Ravens Friday Transcripts: Week 9 vs. Minnesota Vikings

FRIDAY PODIUM AVAILABILITY: WEEK 9 VS. MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "Alright, [it's] good to see everybody. What questions do you have?"

DE Derek Wolfe was designated last week to return to practice. We saw him out there last week, but we didn't see him this week. Is there anything you can share with us on what's going on with him? (Luke Jones) "Yes, he's going to be out this week. It just hasn't really … The back is not feeling good; it's not there yet. Backs are tricky. So, when he's ready … I think when you see him practice for a few days in a row, then you'll have a clue that he has a chance."

While we're on the injury tip … We didn't see WR Rashod Bateman out there today. Can you shed any light on that? (Childs Walker) "Yes, nothing serious. He has a real good chance for Sunday. We'll just have to see how he feels."

C Garrett Bradbury got ruled out for Minnesota with the COVID situation. What do you kind of expect there in the middle? What did they lose with a guy like that who's played as much as he has? (Jonas Shaffer) "They have a really good backup. The backup [Mason Cole] has been a longtime starter. [I have] a lot of respect for him as a football player. They're very similar-type players. They're very good athletes. He can move on all the stretch zone stuff. [He's a] veteran player who knows all the pass protection calls. So, we don't expect to see much drop-off there at all." (The Athletic Reporter Jeff Zrebiec: "A Michigan guy, right?") "I think so, yes. I believe so, yes. … Even though he's a Michigan guy, he's the enemy this week." (laughter)

How dangerous is RB Dalvin Cook and how they use him, not just obviously running, but with how many different ways they get him involved whether it's the screen game or in other ways? (Jeff Zrebiec) "No question. He's a bell cow; they want to get him the ball as often as they can. He runs all their run plays, but he runs the wide-zone stretch play the most – that's their play. That's the play that they hang their hat on. [That's] the play that you have to stop when you play the Vikings, along with the other stuff, but that's their main thing. Then all the different ways they give him the ball in the flat, screens, flares, off of play-action. He's a guy that they're going to get the ball to as much as they can, and for good reason. He's a great player."

As far as WR Sammy Watkins, has he looked good in practice? What do you think his chances are? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, Sammy [Watkins] practiced today and looked good. So, I'd say he has a chance. … You know I don't do odds. You always ask me, 'What are the chances?' How do you …" (Baltimore Sun Reporter Jonas Shaffer: "They looked good.") "That's right. There's a chance." (laughter) (ESPN.com Reporter Jamison Hensley: "It could affect a lot of fantasy football rosters.")"Understood."(Baltimore Sun Reporter Childs Walker: "You've declared people out once or twice, so we take our shots.")"Right, very good."(SVP of Communications Chad Steele: "Shoot your shot.")"[Derek] Wolfe is out, for all the fantasy football people that might be betting on Wolfe."(laughter)

I guess bigger picture, how much of a consideration is the fact that you go from playing on Sunday to playing on Thursday in these kinds of determinations? (Jonas Shaffer) "It's part of it. It's part of it. I do think you take the big picture into consideration, especially the guys coming back off of different kinds of long-term type of injuries."

With QB Tyler Huntley, I know he was out for a couple days. Do you expect him to be the backup after coming back today? (Jamison Hensley) "I do. I do. He had an illness. … But he was good today; he was barking out the signals." (Reporter: "Was he on voice rest?") (laughter) "I'm staying away from that one."

OLB Tyus Bowser

On attending Houston's football game this past weekend:"Yes, it was good. I enjoyed myself out there."

On if he was down on the field level during the kickoff return TD:"Yes, it was a sight to see. And it was crazy, because, during the kickoff, I was like, 'All right, I'm pretty sure they're going to kick this out of bounds. [With] 30 seconds left, just let them try to get down the field in 30 seconds.' But he [Marcus Jones] caught the ball, and I was like, 'Oh, they actually kicked him the ball,' and I think that was like his eighth, going into his ninth, touchdown. So, for them to kick it to him, I was like, 'Wow!' And sure enough, [he] made a move, stuck and [was] going 100 yards down the field, and I was too turnt. It was crazy."

On what it's like when he returns back to Houston, and how people look up to him at his alma mater:"Yes, definitely. Those guys, they're always asking questions. A few of the guys I know that I probably played with when I was there – just checking on them, seeing how they're doing – and really just talking to the young guys, giving them insight, just my thoughts on what's going on, whatever they're going through, any questions that they have to ask me. I'm always there to support them in any type of way. I was just talking to a few of them during the off day, after practice or whatever, and just telling them what it took to get here. And whatever they went through, I was like, 'I can compare, in different ways, what you're going through, and this is how I was able to deal with it. This was how I was able to figure it out and get myself in a position to be where I am today.' So, anything that those guys have questions about, I'm always there to answer."

On how important it is to remain disciplined against a Vikings' attack that runs a lot of play-action and bootlegs:"Definitely, especially with Kirk Cousins and how well he does with the play-action fakes. You've got to really stay disciplined, and you can't just sell for him having the ball, because you've got [No.] 33 [Dalvin Cook] back there that's ready to go downhill if you make the wrong decision. So, you really have to stay disciplined, and that's what we've been working on this entire week – is just staying disciplined on the back side, and just closing as best as we can, and if he does have the ball, being able to retrace and get to the quarterback as quick as we can."

On the psyche of the defense, in terms of wanting to rebound with a strong performance:"Just going back to the basics, understanding why we're here, understanding how we got here, and that's by tackling, that's by communicating, playing fast, getting to the ball. And that's pretty much just what we've preached this entire week – is just getting back to the basics, and going out there and playing football, not overthinking things, and just staying together, communicating with each other. [It's about] just going out there and making plays, at the end of the day. And they're there; we just have to finish, and that's been the main focal point – is just finishing plays."

On how to clean up tackling during the course of the season, when you're not necessarily hitting very much in practice:"The main thing is just running to the ball, everybody getting to the ball, because this is the NFL; guys are going to make plays, guys are going to miss tackles. For you to know in the back of your mind that if I'm coming out here trying to make this tackle on my own, I know I have somebody behind me that's going to be there to clean it up. So, I just feel like in that aspect, if everybody runs to the ball, gets to the ball, regardless of what happens – whether he does make the tackle or not – he's in the best mind frame to know that, 'I'm going to go out here and be confident in myself and go out here and make this tackle. And if not, I have 10 other people right behind me that's coming to clean it up.'"

On how he thinks he's performed in a bigger role this season:"I feel like I'm playing well. I still have a ton of room to improve, and it's exciting to know that, because I feel like each and every week, I'm getting better. I haven't reached where I want to be at. So, for me to be able to go through what I'm going through now is great, and I'm just excited to see, moving forward, what I can do. That's pretty much it."

On if seeing OLB Justin Houston get so many opportunities but not land a sack jives with the whole mentality that over the course of the season, things will even out:"Yes. With plays like that, it's that millisecond, where it changes to where either it is a strip-sack, sack or he's getting the ball off free. Sometimes you're going to get there and sometimes you're not, but as long as you are going out there, playing fast, doing your job and getting to the quarterback, those plays will eventually come. So, for him to go out there and do what he did, it was awesome. And just seeing the work that he puts in out here on the field, eventually, those sacks are going to come. That's what I've always been told by 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] and everybody else – that those sacks come in bunches. You might get there close, you might not get there, but eventually, [if] you keep working hard, keep doing what you have to do, you'll get there."

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