Interview Transcripts: Thursday (10/16)

Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan

On what he thinks of the Dolphins' "Wildcat" offense:"It's good. It's a body blow for a coach because you spend a lot of time [scheming for it]. You have to prepare for it because it's a legitimate thing. It's not something they just ran once. They've been running it. Ever since they broke it out, they've been running it every week, and they keep adding on to it. So it's a legitimate thing."

On if they have to prepare for the next step in the evolution of the "Wildcat":"Yep, we're breaking it all out. But you do anticipate it. A lot of coaches that we have have been on the college level, and I think you see that quite a bit there. The only difference is they've got a back that weighs like 230 or something back there. So I think it's a challenge."

On whether he faced anything like it when he was at Oklahoma:"Something similar."

On making it more about what the Ravens' defense does as a unit:"I'm definitely concerned with that anyway. It could be [Larry] Csonka, [Jim] Kiick and [Mercury] Morris back there, and they've got their own version of it right now. But again, hey, we'll stand by how we play."

On if he thinks he'll have CB Fabian Washington back and how much it would help if he is able to go:"I'm not sure on that. But you'd like to have your best players out there, so hopefully Fabian will be ready."

On looking forward to facing the challenge of Miami's offense:"We look forward to playing anybody. With Tony Sparano, you've got the Bill Parcells' influence. This is real football. That's always enjoyable for a defensive coach. They like to run the football. We like to stop the run. So I think it's more like big-time, old-school football."

On how Dolphins QB Chad Pennington has played and how well they are protecting him:"They're protecting him well. He does a good job of getting rid of the football. He knows where to go. He's a smart quarterback, reads defenses well. But again, it's about us. We're pretty familiar with what they do, and I'm sure they've studied us and think they have a good idea of what we do."

On what he learned about Parcells when he interviewed with him:"He's a hell of a guy. There's no doubt about that. He's like my dad – just what you see is what you get from him. No nonsense. That's a football guy right there, there's no doubt about it. It was enjoyable for me to meet him. It was something that I always knew from afar, and I assumed he'd be like that. He definitely was, so I really enjoyed my visit."

On how his defense takes it when a team scores 31 points on them:"Pretty darn personal. How could you not? It's in anything. We look to improve. We have a lot of pride in our group. I'll be shocked if we don't play well. That was just an ugly game. They made plays, and we never did. So that has a tendency to happen. Again, hey, we're proud of our group. We know we're going to play. We know we're going to respond. We'll compete against anybody in this league. That just wasn't our day."

On what he's seen from LB Jarret Johnson this year:"He's a tough old hombre. He's better on the pass than he was, so his game is elevating. It's going up. He's doing a good job as a pass rusher [and] doing a great job setting the edge in the running game. This team this week is a perimeter running team, as well. They'll run inside and outside, so we like the fact that he's healthy, and he'll be out there. He's doing a great job, though, for us."

On if there are not many chances for LB Bart Scott to blitz with how he's being used:"I guess I'm using him wrong again *(laughing). *But it's about all 11. Each week will be different. Sometimes, that guy may be featured. Sometimes, he won't be. At the end of the day, you do what's best for the team."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

Opening Statement:"Good morning. For us, offensively, going into this game, we're back to basics, back to fundamentals. We're not pleased with what took place last week, and that's been our focus. I know Rex [Ryan] has mentioned it, I know John [Harbaugh] has talked to our team, but us, right now it's about us, about what we do. We've got to make some adjustments on the offensive line, some adjustments in the backfield, and the game plan's still evolving. We expect to go down there and play well."

