Transcripts: John Harbaugh Monday Presser

You said yesterday you may or may not elaborate on the injuries coming out of the game. Is there any information you can tell us? (Child Walker) “I do have bad news with DeShon Elliott. It looks like he's going to be out for the year, unfortunately. It's just way worse than we thought it was going to be – that the doctors thought after the game. So, that's preliminary, but it sounded like they were pretty confident that it wasn't good. We'll go with that until further notice, and that’s where we’re at. We'll have to find a replacement there and move forward.”

What was the injury? (Jamison Hensley) “It's in his knee.”

CB Maurice Canady’s injury wasn’t serious? (Childs Walker)“[Maurice] Canady has a hamstring, so I don’t know to what degree. I’d say he’s probably day-to-day. We’ll see how he does Wednesday, Thursday.”

You potentially now lost two safeties to season-ending injuries. Do you have one guy on the practice squad that you’re just getting to know? Or is it something where you think you’re going to go outside the organization? (Jeff Zrebiec) “Possibly, yes. Very possibly. We have to have that person, too.”

You guys ran quite a few sub packages yesterday where you didn’t have a traditional inside linebacker. You’ve done that a little bit in the past, but not as much as yesterday. What do you like about that? And does it speak to the versatility of some of your defensive backs? (Luke Jones) “It does. Chuck [Clark] was playing the MIKE in that case, different guys in different spots. It's something we've been pretty much doing all year with a lot of different groups in different situations and matchups and things like that. It was good for us. It worked well. When you do that, the communication, assignments, things like that have to be really on point. I give our coaches and players a lot of credit for working those things out and talking it out on the field and all that. It was positive and it's something we'll have to consider week to week, to what degree and what groups go out there. But we do want to play a number of guys. That's how we're built. We're really not built for a few guys to play a lot of reps. It's more spread out for us, the way our personnel sets up, and it was effective in the game.”

Did you like the mixture you had there on offense with QB Lamar Jackson passing enough times to make the running game effective? Is that ideal? (David Ginsburg) “Yes, I mean, ‘ideal’ doesn't really matter. It matters how you move the ball and how many points you score, and I thought we moved the ball very effectively – run and pass. They were pretty much the same in terms of the yards, which is unusual. You usually have a lot more passing yards in this league than running yards, so that makes us a little bit different. What is ideal? That depends on what your view is of things. I was happy with it. The only thing we all would have wanted was more points off of it, and that was because we didn't always finish like we needed to. We had some penalties – way too many penalties – and we had the turnovers. So, those were things that we could have finished with a touchdown down there at the end. Those are the things that we're going to continue to work on to try to tack more points on with those yards and become the offense that we can be.”

With the penalties, are you seeing some things that should be cleaned up? Like 12 men on the field has happened a couple times this year. (Jerry Coleman) “Well, that’s something that I don't know if you're ever going to clean up everything, because situations are different. There are going to be times when you're going to have 12 men on the field, not that we're accepting it. There are going to be times that you have 10 on the field. That happens in the heat of battle. That was an easy one that probably shouldn't have happened. We just overreacted. We just misread something on the sideline. It happens. But yes, the other stuff – the big penalties, whether it's roughing the passer or some of the holding penalties, those are things that we just have to keep working on to make sure that we understand. Pass interference, those are things that we have to understand how they're going to call them. Sometimes they may come back and say it wasn't or it was or whatever, but we have to understand how they're calling them and make sure that we recognize that and don't get called. We just had too many penalties. The pre-snap ones we never want, whether we're jumping offsides or are in the wrong formation. Those, to us, are unacceptable. Those are things that shouldn't happen along with 12 [men] on the field. I'll grant you that, too. I can't say they're never going to happen, is my point, but we have to get a lot better in those areas.”

Speaking of penalties, G Bradley Bozeman was flagged four times. One was an illegal block, another was holding. Did they look like that on film? Is that something he just has to clean up going forward? (Jamison Hensley) “Yes, the two pre-snap ones – one was his fault, one wasn’t. And then the block in the back, I didn’t see it on tape. The holding was a hold. So, that’s what we’ll do in our meeting – go through those different situations and talk through them. Our guys are great about being accountable. Our guys want to do the right things, and we’ll keep chasing that.”

