HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE
Opening statement: "Alright, it's good seeing everybody. I appreciate you guys being here. [It was] a very, very important win for us, and a very meaningful win for us. It puts us in good shape, but now we're onto the Colts. [We're] full steam ahead for that Monday night game here, and we're looking forward to it. What questions do you have?"
I'm sure you've probably heard what Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said about the last play of the game. At one part, he said that he expected it and it was because, "I know how they operate. That's their mode of operations where player safety is secondary." I didn't know how you would want to respond to that? (Jamison Hensley) "I mean, I thought we were on good terms. We had a nice chat before the game. [We've] known each other for a long time. But I promise you, I'm not going to give that insult one second thought. What's meaningful to us might not be meaningful to them. Their concerns are definitely not our concerns. … We didn't expect to get the ball back, but I had already decided … We decided that if we got the ball back, we were going to try to get the yards. We got it back with three seconds left. [They're] throwing the ball in the end zone with 10 seconds left. I don't know that there's a 16-point touchdown that's going to be possible right there – that didn't have anything to do with winning the game. So, like I said, what's meaningful to us might not be meaningful to them, and we're not going to concern ourselves with that."
Did that kind of surprise you though, based on the history your family has with him? (Jerry Coleman) "I'm not thinking about it. It doesn't matter to me."
Speaking of player safety, QB Lamar Jackson seemed to have taken a couple of shots that may have been late, too high, [or] too low. Is that something that you've spoken to the League about, plan to, or have any thoughts on? (Kyle Barber) "[We] plan to. We'll send that in. We do that every week. We've sent those in before. We've gotten those back that sometimes, they should be called, and sometimes, they shouldn't. But we'll be sending those in again. There were a couple of them in there that we'll ask about."
Just following up on that real quick, do you think QB Lamar Jackson is at all treated differently, seeing that he's a running quarterback? Somewhat like QB Cam Newton had in prior experiences, or QB Michael Vick? (Kyle Barber) "I think all the quarterbacks should be treated the same. I don't think any quarterback should be judged any differently in terms of how they're protected, that's for sure."
Is there any point, even this season, where you've gone up to an official and said, "Hey, we're seeing this. Can you keep special attention [to it]?" Is that something that happens? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, I mean, I think every coach does. I definitely do that. I feel a responsibility to do everything I can to protect our players when it's necessary. It doesn't happen a lot, but when it happens, you say something."
How much do you communicate with QB Lamar Jackson about trying to avoid contact? It was something that was brought up in the broadcast the other day. (Jerry Coleman) "I thought he did a good job of it yesterday. He was getting down. He was running out of bounds. But when you're in the pocket, there's nothing you can do to protect yourself – the rules are what protect quarterbacks in the pocket."
How is QB Lamar Jackson feeling? Last week, he had the back [injury]. Did he come out of this game OK? (Jamison Hensley) "He did. He came out of it really good. [He] really, really is in good shape. He feels great right now, and he's getting ready for the Colts game."
The Broncos defense obviously was a threat for the Ravens. How good was it for RB Le'Veon Bell to be activated for this one, especially for his blocking ability? (David Andrade) "That's a great point. Le'Veon [Bell], to your point, did a really nice job in pass protection – a couple really good blocks in there and made a couple nice cuts. He got hit in the backfield one time, spun out … Speaking of player safety, getting grabbed and his head twisted – that was one for player safety. But he made a couple guys miss. I thought he did well."
How do you think T Andre Smith did, kind of getting thrown in there, playing most of the second half for T Alejandro Villanueva? (Luke Jones) "He did pretty well. I'll say this; he hadn't played a game for a while, so he was definitely breathing hard, but that's to be expected. (laughter) He was excited, he was appreciative, and he did his best. I thought he did a good job."
Related to the offensive line, I know you hate timetables, but do you have any update on G/T Tyre Phillips? Is he an end-of-season kind of thing? Or is he going to … ? (Bo Smolka) "No, he's … It's weeks. I don't know how many weeks exactly. It's not months. He's on track at some point in time here. So, we'll just keep our fingers crossed."
With S DeShon Elliott out, DB Brandon Stephens, obviously, handled a lot of the snaps. How do you think he played? How has he come along since early in the season? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Brandon [Stephens], I think he played really well. He's really a conscientious guy. He really takes every assignment seriously. He wants to do everything the right way. He takes every technique point seriously. He wants to do it the right way, and you appreciate that – especially in a safety. Conscientiousness in a safety is really important; that's how you keep the ball in front of your defense. He's doing a good job of all that."
Do you think with WR Rashod Bateman, after having a full week [of practice], do you think he has a good chance of playing this week? (Jamison Hensley) "I think both those guys [Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin] have a chance of playing this week. We'll just have to see how it plays out."
Did you feel like you left this game with a little bit more clarity on the running back situation? (Cordell Woodland) "They're all … The clarity is that they all can play. That's probably as clear as we are, right now. So, we just have to figure out how they fit together with what we're doing offensively. We're happy with all of those guys, and we'll see as we go."
Did you feel like RB Latavius Murray made the most of his opportunities, even though he was running against a stacked line a lot? (Childs Walker) "Yes, yes. They did stack the line – he did make the most of his opportunities – that's why we threw it so much. They were very determined to stop the run. Obviously, that was a very important goal for those guys – to keep us under 100 yards [rushing], apparently – so, we threw it."
