DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
On kicking in the dome this week in Houston:"Anytime you're playing in Texas, the weather is going to be a little bit warmer, and then you put the dome on top of it… We've been practicing in our warm facility, so we anticipate it being very acceptable for kickers, I guess is the best way you describe it. Kickers like this kind of weather in December. So, they look at the schedule as soon as it's going out, and they look at December and say, 'Where am I going to be in December?' Houston fit favorably in their eyes."
On where he feels like CB Lardarius Webb's comfort level is at punt returner now:"He certainly looks more comfortable in his setups and the way he's attacking the seams. And we still have a ways to go yet – we didn't score – but 35 yards is certainly an improvement. We had a couple things at the top of that return we could have done better to make it a better return, but as my immediate supervisor pointed out to me, we haven't had a lot of experience at that point in the return. So, hopefully we can have a couple more shots as we get down the road."
On whether WR David Reed's knack for finding holes on kickoff returns is something the coaching staff has engrained in him or if he's just been able to do that on his own:"He's a tough guy. Anytime you're playing L-5 on a kickoff cover team, you better have some toughness. Anytime you're a gunner on a punt team, you better have some toughness. So, that's something that he really brought to the table prior to us putting him as the starting returner. But it's certainly a trait that you look for in a kickoff returner, because anytime you stop your feet on a kickoff return and you don't hit the hole, the timing is off. And then all the leverages you've worked for [are] destroyed. It's much different than a punt return, where guys can make a guy miss, and then the thing is still setting up. It's more of a set play. And so, the way he runs in returns is certainly the way we like him to run them – hard and fast."
On it seeming like Reed likes to run the ball out of the end zone no matter how deep the kick is:"He's aggressive. Yeah, he doesn't like to mess around back there. He gets a chance, and he's going to go for it. And we don't want to push him down in that regard. We want him to take opportunities, but we also – in coaching that whole thing – we also have gone through the idea, 'Well, where's the ball and who's the kicker and what's the hang time?' And I think the more experience he gets, the more he develops that mental clock, that stopwatch in his head where, 'It may be four yards deep, but if it's a lower ball I can take this one.' And he has our blessing on most of those."
On coach John Harbaugh saying that last week's loss was the toughest since he's been here and whether it's been any different in the building this week as compared to other losses:"I don't know if I can compare how it's been. I mean, he's a guy that handles the team in both success in victory and in losses very well. And in the locker room and in the meeting we had on Wednesday morning, [it] was really a stand-up meeting for all of our guys and for coach Harbaugh. And I think the leadership at the helm and being as steady as he is, I think we all feel that, the coaches and the players. We have a lot of football left – four games in the regular season. It's hard to imagine that we still have a quarter of our season left, but we do. So, we still have a lot to do yet, and John has set us on that path."
On what he means by saying Wednesday's meeting was "stand-up":"Because he stands in front of the room and he stands tall, both physically and everybody in our room has taken responsibility for what happened on that Sunday night, John included. And when you have a bunch of men in the room, and there are players and coaches and we're all together in that, then it's a lot easier to bear the weight when you're all bearing it together."
On whether he expects K Billy Cundiff to get some recognition in Pro Bowl voting from other coaches and players around the league:"I do. I think probably the fans will probably, the more they see him, the more they'll realize what he's doing, and Monday night's another opportunity for that. But the thing I love about Billy is he's really not trying to be in the Pro Bowl. He's trying to win football games, and if [the Pro Bowl] comes along at the same time, that would be great. But the comments you made about the other players, it's remarkable how many kickers and special teams coaches I've seen before the game that have all commented about Billy's performance so far and how well he's playing and how clean his technique is. Kickers are usually the guys that comment about his fundamentals, and the special teams coaches are usually the guys that talk about his kickoff touchbacks, because the kickers want to pay attention to detail and the special teams coaches are just looking at the results, 'Wow!' (laughter) The kickers are watching all the little things that he's doing, because I think that he's… The things he's done so far this year really stand out, and I think the longer the season goes on, the more exposure he gets, the more people are going to realize that."
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
On whether he feels unfairly criticized about the play-calling in the Steelers game:"Absolutely not. Obviously, we've got a game coming up, so we've got to move on. However, there's nothing that's been said that I wouldn't have already said. You just didn't get to me first, and I mean that sincerely. I would've said all that before anybody else could've said it. That's the bottom line."
