FRIDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: BUCCANEERS – WEEK 6
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good seeing everybody – appreciate you guys being here. I know there's another big event in town. We wish the Orioles all the best in this playoff baseball [series], and congratulations on winning the first one. I think that was Buck [Showalter's] first playoff series win. We had heard that. I know he built a bunch of them, and now he gets to coach through almost a World Championship. So, we wish them all the best. It's going to be October baseball, right? Cold and rainy, just the way it's supposed to be – football weather."
John, you had talked – I think on Monday – about possibly brining the guys in [to the fieldhouse], turning up the heat, were you joking, or did you try to do something like that? (Jamison Hensley) "We talked about it. We talked to the leaders, leadership council, and they wanted to be on the grass. They felt better about being on the grass, because the turf takes it out of their legs a little bit. They felt like that was more important. So, you can't get everything you want a lot of times. If we had an indoor grass facility, we'd have the best of both worlds, but we don't have that right now." (laughter) (Reporter: "Best left to Steve [Bisciotti].") "Yes, mention that to Steve. Put a little clear roof [over it.]" (laughter)
It's supposed to be like 89, 90 [degrees] down there, I think, on gameday. Is heat a concern at all? (Jamison Hensley) "Sure, it is a concern. Yes, heat is a concern. I've heard it's going to rain and storm. So, who knows what's going to happen? But in Florida, I guess you can expect that, too. But it's a concern, because we're not really acclimated to it. We've had some hot weeks here not too many weeks ago. It's not like we're in November, December. So, that's a plus for us. I know we're in great shape as a football team. We went down to Miami last year, a little later, and it was as hot as it could possibly be. And we had similar weather up here, and our guys handled it really well. As a matter of fact, we were stronger at the end [of last year's Miami game] than they were. So, we believe in our conditioning. We believe in our strength, our toughness. I believe we'll be in good shape."
John, when you have a veteran, proven guy like 'K.O.' [Kelechi Osemele], who is known for having a high pain threshold, does he have a better chance of playing on a Sunday having not practiced all week? (Aaron Wilson) "[Kelechi Osemele] can play on Sunday not having practiced all week. The rest of the question I'm a little foggy and confused by your question, but he has a chance to play on Sunday." (Reporter: "A compliment to his toughness.") "Oh, OK. I would agree with that. I would agree with that. Very tough guy."
Coach, staying on the offensive line, you mentioned earlier in the week … It sounded almost like against the Colts it was just minor technicalities they just needed to improve on. Are you feeling better about what they've done this week in practice, especially going on the road again? (Matt Pierson) "As compared to when?"
Just last week against the Colts, especially … (Matt Pierson) "During the game?"
Yeah. Giving [up] sacks on third down on short-yardage plays, and keeping QB Joe Flacco upright in the pocket. (Matt Pierson) "Well, I'm not feeling great about those plays. Those are all specific plays that we've worked on [that] we've gone back and corrected. You try to work ahead on anything that can happen to you, but it's not perfect. We'll get something we haven't prepared for, or the technique might not be quite what you want. It's a work in progress at all times. How I feel about it doesn't really mean anything. It's how we go out and play [and] it's how we execute, but I have confidence in our guys. I believe, I understand and I recognize the work that they put in and the preparation that we do, but we did a great job of preparing last week, too. Football is tough – it's competitive. It's going to be a tough game down there [in Tampa Bay]. We'll do our best, but I'm very confident that we can play very well."
John, with G/C Gino Gradkowski, I'm not saying if he would start this week or any game in the future at either guard position, [but] what's kind of your comfort level [with him]? He started 16 games, of course, at center. How much of a transition is it to go on from playing center to going to guard? (Jamison Hensley) "Well, you really want those guys to be versatile – the center/guard. Whenever you have a backup, you want a guy to be able to back up all three spots. And usually the tough thing is getting him to be able to back up at center. He's really a center that can play guard, which he played a lot in college. He's been practicing at guard. He can do it. I'm very confident he can do it when called upon. There will be a point in time when he'll be called upon. Hey, the next guys down the line are going to be called upon before the season is over. We feel like we're deep. We feel like we've developed some depth on the offensive line. Whoever goes in there is going to play well."