Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
What went into the decision to have Jacoby Jones return kickoffs against the Cowboys on Sunday? (Ed Lee) "What went into the decision is we know Jacoby [Jones] has got a lot of talent, and we know that he's been successful in this league before returning kicks. We thought that we'd had a number of opportunities up to that point, and we hadn't quite broken one. We had a number of good ones, we wanted a great one, and he provided that for us."
How much do you think the fumble that Deonte [Thompson] had against the Chiefs played a role in Jacoby Jones returning? (Ed Lee) "Everything is a factor. The fumble is a factor, sure. You can't go into it and say, 'Fumbling is OK.' It's not. But, we have big plans, big plans for Deonte. It's not just one play; he's going to be a great returner going forward, and it might be this week."
In regards to Lardarius [Webb] being unable to return punts, do you have any idea of who you'll have back there for that? (Ed Lee) "We'll see on Sunday what that looks like."
Jacoby gave Anthony Allen a lot of credit for springing him on the return. Is that kind of blocking what earned Allen that spot on the roster? (Bo Smolka) "Anthony Allen is a very versatile player. He's a guy that has, obviously, running back skills. He's a running back, and so as the off-returner in that particular play, he's able to see the hole, and he did a very good job in that particular play of seeing the crease and climbing on the safety. And, he did make the block at the end that sprung it. There were also a number of other good blocks that set that hole up for Anthony to climb through. Anthony is a guy that played linebacker as a young guy and has enough size and speed to be a special teams' player, because he's got skills. The fact that he's got running back skills gives him that opportunity to play the off-returner position where he's the lead blocker, so to speak. That's kind of how it fits together with that particular return."
Going back to the punt return, what are you looking for in a guy to say, "He's the guy that I want returning the punt?" (Ed Lee) "Ball security, and the ability to make people miss and score touchdowns, is always real big for us – those factors."
I'm assuming, with all the guys you have on the roster, there's some guys who can do all that. How do you try to single out one guy versus another? (Ed Lee) "Well, we went through all the way through preseason. Bobby Rainey had reps, Asa Jackson had reps, Ed Reed is one of the most sure-handed guys in the National Football League, and then Jacoby [Jones] – we have Jacoby. We'll miss 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb], but we have other guys that can step up and fill in."
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
Can you talk about DE J.J. Watt and what you have to do to sort of negate what he does? (Ed Lee) "First thing is he's just a relentless player. He's one of those guys that you're trying to get him blocked, but he doesn't stay blocked. So, you've got to be aware of where he is; they play him right and left, but he's not by himself. This defense is loaded, and they've got some changes at linebacker, obviously, but if he was the only guy we had to worry about, we could probably find a way to put two or three people on him. But you double him, you single him, you block him from right to left, left to right, and you've got to make sure once you've got him blocked he stays blocked."
And [Watt's] ability to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage? (Ed Lee) "He's unique. But you know what? Now it's the whole defense. Now other guys are batting them down, and I think we don't teach anything really different than anybody else. If a guy goes to jump and puts his hands up, obviously you keep blocking the guy and find ways to get his hands down. But he's got a knack for it. I'm thinking it was Bob Costas who was interviewing him the other day – I could have the wrong interviewer – but he was talking about how he does it. So, he's got some things in his mind of when he doesn't think he can get there, and then when he's going to read the quarterback's eyes and when his hands are going to go up. So, obviously, we've got to be aware of that, but they're all doing it now, so we've got to do a good job of getting their hands down."
Do you ask Joe Flacco to change his trajectory? (Ed Lee) "No, no. Joe's got to throw based on what he's feeling, what he's seeing, and usually the ball is gone before those hands come up. And so, that's just something that we've got to do a good job of getting their hands down."
Cam, you guys have struggled offensively on the road at times, particularly in no-huddle. Is there anything you can attribute that to? (Kevin Cowherd) "Probably good defense, and execution. I think you just go look at each individual game, and it becomes pretty clear whatever it was, and it's usually not the same thing. Sometimes we catch the ball better than we do other times, sometimes we block a little bit better. Playing on the road has its challenges, but percentage-wise, we play very well on the road, period, over the course of time here. We play better at times than others, and this is one of those weeks where we need to go on the road and play well."
