**Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
In the first game vs. Cleveland, how scary was the scene where Josh Cribbs got knocked out? You've coached him before, and you know him from the past? (Ed Lee)"We're all concerned about player safety – their players and our players. This is a great game, and the players have so much respect for one another. When things like that happen, you see everybody affected by it – everybody is concerned. We're all thankful that Josh was well after that and he is back playing."
Did you reach out to him afterwards to see how he is doing? (Ed Lee)"Those are all personal communications. I got word very shortly thereafter that he was OK."
What sort of advice have you given Justin Tucker about kicking in the conditions at Cleveland Browns Stadium? (Ed Lee)"Having a lot of experience there, I have just given him the standard Cleveland Browns Stadium weather conditions, and he's seen it on film, too. He has been preparing for this since the first day. It's not like it snuck up on him. He knew this game was on the schedule. We anticipate playing games in December and January where the conditions aren't perfect, so it's not something he just started working on this week. We anticipate he'll go out there and kick well."
Do you see teams doing different things going forward to keep the ball away from Jacoby Jones on kickoffs? (Jeff Zrebiec)"There is only so much you can do on a kickoff. You can't kick it out of bounds. You can squib it and sky kick and do all those other things, but those are choices that other teams make. Those aren't things that are up to us, really. What we try to do is react with them. Anytime they are doing that, it speaks to the respect they have for your returner and your blockers. You try to field the ball and advance it, and typically, you end up with pretty good field position as a result."
**Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
How much of a help do you think it has been to you that eight of the 11 positions on your side of the ball have been the same starter for all seven games? (Joe Platania)"Obviously, it helps. Continuity is huge, and I think just looking at our offense during the bye, there is one thing that is clear: We are at our best when – obviously when we execute – we get everybody involved. The more continuity we have, the more guys we keep involved. Obviously, we know Ray Rice is a huge part of that, but we are at our best when 'Q' [Anquan Boldin] is getting the ball, when Jacoby [Jones] is involved, then Torrey [Smith] is involved and Dennis [Pitta] and Ed [Dickson] and Vonta [Leach] – our whole group. As we keep that continuity – you have to stay healthy to do that, and there is no guarantee that is going to happen – but the more continuity we have, the better we'll get."
After you looked at the film and in tweaking things during the bye week, are there any indicators or reason why things have been different on the road as opposed to at home? (Jerry Coleman)"You say, 'OK, what can we improve on?' Big picture, No. 1 [is to] play on the road like we play at home. The great thing for us as an offense, us as team and for all the Ravens fans, is that we know what this offense can be, we know what we want it to look like, we know what it feels like when it's being executed, because we see it in M&T [Bank] Stadium. Now, the bottom line is you have to take it and carry it out on the road. We know it's not weather, because we've had great weather on the road. Obviously, you could look at the surface. I would think … We practice on grass every day; we're not going to say [it's] turf vs. grass. Then you say crowd noise, and I think some things surface there, because I think it's common knowledge all the leeway that Joe [Flacco] has at the line of scrimmage now. Everybody knows the options that he has. The one thing that we're not as good at on the road as we are at home is being on the same page. It might be any combination – it could be in the passing game, it could be in protection, it could be in the run game. So, we're looking at everything from a communication standpoint, how we can make sure, on the road, that we're on the same page. Does that mean we aren't going to audible? Not at all. That's a huge part of what we do. But, I think getting on the same page is the first thing we have to do. Then, because our schedule is the same, other than the travel schedule … We've looked at it all. Our schedule is the same. We've looked at it all. We're wearing the same shoe sizes. We've got it all covered. We've got the same shoes, same uniforms – a lot of that stuff. (laughter) So, bottom line is [we must] execute better. But, the No. 1 thing, let's be on the same page, first and foremost."
Cam, how hard is the communication stuff to correct? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It's very correctable. First of all, it's very, very correctable. I think it goes back to the continuity. The more we're beside each other or we're working together and we're communicating, whether it's verbal communication or non-verbal communication, the better we're going to get at it. As a staff, we have to do a great job of communicating. That has to translate to our guys doing that. Like anything else, the more you do it, the better you should get at it, and I'm confident that we will."
