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Press Conference Transcript - Practice 8/31


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"OK, good to see everybody. It's a hot day, and we had a good practice this morning. Guys really went to work, and it's kind of a camp-type practice, so it was hard from a mental standpoint, but I thought they focused and did a really good job. We'll come back out this afternoon with our walk-through for the game, and we'll have a walk-through tomorrow. Then we'll travel to St. Louis for really, our first trip. It'll be the first time that we've taken a trip, just to go through the whole schedule of what a road trip is like for us, especially when we play a night game. And that will obviously be important for us, because we'll be doing it up in New York in a very short period of time."

On whether he minds making that trip for the fourth preseason game or if he'd rather do it earlier in the season:"We'd probably rather all the games be at home. We'd take all four preseason games at home, but they don't allow us to do that. No, it's OK. It's probably as good a time as any, and we just need to go through the structure of how we set up that travel procedure and process and how we get ready for a game."

On placing LB Brendon Ayanbadejo and RB Matt Lawrence on Reserve/PUP:"Brendon Ayanbadejo and Matt Lawrence are going to go on PUP, and that's been determined already. Obviously, we have until Saturday to make those final determinations, but those guys are clear cut right now. That helps us get to the 75 number, and they're just not ready yet. Those guys were guys that we really thought, at one point in time, originally, that they'd be ready for minicamp and for OTAs. And they just have not responded as well as we'd hoped to the treatment. But there's still a process; it's just slower. And so, we'll just be working them. Brendon worked out here again after practice really hard. We'll be working those guys for the next number of weeks, and hopefully after six weeks, we'll get a chance to practice them. We'll figure out if they can go at some point in time there. We'll have to decide at that point."

On whether there is a possibility that S Ed Reed could still be ready to play by Week 1:"Sure. I think that's a possibility for a guy like Ed Reed. The determining factor is going to be A) What's best for him, you know, what's best for his career long term, and what's best for him to play at the level he's accustomed to playing? There's no way we're going to rush him back. He's probably the kind of guy that would want to come back – I know he is. He's going to want to come back as soon as he can, but he's also been in this thing long enough to understand that you've got to do it the right way. So, there's a possibility that could happen, just because that's the kind of mindset he has, but we'll just have to see."

On why S Tom Zbikowski was limited at today's practice:"Tom's got a little bruise – thigh bruise – and we decided to keep him out for that."

On a contingency plan at punt returner with a few injury setbacks:"Ray Rice returns punts. Should we put him out there, you think? (laughter) Probably not. Your point is valid; we've got a number of guys to do it, but probably not in this game. I think you'll see a lot of Prince [Miller] in this game, and if we need to go to the next person, we will, but it'll be a great opportunity for Prince to get out there and take most of those shots and see what he does. I think he's fighting for a roster spot, so that could be a great opportunity for him."

On the progress of rookie NT Terrence Cody's knee injury:"Terrence had surgery on Tuesday. He's got a little bit of a tear in his lateral meniscus, and he had a loose body floating around in there. They were trying to manage it, and it was getting a little bit of swelling, and they finally figured out what it was. So, that's a two-week deal. There's a chance that he could be back for the opener against the Jets. Or with the bigger guys, sometimes it takes a little longer. The plus is we have a lot of depth in the D-line right now. We'll just have to see how that one goes. It'll be probably day to day as we get closer to the game."

On whether QB Marc Bulger will get a lot of reps in the last preseason game:"I don't know. I'm probably not going to make any announcements on who's going to play yet. You can know this: We're going to be very judicious with our guys. We're going to make sure that we come out of this thing as healthy as we can. We'll have some guys playing that are going to be important to us – that have for sure already made the team and are going to have to play in this game. But, we're not going to play a lot of guys as much as we can avoid it."

On CB Cary Williams' suspension:"I believe it starts the game week – the start of the work week. I'm not sure if it's Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or what day that is exactly. Ozzie [Newsome] will let us know that. But he'll have to be gone for those two weeks – those full weeks for those games for sure. He can't be in the building, can't be around the football part of it at all, can't lift weights with us, can't do anything. So, that'd be tough for him. It's going to be an emotionally tough thing for him. We'll have to see where we're at at that point in time and how we deal with it."

