*THURSDAY PODIUM TRANSCRIPTS: Week 17 vs. Bengals
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg, Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg & Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
How tough was the wind this last game, compared to other games you've had at M&T Bank Stadium? (Jamison Hensley) "I don't know if I have a ranking, but it was significant. As you probably noticed, if you were down there, it was swirling. It was an unpredictable type of wind, so it was a challenge. We'll probably have the same thing this week. Such is the nature of December football, and hopefully, January football."
How much do you spend on the field before a game trying to analyze [the elements] as best you can? (Jamison Hensley)"We spend a good deal of time out there analyzing. We walk it beforehand, then we kick and punt during the warm-up period, then we go out again right before kickoff to see if it's changed at all. We analyze it at halftime. As you may or may not have been aware, the wind changed at the end of the third quarter and ended up blowing almost the complete opposite of what it was doing prior to that. It was an interesting evening."
What went wrong on the P Sam Koch's blocked punt? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I've been informed that Morgan [Cox] – being the honorable man that he is – took the fall for the blocked punt. But first of all, it falls in my lap. I'm responsible for the punt protection and the system that we run. While Morgan was involved in it, it wasn't just Morgan. There's a system of protection we have where we need to help Morgan, because he's snapping the ball, and everyone else is not. Our help broke down. The look is something Morgan has blocked 100 times, probably – guys crossing his face. He's very good at it. That one got us, because he didn't get the help he normally would have. In fact, we ran a similar stunt earlier in the game on the other side of it, and the same thing happens. It's just one of those things. Punt protection is one of those aspects of special teams that we spend so very much time on, because the standard is perfection. You just cannot have a blocked punt. In particularly in that part of the ball game, it's tough. All of our special teams guys – myself included – were really happy when our defense bailed us out. There's team football at its finest."
Can you talk about the impact of the loss of CB Jaylen Hill? (Ed Lee)"Jaylen has been playing for us and been doing a really good job. The previous game he made two tackles, and we were getting him more reps at gunner because of the balance of the roster. We hate to lose guys. I talked to Jaylen afterwards, and his spirits were strong. He looks forward to a long career both playing corner and on special teams. We look forward to having him back. He really developed into a fine football player. He is one of those guys that we really enjoy coaching. He was so eager when he got here to find a spot and earn a spot, and he did. There is something about undrafted free agents that I personally have an affinity to, because he is one of those guys that earned his way through this. Nobody in the NFL drafted him; nobody thought he could do it. He did it anyway, so we are really proud of him, and we look forward to having him next year when he returns."
Can a guy like CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste be inserted into the lineup to maybe fill that void?* (Ed Lee)*"Well, somebody is going to have to. We are still working through spots on the roster, but the good news about Stanley [Jean-Baptiste] is he has played in this league, and he has been practicing with us for 'X' number of weeks, and our practices are competitive. We put him in those situations, and that is why we moved him up on the roster in the first place, because we think he can do that. I guess we will look at the roster, and we will find out on Sunday."
This summer you talked about WR Quincy Adeboyejo, and you said that you thought he had all the traits to be a good special teams player. Has he continued to grow that way to be a good special teams player? (Ryan Mink)"Yes, in the summertime, everyone is getting reps, and you are competing. Quincy was playing a couple of different positions. I see in Quincy a long, tall, fast athlete. He is not just straight-line fast, he can move laterally and all of those things to me speak of good special teams players. What we need to find out … Because he didn't get that many reps in preseason special teams, we need to continue to grow to see if he can tackle, see if he can get off blocks and those kind of defensive skills that all offensive players need to acquire."
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement: "Let's wrap the last game up. The guys played a good, hard-fought game. Situationally, we did pretty well. We made a few too many mistakes. Short week – that goes back to that preparation. I probably added a couple too many things in. We were unable to execute on occasion, so we left some points out [there]. And also, that game was a very few possession-type game. Really, if you look at it – seven … Let's say we had the ball for 38 seconds right before half, and then we had victory – we were in victory [formation], so it was seven possessions. Now, I will say the guys scored on the first three possessions, but two of them were field goals. We have to finish. Those low possession games, you better finish. Hand it to the players – short week, they came out, they played physical, hard. The line played reasonably well for the most part. Joe [Flacco] played well, Mike [Wallace] played well, Ben [Watson] played well – got that going. All the tight ends played really well. Now, let's move on to this ball game – Cincinnati. Some of their numbers don't look very good, [but] yards per play [allowed], they're sixth in this league. They're a pretty good defense – six yards per play. Their defensive line is just excellent, as you know. So we're going to have to have a great plan. We're putting the final touches on the plan. We have to take care of the down linemen. They have some very, very good cover guys. They're very aggressive in what they do. They're well-coached. They have a good scheme. So, we go back, we have to get the hard work in, we have to get the preparation in, and let's roll on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. – I believe – 4:25 p.m. Are you going to correct me?" (Reporter: "It's 4:25 p.m.")"Well you have to peak at the right time!" (laughter)
*Speaking of the start time, the offense has been scoring a lot of points lately. The first quarter, have you noticed slower starts, and is there something you can try to figure out to try to get it started a little bit faster? *(Jamison Hensley) *"Man alive! Everybody wants to start fast; we all do. It's a momentum-type of game. So you're going to get the momentum, you want to maximize it when you get the momentum. Then, when you lose the momentum, you better stay in it and get that momentum back. Every game is just a little bit different. The momentum may be with you early, and we've had a few of those. Shoot! I've been in games where it has been a decent offensive game, and the momentum isn't with you until the second half somewhere – and you better maximize it. We always like to start fast, but sometimes it just doesn't quite go that way. Although, we scored on the first three possessions, so how did that question come up?" (Reporter: "You haven't scored a touchdown in the first quarter for, I think, five or six games.")* "OK, next question. *(laughter) *No, that's important. Good point – we would always like to start fast. Hacks me off."
