head coach john harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody. [We are] back in our [normal auditorium] setting here. It's good to have you guys back, good to be back. We would have hoped to have come back with more victories under our belt, but we didn't, and that's the situation we find ourselves in going forward. We are going to have to deal with it and work from this position that we're in and improve and find a way to win some football games. But, I am really confident in our guys' ability to do that. I know they're going to go to work and try to get that done. We had a five-hour plane ride last night coming back, and I know every single guy on the team watched the tape. I know every single coach on the team watched the tape. [We were] back at it again this morning studying the tape and on to Cincinnati here in the last few hours. That's what you have to do in the National Football League. We have to go forward, and we have every opportunity to accomplish what we need to accomplish. We just have to get better. We have to find a way to make the plays we need to make when we need to make them, and hopefully, at home we can do those things."
**Any thought given now given the results of this game to reevaluate whether or not you're going to stay out west for the second trip? *(Joe Platania) *"Not given the results of the game so much, as how it impacts us the next [time]. It's a longer trip. Usually, when you go west, you go two days early – which we'll do in San Francisco – and then we don't play until Monday night [in Arizona]. So, we'll look at that in the next couple of days and make a decision."
**[There were] two penalties against you guys on the last drive – S Will Hill III and then DT Timmy Jernigan. Now that you have watched the tape, I wanted to see what your impressions were of those penalties. *(Cliff Brown) *"The Timmy Jernigan one was a foolish penalty – really inexcusable. There was no reason for that whatsoever – [or] at any time during the game, but especially in two-minute. But that was just a way late hit, and I don't understand that one; it hurt us. The other one, I'm still looking for it. I don't see it on tape, so I'm not sure what to tell Will [Hill III] on that. It looked like a good play to me."
John, is it a little tougher, because in the first game the offense struggled and then in the second game it was the defense? So, there's not really one unit to specify. It's more or less you've got to go both ways there? (Dave Ginsburg) *"Yes, *Í would say so. None of us played well enough to win either game. That's how I look at it. You can look at it that way, and I think it is fair to do that. I guess you can look at it from a negative perspective or a positive perspective that way. What are we capable of being? Who are we really? That's what we are going to find out over the course of the next few weeks. Which one is it going to be?"
John, on the positive side, TE Crockett Gilmore had a really strong game, specifically in the first half. Is kind of what you – as an organization – have been so excited to finally see that come to fruition? (Luke Jones)"Crockett [Gillmore] has played pretty well both games, and I've seen him make the plays he's capable of making. He's a heck of a blocker, and he can continue to improve there. He's still young. He can make plays out in the field. He has range. He's a big, strong, athletic guy. Obviously, the catch and run plays were pretty impressive. But still, there were things in there that he has to do better, and he'll be the first to tell you. He's looking at some assignment issues and some technique issues that he has to improve on. So, that's really what we look at. You take everybody where they are at right now and try to improve on what they're doing."
John, it looked like WR Breshad Perriman was doing a lot more in the pre-game [warm-up] yesterday. Does that suggest he's maybe close to coming back? (Childs Walker)"Not that I've been told. I have no update on it."
John, it is pretty tough in the National Football League to plan things exactly the way you'd like them. When WR Anquan Boldin left, very early that next season you had two key injuries to WR Jacoby Jones and then to TE Dennis Pitta. Is it similar with the defense with the decision to deal DT Haloti Ngata, and then OLB Terrell Suggs goes down? (Stan Charles)"I haven't really given that any thought. That's a pretty deep question. To make that comparison, I'm probably not prepared to do that."
John, the results aside, were you happy with the way it went out west, with the fact that you didn't have to travel and everything. Despite the 0-2, maybe, was that the only negative about what went on out there? (Dave Ginsburg)"I was happy with our guys. First of all, the organization – I appreciate you bringing that back up again – but the organization was phenomenal, [from owner] Steve Bisciotti making the commitment to do that, the people involved – our equipment guys, our firemen, our trainers, [senior vice president of operations] Bob Eller, [director of team travel] Joan [Fennekohl] and the people in the organization that do the things to make the trips work – all the behind-the-scenes effort that goes into it. I told the team during the week that when you have a chance to be here all together for the entire week, you see how much goes into a football game – a National Football League game – how much effort [it takes] from the players, from the coaches. I know the players saw the coaches working Monday and Tuesday putting the gameplan together. Coaches saw the players coming over and watching tape. So, our players were committed. Our guys were in the hotel working on football all week. I would have loved to reap the benefits of that and been able to stand up here and talk about what a plus that was in winning two football games. But, we're not able to do that, because we didn't get the job done. But from the effort – the work effort – we can stand on that foundation going forward. We came a long way as a football team over the course of the week, and I'm proud of the way the organization handled it. So, we just have to keep building on them. We have to find a way to improve."
