DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Congratulations to Anquan Boldin for the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. It's a great accomplishment. I think he'd be the first to tell you it's definitely an honor for all the guys to share, and we all take great pride in that.
"We made a roster move; we brought Ken Hamlin back [and] moved Trevor [Pryce] for now. And that's how we're going into the Steelers game."
On whether there is a possibility of bringing DE Trevor Pryce back:"Oh, high possibility, yeah. You've got roster issues that you deal with, and that's not something we wanted to do. Trevor is a big part of what we're doing here, and we anticipate getting him back. It's just what we had to do for now."
On what they saw from S Ken Hamlin that they decided to bring him back:"We said before we wanted him back. He's part of our team. He was a big part of it the first few weeks. He figures into our plans the rest of the year. We said before, it was just a roster move. We just have to work the numbers."
On whether this move was more of a special teams thing than anything else:"It's just a roster move. To read too much into it – it's not a big deal. We're going to put the guys out there, the 45 best guys that we have. Guys have to step up and play. I would rather have Trevor here this week playing, but we're not able to do that this week. We just have a numbers situation."
On if DE Cory Redding will be ready to play on Sunday:"Cory will be ready if he's ready. It's a concussion, it's just not predictable. There's just no way to predict a concussion. He could be practicing tomorrow, today. He could be not; we just don't know."
On giving a prediction on RB Ray Rice's availability for Sunday:"It's not a roster move. (laughing) I don't know. It's a contusion. We'll just have to see how it goes from day to day. I don't think he'll practice today. There's a chance for the rest of the week, and we'll just have to see how he feels on Sunday. I'm not trying to avoid the question, although I probably wouldn't answer it anyway. But the truth is you just don't know. It's where he's at. He's got a bruise on his knee, and Cory's got a concussion. So, we'll just see how it goes."
On the respect he has for Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin:"We go back a long way. Mike's a guy… He was a little bit younger, but we kind of took the same path in coaching. And I always just admired him, watching him come up through the ranks. He's a defensive guy, a secondary guy. He always did a great job. He has the ability to relate to his players and motivate really well. None of us that have followed Mike's career are at all surprised at what he's accomplished. So, now we are rivals and we get to compete against each other."
On what makes DE Trevor Pryce stand out from other players at his position:"Trevor Pryce? The first thing that stands out to me is just the kind of guy he is. He's really a student of the game. He's a really hard worker. He always comes in in tremendous shape. In the weight room in there, he's one of the strongest guys on this team. And then he's tremendously well conditioned all the time. He really works at it. He's a pass rusher, obviously, always has been. He's always been a good run player, a complete player, and he's a leader. Trevor's a valuable part of this team, and he will be back with us."
On what makes Steelers OLBs James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley so good:"The first is that they've got two guys. At times we've done well against one guy, but then the other guy has hurt us. You've got both guys on both sides. It's pretty hard to provide help on both sides of your pass protection and get anybody out. That's the biggest thing. They are very powerful rushers – that's the No. 1 thing. They really bring it and you're not sure where they're coming from, and they bring it with a lot of power."
On Steelers backup QB Charlie Batch:"He's very experienced, like you said. He's a guy who's won a lot of games, started a lot games [and] has had so much success. He really understands offensive football and fits into their package really well."
On what S Troy Polamalu adds to the Steelers' defensive backfield:"He kind of ties the front and the secondary together in a way, because sometimes he's back deep, sometimes he's in the middle, sometimes he's up on the line of scrimmage, sometimes he's on the right side, [and] sometimes he's on the left side. It's a little bit unpredictable. A lot of it is just his instincts for the game. He's like Ed Reed in that way. Those two guys are very unique in football."
On how the Ravens can limit penalties against Pittsburgh without hurting the team's aggressiveness:"You play with great technique, attention to detail. We want to be 100-percent passionate about what we do. We want to be 100-percent in control in what we do. They bring that out in you. That's kind of what they do. It's part of their plan. So, we've got to understand that."
