JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE: WEEK 6 at titans
Opening statement: "OK, good to see you guys – appreciate you being here. We're working on Tennessee – getting ready to go. We've evaluated the Browns game and will try to make the corrections and improve – just like you do every week in this league – and keep the progression going forward and becoming the best football team we can be. So that's what we're working on."
When you go back and look at the film – the run/pass disparity – was there too much of an emphasis on the passing game and the running took a little … (Jerry Coleman) "No, no I don't. I mean, we ran it 28 times – that's a lot of times to run it in this league. If you look at numbers around the league, that's a lot. I don't feel that way."
I think only six teams in the NFL have run the ball more than you guys, yet there seems to be a common topic that you aren't running enough. Is it more a matter of that you need to run better and more efficiently?_ (Jeff Zrebiec) "You'd have to answer that question for me, because it's not a topic for us. That's a good point. Are we running third most in the league?"(Reporter: "No, like seventh. Only six teams have run it more than you.")_"OK – so that answers the question. I don't understand the question, why it's a topic. You have to do whatever you have to do to move the ball and score points. We've been doing a pretty good job of that up until this last game. We just need to put more points on the board. Nine points – three, three and three – is tough to win games that way. That's the bottom line. But this run/pass balance thing, I don't understand why it's a topic."
Looking at the tape, why do you think the passing game struggled? (Luke Jones) "I felt like they covered us pretty good. There's a mix of man coverage, mostly single-high, a little bit of two-man and two-deep zone coverage – Tampa 2-style 2. They just did a good job of covering, us and we didn't do a great job of executing the passing game. We just have to be more precise, do a better job of putting our guys in position with our gameplan and getting guys open, things like that. We need to do better. We threw for some yards, but there's a lot more left out there if we [would've] executed better and had some better stuff. That's something we have to do a better job of. I think everybody would agree with that."
You did get some good yardage out of some runs. Do you think the run game is heading in the right direction? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, it's week-to-week. The whole notion of, 'Are you heading in the right direction?' or, 'Are you not heading in the right direction?' [doesn't matter]. You just keep working. You keep grinding. When we come out and run for 200 yards – which we will – it's not going to be 'fixed.' The next game is going to be a new game. It's not like you're going to come out and run for 200 yards every week. Every week is a new week in the National Football League. You see a different defense, you see different fronts, different guys are healthy, different guys aren't healthy, plays get made, plays don't get made – things happen. So, I don't think it's as much of a trend as everybody wants to look at it. The big picture trends just really aren't there. You can look back at the end of the year, maybe, and figure some things out. But yes, we're concerned. We want to run the ball well. We're working as hard as we can to do it. If the question is: Are you working hard at the run game? Yes! We're working really hard at it. We want to be a really good running team, just like we want to be a great passing team and great at everything else. We work hard at what we think we can do well. That's why the answers are the same every week – and the questions are the same every week – but the answers aren't going to change. That's what it is."
On the blocked field goal, was that something the Browns executed well, or was it something you should have done differently in that situation?_ (Todd Karpovich)_ "You'd like to get a hand on that, guy but he did a great job on a get-off. They did a good job of putting a little pressure inside between the tight end and wing, and he had … They're good at that; he's been good at that all year. We're probably going to have to get two hands on those guys at all times. That's something we need to do on the edge. But it was really well executed. It was more their execution than something we didn't do well, but there's always something you can do to stop something that they do. Those edge rushes are something we'll have to do a better job with."
WR Michael Crabtree took responsibility on himself yesterday. With a veteran player like that, do you mostly leave it up to him to figure it out, or is there something as coaches you can do to help him? (Childs Walker) _"_Yes – we coach. Of course. [Wide receivers coach] Bobby Engram will do a great job, and they'll work together. Michael Crabtree is a pro; he's been here before. He's had these kinds of situations before. He's a standup guy – all of our guys are. So, they'll go to work and try to be the best they can be next week. That's what all of our guys will do. Nobody has more pride than these players. These guys are world-class athletes and they're football players. It's a tough sport. Anybody that's a fan of the game is a fan of the game for a reason, because they realize how hard it is and how tough it is. Our guys will always be standup guys. They'll always take responsibility. You have nothing but respect for that."
How did you feel TE Hayden Hurst did in his debut, and how did he get out of there physically? (Jeff Zrebiec) "He got out of it good, physically. He's in good shape. He did OK, about what you expect probably. He can certainly [improve]. He's going to be better as he gets more reps, but he did fine."
