DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"We made one roster move. Scott Kooistra is going to join us. He's been around and been in this division. He's a good, hardnosed offensive lineman. We needed some help in the offensive line, numbers-wise, so that will help us. And he's a good player. He fits us. Prince Miller was released. We're going to try to get Prince back on the practice squad as soon as we can. We've got high hopes for Prince. We think he has a great future as a developmental player, and you never know, down the road this year."
On T Jared Gaither not being cleared to play and if his injury appears to be a long-term issue after getting a second opinion:"I don't even know anything about that. I haven't heard anything from the doctor out there, and [head athletic trainer] Bill T. [Tessendorf] has no information. So, we don't know the results of that."
On Gaither's prognosis and how it impacts the Ravens' plans for the players they have recently signed:"We'll wait and see what happens. He went out there yesterday. I'm sure at some point in time that Dr. Watkins will talk to our doctors and let us know what they found. But, we've heard nothing on that. So, I don't know anything."
On what makes Broncos QB Kyle Orton such an effective quarterback:"[The Broncos] probably have, obviously, one of the most effective passing games in history through four games. Kyle has been around. He's got a real good scheme. They do a nice job in terms of mixing things up, protection-wise, route-wise. You get a lot of different stuff, and they have a lot of different guys to go to. He does a nice job of mixing it up, moving it around the field, hitting different guys. He recognizes coverage really well. His arm strength looks good. He's been throwing the deep, outside, breaking comebacks really well. So, they're getting the ball downfield. They're getting the ball out quickly – all the things that good passing teams do."
On whether the Ravens considered Broncos WR Demaryius in the Draft:"Yes, we did like Demaryius Thomas a lot. He's a guy that we were looking at there possibly at our spot, and he got scooped up. He's a big, physical [player]. He's a great guy. [He has] really good hands. He's definitely a vertical threat – definitely a threat to go up and get the ball in a one-on-one type deal. So, he's coming on for them."
On CB Lardarius Webb being ready now coming off his injury to start and play the entire game:"He's getting to the point now [where he can play more]. It's just been a process; we did the same thing with Fabian [Washington]. Lardarius is going to play more and more. We've been very conservative with those guys for a reason. We want to do it the right way. But, he looks good."
On the matchup of the Ravens' No. 1 passing defense and the Broncos' No. 1 passing offense and if those statistics are overrated:"You'd think so listening to you guys. That's a little bit of a flip of a question, that that was our big concern. Every week is week-to-week. We've said it before: We've got confidence in all our guys. But, that's going to be a big challenge for us. Pass defense is everybody. It's the pressure, it's the backend, it's a team effort."
On Broncos CB Champ Bailey still being one of the top shutdown cornerbacks in the NFL at age 32:"He really is. Champ Bailey's been good for so long, and you see him out there and it never changes. It's 24 – he's playing at a high level again. I see his technique as being even better than what it's been before. Maybe that's just [because] a guy like him just continues to keep improving. And that's what makes him so good."
On whether it is difficult to game-plan against a team with such a lopsided passing versus running offense:"You spend time on defending what they've done. That's the bottom line. Then you try to anticipate a little bit what they might do and what they might branch off of and what they've already done and based on what you do defensively. But, we're not going to ignore the run. You just can't do it. If you look at Josh McDaniel's history, he's a guy that likes to run the ball. There's a good chance they'll get their running back back. They've got two other backs that have done a great job, too. Denver's got a tradition of running the football, so it's something we've got to be aware of."
On what former Ravens DL Justin Bannan brings to the Broncos:"What Justin brings to the table is an incredible high motor. He plays so hard every single snap. [He is] really smart. He does a great job of sniffing out screens, things like that. He is a tremendous run player. He'll be real sneaky in the pass rush, too. He can get pressure. He's played a big role for them. I think he's really anchoring their defensive line [and] their front seven in a lot of ways. And you can see the difference it's made."
On the speed of today's game and how good he feels about his team's speed after forcing 42 opponent penalties in four games:"That's a good point. I don't know if it's been the speed, but that's probably been a big part of it, as far as forcing penalties. [It has also been] good technique on our part. Being in the right spots has been a part of it. We've been in some pressure games and pressure situations. But that's something we really need to keep building on. It's been a real plus for us."
