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Press Conference Transcript - Practice 9/22


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "Welcome, and it's time to go back to work. It's a Wednesday, and we've started our preparations for the Browns."

On Browns WR/RS Joshua Cribbs:"In many ways, he's such as explosive player, one of the best in the league. Their special teams, I've said this before, but their special teams are like an all-star group. They've just got a bunch of core players; the specialists are all good, and Cribbs is the main guy. And we're going to have our hands full. The other thing he does, he jumps in the Wildcat. He's the quarterback and he's a dynamic football player. One thing I want to urge our crowd to do – you know we're back home for the first time in quite a while – when they're on offense, we need to be loud. And we need to be especially loud when they see No. 16 at quarterback. Let's make the communication tough when they get in that Wildcat thing."

On his thoughts on O-line coach Andy Moeller's arrest for an alleged DUI:"We follow the procedures that we have internally for that and also that the National Football League has in place. We're obligated to do that. They have a conduct policy for players and coaches and employees. We fall under that, so we're following that procedure."

On what makes Cribbs so hard to bring down:"He's hard to tackle. He's a big, strong guy – the same thing that makes him hard to bring down on offense. He's a very physical runner. He's very fast. There's no hesitation in him. I don't know if there's a guy in the league that breaks tackles better than Josh Cribbs."

On if he's sure that QB Jake Delhomme will be the Browns' starter on Sunday:"I have no idea right now. Just have to prepare for both."

On how much will change if the team is preparing for the different strengths of Delhomme or QB Seneca Wallace:"They run the similar offense with both of those two guys, but they operate just a little bit differently according to what they do well. So, we'll have to be just prepared for both guys. We'll see them and study them. It won't affect our calls."

On whether Sunday's game is more pivotal than other regular season NFL games:"It sure is this week. We have to have this game. It's a home game, it's in the division, and there's just no doubt about it. It's critical for us. But, you know what? Every game, it seems, in this league, is critical."

On the status of LB Tavares Gooden:"Tavares is going to be out for a few weeks – at least a couple of weeks. He just had a dislocated shoulder, and there's some healing that has to go on there."

On what he would say to fans who are frustrated with the play at the quarterback position and are seeing changes in quarterbacks being made around the league:"I would say, with any position, I'm not one of those guys that makes the quarterback too much different from any other position. I think we all realize how important the position is. But he's a football player, the guys who play that position. You want to put the best guy out there that you feel gives you the best chance to win from week to week. That's what we feel Joe [Flacco] is our guy. We're very blessed to have a heck of a backup in Mark Bulger, and if that ever changes, it changes. It's not that big of a deal to me. What's important to me is that the guys who are playing the positions play really well, play fundamentally sound, play the position as well as they can. Guys are fighting to do that every single week, but every single week is a new week and it presents new challenges, and guys fight back from one week to the next. I think if you look at every position, you'll see that that's true."

On if he's surprised at being fined by the NFL for his contact with an official and if he's talked to line judge Ron Marinucci:"I'm not surprised. I respect the policy. You can't touch an official. Ron and I go back a long way, so I think he understood what I was expressing. Obviously, I didn't do it very well, and it's justified."

On if the Ravens have made a roster move to bring CB Cary Williams off suspension and onto the active roster:"No, we haven't. We don't have to do anything until 4 today. So, we're still weighing our options. There's a lot that goes into that. We have to do something, but it's not going to be something we're going to be happy about doing, and it will be something that we'll have to take a view to Sunday on and also a view to the long term on, because we want to hold on to all the good players that we have. Every guy we have right now is a very good player."

On whether Williams figures into preparations for this week's game:"I don't know yet. It's a possibility. We'll have to see in practice how he looks and really how that 45-man roster shakes out."

On what he has learned from working with LB Ray Lewis the past two years:"Wow, what a deep question. There are so many things about Ray… The passion is probably the thing that jumps out. He's very passionate about what he thinks is right, and he's also willing to learn. He's one of the most coachable [players I've seen]. Here's a guy who may be the best linebacker to ever play, and yet, he may be the most coachable linebacker that I've ever been around. And everybody that's coaching at that position seems to say the same thing. So, there's a real humility there about Ray."

