Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Good to see everybody. Thanks for being here. [We're] just getting started, obviously. We had some good time off. As we talked about on the conference call, the guys got away, they got back, we had a practice on Monday, which was solid, and now we're getting ready for the actual Cleveland preparation, and we're off to a good start."
**Did the storm affect you in any personal ways, work ways or preparation ways? *(Nestor Aparicio) *"I found out that you've got to keep your battery charged on your generator. I wasn't aware of that. So, I was out there in a driving hurricane jumpstarting my generator. It worked though; it started right up. My wife was greatly surprised we were able to get that fixed." *(laughter)
**John, how did the rest work for Terrell Suggs? Did he regroup well, and do you expect him to play more plays this week? *(Dave Ginsburg) *"He seems good. We expect him to take on a full share this week, which he pretty much did last week. He was pretty close to that last time anyway – not quite, but he was in that neighborhood. We'll have to see. Obviously, it's only the second game back, so we'll have to see how it goes during the game and during the week."
**A lot has been said about leadership. Does [Suggs] provide some of that? You lose a guy like Ray [Lewis]; can he provide some of that? *(Dave Ginsburg) *"Sure. Terrell has been a great leader in his way all through the years, and to me, he's growing in that all the time. He's been a leader for us all year. He hasn't been able to probably step up front as much as he'd like to because he wasn't playing, but he's been a part of it all year. You're right. Now you see that he's playing, he's really taking on even a bigger role."
**How was Suggs a few days after the game? *(Glenn Younes) *"He seemed fine. He didn't seem to have after effects at all. He practiced on Tuesday with the rest of the group and seemed good."
**Three of your next four games are divisional matchups. Is this the stretch that you focused the most on when you looked at the schedule in the beginning of the year? *(Kris Jones) *"No. Probably we focused on the first game first and then the second game second, in all honesty. But, this is a stretch during the year that is pivotal for every team because you're going into November, and November is really when you're able to position yourself for that stretch run, which is December and January football. So, it's a big opportunity for us, and what we do starting this week and going forward is going to determine where we stand when the games mean the most. So, there's a stepping stone effect here during the season. We're positioned well right now. We need to continue to improve so we can set ourselves up for when it counts the most."
**What do you see from their rookies Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson compared to when you saw them a few weeks back? *(Pete Gilbert) *"Well, the same talent is there, but sure, they're more experienced. They're further down the road than they were at that time. Weeden has been making some nice plays. They're winning football games. They're finding ways to win games. They're a very physical outfit in all ways, and, of course, Weeden is leading that. They're doing a good job."
**How much has the receiver from Baylor, Josh Gordon, added to their offense? I know he has made some big plays. *(Matt Zenitz) *"They've added that quick-strike capability now. They've made some big plays, some down-the-field throws. He's a big part of that."
**How much is Joe Flacco involved, if any, in the implementation of the game plan on a week-to-week basis? *(Drew Forrester) *"I don't really have a percentage on it, but he's involved. He has a large say, like any quarterback would, on what plays stay in, what plays go out, things he likes, things he doesn't like in situations. So, I would say that between he and [QBs coach] Jim [Caldwell] and [offensive coordinator] Cam [Cameron], he's a big part of that."
**Same question for gameday … *(Glenn Younes) *"Same answer. He's got to be a big part of that, and the offense is built more and more that way now. [It's designed] where he can call plays at the line [and] he can change plays. He's done a good job of that."
**John, do you get the sense that players are sick and tired of hearing about this road [issues] thing? *(Jeff Zrebiec) *"What's to be sick about? It's a factor. We've got to play better on the road. We know that. We're going to hear about it until we do better. So, it's doesn't really matter if we're sick of it or not, we just have to do better."
