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Transcripts: Press Conference (1/4)


Opening statement:"Good seeing everybody. [I] appreciate you guys being here. [Senior vice president of communications] Chad [Steele] just informed me that there's a massive hole in the sun. Did you hear about that? [There's] 60 earths spitting out gamma rays. Does that mean we're all going to be like Bruce Banner – Hulks? That'd be amazing." (laughter) "On that note, what questions do you have?"

What kind of weather are you preparing for on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Steelers?*_(Jamison Hensley) _*"I guess it'd be a little colder with a hole in the sun, probably." (laughter) "We're preparing for cold weather and rain and sleet and a grass field that's probably going to be a little bit loose. We're getting ready for that."

How has this game against the Steelers in a rivalry game affected the locker room?*_(Kyle Goon) _*"No matter who you play in this particular game in this situation, there would be no lack of motivation. Our guys love to play. They're pro football players. They want to go out there, and they want to play, and they want to play [a] long [time], and they want to win. They want to put their best foot forward. The fact that it's a division rival – the [Pittsburgh] Steelers – that certainly doesn't lessen it. It's always a very important game for us. It's a team that we respect very much. We also understand the type of game that we're always playing against those guys, so our guys are looking forward to it."

How has Steelers QB Mason Rudolph impacted their offense?*_(Cordell Woodland) _*"Obviously, [the Pittsburgh Steelers] have been very successful with [Mason Rudolph] in there. I think he's reading the offense out. They've adjusted. They've gone in certain directions and away from certain directions in terms of what they're running and what they're calling. He's operating the offense really well [and] putting the ball where it's supposed to go based on the [pass] coverage. They're running the ball really well, and he's done really well. We just looked at him and how he's ... They're still their offense, but his version of it is what we're studying."

What was your reaction to seeing the video of ILB Patrick Queen's emotions when executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta told him he was a Pro Bowler?*_(Childs Walker) _*"It was great to see it. [Patrick Queen's] very deserving. I thought he played great last year, too, and to see it recognized by the peers and the fans and everybody – to see that video with [executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta], that was really cool to see. I thought that was great with all the guys [that made the Pro Bowl]. It means a lot to guys to be recognized like that as a pro football player when you're a pro football player. It always strikes me how much it means to the guys every year when you make those announcements."

What was it like to reveal each player who made the Pro Bowl one by one to the team during the team meeting?*_(Pete Gilbert)_* "It's fun. Of course, we have technology, so we'll get [them up on] the screen, we'll get some drama [and] dim the lights. All of a sudden, the picture pops up of the player [one by one], and everybody goes crazy. It's a lot of fun."

What will it be like going up against the Steelers' gap schemes in the run game, as the Ravens' defense has had some ups and downs against that type of run over the season*?*(Jonas Shaffer) "[The Pittsburgh Steelers] run a couple versions of gap schemes. They run what we call 'Duo' with no puller. They've been running that for years. They usually do it with the tight end side with extra tight ends over there. Sometimes, they'll bring in the wide receivers down in there and insert them or sift the backside. Then, they run the puller gap scheme – the power [play] more than anything else – the 'Power O.' They've been great at that. I think the biggest thing is it's a downhill run, but it can also bounce. If you stop it up inside, and you don't control your edges, those two backs [Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren] will take it outside in a second, and they're both hard to tackle. It'll be a big challenge for us. Every week stands on its own, and stopping the run will be job No. 1 for us in this game."

What kind of opportunity is it for QB Tyler Huntley to start against the Steelers?*_(Jamison Hensley)_* "That's a big opportunity [for Tyler Huntley] to go out there and play against a defense like [Pittsburgh] – one of the top defenses in the league. It's a great opportunity for him, but he's ready for it. I'm looking forward to seeing him play."

Is there anything that is different with QB Tyler Huntley compared to QB Lamar Jackson, specifically with play-calling?*_(Jonas Shaffer)_* "That's true for any quarterbacks or any players. Everybody brings their own stamp to it. As a coach, I think you recognize that. When you play guys like ... you were talking about Mason Rudolph, it's the same exact thing. They have their different style, and you recognize that. And it is fun to watch."

What are your pre-game conversations like with Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin? Has it evolved over time to when you were both young coaches until now?*_(Pete Gilbert)_* "It's like any relationship. It's certainly grown and evolved over the years. I have great respect for Mike [Tomlin], for what he's done for the [Steelers] organization [and] for what they've done. I think his stamp is on the football team without question. They're a team that plays winning football. They don't beat themselves. They don't have a lot of penalties. They don't turn the ball over. His style ever since he got there has been about playing good, solid football and then being physical and then creating big plays on both sides of the ball. I think that's there again now, like it always is. You just come to understand that. I think they probably have a good understanding of how we like to play. Mike and I probably have a pretty good understanding of how each other coaches his team, so there won't be too many surprises probably that way. It's an honor. I'm grateful for it. I definitely don't take that part of it lightly. It's a good, competitive relationship, and it's been amazing."


On if his teammates gave him any advice this week:"No, we're just worrying about going 1-0 on the week; that's the advice we've got for each other."

