DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening Statement:"Thanks for waiting; I appreciate you guys waiting. That's the Make a Wish Foundation [guest who is here]. Obviously, it's a huge part of what we do here and just a great, great program. Anybody who wants to donate to Make a Wish, it's pretty awesome.
"We'll be wearing the commemorative sticker for Pat Modell – Patricia Breslin Modell. You know, Patricia Breslin, that was her acting name. She appeared in more TV appearances than any actress in history, there for a while, until Mr. Modell pulled her out of it and talked her into marrying him, somehow. (laughter) We're still trying to figure that one out; he did pretty good. And Lucille Ball, which was Pat's great friend, overtook her over the years. They were great friends for a long time. I mean, you could be with Mrs. Modell and hear her tell those stories and just laugh and cry. She was just a great, great person. The team will be honoring her on Sunday. It will mean a lot to us. The players know all about it, and I think they're excited about it, too. That's going to be part of what we're playing for on Sunday."
Lee Evans, the last couple of days, hasn't been able to practice. Is it just one of those things where it's just going to take a long time? (Aaron Wilson)"I don't know. We thought it would be fine by now, and it's just going a lot slower than we thought. We say we're day-to-day on it, but you know, he hasn't practiced. So, I don't see him playing in the game right now. He's going to need some practice. It's been very disappointing; no one's been more surprised than all of us. But, [we'll] just wait and see if the doctors can figure it out. He has to keep working on it."
It appears the bye week didn't really get a lot of guys too healthy. (Jerry Coleman)"Yeah, whatever."
Did last year's Houston game, in any way, have a role in your decision to go to the zone-blocking scheme? Did that have an influence at all seeing what they were able to do? (Ken Murray)"You know, I think we did OK against them last year, per se. It wasn't like we didn't do well and went to that scheme. I think we respected that scheme. It was more the offensive coaches, I think. We've run that scheme, we ran the zone-blocking scheme, and we've run it here since we've been here. We were a little more gap scheme-oriented the first year – we were running the power play a little more when we had the huge offensive line with [former T] Willie Anderson. We kind of moved toward the zone stuff a little more since then. I think what we did was we adjusted just a little bit more towards the way they run the zone scheme – a little bit more of the chop-blocking, a little more of the stretch plays as opposed to the inside-zone plays so. We're not the only… Washington is running it, Denver is running it. So, in that particular way, we just have a lot of respect for it and we like what they do. (Reporter interjects: "So, that game wasn't the game that said, 'Oh, this is what we want to do.") No. No, I don't think so."
Can you tell us anything about Ben Grubbs and how he's progressing? (Dan Kolko)"Yes, he got stepped on yesterday, so we'll just have to see. It was a little bruised today, so we decided not to take a chance today. We'll have to see on Sunday, before the game, how he's moving."
Enough with your injuries, the Texans' Matt Schaub, his shoulder is hurt. I mean, we found out for the first time the other day. We haven't spoken to you since then. I'm sure you anticipate him playing, but when your throwing shoulder is hurt, that's not a good thing for a starting quarterback. How do you look at it? Have you been able to identify the play where he was hurt? (Jerry Coleman)"We've seen it on tape. There were a number of plays where he got hit. I don't know exactly which one it might have been for that play. I saw where he got hit on the knee; I think they called that. Yeah, we saw. Is there a follow-up question? (Reporter: "Yeah, I'm just saying you're facing a bruised-up team, and their starting quarterback has a bad arm. Do you have a reaction to that?) No. I have no reaction to that."
They fined Ray Rice for a stiff-arm. It wasn't one of those stiff-arms, I guess, where you get the guy in the facemask. I thought the stiff-arm was still [legal]? (Aaron Wilson)"Well, the only stiff… The stiff-arm is legal. You can't grab and twist the facemask, which I didn't really see on that play. I didn't realize he got fined for that until you just mentioned it. I haven't seen that yet, so… I'm sure he'll be appealing that for sure."
How important will it be to get out of the blocks fast? Both of these teams have tremendous first quarters. If you look at the NFL, they're 1 and 2 scoring just an amazing amount of points. (Jim Forner)"I think that's going to be an interesting thing to look at early in the game. I mean, it's really important to get the lead, and when you get the lead, you want to keep the lead. It's not complicated. Both these teams have had some success doing that. So hopefully, it'll be us. We're going to try to do that."
How has their secondary changed schematically with personnel overhaul and the 3-4 implemented by Wade Phillips? (Jason Butt)"I think you see a lot of man coverage back there. They run some single-high fire zones behind that, too. They are not as much into two-high coverages, but they play them a little bit. Schematically, that's probably the biggest difference. Then, they have some different players back there that are playing really good. Bringing [CB] Johnathan Joseph over from Cincinnati was big. [CB] Jason Allen is playing well. [They've] got [CB] Kareem Jackson the rookie… Is he a rookie or second-year guy? (Reporter interjects: "Second-year guy.") Second-year guy, yeah. That sounds right. He'll be healthy, it looks like, this week. They've just got a nice group of guys back there."
Does that bode well for somebody like Torrey [Smith], who is going to step in again, who has the speed and the ability to separate in man-to-man coverage? (Jason Butt)"Yeah, just hopefully… No matter who you are playing, the speed and ability to separate downfield is really important. Yeah, I think that gives him a chance, hopefully in any game to make some plays. That's really going to be important for us to do that."
When you see somebody has a huge injury list like the Texans do, does that have any meaning at all to you? (Ken Murray)"Not really. I think it's just indicative of where we are at and how many guys they choose to put on the list and all that kind of stuff. Everybody is banged up right now. It seems like it is more than in other years. I am looking forward to seeing the stats on that. It seems like there is a lot of those kind of things – bumps and bruises."
They have an awful lot of hamstring, interestingly enough, which says somebody didn't train real well in the offseason. (Ken Murray)"I don't know. The muscle strains have been an issue, it seems like, across the League."
Given the number of injuries in the secondary this year, how critical has it been to have the healthiest Ed Reed we've seen in the last few years, not just for his play, but that leadership he brings to the secondary? (Luke Jones)"It's a great point. Ed [Reed] has been really healthy. He looks great physically. You look at him, he really is in great shape. He has bulked up a little bit, even I think from previous years. He holds us together back there. We had a play out here today where we were in a certain coverage, and we had young corners out there with him, and they really didn't know where to go. Ed changed everything in a split-second and made everything work, not the way it was really designed to work, but he made it work because of where guys were misaligned. That's what a guy like that can do for you."