Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
How tough is it to lose a guy – you waived WR/RS Jeremy Ross – and then to come back the next week and have someone else in that position? Is it tough for the team? (Kevin Richardson) "The Jeremy Ross situation – and Asa [Jackson] for that matter – those are both really tough situations, because those are really good men. They worked really hard to contribute and be good football players for us. I feel like I failed them. I didn't do a good enough job with those guys to keep them here. That was a really tough day, yes. The reality of our business is it goes on, so somebody else is going to have to pick up and move on from there. We have a new returner [Kaelin Clay], and we'll see what happens on Sunday and see who is ready to go. We have 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb]. He can return punts; he has done it before. We'll give Kaelin a lot of work this week and see how he's doing. As you've said, he's new here, and he is a guy that we have to develop and develop quickly, because the game is not going to wait."
What have your impressions been of WR/RS Kaelin Clay so far? (Jon Meoli) "I like him a lot. I liked him a lot in college. I evaluated all of his tape; I watched him play. I was very impressed by his college video, and his preseason reps that he got in Tampa were also good. It's different though in regular season football games than it is preseason. It's not the same kind of football. When he's in there, we're going to have him ready to be in there. We're not going to put him in there because he's here."
You've faced a lot of fast returners, obviously, but WR Tavon Austin also is a bit undersized. Does that make it even more troublesome trying to track him? (Joe Platania) "The fast part is more concerning than the undersized part. The fast part and the quickness part of it are really difficult to defend. This man has extraordinary straight-line speed and extraordinary quickness. He can stop and start quickly, and that's what makes him so special. There are some guys that are just fast, and there are some guys that are just quick. He's quick and fast."
**WR/RS Kaelin Clay, he unfortunately [had] a negative highlight last year at Utah where he dropped the ball before he got in the end zone. Have you said anything to him [like], "If you get to the end zone, you have to hold on to it all the way?" *(Ryan Mink) *"We haven't discussed that in great detail, but we've had a lot of discussions about ball security. In fact, even prior to meeting him, there was a discussion going on about ball security that he was a part of. So, he gets it."
*Is WR/RS Kaelin Clay a guy that you looked at in the draft? Were you looking at him as maybe an undrafted guy? *(Ryan Mink) "I was looking at him in the draft. I thought he was a really good college returner. He had a lot of upside, and I'm excited that we have him."
There was a snap late in the game on Sunday where it looked like you guys were caught in between a prevent and the regular return. (Jon Meoli) "Yes, it was a personnel problem. Really honestly, it was coaching. We didn't get the guy … We had guys coming off the field that normally aren't out there. We were playing a safer look, so to speak, and we didn't get the right players on the field, and we messed it up. It didn't hurt us, fortunately, but we did, we messed it up."
Why do you feel like you failed CB/RS Asa Jackson? You said you feel like you failed him. Two guys have gotten chances. (Jeff Zrebiec) "If you have time, I have a little story. I had a college professor one time, and the very first day of class – I went into class – and I remember him telling us about all his degrees and all the associations he was a member of and all the research he had done. He went on and on about all he knew, and then he proceeded to tell us that we'd never know as much as him, and, 'If you don't like this, then you should probably drop the class.' If I had a smartphone at the time – they didn't have those back then – I would have dropped the class before I left the room. (laughter) His idea of teaching was, 'I know a lot more than you. You better keep up.' My idea of teaching is I want them to learn everything. When I taught high school, I told the guys in class – the students in class when I taught high school – I said, 'I want you all to get A's. You probably won't, but here's what you need to learn. If you learn it, you'll get an A.' I feel that way to this day. My job as a coach is to try to get these guys to perform at a high level, and when they don't, I take it personally. In that regard, the mistakes we made on Sunday, they hurt us a lot. It was really a mixed game. We had so many good things that happened. We had three punt returns out in midfield or greater. We had a kickoff return out to midfield. Za'Darius [Smith] blocked a field goal. We had three punts inside the 20-[yard line]. There are so many good things, but we hurt ourselves. We took away our own performance by our mistakes. I've been imparting upon the guys in the classroom, 'Let's not hurt ourselves. We're good enough to play well. Let's not hurt ourselves.' What happened on Sunday was an example of that. So why do I feel that I failed Asa? Because he made mistakes that he knows better, and I'm his teacher."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
DT Brandon Williams' role in the defense has been … He is touted for his run-stopping ability, but you're comfortable using him in a lot of situations. He was in there when you guys were using two down linemen a lot against San Diego. How is that evaluation of being more than just the standard nose [tackle]? How have you seen that evolution this year? (Jon Meoli)"You really kind of want to get everybody to that level. You'd really like for all your D-linemen to be able to play in all the packages, if you can, and then what you try to do is – if they're a speed rusher or if they're a power guy or a guy that can push the pocket – you try to use them in that capacity and maybe even build a little package or a pressure around where you're using him. Maybe [you're using him] more as a power guy to push the pocket. Maybe [you use] a Timmy Jernigan more to try to swim somebody or beat somebody on a movement. You do that role with all the linemen. We try to put them in a position, and they all need to roll in there. It just depends sometimes on what type of a game is. Sometimes you're playing a lot of base defense. Sometimes you're playing a lot of sub, and you don't want a guy necessarily – because he can only play [in the base] Raven [package] – only get to play eight or 10 plays. You'd like all those guys to space it out a little bit, and that's where we are right now. But I think he has done a good job of coming along and doing more and more of us."
