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Week 11 at Chicago: Wednesday Transcripts

Posted Nov 13, 2013

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: “Good to see everybody. Thanks for being here. A couple of things: We had a very special guest, Jon “Bones” Jones, speaking to the team here, as you saw, just after the walk-through. [Jon was] talking about what it takes to be a champion and focusing on your next opponent. So, those were really, really great words for our guys to hear. Art [Jones] claimed, obviously, that he taught Jon everything he knows about fighting, and Jon said, ‘Well come on out here and prove it right now.’ Art declined, I’m here to report, wisely. (laughter) What else do we have? “Tuck,” Justin Tucker, was the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, and deservedly so. Congratulations to him.”

Art Jones had a sack last week and has been playing very well lately. What progress have you seen him make this season? (Garrett Downing) “Art has done a great job. He’s turned into a very solid and even excellent defensive lineman in this league, and I think it is because of his work ethic. He’s talented, he’s quick, [and] he’s explosive. He’s worked really hard in the weight room with [strength and conditioning coach] Bob Rogucki and those guys, and he’s really maximized his physical potential, and he’s one of the best defensive lineman now going. So, we’re real proud of what he has done.”

Do you feel the problems with the pass protection this season are more due to communication or is it physically being able to hold the line? (Jamison Hensley) “Pass protection is not a simple thing – by design. The pressures are always built that way. If you look around the league, you are going to see that it’s tough picking up blitzes. Our issue right now is the pressures. We’re doing a good job against the four-man rushes. We’ve got to do a better job against the pressures. And that’s spread out. I don’t know if communication is the right word, but it is [about] being on the same page and picking up the pressures when they make them complicated for you. When they attack a protection where you can’t pick everybody up, then we’ve got to get the ball out to the right guy, and hopefully, they’re not covering that guy or there’s a little room to throw to that guy. That’s not always the case; the ball is not always out. Other times, we’ve got to get the back to the right spot. Other times we’ve got to get the line to the right spot. So, we are doing that many different times, but that’s always a chess game in there. Our guys are fighting for that, just like everybody in the league is. We’ll keep working for that. The more experienced lines are always going to do a little better with that. I look around the league, and that’s what I see. So, we’ve got to keep building toward that. I know we can do it. We’ve got a good scheme, we’ve got smart guys. We have backs who are willing to pick guys up and stick their face in there and block people. Ray Rice is a premier back, and he’s also an excellent pass protection guy. Bernard Pierce, he’ll stick it up in there. He’s learning pass protection as we go. That’s something we’ve just got to keep working for.”

What do you think of the job Coach Mark Trestman has done with the Bears, particularly their offense, which has put up some big numbers this year? (Pete Gilbert) “They’re doing a great job. Chicago’s offense is the third-rated offense in football right now in points. A lot of other categories are right up there. They’ve got weapons; I think that helps a lot. They’ve got a lot of guys to go to. Both quarterbacks have played well when they’ve been in there. Matt Forte has done a great job. They’ve got their offensive line solidified with some veterans in there. So, they’re doing a good job.”

Were you surprised by the news that Ed Reed had been cut, and will there be any discussion here about bringing Ed back? (Jerry Coleman) “Ed [Reed] is just a Raven. He’ll always be a Raven. I’m sure he will be in the Ring of Honor someday, and I’m sure he’ll be in the Hall of Fame someday. We’ve kept in touch with Ed on and off here regularly. He’s a good friend of everybody here. There are no plans to change our secondary personnel at this time. We’re happy with what we have. Our guys are playing well, so that’s where we’re at.”

One of your least favorite topics, besides the problems in the running game this season, is the Ravens’ inability to win on the road? With the record of 1-4 this year, do you look at it that things have been close, or do you feel there may some change required to win on the road? (David Ginsburg) “There’s always change required, because you’ve got to improve, and the change is improvement. We’ve got to play better. We lost tough games. So, we’ve got to find a way to win those tight games on the road.”

The Bears have a lot of offensive weapons on their offensive line. Is tackling something you will emphasize this week? (Clifton Brown) “Tackling is going to be critically important. It might be the most important thing on defense to give us a chance to win this game. Once Matt Forte gets out there and gets going, he can turn a 6-, 7-, 8-yard gain into a 50-yard gain in a heartbeat. As a matter of fact, they are the No. 1, big-play running offense in football right now, and that’s largely due to his ability once he gets in space. And they do everything they can to get him in space. So, that’s going to be the No. 1 thing. But, it’s not just him. It’s also the receivers. They do a great job with yards after the catch. Their quick game is basically predicated on that, catch and run. Then they make intermediate throws where those guys go up and catch balls. They’ve got some really gifted guys on offense.”

