JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE
Opening statement:"Alright, good to see you guys. I'd like to welcome Coach [Jack] Harbaugh to the press conference. The Coach Harbaugh. Who's got it better than us?" _(Jack Harbaugh: "Nobody!") "On that note, it was a victory. We're very proud of it, and we're moving on to the next challenge, which obviously, will be a big challenge in Kansas City. We'll have our hands full, but we're looking forward to it."
Did you watch film with your father today? (Jerry Coleman)"We usually do, [but] not yet this morning. He was watching sideways, but then you (talking to Jack) got on the phone a little bit this morning, too, while you were watching. You had some obligations. You had a podcast to do, didn't you? 'Enthusiasm Unknown to Mankind Podcast' ['Attack Each Day: The Harbaughs' Podcast']. Where can they catch that, Dad? 'Enthusiasm Unknown to Mankind Podcast' at your nearest podcast outlet." (laughter)
Can you talk about QB Lamar Jackson's field vision and his ability to find the sticks and convert on third downs? (Todd Karpovich)"I thought he was just tremendous – both by getting to the sticks by throwing the ball, and then when they had people covered and the offensive line did a good job sustaining the protection, by getting out and running to the sticks. He did it both ways, and that, to me is, gosh, it's all you could ever ask for from a quarterback. It keeps a lot of pressure on the defense."
Has QB Lamar Jackson improved greatly, whether the run or pass is there from last year? (Dave Ginsburg)"Are you talking about run plays or pass plays?" _(Reporter: "Recognizing what they're giving him and then taking advantage of it.") "In a general sense, absolutely. He's better at everything, like any player would be at this stage. Lamar improves very rapidly and very quickly. He really has a real narrow focus on the things he can do better. Recognition is the question you're asking about, and that can be quarterback-driven with RPOs, it can be in the pocket, whatever it is. That's what I like about Lamar. He doesn't really dwell on the positives too much. He dwells on the areas of improvement, and we appreciate that."
How valuable has CB Brandon Carr's versatility been in the secondary? (Luke Jones)"Boy, that's such a great point. Brandon Carr is a really versatile player. He can play any position back there. He played in the slot pretty much the whole game and just did a heck of a job. I'm sure there are two or three plays he'd like to have back, but they threw it 100 times, so there are going to be plays where they're going to make plays. He made a number of plays and was especially good in the red zone and then in some critical situations. But to have him be able to go in and play all the different coverages you play in the slot and play them well, that's very valuable. Plus, he had a baby. Brandon had a baby [last] week, a little girl, so who's got it better than Brandon Carr right now?"
How do you think CB Anthony Averett held up in his first time playing an extensive number of snaps? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Anthony held up well, and he can be even better. As far as the technique and stuff like that, he's a pit bull in coverage. He has speed. He sticks to guys, and yet, he'll be the first to tell you that there are some aspects, technique-wise, that he could do better with his eyes and his feet. So, he's a young player. He has a long way to go. The good news is that he can go a long way. He has a lot of talent and a lot of determination. And so, I thought he played really well."
What has OLB Pernell McPhee added to this defense this season so far? (Garrett Downing)"He's added physicality. He's added edginess, a physical toughness. He's a real good pass rusher. He's a direct pass rusher, now. He's going to bring it right to the quarterback, no fair dodging, and yet, he can edge a blocker either way. He plays really fast. He plays super hard. He was chasing down screens. He's a Raven. He was a Bear for a while and a Redskin for a while, but at heart, he's a Raven. And we're glad to have him back."
How good was the throw from QB Lamar Jackson to WR Marquise Brown in the fourth quarter to seal the win? Could you have designed it any better than that? (Jerry Coleman)"No, that's execution. That's the type of thing that is pure … The coverage was excellent. If you were coaching the defensive back, you'd say, 'Hey, you can't cover it any better than that.' And that's two guys that executed to perfection in that situation. Lamar even had a little bit of pressure, and he had to throw through that. To make that throw – you can talk about any quarterback you want in the history of the game – there's no quarterback that's making any better throw than that, ever. And to see him do that in a critical situation like that when it means the most and for Marquise to track that ball the way he did – get the step, track the ball and then make the catch with the corner draped all over him with that much at stake – it tells you a lot about those two guys. It's a lot more about those two guys than any coaching or play-calling. I can tell you that in a situation like that."
