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Transcripts: John Harbaugh Press Conference Transcript

JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE: WEEK 1 vs. BILLS

Opening statement: “Good to be here – excited! It’s upon us. Everything that we’ve done up to this point, from a work standpoint, is behind us, and yet, it has our back. It’s what we stand on, and it’s our launching point, so we’re ready to go. Man, we’re excited. I think the fans are excited. I know the players are excited, and we just can’t wait. We have practice here in a half hour, and I’m really pretty much excited about that. I’m really excited to see you guys and do the press conference, but I’m even more excited about practice. Does that shock you? (laughter) What do you have?”

Just with the Bills announcing the starting quarterback decision with QB Nathan Peterman, how much does that help you, knowing who the starter is now, than maybe not knowing at all until gameday?  (Jamison Hensley) “It would be pretty hard to keep that secret. You have to practice your starting quarterbacks. I’m sure Sean [McDermott] felt like it was just, ‘Hey, he’s earned it.’ It’s not surprising. We were just going to go with whatever. We were going to prepare for the Bills. But, I’m not surprised. I think he’s done a very good job in the preseason. He’s looked good, and we’re preparing for him and the rest of the Bills team.”

Staying on quarterbacks, your three quarterbacks, you talk about doing the math during the preseason. Was it tough to do that math, and how, I guess, excited are you to have three quality quarterbacks on your roster? (David Ginsburg) “Sure, I’m excited to have three quality quarterbacks. We talked about it last week. It makes our quarterback room stronger, and that’s really what it does. From a team standpoint, you can look at it any kind of a number of different ways. There are a lot of factors that go into it that were considered, and that was the way it shook out.”

As far as the utilization of the quarterbacks, have you changed your approach with QB Lamar Jackson in that you will have him active each and every Sunday? Is that still the plan going forward? (Jerry Coleman) “Yes, we’ll do whatever is best for our team. Any given Sunday, we’ll have the 46 guys up that give us the best chance to be successful, and we’ll just see what that is every week.”

Could that mean three quarterbacks being active? (Jerry Coleman) “It could mean anything. It won’t be any more than three! (laughter) It won’t be any less than two! We’ll see. I really don’t know. Hey, it’s day-to-day. Any quarterback will tell you, any player, [that] you’re one play away. You’re one play away from being the guy. Those guys have to prepare just that way.”

There’s a report that QB Robert Griffin III is going to be the backup. Is that accurate? (Jeff Zrebiec) “I don’t know. I don’t know. What’s the source?” (Reporter: “It wasn’t my report, so I don’t know.”) “Oh, you read it, though. Was it sourced? I don’t know. It’s like the old song, ‘I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name.’ I guess he went through the article on a source with no name. (laughter) That’s good, right? That’s good! I don’t know the name of the group.” (Reporter: “America.”) “America, I remember them. Yes, all right! Jerry Coleman, that’s a good call. Don’t play Jerry Coleman in the radio dial game.”

So, going back to his question, is QB Robert Griffin III No. 2 or 3? (Jerry Coleman) “I’m not saying. You guys can report anything you want anyway, so just go for it. Or whoever put the report out.”

Now that you have QB Robert Griffin III on the team, whether he’s No. 2 or 3, not only does he bring the experience, but you talk about him in the room. Do you think he will be helping QB Lamar Jackson along and it’s just good to have that veteran experience along with QB Joe Flacco? (David Ginsburg) “Sure. All that is good. You can never have enough experience and good guys, good people to draw on, and that’s true for all of our players. I know the talk is about Lamar as a quarterback, and he just learned so much from Joe and from Rob – and not just those guys. He learns from all the guys. He learns from the receivers. ‘Crab’ [Michael Crabtree] is talking to him, John Brown is talking to him, Willie [Snead IV], the coaches. To me, it’s a group effort. When we’re in here, it’s a dynamic. We’re talking, dialoguing. They’re in their meeting rooms doing those same things, in the locker room. That’s the beautiful thing about this great team sport that is football. So, that’s the long answer to, yes, it certainly helps. And like we said before, it makes the room stronger.”

