TUESDAY PODIUM AVAILABILITY: WEEK 10 AT MIAMI DOLPHINS
QB Lamar Jackson
On why he laughed under a pile of linemen against Minnesota: "I don't even remember. I don't know what made me laugh. How did you know I laughed?" (Reporter: "We had a clip.") "You had a clip? Oh, I forgot I was mic'd up. (laughter) I was mic'd up. I don't even remember what happened, man. I don't remember."
On how much fun he has playing the game, even when getting hit by big linemen: "Because I can hear them, they're like, (grunts), like they just did something, and I'm like, (shakes his head and laughs). I was just trying to make something happen out of nothing and make a positive play, that's all."
On if he feels like RB Le'Veon Bell has found his place in the offense: "I do. Each and every week, he's been getting better, getting a feel for the game, hitting holes a little harder [and] just picking up first downs, like you said. He just has to keep going. Each and every week, keep getting better. [He has to] keep staying locked into what the play is and keep going from there. He's doing pretty good, though."
On the success of the hitch routes against the Vikings: "I threw one hitch … The corner looked like he was going to drive on it, but Marquise [Brown] did a great job of coming back to it. He had deeper start routes, came back to the ball and did great. Because, usually, some receivers sit there and it can be an interception, but Marquise did a great job of coming back for the ball."
On how he feels about playing on a short week: "I don't know. I love football, so it doesn't really matter to me. It's just the recovery part from the last game, but I'm good. I'm ready to play, especially in South Florida, for sure."
On what he remembers from the 59-10 victory over the Dolphins in 2019: "I remember 'Hollywood,' [Marquise Brown] his first catch was a touchdown. That was crazy. It was his NFL debut – a touchdown? (laughter) That's what I remember the most about that game and the score." (Reporter: "Not bad for a running back?") "Oh, at the end of the game. (laughter) Yes, in the locker room, that too. But that was two years ago, I don't really care about that, man."
On how much pride he takes in going back to South Florida knowing that a lot of successful football players have come from there: "A lot. We have guys here on this team from South Florida – not just myself. It means a lot, because we know what we've faced down there. We know what we've seen, [and] we know how it is down there. We like to put on for where we come from and let other guys and little kids see us and have them wanting to do the same things we're doing in a positive way."
On his No. 8 jersey being retired from Louisville this Saturday: "I'm locked in on the Dolphins right now. I'm not trying to worry about Saturday; I have to focus on Thursday right now. (laughter) But it's going to be touching, honestly. Hopefully, I don't cry or anything like that." (laughter)
On what it's like to see so many kids wearing No. 8 at Louisville games or Ravens games: "It's just crazy. That's crazy. I don't even know … I don't know how to feel about it. I don't really have a response for it. It's just … I appreciate those people, man, going out and purchasing my jersey. I don't know how much it costs, but I appreciate you all. I just hope I keep letting you all support me, just by doing what I do on the field and off the field – stuff like that."
On why the team hasn't been off to as quick of a start as they have been in the past: "To be honest with you, I have no clue. I just say we have to stay dialed in, and like I always say, take it one play at a time, and starting the game off the same way that we finish it. Not just start slow and finish strong; we have to play the whole game the same way. Start strong and finish strong."
On if defenses throwing different things at the offense early in the game impacts their ability to start strong: "No, I wouldn't say that. There have been opportunities. We could have stayed on the field [on our] first drives and stuff like that, and we mess up, or there's a hiccup on third down, or something like that. So, I wouldn't say that."
On his confidence making a check at the line of scrimmage against the Vikings and the autonomy he has to make those kinds of calls: "I'm just trying to put my team in a better situation. I'm seeing the defense … Coach [offensive coordinator Greg Roman] gave me two play calls, and I'm seeing the defense line up. [It wasn't] a great look for us to make us have success, so I just made a check, and 'Hollywood' [Marquise Brown] did the rest. That's just what it's all about – just putting our team in a better situation."
On if there's a different level of excitement playing on primetime TV near his hometown: "No, it's football. I'm just having fun with it regardless. I don't really care where I play at, but it's cool I guess."
On if he's getting extra ticket requests: "No." (laughter)
On how FB/DL Patrick Ricard's role in the passing game against Minnesota impacted the team: "That's a huge weapon right there – 300 pounds of muscle. … It just got us in our groove – Pat Ricard catching the pass with one hand, turning up and making like five guys tackle him. (laughter) That just gave the whole team a boost, like, 'Man, we have to get going.' That's what we needed, for sure."