There was a span in the game where you had two "too many men on the field" penalties called. What happened with that? (Jamison Hensley)"It was substitution issues. The one was kind of in the no-huddle deal. We had a one-for-one exchange going, and two guys went in for one guy, basically. And both guys thought they were in for the guy, and that was to give a guy a rest. So, it wasn't where we were trying to change personnel groups. We just have to communicate better and make sure. And the other one was I would say anytime you do it on special teams, you just have to know how many guys are in and out. Two guys thought they were in after the injury. We had an injury, and they both thought they were replacing the same guy. We had him replaced, and as a player, you need to know you don't make a substitution on your own. The coach will let you know, and you have to communicate that. So, I would have to put them both in the communication category, and that's not something we want to see, for sure. We have to get better at that. We don't like that very much at all."
Do you have an update on S Brynden Trawick's injury? (Jeff Zrebiec)"[Brynden] Trawick has an elbow/arm issue, so we'll see. It's just a matter of whether he can deal with it. He can tape up and brace up and stuff like that and be OK. It's not going to be a long-term deal. But whether he can go this week or not will be based on how he can deal with it and how he can operate with it."
S Tony Jefferson mentioned yesterday that there was some confusion due to the crowd noise. Was the home crowd making too much noise at the wrong time? (Jerry Coleman)"I don't know. I wasn't out there, so I can't speak for how that was. It was definitely challenging, but we like that challenge. That's a good a thing to have. We want that problem, and that's why we emphasize communication so much. You hear 'Wink' [Don Martindale] talk about it all the time. We try to overcommunicate in practice all the time, because you can't communicate enough. You can't be on the same page enough. And then we just didn't handle some routes very well. These are details of coverages that … They got us in the coverage they wanted us in and hit us with a couple coverage beaters that you have to be able to defend in that particular coverage, and we didn't do as good of a job as we needed to do with it. But, those are things you've just got to keep chasing in this league. It's a chess game, and there are a lot of fast guys out there, and they scheme you up. We can be way better than we were. We're not real pleased with the way we played in a couple of those zone coverages in there, and we can do better with that. We'll work on it. We'll get better at it."
RB Mark Ingram II got the bulk of the carries for the running backs yesterday. Was that just a matchup situation? (Aaron Kasinitz)"You can ask Greg [Roman] that during the week. I don't think it was any major plan in either week. It's just the way we rotate them. We do have certain plays for certain guys, and other plays are for everybody. So, sometimes it's just a matter of who's in the game. Sometimes it's a matter of whether that play comes up and we're able to get the player we want in the game. Each of those three guys have certain plays that are a little bit built for them, but we count on them all being able to do everything all the time. A couple times guys are out for rests, stuff like that. So, I don't think it was any major difference in terms of the big-picture plan. It's just probably more how it worked out during the course of the game, and if Greg tells you differently, then he would have a better feel for that than I would, if there's something more to it than that."
The Cardinals only had 20 yards rushing. I know they seemed to be a passing team, but you still have to be very pleased with the way you almost forced them to pass it. (Dave Ginsburg)"Yes, [that is] exactly right. I know they wanted to run the ball more than eight times, eight calls and 11 times. I'm quite sure of that. It's a credit to our defense to make them one-dimensional. Now, it was a good dimension for them, but in the end, it didn't score enough points. So, that's a positive, yes."
