DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
On the Ravens' new long snapper:"The new long snapper is Kevin Houser. I should know that because [he played at] Ohio State. I remember when he came out a few years back [with] the New Orleans Saints. We had a couple of guys in here. One of the guys, Bryan Pittman, failed the physical. They both did a great job, and that's what we'll do. [Houser is] a veteran guy and did a really nice job in the workout yesterday, and we'll see how he does today in practice."
On what he looks for in a snapper:"Long snapping, that's the No. 1 thing. Then you go short snapping. You look at protection. You look at how he handles the movement and stuff that goes along with protection. You look at his anchor a little bit – in case they try to bull-rush him in there. So, [they are] some things that are kind of similar to pass protection with offensive lineman – the ability to recover off the snap and get his head up – and then how will he handle some of the calls and some of the different things we do in our protection. These guys have been around. Most protections are very similar in the NFL. That's why we wanted a veteran. Those guys understand the schemes, and they've done the techniques, and they should be ready to plug right in."
On long snappers being underappreciated in the league:"Yes, absolutely. You never know about them until one goes bad, right? Some of the most historic moments in NFL history have been at the expense of long snapping. So, we're going to work hard to make sure that doesn't happen to us."
On the possibility that Houser will continue with the team next year if LS Morgan Cox's knee injury extends into next season:"It's good to have a guy like that here. I don't know about that far down the road. [There is] no indication of anything that the doctors have told us that this would be something that would carry out. It looks like it's something that he should be back for training camp and should be full-go then."
On the new rule that keeps defensive lineman from lining up head-up on the snapper having a positive effect:"I think it has. You don't see quite as many of the big defensive lineman right over their nose, hitting them out of their snap. The guards sometimes can still come down on the center. So, it still happens, but the center has a little more time to set up and kind of prepare for it."
On the Eagles' loss last night being proof that it is hard to predict outcomes this time of the season:"Well, yeah. That's true about the National Football League. Every week stands on its own. Every game is tough. Every team is good. Every team can beat any other team. The whole thing, any given Sunday – or any given Tuesday night… You've got to add that now, right? But that's true. It was true last week. It's been true all year. You've got to be on top of your game. You've got to play well to win."
On the Bengals being fired up and more dangerous than usual wanting to win their final game of the season:"It seems like they're always very dangerous when they play us. [When] you watch them on tape, it does not look like a team that's not a winning team. On tape, they look like a winning football team. They've got first-round picks all over the field, a very physical offensive line, one of the premier quarterbacks in the league and a defensive that's just tenacious. Their defense plays really well. Mike Zimmer does a great job with the pressure package. You never know where it's coming. They mix all the coverages in behind the pressure. [They have] a great group of linebackers across the board. We know how good these guys are. We've played them enough. We understand what they're about, and it's going to be one of those AFC North kind of games."
On what about the Bengals' defense gives the Ravens' offense trouble:"We don't score many points against them. They keep us from scoring points. That's probably the biggest problem that we have with them."
On what the problem is precisely:"It's all those things. It's scheme, it's execution. They play really fast. They've got really good corners. They've got a downhill-playing group of linebackers. They've basically stopped us every which way you can stop a team – run, pass, protection, all of that."
On QB Joe Flacco's improvement with ball security since playing the Bengals earlier in the season:"Joe's been [about] good ball security here for three years. So, I don't think that there was any epiphany that now it's important. Obviously, that cost us in that game. Joe realizes that. I think it's one of Joe's strengths anyway."
On the rematch with the Bengals taking on a personal tone after the loss at the beginning of the season:"In this league, everything's personal. It's an emotional game. Guys have got to get ready to play. Guys take a lot of pride. If that's what you mean by personal. I think they take a lot of pride in their play – especially our guys. It's just kind of how they are. It's kind of how they're built."
On any specific thing the team may want to prevent in this rematch:"As far as this one? Not that I'm aware of."
On DE Cory Redding enjoying playing for a winning team for the first time in his career:"I've heard him say that a lot. I think he really is excited. And you can tell by his demeanor. He's been a leader since he got here. He's a veteran guy, he's been in a lot of locker rooms, high-round pick, high-contract guy at one time. [He is] one of the premier defensive lineman in the league who, if you watch the last three or four games, he's playing at that level again. He's playing the best he's played here all year. We are really happy with the way he's playing. But, he's been a leader from Day One – with the corn hole game and all that stuff. And he's really been good for our guys, and we appreciate having him here."