Do you have any update on P/K Kaare Vedvik, and any more explanation or clarity on what happened? (Bo Smolka) “I talked to him yesterday. I went to the hospital. Darren Sanders [vice president of security] and I went down there and talked to him. He was a little better, I think, than what I had heard he was the day before. I guess, the day before, he said when the police talked to him, he was really out of it, and he was pretty out of it when I talked to him, too, still swollen up. He’d had his face kind of stitched up. He told me what he could remember of what happened. It’s not for me to get into the details of that, but he’s trying to remember as best he can, and I think they’re trying to piece some of it together based on some video stuff and things like that. You know what, we’re just grateful, and I think he was very thankful for the fact that he’s OK and that he’s going to be fine. That’s the most important thing. His host-family father from Kansas was in. Great man, U.P. [upper peninsula] Michigan guy. He was in, so he’s going to be with Kaare for the next week, at least, and get him settled into where he’s going to stay. He’s going to stay with us. He’s going to be on the Non-Football Injury list, so he can kind of recover and train, just as if he was hurt in football, and that will be the way we’ll do it. It was disappointing for him, because I think it cost him a chance to kick in this league. He would have had a shot. There were plenty of trade talks and things like that. It’s a lesson for everybody. My dad said, ‘Nothing good ever happens after midnight,’ and it was well after midnight. He’ll be talking to the young guys next year, I guess: be a little smarter, be a little more aware of your surroundings, don’t be by yourself and understand that there are people out there that have malign intentions – especially when you’re a young guy, and maybe even if you’re a Raven football player, things like that, be smart.”

I know he has been offensive coordinator before, but it’s been a couple years. Does the fact that Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll comes from college most recently make the Bills a little harder to prepare for, because he doesn’t have a recent offense at the NFL level? (Jeff Zrebiec) “Coach Daboll has been around this league a long time. He has a really good track record, and there’s plenty of tape out there for what he likes to do. We’ve seen the preseason games. We have a pretty good idea, but you never know in the first game what you’re going to get. They could be holding any number of things back to surprise us in the first game. We kind of expect that. So, we just have to be ready to play our defense. Do what we do, and do it as well as we can, do it better than they do what they do.”

You mentioned trade talks regarding P/K Kaare Vedvik. What about QB Robert Griffin III? Does that factor in to the preparation knowing that there are probably some teams that would like a guy like him? (Mark Viviano)“Well, yes – that’s just so hard to predict. I’ll tell you what: I’ve been in this league now for 21 years, 11 as a head coach, and I still don’t understand why certain trades get made and other ones don’t. It’s just mind-boggling. You can try to speculate all you want, then you’ll see a trade and you’ll be surprised. Or you’ll see a trade not get made and you’ll be surprised. There are always trade possibilities for every player. I guess if you look at the Khalil Mack deal – you know – everybody’s available! The old saying, ‘Every man has his price?’ I guess every team has their price. It just depends on what someone is willing to offer for a player. It’s business. That’s just the way it works, and there are always options and possibilities that way.”

You were pretty open talking about how QB Lamar Jackson will factor in the two-quarterback scenario. Could QB Robert Griffin III be part of a similar thing for that with his similar skill set? (Mark Viviano) “Yes, sure. That’s one of the neat things about it. It’s probably a good observation. That’s something that we can kind of do the same chemistry with all three of our guys – one way or another – and be creative about it somehow. That’s what our coaches try to do.”