QB Joe Flacco

On whether anyone in his family wants to bench him: "I'm sure they… I don't know if they want to bench me. Everybody's just making fun of me for it [having a bad game]."

On how to bounce back from a bad game: "Hey, we've all played bad games, and I've played bad games before. You come back and you do what you always do. You come out there and play football and you expect yourself to play well, your team to play well, and that's what happens. You go out there and you play well."

On whether he has confidence that he won't get benched and everyone is supporting him: "Yeah, I mean I haven't heard anything. I hope so. I think so."

On whether it is tough to watch film following a bad game: "It's tough to watch the plays that you didn't play well on, but you've got to learn from them and see what the coaches have to say and just see what you could have done better on each of those plays."

On whether there was a repeating mistake that he noticed while watching film: "There's a lot of things, but no, it's not always that simple. We've just got to get better at everything. I've got to get better at mainly everything and just being compact and... You know, listen, it was one bad game and it was one game out of 16. We've got 14 left, and in the long run that one loss isn't going to matter too much. We expect to have a lot of wins and [to] go out there and play well a lot of times. Nobody likes it. I don't like it. The team doesn't like it, but you've got to get over it, and if you don't get over it then it'll kill you for the rest of the year."

On whether too much is being made out of one bad performance: "I have no idea. You guys are making it all up, so it's not like I pay attention to that and watch the TV and read the articles. You guys can tell me. Apparently there is a lot being made out of it, but I don't really care. I'm going to go out there and play the next game and play well."

On what he attributes to bouncing back well in the past: "I don't know. I think you just go out there and play. I expect to play every game well, and when you have a couple slip-ups, it happens. Most of the time when I look at the tape – as an overall game – I usually think I play pretty well. Like I said, everybody plays bad games, and I'm going to have more bad games. But the majority of them, I'm going to play well and I expect myself to. You've just got to bounce back and keep your head up and know that you have the ability to do that."

On why the Ravens have had a lot of success against the Browns: "We play them twice a year. We get a feel for them, and we have a good team. We play well against them. We play well against a lot of teams, but I think it probably shows because we get to play them a lot. We get to play twice a year at least, and it kind of plays itself out more."

On looking forward to playing at home: "Yeah, it's always fun to play at home. Our stadium is the best stadium to play in for me. It's one of the best stadiums out there, and the crowd is second to none. So, it's going to be fun."

On being welcome to another offensive player being vocal in the locker room: "Yeah, whoever wants to speak and speak their mind and get the offense and get the team motivated to go should do that and step up when they have the chance to do that. So, it doesn't matter who it is; it's good."

On whether it is harder to forget and move on after a loss: "I think for some people. I think for us players we go on, and the game is over as soon as we leave the locker room. Once we get back on the plane, the game is over – we lost. There's not too much you can do about it after the fact. You wish you would have played better, but you can't do too much once the game is over and you've lost. You've got to move on to the next week, and you've got to focus on that opponent and go out there and try to get a win."

On timing in jump-ball situations during the game: "Well, I don't think it comes down to timing. I think it comes down to us making plays. It has nothing to do with timing when you have a jump ball. A jump-ball is a jump-ball, and there's only a couple of them. It's not like they're going to decide a game. We've got to play better, consistent football throughout the course of the game."

On whether his interceptions were bad passes, bad reads or receivers weren't in the right spots: "Everybody was in the right spots. I threw four picks. I would really want one of them back. The second one I threw was bad. Other than that, they made some plays – a batted ball, a fourth down. You know, really, like I said, I don't want to throw any of them, but when you look at the tape, the one of them I feel like was a really bad decision. The other ones weren't bad decisions. I don't think they were bad throws. I think they were the situation that it called for. Yeah, it looks bad, and everybody wants to react to it, but I can't."

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh

On how much a rookie cornerback like the Browns' Joe Haden can contribute: "It depends on the guy. [It depends on] what kind of system he had in college, how he was coached up. Obviously, with him being in Cleveland, he's going to a good defensive coach. It just depends on what's asked of him."

On what he expects in regards to bouncing back as a team: "Just to win. That's all that matters. As long as you get a win… When the season is over with, you don't go back and look at every game and say, 'Well, they barely won that one, so that doesn't really count much.' A win is a win, and eliminate turnovers and win the game, period. If we protect the ball, we'll be all right."

