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Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 9

On if he thinks QB Joe Flacco's performance problems of late are caused by injuries or other defenses getting to know him better or anything at all in particular:"I think there are a lot of explanations. There are a lot of little things that go play by play. The bottom line is Joe can play better; we can play better around Joe in the passing game. And turnovers are what we're talking about – specifically in the red zone. Those are decision-making errors. I'm going to say in the big picture, it's part of his process. We talked about it after the game, we talked about it today again. Let's get through this right now. Let's make the improvement right now. We try to do that as we go. There have been improvements in certain routes and things that are under the surface, but those are things [we need to do]. To win the kinds of games we need to win, any football game in this league, you don't turn the ball over generally, and you don't turn the ball over in the red zone, for sure. And we've got to get better at that."

On if he really feels that none of Flacco's injuries have affected his performance:"As far as throwing interceptions? No. That's part of it. Everybody in this league is nicked up. But Joe's tough. The thing about Joe is that he is very tough. He's mentally tough, he's physically tough, he fights through it, and that's how it works."

On how he can correct the mistakes and whether it's a talent issue or something that is correctible:"It is all correctible, obviously. The things that we need to do better are obviously correctible. There's nothing that we can't do better. You can get a handle on something and it shows up. Specifically, the things that I was really concerned about in this game, we talked about after the game. To me, it's no different. Those things are the issues after you watch the tape. So, those are things we have to go to work on. Credit the Green Bay defense and the Green Bay offense; they played well. They made their share of the mistakes, and our idea was to play an error-free game, if we could, as much as possible, and we didn't do it."

On if it is helpful to have officials at practice and if there is some guidance they can give the team:"The officials at practice? No, they're not NFL officials, so they don't give us any guidance as far as NFL rules and all that. But they call all the pre-snap penalties and movement stuff – which we've been pretty good at for the most part. The Michael Oher movement one… Michael Oher times that snap up pretty well. So, we go back and we watch that frame by frame, and he's right there. Maybe that's the way the officials saw it in fast time. Those are things that you work on as you go."

On how K Billy Cundiff is doing with his mild concussion and if that was a factor in Monday's game:"It was tough. He had a mild concussion. So our doctors looked at it. They have a much more stringent protocol now as far as whether a guy can play or not, so they adhered to that protocol and they felt like in his position he could play with a mild concussion. But, I think it did affect his ability to kick the ball. It's pretty precise. Obviously, he couldn't kick off very well. We were going to have to get field goals down very close, if we had to do that. So, it was difficult."

On whether he sees the assessment of the coach/quarterback tandem as a fair way to measure his fate or Flacco's fate:"I don't know if it's fair, but I'm pretty happy about it, to be honest with you, because I think we have a quarterback. Not just one of them, we've got Troy Smith and John Beck, if something happens [to Flacco]. We've got good players on this team. But when you're a coach in the National Football League – or for any team, right – you like to have good players. And Joe is fast becoming [a good quarterback]. As time goes on, he's going to be a tremendous quarterback in this league. So, I'm OK with that."

On his thoughts on the restraining order filed against OLB Terrell Suggs this week and if he's addressed the issue with him:"I've talked to him about it. He came up and explained it to me, thoroughly, his perspective on it. I understand the schedule going forward as far as what he's going to have to deal with from a personal standpoint. We've worked it out as far as the way it will affect his professional responsibilities here with the Ravens, and that's where we are with it. The rest of it, he's going to deal with that from a personal perspective, and that's where it's at."

On how S Ed Reed's injury is doing and how much his absence and Suggs' absence hurt the Ravens in their game against Green Bay:"Anytime you lose good players like that, premier players, it's not going to strengthen you. The truth is everybody loses players, and you've got to overcome it – next man up – and you've got to find a way to win football games. The guys who replaced them, I thought, played well. We are hopeful that we will get Terrell back this week. It's not a given by any stretch, but there's a chance. Ed Reed, same thing. We thought we'd have Ed. It was one of those things where we couldn't see him move around all week so we didn't know. I felt like we'd have him, but when he got out there it was clear that he couldn't go. He wanted to go. I mean he did everything he could to go, and the doctors weren't going to let him go with what he had. We've had a chance to MRI it. There's a strain in there, and it's just a matter of how well it heals. So, he's going to fight like crazy to be out there and go this week, and we'll just have to see."

