*FRIDAY PODIUM TRANSCRIPT: Week 13 vs. Lions
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"OK, good seeing you guys – appreciate you being here. Beautiful day, good practice, and we're looking forward to Sunday afternoon. We're still preparing for the Lions."
When you meet former Ravens coaches, like Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, is there even a more special bond when it comes to having shared a championship season together? (Jamison Hensley) "There definitely is. We've had tremendous group of coaches that have come through here, and we've had some guys go on and do some great things. If you look at the history of it – it doesn't get talked about too much – but a lot of coaches have moved on and done some really great things in the National Football League. Two of those guys are Jim Caldwell and [Lions defensive coordinator] Teryl Austin. Those two guys are just great people. Jim Caldwell – it was so great having him here for two years. I learned so much from him, football-wise, 'X'- and 'O'-wise, situationally, demeanor, the way he handles himself, talking to the team, all those things, leadership. [He's] just a great leader. Teryl Austin, man – intense, smart, focused, really creative coach, all those things. You don't forget those things, but like you said, you share the Super Bowl experience. When you win a Super Bowl, you say, 'We'll walk together forever.' I think our experience since then has proven it's true."
Do you feel pretty good about where your team is from a health standpoint? (Luke Jones)"I do feel good about it. It's probably the first time we've been this healthy. We had a 'PR' [personal record] last week for health, and now we broke it this week. So, that's good. We're heading in the right direction with that. We need all of our guys. We need to have everybody up and rolling. It makes for some tough decisions, which is a good problem to have. I feel bad for a few guys that really want to play, that deserve to play, and aren't going to get to play. But, that's different from what we had the rest of the year. So, we feel good about that."
How comforting has it been to have the specials teams unit be a reliable source to make plays? (Ed Lee) "Our specials teams have played really well. It's amazing, because you bring that up, and here we are, heading into our toughest challenge on special teams. The Lions will be the best special teams unit we play all year, to date. [They're] very well-coached. [Special teams coordinator] Joe Marciano goes back to … [Ravens special teams coordinator/associate head coach] Jerry [Rosburg] and I, 18 years ago, were going against Joe. Joe's been in the league forever, and he was veteran then. So, golly! Joe just keeps doing it at a high level. You watch the tape, and you're looking at a coach that really knows what he's doing. He has those guys coached up. Obviously, the organization has good special teams players – it's important to them. I know it's important to Jim Caldwell. This is going to be a big challenge for us, but it's been a big factor in us winning games. Special teams have made a difference. Strategically, we've been able to use them in a really good way to make a difference, and they've come through. We've had guys … I'm not talking about just playing solid; they played solid, which is really, that's hard to do. But, then they've made fourth-down conversions and scored touchdowns. Those are things that are pretty amazing."