Press Conference Transcript - Practice 11/27


Head Coach John Harbaugh

On how his Thanksgiving went: "Thanksgiving was amazing. It was great – great family time. I think all the players enjoyed themselves, must be thankful for [it], but we've moved on from that now and we're back at work."

On how S Ed Reed is doing and whether there is any illness going through the team: "We've had, for the last few weeks, we've had guys getting sick on and off. I don't think we've got something that's catching. [Vice president of medical services/head certified athletic trainer] Bill Tessendorf thought it was more of a food issue. Hopefully, he didn't eat anything here that was the problem. It's nothing that's caught, and he seemed fine today."

On S Tom Zbikowski's status: "I think he's practiced really well. We haven't seen any ill effects. I think we'll have to see how he feels Sunday before the game, really, just to make sure it's strong enough. You want to make sure a guy can get through the whole game. That's the bottom line."

On G/C Chris Chester's status: "We haven't ruled him out. I always like guys to practice. However, Chris is a guy that's been here from the beginning. I don't think he's missed a practice all year. I'm certain he could go in and play without practicing this week. He's been in all the meetings. It's just a matter of how well… He has, obviously, an incision, so we've just got to make sure it's healed up."

On whether DE Cory Redding practicing is a positive sign for Sunday: "It would be. We'll just have to, again, see on Sunday how the elbow is feeling. He's going to have to be powerful enough and strong enough."

On G/T Tony Moll stepping in on the offensive line: "I think when we traded for him that was probably the idea, that he could be a guy that… I know Tony wants to compete to start, and he has been competing. He got set back a little bit in training camp with the concussion issue and missed a couple, three weeks of practice. So, he's a guy who considers himself a starter, and he sure played like one last week. If he goes, it'll be a great opportunity, I think, for him to kind of prove what he's all about."

On how well Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman throws on the run: "He's good. He's good. I think he's a playmaker. He's done a great job with his legs, both scrambling for first downs and for getting out of the pocket and keeping his eyes downfield. So, he's done both."

On whether Freeman throws accurately on the run: "Yeah, I'd say so. There are certain guys in this league that are uncanny – Ben Roethlisberger and guys like that. But Josh, he's thrown pretty accurately on the run. I'd say he'd still have to prove himself to be in that category [of Roethlisberger]. But I think it's a concern for us, and we have to make sure when he scrambles that we do a good job, A, of tackling him, and, B, of covering the receivers downfield."

On the importance of tackling Freeman well because of his size: "Well, you have to. That's the whole challenge right now. There's kind of the balancing act between the rules and basically tackling him hard enough to get him down. These guys are big men, and we'll have to make sure we do that."

On whether big running backs have hurt the Ravens due to poor tackling: "I'd have to go back and look at it. I just hadn't thought about it."


Reporter interjects: "[Mike] Goodson wasn't necessarily a big back, but he had 120 on you."

"Yeah, Goodson had two runs on us. You know, he had the one 45-yard run that they caught us in a defense* *that we were overshifted a little bit. Formationally, they did a nice job of setting that play up, and they cut the nose guard. He's a very quick, explosive guy, so I think that accounts for that play. They got 22 yards at the end on two plays when we had to put our defense back out there. So, you take away the 45- [yard run], and you take away the two plays where we shouldn't have even been on the field because we should have had first downs, now you're talking about a 50-yard game. I wouldn't overthink it. Now, do we want to give up those kind of yards? No, and we're going to have a challenge this week because this guy, he's different than a Goodson. He's a downhill – he's more of a [Peyton] Hillis-type guy – downhill, hard-running guy. That's always a challenge. The teams he's played against the last two weeks have struggled against that."

On the progression of LB/DE Paul Kruger: "Paul's done a good job. He's a guy that… He's worked hard. He plays two positions for us now as far as the regular stuff because he can play behind Cory [Redding] inside, and he also can play behind Terrell Suggs outside. So, he's made himself more and more versatile as we've gone. I think on the nickel pass-rush stuff is where he's really shined. I'm excited about it. I just want to see him keep continuing… He's got to work on technique and fundamentals – the little things from a technique standpoint – because he's already got the motor. He's got good athleticism. But, if he can become a real great technique player – which he's made huge strides on this year – he can be, I think, a real special player."

On whether it is tough to learn technique in the middle of the season:"I'd say it is harder [than learning in the offseason], but we try to work real hard at it. We try to make it an emphasis in every drill. Even when we do walk-throughs and when we do no pad [practices], we really try to emphasize technique. How well you play in December and January probably has a lot to do with how well you do work on that during the season."

On how much Kruger's weight gain has paid off for him:"I think it paid off in the sense that it put him down inside during training camp and that forced him to play better technique. He had to play the run with technique. He had to learn how to come off the ball with a flat back, get his hands inside, get his face in there and be a stout player. And that has made him a better pass rusher and it has made him a better run player. So I don't think it's the weight, per se. I think it's the fact that to gain the weight, it put him in that position where he had to learn how to play football inside, and it just made him a better football player. He's probably a little lighter [now] than he was in training camp because his role is more of a pass rusher now. But, he's still got that strength, pretty much."

On the Buccaneers being outscored by opponents in every quarter except the fourth, in which they've outscored opponents 63-29:"They've done a great job. They've won games. There have been a lot of close games. They've had some comeback victories. I think it speaks well to Josh Freeman and the job he's done just rallying them. In this league, no lead is safe, and they've proven that. So, we're going to have to play really well in the fourth quarter to win the game."

On Buccaneers WR Mike Williams' progression:"Mike Williams was a guy that we also brought in here and interviewed him. So he was here on campus. We really liked him as a talent. He had some issues in college, [but] I think he did a good job of kind of explaining those things. Guys grow up. He's played so well for them. He's a threat every time he touches the ball. We knew he was that kind of talent. We had him on our draft board still. They kind of jumped in there and got him. He's made a big difference for them.

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