Transcript - Ozzie Newsome Fan Forum Conference Call


Kevin Byrne opening statement:* *"Welcome, Ravens ticket holders, to the second town hall meeting with your team – the Ravens. My name is Kevin Byrne, and I'm the senior vice president of the Ravens, and I'll be the moderator tonight. There are over 25,000 Ravens season ticket holders representing over 65,000 seats sold at M&T Bank Stadium. Almost all of you have shown faith in us during this unusual offseason by renewing your season tickets. We thank you for that very much. You reach in your pocket, and you give us the financial base we need to compete with other NFL teams. Our guest tonight is Ravens executive vice president and general manager Ozzie Newsome. We do expect thousands of season ticket holders on this call; we had almost 6,000 on our call with [head] coach [John] Harbaugh two months ago. Not everyone will get a chance to ask a question, but we'll try to get to as many of you as possible.

"Let me introduce Ozzie. Ozzie Newsome is in every Hall of Fame he could enter – Pro Football, College Football, the NCAA, of course Alabama's, his high school, and believe it or not, even the Little League World Series Hall of Fame. He's won the NFL Executive of the Year, he the architect of the Ravens' Super Bowl XXXV team and the person who has assembled the teams that have gone to the playoffs the last three seasons. We are, by the way, the only team to win a playoff game in each of the last three seasons. And of course, the Ravens have been to the playoffs four of the last five years. Ozzie, welcome, and I'll ask the first question: How close are the Ravens to a second Super Bowl?"

Ozzie Newsome opening statement and response:"Well, I think you can answer that question by saying probably half of the teams in the League feel like they are very close to the Super Bowl. But based on what we've been able to accomplish in the first three years under John Harbaugh, I think we are nipping at it. Obviously, we've got to be able to get to the point where we can go to Pittsburgh and beat them in a playoff environment. But, this football team has matured under John, our quarterback is maturing, and we've got a great group of young guys that are coming in to help the group we already had. So, I don't see a reason why we should not be competing for the opportunity to go to Indy next year."



With the trade mishap with Chicago in this Draft, what would have happened if Kansas City took CB Jimmy Smith ahead of us?"With the way the procedure goes, we were on the clock at [No.] 26, and with about six minutes to go, we got a trade offer from the Denver Broncos. It wasn't very appetizing, but we then got a call from Chicago. But once I made the decision – once we made the decision to move away from 26 – then we knew we were taking a gamble that we could lose Jimmy Smith. Once we made that decision that we were going to trade back, it was with the understanding that if we would have went back to [the] Chicago [spot at 29], we could have lost Jimmy Smith. But, you saw that there were two corners that went at the top of the Draft [in the second round] – Aaron Williams and Ras-I Dowling. We liked both of those guys, and I think we would have put ourselves in a position to get one of those."

With Chuck Pagano as our new defensive coordinator, can you assure us that we will not see three-man rushes and prevent defenses during the most crucial time of a game? That seemed to cost us against Pittsburgh…"When we lost Rex [Ryan], John had to make a decision between Greg [Mattison] and Chuck Pagano as to who would be the defensive coordinator, and he decided to go with Greg Mattison. They both had been coordinators at the collegiate level, and it was with the sense that he wanted Greg working at the front [end of the defense] and Chuck to be continuing to work in the back end. Now that Greg has moved on to the University of Michigan, Chuck gets his opportunity. Now, will we not be able to be in a three-man rush? You know, scheming and understanding how to finish football games… I think we learned a lot last year. And whether we'll be a three-man rush or rushing seven or eight, I think we will send a mixture of those types of pressures as well as those types of coverages. And, having someone like Jimmy [Smith] and a Domonique Foxworth coming back, that allows us to be able to bring six or seven guys to the quarterback."

