Skip to main content

John Harbaugh's Monday (9/30) Press Conference Transcript

Opening statement:

"Good to see everybody; thanks for coming. We are deep into preparations for Tennessee. Actually, they started last week, and then Monday our guys went to work Monday morning on Tennessee when we got the tape in. We just started breaking down the TV copy. So, we're going after Tennessee right now, and that's where we are."

What are your feelings about instant replay and have you seen the Derrick Mason play from last night's game?

"I think instant replay's good, and I've had a chance to look at the Derrick Mason play."

What are your thoughts on the play?

"We think he was in."

Did you give any consideration to challenging the play?

"Well, there was, but we didn't get it in time. So, we didn't have a look at it before they hustled out there and got a play run. If we would have had any kind of a picture that we thought was close, we would have challenged it for sure. But, we didn't have any indication. And, me looking at it from across the field from up top, it looked to the naked eye like he was out. That's what I thought. But, as soon as we saw the things this morning off the TV copy and our guys saw it later, we thought he was in. And so, it was too late."

Would you make a challenge going with your gut feelings without seeing it on tape first?

"It's speculation to say that for sure. Every situation is different, but if I felt pretty strongly about it on a touchdown or scoring play, I'd have to say yes. I didn't feel strongly about it from where I was standing. The people in the box didn't feel strongly about it. Then you saw the TV copy later and you felt like you should have challenged it."

Would it be worth using a timeout to review a play if you then lose the challenge?

"You could, but then at the end of the half or at the end of the game, you need that timeout. You're going to get blistered for wasting a time out on a challenge that wasn't even close. It's always a second guessing, a kind of after-the-fact-type of thing. It's an observation."

Did Derrick Mason say anything to you about the play?

"No. It was fast. It was bang-bang, and we didn't get it. We just felt like we had to go play. The 40-second clock is running, and we call a play and we go."

Do you rely on a player's thoughts when it comes to challenging a play?

"Derrick is interesting because he was right on the next one – the two minute – when we couldn't challenge it. He was adamant that he had caught it from the huddle. But, we couldn't challenge that one because it was inside of two minutes. We were on the officials to make sure we got it challenged and up top they saw it and challenged it. Generally speaking, I'd so no. You don't really rely on a player because players, for the most part, feel like they make most every play. But, I guess it depends on the player."

What is the risk/reward of going for a field goal or touchdown with 1:40 left at the end of the game?

"That's exactly what we were weighing out – the risk/reward factor. Our thought right there was if we can pop a run and if we get things going, then we'll push it. And if we can't, if we get stuffed on the first play or whatever – and we didn't get stuffed, but didn't get enough to really push it forward – so we took two plays to make that determination. Again, we're down around 42 seconds and we felt like, 'Let's get to overtime and give ourselves a chance to win it because we don't have a good field position set up right there and don't want to [risk it].' When we're one-dimensional and when they know you're pushing it forward and they come after you and you get a sack or fumble, something like that, and you give the game away at the end of regulation – it wouldn't have been worth it."

Would you have made a different decision if the Ravens had two timeouts remaining?

"Right. You're sitting there at 42 seconds with no timeouts, that's what sealed it."

How is RB Willis McGahee's health?

"He seems all right. He's got a rib issue."

Is that why he saw limited action in the second half?

"Yes, he was in pain. He wanted to play."

Did the team come out of the game healthy otherwise?

"Yeah, we're healthy otherwise. He's the main guy. We think he's going to be OK. We'll just have to see how the rib goes this week. Other than that, we have nothing serious."

What was the biggest issue with the pass protection, which had been a strength the first two games?

"Well, I think Pittsburgh did a good job rushing us in some one-on-one situations. They had a couple moves on us that we could do a better job blocking. Other than that, it was about the same. We didn't have assignment errors. We didn't bust anything. We can just block better. I think when you look at the game across the board, and you say, 'Well, what are the things we've got to do to get better?' Whether you win the game or whether you lose the game, that's what you do as a coaching staff. You look forward, and you say, 'All right, here are the things that we need to do better to get better next week.' That would've been the same if we had pulled that game out and had that exciting overtime victory. We'd be saying the same thing. One of the things we can do better is we can block better. We can block better up front. We can block better downfield. We can block better in special teams and get our return game going. I think another thing we can do better is we can tackle better. We can tackle better in the back end, and we can tackle the quarterback better. Our guys, they're the ones saying that this morning. They're excited to go to work and get better at those things and just become even a more solid football team."

How do you address penalties and mental mistakes?

"Well, it's all specific. I'm not sure what mental mistakes you're talking about. But, penalty-wise, there are foolish penalties, and there are penalties that just are gray-area penalties that go with the game. The holding penalty on the kickoff return, we think, was avoidable. The personal foul out of bounds, that's gray in my mind. That's a guy playing hard, and you'd like to see a better decision made, but that's a heat-of-battle penalty. Those things, you're in the heat of battle, and you compete and you try to learn from them."

Did guys maybe lose their cool?


What is the big picture for where you see the team?

"Well, big picture – we've got a game next week against Tennessee. You know that's really, I think that's our big picture. All the other 'big picture' stuff, that's kind of for fans and for the media to look at that and figure all that out. But, until you start winning a bunch of games, it's really pointless to look at the big picture. The big picture is Tennessee six days from now, and that's a really good football team coming in here, and we've got our hands full, but we're looking forward to it."

The play where you were third-and-goal from the 8-yard line and you decided to run the ball, was that more trying to take pressure off of Joe Flacco or trying to catch Pittsburgh off-guard?

"It was trying to catch them off-guard. We thought we had a front that we could pop it through there. We felt like we could score on that play. Sometimes you break a tendency, and you sneak something in there, and you get one that might be unusual. And, I think that's a credit to our play-calling. Obviously, it's easy to say, 'Third-and-eight, you're not going to run the ball in,' but it's been done before, and I think that's kind of our mindset in all three phases. We break tendencies, and we try to be unpredictable and be as attack-oriented as we can."

With this being a short week, do you lighten the load at all to try and keep the guys fresher?

"I wouldn't say we're going to lighten the load. The workload is going to have to be the same because we have to get ready to play a very good team, and the challenges are the same. We may change up drills, tempo drills, things like that, as far as coming off the physical game and making sure that we are recovered as much as we can be. But, the workload itself will be the same."

Is it tougher for the players to get over a tough overtime loss in a short week rather than a long week?

"You know, it's a big challenge, but it's something I think guys in the NFL learn how to do. They move on pretty quickly. You know, we'll probably be looking back at the game, or the fans certainly will be looking back at the game for a couple of days, but the players, they're already over it, and they've already moved on to Tennessee. You have to."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content