Transcripts: John Harbaugh Press Conference Transcript

JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE: WEEK 5 at Browns

Opening statement:"Had a chance to get back late, as a number of you guys probably did, and got to work on this last game [at Pittsburgh] but then moved forward really quickly to Cleveland. Coaches have been here since early this morning, and our focus really does move to Cleveland now. [We have] a lot of work to do to get ready for them. Four games – regular season games – to look at now, different quarterback situations, all the things that they do schematically, which is quite a bit, so it's a big challenge to study them. They have great coaches, and it'll be an opportunity to go up there and play a division game in Cleveland and try to get a win, which is a big challenge. I'm sure their fans are going to be really loud, just like they were last week. We'll have to prepare for that. We're excited about it and looking forward to it."

After a game like yesterday, when really all three units performed well, do you pick one out or do you just check all of them off, offense, special teams, defense? _(David Ginsburg) _"It was a team win, no question. But then, I think within each phase, we look at the things we did well, the positives, and try to build on those, and we look at the things that we need to improve on as a unit, all three phases. And, each position coach looks at the things that they need to improve on in their group, and then we talk about each player. We want each player to have one, two, or three things that they're looking to really build on this week and get better at. We try to break it down that way every single week. Each player will have a plan for himself. Each coach will have a plan for his position group. Each side of the ball will have a plan for their side of the ball, and then as a team there will be things that we'll be looking at, trying to build on. So, that's kind of how we look at it."

Did CB Jimmy Smith come back today? And did you have the chance to speak to him? (Jamison Hensley) _"Yes. I haven't spoken with Jimmy yet. I just haven't had a chance with what we're doing, but rumor has it, he's here. He got here at eight o'clock, I guess. He did not beat me in, for the record. _(laughter)But, he was here, and he's been working out and those kinds of things. I'm expecting him to practice on Wednesday. Of course, we'll have to make sure he's physically ready to go, meet with the trainers and all those kinds of things and make sure he's ready physically."

But he conceivably could play as early as next week? _(Jerry Coleman) _"Yes, if he's in shape, and if he practices well and looks like he can go. We'll just have to evaluate that in practice."

How close was TE Hayden Hurst to playing, and what went in to the decision on that last night? _(Jerry Coleman) _"It was really more … It came down to [that] I don't think the docs and the trainers were comfortable with just the one week back. I'd have probably been more comfortable than they were, but it was smart. We'll just have to see how he does this week. Obviously, he has a good chance to play, but he has to get through full practices and be ready to go."

With RB Alex Collins' fumble, is it becoming troublesome? It's the second one this season. You went back to him after he fumbled. Is that a troublesome area you're seeing with him? _(Todd Karpovich) _"One thing about Alex is his style lends itself to that a little bit, and I think that's been kind of an issue through his entire career, because he's such an elusive guy. And, he tries so hard to make big plays all the time, and it's why he gets yards. It's one of the reasons. He runs very hard, but sometimes you expose the football when you do that. Yes, fumbling is always troublesome, and it's just … You can't have it, and it's not worth it. So, he'll focus on it. One thing I know about Alex is he'll make it his job No. 1 to hold on to the football, and he knows that's the expectation."

Obviously, CB Jimmy Smith is an accomplished player, but the secondary has been playing well. What goes into the decision of who to start, who to play and certain packages once he gets back? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _"It'll be what gives us the best chance to put the best group of guys out there. It's a really good problem to have. I thought Brandon Carr played just tremendously well, as did Marlon Humphrey, as did Tavon [Young]. All the corners played exceptionally well. There was not a lot of room for Ben [Roethlisberger] to throw. I think that the pressure was there, and he was getting the ball out on time and in rhythm, but there just weren't a lot of windows in there. And, when he had room in zone coverage underneath, he completed them and they got a few yards. But pushing the ball downfield, especially in the second half, was really due to really good coverage. And, whenever we played 'man,' I think you had to give these three corners credit. They played tight man-to-man coverage. It's another … It's a good problem to have, the fact that we'll have another really good player playing corner, and we'll have the chance to put another guy out there that can cover people. I think who starts and all that is one thing, but really, they're all going to play, and they're going to play a lot, and that's good for the Ravens."

