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Week 6 vs. Green Bay: Friday Transcript

Posted Oct 11, 2013

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: “[It’s] good to have you here. [We had a] very good practice. A couple of announcements: Jameel McClain – I think it was reported that he was cleared, and there is some truth to that. The back specialists have looked at his most recent MRIs, and it’s very favorable. I’m not in position to sit here and say completely 100 percent – I don’t know that. There is a process still involved, but it’s encouraging to say the least. It’s all positive that way. We’ve got a pep talk going on over there, so that’s good (as run game coordinator Juan Castillo instructs the linemen). Eugene [Monroe] – I’m sure you’re going to ask about that. He did a heck of a job this week. He looks good. I would anticipate that he’ll play quite a bit – possibly start. You might even say probably start at this point – that would be my anticipation right now. Unless something changes between now and then, he’ll be the starter at left tackle, and we anticipate all those guys playing and being a part of the game plan. If you ask about Bryant [McKinnie], Bryant has had a very good week as well. We didn’t practice him Wednesday just for soreness from the game and things like that. But he’s practiced the rest of the time, and he looks good. So, that’s where we’re at. Other injuries … All the guys who practiced looked good. Jacoby [Jones] comes to mind. Help me out.” (Reporter: “Haloti Ngata?”) “We gave Haloti [Ngata] a few days. He had [some] little tweaks and strains and things like that, so we gave him a couple days. But he looked good today, so he’s going to play. He should be fine.”

Do you think Jacoby Jones had a good second week and was able to stack some practices? (Aaron Wilson) “I think so. He looked good. He looked good, so [we’re] encouraged.”

As far as with Jameel McClain, I think he’s eligible to practice next week. You said it was favorable. Do you anticipate him coming back to practice next week? (Jamison Hensley) “Well, he could. That’s something that we’ll have to decide. There will be a couple factors that go into that – timing-wise, his shape, our situation. That’s just something we’ll have to see. He hasn’t played for a long time. What do the doctors tell us about his readiness that way? So, we’ll just have to see. But I know that he can by rule.”

What are your thoughts on the way Ryan Jensen is coming along? (Aaron Wilson) “Ryan [Jensen] – we’ve held on to him ever since … That’s been what – third week of training camp, maybe second week of training camp? He had a broken foot. It was going to be a long-term deal. We decided that he had enough value for us to hold that roster spot. So, I’m really excited about that. [I] don’t know to what extent he’ll be able to practice. He practiced a little bit this week. Next week, we’ll just have to see how he responds. I’m hoping he’s out there every snap next week. And then, we’ll just have to see, because here’s a rookie who hasn’t practiced in two months-plus. So, we’ll just have to see where he’s at. I would expect, as the season goes on, if he stays healthy and continues to progress, he’ll provide us with good depth in there, and that will be a plus for us.”

Did the guys like your sense of humor when you showed the chest-bump video during a team meeting? (Aaron Wilson) “I have a good sense of humor. (laughter) I was kind of proud of the video. There was some good air between my feet and the ground there, absolutely. Then I played it off a little bit. I kind of turned and gave a little fist bump, you know.” (laughter)

With the forecast calling for rain on Sunday, is there any reason not to practice in the elements? (Mark Zinno) “The biggest thing would be the surface. We just wanted to stay off the surface. It was so wet the last two days; the field was so sloppy. We just wouldn’t have been able to move on it. We needed timing; we’re going to be playing on turf. If we’d been playing on grass … Wednesday, I don’t know [if we would have been able to practice outside] – it was a driving storm. Today, we could have gotten out there, but we needed the surface [dry] because we’re playing on a turf surface and we wanted our footing.”

Yesterday, Dean Pees and Elvis [Dumervil] talked about Courtney Upshaw as being unheralded and a big part of your defense. I was just curious on your perspective about Courtney? (Matt Zenitz) “Courtney [Upshaw] has been a big part of what we’re doing. He’s playing at a really high level. He’s been a football player from Day One. He’s one of those guys that you have high expectations for. He’s a high draft pick, and he comes in and fulfills those expectation – I’d say now even more. You understand what type of player he is. He’s a physical player, and that’s exactly how he’s played.”

It seems like last week, when you went with the three wide receivers … This week, you might have some options. With six guys, obviously, you’re not going to have all six guys active. Is there going to be a tough decision on who’s up and who’s down? (Jamison Hensley) “It’s going to be a tough decision. You’ve got to balance health a little bit. Last week, we had to do that. Even with our [full] roster, we had to do that. You’ve got a situation where guys are healthy, guys have practiced, but – with the game plan and things like that – you’ve got to determine who you’re going to put out there. This week, it’s not so much that; it’s strictly game plan. It’s strictly the fact that we’re going to have a bunch of guys healthy for the first time.”

How much does Tandon Doss mean to you guys in terms of the things he’s added receiving and on special teams? (Aaron Wilson) “It’s been a great story, hasn’t it? Tandon [Doss,] he’s leading the league in punt return average right now. Even without the long return, he still has a high average. He’s made plays on offense. Joe [Flacco] mentioned this, and he’s so right: Sometimes you just need to go out there, get your hands on the ball and make a few plays. Confidence is a hard thing to talk about, [let alone] to have done it, know you can do it, and feel good about yourself.  It seems like he’s really hitting his stride that way.”

Defensively, the Packers do a lot of blitzing. I know their corners have sacks. Do they really do things that are a lot different from a lot of teams? (Clifton Brown) “I wouldn’t say different. They run all of the good blitzes. They run the ones that challenge your protection, and [defensive coordinator] Coach [Dom] Capers is a great coach. He really studies your protections and comes after your specific protections. That’s kind of old-school; that’s what Jim Johnson used to do in Philadelphia all those years. He’ll have some specific things dialed up for us, as you know. As you alluded to, he can bring it from anywhere. He can bring any player in any combination from any angle.”


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