WEDNESDAY PODIUM AVAILABILITY: Week 3 AT DETROIT LIONS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "[It's] good to see everybody. I appreciate you being here. [It's] another beautiful day. Every day is a beautiful day, right? So, we're excited to start getting ready for the Lions. We've been at it since Monday afternoon. We'll get out here and practice and get going. What questions do you have?"
I think your brother Jim Harbaugh at Michigan was talking about the influence that your former guys on staff here have on that team. I guess, what have you seen … How gratifying is it to you to see the team succeed there with the kind of connections you guys have in the programs? (Jonas Shaffer) "They have a big one this week – undefeated Rutgers coming in there. But, yes, it is good. I just had a lot of confidence in those guys. Those guys are just really good coaches. [Michigan special teams coordinator/tight ends coach] Jay [Harbaugh] has been there ever since [Michigan head coach] Jim [Harbaugh] got there, now, and he was a great, young coach coming through here. He has nothing but a great future in front of him. I love him, and [I] love the way he coaches and the way he relates to players. Of course, with [Michigan defensive coordinator] Mike [MacDonald] and [Michigan quarterbacks coach] Matt [Weiss] being here right up until last year, I think they've had a big influence. They have a lot of great coaches there already, but yes, we're proud of those guys, and we root for them." (Reporter: "They're running the ball like you guys are.") "They're running the ball really well. (laughter) They are. They are."
Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff has five touchdowns [and] two interceptions. How have you seen him adjusting to a new system out there? You have some history with them. (Todd Karpovich) "They've done a really good job. When you watch the tape, I think [offensive coordinator] Coach [Anthony] Lynn has done just an excellent job of merging his belief system and his philosophy and how the game should be played, obviously, with the offensive coordinator and head coach there on the same page. But Coach Lynn wants to be physical. He wants to run the ball, [and] they're doing that with a big offensive line. You have Jared Goff who is just one of the best play-action quarterbacks and is pushing the ball downfield off of play-action that there's been in the last five, six [or] seven years in the league. So, that's what he does really well. Then they have the RPOs and the quick game stuff going, too, which he's really good at. So, I think they're meshing their own philosophy as coaches, they have a really big, physical offensive line, they have good running backs with what the quarterback does so well, and they've done a great job of it. You can see what they want to be on offense."
You're on the subcommittee with coaches, and if I'm not mistaken, one of the things was encouraging to look at the taunting, correct? (John Harbaugh: "Yes.") I know it hasn't impacted your two regular season games, there have been no taunting calls, but there's big talk around the league. How do you see it playing out so far? Do you think still this is the right thing to do and this is a good step for the league? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I haven't personally looked at any of the calls so far. I agree with the idea; sportsmanship is very important, [and] the way we treat each other is very important. I think the NFL is out in front in so many ways, you know? We're high profile. Kids watch us all the time. So, the way we treat one another on the field is very important. It's about respect. It's about respecting one another out there. How it gets interpreted from game to game, I think that's something that you have to work through. But it's basically about respect and respecting one another in sportsmanship."
RB Latavius Murray has an impressive resume coming here, but gets here so late. What's it been like for him leadership-wise jumping in? He has that resume and obviously he's performed thus far two games through. But in that room where after the void of so many guys going down, what's the leadership like there? (Pete Gilbert) "I haven't been in the room too much. I don't know if it's so much about that right now as it is about just making sure we have the plays right and that they know which way to go, left or right, whether they're getting it or not and which hole it is. That's what they've been working on. You can see that, really, with all of those guys, and Latavius [Murray] is definitely one of those guys. He's a very mature guy. [He's] all business, all ball kind of guy. He's been just a … All those guys have just been a joy to be around. So, I'm sure we'll see that emerge as we go."
Listening to the broadcast Sunday night, one of the commentators had said in speaking to you that you had made a comment that it was an injury-type league or something of that nature. Was that your way of saying that what you guys have gone through, other teams may experience? Maybe not to the same degree, but that other teams are going to go through these situations throughout the year? (Jerry Coleman) "I don't remember the exact wording of that, or the conversation per se, but it is definitely that. There are going to be injuries. We were hit hard – no question about it. But you have to step up and you have to overcome. So, you don't dwell on that; you just overcome it."
