Transcripts: John Harbaugh Monday Press Conference

JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE

Opening statement:"A couple of things: We have a schedule change this week. We're playing on Monday night, so we push everything back. Wednesday is Tuesday, Thursday is Wednesday, Friday is Thursday, Saturday is Friday. Got it? That's the plan." (Reporter: "Is Tuesday still Tuesday?") "Tuesday is actually Monday, and Monday is just kind of an extra day. Make sense? So today really doesn't exist. We're actually not here. (laughter)

"We did something really cool [today]. The Helping Up Mission had a coat drive. Craig Singleterry [senior security manager] in our security department has been heading that up for over 10 years now. It's awesome, putting together coats and all kinds of different winter gear for the Helping Up Mission guys who are a great crew. They have a huge group in there. It had to be 70, 80 guys that we were with this morning who are just great, great people working hard to get on track. And we had a big raffle. Well, it wasn't really a raffle. It was a question and answer. You had to answer Ravens questions to get Ravens gear. The pastor that was doing it, he's tough, man. You had to be spot on. He wasn't cutting anybody any slack when they were wrong. So, it was all good. It was a great moment, and it's a great group down there at Helping Up Mission."

We've been talking about the pass rush a lot, sort of in a negative way. But yesterday, seven sacks, was it scheme? Everyone was hustling? What was the secret behind the pressure that you guys had on QB Deshaun Watson? (Dave Ginsburg) "To answer that question in the framework of the way you're asking it, I would have to agree with the negative way, with all the questions, the assumption that it was bad before. And it wasn't bad before. It was good before. So, nothing is different. We just got there. And the coverage did a great job, of course. But we've been getting quarterback hits up until that point. A couple of guys slipped out at times in scrambles, and we were chasing them down at other times. So, the pass rush has been good all year. I just have never really agreed with that [assumption that it hasn't been]. As you know, I've never really agreed with that up here. But the fact that we got the seven sacks and got the reward this game is awesome. I'm happy that they did that. I'm happy that they got him down. There was one that was 10.3 seconds, I heard. At least, our D-line coach [Joe Cullen] told me that, because the coverage was so good. The first sack, actually, was 10.3 seconds. So, that's pretty unheard of. I think it's an NFL record. If I'm wrong about that, correct me, but I was told that by our D-line coach. He was proud of it because of the effort, the effort it takes in coverage and in chasing down and keeping him in there, a quarterback like Deshaun Watson. So, that was a big part of it."

Did yesterday, in any fashion, surprise you in the way things played out and the way that you guys jumped all over them? In QB Deshaun Watson's career, going back to college, that hasn't happened, where he had fallen behind the way he had. Did you sort of envision anything of that nature? I know you expect to win every game. (Jerry Coleman) "You do. You expect things to work. We don't really think about outcomes as much. You don't sit there and say, 'Oh, it's going to be this. The game is going to go this way or that way.' You kind of think more about how you're going to try to operate from one play to the next and what the process is going to be. So in that sense, it did play out the way we hoped it would in a lot of ways. And there are still plenty of things that we didn't do as well as we need to that we need to work on and we need to improve on. That's what our guys will be focusing on and building on the good things. But the way the guys played is what led to the outcome."

You were very complimentary of ILB Josh Bynes, a couple of weeks ago, being able to come off the street. DT Domata Peko Sr., with a similar situation, was he physically where you expected him to be? How did he hold up? (Aaron Kasinitz) "Both he and 'Jelly' [Justin Ellis], they both did a great job. Both of those guys stepped right in there, and you have to give them a lot of credit, to your point. To step in there like that, off the street, so to speak, they hadn't been playing for the last few weeks. To be in that kind of shape, that's not easy to do. They had over 20 plays apiece out there and did a heck of a job. So, it's really good for our team. It gives us depth. It gives us top-level depth, starter-type level depth across the board. 'Worm' [Chris Wormley] played really well. Of course, Brandon [Williams] played really well. The tackles did a nice job, and the ends played well. Our whole front played well. So, yes, it was a big deal. That was a big plus for us." (Reporter: "Do those guys have to do the conditioning test the same way?")"No, not at this time. No, not at this point. We're not trying to make them too sore for the game when they come in here on a Wednesday. _(laughter) You're vicious." _(laughter) (Reporter: "I was just curious if there's a way to test that they are [in shape].") _No, you just hope they are, and they were, at this point."

Along those lines, do you have any sense of where DT Michael Pierce is in his progress of coming back from the ankle? (Jonas Shaffer) "[He has] a chance. He had a chance for Sunday. I was told he had a chance for Sunday. He didn't make it. If you start trying to predict things and you don't know … I'm told he has a chance … I assume he has a better chance for this Sunday, and I'm kind of counting on him right now. But you just never know how healing is going to go."

