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Week 2 vs. Cleveland Browns: Wednesday Transcripts

Posted Sep 11, 2013

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: “We’re going to play a divisional opponent and rival, the Browns. It’s a challenge. It always is in the division. We are very impressed with what we see on tape, and it’s a very important week for us.”

With all of the season opener festivities, will you have to change your pre-game routine this week? “I don’t believe so. I haven’t been informed by our people that that is going to be necessary, unless there is something out there they’re hiding from me. It’s certainly possible, (laughter) but we’re planning on sticking to our normal routine with the guys.”

You may have addressed it Monday, but do you see marked improvement coming for the defense since playing together for the first time last week? “Well, since I can’t see into the future, I’d have to say I’m hoping for it, planning for it, working for it.  That’s the idea.  We’re going to need to play a lot better than we did.”

As a leader of men, what is the best thing you can do for your team after Thursday’s game to get them ready to play this week? “I think the best thing you always do, and it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose or what happens, you go back to work. We’re not going to overact, but we are going to react and respond where we need to. The first game is always a good barometer. The old saying is true: It’s never as good or it’s never as bad as what you initially feel. And there were plenty of good things there to build on, plenty of things that are very much correctable for us to work on that we can get better at that we all know. Every correction we needed to make, we all understood – player, coach, everybody. And then we try to guide ourselves into things schematically that we can do well and we can execute. Obviously, that was a big challenge; that was a crucible. So, some things were exposed that needed to be, and I hope that we can grow from that.”

How encouraged were you with the play of Lardarius Webb coming back from his injury? “He looked good. His knee looked good.  I didn’t see any issues with it. I really feel like, physically, he is only going to get better as he goes forward.”

After seeing the contributions Paul Kruger made during the playoffs, how strange will it be to see him in a Browns uniform? “We’ve already seen Paul [Kruger] in that uniform, because we watch him on tape. So, we’ve gotten over that shock. That’s good. But it will be great to see him on the field before the game. [I have] a lot of respect for him. [We had a] very strong relationship. He and I, I feel like we were very close and still are. It will be good to see him out there, but come Sunday, he’s on the other side, and I’m sure he feels the same way.”

What is your impression of your pass rush against Denver and how important that will be in putting pressure on Brandon Weeden this Sunday? “Pressure in any game is huge, as you know. Pressure on Brandon Weeden is just as important as any other quarterback. We felt good about our pressure against Peyton Manning. We got there a few times. We had some other times where we got some hits on him. But, it’s something we need to continue to build on.” 

What will you do to stop Trent Richardson, who had a good game against the Ravens the last time the teams played? “Trent Richardson has had a lot of good games in this league. He’s a premier back. He’s a hard runner. He runs all the downhill plays. Whether he’s running inside or outside, he runs downhill. When they give him the ball in the passing game on the perimeter, he runs downhill. When they give him the ball on check downs, he runs downhill. He’s a very tough tackle, and it’s going to take the whole defense to contain him.”

Will Sunday’s game be a typical AFC North run game battle? “I don’t know. You’ll have to describe that one for me.”

Are you guys going to run the ball more this week? “We’ll see. I’ll let you know Sunday. Are you going to watch the game?” (Reporter: “I think so.”)  “Good, you’ll find out then.”

Without going into the numerous changes on the Browns’ coaching staff, do you see a lot of changes from past teams, or are they keeping things pretty much the same? “Schematically? They’ve mostly changed. They’re running the schemes that you’d expect from their staff. Norv Turner is on offense; he’s building the Norv Turner offense, but it’s what he ran in San Diego, Washington, all the way back to Dallas. Obviously, it’s evolved over the years. That’s the offense they’re running. And then defensively, it’s the Pittsburgh scheme. Ray Horton has been in that system. He ran it in Arizona, and we see the same systems here, but they’re applying it to the players that they’ve got.”

What have you seen from Jordan Cameron and what kind of challenges does he present? “He’s really looked good. He’s emerging as a real threat, and I would expect based on how the [Denver] tight end [Julius Thomas] played against us last week, that’ s going to be something that they think they can attack and use.”

Any update you can share on Michael Oher’s ankle injury? “I could, but I’m not going to. We’ll just leave all the injury stuff for the reports. The reports are pretty straight forward when you see them.” 

