Opening statement: "It is good to see you guys. I appreciate you being here. I saw a lot of you guys last night, so it is good to be back. Just going back and looking at it from a football standpoint, [I saw] so many good things and so many things to work on. It is more an inventory when you look at all of the things that you did well and improved on and all of the things that need to be improved upon, and some of the new things that we saw and trying to anticipate what we are going to get going forward. That is kind of the checklist that you go through in preparing for the next week and trying to weave that into our game plan along with what we see from Oakland in the next two days. That is the process for the coaches right now. Looking back at the game itself, I'm still pretty amazed by it. [I am] really amazed by our guys, by our coaches and their ability to call the game and to make the adjustments on the sidelines and to fix things as we were going and to keep the guys in a good place. But it really wasn't that hard, because the guys were in a good place. To start the game with a lead, we didn't get the first drive out, but we did get out to a 10-0 lead. That was something we talked about from the week before, so it was good to get the lead. We would have liked to have extended the lead. We eventually lost the lead in the fourth quarter. To play a fourth quarter the way it was played and regain the lead is pretty amazing and awesome. We had the turnovers. We had penalties that went against us that were self-induced penalties. We kept answering the bell with stops and then finally by moving the ball and getting into field goal range and making the field goal – stops in terms of stopping them, not giving them a first down, getting a turnover and then blocking a kick. All of those things were really, truly, something to remember. I have to think Ravens fans are going to remember that for a long time. I know I am. Then, the fans … The fans were incredible. It was hot down there. I have a couple buddies – some friends that actually drove down in an RV to Georgia and then turned the RV over to their wives and then they got on jet skis and rode jet skis 150-200 miles or something like that to Jacksonville. That is how crazy our fans are; they are great. They were also the last RV to leave the parking lot last night, they said. I hope they were in good shape to drive home. They might have made a stop on the way. We had tons of fans there. I don't know what the numbers were – 10,000, 15,000? When you came out, our whole side was pretty much Ravens fans. It was incredible to see. It was hot, and our guys were conditioned, and they started the game fast, and they finished strong. For Terrell Suggs – I think he is a great example – to pull off the big plays that he pulled off with the sacks and the run stops at the end of that game, to be in that kind of shape that you have to be in to do something like that in that heat kind of says it all."
As great as it is to have someone as reliable as K Justin Tucker to make a field goal when you need it, there have been four touchdowns in three games. Are you confident that the touchdowns are going to come with the potential this offense has? (Joe Platania)"I am confident that the touchdowns are going to come. I really do believe that we will get there. You have to do what you have to do to win a game. If we had been able to score touchdowns in that game, it would not have come down to what it came down to. We need to score touchdowns, and I am very confident that we can get there with our offense. I don't think that we are far away. I do think other people improve though. You don't just have to improve and get better; you have to outpace the competition. Everybody is getting better every week. We may be getting better, but the results might not be getting better because the defenses that we are playing are improving, too. We have to get there and make a few plays here and there. I don't think it is going to be anything dramatic. It is making a play here and there. It is popping a run here and there. It is holding off the brush here a little longer here and there to give Joe [Flacco] a little longer to make a throw or making a catch. Those are things that we can do."
ILB C.J. Mosley has had interceptions in back-to-back games. He seems to be making a lot of plays. What steps have you seen him make this year? (Garrett Downing)"Yes, he has made some plays in the passing game; that is probably a really good observation.* *He has had really good depth – you look at those two interceptions – [he had] really good depth on his coverage. He shows a lot of range, spatial awareness, not jumping routes when he isn't supposed to, playing top-down-type of zone coverage; those were both zone coverage plays. To go up and get the ball and track the ball [was difficult]. Those were not easy catches – either one of them. That was good to see."
You had a lot of guys make plays in the fourth quarter, but there was a three-series stretch where DT Timmy Jernigan had a sack to set up third-and-20, batted down a pass on a third down to force a punt and then had the batted pass for an interception. He is a young guy who has flashed before and made plays, but to see him take over in that area of the field, how exciting is that for now and for the future? (Luke Jones)"That is a great point. Timmy Jernigan, as you said, to take over a game in a sense, to stack big plays … He has flashed in the past. He does show up, then all of a sudden you kind of wonder where he went in years past. This year, I see him making play after play after play. He has really eliminated the negative plays. Even if he is not in great position, if he gets in an awkward spot, he seems to fight his way out of it and hustle to the ball. I think his motor is running really high right now, and he is doing a lot of good things."
You have won every game that you have played. All you can do is play the games on your schedule. Do you still feel it is tough to evaluate where this team is when you look at the competition? Because we all know that every team you faced didn't win a game before you played them. Some have won games since. Does that play a factor in how you evaluate this team and when you look around the NFL and how some of the other teams play and their style?* (Jerry Coleman)*"That is a fair question. I think is a better question for prognosticators and writers and media. It is cool; it is good to have that question. It doesn't matter to us. We don't have to evaluate ourselves, we just have to get ready to play games. Bill Parcells said, 'You are what your record says you are.' I was reminded of that by you guys last year quite frequently. So, I'll remind you. *(laughter) *It is a pretty good statement. That is what we have to take care of. We have to take care of business, and evaluating ourselves is not something we need to do. We just need to play better and better football."
