Head coach JOHN HARBAUGH: Monday Transcript
Opening statement: "Good to see everybody. [We've] had a chance to look at the tape, and we have pretty much the same feeling as we had last night after we saw it. We're disappointed with the loss, but very encouraged with where we're going as a football team and what we can accomplish the rest of this season and beyond."
You've started the same players on the O-line each game. What's the status of T Adam Terry? Will the streak continue?
"We don't know. Hopefully, it will. He's got a sprain in his knee, basically. There are some issues that we're looking at. We think he'll be able to play next week. We're waiting for an MRI to come back and see exactly what we've got, but there's a chance he'll be able to play."
After "the play" LB Terrell Suggs mentioned the Ravens have a reputation as bad boys. Do you think they do, and do you think that has any influence on some of the calls you've seen thus far?
"I don't know about that. That's history, and I wouldn't even know how to comment on that. I know the type of guys we have playing for us now, and I'm proud to be coaching these guys. We've got competitive guys. I've said it before: [We have] men of integrity, character guys, and that's what our football team is all about. We're going to be a rough, tough, hard-hitting, hard-playing football team, and we're going to do it with class, we're going to do it within the rules, [and] we're going to do it with great self-discipline. That's where we're going as a football team, and I think we saw a lot of that yesterday."
Are you optimistic about CB Fabian Washington? I think he said he popped his shoulder out.
"I would say [we're] somewhat optimistic. Again, he's in an MRI right now. We'll know more after we see the MRI, but he felt pretty good this morning. That's not always an indication though. We'll just have to see where he is after today."
There was an offsides penalty on the Titans when QB Joe Flacco was flung to the ground. Did you get an explanation as to why that wasn't an additional penalty?
"The protocol in the NFL is that you can't comment on the officiating as a coach or a player, but they give you a protocol. Not commenting on it has nothing to do with being fined or not being fined. I don't care about a fine. I want to get to the bottom of it and find out what's right and find out how to coach our players as we go forward. The NFL does a nice job of giving you an avenue to do that. What we do is, we send the plays in to Mike Pereira, and he's great about looking at them and getting back to us and saying, 'This is how the officiating sees it.' A lot of times they'll tell you that the officiating was wrong, that they should have called it differently. Other times they'll say, 'This is why we call it that way by rule or this is why we call it that way by interpretation.' That's how we coach our guys, based on how the game's going to be officiated. We haven't heard back on that one yet, but we'll send it in. Absolutely."
Based on the philosophy that "winning is everything," how much does this eat at your craw to lose that game?
"We're all competitive, so we want to win. But, I don't go by the philosophy that winning is everything or that winning is the only thing. What's important is what we're developing and becoming, ultimately, a good – to a great – football team. Some games you win and some games you don't win. But, we're 2-2 after four games this season, and we're excited about where we're going as a football team. So yeah, it's disappointing to lose but it's not discouraging by any stretch. We don't get discouraged. I don't get discouraged and our football team doesn't get discouraged. We're encouraged. We can't wait to play the Colts."
The officials said they tried to stop that play with the false start. By being there or by watching the tape, could you see the officials make an effort to stop the play at that point?
"You can't see any such effort on the tape. That's all I [can say]. You can't see anything on the tape."
Are there any concerns with K Matt Stover's misses, because of his age?
"I'm not concerned with Matt's age. Obviously, he's kicked very well in practice, and even the balls he's missed he's hit very well. So, it's not like he's losing leg strength. Plus, you've seen the kickoffs. He's probably kicking off better than he has in a long time. So, it's not so much age as it is knocking it through the uprights. Sometimes Matt's thinking about the direction of the kick and things like that instead of just punching it right between the sticks. He just needs to go ahead and do what he always does well and knock it between the sticks. But, we've got confidence in Matt. I know he can kick, Matt knows he can kick, and I don't doubt for one second that he's going to make a ton of field goals for us."
A couple of week's ago, Stover said the way the approach to the kick is faster now. Do you see much difference from what they've been doing before? How big of an adjustment is that for a kicker?
