Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody. I appreciate everybody being here as I see your pictures come onto the screen – our new normal. We're going to work. We've been working all week, preparing for this game. We're excited about it. We're looking forward to it. Obviously, a very challenging opponent [with] great players everywhere, great coaches and great schemes. The defending champs are coming here, so it's obviously got all of our attention and we're working to get ready. We'll have our Wednesday-style practice today; first and second down, punt and kickoff return practices today - that'll be our focus. And then we'll take the rest of the week from there as we go forward. What questions do you have?"
This may be a topic you've discussed about every time you've faced Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. I know your dad was probably your biggest influence, but where does Andy Reid fit in that equation? And were you happy to see him finally get that Super Bowl last year, even though you now have to face the defending champs? (David Ginsburg) "Yes, to all of those. Obviously, I have a lot of respect for Coach [Andy] Reid. I learned so much from him, and I continue to. We talked quite a bit [in the] offseason and during the season. We haven't talked lately, but we'll probably resume those conversations after the game. [He's] just a great guy, a great person, a great family man. He's a really good football coach; a lot of wisdom, a lot of common sense, good judgement. I kind of learned that from him. The way he operates, he's a very thoughtful type of guy. I just love him, love his family and [I have] a lot of respect for him."
A lot of talk centers around QB Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs passing game, but they've got a pretty good running attack. The rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, what has he added to that running attack and how has he boosted them? (Todd Karpovich) "He's kind of right in the same style that they love. They love backs that are explosive, big play capability, make [players] miss. He can lower his shoulder; he's a powerful guy. [He has] good hands out of the backfield, so he's a threat on screens and really every kind of route. They were running flat routes with him. They were running rail routes with him, crossing routes [where they] leak him across the other way. All the different things they do with their backs, they do with him. He fits right in. He's kind of taken over that main role. Of course, they have some experienced guys there and they kind of play them situationally by skillset a little bit. But he looks like an every-down back. He's been doing it for two weeks now. He looks really good."
I'm wondering, the Los Angeles Chargers, with a rookie quarterback making his first start, had the Super Bowl champions on the ropes until their kicker bailed them out at the end. How much opportunity can you get from watching that tape and maybe doing what they did? (Kirk McEwen) "They played a heck of a game. The Chargers are really good; there's no doubt about that. They have really good players. The pass rush was really effective. But then again, Patrick Mahomes got out there at the end and scrambled around and made huge plays to find a way to win the game. They've had, I think, more comeback wins than anybody since the start of last season than any team in the league. I think they're 6-0 when down 10 [points], and that's pretty incredible. So, they did what they did. Give the Chargers a lot of credit – the game they played was really a well-played game. We take some things from it, sure. Like we do every game, we look at it and we try to just make it part of the big picture in terms of how we understand our opponent, how we try to gameplan them and looking for whatever we can do to try to find a way to be successful."
Just piggybacking off of that, what makes them so difficult and hard to defend? I mean, they're already hard to defend, but once they go down by double digits, something just kicks in. What do you see on film that makes them so difficult to defend? (Daniel Oyefusi) "One of the big things is they're kind of fearless. When they get down, they just go for it, and they've got the players to do it. Patrick Mahomes, he's a great playmaker. He has great pocket presence; he moves around a lot in the pocket. He'll get the ball out quick on time, as quick as anybody in the league, and then he'll extend as a long as much as anybody in the league, too. I think it's less about pressure than it is about him hunting for a play. He's going to move around the pocket and try to find a play out there. When you're down, I think it kicks in even more, just like you said. That's what they've done well. Hopefully, we can get him down. If we get him down, we have to try to keep him down by not allowing those kinds of plays to be made. But that's why they're the champs [and] that's why they've won all these games the last couple years."
Happy belated birthday coach, and nice T-shirt yesterday, by the way. How much pressure is there for QB Lamar Jackson to play against QB Patrick Mahomes? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "First of all, thanks for the birthday [wishes]. Did you really like the T-shirt? (laughter) That was kind of a rough picture there, but our players enjoyed it – I can tell you that. It was fun. I don't think [there is] any more pressure on Lamar [Jackson] than he puts on himself all the time. He's the same Lamar week-in and week-out, play-in and play-out at practice, from meeting to meeting. He's always excited to play. He's ready to roll. I don't believe he looks at it like that. I think he's looking at it like our offense against their defense. That's what he's focusing on and trying to find a way to put the best performance he can and put as many points up as he can."