Speaking of the Lions offense, you guys have faced back-to-back really good tight ends this season, and now another one with TE T.J. Hockenson. What have you seen from him on tape? (Ryan Mink) "He's their best guy. He's the guy they go to. Jared Goff is looking for him. They have plenty of good players over there, but he's the straw that stirs the drink. He can make every kind of play. He runs every kind of route. They try to scheme him open every different kind of way they can, and he's a guy we have to be very aware of."
We haven't talked to you about WR Rashod Bateman for a while. Is he doing well? Is he coming along? Would he have a chance to come back when he's first eligible? (Childs Walker) "We'll see. That's part of the process. It's hard to predict that stuff, as you know. I've tried to predict it before. It usually hasn't worked out, so I'll probably try to stay away from that." (laughter)
You talked about Michigan earlier. Is there any extra excitement going back there to play? It's been a while for you guys to have a game in Detroit. (Noah Trister) "Yes – the last time we were there, it was pretty crazy. Remember that one? I do remember that one. So, [there were] a lot of tickets that [my wife] Ingrid and I had to buy for this game. So, we're helping the southeast Michigan economy, I think, to some degree, but we'll have a lot of people there."
Considering the moving parts you've had on the offensive line, how do you think C/G Bradley Bozeman has handled that – playing center for the first time in the NFL and obviously making the calls? (Luke Jones) "That's a really good point. He's just been pretty steady in there. You haven't noticed him too much. It's kind of that way with the center. He's made his blocks. He's made the calls. He's been good on every snap except one so far that I can remember in the regular season. I feel really great about how he's playing."
Do you have any update on T Ronnie Stanley? (Shawn Stepner) "No updates."
Speaking of that last game in Detroit, there's been a lot of talk this week about your faith in QB Lamar Jackson and the offense to get that last yard on fourth-and-one. Eight years ago, you had a lot of faith in K Justin Tucker to hit a 61-yarder. Can you just talk about that decision, that kick and that moment? (Ryan Mink) "Well, we didn't have much choice. It really wasn't a decision; it was the only option we had at that point. Joe [Flacco] and the offense did a great job of getting us in position. Boy, I'll tell you; that ball just barely made it through, if you remember, right inside the 'L' of the upright. I just remember it being a great moment."
With QB Lamar Jackson, we always see him out on the field during games, he seems very excitable and gets in the moment. With your preparation, is he more of the business-like demeanor? Or is he still kind of excitable with things we don't see from QB Lamar Jackson? (Jamison Hensley) "He's both. He's very business-like, but also, he has fun. He'll have fun with his guys. If something happens, he gets on guys. I think what you see is what you get with Lamar [Jackson]."
QB Lamar Jackson
On how long he feels he's allowed to celebrate a big win: "Same thing, probably 24 hours. It's a turnaround for us – we have to focus on Detroit now. We celebrated, had fun and smiled about the game – it's over with now."
On what he's learned about T Alejandro Villanueva as a teammate: "It's not just myself learning about him, I hope a lot of people did. He took the first game seriously. A lot of people doubted him [and] were saying all type of stuff about him. He moved from right tackle in the first game to left tackle to protect my blindside, and he aced it. He did a great job. I don't really hear any noise about how good he played; I just hear about the bad stuff that happened Week One. He did a great job."
On the chemistry with the running backs: "Just getting a lot of practice reps with it, before and after practice with those guys, and it helped us [out]. Week One was kind of, 'eh,' but Week Two, we exceled in the right direction. We just have to keep it going each day [and] just keep getting better and better."
On RB Latavius Murray: "That's a strong guy – a huge guy. People do not want to tackle that man; I'm not going to lie to you. I've seen it; people are like (moves to the side). They were iffy when they saw him getting up close. He's a huge guy; I wouldn't want to tackle him either." (laughter)
On if he was impressed by WR Marquise Brown's performance Sunday night after battling an ankle injury: "It's different. Like, it's not really impressive, because I already know what he's capable of doing. He's always been doing that. He's always been the same guy. It's just that he did it when he was supposed to do it – primetime. It matches his name, 'Primetime Jet' [Marquise Brown]. He was showing it. Primetime atmosphere, he showed the jets. He did what he was doing. That's 'Hollywood' [Marquise Brown] for you, for sure."
On if he has to say anything to keep the team focused on Detroit after coming off a big win: "No, our guys understand that. It's business. We did what we wanted to do. We wanted to win that game. We got the 'W' [win], and we have to transition over to Detroit now. [We have to] focus on those guys, because those guys are hungry. We're going down there, and we just have to be ready, because that's a hard defense. That's a fighting defense. Those guys are not going to lay down, so we just have to be ready to play."
