Transcripts: Ravens Media Availability 10/5

Opening statement:"I apologize for being in here a little late. I never want to hold you guys up. We are just working on Cleveland right now. The players had some time after the [Thursday Pittsburgh] game, which was good. Coaches were in Friday and Saturday and again today. I gave the coaches off yesterday to recharge the batteries a little bit. We're far down the road on the Cleveland game plan. We'll be practicing tomorrow and then on through the rest of the week, and that's where we're at."
 
TE Nick Boyle came to this team with a good resume as a blocker. What have you seen from him developmental-wise as a pass catcher? [He had a] big fourth down the other night.(Joe Platania)"[Nick Boyle] did kind of come [to Baltimore] with a reputation as a blocker – a big guy, a physical guy. He showed good hands at the Senior Bowl and at the Combine and is probably better than anticipated, as far as how he has taken it to practice, training camp and on to the games. That was a huge play for us – very athletic play. Not just that, but the run after the catch has been really good with Nick, too. We're very pleased with that."
 
We know you gave an update to the Big Ten Network the other day regarding WR Steve Smith Sr.  Can we get our own update as to how things are going with him and his status? (Jerry Coleman)"Nothing has really changed since then. [Steve Smith Sr. is] week-to-week. There's no official ruling. I saw a place [in the news] where I officially ruled him out. I don't think I'm able to do that, really, to be honest with you. It has to do with the injury report. He had a tough injury. Steve is a tough guy, so he'll be back as soon as he can be."
 
WR Steve Smith Sr. got mad at S Mike Mitchell. After looking at the tape, did you tell him it was LB Lawrence Timmons that may have speared him in the back and to correct his hit list?(Jerry Coleman)"No, I'll leave that for you. You can take care of that for me. That would be good."
 
Were you worried about WR Steve Smith Sr.'s angriness and this hit list he has put together?
(Jerry Coleman) "No, I'm not worried about it at all. I understand Steve. He has been playing with tremendous emotion and toughness and valor. I admire him. I love the way he plays."
 
So, John, you don't think that WR Steve Smith Sr. is officially out for Sunday against Cleveland?
(Jamison Hensley) "The injury report rules people out; that's how it works. There's a process to that, so we'll just follow the process on that. I have my own thoughts on it, as I stated. But, I'm just telling you that there's a process to it as far as the official part of the whole thing."
 
On the hit, with spearing, was that an illegal hit? I know there are [rules about] when you lead with your helmet. Do you think that was an illegal hit on WR Steve Smith Sr.?
(Jamison Hensley) "I really don't have any comment on that. That would be a great question for the league office. I think you could ask those guys that. They'd give you an update on that."
 
John, what do you guys like about WR Chris Givens?
(Jeff Zrebiec) "Chris [Givens] is a guy that we knew coming out [of college] – a Wake Forest guy, a teammate of Michael Campanaro's. Michael gave us a nice report on him as far as his character and work ethic. [He is] a fast receiver, down-the-field threat and does a lot of good things. He's a good player. It turned out he was available due to the circumstances in St. Louis, and [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] made the trade, so we're excited. He has been in here working for a couple of days now, so we're excited about having him on board."

John, with the multiple injuries to the wide receiver position, you did add WR Chris Givens. Do you feel there is a need – or there is a chance – to add another receiver through a trade? 
(Jamison Hensley) "I don't know. That would be in Ozzie's [Newsome] area if something like that were happening. I probably wouldn't be at liberty to share that anyway."
 
With WR Chris Givens' speed, just how much do you feel like that could open up the offense for other guys underneath and whatnot? How much does that add? (Ryan Mink) "I don't know how much it adds. It adds a good player. That's really what it does. It's another good player; we think we can utilize his skills. That's why we traded for him, because we think he can give us something that we can utilize. Really, we can't wait to get him on the practice field tomorrow and see how he looks – that's really where it starts as a coach – and see how we can fit him in."
 
John, CB Will Davis got in and made some plays. Obviously, he hasn't been here that long. What've you seen the short time you've had him, and I guess why has he been a quick study to get in and do what he has? (Cliff Brown) "[Will Davis] did a great job. He came in and really went to work studying. It's not an easy thing to do. The main thing is transitioning from one system to another in terms of the terminology and the techniques and how it all operates together. [It is about] a lot of the calls. You have to be on the same page back there, and he did a good job with that. He brought us the skill set that we needed, and it showed up in the game. I'm excited about that going forward."
 
OLB Za'Darius Smith had a couple of sacks. What kind of development have you seen from him over the last couple of weeks? (Garrett Downing) "[Za'Darius Smith has] been working hard. I think he has really been ramping up his intensity level, how he plays from one play to the next, understanding at this level the edge that you have to play on to be successful and how hard you have to play. He applied that in that Pittsburgh game better than he has at any point in time. He has always been good, but not really good enough to make a difference until this game, and that was really good to see."
 
