Opening statement: "I Just want to welcome the NFL Club from the Roland Park School. Thanks for coming. It's good having you guys here. I think you guys are definitely going to get the first question. Sorry, the NFL Club gets the first question."
Were you impressed with how the secondary stepped up in yesterday's game?"I was impressed with how the secondary stepped up. Good question and one we appreciate. I thought they played together really well. The corners played with attention to detail. They played real good technique. The safeties were in position. The offensive line played [well, and] the secondary played [well]. It's a group effort. Those guys played very well together."
One of the members of the NFL Club would like to know how Haloti Ngata's injury is?"You're tough, you're tough. As with all injuries, we'll have an injury report on Wednesday. So, we'll see."
Do you feel the same as WR Derrick Mason that once you get your frustration out with a tantrum-like action you move on from there?"You mean tantrums? Is that what you're referring to? I don't think I had a tantrum. There are a lot of ways to communicate on an NFL sideline, as you know. Emotions run high. Derrick was making his point, and unfortunately, he was back off the bench and threw the helmet and the official called it, for whatever reason. So that hurt us, and I think he understands we don't want a 15-yard penalty. It didn't hurt us so much because where we were at on the field, but it still hurts you because you have a chance to pin them down inside the five-yard line. That's what we're going to try to do in that situation, and it made it tougher for our punter to do that. But all we really talked about was, 'OK, I understand where you're at. Let me handle this, OK? It's my job to handle this, not yours. You play.' Derrick got control real quick, like he always does, and played really well."
Were your third-down conversions a real advantage for you on both sides of the ball yesterday?"That was a huge part of the game. We were 61 percent and they were 23 percent on third downs. That's something that's been a strength of the Broncos, or really anybody. If you can convert on third down and keep a defense on the field, you're going to have a pretty good chance to be successful. It plays into points, it plays into time of possession – everything. And defensively, you've got to get off the field. So probably the biggest thing that played into that from our perspective was we were able to stay on schedule on offense. We got a lot of third-and-reasonables. And on defense, we kept them out of third-and-five or less. That's something that they've done a great job of. There have been very few third-and-longs all season. There were probably more third-and-longs yesterday than there were all season, and that's pretty fundamental. Everybody tries to do that, and our defense was able to pull that off and it made a big difference."
Do you have an explanation for the decisive way the Ravens beat the Broncos, who were previously undefeated?"Are you surprised? It can tell by the tone of your voice. We have a good football team. The Denver Broncos are a very good football team and so are the Baltimore Ravens. Our guys played very well, and I thought we did a lot of things right. And when you do a lot of things right, that tends to multiply itself into good things happening that help you win a game. And that's really what happened."
The defense really seemed to turn things around yesterday. Is the challenge now to have the defense play consistent every single week?"Every game stands on its own. Every game is its own entity. So, whatever success or failure you have one week does not guarantee or ensure anything for the next week. Our guys are excited about the fact that they played against a really effective offense and played well. But, we're going to have a really effective offense that we're going to line up against on Sunday. [The Bengals are] obviously a first-place team with a great quarterback and a physically-dominant offensive line and a heck of a running back and a group of receivers that are as good as any in the league. So, that presents a challenge for us, and it's going to be a 3½- hour game, and what happened last week really doesn't have much to do with this next week."
Is it difficult to improve tackling during the season because you need to limit tackling drills in practice to prevent injuries?"I think our tackling has been good, actually. We've tackled well this year. It goes back to training camp where we tackle a lot, as you know. You're right, you can't do a lot live tackling [in regular season practices]; it wouldn't be wise. You lose a good player in a tackling drill during the season, you wouldn't too happy about that. But our guys have tackled well, all in all, and we need to continue to keep getting better, no doubt about it. But you work on technique and fundamentals more than you do the hitting part."
How much extra work do you think the coaching staff put in during the bye week because of the Ravens' 3-3 record?"Are you saying what did we do more because we were 3-3 than if we were 6-0? We stuck to the same schedule that we had laid out for the coaches two or three weeks in advance. So, it really wasn't relative to what the record was. But I'm sure that all of our coaches, just like all of our players, maybe there's a little more just inside that says, 'You know what, I've got some extra stuff to take care.' We didn't monitor the guys. There was nobody punching a clock, but a lot of coaches were in here working. And you do that no matter what the record is, but I think our guys felt in their area they had some things to improve on."
