HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening statement: "[I] appreciate everybody being out here. Thanks for coming. [It's a] beautiful day for football. Every day's a beautiful day for football. [I] want to congratulate Terrell Suggs on his induction this week in the [Ravens] Ring of Honor. [There's] nobody more deserving, obviously. [He's a] Ring of Honor Raven – his picture is right there with all the greats – one of the all-time great players to ever play here. One of the all-time great guys, leaders, characters – the whole thing. I'm sure there'll be a lot of Terrell Suggs stories being written this week, and they'll get a lot of laughs that go with it because that's who he is. I'm really just proud of him and happy for him. What questions do you have?"
What is your favorite Terrell Suggs story?_ (Jamison Hensley)_ "When he comes in, ask him about [my] first year [in 2008] when he didn't have the right shoes to get on the bus to travel down to Miami. Ask him about that one how that went."
How did that turn out for Terrell Suggs? (Jamison Hensley) "He was there. He played. I think he had a few sacks. It turned out great – turned out great."
Is there something unique about the Detroit Lions' offensive scheme that makes them so dangerous on that side of the ball? (Jeff Zrebiec) "They're executing at a high level. That starts with the quarterback – Jared [Goff]'s doing a great job with it. It's a system that he's basically grown up in. That system is a system he learned right from the first year when he started off with McVay – [Los Angeles Rams] coach Sean McVay. He just knows how to run those plays really well. I think [the] timing is really good. The receivers are on the same page – the [running] backs and everything. They've been in it for a few years now, and they're just executing at a high level."
What do you think the offense stands after six weeks into the season? _(Brian Wacker) _"I would think it's just a product of a work in progress. We're in the process of trying to build this thing out [and] chasing all the details of all the different things to get the execution we want consistently. I don't think it's a product of first half, second half [or] any particular quarter – anything like that. It's more a process of us being consistently good at what we do, executing at a really crisp level. That's why we practice so hard. The guys are all chasing that kind of perfection every single rep in practice. You just chase that improvement, and that's what we're working on."
Why has OLB Jadeveon Clowney been able to fit in so well after being signed in the middle of training camp? (Pete Gilbert) "That's a great question. First of all, he's a really good player. He's very talented. Talent travels well. Also, I would say his attitude and work ethic are just top notch. He has a great mindset. He comes out here every day [and] gives you everything he's got. He's a joy to be around in the meeting rooms, weight room – everywhere. He's into it, and he's a guy you like to have around. He's a first-rate NFL football player."
OLB Kyle Van Noy called the Detroit Lions the toughest challenge from a defensive perspective. Do you share that thought with him? _(Cordell Woodland) _"I'm not really rating the challenges. The ones that you face, they seem like the one that comes up is the toughest one. That's how you feel about it. Obviously, they're very good. They have one loss. They're leading [the NFC North] division. They've won their recent games by large margins. They haven't even been in a close game, I don't think, since early in the season. They're tough. They're physical. They're legit. We're looking forward to the game. [We] can't wait to get out there and play."
How big of a deal is it to have OLB Odafe Oweh back practicing, not only because he is so good but because it allows for more proportionate workloads among the defensive linemen? (Childs Walker) "Well, yes. He'll take a lot of reps, I'm sure, as much as he can where he's at health-wise. We have a bunch of guys rotating in now. You have to give Jeremiah Moon a lot of credit. He's taken a full workload share – a portion. I'm trying to work that in somehow, but I can't figure out how." (laughter) "It's a nice word you used right there. It's a good group, and it's great to have Odafe [Oweh] back."
Have you noticed a difference over the years of how much playing at your home field is actually an advantage? (Giana Han) "I know we've done well at home. As far as over the league, I think it's a little over 50%. Three points – that's what Vegas says. That's generally what they say. I'd probably go with that. They seem like they know what they're doing out there." (Jonas Shaffer: The spread is down to 1.5) "Oh, it's down to 1.5? No, I'm not talking about this game. I'm talking generally." (Jonas Shaffer: That's what I'm saying) "Oh, that's what it is now – 1.5? To your point, then you know. I think your question is, it's not as much as it used to be. Is that what you're saying?"
