SEASON-ENDING PRESS CONFERENCE
Do you and the other individual owners have a specific role in the CBA negotiations?
*(STEVE BISCIOTTI) *"I really don't have a role, and I'm not with the negotiating group of owners. We've had a couple meetings recently. We're being updated on progress potentials and opportunities, and I was in Atlanta Tuesday and got briefed. So, I think we've got another one in a few weeks, and we'll continue to get briefed by the negotiating group that's working with the union reps."
**Is getting a big, deep-threat wide receiver a goal for this offseason?
*(OZZIE NEWSOME) *"Well, we're going to try to improve every position. More than likely, yes, some [are] a lot tougher than others. But, as we proceed, we will have a full-blown personnel meeting within the next two weeks, and I think that'll set the tone for what the offseason will offer us. And if there's an opportunity for us to get a receiver that fits the mold that you just described – if he's there and he's available for us – then I'm sure we'll be happy to have him in Baltimore. I will say that – you may not have seen it – but James Hardy is a guy that was a second-round pick with the Buffalo Bills that we've signed as a reserve/future [contract]. And we think – he's coming off an ACL that he had in his first year – but we think he's a guy that has the opportunity to become a good player in this league, and maybe he can do that here in Baltimore."
Can you address the concerns that the fans have had over Cam Cameron and the offense, and have you seen the improvements over the year that you expected from QB Joe Flacco in his third season?
*(BISCIOTTI) *"I'll start. You know, this is a game of statistics, and we looked at them all. And I think last year I told you that Joe had improved from Year One to Year Two, and I'd like… If he stayed on pace, he'd hit 4,000 yards or something. And I think the yardage was about identical, so that's the only one I guess that didn't have a significant jump. I think his completion percentage is about the same, which is a good completion percentage; we could live with that for the rest of our life, in the 63 [percent] range or something like that. His quarterback rating is up, his touchdowns are up, [and] his interceptions are down. So, clearly he improved, and I'm still very happy to have Joe Flacco as our quarterback. After what Baltimore has been through since 1996, I think we're in pretty good shape. And I did also talk about Joe's commitment to being better, and we saw all of that and more. So, I think he's where we want him to be. Does he have holes in his game? Yeah. We all do. We all have holes in our game, and our job in the offseason is to shore them up in every capacity. But, I know that there's been a lot of heat on Cam [Cameron], and I talked with John [Harbaugh], I guess, [for] four hours over the three days, the last few days. Probably two hours one time, an hour and an hour in three straight days, and a lot of it was directed at the offense. And John's feeling is that we like Cam under fire as our offensive coordinator next year. Sometimes it's easier to replace them, and the fans, their frustration can't lead us to offer somebody up for sacrifice for the things that went wrong, because I have a litany of examples of our defense letting us down, too, that caused a lot of these things. And I'll speak specifically to the Atlanta game, when [Flacco] came back on the road and drove through two touchdown passes and scored 14 points in the fourth quarter against a very good team, and the defense gave up a touchdown in the last 65 seconds. So, if you want to go through things, every position group had a failure, every coach had a failure, and it all added up to 13 wins and five losses. So, the fans legitimately can be frustrated, and the frustration level is higher the better we get. And we knew that going in, but when John came in three years ago, it was to make this team better, and I think he has. And with that comes increased scrutiny, but that comes because of past success. So, it comes with the territory and we're willing to accept it."
*(NEWSOME) *"As far as Joe goes, I get the opportunity to see Joe grow more in the intangible aspect: around the building, around the players, on the practice field, the way he carries himself. And I think I've seen significant improvement in all those areas, and I think the improvement in those areas helped him to become more productive on the field on Sundays. So, I think he will continue to improve. I think he's getting comfortable being the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback, and I think he enjoys being the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback. As far as the offense is concerned, I'm probably the one guy that gets the opportunity to scrimmage with John on a daily basis, on all aspects of the coaching and what happens on Sunday. I'm his sounding board, I'm his person that he trusts to be able to say tough things to him, and I'm onboard with John and his decision. But I'm also onboard with the process that John is going to undertake to make us better. Having the opportunity to sit with him – and [for] him to outline how we're going to become a better football team and not be as disappointed as we were this year – I'm on board with that. And I think based on past experiences, the track that he's taking will lead us to more success."
