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Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 16

On what, if anything, he can learn from assessing the tape of a game with a score of 41-3 in bad weather like last Sunday:"It's a good question. Every play stands on its own; we've said that before. And what you basically learn, and what we were pleased with, was the execution. We executed. The reason the score was what it was, from our perspective, was the fact that we executed. We blocked people, we caught the ball, we tackled, and we executed our plays, basically. And that's what you want to see. Now this week we've got to carry it forward, we've got to build on that, and there are plenty of things to work on and get better at. So, that's what you do."

On if he was ever approached by the Chicago Bears while he was in Philadelphia to be their special teams coach and is that how Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub ended up in Chicago:"I don't remember that. But it was an opportunity for Dave. Obviously, Lovie Smith took the job that many years ago. Dave's a great coach. He's just done a great job. They've been the best special teams in the league, probably, for the last four or five years. I think they've been ranked No. 1 for two or three years, maybe the last four or five years. We took one of their guys, Brendon Ayanbadejo, thinking we'd weaken them, but it hasn't weakened them too much. Obviously, it strengthened us until he got hurt. But Dave's done a great job. He's been a great a coach, and I think it's been a big part of their success the last few years."

On the challenge of playing a team that you don't face very often and if his experience in the NFC gives him a little bit of an edge in preparing:"I don't know. Our guys have seen [the Bears]. They know the players in the league. You get to know the coaches in the league. Coaches coach in different places. A lot of our coaches had been with the guys from Tennessee last week. So, they have some experience with the coordinators and coaches. We feel like we understand what the Bears are as a team – what they're trying to be. We understand their personnel – not as well as we would our division, obviously – so you put a little extra work in that way. It's a very talented team; it's a very well-coached team. It's an excellent coaching staff."

On his impression of QB Jay Cutler's inconsistent season with the Bears so far:"What we're preparing for is Jay Cutler's best. We saw it in the Pro Bowl last year. We know what he's capable of. He can make every throw. He gets the ball out extremely quickly. He's very smart. He's big and strong. If you give him too many opportunities, he can get out and run the ball for first downs. He's a real competitor. You always play for a quarterback's best, and that's what we expect to get on Sunday."

On having a good practice week and then a win against the Lions and how the team can use that to try to build momentum for the final three games of the season:"We try to get better every single week, every single game. We've had good weeks of practice before, and sometimes we've carried them to the games as well as we've wanted and other times we haven't. We probably did that better this week than we have any week. To me, it's a combination of the practice week – which was really good – and carrying it to Sunday. What we need to focus on right now is having a practice day. We need to have a great Wednesday – one period, one play at a time. Then we'll worry about Thursday when Thursday comes and Sunday when Sunday comes."

On the explanation for the change in the last several games that has allowed the Ravens to get so many interceptions:"I guess, again, you'd have to look at each one or why we didn't get them earlier. We're getting good pressure. The balls are coming out a little quicker. We're getting some hits on quarterbacks. We want to see the sack numbers go up, but that's a lot of times a function of how fast the quarterback gets the ball out, which can lead to interceptions. We definitely want to get more fumbles. We haven't gotten as many fumbles or as many fumble recoveries as we want. We need to get the turnover numbers up. We need to get the red zone numbers up, ultimately. We want to play as well as we can in the red zone on both sides of the ball. So, those are all things we try to chase."

On facing WR Devin Hester, who is playing so well:"You see [No.] 23 in your sleep. This guy is a playmaker. He's just an amazing playmaker. So, we're preparing for him. I know he's got a little calf tweak right now, but we expect him to be out there playing all the time."

On adjusting to bad weather and if that always means running the ball more:"It makes it a little tough on the passing game sometimes, especially if you get the elements combined with the wind. That makes throwing the ball and catching the ball a little bit tougher. But part of the challenge is to compete against and defeat the elements. As we said, the first drive, we did until we got into the red zone, and then the elements got us. And it really was that was what [the fumble by Ray rice] was. The ball just popped out. It's a slippery ball. But we'll practice with wet balls, we'll practice outside as much as we can, and you've got to be prepared to defeat the elements as well."

