*friday PODIUM TRANSCRIPTS: Week 12 vs. Texans
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg, Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg & Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
Opening statement: "Thank you for coming out on this holiday. What a glorious day it was yesterday, too. I hope you had as much fun as I did. That is my opening statement." (laughter)
I wanted to ask you about kickers getting hurt recently in the league. As a special teams coordinator, does that bring cause of concern with an injury happening? (Ed Lee)"There are certain things that you just do not want to think about. I would put that in that file. We are prepared for anything, but we are not going to waste our time thinking about negative things. We are going to just plow forward and operate as we usually do."
In a similar vein, if something did happen to K Justin Tucker, do you think P Sam Koch would be ready to kick? (Ed Lee)"We have a plan. We have a plan at every position."
WR/RS Michael Campanaro is having a really nice season as a punt returner and is leading the AFC in most categories. How pleased are you with the way he has been playing this year? (Garrett Downing)"I think I used the word 'efficient' the last time I was asked this question, and I guess I would add the word 'explosive' to Michael's description. I thought he played great the other day in Green Bay. It was a tough day, wind-wise. Those of us who were there understand not only the temperature, but the wind was swirling. It made for a difficult day for the specialists, but also for the returners because the ball would start one way and end up going the other way. But he was rock-solid under the ball. He had great ball security and tracked the ball well. The fair catches that he had, I guess when I am speaking with efficiency – he did them well. There are certain times where a fair catch is a really good play, and he demonstrated that. We did get the opportunity where they had a low ball in the middle of the field. He made it happen, and he made a guy miss at the top of the return and got a lot of good yards. I am really happy with the way Michael is playing, and I hope it continues. The numbers speak to that. He has done well."
Do you think you are heading in the right direction with the young players and limiting some of the penalties on special teams? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Yes, it has been a focus. I know we all know that; we have talked about it before. It is something that, as you mentioned, young players sometimes have a hard time understanding when they are in those positions and where they are vulnerable to fouls. Our guys have done a really good job of that, and we played foul-free football the other night, with the exception of one play. That was on the bench. It is hard to control that one. But, I guess I understood how he [Ryan Mallett] felt – 'he' being the perpetrator of that foul. I shared some of his sentiments; I just verbalized it in a different way. The good news is that Ryan Mallett now has his first graded rep on special teams of his career. It is a minus." (laughter)
You have had guys, K Justin Tucker, LS Morgan Cox and P Sam Koch, go to the Pro Bowl before. You have lobbied for them in the past. Do you think that they are deserving this year? (Garrett Downing)"Yes, absolutely. I would encourage … Unlike the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, where you are only supposed to vote once, I would encourage our fans to vote early and often in this particular case for Sam, for Morgan, for Justin, for Anthony Levine. Michael Campanaro is leading the AFC in punt return average, so I think it would be appropriate to get online and punch that button. In this particular instance, I guess I would encourage Russian collusion. (laughter) As long as they are in … They are in there anyway, so they might as well just click the button a few times. That would help us. Any Russians out there listening, vote for the Ravens." (laughter)
I know P Sam Koch's punt was ruled a touchback. You have seen many punts. Can you get a ball that perfectly? (Jamison Hensley)"Someone said earlier in the week that it was the greatest punt in the history of football, and I would stand with that. It was the greatest punt I have ever seen. Then, they showed it again. It was right up there on the Jumbotron, and it was clear that it was the greatest punt in the history of football. Not everybody agreed with that."
