Baltimore Ravens Transcripts: Week 4 vs. Oakland (Sept. 28)

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:“Good to see everybody – really appreciate you guys being here. A couple items of note: Clarence Brooks’ funeral was today. The viewing was last night. Steve Bisciotti was good enough to provide two planes – private planes – for people to go last night and then for another group to go to the funeral today. Some players were missing because some guys were at that, mostly guys that would have had the day off today anyway – non-football related. A number of coaches were up there [today] and were last night. We made the trip last night. I was just an honor to be there. We had a team prayer this morning for Clarence and his family. Just to see the family, to see the people in their town, to see how much he was loved, to see the little ones running around – the nephews, the nieces and the cousins – it was just a really great moment, in terms of family and seeing the family that ‘C.B.’ had around him and the family that he built in so many ways. I told the guys today, we see how he affected us every single day here and how the lives that he impacted – guys who are here and guys over the years – but it was cool to see the impact he had in his own town and with his own family. That’s kind of what was happening with us, non-football related.”

Your defense has been outstanding thus far, but you face a challenge in Raiders QB Derek Carr. Do you look back at what he did last year?* (David Ginsburg)*“Of course. He had a breakout game against us, probably in some ways, last year. They still have built the offense for him in the same way they built it last year. They’re going to get the ball off quick. They’re going to protect him. They’re going to keep him clean. He hasn’t been sacked very much and hasn’t had a lot of turnovers – very few fumbles that he’s caused. That’s a formula for success on offense. They’ve done a good job of that, and we’re going to have to figure out how to counter that.”

How big of a challenge do you have with WR Amari Cooper and WR Michael Crabtree? (Jamison Hensley)“[They are] two premier receivers. Amari Cooper, the first day he stepped on the field in the National Football League, was a star. He’s a threat to take it to the house, whether they throw it over you or they throw it to him right away on a screen and he takes it. He can run every route. Michael Crabtree, I have a lot of respect for Michael, because he played for my brother. I got to know him a little bit that way. He’s kind of back. He’s back, and he a premier receiver also. They have a number of other weapons on offense – they have for the last few years – a very versatile fullback, three running backs, two very versatile tight ends [who are] big, strong guys that can catch, [and] a big, physical offensive line. They’re well built.”

When you look at the film, have there been some runs by backs where they gained yards after the block? (Jerry Coleman) “Sure there have. There have been runs like that. We just have to get the running game going. Some of the players said it. It’s always been a group effort, even to the extent that the passing game affects the running game. It takes all of us – players, coaches, all of us – to get that part of our game going, because the more that gets going, the more potent we’re going to be.”

Is RB Kenneth Dixon getting any closer? (Jerry Coleman) “He practiced more today. He was out there for individual today, and he gets better every single day.”

*When he is back what do you think he can provide? (Garrett Downing) *“He can provide another running back that can tote the ball pretty good. We’ll just have to find out. He’s a rookie, so I think a lot of what he can provide is yet to be determined. He showed flashes in preseason, which was exciting. I think we’re all excited about what he might do. We’ll just have to see. That will be fun to see.”

When you look at QB Derek Carr and how mobile he is, how much does that factor in? Is he more like that than we would think? (Britt McHenry)“He is mobile. There’s no doubt. That’s definitely one of his pluses. He’s no more mobile than Tyrod [Taylor]. We’ve seen mobile quarterbacks. Really, we’ve had guys all three weeks that were very mobile quarterbacks in their own different kind of way. This is an extension of that, but Derek Carr is a mobile quarterback.”

With the running game, when it’s not meeting the expectations in any area, coaches sometimes decide a change would help move some things. Have you thought about RB Terrance West getting a chance to start over RB Justin Forsett? (Jamison Hensley)“You look at everything. The main thing we look at first is ourselves. What can we do scheme-wise? How can we block it better? How can the backs read it better? How can they run better? It would be every aspect of our run game that we’re looking at. If any change needs to be … We’ve made lots of changes. We’ve made lots of tweaks, but more than changes, it’s really more just seeking to improve – seeking to make it better, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

John, related to that, the offense has had a couple of slow starts. Is that something that can be easily remedied? (Edward Lee) “I don’t think anything is easily remedied. It’s a tough league, and you’re going against the best football teams and players in the land, and everybody is pretty even. There’s a lot of parity in this league. There are always going to be things that you’re not going to be happy about. Even in blow-out wins, there are things that teams are not happy with that they need to do better. In the tight kind of games that we’re going to play, you’re going to have to overcome a slow start, or you get a fast start. We had two three-and-outs on offense, but we ended up getting a 10-point lead. Then they whittled their way back into it. We want to get the lead as soon as we can, and then we want to extend the lead as much as we can. That’s what we strive to do. It doesn’t always work out exactly how we’d like, but you do your best.”