On if he thinks people have seen what WR Marquise Brown is fully capable of: "No, I know people haven't seen the best of him, because like [BaltimoreRavens.com reporter Garrett Downing] said, his ankle wasn't 100%, and he was still able to do whatever he wanted to do out there – make guys miss, get open [and] beat defenders. The sky is the limit for him right now, for sure."
On if he ever has to pick up WR Marquise Brown when he's dealing with an injury: "'Hollywood' [Marquise Brown] is going to have the same demeanor. He wants to win. He's a winner. He's a baller. He's going to come to me and tell me, 'Give me the ball,' because he wants to make something happen. He's hungry. He's always hungry."
On RB Latavius Murray saying playing with Jackson reminds him how much fun football is: "I'm serious out there. I don't really try to have any fun. … (laughter) No, but I don't know. I appreciate that coming from him. He's new here. I appreciate that coming from him, but I just like winning. Part of winning, you have to have fun out there on the field. You have to put a smile on your guys' faces. You just see him pancake someone, and I'm like, 'I saw that.' [You have to] hype your guys up – that's just what it's all about."
On if he would flip into the endzone again like he did Sunday night: "I don't know, I'm kind of sore. I didn't want to tell Coach [Harbaugh], because Coach probably would have said something to me about flipping next time. So, I don't know. I'd probably do it again, though. It was pretty cool." (laughter)
On if his style of play can be taught or if it's something that's just within a person: "I feel like it has to be in you. When you're playing football and you're trying to play at a high level, you have to be hungry each and every time you're out there on that field. You have to know your guys are looking at you to make something happen. That's what it's all about. I feel my guys do that, so I just have to react out there on the field."
On what the biggest factor is to the offense leading the league in rushing, despite all the changes to the running back room and offensive line: "Our O-line [offensive line] – it has to start with the guys up front. Without those guys, defenders would be in the backfield, and we'd probably be in the negative column right now. But those guys have been blocking their tail off, and that's what it's all about."
On how much of a decision it is with read-option to read the defense or go with his gut feeling: "No, you have to read it. Sometimes, I've given the ball when I was supposed to read it. We get tackled for a loss and then Coach [Harbaugh] is looking at me and I'm like, 'Dang, I messed up. I was supposed to …' So, you have to make sure you're making the right reads out there, it's not gut-feeling."
On how long it took him to get comfortable with reading the defense on read-options: "I've been doing it since high school. So, I've been pretty comfortable with it for a long time."
On if he feels him and FB/DL Patrick Ricard are seeing the same thing when it comes to read-options: "Man, we're in sync. We're in sync. I'm out there, I make the read [and] Pat [Ricard] is going to get the right guy. It's football. Things are happening so fast; you have to make a split [second] decision. IQ has to be high on that field. So, it just is what it is."
On if he felt that it was important to set a tone after everything that's gone on to keep the confidence of the team high: "Yes, but those guys pick me up, [too]. I started the game off [with an] interception for six [points], and they're like, 'Man, don't worry about it.' Sammy [Watkins] was like, 'I told you things like that are going to happen.' 'Veen' [Anthony Levine Sr.] and those guys are coming up to me, and I'm like, 'Man, I have to tighten up.' We drive the ball down the field and we score. Then we come back, get another possession and I throw an interception trying to make things happen when I could have just taken the ball downfield like I had been doing. Those guys were lifting me up, so it was like, 'Man, I have to do my job, pick those guys up and keep the ball rolling.'"
On what a win over the Chiefs does for him moving forward: "I don't really know. I'm still locked in. I didn't get on a high horse or anything and be like, 'We just won a championship,' or something. None of that has happened yet; we still have a long season ahead of us."
RB Latavius Murray
On joining the Ravens: "It all happened fast. When I was let go, I was aware of the injuries they had up to that point. Once Gus [Edwards] went down, then I think it maybe became a bigger opportunity for this to be a possible location that I land [in], and it unfolded that way, for sure."
On learning the Ravens' offense so fast: "I think what helped was my experience and just having been in a few different offenses, and then just trying to figure out a way to learn fast and change it to what I know [and] what I can call it to be able to go out there and play. I would say that was probably the biggest thing. But, again, it helped with just having experience with different offenses and kind of being around. The biggest challenge is going out there and playing fast and not thinking about it. It's one thing [if] you might know it and you might be studying in your room in the hotel all day, like I was, but once you get out there and it's for real, it's just a little bit different in walking through and sitting in your room going through the plays in your head."
