HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening statement: "OK, good to see you guys. I appreciate you being here. [It was] a beautiful day [and] a very good practice. We're looking forward to Sunday. What questions do you have?"
Did former Ravens WR Jacoby Jones have any words of wisdom for you out there? (Jamison Hensley) _"A couple of good stories. This will be one that you guys will appreciate; do you remember the Minnesota ice bowl game [with] all the touchdowns in the last two minutes, and Jacoby [Jones] had a touchdown return as a part of that? We had all that schemed up, and you guys remember the story; [it] was a short kick, they lined up a certain way, we checked to that return, Jacoby gets under it and we had it all blocked up and it did go to the house. Then, there was also the fact that Jacoby was late getting to position; remember he was running on the run? And that's because he was back there talking to someone in the stands, right? Do you remember who he told us at the time he was talking to? _(Reporter: "His mom.")His mom! His mom. Very good memory. He told us his mom, because I was over there, 'What are you doing?' He goes, 'Coach, I'm talking to my mom. I'm talking to my mom, my mom. My mom is screaming; I was just talking to my mom.' So, I was like, 'Oh, OK, you're talking to your mom. I understand it.' He finally came clean. He was talking to a Vikings fan, and it wasn't very kind words back and forth. (laughter)So, now we know. He said he felt better now that he got it off his conscious. (Reporter: "He's been holding that in for a long time.")Right, right. (Reporter: "To be clear, his mom is not a Vikings fan.") (laughter)Very good, very good."
With lots of stars sitting out the preseason, it seems like a lot of teams have been slow out of the gate, and maybe in the second half of the season, teams will start to separate themselves. Do you agree with that assessment? _(Todd Karpovich) _"I don't know; I haven't thought about it like that from a macro-perspective, because I'm just focusing on our team. We're just trying to get ready for the next game, get our guys ready to go. Those are very valid questions probably to think about going into next year in terms of what we do, but I really haven't had time to put that all together right now."
TE Mark Andrews is a guy who never takes a day off. Is it hard for you to convince him to take a day off, or did he need the days off this week? _(Bo Smolka) _"Well, the short answer is yes, it's hard to convince him. And yes, he needs it. We're kind of in the middle of the season, he's taking tons of reps, he's doing everything. He's an all-around tight end; he blocks, he catches passes. So, it's good for him right now, plus we have two games in four days and all those kinds of things, so we're trying to do what we need to do with all the different guys."
In general, does the schedule of playing on a short week affect your decision making on some days? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"[We're] definitely thinking about that. I don't know if it will hold anyone out for one or the other game or not, but that's definitely something that's kind of on my mind in terms of what's the best way to approach it."
How valuable is LB Malik Harrison, who lines up at SAM and MIKE, in a game like this versus the Browns offense? _(David Andrade) _"It's very important to set the edge, and Malik [Harrison]'s done a great job in terms of playing the SAM, playing on the edge. As you said, he kind of does double duties playing three different spots, but they're going to try to run the ball. Of course, they have the tight ends; they're a tight ends-oriented offense in a lot of ways, but they also have [Amari] Cooper out there, they have other receivers. Donovan Peoples-Jones is a heck of a receiver. It's not like they're one dimensional. You hope to make them one dimensional, but to do that you have to stop the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL, so that's going to be something we're going to be thinking about."
How did RB Gus Edwards look in practice this week, and do you think there's a chance he could be activated? (Jamison Hensley) _"I'll give you the same answer I give you every week; there's a chance he could be activated, and he did look good in practice, and we'll see where it goes. _(Reporter: "We spread out the injury questions.")I appreciate that. I'm sticking to my talking points here. I think all that stuff right now is just … We might as well clump them all together; I'm probably not going to get into all of that right now. We'll see when we get there, and that probably goes for Thursday too, and we'll probably have a lot of question marks because it is a short week."
