Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
What did you see on Justin Tucker's missed kick at Cincinnati last weekend? (Ed Lee)"He hit is really hard, and he hit it so hard that it didn't move. He was playing a little bit more left-to-right wind than needed, and he just pulled it a little bit. He hit it right on the screws; he just didn't hit it on a target that would allow the ball to move right."
What is your level of confidence with Tucker as you move into the postseason? (Ed Lee)"I have great confidence in our kicker. I have great confidence in our punter. I have great confidence in all our specialists and our special teams players. I think this opportunity to play is something that they've all been looking forward to for a long time, and the fact that it's a playoff [game] really won't change how they perform. I think the evidence is that they've played well all year long [and] I fully expect that they'll continue to play well."
You mentioned Sam Koch briefly. Can you talk about him being a weapon this season? He established career highs in both gross and net averages. (Ed Lee)"Sam has continued to improve every year I've been here, now for five years. And I know it gets redundant when I say that, and I'm often asked at the start of the season, 'What has Sam been working on?' And Sam has continued to work on being a better punter every year, and he's shown that he's done that again. We've given him the freedom to go long a few games this year, and he's done that. We've given him restrictions to kick it wide this year, and he's done that. He's really executed game plans very well."
Do you have a conversation with kickers about the pressures that come with kicking in the playoffs? Can you treat it any differently? (Mark Zinno)"We don't. I don't have a conversation about pressure, ever, with specialists. Their job is to deal with the situations at hand, whether that be an end-of-the-game kick or the playoffs or a preseason game. That's what they do – they're pros. So, I'm sure that they'll treat this one like they have all the others – prepare and go play well. That's really the lesson."
Jacoby Jones had a little difficulty last year in the playoffs with Houston. Is there any need to talk to him about something like that, or can you tell how eager he is to perform well this year? (David Ginsburg)"Jacoby has handled all the return duties this year very well. He was elected by his peers – and by the public for that matter – as the best returner in the league this year in the AFC. And I fully expect he'll play great on Sunday – I really do. I think he'll have a great game. I'm excited to watch him play."
Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell
How do you feel about going up against the Colts, a team you are quite familiar with? (David Ginsburg) "It's going to be a great challenge. When you have an opportunity, obviously, to look at them from a football standpoint, you know a little bit more about these guys than maybe some others. I had 10 great years there. It's ironic that we get an opportunity to play against them, which is going to be a lot of fun, because you have two teams with great desire. [Head coach] Chuck [Pagano] probably feels the same way on the other side of it. It's going to be fun."
What do you think your emotions will be like when you see the white and blue out there? (David Ginsburg) "I went to the University of Iowa, and I was at Northwestern, and we played against my alma mater. At that point of time, all I was concentrated on was doing my job and trying to get a victory. There will be no different in this game."
**Do you think you have insider knowledge to what the Colts like to do on offense? *(Ed Lee) *"Obviously, all of that has changed. It's a different package. [Offensive coordinator] Bruce [Arians] has brought his package in and developed it. They are doing things totally different than we had done them previously. Obviously, the defensive scheme is different also – just more of the players on defense are still some of the guys that were there when I was there. Obviously, we know the strengths and weaknesses they have, and they don't have many weaknesses. They are a talented group. We will have our work cut out for us."
*When the Ravens played the Patriots this year, Dean [Pees] said that as much as he wants to treat it like any other game, it's really not in his mind going against his former employer. Do you kind of feel that same way going into this one? (Garrett Downing) *"Certainly. You don't spend 10 years in a place and walk away from it and not have a sense of … Obviously – particularly some of the guys you coached – those guys laid it on the line for you when you were there. Obviously, you are going to look at things a little bit differently. You know a lot more people. Ten years in this profession is an eternity. Three years is a long time for a coach. It's a bit different in that regard. Just in terms of will it make a difference in how we go about the game, how we call the game, how we practice and prepare for the game? Absolutely not."
