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Week 5 At Miami: Ravens Conference Call W/ Miami Media

Posted Oct 2, 2013

Head Coach John Harbaugh

On what it will be like to see LB Dannell Ellerbe in a Dolphins uniform, and what he brings to the Miami defense: “First of all, the football part of it, we see all the things that he ever meant to use here and even better. It seems like he’s taken his game to even a higher level. Sideline to sideline, he makes plays on runs. Inside screens, outside – he’s good in pass coverage. He’s a complete linebacker right now, and a good man. You can tell he seems like he’s in a leadership role there – calling the signals and things like that – and it looks like he’s done a real good job.”

On how he would describe the first four games of the season for the Ravens: “Probably up and down. We’ve had good moments, and we’ve had bad moments.”

On how much RB Ray Rice’s hip injury has been responsible for the 2-2 start: “I don’t have that answer. I don’t really have that measuring stick handy right now.”

On if he is looking for more of a pass/run balance going forward with the play calling: “Yes, more than Buffalo. We would like to, obviously, run the ball more than nine times. Certainly.”

On Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill being 20 starts into his career, and if he recalls where QB Joe Flacco was in his development at that time, and if they knew he’d be the Ravens’ quarterback for 10-15 years to come then: “It’s funny, because every time we play a young quarterback, it seems like that’s a good question and it seems like it comes up. It’s really hard to make a comparison. I would say, ‘Yes.’ The answer is, ‘Yes.’ We felt like he would be the long-term answer at that point. But yet, a young quarterback is always developing, and I would say Joe is still developing, too, and he’s into his sixth year now. So, as far as Ryan, he looks great. He’s a guy that really throws it well, he’s got a lot of courage in there, and he’s an athlete. He’s just done a real nice job.”

On what he sees overall from the Miami offense on film: “They’ve got a lot of weapons, I would say. They’ve done a great job on the personnel end of it. [They have] two excellent running backs, three and four excellent receivers, they’ve got three tight ends, and they’ve got … [Dion] Sims is doing a great job, [Charles] Clay is doing a great job. I just think they’ve done a great job of building around Ryan, and then their scheme is another year in with Joe’s [Philbin] scheme, and you can just tell that they’re feeling comfortable in there.”

On how bad of a game it was for QB Joe Flacco last week, and if he’s worried about how Flacco will start on Sunday: “[The interceptions] were not all his fault, but the quarterback is always going to be the one that has them next to his stat line. We almost won the game. If we’d have had four interceptions, we probably would have won the game. But that’s not the point. The point is if you turn the ball over, you’re putting yourself in jeopardy, and we all understand that. And I sure would expect and hope that we’d all play better and coach better this week.”

On if he expected it to be a rocky start with all of the personnel changes this offseason: “I didn’t really look at it that way. I expect us to win every game. Every time we go into a game, we plan on doing whatever we need to do to win the game, and that’s not going to change.”

On what concerns him the most when he watches the Dolphins’ defense on film: “You’ve got to start with their front seven; they do a great job up front. They’re very physical, very athletic up front. All of their defensive linemen are penetrating-type guys, use their hands well, knock-back-type guys. They set the edge well, and then they do that built around two really fast, athletic linebackers. So, that causes you all kinds of problems – pass protection and running the ball. Then their secondary has done a nice job. Adding Brent Grimes was a great move; he’s an instinctive guy, a playmaker back there. And they’ve got a lot of good players in the back end. It’s really a well-fortified defense.”

On winning the Super Bowl with a lot of injuries last year and if those lessons carry over into this year or if it’s totally different with a different team: “No, those general lessons do carry over – you make a good point. That’s something that we were able, as a team, because we’ve been through that before, to maybe understand through experience. And that’s important, and we’ll have a little bit of patience and just fight through these things.”


QB Joe Flacco

On facing Miami LB Dannell Ellerbe: “It’ll be interesting. His locker was actually right next to mine since he had been here, so we had a pretty good relationship. He’s a very instinctive football player. He’s very physical. He’s pretty much all-around good, but he’s really providing some physical play and in the middle for you guys. He always has his challenges.”

On if he’s seen anything on film that Ellerbe can do differently from the MLB spot: “I don’t know. Like I said, I think he’s a good athlete, he can run around the field, and he plays physical. So, I think he gives them a wide variety of things to be able to do. They can kind of mug him up, and he and [Philip] Wheeler can blitz and get into the quarterback and can make running backs miss pretty well. And at the same time, he plays physical and can run sideline to sideline and grab guys up around the neck and head and put all his weight on them and throw them to the ground. I like the way he plays, and it’ll definitely be interesting playing against him.”

On the offensive workload between himself and RB Ray Rice: “I think you’ve got to see where the attempts are coming from. Most of my attempts are in the game that we lost to Denver and the game that we lost to Buffalo, where we were behind in both of them. I think the attempts in the other two games weren’t as high. I’d like to see a good amount of attempts, but not because we’re behind. I’d like to just see a good mix in there and have us find that common ground. Like I said, I’d like the attempts to be high in Denver and be high in Buffalo, but not because we’re down, [but] just because we’re running a good mix of plays and having success with that. So, I think right now the numbers are just a little bit skewed for why they may be like that. Obviously, Ray [Rice] is going to be a big part of the game plan when he’s healthy and ready to go, whether that’s in the passing game or running game. It’s really just about getting him touches and stuff like that. I think we just are still searching for that common place where we can go out there and really feel like we’re successful in everything we do. I’d obviously like that to start with the passing game a little bit, but not one of those things where you’re just going out there and throwing the ball every single down. And that’s kind of what we’ve gotten ourselves into in a couple games.”