Do you look at 13 wins and a second-round playoff appearance as a success, or do you look at it as disappointing in that you didn't get further?
*(BISCIOTTI) *"I'm proud of the success; I'm frustrated with the loss. This whole Super Bowl-or-bust mentality that we kind of had, and [the media] promoted, and our fans believed in, and we knew… Last year, I said that our goal is to be one of the elite teams. Realistically, our goal is to try and be in the top 12 that gets you into the playoffs. Right now, if John retired, his winning percentage would be up there in history as one of the best ever. So, am I happy that we achieved a chance, a crack [at a Super Bowl]? John said in his conference after the game that night, 10 minutes after the game, 'You can only aspire to be great.' You aspire to be great, and you can only give it a shot. And we got to the final eight, three years in a row. And that is the cream of the NFL – that gets to the final eight – and only one of those eight teams are going to go on a three-game winning streak at that point. The other seven great teams can't win three in a row. And in the regular season, I would assume that all eight of those teams won three, or five, or seven or nine in a row. Statistically, only one of them can go on a three-game winning streak, and that's the one that's going to be crowned Super Bowl champ. I want to be in that eight every year. Is it realistic? No. It really isn't. It's not realistic, but we're going to keep on trying, because that's our goal as a partnership here, is to try and give us a chance every year."
Do you plan on raising ticket prices in 2011, and do you have a plan in place for ticket money if the schedule is altered next season?
*(DICK CASS) *"We are not going to raise ticket prices this year. You're right, [in that] we do look at ticket price increases every other year. We looked at it this year and decided it's not a good time to raise ticket prices, so ticket prices are remaining the same. We will send out invoices for season tickets in the next week or so, and we'll announce our plan in there on refunding money in the event any games are cancelled this year. One thing we are going to do is, we'll pay interest on money if we do have games cancelled. And we're not going to try to finance any work stoppage with the money we get from season ticket holders. We will hold that separate. That's our plan."
Is there a thought to why you will not raise ticket prices?
*(CASS) *"One factor was the uncertainly over labor, for sure. And then we looked around the league, and there weren't a lot of teams raising ticket prices this year. So, that was another factor. We always look and see what other teams are doing and what they've done this year as well. I mean, we were fortunate… Our fans have been tremendous for us. When you look around the league, I think this year season ticket sales were all 5-percent around the league, and we were solid again. So, we're just grateful for the support we've gotten – we really are."
The Sun would like to know, Steve, how you felt when John told a radio caller that "if he wasn't proud of the team, he can find another one to root for."
(BISCIOTTI) *"I know John. Really, it didn't faze me. We can take all the criticism in the world, but when you start – like I brought up 10 minutes ago – if your solution is to whack our partners, that's what John got frustrated with. That's really, that was the crux of it; fire [defensive line coach] Clarence [Brooks], I think, wasn't it? That's not a solution, per se. You don't take out your frustrations… Good organizations don't respond that way. And our goal more than anything is to be a quality organization. And it takes time, and you have to be patient, and you have to work with them, and there's time to address those things. So, I've seen John lose his temper before. Maybe it's the first time he's lost it on the radio, but he's lost it on me a few times. He's a fiery guy; I am too. And sometimes I call Oz and vent to him, and Ozzie thanks me for venting to him, because he doesn't want me calling John and doing the same thing. So, we've got a process here: If I'm mad, I call Ozzie first and dump on him. *(laughter) So, I'm very comfortable with John. If that's his biggest regret or his biggest mistake in three years, then we've got a great, bright future together."
Do you get the sense that Flacco is the quarterback the franchise will build around for 10 years or so to come?
