Transcripts: Monday Press Conference (10/16)

Opening statement: "Good to see everybody here. [I] appreciate that. I know some of the journalists aren't here. They're probably traveling back from London. We appreciate those that were there, and [we] appreciate you guys back here for being here. First of all, congrats to our players and our coaches for a great win. It's a tough win over there against a very good football team [in the Tennessee Titans]. Our guys got the job done. I'm proud of them for that. To the fans that were there – there were a lot of great fans there in London – Ravens fans from really all over the world and a lot from Baltimore, too. I can't tell you how many fans after the game we saw and they're like, '[We're] from Baltimore, Coach. We're from Baltimore,' and they were excited. Also, [there were] fans from different places. It's really cool to see how many Ravens fans there are all over the world. It was exciting. Then, a salute to our staff – [vice president of operations] Simon [Gelan], [senior director of facilities maintenance] Keith [Mathews] – people that you don't even know that just did such a great job. [Vice president of team travel] Joan [Fennekohl], [director of football information] Megan [McLaughlin] – all the different people that did such an amazing job to make the trip out there as best as it could be for the players and coaches to focus on football and getting ready to play the game. [I'm] just really happy about that, and for Steve Bisciotti – Steve and Renee both – for what they do for us in terms of doing everything first class so we can do things in a way that just gives us the best chance to be as good as we can possibly be. It really shows up on a trip like that. With that, what questions do you have?" 

What do you do differently this week, if anything, to try and get players reacclimated back into the Eastern time zone? _(Luke Jones) _"That's a great question. I don't really know that we have any definitive science on that, but we're just going to get back to business as usual. We're going to try and get back on our schedule. I think coming this way [back into the eastern time zone] is a good thing. You're used to getting up, because you're ahead of time there [in London]. We'll be back at it tomorrow afternoon with our guys doing what we do. They're going to get a chance to sleep all day today if they want. They'll get a good night's rest tonight. They don't have to come in until 12:15 [p.m.] on Tuesday, and then we'll be pointed toward the [Detroit] Lions." 

Have you given more thought to S Kyle Hamilton's ejection against the Tennessee Titans? Is this something that you are going to ask the NFL about? (Childs Walker) "Well, yes. You certainly will ask the league about it, because you just want to understand what the parameters are. I think really generally, it was definitely a flaggable penalty. There's no doubt about that. It was helmet-to-helmet [contact]. The one thing I do know is that Kyle [Hamilton] certainly didn't intend to do that. He was coming over [and] trying to play the ball, and their helmets hit. It was forceable, so it should've been flagged. Beyond that, it's really a judgment call whether the officials on the field make it, or whether it goes back to New York [at the NFL's command center], which is my understanding it did in that particular case. It's a judgement call on their part, and they make it, and you just live with it. That's what it is. They'll explain it to us, I'm sure. They had their reasons for doing it, and that's the way it went and we accept that." 

How has S Geno Stone changed from a player you basically cut in 2020 to the impact player that he is now? _(Bo Smolka) _"It was a numbers game at the time. We still liked him at the time, and then we brought him back right away when he became available again. I don't think it was ever a thing that we didn't like Geno [Stone], but he's definitely developed into a heck of a player. He's grown so much since those days. He was a good player then, but man – just getting his opportunity. I think he's a good example of someone that takes care of the details on a day-to-day basis, comes to work every day, does his best, doesn't complain, doesn't get all caught up in things [like], 'Why is this not happening for me' or 'That's not happening for me.' Then, when his opportunity comes, he's prepared, and he makes the most of it. That's something that it's just great to see, and it's a good lesson I think for young people. If they're going to watch that [and say] 'I want to be great at something' or 'I want to be a pro football player,' watch Geno Stone and what he's been doing." 

When it comes to S Geno Stone, is it just him having patience and now his opportunity has come, or has he done something different recently to excel in his role on the team? (Giana Han) "That's a great question. [It's] more than just patience. Patience, yes, sure is part of it because understanding that you don't determine when the opportunity comes, but the fact that you do determine what you do to be prepared for the opportunity when it comes, and what he's done every single day which is work as hard as he can, be coachable and try to be as best one day at a time. Then when the chance came, he was ready for it."  

S Marcus Williams is already dealing with the pectoral injury and working his way back from that. Do you have the sense that the hamstring injury is going to keep him out a little while? (Luke Jones) "Yes, it's for Marcus [Williams] … That's challenging. It's kind of how it goes sometimes. He was trying to block on the return on Geno [Stone's] interception return, and [he] was kind of hit sort of from behind on the side and that kind of made the hamstring strain. [It's] not a long-term hamstring [injury], but hamstrings are finnicky. So, it's not going to be a couple of days. It's going to be week to week, probably. I think he's going to be really iffy for this week, and after that, we'll see where it goes." 

