Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody. I appreciate everybody being here. Happy New Year! I hope it was a good celebration. You guys all look pretty alert, so I guess it wasn't a late night for any of you old guys. (laughter) I did wake up … I asked the guys if they were asleep, and two guys said that they were awake and saw the ball drop. I said, 'I was asleep at midnight. But at midnight and about 15 seconds, I was awake, because the neighbors started throwing fireworks up.' OK, what questions do you have?"
CB Jimmy Smith, one player that I know you are quite familiar with, signed his one-year extension. How excited are you to have him back for another year as well? (Jamison Hensley) "I'm very happy about that. Jimmy [Smith], he's been a long-time Raven, obviously. He's a very good player, still. Even more than that, I'm looking forward to getting him back on the field here ASAP for our team right now. But I'm very happy for Jimmy [and] very happy for his family. I know he's happy here. Obviously, us as the Ravens, the organization, the team [and] the coaches, we feel very good about that and we really respect his play. We're excited that it's going to continue."
Have you gotten any clarity on P Sam Koch's situation and what your plans are for punting Sunday? (Jeff Zrebiec) "We have a backup plan; we'll just have to see. I'm not really exactly sure what the day count is, but it just depends on what he's been designated [as] and all that kind of thing. But I think it's a five-day count from Wednesday, so I'm pretty sure he's going to be out based on the day count. That's the way I'm reading it right now; I'm just assuming he's not going to be there. If something changes …" (Reporter: "But he hasn't tested positive or anything?") "I don't think I'm at liberty to even say. Let me answer it this way; I do not expect him to be out beyond Sunday."
Along those lines, you guys were able to sign P Johnny Townsend who you had in training camp. With the COVID-19 protocols being what they are, how fortunate do you feel you were to be able to bring him in and have some familiarity with him? (Luke Jones) "It worked out really well for us. He was in training camp for us. We have a very good understanding of how he operates as a punter and a holder. Also, he knows what we like, what we want to do and understands our operation. So, yes – we're very happy to have him. He had a good day today in practice, and I expect him to do very well in the game."
How encouraged are you with CB Marcus Peters? He had a full practice the other day. How encouraged have you been with him returning to practice this week? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, [I'm] encouraged. Encouraged. It's good to see him out there. We'll just see how it plays out. These things are always just how you respond the next day to the workload and things like that, but having him out at practice is obviously important. It's a big step, and I feel very good about that."
You guys obviously don't take P Sam Koch's ability to hold for granted. I know former special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg has said he's the best holder in the history of the NFL. What kind of challenge does that present? With your guys' habits of giving so many players different reps at different places, how much does that help you in a situation like this? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It's not hyperbole, what [former special teams coordinator/associate head coach] Jerry [Rosburg] says about Sam's [Koch] holding ability. It's a big deal, and obviously, the success speaks for itself. But Johnny [Townsend] is a good holder. We've seen him do it up-close; he did it again today. So, we're not worried about that part of it. What was the other part of the question?" (Reporter: "I'm glad you answered it, but I didn't ask specifically who was going to be your holder. (laughter) It was just more that you guys work so many people in and give other people reps.") "Oh, that was your tricky way … That was your tricky way of asking who the holder was going to be, OK. (laughter) Very well played. Very well played; that's impressive. We have other guys, too. You like the punter to do it and he's good at it. And I'll say this; it's a big part of … For us, to your point, it's going to be a big consideration for the punter, always, who the holder is, because we do feel like it's very important."
When you brought in P Johnny Townsend towards the end of training camp, was it basically just for this kind of exact reason? That if P Sam Koch would be out, you'd already have a familiarity with a punter out there? (Jamison Hensley) "I think there are a lot of reasons for it, but that was definitely in the mix. Yes, that's one of the things we talked about."
You guys also brought in S Jayron Kearse. Do you feel like he's somebody who could help you quickly? Was it exciting to be able to bring in that kind of an established player at this point of the season? (Childs Walker) "It was. It was. [Executive vice president and general manger] Eric [DeCosta] had talked to me about him a little earlier and said that that was a possibility. I was very excited about it. He's done a great job this week in practice. He's a guy that we could elevate, really, at any time if we needed a safety. So, I think they have the safety, and also, he's been a very good special teams player. So, yes – we were very pleased about that. That was a big plus for us."