On P Sam Koch not being chosen as a Pro Bowler:"I was disappointed for a lot of guys. It's funny, you have five guys make it, and then you're so disappointed for the guys that you think should make it. It's probably that way all around the league. I'm probably biased to our guys. I look at guys like Derrick Mason. I don't understand why Derrick Mason doesn't make the Pro Bowl more. He's the best route runner in the National Football League. But Sam Koch, for sure, has had a Pro Bowl year. Some of the things Sam does are unrecognized by the voters sometimes. He doesn't have a huge gross [average], but he kicks directionally, he puts it out of bounds 40, 45 yards on a pretty regular basis. The pooch punting has been phenomenal. I would say he is deserving."
On having to keep his team from being distracted by the Pittsburgh game that will be played simultaneously on Sunday:"Well when the score comes up, I'm sure all of us are going to take a look. And we're going to know by the crowd's reaction. So, I don't have a problem with that. We're going to play the game. We have all focus on Cincinnati. We're going to be playing the game. It's not like we'll be sitting there watching that game. But, it will be interesting how that game plays out. We have to win this game. We want to win this game because we want to win the game, No. 1. But also, the fact that we have a chance to accomplish something as far as the playoff season, that's pretty important."
On whether he'll make any adjustments based on what's happening in the Pittsburgh game:"I hate to get into that, because I don't think you ever know. No, I won't do that based on Pittsburgh's score. We'll just play it like we always play it, and we'll try to win."
On if he'd like to see backup QB Marc Bulger get some snaps in Sunday's game:"Yeah, there is that. I've kind of wanted to do that all year. We've just never been in the situation where we've been able to do that. But, if we get in that situation, that's something that we'd always like to do."
QB Joe Flacco
On preparing to play the Bengals after the loss to Cincinnati earlier in the season:"I haven't really been thinking about it for 12 weeks. Maybe [I've been hearing about it] from you guys, but not too much. We put that behind us pretty quickly and moved on, and we've had a pretty good season."
On being motivated by the loss at Cincinnati:"I don't think so. I think we just need to go out and get a win, and we understand how important this win could be. Either way, I think we just want to go out and win a football game so we can just finish the season 12-4 and have some momentum going into the playoffs."
On how he adapts to playing in the cold weather:"I think if you ask people, you'd prefer to play in warm weather. But, the bottom line is when you play in the National Football League, you play in cities and you play during the time of the year where it starts to get cold, so you have to be able to do that. But, I think most quarterbacks can do that, if not all of them. I think you just got to go out there and treat it like a normal game. And sometimes there are conditions where it makes it really tough, and sometimes when it's just cold out, it's really just another game. And as long as you throw the ball like you know how to, it usually cuts through pretty much the same."
On if he feels his pocket presence and his comfort level with scrambling has progressed throughout the season:"I always feel comfortable doing that when the time presents itself. Looking back at the Cleveland game, there were a couple of times when guys were free in the pocket, and I was able to take one step here or there. Those guys, they're coming so hard up field, and if our line does a good job of keeping on their block a little bit, they make it really tough for those guys to make a tackle one-on-one because they're coming so hard. So, if you stay patient as a quarterback and make that one little move, it can definitely help you out in avoiding the guys. And, I think I've been doing a pretty job."
On if he's excited about being an alternate quarterback selection for the Pro Bowl:"Maybe. But not really. It didn't mean too much. I think if you are a Pro Bowl guy, you are. Like you said, an alternate is an alternate. I'm not really worried about that. The Pro Bowl is the Pro Bowl, and I'm focused on playing good football games and coming in and looking at the tape and having my coaches say, 'You played a hell of a game today,' and just me feeling that same way. And that's all I'm worried about week to week. If the Pro Bowl comes, it comes. If it doesn't, I'm not really too worried about it."
On being motivated to be a Pro Bowler:"I'm not motivated by making the Pro Bowl. No. I'm motivated by winning football games and knowing that I can look at myself in the mirror and I can look at my team and know that I played well."
