Opening statement:"OK, good to see everybody. [We're] just finishing up our meetings and getting ready for the work of the week. I had a chance to go through the game, obviously, it hadn't changed. We still lost at the end, and we're moving forward to get better."
Did it give you a little bit of a good feeling to know that you have the capability to come from behind, even though the outcome wasn't what you wanted? "Yeah, I just think there are so many things about the game: There's positive, there's negative, you can categorize it any way you want. I said it last night: I'm proud of our guys. All the things that you're talking about, the foundation that's there to win a bunch of games and have the kind of team that we envisioned ourselves having this year [is here]. So, whether we make the field goal at the end or don't make the field goal at the end, we're still the same team, essentially, that we would have been. The record would be better, and [Steve] Hauschka would be feeling a little better about his ability to make that kick under a clutch situation, and we'd all feel better about that. But we're still the same team. We still have the same issues – and there are plenty of them – that we need to improve. That's why we go to work, to do that, and I'm confident that we can. All those things are very, very solvable. And as coaches and players, we go solve them."
What is K Steve Hauschka's mindset today? "I don't know. You'd have to ask him. I think he's disappointed as far as having an opportunity to win the game at the end, and he didn't do it. So, he's disappointed. I guess if that's the mindset, I guess, I could think of a word for it. But he's determined at the same time. He wants to be in that situation again, he wants to make that kick, and he's going to do everything he can to make sure that happens."
Do the defense's problems fall under the category of being easily solvable? "I don't think anything is easy, because every week presents a new challenge. People attack you different ways. If you knew exactly what you were going to get in a game, you'd have the perfect defense lined up out there for it. By the same token, we have the players and coaches to do it, without question. I think after a certain number of games here – and you have a little bit of a transition – we have an idea of where we're at, what we need to do defensively to play good defense. So, it's our responsibility to get that done. I've got complete confidence in our coaches and complete confidence in our players that not only can we get it done, but we will get it done because issues are very solvable, and our guys, all of them, recognize what they are. But we need to do it. That's the next thing, we've got to go do it, and the proof is in the pudding. We don't expect anybody to consider that finished until it gets done, and even then it'll continue to be a challenge to get better every week."
Is the communication in the secondary part of their struggle to defend the pass? "It's like any part of the game. Groups play together. Secondaries play together, defenses play together, offensive lines play together. They play with the front four on offense. The offensive line plays with the backs and the tight ends in protection. It all ties together. So, I guess you say, 'Well, what does that mean?' Well, to understand really exactly what that means, you'd have to look at the tape and see every play, what it means in each situation. So, yes, that's part of it. Part of it is playing technique against certain routes a little better, part of it is understanding where your help is going to be. The bottom line is, they're correctable things – both scheme-wise and technique-wise, and we've got to fix them. We just cannot continue to give up big plays. Big plays are the problem, and it's always a problem. When you give up a lot of yards, it's always big plays. And if we continue to give up big plays, we're going to continue to struggle."
Is there anything you can do as a coach to lessen the penalties? "Specific penalties? Which ones do you want to talk about?"
Some of the defensive secondary stuff: "Interference, I think the one interference on Frank [Walker] that he was diving into the end zone, I don't know how you fix that because he's going to make the play on the ball. That's one that's just technique, and to me, that's all he can do is try to make a play on the ball. And he was playing the ball. The one where he grabbed the jersey, yeah, you can fix that one. I mean, [if] you're in better position, [then] you don't have to grab a jersey. Be in better position and have some help back there – if you're supposed to have help back there – those things. So, I think it depends on the specific penalty that you're talking about."
Was CB Fabian Washington dinged up at all or did you just want to give CB Frank Walker a chance?"I wanted to give Frank a chance. That was my call all the way. I feel like we need to play the way we need to play, and we're going to try to put the guys out there that play well enough for us to get the job done. And you know, that's not a knock on Fabian or Frank or anybody else. I've got confidence in Fabian. I know Fabian is a really good player. Just at that point in time, as a coach, you felt like, 'You know what, I'm going to try something different.' And I guarantee you Fabian is going to be back out there playing again. He has to be, and he's too talented not to be. And that goes for all of our guys."
You made that call to bench Fabian? I just want to make sure I'm clear:"I make those calls. That's my job."