Other DBs have talked reverentially about what S Eric Weddle has brought to the secondary. Where have you seen him improve with some of the intangibles? (Jeff Zrebiec) “Eric is a very smart player. He’s a very experienced player, and he’s a very dedicated. I don’t want to leave out that he’s a very talented player. He can make plays on the ball, he can move, and he can do all of those things just as well. He adds in every aspect. He’s made us better.”

Along those lines, for a No. 2 defense, when you watch the film of the defense and look at what’s going right, what stands out to you about why the defense is playing so well? (Ryan Mink)“The main thing is we’re playing hard. We’re playing hard, and we’re playing with discipline. Those are the two main things. Rankings mean nothing at this point. We just have to keep getting better and attack the challenge at hand, which is a very potent Oakland Raiders offense.”

Could you sum up what Raiders G/T Kelechi Osemele meant to you guys?* (Peter Schmuck)* “I really don’t have that. I haven’t thought about that, to do it justice. I don’t want to sum it all up and then not do it justice. I have a lot of respect for ‘K.O.’ He was one of my favorite players in the draft, I can tell you that. When he came out, I really wanted him here, and he did not disappoint. He brought to the table all of the things that we like to see in our players and our offensive linemen. [I am] happy for him that he was able to do so well for is family. He’s doing a great job.”

How close was OLB Elvis Dumervil to playing on Sunday?* (Edward Lee)“How close was he to playing? I don’t know. What do you want me to give you, a percentage or something? He was close, really close.” *(Reporter responds: “Ninety-nine percent?”) “Maybe. It’s a number. It’s a number somewhere between 99 and 1. I don’t know. He was fighting to do it. He just didn’t quite get there.”

QB Joe Flacco

* *

On if he has had a chance to look at Oakland on film:“Yes, we played them last year, and I think they have some new guys and some guys that we have played against before. I didn’t play against him, but I think we played against their corner [Sean Smith] in Kansas City. * *We have played against Reggie [Nelson] a bunch. They have some good pass rushers. We respect them, and it is all about going out there and playing our game and hopefully getting some shots on them.”

On if WR Steve Smith Sr. is playing at the same level he was prior to his Achilles injury:“Yes he is. I think he is. I think he has been the whole time. We just have a lot of guys that we are spreading the ball around to right now, and it has been kind of one guy every game. Steve was that guy on Sunday. Steve is what he has been all along. He is a great player, and I think he has gotten himself in shape really good in the offseason and come back just as strong as he has ever been.”

On what he can attribute his interceptions to:“I’m trying to remember. I put the Cleveland ones out of my head. I know the one to Breshad [Perriman] in the end zone was a bad throw. The slant – it just got jumped. I’m throwing it in the hole there. The one to Justin [Forsett] … Stuff happens. The one to Dennis [Pitta] was a bad throw. I let the rush get to me a little bit. I just made a bad throw. I felt like I could have hit him. I have to clean those up in order to beat good teams and in order to continue to win these games. At the same time, I have to put them behind me and forget about them and move on. I think we are doing a lot of good things, and that is one of the parts that we have to clean up a little bit.”

On his level of concern about the team starting slow early in games: “I’m not really too worried about it. I feel like we know what is going on. We feel good about a lot of the things we are doing. We feel like we are ready to burst onto the scene. We have a lot of moving parts, a lot of guys catching passes. I think if we get our run game going a little bit and clean up the little things like penalties, some drops and a couple missed throws –  stuff like that – I think we will be going.”

On how he thinks WR Breshad Perriman is coming along: “Good. I think we just have to get him out there and get him some confidence doing the things that he really does well. Once we get those things going, I think we will start to see him pick up more and more each week.”