On what he feels the Ravens need to do to jumpstart their punt and kickoff return game:"We probably wouldn't be talking about that on the kickoff return side if we hadn't had the holding penalty and the one that popped out across the 50. That was [not good]. You could have driven three semis through that hole. There was really no reason to grab anybody. That's the kind of stuff – [when] you get back to penalties – that makes a difference. [As far as] punt returns, for whatever reason, guys have punted really well against us. We've just got to keep working on that and see if we can pop one."
On if he thinks the offense has a greater comfort level now using all of its passing and running weapons:"It's really no comfort level, just because every week stands on its own two feet. It's hard to get guys open. It's hard to protect your quarterback. It's hard to run the ball. They're game-planning against us. You try to get better every week at whatever we're doing that week, really, across the board. So, I don't think you ever feel comfortable with what you're doing."
On whether there is any concern on his part about a team letdown after a big win last week or if that is a distant concern:"With this team, it is [a distant concern]. That's something that we'll all be very vigilant about. We talked about it this morning. We understand that as a team. Our guys get that. I'm not going to have to walk in there and tell these guys you had a big win, so you can relax. We're playing the best passing offense in the league. We're playing a real physical, get-after-it defense. This is a very important football game. It's a home conference game. Those are not the things you have to talk to our guys about. They understand that."
On the role of Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne and the team's media relations staff play in prepping him and the players to work with the media:"Kevin does a tremendous job of prepping us and prepping the players. He's the best guy I've seen. But, in all seriousness, our people do a great job. And our players do a good job. And that's a reflection of the training they get a little bit. But, you've got to let them be themselves. Kevin and his staff do a great job. You try to give [the players] some ideas and some tips and some pointers, but you've got to let them be themselves a little bit. These are grown men. They're going to say what they think. And, there's a good balance there. Our group does a great job of that."
QB Joe Flacco
On what has been the biggest difference in the success of the offense the past two weeks as compared to the first two weeks:"Nothing. I'll say it over and over again: We played pretty good against the Jets, we didn't against the Cincinnati Bengals, and that was it. It's one week out of four. There's no difference. We're playing good, I think, but we still need to score more points, and we still want to score more points. We've played good defenses, and I think we've done a pretty good job against them."
On what his day was like 24 hours after the game against Pittsburgh:"Same as it normally is just after a win. I think we were all excited to go in there and get a win, but we're always excited to get a win. It doesn't matter who we're going against. I think it might have been a little extra special to go in there and get a win, but it wasn't any different for me."
On whether he can understand why Ravens fans are excited to see him put together a late, game-winning drive on the road:"Yeah, definitely. I mean, it was an exciting game. Believe me, we were all excited when it happened, and it's definitely something to be excited about. [But] for us as a player, I don't think one win is any different than another win in the regular season. I think they're all pretty much the same, and we're excited about all of them."
On what he sees from the Denver Broncos' defense when he studies film:"They've got a good secondary, and you know, they've got a rookie out at corner, but they've got a good veteran core of guys in the secondary, and they know how to play. So, I think we can attack them in certain areas, but they're definitely good players, and we're going to have to be careful and be on top of our game."
On whether it is a challenge to keep all of the receivers happy throughout the course of a game:"I don't know. I think sometimes guys are going to be unhappy, and you're going to have some weeks where everybody is happy. I can't pay too much attention to that, so I don't know what the challenge is. I've got to go back there and find the open guy, and however it turns out, it turns out. If somebody ends up unhappy, then we'll deal with it and they'll be happy the next week, because they're going to get the ball the next week. So, I think when you have as many guys as we do that want the ball, it's going to be tough to get them all the ball in every week. So, they're going to have to be patient and realize that they're going to have to be there for us next week."
On whether the coaches have stressed a little more than usual this week about not letting down emotionally coming off such an emotional game in Pittsburgh:"I don't think so. There's a week in between games; if you can't get your emotions back between game to game… I'm sure there are times when teams have big, emotional wins, and they go out and lose the next week, and everybody always says it's an emotional [lapse]. I mean, there's a week between a game, just like there is every other week. So, if you can't get your emotions back in check and get ready to play the game, then we're not the team that we think we are."
