Opening statement: "Good to see everybody. It's been a good day. I just want to mention something that we didn't mention yesterday – the fans. The fans were really tremendous. With all the excitement, that was something that was maybe overlooked a little bit. But our fans were really great. We had a pretty darn good crowd there for the weather. People made it there. It was almost full, and it was loud. [There was] one of the biggest 'O's!!!' we've had probably all year in the National Anthem, and they stayed to the end as far as I could see. They're probably pretty glad they came. But that was a great thing. Having had a chance to look at the tape, we evaluated all the little things football-wise, and we have a pretty good feel for where we are. And, the bottom line is we've got to find a way to win the next game."
**With the next game not being until next Monday evening and with the extraordinary way this week's game ended, will this be a case where you'd bend your 24-hour rule for celebrating the win and let the guys enjoy it a little longer? *(Joe Platania) *"I don't know, probably. We'll come back Wednesday now. Knowing our guys, they'll be in here tomorrow. A lot of those guys will be in here watching tape. They'll have their iPads, and they'll get Detroit [video] fired up. So, the guys will probably come in Wednesday having already taken a good, hard look at Detroit, knowing our guys. Wednesday will be a bonus day for us, and Thursday will start our normal schedule."
**How close was Elvis Dumervil to playing yesterday, and did the conditions factor into your decision whether he would play? And do you feel good about his chances to play next week? *(Aaron Wilson) *"Elvis [Dumervil] has a chance for next week. He looks pretty good today. It's kind of a bruise in his ankle. So, we'll just have to see where he's at. I was hopeful for him this week, so I'll be more hopeful for him next week."
*Was it hard to get a good evaluation on tape given yesterday's weather conditions? Were you able to see if there were mistakes made? *(Mark Zinno) *"Are you talking about offense or defense or what?" *(Reporter: "In general, was it hard to see what went wrong?") "No, not really. There weren't very many mistakes on offense at all. We had a couple of missed assignments. We had a couple of things late on defense that hurt us right at the end of the game. Other than that, the defense played really well. Offensively, we had really … I can't think of one missed assignment we had offensively. Talk about mistakes, there really weren't too many mistakes on offense. One of the things that was a little bit of an issue in the conditions was the game speed was hard to evaluate, especially for Joe [Flacco]. So, you're back there going through your progressions, and the progressions are so much slower probably than, obviously, your mental clock says. So, the timing of those routes is really different. Guys are coming open but probably not when Joe expected them to come open as much. Figuring that out was something that was a challenge for him. He did a pretty good job with it, but that was probably a challenge."
To what do you attribute the Ravens' improved efficiency in the red zone yesterday? (Aaron Wilson)"The biggest thing was we made some plays in the pass game. We made some plays down there. We got it down there tight. We made a couple of throws. We were on the 5-yard line one time, and we got into our jumbo package and got the ball [and] almost really scored with Bernard [Pierce] in that. And then we hit a play-action pass out of 'jumbo' from the half-yard line, which was a good play. And then we kept them spread out the next time down there and found Dennis [Pitta] on the little press out, and Dennis had a nice matchup on the safety and just made a play. To me, that was the biggest thing."
**What did you see from Ray Rice yesterday, particularly in the second half? It looked like he played really well. *(Matt Zenitz) *"The footing helped the run game a lot for both teams in the second half. It was pretty hard to get going footing-wise in the first half for either team as far as blocking and all those kinds of things. Ray [Rice] was running hard north and south. I thought our guys did a good job of blocking it, especially in the fourth quarter. We did a good job of reaching guys and getting some guys cut off better than we did early in the game. We got a hat on a hat, and Ray ran hard. Bernard [Pierce] did a good job, too. One time, we ran a counter play to the right, and the nose guard did a great job. They had a little blitz on coming from the left, and they got penetration, and Bernard came back out of it and created some yards back to the left the opposite direction where the play was supposed to go. Things like that, when backs can do that for you, that's a big plus."
**Adrian Peterson tweeted that the fans were throwing snowballs at him and called Baltimore's fans the worst in the NFL. Do you have any response to that? *(Jerry Coleman) *"Who doesn't throw snowballs when it snows? Maybe Minnesota, because they're so used to snow. Maybe that has gotten old for them. I don't know. *(laughter) *What do you want me to say? We have the best fans in the NFL – I can tell you that."
Being able to go through the last 10 minutes emotionally and looking at it now on tape, it's got to be a great feeling for the team and you. (Bill West) *"It's definitely an epic finish. We did a little study. Our stats guy here did a study on the win probabilities after each of those plays, and it was like 90 percent towards 100 percent after each score for the team that just scored. The chances of that happening are astronomical. We pretty much all know that, right? So, to describe the emotions, I don't have the words for it. It was probably written all over my face. I've seen a couple things on TV, and it's like, 'Wow, that's what I look like?' *(laughter) *I know that's what I felt like. But that probably describes it best." *
Were you losing it emotionally, because that is the way it looked on TV? (Jerry Coleman)"I was just thinking. I was considering the next [play]. No, I wasn't about to break down in that sense. I'm not even going to use the term."
