Thursday Practice Transcript - 12/29


Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

What did you see as you prepare on the tape, what happened [in Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns]? (Aaron Wilson) "Well, there is a variety of things that went into that play. One is the punt wasn't the kind of punt we wanted. The hang time had a factor in it; we weren't able to get our gunners down there. The next part of it was that our net wasn't good. It was one of those team plays – all three parts of the coverage broke down. Even after he broke through the first line, and we missed two tackles, you just can't give that kind of player that kind of opportunity. He's too good. We went into the whole week with that kind of focus, and we just broke down."

With three [return touchdowns] this year, has it kind of been an ongoing goal to try and fix that issue? (Aaron Wilson) "Well, you never want to give up one touchdown, let alone the problems that we've had. The emphasis has always been, in our program, that we want to make sure we take care of the ball, we want to have good protection, and we want to cover kicks. That's our first thing. That's the way we start our special teams meetings the very first day. The fact that we haven't taken care of the ball and we haven't covered kicks well enough has been a factor all season long. We continue to address those issues."

Billy Cundiff said it was going to be key to see how he reacted after the practice yesterday. He was out here again today. Does it look like he's coming along well and the week of rest has been good for him? (Dan Kolko) "He's had two good practices, yes. We'll see what the trainers say tomorrow."

Do you weigh the fact that all of his misses have been on the road, and Shayne Graham knows Cincinnati very well, when it comes down to the decision for Sunday? (Pete Gilbert) "I don't think we're going to necessarily weigh where we're playing into the equation. We're going to weigh the health of Billy and then make a decision based on that."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

I'm curious when you're thinking about Joe [Flacco]'s comments from yesterday, as far as saying that maybe we should lobby to you a little more so that he could be a little less conservative in the second half with the lead, how do you respond to that? (Pete Gilbert) "No. 1, I am not going to listen to anything you guys say, but I will listen to what Joe has to say. I almost thought of telling Joe, 'Those words are hurtful. I am not coming to the pancake social.' (laughter) No. That's why Joe wins. I really believe that. He's a competitor. He wants the ball in his hands every play that matters. That's the case most of the time, and every now and then, I am going to look out there, and I even say to Joe, I'll beep in, 'Hey now, I am being a little conservative here.' I didn't say that a lot the other day, to be honest with you. I think we're playing a team offense, and you look out there, and you look at how your defense is playing, your special teams, you factor all those things in … I think that's a big part of why we win. But at the same time, if we are ever conservative, this is the only thing I will probably add to that, if we ever are, it's probably somewhat calculated. But it has nothing to do, at least from the play-caller's standpoint of, anything that Joe Flacco has done. Sometimes it's just some common sense. Now the other day, sometimes execution can make you look, probably, more conservative, or lack of execution, than you want to be. With that being said, we've moved on to Cincinnati. We know they are a very good football team. We're going to do what we need to do and run the offense we need to run to win the game. People can figure out how they view it. I know this: Joe and I will be on the same page."

Do I get a game ball for helping facilitate this? (Pete Gilbert) "We'll talk about it after the game." (laughter)

What have you seen that has maybe contributed to Lee Evans and Joe not being on the same page the last few weeks that Lee has been healthy? (Jason Butt) "I've read a couple of comments they both made, and I think the bottom line is we have to get better, and they're both being accountable. I think Lee says, 'Hey, [I've] got to get better.' And Joe says, 'Hey, I've got to do a better job.' That's what you do. We all got so excited that first preseason [game] when it just [was], 'Hey, guys this looks easy.' The guy walks in off the street. It's not easy. Defenses make it hard on you, but I have a ton of confidence in both those guys that you will see things start to come together here down the stretch."

Cam, how much did that time off for Lee with the injury impact maybe the number of … (Dan Kolko) "You never know. We're not big on excuses around here. There is a job to get done. I think they're onboard with that. I've got to do a good job of putting him in positions based on coverages, matchups, those kinds of things. You just keep working at it. They were out here working on it today. There were no issues today in practice. Actually, they had a great week together last week in practice. What we have to do, and you've heard us say this before, is sometimes when things aren't working as well as we want them to work on gameday, it's just a matter of us translating all the good things that are done in practice, because the things are being done well in practice … Now, you just have to stay patient, and we'd like to think this game, you will see a difference."

Torrey [Smith] said a big thing you wanted him to improve this year is fundamentals, route-running, catching. What are some things you and your staff have done in practice to kind of help him to improve in that regard? And also, how much of that is mental, as opposed to being physical to improve those things? (Matt Vensel) "The mental-physical thing, it's intertwined. I will say this: His mental approach, along with Tandon [Doss], along with LaQuan [Williams] and all these young guys, it's the best young group I have been around from a mental-approach standpoint. They take leadership from the veteran guys. Technique-wise, I think [wide receivers coach] Jim [Hostler] does a great job with all of our receivers. All the breaking point stuff, he gets in and out of breaks now. We heard all of the criticism early, what he couldn't do. I think he just is committed to getting better every day. He is a better receiver today than he was yesterday. If he continues to do that, I think he will continue to impact all these games, because he is impacting every game. I think you guys would agree. The first play of the game the other day, I don't know if I have been around a guy [who] beat two guys like that, when basically they knew it was coming. We have to continue to get that out of Torrey."

