HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening statement:"OK, good to see everybody. [I] appreciate you being here. [We had] a good day of practice, a good week of practice. [We have] a lot of energy [and] continue to try to improve every single day at everything we do. So, I'm proud of the guys [and] appreciate the way they've been working. We're excited about the next game; we're excited about the next chapter after the next game, obviously in the playoffs.
"With that, I wanted to jump into the injury thing first, might as well get that out of the way. Just wanted to share this with you, kind of really about Lamar [Jackson]'s injury, because I know you guys ask every week, and everybody wants to know. I understand that – completely understand that. I want to know every week; every day you kind of ask and see where we're at, but there really are no updates on that. That's the biggest thing. I know that maybe people – fans, and media and everybody – might get a little frustrated about, but it's just kind of the nature of it. When we have an update, definitely, you'll have it, but injuries are so hard to predict. That's why when I get up here sometimes and I'll refrain from saying how long it will be. You might think it's going to be some number of weeks, or some number of days, or whatever, but you really don't know because they [players] all respond differently. Then later, I feel bad because it didn't turn out to be the number that we originally thought it was going to be. So, then I try to say, 'Well, I'm really not going to talk about that,' and kind of sometimes people think, 'Well, he's hiding something,' or whatever. It's really not. I might be hiding something sometimes, but not in this case. (laughter)The truth is we just really don't know. I know everybody's working as hard as they can. Lamar's working as hard as he can, the trainers are working as hard as they can and [I] can't wait for him to get back, obviously, just like everybody else. So, that's where we're at with that. He won't be playing in this game, and we'll be hopeful for next week. We'll just see where we're at then, OK? What questions do you have?"
Along those lines, we've seen that QB Tyler Huntley has not thrown the ball much in the parts of practice we've seen. Is that a real concern going into Sunday? _(Childs Walker) _"[Tyler Huntley] could play Sunday. Yes, he has a tendentious issue in his shoulder and things. So, we just decided not to put him through that. He's been involved in all the walkthroughs; he's been involved in all the mental work. So, I think there's a really good chance he could play on Sunday, but again, if that doesn't happen, then it doesn't happen. So, [I'm] hopeful for that."
What is your reaction to the league's decision on how the postseason will be seeded and still having a chance at a home playoff game, potentially? _(Noah Trister) _"I didn't give that too much thought; it wasn't something that as a coach we really had time to be involved with. We were working on the game-planning and the preparation. I think that was at a league level. The thing I appreciate – and the way I understand it – the number one consideration was Damar Hamlin, his health and his family. That's why the game was originally postponed and then eventually cancelled. Then, after that, there's 100 considerations, in terms of logistics, competitive fairness, fans, all the partners involved with the league. All those things I'm sure were taken into account. So, I'm just like, 'Well, I can't think about all that. We're thinking about the Bengals and the playoffs.' So, whatever they do is good with me personally. We're just excited to go play the game on Sunday, and we're going to try to play our best football. That's really what we're thinking about."
Given all those factors – Damar Hamlin and whatever playoff scenarios exist – how do you feel like your guys have responded mentally and emotionally? _(Melissa Kim) _"I feel they've been great. They've been very thoughtful about it, and I think they've done a really great job in terms of reaching out to family and friends that might be connected to Damar [Hamlin]'s family and also to the Bills, or even the Bengals. We have relationships all over the league – it's good that way. They've been focused on their preparation for this game 100 percent; I've seen it every single day. They're locked in and they're 100 percent focused on good meetings, good practices and playing their best game on Sunday. I'm proud of them for that."
You had said on Monday that your inclination would probably be to play all your guys on Sunday because there would be seeding considerations on the line. The fact that home field could be on the line under the playoff scenarios, does that even add to that? _(Childs Walker) _"No. We're going to play this thing for short-term and long-term considerations. So, we're thinking about the short-term – the things that you're talking about; whatever they end up being and did end up being today. Then, long-term considerations being the most important thing is being as prepared as we can for the playoffs. You really can't sit too many guys out. This is not the preseason; you don't have an unlimited number of guys. So, it's not as big a deal as I think it's sometimes made out to be, but our plan is to go up there and win the football game and do the best we can to win the football game. I'm sure the Bengals are going to be looking at it the same way and I'm sure it will be a hard-fought game."
