Transcripts: Ravens Practice 9/9

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody – appreciate you guys being here. [It is] a little earlier than we've had [the podium session] in the past, but hopefully the new schedule will be OK. We're just getting into Denver. Obviously, for an opener, you want to work hard throughout training camp on your opening game – even your first four games, which we have done – but now it's totally focused on the upcoming opponent. We think we know, we think we have an idea, but you never know in the opener for sure what somebody is going to do and how they're going to play, and the same [goes] with them as far as preparing for us. It's an opening game, and there are always challenges in terms of seeing new things. We'll certainly see things we haven't seen before up until this point from them, just like any opener."

When there is the unknown, how do you realistically prepare for Week 1 when there are new coaches in there that you are familiar with? How does that work? (Morgan Adsit) "You take both into account, [including] all the things we anticipate, or that we've seen them run, or [what] we think they can run based on the history of what they do or [what] their coaches have done in the past applied to the players that they have in their scheme. But, we also understand that our basic schemes and our fundamentals should be able to account for anything. So, you chase ghosts, but you realize that ghosts are real. We have to be prepared for whatever we can think that they might do."

*John, WR Steve Smith Sr. is an emotional player, as you know, and this is his final season opener. Do you expect … Is there a way for him to be even more emotional – do you think – for possibly this beginning of his last season? (Jamison Hensley) *"A way for Steve Smith to be more emotional? That's the question?" *(Reporter: "Or do you worry that his emotions might run a little high?") *"I don't worry about Steve. Steve is a great competitor, a very mature guy. I believe Steve knows what he's doing. He knows how to get himself ready to play. He knows how to channel his energy – probably better now than ever in his career. We all work on that. Steve is going to be focused and ready to play football, and it's going to be about football."

Can you talk about WR Kamar Aiken on the depth chart? It looks like he might start, especially with WR Breshad Perriman's injury. Can you talk about what he has done this summer to prove he's worthy of a starting spot? (Ryan Mink) "Kamar [Aiken] just continues to play solid football. That's his M.O. He has become a very consistent football player. He's very reliable, he's tough, he blocks, and he makes catches – makes catches when he's contested – runs good routes. [He is] just a very reliable football player."

**John, your defensive line … DT Haloti Ngata was traded in the offseason. Initially, DE Chris Canty was cut, but you brought him back. It's a very young group. How important is it to have Chris going in with a talented group, but a very inexperienced group? *(Luke Jones) *"I'd agree with that. Chris [Canty] is a leader. Chris probably is the anchor, as far as the veteran presence in there. Brandon Williams has become a veteran now. He's in his third year. That's how young we've become, but we like youth. Youth in football is a good thing. It's hard to play in the trenches. It's a chaos down in there, so young guys that can get after it and play hard are a plus. But, I would agree that Chris leads that group up right now."

Even though RB Lorenzo Taliaferro is not likely going to be around for this game, how happy have you been with the blitz pickup progress of the running backs? (Joe Platania) "Yes, they've made progress with that. That's a good point. I feel very confident that those guys are good pass protectors. It's hard for us to keep a running back that wouldn't be a good pass protector. It's hard for anybody nowadays. You like to be able to play them in all three downs – certainly play to their strengths – but all those guys look solid in pass protection right now."

We didn't see CB/RS Lardarius Webb at all in the preseason, but what have you seen from him on the practice field? He's obviously going to get a tough test this week going up against that offense. (Garrett Downing) "Yes, [Lardarius Webb] has been practicing since he came back last week, and he looks good. As you said, he's going to get a tough test. They have two Pro Bowl receivers [in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders]. I think they were, maybe, the No. 1 and No. 2 – [or] No. 1 and No. 3 – production receivers in the league last year, both on the same team. Of course, that has to do with the quarterback, but these are two talented guys, and they have plenty of guys coming and playing third receiver. Obviously, Owen [Daniels] is a go-to guy in critical situations, so they have lots of talent."

John, the secondary in general, there was a lot of attention on that this offseason with. You guys added some new faces like S Kendrick Lewis and CB Kyle Arrington and CB Tray Walker. Has it come along as you'd like to see so far? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Yes, so far, and [we are] anticipating good things from our secondary. I'm excited about those guys and feel very confident that they're going to play well."

