Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "It's good to have you here. Obviously, the setup here [in San Jose] is really, really good. You guys can see it. We have an incredible setup. The Hilton has done a great job of organizing the meeting rooms and the practice walk-through areas. The whole setup is just first-class all the way. I am seeing a bunch of our guys around – some of them watching tape, getting treatment, getting a lift in over at San Jose State. We're excited to get over to San Jose State tomorrow afternoon at the university there – they have great facilities – and just get to work on Oakland. We're disappointed with the fact that we didn't win the game last night. We felt like we had every opportunity to win the game at the end, but we felt like going in that it would be that kind of a game. We thought it'd be a tight, hard-nosed game, and it would come down to the last couple plays. It did. We didn't necessarily anticipate it being the way it went. We were surprised on some things, and some things were expected. But, we certainly have a better feel right now about where we are as a football team, what we need to work on, where we need to get better, and that's a good thing about the first week."
Any thought given to activating more than seven offensive linemen and five defensive linemen yesterday? (Joe Platania) "No, there wasn't. Five defensive linemen is really a pretty high number. It's usually four or five; it's rarely six, in this system. And seven offensive linemen … You could go eight, but we wouldn't have played them all. Seven worked out well pretty well for us. You have to have some guys that can run – especially on a hot day like that – [on] special teams. I think we activated the right guys."
John, I know you said OLB Terrell Suggs is out for the season, but what's Terrell's plan going forward that you know of now, as far as surgery and that kind of thing? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I don't have those details right now. I haven't spoken with [Terrell Suggs]. I know he's going to go home here in a day or two and meet with various doctors – and I'm sure he'll have surgery very quickly – but I don't have the details yet."
Coach, why are you in San Jose? (Azenith Smith)"San Jose specifically, or why did we stay out west?"(Reporter: "Both.") "We love San Jose. I think for us, specifically, San Jose worked out really well for us, facility-wise. The setup with the hotel here was [ideal]. We had scouted out a number of facilities, and this one was really the best one for us. Plus, San Jose State has a great football facility for practice and lifting and those kinds of things, and it's nearby. The convenience of it was really great, and San Jose State is really accommodating of what we needed. We're going to try to stay out of their way as much as we possibly can, because they have their sports going full speed, too. But, they're working with us and giving us a chance to get over there for a couple hours a day and work. They were just really great about it. It's a Division-I program, football-wise – great program, great facilities. It just worked out really well for us."
Hoping to return back to the South Bay in February? (Azenith Smith) "Hoping for a return back in the South Bay in February? Certainly, but we better get a couple wins here in September to make that a possibility."
You talked about when the team went up to Philadelphia about it being an opportunity for the team to kind of bond and join together. Do you see that happening again this time? (Ryan Mink) "We have a close team. Our guys like each other, like being around one another. That certainly helps when you're going to be around each other for a whole week, 24/7. It will be, I think, even further built on – those kinds of things – and we'll probably at some point in time be able to look back and see if that was the case. But, it's an opportunity to do that, yes."
**Obviously, OLB Terrell Suggs is going to leave a void. Do you feel like you have the guys here – in house – or do you also feel like maybe you have to go out and look? *(Brent Harris) *"I would say both. We do feel like we have the guys in here that can do it. We're excited about Za'Darius [Smith]. He didn't dress yesterday, but he has practiced really well, and he's going to have to continue to improve. Sometimes you get thrown into the fire and guys respond, they get forged. Obviously, Elvis' [Dumervil] role will increase. He'll be the starter as a rush linebacker over there on first and second down. I'm sure he and Za'Darius will work those reps, along with Courtney [Upshaw] at the outside 'backer spot. We still believe we have the pass rushers that can get the job done, but we're still in the process of evaluating our options, personnel-wise. There's a chance we can bring somebody in. We'll look at all those options over the next couple days."
