MONDAY AVAILABILITY: Week 15 vs. JETS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys being here, being out tonight a little bit later than normal. We're on our short week schedule, our Thursday game schedule, which is what we've been doing the past number of years. So, we're right on schedule. The guys are in good spirits. We had a good practice, and we're moving forward."
We saw that QB Lamar Jackson is on the injury report with a quad injury. Is there anything that you can tell us about the injury? (Jamison Hensley)"No, not really. It's a quad injury. It happened in the game when they hit him down there around the knee, and that's what it was."
Is it just going to be two days of rest for QB Lamar Jackson? (Jerry Coleman)"We'll see. It's less than 24 hours after the game, just about, so it's hard to say. It's not a serious injury in that sense, but this is day-to-day, and we play Thursday night. So, we'll see where we're at."
Along those same lines, T Ronnie Stanley is listed as having a concussion._ (Bo Smolka)_"I'm not going to get into injuries. We just got done playing the game 24 hours ago. We're going to play a game Thursday night. The guys that are ready to play will play, the guys that aren't won't. So, just look at the injury report and take it from there."
Do you look at the film or just move forward from the last game? (Jerry Coleman) "We do both. I haven't seen the film, yet. I've been looking at the Jets. So, I'll get back on the film, probably tonight a little bit. But our coaches have [watched the Buffalo film]. But more than that, we've actually moved forward more than we've done anything, I would say. Yes, good question."
You talked about the smattering of applause when you guys clinched the playoff berth. Do you like the spirit of these guys that want more than just getting into the playoffs, which is probably inevitable? (Dave Ginsburg) "I do. Yes, I do. I do appreciate it. They understand that we have a game Thursday night. Like I explained to them, we have to turn the clock way ahead. It's Thursday night right now on a normal schedule. It's Friday tomorrow. So, we have to get ready to play our best game on Thursday night, and that's what we have to do, because there's so much at stake. Our guys understand that, what's at stake and what we're trying to accomplish."
The Jets' run defense has just been outstanding this year. When you watch them on film, what jumps out? _(Childs Walker) _"They have two really big tackles, linebackers. It's a Gregg Williams' [Jets defensive coordinator] defense. They really run to the ball. They give you a lot of different scheme things. They get the secondary involved in the run defense, both the corners and the safeties. They run different kinds of exotic blitzes, not just for the pass but for the run as well. They usually have a MIKE 'backer flowing over the top. It's a typical Gregg Williams' defense. They usually are really good against the run, and this is no exception."
They've won four of five, but have you noticed that they've started … A lot of people had them for dead earlier this season. It seems like they're playing with a little motivation. (Jerry Coleman)"They're playing great. They won four of the last five, that's the bottom line. When you look at it, that's it. That's what we talked to the guys about. That's all you need to know. Watch the tape. They're playing winning football. We understand that. We know this league. Our guys don't take anybody for granted. You never can, you never should. But certainly not a team that's won four of the last five games, has players like Le'Veon Bell and [Robby] Anderson and [Sam] Darnold on offense, and just everybody on defense. It's just a great defense – [Jamal] Adams, they have players everywhere. And they play really hard, and they're very physical. So, our guys do understand that. I do appreciate that about our guys."
You discussed it yesterday post-game, but QB Lamar Jackson, they were poised to stop the run game, and he throws three touchdown passes. Are you impressed, or are you not even impressed anymore, the way he can take what they give him on any given Sunday? (Dave Ginsburg)"To your point, it was a really tough, hard-fought, defensive game. I do think the wind had a lot to do with it, and they did a good job of lining up the different formations and putting a lot of people down there to stop the run. It made it a little tougher to throw the ball downfield out in the field. They missed some throws, and it was just tough to complete the ball too far downfield. So, I would have liked to have seen a few more big passes that way, but we had the one we needed to start the second half. That was really the one that was the difference-maker in the game. But, I guess I'm going the long way around to your point about the red zone. We've been doing a great job in the red zone. Knock on wood, we continue to do that and operate down there. And Lamar [Jackson] being able to throw touchdown passes in the red zone, the two that he had, have been a big part of it as well. So, yes, it's been very important."
On that long touchdown to TE Hayden Hurst, he hit the top speed of any offensive player this year – 20.5 miles per hour, I think it was. Obviously, impressive for a big guy. Does that surprise you at all? (Garrett Downing) "No. He's fast."
