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Week 5 At Miami Dolphins: Wednesday Transcripts

Posted Oct 2, 2013

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: “Good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys being here. We’re deep into our preparations now for Miami, and we’re looking forward to getting down there and playing the football game. What questions do you have?”

Can you talk about the trade, and what Eugene [Monroe] will bring to the team? (Jim Corbett) “As I understand it, there are still a couple of conditions still to be met on that, which should not be an issue. He’s going to bring us a high-quality football player, a guy that we’ve had great respect for throughout his career so far in the NFL. Certainly coming out from UVA, he was very highly-rated on our board. So, we’re all very excited about it. I commend both sides for getting it done. It’s a plus for both sides. If you look at the terms of the trade, it’s really a good trade for both teams. We’re looking forward to getting him in here and seeing how it goes.”

What does the arrival of Monroe mean for Bryant McKinnie and Michael Oher at the tackle position? (Nestor Aparicio) “We will find that out. We’ll see as we go. Obviously, we’re bringing Eugene [Monroe] in to play. How soon that can happen remains to be seen. The main thing is it makes us better. It makes us better almost immediately in terms of adding a football player of that quality to our team. And we’ll just figure it out, and we’ll fit it together the way we can and use these guys all the best ways we can.”

Is there any chance Monroe will play this weekend in Miami? (Jamison Hensley) “I don’t know. He’s not here yet. So, once we get him here, we’ll try to figure that out.”

Will Monroe have his physical today and then the trade will be wrapped up later today? (Aaron Wilson) “Today or tomorrow. There are some other things that still need to be worked out contractually.”

You said some stern things about the offensive line on Monday. When were the trade talks initiated? Was it after Sunday’s game or prior to that? (Jerry Coleman) “The Kennedy thing, I still think it was probably not a single shooter. I’m a conspiracy guy on that.” (Reporter: “Do you think Oswald had help?”) “I do, I do. I think there was somebody.” (Reporter: “Do you have a name?”) “I don’t have the names. That’s what we’re looking for still. They’re in a safety deposit box somewhere as we speak; we’re going to know someday.”

Where do you think Monroe’s best position is? (Glenn Younes) “Left tackle, certainly. The point is this: We’re excited to make the trade, and we’re happy to have him here. I wouldn’t use the same characterization that Jerry [Coleman] used as far as the O-line play. I thought it was just a straight-forward description about how we all feel. We need to play better there, and a lot of different places, and that goes with coaching, too. I think I made that clear, too. We need to coach better, and it starts with me, it starts with all of us, together. And that’s the way we do it. We’re of one accord as a football team. We are of one accord to become the best team we can be Sunday and going forward. So all the things that go into that – practice, meetings, scheme, technique, adding players when we have an opportunity to do it – we’re going to chase every single avenue we can to get that done.”

Was the trade initiated in the last 24 hours? (Jerry Coleman) “I don’t know. You’d have to ask Ozzie [Newsome] that – exactly the timing of it – but I’m sure those conversations have been going on for a little while.”

Can you comment on how Torrey Smith has progressed this year and what he has done in the first three games as a receiver? (Aaron Wilson) “Torrey [Smith] has played well. Torrey is going to make plenty of plays. He’s made plays so far. He had the big play in the game going down the stretch. Torrey is a major weapon for us. Torrey’s wife is pregnant. We all saw that, right? So [there are] a lot of good things happening in Torrey’s life.”

You talk about Torrey being a leader, but what was it you saw in him coming into the season that gave you the confidence that he could be the No. 1 wide receiver? (Garrett Downing) “How do you describe it? He’s made plays for us. He’s made the kind of plays that make differences for you in football games. Everybody is unique. You use that term ‘No. 1 guy.’ I’ve never really talked in those terms. You’re going to have as many good receivers as you can, playing to their style and playing a role in your offense. Torrey plays a huge role for us – call it what you want – but he plays a huge role for us, and he’s a big part of our team.”

Ray Rice was not a factor in the passing game last Sunday. Was his health an issue, did Buffalo take it away, was he needed to pass block, what was it? (Bo Smolka) “I think if you watch the tape, you will see him in pass protection more often than not. He got held in there in protection, blocking linebackers when they were bringing pressure.”

