Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 3

* Head Coach John Harbaugh *

Opening Statement:"OK, good to see everybody. We were back at work yesterday, but we're obviously moved back in our schedule with a Monday night game. So, today is our Wednesday, and we just all move it back a day, as you guys know. So, we've had a good start so far. We have practice a little bit later."

On whether having an extra day really helps the preparation aspect of the game: "It's not going to help as much as it's going to help them. They've had three extra days. So, you get a little extra time to look at your opponent and prepare for them and put your game plan together, and probably another day – at least for us one more day – to introduce and install and work through some things and make sure guys get things honed up the way we want them honed up. So it helps us, but it won't help us as much as it helps them. They played last Thursday."

On whether there is too much being made of the "aura" surrounding Lambeau Field, or if it's still just 100 yards when it comes down to it:"Yeah, that's the old 'Hoosiers' analogy right? The net is 10 feet high? So, it'll be 100 yards by 53 and a third, I think. But it's a great place to play, and our guys are looking forward to it."

On his impressions of Packers' defensive coordinator Dom Capers and his defense: "They've really come on in the last three weeks or so. That's when they've… I think probably he's built toward what they've been able to do the last three weeks. It's very creative, especially in the sub packages, and they've got a lot of young guys flying around playing well, so they've done a great job. Charles Woodson is playing at as high a level as he's ever played at in his career, and turnovers have been key for them. They've had a lot of turnovers – I think they're plus-17 turnover ratio. That's probably the No. 1 factor in their success."

On whether he's been pleased with the pass rush as of late: "I think we've gotten pressure. You know, I think we've forced quick throws at times. We didn't get sacks this last week. We'd love to get sacks. We need to keep working on that."

On whether there are greater opportunities this week for rushing the passer against the Packers' offensive line:"Well, early on they struggled, but they seem to have gotten that straightened out. They're protecting very well the last three weeks, and it's a good offensive line. It's a very good quarterback. He understands pressure, and they've got a great receiving corps – as good as any in the league, top to bottom. So, it'll be tough for us."

On whether he sees similarities between S Ed Reed and CB Charles Woodson in the way they attack the ball: "Well, in the sense that they can make plays [and] they can score. But they play two different positions, so the styles are pretty dramatically different."

On whether G/T Tony Moll can be of any assistance this week as a former Green Bay Packer: "Probably no more so than Derrick Martin can be of assistance to them. So, we both knew that was coming. It's not to any great extent probably, either way, I would think. Derrick knows our defense, he knows our calls, and Tony knows some of their calls. But you've got to go play the game."

On what he sees in the development of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: "Obviously, he's got a great arm, he's accurate, he stands in, he's courageous. He stands in there and makes throws. He's almost most dangerous when he gets out [of the pocket] and he starts running. He's got a little [Brett] Favre to him in that sense. I don't know if he'd appreciate that, [but] I think he probably would. He gets out and makes plays on the run really well, so he's done a great job."

On how you stop Rodgers then: "We'll try to figure out a way to stop him. It won't be easy."

On his impressions of the performance in the secondary and whether it looks forward to the challenge of going against Rodgers, WR Greg Jennings, etc.: "I think our secondary has played. Now, there are a lot of people that would probably dispute this, but I think our secondary has played well all year. And we talked about specific plays where we've had lapses, where we've let the ball get thrown over our head, but some of those have been scrambles, some of those have been situations where quarterbacks have been on the run and guys have broken loose over the top. And some have been some mistakes early on. We haven't given up too many lately. I think we've covered tight all year, aggressively all year. Our guys study like no group I've ever seen – extremely well coached. So, we think we match up fine, and it's going to be a real good secondary against a real good group of receivers."

On Green Bay having the No. 1 defense in the NFL: "We face a top-ranked defense and we face a top-ranked quarterback it seems every week. So, it's just the way the schedule has fallen. You know, it's been a tough schedule, but that's what makes you better, and that's what gives us a chance. If we can win these games down the stretch, it's going to make us more prepared for the playoffs. But that's the challenge: You've got to line up against Aaron Rodgers and against the No. 1-ranked defense. That's our task."

On what it says about the Ravens to have three rookies who contribute so much to the team: "I think we've had really good drafts the last two years. So, if you look at our group out there, it's really a young team in a lot of ways. You know, we've got a great mix of veteran leadership, and the veterans are playing at a really high level. You know who those guys are, obviously. But there are a lot of first-, second-, and even third-year players who are playing a lot of football for us, who are having impact on games, and that's really important in this league."

