FRIDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: BROWNS – WEEK 17
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"How are you guys doing? Merry Christmas!" (Reporters: "Merry Christmas.") "Everybody doing well? (Directs attention to reporter wearing a suit.) *You're looking sharp. A Christmas dinner later? *(laughter) It looks good, very sharp. I just want to mention Joe Platania [from Press Box], our colleague … Many of you guys probably know that he's in the hospital right now. I just want to wish him our best thoughts and our best prayers for his speedy recovery. What do you guys have?"
John, just the magnitude of this game, any difference at practice, though? Not to say that you guys don't practice hard during the regular season, but with everything at stake, is there any change or [did you] notice anything at practice at all this week? (Jamison Hensley) "I thought our practice was really good. We were sharp Tuesday, sharp Wednesday. We started earlier because of the schedule with Christmas. Our guys fought through that really well and did a really good job. Coming back today, the emphasis has to be on shaking off that day off and getting back into it, and they did a good job with that. We were sharp and crisp and [had] a lot of energy and a lot of focus. I was very happy with practice."
Can there be a value of having that day off there on a Thursday? It's not normal, but can there really be a value for your guys having a day like that? (Brent Harris) "I hope so. There are a lot of levels that you can imagine where that could be good for us – it's good for all of us, for a lot of reasons – but the one physical reason would be getting the legs back here closer to the game. That might be a benefit to us – we'll see. Of course, [Cleveland] did the same thing, so it'll probably even itself out as far as that for both teams."
One player we haven't talked about a lot is ILB Daryl Smith. Could you talk about kind of how well he's played throughout the year and is playing right now? (Garrett Downing) "Obviously, C.J. [Mosley] got the Pro Bowl vote, which was awesome, but Daryl Smith, he might be the most underrated player in football right now – the way he's played, not just this year or last year, [but] really throughout his career. Has he had a Pro Bowl yet in his career?" (Reporters: "No.") "That's amazing. I can't think of too many guys to be more deserving that haven't gotten one. And then you look at his numbers, you look at his stats – I don't think there is a linebacker with all the stats, including broken-up passes, interceptions, all the different things he's done, quarterback hits, that is more deserving even on paper, let alone when you turn on the tape. And, he plays well and runs our defense. He's done a great job for us."
John, earlier this season you had some situations where you had two offensive linemen step in and start. How much does that experience help you with that possibility again on Sunday? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It helps us immensely. For those guys to have, potentially, whoever plays to have played in the game … You know we're going to get James [Hurst], we'll see about [John] Urschel. Both of those guys have done it already, and they've played and they've been out there, and they've done well. That gives us a lot of confidence that they can play really well. I'm very confident we're going to put a really good offensive line out there one way or another, and they're going to be ready to go and play well."
John, your thoughts on CB/RS Lardarius Webb and kind of how he had to battle all year just to be on the field, and how he's played lately? (Aaron Wilson) "That's a great question. Lardarius is coming on. We're talking less about it, so that's probably a good thing. He looks more and more like his old self, as far as the way he's moving and running and changing direction. He has a little pop back in his speed. I'm really happy with how he's doing, and hopefully he can play his best game on Sunday."
John, I know you're not going to give up whether T Eugene Monroe is going to play or not, but is it a difficult decision of who you move out at tackle? Marshal Yanda has obviously been probably the best player at his position all year. Would it be tough to take him out and move him elsewhere because it could disrupt the rest of the offensive line? (Jeff Zrebiec) "No, it won't be difficult, no matter what we do. I'm just going to stay away from all that, though. Whatever we do, like I said, we'll have a really good offensive line out there, and they'll know what they're doing and they'll play well."
John, you saw Cleveland earlier in the year when C Alex Mack was healthy, but having watched the tape recently, have you noticed a difference in their offensive line? (Jon Meoli) "We've been here many, many months now, and I never really answer that question that way. If you want to ask me about their offensive line, how they're playing, I'd be happy to answer that question, and they're playing well. [Browns offensive line coach] Andy Moeller has done a great job with those guys. The guys that rotate in at center replacing Alex have done a really great job. They have one of the best left tackles in football [in Joe Thomas]. They're a big, physical group, and they like to run the ball. We're going to be ready for that."
