke you because they’ve got the speed, too. They’ve got a lot of good things that make it tough to (block). I’m not going to be able to just come up to them and knock the snot out of them because he’s going to make me miss. You’ve got to respect them because they’re great players. We’ve got to get them blocked to be able to do well against them on Sunday.”

(on how San Francisco frees defensive players) “They do a lot of pick games. Their big thing is to pick guys and get our linemen on different levels and get us picked, as far as to get guys free and then come around and get free runners to the quarterback. We’re watching film on them, and they do a great job of that — the guys on the left and the right. They do a good job of sometimes holding guys up, as far as Justin Smith kind of pulling the guard a little bit to let Aldon Smith come inside. It’s not going to get called because it’s very subtle, but it’s very big. They do a good job of that, and they do it on the right side, too. They do a good job of getting us on different levels. We’ve got to do a good job of setting off the ball square and blocking their stuff, and they do a good job of moving in and out, so you can’t really just block for (one thing). They keep you honest at all times.”

(on how San Francisco defensive tackle Ray McDonald has improved over the past couple of years) “Ray McDonald is very underrated. You don’t hear about him, but he does a lot for those two guys on the left, too. He pushes the pocket really well. He’s got a really strong bull rush. That’s his best adjective because he’s really strong, and he can get off the ball real quick and then get in you and he’ll bull you. You see him a lot of times pushing the guard two, three, four yards in the backfield. When he does that, the quarterback can’t step up (in the pocket). When you play guard, you’ve got to be able to stop that so the quarterback can step up and make the throw. Ray’s usually pushing his guys into that to disrupt it. He’s a big, strong guy and he doesn’t get a lot of credit but he does a lot of good things. He’s just as important as those guys on the left side, too.”

(on Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco’s father saying his son is a ‘dull’ guy) “I wouldn’t say he’s dull. He’s not a real vocal leader. I’m on board with that. I don’t need a lot of vocal motivation. He’s a silent competitor, a silent leader, and he leads by his example on the field. I’m a guy like that, too. I’m not a big rah-rah guy, ‘Hey, we need to do this, do that.’ You just lead by example on the field with your work. Nothing needs to be said when you turn the tape on and you see guys making big plays, nothing else needs to be said. He’s not dull, but he’s not an outgoing guy.”

(on Baltimore having previous experience in big games) “We definitely know what it’s like to play in big games. When that stage comes, it’s obviously not a new thing for us. We’ve been in the playoffs a bunch. We’ve played Pittsburgh and New England a lot, so we’re in those tight ball games a bunch. If you get two good teams and they don’t turn the ball over much, it’s going to be one of those tight games that’s going to come down to a play here and a play there. It’s nice to be battle tested.”

(on the continuity that he and center Matt Birk have provided during the other changes to the offensive line) “(With) Matt being there, we understood that (Bryant McKinnie, Kelechi Osemele and Michael Oher) would have a tough job of switching positions and playing well. We understood ours, ‘Hey they better get my best.’ They will for sure because I’ve been at my spot all year the past two years, and they’re not going to get a bad game out of me. These guys have a lot more on their plate than I do. I want to be able to step up and give a good game, and Matt does, too.”

(on the improvements Flacco has made during his career) “He’s played at a high level, and whenever he needs to rise to the occasion, he has. Whether it was last year, two years ago or this year, whenever we need a big game out of Joe, he rises to the occasion and plays great, put the ball in the right spot, and done a good job.”

 

 

SAFETY ED REED

(on the impact that Doug Williams had on him as a fellow Louisiana native) “Just watching him, how he played the game with such passion. It just means a lot for what he’s done for guys opening doors as a quarterback. That’s awesome.”

(on if he appreciates his first Super Bowl appearance more with it coming later in his career) “Probably so. I appreciate the practices that we have. Media Day yesterday was awesome. Just the time that you spend, it’s a little different. It’s almost like being at a Pro Bowl, with all the attention and everything. With all the attention and everything, how everything is going. You’ve got obligations to do certain things when you first get started. We’ve got to do this every day, so it’s definitely a little different experience.”

(on if he ever wondered if he would ever get to play in a Super Bowl) “Of course. I didn’t doubt it, I just wondered when and if. I answered that question a couple times in my career. You have to have a special team. Everything has to be clicking, and you’ve definitely got to want it to get here. Not everyone is fortunate enough to go to a Super Bowl. I’m thankful and grateful. I’ve been saying that the whole time. To get the invitation to be here and to be in New Orleans, it’s even more special. Everyone won’t get to a Super Bowl. I know guys who didn’t play a down here and went to other teams and made the teams and got Super Bowls. Derrick Martin got two. That’s my boy, and I know he’s a hard worker and a great player who had an impact on those teams. You’ve just got to be part of something special and we’re glad to have it this year.”

(on if he thinks this could be his final game) “No, not at all.”

