DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
On K Billy Cundiff's performance this year: "Billy has had a great year in all aspects of kicking. I think his field goals that he's made have had big impacts in our games and are always really important when you evaluate a kicker. He had game-winning kicks, and Billy's done that for us. His kickoffs speak for themselves, not only the number of touchbacks, but the number of balls in the end zone that he's had. We're really happy for him. He deserves it, he's worked hard for it, and we're glad he's a Raven."
On what the wind and weather conditions are expected to be in Cleveland on Sunday:"I'm not sure I know it better than [Cleveland's] specialists do, but I've had some experience there, obviously. But, it's one of those deals where you've got to show up on game day and then analyze it before the game. But you can count on – this time of year – in the shores of Lake Erie, you're going to have wind and you're going to have probably blowing snow. And whatever it says it's going to be at the airport, it's going to be worse down by the stadium, so you can count on it."
On whether he believes WR/RS Joshua Cribbs' numbers are down this year as a result of injuries:"I really don't know. I'm not sure – I'm not on their team – so I really don't know what his injury status has been. I know he's had some issues, but I think one of the things that's clear when I watch the video is that everybody respects him so much. Nobody wants to give him the ball in open spaces, and they take extra efforts to kick the ball away from him, kick the ball out of bounds when they're punting. And, I think if you look at the numbers he's had, he hasn't had that many clean opportunities, and I think that's probably the biggest thing. Everybody respects this guy; they know what he can do, and you just don't want to put the game in his hands."
On whether the Ravens' special teams unit is going into Cleveland a little shorthanded this week due to injuries:"Well, we'll have 45 guys dressed, I know that. Whichever guys are up, we'll play with. You know, David [Reed] has got some issues to overcome, and hopefully he'll be up. We'll have to wait and see by the end of the week. And I think everybody around the league is fighting through some illnesses – you see it on their injury reports and so forth – and it's kind of going around this time of the year, just like it is in probably many of your communities. But hopefully, we'll have everybody going on Sunday, and we'll find out who's going to play when we get there."
On whether it's repetition and technique that enables P Sam Koch to consistently kick inside the 10-yard line:"Yes, a lot of that is repetition and technique. A lot of it is just skill level; Sam is a very skilled athlete. There are a lot of things he can do well, and now that he's developed that style of punt where the ball goes end-over-end, he's very confident in it and he's able to… The thing I think this year that's probably even better than a year ago, is he's now able to move that ball up and down the yard lines, where if it's a ball that's inside the 40- [yard line], he adjusts the kick. If the ball is at the 50-yard line, he adjusts the kick. So, he's now developed a little wider range than he did his first year, and I think that's really serving him well."
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
On whether the Browns' run defense has regressed recently: "No, I just think overall, people – the way games have played out – people have been able to be patient with the run. They've had a lot of run attempts against them. It's obviously a top-10 defense. Ultimately, you can talk about yards… There's usually something you can point to in all of us and say, 'You aren't real good at it,' but the bottom line is they don't give up a lot of points, and they haven't. Obviously, they've been able to confuse some pretty good quarterbacks. If you go back through that schedule, they've given some good teams, some good quarterbacks some headaches, so we've got our work cut out for us. [It's a] division game. [There is] a lot to play for, really on both sides. No matter how you look at it, they've got a lot to play for, and obviously, so do we."
On the key to all the running yards against New Orleans: "I thought we just executed better. I think you've heard me say that, going all the way back to training camp. This year wasn't going to be as much about bells and whistles and those types of things. It was going to be about execution, and obviously, we're trying to get better at executing a lot of things. We executed the running game better, stayed on blocks better. Our offensive pursuit was outstanding. Obviously, we knew that they were outstanding in their pursuit. Ball security was a big part of the game. It was just execution and great blocking up front. There were some great blocks by Anquan [Boldin] and T.J. [Houshmandzadeh] and Derrick [Mason], especially on the one touchdown run, on the big runs. So, [it was] just a collective effort. You need great reception from your quarterback, and then you need nine other guys blocking. Joe [Flacco] utilized our alert package – our alert package – the one we don't have [the last couple weeks]. (laughter) Joe did an outstanding job because that was a big part of the game plan."