What is the status of OLB Sergio Kindle, and does he have a realistic chance of playing this year?"Sergio has made a lot of progress from the time he fell down the stairs. Right now, it's still in the medical hands, but we are very optimistic that there may be an opportunity for him to get back to the field. When that's going to happen, we're not sure. But, we're very optimistic that Sergio will be able to get back to the field at some point."

Is there a chance rookie T Jah Reid could move to left tackle and T Michael Oher would move back to right?"Yes, what John and Cam [Cameron] and the staff will do… We'll put the best five guys on the field. We realize that when Michael Oher was at right tackle and Marshal Yanda was at right guard, it provided a very strong right side for us. But what we have to do is put the best five guys on the field that are going to give us the best ability to run the football but also protect Joe [Flacco]. Jah will come in… We feel like the right side is his best side because that's where he has played the last four years at Central Florida. But nothing is etched in stone about who will play where. Also, if we have to operate under the 2010 [League] rules, we still have Jared Gaither. If he's healthy, he'll get a chance to be able to come back also."


*(BYRNE) *"I'll jump on what [the caller] said, Ozzie, because it's a question we get from media a lot. There seems to be an assumption that Michael Oher is not a very good left tackle. I know from talking to you and coach Harbaugh and the people in-house, that's not your point of view."

(NEWSOME) "Michael, that's the position he played at the University of Mississippi. He played the 'blind side,' and the whole story comes from his ability to protect the right-handed quarterback's blind side. But, we feel like with one year under his belt, getting the reps that he did, that he'll take the next step if he has to be our left tackle next year. He'll take the next step, and he'll be able to do a very good job at that position."

What are your plans for using Torrey Smith this year, more as a wide receiver or kick returner?"At the outset, he's coming in to compete to be a starting wide receiver for us. We realize that the vertical speed that he brings to us will be a big asset to our football team from an offensive standpoint. Joe is a very good deep thrower. Torrey also has the ability to be a returner, more recently a kickoff returner. So, he's coming in to get the opportunity to compete to be a starting wide receiver."

Do you think both WRs Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss can get on the field this year?"Yes, I really do. And, they complement each other. Torrey has very good speed. He was clocked in under 4.4, in the 4.3's, at the Combine, so he has a vertical presence. But Tandon, he has an inside presence. He's a very smart kid; he played five positions, because he lined up in the Wildcat at quarterback for the University of Indiana. The thing that he provides is another guy like Anquan that is very good inside the hashes, very good down in the red area, coming away with the ability to make the catch. The two strengths that they both bring to the table are things that we need on offense. I think those strengths are going to allow them to get to the field very, very early."

Maybe we'll see Joe catching more passes, like from Troy Smith? "Well, we have that opportunity. You know, Tyrod Taylor is a very good athlete, so maybe some of that can come back."

I felt like you went out on a limb with the first-round pick in Jimmy Smith, considering what happened with Sergio Kindle last year. But, I was impressed after the Draft with the interviews Smith did. I was wondering what everybody did to prove to themselves that Smith wasn't going to be a problem…"The process begins with our area scouts. We had three scouts go into Colorado, and not only do they evaluate how a guy plays on tape, they get a chance to watch him in practice, how he interacts with his teammates. They get a chance to talk to the trainers, the coaches, the secretaries in the building. So, they are able to gather a lot of information from him. When we go to Indy for the Combine, we are allowed to interview 60 players in 15-minute increments, and we had the opportunity to interview him for 15 minutes. But, that's not enough time to get him to answer all the questions. So, we are allowed to bring 30 players into Baltimore, and he was one of the 30 that we brought to Baltimore. What he does at that point is he gets the opportunity to spend individual time with myself, with the head coach, with the defensive coordinator, with the defensive backs coach. Also, our defensive backs coach and our defensive coordinator went out to Colorado and worked him out, took him to dinner. With all of that being said, you get the opportunity for eight or nine people who have been in the League for a lot of years and have been around a lot of players… Talking with any player, we get a chance to evaluate what that risk is if we take a player, whether that's in the first round or the seventh round."