You said earlier that you would evaluate it and assess [the second West Coast trip]. Is there a chance that you won't go back, or what would the factors be that you wouldn't do that between the San Francisco and Arizona games? (Dave Ginsburg) "We'll just try to do what's best. I don't have the list of the factors in front of me, and I really don't see the value of detailing all that out. I think we'll make a decision in the next couple days, what we think is going to be best for us, and it's not a big deal. If we go, we'll do it. If we stay, it'll be because [we] and the players feel like it would be the best thing. And if we don't, it would be because we'd rather get back here and be in our home confines. [We'll decide] which is best, especially in a long week. If it was a short week, it would be a no-brainer to stay out there. When it is a long week, it becomes a little bit of a decision."
You face another talented group of receivers this week again with Cincinnati. What have you seen from them as far as their core? (Todd Karpovich)"We've seen a lot of them over the years, and they have a lot of really good receivers – they have weapons. I'll tell you, I do believe it is the most talented team in the league. I've seen that over the years. We have great respect for them, for their coaches [and] the way they play. Obviously, it starts with A.J. Green, but the whole cast of characters there on offense is very talented and gifted – tight ends, running backs, quarterback. The whole group is very good, and they have a heck of an offensive line. I'd say they're the complete package, talent-wise."
John, I know you expect to have OLB Jason Babin in the mix moving forward. He just arrived last week, but OLB Elvis Dumervil played – I think it was – his highest number of snaps with you guys. I realize he was a full-time player in Denver, but how much of that is a challenge now wanting to continue to generate pass rush and production from him and OLB Courtney Upshaw but also realizing there's an equation to keeping everyone fresh, not just in a single game, but over the course of the season? (Luke Jones)"Yes, that's always a factor, really, always on defense, and putting guys out there the optimal number of reps and having enough players to be able to do that. If you have enough guys to do that, it sure makes it easier and better to do that. So, whatever players we think can help us are going to be out there, and we have some options. We have some guys we like, and we'll try to find a way to get those guys on the field and get them contributing."
John, you alluded to this a little bit earlier, but is there a comfort being back home as you try to dig out of this hole? (Childs Walker) "It's good to be home. You get eight [games] at home and eight on the road, so we're looking forward to getting one at home this week and seeing if we can make the most of it."
John, I know you guys don't like giving up big plays, and you gave one to WR Amari Cooper right off the bat. I was just curious, did that affect anything going forward the way you guys played as far as, I don't know, maybe giving more of a cushion or changing coverage or not? (Cliff Brown) "I don't think one play determines how you play a gameplan, but if you look at the defensive situation of what happened on defense, it's not hard to figure out what happened. We had missed tackles. We had missed assignments. We had breakdowns in coverage. We had missed alignments. We played about as unsound as you can play in a lot of different ways. We had effort for the most part, but I'll even say we didn't have the kind of effort we need to have on defense – the kind of all-out, flying-around effort that we expect from a Ravens' defense. And our defense played the way we expect them to play the week before, and they didn't play the way we expect them to play this week. If we're going to have a chance to be a successful football team, our defense has to step up and play like the Ravens play, and that's the expectation. That's where the bar is set, and we're going to have the guys out there that do that. And it's on us as coaches to put the right guys out there, teach them to do the right things and have the right schemes in place. If guys aren't lining up right, that's on us. That's on them and us. It's on us together – all of us – coaches and players together. It's our job to get that fixed. It's not the fans' job. It's not the media's job. It's our job, and we need to get it done. We expect to play great defense around here, and that's just not what we did on Sunday."
**John, what did you see from OLB Za'Darius Smith in his first NFL game after being inactive in the opener? *(Luke Jones) *"I saw OK, average play. [Za'Darius Smith] gave a little effort, and he was out there. Just like everybody else, they all have to play better."
John, when you look at the struggles you guys had generating a consistent pass rush, is that a matter of the guys you have playing better? Is it a matter of finding new designs? What's going to be the key for you guys and what you have going forward? (Childs Walker) "It starts with the offense. The offense is designed to get the ball out in that game. We've had this conversation many times before in these press conferences. When a team is determined to get the ball out fast, then you're not going to get a lot of hits – quarterback hits – and you're not going to get a lot of sacks. What you have to do is defend those quick throws, and we didn't defend the quick throws as well as we need to, because of the missed tackles and some of the missed alignments. If you force those throws to be no-gains, one gain, minus-2, 3-yard gains, when the ball is coming out fast, then you force them to hold the ball a little bit longer and to gain some yards and you get to the quarterback. That's the No. 1 issue there. We didn't play the boots particularly well. I think [Derek Carr] had way too much time on the boots. He was able to stand back there on the keepers and boots almost forever and throw the ball. We have to figure out how to get that changed. But from a pass-rush standpoint, those are the two situations – the quick throws and the boots."