What went into the decision to not have the bye week after the London game? (Kyle Barber) _"_Well, it's not our choice. The way it works is [the League] will call every team and say, 'Hey, these are the options that you guys might be looking at. What would you prefer? We can't guarantee you anything, but what would you kind of rather prefer? In this case, early bye or late bye?' So, it's not really a decision that we make so much. It's like, we didn't really want to have a bye too early, but they gave us the late bye [and] an early game in London. So, that's just the way it worked. We liked the later bye. The early game in London is what it is. We're playing the Lions. It just turns out [the Lions] are arguably the best team in the NFC right now playing great football, and so that's where we're at."  

When you looked at the tape of Sunday's game, did you see patterns of why things didn't work so well in the red zone? _(Childs Walker) _"I don't know if it's any one theme, it's always little things here and there, but we were running into some big [defensive] fronts there. We tried to spread [the Titans] out; they didn't cooperate quite as much in terms of spreading out. They did a good job; they're a very good front; they have some very physical players. The whole game was like that. They're a physical, tough run defense. We're going to see as or more this week against the Lions. So, we're going to have to do a great job of game planning all across the field – red zone, outside the red zone, run pass, run-pass options, play action – all that stuff is going to have to be really well organized. We're going to have to be prepared, because we're going against just as good a defense or better. So, it's part of that. We have to do a great job of game planning down there and setting up the plays in a way we can try to find some advantages for ourselves." 

The pass rush has been consistent all year, and you're getting consistency from many different players. Why do you think that is? _(Cliff Brown) _"It is probably because [our pass rush] is [coming from] a lot of different people. We're getting pass rush production from everybody, and a lot of times, it was pressures early. Now, it's pressures and sacks. Sacks are starting to fall into place, and we've spoken about that in terms of, they come in bunches sometimes. So, we want to keep the sacks coming. They did a great job yesterday morning in terms of finishing off those sacks. Getting the quarterback on the ground is kind of the last straw, and even when the quarterback broke out a couple of times whichever quarterback it was – [Ryan] Tannehill or [Malik] Willis – our guys were able to chase them down, so that's what you want." 

Have you been able to get any more updates on the players who left the game early, like DE Brent Urban, CB Kevon Seymour and LB Malik Harrison? (Giana Han) "[Brent] Urban had some stinger issues, so they will be looking at those today. [Kevon] Seymour we don't know too much more about. It's not going to be overly serious, I don't think. Malik Harrison [is] in concussion protocol; He's clearing very quickly on that." 

Is there an update on OLBs Tyus Bowser and his availability and/or Odafe Oweh? (Bo Smolka) "[Odafe] Oweh is looking close [to return]. [David] Ojabo gave you some information, so I feel more free to comment on that, but he's decided that he's going to get himself back from the high ankle sprain. He had like a sprained knee, I would say, so he's going to be in the neighborhood [to return] here in the next few weeks. [For] Tyus [Bowser], I'm going to let Tyus comment on that. That's gotten a little more complicated over the last couple of weeks. I'm really not at liberty to talk about it right now, but at some point in time, I'm sure we'll have an announcement on that one way or another. He has to make some choices and decisions." 

You've talked a lot about guys who have made the most of their opportunities lately. What have you seen from DT Justin Madubuike that has allowed him to be in this position right now? (Melissa Kim) "Kind of like Geno [Stone], I just think Justin [Madubuike] is just a very determined guy. All he does is come to work every day and work as hard as he possibly can, [which] goes along with the amazing amount of talent he has. His motor runs hot all the time. He just plays so hard, he's so physical, and then, all of a sudden, boom, a few plays happen, and you start to notice him more, but he's been playing like that all season." 

Is there anything you missed about the United States from your week away? How was the food? _(Jerry Coleman) _"The food was good. I'll tell you, [director of sports nutrition] Sarah Snyder and our people did a great job with their people. It was great." 

RB Keaton Mitchell played special teams on Sunday. Would you like to work him into the rotation with RBs Gus Edwards and Justice Hill over the next couple of weeks, understanding that he's a rookie, and you're still trying to get him acclimated?_ (Luke Jones) _"Yes, absolutely. He's going to be active now, possibly. He has to earn it every week, sure, but he played well on special teams, and he's done a good job in practice on offense the last two weeks. So, I'm sure that [offensive coordinator] Todd [Monken] will be looking for opportunities to get him the ball." 

