JOHN HARBAUGH TUESDAY PRESS CONFERENCE
Opening statement:"It is good to see everybody. We appreciate everybody being here. I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas, and obviously, it is a great time of year. It is fun watching football over this time of year, too. I think the fans are enjoying it as well. We did a little bit of that, but we also spent a lot of time preparing for Cincinnati. Coaches, the extra day helped us; we had a little time with the coaches. But more than that, we spent our time getting ready for a very important game. We are excited about it. Players will be in this afternoon, and we will start installing the gameplan this afternoon."
You talk about getting incrementally better every game. It appears the team has been doing it. How important is it, and how happy are you that the team is playing their best ball? (David Ginsburg)"It is very important, and I am very happy with it. That is the idea. But that is something that we have to build on every single week. There are a lot of things from this last game that we have to go look at and take a hard look at today and improve on. The good things, you build on. The things that you didn't do so well, you try to improve and understand why they happened and try to play your best game the next week. We will just kind of keep it small and try to do that this week as best we can."
We forgot to ask you about CB Jaylen Hill after the game. Is that injury as significant as it looked? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It is. He had an ACL and a MCL tear, so he will be out. It is tough – a tough one, a non-contact injury – and just unfortunate for him. But he is a tough young man. He was really working hard on special teams and developing as a defensive back. He is a developmental guy for us that has a real bright future, but he will have to go to work to rehab that inury. That was a tough one for him and for us."
You have lost two cornerbacks now for the season. You promoted CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Is that a position you will have to look at going forward?* (Jeff Zrebiec)*"Yes, we will have to look at it. We will have to figure that out as the week goes on. We will have until Saturday afternoon to decide what we do. We will probably bring in an extra guy at least on the practice squad, and of course, we have Robertson Daniel on the practice squad, so he would be an option there. We will just kind of see how it goes. He [Daniel] is ready to play. [We have] a lot of faith in Stanley, too. I think he has practiced really well, and I expect him to come in and play at a high level."
Do you have any update on WR Jeremy Maclin at all? (Jamison Hensley)"No, it is just a rehab thing. I don't think there is going to be any major update. It is a healing issue. Jeremy has always been a quick healer, so that is a good thing. It will be maybe this game [against Cincinnati]. I think he has a chance. We will just have to see as it gets closer to game time."
When you went back and looked at the film, what did you attribute the lack of pass rush to? Did you feel like you could have got more pressure on Colts QB Jacoby Brissett?* (Jerry Coleman)*"Sure. I think we could have had more pressure. They did a really good job picking up our pressures. I thought they had a good pass protection plan. They did a good job executing it. The quarterback got the ball out a little quicker than he has in the past. That was part of it. We didn't get to him as well as we needed to. The good news is that we played our best that way when our best was needed at the end. That was a big plus for us, and that is why we won the game."
How do you feel about the … Do you have a reaction to … Usually you don't, but with the NFL moving all these games to 4:25 p.m. and your game being moved there … It kind of goes back to a question we asked a few weeks ago where everything is up to you guys, and you don't really have to watch the scoreboard as games go on simultaneously. (Jerry Coleman)"No, I think that is alright. I really don't have an opinion about it other than it is kind of tough for the fans. I am sure they have New Year's Eve plans. I do not know what the considerations are at the league office and why they do what they do, and I really don't care other than the fact that I hope our fans are OK with it. I hope they are into it; I hope people get there. The people that have plans, I hope they give their tickets to somebody else so they get there. I want the place to be packed. I want the placed to be packed and loud. I do not think the NFL did us any favors by moving it back, but they don't care about us. So, we just have to care about ourselves. We have to take care of our own business. That goes for our team, for our fans and for our city. Let's go win the football game. And it is going to take 100-percent effort. It is going to take everything we have to win this football game. That is what we plan on getting ready to do, and we would sure like to have our crowd out there helping us."
