HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening Statement: "It's good to see everybody. I appreciate you being here on this beautiful day, another great day for football – every day is a great day for football. [We're] very excited about the upcoming challenge, [a] division rival [who are] a very, very good football team. We know what kind of games these are in our division, and we're excited to be at home. We have a chance to play in front of our fans in a really big game. I know they're going to be really into it. I know they're going to be loud. I know they're going to disrupt the huddle and the communication for the Browns by just being as loud as they can be, not just when the ball gets snapped but between plays. We want to encourage that to our fans, so we're looking forward to it – we all are, but we understand the challenge that is in front of us. What questions do you have?"
Do you think the crowd noise was responsible for S Geno Stone's interception of QB Geno Smith in Sunday's game?*_(Jonas Shaffer)_* "Oh, yes. That probably had [something] to do with it, actually. [The Seahawks] had a miscommunication – they might have been checking a play there or a route. They certainly didn't get it, so that's a very good chance that that happened, thank you. Yes, that's right, I appreciate that. Good shout."
The Brown's defense has the fewest yards allowed this year. When you watch film, what has impressed you the most about their defense?*_(Jamison Hensley)_* "[They're] very aggressive. They're very attack oriented. They're kind of the mindset of a puncher, they come out swinging, [and they're] downhill at every level – tight coverage all the way up to linebackers downhill versus the run, defensive line up field – that's kind of their way. They understand who they are, [and] they play well, very hard."
The Browns have one of the lowest third-down percentages allowed. What are you seeing when you watch the tape on them that makes it so hard to get first downs?*_(Kyle Barber)_* "I don't think it's any secret, they're just really good. They can rush the passer, and they can cover. That's kind of the combination on third down. Plus, you'll see that they have third-and-long a lot. They get people into third-and-long a ton because they're so successful on first and second down, as well, so it kind of all goes together."
I know you expected to see QB Deshaun Watson last time and he didn't play, but you've studied him and prepared for him, what impresses you about him at this point in his career?*_(Bo Smolka)_* "Well, Deshaun [Watson] is a playmaker. That's the thing, he's going to do it on time with the rhythm passing and the quick game. He can do it with play action – the boots and the play action stuff off of their zone run game – and then he can do it as far as extending the play, both as far as running, and then also, he does a really good job on the run to find receivers when he's moving out of the pocket, so [he's a] playmaking quarterback."
When you're playing division teams especially for the second time, how much do you take from what worked the first time you played those teams?*_(Cordell Woodland)_* "Well, you do. You do take a lot of that and then you try to extrapolate a little bit what their answer might be. Then what you're going to need to do to counter that. It's kind of a guessing game there, but you don't want to stop the play for them. You want to make sure that you test them a little bit, and I'm sure they'll test us and make sure that we can defend, not only the plays that were successful against the last time, but the ones that have been successful by other teams, too."
The Browns have RB Kenyan Drake who they just signed last week, and WR James Proche II is there now. There's a lot of fan and media chatter that they might give the Browns secrets about the team. How much do you think about that or talk about that? Is that a factor when it comes to players that have recently been with you guys?*_(Jeff Zrebiec)_* "No. You're changing from week to week so much in terms of the plays that you actually run and the way you run them. And then any kind of code words or signals, or anything like that, you're always protecting those. You're always changing them, so I don't think that's going to be an issue one way or the other."
We know you value organizationally being unpredictable for opponents and trying to continue evolving, as you were just mentioning. At this point of the season, how do you think offensive coordinator Todd Monken has been in terms of the offense and keeping opponents off balance with his play calls? For example, we saw him call the runs on a lot more of the early downs. Is that something that you've seen and that you're pleased with?*_(Kyle Goon)_* "Absolutely. There's a lot of layers to that. Sometimes we look at it – it's easy to look at it and pick out one factor or another – whether it's early downs, how many times you run it [and] how many times you're passing. But, there are so many layers to that that people are studying and so much information we get – who's on the field, where they're lined up, what the motions look like, [and] what call was made before that in terms of sequencing of calls. We really do study – coaches at this level study – all those things, so it's very nuanced in terms of keeping people off balance. I do think Todd [Monken] has done a very good job of that. But the bottom line, really, is execution. When it's all said and done, all that stuff really is important, but really the most important thing is that you execute the play as well."