With CB/RS Lardarius Webb, is it tough to increase his playing time and implement him as a corner because he's a rookie?"No. We need to do that. I think Lardarius Webb continues to earn more playing time based on the way he's playing. We gave him more defensive snaps, and he played well in those snaps. When you play well – no matter who you are – when you play well, your role expands and you get to a point where you find out where a guy needs to get better, and you try to work him into more opportunities."
How much fun was it to watch the team come back like that in the fourth quarter?"'Fun' is a relative term, but it was exciting to be back in the game. It was one play away from being one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the NFL. But it wasn't. It's all three phases. It's offense, defense, special teams. But, I think you've got to give… And our defense got a couple of stops there during that time, too. I was proud of our offense. I think it says a lot. It's got to give us a lot of encouragement for where we're going as a football team. What I'm interested in as a head coach is where we're going as a football team. What kind of team are we going to become? That's always a growth process. So, we can sit there and we can say, 'This cost us the game,' or, 'That area's killing us. The big plays are hurting us, and we didn't make a field goal. We didn't get turnovers. Joe got hit a couple of times in protection.' You can look back, but make those things part of a positive process going forward, because we have good players, and we have good coaches. That's what I was trying to say after the game. We've got to get the job done. If you want to play meaningful games in November, you've got to win games in October, and we haven't won games in October. The fortunate thing is we have got meaningful games coming up in November. That's the exciting part of it. When's the Denver game? Is it October or November? November 1, there you go. We've got some meaningful games in November, and what we do in November is going to determine whether we play meaningful games in December."
Does it worry you as a coach that you've lost three games by a total of 11 points?"It's better than being by a total of 111 points for sure. Now, in the standings it still counts as three losses. But beyond that, I think you look at our players, and you look at the performance, and you see what kind of men we have, and you see what kind of team we can be. It's our job as a collective unit to get ourselves to the kind of team we can be. We're not there yet. But you know what? If we win the next bunch in a row, we still won't be there, because we'll have the next meaningful game to play."
Is there a formula or chart you use to decide how many plays you can fit into a time allotment before deciding to kick a field goal?"It's right around five, six, seven seconds is what a play takes, usually. Some plays it might take four, a bang-bang play, but they're pretty much defending the sideline right there. They're not going to let you get that one off. You've got to run a player into the end zone, drop back and throw it in the end zone. That's a good chance that's going to take six seconds. I would say, probably, to be safe, seven seconds, eight seconds. You're probably going to make sure you get those three points. And six seconds was just not worth the risk."
DE Dwan Edwards started at the Vikings. Usually, it's DE Trevor Pryce out there. Was there any reason, from Trevor's standpoint, why he didn't play at the beginning of the game?"I think it's twofold. First of all, you try to set up the situation where you maximize all your guys. We want to use all our guys. Dwan Edwards in this game, I felt like more reps were good for Dwan and for our defense because of the run defense. Also, the fact that Trevor… Fewer reps make him more effective in what he's doing, especially in the pass-rush game. It turned out to be the case. Trevor played really, really [well]. Now, we want Trevor to get more reps than what he got, and that's kind of just the way it shook out. But I was happy. I thought Trevor played very well in the snaps he was in there and made a difference, especially in the pass rush. And Dwan played well."
What's your bye week schedule and when will your players get a break? "They will. We need some rest, but we're going to meet and practice tomorrow. We're going to meet and practice on Wednesday. The players will have Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to work on injuries, recover and have a little time away. We'll be back at it on Monday morning."
Do you think you might shuffle around some players during the bye week? "That's a very interesting way you put that question. It's a shuffle question. (laughter) We don't have a situation where we're going to be making lineup changes to become a better football team. That's not necessary. Over the last year and a half, if you've seen, if it were necessary we would do it. But no, we don't have to do that. Now, we can expand roles. We can play guys a little more. We've talked about certain guys that can play more. Our starting lineups are pretty much intact. I'm not a big [guy] on that starting lineup thing either. You guys have been asking about the starting running back all year. They're all going to play. As guys emerge, guys play more. If you want to play more, you play better. As far as making lineup shuffles, that's not in any plans."
What's the health situation with T Jared Gaither's neck? "It gets better. He was close [to playing]. We'll see. You can't speak to a neck. So, I don't want to sit here and say he's definitely going to play against Denver. But we would expect him to play against Denver."
