HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening statement:"OK, appreciate you guys being here on short notice. We had a good walk-through, good day and we're turning our attention very quickly to Thursday night down in Tampa. It will be a big challenge, obviously, one of the best teams in the league; [they] won the Super Bowl just two years ago. A very talented team, and just trying to focus on getting ourselves ready to go play our best football down there on Thursday night. What questions do you have?"
How many hours of sleep were you able to get last night? _(Jamison Hensley) _"No; no. Plenty. It's all good. The guys have been great, and the guys that were in today, they were focused, they were locked in, and I really appreciate the attitude; coaches, players – everyone was great."
You've played against QB Tom Brady in many big games over the years. When you watch the 2022 version of him, what stands out? _(Childs Walker) _"It's Tom Brady. It's the same style, the same basic kind of an offense that he's run over the years. It will be a big challenge for us."
Tampa Bay is in the Top 10 in the league in blitzing. In general, what is the key to being successful against the blitz? _(Jamison Hensley) _"It's a very complicated question there. You have to block it; that's the first thing you have to do. If you don't have someone to block, you have to understand who's going to be free and you have to understand what your outlet answer is going to be. Sometimes it's a pass; sometimes it's a run. So, you just have to be able to block whatever it is. That's the challenging part because you don't exactly know that it's coming when it's coming, [or] where it's coming from. You have to react very fast, and they play downhill. They hug backs, which gives them an extra blitzer really fast. It's a very aggressive style of blitzing; it's kind of what we've done over the years here. I think [Tampa Bay head] Coach [Todd] Bowles has his own kind of unique system that he's developed over the years. It's kind of one of a kind in a lot of ways in terms of some of the details of what he does. It's very well-thought through, and it's very challenging."
ILB Patrick Queen had another good game yesterday and is having a good season. Is that because of him developing as a player or is he kind of in a different role this year? _(Todd Karpovich) _"I just think he's getting better. Patrick [Queen], he's just really growing as a player, and he has been steadily, and now it's really starting to kind of accelerate. So, we want to keep building on that and expect him to just keep improving. He's making a difference for us."
What are some of the challenges of coaching during a short week? _(Kyle Barber) _"The two main challenges are – number one – is the physical aspect of it. These guys are going to be out there playing on four days. You watch the Thursday night games and you see the effects of that; I think everyone can kind of see that if you're a fan. So, that's a big challenge. Travel, when you're on the road, it's tough to travel on [Wednesday]. So, we have to be mindful of that. Then, in terms of the gameplan stuff, just trying to put a gameplan together that addresses the issues that you're facing, like for instance, the Buccaneers' blitz package. [To] do it in a way that you can actually get it down quickly and execute it on Thursday night in real time. So, those two things are the main issues."
S Kyle Hamilton had a really nice pass rush for his sack yesterday. What are you seeing from him as he continues to get better in his rookie year? _(Ryan Mink) _"He does. He was in a specific role, that kind of Dime position, and also playing the Nickel position in certain groupings that we were in. I just thought he really did a great job. He really was into it; he matched up sometimes in terms of man coverage, and when he did that, he did well. He played an overall really good game. So, it's kind of what we were hoping for. It's a big step for him, and he'll keep building on that."
We saw CB Marlon Humphrey on the injury report with a hamstring. Is that anything potentially more serious? _(Childs Walker) _"No, he's OK. We'll see; I don't know. It's Monday."
What is the plan for WR DeSean Jackson as we head into Thursday? _(Shawn Stepner) _"I don't know; we'll see."
QB LAMAR JACKSON
On the keys to being successful against the blitz:"Just know what we're doing and try to execute each and every play. We don't know when they're going to bring the blitz. That's a vet team, very, very sound team, disciplined team, so we've just got to be ready."
On if he gets more excited to face a team that has QB Tom Brady on the other side:"I really don't. (laughter) It's [Tom] Brady; I don't play against Tom Brady. But he's the 'G.O.A.T.' [greatest of all time], man. And like you said, I'm always playing against the defense, not the quarterback, so I'm going into every game the same way, [with] the same mentality. I just want to go out there and do what I'm supposed to do to win."