The whole hurdling thing with the tight ends. Pro? Con? I guess when it doesn’t work everyone harps on it. I think you’ve expressed your feelings against it in the past. (Jerry Coleman) “Hurdling, per se, is not the issue. The issue is ball security. You pick your spots; you pick them well. That obviously wasn’t a great spot at all. I think he [Mark Andrews] said it after the game, didn’t he? I’m pretty sure he said it. The football is the issue. The football is the issue. The game is the football – possession of the football, maintaining it, doing smart things with it. That’s the issue for anybody who is entrusted with the ball, and those guys know that so well. And that has to be our focus at all times, 100 percent, is protecting the football when we have it and taking it away when they have it. That’s Job One, and that has to be the first thing.”

How much do you think CB Marlon Humphrey rises to the challenge, like when you’ve had him shadow the other team’s top receiver? And how much do you think he’s grown into that role over the last couple years? (Jeff Zrebiec) “He’s done a great job this year in everything we’ve asked him to do, and we’ve asked a lot, to your point. We put a lot on his plate. He’s been asked to play different positions in the back end on different guys. There’s a lot to that, and he’s made it look pretty easy. To his credit, he’s playing great. He’ll tell you that he can play better, and he can. And we’ll keep chasing that, too, along with all the other guys.”

You guys put a lot on S Chuck Clark’s plate yesterday. Once you got to look at the total picture, did you feel like he handled it well? (Childs Walker) “He did. He did. He played well. He was always in the right spot, made the plays he had to make. Chuck [Clark] did a real nice job. I thought everybody did a really good job. You can pull plays here and there and say they need to be better, which they certainly do, but all in all, I thought our defense played pretty darn well.”

You’ve talked about ILB Josh Bynes before, but just the fact that he didn’t go through the regular process of training camp, OTAs and all that, does that make it even more impressive – the fact that he didn’t go through the regular routine that some of his teammates went through? (Jerry Coleman) “It’s a big concern always, because you worry about guys being in shape, football shape. You’ve heard that, right? Guys will say, ‘I need to get into football shape.’ Apparently, he didn’t. Apparently, he was already in football shape, because he’s done well. He’s made it happen.”

I know you don’t like to look at it too much, but the way the schedule shapes up, you’ve got the game in Seattle on the road, then the bye week, then New England. How do you like the way it fell? You’re 4-2 and have a lead in the division. (David Ginsburg) “I think about it. I’ll be honest with you, I think about it, and I have my thoughts on it. But they really don’t matter. I’m going to give you the cliché, but it’s the truth: We just have to focus on Seattle. So, how the schedule fell or how we fit … It’s better to be 4-2 than 3-3 or 2-4, but not as good as 6-0 or 5-1. That’s my thought on it. And 5-2 would be a lot better than 4-3. And if you want to go past that, you can just extrapolate. So yes, it’s really important. But I think the next game is critical. It won’t make or break us, but it will go a long way in setting us up for where we’re headed down the road and what kind of season we’re going to have. That’s the kind of an article that is a great article to write, and I think it’s something the fans think about. And we certainly think about it, but it’s not something that we dwell on, because first things first – we have to go play our best football. We have to be 1-0 this week. And though you hear it and you might say, ‘Well, it’s cliché.’ Yes, but it’s true, too. We need to be 1-0 this week. We need to play our best football of the year in Seattle to win the game, and that’s what we’re planning on doing. And that’s what we’re going to work for.”

Going to Seattle, obviously, there’s going to be a lot of focus on S Earl Thomas III. When you get a great player in from somewhere else, do you find it kind of fascinating, just as someone who loves football, to observe them day to day and sort of get a feel for how they do what they do? (Childs Walker) “Yes, I think so, sure. It’s interesting to see, especially guys at the top of their profession, how they operate and how they think and how they see the game and [to] talk ball with. That’s a real joy, man. That’s a real blessing of being a coach if you love football – to be able to interact with guys who are at the top of the heap, like Anquan [Boldin], and learn from them and just be around them every day and enjoy what we do. I would say that’s a resounding ‘yes.’”

Bringing in a guy like S Earl Thomas III, there is, obviously, going to be high expectations. How do you feel he has played for you guys this year? (Jamison Hensley) “He’s played well. He’s getting healthier. He had a broken leg last year, and coming back from that is not something you should really take lightly. And so, I think he gets stronger every week and faster every week and looks good. But he has taken to the whole thing. He’s been a leader. He believes in what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, culture-wise and football-wise. I love being around him. I love his demeanor. I love his desire to be great, and I think it’s rubbing off on the guys.”