On the need to score touchdowns rather than field goals:“I feel like we have played a couple good halves, and then we come out and … I feel like on Sunday, we came out in the second half, and we had a good first drive, and we weren’t able to make a touchdown out of it. We kind of got … We didn’t do anything the rest of the half. It was tough. I think once we start going, and once everybody gets the confidence that Mike [Wallace] and Steve [Smith Sr.] have out there and that Dennis [Pitta] is getting, I think we will really start to put some points on the board. Once we get some chunk plays out of the run game, that will make it a little easier. All of that stuff.”

On if he realized he was one completion away from tying an NFL record: “I really had no idea. If I did, I would have told [offensive coordinator Marc Trestman] to call a screen pass on the next play. *(laughter) *Or I would have done what I did and tell Mike [Wallace] to catch the ball next time. *(laughter) *I don’t think he felt good about that in the first place, and then I had to get on him for it, again. I had no idea. I really didn’t have any idea. It is one of those things where you are just playing the game, and before you know it, someone is telling me after the game. I didn’t really care about that. It is not something I really cared about after the game, because I threw two interceptions. I was happy we won the game, but I really didn’t care too much about that [completions streak].”

On the importance of containing Raiders DE Khalil Mack: “Those guys are game-changers. You play against good outside rushers, they can get their hands on the ball, they can do a lot of things to disrupt games. It is a big deal keeping him in check and doing our job against him.”

On if he will be sad seeing former Raven and current Raiders OL Kelechi Osemele playing for the Raiders: “I’m sure he will come in here and he will want to play well. ‘K.O.’ did a lot of great things for us, and it is always sad to see a guy like that go. But, you wish him the best, and I’m sure he will come in here with a little bit of something on his mind and want to play really well. It is all good. It happens in this league, and I think you get used to it the longer you are in it.”

 

 

ILB Zachary Orr

* *

On how much of a point of emphasis pass coverage was for the inside linebackers in the offseason:“It was a big point of emphasis. [Linebackers] coach ‘Wink’ [Don Martindale] – when we had our exit meetings [after 2015] – he was saying that is one area that we need to improve on. He told us to work on it in the offseason on our own. When we got back up here for OTAs and all that, we went to work on it. We do pass drops every single day. We have three picks in the [linebacker] room – C.J. [Mosley] has two, and I have one, myself. We want to continue to build on that. I think the exciting thing is that we can get so much better. We have no ceiling. So it is a big point of emphasis.”

On why he has gotten so much better in pass coverage:“It is repetition and experience. The game is starting to slow down for myself, probably for C.J. [Mosley], too. The coaches do a great job of preparing us. Coach ‘Wink’ goes over the pass concepts and what they try to do and how they try and draw the linebackers up and fit it over our head and right in front the safeties. That is one thing that we want to eliminate. We have a big deal in pass coverage as well. A lot of the time, the secondary is the guys that get all the flack and everything, but we are just as responsible.”

On how much of a difference S Eric Weddle has made: “Oh, man. We joke around and say that is ‘coach Weddle.’ He really is a coach on the field. He is constantly talking to all of us, not just to me, but C.J. as well and other DBs. He is just constantly reminding us, little tips [such as], ‘Get your depth here; this is what they like to do.’ In the heat of battle, it is great to have someone like that who can remind you of little tips that the offense likes to do. It has been great, and we love having him back there. It doesn’t hurt that he is a playmaker as well.”

On the difference between this year’s defense and last year’s defense:“I think right now, we are playing harder. That is the No. 1 thing. Coach put a point of emphasis [on playing hard]. He told us right away, ‘If you aren’t running to the football, you won’t be on the 2016 Ravens defense.’ That opened up a lot of eyes. A lot of guys … It wasn’t that we weren’t playing hard before, but let’s take it the extra mile. When we turn on the film, let’s be like, ‘Man, no one is playing as hard as these guys!’ That is what you can see, and I think that is the biggest difference.”

On who made the comment about not being on the Ravens’ 2016 defense:“Everybody. It started with coach [John] Harbaugh, trickled down to [defensive coordinator Dean] Pees and coach ‘Wink’ [Martindale]. We hear it from three different people constantly, each and every day.”