On whether the AFC North is the toughest division in football: "It is. It's back to playing real football. That's what I tell myself. It's a physical division. It's obvious. Pittsburgh has always been physical, Baltimore has always been physical, and when Marvin [Lewis] got to Cincinnati, that's all he talked about. Cleveland, they're good defensively. It's a physical, physical division. Guys are going to hit you. You're going to be sore every Monday, and that's just the nature of this division, period. It's a physical division top to bottom. Offensively, you want to be physical and you have to combat it because that's what they're doing defensively."

On WR Anquan Boldin being vocal in the locker room and if it is necessary for other guys on the offense to be "in your face":"He wasn't really in your face. He just said what was on his mind. It wasn't anything I hadn't heard before. That's just how he is. Certain players are like that. I'm like that at certain times, and that's just how he felt at the time. It wasn't real demonstrative or nothing. It was just basically getting in there and just saying, 'You know, this is what I feel we should be doing and this is what we're not doing,' and that was basically it. As a quarterback, if Joe [Flacco] feels the need to do it, I'm sure he will. Some might interpret that as a sign that your quarterback is uneasy with himself, so that's the great thing about football in this locker room. You have more than one guy that's a leader. People always want to appoint certain guys as leaders, and I think that's not the case. You're only a leader if others are willing to follow you, and that's how I see it."

OLB Jarret Johnson

On the pride of not allowing a touchdown in the first two games: "You've got a certain amount of pride about that, but we've got to keep it rolling. We've been in some tough situations and dug our way out of it this year, but we've got to make some more plays. We didn't get many turnovers, and even though we are keeping them out of the end zone, we need to do more."

On how the defense reacts to QB Joe Flacco struggling: "We're not worried about Joe. You know Joe – Joe's a confident guy and he knows he's got the ability and he's going to bounce back. There's going to be weeks when we come out here and we're talking about how great Joe is, not being hard on him. We've got Joe's back, and those games are not a consistent thing. He's going to be a great quarterback in this league."

On whether any confidence wavered in Flacco Sunday: "No, absolutely not. We've got a ton of confidence in the guy. The only person that has more confidence than us is him, and he's got a ton of confidence in himself and his ability."

On the key to stopping WR/RS Joshua Cribbs in the Wildcat formation: "The first thing is you've got to recognize it. You've got to seeing it coming out of the huddle, and you've got to get everybody aligned and make your right checks, make sure everybody is in the right spot. Then, it's based off of formation. They can do a hundred different formations out of Wildcat, and he's such a physical runner. You see him, you think receiver, No. 16, he can throw the ball, but he runs like a running back. You've got to be aware of it and you've got to get lined up. The thing about Wildcat is everybody has to play their position. You can't be flying over the ball and get out of your gap, because then they'll gash you."

On how to prepare for two different quarterbacks: "You're just preparing for their base offense. If Seneca [Wallace] plays, you know you've got a little more of a scrambling threat. Even though he has a big arm, he can revert more to scrambling. But, we're preparing for the exact same offense. Their offense is not going to change from Seneca to [Jake] Delhomme."

On being mindful of the way to rush the passer with Wallace: "Anytime you've got a guy with that high of a scrambling threat, you've got to make sure you're more in your lanes than a guy who is not going to move around quite as much. Even though Delhomme – it's not like he's not an athlete – it's just that Seneca has more of a threat, so you just want to stay in your routes a little better."

On finally playing another home game: "Oh man, preseason games are great and everything, but it's going to feel great to get back to M&T Bank [Stadium]. Our home crowd and our environment… I'm pretty biased about it. It's a pretty special thing, so it's going to be good to get back home."

On the key to beating the Browns: "It's always a physical game, and I think it always comes back to the running game. They're going to try to run the ball. It's who can establish the ground game. Then the big plays – the Wildcat and stuff like that – because you can limit those things and have a pretty good shot against them."

On Browns RB Jerome Harrison: "He's a smaller guy. He got started like a third-down back, but he runs like a big guy. He's a physical back for being as small as he is, and he's somebody you definitely have to contain."

