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Transcripts: Press Conference (12/20)


Opening Statement: "It's good to see everybody. Thanks for being here. [It was a] good practice, [and we're] excited about the upcoming game obviously on Christmas night against a very worthy opponent. [It's] a big challenge for us. Guys are working hard [and] we're excited. What questions do you have?"

This is only the second time the team has been not favorited and been underdogs. Will that be used in any of the messaging with you this week?*_(Jamison Hensley)_* "It was mentioned. It was mentioned, sure."

DT Justin Madubuike has a sack in 11 straight games, tying an NFL single-season record. Teams are watching film on him. How is he still able to be so productive? Is it adjustments, or is it his physical ability?*_ (Todd Karpovich)_* "Well, [Justin Madubuike] is doing great. He's just playing really well. That's probably the main thing. He's playing at a high level. He's pretty relentless, but also probably have to say, to your point, he has a lot of guys around him playing really well, too. So, those guys kind of feed off each other, protect one another [and] create opportunities for one another."

Regarding the injury to RB Keaton Mitchell, a lot of guys have experienced knee injuries and have come back and played well. I'm curious, though, how things change from a running game perspective on play-calling schemes, gameplan, all that sort of stuff?*_(Brian Wacker) _*"Well, we're going to run our offense. It'll be our offense with the guys we have. The plays that [Keaton Mitchell] was running, the other guys can run. Everybody puts their own fingerprint on the play. The play looks the way it does a lot of times because the guys running it. That's really the personality of a play – everybody runs similar plays, but not all of them look the same. So, the guys running it will put their flair onto it, and obviously it will be ... We're going to miss Keaton. He's a great player, a great guy, one of the young guys [and] kind of a revelation. He'll continue to be that when he comes back, and the other guys will get their chance, and they'll go get the job done." 

When it comes to QB Brock Purdy, it seems like a lot of people have different opinions when it comes to the type of player he is. What do you see when you watch him on film, and what it's been like game-planning to try to stop him?*_(Cordell Woodland)_* "Well, [with] Brock Purdy I see a very good quarterback. He's playing at a very high level, leading a very high-level offense to great success. He's playing winning football and operates his style. He sees things. He gets the ball out quick. He can make every throw. He throws a beautiful ball [and] moves around the pocket, scrambles when he needs to, throws on the run when he needs to [and] operates the system really well – all the things that I'm sure their coaches really want to see in a quarterback. I'm sure he's doing really well. So, for us, it's just a matter of defending the offense. He's a part of the offense. They have a lot of good players ,[and] they have a really good scheme, so [we will be] applying our defense and our players, our abilities and physicality and all the other things that we do to try and stop their offense."

You talked about the 49ers four All-Pro caliber playmakers and how each one of those guys is a different kind of threat. Given that, how helpful is it to have a player like S Kyle Hamilton that can be a different kind of defender on each series if you need him to be?*_(Childs Walker) _*"Well, we feel like we match up well against anybody, basically, and we like our players a lot. We think we have really excellent players, the highest-level players. It's going to be hard for us not to match up well. It's going to be hard to outmatch us – I don't care who you are. So, we like our matchups, I'm sure they like [theirs], and we're going to play on Monday night."

When you look at the film through the games and despite the 11-3 record, do you feel like you guys have played your best game yet?*_(Jerry Coleman) _*"No, I don't think we have played our best game yet, for sure we haven't played our best game yet. That's something you work for, [and] we talk about all the time. We try to improve all the time and we had a really good practice and we're continuing to try and do that and put our best game in front of us still."

Could this be one those throwback games with two strong running games and very physical in the trenches?*_(Mike Preston) _*"Well, it's probably an interesting term. I think that's always going to be football. It's going to always be that at the end of the day. So yes, probably it's going to be that kind of game for sure. It's going to be ... You have two strong defenses. You have two strong offensive lines, strong running games. You have playmakers on every side also [and] you have strong special teams, and all these things come into play in a game like that." 

