Press Conference Transcript - Practice 9/23


Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

On his assessment of S Tom Zbikowski's punt returns at this point:"Well, 'Zibby' had a better week last week. He had a real good 20-yarder that he ran straight up the field and had some positive yards on another return; I believe it was about eight yards. There wasn't much there, and he made it vertical. And then the last one wasn't so pretty, where he reversed field and tried to out-run the defense, and that wasn't happening."

On what he says to Zbikowski in that situation, now that it's happened twice:"Don't reverse field and run wide and try to out-run everybody. *(laughter) *That's the same thing I just said. No, that's what you tell him. He knows it, but you're going to tell him. So, we met on the sideline, we talked about it. That's not what we want him to do and he knows it, so we'll try to avoid doing that in the future."

On how much of an advantage K Billy Cundiff's deep kickoffs into the end zone have been:"It is an advantage. It's not just the distance in the end zone, it's also the hang-time in the end zone, because most good returners – and this week we have one of those – they have a clock in their head. Where it may be five [yards] deep, but if they see and feel that the ball is low, they're going to get behind it and bring it out. And if the ball is five [yards] deep in the end zone with really good hang-time, then typically those kind of kicks they wouldn't [return]. But the hang-time that Billy's been getting with the distance has been a real positive for our kickoff team."

On whether touchbacks would be a good thing this week, especially with WR/RS Joshua Cribbs waiting deep:"Yeah, that would be a positive development."

On where the breakdown was last week on the Bengals' 60-yard kickoff return late in the game:"There was a variety of things on that, which is usually the case. We didn't do a real good job on the interior getting in front of the returner. The returner had a real clear path. When the wedge showed, we basically just went outside of it, and so, the guy cut right back in the middle of the field and our back side got cut off. So, it was kind of three points of attack there that it was pretty much all bad. And then at that point it was a track meet, and fortunately we got him down."

On whether that particular kickoff went into the end zone at all and the returner brought it out:"I believe it was one [yard] deep [into the end zone]. Yeah, it was a good kick. I don't know if you noticed during the game, but the wind had increased and changed from warm-ups to the start of the game, where prior to the game we thought we were going to be kicking that way. And then when the game started – right before we went out there – we decided to kick the other direction, which when it increased during the game, we ended up kicking to the opposite [of] our tunnel the rest of the game. And you saw him – 'him' being Cincinnati's kicker [Mike Nugent] – did the same, and the touchbacks are now coming the other direction. So, Billy kicking it a yard deep into the end zone, basically against the wind, was a positive kick."

On whether we might see CB Josh Wilson at some point in the return game:"At some point we might see Josh Wilson." (laughter)

On whether that might be soon:"Well, those decisions are made during the course of practice. It depends on how you see things in practice, it depends on how the game is going, it depends on availability of other players. So, there are a lot of factors that rule into that, but Josh has been practicing very well. He's been back there – as you've probably seen in the pre-practice – he's been back there returning for us in our special teams practice. So, when the time comes, we'll all know at that time."

On his thoughts of RB Jalen Parmele on kickoff returns:"Well, the fumble aside, I thought he had a very good day, because he ran in there physically in the returns that we schemed up for him, and he made a couple of guys miss and he broke a tackle. And that's really what we get out of Jalen. Jalen's a running back playing returner, and so he uses his running back style to his advantage."

On CB Chris Carr getting an opportunity to return a punt last game and if that was to give Zbikowski a break:"It was kind of a game situation. It was a situation where we were subbing 'Zibby' out a little bit, and there was some personnel things going on at that time. So yeah, that was kind of one of those tactical game situations that we decided at the time to go that way."

On what CB Lardarius Webb could potentially bring as a punt returner, if given an opportunity to do that:"Well, as you know, with Lardarius being a corner versus 'Zibby' being a safety, just their skill-set is different. And that's why one plays safety and one plays corner. So what Lardarius would bring would be change of direction and top-end speed. What 'Zibby' brings is his ability to go north and south and break a tackle and hopefully good decision-making."

On whether he is reluctant at all to use Webb in that role right now:"Well, like all players that come off an injury that he's coming off, he's growing every day in his practice. Just like on defense, too. They're using him more and more each week, and we anticipate doing the same thing with special teams. He's going to grow back into that role that he had previously."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

On how he has helped QB Joe Flacco this week:"Just like we always do – prepare. I love Joe's preparation, because that's the key. The plays we ran… You're talking about Cincinnati, obviously. Obviously, we've moved on, but we're not going to ignore the fact either. We've got to play better. That was all of us collectively – coaches, players. You go back, right from preparation, [and] get back into practice. [We] had a solid practice yesterday and need a great practice today. I can say whatever I want to say. Joe can say whatever he wants to say. Offensive guys can say whatever they want to say, but we've got to practice the way we're capable of practicing, play the way we're capable of playing, and I'm confident we'll do that."