Is it because of research that home teams do not have as much of an advantage as they used to have? (Giana Han) "I have no idea why. I'll go with Vegas – the oddsmakers. They know."
On CB Marlon Humphrey's podcast, he talked about a fight between WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Titans' DE Jeffrey Simmons after the game on Sunday. Do you know any of the details? (Jamison Hensley) "That's the first I heard of it, yes."
Did you submit anything to the NFL about spearing WR Zay Flowers on the play he shoved WR Odell Beckham Jr.? (Jonas Shaffer) "Yes. We sent our plays in. I think I'll probably just leave it at that. You send in all the plays that you [want reviewed]."
How does LB Malik Harrison and CB Brandon Stephens' play on Sunday speak to the advantage that they have of embracing their roles on the team in spots that a year ago you may not have expected? (Jonas Shaffer) "It's exactly that. The fact that you have guys that work hard, that have been able to stack reps in the system, as you said, and try to pay attention to detail in terms of technique and are talented and are hard workers. To see the results out there is really rewarding."
How much does the defensive players' comfort level in the system is attributed to defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald being in his second year in the position? (Ryan Mink) "Sure. Continuity is a big deal. The guys learn, and that way, they're not consistently starting over. I think our coaches do a great job. Mike [Macdonald] does a great job. Chris Hewitt back there – you talk about the defensive backs – does a great job. Dennard [Wilson] has done a fantastic job. All the defensive coaches have done really well. All of the coaches have done great. I think we have a great staff."
When the Ravens played the Detroit Lions last in 2021, they started off 0-9, but had your hands full against them. Did you see, even then, that the culture was moving in the right direction and that they would eventually get it together? (Noah Trister) "We had a tough game against them. You could see that they were really talented and really tough. You could see that at the time, and they've done a great job."
How difficult has it been game planning without OLB Tyus Bowser? (Brian Wacker) "[I] just really want what's best for Tyus [Bowser]. I want this to get resolved, because he's worked hard to get physically where he can come back and play. He's worked really hard to do it. I think there are some doctors meetings going on this week. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the resolutions [are]. I'm hopeful that he gets back and plays. That's what you want. It's going to be in his court, I think. That's been my understanding of it. We'll just see what happens, but those are real decisions that guys have to make. We'll see."
WR ODELL BECKHAM JR.
On addressing what happened after the Titans game:"To be honest, we're on to Detroit. I've got – almost – a 2-year-old; I've got other [stuff] I'm worried about. This is nothing. People understand what my name holds – the weight – and they try to do things to come up off that. I've gotten to the point where I've realized that, and you just can't let people capitalize. So, there's nothing really to talk about. This will be water under the bridge. It's probably just a small, hot topic right now."
On if DT Jeffery Simmons went at him after the Titans game:"We've got on a helmet, shoulder pads; we're out here playing football. This is not MMA [mixed martial arts]; there's nothing … We're football players."
On DT Jeffery Simmons' low hit on WR Zay Flowers:"Yes, there was a lot of talk. People … Hey, we talk out on the field – like, that's cool – but I've just seen, personally, [Jeffery Simmons] chasing down a play; he's tired. I watched him look at the play, then look at Zay [Flowers]'s legs and try and like dive on them, and I just didn't like that. I'm going to protect him; this is my guy; like, this is my little bro. I love him to death, [and] I'm going to always have his back – period. And if that leads me into trouble, it is what it is. But I just didn't like that; that's all it was. Other than that, it's football. Like, we play football."
On if he forgot about the play afterwards, or if it lingered:"It was dead when we won. [We] sent them on the way home. We had a great flight home, and we came in here, and we watched the film. We're worried about Detroit; we're not worried about [the Titans]. We'll see them in the playoffs – maybe. That's it. But other than that, we're worried about Detroit."