DT Haloti Ngata

On whether his big sack against the Jets was a breakthrough for him and made him feel good: "You know, a little bit – it definitely did. I've been working on it all camp and all offseason. It gives you just more confidence that you know you can get back there and get that sack. It felt good."

On the pride the defense carries in not allowing a touchdown in two games: "It's great. Our confidence level as a defense is building, and it's becoming stronger and stronger. We're becoming stronger as a defense. Our coaches have been doing a great job in practice of emphasizing different things and knowing what our competition is. Against the Jets, we knew we were going to have to stop the run more. Against Cincinnati, we were going to stop the pass, and our coaches did a great job at practicing different things with us, and we had a great week both of those two weeks."

On whether it is frustrating to be 1-1 without giving up a touchdown: "A little bit, it is. You try so hard as a defense to stop it, but this is the biggest team sport you have out there. If we can't do it as a team… We've just got to keep on moving on. There's going to be some times that our offense is a lot better than our defense, and we're going to have to lean on our offense to help us win games. This happens with every game – you're going to have one unit do better than the other."

On whether the defense monitors or guesses who will be the opposing starting QB: "Yeah, coaches will throw in different quarterbacks in there, like a running Seneca Wallace-kind of guy to practice against. And we'll have a [Jake] Delhomme wannabe-guy that's in there. So, you practice for both, and when you're out there in a game you'll see what comes at you, and then you just do what you do best and just stop whatever they throw at you."

On whether it makes a difference who the Browns QB will be Sunday: "You know, it kind of does because they're different players. Seneca Wallace can run a little better than Delhomme, and Delhomme has been in the league for a while now. He knows a lot of things. So, they are different, but you practice for both, like I said."

On the key to stopping the Wildcat formation: "If we stop it early, then they won't come back to it as often. So, we've just got to make sure that when they do run it, it's getting [Joshua] Cribbs down as fast as we can. He's such a dangerous player. He can make you miss, he can run you over. If we play strong up front and get him stopped or not creating any holes for him, we'll be able to stop the Wildcat pretty easy."

On whether there is a carryover from dominating the Browns last year or if they start fresh:"It's fresh. This is a new year. They've got a new team out there, basically. They've got new quarterbacks, and it's definitely fresh. We'll see how we do this first game against them, and hopefully we can do the same thing as last year. But it's basically a fresh game and season."

On how different he feels coming off of surgery: "I think I feel a little stronger this year. I think it's because with my chest… When I had surgery with my chest, I focused more on getting stronger in the upper body, and I feel a little stronger. I think it was the first time I actually focused on getting stronger instead of speed and [conditioning]. I feel a little stronger this year, and it seems to help."

On how much humility it gives him to hear his peers say he is the best DT in the NFL: "It's great. That's what everyone, I think, in the NFL is trying to work for, is to become the best player in their position in the NFL. So, it feels great that people are saying that, and hopefully I can just get better and better and prove them right."

RB Ray Rice

On how he is feeling in general:"Right now, I feel like we're at a point at our team that we can build from. We hit a little stumble, but as a team, we're going to regroup. Our defense has been playing well. And one thing we know, [on] our offense we have the guys to get it corrected. We're not an offense that points fingers, because we all look at this… When we look at the film, we look at it together. And that's the great part about playing football. It's not one guy – it's all 11. We all can just do little things to execute. Obviously, we've got to score points to help our defense out, and we'll continue to try to continue to do that."

On how his ankle is feeling:"My ankle's great. I'm going to go out here and practice today. I was sore Monday, but being that I was able to finish the game was a great sign. I was a lot… I got a little shook up. I thought it was something more than what it was, but I'm out here today, full-go, and I'll be ready to play."

On whether he is more vocal this year than before:"I think it's more I'm coming into my own. I don't want guys to think that… Football is a tough guy's sport. I don't want guys getting in my face thinking that… Obviously, you've got to be smart thinking about any retaliation, but I don't want them getting in my face thinking that it's going to be a knock over. Obviously, I've got a bunch of guys that will rally around me, whether it's something that I've got to say in the locker room or on the field during a play. For the most part, I just try to go out there and let my game speak for itself."