In the second quarter, you had that one play where it was third-and-1 inside the red zone …" (Ed Lee)"Ah, that was a bad call. Bad call. Done. But they still have to prepare for some of that stuff."* (Reporter: "In retrospect, is that a play you'd like to have back and run the ball up the middle?")* "Yup. Run it up the middle every time. We can do that." (laughter) (Reporter: "Is that what your wife said, also?") *"I can't do that anymore. My wife kind of got mad at me." *(laughter)
What is your impression of Cincinnati DE Carlos Dunlap? (Ed Lee)"Very good player, long … [He] is playing at a high level – very good player. They have an awful lot of good players on their defensive football team."
What have you seen from WR Quincy Adeboyejo? Do you feel like he's ready if you needed him to get some action on offense? (Garrett Downing) "Absolutely. It's well-earned. He went through a little injury spell there early, so it stymied the development. You have to hand it to him; he kept working and working. Once he got healthy … There came a time where he was practicing, and he wasn't quite healthy on the practice squad, and there was a time you said, 'Man, he looks healthy now – back to where he was before.' Good things happen when you work hard and you prepare. Good point."
Have you been able to do more things, as far as moving around, because QB Joe Flacco has gotten healthier?* (Jamison Hensley)* "A lot of things go into that, but yes. You can take a few more calculated risks because of that, where early in the season – pretty much the whole first half of the season – I really didn't want to do that. He's handled it beautifully. He's as healthy as he's been, so that's a good thing."
QB Joe Flacco has this track record of playing well in December and January – he has the "January Joe" nickname. What do you think is the reason why Joe plays so well late in the year?"* (Ryan Mink)* "I'm sure it's a combination of a lot of things, but the one thing is the man is mentally tough. I mean tough, tough, tough. You guys know he's physically tough. But mentally, the man is tough, so that goes a long, long way when you get to January, December."
**How pleased have you been with the more aggressive offense? You've only had two turnovers since the bye week? *(Luke Jones) *"Well the players do that, and they've done it well up to date. All the assistant coaches, the position coaches, emphasize it, drill it. However, the players have done a nice job of that. The ball came out last week on us the one time on offense. We have to take care of that ball. That wins games. I believe we're No. 1 in turnover ratio right now [ 17] and Top 10 in giveaways  – somewhere up there. I think we're pretty good there. Early in the season, we weren't quite as good; we were somewhere in the middle in the giveaway area."
RB Terrance West was active, but he didn't play any snaps. Is that what you wanted? (Ed Lee) "That's a really good question, so I'm delaying here to figure out what I'm going to say on this one, because I really wanted him to play. We didn't get that done. He'll show up. We've talked. He'll show up, and he'll be productive, and he'll help this team win at some point here – I would think."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
How impressed have you been with what CB Maurice Canady has been able to do? It seems like from the time he was activated, he stepped in and has really done a nice job at that nickel spot. (Luke Jones)"The thing that he did was that he stayed in touch and hands on in the classroom and with everything that we were doing. Sometimes guys get injured, and they wander away a little bit. They are there, but they are not, because [they think], 'I'm not going to play.' The good thing about him is that I remember a couple times being so impressed that I knew he could not play because he was hurt, but he was sitting there taking notes on things that we were talking about at the nickel spot or at the corner spot. What happens is that stuff all pays off down the road when you come back. You are a little further ahead than maybe someone else was that did not do all of that stuff. He is a very, very conscientious guy and plays hard, and to me, that is why. That is who he is. I have been very impressed with him."