Is getting off to a good start overrated? (Kevin Cowherd) "No, you always want to come out and get off to a good start, but we all know what it really comes down to is how you finish. We've seen a lot of good starts – might have been a pretty good start the other night actually – it was a game we were all watching [Denver at San Diego]. One team was shutting the other team out, the other team put 35 [points on the board] in the second half. So, we want to get off to a good start, but we all know that really has, in most cases, very little bearing on whether you win or lose. It's how you finish that matters."
As far as being an all-purpose back, is Ray Rice one of the best you've seen in your time as a coach? (Jason Butt) "Absolutely. He's been outstanding since … I can visualize our first day when he came out, and I can remember looking right over there on field No. 2 and seeing him return punts. And I thought, 'This guy supposedly wasn't supposed to be able to catch?' He's over there catching punts right and left, and right away – because I didn't know him – I said, 'We've got a three-down back.' They were smart in what they did with him at Rutgers. But this guy can catch lights out [and] obviously he can throw. He's a great all-around back, and he's smart. It's hard to play on all three downs if you don't really have a great feel for the game and understand the game. So, I think that can separate him a little bit with the way his mind works. And I think the last part, I would say, is that you will very seldom see him get frustrated because he understands what we're trying to do, why we do what we do, when we check the runs – where he gets to run a lot – when we don't' check to those runs – when we take the ball out of his hands. He understands strategy and what we're doing strategically. So, he stays in the game, never gets frustrated, and he's always ready when you call on him. And that's what I think great backs are. Very few great backs that I have been around are guys that get frustrated, because we want those guys to get the ball as much as they want it, but also we want to be smart about it, too."
You mentioned some of the challenges of playing on the road. Noise is obviously one of them. What are some other ones? (Kevin Cowherd) "That's the primary one, and it obviously affects your ability to communicate. You've got to be able to pay attention, you've got to be able to hear, you've got to be able to see. If you can't hear … The defense is obviously looking at the ball, now we have to look at the ball. So, it takes away from where guys' eyes normally are. So, when you can hear, your eyes can see (pointing) here, here, here. I can see everything I need to see. When I've got to know when that ball is snapped, and I've got to be doing this and I've got to be looking here. It obviously makes it a little bit tougher."
The defense was on the field for about 40 minutes against Dallas last Sunday. How does that impact your play-calling knowing that there could be some fatigue in your defense? (Luke Jones) "It can vary. It can vary from week to week. Obviously, you don't make any assumptions. I think there was a time back in about '94 or '95 [when] we [the Washington Redskins] had a game where we had 40 snaps and won the game. And I learned a valuable lesson there, that you go into every game plan saying, 'OK, if we only get 40 snaps, how are we going to win this game?' We've had 60, 65 snaps, 75, we've had almost 90 [snaps] in some games. You should be in pretty good shape if you start getting 65-plus plays. So, in my mind and in our staff's, we say, 'OK, if we get 40 plays, we've got to find a way to score points.' If you can score 24 points in 40 plays, you should be alright. And again, that's just been my personal experience. So, it wasn't something I hadn't experienced before, and it's something you try to convince your players to understand how important in this league every play is. And so, we kind of start with that mindset."
As far as from the defensive standpoint, assuming they're tired – and I'm not saying they were – is there anything you do differently with the thought, "We want to score, but we also want to sustain a drive to keep them off the field?" (Luke Jones) "You always want to sustain drives, but we've always felt – and I think it's our philosophy here – points trump all that. We're all big boys here; we all have a job that we have to get done. When you've got a back like Ray Rice and a quarterback like Joe Flacco, you can't take the air out of the ball and say all of a sudden you're going to slow it down and grind it out, because we all know – in most cases – that backfires and doesn't work. So, you want to get in a rhythm. If you score fast, you score fast. Now, if we've put ourselves in a position where it's a two-score game, or we're in a four-minute offense – as you've seen in Kansas City – we can take the air out of the ball and slow it down. But it's still hard. It's still hard to get a first down, because if you don't get a first down, then you're punting anyway. So, 'Do I get stopped and punt? Or do I go score and kickoff?' I think we all know which one we would pick. If it were easy to get first downs and it was easy to sustain drives, eat up the clock, then everybody in this league would be doing it. And nobody is doing it, because it's just too hard. It's too hard against good teams to think that you're going to possess the ball, grind it out and play the clock possession game. And it's really just not our style."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Dean, just talk about Arian Foster as an all-purpose threat out in the backfield and the problems he presumes. (Jason Butt) "He's a great back. The guy has had some phenomenal years. He's a typical zone runner from back in the [Mike] Shanahan days at Denver. It's that same kind of back that [Gary] Kubiak has taken with him or got there at Houston. He's kind of a one-cut, downhill kind of guy and can hit the seam. [It's a] great system. [He] knows the system – fits right into exactly what they do. He's also a [receiving] threat out of the backfield, but the biggest threat with him is the running game – him being able to run the ball."
