Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Great to see everybody. Thanks for coming out. We're excited to go to work. It's the beginning of the work week for the Raiders, and our guys are in good spirits. We had a good morning of meetings, and we're ready to get at it."
**Does it seem like quite awhile since you've been at home? *(Joe Platania) *"I guess it has, now that you mention it. Sure, it's been a few weeks."
**It's the first time in the team's history there has been only one home game in October and November? *(Joe Platania) *"I haven't thought about it that much, to be honest with you. We've been thinking about other things, but the schedule-makers did it the way they did it. We've got some home games coming up in December. We're dealing with this game, that's what we're looking at."
**You talk a lot about communication on both sides of the ball. It's been a couple games now that Jameel McClain has had the defensive headset on. Do you think the communication is improving defensively? *(Matt Vensel) *"I'd agree with that. I think it is getting better. It's getting smoother. Jameel is doing a better job of getting the calls to the guys, getting the change-ups to the guys. And, of course, just him operating, having to get the call, make the call and play … That's something you might take for granted a little bit, but it's a little more on his plate than he's used to, so he's getting better with that."
*John, we saw a little bit of Tyrod Taylor this past weekend. I know you mentioned in the past that his athleticism needs to be on the field. Without tipping your hand, are you hoping to get him on the field more in the second half? *(Bo Smolka) *"Right, we got him out there for a play, so I guess my influence had a big hand in that. We really pushed him out there. *(laughing) But, it was a big play. It was an important play. He kept the clock running and got us a little closer in there for that field goal. He's a talented, gifted player, and we do need to find ways to take advantage of that."
It's been a while since the Ravens have faced Carson Palmer. What does he bring as a quarterback to the Raiders' offense? (Ed Lee)"As you know, he's not going to be intimidated by the environment at all. He's been in it many times. He manages and operates the offense as well as anybody, and some of the same things he did in Cincinnati, he's doing now. He can make every throw. There's not a throw he can't make, and when he's on, he's on time; he can really stick it in a tight window. He's a fearless competitor. You watch him play with tremendous enthusiasm out there, and he loves to compete. So, we've got a lot of respect for Carson Palmer."
**With Denarius Moore having a nice year as well as their tight end [Brandon Myers], what have you seen from this group of pass catchers? *(Matt Zenitz) *"Denarius, obviously, was a great pickup for them. He was a free agent out of Tennessee. What a great signing by them two years ago. They've got speed, really, everywhere. [Darrius] Heyward-Bey is doing a nice job. He's a downfield threat, a double-move threat [and] becoming a better route-runner all the time. All of their receivers, all of their guys, [Marcel] Reese, No. 45, has become a multi-dimensional threat for them. They line him up at fullback, tailback, anywhere, as a wide receiver. He was a college wide receiver. So, they've got some versatile threats out there for Carson."
*When you think about the season in the big picture, we're at the halfway point right now. Do you feel like you guys are on track to get where you want to go? (Childs Walker) *"We've always felt that way. We've never felt that we weren't on track. Sometimes there might be a couple of spikes loose. Everybody kind of goes through that. We're just trying to improve every week. We're trying to be the best team we can be this week, because that gives you the best chance to win this game, and it also puts you in the best position going forward in order to become the best team you can be long term. It's just not that complicated. It's tough. It's not easy, but we're trying to do that."
The way that Dannell Ellerbe has played recently, is this a case that once he got the opportunity, he was always going to be ready to play at this level? Or is there something maturity-wise that you have seen that has allowed him to step up a little bit more? (Glenn Clark)"He's done a great job of maturing, like they all do. He's become a real pro. But, there was really no doubt in our mind that when the opportunity came he was going to do well, because he's always done well with every opportunity he's gotten – whether it be special teams, in the dime/nickel package or in the regular package. He's never not done well. He's been up to every challenge so far, and I expect him to just keep getting better."