(on if he has any special routine before the game) “No, I’ll be following the same routine. Today’s my Wednesday, study day or whatnot, just doing everything the same. It’s a little different being at home. My mom’s been calling me like, ‘When are you coming home, when you coming home?’ I’m like, ‘Mom, I’ll see you later.’ I’m in a different mode right now. Nothing different.”

(on if the Ravens will be introduced as a team or individually before the Super Bowl) “I’m not sure. When we’re introduced as a team like that as the road team, we don’t do anything, no dancing, none of that individual stuff.”

(on if he thinks he’s experiencing any memory loss at this point in his career) “Yeah, but who doesn’t wake up and forget things? That was just a comment of, sometimes I feel like I forget things, but who doesn’t go through those things?”

(on if any memory loss is football-related) “I think some things I go through are football-related. I’m not all the way concerned right now about the memory-loss thing so much being football-related, because I only had about two or three concussions in my career, maybe more that you don’t really know of. There have been some things that honestly put up a flag. That’s the reason I assess myself every year. I keep saying that. But I feel awesome, I feel great.”

(on what flags may have come up) “Just stuff that I know, stuff that I’ve been through and might have been related, just because I’ve been playing football for so long. I’ve been playing football since I was a kid, seven or eight years old, not even counting the times we played without pads, when you’ve got guys as we called it ‘drop in the bucket,’ to try to get those extra yards. I’m sure there’s going to be something related to football. Like I said yesterday, I signed up for this. I knew it’s a contact sport. I know there’s going to be pains and ailments and injuries. Do I want that to affect my livelihood? No, but do I know that it’s going to affect it? Yes. I made the comment about the late, great Junior Seau. When I said I know he won’t have any regrets, I was talking about football, not the fact that the man passed away and lost his family. People tend to not write everything, and that’s the bad part about our business. No disrespect to his family, but people tend to write the wrong things and take it out of context and that’s the worst part about what we do.”

(on whether seeing other players suffering physically after retirement concerns him) “Yes, for my family. For my family to have to go through that if it were to happen, God forbid. But any family who has to go through that, any player who has ever played in this league or goes through this league would hate that for their family to go through. It’s like any other tragedy, though. To be honest with you, none of us know our time. None of us know how we’re going to go. None of us know when that day, when that hour is going to come and when it’s going to come to us. Some of the best people in the world have died in the worst ways. Does that make them a bad person, though? We’re going to have our time, and sometimes the way you live can have an effect on the way you go.”

(on if he would let his son play football) “I’m with (President Barack) Obama on that. If my son wants to play football, I would educate him about the sport as best I could, just like I tell these guys about taking care of themselves. It wouldn’t be any different. If he wanted to play, I’m going to let him play. I’m also going to educate him, though. That’s what my foundation is based on. It’s about getting information to kids. It’s no different than what I said about school systems. I’m not talking about our president, but we have stuff going on in our school systems that need to be taken care of. We have a whole bunch of things across this world that need to be taken care of. It’s not just football. We have to make sure that we’re educating kids and people about what’s going on, versus just saying, ‘Don’t do this,’ or ‘Don’t do that.’ If you have the knowledge and the information, maybe then you can make better decisions. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about, your choices.”

(on how dangerous 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is) “He’s very dangerous. He can run and throw the ball. Any time you have a quarterback like a (Michael) Vick, Randall Cunningham or a Doug Williams, those guys like that who can be in the pocket and also throw the ball, it poses a problem. The one thing about us as a defensive back, you have to stay in your coverage. You have to be disciplined in your coverage and rely on those other guys to make the play.”

(on if facing Robert Griffin III and Michael Vick earlier this year benefits the Ravens’ defense in preparing for Kaepernick) “Vick was Week 2 and RGIII was like, Week 10 or 11. That’s miles ago. Does it help? Maybe. Do I think it does? No. It’s just so long ago—different team, different o-line, different receivers. But he definitely poses the same type of problem that those guys did with running and throwing the ball.”

(on if he has a sense of pride in the 49ers’ defensive style) “We don’t play against that defense, so I’m not concerned about them. I’ve watched those guys, I have a lot of respect for those guys and what they do. I know Vic Fangio, the (defensive) coordinator. We ran some of the similar things that they ran, if not the same. Those guys are doing a great job over there. Patrick Willis and those safeties, (Dashon) Goldson and those guys making plays, the linebacking corps, everybody. Justin Smith, the d-line, they make plays. They’re a great defense, and that’s the reason they’ve had the success that they’ve had and gotten to the place they’ve gotten to, because of their defense, and their offense and special teams.”

(on what influence his family has on his decision to keep playing) “They always support me, and they know if I can walk and talk and run, I’ll be playing football. The decision is solely mine. Who I really talk to is my dad and my doctor, if I’m physically able. But it’s all here. If I have the heart for it and I want to continue to play, then I’m going to do it. If I don’t want to play, I just don’t want to play.”

