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Week 5 at Miami: Thursday Transcripts

Posted Oct 3, 2013

Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

Deonte Thompson – what is your review of him on his first time back on the return team? (Bo Smolka) “He hit the return fast. The one return that there was a hole there, he did all of the things that we want a returner to do. On the one return, we ran into the same sideline that wasn’t there – he protected the ball and got what he could – so it’s a good start for him. I think he was anxious to get out there again, and now that he’s dusted that off, hopefully, it will be great things to come for him.”

Brandon Fields maybe hasn’t gotten the recognition that he deserves. What makes him stand out? (Joe Platania) “What makes him stand out is [that] he’s a big, strong punter. He looks like a tight end out there; he’s all of 6-5 and 250-some pounds. He looks like he should be playing on the other downs as well as the punt downs. And he can launch the ball. You can see when he’s out there, he’s got field in front of him. He could put the ball downrange a long way, so we have to be aware of that. It’s not a secret around the specialists, because he’s been around a while, and we’ve all seen some of his punts over the years, and he’s ranked highly. So, he’s really not a secret to those guys who are close to the punting game.”

Have you seen Justin Tucker’s opera commercial? (Garrett Downing) “I haven’t seen it. I’ve got a few other things I’m working on, and we’ll get to that later.” (laughter)

Jerry, Jacoby Jones is back to practice. Could you give an update on him? (Bo Smolka) “He’s catching balls, he’s doing what he can in practice, and we look forward to having him back.”

 

Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell

You have a new left tackle [Eugene Monroe]. What does that change? He’s a very different player – certainly physically – than Bryant McKinnie. What does that allow you to do? Do you have an idea yet or is it too new? (Pete Gilbert) “[Eugene Monroe] just arrived today. We’re going to have to get him up to speed as quickly as we possibly can with the system. We’ll see how quickly he learns. He is a bright young man who’s got a great background with a lot of football. I’m sure there are some things that he’s going to be able to relate to. We’ll see how quickly that transpires. [He’s] an athletic guy who’s big, strong and can move. He’ll be fun to coach.”

Could you possibly get him up to speed for this week? (Pete Gilbert) “I couldn’t say yes or no. Who knows? It could be a limited role; it just kind of depends. We’ll see how quickly things progress.”

When you were in Indianapolis, you saw him with Jacksonville twice a year. As a head coach, how challenging is it account for a left tackle like that? (Luke Jones) “When we looked at him from that vantage point, we knew, without question, that he’s a very, very talented guy that was going to be tough to deal with. Particularly, the two pass rushers [Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis] we had down there certainly respected him quite a bit because of the fact that he did such a tremendous job against them. We’re happy to have him. He’s a great young man with an abundance of talent, and we’re anxious to put him to work.”

After the previous two games there was a lot of talk about, “We’re patient with the run; we’re going to stick with the run.” That obviously didn’t happen this time. What was the thought process and can you revisit that? (Bo Smolka) “Every game is a little bit different. It just depends on how you’re running it. If you had a chance to do it all over again, perhaps we’d have to consider and look at running that ball a little bit more. I don’t think we ran it quite enough [against Buffalo]. Oftentimes, you just try to look at how the game is going, how you are faring in terms of blocking them up front, and then make a determination on how you’re going to go win it. Sometimes it takes you in a couple of different directions. We chose to throw it, and it didn’t turn out the way wanted to. We learned from it; we’ll tee it up and learn from it again.”

You spoke highly of Deonte [Thompson] before. He obviously dealt with the injury, but how encouraged were you just based on what you saw even though it was in limited action. (Matt Zenitz) “He did some good things. It was limited action, but he’s a guy that has a unique skill level. He can run, he’s a good route runner, and he can catch the ball as well. I think he’ll provide for us another weapon, particularly in the fact that he’s a speedy receiver, but he’s also learning the ropes. [It was his] first ball game, but hopefully we’ll get him back out there again this next week. He’ll learn a little bit more, get a little bit better, and we’ll be able to utilize him a little bit more as well.”