The last two games against QB Patrick Mahomes you've faced, you didn't have CB Marcus Peters. How much does his being here change the equation and what you might be able to do against them? (Pete Gilbert) "It'll be interesting. That's a very good observation. We're a different defense in a lot of ways – Marcus [Peters], of course … We have Marlon [Humphrey], he's grown. Jimmy [Smith] is in a great role. We've added defensive linemen [and] we have young linebackers. So, we've added a lot to our defense. We've added some scheme as well, so it's just different. It's never the same. I'm really glad Marcus is here, to your point, and he's going to be a factor in that game – no question about it. He's a guy that they're going to have to understand where he's at at all times, and I'm sure they're thinking about that as they prepare."
Do you look at this, maybe, as a possession-type game in that whoever is holding the ball last will have the chance to win? It'll come down to that? (Jerry Coleman) "It could. You just never know. My dad said his first game in college, it was against … He was playing for Bowling Green State University against Miami of Ohio. I think Bowling Green had never beaten Miami at that point – now, we're talking like 1958. He said the legendary coach there, [former Bowling Green head coach] Doyt Perry, before the game … They all revered Coach Perry. He said, 'Men, this game is going to go one of three ways. Either we're going to blow them out, they're going to blow us out, or it's going to be one heck of a close affair.' My dad thought, 'That about covers everything right there.' So, does that answer your question? (laughing) I think you just don't know how the game is going to play out. It could go any one of a number of ways. We'll see."
This week, it's been a popular topic NFL-wide with coaches and wearing masks or facial coverings. You seem to have no problem doing it. Has it been a major adjustment for you? Is it difficult when you're in the heat of battle on the sideline making sure that it stays on when it should? (Jeff Zrebiec) (Coach puts on mask) "How do you like my new mask? [My wife] Ingrid finds them. She gets on there and seeks them out on the internet and gets them delivered [from] Amazon. I understand the issues. Obviously, it makes it a little more challenging to communicate. So, we just really made an emphasis on it. We do it in practice. We do it in meetings. I'm in the meeting all the time and I'm talking. I'm trying not to breathe this thing in, because we talk fast. (pulls mask forward) I have to hold it like this during the team meetings to talk, because there's a lot of information that you're giving your guys and it's really hard to do it through a mask. It's definitely a challenge, but it's also a requirement, which we understand. So, we do our best to adhere to the requirement. That's really all there is to it. Are you asking me about the fine? What did I think of the fine?" (Reporter: "I try not to ask you what you think about other coaches getting fined, because I don't think I'd get much of an answer on that. I assume you've not heard from the league, because you've been pretty diligent.") (laughter) "No, I want to make that clear. I thought, 'Ouch.' That's what I thought. I thought, 'Ouch.'"
I know this isn't Chiefs-related, but when you guys made the statement last month, one of the top action items you guys had was to arrest the officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor. With the news yesterday, how are you doing and how is the team doing with what happened? (Jonas Shaffer) "That'd be a great question for the guys. We haven't had the conversation, [we've] just been focused on the Chiefs, 100%. I'm sure guys have talked about it privately or [in the] locker room or cafeteria or wherever, but I haven't been involved in any of those conversations at this point."
My question is regarding the new playoff format and only the top seeds get the bye. To Jeff Zrebiec's point, I don't think if I asked you about the importance of facing the Chiefs for that top spot, you'd give me much of an answer. But on the broader context, how important is it to get that top seed for you guys and, I guess, in each conference with this new playoff format? (Shawn Stepner) "It's going to be valuable, but we've learned. We learned last year that you have to do something with it, too. We didn't get that done last year. So, right now we're just really focusing … We understand that these early season games have impact and that games won in September definitely have an impact on December. So, that's something that we understand. But beyond that, you just have to focus on the task at hand and just try to win the next game. And the next game is a big and exciting game."