**I understand your focus is completely on the game plan here, but there are a lot of coaching openings. Do you think about your future in the NFL given that you haven't been assured you will be coming back as an offensive coordinator? Like I said, head-coaching opportunities. *(David Ginsburg) *"I typically don't think too much beyond this next ball game. Tomorrow is not even promised to me. I think that's biblical, right? Isn't that the truth? I really don't think that far. I'm not looking off, gazing into the sunrise or anything of that nature. I'm trying to make certain that I'm doing my job and getting my guys ready to go out and play. We have a real chore ahead of us."
Would you like to be a head coach again sometime soon? (Ed Lee) "I'll answer that question. I think someone asked me that once before. Anybody in this business, I think, they certainly would like to get to the point where they reach the top of their profession; I think everybody [feels that way]. You ask a guy who's coaching in high school or junior high or college or whatever it might be, they'd love to have an opportunity to be a head coach, and I'm no different."
*What was the transition like for you spending 10 years there and then coming to a different team? (Chris Widlic) *"After 37 years, I've moved from place to place a number of times. This isn't the first move that we've made. After you have been at a place for 10 years, it's a bit different, because you have been there for so long. You typically don't get that kind of tenure in our profession. That in itself, obviously, we are blessed and feel fortunate to have an opportunity to stay at one place for that length of time without moving. The transition has been very, very smooth for me. This is a great organization from top to bottom – great ownership, just a tremendous front office. The head coach is outstanding. The staff is tremendous. We have a great group of players. I'm happy to be here. The transition was made pretty easy for me."
**In several ways, you were kind of dealt a bad hand last season because of the [Peyton] Manning situation and what not. Do you ever wonder, 'What if?' *(Dave Furst) *"Absolutely not. It doesn't even cross my mind – not one second, not one second. I think for the most part I believe that the good Lord has a plan for us. Often times it's not as picturesque as we might like it. It may not unfold exactly the way that we had it planned, but it unfolded in which He wanted it. I'm satisfied with that. In due time, it usually sort of presents itself and shows what he had in mind and why. Coming here was a blessing for me. It was a great opportunity, and like I said, I'm certainly glad to be here."
The Colts have given up a lot of yards this year. Will it be important to try and establish the running game early in this game?* (Garrett Downing)* "Obviously, one of the things that we really pride ourselves on is, obviously, making certain that we can control the line of scrimmage – fight to control the line of scrimmage. This game will be no different in that respect. Every team that we've faced, we have approached it that way. Obviously, this won't be any different, but you can't do the same thing all the time against any team in this league, because if you do they will shut you down. We have to be able to mix it up a little bit of run and pass and change the pace a little bit. We also often times, within our scheme, we will do whatever they give us. We have to make adjustments and have checks and so on and so forth. At the line of scrimmage, a lot of times it dictates what you see."
*Is too much made of the idea of momentum and trying to build off of what happened Week 16 and wanting to be hot, so to speak, going into the playoffs? *(Luke Jones) *"I really think that often times that most people wait to see how the game – most observers I should say – just watch the game and see the outcome of the game, and then they make their assessment on what they should have done if it doesn't go quite the way you'd like. *(laughing) I think that John [Harbaugh] has done a great job of making sure he tempers us, getting our direction from him, in terms of getting our preparation ready and ready to go. Obviously, this is the fifth year in the row he has taken this team to the playoffs. I think we have a system here that's in place, and I think our preparation is true and pure. We believe in it. We work and prepare. We'll see what happens."
**You've been around a lot of great quarterbacks. Can you just talk about Joe [Flacco] and the winner that he is, and the idea that he has brought this team to the playoffs five times? What do you like about him most? *(Jim Corbett) *"One of the things I think, just in regard to Joe, people oftentimes sort of take it for granted that a young man can come in as a rookie and lead a team to the playoffs. You look at how many times … Now this year you have a few more doing it than normal, obviously, but for the most part, you look through history, and it's not common. That's uncommon, and not only to do it one year, not only do it the second, not only the third, not only the fourth, but the fifth year, that to me is really a mark of a guy who continues to improve. He shows consistency that puts him a little different bracket in that regard. He's steadily improving. Great attitude, that's the thing that I love about this guy; this guy has a great attitude. Often times, I think people kind of misunderstand him. They don't understand how much fire he has in him, but he has real desire, real competitor and just does a tremendous job in getting ready to play. I'm happy to be here with him, because he just gets better, and better, and better each and every day."