**Is Jimmy Smith another player that you've seen maturity from, and how do you feel like he has adapted now being a starter? *(Ryan Mink) *"He's done well. He's played well. He hasn't been disappointing at all, I don't think. You also look at the upside: Jimmy is just starting, so the upside talent with him … He really wants to learn. He really listens. He asks a lot of questions. He is a very conscientious player. There is no doubt in my mind he's going to be a great one. I feel the same way about Dannell. The sky is the limit."
When you see your opponent struggle the week before like against the run where [Tampa Bay RB] Doug Martin has a crazy day, do you think there are some things to exploit? (Pete Gilbert) "Well, you do. You look at it both ways. I'm sure people have looked at us the same way over the last five, six, seven weeks. So sure, but when you look at the tape, you understand why those things happen. They can play a lot better against the run. They do play better against the run. There are four or five plays in there that just went big for them. You see all those other players where they do a great job, and they've got a real physical front. They're mammoth. They play really hard on defense. Philip Wheeler has just been all over the field for them – run defense, pass rush, pass coverage. I can mention every guy across the front, but obviously [Richard] Seymour is kind of the bell cow there. They've got plenty of guys that are tough to block."
This is the third of five cross-country trips the Raiders have to make this season. Is that a disadvantage to the team, and what type of impact does that have on the team and coaching staff? (Kris Jones)"I just haven't even thought about it. I'd be faking it if I gave you any kind of answer on that. That's probably a better question for coach [Dennis] Allen. You can ask me that in two or three weeks, whenever we go to San Diego."
**What is your level of concern regarding the number of penalties that have been called against the Ravens this season? *(Ed Lee) *"Not happy about it. I'm not happy about it. We had gotten to the point where that wasn't an issue for us. Some of those calls early in the year with the replacement officials, we looked at and we said, 'We don't know about those calls.' But, the ones since then are all calls that we need to be concerned about. We have to clean that up. We're capable of doing it. We've never been a highly-penalized team. That's something that I know we are going to do better."
**Is it as simple as telling players you need to reduce penalties in a specific area, or is it deeper than that? *(Ed Lee) *"It's two [things]: It's talking about it, but it's also doing it in practice, and we've done that with the pre-snap penalties. The pre-snap penalties have been cleaned up. We have to continue building on that. That can be a problem at any time. The Raiders do a great job of drawing you offside. They've had two huge plays in the last few weeks where they've drawn teams offsides in third- and fourth-and-less-than-five. So, that's going to be something the defense will have to be aware of, for instance. The helmet-to-helmet contacts, we've had a few of those. Those are tougher, because sometimes the helmet drops down into the strike zone after a player is committed. But, I told them this morning, 'Hey, let's just hit them where we are supposed to hit them. Let's get down and hit them in the body where we are supposed to hit them. We'll hit them just as hard. Maybe we'll hit them harder.' But, we have to stay off the helmet-to-helmet stuff. Obviously, the coach, don't get one on the sideline. That's my own issue. I'm quite certain we can get that corrected. So, it's across the board."
**Did your players give you a tough time on that? *(Pete Gilbert) *"You know, they really didn't. They really didn't. I put a couple of players in charge during the game to keep an eye on me. I'm sure they'll be happy to do that."
**With Carson Palmer getting traded in the middle of the season last year, how long does it take for someone to assimilate like that? *(Bo Smolka) *"I don't think it takes very long. We didn't play them last year, so I really don't know the situation last year. But, [Raiders offensive coordinator] Greg Knapp has been doing this for a long time as an offensive coordinator. Carson has been in that system for a number of years. So, he looks very much in rhythm, from what I'm seeing."
From your perspective, what has been the key to the success in the red zone on both sides of the ball? (Evan Washburn)"Our guys take is seriously. They understand how important it is, and we work on it all the time. We work on it, really, every practice from mini-camp right until now. It's the most important part of the field. It determines whether points are scored, so it's an important part of the game. It's probably been one of the major keys, along with the turnovers, give-aways and take-aways, to our success."