On if his long catch and run could be a spark to get him going:"I just feel like, as a man, you've got to look yourself in the mirror, know what … We're always our toughest critic. But I feel like, to be great, you've got to find a way to not beat yourself up, but to also be real with yourself and figure out what it is that you can do better. I just feel like … I said, from now on, I was just going to bring that energy. I feel like … I'm always such an honest person when I'm talking to the media – like I'm talking to just my mom and my pops. But I feel like early in my career, the cameras were always on me – even when I didn't know they might have been on me – and it led me to trying to play this calm me and all this, because the cameras were going to get put on me and make me seem like I'm a bad guy, which is just part of the way that it goes. And now, it's just like, I've just got to play how I am, [and] I've just got to be how I am – that's fire, that's passion. You watch Tom Brady play; he was fired up. Like, I care that much. He was out there sliding, giving somebody a little extra. It's all football. He's competitive. I'm competitive. I know we're all competitive, but it's just about bringing the competitive juices back."
On dealing with the natural game-to-game fluctuation of his opportunities:"You've just got to continue being a leader. Other people look this way. Just know, it's early in the season. I think a lot of teams around the league are still trying to figure out exactly what their plays are [and] what it is that works. We're going on Week 7. I remember when I went to the Rams – and it was Week 9 or whatever it was – [and] they already were established as a team. Teams don't develop exactly who they are until late in the season and know exactly what plays are going to work for them. So, I think it's just staying patient, keeping your head down, working, staying positive – all of those things – and then God is going to take care of the rest."
On if the upcoming matchup against Detroit could have that big-game feel:"Absolutely. I love the stories when teams [that] have just been down for long, and they're like, 'No more. Enough is enough.' And I think [head coach Dan Campbell] over there has done a great job. I think [with] the players that they have surrounding them, they've created a great atmosphere, energy and team; they're a great team. So, it's going to be a good game. Like Roquan [Smith] always says, when you've got a team coming to our house, you've always got to protect your home. But knowing that this is one of the top teams in the league, it's going to be a great game. There is nothing but respect, and we all just want to go out there and battle."
On what he attributes to finishing slow in the game after fast starts:"I think it's just don't let off the gas. I've been around long enough to know that games are really four quarters, and they are actually four quarters. I feel like [if] you let off the gas … This is the National Football League; every team is capable of winning any Sunday. So [we're] just finding ways to close those games off. This is a team in here that's 4-2; it feels like [we] should be 6-0. And maybe those two losses were the best things that happened for us to allow us not to take any moment for granted – or opportunity – and just being able to capitalize when we do have that time."
OLB JADEVEON CLOWNEY
On why he's a good fit in Baltimore:"I think it's the guys in the locker room. It's just a good group. They kind of … I don't know, man. I just feel like the guys in the locker room, we kind of [fuel] off each other, and they've been through some of the stuff I've been through – some of the guys. I'm just enjoying myself here."
On who first greeted and welcomed him to Baltimore:"Here? Probably Roquan [Smith]. He said, 'What's up' and some of the coaches – [outside linebackers coach] Chuck Smith and them – and it's been going smooth ever since."
On head coach John Harbaugh saying that he was always a Raven and might not have known until he got here:"Like I said, when I got here, I was like, 'Man, [with] this team, I'll be excited to pull up for work. I'm excited to be out here, to practice [and] just be in here with the guys,' and it's starting to show. Your play … You show off how you practice and stuff, and I love going to practice with this group. Everybody brings their energy every day, and it rubs off on you – it's contagious – and it's paying off for me."
On if joining the Ravens has been rejuvenating:"Yes, for sure. I want to show these guys [that] I've still got talent left and a lot of game left. And me coming here [and] being a part of this group, man, they're just bringing the best out of me. The work comes easy when you're enjoying it, and you can tell [that] everybody out here enjoys coming to work every day – like I said – and it's rubbing off on me. I just keep having fun."
