Opening statement:"Good to see everybody, I appreciate you guys being here. Game updates, injury updates: Steven Means tore his Achilles, so a tough one for him. He's torn it before, I think it was the other one, unfortunately, for him, so he'll be out. [He] played well, great guy. We appreciate him very much. The other stuff, none of it looks serious at this point, and we'll be working for next week. What questions do you have?"
On Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill's long touchdowns, it looked like the corners were looking for safety help. Can you explain the breakdown of coverages on those plays? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, they were just blown coverages, basically, in the sense of we didn't play the technique right on the post to our defensive left. You have to stay on top of that as a corner; you have to stay on top of that as a safety. It's three deep coverage; those guys know that. Then the other one was we didn't have anybody in the deep half. That was a miscommunication if you want to call it that, and the deep half player didn't realize he was a deep half player and he needs to get back there. So, those are mistakes."
As you try to correct those mistakes, do you teach corrections more on an individual level or to the group as a whole? _(Childs Walker) _"It's both; it all goes together. When you have those kinds of things on the backend – and we've had those things before – there are certain guys who have to grow up fast. They have to grow up. They're young guys. They're rookies who are playing for the first time; they know that. I'm sure they took responsibility for it; the coaches take responsibility for it. We all have to take responsibility for it. We have to look at everything. So, we'll look at the way we're preparing, how we're walking through, how we're teaching, how we're repping in practice, things like that. Those are things that should never happen. They're below the line. I did not expect those things to happen in this game, but I also understand that we have some young guys back there. We're throwing guys out there for the first time in an NFL game against some fast players, and things are moving fast, and the game is on the line. That can happen, so if we had a veteran group back there, I'd be more concerned about it, but I think those young guys are going to learn fast. The same thing goes in the redzone; you have to stay with your man when you're in man coverage, and you can't be staring at the quarterback and let your guy separate from you. That's basic, fundamental stuff that we work on all the time. Easier said than done, but [it] has to be done. So, we'll work on those things, and we're not blaming anyone. We just have to keep working and get better at that stuff."
Can you elaborate more on the miscommunications that took place yesterday? Were they in the huddle or on the backend? _(Todd Karpovich) _"No, it's just assignments and being in the right spot. Sometimes it's jumping a route, sometimes it's not being back there like I just said – deep half. I just explained it as well as I'm going to explain it in detail, but you have to be where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there. You have to maintain your leverage on the routes. When you're a deep player and there are guys running vertical, [if] you're a deep player you stay deep. You don't get nosy on a crossing route when you have a deep route running up on you. That's just the way it works as the deep, middle third player. If you're a deep half player, you have to know you're a deep half player and be back there. We can't leave the deep half uncovered. So, we show them a blitz and we're running it out, someone has to be back there, and that's the responsibility of the person and the coach, all of us to get that done. So, we're all in that together. It's easy to point fingers, it's easy to talk about who's at fault or whatever … That's not what we're about. You can listen to all the talking heads outside that want to make all the statements they want to make. They can make all the statements they want to make, but they're not coaching anybody right now. This is the way it works in this league; if you look all around the league, you have challenges and you have to keep coaching guys through the course of a long season. Things turn, especially when you have good, young players who you like and trust, and we really like those guys, and we trust those guys. They're going to learn from their mistakes. Sometimes lessons are learned the hard way. I don't know how many times in the National Football League you come out there with a bunch of young guys and all the sudden they're doing everything perfectly right. When you get challenged with really good players in critical situations, it goes bad and it's painful. It hurts, but you remember those lessons. You remember them as coaches. I'm sure all the guys out there who coach can vouch for the same thing; when they've had painful experiences, you learn from them as coaches and you learn from them as players, and you learn from them as reporters, don't you? So, we'd all be wise to remember that."