John, I know you've always believed in running the football, and the offensive line – I think it's the first time you've had all five starters coming back. Can you talk about that group and how much they play into how well you think your offense will feed off the leadership? (Clifton Brown)"We're definitely – in a lot of ways – built around our offensive line. As you said, they're back this year. This will be the first time we've seen them together, so that's going to be exciting. It is nice to see them all out there at the same time, but they've all had plenty of work in training camp. They've worked really hard, and they should be on the same page. That's a big plus for us."

How exciting is that, that you have a line that is that experienced and that good at run blocking and pass blocking. Particularly when you get on the outside, you've got a lot of youth out there, aside from WR Steve Smith Sr. It gives them a little more time to figure things out, doesn't it? (Pete Gilbert)"Yes, exactly. I think you're right. The offensive line … I would always argue that football starts in the trenches. It probably ends with playmakers making plays to make the difference in the game, but if you're not good upfront on both sides, it's hard to overcome that. You've got to be *so *good – your playmakers and your quarterback and your cover guys have to be *so *good – that it's just hard to play that way. We'd always want to start and build our team inside-out. That's not to say we don't think you need playmakers – and you have to have a quarterback, which we're blessed with – [but] you have to have cover guys, you have to have pass rushers. You have to have inside linebackers that can cover as well as organize your defense. But, you have to be strong in the trenches. That's our philosophy here. It goes way back before I got here. It probably goes back before this franchise came to Baltimore, if you look at the history of the franchise. That's something we'll always believe in."

Coach, during the offseason – during the Super Bowl – the two teams got into a fight. How has the NFL talked to you guys about fighting in the upcoming season? (Kevin Richardson)"Regarding fighting, the NFL has … We had conversations in the offseason at the owners meetings, and they showed a lot of clips. It's on the training tapes for the officials – and for the coaches and the players – as a point of emphasis, and it's something that they've sent memos out about. Our guys are very aware of that. The thing we've always coached and preached is the fact that you do your work between the lines, between the whistles and between your ears. That's where the fight* *takes place. It's a football fight. There's no other kind of fight that can benefit us or value us. We don't have very many fights at practices; you guys see that. I'm confident our guys are going to be about football."

Sometimes when former coordinators go back against their former teams it's considered a grudge match. Given that Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak was here one year – and it seems like he left on decent terms – is that this game for you guys, or is it just kind of another season opener? (Jon Meoli)"I wouldn't use that word. It never even would have come to mind, really, for this game. I think that goes to your point. It's a football game against a coaching staff we respect, obviously, and a group of players that we respect very much. It's a very talented football team that they've put together. It's in a stadium that we have great respect for. We've played there before. We know how hard it is to play there. They have great fans. And it's a big challenge for us, but it's an AFC opportunity. It's an opportunity to go out there in an opener and win a game on a road that people don't expect you to win. So, that's going to be our goal, just like every week.  It's a big challenge, but we feel like we have just the men for the job.

And have you kept in contact with Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak over the offseason, possibly because you know the first game is going to be between you guys? Did that maybe factor in not as much? (Jamison Hensley)"Maybe. I'm not a guy that keeps in touch with too much of anybody. (laughter) You can ask my friends that. I don't make too many calls. I don't text. I'm not on Facebook, but there's somebody named John Harbaugh on Facebook. I'd like to know who that person is. *(laughter) *I hope there's a disclaimer on that." *(Reporter: "They're not posing as you, are they?") *"No, they say it is not, I guess. But, no, we really haven't talked that much."

CB Kyle Arrington

On whether facing the Broncos in Week 1 will be a measuring bar for the Ravens' secondary: "It's about as tough as it gets. They don't make them easy, I'll tell you. Definitely all the kudos and credit and all the accolades [go to Peyton Manning], and obviously, Peyton has [those accolades]. He's as good as they come – so cerebral, studies the game and plays it the way it should be. It's definitely going to be a tough challenge for us."

On whether QB Peyton Manning is tougher in September compared to later in the season: "You're in for a challenge no matter what time of year you play that guy. Like I said, he's going to come with everything he has, and we're trying to just do the same thing on our end."