On the defensive line:"They are dogs on that side. I told them today, 'This is the best D-tackle group I've played with,' and it makes my life a lot easier when you've got three guys that can go in there and just push the pocket and knock everybody back and shut the run down. It makes our lives easier on the edge [to where] you can do anything. It's wide open; you run past the quarterback and come back. [There are] some teams I've been on where it's been hard for you to run past the quarterback, because you don't have that middle push. And with those guys on the inside, it's just like, that's their bread and butter." (laughter)
On defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald:"[Defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] is like that. Mike might be the smartest defensive coordinator I've had. He puts everybody in position to make plays. And [with] the stuff he draws, I'll be like, 'Mike, keep dialing it up! Keep dialing it up!' I enjoy playing for him. Like I said, he makes sure he puts the gameplan together, [and] we try to go out there and execute. And I respect him [for] the way he prepares us and has us ready to go into the games, and I just love playing for Mike."
On if his job will be even easier with OLB Odafe Oweh back:"Oh, for sure, man – for sure. I'm tired of getting chip blocked." (laughter) "Having [Odafe Oweh] out there, it's like another dog right there [that] we miss. And it's going to keep getting better – getting the guys back week in and week out. Oweh is a good pass rusher, and we need him, and [he's] a good run stopper. I think he's just waiting on his time for him to peak in this league. He kind of reminds me of myself – a guy that just comes to practice, works extremely hard and brings it every day and beats guys. It just [hasn't] rolled over to the games quite yet, and I feel like his time is coming. I tell him every day; 'I think you're like a sleeper, man. People [are] sleeping on you. You've got the talent; you've got everything. You've just got to come out here and keep proving people wrong.'"
On what he sees out of the Detroit Lions' offense and QB Jared Goff:"I think Jared Goff's made some of the smartest passes [and] smartest plays. He's out there calling the shots, and the offensive line – that's a good group. They put together a lot of first-round draft picks up there – a lot of guys that can move the defensive line. It's going to come down to that in this game – their [offensive] front vs. our [defensive] front. We know that going into this game who's going to dominate the line of scrimmage ... I think that's what we're going to have to do."
On if he is OK with not having a bye week after the London game against the Titans: "Yes, I'm cool. [It's the] next team up. The Ravens playing here [at home] – we're prepared for it. Like I said, Mike [Macdonald] puts us in position to be prepared for those games. He's doing a good job with us right now. We're going to be ready to go. We better be."
On if this is the best offense the team has faced all season:"Yes, by far. Jared Goff makes them go. I think he's smart – smart quarterback. Their run game has been very, very dominating so far. They're getting a lot of turnovers. They play with the lead, and it's easy for you to play with the lead. It's going to come down to us up front like I said – dominate the line of scrimmage and get after the quarterback."
On if his mentality as a pass rusher changes when a team like the Detroit Lions plays under center a lot more than in the shotgun: "For sure. I play a little different, because they [play] a lot of play action. Converting on pass rush is going to be very big for us this week – setting the edge and really converting in the pass rush game. It's going to be good. We should just try to make them one dimensional – stop the run and make them have to get in shotgun. Make it third [down] and long so they just can't play action up on us and do what they want to do. They've been planning the gameplan, and I just feel like if we come to do that, we can come away with the win."
QB LAMAR JACKSON
On if he's adjusted back to Eastern time zone after the London trip:"I believe I have. I believe I have, yes."(Reporter: Was it tough at all?) "Probably the first two days [were] pretty tough. You're waking up early trying to go back to sleep, but it's back. I'll say it's back now."
On what he sees on film when the team is in red zone and has been unable to find the end zone in the past couple games: "[After] watching film, I'll say we have a little miscommunication here and there that I believe we're going to fix, and hopefully this week, we start strong, [so] we can put points on the board in the red zone."
On how much more comfortable he feels in this offense vs. when the season started: "I'm very comfortable because earlier [in the offseason], I ended up coming at the end the end of OTAs, so the team was ahead of me a little bit. So, I had to watch extra film, talked to 'Monk' [Todd Monken] sometimes after practice and go over things, but I feel like I'm pretty good right now."
On why the offense moves the ball so well in the first half and slows down in the second half: "Teams do a great job of adjusting, I'll say. [They're] changing up their defenses on us in the second half, and then I'll say, it takes us a little bit of time to catch up to them. So, I believe we should just work faster, try to catch on to them, make adjustments at halftime, and I feel like we'll be good. We'll be driving the ball how we were in the first half."