I'm not sure how much film you've been able to watch with all of your travels, but did you see anything particular in red zone situations that the Titans defense did to slow down your production? (Kyle Barber) "Yes. I watched it all, obviously, some of it last night on the plane – we had a long flight – and then some of it this morning. No, they didn't do anything different, if that's what you're asking. They ran their defense, and it's a good red zone defense. We just didn't get it done, and I say coaches and players together, we have to do a better job at game planning, a better job of executing and we can do it. We've had great success in the red zone, and then we've kind of had a drought here, so it's a long season. We're capable of being great in the red zone, and I'm sure we're going to have a lot of success going forward, but we have to find it, and we have to make it happen." 

Now that you're done with the whole London experience, do you feel like it paid off to take a completely different approach to going to London this time? Did it produce the result that you wanted? (Childs Walker) "Yes. Wisdom is in the results, right? That's part of it, but I also feel like, to really answer your question, yes, it helped us. It helped to be out there, to get acclimated [and] to get the bodies right. People go to the Olympics, and the Olympics are somewhere on the other side of the world. They don't go out there two days before the game, so just looking back on it, in hindsight, it was the right thing to do. The next time we go, we'll probably do the same thing." 

You haven't played a home game in four weeks. Does it feel that long? Does it feel longer? And how much are you looking forward to not getting on a plane for a game this weekend? (Shawn Stepner) "It doesn't really feel [like] anything, as far as length – that's a great question – because you just kind of take it as it comes. I know our guys are going to be excited to be at home – that's for sure. Our fans will be excited, I think, for us to be at home. They'll be in the stadium going crazy. I know the Lions have been traveling really well. I think they've been filling up stadiums, so I'm hopeful they don't fill up our stadium. But it really doesn't matter. Our fans are going to be loud, and they're going to be into it, and they're going to be enthusiastic. And our guys are going to be excited to play in front of our fans; I can tell you that." 

Several teams lost yesterday after missing late-game kicks. How great is it to have K Justin Tucker to fall back on? (Kevin Richardson) "Well, there's nothing better in the kicking world than having Justin Tucker as your kicker – in American football – I can tell you that. It's the best thing, and he's the best kicker. So, yes, we do take him for granted sometimes, and he'll be the first to tell you [that] he's not perfect, but he's close to it. He had a great game." 

At the end of the half, you opted against the long field goal, and then, of course, they fumbled the punt return, and LB Del'Shawn Phillips recovered it. What went into the decision to not send K Justin Tucker out there for that field goal attempt? (Bo Smolka) "Well, as far as the field goal part of it was … That was kind of a three-pronged decision. The field goal part of it was [that] it was too far. It was just too long. The turf wasn't that … It was a little bit looser turf – footing – [and] the chances of making that were really nil, honestly. So, the next thought would have been [to] run the clock down to a certain number, which is about where it was, and go for it on fourth down, [with] the idea being we can complete a pass, but we've got to get out of bounds. Did we have a timeout? I can't remember. I don't think we did. So, you're basically going for like a free play; you get a pass interference, [or] you catch the ball and run out of bounds. We talked about that. That would have been the aggressive play. I decided against that, just because I felt like, 'OK, but if it doesn't work, and you don't convert, now they have the same opportunity going the other way' – [they] get a pass interference, or they complete one out of bounds, and now they kick the field goal – and I just wasn't willing to risk that. The fact that … [For] as well as we had played, we hadn't put as many points up as we were capable of putting up, and I didn't want to give them a free opportunity at three points, so I made a conservative decision to do it. And then it worked out, aggressively, for us, because our punt team did such a great job. [It was] a great punt – a great punt – and a great coverage, and then Del'Shawn [Phillips] getting his first-ever fumble recovery, it set up three points." 

You talk a lot about this being a week-to-week league, and we saw the undefeated 49ers and Eagles both lose this week. Can you just talk about how hard it is to win in this league and how on you have to be as a staff and as players? (Kyle Barber) "Well, you just said it. I mean, I think what you said is exactly right, because the margin is not as great as it appears or as great as [how] the media – naturally – [and] we all portray it, because of outcomes. The margin is very thin in this league; it's razor thin. Everybody is right around .500 or just above .500 or just below .500 – in terms of talent and ability and coaching and all that other kind of stuff – so the difference is week to week. It's your ability to persist, overcome, come up with a good game plan, execute the game plan, and then really make plays – make plays that win games in critical situations – and that's who ends up winning the game. Great players make great plays, so you see quarterbacks and things like that – guys like Lamar [Jackson] or [Patrick] Mahomes and those guys – can make the difference in games. Look at Houston; we talked about them. I think everybody was saying [that] they didn't think Houston was a great team after we beat them in the opener, and I think I said, 'Watch, they're going to win a bunch of games this year,' right, because you watched them, and you knew they were going to be a good team. That's the greatness of the NFL."

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