**How was this bye compared to the other ones here as far as what you're saying? Are you seeing more things you need to improve, and is that a challenge? *(Morgan Adsit) *"If you look back every year, it seems like it's this way every year. It seems like we've been in this situation every single year. And probably, if you went back and looked at it, you'd probably find that to be true. It's always that way. It's that way pretty much around the league. Maybe Houston is feeling pretty good about themselves right now, but they weren't the week before. So, we understand that's part of the process, and we need to make the most of it."
**QB Joe Flacco
On what he is going to be for Halloween:"I'm not being anything. *(laughter) *I don't like getting dressed up. Sometimes I get talked into it."
On what he sees in the Cleveland Browns' defense: "They're a good 'D.' They play hard; they're physical. They're bringing a good amount of pressure and trying to get to the quarterback a little bit. The biggest thing is with all of the teams in our division – these guys are just the same – they play physical ball. They make it a full 60 minutes for you."
On if the offensive struggles on the road keep him up at night: "Nothing keeps me up at night. When I hit that pillow – it's out. (laughter) That's the few hours that you get to just let your mind rest and go after it. But, we definitely look at it. Communication is definitely more of an issue when you're playing on the road – when you're playing on the road and it's a game where you're playing against good teams where they're in the game for a while. There's ways that we just have to go about communicating better when we have to, and at times, limiting some of that, so we can let our guys go play."
On what he thinks the team owes its success against the Browns to: "We come in here – we prepare every week. When it comes down to Sundays, we've been able to go out there and play pretty well. That's not to say … I think if you go back and actually individually look at most of the games, it's kind of crazy that we haven't lost, because there have been a lot of close ones. Even all the way back to my rookie year, they were beating us up there and we came back. There have been a lot of games that have come down to the wire – including the last one we played against them."
On whom he would pick as an offensive MVP in the league right now: "I would say that the Falcons are playing pretty well, and Matt [Ryan] is playing pretty well. I don't necessarily know statistics, but it seems like he's playing pretty well, and their team is, obviously, playing really well."
On if there will be less no-huddle offense on the road: "It's a possibility – maybe early on for us to get into a little bit of a rhythm. We are still keeping that same mindset. We want to come out [and] we want to put pressure on these guys. We think it gives us an advantage, and it's something that we've been building, and we're not going to let it go. I think it's part of the reason that we've been very good at times. For us to throw that out would be a little bit foolish of us just because a couple of times here and there we haven't played great offense. I think we're really building something here. I think that's a big part of it, so I think we have to continue to make that a big part of it."
On what he makes of OLB Terrell Suggs coming out and playing the way he did at Houston and how he is playing in practice: "It's pretty crazy. He talked about coming back. I believed him, but at the same time, there's always a little bit of me or probably all of us that said, 'OK. He's talking himself into coming back, but how quickly is he really going to be able to?' The fact that he was able to get back out there and play as many snaps and play as well as he did is pretty impressive. It, obviously, says a lot about who he is."
RB Ray RiceOn after using the bye week to assess the offensive road struggles, what he feels they need to do to fix them:"One thing we have to do offensively, we want to score points. We want to keep drives. We want to stay on the field. I've always talked about it, but we want to execute at a high level. It's tough to win on the road; we already know that. As professionals and a growing offense, it's our job to go out and execute on the road at a high level. We owe that, No. 1, to ourselves, but to the organization and our fans to go out there and not lay an egg on the road."
On if he thinks he should get at least 25 touches:"Yes, like I said, I always try to factor myself in – whether it's running or receiving – but I know where I am most effective. That 20-25 touch range is usually pretty good, but we know there's only one football to go around. With the talent that we have on our offense, the more and more we are capable of using everyone, the better we'll be. Obviously, this is the healthiest I've felt in a while – obviously, coming off the bye and doing the right things to take care of my body. I'm looking forward to a nice workload the second half of the season."
On how much harder the no-huddle is on the road:"It's definitely harder to do the no-huddle on the road, because you have to factor in the other team's crowd, and Joe [Flacco] has to communicate to a lot of people. We try to come up with little different things – little different signals – but we all have to be on the same page. I think the second half of the year, the best thing we have to do is all be on the same page, and let Joe drive this thing, let the coaches call the plays, and we'll go out there and execute at a high level."