WR Tee Higgins didn't play in your first game against the Bengals. What does he bring to their offense? _(Todd Karpovich) _"He's a weapon. They have probably some of the best offensive weapons in football. Tee [Higgins] does so many things; he runs the whole route tree, he's great downfield, he's also great underneath. They even run screens with him, catch and run screens. Kind of what they do, they do with all their guys – Tyler Boyd does the same things that [Ja'Marr] Chase does. Of course, Hayden Hurst has added a big dimension, obviously. We know all about Hayden; we respect him, [he's] a very talented player. They have Joe Mixon, and [Samaje] Perine's a heck of a back, too. Then, of course, it's built – we call it the Joe Burrow offense, the way they've built their West Coast offense is kind of toward Joe Burrow's skillset, which is obviously really good. So, we respect them. We know how good they are, and we're going to try to play our best defensive game."
How does QB Anthony Brown look? I'm guessing he got most of the first team reps this week. _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yes. [It was] really valuable for Anthony [Brown] to get the reps. Tyler [Huntley] was right there getting all the reps mentally, but Anthony got the reps physically. [It] couldn't do anything but help him as a player. So, he'll be the backup, and he'll be ready to go if needed."
There is a possibility that you will play the Bengals again in the playoffs, as early as next week. Is there a focus on how much you have to limit showing the Bengals, as you might play them again? _(Kyle Barber) _"Yes, honestly, there is. You have to think in that way. I'm sure they're thinking the same way. You have to think of it as a two-game operation."
Do you know much about the coin flip process? Who gets to call the coin flip if you win? (Jamison Hensley) _"Nobody knows the answer to that. _(laughter) (Reporter: "Do you have a designated coin flip person?")Why are you asking me that? Just for fun? I don't know the answer to that, no. (Reporter: "That's not analytics?")There's been a lot of analytics done on coin flips, actually, believe it or not. Oh, has there been? I don't know? (Reporter: "Oh, I thought you said there were.")Well, I don't know. I'm just throwing it out there." (laughter)
What's the most important coin flip you've ever had in football or outside of it? (Noah Trister) _"Like in life? Heck yes, I've had more important coin flips than this in life. I hesitate to share the details of those with you, though." _(laughter)
The Ravens did have a coin flip with the Cowboys on a draft pick one time because strength of schedules was the same. _(Jamison Hensley) _"Well, I've been told that [director of player personnel] George Kokinis – you guys know George – he's 3-0 on league coin flips, and they've been draft-related-type things. That's what I've been told in the building. So, George … Maybe he's practicing his coin flip skills right now as we speak."
Is WR DeSean Jackson's illness just something to monitor for Sunday? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Yes, he's been sick all week, so if he can make it back, we'll see. That's a big we'll see."
QB TYLER HUNTLEY
On if he feels like he'll be able to play Sunday:"Yes, I feel like I've got a good chance to play Sunday. Although, how I wake up feeling come Saturday, Sunday … I've just been resting. The best way to feel the best is a little rest, so they've been resting me these past couple days, and I'll be ready to go."
On if his shoulder and wrist have been bothering him more this week or the same as previous weeks:"Just a little bit more. I think I probably landed on it wrong – a little something – during the game. It feels good, but we're trying to make sure it's great for the game, and I should be good."
On how he's staying locked in, despite having limited practice reps this week:"I've still been doing walk-throughs, still been full throttle in meetings and just watching in practice – just from the back end though. [I'm] watching practice – not throwing – in the live sessions, but I've just been watching and taking mental reps."
On if it's been hard for him to not get as many physical reps this week:"Yes, it's definitely hard, because you see everybody – your teammates. This is all I do all day, so it feels booty just watching and not being involved. But if I get that chance to play Sunday, it'll feel all great."
On the playoff scenarios and a potential coin flip deciding home-field advantage in a possible playoff game with Cincinnati:"I really haven't been following it, but everybody has been talking about it and stuff. I think it's crazy. It's like the Friday Night Lights, when they had to flip the coin – it's kind of like that. It's kind of crazy. But God willing, when we win, that'll put everything in the process, and it'll take care of everything else. Everything else is what they say. So, we've just got to go handle business and win this one this Sunday."