On how Williams' suspension affects roster spots:"Cary won't take a spot – so that's a plus. When they're suspended, they don't count. So, that'll help us. But it's tough for some of the other injured guys. We've got four or five guys that are going to be questionable for the game, and those guys will be on the 53 [-man roster], so that's why you have a 45-man active [roster]. They give you a little bit of leeway there to make sure you've got a competitive quality there with injuries."

On the depth of the roster: "I think it's really a good problem to have. There are going to be some players on this team that certainly could play in this league – they could play for us, and have played for us – that may not make it. By the same token, some of these [Physically Unable to Perform] situations, it does open up some opportunities for other guys that originally… We tell our guys at the start of training camp: Don't count numbers. You can't sit there and count numbers and say, 'There's no way I can make this team,' because you just don't know what's going to happen. What you need to do is play your way into position to make the team. And the good thing is we have a bunch of guys who have done that. And it's just the thing you're talking about – it's going to be a tough call, and hopefully we can keep as many of those guys as we possibly can."

On whether he has an inclination on Reed's return:"No, no. We've had great conversations; we had a great conversation with Ozzie [Newsome] and Ed and Chuck [Pagano] and Greg [Mattison] yesterday – very honest, open conversation. He wants to come back, but he understands the situation, too, and there's a lot more that goes into it. We have until Saturday to make a decision, and I'm sure we'll take until Saturday to figure that out."

QB Troy Smith

On whether it is ironic returning to St. Louis where sickness prevented him from playing in the 2008 preseason: "No. No, [it's] a whole different situation – new team and just a good feel all around. I think everybody is definitely getting prepared for this game and happy to be in this situation."

On whether he thinks about being unable to play at St. Louis in 2008: "No. No, I'm good. I didn't get a chance to be a part of that – what happened back then – and things happen for a reason. Now, it's a whole new year, a whole different mindset, and we're just moving forward."

On how this preseason has gone for him: "I think it's going pretty well. I think continuously it's about being on the incline and doing good, positive things. As a quarterback, your learning curve is always constantly going, and I totally believe in that. Whether it's your first year or your 10th year in anybody's system, you're constantly learning, you're constantly doing different things, and this system has obviously helped me so far."

On whether he is preparing to play all four quarters Thursday night: "Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I think any and everybody that is getting ready for any game should prepare himself for a whole game, but you never know what can happen."

On what he would like to show the Ravens and the rest of the NFL: "Well, my thing… I've said this time and time again: I'm not in this business to try to show anybody anything. As a person, as a man, I think once you get into vendettas with other people, then things don't happen the way that you want them to. As a quarterback and as a man, I know what I need to do and to achieve, and I'm fine with that."

On how he has viewed training camp and trying to earn a spot on the 53-man roster: "Exactly for what it is – a competition. With this being my fourth year, and having to go through some of the things that I've been through, it's a business, first and foremost. You can't do anything about that. The only thing that you can control and have an effect on is what you do on a daily basis. I continuously get myself together as a player and as a man and as a quarterback, and that's what I worry about."

On whether Thursday's game reminds him of preparing for a big college road game: "Oh, no, no, no. The reason I say that is because the buildup for those types of games is annual. They wait 365 days to build up for the next game. With this being a preseason game, it's so important to so many guys trying to make the team, myself included. We just handle it – these types of settings. Being in and playing in the NFL is something totally different than any type of collegiate ball anywhere."

On the last time he had to fight for a roster spot: "Since I've been here, I've fought every year, and I've said that time and time again. That's the nature of the beast. At this level, it's about competing. Not everybody that you slap fives with is going to be your teammate. You have that understanding, and that's just the way it is. You can go back to my college days – every single guy that was on the team had a roster spot. We had 112 guys on our team at Ohio State, so that's something totally different than what they're trying to make compared to me."

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