DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
On whether it's possible that the defense is under the radar with all the talk about offense:"I don't know, and I don't really care. Under the radar and the talk, it's interesting and it's fun, but for us it doesn't matter. I mean, really, I hope they're under the radar. I hope people look past them. I think our defense is going to be great, but you've got to go out there on the field and you've got to play that way. So, anything you say, what difference does it make?"
On the challenges presented by the Jets' defense:"First of all, they've got a lot of really good players. The front is dominant, the linebackers are downhill and dominant, and the corners are dominant. Jimmy Leonhard is a great player. So, there's no weakness in that defense. I think the scheme is tremendous. They mix it up on you, they bring pressure [and] they play coverage. So, it's not just one challenge, it's a variety of challenges."
On whether there is anything Jets head coach Rex Ryan can bring on Monday that the Ravens haven't seen yet:"Sure. I'm sure he'll definitely bring some things we haven't seen. It'll be some look, some pattern, some coverage behind a pattern that we haven't seen, but it'll be Rex's style. I think we've seen that. Hopefully we understand what that is."
On whether he has watched any of the series "Hard Knocks":"I watched about half of the first one. (Reporter asks, "How much else?") *And I watched about half of the first one." *(laughter)
On whether they expect to see the same things out of CB Darrelle Revis, despite him missing training camp and the preseason:"Yeah, I think definitely. We will expect to see a great player out there. I think there's a reason that they wanted him back so badly. There's a reason they paid him so much money; he's worth it. So, it puts them at their very best, but we expected it. We didn't think for one second he wasn't going to be there."
On how much Jets' DT Kris Jenkins can affect the run game:"Jenkins is a dominant player. He controls the middle of the defense for them. They're really strong down the middle. Jenkins, the two inside 'backers – Bart [Scott] and [David] Harris – and then Jimmy Leonhard. That's as good as a four guys down the middle that you're ever going to see."
On whether he feels like this is the year that the offense is going to take it to the next level:"I sure hope so. We want to get better – we say it all the time – we want to be as good as we can be in every phase. And we try to do that every year, and that's not going to change now. So, we want the offense to be absolutely as good as it can be. We want to score as many point as we can. You've got to go out and you've got to execute, you've got to handle pressure, you've got to do the things that you need to do to score points in the red zone, move the chains – all that stuff. So, that's the challenge."
On how new WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh is adjusting so far and whether there has been any surprises with him:"No, I think he's just what we thought [he was]. He's a pro, he's obviously a tremendous route-runner, good hands, big, strong body, he can run. Just getting him up to speed, he's really working hard to make sure he can go out there and play without having to ask everybody what to do. And he should be able to do that."
On what his experiences have been with a new guy coming in and having to play in a game a few days later:"I think it depends on the guy. A younger guy has trouble doing that. A veteran guy who's been in a lot of systems, run routes, run combinations, been in different offenses, they're usually pretty good because for them, it's more translation. He's not really learning anything he hasn't done before; he's just translating a system. And hopefully, he's a good translator."
On whether QB Joe Flacco notices if there is any added pressure on the offense with his laidback personality:"I don't think Joe is pressured. I think he wants to do well, obviously. Like all of us, he wants to do well, but I think he's excited. And I think Joe is more excited… He's excited about the players around him, but I also think he's excited about his process. He's been working hard and he wants to play well."
On whether this game may mean a little more to Rex Ryan, emotionally, given his past in Baltimore:"I don't know. I'm sure it does mean a lot emotionally. Any time you play your old team, it's a meaningful thing. It was meaningful for me when we played the [Philadelphia] Eagles. So, I'm sure it does. But when the game starts, it's just a game. You've got to focus on doing your job, and I'm sure he'll do that."
On his confidence level that his receiving corps can match up with any defensive unit in the NFL:"Oh, yeah. I think our guys can match up. I would say that about every position on our team. There's no position that I'm not confident we can match up and play well against anybody we're playing against, and that goes for the receivers."
On whether he feels like T Oniel Cousins has been coming along from his injury and if he'll be able to do some work at tackle:"Yeah, I think he's coming along, and I think he'll be able to do something over there."* (laughter)*
On whether rookie LB Sergio Kindle's medical testing in Baltimore went well:"I haven't gotten a report on that yet. They said it would take a couple of days to process all of the tests and all of the information. Then they would give us a report. They thought about a week after he got to the hospital we would have an evaluation."
On whom his emergency third QB would be if that were a necessary in-game move:"It would probably be Anquan [Boldin]. He's played it before, and he'd probably be our guy."