On if he's had the opportunity to speak with QB Tom Brady off the field:"No, we haven't. We haven't."
On QB Tom Brady posting on Instagram, "You're Next" in reference to him following Brady's initial retirement in February:"Yes, I saw it. I would say, hopefully, I'm next to win the Super Bowl. He's got seven of them, so, hopefully, that's what I'm next to – that's what I was hoping."
On if Brady's Instagram post meant anything to him:"Of course, of course. From a Hall of Fame quarterback – like I said, the 'G.O.A.T. [greatest of all time] – of course. It means a lot."
On if he can pinpoint what he's seen recently when facing the blitz compared to earlier on in the season:"They've been bringing different fire-zone blitzes and stuff like that. It wasn't really … The big emphasis was the cover zero blitzes; now they're bringing fire-zone blitzes. So, we've just got to be prepared for it and just execute. It's not hard to do."
On being listed with a hip injury last week:(shakes his hips)"I think it's pretty good now." (laughter)
On the challenges of preparing for a game on a short week:"Just being prepared for the next team. [It's] a quick turnaround; it's only probably like two or three days before you're traveling and doing all the necessary stuff to get to your opponent – and we're going away again. So, that's about it, but it's football. We've just got to get prepared."
On if there's anything he's changed when preparing for a short week throughout his career:"No, not really. I'm going to just do the same thing – just be prepared. That's it. That's the biggest thing – being prepared."
On if he believes the offense is still on an upward trajectory and continuing to make progress:"I think, yes. I feel like this whole season we've been driving the ball down the field; it's just been the red zone or a little bit outside the red zone, and we've just got to finish there. But we're making progress. But like I said yesterday, we don't want 'Tuck' [Justin Tucker] kicking field goals for us and for that to be our points. We want seven points each and every time we're out there on that field. It's NFL football, so it might not happen how we want it to, but we've just got to keep going."
On if he likes TE Mark Andrews as an option quarterback:"It was dope. Yes, no doubt, no doubt."(laughter)
OLB ODAFE OWEH
On going against QB Tom Brady for the first time:"I told a story … I was like, 'Thank God he's coming back,' because last year he retired, and I was like, 'Oh, I just missed him.' He came back, so I guess it's fate. It's going to be good; I'm playing against the GOAT [greatest of all time], and that brings me jitters, so I hope I'll have the opportunity to get after him."
On if the pass rush is starting to get things cranked up:"Yes, it's cranking up. A lot of guys are starting to get healthy, and we're getting the amount of reps that we need to really get after guys, so it should be good."
On QB Tom Brady having the quickest release in the league, and if he will adjust what he does accordingly:"No, because if you do that, you're going to find yourself in an opportunity where you're not really rushing, and then the O-lineman gets a hold of you and you don't get back there. So, you have to just keep on rushing, keep on going, hoping that he holds it, and you'll get back there."
On the challenges of getting ready for a Thursday game:"Just making sure that your body is right, your mental is right moving onto the next game, not focusing on the good's or the bad's from the past game. Then like I said, a big part of it is getting your body right."
On the key to the number of turnovers the defense has produced so far this season:"Just everyone swarming to the ball, doing their job, not trying to do the other job; trusting what you have to do, and swarming to the ball."
On if he looked up to quarterbacks growing up or if he only had eyes on defensive players:"I feel like it's defense; you're going to focus on what you do, but obviously, it's Tom [Brady], so the whole sport revolves around him. We know that he's back there. It's going to be a fun opportunity."
On how much OLB David Ojabo is chomping at the bit to get to playing:"I've seen him; he's getting better every day. I think they said he ran something crazy; I don't know if it's true or not, but they said he ran something crazy. He's looking good, he's looking explosive, and obviously, he knows everything as far as the defense, so [I] can't wait until he gets back out there."
On if he was talking about OLB David Ojabo's on-field speed:"Yes, his on-field speed."