We've seen QB Lamar Jackson be very efficient so far. Two passes that I think he may want have back are maybe to WR Rashod Bateman, the couple of deep ones. Do you think maybe the consistency of the deep throws are the next steps you want to hit on?*_(Jamison Hensley) _*"Yes. When we hit those plays in games, it's going to be great. It's a difference maker, I'm sure, [and] we chase it all the time, but we're hitting them in practice regularly. Sometimes things come up. I think sometimes you make a decision maybe just to throw it away. Other times, you might be a step or two further than you want or shorter than you want, but all in all, I'm very confident in our deep passing game. I'm very certain that we're going to make those plays in the coming weeks."
C Tyler Linderbaum opened a big hole for RB Keaton Mitchell on his touchdown run. What have you seen from Tyler in Year Two, and what is he adding in terms of line blocking for this offensive line?*_(Noah Trister)_* "No question, he adds a lot. He's a great line blocker. I think he's an excellent pass blocker, as well, but he's a guy that can really sustain a block. When it really comes right down to it, he can get into a fit very quickly. He's just an explosive athlete, and then he can sustain. That's the bottom line with blocking, [and] he does it really well."
QB Lamar Jackson has done so much well this year, but there have been a couple of mesh-point problems with RB Justice Hill. What's happening there, and how do you fix it?*_(Bo Smolka)_* "Well, you fix it by consistency in terms of the angles and the mesh fit. So, something came up in that last game that kind of altered the spacing between that quarterback and the running back there that just kind of happened, and you have to keep working through it. So, we're not happy about that at all. I think that's probably the main thing for us right now to make sure we clean up all those things and keep the ball off the ground."
QB LAMAR JACKSON
On ranking No. 1 in completion percentage and what has been the difference for him this season with regard to his high completion percentage:"What if I don't have an answer? I don't know; just hard work, dedication, going out there and just competing my tail off – that's all. Nothing has really changed; just the percentage [has], if anything. I don't know."
On if he ever looks at those types of stats:"No. To be honest with you, no. Probably after the game if they tell me about it, but I'm not going to just go and look and see what I did. I'm trying to win. I don't really care about the stats."
On how quarterbacks coach Tee Martin has helped him develop and what Martin is like behind the scenes:"It's just [that quarterbacks coach Tee Martin] wants us to be perfect. Me, Josh [Johnson], 'Snoop' [Tyler Huntley], he wants us to be perfect. And every morning, he's got something [about] championship quarterbacking, and 'I want you to be a championship quarterback.' He always tells me, 'I'm going to grade you harder than probably anybody else will.' And I'm cool with that, because I'm hard on myself, and I know I want to be great, and so does he. As our coach, he wants all of us to be great, and that's pretty much it."
On if he admires quarterbacks coach Tee Martin as a former player, as a person and for the way he can connect with players:"Yes, absolutely. Like you said, [quarterbacks coach Tee Martin's] experience – being able to play at this level, being a national champion in college [at Tennessee] – that's crazy."
On what has been working so well during the Ravens' four-game win streak:"I believe our whole team is just locked in, [in] every phase – special teams, defense, offense. Each and every week, I believe, we've gotten better. There are certain things in the games – when we finish with games – we're hard on ourselves about. But at the end of the day, we're trying to get wins, and I believe, us just knowing each and every week is a championship game to us, that's pretty much what it is. We're treating every game like a championship game, until we're finally there."
On what he's seen on film from the Browns' defense:"No. 1, Myles Garrett – the leader of that defense, I believe, and those guys just fly around. I believe those guys are headhunters. The secondary, linebackers and, like you said, defensive line, they're just flying around and trying to attack with aggression. That's pretty much what stands out to me."
On if he expects to see a better version of the Browns this week:"I can't call it. I'm just going out … We're just going in there and just trying to focus on getting a 'dub.' I don't know how [the Browns] are going to come out and play us, but I believe every team is going to try their best to beat you. That's part of our job; that's part of the game."