Dean, I know you're not going to reveal any plans, but what do you like about CB Lardarius Webb as a safety? (Jeff Zrebiec)"He [Lardarius Webb] has a range. He has ball skills. The other thing is, is it just also presents a position that, all of the sudden, he's in a different position than he normally is, which means somebody else is in his old position. So, you've just got to account for all those guys. The biggest thing about 'Webby' is the fact that we think he has a pretty good range, and he's got excellent ball skills. And we're just trying some guys out there to see if we can get the best guys on the field and make plays."
What are your coaching points to S Will Hill III after that tackle that he had where he picked the guy up on his shoulder and kind of threw him down? Did you have anything to say about that? Or your thoughts on that hit? (Ryan Mink)"I thought it was a great hit, and it was a great tackle, great form tackle. What I think happened … He did the same thing, remember, the week before and got a penalty. The only difference is, on this time is when he threw him down, he just left him down. He didn't end up on top of him, but we told him the same thing the week before. 'That was a great hit, great tackle.' And there's nothing in the rule book that says you can't tackle a guy and put him on the ground. So, I have no coaching points, other than the fact he did a hell of a job. It was a great form tackle."
What do you say to S Kendrick Lewis after a play like … [He is] a veteran, dropping a potential interception. As a coach, do you just let him alone and say, "He knows." What do you do? (Pete Gilbert)"Say nothing. In 2007, Asante Samuel led the NFL with 12 interceptions and dropped one in the Super Bowl in a critical [situation]; the game's over in two minutes. What do you say to the guy? 'Catch it?' He knows. I'm not going to [tell him that]. He has just got to look it in. That's all you just tell him, say, 'Hey, just make sure you look the ball in. Finish it.' That's all you tell him. That's what it is. It's not, 'Put your hands here, or this.' He doesn't need [that]. He knows what to do. [He has] just got to finish the play. He tried to baby it a little bit because it was like, 'OK, this is it.' And you've just got to go take it on just like it was the first play of the game and don't make it [any different], don't put so much pressure on you to catch it. Just catch it. Really, to be honest with you, I didn't say anything to him. He felt bad enough. He doesn't need me explaining it to him."
S Terrence Brooks was in the mix a little bit defensively earlier in the year, then he had the thumb injury. What have you seen from him as far as what he needs to do to become a bigger part of what you do? (Luke Jones)"Really, he has been working on it all the time. In fact, he and I just had a talk about it this week. It's funny you brought that up. We just talked about it a couple days ago – he and I in the office. And he just needs to be in a position. He's a great effort guy; I love the guy, and he can run, he can hit. It's just sometimes, he has just got to know the position, and you can't go out, and you can't make a mental error, whether it be in practice or whatever. That doesn't exactly build confidence, then to let him do it in the game. And he's trying. It's just sometimes, [when] you're out there playing on the scout team all the time, you don't get a lot of reps. You get one or two; you've got to make those one or two really good. Because if you screw one up, that's 50 percent. He has just got to keep working on it. He's going to be a good football player; I'll tell you right now. He's going to be, and he'll play a lot of football here. He's just got to keep growing with it and keep … When you get the opportunity, take advantage of it."
What is your overall impression of how your defense played? Penalties – probably didn't like those. (Luke Jones)"Penalties, I hated. To me, penalties [were] the difference. We improved, certainly, in the big-play area. They didn't get any big plays. I thought we played hard, for the most part, except for one or two plays, but still, I know it comes down to the whole thing at the end. But if we make some play along the lines somewhere else … We've just got to find little things [to] just keep working on. We've just got to get better. We played better, but we've got to get better than that. We didn't win. That means we've got to play better than what we did. That's it."
