Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, appreciate you guys being out – beautiful day. We had a good practice, had coach Gottfried here. You guys all know coach Mike Gottfried – former coach at Pitt, ESPN analyst. He's here with us today. It has been a good day."
John you guys have brought in players through wavier claims, practice squad guys. Is it any different getting guys who are traded and kind of have that fire that CB Will Davis and WR Chris Givens have to come in and show they didn't deserve to be buried the way they were? (Jon Meoli) "There might be. Everybody gets motivated by different things. Most of us get motivated when we feel like we're working for an opportunity and we finally get it. [Chris Givens] is certainly going to have an opportunity here coming Sunday to do everything he has ever dreamed of. He has done some great things already – his rookie year, especially. I know he's excited to play."
You've been quiet on Saturdays. Is there any possibility of some roster moves tomorrow? Any chance of that happening? (Jamison Hensley) "There's always a chance of roster moves every day, except Sunday. I don't think they let you do it on Sunday. Do they [on] game day?" (Reporter: "No. [The deadline is Saturday at] 4 p.m.") "4 o'clock. So, sure."
**John, I know you've already talked about his status this week, but how is WR Steve Smith Sr. progressing, and are you still optimistic beyond this week, as far as him coming back quickly? *(Luke Jones) *"Yes – optimistic, very optimistic. [Steve Smith Sr. is] working hard. He's in there on the different equipment working really hard to get himself ready and making – I would say – good progress."
We see him before games, and we see him out here all the time at practice – TE Dennis Pitta – how hard he's working. Has anything changed in that regard, or is it still status quo? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It's still status quo. [Dennis Pitta's] process of rehab … He has been – in the sense of the status quo – he has been working really hard to get himself ready to play. That's what he has been working hard to do, and what form that takes when the time comes will be up to him and his family and the medical people involved. Those conversations are taking place, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the decisions are, just like everybody else. But that doesn't happen for another couple weeks, I believe, and then we'll know more from that point on."
John, I know the returners aren't listed on the depth chart that was released, but after this week now, how do you personally see the return game developing with the absence of WR Michael Campanaro? (Bo Smolka) "Specifically, I probably wouldn't say until Sunday, but I feel very confident in it. I'm excited about our guys, and as much – like [special teams coordinator/associate head coach] Jerry [Rosburg] said yesterday – as much as anything, because of our blockers. I feel like we're blocking people very well. The challenge we have this week is the fact that we're going up against a really good special teams group. They're No. 1-ranked in the NFL right now. They're always very good. They have a bunch of veteran guys who've been there before. They have a veteran coach who knows what he's doing. The biggest challenge is going to be the group we're playing against. We just have to play really well as a unit."
*So, we hear you're going to have some special visitors tomorrow? *(Luke Jones) *"You heard that! *(laughter) Is there an announcement on that? They [Indiana's basketball team members] are probably tweeting it out, huh?"
John, WR Travis Benjamin seems to be … (Ted Patterson) "Moving on to Travis Benjamin." (laughter) (Reporter: "He's a little guy, but he scores touchdowns and can return punts. Is he somebody that you kind of have to know what he's doing the whole game?") "Travis Benjamin absolutely is a weapon. He's a speed guy. He has hurt us in the past. They have weapons, really, everywhere on offense, and it's not just him. They're fast. They're a very fast, explosive offense. You throw Gary Barnidge in there as a tight end, and what he has been doing, I just feel like they're an explosive offense, and we have to do a good job defending the big plays. Getting back to our guests, we have Indiana coming in – the Indiana basketball team coming in tomorrow. The Hoosiers will be here, led by coach Tom Crean – the best coach in college basketball, bar none – and we're excited to have them around. Our guys were … I asked them if anybody could – because they're going to practice here, I think – and I said, 'Does anybody want to jump in and practice with these guys?' You know what? They all raised their hand. (laughter) They all think that they should have been a basketball player. Every one of our guys, even [Justin] Forsett! He's jumping out there. He claims he's a three-point shooter. You know, he did come in second at a charity three-point event here in town in the offseason. So, he feels like he has earned that spot on that Indiana three-point shooting drill." *(laughter) *
Are you a pretty good basketball player? (Ryan Mink) "I came in third in the three-point contest. I can shoot, just lay off me. (laughter) If you stay back and give me some room, I can make shots on you." (laughter)
*Who won it? *(Brent Harris) *"A high school guy that's going to college on a full scholarship. *(laughter) The guy who should have won it!" (laughter)
RB Justin Forsett
On the evolution of offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's offense in the first four games and how the team has worked through it:"As we've been progressing, we've been more consistent in the things that we want to do, as far as making plays, playmakers stepping up, being able to throw the ball down field and, last week, being able to get the ground game going. Hopefully we just keep evolving and growing and progressing toward that goal."
On the importance of success on the line of scrimmage and running the ball against Pittsburgh:"It's hugely important. We needed that spark. Something we pride ourselves on is being able to run the football and make sure we keep Joe [Flacco] upright. As long as we do those two things well, we'll be successful."
On if he feels good about what he can do against the Browns, knowing they have struggled to stop the run, according to scouting reports:"You always feel good about [what you can do] when you prepare. We had a couple extra days to prepare, so we feel good about our game plan. But, they're still a good football team. You go back and watch the film, and you say that they're ranked at whatever they are in [stopping] the run game, but it's here and there – one or two plays that are big, long plays. But other than that, they've been consistent and been able to stop the ground game. So, we've got to go in there and bring our A-game."