Ravens Monday Transcripts (Jan. 3)

QB Joe Flacco

On his mentality going into the offseason:"It is just like it is every year – get better, try to get with the guys, work with them a little bit and work on some of the things that we need to do, get healthy and get in shape for another training camp. I am going to be going into my 10th year, and I have to take care of the body, so it is just getting that back up to par."

On what the identity of the offense needs to be moving forward: "It needs to be to go out there and be aggressive and be in attack mode. I think we need to find some ways to shorten some of our drives and have some bigger plays. I think that will all help moving forward. We probably have to run the ball a little bit more, but I think being ahead in some games is going to help that out. Some of the bigger plays will cut down on some of our long drives and hopefully make it a little easier for us. When you look around the league, a lot of teams out there are just making explosive plays, and we just need to add a little more of that."

On what he takes away from the 2016 season, considering they were in playoff contention nearly all year:"Yes, that is what it is always about. That is all you can ask for – two games to go, and you have a chance to win the division. You work hard to be in that position and to come through in the clutch, and we just were not able to do it. There are a lot of things to be taken out of it though. I think we found out a lot about some of the players that we had. I think most of us came out healthy. That is not something I have always thought about, but it was definitely something that crossed my mind this year. We will just continue to build."

On if his knee was 100 percent this season and his comments about working to get back to where he was prior to the injury during this offseason: "I don't think it had an effect on me this year, but it is just the nature of the injury, I think. As time goes by and you are able to focus on it more and more, the more it comes back to what it was. When you are only seven or eight months out of an injury, no matter what it is, there is going to be a growing process for it. This offseason will definitely help with that."

On if he thinks the team is far away from being contenders: "No. You are never far away. It is always a couple plays away here and there every season. I think the team will definitely be different next year, just like it always is. In some senses, you are starting fresh. It is going to be a completely different group of guys than it was this year. You have to start over and build that confidence and get that work in to get back to even close to being where you were this year. Just because you improved a little bit or even if you won the Super Bowl, it does not mean you are guaranteed anything that next year. I think we know that more around here than anybody, and we will be starting … In some senses, we will be starting from square one from this point forward."

On the uncertainty at the offensive coordinator position and if he has any input on that decision: "I have not heard much. As far as I am concerned, there really is not much uncertainty. I do not really anticipate anything happening."

On if he was asked for his opinion on the offensive coordinator position: "I have not really been asked. There have not been very many conversations about it. Like I said, I do not think there is really much uncertainty, to be honest."

On his comments about getting guys together to work out in the offseason:"You always try to get together for a little bit. I think it is easy to get around here. I think more guys are hanging out here as the year goes on. We have some young wide receivers, and I think just giving them a little bit of a schedule in the offseason can be a good thing."

On if he took as many deep shots as he wanted to throughout the season or if there was an opportunity to do more of that:"If there was an opportunity, I would have taken it." (Reporter: "I am talking about more game-planning-wise.") "No, it has to do with what we have and what we are good at and what defenses give you. There are so many different things that go into getting shots down the field, and really, everything that you cannot just generically talk about it and feel like you know what you are talking about and doing justice. That is why you prepare every week, and the games come down to what they come down to every week for a reason. It is tough to sit here after 16 games and just say, 'Yes, we should throw the ball deeper.' When you go back and look at the film, it might be the complete opposite of that – we did not have any chances or, yes, we may have missed one, whatever it may be."

On the large number of passing attempts this season:"Once again, there are a lot of things you have to look at. One of the things is we are 8-8, and we are obviously not the best football team in the world. We would have liked to be better. We obviously did not have a ton of leads. I think we had … I don't know how many possessions we scored straight before the half, at the end of the half. We could have added six to eight pass attempts at the end of every half. There are a ton of things. We scored … I don't know how many weeks it was in a row that we scored points at the end of the half. That all adds to that. There are always reasons for things. I am not going to necessarily sit here and know exactly why. I am sure when I looked at the games, I could tell you we threw the ball 50 times that game [or] why we threw the ball 30 times that game. But it is tough to talk about it as a whole."

On if his perspective is different on not making the playoffs because he made the playoffs so many times early on in his career:"You just live year by year, and you live in your own little word. Every year is a grind – mentally, physically, everything about it. We leave it all out there on the field. It obviously feels good to go into the playoffs and to win a game in the playoffs. But honestly, we have had one year that felt good at the end of it. That was [the] 2012 [season] in 2013 when we won the Super Bowl. Other than that, we all feel about the same way we feel right now. It does not matter that you got to any AFC Championship in that given year. We still lost. At the end of the day, it is really no better than being 8-8. It is all or nothing in this league. Like I said, that is the way it feels. At some point, you feel pretty crappy about how your year went, and there is one team at the end of it every year that doesn't."