How did CB Jimmy Smith look? Did he play less than the other corners because he was ramping back up? (Aaron Kasinitz) "No, he played a lot. I don't know the number exactly. It wasn't any big disparity to maybe take note. He played well, and he looks good."
I know there's a method to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's madness with his usage of QB Lamar Jackson. When Lamar comes into a game, and QB Joe Flacco is lined up as a receiver … Obviously, Joe doesn't want to make a move in a lot of cases because, I would assume, he could be hit. Is it the case sometimes that you may be at a disadvantage sometimes because it's 11-on-10? (Jerry Coleman) "They have to put a guy out there. So, is it 11-on-10? I mean, there's a guy lining up out there who's holding Joe. If they actually did put 11-on-10, put all 11 inside, Joe would be out there by himself, and we'd throw it to him. They do have a guy out there. Now, he plays him halfway – he plays about four yards inside of him and kind of keeps his eye in there and then pursues from there. They are respecting him to some degree. They have to; he's a player on the field. Then when you have Lamar at quarterback, who's also functioning – in the case of the couple plays the last couple weeks – where he's running a wildcat deal, you actually have an extra blocker inside. It kind of evens up the score a little bit. You say 'the method to the madness,' I think that's a good way to say it. We want players to be out there to cause problems and create some plays. I think there's other things we can do, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we're able to pull off with it."
You've been in this situation before where you've faced guys you've coached with. Is it a little unusual now that Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees was doing the exact same job for you at this time last year? Does that add a different tone to it? (Childs Walker) _"It's more unusual than the average game. You don't have that every week."(Reporter: "Do you think that gives them any kind of strategic advantage?")_ "Does it give the Titans any strategic advantage?" (Reporter: "Yes. For them or vice versa.") "I don't know. We'll find out. I mean, we'll find out. It is what it is. It's not worth one second of [analyzing] who has the advantage. It would be a waste of time."
When you say you're looking forward to seeing what you can come up with, with packages for QB Lamar Jackson, it's just confusing to me. Are you part of the offensive mindset of the team in terms of how you're going to use Lamar? (Stan Charles)"Do you want me to be? Have I been an offensive coordinator? No, no, but I have an idea every now and then, and I'll bring stuff up and get involved where I need to, ask questions I need to [ask]. That's the role of the head coach. So, I don't see what's confusing about it at all."
Starting to look at the Titans, do you see any similarities between QB Marcus Mariota and QB Baker Mayfield, their mobility? (Aaron Kasinitz)"I don't really want to compare guys. Yes, they're both mobile. I don't understand the question." (Reporter: "What's the challenge that Mariota brings?") "Yes, just like any mobile quarterback, you have to keep him in there. You have to keep him in the pocket. He can run the read-zone stuff. He can keep the ball. He's done it before, where he's kept the ball and run for touchdowns. Very mobile quarterback, very good athlete, and anytime you see those kinds of guys, it's a whole dimension that you have to defend, that you don't have to defend with the guys that don't do it as much."
I don't know if it was criticizing or whatever, but QB Joe Flacco had strong opinions about the WR Chris Moore block in the back. He felt like it shouldn't have been called, and it cost you guys the football game. After looking at it, do you have any feelings you want to share about the call? (Jerry Coleman) "No, I don't. The officials do the best job they can. There are a lot of calls that you look at and you scratch your head about, whether it be holding, defensive holding or offensive tackles holding. You can go back through the tape. You can find a lot of that, so to do that, again, it's just not worth your time as a coach. I think you coach your guys, coach your team. We have not had a lot of trouble with penalties. We've been very disciplined that way, unlike a number of teams we've been playing, and they've been getting called for them, and that's good. That's an advantage for us. We want to keep building on that advantage. Do the best you can. Sometimes things move a little fast out there, but there are ways to avoid calls, and it would've been great if we didn't have that call there for sure, and we'll take responsibility for it."
RB Alex Collins only played 27 snaps. He typically plays a lot more. Was it gameplan? Was it injury? What was the reason that he played less than he normally does? _(Jamison Hensley) _"That's just the way the game went. I'd like to get De'Lance [Turner] out there a little more, so you want to play your guys. A fresh running back is a good thing. I think running backs taking 40, 50 snaps is not necessarily a good thing. You talked about the balance. [If] you put the ball in one guy's hand for 35 plays, I don't know if that's balance. We need to spread the load, and you want fresh guys out there playing hard."