John, do you feel like because you've lost, now, the punt returner – WR Michael Campanaro was returning punts and kicks – do you feel like that guy is on your roster as a replacement, or is that something you're going to have to look at, because you guys have a couple guys on the practice squad who have that experience? (Jeff Zrebiec) "We'll look at all our options. We have guys on the roster – obviously, as you know – that can do it. Chris [Givens] is a guy that can do it, too, as far as the kick return stuff. We'll just see where we're at come Sunday on that, but it could be someone here. Obviously, as Jamison [Hensley] alluded to, it could be somebody outside, too."
 
John, on the fake field goal in the last game, can you just go through the decision-making process that led you to call that? (Jamison Hensley) "I thought it gave us the best chance to win. I was excited about the play. Whenever you make those decisions, those go-for-it-on-fourth-down decisions – and we made a lot of those in the last few years here, and we made a lot of them this year – you do it based on what gives you the best chance to be successful. There are analytics involved. There are percentages involved. The percentages were in the favor of going for it. We even felt – beyond that – it was skewed in our favor, because we felt we had a great chance to convert on that. We thought we had an excellent chance to make that play work. It was close. Pittsburgh made a really nice play on it – give them credit – and they stopped it. It was the right call."
 
Was it something on film, also, or – by the design of the play – that you thought by looking how their alignment was on certain plays [that you would go for it]? (Jamison Hensley) "Absolutely. That's a big part of the decision in any fourth-down, go-for-it decision. The equation, or the formula, has to do with your odds of getting it, and that factors into the expected win – or the expected point total – which goes into your chances of winning the game. That has all been factored in. We look at all that. We study all that very closely going into every game, and every game is different because of the opponent and the venue – all those different things. We have to make a determination. The X-factor is what we think the chances of converting are. So, if the chances of converting are higher than the league norm or even the team norm, then that changes even more in your favor. We felt the odds going for that fake were strongly in our favor in terms of winning the game. We felt like we needed more than three points there. It's pretty hard to predict that your defense would pitch a shutout the rest of the way, or the field goals would be missed or whatever. That's not something that you'd anticipate. Foresight, right call. Hindsight – if you know you're not going to make it – yes, you're kicking the field goal."
 
I assume you got to watch a little bit of football yesterday. Watching those games, you probably saw a few field goals missed. At any point yesterday did it make you say, "Wow, I'm really thankful we have Justin Tucker?" (Ryan Mink) "I say that every day. I say that every time I see 'Tuck' [Justin Tucker] kick. But you know what? We have to keep him humble, keep him kicking it straight. It's really not that hard, because he works so hard at it. The other thing about that is the guys he works with – Morgan [Cox] and Sam [Koch] doing such a great job of the snap and the hold. I think those three guys are just tied at the hip. They go everywhere together. They work hard at it. And that kind of work ethic – to see it pay off in that kind of situation on a Thursday night game in overtime in that place – it's a really tough place to kick – is really just really rewarding for those guys."
 
John, given what you're going through at receiver right now, how encouraging was it to see the running game get going Thursday night the way it did? (Luke Jones) "Very encouraging, especially against their defense. Their defense is really tough against the run, and they have a heck of a front seven. We knew it'd be tough sledding. Sometimes you have to keep pounding that rock, because they made a lot of plays against the run – especially early – and finally it kind of opened up toward the end there a little bit more. But it's always important for us. It's something that we count on doing well, and we need to continue to improve. I don't think we're where we need to be with the run game, yet. That's something we need to continue to work on really hard."
 
The Browns are also 1-3 [and] the last in the league in total defense, but what about them concerns you? (Joe Platania) "Their talent. Their coaching concerns us. We play the Browns every single year, twice a year, and if you look back, you can talk about stats and all that other stuff or the record all you want … I mean, hey, we're 1-3, too. So, we have two 1-3 teams going at it here. We're battling to be third place in the division right now. That's where we stand, and that's a tall order, and we have work to do. But they have a heck of a front seven. They have good pass rushers on both edges. They have some of the most talented secondary players in the league, and we've seen them up close and personal every time we play them. We know this rivalry and how big this rivalry is and how important it is to both teams, both organizations. All the players know each other really well, and it's just a great rivalry."
 
You mentioned before, OLB Za'Darius Smith, it seemed like on a lot of those sub packages he was in three-technique with DT Timmy Jernigan, but DT Carl Davis was getting a lot of the earlier snaps. How would you assess Timmy's play so far and what his role is? (Jon Meoli) "Timmy [Jernigan] is getting better and better. He really stepped it up the last week or so – in practice and in games. He's very capable of being a real factor inside there, and it's especially true when he plays a certain way, when he really gets after it, when he cuts it loose. And that's what we're trying to get him to do – get off the ball, get off blocks, run to the football, be a physical force in there and play fast. And sometimes too much thinking is not good. He knows the defense now, and we expect him to play with a real high motor. And when he does that, he's very effective."
 