*For 10 years you probably enjoyed other offensive coordinators enjoying worrying about [Dwight] Freeney and [Robert] Mathis. Now here you are. Are they still as tough as ever in your opinion? (Dave Furst) *"No question. No doubt about it. You look at those guys, for a number of years they were just a terror – the two of them, those two bookends. They would give you so many problems, because the minute you got into a situation you had to pass a little bit more often than you would like, they would heat it up on you. Dwight is still as powerful and strong. He has developed even more of a power move along with that great spin game that he has, and he can still get up the field and run by you. [Robert] Mathis, as usual, he does it all. He's just a talented guy. Fortunately, we've had an opportunity to play against some guys here down the stretch. At Denver, they had [Elvis] Dumervil, obviously, and Von Miller. We had an opportunity to go against the Giants who had some great rushers as well. These two guys are a little bit different in their style, but very, very, very talented."
They have allowed a lot of rushing yards. What do you see from them? Are they sort of in their bend-but-not-break mode in terms of the Colts' defense, or do they look stout on the field? (Aaron Wilson) "Oh no, they are big and strong inside. [Antonio] Johnson inside, Ricardo Mathews is doing a nice job in there knocking people back. They have a couple of guys that I'm not familiar with that are doing a great job as well just in terms of knowing them personally. They do a nice job upfront, and the guys on the end really set the edge nicely, and they have linebackers that can run. They have a linebacker that has 145 tackles. He's pretty special – [Jerrell] Freeman – pretty special guy running around back there. [Antoine] Bethea is doing a nice job with 100 tackles as well. He's downhill and in the mix. It's a great group. Teams don't get to where they are unless they can keep you out of the end zone, and that's the thing that they do very, very well. They are stingy in the red zone."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Can you talk about Paul Kruger? He finished the season with a team-leading nine sacks. Is that what you envisioned from him? (Ed Lee)"We didn't really envision anything. When we start the season, I don't really ever put anything on any kind of stats, whether it be sacks or tackles or tackles for loss or interceptions or anything else. I think he had a very productive year. I think he got a lot better as the year went on. I think we found out kind of what his best attributes are and how to use those as time went. I'm very pleased with progress he made this year, I'll say that."
What could he get better at? (Ed Lee)"Everything. First of all, we never really asked him to play very much outside 'backer, so to speak. When I first got here a couple of years ago, they were talking about making him a defensive end. There was talk about having him put on weight and having him be a five-technique [player]. He's been moved all over the place. We asked him when 'Sizzle' [Terrell Suggs] got hurt in the offseason to probably learn the SAM linebacker. So, he's the SAM, then he's the RUSH, he's the X in sub, he's an end is sub [package]. To me, he's learned a lot about our packages and just as a football player gotten a lot better, especially pass rush. But, even in the running game, [he's] a lot, lot better."
Can you describe Ray Lewis' leadership style? How hard will it be to replace that aspect of him individually? (Childs Walker)"I don't think you replace a guy like Ray Lewis. Somebody else will step to the forefront. It's somebody else's time to be a leader. But, to say he's going to be a leader … It's just so hard to ever compare anybody, and I think it's always unfair to somebody to try to compare him to somebody else. Everybody has different leadership qualities – they lead in different ways. To me, what you see sometimes is Ray is a very motivational guy. [He is] very motivational when he talks, when he gives a speech, when he comes onto the field – all those kinds of things. But, the things that we see or I see as a coach – and I've been blessed to be around a lot of really excellent linebackers – the thing Ray is he is the best example anybody could ever be as a teammate. For every young player that comes in to watch a guy that has been in this league 17 years sit there and take notes and look like a rookie back there in the meeting room, to me it's phenomenal. The great players that I've really been around have all been that way. They're not, 'Oh hey, I'm great. Nobody can tell me anything.' Ray is the furthest thing from that that they'll ever be. It takes coaching. When I first came here, I had no idea what to expect. A couple of guys had told me that he'll be the most fun guy you've ever coached. They were right."
