John Harbaugh's Monday (10/13) Press Conference Transcript

Opening statement: "Thanks for coming. I had a chance to look at the tape and go through it with our coaches and got through it with our players, go out and work on things today in a short practice. [We] pretty much see it the same way as we saw it last night: We were beaten by a football team that played extremely well. They executed better, pretty much, in every phase, and their quarterback played exceptionally well, their skill guys played well, their defense played fast, and they beat us. And that's what we saw."

Have there been any thoughts about picking up any players before the trading deadline tomorrow?

"No. It's really hard to trade in the NFL. I can't say that we haven't had any discussions about any kind of trades. There are a couple of things that have been brought to our attention, but it's hard to make trades in this league. If we could, if we could make a trade that we thought would help us, we would do it. But there's nothing available right now for us to do that."

What is the status of G/T Marshal Yanda's injury?

"It looks like Yanda is going to be out. I don't want to speak too early because he's got an MRI coming back, but based on preliminary look, he does not look good. My guess is that he's going to be out for the season – to be confirmed later today."

How big of a blow is the loss of Yanda?

"It's a big blow. Yanda, some guys were talking today, Yanda is a Raven in every way. He's really played well. He's been an anchor for our offensive line. He's going to be a guy that we're going to have to replace, and it's going to take the whole offensive line to do it. Whoever ends up going in there and taking that spot is going to have big shoes to fill, and the rest of the guys are just going to have to play that much better. Communication is going to be critical, and some of those young guys may have to step up."

Has there been any thought given to who will take Yanda's place on the offensive line?

"We're looking at some options. It could be Adam Terry, if he's healthy. Chris Chester is certainly in the mix; Oniel Cousins is in the mix. We'll just have to see how it shakes out."

Will CB Fabian Washington be ready to return to play this week?

"We're hopeful. We're really hopeful. Fabian has been working like crazy to get back, and I think there's a real chance he'll be back, but we can't say for sure. I'd love to be up here and say for sure he's going to be back, but we don't know for sure."

How much of yesterday's difficulties were just being up against Peyton Manning and his smarts?

"It's a big part of it because you can't afford to ever make a mistake. A lot of times, even when you don't make a mistake, he finds a receiver. We had a certain coverage where we took away a certain route – they run what we call a press out – it's a 'stick's out' route to convert on third down. They hit a couple of those. We doubled it to one side, the side he wanted to go, and he came back and hit it on the other side. That's a veteran quarterback who understands what he's seeing. But the biggest thing in a game like that is we allowed the Colts to play the way the Colts want to play, and you can't let the Colts play the way they want to play. When they can play their kind of game, when they can get guys down field and complete passes and get the lead, and their defense can play fast against you – mixed coverages, mixed fronts, take away the run the way they did – you're in trouble. It boils down to a couple of things: The number one thing, obviously, is the turnovers. We can't have five turnovers. The next thing is the sacks. We've got to get more, and they've got to get less. The shots are huge. You can't give up big plays against those guys. If you make those guys go the length of the field they're capable of doing it, but there's a chance you can make a play somewhere along the way. We've got to get our run game going. The run against those guys is always going to be critical, and we were unable to do it and credit them. They got off blocks better than we blocked. We've got to get our return game going. That's been true all year. [If] we get our return game going and we give our offense a chance to punch out some field position there, we'll be in good shape. I thought we punted well, recovered well, but the return game needs to be better – both return phases."

For Flacco, as a rookie, how important is looking off the safety? And, are you concerned with the trend of turnovers that Joe Flacco has had the last several games?

"Well, you're always concerned about turnovers because you want to win. You know, we want to win this week. When you take a look at each one of those, and you guys saw them, you know what happened on each one of those. It's just an issue of him learning from those mistakes. We keep saying that, but we don't want the turnovers next week. Looking off defenders is important, recognizing whether it's a two-deep [or a] three-deep, which way they're rotating – just like Peyton did in the coverage that we were talking about. [It's] putting screens on a guy when they're under pressure a little bit, finding a way to get around a defensive end and get it on him. Those are things that he's going to learn how to do as we go. We're going to press real hard, and he's going to work hard to make it sooner rather than later."

As far as offensive struggles, do you feel the Colts' defense played at a higher level than expected or did the Ravens play at a lower level?

