Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
What have you seen from DB/RS Lardarius Webb while filling in for RS Devin Hester Sr. in his absence at punt return? (Ed Lee)"Lardarius has had a long, successful punt return career for us. As you all know, his role early on in this club was to be a punt returner and a [defensive back]. Now it's kind of flipped around; he's the DB and [does] a little punt returner. His role is to make sure that we have the ball at the end of the play and get as many yards as he possibly can. He's doing that, and we appreciate his efforts. We know the ball is in good hands when Lardarius is back there."
How concerned are you that with RS Devin Hester Sr., this could be a long-term thing? (Ed Lee)"I'm hopeful that he'll be with us as soon as this weekend, but we'll have to see. I'm not the doctor. They didn't have a [medical] school at North Dakota State, and if they did, they wouldn't have let me in there. *(laughter) *So, I'm not going to make any medical judgments."
Would CB/RS Asa Jackson be an option this weekend? (Ed Lee)"Asa is on the practice squad, so if he's not on the 53- [man roster], he won't be playing. When he's on the 53, then he's an option."
How pleased were you with the coverage last week? (Clifton Brown)"I thought our punt coverage net was a lot better. We had a couple chances to make tackles right away with our gunners. Our gunners did a good job at the line of scrimmage; they raced down the field. We just didn't finish very well, with the exception of the one that Marqueston [Huff] made, where the ball was coming back to our right. But that's the first stage. They're two young players, and I think they're going to be even better this weekend. The thing I was encouraged by was the rest of the coverage filled in very well. We kept the ball inside the net, we were sprinting to the ball, and it was marked improvement from weeks previous, yes."
With TE Darren Waller's size, does he make it tough for teams to negate him? (Jamison Hensley)"He's a big man. He's got long arms, and he's a big man. That's an advantage. Because he's a former wide receiver, he's certainly got the gift of getting off the line of scrimmage. He's had that practice. So, those are really good tools to have. He's developing, he's still getting better, and now we've got to get him to the point where he's finishing the play at the top."
Jerry, what do you think has led to LS Morgan Cox getting so many penalties this year? (Pete Gilbert)"A lot of football, as you know – I've said this many times – is just fundamental football. There have been a couple situations that he got put into where the fundamentals didn't come through for him. We always want to protect our punter first, and if it means to get a holding call to prevent a blocked punt, we're going to do that. And the other thing we're doing, obviously, is we're trying to do it and help him as much as possible with our inside guys, and we've got to do a better job of that. With Morgan, we've got to get him to the point where he's not grabbing while they're rushing. It's an easy thing to say that it's Morgan's fault, and it is, because he got the foul on him. But at the same time, there are other elements to it in protection, no different than an offensive line protecting a passer. Guys work together, and that's something we all have to do to help Morgan."
What is your assessment of how P Sam Koch has played this year? (Ed Lee)"I thought Sam had a great game last weekend. He had one punt that he cut a little bit, that they caught right at the 19-yard line right before the end of the half. But other than that, I thought he had some magnificent punts. It was wide, it was high and it really helped our coverage. If you notice our coverage net, we weren't spread out. We were tight, and a lot of that had to do with ball placement by Sam."
Last year he also made the Pro Bowl as a punter. Are you seeing a similar pattern from him this year? (Ed Lee)"Our concern, really, is more how we're playing as a team and getting wins. The Pro Bowl is the Pro Bowl, and they're going to do that outside of the realm of our game. I think Sam is an outstanding punter, and I think you all know how I feel about him and his skills. His skills have not waned, he's doing great, and we need to put our whole punt team together and make sure we cover well together. He's a big part of that."
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement: "A little quick review from last week: First of all, we did some awfully good things. However, it felt like we were just a little scattered. We have to tighten that thing up, and we have to play with consistency. I am talking about the penalties – we have to clean that thing up. How do you do that? It is real simple. You emphasize it, and then you practice hands inside and releasing people and the snap count and the personnel groupings running on and off the field. Then you reemphasize it and reemphasize it. We left some out on the field. We don't want to do that. We want to capitalize on everything that we can get out there. Now, going into the Jets, [they are] a great challenge up front. They have some players up front, and we all know them. In fact, I know several of them personally; they are very good players. What a great challenge for our offensive line there. Some of this is right here (points to head) – going on the road into crowd noise and executing with efficiency."