First, I've got to tell you, Ozzie, the way I admire the way you played this game.(laughter)"Well, thank you. It's been a long time."

I remember in Memorial Stadium with the Colts, and I saw you play against them there. You had a pretty good game, as I recall."I remember that game also, '79. Calvin Hill came back home and I think he had three touchdowns. As a matter of fact, he intercepted a touchdown from me. I do remember playing here and staying out at the Marriot out in Hunt Valley."

I think you know as well as I do that we're not getting out of our division and we're not getting out of our conference until we can put elite quarterbacks on their behinds. OLB Terrell Suggs does a great job, but it's just him. There's no one else getting pressure on these other guys. Until you get to them, I don't think we're getting out of our division or our conference…"I agree with you. The best way to affect a quarterback is to get people in his face, to hit him. We realize that. But one of the ways you can affect a quarterback is you can force him to hold the ball for .2 or .3 seconds longer if you've got good coverage. I think that's where having Jimmy and getting Domonique back, along with the guys we already have, maybe with those guys in coverage, we can force the quarterback to hold the ball. One thing that we were not able to get done last year is… Jarret Johnson had some injuries. He had to rehab to get himself ready to play football. He was rehabbing injuries. I think we will see a better pass rush out of Jarret Johnson, and as* *I've so stated, we are very, very optimistic that Sergio has an opportunity to get to the field. We just don't know when."

Kevin Byrne, stating a fan poll and asking Newsome: "Which of the top four draft picks will have the greatest impact on the Ravens in 2011?"

Newsome:"Well, we picked Jimmy first. That being said, Jimmy's impact may not be in interceptions, PBUs or a bunch of tackles. It might be that people get to the point very early on into the season not to throw at him. When that happens, that will allow our defense to do a lot of creative things. I think Jimmy will have the biggest impact, and I kind of hope so because Steve [Bisciotti] wants me to be right on this one. So, I need for Jimmy to have the biggest impact this year."

On the fifth-round draft pick, DE Pernell McPhee, do you see him only as a down lineman, or do you think he has the ability to become like Jarret Johnson or Adalius Thomas, becoming that hybrid 3-4 defensive linebacker?"At Mississippi State, he did stand up. He's a 275-pounder, and we think he can get a little bigger, maybe get into that 285, 290 [range]. Initially, we're going to start him off in what we call the 'five technique.' But the way we run our defense, at any point, anybody can be dropping. At first, we want to see if he can line up. Can he play against a tackle, can he stack, can he shed, and also can he come off the edge as a pass rusher? But he did stand up at Mississippi State in some of their packages."

Will Joe Flacco become the Ravens' franchise quarterback?"I really think so. If you want to know the reasons why, you just think about the Pittsburgh game at Pittsburgh when we came back with the great throw he had to T.J. [Houshmandzadeh]. You think about down in Atlanta on a Thursday night where we couldn't get anything going, then in the second half, he gets hot and brings us back. We've seen him do it. Now, what he has to do now after three years is take the ownership of the offense. I've been in the huddle with some great quarterbacks – and you named two of them [in Johnny Unitas and Bert Jones]. All of the great ones, they take ownership of the offense – it's their offense. And right now, that's where Joe Flacco has to get to in order for him to take it to the next step. And I think he's more than ready to do it. As we move forward this year, this will become Joe's offense; it won't be Cam [Cameron]'s offense, it'll be Joe's offense."

What type of self-scouting does the team do with John and his coaches every year?"First of all, what they do as a staff, they go back over every call in every situation, and they break it down that way. They look at schemes, schemes that we did versus our opponents and schemes that our opponents did versus us. The self-scout is very, very thorough. That's how you get better. When you can understand what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are, but also get the opportunity to understand what Pittsburgh does against us, and what they do that is successful, and what New England does against us, and what they do that is successful and get a good grasp of that… Having no players here this offseason has allowed our coaches to spend more time doing that, because they have not been out developing the players that they would've been doing if they had been in offseason program. Our guys do a great self-scout. Self-scouting is something that even goes on during the season. After every three or four games, they do a self-scout. They scout ourselves and say, 'OK, if we were playing the Ravens, what are our tendencies right now?' And we try to break them as we get to games five, six and seven, because the people in this league are very good, and they do the same things when they prepare for us."

