DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
WRs Coach Jim Hostler
Opening statement: "Welcome. John [Harbaugh] and Ozzie [Newsome] have already spoken about T.J. [Houshmandzadeh] and what he means to the organization. I think the fans of Baltimore already understand, too, what he's going to mean. You guys have seen him first-hand competing against this defense – never intimidated, highly competitive and productive against this defense – and that says a lot. From an offensive standpoint, those are the kind of players that we want on our side of the ball, just like our defense. We want guys that are tough, physical and competitive. All the things that we say we are, T.J. is. One of the other interesting things about it is he's been in this system before, so Monday night when we line up, there will be some familiarity with what we're doing, and he can go out there and do what he can do against the Jets. From that standpoint, he'll fit right into our system. He'll be able to play all three spots. We know that. We're going to get him ready to do whatever we need him to do to go win that Monday night game. Without any further ado, here's T.J., and he'll answer the questions, and I'll see you guys."
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh
On if playing with WR Chad Ochocinco rubbed off on him after playing together for many years: "I rubbed off on him. (laughter) It's just the truth, you know? But Chad experienced success before I did, so people saw him before they saw me. If you ask me, that's just my opinion of it. I've always been like this, and regardless, life, period. I've always been very competitive and sometimes overly emotional, but that's just who I am. My kids are like that. I have to calm them down and I wonder, 'Is that how I look at times?' I've gotten better with it, but no, I don't think he rubbed off on me at all."
On if his decision was between Oakland or Baltimore and the opportunity to join a winner: "It was different teams, and I'm not going to get into what teams, who it was. But there were other teams, to answer your question with that. It's refreshing to go from the situation I was in and to come here. It's refreshing. It's hard to explain because you always want to be optimistic, and I'm an optimistic person at times. It's hard to be optimistic when you know what you're going against. And to come here, I know what Baltimore… I know what these guys bring to the table because I've played against them. I've sat in rooms when coaches had to game-plan against these guys, and I know how stressful it is for those guys playing Baltimore because I've been on the opposite side of that and how much stress that defense puts on people. So, to be on that side and not have to deal with it and worry about what protection is going to pick this up and what protection is going to pick that up, it's great. I feel like I'm coming to play with guys that are similar to me emotionally, the way they play the game and how they love the game, and that's where I need to be."
On how he envisions his role in this offense with all the other weapons: "I don't know. That will, I guess, play itself out over the course of the season. We'll see what happens, but I'm a firm believer if you show the coaches that they should get you involved, then they'll get you involved, and that's what I plan on doing every day when it's time to practice."
On his similarities with WRs Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason and how that will work: "I love football. I'm not ashamed to admit I've watched [both]. I've gotten tape of Derrick Mason and watched him in the offseason. I've gotten tape of Anquan Boldin and watched him in the offseason. I've watched receivers that I think can play. I've watched those guys. If you can play football, and you can play the wide receiver position, which is probably one of the hardest to play outside of quarterback, you know the learning curve and just getting it, it doesn't matter. If one guy is running this route, the next guy will run that route. I feel like I can run every route, and I'm sure 'Mase' and 'Quan' feel the same way. Just throw the ball, and we'll make a play. That's how I feel, and I'm sure that's how those guys feel also."
On if it will be a little weird putting a Ravens jersey on after previously playing in Cincinnati: "It was a little weird when I tried my helmet on today. I tried my helmet on and it was a little weird. Just… I'm not a person that really likes change. I'm starting to realize that about myself, but sometimes change is better and I look forward to it. I've been on a lot of losing teams in my career. This team had a great shot. It's only five or six teams every year that have a legitimate shot to win a Super Bowl, and that's just what people think. But you've still got to go do it, and this is one of the teams, even if I wasn't here, [that] had a shot. For me to come here and them to accept me and want me on the team, I'm just going to try to do my part, that's it."
On if there is anything he'd like to explain about what happened in Seattle: "I hate to cut you off. This is my opinion: Me not being there, I can promise you, had nothing to do with football – not in my opinion. Nobody on that team beat me out. If they're honest with themselves, they know that. If you watch practice, it's obvious. But for whatever reason, they did what they did. I'm not going to comment on it and get to throwing rocks because I just don't want to. But that's what they felt like they needed to do. You guys will see what I can do. I'm very confident in myself, and people say I'm probably too confident in myself, but I don't care because I believe in myself. I kind of got disappointed [with] what happened in Seattle, for real, but I know I can play. I know I can get it done. They know I can get it done. What they did, I don't really want to comment on because it makes me really upset, but it happened."