On what he thinks about the changes the NFL is implementing to take better care of players when it comes to concussions:"Obviously, it's a great thing. Think back to all the times we saw stars. Probably anybody here who played sports and you saw stars, that probably was a concussion, I guess. And you just kind of went through it, and maybe it's got some long-term ramifications. So, I think the league and the Players Association have done a great job of working together on this and trying to do what's in the best interest of the player. The player's safety should be number one."

On how difficult it will be to match up with Lions WR Calvin Johnson:"Calvin Johnson, it's a matchup nightmare. He's as good as anybody in the league. We played him two years ago up in Philadelphia. He's tall, he's fast, he's got great hands, and he's very tough. He goes up and catches passes. He's not afraid to catch the ball over the middle. He's just a tremendous player."

On his opinion of the offensive line's performance on Monday night:"At times it was good, at times it wasn't. I think they'll tell you they're not happy about it. I was impressed with their defense. I was hopeful… We thought we had a chance to maybe block their front a little better in the run game, and it didn't happen. But then when you go back and you watch the tape and we were moving the ball – especially early in the game – we had a chance to take the ball down twice and score early. We're going right down the field, and then we turn it over on a fumble and we come back after a play and we turn it over on a flea flicker and an ill-advised throw. So, that's what it boiled down to. Play to play, we were going against a really good defense and we were trading blows in there. But, the turnovers just were the deciding factor for us not doing well offensively."

On if he feels G Ben Grubbs' foot injury is a factor in his play:"I think he's fought through that. I don't know to what extent it's affected him exactly. You'd have to ask him. But, it has been a factor. He's been fighting through it, and he can play better than he did, obviously, on Monday night. And I'm very confident that he will."

On Flacco's interception in the end zone and if that is something he will tell the quarterback never, ever, to do again or just to be careful in that situation:"I don't think you ever tell Joe to never, ever, try to make a play. There were a couple of throws that he scrambled around and made some really great throws on the run. – even some ones that we dropped that really should have been caught early in the game. But, that particular throw, I would say never. I don't think you throw across your body, back to the middle of the field, off your back foot on second down when you've probably got a chance to score a touchdown or, if not, a field goal. When you ask him, he will tell you the same thing. But you've got to frame a plan within the offense with the fact that Joe is a playmaker. He's got tremendous ability, and we want him to make plays within the framework of the offense and good decisions."

On his brother, Jim Harbaugh, getting emotional on the sidelines during Monday night's game:"Yeah, we've got to get Coach Harbaugh under control, but it's the other one, right? One time I turned around, and we were having the debate about the two-minute time management situation out there – that the officials handled in a certain way – and I look back there and there's Jim there screaming at the official. I was like, 'You can't be out here. Back up.' Have we heard from the league on that yet? We expect to hear from the league on that."

On the role that his brother and his father serve on the field versus being upstairs watching the game:"Because I want them there. I want them there. They're coaches, and over the course of time, if you go back to the championship game and the run that we had last year, the Dallas game when Jim was down there, every now and then I'll go back and say, 'What do you think?' And Jim has grabbed Cam [Cameron] on a thing here or there, and my dad's grabbed me on a thing or two here or there. So, it's a good thing."

