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Press Conference Transcript - Practice 8/24


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"Obviously we're starting a different schedule this week. This week will be our introduction to a game week schedule for our players – what we'll do during the regular season. Next week we'll be back more on a camp schedule – more of a morning practice – but that's what we're doing this week."

On what he expects to see when OLB Sergio Kindle arrives in Baltimore:"Well, from a football perspective, we're not allowed to see him at all. He's not under contract. My understanding is – we've talked to the league about this, [executive vice president/general manager] Ozzie's [Newsome] worked this out – there are certain rules in place [and] we won't be able to see him here at the facility. But he'll be meeting with neurologists and they'll get a chance to evaluate him for two or three days at the hospital facility, and then we'll just be looking forward to seeing how that turns out."

On whether he has any updates on what Kindle has physically been able to endure:"We have. He's working out; he's been able to work out. I would say based on what I've been told, and this is… Some of it's come from Sergio – who is very optimistic – but also from the doctors, who say he's ahead of schedule. He's really recovering very quickly, which is really encouraging. But that's why we want to make sure we get him here, have all the doctors compare notes with the people down in Dallas and just see exactly where he's at."

On whether he has any expectations or a timetable for when Kindle will return:"I think the basic expectation is that he'll be on PUP to start the season. There's no way he'd be ready to go, or we'd ever… Nobody would risk that. But, I think he goes on the Inactive/PUP for the first part of the season, and we just have to evaluate it from there and see where we're at."

On whether he would rule him out for the season at this point:"No, no."

On what he has seen from ILB Jason Phillips:"We really liked him coming out [of college], and I think he had the whole season where he trained, and he was in meetings and things like that. There was a little bit of – probably in training camp – knocking the rust off a little bit, because he hadn't played for a while. But, I would say the last week he's really come on. He's played well in both preseason games, and he's making a real run out of it right now. He's looked good."

On how important it was for S Tom Zbikowski to start in place of injured S Ed Reed last year:"He played so well; I think he gained a lot of confidence. He took that confidence, and he's just taken off from there. He really learns from Ed. I think Ed has taken Tom under his wing and has taught him a lot of tricks of the trade that Ed does differently probably than any other safety in the league. 'Zibby' is never going to be Ed Reed, but he's going to be 'Zibby.' He's going to be his own guy, and yet he's learned so much from Ed, and I think it's a credit to Ed that he's done as well as he has. Plus, [secondary coach] Chuck Pagano's done a great job with him."

On using a starter as opposed to a backup in the return game:"That's a great question. You'd rather use a backup, no question. We used to always discuss Brian Westbrook in Philadelphia; when he returned it he usually made big plays, and he had a great talent in space, making plays. How often do you get a great player in space offensively or defensively? Not that often. That's why you put Ed Reed back there every now and then. By the same token, you don't want to risk an injury with a guy like that. So, if you're talking about Lardarius Webb, I think at some point in time in the future he could be a returner again – depending on what his role is on defense and what other guys we have in the mix – but certainly not early. And I really don't think so this year just coming off an ACL [injury]. He'll be a backup if we have to put him out there. We've got Jalen Parmele, we've got some other candidates [and] I think we're going to be very cautious with Lardarius that way. He loves to play. Not to say you wouldn't see him out there at corner on punt return later in the year, or even at gunner or something like that possibly if we have… We're trying to win games, but we're going to err on the side of making sure he stays… That we don't put him at undo risk."

LB Ray Lewis

On whether he thinks of Super Bowl XXXV when playing the Giants:"No. I only think about that when New York fans remind me, really. They always claim we stole something from them. I just thought we played a football game. [The] bottom line is we're just getting ready, third preseason game, getting the kinks out and just keep working towards that first opener and who's going to be on the 53-man roster. That's really what it's all about; find a couple diamonds in the rough here or there in these next preseason games and then we move on."

On whether he has considered the proposal of only two preseason games:"I think I've considered not having any preseason games. The two really just came up with the 18-game schedule and things like that, but the bottom line is I just think you lose a lot. You lose a lot in the preseason, because this game doesn't slow down. Just to defend the players you're paying for, wow, 85-percent reducing your salaries. It's still live. It's still full speed. You watch all of these guys that get hurt. You watch all of these guys that don't even start the season or make their paycheck, so things like that, I just think more players really need to speak up more about it because it's just a bad deal. It's a bad deal to go out there in preseason and just risk everything and don't even have anything guaranteed. So, the bottom line is whatever they fix, fix it and just keep moving."

