HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening Statement: "[It's] good seeing everybody. I appreciate you being here. [It was a] good practice. All eyes are beginning to be pointed completely towards Sunday at 1:00 P.M. That's what we're working for, [and] we're looking forward to it. What questions do you have?"
Is there a particular game or series a year that stands out in your memory? (Melissa Kim) "There's a lot. There's so many. More than anything, I remember all of them, I think. I probably couldn't tell you which year. The wins were a lot better than the losses I can tell you that. I probably remember the losses more than the wins, but right now really, I'm not thinking too much about that. I don't think anyone really is. We're focused on task at hand. We'll try and go in there and really play our best football game and be ready to go."
How have you seen the rivalry with the Steelers evolve throughout the years, especially with changes in rosters? (Kyle Barber) "Well, yes. [former Steelers defensive lineman] Brett Keisel was playing the four-technique when I first started to give you an idea. It was a heck a defensive line. I remember it well. You couldn't get them cut off on the back side. So, that's part and parcel of the evolutionary nature of the National Football League and life, I would say. So, right now the present is at hand, and the present is Sunday at 1:00 P.M.
QB Aaron Rodgers mentioned he's rehabbing with RB J.K. Dobbins, and they both had the same type of Achilles surgery and Aaron Rodgers says possibly he may return at the end of the season. Is it the sole belief that J.K. Dobbins will be done for the year or is there a possibility that later in the season, he may make a return? (Jamison Hensley) "I don't know. That's something that's between J.K. [Dobbins] and the trainers and the doctors, I'm sure. That's not something that I've been focusing on at this time. It's kind of more week to week for us in terms of the challenge at hand. So, if he can get back, that'd be awesome, I'd be all for it. But I really don't know the answer to that."
Is keeping three quarterbacks on the roster a week-to-week thing? How do you evaluate that when you're getting guys back and roster space becomes a bigger issue? Does that make it more challenging having three quarterbacks on the roster? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It does. We kind of made the decision that we were going to try to go that route this year already, as you know, so that's obvious. So, we want to do that because the opportunity to have three quarterbacks available in a given game is something that we feel good about, and we like all three quarterbacks. We have three quarterbacks there – two backups – that can start in the National Football League and have. So, we feel very strongly about that. We want to take advantage of that situation as much as we can."
What has been T Morgan Moses impact on the team overall?_ (Jamison Hensley)_ "He's our starting right tackle. Morgan [Moses]'s been playing the best football here – he might tell you this – of his whole career. He's really played really well. He's a force out there; he's a force of nature, especially on the pulls and things like that. So, he's doing everything he can to get back for Sunday, and we'll see what happens."
Are there any players that you are ruling out for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers? (Kyle Barber) "I don't know. I don't think anybody's going to be ruled out, but [the injury report] will be coming out very soon." (laughter) "You'll see it very quickly."
Do you have any memories of legendary Chicago Bear and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus who passed away yesterday? (Jim Forner) _"I'm like probably everybody here, especially everybody that's [in] our age group." _(laughter) "I have to clarify that. We grew up watching Dick Butkus videos, because it was just after his career basically. You couldn't talk about a linebacker in the National Football League without talking about Dick Butkus. Dick Butkus – that is the same as saying 'linebacker.' You said Dick Butkus, it meant linebacker. Next to the definition of linebacker was Dick Butkus. Then, there was [former Green Bay Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker] Ray Nitschke right in there and [former Philadelphia Eagles and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker] Chuck Bednarik was right in there with that group. That was an era that we grew up looking at black and white NFL films about with the voiceover. Rest in peace, Dick Butkus. He's a legendary player who ... Without players like Dick Butkus, and without Dick Butkus, the League would not be what it is today. There's no question about that. We should all be very grateful [for Butkus] for those of us who love football."
Lately, there have been some comparisons drawn between LB Roquan Smith and legendary former Ravens linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. Do you see any similarities between the two? (Carita Parks) _"They're both great linebackers. We're talking about linebackers – it's linebacker day, obviously." _(laughter) "That's this era – Ray Lewis and now the next generation is Roquan Smith. I do see a lot of similarities. They both play for the Ravens. I think that's a real big one that I'm really appreciative of. I'm glad they both play for the Ravens. Ray [Lewis] did, and 'Ro' [Roquan Smith] does. I think the leadership and the ability to make everybody around them better – the style of play, certainly, is in the same world – but, they're their own, individual player. They're not the same. No two players ever are, and that's what's really important, as a coach, to understand. You're not searching for the same player. The replacement is not the same player. No two players – no two human beings – are ever alike, but you do look for the same qualities. 'Ro' certainly has the qualities in that world. He has a lot of football in front of him and has an opportunity to write his own – the book – on his career."