On how funny it is for him to know the truth about his brother regarding the coaching spot at Notre Dame given the media speculation about the situation:"Well, it's interesting the way the media works – no disrespect intended. The fact was, and I knew this all along, there was no meeting scheduled with Notre Dame. He hadn't talked to anybody from Notre Dame. It's a tough thing for coaches to be in a situation where [there is so much speculation]. And the truth of the matter is he said, I'll be at Stanford next year, God willing. Well, to me that's a very humble statement to make. And you might say, 'OK, he's skirting the question.' Well, is there anybody standing around here that can say I'll be somewhere tomorrow, for sure. None of us know that, for sure, that we're going to be anywhere the next day, because it's not up to us. We don't control that necessarily. But he loves where he's at; he's got no intention of being anywhere else. He wants to be at Stanford. He tried to make that as clear as he could, and I'm proud of him for that."

On addressing the pass interference calls with the team and if he feels it is bad coverage, bad calls or both given that it has happened a lot this year:"We had kind of cleaned it up here for a couple of weeks, and then it showed up again in the Green Bay game. It's on us. We take responsibility for it. There were one or two of them in there that you look back and you don't understand, maybe. But there were the other ones that you completely understand and the way it's being called this year. I felt like we had that corrected – three or four games ago – and all of a sudden it shows up in this game and our guys are doing what you can't do. You can't grab a guy's wrist, you can't hook their arm. We don't want them to get involved with any of that hand wrestling anymore. You want to run with a guy and make the play on the ball, and if they make a catch, we want to tackle it. That's something that we have to take control of and not let happen anymore."

On if there is something specific why the passing game hasn't been efficient that past five games: "I don't think so. There are certain things we go into a game trying to do. Obviously, this past week the passing game didn't go too well. If you look at each game as a whole, I think we've still done what we've been asked to do. We completed most of our passes and, if anything, I just haven't taken care of the ball as good as I should have. Like I said, if you go out and look at the last handful of games, when we look at the film, I think we think we're still playing pretty good on those levels. Green Bay – OK we struggled a little bit, but there were a lot of yards we got from pass interference calls. We didn't have very many completions, but that's the way it's going to go most of the time. If you take out the turnover, especially in the red zone – maybe the two turnovers in the red zone – I think we're still in that game and gave ourselves a real shot of winning. Sometimes your completion percentage isn't going to be as high as you want it to be and you're not going to have as many yards, but you've got to look at the game as a whole. We just have to realize that we're headed in the right direction. We just have to keep our head down and make sure we take it one game at a time, and it starts with Detroit."

On if there was a thought to speed up the last couple minutes of the game: "I think we're doing what we're asked to do. We're kind of in a no-huddle look, and if we get out of bounds, we huddle up. We're just going at the tempo we're supposed to be going at. When you're down by 10 points, you've got to go at a little higher tempo, obviously. Like I said, if I didn't turn the ball over in the red zone, it would have been a different story at the end of the game. We would have been down by a score or three points, depending on what we got at that time. Putting yourself down by 10 with a minute left, you go out there and try to do all you can to go down there are put some points on the board, but your chances at that point are pretty small, and we realize that. But at the same time, we need to out there and just finish the game out."

On if defenses are changing against him as opposed to the beginning of the season: "To some extent, they're trying to disguise a little bit of what they're trying to do in the secondary. But they're playing their defenses, and we've played some good teams. They've done a good job. We've done a good job. If you look at some of these games, and we would've come out on the better side and won, then nobody would be saying any of this stuff. But the bottom line is we haven't. We haven't done a good enough job, and that's what we'll have to live with. We've got to make sure the next four games, this game most importantly, we got out there, take care of business and win the football game. As long as we do that, everything else should take care of itself."

On what percentage he thinks he is health wise: "I'm as close to 100 percent as I can be. I've got bruises and stuff like that, but it's not affecting me out on the field. I didn't feel anything out on Monday night. I stood back there and felt great physically. I felt like I was able to move around good, and I'll continue to feel that way as long as our guys continue to do what they're doing."