We don't really talk about QB Robert Griffin III a lot, but how valuable is it in situations like this to have a guy that can go in when you need him to go in and do all the reps and things like that? (Jamison Hensley) "Very valuable, very important."
Is the best thing [about playing on Thursday Night Football] that you only have to speak to us one time before? (Jerry Coleman) "Is that true?" (Executive vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne: "This is it, Coach.") "Really? This is great. Well, you better get all your questions out then." (laughter)
Any positives for Thursday Night Football besides that? The fact that you get the quick turnaround, and then maybe do you give the guys a reward? (Jerry Coleman) "Oh, yes. I like it. All the other stuff and all the other arguments about it … I like it. You get to do it once a year, and it's different. We have a different week of practice like we have out here, different timing. You go play. Everybody is watching. I go home on Thursday night and watch the game. Don't you guys? You're supposed to. It's your job. (laughter) You cover football, right? Most of the time, right? Depends on the game maybe, but we watch it. And we know that everybody in the league will be watching it. The guys know that all the players are watching. Most of the fans are watching. It's a big deal. It's a real big deal. And then as you said, the reward after that is you get a weekend. You get to watch everybody else play, and you get some time to heal up and rest. It works a lot better when you win; I can tell you that. It's a way better experience when you go win that Thursday night game, and that's probably why are guys are so focused. There's really not that much to talk about, because we really have to go to work and get ready to go try to win the game, because it makes it so much more valuable to do that. So, that's what our guys are thinking about. They have to go to work."
With RB Mark Ingram II, what does it say about a guy that at that many years in the league at that age and is able to run that ball that physically in between the tackles, which is probably the hardest thing for a running back to do? (Jamison Hensley)"He is. He's just really, really good. Mark Ingram is really, really good. I was joking with our strength coach, because Steve [Saunders, head strength and conditioning coach] – we were standing next to each other on the sideline – and he [Mark Ingram II] caught the screen right on our bench in the second half, maybe it was in the fourth quarter. And boy, he turned upfield, and I saw the look on the face and the look in his eye. He was like a freight train coming downhill. He was running with vengeance, and it was fun to see. And I was like, 'Woo, that's impressive.' And that's what he brings to it every single time he touches the ball. He just runs that way. He's been really good for us, a big part of our offense."
John, when you saw the Jets on the schedule, were you looking forward to seeing LB C.J. Mosley back here in Baltimore? (Jonas Shaffer) _"C.J. back in Baltimore? I didn't think about that, to be honest with you. No, I didn't think about that, to be honest with you. I miss C.J., wish he was here. [C.J.], wish you were here. _(laughter)But we love him and appreciate everything he did for us. It's a tough break with the groin, but he'll bounce back. He's a great player, a hard worker and a good guy, but I haven't really thought that much about it."
John, when you see a team that has so many former Ravens, does that give you any sense of pride, having helped develop players who move on? (Aaron Kasinitz) _"Probably, if I thought about it, I would, but I haven't, so I didn't. _(laughter)But I'll give it some thought and let you know the next time we talk." (laughter)
But you do know that whenever you go through free agency how much teams like your players. _(Jamison Hensley) _"I don't know. I think it goes around; I don't think it's just us. I do think we've had really good players, and you're happy when you see them go other places and do well and sign big contracts – you really are. As a coach, you want to see guys make a difference for their families and their lives and stuff like that. That's part of the goal. It really is part of the goal. It's a great country, and the National Football League is a great opportunity for all of us that have an opportunity to be a part of it and make a living doing it. It's a blessing beyond belief, so you feel good about when the guys do that."
How do you think you looked in CB Marlon Humphrey's winter hat? (Jonas Shaffer) _"I thought I looked pretty good. What did you guys think? _(laughter)It fit, and it was really warm." (laughter)
John, do you get the coaches new folders or trapper keepers on the sideline after that paper blew on the field? (Ryan Mink) _"You know, can I tell you who's it was? Can we call the person out? It was none other than … [assistant special teams coach] Randy Brown. _(laughter)You knew that. It was Coach Brown's thing, so it was mostly field goal blocks. So, Tre'Davious White got a good look at the 10 field goal blocks that we had in for the game – any of which we could have run at any time. That was pretty amazing.
"When I saw it go out there, I did have a little concern about somebody grabbing that before it got all the way over to the other bench." (laughter) (Reporter: "Do you appreciate the official snatching it from him?")"Yes, we were appreciative of that. That was good."