On his involvement in Monday's game and how long it will take to get fully acclimated: "Best case scenario, we win. That's the best case scenario. If I can help, then that's what I'll do. After we get done here, I'm going to get up there and try to figure out this playbook and learn what's going on. It's not overly complicated, but when you're sitting there looking at a playbook you say, 'Oh, I got it.' But it's one thing to hear it in the huddle, line up and go do it in seven, eight seconds. It's a whole different dynamic, so it's going to take some time. Hopefully, I won't have to be in the huddle asking [Joe] Flacco, 'What do I got to do?' I've just got to get on it and study. I think I'm a quick learner. I think I pick things up rather quick, and I'm just going to try to not be a hindrance, that's it."
On his impression of QB Joe Flacco from afar and what he'll do to make sure they're on the same page: "My impression of him is he's a hell of a quarterback. I don't know if you all know, me and [former Baltimore QBs coach] Hue Jackson have a real good relationship, and Hue used to brag about the guy all the time. You know, brag about him, how good of a quarterback he was and his demeanor and his personality. That's why I was a little late [to the presser]. We were in there talking a little bit. It always helps when you've got a guy that can put the ball where it needs to be. I've just got to show him that one, I know what's going on, and two, when he wants me there I'm going to be there. I think that's the biggest thing that he trusts that I know what I'm doing, I know what he's seeing, and I think that's the biggest key. Me and Carson [Palmer] just had so much nonverbal communication that he knew I was seeing everything he was seeing. He knew I saw the blitz how he saw it. He knew I knew where the hole was in the zone defense, and I've just got to let him know that I'm seeing what he's seeing."
On if there are enough balls to go around along with Boldin and Mason:"As long as you win, it doesn't matter. Do I want the ball? Of course, and I'm sure they feel the same way. If you win games it doesn't matter who gets the glory, who's getting the ball, because at the end of the day, everybody benefits when you win, period. I'm sure each of us will play a part in different games of playing the hero, so to speak. You've got Ray Rice, you've got Todd Heap, you've got so many different guys. You've got Willis McGahee. You've got so many different guys in this offense that have dominated and have shown that they can do really good things in the NFL."
On the challenge of playing against Jets CB Darrelle Revis: "I love it. This is why you play. He's the best. They say he's the best, and I love it. I don't know if he'll be on me because I'm just getting here. Whoever he's on, this is why you play. You want to see how you rank up against the best. You want to see how you stack up against him now. I'm not sure what kind of shape he'll be in. You can work out, but getting out there running, it's a different dynamic. It'll be fun. It'll be fun. I can't believe I go from playing San Francisco to being on Monday Night Football playing the Jets."
On how much his conversation with LB Ray Lewis influenced him to come here: "We talked. He texted me early in the morning, and I texted him back, and then he called me. Ray is just passionate about everything. I've known Ray for a while, and before I met Ray I would just watch TV and be like, 'This dude really can't be like this all time.' (laughter) And when I talked to him, and it was just me and him, he was like that. He's just passionate about a regular, normal conversation. I need to be around players like that because that's how I am. I just express it in a different way than he does. Ray is one of the best players to ever play. Ed Reed is one of the best players to ever play. They've got players on this team that can get down. And his thing was, if you want to win, this is the place to be. And he doesn't have to tell me that because I've played against them. I know what they bring to the table. So, his recruiting… It wasn't recruiting. It was just more so just conversation because I already know what they bring to the table."
On what he remembers from the game in 2004 when the Bengals came back from a 17-point deficit to beat the Ravens: "We won. I remember that game. We had fun that game. Me and Chad [Ochocinco] both had 10 catches. I remember it like yesterday to be honest with you. It's just… When you play on the road in your division, it's going to be a big game. To get behind… If I'm not mistaken, I think the first or second play of the game we threw an interception and the crowd is going crazy. I think it was a turning point for Carson [Palmer], for us, just confidence-wise to know you could come on the road and beat a good team. Knowing that the pressure coming into the game… I remember [saying] like, 'We can't turn the ball over the first series, not against Baltimore. If you do, the game is practically over.' That's what our coaches were telling us, so I know what's going on on the other side. I know how they're preparing. I know because I've been in there plenty of times. It's stressful for those guys, because I've been in that situation. I used to always tell the coaches, and Marvin [Lewis] knows this, 'Marvin, tell the coaches, why are they nervous? They're not the ones playing.' They would be nervous like they were playing. I would tell Marvin that all the time, like, 'Marvin, please tell the coaches don't come in this meeting room acting like they're nervous because they don't have to play.' (laughter) That's just the type of pressure when you play good teams that the coaches get nervous."