Is there any new information about CB Samari Rolle? "I can't speak for Samari in that sense, but I would say right now, based on what the medical people are saying, I'm not very optimistic at all that he would be able to play this year. He had the surgery. You just don't want to mess around with the neck. Samari is too important to us as a person to even think about that, but that's not the advice we were given medically either. So, that's probably where that stands."
Does it make things more challenging to have a lot of weapons compared to only having a few? "Yeah, Cam [Cameron] has said that a lot. There's only one ball. Guys are going to get frustrated when they don't get the ball because these guys are elite, world-class athletes. They want to be the guy that makes the play. But I also think they understand the fact that the more weapons you have, the more opportunities they're going to have to get the ball in space and have some opportunities to make plays. It may be more difficult in that sense, but it definitely makes you more effective as an offense."
Would you be surprised to make a trade with the trade deadline coming up?"No, I wouldn't be surprised, and I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't make a deal. Ozzie [Newsome] and the coaches – we're involved in that, too – we're going to do everything we can to make our team better every way we can. The trade deadline is coming up, and if something presents itself, then we're going to do it if it makes our team better. Just like we're going to practice tomorrow because we feel like it's going to give us a chance to get better. It's hard to make a trade in this league, so we'll just have to see how it goes."
What would you say if Ozzie came up to you today and said that you guys just landed a deal for Bills WR Terrell Owens? "I'd go the safe route. Kevin [Byrne] is over there probably saying [it's all] 'speculation.' All I can say about T.O. is this: I'm going to jump out on a limb here. I've got a lot of respect for T.O., I always have. He's a football player. He practices hard. I think he's got a really good heart, always has. We have a good relationship. Now, is anything happening there? Not that I know of. I think I would know if something is happening there. He plays for another team, but we have a ton of respect for him and I've always liked him. I want to be positive about him."
If you had to change one side of the ball, wouldn't it be on the defensive side? "You try to make your team better any way you can. We're trying to make our team better any way we can. We have good enough players in all three phases to be a championship football team. It's our job, as a group, to get there. So, that's what we're shooting for."
Has there been a transition from Rex Ryan to Greg Mattison? "Whatever struggles we've had on defense are not due to who's not here. We've got plenty of good coaches and plenty of good players to play good defense. Is there a transition? There's always a transition. There's always, in any kind of a change. There's a transition as a head coach coming in here last year. There's a transition in our offense with Cam [Cameron]. That's something that I think is natural. It's not a transition that we can't play great defense through, and we intend to."
Was there a point last year when the offense came alive and made a statement? "We want our offense to be as good as it can be. We want the defense to be as good as it can be. All those identity questions, to me, they miss the mark. We want to be the best team we can be. We want to our offense to be dominant, we want our defense to be dominant, and we want out special teams to be dominant. So, we're trying to work all three phases to that point every single day."
Is WR David Tyree's leg too tight for him to play or is he just getting up to speed? "I'd say it's a little bit of both. There's a little bit of an element of getting in to football shape. He probably could have gone out there and played. We're plugging him in here in the last second, so it's hard. You've got things set, but he's going to be playing for us."
Are you surprised by how good RB Ray Rice has been, or is he what you expected when you drafted him?"We were hopeful that we'd see this Ray Rice. But Ray's one of these guys, he's got as good an attitude as any player. You guys see him every day, so you know what he's like. What he said after the game, it just blows me away. For a young man to be that mature and just have that big of a heart [is amazing]. In that sense, no it doesn't surprise us. I'll admit this: He's probably a little more talented than maybe we even thought when we drafted him."
How do you think rookie T Michael Oher did yesterday?"I thought he played well. He was in a tough, tough environment. That's as good a front and as good a player [DE Jared Allen] as there is in the National Football League. And a relentless player, huge crowd noise, and I thought he acquitted himself well."
