Head Coach John Harbaugh Opening statement:"Good to see everybody. Good to have you guys here. A couple of announcements: Terrell Suggs is going to practice today. He was out there in the walk-through. To what extent, to what he is able to do, we should just temper our expectations a little bit. He's coming off a very serious injury, an Achilles tear. We'll just see how he does. But, he will start today. This is the first time he is allowed to do it. He's worked really hard. He's done a great job with the rehab. He's followed the protocol. He had no setbacks throughout the course of the whole deal, so that's a credit to him and a credit to the doctors and to our trainers. Ray Lewis is going to be put on the [Injured Reserve] Designated to Return list that is new to the NFL this year. So, he will not count against our 53 [-man roster] for that period of time. That's a minimum of six weeks. We have no idea whether that timeframe has anything to do with the injury. Obviously, it's a very serious injury. But, there's an opportunity, and we are going to keep the door open, and we'll just see where that goes going forward. We really don't know any more than that. He will have surgery today. 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] will have surgery either today or tomorrow on the ACL. He also has a meniscus tear in there. They'll fix both of those things, and we'll let you know how that goes when it comes up. Josh Bynes and Bobby Rainey are brought up to the 53-man roster at this time, and then [on] the practice squad, we've added Nigel Carr, who, as you know, was in training camp, was a linebacker, and Jordan Mabin, who was in training camp as a cornerback. Both of those guys did a nice job for us, and they'll provide us with some depth and some practice reps. And, congratulations to Jacoby Jones and all the special teams guys – especially the kickoff return team – for the Special Teams Player of the Week Award."
Is the fact that you have three former Texans on your roster and you could be tapping them for information overrated? (Joe Platania)"Well, they've been away for a while now, so there's not too much that they can share with us that's timely, obviously. And these two teams have played each other quite a bit, so we're probably past that point with those three guys."
Psychologically, were you prepared to play without Terrell Suggs the entire season, and to see him back this early, was this even ahead of your own mental schedule of where he could be on the field? (Nestor Aparicio) **"I don't know. I hadn't really thought about it that way. It was just a matter that we knew he would have a chance to be back this week, so that was kind of a target date. And to see that is fulfilled is a positive thing."
John, how much of an addition has Jacoby Jones been for this team? He is not only a great kickoff returner, but his depth at wide receiver has been a gift for you guys. (David Ginsburg)"I wouldn't use that word if I was writing the article, but I think it was a good move. It was an opportunity that our personnel department, with Ozzie [Newsome], did a great job of recognizing when Jacoby was available. He wanted to be here. So, it wasn't anything that was really difficult to get done. It got done rapid fire. It was one phone call. Jacoby has been great. He's been a great teammate, he's been a great worker. He's just fun to be around. The guy is a pro in every sense of the word, and obviously, as you point out, he's been a huge addition for us because he's a playmaker. So, it's been a big plus."
**Ray Lewis is arguably the greatest leader, not only in football, but in all of sports. How do you replace that? *(Mark Schwarz) *"I'd make that argument, too. That's a great point. He probably is the greatest leader in sports, certainly. We're a little biased around here, but we sure see it that way. You replace that with 53 guys. We have some great leaders. Ed Reed is a tremendous leader. Terrell Suggs, [we were] talking about him, he is tremendous leader. He's back into the fold. Haloti Ngata, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Vonta Leach – so you can go right through [the roster]. I am going to leave names out, but there are 53 guys that do a great job for us. We've got leadership with our coaches. Ray is still with us. He will still be around. He'll still be a part of what we're doing. That is something that we will be fine with."
In terms of Jimmy Smith, when you drafted him, you had great expectations. What do expect from him as he becomes a starter now? (Aaron Wilson)"I expect him to play really well. I have tremendous confidence in Jimmy Smith. We all do. Jimmy's got tremendous confidence. He's here for a reason. He's talented, he works hard. He'll play well."