On whether the solution comes down to strictly execution:"I think that's the important word, but I think it's coaching execution. Our players have all said to me – and I think you know the kind of group we've got here – the first thing they say, because we look at the tape critically, is, 'We've got to execute better.' Well, when you have to execute better, that's not players just executing better, that's coaching better and coaching guys to execute better. That's the way this thing works. We take a ton of pride here, in our ability as coaches, to get the most out of every guy – whether he's a rookie, like you've seen with Joe [Flacco], Ray [Rice], Michael [Oher], all these young [players], all the way to the guys who are 13-, 14-, 15-year guys at the backend of their career. We take a lot of pride in getting the most out of these guys. For whatever reason right now, it's not where we wanted to be. There [are] glimpses of it, which means we're inconsistent. You can't flash and be inconsistent and think you're going to score points. To me, that's the only stat that ultimately matters. Obviously, I know we've got to take care of the ball, and we'll be solid in that area, but you've got to find ways to score points and, at the same time, not turn it over. The [problem with the] running game is several things that we've had the ability to address this week. If you ask any of our guys, they'll all say that they're all a part of it. There's nobody pointing the fingers at anybody. We're all a part – the guy calling the plays, down to the guy that runs the ball, to the people that block for him. Plain and simple. I guess the good news is, that was a heck of a blow the other night. I get that, but it wasn't a fatal blow. That is what's important, and I mean that sincerely. Now it's December. Now, we're in the fourth quarter of the season – and I'm speaking offensively – [it's time] for us to play the way we're capable of playing, and I'm confident with the guys that we have and the staff that we have that we can get that done. Monday night will be a challenge. This is a good Houston team. Their defense is getting knocked because of their rankings, but look at the offenses they've played. This is a good team we're going against, and this is going to be a heck of a challenge for our offense."
On whether Steelers LB James Harrison sliding down caused the sack-fumble in the fourth quarter of the game Sunday night:"No. That was… You're looking at the guy responsible. There was a flaw in that protection. We don't have a protection where [No.] 43 [Troy Polamalu] comes unblocked. We don't have a run play where [No.] 43 comes unblocked in that game. There are some cases where guys can be unblocked – not him. There was a flaw there that I did not catch for some reason. In 25-plus years, I have never seen that happen, and it showed up at the worst possible time it could have, and it's my job to catch that flaw. That flaw has been corrected. Now, there's a way they can get us, but it [isn't] getting us from that side. It isn't getting us from the quarterback's backside. If it gets us… Next time you see a guy unblocked in that protection, it'll be where the quarterback's expecting it to be unblocked."
On how he handles finger-pointing:"When that game was over – I'm not naïve – I knew exactly what happened, and I knew exactly why it happened. No one wants to hear any excuses of why it happened. I know where the accountability lies on what happened. The one thing, I've just been in it too long. It's my responsibility. It's my responsibility to get it fixed, too. And that's the good news; I know how to get it fixed. That's the important thing. You're in this business long enough, you're going to get hit in the teeth every now and then. You look it dead in the eye and you get it fixed. I think the important thing to know is that wasn't a fatal blow to this team. I'm not going to let it be a fatal blow for this offense. It [isn't] going to happen, not as long as I'm here."
On why none of his assistants watching from the press box recognized what went wrong in the sack-fumble play:"You don't need somebody from the press box to see that angle. I've been doing this for too long. You get to the point where you can see all 22 guys at the same time. I know that's hard for you to believe that, but you do. You see something unfolding, and then all of a sudden, it happens. You know exactly what happened. The minute it happened, I knew what happened and I knew why it happened, period. Point the finger. We've got to move on. Everybody else can do what they want, but we have got to move on because we've got a group of guys who have to play on Monday night. Until we do something differently, it's going to be hard to get through that [Steelers loss] for some people, and I understand that."
On whether pairing down some of the schemes was part of the problem:"It can be. It hasn't been. You never… This time of year, you can't afford to be carrying anything that you don't need in your offense. You have an extensive package, an extensive system that you feel good about, that you've run for years, but the players have to learn it, and you've got to trim it down toward the end of the year. We'd be doing that anyway. But, we all know the other side of that – now you become predictable. I'm OK with that, too. The old 'conservative,' 'predictable,' I don't worry about that because I understand, and I think our players and our coaches definitely understand, the simplest, most predictable play executed looks unpredictable and imaginative. I watched the [Colts-Titans] game last night, and there's another team that's taken the same philosophy – just simplified some things – and all of a sudden, they looked imaginative and they're running the same plays that they've always run. It comes down to execution. We all understand that. We're just the men for the job, and we're going to do everything we can to get it solved and get this thing offensively where it needs to be. I understand the expectations, but I can remind you this, too, about those expectations: Nobody's expectations are higher than ours, as coaches and as players. We understand the expectations, but our expectations are even higher."