QB Lamar Jackson has a 19-1 record against NFC teams. Do you feel as if there's sort of an adjustment period for teams that don't regularly see Lamar and your style of offense?*_(Jamison Hensley)_* "I don't know. That would be a good question for the teams over there. But it's a good record. I hope it's 20-1 after this game." (laughter)

We've seen QB Lamar Jackson develop and mature, and I think you talked about how well he's managing the game. What goes into being a good game manager, and is there anything that he does that you think he doesn't get enough credit for?*_ (Jonas Shaffer)_* "Well, yes, I think that. To me, and we talk about it quite a bit here – you guys have heard me talk about it a lot – [Lamar Jackson] operates the huddle at the line. His clock management, his ability to work the play clock with the motion, the play calling ... Even when we're running late like early in the game, we didn't have our helmet, and it was operating ... But [quarterbacks coach] Tee [Martin] was basically signaling the signals with sign language. I didn't know Lamar knew sign language. They have their own sign language, I guess, and they were able to get those plays in there before we could get the [new] helmet in. Lamar still kept it smooth; he operated without any real panic. He has a real flair for being calm in those kinds of situations."

What's the toughest challenge that San Francisco presents for you guys?*_(Brian Wacker)_* "If I said one, I would be ... How could I even pick one, there's so many. That's a really good football team. They challenge you in multiple different ways, so I really couldn't pick one."

We didn't see WR Zay Flowers out there. Is there any concern about his status?*_(Jeff Zrebiec)_* "No. No concern." 

What's on the John Harbaugh Christmas wish list? (Morgan Adsit) "Life is always better when you win, right? So, that's probably the number one thing we're all going to try and accomplish out there. But I would say, if you're asking, or if anybody really cares, I would just say that we all really try remember that the Advent message and the idea that there are great and amazing incredible things going on, and just the very fact that we have life and the very fact that we have something beyond that that is eternal and that we're all here for a reason – to live together in peace. That's what I would say. Let's try to get along. Let's try to get a long for a week [and] see if we can pull that off. That would be nice. I guess that would be it. And a win. Those two things – world peace and a win, how about that? I'm not sure in that order or not." (laughter)

Being on the road on Christmas, is there any kind of special thing that you do with the team on Christmas Morning? How do you handle that as a team or a coach?*_(Ryan Mink) _*"No. We just get ready for the game. I wish we had some clever thing. We'll probably have some turkey and ham probably for the pre-game meal, I guess, maybe. I don't know, but football. It's all football."


On if this is what he had in mind for the holidays:"It's an amazing thing. I can't be more thankful to be here and thankful for the opportunity that the Ravens have given me."

On what's the journey's been like to get here and was this on the radar and coming to the Ravens happened: "Initially, it wasn't on the radar. I was heading out somewhere else to work out [and] unfortunately the injury to Keaton [Mitchell] kind of had them ... They had to make some moves from a running back standpoint, so I received an invitation to come work out, and it was a no brainer to come show what I can do and get a chance to maybe get signed."

On what's his family's reaction was to him being signed by the Ravens:"They were extremely happy. My mom was extremely, just very joyful that I could be home for the holidays with her. My dad just recently passed away here in this last summer, so being able to come for her for the holidays for her first holidays home alone is something [that] is super special to me, and I'm very thankful for it." 

On what he foresees he can do for the Ravens with three games left in the regular season and playoffs:"I just want to be able to come in here and be able to help in any way possible, whether that's on the scout team, or whether that's if they need me in a game, just be able to help this team because there's Super Bowl talent and Super Bowl intentions on this team. And I'm somebody that has been fortunate enough to be able to have won one of those in my career and just be able to come in and help this team in any way which possible, and that's what I've set myself out to do."

On how he's grown as a player:"Exponentially. I've learned a lot of life lessons in this game – the ups, the downs. Obviously, like I said earlier, winning the Super Bowl, then getting cut, bouncing around different organizations, whether you're six weeks here, a year here, but at the end of the day, I'm just truly blessed just to be in this position. To come home, play for this organization, and I'm truly excited to be here."

On what it's like to balance the uncertainty of not knowing where he's going to be and then having to adjust quickly:"You have to be able to change on a dime and be able to deal with different adversity that comes up, whether you're getting on a flight here this week, getting on a flight there next week and really at the end of the day, you just have to be able to adapt to whatever comes in this profession. Things can change on a dime, and that's kind of how you have to approach it."

On if he and WR Odell Beckham Jr. are a package deal now:"Yes. I love 'OBJ' [Odell Beckham Jr.]. We spent a good amount of time together in [Los Angeles], and he's somebody that I have a lot of love for."


On his impressions of 49ers QB Brock Purdy from watching him on film:"The word around the league is [Brock Purdy] is a system quarterback, and I just think that's not true – just from what I've seen. He's making every throw that you can make as a quarterback. It's on time [and] on target. [He] makes good decisions, he's mobile, and he's got a great cast around him at the same time. Yes, he's really good, and props to him. It's a pretty cool story, [with] what he's done now, and he's in the MVP race. So, it's going to be a good challenge, but I'm excited to do it."