On if he's seen many, or any, players who are faster than Bear WR Johnny Knox:"No. We loved him in the draft. We really liked him at the Combine. He showed up at the Combine for the first time. And it's not just his speed; he's kind of a water bug. He's really got great body control, and he's got very good hands. He's a return guy, and their kickoff return game is one of the best in the league right now. So he just brings a lot of dimensions, and he's a home run threat every time he touches it."

On Sunday being the last home game of the season:"We don't take anything for granted, obviously. But it's a special thing playing in this stadium. We have a really tremendous home team advantage every time we play because of our crowd. Our crowd is into the game, to the extent that they want to help the Ravens win. That's what I've noticed over the last 15, going on 16, regular season home games now. These Baltimore fans care, and they want to do everything they can to help their team win. And we need that kind of performance out of them on Sunday as well."

On getting all the running backs involved last week and if their success will be a morale booster for the team, as opposed to earlier in the season when the offense was throwing the ball more:"I guess the receivers probably like it when you throw more, and the running backs like it when you run more. The offensive line probably likes it more when you run more. But we think we have a lot of guys who can make plays all across the board. And we said one of the keys to our success last week, from the receiver standpoint, was going to be how well they blocked. Cam [Cameron] made a big point of that with the offense, and [WRs] Coach [Jim] Hostler did a great job working it all week, and you saw that show up. Derrick [Mason] had a great block, [Justin] Harper had a couple of great blocks, and Demetrius [Williams] had a couple of great blocks. So if those wide receivers will block downfield, it really affects your run game. And they took a lot of pride in that. But I'm sure they'd rather be catching the ball, and I know the running backs are excited to get their touches."

On having a player like rookie T Michael Oher who can switch from right tackle to left tackle and play two of the most important positions on the offensive line very well:"I don't know how many teams really have that. He's just kind of seamlessly gone from right tackle to left tackle, back to right tackle, back to left tackle. So that's a credit to him, a credit to John Matsko. The fact that Oniel [Cousins] was able to jump in there and play right tackle was a big plus for us. Hopefully we'll get Jared back this week, and we'll just be that much stronger and that much deeper."

On his perspective on WR Derrick's Mason catch where he bounced off two defenders and continued to run the ball in for a touchdown:"I saw it. I saw everything happen. He was probably about to go down, and the safety hit him and kept him up a little bit. He got him pretty good, but kept him up. I [was thinking] at first, 'Is he going to go down, is he going to go down?' And I think he saw the daylight and that there was nobody back there and that he could get a touchdown. So he did his best to stay up and wait until afterwards to act hurt a little bit. But he did a great job. He really got his hands out there, made a good catch on the ball and took a shot for us. You've got to give him a lot of credit, a lot of respect, for that one."

On how much easier it is for him to play at home versus on the road:"I don't know. We don't treat it any differently. We've played good on the road in the past. We've had our share of not so good games, and the same thing at home. So, we don't treat it any differently. I don't think it's that big of a difference, really."

On if he still feels a little guilty about some of the passes that he threw on Sunday and possibly leading the receivers, like he said the other day, after he's had a chance to watch the game film:"In the Detroit game? Did I say that? Maybe about Derrick's, but not really. I didn't lead him into that guy or anything. The guy was coming down. He made a nice play, and Derrick made a really good play being able to hold on to the ball and stay on his feet."

On if he feels the wet weather last Sunday had a negative effect on his passes:"Well, it wasn't too bad. I felt like I had pretty good control of the ball, and it didn't really affect me too much. The bigger thing is that I don't think it affected our receivers. They did a great job of catching the ball with their hands. An example is Derrick on that play – he didn't have to use his body. He reached up with both hands and caught the ball. So, I think we reacted well to it and we made it an advantage for us."

On what weather condition, the wind or the cold, is the toughest to play in:"At the end of the day, it's probably wind mostly. They do a pretty good job of keeping the balls dry. When you're out on the field, it's not really that cold. You can do a good job of keeping yourself warm. So, at the end of the day it's probably wind, I would say, the most."