On playing with QB Lamar Jackson: "It's been fun, and it's been different when you've got another running threat lined up next to you play-in and play-out. So, it's obviously a benefit for any back that's beside him, because he's a threat too – they're not just worried about you. But it's been a lot of fun playing alongside of him. Seeing what he does, it's fun to watch."
On playing so well in his first two games as a Raven: "It feels good, but I'm just trying to do what I do best, and that's run hard and protect the quarterback when I'm in and just play hard – that's just really all I'm trying to do. And so, I've been given the opportunity to do that, obviously, in the red zone and finding the end zone; that's what I've got to do if I'm going to in there and be effective. That's something I want to keep doing – finding the end zone. There is no better feeling than that."
On the Ravens' rushing attack: "I just think there are a lot of ways that we can hurt you, and again, it starts with Lamar [Jackson] just being beside you. [With the defense] not knowing if [Lamar is] going to keep it or give it, that right there is just difficult in itself. Then [there's] all the different things that we're doing. Coming at you north and south and then getting the ball outside, it's just tough on the defense. It keeps them on their toes, and it gives us the opportunity to really just hurt them."
On RBs Le'Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman and himself all being in the Ravens' running backs room: "It's crazy to think. I think if you look back maybe even a few years ago, and to think if we were all in the same room, it would be a cap problem or something like that, right? (laughter) But again, I just think, right now, everything has happened for a reason – me being here, those guys being here. When they were doing what they were doing, they were the best in the business, and so, I still get an opportunity to learn from both of those guys and Ty'Son [Williams], as well. So, I think we've got a special room – a lot of veteran play in that room – and so, I think we can continue to keep building and make everybody better."
On the Ravens' offensive line: "They're a great group; smart guys, they have fun, and I think they did a great job. Whether that's in pass [protection] or the run game, I just think they did a great job and they're continuing to do a great job. And then again, with all the moving parts and guys going down, that's what it's about. That's the sign of a good group, a good team – is when guys go down and when things happen, guys stepping up, filling in and not missing a beat. That's just a good sign."
On the expectations for the run game and what was said to him when he joined the Ravens: "There was nothing said. To be honest … For me [and] any of those guys … For one, when you get let go, you've got a chip on your shoulder, you've got something to prove, so nobody here had to tell me anything about what the expectations were. I know what I need to do, I know what I'm capable of doing, and that's what I'm here to do. So, there was nothing that needed to be said, and I hope we go out there and just prove that every week and people see the results."
On the Ravens leading the league in rushing through two weeks and if the group takes pride in that: "To be honest, I didn't even know that. To hear that stat and to know that we still can be better, and we still can improve – I know I can, personally – and I look forward to doing that. [I] hope we keep that title at the end of it all."
On if it's different playing alongside QB Lamar Jackson than he thought watching from afar: "When you watched him from afar, you just said, 'Man, that's a guy that's just really out there having fun and playing the game the way he grew up playing it.' So, again, just being a part of that, I think it makes the game fun for me now even, and like I said, it's special to see, it's fun to be a part of, and it reminds you to have fun and treat it like [that]. So, him flipping in the end zone, that's just the kind of stuff that really lightens the mood and just reminds you, 'Look, this is a game, and it's meant to have fun, and that's exactly what we all should be doing.'"
On the dynamic in the running back room: "I'm the oldest – it's crazy that I'm saying that. (laughter) But I think we all lead in a different way. Ty'Son [Williams] has been here, so we look to him on how things go around here. Me and Le'Veon [Bell] came in the same year, so we have that experience; 'Free' [Devonta Freeman] [came in] the year after us. So, we just try to lead by example [and] let our play lead. Again, learn, lean on each other. We've all got kind of different games – I really believe that – so I think we all continue to learn from each other, help each other, and in return, with that, I think good things will happen for us all in that room together."
On if he's had time to sit back and think about how good the Ravens could become: "No, I haven't had time. I don't know everybody's name yet still, if I'm being honest; I really don't. I just say, 'What's up?' like I've known them forever. (laughter) It's a good group, great locker room, great organization. It feels like it's the right place to be. And so, I'll continue to get to know guys, and I guess kind of take a step back and let it sink in, but I don't think I'll have the time really to do that week-in and week-out; we'll be preparing for the next opponent."
