Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan
On if Houston's offense is looking better after the last few games:"They're really playing well right now. [Andre] Johnson is probably as good a receiver as there is in the league. He can do it all – catch the possession-type of receiver, vertical receiver, he's huge. So he's definitely a weapon. Their running game, we've got to be alert on perimeter runs and stuff like that, as well as third-down runs, which a lot of teams don't do. So that should be a challenge also. But again, hey, we're looking forward to it. I know this team averages about 30 points a game at home and has a great record at home and all that kind of stuff, but they're in our way, so we've got to go take care of our business."
On how excited he is at the possibility of having CB Samari Rolle back this week:"Well, I certainly hope he plays. We're expecting him to. Anytime you get a great player like Samari back, you feel great about it. I think the guys really stepped up in his place and in Chris' [McAlister] place. They did a great job for us, and that can only help your football team when you get a starter back."
On if he's ever seen anyone go through as much as Rolle has and still have the desire to play football:"He's a special person. There's no doubt about that. He's our kind of guy, and he cares about his teammates. He cares about this whole football team, and he does what he can to get ready. He knows this is a rough game and injuries happen to a lot of players. Really, durability is so important in this league, and a guy that gets himself back on the field and is ready to go, it is amazing. With the epilepsy and all that stuff aside, he is an amazing guy. I can't wait to see him out there."
On whether he or anyone else in the building has talked about CB DeAngelo Hall:"No, not really, at least as far as I'm concerned. You know, I guess that'd be a lie. I mean, some of the players and I would talk about him or whatever, but we'll see."
On if he talked to his brother, Oakland defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, about Hall:"I tried to, but he's, for some reason, not returning calls. So I guess they've got some issues out there."
On how much of the preparation from the first time they were supposed to play Houston is still relevant:"A lot of it. They've pretty much had the same guys. It just so happened that they've been more productive these last several weeks, but Pittsburgh might've had something to do with that [in Week 1's loss]. But again, it's a good offense. I think they're ranked fourth in the NFL in offense. Halfway through the season, those rankings mean something. So they're getting it done. They lead the NFL on third down and on first down, so they're definitely an effective group. But again, we think we are, too, so we'll see."
On how much differs in Houston's offense whether QB Matt Schaub or QB Sage Rosenfels plays:"It's identical."
On whether they change anything:"No, not really."
On what TE Owen Daniels and WR Kevin Walter bring to the table since you can't pay attention just to one guy like Johnson:"No, but you have to pay attention to that one guy because, like I said, he's a difference-maker. Daniels only caught 11 balls last week for 130-something yards, and then Walter does a nice job. They've got a system, and they try to feature everybody. I still think sometimes that big guy can be covered and [yet] he's still open because he's so big and he's an exceptional talent."
On if he sees more teams taking a running back by committee approach over the years:"Yeah, I think it makes sense. You get a fresh back in there. Then, sometimes, different backs have different skill sets, so I think that's why people are using [more than one back]. If you're going on the goal line, you probably want [Le'Ron] McClain running. If you [run on the] perimeter, you might want a speed back or something like that out there. But that's what you see a lot of teams doing now."
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
On if RB Ray Rice would be able to handle a full work load with a chest injury:"I think he's just got some bumps and bruises. I didn't see anything limited in terms of the way he practiced. I think he had an outstanding practice, so we expect him to be ready to go."
On if he's concerned with the wear and tear on T Jared Gaither going into a game against Texans DE Mario Williams:"I mean, it's that time of the season. Everybody's wearing down to a degree. But we're trying to get our guys, reminding them of the things they've got to do. The season is not even half over yet, and we've got to continue to, they've got to continue to take care of their bodies and get their treatment – a lot of factors – getting their rest, all those things. Everybody's worn down to a degree, but Williams is a factor regardless. He plays both sides. I think we've charted, on third down he's 50-50 right and left, so Willie [Anderson] will see him as well. On first and second down he's playing 60-40, 65-35 percent, so both guys have got to be ready for him."
On what WR Mark Clayton was able to do against Cleveland that he hadn't in previous games:"There have been some opportunities if you go back and look, and I think I alluded to that a couple of weeks ago. We're just, just an inch or two away from making those exact same plays. And I think that's just kind of where we are, just the growth that we're trying to make week-to-week. But at the same time, there was a play where they [the Browns' defense] doubled Derrick Mason, they doubled Todd Heap, and he got singled over the top. And there were a couple of others, we missed two other ones that we won't miss those very often anymore, I don't think. So that's what you're trying to do each week, continue to spread the ball around. They take one guy away, you go to the other guy. And Mark has worked extremely hard. And he's getting better, that's the other thing, too. I know sometimes you look at those and say, 'Why weren't you doing that earlier?' Well, A – it probably wasn't there earlier, and B – that player probably wasn't playing at that level earlier. We've got a group of guys that are getting better, and not only collectively, but I think individually some guys are really making improvements. With Demetrius Williams going down, we challenged some of the guys to step up, and I think Yamon Figurs will be the next guy. I mean, Yamon Figurs – I'll be shocked if he's not the next guy to really make an impact for us."