Would you like Ray Rice to be more involved in the passing game? (Matt Vensel) “Absolutely. We need to get Ray [Rice] out [of the backfield blocking]. We had some five-man protections where he was releasing, and we just were unable to get him the ball. They covered him – they had a guy on him pretty tight. But no, we need to get Ray involved. We need to get Ray involved in every single way – pass game, run game, every single way. It’s definitely going to be important for us. We want to do that every week, and obviously, we did not do a good job of that last Sunday.

How does it happen or not happen that a player gets involved in a game? (Glenn Younes) “The first thing that happens is you get first downs. In all reality, you get first downs. If we can create plays and stay on the field and get a rhythm and get first downs, then we are going to have an opportunity to spread the ball around and use all of our guys. But certainly, you’ve got to give him the ball; I understand that. And you’ve got to throw him the ball when the coverage allows you to do it.”

You expect Eugene Monroe to help in the short term, but is the trade with Monroe one you would do if there wasn’t optimism that he would be able to stay with the team long term? (Matt Zenitz) “All that stuff weighs into it. To characterize whether we would have or would not have, I don’t know if I really have that answer or not. He has one year left. We’ll see how it shakes out over the course of the next 12 weeks.”

What does it say about Joe Flacco to have the ability to keep attempting passes despite the number of interceptions he’s had this season? (Jamison Hensley) “Joe [Flacco] is resilient. He’s got a certain amount of mental toughness about him, and he’s been down this road before. It’s not the first time. Joe will always move forward, and we should see his best game this week.”

What problems does Ryan Tannehill present for the Ravens? (Bo Smolka) “He’s a great athlete, first of all. He can run. He’s done a great job with the timing routes. He’s got a good arm. I’m really impressed with the fact that he stands in there. He’ll stand in there, and he’ll make tough throws under pressure, take hits, and he’s accurate.”

With Jacoby Jones returning to practice this week, do you feel that it will impact Marlon Brown, who has really stepped up in Jacoby’s absence? (Kris Jones) “Well, sure it will. Having more guys available is going to impact everybody’s number of snaps, but hopefully we can use all those guys in really positive ways and improve our offense.”

You will face Dannell Ellerbe this week. How big was he for the Ravens down the stretch last season, and what have you seen from him so far this season with Miami? (Matt Vensel) “It looks like he’s a leader for them, first of all. He’s done a great job. On the field, you can see he takes charge, he calls the signals, and he’s a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, just like he always has been. If there’s a screen out there, Dannell [Ellerbe] sniffs it out, it seems like. He’s just the same great player he was here.”

How well do you feel Terrell Suggs has played this season? (Matt Zenitz) “‘Sizzle’ is playing as well as he’s played, ever. He’s playing at, obviously, a Pro Bowl-type level. But he can even play better. That’s the thing. He’s so determined right now. I see him walking around here – he’s just got a look on his face, a single-minded purpose-type of a look on his face. So, that’s the way he’s playing.”

When you make a move of the magnitude of the Monroe trade for a guy you intend to start, does it send a message to the entire team that everyone needs to step up the level of their play? (Mark Zinno) “I guess everybody will take the message however they take it. I don’t know a message is so much intended. We always want to improve, we want to be the best team we can be every single way across the board, and whatever that message is, it is.”

 

QB Joe Flacco

On his thoughts on the T Eugene Monroe trade: “Just curious. John [Harbaugh] actually left me a message last night. I haven’t really talked too much to anybody about it, though. I think he’ll be here sometime this week, we’ll get to meet him, and it’ll be exciting.”

On if he was surprised after hearing of the trade: “I don’t know if I was surprised. I didn’t really expect anything like that. So, like I said, we’ll see where it goes, and we’ll see how he can help us out and stuff like that.”

On the differences in pass protection from last year to this year: “Just little things – cleaning up some little things up front and passing things off. It’s nothing crazy. It’s just little things here and there that are pretty easily fixed. I’m not really too worried about it.”