(on his desire to finish his career in Baltimore) “It makes a big difference. I always said when I came into the league and got drafted that I didn’t want to be one of those guys jumping from team to team. If it was up to me, I would be right in Baltimore. If it happens to be somewhere else, I can play football on the moon.”

(on if there are other teams that would be appealing to him) “I have a lot of respect for Baltimore as a city, so certain teams would probably have to be weeded out.”

 

LINEBACKER RAY LEWIS

(on his reaction to Sports Illustrated story) “I think, honestly, and I am going to say it very clearly again, I think it’s probably one of the most embarrassing things that we can do on this type of stage. I think it takes totally away from – you give somebody the ability to come into our world. Our world is a very secret society, and we try to protect our world as much as we can. But, when you let cowards come in and do things like that, to try to disturb something. I’ve said it before, I’ve said a million times, the reason why I am smiling is because it is so funny of a story, because I never, ever, took what he says I – whatever I was supposed to do. It’s just sad, once again, that someone can have this much attention on a stage this big where the dreams are really real. They are really real. I don’t need it, my teammates don’t need it, the 49ers don’t need it, nobody needs it, because it just really shows you how people really plan things and try to attack people from the outside. It’s foolish. It’s very foolish, and the guy has no credibility. He’s been sued four or five times over the same B.S. Just to entertain it, I can’t, I won’t and I just truly believe he doesn’t have the privilege for me to speak about it ever again.”

(on if he is angry) “Me? Never angry. I’m too blessed to be stressed. No, you’re not angry, you can use a different word. You can use the word agitated, because I am here to win the Super Bowl. I am not here to entertain somebody that does not affect that one way or another. The word agitated would probably be better. Angry? I can never let any – anything from the outside can never affect me to be angry.”

(on how he will manage the rest of the week leading up to the Super Bowl) “Listen, it’s hard. We were just sitting in the meetings just now and watching the film. Guys want the game to come so quickly, but I think everything has its’ timing, and that’s what I’m telling the guys. Every second that you think you’ve studied enough film, study more. Do whatever you think you need to do. That’s the thing that we just have to taper back all of your energies, all of your emotions and different things like that, and just really enjoy the ride at the same time. The destination is going to take care of itself. I think it’s more about the ride that we should really start accepting and really enjoying the moments building up to it because the game always takes care of itself.”

(on if he understands that it is difficult for the media to take athletes’ statements at face value) “I am always very careful with speaking about something I don’t know about. I don’t know about Lance (Armstrong), I don’t know about anybody. I can only tell you about Ray Lewis, so to speak about other people’s cases, other people’s situations, that is totally on them and that is totally on whatever you guys want to write from there. But, as far as me, I live a certain way, I do things my way. Everything else is everybody else’s business.”

(on his first NFL sack, and his retirement from the game) “What do I remember about my first sack? I do remember that I did get up and do a little dance after. I was just excited about getting my first sack in the NFL, so I did get up and do a dance with my shoulders. For my retirement in the game, I haven’t thought about it at all. The only thing on my mind, honestly, is getting my teammates to touch the Lombardi Trophy. The retirement will take care of itself. That is one thing about this game for me. When the clock hits triple zeros, no matter what happens, that will be my last ride. If there was any greater stage to do it on, it would be this stage. So, it is an awesome ride for me.”

(on stopping the read-option offense, and if it has long-lasting appeal in the NFL) “You know what? They are doing a good job with it. At the same time, I think when you do watch the film, a lot of people who played against them just never communicated at all. I believe that’s one of the advantages of what we have as a defense. We do a job of communicating real very well, whether you have the dive, whether you have the quarterback. How are you going to play this? How are you going to play that? And if you watch the film, you can tell that a lot of people played against the read-option just played as individuals. It’s really hard to play that type of package as individuals. You have to play it as a group. I said that if you were to try to slow it down, that is the only way to slow it down, is to play it as a group. Make sure before the ball is snapped, everybody is on the same page.”

(on what it took for him to play that many seasons in the NFL) “It is a combination of a lot of things. God has been awesome in my life to keep me coming back. I’ve had my share of injuries, and I’ve had my share of bumps and bruises. I think the formula of truly always finding a different way to be better every year. Some people just come back and train for football, period. I am always trying to evolve, to do something different. Every year, my regimen has always changed. That is one thing that I’ve always challenged a lot of athletes, don’t become one minded and say, ‘I’m just a football player.’ There are so many things, so many fine-tuned muscles and things that we have to work out. That’s why I think so many exercises, whether it’s karate, whether it’s cycling, whether it’s wrestling, whether it’s swimming, whatever it is, every year I am always going to try to strengthen myself in some other areas. That is one of the biggest keys that I always saw as my success. I never got to a point that I stayed the same. Every year, I was always getting different, climbing, climbing and climbing. That is one of the keys to longevity.”