On being motivated by playing a division team that beat the Ravens earlier in the season:"There's always a motivation when you play a division team that [they are] going to come in and give you a tough game. And these guys have been giving us tough games ever since I've been here. In my rookie year, we beat them twice. But, they've played us pretty well, and we haven't beaten them since my second year. They play really tough defense. They cover guys well. They stop the run well. And we've got to come ready to play this week. I think that's the motivation. It's just for us to go out there and play a really good game against what we believe is a good team."
On the difference in how the Ravens have played the Bengals after defeating them twice in his rookie season:"Like I said, that first game we played them was my first game, and that was a really close game. We scored on a reverse; we scored on a broken reverse. So, that's the way we beat them in the first game. In the second game, it was similar to right now. They hadn't had a great record, and we came in there and we got up on them early and kept putting it on them. So, we know they're going to come ready to play this week. They're not going to lay down. So we have to be ready to play a really good game. The games that we've lost to them have all been good fights. They've been there. They've won a game in the last minute, and that's just what happens when you play good teams."
On if he's surprised that the Bengals haven't had a better season:"Not at this point. I was definitely shocked when I saw they were losing games six weeks ago. When we got done with them, we felt like they were a pretty good team, and I think they are a good team. They've got a lot of talent and they've got a lot of guys with the ability to play this game and play it physical. It's tough to see why they're not having as much success as they should be."
On the Bengals having the toughest corners he's faced in the league:"I don't know. They're definitely really good ones. You see tough ones week-in and week-out, but these guys have done a great job against us. They've done a good job of getting a little bit of pass rush on us. And those corners have done a great job of being tight on the guys and making the lanes and the space for throwing very tight."
On if there are specific things the Bengals do that cause problems for the Ravens' offense:"I don't think so. I think we need to go in there and play better. Like I said, they play fundamental. They get a little bit of pressure, they stop the run, and they cover guys well. And when you do that… I don't think they're doing anything spectacular. They're playing the game the way it's meant to be played, and they're doing a good job of doing it. So, we've got to make sure that we come in there and we run routes full speed. I have to take my drops full speed and get back and set ready to throw and make aggressive throws and really attack these guys to try to put them on their heels."
On leading the Ravens to the playoffs his first three years in the league:"It's definitely a pretty big accomplishment to be in the playoffs for three straight years. Six teams in the AFC make it each year, and we're definitely proud to be one of those teams. But, just like every year, we feel we have the team to go beyond and really look forward to more than just making the playoffs. So, we're going to be pretty disappointed if we don't accomplish what we set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year – which is to get to the Super Bowl and win it. But, it definitely is an accomplishment to make the playoffs, and we feel pumped about that."
On having the momentum to make it to the Super Bowl:"I think we're really starting to build up and play pretty well. If we put it all together in this next week or two, then we're going to be a team that a lot of teams don't really want to see, and we'll be a tough match up for them. So hopefully, we can go into the playoffs a 12-4 football team and a team that is very confident, and I think if we go out and play confident, we can do anything."
On whether it is meaningful to him to be one of only four quarterbacks to make the playoffs his first three years in the NFL:"I don't think about that stuff. I just think about making the playoffs and, yeah, it's an accomplishment. I don't really think about how many other quarterbacks have done it. It doesn't really mean anything to me. At the end of my career when I'm all done, hopefully there are some things that are a little better than that. Hopefully I can be one of a couple of guys to win multiple Super Bowls rather than just make the playoffs. At this point, it's a decent accomplishment, but it doesn't really mean too too much to me."
LB Ray Lewis
On whether there will be any scoreboard watching for the Pittsburgh game Sunday: "It's kind of hard not to watch it, but we understand we have to take care of our business. If we don't take care of our business, none of that matters, no matter what happens. We know Cincinnati is… [You] heard [Terrell Suggs] speak about it and coach spoke about it, [with the Bengals] beating us the last three times. Defensively, like I told my defense, we've just got to keep doing what we're doing. The last game we lost to them we gave up five field goals. They didn't get in the end zone. Anytime that you can play at that high of a level – now coming back home – now is just our time to finish it off. If nothing else happens in the game, we can control it ourselves to win the game. That's kind of what we're focusing on, and whatever happens with Pittsburgh-Cleveland, happens."
On preparing to be the No. 5 seed unless something dramatic happens: "You know what? I don't call anything in the NFL dramatic. That's why we play the game, because on any given Sunday, anybody can be beat. This business has shown that year after year after year that there is no definite anything. No matter what the records are, you're playing a professional football team. Anytime you do that, there's always chances of… Somebody's got to win, somebody's got to lose. That's just the way it goes."