"They played at a higher level than we played. If you want to compare them to weeks before, they played better than they played in the past, and I don't think we played as well as we've played some of the past weeks. You kind of look at who you're up against and how you play against them. They got off blocks better than we blocked. Their defense ran to the ball better than our offense ran to the ball. I thought they tackled better than we broke tackles. They broke and made plays in the passing game better than we threw and caught in the passing game. It's pretty complete, and it's what happened."

With Flacco's struggles, is it the best way to go to keep him as the starter?

"We believe he's our starter. Joe's our guy. I'm never a guy who's going to sit up here and say never, ever. But I don't envision a day where Joe's not going to be our starter this year, save an injury. But we've also got two other quarterbacks on our team that could play and win for us. Whether it's game-plan circumstances or injury circumstances, you're going to see those guys playing for us at some point this year."

If in the next two or three games you're in a hole and Flacco continues to struggle, is there a point where you sit him down?

"Not that I'm going to stand up here and talk about it because it's speculative, I guess… We're going to do everything we can do put our football team in a position to win whatever game. That's what, as a coach, you owe your team, and that's what guys expect. It doesn't matter if it's the quarterback position or any other position on the football team. You put the guy out there that gives you the best chance to win. [You play] the guy who's playing the best or you think has the chance to play the best in the matchup that's set up. It's true for the quarterback position and every other position. But, at the same time, Joe's our starter, and I expect Joe to be the starter for the rest of the year."

Where do you see breakdowns in the Ravens' return game?

"If you really have time and you want to know what the breakdowns are, we can go back and watch tape. Every one is different and we talk to our guys about that. It's like every play on offense and every play on defense, it's the same but it's different. No two kickoff returns are exactly the same. Just like no two pass protections are exactly the same. There's a multitude of techniques and spacing and timing and geometry involved and they've all been different issues, but, all things that we have to correct. It basically boils down to blocking and running with the football; hitting the hole in the right spot and keeping the timing correct. For instance, we run a sideline return to the left at some point in the time in the game and the ball's kicked with 4-2 hang time five yards deep in the end zone. Now, if that ball's kicked to the goal line in 4-0 [or] 4-1 we're timed up with all of our blocks. But you bring it out five deep and now guys are going to run around behind blocks and make plays; so you're timing's not there. Other times the timing was there but somebody got beat across their face or got shook down or got just basically beat on a block. It's different every single time. So, it's a lot of things, but basically it's blocking and it's running with the football correctly."

Do you want WR/RS Yamon Figurs coming out of the end zone like he did Sunday? How aggressive do you want him to be?

"There are two factors. It comes back to timing. When the ball is [kicked] five [yards] deep [into the end zone] with four-seconds-plus of hang time, the rule is 'no.' If the ball is three-or-less [yards] deep, say, as a general rule, and [hang time] is in the 3.7, 3.8 range, you say 'yes.' Those guys develop the ability, kind of a mental clock in their head, and we give them a count that they go through when the ball is in the air [so] they can tell what the hang time on that kick is and whether they have a chance to bring it out and maintain the timing. So, when our guys set up and make those blocks between the 30- and 25-yard line, Yamon is going to be coming up through the hole at that point in time. But if it's too much hang time when it's in the end zone, he's not. There's going to be more separation, and there's no way the guys blocking have a sense, really, of knowing that."

Is there any update, physically, on Figurs and WR Demetrius Williams?

"Well, they're both getting MRIs this afternoon, so we'll know once we get back with those MRIs. We don't suspect it's anything serious, but we'll know more."

When it comes to the lack of big plays, is Flacco not hitting receivers or are receivers not getting open?

"It's the same thing. We can go through all five games play by play, and you're going to see an element of each of those in there. At times, Joe could be coming back the other way, the way a coverage is rotating, and a guy is coming open. Other times, a guy is coming open and Joe has seen him, but then there's been somebody in his face, maybe, and he hasn't been able to get it off. Other times, guys have just been covered. Other times, they've been in the coverage, and they made a nice play in the two-deep coverage where Joe threw it up the left sideline, made a heck of a throw. The receiver did a nice job getting up the sideline, but the safety played it really well and got off the hash and got it. So, a combination of things."

Is Flacco still getting confused with things that were confusing him three or four weeks ago?

"No, it's a very complicated position to play. I'm sure that Peyton Manning would tell you that, going into this game, there were some issues that confused him with our defense, and some things got him during the game. So it's not so basic as speed of the game. There were just a number of elements – within a play, within a defense that you see, within ways different guys play – that can confuse a quarterback. But I would not categorize him as being confused. I think he's learning."