RB Le'Veon Bell
On if he ever thought he'd play for the Ravens after being with the Steelers for a majority of his career: "Honestly, when I first left [the Steelers], the Ravens were one of the teams I was kind of looking at. So, it wasn't like far-fetched. But I'm obviously glad for the opportunity to be here. It's exciting for me. I'm just ready to really get things going."
On what the process was like before he signed with the Ravens: "When? Just this past year?" (Reporter: "Yes. Before that, wasn't there a tryout?") "Yes. Wait, you're talking about this year, right?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "Yes, there was. I obviously had the tryout, and they liked what they had seen. They signed me and put me on the practice squad. It was a good opportunity for me to come out there and just get in football shape, running around and getting some practice squad looks, going against the starting defense and kind of get my football legs under me. So, now that we're here, it feels good to just get on the field and make some plays with my teammates."
On why he felt the Ravens would be a good fit for him: "Obviously, this is an AFC North football team. They love running the ball here, and it's something that I love doing, obviously, being a running back. [It's] a great opportunity playing with Lamar [Jackson] – he's a special type of player. So, even being in the backfield with him is just a great opportunity for me."
On what has stood out about the culture of the organization since he's been here: "How family-oriented everything is here. People … Literally, the first day I got here, everybody – my teammates, everybody in the cafeteria, the coaches – kind of welcomed me with open arms. I felt welcome, and that was the biggest thing for me. I came here, [and] I felt comfortable. There wasn't a lot on my plate. I just came in, got my feet wet a little bit and was just ready to go. So, I think just being here is a great opportunity."
On if it's been difficult adjusting to the fast pace of the Ravens' run game being a more patient runner: "It hasn't really been tough for me at all, I feel like. When I was at Michigan State, it was the same style of offense. Maybe not the running quarterback thing, but we ran a lot of gap schemes [and] a lot of downhill-type things. I didn't feel like it was really tough. I just think the hardest thing for me was learning the offense and really getting comfortable with the O-line. That was probably the toughest thing, but changing my running style, I think I still run the same. It's just that certain plays, I run differently. So, whatever play is called, I run accordingly to that play. Some plays require more patience, and some don't. So, I kind of go off of whatever the play is called."
On adjusting to the handoffs from QB Lamar Jackson on RPOs: "It was new. It wasn't something I've done a lot in the NFL, especially playing with a special player like Lamar [Jackson]. So, I think the coaches did a great job of not putting too much on my plate and just kind of letting me come in, get my feet wet [and] get the timing down with Lamar. Now, it's to the point where it's second-nature; I don't even think about it when I'm out there with him."
On how much he's evolved since the start of his career: "I'm grateful for everything that's happened to me in my career. I just want to continue to keep my head held high and keep working hard, because that's what I take pride in. I come out in practice working hard each and every day, having people watch me. I'm not really much of a talker on the field. I kind of go out there and just practice hard, and I think people are noticing that. I just want to continue to work hard and go out there and make plays for my team."
On how he started boxing and what he gets from it: "It's something I started taking kind of seriously at the end of last year. I still go twice a week. I go after the games all the time, just to kind of get my hips loose. It helps with my legs in conditioning [and] my mentality. There are a lot of things it helps, and it helps translate over to football with my footwork, my mentality and conditioning. So, it's something I took seriously and I'm going to continue to do, because I feel like it helps me a lot."
On if he ever thought there was a chance he wasn't going to play this season: "I think in the offseason when I was kind of waiting for that call, I figured there would be an opportunity at some point. I didn't know when, obviously, but I just wanted to make sure that I would stay ready. Once the Ravens kind of called me … I had a couple calls and everything like that, but I wasn't really pressed about it up until the Ravens called. I felt like that was a great opportunity to come here and play. Like I said, Coach Harbaugh, I feel like he's one of the better coaches in this league. He doesn't get enough credit for a lot of things that he does and that he's done around this league. Obviously, playing with Lamar [Jackson], I felt like coming here, running downhill, the Ravens were a great opportunity for me. So, I would start foaming at the mouth when they started calling me. I made sure I was always going to be in shape. I came here, and I had a good workout. They ended up signing me, so I was proud of that. I was happy."
