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Week 1 At Denver Broncos: Sunday Transcripts

Posted Sep 1, 2013

Head Coach John Harbaugh 

Opening statement: “Good to see everybody. Welcome here on this ‘Wednesday’ – it’s a football Wednesday. It’s a Sunday to everyone else, but we do have a chapel and a mass scheduled into the routine today. Other than that, it will be a usual Wednesday routine for us, and we’re off and running.” 

With Denver adding Wes Welker to their receiving corps, how formidable do you think that group is? (Aaron Wilson) “Their receivers – they do it all. They’ve got big, strong guys that can get downfield. They’ve got double-move guys. They’ve got crossing-route guys. They all do everything well. Then, of course, with Wes [Welker] underneath, they’ve had that element in their passing attack last year as well. Wes Welker has been doing that for years, and obviously, I’m sure he and Peyton [Manning] are working hard to get in sync. They’re a very dangerous group, not just with receivers though, [but] with their whole offense.” 

How do you feel about your secondary overall and getting Lardarius Webb back? (Aaron Wilson) “We’re confident in all of our guys. I feel great about our team – love our team. I love all of our units. The secondary is no exception to that. We’ll play well, and it will be a tough challenge for us.” 

Traditionally, is this the hardest game to prepare for? (Nestor Aparicio) “There are always more surprises in this game – probably things that each team has been holding back that they didn’t run in the preseason or maybe the change-ups from the last time you played and all those kinds of things. You’ve got to assume that, but you can’t chase ghosts. You just have to prepare for what you see and concern yourself more with what you’re doing than with what they’re doing.” 

Could you talk about how much more dynamic the outside rushers are now with Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs looking in prime condition? (Jim Corbett) “I really couldn’t, because that would be a comparison to last year, and I don’t do comparisons. But if you want to rephrase it, I could answer it for you.” 

How much does Elvis Dumervil being here energize the pass rushers? (Jim Corbett) “That’s a good group. The outside ‘backer group generally is a great group, and [linebackers coach] Ted [Monachino] does a great job with those guys. Specific players, if you’re talking about the guys that we have now, Terrell [Suggs] and Elvis [Dumervil] and Courtney [Upshaw] and Pernell [McPhee] and John [Simon] – they work hard. It’s always nice to get a guy in there who can bring new ideas to you and new ways of doing things, and Elvis has certainly done that. And he’s latched on to the things we’re doing, so it’s been a great mesh. Those guys do a really good job together.” 

How difficult was it to fill out those last two lines on the roster? (Bo Smolka) “It was very difficult.” 

Brynden Trawick surprised a lot of people. Could you talk a little more about him? (Bo Smolka) “Brynden [Trawick] – I could see how many people weren’t speculating on that one as much. He earned it. He played really well on special teams. He proved himself as a big, physical presence on the field when he was out there. Hey, [he’s] got a lot to learn [and a] long way to go. Obviously, we’re banking on some upside there, but he earned his spot by the way he played in practice and games.” 

Do you guys feel like a lot of the guys who make up your practice squad will be guys you just released, if they make it through waivers? (Aaron Wilson) “We’re really hopeful that that’s the case. We would like for all the guys, as much as possible, all the guys on the practice squad to be guys who were here with us.” 

Going into the Super Bowl last year, you said you were sentimental because a lot of the guys wouldn’t be here after the Super Bowl because that’s just the nature of the game. Now that your roster is set for this season, how difficult is it to maintain that feeling of family and brotherhood in the locker room, and what steps do you take to make that happen? (Rich Hollenberg) “It’s not hard to build that. The other word you used wouldn’t be appropriate. You build that every year, and that’s what team building is all about. We do it by hard work, and it’s what we do.” 

The deciding factor when it came down to Tandon Doss – were you guys looking younger or was it something he didn’t show you this time around? (Jerry Coleman) “I’m not going to bite on that question and start taking shots at people, because he had a great mini-camp. He had a great mini-camp. He had a great training camp. He played well. He especially played well in the last game. He definitely played well enough to make our team, but you take the 53 guys that fit the best, and there are a lot of other considerations that go into that, and you put it all together and make a decision. Tandon Doss is going to play football in this league, guaranteed, and he’s going to have a very good career. I’ve said that all along, and I still believe that to be true.” 