**Both their starting running backs had high ankle sprains last week. Does it make your job tougher knowing that there are a lot of things that they can do in the backfield that you haven't seen on tape this year? *(Jason Butt) *"It's a little bit unpredictable. We'll probably see as the week goes along, but we're really not worried about it. You just can't be. They are going to run their offense, and whoever they put there at running back is going to run the same plays they are running. They're not going to change their whole offense. They may, obviously, lean in some direction based on which back is back there. Maybe they will sign somebody, but we'll try to defend the offense."
**QB Joe Flacco
On what he thinks they have to do better to have a higher success rate on third down:"This past game … We just have to give ourselves better situations. Obviously, we would have liked to convert a couple of those. When you leave yourselves at third-and-long and those guys have a lot of momentum, they are feeling good about themselves, the crowd is into it, and it becomes tough to convert. That's kind of what happened this game. We definitely need to do things more precise and be better at first and second down to limit those circumstances."
On how much watching what RB Doug Martin did last week influences what the offense is trying to do this week vs. the Raiders: "I think you have to look at the games as a whole and see how people have attacked them and how they've been successful. I think he did a good job of running through some tackles and creating some yardage after contact. When he did get it in the open, he made sure he got in the end zone, and he did a pretty good job, obviously. I think we have to go in there, we have to come up with a game plan, stick with it, and we have trust in our guys out there that once the play is called and ran that we are going to have the ability to go and do some of the same things."
On if getting penalties takes the wind out of the team after a play: "Yes, for a moment it does. I think we do, actually, a pretty good job of putting it behind us and moving on to the next play – kind of like when Bernard [Pierce] got the penalty down in the red zone. It didn't hurt us too much there, because we did get the first down and it was still first-and-10. But, it did move us back, and we were able to overcome it anyway. I think for a moment it definitely takes the wind out of you, especially if it's a big play, but we do a good job of overcoming it. I think we have to find ways to limit the penalties that we get, but at the same time, when you look at some of them, I agree with what our guys are doing, and you just have to live with them. If we're going to go out there and play football the way we believe we play football and good fundamental football and they're going to call penalties on us, that's not our fault. We just have to live with it and make sure we react to it the best we can."
On if he would argue against people calling the Ravens an undisciplined team: "Yes, I wouldn't really give the time of the day to it to necessarily give it too much of an argument. If you know our guys, I think you would understand that we are pretty disciplined. I guess stuff happens out there. Things get chippy out there. I guess they make some of those calls. I would have to see each of them on an individual basis and kind of tell you what happened each time. I think when you look at things as a whole – no matter what you're talking about – you can kind of be misled on what is actually going on."
On specific things that WR Torrey Smith is doing this year that he wasn't even close to do last year: "He's definitely a more confident receiver in the fact that he doesn't necessarily have to think about what he is doing out there. He knows what he is doing, so he can spend more time working on the little intricacies of the route and details of everything. He's probably running a couple more things here and there, but that's just a factor of us probably being more comfortable with him doing those things just from what we've seen on the practice field. While he has improved and has gotten a lot better, I think some of it is the fact that we really trust him, and we are allowing him to show what he can do."
On how important WR Anquan Boldin is to the passing game: "Anquan is a veteran receiver, and he knows how it's done. When we need something and he happens to be the guy that is called on, he usually comes up in the clutch – that's the biggest thing. He's not always going to be the guy that is necessarily the guy that has the highest percentages of making this play, but when he is that guy, he comes down with it, and we can trust him to do that. That trust factor is a big deal when you talk about the pass game in general and when you talk about winning games in the fourth quarter. You have to have guys that you can trust out there to get it done when the game is on the line. Right now, he is one of those guys."