QB Lamar Jackson
When did you first cross paths with QB Patrick Mahomes? (Jamison Hensley) "If I'm not mistaken, I think it was going into my junior year of college at a Steve Clarkson camp. We were watching over the little kids, playing with them and stuff like that – throwing the football around with those kids. I think so, If I'm not mistaken."
What would you like us to know about this game? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "It's Monday Night, and it's going to be a great game." (laughter)
What's the mindset that you have when you are going head-to-head with a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes? (Darren Haynes) "Just like any other game. I don't have to focus on [Patrick] Mahomes. I have to focus on their defense. I have to focus on scoring. I have to focus on my job and making my offense do our thing. But my defense has to worry about him – and their offense."
Coach was asked about Breonna Taylor, and you having gone to school in Louisville, I'm wondering what the thoughts of the team are and where you guys are on everything that went on yesterday? (Kirk McEwen) "Being honest, we haven't discussed what went on yesterday. When I got up this morning, I saw it on social media, of her not getting any justice. We have other things in the world that get justice, but that don't really need justice, but people want to push that issue a lot more than our Black lives that matter – Breonna Taylor being one of them. So, it's crazy; we never get justice for serious things on our side of the part. We're in America, where there should be freedom of speech – the 'Land of the Free' – but I don't really feel like it's been that way for us Black people sometimes. That's what I have to say about that."
How important is it to you – after two really dramatic games with the Chiefs – to change the narrative, flip the script and come out on top? They're likely the team you have to get through to get to a Super Bowl, so is it important to make a statement in Week Three? Or is it, 'Hey, it's just Week Three, so we'll just wait and see?' (Pete Gilbert) "Oh, when we go into the game, it's always a statement. It's any given Sunday, any given Monday, Thursday – whenever you play. When we go into the game, like I said, we're going to focus on our assignment, focus on doing what we're supposed to do, which is go win that game. That's what our goal is."
Do you think it's too early – being it's Week Three – to think about the ramifications of this game, like homefield advantage? (Jerry Coleman) "Yes, we're focusing on winning this game. All [of] our goal is beating the Chiefs right now. They're the only ones in our way for on and on in the season right now. We just have to focus on beating them – that's all."
Knowing that the Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl Champions and knowing where you want to take this team – obviously, to the Super bowl, to the playoffs – do you feel that you have to eventually beat the Chiefs? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, eventually. And they're in our way right now, so that's our goal."
Obviously, I know you're not playing against QB Patrick Mahomes, but you guys are two of the faces of the league right now – both back-to-back MVPs. To you, is it special to be in something that could develop into a rivalry and to be looked at as two of the faces of the league? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, it's really cool. I'm going against a great talent like him – a guy who can throw the ball anywhere he wants on the field and make things happen each and every game. It's very exciting – very exciting."
What has been difficult about preparing to face the Chiefs? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "Nothing's been difficult. Like I said, it's just like any other game. We just have to prepare right and focus – that's all."
You guys have talked about how when you practice against your defense, it makes you better, and your defense says the same. Specifically, what do you see from CB Marcus Peters and CB Marlon Humphrey. As a quarterback, what is your sense of what those guys are capable of doing to other teams? (Mark Viviano) "Man, those guys are shutting half of the field down. They're great at covering guys when the quarterback has time to throw. When the quarterback is making moves, they pass through their guys very well. They're just all-around great corners, and it helps my job. They make my job a lot easier going into the games. They're very smart. They can trap you – make you think someone's open, just baiting you up for them to jump it and then pick the ball off. Stuff like that. They're amazing out there."
Monday Night Football – what's special about playing on Monday night? And how different do you think Monday Night Football will be under the lights with no fans? (Shawn Stepner) "I don't know how it's going to feel – how it's going to feel to be on Monday Night [Football] without fans. But it's a very exciting game. You're the only one being watched at that time. The whole world is watching you. It's just time to put on a show; it's a primetime game."