Would you expect [Denver’s secondary] to play somewhat deep, or do you think they’ll play normal or respect the speed that you have out there? (Aaron Wilson) “To speculate on how they’re going to play is just speculation, but I expect them to play very well. They’re good; they’re defense is good across the board. All their players … They don’t have a weakness, really, on their whole football team. They’re going to play the way they play, which is very well.” 

You haven’t lost a season opener in your tenure. Is that a testament to how you guys work in camp or having extra time to prepare? (Ryan Mink) “I just don’t have that answer, because I haven’t thought about it. We just do what we do as hard as we can. Our guys work hard. But we’ve played well in those games, so it’s a testament to the way our players have played in those games probably more than anything else.” 

Do you think before the game in warm-ups or something, you might allow yourself to remember the amazing game you guys had there last year? (Matt Vensel) “No. No chance of that – won’t happen. (laughter) I’ve got a pretty good feeling that the Broncos fans are going to make us remember [and] think about everything that they want to. We know the environment we’re going into. It will be the same environment, or even tougher, than the one that we faced in January, and we’re excited about that. That’s what we believe we’re about. We like to feel like we thrive in those kinds of conditions. That’s why you do this. We feel like we’re just the men for the job, and we’re excited about it. That’s a great stadium with great fans, great organization [and] great team. There’s just nothing about going in there that doesn’t say everything that’s good about the National Football League.” 

Did you know that Joe Flacco will be 50 feet high hanging off the side of the stadium when you pull in? (Nestor Aparicio) “I knew about that.” 

Does [the Flacco picture] make you feel like home? (Nestor Aparicio) “No, I couldn’t care less about that. I’m pretty sure the Broncos couldn’t care less about it, too.” (laughter) 

What do you think about the work that Lardarius Webb has put in and the progress he’s made throughout the offseason? (Aaron Wilson) “Lardarius [Webb] has done a great job. Lardarius is ready to go. He looks good. He’s practiced well, he’s played well. I just think the guy is amazing in everything he’s done. I love him to death. Nobody works harder. He’s been great, and he’s going to play really well.”

I feel like you haven’t been asked about Corey Graham a lot this offseason, but how did he do during the preseason? (Matt Zenitz) “It’s interesting about Corey Graham that you say that, because that’s how it is with Corey. Sometimes, you look at this guy, and he does everything so well, you almost go without noticing him. To me, that’s a great compliment, especially for a defensive back. He’s just out there doing his job every day and doing it really well. I can’t believe there is no follow-up to the poster question, not that I want one.” (laughter)

 If Peyton Manning is on your building, is that disrespectful? (Jerry Coleman) “I can’t envision that, and I don’t really understand it, and I understand why the Broncos and their fans would feel the way they do. I know it will have no bearing whatsoever on the football game.”

When did you start preparing for Denver – was it right when the schedule came out or right when you got into training camp? (Jerry Coleman) “Right when the schedule came out. You begin to prepare for your schedule the minute you see it, and probably before that because you know the teams you’re going to play. But [preparation began] as soon as the schedule came out and we knew Denver was the opener. I’m sure they did the same with us.” 

 

OLB Elvis Dumervil 

On if he feels like he’s in a better situation for himself now than he was this offseason: “I feel amazing. The situation, the decision-making was way [back] in March, and as of right now, I’m a Raven and I feel great about that – for sure.” 

On why it has worked so well here with the Ravens: “I just think the organization is first-class. It starts with the owner [Steve Bisciotti], down. [Head coach John Harbaugh] ‘Harbs’ has been doing a great job, the locker room, the guys – we’re just coming out here to work, just loving football. It’s been a great fit.” 

On if he’s going to like playing the villain this week in Denver: “The villain? The Broncos, man, I’m looking forward to it.” 

On this being a different feeling entering a season than in past years: “It’s different. I’ve been in Denver for the first seven years of my career. Now going [from] there [to] the visiting locker room is definitely different, but I’m excited. Like I said before, I’m happy to be a Raven. The decision was on me, and I feel good about it.” 

