Thursday Practice Transcript - 12/08


Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

We know places like Pittsburgh and Green Bay are tough to kick in, but this organization does a lot of self-scouting, too. How would you rate M&T Bank Stadium as far as kicking difficulty? (Joe Platania) "I think M&T Stadium is… The surface at M&T Stadium is great. That makes a big difference for kickers. One of the things that people overlook sometimes, when they're evaluating that concept, is the surface. They just look at the weather and say, 'Well, there's wind, and there's cold temperatures. That means it's a bad place to kick.' That's not necessarily the case. Now, when a kicker is trying to figure out how to kick a particular kick, if he can trust his plant foot, it makes a big difference. If he can't trust his plant foot, then he's got to make some adjustments. I think that's probably the thing that you see at our stadium; the surface is good."

You guys cut loose CB/RS Lardarius Webb on that punt return. What came together for you guys on that one? (Aaron Wilson) "Well, Lardarius made a great play to begin with. We got a number of good holdups at the line of scrimmage. Edgar Jones had a knockdown; it was really a physical block. Then, Emanuel Cook had a good holdup at the line and ended up getting his guy down field. It was a middle base return, so we were able to take care of the middle of it first. That created some space and that allowed [Webb] to get started. We had a number of good blocks at the top of the return, too. It's interesting that during the course of that game, you probably noticed, we had a number of fair catches. What was happening was – and Brad Maynard is really a pro; he understands how to kick in the North, and he got his experience in Chicago – he was punting to our singled gunner, and he'd punt away from our returner and get fair catches. It was actually [coach John Harbaugh's] idea [that] we went away from that and put Haruki [Nakamura] in the back. We had a two-returners-type thing. That helped us, too, because the ball wasn't aimed one direction or the other, and we had a middle return. We were able to split it."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

Down in the red zone, you guys have come away with points, I think around 90 percent of time. You only have had one turnover. Are you pleased with Joe Flacco's decision-making down there, that you guys are able to come away with points? (Matt Vensel) "Tremendously pleased with his decision-making. We have to execute better, just as a group in terms of touchdowns. We want to score touchdowns, but you have to come away with points, keep momentum, kick the ball off, put our defense back out there, don't turn it over. But here down the stretch, we need to start getting more touchdowns. I think everybody understands that, and that's what we'll try to get done."

What can you attribute the lack of touchdowns, not lack, but not as much as you would like? Is it new faces being worked in? (Matt Vensel)"I don't think there are any excuses. We have to execute better, and we have gone against some good defenses down there. I'd say it's that simple. We'll execute better, and we have to make sure we can get that done in critical situations."

The other day, Ray [Rice] said that he thinks that Vonta Leach and Ricky Williams are two of the best things that have happened to him since he became a Raven. How much do you think that running backs as a group all work together and complement each other? (Garrett Downing) "They're tremendous, but Ray Rice is special, too. It's nice for him to say that – all those guys. Ricky [Williams] is a pro. I have known Ricky for quite a while. Getting to know Vonta [Leach], everybody on offense will tell you, he has made a tremendous impact on our offense in a lot of ways. We have a great group. I think [running backs coach] Wilbert [Montgomery] just does a fabulous job with all those guys, even Anthony Allen and Damien [Berry]. That whole room, even the practice squad guys and the rookies, it's an outstanding group. But I think you have to look at the guy that leads that room, too, in Wilbert Montgomery and his background and his experience and his history with running backs. I don't think you can minimize that – not that we are – but what a track record he has with great backs and developing guys from young players up to veteran players. The entire room … A coordinator couldn't ask for a better group."

With your experience in Miami and knowing how a team is desperate for a win, is that a message? Can you kind of impart that desperation that a team might have to these guys as they head into a game like this? (Evan Washburn) "I think our guys have a great understanding of what each week means, especially after some things that have taken place this season to all of us. We are not taking anything for granted. When you just look at [the Colts'] roster, there are a lot of good players. We don't play the game on paper. I think our guys know that. You throw records out; it's one game. Just look around. Look around the league what's happened, not only to us but other teams. We'll be ready to play. It's not something that I would want to go through again, but if you are in this league long enough, you probably are to some degree. One thing, you better be ready to play, and I know one thing, we'll be ready."

It has been a couple of years since you've played them. What about this Indianapolis defense have given you guys so much trouble over the last few years? (Luke Jones) "They've got good players. They have two of, maybe the best pass-rush combination, I don't know, in the history of the game, but one of them. Those guys, they are tremendous. They create problems. The speed that they play with, they are built for speed. They get numbers to the ball like all great defenses do. They are a zone-coverage, primarily, team, so everybody is looking at the ball and they outnumber you. They don't stay blocked. They've had some injuries. Who hasn't at this point in time of the season? They have a sound scheme. They get people to the ball, and they have, I think, two of the premier pass-rushing guys in the history of the game. What more could you want?"

Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano

In the past couple games, there's been some miscommunication in the secondary. What have you done to try and correct that, and is it more physical or mental? (Mike Preston)"You know, it always comes down to, especially back there, if you make a mistake up front, it may cost you a yard or two. A guy gets hooked, three-technique gets hooked or knocked out of a gap, or a linebacker misfits, it means a couple yards. But back there, it could mean six [points]. So, [we have to] just put a big point of emphasis on it like usual, and this week more than any, these guys are more than capable of beating you. They've done it before, and they've got big receivers outside and a tight end, so we've got to do a great job of communicating and being on the same page. If we do that, then we should be fine."

What did you see from Dan Orlovsky on Sunday? (Luke Jones) "I saw him complete a lot of passes. Not only at the end of the game… I think they had a 19-play drive to start that thing. I think he hit his first seven [passes]. He's a big, strong guy. He's got a nice arm, knows where to go with the football. Again, he's surrounded with a bunch of talent, especially outside and in the slot with [WR Austin] Collie. They've got some backs he can chuck it down to. He's been around for a long time; he knows football. Our guys are fully aware of what he brings to the table. So, we've got to do a great job of getting after him."

How different is it preparing for a game against the Colts without Peyton Manning? (Evan Washburn)"You see similarities with the other guys, but obviously, you're talking about a Hall of Famer – one of the best, if not the best, to ever play the game. Every time you play Indianapolis, with Peyton in there, it's like: 'OK, we've got to do this, we've got to disguise, we've got to do play clock. We've got to worry about this, we've got to worry about that. We can't show them anything.' At the end of the day, we try to do all those things, and he's still got everything figured out. He knows exactly what you're in. These guys, you can see, they know whether you're dropping a safety down or not, or you've got an extra man down, or you're playing a light box. They know when the middle is closed and when the middle is open. So across the board, all those guys know. Really, at the end of the day, we try to worry about us and not who we're playing. If we take care of the little things and communicate and be on the same page and play great technique and fundamentals and cover well and tackle well, we should be fine."

What are you seeing specifically from Jameel McClain, since Ray Lewis went out? I know there have been a number of guys that have sort of stepped in, but it seems that he has been the leader of them. What have you seen? (John Eisenberg) "You know what? He's been playing really well, even playing next to Ray. He's just assumed more of a leadership role. First of all, he's got to do the communication stuff, coach to 'Mike' stuff. So, he's doing a great job with that. But playing that spot – like playing the 'Will' [position] – he plays downhill, he plays physical, and he's good in the pass. He can run, he can cover, and he can do a lot of things. So he's done just a tremendous job filling in along with the other guys. They've all stepped their game up."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content