Ravens Wednesday Transcripts: Week 4 vs. Buffalo Bills (9/28)


Opening statement:"Good to see everybody, I appreciate you being here. What questions do you have?"

When you go against a quarterback like Josh Allen with a unique skillset, what is the biggest challenge in trying to eliminate that? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Probably the biggest challenge is the fact that he does so many things so well. He's a big, strong quarterback; he's on time in rhythm. He can do that. He can hold the ball and get the ball downfield; he can throw it to every part of the field, obviously. He's a tough tackle, even just moving in the pocket, then throwing, then getting out and running. Not only that, but they're pretty expansive in their offense. They're running quarterback driven runs, they're running RPOs … There are a lot of similarities in the two offenses, actually, when you take a look at it. So, his style is unique. He's just a very athletic, big, strong guy who can throw the ball really well. So, that's the challenge it presents."

How did OLB Jason Pierre-Paul look to you, and what's the process like trying to accelerate getting him ready? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"He looked good today. I'll tell you he took a number of reps – I don't think he took every rep – but he took as many reps out there as we had for him. He looked good; we'll see the tape. The process is to get him out there as fast as we can, so we'll shoot for this week. We'll see if we can do it. If we can't do it, it will be next week or whenever we can do it. So, we're going to try to do it as quickly as we can."

There was a report this morning that NT Michael Pierce tore his biceps. Can you confirm that, and do you have an update on his status? _(Bo Smolka) _"He did tear his biceps. He's making a decision now whether he wants to get it repaired, which would put him out for the season, or play with it and get the surgery after the season. It's going to be his decision; I haven't heard a final word on that yet. Either way, there's logic to it either way. So, it will be Mike [Michael Pierce]'s decision on that."

QB Lamar Jackson has been exceptional against the blitz this year. What are the biggest adjustments he's made with that? _(Todd Karpovich) _"He's done a good job of every aspect of what we're trying to do offensively. We worked at it, probably, that's probably the main thing. We've always worked at it, but we made a conscious effort, as you guys all know, to address how we attack blitzes. We've also been healthy, and things like that this year. So, he's done a great job; the whole offense has done a great job with that, but it's only three games in. We're going to see a lot more blitzes this year, and we have a lot of challenges in front of us still."

You have faced QB Josh Allen at various points in his career. How has he evolved as a passing threat each time you've faced him? _(Noah Trister) _"Honestly, I wish I could answer that better. I don't think of it like that, like I haven't really tracked the evolution of Josh Allen in that sense, but I just see him now [and] he's a premier quarterback. He's one of the very best in the league, top whatever you want to put it, he's in there. He presents his own unique challenges. There's no quarterback exactly like him in football, and they built the offense around him really well. So, that's what we're faced with."

How about the evolution of your under-center offense and the effectiveness of early down passing? _(Jason La Canfora) _"Right, and you knew it was going to be something that we were going to try to do. I think [offensive coordinator] Greg [Roman] had talked about that in the offseason, getting Lamar [Jackson] under center. That's valuable for us. There's a run game that goes with that, there's a pass game that goes with that. It's better in some short yards situations to be able to do that. We've usually done it in short yardage, but we've expanded it to first and second down now, so I think it's been good for us. Like anything else, we have to keep building on it."

Was drafting C Tyler Linderbaum part of the plan to play more under center? _(Kyle Barber) _"I don't really connect the dots on that. It's something that we had planned on doing, but Tyler [Linderbaum] does a really good job with that, so there probably is – the effectiveness probably has something to do with that, for sure, but we were planning on doing it before the Draft."

WR Rashod Bateman has been really good picking up yards after the catch. Is that something that jumped out about him when he was coming out of Minnesota? _(Cordell Woodland) _"He did it at Minnesota for sure, yes it did. I know it was part of plus category for him. You see him in person, he's really, really quick out of the break. I remember Steve Smith [Sr.] was one of those guys where he would catch the ball, and it wasn't just two quick steps; it was two quick steps that were freakishly long. He would cover so much ground, right, out of the break. Even when he was here, he still had that. Not quite like he did before, but he still had it. So, I'm not necessarily making that comparison, but Rashod [Bateman] has that kind of quickness and that kind of burst where he changes the angle after the catch, and that's a good thing."

