Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Good seeing everybody. I appreciate you guys being here. Practice was good and hot. The guys worked hard, and we got better today."
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said his starters are going to play on Thursday. How are you approaching this last preseason game? (Jeff Zrebiec)"[We're] just not making any announcements on that. We're just going to approach it like how we plan to, which is pretty much how we always do. But [there are] no announcements on it."
Where have you seen WR/RS Keenan Reynolds make his biggest strides out here?* (Ryan Mink)* "The big picture [is] he's a quarterback going to receiver, so everything is like a foundation. He has to make strides everywhere. He does that very well every day. It's one step at a time. There's a broad spectrum of things that he's working on. That's what he's doing."
The fact that they are going to play their "ones" from the get-go, do you welcome that kind of challenge? (Joe Platania) "It doesn't matter. They'll do what they do; we'll do what we do. We'll play the guys that are out there, play as well as we can, and try to win every play. That's what you always try to do no matter what the situation is. That's what we'll try to do."
A lot of people were focused on QB Joe Flacco in the third preseason game, but QB Ryan Mallett played pretty well. What did you think about his performance? (Jamison Hensley) "I thought Ryan played well, and I thought Josh [Johnson] played well, as well. All three quarterbacks put out and had a good outing."
Coach, when you get down to the final cuts [53-man roster], what are some of the intangibles that you look for the help make decisions? (Jerry Coleman)"It's who is going to help our team the most and what is going to make our team the strongest. That's what you look at. One guy makes one team, but doesn't make another team. The Anthony Levine [Sr.] story was a good story. You guys did that one yesterday. It wasn't in the cards for him in Green Bay; maybe he didn't fit there as well as he fit here. He came here, made the team, and he has played really well ever since and found a home, as he put it. It will be about the things that fit us and that we need. That's a fine line, and in a lot of ways, it's fine slicing for sure. We have some good choices and some tough choices, and that's a good problem to have. That's what we're facing."
Have decisions been made? (Jerry Coleman) "Of course, a lot of decisions have been made. I think that's obvious. And then there are a number of decisions that still have to be made. We talk about those every day. Every second of every day we think about it and try to do the right thing for our team."
Does this game have a little more focus on special teams with some of those guys being the ones that fill those last five or six spots on the roster?* (Brent Harris)* "Not more so than the other three games. We focus on special teams in all three of the preseason games. We were kicking balls to cover, and we were trying to return everything that we could. We were taking it eight [yards] deep, a lot of the time, out of the end zone, because we wanted to put guys in the position to have to block people, cover kicks and see what they can do."
So, it's no more important? Obviously, if the starters aren't playing on offense or defense, but with special teams, it really does make a difference? For the last five or six, this is the game for those guys. (Brent Harris)"You mean as far as making the choice of who makes it? It's not this game; it's been every game. The evaluation is made every game. I think those spots, obviously on special teams, are very important."
WR Chris Moore was out for a while and now he is back. I am just curious about his development since he has been back.* (Cliff Brown)*"He missed a couple of games, so that was tough. He could have used that time for sure, and he could have used that two-and-a-half weeks of practice time as well. He has come back [and] has shown no signs of that. He has gotten better. He picked up where he left off, but he's gotten better, steadily, every single day. His story is like all of the other guys who have been nicked. [Maurice] Canady is another one like that, and he needs to do more. All of those guys – when you miss time in training camp – it's not a good thing. You have to find a way to overcome that to make a football team."
OLB Matthew Judon
On how his pass rushing has come along:"Our coach [defensive line coach Joe Cullen] teaches the three phases of the pass rush, and I think my get-off is pretty good. I'm just out here learning from 'Doom' [Elvis Dumervil] and 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] and a couple of other guys. The more plays I get under my belt, the more confident I feel. I just feel like I'm doing a great job."
On advice he has received from OLB Elvis Dumervil and OLB Terrell Suggs: "It's so much I really can't spit it off the top of my head, but probably from 'Doom,' [he says]: 'When you get tired out there, the offensive tackle is also getting tired. Just make sure you get off the ball, and then once you get off the ball, you're already off the ball, so you might as well go ahead and make a play.'"
On if he has something to prove as a rookie from a Division II school: "No. That's just where I went to college. Unfortunately, I didn't get to play them in college, but I get to play them on Sundays and Mondays. I'll just go out there and make the best of my opportunities right now."
On how he has adjusted to the speed of the game on the professional level: "I feel like I'm coming along with the rookie class. We're all getting better every day. I don't really know, because I've never done it before. This is my first time. I feel like I'm just continuing to improve with my team and getting more comfortable. Like I said, the more plays, the more comfortable I will become, and when I'm comfortable out here, the faster I can play – the more aware I can play."
On if he feels he has to continue his sack streak:"I feel like I just have to keep going out there and playing."
On if he posted a photo with a caption that said he understands why he didn't go to a Division I school: "It was actually a throwback Thursday picture. It was me drowning in my jersey. I was all little and stuff.* (laughter) *It wasn't about me being an underdog. It was just a throwback Thursday."
On why he chose D-II Grand Valley State University:"I have no clue. That was the school I felt more comfortable with. Unfortunately, I didn't get any D-I offers, but I felt comfortable with Grand Valley, and that's where I went."
G/T Alex Lewis
On how much he likes playing left guard compared to left tackle:"I like whatever gets me on the field, so I love it."
On how he feels about him and T Ronnie Stanley's chemistry and playing next to Stanley for a while:"It's possible [we will play side by side for a while]. Mine and Ronnie's chemistry is always building. Every play, every rep – it is always building. We are not to the point yet where we can read each other's mind or anything like that, but hopefully one day we can get there."
On if he and T Ronnie Stanley talked about playing together for a long time:"We just came in, and we both competed. We are still competing and having a good time doing it. We never really talked about the future. [We're] always focused on that day at that moment."
If he thought starting was a possibility when minicamp began:"I'm not saying that it entered my mind or anything. I just came out here, did what I had to do every day, trying to listen to the coaches, trying to stack each play on top of each other. Good things will come about from it as long as you keep grinding."* *
On how valuable it has been to play with the starters in preseason:"They are huge. Playing with starters, you finally understand the different communications. There is a little bit less communication with the starters, just because they have been doing it for a while, and they understand what they are doing on each play. It is good practice, especially in these preseason games, especially getting in there with Joe [Flacco]. He really commands the offense wonderfully. He gets up there and makes all the calls for us, and then Jeremy [Zuttah] bounces it off of him. We are rolling. You can't take any play back, and every play is a huge advantage for me."
On what areas he still needs to improve: "Everywhere. You always need to improve, no matter how long you played this game. [No matter] how good you think are, there is always room for improvement – fundamentally, understanding different schemes, even understanding your own playbook."
On what he has tried to pick up from G Marshal Yanda:"Marshal, he is a great athlete – even a greater man. [He is] smart, intelligent, quick, has a strong punch. When I watch Marshal, I watch how even his stance is. He never gives or tips anything any way to the defender. That is something I try to emulate, so when I get in my stance a defensive lineman doesn't know whether it is a pass or run or whether I'm pulling. That is something I really like about Marshal."
On if the advice he has received from his father, Bill Lewis, who spent seven seasons in the NFL:"[My] dad played a while in the league; it is huge having him. I call him up like twice a week. He is always on the phone there for me telling me, 'This is what you've got to do. Take one day at a time – that is all you have to focus on. Always have a plan when you step on the field.'"