On if the team embraces the underdog role:"Yes and no. Internally, we don't feel that way. Externally, I don't know what it is, whether it's ... I don't know what it is, but whether it's the lack of primetime games that we've gotten or whatever ... I think the [teams with an] 11-3 [record] are not created equal right now, in terms of the 49ers versus us, and we feel a little disrespected by that. I feel like we are the best team in the league, and we have an opportunity in front of the country to show it."

On if there is a feeling that the 49ers' playmakers could make the defense look bad if the team is not on point in everything it does:"Yes, there is that feeling every game, though. There are playmakers all around the league on every team, and it doesn't matter who you play – whether it's [the] 49ers or whoever else – if you're not executing the right way, then you're going to look bad, especially at the DB [defensive back] position, in terms of communication and being in the right place [at] the right time and being over the top. That's why I think it just really comes down to us and us executing [and] being in our places when we're supposed to be. At the end of the day, that's all it comes down to."

On if the matchup versus 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey, TE George Kittle and WR Deebo Samuel will allow his total skillset to be put on display:"Yes, I kind of take that mindset in every game. [I'm] just trying to exert my best into what we're doing, whether [it's] gameplans [or] shifting from one side to another. But at the same time, I feel like it's an opportunity for everybody on defense to really showcase what we're about against a great offense. Props to those guys over there. There are playmakers all over the field. [They have] a solid front line. And we're just the guys to go handle it, but at the same time, we have to be locked in, [have a] good week of preparation going out there, [adjust to the] travel time and all that [we have to] take into consideration. It's really all just distractions at the end of the day, and I think we're going to go out there and do what we do."

On if his knee is feeling good:"Yes. Yes. [It's] all good."

On if he likes that he's been asked to do so many different things in a game: "Yes. It's a little tiring at times – mentally and physically. I said this earlier; I appreciate the coaches for putting that trust in my hands and allowing me to do separate things and coaching me to the level [to] where I can do them both well. I feel like that just goes to attribute to our staff for how good they've been the whole season and how, top to bottom, offense, defense – and defensively, D-line, the backers, DBs [defensive backs] – everybody is just on one accord. It's been kind of like [a] perfect harmony."

On if players feel a different vibe about this game, given the hype:"Yes, I think so. You can't ignore it; it's two great teams going at it on Monday night. We're on Christmas Day; it's kind of as big as it gets. But we have to be where our feet are, and that's Wednesday meetings, right now. [We] can't look forward to the game right now, because we want [to] prepare ourselves the correct way. I think we all know what's up, but at the same time, we just have to go out and play our game."

On if 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey is a different level of challenging and what he sees from him: "[Christian McCaffrey] is one of the best in our league and for good reason. He's [well] versed at a lot of different things that you can do. He's good in pass pro [protection], he's good catching the ball, [and] obviously, he's good at running the ball, as well, obviously. He presents a lot of challenges, and he's been doing it for a long time, so respect to him. But I feel like on our side, we have a good plan [to] try and slow him down, and I think if we execute, we'll be good."

On if the Pro Bowl voting and other media praise means anything to him: "I'd say it's cool, just cool. It's pretty cool, honestly, at the end of the day. Growing up, watching the NFL, you always see these guys who are doing well around the league, and I've always wanted to be that. To this point now, I feel like I've done pretty well this year, but I feel like there's still a lot that I can improve on and a lot that I want to get better at. I don't feel like I, personally, have had – let's say – a satisfactory year. I've had a good year, but I feel like I hold myself to a high standard, and I have a lot more getting better to do. That's why it's just cool."

On if it was meaningful to hear ILB Roquan Smith call him a warrior:"Yes, I would say so. [Roquan Smith] is always giving me a hard time around the building, so to hear a pat on the back feels good. But at the same time, I know for that one comment – one good comment – I'm going to have 100 bad ones, so I take it in stride. It is what it is, but I appreciate him for it."

