*WEDNESDAY PODIUM TRANSCRIPTS: Week 2 vs. browns
Head Coach John Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco, S Tony Jefferson, WR Jeremy Maclin, LB C.J. Mosley & OLB Terrell Suggs
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good seeing you guys. I appreciate you being here. It is Wednesday; we are working on Cleveland. We have been hard at work, and we are looking forward to starting practice this afternoon. What do you have?"
Do you have any updates on RB Danny Woodhead and OLB Za'Darius Smith? (David Ginsburg) "Danny looks like it is going to be a while. It is a hamstring; it is a little unpredictable. But, it is going to be multiple weeks on Danny. We will just have to see how Ozzie [Newsome] wants to handle it, in terms of the roster and things like that. It is going to take Danny at least four weeks to get back, and we will see where it goes from there. Za'Darius didn't turn out to be that serious. Man, it was a painful one. On the field, I wanted to give him a leather strap and a shot of whiskey just to deal with the pain and to get him off the field. *(laughter) *But, he came through it OK. I do not know if he will be up for this week, but he will have a chance next week."
Looking at the film, QB Joe Flacco did what he had to do. Was the best part about it that he got through it without any harm? (David Ginsburg)"The best part about it was that he helped us win the game. The second best part about it was that he got through it with no harm, yes. He is good and ready to practice and ready to go."
*Do you feel a sense of pride in that your plan played out perfectly? You rested QB Joe Flacco during the preseason and he did not get the reps, but it did turn out well. *(David Ginsburg) "Well, then I would be taking credit for the plan, and it really was not my plan. My plan would have been to practice and that the quarterback practices all through training camp.* (laughter) *But our doctors and our trainers did a great job, and Joe did a great job, and that was the target and he made it."
You do not have to make a move yet, I know, but you have two running backs on the practice squad in RB Jeremy Langford and RB Alex Collins. What have you seen from them? (Bo Smolka)"Yes, we have been trying to get them ready more than anything, and those two guys have done a really good job studying the offense. They are healthy guys. Those are two very good options for us. We will see by the end of the week where we are at with running back. Running back is a position where the plays kind of … Except for the pass protections … Even the pass protections carry over from team to team. But, [pass protections], you have calls and things like that and ways that people pick stuff up that have to be learned. But, the runs themselves are pretty straight forward and easily transferrable. They are learning all that, and I wouldn't rule out someone from another team, also. We just have to see how it goes."
Does Cleveland's QB DeShone Kizer present a little bit of a threat in that he is unseen, as opposed to Bengals QB Andy Dalton, who you know very much about? (David Ginsburg)"We don't know as much about DeShone Kizer, obviously, as we would most quarterbacks that we play. There is an unknown there. But, he is also a young quarterback who is learning his way in the National Football League. We studied him a lot, we have a feel for how we are going to attack the game, in terms of our game plan stuff, and we will just try to apply it."
Speaking of Cleveland, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' defenses flock to the ball. They held the Steelers to 35 yards rushing. What have you seen from them?* (Todd Karpovich)*"Their defense has played well throughout the preseason and then in the first game they played well. As you said, they held Pittsburgh's rushing attack way down, which is quite an accomplishment. They are playing well."
Does it have the same scheme that Gregg Williams used last year? What are you seeing differently? (Mike Preston)"It is the same scheme that coach Williams has been using over the years. It is the same scheme that he used with the Rams and the same scheme that he really [has used] all the way back to the Titans, through the Saints. It is the same basic system. He has tweaked it. They game-plan stuff. Within the system, there is a lot of game-plan, so you see different things from week to week. But, yes, it is similar to what he has done in the past."
DE Brent Urban had a great preseason. What did you see from him in the opener and what would you just like to see going forward? (Jonas Shaffer)"Brent played well in the opener. You would like to see him continue to improve, continue to stack and get a little bit better, a little more dominant in everything he does. Brent is a big-time … He is a good self-critic. He looks with a critical eye with how he plays, and the first thing he will say to you is, 'Hey, I need to get better at this or that,' which you appreciate as a coach. I expect Brent to keep improving and to become a great player."
After the game, QB Joe Flacco mentioned the possibility of WR/RS Michael Campanaro kind of filling out some of RB Danny Woodhead's role. Could that be part of the plan? Is that an intriguing option?* (Jamison Hensley)*"Well, it is a logical assumption, because those types of underneath routes are things that 'Camp' can do. But, Michael Campanaro can also run all the receiver routes. He can run the seams more than a running back would do; he can get outside and line up outside. He is not going to be quite the same guy, as far as running the run plays. That is not something he has done, because he plays wide receiver. We just need to use Michael Campanaro like any player – well. We need to utilize his skill set and get him out there and have him make some plays for us."