With the situation at left tackle, what are you looking at from T Ronnie Stanley and how much emphasis has been put on him to be available this week? _(Shawn Stepner) _"Yes, it's really just what we see, certainly, and what he feels. Those are the two things that both have to be taken into account. Ronnie [Stanley] is not going to want to go out there, and we're not going to want him to go out there, if he doesn't feel like he's going to be good, if he's [not] going to be ready to go. It's a priority to go out there and be at his best when he comes back. At the same time, he's going to have to jump in at some point, so it could be this week. We'll just have to see. He practiced quite a bit today, and we'll see where it's at now, and then tomorrow, then Friday and make a decision."

When it comes to end of game management, what are your processes that allow you to make the best decision you can when things are tense and close late in the game? (Adam Kilgore) _"I flip a coin usually. _(laughter)The process is pretty much done in game-planning. That's where most of the work is done, and then you kind of know where critical points are, and it always comes down to those. The ones that are easy, that are clear cut, they're already made. The ones that are more like, 'Eh?' Then you have to factor in whatever that percentage is. I know that the analytics people would like to tell you that they can measure everything, but they can't measure exactly how the game is going, or the circumstances, or the emotions, or the feel in the stadium or just luck and things that can happen. In the end, you just try to make the decision that gives yourself the best chance to win, and I always go back to this, 'Do I think it's going to work?' If I think it has the best chance of working, we'll do it, and if I don't, then we'll do the other thing. That's pretty much the final say part of it. It's almost like flipping a coin." (laughter)

How much different is thinking those decisions through in the abstract and then having to actually make them when the play clock is going down and the fans are going crazy? _(Adam Kilgore) _"It's completely different, because everybody's effort is on your shoulders in that sense. What's the best thing for us? Because it's not so much about what the smart decision is, or what the numbers decision is. It's what's going to be successful; it's what's going to help you win. That's never certain."

You talked about WR Rashod Bateman's separation. How much do you see QB Lamar Jackson helping receivers do things after the catch with the way he's throwing the ball right now? _(Cliff Brown) _"Yes, that's definitely part of the equation, for sure. There's no doubt about it. He's putting the ball in good spots for them. He's holding the ball. He has a lot of courage in the pocket, so he gives them another step or two sometimes to get open. All those things are big."


On how much he enjoys being under center:"I love it. I feel like it's very effective, because defenses don't know whether you're running the ball or dropping back to pass with the play action – stuff like that – so I feel like it's helping us out a lot."

On how impressed he was with T Daniel Faalele's performance at left tackle – a position in which he had never played before:"Like I said, that was pretty good. He's a rookie, [and] he [Daniel Faalele] hasn't had snaps at left tackle; he's been a right tackle all his life. And for him to get in and do an amazing job like that, when we need him, where it counts, it's tremendous to see. He's just got to keep it going, though, because that's one game."

On his trust with WR Devin Duvernay and how he's seen him grow as a player:"Just keep throwing him [Devin Duvernay] the ball, keep throwing him the ball. It started in practice – building our chemistry there. And like you said, like I was telling you guys, he's fast, he's got great hands, [he's a] good route runner; that's what you need in a receiver – and not just him, but all my guys."

On if he ever gets "up" when playing against a team that has a premier quarterback, like Josh Allen:"I don't know. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't." (Reporter: "How about this week?") "No, not really. I'm not looking forward to standing up. I think I focus better sitting down, so that's why I kind of sit down."

On his relationship with QB Josh Allen:"[There's] very [much] mutual respect between one another, but he's in Buffalo and I'm over here in Baltimore, so there can't be any hanging out and stuff like that. But when we see each other, we show respect amongst each other."