On how he views this opportunity to start in the regular season finale:"[This is an] opportunity to get out there and play some ball and get another win for the Ravens. I'm just going to seize the moment and do what I do."

On how this situation is different from other moments in the past when he's been called upon to start:"I'll just say, going into this game, it's going to be a little bit of personnel difference. In the past here, we've been down a lot of people, and the situation was way different. But now we've got a good group in there, and we're just going to take it from there."

On offensive coordinator Todd Monken's scheme and how it's worked out for him in practice:"I find it good. It's a straightforward plan each and every week, and it's easy to grasp and just take it play by play. Really, I think, that's what 'LJ' [Lamar Jackson] just shot through the roof [on] – just taking every play one snap at a time."

On the wintery mix of weather expected on Saturday:"We did wet-ball drills today, so it is what is. We're just going to go out and play football."

On how he's grown as a quarterback:"Just understanding my assignments and just knowing where my people are going to be and then just identifying what the defense is trying to get after. I think I've been doing a good job of identifying those quickly."

On what he's taken from his past experiences playing against Pittsburgh:"[The Steelers] are a physical team, and it's always a good game. We've just got to just score points, and our defense is going to handle the rest."

On how QB Lamar Jackson is involved with his preparation this week:"Just seeing [Lamar Jackson's] point of view of plays when we get into film and stuff and his take on it. He's just giving me the advice that he can."

On what is different with QB Lamar Jackson this year compared to previous years:"I've just seen ... Like I was saying, the one play at a time, [Lamar Jackson] is definitely taking every play one play at a time. He's never looking over one play, [and] he's not standing on one play and dwelling on a bad play or anything. He just continues to play ball, play in and play out."


On how it feels to get the honor to know he's among the best in his position in the NFL:"It feels good. Especially [in] Year 2. It's not really an accolade I try to play for; accolades aren't something I try to play for. But I think it happens when the team's playing well. You're going to get more guys that get recognized. I said in a interview yesterday, 'A lot of credit goes to my teammates as well, too.' The guys I play next to, making my job a little bit easier and then the coaching staff and stuff like that. But it was a good feeling. It wasn't a good feeling initially when someone said I had to go up and talk to [executive vice president & general manager] 'EDC' [Eric DeCosta] because you never know." (laughter)"It was good when he told me, the cameras were in there, and it was a pretty cool experience."

On what his first thought was when the GM called him into his office:"I don't know. I don't know what we were going to talk about, but you never know."

On what it means to him that he and S Kyle Hamilton being first-round picks in the same draft class and both being selected for the Pro Bowl: "We continue to work [and] continue to push each other. Guys on this team ... There's a lot of good men that are deserving of being Pro Bowlers. There's a lot of talented guys on this team, especially Kyle [Hamilton], Kyle can do a lot of different things. You guys can see it on the field, and in the locker room, he's a great guy, too. So, [I'm] happy for him and [I'm] proud of him, but I think a lot of guys can agree – we still have another goal that we're chasing."

On if there's anything the Ravens did that has maximized his ability in his first two years of his career in the NFL:"Yes. Like I said, we have a lot of good players on this team. A lot of guys that are around me are really good and really talented players. So, anytime you're surrounding yourself with elite talent, it's going to make you better. It's definitely done that [for me] in the first two years – just continuing to get better [and] learning from each other is the biggest thing."

On how effective it has been rotating offensive linemen and if it has been challenging for him with different guys rotating in and out during games:"No. I think it's been good for us, [and it's] keeping guys fresh. We've been dealing with some injuries, and we want guys to be fresh in the fourth quarter. We've shown that, and guys are continuing to get healthier and stronger, and we have a lot of guys on the offensive line that can play good football. We have 100% trust and confidence in them that they'll get the job done." 

On how satisfying knowing he's a Pro Bowler after people criticized his size coming out of college: "You're always going to have critics – there's still critics no matter what, even if you make the Pro Bowl. At the end of the day, the Pittsburgh Steelers aren't going to care on Saturday if I'm a Pro Bowler or not, I'm still going to have to go out there and play. So, I would just enjoy it for whenever they said I made the Pro Bowl, but I have to move ahead and focus on this upcoming game and into the playoff push because we're all chasing a goal that is bigger than Pro Bowls."

On what has stood out about how successful the offensive line has been this season:"I think whenever you have a bunch of talented guys, you have to play together. We've continued to get better and better no matter who's in there – it's just all five [of us] playing together. It doesn't do you any good if four guys are playing well together and then one guy isn't. That's the unique thing about the position is the continuity that needs to happen in order to be successful as a unit and just continue to make strides and strides and get better. You want to be playing your best football towards December and January. I think we're trying our hardest to get to that point."

On if he's thought ahead on how to make best use of the extra week off the team earned: "No, I haven't thought about it once. Steelers got our number last game, and our goal is to go out and win Saturday, so that's where all our focus is right now." 

On if losing the Steelers game earlier in the season gives extra motivation to the team:"Yes, for sure. This is the AFC North. It's a tough conference [and a] competitive conference, and anytime you're playing an AFC North team, you want to win."

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