JOHN HARBAUGH FRIDAY QUOTES: AFC CHAMPIONSHIP AT PATRIOTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening Statement: "Good to see everybody out. Thanks for coming. Injury-wise, nothing new. Everybody looks fine. What do you got?"
How much of a blessing is it after a long season, with the way it has gone, that you are pretty much healthy? (Joe Platania) "It's 100 percent [a] blessing. It's great."
John, last time you guys went up there for a playoff game, with Joe [Flacco], there was a lot of different circumstances. He had, I guess like almost every color of the spectrum on his hip and his leg, and he only had to throw 10 balls. This time he will probably have a larger role. Just your thoughts on the circumstances being a little bit different with Joe health-wise as you go into this one. (Aaron Wilson) "That game was so long ago, I don't even remember it. This game is this game, this team is this team. I think that's what you look at right now."
John, we see these guys, they're loose. Is this the way they've handled themselves throughout this whole process? (Steve Wyche) "They've been [like this through] the whole process. Any one of these guys [in the media] that are here every day can tell you that. They've been great, they're loose [and] they work really hard on preparation. I am really proud of our guys. We have had a great year that way. Our guys work really hard at practice, they work really hard in the meeting room, they study their opponent [and] they help each other. Coaches get information that is pretty special, as far as studying opponents and stuff. That's the big reason why we've had the success we've had."
You've looked at the tape this week of games like the Steelers and Giants, who had success against the Patriots and beat them. What did those teams do particularly well? (Garrett Downing) "They played better than the Patriots in that game. They completed more passes, they ran the ball better, they just played better. That's what they did particularly well."
What's the vibe with the whole Harbaugh family? You've got two members involved playing this weekend. We know how tense your dad and mom were leading up to the Thanksgiving game. What's going on back in Milwaukee these days? (Jerry Coleman) "You've got their number. Call them, ask them. (laughter) That's why they don't want to talk to you about it. They're doing fine. They're doing great. They're excited. They are looking forward to it. I talked to my dad last night – got some good ideas X-and-O-wise and motivational-wise, as always. Mom is doing great. I talked to her for a long time. That was a great conversation. She's always been there to have those kinds of conversations. What else could I share with you about our family that you would be interested in? (Reporter: "Did they give as much time to Jim as they did to you?") I didn't ask them that. I didn't ask them how many minutes they had on the phone with Jim or make a comparison on that. (laughter) It really doesn't matter. It probably wouldn't be fair."
QB Joe Flacco
On what his impression is of the Patriots' pass rush: "They've got a good group of guys; they're able to do some things. They've got a big group along the inside – and some guys on the outside – that are pretty athletic and can do their thing."
On how opportunistic the Patriots' secondary is when it comes to making big plays: "They play the ball well. When they get their shot, they make the catch. So, they have created some turnovers. Even though they've let up a good amount of yards, they haven't let up a ton of points. I think it's because they've been able to create those turnovers. Some of that probably comes from the fact that their offense has scored a lot of points, and other offenses had to throw the ball on them."
On how important it is for the Ravens to sustain drives and make big plays: "We have our guys, so we want to take advantage of that if we can. But these guys are a defense that prepares and doesn't like to give up those types of things. They make you go the long way, and make you dump the ball off and do all those things. So, we're going to have to be patient if they do give us a shot. It's going to be our job, in this type of game, to hit them the few times that we do get a shot."
On playing in Foxborough healthy instead of injured the way he was in the 2009 Wild Card game: "That was a playoff game. We've been up there since and played them pretty well; thought we should have come away with it. They finished it real well; they know how to win football games. Last time we went up there, it was the Wild Card round. We got out on them really early, and they had a couple turnovers. Our defense forced a couple turnovers, gave us really short fields, and we were able to punch the ball into the end zone. I didn't have to be a big part of it, and that's just the way it goes. If we can get a win like that again, then we'll get a win like that again. Anyway we can get a win we're going to take it."
On what other teams were able to do to defeat the Patriots this season: "They took care of the football, they were able to have sustained drives and create some plays. Obviously, their defenses played well and put some pressure on their quarterback."
On whether this week feels different than other weeks this season: "Not really. I mean, it's just another game [and we're] preparing for it. Our preparation is the same every week. We're coming out here and approaching this week just like any other, and getting ready to go play a big game in a tough place to play. (Reporter: "For you personally, too?") Yeah, same."
On whether having played in a big game like this before has helped him prepare: "I don't know. It's just a football game. It's one that means a lot and we've played … I don't know if one game helps you, but we've played eight playoff games since I've been here. When you get to play in that many games, and understand how important each one of them is, it just helps you kind of understand the importance of right now."
On how he deals with the added pressure that comes with the AFC Championship game: "You come in here, you go to practice, and you sit in your meetings. All that stuff, you don't really see most of it unless it trickles down from talking to you guys or one of the guys saw it on TV. But you come here, you take five minutes out of your day, it's really not that big of an issue. I don't know if you love doing it, but it's not really that hard to do. It doesn't really become a distraction unless you let it, and it's kind of difficult around here to let it become a distraction."
On whether the two touchdown passes in last week's game were audibles: "The touchdown passes? Not really. We kind of had them where we wanted them there. Anquan [Boldin] ran a good route. We'll usually come up, and run a sting there, and take the middle of the field. Anquan ran a corner on them. We had them pretty schemed up, and we were able to take advantage of them. They were big plays in the game, but they were not audibles."
On what all the support from the fans means to him: "I don't know what it means. You expect it around here; our fans are great all year. I think when we're playing in as big of a game as we're in right now, when we're playing in as big of a game we were in last week, you know that the fans around here are going to be excited. I think it's pretty cool for us to see. We're going to go out there, we're going to win this game and take it home for them."
On how important it is to make the Patriots react to their formations: "I think whatever personnel we throw out there, Cam [Cameron] is going to see what they throw out. We won't worry about that. We're going to go out there, we're going to play them with what they throw on the field and just execute our plays and try to keep the tempo up. Get in the huddle, and we're going to dictate it. They play teams differently. They're going to come out in three-down, they're going to come out in four-down. They're going to do what they do. But it's just getting a feel for what they're going to do early in the game and just staying on top of it. Calling plays and just doing what we do – which is execute our play – whatever defense they give us, we've seen it before. So, it's just a matter of reacting to it."