Coach, 26th-ranked defense, that's hopefully an aberration. What do you guys do to get this… (David Ginsburg) "To tell you anything other than it makes me sick is the best way I can put it. It really does. It's up to me and it's up to our staff to get this thing corrected. Basically, we've gone back and really looked at ourselves this last week or so. To give up the two rushing games after we thought we were getting better in the run for a couple of games, and to digress back there … An old coach told me a long time ago, 'Nothing happens by circumstance. There's a reason for everything,' so, you have to look at it and find it. One of the things that we have to do – and we have to do a better of it as a staff, it goes across the board, it's the players, but it's the staff just as much and it falls on me – is just do better fundamentals. It isn't about the calls. If you don't play the call fundamentally correct, it doesn't really matter what the call is. It doesn't matter whether it's a pressure, not a pressure, three-man rush, four-man rush, five-man rush – it does not matter. So, we have to get better at technique. It's the same thing when it comes to missed tackles, which we had a bunch of in the last game. That's technique, and we have to do a better job coaching it throughout the entire practice – not just in drills, but in practice every single down. That's the best way to practice tackling. It's not in a drill, because in a drill I know I'm tackling the guy. It's in a situation in practice that's going to happen just like it is in the game. I don't know if it's a run or pass. I don't know exactly where I'm going to be. That's how way we have to do it. We have to do a better job, and it falls on us as a staff and me, in particular, to do a better job of that. We have to get back to that. We didn't become all of a sudden a bad tackling team. It's the same players, so there's a reason why, and that's the reason why right there."
Now you're faced with going onward without Ray [Lewis] and Lardarius [Webb], not easy. Do you scheme differently, or next man up? (David Ginsburg) "You might do a couple of subtle things differently, but – kind of going back to what I just talked about – it's really, it's about Houston, because you have to defend what they do. That's true every week. Really right now, I'm happy as I can be to be 5-1, but I also feel fortunate to be 5-1 the way we are playing on defense – let's be honest with it. We aren't playing well enough, and to say it any other way would sound like political debate. There's an answer and a no answer. We have to have an answer. We have to do it. Cut the crap; let's get this thing done. We have to move forward. It's more about us on defense than it is about Houston or anybody else after Houston. It's more about us learning to play defense back to the way that we play it. It's not about calls, like I said. Whether we pressured 49 times last game, or whether we didn't, that doesn't have any bearing on it. Doesn't matter if you did or you didn't – it's how you played, and we didn't play well enough, and that's all on technique, fundamentals and back to basics. To answer your question, with Ray [Lewis] and Lardarius [Webb] out, to me, it's the next man up – it's about us just playing better. Just like when Ray was out last year, we played better. Even with Dannell [Ellerbe] and 'Mac' [Jameel McClain] in there at 'Mike' and 'Will,' and Albert McClellan falling in there – we played good fundamental defense, and that's what got us through. That's what's going to get us through now. To me, these last six games – I don't mean to be on a rant here, but I am a little bit – about these past six games it is what it is. I can't change it – it is. To me now, it's about going forward. I've been down this road once before a few years back. We weren't ranked very good after about four or five weeks, and then we ended up about the last 12 weeks of the season being the best defense in the league. Now did we end up there? No, but I don't really care where we end up. I care about now us going forward and how we get better from here on out."
Do you have the talent to succeed? (Mike Preston) "We do, and we also have the talent to be better than what we are playing – that's the biggest point. We aren't playing up to what we are capable of playing, whether we have guys out or not. Certainly, when 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] is out – sure that's different – when Ray [Lewis] is out, when Lardarius [Webb] is out, but we have enough talent to succeed. We just have to play better."
