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Week 6 vs. Green Bay: Wednesday Transcripts

Posted Oct 9, 2013

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: “We’ve started beginning our preparation for the Green Bay Packers. [They are] an excellent football team, very well coached, very talented, and we will have our hands full.”

Aside from Aaron Rodgers’ accuracy, is it how quickly he can release the ball that poses such a threat? (Aaron Wilson) “I would say the quick release is one of the biggest factors with Aaron Rodgers, absolutely.”

In terms of everything Aaron Rodgers is able to do, how great of a quarterback is he? (Aaron Wilson) “Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback. He’s one of the premier quarterbacks in football. He does it his way. He’s got his own unique style. He’s great in the pocket. As you said, he’s accurate, [and] he gets the ball out very quickly. He’s great on the move. He can move to run, but he really moves to throw. Those guys do a great job of uncovering downfield. They push off – they do all the different tricks of the trade to get open downfield, and they do a good job with it.”

Are these games tough because you don’t face the Packers very often? I can’t remember the last time the Ravens played Green Bay. (Dave Ginsburg) “I remember it. We were up there, and it was a freezing cold night. I remember it like it was yesterday. That’s how it is, especially with NFC teams [that] you play once every four years, for the most part. This is our turn [to host], and we’re looking forward to it.”

Ray Rice has not had problems for most of his career with fumbling. After fumbling in the playoffs and this past Sunday, are you concerned? Is that something you will address with him? Or, because Rice has not fumbled much in his career, is it not much of a concern? (Jamison Hensley) “It’s always the main concern. That’s always going to be the No. 1 priority on offense is to protect the football. We use the term ‘aggressive ball security.’ We want to run the ball north and south. We want the ball high and tight. Sure, it’s a big priority.”

The Ravens have only won the turnover battle in one game this season. What can you do to change that, or is it a matter of making plays on defense? (Matt Vensel) “It’s just a matter of doing a better protecting the ball. The turnovers are always specific turnovers. You’ve got to look at each one and see what you can correct. I really don’t think the ball should ever be fumbled, personally. I don’t think that’s ever something [that should happen]. Those should be so rare that they should almost never happen. Interceptions can happen, but of course, you like to keep those rare, too. It bodes well if we start winning the turnover battle. It’s going to be good for us.”

Can you address how you will try to contain a throwing quarterback like Aaron Rodgers? (Glenn Younes) “Pass rush is going to be a big part of that. If he gets out and starts running around down there, then that’s more difficult because it extends the play. It gives those guys a chance to run unorchestrated routes, and they do a good job with that. So, keeping him in the pocket is going to be important. He throws well from the pocket, as well. So, we need to just get the pressure on him and keep him in there. We’ll have a plan for that, sure.”

This week is the one home game in a six-week span. Is it nice to have one home game in the midst of a long road stretch, or is it something you don’t really pay attention to too much? (Garrett Downing) “Probably the second part. The schedule is what it is. It’s great to be home. We love playing at home. We get to do it eight times. This is one of those times. So, we’ll be thrilled to be coming out of that tunnel.”

At what point will you know that Eugene Monroe is ready to go? It is so unusual to bring in a starter midseason, so how long does it take a player to get up to speed and be ready to play? (Nestor Aparicio) “I think we’ll know when we see it. It’s something that’s a work in progress right now. We’re in the middle of it. Since the minute he got here, it’s been very hard work trying to get him up to speed on the offense, so we’ll know it when we see it. We’ll practice this week. We’ll see how it looks.”

Terrell Suggs is known for his sacks, but with four more tackles he will become the Ravens all-time second-leading tackler. Does he have more to his game than just sacks that people don’t realize? (Dave Ginsburg) “Anybody who knows football would agree with that. He’s a complete player, always has been. That’s the great thing about Terrell Suggs. He’s not just a one-dimensional guy in terms of pass rush. He’s a great pass rusher, but he’s all the other things, too, and that’s what makes him a premier player.”