On the coldest game he's ever played in and how he feels about playing in cold weather: "The coldest game I've probably played in was sometime last year, either the Washington game or one of the Pittsburgh games, whatever was the coldest. That never really affected me. I like playing in the cold. Well, I don't know if I like playing in the cold. But like I said, I don't know if it's that big of a deal."

On Packers CB Charles Woodson being a guy that you have to account for in the secondary: "I think so. He's a guy that's played well all year. He's come out from Game One and has shown that he can be around the ball and make tackles and make plays in the secondary. So, he's a guy that we'll be aware of, and we'll do what we have to do to make sure we account for him."

On this game being one of the bigger challenges this year: "It's a big game for us right now because it's what game we're playing, and it's a game we need in order to keep ourselves where we want to be. So, that's why it's a big game for us. Anytime you play an NFL game, it's going to be a tough opponent and you're going to have to deal with things on the outside that you're going to have to take care of during the week and go out there and not pay attention to it when you play. I'm sure Green Bay will be a fun place to play. That's what I'm looking forward to. I don't care that they're going to be against us. It should be a fun place to play, and hopefully we go out there and take full advantage of it."

On if the Packers' 3-4 defense reminds him of anyone else's defense: "I think they take after Pittsburgh a little bit. They've got a bunch of athletic guys on their defense. They've got young guys on the outside, and they've played well the last handful of games. We've got to be ready to go in there and have those guys come out and play aggressive. It's going to be a physical game, just like the last couple of weeks, and we've got to be ready for it."

On how his ankle feels and if it is still stiff: "I don't know how stiff it was. My ankle was feeling really good until this Pittsburgh game, and then I re-rolled it. It still feels really good right now, actually. It's just going to be a matter of making sure it doesn't happen again and get a little aggravated. That's what happened during this past week. It was just aggravated a little bit. So, as long as we can stop that from happening, it feels great."

On what the late fourth-down conversion against Pittsburgh does for the team: "I think it was a play that we needed to make. I don't know if we didn't make it that we wouldn't have a chance still, but it was definitely a play that we needed to make. The way it ended up working out, it's what we needed. It definitely felt good to make that play, but we're past that, and now we've got a new week. Now we've got a bunch of new plays that we're going to have to make in order to keep our season going."

On dealing with the pass rush and the progression he goes through: "No, I'm not looking at the pass rush. I'm looking downfield. So, if there is a little bit of a pass rush, I'm moving away from it, whatever I feel. Sometimes they're going to have a guy that runs free, and sometimes they're going to get you. That's the name of the game. You've got to deal with it and move on to the next play. But I'm not looking at the rush. I'm looking downfield. You react to what you feel and you move to wherever you feel like you have the best chance to get the ball off and throw the ball downfield."

On if RB Ray Rice was the first progression on the fourth down play vs. Pittsburgh: "Yeah, we motioned him out of there, and I had him one-on-one with a linebacker. I'm not going to give that opportunity up. I just make sure he gets across his face, and I think it was Todd [Heap] on the other side of him doing a good job of getting the other linebacker out of there, and Ray did a good job of beating the guy and making the catch."

On his thoughts about watching Green Bay growing up and now playing at Lambeau Field: "One of my best friends was a huge Packers fan for some reason, so we always watched Green Bay. We'd always sit there, and he'd have the big cheese head on when we would sit around the couch. Reggie White was always my favorite player, so it's going to be pretty cool going up there."

On how to prepare to play in the cold: "You can't really [prepare], but we've played in cold games and it's not going to be anything that hasn't been around here. It's just something that you deal with. You just have to stay lose and try not to pull a hamstring."

On his thoughts about Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers: "I was kind of surprised on how well he moved around. We knew he had a big arm and could make all the throws, but he's really good on his feet also. So he's definitely a big threat, and he throws really well on the run, which is dangerous."

On if he can compare this challenge to the one he saw a week ago: "They're very similar. They have extremely good receivers. They bring some guys in off the bench who are also really good. They've got a vertical tight end, and Ryan Grant is a downhill, slasher-type and runs like a big guy. He's a physical guy, so he's a big threat for us."

On his thoughts about having an extra day to prepare while Green Bay has three extra days to prepare: "Yeah, we got that extra day, but they played the Thursday night game, which is good and bad because you play a really short week. But at the same time you kind of get a little short bye week. So, I'm sure they took advantage of their time off, and I'm sure they will be ready for us."