*Asa Jackson was running around with his shirt off before the game. Were you guys worried about him getting hypothermia? *(Aaron Wilson) *"Asa [Jackson] was, really? I didn't see that. Well, Asa has got a pretty good physique, [so] maybe he wanted to show off for you and for all the reporters. I don't know." *(laughter)
**You're going up to Detroit in a dome. Is that a good thing coming this late in the year with all the noise that you are going to get? *(Dave Ginsburg) *"It's going to be a big challenge. I don't think indoor-outdoor means much for us; it won't matter. We've been in weather. I don't think we've been in a dome yet, that I recall. The crowd noise is going to be a factor. It's Monday Night Football, it's going to be loud, it's a hugely important game for both teams, it's a great place to play, and it's going to be a huge challenge for us. Like I said last night, it literally is going to be the Lions' den. It's their den, and they're very good at home, so it's going to be tough. We've got to be ready. We've got to be at our best. We'll have to play the best we've played all year."
**Obviously, the home and road records are a lot different. Do you guys look like you've played a lot differently on the road as opposed to home? Do you see a big difference in the way you've performed at home versus the way you've performed on the road? *(Clifton Brown) *"We've won the close games at home, and we haven't won them on the road. That's the bottom line. We've done the things we needed to do to win tight games at home, and we haven't done the things we needed to do on the road. It's us – it's what we've done – the plays we've made or haven't made that have been the difference."
**You and the players have said all year that it is all about getting hot at the right time, getting hot come December and come January. Now that you guys have won three in a row, do you guys feel like you're getting hot and getting healthy at the right time? *(Matt Zenitz) *"We're getting healthy at the right time. We've been healthy for a couple weeks now. That's been big for us. We're healthy right now – relatively healthy – and the extra day should help us. I don't think I've ever talked about 'hot' or 'not hot.' It's important to be your best in December; I think that's how I've said it. 'Be your best in December and January. Be playing your best.' If that's what hot is, then yes, that's what we need to do. We need to be our best right now. It's what we work for. We're excited to get out there and get to practice and see how we can get better between one game and the next and be at our best on Monday. It's really that simple."
On the topic of getting healthy … The wide receiving corps is as healthy as it's been all year after dealing with some injuries earlier in the year. You get [Dennis] Pitta back – I'm sure Joe [Flacco] is excited about that. What's it mean to your passing game, now that you have that full complement of guys healthy?* (Garrett Downing) "I hope it makes us at our best; I hope it makes us better. Hopefully, [with] Dennis [Pitta] being in there, and I include Dallas [Clark] being in there, too … He wasn't active this last game, but Dallas has done a lot of great things for us. He's exactly in that conversation to bolster us up. He gives us more of a threat to the inside stuff that we're doing and hopefully makes everybody a little bit better. Along those lines, injury-wise – I'm surprised you haven't asked that yet: [Brandon] Stokley has a concussion, so he'll go through the concussion protocol. We'll have to see how it shakes out. Unfortunately, he's had a number of those in his career, so it could be problematic for us. We'll have to see in the next 24 hours or so. And, then we [already] talked about [Elvis] Dumervil."* **
Just as far as Dallas [Clark] … Do you see a role for him with Dennis [Pitta] back now? (Matt Zenitz) "Absolutely. Dallas [Clark] is going to be a big part of what we're doing going forward. It just depends on the game plan and how the offensive coaches decide to put that together."* *
This happened a couple of times this year in the fourth quarter, where the defense either wasn't able to get off the field to get your offense the ball back and then you had your lapses on Sunday. How concerned are you about the fourth quarter defense? Is there anything you can do to correct it? (Mark Zinno) "Yes it is – I'm concerned about it. That's the biggest issue we have right now on defense. Now you say that, [but] you've got to play well early and you've got to play well the rest of the game. Anything can get you in the next game. Finishing on defense has been our biggest issue. That's something we have to be better at. There are things we're looking at in practice, things we feel like we can emphasize in practice a little bit more and try to put them in certain situations to create the emphasis to just do the right things in those situations. For us, it really comes down to execution, in terms of assignment and technique. I think we're a very good, sound defense – assignment and technique-wise – throughout the course of the game and really throughout the course of the season. In those situations, we haven't been as good as we have the rest of the time. That's something that we've got to clean up. To me, that's not a hard fix, that's just something we have to put our mind to and get it done."* *
John, the defense hasn't been able to collect any sacks in the last two weeks. Have you seen anything different in terms of protection, or has it been a product of, like yesterday, field conditions? (Luke Jones) "I don't think it's a product of what people are doing differently. They're getting the ball out pretty quick. There haven't been a lot of downfield-route-type things. We had some maximum protection yesterday, two backs, and those kinds of things where they try to throw it down the field. They were mostly throwing fades or they threw seams over the middle. Those balls come out pretty quick. Field conditions were a factor. The sacks that we gave up yesterday weren't normal sacks. They were extended play sacks where Joe [Flacco] got flushed out – I think at the end of the half – things like that to try to make the play scrambling. He made a couple of plays, outside the pocket, but there was no immediate pressure. Yesterday was more the conditions than anything else. They were rushing in three, four, five inches of snow for most of the game."* *
John, Torrey Smith has had fewer targets in recent weeks and fewer catches as well. Is that a product of team's paying more attention to him or is it more that Jacoby [Jones] is healthier now? Dennis [Pitta] is back and other players have emerged, taking a little bit of that pressure off of him where Joe [Flacco] doesn't have to lock on to him maybe as much as he did before. (Matt Vensel)"It's more of the latter. We haven't seen any different defenses or anything like that. I really think the fact that we have some more weapons that are available to us should help Torrey [Smith]. Torrey made a couple of nice plays yesterday. There are a couple of plays I'm sure he would love to have the chance to do again. Torrey has been a huge threat for us – a big-play threat for us – ever since he got here. If we can make a couple of plays downfield – especially on those nine routes and use some speed and make some plays that way – that'd be big for us."