(on if he sees similarities between the 49ers defense and the Ravens defense) “Oh yeah, absolutely. You see the youth, how we were like when we were younger. And they are running around, and they are making a lot of plays. They have a lot of young guys who love playing the game, and you can tell that they really enjoy playing, not just the game, but playing with each other. That is one of the biggest keys to playing great defense, is having that defensive chemistry that everybody understands where they are supposed to be, and how they are supposed to be. When the ball is snapped, one thing you notice the most is that everybody is going to where the football is. That is a great similarity of that kind of Ravens defense.”

(on why this is the season that the Ravens broke through to the Super Bowl) “That’s funny, because every year, you feel that same way. Whatever the bounce of the ball doesn’t go your way, it doesn’t go your way. And, if it’s not your year at the end, it’s not your year. We’ve been close. We’ve been close many, many years. But, I’ve always said that one play, one catch, or one missed field goal – whatever it is – has never defined a season. I just believe that whatever time that expires during the course of that year, it expires. Now, you saw a lot of bounces of the ball went our way. A lot of things in the last couple of games, they just went our way. Positive energy comes into play with that. By the end of day, I just think that if it is your time, it’s your time. For us to be here today, it’s bottom line, our time.”

(on why it was important for him to announce his retirement before the end of the season) “I’ve watched many people on how they retire, and when they retire. I had not just an obligation to myself, but I had an obligation to my teammates and I had an obligation to my city – that I did not want to end the season and then say, ‘I’m gone.’ I’ve invested too much time into Baltimore, into my teammates and into the organization to ever just walk out like that. I believe that you should give everybody a fair chance to say their goodbyes. Playing that last game in Baltimore, announcing it the way I did, and knowing that it would be my last ride. Knowing that it would be my last time in M&T (Bank Stadium), it was one of the most amazing feelings ever. Just being able to appreciate that moment and not get to the end of the season – whenever the road stops – and say, ‘Oh, I’m done. I’m never coming back again.’ I would have robbed a lot of people of those last goodbyes for me and them. That is why I did it that way.”

(on if he would be disappointed if former Ravens owner Art Modell was not voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year) “That is always one of those situations that you really try to stay out of, because you don’t know how they vote. You can only tell them about the man who I knew myself – a true legend in his own way, a real visionary who changed thousands and thousands of lives. For the impact he’s had on this business and what he’s done for so many in this business, for me – I am a little biased – I would say, ‘Why wouldn’t he be in the Hall of Fame?’ Like I said, however they vote, they vote, but he is already in my hall of fame. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.”

(on if Sports Illustrated story is a distraction for his teammates) “It’s not. It’s a joke, if you know me. I tell them all the time, and this is what I try to teach them, is don’t let people from the outside ever come and disturb what’s inside. That is the trick of the devil. The trick of the devil is to kill, steal and destroy. That is what he comes to do. He comes to distract you from everything you are trying to do. There is no man who ever trained as hard as our team has trained, and there is no man who went through what we went through. So, to give somebody credit that doesn’t deserve credit, that would be a slap in the face for everything we went through. So, these are lessons that I teach my teammates, that outside don’t matter. I don’t care what nobody says about us, or what they want to report. I’ve been in this game 17 years, 17-plus good years, and I have a heck of a relationship and too much respect for the business, and my body, to ever violate like that. So, to entertain foolishness like that from cowards who come from the outside and try to destroy what we’ve built, like I just said, it’s sad to even entertain it on this type of stage, because this type of stage is what dreams are made of. This is what kids dream their whole lives, to be up here on these days, stepping in the NFL and saying that I am on the biggest stage ever. You are supposed to be smiling the whole week. Listen, I promise you, we all in here have a past, but how many people dwell into it. No, it ain’t about your past, it’s about your future. For me and my teammates, I promise you, we have a strong group of men that don’t bend too much. We keep pushing forward. So, it is not a distraction at all for us.”

(on how grateful he is today) “My childhood defined a lot of who I am today. My mom did a heck of a job raising a man to put my complete faith in God from day one. From nine years old, when I was ordained as a junior deacon, she always said that some days, you may find yourself away from God, but you will find yourself back. Along the path, every day of my life, I’ve always had a conversation with Him. To always know that what my prayers are, what my visions are, and everything He has given me, is just an opportunity to share with people that life is bigger than making money and just having fancy cars. I truly believe that impact and success are two totally different things. Anybody can be successful. You can go build buildings. You can have a nice whatever you want to have. But, impact is totally different, and when you talk about the walk of Jesus, his whole walk was impact. That is what my life is based off of. My life is based off impact, grabbing somebody and letting them know that life is to be lived together to figure out the wrongs and rights and teach somebody else those morals and ethics so they don’t go back down those same roads. As far as it being my last ride, you draw up a lot of storybook endings, but for me, how else would I rather go out than be on the biggest stage ever, giving everything I’ve got for my teammates to touch that Lombardi Trophy? It’s the ultimate. So when you talk about a last ride, I have devoted myself. One of my linebacker buddies asked, ‘Have you been out any this week?’ I was like, ‘No, I’m not going anywhere, because I only want my face stuck in an iPad. I want to know everything about the San Francisco 49ers, that when I step on the field, I can make my defense a better defense. When we walk off that field, we know that we did everything in my power, and I know that I spent every second focused on winning this game. For me, that is a heck of a way to go out.”