On what Browns RB Trent Richardson has been able to do as a rookie running back:"Of course. I'm a huge fan of his. After the game, I've been exchanging jerseys with a few guys. I might have to go ahead and tell Trent, 'Let me borrow one of those jerseys.' I might not even have to exchange with him. I'm just going to ask for his. (laughter) He's a great back. I watched him a lot in college, and he's just doing what he did in college – obviously, taking it to the next level. There's a reason why he was a first-round pick."
On what is it about Richardson's game that he appreciates:"No. 1, he's very powerful. The biggest thing is that he's short. I think he weighs about 20 more pounds than me, and he's fast, explosive and he never goes down on the first hit. It's always the first hit, and then he's dragging you for an extra five yards. I think that's pretty impressive as a running back."
On how he would explain the success that he has had in Cleveland the last couple of years:* *"You just brought that to my attention. Last year we caught them in a rainy situation. I love playing on grass. It's a little different surface. Obviously, when you're cutting, you get better traction on the turf. Any running back will tell you on grass you can't over pursue as much, because the cutting is different on that grass, and obviously, on a wet field it's really a lot different. We just went out there and ran the ball really well last year, but that's last year. Their defense is playing at a high level, and we're going to have a challenge ahead of us; we know. It's no surprise that they just beat a great team in the San Diego Chargers. They are coming off a high, and we have to go in there, and like coach 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] said, 'It's a must-win situation for us.'"
On how much better FB Vonta Leach makes him:"Vonta Leach is, No. 1, to me, he's the best fullback in the league. There's not too many of them left, and he's just a pure, hard-nosed football player. Obviously, when he's on the field, our offense is very successful. For me, using that big guy in front of me is very good. He likes to get up on linebackers. A lot of teams – what they've been doing lately to him is trying to take his legs out, but he's been doing a great job of covering those guys up, getting them blocked. I've been able to read and find my cuts behind him. The one thing that we are doing on offense really well is we aren't having negative run plays. I think we will just carry that momentum on to the second half of the year and try to continue on running and passing the ball and doing what we do well."
On if he thinks they tip their hand offensively when Leach is in the game:"No, because I think we mix it up a lot. This year – the second half of the season – I think we just have to use him more. We can use him on passing situations because of the great blocker that he is. I don't want to say when he's in the game we know we're running the ball. We just have to find ways to, obviously, use him more and more and keep him on the field as much as we can. Obviously, we will try to get as many big plays as we can when he's out there."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On how he is feeling:"I feel like I'm getting better, slowly but surely getting back to my normal self. But, we're just going to take it week by week."
On if he surprised himself by playing at Houston two weeks ago:"No. I wasn't surprised for the simple fact [that] everybody pretty much in the building knew I could do it, I could come back. It was just all a matter of when. I just really wanted to get back. I really wanted to get back. As you all already know, we have a lot of unfinished business. We have a lot of work undone, and I want to be a part of that. So, getting back was the No. 1 priority from the jump."
On if the bye week has helped him to recover:"An extra week always helps you to recover – that's why they put it in there. It definitely helped that I didn't have to play two back-to-back games, and we got to see how the tendon feels after you play a game, and it felt pretty good. So, you just got to nurse it the whole week."
On if he was unusually sore last week during the bye:"No, I wasn't unusually sore. Pain is expected, but it wasn't more than usual."
On if he has assumed more of a leadership role with LB Ray Lewis injured:"A little bit more, but not so much because his presence is still felt. He still talks to all of us. He texted all of us the night before, and he texted all of us the morning of [the Houston game]. So, his presence is still here. His physical presence on the field is not there, but we have a standard that we're going to be held by, especially when he gets back. But, it's not just going to fall on, in particular, me, Ed [Reed] or Haloti [Ngata]. It's really going to fall on all of us. This whole year has kind of been the 'next man up' type of mentality. Like I said, we're [going] to get it fixed, and we're ready to go."