Your strength is stopping the run, and their strength is running the ball. How do you see the matchup, and what most impresses with the Rams? (Pete Gilbert)"What impresses me about them is the fact that it's really a unique style of offense. Not only do they have talented players in No. 30 [Todd Gurley] and No. 11 [Tavon Austin], but the fact that their scheme keeps you going … Really, 11 is kind of a parameter guy and 30 is a downhill guy. And they've got other backs, too, that aren't too bad. It's a unique style. It's a unique offense. It'd take me too long to explain it to you, but it's different than what most of the teams in the league are doing. And there's a lot of misdirection involved. It's a little bit like option football. On defense, you better be in the right spot all the time and take care of your responsibility, or you're going to get hurt. Like last week, even against [Chicago] – they lost to the Bears – their opening drive, they had a 50-yarder down the sideline and another 50-yarder somewhere. They can bust some big ones on you, and you've just really got to have great eyes and really sound, good, responsible football."
You talked about RB Todd Gurley. There's a lot of hype around him. When you look at the tape, is he a guy that's worth all that hype? (Garrett Downing)"Absolutely. He's one of the best backs in the league. There are a lot of good ones, but he's right up there among them."
Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman
Opening statement: "Hello, everybody. I think I'll start [with] a little reflection on Sunday's game, because I know that will be part of this discussion. We came out of the bye week, and we wanted to improve third down-wise, and we did. We improved dramatically on third down during the course of the game. We wanted to improve in the red zone. We got a couple of touchdowns down there. We were 2-2 down there. We were good on third-and-1. Joe [Flacco] completed 75 percent of his passes. We were able to move the ball. Obviously, we felt – and as we look at the tape this week – we saw improvement on tape and in so many different things. Obviously, the downside was the turnovers. We turned the ball over three times on offense, and those are things that really hurt our football team and allowed us not to play continuity football with our defense and our special teams. That's something, obviously, you don't want to do. And obviously, we have answers for why those things happened. It's a collective issue. It's an offensive issue. It's not a Joe Flacco issue. It's an offensive, team issue, and that's something we have to improve on, because we came out of the game with no penalties and some very productive offense. But certainly, [it was] not good enough, because the turnovers they can, obviously, tip the balance during the course of the game. We'll get tested again this week. We're playing a St. Louis team that I know you already know they're No. 1 in the red zone. They have one of the best defenses in the league. They're No. 2 or No. 3 in efficiency in third down, so we're really going to get tested with a very athletic and talented front, some talented and quick defensive backs. It'll be a challenge for our guys offensively. I'll leave it open to questions."
**Why do you say the turnovers aren't a QB Joe Flacco issue? *(Garrett Downing) *"I think that because they're an offensive issue. During the course of the season as I reflect – I look back at the turnovers we have had – and I look at it as, really, only a handful of decisions where Joe might say to me, 'Boy, I shouldn't have made that decision.' It usually comes right after the play, and then he moves forward. There haven't been many of them, but there have been some. We look at it, and we try to get better from it. But, it's a team thing, and turnovers hurt our football team. When we don't turn the ball over, we're generally right in the hunt at the end of the game, and we were fortunate to be this week [in spite] of them."
Marc, understanding it's often dictated by game situation and that you were productive with 14 points in the first half on Sunday, are you satisfied with the level of commitment with the running game? The last two games, there hasn't been a … (Luke Jones) "We want to run the ball better. There's no doubt about it. We knew in this game that we had an advantage throwing the football. They were very good against the run. We thought we took advantage of that in the first half – throwing the football – and we threw it successfully, but we didn't finish a couple of drives that could have really enabled us. We had a dropped pass that would have allowed us to finish a drive early, and those are things we can't do. We've done a great job of catching the football throughout the season. We want to do better running the football. We want to take some of that edge off our passing game, and that starts with me. We're going to work very hard to try to get that done."
How happy are you with WR Chris Givens' development? It seems each week he gets a little more comfortable. (Jeff Zrebiec)"I think that's something to get excited about. Chris has come in here, and he has done a really good job of learning the offense. A lot of these guys have been here since April, and Chris hasn't. He has done a good job, and [wide receivers coach] Bobby [Engram] has done a really good job. They spend a lot of time meeting, a lot of time on the field walking through things. When he has been in the game – and he has had opportunities – he has made plays, he has caught the football. We have to be excited about that."
I'm sure you've seen him around the building even though he hasn't been out here, but it seems like WR Breshad Perriman – people are saying – that he sees hope now, [and] he was down at times. Have you noticed him sort of being a little more optimistic and feeling a lot better about his situation? (Jeff Zrebiec)"We talk. We communicated during the course of the week and over the weeks. It's difficult to continue to talk about the same subject, so we talk about other things. I think football is really important to Breshad. I think being a Raven is really important to him. He wants to get back here as quickly as he can. I know he's working with the people that are trying to help him do that. He loves football, and he wants to be a part of this."
