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Post-Practice Transcript - Sept. 14

Opening statement: "Good to see everybody again. It seems like it's been a long time since that game got over with. We had a chance to look at it and review it. The coaches have been through it, the players have been through it. Matter of fact, there was practice out here to review certain things that we need to get better at and certain things we're going to try to do next week. So, we think we know where we're at and what we've got to improve on, and we're ready to go work for San Diego."

Is there any advantage that San Diego will play tonight and have a short week for preparation?

"No. We'll have that same situation later in the year when we play Monday night and have a short week. So, I don't know if it's an advantage or a disadvantage. We want to go to work on them, but we don't have tape. They have tape on us, and their guys are going to work on us right now. So, maybe they've got the edge. I don't know what the advantage is, but it's part of the NFL, and they'll deal with it, and we'll deal with it."

Was it clear what happened on the blocked punt, and is it something that is easily correctible?

"It was very identifiable and very easily corrected. [It was] disappointing in the sense that there was no look that we hadn't seen hundreds of times. We just got a little bit, I guess, frozen for a second. Give [No.] 47 [Jon McGraw credit]. Their guy, he's a really good player. He's been around for a long time, and he went and got it. Sometimes you have a protection bust in punt protection or field goal protection and they don't get it, and you kind of live to talk about it. Well, we didn't live to talk about it. That was really a momentum changer because that was something they took advantage of. Not only did they get the protection, they got the punt block and they scored a touchdown. Sometimes they will come through there clean and won't get it. Sometimes they will come through clean and tip it. Sometimes they will go out the back of the end zone for a safety and not get to the end zone. That was something we talked about. They took advantage of opportunities – that's a great example. That's corrected. It's just something we can't let happen."

How happy were you with the way the offense played, and what do you think of their potential to get better?

"That's a great [question]. I'm really happy, not just with the offense, certainly with so many things within the offense. But, then again, there were a lot of things that we were not so pleased with. But across the board, there were so many good things. I know sometimes you guys are like, 'Yeah, well, whatever,' [thinking that] we look at the negative things. No, we don't [always]. We look at the positive things, too. You can look at all three phases. Special teams – there were so many great things going on in special teams that we're excited and we think we've got a chance to be really good in that phase. We wanted it to show up like it showed up for Kansas City. Offensively – so many good things, both running the ball and passing the ball, pass protection. And, then on defense – really almost a dominant performance on defense. Yet, there are things, the red zone touchdown and certain plays like the one drive they had and the one long pass they had on their field goal drive, you don't want to give up anything. But, [there were] so many positives in all three phases."

After watching the film, are there some plays that QB Joe Flacco would like to have back?

"Joe would be the first to tell you there were so many that he wants back. He wants to complete every ball and the rest of the ones he threw away. There were probably five, six, seven balls in there that he had a chance [to complete]. Whether it was Joe or whether it was a receiver running the right angle on a route, actually identifying the pressure, whether we have a site adjust on there or not, those are things that he's going to continue to get better at and our receivers are going to continue to get better at, as we have through the whole offseason. What you see in this game is the work that has been compiled from March until now. Well, it doesn't end there. We've got a lot of work to do between Monday and Wednesday. So, we want to keep getting better at everything we do."

How was it different without Rex Ryan as the defensive coordinator and with Greg Mattison running the defense?

"Well, I'll tell you what: It seemed just as nerve-wracking, just as tense, just as competitive. Just like offense kind of seemed the same in that way. We miss Rex's personality. We're always going to miss Rex. Honestly, he's doing just fine without us. So, we've got to find a way to make it work without him. The defense, players and coaches, did a real nice job of making that happen."

How much does the ability of the offensive line to protect Flacco allow you to pass more?

"Well the protection is where it starts. That's why we've made some of the decisions we've made. We said from the first day that everything starts up front on both sides of the ball. So the priority is building an offensive line, the priority is building a defensive line, and you kind of work back from there. You know you have to have a quarterback, you know you have to have corners, you know you have to have pass rushers, you have to have receivers – the whole thing. But it sure starts in the core, and the offensive line played really well."

What is your impression of rookie T Michael Oher's performance in his first regular season game?