What do you see in particular in front in the trenches? Are you getting pushed back too much there? (Ryan Mink) "Really, I'm not going to throw it on any one particular group, whether it's in the trenches – I'm not going to go that route. It's everywhere. It wasn't the defensive lineman that misses a tackle out in the open field, but it may a defensive lineman that let the guy through, because we missed a tackle out in the open. It's all of us. It includes five coaches, too."
Dean, you say it's on the coaches and so forth. Bernard Pollard yesterday defended you pretty strongly saying, "It's not about the coaches, it's about us as the players." Do you appreciate that? (Bo Smolka) "I did appreciate it, and I came back and showed him a film today. I showed the defense a film today of some things that happened yesterday in practice that we can address quicker as coaches to not let it happen again, just like a guy maybe coming through on a particular play. And, I appreciated that. In fact, I mentioned it in our defensive team [meeting] today. I'm probably telling you more than I should tell you. (laughter) I heard that [presidential] debate the other night. I'm sick of guys not answering questions. (laughter) The point of it is that I want to tell you that I appreciated that, and I told him that in front of the team that I appreciated that. He kind of put it on the [players], 'Yeah, it's the players that have to go out there and make the tackles.' It's up to the coaches to No. 1 – for me as the coordinator – to put them in a position to make the tackle. That's No. 1, and then No. 2, if we see something in practice that's maybe just a run by and I acted like I got him and didn't really breakdown and get him, that's on us as coaches to stop it right there. That wasn't good enough. That wasn't good enough, we have to come back and do it, because if you allow it to happen then when it happens in the game, don't blame the player for that. You had a chance to correct it during the week and didn't get it corrected. That, to me, is where I'm telling you, that's on us. Get it corrected. Now, if it happens during the game, then Bernard [Pollard] can take responsibility, but it's all of us. We're the ones coaching them, too. They have to make the tackle, but we're the ones that have to coach them and put them in a position and teach them how to do it, too."
Ed Reed said he's been playing with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Have you seen that affect his play? (Ed Lee) "Not really. I think he's actually been playing well. We've all had our moments, but I really haven't seen a whole lot … I haven't really seen it affect him too much."
Would there be any consideration maybe giving him some time off to let that labrum heal? (Ed Lee) "Next week [the Ravens' bye week]." (laughter)
How much of a boost is it to get Terrell Suggs back even if he's just out on the practice field? Having him out there on the field, is there an emotional boost? (Matt Vensel) "It's an emotional boost for me watching him jog out there yesterday to practice – just to watch 55 jog out there. Sure, the guy is [Defensive] Player of the Year. To get a guy back like that, it's not only that … He's been in our room and been in the meetings and everything. He hasn't missed anything since he's been off. He's been incredible. He's been in the room kind of absorbing it, but not being the Suggs that we've always known as interacting in the room. Now he's interacting, which is a great thing. It's a boost all the way across for all of us."
And now that he's engaged like that, obviously, he's going to be pushing to get back on the field. As a coach, what can you do to kind of slow him down if he's rushing if he wants to get back this weekend? (Matt Vensel) "I think you just have to see how it goes. I don't know if I have a perfect answer for that. One of the things that I've always felt like [is] nobody knows themselves better than a good professional player. A young guy sometimes may not have enough experience to know whether he can go or not go. I think experienced pros know when I can't go, and I might be hurting the team. It killed Ray [Lewis] to come out of the game the other night – killed him. I could see it in his eyes when he was walking off the field. I've been with it with Junior Seau. I've been with it with other players, but he's an ultimate pro, and knows, 'I can't get the job done the way I am right now, and I need to come off.' I don't think anybody knows their body better than those guy and the trainers. To me, it's kind of whatever they say – between him and them, and then we have to make a decision, and also when you watch him to see how he is playing."
Do you anticipate Terrell going on Sunday? (Ed Lee) "We will find out on Sunday. I really don't know. It's not going to be ultimately my decision, so I can't answer that question for you."
But, realistically, you have a bye week the following week. Why take a chance of sending him out there and risking him getting hurt after only practicing two or three days? (Mike Preston) "I think that'd be up to him. I think that's going to be his decision on that whether he feels like before the bye I want to get a little bit or maybe you're right. I don't know. I think that decision still has to be made down at the end of the week."
