JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE
Opening statement:"Good to see everybody. Thanks for showing up and sticking with us. [I] appreciate it. Obviously, we've taken a good, hard look at everything we're doing, and at the same time, we've started on Arizona. We're looking forward. That becomes a priority here because of the short week. I spent a lot of time looking hard at the offense this morning. The coaches are moving on hard to Arizona, and that's where we are. Just from the perspective of game, [it was] really a hard loss – really a tough loss. Just like we said last night, give Jacksonville credit, obviously, they played a tremendous game. That Monday night crowd and being in the situation they were in – kind of a desperate situation… And what we thought was a very good football team... Their defense took it to us pretty good, and we really didn't have the response we needed to have at any point in time during the game, really, until the near end when we got the 13-point drive. Even when we got some things going, we weren't able to finish them, even finish with a made field goal. So, that's pretty much the way the game went. No excuses. It has to be a lot better. [We were] not even close to the way we are capable of performing on offense. Everybody realizes that. We've all got to do a better job, starting with me. I've got to do a better making some decisions. And, we've all got to do a better job of coaching, playing, executing – all those different things. The thing that I appreciate about our guys is that I think our guys are just the men for the job. We can do it, and I look forward to the opportunity to do it on Sunday against a good Arizona team."
When it comes to the short turnaround that you have this week, was there time today or will there be time this week for you, Cam [Cameron] and Joe [Flacco] to sit down together and talk about what needs fixing? *(Joe Platania) *"Well, that's what we are going to do all week. Absolutely. It's not going to be Oprah; it's going to be football. I think we all understand what we need to get done, and it comes down to execution. We all talk about football and the different things on offense. You just watch every single play and you see where a mistake or a thing could have been executed better or a play could have could have been called better or we could have put our guys in a better position to do those things. Every play is different. It's here, there and it's the other place. So, it's not going to be one fix. It's got to be everybody doing a great job of determining what we can do well, what we can do with the guys we have right now, and getting those things done in practice and taking them to the game on Sunday – just like it's been every week."
Considering some of the things they did scheme-wise, did they stunt a lot when you watch the film? *(Aaron Wilson) *"They stunted a little bit in pass protection. I thought we did a pretty good job of picking up the stunts. [We picked up] the twists and those kinds of things. We did a pretty good job, especially as the game wore on. They blitzed us a little bit early with the Sam 'backer and the Will 'backer; they got us a couple of times there. The Will 'backer timed a couple up and got us one time in the seven-man protection. And the Sam 'backer got us once or twice over the right side running back. But, it wasn't anything we haven't seen before, and I don't think those were the determining things. It really wasn't that much pressure. It wasn't exotic pressure at all."
Did they always spy Ray Rice? *(Aaron Wilson) *"No, I don't think it was spy. Their defensive end, one time, and a nose guard another time, did a great job of recognizing the screen. There are certain screen tips, and those guys did a great job as D-linemen of recognizing the screen and just running right up there to it. They did a great job defending screens. That hurt us, because if those guys don't make the play, those are both huge plays."
With the tempo of the offense in the two losses slow out of the gate, for the future, will you consider maybe doing two-minute drill, no-huddle things earlier in the game just to try to hit the on button? (Gerry Sandusky)"Yeah, you know, we've done that before. We were actually in it a little bit. We came out in no-huddle a little bit in the first half, too, and it didn't work. So, it wasn't just because we were slow. It wasn't a slow tempo that equates to not executing. Not executing is not executing, and it's pretty hard to get your tempo going when you're three-and-out. The first seven or eight drives went three-and-out or turnover. It's going to be hard to get in a rhythm, it's going to be hard to get any kind of tempo when you can't get a first down. A lot of it had to do with the fact that we were second-and-eight, second-and-nine, second-and-10, and we just never got ahead of schedule. But still, then you've got to convert on third down. Even when we were third-and-five, or-six at times, we didn't convert. And when you don't get first downs, it's hard to get any kind of tempo going. You've got to convert and get some first downs."**
You have played three games against three of the top-ranked teams in the AFC, and beat them all decisively. The other three games, I guess other people don't rate those teams as highly as the teams you beat, in at least two of those three. Is that a statistical curiosity? Or are you concerned that some of the younger players are still learning how to prepare themselves for the various level of teams? (Peter Schmuck) "Well, if that was it, you'd probably say the younger guys were making all the mistakes, or not executing as well, and, it really wasn't the case. It was pretty well fairly spread around to everybody. Two of those games were on the road, a certain type of front that got after us a little bit that we didn't block quite as well as some of the other fronts we played against. That might be more the things that we'd look at. I just don't believe [we weren't prepared]. It's not about guys not being ready to play. Our guys were ready to play. Our guys played with emotion and they tried to be physical. But, we've got to be more consistent. You've got to be more consistent, especially on the offensive side of the ball, from play to play and series to series. And you've got to do your job. We've got to do a better job of putting guys in position to do their job. So, it's executing plays. That's the bottom line."