On whether Flacco's confidence took a hit or if his personality doesn't allow that: "That's a good question. We can say whatever we want to say, but we've got a game coming up. We've got to prepare and play. I love Joe's approach. I don't think he's… I think the older you get in this league – when you're young, it's easy, and I don't consider him necessarily young anymore – when you're young, it's easy to just kind of move on because I'm young and supposed to make some mistakes or whatever. He takes it very seriously, and I've seen that in his preparation, but he's always serious in his preparation. So, we're back practicing at a high level and getting ready to play at a high level on Sunday. But, [that's] a fair question."

On whether there was a glaring mistake that led to four INTs: "No, they were all different. They really were. I hadn't looked at it to necessarily… You're always looking for something that you could solve easily, but every one was a little bit unique. One, they made a nice play on one. [On] a couple, we forced the ball, and one they made a nice play and tipped the ball and they were able to come up with it. It was unfortunate."

On evaluating the right side of the offensive line after two games: "These guys are playing hard. They've played well. We've got two good football players on the right side, and we expect them to play well this week."

On WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh taking responsibility for not making plays: "That's why we've got a chance to get better. He's not the only guy that felt that way. I know I felt like I could have made a better call. I think over time, you look at people – it could be in any profession – people that after something that doesn't go the way that maybe you wanted it to, they look in the mirror versus looking out and about. We've got guys that come right in after games, they look dead in the mirror, coaches and players, and say, 'What could I have done better to help us win that game?' And that's why I'm confident with this group. We've got the kind of guys that can bounce back."

On expecting the offense to take a little time to come together: "I think when you've been in it long enough, you've got to have some realistic expectations even though you know kind of what's out there. I think I go back to last year when the ball was running up and down the field, and if you remember, I cautioned everyone, 'We don't know how good these defenses are [that] we're going against,' and it turned out those were some of the bottom-tiered defenses you're putting up 500 yards against. But, it'll be interesting to see how good New York [Jets] and Cincinnati's defense are. I think that's… But with all that being said, [if] you turn that ball over seven times, that's seven opportunities that are gone. You cannot score, and it's my job to put us in a position where we're not turning it over. It's our guys – and they know this – we cannot turn the football over, especially when you look out there and you see how our defense is playing. And our guys know that. I'm not sharing anything with you that we haven't already talked about, and that they don't already know. The No. 1 issue, or the starting point for us offensively, is taking care of the football, and we've got to get that done starting this week."

On whether there is a fine line between Flacco playing carefree versus worrying about the turnovers: "That's the magic question. That's the magic question, and the bottom line is: You've got to trust. You've got to be aggressive. You've got to be smart-aggressive, which he is. We've just got to continue to get better in that area. The one thing you can't do – and we all know this – no one at any position can be hesitant to step on that field. That's not good. There might have been some hesitancy by guys at times, for some reason, for whatever reason, but we've got to get out of that."

On QBs facing adversity: "It's what makes you. It's what makes you. That's what makes NFL quarterbacks, because you're staring at a game within six or seven days. So, no matter how you perform, you've got to get back to work, and you've got to go back out there and perform. That's the bottom line. And as you grow through, you've got be able to handle success. The good ones… [The] first thing they do is handle success. That's the first thing, and then you've got to be able to handle adversity. And then it makes you or it breaks you. That's just the way it works. That's not going to change anytime soon."

On Flacco looking upset on the sideline toward the end of Sunday's game and whether his demeanor has changed this week: "No, he's human. Anytime any of us… He's no different than T.J. [Houshmandzadeh], who you were mentioning. He's no different than anybody on offense that played in that game. I mean, you come out of here… We've got 20-plus guys on offense that realize what took place, and the Marshal Yandas and the Matt Birks and the Michael Ohers and the Willis McGahees and the Ray Rices and the Le'Ron McClains and the Todd Heaps… It's all the same for all of us – Cam Cameron, Wilbert Montgomery, Jim Zorn… When you don't put your best foot forward, and you're defense is playing the way it's playing, your actions need to speak. And it needs to start in preparation, which it has on the practice field, and ultimately, how we play in this game."

Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison

On whether he anticipates having six cornerbacks and three safeties on defense for the rest of the season: "That's not my decision. We're going to always have the best secondary that allows us to play the best in all phases of our game – special teams, defense and everything like that. I know one thing: They would never put us in a position where we wouldn't have enough players to be able to get the job done. I just come to work, and that's their decision."

On whether CB Cary Williams will play Sunday: "I don't know if he will on the defensive part of it, but I would assume… Most of our defensive players assume roles in the special teams, so I would hope he would be there in some capacity that way."

On whether Williams can also play safety: "He has played some safety. He has played some safety, and Chris Carr has played some safety. We've got a number of guys that have played safety. Like I said before, they would never put us in a position where we couldn't get something done, and we've already talked about what way we would go with that kind of thing."

On LB Jason Phillips assuming the role of injured LB Tavares Gooden: "He's the next man up. We talked about this last year, and that's what makes this defense special. I think the guys prepare at a high level with the idea that, 'When my time comes, I've got to be ready so that we don't slip.' He has done that. Every practice he goes as hard as he can. We're blessed to have some very, very good football players that may not have been active. Now, when their time comes, they're up and ready to go."