On how the preparation changes when facing a team for the second time in the same season:"Just got back and watch the things that they did well against us – when they stopped us from completing drives – because they might try to piggyback off that. And [we] try to watch ourselves against other teams, because they might try to do things that they did to stop us – certain things. But that's it."
On if he's noticed defenses defending him differently, and if defenses are still guarding him against the run first:"I believe they are, but we have so many weapons on offense [that] they don't really know what to do, because we've got guys running out [of] the backfield – Justice [Hill], Gus [Edwards], Keaton [Mitchell]. We've got 'OBJ' [Odell Beckham Jr.], 'Bate' [Rashod Bateman], Mark [Andrews], Zay [Flowers] – both of the 'Zays' [Isaiah Likely and Flowers] – 'Duv' [Devin Duvernay]. We've got all these guys, so it's really hard to define where the ball is going to go, and that's pretty much hurting the defenses. So, we just need to keep staying locked in and focused and keep that going."
On how playing against this Ravens' defense in practice makes him better:"Just by … I believe … Not trying to toot our own horn, but I believe our defense has no weakness. Just from the defensive line, the linebackers, the secondary, how they're flying around and disguising defenses – making it look like one coverage, but it's something else – and how they time up their blitzes, it helps us out a lot, because when we're playing other teams, they're flying around and giving us their best shot. It's like we're seeing one of the best defenses every day."
On if he's spoken to defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald about getting some defensive snaps yet:"No, I didn't speak to [defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald] yet – not yet. I'm trying to get me a sack, like 'Art' [Arthur Maulet] and Kyle [Hamilton], hopefully." (laughter)
On how he's evolved in the quarterbacks room from a leadership standpoint and vocalizing more:"What you just said; I'm more vocal than I was before. Early on, I was just wanting to learn the ins and outs of defenses in the NFL, but now, [with] me just seeing them each and every week – different defenses every week – I've got a lot more questions. I see certain things, and then I want to just tell Coach [Todd Monken], 'We should try to put this in the gameplan' [and] stuff like that."
On the dynamic and the vibe in the quarterbacks room:"To be honest, we're locked in. We might laugh around, but [we're] pretty much locked in. We're trying to be great. We're trying to be a championship team, and that's what we're chasing right now."
On if he takes it as a sign of respect when defenses drop eight against him:"I guess. I guess, but I can't call it. I'm just trying to win. I don't care what they do; I'm trying to win. I'm trying to win the play, the drive, the game."
On why the fumbles on exchanges are happening and how it gets fixed:"We're trying to win. We're trying to move too fast. I believe, on all the fumbled exchanges, it's been us just being too fast – I don't know – too antsy. But I believe we're going to calm down with that. There won't be any more fumbles – I don't believe."
On if divisional games feel more important:"[When] it's a division game, we know our opponents, but at the same time, all of us are trying to make it to the playoffs. All the games are going to be aggressive – Steelers, Cincinnati, Browns. We've just got to go in locked in. But I treat every game the same."
On if there is talk in the locker room about how good the AFC North has been this year:"No. We're focusing on us."
C TYLER LINDERBAUM
On the offensive line's attitude of taking over a game when the running game is piling up so many yards like they did against the Seattle Seahawks: "I think as an O-lineman, that's your dream – to get the run game going. Certainly every game, we're trying to be effective in the run game, because that opens up a lot of other things. Especially talking about the last game, it was kind of slow early. [We] just stayed with it [and] stayed at it, and the running backs started hitting those holes, and [we] saw things started to get moving."
On how much room the offense has to grow:"A lot. There's still a lot of things each and every game on tape that we can improve on. And certainly, just being almost to the halfway point [of the season], we're doing a lot of good things, but [there's] also things that we need to get better at. I think we have a good group of guys that know that and want to improve [who] aren't content with where we're at right now. It's always good when you have a good group of guys like that."
On what it is like playing next to G John Simpson and Simpson's performance this season:"John [Simpson's] been awesome. He definitely deserved that starting job. [He's] just coming in here every day working his tail off. The thing with him [is] just gaining confidence each and every week. He practices hard [and] goes out there and performs on gamedays. When you're looking at teammates, that's what you want out of your teammate."
