Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Appreciate you guys being here. [We had a] good practice. All eyes are to Sunday and preparing for a very good Washington team. That's our challenge right now."
Is this [knee injury] something TE Maxx Williams will have to get taken care of with surgery? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It is. It's something that's been bothering him all along. It's one of those cartilage issues, where the cartilage kind of … He's had it for a while. Part of it is the way his knee is built. Part of it is an injury from last year in San Francisco that damaged the cartilage a little bit. The way the knee is built just made it worse. We were hoping to get him through the season and then get something done at the end of the season, but it has just flared up too many times now for his wellbeing and his future. As he told me yesterday, 'I'm 22 years old. I have a career in front of me. Let me take care of this right now.' He's going to meet with doctors this week. There are certain experts in this particular type of an injury that he has to deal with, then, they'll decide – it's going to be a surgery of some kind – what type of surgery he's going to get. Hopefully, we'll have him back next year."
Disappointed for him, but are you at least happy to have TE Daniel Brown and TE Darren Waller as options? (Luke Jones) "We have a few options. I do think special teams will play into this decision pretty dramatically. We have guys on our practice squad that are doing a really good job that can help us. We'll figure that out. I think we have to do something by tomorrow afternoon, and we'll have something by then."
**So it's not a sure thing that Waller will step into that spot? *(Jeff Zrebiec) *"Like I said, we'll have a decision tomorrow when it's announced. That's when we'll announce it. That will be the best thing for us and our purposes."
*Any thoughts of going back to the [lucky] grey t-shirt after not wearing it last week? *(laughter) (Luke Jones) *"Oh, yeah! *(laughter) In all honesty, I did not even think about that. It got a little warm toward the end of the game, too. I should have stripped that sweat top off. That should be the thing I'm second-guessed about mostly. Let's be honest. (laughter) What's the temperature supposed to be in this game?" (Group: "High 60s, breezy.") "I could layer a couple of t-shirts under the t-shirt and have a chance. We'll see how it feels. I don't like being cold."
*The team is 36-16 under you after the last loss. To what do you attribute that? (Joe Platania) *"Sixteen times we didn't get the job done; that's what I would say. We just need to play better football than we played last week. We did a lot of things well, but we didn't do things well enough. Those things can change. You can fix one thing or do better in one area, and then something else comes up. That's the challenge of the whole thing. We need to play better in the red zone on defense for sure. We need to get more points in the first half for sure on offense. We need to be a more explosive offense. We have to continue to work on the run game. We need to keep our quarterback cleaner. This team is going to present other challenges. They're going to try to run the ball on us. They have an offensive-minded head coach, who has a history of wanting to run the ball, in Jay [Gruden]. Bill Callahan, same thing – he's a great coach who knows how to run the ball – proven. They also have playmakers that can take it deep on you. We have to think about what we need to get better at and how to play the team we're playing."
*That's going to be a different challenge, because a lot of teams don't challenge you running the ball, because they know your history. Do you think they will try to run more? (Jamison Hensley) *"Maybe look back on how many times people have run ball on us this year. They've actually run the ball on us a number of times. I think people felt like coming in … Cleveland had great success running the ball. Oakland ran the ball; I think they wanted to run the ball. They felt like they were going to be able to run the ball against us, and they tried to run it. Everybody is going to try to run it. It's just your job as a defense to stop it and make them one-dimensional. It's easier said than done, because when you commit too many resources to doing that, they throw it over your head. That's our challenge every week, but also this week."
Has the left side of the offensive line been challenging because there has been a lot of juggling with guys not playing and coming back?* (Jeff Zrebiec)*"You always want to have continuity, for sure. Continuity builds on itself, and that's what you want. We're blessed with some depth. We feel like we have some depth, especially this year, more than other years. Other teams have had the same problem. Washington, Oakland, the week before that, everybody has injuries in different spots. Sometimes it kind of gangs up on you in certain positions. You just have to deal with that."
I assume T Ronnie Stanley is a game-time decision? (Jeff Zrebiec) "We'll just see. We'll just let it play out. No comment, I guess."