Are there more options, because it's the Week 1 and the guaranteed money and some of those free agents do sit that first week and are available? (Brent Harris) "That's exactly right. You're exactly right about that. There are guys available out there, and we just have to evaluate them and see how they fit what we try to do here defensively and see which one of those guys might work for us."
**Is ILB Albert McClellan another guy that would be in the mix there? I noticed you had him switch out to outside linebacker, at least you did yesterday. *(Ryan Mink) *"Absolutely. Albert [McClellan is] so valuable. He can play inside 'backer and outside 'backer. He provides a swing-guy, and he'll be doing a little bit of that."
John, I know you didn't run the ball as well as you would like to. Last week, you were glad to see the offensive line together. Do you feel like, maybe, the time they weren't together during training camp had any effect on them, or not? (Cliff Brown) "It probably did. I think early in the season, you look around the league, and you'll see a lot of that – guys playing for the first time, units being together for the first time. There's going to be some rough patches. As the season goes on, guys get hurt, and you have to plug guys in. It's just the nature of the National Football League, and you try to find a way to win that game that week. From a cohesive standpoint, there are plenty of things to work on. The run game … We stuck with the run game. We were patient with it, but we need to get more out of it than 3.2 yards a carry. There's no doubt about it. It's the offensive line, it's the running backs, it's the scheme, it's the formations – it's all of it. We all take responsibility for that."
After looking at the film, was the ball to WR Steve Smith Sr. at the end of the game … Do you believe that was catchable? (Jerry Coleman) "Steve [Smith Sr.] said it was catchable. I'll go with Steve on that. But sure, that's a play that Steve is going to make 99 out of 100 times, and for whatever reason, he didn't make that play in that time. I thought Steve was great. He's the first guy who said that, and that's just the kind of guy he is. There were a number of plays like that. Crockett's [Gillmore] play … You'd love to see Crockett come down with it. [It was a] tough catch, but I believe Crockett can make those plays. We were a fingernail away from two blocked punts and a blocked field goal. Any one of those plays makes a difference in the game. We were a fingernail away from a pick-six on an interception. Those are all the things that make a difference in football games; we'll come up with a lot of those plays as the season goes on."
John, Year 1 to Year 2 is always a big growth year for young players. Is Week 1 to Week 2 the same type of thing where the rookies kind of see what it is really all about now? (Gerry Sandusky)"Yes, we've always believed it was. All the teams that play the young guys will find those guys have kind of … It is also interesting to see who handles the situation – the speed of the game, the size of the game, how loud the stadiums are, how good the players are across from them – which guys can hold on to the technique in that kind of environment. So, it is interesting to see the guys that did that – a number of guys did that well – and also the guys that can build on that and improve from one week to the next. The guys that are able to build on the fact that they didn't always use great technique this past week and play better next week, we're going to be looking for that, and the guys that aren't able to do that, that's going to be a flag for us also."
It seemed like S Will Hill III was all over the field. What'd you see from Will? It seemed like he had a pretty solid day. (Garrett Downing)"Yes, Will [Hill III] played well – he did. Hey, I'm a secondary guy, so I'm always talking to those guys about the one or two plays [that weren't perfect]. They see me coming, and they know it is going to be [about] the one or two plays that [weren't] perfect. But, Will played really well. He was a factor in the backfield on toss-crack late in the game. I thought he was over the top of his coverages really, really well. He and Kendrick [Lewis] both did a really good job of disguising coverages. You've got to put Daryl Smith in that category, too. The fact that they were kind of playing the quarterback game against Peyton [Manning], who's the best at it, and did a really good job of hiding coverages, hiding pressure intensions and creating some free runners for our blitzers [was great]. The safeties and the linebacker have a lot to do with that."