On looking at his goals and how he would assess the offense at the midpoint of the season: "OK. I think we started off pretty good. [I've] been a little bit disappointed on where we have been headed more recently, but I think since we've been on the bye and have looked at some of those things, I think we are trying to find ways to just get better and better each day and really improve on what we've done so far. I think we have a lot of talent here. I think the sky is the limit for us, but we have to talk about doing some of the things … Not only do we have to talk about doing some things to look better, we actually have to go out there and do them. Going out there on a consistency basis and doing those things are what we are looking to do here on out."
On what he took away from the struggles during the last game: "Like I said, you have to look at what we weren't doing well on those drives. I think the big part of it is we have to be better on first and second downs – give ourselves a better shot on third. Even if that's not the case, we probably could have converted a couple of those or one of them or whatever it may have been. I don't know how many games I've been a part of that … probably a good amount. In the NFL, things can switch pretty quickly, because you have two good teams. People adjust and get tired of getting touchdowns scored on them. They try to make it more difficult for you, but we could have been better in the middle part of that game, and we just weren't. Thankfully, we have the talent, and we were able to kind of manage some of the things that were going on in that game and push through it. I think that shows what kind of team we are and have been in a good amount of those games since I've been here. We've won some, and we've lost some. We were fortunate enough to win this one, and we just have to move on. We just have to look at what we can do better and on those drives it would probably be on first and second downs."
On what he has seen from TEs Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, and what defenses have done to slow their offensive production:"I don't know if there is anything they've done, or the defenses have done. I think we've got to probably do some things to get them more involved here and there, and it starts with me, it starts with what we're doing out there. Those guys are talented guys, and we've just got to continue to go out there and be successful and move the chains. And I think the more that we're able to do that, then the more opportunities they're going to get and that we're going to get to run our whole offense. I think if we can't keep ourselves on the field, then we limit the amount of plays we run, and we limit the amount of chances we get the ball to those guys, and we definitely need to make an effort to have those guys shine and be a big part of what we do."
On what he thinks helps lead to the success the Ravens have had at home:"I really honestly couldn't tell you. I don't have a good answer for that. The bottom line is that's the way it's been. When we lose, we tend to lose away, and the last couple of years we've been really good at home. It's a tough question, because I really don't have a good answer. If I had a good answer, I'd share it with you, but I really don't."
On if being more consistent is about drilling into the details of each play:"Yes, I think so. Within every play you run, there's definitely ways to do it and ways not to do it. And we do it very well for the most part, but we've got to make sure we're doing it very well every time. Then it comes down to good defenses and us kind of just getting a feel for them as the game goes on and seeing what we have been doing well and what they're defending well and how we can adjust."
RB Ray RiceOn if seeing the type of performance RB Doug Martin had last week makes it harder on him knowing that the Raiders are really going to try to avoid from having that happen again:"No, I wouldn't say that it would make it harder. No. 1, you look at the film and you look at what happened. A lot of it came down to just tackling. They were in the right positions, and the guy just burst through. I'm sure they will be addressing that this week. Looking at their film, obviously, this is a very physical front defense, and they're huge up front. They have a lot great speed, a lot of great talent, and we're looking to try to execute on what they give us."
On if he was salivating watching a similar-sized RB go for 251 yards against the Raiders: "Obviously, you look at it, and you do start getting excited when you see it happening. First off, you want to know what happened – why these kind of things happen. After looking at the film, like I said, it was just a lot of them missing tackles. It wasn't a lot of schemed-up things. There were a few where there were some schemes. Anybody goes for over 200 yards, you have to figure out [that] there is a problem there. The problem that I saw on film was tackling. The guys were in position. I guess his height helped him out. They say he's about 5-9, 215 [pounds], but I think he's a little bigger than that. I'm saying height-wise, but from an inside source, they say the guy's about 225. I said maybe his size helped him out a little bit, too. To see him get out in the open field with guys making guys miss – a little center of gravity was pretty exciting to see from a rookie running back."