On if he had a relationship with head coach John Harbaugh before signing with the Ravens: "I mean, a relationship like I played against him a lot. (laughter) But it wasn't … I didn't really know him too much on a personal basis. It was kind of like I'd talk to him after the games a little bit when I played against him. It wasn't like me and him talked or had a close relationship. I knew what he was about just playing against him a lot. I already knew the type of coach he was and how he goes about his business. Once I got the opportunity to kind of, 'Oh, I could go play with Coach Harbaugh,' I got excited. I started getting juiced at the mouth, and I was just ready to go. I'm just glad that I'm here, and I'm ready to make some plays."
On the potential this team has with a 6-2 record thus far: "I think this could be a very special team. Like you said, I've been part of a lot of good teams in the past. I feel like, so far, during this season, we haven't even played our best football, and we're sitting at 6-2. That's the beautiful thing about it. I think once we actually start playing Ravens football, [we] stop killing ourselves with the turnovers and penalties, and really just start playing some solid football ... As we continue to get better over the course of the year, I think the sky is the limit for this team. We have a really special team, and we're ready to show that."
S Chuck Clark
On how tough it is to lose S DeShon Elliott:"It is very tough to lose anybody. But a guy like him, the energy that he brings to us as a team, our defense, the defensive backs, it's very tough to lose a guy like that, and you hate to see it, honestly."
On what he's seen from DB Brandon Stephens:"That he's willing to step in. [He's] learning any position. He's young, but he's willing to learn and get better and grow, and he's still growing, but he shows that he has a lot of upside as well."
On the group effort it will take to replace S DeShon Elliott:"I think that just goes back to offseason workouts with us. We're all in those meetings, and we're all learning everybody's positions. You never know what's going to happen in this game, and I think that just ties back to that, and we're all like, 'You never know when you're going to have to step up.' And of course, across the course of the season, it's time for somebody else to step up, and I think that's going to be a group effort, as well, though."
On if he's preparing for two quarterbacks on Thursday Night Football against the Dolphins:"Yes. I mean, they've got some things going on right now. We don't know who we're prepared to see, but we're preparing for both quarterbacks."
On how important pre-snap communication will be with DB Brandon Stephens potentially filling in for S DeShon Elliott:"It's very important, in any phase of the game, to communicate. That's big – to know that we're all on the same page, doing the same thing – and I think he [Brandon Stephens] is definitely going to pick it up more as he gets more reps, more experience with it, and it's going to come naturally."
On if there was a miscommunication on the deep TD pass that the Vikings connected on:"No, it wasn't a miscommunication. It's just something we had a mess-up on – no miscommunication, though."
On what ILB Josh Bynes means to the defense:"He brings veteran leadership. You can tell that he's been in different places, different systems, and when he comes back here, once he's come back, you know that he knows how to fit in. The same energy that's around here in this building, he fits in with us. [He] gets everything set up front. There are some things that I might not know up front with the front, so he's that veteran leadership, for sure."
CB Marlon Humphrey
On if the defense is preparing for two quarterbacks Thursday night and if that complicates things:"It definitely complicates it a little bit, just because you're trying to figure out who's going to be playing. But kind of, for me, it's not too bad, just because it's still the same receivers that they have, for the most part. But it definitely makes it a little confusing just knowing their tendencies, what guy likes to throw the quicker passes, what guy likes to take more shots. So, it will be, I guess, a game-time thing when you figure it out, and then you'll kind of adjust it from there."
On WR Jaylen Waddle:"[He's] really quick. It was really cool watching him score touchdowns for the [Alabama] Tide, but hopefully, not so many [on] Thursday. But [he's] really quick, really fast. I think he'll be a top guy pretty quickly in this league."
On chasing consistency as a defense:"It's a big focus on every man doing their job. We're really chasing consistency. You look at some of the games we played – Chargers, Broncos there at some points … We have all the players, we've got the coaches, we've got the schemes to be a great defense. It's just mainly just being consistent and every man doing his job and really working all together. It seems like you've got a puzzle, and you put all the pieces together, but [when] you put one piece in the wrong spot, it messes up the whole puzzle. So, we're just trying to put those pieces together and consistently put those pieces together, and that's kind of what we're focusing on."