On how confident he is in the secondary: "I feel like we have a talented bunch. We have some depth, too. The key for us … Ultimately, it's easier said than done [if] everybody stays healthy, because you would like to definitely try to build that continuity as a group. Like I said, it's always easier said than done. It's the nature of the beast in this business. But like I said, I think we have a very talented and deep group, so we're looking forward to getting after it."

On the mental aspect QB Peyton Manning brings to the game: "It's a chess match out there. You give [Peyton Manning] one look, he's going to check to a different play. Shoot, he might ... It might be a double check. He might run the same play that he has called, and then our quarterback on our defense with Daryl [Smith] is out there doing the same thing. It's going to be a good matchup."

On his emotions leading into Week 1: "It's not my first rodeo. *(laughter) *You always get some butterflies that morning of. I guess it's more angst than anything. I'm definitely ready to go out there and get that first hit underway. Then you know you're back to playing football."

On how prepared the defense can feel going into the first game against Denver: "A lot goes into it. We've obviously been working on them for over a week now, so I'm sure they've been doing the same. This game will pretty much come down to in-game adjustments, because I'm sure just like we did, they didn't put all their stuff out there in the preseason."

On not putting too much emphasis on the result of the first game: "You play the game to win. [There are] different philosophies of all different coaches and things like that, but as players, we feel like we just try to go out there and win our one-one-one matchups for 60 minutes, just try to do our job and get that done."

On if he's going to watch the Patriots vs. Steelers game and who he will root for: "Who will I root for? Man, I'm just a fan of the game at that point. I just want to see a good football game."


QB Joe Flacco

On whether it will be weird to face Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak in the season opener: "No, it won't be weird. I'll go say hi to those guys. I made a great relationship with all of them, so I'll probably go up and joke around about something – nothing probably too serious."

On playing Denver for the first time since 2013: "It's different teams. I think both the games I played out there [the 2012 playoff and 2013 season opener] are probably in your mind a little bit. Myself, I like going there. I have a good feeling about that stadium, even the first time I stepped in and just started warming up. It's a pretty cool place to play. It's a good atmosphere, and I'm excited about going back up there."

On what he took away from Gary Kubiak in his lone year as Baltimore's offensive coordinator: "We're doing some similar things still. And the biggest thing for me is just going out there and playing fast and playing with a quiet mind and not overcomplicating things. Like I said, playing fast and getting through things quickly, being accurate [are the biggest things]."

On if injuries on offense have made it difficult to gain confidence in the group: "I'm sure it doesn't help, but I think we have a great group of guys that have been practicing. No matter who's been out, I feel confident about who's in, because most of the guys that we have out here have some kind of playing experience and have gone out there and shown that they can play very, very well. I don't think it has really hurt us too much. I think if anything, it gives some guys that normally wouldn't have, maybe, gotten as many reps as they did, [it has] given them some more confidence [in] getting them ready to go. At some point, we're going to need everybody, and it's nice to get guys reps that otherwise [they] wouldn't have gotten."

On whether Kubiak knows his thought process in certain situations and whether that will make it tough to have success against the Broncos: "No. [Gary Kubiak is] not the defensive coordinator, and I don't know how much he knows my thought process. Yes, we worked together and all that, but we were running an offense, he [was] putting the game plan together, and I [was] trying to execute it to the best of my ability. Obviously, there was a little bit of input here and there, but I think all the [past] stuff is overrated. You have to go out there and play the football game, and it's whoever plays better on that day."

On there not being a lot of proven receivers on the roster besides WR Steve Smith Sr. and whether that's concerning: "I can see from the outside how maybe it is [concerning]. But look, Marlon [Brown] came in with no experience a couple years ago and scored all kinds of touchdowns for us and played really, really well. Kamar [Aiken] got a lot of experience last year and is just growing and growing as a player. Crockett Gillmore is becoming a really, really good tight end. We have guys that can do it, and it's all about going out there and playing, and that's part of being in the NFL. Some guys are going to pop up, and you're going to make players out of guys, and guys are going to prove that they are players. That's just what it's all about. It's not about going out there and having a bunch of proven guys on your team that are all 38 years old. It's about getting guys that are young, explosive and you believe can play and going and proving it to everybody."