On having success last Sunday with handing the ball off to the running backs and if that reestablished the offensive's identity as a running team like last year:"I don't know. We'll see what happens. We had a lot of big plays in this game, which is good for us to see. Ray [Rice] had a handful of just long runs, and Willis [McGahee] broke one for a touchdown that was pretty decent size. When you get those long runs, that's huge for your offense. It gets you going. Usually, when we have our running game going, we're wearing you down, wearing you down, wearing you down. From the very beginning, we were just popping long ones and that was kind of exciting to see."

On the security he feels knowing rookie T Michael Oher can protect him on the right and left side of the offensive line:"Mike's done a great job all year. For him to come in and do what he's done has been huge for us. For Oniel Cousins to come in and play the way he did was huge. We've done that over the last couple of years. When we've had somebody go down, we've had somebody else step in and do a great job for them."

On if there was a point in training camp this year that he knew RB Ray Rice was going to be a lot better this season than last:"He's getting better and better each day. He's going to continue to get better. I saw it last summer, and last year you saw it. You knew Ray was going to be good. It was just a matter of getting him in the offense and getting him comfortable with what we're doing and making sure he's going out there and playing confidently. And the better he does each week, the more confident he gets, and he does things with more sureness. He runs routes better and better each week, and he's hitting the holes and trusting his offensive line better and better each week. Like I said, the more confidence he plays with out there, the better he's going to get, and we expect that to continue to happen."

On if Bears QB Jay Cutler leading the league in interceptions gives the defense more motivation to get turnovers:"To answer that you kind of think… You look at the stats, and you always think of stats [as] the way somebody's season is going, but the bottom line is that's a guy capable of making every throw. You look at their team, their offense is kind of up then down and things like that. I think there are a lot of factors that go into those interceptions. At the same time, I think you've got to go in there and play your style of football, and whatever comes up comes up. You get caught into that… He's very capable of making, like I said, every throw, and has the talent at a lot of different places to make throws – very good tight ends; Devin Hester will probably play this week. I think he has the right guys. I just think he has an imbalance, up and down, with their offense, but I think he's definitely capable."

On if the No. 1 thing defenses try to do is keep opponents out of the end zone, and if No. 2 would be creating turnovers:"I just think it's so much of a momentum change during the game. One thing is, whether a team drives or not, you keep them out of the end zone, that's one thing. But, when you can have a team on the ropes and the game is very close, and then you can get a turnover real quick, the whole game changes. Most game plans, most offensive coordinators, go away from their game plan when things like that happen. So, I just think that's always big. The margin between wins and losses in the National Football League, if you can with that turnover battle, nine times out of 10, you're going to be successful."

On if he will call QB Peyton Manning and the rest of the Colts to tell them to play hard against the Jaguars Thursday night:"No, not really. It will all take care of itself. We've got three weeks left. Everybody has three weeks left. This is going to play out. The bottom line is the thing I've been telling the guys around here: Let everything else control itself. The bottom line is if we don't win, we're not in ourselves. So, to worry about if Jacksonville wins, if Denver, whoever, whoever, whoever is just too much. Its' just too much to worry about. The bottom line is just worry about you and just piggy-backing off what 'Mase' [Derrick Mason] said: 'One up, one down; one up, one down.' Just get on a roll. Let's just get on a roll, and then at the end of the day let's see where we fall."

On if there's something better about coming to work knowing you have to win this week:"Yeah, I just think pretty much for my whole career that's what it's always been. December is when you've got to win. I just think it creates something. It creates a certain buzz. You watched the Steelers last year – you get hot. If you get hot, it's kind of hard to stop a team once they get hot. It's what I said earlier in the year: Whether you're hot sooner, in the middle of the year, or later... For us around here, it's always been later in the season when we've probably played our best football. For us, that's what we have to do. We have to go out and get this December rolling and then let the playoffs take care of themselves."

On if it's ironic that former Ravens coach Brian Billick is broadcasting the game for Fox:"No, not at all. I think you might have been the first or second person to tell me that, so I didn't even know [anything] about it. Bottom line, I'm not playing against him. So, it [doesn't] matter who's commentating the game. Bottom line is we're getting prepared for the Chicago Bears."