*We talk about OLB Terrell Suggs a lot, but if there is something that is overlooked or not completely understood about him, what would it be? *(Childs Walker) "His knowledge of the game on defense. Everyone sees the athlete that he is – the big, strong, fast [player who] plays hard. He does all of those things – a great pass rusher, sets the edge, all of the physical things that you can see, and everybody has talked about. You guys know; you are out at practice. You see how much fun he is and how much energy he brings to practice. I do not think you fully understand what he is like off the field studying. He is from the book of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis and those guys. I had meetings with those guys sometimes aside from the whole defense, and they already know that when we meet on Wednesday, they have already looked at the opponent's film. It isn't like the first time they have seen it when I show it to them. He has already studied guys. He kind of understands what we are trying to do, and when you tell him something … He doesn't just do it because you told him to do it. He understands why it is being done. That just goes so much further, because then when he goes into the room – especially in the D-line room – we are fairly young in there, so he can really express to those guys, 'Here is what we are doing, and here is why we are doing it,' along with [defensive line] coach [Joe] Cullen and [assistant defensive line] coach [Drew] Wilkins. He is like an extra coach in that room. I think that is the thing that people may not truly understand about Terrell. He is a very, very smart guy, period. Even aside from football, you would be shocked. John [Harbaugh] will throw something out in the team room about some guy who is back in the '70s or '80s, and you can look around and no one was born, and they have no idea who he is talking about. [Terrell] Suggs knows. He is a very, very intelligent young man."
**CB Marlon Humphrey has started three games since stepping in as the starting corner. How have you seen him progress? Not a lot has been said about him, which can be a compliment to him. *(Jeff Zrebiec) *"Yes, that is good. Unless you are talking about interceptions, it is good to not be talking about corners. I think it is just like we talked about a couple of weeks ago. I feel comfortable with him. We matched him up a couple of times on receivers, who we thought were really top receivers, and he loves the competition. That is what I love about him. He is really a … He is a rookie, but at this point in time of the season, you have four preseason [games], you are really into your 20th game. I don't think you are a rookie anymore. That would be two full seasons in college, and you would not say a guy is a rookie. I just feel really good about him. I feel very confident. I think he is very confident. I do not think he is overconfident. Again, he is just a smart, smart football player. He pays attention, and he is in there with a bunch of good guys – [Eric] Weddle, [Tony] Jefferson, 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb], and he has learned from those guys. I think he has handled himself very, very well."
DT Brandon Williams said that RB Giovani Bernard has Le'Veon Bell tendencies. What have you seen from him? (Ed Lee)"He is really quick. Really, he can cut, and the thing about it is he has a different style, obviously, than Bell, but what he has in common with him is the one thing that those two guys [Bernard and Le'Veon Bell] can do is they can be on a dead stop, and in about one step, be at full speed. That is the thing that is really exceptional about them. Bell always comes to the line of scrimmage and almost comes to a dead stop sometimes, just being patient, then 'boom,' he is gone. Well, Bernard is the same way. He does not do … It is not quite the same style, but when you watch him make a cut, when he makes a cut, he is gone. He is at top speed. Some guys are build-up speed guys or downhill guys. This guy can bounce it out, and he can really make guys miss. The other thing about him too that is a little similar [to Bell] is very seldom do you see him … When he finishes a run, he is falling forward. That is one of the things about Bell – it may be a two-yard run – but when he falls forward, it ends up being a four-yard run. When I watch that last game in Detroit, you are thinking, 'Oh, well that wasn't all that big of a run,' and all of a sudden, it is second-and-4. It was a six-yard gain. He was always going forward. Those are two things I think he has in common."
You obviously want the edge rushers to be aggressive, but how do you weigh that with the offsides penalties? (Jeff Zrebiec)"When you look back at the end, you are going to … I do not know really good pass rushers that do not have a couple of [offsides penalties]. I really don't. I watch [Von] Miller from Denver. He is probably one of the best there is right now going, right? He has a couple [offsides penalties]. They are going to have a couple there. Sometimes the offense does a good job of hard-counting or maybe changing up the cadence a little bit or whatever on them. I mean, it happens. I do not think you want to get too carried away with those guys. Now, if a rookie does it, I am a little upset because they have not earned that right yet. I think when you get guys like veterans like [Terrell] Suggs and those guys … Guys like that, if you start pulling in the harness, you are not going to get what you want really when you want it."
In pass-rushing the Colts, it looked like you were trying everything. You sent a four-man rush; you were doing a lot of different things. Ending up with two sacks, where do you feel like the pass rush is overall? (Ryan Mink)"First of all, let's give Indy some credit. That is where I would start. They were not going to let us rush, and they were not going to let us pressure. If you really watch the film, they had six or seven guys usually blocking there most of the time or chipping or blocking before they got out. Chuck [Pagano] knows this and [Rob] Chudzinski knows this, the [Indianapolis] offensive coordinator. They were not going to let us pressure. We tried pressuring; we didn't get there. So then we go to four-man rush to hopefully try to get them out of max protection, but then they still max protected with four-man rush. You are not going to get as many sacks. The fact that we got two sacks … We got two sacks. I am glad. We won the game."
I do not know how many cornerbacks you will have in the game, but how comfortable are you going with CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste if you have to? (Ed Lee)"Comfortable. He has done well out in practice since he has been here. He is a guy that has been around a little bit, and this is not a guy that has always been on the practice squad or has not had a chance to play. He has done a good job since he has been here. I think he knows the gameplan pretty well. If it comes to that, it comes to that. We have gone through that before with a lot of different guys in the last few years, guys who I can't even remember who everybody was at corner. If we have to go through it again, we will go through it again."