What kind of reception do you expect the Baltimore fans to give Billy Cundiff this Sunday, and will you speak with him before the game? “We’ll have a chance to have a conversation with him, I hope. Billy [Cundiff] is a very good kicker, and Billy made a lot of kicks, especially at M&T [Bank Stadium]. I don’t know if he ever missed here. He’s kicked off really well for them so far. He’ll be another guy who is on the other side for this game, but I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”

Are you looking forward to being at home and getting back to playing in M&T Bank Stadium for the home opener? “Our guys love playing here. We can’t wait to see our fans out here. We just need to play up to the level that M&T Bank and our fans deserve, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Do you give much thought to how much a player who has recently left your roster, like Paul Kruger, can help his new team when playing against the Ravens? “They’ve also got Bobby Rainey there now, who was here more recently than Paul [Kruger]. There are things I’m sure they are communicating that we will try to be aware of. In the end, it comes down to how you play, how well you execute and whether you make plays or not.”

Is the addition of Shaun Draughn to the roster for returns and special teams only?  How do you see him fitting in with the Ravens? “He’s a running back as well. So, he’s been a good special teams player, he’s been a good kickoff returner, and he’s been a good running back. He played against us last year in Kansas City and played very well. He’s a good young player, and we’re excited and feel very fortunate to have him.”

 

QB Joe Flacco

On being able to stay focused to keep the win streak against Cleveland: “You don’t look at it before we had beaten them and say, ‘We’re going to go win 10 straight.’ These guys are a good football team. They have a physical defense, and they’ve always had that since I’ve been here. We’ve played a lot of games that I feel like have been decided late. You kind of have to stay locked in if you know what kind of game you’re ready for. Every game we play in this division is like that. These guys are no exception. I think that we believe they’re a good football team, which they are, and we’re just ready to go play another game.”

On playing against OLB Paul Kruger for the first time: “Hopefully, he doesn’t get to me, and if he does, hopefully I can shake him off and talk a little trash to him afterwards. But it will be funny lining up against Paul [Kruger]. He’s been here since my second year, so it will be a little interesting lining up against him and seeing what he’s got.”

On the biggest challenge of working new guys into the offense: “I think when you bring in guys, you’re so focused on the big things of making sure everybody knows what route to run, making sure everyone is lining up quickly, and just getting the calls and everything, that the little things just take a little bit of time. I think it’s something that we’re going to be constantly working towards, and we’ve just got to make sure we’re the best we can be as we’re working towards all those things.”

On if the roster turnover has made things more challenging: “I’m sure it has, but what are you going to do? It’s the way it is. That’s the way this league is. You just have to embrace it and take it on as a challenge and try to make it work the best you can.”

On the importance of the nine days off to get everybody’s minds right: “I think they’re very important. Anytime you get a couple days to … A day to look at the game, and then make some corrections, and then come back here and have a game plan ready and just focus on that – that always helps. Getting guys’ legs back, giving guys some extra time to become comfortable and look back at the game and familiarize themselves with the offense a little bit – it always helps.”

On what it means that the organization trusted him enough to bring in so many new players: “That’s the name of the game when you’re a quarterback in this league. You have to be … You want your organization to be able to do that, and you have to prove that you can adapt to whatever is necessary to win football games, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

On if playing Week 1 gives him a better sense of where the offense needs to go: “I think after the first game you’re always able to see where you are and make the corrections that you really feel like you need to make. The biggest improvement is that second week. I don’t think we aren’t where we thought we were. We didn’t make some plays, and the game got away from us, but we’re the same team that we thought we were and we are. We’ve just got to make a couple improvements, and we’ll be right where we want to be.”

On the team being 4-0 since 2008 after losing by 20-or-more points the previous week: “I don’t know if that has to do with anything. It’s just how it’s worked out, and hopefully we can keep it that way.”

On if he talked to TE Dallas Clark and TE Ed Dickson about their dropped passes: “They know how it was, and they were tough catches. They’re plays that we’re going to have to make. Those are the kinds of plays that keep you on the field and extend drives and allow you to score touchdowns. But, they were tough catches. If that’s all we have to worry about is a couple of guys that have very sure hands not coming up with a couple really tough catches, then I think we’re going to be OK. Over the long run, we’re going to make a lot of those catches, and it’s going to lend itself to a lot of good things.”

On rookie WR Marlon Brown: “You can tell [that] nothing is too big for him, and he’s ready to go in there and make plays. I thought he reacted very well. He’s obviously going to have to clean up some things and learn on the fly a little bit, but you’ve got to like that. I think he’s a good player, and I think he’s going to have a good future for us.”

On his comfort with his new targets: “I’m as comfortable as I need to be. We all are. We’re playing a game in four, five days – whatever it is – so we’re ready to go.”