On his mentality hustling downfield to block during RB Keaton Mitchell's 60-yard run against Seattle: "I was just trying to be explosive [and] trying to make those explosive plays happen. If you look on the tape and on the film, everyone's doing their job. Everyone's finding someone to block. I'm just trying to do my part, and so are our other 10 guys on the team."
On if the offensive line wants to be explosive just like the skill group positions: "Yes, for sure. We have to block the guys in front of us, and then block guys in front of us [and] work to [the] next level. We have awesome skill position guys here that can make a lot of things happen. [If] we do our job [and] they do their jobs, a lot of good things can happen."
On how beneficial it is to be playing three straight games in front of a home crowd: "It's been awesome. Our fans, especially this past game, were awesome. The more fans that we can get out there, the better. We really lean on them, and they've been tremendous. This next two-game stretch – we can get more fans out there as well, because when they're rolling, we're rolling. It's good to have them out there."
On how much discussion the offensive line has with regards to knowing where Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett is on every play:"He's definitely a guy that you have to know where he's at. [He's] one of the best D-ends in the league [and] one of the best defenders in the league. The tape speaks for itself. He's a guy that has all the tools. Just his size, strength and speed – it definitely makes it challenging. It's someone you definitely have to know who and where he's at. That starts with the gameplan. That starts with this week and just trusting our fundamentals and technique to get the job done."
On if defenses are defending the Ravens' offense differently because QB Lamar Jackson's rushing attempts are down:"You have to defend [Lamar Jackson's] legs. He's one of the most electrifying players in the league, but also, he can throw the [heck] out of the ball. He's done a tremendous job. Like Lamar [Jackson] said, we have a lot of good weapons that can get the ball. When the time comes when he needs to run, he can run. When he needs to throw, he can throw."
On how much of a learning curve there has been with the offensive line under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken: "I still think having OTAs with Coach 'Monk' [Todd Monken] was huge, just getting familiar with maybe our philosophy and how we want to be as a unit [and] understanding the communication. I think he's been tremendous just trying to get everyone on the same page. He always preaches overcommunicate. You'd rather overcommunicate than under-communicate. Just creating our identity in OTAs into fall camp [and] finding ourselves has been huge. We're still creating that identity as this season goes. [We're] still finding stuff to improve on, but I still think we're doing a lot of good things."
On if his job feels different now than it did under previous offensive coordinator Greg Roman:"I think it's about the same. Also too, at the end of the day, wherever you go, communication has to be important for the O-line position. As long as everyone's on the same page – five guys doing the same thing, including the tight ends, and the quarterback knows what's going on – you put yourself in a successful situation."
On what he has seen from DT Justin Madubuike in practice and if they have ever gone against each other at full speed: "'Beeks' [Justin Madubuike] was a problem in camp [and] OTAs. He's been a problem for us [on the] O-line for a while now. We've all seen the issues that he's caused – the havoc that he's caused in games, and we've gone against that in practice. What he's doing right now, it's not a surprise to any of us, because that's just the type of player that he is. You watch him in practice, he's going the same speed. Credit to him, and that's why he's so successful on Sundays."
On how different the Ravens' defensive pressure packages are from a typical defense in the NFL: "They certainly cause … There's a lot of different fronts that you can see from them, and they come at you in a lot of different ways. It can be challenging, and it helps us when we see that in OTAs [and] see that in fall camp. I'm not sure if there's other defenses around the league that show multiple looks like they do. It definitely helps us get ready for this season, and it can be challenging for offenses to prepare for."
RB KEATON MITCHELL
On what teammates have told him about games against divisional opponents and what he expects on Sunday:"I'm expecting a tough [Cleveland Browns] defense, but every day we come out here and work hard. Hopefully, we'll be able to put up a fight against those guys. I know it's going to be a tough one – [a] physical game. We'll be ready for it."
On what he sees out of the Cleveland Browns defense: "I know they have some great guys. They have a good front [and a] good team, so we're preparing accordingly."
On how he approaches this week to hopefully have a repeat performance from last week: "I just approach every week the same. [I] work hard, come out here, watch film and really just prepare. Every team is a good team. This is the NFL. This isn't college anymore, so [I] come out here [and] bust my tail every day."