Do you think this has the potential to be a shootout, and whoever has the ball last wins? (Jerry Coleman) "I don't know. I can't tell the future. I wish I could." (laughter)
Besides the obvious outcome, what do you take away from your last two meetings against the Chiefs and your preparations for this week, if anything? (Morgan Adsit) "Just being individualized, just doing our jobs, and we can come out with the victory. Play hard all four quarters, that's all."
A few of your coaches – quarterbacks coach James Urban and assistant head coach/pass coordinator/wide receivers David Culley – coached under Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. What do you think of when you think about Reid, and do you ever think about how, indirectly, he might have influenced your career? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I don't really think about Coach Andy Reid at all. My coach is Coach [John] Harbaugh. I never really get into things like that – I really don't."
Just to follow up on Breonna Taylor; being in that community when you were in school, what can you say about the people in that community and how they're possibly feeling right now? (Darren Haynes) "Oh, man, it was fun in Louisville. They were all about their student-athletes. We're the only sport – the biggest sport. Basketball and football are the biggest sports down in Louisville. They don't have any NFL teams or NBA teams and stuff like that. [They're] wonderful people – good-hearted people. I know they're going through a lot right now. Just for the city, it's a small city, and I don't know what they're going through, to be honest with you. I know it's touchy right now for a lot of people's families down there."
CB Marcus Peters
You are making a big impact for the Ravens. What is your philosophy? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "My philosophy is to win games – win games at all costs, really. I think the biggest thing for me is just to go out there and enjoy it. Enjoy going out there with my teammates and enjoy making plays. And like I say, the biggest goal for us is just to win anyway. So, that's the biggest thing."
You saw QB Patrick Mahomes in 2018 in that epic game – Rams and Chiefs. What did you learn from that, that you think may help you now? Or is two years later really just not that relevant? (Pete Gilbert) "He [Patrick Mahomes] was my teammate for a year before I played against him. But, he's a Super Bowl Champ. He's the MVP of this league. He's a hell of a player, man. A guy like that, you just have to respect his game."
That interception last week was artistic. Do you rate them? I watched it a bunch of times, and it was beautiful. Have you had one better than that? (Kirk McEwen) "My first interception. That's the one that's better than all of them. That's the one that got me kicked-off. But no, I try to make the plays when they come my way, and like I said, just have fun doing it."
If I could just piggyback on that; everybody mentions CB Stephon Gilmore as the best cornerback. Looking at the stats, it's you. Now, you might not want to talk about it. (Kirk McEwen) "No, I'm not going to get into that conversation of going back-and-forth on who's the best. Like I always say, I respect everybody who plays my position. The biggest thing for me to worry about and focus on is me and my team. I just make my plays. I'm not here to be into all the antics of who's the best and who does what. And like I say, I'm doing things at a high level, and I enjoy doing it. So, I'm not here to go back-and-forth with anybody."
You mentioned being QB Patrick Mahomes' teammate. I imagine you went against him a decent amount, as he was kind of running the scout team. What do you remember from that time? What did you pick up from playing against him? And did you know at that point that he was going to be the star that he is? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I wouldn't say I knew, but I knew he had the talent. I knew he loved the game. So, those are two ultimate things that can help you. And like I say, I just respect somebody who loves the game of football like he does. It was fun with him being my teammate while I was there."
CB Marlon Humphrey was talking the other day about how much you help him. I'm wondering how he helps you and how that combination with him works for you? (Marlon Humphrey) "It helps. We feed off each other. With us just going back-and-forth with talking ball, talking life; to be honest with you. Things are just amazing, man. To get to know Marlon [Humphrey] for the type of person he is and how hard he works … He's willing to take on any task, and he's willing to do it 100%. So, that's the best thing about it for me. But yes, we bounce questions off each other all the time."
You've been involved in these big games over the years, where there's a lot of outside attention. Do you enjoy that at all? Do you have fun with it? Or do you more try to shut it out? (Childs Walker) "Like I say, it's all about me and the Baltimore Ravens. We watch TV, we're on social media, so we get that people are going to hype this game up. But let's not forget that it's only Week Three of football. We're still going out there trying to ultimately tighten up our tools so we can get into the playoffs and start moving forward. But for us, it's just one game at a time. We have a big opponent coming up here. We were hoping last year that we could see them in the AFC Championship, but things like that just fall the wrong way. So, we get the opportunity to play them this year, and we just have to take advantage of it."