Do you feel the team’s attitude is a little more upbeat after pulling out the win last Sunday? (Kris Jones) “The attitude of the team has always been great. It’s been great every single week. From an attitude standpoint, that’s maybe our biggest strength. It’s one of our biggest strengths. I’m proud of the guys. That’s the way they’ve been day-in and day-out from Day One.”

Do you think Jimmy Smith embracing a more physical style of play has been what has helped him make progress this season? (Jeff Zrebiec) “He’s just improved at the line of scrimmage. He’s always believed in that. He’s always embraced it, to use your word. But, he’s gotten better at it. He’s done a better job with the technique. He’s obviously built for that kind of a style. He’s also played well when he’s been off, too. I don’t want to shortchange him there either. He’s gotten better every single week, and he’s playing really good football for us.”

 

QB Joe Flacco

On what’s been different with the pass protection this year: “Teams are coming after us a little bit, and we’re kind of letting them. We’re really not doing anything to combat it. We haven’t been good enough to stop it and do other things to get them out of it. It makes those guys’ jobs tough up front. Teams have been able to get enough guys up in there to cause a little bit of confusion, and I think that’s been the biggest issue.”

On if the pass protection issues have caused him to hurry up things more so than in previous years: “I don’t think so. I’m sure at times, yes. The No. 1 way to stop a good offense or stop any offense is putting pressure on the quarterback. So, it definitely affects you in some way.”

On what needs to be improved with the pass protection: “It’s everything. We’ve got to be better, but the biggest thing is we’ve got to be good in the stuff that we do. We’ve got to hit them with stuff that makes it hurt. [If] you’re going to put guys up in there, you’re going to double-mug guys, and you’re going to bring guys off the edge – you’re going to do all these things – you’re going to play one-on-one coverage, [then] we’ve got to make it hurt. And we just haven’t been good enough to really have teams feel the effect, or the negative effects, of them doing it. It’s been pretty positive for them, and that’s why they’ve continued to do it and we’ve continued to have pressure.”

On whether it makes a difference that he will be playing for the first time at Soldier Field: “I don’t think so. I don’t really know what to say. I don’t really think it matters too much if you haven’t played in a place before. I don’t know. I don’t know what kind of stadium it is. I know you can deal with a lot of weather when you go up there. We’re not worried about that. We see that a lot in this division. Whether it is here, Cincinnati, Cleveland or Pittsburgh, we get our share of stuff like that.”

On his confidence level that backup QB Tyrod Taylor would perform well in a scenario if he had to leave a game for injury: “Tyrod is a great player, and if that was to happen, I think everybody should feel very confident about his abilities to go in there, run the offense and get the job done.”

On the problems with the running game being a factor in cold weather and putting added pressure on the passing game: “I think anytime you are not running the football great, you have to make sure you are on point in the passing game. But, I don’t think we’ve ever really been affected by weather in the passing game. Our ability to be able to still run our game plans and not have the weather affect us is what makes us good in those conditions. I think we will have that same ability.”

On too much blame being placed on RB Ray Rice for the Ravens’ problems in the running game: “It’s never one guy. As a quarterback, you know that, and it’s just part of the job. We’re working on this thing as a team. As I said, we’ve just got to be better all around. It’s not one thing or one guy that’s holding us back. If we were doing some other things better, than Ray would have more room and he’d be able to get in more one-on-one situations and make guys miss. We’re just not playing well enough right now in order to create a lot of open space. That’s a combination of a lot of things. It’s really just playing well, converting first downs, keeping defenses out there on the field, wearing them down, and putting them on their heels a little bit where they’ve just got to call a base defense. We just haven’t been able to do that kind of stuff.”

On what needs to change to improve the Ravens’ record on the road: “I don’t know. It’s crazy to me that it always plays out that way in some shape or form. You deal with the little things here and there about playing on the road, but I don’t ever see it being that crazy. Obviously, over the years, we’ve tended to play better at home. I can’t necessarily put my finger on what it is. Maybe it just tends to be that way. Most teams tend to play better at home – who knows?  I’m not worried about that. We’ve just got to go out there – I don’t care where we are playing – and we’ve just got to get a win. Having said that, we’ve just got to continue to take care of when we do play at home. That’s just not the focus this week.”

