Opening statement:"OK, [I] appreciate seeing everybody. Just like last night, [that was] a great win, a timely win in December. [It was] a character win without question – finding the way to get the job done when it needed to get done in different areas was the key. I thought guys came up with some plays when we had to have plays made. Defensively, throughout the game, offensively, especially on the last drive, special teams – kickoff coverage was tremendous and made a big difference. And of course, the kicks with the field goal team. So, that's where we're at. We're looking forward to playing Pittsburgh once again in Pittsburgh, and we'll be ready. What questions do you have?"
Do you have any update on QB Lamar Jackson? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yes. He's been through the MRIs, and I would say it's kind of week-to-week. It's going to be a weekly thing, so as the week goes on, we'll see for this week. It's probably less likely for this week, but it's not impossible. Then after that, it will become more and more likely."
Recognizing the need for the element of surprise, what was the thought process behind WR James Proche II's double-reverse pass, and when you watch it again, what broke down? _(Bo Smolka) _"Everything broke down; it was just a bad play I'd say. It's one we'd probably want back. It just wasn't a good time for it. It seemed like a good idea I guess at the time in some ways; there were reasons for that, but in hindsight [it was] just not a good call in the sense of it was a bad play. There was too much trying too hard maybe to make something happen with a trick play. Really at that time in the game, it was probably time just to grind. I think it turned out to be a grind game, and that was a finesse idea that it wasn't time for that, for sure."
It is it tough for wide receivers to know when to throw into coverage? Is that built into practicing that play? _(Childs Walker) _"Yes, it's a wide receiver. You'd like for him to just run right there. If you ask James [Proche II], I'm sure he said that last night. You don't throw into four guys, but he's a wide receiver, so I'm not going to hold him too accountable for it. We'll take that as … With coaching, we can do better with the play calling. We tried to do something, and it was a bad idea in the sense that it really had no chance."
Have you been seeing more teams make an effort to stay away from WR Devin Duvernay in the return game? _(Todd Karpovich) _"I think they do. We got a couple return opportunities. We had a good scheme kickoff return-wise. It gets tougher later in the year to do that. We kind of plan for this time of year to get some kickoff returns. We work for it. They're [Denver] a big twist team with their kickoff coverage, and we work really hard at picking those things up; sometimes we pass them off; sometimes we lock them in terms of who we're responsible for. We tried to pass two of those off and didn't do it right, so it's just something we have to keep working on. We can break returns – there's no doubt about it – with Devin [Duvernay], or if we put Justice [Hill] back there, or 'K.D.' [Kenyan Drake] or whoever. We can break kickoff returns. It's always a matter of how you block them. So, we'll just keep working on those things. We have a lot of young guys out there. We play a lot of rookies, a lot of second-year guys on our whole team right now. So, there's always that process of just experience, and learning from it and trying to improve everything we do."
Was T Ronnie Stanley close to playing yesterday, and do you feel good about his chances for this week? _(Luke Jones) _"Yes, we'll just see how it goes. I'm very hopeful for that, for sure."
Do you have an update on ILB Patrick Queen? I know you said you were optimistic after the game. _(Bo Smolka) _"Patrick [Queen] had a bruise, a thigh bruise. So, that's really good news. We came out of that one really happy about that. I was out there [when Patrick Queen got injured], and he was saying, 'Don't bring that cart out.' He was hurting though; those bruises can really hurt. Some of us will bang something on a table and we can't take it. That play was like a car wreck right there; there were four guys that came together there [and] smashed into each other I think it was. He's going to be OK."
What has impressed you the most about QB Tyler Huntley? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Our players have a lot of confidence in him. I'm sure a team like the Steelers is going to be looking if he's out there – and he's probably going to take most of the reps this week – they'll be preparing for both guys [Tyler Huntley and Lamar Jackson] I would think. Both guys play a similar game; we run the same basic offense with both players, so it's not really going to change anything in terms of preparation I don't think. He [Tyler Huntley]'s a player that has a lot of dynamics to his game; he can throw, he can run, he operates really well. He's not as experienced, obviously, but he is experienced. He's been out there. Last year he was out there for five, six, seven games – right – [and] this year now. If that's the way it goes, that's the way it goes. We'll be excited to play, and our guys will be fired up."