Do you think that kind of stuff will have a lasting effect on the organization, even when he is not physically here? (Childs Walker)"Absolutely. He's already set an example. All he has ever been is a Raven, so to me, he exemplifies what you want to be as a Raven defensive football player. For the guys like the Josh Bynes and the [Dannell] Elleberbes, [Jameel] McClains and all those guys to be around somebody like that of that caliber, not only as a player but as guy in the classroom, just how to be a pro ... Yeah, it'll have a long-lasting effect on us."
You talk about his impact for this week, and he made it clear he's going to play. After not having him since October, what will he bring Sunday? (Pete Gilbert)"I can't be real specific on how or what he is going to be doing other than the fact that we are more than happy to have him back and just having him out there on the field is an inspiration. I don't know how else to explain it other than … He's going to play."
Coach, you said when you got here you didn't know what to expect, but as a coach – and a lot of coaches have moved on and become head coaches that coached Ray Lewis – did it make your job easier knowing he was a leader inside the meeting room and the locker room? (Bill West)"When I said I didn't know what to expect … Like I said, I've been blessed to be around a lot of excellent, excellent players who were easy also to coach. When you come into a new organization and you take on guys, and then you have such a high-profile guy such as Ray Lewis, you don't know if this is going to be a guy that is going to say, 'Hey, don't you know who I am?' – that kind of an attitude. Or is he going to be a guy [that says], 'Hey, I'm the coach. You've got the title, but I am the coach.' Nothing like that. So, you don't know. That's not just Ray, that's anybody. Whenever you go someplace new, you don't know the guys. You don't know how they are, whether they've got this huge ego. We've all got one, but how big is it? He's just not like that. I was just really shocked. He called me when I first got the job and said, 'I can't wait to get with you and take some of your knowledge.' I'm sitting there going, 'Yeah, right. OK. I'm getting ready to take some of yours.' But, that's exactly what he was. To me as a coach, when you have a guy like that, it's an unbelievable working relationship. It's like in any business. Yeah, you have a boss and you have employees, but if employees and the boss are all working for a common cause, which is what we are … Yeah, I've the coach title, he's got the player title, but I am here to get the best way I can get him to play, and he took it that way. I know how to do all this stuff. I can't say enough about that and how great it makes you feel as a coach to be appreciated that when you tell him something, it means something. It's not just, 'Yeah, OK, right.' No , it's not like that. I can't say it enough. He's just not like that. He would text me, call me on the phone, 'What do you think about that? Did you see this play? What do you think? How do you think I should play it?' Do you know how good that makes you feel as a coach when Ray Lewis asks you your opinion? But, that's what the great ones do. I've been blessed in the profession to be around some really special people. I don't know if there is anybody more special than Ray."
When you are getting ready to prepare for the Colts, how much do you think about what Chuck Pagano knows about this defense? (Ryan Mink)"I think the best we could do for Chuck is I think he needs a lot of rest in the offseason, and I think the best thing we could do is give that to him. *(laughter) *I think about how we play a coverage or something like that, and how do I think that he might tell them to form the formation that would give us a problem. We look at that stuff, but at the same time, you don't want to over-coach yourself, too. You don't want to talk yourself out of things. First thing is you have to make sure they can block him and they can stop us before you start second-guessing yourself and saying, 'OK, well I'm not going to do this because they're probably going to do this.' Well, I am going to find out first of all if they can do it, then I'll change."