He was very emotional about his departure from Seattle. Might you have a conversation with him? Or is he such a veteran that that isn’t necessary? (Jerry Coleman) “No, I probably won’t. I think it’s a good question. I wouldn’t presume to have a conversation about that with him. That’s something he’ll know how to handle. He knows what to do, how to handle himself.”

Whenever we talk to S Earl Thomas III, he answers very directly. (Childs Walker) “What is this? A probe into Earl’s [Thomas] personality?” (laughter) (Reporter: “Yes!”) “Yes, he’s direct. He’s direct that way with us, too, but he’s fun. He laughs and has a great time. I think he’s really starting to fit and feel good about being here and all that. We appreciate that.”

How can you evaluate whether or not a player who has been great can be great into his 30s? (Aaron Kasinitz) “You just go by what you see. I remember Bill Parcells said it, and I love it and I’ve used it many times since: ‘I go by what I see, not by what I hear. Not by what I read, but by what I see.’ And I think as a coach, that’s what you go by – what you see. That’s all you can do, and I see pretty good with Earl Thomas right now, pretty darn good.”

Is CB Iman Marshall eligible to return to practice this week? (Jeff Zrebiec) “I don’t know. That’s a good question. I haven’t talked to Eric [DeCosta] about that yet. I’m not sure.”

QB Lamar Jackson took some pretty good hits downfield yesterday. Did you cringe at any of them? Or did they just look worse to us up in the press box than maybe it was on the field? “I just think it’s part of the game right now with the way we play and the way Lamar [Jackson] plays. I am impressed with his toughness; there’s no question about that. The goal is not for him to take certain hits. There were probably two of them there that I would have rather seen him not get hit on, but we also have to acknowledge that those are going to happen during the course of the year — hopefully less rather than more. You don’t want a quarterback … I wouldn’t expect him to be running that many times very many times this year. That’s just the way it went. It was part of the plan, because of the way they played, and it turned out to hold up during the game, and it actually, probably, was a big factor in winning the game. That’s what we’re here for, so we’re certainly not going to apologize for that. Going forward, we’ll try to manage it the best we can.”

Do you have any updates on WR Marquise Brown and ILB Patrick Onwuasor? (Jonas Shaffer) “I would say they are day-to-day. They’re day-to-day. If we see them practicing as the week goes on, we’ll be confident that they can play. If we don’t, then we won’t. They both have ankles that they’re dealing with, and those things just kind of heal when they heal. They had a chance [to play Sunday]. We thought last week … I was told that they had a chance for the game. After Friday, it didn’t look as good. They just didn’t feel that they were there, and they weren’t. And then now, if they practice, I think they’ll play. If they don’t, I think they probably won’t.”

With the potential that WR Marquise Brown has to stretch the defense, with him being out, did that make what QB Lamar Jackson was able to do with that kind of compressed area in the secondary even more impressive – the accuracy that he showed Sunday? (Jonas Shaffer) “I don’t know, because I think they were getting back on the coverage pretty good, too. Give our guys credit, they were rolling through the vertical routes. Our guys were running fast, and they pulled the coverage out. And that’s why some of that stuff opened up, even for the scramble stuff. So yes, I thought our guys did a good job with that.”

At least statistically, it looks like QB Russell Wilson is playing as well as he ever has. Have you been able to watch the tape on him yet? How well has he been playing? (Aaron Kasinitz) “You follow football, right? You don’t have to watch the tape. He’s been amazing. You know it. He’s been amazing. He’s made plays in the pocket. He’s made plays out of the pocket. He’s made plays with his arm, with his legs, with his head. I think he’s the heart and soul of their offense, at least, probably their team. They have some veterans on defense, too. I love the two inside ‘backers. We’ll study it more now in the next two days. But they’re 5-1 for a reason, a really good coaching staff, and they have a winning tradition there. And, they have a heck of a stadium. So, all those things are the challenges we’re going to face.”