The idea of going back to the same venue. Is that in any way helpful? (Pete Gilbert) "I don't know, because I don't believe I have ever done it. I have really never thought about it until you mentioned it. I don't know that. We will find out."
When John Harbaugh says let's go for it on fourth-and-goal or fourth-and-1, do you like that? (Ed Lee)"I love that. Players love that – all of those things – especially when you are down deep. I will say this, and this is just me personally: I think John is very similar. Aggressiveness – be aggressive without going crazy – be aggressive, and it typically will pay off for you. Over the course of the game, over the course of a season, over the course of a program, it typically will pay off for you – sometimes tenfold. Every now and then, it will bite you. Now, we have to get it in, period, down there. I do not care what the circumstances are or all of those things. We have to get it in. It is that simple. Being aggressive typically pays off at this level."
You have known John Harbaugh for a while. He was obviously a special teams coach, which was a different role for him. But was he always aggressive, even as a special teams coach? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes. You have to be aggressive with everything we do. Aggressive with attack – everything. When we are going through our preparation, we want to be aggressive. When we are on the field, we want to be aggressive. Everything we do, let's be aggressive. Some of that is the mentality. An aggressive mentality typically pays off for you."
You talk about being scattered, but having T Ronnie Stanley and T Rick Wagner back at their positions, quite possibly, does that help tighten things up? (Joe Platania)"I am not going to talk personnel. John [Harbaugh] is the only guy that talks personnel, as you know. We will see about that. It does not matter who is on the field. We need to play in a consistent manner and an efficient manner. At times, we did that, but we went backwards twice. You have to be kidding me. We have to tighten that part up."
Not talking about his status, but talking about tightening up the offense, how challenging is it not having QB Joe Flacco out there, because he is your franchise quarterback. (Luke Jones) "Well, it is a challenge for him. He has been in this thing for quite a while – nine years I believe. It is the preparation for him. You have heard the term, 'Proper preparation prevents poor performance.' You can turn that into a positive, though. He is a diligent man with his preparation. I have no concerns that way. But it is quite a challenge for him."
What have you seen from QB Ryan Mallet, in terms of being the guy that can fill in? (Ed Lee) "He had a really good practice today. He had an even better practice today. He had three or four things yesterday, and he cut that down to one or two today. Typically, in a game, you have one or two minor things. Well, the great ones have one or two minor things. I'm certain that he is going to be ready to play Sunday."
Did you and defensive coordinator Dean Pees talk about Geno Smith? (Ryan Mink)"Yes, we talked briefly. I think that is just a little overrated, because Dean and I are not on the field. But certainly, we discussed it, and it was brief – very brief. Certainly his strengths … He [Geno Smith] has a lot of strengths. I like Geno very much. He certainly has a lot of strengths."
You have not called plays for a little while. Was it like riding a bike or, is there a rhythm for you that you are trying to get back? (Cliff Brown) "I didn't even think about that, because last week was so … I went through almost a whole bottle of Visine [eye drops]. (laughter) So, I didn't even have time to think about that. All of our focus as coaches was getting those players ready to play. Then, it was about Friday night or Saturday morning, I said, 'We have to have ourselves ready, too.' It was a long week last week. We put everything we had into that thing, and it has been similar this week as well. I will tell you that."
Have you used less Visine this week? (Jamison Hensley)"Yes, it has been less. It is still very similar. Maybe my eyes just got used to it." (laughter)
When you call for the deep pass, obviously, you are trying to get yardage, but is there a part of you that thinks if not that, can we at least get a pass interference call? (Ed Lee)"Yes. That is part of the downfield throws. We want to be an offense … I have talked about efficiency and consistency. We want to be an offense that does not need to rely on the big plays. But we expect it. [We] have that mentality. You are efficient and consistent, and if you do not expect it, you are not going to get it. That is where I want our mentality to be."
How much of a momentum swing can a pass interference call be for an offense? (Ed Lee) "It has the same amount of yards as completing it. You get a chunk of yards. Absolutely."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
How different a challenge is QB Geno Smith as opposed to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick? (Pete Gilbert)"I am sure they will be similar, scheme-wise. I cannot imagine them changing a whole lot. The guy [Geno Smith] is a very athletic guy. He is a good scrambler, a good runner. He has a strong arm. [Ryan] Fitzpatrick did, too. He had a strong arm and was an excellent scrambler. I think they are similar in some ways."