On how much direction he gets from the coaches during the game in his helmet earpiece: “I get direction. ‘Here’s the play, here’s your options.’ I’m not just out there running whatever the hell I want to run.”  (Reporter: “Would you prefer to do that?”)  “No, I wouldn’t. We have a million plays. I can’t just go up there and pick one. I’ve got enough to worry about. [Offensive coordinator] Jim [Caldwell] is up in the booth, and he’s got a paper in front of him. That’s why we create some of the checks that we have, so that we can get into the best play. We’re doing that; we just have to make the plays work. We’ve got to be a little bit better, and we have to be better at what we do when we call some of these plays.”

On whether he gets directions on other things than play-calling: “No. ‘Hey, throw the six route here?’ No. We have the plays built in, and they take your eyes in certain places. There’s usually something in there for everything. No, it’s never more than just a play.”

On building on the Ravens’ red zone success early in last week’s game: “We scored points when we had to. When we actually gave ourselves the opportunity to, or our defense got the ball for us, [we scored]. Listen, we’re getting better and we’re getting a lot of guys work. We’ve got to play 60 minutes. We’ve played halves, whether it’s the second half or first half. We’ve played halves of football that have been good. We just haven’t put it together for 60-straight minutes. We haven’t been consistent enough and sharp enough to let ourselves be consistent.”

On his perspective on his play the first nine games of the season: “You guys can be the judge of that. I don’t [think about that]. That’s just uncomfortable to even answer.”

 

DT Arthur Jones and his brother, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones

On whether the Patriots’ Chandler Jones or Arthur Jones has the best sack dance: (Jon “Bones” Jones) “I think Chandler is a little more creative now, because he’s always mixing it up. But I like the fact that Arthur is consistent.” (Jon impersonates Art’s sack dance.) (Arthur Jones) “I like his better. He’s got me beat.” (Jon) “I use a little more hips.” (Art) “This guy is silly.” (laughter)

On being in the middle of two competitive brothers: (Jon) “I think it’s awesome. I’m always throwing little jabs at both guys to try to keep firing them up, to keep trying to have them strive to be better, because I think the whole competition is valuable for our family. That’s the way it’s always been. Chandler always comes back, though. Chandler is the first-round draft pick. He always has that, but Arthur is the champ. So, it’s cool.”

On what they learn from each other: (Art) “Something I learned from him is mental focus. It’s a little different from football, but [I like] how he meditates and the different things he does to prepare himself before his competition. So, that’s something I take from him.”

(Jon) “One thing I learned from Arthur is that I love the way Arthur manages his personal life. He’s doing really well with his financials and stuff like that. It’s one thing I look up to him a lot about. He does it right – him and Chandler. You never hear about these guys doing anything outside the football field that may disgrace their team or anything like that. They’re just standup guys, and as brothers, they’re great guys to want to model myself after.”

On Art’s season thus far: (Jon) “It’s very clear that he’s come into his own. Arthur is averaging a tackle for a loss or a tackle or sack every game now. When he first started, we’d be out there watching like, ‘Is he even playing right now?’ (laughter) Not only has Arthur managed to be in the game full-time, but he’s becoming an impact player, and that’s amazing to see. I think his progression is clear.”

On who can hit a quarterback harder: (Jon) “Oh, ‘Big Art’ for sure. You see that rump back there?” (Jon smacks Art on the backside.) (Art) “You guys are going to get a free pay-per-view fight in a second, I promise you.” (laughter)

On if Jon is there to talk to executive VP and general manager Ozzie Newsome about Art’s contract: (Art) “I don’t know, is that the reason? This is my agent right here.” (laughter)

On switching between being gentlemen off the field and bad guys on the field: (Jon) “I don’t think there’s much of a switch. I think our parents really focused on our characters a lot, and they taught us very basic rules of respecting your elders and respecting people. The sport that we chose to do is a small part of us. Me – I’m a father. Arthur is a father. We both have our religion. We both have our morals. Being ferocious on the field and in the octagon is what we’re paid to do. So, it’s very simple.”