RB Gus Edwards had that huge long touchdown yesterday. When you have a capable running attack like that, in being able to get runs late in the game, how key is that for your offense, as far as … Not only do you wear teams down, but you have guys who can get the home run there near the end and break the game open. (Todd Karpovich)"Gosh, what a great run. And also, with that, some downfield blocks. A couple of weeks ago, Seth Roberts had a 30-yard block downfield, and then yesterday, Miles Boykin had a 30-yard block downfield. Those types of things that you get from wide receivers, we talk about it all the time, but you don't always see it. That's what makes those runs go. Although, offensive line, backs, tight ends blocking, and then the backs running … Gus [Edwards] made two great runs during the game that were popped, once in the first [half], once in the second half. So, he played a really great game. Of course, Mark [Ingram II] played a great game. Both of those guys got game balls after the game for setting the tone the way they're running the ball."

How pleased have you been with what RB Gus Edwards has done? It's a different role for him this year with RB Mark Ingram II coming in, but it just feels like, from a short-yardage standpoint, even though he hasn't gotten a lot of attention, he's really been big in converting for you guys in that way. (Luke Jones) "Gus [Edwards] has played really well. Gus is playing at a really high level. He has a very big role on our team. He takes it seriously, and he wants to produce, too. He wants to make these big runs, like you're talking about, and he wants to do all of those things. He's stepped up to the plate very well every time he's been out there."

I think the outside perspective when looking at RB Mark Ingram II and RB Gus Edwards is that they're the same kind of player. Do you think they are more similar than they are different concerning their running style? (Jonas Shaffer)"They're similar in a lot of ways. They're both downhill guys [with] good vision. They're strong guys, and they're north-south runners. They're different. [If] you watch them, you know they're different in the way they run. Rather than put a bunch of adjectives on it, you can see it. They're not the same back at all. They both bring unique skills to it, like any two people or any two athletes do. I like the way they complement each other, I really do. They are different enough to give the defense some issues with their different styles and how they run."

You've obviously faced the challenge of going coast to coast a number of times. You had a great game against Seattle. Does having a Monday night game, adding that extra day, does that help if you're going to go coast to coast? I know you said the schedule is the schedule, but I'm just curious. (Peter Schmuck) "I don't honestly know. I don't know. It would just be speculating. We've gone out there on Monday night, haven't we, in the past? We've been everywhere on Monday night. It's like Johnny Cash. We've been everywhere, man, on Monday night, just not in Baltimore. (laughter) Everywhere but Baltimore. I'm not complaining. (laughter)But I don't know. It's just something that you deal with, and we'll be excited. The extra day will be good for us, in terms of getting ourselves ready and getting rested, but they have the extra day, too. So, I don't think it's an advantage. They're home. That's nice for them. But then we have to come back on a short week. The 'Niners will be playing Sunday, and we'll be playing Monday night. We won't get back here until Tuesday morning, probably at 8 in the morning or something like that, and we'll be right into San Francisco preparation on Thanksgiving week. That's another set of challenges. So, you think about all of that stuff going forward, but it is what it is. Everybody faces those things."

The offensive play-callers, they all have their different personalities, as far as how they call games. With offensive coordinator Greg Roman, what impresses you the most in how he calls a game and how he lays out the plan throughout the week? (Jamison Hensley) "He does a great job. Greg [Roman] is doing a great job. He includes his staff really well. He does a great job of incorporating all the different guys on the staff in different roles. That's very well organized. And it's a collaboration with those guys. Greg is obviously the leader, and he's doing a great job. It's unique how he does it, but he does it based around the players that we have – quarterback, offensive line, tight ends, all of our guys. He does a great job with that, according to what he thinks he's going to see on defense. There are so many factors to it, it's hard to even just sit here and list it all, because it's not ever going to be one thing. But suffice to say, he's really good. I have a lot of respect for him, and I'm really happy with the job he's doing."

With WR/RS De'Anthony Thomas, the one ball on the ground, was that just a matter of he should have called a fair catch? How are you evaluating how he's done through two weeks? (Aaron Kasinitz) "De'Anthony [Thomas] has done a good job. He probably should have called a fair catch on that. He didn't have a lot of opportunity to catch it. I don't know if we'll send that in [to the NFL] and see if it was catch-interference or not, but yes, you want the ball caught. But he's done a good job. I have a lot of confidence in him. The kickoff, he should have gone up and caught that one. That's probably just more of a fact of understanding how we do it here, communication-wise, between the up-backs and him. He's only been here two weeks, so we probably haven't covered everything as well as we need to on that one. I would have wanted to see him go catch that one and roll."

