Press Conference Transcript - Practice 12/24


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"Good to see you guys. Merry Christmas on this Christmas Eve. Hope everybody's going to mass tonight or church, or at least say a prayer." (laughter)

On how TE Todd Heap has looked in practice:"I think he's done really well. I just talked to him; he told me he felt very good today. I think we'll wait until game time, just to see for sure. [We'll] see how it feels up there with the weather and everything and make a decision right before the game."

On whether S Tom Zbikowski's back is loosening up:"He's got a little bit of a bulging disk a little bit. It's something that we think he's got a chance to play with. He doesn't have anything radiating into his legs, so that's a very good sign. There might be a little bit of a ligament strain in there that we treated with some cortisone this week. So, we think we've got a chance to get him back. We just have to see how it responds to that."

On how WR/KOR David Reed is doing:"David hasn't cleared the concussion thing yet. We'll just keep testing him up until [the game]. Those things, you just never know about."

On whether he saw anything from LB Dannell Ellerbe that caused him to be active during the Saints game:"It's always a combination of a lot of things. There's nothing you can pinpoint one thing on. It's numbers as much as anything. You've got to make choices between guys. For a while, it was he or Prescott [Burgess]; for a while, it was he or Donte' [Stallworth]. You've just got to make decisions on what side of the ball gets more numbers. The better you play and the better you practice, the more value you have. I think guys understand that. The good thing about our team at that level of becoming active is we have a lot of competition. It's tough on some guys. Every single guy is disappointed. Brandon McKinney was very disappointed when he sat down last week, and we did it for strategic reasons – because we wanted another pass rusher. These guys want to play. I think the good thing is they've got to compete and practice for that playing time, and then you just decide what's best, what gives you the best chance to win."

On WR/RS Joshua Cribbs' numbers being down this year and whether he is still a playmaker:"Yeah, he can break one at anytime. I spent a lot of time on the special teams tape this morning just kind of going back through it, and he really hasn't had opportunities. People have not kicked him the ball. He's had very few just straight-up kickoff return opportunities. They've been squibbing it, they've been lobbing it, they've been kicking it over to the sideline on punts, kicking it out of bounds. He's just had very few opportunities, [and] I think they block as well as they ever have. We're just going to have to be on top of our game, because he could make the difference. He has before."

On whether the defense will eventually be built around guys like DT Haloti Ngata and LB Terrell Suggs:"You do [build around those guys]. You build your defense around your best players, and in some ways, the defense is already being built around those two guys. But you've got Ray [Lewis] in the mix, and you've got Ed Reed in there, and there are other good players, too – Jarret Johnson – just a lot of good players. But yeah, you always build your defense around your strengths, and those guys are going to be strengths here for a long time to come."

On Sunday's game being even more important with Pittsburgh's victory last night: "It's a division game. Obviously, it's going to go right down to the wire. That's why Roger [Goodell] and the NFL wanted to put these division games at the end of the season. I think it's a great idea. I think it's been as much or more than they anticipated it being, and that's what makes it exciting. It's a very important game for us. It's a very tough team to play on the road at their place and the conditions we're going to have to play them in. I think they're building their team for their stadium and for their conditions. We're going to get the very best shot that they can give us, and we know they're a very good team, so it's going to be a tough environment."

On whether he watched any of the Pittsburgh game last night: "I watched a little bit of it, then I checked in on the score, and then I lost interest pretty quickly. (laughter) So hey, that was good for them. They got it done, and congratulations to them. We just move forward. Now it's our turn, and we have to step up."

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