On if it’s hard to put the five-interception game behind him: “It’s something that you have to do. It’s definitely not easy to throw five interceptions and just be cool with it. It was the main reason why we didn’t win that football game. You have to live with it and move on. I told Jim [Caldwell], ‘As much as it hurts to do that, I don’t mind losing a football game like that.’ I’m the quarterback of the team. I’m being paid what I’m being paid for a reason. If you can say that we lost a football game because I threw five interceptions, then that’s the way it should be. I don’t have a problem with anybody looking at me and putting losses on me when something like that happens. I feel like that’s the way we should be trying to win football games when we need to. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, and you can have a great reason to come to me, and I can have an answer for you, and say, ‘Yeah, come to me.’ And you should come to me. I don’t have a problem losing football games like that, because more times than not, I believe we’re going to win.”

On if 31-consecutive dropbacks were excessive: “It’s just one of those things. You kind of make a decision at halftime to do something like that. Like I said, if I don’t throw interceptions, then no, it’s probably not excessive. We probably throw for 300 yards in the second half, and we probably score three or four touchdowns, and we win the game. When you look at a normal game plan, and when you talk about what you’re going to do during the week, then yeah, it’s excessive. And you don’t want to put yourselves in a position where you feel like you have to do that. But that’s just kind of what happened, and that’s the way the game went. I’m not going to sit here and apologize or make up a reason why we shouldn’t have done that.”

On RB Ray Rice’s lack of involvement in the offense: “It was one of those games. We put ourselves in a position, and we weren’t able to do some of the things that we wanted to do early on in the game. We weren’t able to do them very well, so we made a decision to kind of get away from it. That’s just what happens sometimes. Yeah, you want to get him the ball, but at some point, you’ve got to look at some of the positives about it. We got a lot of guys work, and we didn’t win a football game. Maybe it works out better. Ray [Rice] doesn’t get a lot of touches, and he has another week to get more and more healthy. That game is really over. It’s not really that important anymore. You’ve got to kind of move on and find out what we’ve got to do better to win this next one.”

On if he has any influence on personnel decisions: “No. I have confidence in my guys, and I have confidence in who they’re going to put around me. That’s really the end of the story with that.”

On what message the trade sends to players: “I don’t know. I think every move that we make around here is done for a reason and done with the understanding that it could affect the locker room in some way. But I think the way we react to most of those things is positively, and we find ways to get better and use it to our advantage. I think that’s obviously the only reason we do things like this. That’s what this is about, too, and that’s how we’ll all react to it.”

On if last week’s loss motivates the team this week: “It doesn’t change our preparation. We’ve prepared greatly, and we’re going to continue to do that. It definitely motivates you a little bit or refocuses you maybe on a couple little things. I’d probably be lying if I didn’t say it did that. But we still have to go out there and play on Sunday. We can talk about how well we practice and how well we prepare, but we still have to translate that into playing well on Sunday. That’ll be the big test – this week against Miami when we line up. We’ll see when it’s all said and done.”

On Miami’s defense: “They’re physical. They’ve got good players in the back end who play aggressively and can play the football. They’re good, man. They get after the quarterback. They play all phases of the game pretty well. I think that when you look at some of the statistics, [the numbers] might not be as good as they really are. They are pretty good in a lot of categories, but some other categories may not reflect quite how well they actually play. So, it’s exciting to play against a team that’s playing well. It’s a 3-1 football team. They’re playing pretty good defense.”

On Miami LB Dannell Ellerbe: “We know what kind of player he is. He’s physical, he presents a lot of problems in the middle, he can come after the quarterback, and he can run sideline to sideline. He does a lot of things well, and we saw that for a couple years around here.”

On his confidence in the offense: “I’m as confident as I could be, as I always am. I love where we’re headed. I love the work that guys are getting. Is our record where we want it to be? No. But we’ve got a lot of guys getting work. I think we’re finding out a lot about Marlon Brown, about Tandon [Doss], about Deonte [Thompson], about Dallas Clark. When we get Jacoby [Jones] back, when we get our running backs as healthy as they can be, I hope all these issues that we’ve had will just make our available weapons – the size of them – that much bigger and help us out when we get down to the end of the season.”

 

S James Ihedigbo

On how the defense recovers after giving up so many rushing yards last week: “It is tough giving up that type of rushing yards. They had a great rushing attack, [and] they ran the ball multiple times. But it’s a staple in our defense, and it’s something we’ll correct. Those guys take it personally in the front, and they’ll change that – that’s for sure.”

