On his thoughts about letting go of QB Cleo Lemon: "It was a situation with John Beck's injury, where Cleo Lemon is obviously a proven quarterback in this league to some extent. He's played a lot. He's got experience. We felt like if the thing with John didn't work out, he would've been a great go-to guy for us. He's been in Cam's [Cameron] system before. Cam has a lot of respect for him. I'm just disappointed we didn't have more of a chance to really look at him and get to know him because he's a great guy, and he worked really hard. He'll be on a team very soon, in this league. There's no question about it. Our thought, in some ways, was to give him a chance to do that. If we thought there would be an advantage to holding onto him we would've. But at the same token, there are some teams that need a quarterback, and he can most certainly help a team right now."
On if Thursday night is only about fighting for jobs: "It's about fighting for jobs in the NFL, but it's not all about that. It's way more complex than that. I think for certain, like we said yesterday, everybody's in a different spot. That'll be a number of guys' priority, but there are a lot of other guys that have other priorities going into the game. As a team, we want to come out of this game, again, the very best team we can be. Part of that's evaluating the personnel, and a lot of that will go into how they play in this last game. But a lot of that will be developing some schemes and some things like that we want to develop. So, there are a lot of priorities going into this game, but that's probably the one that people should be talking about the most, I guess."
On how DB Derrick Martin has been playing: "Derrick's been playing really well. The thing about Derrick Martin that's interesting is, he's always the same. Derrick Martin comes out and plays well in every single practice. Then he lines up in a game and plays well in every single game. He plays extremely fast. He's made the transition from corner to safety. So, he can play both. Derrick Martin is a valuable piece to that secondary. He's a guy that's in the mix to make our roster, and he's earned that. He's earned it by the way he's played. It's going to be interesting to see how it shakes out, but I think Derrick Martin has played his way, pretty potentially, onto this football team."
On if Martin is a guy that can be interchangeable with positions: "Derrick's not going to play wide receiver. Derrick's going to play corner, safety – that's a role to me – and he's a special teams guy. So, he's got his role pretty clearly defined, and he's done well with it."
On what he thought about CB Frank Walker bouncing back after the Jets game after being called offsides: "We didn't think he was. But, the league can go back and forth to see whether they thought he was or wasn't. When you've got an indicator on a snap – and he read it perfectly – the problem is the other 10 guys didn't. Frank was on time and the other 10 guys weren't, so it made Frank look like he was out of place. Obviously, we've got to do a better job with everybody believing in that indicator when you get it. Frank has done a great job of blocking field goals and pressuring field goals since he's been here. He's a big weapon in that way."
On how the defensive players have helped defensive coordinator Greg Mattison progress: "That's the beauty of Greg. Greg has such great relationships with those guys, and you can go right down the line – Ed Reed, Trevor Pryce, Ray [Lewis], Justin Bannan, Kelly Gregg. I know I'll leave some guys out, and I don't want to leave guys out, but Greg seeks their input and they're not shy about giving their input. They feel a real partnership with all the coaches, especially Greg. When we have our meetings, it's give and take. There's a lot of communication that's going on back and forth. There are a lot of really smart football people in that room. So, obviously Greg sets the tone and makes the decisions. He's put the scheme together, obviously with the help of all the coaches, but we want involvement from everybody. It's not a one-man show. That's what makes a great leader, that he utilizes everybody in that room really well. Hopefully, that's the strength of the Ravens' defense."
On what he has seen from NT Kelly Talavou: "Talking about the D-line, it's really important to have a lot of big, physical defensive linemen. It's a strong man's game in the NFL. You've got to… You can't get pushed around in this league. Those two guys, [Brandon] McKinney and Talavou, who might be considered at the edge of the roster, they've played really well. We think that's strength, so we're happy with how those guys have progressed. But they have a ways to go. They'll be the first to tell you [that] there's a lot to learn, and they can learn from the older guys."
On how rookie LB Jason Phillips has progressed from his leg injury: "With Jason, you can see the flashes of what kind of player he is, especially when you tie it together with the college tape. He hasn't been the same as he was before he had the injury at the Combine. That thing just… There's a strength and change-of-direction factor there that's going to get better and better as he gets more healthy."
On how OLB Terrell Suggs responded from practice yesterday: "It looks like it responded well. There was probably some soreness in some different movements, but he's in good cardiovascular shape and he's really strong. He's done a good job of training as much as you can, non-football. But like anything else, you've got to go out there and play football to be in, quote unquote, football shape. We need him to do that, and he'll tell you he needs to do that as much as he can right now. But I thought he looked good for the time he's been away."