*Speaking of wide receivers, there has been a lot of turnover at that position. Can that attribute to the fact that some of the third-down pass routes are run short of the marker and sometimes guys aren't getting as deep as they could be? (Joe Platania) *"I don't know that that's the case. That's a whole symposium on football right there and analysis. I can say that when we call plays, we're calling to convert and to get things done to move the chains. I don't see that as being an issue here."
WR Breshad Perriman
On how bad he thought the knee injury was at first and how long he thought he would be out: "Honestly, when it happened, I didn't think I would be out that long. It was pretty painful, but I didn't think I would be out that long. The doctors told me [it would be] only a couple days, and I believed it. They looked into it some more, and it came out to be worse than everybody thought it was."
On whether it was difficult having a week-to-week injury: "Yes, I think so. Dealing with the whole thing was very frustrating for me. I knew what I could do and what I couldn't do, and knowing I couldn't be out there with my teammates, it was really hurting me."
On whether it was difficult to tune out negative comments from the media or fans: "At first it was pretty hard, and then I talked to my parents and some players around here, and they told me I have to tune them out, because there will be a lot of negative things said. After they gave me that great advice, I really didn't pay attention to it."
On whether there was a specific time period he knew he would not play this year: "Honestly, I never really thought like that. I always try to think positive. I expected myself to come back, and that's why I'm pretty much this disappointed, because I always try to keep a positive mindset. I wanted the best and was trying to think the best the whole time, so I never really thought that."
On what his injury specifically is: "Partial tear, PCL." (Reporter: "And that's it? In your mind, do you need any more … Is it just a matter of resting, or is there going to be more … Will you need another procedure?") "No. I think I'm fine now. I think it's healing very well. I don't think they'll have to go back in and do anything else. I think it's coming along well now."
On whether he aggravated the injury during a pre-game warm-up: "That day, I got out and did a little warm-up before the game, because I was feeling … I was starting to feel a little better, and I wanted to push myself to see how far I can go, and I think I just overdid it a little too much and felt the pop in my knee. From that day on, I made it a little worse, they said. Dr. [James] Andrews said that the tear became worse than what it was initially. I guess that was another setback for me."
On what it has been like to watch the team struggle this season and not be able to contribute: "It has been probably the hardest thing I've ever been through, honestly. [It is] just a huge disappointment for me, and I feel like I'm letting them down as well, because I feel like I do have a role on this team, and I feel like I can … I don't know how much I can help, but I know that I can help somewhere. That has been, really, the hardest thing for me – really staying positive and knowing that next year is going to be my year to help everyone and hopefully have the greatest record ever here."
On how confident he is that he can contribute next year: "Very confident. Yes, this was a difficult point in time for me. I was in – I would probably say – like a dark hole for a good period of time. But I feel like next year – when next year comes around once I finally get healthy – I feel like I'm going to be hungrier than ever. I feel like I'm going to come back harder than I ever have."
On how he dealt with being in a "dark hole" and who he turned to for support: "I didn't really see it coming, so once it happened, I shut everyone out. I wasn't really talking to anybody. Finally, my parents noticed it, because I wasn't even picking up their calls. Finally, they came up here one weekend, and they really noticed my feelings and my reaction to all this stuff. They gave me words of encouragement about all the stuff that I've been through and all of the things that other people have been through that is way worse than this, like people tearing ACLs. I just have a partial tear in a PCL. So, I feel like I should be grateful. I know whenever I face adversity, that I always come back harder. They really were the ones that helped me out. Of course, [there was] Bobby [Engram] – my receivers coach – and a lot of the players on the team that have been in the league for some years and been through all these injuries."
On whether he remembers when his parents came to visit: "No, I really don't. It was a good little minute ago."
On the medical explanation he got about a timetable for a return and why he was placed on IR: "The whole reason for IR, I just felt like, or we all felt like – me and the training staff and the coaches – we felt like it was not enough time to build back my quad strength and get back in football shape. This injury does take time to heal, and for some people – I guess – it's quicker, but for me, it's taking a little longer. We all decided that it's not enough time this season. We were more than halfway through the season and felt like it's not enough time."
On whether doctors have expressed a long-term concern about the injury: "No, not at all. They never expressed that to me, so that's [not a part] of my worries at all. They basically told me once I get this thing back 100 percent, that I'll be good, and I should be fine throughout the rest of my career. It could potentially happen again, but the odds of that probably are slim."
On whether having Osgood-Schlatter disease as a child affected the injury: "No, that was when I was much younger. That had nothing to do with this."
On whether the injury gave him more time to learn the playbook as a rookie: "Actually, right now, I feel like I'm very good in the playbook. I feel like this gave me more time to not really know [just] my position, but know all the receiver positions on the field. I feel like, right now, I'm at a very strong point in the playbook."