How much do you think something like LB Jarret Johnson's s big hit on QB Kyle Orton on the first play can contribute to the intensity of the team and set a tone for the whole game?"Well, it's always good to hit the quarterback, so it can't be overblown. It's good to hit the quarterback on the first play when they drop back to pass. So, if we had a choice and they're throwing the ball on the first play of the game, we sure want to hit him. It's going to be something that's going to set a tone for the rest of the game. But you've got to keep hitting the quarterback. The way things are set up right now and how difficult it is to cover in the back end, you have got to get to the quarterback. If you don't get to the quarterback, it's going to be impossible to defend against the pass the way it's being called and the way it's set up. So, we've got to do that. That's going to be critical for us to sustain pass defense for the rest of the year."
How did you feel about the play of the special teams yesterday? It seemed like all areas were playing well…"I thought the coverage was really good. We've been pretty good coverage-wise throughout the year, but we've had a couple… In different games, maybe there have been three or four returns that have hurt us that have gotten out to the 50 or whatever, and our guys have pretty much put a stop to that the last couple of weeks. And that's going to be a new challenge this week, again. Every kick – if it's every game, week-to-week, offensively and defensively -- it's every kick on special teams. They're all different. You look at [the Broncos], and they didn't defend one [and then] they defended the next one inside the 20. That's how up and down it can be. So, coverage is just a bunch of guys running down the field like maniacs and playing together and being coordinated and being physical and being fast and all those challenging things that you just got to bring to the table every single time you kick the ball."
Is there any one player who has stepped up on special teams to assume the leadership role of Brendon Ayanbadejo, or is it everyone on special teams?"It's a bunch of guys. We've got a bunch of leaders, so they all lead in their own way."
After the game the players were complimentary of defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Do you feel there it was a change in defensive scheme or better execution or both that made a difference yesterday?"It's both. It really is. It's not like [anything major changed.] We talked all week about getting better in every area that we could. I don't think any coaches were shirking the obligation to find a way to be better as coaches. So, if we can find a way in certain situations to put together a better scheme to create an advantage for our guys, we wanted to do that. Now, there were no new calls, there were no new inventions. It was all part of the package that has been a part of the Ravens' package that Greg and that staff put together. I thought they did a really good job of putting together a plan for Denver, understanding what Denver's trying to accomplish and going after it. And that's what you try to do every week. The guys executed it well, too. So, what it a better plan? Maybe. Was it executed better? Sure. All those things go together and you get a better performance."
Is a kickoff return touchdown one of the most difficult things to do in the NFL?"I guess if you look at the numbers, you'd have to say that. There aren't very many of them. Although, lately there seems to have been a rash of them over the last couple of weeks. Maybe it's not as tough as we think. It's difficult, there are eleven guys [out there], but then again there were two guys that weren't necessarily blocked on that play, and our returner [Lardarius Webb] with his, I guess, acceleration north and south and his willingness to hit it up in there... You know, he's kind of a fearless guy. He ran by them. The next time, he smoked up in there and 'bam,' he got stuck right about the 20-yard line. But that's the kind of guy he is. He's an aggressive, north/south, young, fearless guy. And he hits it up in there, so he's going to be a tough guy to bring down."
How valuable was it for rookie T Michael Oher to have some time at left tackle and now have him move back to right tackle with T Jared Gaither returning to the lineup? "That's a good question with Michael. I'm not sure. I think it probably pays off in the long run. I don't know if it helps him to be on the left side one week, to be a better player on the right side the next week. I don't know. I'm not sure about that. But as far as being a versatile player, you know to play tackle at the level he is playing at right now on both sides, in his what, seventh game in the NFL? [It's] a pretty special accomplishment. But he'll be the first to tell you he's got a long way to go, and he's a really determined guy. He's very intelligent, he's very mature, he works really hard at it, and to play left and right tackle at the level he's played at as a rookie is quite an accomplishment."