On whether he keeps track of his records against teams like the Bengals: "No, I don't keep any records or any of that. It's easy if we were talking about wrestling, because wrestling is a one-on-one sport. You're talking about a total team sport, and there is too much that happens in the course of a game to say, 'Oh, me and Carson [Palmer] or me and Peyton [Manning]…' I know the way people break down the games. They always compare, 'Oh, Ray Lewis against Peyton Manning,' but it's not that. It's a total team. When you see the teams that go on and win, that's who wins. That's what's always going to be remembered. It won't be remembered by anything else outside of wins and losses. That's what it always comes down to."
On whether he likes cold and windy conditions when offenses favor the running game: "I like weather conditions in San Diego and places like that, too. Of course. *(laughter) *I think up north teams, we have learned to adjust to whatever it is. You see our divisions – the Ravens, the Pittsburghs, and all those people… We understand what it is to play in the cold. You have to be able to play hard-nosed defense, and you have to be able to run the ball very effectively. I think everybody that plays in the north and plays in the cold understands that. A lot of people who don't understand that – when they do come out of their element – things do change for them. But for us, it only gets better no matter which way we play, whether it's in the cold or in a dome."
On what the defense has done differently and better since the Buffalo game: "I think just staying along the journey. That's kind of what I've been speaking about the whole year, because you're going to go through things. You're going to go through ups and downs. You're going to go through great games, and then you're going to go through bad games and then come back to try to find a way to win them. If you go back to the Buffalo game, I'm talking about just easy missed tackles, the man breaks away or somebody is running wide open, not finishing the blitz off. It's that small. It's that small. When you get into the later stages and you do start to gel… I know a lot of people were talking about other things on other teams, but a lot of people never gave us credit on how many pieces we're still piecing in, how many young guys that we're still piecing in to our defense. Now, we're really starting to really gel with each other to now know where this person is going to be, where Terrence Cody is going to be, where Lardarius Webb is going to be, all these different guys that we're just mixing in here and there. That's what I think it is. I think it's just great chemistry now that is coming on."
On going into a different gear for the playoffs: "Playoffs are always a different gear because it's either win or go home. It'll never change. For us, I don't think it was ever a sigh of relief, because we've been here the last two, three years back-to-back, so we understand what that means. Now, our focus is [to] finish. And finish for us is finish this week off against Cincinnati, see where our road leads us next week after that, and ultimately, that destination is Dallas. And that's no secret around here. We've been in the AFC Championship and lost against Pittsburgh, went to [Indianapolis] and lost in the second round, so we've been everywhere and been tested through it all. So, I think the level of intensity and preparation, all of that changes, definitely, when playoffs kick in."
On whether he thinks this year's team is the best out of the past three playoff teams:"We'll see. We'll see. The only thing that makes us the best team is if we go finish the AFC Championship off, like we didn't do two years ago. Then, if we're walking into Dallas, then we have an argument to say this is the best team of the last three years."
On whether it is fair to say "Super Bowl or bust" for this team:"There's 32 teams, and one person will touch the confetti, so 31 other teams will be [a] bust. Thirty-one teams will see the confetti drop. To have lived it before, I respect that. I respect that because I don't care who you are, how great of a season you had, at the end of the day, somebody will be watching somebody else with that confetti. I've been on that side before, so if it's us, I truly believe – and that's what I keep telling my teammates – what's for you is for you. If that's in our destiny and that's what we're really going to touch at the end of the year, then it's for us. And if it's not, then we come back and reach up and go at it again."
On whether he thinks head coach John Harbaugh would sit the veterans on Sunday:"No. No. I think that would be hard to do that because you wonder if you're going to put somebody else at risk. We're at a very sensitive stage in the season to where everybody's nursing something, and if you take somebody out, then you're just putting more pressure on somebody else. The easiest thing to do is just go in and play the game out as a full team. Finish the game and see what happens after that."
On whether the young players understand what the playoffs mean:"I don't think it's been a secret since the first day of training camp. All 32 teams come in with the same [mentality]. For us, it's no different. Now, we're back in the playoffs. Now, it's about finishing. It's about finishing. Like I said, when we get in it, six [AFC] teams get in it, and only one out of the AFC is going to prevail. We've been everywhere we're supposed to be and whatever rank we're supposed to be, but now we have an opportunity again. That's all you can ever do. All you can ever do is play the game well enough to get into the playoffs. And when you get in the playoffs, here we go again. We're in the tournament."