What do you think of your running game, and what improvements would you like to see going forward?* (Mike Preston)*"It is week-to-week. We could bust out and run for a bunch of yards or we could struggle. It just depends on how you play and how the defense defends you. I did not think we did a great job [last Saturday]. We did not probably block and execute as well as we have in other games. We just have to play better. It will start in practice tomorrow – just execute the running game better, block better, run better – all of the things that go into it. We will do everything we can to run the ball well this week, and it is not going to be easy, because that is a good front. They have a very good defensive line, as you know – one of the best in the league. They are a very tough group to block, so we are going to have to be at our best."
How satisfying was it seeing TE Maxx Williams get into the end zone, knowing everything that he went through to get into the end zone again? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, really happy for Maxx. Some of those other guys have scored, [too]. Patrick Ricard scored [against Detroit and Pittsburgh], and that was pretty cool. Maxx was happy for Pat, but he wants to score, too. So, that was good to see. You want to get all your guys involved, and everybody can't be the guy that scores the touchdowns every single week. But when you spread it out, that's good. We'd like to get a few more touchdowns in the red zone. Whoever makes the play, we'll be all for that."
What are you seeing from TE Maxx Williams? He came back from a knee surgery that was unconventional, and you guys have said that was unprecedented. (Luke Jones)"That's a really good point. To me, Maxx is pretty remarkable. He came back from a knee injury, as you guys know, that has never been done before – at least in football. I don't know if an athlete has ever done it before. That would be a good question for Maxx or for the doctors. He's a good player. Maxx doesn't always get the credit he deserves. He's a very physical player. He plays really hard. He's a factor out there. People know where he's at – they have to. He has good hands; he makes contested catches. He's not the prettiest athlete in the world. I think that's probably what people see sometimes, and that's OK. People like pretty; Maxx isn't that as an athlete, but he's tough. He's a good football player, and I'm sure glad we have him."
What was your reaction to the sarcastic cheers that WR Breshad Perriman got when he made his two catches on Saturday? (Ed Lee) "I didn't really know. I saw what Mike [Wallace] said about it in the quotes afterwards. I didn't realize that's what it was, to be honest with you. Maybe I'm just naïve. I didn't get it. I thought it was pretty cool that the fans were cheering. But I don't know, maybe I see things differently – maybe I have rose-colored glasses on. I was surprised when I read that. If that's what it was, then that's too bad. But you know what? That's part of football. Breshad is tough, and he'll handle it."
The Ravens have been linked to former Steelers LB James Harrison. Is that an option? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I don't know. You would have to ask Ozzie [Newsome]. I don't know."
How valuable has S Eric Weddle been, since he's come here, to all the facets of the football operation system? (Jamison Hensley) "Eric Weddle, the question is how valuable he has been? He has been invaluable. He's been one of the biggest pluses we've had in the last couple years. He's a first-rate leader, and he's a first-rate football player. That's a good combination for you. He epitomizes the values of what this organization has been about since it came to town. I love it. He's mad at himself for dropping those two picks [against Indianapolis]. He got a little bit of a hard time. We made him endure it the last couple days as well. He's special, and I'm glad we got him."
When you went back and looked at the film of the blocked punt, what did you see of the breakdown there? (Todd Karpovich) "I'm not going to get into the details of who, what, how. It just was bad. It was something [the Colts] did a good job of scheming our scheme, and they got us. I thought their guy, No. '50,' [Anthony Walker] executed what they needed to do to perfection. We just have to block it better. We usually do. That was disappointing."
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis – you've competed against his teams for a number of years here. What's your impression of Marvin and the kind of coach he is and the job he does? (Ryan Mink) "Marvin is a great coach. I've always had the utmost respect for Marvin Lewis as a coach and a person. He's been nothing but gracious to us over the years. He does a great job. Look at how hard they play, and how good they've been. What he's done there over the long haul, to me, is the true measuring stick. It's what you do over the long haul, and he's done it. [I have] nothing but respect, and we expect that team to be highly-motivated come Sunday."