On having WR Tandon Doss back: “It’s good to see Tandon [Doss] back. I think he’s a good player, and I think he’s going to do a lot of good things for us. We just need to get him out there and have him make a couple plays and see what he can do.”

On the pre-game ceremony celebrating last year’s Super Bowl team: “Hey, it’s always good to be home in front of our fans. We’ve got a great stadium, great crowd. It’s always fun to play in front of them, and hopefully, we’ll give them a big show. I think we’re ready to do that, and [I] just hope the place is rocking and ready to see a good football game.”

 

RB Ray Rice

On what message he’s been trying to communicate with the offensive staff: “My message was clear, obviously throughout. When you’re executing at a high level, that comes with carries; it helps you manage the game. It helps you manage the situation. When you look at the first half of our game and the second half of our game, it was a very different turnover. We know that you can’t just force the ball when you’re down by so many points. I thought we balanced the game well in the first half of our Denver game. We’ll just continue to work on the fundamentals. I think it’s still early, and I said it after the game: We caught a great, prepared Denver Broncos team. I’m not taking anything away from that team. They came out with a game plan, [and] they executed it. But it showed in the first half that if we can execute and we can manage the game well, we can do well. We have the pieces to put everything together, and we just have to execute at a high level.”

On if he still feels like the Ravens are a run-first team: “We have the up-tempo, but the thing is with the up-tempo, you’ve got to execute. When you have the up-tempo, it doesn’t mean getting up to the line and always snapping it as fast as you can. Up-tempo is catching a pass, getting up-field, popping a run, getting back to the line. But it’s hard to do that when you’re not executing. When you’re constantly getting three-and-outs, it’s hard to call something up-tempo. But we have that. That’s what we’ve practiced and that’s what we’ve game-planned. We have that package. We just have to execute at a high level. That all starts with us. It’s nothing that a coach can say or this that and the other. It all starts with the players. We have to hold ourselves to a standard and go out there … If we want to execute up-tempo, it starts with catching and running – simple fundamentals. The teams you see doing it, if it’s a pass, they’re catching it. If it’s a five-yard run, it’s a five-yard run. Then, they’re getting back to the line and doing whatever else they do.”

On if raising the Super Bowl banner Sunday will add anything to the game: “I didn’t even know that was happening. The Super Bowl was great. I think now that we … We finally had our reality check against Denver. It’s great. It’s something that will never be taken away from us, but we know that there are leaps and bounds and hurdles we’ve got to go through to get to another one. But to see it unveiled at our stadium, obviously, it will let guys like Paul Kruger know that you were a part of something special. I’m sure when he sees it, a guy like Bobby Rainey, it’s special for a numerous amount of people that were a part of it. [Those] guys will be playing against us, but seeing that, I’m sure it will bring back a lot of memories.”

On if he thinks it was a good thing to lose to the Broncos: “I think you have to take from any loss. I like to say, ‘There’s a way to win, and there’s a way to lose.’ And from looking at the game we just played, I think we did everything we can to prepare for that game. Did we go out there and execute as well as we wanted to? No. But like you said, we can learn something from that game, and I always try to learn a lot from taking away from a loss. I think, going down the line, we will learn from that game. And I think the learning lesson that the team personally took from that is you have to come out every quarter ready to play. We came out that third quarter … We didn’t have the best quarter. Coming out of halftime, we always say we’ve got to start fast. You’ve got to come out the first half and the second half ready to win the game. We always preach about winning the third quarter. Winning the third quarter gives you a chance to win the fourth quarter. If you go quarter-by-quarter, the first and second quarter I think we were even. The third quarter, we got blown out, and that was the difference in the game.”

On how close he feels the team is to running the ball better: “We do have to run the ball better. That’s something that I know we can get corrected, with the guys we have in front of us, our offensive line, having Marshal [Yanda], having ‘K.O.’ [Kelechi Osemele], [and] having the jell that we have. Running the football is something that is a man-on-man thing. Those guys will get it corrected. It’s a hat on a hat, different things that we work on, and we’ll get it corrected. Running the ball is something we’ve always been able to do around here, and I don’t see that stopping right now. We’ve gotten better in the past, but running the ball is something that we’ll get better at.” 


OLB Terrell Suggs

On how much better he expects the defense to be in Week 2
: “We’re professionals, so I’m expecting it to be a lot better. It’s something that needs to be addressed, and we’re addressing it.”

On what the specific issue was defensively against the Broncos: “Your guess is just as good as mine. Not every week [do] you get to practice or play against a team that’s explosive like they were. They were a good football team, but that was last week. We’re here to focus on the Cleveland Browns.”