There was something on Twitter about the Ravens signing QB Brett Hundley to the practice squad. Is it a nice feeling to bring him back after having him here in the spring and summer? _(Luke Jones) _"It is, it is good. [Brett Hundley has] experience with the offense, plus we've got Anthony Brown – he's been with us all the time – so I'm very comfortable with our backup situation, in terms of depth behind Lamar [Jackson] and Tyler [Huntley]."
You hear and we hear about the comfort level that players express about playing with QB Tyler Huntley when he does have to come in. Does that strike you as exceptional at all for a backup quarterback – to have that sort of command with his teammates? _(Childs Walker) _"I don't spend a lot of time thinking about that. So, it doesn't really strike me, because I haven't thought about it. It's just what's expected, and he [Tyler Huntley] has earned it. We've got a game to go play, and so those kinds of measurements really don't have any value in terms of our preparation, really, in all honesty."
G Kevin Zeitler said after the game that with QB Tyler Huntley, the full playbook is still open. I know by design, you want a backup quarterback to have a similar skillset to the starter, especially in this offense. Is that somewhat unusual in this league – that the backup quarterback would be fully immersed with the entire playbook available to them? _(Bo Smolka) _"I don't think so. Most people probably want to have a backup quarterback that's in the same style of a player as their starter, so they can have that … So, if that happens, you don't have to change the gameplan too much or the playbook too much. So, we've done the same thing, I think, as most teams; we just have a little different offense than a lot of teams."
When QB Lamar Jackson was hurt, did everyone know initially that he was hurt? Did you know the extent of his injury at that time? _(Jamison Hensley) _"I don't really remember the communication. All I know is that he [Lamar Jackson] got tackled, we had the break, and it was, 'Lamar has got to get checked, and Tyler is going to be up,' and that's where it went from there.'"
What would you kind of say is happening with the designed runs? I think the average has fallen a bit since you guys kind of got back in the pocket. (Jonas Shaffer) _"What's happening with the design of the run game? I don't really have any comment on the design of the run game." _(Reporter: "The designed runs.")"Yes, we're going to keep fighting to try to break them. I promise you that people are spending a lot of time defending them in practice and working on them and making sure they've got a good scheme up for them. So, that's just going to be back and forth. We can run the ball; there's no doubt. Everybody knows we can run the ball, and they'll prepare to stop our run. We want to be able to run the ball. So, it was a grind yesterday – there's no question – run game, pass game, every aspect of what we were doing. Pass protection was a big grind yesterday. It was all a grind. We only scored 10 points; that's something you've got to look at. But it was tough, and we needed 10, and we got 10. So, I'm happy about that, and we'll try to get as many as we need to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh this week. That's what we're going to try to do; I'm really confident we can do it. And we're going to believe in our run game, for sure; there's no doubt about that. So, we'll look at all the little intricacies of it, gameplanning-wise, and come up with the best plan we can and try to execute it the best and let it rip."
The Ravens have been mentioned along with the teams interested in WR Odell Beckham Jr. Can you talk about the interest level in Odell? _(Jamison Hensley) _"No, I haven't really thought too much about it – I really haven't."
I could be wrong, but it seemed like when Tyler Huntley came in, you guys maybe spread things out a little bit, just in terms of the splits and stuff. Is that something that he's maybe more comfortable with – the more condensed stuff you have? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Not really. That was just part of the process. We were talking about doing that early on. In the gameplan … Those plays were all in the gameplan, so it was part of the plan with Lamar [Jackson], and I'm very certain that we would have gone in that direction with Lamar, also, based on what we were getting from their defense. So, that was where we went, just like we talked about before, in terms of those two guys having the same type of plan. So, it really wasn't as much about who was playing quarterback, as much as that's where the game took us."