On if he sees this as a long-term place to play: "You know, if it works out. Yeah, I was thinking about that on the plane ride here. You never know what's going to happen, but I'm going to play football four or five more years, in my opinion, Lord willing, and if somebody wants me to play. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but yeah, I would like that if everything falls into place."
On if he sees a comparison to his career and what veteran DB Rod Woodson did when he won a Super Bowl in Baltimore: "I hope so. If it ends with a Super Bowl, that's great. I wouldn't call that because Rod Woodson is in the Hall of Fame. I'm just trying to do my part and make some plays, that's it. Going to Seattle I felt was a bad year for me, and I've got people around me that tell me it wasn't thinking that's what I want to hear. But to come here and be with these guys, and just to be back playing big football games, that's the most important thing. You're playing big games. You play the Jets – that's a big game the first game of the season. Then you turn around and play Cincinnati – that's a big game. So, just to be involved in big games in probably the best division in football, it's refreshing."
On whether it will take time to get comfortable with a new team:"Yeah, of course. I'm in shape. I'm ready to play. I've been practicing. I'm ready to go, but of course you've got to tread easy, because although I know quite a few of the guys here, mainly on defense – I don't know if I know that many on offense – but they don't know me much, and I don't know them very well, either. It's almost like the feeling out process like we're boxing. The first couple rounds you feel your guy out and see what he's got. I'm sure they're going to do that, and I'm going to do the same. That's just human nature. It'll be a process, and I'll pick it up; I'll be fine. It'll take some time, but not as much as you guys probably think."
On what he thinks about playing in Cincinnati in Week 2:"I looked at the schedule only because when I was packing up yesterday, I was [thinking], 'What should I bring?' And I realized that [the Ravens] play quite a few games on the road early, so that's how I noticed it. I had to pack some suits [so I would be] ready to go. Other than that, I didn't really pay [attention to the schedule]. I would be lying to you if I… I will talk about that after Tuesday. I don't want to look ahead to playing Cincinnati when you've got the Jets right there. The Jets are a good team. They've got a hell of a defense. I love Rex Ryan as a coach – even playing against him when he was [coaching the Ravens]. He brings so much confidence and just personality. I think it's good for the NFL. It should be fun. I'm just happy I get to play in it."
On what perspective he puts his life in, with a humble beginning to where he is today:"Well, I shouldn't even be here. I [barely] graduated from high school. I'm not supposed to be here, so that's how I see it. I played one year of football my whole life before I went to college. I went to [junior college], was a running back, guys got hurt, [and I] got moved to receiver. [I was a] seventh round pick, and I think that's why I act the way I act, for real, because there were times I had to literally… We had nothing to eat in the house. I [was] 14 years old, and I'm taking care of everybody – my mama, my older sister, my two younger brothers – they all relied on me. So, I think the way that I act on the field is how I grew up, and that's why I wouldn't change the way [I act]. You know, people say, 'Oh, he talks too much.' Stop me from talking then, and I'll stop. That's just me, because of how I grew up. I think that's why I act the way I act, because nothing ever came easy for me. And people that know me, my uncles – they'll be here, they'll come to a lot of games – they know what I had to go through to get here. And that's why I know that I'm lucky, because there are so many people that had an easier path, or should be where I'm at, and they're not. Why me? I couldn't even answer that."
On whether it's time for him to reinvent himself now:"I don't know about reinventing myself. When you play on… I've been on teams that have lost, obviously – not including last year in Seattle. But I don't know. Last year was just a little more stressful than other years. I don't know why, maybe because I expected so much after being given so much. You know, 'To whom much is given, a lot is required.' Maybe I put a lot of pressure on myself, I don't know. But I always tell people, 'When pressure comes, I get fresher.' And I'm just excited to be here, for real, to be honest with you."