On whether he was surprised that he didn't get the ball more against Cincinnati:"It was a game flow. A lot of times you try to stick to the game plan. We ran the ball well. In Week 1, it was the pass – it was the flipside. But that's part of, I think, our offense finding out where our comfort zone is and where we can mix and match. Everybody thought we were going to be a team where, now we got our receivers, we're going to be able to throw the ball over the top. But at the same time, we've been a great run team. In Week 1, the run was stopped; we had to get the ball out. Week 2, we ran the ball really well, and we struggled in the pass. We have to find our comfort zone in our offense, and obviously, there has to be a balance between run and pass."

On whether he thinks it will take time to find the comfort zone:"One thing I know is that you only get comfortable by playing the game and getting used to the guys that we have. T.J. [Houshmandzadeh] is new. Even though [Anquan] Boldin's new… He's still new to us. Comfort with Joe [Flacco] – a lot of that stuff is me-to-you. Once those guys get comfortable with Joe, we're going to be a great passing team as well. Running the ball is always different because defenses know that we can run the ball. They know that they're going to have to put an extra guy in the box. At the same time, we've got to capitalize on the pass game as well, and we're going to do it. We're going to do it all together as a group. The run needs the pass, and the pass needs the run. You can't just say, 'We're going to come out and air it out 50 times.' And nobody goes into a game plan saying, 'We're going to run it 50 times.' It just happens with the game flow."

On whether he feels like teams have been keying in on him:"Last game, I felt pretty good. I felt like the run game was coming in to its own, especially in that fourth quarter, second half [when] we got six, seven yards a carry. That's one thing you can expect, especially when a team plays with an extra guy down. If you're getting seven yards then… For the first game, those were tough yards. The Jets have a pretty tough front. Last game, I felt like the run was coming in to its own."

On whether he is comfortable with WR Anquan Boldin, or a new member of the team, being a vocal leader:"Anquan's new to the football team, but he's not new to the league. Being that, he has that leadership ability. He has that 'Ray Lewis' quality where he can get guys fired up when he talks. That's what we need on this offense, being that we're a younger group. I'm going into my third year, but I'm only 23. Antwan has the… I mean, Anquan has the experience. He's been where we all want to be. He went to a Super Bowl, so obviously, he knows what it takes to get there. He played with a great quarterback – a future Hall of Famer in Kurt Warner. You've got to listen to a guy like that."

On how LB Ray Lewis has impacted him professionally and personally:"Ray has been not only like a brother to me, he's been a mentor to me. He's been what I needed on and off the field. And I say that in a sense where I can go to him for advice. I don't have to watch what Ray Lewis does – I can watch him, watch the way he plays and watch the way he practices – to know that that's something I want to be like. I think if our younger guys can't grasp on to him and what he's doing not only in life, but on the field as well, you're missing out on a treat. Not a lot of people get to experience what we all get to experience with Ray Lewis."

On where the teams' confidence in QB Joe Flacco comes from:"I've been playing with Joe for three years. I just know Joe. The teams' confidence… It's his offense still. Nobody plans to go out there and throw four interceptions. He plans to go out there and light a defense up. At the same time, he has to face… One thing I know about me and Joe, which I can always relate to him – not that I'm a quarterback or anything – but we're going to face adversity. We're young players. [If] we don't make these mistakes, we'll never get them corrected. He's a guy that's willing to work. Obviously, he's a playoff quarterback. He's a winning quarterback. I know that he's going to get the job done. I have full faith in him. And if he decides to hand me the ball off, I'm going to make it happen, too."

On whether he feels comfortable asking offensive coordinator Cam Cameron for the ball more:"I definitely feel comfortable talking to Cam. I have no problem talking to him. The one thing I know is that my running backs coach [Wilbert Montgomery], if there's a situation, being that Wilbert played in the game, he knows when a guy's feeling it. It's a zone you're in. He'll go to Cam and he'll ask for more carries. Cam is smart. I never question a play call. I always just go out there. It's football. It's 11 on 11. If a play is covered, it's covered. If a run's going to be stopped, I'm saying that was a good call on the defense. I never really get into the whole play-calling thing, but one thing I know is that if we go out there and all 11 guys do their job, whether it's a 5-yard gain or a 20-yard gain, yards is yards. We've just got to go out there and continue to plug away at long drives."

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