Why do you think attending every practice is important for you as a GM?"I think everybody has to find their niche where they're very much at ease in their position. I know Ted Thompson from Green Bay, he came up as a scout, so he likes to be on the road. And I know Phil Savage, when he went to Cleveland, he came through as a scout, so he liked to be on the road. But, I came through as a player. I spent time on the road, but for the most part, I've been in locker rooms and I've been at practice. I was taught, by Bill Belichick, at a very early age that scouting begins on Sunday. You need to know your football team. The only way you get to know your football team is you've got to be able to watch them at practice, I watch the practice tape, so that's why I do that. That's my niche. But the only way I can do it, I have to trust [director of player personnel] Eric [DeCosta] and [director of college scouting] Joe [Hortiz] and the scouts and their ability to go out and do their job."

How did you feel about getting both CB Jimmy Smith and WR Torrey Smith in the Draft?"Well, if I would've known March 1, that we were going to get Jimmy Smith with our first pick and then we would be able to sit tight at [No.] 58 and get Torrey Smith, then I would've gotten a lot of sleep over the last seven weeks, which I have not. It's 'The Dream Team' for us with this Draft. Being able to get both of those guys, I don't think there's anybody that's involved in the scouting aspect, and that's coaches and everybody else, that's not very happy about those two picks. But we're also happy about the other picks, but those two picks, especially."

(BYRNE) "I saw Ozzie when he took Torrey Smith, and I've known Ozzie since 1981, and he's a very good poker player – very seldom shows any emotion. But Ozzie, you showed a lot of emotion when Torrey Smith was there."

*(NEWSOME) *"I did, because not only did we get a great kid, but we needed that vertical presence. We saw what Mike Wallace did for Pittsburgh. I saw what Pat Johnson did for us during our run to the Super Bowl, having that vertical presence, but also having that type of kid in our locker room. There's going to be a changing of the guard in the next four or five years, but to have someone like Torrey that I know can step in and be a leader for us is only an added bonus."

What is the team's biggest area of need to improve after the Draft?"It's going to be a unique situation, because we don't know whether the four-year guys are going to be free [agents] or the six-year guys are going to be free [agents]. So, we've been working on formulas that we can deal with both. But, we can use another rusher, someone that can put pressure on the passer. We've got to get a veteran quarterback, a backup. People know we didn't get Marc Bulger until July a year ago, and then we've got to get this fullback situation corrected, because if it's four years, then Le'Ron [McClain] could be a free agent. So those are the three areas. We had a meeting today, and those were the areas that we talked about, that as we move forward that we will try to get better at."

Do you think the ultimate replacements for S Ed Reed and LB Ray Lewis reside on the current roster?"Those were the weakest positions in the draft. [UCLA's] Rahim Moore was the first safety to go off [the board] in the mid-second round, and I think maybe it was third or fourth round before another safety came off the board; I think it was the kid from Temple. And the inside linebacker position wasn't [strong]. So, first of all, those positions were very weak. But I can say, at both of those positions, we've drafted and signed undrafted free agents over the last three or four years. At linebacker, we've got Tavares Gooden, Jason Phillips, [Dannell] Ellerbe and [Jameel] McClain, so we have some people already there that have already played a lot of football. And, at the safety spot, we've got the boxer, Tommy Zbikowski and Haruki [Nakamura], the [judo] black belt. So, we have some depth there already, but those were the weakest positions [in the Draft]. If Rahim Moore would've been there, and Torrey would've gotten picked, then we would've taken Rahim Moore with our second-round pick."