On his thoughts on people calling the Ravens an undisciplined bunch:"I say we are aggressive, and we have to cut down on the penalties. I wouldn't use the term 'undisciplined,' but I would use the term that we can get better at that, because when you look at a team that is undisciplined, their record does not show for that. Our record is 6-2, so to call us undisciplined is really something that I wouldn't describe us as. I would call us an aggressive group that gets after it. We have to fix the penalties. Teams that are undisciplined, their record shows for it. Those are teams that end up 2-6 or below the .500 level. We aren't undisciplined. I wouldn't use that to describe us. We are a very aggressive group, and we like to get after it."
On how you fix the number of penalties: "You have to be smart. This is self-inflicted wounds – sometimes going offsides, little holding calls for being aggressive. After the foul penalties – the scuffles and stuff – we can fix that. That's something that we just have to be smarter and blocking – we can always be better. This is stuff that you can work on. We aren't talking about being out of place and doing stuff that we aren't supposed to be doing. We are talking about playing football, playing the game hard, but obviously, the penalties after the whistle – that's stuff that we can fix. We just have to be a smarter group, because that's just who we are."
On when thinking about the season's big picture, if the team has played as well as he thought it would coming in: "I look at our record and say, 'No. 1, we are doing something right, because we are 6-2,' but I never get satisfied with the way we are playing. There is no such thing as the prefect situation, and I always take towards the end of the season when it's all said and done to really look back at where we are. But right now, needless to say, we have to play better. We have to play better going forward until late November, December to carry us to get to January. A lot of that is just staying healthy. We get our guys back, we start to play together as a team, and this is the time to gel. We divide the season in two halves. Right now, we are at the halfway point, 6-2, No. 1 in the AFC North, so not a lot to complain about. But, there is a lot to get better at."
On if it feels good to have all of the goals that he had set forth at the start of the season still right there in front of him: "Yes, everything is still ahead of us, but there is no surprise that the toughest part of our schedule is ahead of us. We know that. Looking forward to November and early December, we know the kind of games we have coming up, and it feels good to know that we took care of the first half of the season what we had to take care of. We dropped two; we lost to a great Houston Texans team, and we let one go against Philadelphia, but we got better from those games. We haven't had it easy. I'm not making any excuses, but when you look at our schedule this season – and I'm sure you all did the same – you probably said the Ravens had one of the toughest schedules in the NFL, which is very true week-in and week-out. We embrace the challenge. We really are embracing it, and right now, to be sitting 6-2 with that kind of schedule we had and all the commotion going on earlier in the year with the replacement refs … To be sitting 6-2 right now feels pretty good."
On the offense's mindset in the red zone: "We are going to be aggressive in the red zone. We are going to be aggressive. The goal always in the red zone is to come out with seven or six [points], we say, and then get the extra point is seven. Overall, we want to get points. With that mindset, you have to be aggressive in the red zone – whether it's run or pass. We are executing at a high level in the red zone, because we are coming away with points, but we'd rather get seven down there rather than three."
On what he saw about the middle of the game offensively after watching film:"Offensively, [Cleveland] made an adjustment, and we should have made an adjustment with them, and hats off to that crew. The other side gets paid as well. They made an adjustment to stop the run, but in the fourth quarter, we got it figured out. It was sort of like a stagnant game in the third quarter – penalties, trying to get a play. Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin came up with the one big play to get the drive going, and then we kind of rallied off of that. That's the kind of tempo you want to play with on the road. When they make adjustments, we have to make adjustments as well. We had to get it figured out. That's something that I commend our guys because ... You were over there biting your nails as well. We were trying to figure out what was going to be the perfect play call to get it going. [Offensive coordinator] Cam [Cameron] made a great call. Anquan and Joe had a great precision pass, and it really got our drive going to get us going."