On if this year is wearing on him with every game being a big game: "It's wearing on you, but we kind of did it to ourselves. We started out 3-0, playing really well, and then we dropped three in a row and put ourselves in a bad spot. So, from then on out, you've got to fight to stay above water. We've done that, and we've fought to stay in contention, and we hold our own destiny. If we continue to do that, we can be in the playoffs. But we like it like that. You don't want to come out and have meaningless games or anything like that. It's been a tough year, but we're doing good."

On it not being a challenge to be 11-0 (laughter): "Yeah, 11-0 would be great right now."

LB Ray Lewis

On if the key to stopping Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is pressure:"I think the key to stopping any quarterback is getting pressure. I just think Aaron, if you watch them, what they do offensively, he gets out of the pocket a lot, and he makes a lot of plays getting out of the pocket with his legs. Of course, our job will be to make sure to try and keep him in the pocket so he [doesn't] get out of the pocket and make big plays to his receivers."

On how his relationship with RB Ray Rice has grown:"It's just a true brotherhood. You latch on to certain people. That's what teams are about. Teams are about chemistry, and every teammate grabs somebody one way or another. They form a bond. I formed a bond with him from Day One. I watched him in college – I pretty much watched his whole career in college – so the day I got the opportunity to meet him, I told him exactly that. From there, I just love his spirit. I love his will. I love his heart. I love the way he approaches the game. I love the way he approaches life. For me, no matter what I can do for him being a leader, I just always try to direct him in the right path."

On what he thinks he has done for Rice:"I think just [help him to] understand the business, just to understand life. Just understand that some do, some don't. How to take losses, how to take wins, how to prepare – a lot of things. It's just life, period. A lot of times we get together, we might talk about football briefly, but most of the time it's about life. It's just about a lot of life lessons and things like that. Like I said, he's a good kid to kind of pass it on to, because he'll definitely pass it himself."

On if the Ravens will try to exploit the Packers' offensive line because of the injuries they've had there:"I think everybody else can get caught up in that. That was early in the season for them when they went through all those injuries and things like that. They pieced the offensive line back together the way it's supposed to be right now, and they're doing a good job really keeping Aaron Rodgers protected right now. So, our job is just to go in there and play Green Bay and not worry about what everybody else is doing, because we play a totally different mentality of football. Everybody knows the way we play. Whether they're struggling, wherever they're struggling at, where we're going to attack, that's where we're going to attack. That's just who we are. But, I just think we have to go in there expecting to play the Green Bay Packers and not expecting to say, 'Oh, they're giving up all these sacks,' because that stuff will get you in trouble."

On what the difference was in the close win on Sunday night:"The only difference is you just keep playing football. Every Sunday is going to be a win column; it's going to be a loss column. If you're trying to run a race, if you're trying to run a 100-yard sprint, then you can't play this game. This game is a journey. You've got to be OK with the journey, and the journey is up, is down, it's all types of frustrating things. But when you win a game like that… It's the same game if the kick would have went in against Minnesota. It's the same game if Mark Clayton would have caught the ball in New England. It goes back to the same principles. Bottom line is either they go in or they don't. You keep moving. We haven't thought about going back that far. We have a six-game season, bottom line, and that's all that's on our mind. One down, five to go. For us, that's where our mindset is."

On what playing at Lambeau Field will mean to him:"It [doesn't] get [any] better. I kind of answered the same question to the reporters in Green Bay. It's just [doesn't] get [any] better. You don't have to create something. You don't have to create, 'Oh man, I'm playing in Lambeau.' Definitely not myself, because you know the history behind it. You know what comes with Lambeau Field. You know the 'frozen this' and the 'frozen that,' and it's cold. You see the snow on the ground, and you see how cold it is, and you just have fun. It's just football, it's football. Those stadiums, those old stadiums like that are the ones that keep the traditional football alive. We had that in college with the Orange Bowl that got torn down, but it was that mystique about playing in that field. I think all of the great ones appreciate it."