FB Kyle Juszczyk

On if he is excited about his first Pro Bowl trip:"Very excited. I think it's going to be a fun time. I get to go down to Orlando and meet some of my peers, play some dodge ball, do some [silly] things. I'm excited. I have my family and a lot of friends coming down. It should be cool."

On if the Ravens are close to being the team they were four or five years ago:* *"Definitely. Dang, I haven't really thought about us being 8-8. I definitely think we're very close. I don't think 8-8 is a good depiction of this team. I think we're a better team than that record shows. I feel like we're right there. If we can just piece together a couple things, we can get over the hump."

On if he thinks back on key moments from the season that may have put them in the playoffs: "Most definitely. You look at that four-game losing streak we had, and there are a lot of games in there that very easily could have gone the other way, and we're not cleaning out our lockers right now. You look at the Pittsburgh game, and we were 70 seconds away from winning that game. You have to feel like if we win that game, yesterday's outcome would have been a little different as well. This is the time of reflection and looking back. You try not to regret anything, but you just learn from it and you build on it."

On if he wonders if this was his last season with the Ravens: "Definitely. My rookie contract is up. I don't know exactly what's in store with me in the future. I'm excited. I know things will work out, whether it's here or somewhere else. I know something will work out for me, but [I am] encouraged that I think there's a possibility it could be here. That would be great. I've been here for four years, and I've built a lot of relationships. This team knows me best. If things work out that way, that would be great. I'm just excited."

On how much he appreciates the Ravens' use of fullbacks: "We have experience here of utilizing me and doing that kind of thing. That's always a positive here. Fear of the unknown of going somewhere else is always something you have to deal with. Like I said earlier, I'm just excited about possibilities."

On if the team could have run the ball more this season: "I definitely think we could have run the ball better, even with opportunities that were given. As far as having the least amount of rushing attempts, I know a lot of the time, game situations can dictate that. There are times when you're down, and it really doesn't make a lot of sense to be running the ball. I think if we're given more opportunities, we could have done well with those, as well, but a lot of times it's out of your hands."

* *

ILB Zachary Orr 

On takeaways from this year:"For us, as a team, it was an up and down season. We finished 8-8. No matter how you look at it, with the highs and the lows, we're an average football team right now. We have a lot of potential, but we didn't tap all the way into that potential this year. We have to figure that out this offseason and when we come back to get ready to train, because this is not fun. This is not fun packing up your things early knowing that there's still weeks of football left ahead, and we didn't make the playoffs. We feel like we're going to go back to work this offseason, and this will be the last time we're going to be packing our bags up early for a long time."

On being so close to the playoffs before the last Steelers' touchdown in Week 16: "That's going to be in our minds for a long time, especially throughout as long as the season lasts. The type of men we have in this locker room are going to use this as fuel to the fire. I know, for me, I'm going to use it as fuel. Any rep, any set, anytime I'm feeling tired, I'll just push the extra mile. It's definitely going to be motivation. It's not something that's going to go away right now. It's still pretty tough to take right now."

On the defensive performance in the last quarter of the season: "Teams started making plays against us. They started doing different things to us that were different. We have to find a way to adjust to that. I'm pretty sure our coaches and us will get to work on that in the offseason. We definitely have to figure it out. It's not anything drastic that we have to change. We feel like the baseline is there. We just have to make a couple of changes here and there."

On how important it was for him to establish himself as a starter: "It was important. It was something I set out a goal in the offseason to do, to come back a better football player. I'm thankful for the opportunity to get the chance to show that. I have a lot of room for improvement. That's the thing that I'm glad about. I have to come back an even better player than I was this year, next year."

On if his neck injury will limit him in the offseason: "Right now, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm going to see doctors and stuff like that, but I'm feeling pretty good. I don't think it will be anything that will slow me down."

On one takeaway from his first season as a starter: "Playing a lot of snaps takes a toll on your body. You have to just continue … I feel like I did a good job taking care of my body, but I just have to continue to stay on that each and every week. The plays add up, and it's definitely a long season. That's pretty much the thing that I learned the most."

WR Breshad Perriman

On his thoughts on his first season being healthy: "It was good, for the most part. It had some ups and downs. The thing that I like most about it is now I know exactly what I need to work on. I am excited."

On what he does need to work on: "I feel like first and foremost, my route running. I have to get better at coming in and out of breaks and things like that."

On if he plans on working out with QB Joe Flacco in the offseason:"Yes, most definitely. There is much we can do to try and get the connection better and the chemistry better. That is going to help for me to get that done."

On the biggest lesson he learned in the NFL coming from college: "You can't take any plays off. In college, you have some guys out there … I mean, everyone was alright or pretty good, but here [in the NFL], you can't sleep on any player. You have to come with your 'A' game every single play.'"