There was a period last night where the cameras showed Ray Rice on the bench by himself, and one of the ESPN sideline people referenced some sort of an exchange between Ray and [running backs coach Wilbert] Montgomery, and her opinion was that maybe he had been benched. Was he in any way, shape or form benched last night for either poor play or something that happened with Wilbert? (Drew Forrester)"I don't know of anything with Wilbert, but absolutely not – he wasn't benched. One thing that you have in football – I think you have in any kind of football… And I don't even know that there was an exchange. Those two guys have, I think, an amazing relationship. But sometimes maybe that is an honest relationship, too. If we are men, and we can get after each other a little bit about the way we are playing or not playing and what we're doing, I am OK with that. I think that is what honest communication is about. As long as we all move on from it, and we know that we have each other's backs, and we care about each other… Whatever was said – I don't even know if anything was said – I know that those two guys have a great relationship."
How are [Terrence] Cody and Ed Reed doing today after banging into each other? Is there any chance of some reinforcements this week with Lee Evans and [Ben] Grubbs still out? (Aaron Wilson)"[Terrence] Cody seems OK. Ed [Reed], I think he is OK. I think he had a burner, and it was on the other side from where his other issues were. But, we'll see. Those things are a little bit unpredictable, so I don't want to speak for Ed on that because that's his. He owns that. We'll see how he does. He is a pretty tough guy – I know that. He came back in the game. As far as Lee [Evans] and Ben [Grubbs], we'll just have to see as the week goes on. I am to the point now where I am not even thinking about it until they come back, because I think you give those guys a chance to heal fully where they are not going to get injured again. That's been a little bit of a mystery, and we just have to let it heal."**
Compared to other teams in the league, when other teams have bad losses, they look at it and say it's just bad game. But, when it's the Ravens have a bad loss, it's another story. What do you have to say to that? (Barry Barnes)"It's an interesting observation. I have a lot of respect for our players. I think the Ravens fans have a lot of respect for this football team. That was a tough loss. We played bad on one side of the ball especially, and we didn't play well enough on the other two sides to overcome that. We take it as a team loss. We'll bounce back as a team – we'll keep fighting. We have been here before. We have been here from one game to the next. We have been here in seasons where we have been counted out. That's OK. I know our fans won't count us out. Our players won't count us out, and our coaches won't count each other out. We'll just go to work. We have to come back this Sunday, and we have to play. The main thing is, we have to look at this long, and we have to learn from it and get ready for Arizona at the same time. We have to figure out what we need to do. You can't just say, 'OK, we're all set on defense,' either. Our defensive players have to say, 'We can get better. We have to get better. We have to get a little bit better every single day.' If we just keep doing that with our whole football team, that's the formula. We know how to handle that – we have been here before. This is a tough league, and that was tough loss. But, we have a tough game coming up on Sunday."