Kind of drawing on the experience from last year with CB Jimmy Smith, since he wasn't 100 percent, it kind of forced you into that rotation. It seemed to work out well last year. (Luke Jones)"Yes, I just think it's going to be great to have all those guys that are good cover players. It's tough to complete balls on those guys. We can play any coverage we want – man, zone, different types of man and zone, pressure – the way we want, and it gives us a lot of options on defense." 

Even with ILB C.J. Mosley back, is S Eric Weddle going to continue with the defensive calls? _(Jerry Coleman) _"I don't know. We haven't talked about that yet. There was a little question this week with C.J. coming back for the first game and whether he'd be able to make it through or not. So, that was part of our thinking. If Eric has his say, he'll probably want to keep the [green] dot. I know how he thinks, so we'll just have to make that [decision] as the week goes on."

I can appreciate you wanting to move on to Cleveland, but what does this mean to the team? You beat Pittsburgh there; you had lost three straight to them. Maybe even just as a confidence boost, what do you think it meant beating them at Heinz Field? (David Ginsburg) _"It's a big deal. You guys made me admit it last night, but it's a big deal. It's a big deal because it's … The road runs through Pittsburgh the last couple years to win the division. You could start with that. You have to win division games to win the division; that's the next thing. And, it's the Steelers. And as you said, we haven't beaten them three games in a row, and three years in a row there, we haven't beaten them. To go up there and win means a lot to us, and we're … I do think there's some confidence that goes with that, but these guys weren't lacking. Our guys didn't need a shot in the arm, confidence-wise. They needed a win. We needed a win. We needed to be 3-1. That's what we really needed. So, all the other stuff that goes with it, that's positive, but it wasn't like we were lacking confidence. Now, we just have to go try to get the next win. That really is what the focus is inside the team, but I do understand where you're coming from on it, and I do think it's exciting. I think for the fans, especially, like we talked about, I think the fans … I've heard that the fans are having a great day today. My wife said she's out and about. Everybody is talking about the game, and everybody is fired up and happy, even the people that went to bed at halftime. _(laughter) Look what you missed! But, to see the Baltimore fans fired up, that's good, and we want to build on that. Our players get excited about that. Our coaches are excited about that, and you have to earn that. So, we earned a little piece of that in Pittsburgh last night, but we need to earn a bigger piece in Cleveland this next game."

WR John Brown is a fast guy – but obviously, not all fast guys seem to have a knack for getting open the way he does. Is there something about him that helps him separate from defenders? (Clifton Brown)"Yes, he's a talented guy and he does get open – that's one of the things you look for. How guys get open – to your point – is different. Everybody gets open in different ways. Antonio Brown is different than John Brown is different from Michael Crabtree or [JuJu] Smith-Schuster or whoever it might be. Just every player is different. He's really smooth, really fast – almost a little sneaky smooth, fast. He's maybe even a little faster than he looks, I think, when you get out there and you get close to him. You've watched practice up close; you know that. Then he tracks the ball really well and he's made catches. We just have to keep building on the precision of the passing game. There's still a lot of work we can do. We can get a lot better. I think Joe [Flacco] said it last night, and the fact that he's a little perturbed with the fact that we didn't do better … Boy, you want to hear that as a coach. I want our guys to be hungry, to be great, and that takes work. These guys are willing to work, and let's go to work this week and get better."

What were you seeing when QB Joe Flacco overthrew WR Michael Crabtree and the score could have been 21-0 if he caught it?_ (Jerry Coleman) "Which play was that? I'm trying to think."(Reporter: "The one on the right sideline. It was early in the game.")_ "Oh – when Joe was pushed away in the pocket? Yes. It was sort of a double-move. It wasn't called a double-move; it was more of a scramble play. They were just trying to figure it out, and Crabtree took off because Joe was pushing out of the pocket. Joe was off-balance, and obviously if he hadn't let up quite as much … I don't think that was such a precision thing, because it wasn't really part of the way the play was designed. But, dang, it would've been great if he hit him, you know? That would've been big. To that point, we have extended plays. We have made plays on scramble drill, and we do want to keep building on that."