Were you able to see the Broncos' center's head move a little bit on the play S Ed Reed was called offside?"No comment. I can't comment on the officials."
How do you feel like K Steve Hauschka responded coming back this week?"The best thing about that kick was – and I saw it right away on the sideline and so did the rest of us – it was almost the exact same kick he had against Minnesota. Left hash, I think it was 43 [yards] instead of  yards. You know, the Lord works in mystery ways, and He put Steve right back in that same spot, and we had put him on that same spot probably 10 times in practice in the last two weeks, and he nailed it. That's how you grow; you work your way through adversity, and he's a better kicker now than he was, obviously, on Saturday."
Do you have any feedback from RB Willis McGahee and what looks to be a reduced role for him? "Well, you know we've been through this before here. From one week to the next, it looks like a reduced role for this player or that player, and it doesn't end up being that, does it? All of a sudden a guy steps up, and the next game he is carrying the ball 20 times, or he has 10 catches, or he plays on the offensive line as part of a six offensive line package. I mean, that's just how it works here. From one week to the next, I think our guys understand that they can be the featured guy at any time. And sometimes it's a plan going into the game, and sometimes it's just the way the game works out. So, I haven't heard anything from Willis. I'm sure Willis, like any great player, wants to be out there playing, because he's a talented guy and he can help us. But he's also the kind of guy that understands, 'If I just keep doing what I'm doing in this offense, I'm going to get my shot and be a big part of what we're doing.' And Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain and Demetrius Williams and L.J. Smith – and we can go right down the line – those guys are going to be a huge part of what we're doing in the next few weeks."
Do you feel like you've done what you needed to do to make the upcoming Cincinnati game meaningful? "Well, this game matters. There is no doubt about it, this game matters. It matters a lot for us. They can probably survive a loss – we can survive a loss, too – but it will make it a lot more interesting if we go down there and win."
What is CB Frank Walker's situation, and was he a healthy scratch on Sunday? "Yeah, that's fair. His situation is [that] he's a big part of our team. And Frank knows that, and Frank knows how we feel about him. You try to put the 45 guys up in any given week that you feel like give you the best chance to win and do the most for you. And in this game, based on the packages we thought we were going to see, that's what we chose to do. So, Frank Walker is another competitive guy, and I've said it before, he's a good player. He's a really good player, and he's going to be a big part of what we're doing. He knows that."
Coming off the bye week, were you guys able to spend any time looking at the Cincinnati game?"We probably looked at the Cincinnati game from the perspective of what it was going to mean for us as a football team. That's what we had to find out – what did we do in that game, and what do we need to grow from and get better at. We didn't really look at it from a game-planning perspective. So, we start that today, and we'll put together a plan, and we'll start practicing on Wednesday."
OLB Jarret Johnson has been playing hurt most of the season. Can you talk about what it takes for a guy to play at a high level even though he's not 100 percent?"The shoulder things are things that everybody's got in the league. Every player in this league has issues like that to some degree. Jarret's a very tough guy. It's nothing that he can't play through, and play really well through, and he's doing a real good job of it. But Jarret, you just look at the way he's playing. He's playing at a high level, so it's not impacting his production. He's producing."
How do you think ILB Tavares Gooden and LB Dannell Ellerbe played yesterday, splitting up their time?"I tell you what, that's really good. That's two good, young linebackers. They are sharing time. I think Vic Fangio's done a great job with those guys. A second-year guy that's really a first-year guy, and a first-year guy who is an undrafted rookie free agent. They're playing next to Ray Lewis at a high level, both of them in different situations, and they're playing on special teams. I mean, Tavares Gooden running down on the kickoff – single that out. When you get a chance, go back and watch the game and watch Tavares Gooden running down the field on kickoff coverage. It's fun to watch. And Ellerbe, watch Ellerbe block on the kickoff return that went for a touchdown. It's defense and it's special teams, and they've done a good job."
After seeing CB/RS Lardarius Webb run the kickoff back for a touchdown, is there any part of you that wants to see what he can do on punt returns?"Well yeah, but we have a good punt returner in Chris Carr. You will see Lardarius Webb on punt returns at some point. You'll see Chris Carr back on kickoff returns at some point, too, I'm sure. We have been gifted here with some guys who can return kicks and punts. Ed Reed's been back on punt returns. Mark Clayton practices every week, as does Derrick Mason. There are probably some other guys that I'm forgetting about. Ray [Rice] practices both of them. We've got some options."
