Thursday Practice Transcript - 10/13


Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

What's your suspicion regarding David Reed's availability on Sunday? (Ed Lee)

"He's practicing, so we'll wait and see until Sunday. But, it's good to see him out there running around. He's got a lot of energy. He's excited to play. I hope he does."

Does he seem like he's in any way affected by that shoulder injury? (Ed Lee)

"I didn't see anything yesterday, but again, it'll be a decision made by the doctors and the guys above my pay grade. But, he sure looked good yesterday."

What does CB Bryan McCann bring to the table as far as returner ability? (Dan Kolko)

"Bryan has had experience, and that's something that was real important to us when we picked him up. When Ozzie [Newsome] and the guys looked at him… He's had success being a kick returner and a punt returner. Of course, he brings the fact that he was here before. He understands our defense, and he wouldn't be starting from scratch. So, he brought experience in the defense and experience in the return game. Of course, when we're covering kicks, he's got to be able to do that, too. We've given him a lot of reps this week. We're excited to see what he can do."

Is it kind of starting from scratch for [McCann] in terms of special teams or can he take some things from last year?* (Ryan Mink)*

"He's been here, so he understands how we practice. He understands some of the calls he… How he contributes, and how much he contributes, remains to be seen. But, at least, he didn't start from scratch, and that's been helpful during the week."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

In the bye week, you go through the evaluation, of course, and look at yourself. What did you see that you liked the most and what did you look at and say, "This is what we need to improve on." (Pete Gilbert)

"We're really not doing anything great yet, and I don't think we're doing anything poorly. I think there are just areas across the board, in the running game, that we can improve – all technique stuff, alignments, courses, combination blocks. I think we are maybe in the top 10 in rushing, but really not where we want to be. [In] pass protection, we have some things we can clean up. I think as you see our line play together longer, you are going to see some of that – some of the combination stuff help. In the passing game, I think everyone sees the potential. I think that's the important thing. We just don't want to be talking about potential next week or the week after that. We want to see this thing start to come together. We have seen it look similar to what we want it to look like for two weeks, a couple weeks, maybe not. I think that's just Joe [Flacco] with the young receivers, Joe with our young tight ends, maybe some better calls by the play-caller. [I'd like to] get our passing game really going in the direction we want it to, but what I do really like is the fact [that] I sense that people feel like they better back up. And I think that fits our style as a team. We want to be a vertical passing team – that's the first thing we talk about – and secondly, a high-percentage team. Then, we obviously want to be both at some point in time."

How much has the self-review during those bye weeks helped you guys when you come out after those bye weeks? I think, as a team, the Ravens have won eight of the last nine games after the bye. (Ed Lee)

"Sometimes it's about matchups and timings of who you play. A lot of things come into play, but you would like to think that you improve – you get better. A team is watching you on tape, but that's not the team that necessarily you are going to see. The first thing we did on offense was work on us, no matter who we were playing. Then we transition into, obviously, Houston. So to me, it's about us. It's about our ability to improve, be as good as we can be, then the opponent comes into play. Hopefully all those things come together and you play well. Does it always work? No, but that's what you would like to do. I think I have said this from the start: This offense should just get better and better and better and better as the year goes along, and we'd like to think that's going to happen."

Speaking of that [completion] percentage, in your mind, how do you get that completion percentage up now? You're obviously having success in the deep game, how do you kind of get that second step? (Ryan Mink)

"Just execution. It's the me-to-you part of the passing game. As their open, being a little accurate, but I think we all know [that] Joe is innately pretty darn accurate. I think that has proven out through his whole high school, college and pro career. And then when we throw it, we have to catch it. Protection plays into that – really it's a collective thing. But, I like the fact that where we're building from, which is up the field, attack, and we have got people that I know I enjoy sitting there watching these guys run up the field. We get Lee Evans back, then we are really talking about really being able to stretch [the field]. Every single down, we want to have the ability for someone to go from the line of scrimmage to the end zone, and that's built into every play we have. Now we just have to execute it better."

How do you think Houston might try to compensate for the loss of Mario [Williams]? (Ken Murray)

"They lost him, but they played really pretty well without him, because they play hard, they play as a unit. They have a good scheme. I was with [Texans defensive coordinator] Wade [Phillips] for a few years. [I] had to go against that every day in practice. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Obviously, we went against him in Dallas. [Texans OLB Brooks] Reed has come in and done a nice job, and they bounce their guys around, but they do a great job rushing the passer. All 11 guys run to the ball. They play hard – they are a completely different defense than they were a year ago. I think that's a credit to Wade and some personnel moves they have made. Their secondary is completely different."