"He played really well. He played really well, but there are a lot of things he can do better. But, for a rookie coming out for the first time, facing that odd front, he did a nice job."

What is the status of LB Tavares Gooden and S Tom Zbikowski?

"'Zibby,' on the sideline, I was talking to him after he dressed down and he was kind of slurring his speech a little bit, I thought. So I asked him if he had a glass jaw, and he got kind of mad. He didn't take it too kindly. I don't even think he laughed. [I said], 'It's a joke, Tom. It's OK.' I was ducking. He got hit. He ran into a two-man wedge in that first [return] and really got hammered, but he hit it. Then, he got trapped in another one and hit that, too. So he's not afraid to throw his jaw in there. He should be fine. It's just a matter of his head clearing up. Then, as far as Tavares goes, we think right now it's a mild sprain. He'll have an MRI today to make sure of that, and we'll just see how it responds this week."

Is there a possibility that TE L. J. Smith will be ready to play in the game against San Diego this week?

"There's a chance. I don't know what the chances are, but there's a chance. We were kind of targeting this one. We'll be hopeful, but we can't say for sure."

How important was the contribution of the running backs?

"The running backs played really well. The running backs played really well in every way. They ran the ball well, they protected, and they caught the ball well. If Joe had put a couple of more on they would have even had a bigger day. Wilbert Montgomery has done a tremendous job with those guys from Day One, and you can kind of see all the offseason work paying off. They've expanded their game. Every one of them has expanded what they do. That goes back to the O-line as well. But [the running backs] played well."

Is getting the running backs more into the passing game something you'd like to do?

"That's something you always want to expand to. It comes back to trying to do more things in the passing game or in the run game. The more ways you can attack people [the better]. It doesn't do much good to split a guy out there and they know he's not a threat to catch the ball. If they can see that he can run a route effectively, and when you throw it to him he catches it, then they have to cover him. And usually they have to cover him with a cover guy if we gain a matchup advantage. We put Troy [Smith] out there one time. You'll probably see more of that. And Troy's a pretty good athlete out there, so you've got to match up with him as well. So, we want to use all of our guys any way we can."

How significant was the fourth-quarter comeback?

"You try to make everything good, right? You look for the good and try to improve any way you can. I'm really excited about the opportunity we had in the fourth quarter. We didn't plan it that way. We sure didn't want to be behind in the fourth quarter to anybody. I don't care who it is. The fact that we were behind in the fourth quarter and answered once, twice, three times, and then put them away at the end, that's something that we take with us for the rest of the season. That's something we carry forward, and we can draw on that for the next 15-plus games."

Was the amount of DT Haloti Ngata's playing time normal?
"He played quite a bit. I don't know what the numbers were exactly. Do you have the numbers? He was out there quite a bit because he was out there in nickel – maybe that's what you're referring to – and the dime package. He was out there in regular a lot, so we want to have him on the field as much as we can."

What factors go into making the 45-man active roster for gameday?
"Well, it's funny because I just had a conversation with one of our guys that didn't dress. Those guys want to play. When all of the sudden they're not dressing – there is a sweat suit instead of shoulder pads in their locker – it's a disappointment. That part of it is hard. What goes in to it is whoever can do the most for us on Sunday to help us win the game. So you factor everything in. How many packages are they apart of? Who do they back up? If somebody gets hurt, who's the next guy and the next guy in? Who can we not live without if somebody gets hurt, or who can't we live without because somebody can maybe do double duty? Then of course, special teams is probably the overriding factor at the bottom of the roster. So, it's who does the most for you. That's who is up."

Have you checked the weather in San Diego to make sure it's not like last season when Hurricane Ike hit Houston?"Oh yeah. I almost forgot about that."

Is it nice not to go through so many technical things like you had to go through last year with that?
"Last year at this time we were getting ready for Houston, and we ended up playing them about two months later. We had our bye day, and we enjoyed it. We watched a little football. (laughter) You never know what's going to happen. We could have a bunch of setbacks, and I don't know if something's blowing in over there or not. Wouldn't that be something? Wouldn't that be ironic? If it happens, we're just the men for the job."