On the final field goal kick, did the snap seem a little off and how much of a role did that play in the missed field goal?"It's impossible to say how much the snap played into it. The snap was not perfect. The kick was not perfect. So, it didn't go through. He pulled it. You asked me what the deal was yesterday, in all the terms – was he quick, did he pull it? Yeah, he pulled it. We all try to do as good a job as we can to help our kicker make a kick. The thing you've got to remember about that is that we knew from Day One that our young kicker was going to miss a kick. And we also were pretty sure it was going to come in a hugely critical moment. There's no guarantee that any kicker is going to make any kick in any situation. Now the deal is, and it's painful, because if he had knocked that thing right through the uprights, we'd all be going. 'We got our kicker!' Well, we believe we got our kicker. We've seen enough of him to believe that he's going to be our kicker. In the end, do we know? Only he can handle that. And when he gets a little help from his holder and his snapper and his protection and his coach, and we see where it goes from there, that's the best we can do. So, we've got a lot of confidence in him. He's talented, he's a great kid, and he works hard. Let's see what happens."
How incredible do you find it that you acquired RB Ray Rice and QB Joe Flacco in the same draft, which was also your first draft as a head coach?"It's a good point. It was a great draft. Look at the rest of the draft. That whole draft, pretty much right through the board, all those guys are playing. It was a heck of a draft. And we've got a couple of lineman still developing. That was our first draft, and Ozzie did a great job of trading back and adding some. He traded back and got Joe Flacco and added picks that allowed us to get… Ray's pick was a trade-back pick, I think, and then you picked up some third-round picks. We got Tom Zbikowski, we got Oniel Cousins. Did we have three third-rounders or two? And[Tavares] Gooden, OK. So that is a great draft."
Is rookie RS/CB Lardarius Webb now officially your return guy?"Lardarius is our kick returner. Yes, I would say that's official. But, we've got some other guys that can do it, too."
Has RS/CB Chris Carr's confidence been shaken from what it was at the beginning of the season?"The punt returns are a little tougher because getting a returnable ball on punt returns is so important. We really had some short punts. He'd probably tell you he could go up and catch one of those short ones on a fair catch, the one that bounced and rolled in the dome. I don't know that he had any other real returnable opportunities. The punter has a lot to do with that. So, we've got to get him some returnable opportunities and see what happens."
What has given you confidence in the process of developing Hauschka that lets you know he has it, mentally, to make kicks in tough situations?"The way you asked that question [tells you]. There's no way that we could know that, because this is the first time that he has been in that situation. And all the kickers that have made it over the years, the long-term guys, have fought through this. I'm pretty sure if you look back at all these really good kickers early in their career, I bet they missed some of these kicks early on if you look at their career. *(Reporter interjects that Matt Stover's percentage was in the 70s his first few years.) *That's interesting. Yet, he responded through that and became the kicker that he was. There are other kickers that didn't respond, and now they're not kicking anymore. They found their life's work a lot earlier than the guys who made it. So, there's only one way to find out. Now, we have seen him handle pressure situations in practice. He's made the kicks he's been asked to make up until this point. He made them in the preseason. We put him under as much pressure as we can, and we'll see what happens. I think he's got the mettle for it. I'm a little biased, because he's our kicker. And we're going to give him a chance."
Greg Mattison has been criticized over the last few weeks, but what do you think of his performance as the Ravens' defensive coordinator?"To even ask that question – I'm not sure why you would because I'm going to answer it the right way. Greg Mattison is a great coach. Just like our whole defensive staff are great coaches, and we have great players. I'm excited about what we're doing with our coaching staff. I'm excited about how our players are preparing. I'm excited about our people. When you watch that performance yesterday, how could you walk away and not say, 'You know what? We didn't win the game, but you can't help but be proud of the people who are coaching and playing for the Ravens.' That's how I feel. We go to work together, we go fight together, and we'll let the chips fall as they may, and you guys can all make those assessments all you want."
What is the mindset of the team today?"I think it's pretty good, as good as it could be. It was a tough loss. It was the third-straight tough loss for us, but I think we all fought hard. We fought to the end. We can all look at ourselves in the mirror and look at each other. I think that's the most important thing. I think it's as good as it could be right now."
At 3-3, where do you see yourselves in terms of could be better, could be worse, OK going into the bye?"I think, obviously, we could be a little better, but the bottom line is I think we still control our own destiny within the division. As long as we go out there and play the way we can, play the way we know we're going to, then I think we should be fine the rest of the season."
With your time off, will you get away from football for a couple of days?"I don't know. I've never really experienced a bye before. I plan on getting away, but at the same making sure we do everything we can to come back next week and get ready for Denver. I'm sure we'll use some of that time this week. But, the biggest thing is to make sure you do something, stay active, and come back ready to go."