Can you talk a little bit about defending the passing game, practically with 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] out? (Bo Smolka) "The biggest thing in their passing game is that most of us all set up off of the running game, and they are very, very good play-action, pass, boot, throwback. They've made their big plays in that situation. It's not necessarily so much a passing attack like a third down on a wide open thing like a New England. They've made most of their hay in the passing game off of their play-action. So, to me, it's just having good zone eyes, or man eyes, whatever we might be in. We always talk, 'Keep your eyes on your luggage. Know who you have and keep your eyes on them.' We just have to be very disciplined in that. It goes right back to fundamentals and technique."
Gary Kubiak said that they are limiting Andre Johnson's snaps. Do you think that's maybe why he's off to a slow start this season? (Ed Lee) "That and the fact that I've seen about four teams double him about every snap might be a reason he's off to a slow season, too. There aren't a lot of people letting him run free. It's not like you don't know he's out there. I think that adds a little something to it."
QB Joe Flacco
On how much he noticed and felt for OLB Terrell Suggs, who has been sidelined: "I honestly didn't pay too much attention to him on the sidelines, but yes, you don't want to be a guy who wants to help his team out and has to be over there – that's for sure."
On the how the offense responds to the injuries of LB Ray Lewis and CB Lardarius Webb: "You try not to pay attention. You try to go out there and go about your job and let those guys on the defense take care of their jobs. I think they'll do a great job. We're missing him [Suggs], and Ray [Lewis] we missed last year for a little bit. It's not something that they haven't dealt with before."
On Texans DE J.J. Watt knocking down balls: "Just go throw the ball. Our offensive line just has to do a good job of protecting, and we'll do things to take care of that. You have to make sure that they don't let him separate and jump up. He does a good job at it. There's only so much you can do. For me, I'm just going to go out there and throw the ball like I always do and try to look for lanes and get it over the top of guys, and if he happens to make a play, he makes a play."
On if Watt reminds him of anyone: "I don't know. You'd have to ask the offensive line about that."
On what it would be like for Suggs to come back:"I don't know. We'll have to see."
On if it would be an emotional boost getting Suggs on the practice field: "I guess. I don't really know. I'm not really too emotional about those kinds of things. I don't think it should affect me too much."
On if the emergence of WR Torrey Smith this season is partly due to his offseason activity: "I think the biggest part is the fact that he got all the experience last year. Without that, he wouldn't be able to come out here and be as confident and sure of himself as he is. I think that's really why he's able to play so well this year. Obviously, the offseason has something to do with that, just cleaning some things up here and there. He's going to be a good receiver, a great receiver. He's right there."
On if the offense has to pick it up with the defensive injuries: "No, we're going to continue to do what we've been doing. I think we've been playing pretty efficiently. When you try to do too much, that's when you get yourself in trouble."
On Houston CB Johnathan Joseph:"Joseph has been a good corner against us for a while. When he was playing in Cincinnati, we respected him. We played him a couple of times last year. They'll definitely miss him if he can't play, but I'm sure they have plenty of guys they can stick in there. They're a good defense, they play well together, and they'll be ready."
On whether the Ravens could pass more if Joseph doesn't play: "I don't want to say yes or no. It's a matter of what we have called and kind of what defense they happen to give us. You have to still take one play at a time. I'm sure there will be some matchups that we like throughout the game no matter what. We just have to make sure we take advantage of them."
On his memories of the Ravens' last game in Houston, an overtime win:"I remember being up a lot and almost losing, but squeaking one out. I think we have to go out there, and if we play like we did probably for the first two-and-a-half quarters, then we'll be happy. We kind of let up at the end there, and they did a great job of coming back. We have to be ready to play a full 60 minutes."
On if the team is equipped to handle the media hoopla that's focusing on all the injuries: "We don't pay attention to it. It's all on the TV's – it's all of that stuff. You don't really hear about it too much around here. We just go about our business. Some guys on this team like to create a little more drama than others, but that's just the way it is." (laughter)
On the effect a closed-roof stadium has on the no-huddle offense: "It shouldn't affect us. It probably will a little bit, but the way we do things, we should, theoretically, be just as fast."
On the importance of Sunday's game: "It's a game against two teams that have been playing well. No matter what happens, I think we're both going to come out of the game still feeling pretty good about where we are. It's a good test, and it will be a great game. There's a lot of pride that goes into it. I'm sure both teams are going to want to go into this game and be able to come out saying that they are the winner. That's really where we are right now."