On what it will be like to have the same offensive line from last season: "It's really nice, because those guys are good. If they were a bunch of JV lineman, I don't think I'd feel good about it. (laughter) But, the fact that it is the group that it is, it feels great. The more they can play together, the better they're going to be, and they're starting from a really, really good level."

On whether the opening game comes with excitement after eight seasons: "It is one of many to come, but no matter how you put it, it's exciting. We've waited a long time for this. There's a lot of buildup around it, because for four months, people have been coming up to us all saying, 'I can't wait for football to start! I can't wait!' And I'm like, 'OK, take it easy.' (laughter) But now it's that time, so there's a lot of buildup. It is exciting, even though it is just one of 16 [games] at the end of the day, and that's what you have to make it. It's just tough to do that, because we have been waiting for six months or so to come back out and play and get back out there and line up for real. We'll all be excited about it."

On whether the season opener is the team's first test: "Yes. It's pretty easy [to say that]. They all count. There's something that matters in all those preseason games – guys' jobs are on the line, who's going to be on our team, stuff like that. Everything matters, and we want to go win those games, but you really don't know. We can talk about how good we are all we want. That's why I'm not really big on doing that. We have to go out there and play well, and it doesn't matter in the preseason. You have to go out there and play well regular season on into February. I think that it is true; in a lot of ways, this is the first real test. It is the first real test. In a lot of ways, it is the first test, and I think we're ready for it, but [we] have to go out there and prove it."

On what the celebration would be like in Newark, DE if he threw a touchdown pass to fellow Delaware alum TE Nick Boyle: "I have no idea. I think they like to have a good time there no matter what. (laughter) Hopefully, there are some Ravens fans there – they're close enough – and [they had] a couple of us on the team, obviously, like you said. I think they like to have a good time. I think it'll be pretty good."

On what he thinks of the Ravens being a popular Super Bowl pick: "I don't know. It's all a bunch of nothing. It doesn't mean anything at this point. After the third week, we could be 3-0, and [the media] could still be saying that we're not very good now all of a sudden. Who knows? It could totally flip. It doesn't matter. The bottom line is we have to give ourselves a chance to be there at that time, and it starts now. But, nobody really knows."

On whether the altitude change in Denver affects him: "I haven't noticed anything. To be honest with you, no. We don't stay there, typically, very long. We kind of get in and get out, and I think that's what's best from what we have heard. I haven't really noticed anything, but I always tell people I'm a quarterback. I'm not running routes every single play and really exerting too much energy. I don't know if I'm the best guy to ask."

On getting a lot of air under the ball considering Denver's high altitude level: "I think the ball definitely travels better. But even [considering] that, I think that's probably a little bit more correlated to Justin [Tucker] and how he kicks the ball and certain instances when we might kick it and [when] we might not. For me, I'm not going to throw the ball 85 yards in the air no matter what, so it doesn't matter if I can or can't."

On whether he thought WR Kamar Aiken would be a starting wide receiver in Week 1: "Yes, no doubt. I think he was in a position to do a lot of things for us last year just [by] looking at our lineup and with the experience he has. Yes, I fully expected it and [it is] not surprising."

On if he sees five of seven games on the road to start the season as an opportunity: "We have eight road games. We have eight home games. It doesn't really matter when you play them. You have to win as many as you can. Yes, I guess if you come out and play well in the beginning games and a lot of them are on the road, you're kind of getting them all out of the way. And if you're a good home team, then you have a lot to look forward to. But that's just dangerous territory to say, 'Hey, we have some early road games. If we win them, man, it's going to be really good,' because then you start feeling comfortable, and it's just not a good thing. You might take somebody for granted, or get a little bit too comfortable in how well we as a team are playing. Next thing you know, you lose two-straight games and you're in a big hole. At the end of the day, you have eight home and eight away for a reason. It doesn't really matter when you do it."

On what he would tell rookie Joe Flacco going into Week 1 that would have been helpful in 2008: "'You're going to be on the team, and you're going to be the starting quarterback eight years from now, so just go out and have fun and play confident. Don't worry about anything else,' I guess."

