With the Carolina Panthers up next, two key members of the Ravens' next opponent chatted with Baltimore-area reporters this week.
Panthers Head Coach John Fox and linebacker Jon Beason covered topics about how their team is dealing with a spate of injuries, their motivation moving forward and thoughts on the Ravens.
Here are the highlights:
Coach John Fox
- Have you been pleased with your pass protection? What needs to improve?JF:"Well, I think we need to get better really in every phase of offense. Right now we're 32nd in the league out of 32 teams. I felt like we made progress last week, we got a couple of different quarterbacks in there, and it could end up even that way this week. So, it's not always just one area in the pass game, it's a combination of a lot of things; the quarterback recognizing the site, the receiver recognizing the site. It's not always just the o-line; it could be a back. There's just a lot of moving parts."
- Do you sense a nothing-to-lose attitude?JF:"Yeah, our guys are fighting through a tough situation. And everybody in that locker room is giving the best they've got and I don't think that'll change moving forward."
- How will placing DeAngelo Williams on Injured Reserve affect the running game?JF:"Well, last week we had our first 100-yard rusher and DeAngelo didn't playlast week. So, anytime you lose a Pro Bowl caliber back, it's going to definitely hurt, but the next guy steps in, and Mike Goodson did that a week ago."
- What do you think of the Ravens' defense compared to years past? JF: "I have all the respect in the world for them. They've got excellent players. They played a good Atlanta team. I know what Atlanta is like offensively. They're not an easy stop. That's the freshest in my mind. We got to look at them in the preseason ourselves, so we kind of know a little bit about them. I think they're playing good defense, and that's why you guys have got a good record."
- What is your assessment of the Panthers' defense? JF: "I think we've gotten to play a lot of it. I think they're working hard.I think we're definitely capable of playing better than we have the last couple weeks. I think the type of offenses we've played the last couple weeks were pretty tough. But I think, again, they've hung in there, and we've dealt with a couple of injuries even in that area that hopefully we'll be a week better this week."
**LB Jon Beason
- What is the team's mindset considering your record at this point?JB:"We're just trying to stay positive. We realize that we're young, and we realize that we really got hit hard with the injury bug this year. A lot of things are stacked up against us, but those circumstances don't control what happens on Sunday. So, it's another opportunity to go out and try to get a win for the fans."
- Is it even more frustrating seeing all the injuries pile up?JB:"Yeah, things are already going bad, and then to see guys go down it's just like, 'What's next?' So, you just rely on guys to step up. We know the coaches are going to do the best thing and put the best guy out there who gives us the best chance of winning. And that's all you can really hang your hat on, is just to go out there, do your job individually for the teamand if everybody does that, then we should be able to come out victorious."
- What is the team playing for at this point?JB:"I think we're just playing for pride.I don't think 8-8 gets you in the dance this year, and I think people will look back at this season and they're going to try to say what the 2010 Panthers were all about. And I think the way you finish – people remember what you do in December, it's true – but I think we can finish strong and people can say, 'Hey, you know what, this team had a lot of character, they showed a lot of pride and they never quit.'"
- Can you take motivation in that you started off slow and finished strong last season?JB:"Absolutely. Yeah, I think we won five out of our last six if I'm not mistaken, or maybe four out of our last five. We did that, but the makeup of this team is different. We lost a lot of veteran guys, key guys that were a big part of that.And we were a pretty healthy football team at the end of the season, which is rare."
- What stands out to you about the Ravens' offense?JB:"They're spreading the ball around well. They have a two-headed monster in Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, and [Joe] Flacco, I think he's the future. [He's] a big, strong quarterback, can make all the throws off his back foot, he's mobile, he's smart. And I think you've got the guys on defense, you know all the leadership with Ray [Lewis], and [Ed] Reed coming back, making a big impact. So, they seem to be peaking at the right time. They had a tough game against Atlanta, but it's hard to go in that dome and win."