On his thoughts about trying to chase down Broncos QB Peyton Manning: “Just like any other quarterbacks – that’s what I get paid to do. We feel good about it, the guys I’m lined up with, our coverage. We feel real confident with our scheme and our packages, so we’re excited for it.”

 On not being able to hit Manning last year in practice: “He’s a tough guy to bring down. He does a great job pre-snap; he gets the ball out, [has] a really good offensive line. I went against those guys in practice, so I know those guys are practicing hard, and I’m sure coach [John] Fox has those guys ready. So, we’ll be ready.” 

On his relationship with Broncos LB Von Miller: “Me and Von [Miller], that’s our side of the football. He’s like a younger brother. We’ve spoken; we talk all the time. He’s dealing with tough times, and he’ll fight through it.” 

On how much he’s been able to keep in touch with his former Denver teammates: “I think in any profession, you build relationships and you want to keep those intact, and that goes beyond football. So, we talk as friends, and I’m sure they’re excited. It’s going to be competitive, and it’s all about competition. So, I’m sure they’ll want a piece of us, and I’m sure I’m going to want a piece of them.” 

On what kind of reception he expects from Denver fans: “Who knows? We’ll find out together on Thursday.” 

On if there is any inside trash talk going on, maybe with some vocal guys like OLB Terrell Suggs: “No, Terrell doesn’t need anything. Terrell is fully-loaded already.” (laughter) 

On if there is any part of him that wants to show the Broncos they made a mistake by letting him go: “No, I think it’s a profession. You have to prove yourself year-in and year-out, and that’s what I have to do. It’s not about any particular team or any particular organization. It’s just as a player and as a competitor – I’ve been doing it for almost eight years now – you’ve got to prove yourself. And that’s the great thing about the NFL, is you have opportunity, and whenever you have an opportunity to prove yourself, I think you should take full advantage of it. So, I’m looking forward to that.” 

On the tandem that he and Suggs have become, and if they are starting to click: “We haven’t gotten going yet. One, we’ve got a ton of guys; we’ve got [Courtney] Upshaw, we’ve got Haloti [Ngata], [Chris] Canty – we have so many guys. Our coverage is doing really well. So, I’m excited to go out there with all my guys and really compete.” 

On how much it helps to have guys like Upshaw who can rotate in and help keep guys fresh: “It’s great. Upshaw is a hell of a player, and he’s only [in] Year Two, so the sky is the limit for him. I think the staff does a great job of putting guys where it’s suited best for them, and as a player, you have to be respectful towards what is trying to be accomplished. So, the goal is trying to win another banner up there (points to a picture of the Lombardi Trophy), and so whatever necessary we have to do, that’s what we’ll do.” 

On if it’s tough to watch film from last year’s AFC Divisional Playoff: “Yeah, I could’ve gotten the sack and I didn’t. Me personally, I feel like I could’ve rushed better, and it hurts every time I watch it, even being here [now]. So, it’s definitely something that as a player you want to make a difference. So me being a Raven now, I want to make sure I make a difference. You see what I’m saying?” 

On if it’s still weird to watch film from that game: “No, not weird. Like I explained, whatever team you’re on, not being able to make a play when it’s counted, when it’s important … That’s the attitude I took this offseason to make sure I got in the best shape of my career so that whenever my team needs me, I’ll be ready.” 

On if he thought he should have had a sack on the 70-yard touchdown pass to WR Jacoby Jones: “Just any play – I mean, he [Joe Flacco] threw a 70-yard touchdown – I don’t look at the coverage, I look at the rush. You’ve got to look in the mirror and you’ve got to say, ‘What can you do to get better?’” 

On if he felt he could have been there to sack Flacco on that 70-yard touchdown pass: “Yeah, for sure. I definitely could have been there.” 

 

QB Joe Flacco 

On the poster of him placed on Sports Authority Field at Mile High: “Yes, I’ve seen it. I think it was Torrey [Smith] and a couple of guys who texted me that picture a few nights back. I can’t imagine that people in our city would be too happy if somebody from another team was hanging on our stadium. I didn’t have anything to do with it.” (laughter) 

On if he thinks he’ll get some unpleasant greetings when he shows up in Denver: “I’m sure. I thought enough people [in Denver] don’t like me already. I think this is another reason to dislike me. But like I said, I don’t really have anything to do with that. It’s just one of those weird things. Like I said, I think our people would be pretty unhappy, too.” 