On if there is a different pressure to make the playoffs this year as opposed to last year: "I don't think so. Last year, if you look back at the season, the bottom line is if we would have lost one more game, we wouldn't have been in the playoffs. We were 11-5 and there was another 11-5 team that didn't make the playoffs. So, if we don't come back and beat Cleveland, we lose; we're not in the playoffs. There are a handful of games that you can look at last year. If we don't go into Dallas and beat them, we're not in the playoffs. It's the same way this year. We've got to win the rest of our games. Some of the games that we've got to go in and win are going to be at the end of the season this year. At best, we'll have one less win than we did last year, but we feel that it will be good enough to get us in the playoffs. We just have to make sure that four of those wins that we got last year, this year we've got to make them all at the end of the season. That's the way we look at it: Take it one game at a time and, like I said, it starts with Detroit this week."

On how the fans are disappointed with a 6-6 record and if he is, too:"The fans are disappointed? Wow. I know there's a lot of people 2-10, 2-8. There are a lot of things to wake up and be disappointed about, but to still be in the playoff hunt, I don't find that as a disappointment. Around here, it's always been the same thing: We're grinders. If it's going to come, it's going to come late, as it's always been around here. We've had a couple of seasons where we started out 4-0 here or there, but the bottom line is every year I've been around here, our best football probably came in the later part of the year. Here we go again. Nothing is out of the picture. You look at the whole AFC picture, everything is right there. I just think you've got to go play football and not be worrying about the ups and downs of the season. Once you get caught into that, you lose your energy and passion, truly, for the game."

On how tough it was to not have S Ed Reed on the field at Green Bay and how that affected the defense:"As you saw, it's always little things. That's always what wins and losses ball games, bottom line. Not having him out there, which [he] is definitely the secondary captain, that's a very hard to task to go in to Green Bay and ask those young guys, Zibby [Tom Zbikowski] and them, to step in there and actually fill in spots here and there. But you know, overall I just think they [did] a good job. Once again, the game is a game of inches, and when you don't have that veteran presence back there and don't have a person of his caliber, it really takes a toll on you. I just think, overall, we overcame it. Would you love to have Ed? Absolutely. Anytime you go into a game that big and things like that, you would love to be full throttle. But it wasn't like that. We didn't have [Terrell] Suggs, we didn't have Ed. The bottom line is we've just got to keep fighting, next man up, and just keep moving."

On how good Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is:"How good is Aaron Rodgers? I think Aaron Rodgers took what we gave him. You go back and you watch the film. You can sit back sometimes and give quarterbacks credit, or you can just say, 'Wow, if you would have been a half a step here, a half a step there...' And that's the thing when you go back and watch film, whether I'm correcting my young guys or correcting whoever it is, it's just showing them how intricate the game is and how detailed the game is. You take your hats off to them. They played a good game. They won. But the bottom line is when you do look at the film, there are a lot of little mistakes from young people being in a lot of different places that you just have to take your hat off to and say, 'We'll learn from it,' and just keep going. I think it's more credit to them because they won, but I think it's bigger credit to us because it is correctable."

On what he sees out of Lions QB Matthew Stafford's development:"Calvin Johnson. (laughing) Calvin Johnson. I think Matthew, I haven't watched him that much, but I just think anytime that you have that type of presence [like Johnson] over there on the football [field], it makes you a better football team. Their record shows one thing, but this is a very capable team if you go back and watch the film. They're in every ball game. They have a young running back [Kevin Smith] who is running the ball extremely well, as well. I just think they're trying to build something right now over there. Matthew is definitely their guy, but I think Calvin Johnson and the young running back that they do have, I think having those types of guys really helps them over there. You can't get caught up in the record of what they're coming in with, because they're a very, very talented team. We've got to be very careful the way we approach this game."

On if he gets amused when opposing coaches try to keep the starting quarterback a secret:"Amused? No, not really. The bottom line is you're playing the Detroit Lions, so whoever steps behind center is the same philosophy: Play football and let it take care of itself, whether it's Matthew, whether it's [Daunte] Culpepper, it [doesn't] matter either way. We're going to prepare the same way for the Detroit Lions."