Green Bay has the reputation for being a pass-happy team, but they have the fifth-best rushing attack in the league this year. Is it a pick-your-poison kind of thing whether to deal with Aaron Rodgers in the pass game? (Mark Zinno) “I don’t think so. I think they go hand-in-hand. They use the pass game to set up the run game – maybe, perhaps, to keep you honest a little bit but more than anything to set up the play-action pass. Most of their pass game, especially downfield, is play-action. A lot of their short stuff is play-action. A lot of their screens are off play-action. They want to put it in Aaron Rodgers’ hands, and the pass game is built off of the run game a little bit that way.”

Eddie Lacy is such a big back and had 51 yards after contact last week. Even though tackling is a fundamental thing, do you pay a little more attention to tackling in preparing to face a big back that week? (Kris Jones) “Well, no, because you have quick, shifty, fast backs that you have to pay attention to as well. Every back that you play in this league is really good, or they wouldn’t be given the ball. They’re all talented guys. It seems like every week we play a tremendous running back. This might be a little more of a Trent Richardson-style game that way, but they have other backs. They’ve got plenty of talent everywhere that you have to deal with. So, we try to understand each player and what he does well. And, of course, [Eddie] Lacy is a powerful guy. He can run, too. [He’s] more of north-south hard runner, though.”

How would you assess the progress of Matt Elam at this point in his rookie season? (Matt Zenitz) “I would assess that he is the starting safety right now, and he’s doing a good job. I don’t really have any grade for it other than that, other than I think he is doing well. But he can get a lot better – the mental part probably more than anything. You’re back there, and they go after you a little bit. They test you – they test your eyes, they test your spacing, your discipline, and they’ve been testing him that way, and he’s held up pretty darn well.”

The Ravens pass rush is second in the league in sacks this year. Have they lived up to everything you expected and anticipated this season, even though it is only five games into the season? (Jerry Coleman) “The pass rush, I would say, has been what we had hoped for. Of course, we feel like we can continue to improve on that, sure.”

The Ravens will be the first team to face the Packers without Clay Matthews, who is out due to injury. How different will the Green Bay defense look without him? (Mark Zinno) “Structurally, they should be the same. They’ll be the same defense. They’ll put a very good player over there. He’s a young guy. He’s a physical rusher off the edge. I’m sure he patterns himself a little bit after what Clay [Matthews] does. But they’re just a good defense. They’ll run the same structure. They’ve got a great coordinator. He’ll have a game plan that will be geared to what we do. It’ll just be a different player there. Of course, you can’t replace a Clay Matthews, but they’ve got a lot of good players.”

What type of threat does Deonte Thompson add to the Ravens’ offense? (Glenn Younes) “Like a lot of guys, Deonte [Thompson] is fast. Deonte is a talented guy, and he’s a young guy, and it’s going to be exciting to see where he goes. I’m as excited as you are to see how that pans out. He’s a fast, talented guy. I sure hope he becomes a threat.”

QB Joe Flacco

On how he feels after taking some hits on Sunday: “I feel great. It’s just part of the job. It’s playing quarterback in the National Football League. You’re going to take some hits every now and then, and you’ve got to get up and keep on going.”

On how satisfying it was to have success in the passing game with only three active receivers: “It was a big game for us. [It was] not only receivers, but our left guard couldn’t go. A.Q. [Shipley] filled in great. Anytime you can go and get a win against a good football team with not a lot of guys healthy, it’s a big week for us. It was definitely a big win, and it will prove that way down the line.”

On if the passing game can achieve its full potential with the return of WR Jacoby Jones: “It’s always going to be a work in progress. It’s not going to be at its full potential in Week 6. And I honestly hope that it’s not at its full potential in Week 6. We don’t want to use all of our energy just to be as good as we can be in Week 6. We do want to be as good as we can be in Week 6, but hopefully Week 17 is going to be better than that, and Week 18 and Week 19. Anytime you get a guy like Jacoby [Jones] back, if he’s healthy, it’s definitely going to help your game out a little bit just because of the speed he has and the problems he creates for defenses just because of that, and stretching the field and all that stuff. If that is the case, then he’ll definitely help us out a good amount.”