On how FB Le'Ron McClain has progressed over the past few weeks:"I guess I see it differently than everybody else. I've just seen him as a football player, and we all have, offensively, since the day that we've gotten here. And I guess, again, I had a favorable view of him coming out of college, so I've always looked at him as a good runner, a good receiver and a guy that can continually improve his blocking. So if he's stays healthy, you know he's dinged up a little bit, but we'll continue to expand his role. But I think short yardage, goal line, a blocker, occasional receiver, an emergency tailback if we need him – we ask him to wear a lot of hats. But I think that's the Raven way. I mean it's, again, something that Rex [Ryan] started here, like they do on defense, and we're going to do it, take the same philosophy on offense."
On if TE Todd Heap will be more involved in the passing game this week with TE Daniel Wilcox back to possibly take over some blocking duties:"I don't know if that's the case yet. Edgar [Jones] will be up, and Adam [Terry] will be up. But everybody's view of those tight end roles is different. When you're playing, and I think Todd's playing, averaging, over 60 plays a game… When you're in the top five or so in the league in rushing, you don't do that without a good tight end. He has a huge role in what we do. It may not be the role that everybody wants it to be, but that's not our concern. Our concern is to try to win. But he is in the front of our mind and doing an outstanding job."
On if he's impressed with how Gaither has played, considering his short history playing football:"Again, I think everybody's view is different. I guess Antonio Gates changed my thinking about all that. I remind these guys, guys like Gaither, I say, 'Now LeBron James was 18 when he dominated in the NBA.' I just think this young generation of players, certain of them buy into just doing what they're coached to do and be a player. We've just kind of… I would imagine being around Jonathan Ogden for a year doesn't hurt. The great thing about it, I don't think he knows any different. I think he expects to play at a high level. I think he's always seen himself as an elite athlete, and that's what I remember seeing about Gates. Gates came in and had never played college football, but he saw himself differently, he saw himself as an elite athlete. And I think Jared understands his potential and the possibilities of being a great player. And he just works, he doesn't put himself in a box, he doesn't put restrictions on himself. I think the more guys can do that, and just do what we're asking them to do, the game doesn't become too big for them. Again, it hasn't been a surprise to me because I've just opened my eyes since we've been here and he's been pretty good since the day we got here."
On what he's seen differently in QB Joe Flacco these last three weeks vs. the first five:"Every [day], like today, he's even better today than he was yesterday. I think he's continued to improve. Obviously, ball security, eventually a guy either figures it out or he doesn't, and ball security has been outstanding the last few weeks. That's going to have to continue. But there have been other things, too. I think it's all things that you've seen. But what determines whether you win or lose is taking care of the football, and I think he's done an outstanding job of taking care of the football."
Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
On if Texans WR Jacoby Jones is as good of a returner as he's seen:"Well, he's scored two touchdowns this year. He has a different style than Josh Cribbs and Devin Hester does, but the end result is the same. He gets in the end zone."
On his assessment of WR André Davis' kick return ability:"He and Jacoby Jones have similar styles. They're both tall and very fast players, and they stretch and they cut vertically, and once they get an opening it's hard to catch them. They destroy angles down the field. That's the thing that's remarkable about both of them. A typical pursuit angle, a player gets a feel for what angle he has to take to get the player down, but these guys blow up those angles because they just run away from people. So that's something that we really have to be knowledgeable about before we get to the game."
On if he tweaked anything on kick or punt return coverage:"That sounds like a strategy question to me. I'll tell you this: What we did against Cleveland was not acceptable, so yeah, we're working hard on our coverage aspect this week to make sure it doesn't happen again. I guess that answers your question."
On if teaching points can be gained from the poor coverage:"Yeah, teaching points being multiple plurals. There are a lot of teaching points, there are a lot of mistakes we made, and we didn't tackle well. And when you play against a good player like that [Cribbs], the result is what you saw."
On what LB Brendon Ayanbadejo has meant to this special teams unit:"He has done a great job with our young players in particular. He's been productive on the field, and that's got to be part of it. Guys see him, the way he plays and how fast he plays. I think the young players get an idea of what it takes to be an elite special teams player in this league."
On Ayanbadejo accepting his role on the team as a special teams player:"I think he not only accepted it, but has flourished in it. He understands how he can help the team win. The good thing about, since Brendon has been here, he's also expanded that to help the defense. The more you have players on your team that can do multiple tasks, the better football team you're going to have from top to bottom. And that's what I think has been a priority for not only the coaching staff, but also the personnel people, is get as many football players as you possibly can on our team, and we'll figure out how we can play them on Sunday to win."
On if it's as simple as it sounds to just "make the tackle":"When it comes down to it, yeah you have to make the tackle. But there are responsibilities of guys fitting off of one another, having an understanding of where your help is, understanding where the sideline is, understanding what we call 'leverage responsibility,' how you fit in the net. So yeah, there's more to it than just that. But in the end it comes down to, it's you and him – you've got to get him on the ground."