Did the officials ever tell you why that was ruled a touchback? (Ed Lee)"You are setting me up here. You are asking me a question about the officials. I'm sure John [Harbaugh] got an explanation. I let John do all the talking – both with the officials and afterwards. We will just leave it at that. I thought it was an incredible play – not only the punt, but the guys that didn't touch it. There were some incredible, athletic maneuvers not to hit it. I do not know if they were all designed, but they were incredibly athletic. It was like a 'Matrix' thing going on there – guys going through the air. It was an incredible play. It is unfortunate that it did not come out in our favor, but it was an incredible punt. Sam [Koch] was … As I mentioned earlier, the winds in that stadium were unusually swirling, and you can never really predict from moment to moment where it was going to help you or hurt you. You probably saw the first pooch punt. He hit it one certain way and it hurt him. Then he adjusted, and he went down and hit a perfect ball. He did it all day long. It was a great performance by Sam Koch in that particular game. I think this is where you see pros like Sam that can adjust to the wind and the weather conditions that we get in the AFC North that teams that play in domes or play in the South, they don't have to do that. This is why we have who we have, because we love practicing out here in weather and wind, so we can get ready for days like that."
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement:"I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. I did. It was kind of like that game in Lambeau – that Thanksgiving dinner last night – that was a good thing. It was pretty good. My wife did a heck of a job. My oldest daughter … It was us three last night, so it was pretty good. Then, my other three … You know I have four kids, and sometimes the two girls and two boys … Some time ago, we said, 'Oh that is the final score – 2-2.' (laughter) *The other three were up in Montana. Anyways, that was a good one [at Green Bay last Sunday]. Mike Wallace did a hell of a job on that one catch; great throw. We had some guys now that just battled, just battled. We were sort of behind it just a little bit. Then, a lot of the game ended up being situational. The one thing is that we scored right at the end of the half, and then we scored right at the beginning of the third quarter. From then on, it was a little bit of a situational type of game, and the guys did a heck of a job that way. [We have] a great opportunity here on Monday night. A little dah, dah, dah, duh … You have to like it! It has been a long time since we have had one here, am I right there? I am sure the guys will be juiced up. There are not a ton of motivational-type quotes going around, because that will, I'm sure, happen naturally. Houston's defense, they have some unique players. '90' [Jadeveon Clowney] is an uncommon type of player. We need to know where he is at every play. They have some excellent cover men, they are very good against the run, and their linebackers and their defensive line [is strong]. It will be a great opportunity as well as a heck of a challenge. Heck, it might be like Thursday night – Thanksgiving out there. Cut that, don't be printing that. I was trying to go too hard there." *(laughter)
*A lot was made about WR Mike Wallace's personality before he got here and how fiery he can be and how he wants the ball. He said he kind of feels at home here, because you guys like that. How has he been to deal with, and can you just talk about his emotion? (Jeff Zrebiec) *"Mike Wallace – one of my favorites – and quite the character. Some of the comments he makes are just beautiful. He can go there if he wants. I won't. *(laughter) *What a competitor. Heck of a player, and of course, we all love that. He is a big part of our football team."
You have experience with this, but juggling on the offensive line … T Ronnie Stanley has missed some practices. T Austin Howard has missed some practices. How challenging is that, especially against a team where you are playing against DE Jadeveon Clowney. (Jeff Zrebiec)"Yes. We went up against a pretty good one last week, a pretty good crew as well as a couple of heck of good players. That is a part of life. We have discussed this before. It has sort of been up and down all year, personnel-wise, and who we have playing. It has been kind of a unique year that way, as far as there have been multiple games, where on gameday, I am waiting to find out if multiple guys are going to play. It has been unique that way. Now, in most years, there will be a couple Sundays where you may have one guy here or there, but the multiple thing … Anyways, I guess you had to be there. What was your question again?" *(laughter) (Reporter: "I was just talking about how challenging it is when you are missing some guys.") *"Yes, that is part of life. It is part of the deal. That was my comment earlier. We had some guys battling up front with very few reps, very little experience with each other. And that offensive line playing well individually – yes that is important – but as a unit, even more important."
RB Danny Woodhead had only about 13 or 14 snaps. Was that kind of planned going in? (Jamison Hensley)"He was just coming back, as you know. We did not have a 'pitch count' or anything like that, but I wanted to get him … I thought he helped us, certainly. I wanted to get him going just a little bit, and virtually the whole second half was a little bit more situational. If it was more of normal circumstances, he would have played a little bit more, yes, but not much more. As we go here, we can do that. We can utilize him just a little bit more."