On what causes the intense rivalry between the Ravens and the Steelers:"I guess it's probably two really good teams over the last couple of years that play similar style of football and have a lot of respect for each other. And there's always a lot at stake. So, that's the way it's worked out. [Both teams have] good defenses, obviously."
WR Anquan Boldin
On if he's heard from his teammates about the Ravens/Steelers rivalry:"I've been warned about it. I've been told it's like no other game. I think I'll be prepared for it though."
On if he watched the Ravens-Steelers AFC Championship game after the Arizona game a few years ago:"No."
On his impression of Steelers S Troy Polamalu:"I think he's one of the better safeties in the league. You definitely have to know where he is and account for him, no matter who you are. That's definitely something we have to watch on the film and be aware of."
On needing to speed things up because of the Steelers' pass rush:"We're going to stick to what we do. They have great pass rushing, and that's one of the things they rely on, getting pressure on the quarterback. But, we're going to stick to what we do."
On his thoughts on being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week:"It doesn't matter."
On if he receives anything for being named Player of the Week:"Just that, mention. No, you don't get anything. I don't think so."
On what he'd want if they did give him something:"Another day off."
QB Joe Flacco
On whether he sees similarities between Ravens S Ed Reed and Steelers S Troy Polamalu: "Yeah, well they're definitely guys [who] when they play, they make a little bit of a difference in their defense. We didn't really play against Troy last year. When he's in there, they're a pretty good defense, and when he's not in there, they're a good defense. So, it'll be fun to have that challenge and go against him this week."
On the differences in the Steelers' defense with and without Polamalu: "He just adds a little. He gets up around the ball. He always seems to be where the ball is. I don't know what it is. He's a good player, and anytime you put a good player on a defense, on a team, it makes them a little bit better."
On whether preparation is easier or difficult since the Ravens play the Steelers twice a year: "I don't know. We played Cleveland last week. We play Cleveland just as much as Pittsburgh, so it's the same. You look at the film, and you don't really treat any week different in preparation. You get on your schedule, and that's what you follow."
On how he rates his familiarity with WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh: "Good. T.J.'s been here practicing for a little while now, and I think we've got a good rep."
On how he rates his emotions heading into a big game: "I don't know. I think you just approach it like you always do. Obviously, you're going to get pretty fired up when you enter the stadium on Sunday, but it's just like any other game."
On how much last week's performance helps him this week: "I don't know. It's a new week. It's a new team. We've got to go out there and try to improve just like we do every week."
On whether a good performance boosts his confidence for the next game: "I think it always helps a little bit, but you've got to move on."
On whether going 0-3 at Pittsburgh in his career wears on him: "We've played up there three times, and we've played pretty good. Besides the playoff game, we've played really good up there. We just haven't come out with wins. We've got to finish games – and this is going to be another good game – and we'll have to finish it in the fourth quarter when it comes down to the time to do that."
On how different the offense will be if RB Ray Rice is unable to play: "It'll be a little different, but we've got good backs. Willis [McGahee] will be ready to go, Le'Ron [McClain] will be ready to go, and we don't expect to slow down at all just because we're missing a guy."
OLB Jarret Johnson
On what the defense needs to do to get back to its usual run defense:"We gave up some big runs last week. The good thing was it's all correctible stuff. It's just technique things and stuff we've got to get fixed this week."
On Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall:"He's a good back. He's a typical NFL back – a big guy. He can make all the cuts. He gets physical with you, and he can also run on the perimeter. So, he's a really good back."
On whether there's a part of him that wishes he could play the Steelers every week and what makes the rivalry so great:"Absolutely. It's just a rivalry. You know what they are going to bring to the table, and we're very similar teams. They have a lot of big, physical guys. They usually run the ball a lot when they play us. So, it's a fun game."
On the Steelers OLBs James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley:"I think they are two of the best outside linebackers in the league. Those guys have been extremely productive the last couple of years, and they are both really physical, and I've got a lot of respect for them."