On how he moves past the five-interception game last week: “It’s pretty sucky, I guess. (laughter) Obviously, you’re goal is not to go out there and throw five interceptions. People say it’s the highest number in my career, and I say, ‘I hope so.’ (laughter) The bottom line is I was trying to make some plays on a couple and made some bad decisions on a couple. We still had a chance to win the game at the end and weren’t able to come through. I don’t see myself as a guy who throws a ton of interceptions and makes a lot of bad decisions. It’s one of those things where you kind of just have to move on. Today’s practice will definitely be … Coming in Monday, first of all, was a good period to kind of get over it a little bit. Coming in today and practicing and preparing for another team is another benefit. But really, it’s going to take Sunday getting out there and just playing well, and that’s what we’re ready to do. I think, for me, we’ve been through this, [and] I’ve been through games like that. I haven’t necessarily thrown five picks, but we’ve all been through games that we have to put behind us. I think, at this point in my career, I can do a pretty good job just putting it behind us and moving on to the next one.”

On if he’s trying to overcome a seemingly limited number of offensive weapons: “I don’t know if we’re trying to overcome it. We’re trying to get these guys up to speed and really get them to the point where they’re taking off. Listen, we’ve lost Anquan [Boldin] to a different team, we’ve lost Jacoby [Jones] for a few weeks, we’ve lost Dennis [Pitta], Ray [Rice] hasn’t been healthy … There’s so many negatives that people want to see in those things because you lost good football players, but I think that we’ve just got to look at some of the positives and focus on the fact that we’re finding out what kind of player Marlon Brown is and how explosive he can be. Last week against the Buffalo Bills, we got Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson both on the field and got them a lot of reps. Dallas Clark is coming along more and more each week because he’s becoming more comfortable with what we’re doing. I think if you look at it that way and you look at the way that we’re trying to do [things], you just say, ‘Listen, we’ve got to continue to get better and better each week.’ And then when we do get some guys healthy, it’s just going to be more guys and more weapons that we do have when we need them.”

On if 20 games is a good benchmark to judge a quarterback like Miami QB Ryan Tannehill, and where he was after 20 starts: “It’s tough to say. That answer lies between him and the coaches and what kind of reads he’s making on the game film and all that stuff. It’s tough to tell when you’re trying to build a football team and become a top-caliber football team just by looking at stat lines and seeing how games have turned out. The biggest thing with a young quarterback is that when you get back in the film room is, is he making the right decisions? Is he going to the right places with the football, and is he getting the offense into the right plays? If he’s doing those things, then I would say that they’d have to feel really comfortable with where their progression is and where they’re headed.”

On when he became comfortable in the Ravens’ offense: “I think you become more and more comfortable every year. I’m still becoming more and more comfortable with who I am and with what we have on our team. It’s tough to go back and think about a number or a specific game where you really felt comfortable. Your rookie year, you’re going out there, you’re playing and you’re trying to focus on what your offense does. I think that first offseason is definitely a big one to get your understanding up of the NFL game. [You can] work with your receivers a little bit more than you were able to in the past offseason. I think that first offseason is definitely a big one. I know coming back out in my second season, we played Kansas City and we hit the ground running that game. I threw for 300 yards and had a handful of touchdowns. We had a good game offensively, but that didn’t mean that it was like that every game after that, in terms of our success. I would say that the first offseason is definitely a big step.”

On the Dolphins’ secondary and CB Brent Grimes: “You try not to concern yourself too much and get yourself psyched out, but these guys are good. They’re a physical defense and they play well in the secondary. [Brent] Grimes is an aggressive guy. [He] can play the ball, [even though he’s] not the biggest guy. He’s aggressive, he can get his hands on it, and he can go play the football. He jumps stuff, but he does it in a smart way. All their guys have that ability, and I think they’ve caused a decent amount of turnovers. You’ve got to credit those guys for that.”

On adjusting from former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to current offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell: “I don’t think we had time to adjust last year. [The change] was at such a critical time, we just went with it. [Offensive coordinator] Jim [Caldwell] and I grew our relationship in the quarterback room all last year and it’s good right now. We’re working together. We’re trying to get on the same page and come up with the best things that we believe are the best for us on Sunday. The biggest thing is, I think, that we have good communication. If I have something that I need to say to him during the game, then he usually takes it for what it is and trusts what I’m seeing out there.”

On which event raised expectations more for him – the Super Bowl win or the new contract: “I don’t know. I’ve always viewed that we’ve had high expectations around here for me and our team. We were a 9-2 football team last year, and people still wanted to act like it didn’t really exist and that we hadn’t made it yet. I’ve always had the feeling that we have high expectations around here. I’ve had high expectations and I always do for myself. I can’t really comment too much on either of those, because I really haven’t felt too much of a change, because that’s the kind of pressure that we deal with every day around here.”

On how much more of a leadership role he took once Ray Lewis retired and S Ed Reed signed with Houston: “It’s funny, you guys always talk about that. (laughter) We’ve always had a big locker room in terms of guys that are willing to get everybody going and make sure everybody is doing the right thing. You don’t have to do anything extra or become something that you’re not. You’ve just got to continue to go out there, lead by example, and make sure your teammates are doing the right things. We focus on the right things, in terms of going out there and practicing, getting through your meetings, and getting better week to week. The good thing about our team is that we don’t have trouble going out there during the week, taking care of business, and doing our work. Until something to the opposite of that effect starts to happen around here, then we’ll see what happens. At this point, you don’t need anything crazy. Even when Ed [Reed] and Ray [Lewis] were here, it’s not like they were in the locker room jumping up and down every day and getting us motivated to go. You barely knew those guys were here, because their presence did it. The fact that all of us have learned from those guys – it’s the same kind of thing. Everybody takes the lead from the few guys that are at the top, sees how they go about their business, and everybody else follows.”


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