The breakdown on their touchdown, their one touchdown, what did the film show you? _(Stan Charles) _"The touchdown pass? We just didn't play the coverage well, just didn't play it well at all. We're better than that, no question about it. We played better throughout the game than that. That drive was really poor, and we did a poor job on the drive, up and down the field, the whole drive, in coverage. We're a much better coverage team than we showed right there. That was a very big disappointment for us. Our guys are not happy about it, I can tell you that."
What did you see on the third-and-8, the 39-yarder? There was talk, I think it was ILB C.J. Mosley who said there may have been something with the headset. Was that an issue at all? _(Jerry Coleman) _"I don't know about that, but the call got in, because we played it. We played the call; everybody played their job. [Baker Mayfield] got out in scramble. I thought [Matthew] Judon had him sacked. He got … You look at that play and see if you think there should have been a holding call. That's part of the game. [Mayfield] moves to the right, and on a scramble, things happen. A receiver got loose, and they made a nice play. I think that Baker Mayfield deserves a lot of credit in the sense that he's very mobile, to your point. He gets out, and he makes plays on the run, and that's what he did yesterday. I think that's most of their offense, really. That, and a few runs."
When you watch tape of the Titans defense, do you see a lot of similarities with the Dean Pees influence there? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, I feel like I can make most of the calls – I know the names [of] most of the calls – but he has added some wrinkles. There's no doubt about that. Like any good coach does, he's evolved the defense a little bit, and I'm sure he'll have some new ideas for this game. That's really what you look at. It kind of goes back to the question, I think, that we had about the advantage. It's just … Coaches change. Coaches, week-to-week, do what they do, but we do know the names of most of the defenses."
Is it a different game? I know once the game starts, you're focused on strategy, but you have such a history with Dean Pees. Does it make it special in that regard, because you guys go all the way back? (Jamison Hensley) _"It does. I'm excited about it. Dean means a lot to me personally, and he did a good job here. He put a lot of good defenses together here in Baltimore. I hope the fans understand that and believe that. There are a lot of heartbreaking moments for every team around the league. I have a lot of respect for Dean, and when you watch his defense play – because they're playing very well – and they're one of the top defenses in football right now, which is pretty much a trademark for Dean's defenses, it's really no surprise. But, it will be special before the game. Once the game starts, we'll be trying to choke each other out." _(laughter)
DT Willie Henry played 39 snaps. I'm guessing part of that probably had to do with NT Michael Pierce not being available. How do you think he fared with a bigger workload in his first action? (Luke Jones) "Great point. He played great. I thought he played very well. I was really pleasantly surprised by how well he played. He had a good game, and we didn't expect him to play that many snaps. It kind of just turned out that way. It looks like he's back, and he didn't miss stride."
WR/RS Tim White on the fumble, did he get hit on the ball? What did you see on that play? (Cliff Brown) "I saw loose ball security, and not just on that one, there was another one, too. It's the tale of two Tims. The ball security is not where it needs to be – he knows that – yet he made some really good decisions. He picked the one ball up off the goal line after they tapped it back and made some good decisions on fielding some punts and things like that. Should have had a punt return that we blocked somebody in the back on, shouldn't have happened. I loved the decision-making and hated the ball security. He hated the ball security, too. I hope he hated it as much as I did. We'll find out."
OLB Terrell Suggs, I think, played 20 more snaps yesterday than he has in any other game this season. I'm sure some of that was circumstantial, but in general, would you guys like to limit that, with the long-term picture in mind? (Childs Walker) "Yes, yes, that was more snaps than you want him to play, certainly, and it's a little bit with Timmy Williams being hurt, and a little bit just how many snaps we had in the game. But yes, we'd like not to have him out there for 65 snaps. We'd like not to be out there for 65 snaps on defense, total."
Can you get NT Michael Pierce back this week? (Jeff Zrebiec)"That's a firm 'maybe.' I'm very hopeful, and I say that in all sincerity. I'm not … I'm very hopeful. We'll find out, but we could use him. He's a factor inside. He's a big difference. And those other guys, 'Worm' [Chris Wormley] played well. 'Worm' is a little more of a five-technique than a three-technique, but he did a good job. But Michael Pierce is a dominating factor inside."