WR Anquan Boldin
On matching up against Jets CB Darrelle Revis:"I'm looking forward to it. I think it'll be a pretty good matchup. They have a pretty good defense – I think they ended up No. 1 last year – and we just want to see where we are as an offense. So, I think it'll be a pretty good matchup."
On whether he can go after a guy like Revis:"We don't play too much into, 'We're going after this guy or that guy.' We're attacking them as a defense."
On not feeling like they have to shy away from Revis:"No, we don't feel like we have to shy away from anybody. As an offense, we're going to do what we do best, and that's just go out and play football."
On whether it will affect Revis at all being that he hasn't played through training camp and the preseason:"No. He's a professional. This isn't his first year in the league, and I'm sure he knows how to prepare, even if he wasn't in training camp."
On whether he thinks about the hit he took from Jets' S Eric Smith a few years ago:"No. That play was behind me years ago, so no."
On the specific attributes that makes Revis one of the league's best corners:"Probably instincts. A lot of times, guys just have a knack for the game, and I think he's one of those guys."
On whether he feels like in today's NFL, it's the offense that dictates games and success as opposed to the defense:"I think all three phases are important to the game. You can dominate on one side of the ball – offensively or defensively – but you give up a couple of big plays on special teams and that can kill you. So, a lot of people say offenses put people in seats, and defenses win championships, but I think it takes all three phases of the game."
On what he sees from a young QB, like Joe Flacco, that tells him he's really got command of what's happening on the field:"I see some of those similarities in Joe [as he did in Kurt Warner], as well. But I think he has a lot more leeway this year. I think he's earned the trust of the coaches, so they're giving him a little more leeway. But, he comes in the huddle and he's confident. And when you see things like that, guys around him are confident in him as well."
On whether he sees Flacco progressing to the next level, like they say many QBs do in their third season:"I think so. Like I said earlier, probably out of all the quarterbacks I've played with, he has the most – if you would say – the complete package out of them all. He's a smart guy, he has a gun, he can make any throw on the field, but his willingness to learn is what separates him from a lot of young guys."
QB Joe Flacco
On if he likes to start out with the Jets and their No. 1 defense: "I don't think it matters. I think it's good that we're playing the Jets, and we're excited about it. But we don't really care who it is. It just happens to be them, and it's going to be a good game. It should be a lot of fun, and we're excited about it."
On if there is a certain challenge going against that defense: "Yeah, there's always a challenge when you're going against a defense that's that good. They played really well last year and they're going to come out ready to go this year. So it's a challenge, and it should be a lot of fun."
On if Rex Ryan presents more things from a defense than anyone else: "I think so. He likes to bring a lot of pressure. He knows that when you get the quarterback uncomfortable it can present a lot of problems to an offense. He's done a good job over the years, but we're confident in our ability to go in there and kind of take that away and run our offense the way we always have."
On what he sees in CB Darrelle Revis that makes him the best cornerback in the league: "He's a big, physical guy. He's quick, he can move, and like I said, he plays physical. He plays hard, he plays fast. He's just a good player."
On the excitement of the first game with all the newcomers and returnees together: "I don't really care. I just hope we go out there and put points on the board. I could care less about seeing us in action and things like that. We're going to be out there doing it. We just want to go out there and play well and put points on the board and give our team a chance to win."
On how hard the adjustment is for WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh to get on the same page: "We'll see. Our focus is just trying to get him ready and to make sure he feels comfortable. I'll adjust, and if he's in the right spot, it's not going to be too hard to hit him. We've just got to make sure he feels comfortable with what he's doing and he can line up and run the routes that he's supposed to."
On what he expects from RB Ray Rice: "Hopefully he'll come out ready to go, man. You know what Ray can do, so I expect him to come out and do all that – have some good carries, be effective first in the pass game. We'll see."
On a third-year quarterback making a jump: "I don't know. I think you guys say that every year, and it's my third year. I think we can stop saying that now. I think we are what we are, and I think we feel like we're going to be a good offense. We've just got to go out there and prove it."
On if he thinks offenses now dictate winning: "I think so. I'm an offensive guy, first of all, so I think I definitely feel that way a little bit. But you know, defenses… They'll win you games, but I think to get over the hump, you need offense. We've won here. They've won here in the past with a great defense. They won one Super Bowl, and we're trying to win multiple. And you need a good offense. You need a good team in order to do that."
LB Ray Lewis
On his Old Spice commercial: "Here we go. Oh man, don't do it. What happened? What'd I do? (laughter) Ray [Rice, off to the side], we got jokes? (laughter) My people just contacted me, and I've always been a fan of the Old Spice commercials. I just thought when I saw the strips that they were hilarious, so I said, 'I'll give a shot at it.'"