On how many times Flacco used the alert package against the Saints:"Probably two or three dozen, so it was good. I know it looked like Joe just had an easy job at the office, but he really did an outstanding job of getting us in and out of plays all day, and did it very subtly."
On using the alert package two or three dozen times in that game alone: "He's been doing it for three years. Again, a phenomenal job by Joe, I thought."
On whether it is accurate that future opponents will be focusing on RB Ray Rice: "Yeah, I think we've leaned on him, other than the two games he was hurt. Just the numbers… We wanted to expand his role this year. We've been able to do that. He's had more touches this year, and you want to continue to do that as a guy grows. It was nice to see the yards-per-carry increase. He is, I would imagine, [in the] top handful in the league in touches. It's nice to be able to do that and still have a guy relatively fresh heading down the stretch."
On whether they paced Rice throughout the season:"No, you're really just trying to win every game. But we've got other guys, and that's the good news. We've got depth at running back and depth at other positions, which we've needed. Obviously, it's showing up at tight end. The depth we need is showing up at receiver now. It's nice to be going down the stretch here with probably more healthy bodies than we've had in the past."
On how TE Todd Heap has responded this week after returning to practice: "Great. Todd, his approach has been… I think we all know he is having a great year and look forward to getting him back probably sooner than later. He hasn't missed a beat in his preparation, his rehab. [He is] a consummate pro, and [we are] looking forward to getting him back."
On whether there is any trepidation in bringing Heap back in too early knowing the playoffs are right around the corner: "You're probably going to do that anyway. I don't know that there's any… Maybe John [Harbaugh] can speak to that a little bit differently. You get them healthy. You really don't want to have a setback when you're trying to get a guy back. I guess that's kind of what you're alluding to a little bit, yeah. And you need a little luck. A little luck has got to play into it. We'll just kind of let it play out, but he's doing everything he can do, and I think focusing on what he can control, and I think that's the important thing."
Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison
On DT Haloti Ngata being selected to the 2010 USA Football/NFL Players Association All-Fundamentals Team:"That right there is what makes my job a really great job. To win an award for a technician when you're rated by some as the best defensive lineman in the NFL, that tells you everything. He comes out every day and he does the same thing, and he did it starting at OTAs. He's an impressive young man."
On whether it shows how impressive Ngata is that he is still effective while getting double- and triple-teamed:"No question. And to play as hard as he plays… The thing you see everywhere in the NFL and every type of football, the better some guys get, sometimes they don't keep reaching. He just keeps reaching to be better and better and better. You can see by the way he's been playing this year; it's pretty evident. That's a real credit to him."
On what makes Browns RB Peyton Hillis so tough to tackle:"I think the first time we played him… First of all, nobody really knew who he was. The second thing, and I mentioned this before, of the yardage he got, he got a bulk of that in three runs, which shows he's not only a big, strong running back, he's also got really good speed. I think if you're not ready for that – you as a defensive lineman and linebacker – if that takes you by surprise, then you're going to gain some yardage you shouldn't get. He's also a very good receiver; he's the second-leading receiver on their team. He's put together a good year."
On whether he is going to take more risks going against Browns rookie QB Colt McCoy:"I would never use the word 'risk.' I don't think you ever want to have that in your defensive calls. But, I think you're right. You want to try to make sure he doesn't see it like he saw it on the blackboard. Our thing is going to be like we always do: Mix up pressure, mix up four-man rush, five-man rush, three-man rush – just don't give them a steady diet. You want to make them as uncomfortable as you can, and all of that starts with stopping the run. The thing you have to do with a young guy, especially, is you've got to make him one-dimensional. That's our philosophy in every game we play, but this is even bigger [in] that you have to be able to stop the run first."