With all the other Super Bowl XLVII players coming in this weekend, are there any other plans for any guys to speak to the team? _(Luke Jones) _"That's kind of organic probably. A lot of the guys are coming to practice with their families and their kids, so they'll be out there for the Saturday morning walkthrough practice. We also have the field; it's going to be a great day. The kids can come out and run around and play. An impromptu speech has been known to crop up with some of those guys on that team every now and then, so I think that's a distinct possibility."
What do you think about how ILB Josh Bynes, besides K Justin Tucker, is the one guy from that team still going here? _(Bo Smolka) _"It is amazing. What a statement, right? I think that's an article-worthy thing right there; that's pretty cool."
You guys had success against RB Nick Chubb last year. How much do you carry what you did last year into this year and sprinkle new changes into it? _(Cordell Woodland) _"There's a lot of scheme stuff. You always start fresh with scheme, but I'm sure … We look at all the games against them in the last few years, and they look at all the games against us in the last few years; that's how you do it, but I'm sure they understand that too, and they'll be very determined to make a statement in the run game. They always are; that's their personality as an offense, and it's something they're really good at."
What can you learn from watching film of the Patriots playing the Browns last week and the success they had, even though they have different personnel and schemes? _(Kyle Barber) _"Both, yes to both your questions. You do because what can you derive from it, and that's really valuable information. Yes, you can't just cut and paste it because you're not the same team, so you do both."
Are there any weird challenges presented by a 6'6" center, such as Browns C Ethan Pocic? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"[He's] rangy; he can cover ground, and they run the wide-zone scheme. [Ethan] Pocic can really move laterally, and cover ground, and cover up nose guards and get reach blocks on chase and things like that. That's really his strength, and it fits their offense really well."
TE MARK ANDREWS
On how he feels to be back at practice:"It felt great. I [was] just getting rest. [I'm] excited to play at home, excited to be in front of these fans, excited to play with my teammates and just get back after it."
On if he expects to be playing on Sunday:"Like I said, man, I'm excited to be out there at M&T Bank Stadium, getting loud and making plays – yes."
On how hard it was to even take a rest day:"Yes, it was just one of those things – talking with the coaches and the trainers. And obviously that's a hard field that we just played on. My body feels great right now. I'm ready to go."
On if National Tight End Day provides any more inspiration for him to play on Sunday(laughter)"Yes, that's a big day. I'm excited about it [and] excited for all those tight ends to go out there, ball out and have fun. I'm excited."
ILB JOSH BYNES
On seeing his Ravens teammates from the 2012 Championship team this weekend:"Oh, it's going to be great just seeing a lot of the guys and going through that memory from 10 years ago. And it's crazy [that] it's been that long, and it's going to be great, exciting. It's going to bring a definite good energy to the field on Sunday as we take [on] the Browns."
On if it feels strange to join K Justin Tucker as the only two remaining Ravens from the 2012 Championship Team:"It is crazy, because you go through this process. You've been in this league as long as I've been, 'Tuck' [Justin Tucker] has been in, and you're just going [by] year, attacking each year, trying to ultimately win a Super Bowl. And to, obviously, 10 years later, still be here, still be on this team, it's just a blessing in itself. I can't wait to – like I said – see the guys on Sunday."
On the keys to defeating the Cleveland Browns:"The keys are always to stop the run. I feel like every time we play the Browns, they're always the No. 1 – if not, No. 2 – rushing team in the league, and that's what's got to be first and foremost. They've got the best two combo running backs in the league in [Nick] Chubb and [Kareem] Hunt, and obviously they each have their own thing that they're special at. They're super hard to tackle, they're fast, they can catch. It's going to be a tough task as always, but we're up for it. And that's what the AFC North is all about."
On the secret to stopping the Browns' rushing attack:"Honestly, it's just … It's man-on-man football. When you play against a team like Cleveland, it's just about beating the guy in front of you. That's really every Sunday, honestly, but especially this game, for sure. And it's who wants it more, who's going to want it until the end. This AFC North football we're playing come Sunday, and obviously, we're looking forward to it."