Ravens Wednesday Transcripts: Week 15 vs. Green Bay Packers


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "OK, [it's] good to see everybody here. I appreciate you all being here. We're excited for the challenge in front of us. [We're] playing a very good Green Bay Packer team, led by Aaron Rodgers, obviously, and all their great players and coaches. So, we're looking forward to it. We're going to be back home again – the first time in three weeks. We're excited about that, and we're preparing for the game as best we can, trying to put our best foot forward. So, what questions do you have?"

With QB Lamar Jackson, how is the ankle feeling? Do you feel he's still an option to play on Sunday? (Jamison Hensley) "He is. It's day-to-day right now, I would say. We just have to see how it responds day-to-day. He's not going to practice today, but we'll see going forward how that goes."

As we've seen these COVID outbreaks around the league over the last few days, is there a little bit of a, "Oh no, not again," feeling, especially after what you guys went through last year? I guess more specifically, are you guys doing anything different inside the building as sort of a counter measure against what seems to be coming? (Childs Walker) "We're following all the COVID protocols that the NFL has put forth, 100% – I'd say 120%. We've been extra cautious. We separate guys whenever we think there's any possibility of anything. You just do the best you can. We've been through it before; we understand how challenging it is. We're trying our best, and that's where we're at."

What's the challenge for preparing for a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback like QB Aaron Rodgers? He has 27 touchdowns and four interceptions, and he can always just make throws that are hard to defend against. (Todd Karpovich) "That's exactly it. You basically nailed it, because that's what it is. He runs the offense. I think he actually runs the offense. Obviously, they have great coaches, and [Packers head coach Matt LaFleur] Coach LaFleur does an amazing job, but you can see his [Aaron Rodgers'] fingerprints all over the offense. It has a lot of the classic West Coast elements that have been in Green Bay for years and years and years. He understands where to go with the ball. He understands how to uncover defenses. He's accurate. He's timely. He understands where the chains are at [and] what the down and distance situation is. That's what a quarterback of the caliber does – he just operates the type of passing offense they run, and he runs, really well. That's what your challenge is."

Your careers have crisscrossed to a degree over the years. What do you think of when you think of QB Aaron Rodgers and his legacy and his history and what he's meant to the game? (Jerry Coleman) "I really haven't played him much, to be honest with you. There are very few times that a team I've been coaching has played Aaron Rodgers, per se. He was out the last time [we played Green Bay]. I think we played him two times ago here, [and] he played really well. I know one thing; he got away from pressure. He was a magician at getting out of the grasp of sacks numerous times in that game. I remember that. I didn't go back and look at that tape from eight years ago – that would've been impressive. I can't claim that. (laughter) He's just one of the best ever, no doubt about it. Simply put, he's one of the best ever to play the game at quarterback."

What does it say about WR Rashod Bateman that he goes from a game where he doesn't catch a ball to having a career-best day as a rookie to be ready to do that and not be mentally checked out, which may be easy to do at this point? (Pete Gilbert) "I don't think it's easy to do, because he understands. He's mature; he understands that it's week-to-week. You might get 12 balls thrown your way, or more, or you might not. You just don't know how the game is going to play out, so you better be running every route as if the ball is coming your way. You'd hate to be running a route not that way, and then all of a sudden, the ball does come your way, or should have come your way. So, that's the challenge for receivers. That's the job of receivers – to run every route like that's the play, to block every run like that's the play [and] that's the block that's going to make the difference. Really, that's true for every position."

You talked about QB Aaron Rodgers … What about WR Davante Adams? They seem to have the symbiosis there. (Kirk McEwen) "They're partners. They're partners in crime, there's no doubt about it. Those two guys, they're on the same page. I don't even know if they need to speak with each other – it's like it's telepathic, it seems like. They just understand what each other is thinking at all times. He's the big target. The other guys are very good, too. They have a lot of talent – running backs, young tight ends coming on, speed receivers, big, strong receivers. [They] just have a lot of good players, but those two guys are where it starts."