On rookies RS/CB Lardarius Webb and LB/DE Paul Kruger stepping in for injured veterans:"I think when you watch the guys practice and prepare, I think that means the most. Definitely Lardarius Webb. He hasn't slowed down at all. He wants to learn so much, and he's trying to dissect it all. The conversations we have, he's always trying to grab something, something, something, and he plays the game with a complete passion for it. Anytime you have that combination, and then with his ability is something totally different, but when you have that type of combination in a young kid and you put him on the field, sometimes you find a star very early. I don't want to put too much pressure on him, but I just love the way he plays the game, and I love his approach for the game. And, kind of, Kruger's the same way. Kruger's a very energetic guy in his own way. He's our type of player. These guys, they understand it's always the next man up around here. That's just the way we've always conducted things around here, and I think that's the beauty of watching these young guys grow."

On Browns RB Jamal Lewis being placed on Injured Reserve due to concussion symptoms:"Wow, first that I'm hearing of that. Sorry to hear that. Prayers definitely go with him. You always want to leave the game, and just like he said, you always want to leave the game healthy. You want to leave the game on your own terms, hopefully. Hopefully that concussion doesn't linger, things like that. But, 'Lew,' 'Lew' played the game the way the game was supposed to be played. 'Lew' played between the tackles. Like I said, [we spoke] weeks prior, when we were getting ready to play them. [To] win the Super Bowl with somebody is the greatest thing ever, bottom line, and it forms a brotherhood for life. So to see him walk away from the game is definitely appreciated, that he does get to walk away on his own terms, dependent that the concussion doesn't bother him. But 'Lew' just played the game the right way. Anytime you play the game the right way, when you do leave the game, you can't do [anything] but applaud."

On his thoughts on the NFL's new rules concerning concussions and mandating when a player can return to the game:"I think they should. It's a great thing to do. Why not find out why they're being caused so frequently and things like that? Do the research. And, I think they're doing great research behind to really try to find out. I just think we play a very physical game, and the game is never changed. You can put helmets on, you can put shoulder pads on, and all that's great, but when two people collide, you don't know what's going to happen. You see Ben [Roethlisberger] last week get a knee to the head, Kurt [Warner]. It's all types of different things – the turf, you hit the turf hard. Natural grass is always better. Guys are saying that all the time, because when you hit the turf sometimes your head comes back woozy. A lot of things play factors, and I think it's a great thing that we are taking a deeper look into it to really find out. Once again, I think you can only just keep playing the game the way the game should be played."

On if he would ever take himself out of a game if he had had a concussion:"That's a hard decision. You've got to ask yourself what point in the game you're at, what stage of the season you're at, how big is the game? Are you really needed at that point? If you're blowing somebody out, no. If you're fighting to go to a Bowl, then you've got to suck it up. You watch a guy years ago in Terrell Davis who did the same thing, went in the game [with severe migraines], and the coach just told him, 'We don't need you to run in this play, but we need you to be in there or they won't even think we're running it.' So, some sacrifices you do make. Some sacrifices you do make in big games. You saw that one was made, so I think if I had the same decision, I'd do the same thing."

WR Derrick Mason (from Wednesday, 12/2)

On Green Bay having the best defense in the NFL: "Do they really? We seem like we play everybody that has the best defense week in and week out. Even with the injuries they have, that's just a testament to how hard they're working and the confidence they have in their defensive coordinator for one, [Dom] Capers, and the guys that are on the field. They're playing very good defense right now. There is not much you can say about it."

On if he has ever played at Lambeau Field: "After 13 years? Yeah I've played at Lambeau [Field]. That would be real bad if you've never played at Lambeau after 13 years. Something would be wrong with you."

On what it's like playing there: "After you've been through it the first time, and you walk into the stadium – the Frozen Tundra and all the history that's behind it – once you get out there, you're kind of amazed by the field and the crowd. After that it's football, but it's an honor to go into that stadium for the first time. Whether you're a rookie or you've never played there, it's an honor to go in that stadium because of the history behind it. But we're not playing the stadium, so that's a good thing. *(laughter) *So, you go in there and relish what's going on, but then you know you have to play a very good Green Bay Packers team."

On CB Charles Woodson being more of a threat than Lambeau Field: "Oh yeah, he's way more of a threat than Lambeau Field. If he could leave and I could play against Lambeau Field, that would be great. (laughter) Charles has been in the league a long time. He's a very good corner. He's playing tremendous right now. You can't say anything but good things about him. So, we have to be aware of what he's doing and where he is. He's one of those corners that can play a guy man-to-man and not need any help and pretty much shut down that side of the field. You just have to be in-tune in what you're doing and take advantage of an opportunity when you have one."

