Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
You have been around a lot of our kickers. Can you just talk about how amazing or thrilling this season has been for K Justin Tucker? (Ed Lee)"Justin has had a great season. It is not only his volume of work, it is the kicks he has made in circumstances and yardage. He has had a lot of long range kicks, a lot of wind and things to deal with in the stadiums we have played in. He has been spot-on; he has been excellent. His mates, Morgan [Cox] and Sam [Koch], have a lot to do with that. They practice so well together, they work so well together, and they push each other. It has been a great season for those three guys."
What has been K Justin Tucker's biggest asset? His leg strength, his accuracy, his confidence? (Ed Lee) "He has always had leg strength. I went to watch him at the University of Texas for the first time, and the one thing that stood out to me was the speed of his leg. We all know his personality. He likes being on stage; he likes the moment. He revels in that. It has been said many times about him. Fundamentally, now, I think he is really in a good place fundamentally. He has evolved over the years. He is not exactly the same kicker he was in 2012, and he has gotten better through the coaching of [kicking consultant] Randy Brown and his hard work. He is in a really good place right now. He is going to be good for a long time."
On special teams, it is a lot of the young guys that are hungry who are trying to move up the latter. This is the last game of the season, with not much to play for, is this where you can see who really wants to succeed? (Joe Platania)"I would hope we have seen who really wants to succeed all through our other 15 games and for the preseason, in that matter. This is the National Football League, and if someone is out there playing and he is not trying to make a name for himself, then he is in the wrong sport; he is in the wrong league. I do not anticipate this week will be any different. Our goal this weekend is to win, just like it has been every week. That does not change anything, really, for us."
Is any part of you hoping that K Justin Tucker gets a field goal attempt from 50 yards or above this week? (Ryan Mink) "I hope we have a lot of PAT attempts. That is what I hope."
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement: "I hope you all had a good Christmas. Doggone it! Real quick on the last game: Heck of a ball game; we can play better than that. We have quite a challenge coming up here in Cincinnati. Their front is excellent. They have some good cover men. Their second level linebacker group is very good, as well. The players [have been] outstanding with their preparation up to date here. We are sort of right in the middle of it, and they are putting the hard work in on the field. We will open it up to questions."
What are your impressions of Bengals DT Geno Atkins? (Ed Lee)"He is an outstanding, outstanding player – one of the very best in the league."
What does he do particularly well? (Ed Lee)"He is big, strong, quick and fast. He has an awful lot of strengths and not many weaknesses. He is very, very good."
Which do you think about more in this past game: Coming away with six points in the first half with five times in Pittsburgh's territory? Or, the way your offense was able to move the ball and score points? (Luke Jones)"I have not thought much about it, because all of our focus is on this game in Cincinnati. You can tell I am still a little hacked off at that one."
What have you seen from WR Breshad Perriman in his first year? (Ed Lee) "Yes, basically his first year, right? He has an awful lot of strengths. He is a big man. He can run fast. He has made some plays for us down the field. It will be a good thing that he is on the Baltimore Ravens – that he is on our team in the future."
What does he need to do in the offseason? (Ed Lee) "Just reps. For most young guys, it is reps, reps, reps. That will be important for all of our guys, but certainly some of the younger guys."
In terms of next year, I am not sure what your future will be exactly. Do you look at this last game as an audition to everybody, as what you can be as an offensive coordinator? (Ryan Mink)"This is an important game for a lot of people, now. First of all, our team. We have an opportunity here to go 5-1 in the division. Shoot, we have a chance to sweep [the Bengals]. We have a chance to go 9-7, and there are a lot of important things individually. I do not like to talk individual numbers very much, but there are more than a handful of guys with this last game … Also, when you are evaluating NFL free-agent-type guys or anybody, this is a game you are going to look at. So, this is an important deal for everybody, yes."
You were put in a tough spot taking over as coordinator five weeks into the season. Do you feel like this offense has made enough progress where you are feeling good about going into the offseason? (Luke Jones) "We will look at all that. We have talked about this before – the past, that is important to learn from. The future and the planning part of it is important. But all of our focus right now is on Cincinnati and this road trip. It is a business trip. That is all of our focus right there."
