JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE: WEEK 7
The last couple of weeks, there have been a couple instances where you have had to use timeouts with the play clock running down. The one Sunday, it looked like QB Joe Flacco thought the clock should have been reset because the guy tore off the ball. Would you like to see a bigger sense of urgency at the line, or do you think that is not on you guys directly? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I do not know if the clock should have been reset or not. Maybe it should have – that would be a good question for the officials. It does not really matter in our sense. If the clock is not reset, we have to get the play off, so the answer is 'yes' to your question. We can't afford that."
With 6:30 to go, you took a timeout. Instead of taking it, in retrospect, do you look back and maybe you just take the delay of game penalty? (Jerry Coleman)"Which one? That one there with Joe [Flacco] on offense?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "We could have taken the delay, but Joe took the timeout."
You talk about the week-to-week thing. You guys are 3-3, won two, lost two, won one, lost one. Do you feel a little bit of spinning your wheels? Obviously, you are a little disappointed to be 3-3, but do you feel maybe you are just a win streak away? (David Ginsburg)"I think it is a good point. It probably puts it in perspective right there. Spinning your wheels right now, being .500, is in the hunt. We are very much in it. We have had three pretty good games – in some ways, excellent games. We have had three not-so-good games, and it has not been across the board. It has been this [or] that, that has cost us. We need to find a way to win games. That is really what it boils down to. You try to stack as many wins as you can. We have three wins at this point. We are going to need to go more than .500 the rest of the way to accomplish what we want to accomplish, but we need to get about 10 wins. We need to find a way to put wins together. That is what we need to do from week to week. We need to do it next week. We are disappointed we did not get it done last week. We battled back. We did not do a lot of things well. There are a lot of things we did not get done. But we did find ourselves in position to win the game in overtime, and we had a great opportunity to do it. The toughest thing about the last game is that once we got back in position to win the game, we did not close it out, really, on either side of the ball. That is where I probably would have liked to see us finish. Let's finish; let's win this game. Let's go to 4-2 and find a way to win. We will be talking about how ugly it was, but we won. Now, we are talking about how ugly it was, but we lost. In the end, we have to find a way to win the next game. We have to build on our strengths. There are a lot of things that we are doing well. We have to minimize some mistakes that we are making. We have to find a way to minimize our weaknesses, because we have weaknesses like most teams. But we have to find a way to make those not hurt as much as possible."
One of the things you were doing well last week was the deep shots to WR Mike Wallace. Was not throwing the ball deep in this game a result of something you had seen with the Bears that you couldn't do? Was it poor O-line play? (Stan Charles)"It is a combination of things. They were playing back there. They were definitely playing top-down zone coverage, for the most part. There were deep calls. There were deep shots taken. They were back there covering. We dropped one that turned into an interception, and we dropped another comeback that turned into an interception. Those are things that when you throw the ball, you have to execute. It is one thing to take the punches; it is another thing to land the punches. You have to land some punches, and we have to find a way to do that."
I don't know if K Justin Tucker would have been in field goal range or not. There were 12 seconds to go there, and QB Joe Flacco throws in the middle of the field. Was that because the sidelines were taken up?* (Jerry Coleman)*"Yes, the defense, they were in … That is a good question. The sideline throw is what we like to do there. But they play a certain box prevent defense there, where they line three guys up on either side at all three levels, and whatever out routes you run, they man them up and don't let you go out of bounds. You might be able to stick one in there and sneak out of bounds, but your chances of doing that are [bad]. That is what that defense is for – to take away [those throws]. We had something schemed up that we tried to try dump the ball in the middle and try to get guys out in front of the play and see if we could pop a home run, basically. It is another form of a 'Hail Mary.' It did not pop. It is a low-percentage play, certainly. If we would have had 17 or 18 seconds left, we could have gotten the ball clocked, but we only had 12 seconds when the play started."
Did you get any clarification about when the guy ran into WR/RS Michael Campanaro on the punt? (Todd Karpovich)"The way [the official] explained it to me was that he was not hit hard enough. Yeah, I know. I haven't heard that before, but that was the explanation."
