RAVENS POSTGAME QUOTES
SEPT. 10, 2017
BALTIMORE AT CINCINNATI
Initial comments ...
"Really good win. Very valuable win for our football team — win the opener, a road opener, a division game against a very good football team with lots of weapons that was playing very well in the preseason. Very happy with our guys. The credit goes to our players — the players got the job done and played winning football. And to our coaches — our coaches did a great job of getting guys ready. The game plan was very solid, very strong. I thought our players executed and coaches taught it very well."
What did you think of Terrell Suggs' performance?
"I thought Terrell Suggs played great from what I could tell. I think he was in the backfield pretty regularly. They had to hold him, had to grab him, had to tackle him. He was a huge factor in the game."
Defensively, you got the shut out. Standing on the sidelines, did anything stand out to you with the defense?
"I just think we were on point. That's an offense that presents you with a lot of problems. They move guys around, put them in different spots. They've got different playmakers that do different things for them. They do a good job of hiding those things and getting in position to have matchup problems where they want. We didn't really allow too much of that to happen and I think that's a real credit to our guys."
How gratifying was that drive in the third quarter that you took off almost 10 minutes? I don't think you completed a pass on the drive. You just kept running ...
"I think that goes in the category of doing what it takes to win the game. Our guys did that. To run for those first downs, even on third down — it was downhill football. The backs ran north and south, they got their pads down and ran upfield, protected the football. The line was physical. It was a very important drive because it took the time off the clock and really put them behind the eight ball in terms of their chances to come back. And we got three out of it. Sure, we would have loved to get seven, but the time plus the three was hugely valuable."
You talked about wanting to run the ball throughout the offseason. Is that something you thought you wanted to get after today and do this?
"Well, we wanted to, but I'll say this, you've got to do whatever you have to do to win the game. The fact that we were able to crack them a little bit and hit a few runs, I thought was important for us. I don't know what we ran for or what the numbers were or anything like that, but I know we're going to get better at everything we do, and every game is going to be played out a little bit differently, but this was a game that running the ball turned out to be a key to. I thought we were really patient with it. I thought we called it really well. I thought we blocked it really well and our guys ran it really well. Joe (Flacco) was a big part of that as well, in terms of organizing it. It was a good day that way."
How did you feel Joe held up?
"Well — Joe's tough. That's the thing about Joe Flacco — he's really tough. I'd like to keep him cleaner, obviously. We're going to have to keep working to do that. Joe's just a tough dude and I'm really proud of him. You've got to respect him."
Are you surprised in general with how well today went?
"I'm not surprised with as well as it went. It's always a tough place to come in here and play, so you don't expect a game like that. It was a different game. It's a tough game when it ends up going like that. I was kind of joking because we were going to win the game, but we were running like 40 seconds off the clock at a time after that one drive — that was a huge drive. After that we didn't convert very many first downs. It was one of those kinds of games, though. The defense was really getting after it with the turnovers. (It was nice) to be up 20-0 after a quarter and a half and be in the kind of mode where we were just running the ball. We talked a little bit on the sideline about taking a shot on the sidelines or something like that, but they were still kind of protecting (against) that. The last thing you want to do is drop back, with the mode we were in for a quarter and a half, and do something stupid to let them back in the game or have something crazy happen. It was definitely a different game. It was one of our old-fashioned games. It reminded me of my first couple games as a rookie. It was one of those where we had to run the ball late in the game and just run the clock out. It's good coming here to get a win. I don't care how you do it."
You took a few hits out there. How do you feel now?
"I felt good. My back didn't take anything, really. My chin did on one those play-action plays down on the goal line."
How fun is to be playing on the offense when your defense is playing the way that they were today?
"Let's be honest. I was 9-for-17, for a hundred and a couple (121) yards. I mean, it's not that fun. I'd rather throw for 350 and win 42-0. But it's fun to win, and that's the most important thing."
Did it feel any different at all, after not having training camp or preseason and being out there for the first time in the opener?
"Not really. Same as always. (I was) lying in my bed this morning, trying to kind of stay in bed until a certain time, but you can't. You start thinking about the game, your job, doing all those things. Up until that whistle blows at one o'clock and you take the field, all that goes away and you start playing. Once you get out there on the field, you're back in the huddle."
How much did it hurt to have Danny Woodhead go down early in the game with an injury?
