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Press Conference Transcript - Practice 8/26


Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison

On whether he is concerned about the yardage given up against the Redskins:"You never want to give up a lot of yards. That's something you work against and everything like that, and I think we addressed the problems. I think some of it was [in the] secondary, some of it was pass rush, some of it was maybe not getting deep enough [and] some of it was great throws and catches. We're not ready to panic by any means. That's something we addressed as far as what we had to really concern ourselves with this week, and they did it."

On what DE Cory Redding brings to the table for the defense:"He gives you a great veteran, gives you leadership by the way he practices, gives you enthusiasm, gives you confidence because you've got a guy that's been very successful. And that's what we like in our room."

On how LB Jameel McClain is doing:"He's fine. He's fine. He just was a little sore, and we decided it would be best for him to get a little bit more rest, but he's fine. He's been doing a really good job by evidence of the run last week, and that's going to be a big test this week again. The Giants can run the football – as we found out a few years ago – and we've got to make sure that we're ready for that. Jameel's done a very good job for us in there."

On how ILB Jason Phillips fits on the team:"Well, that's why we play two more games, and I think all of our young guys know that. We feel very fortunate to have some very, very good young players. Our player personnel people have done a great job of bringing those kinds of players in here. They're evaluated every game. Jason knows – just like every other young player knows – that every snap that he gets in these preseason games is an opportunity for him. He's done a very, very good job of knowing what to do, practicing hard, and now when the game comes, it's just practice for him."

On whether he will have to cut a few linebackers who have been playing well:"Luckily, that's not my decision. If I had my way, we'd have 53 defensive players. Again, like I mentioned before, that's the great job that our personnel people have done. There are a lot of places that you could be sitting there right now, today, and say, 'This guy won't make it. This guy won't make it.' We don't know that. We've got a great game coming up now, and that'll give us a great chance to see where we're at. Then the last game, obviously, a lot of your younger guys play a lot more. So, you're really going to get a chance to evaluate and make sure you make the right decision."

On whether DT Kelly Talavou has progressed over the years:"No question. Kelly Talavou really, really started coming on in the offseason. And he's an example of how valuable offseasons are. All of our OTA's, all of our football technique periods, we just kept watching him, and he kept getting better and better. You're saying, 'Boy I hope that carries over,' and sure enough when he goes in the game, he's doing the same thing. Kelly has become a very, very important part to us right now – the way he's playing – and again, he's got two more games to keep showing that. But we're very pleased with him."

On whether the depth of the defensive line with Talavou, DT Lamar Divens, NT Brandon McKinney and DT Arthur Jones will make it tough to make cuts:"Yeah, definitely. And Paul Kruger's right in that mix, too. Here's a guy that played outside linebacker, played quarterback before, and then one year later he's a defensive end, and then one year later he's playing defensive tackle. All these guys have made great strides because they bought in. They're trying to get better in their technique. Paul Kruger, for example, he gets blocks sometimes that he's never seen in his entire life, whereas a guy who's playing defensive line sees them all the time. And so the next time [Kruger] learns it, and he plays it better. The upside on those guys that you just mentioned, they're all… They've done a very good job for us."

On whether he can trust NT Terrence Cody on the field:"Yeah, we trust him because of the way he was – first of all – brought here. We figured, [executive vice president/general manager] Ozzie [Newsome] and that group doesn't make any mistakes. So, we figured when he came in here that was a kind of player… He's another guy that has worked extremely hard; you've seen him if you've been out at camp, running after practice. One thing, Terrence is a very intelligent football player, so you only have to tell him one time. He's had just great experience from where he came from. We're not concerned. He'll just keep getting better and better."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

Opening statement:"Good afternoon. First thing we need to work on Saturday night is ball security. I think you guys have seen; we had five fumbles last week, and the previous week wasn't one of our better efforts either. We think we emphasize it enough, but obviously we haven't, and we're going to try to get that corrected. That'd be our No. 1 goal coming out of the game Saturday night. We've got to find a way to be aggressive and still take care of the football. After that Saturday night, everything is going to be a plus."

On how much he can attribute fumbles to a great defensive play:"The one great point you make is… We kind of do a study. We take every turnover in the league, every year, and analyze what causes it. The No. 1 cause of fumbles is the first guy hitting someone extremely hard. At one time it used to be the second or third guy, now it's somebody getting hit. The technique we use – and Wilbert Montgomery brought to us – really shouldn't be affected by that. So, the bottom line is it's one hand until you can't secure it with one hand, then it's two, and then it's take care of that ball any way you can. Get us to the next down. You're carrying this entire state, all the Raven fans, [and] the entire organization; when you carry that ball, that's who you're carrying with you. I think for us… I think we've got the technique squared away, but I think now we've just got to develop a mindset that under no circumstances, regardless of the hit, are we going to turn the ball over."