On the fact that the offense still committed to the run, even when it wasn't as productive: "Absolutely, you love that. Like I said, I've never been a guy to say, 'Give me this. Give me that.' To be able to stick with the run no matter what it was, and on first down knowing we were going to dial it, it felt good. It felt good to get my young guy in there, Bernard Pierce, to switch it up. That one-two punch was really working. I knew all along that this season I wasn't going to be able to take the whole load, but it feels good to know I'm going to get my workload. I get in, I'm in on crucial situations, and we get a drive going. It felt good to know we were going to run it and be able to do what we did and still build off of that. Later in the year as it gets cold, you know you have to run the ball a little bit more and be effective, but that's something that we want to grow as. We are going to get better as a run group. We want to be better as a pass group. And overall, we just want to be overall effective."
On what it's been like to watch WR Torrey Smith's maturation as a player over the last year:"Last year he was considered just a one-route guy, but we knew what we had as a player. Torrey Smith can run any play in the book. Obviously, you saw that catch [Sunday] and being able to spin out of it on a full turn and get a touchdown just shows you the kind of talent and maturation that he has as a player. This is the most talented group of receivers I've ever been around. We are just continuing to grow. It starts with Anquan Boldin. You have a guy that comes to practice, never takes a day off. Coaches have to beg him to sit out if it's time for him to get some rest. When you have a guy like that working in front of you – Torrey has the perfect example. I see these guys growing and growing and growing. Hats off to all of them, but especially Anquan Boldin. He's the ultimate pro, the ultimate leader on this team."
On if he saw Smith studying Boldin the way that he studied Ray Lewis:"Yes, because Anquan is one of the guys that you don't have to say much. You watch the guy, you see how many years he's been in the league, and he doesn't take any plays off in practice. He barely tries to take a play off in the game. Guys have to pull him out to get him rest. I think when you have that kind of presence in front of you, he doesn't have to say much, and Torrey already came in with a high motor. I remember coach saying in training camp, 'This guy will fall out on the field before he decides to come out.' He's that kind of guy. He's going to give 110 percent every play."
On his impression of the Raiders' defensive front: "They are huge. Those are veterans that have been around for a long time – utmost respect for them. That's a prideful bunch. I'm sure they are going to come in here with a high motor. Same way our defense feels when a guy goes for over 200 [yards], they aren't happy with it. I'm sure their coaches … Put the coaches aside; the inside guys are not happy with what happened. We know that their first mode is going to come here to say stop the run. It's going to be our job to execute against that."
**OLB Terrell Suggs
On defending QB Joe Flacco on national television yesterday:"Because that's my dude, that's 'Joe Cool.' As [former NFL WR Terrell Owens] 'T.O.' would say, 'That's my quarterback. That's my teammate.' We like to have fun around here, just keep it loose. Joe is my dude though."
On what some of the problems have been for the run defense this year:"I think, like I said before, we have a lot of new guys, a lot of new faces. We just have to trust that the guy next to him will do his job, and you have to do yours for him. So, that's pretty much it."
On if guys try to do too much when defending the run:"I think we all have been a victim of that at times. Everybody is really wanting to be hungry to make the play. I want to make the play for the team. Sometimes it can bite you in the butt, being too aggressive. That's nothing new around here. That's how teams try to game-plan us and scheme us, because we are an aggressive defense, so they try to use our aggressiveness against us. We are just going to continue to play football, and we are going to continue to work and get better and get back to the norm, to what you guys are used to seeing."
On if missing tackles can be a result of being overaggressive:"It can be, but if you miss a tackle, this is the NFL. I've missed some tackles. I'm not sure if y'all ever caught them on tape though. It's going to happen, you just don't want to miss too many of them."
On his impressions of Raiders QB Carson Palmer and what first pops into his head:"USC [Palmer' alma mater]. I am an Arizona State guy. He went to USC. He edged me out for the Heisman [Trophy]. *(laughter) *He is one of those underrated quarterbacks that can make every throw, especially if he gets in a groove. You all saw it when he was in Cincinnati. I remember, vividly, games I thought we had won, and Carson Palmer got in his groove, and he torched us. He is a really good quarterback, and he knows us pretty well, too, so he is going to come planning on having a good day."
