THURSDAY PODIUM TRANSCRIPTS: Week 2 vs. browns
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg, Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg,
& Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
*We talked a lot in the preseason about some of the turnover on special teams. How pleased with you overall with your group against Cincinnati? (Luke Jones) "First kickoff, we went down the field, and it ended up being a touchback. I looked out there, and all of those young guys were really running. That, to me, was a really good sign. We have been trying impress upon them that the most important thing is to play fast and be aggressive, and they started off the game that way, and I was encouraged by that. The other half of the game their youth expressed itself. We have some problems that we are trying to fix as a result of it, but they did what we asked them. They were playing aggressive, and they were playing fast, and they were finishing and all of those things that we are trying to preach about the way we play. Not *what we play, but the way we play I was pleased with. How we do it, we have a ways to go there. We have a lot of technique things to work out, communication things we need to work out, and that is what happens when you are playing with a young group. We anticipated that, and we are working on fixing it every day."
At the end of the half when the time is running down and it is around midfield and the offense has the ball, do you have a maximum distance set for K Justin Tucker? I'm not asking for that, but do you have in your head a maximum distance? (Jamison Hensley)"We do. We have a line that we pretty much have drawn after warm-ups, and we have assessed the balls during the course of the game and what the wind is doing, the weather is changing and which direction we are going. We will establish a line. If it is beyond that, we are not going to try it. If it is at that line, we will go for it."
Is the line for K Justin Tucker further back then for you?* (Bo Smolka)"I'm not a very good kicker, so my line isn't there. Oh, you mean *the *line? (laughter) *There is no conversation. It is what it is. In fact, he is not even involved in the conversation at that point in time. We talk to him after warm-ups and so forth, and then, Randy [Brown, specialists coach] and I consult with coach [John] Harbaugh. And then as the drive starts, we tell coach Harbaugh where that line is."
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement: "Really good practice right there. I'll tell you what, let's wrap up last ballgame real quick. The fellas – our guys – were really well prepared. They did a heck of a job. The big O-line [did a heck of a job]; it started with Marshal [Yanda]. The tight ends did a heck of a job as well. That first drive was pretty good, I thought, but we needed to finish that. There were a couple of drives I thought we needed to finish. The first half, I thought with the exception [of the touchdown], we needed to finish a couple things. Then, in the second half, that one long drive that chewed up a lot of the third quarter was a good thing. Again, we need to finish there, and we have to do a little better in the fourth. Getting on to Cleveland here, we have a pretty good challenge here, but what a great opportunity we have here. We have Cleveland coming in – a very good defense. The linebacking crew is fast and physical. They run to the ball very well, they are well-coached, and they have a unique sort of scheme. Of course, [Browns defensive coordinator] Gregg [Williams] has been doing that for a long time. He has done it throughout the league. It is a great opportunity here on Sunday."
With RB Danny Woodhead being on Injured Reserve, how much does that impact what you are able to do? (Ed Lee) "Doggone it. What a heck of a player, heck of a player. Now, we have some other guys – a whole group of guys that have to take that part over. We will look forward to getting him back quite possibly at some point there."
Is one of the challenges blitz pickup? Is that something he has been good at? You guys used FB Kyle Juszczyk in that role quite a bit last year.* (Luke Jones)*"We have some guys that can do that, a host of guys that can do that. But, Danny is a heck of a player. He has some unique skills, but with several guys, I am hoping that we can fill that role to some extent."
Is RB Jeremy Langford similar in skill set to RB Danny Woodhead? (Pete Gilbert)"Yes. [Jeremy] Langford is a good player. He is a tough runner. He has been here a matter of a few weeks there, so we are looking forward to working him in."
I know you are not going to give anything away, but when you talk about finishing, was there anything specific? (Bo Smolka)"Oh, geez! I wish I had a couple back, and a couple of fellas wish they had a couple back. We just have to be better at finishing the thing. Geez, oh, man! It is still bothering me, as you can see. Look, the guys played really well. They want a little bit more. We have to minimize a few mistakes and some penalties and those types of things."
Have you had a game where you have called 12-straight run plays before? (Garrett Downing)"Yes, there was one back … It must have been maybe about 1998 at Carolina. It was either 12 of 13 or 13 out of 14 or something like that. But, yes, it does not happen very often."