On how much he wants to have a better effort against the Raiders than they did last year: “We are going to have our hands full. What we always try to do each and every week is no matter what or who our opponent is, we want to get better. We just have to be one percent better than our opponent. The Raiders, they have a great offense, starting with their quarterback. They have a great offensive line, a good three-headed trio at running back, and then you know what they have on the outside at receiver. It is going to take us to be disciplined. We have to play fundamental football, just like each and every week, and continue to run to the ball. I think we will be OK.”

On if he relishes playing against one of the best offenses in the league:“I guess you kind of do a little bit. Watching film, you can definitely see that. You hear the numbers; there is no shying away from that. They are definitely Top 2 or Top 3 in the league, offensively. It will be a great challenge to see where we stack up. Statistically, we are one of the top defenses in the league right now. It will be a great battle.”

On people saying they haven’t faced tough competition this season:“It is whatever. We just worry about the opponent. We say, ‘1-0 each week.’ No matter who we are playing, no matter who we are going against, we are just trying to beat that opponent. We don’t worry about [former opponents] anymore. We don’t worry about Buffalo. We will see Cleveland again later on, but we aren’t worried about Jacksonville any more at all. We played those guys, and it is on to the next opponent. It is full focus on Oakland. This is the NFL. Each game … Most games come down to the last drive or two or three plays. Any given Sunday you can win or lose. We found that out last year when we lost nine of 11 games by one possession or less. It doesn’t matter who you are playing, it doesn’t matter what the deal is. You just have to find a way to be better than your opponent that Sunday.”

 

 

OLB Terrell Suggs

On if he feels that the rust is off from his injury: “I am just going to continue to work. We are never going to be satisfied.”

On the main difference between this year’s defense and last year’s defense: “I really couldn’t say. I just think we are playing inspired football. We kind of got the deck stacked. We have all our guys back. We have all our working parts. We get another guy back this week. That is going to help us out. I think everybody is just committed to getting better every week, and that is huge for us.”

On what the other guy, OLB Elvis Dumervil is going to do for him: “It is what the other guy is going to do for us. It was tough not having him in there, but we get him back. It is going to be good. [We will] let him get in there and knock some rust off.”

On if he relishes playing against one of the top statistical offenses in the Raiders:“We just relish any kind of chance to play. This is the NFL, and every week is a battle. This team, they have been working a lot to be one of the better teams in the AFC. It has been proven. They have an inspired coach. They have a lot of good players at their skill positions, so it is definitely a challenge. But we get to line up and play football. Anytime you do that, it is a gift, it is an honor. Now, we are just going to compete.”

On what S Eric Weddle has meant to the team:“I like his veteran leadership. I like that he is kind of a wild card. He is kind of ‘one of those guys.’ The word that comes to mind is ‘Raven.’ He has kind of that Raven persona. He is a little weird. In meetings, he will pull out this big brush and start brushing his beard. You have to like a guy like that who has a little bit more to him and is a little edgy. That is always good when it comes on the football team, too.”

On if he feels as healthy as he did last year before he got injured: “I don’t know. I’m just enjoying the moment. I can’t really compare anything to anything in the past. We are just living in the now, right now. We are playing inspired football, but we know we have a lot of work to do. That is what we are committed to. We are committed to the task this week – the Oakland Raiders – along with some things that we haven’t done well this far and some things that we want to continue to do well. We are just working on getting better – chopping wood.”

On the challenge of Raiders QB Derek Carr being mobile:“It seems like that is the norm. Every week, you get a mobile quarterback. Not everybody is Michael Vick and Tyrod Taylor, but these quarterbacks can run now. You just have to take them at face value. There aren’t any more Drew Bledsoes who just stood there and take it like a man; God bless him. All these quarterbacks are looking to make plays with their feet to extend plays and make plays downfield.”

On if he wishes there were more quarterbacks like Drew Bledsoe: “Oh, definitely. Drew Bledsoe, he took it like a man. He just liked to sit in there, and he waited for his guys to get open, which gave us a lot more time. We are thankful for Drew Bledsoe.” (laughter)

On if it will be odd to see former Ravens G Kelechi Osemele on the Raiders:“It is always a little weird when you have a guy here, and then he is on another team. Once you have been in the league for 14 years, you have seen it all. We have seen guys leave here, but the weirdest thing was playing against Ed Reed. He went to Houston, and then he went to New York, and then he was coaching Buffalo. I’m only used to seeing one Ed Reed. That was definitely the weirdest. But like I said, when you have been in the league for 14 years, you have seen a lot.”