Marlon Brown, he was in the slot during some of the preseason, but we saw him there again last week. Is that something we’ll continue to see with him since he can play both inside and outside for you guys? (Matt Vensel) “I think so. You’ll get a sense that he’s one of those guys that learns quickly. He has a real fine football mind, so we can put him a number of different locations – which is a good thing. He has size, he’s versatile and will give you a pretty big presence on the inside. Not only that, but on the outside in the flanks, he certainly does a good job as well.”

Would you say that one of the toughest decisions as a play-caller is when you’re only getting one yard a carry or you’re only rushing for 2.6 yards [per carry] on the season and you stick with the run, realizing you’re going to get a ton of one- and two-yard carries? That can’t eliminate you from going to the run? (Jeff Zrebiec) “I don’t think it’s that tough in that regard. I do think that sometimes you have to look at it and make a determination of what’s going on. There are a lot of things you have to evaluate. If it’s not going well for you, it’s tough. The fact of the matter is, we even have to be more patient and just keep trying to get done with what we know we can do in that area, because running the ball is the quarterback’s best friend. It makes a tremendous difference. We want to improve that side certainly, but the other side of it as well. We’re also a team that is not one-dimensional, so you have to be able to spread it around a bit.”

How have you seen Torrey Smith take command of his role as the No. 1 receiver and really being a leader in that group? (Garrett Downing) “We’ve seen Torrey [Smith] just continue to get better. He does a great job in terms of leadership with the group. He’s a guy that is not afraid to express his opinion, but he also is a guy that elevated his game and just keeps getting better and better. He’s made some better catches for us, certainly accumulated a lot of yards, and is one of the top receivers in the league – just in terms of yardage and production. We fully anticipate that continuing, and he’s getting better all the time. He certainly hasn’t even scratched the surface of where he’s going to be.”

You guys have had trouble in the first quarter getting off to a good start. As a play-caller, what are some of the things you look at to try and change and evaluate what’s going on? (Clifton Brown) “You’re always scratching and digging. That’s the thing about it with our position. You’re trying to find ways to ignite us to get going right at the onset – whatever that might be, in the run game [and] in the pass game. You look at your opponent, you see areas where you think you can get things going quickly, and that’s what a fast start is what we need. We need a fast start, but not only that, we need to finish strong as well. There’s two parts to it. We certainly don’t want a fast start and then decline. We’d liked to be as consistent as we’re capable of being and putting more points on the board.”

In terms of your offensive tempo, are you pleased with the pace these guys have been able to play at? It seems like you might even be a little faster even though the running game hasn’t really been going? (Matt Vensel) “Our pace has been good. I think it can be faster, but I think our pace has been good. I think we’ve been able to substitute along with getting plays off really quickly at the line of scrimmage, making the necessary adjustments we need to make as well. I think our pace has been good, but our pace can better. The big thing is we just have to be more effective in every area. We’ve got to be more effective in our running game, as everybody knows, and in our pass game – just being more consistent as well.”

Have you ever been one to script plays at the beginning of games? (Clifton Brown) “I can probably answer that by telling you that you can imagine that after 37 years, there’s not a whole lot that I haven’t come into contact with. So that would be a ‘yes,’ I certainly have been. I’m certainly aware of it, and we’ve had experience with it as well.”

Are there pros and cons to that? (Clifton Brown) “Yes, and like everything else, because sometimes you have things where you have to come off of it and go in a little different direction. Yes, there are pros and cons.”

 

Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees

What does James Ihedigbo bring to the secondary in terms of both his play and leadership? (Matt Vensel) “He really does [a lot]. He does a good job back there of tying it all together. He’s a real good communicator in the classroom when we have him talk about stuff, when we have him call out things. He’s really precise. He takes it to heart, which really, they all do – I’m not saying that anybody doesn’t. It’s real important for him that he views himself as kind of a leader back there and he takes that role and takes that responsibility and just does a great job of communicating for the most part.”