For QB Tyler Huntley, how much of a benefit is it to him this week as far as preparation goes? The Chicago game, he found out right before the game that he was starting. Last game, he obviously went in there when QB Lamar Jackson goes out. But this week, he does have that different kind of mentality where he needs to be ready. How much of a benefit is that to him where he has the days to prepare to be the starter if need be? (Shawn Stepner)"That's a great question. I think the first part of the answer is that always has to be thinking that way, because you're always one play away. He was thinking that way against Chicago, obviously, and he played well, and then last week as well. This week, he's going to get the reps today – that's what we know right now. So, him getting the reps today, if he has to play on Sunday, will be a benefit. We'll see where it goes from there. He may play [or] he may not be playing depending on Lamar's [Jackson] situation."

The Jets announced the Ravens were signing QB Josh Johnson off their practice squad. Is that an insurance policy for QB Lamar Jackson? He was here a long time ago; 2016, I believe it was. What does he bring you? (Bo Smolka)"I've known Josh [Johnson] since he played for my brother at the University of San Diego, many moons ago. That shows you what a credit it is to Josh's career. He's played in this league for a long time, and he's very reliable. It was great having him here in 2016. He's one of the best guys to be around and you want to be around. Whenever he's played, he's played well. So, to bring him in here, I think all things considered, the potential to need him this week, the potential for the rest of the season with all the things you're alluding to [about increased COVID cases], it just makes sense to bring him in. He was excited. [Executive vice president and general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and I talked about it this morning, and [director of player personnel] George Kokinis walked in 15 minutes later saying he's in his car driving down here already. So, that was exciting. I'm looking forward to seeing him. … Will he be here in time for practice? It depends on traffic." (laughter)

I know it's a week-by-week process here, but with QB Lamar Jackson, knowing that there's an important division game against the Bengals that could possibly decide the division, how much could that factor in? An extra week of rest, does that accelerate the recovery process? How much does looking ahead factor into the decision for QB Lamar Jackson to play on Sunday? (Jamison Hensley)"I would say it factors in 0%, because we're trying to win this game. I mean, every win right now is … You want to try to get every win you can right now."

We've asked you a lot about QB Tyler Huntley. When you think back to last spring when he first showed up, was there something that struck you and said, "Hey, we might really have something here?" (Childs Walker)"Yes, when I first saw him start throwing. He looked like he could throw. Obviously, he's a really good athlete, hard worker and talented guy, but you could see that he could spin it. That's kind of where it starts for a quarterback. So, when we saw that in person, we felt like we had something to work with."

How much do you think he's accelerated in his development with … QB Lamar Jackson missed some time early in training camp and missed some practice time. How much do you think those extra reps maybe accelerated his development? (Jamison Hensley"It did. Him having all those reps to start training camp was big for him in terms of development-wise, sure."

Based on what's happening in Cleveland with more positive tests today, the fact that you guys were there, does that add to any concern? Furthermore, we know that there have been a couple guys added to the COVID list. Have you heard anything more today? Or did you get through today without any positive tests? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Nothing new today. I know I talked to [Cleveland Browns head coach] Coach [Kevin] Stefanski real closely before the game, and then briefly but closely after the game. That's all I know. So, what does that mean?"

Bringing back S Tony Jefferson, somebody you know, what does he add? (Pete Gilbert)"He was in the weight room this morning, and he came down there full of life and energy. I saw him at breakfast again, and he's been in the meetings. He's a great personality. He's a great … He's one of our guys. Tony [Jefferson] is one of our guys. Having him back, I think it's a good shot in the arm for all of us, and he can still play. He had a heck of a workout. We'll see how it factors in here, but I'm excited about it."

OLB Justin Houston

On his first Ravens-Steelers matchup: "It was cool. I didn't like the outcome, but it was cool."