On how it felt to back on the field and making plays:"It was short-lived because of everything that was going on at the time. It was short-lived. It was like, 'Alright, I'm out here, but we have to play.' We were playing an AFC opponent and a lot was riding on that game, and they played one hell of a game. So, it was kind of just taking on all the emotion that comes with playing in an NFL football game. So, it was short-lived but, like I said, it was to be expected. It wasn't a matter of if I was coming back; I think it was just a matter of when. I was able to come back for the Texans game; we just didn't get the result that we all wanted."
On if it is important for him to get back and help the struggling defense:"One man is not going to change that. It's definitely a team effort. So, I think we all have to do things better, just the whole defense. It's not one man. It's not the personnel. It's really just executing and being accountable and being where you're supposed to be. Like I said, that's not a stat for one man. It's a team thing. We all just have to get back to playing Ravens-style football. Like I said, we're not panicking, we're not hitting the panic button, but we know we have to address it and it needs to get fixed ASAP."
On if he has an expectation of how many snaps he will play Sunday at Cleveland:"No. If you have to go beyond the call of duty, then so be it. It's pretty much by any means necessary. We don't know how less or much I am going to play, but we're going to play football, so you don't know about all of that until game day."
On if he was surprised how many snaps he played at Houston:"No. Like I said, the rehab process was a challenge. It wasn't easy, but we all made a decision that if I wasn't go to be able to play 'x' amount of plays, then it wasn't necessarily [good] for me to line back up. It wasn't surprising at all."
On what his fitness level is like:"I don't know. I guess we just have to check it game by game. You never know what type of game you have sometimes. You may be in a 60-play game, and sometimes you may be in a 90 [-play game]. I just hope it's not the latter."
On if he was surprised at the reaction he got around the league for playing:"You know what? The crazy, ironic thing is, and this is probably a [downside] on me, the only people I really listen to is you guys, and I don't really listen to you all that much. *(laughter) *I wasn't really paying attention around the league. I was really still kind of bitter that we lost, that I couldn't come back in winning effort. I really didn't hear the things around the league. The thing is we said I was going to come back this year, and we came back. You guys shouldn't have been shocked by it. Like I said, the only disappointing thing is I didn't come back in a winning effort. I pretty much didn't listen to what everybody else said. The simple fact [is] that we lost the game, and we had a chance to be No. 1 in the AFC, and we didn't do that. But the world doesn't end. It's not the end of the world. We still can achieve that goal. We just have to play better football."
On if there was reaction from other players around the league to his return:"I got a text from a couple of guys that used to be Ravens. A couple of them texted me. People that know what it's like to actually come back from an injury – whether it's an ACL, an Achilles, any injury that sidelines you – getting back is very hard. So, any player that comes back from an injury, I have a tremendous amount of respect for. I knew it was going to be a task, but I didn't think it was going to be as hard as it was. Some of the former Ravens, a lot of former Ravens hit me [up]. Out there [on the field], a lot of the Texans congratulated me on getting back."
On if his expectations change going forward after the success he had at Houston:"I didn't know that expectations ever did. We live by a certain standard around here in this [Ravens] purple. So, the expectations never changed. We are going to go play football, and we have to go play winning football, and that's for every man lining up."
On if he likes having a divisional opponent for their next game: "Cleveland, they always fight us. They always play us tough no matter what portion of the season we play them, no matter where we play them or no matter each of the team's records, situations. It's always a fight between Baltimore and Cleveland. I think both sides like that. It's good for football, and they're really playing inspired football right now. So, it should be a fun game."
On what he has seen from Browns QB Brandon Weeden and RB Trent Richardson: "They look like they are building something there. They look like they have something, and I guess you can congratulate their GM [Tom Heckert] for bringing both of those guys in. Like I said, they are playing inspired football. They are doing pretty good."