On what Buffalo did to keep the Ravens' offense in check a couple of years ago:"They kept getting us off the field fast. We had some drives [that we] wish we could have finished, but they were just doing a good job of getting us off the field. So, that's about it. They just did a good job of getting us off the field – filling in run lanes [and] stuff like that. [They] just played pretty good defense."

On what it means to hear that QB Josh Allen said that Lamar Jackson should be the highest paid player in the NFL right now:(laughter)"I don't know. What do you want me … (laughter) I don't know. (laughter)It's cool. I appreciate him [Josh Allen] saying that, though. I feel the same way about him."

On what he remembers from his first NFL game, which occurred against Buffalo:"'These guys are huge.' (laughter) The guys were huge. 'It's cold,' because it was a rainy game. And I wasn't expecting what went on within that game. [Joe] Flacco was balling out; [Michael] Crabtree was balling out; John Brown; [Willie] Snead IV. Then I got out there, and I was completing passes – me and Hayden [Hurst] – here and there. It was fun; it was different. It was different from college – a lot different. That's what I remember."

On if it feels like defenses are still expecting the Ravens to run as often as they have in previous years, especially on early downs:"Actually, a little bit; sometimes, because sometimes a defense bluffs, because we've been having so much success with the pass game. Sometimes we get the bluff; sometimes they might step up a little."

On how much better he feels he is at reading defenses and the mental side of things:"I feel pretty good – just a lot of studying, a lot of work out here on the field – and it's translating over to games. So, that's pretty much it. I feel [very] comfortable, though." (Reporter: "Do you feel like you have more command at the line of scrimmage, through all that experience?") "Yes, something like that, yes." (laughter)

On if he was under center a lot in his high school offense:"No, my center was too small. (laughter) He was too short, he was too short, so no, not really. Shoutout to my center, though, because he was pretty good. (laughter) My guy, Mike. Mike was his name." (laughter)

On if thinks he's ever played better football than what he's playing right now:"I don't know. It's too early. It's too early right now. It's only three games in. It's too early."

On how he handles outside praise:"I don't feed into it; I play ball – that's all. I don't feed into it, because they were just saying what they were saying. I'm still hungry about that, since the beginning of the season."

On if C Tyler Linderbaum plays like somebody who is more experienced than he is:"He [Tyler Linderbaum] does. He does. We watched film, and he was doing things – passing off blocks, going to the next 'backers, to the safeties. He was looking like a pro. You've got to watch the film; I can't even describe how intense it was out there for him and how high he was performing. It looked incredible – just to see a rookie out there doing what he's doing. It looks like he's been here before. He's just got to keep doing what he's doing and keep stacking."

On how much he talks to his guys about where they want the ball and how much he thinks about throwing the ball to his guys at a spot that allows them to do something with it:"We talk amongst each other a lot, especially in practice. Say we have a missed assignment, no chemistry on a certain route, we talk about it right after. We go look at the film, look at the [tablet] and talk about it right after, and I tell them where I'm going to put the ball if I see 'this coverage' or 'how this DB [defensive back] might play,' and we just go from there."


On how good it feels to be playing football again:"It feels good. We're doing some good things, trying to correct some things, but it feels good overall."

On the emotions of being back on the field:"I'm trying to win the Super Bowl, so it feels good to be stacking my days, my weeks, trying to get myself back to where I usually would see myself at. But it feels good to be out there with my teammates playing fast, celebrating a win. [I'm] just trying to continue to do that."

On the biggest challenge of going against a quarterback like Josh Allen:"We just have to do our jobs. Each individual has a job to do, and we have a great plan that we feel like we're putting together to go out there and put on a show for Sunday. We just have to do our jobs [and] trust that each one of us is going to do our jobs, and everything else will take care of itself. It's football at the end of the day."

On how much pride he takes in being able to create turnovers:"I think it's one of the key things to winning. You have to turn over the ball, so you give your offense a chance, as many chances as possible to score points. It ultimately takes away points and opportunities for them, so it's something that we want to do this year. We want to turn the ball over, so we started off fast with Marcus [Williams]; he has three picks. We're just trying to keep adding them on."