On the weather being a factor in Green Bay: "As long as it's not minus-40 degrees, or 20. (laughter) No it doesn't matter, because once you start playing, you start to heat up, and the worst part about it is when you stop and have to go back to the sidelines. Then you start freezing again, but I don't think weather can be an excuse or we can make weather as an excuse, unless it's just pouring down rain and you can't do anything. They've got to play in the same type of weather we've got to play in. It's not like they practice outside in it all the time, so you can't make that an excuse. You just go out there and hope during this time of year that it's snowing, because if it's snowing then it's typically a little bit warmer. (laughter) So, you hope that it's snowing and not 15 degrees out there. But, we can't make that a factor. We just have to go out there and play good, sound football."

On what it says about December football that it makes this game so important: "That's what separates the teams that are going to make the playoffs from the teams that don't. There are teams that, for the most part, that are healthy, and there are teams that are not. Late November and into December – and the first week of January – that's what separates the teams. So, if you're going to start doing anything, you've got to start playing football in those months because if you don't then it's going to be hard to make the playoffs. It's kind of like college football: If you lose early, it's not too bad. But if you lose late, it's bad on you in the rankings. So, everyone understands in this league that you have to play good football come late November and into December, as well as January."

On where the spin move came from last Sunday: "I don't know. I think it was just a natural instinct. I didn't actually try to spin. Spinning is kind of dangerous, but if you could make a move on a guy and make him miss, the spin looks pretty good."

On if he was conscious of doing the spin move on the fourth-down play vs. Pittsburgh: "No, the other day was just… I had a lot going through my mind at the time. Like I said, previous plays before – when the whole thing happened – I was the guy that was responsible for the sack/fumble in protection. So, when I got my number called on fourth-and-five, I was seeing green grass and tried to do anything I could without hurting the team, whether it was spinning and getting us down to field goal range or in a position to score to actually try to win the game at that point."

On what made the difference in the running game vs. Pittsburgh: "The will and desire. Obviously, it starts up front with our offensive line. I've never seen a harder working group. Those guys are here before everybody, and they leave later than everybody. They took it upon themselves to move Pittsburgh's front seven around. My job was pretty easy. If it wasn't going to be a 15-, 20-yard run, it was sure going to be eight or nine yards, which for a running back, that's a dream carry, especially on a first or second down to make third down manageable. It was a great feeling. I took more pride in finishing that game the way we did running the ball play after play after play. It really set a precedent for what's going on in the near future with our offense."

On his relationship with LB Ray Lewis and RB Willis McGahee: "Both of those guys really mean a lot to me, Ray more so because [our relationship] is more about life. Every day there is something to learn. You can see the way he works and the way he prepares. Being around Willis showed me a lot of different things – how to fight through adversity. He probably had one of the most devastating injuries you could probably imagine [in college at Miami]. For him to still be playing the game at a high level shows you a lot about what kind of person Willis is. I can take from that guy, regardless of what his situation is now. He's fought through a lot and is still a great back in this league."

On his thoughts about playing at Lambeau Field for the first time: "You hear a lot about Lambeau Field – it's legendary. It's something… Growing up, like I said, I'm a young guy in this league. So, as a kid, you remember the Brett Favre moments. You remember just hearing about Lambeau Field, and now I get a chance to be a part of it and play on it. I just can't wait to actually get out there regardless of the weather being cold. I'm an up-north guy. I'm from New York, so I've played in all kinds of weather. The cold will not be a problem for me. I just can't wait to get out there. Obviously, we've got to take care of what we've got to take care of in practice. Just the opportunity to play in that field where a lot of plays have been made… And it's even more special that it's on Monday Night Football for everybody to see."

On what was the difference in winning this close game versus the other close games: "Like you said, if you flipped a coin, that coin probably didn't role our way a lot of times this year. I think, overall, we finally decided as players that we weren't going to let this game end up… I especially give credit to our defense. They've been playing lights out the last couple of weeks, and obviously, it takes all three phases. The game wasn't perfect, but you can say that was Raven Football if you look through the game. It was physical, intense, and there was a lot of poise in that game. I think that's what got us over the hump, being poised at the end of that game, no matter what happened. It was actually brought to our attention that the Steelers were dancing on the other side when they got the ball back, like they were confident they were going to win. It was just poise, and that's one thing about facing adversity with this team. Now, we're more of a poised team, regardless of what we go through. If we're scoring 30 or 17 or 20 points, we just have to maintain our poise."

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