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Interview Transcripts: Thursday (01/01)


On what he's seen from Dolphins QB Chad Pennington since the first time the two teams met:"Really the same thing. The guy is… Going into our game he was throwing 75 percent completion rate or something like that, and I don't think he's slowed down. He's a very accurate quarterback, smart, knows where to throw the football, checks the ball down, all that kind of stuff. He's got some talented guys underneath. The backs are talented guys, so he doesn't have a problem checking the ball down. He's a good quarterback."

On how the Ravens will defend the Wildcat formation this time:"We'll see. They've got 11 guys out there, so however they can figure it, unless they put more footballs out there. It's a good offense, though, it really is. It really makes you prepare. We'll take 10 minutes extra after each practice and just go over Wildcat-type plays. And, they're doing it differently. They'll put, they're doing it out of multiple personnel groupings and things like that. So absolutely, we're going to be prepared for it."

On if the popularity of Wildcat offenses takes away some of the mystery of it:"Yeah, I'll be honest – I'm glad they ran it against New England the first day, then they did it against us (laughter), because it would have been like, 'Oh.' I mean, you want to talk about scrambling. So I appreciated them putting it on [New England] first. I think, yeah, you're seeing more teams go to it. And guys, like with us, you can do it with athletic quarterbacks. So you can take a Troy [Smith], and that even makes it more difficult. But right now it makes it difficult because their quarterback happens to be an All-Pro running back [Ronnie Brown]. He runs through tackles and everything else. They do a nice job it. If I was just watching the game as a fan I'd appreciate them. But, we see all kinds of stuff with our offense, too, so I think we're prepared for it."

On his thoughts on the New York Jets' interest in him for the head coaching job and his aspirations to be a head coach:"I think every coach, like I've always said, every coach would like to be a head coach in the National Football League. That would be a goal for anybody, I would imagine. But right now, my focus is strictly on us preparing for Miami and in these playoffs. I've prepared all my life to be a head coach, and if somebody sees fit of giving me that opportunity, that would be great. If not, I'll stay here with this organization and with our players and our coaches, and I'll be happy."

On if he wishes the Jets would have waited to show their interest:"Hey, no. I hope that they've got to wait until after the Super Bowl, if somebody wants me. That's the real deal there."

On DT Trevor Pryce:"He's a tremendous player. And like I told Trev, I said, 'Hey, we've been resting you during the season, all right? You don't come off the field anymore.' But no, he's tremendous, and clearly he's one of the premier players in this league. When we lost him last year, it definitely hurt us. But he's healthy, and he's ready to roll through these playoffs."

On any if there are any concerns for the heat in Miami:"I think there's always some concern over that because you've got to make sure your players are hydrated. And they're going to bed at night, they're getting their rest and things, which our guys are. From that point, if our guys weren't taking care of themselves off the field I think you'd have major concerns. But for us, quite honestly, when you go into the heat your body feels better. I think our players are looking forward to that, to feeling that nice warm air."

On the challenge of getting turnovers off Miami's offense:"Again, I think it's… They're well-coached. You see the influence of [Bill] Parcells. They hold onto the football. It almost kills him if they fumble. Again, it goes to Pennington. Pennington is a smart guy, he knows where to go with the football, and he knows when to eat it. That helps him. But hopefully, we can force some take-aways and score if we get them."

On if there's a common denominator on the times the ball has come out with the Dolphins:"It's a short video. Like you say, they don't turn it over very often. But, there's always, you know, if you knock the heck of somebody the ball has a tendency to come out. If you can do a great job of your gang tackling you can pull a ball out. And then, you hope for a tipped ball or a bad read by a quarterback or a receiver, and that's generally when you get your interceptions."

On how the Ravens' players acquired in the offseason have stepped in and contributed:"We all know how good our personnel department is, through the collective efforts of [Eric] DeCosta and George Kokinis and his guys, and Ozzie [Newsome]. Ozzie knows what a player looks like. He also knows what our roster is, where the limitations are, where we need to improve, and I think he goes out – and they really addressed it this year in particular – adding guys to the secondary. We thought that was a major concern and we needed that depth, and we went out and picked up Frank Walker, the trade for Fabian Washington, and then drafting a couple of guys – [Tom] Zbikowski and [Haruki] Nakamura. And then we picked up Jim Leonhard, oh by the way, as a free agent. He actually came here on a try-out basis, one of those weekend deals. [We were] like, 'You know what? This guy is pretty good. He's smart.' 'What do you mean he's smart?' 'Well, he's running with the first team, if that means anything.' So I guess Ozzie decided to keep him them."

