Transcripts: John Harbaugh Monday Press Conference

JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE

Opening statement: “Good seeing everybody; I appreciate you guys being here. A couple thoughts, first of all, before I take your questions: One thing I wanted to do is acknowledge the fans that were down in Miami, all the great fans that traveled down there. I had a chance to high-five with a bunch of them after the game coming into the locker room, and they were so fired up and so excited and so loud the whole game. I don’t know what the numbers were. Kevin [Byrne, executive vice president of public & community relations], you might have a better idea of that, but there were a lot. There were a lot, a lot of Ravens fans down there. And there were a lot of South Florida Ravens down there, too, we came to find out. I’m sure Lamar [Jackson] and Marquise [Brown] and the guys had a lot to do with that. A lot of little league football teams were down there in their uniforms, and they were excited for Lamar and Marquise, who played down there in those leagues. So, that was great, and I really appreciate our fans. I’m looking forward to Sunday with our fans being there and being fired up and being loud and being into it. We’ll try to take advantage of the homefield advantage.”

When you looked at the film from this game, was it every bit as good as it looked in person, or did you find some flaws that might help with preparation for the Cardinals? (David Ginsburg) “No question. It was really good, but there are many things to work on. That goes hand-in-hand. It’s not one or the other, as you know. It’s an opportunity to improve. It’s an ever-changing environment. The things that we did well, people are going to do whatever they can do to stop. We have to stay ahead of that. Our execution has to stay ahead of that. We’ll be seeing new schemes, different players, all of those kinds of things. But in the big picture, the execution was very good, but it’s going to need to be a lot better going forward. You make your biggest improvement, generally, we always say, between the first and second anything. In this case, between the first and second game, we expect to make our biggest improvement that way, operationally. We’ll really strive for that and work hard for that this week.”

Have you gotten any more clarity on CB Jimmy Smith’s injury? (Childs Walker) “I have, and it’s the same as we thought last night. It will be multiple weeks. He has a Grade 2 sprain in there, so it won’t be a season-ender by any stretch. How many weeks it is, that depends on how fast it heals, so we’ll see going forward. But it will be multiple weeks.”

*You have that, now, leeway of putting people on the IR and calling them back, is that a possibility? _(Jamison Hensley)_ *“It’s a possibility. I don’t think it’s a probability right now, but I haven’t spoken with Eric [DeCosta, executive vice president & general manager] or Ozzie [Newsome, executive vice president] about that at this time. So, we’ll have to see.”

You said last week you weren’t worried about the pass rush, and then you had three sacks and 12 quarterback hits yesterday. What did you see from those guys yesterday? (Todd Karpovich)“Our guys played hard. It was a group effort with the pass rush, to your point. We had a lot of good individual rushes, and I’m really happy with it. We had a lot of pressure. I tell you what, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a really good quarterback, and he deserves a lot of credit, because he evaded the rush numerous times and made plays. I mean, the plays that they had on offense were him making them. He made some ‘Fitzmagic’ throws out there that were just really worthy of respect. So, we have a lot of respect for him. I wish we had gotten him down a few more times when we had him back there, but we brought the rush really hard, and I was pleased with it.”

OLB Tim Williams didn’t get on the stat sheet, but it seemed like he was around the quarterback a lot. Is that what you’ve come to expect from him and what you saw from him for much of this summer? (Jeff Zrebiec) “Yes, I think you hit it on the head. He’s been rushing … Not just rushing hard, he’s been playing hard. He’s been playing hard against the run, too. He’s been running to the ball. He’s done well. Tim and Tyus [Bowser] both did a good job, two young guys. They were both bringing it. Tyus caused a couple of penalties, as well, at least one holding penalty, and we flushed him [Ryan Fitzpatrick] out of the pocket a couple of times. I’m sure those two guys would like to have the sacks, because we flushed him both times, and both times they could have been out there to get the sacks, understanding what Ryan does, and they’ll learn from that. But yes, they both had good games.”

What did you think of the effort of the offensive line as a whole yesterday, and G/C Bradley Bozeman in particular? (Ken Weinman) “Excellent, excellent. Not without areas that we can improve, for sure, but they were physical. They kept their pads down, for the most part. The technique in the run-blocking and the pass-blocking was good. We really picked up almost all of their pressures every time, and they brought a lot of pressure. They played well, yes. And Bradley [Bozeman], too, Bradley played really well and justified the fact that he was in there as a starter at left guard.”

Were there plans set in place in that opening drive for WR Marquise Brown to receive, or did that happen spontaneously? (Bobby Trosset) _“That he’d score? _(laughter) I don’t know if it was planned, but it was hoped [for]. We put the plays in for a reason, for sure. That was just the way the defense set up on that play. They set up in such a way where that play is kind of a ‘take what they give you’ kind of a play, and they were defending the run. If you look at the game [tape], they were defending the run really hard the whole game. They made a commitment to stop the run. They had a lot of guys up there throughout the course of the game, even to the end. Once we were in the second half, they were stacking the box pretty good, too. The safety on the right side came down, Marquise [Brown] beat the coverage on the left side and was able to take it to the house. He got a great throw from Lamar [Jackson], and [it was] a really good read by Lamar.”

Have you ever been a part of an offensive output like that, historically, with the numbers that were put up? The Dolphins have been around for a long time, and I don’t think they’ve ever given up that many points. (Jerry Coleman) “Not in the NFL, no. Maybe in college, I would have to think back. At Pitt, we had some pretty good offenses with Mike Gottfried. I would have to go back and check some of the scores. Not in high school. My brother was the quarterback my senior year. We were pretty explosive. I don’t think we did that, though.”