Given that you have a background with Wade, that's got to be an advantage to what you can anticipate. (Ken Murray)

"He has tweaked what he is doing, and I think he has made his defense even better. Obviously, we have evolved in some other directions as well. I think they're pressuring 60 percent-plus of the time in base defense, and 75 percent or more of the time in sub-defense – very pressure defense. It will be interesting to see which defense pressures more. It's going to be pressure. His answer has always been, 'If they are not having success with pressure, more pressure.' I think that is going to be the key for us, just making sure that we handle the pressure they bring. They have gotten to every quarterback that they have played so far."

Can you talk about how Vonta [Leach] has helped the running game? (Tom Worgo)

"He is a Pro Bowl fullback. He is great. He is smart. I think that's the thing… You watch tape, you come up with an opinion of a guy, you talk with people around the League, and then you get the guy on your team, and you find out he's extremely bright. He makes great decisions. I think the physical part speaks for itself, which is what you want. We want a lead blocker who wants to be physical first, wants to be a decent pass protector and is just worrying about blocking – that's what he has done. He just brings great toughness and chemistry. I don't know if you have gotten to know him very well, but he is a great guy getting to know. He is a great personality for our offense. He brings a lot of life to us."

What happened first half to second half last year? You moved the ball really well [against Houston], you ran the ball, you did everything well in the first half. In the second half, you didn't even have 100 yards. Was it them or was it you? (Ken Murray)

"I think it was a combination. I thought they brought more pressure. We gave up some sacks in protection. We were trying to take more shots up the field. Probably, I could have done a better job of getting Joe [Flacco] off the spot a little bit, making it a little more difficult than to predict where he was going to be, if you had to think back. Yeah, we gave up some sacks, [didn't execute] a few things, had some opportunities. Overall, I just say I got kind of greedy. Probably should have been a little bit more patient with the run, maybe a little bit more patient with maybe some of our high-completion percentage stuff. That's my recollection. At the same time, too, sometimes you want to go for the jugular, and it didn't work out."

Does the fact that they bring all that pressure, is that going to help or hinder your running game on Sunday? (John Eisenberg)

"It varies. But, that is really the NFL today. I don't know anybody that isn't bringing pressure. It's a pressure league now. Everybody on defense, it's zone pressure, zone pressure, zone pressure, zone pressure, zone pressure, man pressure, man pressure, zone pressure, zone pressure, zone pressure, then they drop eight or nine. All the traditional defenses are basically gone. The good teams and the defenses are pressure defense, so we just have to handle it and handle it like we try to every day in practice."

Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano

How much tinkering do you guys do during the bye week and how much do you think that plays a role in the success you guys have had after bye weeks? (Ed Lee)

"I think, like everybody else, [you] just take a good hard look at yourself and see if there are some things that stick out from a tendency standpoint and maybe address those things. But other than that, just business as usual."

Is the self-review at times candid or brutal among coaches? (Ed Lee)

"This bye week happened so early we didn't have a big body of work to look at – only four games. So, there's not a huge body of work to look at. But, it was what it was and, like I said, we got to take a look at ourselves and then got to work on Houston."

What did Houston do so well last year that kept you on the field? What did they do well offensively? (Ken Murray)

"The thing that they were doing is, they were getting into a lot of third-and-shorts and fourth-and-shorts. We had opportunities to get off the field and make those… They converted, I think, four of four on fourth down. They were four-of-four because it was fourth-and-one, fourth-and-two. If we'd have made some plays and made some tackles, they would have been third-and-seven, third-and-eight, and they probably wouldn't have gone for it. But, they were in a bunch of third-and-shorts, third-and-manageables. They do a great job at it. So, that's what we have to try and offset this year."

What do the Texans do best offensively? (Ken Murray)

"Run the football. And then, the play-action pass is huge coming off of it. If you don't stop the run against these guys – and then they can do both on you – you're in trouble."

Talk about Arian Foster and what threat he is and what ways he can hurt you. (Ken Murray)

"Run and pass. He's a big, fast, physical, hard-nosed, down-hill runner. They run the stretch scheme to a T. He gets on a track; he sees an opening, he puts one foot in the ground, and he gets north and south. He's a big guy. He's a load. You've got to gang-tackle him. You've got to do a great job up front of building a flat wall, playing technique, staying on your feet and not getting cut. The big runs you see, they get guys running sideline to sideline because they get the backside cut off and, you know, you get big runs that way. And then, they use him effectively in the pass game. If other guys are down, he'll become, probably, more of a target on third down. They do a great job with him on screens and getting the ball out of the backfield on third down."