How much tougher is it, considering the offense is dealing with some injuries now with Anquan [Boldin] out – you had to deal with Marshal [Yanda] being out for the second half of the Browns game – having moving pieces this late in the season? (Ryan Mink) "We're not really wired to think that way. It's the 'next man up.' We have a job to get done. You haven't heard us talk a lot about the fact that Anquan is not playing, because he is not playing. He didn't play last week. We have to find a way to win the game. Injuries are part of this game. It's pretty documented the teams have won at a high level the last few years with massive amounts of injuries. I think that's why we've got a chance to overcome any injuries we have to just because of our approach. We're not big on excuses as coaches or players or an organization. We have a job to get done. If somebody is out there in a Raven uniform, we expect them to play at a high level. Bottom line, that's why we win."

Cam, Jah Reid has been used as a tackle eligible from time to time this year. What have you seen in his development and his versatility in the offense? (Luke Jones) "Just the same development we have seen in all these other young guys – just the development in their approach. They are all experiencing something, really every day, that they have never experienced before. Some of these guys have never been playing football this time of the year still, much less with several games to go. I love his approach. Again, these young guys, these guys want to be coached. They want to be great. They want to follow the lead of Vonta Leach, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis – all of our veteran guys. They just follow the lead, want to get better, want to help us win. I really think, like everybody else, no one wants to be the one to let somebody down – whether it be our fans, teammates, coaches, whatever it is. All those things give this guy a chance. If we need this guy, I think he'll play well."

Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano

What did you see from Art Jones in his first start? Also, this guy has really reshaped his body in the offseason. Can you talk about the progress he's made to get to this point from where he was? (Matt Vensel)"Like the rest of those young guys, he's done a tremendous job. Obviously, he doesn't look as good as his two brothers look. (laughter) They were both at the game. He was fired up to be able to come out of the smoke, and have his two brothers there. He went out and he played really well. Again, credit goes to [defensive line coach] Clarence [Brooks]. You all know Clarence right? (laughter) He's only been here seven or eight years. I thought I'd just get that in. He's doing a great job, him and [Terrence] Cody. For two young guys, the leaps and bounds they've made in a short period of time are just tremendous. They are really helping our defensive front."

How many times did you watch the Jerome Simpson flip? (Ryan Mink) "Whenever I saw SportsCenter, that's about it. I gave it a 9.5, because he put a hand down. (laughter) If he hadn't have put a hand down, it would have been a 10."

This week you have A.J. Green on the other side. You didn't have to see him the first time around. Talk about his ability, what he's been able to accomplish this year and how tough he will be. (Jason Butt) "He's a nightmare. He's leading the NFL in rebounds, you know? They just throw the ball up to him and it doesn't matter if there are two or three guys … The play he got hurt on in Pittsburgh, there's three guys in the end zone on him. You see it down after down, snap after snap. [Jerome] Simpson, he's hurt us. The last couple times we've played he's had numerous catches and yards. So, we've got our hands full with those two guys."

The defensive backs, sometimes it's tough to gauge how they're playing, because you only really see them unless they screw up and there's a big play or if they make a good play like an interception. How do you think Ed Reed has been playing? (Garrett Downing) "You know they're not … If you look at everything, he's played well. But you've got to look at how many times they have thrown down the middle of the field. How's everything going? Those orange lines we've got on the [practice] field out here, everything else is outside. The young guys have to understand, 'OK, here's where my help is. Make sure I play in a certain position to use my help.' They're taking him out of the game. He's doing his job; he's doing what he's supposed to be. They're just not giving him any opportunities. Rather than just take some chances and hurt the defense, he's playing the scheme. He's playing the defense the way it's supposed to be played. He understands, like anybody else, that he's got to be patient, and his plays will come."

Andrew Whitworth is a guy that doesn't get as much attention as Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas. But how impressed have you been with him? (Jeff Zrebiec) "He's solid. Talking to [outside linebackers coach] Teddy Monachino – he makes a pass rush tape for the defensive line and the pass rushers every week – and you don't see this guy get beat. They're tops in the league. They're up there in the top five in sacks given up. I think they've only given up 24 total. He's steady; he's really, really steady. He's hard. He's a big man. He's tough to get around, and once he gets his hands on you, it's hard to beat him. He's been really solid for them."

It's not been that long, looking at Andy Dalton from the first time to now, do you see any differences? What are you seeing from Dalton right now, as he heads into his last game of the regular season? (Pete Gilbert) "Same thing, but better. He's playing with a ton of confidence. Just like before he knows … To me, Cam Newton has done a great job. He's a run-around guy. He's scored all those touchdowns. But this guy is playing the position, as a rookie, like a seasoned veteran. So, credit to the offensive guys, the offensive coordinator [Jay] Gruden and the rest of that staff, for getting this guy ready in a short period of time. He had no offseason. He's picked up this scheme. He understands this scheme. Like I said, he knows what to do with the ball. He gets it out fast. He's got savvy. He'll stand in there. He's tough as nails. He can extend plays with his feet. I think he's done a great job, and obviously, was recognized by everybody else around the league."

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