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Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 5

On who the backup long snapper is if Matt Katula can't go on Sunday:"You looked at the depth chart and couldn't find one? Well, that's curious." (laughter)

On if he would consider the special teams play in the Broncos game the best overall since he's coached the Ravens:"I don't know. We've played hard virtually every game I've been here. The effort, I thought, has been good throughout the season. Perhaps the results were a little bit better this week than the effort in that regard. I was real happy with the way our guys played. They played with a lot of energy, they were physical, and they finished blocks. It's a good example of how we want our guys to play, certainly."

On K Steve Hauschka coming back and making all of his field goal attempts:"That was big for all of us, and it certainly was big for Steve. It's very interesting that he got put right back in the same spot, virtually for the same kick. That was one of the best kicks he's had all year. That ball was perfect."

On how Hauschka's kickoffs were better as well:"He kicked off very well. His kicks had a lot to do with our success that we had on kickoff coverage, because we not only had depth in his kicks, but we had hang time. And our guys were able to use that in order to get off blocks and get downfield and get some penetration. As you probably witnessed during the game, Eddie Royal had to stop a couple of times and restart, and it's very difficult to restart on a kickoff return and have any success. Steve had a big part in that, as well."

On how difficult it is to prepare for a left-footed punter:"In our division, it's just what we live with. All three of our punters in our division that we play twice a year are all left-footed. We just have to prepare for it. We bring in guys and we practice with it. During the offseason, there will be times when we'll have a left-footed guy in here just for OTAs [organized training activity] and situations such as that. The ball's different, it just is. That's why our guys come out here and we catch as many balls as we can. Going to Sunday, I think it's a little bit different now that we've practiced this a lot. It's not quite as [much of] an adjustment after you've done it more times. But, if it just hits you once and you haven't done it for weeks and weeks, it is certainly different."

On how the ball is different coming off a left-footed punter:"The ball flight is just opposite. For a right-footed punter – if I'm looking at you without the aid of a camera – if it's a right-footed punter, if he hits the ball properly, typically will carry that way. Then, for a left-footed punter, obviously, it's opposite. They just have to flip it over the way the ball reacts off the foot."

On how P Sam Koch has performed this season:"Sam has done well for us. He had a couple of balls that he'd like to have back this past Sunday. He's hitting the ball cleanly, that's the one thing I've noticed almost every week. He's got very few balls that he doesn't hit cleanly. Now, some of the distance situations, he's got a few more touchbacks than he'd like to, but those are balls that he really hit well that just didn't bounce right or didn't get quite wide enough. It's something he works on every Wednesday and Thursday, is trying to get those balls in the right direction. We have a lot of confidence in Sam. I think Sam is actually hitting the ball as well as he's hit it since I've been here."

On if he's ever seen somebody miss a punt block as narrowly as Ed Reed did against the Broncos:"No, I have not seen it. I'm not exactly sure where it went. I think 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] said it well: 'We think the ball actually vaporized and went through his body and came out the other side, because we can't see any space in there.' But, it got past him some way or another. We still haven't figured it out yet."

On if Reed's technique is why he missed:"I coached against Ed for a long time at another club where he was rushing our edge, and I don't do a whole lot of coaching of Ed at that particular point in time. I've seen him get his hands on a lot of balls. I'll let Ed coach himself on that. He'll figure it out, I'm confident."

On if filling the void of LB Brendon Ayanbadejo on special teams has been a committee approach:"Our players spoke up in the meeting that followed B.A.'s injury, and I think they also spoke to you, and I spoke to it as well. There's no one man that was going to replace that player, because he's a special player. In a remarkable kind of way, you see other players, plural, surfacing in the way that they've played. That's one thing that they've said they were going to do, and up to this point they've done that. It's really a credit to the players that they saw the void, and what we frankly call in the coaching industry, somebody stepped up. That's exactly what's happened thus far. We need to continue that this week against a very good special teams unit."

On his anticipation for Katula playing on Sunday:"I have no information for you on that."