On how much it will help to have an offseason where he does not have to rehab:"I think it will be a huge advantage for me. It is not rehabbing, it is going straight to work, and just working on things I need to get better at. I am looking forward to it."* *

 

 

TE Dennis Pitta

On having locker clean-out day today:"It doesn't always go your way, and this is a difficult league to win in. We understand that. We didn't win enough games early on to help us, but we won enough to make us relevant at the end of the year. We had a big game in Pittsburgh, and we weren't able to close it out, so that's how it goes. We are packing up early, but I think this team is proud of the work that we put in and the effort that we played with. Sometimes it doesn't go your way, and we understand that. We have a lot to build upon, though, and a good foundation moving forward."

On whether the offense can build off of its recent performances: "Yes, we need to get better in situational football, in the red zone especially, and that was evident last game. We moved the ball well – we marched it up and down the field like you mentioned – but we didn't get touchdowns when we needed to; we didn't get points, really, when we needed to. So, I think that was kind of the story of this season a little bit. We had a lot of explosive plays, and we were able to move the ball with some consistency, but at the end of the day in critical situations, we didn't quite finish. That's something we'll go to work on and we'll certainly get better at that. But, it is a foundation that we can build upon, and we'll just put our heads down and go to work this offseason."

On if the team is close to putting it all together:"Yes, I think so. I think it's pretty evident to everybody on our team that we were close. We were just a play away from being in the playoffs. And I know this past week, we didn't quite emotionally bring it like we wanted to, but we were close, and it gives us some confidence moving forward into next year."

On how many changes he anticipates this offseason, particularly with the offensive coaching staff:"I don't know. I don't even have any idea what's going to happen on that front. It's a league of change, and you anticipate that every year. There's always a lot of turnover with players; there's turnover with coaches. Personally, I'd like to see us have some consistency and stay with the group that we've got. I think we have a lot to build upon, but I'm not the decision-maker, so I don't know."

K Justin Tucker

On his thoughts on the 2016 season and what he can improve on for next season:"I think when you look at our last two seasons, we missed the postseason two years in a row. When that happens, you have to take a good hard look in the mirror and* *think of the things that you can improve upon going into the next season. I am going to do the exact same thing. I can tell you that these last two seasons –while we have not had the results that we have been looking for as a team – I have learned so much about myself that I might not have otherwise. For that, I am truly grateful. The experiences that I have had with my teammates and coaches over these past two tough seasons – for what it is worth – I think it will make me a stronger player. I think the guys who have the right attitude, it will make them a stronger football player – a better football player. The same goes for the coaches and everybody involved. We have t-shirts in here that say, 'Iron Sharpens Iron.' Well, sometimes that is exactly what you need. You just need to be tried. I think moving forward, we have room for improvement. We know exactly what we need to do."

On what he can improve upon on after having so much success: "I think as soon as you determine you do not have anything to improve upon, that is when everything starts going downhill. I think what I can do personally is maintain the same attitude that I feel like I have developed in these past couple seasons that the most important kick is the next one. It is not just to say that to sound like a broken record, but I found that to be extremely true this season. Again, I have great people around me to support me in what I do on the field and off. But what I am going to do this offseason is the same thing that I was doing this entire football season – just take it one kick at a time."

On what it was that enabled him to have so much success this season:"If anything, I would want to just shine light on the guys around me. I think Morgan Cox, Sam Koch, [kicking consultant] Randy Brown, Jerry Rosburg … The work that we put in week-in and week-out, every single day, when the weather is bad and we are outside, when something does not look exactly right on film from the day before, we go out and correct it immediately. We are at a point where we know exactly to look for. I think if I was to point to anything, it would be that I have great people around me, and I am happy to be a part of what I think is the best field goal unit in football."

On how he looks at being perfect on field goals this season, despite one blocked kick:"Sure, it is cool. But at the same time, it is about the next kick. It is about keeping it going. One year is great, but we did not accomplish what we wanted to as a football team. Until I personally have another couple Super Bowl rings, I am not going to be satisfied with a season that individually was good. I know that I still have things to work on. I still have things that I want to accomplish, and there might be individual goals, but they all coincide with one thing, and that is winning championships."


S Eric Weddle

On positive takeaways from this season:"Positives, there's not really much when you don't reach your goal of getting in the playoffs. You can look at yourself personally as coming from a new team and wanting to prove that you can still be one of the best players in this league, play 16 games and provide some stability and bring a lot to the team. As a team, we didn't get it done. We're all eager. I believe the sense of the team is to get away, but to focus on getting better. We know we're close. If everyone can get a little better, add some pieces and believe in each other, we can be in the spot of the playoffs next year and competing for a Super Bowl."

