JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS*ER*: WEEK 2 at bengals
Opening statement:"OK, good seeing everybody – appreciate you being here. [We're] back at it. A little over 24 hours from the end of the game, and our guys were in today working, [with a] brief review of the game yesterday and right into this quick turnaround game with the Bengals, obviously, on Thursday night. So that's what we're into now, so we haven't had too much time to think about anything other than that. We just finished up our practice, and that's where we're at. What do you have?"
It's life of the NFL – "a brief review," as you say. I guess it's a little bit unfortunate you can't savor a 47-3 opening win. You have to turn the page again. (David Ginsburg)"It's a great league, you know? The games keep coming – not as quick as baseball or basketball, I guess. This is close though! We're excited. It's a big game, and we're looking forward to it."
To follow up on that, you did have the opportunity to rest a lot of the starters. Will that help in a short week? (David Ginsburg) "We'll see. You can't rest too many guys, because it's not like the preseason where you have your whole 90-man roster, or however many guys you take into a preseason game. It's still only 46 guys who are playing, so a couple guys got to sit out early, and that was probably somewhat helpful."
Our sense was that all three of the corners played exceptionally well. Was that what the tape showed, too? (Childs Walker) "Yes, I think so. Everybody played pretty well. The opportunity though … There are a lot of things that we can improve on. We had communication issues, we had technique issues in different areas, all three phases. Really – that's what you focus on. You look at the good stuff and you go, 'OK, fine.' But then you look at the things that you need to get better at. And really, between the first game and the second game – even though it's a short week – it's still a great opportunity to improve, because you finally know where you're at. When you know where you're at, you can kind of tell what you need to work on to get where you want to go. That's what we'll try to do this week and the next couple weeks, too, since it's early in the year."
The players have mentioned that it seems like a different QB Joe Flacco this year. You've been with him probably longer than anybody here. Have you noticed a different Joe this year, from your standpoint?_ (Jamison Hensley)_ "I don't even want to answer the question, because it's the same question. It gets asked every day. It's great that you're asking it, but no – it's the same Joe Flacco. Nobody has taken over his body; it's not a different person. It's just the same guy doing his job as well as he can. That's really all there is to it. Any other kind of in-depth observation thing is … I mean, I wouldn't even know how to make the observation."
With RB Alex Collins' fumble, was it more of a technique thing or a weather thing or a combination of both? (Todd Karpovich) "It's always a technique-thing. You can't fumble no matter what. Alex knows that. No matter what the ball … If it was greased, you have to hold on to it. We don't want to turn the ball over – especially fumbles. He knows that; he'll focus on that."
RB Kenneth Dixon wasn't out there today. Would you guys be comfortable going into a game with two running backs? (Aaron Kasinitz) "We've done it before. We'll just have to see how that plays out. Both he and [Maurice] Canady had some nicks in the game. We'll probably know more in the next couple days."
What was your evaluation of WR/RS Janarion Grant and how he did yesterday? (Cliff Brown) "I thought he did well. He didn't do a great job on the one that bounced off his chest, obviously. The ball was running on him to the right pretty good, and it's a left footed punter that turned the ball over and drove it. The ball was slick, but he never got squared up in front of the trajectory of the ball – there's a technique to that. He just kind of got sideways on the ball, and it ricocheted off his chest. That's something he really has to learn from quickly. But other than that, I thought he did a really good job – got north and south, protected the football, made a big play for us. I was happy with him, yes."
You followed a lot of your biggest wins by scoring margin last year with some really tough losses. I know each game presents itself with different challenges, but coming off of the win from yesterday, what maybe do you guys want to take from last year into this year? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Nothing. Nothing. I didn't even know that, and really, I appreciate you bringing it up, but I couldn't care less about that. It's not relevant. If there's a relevance to it, I'm not aware of it, and I wouldn't know what conclusion to draw from it. If some sports psychologist has something for me, though, I'm all ears. It'd be great to hear."
How nice is it to see QB Joe Flacco utilize all three of the new receivers? Each of them caught a touchdown pass. Obviously, the offseason acquisitions, at least for one game, really proved beneficial. (David Ginsburg) _"It was great. It was great to see that, and we need to make plays. In this league, if you want to score points, your guys have to make plays. On Sunday, when game time comes, it's up to the players. That's the thing, as a coach, you're proud when you see that happen. You're happy for the guys, and that was good. Hopefully we can do that again, unlike, obviously, we didn't do last year, apparently. So, we'll have to do a good job of that this year. And maybe we'll make those plays, unlike last year. _(laughter)It's cool! It's a good question. You're not laughing! You're supposed to be laughing!" (laughter)
You guys have been pretty successful on Thursdays. What's the toughest thing about the short week? Is it physical? Is it mental? Is it just that everything is compressed? (Bo Smolka)"I think the fact that it's all compressed is OK, because it's the same for both teams, and they seem to put you … The matchup seems to be, usually, teams that you know sort of fairly well. In this case, we know [Cincinnati] very well, and they know us. So I don't think the mental is going to be a problem. I think it's more the physical, just getting the guys ready to go play. It's a tough sport. It's a physical game. It's really four days, and they'll be right back out there doing it again. Getting their bodies right probably is the most challenging part of it, I would think."
You've made it evident that last year doesn't mean squat to you, but you do know that the last time you saw Cincinnati… _(David Ginsburg) _"Thanks for the reminder. I appreciate that."
Any sense of motivation? Do you bring any of that into Thursday's game? (David Ginsburg)"Probably. How could it not be part of it? I'm sure they felt the same way after the opening loss at their place, so I'm sure they felt the same way going into that game. It's just part of it. That's life. It's human nature. You always want to redeem yourself as best as you can, certainly, but it's not going to factor into who wins the game. It's not going to matter in the outcome. You still have to play better than your opponent on that day, and that's really what we have to focus on. You could easily get all wrapped up in that and get distracted from what matters, which is going out there Thursday night and playing well."
Will that fourth-down play maybe be shown in a team meeting this week, or no? (Jamison Hensley) _"Why?" _(Reporter: "Some coaches like to do that.") "OK, what would be the point?" (Reporter: "I don't know, maybe some coaches…") "To get mad? We messed the play up. They made a great play – give them all the credit in the world for it. We did not make a good play. We played it not well. We've already looked at it from the standpoint of what needs to be better, so we're moving on."