E_xecutive Vice President Ozzie Newsome, Head Coach John Harbaugh & Former WR Anquan Boldin_

Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome Opening Statement:

“If my count is correct, this is the sixth guy that has retired a Raven [in 2019]. Five of them played for other teams. Lardarius Webb never played for another team. So, what that says to me is that this organization does a very good job, and it begins at the top with Steve [Bisciotti, owner]. When we are in the process of evaluating players, whether it’s for the draft, free agency, for trades, we have a lot of information that we get, and we try to process it. But normally, we get to a point that we ask ourselves, ‘Is he a football player, and does he play like a Raven?’ Anquan [Boldin] fits both of those. I can remember when he came out in the draft, he was getting beat up for a lot of different reasons, but what the scouts and Eric [DeCosta, now executive vice president and general manager] kept saying, ‘He’s a football player.’ He gets drafted by Arizona, he goes to Arizona, and we were fortunate enough to get involved in a trade with Anquan [in 2010]. I can remember the day that I finalized it, because I was on my way to get my haircut. (laughter) And I was talking with Tom Condon [Boldin’s agent] about the contract, because we had to get the contract worked out before I could make the trade with Rod Graves [former Cardinals general manager] and the Arizona Cardinals.

“Anquan came here, and not only did he [make an] impact on the field, he was huge in the locker room, and he was huge in the community. And even now, in the NFL community across the league, Anquan is still playing a big part with the social justice stuff. Having him here, watching him on the field at practice, watching him in games, he has some pretty good hands – close to somebody else I know, and I’m not talking about Shannon Sharpe, either. (laughter) But Anquan made a lot of contested catches. Joe [Flacco] would throw it in there, and Anquan would make the catch. So, thank you, Anquan, for those years.”

Head Coach John Harbaugh Opening Statement:

“Thanks, Ozzie. And thanks, Anquan, for many, many things – most of all, the man that you are, the family man that you are and the example that you set for our young guys to show them how it’s done as a professional football player, but as a family man first, and a man of faith. That’s, to me, what sets the culture here and the value system, is players that live that and embody that every single day for the young guys to see it. And then it takes on a life of its own. It’s like planting a seed. The next thing you know, it’s a harvest. And we have that here with our team right now. And you and the guys like you that were here in those years – ’10, ’11, ’12 – those years are the years that kind of set the tone for this organization and for the team that we are right now.

“So, thank you for that, but also for all the plays that you made. I can remember us having a conversation the first year, two big conversations. The first year, in training camp and earlier in the year, Joe [Flacco] was having a tough time figuring you out a little bit, remember? Basically, we both had the same thought, and we let Joe know: ‘Just put it on Anquan. Don’t worry that there’s a defender there. [Act like] there is no defender there, as if there’s no defender there; throw it to him. He will catch it. He doesn’t need anything. He doesn’t need separation. His separation is the fact that he’s going to make a contested catch, and he’s going to come down with the ball.’ And how true did that end up being over the years? We all saw it. And then there was the Arizona game, the first year when they came in. We were down at halftime by a pretty good amount. And Anquan came up, and he said, ‘Just tell Joe to throw me the ball. Just tell Joe to throw me the ball.’ And how many catches did you have, and touchdowns? You won the game by yourself, basically, in the second half. That was a big win.

“Then, of course, all the wins in between. But then the Super Bowl … The Super Bowl, the touchdown catch and the third-down catch – plays that had to be made. That’s the difference between winning those games and not winning those games, is players making plays in big moments. And that’s what Anquan Boldin did. The fact that you want to retire a Raven is probably one of the biggest honors that we’ve ever had around here. I think we all wish you had been here for three or four more years and finished up here, and we only have ourselves to blame for that, Ozzie. (laughter)We can address the elephant in the room here, too. That’s OK, too. We get it, we get it. We’re not afraid to confront that. (laughter) But you’re back, and you’re a Raven. You won us a championship. You did it. We’re very grateful. Congratulations.”

Anquan Boldin Opening Statement:

“First off, I would like to say thank you to the Raven organization – Ozzie, for bringing me in here, Coach Harbaugh. This is truly a first-class organization, starting with Mr. [Steve] Bisciotti at the top. For me, it’s definitely an honor to retire a Raven. I’ve played with four different organizations, but there is no other organization, I would say, that has had the impact on myself and my family like this organization. I was in Arizona my first seven years, and I played three here, three in San Francisco, and then finished my last year in Detroit. But I can truly say this organization, this community, embraced us fully from the first day we got here.