On how important it is to get WR Rashod Bateman more involved in the offense: "I believe we're good. We always have chemistry in practice, we just have to transition over to the game and show what we're doing in practice. There's a lot of guys out there who are getting open. So, I'm just trying to spread the ball around, but we're going to be good as the season goes on."
On what happened on the interception he threw in the game on Sunday:"[Rashod Bateman] was getting pulled breaking out of his route, and when I threw the ball, he didn't have … His eyes were just coming up, and the ball was high. So, yes, [it was] just miscommunication there, but we'll be good."
On if S Geno Stone told him about playing quarterback in high school and what he thinks of his moves after his interception in Sunday's game: "No, he didn't tell me about his quarterback history, but his moves [were] pretty good. I told him he didn't have any vision; He should have kept running towards our sideline."(Laughter) "It was, I believe Jadeveon Clowney was there for a lead block and I want to say [Kyle] Van Noy, but he didn't follow the block [and] ended up getting tackled – he needs to work on that, but I'm glad caught the pick."
On what he's feeling going against a good team like the Lions and does it get the juices flowing: "Absolutely. Two years ago, when we played them, they were pretty good on defense. They held us to, I believe, 17 points – it was a good team then, but they have a couple new guys. But we have to go into M&T Bank Stadium ready. It's going to be a great game, I believe. [It's] a great defense and great offense they have over there as well. We just have to be prepared [and] be ready."
On how it feels playing at home for the next four of five games after playing on the road for three games: "Yes, absolutely. We love playing in front of our fans, not everyone else's fan base. I believe [our opponents] have homefield advantage [when we're on the road], but as I said in London, I believe we had it in London. Every time [our team] did something, there were a lot of fans going crazy whenever we did something. But, it's great to be back home."
On his overall assessment of the offense after Week 6:"I believe we've been inconsistent; [had] ups and downs. We've been showing glimpses of what we could be, and we've been showing what we've been doing [and] where the offense went. We just have to be more consistent when we're doing good and driving the ball down the field and scoring points, and we'll go from there."
On if he has a favorite story about former Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs: "I don't really. Well, he used to mess around with me in practice all the time when I was a rookie. Going up against those guys, and he's just saying crazy stuff all the time, but that was about it."
On what he remembers about K Justin Tucker's historic 66-yard field goal against the Lions in the 2021 season: "I remember we had to get that first down. Sammy [Watkins] made a great catch. He could have went out of bounds, [but he] got more yards and went out of bounds for 'Tuck' [Justin Tucker] to make it easier for 'Tuck.' But, he did a great thing by catching the ball and getting us in field goal range, and I believe I knew 'Tuck' was going to make it like it was a no-brainer. And he kicked that kick, and it bounced off the upright and went in, and we were just going crazy after that. Wasn't it a record kick?" (Reporter: Yes) "Yes, it was crazy. It was unreal though. It was like something on Madden."
On what has been his experience at M&T Bank Stadium's grass field and how it compares to other grass fields:"Yes, I love our grass field. Everyone loves grass fields. Turf is pretty hard on your knees. When you're getting tackled, it feels like you're getting tackled on concrete. I believe a lot of guys have gotten hurt on turf … I believe grass is better, and ours is the best."
ILB ROQUAN SMITH
On Lions QB Jared Goff:"That guy is playing good ball right now. The picture is clear for him. He makes a lot of good throws in the intermediate game, as well as, he takes his shots when he needs them. They have the team playing to his strengths, so [my] hat's off to him."
On his emotions going into this game:"I just think about it … Sunday, we'll be ready, so we'll be ready to welcome those guys here. They're playing good ball, but, hey, I'm from the 'Show Me' business, so you have to show me."
On how defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald facilitates the balanced pass rush and allowing 11 different players to have sacks: "It's pretty sweet and clever. I'm a huge fan of [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald]'s system and the way he does things. Being able to just … You're guaranteed to get your one shot a game – are you going to take advantage of it? It's basically like that, and giving you some same pictures, giving you some different pictures with some same things [and] some different things. So, it's pretty unique within itself, and I'm just a huge fan of it."