On if there's been a commonality on the plays in which the defense gave up big chunks of yardage:"I guess it goes back to just doing your job, whether you're trying to make a play and … I think a lot of times, we're reaching for plays and different things, and it's kind of one of those … If you watch any game, if you watch literally any game that comes on TV, you would be like, 'Oh, man, the quarterback missed a throw there. Oh, man, if this play would have happened there.' And it seems like this year, every time that's happened to us, it's been hit. It's like, 'Oh, one guy came out of his gap; it's a 60-yard run. Oh, I've got my eyes in a bad place; it's a big pass.' As Coach 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh] said earlier this week, we've had some tough lessons, but good lessons that a lot of teams … It doesn't sting as bad when it's like, 'Oh, man, I messed up there, but they didn't see it.' So, we've been hit on some stuff that we're pretty alert [of] now, and [we're] trying not to make those same mistakes again."
On his observations of WRs Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman and the rest of the receiver corps tallying yards after the catch:"That's what I saw a lot during training camp when they were all together. I think you guys were out here. Our receivers, I remember being just really in love with our receivers. Out of my five years being here, I had never really had a training camp where it was like, 'Man, we've got some guys.' So, I think now that [Rashod] Bateman is getting healthy, Lamar [Jackson] is clicking, 'Hollywood' [Marquise Brown] is clicking, we'll get Sammy [Watkins] back, I think the show is just ready to begin. And so, what I saw in training camp, what I was trying to cover all training camp – we were having long days in training camp – one-on-ones, I think all those things are starting to click, and it's starting to click at the right time."
On moving forward from all the injuries:"We've kind of dealt with this before. I hate losing my guys, especially the guys that are really energy-setter guys, with DeShon [Elliott] and Marcus [Peters], really smart, aware guys. We won't get another DeShon Elliott, we won't get another Marcus Peters, but we've got some other guys that can fill in and step in. And it will be a challenge, but I know, whether it's Jimmy [Smith], Geno [Stone], 'B-Steve' [Brandon Stephens] – whoever it is – I'm pretty confident in them, and I know they'll fit right in. I'm just ready to rock with whoever we've got out there."
On his memories of RB Le'Veon Bell when he was an All-Pro running back on the Steelers:"Yes, I do. He ran me over on the sideline (laughter) – that I'll never forget – and somebody was talking trash to me, and I looked over, and it was a coach. I was like, 'Dang, even the coaches [are] seeing it.' (laughter) And so, it's good. I feel like, even he, he's getting back in his stride. He had a couple runs, and I'm like, 'OK.' I think I was talking to 'A.D.' [Ar'Darius Washington] or Sammy [Watkins], and I was like, 'He's starting to kind of look back to full himself.' He left the Steelers, went to the Jets, out of the league for a little bit there, so it's really good to see him getting back on his feet. But I definitely remember that All-Pro guy. I think at one point, he was probably a Top 15 player in the entire league, so to see him getting back to that, getting some carries, getting some touchdowns is really good."
On his confidence level in this team for the rest of the season:"I'm very confident. The reason why I would say I'm most confident is, aside from the offense, [where] I think we've played pretty well, defensively we don't really feel like we've played that well, yet, consistently. So, to have a winning record, atop the AFC, and not playing your best ball defensively, there's a lot of room for growth, a lot of room for improvement, and that's kind of what we're looking forward to showing. [We're] trying to stack these wins and take it one play at a time – that's the biggest thing. The biggest thing is consistency, take it one play at a time and just continue to win."
On his perspective when he sees another cornerback trying to tackle FB Patrick Ricard:"Whenever I see Pat Ricard get the football … If I was on the other side … One: I would hope there would be help (laughter). Secondly … Man, I feel bad for the other guys sometimes. He [Patrick Ricard] is a really large guy, very muscular. I remember in that game, I had a feeling that he was going to run both guys over, [and] he kind of did. But if it was me, I would try to go low, but I know he's a guy that's always got his feet going. Man, I don't know. I would say this: There [are] no other Pat Ricards in the NFL, so he's kind of a … He's like an O-lineman, but that can run like a running back, kind of. I'll have to get back with you on that one. I'm still trying to figure that out, and I'm just … I'm happy he's on my team and not the other team – I'll say that." (Reporter: "I like how you got in a stance.") "I'm sitting here trying to think, and it didn't come to mind, so I will definitely need to think of that if we see any of those larger fullbacks later this season." (Reporter: "Your silence speaks volumes.") "Yes, yes." (Reporter: "Business decisions.") "Business decisions, yes, yes." (laughter)