Having looked at the tape, what are you seeing defending the run? It seems like there is a lot of volatility. You guys will have stretches where you clean up and it is pretty tight. Other times, they will get some chunk plays. What are you seeing against the run?* (Luke Jones)*"That is exactly right. We need to be more consistent. I saw too many yards between the tackles, bottom line. I thought we played pretty well on the edges, for the most part. That is a stretch zone team, and we defended that play pretty well. They were cutting the ball back, and they were squeezing it between our tackles or between our tackle and our end too much for three, four, five, six, seven yards. I thought we had too many second-and-fives, second-and-sixes, second-and-fours than we normally would want to have. Those guys are battling. Also, at the end of the game, there was 3.4 yards per carry, which is pretty good. When you run the ball around 50 times, you are probably going to have some yards at the end. The most disappointing run, obviously, was the one that they popped in overtime. That was the one that was the number – what was it 60 yards, something like that? That is where a lot of those yards came, and that was really the game-deciding play."
People love to find something to blame, and it is not always one person, but a lot of people are focused on offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. What gives you confidence that Marty has the offense going in the right direction where you want it to be? (Jamison Hensley)"Marty is a great coach. There is no question in my mind about it. I have seen him over the years. I know what he can do. I know what he is trying to do. I know what all the coaches are trying to do. You do everything you can to put your guys in position to make plays, and you are in it together. The players are in it together; the coaches are in it together. We are fighting together to try and do it. Anytime you try to pin the blame on one person in a team sport like this, that is always going to be a mistake. That is nonsensical. It just does not work that way. But I understand how it works. We all understand that."
How close were you to using WR Jeremy Maclin, and would you hope that WR Breshad Perriman can get past concussion protocol and be ready for next week? (David Ginsburg)"I don't really know how close it was. That is up to the doctors. That would be something you have to ask them. They don't really tell us how close a guy is. There is no percentage on that, that I am aware of. We hope to have all of our guys back next week. We will just have to see how it shakes out."
Losing WR Breshad Perriman and not having WR Jeremy Maclin, you were pretty low on the depth chart at receiver. Did those guys get the separation you wanted? (David Ginsburg)"The bottom line is that it is the same type of answer to the question that Jamison [Hensley] just asked. We all have to do a better job of finding a way to get the passing game going. We are running the ball pretty well. We want to run the ball better, certainly. We want to do everything as well as we can, but we have to find some yards in the passing game. The big plays that Stan [Charles] is talking about, that is something we have to find. We also have to find the chain-movers, the consistent plays underneath, where we can move the chains and get first downs and create more plays. Whether it is play-action passes, quick game, concept passes – protection goes with that – all of those things go together. They all tie together. When you put those things together, and they are clicking and the quarterback is playing, the passing game can look great. When one or two things are off and you don't have separation like you said or you don't quite get protection, that is when things don't look good at all. When you have those things happening sporadically over the course of the whole game – different things and different plays – then it can look bad. We just have to put it together. We have to keep working. There is a lot of season left. Every week is a different week. We have good players, we have good coaches. We are capable of putting together a good passing attack. We will go to work on doing it. It is a week-to-week game. We need to find a passing game for Minnesota."
Could you have foreseen the significant impact of the loss of DT Brandon Williams and DE Brent Urban? (Stan Charles) "I don't feel like the replacements have done a poor job, by any stretch. When you watch the guys individually, they're playing well, they're playing hard, they're playing up to their capabilities. But, you're talking about two high-level players – Brandon Williams, obviously, at the highest level, and Brent Urban coming into his own as that kind of player. So, it's taken a little bit of an edge off of our run defense – there's no doubt about it. It's 3.4 yards [per carry] instead of 2.1 yards a carry, maybe. But, we're getting a lot of tackles for loss. Terrell Suggs made a number of really big, good plays in the backfield [on Sunday]. Our guys are flying around to the football. I love the way we're playing, as far as the style of play, the effort, the tenacity, the physicality – it's all there. But, we want to be dominant. What you're talking about it a dominant run defense, and that's what we had earlier in the year. We have to find a way to get back to that, and getting Brandon back will be a big plus."
After watching the film, was it a combination of things that caused the drop passes? (Jerry Coleman) "No question; we have to catch the ball better. There's no doubt about it. That's what you do when you're a receiver or a tight end or a back. Your job is to hold on to the football, catch the football, throw the ball well as a quarterback. All those guys, we have to be more precise, and we have to be better in the passing game. Catching the ball, to me, is a prerequisite. If you're a receiver or a tight end, you're a receiver by trade – one of those three positions – your job is to catch the ball. That's it."