I know you said that the system in Baltimore doesn't change defensively will all the coordinators. But, do you feel like this year it has changed enough to where it's different from what Chuck was coaching last year? (Ryan Mink)"First of all, they're going to get a program out to figure out who is lined up where I think most of the time, as sometimes I do. (laughter) I think it's changed though. I think we've changed. We've added a few wrinkles here and there or enough of them and deviated and taken some other stuff out that we thought we weren't really capable of doing right now. So, I think there are enough changes that there will be some things there that he might not recognize."
Is it fair to say keeping emotions in check is going to be a really huge key Sunday considering a possible final home game for Ray Lewis, Chuck Pagano coming back? That's a real challenge, isn't it? (Pete Gilbert)"For who? *(Gilbert: "For you guys, for everyone not to be too emotional with all these side stories coming with it.") *I think it would be for some people. I think for the veteran guys it won't be. I think that's where experience comes into play and being in the playoffs for five-straight seasons and with Ed [Reed] and some of those guys a lot longer than that. One thing I learned about when you went to a Super Bowl was I was told to not let the emotions of the game wear you out in the first five minutes because everybody is so hyped up. What you have to do is you have to find a level and you have to play at that level. Don't go out and go crazy for the first five minutes and everybody is jumping up and down and 10 minutes into it, everybody is gassed or hyperventilating. So, I think the same thing is true anytime you play in a big game. Now with the playoffs, everything gets hyped up a little bit more. I think that's when you really have to go and keep yourself in check. That's what I talked about with the defense the other day. As the season goes on, we spent less and less time in individual [meetings] and more and more time in team settings. So, what happens is your individual techniques and your fundamentals kind of go to pot, so to speak, at the end of the season. That's the same thing there. You have to do a good job with that. Then it's the same thing in this game. I know it's going to be hyped up, but you just have to do a good job of keeping them in check."
Is there any advantage of facing Bruce Arians so many times over the years when he was with the Steelers? Is there any advantage to that? (Bill Toth)"I hope so. I think there are some things – and he is probably saying the same thing about us maybe … We feel like we have a handle on him a little bit. Now, it's a matter of executing."
He's got the flu today. He's out of practice. Do you want him to be sick on Sunday, too? Give him some rest?* (Bill Toth)"No, I don't want any excuses." *(laughter)
You faced your former employer, the Patriots, back in September. Have you given Jim Caldwell any advice on facing his former employer?* (Ed Lee)*"Jim doesn't need any advice from me. He'll do just fine. I have enough things to worry about on my side of the ball without giving Jim any advice."
QB Joe Flacco
On if he tries to recapture the form that he used during the AFC Championship game last season:"You don't try to recapture anything. That was last year. It was a game against an entirely different team. I think we're a different team. I think we are really excited about where we are headed. I'm just excited to get out there on Sunday."
On how much he feels that his experience in the playoffs the last five years helps him: "People try to make a big deal about the playoffs and the extra intensity that goes into it. I try not to buy into that stuff, but five years down the line, you definitely have more experience than you did Year One. Not just in terms of playoff games, but just in terms of games, in terms of seeing defenses, in terms of being comfortable with your offense, comfortable with the guys around you. I think we are all a little bit more experienced than we were last year. I think we had a little bit of a young team last year. I think we definitely have more games under our belt."
On how important it is for him to set the tone because he is the quarterback: "Big, we want to go out there and it's all up to me to get completions early, to get our run game going and all of that. I think if we can do that, then we'll be happy with what we see."
On if he thinks he benefited from having a week off after not playing a lot of snaps against Cincinnati: "I think it was definitely the best thing for the team, yes. We had some guys that are banged up and it's a good opportunity to get those guys healthy and as close to full strength as you can before this game. In terms of me, I feel ready to go just like I always will coming off a preseason game or something like that, expect we have played 15 games before that. I think that when it comes down to some of the guys that aren't really quite banged up is you don't want to get them banged up in that last week. I feel comfortable and was happy with the decision that John [Harbaugh] made. We are going to go out there, and we're going to be ready to go this week."
