BALTIMORE RAVENS TRANSCRIPTS: COLTS WEDNESDAY
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening Statement:"OK, good to see everybody. I just want to give you some injury update information. We got the call from Dr. [James] Andrews' office late last night. They completed the micro-fracture surgery on Kelly [Gregg]. As a matter of fact, he did two surgeries for us. We also had Joe Reitz getting his shoulder surgery. Kelly's surgery was successful. It went better than anticipated as far as what work had to be done. In other words, less work had to be done, and he'll be rehabbing. He'll go on IR [Injured Reserve], and he'll be rehabbing for the rest of the season and into the offseason. He should be ready to go in the OTAs [Organized Team Activities].
"Just some other stuff so you have it – Adam Terry, Fabian [Washington], Dan Wilcox, Derrick Martin, [Tom] Zbikowski, Todd Heap – they've all got little assorted, and sundry, bumps and bruises. They'll all be working to rehab this week. I guess you could call them day-to-day, if you wanted to, but they all are working to get back on Sunday.
"One other thing, just to kind of put it in perspective, we've got Troy back. Troy is working full-speed ahead as a healthy quarterback this week, really for the first time, which is exciting and great news for us. He adds to our team. We talked about it last week: He strengthens us, and he'll be our third quarterback this week. He's working hard to expand his role, regain his proficiency where he was before and build from there, and work his way potentially into the backup role. And, that will be his role this year – possibly in a role where he can contribute playing quarterback for us down the road. But that all remains to be seen by game play and what not, and that's where we're at."
On if there is little or no drop off in the D-line's play with the loss of NT Kelly Gregg, due to DT Justin Bannan:"It's a great question – little or no drop off, or what degree of drop off? I don't think we've seen any drop off. And, that's what you're shooting for when you build a football team. You've got a guy like Justin Bannan in there playing for you. He's played as well or better than any nose guard in the National Football League, and it's reflected in the way our defense is played. So the answer is yes, you'd love to have the depth, but we brought in another nose guard. We're bringing another nose guard in here today. We brought in Lamar Divens recently; we've got [former practice squad player] J'Vonne Parker in the mix. So we've got to develop those guys also so they can back up Justin the same way he backed up Kelly."
On how not having S Bob Sanders changes the Colts' run defense:"Well, Bob Sanders is a great player, but they're in the same situation that we're in. They've got guys that they've plugged in, and their offensive line's been the same thing, and the defensive line – they've had their [injury] issues. They look like the same defense to me, in the sense that when you watch them on tape, they're flying around. They play fast, they swarm to the football, so there's not too much drop off there. But Sanders is a great player."
On the Colts' offense not being what it's been, but if he still sees the same offensive weapons on film:"All those skill players are the same guys. You're right. Peyton [Manning] is still in there, and all the receivers are still in there, the tight end is still in there, the backs are still in there. They're as dangerous as they've ever been. We'll have our hands full."
On how T Jared Gaither has played thus far:"I think Jared has played very well. For Jared Gaither to be a young, second-year player and playing at the level he's playing is a great compliment to him and to our coaches. But, Jared would be the first to tell you, he's got light-years to go to be the player he can be. We've got really high hopes and expectations for him."
On advice or counsel he'd give to Gaither for when he goes against Colts DE Dwight Freeney:"Play fast, because Dwight's going to be playing fast. Really, when you go against a great player like that at any position, but especially left tackle, technique is the issue. He's got to concentrate on good, fundamental technique."
On if he's amazed at how Colts QB Peyton Manning can see defenses and react so quickly:"I'm always amazed by great players at any position. Peyton Manning is one of the best to play the quarterback position, probably in the history of the game. When you watch him, it's a joy to watch him play, until you have to play him. Then it's a little different emotion that you feel. But we're looking forward to it."
On challenges for the Ravens' defensive backs against the Colts:"When you look at the big picture, I guess we're four or five DBs down, depending on how it all shakes out. But we've got confidence in the guys that are going to be in there playing. Frank [Walker] has played well for us. Chris McAlister has played well for us. The safeties have played well. Corey Ivy has played well. Those guys are our guys, and they will play well in the game."
On if he follows the success of other first-year head coaches:"Well, in the sense you follow all the games, you know. And, I guess it's kind of interesting because that's our coaching class. So in one sense you pull for them, but we just want to make sure we're upholding our end of the bargain."
On his brother, Jim Harbaugh, being reprimanded by the Pac 10 for comments about officiating in the Notre Dame-Stanford game and if their family had anything to say about John's withholding comment on the Terrell Suggs penalty called during the Titans game:"I don't even know what you're talking about. Is there another question?"
On how much the productivity of S Jim Leonhard impresses him:"Jim Leonhard – we knew Jim Leonhard was a really good player. And that's why we were kind of surprised that we were going to bring him in [during] the offseason like we did, before the draft, before we drafted the two young safeties, when we had a huge need at safety, because we didn't really have a third safety behind Dawan [Landry]. But he's played beyond expectations. I guess we shouldn't have been surprised, because he played well in Buffalo the last few years, too. But he's playing pass defense, plays run defense, he blitzes well, he tackles –just all the things a good player does."