On his thoughts on head coach John Harbaugh's supportive comments to the Miami media about his job last year, and the responses about that from several current Dolphins players:"What I would say to that is really pretty simple. I take full responsibility for what took place down there, and I've never put it anywhere else. I put it square on my own shoulders, and with that being said, I think things happen for a reason, and I'm thrilled to be here in Baltimore. Really, that's the way I've been brought up in this profession. It's a tough business, and if you're in this business long enough, you're going to be on more than one team as a coach or as a player. I think the more times that you can look in the mirror and say, 'Could I have done a better job?' [and you] take accountability, take responsibility, you can continue to grow no matter what the circumstances hold. It's a tough business, but if you can be responsible for your actions and what you do, you can go and still do great things. And that's my view on it. I take full responsibility for what happened there, end of story. Now this game is about this team, and for me personally it's about this offense getting better. We could be playing this game in Nome, Alaska. We could be playing any team, any of the other 31 teams. We've got some things we have to improve on, some things we've got to do a better job of. There are things that all of us can do better. That's our focus, and I know this: I'm not going to let our focus go anywhere but there."

On if he feels cheated that he didn't get to coach a second year at Miami:"I appreciate that question, I do, but we've got some work that we've got to do offensively. That's what we're charged with. We've got to try to find a way to help this team win. We have got to find a way to get on track offensively and continue to improve. We had a couple of guys go down, and now it's time for Chris Chester to step up, Willie Anderson, to build on what he did last week. I just don't know any other way. Yesterday is gone, and I think more often than not you can survive in this business if you can focus. Learn from the past and focus on today, because that's what we're going to demand of our players. I'm going to tell you, if I'm not doing that, then how in the world can I demand that our guys do that? I think one thing they'll see consistently, is we're going to learn from any experience we have, whether that's the Colt game or the past. But we're going to learn from it and move on, and we're going to focus. Because if you don't, in this business, you can make it a lot harder on yourself than it needs to be, and our focus is going to be on winning this game and getting better on offense."

On what he learned from last year, being a head coach:"I think that's another great question, but I just don't think necessarily now. Because our focus, for us and our players, is getting those guys zeroed in."

On if he's not going to talk about his experience at Miami:"I really appreciate those questions, and I think it's pretty clear where my focus is. I think you guys understand that. Maybe there is a time and a place for that, but in our situation right now, in terms of what we're trying to do as a team and an organization – its' about us."

On that he knew this game was coming, that he would have to go down to Miami:"Sure, but at the same time, if you are in this league long enough and you have happened to have gone to a team or two, those things come up. And that's what makes this league great. It's tough. Coaches move and change, players move and change. You go back, you play teams you coached with. A lot of these guys go back and play teams that they've played [with]. Some of them do it, they're on one team one week, then on another team the next week, and then they're playing that team. It's just what we do. And that's what professional football is all about. As pros, as coaches and players, we've got to focus on the job we're being asked to do, and you can bet that that's what I'm going to do."

On if he enjoys being a coordinator more because of what he went through last year:"I think all of us in this business would agree [that we] enjoy the challenge, just the challenge of each week because we all have something to prove. The great thing about this business is the longer you're in it, the tougher you get, the more competitive you get. And we're all competitors from the start, so you can imagine."

On the continuity of the offensive line and the changes that will be made due to injuries:"I think a couple of things: I think one, the line was growing, and continuity becomes important. Thank goodness we've had some continuity on our left side, from the center out to the left side. But I think I've said before, thank goodness Ozzie [Newsome] and our personnel, along with John [Harbaugh], were able to get Willie Anderson. And then thank goodness we've got Chris Chester. Chris has prepared, he's worked hard, he understands just like in any phase here, now it's your opportunity to step up, and we expect you to play well. Continuity helps, but you can't give yourself an out and say because we don't have continuity we can't play well. We're not going to approach it that way. But I think the longer these guys are together, you're going to see the continued improvement. Now, we're kind of re-evolving. We're re-evolving a little on the right side, but thank goodness we've got two good guys. And then we've got the two young guys behind them – [David] Hale and [Oniel] Cousins. We're continuing to get those guys ready. You'd like to think we'll get Adam Terry back at some point in time. So the development was there. You love the continuity, but now we're kind of re-evolving to our right side. And these guys will play well. They had a great practice yesterday, and these guys are going to play well in this game."

