*FRIDAY PODIUM TRANSCRIPT: Week 8 at Titans
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"OK, good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys being here. It was a good day, and we are getting ready for Sunday."
How much are you looking forward to getting CB Maurice Canady back? You guys activated him today, and how does he potentially fit in your secondary? (Luke Jones)"Right, we are. He has been practicing for three weeks now. He has done a heck of a job. He looks good and prepared. He looks, really, the way he did in training camp, so he is ready to roll. Whether we can get him active or not and all that kind of stuff depends on how the roster shakes out by Sunday, but he is ready to play if needed."
It was announced that you are the "Salute to Service" nominee for the team. What does that mean to you and with the military? (Jamison Hensley)"Well, that is news to me. Thank you very much. That is nice to hear. That is a great honor. I just have tremendous – thanks for asking, Jamison – but I just have tremendous respect for the military, for the families. You get to know the families. You get to know the families who have their loved one overseas – wife, husband, daughter, son, brother, sister – and what that is like. You're talking about six [months] in a year – a year-and-a-half – the time dads are away from their kids. You get to know the families, and boy, it hits home. Then, you get to know the 'Gold Star' families or the 'Wounded Warrior' families, and you see the sacrifices that are made, but see the attitude, the belief in the cause, the idea of America. Nothing is free. Nothing that we have can be assumed. A lot of times we talk about making things better, and we need to make things better. But look around the world. Look around the world. What we have here, what we believe in, what we stand for is worth fighting for, and somebody is doing the fighting. It is not a real big segment of our population; I think it is less than one percent. So, here we are. We are all enjoying the benefits of freedom and what this country stands for and working to make the country better in the areas that it needs to be made better, and yet, there are actually people and their families who are fighting for that all over the world. That, to me, is something that should be thought about and respected every single day. Along those lines, for that reason, I will take that as a great honor. Thank you for asking."
I guess we will find out later on about TE Nick Boyle, who has not practiced this week. Can you speak to how he has played and how you will compensate if he is not available? (Bo Smolka)"Well, we will just play the other tight ends if he is not available. That is one of these things that is going to be a game-time decision. He has played a bunch, so he does not need to practice to play. We will take him out there on Sunday and see how he looks. And if he can go, he will go. If he can't, he won't. The coaches have put together compensation plans if he can't go."
How has TE Maxx Williams looked? I know he has been a full participant and he has been dealing with an ankle since Week 2. (Luke Jones)"He looks good. He practiced all week this week, so I think Maxx will be ready to go. It goes to your question, Bo [Smolka], in terms of what will happen. We sure would like to have all those guys ready to go."
*Is this the type of game that, down the line, the result could have some playoff implications? *(Jamison Hensley) *"Yes, we all understand that. That's not something that we're going to ignore. It's a week-to-week league; you have to win games. If you want to be in the conversation, if you want to be in the hunt, you have to win games. This is a big game for that reason. Then in next week's game – well, next week's game won't be as big, because we're not playing one. *(laughter) But, the week after that is going to be just as big. Even though it's an NFC game, we're going to need that win. But, this is an AFC game, and obviously, [the Titans are] a team that will be in the conversation probably at the end. So, all these games are huge; this is a 16-game season and they're all big. This one – no less than any other one."
How important has it been to have flexibility among the defensive backs? If you look in one area over the last couple years, that's been the area that has been lacking – you didn't have much flexibility on gamedays. (Jeff Zrebiec)"It's a really good point. Just the ability to move guys around … We have depth, that's one aspect of the flexibility. We also have guys that can play that are versatile, that can play multiple positions. So, that gives us even more flexibility. We're able to play guys outside, inside, nickel; we're able to play guys at corner, at safety; we're able to take safeties and put them down and play linebacker. Those are things that create tremendous amounts of versatility for our game-planning and what we present on offense and also for when we get guys nicked up, you don't really miss a beat. That has been a strength for our team. It's something, as you said, that needed to be addressed. I feel like the personnel side did a great job of addressing that."