Press Conference Transcript - Practice 11/18


Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

Opening statement:"I have an announcement to make: David Reed will be our kickoff returner this coming Sunday." (laughter)

On whether that is true:"I just made an announcement. I know you've been curious. I just thought I'd throw that out there. I'm trying to cooperate. I can understand why you'd question that." (laughter)

On what he likes about Reed that makes him the guy:"I think David Reed has grown every week that we've put him back there. You see things in the returns that you like to see. This last week I saw him split the middle on one of our returns, and [if] we were able to get the safety he might have made a big play. But we weren't. The safety made a good play and got him down, but I like the fact that he went vertical and I like the fact that we still had the ball when the play was over. And I like his spirit. He practices hard, he's an exciting guy, the guys like blocking for him, and we're going to give him another shot this week. And I know you're all excited about that."

On who will be returning punts:"We'll find out Sunday." (laughter)

On not having any announcements about punt returner:"No announcements. I have no announcements on punt returns." *(laughter) *

On whether WR Donte' Stallworth is being considered for punt return duties:"Donte' is one of the guys to be considered, yes."

On how much Stallworth has progressed on punt returns in practice as he's gotten healthier:"Well, like anything else, the practice is valuable, but there's no substitution for game reps. And that's kind of where we're at with all of our punt returners. You know with [Tom Zbikowski] and [Lardarius Webb] and now Donte', we're all growing into those spots. So, the more practice we get, hopefully the better we get, and then the game opportunities come when we play well."

On how he felt Webb was doing with punt returns, outside of his fumble last week:"Other than 'the play?' You know, the first priority we have whenever we go out there in our return game is to give our offense the ball. And when you put the ball on the ground, there's no possible way of assessing anything else if you're doing that. You just can't do that, and he's aware of that, and [it's] something we've been working on and we have a high priority in ball security. We practice it, we preach it, and he's aware of it. He just didn't use good fundamentals. So, we've been practicing his fundamentals, we got him back there in practice today working on it some more, and so we'll see what happens this week."

On what he attributes his return game statistics to relative to the league at this point in the season:"I attribute it to a lot. And I said this previously, but there are a lot of factors that go into success and there are a lot of factors that go into a team that doesn't have success. And I thought there were some real positive things on both phases actually in the blocking areas, but when one thing breaks down, it looks all bad. It's no different than, I guess, a symphony orchestra, where if we've got one [instrument] that's out of tune, it doesn't sound good, no matter how well the others sound. (laughter) And that's kind of what's going on with us. We have a breakdown here and a breakdown there, and we've got to all start playing together better, including the coaching. I take full responsibility for it, and we've been changing a little bit of how we've been practicing things and moving some guys to different positions to try to fine-tune it. And we hope that we find success soon."

On what goes into making the decision of whether or not to run a kickoff out of the end zone:"Every one of those decisions has to be made by the player going into the game. And so one of the factors you have to look at is how the ball is kicked. That ball being 5-yards deep, you'd say, normally you wouldn't bring it out. Well, was it a line drive kick? Did you get behind the ball well? Were you able to take the ball running? And so, that changes the math a little bit. If you're going backwards and you're going sideways and you catch that same ball, or the ball was high and hanging, you wouldn't want to bring that out. And the other factor that enters into it is the game situation. At the end of the game where you have a long ways to go to try to win the game and you need to score a touchdown, you're more likely to take a little more risk, which I believe David did in that situation [at Atlanta]. And if you have a big lead and you're trying to run the game out, it might be a different situation completely. So, there are a lot of variables that go into that decision."

On whether he likes Reed taking that risk at the end of the Atlanta game, in that situation:"I loved it, yeah. Absolutely. I wish we'd have blocked it better."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

On why T Marshal Yanda was not at practice:"His wife is having a baby, right? Yeah, yeah. Good question. I know she's due. I don't know all the specifics."

On whether Yanda will be in Carolina on Sunday:"Yeah, we expect him."

On what attributes a QB must possess to lead a team to a fourth-quarter comeback:"I guess you'd think it almost would be obvious. Lots of guys just strive on that situation; I think that's the first thing, and I think most of them do. It's kind of the guy that wants to take the last shot, the guy that wants to make the last throw, the guy that can really function under pressure. I think one thing I enjoy about Joe [Flacco is] he really rises to the occasion in those situations. I think the great ones do. And as we all can see every week, that really is the difference in most games. A quarterback's ability to manage, especially on the road, with the crowd noise and all the different things that come up in that situation, the clock, [shows that they are] just good, smart, competitive guys that really refuse to lose."