On the biggest difference with WR Tandon Doss compared to the preseason and previous years: “He’s getting in there. He’s had some success returning punts. He’s caught a couple passes now. He’s feeling part of the group. He’s feeling like he’s in the mix, and he’s not thinking about catching the ball, running the right route and all that stuff. He’s just going out and playing. You can obviously see that the guy has really good hands, and he’s started to make some plays for us. Anytime you do that, anytime you go out there on that field and have success, it helps your confidence out and helps everything out, and you start to just take off as a player.”

On if he’s noticed a change in the way WR Tandon Doss has carried himself: “Not too much. Maybe on the field a little bit, because throughout the preseason and even last year, when he would get on the field, it was if somebody had went down or something like that. So, you could kind of see him come on the field, and you don’t know how he was thinking mentally. But because he’s made some plays now, and he expects to be on the field, and he is one of the guys, and he can really feel that way because he’s made plays, and he’s kind of held his own and pulled his weight … I think when you do that as a player, you say to yourself, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ It’s tough for him, because he’s been on the team a couple years and hasn’t gotten to really get thrown in there kind of like Torrey [Smith] did his rookie year. Torrey got thrown in there, and he just had to do it, and he did it, and he had a lot of success really early. So, he was able to draw a lot of confidence from that. I’m sure that Tandon was really that same way when he was a rookie. But when you come on a team, anytime you sit around for a couple years, and you don’t have a lot of stuff in the game plan for you, you kind of sit back, and there are probably questions that pop up in your mind here and there. I think the fact that he’s been able to come out here and play for us has just been huge for that development mentally. He’s got all the physical tools, and you can see that. And I’m excited that we were able to get him back, and that he’s been able to progress and do all those things, because I knew he was a good receiver, and it was just a matter of getting him out there and getting him the reps. And I think that has proven over the last couple weeks that it’s definitely been good for him.”

On what WR Deonte Thompson adds to the offense: “He’s another guy who has speed, and he can run a lot of routes. When he’s at his full health, he’s a pretty explosive guy, and he can do a lot of different things. He’s quick and he’s fast, so he’s one of those guys [when] if you do get one-on-one coverage and they’re rolling over the top of Torrey [Smith] or they’re doubling this guy, he’s going to need to be a reliable guy for us.”

On if anything has surprised him about what WR Torrey Smith has done: “No, not really. The biggest thing with Torrey [Smith] now is – I think towards the last quarter of the season last year, last half of the season – he’s become a guy that you can throw the ball to, and you know he’s going to come down with the ball. You look at before that, he had the ability to make all kinds of plays, and he would make a lot of plays, but he’d put the ball on the ground here and there. Sometime last year, he became that guy that caught really everything you threw to him, and I think he’s becoming more and more of that guy. And that’s one of the big things now is you see some of the catches he makes … I’m rolling out to my right against Miami, and the ball’s not necessarily out in front of him enough, but he does a great job of coming back to it, going up and making a contested catch. He’s got those sure hands now, and I think it’s the same thing with him. It’s just a matter of being comfortable with the atmosphere of everything and who he is, and not worrying about the little things and just being able to go out there and play football. And now he’s able to catch those things like it is just second nature.”

On if there is any particular reason he’s had so much success against the NFC at home: “I didn’t even know that. Are you trying to jinx it, or what? (laughter) No, I have no idea.”

On if the team needs to start playing more consistently: “We always look forward to doing that. That’s what our goal is. We haven’t been necessarily consistent enough, and we haven’t been good enough in a lot of areas, but we’ve been dealing with a lot. We’re working hard, and we’re getting better and better each week. Even if it doesn’t show up consistently on Sundays that we’ve gotten better each week, we are. And we’re going to get healthier. I think a lot of things are going to come together at one time. We’re really working to get better and better and better, and eventually it’s going to show. We put a lot of work in around here. We practice well every week, and there’s no way you can go out there and do that week-in and week-out and not have it eventually show up on the field. I think we are starting to see guys get back on the field, and all the guys we needed to get reps while those guys were out are starting to become really comfortable. And I think it’s going to help us out in the long run that we’ve had to lean on some guys that we didn’t anticipate leaning on, because now they have some experience, and they have some confidence in themselves.”

