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Interview Transcripts: September 19th

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"Some people have been complaining about this rule about the line, so I'm going to give you the reason for it. Here's my thinking: It's not very polite to turn around. It's not polite to the camera, but it's not polite to somebody else to not look at you when you ask a question. So, just for the record – people have been complaining about it – I wanted to establish that. The other thing is I want to make an announcement on an injury situation with Kelly Gregg. He's going to be out for probably a couple weeks, and it's going to truly be week-to-week after a couple weeks. What he's been battling – and we thought he'd be fine, really, through training camp – I can't give you the technical terms, but what it amounts to is he's got kind of a hole in his cartilage that rubs a little bit bone to bone. Because of that, he's actually got a real sensitive spot on his bone. It's when he unloads on a block, that's when he feels the pain on it. It's almost like a scab on your bone and it tears the scab off, so we've got to basically ice him. He's getting treatment. He's working like crazy, but there's no work that you can do to get this thing healed other than just healing. So, it's going to take probably at least two weeks, and we'll just have to take it as we go after that."

On reporters assuming Gregg's injury would be the only one he would discuss:"That's a good assumption."

On referee Ed Hochuli:"The only comment I would even make is that Ed is one of the best officials in football. He's got a great body of work. So we respect him, and we know he's going to call a great game."

On whether he could have prepared for all the unexpected situations he's encountered so far as head coach:"That's a good question that you're asking. I don't know if you could prepare for any set of circumstances that would come up in this job. Really, some of the toughest things we've had to face are the things that nobody would even notice or read about that are just day-to-day issues that relate to operating an NFL football team. These things, I don't think they're that difficult. I think you take these things as they come. That's just the nature of football because football players understand that there's going to be adversity. There are going to be difficult times. Maybe you couldn't have predicted specifically the quarterback stuff and the weather things and some of that stuff, but I think our guys have handled it well. It's really more of a credit, I think, to the organization, first of all. We get great leadership from the top and great communication right from the top. Then, [it's] the fact that our players and coaches do such a good job of not flinching. As a head coach, that makes it pretty straightforward."

On if keeping players focused has been tougher than he expected:"I don't think it's been tougher than I thought. Our players are very focused. Our players love football, and they love to practice. That's what they're all about. Therefore, that's their priority, and that's what they went to work on this week. That's really all you can judge it by."

On expecting the team to become stronger through adversity:"I've always believed that, and that's a fair assessment. I think everything that we conquer makes us better. Our guys have done a great job with this stuff."

On managing the practice schedule to keep players fresh while playing 15 straight weeks:"It's fair, I think, to say that we think about it. You think about the possibilities. I've looked at the calendar to say, 'OK, this is a place where we might plug in a situation where we'll give them a little more rest.' As far as making any determinations, you would never do that yet because it's too early. You just have to see how we're doing at the time."

On whether he has been surprised about anything he's learned about the team:"They've held true to form in the sense that they're a competitive bunch of guys that really love football – a competitive bunch of guys. Our team is that, without question. I knew that, having watched them [and] everything I heard about them. We have tremendous leadership. It's veteran leadership, it's young leadership, and that's taken hold. They're also strong men. When you take over a group of veteran, strong men, you're dealing with the fact that they need to see it. They need to get a hold of it to understand and believe in what you're doing. We've had a lot of conversations with guys. We've implemented a lot of things that they've come up with, ideas that they've had, and incorporated them into what we're doing. I think it's been a two-way street that way. I'm really pleased with the fact that they are on board and just pushing themselves as much as they can to make it work."

On if the Browns may try gimmick plays:"We do think about the gimmick plays. The thing about the gimmick plays is you can't prepare for them, really, other than playing good, solid, technique football – especially on the back end – [by] keeping your eyes where they're supposed to be. That goes for special teams, as well. Our guys hopefully will be tuned in to that. We talk about it a lot. But the Browns aren't going to be thinking that they need to come here and gimmick their way to victory. The Browns are a very good football team, and they're going to come in here with the idea that they can beat the Ravens. That's going to be what they're going to try to do."

On the Browns' strengths:"I think the Browns are a really good offensive football team and in all three phases. Their special teams are as good as anybody in the league, and their defense right now has the ability to be as good as anybody in the league, especially that front seven. That nose guard [Shaun Rogers] they have in there, he's a player, as you guys all know. So we have our hands full."

On what he sees as players prepare:"I'm just seeing guys focused on getting ready to play a football game. It's a division game against a rival, and they're excited to play."

On whether he has seen a game end like last year's home game vs. the Browns:"No, have you? That was an amazing game."

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