On how excited he is to have OLB Jason Pierre-Paul helping on the front end:"I think his veteran leadership, he has won it what, three times, the Super Bowl? (Reporter: "Twice.")Twice, so he knows what it takes to get to the Super Bowl. Just watching when they [Tampa Bay Buccaneers] beat the [Kansas City] Chiefs, I think he was a key part of putting together that rush plan of how they can attack certain quarterbacks who are mobile and all those things. So, I think it's going to be very big to add him to our group."

On if he likes how the pieces are coming together defensively:"I think it's going to take some time for us to put it together; it's going to be week-by-week we're going to get better. We're learning each other, we have some new pieces and we have some guys who are coming back. So, we know it's going to take some time for all of us to kind of get this thing rolling, but once it's rolling, it's going to be clicking at the right time and that's what we need."

On how much better the defense's communication was against New England than Miami:"We just have to keep communicating. Like I said, it's football; mistakes are going to happen, but our job is to try to limit them. When they do happen, we have to come back, and just look on to the next-play mentality. Just keep playing fast and trust in each other, because I think all of us can get the job done on the backend. I'm going to just speak for my group; we can play a lot faster, we can do a lot of things if we just communicate. So, we're going to be alright."

On how he thinks the rookies in the secondary have been doing:"I feel like they're doing good. I feel like everybody is attacking their job week-by-week, guys are just attacking practice the way that they should, and like I said, we're all going to get better throughout this year. It's going to be good for us."

On WR Stefon Diggs and the challenge he poses:"[He's a] good player, explosive. We have to be on our jobs. We have to do whatever we can to limit the YAC [yards after catch] and limit the deep ball. So, we have a great task coming here that we have to take."

On the Bills leading the league in passing yards per game and the Ravens defense being towards the bottom, and if that is a motivating factor:"We're not worried about any placement right now; we're worried about getting things flowing so we can be the best defense and the best unit that we can be. It will keep clicking as the year goes on, but we're going to be alright. We're not worried about all that stuff. Once we get rolling, it's going to be straight. (laughter)"

On if he felt more comfortable playing in his second game back than his first after missing more than a year:"No, I feel good. I'm enjoying football, I'm loving being back out there with the guys, loving attacking the week and just trying to like I said … I'm not trying to peek too far, but I know what this team is going to be able to do once we get everything clicking. It's going to take some time for us to get it clicking, but I love where we're at right now. We're competing at a high level, the coaches challenged us coming off everything that happened with the Dolphins, and I think we responded very well. We finished the game out, and now we just have to put it together."

On what S Kyle Hamilton's first forced fumble will do for his confidence:"I just keep telling the young man, 'Play fast. You play fast, and you don't worry about everything else. It will take care of itself.' I think that's what he did, and plays, he's going to keep making them. He's going to be an excellent player in this league. His body type is out of this world, and he loves football, so that's all that matters. He loves football. So, just keep playing fast and enjoy the game."

On his impressive fumble recovery and if he knew he had those ball skills:"See ball, get ball. (laughter) I wish 'PQ' [Patrick Queen] would have gotten the fumble recovery when I stripped '84' [Kendrick Bourne], but other than that, we're straight." (laughter)


On how to stop QB Josh Allen:"Well, he's a great player in this league, probably one of the best players in the NFL right now. You have to have a lot of respect for him. The biggest thing I think is just tackling when you get to him, because he's such a tough tackle. He's a D-end body type. He's pretty much the same size as Odafe [Oweh], and he's strong and athletic, and he can make every throw on the move. So, he's a tough opponent. I think the biggest thing is just when you get to him, you have to get him down."