S Ed Reed
On "dropping the bombshell" of his injury last night on the radio: "I didn't drop any bombshell. I'm not a pitcher. I don't play baseball. So long as I'm not throwing … That's something that we knew about. It's nothing to worry about. It is what it is. The last few weeks, I have been dealing with it. I am not a pitcher, so I am not throwing anything. I haven't been pressing, so it's alright."
On if he feels he can tackle at his normal effectiveness: "Yeah. I'll be alright. In the New England game, I was able to tackle. In the games after that, [I was] still making tackles. I missed a few, but it happens."
On if the injury happened earlier than the New England game: "Yeah, there's nothing to worry about."
On if he feels he needs to step up and be more vocal in the absence of LB Ray Lewis: "No, I am not putting any more pressure on ourselves than we have already gone through this season. I think we have a lot of guys in this locker room that realize that everybody has to step up. When you lose a guy like Ray, you lose a vocal leader, but he'll be around here, [besides] a physical presence on the football field."
On if he expects OLB Terrell Suggs to play on Sunday at Houston: (Reed yells to Suggs:) "Terrell, are you coming back this week?" (Suggs responds: "I don't know. Thank you for asking the horse's mouth.") So, I'm not sure. I'm not sure if he'll be back. Like I told him when I had my [hip surgery], I told him to not rush it. Do not rush it, especially with a bye week next week. He can get much more rest. Of course we need him, we want him out on there on the field, but we don't want him to come out and get hurt again trying to rush to be back on the field. It takes time. Like I told him, 'Your confidence and just getting back into football shape and running around and getting acclimated to the speed takes time.' When I came back against Buffalo [in 2010], I was just so happy to be back and enjoy running. He'll be the same way whenever he does make that decision."
On why his shoulder hasn't been listed on the injury report: "I don't know why it doesn't go on. I'm sure a lot of guys have been through this league and had injuries and it's not reported. That's the physical part of this game and a part of the game that the fans and you all don't know anything about. That's the part that we have to deal with from a worker's compensation situation, so to say. That's stuff that will be taken care of. Like I said, I'm physically alright, but it is what it is on that."
On what it is like observing the media storm from inside the building: "We have a cornhole championship we are working on right now. I think Torrey [Smith] has surpassed Michael Oher, and Sam [Koch] is always in the running. Mike says it was a lucky victory, but Torrey is doing rather well in the cornhole games. So, there's a lot of competition going on right now through here. A lot of little guys around here want to be good competitors on the cornhole. It's tough, because you have a lot of guys that have time to practice it. A lot of guys take time to practice it. It's a lot of fun we're having. We're having a lot of fun enjoying each other, but we understand where we are at. We're not really worried about what is going on outside of this locker room – it's about taking care of each other and taking care of yourself."
On if he has spoken with LB Ray Lewis yet and if he expects him back next year: "I haven't talked to him yet. Only Ray can answer that question right there. I can't answer that question for Ray. I do know Ray will continue to work out, will be in shape to do whatever he wants to do. That's going to be totally up to him."
On if he fears the Texans or any other team will target his shoulder: "No. Target it. Target me. Throw it. Come on. Either way it goes, I am on the field, I have to do my job, and they know that, whether I am injured or not. There are guys all through this league that have injuries, guys that play with bumps and bruises – swelling in their knees, swelling of ankles, shoulders banged up, spasms, tearing their labrum. It's stuff you have to deal with playing this game. I have had some shoulder stuff going on for a couple of years. It's nothing I can't play around or adapt my game to, so to say."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On the reports that he is going to play Sunday at Houston: "Where did the report come from? If it didn't come from [head] coach [John] Harbaugh or myself, then it's really not a credible source. I think I know who your competitor is. It's always been [to] ask the horse's mouth. As far as the question you asked, there is no plan in place, so we have to take it day by day. We went out there and practiced yesterday, see how it felt. I'll practice today, see how it feels, and I'll practice tomorrow and see how it feels. Come Sunday, I may or may not be out there, so we just have to wait. At the end, [LBs] coach [Ted] Monachino, Mark Smith, our trainer, and our head ball coach will all make the decision if it's good for me to go out there and play."