(on if this week has been tough on him with the thought of impending retirement) “No. As a leader, I’ve been able to sit back and I’ve been able to watch my teammates. Every teammate on this team right now, it is a new process for them. Every step is a new step. For me, it’s not. So, my quietness is always been as a leader to sit back and make sure everything stays in the proper order. Like if the plane ride is too crazy and too loud, I just go say something real quick, or if the meetings are not going the way they should, I’ll go say something. So, that has kind of been my thought process. My thought process has been my job as a leader is to get my guys to the dance, get them to understand what we have to do to get to the dance – how we need to practice and how we need to prepare. When you walk into the locker room, we don’t need nothing else – we don’t need cellphones, we don’t need nothing. All you need is your teammates and communication. I’ve been quiet for a lot of those different reasons, because I’ve been sitting back knowing that I have to fix this, fix that and carry my teammates through the right way on how we should approach this thing.”

 

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR DEAN PEES

(on how much pressure QB Colin Kaepernick puts on a defensive coordinator) “No more pressure than it put on last week with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning the week before. Just a different style, so we’ve got to figure out a way to have a good scheme and a good game plan for him.”

(on how Kaepernick is a different style quarterback compared to Robert Griffin III) “I just say the way they run. They’re a different style of runners just like every running back. Every running back has their own style of running.”

(on how he approaches Kaepernick since he’s effective running and throwing) “There’s nobody is this league that is strictly all passing, or anybody that is all running. They all have balance. The difference is the types of runs and the types of passes that they do. When you look at the Patriots, they’ve probably had one of the best years that they’ve ever had running the ball. You can’t go in and just say, ‘It’s all Tom Brady and we’ve got to stop the pass and not stop the run.’ You’ve just got to have a scheme and a game plan that takes away as much as you can for both. There is no defense that can take away everything. If that were the case we’d all play it. You’ve just got to pick your spots and do a good job of game planning and trying to take away what they do best and that’s the same way with San Francisco, it’s just a different scheme.”

(on what he’s observed about Kaepernick’s arm) “It’s very good. Not only does he have a big arm, but he’s very active. Good player, a really good player.”

(on the Patriots saying that Kaepernick was faster than they thought and if that’s a danger) “Sure it is, because I thought that happened to us in the Washington game. You go out there and practice assignment, assignment, and assignment of football.  You get through it and everybody knows what to do, and then all of a sudden, the guy pulls the ball and is gone. You can’t really replicate that in practice as much as you would like to. That’s always a concern.”

(on if he feels his defense can contain Kaepernick) “If we do what we’re supposed to do, I think we can. Yes.”

(on if teams are starting to find quarterbacks to better run their scout team) “If they haven’t, they probably should.”

(on if they have a good quarterback running their scout team) “Yeah, Tyrod’s (Taylor) pretty good and Dennis Dixon is also very good at it. They’re good at it because they know how to run it and they know what to do. It’s still different on game day. The speed of the game changes, but that’s true even if you have a quarterback back there doing the stuff that Tom Brady does. The velocity on the ball may not be the same from your backup quarterback as it is with Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. You just do the best that you can and our guys do a great job for us.”

(on why they took their time bringing back LB Terrell Suggs) “What we wanted to do when he first came back was just really bring him back slowly and try to figure out what he could do. We didn’t want to put him in harm’s way out there and take him out there and all of the sudden he get hurt again and really do some damage. It took a little bit to try to find out where he was and we took our time doing it.”

(on if the old Terrell Suggs is back) “He’s getting closer and closer to the old Suggs.”

(on if linebackers coach Ted Monachino could be an NFL defensive coordinator) “Absolutely. His attention to detail- he’s extremely serious. He knows the scheme from front to back and knows a lot of the game, not just his position. He knows the entire front and how the coverage’s coordinate with the front. Tremendous coach.”

 

WIDE RECEIVER ANQUAN BOLDIN

(on Joe Flacco’s performance this postseason) “Like I told everybody yesterday, I think he’s played that way all year. I think because of the magnitude of the stage that we’ve been on the last couple of weeks, I think people are just starting to take notice, but I think he’s played that way the entire year.”