Over the summer, you talked about allowing TE Mark Andrews some creativity with his routes. Has that played into some of his third-down success this year? (Aaron Kasinitz)"Yes, you're exactly right. He knows how to get open. He knows how to use his body. He has a knack for the game. It's not all Xs and Os on a card or a play sheet. A lot of it is the human element, the backyard part of it, the feel for where the defender is at, the connection between the quarterback and the receiver to be on the same page. Experiencing enough of that stuff, where they have defenders here, there, the other place … Where will the ball be? That's the type of stuff you try to build in over time. It can only be done through repetition. Both our quarterback, Lamar [Jackson], and Mark [Andrews] – and we have other receivers the same way – but Mark has really showed up the last two weeks that way. It's a really great observation."
QB Lamar Jackson completed over 70 percent of his passes yesterday, but a lot of those were to TE Mark Andrews and WR Marquise Brown. How would you assess how the other wide receivers have done in terms of getting open out there? (Jonas Shaffer) "They've gotten open. They've done a good job. The ball will be coming their way, too, I promise you. Let's not make too much of that. Let's not immediately go, 'These guys have a bunch of catches.' You go to the receiver and say, 'What about you? Why don't you have your catches?' [You] start dividing things. That's not how football works. It just comes up the way it comes up, and those guys are getting open. I'll tell you one thing: They're blocking, too. Ask me the question about how well those other receivers blocked, and what it takes to be a great blocker. The other guys did, too. The guys who caught the balls are blocking, too, but that would be a better question."
You had a great game in Kansas City last year. Can you benefit from playing that well and going up there again so soon? (David Ginsburg) "Yes, our guys have been in the stadium. They've been in that tiny little locker room before. They've been on that field. They've stayed in that hotel. All of those things are pluses. We played a good game, but we didn't win. That's motivation also."
Do you have any comment on QB Ben Roethlisberger's injury and how that changes the landscape in the division? (Shawn Stepner) "We couldn't have more respect for a player than we have for Ben Roethlisberger. He's a Miami guy, so we have that in common. Plus, we have in a common a heck of a lot of great football games played against him and his team. And we respect the organization and the coaching staff and everybody up there. But our focus is on Kansas City. Our focus is on our season, and that's all we're thinking about. What happens around the league, even around the division, is out of our control. What is in our control is, when we play a particular team, that we play our best and try to win the game."
With QB Patrick Mahomes, is there anything that you can reflect on, maybe some of the successes you had against him a year ago in Kansas City? (Jerry Coleman) "You always start over from scratch. Of course, we'll watch last year's game, but teams change so much, and they watch the game, too. So, it's always a new game. It's really so important in this league. It's a good question, in the sense of, yes, there is carryover, always, but really, it's week-to-week. It's game-to-game. No two games are ever going to be the same. You can't draw much from the week before or if somebody plays somebody else. You guys know this. There's not much you can draw from that. You try to predict something, and all of a sudden, it gets blown up in your face. That is, to me, the beauty of this league. It's what makes it so exciting." (Reporter: "Andy Reid is probably saying the same thing.") "Because it's true."
After you spoke to us yesterday, there was a ProFootballTalk report by an unnamed source linking WR Marquise Brown to the allegations against WR Antonio Brown. Do you expect that to be a distraction this week? (Jonas Shaffer)"No, it's not going to be a distraction. Believe me, it's the last thing on my mind right now, absolutely."
If the Ravens have talked to WR Marquise Brown about where he was … (Jonas Shaffer) "I don't know. I haven't talked to anybody in the organization. That would be a great question for [team president] Dick Cass or for those guys. My focus is on football. If it comes to that, if there's something that needs to be done that way, we have people in the building that look at those things. If they do, and I need to be involved in it, I certainly will be. But until it comes to that, it's not an issue. We're not there at this point. If someone comes to me and tells me that we need to be there, then we'll get there, and we'll deal with it. But that's all I know. I just know what I saw in the article. I didn't even read the article. I saw the headline. So, I really don't know, and I really don't care until it becomes something that I need to be concerned with as a coach. I really trust Dick and Ozzie [Newsome, executive vice president] and Eric [DeCosta, executive vice president & general manager] and those guys to take care of that stuff until it becomes something that needs to be dealt with. That's kind of where we're at, so I guess it's preliminary."