On if the Ravens-Steelers game was more physical than he expected: "This is my 11th year, so I've played in a couple games that were pretty physical." (laughter)

On how many times he's played against QB Aaron Rodgers: "I think I've played him three or four times. I sacked him once, and that was last year. He's a tough guy to get to."

On the most important part when trying to contain QB Aaron Rodgers: "I think you have to rush as a unit, as a complete unit, [with] everybody on the same page. You have to push the pocket as one group. You can't go on an island and be over there by yourself, because he'll pick that apart. I think he has eyes on the back of his head, because he sees everything upfront while he's looking downfield. So, he's a special guy."

On if QB Aaron Rodgers' toe injury is noticeable on tape: "No, not at all. Do you see the throws he's been making? I can't tell, at least."

On his reaction to the increased COVID cases across the league: "Listen, I have a job to do. I'm going to follow the protocols and do what I'm supposed to do, but that's out of my hand. That's not something I need to worry about. I have Aaron Rodgers coming to town – that's a whole lot to worry about. (laughter) I have my focus elsewhere right now. So, I'm trying to focus on him."

On if he's ever been on a team that's dealt with this many injuries, and how he feels the team has responded to the injuries: "This is by far the most injuries [on a team] I've been a part of. I love how we've responded. I think the 'next man up' mentality is really real right now, and it's just how we've been taking it. Everybody is practicing like they're a starter, because you have to prepare. You never know when your number is going to be called. Right now, we have a lot of guys whose numbers are being called, and they're stepping up and doing their jobs. I'm very proud of this team and how we're moving forward."

On what's stood out to him about DT Justin Madubuike and DT Broderick Washington: "I think their consistency week-in and week-out, and how they continue to improve. I think that shows on film, how they continue to play the run game. It's amazing how they continue to grow."

On what he's seen from the Packers' running backs: "They're very special. They have the big guy [AJ Dillon], he's downhill with all of their power backs. And they have speed with [No.] 33 [Aaron Jones], and he can do it all. He runs tough. He can run downhill. He has speed. He has great hands. They have some weapons over there."

On how challenging it is to face an offense that utilizes both the run game and the pass game effectively: "I think it's very challenging, but we have to make them one dimensional. We have to stop the run. If we're going to give ourselves any type of hope to win this game, we have to stop the run. So, the big guys up front, we have to continue to play well."

On what's impressed him the most about QB Tyler Huntley: "I think his composure. When his number has been called, he goes out there and he's ready to go. You don't see any nervousness about him. He makes some plays. He's putting us in great situations. He's showed that he can be a starter in this game. He definitely has the skillset, and I definitely believe in him."

On if he ever confused QB Tyler Huntley for QB Lamar Jackson during training camp: "All preseason. If you watched every preseason game, that kid was special out there. He made several plays, and he's the reason why we won all the preseason games. (laughter) So, he's a good player. If he keeps working, he can be great."

WR Rashod Bateman

On how he handled going from a game in which he had zero catches two weeks ago, to a game in which he posted career highs last week: "You've just got to stay focused and be ready. You can't complain or really dwell on what happened that last game. A lot of things are out of our control, so we've just got to stay focused and get ready for the next game. That's what I was able to do."

On his chemistry with QB Tyler Huntley: "I just think that comes from practice. Tyler [Huntley] gets out here and works. He's in his playbook, just like I am. He knows the plays, just like we [do]. We just went out and executed at a high level, and we put it on show. Credit goes to him, because he's playing behind Lamar Jackson. It could be a lot of pressure on him, but he stepped up. We all believe in him. So, he did a good job."

On what his first 100-yard game does for his confidence: "To do it again, put this team in the best position to win, whatever that may look like. I don't care if it's two yards or 100 yards or no catches; my job is to do my job and help this team win. So, that's what I'm going to do."

On if he thought he recorded his first touchdown, though the refs spotted the ball one yard short of the goal line: "I definitely got the touchdown. (laughter) I don't know what happened there, but it was definitely a touchdown; I think we all know that."