(on what Ravens players thought when they heard Joe Flacco say earlier this season that he should be considered an elite quarterback) “We all backed him up. We all feel that way. The perspective that we have is that we get a chance to see him every day. You guys, obviously you don’t. We know what he’s capable of doing. We’ve been in games where he’s won games for us. We know what he’s capable of doing, so we all back him.”

(on what characteristic of the Ravens will help them most in a close game) “Just because we persevere, I would say. This is a team that never says no. It’s a never say die attitude with us, no matter what the situation is. I think we’ve seen that over the year, especially San Diego and again in Denver. No matter what the situation is, we always feel like as long as there’s time on the clock we have a chance to win.”

(on matching up with the 49ers secondary) “For us it’s going to be a challenge. They’re here for a reason. They’re one of the top defenses and they’re defense has a lot to do with why they are in the Super Bowl. They’ve played well all year. They’re one of the top defenses in all three phases. Up front, linebacker corps and in the secondary they play well and they play great together.”

(on Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson) “I think they’re really two good safeties. Both of them are Pro Bowl safeties and for good reason. They played well all year. Two physical guys. Both of them are good run stoppers. I think Goldson has good range in the back end as well.”

(on what changed for the Ravens in the postseason) “I don’t know if anything has changed. I think we’ve been the same team the entire year, but I think we’ve continued to improve throughout the year. We’ve been through a lot as a team. We’ve had a lot of struggles as a team, whether it be dealing with injuries, the loss of one of our brothers, changing offensive coordinators. This entire year has been a challenge, but I think every guy on this team has purchased in his heart that no matter what happens, we’re going to continue to persevere and we’re going to come together and win.”

(on Joe Flacco’s ability to throw the deep ball) “I’ve told everyone, when it comes to physical attributes as a quarterback, he’s the best that I’ve been with. The guy can make every throw on the field, no matter if it’s a quick-game pass, intermediate or a deep ball down the field. He has every throw in his arsenal.”

(on how he benefits from his previous Super Bowl appearance) “Having been here before allows you to understand what this whole week is about. It also puts in perspective the game itself. For me it allows me to block out all of the distractions and focus on football.”

(on how he has mentored Torrey Smith) “I’ve just been there for him. I think the good thing about him is that he’s a guy that’s real inquisitive. He wants to get better, loves to work. So I think the easy part for me was just having him, because he comes to me all the time and asks questions and I think the thing for me, I just try to be there for him.”

(on his relationship with Torrey Smith) “He’s like my little brother. He comes to me for a lot of advice on and off the field and I try to help him out as much as I can.”

(on the play of the Ravens offense, considering the team’s history of having a stronger defense) “I think it’s nice, but I think as a team, we think we can win the game in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams. We put together three good units, and I feel like if one unit has a bad day, we have enough talent on one of our units that we can pick up with the other two.”

(on Torrey Smith’s potential) “I think the sky’s the limit. I think you’re only seeing him scratch the surface. I still don’t think that he’s reached his full potential. That’s probably tough for you guys to see because he’s playing great right now. He can definitely be one of the top guys in this league.”

(on how he has specifically helped Torrey Smith) “I think the thing I tried to do for him was help him understand the game of football, and I think he’s come a long way in that aspect.  I’ve tried to help him use his speed to his advantage. A lot of guys respect his speed, and rightfully so, but when guys do that, if you’re a great route runner you can start working things underneath as well.”

(on how Jim Caldwell’s promotion to offensive coordinator changed things) “The offense doesn’t change as far as scheme or system, but I think the thing that he brings to us, that he does so well, is communicate. I think everybody has a clear understanding of what’s expected, how we’re trying to attack defenses and what we’re trying to do on offense. That’s the main thing that he’s brought to this offense.”

(on his reputation as a tough player) “I think it’s all mindset. The will, the ‘want to’ to go in there and make a block when you have to. I think it’s all mindset.”

(on how he overcame an injury he received when he was hit in the head against the Jets a few years ago) “For me, I just looked at it as a freak accident. I’ve played football for a lot of years, but that’s one hit out of thousands. I really didn’t put too much into it.”

(on if he was worried about taking another hit like that one) “No, if I was worried I wouldn’t have been back on the field three weeks later. It wasn’t a big deal to me.”

(on if he’s ever felt any fear after being injured) “You can’t play this game with fear. If you’re fearful walking out on the field, you don’t need to be out there because then you’ll really get hurt.”

(on his willingness to contribute as a blocker)“I think everybody has to understand that in the run game everybody has a responsibility. It’s not just the offensive line and the fullback, but all of us have a responsibility. A lot of the times for receivers, it’s taking care of the defensive backs or the safeties. I think a lot of times you see running backs being able to break for big runs and a corner or a safety is the one that prevents that, because the receivers don’t take that job as serious as they should. For me, I’m a guy that I would hate to turn on tape and see that Ray Rice could have gone 80 yards but my man was the guy that prevented it. We all have assignments in the run game and that’s something that I take pride in.”

