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John Harbaugh's Monday (11/17) Press Conference Transcript

Opening statement: "Just want to say that we had a chance to go to work today, and the guys were in and spirits were high. [We are] smarting a little bit about the game yesterday, obviously disappointed with the result but anxious and eager to attack the next challenge. We had a good meeting, had a good practice and we're ready to go."

What is T Jared Gaither's status after the injury in the game yesterday and do you have the results of his MRI?

"He's back. He had an MRI this afternoon and we'll find out more when he comes back. No result on [the MRI] yet, but we're hopeful. I think it's going to be touch and go."

Did you have a sense in the third quarter after the three-and-out when the score was 20-10 that the team felt it was back in the game?

"We felt like if we could get through the third quarter [we'd be back in it]. Our idea was – that's why we took the ball at the beginning of the game because of the wind situation – we felt like even at halftime with the score being what it was, if we could win the third quarter, if we could get into the fourth quarter 20-10 with the wind at our back and a little bit of momentum, we [would] have a chance to win that game. We felt like we would go win the game. So at that point we felt like, 'Hey, we were right on track.' Obviously, the interception took us off track and made it [tougher] than what we wanted. But that was the plan."

After watching the film do you feel that any of the players could have been more physical in yesterday's game?

"I [still] feel the exact same way [as after the game]. Samari [Rolle] is playing corner. So he's not watching the front seven; he's out there playing and covering, and he played really well. I don't think we were knocked off the ball. That's my definition of being out-physicaled, where you're knocked off the ball. There were three running plays in there that were poorly defended. It might have been tackling, it might have been getting off blocks. Give credit where credit is due; that's a good football team. Their backs are impressive, maybe even more impressive in person when you see them, making guys miss, running physical, patience – great patience. Sometimes you've got things defended and they wait, wait, wait, find a crease and, bam, pop outside like Brandon [Jacobs] did early. But was it a result of getting knocked off the ball? No way."

What is the greatest lesson you can take from losing yesterday's game to the defending world champion Giants?

"The lesson that we talked about in the locker room and the lesson for us is not so much who we played or what exactly happened in the last game. The point is that through success, you don't rest, you build. Through a failure, you don't wallow in it, you build. That's what a football team does, because the point is that you have to get better from one week to the next in order to have a chance to compete in this league. Our goal, just like it is every week, whether we win or lose, is to be better next week than we were last week. So the goal is to take that emotional stuff, put it behind you, take the lessons – whatever they are [because] they're different every week – [and get better]. Like the run game: Things that we can get better at in the run game, get better at those things and go to work on your next opponent. That's what teams do in November and December – they get better if they're going to be playoff-caliber teams."

Is it a moral victory to lose to a good team as opposed to losing to a bad team?

"There [are] no bad teams in the NFL. Categorize it, put a value on it, compare one team to the next. We've said it before – we couldn't care less. It has no value for us. Where a team is ranked, who's better, who's not better [doesn't matter]. What has value for us is how we approach our work day. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and how we play on Sunday, that's our interest. And to start getting into any other kind of thinking is just a distraction."

Will T Adam Terry be ready to play this week?

"Adam will be OK. He's fighting through all the little different things he's got, but he'll be fine. He's a tough guy."

How did it affect your game plan having the two rookie tackles David Hale and Oniel Cousins on the line at the end?

"I think the backs chipped their way out. Jared Gaither just did a tremendous job on all the guys rushing on the left side. He basically was going with one arm there for a while and he was pass-protecting with one arm. I'll tell you what, talk about concentrating on your footwork and working on technique that way. He did really well. And Adam did a pretty good job on the right side, too. So with those two young guys in there it was a little bit different. Our backs chipped their way out a little bit more, but we couldn't change. We had to throw and they did OK."

Will T Willie Anderson be ready to play this week?

"He's got a chance. It didn't hurt him at all not playing in the game. The biggest thing we were concerned about was a setback in his game, so he's got a chance to come back."

Playing against your former employer and one of your mentors, does this game have a little extra weight for you?

"Not really. I'd like to say it does. I think it'd be a good story. It'd be interesting to talk about it. I've got a lot of great relationships there. I love those guys – the coaching staff, players, people who are really good friends. But the Ravens are my football team. The guys in this room that just had this team meeting in here, these are my guys, and I'm proud to be their coach. I'm looking forward to going into a football game this week with those guys. It's more about our guys than it is about their guys, for sure. I know you say, 'Well, that's what he's going to say.' Now, competitively, you're going against your brothers. It means something. It's exciting. There's a little bit of something at stake, and it'll be fun before the game. But when the game starts, it's going to be our players playing against their players, and whoever plays the best is going to win. It wouldn't be much of a showdown between me and coach [Andy] Reid out there. I think I'd be able to cover him, and he'd probably be able to block me. That'd be my guess."

Near the start of the second quarter, LB Brendon Ayanbadejo downed a punt that looked like it may have been touched by the Giants. Did you think about challenging the call?

"What did you think? Could you tell? You saw it on TV. You couldn't tell. It's the same thing. We saw it on the field. What we did was, we go through our process because we had time there. There was a TV timeout. Of course, the Giants were ungracious enough not to show it up on the big screen. The funny thing was TV didn't show it. All we saw was the live copy. They didn't show it and that was all through commercials. I don't know if they ever came back and showed it again. Our players coming off the field were pretty adamant that it didn't hit anybody. [Tom] Zbikowski, who did a great job of knocking their guy into the ball, couldn't tell. The rest of the guys around there, Nick Greisen and the rest of the guys, said, 'No, it didn't hit anybody.' So I just didn't feel like, being behind at that time, it wasn't worth giving up a timeout when our players [thought the call was correct]. Now, if our players – if anybody – had thought it had hit the guy, I would've thrown the flag because it would've been a shot to get it back. But then we went back and saw it this morning, and you couldn't tell, so we obviously wouldn't have gotten the ball."