On being adept at drawing defensive pass interference, and if he believes he should be credited with receiving yards when he draws those flags: "No. Really, you're just out there playing. A lot of stuff happens fast. It's not even like you're setting a guy up – some guys do – but it really just happens because you're out there playing fast." (Reporter: "Should you get the yards?") "No, I don't really care about the yards. No."

On if the receivers have discussed making some big plays, given the need to score points against some of the league's top quarterbacks: "As an offense, we know we've got to put up points. Every offense, that's your job – is to put up points. We've just got to come out here on this field, execute it, take it over on Sundays and do it. So, hopefully we can do that and come out on top Sunday."

On if there is an adjustment when QB Tyler Huntley steps in for QB Lamar Jackson: "No, it's not really an adjustment; we're just picking up where we left off. Like I said, we trust Lamar [Jackson]; we trust 'Snoop' [Tyler Huntley] just as much as we trust Lamar. So, when 'Snoop's' time is up, he gives us confidence, we give him confidence, and then we take it from there."

On QB Tyler Huntley trusting him to win his one-on-one matchups and come up with a catch, and what that does to his confidence as a wide receiver: "Hopefully, it gives you confidence to go out there and do it again. It doesn't matter when or where; when a ball gets thrown, your job is to make the play – no matter who is in at quarterback – at the end of the day. So, I've just got to do my job."

On if he playfully asked head coach John Harbaugh why he didn't challenge his catch and run that was ruled one yard short of the goal line: "No. At the end of the day, we got in the end zone, we got the touchdown, and that drive was done. I think we all think it was a touchdown, but there was really no point in challenging it. The game was going pretty fast. We needed the time, so Coach Harbaugh, he made a smart decision, and hopefully that touchdown will come eventually."

On testing positive for COVID-19 while at Minnesota, and if he's concerned about another outbreak: "I mean, I hope not. I got that vaccine; I hope it works. I'm going to start putting my mask on. I am vaccinated, so hopefully I won't have those problems anymore."

On if he sees himself as a solution to helping the offense beat the blitz, given his ability to beat one-on-one coverage: "I'm going to do whatever it is. Whatever 'G-Ro' [offensive coordinator Greg Roman] calls, whatever that play is, we're going to do whatever we can to execute that play – whether it's cover zero, cover four, whatnot. But we've just got to continue to execute at a high level."

On if he believes there was anything they could have done differently on the unsuccessful fourth-down attempt that ended the game last week: "No. I think the best play was made, the best call was made, and we just executed what was called."

On what goes into being able to notch yards after the catch: "It just goes with the feel of the game, to be honest. Watching film, seeing how guys move and things like that – learning defenses, learning where guys are going to be in certain spots. And once you get that down, you get the ball in your hands, then you're able to work, you're able to shake [and] make some plays."

On what impressed him the most about TE Mark Andrews last week: "Mark [Andrews] impresses us all every week. To be a tight end and do what he does, it's pretty incredible. He's definitely helped me out since I've been here. He's been a leader to me. He's been a big bro, like a lot of guys have. So, he's definitely our right hand [man] on the team."

On the most impressive thing about QB Tyler Huntley: "I think just the ability to come in and still perform at a high level. When [No.] 8 [Lamar Jackson] goes down or anything, [for] a lot of people, a lot of question marks go up in the air of if this offense can still run without him. But I think [No.] 2 [Tyler Huntley] comes in and proves to us that we're not just a one-man show; we're a team, and we can still operate at a high level. So, I'm very impressed with him and his confidence thus far."

On how he deals with not getting frustrated when he goes through difficult stretches: "The way I look at it is you're either selfish or you're not selfish. At the end of the day, it's not about me, it's not about my success, it's not about what I'm doing and my stat line. It's about what am I doing to help this team win? At the end of the day, that's what matters. Going through injury, going through COVID, going through things like that when things are just not right, you've just got to keep going and put your trust in your brothers that you put in the work with. At the end of the day, that's all that matters."