Chris Carr, despite having Lardarius Webb move to returner, seems to have not gotten down, and he has really improved his play on the defense in the secondary…"Right, Chris Carr played really good yesterday. I tell you what… It's so much fun having these girls here [from the NFL Club] today. I'm having a tough time with my concentration. (laughing) You guys are great. Are you getting bored yet? [Students answer, "No."] Is this interesting to you? [Students answer, "Yes."] OK, OK. I've got to keep my focus. I can't keep my focus here. *(laughter) *Chris Carr – how's he doing. Was that the question? I think his play speaks for itself. Chris played very well. He did play really well in the sub packages. I think he got a sack, as I recall. Chris has played well for us. That's why we brought him in here. He's a quality corner, he's a special teams player, he had a tackle on kickoff coverage. I thought he got north and south in the return game with the punt returns, made a bunch of tough catches on Mitch Berger punts that were hanging up there short and came up and grabbed them under pressure, fair caught them. Those fair catches are a big plus sometimes, because those are short punts. He's played well."
What is your take on the old saying, 'Winning is everything?' "Wow. Philosophy, huh? What did Vince Lombardi say after that? It's the will to win? That's what he was talking about, the will to win, if I'm not mistaken. That's how we look at it. Wins and losses are ultimately how you're measured, but I said I was proud of our team after the Minnesota game, after the Cincinnati game and after the New England game, and those are three losses. I was proud of them after every one of those games. I'm no less proud of them or no more proud of them after this game. What I am proud of is the fact that they took adversity – three weeks of all the things they're faced with when you lose – because, as the record goes, it goes up as a loss. No matter what happened during the game, no matter what they displayed during the game, it's a loss. It can be 50 to nothing, or it can be 10-9, and it's still a loss. It's treated just the same. So, you've got to come out the other end of that standing tall, and our guys have done that. But not just because they won this week, they did it after each one of those losses in my mind. Now we've got another challenge against Cincinnati. I'm sure our guys are going to come out of that large. That's the kind of men they are, and we'll see how the chips fall as far as the outcome of the game."
How good are the Bengals? "The Bengals are very good. They're in first place."
What does it say about the fans and the support they've showed after three losses and a bye week? "That's really good. We kind of talked about it last night. I guess I should have brought it up right from the beginning because I've been thinking about it ever since. We were glad to be at home. I think our players didn't doubt for one second what our crowd was going to be like. It's different in different cities. You suffer a three-game stretch the way we did and loosing tough games the way we did – every city is not like Baltimore. When we came out, those introductions were like we've been on a six-game winning streak, weren't they? The crowd was loud. Then at the end of the game when we were out there trying to get them stopped and put the [game] away to finish it, I've never heard the stadium louder. It was just a purple wall around us of noise. I think it speaks to Baltimore. It speaks to the fans. It speaks to what Ravens fans are all about. Our guys want to do everything they can to make the fans proud of them. They do. They feel that way. That's a challenge. That's not easy to do, but when you've got fans like the Ravens have, you can't wait to play at home. I can tell you that."
Do you have specific goals for the halfway point of the season? "Well, I think the specific goal is to win this game. Then you can tally them up. We all know what the record will be if we win it. The point is, we need to be 1-0 this week, and it's going to be a real tough challenge to do in their stadium."
Are you concerned with T Michael Oher's emotion, which was displayed on the personal foul penalty? "You saw it, right? I'm not concerned about it."
Did this win over Denver take pressure off of the team?"Not really. We understood where we were as a team. While we were in the position we were in, there was no panicking, there was no pressure. You know, we just felt that we needed to finish out games. We had to start fast and end fast. The three games previous, we either did one or the other, either started off slow and had to play catch-up, or kind of started off fast and then fizzled out toward the end. So, pressure? No. But we understood that in order to keep ground with the two teams in front of us, we had to win this game."