On how long it took to put on the costume: "You know, it actually didn't take that long. It took a lot of time keeping it on actually." (laughter)
On how many hours it took to film a 30-second commercial: "Oh, wow, long hours. I won't even say how many because it went long. I shot more than once, but we got a lot done in three days, so it was good. It was good. It was a good shoot." (laughter)
On if he called Colts QB Peyton Manning for any advice on the shoot: "No, no, no advice on this one."
On how his teammates have reacted to the commercial: "Yeah, I've kind of went through it already. Every time they call up a huddle or play, everybody's screaming like birds and stuff. Somebody went and put suds everywhere in front of my locker, so there's a lot going on right now. So, I've just got to weather the storm, and I'll be back sound by the end of the week."
On if he feels like he's getting the rookie treatment again: "Yeah, yeah, it's a lot of torture going on right now. Everybody's iPhone has got it on there and just a lot going on, man. I've just really got to be OK with myself right now." (laughter)
On if there are added emotions going against Rex Ryan's team: "You know what, I don't think there's that much added emotions. I just think it's, for us, coaches prepared us for the next game. It's the first game of the 2010 season, and it's on the road in their new stadium. And all of the stuff that they want to create about it, then they create it. But the bottom line for us is it's just business as usual. Strap up your chinstraps and let's go play football."
On if it is different playing against Ryan and LB Bart Scott: "Not really. I mean a year ago, yeah, probably, but that's so removed. That's just the nature of this business. You know, move on. As soon as you get rid of somebody, you've got to learn to adjust to that right now. It's not about missing nothing. You just move on. They once were Ravens, now they're Jets. So, it's no missing nobody."
On Ryan talking about Lewis not being able to call plays on "Hard Knocks": "I don't know what Rex said. But look, the bottom line is… I'm going to be very careful with this: We're talking about the Jets like we're talking about the Saints. That's the defending Super Bowl champs, and until they play tonight, that's the only people that can be dethroned – Drew Brees and the Saints, not Mark Sanchez and the Jets. You know, all this, 'We're the Miami Heat of football.' If you're all the Miami Heat, we've got to be the Lakers because we're looking for multiple rings. You know what I'm saying? But you listen to all this yap, yap, yap… The bottom line is you've got to buckle up your chinstraps. So Rex can say what he wants to say. The thing that Rex, whatever he said, I don't even want to get all into that because I didn't see it. But when you talk about what I can't do, we're talking about a decade of stuff I've done. So we're not talking about whether I did not want to call one defense or not. Coach Mark Sanchez. Coach your Jets. You understand? My name should not come out of Rex's mouth unless you're telling somebody to come block me, which is going to be a very hard damn task come Monday night. So whatever he feels that they want to say, and all these Jets want to talk about this… Man, you've still got to play the game. The game ain't played through tongues. The game is played when you buckle up your chinstraps. So all this pressure he wants to put on his team, I hope they can cash the check that he writes. Yeah, it's just… It's what you love. It's what you love. It's just a certain point you get tired of everybody talking about something. You can talk about whatever, but the bottom line is there ain't no man over there that's just going to flat-out whoop me, so I'm good with that part of it."
On if he will be listening to all the barking on the field Monday night: "I will be barking. I don't know if I'm going to be listening to too much of it. That's the beauty of my job. I get to do the barking, and I get to do the hitting. I'm not the receiver of any of that." (laughter)
On if the Jets are getting too much respect too early: "I'm going to leave it to you like this, and I'm going to be done with this until Monday night: They watched the Super Bowl from the same place I watched the Super Bowl from – your couch. You can't talk about [if] you're ready to do something until you go win a championship. You know what I'm saying? That's a fact, man. That's just the way our business has always been laid out. Our business ain't about, 'Oh, this person said this, and this person said this, and they added this, and they added that.' We added things too, so the same pieces you all added, we added things over here. So Monday night, the greatest gift that we've got is opportunity, because when that ref blows that whistle, I don't give a damn what Rex says or nobody else says. It's all out, however you want to get it, let's get it."
On what he sees from New York's running game with Shonn Greene and John "The Terminator" Conner: "The only terminator I know is Arnold Schwarzenegger. (laughter) But watching Shonn Greene… Shonn Greene, if you watch their mentality, he runs the ball the way the ball should be run. He's a north-and-south runner. He likes getting downhill. He doesn't follow his tracks all the time. You know what I'm saying? He breaks off, he'll bounce it outside, he'll bounce it inside. [He's a] hardnosed guy, hardnosed guy. [He] plays the game the right way. And for us, that's going to be a task for us because they like to run the ball, and we don't like to be run on. So that's going to be a big task come Monday night for us, so we're looking forward to it."