An easy diagnosis from the couch or the TV studio or radio booth is to get Ray Rice the ball more. Why is that sometimes not the easiest thing? Obviously, you know what kind of talent is there, but we say, 'Why does Ray Rice not have the ball more?' (Pete Gilbert)"I would say this, and I'm not disagreeing, because obviously, he has touched it more than any football player in the National Football League in the last five years. So, we want Ray involved. The bottom line is, as I said earlier, we are at our best when everyone is involved. Ray is a big part of what we're doing. We have to make sure that within our audible system the audibles don't take the ball out of his hands, based on what the defense might be dictating. I think there are a lot of things that factor in. The situation, most of the time – and you'd have to go back and double check this – when Ray hasn't gotten the ball the way maybe we would like as much, the situation has dictated that a little bit, too. I have overcome a 26-3 deficit a few times; [I've] never done it running the football in one half. We've had some situations where the score dictated that the bottom line is [that] we're going to have to throw it to him more than we hand it to him. No. 1, let's not be in that situation anymore, and let's make sure that we don't let our audible system take the ball out his hands."
Ray Rice said yesterday that he feels very fresh right now and as good as he has at this point in the season. How much of that is a factor in your mind during the early part of the season in keeping him fresh? (Ryan Mink) "It's always a challenge. It's not as much of a challenge with his age right now. He's kind of in that little prime area. But it's real, and I shared with you guys before, my experience with [formers Chargers RB] LaDainian [Tomlinson]. I don't think it's by accident that those guys stayed healthy the way they have for the most part during a lengthy career. You look around the league and what happens to these backs. You'd have to do some research on it, but I think it's pretty obvious: We don't want to overwork a back, because it can be done. It's a fine line, because it's a long season and no one takes hits like those running backs do – no one. When you see those guys after a 25-carry game or a 30-carry game, they are not the same on Wednesday and Thursday. So, we need to get him the ball more. But also, as you're writing that, write the rest: within reason, the game plan. You look at some other offenses in this league that become one-dimensional with a back, you can overwork him, No. 1. But No. 2, you lose the guy, and they're done. We don't want to be in a position where for some reason something happens to him that, 'Now let's get everybody else involved now.' We want everybody involved throughout the game, throughout the season. We'll add them all up at the end of the year. My bet will be that he'll be, if not leading the league in yards or touches, he'll be one of the top five, and that's our plan, because it's obviously a 16-game season."
**Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Can you talk about Jimmy [Smith]? Jimmy talked yesterday about defending the double moves and how that's something that he has to be more disciplined about. As the defensive coordinator, what sort of advice can you give him about double moves? (Ed Lee) "The biggest thing here is what affects you is usually your eyes. What happens is on the double move you take your eyes off of the receiver and take them back to the quarterback, and it's at that point in time when the guy gives you the double move – when you're looking back and he's going on the double move. The biggest thing is when the cushion closes, you have to keep your eyes … You have to spot the drive for on the up-field shoulder of the receiver. If you drive for that spot – I used to tell guys that when I coached the secondary – the only way I'm looking back to the quarterback now is through the ear hole of the receiver. So, if I'm looking through his ear hole, I can see him, and I can see the quarterback. If I'm looking back here and he's here, I have no idea what he's doing. If he's here and I'm looking back through him, I know. To me, it's eye discipline."
Coach, could you explain how much impact the bye week had on you guys in terms of resting. I believe your defense has been on the field as much as any defense in the NFL – plus a chance to heal and prepare. (Jerry Coleman) "I could probably tell you that better on Sunday after we get done playing. (laughing) We needed this bye week desperately, especially on defense – that's all I can speak to. We had a lot of guys – even if they weren't out – a lot of guys that were banged up, so we needed some time to try to rest and recuperate. The other thing that we needed the bye week for as a staff was to sit back and evaluate where we are and why we're playing sometimes like we're playing. You do that whether you are playing well or whether you're not playing well. That's what you always use the bye week for, but sometimes you really have to sit back and say, 'OK. Here's who we have personnel-wise. Things have changed. Guys are out. Guys are banged up. Here's our scheme. What can they do well within that scheme?' Look at what you did well; look at what you did poorly. When you did it poorly, was it because of the scheme? Was it because of a technique? Was it because the guy can't do it? And then [you] kind of reevaluate and sit and go forward from there."