On what would happen if the three brothers got into a scrum: (Jon) “Chandler would be watching, probably making an Instagram video. (laughter) Kick-boxing, I don’t know, if I had room, I’d do pretty well against Art, because I could stick him with a move. But in a small, confined area, I’d get killed, without a doubt. Arthur was a two-time state champion wrestler. He was ranked No. 1 his senior year and his junior year, as well, in high school wrestling. Grappling and putting your hands on people … If Arthur gets his hands on you, you’re in trouble. So, I’ll give it to him. But if I could stick a move, it’d be a different case.”

(Art) “Just make a wall right there. (laughter) He’s really testing me.”

On if he believes Art would be a great heavyweight MMA fighter: (Jon) “I do believe it. The way I joined mixed martial arts and got really good at it … Arthur was always better at wrestling than I was. And if I could understand martial arts, I believe that his psychology, I think he’d figure it out in two years’ time. Yeah, probably two years’ time, he’d be training with Greg Jackson.”

(Art) “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m happy where I’m at. There are not going to be any changes.” (laughter)

(Jon) “He’d be training with Greg Jackson, who is the No. 1 martial arts coach in the world. I’d be right in his ear the whole time, encouraging and teaching him, giving him shortcuts all the time. I think what it would do to him on a psychology level to get down to 265 [pounds] again, I think he’d be just so ready for the UFC Heavyweight division, for sure. I’m thinking about injuring him now so that we can get him into the UFC quicker. (laughter) I’m really pulling for him in either field.”

On Art’s season: (Art) “Oh man, I feel like it’s going well, but I want to give it up for my team to get wins. That’s what it’s all about. Any means necessary now – every single game, every single play, I’m just trying to be an impact player and give it up for my team.”

On what Art’s worked on to improve: (Art) “I give a lot of credit to [Jon]. In the offseason, I work out with him faithfully on hand fighting, wrestling [and] leverage. Just having good pad level is a game changer in this league, so if you can learn how to use your hands and have good leverage, you can do some good things.”

On how Ravens teammates react to seeing Jon: (Art) “It’s cool. It’s cool to see some of these big-name guys are like a kid in a candy store, like, ‘Hey, that’s Jon “Bones” Jones!’ Terrell Suggs [asked] me, ‘Is your brother here?’ and was so excited. I’m like, ‘It’s just him.’ (laughter) But it’s cool. Jon looks at them the same way, so it’s a cool interaction.”

(Jon) “Coming in here today, they asked me to say a few words to the players. Dude, I was sweating bullets. I was just trying to keep it cool. It’s great to have the respect of these great pro athletes. These guys are all very successful. They’re World Champions, and for me to have the honor of trying to motivate these guys in any way, shape or form – it was the highest honor for me. I really appreciate being here.”

On what his message to the team was: (Jon) “I just told the guys to not focus on not being Super Bowl champs, but just focus on their very next play against that opponent, that offensive lineman or whoever it may be. [I told them] to take it very personal and just to believe in being great, and just take it personal. It’s just a very personal thing. For me, if I was a player, I don’t think I’d be focused on the Super Bowl necessarily. It would be, ‘Alright, I got this team, and I know I’m going to be up against this tackle. And I’m going to make sure I leave a statement. I’m going to make sure I leave a mark on this player.’ And ultimately, if everybody has this type of mindset, it’s going to lead to the bigger picture, which is the Super Bowl. That was what we talked about.”

On how Jon would fare in football pads: (Jon) “Oh, I suck. It’s easy to talk about it. I don’t think I’d be much of a player.” (Art) “I’m trying to think of where he would fit in – assistant trainer maybe. (laughter) You can tape some ankles, right?”

On if they dreamed of fame and fortune when they were kids: (Jon) “I kind of did. I’m not going to lie; I always thought it’d be cool to be popular. I was always kind of a loser in high school.” (Art) “You kind of still are, but with a lot more money.” (laughter) (Jon) “I always thought it’d be cool to ultimately make it, because I was not very good at sports growing up, and I was the brother who had a star football player older brother, and Chandler was a star football player, and I was the guy who was like third string, and I just didn’t get it. So, I always visualized just making it and being up there with my brothers and being a starter and being a respected player. I did it in my own way.”

(Art) “I entertained it a little bit.” (Jon) “Arthur knew it; he didn’t have to dream it.” (Art) “My mindset was different. I had a guy. I had a great role model coming up, Isaiah Kacyvenski, who played for the Seahawks. And I said, ‘Man, I want to be just like you when I grow up.’ He said, ‘Man, don’t be like me; be better than me.’ And that stuck with me. I always tell younger kids that, too, and that’s something I had in my mindset like, ‘I’m going to the NFL.’ Call it cocky, confidence or whatever, but I worked hard, and I busted my butt. I did the little things, and it all paid off for me.”