How are they using Ben Tate? (Ken Murray)

"Well, I mean, when Arian [Foster] was down, [it was] the same way. They've got one scheme, and they always find… Like Denver… Denver had all those thousand yard rushers with [former head coach Mike] Shanahan. It's the same offense, and they just kept plugging guys in. Guys you never heard of, all the sudden, were in the Hall of Fame. *(laughter) *It's a great scheme, you know?"

What is challenging about that zone-stretch scheme because, we know, the Ravens are using it on offense now? (Ryan Mink)

"I mean, just what we talked about, the offensive line does a great job. They know exactly how to block all the fronts. You can get into a bunch of different things – line movement, sits, this, that and the other – but they get you cut off. They get you running, they get you turned sideways, they get you on the ground, and then they've got the backs. They're well-versed and schooled in how to run that stretch scheme, and that's what makes it so good."

How tough are they with their two-tight end sets, especially with Andre [Johnson] down, the ability to have both tight ends able to catch the ball well for them? (Dan Kolko)

"It's always been a staple in this offense. So, they were really effective with [FB James] Casey being there and they were using him a ton. [TE] Owen Daniels, as you know, is a top target for this guy. He poses some problems, some matchup issues. So, you've got to do a great job of, No. 1, locating where he's at, because they're going to move him all over the place and displace him and do that to try and get the right matchup that they want. And then [TE Joel] Dreessen and, again, you can't fall asleep on him. He caught a 56-yard throw-back off of one of their bootleg passes for a touchdown last week. So, we've got to do a good job with those guys."

It looked like Oakland got a lot of batted passes last week against [Houston]. Obviously, you coach that every time if you can't get to the quarterback get your hands up, but is that ever a strategy going into a game, to get a lot of batted balls against a team? (Ryan Mink)

"I think what happens with a typical dropback… And, I know, they moved [QB Matt] Schaub, but they do a lot of pocket passing with him. He is a big guy, and they made mention of the fact that, hey, here's a 6-5 guy, and they had six batted passes against him. You want to get him off the spot, and you want to get pressure up the middle. If the ball is coming out, you're not going to get the sack. We always talk to our guys about getting their hands up. So, we're hoping to get some of the same production."

Last year those two 99- and 95-yard drives are so atypical of the Ravens' defense to allow. Was that a point of emphasis this week or is it too long ago because it was last year? (Pete Gilbert)

"We watched the first half and then I said, 'We don't have time to watch the second half, (laughter) because we've got practice coming up in an hour-and-a-half, and we played 56 snaps.' We played 54 snaps in regulation, in the second half, and two in overtime. Thank God they threw us one in overtime. We just ran out of gas. It's our own fault, because we couldn't get off the field in third downs. We've got to get them in third-and-long and then get them off the field. That's our job."

Have you had a conversation with Vonta Leach to get a better feel of what to expect? (Barry Barnes)

"We've had all our guys… He's done a great job of talking to both sides of the ball. We've had a lot of conversations with him, so that's been helpful."

Did Matt Schaub look like he was hurt at all in [last week's] game? (Ken Murray)

"I mean, you watched the tape. I saw the same thing watching it at home. They got after him pretty good. He took… I know they threw a flag on the last drive, where the guy fell onto his legs. That one didn't look too good. But, they beat him up pretty good. He's a tough kid; he's a great competitor. Even though, I guess he didn't go [practice] yesterday, it's probably just a precautionary thing. He's going to be there."

If Tom Zbikowski can't play on Sunday, how confident are you in Bernard Pollard being able to slide in at starting safety? (Ed Lee)

"You guys have seen the same thing we've seen. So, [we're] very confident. It's, kind of, just next man up. We've got a room full of guys in there that, when things happen like this, they prepare, they practice, they study, and they know exactly what to do. So, we just throw them in and expect them to do a great job. And they will do a great job."

And reminiscence about Al Davis and your time with Oakland? (Ken Murray)

"When that happened, I just looked back on it and I think, like everybody else, [it was] such an honor and privilege, you know, to have spent… No. 1, he gave me a job. I was on the street, and I'll always be in debt to him for that. But, [it was] an honor and privilege to be around a man that's done so much for this game and is such a pioneer for this game. Just thinking back to everything that I learned from football to personnel and how you build a squad and all those type of things… He was a great man."

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