Is it challenging because QB Geno Smith has not played a whole lot under this current coaching regime? (Luke Jones) "You just have to watch … We kind of have experience of knowing what he is like as a quarterback. Then you just kind of see ... The offensive coordinator, it is his system. He is not going to come in here and go to the old system that Geno was in. You just try and take [offensive coordinator] Chan's [Gailey] system that he runs and then try to look at the athlete and say, 'How is he going to fit into that system?' We try to do the best that we can. Really, at this point in time, it is more about us to me than it is about them. It is about us executing and doing what we have to do."
Do you talk to Marty Mornhinweg at all about QB Geno Smith, having those two been together?* (Jerry Coleman)*"Yes, absolutely."
How much can that help? (Ed Lee)"I think it always helps when someone can give you insight on somebody's athletic skills and personality and their mindset running systems and all of those kinds of things. Marty [Mornhinweg] was very complimentary."
With lots of big receivers around the league, what makes WR Brandon Marshall special? (Joe Platania) "Just what you said – big receiver. This guy can go up and get the ball; he has great hands. It seems like some of the guys with the best hands have some drops sometimes. They always talk about the drops. We kind of talked about that last week, and then I said, 'He [Odell Beckham Jr.] did not drop any against us.' He [Brandon Marshall] is a big receiver that can concentrate when he goes up for the ball. He had one even the other night in the Arizona game where they had great coverage on him on the sidelines, and he goes up and gets it. He is a physical, physical guy. He is hard to … When you match up against him, even when you are going up for a ball, he is a big, physical guy with good hands."
DT Brandon Williams is somebody that does a lot of the dirty work. How do you think he is playing this year? (Garrett Downing)"I think he is playing very well. I think the fact that we are ranked fairly high against the run kind of tells the story about him and [Michael] Pierce and Lawrence [Guy] and kind of all those guys inside. It also goes with everybody. It is the whole front seven and even the secondary getting involved. Back to the original question, Brandon is playing well. He is fighting through a few nicks and bruises like everybody is in the seventh game of the season, but I think he is playing well."
What do you think is the difference in getting so many more turnovers this year? (Ryan Mink) "Speed on the field. Probably most people would say, 'Did you emphasize it more?' I think we emphasize it every year. I don't know if there was ever a year on defense that you do not try to emphasize turnovers. I think usually the faster your defense is, the more turnovers you get. You close on the ball quicker. You have maybe bigger hits sometimes, because the guy is hitting with a little more impact because he is faster. I think overall, we are a little faster on defense than we have been."
CB Tavon Young has two interceptions and one fumble recovery. Is there something to it that a player can have a knack for getting turnovers and finding the ball? (Ryan Mink) "I think there is always that. I think there are certain guys that have … First of all, they have to have excellent hands for them to be able to get the ball. There are also guys that have good eyes and good instincts and can really anticipate things well. Ed Reed was one of the best there ever was at being able to anticipate breaks and stuff like that from the free safety spot. Yes, I think guys have a knack for it."
Does CB Tavon Young have that knack? (Ryan Mink)"Well, I hope so. So far, he has done very well. But time will tell. He is a rookie, so we do not want to give him too much credit."