On playing a team he is personally familiar with in Miami: “They’re another team that plays very well at home. That stadium is going to be rocking. It’s going to be live. They’re going to be geared up to play us. That’s kind of the story. We have the bulls-eye on our backs, and teams get to play their best football when the Ravens come to town. So, that’s what we’re expecting, and that’s what we’re preparing for.”

On how he has been able to take on a leadership role in the secondary: “Just knowing what it takes to win – being where I have been throughout my career in the NFL, pushing these guys, and seeing from the leaders before me what it takes to win and be successful in this league. That’s what I try to pass on to these guys, and we’re heading in the right direction.”

On his relationship with rookie S Matt Elam: “He’s like my little brother. We work great together, and we watch film together. We study, make sure that he understands why we’re doing certain things. He’s already grasped the defense, and he understands that very well. But [we focus on] the little tweaks that we have for personnel and different guys, and really making sure he understands why we’re doing it. He gets it, and you see him on Sundays flying around hitting people.”

On his thoughts seeing Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill struggle on Monday night: “It’s the NFL. They’re going to make corrections. They’re going to correct plays that he messed up on or reads that he didn’t get. You do see that and say, ‘OK, alright here we go,’ but we’re going to prepare for everything that we’ve seen him do throughout this year. So, that’s what we’re going to do on defense, and what happens on Sunday is what happens.”

On what he thinks Tannehill does best: “His ability to get rid of the ball quickly. He has a great release point, he throws with a lot of power and velocity, has a big arm, and he runs that offense. He definitely does.”

 

RB Ray Rice

On being well rested going into the game against Miami: “Last week I was saying, ‘Once you start the season, there’s no way guys are 100 percent [healthy].’ I don’t believe in the whole [concept of] ‘going into the game at 100 percent.’ I definitely felt good enough to contribute last week, and I feel better coming into this week knowing I had no setbacks. I know what the deal is with my leg. Now that I firmly have my confidence – I have a game under me – I feel I can definitely go out there and contribute a little bit more – a lot more.”

On the team’s decision to pass more in the second half against Buffalo: “I just felt like when you’re down, at that point, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win. I knew where I could contribute in that part of the game. In that part of the game, if we weren’t going to run it, I knew every protection and every blitz pick-up was my role. If I got the ball out of the backfield with a screen or something, I was going to do whatever it takes to try to win that football game. I’ve been down the road of saying, ‘We need the carries, we need this…’ No, we need to execute. It starts up front. We need to get the fundamentals. The backs have to help the lineman with their run courses. We just have to get better all the way around, so when we start passing the ball … One thing I was very sure of was the protections, and I just stuck in there.”

On if the opponents were hitting him as he would go out for passes in the flats: “You’ve got to know who the pass rusher is that you’re going against. You’ve got to know that there’s a time to chip. I always tried to give my tackles some [blocking] presence. Whoever it is, inside or outside, you’ve just got to help where needed. One thing I know that is important is for Joe Flacco not to get touched. If there’s a week where they want me to chip, I’m going to chip. It’s usually a game-plan feel or something I feel along the way. If you’ve got a guy running free, it’s just natural not to let that guy just run around. There are times where I’m releasing and they’ll abandon their pass rush and chip me. It’s a two-way street; you’ve just got to be smart.”

On the Miami defense, now that former Raven LB Dannell Ellerbe plays on it: “Me and ‘Elle’ [Dannell Ellerbe] used to go at it in practice. When we used to go at it here, we got each other better. We’re going to do the same thing this week. We’re going to go at it, but at the same time, I know that what he came to do for his team is the same thing I’m trying to do for mine. We’re trying to win a football game. At the end of the day, I know I’ll be able to go over there at the end of the game, shake his hand, wish him well and [hope] that he stays healthy the rest of the way.”

On how the line can get the same blocking from last year: “There’s not a guy out there saying, ‘We’re not going to get this done.’ It might be a fundamental [issue] here or a technique there. It’s the same scheme. One thing I know is that going into another team’s stadium, they’re going to start by saying, ‘We’re not going to let the run game even affect us.’ There’s that much respect that they have for our run game that everybody is coming to play. We have to match the other team’s intensity when we go out there to even want to be able to be effective in the run game. I don’t have one guy on my offensive line on this team that’s saying, ‘We’re just going to screw this play up.’ What we’re doing is getting a guy who wants it a little bit more on the other side. That’s what we have to do; we have to fight that. We have to go out there and match the other team’s intensity, because everybody is getting a hat on a hat. We’ve just got to hold the blocks a little bit longer, and we’ll be fine.”