On if he hears the “in-com-plete” chants from Denver fans: “I heard about it, and so therefore, I wouldn’t necessarily say I looked for it or purposefully threw any incompletions. But yes, I did hear it. I don’t know about as the game went on, but early on I remember hearing it. I actually really liked playing there – probably for obvious reasons. When I first walked into the stadium, I just really got a good feel about it. It was just a cool place to play. It was a cool feel; they have pretty good fans. People always ask me, ‘Where is your favorite place to play?’ Obviously, I love playing here, but they try to [ask], ‘Where else?’ So I say Pittsburgh, and it’s tough to really think of another place. Then when we played [in Denver] last year for the first time … I think that would definitely be my answer – Denver. It just really seemed like a cool place to play.” 

On if it’s better to play Denver on the road then at home to make focusing easier: “I don’t know if it’s better or worse. It’s whatever, to me. I’m not concerned with going and playing away. I just said to somebody else, ‘It’s not like they are taking a home game away from us and we’re going to get seven home games and nine away games.’ We’re still getting eight and eight. I figure if we go play the way we want to and the way we think we should, then we are going to have 15 games left and eight of them are going to be at home. It’s going to be a good thing. I think we always try to look for the good in things and not worry about anything else.” 

On how many times he has thought about the touchdown pass to WR Jacoby Jones in last season’s game: “Not many. Immediately after the game, we’re all looking at each other and probably thinking about it. It’s funny how stuff like that – and even winning the Super Bowl – how little you actually do think about it and how different you don’t really feel. Therefore, no, I haven’t really thought about it too many times – even this week getting ready to play them. You just think about what we can do to play a better game and how we can clean up some things. If anything, I hope we don’t put ourselves in that situation again so that we have to win like that.” 

On still being considered the underdog having beaten Denver on the way to winning the Super Bowl: “It’s tough to pay too much attention to all of that stuff. It’s the first game of the year; nobody really knows what kind of teams people are. We feel like we’re good, we feel like they’re pretty good, and yes, we’re going to have to go play a good game. It’s just a pretty normal feeling, I guess. I don’t know if we personally felt like underdogs last year. That’s the way that it was twisted and that’s the way it will be this year. We feel like we have a good team and our chances are always pretty good.” 

On how excited he is to see his relationship with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell evolve: “I’m just excited to go out there and play a football game. Anytime you lace them up and you’re going out there and you’re playing for real, it’s an exciting time. It’s always cool to go out there and play with your guys and have fun. We have high standards, and we expect to go play well. It’s going to be fun to go see those guys out there and to see [offensive coordinator] Jim [Caldwell], see myself, to see us all play well. It’s going to be fun, and anytime we take the field, we look forward to doing that.” 

On how it feels to be considered a public enemy in Denver: “I don’t know. I haven’t really paid much attention to it. I figure I’m getting some heat for it, but like I said, I didn’t go post [the banners] up there myself. I said to somebody [that] it’s kind of like high school. You remember some people going to take flags from kids’ houses and stuff like that. I didn’t do that – the players didn’t do that. It’s all cool. Being hated is not a bad thing. I don’t know if I’d be too popular for [saying] this, but I don’t really know how I felt about Johnny Manziel [until recently]. I feel like everybody now hates him, [but] he’s quickly becoming my favorite player in college football. (laughter) It is what it is.” 

On if he’ll imitate Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel’s celebrations: “No, I’m not going to do anything. (laughter) It will all be up here [in my mind], and I’ll feel the way I feel up here. I’m not going to show anything outwardly.”

 On if he would prefer not to have a poster of him on the Broncos stadium: “It’s a weird question. I don’t know if I’m that affected by it. I don’t really know why it happened.” 

On rookies WR Marlon Brown and WR Aaron Mellette: “Yes, they’re good. They’re big, they’re strong, they’re fast, and they’re physical. They obviously have some talent. I think they are going to be guys that help us out a lot – in the short term [and] long term. We still have to go out there and play and feed them the ball and see what they can do.” 