On if Suggs is probable for Thursday: "Yeah, sort of a maybe."
On how the first-team defense has been almost perfect without Suggs: "Right, and that 'almost' part of it is a real bugaboo for us. We chase perfection. They'll tell you. They aren't going to dwell on the stops they've had. They're going to dwell on the plays that they gave up. I'm sure if you ask them, those are the things that they're talking about. So, there are plenty of things to work on, and we've got a long way to go on all three phases. But, our defense has a chance to be, one of, if not the best, defense in the league. We don't shy away from that; we're not afraid to say that. That's our objective and that's going to help us be the best Ravens we can be. So, if we're going to do that, we better set a high standard."
On whether rookie LB Dannell Ellerbe has fallen too far behind due to his lingering injury: "I don't know. We'll have to find out. If we knew that already, we'd have our roster picked, and we don't. So, Thursday night, how the roster shakes out, we'll all go into that stuff. But it didn't help him not playing. It's hard. You know, they say, 'You can't make the club in the tub.' It's pretty hard to make the club without being out there, showing what you can. So, we'll see what happens."
On whether there has been any thought of not playing the starters at Atlanta: "There have been a lot of thoughts about a lot of things. And some have been expressed, and some of them haven't. And some won't be in this press conference either." *(laughter) *
On his thoughts about the extended break between the last preseason game and regular season opener:"Good and bad. You always worry about the fact that they're not going to play maybe as much. But nobody is [going to play], so it's kind of equal around the league. You balance it out with the fact that the rest and the recovery part of it is really valuable, too. So, it's a balancing process."
On if they watch more Arizona Cardinals film because Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is a former coach there: "Right. We've been trying to figure that little problem out ever since we saw that we had the Chiefs in the opener. And it's not like they've put a lot of information out there to give us an idea of what they're going to do, which is smart on their part. And that's definitely an advantage that they'll have going into that game. Scheme-wise, we really can't predict what they're going to do, how they're going to do it. Will they look like the Cardinals? Well, they don't have Cardinals personnel, so it's a little different. Will they look like what they've been working on during training camp? We'll just have to see and have to be ready for everything. So, having the extra time helps us along those lines."
On whether he plans to play on Thursday at Atlanta:"Yeah, I'm going to go a little bit. I'll try to get a few game reps, see how the heel is actually holding up."
On whether yesterday went well after returning to practice: "It felt good. It felt good to get back out there. I'm pretty much going off adrenaline, but yeah, it was good being out there with the guys. I got heckled a little bit. Everybody told me to introduce myself, because they didn't know who I was. (laughter) They haven't seen me in a long time. But, it was a good day back."
On how it felt to get out there and hit somebody: "You know, it's been a while. But I'm a Raven, and some things are just like riding a bike. I like to hit people, I like to play football, so it was pretty good. It was pretty good. It felt really good to go out there and get after it a little bit."
On whether the team has been doing some good work in his absence: "Yes, they have. Yes, they have. It just goes to show what kind of depth we have on this team now and what team we're trying to build. So, it's been going good for us."
On how important it is for him to get some game reps in the preseason: "It's very important, because preseason is not like the regular season. Offenses, they're not running things that they usually run. So, it's always good to get in there and get some reps, get NFL-football-ready, game-ready."
On how much he plans to play at Atlanta on Thursday: "I don't know. It's something we're all going to decide – me and the coaches. So, we're going to decide how much I'm going to go. But the overall picture is most definitely [to] get out of the game healthy, don't have any setbacks and prepare for our NFL season."
On the media hyping QB Joe Flacco going against Falcons QB Matt Ryan: "Oh, I totally forgot about that. You know, it's a good preseason game, and a little media hype for [everyone]. I totally forgot about that matchup, but it's going to be a good thing to see."
On which QB he likes better in that matchup: "I'm always going with the purple and black, always. I can't go against us. Yeah, I like my guy."
On what he thinks about rookie LB/DE Paul Kruger: "He's a rookie, isn't he? I'll get back to you. *(laughter) *No, I like Paul. He's good; he's going to come along. But, just as I heckled Joe [Flacco], I wouldn't be myself if I didn't give the rookie some grief. I like him, and he's going to come along, but I'm going to have my fun with him first."
On whether he has a nickname for Kruger yet: "Goldilocks. We like Goldilocks right now."