Can wins like these give confidence week after week? Last year they went against you, but now, you have had three tight wins. Can that momentum be sustained? (Dave Ginsburg)"You just have to win the next game. That is really what it boils down to. Sure, it can be sustained. Are you saying it can't be sustained?" *(Reporter: "I'm saying that you learn to win close games, and that helps you when you are in a close game again.") *There is probably a confidence there. You gain a certain confidence knowing that you can do it, that you can find a way back in, that something is going to go right for you. My brother and I talked a lot about … One of our philosophies in life – and we live a blessed life – we say that it is just amazing how things work out for us. When we go to the mall, we don't start [looking] in the parking spaces in the back row. We drive right to the front row. There is going to be someone pulling out. Yes, the place is packed, it might say no parking available, but someone is going to leave as soon as we come in. It has just always worked out that way for us. So, I think that is a good way to approach life. When you start having some good things happen for you like our team has, maybe you can build on those things, because you just believe that good things are going to happen. Maybe that is a self-fulfilling prophecy as well."
How many times would you circle the lot looking for that spot? (Jerry Coleman) "As many as it took. You have to keep your record intact." (laughter)
What can you tell us about Oakland? (Bruce Cunningham)"You want a scouting report on Monday on Oakland? They're 2-1. They're very well coached. They have tons of talented [players] – very, very talented team with a lot of Top 10 picks. They've really done a great job – [general manager] Reggie McKenzie – of accumulating talent in the past couple of years. Certainly, everybody knows that, everybody that follows football. Jack [Del Rio] and his staff do a great job with their guys. They're going to be really good. They're a contender in the AFC, and we're looking forward to playing them."
WR Steve Smith Sr., numbers-wise, is getting more productive every week. When you watch him on film, do you see him looking more like himself? (Cliff Brown) "That would be a good question for Steve. It's hard to put myself in his athletic frame. How could you? The guy is a world-class athlete. He has looked good to me from Day One. I saw a bunch of plays made yesterday. I saw a lot of competitive fire. He was critical for us. He made some huge chunk plays for us when we needed him the most. I haven't had any concerns about Steve, really, at all, all year. I'm sure glad he's on our side, and I'm looking forward to how he plays this week."
Did you see the pictures of WR Steve Smith Sr. and Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey speaking face to face? Did you talk to him about the way to conduct yourself after a win? (Jerry Coleman) "No. I didn't have that conversation with him. I didn't think that was necessary. I was actually in the middle of that at one point. I got caught in the middle of that. It was kind of fun. It was fun. (laughter) I thought Steve Smith had a heck of a game. If that's how he responds to whatever challenge was put before him out there, I'm for that to happen every week. I thought he responded quite well. I think he had eight catches."
How have you seen CB Tavon Young and his game grow? What does it say about him to pull of that interception?* (Ryan Mink)* "You're right, tracking that ball that got tipped. He had to cover some ground to get there. It was good to see. Ball skills for a corner or for any defensive player are really valuable. Like I said, we're going to get Kamalei [Correa] on the JUGS machine. We want him … We want all of our guys to be able to catch, because it really helps when they throw them to you to catch them. It's big. For Tavon to have that ability, which we knew … We saw that ability, and we've seen it in practice. That's a real plus for our defense."
You mentioned LB Kamalei Correa. That was his first opportunity for some defensive snaps. Even though he didn't make the play, did you like that he was in position to make a play like that?* (Luke Jones)* "He was in position. He played more plays; he played well. It was good to see him out there to get his first chance as a defensive player. He played well last week on special teams and played well again this week on special teams. He's starting to feel his oats a little bit and hopefully be the player that we know he's going to be – sooner rather than later."
*John, you've been around a lot of kickers. I think their job is different than any other on the field because they get limited opportunities, and for them to succeed it is a big swing. For K Justin Tucker to come through consistently on game-winners, what does that say about a guy? *(Jamison Hensley) *"That would be a good question for a sports psychologist. I do think that the ability to carry out your skill under pressure is a talent that the great ones have. It's probably like a golf swing or a free throw shooter. That's probably what you take a kicker and relate it to – three-point shooter maybe. Just the ability to, when the stakes are the highest, to keep it the simplest and to keep the fundamentals the purest – make a putt and follow through on the putt without thinking about all of the external things – it is a unique thing. I thought of a story that Sean Landeta … One of our guys said this today, not today, but last week during practice, one of our young guys said something like, 'Man, it must be nice being a kicker.' This while practice was going on, they were over there doing their thing, and we were grinding it out on Wednesday. I was immediately reminded of what Sean Landeta told me. He said one time they were in training camp, and it was hot, and the guys were practicing, and he was sitting on his helmet watching practice. One of the big rookie defensive linemen came over and said, 'I'd like to be a punter,' and he said, 'If you decide to be a punter, you better be good, because there's only one on every team.' (laughter)* I thought that was a pretty good point right there. It's a pretty good life, but you better be good at it."