“I remember coming over from Arizona, we were pregnant with our youngest, and my oldest son was six years old at the time. Our first day moving here, it was tough because my wife was actually just getting cut off from traveling. She was that far along. And moving in, how the organization stepped in and helped us with everything [was amazing]. How truly grateful we were having, just, neighbors who, the first day we got here, invited us over to a cookout. I remember that starting every Friday, us getting together as a community and having a cookout with about 18 kids in the community. It was a joy. And just to see the fanbase, how they embraced us, the winning culture here … Everything about it is a first-class organization. There are still people in the organization, to this day, that I keep in contact with, have opportunities to go to dinners with and things like that. That’s not common in a lot of organizations. A lot of times, it’s just, you see the coaches and the players that usually have a relationship, but not outside of that. But here, you talk about Val [Valarie Wideman, receptionist], Craig [Singleterry, senior manager of security], Darren [Sanders, vice president of security] … The list goes on and on of people that we’ve kept in contact with, people who have had an impact on our lives. We truly appreciate you guys and how you took us in as family. So, this day is special for not only myself but my wife and my two boys, because we truly feel like we are Ravens for life. We appreciate you guys for accepting us.”

How long ago did you decide you wanted to do this, and can you take us through the process in coming home and doing this? (Jeff Zrebiec) “For us, it had always been a thought of ours to retire as a Raven. Although we didn’t finish here, playing career-wise, it was always our thought to come back and finish up as a Raven.”

One thing that people always said when you played here was how well you fit with the physical style that the Ravens played and the physical style that you brought to the wide receiver position. Was there a specific moment or a point when you got here that you really knew that this was going to be a good and special fit for you? (Luke Jones) “Actually, for me, I kind of realized that before I got here. I was telling somebody the story … A lot of people don’t know [that] I was actually trying to get here before I actually got here. It was two years prior. I was in Arizona. We played in the Super Bowl against Pittsburgh. Back then, you played in the Super Bowl, and then the Pro Bowl was the following week. So, we ended up getting to the Pro Bowl about that Wednesday, and me and Ray [Lewis] actually had a conversation poolside. And that was the whole conversation, trying to figure out how I was going to get here, how we were going to make it happen. The only thing on his mind was, ‘Man, we have to beat Pittsburgh. Can you help us do that?’ And I told him, ‘Get me there, and I’ll take care of it.’ (laughter) So, me trying to become a Raven, it happened two years prior to [the trade].”

Do you ever think about what might have happened had you not been traded? (Luke Jones) (laughter) “Yes. For me, I was brought here to do a job. The one thing I felt good about leaving here was that I helped accomplish that job. I was brought in to help bring a championship to the city, and I was able to help do that. So, you understand the business side of it. That wasn’t my first time being traded, but I did want to make sure that when I left here, I did everything in my power to make this a better organization and just to continue to play that way.”

You’ve had so many big moments with the Ravens – the Super Bowl, coming back against the Cardinals. Is there a moment that stands out for you as being a member of the Ravens?_ (Jamison Hensley)_“Yes. The Super Bowl parade stands out. Just being able to share that moment with this entire city – having schools shut down, businesses shut down, everybody out in the streets celebrating this organization. You know how much this organization means to the City of Baltimore, so to be able to share that moment with them was amazing.”

After you did get traded, it seemed like the fans didn’t get over it for years. Did that almost feel like sort of a final sign of their love? (Childs Walker) “Definitely. I still get hit up from fans asking, ‘Would I come back for another year or so?’ But it does show how much this fanbase embraced us, and I was definitely appreciative of it. That’s why every time I stepped on the field, I tried to give it my all.”

How fulfilling has your social activism, the Players Coalition, all the stuff you’re doing, how fulfilling is that in your post-NFL career? (Jeff Zrebiec) “For me, it’s been very fulfilling. It’s the reason I stepped away from football. I felt like God was calling me to do something different. I had a chance to live out my dream, but there are just some things that are bigger than football. There are some things that are bigger than things that you want to achieve personally. And I felt like starting the Players Coalition and affecting change in this country was one of those things.”

Along those lines, how did your time in Baltimore, your three years here, maybe affect how you viewed your work in the community and the impact on you? (Aaron Kasinitz) “For me, I’ve always been involved in the communities that I played in. We still are actively involved in all of those communities. But I think the thing that sparked me the most was losing my cousin [in 2015]. My cousin was gunned down [in Florida] by an officer after he had just broken down on the side of the road. So, that was something that really hit me, and I just didn’t want any other family to go through that. So, for me, that really sparked me getting involved in social justice. I’m like a lot of other people – you see it, and it happens so much in our country. Actually, sometimes, you get numb to it. And although you are sympathetic, it’s a different thing once it hits your front door. So, when you have to deal with it personally, it affects you in a different way.”

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