On how much of a concern it is to push his Achilles too much and reinjure it: "That's always a concern. You know how the guys are in this locker room. We all want to be out there if we can, so that's always going to be there. That's why I have the people around me that I trust. Like I said, with my position coach, Ted Monachino, and our head coach, coach Harbaugh, we are going to make the decision as a group – whether it be better for me to either sit out or suit up."
On if the recent injuries to the defense motivate him to come back sooner: "It'll always be out there in your mind. You want to be out there with your brothers, especially when you lose your big brother [Ray Lewis]. It's always going to be there, but at the end of the day, we have to do what's best not only for myself, but for the team."
On when his status for Sunday's game will be determined: "I don't know. I was really going to take it down to the [final] minute. That's probably what both my coaches will do, take it down to the minute. And, with Mark Smith, we'll just all kind of know. Right now, we're just feeling it out."
On how he feels after practicing yesterday: "I feel alright. I don't really have a word to describe how I feel. It was good to be out there with the guys again. It just felt like that's where I belong and not really in the training room, so to say."
On if his presence on the practice field was an emotional lift for the defense: "Well, if I am out there, it potentially could be. But if I am not out there, it's business as usual. We have a job to do, probably against the AFC juggernaut. This is a great team, and we all know that. That's why this Texans-Ravens [matchup] is becoming kind of a rivalry. It could be, if I end up running out of the tunnel. If not, it's still going to be emotional, and it's going to be a good game – one for the world to see."
On if his family is going to Houston for the game: "No. See, that's what I am saying. You could have asked me that, just me and you, so no, I don't have any family in Houston. I don't have any family going to Houston. Once again, whoever said that, it's better always to ask me. You have to question these people putting stuff in the air. Sometimes, you guys can make it kind of hard for us guys. It's OK to do your job, but you don't have to compromise your morals in doing so."
On if he is in football shape right now: "I don't know. We'll have to see. The only that is going to get you in football shape is football. So, we'll see how the rehab really holds up."
On if proving people wrong, as he stated he wanted to do in May, is in the back of his mind: "Not really. That was really an emotional me. I had never been rocked like that before, but I've always had odds against me. So, everybody said I couldn't do it, and that's kind of the motto that I live by: If I can't do it, it can't be done. I'm not really into proving people wrong right now. The thing is helping my team win. That's the main objective as of right now."
On if he feels good about his chances to be his old self once he comes back: "I don't know. It's different between practice bullets and when the bullets are live. The game speed and game situations are different from practice. All you can do is try to prepare for it, the situations you are going to be in. You just have to wait and see."
On what the percentage is he will play on Sunday at Houston: "I don't say it's [a] percentage. Like I said, if you ask me that question at 11:30 [a.m. ET] or 12 o'clock on Sunday morning, I can have a percentage for you. But right now, I really don't have one. We are feeling it out. It's good to see me back out there, but we don't want to jump the gun and rush back, and we don't want to sit out if I can go."
On if he is preparing game-plan-wise like he could play: "I am just preparing. I am just pretty much out there. And the weight is good, since you asked, but I am not in a beauty contest. So, we are just out there practicing right now. The No. 1 focus is not, 'Let's put "Sizz" in this situation. Let's put "Sizz" in that situation.' We are kind of just practicing, and we're seeing how it goes."
On what it has been like watching his team from the sidelines:"It's been miserable. It's like being the kid that can't go out and play. You get to see all your friends out, and you're stuck in the house. It really wasn't a good feeling, but it was a good feeling to see them win. I'm glad that after six games my team is 5-1, so there really isn't any pressure to hurry up and get back, where if it is flipped, I would be like, 'I have to get back out there and see what I can do.' But, with the job the guys who have stepped in are doing in and have been playing thus far, it's really amazing, and at 5-1, it took a lot of pressure off me."
On if the biggest obstacle at this point is getting into football shape or if it is the Achilles itself: "It might be a combination of both. But, I guess the biggest obstacle is getting back ready for you guys." (laughter)
On how it feels to be back on camera and in front of the media: "I've been pretty good under fire with all the cameras and everything. We're just going to see. But, to all you real writers who were patient, I thank you all. This rehabilitation, it couldn't have been harder, and you all could have made it harder, but you didn't. You were really patient. For the guys that have been writing [about] me since I got into the league and taking my word for face value, thank you all so much. Anything you need, for sure. But, we are out now. I have to get ready for practice."