(BISCIOTTI) *"We already addressed Joe. Yeah, I do believe that. I don't think that there's anybody in the world, I don't think that there's anybody in Baltimore – well there are, because I've read some of the comments, so I can't say nobody… We think Joe has the ability to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league, and we've got to do what we can do to help him get there. It's fluid, it's ongoing, and it's constant, and his star is rising. You can par stats to make any point that you want. So, I can tell you that he's got better numbers than [Falcons QB] Matt Ryan in the playoffs, and you can tell me that Matt Ryan's got something better than he does. We have three elite quarterbacks in this league, and everybody knows who they are. And if Pittsburgh finds their way to another trophy, then that will be, I guess, seven – three New England, one Colts and three Pittsburgh – since we won. That's seven out of 10, or something like that? Is Joe ever going to be in that conversation? We think so. We hope so. We're going to work to get him there. It might take killing off Peyton [Manning] or something like that to accelerate that process, *(laughter) but we believe that sooner or later [he'll be there]. If we didn't, we'd cut bait. We're not cutting bait with Joe; we have high hopes for him."
Your thoughts on the tough decision to let John Matsko go as offensive line coach and Andy Moeller being promoted?
*(JOHN HARBAUGH) *"Tough decision with John. John is a good man and a good coach. We felt like a change there would give us a chance to get better. I know John understands that, and he'll be coaching real quickly in this league. We appreciate what he did for us, no doubt about it, and he's a good friend. Andy Moeller, I'm excited about that. I know the players are excited about it. Andy is a young and upcoming coach. He's a fiery coach, a very smart guy. The players really like him. The players are excited about it. I think it gives us a chance to get better. So, I think it makes us a better football team."
The Steelers are obviously the biggest obstacle for this team. Your thoughts on getting past them?
*(BISCIOTTI) *"We're close. We're close. They are what you all said they are, somebody wrote, right? [They are] the 'gold standard.' We're trying. We're trying to be there, and we're close. They don't take us lightly. So, we've got their attention. They make the extra play. That's what championship teams do. We're not there yet. They are. They have that confidence. They have those two Super Bowl trophies in the last five years, so they have the confidence. Does confidence beget success? Yeah, it does in a lot of situations. They're there, we're not. We've got to get there. When we get there, we're going to be more confident. So yeah, I think we're close. Ben Roethlisberger is one of those elite guys; he makes those plays."
Can you give us one or two specific reasons why the offense underperformed at times this year?
*(HARBAUGH) *"I probably commented on this more than anybody, and I hold true. You say you want one or two specific things, but that's not fair. There are a lot of things that come up. But, the thing that I'm focusing on and the process that we have going forward – along with Ozzie and Steve and Dick and really all of our coaches – is to make everything better. But, we need to run the ball better. If we run the ball better and we're more physical, that opens a lot of possibilities from the passing game, play-calling, [and] gives guys a chance to make plays across the board. So, if I was going to say one thing, I'd say that would be the No. 1 thing we need to focus on going forward."
*(NEWSOME) *"From my perspective, and anytime you talk to a personnel guy, it's always about: 'We're going to get better players.' If I provide John with better players, his coaches with better players, then we'll do better on Sundays. So, we can get better players."
Can Steve comment on that, too, please?
*(BISCIOTTI) *"No. No. No better than they did."
Do you have a timeline for a contract extension with John, and knowing how competitive John is, will Jim's contract with the 49ers figure in to that?
(BISCIOTTI) *"He's squeezing my leg right now; you guys can't see it. *(laughter) John is going to get his contract extension. Dick has been working on it for the last couple weeks, and I'm sure it will take another week or two because he's a tough guy to bargain with."
(HARBAUGH) *"Squeezing his leg? My hand is not in his pocket." *(laughter)
*(BISCIOTTI) *"He'll get his extension. We're pretty happy with him."
Do you think you'll be able to re-sign DT Haloti Ngata before the potential work stoppage, and how much does the uncertain CBA factor into that decision?