**When Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked about injuries, his reply was that people don't care about your problems. Is that the way it goes in the NFL, too? *(Kevin Cowherd) *"Yeah, we've always said that. You can complain all you want, but nobody cares. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you. It's an opportunity. You know the old saying: 'When one door closes, another door opens,' right? We've all heard that since we were kids, and that's true. There are going to be opportunities for guys to [step up]. As Ray would say, 'What's your legacy?' [They have a chance] to determine their destiny a little bit, and it's going to be fun to see which guys step up. We've got some guys who we are excited to see step up."
Can you talk about the decision to activate Bobby Rainey from the practice roster, opposed to bringing in another cornerback to the active roster? (Bo Smolka)"Our options are still open along those lines, but Bobby was the best available player, we feel like. He's a guy that we wanted on the 53-man roster. We feel very fortunate that he was still with us on the practice squad this late in the season. He's a guy we were kind of itching to get up any way. So, that's what we did."
*John, you and the Texans are the teams that are off to the best start. What have you seen from the AFC this year? It seems like there is a lot of parody in this league, and the two of you are trying to run away from the pack. *(Aaron Wilson) *"We see a lot of good football teams. It's just the National Football League. The AFC, the NFC, it's a long season, and it's only six games in. It's like we talked about with the team a little bit. [Sunday was] the first time we really had a chance to watch football after we played, and it's crazy. Every game goes down to the wire. I don't know how these coaches do it in this league. *(laughter) So, it's just the way it goes. It's what makes it great."
After he recovers from surgery, what do you expect Ray Lewis' role to be around here? (Kris Jones)"It's Ray Lewis. He won't be able to practice, obviously, until he is back, if he comes back. His role will be to be Ray Lewis. He does that better than anybody. So, we'll look forward as having him as part of that."
Have you talked to Ray or Lardarius, and how did it go?**"They're both doing well. They both bounced back from the emotional part of it, and they're both making plans for their opportunities, whatever they might be, coming forward. Obviously, Lardarius is out for the year on IR. He's been through this before, so he knows the routine. It's earlier than it was last time, so he's looking at that as a plus for next year."
John, with the "Mike" vs. the "Will" linebacker and with Jameel McClain playing where Ray Lewis was, is there any big difference for those guys? Or, will it be business as usual for them? (Aaron Wilson)"They practice both of those spots all the time, so that will be business as usual."
**John, can you quantify the loss of Webb? He was becoming a guy that nobody even threw at. *(Mark Schwarz) *"I'm not good at that. Guys know here whenever that question gets asked, I just never really have that answer. I wish I had it for you. He's important. I have said that I think he's becoming the best corner in football, so we're going to have to rally around that loss."
**John, Arian Foster is second in the NFL in rushing. What makes him a difficult guy to stop? *(Matt Zenitz) *"He's got great vision. They've got a great scheme. They've got really good offensive linemen within that scheme. They are really well-coached, and they understand that scheme probably better than anybody in football, and he probably understands how to run that scheme as well as any back in football. He's just kind of built for it. He's a sideline-to-sideline, edge-to-edge, everybody's-at-the-point-of-attack-type of guy. He makes you have to defend every one of those guys."
**Is J.J. Watt playing about as good on the defensive line as just about anybody in the NFL? *(Aaron Wilson) *"I don't know. I'm not ranking him, but he's playing great. He's a factor."
*On Monday, what did you tell the guys after two devastating player losses? *(Kevin Cowherd) *"I really don't remember exactly, but it was profound, I can tell you that. *(laughter) It's an opportunity, and we talked a little bit about doors closing and opening. You've got to understand, it's part of the National Football League. How many guys on IR did Green Bay have [two years ago]? How many did the Giants [have last] year? The Saints the year before that, and the Steelers the year before that? We actually happen to have those numbers, and we know that they are high. So, this is just part of it."