On gifting his mother a new car for Christmas, and how she's enjoying the car: "She loves it, she loves it. Christmas for her is done. (laughter) Yes, for sure." (Reporter: "I know you thought about that for a long time. What was the actual moment like?") "It was definitely a surreal moment for me. Being able to be in this position, I'm blessed and grateful. I was able to get her her dream home, and then I always knew she wanted to have her own car; I was able to do that. She was very excited."

CB Chris Westry

On the challenge of preparing for QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense: "It'll be a pretty big challenge. We respect the Packers tremendously – Aaron [Rodgers], Davante [Adams], pretty much everybody. We respect them tremendously. It'll be a nice challenge for us."

On if he watched tape of WR Davante Adams' touchdown last week, in which he ran a smooth route, and if watching those plays is helpful, or if he'd rather not see them at all: "No doubt, it definitely helps, because it's 2021, and we're still seeing new things. And just to be able to see it, it just helps us in the future."

On if there is anything he would have done differently last week on the play in which he was called for a defensive pass interference: "Well, when I got the explanation from the ref, according to him, before I turned my head, I made contact. So, just don't make contact before you turn your head."

On what this year has been like for him, after signing a Reserve/Future contract with the Ravens in January, and now starting meaningful games: "For me, personally, it means the world. It just goes to show all the hard work and dedication you put forth towards the game … [For it] to come to fruition, it just means a lot, and it's a testament to Coach 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh], Coach Chris [pass game coordinator/secondary coach Chris Hewitt], Coach 'Wink' [defensive coordinator Don Martindale]. [It's] just the 'Raven' way – how to mold and develop a player."

On if there have been guys in the secondary who have helped him through this process: "Oh, yes. Everybody pretty much is pretty hands on. Marlon [Humphrey] was extremely big on that. Marcus [Peters] was big on that. Anthony [Averett] is really big [on that] – Kevon [Seymour]. All these guys help one another, especially me. So, all the guys are pretty helpful, and I'm very appreciative."

On S Tony Jefferson joining the defensive backs room: "So, this is my first time meeting Tony [Jefferson], so [I'm] just getting to know him, and you can already tell the veteran presence that he has – it's tremendous – around. I'm just looking forward to learning."

On if he has to focus on something this week that may not have been a focus last week, due to QB Aaron Rodgers' and the Packers' abilities: "No. Everything is … This is the NFL. This is the highest level of it all, so everything has the attention to detail to it. I would say it's more amplified that it is Aaron Rodgers, because of how great he is, and that's pretty much it. Everything is more amplified when you're playing the great ones, but at the end of the day, it's the National Football League."

On how he doesn't dwell on previous plays, and if that's a learned skilled: "That's just the life of a DB [defensive back] – the next-play mentality. You've got to just keep going. The game, it's a long game, so you can't just sit there and mope on one play; you've got the rest of the game to play."

On if it will be a cool experience to go into the game knowing he will be lined up opposite of QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Davante Adams: "Oh, without a doubt. It's always a blessing. You could [have] asked me six, seven months ago if I [thought] I [would be] in this position; I probably would have told you, 'No.' This is the position I am in, so I'm just extremely grateful for the opportunity, and [I'm] very excited, very blessed."

On the personality of the defensive backs group that's now on the field: "My personality, it's very diverse. We may not come off as how Marlon [Humphrey] and 'Juice' [Marcus Peters] are, but we have our own way of doing things. We have our fun out there. Marcus and Marlon, they led by example. So, me, personally, I wouldn't have to do all that. I just know the task at hand and what needs to be done, so that's how I go about my day."

On if the injuries to the defensive backs and certain guys having to step up has brought them together and built chemistry: "Oh, yes. I've been here since OTAs [organized team activities]. I've been here through the camp, since Day One, so everything we do, it just makes us more tight-knit. And it's very unfortunate – the injuries that some of the guys have sustained – but we understand that that's a part of the game, and we feel for those guys, but we know the show still has to go on, and we just have each other's back."

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