*(NEWSOME) *"I know John has said this – going back to the last owner's meeting in March – that Haloti is a priority, and he is a priority. That's not just John saying it; that's Steve saying it, that's Ozzie saying it, that's Dick saying it. But, there are some issues that we have going forward based on an uncapped year with the potential of going to a capped year that could create some problems in getting a deal done before a work stoppage. But, I don't think – other than maybe preparing for the draft – there is any other thing that has the most importance to me than to bring a player [back] like Haloti – get him under contract. And, history within this organization proves that we will do that. When you go to Ray [Lewis] to Jonathan [Ogden] to Ed [Reed], we've always demonstrated our abilities that players that perform well get the opportunity to play here for a long time."
How does the labor uncertainty change your offseason strategy? Does it change the offseason strategy? Do you have to come up with contingency plans based on what the possibilities are?
*(NEWSOME) *"Dick and I and Pat [Moriarty, vice president of football administration], now that the season is over, with John and with Steve… We've been talking about this for at least the last three months, what can happen, what may not happen, and how we are going to do to prepare ourselves for it. But, the No. 1 thing – and I think John spoke about it in his press conference – is this is the first time that if there is a work stoppage that the draft could be held before free agency. There are a lot of people that have been in this league for a long time [that] have wanted that to happen, [to] get the opportunity to get into the college pool and see what you can get out of that, and then get into free agency. So, with that being in mind, we will concentrate on the draft. [We] just got back from the East-West [Shrine] game. We'll be heading down to the Senior Bowl. [Then we've] got the Combine. So, that'll be our main focus this offseason, as well as working on Baltimore Ravens. That's always the key. You always have to start with your own team first, how we can get those guys better. We can add additional players, but when players get better from year to year, it helps you out."
Under the personal conduct policy, the way that you guys like to operate, do you guys have any problems with Andy Moeller's situation where he has had three arrests in under four years related to alcohol?
*(BISCIOTTI) *"Yeah, we're very concerned. All we can do at this stage is see how Andy responds to this. He's taking the right steps. Obviously, it's a very personal issue. I don't think there is anybody in this room who hasn't been affected by alcohol. That's not a character trait; that's a disease, that's a problem. As long as he is doing what he is expected to do, then he has our support, the caveat being that it's his last chance, and he knows that. I don't think he would mind me saying that. He's either going to get it under control, or he's going to spend a lifetime in misery like other people that are affected by that. So, we're behind him as long as he earns that trust and continues to earn that trust. But, he knows he's one step away from not being a Raven, and then probably not being in the NFL at all."
*(CASS) *"I have nothing to add. I think that's good."
Ozzie said that he was comfortable with your outline. What's in your outline?
*(HARBAUGH) *"There's a process to trying to improve ourselves, really, in all three phases. But I think he's referring to the offensive side of the ball, and it's already begun. Cam and I have had extensive meetings. I've had a chance to talk with players. I've had a chance to talk with coaches, every one of our offensive coaches, and I think the way it starts is you listen. I've had a chance to listen to these guys. You know what? It's amazing the amount of information and input you get from guys when you ask. And we've got some great people that want to get better. So, that's where it started. We'll go to the Senior Bowl this next week. That has to do with the Draft, and then next Monday, we'll start meeting. I'll be involved with that along with the offensive coaches, and we'll rebuild the offense from the ground up. But, I don't want to give you the impression that I'm going to do it. Cam drives that, and the offensive coaches drive that. We've got some, I think, some really smart, some really good coaches. We've got to go back and take a look at what we do and how we do it and how we tie our players into it and how we communicate it and if we're all on the same page. You take a look at everything, and really, you do that with every phase. You do it defensively. We'll do it special teams-wise. But, probably the first time this year, I'll have a chance to be involved with it on the offensive side from the get-go, and we're excited about that."
What are the biggest issues in collective bargaining that are most concerning to you, and what will your public statements be to the fans?
(BISCIOTTI) *"It doesn't do me any good to be a pessimist. I understand labor management relations; I took courses in college. I get it. My business wasn't union-based, so this is my first exposure to it. We've got some work to do, there's no doubt about it. I am very limited in what I can say. I want to keep my money. *(laughter) [Commissioner] Roger [Goodell] wants to take my money. I really do have to be careful with what I say, but it doesn't do me any good not to be optimistic. I know how intelligent and committed our group that's representing our side… I know how intelligent they are. I know how committed they are to getting a deal done. We've got someone – Domonique Foxworth – here, who I think if any of you know how intelligent he is, and he's just one of the many guys on their side. So, I just have to have hope that a bunch of smart people on both sides of this argument are going to get it done. So, I really have high hopes. I still believe that we're going to have a full season next year."