(on if he bangs the drum to the younger receivers about the importance of blocking) “Our coaches. Our receiver coach, he stresses blocking in the run game. That’s one of the things that he puts up every week. We have to take care of their corners, we have to take care of their safeties. He stresses every week our responsibility in the run game.”

(on how the Ravens receivers benefit from practicing against Bernard Pollard and Ed Reed) “It helps us out a lot. We get to see Ed Reed in Bernard Pollard in practice every day. Like you said, they (49ers) have two guys on their side, two Pro Bowlers who are playing very well. I think both of them are big hitters. I think Dashon (Goldson) is a rangy guy in the back end who is playing extremely well at this point. It’s good that we have two guys like Ed and Bernard that we see every day.”

(on if Joe Flacco has the strongest arm amongst quarterbacks he’s played with) “I think so. I think out of all the quarterbacks that I’ve played with, physically he’s the most gifted that I’ve been around. I think the misconception is he has a strong arm, which he does, but in that, he can make every throw. He can make the touch passes that he needs to. He throws a very catchable ball. A lot of guys that have strong arms, they try to show you on every throw, whether you’re five yards away or 60 yards away. They try to let you know that my arm is strong, but he’s not that guy. He knows when he needs to put touch on a ball and when he needs to put one in a tight window.”

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLE HALOTI NGATA

(on the Ravens’ 3-4 defense) “This year, we’re moving around a bunch and using two defensive ends quite a bit instead of just having the 3-4 with one big end and one small end.  It’s been more of a mix this year.  Right now, it’s probably the hot thing to do, but once the offenses figure it out, the defenses will probably move back to the 4-3.”

(on who he thinks is the best overall athlete on the Ravens) “I’d say it’s probably (punter) Sam Koch.  You watch him in practice doing all of the different things he can do and it’s pretty amazing.  He can throw the ball, he can kick it, throw it with ss dedication and passion to play the game is so great.  With our culture---we’re both Tongan---we don’t like it when people say no to us.  We like to prove people wrong and he’s definitely done that.  He’s fought against time because he’s definitely older now.  He’s been a great addition to our team and a great leader. He’s a great example for our younger linemen.”

(on the keys to winning Sunday’s game) “I think we have to stop the run.  (49ers RB) Frank Gore is definitely a dangerous running back.  We have to stop both him and Colin (Kaepernick) running the ball, but I think it all starts with stopping Gore.”

(on the defensive patience needed to play against the 49ers) “We definitely have to be patient.  We have to make sure that if you have a dive, you take the dive.  If you have the quarterback, you take the quarterback.  We’ve got to be careful and make sure that we communicate and get a stop.  Our guys up front have to beat their blocks because they do very well with double teams.  Once we get to the running back,we have to bring him down.”

(on the challenge of stopping the 49ers’ option offense) “It’s tough.  When we played Washington with RG III (Redskins QB Robert Griffin III), they hit us in the beginning of the game with a bunch of read option and pistol formation plays.  We had to adjust, and once we did, we did better. Hopefully, it doesn’t take us too long to adjust (on Sunday), and hopefully the things that we’ve been practicing will work.  We can’t hesitate, and they’ve been successful getting a lot of teams to hesitate and guess.  Communication is key.  You have to understand what you’re doing.”

(on the soul-searching team meeting following their three-game losing streak) “We had a little therapeutic session.  It was huge that our coach (John Harbaugh) was able to stand there and listen to some of our concerns.  That takes a lot of heart and humbleness to sit there and listen to that.  Once we got all of that out, we started communicating better.  We started talking more coach-to-player and player-to-coach.  It brought us closer and it definitely helped our team.”

(on why the players precipitated that meeting with the coaches) “I think part of it was the way some of our practices were going and how long we were meeting.  It wasn’t anything too serious.”

(on the camaraderie among the defensive linemen this season) “It’s been better this year than in other years.  We’ve done more things together as a unit like watching film, eating dinner and stuff like that.  It just feels a little closer.  I think our younger guys are growing up, and we also have Ma’ake (Kemoeatu) who’s an older guy.  We just jell.”

(on LB Terrell Suggs coming back from his injury) “Terrell’s passion and fire to come back was amazing.  I think it made (LB) Ray Lewis want to come back from his tricep injury.  I think it trickled down throughout the whole team.  I don’t know if people understood how significant Terrell is to our team, and him coming back definitely helped our defense.”

(on if having played this season against Robert Griffin III helps in preparing for Colin Kaepernick) “RG III (Griffin) is willing to cut a lot and make a lot of cutting plays.  Colin hits that edge, and once he gets there, he runs it really fast.  They’re different runners but their speed is very similar.  You definitely have to be careful with both guys.”