On what he likes about Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ game and commercials: “I can definitely watch his commercials; I can’t watch mine, so yeah, I like his better. (laughter) Aaron [Rodgers] – he’s an athletic guy, he’s got a good arm. When you couple those two – being an accurate passer and being an athletic guy who’s able to move around a little bit, not a ton – but he creates some plays here and there. They’ve obviously been a top offense in the league for the past few years, and that’s a big credit to him. There’s a reason why they’re a good football team. But it’s not for me to worry about. Our defensive guys can worry about all those guys. We’ve got enough to worry about on their defensive side of the ball this week.”

On building off the offense’s ability to sustain drives in the second half against Miami: “I don’t know if you look at last week and say, ‘OK, we did this last week, [so] let’s do this.’ It’s not really that. It’s really a matter of just making plays in the moment on Sunday – preparing like we do and going out on Sunday and executing the way we know how to. And if we don’t, then we’re not going to sustain drives. And if we do, and we protect everybody and we run block the way we should, and we hit the hole, and we hit the receiver – if we do all those things that we’re capable of – then we’ll sustain drives, and we’ll get first downs. The biggest thing I like to see is for us to get more first downs on first or second down so we don’t put ourselves in third-down situations. If you give yourself three or four third downs over the course of a drive, you’re eventually not going to convert one of them. You might go 100 percent one drive throughout a game and score a touchdown. You’re not going to score a lot of points if you give yourself all kinds of third downs on the drive. You have to convert on first and second down, get some chunk plays and move down the field that way. That way, you don’t let those guys pin their ears back, come after you, attack the point, pressure your receivers, and then one thing happens, and you don’t convert, and you’re running off the field. We’ve got to be a little bit better on first and second down so that we don’t have to be perfect. If we start doing that, then you’ll start to see more points being put on the board.”

 

RB Ray Rice

On how good it felt to get the running game going against Miami: “It was good, No. 1, because … The yards per carry still weren’t there, but we stuck with it. And that’s something that Jim [Caldwell] said we were going to do, and in that heat, in that climate, being able to push through, it definitely felt good. Now we feel like we’re headed in a [direction] where we know our running game is only going to get better from here, and it felt good to just keep putting our foot on the pedal and just gradually getting better and better.”

On what type of impact T Eugene Monroe could have if he’s able to play this week: “He’s a very athletic guy. We’ve always wanted to have a big, strong, athletic line, and I think with him in there … A lot of our stuff with scheme won’t change, but he does add another athletic component that I’m sure we’ve always wanted around here. That’s not taking away from Bryant McKinnie’s big, athletic ability, because as big as he is, the guy can move as well. But you’re talking about two different style players. I’ve seen Eugene; he’s good with his hands. You can go shake his hand yourself and see the guy has massive hands, and that’s something you always want in a left tackle – long arms, big hands and being able to move.”

On where his confidence is with fumbles: “My confidence is not shaken. When I looked back at it, that guy is a big, strong guy. He just made a good play. It’s not like they’re just griping it from me and taking it from me. That guy wrapped me up, bear hugged me, and I actually thought he was going to get cut blocked, and I was looking to make a move right there. So, when he got a hold of me, I didn’t have a chance to put the second hand on the ball. Like I said, you’ve just got to be aware of the situation. Those guys get paid as well, but it’s something obviously I’ll pay attention to. When you’re out there [with] those guys, you’ve got to be aware of the situation, making a cut. And I just have to give hats off to that guy who made the play. He definitely got a great bear hug on me, and if I’m able to get that second hand on it while he’s wrapping me up, I think that doesn’t happen.”

On being banged up this season and if he feels 100 percent: “I haven’t been banged up; I had one injury. I’m all right. I’ve been pretty fresh. I’m getting there. I’m definitely getting there. With the injury, obviously, the biggest thing with the injury I had was getting the step of being able to cut, get the lateral movement, and I’m definitely getting my confidence back in that area. Having the game last week the way we did, being able to touch it as many times as I did in that game and not have any setbacks definitely put my confidence on another level, because it shows that I can take a workload. But I can also sustain a workload as well. It’s all confidence building, and that definitely felt good.”

