FRIDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: WEEK 12 vs. Raiders
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Man, it's cold out there, guys. We had a heck of a practice. I heard it's going to warm up before the game though, right?" (Reporter: "About 25 degrees.")"About 25 degrees warmer? Good, good. So, it will at least double what it was [today]. Guys were great, had a good practice. We wanted to get outside on the grass and in the light, all that stuff, catch the ball in the day, and all that kind of stuff, so it was important to get out. But, I was questioning myself about halfway through when my right toe started going numb, but it was good."
Because it's looking like he's not going to play again this week, is there anything you can tell us on G/T James Hurst, just because this is about five missed games for him now? (Luke Jones) "Yes, it's a back thing. He had a disc issue, and that's all cleared up now, but he's still feeling a little bit down in his calf, and it has to do with the nerve root, and it's just unpredictable, time-wise. We thought he'd be back two, three weeks ago. So, I'm as frustrated as anybody. I'm not as frustrated as James; he's the most frustrated. So, he could be back next week. He has to practice. He has to get himself in the weight room. He has to get himself right. All those things would have to happen. But, until the doctors … Until that's all cleared, he's not going to be able to go. So, fortunately, we have some depth in the O-line. Our guys have done a good job, but that has been frustrating – no question about it – for James and for us."
Along the same lines, I know you've said that QB Joe Flacco would not necessarily have to practice to play, but does that become less the case the longer he is out? In other words, he would need a few days to ramp up. (Childs Walker) "Yes, I think it does. It would be … I don't know if we're going to rule him out for this game right now. I'm counting on Lamar [Jackson] being the starter in this game. I think that's pretty straightforward. And Joe, at this point now, he would've had to practice to be ready to go, and he was not able to practice this week."
Is it too late for ILB Bam Bradley and WR Quincy Adeboyejo? I know you brought a couple guys back. Are those guys kind of rule out at this point, or no? (Jeff Zrebiec) "They're not ruled out; they just have to be ready to go, so he's not ready to go yet. We tried to bring Jaylen [Hill] back, and he had a little trouble with his hip, so he may actually get surgery on his hip – we'll see – coming off the knee. Those guys are always … Those PUP guys are always just … You never know. He's not ready to practice yet. I don't think he'll play this year, this season, Adeboyejo, but to get him back for three weeks of practice would be a bonus. Then, if you had to play him, you have the emergency, you could if he was ready. But, you can't bring him back until he's ready to practice. He's not ready yet."
Talking to TE Nick Boyle on Wednesday, he said that playing with QB Lamar Jackson you need to be a little bit more of a "swiss-army knife," just being able to block, going out for RPOs, all of those kinds of plays. His value in this offense, does it change at all with the kind of plays that you guys are running now more with Lamar? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Well, I do think that position is one that it's kind of the nature of the position, anyway. You're kind of are a 'Swiss Army knife' [when you are] a tight end. I used to coach the tight ends in college, and those guys are involved in every part of the offense – obviously, blocking, pass-blocking, run game, pass game, routes, downfield routes, short routes, screens. Just everything that you do, the tight ends are very much involved in it. So, with this offense, that expands into the world that Lamar takes us, probably even more so, because he'll have bluff blocks and RPO things and flat routes that could be throws or could not be throws, things like that. So, it's probably a good point by Nick. I hadn't thought about it quite as much in that sense, from his perspective, but I think that's probably a good point."
Because he is such a good blocker, do you think he's able to get open more because teams respect his ability to engage and block someone on a run?_ (Jonas Shaffer)_"If you're going to do that kind of a block – that'd be like a slam block, where you block and release on a route – yes, I would say that anytime you have a good blocker, [it] probably makes him more credible. Definitely the play-action stuff with Nick in there is very valuable, because Nick's a great blocker. He's also a really good receiver. I just think he's an all-around good tight end. To me, Nick is very valuable. We have a good group of tight ends, and Nick is very valuable because he is an all-around tight end."
Have you noticed anything different in QB Lamar Jackson this week because he's had that first start and win? Or is he still the same guy?_ (Aaron Kasinitz)_ "Same guy. He's no different. He's always confident and into it and upbeat. I haven't really noticed a difference that way – kind of the same. It's interesting, it's just kind of Lamar, you know? He's a joy to be around."
Is there anything that has surprised you about T Orlando Brown Jr. this year? (Jeff Zrebiec)"No, not really."(Reporter: "He was under a lot of attention after the Combine. Have you been impressed by him? There were questions about his work ethic and everyone in here has talked about how hard he's worked.") "Yes, that probably just goes to show you what a bunch of bologna all that is more than anything. He's been great – we knew he was. Around here they've known Orlando since he was a kid. I don't think there was any question at all about his character or his work ethic or anything like that here. So, he's been nothing but what we expected and more. He really loves football, he's really smart, he's really tough. He understands the value of working on technique. He's a big, strong guy, and his technique has gotten better every day. I think he's only going to continue to get better, and that's a pretty good, high bar for us. I think he has a great future."
Any predictions or guarantees for the game tomorrow? (Garrett Downing)"I guarantee victory – absolutely. That's what we do. We guarantee victory in the Michigan-Ohio State [game]. I will say: This is the first year I've done that. You might've noticed. (laughter) Jim [Harbaugh] says he can't even remember why he did it, which might be true, actually. There's been a lot of water gone under the bridge since those days. I remember [the] Harbaugh [to John] Kolesar huge catch in Michigan Stadium – sealed the game in Jim's junior year. It's a great rivalry; can't wait to watch it. Go Blue! Go Blue!"
Will Michigan-Notre Dame become hard for you when your daughter is at Notre Dame?_ (Childs Walker)"For football?" _(Reporter: "Yes.") "No. Never – it's easy. Or in lacrosse, either one! (laughter)Notre Dame in lacrosse, Michigan in football. That's easy. Blood is thicker than water always. Good question though. I do have a Notre Dame sweatshirt. I wrote 'lacrosse' under the 'ND' though just to make sure we're clear on that."