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Week 12 vs. NY Jets: Friday Transcript

Posted Nov 22, 2013

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: “Ok, [it’s] good to see everybody. Thanks for being here. [It’s been] a good week of practice, and obviously, it’s all eyes to Sunday – all of our energy, all of our efforts, a lot of good, hard preparation. [We’ve had] spirited practices – a very physical practice on Wednesday. We know we have a big task at hand. We’re excited to be back home, and we can’t wait to be in front of our home crowd. It’s a very, very important football game for us. We’re looking forward to the opportunity, and we plan to get after it.”

What was the progress with Haloti Ngata this week, and do you think he’ll be a game-time decision? (Aaron Wilson) “He practiced today, so we’ll just have to see how he comes out of that right now. And it will be interesting to see how he fared and how he feels tomorrow. We’ll just have to see how he’s doing.”

Dennis Pitta has practiced the last three days. How has he looked, and is there any chance he plays on Sunday? (Matt Zenitz) “There is always a chance. I don’t want to say ‘no,’ and then he plays. I don’t want to say ‘yes,’ and then he doesn’t play. Then you guys think I’m misleading you somewhere. There is always a possibility of that.”

How good is Dean Pees when you guys get down into the red zone with his ability to change up looks? (Matt Vensel) “Dean [Pees] is just a great coach, and that’s where it starts. He’s very creative. He’s been around a lot of systems. He’s coached with some of the greatest coaches in football. But, Dean stands on his own. He’s very creative. I think we have a really good staff. He’s the kind of leader that leans on his guys, so he’s always taking input. The red zone, obviously, has been something where we’ve been very successful for quite a long time here. And Dean brought in a lot of ideas. We’ve really evolved our red zone package since Dean has been here, and he spearheaded that. We’re pretty multiple down there, [so] it’s hard to predict what we’re going to be in and how we’re going to play things. It seems like it is giving people a lot of trouble. He deserves a lot of credit.”

Some of your players have talked about how it’s always been a big emphasis for you since you’ve been here. Why is that? (Matt Vensel) “About the second or third year here, we made a decision that the way football is being played, that people are probably going to move the ball a little bit. But the bottom line is points. Are you going to be more concerned with yards, or are you going to be more concerned with points? I’m not sure why people are so enamored with yards. Yards are important and they’re valuable, but they keep track of the points on the scoreboard. And you control the points in the red zone, mostly. So, we felt like if we could be great in the red zone, we’d have a chance to control points. So, we practice it every day. It’s something that’s an emphasis for us.”

Did Kelechi Osemele ever have back surgery? (Jeff Zrebiec) “He did. He had back surgery this week. Kelechi Osemele had back surgery on Monday, and it was very successful. He was in a little bit of pain. I had a chance to spend some time with him and his mom and his fiancée yesterday. He walked through the building – he saw [head certified athletic trainer] Mark [Smith] – so he’s up and walking, very gingerly. But he’ll start his recovery and his rehab now. They say it’s a three-to-four month process.”


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