On if there is any difference in the mood of the team when preparing for the next game after coming off a big win:"I don't think so. Weeks prior, you heard me say the same thing: Take a loss just like a win. Bottom line is it's the 24-hour rule. Once it's over, it's over. Bottom line is get your head back in the books, prepare the way you're supposed to and get ready for the Chicago Bears."

On why the Ravens haven't lost to a team with a losing record:"I don't know. I don't jump into numbers that big. I don't know. I just think, bottom line is we just… We're going to play the way we're going to play. Even though all the losses we have this year, every one of them is from a playoff team. Whatever that means, at the end of the day it means… I just think you're supposed to win the games you're supposed to win, split on the road, and win at home. If you stick to that philosophy, everything else will take care of itself. Whether they're winning or losing, bottom line, we're trying to get a 'W.'"

On if he would still compare RB Ray Rice to Barry Sanders or Eric Metcalf:"Yeah, just his type of moves, type of skills. Those are guys that people did not like to see in space. Ray is kind of the same type of guy in space. He's a very hard challenge for a lot of defenses and a lot of one-on-one matches. You see the type of plays, the way he makes plays, the way he spins out of plays and splits people like that. Barry has done a lot of that. Metcalf, I'm just talking about with his straight quickness, always having to give him the ball on screens and things like that. If you look at Ray, his game is very similar to those guys. [He] has a long way to catch up to a Barry Sanders, of course, but overall talent-wise is very close."

On what it says about the Ravens that they beat the teams they should beat: "That we take care of business, but it means nothing if we can't come back and pile another victory on top of that one. We try to take care of business against the so-called teams that are, more or less, at the bottom of the pack, but we've got to also take care of business with the teams that are in the playoff hunt and teams that are in the middle. The wins against, as you would call them, 'sub-par teams,' mean nothing if we can't come back and pile another one on top of that one."

On how the TD catch against the Lions defines him and his career:"I don't know. I really haven't thought about it that much. Joe [Flacco] hung me out to dry, and I had to go catch it. *(laughter) *No, he didn't hang me out to dry. Let me [take back] that statement. I'm not in the business of ranking my catches. Fortunate enough for me, I've had a lot of them. So, maybe I can rank a five-yard out that got us a first down in a critical situation higher than this. I don't know. I don't rank them, but it was a good throw, a tough catch and luckily enough, I was able to stay on my feet."

On if it surprises him that he stays up after seeing it again: "No, I'm Superman. Superman doesn't fall on the first hit. (laughter) I mean, yeah, it is a surprise because when you take a hit like that you expect to go down, but I was able to stay on my feet courtesy of the guy behind me. He gave me a little nudge forward as the guy hit me backwards. So, I attribute that to [Phillip] Buchanon as well. I've got to give him a little bit of credit on that one as well. But you expect to fall down once you get hit like that, especially from a safety, but I was able to stay on my feet, figure out where I was after I got hit and score a touchdown."

On how Superman's chest is feeling today: "Sore, but you've got to still save the world, man. No rest for the weary. You've got to keep it going." (laughter)

On the receivers and their ability to block downfield: "We try to stress the little things, as far as our group goes, because we understand that we make an impact on more than just catching the ball. A lot of people want the big passes down the field and the acrobatic stuff – the flaunting around by the wideouts – but that's not our group. We take pride in doing the little things. We know we're going to make plays in the game that are going to change the scope of the game, but we understand that we have three very good backs that, once they break through that offensive line, they need some help down the field in order to get those long runs. So, we pride ourselves on the little things, and the little things for us is blocking. If we can do our job blocking down the field, then that's going to make our job, in the passing game, a lot easier because now they have to bring that safety down to the box and account for not having enough guys with their defensive linemen and linebackers. If we're doing a good job outside blocking, it kind of pays off for us in the long run because it opens things up in the passing game."