On whether he believes this team's offense has evolved into a passing offense over the last few years:"I don't know. I think it will change every week. But, we have a lot of weapons out there, and we were able to do what we needed to in the end of the game. We'll see as the season goes on. I'm not sure what you want to call us right now, but I think we're definitely playing pretty well in that part."
On whether it has been a process for him to learn how to use all of those weapons: "I don't know. I'm not dropping back, trying to learn how to use everybody. Like I said, we call plays for certain guys. Sometimes a certain progression takes me somewhere, but really, I'm just trying to find the open guy and take the ball where the defenses tell me to. And whoever it ends up being, it ends up being. So, I don't know that it's something you learn how to do."
On whether he could have executed that TD play with WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh in his first week with the Ravens, or if that's something that takes time to develop:"No, we could have done that right away. I mean, it's not that hard." (laughter)
On whether there were any mementos or anything that he kept from the game on Sunday:"Yeah, I stole a ball, not because it's Pittsburgh. I said to the equipment guys, I think it was last week, we busted out those pink ribbon balls to play with in the game, and as soon as I saw us breaking them in out here, I said I'm going to steal one of these after the game. So, that was my plan all along, and no matter if we won or lost, I was going to keep one of them. So, it wasn't necessarily something because we beat Pittsburgh. I just wanted one of those balls because they were different."
On what he did with the ball:"It's just back in my apartment."
On whether he feels more comfortable now than he's ever felt in this offense:"Yeah, I would say so. I mean, it's been the longest I've been in the offense, obviously. I think we felt pretty comfortable last year, and I think I've felt pretty comfortable all along, but I think just due to time and things like that, I think, yeah."
On whether he feels like he's been more of a commanding presence in the huddle this season, like he mentioned he'd like to be during training camp:"I don't know. I don't know if that was said or not, and if it was, yeah I think you always want to be, and I think I do a good job of doing that when I need to. I think playing quarterback and being a good leader and being that guy, it starts with what I said first – playing good. And if you play good, then guys are going to feel your presence and want to go in there and play well. So, I think that's where it starts, and I think we're all doing a good job. I think I'm doing a good job of that and I know what to say to my guys when we need to. And they're all a good group of guys that want to work hard, so it's not a very tough job."
On what he thinks, as an opposing QB, when they're going up against a team that throws the ball a lot:"We want to put as many points as we can on the board each week. You know, I'd love to come out there and just fire the ball around and trek up and down the field every time we get the ball. And that's what we're trying to do every game we play. It doesn't matter what the opposing team does on their offense. We can't worry about that. That's up to the defense to do their part of the job, and like I said, we're trying to put points on the board every drive anyway. So, mindset is pretty much the same."
LB Ray Lewis
On the speed of this team compared to others he has played on:"I think this team… We have a lot of speed in a lot of different places – from the D-line to everywhere – from every position on our field, offensively and defensively. When you look around, I think that's kind of the thing when we watch film that you kind of notice the most, that we have a bunch of guys who can just flat-out run, which is a good thing."
On the value of DT Haloti Ngata:"I think the value for him is just overall defensively, he controls… I spoke about him last week about him being kind of like Sam Adams was for us back in those days, when you could just be able to just not block him, bottom line. He has a gift. He has a gift of his humility and the way he just loves to play the game. His talent speaks for itself and what he can do on the football field. I think more importantly is that people just love playing with him just because of the type of person he is. That's kind of why I'm excited to just have him here and just play behind him, because he's just so humble as a person. When he's on the field, that carries over. When he dominates the way he dominates, the game becomes kind of easy for us."
On facing a passing offense after playing primarily rushing offenses: "Honestly, I just think it's about us coming out, playing, doing what we do. If you do watch the film of what's going on and you do watch [Kyle Orton], he's throwing the ball extremely well. But at the same time, there are a lot of missed tackles, a lot of missed tackles. The run after the catch is huge if you really focus on film enough. Eddie Royal and those guys – the young boy out of Georgia Tech [Demaryius Thomas] – they're making some people miss, and you don't see the pursuit as well as you would want it to be. So, the bottom line, our emphasis this week was: They may catch some balls, but the bottom line is you have to hit them and stop them where they catch it at, and then hopefully that limits the run after the catch and things like that."