On what Steelers backup QB Charlie Batch brings to the team and how is he different from QB Ben Roethlisberger:"It's different when you're going against a backup that might be a young guy or a rookie, like most backups. The fact he's been in the league for a long time, he's a veteran guy, he's got a lot of starts under his belt. So, you can't look at him the same as you would a guy out of college or something like that."
On Steelers TE Heath Miller not always getting the recognition he deserves as a good player:"I don't think [he does get proper mention], especially with blocking. People always talk about his pass routes and stuff. But we go to battle every time we play. I always look forward to playing against him – both those tight ends. They're big, physical guys, and I always look forward to playing them. They're physical guys."
On what he thinks the best indicator of a defense is, how many points it allows or how many yards per game it allows:"Obviously, your main goal is to prevent points, but obviously, they go hand-in-hand. If can limit yards, you can limit points. So, they're both good indicators of a defense."
On his favorite moment in the Ravens/Steelers rivalry:"Probably in '06. We got after them pretty good – 15 sacks in two games. It was a good year for us."
On balancing the fact that it's hard to beat a tough rival like the Steelers, but loving to face them in a game:"It's a similar thing. It's a team you don't really like. You know there's going to be a lot of pushing and shoving and stuff like that. But, it's a fun game. I look forward to it. It's similar to a big college rivalry, something like that."
LB Ray Lewis
On whether the Ravens and Steelers form the most physical matchup in football: "I think so. You look at the way both defenses [play] – style and mentality, the way we play football, they get after people, we get after people – so here we go again. That's what I say. Anytime you play somebody twice in your division, it's always one of those things that you already know about. We know them; they know us. I just think it comes from a total respect factor, but here we go."
On whether QB Ben Roethlisberger being suspended makes a difference: "Absolutely not. You're playing – I answered this a couple times already to some people – because you're playing the Pittsburgh Steelers, bottom line. They have a tradition of no matter what's going on, they're going to play their style of football. If you go in there worrying about one person not being there, you're going to find yourself in a whole lot of trouble because they still stick to their identity."
On how much run defense is a matter of pride: "I just think it's, just bottom line, run defense is just everybody just pretty much just doing their job. You can always tell when big plays happen because there's going to be somebody that didn't do their job on that play. That's just the way it is, and that's what makes great run defenses. That's why over the years we've been just year-in and year-out consistent and having the success we've had, because we don't do that. And the times you do, 'OK, oh well.' Deal with it and be done with it. But, I just think it's a real pride thing by the man that's next to you. I think that's what's most important, and that's why we take so much pride in it."
On whether the Steelers have just as much to worry about as the Ravens do: "I think everybody else draws it up a certain way, but I think they know just like we know [that] there's no extra nothing needed. We know what they are going to bring to the table. They know what we are going to bring to the table. The bottom line for me, man, is my message for this whole week is, 'Here we go.' You ain't got to trick nothing, you ain't got to boost nobody up. Here we go."
On whether he has to harness himself so that he doesn't get caught up with emotion: "Yeah, you do. You do, and what you've got to do is you've really got to stay within – stay inside, study the way you're supposed to study, prepare the way you're supposed to prepare, practice the way you're supposed to practice, and then just let the game come naturally and take care of itself. Sunday is a long ways away. You don't want to get all into that. It just drains you when you get all into worrying about all that other stuff. Sunday is going to take care of itself, and whenever it gets here, it's going to get here. We'll be ready to play."
On WR Hines Ward: "Hines Ward is one of the true professionals. He plays the game with a smile most of the time – pisses most people off. (laughter) But, anytime that you can play the game with that type of emotion and control, intensity, then do it. Then do it. That's why he's been around so long. He came from Georgia playing like that, and he's still playing like that now. You have to tip your hat off to a guy like that. When he's not playing, that's when you tip your hat off to him. When you're playing him, you're looking for him."
