Friday Practice Transcript - 12/02


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "Good to see everybody. [We're] getting ready to play the Browns, as you know. [We] had a good week of practice. It seems like it's been a long time since we've played, so we're pretty anxious."

In terms of Ray [Lewis], do you feel like there is a chance for [him to play] Sunday, or is it probably unlikely since he wasn't practicing this week? (Aaron Wilson) "I feel like there is a chance. We'll just see how it goes."

Dannell [Ellerbe] progressed well, coming back from the hamstring [injury] this week… (Dan Kolko) "Dannell [Ellerbe] progressed well. Yes."

The time off, has it seemed to have affected the guys, the practice tempo in any way? (Joe Platania) "I think we had a good week. It helped, to some extent. Physically, it can't hurt. I think it helped. Our guys did a really good job of going to work on the rehab stuff, the condition aspect of it – rest. The guys did a good job with all that."

With the return of Peyton Hillis this week, an added bonus for them, I guess... The defense is really going to have to step up. (Jim Forner) "Yeah, Peyton Hillis being in there now and also with a week under his belt, I think last week was his first week in a while. They've got three really good running backs and got a really physical offensive line. Their running game is a force to be reckoned with. I think all the plays off of that, the play-action-type plays, the double-moves, the throwback-type plays, those are the kind of things that they have done well historically. We'll have to be prepared for all that kind of stuff."

They seem to play with a lot more confidence when he [Hillis] is in there. Do you seem to get that? (Jim Forner) "I don't know. I haven't really looked at it from that perspective, but he is a really good player. So he is going to help any team, any offense be better."

Just how difficult is Cleveland as a place to play, not only the weather, but the fans there? It's a historic rivalry. (Ryan Mink) "Right. It's a tough place to play anyway. The stadium is huge; it's really right on top of you. It's a great stadium as far as that is concerned. They've got rabid fans. It's right on the lake [Lake Erie]. It's got great tradition. Obviously this rivalry, I think, has special meaning to both sides. It's a great rivalry to be a part of, and it's always a very intense game."

The Browns made a switch this week at long snapper. As a former special teams coordinator, is it difficult to expect a new long snapper to develop a chemistry with his kicker and his punter so quickly? (Ed Lee) "Well, it is. It's challenging. It's not something that you can't do, because there are not a lot of mental things that he has to learn. But, just the timing is really hard. [I] would expect them to be very conscious of snapping it, catching it, getting it down, especially with the field conditions. It's not ideal, obviously. You wouldn't want to do that, but they felt like they had to make a move, and they feel like it will upgrade them."

A lot of attention was paid to some of the moves in free agency, letting go of a couple of productive veterans, and most people are applauding those now because you have had guys come in and step up. Can you talk about how that has kind of worked out and what that says about the decisions you guys made and the tough decisions you guys made? (Jeff Zrebiec) "You are pulling one out. I haven't really given it much thought since [the summer], really. I think we have a lot of confidence. We have a lot of confidence in each other. Those are conversations that went all the way back to March, February, from the top down and throughout. They were made with a great deal of thought and care, and you hope they work out. I think, so far, we have done some good things, but that story still has to be written."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content