RB Justin Forsett

On if the Ravens' Week 1 matchup is "circled on the calendar" because former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak is now Denver's head coach:"Nothing was circled. This date was circled because it is Week 1. We're preparing for Week 1 all during the offseason. That's the only significance. There's no added extra value on coach 'Kubs' [Gary Kubiak] being there or not. Of course, we've all got relationships with him, but there's none of the extra stuff going on."

On if the team is ready for Denver having all offseason to prepare:"We've been preparing for it since the first day of offseason workouts, making sure that we're ready for Week 1 with – for [the] offensive side of the ball – a new coordinator, looking at film and everything. We've been preparing for a while now, working hard, and now it is time for us to execute."

On if conditioning is a factor for the starters having not played a complete, 60-minute game yet this season:"This is the pros; they pay us to be conditioned. [During] the offseason, we do a great job here of strength training and endurance training, and we'll be prepared. We'll be ready for anything they throw our way."

On if it will be good for him to see Gary Kubiak, and having his best NFL season in Kubiak's lone Baltimore season last year:"Yes, there are a lot of guys over there [who I played for]: coach 'Kubs' [Gary Kubiak], coach [Gregg] Knapp, Wade Phillips – those guys I played for – 'Rico' [Rick Dennison] and [Brian] Pariani. All those guys I played for before. I've got a relationship with all of them. It will be good to see them, but I want to win. And I'm trying to do everything I can right now to prepare for it, and I know – we as a team – we're doing the same."

On his relationship with Gary Kubiak and Kubiak's knowledge of Baltimore's offense being an advantage for Denver:"There have been some changes. Everybody knows what kind of team we are. We have an identity of being a run-first team, a team that's physical, smash-mouth football. We've got the same zone scheme that he runs, but we're just confident in what we can do. We can't worry about if he knows a little bit of what we do. We've just got to go out and execute."


CB Jimmy Smith

On his memories from the last matchup vs. the Broncos in 2013:"This is a trick question. My memories of the last one? I forgot; I'm a corner." *(laughter) (Reporter: "Pretty important. Was that hard to learn after that one – to forget?") *"Let me really think about this. Is that the one [Peyton Manning] put up seven [touchdowns] against us?" *(Reporter: "Yes.") *"I did forget about that. I did."

On if there are any advantages to competing against an offense led by Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak:"You could say he has the advantage against us the same [way], because he was here all with us last year, and he knows the defenses we run. We know what he runs. [It] still comes down to the players on Sunday – who's going to compete the hardest and who's going to come out with the victory."

On if he is as prepared for Week 1 as he wants to be:"I am prepared to go Week 1 through 16."

On how "hungry" the secondary is to prove itself:"[There are] obviously a lot of eyes on our group back there, but we have a sense of urgency just to be, kind of, that voice on defense as a unit, as a group. So, going into this game, it is a big game for us just to make sure all our communication is done, that [in] our first game, we actually look like the unit we want to be."

On if he gets the sense that CB Lardarius Webb is ready to play and "assert" himself again:"Yes, [Lardarius] Webb – this is what – [his] seventh year, I believe. When you get older in age, the games slow down a lot more for you. I'm not – me personally – I guess I'm not too worried about Webb missing preseason. I know he knows how to play the game. He knows what he's looking for; he's a smart player. I think he'll be ready to go."

On if QB Peyton Manning looks like he did in previous years on film:"Peyton Manning looks like Peyton Manning. He's still very accurate, he throws the ball on time, he knows checks, he knows all the stuff and he knows what we're going to be in before we're in it. We still [have] to be prepared for Peyton Manning."

On if he tries to put games like the Ravens' 2013 season opener behind him:"What game? What are you talking about?" *(laughter) (Reporter: "Understood. When you see the schedule come out and you see you're playing Peyton Manning in September – good weather conditions – do you think about that compared to when you might have been able to get him in December or January?") *"These are good questions today. *(laughter) *You've just got to play him. I'm not really worried if it is [the] first game [or] last game, he's going to be dangerous. He's still Peyton Manning, no matter what. All the hoopla about him in December compared to September, obviously, it's real. But, that's none of my concern. I know we've got him Week 1, and he's going to be ready Week 1. That's all of our concern."