Do you think people understand how difficult cross-country trips are?
"I guess anybody that gets on a plane and travels cross country... It's not like we do it any differently. We get on a plane – it's a charter plane, but it's pretty full of people. It's a long flight. We're going to go out a day early. We're going to go out on Friday and try to get accustomed to the time change – try to get our seat legs back from the travel. Practice is Saturday at San Diego State at 1 o'clock – game time. So we kind of get accustomed to the time. It's not so bad for an east-to-west team because it's like a 4 o'clock game here. Then, we go play Sunday at 1. That's what we do."

Did the defense appreciate what the offense did on Sunday?
"That's a great point. To me it went two ways: As you said, the defense appreciated the offense moving the ball and scoring points – keeping them off the field. The offense appreciated all of the three-and-outs. The fact that they might have gotten stopped or scored, and the next thing you know they're getting the ball back on a punt return and bam, we're right back on the field again with the chance to attack a defense that might be a little worn out. You get 90 plays on offense and you go 47 plays on defense – that's what you're looking for. That's the type of game you want to put together. The thing that we learned in this game is no matter how many yards you hold them to or how many yards you put up, one, two or three plays can make the difference. You can completely dominate a game, and lose the game. I don't know what the Cincinnati stats were in that game, but you look at that game and they've got that ball game won with 40 seconds left. One play, a fluke play, can turn a game around. You have to play every play. We talk about this, and sometimes they roll their eyes, but I don't think they do in this league. Justin Bannan said something to me after the game. He said, 'Coach, it just goes to show you that you have to play every play like it's the play that's going to win the game.' That's right, you do."

Do you think yesterday was a growth day for Joe Flacco?
"It's good to see him perform well. We thought he would. I don't know the word, it is seminal? Is that right? You guys are all journalists – is that the right word? We're not looking for those to be honest with you. We're not looking for those landmarks. That's for you guys to do. We're just trying to play as well as we can on Sunday. Joe played as well as he could last Sunday, but we need him to get better this Sunday. That goes for every guy on the team. That's what coaches say, but you know what? That's what we believe."

How did you feel about Joe's on-field emotion?
"It's in there. It's in there. Believe it or not, Joe is an emotional guy. He's a competitive guy. He's edgy, and he likes to do well. So, we like that about him."

I know the Chargers play tonight, but what do you know about them going in?

"You know they're one of the premiere teams in the NFL. They're explosive in all three phases. I know Ron Rivera really well, so I know what kind of defense they're going to put out there. They're going to be an attacking… He's got a mix of the Lovie Smith, Jim Johnson package, and he puts them all together. So, he causes you a lot of problems. Offensively, Norv Turner, [I] saw him all those years in Washington. I know Jim Johnson used to feel like Norv Turner was one of the premiere offensive coordinators in the league, and head coach, when he played against him. And their special teams have been in the top one, two or three in the league the last couple of years with Steve Crosby. We've got our hands full against a premiere football team."

Did it take a lot of willpower to not throw out the challenge flag when the officials ruled WR Derrick Mason did not score?

"I wanted to throw the flag, but then when the replay came up – Larry [Rosen, VP of broadcasting] did a great job of getting the replay up – and you could see that his knee came down out. At that point in time you don't want to waste it, and it was pretty clear that we weren't going to win it. Now, 'Mase' wasn't so convinced. We had to [tell him], 'It's OK. Your knee was out.' But he didn't believe that. That's why he's such a great player."

Were you aware of the comments that ESPN announcers Cris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson made about the Ravens' wide receivers? Do you encourage your wide receivers to play with a chip on their shoulders?

"We like to play with a certain edge. We talk about 'Playing Like a Raven,' and everybody wants to know what that means. We're not talking about the birds. We're talking about the team. That's how our guys play, so it doesn't have anything to do with what some guy in front of a camera says. You start calling our guys names? We're not too impressed by that. But, our guys are going to go play the way they play no matter what. We're not looking for someone else's respect. We don't need someone else to say good things about us. Matter of fact, we kind of like it when it goes the other way. They can keep saying those things all they want. We'll just keep showing up on Sunday."

Another member of your coaching staff got a Gatorade shower after the game. Do you know when that's taking place and who a target is before it happens?