DT Justin Madubuike
On the biggest difference between Week 1 and Week 2: "Week 1 and Week 2 for us, [the difference] was just finishing, I believe. I feel like [in] the first game, we didn't finish the way that we wanted to, but in the second game, we just brought more energy, we brought more togetherness, and we wanted to finish, for sure. There wasn't a good taste in our mouths [after] the first week, so we wanted to clean it up the second [week] – that's all."
On his tackle for loss against the Chiefs: "Yes, I just wanted to create a momentum switcher. Pat Mahomes is a pretty good player – we all know that – and when he gets going, he can really get going, so you need to make a play for your team to stop that momentum [and] to switch it in our favor. So, I just wanted to make a play for my team and just get them off the field, and get us off the field, so our offense could work."
On if the rotations at defensive line make it hard for him to get into a rhythm: "I feel more comfortable with the rotation that we have going on. I just trust 'Weav' [run game coordinator/defensive line coach Anthony Weaver] and 'Wink' [defensive coordinator Don Martindale], and whatever position they put me in to make plays for my team, I'm willing to do it."
On if he senses it's a gradual process for the defense to get to know each other and figure out what everybody does best: "Yes, when we go out here, we play as a team, we communicate – all those little things that 'Wink' [defensive coordinator Don Martindale] tells us to do – be loud, communicate, communicate out loud, because in the game, it's going to be loud; we're not going to be able to hear each other. So, when we start doing that every day in practice, we get to be familiar with each other's voices, get familiar with each other and what we're going to say. And eventually, when guys come in from whatever team that they come in from, they just know how we do things over here, and then they just tag along with us, and on the gameday, it's pretty easy, because we make it easy in practice."
On if he's noticed a difference with the additions of OLBs Justin Houston and Odafe Oweh: "Definitely on the edges, for sure. Yes, those guys are really great players and really great guys. They definitely make our whole defense, as a whole, stronger, by holding that edge and creating pressure for the quarterbacks, where he can step up, and I clean him up, or even if I step up, they can clean it up. So, we help each other win, and we help each other be successful on the field."
On how impressive it is for OLB Odafe Oweh to win AFC Defensive Player of the Week in his second NFL game: "Yes, he is something. People call him an athlete; I call him an 'Ath-Elite,' because he's like 6-5, 250 [pounds], running a 4.4 [40-yard dash], chasing people down. The quarterbacks can't get around him; they better figure that out pretty soon. They have to find another tactic for him. But he's a beast. He just needs to keep growing, keep getting better. He's going to be great for us."
On how it felt to get the second-highest percentage of snaps he's ever gotten during his NFL career: "It felt good to play. I definitely want to play as many snaps as I can, and I'm just trying to do whatever it takes to build this team, build the defense. I wasn't even tired, really. I didn't feel like I played that much, and then I looked at the sheet; I was like, 'Oh, I played 25 plays.' It didn't even feel like it. It felt like I played like 15 [snaps], really. I just had a lot of energy that night, and as long as I have that, I can play all game, really – whatever Coach wants me to do, go do it."
On his holding penalty: "So, I got the double team, 'Boom,' they've knocked me off five yards. I'm like, 'OK, well, I've got to get my five yards back,' and I stayed on the guard; my thumb got caught into his armpit, and it turned him, and that's when the ref called it. I thought I made a great play, but I saw the flag, and I was like, 'OK, it's got to be on offense – holding or something,' and they said, '[Number] 92,' and I was like, 'No way it was me.' But [when] I saw the film, I was like, 'OK, I see why they did it.' I don't think it was a good call."
On QB Jared Goff and the Lions' offense: "[They have a] really solid O-line. [Jared] Goff is a pretty good quarterback. We need to make his life uncomfortable in the game – creating pressure, hitting him. [They] have good receivers. So, we have a good gameplan going on. We just need to execute in practice, and it will transfer to the game."
On the Lions' rushing attack: "Yes, they're a downhill-running team, but we're a run-stopping defense, so it's going to be a pretty good matchup. I played [D'Andre] Swift in college; he was the second to last … It's crazy, I played Clyde Edwards-Helaire in my last game in college, and in my second to last game, I played Swift, and I'm playing them back-to-back. They're pretty familiar faces, and I know kind of what they do [and] kind of what their style is. So, yes, we just need to plug that run in [and] stop them from doing what they want to do so we can win the game."