On his prediction for the upcoming Miami-Ohio State game: "Yeah, we haven't played them since 2003 since we were rubbed, but I'm not going to go there. A prediction, what? Yeah, we're going to win. What do you mean? What do you want me to say, that Ohio State is going to win? No. I just believe honestly that we have… I think Randy [Shannon] has now got the team kind of up under his thing, and hopefully we've got some pieces somewhere. Hopefully Jacory [Harris] can come out and have a good game, but it's going to be rough to win in the Horseshoe. That's a hard place to go win in, but I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to come practice real hard on that Saturday and sit down the rest of the day and enjoy college football."
WR Derrick Mason
On the addition of WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh:"It gives us another weapon. It gives Joe [Flacco] another weapon. 'Housh' – he fits in like he's been here forever. He understands the system. He's been in a system similar to this. We're just trying to make sure we get him up to speed as quickly as possible going into the Jets game. But, I think he's fit in pretty well here. We've played against him for years, so he knows all the guys. We'll see how it goes this year for him."
On whether it was tough to see WR Mark Clayton leave the Ravens:"Yeah, it was. Mark and I came in together – to the Ravens anyway [in 2005]. He learned a lot from me, and I learned a lot from him. He was not just a coworker, [but] he was a friend off the field. And whenever you build a bond with a guy, it's sad to see him go. Whether it be retirement or what not, it's sad to see him go. But I'm happy that he's now at a place where he can showcase his talent. Obviously, he will become, hopefully, the No. 1 receiver down there. He and [Rams QB Sam Bradford] can make history down there in St. Louis somehow. I'm happy for him, but I was sad to see him go. But it was part of the business, and he understands it."
On whether having a lot of big-name receivers on one team will be an issue:"No. It's not like this is the first time it's been done in history. You look at the Arizona Cardinals, the Indianapolis Colts, the St. Louis Rams, look back to the Charger days – teams have done it. Three receivers have been able to coexist, so I don't think there will be a problem. Obviously, in one game, one guy might have more balls than the other, but that's a good problem to have because defenses can't fix on one guy each and every week. One day it might be 'Quan,' [Anquan Boldin], one day it might be T.J., one day it might be me. So to me, I think that's a good problem to have."
On whether playing against Jets CB Darrelle Revis will be an issue for the receivers:"We're just going to play football. We understand what type of player Revis is, but we're just going to go out there and play football. This guy has to line up as well, and he has to play football. He's a very good corner, and we understand that part, but we're not going to tailor our offense because of one guy. They've got 10 other guys that can play football as well. It just so happens they have the best corner in football on their team. We're not going to tweak our offense or anything. We're just going to go out there and play football and try to find some matchups, and hopefully, we can move the ball down the field."
On what gives the offense confidence that it'll be as good as the media expects it to be:"I think because of the progress that we have made over the years. Before Cam [Cameron] got here and a lot of other players got here, we were kind of at the bottom half of the league, and slowly but surely we started to itch our way up to being one of the best offenses in the NFL. If we just continue on that road, I think we will become not just the best offense, but the winningest offense in the NFL – and that's all we what we want to do. You can get all the numbers and still not win. What we want to do is make sure that if we do get the numbers, that we're winning in the process. First and foremost, we want to be the winningest offense in the NFL. If history continues to repeat itself, and where Cam has been for at least three years, it shows that that the third or fourth year the offense usually ranks within the top two or three in the league."
On what he has seen from QB Joe Flacco that gives him confidence in the offense:"He's matured over the years, and I think he's taken the approach of: 'I'm going to come in here and make sure that each and every year I'm doing my part and I'm going to get better.' Because this offense only grows if the quarterback grows, and Joe has done a good job at growing as a quarterback – being a leader on the field, knowing what to do in certain situations. He's a seasoned vet, because to me, he's been in enough playoff games and he's been in enough tough games to where now he has that feel. To me, and I know to everybody else in this building, Joe has really primed to have a big year. But in saying that, we have to do our part in order for him to have a big year. With the addition of 'Housh' and Anquan and the tight ends that we have, I think his job is a little bit easier this year, but he's still got to go out there and perform. I'm hoping Joe has a terrific season and we're winning in the process."