When you look at the second half of last week's game, was it more of what Odell [Beckham Jr.] did or was it more of what the secondary did, scheme-wise? (Jamison Hensley)"It is a combination, like it always is, of both. We could say, 'Should we double him more?' Let's talk a little football here. In the last 16 plays of the game, which was the entire fourth quarter, we were in split safety 12 out of those 16 plays. Split safety is doubling him. That is a guy over the top. You can't do it every play. Unfortunately, on the one long pass, we were in three-deep. We were just in Cover 3. You have to be able to run with it. You just can't [double team] every play. I would love to do it when he catches it, and I would like to always be right. Even on the last play, on the fourth down play [when] it was fourth-and-1 – this is my opinion – I felt like they could run it or pass it. If they did not run it, it was going to be a quick throw. It was not going to be a pass downfield, where there was a chance of it being incomplete. It was going to be quick. We played what we thought was the best defense that actually had a free player underneath and a free player in the deep end, and we played tight man coverage, but still could stop the run. It was the best, we thought, of both worlds. I really think even if they throw a slant on us and they catch it, it is no different than them running and getting the first down. I certainly was not going to play zone in that situation. We thought we were trying to give as many people help as we could, because we also had a new nickel in there playing, and we also had another corner on the other side who had a problem. We thought that was the best. We really do believe that if you watch the film – I'm sure all of you have – that Tavon [Young] would have tackled him. It happened. Nobody planned on that … The defensive backs did not plan that, the coaches did not plan that, nobody planned on it. We do not rehearse that. It was unfortunate. The other part of it was that I really felt like, in my mind, when he ran out of bounds just short of the first-down marker, I looked up at the scoreboard and I saw a minute and 30 [seconds] or something like that, but I saw three timeouts. I said, 'This is our best chance to stop them.' Because if we stop them right here, the offense has a chance if they get a first down with no timeouts. They get the ball back with less time and no timeouts, or we get a first down; the game is over. I felt like … Sometimes in two minutes on third-and-2, you might give up the play, because the clock is working against them. I thought the clock was totally in their favor, and this was our best chance to stop them."
With OLB Terrell Suggs and OLB Elvis Dumervil hurt, how much do you lean on guys like OLB Za'Darius Smith and OLB Matthew Judon? (Ed Lee)"Huge. They have to play. That is what they were brought here to do. One is a rookie and one is a second-year guy. They were brought here; they were drafted here. It is your turn; it is your time. Come play. You want the opportunity, and they do. I am thrilled with them. I like both of them. We are going to throw them out there, and we are going to see what happens."
Has dealing with the secondary this week been the biggest challenge with the number of injuries you are facing in terms of practice this season? (Jerry Coleman) "It always is. You have to be … The biggest challenge there is in practice you do not want to get somebody hurt that is already a little banged up. So, you don't want to necessarily over-rep them, but you have to give them enough reps so they know the game plan. But you have to have a contingency plan, because if all of a sudden, they go back in and all of a sudden they get hurt, you have to make sure the other guy knows enough that he can go in and he can play. That was the tough thing about last week. We were throwing some guys in there that have not practiced that position all week. Anthony Levine [Sr.], I'm just telling you – this guy is just an amazing young man, because he has played so many positions on this defense, and sometimes without ever practicing them, and he is doing a daggum good job at it. I really commend him – as I do most of the guys – but he has really had to do everything, and he knows the game plan. It is a challenge."
QB Ryan Mallett
On the difference between starting right after he arrived in Baltimore last year versus possibly having that opportunity again this weekend:"The only difference is I've been here longer. I prepare every week like the starter. As a backup quarterback, I feel like you have to do that and be ready to go. You never know when your number will be called."
On how much time or notice he'd ideally like to have to be named the starter:"You've got to be ready at the drop of a hat. Something could happen during the game any week of the season, so you've always got to be ready."
On if it's been an extra challenge with this being just the second week under the direction of new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg:"I don't think it's been a challenge. We've worked with Marty long enough to know kind of what he's thinking. I think we're all just ready to get back out there and play after last week."
On if there was any advantage to having the extra time with receivers during OTAs and minicamp in QB Joe Flacco's absence:"Most definitely. Being able to be comfortable with the guys who were out there and throw it to them a little bit more during the offseason and this week while Joe is resting has been good."
On how much added confidence he gets knowing he went out and won a game last year having only been in Baltimore for a couple of days:"It always feels good to win a game. We need to win a lot more. We need to get back on track, so I'm just trying to help the team any way I can."
On for him, personally, knowing he's done it and has been in this situation before:"Same thing. I'm just trying to get ready every week like everybody else."
On the Jets' defense accumulating a lot of sacks:"Their defense is really good. So, we're going to have to be on our Ps and Qs, execute our offense and move the ball."
On if he has a good idea of how this is going to play out:"Do we ever?" (laughter)
On if he has a good idea of where QB Joe Flacco is at physically:"We'll see. We'll see." (laughter) (Reporter: "I'll take that as a 'yes.'") "OK. You can take it how you want to." (laughter)
On how odd it is to see Flacco in pain, sitting out and possibly not able to play:"I don't really see him in pain. You don't get in a lot of pain just sitting there. So, I hope the best for him, and I hope he's out there Sunday. As a competitor, of course I want to play, but I want what's best for the team."