Whatever happens to WR Steve Smith Sr., WR Michael Campanaro is on IR … Do you view it as an adjustment with QB Joe Flacco and the wide receivers because there will be different guys, including WR Chris Givens and maybe WR Darren Waller taking more snaps? Or does the fact that [Flacco] has worked with most of these guys extensively – reps through training camp – does that sort of take away the adjustment a little bit? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It is probably both. It takes away the adjustment because he has had reps with most of those guys, but of course, Chris [Givens] is new. [They're] going to have to go to work there, but the way guys run routes is always different. No two guys run a route exactly the same way. It's up to us as coaches to make sure that they're as consistent as possible, guys are coming back down their stems the way they're supposed to, guys are getting the depths in their routes the way they're supposed to [and] running deep balls on the courses they're supposed to run them. That's all something that's really up to the coaches, and Joe [Flacco] has to believe in that. And Joe does a good job of coaching those guys, too, but they all want to do thing the right way. They're all very coachable, and I would expect us to be very proficient in the pass game. We have to be good. You can't go out there and not be clicking [when] throwing the ball and expect to put up any points in this league."
 
It was only a handful of snaps, but what'd you see from OLB Jason Babin in his first action? (Luke Jones) "Yes, Jason plays hard. He played hard. He was a factor in terms of the effort, and he was really disciplined with his pass rush. The thing we asked our guys to do in this game was be very disciplined with their pass rush and treat it almost like run defense, because you have  a guy [Michael Vick] back there who can throw and can run and can really hurt you with him arm and with his legs. I thought those guys did a good job of that, for the most part, and he still got out and made some plays. So, Jason was a big part of that."
 
Coach, I don't know if you've had a chance to publically clarify it since the report came out regarding WR Breshad Perriman and this injury that the media came out with. I know last week, you weren't aware of the situation. I believe it is the first time we've had a chance to ask you about the truth about what's going on with him. (Jerry Coleman) "It is the same injury. He has been working a strained PCL from Day One. There was no new injury involved in that thing. When you do rehab, which he runs routes … I think he ran routes before the game [against Cincinnati], which is what you guys are referring to, and I didn't know that somebody saw him limping or something after the workout, which, I think, I don't know to what degree that was different than any other workout. I think there's always a little bit of strain and soreness and stuff when you push it a little bit, but there was no new injury there. We went and looked at that; he had an MRI. He went down and saw Dr. [James] Andrews to take a look at it, and Dr. Andrews didn't see anything in the MRI, so he did a scope to go in and look at it. He wanted to make sure, and there was no new injury. That's really important to know, and that's what I felt it was when you asked me the question originally. I'm glad it got confirmed that there was no new injury. But it's just a slow-healing deal. He's had, probably, one of the all-time slowest-healing sprained PCLs ever, and that's nothing against him. It's just the way it is; it's just tough. It's one-in-some number – whatever Dr. Andrews said it was. But he went in, did it, and did a little – whatever it's called – the injection with the stem cells and the blood and all that. You guys know what that is?" (Reporter: "PRP [platelet rich plasma]?") "PRP. He did a PRP, which we talked about, and hopefully that'll have a good impact on it. We'll see how he comes along this week. I'm looking forward to it and seeing how fast we can get some recovery going on."
 
In terms of WR Breshad Perriman getting back on the practice field, no time table? Because he did practice for a while and then was out. (Jerry Coleman) "Yes, he was practicing at a slow speed. He wasn't out there full speed at any point yet. When we get him out there full speed in practice running routes and actually practicing with the units, that's when you'll know he's got a chance to come back and play. When he's doing the walk-throughs or just individual [work], that's a little bit different, and that's what he'd been doing before."
 
I don't know that we got to clarify last week in the short week, but is TE Crockett Gillmore's calf injury a long-term thing? Is it shorter term? (Jon Meoli) "Week-to-week. He has a chance this week – same thing with Chris Canty. They've both had very similar calf strains. So yes, he missed the second half two weeks ago, was out for Pittsburgh and then he has a chance for this week. We'll see where it goes." (Reporter: "Was it tough timing for someone like him, who has become such a big part of the offense?") "Yes. Yes, heck yes. It's tough timing for anybody. Look at Michael Campanaro. That one is tough, and he was making plays for us, so you hate to see that happen also. It's always tough when guys get hurt."
 
John, going back to WR Steve Smith Sr. a little, was that strictly a pain tolerance issue? The team said no surgery. Are there things you can do to accelerate his return? And by those things, I mean extra padding or that kind of stuff. (Jeff Zrebiec) *"Those kinds of things, probably, yes. My understanding of the injury is it's not like anything that's going to – that has to really … It's not like a ligament that needs to heal or anything like that. There's no process. There's no surgical deal. It's just recovery, and it's just pain tolerance. The back is a funny thing. You have to feel pretty good in the back to go out and perform at a high level. You can't [perform if] your back really hurts and you have to be able to pick up your legs and run and change direction and move and all that. When he's feeling like he can do that, and proves to us that the can do it at a high level, then we'll put him out there. We're never going to put him out there if he's not able to really function and protect himself and play hard and fast and all those kinds of things. Now knowing Steve, he'll want to be out there. Because you mentioned pain tolerance; he has probably one of the all-time high pain tolerances that you're ever going to see. He's on the Hall of Fame of pain tolerance. That's what our doctors told me. So, that's quite a compliment."

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