On how excited he is to play against a team that allowed six sacks last week: “Like you said, [playing] is something that you always get to enjoy each week. You get back from week to week … The thing about Week 1 is it lets you know where you have to go. We’re going to use that going forward for us, and I’m sure they are going to do the same.”

On what it will be like to play against former teammate OLB Paul Kruger: “Oh, old homeboy, ‘Saul Tuger?’ It’s going to be good; it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be weird seeing him in a different uniform.”

On if he’ll chat with Kruger before the game: “Maybe, we’ll see when we get there on Sunday.”

On if he’ll try to rattle K Billy Cundiff: “Billy and I have a good relationship, so I’m going to try and keep that the same. Who knows? Maybe if he has to go out there and kill us, I may try to mess him up a little bit.”

On if there is anything specific that has aided the Ravens’ recent success against the Browns: “No, because it’s different from year to year. It’s definitely a different team. They have worked their tails off. They’re competitive, and as you can see, the AFC North is up for grabs, and they’re a contender for it. We’re going to respect them with that much, and we’re going to approach it like so.”

On how great the home crowd is at M&T Bank Stadium: “It’s pretty awesome. The energy is electrifying at M&T [Bank Stadium], and it gives us that needed boost, especially after going on the road and losing the previous week. You get to come home with your home fans, and it’s a good experience.”

 

CB Lardarius Webb

On how the first game back went, from a physical standpoint: “It went OK. I was just glad to be back on the field. I finished the game healthy, so that was a hundred for me.”

On his biggest take-away from the Denver game, considering RB Ray Rice called it a reality check: “Exactly what he said. [It was] just to see where we were at in the back end. We know we have some things we need to work on, so this week, we go back to work, because we want to be better. [It was] kind of an embarrassment. Raven football, we don’t play that way. [It] doesn’t matter if we’re at home [or] away. It doesn’t matter where we’re at or [who] the quarterback is. We’re better than that. So, that’s why [it’s] kind of an embarrassment.”

On if he got a chance to reflect on being able to play on opening night: “I didn’t have a chance. I was just kind of upset about the loss [and] understanding the things that we needed to fix. I know how hard I worked. I went over those things before I hit the field, knowing I worked hard for this moment to get on this field, and now I’m back. It felt wonderful. I felt blessed just to be on the field running around. I was happy that night. Even though we were losing, I still just felt happy running around. But we have some things we need to fix. We’re going to get them fixed today.”

On what went through his mind before going out on the field: “Just meditating. Just knowing, ‘OK, it’s there.’ [I] practiced on [the knee] and I ran on it. I worked my butt off for this moment, and it was that time, so I was just ready for that moment.”

On what he feels most needs to be corrected in the secondary: “Some simple things. It was all of them – communication, a little fatigue. The offense, they were moving the ball. Peyton Manning had his offense going. He was in the zone. But in that time, somebody had to step up and make a play and stop his drives, and nobody stepped up and made a play when we needed a play. We just have to look at the film. Well, we looked at film and figured out some things and saw what went wrong.”

On how it felt to make his first play on the ball and get his first hit: “It got the butterflies out of my stomach when I got my hand on the ball. Other than that, it just got back to playing football. [I] wasn’t thinking so much, just playing football.”

On if he feels like he’s back to his pre-injury form: “I’m back, but I’m not all the way back yet. I still have a lot of work to do. I have to keep on going uphill. It’s an uphill battle right now, so I’m just going to go back out today and build on what I left off on the field and try to get better and better each week.”

On the importance of the Week 2 game with all AFC North teams at 0-1: “It’s important because we lost our first game. We need to get a win under our belt, and it’s always an important game when we’re playing a divisional team. We have to start off 1-0 in this division. The AFC North, still to me, even though everybody lost, is one of the toughest divisions in football, just with the guys we have. We’re starting this game. It’s one game – one game at a time. We lost last week. We have to win this one against Cleveland.”

On if he feels more comfortable playing in the nickel position: “I like the nickel. I feel like the nickel position was something I was more used to since I played safety in college. So, I get to tackle a little bit more, cover, be more involved in the defense. I’m kind of getting used to my island outside playing one-on-one with the receivers, locking them down and kind of letting the defense work. I enjoy both of them. [I’m] just on the field I was happy. I was just happy to be out there.”

On how he’s a different cornerback now than before he had his second injury: “I just know it could be gone at any time. At any moment, it can be gone, and I can be on the sideline. So, enjoy it while I can.”

On if there was a part of his rehab that was most difficult: “The first week – the first week out of surgery. Other than that, it’s just working every day.”

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