On Leonhard's punt returns:"He's been solid. He catches the ball – made a tough catch on the knuckleball punt we got from [Craig] Hentrich last week, and he's gotten yards. As a starting safety it's hard to put him back there too much on punt returns, but the fact that he can handle it is pretty impressive."
On how one or two plays a game can make a big difference in this league:"We always have said that every game comes down to four or five plays, and there might be 160, 170, 180 plays in a football game. You just don't know which four to seven plays it's going to be. It's critical to play every play like it's going to be the play that makes a difference in the game. And that's what, I guess, is fun to look at after the game, especially for the media and the fans, and for coaches and players. You go back and you say, 'What were the four to seven plays that made the difference in the game? What could we have done better or what did we do well?' We're always striving to make sure that those four – we've got to play them all – that we play those four to seven in a winning way. And that's the difference."
On if T Adam Terry can't play, how nice it is to have backup T Willie Anderson:"We've said it all week – we're sure glad we have Willie Anderson. It's going to be nice to have him in there playing if Adam can't play. You know, Willie's been playing, and those two have kind of been sharing that spot, and they've been working substitution groups. So we're really hoping we have them both because then they'll stay in some of their packages."
QB Joe Flacco
On whether he has any increased excitement going into Indianapolis to face a quarterback like Peyton Manning:"It should be fun. You grow up watching Peyton for the last nine, 10 years, so it should be a lot of fun. He's a great quarterback, and it's really our defense's job to go up against him. But it should be a lot of fun."
On the importance of having sustained drives:"I think we're just going to continue to do what we've been doing, and obviously, try to do a little bit better of a job of putting the ball in the end zone and putting some points on the board. We've just got to continue to do what we've been doing each week and continue to improve on what we were doing. We're getting better and better each week. We're making huge strides even when you can't see it. We've just got to continue to do that and go into Indianapolis ready to compete."
On if guys like WR Mark Clayton and TE Todd Heap's increased involvement was a result of WR Derrick Mason facing more double teams last game:"I think they definitely tried to double team [Mason] a couple times. We have the guys to win with. Mark and Todd are definitely going to get open for us, and we're going to hit them with the ball. Each week might call for somebody new to come out and step up and make some plays, and we've got the guys to do it."
On what he takes away from the final drive of each half:"The final drive at the end of the half, we got down there, we got in a position where we had a chance to put some points on the board, and we ended up not coming away with any. The final drive at the end of the game, obviously, I just made a bad decision outside of the pocket and didn't give us a chance to go down there and get a field goal or put the ball in the end zone. So you've just got to learn to throw the ball away, which I should already know. But I guess it always helps when you actually experience it and you have to deal with that. There are a lot of things you can learn. There's some upside to it, and there's also the fact that, at the end of the game, you've got to make a smarter decision and give yourself a chance."
On whether his field of vision is getting better:"I don't really think it was my vision on the interceptions. I guess one positive thing I can take out of it is it was just the decision outside of the pocket. I saw the guy, [but] just didn't make a good decision on it. I feel like in the pocket, I'm seeing things well, and I'm continuing to see things better each week."
On if he feels quantum leaps at any point in his progress:"No, during the week in practice, you try to learn as much as you can and try to study the film just so that you can learn as much as you think you can. You go out there on Sunday, and you play. You do what you know how to do. You come back on Monday and see what you can learn from it. You're always trying to learn during the game, too, but you kind of have to just move on and get on to the next play and do what you can do. So I don't know if I've necessarily had any point in time where I've noticed a huge leap. It's just been pretty consistent every time."
On whether a play like his final INT is a throw he could have made in college, but players in the NFL are too quick to make that throw:"You know, you're always trying to make a play when you get outside the pocket. Sometimes, you've got to realize you're not going to and throw the ball away. That's what these were. It's things we've all done in the past. We've all thrown the ball away in those situations, and we've all made bad decisions at some point. I made a bad decision. I've got to get better at not making those decisions and just throw the ball away and understand it as a good thing to have an incompletion and a punt or an incompletion and get to the next down."
On if those decisions change and he might take more of a chance because of needing points on that drive:"At some point, you're going to have to take a chance on that last drive, probably. You want to get yourself in a nice down so you can take that chance. That wasn't really a chance. It was only second down, I think, and it wasn't really like it was a shot down the field and we were saying, 'All right, we're going to take a shot here.' That was just me making a bad decision."
On whether there's a comfort level with knowing that he has the quarterback job:"That's the way I've been approaching it. It's just a good opportunity for us to go out there and me to go out there as the quarterback and do as much as I can do to help this team win. [I try to] get better each week, play better each week and go out there and help this team win."
On if the team needs to get out to an early lead one game to help the defense:"It's nice if you get out to an early lead and you have the defense we have, but there are all kinds of different games and scenarios you're going to have in the NFL. In order to be successful, you've got to be prepared for all those situations. As an offense, we're growing. We're becoming more and more prepared for each of those situations. That's what we need to do if we want to be successful."