On what the text messages and phone calls were like for him after his performance on Sunday: "They were just calling me [and] congratulating me [and] just supporting me. It was a good experience to see my phone blowing up."
On what his father, former Ravens S Anthony Mitchell, had to say to him following his performance against the Seattle Seahawks: "He told me, 'You have the 24-hour rule. Enjoy it [for] 24 hours, then let it go.'"
On how he tries to build off of his performance from last week:"Like I said, come out here every week [and] work hard. Every week's the same week. It's the NFL. Every team is good. Every defense is good, so come out here [and] prepare like you would prepare for any other team."
On how much he is trying to prepare to make sure he is a big factor for the offense during the second half of the season: "Whatever plays Coach [Todd Monken] throws at me, just be ready. Prepare, come out there and work hard mentally and physically. Take care of my body."
On if he knew before the last game that he was going to get the ball:"Yes. They said they were going to give me the ball a little bit more. Obviously, I came out hot, and they just rode me."
On his reaction to being named the FedEx Ground Player of the Week: "I didn't even know that. Did I win?" (laughter) "It's a good feeling. Hopefully, there's more to come."
OLB ODAFE OWEH
On what he feels like is clicking right now:"I'm just trying to have as empty of a mind as I can, like when I'm rushing the passer, I'm not thinking about too many things, but like things that [outside linebackers coach] Chuck [Smith] has taught me. [I'm] just trying to rush the edge and [with] the conflict zone at the top of the rush, being more decisive at that point, and it's just working for me."
On how much the outside linebackers feed off each other and how that propels them all: "Yes. It's helping. 'J.D.' [Jadeveon Clowney] made a comment when I was coming back, chipping and all that stuff, so I feed off him, and he feeds off me. 'K.V.' [Kyle Van Noy too]. Sometimes when 'J.D.' wants to burn the edge, I can go under, or if 'K.V.' wants to burn the edge, then I'll come under. Just having that kind of camaraderie and having that chemistry with the pass rushers has helped this year."
On how much he feeds off the home crowd energy:"I love playing at home, especially night games. But M&T [Bank Stadium], just the crowd, or even opposing crowds, just hearing the hate. I'd say the crowd definitely plays a big role."
On what it says about working together when so many players have sacks: "I feel like that's credit to [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald]'s defense, obviously all the work the guys did in the offseason, but then also [outside linebackers coach] Chuck [Smith] as well. I feel like this year, it's more of an emphasis on being ready, switching up our bird's call, getting ready in your stance. Guys are just trying to or want to get sacks, and once you get one, it brings the energy as well. It just shifts in that direction, so I just feel like a lot of guys are being more intentional about their role."
On what it's been like and what he's learning playing with OLBs Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy: "It's just different things. I learn different things from different vets. 'J.D.' [Jadeveon Clowney], obviously, he's more like a 'J.P.P' [Jason Pierre-Paul] mold. He's going to play balls out and just go hard. You don't really try to look at too many tells or things like that. He's just playing 100 miles per hour. That's 'J.D.' Those are the things I like about him because a lot of times in the beginning of my career, I was too hesitant and thinking about too much stuff. 'J.D.' helps me with stuff like that. 'K.V.' [Kyle Van Noy], the 'SAM' [linebacker] prototype. He just knows everything, coverages, [he's] savvy, just little things like that that you can really add to your game to get more just to get more plays. It's different little things with different guys."
On if he feels like the team has their guys, even without moves at the trade deadline:"[Heck] yes. Yes, yes. We've got our guys. We're good. We're straight. So, yes, we're going to continue to get better. By God's grace, I'm going to continue to [take care] of my body and just get more healthy."
On how he would compare the lessons learned from close games and blowouts:"Just finishing, being more focused and disciplined on just dominating our opponent. We can beat teams, but [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] always says, we've got to finish the play or the game. So, it's just being more dominant and being more focused on the things that we were doing earlier in the game or prior to the week."
On if defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald puts in new stuff every week and how the new stuff puts players in good positions:"There are different things each week, but I also think it's the guys are just getting more comfortable in the scheme of the defense, because [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] had all this stuff from last year, too. Guys are just learning the plays, being more skillful in certain positions. So, it's a little bit of both."