On whether he expects the absence of Bengals DE Antwan Odom to effect pass rush:"Well, he did a great job when he was in there, but the guys that they've got playing have filled in, and they're doing a good job of just the pass rush schemes. So, I think they're solid regardless. And he had such a big game against Green Bay that those stats might have been a little bit tilted. But they're good as a unit."

On how much WR Kelley Washington's impact in the offense has surprised him:"Really, what he's doing is what he's done [since] Day One. And here's a guy that our scouting staff brought to us, Hue [Jackson] actually had a background with him. I got over the fact that he would not sign with us in Miami. *(laughter) *So, there were some good feelings about him, by all of us before he got here, and he's done his part. That's the important thing. He came in here, and what you're seeing is what we've seen this whole offseason in practice."

On what happened when he tried to sign Washington with the Dolphins: "There was an offer on the table and he took less money to go to [New England]. It turned out very well for him."

On whether he has ever mentioned that to Washington: "I might have mentioned it Day One." (laughter)

On the importance of third-down conversions in the game plan: "It's again, it kept going back to that time of possession thing that we talked about. I think what gets overlooked are third-down conversions. Teams that convert on third-down have more time of possession, and that was big for us in that game. But it's big every week, and I challenge our guys. The real players in this league play on third down and deliver on third down. We have a whole separate grading system for our guys on third down. And if we're ever looking at anybody else, we always go and evaluate them on third down. Guys that can play at a high level on first and second down are really somewhat common; guys that can excel on third down are the guys that are special."

On where Washington ranks in third-down receptions: "Outstanding. But Todd [Heap] has been outstanding, and everybody has been good to some degree. That was yesterday. This league – as last week can prove either way – you're one week away from being not very good at anything in this league if you get too full of yourself. So, last week was last week. We were glad it happened, but in no way, we don't carry the techniques and the effort into this game. There is no guarantee it's going to show up again. So, you have to reinvent yourself on third down every week."

On when you decide to move into the no-huddle offense: "[It's] probably different for everybody. To me, sometimes it's just how fast the officials are setting the clock. If they are setting the thing really fast, sometimes there is no benefit to getting into a huddle. So, it can vary [for] different reasons each week. Those couple of games early in the year, our success was the fact that we huddled. So, it's really just a feel thing."

On what point he knew that T Michael Oher would be a starter: "I can't speak for everybody in the building, but for me, it was the Senior Bowl. When you're coaching the Senior Bowl, I just put a ton of validity in the Senior Bowl performance. It's real. It's competitive, it's real. It's padded, the pressure is on, and the cream usually rises to the top there. And in my mind, I thought, 'Holy smoke, here is a right tackle that can play left tackle if needed, in the National Football League. Or a left tackle that can play right.' And those guys are rare. So, [that's] from my perspective. But having that perspective and then picking the guy are completely different. To get the guy is the hard part."

On whether he was surprised that Oher was still available when they selected him: "I don't know that you're really surprised about anything in the draft. I think surprises come in the draft, because people that are uninformed people really start giving public opinion to go one way or the other. We had a high grade on him, and there he was, and it was pretty simple at that point – take the highest guy on the board that had to meet a need for us."

On whether Oher's development and impact has surprised him: "Well, I would say this and probably put it in your court a little bit: When was the first time you met him? Did you meet him at training camp or anything? (Reporter responds 'No.') So, now I understand where you're coming from, and I think I can speak for everybody here. Once you've met him – whenever that was – nothing would surprise any of us. I think we all agree with that, wouldn't you? But until you meet him, if you haven't met him, it's probably a surprise. All you have to do is meet the guy once, and nothing has been a surprise. I hope that doesn't ruin the article, but that's how I view it at least. And maybe you guys see it the same way."

On whether WR Derrick Mason has reminded him that he didn't catch a pass last time they played Cincinnati: "Oh, I had forgotten that. I really had. *(laughter) *That game seems like a month ago. It seems like two World Series' ago."