How do you approach going against a guy like QB Patrick Mahomes when he may be not looking down the field and just throw a ball in the opposite direction? (Kevin Richardson) "I think the beautiful thing about football is it's a team game. So, for us, it's going to start with us having the D-line do their job of keeping him in the pocket – containing him. And us on the back end, plastering and getting to our coverage. [Shoot], I remember when he first started throwing the damn no-look pass in practice, and he's been doing it since he was a rookie. So, the dude is amazing. Let's just always praise him on that. It's fun. It's a competition. It's football. That's the game of football; it's a competition. So, you win some, you lose some, but we live to fight another day."
Did you ever pick-off any of those no-look passes in practice? (Pete Gilbert) "No, I can't remember back that far. I have kids and stuff now, so."
S Chuck Clark
You guys are a defense that prides itself on not giving up a whole lot of big plays. I'm sure you've watched that tape from last year. Has that almost reached the painful stage for you guys? I know there are some different players on that team, but when you look at that tape, is it hard to identify the Ravens defense? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Definitely – we all watched it on our own, watched it together. When plays pull up, pop up, we learn how to get better from that and move forward. That's definitely the goal – eliminate big plays – any team that you go out there and play against."
I know last year when you guys played them [the Chiefs] there were some big plays. Early on in the season, I guess, you guys struggled with just some busted coverages. What has been the key to the turnaround since around that time last year where you guys have been really shutting down the big plays? (Daniel Oyefusi) "I think the main thing for us when we went out there is just communicating together on the field. And then, ultimately, doing it. Communication is the first step. Once we get that together and we all know how each other plays and how we work together on the field, we were alright."
What is your strategy when you have a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes that can, sort of, freelance and make plays? He's hard to read. He improvises a lot. He scrambles out of the pocket. What is your strategy against a quarterback like that? You can watch as much film as you want, but you really don't know what he's going to do, because he's spontaneous sort of like QB Lamar Jackson. (Todd Karpovich) "You've just got to do your job in the defense. Do your job at the end of the day. That's all you can ask for. And that falls back on what I just said – the communication and knowing how each other plays out there on the field, and then it will all work out."
As watching what CB Marcus Peters and CB Marlon Humphrey have become – just exceptional corners – what does that free you up to do? How does that help you play safety? (Pete Gilbert) "First, shoutout to 'MP' [Marcus Peters] – who's grabbed 30 career picks. But both of those guys out there in the course of a game, we've got to throw Marlon [Humphrey] in at nickel and move him around. That shows his versatility. And 'MP' – big playmaker – a playmaker on the ball, he causes turnovers. Those guys, they free up a lot for us, honestly."
Watching this team the first couple of games, the speed jumps out at you. More speed than the Chiefs saw last year. How eager are you guys to get on the field and show the Chiefs this isn't the team they saw last year – even though you guys were 14-2? (Kirk McEwen) "We definitely want to go out there and win and do our job, because it's the next game, so we're trying to get another win under our belt. It's the next week; it's the next football game. We're always going to be eager and ready to go."
What is the hardest thing to defend against the Chiefs? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "The hardest thing to defend against the Chiefs … It's us, ourselves. As long as we're on the same page doing our thing, then we'll be alright. Credit to them, they've got a bunch of good players on that side, too. So, we've got to line up and compete and go battle with those guys."
I know you say it's one game at a time. But do you not foresee this to be, maybe, a statement game? You guys playing at home, defending champs, Monday night, two best teams in the league? (David Ginsburg) "It's one game at a time, honestly. Every game is a statement game, that's because it's that week. You're not guaranteed the next week. You're only guaranteed the day that you're out there on the field. So, every game to me is a statement game."
When we talked to CB Marlon Humphrey yesterday, he talked about not having the fans in the stands to allow him to hear a lot of the calls. Do you think that's an advantage for the defense – being able to hear a lot of the signals from the offensive side of the ball? (Kevin Richardson) "Yes, it definitely helps. It helps out both sides. Offensive players – they can communicate and talk efficiently, on the same page. Defense – same as well. It definitely helps. You can hear everything a lot clearer."