Is T Willie Anderson banged up or did he come out of the game unscathed?

"I believe Willie got out of this one unscathed. I think he's OK."

Do you see receivers getting open and in position to where you can identify missed opportunities on tape?
"Yeah, you know, you can't pinpoint it. You guys want to pinpoint and say it's this, that or the other. We said last night it's all of the above. There are times when the receivers are getting open. There are times when they're not. There are times when guys can run better routes, and there are times when they run great routes. To me, it's a function of we just need to get better all across the board. We're going to be doing this for the next three or four years here. To say that the result is last Sunday, it's not true. The result is where we're going and what we're becoming. So you've got a board across here, and there's a thousand things we've got to get better at. We've got to punch all those things up all the way across the board and just keep working. Then, all of a sudden, you become a productive offense, defense or special teams."

On the deep TD to Colts WR Marvin Harrison, was CB Chris McAlister supposed to get any help or was he on an island?

"We just didn't cover it well as a defense."

Are defenses the last two weeks throwing something different at Flacco than they were the first three games of the season?

"Well, we've seen something different every week from each defense, and we're going to see something different for the next 11-plus weeks. Joe's going to see some twist that he hasn't seen before from that defense. The Colts did it, the Titans did it, the Steelers did it, the Browns did it and the Bengals did it. So you've got to get out there and adjust. At the same time, when you've seen it before somewhere along the way, it makes it a little more adjustable, and Joe hasn't seen a lot of those things before yet."

Is it outlandish at all to think that something positive can come from such a negative performance?

"I think it's expected. That's what we talk to our guys about – that's our plan going forward. This situation, like any situation, is what we make of it. We could have a great victory, and we could be sitting here undefeated, and we'd be talking about the 100 things we need to do to get better. We've lost three games in a row – two close and one by a large margin – and there are a hundred things we need to do to get better, just to use a general term. And that's how we have to approach it."

How much does cohesion play into pass protection, and now if you're mixing [the offense line] up, what is the concern?

"Well it's going to be an issue, as far as communication and guys playing together – passing off twists, picking the 'Mike,' deciding where the four-man pressure is coming from, the five-man pressure. So, it'll be an issue."

In the past, the tight end has acted as a safety net for new quarterbacks, like Steve McNair, but that's not the case now. What's the problem there?

"Well, it's hard for us to comment on what he [Todd Heap] had been here before. I know he's been hurt for about a year and a half, right? On and off. So, he's struggled with those injuries a little bit. I see Todd… I think Todd is a very good tight end, and that's going to be a huge help to Joe as we go forward, no question. The thing I see in Todd, is I see a guy who has been just killing himself to get back to where he's been in the past, to where he thinks he should be. And Todd believes he is one of the best tight ends in the league, and I don't think anybody can dispute he's capable of that. Here's a guy who comes out to practice every day, doing everything he can to get back to that level. And when you watch the tape, you see every single week he gets a little bit better, and a little bit better – in the passing game stuff. He's done real well in the run game and the pass protections stuff. I'll be really surprised if Todd Heap is not a big go-to guy for Joe the rest of the way as we go forward."

Next week you play the Dolphins. Is there anything to be learned from watching the tape of either team last year, with you and Tony Sparano being new head coaches?

"Well, schematically, for the most part you throw it out. You watch the players. We've already done all the breakdowns on last year for all our opponents. So, that's kind of in our library. We won't spend a lot of time watching last year's tape. I'm sure we'll put it on, Ravens vs. Dolphins, and it's part of our study. But it'll be more this year's study."

Is there any special advantage to Cam Cameron being the head coach of the Dolphins last season, given what they are now?

"I don't think there's any special advantage, beyond the fact that Cam knows their personnel a little bit, and that'll be helpful to us."

Why are the Dolphins so successful with the direct-snap formation? Why can't people stop it?

"I don't know. I haven't seen it on tape yet to give you a specific reason why people aren't stopping it. But I will say this, it's different, it's new, and basically what it does is it changes the numbers for the defense. So, if you've got to cover down on all those receivers, whether it's a quarterback or not, somebody's got to cover them. That takes one more man out of the box. If a quarterback is in there handing off to a back, that's one more run defender in a box. If you direct-snap to a running back, and the quarterback is out there, he takes somebody with him. That's one less guy you've got to block. The math part of it is a big part of it."

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