On not having to face Packers LB Clay Matthews this week: “It’s huge. It’s huge. He’s a game-wrecker with the kind of guy that he is. But look at the whole defense; they’re all stout, they’re all big guys in the middle, a lot like our defense. They’re big, strong guys, and you get that kind of guy coming off the edge, it reminds you of our guy, No. 55 [Terrell Suggs] over here. So, not having him in the lineup is huge, because not that our tackles don’t have to worry about that, but he’s a game-wrecker. He can literally wreck a game. He’s a guy that you have to point him out at all times.”

On how close he feels they are to breaking a big play in the running game: “I think we’re right there. It’s not an effort thing, now that we’re running our right tracks. It’s not an effort thing. It’s just also getting on the guy and finishing him. Obviously, there’s a fine line between that without getting a holding call and doing all that stuff, but we’re right there. We’re right there. The yards per carry went up last week, and we’re looking forward to keep building. There’s no need for us to go backwards now, and that’s going to be huge for us going into this week, especially playing at home.”

On the learning curve there would be adding T Eugene Monroe into the mix at offensive line: “He’s a consummate pro. I’ve watched the guy learn the scheme very fast. I think coming from a different offense, you have to learn the terminology. A lot of the blocking assignments are the same, but once you get the language down and realize what our calls are, try to memorize our calls, and kind of correlate what you just came from, I think that’s the biggest thing for him. As far as footwork, technique, I think he has all that down pat.”

 

CB Jimmy Smith

On not allowing yards after catch from Green Bay wide receivers: “We have a pretty good tackling secondary. That’s pretty much our focus, to make sure when they do catch the ball – because they will make plays – to make sure we get them down on the ground and don’t allow those big runs after the catch.”

On QB Aaron Rodgers: “You know as well as I do what he does. He’s an incredible athlete. He can put the ball anywhere he wants to. He’s very accurate, and he has receivers that are in tune with him to make those plays for him.”

On if QB Aaron Rodgers is beatable: “He’s human, but at the same time, he’s still a terrific quarterback. He’s going to make his plays. Our job is, like I said, to make sure if they do catch the ball, to tackle them and limit big plays as much as possible.”

On how to handle QB Aaron Rodgers’ quick release: “You just go out and try to play your game. As far as a quick release, you’ve got to have some stuff in your packages to prevent some of those things. You don’t know all the time when he’s going to throw it. You’ve got to try and prevent it, somehow.”

On if this is a “statement” game for the team: “Absolutely. Anytime you have a quarterback … Personally, I think Peyton Manning is one of the best ever to do it, and I think Aaron Rodgers is taking steps that way. When you’re playing a quarterback that has full control over the offense and their receivers are in tune, you have to be on your best game. We’re looking at this game like we’re facing another Peyton Manning. To Aaron Rodgers’ credit, he’s a little quicker with the ball; he has better arm strength right now. He can fit some balls in there that you wouldn’t expect.”

On how much better the secondary is from Week 1: “Week 1 was Week 1. Everybody wants to talk about it. I think we’re playing a lot better. We’re not sitting there, ‘smelling are own,’ by any means. We know that this is a tough week, and we’ve got a very hard opponent this week.”

On preparing for QB Aaron Rodgers’ ability to throw on the run: “You forget that we’ve got Tyrod [Taylor] out here as our scout team quarterback. He can do that. I’m pretty sure that instead of blowing the whistle down if he’s sacked, coach is going to let the play extend to get us that practice to ‘plaster’ him. That’s what we call it.”

On watching for double-moves: “Yes, you have to watch for double-moves, but mostly, you have to watch for the extended play. When the quarterback breaks the pocket, they’re good at turning the ball upfield or throwing you by and turning to catch the ball. That’s something we’re really going to have to emphasize at practice this week.”

On who the leader of the secondary is and on CB Lardarius Webb’s leadership building his own confidence: “I think ‘Dig’ [James Ihedigbo] is our most vocal leader. We all have leadership ability, but I think ‘Dig’ is our most vocal leader. He’s does most of the talking and the ‘rah-rah’ type of stuff. I feed off of [Lardarius Webb], definitely. He teaches me things all the time, but I stand on my own as far as my confidence goes.”