Daryl Smith set a franchise record for pass deflections by a linebacker. Just your thoughts on the way he's covered the pass this year and what that's meant to you guys? (Aaron Wilson)"I didn't know he set a record for pass deflections – that's great. But now that I think about it, he's had a bunch of them." (Reporter: "Seventeen.") *"Seventeen pass deflections." *(Reporter: "Ray Lewis had 13 in 2003.") "He's got a really good knack in coverage in terms of anticipating routes; that'd be the biggest thing. He understands spacing, splits, route-stems and has a pretty good feel for what's going to be run, so he anticipates those things and breaks really well. [Inside linebacker coach] Don Martindale has done a great job of taking him through that stuff and anticipating. I think it's the most [Smith has] had in his career, too, probably. So, he's done a great job. He's a smart player."
Jacoby Jones has gotten a lot of the accolades for the big returns, but has 10 other guys blocking for him that have done the heavy lifting. Just that whole group in general, how have they progressed this year? (Mark Zinno)"Both of our return phases have really done a great job as far as blocking. We understand – better than we ever have – the geometry and the angles and the techniques of blocking. I thought after the game it was blocked perfectly, the touchdown, then I went back and watched it. Like anything else, it wasn't perfect. There were a couple of things that could have been better, and we'll go back and study those things. We had worked on that particular return against that particular kick really hard all week, to the point where on Saturday, we worked on it one more time, and Joe [Flacco] was back there complaining to [assistant head coach/special teams coordinator] Jerry Rosburg about why we're working this thing again. (laughter) *So, of course, I had a chance to chide Joe about that in the cafeteria today – which was great for me to have a chance to do that." *(laughter)
Between Dennis Pitta working the middle of the field, and Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce on the ground, it just seemed like things clicked in the fourth quarter. You had over 200 yards of offense in the fourth quarter. What do you sort of attribute that to? Is that what it's supposed to look like? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Yes, we would like to have 200 yards in a quarter – that's what it's supposed to look like, certainly. *(laughing) *We need to be productive. We've had our ups and downs offensively. We've been trying to put this thing together throughout the course of the season, and we've had some good moments, but we've had a lot of challenging moments, too. So, we're going to continue to try to do that with the pieces that we have, and we think we've got the pieces to do that. There are certain things that we are, and there are certain things that we're not. And certainly, at this point in time, we know what those things are. So, you can criticize us all you want, you can say, 'They're not this and they're not that.' And you know what? You're probably right. We are what we are, and we've got to find a way with the guys we have to be a real potent offense, and I really believe we can do that. I know we can do that. Adding Dennis is a big part of that. You add Dennis to Dallas [Clark] and Ed [Dickson] in the tight end deal. Bernard and Ray are both very talented guys. The offensive line continues to improve up front, and the schemes that we're using are really good for those guys, because they're athletic guys who can really move. And that's what we're trying to build, and we've got three games – and really, one game – to continue to do that."
What do you think Dennis Pitta's return can do for Ed Dickson? Does that free him up more in your mind, potentially? (Ryan Mink)"Potentially." (Reporter: "Not necessarily?") "We'll see. I think it's a pretty obvious answer – yes. The more guys you put out there that are weapons, it helps everybody. So, to look at us offensively, we're not a one-man show on offense. We've got guys at every position that can make plays. So, you put five guys out there that potentially everybody can be involved in the pass game. We feel like we have good runners that can make some plays that continue to improve. That's good for us. Joe [Flacco] is the kind of guy that will spread it around. Joe is not the kind of guy that is really going to go in one place, or look in one spot all the time. So, he'll have the ability to spread the ball around. It should be good for all those guys."
With Marlon Brown's size, does he have a certain knack or feeling for the ball in the red zone? Does he have a feel for getting open or anything you see that jumps out? (Clifton Brown)"I see the same things that you probably see. He's a big, strong guy with body control and catch radius. Joe [Flacco] can put the ball around him, and he can make an adjustment and go make the catch, and that's really valuable in the red zone. So, that's probably where it shows up the most, but he's done it on some inside-type routes in the slot really well, and I also think he can be a pretty good route-runner outside. That's a little tougher, [and] that's something that takes a little more time to develop. But, he's working hard on that stuff also."