With QB Lamar Jackson in the red zone – especially seeing him in the preseason and seeing how effective he was – how tough is it with his skill set to defend someone like that when it gets to the red zone? (Jamison Hensley) “Anytime you’re dealing with a mobile quarterback anywhere on the field, especially in the red zone, you have to cage him – you can’t let him out. You have to rush inside and in front; you can’t open up rushing lanes. You’re going to be one gap short if you rush four, two gaps short if you rush three, you know? If you rush five, now you’re a man short in coverage. It creates a dilemma, because the quarterback can score pretty much from anywhere on the field, if you let him get out and run behind the defensive line. That’s a factor; it’s a valuable trait for any of the guys that can do that in the red zone.”

DT Carl Davis was claimed off waivers. What made him expendable to you? (Aaron Kasinitz) “I just think if you look at the numbers … It was just a numbers deal. Carl is definitely good enough to play for us. I talked to Carl; we had a great talk. He’s really good about it. He loved it here. He had his best camp. You know, he’s been hurt the past two years. I’m not thrilled that he’s in Cleveland and we have to play against him twice a year. But kudos to Cleveland. They’ve taken a number of our D-linemen. It seems like every year they grab one of our D-linemen. They’ve all done well for them, so I give them a lot of credit for what they’re looking at. We were blessed with some depth there; Carl was on the last year of his contract. All those things kind of factor in, but it certainly wasn’t for the way he played. He played well.”

Your decision to part ways with WR Breshad Perriman is a conversation … You don’t have to get into details. But his future going forward in the NFL, with maybe a change of scenery, do you think that maybe will needed for him? (Jerry Coleman) “Right, yes. To me, that’s the thing that I think he’s excited about and I’m excited about for him. You get a chance to get a fresh start, a healthy start. He had his best camp, because he was in camp and played well [and was] very productive in the games and in practice. I’m hopeful for him. I want to see him do well. You become friends with these guys, and I want to see them be successful.”

Along those same lines, how tough was it to let LB Albert McClellan go? He’s done so much for so long here. (Bo Smolka) “Right, same thing. Oh gosh, I think you mentioned [about] how tough it must be, and it was – but then Albert made it good. Albert was great. We’ve been together … Was it seven years? Again, we’ve been through a lot together, all of us with Albert and the coaches and everything. There doesn’t need to be a lot said; it’s understood the reasons why and that there’s no doubt that he can still play. Who knows? We [could] get him back in a couple days or a couple weeks or whatever happens. I’m sure he’ll be playing somewhere this year; he still can play.”

Do you have any updates on LB Kenny Young? (Aaron Kasinitz) “I don’t. I’ll see how he does. Probably day-to-day is the best way to describe it. We’ll see how he looks today, looks Wednesday, Thursday, and see if he’s ready to go Sunday.”

You have 12 rookies that made the 53-man roster. From your experience, what does this set now for them from what they accomplished in preseason to now regular season? (Mark Viviano)“The biggest thing is probably don’t get happy, because I told them today, ‘You’re not on scholarship.’ You didn’t just sign the scholarship papers – that’s not the way it works. You’re day-to-day, and it’s day-to-day, and you have to perform every single day. So, my hope is that their intention is to be the best football player they can be every single day and help us win games on Sundays. That’s why they’re here. That’s what they need to do, and they need to go to work today just like they did yesterday.”

Can you shed some light on the decision to keep WR/RS Janarion Grant over WR/RS Tim White? (Ryan Mink) “Not really, nothing to really add to it. You just do what you think is best at the time. I’m really glad that we still have Tim White in the building – that’s a big [thing]. We have them both, and that’s the takeaway there is that we have them both. It’s not which one or the other. I mean, you could do this. They’re both right there. I love them both, they both bring a lot to the table, and they both have upside. It’s going to be fun to see how they both develop, and I’m just glad they’re both here.”

Will WR Chris Moore and WR Willie Snead IV be utilized as return guys? (Jerry Coleman) “I think Chris Moore as a kick returner – he could be the kick returner – or it’ll be Janarion [Grant]. Janarion will be the punt returner, and Willie will be the backup punt returner for the game. We’ll go from there.”

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