On how much of a challenge RB Rashard Mendenhall presents: "I think the challenge is their whole run team, period. They have a real big offensive line, and they like to get on people and clear holes for him. You watch a couple of games… He made a couple of big runs in overtime against Atlanta. You kind of see things that could have been corrected very easily, but they do a good job running the ball."
On what is a better measure of a defense – how many yards they allow or how many points they allow: "I don't know. I don't know. At the end of the day, some people worry about yards and this and that. I think it's always about points at the end of the day. If nobody doesn't score, they can't win. And that's kind of the philosophy that all defenses should have. If you don't have that philosophy… If you're worried about yardage, you might be in a little trouble. But if you're worrying about that scoreboard, yardage comes after that. If you get the win, then you say, 'OK, let me look at my yardage,' but if you don't get the win, you don't care about nothing."
On why this rivalry is personal and different than others: "I think because we're two similar teams. I think it's personal because they don't have to talk and we don't have to talk. We know. The switch is on. Every other team might have to get up extra to play us or get up extra to play Pittsburgh. There is no getting up extra to play each other. It's flat out, 'Who we got this week?' Pittsburgh. 'Who ya'll got this week?' Ravens. OK, we know. Get your treatment, and get well, here we go again."
On whether there is a way to knock the smile off of Hines Ward's face:"Yeah, hit him. Easy. *(laughter) *That's a way to knock a smile off anybody's face on the football field."
On how important it is for players to be prepared for life after football:"Good question. That's the thing that [I try to emphasize] – even in my conversations of talking to a lot of these young guys – with all the business things that I have going right now. Don't wait. Don't wait. The NFL does a great job in really getting you out there – getting your face out there. You have to use that. You have to use that to build your own relationships. Don't let your agents do it; don't let all these other people do it. You build your own relationships. You go and meet these people, you shake their hands and you from these business relationships as a business partner. When you start to look at yourself as a partner, you will then start to look at yourself as a corporation. And that's when you go from business to business, creating all these different relationships and things. And I think, for me, even for all the things that I've started to create – I just put together a great business team. And when you put together a great business team, it's not so much that you don't have to be there, but you have to be the face of it. Nobody can always just go speak for you. And that's why I think these young guys need to start catching on early in your career. You get this early money; don't go just spend it all on this crazy stuff. You know what I'm saying? Chase wealth, don't chase riches. So yeah, it's a great lesson that you wish you could reach a lot of them to really talk to them about it, because it is a very important thing."
On whether he is aware that head coach John Harbaugh and QB Joe Flacco are 0-3 playing at Heinz Field:"Didn't know it. You just exposed that to me for the first time. And I don't know. I don't know if they're worrying about it. I don't know if we're worrying about it. So, won't even bring it up."
On the impact he has had on other players:"I just think it's… I kind of spoke not too long ago about being a leader. I just think being a leader is you have to serve first. And that's my thing – I'm willing to serve all men no matter what it is. Men and women. And that's the thing that… I'm up last night until almost 1:30 in the morning just watching films, just taking different phone calls of people that just need help outside of the game. The game is a very small part when you listen to a lot of these men's issues and a lot of these people's issues in life. Life – it's the most precious gift we got, but the things that we go through in life is what men look for help for. A lot of people try to teach people discipline. I don't think a lot of people need discipline first; I think they need leadership first. I think they need somebody to follow, somebody to lead them first, and then you discipline them while you lead them. And that's kind of what I do – I try to lead them first. I don't try to go and say, 'Do this, do that. You shouldn't do this, you shouldn't do that.' No. I befriend them and become a friend of theirs, and then I start to add the small little tidbit in there of what I think discipline should be."
On what he expects from the game if the defense can shut down the run:"We don't go into [any] game saying, 'Nobody can't beat you.' It's the National Football League, and if you're in this business… [Steelers QB] Charlie Batch has been around for a long time, and he's been around for a reason – because he is a veteran presence who understands the game of football. Whether we shut down the run or not, the bottom line is we can't let him throw the ball all over the field."