On if he anticipated playing almost every snap at this point in his career:"I never ask to be off the field, but I understand why a rotation is good, because it keeps us fresh for the long run, but I love being on the field and trying to make plays and affect the game. So, I told my coaches like, 'As much as you need me, I'm ready. I'll tell you if I'm hurting, or if I'm tired and need a break.' They said, 'Let me know.' Honestly, there were zero plays. I was good. I work really hard to be in really good shape and push myself to the limits. Obviously, anyone who understands football, to do that for 17 weeks is probably unrealistic, but I work really hard to be able to handle whatever comes my way. I feel like it's just a testament to the program here and what we do and the way that we train and prepare that I was able to play a lot of plays. At the end of the day, we have a good rotation. It sucks that you have injuries and guys have to step up and make plays, and hopefully we stay healthy going forward and we don't have to do that too many more times."

How do you feel DT Travis Jones did on Sunday:"Travis Jones played great. He's a talented guy. His biggest thing is going to be experience. It's not going to take him long; I think he's just so gifted, and he's going to make a lot of plays. But he's going to get a whole lot better and in a hurry, hopefully. But yes, he played great. Obviously, there is going to be mistakes – everybody makes them; even 15-year vets make them – but he makes them big [in] the right way. If he doesn't know what he's doing, he blows stuff up, which you can appreciate."

What does OLB Jason Pierre-Paul add to this team:"'JPP' [Jason Pierre-Paul] is a great addition. He brings a lot of great experience; [he's a] heck of a talent; another guy [who] sees the game at a coordinator level. So, when we create the plans and the programs and watch the tape, when we go and talk through stuff, I think it's good to have veterans who have done it and who have had success. He's a two-time champion; he knows what it takes. And so, bringing a guy like that in is huge for us."

On if he's ever surprised by the hits that QB Josh Allen is willing to take and how he approaches a QB like that:"You have to always be wary of penalties; you never want penalties to extend the drive. But he [Josh Allen] is a guy where I feel like you can't really worry about penalties, because you're going to get run over. I've seen him run over D-linemen, which is rare for a quarterback; I mean, it's rare for anybody with the ball in their hands, but especially a quarterback. So, I have the utmost respect for him. I know, for us to stop him, we have to bring our 'A' game. It's good quality football. We're at home; we need our crowd to help us [and] give us a lot of noise, so we can keep him on a silent count and let us get off fast. And hopefully, we get to him before he gets going."


On if he felt like he was throwing into the fire this past Sunday having never played left tackle:"It was definitely a different experience – baptism by fire. But I felt like my coaches prepared me well for the situation. For me, I just wanted to step in and do what I could to help our team win that game. I'm just thankful for the opportunity. I'm really happy that the coaches and my teammates didn't doubt me. It just gave me that confidence throughout the game – it was really big for me."

On how much more comfortable he felt as the game went on:"Definitely – as each snap came, I just felt like I was settling in well. I just feel like it was slowing down for me a lot. I was just able to see that."

On his comfort level playing left tackle:"Definitely more comfortable now after getting a game in. Throughout practice and stuff, coach [offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris] will get me right, we'll keep preparing, and I'll be ready for anything."

On practicing his sets on the sideline in-between drives:"Just preparing for the silent count. Seeing it from the left tackle's perspective versus a right tackle is very different. So, I was just trying to coach myself up on that a little bit and get that figured out."

On if there was much conversation in the spring and summer about him possibly playing left tackle:"I've been playing mainly right tackle, but I'll do whatever to help this team win. Thankfully, [offensive line] coach 'Joe D' [Joe D'Alessandris] has been preparing me to play both sides. So, I'm feeling confident and ready to go."

On the challenge of facing OLB Von Miller this weekend:"It's going to be a huge challenge. He's a great player, a special player. Not many people get an opportunity to block someone as good as him. I'm just thankful for the opportunity, if I'm out there, to do my best."

On the differences in playing left and right tackle for him:"It's a lot different. But as I keep getting more snaps, I just get more comfortable."

On what specifically was different about playing left tackle:"Really, just switching legs as your lead foot. Switching my stance up and just seeing the snap count."

On if he has a calm nature about being put in situations like that:"Yes, I feel calm. Especially, when we prepare as much as we do here. I feel like I've seen every situation. I feel good about going against everything. I trust my teammates and my coaches. I am a calm person because of that."