How does CB Jimmy Smith compare to the other CBs we took in the first round in Duane Starks and Chris McAlister?"That whole defense [in late 1990s], especially the secondary, we were facing [Jacksonville's Mark] Brunell, we were facing [Cincinnati's] Jeff Blake, we were facing [Tennessee's] Steve McNair, we were facing all quarterbacks that not only could throw the football, but they also could get out of the pocket. So, not only did we have to have corners that could cover, but they also had to be corners that could come out and tackle and tackle in space. So if you want to compare Jimmy to any of the corners that we've had before, Chris would be the one guy that you would compare him to. [They are] very similar in stature — Chris is a little bit thicker. I think Jimmy is a little bit faster."

Byrne states result of the fan poll: "We asked you which of the top four draft choices would have the most impact on the team, and you guys agreed with Ozzie Newsome. Jimmy Smith received 61 percent of your vote, and Torrey Smith was second with 27 percent."

How do you feel about the three-day NFL Daft format?"It's good for TV, and it's good for fans. The viewership is up again this year, I think. From that standpoint, it's the reason why we do it. From my standpoint, it's very long. It's three long days. When we used to do it in two days, it seemed like you could get yourself ramped up, and then it would be over. The toughest part of it is when you only have the first round on Thursday, you've got all day the following day to prepare yourself, and if you're picking at the bottom of the round, like we want to be doing for the remainder of my time here, and hopefully even after I leave, then it provides for a long time. And if you're not picking at the top of the second or at the top of the fourth, then your phone doesn't ring. You're not getting any action, but it does allow us to go back and dot our 'I's' and cross our 'T's' and reshuffle our board a little bit. It allows us to be a little bit better prepared."

Do you believe what the Ravens did in this Draft will help us find ways to beat the Steelers?"I'm going to say it another way: Pittsburgh's got to continue to find ways to beat us, too. I think what we've done… I think we can get the quick strike. When you're playing against Pittsburgh, you know at some point they have the ability to get you with a turnover. But if you can augment that or trump that by getting an easy score, like we almost did with the punt return [in last year's Divisional playoff game with Lardarius Webb], then that kind of balances your books. I think getting Torrey into the mix will allow us to get that quick strike. On the other hand, Ben [Roethlisberger] likes to run around and take his time. Hopefully, he can be running around, and Jimmy can get an interception and take that to the house. We have to find an equalizer, because they find ways to get the easy touchdown against us. We have to find ways to get the easy touchdown against them in order to continue to compete with them and to beat them so that we can be the defending AFC North champions."

With the great things I hear you saying about offense, the one thing the Ravens were beat up on last season was the play-calling and the work of our offensive coordinator. Will Cam Cameron be up in the booth more? Normally, you see coordinators who are doing excellent work in the booth upstairs."No, I think Cam is going to continue to be down on the field. He likes to be down there with the action. Some people like to call it from up in the box, but he likes to be down there. He gets a chance to look the players in the eyes when they come off the field. The reason why I say we're going to be better from an offensive standpoint is that I've seen all the work they've done this offseason refining the offense. One of the things we have in our head coach is he came here with the ability to be… He grew up in the game, coaching special teams and coaching on the defensive side. And you can see over the course of the three years he's been here, the progress that both of those elements of our game has gotten better. Now that he has that the way he wants it, now he can come over to the offensive side. What happens when you give a guy that understands defense coming over as a head coach to the offensive coaches, he can sit there and he can talk with them and say, 'No, no, no. If I'm the defensive coordinator, I can defeat this.' So now they get another set of eyes. The other aspect of it, I think Joe's going take ownership of this offense. This is going to be Joe's offense. Cam may call the plays. I think Joe is going to have more of an opportunity to change some things, but this has to be Joe's offense."