On what ILB Roquan Smith gives him a hard time about:"Literally everything. I could breathe the wrong way, and he'll make fun of me."(laughter)

On if dropping into the two spot and covering the seam route are things that he's ever done in his career and how that role came to him:"At Notre Dame, I played it a little bit, [but] not a ton. [It was] mostly just on third downs, so I was probably playing nickel ... If we played 60 snaps, I'd play it probably eight times a game. But [with] the way our roster was set up last year – we had Chuck [Clark], obviously, who was a great player at the safety position; we had Marcus [Williams], as well – I feel like the nickel spot was kind of there. And we had injuries going down; we had Kyle Fuller go down, and 'Pepe' [Damarion Williams] got hurt. I feel like they were kind of just looking for a spot for me to fill in that I believed that I could do. [I] tried it out, and we're here now, so it worked out pretty well."

On if he feels the team isn't getting the respect they've earned and deserve through all their work this season:"We take it with a grain of salt. There's got to be a narrative made, and if we're on the wrong side of it, so be it. But we don't really care about that, honestly. I know I don't, and I know a lot of guys on the team [don't]. Speaking for everybody else, I assume that we're all in the same mindset in the sense that we only have control of what we do, what we say, and we talk with our pads. So, like I said, we still have to go out and play a football game. No matter how much we want to talk about it, no matter how much we want to say we're underdogs or this and that, [that we're] overhyped [or] whatever, we still have to go play a game. So, that's what it comes down to."


On the matchup and the hype surrounding the game against the San Francisco 49ers:"[They're] a really good team. We obviously didn't start watching [film] until this week. I know they've beaten a lot of teams pretty bad, so I think it'll probably be the game of the year, and [we're] excited to be a part of it. They look really, really good. I know we're a good team, so I'm sure it'll be a good matchup."

On how important communication will be in the game against the 49ers: "That'll be huge. I think not only do they have great players, but they have – it seems like – a lot of different schemes and different things schemed up against players [and] schemed up against coverages. They do a lot. They really don't do that much, but they're just so efficient at what they do. The misdirection – it's like you want to take care of [Christian] McCaffrey. Then, you have to take care of Deebo [Samuel]. It's so many different things to where everyone has to be on point. Communication is just going to be key in order for us to win."

On how important S Kyle Hamilton's versatility can be against the 49ers' playmakers:"With Kyle [Hamilton] – I just remember the first time I really heard of him was 'EDC' [executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta] talking about him. I did not think we were going to be able to draft him. He just kept saying, 'This guy is like a unicorn.' Then, he comes in as a rookie, and you're like, 'He's nice,' and then this year's, he's one guy that if you cloned 11 of him, he could play every single position. It's kind of crazy [to see] the things he can do. We'll definitely have him all over the place. No matter what position ... I've seen him guard the [other] team's No. 1 receiver. I've seen him make tackles. I've seen him beat O-linemen. He really can truly do it all, so he'll be big for [us in] this game, whether it's guarding [George] Kittle, guarding Deebo [Samuel], making tackles on [Christian] McCaffrey [or] getting to the quarterback on pressures. I think it'll be a really big game for him just based off the things he can do and how this team attacks you."

On the impact of QB Lamar Jackson frustrating defenders and if that can shift the mood of a game: "With Lamar [Jackson], it's unique just because I think everyone has a pretty good plan [to stop him], and then, it just seems like it doesn't go as planned based off what I see. He's just a guy that ... He does it all. You see it every week. It gets normal to the guys like us, but it's always ... Anytime I put on the TV copy [of the game], it's like, 'This guy is crazy good.' It's really cool to see the things he does in a game. Even in practice, it formulates to the game."

On the game against the 49ers being a possible Super Bowl preview:"We just have to take it one game at a time. If this could be a [preview] of the Super Bowl, I'd love it. That means we've taken care of business and got there, but right now, it's really good to have a really good challenge Monday on Christmas day. It's a really good team, so we're just really excited for that."

On how he handles Christmas and everything that goes on around it: "Honestly, this year's weird. I haven't really got the Christmas vibes like normal. We did get a gift from 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh] – an early Christmas gift. We got a pinball machine, so that's the gift. I don't know if my family got me any gifts. I told my lady, 'I don't need a gift.' I'm not too much in the Christmas spirit, but a win [on Monday] would be the best gift that I can get. So, hopefully we get the win, and it'll be a good Christmas."

On how he is liking the new pinball machine in the locker room:"I'm liking the pinball machine. It's very high-tech. 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh] actually brought it up in the team meeting. Some guys did not know what a pinball machine was." (laughter) "I'm not that old, but I knew that. I guess I am old based off of some of the younger guys who did not know that. That's that."