On how to get the offense to start fast on the road:"We always want to get better in that area. We've got to quit scoring in the beginning of the second quarter, and then everybody will think it was the first quarter. But in Atlanta, I couldn't agree more. Usually, most teams will get two series in the first quarter, and a lot of times that one goes right into the second [quarter]. So there's no doubt because you see we do at home. We start fast at home. That's something we need to… We've done it before – the New England playoff game, which seems like 10 years ago. But, it comes down to execution and making some quick adjustments. You really can't wait until the end of a series to make adjustments. You've got to make adjustments in the middle of series when people are doing things a little bit different to you and execute a little bit better."

On the cause of the improvement in the red zone production against Atlanta:"It's like earlier in the year, we knew the issue – ball security. It was clear to everybody: You turn the ball over, you have no chance to do anything other than give yourself a chance to get beat. Scoring zone, it was very obvious what was taking place. We had penalties in the scoring zone; we had negative plays in the scoring zone; we put ourselves in difficult situations, and we really couldn't overcome ourselves. [What we did in] Atlanta, that's what we're trying to do – move the ball forward, execute in critical situations. And I think we took a big step in that game."

On whether it was impressive that QB Joe Flacco was able to score by passing rather than running in the red zone:"That's what we're trying to do. We ran the ball I think a couple of times in there. But most teams are dropping eight [men in the box]. They're playing the run and they're dropping eight. The quarterback has got to be sharp, got to be precise [and] he's got to have tremendous trust. You can see [Flacco] and Todd [Heap], Anquan [Boldin], Derrick [Mason have that trust]. I'm sure you'll see T.J. [Houshmandzadeh] involved in that – you saw that earlier in the year. Obviously, [we're] just sitting there with some good backs. We should do well in the scoring zone, and I think everybody on offense has that expectation."

On what goes into the decision to go no-huddle on offense:"Well, we no-huddled basically every game the first year [in 2008] and then off and on last year. We've got some new guys. We mix it up. I don't think there's any magic to it for us. The rule where there's a stoppage of personnel changes affects no-huddle a little bit, whereas before it wasn't an issue. We're changing personnel quite a bit. We really don't want to change personnel no-huddling and then have the official stop the play every time we substitute. But it's something we like, something we've done, and we'll do it strategically when we think it's to our advantage."

On whether he notices a change in Flacco during the fourth quarter:"Joe's pretty consistent. I think I said to the guys this week: 'Maybe we need to take that fourth-quarter-mentality for four quarters.' We've got guys that relish those kinds of situations. Well, those plays in the first quarter, as you guys are alluding to, are just as critical as the ones in the fourth. They don't get as much attention, but a lot of games are won or lost in the first quarter in a lot of different ways. So maybe it's just executing better early, because I think there's a real focus and attention to detail and the moment in the fourth quarter."

On WR Anquan Boldin firing up the team against the Falcons and whether he cares if it is not the QB as the one addressing the team:"Leadership is leadership. Joe [Flacco] does it in his own way, too. And we're going to watch that evolve and grow, just like we all did – just like any human being would grow into a leadership role. Just watch. It's going to continue to grow. But that's what veteran players do. The Todd Heap's, the Derrick Mason's, the T.J. Houshmandzadeh's, the Anquan Boldin's, the Matt Birk's… We've got a lot of veteran leaders, and everybody doesn't just sit around and wait for the quarterback to do everything. This is a collective group of men trying to achieve a common goal. If you're feeling it, let it come out. There's no pecking order of leadership on our offense. We've got a ton of great leaders. And if you're feeling it in that moment, let it come out, especially if you know it's needed."

Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison

On what he knows about Carolina QB Brian St. Pierre: "The one thing… I do know about him because of when he was at Boston College. The way I look at it, whoever comes out there, that's their quarterback. He's an NFL quarterback. We prepare as if [Jimmy] Clausen is going to be there. It really doesn't matter. Whoever the quarterback is, we have to get after him."