T Jared Gaither
On how serious this week's preparation is because they play the Colts:"I take every game preparation seriously, and I do the best I can to lock down the game plan during the week and focus on my opponent. It's not a level of how serious. I take every game serious, and I'll continue to do that."
On how much the matchup with Colts DE Dwight Freeney inspires him:"He's another guy in our way of doing what we want to do as a team. Like I said, I'm going to prepare for him the same way I prepare for everybody else and practice and work hard during the week."
On the importance of learning from now-retired T Jonathan Ogden last year and T Willie Anderson this year:"That was huge. Willie is a great guy. J.O. is a great guy. They've been through it. They've been through it a lot, and they've done a lot of great things. We look up to those guys. We go to those guys for talks and to help us improve, especially with a young line. So to have somebody go through it like Willie [or] J.O., it's just great to hear about."
On where he still needs to improve, based on coach Harbaugh saying he is improved but has a long way to go to reach his potential:"All aspects of my game, I'm going to continue to work on all of my game every day. Coach, obviously, if he said that, he knows what I've been doing and that I've been working very hard. I know my teammates know it, and I'm just trying to be there for them and trying to make the team better."
On OL coach John Matsko:"Coach Matsko is a great guy. He's a great coach and a great teacher. He's been teaching me a lot and the rest of the guys a lot. I'm very appreciative of what he does."
On what jumps out on tape about what makes Freeney so good:"He does everything good. He has a spectacular spin move, and he's fast up the field – a speed-power guy. He does a lot of things good. He works very hard, and so does everybody on their defense. He just stands out. He makes plays. We're looking forward to shutting him down."
On what he does technique-wise to counter Freeney's spin move:"You've just got to stay low, keep your base and just stay focused. You can't let him lull you to sleep [with] a speedy rush, a speedy rush, then he spins inside. So you've just got to stay focused, trust your techniques and trust what coaches are putting us through during the week, trust that it's going to work."
TE Todd Heap
On how it felt to be more involved in the Ravens offense in Sunday's game:"It felt better, for one. That's the main thing right now: Offensively, we're trying to get into a groove. We're trying to get to where we're more potent, and right now we're not there yet, but we're improving. We saw a lot of good things that we did and, you know what? We're coming together, we're building something. It's not going to happen overnight, but you can see some of the positive things that we've done, and we have to continue to do that and expand on it."
On how tough it is to go through the process of building the offense with a rookie quarterback:"It's not [tough]. It's tough at times, but at the same time, we're all in this together and that's what we started this whole offseason from the beginning with these coaches, with all these guys in this locker room. So, in that respect, it's not tough. We're all building towards something, and we can see where we're improving. We can see what's going to be coming down the road. That's the exciting part about it, and when it's going to show itself, we'll see – hopefully sooner than later."
On what he can tell QB Joe Flacco about the Colts from his experience playing them:"They're fast. Definitely they've got some good speed rushers. Things are going to have to happen a little faster. That's one thing, they're probably a little bit different than the defense we saw last week, but they're still a great defense. They play a little different coverage, but they're not anything that you're going to look out there and say, 'Oh, I don't know exactly what they're doing.' You look out there and you see, 'OK, they're in this coverage,' and it's pretty straight forward. Going against our defense all the time, we see them moving around so much, and they're not as much like that."
On how he feels Flacco is progressing as a quarterback:"Joe is doing well, Joe's doing well. He doesn't let things faze him. He just kind of brushes them off his back and keeps going. I'm excited about his progress and where he's at because I can see him improve, and I can see him growing in this offense. I think, hopefully, some time soon we'll see what he's capable of because he's definitely got it in him."
On whether he thinks FB Le'Ron McClain is a "fun" running back with the way he hustles defensive players:"It's like a fullback and a running back mixed. The guys don't want to tackle him high. You know he's going to bring down his shoulders on them and put some hurting on them. That's fun to watch. That's fun to block for because you know if you get half of your guy, he's going to take the other half and knock it back. It's been really fun to see him do that, and it's like having another running back in there."
LB Ray Lewis
On the defense going against Colts QB Peyton Manning's passing game:"It's always classic rivals anytime we play these guys. They know what they get, we know what we get. He's probably the best quarterback in the game, and he probably has one of the best receiving corps in Reggie Wayne, [Dallas] Clark and [Marvin] Harrison and all those guys over there. It comes down to, you've got to appreciate playing these kinds of games when you have the type of defense we have and the type of offense they have. We're always looking forward to it."
On the "cat and mouse" game he plays with Manning:"It's just kind of like a chess match. He comes up to the line; he's trying to put his players in the right position. I'm trying to make sure mine are in the right position, you know, trying to get through all the dummy stuff, whatever's not real and things like that. I just think it's great because he studies the game very well. I study the game very well. You just kind of get two brains going. It's just really having fun – that's all it is. Sometimes I walk up to the line and I'll say something that has nothing to do with football to him. Overall, it just turns out to be a great game."