RB Ray Rice
On whether it is accurate that the Bengals have "man-handled" the Ravens in the past few games:"That's a little strong, but one thing I would say [is] it seems like they saved their best football against the Ravens. I don't know what happened against every other team, but they tend to play their best football against the Ravens. I think it's just a mentality with the AFC North: People want to present their dominance, their physicality against us, because of us being that physical team. No knock on them. They are… I always go into a game not looking at a team's record. I go into a [game] respecting them for who they are and what they're going to bring to us on Sunday. We're expecting a challenge. One thing that we know as a team is that they're the Bengals – they beat us three times in a row so far. And if we take care of our business against them, we're setting ourselves up. We're in the playoffs, but we're setting ourselves up, if certain things happen, for a great chance."
On whether a mind-over-matter approach works best going into this game:"One thing you've got to think [is]: 'Yeah, we're in the playoffs; they're not. But, they're going to play for pride and respect.' So, that's the first and foremost. You kind of just want to put… We did what we had to do to get into the playoffs; you put that on your back-burner. But then, you can't lay an egg against a team that's in front of you, especially [since] we've been playing great at home. It's our last home game; give the fans something great to see on Sunday. They paid their money to go out there and watch us play. We need to go out there and play our best."
On why the Ravens play well in cold weather:"That's kind of the mentality. We said we were built for December to get us into January. I'm not saying we save our best football for the end of the year, but I think we prepare our bodies and our minds throughout a long season. You want to get to December so you can set up to play your best football in January, and you know what that leads to – getting into the bigger dance in February. But, everybody plays their best football around this time. If you look at the teams that are contenders right now, everybody's playing their best football right now. You're seeing it in and out through the league. One thing we have to do is we want to go into the playoffs striding, so that's one thing about this game that's ahead of us. They're the Bengals. They're a divisional team, and we're just going into the playoffs on a high right now."
On whether he likes cold weather conditions because teams usually run the ball more:"I like it. I like it because it sets up a mentality. You know what you're going to get, especially if there's a situation out there with the weather, you know the running backs are going to be able to run the ball. But, if you look at the way Joe [Flacco] has been throwing it, coach [John] Harbaugh said it: Joe is made for this kind of weather. Just so happened, we both played in these kinds of situations – along weather [like] snow, rain, wind – we've seen it all in our college days. So whether it's hot, cold or a blizzard out there, I think our football team, especially our offense, will be ready for those situations."
On whether he thinks he will not be targeted as much as last year in the playoffs because of the key additions to the offense:"I feel like we can pick and choose what we want to do now. It's not going into a game plan saying we've got to script 25 or 30 plays for Ray Rice. I think we can go into a game plan letting Joe do his thing, and when we need to run it and we need to make plays, we get the ball in the hands of our playmakers. That's been the great part about this offense. I still maintain my stats and [have] been a crucial part of this offense, even with the playmakers that we brought in. It just shows how much we've grown as an offense [with] Joe, brining in 'Q' [Anquan Boldin], having 'Mase' [Derrick Mason], T.J.[Houshmandzadeh] – everybody's making plays across the board. One thing that's going to be key is getting Todd Heap back healthy, because he's another weapon that we can use going into the playoffs, and we're going to need going deep into the playoffs. It's just one of those situations where I feel like I've just got to do my job. If Ray does his job, [and] everybody else does their job, we'll find ourselves sitting high at the end of the day."
On whether it was one of his seasonal goals to not fumble, which he hasn't so far this season:"Yeah, where is the wood at? I'm going to go find me some wood [to knock on] after. (laughter) But one thing I've said to myself, and I said at the beginning of the year, [was] that I wasn't a fumbler. I'm used to carrying the ball. You've just got to be courteous and conscious of situations that you're in. If you know you don't have to fight for the extra yard, or if you need to go down, put two hands on it. We've all made an effort to protect the football. I wouldn't say it's a goal; it's my job to protect the ball. You brought it up, so I've got to find me some wood now to knock on."