On how he views being the underdog for the 49ers game: "I usually don't really see what we are [favorites or underdogs], but I did see this one. I think we're a touchdown [underdog]." (Reporter: Almost. It's 5.5) "I was a little surprised at that. That hurt my feelings a little bit. I was surprised to see that, but I definitely want to make that be incorrect, for sure. Hopefully, some people lose some money betting with them and make some money betting with us. That'd be great."

On the 49ers' QB Brock Purdy and their efficient offense:"Oddly, [Brock Purdy] seems like he gets a lot of hate from the stuff that I see. I don't know why. It's just because he has Brandon Aiyuk. It's because he has Deebo [Samuel] and Christian McCaffrey. [When] you cut up the film, he's just really a good quarterback. I think that kind of surprised me just [because] I've been hearing so much chatter about the guys surrounding him [that] make him good and the coaches, but when you look at the film, he's putting throws right where they need to be. He's reading coverages. He does a lot of good things. I think he's a guy that likes to give his receivers a chance. For such a young guy, he really handles himself like a pro. I know it won't be an easy day. There won't be too many gimme interceptions like that, but we'll try to take our chances when we can."


On what he sees after watching film of the San Francisco 49ers' defense:"Guys just flying around making splash plays, making things happen on defense [and] scoring touchdowns on defense; I've seen a lot."

On the biggest challenge the San Francisco 49ers present after watching film on them: "The defensive line is pushing the pocket. [Their] linebackers [are] flying all across the field [and] making tackles. [Their] 'DBs' [defensive backs] are playing fundamental, sound football."

On how he handled having helmet communication issues on the first drive during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and how he maintained his calmness during a stressful situation: "It wasn't really stress. [The] headphones just went out. It was [on] the first play, actually. I was just trying to get a number on the wristband. I think I was calling my own plays, pretty much, because I was calling the wrong numbers off the wristband. And we were just moving the ball, so it worked in our favor. To be honest, it was cool. I managed it well."

On the hype and excitement around the game against the San Francisco 49ers:"[It's] entertainment. It's going to be a very entertaining game, like you said. Both teams are No. 1 in their division. [We] just have to go out there ready and focused, because it's a great team."

On talk of the game against the San Francisco 49ers being a Super Bowl preview:"[The] Super Bowl is in February. We're in December right now. We have to focus on Monday night. I'm not worried about what people are saying."

On if the team embraces being an underdog:"I'm cool [with it]. I don't want them to pick us. I like being the underdog. I believe we play better when we're doubted and [when] people aren't choosing us to win the game. I feel like we play better all the time, so just do it all the way to February. That's all I ask."

On playing on Christmas:"It's different. This is my first time [playing on Christmas]. Actually, I'm usually sitting at home watching basketball or something on Christmas. But it's different, so it's going to be entertaining, [and] it's going to be fun."

On how he will handle Christmas Morning: "[I'll] get ready like I always do just to get prepared for a game. It's different, because it's Christmas, but it's another game."

On if it is hard for teams in the NFC to adjust to him and the unique offense because they don't see his style very much: "I don't know. I can't tell you how [NFC teams] are feeling about playing against us. I'm not in their locker room. Hopefully, our style just keeps working for us, if anything."

On if he responds when defenders share their frustration with trying to stop him: "I really don't say anything. I'm locked in the game. I'm trying to win every down. If [defenders] are frustrated, I'm going to try to keep them frustrated. I'm trying to win, if anything."

On if RB Keaton Mitchell's injury changes what the offense can do: "We're going to miss having that guy [Keaton Mitchell] that can just take the ball from the minus-10[-yard line] all the way to the house [on] any given play [and from] any little, small window. But I believe our guys are just going to step up all across the board. Our brother went down. Things like that happen in the NFL, but we still have to [have a] level head [and a] level heart. We still have a long season left to play."

On if he is confident that any issues with handoffs at the mesh point are solved with RB Justice Hill, given his presumed increased role in the offense: "I believe it's a thing of the past. Justice [Hill] has been playing his butt off. He's been making things happen. Whenever he's in, he's getting five [or] six yards a carry. So, I believe that's going to be good for us."

On the focus of the team going into a tough game against the San Francisco 49ers: "We're locked in. I'd say we're locked in. I believe we just had a great practice today. Our guys just aren't peaking ahead. We're still focusing on keeping it one game at a time, and that's what we're doing right now."