What was your impression of S Tony Jefferson's debut? (Jordan Schatz)"I thought he played great. I thought Tony played great; the whole secondary played great. That was not unexpected at all. It was exactly what we expected, and he fulfilled. He is another guy that just wants to keep improving."
When you look at the film of the shutout … We asked LB C.J. Mosley, and he said there is always something you can work on. Is there a lot? It is never the perfect game, but what did you see that maybe the defense needs to work on? (Jerry Coleman)"It is never as good, it as never as bad – the old coaching adage – once you watch the tape is definitely true. There are plenty of things on there that we need to improve on. The thing I love about our guys is that they are ticked off. They are hacked off about the things that they did not do well. There are five plays on there that they are really not happy with. That is how you want your guys to look at their performance and keep improving."
Speaking of defense, you coached LB Ray Lewis. He was just nominated to be a part of the Hall of Fame. Is there any doubt that he goes in as a first-ballot Hall of Famer? How many guys have you coached that are in the Hall of Fame? (Jerry Coleman)"I have not kept a count on that. I don't know, who is in the Hall of Fame that I coached?"* (Senior VP of Public and Community Relations Kevin Byrne: "Jonathan Ogden, you just missed. You asked him to stay.") "Yes, I tried to. *(laughter) *For the record, I wanted to coach Jonathan Ogden. But, I don't know. There will be some guys. Ray Lewis is definitely a first-ballot, unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame – without question. There is no doubt about that. If anybody votes against him, then there is an agenda. There is no question about it. Ed Reed, same thing. There is no question about it." *(Reporter: "What about Brian Mitchell?") "I agree, Brian Mitchell. Absolutely, he should be in the Hall of Fame. I have been saying that for years. He is the returner that should go in. They have to wake up and realize there are three phases to the game of football."
How excited are you to see this defense get on the field in front of this home crowd and just that environment and atmosphere? "I am really looking forward to that. I am looking forward to our home crowd. We had a great crowd in Cincinnati. They were … There weren't as few as I thought. Once the game was over, they really ringed the stadium. They were loud. We really expect our crowd to be loud from before kickoff until well after the game is over. We want them to be roaring from the beginning. Quiet down when the offense is out there, then bring the decibel level up again and start roaring again – from first down, second down, third down, all throughout the whole game. That is what they are known for, and we want them to be at their best."
Did you like what you saw from DL/FB Patrick Ricard in his first game? There is a lot of attention on how he is doing at fullback. (Jeff Zrebiec)"Yes, Patrick played well. Again, he had two or three where he has [to get] a little bit lower, play with a little bit better base and roll his hips into the blocks a little bit better. There were other ones where he did it, and he actually knocked people back and moved them and knocked a guy or two on the ground. It was good, but again, it could be better."
QB Joe Flacco
On how he felt physically after the game:"I felt really happy with [how I felt]. Obviously, after a game your adrenaline is going and you feel good. But, I definitely was very happy with how I felt and woke up the next day, and Tuesday, and how I feel today standing here. I definitely feel like I came out of the game great – just getting better and better."
On if he had any limitations during the game: "We only threw the ball 17 times. That's kind of what we gave ourselves at the end of the first half there; we afforded ourselves the ability to come out in the second half and run the ball, kind of just establish our physical game. Especially there in that third quarter, we were able to have the ball for almost 10 minutes. That really put the game in our hands, especially when our defense came up with a stop coming out of the first half. We didn't have to do that much. We talked about it on the sidelines, maybe pressing the ball upfield a little bit, but at that point, I kind of waived and gave my two cents, like, 'Hey man, we're up 20-0. There's about seven or eight minutes left in the game. We just have to keep doing what we're doing, because this is how we're going to win this game.' If we would've done something like that – maybe it would've worked, maybe it wouldn't have. But, I think the downside was way more than the upside, in that case."
On if that was the first time in his career he advocated to not throw the ball:"No.* (laughs) *It's all about winning football games. When you're playing those types of games, sometimes you lose track of that. But, I think when you're the quarterback and you realize you're up 20 points and the most important thing is winning the football game – you really don't care at that point. It was obviously one of those games where we weren't going to go crazy and throw for 600 yards. It doesn't really matter to me. I just want to win."