WR Steve Smith Sr. on punt returns – is that more of a function of WR Michael Campanaro not getting a lot of reps in the latter portion of training camp, or is Steve the guy going forward? (Ryan Mink)"It is both. Steve [Smith Sr.] loves doing it, and I think he likes the blocking he's going to get from our guys. And if he gets good blocking, any kind of a playmaker wants to be out there with the ball in his hands. So, he wants to do it. And 'Camp' [Michael Campanaro] – I didn't really want to put him in that environment in that situation where he hasn't done enough of it. So, it is both. If 'Camp' gets more reps, he can go back there and do it. We have 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb]. Webby practices all the time; he can go back there and do it. I think we have guys that can do it and be effective. But I kind of like Steve back there; he looks good to me back there."
John, you talked about – a little – about the decisions with the active/inactive, and you mentioned OLB Za'Darius Smith. How much was that dictated by your needs at other positions rather than a reflection of anything he did or didn't do? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It was absolutely that. We needed legs; we needed fast guys. We only had four corners. We needed another fast guy to run on special teams, and Darren [Waller] could have played a little bit on offense. I think if we'd had more offensive plays, you would have seen him out there, because we had some situation plays for him that we never got to. But we needed legs on special teams, and that was really why we did it."
What'd you think of CB Lardarius Webb – he was limited throughout, obviously, the preseason – and getting, really, his first game? (Brent Harris)"I thought he played well. I thought 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] played well. He made a couple plays; he kind of got his feet under him. They had the first play, the nine route where they missed it, and I think that kind of gave him a sense of the speed of the game a little bit. And he adjusted to it really well."
How much did the play-calling on offense change with the increased pressure that they got on QB Joe Flacco? Did you have a lot more tight ends, or kept, maybe, some backs in blocking? (Brett Hollander)"The way the game went dictated the play-calling as much as anything else. Our defense was playing really well, and we didn't want to put our defense out of the game unnecessarily. We wanted to play a little more conservatively, maybe, in that kind of game. We didn't want to put the ball at risk, and then we ended up having a bad play that we'd love to have back. So, that's the thing. Sometimes you do your best to avoid something like that; then it happens anyway. And that was tough, but the pressure we were getting was a problem. Those guys can rush the passer, both with the pressures – which were all the pressures we've seen. [Broncos defensive coordinator] Wade [Phillips] didn't do anything he hasn't done before. We had prepared for all those. We practice against them guys coming off the edge with the speed rush and the speed, the power. And our tackles, they have to do a better job. They have to set square, and they have to punch on time. And when they do that, they'll do well against anybody, and when you don't do that, you're not going to do well against anybody. So, that was, really, an issue for us in the course of the game. We had plans to chip and to keep backs in and things like that. We didn't get to them as much as we should have. We should've gotten to those a little bit more often and slowed that rush down. A lot of that at the end of the game, it is hard to chip your way out in two-minute, because you really have to push the ball down the field. So, you need receivers out to do that. But earlier in the game, we probably could have done a better job of that."
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro sounded confident today on social media that he's going to get back out there. He's got kind of more of an upbeat look, pretty good. Are you pretty optimistic about him? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Yes, I'm going to have to talk to him about that. [Lorenzo] Taliaferro, [Timmy] Jernigan – way too much chatter out there on social media. Maybe, [senior vice president of public and community relations] Kevin [Byrne], make a note of that." (laughter) (Kevin Byrne: "We have, coach.") *"Thank you. It's getting a little out of control with those guys, those young guys."(Byrne: "Injury reports from the players, that's unusual.")* "Right. The players don't do injury reports. I'm optimistic. If he's optimistic, I'm optimistic."(laughter) (Jamison Hensley: "Is there anything such as Twitter fines?") *"There will be. *(laughter) *Thank you. It is a good idea. [ESPN.com* reporter] Jamison Hensley – that was his idea. That's for the players. Twitter fines have now become a part of our discipline system. Thank you, Jamison." *(laughter) (Byrne: "Jamison's picture will be posted…") (Jamison Hensley: "No one else will talk to me.") (laughter) *"That's right. It's a good idea."