On if he reflects on the season as a journey to Week 16 against the Steelers or just the 8-8 record: "It's tough. The Pittsburgh game was such a momentous-type game, and not to get it done with everything on the line took a lot out of us. You look at the whole season as a whole. You look at 8-8. You look at the games – the four-game losing streak where we needed to pull some of those games out. We didn't execute in the fourth quarter and find a way to win. You don't really want to put yourself in the position where you're in Week 16 and everything's on the line. You want to be Week 16 where the division is wrapped up, that's the goal. You live and you learn. All you can do is go back and work harder and push yourself mentally and physically, do the right things on and off the field, and hopefully that translates to a better season next year."

On the defensive drop-off toward the end of the season: "When you don't play all 11 guys doing their job, there are breakdowns, especially on the defensive side of the ball. We played well, played together and were No. 1 in the league for the majority of the year. Teams started having success [on] first and second down on us, and they made it hard to get into third-and-long situations. It's unfortunate. We fought. It's just a tale of the last three games exactly like the first and the second half of the Cincinnati game. The first half was like those three games, and the second half was like the normal way we play. It's every game – you have to treat it like it's the last game you're going to play in every play, because it may very well be. The difference is … We had it in Pittsburgh. Six inches can decide your win or loss – division won, division not. If everyone believes that and takes it to heart, we'll get better from it."

On if he agrees or disagrees that the defense wore down toward the end of the season:"No, I don't get into that. We just didn't play good enough. It's on us as players."

On if the Ravens organization lived up to expectations:"It was nothing but an amazing experience. It's been a long season since April, being here Sunday through Thursday and flying back [to San Diego] every week. I'm just trying to give everything I can for this team and organization for what they believe in me and giving me an opportunity to come here and play for this team and this organization. I have no regrets. I just want to work even harder than I did this part year to play better and to get back to the playoffs. That's why you play the game. It's a chance at the Super Bowl. It's a chance to play for each other and play for this team. It's a special place. Each guy has to get a little better. [If] we all get better, more wins will happen."

On if it is acceptable that the team was not emotionally prepared for Sunday's game in Cincinnati coming off a tough loss:"No, it's not acceptable at all. You can't expect to win by the performance we did in the first half. I just felt bad for our fans and the organization that we just didn't come out the way we expected to. You have to be able to control your emotions and the way you treat each game. Each game is its own game. It's not an excuse. I've never been about excuses. If I make a bad play, I'm going to man up for it. It's a tale of two halves. We played well in the second half, but when you get in a hole 20-3, it's hard to beat anybody in that span."


G Marshal Yanda

On if he feels the team is close to being a playoff team:"I feel like we've showed that. I just feel like we need to show it on a more consistent basis."

On what today is like for them being so close but not making the playoffs again: "I feel like 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] said it right. He said there's only one team that doesn't have to have this meeting; they win the Super Bowl. All of the other 31 teams are having this meeting when they're done. Not to be in the playoffs is tough for sure. It stings, but it's part of the business. When you get to the playoffs, you've earned the right to be there. We didn't earn that right at the end of the year. That's the way it goes."

On if he will return to right guard next year: "Yes, I'll be back at right guard."

On if he will have any procedures done on his shoulder:"We don't know yet. We're figuring that out. We'll figure that out this week."

On if he plans to play in the Pro Bowl: "I don't know yet. I'll see what happens with that. We'll try to figure it out in the next five days."

On if he leaves a season like this feeling frustrated:"I feel like I'm in my 10th year. I feel like, good or bad, you have to move on. Obviously, the tough losses you have to deal with – the Pittsburgh loss. You just have to move on, good or bad, no matter what. In this business, even if we won the Super Bowl, you have to move on. There's just frustration and disappointment. I feel like it's engrained in us to not blink, not flinch, get back to work, and everybody starts their offseason programs. Guys take care of their injuries and stuff like that to get ready to go for the next year."

On if he has a sense of how close the team is to being a playoff team:"No, because you just never know in the NFL. From week to week, with the games that are played and how crazy the momentum shifts are in teams, and how close the competition is, you just don't know. I feel like we were a good football team this year, but in the end, it wasn't enough to get it done. We were close. A couple of plays there, and then we're in the playoffs. We were close, and then if you get hot, that all plays into it. In the end, it just wasn't enough. I feel like we have a lot of good guys in good places for us to be successful."

On how much he would like the offense to run the ball more and have more balance:"It would be nice to run the ball more, but in the end, I found out with that over the years, that's Marty's [Mornhinweg] call. That's John's [Harbaugh] call. That's their decision to make the call run or pass. We're there to execute the play at a high level and not try to waste time thinking about that. There's no use throwing your helmet on the sidelines and doing stuff like that. It doesn't help. What helps is that you're locked in to run the play that's called, because that's my job. That's Marty's job to call the plays. That's John's job. Let them do their job, and we'll do ours."

On the offensive line this season: "I feel like we did some good things this year. We have a good room of good guys, good, hard-working guys. If you have guys that work hard, that are locked in, I feel like you're going to get better. I felt like our group got better as the year went on."

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