You talked about how well the offensive line has been playing and offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris and the job he's doing. With a guy like DT Aaron Donald, he's obviously a great player. They're moving him around a lot. What kind of specific challenges does he present for what's coming up this week? (Cliff Brown)"They are. The challenge is blocking him. He just has an uncanny ability to subtly get guys off their grass and go where he wants to go, which is basically straight ahead through where they were. He makes moves in tight areas better than anybody, probably, in the league, with the way he rushes the passer. And also, in the run game, it's kind of the same thing. He did it at Pitt. He's doing the same thing now. It's just the way he is. So, the challenge is blocking him. The other thing we have to do is know where he's at. As you said, he's everywhere. He's been everywhere on the defensive line. So, yes, that's a big one, but not just him. They have a heck of a front, really good linebackers. We'll get more into these guys as the week goes on. I really don't have a scouting report for them, yet, but I watched them on TV last night. The defense looked good. I heard from [Eric] Weddle a lot, up until today." (laughter)

With QB Lamar Jackson, the crescendo for the MVP and all that is rising, but has he kept completely even-keeled, really, still with him all about winning? And does he just shrug that off as if it's extra noise I guess? (David Ginsburg) "Yes, yes and yes. He's done all that. He's done a great job with that, and I'll be absolutely expecting him to continue to do just what you're talking about, the whole team. We have a lot of work to do. Bouquets, they're bait. That's what they are, so no one can compliment us now. It's too late. We have way too much work to do, and we have things to accomplish starting with the Rams on Monday night. It's going to be a big challenge, and that's what I know our guys will be focusing on. I have total confidence in that."

Have you been on a roll like this in your coaching career before? Not with the Ravens, but maybe at a different level? Do you remember?*_(Jerry Coleman)_* "I don't remember. I really don't. I don't remember."

With WR Seth Roberts, just what have you seen from him this season? Kind of like the question about RB Gus Edwards earlier – a guy who is making impacts when he's given the opportunity with his touchdown catch. (Ryan Mink)"It's just such a good point. Seth [Roberts] ... Receivers want to catch the ball. They run routes. I grade these guys, and I give Seth a lot of pluses for how he runs routes. He runs some great routes out there and gets open. Sometimes the ball doesn't come his way. That doesn't mean he doesn't run a great route the next time, and that's what he does. And he ran another great route and got a touchdown catch. And he's always blocking really hard. This guy is a really good football player, a really, really good football player playing really well, and to see him make the play, you're happy as a coach. Somebody asked me last night ... I think it was one of you guys. He asked me about how it feels when Lamar [Jackson] makes a run like that. It was Bruce Cunningham, I think. 'What [does] it feel like when he makes a run like that, makes a play?' And I just thought later about it. It's like – it feels the same way as it does when Gus Edwards makes a run or Seth Roberts makes a catch or Josh Bynes makes an interception or Tyus Bowser makes a sack. It feels the exact same way, as a coach, when all those guys do those things. So, to your point, to see Seth do that – it's awesome. And we have a lot of guys that are capable of making a lot of plays, and that's what gives me a lot of confidence going forward." 

You're going to get on me for another one of my stupid questions. (laughter) When you watch the game last night with the Rams, do watch it with the volume on? Do you watch it with a beer? (laughter) (Peter Schmuck)"All of the above." (laughter)(Reporter: "I know you splice up tape during the week, and you have specific things you look at. But do you watch the game just like I watch the game?")"I watch it like a fan. Yes, I watch it like a fan. I'm usually listening to the [broadcast]. It depends who it is. I like [Cris] Collinsworth and Al Michaels, so I listen to them. And they're on Sunday night. I like Tony Dungy, and I sometimes like Rodney Harrison.(laughter) He knows that. But yes, I watch it like you guys do. I'm watching to see who's playing well and kind of what they look like, but I would say I'm not really breaking the thing down for fronts and coverages and all that. [I'm] just kind of enjoying it."

Which announcers don't you care for? (laughter) (Jerry Coleman) "Kevin [Byrne, Ravens EVP of public and community relations] knows. (laughter) (Byrne: "I have a list right here.") (laughter) (Reporter: "Have they done one of your games this year?") "Yes. (laughter) That narrows it down a little bit." (laughter)

Can WR/RS Chris Moore be an option this week again? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, I'm really hopeful for Chris [Moore]. It just depends with the thumb if he can get out there and play. They're working on the cast. The first week was tough because you have a broken thumb, and it jams it around a little bit. And then last week was a lot better. He looked pretty good. We can protect it. He just has to feel good running and doing the things he has to do with his hands. So, he has a real good shot, but it'll be really up to him and how it feels."