On how the changes in the line will affect QB Joe Flacco:"I don't know that. I think, maybe some guys it is hard. I don't, and you probably sense this with Joe, I don't think Joe complicates those things. He doesn't factor that stuff in. He's going out and playing, and he's going to trust those guys like we all do. You trust a guy to do his job. I think there's a lot of trust. We're not playing at the level we want to play, but I'll say this: Offensively, there's a lot of trust amongst these guys."

On what he told Flacco to learn from last week:"The great thing you want in any quarterback [is] you want him to be aggressive. One thing about Joe – he's not afraid. He wants to throw the ball up, and he's just got to learn these defenses understand when you can throw the ball up the field, they're going to say, 'OK, let's see if this guy can throw it underneath.' And you're seeing a little bit of the evolution as people are attacking him differently. There's been a little man [coverage], there's been a little single-high [coverage], there's been a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Last week they said, 'We're going to play two safeties deep [to] see if this guy will check down underneath.' And you saw as the game progressed, it all made sense to him. You're watching the evolution of a guy based on what coordinators are seeing in him and what they're trying to take away. I think over time, he's got a chance to prove to them that he can hurt you no matter which direction, because that's ideally what you're looking for, is a guy who can hurt you in any coverage. And he's learning these coverages as he goes."

On Flacco recognizing the coverages:"I think he recognizes the coverages, but every young quarterback is greedy. You see the young quarterbacks are greedy, and a lot of the older veteran guys get really greedy. And then you see them in prime, most of the time where they get to where they really understand, 'I have to take what the defense gives me.' And it's funny, you watch that evolution, you see them go from one phase, into their prime and then all of a sudden you watch them going to other way again. I can tell you, Joe Montana, I remember him talking about later in his career [how] he had to go back and re-learn his thought process because he was getting to greedy. [He had to] go back and take the easy completions. I think Joe learned that in the second half of that game in Indianapolis. You've got to take those underneath routes."

On if he feels that they have plays in place where they can throw down the field:"Without question. We just haven't executed them. I mean, you can go back to all our games, and you saw a couple come out of there in the second half against Indianapolis. We've had opportunities. A team's not going to give you 10 opportunities to throw the ball down the field. Good defenses aren't. So if you get one or two shots, you need to make the most of them. And we're just that close. We've got the people to do it."

On if Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown was the halfback pass option in his offense last year:"He can throw, there's no doubt. He's left-handed."

On if he had that play:"We've had it in every offense we've had since I was 15 [years old]. It's just like what everyone here has in their Thanksgiving Day game plan. It's there."

On who would play that role in the Ravens' offense:"We have a couple of choices. One to the right and one to the left. You guys may not know who the guy to the left is."

On what happened to the running game against the Colts:"Give them credit. I think you really need to give [Indianapolis credit]. We had them blocked, but we didn't keep them blocked. We had some opportunities in some one-on-one situations, and they made all their tackles when they were in a one-on-one situation. Obviously, at some point in time, you can only be so patient with the run, when the game gets to that score. But they did the things they needed to do. They won the one-on-one matchups, and then when they got one-on-one in space, they won those one-on-one matchups. I think you've really got to give Indianapolis credit. They were well-prepared, and we learned a lot in that game."

On how much growth he's seen from Flacco, particularly in the willingness to take a sack or throw the ball away rather than risk a bad play:"You see just tremendous growth. Obviously, we see it from a broader perspective because we see it every day in practice. If you could watch the practice, we've got a lot of young players that are growing every day in practice, whether it's Jared Gaither or Ray Rice, whoever it might be. But there's a lot of growth, and there are a lot of little things that Joe is doing beyond his years as relates to our no-huddle package, our huddle calls. This is the sixth defense we've gone against that is completely different. Usually, after your first six games, you've had two or three that are the same. This is the first time I can remember going the first six weeks of the season with six completely different defensive packages, which is great for our offense, but it's great for a young quarterback. I was talking to Peyton Manning before the game, and he said, 'Boy, you guys are so smart because the only way you can learn in this business is [to] play,' and that's the truth. Joe is learning every single snap."