On whether rookie NT Terrence Cody is expected to play Sunday: "That decision will be made at the end of the week. He's had a great week of practice, also."

On whether Cody has shown any visual effects from his surgery:"No, no. In fact, yesterday, that young group of defensive linemen really did a nice job with… Terrence and Arthur Jones and [Lamar] Divens, I was really impressed with them. And [Cody] came out really ready to go."

On whether he wants to see the defense improve on takeaways:"Yeah. You always want to get turnovers, especially in a season or a game when it's going back and forth. That's the job of a defense to try to get turnovers. And the biggest thing is any turnover you have the ability to make sure you get that one. You can't try to invent things, or try to go make plays to get turnovers, but when they come to you, you've got to… You can't squander opportunities. I know our guys are working very hard at it, and that's what we'll keep trying to do."

On whether this was the game last year where he stressed turnovers as well:"I'll tell you what, I would never remember that. It's game-to-game right here. We [stress turnovers] every week. We definitely know that our job is to get turnovers, and any chance we can, we've got to get some. And I also believe that sometimes they come in streaks where all of a sudden, boom, you get a bunch of them. You just keep doing the same things – be around the football, be physical and keep going after the ball."

LB Ray Lewis

On to what he attributes the Ravens' past success against the Browns:"I just think that, one way or another, you have your guys in the same division, and it just comes out being that way sometimes. Bottom line, they always play hard. We always just find a way to grab this turnover here, grab that turnover there, and kind of change the game. But it's always a hard game anytime you're playing anybody inside your division."

On how much whether QB Seneca Wallace or QB Jake Delhomme starts for the Browns will impact the defense:"I just think that's on who's… If Delhomme is healthy, of course he's the starter. If not, then we'll see Seneca. I think both of them pose different problems. Delhomme is more of a pure-pocket passer – veteran of the game. Seneca is more of a guy who they can really use a lot, even in their Wildcat package they throw him little passes and different things that try to get him isolated. So, Seneca is more of an athlete playing quarterback – a lot of rolling out of the pocket and things like that with him. You've kind of got to be prepared for both."

On whether he has ever played against Wallace:"You know what? Somebody asked me that question yesterday, and I can't tell you I remember. I don't think I have. I don't think I have."

On whether it helps to have played against someone as opposed to just watching film to prepare for a game:"Yeah, absolutely. When you watch the film, the first thing you see [of] his ability is how he can break the pocket. In some, like [the] Kansas City game, people had clear blitzes on them, and it came from the outside. He [spun] away from the [blitzes] and was able to complete a pass downfield. So that's the kind of thing that you have to deal with, is just keep him bottled up in the pocket."

On how the Ravens' secondary has played in the first two games:"Just to be more brutally honest, not just about the secondary, I just think you have to tip your hat off to our whole defense right now. We haven't gave up a touchdown in God knows how long, and that's why you play the game, defensively. Anytime that you hear all these injuries here and there… But for us, it's just always 'next man up.' I think it's the extra attention that we pay when we deal with communications and practice and things like that. So, I think my secondary's playing great, but overall, just defensively, he couldn't be more happier with the way our defense is playing. Can we get better? Absolutely. We can stop a couple more plays here and there, but the way we're playing on third down is the way we're getting people off the field – really stopping people's runs like that. I think defensively, we're really doing a good job so far."

On whether he's heard from the NFL about the penalties during the Bengals game:"No. It's over. It's over. Whatever happened, happened. No matter if they got it wrong or not, rules don't… I mean, plays don't change. So, you've just got to keep going. Frustrations, whatever was out there was out there. Never [any] disrespect to the league or anything like that. You're just… Anytime you're in the heat of battle and something like that happens, most of the time your raw emotions are going to come out."

On whether he is excited about playing at home:"Yeah. I think, for anybody, I think our fans are going to be more excited than anything. We haven't been home for a while, so for us to come home and have a home opener against a divisional opponent, I think that's huge for us to definitely try to get this up under our belt."

On whether there is increased concentration on third-down defense:"Oh yeah, absolutely, because that's the down that [defensive coordinator Greg Mattison] puts so much emphasis on, bottom line. Because it's the biggest down in any game for us, defensively – bottom line, just get off the field. We study so much on third downs – secondary and linebackers more than anything – because D-lines just kind of do their own thing. But it's just how much we pay attention to that, and how big it is to know what you're going to get on third downs – how people are going to attack you and things like that. And overall, the last two games as well as preseason, we've just been knowing what people are going to be in, and I think that's been a great factor in how we've been playing."

On what LB Jarret Johnson means to the defense:"'Double J,' for me, man… I have to call 'Double J,' for us, that construction worker. He's just going to always come to work. He don't got that glamorous job and this and that; he just loves doing what he does. And anytime that you can play with a warrior like that, there is no greater reward when you actually get to play alongside somebody like that. His wherewithal – what goes on with football, his knowledge of the game and how many adjustments for me and him that we have to make and really talk out – he's just so big a piece for our defense."

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