RAVENS THURSDAY QUOTES: WEEK 15 VS. SAN DIEGO
Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
Despite being inactive the past two weeks, what have you seen in LaQuan Williams' special teams development? (Luke Jones) "He's really making a lot of progress. He's one of those guys that can do a lot of things, because he's big enough and strong enough and fast enough, and he has ball skills enough to do a variety of things. And we have high hopes for LaQuan; I think he's got a very bright future here. And, I think that as we go forward the rest of the season, his practice reps have been good, and he's going to be a very good special teams player, I think. And the Ravens have a lot of plans for LaQuan."
Has David Reed's ball security improved in practice drills? (Aaron Wilson) "The drills have been really productive. I mean [running backs coach] Wilbert [Montgomery] is really good at this, and he's been grinding on David. And what I see happening now is I see him taking the drills to the practice. So, we do kick the ball to him and we have kickoff return drills. I see him paying attention to the detail that we need to. So, yeah, progress is being made."
Could you see him being used again in the return game? (Aaron Wilson) "From the very start, we said as soon as we're ready to use him, we'll be using him. So yes, I do see us using him again."
How much does Lardarius Webb's injury affect your ability to use him in kick returns? (Ed Lee) "Well, we really don't know yet. Honestly, we have to wait and see how he's going to be on Sunday, and we'll make a decision on Sunday."
Are you rotating guys through just in case? (Ed Lee) "Right, the same guys that we have been all year long have been taking the practice reps, right."
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
Can you talk about the ability the Chargers' receivers have as a big group that can go up and get the ball? (Aaron Wilson) "Well, obviously, they're a talented group. It sounds like, from what Chuck [Pagano] is saying, they're healthy. And when they're healthy, obviously those guys are dangerous. So, that'll be a big challenge for our guys offensively, for us, as well. This is the time of the year where offenses look at other offenses, too. So, that'll be a great challenge for our guys going in a stadium with that group as well."
How about on the other side of the ball? Eric Weddle is like a center fielder? (Aaron Wilson) "Yeah, leads the league in interceptions. He's smart, he's tough, he plays just like he did … Everybody that watched him coming out of college, you can see why they traded up to get him. He kind of quarterbacks the defense and is having a solid year."
Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano
Can you talk about the challenge of going up against Philip Rivers and the weapons that they have downfield (Matt Vensel) "It's going to be an awesome challenge. They've got a roster that's riddled full of talent. When we went there in 2009, and they trot that group of receivers and tight ends out there, it's like the Lakers trotting out there for warm-ups. They're giants – 6-5. Vincent [Jackson] is 6-5. [Malcom] Floyd is 6-5. [Antonio] Gates is huge. It's going to be a great challenge for us. They've got skill outside. They've got a great tight end. They've got two backs that are both really good runners; they've got 90 receptions between them. And they've got the quarterback that can get them the ball. So, it'll be an awesome challenge for us."
How tough is it to jam those receivers at the line? They've got the speed and the strength size to get separation. (Jason Butt) "You've got to disrupt. We always talk about stopping the run, which is always first and foremost, but you've got to disrupt. The more we can do that and throw the timing off, the better off we're going to be."
Terrell Suggs has been on a terror recently. He's been playing maybe as well this season as he has his whole career. How much of a factor do you think coach Ted Monachino has been in his development, and what have you seen from their relationship? (Garrett Downing) "My relationship has been the same ever since I got here with him. Teddy obviously had a relationship with him starting at Arizona State, and between him and [defensive line coach] Clarence [Brooks] … [Suggs] will tell you this – and everybody else will tell you this – they have to two best position coaches in the National Football League. The thing about Suggs is he's a complete player. You see all the numbers as far as the sack totals and forced fumbles and all those type of things, but he plays the run as well as anybody. He just turned the tape on, and they have a really hard time blocking him. With Ray's [Lewis] absence the last four weeks, he's stepped up his game. He can be vocal. But, we talk about those wideouts and tight ends for San Diego being game-wreckers; Suggs is a game wrecker. They have to make sure they take care of him."
Have you talked to your brother [Chargers linebackers coach John Pagano] at all? (Jason Butt) "We don't talk this week. One text after Sunday's game, 'Good job,' and then we kind of shut it down and wait until the game is over, and then we'll visit."
How many times have you [played against him] before? (John Eisenberg) "This will be number … I'm 1-6. The first six were JV teams that we took in there. Took varsity team there in 2009 and won. We're taking a varsity team out there again. I'm 1-6 against him. But anyway, it's always fun to do it. When that ball is kicked off, it's football, you know? You forget about all that stuff."
On some teams when a guy gets hurt, teams kind of remove him from the action or whatever and tell him to go get healthy. You guys emphasize making him come to meetings, making him be involved in everything. How do you think that helped Jimmy Smith when he got hurt? (Kevin Van Valkenburg) "The first thing that they want to do is isolate themselves, because they don't feel like they're a part of it anymore. What you've got to do is you've got to keep them engaged. That's what we do with all the guys. [Secondary coach] Teryl [Austin] did a great job with Jimmy. We said, 'The only thing that's different is you're not going out there and playing on Sunday. But you have to take the approach and prepare as if you're going to play on Sunday. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday – that's got to be the exact same as if you were playing. So he did that. He was diligent about that. You can see how fast he's coming back, and the plays that he's starting to make, that's only going to continue to go up. From a schematic standpoint, he's not out there thinking about what his job is anymore. He understands, he knows what to do, and now he's able to diagnose and recognize formations and down and distance and things like that and just being able to play and make plays."
Can you talk a little about Haloti winning the [USA Football] All-Fundamental Team for the third year in a row? That's quite an accomplishment. (Jim Forner) "It's a great honor, and it's a testament to what we feel is the best defensive tackle in all of football. He is a great player, but he is a great person. You are not going to find a better person. He cares about his teammates. We're very fortunate. We're very fortunate to have him on the Ravens. Congratulations to him. I know he is proud of it, and it's a great honor."
From what you have seen, just over the past couple of weeks, why have the results been better for both Philip Rivers and the offense? They have really been able to put up some points the past couple of weeks. (Matt Vensel) "I think, first and foremost, as far as the offensive line goes, they have kind of got that thing calmed down a little bit. Guys were injured. I think they have everybody back healthy. [Rivers] hasn't thrown an interception in the last three games. They are keeping him upright, they are protecting him better. Early on, they had given up 30 sacks, but as of late, it's been hardly anything. The interceptions, he's thrown 17, but like I said, he hasn't thrown one in the last three games. I think they are healthy across the board at the skill positions. They have all their guys back. I think the biggest thing is the [offensive] line is playing really well right now."
When you have a team like San Diego, who really likes to throw to their backs a lot, how much do you have to balance a team like the Ravens, liking to get pressure and bringing heat on the quarterback with being cognoscente of those backs? (Luke Jones) "Yeah, you have to make sure, because everything is vertical down the field. In zone coverage, you are asking your underneath coverage to get depth and help out the back end, and then they do dump it off to those guys. What you see from our offense, it's the same thing. It's the same exact offense. That's why people have to do such a great job with handling Ray Rice. They are throwing balls vertically down the field, and everybody is dropping in coverage. Then you dump it off to him in space; it's hard to get those guys down. They are a great screen team. When we do pressure, if we do pressure them, we have to do a great job of making sure we know exactly where they are, because they will free-release him. They will get him out in a heartbeat. So, they are not afraid to do that. Norv [Turner] is not afraid to do that. He has never been afraid to do that. We have to be on point, as far as making sure they are accounted for in all our pressures."