How's your ankle?"My ankle's great."
Did you get your foot stepped on as well as the ankle rolling a little?"Yeah. It originally happened… I got my left foot stepped on in the first quarter, and it caused me to roll up my right ankle. The rest of the game, I kind of just got stepped on a couple of times. It's no big deal. I'm walking pretty good today and running pretty good."
From your vantage point, how did rookie T Michael Oher do? He had a tough assignment against Jared Allen."I think he did a great job. The whole offensive line did a great job. They have a good pass rush. They have a good front seven. They're able to stop the run well. When they want to come after you, they get after you. You're going to have tough games like that, but I think our offensive line did a great job holding up. I think it showed late in the game. I think we had those guys worn out a little bit. It was a little bit too little too late."
Can you comment on what a guy as versatile as RB Ray Rice means to the offense?"It's big, obviously. To get him the ball in the passing game yesterday, he made some big plays. And we were able to sneak him up there and have him break a tackle for that run, too. Ray's done a great job all year for us, and he's going to continue to do that. But, yesterday, he was definitely a big part of why we came back."
Do you guys have a special bond because you came into the league in the same draft class?"I don't know. Me and Ray definitely feel comfortable with each other, but I don't know that it has anything to do with that. I think we're just two football players that are trying to go out there and play well. When everybody has that same mindset, you tend to play pretty well as an offense and as a team."
What was it like to go toe-to-toe with Vikings QB Brett Favre?"It was pretty cool. And like I said, you look at it before you play and you look at it after you play. When you're playing, you're not really going against him; you're going against the Minnesota Vikings defense. So, when you're out on the field you don't really pay too much attention to it. But it was definitely a cool experience. It would have been a great game to remember if we would have won, but you know, it'll just be another game now. But, it was a lot of fun."
Did you expect to throw the ball this much this season after how much you ran the ball last year? "I don't know. I think we're going to do what's successful. But as a quarterback, I love to throw the ball, and I want to drop back every down and throw the ball. But we're going to do what's successful for us, what makes us successful. And I think yesterday in the second half we showed we could throw the ball a little bit on those guys. Therefore we put up some points, and then we hit a couple in the run game. It's a lot of fun for me to drop back and throw the ball. I can tell you that. It's going to depend on the game what we do, though."
Is it good to know that you have the capability to come from behind? "Yeah, I mean, the game is never over until it's over, and we understand that. So, I think that was our mindset yesterday. They got off to a quick start. I think at any point if you want to be down by 14 points, it's that early. We happened to be down by 17 with 10 minutes left and still played back, which is good to see. But like you said, you don't really want to be in that spot. I think we're always going to have confidence that we can overcome those situations no matter what happens, but you want to try to avoid those as much as possible."
Can you pinpoint why it's so important to get off to a fast start? "I don't know. I think, obviously, the last three games – the two games before this – we haven't done as much offensively. And in the Cincinnati game we didn't do too much. But, this game we got off to a slow start – I can't tell you why – but we got off to a slow start. The bottom line is we ended up putting points up on the board and just came up a little short. We'll look at everything this bye week and see what we can do to improve on everything. I think we always want to get off to a fast start, and I think we always want to finish as strong as we did. And I guess that'll be part of it as long as we realize that and try to go out there and play one snap at a time. Then we'll accomplish that."
Does it give you more confidence this year that you were 3-3 at one point last year and turned it around? "I don't know. I don't know if they really compare to each other or not. All we can do right now is take one game at a time and go try to stack win on top of win and see where we are at the end of the next 10 weeks. I think as long as we do that, then we'll be all right. I think we feel like we have a good team. We just need to go out there and play a little bit better on Sunday. And being on this team last year, I think we'll do that."
Are you a believer that a team has a certain identity, and what do you feel like the Ravens' identity is? "I don't know. I think we go out there as players and just try to execute the plays that are called. I think it's up to [the media] to decide if we have an identity or not. Our goal is to go out there and put points on the board and to win. Ultimately, it's to win. I don't know if we have an identity, I don't know what it is if we have one. It's up to [the media]. I go out there and I execute the plays that are called, and at the end of the day we look up, and whatever happened, happened."