On what he sees from Jets CB Antonio Cromartie: "I've played against Cromartie for awhile – I think three or four years now, four or five years maybe. I don't know how long he's been in the NFL. I think it's four or five years. I mean he's another good cornerback that you've got to go out and make sure you're on your 'A' game when you play against him. And then you've got to add the rookie in there as well – [Kyle] Wilson. He's played very well when [Darrelle] Revis wasn't in there during the preseason. They have three very good corners to go out there and play the type of defense that Rex [Ryan] likes playing. Whether it's Revis or Cromartie or Wilson, I think neither one of them lacks in confidence, and obviously, we know Rex doesn't lack in confidence either. He's going to let those three guys go out there and play their game and allow Jimmy Leonhard in the back end to kind of handle it all."
RB Ray Rice
On whether he feels ready for the regular season after a light preseason:"Man, I feel great. It's the best I've ever felt. [Playing on the road] is more exciting when you find out you're going to a place where you were born and raised and played college ball. So, I've got to let my emotions get high, but when the game settles down – I know [my heart] will be racing a little bit – but when they game settles down, I stick to just going out there and trying to play my game."
On how many tickets he requested for his family and friends to go to the game:"Today I put in a request for 30 – plus I got some already – so probably around 35 or 40. You have to do it one time. It's a new stadium, my family is up there, and I'm trying to get my high school coaches to come. I'm trying to make it a special event. Christmas came early to a few people. [I'll have] just a little section. You'll see little purple two-seven jerseys, maybe a little t-shirt, I don't know. Whatever they decide to do, I'll be happy as long as they're there."
On how it feels to be fresh going into the first game after not having a tough training camp:"It felt good. Our training camp was physical. It felt good to get tackled during camp by our guys. You don't necessarily want to be tackled by another team. But I feel fresh going into this game. It feels great to know that you got your workload in camp, but now you're ready to play the regular season."
On if he is already thinking about the limited "life-span" in the NFL:"For me, I just try to go out there and play. I don't think about the expectancy for the running back, but I know that if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you. With God's will and health – a lot of stuff plays a part. I'm not one that goes out and abuses my body. I've learned from my fellow teammates – like Ray [Lewis] has been playing forever [with] the way he takes care of his body, and that's one of the things I think about. I always think about going out there and taking care of my body. And however long my body allows me to run the ball – or whether it's catching and running now – I look forward to doing it."
On how he can further the running game with the advancement of the passing game:"I feel great about the passing game. One thing that the passing game does for me is that it makes the box [less crowded] – that's just football. When you've got a guy like Anquan Boldin and you've got a guy like Derrick Mason, and then you've got a guy like T.J. Houshmandzadeh, there are not a lot of things you can do to not honor and respect those guys. It would be a lack of respect if you don't show them some kind of ordeal that you do with your defense. I just think we've got a complete offense. Right now, we're a complete offense, and we're just looking forward to executing. Whether that's me getting less catches, then all right, that's fine. I'd rather take less yards, less catches, less stats and we're winning games, rather than have the stats and we fall short."
On what he thinks about opening New Meadowlands Stadium with a Ravens' win:"That would be a great opening, because it's tough to win on the road. Everybody knows it's tough to win on the road. I'm sure people feel the same about [that] when they come to M&T Bank Stadium. It gets loud on third down. It's intimidating when you see Ray [Lewis] come out of the tunnel. It's a certain aura that we bring. To get a win on the road, it would definitely build our team confidence. That's one thing we've got to do. Everybody knows we've got to go on the road, and it's tough to get a win on the road."
On whether people will start noticing the offense more than the defense this year:"This year, I see us as a balanced group. I see them as saying not only is the offense great, and the defense is great. I see them saying the Ravens are a tough team to beat because on defense, they're talking about we're getting older, yet we've really gotten younger. We've gotten younger on defense, and you've got guys that just lead by example – the guys that we brought in, the guys that we already had. Facing adversity already on the defensive side already made them stronger. When you've got to battle injuries, and you've got to bring guys in, you've got a Jello-nucleus of a group. I look forward to it being an overall saying, that's a great team. The offense can do one thing, but the defense can do another, and the special teams also plays a part."
On whether the run game will have a large part in deciding the game:"I think there is a balance. It's going to be tough to run the ball against them, and it's going to be tough to run the ball against us. We've got to pick and choose our spots when to run the ball. I'm sure coach [Cam] Cameron and our offensive staff are going to be smart about that. This game is going to be a game of execution. We both play physical games. We both play that physical game of football. But, it's going to be who out-executes each other. I don't think it's going to be a first-quarter knockout. I want the game to go four quarters. That way, our true testament and will come out."