How well are you prepared for a tough schedule coming up?"It's football, and every week poses a different challenge. Whether you're playing – this upcoming week – whether you're playing the No. 1 team in the conference or you're playing someone that's in a position we're probably in that's fighting for a playoff spot toward the end of the season, every game is pivotal from this point on, because we understand that we have four or five games in this month alone, and three of them are divisional games. So, we understand where we're at and as a team what we need to accomplish in this month alone. Everyone understands that November [and] December is what makes and breaks teams, so this is going to be very important – this whole month – for us to continue to play the type of football that we know how to play."
What has been the key to success on third-down conversions?"The majority of the time is just keeping it third-and-manageable, which to two, three, four or seven yards, you can call a world of plays when it's third-and-two or third-and-seven. But when it's third-and-15, third-and-20, there aren't too many plays you can call. I think our big plus is what Kelley [Washington] has been able to do in the slot, and Ray Rice, what he's been able to do coming out of the backfield. It takes a lot of pressure off of the guys outside. So, they don't have enough guys to cover the guys that we have running routes, and then you throw a guy like Joe [Flacco] in the backfield under the center, if he doesn't find anybody, he can tuck it under and run. So I think that's why we've been so successful at third downs, because ultimately third downs, if you capitalize on them, you win games. And we capitalized on them this game."
What does the balance between rushes and passes mean to the offense throughout the course of a game? "You know, we really don't think about it. I don't think the coaches scripted it that way. It's how the game is flowing. Whether they're putting eight or nine men in the box, and then you have to throw the ball on them, or whether they're playing zone and sitting back, and we're able to run the ball. But I think what's key for us, and what has been a plus for us, is that we have a back in Ray Rice that you don't know what he's going to do. You don't know if he's going to get the ball and run, or you don't know if he's going to come out of the backfield and catch the ball. That makes our offense a little bit more balanced than any other team out here that's playing right now. You know, it's good to be balanced, but then again, some games you might have to throw it 40 times, as we've done in previous games. And then in some games, you might have to run it 30 or 40 times. So, sometimes we dictate to the defense what we're going to do."
What adjustments were made at halftime in order to have such a successful second half? "No, there weren't any adjustments made at all. We stuck to the game plan, but we understood that Denver was a second-half team. If you look at your games, you know the first half and the second half are two different games. In each one of their wins, they kept it manageable in the first half, and in the second half they came out and dominated people. I think [in the] second half alone, no team prior to us has capitalized on more than two or three third downs. So, we knew and we understood that was the key for us, to come out in the second half and come out on a good note. And we did. But it started not with the offense; it started with the special teams. [Lardarius Webb] returned that kickoff, and that kind of snowballed everybody else. So, there were no big adjustments made, but we understood what we were getting into coming into the second half, [and] that if we didn't come out and play with the type of intensity that we're accustomed to playing, that they were going to embarrass us because they've done it to everybody else. We came out with some intensity, and I think we beat them to the ball the majority of the day – especially in the second half."
What does it say about QB Joe Flacco and his ability to run the no-huddle-offense so well?"You just try to keep a team off-balance. They are a very athletic, very fast-flowing team, and you want to keep a team like that off-balance as much as possible. So whether it's no-huddle, sugar-huddle or whatnot, we want to put the pressure on the opposing team's defense. And we wanted to wear them down. We felt that if we stayed in our no-huddle package for a little while, kind of mixed it up a little bit, that would pose some difficulties for them. And whether it did or not, I don't know. But as long as we got the win, that's all that matters."
Did you try to make an effort to throw the ball down the seams more than the outside?"No. We didn't stress throwing the ball down the seams or anything. Sometimes teams dictate to you what you're going to do, just a little bit. We try not to let that happen, but teams dictate to you what you can and can't do. The touchdown play in particular, in that defense the safety was shaded, and because of what Kelley [Washington] has been doing in the middle, in the game they had to double him. So, that kind of left us one-on-one. The safety was trying to disguise it a little too much. Joe being Joe, he read the coverage perfect and I got inside the guy, and the rest is history. You want to take advantage of every opportunity that a defense gives you. If a defense wants to play you one-on-one, what they're basically saying is that you can't get open. I think we've proven for the last six or seven games that if you're going to play us one-on-one, we're going to get open. So obviously, people will start second-thinking that and they'll probably go to something else. But then, we'll find another way to beat you. We're going to take what they give us and continue to move the ball down the field."