On going from the five-technique to all the way around and if that was part of the pass-rush package:"It was, yes. It could have worked cleaner, too. But yes, it was definitely just me having to work the other side, because we were trying to flush. … It was a good play."
On coming back from the injury and being an impact player:"Yes, it's a blessing. I just thank God. There are guys that can't be out there and got hurt. Every day, I think about my brother [David Ojabo]. So, I just try to go out there and just play as hard as I can. I'm very blessed to be able to come back and help the team win games."
On if he studies and admires a guy like Browns DE Myles Garrett:"I definitely have a lot of respect, but there are different body types, different skill types. [Myles Garrett] is a freak of nature in his own right. There are definitely certain things I'll take from his game, but I'm a different type of person and a different type of rusher, so you've got to give and take."
ILB PATRICK QUEEN
On if he feels the defense is being respected as they should be:"A little bit. It's a long season. We still have a lot of games ahead. I feel like we are getting more respect, but I feel that it's still not the respect that we want. Honestly, we haven't accomplished the things that we want to accomplish yet, so I feel like there is a lot of respect out there to still be taken."
On if he feels like Cleveland will play differently than the first time they played them: "Yes. Obviously, it's Deshaun Watson. They gave him all that money for a reason. He's a great player, but at the end of the day, he's coming into our stadium, with our team, with our defense [and] with our fans, so that place is going to be rocking. We're going to have it rocking. We're going to do what we need to on defense to get them jumping, and just try to shut them down."
On how much he feeds off the crowd going crazy when the defense is on the field:"The crowd definitely makes a difference. They just give you that extra motivation to go work even harder. When you stop them on second-and-8, or whatever, and [now] it's third-and-8, and the crowd starts jumping, it's just the extra motivation. I could be a long drive, but just when the crowd gets up, you have that extra motivation. It just feels like you're unstoppable."
On if he agrees with QB Lamar Jackson that there aren't any weaknesses on the Ravens' defense: "I definitely agree. If we all lock in and do what we're capable of each play, lock in, communicate, play as hard as we can and have the best technique we can, there shouldn't be anybody that should be able to stop us. The only people that can stop us is us. As long as we go out there and focus in, focus on one play a time and just dominate, we'll be fine."
On if he's felt that way in past years: "You always feel like that. You always feel like you have confidence in your defense, and it's just small plays here and there that casually just change those past defenses. Obviously, I feel like those [past] defenses still were pretty damn good, and it's just, like I said, a few plays here and there that stopped us from being that No. 1, No. 2 [or] No. 3 defense."
On how much being on the same field as another great defense like the Browns is a motivating factor:"It's a lot of motivation. It's a lot of talk right now, and we just want to talk with our pads, honestly. We just want to go out there and dominate on play at a time, have fun with it, talk a little trash on the field and go at it again."
On how important the five days between the Browns and Bengals game are for this team if they want to be at the top of the AFC North at the end of the year: "It's huge because obviously, you have a few days off after that, so I think the big key is just locking in on the task at hand, just not looking forward, just taking each day one at a time. When a game presents itself, go out there and dominate. After that game, just whatever you have to do to recover, recover, and come into that next game on a short week and just get ready to dominate again. Overall, just taking one day at a time."
On if it's a similar feeling between this year and playing in the competitive SEC: "It definitely is. Everybody always wins, and this division is probably the toughest division in the NFL. So, when you see how the division is stacked up right now, it's just no room to breathe. We just have to keep our foot on everybody else's neck and just keep doing what we're doing right now, [which is] just trying to keep winning."
On what the LSU vs. Florida game taught him about resilience and knowing how to overcome that later in that championship season: "It was just a huge confidence boost for our defense, just knowing that we can actually stop people. I think in the beginning of the year, we were letting up scores, and it all came from communication, and that was just the biggest that I preached on because I [had] seen it firsthand, just how communication could change everything up for that next quarter and into the second half. We went on a little run, like shutting teams down and whatnot. Anytime you just get on a roll like that, you get the confidence rolling, everybody's communicating, and everybody's flowing on one page, it's special to see, obviously."