As far as the balance between throwing and running the ball, is that where you want it to be? (Todd Karpovich)"What were the numbers?" (Karpovich answers: "I think there was more passing than running.") "I don't think we're going to be 50-50. You look all around the league. Teams are scoring points. Some teams run the ball for 50 yards. Sometimes you run the ball for 150 yards. Sometimes you throw the ball for 150 or 400. That's kind of how it works. You're going to gain more yards throwing the football. You're going to score more touchdowns and score more points. You have to be able to throw the ball in the National Football League; it's just the way it is. You think you're going to go out there and run it 50-60 percent of the time and score any points, it's just not going to happen. But you have to be able to run the ball to not be one dimensional to be able to get those chunk yards throwing. We are not happy with our running game in that sense. I don't know so much about the balance of it. I don't think it has to be any particular thing. I don't want to be running the ball 40 percent of the time or 35 percent of the time. We want to be running the ball over 40 percent of the time somewhere. I would love to run it 50 percent of the time in a game. That means you're really doing well. You're probably ahead, and you've probably handed it off 15 times in the second half, and you won by two or three touchdowns, because you had three or four big-play touchdowns in the first half throwing the ball. That's probably what happened, if you have that kind of balance. That would be great. We want to be able to do that. But we have to run the ball effectively. We have to be able to run the ball for some chunk yards. We have to pop some runs. We have to keep people … We have to force people to defend the run, because that opens up your passing game. We're not doing that as well as we want to do it right now."
Teams that start 3-0 through history have made the postseason 75 percent of the time. Does that mean anything to you? (Kyle Barber)"Not really, because they probably won another seven, eight or nine games, right? And we're going to have to do that to make the playoffs, so our concern needs to be to win those other games. We talk about stacking; we want to stack good meetings, good practices, good weight lighting sessions, and we want to stack wins. That's really the task at hand."
John, you were asked a question about the competition you face, and from the outside, some analysts will suggest some teams are good or bad, or some teams should beat other teams. Yet, NFL coaches will always say it's hard to win games. From your seat, is there a strata of competition? Or do you look at all competition equally? (Mark Viviano)"There's definitely a strata. That's a great question. I think you respect all competition equally. Every game is really hard to win in the National Football League, and I think we play the best teams, and you go into that game, and people don't give you a chance sometimes, and you're right there. Or we've blown people out in those kinds of situations before. Then you go into other games, and people assume that you're supposed to win the game by some margin, and you struggle or you lose the game. [They say,] 'You play up to the competition [or] you play down to the competition.' Well, that's because everybody has this strata, and it's based on wins and losses. And [it was] a good point – where do we fit right now? That's kind of what people are trying to figure out. But really, we're going to fit where we fit based on how we handle these challenges. And so, I guess I'm circling back to say it is really hard to win in the National Football League. Everybody is really good, and people have really good coaches and really talented players, and these guys fight like crazy out there to win a football game. You only play 16 of them, you know? It's like the equivalent of 10 games in a baseball season; that's how valuable these games are. So, that three-and-a-half hours, I think that's why people love watching it. It is really a dramatic struggle in a football game, so when you win one, it's a real sense of accomplishment, and you feel like you've done something worthwhile."
John, does it feel better that you've won the first couple on the road, and now you're back home for the next couple? (Bill West)"We're excited to be back home, yes. I'll tell you, like I said, our fans are great. Our fans are great. Our fans were great in Jacksonville yesterday; our fans were amazing. We came into the tunnel, and they were all over the tunnel, and they were cheering and going crazy. For them to make the trip … And then the busses … We had tons of fans outside the busses going crazy. I came out a little bit later, and the guys were ready to go to the airport, and I couldn't just walk by the fans and give them a perfunctory wave! I had to get over there and give them a few pictures; it was fun! *(laughter) *Players didn't appreciate it too much; they were ready to go. *(laughter) *But it was great, so being at home, it makes it even that much better."
G Alex Lewis wasn't in there the last couple of series. Is he OK? (Luke Jones)"Alex is in the concussion protocol right now, so we'll just have to see how that goes."
Following that question, how did you think G/C Ryan Jensen played in his place? (Ed Lee)"I thought he played well. Ryan goes out there and he always gives you a spark. He played really well, he was physical, and he played well. That's one thing we do, and we feel really good about, is we have some depth in our interior offensive line."
Did you go ahead and wear the same T-shirt that you wore the week before? (Jerry Coleman)"Yes, it was the same one. [Assistant equipment manager] Tommy [Wood], one of our equipment guys … You know, the T-shirt took a beating yesterday. It was hot, kind of rough, a lot of hugs happened out there, but he said, 'We're saving this one.' So, it'll be laundered up and ready to go next week, I guess."
Will we see you in a T-shirt in December in New England? (Jerry Coleman)"You will not. I don't like being cold." (laughter)
What if you win every game up until then? (Jamison Hensley)"If that T-shirt can stretch and fit over a parka or something like that, then we might have a chance." *(laughter) *
Are you superstitious like that, with what you wear? (Jamison Hensley)"No. I'm superstitious about not being superstitious. I think it's really important to not be superstitious." (laughter)