On whether he notices QB Joe Flacco spreading the ball around a lot: "It's something we're always trying to do. And defenses, unfortunately, don't always allow you to do that. That's something that I think good offenses can do, because you're spreading it out to good players. You have good players to spread it out to, so I think that's a bonus."

On if he's able to do more with T Jared Gaither back on the offensive line:"Not really. We're in a great position because our third tackle is Marshal Yanda, who has tremendous experience and is a heck of a football player. Maybe from a continuity standpoint, there might be some plusses there. But, we feel good about all our tackles, we really do."

On where RB Willis McGahee will fit into the plan this week:"Just like every week, as you know, you guys have seen the rotation. When he goes in there in the first half, there are certain series. He's going to get at least two series every first half. And then you kind of go from there. It really… When you're only getting 50 or 60 snaps, there's just not a ton of snaps. Ninety in that first game was a little misleading. He's going to play, and he'll play well. He'll really play well, because he practices lights out."

On RB Ray Rice's progression to where he is now:"No. 1, he's just a guy who's still scratching the surface. I would just [say] constant improvement. All those Raven characteristics he has. I guess it shouldn't surprise us either. You look at guys that have that kind of college career at a place that really he put on the map. Those guys tend to do well. [He's] just a worker."

On how DT Haloti Ngata is coming along and if he is going to play this Sunday: "That's the trainers' decision all the way, but I like Haloti. I think Haloti will do what he has to, to play."

On his thoughts about DT Justin Bannan if Ngata can't play: "Yeah, like we talked before, this is a very physical league. You always are going to be as good as the next guy coming in. So, we feel strongly that the next guy coming in is going to do his job, if [Ngata] is not there. But like I said, I feel very good about Haloti."

On how it feels to be a "genius" this week after the performance put down by the defense: "I would never say I was a genius, and I don't know that anything has changed. All I do is try to go out there and try to put these guys in the best position. It's the players. It had nothing to do with me, or whoever is calling those defenses. It's the players. I've said that from Day One, and I'll say that the last day. We go about our business and try to go out there every game and try to put the players in the best position to have them execute. It's our job to do that during the week, to get them to [execute], and that's what we do."

On how comforting it was to see the secondary perform the way they did: "It was great. It was great for them. I think you guys would agree. I've said all along that… Don't point just at the secondary. The one thing you saw, I think we hit the quarterback 10 times in that game with four-man rushes. It's always been a combination. You can't put a secondary out there and expect them to cover these wide receivers in this league for a [long] period of time. You've got to get after them, and that's why it was a total team effort."

On how critical it is to get the same performance from the secondary this week: "It's the same thing every week. You'll say that the next week, and you'll say that the next week too. We're going to go against great receivers every week. So, it's going to always be the combination of us getting pressure, the secondary playing with great technique like they've worked very hard to do, and calling enough pressures to be able to relieve the front and relieve the secondary."

On if there is anything you can do to help out with pass interference calls:"Calls are calls. That's part of football. The thing that… It's hard for a corner nowadays. It's like a basketball player – a guard trying to cover a center – and that's just what happens. If they call you for it, you've got to live the next down and go play. That's how we look at it."

On if the Bengals TEs getting open due to mental errors is fixed: "Yeah, we've had, in that stretch of three [losses], a number of things where guys have been open. It was technique, it was communication and things like that. It's always that. Our guys have worked very hard at correcting anything that's happened, and we're looking forward to putting forth a great game."

On what struck him the most about what the Bengals did the last game to be successful: "Well, they ran the football. They ran the football. They did a good job of blocking our guys and moving the ball. Anytime they rush for 130-something yards and 29 carries, that's not Raven football. The thing that we've talked about is, we've got good players here. We've got the players that have done it before, so we had to decide that we had to work on technique. We've got to do those kinds of things, and that's what we've done since the last time we played them."

On if there is anything about RB Cedric Benson that you've seen on film: "He's running real hard. He's getting some yards after the hit. He's running like a big-time running back right now."

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