On whether there is a different confidence level after winning in Pittsburgh: "I think the only confidence we've got is that we're coming back home. We've been on the road three out of four weeks, and I think our confidence now is just riding that now that everything has kind of evened out for us. We got through the first quarter of the season 3-1 playing three hard games on the road. Now, coming back home and having that momentum – offense, defense and special teams – now we can kind of carry that momentum coming home. If we have any motivation, that would be it."
On why more offenses throw more now than in past years: "Facts show that it benefits them way more. You watch some of the games in the National Football League – even the Denver and Tennessee game last week – you watch the end of the game... You throw a ball up – a Hail Mary ball – and it's a pass interference in the end zone, and you're on the 1-yard line. You lose that game. It does benefit them. Why wouldn't they throw it more? But, you look at all the teams that have success late in the year, it's always those teams who run the football. You only have a select few teams who can really throw the ball like that and have that much success."
On how LB Jameel McClain has matured:"I think, once again, when you do speak about these youngsters, the thing about him is his study habits. He picks my brain more than anything, and that's kind of one of the things that we have going. And not just me and him, me and [Dannell] Ellerbe as well, and any one of them. And even before Tavares [Gooden] got hurt, those guys, when we're on the field, we're talking so much as you see before the plays. And even when we're out at practice, we're communicating so we understand each other – what not to show, what to show, how to play this, how to play that. And anytime you can do that, then that takes I'd say at least 80-percent out of the game of thinking. Then you just react. And so for Jameel, man, for them to run around and play like they're playing, it's an exciting thing, because when we come in the film room as a linebacker group, for us not to have mental errors or anything like that, that's huge in any game. And in the first four games, we haven't had a mental error. That, for us, is huge. So things like that. But I just think it's their willingness just to keep learning as fast as they are."
On whether there is a different feeling about QB Joe Flacco this week after the win at Pittsburgh:"I don't think so for us, man. Honestly. I think Joe is Joe. Joe is Joe from the day he walked in this building. Joe is still going to be Joe whether he would have won that game last week or lost that game last week. We're going to ride with Joe. That's just the way we are. Most of the times you put it on our quarterback. But for the defense, [if opponents] don't score, they don't win. So a lot of times, we say Joe should be coming back. Joe shouldn't have to come back because we shouldn't let them score. But for him to take that step last week, I just think it's just a step for our team to go forward and start capitalizing the way we did."
CB Lardarius Webb
On how close he is to being 100-percent healthy: "I'm coming. I'm still working on it, still putting work in every day to get back there."
On how he felt during Sunday's game: "I felt good. I practiced hard all week on it, so it felt good. I'm not going to say it was 100 [percent], but it felt good. I had an OK game."
On getting on the field: "Yes, it was great to be out there with the defense. It was great."
On whether he got some applause from teammates while watching film: "Yes, I got some love all weekend. It was great. [It was] me doing my job, not trying to let them get a deep shot on us, just doing my part on the defense. The D-line had a great rush all game, so it was easy for me to do my job."
On whether there is a little more emotion involved after making a big play: "No, it just let me know how I can trust in the Lord 100 percent. He got me back on the field. That's all I wanted – was to be back on the field again. I'm happy to be running again."
On what he has seen on film from the Broncos' passing offense: "They've got a great wide receiver corps. I didn't know how good these guys were until I cut all my film. Eddie Royal, Brandon Lloyd, [Jabar] Gaffney – these guys are some of the best. The quarterback – he's playing at his best. The No. 1 pass offense – they're at the top. So, we have to bring our 'A' game this week on this field right here. We have to have a hard week this week."
On preventing the Denver wideouts from breaking tackles: "Yes, we've got to be physical this week in the backend. We just have to get prepared for these guys. They're quick, they're fast, they have the whole package, and we just have to be prepared."
On whether he thinks about the knee injury when he plays: "That was my time during training camp, learning how to have confidence. That's all that confidence is. When you have confidence to go in the air and come down on it and plant and do all those things on your knee… My confidence is higher."
On taking the ball out of the receiver's hands on the long pass at Pittsburgh: "I actually saw it in my hands. I was tracking it the whole time, and I just knew I was going to pick this ball. When it hit my hand, it hit his hands, too, so I just had to make sure he didn't catch it. It was just 100-percent hustle, trying to make a play."