On if 50 percent of Manning's play-calling is real:"I don't know what percentages are, but the bottom line is what you deal with is that play. You try to remember this, remember that, see what's real and what's not real, and then the next couple of plays, or the third or fourth quarter, then you don't fall for the same things. Hopefully, if you can actually get into them, start studying like that, then I think you can have success against them, because if you don't, Peyton knows every coverage. He can see if the safety rolls in the middle of the field, he's going backside Cover-2. So all of that, he does, he does. So I think you just have to really be great in your disguises and be great in not giving him the same look."
On if the Indianapolis crowd being quiet for the offense helps them as a defense:"Oh, it always helps. It always helps. Your communication is overwhelming. Every year we go in and we break down the mistakes we made at home and the mistakes we made on the road. The mistakes we made on the road are never there because we can't hear. At home, we just can't hear. It's just loud. So you have to be in your own world, you have to know what's going on. But when you're on the road, I just think we have a great chemistry of guys who can really switch up so many different things. So you think somebody's doing one thing, but somebody could be a totally different thing, just based off of communication. So I think that's huge for us."
On how dangerous Colts TE Dallas Clark is:"I just think their whole cast, I just think their whole cast… You look at Dallas Clark, but then you go right for him, and as soon as you start playing him a lot then Joseph Addai beats you on a lot of check downs. You go back to their Super Bowl year, they won that, that's the way he orchestrated drives down the field. He just has a lot of weapons to work with, and that's kind of how you have to zone in on the total package that they have, instead of trying to zone in one person. Because if you just zone in on one person, they just have too many weapons."
On if the stretch play that the Colts run to get RB Joseph Addai is as effective this season:"Well I can't speak on just that. I haven't watched film like that to tell you what's the biggest difference, if it's the same, if it's not. I'll get into that film today."
On how tough it is to lose NT Kelly Gregg for the year:"You can't replace certain people like that. You just keep rolling and that's been our philosophy for a long time. The bottom line is, Rex [Ryan] comes in and gives us goals as men, not as one single individual, but a group of people. So when the next man goes down, the next man steps up and fills in just like the man that went down. It's big, big losing Kelly, but at the same time Justin Bannan gets the chance now. And he plays football as well as anybody plays football, so it's kind of exciting when you do see 'next guys' who do step up."
On what inspires him to be a mentor to players around the league:"I think what motivates me is just life. Life, period. My mom installed in me something a long time ago. And any knowledge that I have, I don't gain knowledge to keep it to myself. I try to pass it. A lot of times you just get caught up in it based on conversation. You hear some of these questions these young guys ask you, and you're like, 'OK, since nobody else wanted to take the time to talk to you about something that simple, I will. So just call me, just whatever, whatever.' And a lot of times he didn't think he was going to call you or whatever. But then when you do, you're like, 'What are you doing? You reading your Bible, you praying?' Things like that. It's kind of good, but at the same time I just give a lot of credit to my mom. Coming into this business, you give a lot of credit to the Lord – rest in piece Eric Turner – guys who took me in early. And then you get the pleasure of playing with Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe, things like that. You learn a lot from a lot of people, and if you grab it the right way it really can help you. So that's what I do. I share it."
On his impressions of S Jim Leonhard:"Jim is probably one of the best athletes that we have overall, on our team, but a lot of people don't know him. He just loves playing football, and that's what you can appreciate. When [Dawan] Landry goes down and he steps in, it's like we never missed a beat. Not that you can replace a Dawan Landry, but when you get a Jim Leonhard you kind of appreciate having a guy like that on your team."
On how he feels he's playing in terms of tackling and reading the football:"I'm just happy to be playing. I just love this. I've always had a goal. What I'm going to do is what I'm going to do, but my thing is how many people I can affect around me. The bottom line is we set a goal every year, and the goal is to be the No. 1 defense in this league, and that's always been my thing for the last 10, 13 years. So the bottom line is, if I keep my guys playing at a high level then I think my job as a leader is being done."
On if anything can be gained from last year's game against Indianapolis:"Hopefully, you know, just not last year's games, but last week's games better be gone out of your head. That's the only way you can play football. Even trying to go back and study certain film from last year, without [any] of your starting corners, guys are in and out, things like that… I just think we have to go out and prepare with who we have right now. What's our mentality right now and the way we're playing football right now? That's what we've come to appreciate, the moments like right now. Going back too far can really hurt you sometimes, too."
On playing five of the next six games on the road:"Honestly, a lot of young guys don't even know what that means yet. For us, it's just going to be football and things like that. Bottom line, whether you get five on the road now, you come back at the end of the year and you get that right back. That's, most of the time you appreciate it, in November, December when you're battered and traveling. I think our longest flight might be to Dallas at the end of the year. You've got all 1:00 games, you're quick – Cleveland, Cincinnati, all those quick games. That's the second half. So if you can weather the storm in the first half of the season, the second half of the season kind of goes in your place."
WR Derrick Mason
On if there's any value in looking at last year's game vs. Indianapolis:"No, not really. That was last year. They're a different team, we're a different team. So if that was the case, we'd try to do it with every team – go to last year and look at games that we did. But we have a totally different offense, different faces on defense, and they have some different faces on defense. I guess you can somewhat [look at film] because the foundation of what they do [doesn't] change. But of course they want to change a few things here and there. But the foundation of that team, it doesn't change."