"Well that's going to be a benefit. The fact is that Jerry has changed the stance of the holder a little bit, which opens up the holder to make some catches, and Sam [Koch] is doing a great job with that technique. The ball is getting down faster, so that gives a kicker a better chance to look at the ball longer. Sometimes the factor there is that [Stover] thinks that he's moving slower than he is because the ball's down quicker, so he feels like he's got to get to the ball quicker. Matt's worked that out now where he's getting to the ball at the same pace but he's actually getting a better look at the ball, and that should help him."
Stover has always been a kicker who would tell you where he feels comfortable and within range. Would you still try having him kick beyond that on a given day?
"Absolutely. What Matt's telling you is, 'Hey, within that range, I'm probably 80-percent-plus to make this field goal.' As you take him out of that range, it might go to 70 percent to 60 percent to 50 percent to 40 percent – whatever the case may be. But, he's not telling you his ultimate distance. He's telling you that [there is an] 80-percent chance to make the kick. So you might say it's 49, [and] in a situation you want to go to 52. You say, 'OK, Matt, I understand that it's 65 percent here to make this kick, but it's worth it. Just kick it straight, see if you can get it there.' There will be times that we'll want to do that."
At 40, people are sure to link Stover's misses to his age. Do you think that is fair?
"I don't think it's fair. I don't think that's the issue because he's got the leg strength still to do it, and he's hitting good balls. Those balls are tracking well. It's just a matter of directing them in between the uprights, and we know he can do that. He's been doing that for a long time."
Do you talk to the team about the challenge of having five of your next six games on the road?
"No. We don't talk about that. I think the NFL is a challenge whether you play at home or you play on the road. Our guys are very capable of winning on the road. We expect to go win every one of those football games when they come up, and that's the plan. So we'll be there. Whatever time they say we're playing, we'll be there, and we'll be ready to go."
A quarter of the way through the regular season, what do you see that encourages you, and what do you see that you can continue to build upon?
"I'm encouraged by our football team in the sense that we have a tough, hard-nosed, clean, disciplined football team – guys that play football the right way, the Raven way. And, we're building on that. I'm excited. I can't wait to play the next 12 games-plus. I can't wait to see what this team becomes going forward because of the way they play – how they play – Raven football. It's just great to be associated with these guys. I can't wait until next week. I can't wait until practice on Wednesday."
Is "Raven" football a tradition, or is it something you're trying to instill, a new brand?
"It's probably all parts. You look at guys like Ray Lewis and guys on that defense who have been here for a long time [and] certain guys on the offense. Derrick Mason played for the Titans all those years. He's a Raven now. It's always a compilation of all the guys that you have and the influences that are on the team right now. But, when you talk to our guys about that, they know what that means."
Was the 12 men on the field penalty a result of substitution confusion after Washington's injury?
"Yeah, it's definitely a big part of that. The fact that you've got a substitution issue where we've got to put two new guys into a personnel package, and the personnel package comes up quick and doesn't get communicated, [can be an issue]. At the same time, our guys will be the first to tell you it should never happen. Players shouldn't let it happen. Coaches shouldn't let it happen. The head coach shouldn't let it happen. We've all got to be vigilant to make sure that doesn't happen. We've got to make sure we've got 11 guys on the field."
What was the decision-making process in not spiking the ball near the drive at the end of the first half?
"The thought process there is that we might be able to steal a play. So [as] part of our process, we've got a lot of different calls in two-minute we've been working on from Day One. We work on two-minute tempo. We've worked on it pretty much almost every day in camp. We work on it once a week now once we get into the regular season. So we were in a situation there where we wanted to hurry to the line and get a call and see if we could steal a touchdown on the run. It was a scenario where we've got to operate better there. We've got to do a better job of communicating, a better job of getting on the line and making it happen faster. It took us too long to get up to the line, and then – bam – we've got a situation where we've got the penalty. Now we've got the 10-second run off or potentially a 10-second run off, which forces us to take a timeout. It wasn't so much the decision to kick the field goal, I think, that was the issue, which is what you're getting at. The issue was how long it took us to get the play off and get the right play call, and that's part of our process. We've got to improve on that."