Dean, is it necessarily a determent that – even though we are only seven games in – there are only six guys out of 11 that have started every game, at least you get a sense of the depth … (Joe Platania) "You're starting to get a feel for it. It seems like, though … A part of the problem to, a little bit, is sometimes with injuries is that everybody doesn't practice all week. You kind of forget that sometimes, because all you really see is Sundays. When you're trying to get a unit together and you're trying to get everybody in the same spot, you tell a guy, 'Going into this week, we are going to play you at this spot. Here's what we want you to do. Here's what we want you to hone on. This is what we really want you to study.' So, then you go out to practice and somebody is missing from another spot, and you have to take that guy and move him over to that spot, and you just got done telling him in the meeting, 'I want you to think about this,' and now he's going out and practicing this, but in the game then he's going to go back and play the other. Sometimes that becomes a problem in injuries more than what you see of a guy being out of a game is the guy didn't have the chance to practice what you really wanted him to do. He doesn't see all of the things. It would be like telling a safety, 'OK, you're going to play safety this week,' and then we go out to practice and he has to play corner all week, but he's going to start in the game at safety. That's an extreme example, but sometimes that's been happening up front a little bit. We just have to get guys a little more … And that's why I think the bye week we really spend a lot of time on personnel saying, 'Let's really let these guys concentrate on these spots and really, truly try to not move them around as much as we've had to do.' Unfortunately, in the first seven games, and we're hoping going forward, we don't have to do it as much – I hope."
**Going up against Trent Richardson, he put up 125 last week against the San Diego Chargers. Our run-stop defense giving up over 600 yards – your thoughts on the run-stop defense … *(Bill West) *"I would say they are going to run the ball. I wouldn't think that would be rocket science. That's what they do best anyhow, and right now we haven't done well defending the run, especially the last three games. So, that's what we are expecting them to do. What we have to gear up and do scheme-wise and also technique-wise, we have to play better against the run. That's what we are expecting. I expect that's what they are going to do. We have to get up there and stop it."
**I'm going to talk about a couple of your younger defensive players: Jimmy Smith, Courtney Upshaw and Terrence Cody. What have you seen from them so far? What do you want to see more from them going forward? *(Aaron Wilson) *"Like all young players, I think you want to see consistency. You just want to see them doing the learning from mistakes and then not making that same mistake again. That's what you always do on all young players. All of them are playing hard. Our guys are working hard. They're studying hard. They're doing all those sorts of things. The young guys – it's like anything else – you want to see them be consistent. Learn from your mistakes – we all do. Coaches, players, everybody – you learn from your mistakes. The guys that really become good at it are the guys that learn from those mistakes and become consistent."
Right after the Houston game, you had your thoughts and impressions of where your defense is right now. After taking a week and having that time, does it look different to you now – maybe a bigger picture, kind of better, or is it same, similar? What did the bye week offer you perspective-wise for your defense? (Pete Gilbert) "Immediately after that game wouldn't have been a good time to evaluate anything. It's like always – practice is even true. You're never as bad as you think you are, and you're never as good as you think you are. You can go out and play some great games, and there are a lot of bad plays in there. They just didn't hit them or there's some other things in there where it was just really bad. I think the Eagles game [we had] all that yardage [in] just really six or seven plays. We actually played the run good. Now in this game, there were a lot of technique problems in this game. I think we also got worn down – the way it looked. That's why, hopefully, the bye week will help us there. What we did is we just sat back and evaluated, like I said, the whole scheme and said, 'OK, here's who we have. Here's where we are. Forget where we've been the last seven games. How are we going to get where we need to get? What do we have to do? Who do we have to put where? What's the best technique that we can play that guy in? Can he do what we are asking him to do? If he can't, then we can't ask him to do it.' We really had to sit down as a staff during that bye week and say, 'This is what we can. This is what we are – whether we like it, whether if it's exactly what we want to do is irrelevant. If you don't have corners that can play man coverage, you are crazy to play man coverage, right? If you have guys that can't play zone, then you're crazy to play zone. I'm using those guys as examples, but it's the same thing up front. If a guy can't play a shade, then don't put him in a shade. If a guy can't play a two-gap, then don't put him in a two-gap. And what we have to do and what we've done or tried to do is say, 'OK, this is what we can do.' Same thing with the blitzes, same way with the pressures – can this guy do it? 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] is not there, can this guy do it? Is it going to be the same? Is it going to have the same effect? All those things that you look at and you say, 'Here's what we can do going forward. This is what we need to do to win.'"