On the benefit of sitting out the preseason with his injury: "I said from the beginning that it wasn't ideal, but that was the only way we were going to do it. Like I said before, if it was the regular season or the Super Bowl or anything like that, then yes, I would be getting myself ready to play. But, it would then turn into something that I would probably be dealing with all year, and I would never be 100 percent. So, to get myself ready at 100 percent – what was the best plan for that? You come to realize that the best thing is to not play in the preseason. While it's not ideal, at the end of the day, it's still the best decision out of all your options."
On if he is physically capable of throwing 40 times a game:"Yes, there's no doubt. I have no limitations on Sunday when it comes to throwing the football, moving around, doing all those things."
On if he's content on being a quarterback that runs the show and lets the defense takes care of things:"If we're going to win a bunch of football games, we're going to have to do it a handful of different ways throughout the course of the season. But, if we can win doing what we did on Sunday, then there's no need to do anything else."
On how beneficial Hue Jackson can be to a rookie quarterback: "He was a part of a good team we had here early in my career. He was a very emotional guy and gets you ready to play in a very confident way. He allows you to go out there and play fast, and free, and wants you to go out there and play with emotion and let it all go. I think that his coaching style and his offensive philosophy allows the quarterback to do that."
On if he thinks about the Ravens' dominating series record over the Browns during game preparations: "You think about it because there's no way around it. I mean, you asked me a question about it, for instance, so things like that. It's a completely new team, and these guys have changed a lot over the years with different coaches, new coordinator and new personnel. It'd be tough for us to come in here and think of these guys as the same old team. They're constantly evolving, just like we are. Each year is a new year and a new game. These guys always present a lot of challenges for us, and we have very good games against them. You think about a ton of games we've won in the last half of the fourth quarter, and then we were able to run it out. They're a very good football team. They're very young. They're going to play with a ton of passion, energy, especially on the defensive side of the ball. When you can play with that kind of energy and run to the ball, that's really what leads to good defenses. That's how it starts. It's running to the football, and these guys definitely do that."
On if he wore a protective back brace during the game: "No, I wore my normal gear – shoulder pads, rib pads and nothing else." (Reporter: "Knee brace?") "Knee brace, yes. I wore my knee brace."
On if his back is fully healed:"Yes, I feel really good. I'm not going to say I'm 100 percent, but, there are no limitations come Sunday."
On if the message of, "It's just one game," is an important one to instill in teammates:"It's definitely an important message. That's the way this league is, especially in Week 1. We have 15 games left. You never know what's going to happen. You have to put your best foot forward every day and be the one in charge of that outcome for the rest of the season. It sounds corny; it's cliché. But, you have to take it one week at a time. All these teams have the ability to come up and bite you. We feel like we have a good team [and are] building a good thing. But part of that is being mentally disciplined and being able to handle yourself well after a win, being able to get yourself in here early the next week and get right back to work and forget about the last one."
On what it's like having former TE Dennis Pitta around the facility as part of the WBAL Radio broadcast and if the rumor was true that he didn't let Pitta sit next to him on the plane:"He's in the back of the plane. I'm not going to let him sit right next to me and cramp my space – that's for sure. (laughter) It's kind of funny to see him around. It's always good to have ex-teammates around, in any capacity. I definitely asked Stan [White, WBAL radio broadcast team] after the game how he did. I'm not going to go back and listen to the radio copy; I don't care that much. (laughter) I'll just kind of take everyone's word for it – his word, Stan's word, Gerry [Sandusky's, WBAL radio broadcast team]. Dennis, I think he definitely thought it was pretty cool. He had great things to say about Gerry and Stan and how impressive they are up there."
S Tony Jefferson
On if facing a rookie quarterback is more or less challenging than a veteran quarterback:"You always want to respect everyone you go against – rookie, veteran, anybody. I've gone [up] against some rookies who balled. You never want to take any rookie lightly. We did do a good job against Andy [Dalton], but it's a new week. We have to go out there and perform."
On if the defense focuses on something specific when facing a rookie quarterback:"He hasn't had much experience going up against NFL-ready defenses. The more you can confuse the quarterback, the better stuff will happen. So, we're going to try to do the best we can, disguising. But let's just let our defense play the way we know it can play, and the outcome will be what we want it to be."
On QB DeShone Kizer: "Strong arm – the kid has a strong arm. There's not much [film] to watch, but I did go back in the files and look at Notre Dame a little bit. The guy has a strong arm; he's accurate. I think he's going to be a good player in this league. We're not going to take him lightly. He has some weapons, too. Hue Jackson is a great offensive mind, so we have to be ready."