On how much of a loss it is for the Colts not having S Bob Sanders, and how can the Ravens exploit that:"I still see them as the same defense. Of course you take Bob out, a Pro Bowl-caliber player, All-Pro-caliber player, it does somewhat take away some things that you can do. Probably not much, but they've still got some good players back there. As long as you can rush the passer, and you've got [Dwight] Freeney and [Raheem] Brock, and you bring [Robert] Mathis in, as long as you can rush the passer... Sometimes losing a guy like Bob Sanders, it's big, but it's not as big because you still have those guys up front who can rush the passer. The guys on the back end are still good. [Kelvin] Hayden, [Marlin] Jackson, their two corners are good and the safeties, [Antoine] Bethea and the guy that's filling in for [Sanders]. Those guys are good. You see what they did last week, coming back from down 17 points in the fourth quarter and caused some turnovers. So you can never overlook a team just because they're missing one player."
On the benefit of WRs Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams being more active in the offense:"It makes us a lot stronger, and I attribute it to double teams when guys are in certain situations. Tennessee wanted to double team, whether it be me or Todd [Heap], and that left Mark and Demetrius open. We're going to find that that's going to happen a lot more. Teams are going to go in and they're going to see certain down and distances or certain times of the game, this is the guy they want to try to get the ball to, so they're going to – if they're successful at it – try to take away that one guy, that one side of the field. Then, that opens up the other side of the field. That opens up other guys. For example, Mark and Demetrius just caught a 20-yard [pass] in the other day. That's because they were doing some other things, and then Mark made some fantastic plays against the Titans because they were either double-teaming me or Todd. They're going to get their opportunities, and I'm pretty sure Mark and Demetrius or Todd, they're going to make the best of them."
On whether he talked to QB Joe Flacco about mistakes on Sunday and if he encouraged him to keep trying to make plays:"'Hey, keep playing. I'm not worried about it. Joe, keep playing, man.' You can't mess with a quarterback. That's one thing I've found in this league you cannot do. Let a quarterback be a quarterback. Joe, the previous week, he made some great plays rolling outside the pocket, and even in the first two weeks. Sometimes, you're going to hit them. Sometimes, you're going to miss them. But Joe has a good track record because he's hit more than he missed. So, 'Continue to play, Joe.' As receivers, we've got to make sure that if we have an opportunity to catch a ball or break a ball up, we've got to do that as players outside."
On if this game is more pivotal than any other:"[We're] 50-50 after four games. This is not where we wanted to be, but, hey, it is what it is. This game is the most important to us, just like the next following game after that is going to be the most important game to us. So, we're taking it by a week-by-week basis. We just want to, after the game is all said and done, we want to be 3-2. That's all we care about right now, regardless of who we were playing, and I'm pretty sure they're looking at it the same way. So this game is important because it's this week."
LB Terrell Suggs
On his impression of the Colts so far, if this is as good a time as any to get to them when they are playing .500 ball:"No, I think they're the same Colts. I think they just got off to a slow start with Peyton [Manning] being hurt [in the preseason]. I think this is a game where they're definitely going to want to light it up, put some points on the board, throw for a million yards, run for half a million. This isn't going to be a physical game at all. This isn't like the last two weeks with Tennessee and Pittsburgh. Everybody wants to see points, and Peyton's going to want to go back there and go through all the little games, and then he'll call at the line trying to play with Ray [Lewis] and our secondary. So we'll try to get into that, but we'll try not to give him anything. Like I said, it isn't going to be the physical game it's been the last two weeks. They're going to go out there and try to finesse us, try to put the ball deep. We've got to show up, or we fall below .500, and that's not where you want to go."
On whether Indianapolis has the most dangerous offense:"I wouldn't say they're the most dangerous. They're as dangerous as anybody we face from the simple fact that Marvin Harrison is still one of the three greatest receivers in the NFL. Reggie Wayne, he's playing incredible football right now. He had the game-winner last week. [Anthony] Gonzalez does a lot of work in the slot. He's the equivalent of a [T.J.] Houshmandzadeh. I wouldn't say they're the most dangerous, but they're as dangerous. We definitely are going to have to work our butts off."
On if he has a preference between a physical, smash-mouth game and a finesse game:"It's easy. I would rather you grind your 11 up against our 11 and go play football. But, not too many teams in the NFL can do that with us. I think Peyton knows that, so he's got to do his little games at the line, [hollering] and then nothing really coming and dummy calls there and there. It's like, 'OK, Peyton, when you're ready to play football, we'll play.' We know it's coming, and he knows it, so we've just got to anticipate it and play with it."
On how much pressure the front seven feels with injuries in the secondary:"Just as big as it's been in the past. I don't care how good or healthy your secondary is. Any quarterback in this league that has all day to throw, it's just going to be a seven-on-seven matchup. It's just as important as it is [every] week. You definitely don't want one of the elite, premier quarterbacks to have all the time in the world. Your pass rush has definitely got to be effective. It's not more important this week than it has been in weeks prior."