The Ravens had a six-minute drive result in no points. Is it critical that you get points on those types of drives?
"No question. I think we're doing a good job. It's kind of a function of where we're at with our football team right now. There are so many things we're doing well. In some ways, we're dominating the line of scrimmage, and that was a good front we played against. I thought our offensive line, when you look at it, we talked last week about one-on-one blocks and how we had to get better at that. Our guys did. There were a lot of one-on-one blocks and double-team blocks being made that were physical, football, impressive blocks. Now, let's take that to another level. Let's finish. Let's get it into the red zone, and let's finish. We told our team today that when you convert on third down, great things happen. It's just, keep getting first downs, put it in the red zone, and we'll put it in the end zone. If we do that, then the game is over."
How do you think the guys did in terms of not retaliating against the Titans?
"I was very proud of our football team and the way they grew throughout that football game in terms of keeping their composure. When you look at the tape, closely, you can see where our guys kept their composure really well. I thought they showed a lot of class, and I'm proud of the way they responded with the type of football game it was."
What are your thoughts on going to see Peyton Manning next Sunday?
"Going to see Peyton next Sunday. Well, we'll say hi to him before the game. We're looking forward to the challenge of playing the Colts in their new stadium, obviously coming off a big win. It'll be a challenging football game."
Is it much more of a challenge with your secondary not a full strength?
"It's always a challenge. But, our secondary will be at full strength for the guys that are healthy. And the guys that will go out there will be counted on to get the job done, and I think they will play very well."
When you look at the tape, do you think Flacco's interceptions are more of a product of him learning?
"So many times, it's just gaining an understanding of what the guys who he's playing against are capable of doing. I don't think until you get in all those situations… And there are going to be more situations. It's not going to be like he's never going to throw another interception again because he threw an interception and you say, 'He learned from that one play.' What plays are these guys capable of making? I think until you get out there and you experience that for yourself, there's no way to know it. So what we need to do as a football team is we need to overcome that learning process that he's going through and come up with plays to win football games so we can learn with victories. At the same time, Joe's good enough to overcome issues that come up with other players and make them right. So other guys make Joe right, Joe makes other guys right, and we win football games."
Is WR Derrick Mason's thumb injury, and injury to his hand relatively minor?
"Derrick Mason should be fine, but he's going to be dealing with some bumps and bruises, and he's going to have to spend a little time in treatment this week. But, he should be fine."
When your defense is as dominant as it is, is it a byproduct that your offense is more conservative than it normally would be?
"I think it's real easy to put a label on it – conservative or liberal. We hear that all the time, right? We're trying to do on offense everything we can do to score points and win a football game. And really, there are two basic functions there: The one function is protecting the football because turnovers cost you games in the NFL. And the other function is scoring points. To score points you've got to be aggressive, and you've got to attack the defense. We think we can be aggressive and try to score points, and protect the football at the same time. We call it aggressive ball security. That's what we're trying to build towards. That's where our offense is going. That's the vision we have for our offense. Are we there yet? No. We might be there next week. Then, we've got to keep fighting to get better every single week. It's not 'either-or.' It's 'and.' We've got to be able to do both."
How much of having a rookie quarterback plays into that philosophy?
"I mean any quarterback… There are veteran quarterbacks all over the league that turn the ball over, that make bad decisions. So Joe, we don't look at him right now as a rookie quarterback. I know he's got this label, 'Look, rookie quarterback.' Joe is our quarterback, and Joe has got to do the things that any quarterback needs to do to win games. And, he's capable of doing that."
Are you looking to get RB Ray Rice more involved?
"We want Ray Rice to be involved, but it's within the framework of winning the football game and him doing the things that he's ready to do as it corresponds to things that we think are right to win the football game. It just didn't come up during the game. We had hoped to play Ray more in the game, and his calls just didn't come up."