On RB Justin Forsett receiving the Ravens Roost Unsung Hero Award:"We appreciate Ravens Roost for the amazing job they do of supporting us. For all you Ravens Roosters out there … Is that what you call yourselves? (laughter) We love you. Justin, he speaks for himself so well in what he does and what he says. He's just been a pleasant surprise all around the National Football League, but he's been great for football and great for fans and great for kids and great for husbands and fathers and everything else. What he represents and what he stands for is pretty amazing. I'm a little disappointed I didn't find a TV in my office like everybody else! (laughter) We'll have to talk about that. (laughter) But I'm very proud of what Justin has done and how he represents us."
RB Justin Forsett
Council of Ravens Roosts President Jim McCain:"Hi, I'm Jim McCain – I'm with the Council of the Baltimore Ravens Roost; I'm the president of the Council. We are here to present Justin Forsett with the Unsung Hero award for his work on and off the field."
Forsett acceptance speech:"I appreciate it. I'm honored to receive this. I appreciate your guys' support, and I'm just humbled. It's amazing. I'm very appreciative for this opportunity I've been given this year, and to receive an award like this means a lot."
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec:"Echoing a little what [Ravens head] coach [John] Harbaugh said, Joe Platania from Press Box was really looking forward to being out here to make these announcements today, and unfortunately, Joe can't be with us, but he's in all of our thoughts. This year, the Ravens' media voted running back Justin Forsett as the Most Valuable Player of the team. Justin Forsett currently has 1,147 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, he's sixth in the NFL in rushing and his 5.3 yards per carry lead the entire league among running backs. Congratulations, Justin."
Forsett acceptance speech:"Again, *(laughter) *… I'm honored just thinking about just how blessed I am this season. Where I was last year to receiving awards like this, it's just amazing that people respect what I do, and I'm humbled. I appreciate all you guys and what you do."
On if he ever thought he could be the Ravens' MVP when he first signed with Baltimore:"I don't know if that was even on my mind. I knew that I probably had one more shot, one more opportunity to show what I could do, and I just wanted to make the best of it. I promised that if I got another chance, another play, I was going to be my best and put my best foot forward. That's all I was trying to do, and to receive this award, it's just another blessing."
On if the MVP award lessens the sting of not making the Pro Bowl:(laughter) "Yes, I'm OK, man. Receiving the MVP – again, being recognized for something you put all the work in during the offseason to come out and perform – and for you guys to give me this honor, I'm happy; I'm excited. Thank you."
WR Torrey Smith
*Baltimore Sun *reporter Jeff Zrebiec:"The Ravens' media this year voted Torrey Smith as the Good Guy award. Torrey is getting used to coming up here and getting awards, not just for the kind of player he is, but the kind of person he is. The media award for Good Guy exemplifies a player who shows great respect for the media, great accessibility. And this year, Torrey Smith, in good and bad, whether it was discussing a game that was probably disappointing by his standards, or a great game, or an issue facing the team, Torrey Smith was always in front of his locker willing to give us a quote and talk about the situation. We thank you for that, Torrey, and congratulations on the award."
Smith acceptance speech:"I don't really know what to say. (laughter) You all come all the time, and I respect the job you do. We have to be able to withstand the heat when things aren't going well, and when we're successful, be able to talk as well. It's just all part of the job."
ILB Daryl Smith
On what he has seen from the Browns' offensive line compared to the last time the Ravens faced them:"When they had Johnny Manziel in, they were doing a lot of zone reads and different things. So, depending on who plays, that's the type of plays that you get. We don't know what's going to happen, but we just have to be prepared for whoever plays and whatever they do."
On if at this point in his career he is used to being considered one of the NFL's most underrated players:"Yes. (laughter) At the end of the day, it's really … You would like to be recognized for different things and what not, but I want to win and get to the playoffs and have a shot at winning a championship. That's why we do it. That's why we're here."
On why he thinks he gets overlooked sometimes:"I don't know. It is what it is. I just want to win."
On if he takes some pride in rookie LB C.J. Mosley getting a Pro Bowl nod:"Oh yes, most definitely. I'm proud of him."