Should fans have high hopes?
*(BISCIOTTI) *"Yeah, I think so. Again, but as I've learned, not everybody is an optimist."
What makes you optimistic?
*(BISCIOTTI) *"Because when the season is over, I think the rhetoric will actually die down. I think that when we start worrying about college basketball and opening day with the Orioles and these guys are sitting in their meetings, I don't think it's going to be front and center. I don't think it's going to be front-page news, and I think the quicker we get there, the quicker we're going to make progress. So, I think that everybody should just hold out hope that we're going to get things done, and I'm confident that we will."
With incredible financial success, what do you say to fans in this time now where the NFL is doing so well while it is a struggle for so many people?
*(BISCIOTTI) *"What I say to them is… If your business gave you a 50-percent raise and you and your wife started spending 60-percent more money, you're not going to be better off. Everybody keeps talking about the health of the league because they keep seeing the revenues go up. They don't know that expenses are rising at a higher rate than those revenues. We've got to get that right. We've got to get that in check. We have, what, 61 players, and right now the players get 60 percent, give or take, whatever the numbers that you want to do, and you can argue what they are, really, after deductions and everything else. But, what you all know that the average fan doesn't – because you get to know these people – is we've got 140 employees, not counting the players, not counting the 61 players. So, when you talk about the labor being 60 percent, what is not clear is that labor is more like 80 percent here by the time you pay the other 140 employees. And, I think you'd be hard pressed to find any other industry that has labor costs of 80 percent. It just doesn't happen. The health of the league, by definition, by your definition, is the revenues keep going up. But, if expenses keep rising at a higher percentage… If you were a public company, your stock would be going backward, and that's what we're trying to protect against."
Are you surprised that the passing game underperformed after all of the additions made in the offseason? How can you get it to be more productive?
*(NEWSOME) *"The process starts in March – would start in March if there is not a lockout or work stoppage – where the coaches, with the personnel that they have, they start to prepare themselves for the season. If you think back to March, it was Derrick [Mason], Mark Clayton, Anquan [Boldin] and Donte' [Stallworth]. So you build a profile off of that, along with a Todd Heap. Then, you go through a draft and you end up picking up two really athletic tight ends, and you [say], 'We need to add those guys to the mix.' So, that changes your profile a little bit. But then you get into training camp, and you add a [T.J.] Houshmandzadeh. I think if we would have had all the pieces in place – and that goes back to being on me – at the beginning of March, then the success of all of those guys would have been increased. But, as we added them as time came along, all of a sudden, Joe [Flacco] has got five days to get accustomed to throwing to Houshmandzadeh and get ready for a game. That's not easy to do. That's not easy to do. So, if you can build continuity starting at the beginning of the offseason and build it all the way through, I think the production is there. That is the way I look at it, and that's why I can take some of the blame, because if all the pieces were there in March, then I think the production would have been there throughout the whole season. But, we gained pieces as we went along."
*(HARBAUGH) *"From a coaching perspective, I'd probably take the other view. I appreciate Ozzie saying that, but I think you add players when you can, how you can, any way you can. And as coaches, you plug them in and you make them a part of things as fast as you can, and that's what you try to do. My response would be all the things that we've talked about all year. The running game is part of the passing game, and the passing game is part of the running game. I don't think we were as good in any area as we should've been. Our offensive line wasn't as good as it should've been. [That also goes for] our quarterback, our tight ends, our wide receivers. And I look at it as being on us as coaches. That's something that we've got to do a better job of moving the football and scoring points. I'd say the same thing about our defense, and I'd say the same thing about our special teams. That's how you look at it as a coach. But, it's more dramatic on offense; we all saw it. There were games that we should've won, that if we could just finish out games, or if we would've scored more points, or if we hadn't turned the ball over [we would have won]. We did a great job of not turning the ball over really all year, and then we get into that final game, [and] we've got an opportunity with a 21-7 lead in the third quarter to put a team away, and we basically turn the… We do turn the ball over three times in our own end, and basically hand them the game. There were times on defense, as Steve pointed out, that it was the other way, too. So, all of our guys take responsibility, but I'm just going to tell you that we've got to do a better job coaching. We've got to do a better job of finding ways to put those guys in position to make plays, and it's in the run game, it's in the pass game, it's all of it."