Every once in a while you hear rumors that you might be going back to Alabama soon. You've been doing this for a while now, you're great at it, we love you for it, you've made this city proud again, and we'd hate to lose you. How long do you think you're going to continue do this?"I don't know. I'm enjoying it. I've got a young quarterback, I've got a young back, I've got a stud, big ol' defensive tackle, I've got [Terrell] Suggs who's been here for seven years and is only 27 years old, so I'm still enjoying this. I got a great working relationship with the owner, great working relationship with the head coach, with the president. This is a great building to come to work in every day. And now I've got Nick Saban down at Alabama. They really don't need me. Nick's running everything, and with things he's not running he calls me up and I can help them out. So, now that Nick's down there, he takes care of this [and] it allows me to be able to stay here and enjoy this."

I'm a little concerned about the safety position. Do you have any plans to move some of our talented cornerbacks to safety, like we did with Rod Woodson when he came here back in our Super Bowl year?"Right now, no. With the number of corners we have… We were fortunate enough to get Chris Carr. Chris Carr was our emergency safety last year. He could play multiple positions, and one of them was safety. Right now, we've picked up a young guy [Marcus Paschal] that was up in Philadelphia. He's had some experience with John, so he'll be fighting for a spot. That's an area we'll be looking for once free agency opens up. But we not only want that guy to be a good safety, but he has to be a very good special teamer for us."

What do you think of the depth chart for defensive tackle, and what do you think benefits more, the pass rush from the cornerbacks or the cornerbacks from the pass rush?"First, the defensive tackle: We've got Kelly Talavou, we got [Terrence] Cody, we got Brandon McKinney. I think, [Arthur] Jones, the big kid that we got from Syracuse, can kick down and play there. We've got Lamar Divens, so we've got some depth on the interior of our defensive line. I would tell you that a corner appreciates some heat on the quarterback because he knows the ball has to come out quick and knows that he only has to cover for a very short time. So the corners I've been around, they've always appreciated having someone put pressure on the quarterback."

What made you choose T Jah Reid over the other offensive lineman in the Draft, and do you think he can handle some of those really great pass rushers from the other teams?"We traded up to get Jah. If you looked at the board, there was no one else that we were really excited about getting as far as a tackle is concerned, so we wanted to make sure we got him. The two things Jah brings are his size and his arm length; that's very important for a tackle. But he's also a very good knee-bender, which means that should allow him to be a good run blocker. So those are the three things that Jah will bring to us, and he's a guy that we hope will come in and start competing right away to be a starting right tackle for us."

Who, among the younger players, do you think will be the breakout player for the Ravens this year?"I'm going to take the Alabama guy; I'm going to go with Cody. Cody is going to have a great year this year. He got a taste of it. He understands his role within the defense. So if someone is going to step up – he also appreciates playing next to Haloti Ngata – so I would say Terrence Cody."

(BYRNE) "Ozzie, that Kansas City running back is still having nightmares about Terrence Cody. Terrence almost suffocated him on that one play.

"Our next caller is Stephanie. Stephanie, before I let you talk to Ozzie I want to say two things: One, we've had over 6,500 season ticket holders on the call tonight… 6,500, which, Ozzie, now puts you ahead of John Harbaugh, because he was just over 6,100, and Stephanie, you're going to win the football that Ozzie Newsome is now signing."

For players from the local schools like the University of Maryland, do you have a special place in your heart to help try and bring more community ties to the team?"Yes, we scout Maryland, we scout Towson, Morgan State and all colleges in the local area. If there are players there, they get No. 1 treatment from us. We have local days that we can bring guys in – we didn't have it this year – where guys that participate in football at the local colleges within our metropolitan area, we can bring those guys in. We didn't do it this year. But yes, it's good for us to be able to get a Torrey Smith that understands Baltimore and understands the Baltimore Ravens. It makes the transition a lot easier for him and for us."