Your three starting defensive linemen all played 54 or more defensive snaps. That seems like pretty high numbers compared to other games. I noticed DE Bronson Kaufusi didn't have as many. Did something happen to him that made you thin over the course of the game? (Luke Jones) "No, he was healthy. You have to play well, and he's learning, to be honest with you. We had to stop the run, and we needed a little more physicality in there. Fifty-four snaps is probably a lot, but we had 80 defensive snaps. So, you earn your snaps."
Is there anything you can do to improve the success of the offense in the red zone? (Ed Lee)"Sure. Every one of those plays is different; that's execution of the plays and sometimes it's protection. It was kind of what we were just talking about. Sometimes it's protection, sometimes a guy running a route well, sometimes it's running the right route. We had a couple route errors down there by a couple guys – that doesn't go over very well. All those things factor in. Sometimes you have to come up with a throw and a catch. Sometimes it's a scramble play. All those things happen in the red zone, and extended plays are big in the red zone. So, we're just not making the plays we need to make down there, and it's everybody – coaches and players. We have to find a way to do it."
There's been reports linking the Ravens to free agent LB NaVorro Bowman. Is he a guy you're looking at, or is that not going to happen?* (Jeff Zrebiec)*"I don't know. That's something that [general manager] Ozzie [Newsome] … If he was doing press conferences, he could probably answer that question for you. I really don't know the answer to that right now."
How great was it to see CB Jimmy Smith play as much as he did? Did he make it out of the game OK? (Luke Jones)"He made it out of the game great. Jimmy did well, thanks. He was good. He's probably sore from the game, but he played all the snaps. He played excellent. I thought all our corners played exceptionally well. You want to talk about the team a little bit … The corners played great. They covered well, they ran to the ball, and they were good in run support on the edges – that was big. Our safeties played really well. Our safeties played really well, except for a couple of bad plays. Those are plays that those guys are beating themselves up over. I know how they think; I know how they are. They're both great players; they both have high standards for themselves. But, you have to play all the plays really well, and that's the standard they set for themselves. We have to eliminate those big plays. The plays we gave [Chicago] – really three plays, when you look at it … Even after the turnovers, we stepped up pretty well. But, we gave them two pass plays and a long run play that, if not for those plays, it was a pretty dominant defensive performance, all in all. But, that's how it goes. I don't care how many plays you're out there. With the guys we have playing on defense – that's how they feel. They feel like we should play 80 great plays of football, and we have to find a way to do it."
Did you think G Jermaine Eluemunor held up well, given his first-career start? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, he was OK. He had some good plays and some not-so-good plays. He fought, competed. One good thing about him [is] he's very physical, he's very stout. So, he didn't get pushed around. He got edged one time, really badly, on a pass protection. He'll want that one back. But, all in all, he did OK."
Is there an update on TE Maxx Williams' injury? (Ed Lee) "No, no update."
*How did you feel for RB Bobby Rainey Jr.'s kickoff return for a touchdown, to give the team that spark? Just speak a little bit to that kind of a play. *(Luke Jones) *"What a play. What a heads-up play, for one thing. We should have our own guy tackle our guy every time if it's going to make [that happen]. *(laughter) It's part of the design, so it's very creative on [special teams coordinator/associate head] coach [Jerry] Rosburg's part. *(laughter) *Bobby is a really heads-up player; he's a really smart player. He has great balance, great feet – you've seen that – good hands. He's a guy who can help us in the passing game underneath with screens and things like that, and he's really good in pass protection. As he works himself into shape, hopefully, he can play a role. That was a phenomenal play; it was really well-blocked. We lulled them to sleep, I guess you'd say. The punt return [for a touchdown] was just a good return by 'Camp' [Michael Campanaro] and really great blocking by everybody. When you look at plays like that … We had a number of returns during the game – four or five punt returns – [with] no penalties. That's been a big point of emphasis; that's something that was frustrating a few weeks back. So, for those guys to step up and be penalty-free in those plays … I mean, you're downfield. Those are long punts he punted, there's a lot of real estate being covered, and our guys played with great discipline on that. That was really a positive for us. Kickoff return – we were good except for that one return. We have to do a better job when we directional kick [with] squeezing the backside of coverage down. That's young guys learning. We can do a better job with that."