What were your impressions of Jimmy Smith’s performance against Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson? (Matt Zenitz) “I thought he did a great job against [Stevie] Johnson. I think he had one catch or something like that. I know we had that pass interference call. To be honest with you, I’d tell Jimmy [Smith] to do the same thing every time, because some receivers have learned over the years how to flop when they get hit. Hey, it’s not bad. If you get jammed up, that’s probably what you ought to do. You may get a call, and he got one. I think he’s really been playing consistent, and that’s what we’re looking for [from] him. I think I said that a couple weeks ago that that’s what he really needed to do was be consistent. Hopefully, it’s trending in the right direction.”

You guys were ranked fourth in the NFL in rush defense going into last week’s game, when you gave up over 200 yards rushing. What happened, and what was your reaction to it? (Pete Gilbert) “Well, first of all, I give Buffalo some credit. They did some things that we had not seen in the first three weeks of the season. But that’s also our responsibility as coaches to get it adjusted a little bit quicker than we did. So, it’s both. We’ve got to play the plays better, and we’ve got to coach it better, and we’ve got to adjust it better. So, it’s all of us. That game played exactly like I’m sure they wanted it to play. All of a sudden, let’s get a lead, and we won’t have to throw the ball, we won’t have to take chances with the quarterback, and we’re not going to get him hit. So, it played exactly like they wanted it to pay, and we let them do it. So, we’ve just got to do a better job. The biggest thing in that game to me was stopping the run, which we had done well previously, and we’ve got to get back to. They caught us, and we didn’t adjust to it quick enough. Second of all, we gave up one big play. Week 4, we gave up none. If we don’t give up that big play, we still win the game, as bad as we played against the run. We can’t let a team run like that on us. The biggest problem that we’re having right now and what we’ve got to get solved is first down. We’re doing well on third down. I don’t know where we are statistically in the league – I couldn't care less – but from my perspective, we’re doing OK on third down. We’re doing well on third-and-short, which we didn’t do well a year ago. We’re doing well in the red area. And up until this game, we were doing well on the run. But the run was primarily first-down run. That’s where we got in trouble. It’s hard when it’s second down-and-four and second down-and-three. All of a sudden, now you’ve got to really try to tighten it down to get to third. And even if you get them to third, it’s third-and-two or third-and-three, and now it’s really hard to defend third-and-two and third-and-three. We’ve just got to do a better job playing-wise, coaching-wise, the whole scheme-wise, of doing a better job on first down, especially first-down run. If I remember looking back at it, because I looked at it this week, almost 150 yards came on first down last week. Even the red area – they were 1-for-4 in the red area. But the one touchdown run that they and was on first down. We’ve got to do a better job of that all the way around.”

What have you seen from Art Jones this year? (Garrett Downing) “He’s playing well. It’s like everybody right now – we just have got to be a little more consistent in our play. We’re playing real well at times and OK at other times. We can’t do that. We’ve got to play real well at all times, especially up front. But I think Art [Jones] is doing a good job. He won a starting job, and he’s playing well. When I say that, it sounds like I’m picking on him, but I just don’t think anybody played real consistent in that last game for us on defense other than maybe Jimmy [Smith]. I take some of it on myself, too. I’ve got to be consistent on first down and giving us a better opportunity, too.”

When Lardarius Webb goes out, how does that change the secondary? (Bo Smolka) “You’ve just got to be cognizant of who’s on who. You don’t want to go into a whole, ‘Well, we can’t call this, and we can’t call that,’ especially when you practice the same stuff all week. The guys are in the game plan and we expect the guys that are backups to know the game plan. You may, in certain situations, play things a little bit different based on who the guy is matched up on. But it’s not like all of a sudden you go to a whole new game plan. The backup guys need to know what the starting guys do so that they can just fit in and so you don’t have to change everything. Where it becomes hard is if you start losing two or three guys, then now it’s a whole different deal. We really didn’t change a whole lot in that game, but we really didn’t have to. I thought Buffalo got what they wanted, and we let them by letting them run the ball. And then when they got the lead, they could keep running the ball, and it didn’t have anything to do particularly with Lardarius [Webb] in that game.”