WR ODELL BECKHAM JR.
On how he is feeling:"I feel good. [I] just feel good to be back out there [and] keep the energy high. It's tough when you work so hard, and little things happen, or whatever it is, but I'm just focused on the present and happy to be back out there."
On if he expects to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers:"Yes. I expect to be out there. [We'll] see what we have going on in the gameplan."
On if he tried to play last week against the Cleveland Browns: "We tried. It just was ... Sometimes the risk – you do the body, the mind, everything's good. It just happened to be what happened. Sometimes – you know how life is – you just have to go with the flow."
On it's been frustrating to come back from his injury:"Yes, absolutely. I feel like that's been God's biggest test to me is patience. Early on in my life, I feel like I failed at tests a lot by what my own heart desired and not what his plan is. That's a very hard line to walk. There's so much you want to do, but God has his own plans, and it's usually not your plan. [I] just have to stay patient, listen [and] be faithful. I feel like that's where your faith comes in, and now I'm here where I'm at, and I feel good about it."
On what he anticipates for his first Steelers vs. Ravens rivalry game:"I've been [in] the [Cleveland] Browns [versus] Steelers [rivalry]. [I've played in] the Browns-Ravens [rivalry]. I think the whole division, it's all the same. I know the history between the two, so I don't imagine it being any different than when I was on [the] Cleveland [Browns]. This whole division is a tough group for each of these four teams to go against each other."
On if he takes positives away from finding a way to win games despite the injuries on offense: "Absolutely. I think that's the best thing about this team. We always talked about it. When 'X,' 'Z,' 'Y,' – whoever it was – wasn't playing, the next man has to step up. To see that this is a team with the record that we have ... We're just a good team, a very good team. I don't think we've played our best game yet. Actually, I know we haven't played our best game yet. I don't really think we've played the best of games, but we're still finding ways to win. It's not really close, so to say. It's a lot of things that we're doing wrong to where the games are ending the way that they're ending. I take that as a positive to know we haven't played our best football, and we're still finding ways to win and be successful. That's probably my favorite thing about what we have going on right now."
On how he has seen the offense progress through the first four games and his comfort level with it:"I think it goes back to what I was just talking about. I think that's the best part about it is ... We see the flashes – we see that – but we know as a group internally [that] we're not hitting on everything the way that we could be hitting on. That's a positive to know that the ceiling is what it is, and we're not there at the ceiling. It's only Week 4. You just keep finding ways to progress and get better. It's very interesting when you have that perspective of it. I think it leaves us with a lot of room to improve and things for us to be excited for."
On if there was ever a moment where he knew he injured his ankle: "It was more preventative. It was more like a ... I've gone through a lot in my life, and I just can't take any more heartbreak. I know later on in life, some things will happen, or whatever it is, but it was just more preventative. It's a long season, and we have a great setup for the back half of the season. [I] want to be able to play in those big-time games. You just have to do the smart thing and know that the team that we have here is still going to find a way to get it done with or without me. [It's] the same way when someone else is not playing. We're going to find a way to get it done. That's just the mentality that we all have here, and I think that's one of the strongest qualities and best things about this team."
ILB ROQUAN SMITH
On his thoughts on the passing of Dick Butkus:"[I] definitely [have] a lot of respect for [Dick] Butkus and the legendary life that he lived and the way he played the game. [I] definitely have had many encounters with him as well as his son, Matt, whether that's going to dinners, having a drink – sharing a drink or something like that – or just chopping up ball. So, [it] definitely sucks, man, but you know, it's part of life. I'm definitely praying for the family, and I know it's a tough time for them, so I can only imagine how tough it is when losing a legend like that."
On what it's like being compared to ILB Ray Lewis: "Honestly, just being mentioned in the same sentence as Ray Lewis, it's humbling for sure. I just try go out, week-in and week-out, and just play my style, who I am a person, and I'm Roquan [Smith]. I just try to go out and play that style. Ray did his thing for many years [and is] considered the greatest to ever play the position in many eyes. I always will have a great deal of respect for him, and I'm just grateful to be in a position or even be [mentioned] in the same sentence as Ray."
On how he views lifting up other guys and being a tone setter on the team: "Honestly, I just look at it as just me being myself. I don't try to say, 'Oh, I need to do this,' or 'I need to do that.' I think the best person to be is yourself, and that's who I know how to be, 100 percent. I've been myself, always and forever. That's just what I'll always be, and I'll never try to change up regardless of the circumstances, situation or whatever the case may be. I feel like guys respect that even from a far as well as guys who are close to me. So, that's what I just try to do, day-in and day-out, and never switch [it] up."