On how he works on protecting the football in practice:"One thing about it is there's a time when the ball can be away from your body, and we all know you don't want to be stiff running the ball. If you're making a cut, sometimes it'll get loose. But in traffic, you will find it tight to my body – as tight as possible. It's sort of almost like putting the ball in a headlock in a different kind of way. Running with it, you've got to get naturally used to running with the football, and it becomes instinctive."
On whether he feels that other teams will be afraid to play the Ravens in the playoffs:"Everybody speaks about the playoffs and different things. You look at our record and look where we sit, and we're going to go into the playoffs with 11 or 12 wins. If Pittsburgh takes care of business, we'll still be a fifth seed or something. But if you look at how dominant we've been, we can easily be a No. 2 seed in the playoffs if things go out. Being where we are, yeah, I think we are going to be a team that teams fear, or not fear, or know that they're going to be in for a game, because we're hitting stride. One thing that we've proven in the playoffs is that we're going to play our best football. A couple teams have had our number, but I think we've added a collective group where we're confident enough that… Once you get in the playoffs, it doesn't matter. Everything scratches back down to zero. My yards that I got in the regular season don't even matter [anymore]. It's all about the playoffs. It's almost starting a… It is starting a whole new season. Why not start a whole new season hitting stride?"
On the team being in gear heading to the playoffs:"We're in gear, and I still believe that we haven't played our best football yet. That's a great feeling going into the playoffs knowing that we haven't played our best football, and we're sitting in a situation to control our own destiny."
On whether there is more chemistry on the offense that hasn't been seen yet:"Yeah, it's a weird situation, because when you bring in talent and you bring in weapons… Let's be real here: Everybody wants the ball, especially a guy that's a proven guy in this league. There's many times when T.J. [Houshmandzadeh], he's calling for the ball, we got 'Q' [Anquan Boldin], we got 'Mase' [Derrick Mason]. It's a great selfish mentality, but we're all in it for one goal. I love the mentality of our guys. Everybody wants the ball; everybody wants to make a play. So the chemistry, like I said, it's building. I swear I still believe we haven't played our best football yet because we've got guys who want the ball, who are just willing to sacrifice for that one goal. It's amazing. Like I said, I'm just glad I'm able to chip in when I can chip in as well. Even with Willis [McGahee], we're all just playing collectively for one reason right now. I've been fortunate enough to be in the playoffs three years straight, ever since [my] rookie [year] when I was just a third-down guy. I just wanted to play. That's one thing about these guys on our team – we just want to play and win games – and we speak about it all the time. [We want] to get to the big dance."
On whether he could have played in the blizzard on Sunday night:"Could I have? Yeah. Why not? I would have had 25 or 30 carries. *(laughter) *Never knock that."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On if he wants to play in the Pro Bowl, knowing that means he wouldn't be in the Super Bowl:"Not really, not really. It's bittersweet. You know, you've got the… It's good to be recognized – not only by other coaches and other players amongst the teams, and the fans – it's good. It's really good. Don't get me wrong. We still want the Lombardi [Trophy]. I've been to Hawaii – this will be my fourth time now – so I've been to Hawaii. I really would love to just play in the Super Bowl."
On which statistical category means the most to him: "Eleven games. We've won 11 games. At the beginning of my season, I was kind of just trying to analyze how many games can we win, then we signed [T.J.] Houshmandzadeh, then it was like we're not going to lose very many games. Eleven wins, with the possibility of 12… The sacks, they do come in to the total. It's just… I just really want to win. I really just want to win. I think this team, this organization, this city, I think we've really been pushing for a long time to get us back in that big game. All of this is good. We just need to cap it off to put the icing on the cake – Dallas."
On whether he expects the Bengals to run or pass more on Sunday: "Both. I look and I see Cedric Benson has 300 attempts. I go right back and ask, 'How many attempts does Ray Rice have?' I mean, 300 attempts... That's amazing. That's amazing – 300 attempts. And Carson Palmer… I've been playing against this man since college, and I don't think I have a winning record against him, so I don't sleep much when I'm playing against this guy. I'm expecting to see both teams, so we're just going to prepare. It's just going to be another NFL football game."
On how frustrating the previous loss in Week 2 was because the defense didn't allow a TD: "Well, anytime you lose is frustrating. A loss is a loss. It doesn't matter how it comes. I think throughout the course of the game, there is something that both sides can do to alter the outcome, so you can't just place it on one thing. A loss is a loss. We're just trying to defend our home, and the possibility of getting the No. 2 seed is huge for us. You see what I'm saying? We know we've got a lot at stake, so the need to get things done is on a high-priority list."