On if there is any extra excitement to be back playing at M&T Bank Stadium: "Yes, but you always know where home is, so we have to defend our home turf. That's how we look at it. It's a great challenge for us. We're going to welcome those guys with open arms, and like I said earlier, I'm from the 'Show Me' business. I'm ready to get out there and get going with my guys."
On if he feels any different than he would on a normal Wednesday due to the travel from last week: "[It's] business as usual. I'm ready to rock and roll. I'm not a guy [to] make excuses about anything. So, hey, when the ball rolls out on Sunday, I'll be feeling even better than [I am] today, but I feel [really] good today."
On if he has any input to tell S Geno Stone on his interception returns: "It's hard for me to give any inputs or thoughts on that because he's catching them, and I'm not catching them, so [my] hat's off to him for that. I wish I was catching them [because] then I could like more so give some advice, but I can't. So, [my] hat's off to the guy for making the plays that he's been making."
On what happens when a ball is intercepted, and you're on defense: "The first thing you want to do is block the intended receiver. Then, you want to get up the near sideline, and once you do that, you can create a chance for your [teammate]. That's basically just interception [and] turnover 101, in my opinion."
DB BRANDON STEPHENS
On if the Detroit Lions are the toughest opponent the Ravens have played all season:"We've played some tough guys already. Are they the toughest we'll face? We'll see on Sunday. I don't want to give too much praise before we play them already, but we respect those guys. It should be a good game."
On the challenges of defending Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown: "I think this is Year Three for him, so he's an experienced guy. He's their go-to guy, so we know we have to be ready to play him."
On how much anticipation he has to play one of the best offenses in the league:"Like I said, we know this is a big game for both of us. We know we're going to get every team's best when they come into our stadium. We just have to play our game. We don't need to change anything that we're doing. We don't need to make it bigger than what it is. At the end of the day, we just need to be 1-0 and at the end of this week."
On how he thinks the experience of 2020 bonded the defense and his relationship with guys like LB Malik Harrison, ILB Patrick Queen and S Geno Stone: "We've been together since I came into the league, so we're familiar [with each other]. We have a couple of new guys on this defense, but for the most part, we've all been together for a couple of years now. So, it makes it easier."
On if he thinks of this game as a measuring stick to determine how good the defense is: "I wouldn't say this is a measuring stick [game]. We just have to prove what we've been proving all year. We just have to go out there, play and execute our game, fly around, make big plays and help the team win."
S GENO STONE
On if the game against the Lions this week is a measuring stick for the team:"You just know you're going to get your best shot from them. This is a team that's been rolling since the end of last year. Their record speaks for itself over the last 13 games. I feel like they have a head coach that's a fiery head coach that's going to get their guys going, so we just have to know that we're going to get the best out of all those guys. So [we] just need to get ready for this week and prepare as best as we can and get ready to have a great game."
On what he thinks of WR Amon-Ra St. Brown:"He's a really talented guy. I remember my last ever college game was against him [Amon-Ra St. Brown] and Michael Pittman when I played at USC. So, I've been familiar with him since then and just seeing his growth throughout the league … He's a guy that's really good in the slot; tough guy; good guy after the catch. So, he's probably their best player, I would say, on the offensive side of the ball, and they're going to try and get him going. So, we have to try to limit as much as we can on the defensive side for him."
On if the Lions are a tough team because they have so many offensive weapons:"Yes. I just feel like they get all their guys involved. I feel like [Jared] Goff is a guy that's going to control that offense very well. He's a very talented guy. He's going to make sure everyone is in the right spots to get the right checks and they have good [running] backs, too, that are going to run the ball [and] a solid offensive line. So, those guys are playing well altogether right now, and they're on a [winning] streak. So, you know you're going to get the best out of them."