It seems that RB Kenneth Dixon has gotten more touches lately. Is that an indication of your faith in him? (Ed Lee) "He has earned it. Yes, you are right. He has earned it. That is typically what happens in this game. You earn the right to play and the right to start and the right to carry the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield. He has done an excellent job. If you go all the way back, he got hurt early [in the preseason]. Typically, for a rookie to help you – we have talked about this before – he has to be pretty natural, work hard and typically, stay healthy. He was out for an extended period of time. He really has worked hard, very, very hard, diligently. He has improved every week."
Any feeling as the play-caller to call a few more for WR Steve Smith Sr. in this one? (Ryan Mink) "You know Steve … I'll tell you what, Steve … Jeez, I wish he wouldn't do what he said, selfishly, what he said he was going to do, anyways. Because he can still flat out play. But I will tell you real quick – many years ago, I was coaching in the Pro Bowl, and I had him and loved him. I said, 'Jeez, I wish I could coach this guy one of these days.' I was able to do that. I wish Steve the very best. I hope he has a heck of a game. Did I hear something … I don't remember, but someone told me, he has 89 touchdowns. I might have to look that up. Is that right?" (Ravens PR Representative: "Total touchdowns, yes.") "That is crazy. I know he used that the other day – 89 percent." (Reporter: "He probably would like 90 or 91 touchdowns, though.") *"I would like him do that as well." *(laughter)
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
As a defense, how do you rebound from what happened last Sunday? (Edward Lee)"You get back up and play; that's the job. Everybody has a job to do. They're professional football players. I'm a professional coach. What's the difference between this job and any other job? You have bad days; you have good days. Do you quit when you have a bad day? Do you guys sulk if you have a bad article? Do you do that, or do you come back and write another one? That's life. That's why they call it professional football. I'm back to work. [I was] sulking on Monday, not happy – miserable. [We've] got another game to play, so get right back at it. If players are really true professionals, they do the exact same thing, and our guys are."
**In your mind, what happened in that fourth quarter? You had the tough opening drive and then you settled in. What changed? *(Luke Jones) *"I don't know. I'll tell you one thing: The DPI [defensive pass interference] hurt us, because that got them right back into the game, and then they went down there and scored. Then we gave up a couple big plays. To me, the reason that we haven't finished … I really am proud of the defense. I think we've played well. To be a fifth-ranked defense, that's not too shabby. I know everybody thinks it is, but it's not too doggone shabby. There are 27 other teams that would like to be fifth. The problem we've had this year is finishing. Our two-minute [defense] has been what's not been good. It hasn't been, for whatever reason. Sometimes, it's been we've played zone and gotten hurt. Sometimes we played man, like in the Giants game, and then we run into each other and they go. This game, we actually pressured Ben [Roethlisberger]. The problem is, when you pressure Ben and he gets out on you, now you have a problem. That's exactly what happened in that two-minute at the end. We pressured him the first two plays. The second play, they get out of bounds, so they don't even have to use a timeout or anything; we miss a tackle. Twice, we pressure him again, and he gets out. When he gets loose like that, you're going to have a tough time in coverage. Prior to that, [there were] just some big plays. I think a little bit, sometimes, with our guys, we have some young guys. When you haven't had a ton of success in those situations, sometimes, all of a sudden, it's like, 'I don't want to be the one that makes the mistake.' When you play like that, that's generally when you make the mistake. When you were up there playing tighter coverage, you were great. Now, all of a sudden, it's like, 'I don't want to be the one to give this up.' So you play a little looser, and then all of a sudden, something else happens. I just think we have to grow through that and become a confident team. The only way you become confident in anything you do is to have success. When the game is going good and everything's rolling good, we're getting calls and everything's rolling good, we're confident. When you start giving up a couple two-minute drives … Look at the weeks prior, the last two weeks prior to this last game. What happened at New England? We get right back in the game, and we give up a big play for a touchdown, and they're right back. Really, the Eagles … What happened in the two-minute there? We made a play at the end, but prior to that, they moved the ball down on us. I really feel like, and I can sense it sometimes, it's like, 'I don't want to be the one,' and you can't be that way. You just have to let it go. I can't be that way as a signal caller either. I told them before we went out on Sunday in that two-minute situation: 'We are not sitting back here and playing four-man rush and coverage all day. We're going to go get this guy and make him throw the ball quick,' which he did the very first two plays. All of a sudden, now he gets out of bounds, and everybody gets a little [iffy] like the pressures aren't working. You just can't play that way. We have to grow through that. We're a good defense, but that's what's keeping us from being a great defense. We have to work through that. I know it's a long explanation, but I got it off my chest."