QB Lamar Jackson and head coach John Harbaugh said you guys haven't had a meeting yet. But when you look back at the meeting you had in August, one of the first things that you guys were hoping for was to have the cops who were involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting arrested. After yesterday, with the grand jury not pressing charges, how are you feeling? (Jonas Shaffer) "We haven't talked about it as a team yet. But, personally, it sucks. Because as a team, that was one of the first things that we put out as our mission statement – to have those cops arrested. And just to hear the verdict that came down from that, and there was no justice to it. It's almost like we … And when I say 'we,' not just the Ravens … I'm talking about everyone across the country. It's almost as if we let her down in that situation. For somebody to be in their house asleep, and for that to happen to them unarmed, it's as if we let them down – let her down in that situation. My prayers go out to her family – just dealing with that and hearing that yesterday."
Chiefs TE Travis Kelce – he plays, in a lot of ways, like a wide receiver, but he's also still big and can also be pretty physical, too. As far as tight ends who you have to deal with, where does he rank? What makes him, specifically, so challenging? (Pete Gilbert) "He's the best in the game right now – one of the best in the game. And he can do it all: he can run routes – he's a savvy route runner – he can catch the ball, yards after the catch – he does it all. So, that's what makes him one of the best in the game right now."
CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID
(Conference Call with Baltimore Media)
Obviously, everyone knows you made the right decision trading up in the draft to get QB Patrick Mahomes. But at the time, what made you and the Chiefs organization so confident to make such an aggressive move to go after and draft Patrick? (Jamison Hensley) "I'd tell you probably the same thing that the Ravens would tell you, we thought that Patrick [Mahomes] was a great quarterback – or going to be a great quarterback – in this league. He'd done it at the college level and we figured he could do it at this level."
With QB Lamar Jackson and QB Patrick Mahomes, they're both obviously faces of the league, but they're also Black quarterbacks and there's been a lot of firsts for Black quarterbacks in the past couple of years. Does that mean anything to you in terms of the historical significance in the league? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I think it's great. Most of all, I think they're great players and great guys. These are good people and I'm kind of into that. I put color aside, and I know historically it's special. I understand that. But most importantly, these are good guys who work hard. [They are] good football players. They do well for their community. That's the important stuff, to me. That's the most important."
CB Marcus Peters has done pretty well here with the Ravens. He made his start in Kansas City. What did you see out of him while he was there with the Chiefs? (Jamison Hensley) "Marcus [Peters] was an All-Pro player here and was one of the best that I've seen at that position. I have a ton of respect for him. He's a heck of a football player."
I'm sure you don't want your team to be down 10 points or a double-digit deficit in a game, but what about QB Patrick Mahomes and that offense has allowed you to kind of weather the storm and stay on the course and come back from those deficits so many times? (Daniel Oyefusi) "Listen, he does a great job, and really, he does a phenomenal job. He stays positive, I think is the best thing. He keeps firing, but he makes everybody around him better. Likewise, on defense, we've got guys there that have stepped up when things weren't going well there. So, I think that ends up being important as you work through it. They've got trust in each other, which is important."
You're one of the few coaches in the league now to have faced QB Lamar Jackson in his first year, second year and now his third year. Just in terms of preparing for him, what have been the major differences you've seen, maybe from preparing for him in 2018 to preparing for him in Week 3 now? (Andrew Gillis) "He's got everything under control. He's got it all down and sees and is playing good football, just good football. [Offensive coordinator] Greg [Roman] has done a nice job with him there, as 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] has and all the personnel guys that tend to that have just done a great job with him, too, and surrounded him with good football players. So, you've got a great player and good people around him. That's what it's all about."
You have a pretty good tight end in Kansas City. The Ravens have a good one here in TE Mark Andrews. What makes Andrews so difficult to defend? (Jamison Hensley) "Well, his last name is my first name, so we have something in common. I think he might have red hair, too. So, that puts him in a good category right there in my eyes. He's a heck of a player. He was a good player in college [and] a great player here. He plays the game the right way, I think. It looks like he's a tough kid and strong and everything else."