I noticed last night that the cornerback, [Rashean] Mathis, was very physical with the receivers coming off the line. Other teams will probably look at that as a way to put more pressure on Joe Flacco. Is that something you are looking at? (Barry Barnes)"That's something that I think that they had done pretty much in the past. They get up and press you, and they have good corners, and they play well. We're going to get a lot of that. We have to get off press. You have to get off press, and you have to get vertical and you have to make them pay – that's the bottom line. I think we can do a better job of making them pay downfield, do a better job of making them pay on crossing routes and things like that to beat that coverage. We are capable of doing it. We have done it before this year."**
After a chance to assess that game, do you look at it now… I think [Ray] Rice had just eight carries. Do you wish that maybe he was more involved? I do think after the fumble, it was about a quarter-and-a-half, about 20-22 minutes where he didn't get a rush. Was that part of from the fumble to him not getting another touch? (Brent Harris)"No, we had no conversation about that. He has to get more than eight carries. I also think when you are a play-caller, you are searching for things to get you going or get you jumpstarted. It wasn't like those eight carries were gashing them or anything like that either. I think we were looking for some things that we could do, searching a little bit for a way to get a first down. It wasn't so much about, 'Hey you know what? Let's get so many carries to Ray Rice or so many throws to any particular receiver.' We are just trying to find a way to beat the defense and get a first down and get going, because when you do that, that's when those carries start adding up. When you go three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out, it's going to be hard to get those carries stacked up too much. You go first-down run and you get a yard, OK now you have to start finding a way to get nine yards on the next two [plays]. By the same token, eight carries is never going to be a winning formula for Ray Rice. There is no doubt about it."**
OLB Terrell Suggs had some suggestions for the suggestion box. What do you think about players speaking out about other parts of the team? (Aaron Wilson)"Just look at the player. I've got a lot of respect for Terrell Suggs. You know, Terrell Suggs' heart is always in the right place, and he's a leader on our football team. I listen to all of our guys, and definitely I listen to Terrell Suggs, especially with the way he's playing. And then, things he says are right. But, that's what we're trying to do. It's not like we're not trying to do the things he's talking about doing. So, I think we're all on the same page with that."
CB Jimmy Smith was active for this game, but he only got a couple reps. Was that by situation or design? (Bruce Raffel)"That was by the fact that his ankle started getting a little bit sore. He was kind of gimping around a little bit in the second half. But also, I think by the way the game went… You know, ankle is a little sore, hasn't had a lot of reps, hasn't been in defense that much, tight football game. That probably limited his reps a little bit."
During the course of the season, there have been quite a few of what you'd call "upsets" this season based on the spread. You said going into this season there would be a level of unpredictability based on a new paradigm in training camp. Do you think that's happened? (Peter Schmuck)"Yeah, I think it's been crazy. I think it's been absolutely crazy. The swings of play up and down, the roller coaster that teams have been on… I look at our team – you know you look at yourself first – and we've been pretty wildly inconsistent, especially on offense, and that's… You know, with our offensive line situation, I don't think that's completely unexpected, but that's not something you strive for. You strive for consistency. We've just got to keep fighting for that until we get it, until we find it. We've got to find it on Sunday. When this whole season is said and done, and everyone goes back and analyzes what happened with the lockout and everything, there's probably something that… People are going to see most every team is having those mood swings."
Will you seek some sort of counsel or advice from the league about the hit call on Bernard Pollard? (Ed Lee)"Right, right. I love the way you put that. (laughter) I'm not supposed to comment, OK? We'll definitely send it in. There will be some other ones that we send in, and we'll just see what they say and what they tell us. I don't know what other way to coach him. But, if they give us some insight into that, that would help us."
What about the Brendon Ayanbadejo incident? After having a chance to look at the tape, what did you see there, and did you feel that the way that it was handled was appropriate? (Dan Kolko)"Well, you know, I can't comment on that because that goes to league discipline. But, I think from the standpoint of our own players, you can't retaliate to the face. That's what they're going to look for. You would love to see them get the whole thing. You would love to see, you know, what you might perceive as being fairness in that situation. Brendon Ayanbadejo is a really smart player, and he usually has great control of his emotions. That didn't end up hurting us because our defense got them stopped. But it cost us time. So, it hurt us in that sense. He's just going to have to… You can only take so much, but you have to know how to protect yourself out there without getting a personal foul."
Since you guys are 7-of-8 on challenges this year, can you just run through what the process is on that and who was in the booth last night and what's been working so well? (Ryan Mink)"Well, sometimes it depends on what you chose to challenge. This year, the way it's turned out is that the things we've chosen to challenge have been critical-type plays that we've had pretty clear looks at, for the most part. The one that we didn't have a clear look at we lost; we kind of guessed at it a little bit. [Head coach's assistant] Matt Weiss is the guy that does that for us up in the box; he does a great job. He studies his challenge rules like nobody I've ever seen. He understands that as well as anybody I've been around, and he does a great job in the box with that. He's got young eyes, and he's been doing a good job."