On how much of the Colts' success protecting the quarterback is attributed to the offensive line and how much to Manning getting rid of the ball quickly:"I think it's a combination of both. The offensive line, if they can hold up long enough, they say the average play in the NFL lasts four seconds. Well, with Peyton, it's more like 3.9 because he gets the ball out in 3.7. He doesn't like to hold the ball that long. He gets rid of it and does a good job of it. The offensive line, they hold up, and sometimes they don't, so it's a combination of both."
On his thoughts on S Jim Leonhard:"I love him, man. [He's a] little guy, scrappy, just a great personality. He goes out there and dives in there to play the run, so I like having him as a teammate. Very impressive. I heard in college that he won a dunk contest. The kid's like 5-9, 5-10, so that's just like, 'Wow.' I've seen him in preseason. When I was back in Arizona enjoying myself, I saw him in preseason. He was playing some really impressive football. I was like, 'Who is that guy? Did we draft him?' I didn't even know who he was before I got here. He's good, and I think he's going to be special."
On whether Leonhard's appearance is deceptive:"Definitely. If I'd seen him out somewhere in public, at a mall, I definitely wouldn't think that guy plays football. But when he puts those pads on, he sure enough is a football player."
On if he would make Leonhard prove that he can dunk:"No, I'm not going to make him prove it because I probably can't even dunk right now. No, I'm just playing. I'd flush that thing."
On what "Play like a Raven" means to him:"I think it's playing with reckless abandon, but organized at the same time. You can't be afraid to go in there, stick your head in and get your hands dirty a little bit. It's rugged. I like it. It isn't your typical finesse defense that you get in the NFL. We've got a little bit of everything."
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS CONFERENCE CALL
Head Coach Tony Dungy
On his comments Monday regarding the Colts saving their season with the win over Houston:"No, I think that was someone else saying if we saved the season, and I don't think I ever used those words. I don't think you save your season or you lose your season in Week 4, but I thought it was a big win for us in terms of not losing two division games in a row. So from that standpoint it was big, but I think it's much too early to declare whether it saved the season or turned anything around."
On how important it is for the Colts to beat the Ravens with their upcoming tough schedule:"We've got to do a number of things. We've got to get a streak going, number one, because it's hard to get in playoff contention if you win one, lose one, win one, lose one. We haven't won a home game yet this year; that's a little disappointing. It's hard to be a playoff team if you don't win homes games. So from that standpoint, it's a big game. We are also playing against another AFC team who figures to be in the hunt, so we definitely want to win this one and get the tie breaker on the Ravens. It's a big game for a lot of reasons."
On if there is a difference for the team playing in the old RCA Dome or the new Lucas Oil stadium:"No, there really isn't. It's a great facility, the new place, and it's loud and very similar to the old one. It's just nicer. We've got to start playing well at home and winning, and then I think it'll become very familiar."
On whether QB Peyton Manning is back where he would want him to be after missing camp and the preseason:"He's coming around, but I don't think our whole team is where we want it to be. I don't think we've been sharp. We haven't really played a sharp football game in the first four all the way across the board where we had everything – offense, defense, special teams, our run game, our run defense. Nothing has been as sharp as we need it. That's what we've got to work on."
On the Colts usually being a team that starts off the season well:"We normally do, and that's been a little puzzling for us that we haven't had that precision and that energy that we normally have. We're trying to find it, and we're doing the only thing we know how to do, which is practice well and prepare and see if we can get there. But, we're certainly not playing as well as we have in September these past few years."
On the matchup of DE Dwight Freeney and T Jared Gaither:"He's a big guy, first of all, and he looks very athletic [with] long arms. So what you've got is a big man against a smaller guy, and speed and quickness against a big, powerful athlete. [It is] not too much different than it was against Jonathan Ogden where you're facing just a big, massive guy. It will be interesting."
On game-planning his offense for the Ravens' defense:"What they do – and they're no different than they've been probably for the last 10 years – they try to bring pressure and keep you off balance so you can't zero in on any of those guys in the secondary. They expect the ball to be thrown fast, they crowd you, and they make you go after big plays. They're not going to let you complete balls in front of them, and they expect their pressure to hinder you from getting balls deep. It's a tough job. You've got a lot of things that you've got to pick up, a lot of different blitzes that you've got to handle. Your receivers have to speed their tempo up a little bit to make sure they're getting open quick enough, and it will be a challenge."
On how important S Bob Sanders is to the Colts' defense and the team's game-planning:"He's important. He's a Pro Bowl player. But we haven't been as sharp as we need to be all the way across the board, and we've got to get everybody playing well. We can't just wait and say, 'Well, when Bob Sanders comes back all the problems are going to be solved.' We've got to just make sure that we're on the same page, that we're doing things the right way and flying and hustling and filling our gaps the way we should. When we do that, I think we'll be OK."