On what it's like to play week after week against a head coach that was around during his early days with the Ravens:"It's been funny, because Jim [Schwartz] was a coach in Tennessee, so I've seen him through run-ins. But now being a head coach… I started some great things with Jim. Jim was a good guy. Just to see him will be good – hopefully not seeing him come in and get a win. I think just seeing him will be good. Jim was always a detail-oriented person, a person who really was striving to do some great things. My hat's off to him. Congratulations again. I think he'll definitely get that program turned around."

On his frustration with the pass interference calls: "Man, listen here – pass interference. I think I need to just stop complaining about that because it's obvious that, that crew… The NFL, Mike Pereira, you need to really see about what's going on in that back end. [Roger] Goodell, you can fine me if you want to, but it's getting ridiculous with the amount of calls. I can see if it happened once or twice, but it seems like, with us, it happens every time, and we never seem to get the call. Do we make an excuse for it? No we don't. But you have to point it out when it happens if it happens more than two or three times. I don't think we get… Every time they always come up with a lame excuse like, 'We didn't see it.' But you're supposed to be covering that side of the field – 'We didn't see it; I missed it' – this one and that one. OK, it's fine. But for me, I can't get frustrated in a situation like that. I've got to move on and go to the next play. But I think when you've seen it done more than it should be done, then you get a little bit frustrated. In that situation, I just have to keep my composure."

On if not getting any calls was what he was trying to explain: "Well, I was trying to explain to them, on that particular play, that I have a right to the ball just as much as [Charles] Woodson has it, and he had his back turned to me. So obviously, he wasn't looking to get the ball. He was looking to not allow me to catch the ball. As a receiver, they're taught that you have a right to the ball just as well as the defensive back has a right to the ball, but I guess he felt it was Charles Woodson, and he can throw the flag and call offensive pass interference. If that's that case, you've got to call it both ways. Their team is doing it to our guys. You've got to call it, but we never get it done. It is what it is, and you move on."

On the comment made on the ESPN broadcast that the Ravens' receivers couldn't get separation: "There was a lot of separation there. [Mark] Clayton had separation on a pass interference [call], but he grabbed his arm. I had separation on [Charles] Woodson by two steps, and there were other times when we had separation. The separation thing, on commentary, it is what it is. There are not too many times… I don't know what they consider separation is, honestly. It's all up for being determined of what it is, and your perception of separation is different from someone else's perception of separation. I don't know if they're saying, 'Well, he's not two yards in front of him, or three yards away from him.' You'll never be that way in this league, unless the guys just fall down or he's jumping the play. Our definition of separation is not even a yard. If you're able to catch the ball, if you're able to get your hands out and catch the ball, then that's enough separation. When you're commentating, you give the guy on that other side too much credit because not too many times in this league are you going to get that two- or three-yard separation. If you watch film, you see it each and every week. When a guy makes a catch, the defensive back is right there."

On what the difference is in productivity if it's not separation: "We just have to get on the same accord, that's all. It's nothing that I don't think is not correctable. But with that being said, we've only got four weeks left in the regular season. So, we've got to make it happen the way we have in previous games. We've had some games where our productivity in the passing game hasn't been the way we wanted it to be, but that's going to happen during the season. You can't panic, and you can't look at it as we have no passing game. We've been able to do really well in the passing game, but the other night we struggled just a bit. Are you going to throw it all away and say you can't pass the ball anymore? No. You might say it, but we're not. That's your job to say something like that. That's your job to say that the Ravens can't pass the ball, but we've got enough guys that are more than capable of getting down the field, and we've shown it. But what we've got to do for the next four weeks is make it happen."

