HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening statement:"OK, good to see everyone, I appreciate you guys being here. The first thing I want to do is offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of Gavin Escobar, who tragically passed away recently on a hiking trip. Actually my brother-in-law, Tom Crean, sent it to me last night around five o'clock, and it happened, I think, yesterday. [He was] a great guy; we really enjoyed him here in 2017. Just for his family, for his kids, for his wife, just want them to know that the Ravens are thinking about them, and they are in our prayers. What questions do you have?"
How does OLB Jason Pierre-Paul look now after a full week of practice? (Luke Jones) _"Yes, he looks like he's had a full week of practice with us, but he does. _(laughter)He's worked hard, he's in great spirits. He's worked very hard to learn the defense that he's going to need to know. I'm probably not going to comment on who's going to play or not play in this game, but kudos to him; he's been putting the work in, and he's had a nice week of practice."
P Jordan Stout had a couple of miss-hit, shorter punt the last two weeks. Is that a rookie learning curve, and how is he going to get better from that? _(Todd Karpovich) _"Yes, that's the plan – rookie learning curve. I just appreciate [Jordan Stout's] approach; he's a really confident guy. Obviously, he wants every punt to be a great punt, and he's not happy about the two punts that you're talking about. He came out and had another really good week of practice, so you just keep building on that. You learn from that situationally. It's going to be a challenging day for the punter and for everyone out there on Sunday. It looks like it's going to rain, right? So, that's going to be something that he's going to have to deal with. I'm sure he's punted in the rain before at Penn State and all that, but it will be a new experience for him in the NFL."
T Ronnie Stanley was really upbeat when we talked to him yesterday. Was today a planned rest day for him? _(Childs Walker) _"Yes, like I said, I'm just not probably going to go there with any of that stuff, [I'll] just let the injury report speak for itself."
There has been a lot of chatter about concussions in the last 12 hours after what happened last night during Thursday Night Football. You've always taken the approach of waiting until the players are comfortable enough to go out there, can you reiterate why you take that approach and why it's so important? _(Melissa Kim) _"Right, thanks for asking that. I just, like probably most people, I couldn't believe what I saw last night; I couldn't believe what I saw last Sunday. It was just something that was astonishing to see. I've been coaching for 40 years now in college and the NFL – almost 40, not quite – and I've never seen anything like it before. It just was really something that I couldn't believe what I was seeing. So, I really appreciate our doctors, I appreciate our owner, I appreciate our general manager from the standpoint that there's two things that you have to keep in mind; one of them is the player's … A lot of times, players want to play. They want to go out there, and they want to play, and sometimes you just have to tell them, 'No.' You have to say, 'No.' No has to be the answer, and I appreciate that. We had Devin Duvernay a couple weeks ago with his situation, and he didn't really have much in terms of symptoms and stuff like that, but he was out. He was out for the game, and he was out for most of the week. He never had a symptom, and he didn't practice the whole week until Friday, I think, when he was finally cleared. I think that's the approach you take. Sometimes, guys might be there physically where they're sound, but they're not confident yet. They're not quite there yet, and we've had this year. So, we've had both those situations this year. You don't put them out there until they're ready, until they're ready in their minds. The game is too hard, the game is too tough for a player not to go out there who's confident in his own ability to protect himself and play well. So, I just appreciate our docs, I think they would probably call themselves conservative, but that's what they should be. The other part of it, that last night, was not something you want to see."
Do situations like last night answer the question of why the NFL had players wearing guardian caps during the preseason? _(David Andrade) _"Right, well the guardian caps are in practice because it's accumulation of the contact, and it knocks the accumulation factor off, for just those drills in there where the guys are in close quarters for the linemen and stuff. It was good, it was good in training camp. I thought it helped our guys; our guys appreciated it. They got used to it. It was a positive, so I'm sure we'll keep building on that in the future."
You have three openings on the 53-man roster and two practice squad elevations available; how much juggling are you doing right now, and how much is that up to what decisions you make with the roster, who can go and gametime decisions? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Yes, there's definitely some juggling going on. That's something that we've pretty much worked out. We have a plan for that; you'll see that today and tomorrow, what we're going to do. There will be a guy or two called up off the practice squad, and possibly the roster, also. So, that will all get worked out. We have a plan."
NT Michael Pierce said he had surgery, at this point are you expecting him to be fully out for the season? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, thanks for asking that. He did, he had surgery to have his biceps repaired, and so that ends up being a season-ending injury with that."
Will the weather on Sunday impact certain guys and their possibility to play if it's really messy conditions? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"I have not thought about it like that, in terms of the weather. It probably won't have an impact on who plays or doesn't play, but thanks."
OLB JASON PIERRE-PAUL
On what went into his decision to ultimately join the Ravens:"A lot. They really gave me an opportunity to play some great football here, so that's what I want to do. And they believe in me, so that's what really made the decision."
On how his first week of practice went:"The first week of practice, it went well. I think I'm adjusting to the calls pretty well, getting the calls pretty well, getting my legs back under me. I'm playing catch-up, but I've been in this position before, so it's not going to hold me back."
On if he'll be ready soon:"Yes, I'll be ready this Sunday. I'll definitely be ready."
On if there was anybody on the team who he knew well and reached out to before signing:"No, I knew a couple of guys on the team, but I didn't really reach out to them. I just made my decision off of my decision, and that's really it."
On what he was waiting for in free agency after meeting with the Ravens a while back:"You are asking a lot of these questions. (laughter) We had mutual interest, and it was just basically the business part of it being taken care of, and they took care of that, and I took care of the other part, and now I'm here. I'm a part of the team, and … (inaudible)."
On how much better he feels now than at the end of last year:"At the end of last year, I had a supraspinatus, a rotator cuff tear, bicep tendon tear – all that. So, I basically got a whole new shoulder. Dr. [Peter] Millett at Vail, [Colorado] fixed me up pretty well and did a great job. He's out in Vail, Colorado, so I appreciate him for fixing my shoulder and doing the best he can do. Now, I'm back. I feel way, totally, way better. I was playing with only one shoulder last year; since Game Three, I was playing with one shoulder. So, imagine playing with one shoulder as a defensive end. I did what I could do for the team and holding my own, but not having two shoulders is a big thing; can't push, can't grab, can't snatch – but I can do all that now."
On if he has spread any wisdom on what it takes to win a Super Bowl, as a two-time winner himself:"Yes, at the end of the day, I'm new here, so, obviously, the guys don't know me like that – they know of me. But my energy says it all, especially when it comes to gamedays. I'm getting to know the guys pretty well, and my energy is just going to take over, and you're going to see the reason why everybody loves me and likes to have me on their team. So, I'm pretty sure everybody knows that by now, but we'll see; it's only a matter of time, right?"
On if he feels that the Ravens have Super Bowl capabilities and if that's part of the reason he came here:"For sure, for sure. I look around … [With] the way they practice – they practice hard – the way they get after the ball, the way they communicate with each other, I think you have a pretty good shot. But it's hard work. You've got to put in hard work to get there. Every team starts off saying, 'We can go to a Super Bowl,' early on during the season, but it's the hard work that you put in. I know that for a fact."