JETS HEAD COACH ADAM GASE
(Conference Call with Baltimore Media)
Can you just talk about where you've seen QB Sam Darnold make the biggest strides in his development? (Jamison Hensley) "I think his decision-making. He's done a really good job of kind of knowing when to throw it away, knowing when to pull it down and run [and] move on in his progression. I think that's really kind of going to be the biggest thing here in the last three games for us; it's just to keep getting better at that. There were some opportunities in this last game where I think he had a chance to either throw it away or move down to the halfback, and we didn't quite get there. Each week we're getting a little better at it."
You guys have several former Ravens on your roster. Some of them came over even before [Jets general manager] Joe Douglas arrived. What about the Ravens' player development do you think lends itself to a team that winds up having players that go on and have success elsewhere? (Aaron Kasinitz) "It just seems like the way that they've always done everything. It probably starts with Ozzie [Newsome], and really, it's about the locker room. And it's the right kind of guys getting in there, and they're guys with the right kind of attitude and work ethic. All the guys that we have that have come from there have always been some of our better-type teammates in our locker room that just seem to do everything right, and they try to do everything the way that we need it done and try to help other guys on the way."
I know you always try to do advanced scouting, especially when you have the short week and the quick turnaround, but what kind of a challenge is it to get your players prepared for the Ravens' unique style of offense in such a short week? (Jamison Hensley) "It's fun. (laughter) I mean, it's tough. It's tough on the defensive staff, because you don't get to practice it live. Part of the thing that makes it so difficult is the speed that everything will happen in the game and how fast that Lamar [Jackson] is going to make decisions, and if they're doing zone read stuff, whether he gives it or pulls it. And then there's going to be play-action off that – just trying to decipher what's what and playing fast and doing it. And you're doing walk-throughs. So, it's going to look a lot different on Thursday. The film study has to be off the charts. Guys have to spend a lot of time just really kind of studying this stuff and then going out and trying to execute the assignment that's asked."
In that case, does the presence of [Jets defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams, who prepared against QB Lamar Jackson last year – does that help your cause any? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It doesn't hurt us. I know it doesn't hurt us. I think Gregg [Williams] being able to see him and play against him last year is good for our guys to know that he knows kind of what we're dealing with. But I do think it's a different team. There's a lot of different guys, it seems like. The explosive plays are off the charts right now. They're playing as well as you'd want an offense to play. You can tell they're loving the way that [Greg] Roman is doing things. They love their system. They're playing fast. They're playing aggressive. They're full throttle, pedal to the medal the whole game."
How frustrating was it with LB C.J. Mosley's situation? Obviously, the Ravens wanted to keep him here. You guys outbid them. You saw how good he could be early in the season. How tough was it for you guys to lose him? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I think anytime you lose a player of that caliber in the first year of the program trying to get things rolling, losing him – it's tough. It was tough to deal with. I thought guys did a great job of stepping up and trying to fill the role, but when you have a guy that's a really good leader and an outstanding player and is able to really kind of be another coach on the field and you lose him, it's not ideal, to say the least."
I know you've coached against John Harbaugh several times. Just as a colleague, what do you sort of admire or appreciate about what he's been able to do over the years? (Childs Walker) "No matter who's on his team, you're going to play against a team that is tough, physical and doesn't beat themselves, and it's consistent in all three phases. And I know some years have been better than others, but there's been a lot of consistency in a lot of those things."
The Ravens' defense, obviously, they like to blitz. But when you look at other teams that you have played, other defenses that you have played, how does the aggressiveness of the Ravens' defense compare to the other defenses that you've faced? (Jamison Hensley) "I think 'Wink' [Martindale] has a lot of pent up aggression. (laughter) The way that they're playing as a team right now ... When you're a defensive coordinator [and] you know your offense is going to score points, you can be aggressive. And I'm really sure giving 'Wink' any kind of green light with that – that's probably not ideal for guys calling plays on the other side."
You know "Wink" [Martindale] well and are friendly with him, right? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, we worked together in Denver." (Reporter: "What was that like?") "He didn't have a mullet then." (laughter)
Are you feeling good about RB Le'Veon Bell's chances to play Thursday? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, he had the flu last week. He's pretty close to 100 percent. He should be in tonight. He was going to get a lift in tonight, so I think it's looking positive for us to be all good to go."