On why QB Joe Flacco has not been on target with his throws lately and if it's injury-related: "Is Joe battling through injuries? I think it's a combination of everything – all 11 guys. The quarterback doesn't shoulder the blame on every play. If you asked, he'd probably take some of the blame on some of the plays. But as a leader and as a quarterback, that's what you do sometimes. If you look at this big scope of the picture, everybody has to be on the same page, and sometimes it just doesn't happen. It's not like defense where one guy can be doing something different and the other 10 guys can make up for it. On offense, it's not that way. If one guy is not doing what's supposed to be done on the offense, it throws everything off. So, it doesn't ever fall on the quarterback, as much as he might like to take the blame. It's the other 10 guys because we've got to pick up the slack when things are not going well. When we're winning, the quarterback is great. But when we're losing, everybody wants to point at the quarterback. It's not the quarterback's fault. It's us as a team. We've got to get it corrected, and we've got to move on."

On if he's heard from the Green Bay or Appleton Chamber of Commerce:"No. What I said was out of frustration. Just to put it out there – I have nothing against Green Bay. Actually, I was very apologetic to them. But it's hard after a tough loss, emotionally. I can't judge their city, I'm not from there. But being… I'm from New York, and I see a lot of different things. That was a different experience for me, and [I was] a little emotional after the loss. On my behalf, that will probably never happen again. Live and learn."

On how QB Joe Flacco's last five games haven't been as efficient in the passing game, and if he's seen any differences in Flacco:"There's no difference in Joe. Obviously, teams are playing good football against us. But after watching the tape, we're shooting ourselves in the foot at times. We've just got to get the little things fixed on offense. We get in the red zone, we have to score points. We won't be saying, 'Joe's doing any different' if we're scoring points in the red zone. Whether we're running it in or throwing it in, we're scoring points, we're scoring points. Sometimes at quarterback you get a lot of the pressure, because essentially, you're not scoring points and a lot of the stuff goes towards the quarterback. I mean, Joe's still playing football. He's trying to make plays for this team, and he's going to continue to try to make plays and make plays. As a whole, we're going to all try to make plays and score points in the red zone."

On if he feels like he could be a bigger part of the red zone offense:"Oh yeah. I mean, I definitely feel whenever I'm on the field, I'm a guy that wants to produce whether it's goal-line, short-yardage, red zone, anytime I'm in there. In the red zone, it's a mentality. You've got to go out there. You're that close, but if you don't score seven, you've got to get away with three. It's a scoring-points-kind of game, and any team we play against, whether it's three or seven, we'd rather get seven. We have to get points in the red zone."

On what it's like to play a team that's only won a couple of games:"You've got to watch the film. If you guys get a chance, you can check them out. They are a very athletic, talented team who plays hard, is [going to] play hard, and if you watch the way a couple of [those] guys are playing, they're trying to build something over there. When you're trying to build something, it doesn't happen overnight. That's what their team is. They're an NFL football team. They're going to play hard. They'll stick in the game, and they're going to give us their best shot. They have great players on their side, and they're trying to build something. Their record [doesn't] show how good they are. It was the same situation when we played against Cleveland. They have great players on that side of the ball, and we can't overlook anybody. We're in a situation where every game counts."

On his thoughts on the importance of the next few games of the season with playoffs on the line:"To be honest, that's the excitement. It's unfortunate that we have to take this route to get there. But if you look ahead, this can be the most exciting four weeks of our life if we take care of business. It's a journey to get to something else, and we've got four games. If we'd have won against Green Bay, that would have just been a little cushion. We still would have to win the rest of our games. It's still exciting. It's a time where we as players, coaches and everybody have to pull together and go out there and win four football games to even have a chance at making the playoffs."

On if he prefers to run behind a fullback or be a one back and reading the zones:"I came from both, so it really doesn't mean a lot to me to matter if I'm running behind a one-back or a two-back. To be honest, I just like to get out in space and make plays."

On what Green Bay was able to do against him that other teams might try to duplicate:"They had a man shadowing me the whole game in Nick Barnett. I know he was covering me the majority of the time. He had me man-to-man. But when you get an open space, you've got to make a play. Teams are going to do that. You've got to expect a team to put a spy out on you if you're making plays. They did a great job. You've got to respect Green Bay and the way they play the game of football, I have no doubt about that. We respect every team that comes in here, but we've got to go out there this week and take care of business. We've got a four-week season."

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