On how loud M&T Bank Stadium will be on Sunday: "I heard it's going to be really loud, so it's probably going to exceed what I thought it'd be – just like when I came here. Everybody said it'd be a good place; it's a great place, great people. I can't wait until Sunday."
On what film he has watched on Cleveland QB DeShone Kizer: "Notre Dame Kizer. Preseason Kizer. Game 1 Kizer."
On if he has seen improvement with QB DeShone Kizer:"Yes. Like I said, Kizer is a good quarterback. We have to play ball."
On how gratifying it was to be part of an exceptional Ravens defense his first game:"That was a dream come true. I never pitched a shutout in the NFL. To come here, and do it with the group we did it with, and how hard we worked in the summer – that outcome was great. Like I said, that week is over with. We're on a new one. Let's try to do it again."
On how the defense follows up a five-turnover, shutout performance:"Do it again."
On the game plan against a mobile, strong-armed quarterback like QB DeShone Kizer:"You have to keep an eye on him, but still play defense. And he can run, too. Keep him in the pocket, play defense, and let's roll."
On if his game stats showed how comfortable he was out on the field:"I did alright. The stats can [be deceiving]. There are still some things that I could fix. I have to get my hand on some balls. There are obviously some things that I could fix. Let's get ready for this week. I need an interception, so I'm waiting on that one. [I'm] trying to go to the crib when I get it, too. Be ready to celebrate with me, alright?"
On if he has a celebration planned:"Oh, yes. I've been working on that one for a few weeks."
On if the secondary teased DB Lardarius Webb for waiting for the interception and then not getting in the end zone: "No – he fielded a punt, basically. He got caught, but that was a great play. We scored on that drive. If we didn't get any points off that, then we have to get on him, but we got some points, so we're happy with that."
WR Jeremy Maclin
On his feeling on a type of game where the defense dominates and the offense does enough to win: "I think it is kind of the same mindset. If that is what it took to win the game, that is what I am for. There are going to be games in this league where it will be like that. There are going to be games where you have to throw it 35 or 40 times. I have played a lot of football, and I understand that. I think that people do not need to get caught up in how you win. It is just 'Ws' and 'Ls' that count."
On if QB Joe Flacco had the veteran presence that he expected and if he seemed confident: "Absolutely. I think – and not just for him, but for any player that comes off of injury – the last thing you want to do is go out there timid. If you go out there timid, a lot of the time that is when bad things happen. He was fine. His presence was fine. He led the huddle like he was supposed to. As an offense, we will continue to get better."
On how close he has become with the other receivers:"We are pretty close. I think it is a lot easier when you guys respect one another. I think that was something Mike [Wallace] and I have had from afar. I have gotten the chance to kind of know him over the course of the years, even in college a little bit at certain events and stuff. We have become close – cracking jokes on each other and stuff like that. I think when you have a friendship off the field, it makes it a lot easier to play together on the field."
On the importance of reaching the end zone in his first regular season game with a new team: "My one and only job is to be reliable for the team, for the quarterback, for the offense. That particular play, I think more credit probably goes to Joe [Flacco] for putting us in the situation to be successful. As a receiver, it is my job to go out there and make plays. Whenever the ball comes my way, it is my job to come up with the ball and make the play."
On if he was able to show that he was fully healthy on his touchdown after dealing with injuries last season: "Yes. That was not really my mindset – to go out there and show everyone that I am still healthy. But if I was not healthy, I would not be playing. I am healthy. I am happy that year is behind me. I am happy where I am now. I am happy that I am part of this organization, and I am looking forward to winning more ballgames."
ILB C.J. Mosley
On the focuses of playing against a rookie quarterback: "Disguising will help a lot, depending on the quarterback. Some rookies can read coverage better than others. We don't really know how good [DeShone Kizer] is at reading, but definitely disguising. That will give us time to either set up big plays for us or give our defense rush time to get back there and get some sacks on them. From what we're seeing so far, he likes to hold the ball a little bit. The more disguise that we can do, the more we can keep him in the pocket."
On if he found a lot of negatives in the Cincinnati film: "There wasn't a lot, but there's always stuff you can improve on, whether it's a win, loss, shutout, depending on how many points you get. There's always something we can get better at. They got a few runs on us, a few big plays in the passing game. [Cleveland's] offense is similar to Cincinnati's, so they're definitely going to be looking at stuff that [Cincinnati] hurt us on and stuff the Browns hurt us on the past. If you remember last year, the first game last year, it wasn't pretty that whole first half. We have our hands full with this team. We're definitely not looking over it."