(on if yesterday’s Sports Illustrated report about Ray Lewis is a distraction) “We don’t pay any attention to it. Whatever the media wants to say about it is what they feel and think, but we’re just moving on and trying to practice to get ready for the game.”

(on if the team is motivated to win for Ray Lewis in his final season) “We’re definitely motivated to play for Ray to try to send him off as a Super Bowl champion.  But I think a lot of us are also playing for ourselves as well. If we can help Ray retire as a Super Bowl champion, that would be awesome and a blessing. I just feel so lucky to be on this team.”

 

FULLBACK VONTA LEACH

(on if it has been the Ravens’ best year running the ball) “I think so. I think last year we probably were a little bit better than this year, but we’re a more balanced team. Teams don’t know right now if we’re going to run or pass the ball. So that’s what’s going on right now.”

(on if the team has talked about how the 49ers tend to win games when the opposition is forced to pass more often than run) “No we don’t talk about that. We don’t worry about them. We just have to worry about ourselves and what we do. We just have to have a balanced attack; we’ve got to be good on first down and get positive yards on first down that don’t put us in a third-and-long situation.”

(on how the Ravens managed to reach the Super Bowl despite injuries, coaching changes and adversity that they faced during the season) “We never lost belief in ourselves. Everybody in this locker room knew what we were capable of and knew that if everybody played like they were capable of, we were going to go to the Super Bowl. That was our goal from the get-go and our goal never deterred. Even when we dropped a couple of games, this was our goal—to get to the Super Bowl. We always believed.

(on if he believes the Green Bay Packers let him go due to his personal performance or their specific scheme) “Pretty sure it was more of the scheme. But, I have developed a whole lot more since my time in Green Bay.  That’s where I got started. I had a good coach in Green Bay with Edgar Bennett. So, it may have sort of been the scheme, but all things happen for a reason. They cut me and when I got cut from Green Bay I’m thinking—I don’t know why. I still don’t know the reason. The game that I played against Chicago I graded at 94 percent and then got cut the next day. So you tell me.”

(on the Packers’ fullback situation since he was released) “John Kuhn does a lot for them. He lines up in the single back, he blocks at fullback for them. I guess you have to do with what you have. Kuhn’s not that dominant fullback, but he’s a guy that can do a lot when the ball is in his hands. So he’s been doing pretty good for them, but everybody doesn’t use a traditional fullback.

(on how tough it is to make it out of Rowland, North Carolina) “I mean it’s tough, but it’s not where you come from. Everybody can have dreams. I come from a smaller town, not a whole lot of people. Nobody’s ever made it to the big leagues from my town and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. That’s what my dream was. I’m living my dream.”

(on what it would mean to bring a Super Bowl ring back to his hometown) “It would mean a whole lot. To bring a Super Bowl home, that would be the ultimate thing, just to be able to bring home and be able to show them”

(on what he recalls about his time with the Houston Texans and if it was a fun experience) “My five years there was a great experience. I never had a run in with the coaches or players. (It’s) a great organization. Just when the time came for me to get some money, for me to get my piece of the pie, they just didn’t offer it to me.”

(on if it is hard to believe that he is playing in the Super Bowl after everything that has happened to him over the past few years) “It’s really not hard for me to believe. When I became a free agent, when you looked on the radar and you’ve got a team that wanted you that was a Super Bowl contender, you go, ‘Hey I’ve got a chance to be a part of that.’ That’s what I did.”

(on if he has noticed a cultural difference between the Texans and Ravens locker rooms) “I haven’t noticed any difference. I’d say there are more similarities than anything. Our front office does a lot of jobs of bringing guys in that fit the Ravens’ mode that play like the Ravens. So I guess that’s what they’ve been doing.”

(on if he still keeps track of the Texans and if he is surprised that they did not get farther) “I always keep my eyes on them. I’m always rooting for those guys, except when they’re playing us. But I always keep my eyes on them. I’ve got a lot of great friends on that team. You know we hit the streak at the right time and they were flinching at the wrong time. That’s just how the NFL is sometimes.”

(on the leadership in the Ravens locker room) “Well, we’ve got so many different leaders. You talk about Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin, Terrell Suggs, myself and Bernard Pollard. You’ve got so many guys that play different positions and different roles on this team, so the locker room is like an open locker room with men and leaders in it.”

(on whether he talks with other Ravens brought in from the Texans about their old team) “Oh yeah, we always talk about the struggles that we had to go through and things like that. But it’s made us the people that we are today and all three of us are having an exceptional time over here with the Baltimore Ravens.”

(on how the young players’ adaptation to the team mentality has helped the team reach the Super Bowl) “Well it’s very good. When you have guys at every position, every guy has a leader at that position. We sort of just take the young guys up under your wing, whether it’s on the field or off the field, to help them get adjusted to the NFL life and that’s sort of what we did.”

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