What have you seen from Terrell Suggs this season? (Matt Zenitz) “I thought he really played the run very, very well. He had a good game. He is consistent. The thing that happened and what we want to go in the other direction – what buffalo got out of that that we didn’t get out of the thing is that we didn’t give ourselves a chance with the pass rushers we have to let them pass rush. You’re third-and-two, third-and-three, [it’s] hard to turn those guys loose off the edge because it could be a run. The playbook is open for the offense in that situation. Third-and-eight is a whole different deal with [Elvis] Dumervil and [Terrell] Suggs and Courtney [Upshaw] and [Pernell] McPhee and those guys. Third-and-two and third-and-three – that’s our fault, and we’ve just got to do a better job of getting them to that, which hopefully, that will lead to more pressures. If you look at, statistically, from the game, I think third down, we were actually pretty good. They converted two early on us, and after that, we were really good. The problem is we can’t let them have third-and-shorts – can’t do it. Third-and-one is a whole different deal. We stopped them on third-and-one when they ran the ball. Third-and-two, third-and-three – [it’s] hard to defend some of the passes on the underneath routes. If you play man, the guy gets picked. If you play zone, you’re off a little too far. The whole playbook is open to the offense. When it’s third-and-eight, the whole playbook is open to us. So, we’ve got to get them to that.”

What have you seen from Haloti Ngata, who’s been playing more inside this year? (Luke Jones) “I’ve noticed when he’s out of there, we’re not as good. He’s a great player – he’s really good. I don’t feel good about myself in this last game, particularly. We got some things adjusted at halftime, but we’ve got to get them adjusted a little quicker. Buffalo – to their credit – ran some stuff that we had not seen in the first three weeks. It wasn’t hard stuff, but it was just stuff we hadn’t seen, so you don’t really prep for all that stuff during the week. But it wasn’t like it was some whole new scheme we haven’t seen before. It was stuff we’ve seen – we’ve just got to play it better. But back to your question, Haloti [Ngata] is playing well. He’s playing real well.”

What challenges does Miami’s offense present? (Pete Gilbert) “First of all, they’ve got a very talented offensive team, which I think a lot of people don’t really know about their skill guys. I don’t think they’re big-name guys, other than we know a lot about [Mike] Wallace. But they’ve got a talented group of receivers. The running backs run hard. They got in a situation the other night with New Orleans, similar to ours, that they couldn’t … If you watch that opening drive, they go right down the field on New Orleans. They look good running and passing and doing it all. What happens is New Orleans starts getting up on them because they can’t stop New Orleans, and then all of a sudden, it’s a different game. They’ve got to throw it all the time, and New Orleans knows it, and they can pin their ears back. That’s the kind of game we’ve got to get into. We can’t let them run the ball and be consistent and get us into third-and-shorts like last week. This is a talented, talented football team, and I think they’ve done a great job with the quarterback, because really, he played two years of college ball as a quarterback, [and] he was a receiver before that. So, the guy is a heck of an athlete. He can spin the ball really well. He’s had two years now quarterbacking at the NFL, and I think offensively, they do a great job of letting him do what he does best. We’ve got to get them out of that.”

 

T Eugene Monroe

On how he found out about the trade: “I was sitting at home on my iPad reviewing film, getting ready for St. Louis, and my agent calls me and he’s like, ‘I need you to sit down. I’ve got to talk to you about something.’ And I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ But it happened, and it happened quick. It’s an exciting change for me. I’m definitely glad to be here – glad that I was sought out, definitely appreciative of that. And my wife, she’s from here, her family lives right outside of here, so for her, the transition will be nice. For me, it’s just an awesome opportunity.”