On being involved in the passing game by releasing into the flat: “This week was a little bit different. When you get down as bad as we did, we had to get the ball down the field. So, I don’t know if a check-down was going to be in Joe’s [Flacco] best interest. If I had gotten the ball, I’m going to try and make a play. When you get down the way we did against Buffalo, you’ve got to try and get the ball down the field.”

On what message the potential addition of T Eugene Monroe sends to the team and the rushing offense: “You’ve got a chance to go out there, a young guy … You’re looking at him, and you look at a young guy that’s still got a lot of football left. I don’t think it sends a message to the offensive line. Whether he can contribute now or later, it’s a safe move. Tackle is a hot commodity in the league. Anytime you find a young tackle that’s as athletic as him, have a chance to get him, and take him out of a situation where he can get a fresh start – it usually works out in the guy’s favor. I’m looking forward to getting him here and catching him up to speed.”

On WR Torrey Smith: “I know how hard he works. The results are … The way he works, I admire Torrey more than a lot of people. I’m so ecstatic for his success right now. I just want to go out and win games, because when you get in the stat sheet, you have to get the wins to go along with [the big numbers]. It just feels that much better.”

 

OLB Terrell Suggs

On if he’s received a call from Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding the ESPN interview: “No, not yet. But I didn’t say anything he didn’t already know though.”

On if he’s gotten a call from Patriots QB Tom Brady yet: “Nah. Not yet.”

On if he is happy with the way the ESPN E:60 piece turned out: “The piece was done about four months ago, so … Do I want to retract anything? No. Do I stand 100 percent by everything I said? Yeah. Is it relevant? Is it important? No. So, the only thing I’m really focused on right now is a very good Miami Dolphins team. So, with that being said …”

On the Dolphins allowing 18 sacks this season and if he’s hungry: “You’re always hungry. If one of your things you do as a team is you get after the passer, you definitely want to do that. But that’s not just with this team – that’s with every team. You definitely want to get out there and pressure their quarterback.”

On what he sees in Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill: “Very mobile quarterback. When he’s on, he can put the ball where it needs to be. He can put it anywhere, he can make every throw. And if you rattle him a little bit, you can tend to have some success. He might try to get skittish and try to make a play with his legs, so you’ve definitely got to prepare for both.”

On what has given him single-minded focus in his game play this year: “I don’t know. I just think the importance of getting over last week and who you’re playing this week. We played a good team last week, and now we’re playing a really good team this week [that is] doing some good things, especially when they’re on their home field. So, it’s just the task at hand. I would definitely say probably it’s why I’m a little bit more down there, a little more focused.”

On what it does for his thoughts when a team rushes for over 200 yards against the Ravens the week prior: “It’s just like I said: Anything that’s very rare that happens to us, we kind of respond to it quickly. Just kind of like we did with opening night – we gave up some things that we normally don’t. And just like last week, we gave up some things that we don’t normally do. We’ve just got to get back to being ourselves and doing what we do best, and that’s stopping the run.”

On his thoughts about how Dolphins LB Dannell Ellerbe played for the Ravens last season: “He played phenomenal last year for us. That’s why his name is ‘Phenom,’ and he’s doing great things for Miami. They definitely got a steal, and I guarantee they’re happy to have him down there. We wish him nothing but the best of luck – hopefully not this week – but it’s just going to be fun to see a familiar face on the other side of the ball.”

On if it makes the Ravens hungrier to try to take down a team that has been pretty successful so far this season: “No, I mean if you’re going to be a player in the National Football League, you should always want to win. That should be the No. 1 thing; that mindset shouldn’t change with the opponent. Yes, they are a good team, but so are we. And with them being an AFC team, all of our goals are pretty much similar, and they just happen to be, like I said, they’re an AFC team – so their goals are similar. They’ve got pretty much the same goals we do.”

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