ILB Patrick Onwuasor filled in for ILB Zachary Orr a little bit in the first series. What have you seen form him as a rookie and an inside linebacker? (Edward Lee)"He's a hard worker. He's a smart kid. He does a great job in the room. I think he'll be kind of like what Zach was when he was backing everybody up, and then kind of step forward. I think he's going to be that kind of guy. I think he's a good player. I think he's earned a shot on this team to get moved up to special teams, and now he's going to end up playing some linebacker for us. I think the guy has done a real good job. He's going to have to get bigger in the offseason and that kind of stuff, which they all do. I'm pleased with his progress."
How much promise can CB Tavon Young take from his rookie to sophomore year? Where have you seen him grow? (Ryan Mink) "I think he's one of those guys that, I think, he's gained confidence over the year. Like we talked about, the only way you can gain experience is to have experience, and he's had a whole ton of it this year. I think, going forward, it's going to be a lot easier for him that second year going in. He's played. He's played in big games, and he's played in big situations. I think he's one of those guys that has to learn, too, that [when] he's up there and pressed and he's playing good, then you just can't back off now. I think what happens is, we really have a tight, tight group. Everyone really doesn't want to let the other guy down. Sometimes letting them down is playing too tentative, and you don't think it is. It's like, 'I don't want to make the big mistake.' You just have to go play. It happens to all of us. It happens to all of us as coaches. There are calls you want to have back and wish you could have over. There are plays like Eric [Weddle] said in the Patriots game. Here's a great guy in the secondary – made a mistake. You can't play afraid to make mistakes. I think Tavon, going forward, is going to have a ton of confidence going into next year. I really expect him to be a big catalyst for us."
What have you seen from DT Timmy Jernigan in the second half of the season? He started really fast with the sacks, and I know with the D-linemen, it doesn't show up in the box score. But what have you seen from him? (Luke Jones)"He's playing fine. He's no different than what he was playing before. What I've really seen is how offenses have picked up some of our games that we did earlier in the year with those inside guys. We were doing some things in there that were different at the beginning of the year, and he was getting some sacks and getting some games and some things we were doing. People have kind of changed a little bit on the way they approach us on defense, and really, have shut that down a little bit inside. It's not really Timmy's fault. It's really more of the design. I think the offenses have done a good job of doing that. We've done some things outside, but really, I think they've done a good job of taking care of him."
Ravens Media Good Guy Award, as Voted by Local Media
Recipient – ILB Zachary Orr: "Thank you. It's an honor to win this award. As a player, you understand that the media has a job to do. You guys are our outlet to the fans. I just want to appreciate you guys for always being respectful – respectful of our time and asking respectful questions. It makes it easier for me, as a player, to answer those questions and connect with the fans, which is great. I look at you guys as a part of this team, as well, because it's the same faces each and every day that are up here. You guys are just as much a part of it as we are. It's just humbling and a blessing to be mentioned with the names mentioned before, especially Anthony Weaver. I know him on a personal level. He was my linebacker coach in college for my sophomore year. Just knowing the great guy that he is, for him to win this award and for me to come here and win this award, is just a great thing. I appreciate everybody that voted for me. I'll continue to be the same no matter what the situation is. I appreciate it. Thank you. Let's finish the season strong."
Ravens Team MVP, as Voted by Local Media
Recipient – K Justin Tucker: "I'd like to say to you guys, thank you. We appreciate the work that you guys put in. I can tell you, I appreciate all of your integrity in writing the truth and putting a story out there that is usually one that needs to be told. You guys do a great job of that. Thank you for that. Thanks, again, for that awesome introduction [from Joe Platania]. I, obviously, wouldn't be able to do any of the stuff I do on the football field without Morgan Cox, Sam Koch, Randy Brown, Jerry Rosburg and all of the rest of my coaches and teammates. We have a great group around here, and I can't brag on them enough. To be able to turn our hard work into accolades is very cool, but at the same time, we know still have work to do. I think it will start here with a win in Cincinnati, and it will continue with hard work in the offseason. Hopefully, we'll be able to turn things around and have a postseason run very, very soon. Again, thank you. You guys are awesome, and I appreciate you."