"I know who the targets are, yeah. Sometimes we've had those planned. This was Cam Cameron on this one. He got Coach [John] Matsko. He and Wade Harman got him. It's become a tradition here, hasn't it? I think Cam got inaugurated. Well, I guess I got inaugurated first off, right? (laughing) But then Cam, and then Rex [Ryan], and it went right on down the line. Who could be next? Who could be next?"

On how much joy he felt playing against the Chiefs after what he's been through:"It was a lot of fun. I think most of all the fans appreciated it, the fans enjoyed it. I think the thing that we enjoy most is winning the ball game. It doesn't matter how you get it done, especially in this league. There are so many different scenarios you can place yourself in. But obviously the way… What our game plan was coming into the game, and just to see guys perform well, and see guys make plays, that was probably the most enjoyable part about it."

On if he feels that this could be an offense that puts Baltimore on the map:"It was one game. That's definitely the goal. We want to definitely put our offense on the map, and coming into this year we set a lot of goals offensively. We're doing everything we can to reach those goals. I think there were quite a few of them that we were able to attain. Now it's just a matter of going in and doing it week in and week out. I think we've got the guys that are capable of doing it. We've got the guys in place. It's a matter of going out and executing. We did a good job of that yesterday. We felt like we could have done a little better in certain situations, specifically in the scoring zone. But, whenever you get 90 plays… I was talking to our tight ends coach, Wade Harman, and said that I haven't played that many plays since high school. That was pretty fun."

On if the offense has to make adjustments to playing that many plays:"I think that's something you're prepared for. We go all offseason, all preseason, all through training camp preparing for that. You're getting in shape for a reason, and those are the games where it really shows what kind of shape you're in. That's when you really want to wear the defense down. You want to make sure they're out there on the field and we're attacking them. It's not the other way around. I think anytime an offense plays 90 plays, that's usually the story behind it – the offense is attacking, they're converting on third downs, which was huge for us yesterday, and prolonging their drives. We were able to do that most of the game. I think coach [John Harbaugh] said it earlier: We were able to answer whatever challenge was put in front of us."

On if QB Joe Flacco was the same as usual in the huddle when he was getting so many throws:"He was the same. In fact, we didn't huddle very much, and I think that probably went into it a little bit. That was part of our plan, was just to keep getting after it and keep getting after it, not give them time to rest. Once we saw a personnel out on the field that we liked, something we thought we had good matchups in, just stay after them. We didn't huddle very much, and when we did it was briefly. So that was a fun part about it. I think all the guys on the offense liked that, just getting up to the line of scrimmage and getting after them."

On if it's harder to play and win a game after traveling across the continent:"We're going to go out a day early, which is always good to get a little more acclimated to the time change and really get your sleep right, and you try to get your meal times in to where… Eating on game day is always tough. Well, at least it's tough for me. So, you want to make sure that you're… We used to call it 'body time' around here. I think it's always important to make sure you stay on a similar schedule. I think it's going to be good for us to get out there a day early. Other than that, I don't think it changes too much. When the game starts, guys are ready to go."

On the way the offense was able to answer the challenge in the fourth quarter of the Chiefs game to put it away:"I think scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter said it all. I think they scored 10, we scored 21, and we were able… We got in good field position a few of times, and were able to make a couple of drives other times. That just says something about our offense, something about what we've been training for and the mindset that we have. Nobody on the sideline or in the huddle or at the line of scrimmage, nobody was blinking. Nobody was saying, wondering if we could get the job done. We've seen it many times over in practice. We've seen it all preseason. It was good to see it carry over into the regular season."

On what it meant for him to contribute so much to the success of the offense as a go-to guy:"Obviously, it felt good. I've always had pretty high expectations for myself, and I feel like when there's a play that needs to be made, I want to be the guy to make that play. I think the biggest thing was that Joe [Flacco] and I were able to get on the same page. As everybody saw, he was hitting a lot of guys. That was probably the most fun, to spread the ball around and see how many different guys could touch the football. That way the defense, they can't key on anyone. They can't sit back there and say, 'Oh, they're going to one of two guys,' which sometimes it's been like that around here. But it's not like that anymore. We've got a lot of guys that can make plays."

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