You're not only a gift to the Baltimore Ravens, but you're a gift to our Baltimore community and we are so much better because you are here. In my opinion, some of the game management by coach Harbaugh has been questionable… Can you comment on that?"As far John and his game management, first and foremost, there's nothing that prepares you for being a head coach in the National Football League up until you get in the position. As far as him managing the game, I can only think of a very few instances where you could second-guess what he did or what he didn't do. When I look at the big picture, I try not to look at the one or two mistakes anyone makes. From my vantage point, I think he does a very good job of managing the game. If you look at what we did in the first year, being able to control the football with a young quarterback, that all came down from John. I know he's not perfect and I know he's continuing to work to get better in every facet of being a head coach, but I will say this: There's no school that you can go to that says this will teach you to be a head coach and [where you] can learn to manage all the things you have to manage."

How do we get Mr. Art Modell into the Hall of Fame? "I don't know what we can do. My biggest fear is that once he passes away, at that point, he will get the opportunity to go in, and I just don't think that's fair. He definitely deserves to be in, and he deserved to go in before I did."

I wonder if the writer in Cleveland understands what the TV contracts Mr. Modell negotiated meant to the NFL? "I know Tony [Grossi], I know him personally. He's just trying to carry the banner for something that happened 15 years ago, and I say this to Tony all the time: 'Get over it. The man deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.'"

(BYRNE) "Michael, I'm glad you brought it up; we'd all agree."

I do want to thank you for all the work you've done. We love of the Ravens. I'm a member of Ravens Roost #50. I think you have a very classy organization. I write letters to John Harbaugh and all the defensive coaches when we've gotten new changes, and everybody has sent me a note thanking me, so I think that's a classy organization and it starts at the top." Thank you."


*(BYRNE) *"Ozzie, we appreciate your time tonight. We know you're doing something else here this evening at our complex in Owings Mills. I think I can speak for the season ticket holders, like Robin who we just talked to, when I say thanks for the insight. You gave us a lot of information tonight and we can all be excited as we move forward this year.

"By the way, if any of you fans want to leave a comment about our Ravens Town Hall Meeting tonight, you can do so in a few minutes. When Ozzie answers this last question you can just stay on and you'll have the ability to leave a message to us. Again, we appreciate the numbers, the huge numbers we had tonight.

"And I'll end it with this, Ozzie, because I know you're history well and I've known you a long time. In college you played in front of some of the loudest crowds in the history of sports, particularly at Alabama and playing in that Southeast Conference. In Cleveland, we had it going in Cleveland, you had it going in Cleveland, and literally, that stadium rocked on game day, that old stadium that should have been torn down a long time before it was. Now I see you smiling when you watch the Ravens fans react at M&T Bank Stadium. I'd like you to talk a little about what you see from those Ravens fans and what that home field advantage is all about."


(NEWSOME) "First, Kevin, I'd like to begin by just thanking all of the fans, the way they've embraced this organization from 1996 on. We moved here, we brought a football team here that wasn't very good. They embraced us, they stood behind us through some tough times, 4-12, 4-12, 6-10, whatever those records were… So I don't know if I can ever show my appreciation to this fan base.

"As far as coming to M&T Bank Stadium on a Sunday… Having had the opportunity to go to Baton Rouge and play at LSU, having had the opportunity to go to Three Rivers and play against the Steelers – I think our fans give us a home field advantage that is second to none. I think the teams that come in here – they're intimidated by the fans, they're intimidated by the intelligence of our fans. I have nothing but kudos to that group. And kudos goes because you all have been there from the very, very beginning. You people are the reason why we can be a successful organization, because we know that we've got thousands upon thousands of fans that support us. I'd just like to say thank you."


(BYRNE) "Yes, everybody thanks for doing this tonight. Ozzie, thanks again. We're going to do it again. Hopefully the next time we do it, it will be with the owner Steve Bisciotti, and it will be after we have a new collective bargaining agreement. Hopefully, Steve can inspire that group to get that done in a hurry. Thanks everybody. We'll talk to you again. Bye, bye.

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