On Ravens senior defensive assistant Clarence Brooks passing away and his funeral being today:“It sucks. But he was smiling until his last day. That is the kind of guy C.B. was. We are going to miss having him around here.  His spirit still lives on, and he is always going to be with us, and we love him.”

S Eric Weddle

On how his teammates have treated him:“From the minute I got here, they welcomed me like I have been a Raven my whole life. It meant a lot to me. I knew what I could bring to the team, on and off the field. When I first got here, I didn’t want to push anything about what I’ve done or who I am. I just wanted to work, build a relationship with my teammates and earn their trust. My body of work and how I treat each day and my energy and passion and the love I have for my teammates … That is why I play the game – for my teammates. I think it caught them off guard with how much I was willing to help them and teach them and give them anything I have learned over the years that has helped me get to where I’m at. Once they kind of knew it wasn’t a facade or a front I was putting up, it made us even closer. It is all about each other. It is all about the group. It is all about the team. We are showing that. We have had a good start to the season, and we just have to continue that.”

On if he sensed eagerness to get better from Day One, specifically from the secondary:“I think the whole group in general. No one likes to lose, especially with an organization like this that has had so much success over the years. You come here to win. You come here to fight for championships, and when that didn’t happen last year … When you have close losses and defensively are not playing up to the standard that has been set here over the past, you take it to heart. I think they were willing to come in here with an eagerness and a focus and a drive to, No. 1, play better, but to understand our roles to take coaching and be humble. No one has egos around here; everyone can be coached. They had a few pieces here and there. It makes the group better.”

On if it will feel like he is back in the AFC West this week against the Raiders: “Yes, it will be fun. I had a bunch of battles with Oakland – talented team, tough, physical. We are extremely excited for the challenge and the matchup and just to go against a team coming out here and being back home. They are 2-1 and could be 3-0 like us. It is going to be a great matchup, a great game and physical. You have to have on your big boy pads on and get ready for it.”

On if he has talked to the Raiders players at all: “Yes, I’m pretty close with Derek [Carr]. I talked to him on Monday, and we are excited to get on the field again and go at it. The best team is going to win.”

On if he can offer any insight on his conversation with Raiders QB Derek Carr: “It was just a little jabber back and forth. It was all in good fun, good humor. He likes the way we are playing, and obviously, they are doing pretty dang good on offense. He is excited to take the field against me.”

On why guys were taken aback about how vocal he was as a leader:“They just weren’t really used to a guy not only loving the game, but willing to help and willing to be there for them. I don’t know how it has been in the past, but everywhere I have been, I try to lead more for the guys that I have played with than for myself. I want them to know as much as I know myself. At the end of the day, if my teammates don’t know what is going on and can’t play at a high level, we are not going to be the best we can be. I think they were just taken aback, like, ‘Why is he helping me so much? Does he really want me to be good?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, man. I’m very secure with myself.’ I don’t have an ego; I don’t worry about what is being said or my playing time, whatever. I’m here to play, I’m here to help and be the best team possible. Once they met my personality, I think they knew what I’m all about.”

On if he communicated with the Raiders in free agency: “Yes. It just didn’t work out. Those guys over there wanted me. It was nice to have players from other teams vouch for you and want you to be a part of that. It was definitely a humbling experience for myself – being a free agent. But I was meant to be a Raven; that is for sure.”

 

RB Terrance West

On how the running game will improve:“We just have to take it back to the practice field and take it one play at a time. The running game is going to bust open. We just have to be patient, and when it happens, we have to take advantage of it.”

On why he feels the running game will bust open: “We got off to a good start the second half of the last game. We just have to keep it going from there.”

On the importance of fast starts in the NFL: “It’s very important, definitely in the NFL. When you get up on a team, score the first drive and then get a three-and-out with the defense, and then come back and score again, that will put a lot of pressure on the opposite opponent.”

On why the offense hasn’t been able to start fast:“We’ve been getting down to the red zone, then we’ll come up short on one play and kick a field goal. We just have to work on it. It all starts in practice.”

On sharing the carries with RB Justin Forsett: “To be honest, it’s hard. As a running back, you have to get into the groove. You get stronger as the game goes. You have to feel the defense out, but you still have to take advantage of the opportunities no matter what when your number is called, so there’s no excuses.”

