FRIDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: WEEK 8 at panthers
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "No preamble today. The weather is cold. The guys are in good spirits. What else do you want to know?" (laughter)
Any chance of any of the Injured Reserved guys coming back next week? (Jamison Hensley) "There's a chance. I really don't know. It's out of my hands. So, when they tell us that they're OK and cleared … Ozzie [Newsome] basically decides, along with whatever rules and powers that be, and then they tell us, and we coach the guys that are there practicing."
This is the third-straight week you've done the walk-through practice. What's the reasoning behind that? (Aaron Kasinitz)"We have our reasons. I don't really feel the need to share them with anybody. It's what is best for us to get ready for the game."
I know RB Christian McCaffrey is not the same player as RB Alvin Kamara. But, considering how much of a threat they each are coming out of the backfield as a receiver, I feel like some of those same principles apply this week that did last week._ (Luke Jones)_ "I don't even know if I'd say that. Maybe statistically? I'm not sure what the numbers are – which is probably to your point and is probably the case. This guy is every bit a threat, I would say. [He's] very dangerous; he can make people miss. He has great hands. You saw that at Stanford, you saw that at the Combine, all the different things. He's a major priority, a must-stop player on their offense, for sure."
DE Chris Wormley was talking about how much he has grown physically and that has helped his performance on the field. He said you and head strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders were both complimentary of how he developed his base. What have you seen from him in that respect, and how has that helped him?_ (Jonas Shaffer)"Thanks, that's a great question. Chris Wormley has done a really phenomenal job. This is a serious guy – as you know since you talked to him – very mature and a very determined guy. He came in last year, and he had been at Michigan – great program – and was a hard worker and a very disciplined type of person. When we first got him in the weight room, Steve did a great job of pinpointing certain areas. I kind of saw something, too, to be honest with you. I have a little weight room history and noticed a thing or two myself. _(laughter) Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but just so everyone knows. (laughter) Here's the thing: Steve found a couple things in his leg strength that he pinpointed to go to work on. 'Worm' just went to work, man. He didn't say a word – went to work – and now he's flipped that completely. I think it's really showing up in the way he's playing. He's really powerful, and he's strong, and he gets off blocks and all the things that he needed to work on. Go ask him, 'Hey, man. What are you working on this week?' He'll have it. He'll pinpoint it, and it's usually the exact same thing, as a coach, you think he needs to work on. I think that's what makes for great players ultimately, and he's one of those guys."
He mentioned that you specifically pinpointed his need to develop his VMO [vastus medialis oblique] muscle. I have never heard … (Jonas Shaffer)"That's right – the VMO muscle! It's this muscle right here."(points to reporter's inner knee) (Reporter: "How much do you know about kinesiology?")"I know about that much. (signals a little bit with his hand) I know enough to be dangerous, but I do know enough from being in the weight room. You can tell. I could just tell by the way he walked that was a weak area for him. Then we got in the weight room and it was. Man, the VMO conversation he and I had a number of times."
Have you helped anybody else, as far as their muscle strength? (Jamison Hensley)"Untold. Untold numbers of players!" (laughter)(Kevin Byrne, executive VP of public and community relations: "Coach, if I could share a story; Brent Urban, I went in [the weight room] one day, and you were with Brent Urban, and you were telling him to look in the mirror.") "So, Brent Urban, he was playing a little tentatively. This is a year or two ago, and we were having a conversation. We happened to be in the weight room where there's a mirror, and I just looked at him, and I said – and he was saying, 'Yes, I need to do this, I need to do that,' – and I said, 'Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? Have you ever looked at yourself? Look at yourself! Stand in front of the mirror and look at yourself! You're a monster! Get your pads down, put your hands up. Knock them back! That's all you have to do! That's your job. You're born for this!' It seemed to make an impact. (laughter) It worked."
How are CB Marlon Humphrey and G/T James Hurst? (Luke Jones) _"Oh, the injury question. I knew that was coming next! _(laughter)There will be an injury report coming out very shortly on those guys. They're doing well. They're working hard."
LB Chris Board leads the team in special teams tackles. How would you characterize his development as a rookie? (Ed Lee)"Yes, great, great point. Chris Board, gosh, here's a guy that, in all honesty, on the board, was about as low as you could get in college as a free agent. And, we had a coach and a scout or two that saw something in him – Jerry Rosburg being one, a North Dakota State guy – and saw something in him and decided to sign him as a free agent, and he's just done phenomenally well. [He] doesn't say boo, listens, is coachable as can be, and obviously has a bunch of talent. But he's learning how to play special teams. He's fast, he's big, and I think he's the next in line in the linebacker free agent group that we've had here, which in the Ravens history is rich in that area. I can't say enough good things. Any specific question besides that? [We're] really, really, really happy with him. Thanks, that's a great point."
As far as OLB Terrell Suggs, not as a player because we've all seen him, but as a person, has he been as vocal over the past few years, or even this year, as he's been in the past? _(Jamison Hensley) _"I would say he's been more vocal, I would. He's just as vocal … Well, he's probably a little less crazy on the field. He still says great, funny things. [He's] a little more PG-rated, maybe, as he gets a little older, which we appreciate, but every now and then something will fly, and you're just kind of stunned by it. The things he says to the guys, I think, is where he's continued to grow: one-on-one conversations from a mentoring perspective and then the things he says to the group, whether it's the team or the defense, have been just spot-on. Some of the things you guys actually hear, in some of the mic'ing stuff they put out, have been indicative of the messages. So, he's been a tremendous leader."