On whether he is totally against an 18-game regular season schedule:"I only think about it from the standpoint of trying to leave a legacy of what our future would be. The bottom line is 18 games… 16 games are enough. You're talking to someone who's played [in] the business for 15 years, and the things that have to go into just keeping your body… We're not automobiles. We're not machines. We're humans. After the first three, four months, your body feels a certain way. I don't care what type of shape you're in. I don't care what you try to do treatment-wise. You get to a certain point where you get to Week 15 and 16 and you're saying, 'OK, I've got to get my mind set for the playoffs.' But then now you're talking about adding 18 games. You've got to ask yourself, 'How many people are truly healthy in 18 games?' So, will you get your true football? Will you get the real football? Yeah, you're going to get the football for whoever is protected, but like I said, I just think it's a lot of football. I think if fans understood what we actually go through to play in December and January, I think a lot more people would fight with us. I don't think it's knowledgeable to make us play 18 games. It's rough."

On where he thinks the defense is heading into the third preseason game:"Honestly, I think we're right where we need to be. And that is, a few mistakes here and there, correct them and then just get ready, bottom line. When you turn on our defensive film, one thing that you do like is [that] we haven't given up a touchdown all preseason. That's a bottom line fact, no matter what big plays or what happened. The bottom line is you bend but don't break. When you watch the film, [you see] just the hustle and the way a lot of young guys are really picking up their ends very, very quickly. That's what makes you excited. That really excites you to get ready to go into this third preseason game and definitely sit down for the fourth one."

On how the defense reacted after giving up some big plays to the Redskins: "I just think you always say, bottom line: If they don't score, they don't win. Stats can always be misleading sometimes, and yeah, you don't want to get off the field, but when your hand is an inch away from knocking the ball down, or somebody gets out on a scramble, then it happens and people get paid. But, the bottom line is when I was out there, the thing I just counted to was, 'Just keep playing. Just keep playing.' And, if they drive all the way down to the 1 [-yard line], the 5 [-yard line], whatever, and we give them three [points], that's a win for us. That's a win for us, and correct whatever we need corrected and move on."

On working on third down situations during the offseason:"Yeah, and that's the beauty of it. If there was something that couldn't be corrected, then we would have a real problem. But as easy as the corrections were when [defensive coordinator] coach [Greg] Mattison came in the room and said, 'This is how easy these corrections are. We could have gone 0-for-15. We could have given them no first downs. But, bottom line, you did. You did.' So, you learn from what small mistakes that we made, and let's correct them and move on."

On whether an 18-game schedule would affect his decision to keep playing:"I don't really think it's about me, per se, realistically about that decision, because you're talking about hopefully we get some type of deal in place before you miss all of camps and all of those things. So, honestly I hate to say this, but that helps players, really sitting down and getting away from it. I think the owners… I think everybody should take a step back and see how much, if we just sat down and really tried to work together, that we could come up and work something out. But, as far as my thing on coming back or not, I've got too much football left for me to worry about Monday night [at the Jets] to be thinking about way next year. That's a lot."

On if he still feels it's the job of the defense to carry the team:"It'll always be. It'll always be. It wasn't my cliché, but it's been that way for years: Offense wins games, defense wins championships. It's the bottom line. You're going to have all your offensive great numbers, and you're going to see all these great quarterbacks doing great things, but when it comes down to who needs to win one, most great defenses are going to hold at the end of the day."

On what he thinks when he sees RB Brandon Jacobs in the Giants' backfield:"The same thing you see with every man. You're going to realize he puts his pants on one leg at a time, the same way everybody else does. And, being good friends with Brandon, the bottom line is he's going to run hard and we're going to play hard. Once again, it just comes down to seeing this clash of titans. They like to run the ball, we like to stop the run, so let's see. Let's have a good time doing it."

On how defensive tackles have allowed him to do his job over his career:"The D-line is just as important to me as the offensive line is to a running back. When you have guys like a Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, you go back to Sam [Adams] and Goose [Tony Siragusa], and all those people that I've had over my career. When you have that, you realize that you have a lot of very unselfish people, and they don't get the respect and attention they should get. These guys do a lot of dirty work. The fans see all the sacks and the big passes, but they don't see what goes on in the trenches. Those guys should be praised. I praise Kelly and Haloti so much, and now seeing [Terrence] Cody just coming out, playing the way he's playing. It's just good seeing those big guys have fun playing the game."**

QB Joe Flacco

On whether he ever thought he'd tell LB Ray Lewis that he was wrong:"I don't even know what I was really saying. Somebody just came to me about defense and championships, or something, so I just said he's wrong."