On the belief he has in himself and the optimism he has on getting a new contract: "I don't really look at it that way. I go out there, and I play football. You try to lead this team to victories. That's what we are trying to do that right now. That's all I'm concerned about is making a playoff run and making the Super Bowl. All that other stuff will take care of itself. Whatever happens, happens. It's not really that big of a deal at the end of the day."
On if there is too much made about the emotional stories of this playoff game: "I was just talking to Peter King, and he asked me a similar question about Ray [Lewis]. I'm the first one person that would tell you, 'Yes, you're making too big of a deal about those kinds of things.' For whatever reason, they usually end up not being too big of a deal. For some reason, they have a little bit of a play in how things go. I think we have a pretty powerful kind of emotional feeling – emotional back – with Ray [Lewis] on our side. If they do mean something, I think we have the leg up."
On what his reaction is to LB Ray Lewis retiring: "I've just been excited and blessed with the opportunity to play here with him and alongside him. I got to know him as a person. [He is] just an awesome, awesome person, awesome guy, awesome teammate, awesome football player. [I] can't say enough about the guy, and I'm just kind of excited that I even had the opportunity to do so."
On what he specifically thinks he got better at this year: "I think it's still a work in progress. I think the biggest things are going out there and working with speed and being consistent and getting everybody around us to get going and get up to that level that we need to win the Super Bowl. I think that's going to show over these next four weeks, five weeks. I think we're all going to be playing at that level. That's the job of the quarterback is not only to go out there and competitions and put points on the board for your team, but it's getting everybody going and excited about every single down. I think we are at that point."
On his thoughts on QB Andrew Luck and what he might be going through during his first playoff game as a rookie: "I'm sure he's excited. I haven't gotten to see him play too many times, but obviously, he has led the Colts to a lot of wins. Like I said, I'm sure he's very excited about this opportunity to come into Baltimore and attempt to get his first playoff win. It's pretty cool to be able to do that as a rookie quarterback. I'm sure he's nothing but excited. He's going to jump at this opportunity and try to come out here and give us his best."
On if he feels that he has improved over the course the playoffs: "We've won games really every year here. Statistically, I probably improved a little bit. The bottom line is, from year to year we have probably played a little bit different and had different success with different things. I think every year that we've probably improved in certain areas as a team. While it may not show itself every week, I think I've improved. I think we've improved."
On what it was like as a rookie going into the playoffs and if he downplays the significance of playoff games: "I'm not saying that they aren't a big deal and they aren't a big difference. They are. At the end of the day, when everything is said and done, they are a big difference. Winning games in the playoffs is a little bit different than winning games in the regular season. I just mean that you can't really approach the week any differently. You have to go about your business the same. Obviously, doing those kinds of things has gotten us here, so we have to continue to do those. I think every time you go out there your rookie year there is definitely a different feeling than when you are in your fifth year. Like I said, all those things you are just more comfortable of a football player and you're a better football player in Year Five than you were in Year One."
On how he responds to people saying that the window is closing and that there is more urgency: "It's cool with me. We feel all the urgency in the world, and we want to go out there and win a Super Bowl this year, just like we wanted to last year, just like we wanted to the year before. Having said that, I hope this isn't my last year of football. I hope I play 15-20 years. The window is never closing. We are going to be here for the long haul, but yes, if you want an answer. We need to have some urgency, and we definitely feel that sense of urgency that we need to go get it done this year."
On his communication with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell: "Communication has been great. Jim's been great all year. I think he's getting more and more comfortable and settling in a little bit. The communication is at a very high level right now. We just have to keep it that way on Sunday."
On what offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell has brought to the table for him: "I think communication throughout the whole offense is one thing that he brought – pushing me to really communicate with the receivers and get on the same page with everybody. I would say that's the biggest thing, because in order to have a top offense, you have to really push that really hard. All the little things in the routes and things like that are the things that matter and push you over the top."
On what it means to have a reliable target like WR Anquan Boldin: "Anquan is a smart and very good football player. He's been playing really well lately, especially when you get him going. You get him going early, he gets into the game and his hands become very, very good. It definitely makes you feel good to have a guy out there like that that you can rely on in certain situations."