There is a report that links LB Ray Lewis to an alleged human growth hormone supplement provider. What is the team's policy on players taking outside supplements? Do you anticipate having a conversation with Lewis about this?
*(NEWSOME) *"No. 1, I think we probably, in professional sports, have the best [drug] testing of all the four major sports. Our testing for performance enhancers goes year-round [and] they're random. So, if there's anything that any of our players are taking, then they will be found out about because they will test positive for it, and there would be a suspension. That being said, if there is a product that he's taking, and he's passing the tests, then I can't explain that one. That's up to our league and the testing that we go through. Now, Ray is one person that I think, of the four of us, that we all can talk to, and he'll explain any and everything to us about what he's doing, why he's doing it. So, if need be, we'll have that conversation. But I trust – and I know because five times a week I walk into this building and people are here to test our guys – that nobody is getting away with anything."
(Reporter says that the NFL does not test for the human growth hormone.)
*(CASS) *"I've read the report, but we haven't had a chance to really follow up and see what's behind it. I did see the newspaper story, so we'll obviously look into it. It's really hard to comment when we haven't really talked to Ray and really don't know the facts yet."
Does the team have a policy about supplement providers outside of the organization?
*(CASS) *"There is a league-wide policy."
Are you satisfied with the amount of pressure the defense got on opposing QBs? Do you think increasing the amount of pressure is personnel- or scheme-related?
(NEWSOME) *"I read today – and I'm not as big a stat guy as my boss is – but, this was the least amount of sacks that we've had, and yet it was probably one of the most productive years that [Terrell] Suggs had. So, that one caught me off guard a little bit. But, I see pressure [as]: Is the quarterback getting the ball out of his hands? Is the quarterback getting hit? Those errant passes that are thrown into the secondary that Ed [Reed] ends up intercepting and taking back – or whatever he does with it once he gets it *(laughter) – that's pressure to me. Pressure all the time [doesn't] mean that you're getting sacks. It's how you're affecting the quarterback. I thought we did a good job of affecting the quarterback this year. Going forward, are we going to continue to try to bring in some other people that can get to the passer? Having Suggs to have a companion, to go along with him as we did with Peter [Boulware] and Suggs? That will be very helpful for the organization, and it's something that we'll look into as we move forward."
Are you satisfied with the schemes used to get pressure?
*(NEWSOME) *"John and I… He probably gets tired of me because that's what I do – I watch his tape all the time, I watch practice. I enjoy that aspect of the game. Scheme-wise is, Suggs, at some point, has got to beat Joe Thomas. He's got to beat [Andrew] Whitworth. He's got to beat Max Starks or Trai Essex. All the schemes in the world, at some point, one guy has got to beat the other guy; that's what it comes down to. If we get enough good players where if we go up against whoever we play in our division, and they can get in a one-on-one situation and win, we'll have more pressure."
How is the Ravens organization handling the work stoppage with the staff and coaches?
*(CASS) *"We're not laying anybody off. We made that decision a long time ago; we announced it to all of our employees. So, we are not laying off our employees. On the coaching side, we discussed this issue with the coaches a year ago now, entered into contracts for this upcoming season, the 2011 season, and we have provisions in the contract that in the event of a work stoppage, they might receive a pay reduction depending on how many games we play during the regular season. So, there might be initial… If there is initial pay reduction, they can earn it all back if we have a full season. That's how we're going to address it."