On how or if defenses are beginning to jam up the running game and force Flacco to step up:"I think Pittsburgh obviously knows how to defend the run to a degree. Tennessee, [they are] really some solid defenses, number one. But we blocked those guys pretty well. I think Adam Terry gave us some flexibility with our jumbo package, and that's where we had a lot of success, if you go back and look at where we were able to pound some people. Again, we'll get him back eventually. People now, they start to watch you, and they start to know you better. People know us better, so now we've got to do a better job of executing the fundamentals and techniques. Then, we've got to be able to make some adjustments and execute those adjustments. You guys know you can't come out and do the same thing every week. So when you make adjustments, we've got to do a better job of executing. When I say that, that's coaching it better, that's getting the right matchups, and that's players executing. We're all in this thing together, and that's what we've got to do, all collectively. That's why yesterday, I thought we had one of our better Wednesday practices offensively."

On whether he wants to be a head coach again:"I've always approached that with a sole focus of what I'm being asked to do. I've really never taken any [focus] away during the season. I just hope that you would respect that. I'm going to do the best job that I can as a Baltimore Raven and help the Baltimore Ravens win a championship, if not more. That is my focus. With this being said, I understand now more than ever why so many guys have left here and gone on to be head coaches because of the experience that they're afforded here with our owner, our general manager and the people in this organization. It prepares guys to be head coaches like no place I've been. So you can look at that however you'd like, but I'm a guy that's going to be learning from everything that's being done here. At the same time, I know why I'm here. I've got a great friend that I'm working for. I'm going to do everything I can to help this man and this organization win a championship."

On if he expects to be more emotional this weekend:"I think that would just make sense. I think that would make sense for all of us. But let me tell you, there isn't any game you can go into in this business and not have some emotion to you and think you're going to have a chance to win. It was emotional. All our games are emotional to a degree. But again, those competitive juices get flowing. I would say there's something to that."

On if the statistics are accurate indicators of where the offense is and he feels like he's not that far away from turning the offense around:"You've got to look at the body of work over time. The schedules are different. The games unfold differently. However, with all that being said, the stats that we want to be measured on are how we take care of the football. That is what it is. That's how we can help this team win, one of the two [ways]. Secondly is scoring. The bottom line is, we're charged on offense to take care of the football and score. Yeah, we'd like to change field position. We'd like time of possession. But none of those trump. So all those other stats, third down, that can be deceiving. Your ability to score, there's nothing deceptive about that. Your ability to take care of the football, there's nothing deceptive about that. Our ability to help our team win, if you want to measure us, measure us in wins and losses, and hold us accountable how we take care of the football. Hold us accountable to how we score. That's the important thing. All those other things are indicators, but they don't trump any of those three."

On whether you can coach fumbles like you can coach interceptions:"Absolutely. No question. As a matter of fact, that's – I shouldn't say 'easier,' defenses do a good job – but that's fundamental. That's Football 101. It's our football. We have aggressive ball security, and we expect to have that ball on the next play unless we decide to punt. That's non-negotiable, end of story. I tell them, 'You've got to carry the ball like Pudge Heffelfinger.' It hasn't changed since 1896."

On if Flacco is ticked off behind the scenes about his turnovers since he doesn't display much emotion publicly:"Absolutely."

On whether Flacco would show it to the media once in a while:"You could probably get it out of him."