Going back to the question about the offensive line, how concerned are you that T Austin Howard might not be available? (Ed Lee)"We will see. We will see on the right tackle and left tackle. Really, we made two moves last week, as you know, because our left tackle did not play. [We made moves] at left tackle and left guard. The guys did a heck of a job. Now, it was not perfect, and it was not pretty, but I will tell you they battled. That part of it was a good thing."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Can you talk about the rarity of three shutouts in a single season? (Ed Lee) "[It's] very difficult. In this league, it's hard to shut anyone out. It's hard to get one. Every week is a new week. It's a tough chore to get it done. I know it's a rarity, but that's what everybody strives for. Every week you go out on the field – every defense does. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it's a long ways from that. It's just every week is a new week. You just try to do your best, as a coach and as a player."
What do the three shutouts say about the defense's capabilities? (Ed Lee) "I think we've always been capable. Even a few weeks ago … Remember, I kind of got on a rant up here after the Chicago game that it wasn't doom and gloom. I really still look at that game, and we had a couple plays … We had a couple plays in every game. We had a couple plays at that start of this game, [and] it looked like the first drive [Green Bay] was going to go down and score, and we had them stopped. It's just such a hard question, because I don't know how good we can be. We've played really, really well at times; we've played OK at times. The only time I think we ever really played poorly was [against] Jacksonville. We just, for whatever reason … All of us [were poor]. But, if you go on, and do the things you're supposed to do, hopefully you do them better than the offense. I know I'm not really giving you an exact answer, but I don't know if there is an exact answer. You just go out and try to do the best you can, hope you have a good game plan, you're putting the guys in the right position as a coach, and then once they're in the position, you hope they do the job. This is the time of the year, in late November, early December – all through December, really even into the playoffs – one of the things that you really want to stress that kind of falls apart are fundamentals. What happens is your practices get shorter, you've done so much scheme over the season – changing this, changing that, changing this – that's it's not about the calls. It's really … If you watch the games, even watching the games yesterday, you're seeing more missed tackles, more just fundamental things not done as well. Guys are banged up a little bit at this time of the year, everybody is. So, maybe you don't get off a block just like you used to, or maybe on offense you don't block quite as good as you did early on. So, I think right now is a time when fundamentals have to take over, and that's how you win games."
You seemed like you were pretty emotional after getting the game ball. How much does that kind of thing still mean to you at this point, to see everything come together? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It's everything. I kind of knew going into that game, what the last game was that I had played at Green Bay [another shutout while with New England]. I didn't mention it to anybody. But, I kind of knew, and just to have that happen again was real big. The fact that is was at Green Bay, and it's Lambeau Field, and growing up in the '70s and '60s when I did … The Packers – there's a lot of history there. The other part of that is that I had 11 members of my family that were at the game – a couple grandsons, a brother, sister, their spouses, a couple of my daughters. They all wanted to see Lambeau Field and all wanted to be there. So, that just made it, probably, even more special, that they were at the game. And, the fact that I have some good friends on the other side … [Defensive coordinator] Dom Capers and I coached together, [defensive line coach] Mike Trgovac and I coached together a couple of different times, Ben Sirmans, their running backs coach, was my running backs coach when I was a head coach – I hired him. So, I've said this before, it's always a lot more fun beating your friends than it is somebody you don't know. I think the whole part of it, the whole thing, meant a lot to me."
Often you're asked on a weekly basis to compare a certain player to a kind you've faced before. Is WR DeAndre Hopkins like anyone you've seen?* (Jeff Zrebiec)*"He is a phenomenal, phenomenal player. I really think … If he isn't the No. 1 receiver in the league, he is darn close to it. The guy can take the top off the defense, speed-wise. He runs good routes, has a great catch radius. He has a unique ability to body-position people up – like on the back shoulder – whether you want to call it a push-off or whether you don't, he's knows how to do it, and it's hard. He is just a phenomenal receiver. He's a great athlete, but he's a phenomenal receiver."