**Coach, Gary Kubiak talked about limiting some of the snaps for Andre Johnson because he has been dealing with so many injuries and keeping him explosive. When you've looked at the tape, have you seen him being explosive again? *(Garret Downing) *"He's back full-force with the explosive plays. He's running the double routes, the pump moves, the 'eight' routes, the 'nine' routes; he goes up and gets the ball off of play-action. All of their guys are very dangerous off of play-action. That's what they do. He's not the only [one]. Andre Johnson is a premier player, but Kevin Walter can get behind you, too, and that's not someone you're probably thinking about asking about. Obviously, Owen Daniels is a great player. They're just loaded. They're loaded with playmakers."
John, the last two weeks, you guys have really been gashed against the run, and now you lose Ray and Webb – great tacklers. How do you improve against the run without those guys? (Mark Schwarz)"We do. We just do. We play better, we coach better, and we get the job done. That's something that's on all of our job description lists here. That's something that we take a lot of pride in around here. So, it's very important, especially this week."
Why do you think you have struggled so this season against the run? (Mark Schwarz) "There are a lot of reasons that are more technical than anything else that we are going to have to deal with and get fixed."
**Kelechi Osemele tweeted earlier that he was sick, really sick last night. Is he out here today? Is he OK now? *(Bo Smolka) *"K.O. is OK. I didn't see that tweet, so I wasn't concerned at all."
John, we had talked in Week 2 of not having the extra day of pads. Now we are going into Week 7 and there are a lot of injuries in the first half. Are you seeing that as something the NFL might look at at the end of the year and put back in? (Bill West)"More pads? I hadn't thought about that. It is probably a conversation for after the season. But, we're going to be in pads today. I'm torn a little bit because we can also use some recovery. But, we also have a lot of young guys that need the work, that need to work on technique, just what you're talking about as far as run defense and some other things. So, as a coach you feel torn that way, but the veteran guys know how to take care of themselves, and the young guys need the work."
**John, what do you think is the best-case scenario for Suggs? *(Mark Schwarz) *"I don't have a timetable on that. It's going to really be day-to-day, it really is."
LB John Bynes
On how it feels to be activated to the 53-man roster:"It feels good. It's just the same as it was last year. It's a good honor. Of course, everybody wants to be on the 53. It's great to be up for this game."
On what it takes to replace LB Ray Lewis:"Basically, it's just going to be the same as we did last year. When I came up, it was Jameel [McClain] and 'Ell' [Dannell Ellerbe] who stepped up and did what we did last year as a defense and just basically go out there and play football. We can't think about our leader being down. We still have to go out there and execute. I think we'll do a really good job, because we've been in the same position before, and we did really well. So, I think we'll do excellent coming up this week."
On what he can take away from the time Lewis was out last year:"We just have confidence in each and every player on this team. Regardless of if one person goes down, we feel confident that the next man will step up and do his job and do what he is supposed to do on the football field. I think that's the greatest thing about this team: We're going to execute very well, and we're going to go out there and do what we're supposed to do."
WR/RS Jacoby Jones
On how he approaches this game going up against his former team:"[It's] like every other game. It's another team that we have to face. That's a good team. [They've] got great talent. We have to get a 'W.'"
On what stands out about his time in Houston:"I think I had a good five years there. They gave me an opportunity to play in the NFL, and I appreciate them for it. I moved on to another [team] – breath of fresh air."
On how fortunate he feels that the Ravens were eager to sign him:"As soon as I saw [a] Maryland [area code] pop up on my phone, I was thinking about a Super Bowl ring. I was ready to roll."
On if he has any ill feelings towards the Texans:"None whatsoever. It's a business. It is what it is. They did what they had to do, now I have to do what I have to do."
On why he thinks it worked out that he is here instead of remaining with the Texans:"It's life, I guess. You go through your obstacles, your ups and downs. I am back up again. That's what it feels like."
On how it feels to contribute so much to the Ravens and if he expected it:"I am just playing my role. Whenever they call my number to show up and make a play, that's what I plan on doing – making that play."
On what he needed to do to complete his 108-yard kick return touchdown on Sunday vs. Dallas:"For one, I need to follow Anthony Allen, because he has the vision. He is a running back, so he has the vision to see the holes. I had that mesh with the wedge, so everything timed out right, and I just squirted right out of the gate."