On his success in season-opening games: “I attribute that to us being a good football team. It probably doesn’t mean too much in the grand scheme of things – it just is what it is. Like I said, I think we have a good offseason [program], we have good training camp practices, we get a lot of reps in, and we work hard. I think guys show up Week 1 excited and chomping at the bit getting ready to go. I think we come out and play well because of it.”

 On if he’s heard from Ray Lewis recently: “No, I haven’t heard from Ray [Lewis]. It’s funny … I love Ray, I think Ray is great. I always mess with him and say that kind of thing personally and in interviews. I’m half joking [when talking about his speeches]. Like I said, I joke with him personally about it, too. When I do say those things, I’m not 100 percent serious. I’m just poking fun at Ray Lewis a little bit just to show that he can be poked fun at a little bit.” 

On if he’ll miss Ray Lewis not giving the team a pre-game speech: “Well, he’s not up there every Saturday night giving us something. In that huddle on Sundays, we’ve only had a couple of times where somebody else has come up to us and gotten us ready to go or come around to our lockers in pregame and stuff like that. It will definitely be different without Ray [Lewis]. You notice him on Sundays before the game and during the game, but we’ve got a bunch of guys that react very well to it. There will come a time when we’re getting ready to take the field where we’ll think, ‘Man, Ray’s not here,’ and just have some good thoughts about him and then go play.” 

On if he agrees with Ray Lewis’ statements about the power going during the Super Bowl: “Somebody else just asked me this from Denver. Listen, I’m not against conspiracies, but I don’t necessarily think that was one of them – no. So, I don’t really concur with that.” 

On building brotherhood in the locker room each season: “We probably make a big deal out of it because we feel like we have a close locker room and we’ve been successful, but I assume most teams around the league feel like they have a pretty darn good locker room and pretty close group of guys. We’re with each other so long and the offensive linemen and defensive linemen are basically out there fighting each other day-in and day-out. So, the combination of those things, it’s tough not to build a brotherly relationship. It’s tough not to go out there and beat on each other every single day and not have respect for each other when you end up back in that locker room and you’ve made the team. We have good personalities. We’ve got guys that don’t really have a lot of big egos. OK, we all have egos, but we don’t necessarily have ego problems. Everybody adapts pretty well and off of each other, so it makes it easy to have good relationships.” 

 

RB Ray Rice 

On if it feels different going into Week 1 as a Super Bowl champion: “No. It just feels good to be in Week 1 again. You start a new year, a new chapter, and you go through camp, and obviously, when you win a Super Bowl, you can say you feel the pressure, but when you get out of a training camp like we just got out of, and you build the camaraderie that we’ve built, just having Week 1 again is exciting. That whole ‘defending the title’ is a long way from now. We’re still glad to come out of the preseason very healthy, and you still have to – if you want to call it ‘defend it’ – you still have to go out there and play the game on Thursday night. That just starts the chapter of a new year, and I’m excited for a new year and definitely new opportunities.” 

On if he’s excited to see how the offense develops under offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell: “One thing that [offensive coordinator] coach [Jim] Caldwell does, and I really love this philosophy, is: ‘Let’s do what we do, but let’s do it really well.’ With that being said, we went out there this preseason, and regardless of what you may have seen, we just went out there and were working on base fundamental stuff. He’s great – our whole staff is great. [They] put together a game plan that fits the team that we’re playing, so I’m very excited for this week to see what we’ll put together for Denver. When you have a game plan, you’re not just studying the whole playbook. You want to master the game plan, and that’s what’s very exciting with coach Caldwell. He’s done that with every team he’s been a part of. I’m sure he’s done it with Peyton [Manning], and now he’s doing it with Joe [Flacco]. It’s just great to see that with the coaches [how] they get together for one piece, and we just go out there and do our best to execute it.” 