On what accounts for S Ed Reed's four two-INT games in 2008:"I think it's coaching, I really do. (Laughter) No doubt. To give him those kinds of instincts and everything. No, it's Ed Reed being Ed Reed. I think he's still not 100 percent healthy, but he's playing like he is. He does feel better than he did at the beginning of the season. I hope he gets that Defensive Player of the Year. I know it's tough. That kid in Dallas [DeMarcus Ware] had the 20 sacks and stuff, but he's watching Ed Reed. So, I think you give it to the playoff guy. Go ahead and just give it to Ed. We'll take it."

On what it is about John Harbaugh that attracted so many high-quality assistant coaches:"I'm sure everybody has their own reasons, and I have countless reasons. But No. 1, anybody that's known him knows he's a winner – in a lot of ways, not just wins and losses. He's a winner. He always has been. I think people, especially in this profession, want to be a part of that."

On what it has been like to be a part of this given where he came from last year:"I've been excited about this opportunity since John called me and [I] became a Raven. It's fun to be a part of this team. I think all of us are looking to be a part of a team, and we've got a team here that's special. But the season is just beginning, so we're looking forward to this week."

On if it's nice not to get the "What about Miami?" questions this week:"It's a new year. It's a new season. In this profession, last year means very little as it relates to the upcoming season. I think you can see that in a ton of ways, not just for me personally. For a lot of people, it's just the nature of this business."

On how much carries over or can be applied from the first game against Miami:"We treat it like a division game where you know you've played somebody twice. I think that's what you're looking at. Obviously, it's a conference game, but it has almost divisional meaning because you play somebody twice. But it does seem like a long time ago that we played each other."

On whether Miami has changed what it does defensively or just does it better now:"Most of the teams we've played recently have made significant changes from early on in the season, whether it's personnel, tweaking scheme, or whatever it might be. I think we all know that the only constant in this business is change. That happens with teams, as well."

On if it is his aspiration to be back in the mix for head coaching positions:"There may be a time for that discussion. I am zeroed in and focused on the responsibility I have here, and my commitment is to that. Like you've heard other guys say, really for any of us to talk about ourselves at this point is really counterproductive. I'm going to continue to do what all these other guys are doing, just focusing on this game and this game completely. Fair question."

On whether he feels the first Dolphins game was important in getting the season headed in the right direction:"Maybe. I mean, how do we know? Anytime you can go on the road and win when you need a win, it's going to be significant. Whether it's a turning point or not, I don't really know. But road wins when you need wins are pretty significant."

On if he feels like the stretch of five road games in six weeks helped prepare them for playing on the road in the playoffs:"Again, all that stuff is stuff for everybody to talk about. For us, we really don't have a lot of time to figure all that out. We're just zeroed in this week and focused on this game and this team. That's our approach, and that's how we've pretty much kept it."

On what they have preached that has helped the offense cut down on fumbles lost:"Again, it's really hard for me to make comparisons. We are in no way satisfied with our ball security. I'm not, and we offensively are not. To make any comparisons really would pale. We've got to continue to take care of the football. Our No. 1 goal is to win, and then it's to take care of the football and score. Those are really our three offensive goals. We can make significant improvement in our ability to take care of the football."

On how well Dolphins LB Joey Porter has played down the stretch and if they are getting to the quarterback any better late in the season:"They've been pretty consistent with their ability to get after quarterbacks, and you have to give them credit for that. We'll have our hands full."

On what he saw from S Tom Zbikowski's kick returns on Sunday:"Well, unfortunately, we didn't block it perfectly, so we didn't get a chance to see him go very far. But we'll continue to keep practicing and try to block better and get those guys in the open."

On whether he anticipates Zbikowski returning kicks this Sunday:"That kind of depends on what the roster looks like on Sunday. We haven't gotten to that point yet, so we're practicing more than one returner in preparation for that."

On how much of a boost he gets if RB Ray Rice is available and can take back kickoffs:"The last game he had [as kick returner] was Miami. If I'm not mistaken, he had that game. Anytime we can get more players out there, we're all for it. He's in the mix. He's taking reps, so we'll see what happens on Sunday."

On Miami's punter Brandon Fields having his best game against the Ravens and how their coverage is giving him a good net average:"That's happened a lot with us. They've got some good athletes. The thing Miami has done is they've made some changes in the roster since we've seen them last. They've got some new guys covering kicks. I think the other part of it is it's a first-year coach and his system. I think the fact that now that they've been practicing, they understand the concepts better, and that's probably got as much to do with it as anything."

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