**With OLB Terrell Suggs, do you ever look at what he's doing and are surprised or amazed at what he's playing at this point in his career? *(Garrett Downing) *"Yes, that's actually pretty well put, because I really am. I've been around guys that have been in the league for a long time, and you, generally, can see kind of when things start dropping off a little bit. With him … I don't know, maybe he's a step slower, but boy, I'll tell you what – he doesn't play like it. The thing about Suggs is he just brings [it]. It's his defense. To me, he's our guy; he's our leader. He's the guy that brings emotion out here to practice every day. You guys are out here and you can hear him when he walks out the door; we all know he's here. But, that's what is fun about him. As guys get older, sometimes that kind of subdues a little bit, and 'Oh, I don't know if I want to practice quite as much as I used to.' He loves being here; he loves being in the building; he loves football, and it's contagious. A lot of times, I think as he goes, we go. So, I just think that I am surprised, because I just don't see … Basically, in his enthusiasm, there's no drop-off. He is the same guy as when I came here eight years ago. I don't know what he was like before that. I can just tell you what he was like eight years ago, and I don't see any difference. Has he slowed a step? Probably, if you timed him, but he doesn't play like it."
That defense on the sideline at Green Bay … I haven't seen them have that much fun. They were flying to the ball, they were smiling, they were laughing. Now, the dancing, I didn't quite get, but everything else, they played with so much emotion. (Jim Forner)"Well, that's how you have to play, and that's how we have to continue to play. Even the dance – it was all of them; they all jumped in there. What I liked about that thing – because I'm not crazy about all that stuff – but, what I did like about it was the fact that they were all doing it. It wasn't like, 'OK, look at me; I'm off by myself doing this thing.' They all kind of joined in and they were all having fun with it. To me, that was a team thing. Anytime you do something with a team thing, that's what it is. It's not about one guy. Whoever got the sack, probably somebody in the back end covered their guy, so you could get the sack. Or, if somebody covered a guy in the back end, and you got a knockdown, maybe it was because the quarterback was under pressure. It's a team game. I agree, and we have to continue to be that way."
**Was there a time where you thought DT Willie Henry would make the impact that he's making now? *(Jeff Zrebiec) *"We've always thought he was a pretty good player. We thought all those guys in a rotation with Carl [Davis] and [Chris] Wormley and [Bronson] Kaufusi and all those guys – we've been happy with all of them. They all have a certain role; they all have a certain strength, and they all have a certain weakness. Willie has played very, very well. It's so hard when you talk about expectations, because we expect all these guys to be good every time we draft them. I think he's lived up to his expectations, I'll say that."
Last year, the defense led the league with 18 interceptions. This year, you lead the league again, but you're already have 16 interceptions. How much do you think that's due to some of the offseason changes made, like bringing in CB Brandon Carr and S Tony Jefferson and drafting CB Marlon Humphrey?* (Ed Lee)* "I think it's been great, bringing in Brandon and Marlon. I would also throw into that mix some of the other guys that maybe you don't see, that are out here in practice every day – some of the young guys that are competing every day. I'll tell you, what happens is you don't necessarily see them in a game, but they're breathing down some other guys' necks. So, you better play well, because there's a guy behind you that could get in a game, and we wouldn't have any problem putting them in. I don't think that's been the case in the past, sometimes. We were happy to have a corner out there, let alone have a couple of them. Some of our young guys, I think, have done a great job of pushing the older guys into, 'Keep your level of play up, because if not, I'll be glad to take your job.'"
With CB Marlon Humphrey playing as well as he did, does that, perhaps, make you think that you should be giving him more snaps? (Ed Lee)"I think it's happened over the last few weeks. He has played more and more in the rotation. We start him out early … Sometimes you want to be a little careful when you get rookies in. You start them too fast, and if they have a bad experience right off the bat in the first couple games, then maybe you're struggling the whole year. I think we've done a good job. [Secondary] coach [Chris] Hewitt and [defensive backs] coach [Mike] Macdonald have done a good job of bringing Marlon along. He has just continued to get more and more reps every week. I think he's playing really well."