Now that you've gotten a chance to go back and look at the film, did anything stick out that maybe you didn't catch in live action that you can reveal? (Jerry Coleman) "With the guys? The team? I'll tell you, one thing that really jumped out was how strong we were in the fourth quarter. I heard from a lot of you guys, 'What about the fourth quarter and the altitude?' And I heard from a lot of their guys that that's when they were going to win the game – in the fourth quarter – because we were going to be affected by the altitude. Certainly, we weren't. So, I was pretty proud of that. I thought we won the game in the fourth quarter. That's when you win games. And to be able to do it there, in altitude, that's a statement for our players, for the conditioning [and] for how hard they work. Yes, I'll leave it at that."
Can you describe a little bit about how, at the end of the game, you celebrated with the fans? And then, there was a guy kind of pulling you in. Did he have a lot of strength, or in the last minute, did you think this is not a good idea and you just went back? (David Andrade) "As soon as I got pulled way high … I mean, I was up there, man. Then, I started thinking, 'Is this a good idea?' (laughter) Did I stick the landing? Not quite, but I'm healthy, I'm walking today. That guy is a guy who played at Western Michigan. When I first started coaching with my dad [from] 1984-86, he was the starting center, Scott Sypniewski. And I knew he was at the game, but I kind of forgot, and I'm looking at this crazy man yelling over there in the corner, and I'm like … He kind of caught my attention – he was going nuts – and I was like, (squints) 'Oh, oh, that's Scott.' I finally recognized him. So, he was kind of like … I don't know what he was doing. But I just jumped up, and then I had second thoughts. I thought he was going to pull me in there like the Lambeau Leap, but thank God it didn't go that far. (laughter) But it was fun. It was really fun. The fans were awesome. To see that many fans there, to hear the 'O' the way it was, to see the bowl ringed with Ravens fans at the end going crazy and celebrating the way they did, that's why you do it. To me, that's who we answer to. Ultimately, we answer to our fans, right? And you guys are the conduit to our fans. So, the ability to see the fans, the joy on their faces, to give the fans an opportunity to talk about a record for years to come, that's valuable, that has meaning. We don't take that stuff lightly. It starts with the fans. And to me, I was so happy for them. You see them – the way they were responding to the game and the win – and to be there in Denver means a lot."
Do you guys see this long stretch at home as an opportunity to sort of build something – momentum or whatever you want to call it? (Childs Walker) "[In the] big picture, you might … I would just kind of count on you guys to write about that stuff, really. For us, we just have to go to work on the next day, and our preparation for a very good Colts team. They won, [and when] you watch them on tape, they're excellent, they're physical. Their defense is tremendous. They have a quarterback [Carson Wentz] who's always given us trouble. We have our hands full coming up Monday night, and that's all we'll be thinking about."
You're not going to complain about not getting on a plane until November 11, right? (Jamison Hensley) (laughter) "I can't complain about that."
I'm sure fans are watching the catch WR Marquise Brown made on loop. For a coach – those kinds of catches don't come around that often – do you watch it a second or third or fourth time? (Shawn Stepner) "Yes, I get my phone, [and when] we got on the plane, I see the highlights, and I pop them up. Coaches tape is one thing, but it's fun to watch the TV copy and hear the call. So, yes, you do go through that, and that's the first one I pulled up – was that. And just for him [Marquise Brown] … I put myself in his shoes: Here he goes; he's had the couple drops the game before, and he gets out there, and he gets open, he's 15 yards behind the secondary, and Lamar [Jackson] puts it out there now, and he has to go get it. Just, what's going through his mind – I'm sure he's like, 'I've got to get this thing! I've got to go make this play!' And to see him go make it, then to see him come back [with] the smile on his face and just to be able to share that, as a coach – as you're pointing out – that's really what coaching is."
Just talk about your wide receivers across the board. Denver has a lot of good cornerbacks, and your wide receivers won a lot of one-on-one matchups that they had to win. Can you talk about all the work they put in this offseason and the job they did in Denver? (Ryan Mink) "Yes, the route-running was great. The pass protection, especially the play-action pass protection, was excellent. So, it was a group effort. Lamar [Jackson] made some throws. The throws outside the numbers, those deep-out throws that a lot of people are saying Lamar can't throw – obviously, he's proven them wrong on that. And the downfield throws – he hit those throws. And you know Lamar, I know Lamar; the way he [is], he's going to look at the tape and see the one or two he didn't hit, and he's going to be mad about those two, which you appreciate. So, those guys have done a great job; they work hard. We're getting stronger in that room, as you know. So, I'm excited about that group."
We didn't have a chance to ask you about DE Derek Wolfe and what happened over the weekend. Is that still a couple of weeks away, and we're going to take the roster spot, or is there a setback there? Do you expect to see him in relatively short order? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, that's a good question. He just hasn't been able to train. He had the back stiffness, tightness – whatever is in there with that – and he just hasn't been able to train. So, we just felt like, 'You know what? He's back feeling good. Let's give him a chance to train and get in football shape, and then, when he's ready to go, he'll be ready to go.'"