You mentioned S Eric Weddle a little bit before. You, obviously, told us about how beneficial he was to have on your defense. But looking at it from the other side, what does an offense have to do to make sure that maybe his intelligence doesn't muck up the gameplan? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I don't know how you can counteract his intelligence other than just know that he kind of knows, I guess. He knows how to match routes. He'll recognize formations. He'll get his guys lined up, and he'll be in the right spots. And he's making plays. He's playing very well – making tackles. He's making plays on the ball. He looks like he's always looked, to me, and he has a pretty good corner out there with him now in [Jalen] Ramsey. And he also has another young corner on the other side who I can tell he's working with who's playing well. So, yes, Eric [Weddle] is Eric."

After rattling off six victories in a row like that, how do you keep the team even keel as you roll into an opponent like the Rams that you don't see but every four years? (Guest Military Member) "To me, you can't address it now. It's too late. I like to think that our training and our discipline kicks in in this moment when we have an opportunity. 'When you face triumph or disaster,' as the old poem goes, 'you treat those two imposters just the same.' It's not about outcomes. It's about process. And [if you] do things right in a disciplined way, you have a chance to be successful, no matter what you face. As you guys would say, 'Failure is not an option.' Right? When you go on that mission ... And you guys play all road games, last time I checked. Let's keep it that way, right? Hoo-ah! (laughter) We want road games in the military. And you have to go on the road just like we have to go on the road, and you have to win. You have to come back with a win. And that's going to be because you're disciplined, you're well-trained, you have each other's back and you do things the way they're supposed to be done. Right? And that's what I'm trusting our guys to do just the same."

Last week, Steve Young reported that QB Lamar Jackson should watch QB Deshaun Watson play the quarterback position. I'm just wondering what your thoughts are on that? (laughter) And also, I'm wondering what you say to the critics that say that his development is being stifled with his style of play? (Guest Military Member) "I wasn't listening to the critics, the so-called 'experts,' before. Why change and listen to them now? And I think Steve Young is great. [I'll] leave it at that."

How was the actual helicopter ride on Friday? (Jonas Shaffer)"How was the helicopter ride? It was amazing. Yes, except I cut my head getting on there. (laughter) You [EVP of Public and Community Relations Kevin Byrne] got a big kick out of that. You thought that was the funniest thing. I hit my head. I kind of ... I don't know. I just hit my head on something and scraped it, and it felt fine. And then the pilot comes around, and he goes, 'You OK, Coach?' I go, 'Yes, I'm fine.' 'Well, you have blood running down your face right here.' (laughter) So, he gave me a rag, and I cleaned it off. It was like, 'Oh, my gosh.' Of course, I wish somebody would have got a picture of that. (laughter) Oh, it would have been great." (Byrne: "What did you say? You looked like Y.A. Tittle?") "Yes, I felt like Y.A. Tittle. Remember Y.A. Tittle on the field hunched over? You guys know that picture, right? I'll tell you, when the helicopter goes sideways and you're looking down, that's pretty cool. (laughter) Coach [Bill] Cowher was on there, too. Did you guys know that? Coach Cowher went on there, and he had this jacket on, this little windbreaker jacket that he brought with him. And we brought him a coat. They brought me a coat, too. It was a Ravens coat. Now, I had a pretty decent coat on, so I didn't need a coat. But then they offered him a Ravens coat, and he refused it on moral grounds, I guess. So, by the end of the thing, Kevin asks him, 'How you doing?' He said, 'I'm really cold, Kevin. Really cold.'" (laughter)(Byrne: "I'm really cold, and I have to go to the bathroom.") (laughter) I didn't say that. You said that. (laughter)_ But that was kind of cool, too., because we had gone up in a couple Blackhawks in Iraq in 2008 with the [USO Tour NFL] coaches' deal, so it kind of brought back a memory there. And our players really had fun with Coach Cowher, too, and he was great with the team, really awesome with the team. That's an old-school ball coach, you know? And there's a lot of respect there, so it was good."

Can you compare the differences or the similarities between the Super Bowl team and this year's team? (Guest Military Member) "No, I cannot. I don't do comparison questions, as these guys well know. (laughter) And, I would say this team ... Until this team wins the Super Bowl, there is no comparison, so let's keep our eye on the prize. And the process is that we have to get there, and we have to win the next game to take the next step to get where we have to go. You like that answer. (laughter) That's the right answer." 

Who inspired you to be the man you are today? (Guest Military Member) "My wife. How's that? You like that, yes? My wife inspires me every single day. Yes, but I'm just blessed. We have great parents, and I thank God every day for the people that influenced me. And I hope we all feel that way about people in our lives."

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