On how much it would hurt WR Demetrius Williams if he misses Saturday's game:"There's still quite a bit of time left. There really is. Especially given the way he was playing before he got hurt. Basically, I asked him if he was going to play, and he's doing everything he can to play. So, I guess we'll find out; maybe a game-time decision. I feel confident that when he's healthy he can go back to playing the way he played. And now I just think Demetrius had some misfortune, some bad luck. Here's a guy who's playing well – he's done it two or three times – playing really good and gets hurt. So maybe his luck's going to turn, because we really think he's playing well and is a good football player."

On how much improvement he wants to see in the third preseason game:"You always want to, I guess click, if that's the term. But at the same time, that's what the preseason is for, is to work those kinks out. I haven't seen anything in practice that indicates that we aren't going to be clicking on offense when we need to. I think that's the important thing. I really put a lot of emphasis and a lot of focus on the preseason games, but we also do the same thing in practice. We practice like a game out here, and going against this defense is like a game. So, right now I'm not concerned just because I get a chance to watch how we execute in practice. And obviously we really don't scheme anybody in the preseason. To me, it doesn't make a lot of sense to do that. You're still working on fundamentals, your foundation, the nuts and bolts of what you're trying to do, and sometimes that doesn't always show up in the passing game, per se. And then a little heads up on this: I try – in the preseason at times – to put us in difficult situations. I've made the mistake in the past of scheming routes to where the ball came out against, really, the right coverage the whole time, and I know Joe's [Flacco] going to do that. I want to see the quarterback get completions when we get bad looks, when the defense really has the advantage. I'm really trying to put on some ankle weights a little bit at times in the preseason to find out some things that we might not find in the normal part of the season."

On whether there is an amount accomplished or time limit on game action for the starters:"It varies. We really follow John's [Harbaugh] lead on that. It's one of those things you've just kind of got to let develop. He gives us an idea of what he's thinking, then we have a meeting on it, and then we kind of talk about it. That's just a starting point. Then we get into the game and we all just kind of [say], 'OK, now it's time for this guy to get out. Hey, let's see this guy another series.' It's really… It's one of those things where you just let it evolve and let it develop."

Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

On the special teams clicking well against Washington and P Sam Koch acting as a "quarterback" for the unit:"Sam has been – all through training camp and through the preseason games – he's really been playing well. I think his game has grown. I thought we saw a real good progression in our first year here, because he developed some skills. And last year he did some things that we practiced in the offseason and I think it continues to grow. This last week, the thing I was particularly pleased with – aside from the three punts that went inside the 10 [-yard line] – is that his hang time numbers were up. And that's one of the things that we were, going into the training camp, we were really trying to improve. And he had a very good day with that. And also with his pooch punts; his pooch punts also had good hang time on it. So, it was really encouraging to see him take something that he was going into the game saying, 'I'm going to do better at this.' And he did. And it's something that's really not seen on camera necessarily when you're watching the game, but the numbers bore it out, because you saw that the return yards were down and you saw where the ball was punted to. So, he continues to improve, that's the sum of it."

On whether he has ever been around head coaches that don't stress the importance of special teams:"I would never admit that. (laughing) Let me say this: Everybody talks, [in] the game, the special teams is important. And every head coach I've ever worked for at every level, it's been important to them. But there are things that are done during the course of a training camp, or course of practice, or course of a game that don't necessarily indicate that that's the case. Here, it's reality. This is important to [head coach] John [Harbaugh], it's important to our players, it's important to our coaches. Our coaches are special teams coaches; they're all into this, just like [assistant special teams coach] Marwan [Maalouf] and I are into this. And it really makes it… When you're coming out to the practice field, when you're going into games, it really makes for a team environment. And we need every player on our team to be good special teams players to have good special teams. And that goes from Ray Lewis and Ray Rice out here helping us out, it goes to all the core guys, and it's coming to pass."

On whether he has noticed a sense of urgency from some guys during special teams knowing it may mean the difference in obtaining a roster spot or not:"I honestly think there's been a sense of urgency since we started practicing during OTAs. I think that this is something that doesn't escape the modern NFL player. They understand this – even wide receivers that are not necessarily Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason – those guys get it. So, I don't know if it's been more of an emphasis for them as it winds down to the end of camp, but I know it's been certainly an emphasis for them all the way through OTAs and all of this part of it. So, I think it probably draws more attention now, but the way they practiced all the way through the spring and summer, it's been important to them all along."

On grading WR Demetrius Williams as a special teams guy:"He's improved a great deal. He's worked on it hard in his gunner game. He's played in hold-ups, which is really a defensive backfield skill, and he's learned that. He's been playing on the outside on our punt return team, and he's been playing on the outside on our kickoff coverage and he's even played some tackle on our kickoff return team. So, he's trying to do a lot of different things for us. He's another guy, as an example, since OTAs started, he's been doing all of those things."

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