On if he’s glad to join the defending Super Bowl champions and a team currently tied for first place: “Yeah, it’s different. Being down in Jacksonville, not winning many games, but you having so much change, a lot of which has been positive and the results for those guys just haven’t showed up on the field yet. But I know what they’re building down there, and it’ll come. But to come into a situation like this with a culture of winning is unique. It’s something that I really haven’t been around, so it’s exciting to experience this.”

On if he thinks he can play this week at Miami: “We’ll see. I literally just got in, did the physical this morning, hopped in meetings late. So, physically [I’m] definitely ready. I’ve been playing every week, totally healthy. We’ll just see what happens.”

On if he thought being traded was a possibility this season: “I didn’t think trade, and with the way the season was going, I didn’t expect a shift like that to happen. But you know, the team drafts a tackle with the No. 2 pick, that’s not for no reason, and he was a left tackle. And he did a great job, I thought, of coming in and playing the right side, no questions asked, working to get better. I have all the respect in the world for Luke Joeckel – he’ll do great down there – but again, this just came so fast for me. But [it’s] awesome that it did.”

On his thoughts of coming here and jumping right into a midseason position battle: “When I first got drafted, [it] was a similar situation; the Jags had just picked up Tra Thomas, who was in Philly, right before I got there. So, [I was] competing immediately. But regardless of that, my mindset might be different. I can only compete with myself, I can only play as good as I can go, I can only push myself as hard as I can. So, whether there’s another guy ahead of me, behind me, whatever, his play or what he’s done shouldn’t affect how I perform, and that’s the mindset I have. I’m just going to continue to work to be the best player that I can be.”

On what the next couple days will be like for him trying to get ready for Sunday: “I see the challenges just being the learning curve – coming into a different offense with different terminology. A lot of things on the O-line, as far as techniques and assignments, have some similarities, but when you’re speaking a different language, you have to be on page with the other guys or it’s not going to be a good outcome. So, overcoming the learning curve and getting acclimated with how things are done around here is going to be the big challenge.”

On if this feels like a fresh start for his career: “It’s definitely a fresh start – refreshing to come to a new environment, a new city, one that my family is familiar with. So, that part of it makes everything else easy, the transition for us. We’re definitely appreciative and excited about this.”

On if it’s a little unnerving being in “Terps Country” as a graduate of the University of Virginia: “I’ll have to deal with that just being from Virginia and having Maryland pretty much be our No. 1 rival. But, I’ve gotten that all the time. I even get it in the household, because my wife, even though she went to the University of Virginia, is somehow a Terp fan. (laughter) That’s not new for me.”

On where exactly his wife is from: “Columbia, Md.”

On if this whole thing is still a bit of a whirlwind for him: “It was, but I’m here, and there’s no more time for that. It’s just time to get to work, so I’ll just be totally focused on learning as quick as I can and getting ready to play.”

On if it’s any easier for an offensive lineman to make this transition midseason than perhaps a skill player, like a quarterback: “It just depends on how you learn, and how much different what you’ve done in the past is from the new system. I’m just working to make this change happen as quick as possible so I can fit right in.”

On if he called any of his new teammates right away to get a feel for Baltimore and the Ravens: Daryl Smith was in Jacksonville with me, so I called him and just asked how things are around here and got the low-down from him. But I’m here now, so I can see and formulate my own opinion about it and try my hardest to become a good member of this team.”

On how he views him long-term future with the Ravens: “It doesn’t look like they brought me here the way they did to not have me here for a long time. But again, I have to do my thing on the field, prove that I deserve this opportunity, which I’m fully confident that I will.”

On if he’d be interested if the Ravens approached him about a contract extension: “Obviously, I would, being that this is my contact year, so this is it in terms of the future for me. Looking down the road, you always want to have some sense of security for your family. That’ll play a part in it.”

 

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