On if there's something he can pinpoint that's caused the Colts' problems:"It's probably been more inconsistency, in my eyes. We're playing in spurts. We'll play a good series and then have a couple of off-series. We'll have penalties that we're not used to having. We've turned the ball over on offense a little more than we're used to turning it over. I don't think we're playing fast on defense and creating the turnovers. We did in a little five-minute stretch last week, but for the most part over the first four games we haven't created those take-aways. So we've just got to play a little better, a little faster, more consistently."
On his thoughts on the AFC this season:"I don't think it's any different than it always has been. You're going to have some teams that get better and improve as you get into October and November. You have different kind of starts. San Diego didn't start well last year in September, but they were improving and they got better, and by the time December came they were a team that no one really wanted to play. Probably the only thing you don't have is New England and us off to those great starts. Now you've got Tennessee off to the great start. The season will be determined, really, in November. You kind of get yourself in position this month and see who's improving, and then you're going to have four or five teams that are really playing good ball in November. And, that's the way it always shakes out."
On whether he worries about the Titans getting off to such a great start:"Not really. We've been in that position before where we've had leads because we came out hot, and again, by November and December, you're playing must-win games for the most part. I think we kind of proved that. The Giants last year, Pittsburgh the year before, [proved] that you want to win every game that you can, but the secret is winning enough to be there in December and then getting yourself hot at that time."
On his impression of Ravens rookie QB Joe Flacco:"I think he's playing well. He gives them a lot of energy back there. He's moving around, making plays on the run. They've got a strong, strong running game, which helps, and they're doing a good job during the play-actions. He seems to have a good chemistry with Derrick Mason, and I think he's going to be a good quarterback for them."
On whether WR Marvin Harrison is distracted by the things that are going on around him:"Not really. It's kind of been old news here. I know some things came out yesterday, but as far as we're concerned there's nothing new that wasn't said two months ago from our standpoint."
On if the Ravens' defense is playing similarly to before or if it is doing different things this season:"They're doing exactly what they've always done in the past. We played them last year. They were down DBs and had some injuries and came off a real emotional game against New England where they lost right at the buzzer, and we got an early jump on them. Other than that, the four or five times we've played them since I've been here, it's always a struggle because they do so much and bring so much heat, and this year looks no different."
Colts QB Peyton Manning
On the Colts' slow start the season:"It's hard to give a real summary, I guess, but the fact is we sort of break our season into quarters, and 2-2 for the first quarter, that's not where we want to be, obviously. That's 500-football, and that's not good enough. So we hope to play better here in this second quarter, but our schedule is probably even more challenging and demanding, starting with Baltimore, who very easily could be 4-0 with the scores of their games. Just a couple of plays here and there, and they're easily 4-0. Certainly, we've had some different guys playing, but that's something that's happened in the past. We've had injuries before and we've had young guys step up, and that's part of football. We probably [have] had [injuries] a little earlier in the year as opposed to years past, and it's something we have to work through."
On what makes this season different from past seasons:"Well, we probably just haven't played as good of football. We've had some penalties. We've had some turnovers that led to some key mistakes here or there, just one guy here, one guy there. Whether it's me or anyone else – just making a mistake here or there that's hurt us – it's kept the play from being a success. And that's kind of what football is. It's a matter of usually four or five plays that one team's going to make and the other team isn't. We've just got to find a way to make those plays and try to be a little more sound in our execution."
On if he's caught up to where he wants to be given his lack of preparation in the preseason:"It's hard for me to answer that, I guess, just because I really have nothing to compare this season to. I haven't had a year before where I missed a camp and I could say I knew the timeline. This is kind of uncharted territory for me, kind of all preseason. I could probably give you a better answer if it ever were to happen again. So, it's just the way it is. It's something I've had to deal with, and certainly I'm just trying. I guess that's one of the bigger challenges is the fact that we have so many young guys playing and the fact that I wasn't in training camp. I would've liked to have gotten more time with those young guys in training camp, with the new offensive linemen or some of the new tight ends. So I'm trying to do that as the season progresses."
On if he feels like he knows the Ravens after playing them five times in five years:"Certainly, it's gotten like it feels almost like a division team – kind of like the Patriots. We seem to play them every year as well. You're sort of familiar with the players, but I don't know if that's necessarily a good thing. You certainly realize how good Baltimore is on defense. I think for the veteran players this week, we're trying to let our young guys know just how fast this defense is and how smart they are – the way they communicate and how Ray [Lewis] and Ed Reed are calling audibles themselves and making calls out there and just how intelligent a defense they are. It's definitely probably the best defense we see all season, it seems like, year-in-year-out. So for the veteran players, it's a positive knowing just because it makes them understand how hard we have to prepare this week. You really can't study enough trying to get ready for these guys, and even though you're going to study a lot they're still going to do something you haven't seen before, and you have to adjust to it on the field."
On how his knee has recovered and whether his timing is back to where he wants it to be:"The whole knee thing has kind of gotten a little [old]. I've sort of gotten tired of answering questions about it. It's there. I'm still rehabbing it and what-not, so I'm still having to deal with it. The timing? I don't think it's lack of timing. Obviously, I've missed a few throws that I'd like to have back, and whether that's timing or not, it's just throws you'd like to hit. I do think some of the young receivers... I think timing is something you have to get with your offensive line, as well, and we do have some young, new starters in there, and those guys are getting more comfortable with me every week. And I'm getting comfortable with them, as well. That's something that has to come through game experience."