On the thinking regarding throwing instead of running before the sack-fumble: "I think football is way beyond running and throwing. Let's say it like it is. It's executing the run, executing the pass. This is 2010. That's just the way it is. You call a run, you execute it. You call a pass, you execute it. You try to keep people… Sounds like they were expecting run there, next thing you know, hey, all of a sudden you execute it, and the game is over potentially. So, it's about execution, and that's the thing we have to remember, because we all know what happens if that is a five-yard loss on a run. So, I don't worry about that. All right? I don't worry about that. I've got tremendous…"
Turns to Ravens senior vice president of public/community relations Kevin Byrne, and says: "This is probably where we can move on, if this is the last one."
"The confidence I have, starting with Joe, all the way through this offense, ain't changing. You can look at it however you want to look at it. When we come off that field, we're going to give our players a chance to have won the game for us, and I trust these guys. It didn't work out the other night, but it's going to work out a lot more than it isn't."
Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison
On RB Arian Foster: "His stats speak for themselves. His film speaks for itself. This guy is a great back. He's got size, he's got great speed and he's got the ability to cut downhill. And, he's also a great pass receiver. This is one of the really, really good backs in the league."
On Houston leading the league in fourth-quarter points: "They've scored a lot of third-quarter and second-quarter points, too. They've done a great job scoring. They're a very, very good offense. And now, getting Owen Daniels back will even make them better. We're going to have to be on our 'A' game, there's no question about it. We've done a lot of film study on them, and as of today's practice – we had a really, really good practice today – I really believe our guys know what they have to do and will do it."
On whether Foster is different from other backs the defense has faced: "I think there's two categories: There's the big guy that can go downhill, and then there's the big guy that can take it outside and go downhill, and that's this guy. He's the real deal."
On whether Foster playing all three downs makes it easier on the defense: "No, in fact, their backup running back, [Derrick] Ward, he's done a really good job also. The thing that makes their offense so successful, too, is the fact that if you try to load the box up to try to stop that run and say, 'Hey, listen, we're going to make sure we've got more guys in the box and we'll stop the run,' now you've got [Andre] Johnson, you've got Daniels, you've got Jacoby [Jones]. You've got some very, very skilled guys, and the quarterback, I think, is eighth in the NFL ranking-wise. So, you can't make a steady diet of saying, 'Hey, we're going to bring everybody down in there and stop that run.' Our guys have to stop that run with what we're doing in there, mixing in and out some eight-man fronts, some seven-man fronts, and do some different things. You can't just sit in there with the same thing."
On whether WR Andre Johnson is usually open because of his size: "I think he's open a lot of times because people do bring a safety down in the box to stop the run, so he's single-covered out there a lot. I think that's what makes it difficult with him because he does demand double coverage by his talents and by what he's shown, but at the same time, when you're double-covering somebody like that, now you're not as heavy inside. That's what makes their offense good."
On what QB Matt Schaub does well: "Schaub is very, very good at throwing the single route. In other words, in every pattern they have, they've got one guy that, I think, they believe is open. And if that guy is not open, that's when he goes to the checkdown. It's kept him from getting sacked a lot – even though he's got, I think, 25 sacks – but he's done a great job of seeing [if] Johnson's there. If he's not there, 'I'm going to go right down to my checkdown.' It's made it a pretty safe deal, and a very productive deal for them."
On Schaub not going through a lot of progressions: "No, their concept, I think you would say, would be a levels concept where they're going to bring a guy underneath and have a guy behind him. They're going to set a guy down on the numbers, and if he's not there, they're going to end up with a guy coming underneath or a checkdown. They're a real high-low-type team."
On whether any other teams run this kind of offense: "Not specifically. In fact, I think our coaches have said this is a very, very good offense in that they have really put in what's good for their talent. You've got that big wide receiver out there; he's talented. Now you've got a tight end coming in there, he's talented to do the crossing routes, and you can get the crossing routes with Johnson and him. So, you've got a high-low. And then, you take those things away, you've got a great opportunity to check down to a really fast, good-receiving running back."
On Foster being similar to Ravens RB Ray Rice: "Yeah, a taller version, a taller version, but the same kind of guy, the same thing. Ray Rice, you see him and he makes a lot of linebackers break their angles. The thing that happens is you say to the linebacker, 'You better get close to him on a checkdown because he's going to make you miss.' Well, now you've opened up the one right behind you, and that's what they're trying to get you to do. You've got to make sure that we get guys cupping that when we come down."
On the importance of avoiding a shootout: "It's very big for us. Anybody we play, we don't ever want to let that happen, obviously. Our guys know what this game is all about. We're ready to go, and we understand this is the next big one. I've really been proud of our defense, the way they came out this week. We had tough practices Wednesday, Thursday and today, and not a guy was complaining. They just went about their business, and that really said a lot about those guys."