How big league was that throw that QB Joe Flacco made? "It wasn't big league. The throw was just a regular throw. (laughter) Joe read the coverage. At pre-snap he read it, and anytime Joe can [read] a coverage before the ball is hiked, you're in a world of trouble as a defense. He picked up on what they were doing, and he looked the safety off a little bit like any other great quarterback, and he drilled it in there. He didn't loft it. He drilled it in there. Wow, that was a great catch though, wasn't it? (laughter) Not just the throw, that was a great catch. That's Joe. He is going to make sure he puts the ball right where you can get it, and hopefully, that can continue throughout the season."
How much dialogue goes on during the game between Cam Cameron and the wide receivers? "There's a lot back and forth. But you've got to know when to do it. You can't come back every series. Sometimes I want to, but you can't come back every series and say, 'Cam, this is what I see, this is what I see.' You've got to pick and choose your moments when you do it in the game. That's football. That's winning football, when you're able to come off to the sidelines and communicate with your coordinator or communicate with your quarterback or even your other wide receivers. You're able to communicate with those guys, and then if you see that same coverage again, you're able to say, 'Ok, we've just talked about it. Now everybody is on the same page. If he plays inside, I got outside and you know where to throw the ball.' So, there's a lot of communication going on, on the sideline, and even on the field. You just don't want to limit yourself to, 'Ok, let's discuss it when we get off the sideline.' No, let's discuss it in the huddle, and as we're coming out to make sure that we put ourselves in the best situation to either complete a pass, or get a big run."
How much do you enjoy playing against guys like Broncos CB Champ Bailey and S Brian Dawkins? "You wouldn't want it any other way. You don't want a guy that's out there for the sake of being out there. You've got to find another way to elevate your game if a guy is not out there giving his all. It's kind of a self-motivating thing, but if you've got a guy in front of you that you know that if you take a play off he's going to embarrass you, then you're going to make sure that each and every time you step on that line, that this is going to be your best play. I played against Champ for the longest. I've played against Dawk for the longest. I know what I'm going to get from those guys. I know that neither one of them is going to stop playing. Even when the whistle blows, they're still trying to run to the huddle. That keeps you on your toes. So, I enjoy playing with those guys. I wouldn't want it any other way. I wish, honestly, I could play against a corner and a safety like that every week because that helps you elevate your game."
How much did your emotional outburst motivate your team and how did it affect you throughout the rest of the game? "It never affects me. Once I get the outburst out, I'm done. I didn't do it as a motivation factor or a motivating tool. I just felt that there was some injustice being done, and they didn't give me the penalty, they didn't throw the flag. I've seen less happen on the field and they throw a flag – i.e. Brandon Marshall's phantom pass interference [call]. After a while you get pissed off and you feel that you have to no longer be the nice guy out there. I think I've smiled a little bit too much on the field. Sometimes they take your kindness for weakness, and they're never going to give you a penalty. It just came out, I guess, or maybe I was frustrated about some other thing, but it all came out. Once it happened, I forgot about it, honestly. I even apologized to the referee for showing him up. I didn't do it deliberately, and he understood. Hopefully it won't happen again. I think I got a make-up call later in the game on a hands-to-the-face [penalty] or illegal contact. Sometimes squeaky wheels get the oil. Maybe I need to be the squeaky wheel more often."
Is there a different mindset in coming into a week with a win compared to starting a week with a losing streak? "No, just get one win. That's all we want, whether we're on a three-game winning streak or a three-game losing streak, let's just get the next game. That's the mindset that we've taken thus far and will continue to take. Just get the next game and we'll worry about everything else. We need to get one game. That's all, one game. We want to get on a one-game winning streak. That's all we want to do. Then we'll take it to the next week. Whether we're winning three in a row or – I'm not going to say losing three in a row again; I don't want that to happen – whether we're winning three in a row or might have a lost a game here or there, our main focus and goal is to win the next game and move on from there."