On what QB Deshaun Watson brings and how different are the Browns with him: "He just brings who is he. He can put the ball anywhere on the field. He can run. He does not want to slide, so anytime you have a quarterback that's willing to lower their shoulder, that's a huge threat to your defense. We just have to go out there and play our game, honestly. It can be any quarterback in the league that goes out there, [but] it's up to us what we want to do, how we want to be remembered, how do we want to play [and] how do we want our defense to look when we play the Cleveland Browns."
On the players and his frustration personally about being fined: "They fine for stuff that they think, rightfully so, should be a fine. There are certain angles that you could check and actually get a clearer view, but at the end of the day, they have a job to do, [and] I have a job to do, and we do have the option to appeal. Obviously, if you're not playing dirty or doing anything dirty or not, lowering your head of whatever it may be, whatever the case is for why you're fined, if you're not doing it, then with the appeal, you just get different angles, then you should be fine."
ILB ROQUAN SMITH
On what challenge QB Deshaun Watson presents for this team on Sunday: "[He's] a good veteran quarterback [who's] been in the league for a while. I have a lot of respect for him. [He's] a guy who can let it rip, and he's able to use his legs as well, so we'll be very prepared for it. [I] have a lot of confidence in [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] and the defensive staff to have us ready for the game. So, [I'm] looking forward to it."
On what he thinks of the head coaching buzz for defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald: "Honestly, I haven't really heard too much about it, so I don't really concern myself about it, and I know Mike [Macdonald] personally is not concerned about it either with just his pedigree and the way he does things. He's focused on the Baltimore Ravens defense and what we can do to get better. That's his mindset each and every week. So, [we] love him leading the charge."
On how much the team leans on the energy at home games and how beneficial is it to the defense: "It's going to be huge with the crowd support. There's nothing like playing in the [M&T] Bank [Stadium]. The type of noise … Like last week was even insane. It also starts with having confidence amongst each other and knowing what we can do and bringing down noise in our own mind, mentally, having that. So, I feel like if we do that, on top of the noise at the Bank [and] make it a hostile environment. I think it's tough for anyone, let alone what we do on offense and defense as well."
On if there's extra motivation to play the best defense every Sunday knowing what the Browns have on defense:"Honestly, I care more about the win. As long as we win – I said it weeks prior – we can be the not-so-best defense or the best defense, as long as we're winning, that's all that matters to me, and that's what matters to most of the guys in the locker room. You play the game to be the best at the end of the day, but I'm not focused on that. I'm more concerned about the Ravens winning."
On what the team feels when defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has given them the gameplan and if it gives them extra confidence when he sees what's in store: "Honestly, I've been confident in him since I first got here. I've known Mike [Macdonald] a long time, so it's not like something … I know how cerebral he is, and I know how much thought he put into this and how much he cares about the gameplan, spending countless hours. It's pretty insane. I just know that guy busts his tail day in and day out. I'm just grateful to be playing under him because I know he's going to have us prepared with the best possible gameplan that we can have."
On how big the next two games are for the team for where they want to end up at the end of the season: "Like you said, [we're] definitely focused on this Sunday, but I think it's just going to separate the men from the boys. That's how I look at it, and we're ready for whatever, whenever, however, whoever, whomever [or] whatever the case maybe. So, we'll be ready, but we're definitely focused on Sunday and taking care of the Browns when they come out to the [M&T] Bank [Stadium]."
On why he thinks the defense has been able to be so dominant in four quarter of the past few games: "Honestly, I just think it's us being able to create so many different pictures and give different looks out of those same pictures, and when you do that, it definitely confuses people and makes someone read things after the snap, and that's tough for any quarterback to do [or] any offense to do. [It's tough] to read things post-snap because pre-snap, a lot of people can do that pretty easily."
On it being QB Deshaun Watson's first game at M&T Bank with the Browns and if there is a statement the team wants to make: "Honestly, like I've said in the past when we play them over at [Cleveland Browns Stadium], but this is our territory. This is our bank in a sense. We have to protect our money and stuff, so we have to do that by any means necessary. So, we're definitely going to welcome them here and lock the gates and then we're going to slug it out. However, it happens, it's going to happen, but I like us."