On if he understood the concept of blocking downfield when he was younger: "Man, listen. I'm going to be honest with you: You come in and you get paid to catch the ball. That's how it is. But you understand, if you've got a good back in the backfield and you've got some guys in the backfield that you really appreciate and admire the way they play, and care about them, you're going to block for them. When you're young, sometimes you don't understand that, but as you continue to play more and more, and you see what that back is capable of, then you take it upon yourself to go out there and block. We have three special backs in the backfield, so why not block for those guys, because they do a heck of a job blocking for us when we catch balls downfield? They're in the picture and they're blocking. They're picking up blitzes to allow us to catch balls out in the field, so we really care for those guys in the backfield. We're going to make sure we do our job down the field, and that job means blocking for them."

On if there is emotion around the locker room with this being the last home game of the season: "Hopefully it's not the last home game. Hopefully we can get another one. Obviously, you want to end the season with a win at home. I don't think… It's special [because] it's at home, but it's special, also, because we've got to have the win. Regardless of how you slice it, we have to have this win. We want to give the fans an opportunity to see us pile on another win after what we did last week. They're going to be into it. They're going to be that 12th man, or 12th woman, on the sideline, and we're going to feed off them. Hopefully we can pull out a victory for this game at home."

On what the key to getting back-to-back wins is at this point in the season: "Just taking advantage of the opportunities that we have out there on the field, especially now, and understanding that we have no other choice but to win. We can't sit back and say, 'Well, if we don't get it this week, we can get it next week.' No, we have to get it this week because if we don't get it this week, there is no next week for us. We're just playing just to be playing. So, we have to break that trend of up and down, up and down. I think this week will be a good week to buck the system a little bit, but it's going to be hard because they're a very good team. So, we've got to do what we need to do to – go out there and be confident enough that we're going to come out with a victory."

On if there was a time this summer when he felt this year would be better than last year: "I just thought this whole offseason, as a whole, that I would come into this year with more confidence, physically and mentally, to take on the challenges of this year. Obviously, this is the time of the year where they say your training kicks in the most because your muscles and everything tend to try to wear down, but this it when your training and your conditioning – everything else – takes its toll."

On what he's seen from the Bears' defense this season: "The Bears' defense… They play a 4-3, but they are relentless to the ball. When they play together, they're tough. Right now, we see some things that they're doing. You've just got to get them all on one page, but they're going to come in here and fight. This is not about their record or what they have on film. Sunday is another game to them. Those guys have jobs as well. So, they're going to come out here and play as hard as they can."

On what's the key to making sure there is no letdown from last week's performance:"For us, it's pretty clear cut. We've got a three-game season ahead of us, and now every game matters. We can't even think about the possibility of a letdown. We've got one-game seasons. That's how we chopped it all up. In a sense for us, this is the playoffs for us. That [is] in the back of your mind, and the guys we have on this team should take care of that."

On if it is frustrating to hear that undefeated teams may be resting their players: "To me, I don't really know anything about those kinds of situations, but it would be good and bad. Guys get out there… It's like they're playing in preseason games. You get to rest some guys, and you never know how they'll come back for the playoffs. Maybe they lost a step. You never know what happens. For us, I'd rather to just battle everything out and take our chips and everything else that goes along with it – just try to fight to the end."

On the Colts helping the Ravens' playoff chances by beating Jacksonville: "Quite honestly, we control our own destiny. Jacksonville and everybody else… If we do what we have to do, I think we'll be fine at the end of the day."

On what he understands about December football that he might not have understood last year: "December football is really, the way Ray [Lewis] puts it, is championship football. Nothing matters. Your record… When you're in a playoff push, especially where we're at, there are moments you cherish forever. These are one-game seasons, and when you get them accomplished, it's something, like Ray said, that's special. You can look back on years and years saying, 'We made this push for the playoffs.' You could write your own story in December."

On how old was he when he had dreams about being a 1,000-yard rusher in the NFL: "You know what? It quite honestly wasn't one of my dreams, but it came on me pretty quick. I always told myself that I wanted to make plays in the NFL. That was one of my dreams. To be able to be doing what I'm doing, obviously, I've got to thank God that I'm able to go out there and produce the way I am. When 1,000 yards came, it came on me really fast. I knew I was close, but without my offensive line, without great people around me, without the push of others – I'm self-motivated – but you can't do everything on your own."