On if their parents should get more credit: (Art) “They do. They’re like heroes in our hometown.” (Jon) “Our parents get a lot of respect, but on a bigger scale, I don’t think we’re really as known as the Mannings or the Williams sisters or the Gronkowskis or anything. If Chandler wins the Super Bowl, I think that’d be huge for our family’s name. But right now, we’ve been able to really inspire a lot of people in our hometown, and that means a lot to us. People from Rochester, N.Y., people from Endicott, N.Y. – we really show them that you can do everything that you put your mind to, and that makes us feel good. I know it motivates me to continue on the right track.”

On the typical Thanksgiving at the Jones’ household: (Jon) “Arthur eating the whole time.” (Art) “No, me slapping Jon in the face. You see his body language when I started moving my hand? He knew something was coming. (laughter) We just wrestled. We still do. We’ll get together, eat, play video games, and then it’s still constant competition to this day.”

On when Art was jumped by Jon and Chandler: (Art) “Thanks for reminding me. We were about 14, 15 [years old]. They got the better hand of me. They got me good. They jumped me, and they got me. That’s like [Jon’s] claim to fame. (laughter) They got me, but they won’t let me live it down to this day.”

On how OLB Terrell Suggs would do in the octagon against Jon: (Art) “He would give him a fair fight. ‘Sizz’ doesn’t fight fair. (laughter) ‘Sizz’ might grab a chair or something.” (Jon) “Who said I would fight him? I don’t think I’d fight him. He’s a little big.”

 

LB Jameel McClain

On his health and how he feels: “I’m feeling good, feeling good. Another day’s work. Wednesdays and Tuesdays are always sore days, but that’s normally what it is. But, I’m feeling good – 100 percent normal.”

On what must be done to slow down the Bears’ offense: “Priority No. 1 – which is the same thing for us all the time – is to stop the run. If we get after the run, we know what they’ve got to do next. It’s a 50/50 game; they are either going to run the ball or pass the ball. We’re going to deal in those percentages. They are good at running the ball. They have a phenomenal running back that can do a lot of things out of the backfield as far as catching the ball, running the ball, getting inside and getting outside. Stopping what they do well is going to be one of our big things [to focus on]. But, it’s what we always focus on.”

On if he’s surprised by Ed Reed being released in Houston: “It is surprising, it is surprising to some extent – knowing the player that Ed is, what he brings to a team and what he does. It is surprising, but then it’s not, because every time, this game shows me something that I didn’t expect at all.”

On the focus of creating turnovers against Cincinnati: “When we weren’t doing it, the message was still that we needed to do it and we needed to get it done. You all just happened to see a byproduct of all the work that we put in. We got put in the position to get those plays. I always like to say that turnovers and interceptions are an accumulation of preparation and luck. Some of those plays, [the ball] landed in the perfect position. It’s luck, but it’s preparation for being there. We’re going to keep preparing, but hopefully, we keep getting lucky in the same aspect and get those balls that float up in the air and there’s nothing but purple jerseys there. That’s what we want. But if you take some plays … Look at the [Lardarius Webb interception] play; that’s a great cornerback making a great play on the ball.”

On not allowing the Bengals’ to score in OT last week: “It was fulfilling for us to finish. It’s something that we harp on and we’ve been harping on it since Day One – since I was a rookie. It was fulfilling for us to finish the game the way we needed to. It was fulfilling for us to give the ball back to the offense so our great quarterback could do great things and get us down there [in scoring position]. We took care of our end, and that’s all we’ll all ever be happy with.”

On the defense rallying after Cincinnati’s Hail Mary and the game’s momentum shift: “Momentum does exist, but [bouncing back] also [rests] upon the leadership on the other end. We got together as a defense. We [dug] our feet into the ground. We understood that we all needed to be on the same page so we could get [the offense] the ball back so we could get this game done and get this win that we worked hard for. Momentum, it does exist – there’s no doubt about that. I feel like if we would have never spoken and pulled ourselves together even more and made sure we understood what direction we were going in, regardless of them catching that [Hail Mary] ball, to us, it didn’t mean anything. We just had to go back out there and put in work again.”