On his mentality on being let go from the team in 2020 and how he's changed as a player since then: "That's wild, but I would just say just my mindset, the way I approach the game … Back then I feel like … I always tell everyone, I had the whole NFL experience my rookie year. [ I made] the 53-man roster, and was released during the season, going on practice squad, getting elevated, getting back on the roster. [Then I was] cut, went to another team in Houston and then finally coming back here. It was a lot for my rookie year. At that time, I had to learn to control what I could control at the moment, and I had a lot of … I had Anthony Levine here – a vet that was guiding [me]. [I was in a] similar situation to him, what he told me, his rookie year, his first few years in the league, being the guy that had to make the roster, fighting for a spot, being a special teams' guy, and then whenever he had his opportunities on defense, he made the most of it. And I feel like I've been trying to do the same things every time I get in my situations. It's not a good situation, because guys go down, but at the end of the day, it's a 'next man up' mentality, and I always try to take that with me. I've been like that since college, since high school, whatever it was, whatever obstacle I had in front of me, I wanted to make sure I get the best of my opportunity."
On if in the offseason, when he was a free agent, was it the plan all along to re-sign with the team or did he talk to other teams:"There were other situations out there, but at the end of the day, I sat down with my agent, and this was the best situation for me. I feel like I have something here built with the guys, built with the coaching staff since last year. And just the way Mike [Macdonald]'s defense was, I feel like it was the best situation for me to show my abilities on the field. So going through free agency, I feel like it was really almost a no-brainer for me to come back here, and it really didn't matter wherever that was, but I just wanted to make sure I was in a great situation around guys that are going to make sure I was able to show my abilities [and] what I can do on the field."
On what this journey means for him from being a seventh-round pick, to being released and to now tying for the NFL lead in interceptions: "It means a lot. I actually wrote goals down back … I looked at my notes and wrote goals on April 25th at 10:48 AM. I had like five goals on there and three-plus interceptions were one of them. I feel like I have a lot more goals I want to hit this year, and most of them are team goals at this point. So, I just have to take it one step at a time; one week at time. It's really early in the season, so I don't want to get complacent. The success is good, but at the same time, you're only good as your next opportunity I get. I never want to get complacent; I want to be able capitalize on my next opportunity I get."
On if playing on this defense is more special with the players that he came in with in 2020:"It's crazy because we actually talked about this the past few weeks – Malik [Harrison], 'PQ' [Patrick Queen], [Justin] Madubuike – we're all guys that came in together since 2020 in the Covid year, and now we're all key contributors to a defense, making plays as much as we can. Especially on special teams, too – me and Malik. So, I feel like our class [has] been playing really well together since we came here, got our opportunities, as much as we can and made the most of them."
On what he says about QB Lamar Jackson saying he needs to work on his vision on interception returns: "It's alright. I'll listen to him. Lamar [Jackson] probably has one of the best visions in the league, but at the same time, I don't try to tell those guys how to run the ball."(Laughter)"So, I just try to get the ball back to him. That's my goal – to get the ball back to him. Hopefully one of these days I score – I want to. It's not like I'm not trying to. I cut back [into the field] last game. I looked on film, and there were opportunities for me to do it, but at the same time, I just see what I see [in the moment], and I try to make the most of it."
On how good he was playing quarterback and other positions in high school:"I really don't tell people that much that I played quarterback because everyone has their comment so, I'll let it be at that. But I was decent, I would say I was decent. I accounted for over 40 touchdowns – whatever that means – but at the same time, I was the First-Team All-State [defensive back]. So, I always think of myself as a defensive player in high school, not really an offensive player, but I did as much as I can with the offense." (Reporter: You also received punts for touchdowns and were a receiver, do any of those instincts come into play when you intercept a pass?) "All of those things … Because baseball growing up was my favorite sport. So, I think of me playing the post wherever it is, I think I'm playing centerfield, because that's what I played, so every time I'm tracking the ball, I think I'm playing centerfield just going to get the ball; high point it, wherever it is. And then just like you said, I played returner, so I try to use those skills a little bit. I tried to sneak in there and say, 'Hey, if you ever want to go two returners on punt return, I'll go back there, too,' but I try to do as much as I can while I have the ball in my hands."