On whether he is comfortable with the statements made by LB Ray Lewis and Ngata about not allowing Hillis to run successfully against their defense again:"I never will say what will happen. All I know is our guys will play as good as they can play. We had a great practice today. We are totally on top of what we have to do. They're the players, and they know whatever they say, they back up. The thing about it [is] I can't play, so I'm not going to make any statements like that. But, I'm glad Ray is and Haloti and Terrell [Suggs] are."
On whether LB Dannell Ellerbe has done anything in practice to make a case for being active in games:"There's a learning process for every young football player, especially with the numbers that we have. All you can do is go by who fits the bill as far as special teams and linebacker. Dannell has done a good job. He's worked hard, he's got a great talent, and you know that anytime he goes in there, he's going to play [well]. And that's what he did, and that's what we expect out of every guy. He's done a very good job for us."
On whether he has seen a higher level of play out of LB Tavares Gooden:"Yeah, he gives so much effort when he plays. He is a really, really [hardworking] person on the special teams. Here's a guy, 250 pounds, running as hard as he can down the field. I think he's in on almost every special teams [tackle]. Now that he's more familiar with the defense, and he's a year older, I don't think it's as hard for him to process everything and then be able to use his athleticism and his ability to run. I think that's what you're seeing more than anything. The more mature you get [and] the more experience you have, some things come easier and it's not so taxing on yourself. We're really, really happy with how he's worked, and we've got a lot of season yet on our mind, so he's got to keep going."
Browns QB Colt McCoy Conference Call
On missing practice yesterday due to illness and how he's feeling today:"I'm feeling a lot better. I don't know if it was a 24-hour bug or if I got some food poising or what, but yesterday wasn't a good day. But today I feel fine. I'm back and had a good practice and you know, back rolling."
On what the biggest challenge for a rookie quarterback is playing in this league:"I don't know if I can nail it down to one specific, but I think there are a lot of challenges. And because of the guys that I look up to, like Peyton [Manning] and Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, just the guys that have been doing it for so long, Tom Brady, I have so much respect for them just because of the week-in and the week-out. You know, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, there are just so many guys who have played and have been successful. And it's a challenge, it's a burden and it's tough. And you know, starting with leadership and then your feel for your receivers and your running back and the speed of the game, the adjustments to that, the adjustments to film study and your preparation week-to-week, there are a lot of things, and it's tough. But, I feel like we've done some really good things. We just need to start winning football games."
On whether he feels like defenses come after him more because he is a rookie:"It's hard to tell. It's hard to tell. You know, I watched the Baltimore game against the Saints, and Baltimore blitzed pretty much every play [on] Drew Brees. And they were coming after him, they were pressuring him, and then you watch the other games, and you watch our game when Seneca [Wallace] was playing, and they do a lot of different things, lots of disguised coverages. I think week to week it's different. This week, I expect to see a lot of pressure, I expect to see them coming after us a little bit, and how we handle that is going to determine how successful we are in the game."
On how difficult it is to throw in Cleveland given the wind and weather associated with Lake Erie:"Well, we don't practice in there, and I've only played in there, obviously, three or four times. And I think Sunday – as they're predicting – will be some of the worst weather we've had so far this year. The wind will be swirling, it'll be a little cold, and it'll really be the first time that I've really been in those elements playing. We practice in it every day; we practiced outside today, and it was real cold, real windy. So, [we're] slowly starting to prepare for that, but we'll see. You've got to know the game plan, got to know what we're trying to do offensively, and then go to work."
On what he's seen from RB Peyton Hillis and whether defenses have tried hard to shut him down first:"We've got to get the running game going again. We've played pretty well the last couple of weeks, but we just haven't really established that consistency in the running game like we had early in the season. I don't know if they're taking it away or if they're just doing a good job of kind of having a handle of what we're trying to do. But, it'll be huge for us to get the running game going early, and I think if we can do that, then some of the offense that we have based off of that will produce as well. So, yeah I think that's a big key for us this week."