On if Palmer is a lead-footed quarterback opposed to a scrambler:"You kind of like a quarterback that tends to not want to move around too much, but it doesn't make my job any easier. He is still a quarterback. There are still offensive linemen there. There is still timing and everything and situations. So, you still have to play the game, but this is one of the more dangerous quarterbacks because he doesn't scramble. He'll stand in the pocket and make the play and make the right throw."
On if it is a shock that the defense hasn't played as well as it has in the past at the halfway point:"We know it's not the traditional numbers that you all are used to, but I think you all are weighing in too much on it. Like I said, it's not the end of the world. We still have a chance to win the division. We still have a chance to get a first-round bye and do everything. It just hasn't come the traditional way that you guys are used to us achieving. But, as long as we continue to get wins, as long as we continue to get better week by week, then I don't think there is anything that we need to worry about. Until we drop three, four, five in a row and possibly miss the playoffs, then you guys can start talking about [how] 'the defense is this, the defense is that.' But until then, let's just stay in the positive. Everything we still want to do, all the goals we set at the beginning of the season are still there. Every defense, you don't say, 'Our goal is to be this rank and that rank.' Your goal is to win your division, get the first-round bye and make it to the playoffs and contend for the Super Bowl. Traditionally, you need a great defense to achieve those things, and we are going to get back to being a great defense. But right now, all we can worry about is this game this weekend, which is Oakland, and we're going to play some good football."
On what has been the key to the success of the defense in the red zone:"Bend but don't break. We have probably one of the best safeties [Ed Reed] ever to play the game. When it gets too close, when he gets constricted room back there, he doesn't like it. So, that fire kind of gets lit again, and we are ready to go."
On what the players can do to reduce the number of penalties against the team:"I guess play better football. I don't know. It was [a] series of penalties in the Cleveland game. I may have affected one. I was kind of yelling at the referee, and my head coach kind of took it for me. You just can't let the emotion of the game get to you so much. If it's a play, you kind of just have to have a short memory and get over it. Like I said, the penalties, I think that's something you can definitely control. I'm not really too beat up about it. I'm not going to go talk to our defense and be like, 'We have to get less penalties.' We have to play better football, but we definitely have to keep our composure."
On the player that WR Torrey Smith has become:"Torrey is awesome. We veterans, we are very hard on rookies around here. Torrey came in as a rookie last year. We gave him the name 'Tweet,' and he took it in stride. His personality, he fits right in with us, especially as of late. The things that he has had to overcome … He has been one of those very few players that you can say is a Raven. You can go throughout the history of our organization, [and] there are very few players that you can say [are true Ravens]. Torrey, I think he is shaping up to become one of those."
On the significance of the home crowd to his game:"Well, I didn't think about it until you just mentioned it. It's going to be weird finally playing in M&T [Bank Stadium], but it's where I belong. In rehab and in the training room is not where I belong. It's just not the place for me, but on the field, in M&T with our fans, it's definitely home for me. I just can't wait to get out there and start playing for them again."
On if he made a push to have the defense introduced on Sunday:"No, I'm going to kind of let it stay as it lies because there is a certain home game coming up that we might want the defense to get called out for. That's pretty much [head] coach [John Harbaugh]'s call. It's all in fun. We have enough marquee offensive guys that the crowd can still get into it, especially with 'Mighty Mouse' [Ray Rice] right here to the left. So, it's still fun. Usually, we all know, in the early [years], like when I first got here, it tended to not be as loud when the offense got introduced compared to the defense. Now, it's just as loud. It's pretty awesome. It's going to be fun. Whichever team gets introduced, it's going to be awesome."
On how close he is to 100 percent:"I don't know. The only thing that really can determine that is my play. As I get better, I can get some of the explosion back, and not only that, my wind, my game-time wind. We pretty much evaluate after every game. The first game I had 40 snaps. The second game I had 55 snaps. So, we are definitely progressing in that area. We just are going to continue to go."