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Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 11

On how much it helps to know that a team's backup quarterback is starting in the middle of the week like for the Lions game rather than closer to game time like with the Steelers game:"Obviously, you have a chance to prepare for the quarterback you're going to get, whereas in the Steelers game as you compared it to, we didn't have a chance to prepare for the quarterback we were going to see. It's helpful, but by the same token, we haven't really seen Daunte [Culpepper] in that offense other than a couple of games, and we haven't seen him with their best receiver. It's going to be a little bit of a guessing game for us as far as what they're going to run."

On "knee" being added to QB Joe Flacco's injury report, and if that's a mild injury:"Yeah, I don't even know about the knee, to be honest with you. I think it's just part of the bumps and bruises that he has right now. It's definitely not a major thing."

On if extra preparation is needed for this game because it's a team that the Ravens don't face annually, and if more is put into the game plan than normal:"I wouldn't say more [than] normally. We always put a lot in the game plan. It's always extensive. We don't know them as well, so you've got to really, I think, get back through old tape and really study all that old stuff and see about players and what they've done in the past and what they do well. So that's the challenge. It's just a lot of leg work for us, but we've done it."

On if he will use Cleveland's upset of the Steelers as a message to his team:"It's a great point, but we always do. We stand here, and our players do… They've said it all week. They've said that all year. I don't know, maybe you guys don't believe them, but we take… This is a really good football team we're playing. You guys can look at the records all you want, but from week to week we're playing really good players, really good coaches, who are capable of putting together a really good game. It's just a matter of time when a team's going to put together… Have we played our best game yet? No. We're reaching and striving for our best game, and so are the Browns, so are the Lions, so is everybody in this league. So, it's going to take our very best game to win this next football game. Our guys already know that, so we don't have to point to any examples, really."

On S Louis Delmas being a player the Ravens liked before the draft, and what they've seen from him so far this season:"Louis Delmas from Western Michigan. We interviewed him. We spent a lot of time studying him. We really liked him a lot, and obviously, he's played really well. Very physical in their box run game stuff, good cover guy. As a rookie, he's done a great job."

On how much WRs Dennis Northcutt and Bryant Johnson benefit from the extra attention on Calvin Johnson:"That's a good point. Calvin gets pretty much doubled pretty much whenever he's out there all the time. And if you don't, you're asking for trouble. But you can't every single coverage, because the numbers don't allow you to sometimes. I think everybody steers in that direction, so that allows Northcutt and Bryant Johnson to be in a little more single-type situations, which is what teams look for. We've got to disguise well, we've got to mix it up well. We've got to get a good amount of pressure. That's what you probably do against everybody."

On if the Lions use RB Kevin Smith in a similar way to how the Ravens use RB Ray Rice:"He's a multi-purpose player. We really liked him coming out of Central Florida. He's a rangy… But he's different from Ray. His style is so much different. He's got the quickness. He's got the same kind of quickness, the same kind of out of the backfield skills. He's good in pass protection, but it's more of a lanky, more of an upright style. He can really open it up and go. He gained 2,600 yards in college, and he's just carried it right over to what he's doing with the Lions."

On if weather is a consideration in the game plan or if they just have a static game plan regardless, and what he expects weather-wise for Sunday:"I saw, I think, a wintery mix, so it's going to be sleety. It's probably a little bit of both. You say, 'This is the game plan,' but within the game plan you've got your weather calls. There are certain calls that probably aren't going to be as effective if it's hard to handle the ball, or if the wind's really blowing. I think offensively, especially, you probably gear it toward that direction. Defensively, you've probably got to determine what they can do and what they can't do based on the conditions. So yeah, I'd say yeah, it is a factor."

On if there is anything new with S Ed Reed's playing status: "He's working hard on the mental part of it. He's been through the walk-through and is feeling better. You won't know until Sunday."

On how he would classify OLB Terrell Suggs' status: "Same thing. I'd put them in the same category."

On how close WR Mark Clayton is to playing on Sunday: "Do you want me to put them in the same category? (laughter) I might as well put him in the same category."

On if they all are a game time decision: "Yeah, that's kind of been our motto, right? *(laughter) *I think we'll have them classified after Bill [Tessendorf] has a chance to look at them. So, they'll be in that probable/questionable mix I would say."

On how he is feeling: "I'm feeling great. I love coaching football. Our guys… I'll say* *this about our guys: It's a week-to-week proposition. We were disappointed with the Green Bay outcome, and it was tough duty up there. We didn't play nearly as well as we expected to or prepared for doing, but you've got to bounce back. We've got a great opportunity – as we said last Wednesday – we've got a great opportunity now, and we're excited about the opportunity. But we've got to make the most of it. It's our responsibility as a football team to do that, and that's our job. That's what guys intend to do, but we've got a big challenge with what we would say is a good football team that is going to come in here and bring their best game. So, it's going to be a heck of a Sunday afternoon, and we're looking forward to it."

On if his dad is up to coach in Stanford's Bowl game: "I think he is. He's going to have to get that [Toby] Gerhart guy in shape. (laughter) He's going to have to really work with Toby Gerhart and get him squared away. So, that will probably be the tough part about that job." (laughter)

On how he gets a feel for what the Detroit Lions, defensively, are about when they have a rookie head coach: "Well, I think our offensive coaches have done that. Our offensive coaches have gone against these guys over the years. We saw Tennessee twice last year as a staff, so that's a common experience. Our offensive coaches over the years have seen Gunther Cunningham, so they apply those experiences, and you kind of take a look at their defense and see where it is – a mix of both Coach [Jim] Schwartz and Coach Cunningham. You try to make your best estimate as to what we're going to see against what we do."

On the efforts his players make off the field and in the community: "I think our players do… I've never seen a better group, as far as a football team in the community, than the Ravens. Our players are out there, really, every night, especially on Tuesdays and Mondays. The different holiday-type things that they do… I think our players like people. I think our players are proud to be in the Baltimore community. They like the people in the community, and when they go out they out they get a great reception. So, they don't shy away from doing that every chance they can."

On if he ever does any "scoreboard watching" during the game: "It's hard not to, in reality, because it's up there. So, you're involved in the game and you hear the crowd. I think a couple of weeks ago there was a score that our fans were excited about, and they went crazy. It catches your attention. So sure, that's part of the whole thing, but it's a brief moment."

On if there is a contingency plan in case K Billy Cundiff can't go on Sunday: "Yeah, that's a real problem because you just can't build depth with your kicker and your punter. He's going to get evaluated today. So, we will know today where that stands as far as the concussion protocol and if he can't go. If tomorrow something comes up, we'll have to go sign a kicker, and we have a plan to do that. Hopefully it won't come to that. We don't think it will because he kicked well today, but we do have a plan."

On if he was surprised that he didn't hear anything from the NFL for having his brother, Jim, on the field: "No, I really wasn't. I guess you guys… I thought we were having fun, then I read some of the quotes and it's like everybody took the comment seriously. Jim made a big point to call me up last night and say, 'I didn't say anything to the official. I was out there too far, but I didn't yell at any official. I didn't say a word to him.' So, he kind of got sensitive about it. I thought we were just having fun with it, but no, we didn't hear anything from [the league]."

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