On how he's changed off the field: "I'm still the same guy of the field. Whenever I get a chance, I try to give to the community and get involved with the kids. But, I'm still the same guy. I'm very approachable. To anybody out there, don't be shy to say hi. I'm not that kind of guy [who is unapproachable]. So, come say hi, but just try not to jump on my back after a game, and trust me, we'll be pretty cool." (laughter)

On if, with a quarterback like Jay Cutler who has struggled, you don't try to force anything but just hope that he makes a mistake:"Yeah, we have to just play ball. He's a great quarterback. He just makes some mistakes every now and then. You can't take away from his talent – a great guy, a great quarterback. So, we have to work hard this week and prepare for him."

On what the difference has been in the defense the last several games, getting more turnovers:"It's just been that the leadership stepped up. Ray [Lewis] got us all together, and [we're] trying to become a defense, a whole defense now. It's just everybody trying to take care of their own business now and trying to become a great defense."

On how much he's enjoyed his journey this season, from the NFL Draft to being a starter:"It's been long, but not too hard, because I've had great guys around me like Domonique Foxworth and Ed Reed. They try to make everything as simple as possible for me. I just try to go out and give 110 percent and do my part, and they're going to help me do mine. It's been a great season though."

On if his fast climb has surprised him:"Yes, [I'm] very surprised. I'm a rookie. I didn't know how things go in the NFL about guys going down, getting injured and losing their job. I just came in to play ball, help my team in any way possible – special teams, defense, anywhere. But it's a great season, long season. We still have a long season to go, so a lot of things to improve on still."

On if he's felt like he hit a "rookie wall" as far as how his body feels:"Yeah, you feel that, but you have to pay attention to the older guys and see how they handle their bodies and what they eat and when they get in the cold tub. I pay attention to the older guys, so it's not as much on me now. I'm trying to take care of my body as much as possible."

On his thoughts and observations on Bears WR/KR Devin Hester:"He's one of the greatest. You can't take [anything] from him. We just have to not let him get one on us. That's going to be an important phase this week to stop him, because he's a great returner, one of the guys that everybody looked up to when they were young. Well, when I was young. *(laughter) *He's a great returner."

On if he has a greater appreciation for Hester's talent now that he is a returner in the NFL, too:"Yes. He's made a name for himself on returns. I used to [turn on] Monday Night Football at home, watching him score and jumping for him and seeing when he's going to run one back. But now it's my time, my turn to try to make a name for myself to be like Hester, to make my name on kick returns like him."

On if returning kicks is one of the hardest things to do because so many things have to go right:"It's a team effort. Kick returns, everybody has to get their man on blocking. I know when he was running those back, his guys were blocking for him. When I ran mine back, everybody on my kickoff return team got their hands on a guy and blocked him. It's all a team effort. He didn't run them back on his own. He had some people blocked. Every now and then you make a nice play and make a guy miss, but it's all a team effort."

On if he doesn't want to be the weak link since he's a rookie:"You think about that, but I just go 110 percent. Everybody messes up, everybody does something wrong on the field during game time. So, I just go 110 percent and try to do my job. I don't want to be the weak link at some times. I never want to be the weak link, even when I was in high school. It's about just having fun out there, loving the game, and playing like Ravens."

On if he's noticed opposing offenses singling him out to attack:"Not yet. Not yet. It's coming. Every play I have to be ready for anything. I haven't forgotten that I am a rookie. They're going to try me, but that's why I come work hard every week in practice, because I know it's going to be a hard game. I'm always up for the challenge."

On his emotions going into his last regular season game of his rookie season:"One game at a time. Really, not too much emotion. We just need to win as a team, so it's not about me right now, it's this team getting a victory. I don't care about the last home game. I just don't want it to be my last game."

On how different it is to play without S Ed Reed on the field:"It's different because he's not in my ear 100 times. When he's in the game, I hear him only in the huddle. But when he's not, then on the sideline I'm hearing him through the whole play. Through the whole play he's telling me this, he's telling me that. [I think] like, 'Ed, be quiet. Let me play ball.' (laughter) He's a great guy. He's going to be a coach one day. He knows what's going on on the field at all times, so he's trying to be as helpful as possible. I like it. He can give me all the information he has."

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