*How did you think CB Anthony Averett did with what was essentially a starter’s workload? _(Childs Walker)_ *“He did well. He got his legs under him a little bit. He had been playing a lot of special teams. It was hot. Once he got his sea legs, he really played well. [He played] tight coverage, and he did a good job. I was happy with him.”

As you know, how many times QB Lamar Jackson runs the ball is a very hot topic. He ran the ball three times yesterday. Do you perceive that as being the norm this season? (Jamison Hensley) “It’s not a hot topic with me. I get it, it’s a hot topic. But just because it’s a hot topic out there doesn’t mean it has to be a hot topic in here, and it’s not. Nobody cares in here. Whatever they give us … If they allow Lamar [Jackson] to run, he’s going to run. They didn’t. They were taking it away, for sure. It was part of their plan not to allow him to run. If people decide that that’s going to be the way it’s going to go, he’s not going to run. That’s the way the offense is organized. So, we’re not worried about it at all.”

Yesterday in the locker room, S Earl Thomas III said he could tell RB Mark Ingram II was really fired up before the game. Did you sense that as well? (Aaron Kasinitz) “I don’t have a ‘fired up meter’ before the game. (laughter) Guys were all fired up. So, I guess, yes. I’m having a little fun with you on that, but the guys were excited. They were excited to play. Our guys work really hard, and they wanted to play. They couldn’t wait to get out there and play. [We have] a lot of new guys. There was a lot of new energy in there, and they were feeling it. Earl [Thomas] said Mark [Ingram] was excited to play; I thought Earl was pretty fired up to play, too. He sure showed it with the way that he played. It was fun.”

Have you given any thought to facing OLB Terrell Suggs as an opponent on Sunday? _(Bo Smolka) _“I’ve been watching him the whole preseason. We’ve been watching Arizona tape throughout the preseason, and he’s been playing really well. As far as that part, the emotional part of it, I’m not going to worry about that. Maybe it will [resonate] for some people and for some fans. Maybe some players will feel that way. I won’t. It’d be great to see him before the game and hug him and all that, maybe if I happen to see him. I hope we do, but once the game starts, he’s a Cardinal, and we’ll be looking to do the best we can against him. He’s playing really well. He’s a game wrecker, and that’s how we’ll be treating him.”

Will you do a double-take seeing him in red? _(Childs Walker) _“Double take? Yeah. Well, it’s the same for Terrell [Suggs]. He looks like he’s in great shape. I can tell you that. That’s what I thought. That’s how I was looking at it.”

Is there a particular moment that comes to mind when you think about OLB Terrell Suggs? _(Jamison Hensley) _“No, I’m not nostalgic about it right now. I appreciate the question, but that’s not important to me. It is outside of the game, but it’s the game that matters right now. And that’s what we’ll be thinking about. That’s what I’ll be thinking about, and I’m pretty sure the players feel the same way.”

*Were the snap counts for rookie WRs Miles Boykin and Marquise Brown a result of game circumstance or was there another factor? _(Jeff Zrebiec)_ *“I don’t even know. Was it too low in your opinion?” _(Reporter: “I don’t have an opinion.”) _“It was fine. It was fine. It was good. It was a good snap count.”

What have you seen from QB Kyler Murray in the limited time that he’s played _(Jerry Coleman) _“I really don’t have any observations yet, other than he’s really talented. He’s a great thrower, great release. He’s obviously dangerous in the pocket. That’s [from] preseason; I haven’t got the chance to watch the game from Detroit yet, but I know that he had a huge comeback and threw for a bunch of yards in the second half and a bunch of TDs. So, I’m looking forward to seeing it on the tape, and we’ll just have to take the week and figure out the best way we can to try to stop him and that offense.”

Is it your plan to always use all three running backs? _(David Ginsburg) _“I think it will change every week. It could be the same every week. It could change. It’s a matter of a lot of things, really.

“I’m surprised you didn’t ask me about the punt. (Reporter: “Do you want to say more about it.”) _“I kind of do.” _(laughter)

Why did you run up the score on the Dolphins? (laughter) (Jerry Coleman) _“I’m sorry I brought it up. _(laughter) No, we’ve been in those game before on the other side, as you know, and that’s not a complaint that you have. We’ve had a fake punt on us run with 35-plus on us, and we’ve had two passing touchdowns scored on us in the last six minutes of a blowout. That’s the NFL for one thing, but the point is – and I know that the Dolphins understand this – is that the objective, especially in the second quarter, is to keep your offense on the field and to keep your defense off the field by any means necessary. We’re not looking for more snaps for our defense. We’re always trying to do that. And we knew we were going for that fourth down once it got to fourth-and-close-to-1, and so, now you look for the best play. We felt like the fake punt was the best play, so that’s why we did it.”

Do you feel like you gave up something to the rest of the league by running that play? _(Jerry Coleman) _“No, because that’s a pretty standard play. That dive play on punt, everybody runs it, so everybody knows we have it.”

Do you give DB/LB Anthony Levine Sr. the option to call it out if he sees something on a play like that? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _“We have a method, yes. I’m probably not going to share it with the world, but there are options on all of our fakes or any of our plays, just like there are with our offensive plays. It’s a good question, really, but just like our offensive plays, most of them have options. So, most of our fakes are offensive plays, so the play-caller has options.”

QB Lamar Jackson said it was encouraged that he got out on the field earlier than normal for warmups. _(Jeff Zrebiec) _“Was he talking about this game? Or generally?” _(Reporter: “I think he was talking about this game.”) _“I don’t know. [Quarterbacks] Coach [James] Urban has a plan where he goes out early and throws with the receivers. That’s a general thing that’s part of the system. That’s probably what he’s referring to. There was no plan for yesterday. If anything, yesterday we wanted to take it a little bit easier in the pregame. We wanted to do less in pregame yesterday because of the heat.”

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