On what LB Jarret Johnson means to him:"'Double J' to me, man. I call 'Double J' my construction worker. He comes to work. He comes to work. He [isn't] going to argue. He [isn't] going to talk about this, talk about that. 'Double J' is going to be there. And, if nothing else, when you step on the battlefield, that's all you ask for. And that's what you'll remember when your playing days are over with a man like that. Me and him talk about it all the time – that one day when our days are over, we're going to sit back and remember these days of when we went to battle together and things like that. That's one of the men that I truly love, from the bottom of my heart, because of the man that he is."
LB Terrell Suggs
On what the Ravens-Steelers rivalry means to him:"I'd be lying if I told you it was just another game. It's a little bit more than that. We definitely want to win. This is the game on the schedule that we circle and we definitely look forward to. This one has a little bit more importance than all the other division games."
On why this game is more important than other divisional games:"Maybe because we don't like these guys. We respect them, but we don't like them – maybe because the two teams are so similar, especially in style of play. And it's just for bragging rights. These two teams are always at the top of the list when it comes to No. 1 and defenses and stuff, so we definitely want that title."
On whether it's more important for a defense to give up fewer yards or fewer points:"I think it's more considering who wins the game. You can play great on defense and still lose. So, I think that's how you can decide who really the No. 1 defense is by who wins the game. We've got one objective, and one objective only, and that's to win the game."
On whether he believes that they can beat the Steelers if they can stop the run:"We have a really good chance. If we come out and we play against the run like we did last week, we're going to get our asses handed to us. It's going to be a little bit more attention to detail, and that's definitely – we say it every week – but that's definitely No. 1 on our list this week."
On the impact LB Ray Lewis has had on him:"I don't think you really have to say it because the guy not only motivates the team, he motivates the city. He kind of put all of us and the city – our fans – on his back. Not a lot of men got broad shoulders – got shoulders built for that – but his are pretty big. He gets us all ready to play. He's our physical and our emotional leader."
On whether Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger not playing will affect the game:"Well, they're 3-0, so they're obviously still a very deadly team, even with him not under the center. Whoever their guy is going to be, they're going to come in to knock us out. They're going to come in to win, and we've just got to be tenacious. We've got… I don't even know the words right now to describe how we've got to play in order to win this game on their field."
On how much of a conscious effort is it to stay calm when playing the Steelers:"Sometimes you've got to let your emotions fly. Sometimes a penalty like that can rally your team. It all depends on the situation of the game. If it's early in the game, a good personal foul might be exactly what a team needs. If your coach kind of Chop-sueys a ref, it might be what your team needs. *(laughter) *It all depends on the game, but if it's in a pivotal point in the game – if it's third-down… It's third-down, and if you've got a clear shot at the quarterback, and it's one of those iffy things, you probably don't take the shot just to make sure you don't put it in the hands of the ref. You definitely… Your mind – you've got to be really into this game. It's more mental more than physical."
On whether the Steelers have a history of trying to lure the Ravens out of their comfort zone:"Bait us in? Why would you think that? Of course not. They've got nice guys over there. *(laughter) *Of course they don't do that. We're not little boys; we're men, and we should know when we're getting baited into something. We've just got to get them in between the whistles."
On whether Lewis helps the team keep its emotions in check:"No. He's really… He's one of the worst of us all. It's more of a collective effort. We do it as a team."
On his favorite moment of the Pittsburgh rivalry:"Anytime we won. Every time we beat them, it gets better than the last. I do have a favorite moment, but I'm not going to tell you guys. So, I guess you'll just have to wait and ask me after the game what my favorite moment is."
On what the key is to having the best run defense:"I don't know. I think when you have 11 guys that are hungry for the football. Some people, it's just higher on their priority list than other teams. That's a physical match that we love to win – stopping the run."