You talked about in the offseason of the offensive coaches going into the laboratory and coming up with all this creative stuff. How rewarding has it been to see it pay off, and how much do you still have left? (Ryan Mink) _"I've been told we have a lot left, a lot left. _(laughter) For all of our opponents out there, we want them to know that – there's a lot of stuff. I think it's more fundamental football and really, you plug principles and concepts into formations and personnel. That's what they've done a good job of, so I'm really excited about that, just like you guys are, and to see where we go. In the end, it comes back to blocking and tackling and throwing and catching and executing football – that's what we really need to work on. Anything that we can do to create an open guy or put a guy in position to make a play is really the coach's job, and that's what we're trying to do. I do think our coaches are doing a great job of that [on] all three phases. I'm really proud of the guys for that. We're just starting – it's four games in. It's just the beginning. It's one week at a time."

When CB Jimmy Smith comes back, do you use him as a teaching point to the other guys? Do you address why he was suspended, or is that something you've already taken care of?_ (Aaron Kasinitz) _"We've taken care of it. The guys know; it's not something that you have to make a big deal out of. We do seminars with the guys. There's all types of league-mandated things that we do. We talk to the guys about those kinds of issues or whatever issues can get you suspended or disciplined. They're well-versed in all that. So no, we don't make too big a deal out of it. We just move on."

Using RB Alex Collins' fumbling as an example, is that something where in practice you'll go over ball security a little bit more. You'll see in movies where the guy is holding the football, walking around everywhere like in class. Do you do anything like that? (Jamison Hensley) "We actually do. I have made guys walk around the meeting [for] the day with a football. Maybe I'll do that with Alex. I'll see a guy walking, punch the ball out and stuff – but it's more in practice. One of the things we do is we have our defense challenge the offense. The defense doesn't want to see the ball on the ground either, so they'll be very aggressive in trying to punch the ball out in practice. It'll be a good reminder for them. But again, Alex is a trustworthy guy, and I fully expect him to clean that up really quick."

In the second half, you had two players record their first-career catches: RB De'Lance Turner and WR/RS Tim White. What made confident to put those guys in that offense? (Aaron Kasinitz)"That's a good question. It really wasn't so much about confidence as it's so much about we were rotating players and they need to get on the field. Somebody was tired, somebody was nicked up a little bit. We have a personnel group that had to go on the field. Each of those guys is the next man up in that situation, and Marty [Mornhinweg, offensive coordinator] just called his play. It wasn't like we were saying, 'OK, this is their time! Let's get them their first-career catch.' It was more just the flow of the game. When you're one of the 46 players up, that's how you [operate]. You're a starter – at any point in time, you just have to go in there and play and perform, and that's how it happens. Once the play gets made, you kind of realize [that] it's kind of momentous, because it's their first play, and hopefully somebody grabs the ball and gives it to them so they can keep it. That was just part of the flow of the game."

With TE Hayden Hurst potentially coming back, how challenging is it going to be to get your tight ends the appropriate amount of snaps? Everybody has really contributed – especially last tonight._ (Jeff Zrebiec)_ "Not just that, but who's going to be active and not active? Ozzie [Newsome] and I were talking about it on the bus last night from the stadium to the plane, [about] what our options are in terms of the 53-man [roster], the 46-man [roster] and then, as you say, the playing time stuff. So, the coaches in the next 24 hours will be putting together gameplans on all three phases. We'll talk about that a little more tomorrow morning and then see how those guys fit in and then try to make some decisions that way. We have some tough decisions to make – but those are good problems to have. When you're not going to be able to activate a really good, productive player, as hard as that is – especially on the player – it's probably a good thing for you team. It means you've got some depth and you're healthy."

Is DT Willie Henry getting close to a point where he can become a factor? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, he is. He'll be at practice this week, and we'll see how he does. I'm expecting him to practice this week."

Is this how you envisioned the four games of how the new passing game would go? (Jamison Hensley)"Well, yes, you have a vision for precision and what you want it to look like – that's what teaching is. That's what our dad taught us. Teaching is taking a picture in your head, an idea, and putting it in the other person's mind – being of one mind. That's what we try to do. We've been chasing that since the first day they got back in the offseason. It was certainly to be excellent and to be great – but we're not there yet. The fact that we have the pieces, though, the tools – that's exciting. The work is what needs to be applied to it. The fact that our guys see it that way to is a really good thing."

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