On if he would normally return a kick that deep:"If they give me another kick like that, yes, I will do that again – straight up."
On winning "Celebration of the Week" on the NFL Network:"Ah, I'm closer to a 'Dancing with the Stars,' player. That's all that is." (laughter)
On if he has a dance lined up for the next touchdown:"I said I was going to be humble and not dance, but I think I have something in my sock. I've got something. I'm going to pull something out."
On why he feels like he is on "the up" right now:"We've been successful. But, you have to stay in your same routine, and you have to come in and work every day. I get on the JUGS machine every day, twice a day, even the one at home. So, as long as I am on that straight path, we're going to be alright."
On if it was important to put last year's playoff game in the past and not think about it:"Of course. That's the only way you can be successful in life. If you dwell on the past, you can't move forward. Once I put it behind me, I am rolling now."
On how he thinks the Houston fans will receive him on Sunday:"I don't even care. I am [a part of] Ravens Nation. They love me, and I love them. That's all that matters right now."
FB Vonta Leach
On the Texans' front seven:"It's a team that they've been building for years and years to come. You have Antonio Smith, you have J.J. Watt, Connor Barwin, and also you have Brooks Reed on the other side. They get after the quarterback real good – create a lot of mismatches."
On if playing physical football is the best answer to dealing with the Texans: "They play very physical. Not only are they physical, they are very athletic. J.J. Watt causes a lot of problems in there from the end techniques. Like I said, the [pressure] package can get out there, they blitz a lot. Wade Phillips has a defense that he wants to get after you a whole lot."
On if he looks forward to the collisions like old times: "It's going to be a good game. You're going to have a good offense going against a good defense on both sides of the ball, so we are going to see how it plays out."
On if he sees it as a budding rivalry: "I would say we've played each other [often enough to be a rivalry]. When I was in Houston, we played the Ravens like three times, and now I'm here, and it's probably my third time in two years that we've played. I think both teams know each other pretty well, and both teams want to be a team on the top of the AFC. It's going to be a great game – great matchups."
On if there is pride on the line even though it's not a playoff game: "Yes, you always want to go up against the best, and they are 5-1 coming into this game, and we are 5-1. May the best team win."
On how he describes WR/RS Jacoby Jones' speed: "Jacoby is real fast. He has top-end speed. He can make moves and get out of small creases, small holes and the rest is on him. He's like a track guy"
On what he thought when he first found out that WR/RS Jacoby Jones would be joining the team: "I was happy. I knew that he was an addition that could help our team on the offensive side and special teams."
On if there is anything he can take from the Green Bay game to help him against the Texans: "Yes, you can take a little bit of it. I watched the game as they were playing, and now I'm watching it on my iPad. There's a lot of stuff they did pretty good with Green Bay with utilizing their front seven. We can take a little bit from that game, but we have our own game plan that we are going to put in and do stuff that we're good at, and we're just going from there."
S Bernard Pollard
On if this is special game or just another game:"Nothing special, just another game. I think for us, nothing is … I don't think about this for myself. For us as a defense – for us as a team – like I said before and I'll continue to say, we should be pissed off, and we are pissed off about the way we played – the things that we've put on film. We own it. We are going to fix it, and I think it starts with the preparation throughout the week. Things are going to change."
On moving forward without LB Ray Lewis and CB Lardarius Webb:"This is the game. This is this game. Injuries are going to happen. We cannot help who they happen to. Guys are going to get dinged up. Guys are going to get beat up. Guys are going to be lost for the season. It just so happens that we lost two great players on Sunday. Next man up – it's been like that all year. We have been playing with a lot of guys. Like I continue to tell people, we are gelling as a defense. We are still continuing to gel, but I think it's to a point now where we have to take a stand. We have to take a stand. Two weeks in a row, 200 freaking yards rushing? We have to take a stand on what we do. We have to walk out there with pride. We have to play pissed off. We have to. It's a must. The next man up, like I said, these guys are going to step into this thing, and I think for us, we have to support our offense and special teams getting the ball back to them. We cannot continue to ask our offense to go out there and put together these 35-, 40-point games. We can't continue to do that, because it's one-sided. We aren't helping them."