On if rotating weakside linebackers creates a challenge:"No, it's not a challenge for me. We've been doing this kind of rotation this whole offseason. To those guys' credit, they put themselves in a position where the table is still open. Everybody's doing a great job of performing and making plays. As far as right now, we still have the rotation going, but at some point, one of them is going to have to step up and take that spot. Like I said, to their credit, they all put themselves in a position to do that."
On if there's a tangible difference in energy when the defense plays at home versus on the road:"I feel like our intensity is the same, but playing at home is an advantage to us. The offense has to signal more, and it throws them off for their snap count and making adjustments. For us, it makes us more comfortable, so to speak, playing at home. As far as our intensity and our mentality for the game, that doesn't change depending where we're [playing]."
On if he's looking forward to playing the first home game of the season: "I'm looking forward to it a lot. I'm sure [the fans] are too, the way we started the season off. There has been a lot of anticipation for this team's defense, and I think they're ready to see that same type of play we had away, at home."
On his impressions of Browns RB Isaiah Crowell:"Downhill runner. He'll also be a perimeter runner, but he's definitely a big-play guy. Last year, the first time we played [Cleveland], he had an 80-yard [touchdown run] on us. He can break tackles, so we have to make sure to gang-tackle – and that's for all their running backs. They have a lot of playmakers, and they do a great job of screening good runs for them."
On who has the best hands on defense: "I guess we'll see whoever has the most interceptions at the end [of the season]."
On if his pick against Cincinnati was the best pick of his career: "Well, I did have that one one-handed [interception] last year, so I would say right now, that's the best one I've had, as far as my NFL career."
On what caused the defense to create turnovers: "Besides going to actually make a pay, usually good effort gets you a turnover, a lot of tipped balls. If you're running to the ball, that ball can pop up in your hand, being in the right place at the right time. 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] had a … He was on the back side when he had his strip sack that he had. Just playing hard and playing through the play – that'll put you in the right position to make a lot of plays."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On how the Browns this year are different than teams Baltimore has faced in the past: "They are younger. They are more athletic. Hue Jackson, he has always matched up with us pretty well. He has always given us problems. Expect something. You have to be looking for something out of Hue."
On how excited he is for the defense to play in front of the home crowd: "As far as we are concerned, last week didn't happen. We are just trying to go 1-0 this week. We are taking it as our first game, and of course, it is our first home game. It is our home opener. You kind of have to have a short memory. Because this is the NFL; your fate can change in a week. We are acting like last week was just a dream. We are going out there to play football."
On if the crowd could be particularly loud this week: "Once you have been in the NFL, you have experienced all types of crowds and noises. They are going to be excited, but that also may hinder us, too. We still have to play in the noise; they have to play in the noise. We have to make sure our communication is solid. We are taking all of that into consideration."
On if there is an element of unknown with the Browns and how to prepare for that:"You kind of just have to take it. You have to react to it when you see it. Like I said, we are expecting something out of Hue [Jackson]. Don't be surprised if you see '22' [Jabrill Peppers] back there taking a snap or something – a little Wildcat [formation]. We are covering all grounds."
On his thoughts on Browns QB DeShone Kizer: "I like him. He is a big arm; he is a big kid. They have a tremendous amount of faith in the kid that he is their quarterback for years to come. I think he played pretty well in the first game."
On if he likes playing against a rookie quarterback: "It is not really the rookie quarterback I'm really facing. I have to go against the Hall of Famer [Joe Thomas.] Those matchups are always fun. You always want to play against the best. We do not really look at it like that. They have to execute as an offense. We have to execute as a defense. We have to go against Hue Jackson. We are taking all of that into consideration."
On his thoughts on Browns T Joe Thomas being a few snaps away from 10,000 straight snaps: "Really? Damn. That is legit. That is legit. That is pretty amazing, especially in this league. It is a physical league for his position. That is a pretty awesome milestone, accomplishment."
On how meaningful it is to start his 15th season with such a great individual performance:"It felt good for the moment. But, if we go out this week and give up 34 points, it is not going to feel so good. Like I said, we lived in the moment, but we kind of moved on. Last week was last week. We have a whole new set of problems this week, and we want to go out there and play Raven football. We are just looking forward to going out there and executing as a team and trying to go 1-0 this week."
On if he has considered wearing the gladiator mask again during intros: "I have always believed you don't do the same gag twice. But, you never know. It depends if we are feeling good as a team. If we get a good series of wins and we are rolling, we may see some kind of something. I do not want to give the NFL any hints to fine me. But, you never know. You always want to try to do something new."