On RB Kenneth Dixon returning to practice: “[He’s] a great guy off the field [and] great player on the field. We’re representing for the FCS, so I’m excited.”

On what Dixon returning will mean for the competition among the RBs: “When another player goes in there and busts a big run, you’re telling yourself, ‘Now I have to go and bust a big run.’ It’s competition, but at the same time, we’re just trying to help this team win in any way. That’s why we’re 3-0 right now.”

 

 

RAIDERS CONFERENCE CALLS: WEEK 4


Head Coach Jack Del Rio

Talk about the upcoming matchup?  What do you see in this Ravens team that is different from last year?“It’s a good team. I think they were last year. It’s a good football team, well coached, a lot of good people. I have a lot of respect for the organization. I spent three great years there, and they do things right.”

We know G/T Kelechi Osemele to be an emotional player. Have you had to talk to him about keeping his emotions in check in his return?“I really haven’t gotten into that. I think he’s done a pretty good job of being a good teammate here, fitting in and bringing the things we were looking for when we went out and acquired him. He’s a big, strong, tough guy. He loves to play football, and we’re sure glad we have him.”

How has he helped your offense?“He’s a big, powerful guy. He helps the offense by helping protect the quarterback and helping open up running lanes for the running backs.”

Can you talk about the Ravens’ defense and what kind of challenges they present?“It’s a good group, well coached [with] a lot of talent on the defense, and like I said, well coached. They mix their coverages. They’re physical up front. It’s a very good football team.”

Coach Harbaugh said that it’s obvious WR Michael Crabtree is back. With what he is able to do for you, how would you describe the way he has contributed to your offense this year? “I think guys like Michael are similar to Steve Smith [Sr.]. I think they’re guys that have been good players in this league that are tough guys, that are physical guys, that compete. That’s what Michael has been giving us. From the day he’s arrived here, he’s been a really great teammate and a great worker that we can count on. He’s made some tremendous plays to start the season and won the game ball for last week’s efforts. [He] obviously caught a big two-point play to beat New Orleans. He’s had a great start, but he’s just doing what he’s done since we got him. He’s been a treat to have around.”

When S Eric Weddle was a free agent, how interested was the Raiders organization in trying to acquire him?“I don’t care to get into those kinds of discussions. I have a lot of respect for Eric. I think he’s a really good football player.”

Have you noticed anything about how he’s changed the Ravens’ defense? “I just know you added another good player – a good veteran player. He’s intelligent. He’s a good football player. He’s been a very productive player in this league for a long, long time.”

How would you assess the way DE Khalil Mack has been playing in the first three games? “He’s a good football player, doing a nice job. I think Khalil, as we go through the year, will do what Khalil does, which is disrupt offenses. Whether it’s the run game or it’s the pass game, he’s helping our football team play well.”

Have opposing offenses been paying him more attention based on what he did last year? “Probably. I think the media is paying more attention. I think it’s talked about more, but for us, it’s about what we do as a football team and each guy doing his part. I think he’s been terrific at doing just that.”

Is there any frustration on his part? I know you said the numbers and sacks will come, but with that increased media attention, has he shown any pressure on himself? “He’s the same guy. He works hard every day. He’s really a great young man. He comes to work every day with a lot of energy and a lot of desire to get better. We love what he brings.”

Two of the best kickers in the game will be competing on Sunday. I know you like K Sebastian Janikowski, but what do you see with K Justin Tucker, a guy who seems to be consistent from short and long distances?“He’s been phenomenal. You’re right, two really good kickers. Obviously, Tucker is … I think he’s second of all time in the history of the league in terms of field goal kicks [percentage], and they’re not all short ones. Pretty amazing. I think both guys are really good football players. I think both special teams units are really good. I know the Ravens have ranked at the very top of the league in each of the years that John [Harbaugh] has been doing it there. We know we’re getting ourselves geared up for a heck of a challenge.”

In the Saints game, QB Derek Carr’s leap for the first down really showed his mobility. This will be a tougher defense, but how do you think he’s improved in that way? What are you telling him in terms of facing this defense?“We pretty much approached it the same way. We respect all of our opponents. We prepare. We recognize strengths and weaknesses, and then we do our best to put a plan together and then go compete. This week will be very similar. Obviously, you have challenges that really good teams and really good players present. We’ll work through those challenges and do the best we can to put together a plan and go out there and compete our butts off.”