On how Flacco shows it:"There's a fire that burns inside of him, just like most of the guys around here. Some of the language I'm probably not going to use right here, but it's there. The bottom line [is] he's got to keep working to get it corrected. Everybody's a part of it as well. There are other things that play into it, but he's not taking himself off the hook. He's accountable. I know what his goals are in terms of ball security and what our goals are as a team, and he's doing everything he can to keep those [turnovers] from happening."

On if he might expect contributions from WRs Marcus Smith and Ernie Wheelwright this game with other injuries at the position:"Absolutely. Both of those guys are practicing with the first [string] and getting reps with the first team. Like we told them, especially Ernie, 'Ernie, you're active now. You're up. Not necessarily active, but you're on the 53. Get yourself ready to play. We're all counting on you.'"

Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

On the fine line between returning a kickoff in the end zone and downing it: "Well, depth is the first factor. How deep does it go? The second factor is hang time. The more experience you have back there, you develop what we commonly refer to as a 'mental clock.' That clock ticks while the ball is in the air, and you have to make an assessment whether, 'Is it a line drive or is it not a line drive?' Some line drives are brought out [from] three or four yards deep in the end zone and are successful returns because the timing works with that hang time. The more distance that you have to cover, you need time to do that. Generally speaking, when the ball is a high, hang-time kick, and it gets five yards deep in the end zone, your mental clock goes off and you take a knee."

On whether WR/RS Yamon Figurs miscounted last week:"The one that he brought out was on the border. It was a high, deep kick. He was trying to make a play, and I appreciate his aggressiveness. But that one, we'd probably like to keep that one in, given the opportunity of a stopwatch and hindsight."

On the impact of losing special teams guys:"I think every team in the NFL is faced with that this time of the year. It's a very physical game, and everybody goes through injuries that they have to process. Special teams is affected by injuries, not only by those guys, but the guys that are starters, and special teams players become starters. It's kind of an ongoing process. I don't think that we're any different than any other team in that regard, and that's why we train our guys – all of our guys, all year long – and we tell our guys that it's just a matter of one snap, and a starter might become a starter on the punt team, for example. So we practice all of our guys in a variety of different roles, and today will be no different. We have a number of guys working at different positions because we really, at this point in time, don't know the scenario of the roster on Sunday. I guess you prepare for all eventualities, and then the guys that are up have got to go do the job."

On if there is a fine line on coverage between funneling something in one direction and maintaining lane integrity:"Different guys have different responsibilities. Typically, when you're looking at the coverage part of the game, the outside guys want to keep the ball inside and restrict the space, and the inside guys want to make the hits. It's a very simplistic view of that, but, to answer your question, there are both. There are guys that contain, so to speak, and there are inside guys that want to maintain lane integrity so we don't run into each other."

On whether he feels like K Matt Stover has it all figured out now:"It's an ongoing process. I think Matt had a really good week of practice last week, and he had a real good warm-up. He had pristine conditions, and everything worked out real well. He had another good workout yesterday, and I think Matt, whatever issues he may have had, I think he's worked through them like you would expect Matt to do. I expect good things from Matt all the way down through the stretch of the season."

On what he credits P Sam Koch's success to:"I credit it to Sam. He's a prime example of how offseason training can help you in season. When I arrived in February, Sam and I sat down and had a talk about what things he thought he needed to get better at. After viewing his tape, I shared some things that I saw. He went about working at it starting in March and has been continuing to work on it since that time. I think, really, more than anything else, it's Sam's work ethic, and it's Sam's talent that's given him an opportunity to punt like this. If you talk to him after the game, you'd see also that even though his numbers speak of a real good game, he wasn't real happy with a couple of balls he hit. So he's continuing to work to get better as we speak."

On if there was anything specific in the offseason he wanted Koch to work on: "There were a lot of things, actually. When you're working with specialists, one of the things you try to do is to, rather than totally turn them around, you're trying to give them suggestions of things that they could see and do that work within their framework. Sam and I just watched his technique, and we conferred on some things that he might want to do. Some of them will work. Some of them haven't."

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