On his first game without Ray Lewis: “It’s so funny because I just spoke to him yesterday and texted him and said, ‘Bro, are you going to make the game?’ And he said, ‘Man, you’re just trying to get me all crazy and riled up over here.’ I said, ‘You might have to make the trip.’ I think the guys, if he’s not going to be working, would embrace seeing him on the sideline. I’m not sure he’ll take it. He’ll probably want to suit up a little bit. (laughter) I told him that it would be good to see him, because no matter what, everybody is always going to look up to you. What you’ve built in Baltimore will last forever. But it will be a little different going out there for Week 1, because this game doesn’t mean a lot [in the standings] right now, but it is going to be a playoff-like atmosphere out there. It’s my second time playing in Denver. It won’t be as cold, but I’m sure it will be probably one of the hardest hitting games of the year.” 

On if he’s happy to get the game out of the way early when it’s not as cold: “I was born in New York, so I wouldn’t care if it was a blizzard. So, it doesn’t matter getting it out of the way early or not, but it does set the tempo for the year. When you’re playing the kinds of teams that we’ll play … Obviously, I don’t want to speak too far along the year because it’s Week 1, but this is a team that, with the potential that they have, if they put it all together, they’ll be a playoff team. You play them Week 1, and you have to think of how much better we got from Week 1 to where we were [at the end of] last year. We’re expecting their best shot, but let’s not get too far ahead [because] it’s only Week 1.” 

On how he expects to step up in the absence of Ray Lewis: “I just want to be a tone-setter. I get out there, get my juices flowing … I can give a great team speech, but that hasn’t been my forte. I speak when I need to. A lot of guys just respect the way I work, and I think that speaks volumes because when I do say something, they hear me because of the things I’ve done on the field. Being a leader going into my sixth year, I’ve embraced the role. Joe [Flacco] has embraced it. Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and then the veterans that we’ve brought in have already embraced the leadership role. We’ve got a lot of guys who have played a lot of football in the NFL. I’ve played a lot of football, but I’m still young. I guess in running back age, I’m midway through.” (laughter) 

On if he’ll think about Ray Lewis before the Denver game: “I’m sure I’ll speak to him. If he doesn’t show up at the game, I’m going to get a pre-game speech – I was about to say Saturday night because we game-plan that way – but Wednesday night, I don’t expect him yelling in my ear. But I will give him a call to see if he has some words of wisdom for me.” 

On if he thinks Ray Lewis will come to the game: “I hope he comes out there. It will be good to see him show up. That’s your brother, that’s your comrade. We’ve fought many battles together. My locker is right next to his. I’ve got to dust off his cleats a little bit. (laughter) But it will be good to see him if he can make it out there. I’m sure he’ll be there in spirit with us.” 

On if he feels the first-team offense will be prepared for the Denver game: “I 100 percent guarantee that what you’re seeing in the preseason is … We were very vanilla in the preseason. Obviously, it was for a reason. We would love to execute better – let’s not kid. We’ve made our mistakes, and we would have loved to execute better, but those game plans weren’t something that … Coaches put time and effort into it, but they weren’t a game plan that we would take into Week 1. We had specific stuff that we were trying to work on, and we tried to get that done. We played some great defenses. It was a great challenge for us, but it was also a reality check for us to let us know where we were at that time. We’ve gotten a lot better since then and putting this game plan together to really let us know where we’re at.” 

On being the underdog in Denver again: “We’ve always been underdogs. There’s something about the Ravens, something about us [that] we’ve always been underdogs. I don’t think it’s something that our guys read into. I think we’ve embraced being the villain at times. We don’t mind going into the game saying that we’re the underdog. We don’t mind that kind of stuff, because when you overcome it … We were never the perfect football team. We won a Super Bowl last year, but we were never the perfect football team. We just found ways to win games, and that’s the kind of football team we are. There are times we’ve been around here and had close games, and we dropped the ball a little bit. But when you win a Super Bowl, we put it all together, and we found ways to win games. And quite frankly, we weren’t picked at all. So, we embrace that role a little bit – being the villain, the spoiler, if you want to call it.” 

On if it surprises him that they’re still the underdog even after winning a Super Bowl: “No, it doesn’t surprise me at all. They’ve got a Hall of Fame quarterback on that team. A lot of respect to that guy, a lot of respect to the organization for what he was able to do, taking it from the Colts and bringing it right to Denver and putting them in the position that they’re in. It’s a pretty favorable team, so much respect to them and what they’ve built over there and Peyton Manning helping them build that.” 