On whether he is satisfied with the pressure on opposing quarterbacks or wants to see more: "I always want it to be ramped up more. The Ravens are notoriously a pressure team, and to me, it's when you bring pressure, it's what the pressure is when you bring it. We talked about that this week, that it's not about the pressure. It's not about how many times it's a pressure. It's when you bring the pressure, you've got to beat a guy one-on-one. I think a lot of times people think that when you blitz, there's a free runner, and that doesn't happen. [The] only thing that blitzing does for you – most of the time – is it gets you one-on-one on somebody, and our guys understand that. We've worked on that hard this week."

On whether he feels the defense can generate adequate pressure without blitzing: "We have. As I mentioned before, when you chart the percentage of times that we do blitz, it is up there. It's just a matter, I think, of when we do blitz, we've got to make sure we beat people one-on-one. And if they get the ball out quick, then it goes to the next phase of defense where we've got to get a lot of people there and we've got to tackle it."

On whether he thinks the defense blitzes more than the perception indicates: "I don't know what the perception is."


Reporter interjects: "The perception is that you don't blitz very much."

"That really doesn't matter to me. To me, it's all about what's best for this defense. I don't go into a game, or I don't come out of a game and say, 'Oh boy, we only blitzed this many times.' To me, it's what the outcome of the game is. The thing that people talk about is, 'Did you blitz? How many times did you blitz?' It isn't about that. It's what opportunities you had, what the situation was, and who's in there to blitz, and that's our whole deal."

On whether his strategy differs from the "organized chaos" featured by former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan: "Having been here with Rex, I was part of that scheme, and I tend to believe that we still have that scheme. Again, like I said, if you chart it and you go through it and look and see how many times you blitz and what blitzes you had, I don't know what the numbers were compared to them. But always, the first thing and the only thing we'll ever do is what I feel is best for this defense and what gives us the best chance to win and to put these players in the best position where they can be successful, and that's what we do."

On whether there are certain things a defense does to test a rookie quarterback: "Yeah, definitely. I think anytime you have a young quarterback, then that's a situation where you're talking about, where you say, 'OK, now we don't want to just be four versus their five or whatever in maximum coverage.' Now you want to pressure more. Now you want to see, 'How seasoned is he?' and 'How sharp is he?' on picking them up and things like that. And that's the other thing. When you have a great quarterback or you have a quarterback who their scheme is to get the ball out right now, to send guys, you're putting a lot of people in harm's way, or they're not going to have the ability to be as successful. And that's exactly what you're saying. If you've got a younger guy, you want to go after him. That's for sure."

On how a coordinator moves on following a tough loss like last week: "I'll be real honest with you: That feeling is the sickest feeling you have as a coordinator, because your job is to do whatever you have to do to get your players to be successful. And when it comes down to that, I always look at myself. I always look at myself first as, 'What could you have done better?' and you analyze that. That's what kind of highlights a defense. A defense is highlighted in those situations when it comes down to it and you have a chance to win the ballgame. You're going to always remember that. That's something that I think stays in your mind. But then you've got to go on. As soon as that's over, you've got to start preparing for the next game, and that's what coaching is. Coaching is getting yourself ready [to] have your players play the best they can on the next contest. And that's what this one Sunday is, is us getting ready to go play our best game."

On how much stability CB Chris Carr has brought to the secondary: "A lot. He's very, very intelligent. He's got a lot of experience. Anytime you have experience at any position, it allows [you] to get everybody else ready to go. His communication and his intelligence back there has been a big part of it."

On whether he expected Carr to have such a big role: "Yes. Yes. Yeah, I think we knew that coming out of OTAs. Any Raven that's in that starting 11, you expect that out of. He's stepped it up and he's done it."

On how much a dynamic player like S Ed Reed changes the way a secondary plays: "I hope it allows them to play at their best. When you have… The way I look at it [is] you've got a coach standing back there, and that's what he and Ray [Lewis] bring to this defense. They're guys who have played a lot of snaps and a lot of big-time snaps, and they're students of the game. So, them being back there allows them to be able to talk to those guys and to be able to say, 'Hey, look for this. Look for that,' where a coach on the sideline can't be yelling that out to a guy. Ed is priceless to that secondary. Him being back there is another coach back there, just like Ray is to the linebacking crew and that defense."

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