With that said, how important is veteran leadership this week in practice? _(Keith Mills) _"It's very important, but it always is. It was important last week, too, no question about that, but it's critically important. It's not like the end of the world; these are not complicated things. These are all things that have been coached and are in the system, and everybody knows it after it happens, 'Oh, that's right. I have to get that right,' but in the heat of battle when those routes are running up on you really fast, and things are flashing in front of your eyes, that's what football is. That's what makes it so tough. It's not easy; it's not lines on a paper. So, you just keep working on them."
Despite the loss, offensive coordinator Greg Roman showed that this offense can be very creative and put up a lot of points against Miami's defensive scheme. Can you speak to that? _(David Andrade) _"They did. That was a big plus. That was something that was much talked about. We talked about it a lot; it was important for us. It was something that really mattered, and we were a little edgy about it. To see the guys come out and execute the plan was excellent. They executed very well. We won the vast majority of those battles and put up a bunch of points. A lot of big plays. That's what happens against those kinds of defenses. So, it was good to see. We also had some easy completions for eight-, nine-yard gains, too. To see us throw, catch, get in the right play, protect it, offensive line did a great job with protection the whole night. Very encouraging – a lot of very encouraging things."
How did CB Marcus Peters fare in his first game in 20 months? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"He was good. He was pretty good. It's kind of the first game, [and] we had him on a bit of a pitch count, as you guys saw. There was a play or two he's going to want back, for sure. He's feeling the speed of the game a little bit, I think. He's going to look at that and go, 'OK, I have to keep taking the next step forward.' He's a veteran player; he's one of the most talented corners in the league. He certainly has been, and so just keep working him back into that form. I'm excited that he's back out there playing."
Do you have a timetable on when RB J.K. Dobbins might return? _(Jamison Hensley) _"He's been week-to-week the last couple of weeks, so that's what it is. When he's ready, he'll be out there."
Did you see something specific from Miami's special teams unit that created an opportunity for the kickoff return touchdown at the start of the game, or was that just executing your own special teams scheme? _(Kyle Barber) _"Right, that's a good question. [Special teams coordinator] Chris [Horton] did a good job. We took it back to the field, which is a little bit of a changeup for us. There are some certain things that they did that we thought maybe would give us a chance to get some space over there, but really more than anything, it's a base return for us, and they executed it really well. You don't get too many balls to return in this league; it's really tough to even get chances. So, when you get a chance like that and you make the most of it, you're happy with that. And we'll probably get a lot more touchbacks after that, but we'll be ready. We'll keep practicing and trying to be ready to execute kickoff return when it comes up again."
When it comes to the carry distribution, how do you guys go about dividing that up? Is it that you like certain running backs in certain types of plays? And as far as RB Justice Hill, is he a guy that could get more carries? _(Cordell Woodland) _"Yes, first, with Justice [Hill], absolutely. He's doing a great job. I think he's looked good all through the preseason. He came back from his injury exceptionally well. All of his numbers are way up – even better than he was before – and he's running hard. Yes, Justice Hill – thumbs up. The arrow is up. And then the rest of it, we have certain carries for certain guys. Certainly, certain runs are tagged for certain players; we try to get them in there. Sometimes, you bring a guy out because he gets a little tired or something; you try to stay fresh. And the other thing is who is doing well – that's what I'm looking at right now. We've got to get our running game going, and I think the running backs are a big part of that. Running backs have a lot to do with how good your run game is, and we need those guys to help make our run game better."
Do you know when TE Nick Boyle will return to 100%? _(David Andrade) _"Yes, he's close to 100% right now. Nick [Boyle] is doing well. There is a good chance he'll be out there this week. We'll just have to see. We've got some guys who are doing well. Josh Oliver has been playing pretty darn good. So, it just has to do with the right formula right now. I think we're blessed with some talent there, so you don't have to rush Nick [Boyle] back, necessarily, but I wouldn't mind putting Nick out there at all right now [with] the way he's practicing. So, we'll see."