On whether he enjoys playing in cold weather being from Arizona: "I don't mind it on Sundays. [On] Saturday nights, it's terrible. I don't mind it on Sundays too much. It gives the chance for the fans to see just how psychotic we really are, because it can be really cold and we still don't have sleeves on. My rookie year, I had just come from Arizona, and I tried to put sleeves on. The linebackers got on me right then and there, 'Oh, no, we don't wear those up here, so you've got to take those off,' and I played pretty much freezing.' (laughter)
Reporter interjects: "Have you gotten used to it now?"
"I've learned that if you make plays, and you run a lot, you're not going to be too cold. So, just get around that football by any means necessary in cold weather games."
On whether the theory that he would play better if he was warmer could be true: "It could be. But see, warm weather teams don't play as good in cold weather. You see the Saints, they came up here and they dropped some balls in the cold weather. Then, they go and have an amazing day in the [Georgia] Dome. You see what I'm saying? I think it definitely plays a factor with a cold weather team when a warm weather team comes to play in cold weather, rather than a cold weather team going to play in warm [weather]."
On being here long enough to change the "no sleeves" policy: "You can't change the policy. It's going to be what it is, but you just line up and play. At the end of the day, it's football. You have to line up and play football, and when you grew up, you played football in the snow [and] cold weather, so it's nothing changed from that."
On liking the black pants the Ravens wear: "I do love it."
Reporter interjects: "You're faster in them, aren't you? You really believe that, don't you?"
"I don't know what I believe, but I like the way they look. I'm a uniform guy, so I like the way things look, like, 'Oh, that's hot. That's nice.' You know what I mean? So, I do like the black pants, but it doesn't matter. I swear."
On his thoughts about Tom Brady making the Pro Bowl: "Oh man, you just had to stir it up, didn't you? No, man, let's go ahead and let the cat out of the bag: We did vote for him. We've got our quarrels and our beef, but you've got to respect [his] play. And it was kind of decided as a unit who we vote for, so we did vote for him, and I did vote for [Ryan] Fitzpatrick. There were four sections up there [on the ballot sheet]; I voted for them both. One of us is not going to get to play in the game, and I like the opportunity of that, so I hope he has a good time at the Pro Bowl. (laughter) Hopefully, everything goes according to plan, [and] I'll be watching him from Dallas cheering the AFC on."
On players taking the Pro Bowl voting seriously: "Yeah, because you don't want a guy… Sometimes it can become a popularity vote. It is serious because you just want the guys who deserve to go, to go. Sometimes it can be unfair because some positions get more people to go than others, but it is taken very seriously."
On who was left off the Pro Bowl roster from the Ravens: "It was a few people. It was a few people. Right off that bat, I can think of Le'Ron McClain, Ray Rice. I think Anquan Boldin – from the last team he was on, and what he was able to come and do on this team – just made an impact. We didn't win 11 games last year with the possibility of 12. We had to win our last one to get in, which was at eight wins, and then we won the ninth one. We had a few people that just got left out. There's just not enough places on the team for everybody to go. It's just a motivator. It's a motivator, definitely. I think the guys that got left out are going to make it next year, hands down, no question about it."
On what the deal is with him making the Pro Bowl every other year: "I don't know. I don't know. I guess it depends on how the year went. If it was one of those long, grueling years, you just want to rest, and the need to get back to the Pro Bowl is not really at your high priority list in the offseason. It definitely is to go back and try to contend for a championship. I don't know. I guess that's just how it's panned out. Only God knows why things happen certain ways. I just go according to his plan."
On whether it would be accurate to say that Cincinnati has had its way with the Ravens recently: "Wow. Just like that? You're just going to come out and just… Wow. OK. Well, I mean, it's the facts. You're right. Numbers don't lie. They have beaten us the last three times, but this game has a little bit more to it. We're in Baltimore, that's one. We're playing for our 12th win. We're playing for the possibility of getting the second seed in the playoffs, and we're playing for the division. So, a lot of that has its advantages, especially in preparing. But yeah, it's fair to say they've had their way with us. Hey, wins and losses… They've won the last three. That's all we can really go by."