On the difficult nature of playing on the road: “I think the craziest part is that we all love it. We all love being hated. The road, it’s a special type of game, to me. You get the opportunity to feed off the energy of the stands – in a negative manner. A lot of guys thrive off of that. We all know one of the most notorious people in the league is Terrell [Suggs]. He thrives off of the opponent’s energy. We are looking forward to it.”

On how difficult it was to miss the end of last season and beginning of this season with a spinal cord injury: “It’s fortunate and unfortunate, the situation that I was in, because I had the opportunity to see the game through a whole other light. All I did was watch; all I did was try to see what was happening. Those types of things definitely give you an edge or a different view. But anybody who knows me, [they know] I like to watch film in the film room. I’m not really big on watching it on TV.”

 

RB Ray Rice

On if he felt he was at his healthiest in 2012: “I feel pretty good. I’ve been answering that question for the last couple of weeks, and I honestly haven’t had a chance to show it. We’re working, working very hard, and we’re going to continue to work. The running game – we know where it is. We’re going to continue to keep battering at it, try to keep chopping, and keep chipping away at it with what we need to do. Once I get a little space, you’ll see I’m clear off the injury. It’s an ongoing battle that you just have to keep working through. This is something different for me, it’s something different for the offensive line, and it’s something different for all of us. It’s something we’re not used to. In the grand scheme of things, we did come out with a win last week. I don’t want to harp too much on it, but it is something that needs to be corrected. We’ll work on it.”

On getting asked constantly about the run game: “It’s just a thing that you’re going to get asked, I understand. We’re working to get better. I know I’ve worked my butt off to get back on the field to play at a high level. I’ve just got to keep myself motivated, because I know once the opportunity comes and we rip off one of those big gains, we’ll be saying, ‘Well there it goes.’ The day will come. As long as we keep winning football games – and we got back on track last week – I’m sure we’ll find a way. Whether it’s running the ball, throwing it, special teams, defense … That’s one thing we’ve always done around here: We’ve always had each other’s back. That’s what we’ll continue to do.”

On not making large gains in the passing game last week: “The opportunity in the pass game is … Joe [Flacco] has got weapons down the field. We tried to get a screen going last week. Those are the opportunities where I try to get out and open. We have to get better at all the little things. If you looked at that screen last week, that was one guy away from screaming down the sideline. So, my opportunity in the pass game is still there as well. The little checkdowns and stuff where I’m getting them late … The play I caught late in the game, that was a play we improvised. Joe was scrambling and just wanted to find his guys – something that he and I have been doing for years. We’ll continue to work those things. As far as the pass game, I’ll still be involved. If we’re getting the ball down the field to Torrey [Smith] and those guys, I definitely don’t want to take anything out of their hands.”

On if he thinks he’ll be able to return to his old form in the second half of the season: “I have no doubt at all. If I doubted myself, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m at full strength. The Ravens are going to need me at full strength late in the year. It might be a blessing in disguise that I went through something early. Now we’re trying to get back on track, so now I can get myself back to whatever you call ‘full strength.’ I know I’m able to make plays. I leave the doubt and the naysayers out there. Like I said, when there’s opportunity and you see it, you’ll definitely see it. We just haven’t had the opportunity to show it.”

On if he has raised expectations too high with his past performances: “I’ve got high expectations for myself. Pro Bowl? None of that stuff has anything to do with it. I’ve always had high expectations for myself. That’s since I was in college, high school, or whatever you want to call it. I’ve been doubted my whole life, and to be in the best business in the NFL and playing at the highest level of sports … I don’t need to prove I’m a Prow Bowler. I’ve been there three times already and I’ve won a Super Bowl. Proving all that stuff all over again is not in my best interest; it’s trying to do whatever I can to make the Baltimore Ravens win football games. As long as I’m able to do that, I’m fine with that. If I’m lacking in one area, go look at how I’m doing in pass protection. Go look at how I’m working with my offensive line, helping those guys communicate with Joe [Flacco]. They’re just statistics and numbers that a lot of the world gets caught up in. Right now, in my career – where I am – you can talk about a statistic or number, but the only statistic or number that matters is a ‘W.’”