Considering the Ravens have blocked kicks in the past two games, is there a re-emphasis on blocking?“There’s always an emphasis on blocking. We acknowledge the fact that they’ve been good at a lot of different things on special teams. That’s an area we expect to do well in ourselves, so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

G/T Kelechi Osemele

On how excited he is for Sunday’s game:“I’m really excited to get out there. I haven’t been out there in a while. Last time I was back was probably in the summer. It’s going to be good to see some people. I’m grabbing dinner with Jeremy [Zuttah] when I get in. It’s going to be an emotional game. I won a Super Bowl there and had been playing there for the last four years. Obviously, things didn’t go the way I wanted them to, and I ended up leaving. It’s going to be an emotional game.”

On it not being just another game to him: “Exactly. It’s important. It’s not just another game. You’re going back to your home team. It’s a place that you spent the last four years, and you end up moving across the country somewhere else. You kind of do take it a little personally. It’s going to be an emotional game.”

On the Raiders’ coaches talking to him about keeping his emotions in check this Sunday: “I don’t think I’m going to have to pay too much attention to it, because it was brought to me in the week early. As far as going in with my mindset and stuff, I’m definitely going to be playing under control. I’m going to finish every play, and I’m going to do everything in my power to come out on top with the victory.”

On how close he came to staying in Baltimore and how difficult the decision was to leave: “Honestly, we didn’t get close at all. It wasn’t really offered much at all. We weren’t close. I pretty much knew right away I was going somewhere else, because some of the things that were being brought back to me were border line – they can hurt your feelings sometimes. I knew, mindset-wise, that I was going to end up somewhere else; I just didn’t know where. As far as the process, the Raiders were very upfront about how badly they wanted me and what they felt I could bring to the offensive line. We’re really trying to do something here with this offensive line. It’s a special group. There’s a lot of talent. It was pretty much a no-brainer.”

On if it became clear pretty early that it wasn’t going to work out for him in Baltimore: “I had heard talking to some other players. Through the last couple of years, I talked to Torrey Smith about it and some other guys that ended up leaving. They kind of told me that it might be a situation where Baltimore won’t pay me enough for me to stay. It’s something that does happen with that organization, because they’re able to find some of the young players. Before it even came up, I had an idea I might be going somewhere else prior to the year even beginning. Until it actually happens, you’re not really sure.”

On if he was prepared for the fact that he might not be able to remain in Baltimore: “I was prepared for it. There were even some people in the organization that approached me and told me about it prior to the year. I was very prepared for it.”

On facing his former teammates on the defensive line: “It’s going to be great. I got to practice against these guys for so long and played against these guys for so long that it’s going to be exciting playing them on Sunday. There’s a few guys, obviously, that’s it’s going to be fun to finish through and play against them in a game. You couldn’t really finish through and pancake your own teammates [in practice]. Just to go out there and talk a little trash and get to compete against those guys is going to be fun.”

On who he is excited to face specifically: “You’ll see on Sunday.” *(laughter) *

On the time he spent with the Ravens organization: “It was great. If it came down to it, towards the end of my career, it would be great to finish off in Baltimore. I still have a lot of friends there. I come back when I can. I’ve been back a few times this summer. I just like the city. I had fun there off the field. For someone like me, what I do off the field is important to me, because there’s more to life than football. I love the city and I love the organization. I believe in what they do for the community and what they represent. I’m somewhere else now. I’m 100-percent all-in with the Raiders organization, and we’re going to go there on Sunday to put out a good performance.”

On if he is surprised the Ravens are 3-0 so far:“No. I won a Super Bowl in Baltimore. I already know what the organization is all about. There’s a standard of excellence there – something that we’re trying to have here in Oakland. No, I can’t say that I’m surprised. I don’t really expect it to be any other way.”

On a comment he made about the offensive line not being appreciated in Baltimore:“That, in particular, had to do with an individual in the organization that I didn’t quite gel [with] and had issues with. That wasn’t the organization as a whole. That was one coach in particular. That wasn’t really directed at the entire organization. That was directed at one person.”

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