You mentioned wanting to be aggressive. How challenging is it to be in a situation where you want to go for the jugular but you are running the ball well and chewing the clock? (Luke Jones)"Yes, but aggressive is a mindset. We talk about being aggressive in everything we do – when we are in the classroom, when we are out here at practice, when we were in the game. Aggressive, aggressive. We could have a deceptive run play, but within that, we want to be aggressive. That does not mean throwing the ball over the place. We just want an aggressive mentality in everything we do. That is a good point."
You ran the ball 42 times on Sunday. Does that suggest you guys recommitted to the run game? (Ed Lee) "Oh, yes. We made a commitment. We have talked about this before; the run game is very important to us. Now, there were a lot of different things that happened, really, before the game, during the game, all of these things. It was sort of a unique, odd type of game in some of the things that happened within the game. Then, the O-line sort of took that thing over in that third quarter. That was a pretty good job there by the line and the tight ends and backs."
What were your thoughts on QB Joe Flacco's performance? We know he didn't have any action in the preseason.* (Marty Mornhinweg*) "I'll tell you what now: Joe practiced, what, a matter of three days? The rest was stepping through. In that first half, I peeked at it, and his [quarterback] rating was pretty good, if I remember. It was 115 or 116, something like that. It was pretty good. He made a bunch of different calls. I thought he was very well-prepared. You have to hand it to Joe. The man was prepared. He is really, really tough, and he is really skilled. I am happy that we have Joe back, and he is healthy and all of those things."
When things are not going well on the field Sundays, do you ever say, 'Oh Geez!' on the sidelines? (Ryan Mink)"No, it is usually 'bleep!'* (laughter) I promised my daughters, my wife and my mom that I would try to tone it down a little bit. That is where we are at there." *(Reporter: "So you give us the PG version?") "I try to. Have I slipped up? I am keeping my word."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
How pleased were you to see some of the good things you did in the preseason carry over to Week 1? (Luke Jones)"It's good. Overall, I was pleased. The guys followed the game plan, executed it very well. There are always things we can get better at. Overall, I was very pleased. Any time we win, we're pleased."
What did you see from CB Brandon Carr? (Ed Lee) "I thought he played well all day. Besides the interception, I thought he did a good job. We didn't matchup on '18' [A.J. Green] – we played left and right. I thought the guys did a pretty good job on the line of scrimmage. We had one under pressure we let get behind us, but thank goodness [Andy Dalton] overthrew it. But, other than that, all those corners, all three of them [Carr, Marlon Humphrey and Jimmy Smith] played very consistent."
When you're facing a rookie quarterback, is there a fine line between doing too much to try to confuse them and sticking with what you guys do well? (Jeff Zrebiec) "That's always a question every year you get when you face someone that's a rookie. The truth of it is, is you really play more to your strengths than you do to their strengths. If they have a weakness somewhere, obviously, you try to exploit that, but it's never usually a quarterback. [DeShone Kizer] is a starting quarterback in the NFL – he isn't a weakness. I don't care whether he's a rookie or 10-year vet, or whatever. You can go back and forth. You can say, 'Well, is it easy or no?' because sometimes it almost easier to play against a vet because you kind of know what he's going to do. Rookie – I don't know enough about him to know what he's going to do or how he's going to react. So, it really isn't so much about a rookie quarterback. The guy is a starting quarterback in the NFL; that means he's a very capable guy. He's a starter. He's a great player. I think it's more about what can we do and what's our best scheme against them. A lot of times it's more about the offensive line than it is about the quarterback."
What stuck out to you about Cleveland QB DeShone Kizer? (Pete Gilbert) "Very athletic, very mobile in the pocket. I know he got sacked some, but I think he's very mobile. He has a big-time arm. I thought he was very accurate. We watched him on college film, too. The guy is a heck of a quarterback and will be a heck of a quarterback in this league. We are not taking him lightly by any means – trust me."