On how much the pass rush has helped the secondary: “Tremendously. It’s like our best friend right now. Once we can ‘sic our dogs’ on them, it’s heaven for defensive backs, because we’re just waiting for the ball to fly out. We’re running with our backs down to the ball, and you hear big cheers that we just got a sack. They’re doing really good right now.”

On if this is the best he’s seen OLB Terrell Suggs’ play: “I think [my] first year [in 2011], that was a tremendous year for him. I think that’s probably the best I’ve seen him, but I don’t think he’s taking any steps back after last year. I don’t think he’s taken any steps back this year.”

WR Torrey Smith

On playing against the Dolphins with only three wide receivers: “I’m happy and proud of ‘D.T.’ [Deonte Thompson] and Tandon [Doss]. [They] fought their tails off and [played] special teams as well. It’s tough on those guys. We battled through the heat, and just three bodies got it done. I’m definitely proud of our unit.”

On how exhausted he was in the fourth quarter: “We’ve got to keep fighting. That’s why we practice the way we do in camp, so it wasn’t like I’m not used to playing tired. [Training camp] is really when you have to step it up the most, focus more and concentrate technique-wise. It’s nothing new for us just because it was a game. We do the same thing in practice.”

On if he notices if other teams play the Ravens harder since the Super Bowl win: “Now I do. It’s funny, because I was talking to Warren Sapp about it when I was on the NFL Network, and I [said], ‘It’s not that big of a deal.’ But, I know what he’s talking about now. Other teams, they mention that they’re playing the defending Super Bowl champions. Their coaches are preaching it to them. There is a difference, but at the same time, we still have to go out there and play football no matter what kind of external motivation they need or use. It doesn’t matter much.”

On if there is an added challenge to beating Green Bay than another team: “We respect every team. At the end of the day, those guys are just like us. [They’re] other professional athletes, who work their tail to be in this position. We’re playing a great team in the Packers both offensively and defensively, and it’s another great challenge that we’re looking forward to.”

On if this game is a “measuring stick” for where the team is: “I guess, but I don’t really care. Every game, you want to go out there and win it and add them up at the end. It’s not necessarily about where you are in Week 6.”

OLB Terrell Suggs

On his level of respect for QB Aaron Rodgers: “He’s a champion. He’s definitely one of the best quarterbacks in this league. He’s a Drew Brees-type of quarterback. We definitely have a game on our hands.”

On the pass rush playing extremely well so far: “It’s only Week 5. I don’t think we need to jump to conclusions about anything. Let’s just see how we do the week coming forward.”

On if he has pride in being more than just a player who gets sacks: “Yes. I don’t want to be known as a pass rusher; I want to be known as a defender that can do more than just one thing. Most definitely, I take pride in that. I don’t want to just tackle. I feel like I have a lot of talent to fill up the stat sheet.”

On if the pass rush has met his expectations coming into this year: “Yes. We expected a lot more, but we’ve got guys down. I think when we get completely healthy, coming down the stretch in November and December, I think the pass rush will look like everybody expected it to. I think we still have some work to do and we can always get better. We’re going to continue to try and do that.”

On if he’s made an effort to be more of a leader this year: “We don’t worry about that too much. I’m just going to be Terrell; I’m going to be myself. Some guys take from that what they will. That’s not our No. 1 goal here. Our No. 1 goal here is to win football games. We’re going to continue to do that.”

On how crucial it is to get pressure on the quarterback with only four pass rushers against Green Bay: “Pressure in any kind of way is good. You can do it with three-man rushes; you can do it with blitzes. You definitely don’t want an NFL quarterback to have all day.”

On if he was unsure if his explosiveness would come back after his surgery last year: “Most definitely. You always want to know when it’s going to happen, but you’ve got to stay the course. You’ve just got to continue to work at it. I got mine around a good time last year. Would I have liked to have had it earlier? Yes, but last year is gone.”

On if his sack totals through five games are indicative of how much work he put in the offseason: “It’s just five games. We have a great expectation for this team. You can’t be satisfied after five games with what you’ve done. You always want to consider you’re progress. It’s not a big deal. Then again, we’re not horrible. We’re going to continue to work.”

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