On if the struggles of giving up yardage has to do with defensive coordinator Dean Pees: "Don't blame the coach. Don't blame the coach, because the coach doesn't play. Dean has made great calls. It's about us going out there and executing. We have not been executing. We are tough and physical. Nobody can question the abilities that we have. We get pressure in the backfield. We had guys in the backfield numerous times, we just did not tackle; we did not execute. I think for us, like I said, we take that personally. The coaches have done a great job. They are here all day, every day, planning, putting things together for us to go out there and get the job done, but it's on us to execute. They can't push a button to make us wrap up and tackle. We are pros; we have to go out there and play like it."
On it being difficult to bring down RB Arian Foster as a competitor: "We can't talk about anything being difficult to bring anyone down, because we haven't brought any [player down]. Dallas came in with four, five running backs, and we didn't bring anybody down. We understand what we are going up against Sunday. Arian is a great back. This scheme is powerful; it's explosive. But, that's fine. We are powerful, we are explosive, too. Like I said, we are putting things together. We have to focus on what we are doing, and we just have to go tackle."
On penetrating and breaking down into the football position and doing something: "It's just about being focused and executing. You can't question – just our toughness – you can't question are we playing fast, because we are playing fast. We just aren't executing when we get to the player with the ball. Numerous times you guys have seen that we've missed tackles, and I start with myself. Like I continue to say after the game, I pride myself on tackling, and I did not do a good job of that. Like I said, we have a team that we take that, we own it. That's on film – that's us. Two weeks in a row, so we have to put a stop to it."
On if there was some bunching up on defense: "It's just not executing on the tackle. We had one play where the running back stiffed-armed one guy and then stiffed-armed another guy and ran for a touchdown. The other guy was me. We have to get guys on the ground. We have to get them on the ground."
On how he would describe WR/RS Jacoby Jones' speed: "Jacoby is very fast, as you guys see. He is very fast. We know and understand we have burners in him. We have burners in Torrey [Smith], we have burners in Deonte [Thompson], we have burners in Anquan [Boldin]. Our tight ends are great. All of the weapons that we have on offense can run. It's actually pretty neat to see these guys together. Talking with Joe [Flacco] – him talking about his weapons – these are his weapons. This is what he has to work with, and he's having a blast."
On what the loss of CB Lardarius Webb means to this football team: "It's tough anytime you have a player go down. Obviously, you guys know Ray [Lewis]. He's a legend. Lardarius [Webb] has worked his tail off. He has worked his tail off to get where he has gotten. He's a player that the dudes enjoy. He loves the game. Having said that, this game is very tough, very physical, and the injuries when you go out there, nobody is exempt. Anybody is open to an injury at any time. Like I said, it sucks that it happened to two of our great players. It's a tough loss having Lardarius out, and it's a tough loss having Ray out. But like I said, it's the next man up. We can't continue to go back and forth about the injuries, because it's not going to heal his ACL or his triceps. [It's] the next man up, and we are going to go play."
CB Jimmy Smith
On why he feels ready to become a starter:"I've been working hard. I took this offseason to really hone in on my skills and technique, and I feel like just being a confident player, I'm ready."
On how much he feels like he's grown as a player specifically:"I think I've grown, but everybody knows I've got a lot of growing still to do as a young player. But, I think I've taken some steps in the right direction."
On if he feels he's matured as a person as well:"I think, yeah, absolutely. As a person, I've been growing since college. It's always a work in progress, but have you heard my name be called one time? Alright then. I've been doing OK at that." (laughter)
On if the technique aspect is one of the tougher things to pick up because of the concern the receiver will get behind him:"There are a lot more route combinations up here, so you've got to always keep your eyes on the man, and then turning your head is kind of a skill that you've got to kind of perfect. Then sometimes, you turn your head around, he stops, and then catches a comeback. So, it's just a lot of discipline with that, and like I said, I worked on it a lot this offseason – when to turn, when not to look and how to play the hands."