How encouraged were you to see what you were able to do with the pass rush, with not really blitzing a whole lot. A lot of times [there were] four-man fronts where guys were able to get heat on the quarterback, especially inside. (Luke Jones)"Really, out of our five sacks, only one was a pressure that sacked him. We sacked him more than that, but it necessarily wasn't a sack. We didn't really pressure as much as I anticipated pressuring going into the game. It's just one of those things where you kind of adapt as the game goes one. I thought we were getting good pressure with four-man rush, and that kind of stuff. One of our sacks was actually a three-man rush. So, we just kind of went with that. Yes, I was pleased. There are certainly things where we can do even better than what we did, but overall I was pleased."
With CB Marlon Humphrey, will you continue to keep him outside in practice or have you wanted to see him move to nickel at all? (Garrett Downing)"We put him in nickel, but it's rare. It would really be an emergency situation. We play him more outside. It's kind of one of those things, too, where you have a young player and you don't want to give him too much. So, we think he's a heck of a talent and he's going to have to play for us, and he'll have to get in a rotation at some point in time. So, we have to get him ready. I think it's easier to get him ready at one spot than try to split reps at two different spots. [He has been in] a little bit [at nickel] in practice, but the majority of [reps] have been outside."
What did you see from LB Kamalei Correa and ILB Patrick Onwuasor? I know you were rotating those guys for most of the game. (Luke Jones)"It's kind of like I said going in [to the game]. I think you guys asked me last week who the starter was, and I think I said Correa, but Patrick would play just as much – and he did. The biggest thing, they're all in special teams. So, that's a good chance to get guys rotated. A guy runs down on a kickoff coverage or runs down on a punt coverage, something like that, and you can put the other guy in and let him get a bit of a break. It's not some much about, 'OK, well this is your turn.' Sometimes it's a little bit of that. You can split time, split reps, along with being a good special teams player. I thought both of them played good. I just think we need to make both of them a little more aggressive. But, I think both of them played good football. They graded out well, they did their assignments, they didn't have a lot of mental errors, and they might have had a missed tackle here or there. Overall, I thought for the first game for those two guys, they did well."
DE Brent Urban had a great preseason and was on the field a lot for you guys in Week 1. How far has he come for you guys in the past year? (Jonas Shaffer)"Brent has come a long way, ever since the injury and rehabbing it and getting himself ready to play. One of my biggest concerns coming into this year was our five-technique end, because we lost Lawrence Guy, who was a really steady player, an underrated guy, in my opinion. He wasn't flashy, but he always got the job done for us. So, I was really concerned, because that's a big spot for us. Brent has certainly filled his shoes. I'm very pleased with where he is right now."
The safety tandem back there, with S Tony Jefferson and S Eric Weddle, in their first game action together. You've talked about how their chemistry has been so good since Day One. What did you see? (Pete Gilbert)"Didn't see anything different. I think they play off each other. They do a great job at communicating. It's kind of like practice out here. 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb], I'll put 'Webby' right there in that same mix. All three of them have just really gelled. My hat's really off to 'Webby,' because here's a guy who has been a starter for us, forever, and is still starting for us, because he's a starting nickel. But, it wasn't like, 'Oh, I just lost my job.' It's the three of them, and they really gel well together."
OLB Tim Williams was inactive on Sunday with Za'Darius Smith playing down. What do you see, perhaps, from Tim on Sunday? (Ed Lee)"Well, he has to add depth for our pass rush and for the outside. [Cleveland] is a good running football team. The running backs can take it outside in a heartbeat. They have a good perimeter running game. So, Tim's going to have to get a chance – if he's up. I don't know, right now, who is all going to be active. John [Harbaugh] is going to have to make that decision, along with the offense and special teams – all that kind of stuff. There's a lot involved. Whoever is up is going to have to be ready to play. If you're going to make the trip for us, or you're going to play here at home, and you're active – you're going to have a role on defense."
OLB Terrell Suggs started his press conference after the game on Sunday with a thank you note to general manager Ozzie Newsome for all the defenders he brought in here. Have you, after seeing the Week 1 results, gone up to Ozzie and give him a pat on the back? (Ryan Mink)"I gave Ozzie [Newsome] a pat on the back a long time ago when he hired me. I couldn't thank him enough that time. It's great. What defensive coach wouldn't want guys in the draft? Everyone has asked me that is like, 'Why would I ever want to not want somebody to take an offensive player?' I want everyone I can get."