Does part of the run-game struggles have to do with how defenses key in on the Ravens' running game as a whole, QB Lamar Jackson and what they're showing? Is that part of what you see as an issue? _(Kyle Barber) _"This week, situationally, they [Miami] loaded up the run game. They did a good job, and the Jets did it too, and they're both really good fronts. We're going to see another really good front this week. They'll play some base, but they'll play a lot of sub, but they put big people on the field, and they plan eyes-on-the-ball type of a coverage a lot of times. They're a very sound, very disciplined team, so they're going to have a plan to stop the run, as well. And really, what it's been up until this point, is bodies – it's been bodies. They've been committing to it, and that's probably helped our passing game. It also helped us because these guys put a lot of bodies close to the line of scrimmage; it helps us get a couple really big runs, especially the touchdown run. So, once you get through that second line of defense – maybe it's two-level, but it's not three-level – a guy like Lamar [Jackson] or any [running] back can go the whole way. So, that's part of it. But we've got to do a better job in critical situations. The biggest disappointment on offense was not scoring on the first drive down there on the one-yard line and then not getting the fourth down. Those two plays … Four plays on the first down, down there – first-and-goal at the one, etc. – and then the fourth down, those are plays that just have to be made. If they're made, we win the game. So, we've got to be creative; we've got to find a way to block people, because we missed a couple blocks; we've got to find a way not to necessarily run into the teeth of the defense. Sometimes you can. Many times, we've run the ball right downhill into the teeth of a goal-line defense and scored and your back puts it in there. But we didn't do that in this game. I'm not sure why they overturned the Lamar [Jackson] touchdown. I don't know what evidence they had to overturn it, but they did, so you've got to score on the next play. And we've got to do a better job as coaches – getting the right play up or doing something that they don't expect, obviously. Sometimes you want to challenge them, too, and we challenged them, and they won in that situation on that series. And then this next one, [it was] kind of the same thing. There's no reason for that. Both of those fourth downs should've been successful for us."
Was Miami doing things to make it really difficult to get to Tua Tagovailoa, because even when you guys had a big lead and they were out spread in situations, they were able to make a lot of plays without you guys being able to get him on the ground? _(Cliff Brown) _"Yes, two things; the ball was coming out really fast. He [Tua Tagovailoa] wasn't really allowing himself to get sacked, and he dropped a couple out there. [He] kind of threw them a little bit up for grabs and completed a couple, especially at the end when everybody gets a little tired. And then he was pretty elusive in there at times, too – more so than we would have wanted. We've got to get him down when we have a chance to get him down. He got outside of us one time – to his right – on a boot early in the game; we should have had him down. So, yes; the answer is yes."
OLB Odafe Oweh was just destructive sometimes this summer, and he's been fairly quiet so far this season. When you watch the tape, are teams chipping on him, or are they doubling him a lot? What do you see against him? _(Bo Smolka) _"No, the ball came out fast, and then he [Odafe Oweh] has got to play better, like all of us do. We've got to coach better, got to play better, and you've got to make a name for yourself out there. You've got to do go do it."
As you're watching the game again this morning, what did you see from QB Lamar Jackson early on in the first three quarters? _(Shawn Stepner) _"I just think Lamar [Jackson] played a really good game. There is going to be a couple things that we looked at … Obviously, the snap – obviously, he's going to be really mad about that, and I'm going to probably share that with him. And [there were] one or two checks that we look at that we'll nuance and say, 'Hey, maybe go the other way.' But 98% of it was outstanding, and I thought he played an exceptionally good football game."
On that one play in the second half where QB Lamar Jackson was rolling and threw the ball to TE Isaiah Likely, and Likely didn't catch it, did you think Jackson was thrown off by the fact that there was a flag on the field that they ended up picking up? What was your sense of what happened on that play? _(Childs Walker) _"Yes, I don't know. That's a good question for Lamar [Jackson]. I don't know if he saw the flag or not. Obviously, that's one that would have been big for us. A completion would have been huge right there, to your point. I'm not sure."
There is a lot of talk about the health of the secondary. Just in general, do you feel like you could get a couple of guys back there on Sunday? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Yes, yes, there's a good chance we'll get some guys back, and we should get stronger back there with Marlon [Humphrey] and Marcus [Peters], and a guy or two may come back."