On the trust that he's built with TE Isaiah Likely and if the jump ball Likely caught last week will help grow their confidence together:"I've been confident in [Isaiah] Likely since last year. Things like that just happen sometimes. We have to make something happen, and he went up and made a spectacular catch over two defenders. I just had to give him a chance. Today, he tried to do it, and it didn't work out, so I told him [that] our linebacker locked him up. But he wants to catch the ball over a corner in a game, so I guess he's a gamer, not a practice guy." (laughter)

On if the ability to deal with problems or challenges presented by other teams in any given week is a characteristic that defines the Ravens:"It's the NFL; there is going to be a different challenge every week. Like Coach [John Harbaugh] said – to piggyback off Coach – we have great guys who are locked in and who are willing to do their thing. Our guys are going to step up for every opponent [and] any opponent, but [on] Monday night, we have the 49ers."


On the 49ers' defensive front: "They're very good. They play the game the right way – play it hard, disruptive. [It's] certainly going to be a big challenge for us, and it starts this week with our preparation – to get prepared for these guys."

On how he handles practicing with a silent count: "We've been doing silent count all year. Obviously, I assume it's going to be loud. [It's] Monday Night Football, but you practice it during the week, work out any kinks and then go out there and perform on Monday."

On why the Ravens have played so well on the road this season: "On the road, it starts with the communication [and] trying to be as efficient as possible with communicating, because it's going to be loud. That's an emphasis here – just overcommunicate – and then when the lights are on, try to play your best. I think that's what the guys we have on this team go out there and try to do."

On if it means anything to be considered an underdog this week: "I feel like, every week, we've got to go out there and prove it. No matter who we're playing, we're going to get a team's best shot. We've got competitors in the building; any time we're an underdog, it certainly gives you motivation, but each and every week, you're going out there and playing as hard as you possibly can. So, whatever other people say doesn't really matter to us in here. It's just about going out there and performing."

On if the team wants to ride the excitement of this matchup or treat it like any other week: "Both of these teams have put [themselves] in these situations to where it's talked about a lot. It starts at the beginning of the year [in training] camp. You work for these kinds of moments, these kinds of games. So, as a competitor, it's certainly exciting, but also, at the end of the day, it's two great teams going against each other, and you can't get into the hype too much. You've just got to go out there and perform your best, but [it's] certainly exciting."

On how going up against his own defense helps prepare him for the 49ers' defense: "We have a lot of dudes on the defense that certainly help us, and that started going against them in OTAs [organized team activities and training] camp – giving us a lot of challenges that prepare us for defenses like this. [The] offense is certainly excited for the opportunity, but like I said earlier, it starts this week – with our preparation – because this defense is a really good defense. It's one of the top defenses in the league, so we're going to have to come ready to play."

On where he sees the growth in this offense and in himself since the offseason: "It's definitely grown. The good thing is [that] we're not where we want to be yet, but we're definitely taking big strides. Obviously, that comes with having a new offensive coordinator [Todd Monken] and just everyone learning the terminology, learning the schemes and stuff like that and then continuing to get better and better. When we play with each other more and more, I think you see more and more growth, which is a good thing."

On if he's heard from friends and family about the hype of this matchup: "I'm sure they're going to be watching it, but no one has reached out to me. But it's going to be … Like I said, it's Christmas Night, [and] everyone is going to be watching; it's exciting. The good thing is we've put ourselves in this situation to where people are talking about it, but it doesn't mean a whole lot. We've got to go out there and perform."

On G John Simpson's growth since the beginning of the season: "John [Simpson] has grown a lot, especially [with his] confidence. He's continued to get better and better, and he's an awesome guy to play next to – just the things he's able to do. He helps this team out a lot, especially the O-line. But, yes, John [Simpson] is a guy [who] just continues to get better playing with that confidence, because that's a lot of what the position is – is just playing with confidence – and he has certainly done that."

On what it's going to take to be able to get rushing yards against the 49ers' stout run defense: "A lot goes into it – keep sustaining the blocks, try to get the lead early [and] build that confidence in the coaches to call those run plays. Up front, we've just got to do our best – block our guys, block our assignments and let the running backs do the rest."

On the loss of RB Keaton Mitchell to a season-ending injury: "That's very unfortunate. Keaton [Mitchell] was doing a lot of special things for this offense, and now it's going to have to be the next guy in. Obviously, it sucks having him down, but injuries are unfortunately a part of the game, and it's [the] next-guy-in mentality, and [we'll] do what we need to do to move forward with that."

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