On his thoughts about getting his first start this season against a tough receiving corps and quarterback in Houston:"Obviously, everybody knows that Andre Johnson is a top-ranked receiver in the league, and [No.] 83, [Kevin] Walter, I think he's really, really good. He's been in the league for a long time and knows how to get the job done, and they're both big, physical receivers, so I think we definitely have our hands full with these receivers. And on top of that, they've got the tight ends that can really catch the ball, too, and make some big plays. So, as a secondary we're going to have to really strap it on this week."
On how much he wants to show the Ravens they were right to select him in the first round:"First-, second-, third-, seventh-[round], it doesn't matter. Once you get drafted, you want to prove what you've got. You want to prove to everybody that you belong, and it sucks that my opportunity came at a time when another player was hurt, but at the same time, you've got to step up and show what you've got."
On how he compares CB Lardarius Webb to the very best cornerbacks in the NFL:"'Webby' is a smaller player, so comparing him to other corners is a little different, because he's crafty in a sense that he'll be physical with you, but he has such good feet and such good eyes and great balance and awareness, that he can make those plays. A corner my size, we like to be more physical and stay closer to the receiver. So, I think 'Webby' excels at his technique in that way."
On who becomes the leader of the defense with LB Ray Lewis out:"Ed Reed. Ed Reed. We all know on this team that it's kind of a rank in the leaders – not kind of, it is a rank. You've got our General [Ray Lewis], and then you've got the next guy in line, and that's Ed Reed. He's been on the team, what, three or four [years], I don't know how many years less than Ray? But he's the next guy in line. He's always been a great vocal leader for us, so there's going to be a little bit of a drop, but not much."
On the differences between Lewis' and Reed's leadership styles:"I think Ray Lewis has these speeches that he'll get you going, no matter what's going on in the world. He'll just come give you a five-minute speech and you're ready to run through a brick wall. You believe everything Ray says; he's been in the game for so long. So, anybody who has that much experience, that much knowledge, you're willing to listen to him no matter what."
On if he expects the Texans to test him on Sunday as a new starter:"Absolutely. I'm a second-year corner; they're definitely going to attack me. But, I've got to strap it on and be ready."
On what it's like to have OLB Terrell Suggs back on the practice field:"His presence alone makes us smile. His presence alone makes everybody in this building smile. So, just the fact that he's getting back out there and doing what he can do, or at least starting to, gives everybody a bright smile on their face."
On if his previous experiences playing outside in nickel packages will make it an easier transition for him:"In a sense, because I do get out there and get to play 20 snaps a game. But, my role is increased now, and the only difference now is I'm taking on the 'X' this time more than the third receiver."
On whether other teams will fear the Ravens' defense without LB Ray Lewis in the middle:"I don't know if anybody is fearing us right now, in general, but Ray Lewis is 'The Land Shark.' You've got to red dot that guy; he's the greatest of all time."
On whether Suggs is the same player on the field even though he's missed significant time:"I haven't seen him practice or play, but like I said, his presence alone will bring smiles to the defense. We know what he's capable of and other teams know what he's capable of, so the fact that he's out there, they're going to have to account for him, and that's going to help a lot."
On if Suggs is slowly becoming a little louder as he nears closer to the playing field:"I don't think 'Sizzle' ever is quiet; he's always 'Sizzle,' and I think that's one of the things I appreciate about him the most."
On LB Ray Lewis' message to the defense:"I actually have not spoken to him since the last game, but I'm sure his message is always the same: Stay positive. There's no letdown. Just because one person is hurt, it's the next man up and we've got to go. We're over here fighting for a championship [and] just because one person is down, we can't be hanging all of our heads."
On if he expects Lewis to still be around and being a leader even off the field:"I expect so. That's the type of person he is, and he knows what he means to this team. So the fact that he'll come talk to us before the game, that means a lot to us."