If there is a work stoppage, how will the team be affected by not having OTAs? How confident are you that you can re-sign the unrestricted free agents if there is a work stoppage?
*(NEWSOME) *"I think the group that could get hurt the most by the work stoppage is last year's draft class on all 32 teams, because this is where they get the opportunity – would have had the opportunity – to start from March to go all the way to Game 1 to work with coaches, work with strength coaches and get themselves better and become better football players. So, that draft class could not be as good as it could potentially be if there is a work stoppage. You were saying we've got 17 unrestricted free agents? Based on the 2010 rules, we don't have that many. We're still working under the 2010 rules. Up until that changes, I think we've got [seven], maybe, UFAs that we'll be dealing with going forward."
*(HARBAUGH) *"As far as the way it affects us, it affects us the same way as it affects every other team. So, the challenge for us is to put some plans in place to be better than the other 31 teams, or to try to, and come out ahead when we start playing games and be the best team we can be. As coaches and across the board, we're going to try to find a way to do that. It'll be challenging because it will be different."
If the committee told you that you had to decide on one point that the owners could win on, what would it be?
*(BISCIOTTI) *"They wouldn't be that foolish to give me that. *(laughter) *I'd take all the money and then I'd concede everything else. It's just too broad. Obviously, like I said, the revenue split is not working for the owners, and that would be the major thing that would cure all the other ills. No doubt about it."
Are we at a point where being a "young quarterback" is no longer a rationalization for Joe Flacco?
*(NEWSOME) *"To answer that question, I think when we were at the Senior Bowl, Cam [Cameron] thought Joe had played 47 games, and now you add another 17-21 to that, or whatever that math is. Another full season, so four other preseason games and two other playoff games would add to that 47, whatever that number is. *(Bisciotti says, "37.") *Thirty-seven, OK. No, he's not a young quarterback. He is in his third year. He's not performing like a first-year quarterback in my estimation. He is not performing like a first-year quarterback. What I have been able to see over the past three years is a guy that can make all the throws, a guy that has poise, a guy that has command of his offense. But, I also [see] a guy that can be inconsistent, not get it done at times. It's upon all of us to take him to the next level. What that next level is, I don't know. But, he's got to be a better quarterback in 2011 than he was in 2010. And I think that's all I would ask him: Be better than you were last year. I think Joe will be willing to do that."
*(HARBAUGH) *"I agree with that. I think that's spot-on."
Bisciotti's closing statement:
"In closing, really for the fans: We do this for a living; you do that for a living, and they support us. I know the vitriol is tough for us to take, but we hear you. Most of your complaints are valid and legitimate. Maybe the Saints didn't have a lot after they won last year. It's like you just hope that things hold on. You hope you make mistakes at least important times. I just want the fans to know that though we don't give you 100-percent result, we do give you 100-percent effort. I'm proud of these guys. But, you're not wrong. I came home from Atlanta from the NFL meetings, and I got on the Internet, and it took me about a half-hour to read what you all were saying and what the fans were agreeing with you about. I don't have much argument. There are a lot of things that you all are pretty accurate [about] when it comes to assessing the team, and so are our fans. They're committed, they're knowledgeable, and right now, they're really frustrated. But, we're trying to put a good product on the field for you, and it requires all the employees here that give their heart and soul to it. Like I said, I read for a half-an-hour, and this is what I came up with your recommendations:
- "Re-sign Ngata, [Marc] Bulger, [Josh] Wilson, [Sam] Koch, [Billy] Cundiff, [Le'Ron] McClain, [Marshal] Yanda, [Chris] Carr and T.J. [Houshmandzadeh]
- Change the offense
- Sign or draft a big left tackle and fast wide receivers
- Add a big shutdown corner and a dominant edge rusher
- Get faster players
- Get smarter players
- Get more veterans, but get younger
- Fire Ozzie, Cam, [Greg] Mattison and Flacco
- Don't be a tool, Bisciotti, or 'Bis-cot-ee,' as they said
- Get a deal done with the union
- And finally, don't be a mettlesome owner (laughter)
"I promise you we'll get as many of those things done in the offseason as we can."