I could be counting it wrong, but it looked like with you guys activating CB Terrell Bonds yesterday, according to the transaction wire, you guys were at 54. Did I have that wrong? Or is there a corresponding move to be made? (Jonas Shaffer) "You know what, let me leave that … I know [executive vice president and general manager] Eric [DeCosta] doesn't come on here, but I'm going to not dive into that, OK? That's roster … The way the roster is being dealt with right now, I would not want to try to explain that at this point. But there is a plan."
What is your New Year's resolution? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) (laughter) "I'm going to channel [Hall of Fame coach/executive] Al Davis on that one. How about this; how about, 'Just win, baby. Just win, baby.' But also, I would say just faith. Faith – that would be the other part of that. I think the two go hand-in-hand, actually. Thanks. That's a great question. Happy 2021 to you, and everybody else, too. It's going to be a great year – yes. Yes, it is."
WR Marquise Brown
How excited are you guys knowing that if you beat the Bengals on Sunday – it's all in your hands – you will go to the playoffs? (Jamison Hensley) "It's very exciting to be in this situation and this opportunity. Everything we want is in front of us, so we get out here and we've just got to execute and play the game and have fun."
What is the challenge like when you know the running game is going to be first and foremost as a part of this offense, unless you guys get way behind and have to start throwing? What patience does it take to go out there wanting to be a No. 1 receiver, but knowing that the opportunities aren't going to be as big as they are elsewhere? (Pete Gilbert) "I think I learned from the beginning of the season to now [that] you can't worry about that. You've just got to control what you can control and accept the opportunities that come your way. If you dwell on that you're not getting this many or that many, you miss out on the opportunities that are placed upon you. So, that's one thing I've been learning. And our running game is great. So, my opportunities, whenever they come, I've just got to feed off them and help them out, as well."
Since QB Lamar Jackson got back from the Reserve/COVID-19 list, there's so much talk about what's different, he looks to be having more fun, all this stuff and all this speculation on what has been the difference with him. Have you seen a difference firsthand in how he is approaching things and how he's performed? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I think it's a series of events, but him just being away from the game … A lot of our teammates were away, and then, when everybody came together, we've seen that we're really a force; that if we just come together and play together, we can accomplish any goal we want. And so, that's just what it is. When you're away from the game, when you get back, it's like, 'I missed this. I've got to relish in the moment and take advantage of every opportunity.'"
I think you'll finish the regular season with just one missed practice all year. After what you went through last year, how encouraging is that, and how good do you feel, right now, maybe compared to what it was last year? (Jonas Shaffer) "It's a blessing. That was one of my goals that I told Coach [John] Harbaugh coming into training camp; that I wanted to make it through the season, and I wanted to play in all 16 games. And God-willing, I'm a game away, so that's just a blessing. I thank God."
How familiar do you feel playing against the Bengals, after you had six receptions for 77 yards and one touchdown the first time you played them this season? In the first matchup QB Lamar Jackson gave you a short pass in the middle that went for a two-yard touchdown. (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "Whenever you play a division team, they know us, we know them, so it's about going out there and executing. You can't look at any team's record, and you've just got to go out there and play, because they're in the NFL, so I know they're going to come out and play their hardest. We're going to play our hardest, and the best team is going to win."
There was a video that the team released from the Browns game, where you were kind of talking to assistant head coach/pass coordinator/wide receivers David Culley, and you said, "I dropped some passes; I needed to make it up with that big touchdown." Do you feel like your season has kind of gone like that, where you're picking up at the right time [after] going through some rough patches? How do you feel your season is ending? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I feel like my season has been alright, but any adversity, when you come out the back end, it's always going to be a blessing; that's how my whole life has been. So, when I'm faced with adversity, it's never getting down on myself; it's just the next thing that comes up, I've got to do it. If I make another mistake, alright, I'm going to get another opportunity, and that's just how I look at life. When you're faced with adversity, the sun is going to come out again. You've just got to keep trying."
I was looking at QB Lamar Jackson's Instagram story yesterday, and I know you guys are, obviously, from the same part of Broward County [FL]. I think you had a photo of him in his youth football days. How important is that to someone like you – growing up in that area? I know it's a big deal in the community down there. Why does it have such a fond place in yours and Lamar's heart? (Jonas Shaffer) "Because, honestly, it feels like it made us. Coaches and just their environment, it made us hungry and passionate. And so, now, when I'm at this stage, and I see those kids that are in little league, I know how I felt at that moment, so I know how they look at me. So, all of that, little league, it's very important to us."