On how much preseason games help and whether four games are necessary:"Obviously we only play in a little bit of the games, so I think it's necessary – not mainly all the starters and everything, I don't think it's necessary – but I think it's necessary in some respects for some of the young guys to get out there and prove themselves and make the team. And down the line, they're going to be guys that help us out, so I think you've got to be careful in how you evaluate some of those guys and make sure you give them a good shot. And I think it's a great time for some of those guys to step up and shine, and make a name for themselves."

On how his relationship with QB Marc Bulger is progressing:"Yeah, I don't know what to say. Marc is a great guy, so he's easy to get along with. Me, Troy [Smith] and him all get along, and it's been a great time so far."

On whether he can speak to anything that Bulger has imparted on him:"Marc's been a good quarterback in the league and he does some things pretty well, so I just try to get his point of view on some things. And you know, we all talk as a quarterback group, so anytime somebody has something to add we take it for what it is and see if we can learn something from it."

On whether there is anything more frustrating for an offense than turnovers during a game:"I don't know, what do you think? Yeah, probably not [anything more frustrating]. Turnovers are a pretty big part of the game – the game in general – and a lot of the time you can look at the turnover situation and tell who won the game. So, one of the main goals as an offense is to go down there, be aggressive and not turn the ball over. When you're out playing on the field, you've got to kind of… You can't be consciously thinking about not turning the ball over, but it has to be engrained in you enough to where it's important enough to you that you're not out there being loose with the ball. You still have to be aggressive, but it's definitely a big part of the game."

On whether a lot of the frustration is how they respond to losing the ball:"Yeah sometimes, definitely. If we turn the ball over and our defense goes out and stops the team and doesn't let them get any points, then it's going to be about how we react to it. If we turn the ball over and they score, then we better react to it because then we're just trying to get the score back to even. So, there are a couple different circumstances, but yeah, you definitely have to react well to it. It's going to happen at some point; you play 16 regular season games. You can't go into panic when it does happen."

On whether he prepares for the third preseason game more like a regular season game:"I think every time you play a football game you've got to get prepared for it, and you've got to go out there and treat it as such. It's a football game: People are out there trying to hurt you, and they're coming after you, and you want to go out there and play well. Everybody has pride, and everybody feels good about how they can play the game, and they want to go out there every week. And every game they play, they want to play it good; [the] same goes for me. Just because I'm going to play a quarter in one game as opposed to the full game in others doesn't mean I want to go out there and take it any lighter. I'm preparing and getting myself ready to go out there and play a good football game. And it's the same for this one coming up."

On what it does to the offense when they can't convert the first couple third downs:"Obviously if we're playing a game, we like to convert first downs and keep the chains moving and score every time we have the ball. But it's going to happen sometimes where we don't do that early on in the game, and you've just got to make sure that you keep at it and eventually wear the team down and second, third, fourth quarters start scoring some points. There's going to be a lot of games like that. It's all about how we react and just making sure we stay patient, and know that it's going to break through sometime."

On his evaluation of where the offense is, according to their preseason stats:"I don't know if you could look at the stats. I think you've just got to look at how we feel. And I think for the most part, if you look at it, I think the feel is pretty good. I think we feel good, and I think if you watch the games, I think you would think the feel is pretty good between us. We moved the ball probably a little bit better in the first game as opposed to one drive, as a first unit. I think we did some really good things in the second game; it was just kind of uneventful when we were in there and we weren't able to convert a couple times. I think they called a false start on us that… [Michael Oher] got off pretty good on the snap, and it just looked like he was a little bit ahead, but I don't know if he was. If things happened a little bit differently, you'd never know what happens. We've just got to keep our head down and continue to feel good about how we're out there operating. As long as we do that, then we'll be ready."

On how much of the playbook they have shown in the preseason:"I couldn't tell you. We're running our base offense, and we're trying to go out there and be effective in doing it. Obviously, it's the preseason, so you don't want to show some things, and some things you're going to show because everybody knows you do them anyway. We didn't game plan too much for the first two, and we'll game plan a little bit for this one. It's not really about what plays we're running, we're just trying to go out there and effectively run the plays that are called."

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