 

OLB Terrell Suggs


On Ozzie Newsome reloading the defense with talented players:
“We all live by that motto around here, ‘In Ozzie we trust.’ In the spring, everybody was hitting the panic button on us because of the guys we lost. Even though we were very sad to see those guys go, the show must go on. ‘In Ozzie we trust.’ He did a great job ‘reloading the gun,’ so to say.”

On if OLB Elvis Dumervil is trying to get him extra excited to go back to Denver: “Elvis [Dumervil] is a pretty relaxed guy. He’s been watching the playoff game since he got here, because they were our first game. I think he’s going to be calm. He’s giving me the vibe that he’s going to be calm. When that ball is kicked off – once it is kicked off – he’s going to be excited.” 

On if anything has surprised him about how quiet OLB Elvis Dumervil is: “Elvis [Dumervil] and I have had the same agent for a while, [so] I kind of knew his personality – that didn’t surprise me. Once he signed, he fit right in with the guys. There wasn’t too much really surprising about it. He’s a guy that belongs here. He has the mentality that works here, that we have here, which is [to] work. He’s not afraid to work hard and get better every day. That’s the type of thing we need going forward.” 

On how relevant last year’s playoff game against Denver is for this week’s game plan: “There are a lot of changes – you’re right. It’s always something you can use, it’s always something you can take in from the previous game – the more you know an opponent. We still have to go out there and line up. Once the ball is kicked off – once the game has started – that last game is gone. We’ll see what happens in this one.” 

On playing against QB Peyton Manning: “He’s one of the main quarterbacks in this league that can really beat you solely on his knowledge of the game and his talent. This is definitely a good challenge for us. We have a lot of veteran guys, we have a lot of guys in here that … We love a challenge. Like I said, come Thursday night, we’ll all be there and we’ll all line up.”

On if he embraces or likes being hated by the Denver fans: “It’s something we’re kind of used to around here. We won’t shy from it. When you go into any opponent’s stadium, you’re going to be hated – some stadiums more than others, obviously. These two teams have some history together, so we’ll have to see how it pans out when we get there.” 

On if it feels a little different at this point in the season without Ray Lewis: “No, it doesn’t feel different. It doesn’t feel different at all. ‘Five-Two’ was special. There will never be another man who did it like he did it, and at the regime. Like I said at the start of training camp, we all will be held to that standard, and it really doesn’t matter who the guy in the middle is. Every man on this team will be held to the standard and the legacy that was built by him [Lewis]. And that’ll be that.” 

On if the defense has been “vanilla” throughout the preseason: “No, I wouldn’t say that, because you want to work on the things that you want to be good at all year. It’s a little different for offense; offense you don’t want to show your hand. Defense you want to play your stuff and you want to get really good at it. So, I can’t speak for [the offense], but as for us, no, we’re pretty much sharpening the knife to be as sharp as it can be.” 

On how much he is energized by the presence of OLB Elvis Dumervil: “I’m really flattered to have another dominant pass rusher on the other side, but like I said, I cannot discredit the things that Jarret Johnson and Paul Kruger did at all. They were very essential for the success of the team in the past. And you mention Elvis, but you can’t ignore the prowess of Chris Canty; he’s also a great addition to the pass rush. And Courtney Upshaw and Pernell McPhee, they’re coming into their own. So like I said, I think we did a good job getting better in training camp, and Ozzie [Newsome] did a good job loading the gun.” 

On if he’s disappointed that his picture isn’t hanging on the side of Sports Authority Field at Mile High instead of QB Joe Flacco: “That’s real? I didn’t know that was real. Who put it up there? They did? (Reporter: “The League.”) The NFL? That’s kind of weird, don’t you think? (laughter) Oh well. But no, I’m not disappointed at all. I don’t really get into … I’m going to be who I am. I don’t need to be on the side of a stadium to validate that.” 

On if OLB Elvis Dumervil’s low-key personality is rubbing off on him and his podium sessions: “No, like I said, I’m still ‘Sizzle.’ Anybody will tell you that being around here; I’m still a big, laid-back, fun guy. So, I’m just … You always catch me at very subtle moments. I’m still going to be ‘Sizzle’ though. You all have a good one.”

 

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