On matching up with LB Ray Lewis:"It's a great challenge for me as a quarterback playing against a guy like Ray because you're playing against a guy who truly takes a lot of pride in his profession and truly tries to perfect his craft. You can tell he studies just a ton. He's very familiar with tendencies and those types of things. There's many a time when I've heard Ray calling out our plays, and he's been pretty accurate at times. It's always impressive to watch him play when you play against him. I don't know if I necessarily enjoy it, but it's a challenge and he presents a lot of problems for us. It certainly is, like you said, a chess match is probably a good word for it because he's constantly moving his defense around and trying to get his defense into the best play. And obviously, I'm trying to do the same thing for our offense."
On whether he expects the Ravens' defense to be more motivated after last year's loss:"In the fifth game of the season if you're not motivated to play, then I think something's wrong with you. I don't think this Ravens team needs anything that's happened in the past to motivate them. They've always played extremely hard; we've always had close games. Last year it was one of those games where things fell right for us. They had a bunch of turnovers on offense, we had very good field position, they had a number of injuries in the secondary, and that game was an exception in my opinion. The games [we've played] – the playoff game and the other games we've had against them there in Baltimore – are more of the type of games we have, and that's the kind of game you expect this Sunday."
On comparing playing in the old RCA Stadium and the Colts' new Lucas Oil Stadium:"Obviously, it would be nice to get a win in this new stadium. It's a very nice facility, I guess, but for me once you get out there on the field it feels very much the same. So I don't have a really great comparison or a contrast for you."
On his memories of being a rookie quarterback like the Ravens' Joe Flacco:"I can't really speak for him. I haven't had a chance to see him play a whole lot. Of course, this week I've focused on their defense. It's a marathon it's not a sprint. That was the kind of thing I tried to keep telling myself and people were telling me. I think you learn something new each game. Certainly, I had a number of struggles that season, but I felt like I learned something new each week, and I felt like I tried to get a little better each week. It may not have shown in the wins and losses – we only won three games that year – but I did feel more comfortable in the second half of the season than I did in the first. I was very thankful that I played as a rookie because I think there's no other way to learn than to be in there playing and seeing just how fast a Ray Lewis is and just how much ground that Ed Reed covers. The only way I learned that is to be in there playing, in my opinion. It definitely served me well in my second year [because] we turned things around pretty quickly, going from 3-13 to 13-3, and I certainly felt much more comfortable as a quarterback."
On what ways he feels the game is easier and what ways the game is harder at this point in his career:"It's never felt easy to me – I'll say that. Each year there's more specialization. There's a whole other offseason for defensive coordinators to come up with new blitzes. A team like the Ravens, an experienced group, they have more time to play together and they can add different things. So every single year is a new challenge, and you constantly have to be studying and staying on top of the mental game and staying on top of the physical part of it – being sure you can still make the same throws that you made as a young player and trying to keep yourself healthy as well. It's never been easy. I guess where you feel more comfortable is the fact that you have played a number of games, and you have been in situations before. Certainly, we caught a number of breaks on Sunday against Houston, but I can certainly say there was no panic in our [huddle]. There was disappointment. Guys weren't feeling real good, I guess, but there was no panic in our huddle as we started to come back, and defensively, everybody kept playing hard. Those kinds of things sure do help when you have some veterans on your team that have been in some two-minute situations or fourth-and-goal situations. Guys have been in that situation before and feel a little more comfortable executing in those types of arenas."
On whether he is concerned about the Titans' lead with a 5-0 start to their season:"We're always pretty aware of what's going on in the division and in the AFC, and certainly, they seem to be playing extremely well. And, their record is perfect right now. Obviously, all we can worry about is the Colts and what we're doing, but you certainly want to try to stay up there and stay in the mix. Like I said, we're not happy with our start – with the 2-2 start, especially with the schedule we have coming up starting with the Ravens. So, we certainly want to try to get on some kind of win streak here. We haven't won two in a row yet, and it would be nice to establish some sort of continuity and try to get on a win streak just to get some consistency around here. Certainly, all teams pay attention to who's leading the division, and you certainly are chasing them at this point."
On if he sees a difference when watching film in the Ravens' secondary without CB Samari Rolle or S Dawan Landry:"All teams like to have their full complement of starters in there. When you have Ed in there and Ray in there, I think their D-line is playing well, and those guys can take a lot of pressure off of a new player in there. I think Fabian [Washington] has been a good addition. I played against him in Oakland last year, and he's a good player. [Bart] Scott's an active linebacker. They have plenty of good players. So even without a Landry or a Rolle they're still an excellent defense."
On whether he expects to see new things from the Ravens' defense:"Baltimore does a great job of mixing it up every single week. It's a credit to their players and how much they can handle mentally. Some teams just can't do that many different blitzes or different types of zone or man-to-man combinations because their players can't handle the mental overload. But Baltimore can, and it definitely presents a lot of problems for an offense."