After a game like yesterday, offensively, there is certainly a lot of finger-pointing, and Cam [Cameron] has gotten a lot of criticism. Do you think that's warranted? (Brent Harris)"It's warranted for all of us. I think we all deserve to have fingers pointed at us when the offense plays like that. That's tough. It's just a bad performance, and everybody knows it. Cam's got broad shoulders; he's a tough guy. And he's been doing this for a long time, and everybody in this building respects him, and nobody's going to fight harder to make this offense achieve what it's capable of achieving. So, it's still early in the season, but we can't afford more performances like that; we all know that. Cam's the offensive coordinator – he's got broad shoulders – and I'm the head coach, and everybody on offense is that position on offense, and we've all got to go to work."
This year, I know you had said you'd probably have more to do with the offense, be more involved in meetings. How different has that been than the first couple of years for you, and how much influence have you had this year on it? (Brent Harris)"I've been involved with the offense this year from basically the ground up. So, when I walk in there now and we have conversations about it, you've got a foundation for being involved in the way the system was built. So, that's very helpful, and I think it makes for better communication as a head coach. And it's the same type of an understanding that I've had with the special teams and the defense for the years preceding that. So, you get to the point now in your fourth year where you can have the same kinds of conversations across the board on all three phases, and to me, that's really important. So, the value is, whatever area might be struggling a little bit, you can get involved within a very technical way. And that's what we've been doing this morning. That's what coaches do. It's nothing complicated; you look at your problems and you figure out a way to fix them."
Billy Cundiff has missed three field goals this year, all from 50-plus [yards] and all to the right. Would that be a technique thing? Is he putting too much behind it? The snaps have seemed to be pretty good there. (Mark Suchy)"Yeah, we thought we had that corrected. We had two of them, I think in the same game, that got pushed to the right that were the same problem that we worked really hard on that over the last four weeks, I think, it's been since that happened. And for him to come out and push that ball the way he did – and it looked the same way – that's a bad miss, and that's a disappointing thing for him. And I know that he's more mad about it than anybody. That's not something that he's done in his career; he's not been a guy that's pushed balls. If anything, he's pulled balls. I'd rather see the ball get pulled on a long field goal, because that means you're attacking it a little bit more. So, hey, man, it's the same swing as you'd use on a 25-, 35- or a 45-[yarder]; it's all the same swing. You might drive the ball a little bit more on a longer one, but it's still going to be a straight ball. And he's capable of doing that, and I think over the course of time he's going to make a lot more of those than he misses. But that was a tough miss yesterday. You know, they made three 50-yard-plus field goals, and we missed our one, and that was probably the difference in the game. So, that's something that we're going to be good at as we go forward."
If you had to do it over again coach, would you have kicked off there after the touchdown at 9-7 instead of trying an onside kick now that you've had some time to think about it? (Mark Suchy)"Yeah, now that I've had some time to think about it, I'm even more sure that it was the right thing. And I think you can go both ways on it, but we had a chance to do a probability study – and that's another thing that Matt Weiss does – and the probabilities are for kicking the onsides kick. And that's giving a 21-percent onside kick recovery rate, and that's assuming that that's a touchback, so that they get the two-minute warning – which to me, if I'm them, I'm bringing the ball out, unless it's kicked out of the back of the end zone. So, you know what? I think it's fair to say you can do it either way. I felt strongly about the onside kick, and the main reason was because I thought we were going to get it. So, you can take that 21-percent and make it 50-percent-plus in my mind, because I liked our scheme on that play. And if you look at the way, we had them outnumbered at the point of attack. If that ball goes 10 yards – which is not asking too much – then we're going to recover that ball. Now we've got the ball with two minutes, plus two timeouts, plus the two-minute warning, to go from the 45- to 50 [-yard lines] into close field goal range and give us the best chance to make a kick and win the game. And I thought about it, I felt strongly about it then, and I feel even more strongly about it now that it gave us the best chance to win. But, I also acknowledge you can definitely make the case the other way. And if everything works out perfectly the other way, you have a chance to win the other way, too."
Thinking in hindsight to the Cardinals game, would it be a head-scratcher for the team if you win a close game, or would it be better to win big to get over Monday night's loss? (Barry Barnes)"We're going to be over Monday night's loss tomorrow. You just have to. So, how we win? We're just going to go try to play as well as we can possibly play and try to win the game. That's what we've got to do."