On if he pays the media no attention when they write negative things: “Trust me, you would have to shove it on my door step to really get up under my skin. I’m thankful to be around; I’m blessed. I go home; I’m a grateful father. There are just so many things to be thankful for. It’s about to be time for Thanksgiving; it’s not time for me to be down. I’ve got some people out there who really inspire me. I don’t like to get down about situations … If I’m not out there working as hard as I can, and keep working, I know some things will shake on this end. But, there are some people out there that can’t even provide for their families. I don’t live to complain about that. I’m fully able to provide and do the things that I’ve got to do when I leave this building.”

On if he agrees that whichever running back performs best will play the most: “We’ve always been doing that; that’s nothing that’s changed. There was a time last year, at the end of the season, [when] Bernard [Pierce] ripped off some runs in the Giants game. I wasn’t needed to do anything then. In the San Diego game last year, I was hot. Then, I ripped off the fourth-and-29. Needless to say, I know I’m a huge playmaker on this team. There’s no question where you guys have to answer … I’ve won a lot of games around here with this team. I helped out with everything that we’ve done around here, but I can’t do it by myself. I’m not that guy; I’m not selfish. We both know we’ve battled through some things this year – myself and Bernard – but we’re working. We’re getting back healthy. But, we don’t want to use that as an excuse. If we’re out there on Sundays, we’re 100 percent – that’s just how the NFL goes. You get judged by your performance; we have to play better. We have to help our offensive line play better, and we’ll continue to do that.”

 

OLB Terrell Suggs

On watching DT Art Jones develop into a great player: “It’s pretty awesome, because when you see the potential of a player and he grows, and he starts to mature into himself, come into his own, it’s pretty good. It’s pretty good. It’s good to see the production that he’s had with success.”

On OLB Elvis Dumervil catching up to him in the sack race, and if he’s let him know that it’s his crown he’s trying to hold on to: “No, like I said man, it’s all about wins. We both want to do well in it, but it’s only fun if you’re winning. So, I think once we get above .500, we’ll see where we’re at. But first off, we’ve just got to get the wins first. That’s most important.”

On if the Ravens caught a break by not having to face QB Jay Cutler this week: “No, you don’t. [Josh] McCown, he’s been around this league for a long time. He’s definitely a capable quarterback. He can control the game, and they trust him and think they’ve got a fair shot with him. So, we’re going to have at it on Sunday.”

On if he’s excited to play in a place that he’s never played before as a pro: “I’ve played there before. I’ve played in Chicago before; I think it was [2005].”

On if he’s surprised by the struggles that RB Ray Rice has had, and how much confidence he has in Rice going forward: “Football is the ultimate team sport. So, I think when it’s all said and done, with every man, you’ve just got to look at it as a whole. I’ve had seasons where I didn’t get as many sacks, and it was the personnel, or it was some reason, [like] I was out of shape. It’s a team sport. I don’t know, but I don’t think we close the door on it just yet. We’ve got seven games left, and I’ve still got all the confidence in the world in Ray Rice. He’s one of the best players in this league, one of the best running backs in this league, and we have a lot of success with games when 2-7 [No. 27] has got his hands on the ball. So, as long as we stick with that, I think we’ll be fine.”

On if he notices anything different this year in the way teams defend him with OLB Elvis Dumervil on the opposite side: “No, I get the same thing. A little chip here, or a tight end trying to crack me there; it’s the same thing. This is the NFL, and they’re going to tend to the rusher, but it’s good to have a guy like [Dumervil] opposite of you.”

On how surprised he was with the way things played out for Ed Reed in Houston: “I was very shocked. But then again, I can’t really comment or speculate on it, because I don’t play for the Houston Texans. So, I don’t really know what’s going on with that. I’m a Baltimore Raven, and I can only really focus on what’s happening here in this building. But definitely, it’s a shock, it’s a stunner.”

On how much of the focus is on shutting down RB Matt Forte, a guy who can run the ball and catch passes: “Big focus. You always want to game-plan for your opponent’s best players, and he’s one of them. Him, [No.] 15 [Brandon Marshall] – they all can play, all their specialty guys. But like I always say, it’s the NFL. We’ve got our hands full this week, just like we have our hands full every week. But this is a different kind of back. This back, he can run and catch, as you said, and he’s definitely our main focus.”

On what he enjoys so much about playing on the road: “I don’t know. I don’t know, because some people don’t enjoy being a villain, and it kind of affects their play. So, I had to learn at a very young age that the [opposing] team and their fans aren’t going to like you, they’re not going to cheer for you, and they’re going to say the most personal things about you. You can either let it bother you, or you can embrace it and use it. We all just kind of embrace it around here.”

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