Did you see anything different today watching film of K Matt Stover's blocked field goal?

"Well, it's always the field goal unit when you get one blocked. There was a little bit of push inside, and that's unacceptable. We try to stonewall them up in there. But a lot of times you get push, and you kick it right over that. Sometimes, you kick it low and there's no push, and the ball gets through. Sometimes, you get push, and you kick it high, and it doesn't matter. This time, they got a little push, and the ball was kicked low, and they got it."

Can you explain the down-by-contact ruling when CB Samari Rolle's interception was overturned?

"Yeah, the way the rule reads – and they called it right – you have to finish the catch. So when you hit the ground, you've got to basically finish the catch on the ground. He was down by contact with the ball, but when he rolled over, the ball kind of popped out. You could all see it. So they ruled it correctly, we thought."

You are playing a team coming off a tie, which doesn't happen often in the NFL. What would you do coming off a tie?
"Same thing whether we win or lose: You come back and you get ready for the next week. I'm sure that has no impact on what they're doing this week in terms of preparing for us."

How much does your personal knowledge of your opponent affect what you are going to do this week?

"Well, it'll be up to Rex [Ryan] and Cam [Cameron] and Jerry [Rosburg] to decide exactly what the game plan stuff is going to be and how they're going to apply whatever knowledge or information there is. I've had chance to go through tapes with the guys who are breaking down the film, and you're not exactly sure, 'Is it this coverage or that coverage? Is it this blitz or how are they defending that?' Offensively, probably to a lesser extent, somewhat on special teams… Maybe we can define things a little bit better. But any great extent? I don't think it's a great advantage. I don't think it's a big factor."

Could their knowledge of you help them?

"No, they don't know me at all (laughter). They know my personality, so maybe they'll apply that."

How is RB Willis McGahee's ankle today?

"I think Willis' ankle is OK. He looked OK today."

Can you expect as much physicality for this game against the Eagles as you faced against the Giants?

"Sure. The Eagles are a very physical football team, always have been. They're going to play really hard. They always do. They're going to be focused. They always are. The Eagles are always at their best when times are toughest. If you go back through Andy Reid's history, that's what the Eagles have been about, and that's what we're going to get. We're going to get the real Eagles. It's going to be a big challenge."

How much do you and Andy Reid talk or keep in touch?

"It's sporadic. We happened to talk a lot last week, and maybe three weeks before that we happened to talk. We text back and forth on different things. But he's been, obviously, a huge part of my growth as a football coach. I'm proud to call him a friend. We laugh a lot and talk about different things. And he's had some impact – I've called him up when some things have come up here and you ask him what he thinks – but not as much as you might think, really. Everybody's busy with their jobs, and it's kind of what we've been doing."

Back in the summer when you saw this season's schedule for the first time, what went through your head when you saw the Eagles game?

"I just remembered the date, for whatever reason. Nov. 23, is that right? That got stuck in my mind a little bit. That might be the only one I remember the exact date on."

Are the 10 penalties a concern? Is that too high?

"I don't know the reason for it, exactly. Penalties are always a concern. Someone, Jamison [Hensley] asked me after the game: 'Was it the difference?' is how I took the question. And I don't think it really, really was the difference in the game, but it was *a *factor in the game. We basically, the pre-snap penalties, whether it's jumping off-sides on defense, whether it's moving on offense, those are things that we can control and we need to eliminate. I think we've done a good job of controlling a lot of the foolish penalties, the ones that we had earlier in the year. We've pretty much eliminated those and our guys are proud of that. But that's the next step, and that's something that we've got to do a better job with, no doubt."

Are you looking forward to playing back at M&T Bank Stadium?

"Yeah, our guys are excited. Our guys are excited. I hope our home crowd reacts to the fact that we've done a pretty good job these five weeks. Yesterday not withstanding, our guys have gotten better every week, they've worked hard to be a good football team, certainly a contender right now, and I'd expect our crowd to be juiced up for this game."

What is it about teams that have them playing their best football in November and December?

"Obviously, the good teams play best in November and December, and teams prove that they're good teams by playing well in November and December. So what comes first? We think a big part of it is resiliency, teams that can overcome adversity. November and December is all about adversity. You're going to have good games and bad games, good plays, good series, bad series, bad plays. The teams that can overcome it come back and play the next play well. Those are the teams that are successful in November and December."

With your background in special teams, do you really appreciate K Matt Stover's 372 consecutive PAT streak?

"Yeah, pretty amazing. Really, when you think about it, I mean, OK… You're under pressure. We all play golf, and maybe those are three-foot putts. Well how many three-foot putts has he made under pressure now? That's a lot of putts, without missing one. That's just an amazing accomplishment."

But how much of that PAT is all of the special teams, with the snap, the hold, etc.? We saw it go wrong for the Giants yesterday from the snap.

"Yeah, they had the muffed operation. Well, it's protection, yeah. It's snapping and holding, and it's always a team effort. Obviously, for a long time the Ravens have done a great job with their extra points."

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