"You can see what he's capable of doing. Hopefully we have some guys that can step up and make some plays. We've got a good receiving corps. Mike (Wallace) is one of those. Mike's one of those quick little guys that can do stuff on the side. Danny's been struggling with that hammy. I don't know what this one is, but it will definitely hurt us."
What's it like in the huddle when these guys are pounding the football?
"They love that. My job's just to keep the task at hand — keep them on the task at hand. For instance, when you've got two minutes and something left in the game, we want to end with the ball there. We want to get the last first down and take a knee. We don't want to put our defense back out there. They live for those drives that we have."
You guys talked about how good this defense could be. Is this what you had in mind?
"No. We did some good things today, but we're still a little (ticked) off about the bad things that happened. Me personally, I (messed) up on a particular play that almost cost us. By the grace of god, we had 10 other Ravens on the field and it didn't cost us. I'm talking about the one to A.J. Green — that's my guy. It's a good place to start, but you can't be satisfied. I'm in Year 15 (of my career), and I've seen it all, with all kinds of starts and all kinds of finishes. It's good to take one. We're going to enjoy it right now. It felt good."
You said this was as good as you felt physically in years. Do you feel that showed today, with a couple of sacks and a batted pass?
"We did some good things, but I think it's going to get better. There were some plays where we could have gotten off the field earlier, sooner. The guys schemed up and you had to kind of react to them. Like I said, we did some good things. But be more concerned with things we didn't do so well. We're going to go back and try and get those fixed."
But for you personally, last year you played almost half the season with basically one arm. How did it feel to be healthy out there today?
"It felt good. (Director of Performance) Steve Saunders, he pretty much trained me and got me where I, as a 15-year veteran, needed to be. It ain't perfect, but we strive to be perfect. There are some things for me personally that I still need to work on. We're just going to build from this until it's good."
How are you feeling?
"We did a good job showing different things. We did a great job with turnovers. We're plus-four (in turnover differential) after the first game. We have to keep building on that to make some big plays."
You were in Andy Dalton's face quite a bit ...
"He's a great quarterback. If you take his first route away, he can be very dangerous getting outside of the pocket and making plays. At the end, he started scrambling a bit, but our defense did a great job keeping pressure on him."
Andy Dalton threw only eight interceptions last year, and you guys got four off of him today ...
"It's a great start for the defense, and a great start for the team. It won't mean anything if we don't come out next week and play even better, especially against another conference opponent. It's always about getting better."
What happened on your interception in the end-zone ...
"We tried to show man (man-to-man) pressure. We knew it was a passing situation. I did a good job reading his eyes. Give credit to the coaches for putting us into the right positions."
You made a great play ...
"I felt like the ball was in the air for a long time. I tried to get as many return yards as I could, but I was tired from that whole drive."
How do you feel after a big win?
"It was amazing. We haven't gotten a win here since 2011, so to come in and have them not score any points was pretty awesome."
What did you talk about on defense when you continued to shut them down?
"We just wanted to keep our goals in mind and not let up. We started off fast in the first half and settled in on the run game. We wanted to apply pressure the whole game."
What are the conversations on the bench as you continued to make plays on defense?
"It's amazing. When you get them behind the chains, you can really let loose. We were rolling defensive lineman and everyone else, because we kind of knew what we were going to get. We were having fun."
How rewarding is it to shut out the Bengals in their home opener?
"It's very rewarding. Any time you can stop an explosive offense like those guys, it's amazing. You don't really expect it. We expected to have a strong game, but not to shut them out."
Did you feel the momentum going on your side early?
"We felt like we had them behind early and knew we just needed to continue to apply pressure."
How would you assess the offense's performance today?
"It seems like we did a good job. It felt like we were running effectively. I haven't seen the stats yet. The defense had five turnovers, and we ran the football well and protected Joe Flacco. It was fun out there."
How much did you enjoy being in that huddle?
"When we get to run the ball, it takes the air out of the defense and takes the air out of the pass rush. It helps our football team. That's what we're there to do — pass-block and run-block."
How does it feel as an offense when the defense is playing so well?
"We just had to be ready to capitalize. When we got the ball, we tried to score every time. We did a good job. It's awesome when they're getting turnovers. We had one turnover, so we were plus-four (in turnover differential), and that's going to help us win games."
What did you think of Joe Flacco's performance today?
"It's nice to not have to make him throw the ball 55 times in his first game. He had a good game, and we're going to keep rolling."