Opening statement:"Good to see you guys here – appreciate you being here. All eyes are on the Philadelphia game for us. We're preparing and had a good practice again and good week on a short week. We're looking forward to playing the game."
When you have three games left, and the outside world is thinking about the Steelers, but you have the Eagles up first, is it not a challenge inside the building to be completely focused on the Eagles (Peter Schmuck) "It's really not. I don't think anybody listens to too much noise. We talk a lot about that in terms of it's not about the noise; it's about what we have to accomplish. For us, it's preparing. It takes everything you have to prepare for an opponent. We understand how good this team is, but we understand what we have to do. We have to play our best football at this time of year. It takes a lot to play your best football, and that's this week. This is the challenge in front of us right now. We have to get this done. That's all our guys are thinking about, talking about. Anything else is not even on our mind."
There has been a lot of talk about you talking to players or WR Steve Smith Sr. Are you pleased with the response from Monday and the mindset this week as they attack practice and get ready for the Eagles? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I'm not sure what you're talking about with 'a lot of talk.' I don't know."
*There was just a lot of interpreting you talking to the team yesterday and what Steve's outburst meant. That's what I mean, there's a lot of talk outside the building about what that means (Jeff Zrebiec) *"I don't even know where that's coming from. I talk to the team every single day – sometimes before practice, sometimes after practice. We're in meetings every single day, so there's nothing unusual about that or about Steve. That's what we do every day. There's nothing different here about what we're doing, but you're always trying to communicate to one another in order to be the best we can be. We put it out there. We talk. That's something we believe in, is communication – honest communication. We're not real sensitive. We lay it on the line with each other. We have a lot of fun. We laugh a lot. We're a very loose group, and we're a very focused group. We have a bunch of focused guys. We have guys that aren't afraid to take responsibility and expect a lot from one another. We go up and play Monday night, and I thought we played very well. We played very hard and did a lot of good things, but we weren't good enough to win that game against that team at that time in that environment. It's about as tough of an environment as you're going to find. Monday Night Football against the New England Patriots, who are playing as well as they ever played, was a big challenge for us. We were really confident, and we were excited to go in there and play, and we found out what we need to get better at. We got a good picture of some things we need to improve on. That's all we take from the game, and then we want to take that forward. We're working this week to improve on those things. That's what I like about us. We're very real, very genuine, and we go to work. We'll see what the results are on Sunday."
Along those lines, yesterday offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg talked about wanting to run the ball more. Is there a point during the game where you can go to him and just say, "Run the ball more?"* (Jerry Coleman)* "There are times we do that, but the game plan is the game plan. Every coach gets asked that question, and every coach dances around it and just tries to explain it, because either you don't run it enough or you run it too much, or you're not throwing enough, and it's all based on the results. When we do well and we score points, everything is fine, and when you don't you didn't run it enough, you didn't pass it enough, you didn't do whatever enough. That's just the way it works. We said many times, we definitely believe in running the football and being very physical, but we're going to go into the game and have a game plan. When it doesn't work, you look back … What Marty was saying was, you look back and you say, 'You know what? We should have run it more, should have called a different play there.' That's what you do. You're honest about that. Again, that's still looking back on it. We had a plan going into that game, and we went after it. In some ways, it worked and others ways it didn't. That's what he's referring to. Our plan in there was to try and do what we did. They had a good answer for it, and their reaction was good, then we had to try to re-react to what they were doing. That's kind of how it works in competition. During the course of the game, we do talk. There will be times I say I want … Sometimes I want to go two-minute. Sometimes I want to sow it down. Sometimes I want to run it. Sometimes there's a specific play or series of plays that I think we should get to. It's all within the game plan that we all built together. It is always a collective-type process."
Theoretically, Game 4 is worth the same as Game 16. The intensity should be the same, but is there a progression of intensity in December? (Peter Schmuck) "Intensity is … It's a great question, because it's a great word. And what does it mean? There are different types of intensity. I think the game playing intensity is really at the highest level every single week. If you're not at your highest level from a playing intensity standpoint, you can get hurt in football, or you can get embarrassed. But the intensity for what's at stake, the level of mental focus, playing on a razor's edge every single play, I do think it ramps up in December. It probably ramps up again in January when you get to the playoffs. It's really clear-cut now. If we would have won one of those games in the middle there, we'd be in a dramatically different place than we are right now. We understand that. You know what we would still have to do? We would still have to win this game. This game would still matter to us, when you do the math. Even if we were 10-3 right now, this game would matter to us for other reasons. I guess my point is that's the beauty of December football, what you're referring to. We're excited that we have a chance to control our destiny."
Is that what we're talking about when we hear a guy throws his helmet? Does that happen after Week 2, too? * (Peter Schmuck)"Sure, absolutely it does. It happens every single week. Stuff like that happens in the meeting rooms. We have intense guys, and we're going at it trying to be our best. I promise you, that's not the first time Steve has thrown his helmet out here. *(laughter) You guys just haven't seen it."
Last home game of the season. What can you say about how the fans have been this year? (Ryan Mink)"We're looking forward to it. I guess it's going to rain maybe. I hope everybody comes out still and brings their raincoats. They'll be selling for what, $10.99 apiece? (laughter) We need our fans. Our fans are just a big part of us. Our fans are just a big part of our success. They ride the winding road with us. We understand the emotions. They really care, and it matters. That's the beauty of this relationship that we have with Ravens fans and Ravens Nation and The Flock. We need them to be loud on first down, second down and third down when the Eagles' offense is on the field. That really helps. I hope they're in there, and I hope they bring their lungs and they're ready to roll, because this is a big game."
John, anything on CB Jimmy Smith? Has he progressed this week?* (Jeff Zrebiec)* "He has, but I just don't want to get into all of the injury stuff. I probably won't say much the rest of the year, unless it's an obvious thing. The other guys are getting ready to play this week, and going forward, we'll just have to see where we're at."