John Harbaugh's Monday (9/22) Press Conference Transcript

Head coach JOHN HARBAUGH: Monday Transcript

Opening statement: "I want to thank everybody for coming out. I've got an update on Dawan [Landry]. He's out of the hospital. His stability tests are all normal. He will be in a cervical collar for at least a week, and they'll evaluate him somewhere between a week and two weeks, and they will evaluate him further, and then we'll just take it from there are far as when he can come back and play. He'll be playing in some number of weeks, and it won't be too many weeks."

Has the defense kicked things up another notch, even above the Ravens' reputation as a great defensive team?

"I was going to say about the game, first of all, – thanks, though, because that's right up our alley – they did play really well on defense. But the big thing about the game was that it was a physical game. Really, those kinds of games, and any football game, are won in the trenches. You have to give credit to our offensive line and our defensive line first. Our offense played well because our offensive line really played well. It gave our running backs a chance to run north and south, it gave Joe [Flacco] time on the passing part of it and our receivers a chance to make plays. Our offensive line was the catalyst, and they deserve a lot of credit for that. They've got a long way to go. They can get a lot better and they will, but they started the thing off. And then defensively, the same thing. Our defensive line was strong up front; it was a knock-back defensive line. They wore them down a little bit in the sense that they got pressure in the second half, and that's when all the sacks started happening and the batted balls and things. Our guys covered in the back end, which gave the D-line a chance to work. But I thought the physical presence of our defense – [which] is what you're talking about and what your question is about – started with our linebackers. Our two inside linebackers had some huge hits and some real physical plays that set the tempo for the game and really swung the momentum of the game, especially in the third quarter. That's Bart [Scott] and Ray [Lewis], and they did a nice job of that."

How far has the offensive line come in the last month fighting injuries and working together?

"The offensive line from a health perspective, obviously, it was the two tackles. The three inside guys have been there the whole camp, the whole offseason; they haven't missed a practice, a walk through, anything. That's why they're playing so well. The tackles came late to the game in training camp, and they've made up some ground. That has a lot to do with the fact that they're healthy."

What do you notice seeing the Ravens' powerful defense up close as a coach?

"I've seen them in practice every single day, so that's when you get to see them really up close. They may be the No. 1-rated defense in the league since 2000. That's a credit to the guys who've been here since 2000, to Rex Ryan and to the coaches that have been here in the past, and it's a tradition. Ever since the Ravens started playing football in the '90s, they've played great defense and it's gotten better as we go. So, it's a tradition [and] it's a challenge to them to uphold that tradition. We're only two games in. We've got a long way to go, but they've played really well the first two weeks."

Is this Ravens team is developing the identity you are hoping to establish?

"That remains to be seen. We're trying to develop an identity and a lot of that identity was already in place, and it was just a matter of moving it in a certain direction. The guys have been fun to work with. It's a group of strong men, and that's the kind of guys you like being around in the NFL. It takes strong people to win football games in this league, and the first two weeks they've shown that that's what they are."

What are the advantages of rotating three running backs throughout the course of a game?

"I don't know if you can ever have too many good players, and that goes for any position. It's just like offensive tackle, we were able to add Willie [Anderson], and that gives us another good player on the offensive line. To have three running backs that you feel comfortable with, that helps you. It's like rotating defensive lineman. We don't necessarily subscribe to the fact that one guy's got to carry it 35 or 40 times, necessarily. If that was what you had and that was your strength, that's what you'd go with. But we feel fortunate to have three guys that can do it, and we're going to use all three guys."

Will Willis McGahee will be using a helmet shield to protect his eye in the future?

"That's a possibility. We've got to petition the league to be able to do that. I would assume that he would get permission to do that. His eye is really swollen up badly. That was unfortunate; it shouldn't have happened. I'm sure he'll be fine for next week, but he's got some work to do just to get the swelling out of it right now."

When Dawan Landry got hurt, was there any concern that you would need to refocus the defense?

"It's interesting you ask that, because it is a thought as a coach. But, I don't think there's anything you can say. Our guys said it maybe focused them more. I'm not sure exactly how that's the case. They played better after that even than they played before that. But, you know, there's a strong bond down there. I guess I was impressed with the Browns, too. When you're around Dawan, their attitude toward him and respect they have for him as a player and for the Ravens as a team is pretty obvious. These guys care about each other in this league, and you can see that. Guys were kneeling and praying, and that was a strong statement.

"I thought our medical staff was amazing. Bill Tessendorf and our doctors – to watch them work in that kind of a situation, an emergency situation, was really, really impressive for a ball coach. And to see them work under pressure like that and the job they did… Now I know players and coaches around the league, [and] these guys don't get much credit. [These] guys and gals, they don't get much credit. But the job they do, and when you see them working under pressure like that, that's pretty neat to see."

With the team being 2-0, do you feel like you have to bring them back down to earth?

"I don't think we have to bring our guys back down to earth. Our guys are grounded. They're going to work on the next football game. They've already started. That's their focus."

Are we seeing the team develop trust in each other?

"Well, you know, it's a two-way street. Trust is a two-way street, obviously, and I think our offense is earning our defense's trust. Our defense is earning our offense's trust – that doesn't go without saying, either – and special teams [are] the same way. For us to control the ball in the fourth quarter of two games for over 13 minutes is a pretty strong stat. It says a lot about the defense, too, because in order to have that happen the defense has got to get off the field, and they've been able to do that. Third-down conversions have been good for the first two weeks, so that's something we've got to continue to build on, for sure. I don't think it's anything different than in the past. I think it's a team effort. It's just something that those guys don't want to let each other down, probably, more than anything."

How did Willie Anderson look, and are you working him in slowly?

"I don't know if we're working him in slowly. He's working in packages. He hadn't played much in the preseason, but he looked pretty good. When you watch him play, he looked like you expect him to look as an offensive lineman. We've got some three-tackle packages we're using. He'll be in there in the two-tackle stuff as well. He's playing well."

How is CB Samari Rolle feeling today?

"Samari's fairly sore. He's got the shoulder right now, but he should be fine."

How will you approach your first Monday Night Football game as a head coach?

"Just like we approach it as an assistant. These guys have all played on Monday night before. It's going to be Monday night at 8:30. We'll be there, and we'll be on time."

Playing on Monday night is special, though, right?

"It's special. I tell you what: Having a chance to coach or play in this league, it's special. I would think it's special to cover this league. I think you guys feel that way. It's a special privilege to be a part of the NFL, so being a part of Monday Night Football in a new role, that's going to be a great experience."

What do you know about the Pittsburgh Steelers?

"I know that they're a physical football team, and they're very well-coached."

Since the Eagles just played the Steelers, will you talk to Eagles head coach Andy Reid this week?

"I talk with Andy and [Eagles defensive coordinator] Jim Johnson and those guys pretty much every week."

How was P Sam Koch's performance?

"Sam did a really nice job in the game. He had, I think, one punt that he might want back, and our coverage guys bailed him out and did a nice job. Then, he put a couple balls right on the sideline – one out of bounds – that bailed our coverage guys out. So those guys are feeding off each other a little bit, but Sam is off to a real good start."

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