On if the team is close to full strength regarding injuries in the preseason:"I'm fully ready to go." *(Reporter: "Not just you, but I mean the whole group.") *"Yes, obviously we're banged up in areas, we're missing some players, but this – with the Ravens, obviously – it's always been the next man up. That's the mentality going into Week 1."

On the process of acclimating two new starters to the secondary in S Kendrick Lewis and S Will Hill III:"I think Will [Hill III] is probably one of the top safeties in the NFL. That's my personal opinion, and Kendrick [Lewis] is a very rangy free safety. [He] can run and make plays. I think going into this game, they are going to be a difference than it was last year."

On S Will Hill III being a big hitter, and his other qualities:"He is actually a very smart player and can get sideline to sideline [well, for being] such a strong safety type, if you will. He's a very smart player back there; he commands the defense. He knows where to put people – where the checks [are]. He knows all the splits. He's on top of his game."

On the defensive backs drawing attention, new players in the secondary and if the season opener is a "measuring stick" for the group:"If you measure everything out of one game, then yes, but I don't think just one game is going to be everything. Obviously, we want to go in and prove a lot in this first game, but if we went out there and it didn't go as well, I'm not going to say that's going to be the whole outlook of the season, no."

On his thoughts regarding the Ravens being picked to win the Super Bowl:"That's just predictions – happens every year. I don't really look too much into that. We'll see 12 games from now where we'll be at." *(Reporter: "Would you like to be the underdog or the favorite?") *"I'd like to just be in the playoffs. That's all that matters to me."

On if he has any rooting interest in the Patriots and Steelers playing in the season opener:"Nope. (laughter) *I don't think we play the Patriots this year. We only play, actually, Denver. So, I don't know. I want both of them to lose." *(laughter)

WR Steve Smith Sr.

On his relationship with Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak and opening the season against a former offensive coordinator:"I've played against former coaches. The wide receivers coach, Tyke Tolbert, coached me in Carolina. So, you understand the business, and people come and go. Obviously, [Gary Kubiak] was very successful here. So, with success – where your former head coach [had] success – and you get an opportunity to coach a team that you used to be offensive coordinator with, be a player … I remember he said [Denver] was a perfect fit for him, and I don't see anything wrong with that."

On if he feels differently knowing this is his last season opener:"No, I have not. I'm just playing. I'm taking it … Obviously, you want to enjoy it, but [I do] not put that much pressure on myself, where this is my last this or that. You always get nervous for Week 1. I've been [getting] that – almost that – performance nervousness every Week 1 for the last 15 years and four years of college. So, I think everybody that goes out on something their first time, there will be a performance anxiety."

On his film study of the Broncos' secondary:"[They are] very good. Obviously, they have their two starters, but [Bradley] Roby, the [2014 No. 1] draft pick, second-year guy, he can play. He can play. I don't think there's any drop-off from their two starters and their nickel. They're very aggressive, they know what they're doing, they know how they want to play, and they're very confident."

*On the Ravens' young, unproven tight ends and wide receivers: *"Unproven to you." *(Reporter: "And that's a lot of people.") *"That's why you're not out there. We roll with the guys we have; we're comfortable in that. Obviously, they may not be proven in stats, but also, you're not out here every day watching these guys work – work their ass off – and see what they do. It is no overnight success. They've been grinding for a while. So, that's really the great thing about football, is we get to apply what you guys think is unattainable. We get to do it every day."

On if the Ravens have enough playmakers:"You take your shirt off and your tie, and you come out there and be in press coverage against Kamar [Aiken] and see how that works out for you." *(Reporter: "We have to go against me, not against the Broncos.") *"That's good."

On what he has seen from WR Kamar Aiken during training camp:"I've seen a guy who has – undrafted guy – who has considerably never been good enough to be anywhere, but yet, he consistently is on teams. He's on special teams, he works his way [up], and in the end, he's on this team. He was on this team last year. He made plays in Miami. So, I see a guy who's very capable of making plays and will do that on Sunday and other games to come."

On being a Super Bowl pick, if he pays attention to predictions and if he likes being the favorite or the underdog:"[It is] kind of the first time I've had that opportunity, so I'll let you know. But that hadn't happened in my career too many times. So, I'm not sure how to handle that success." (laughter)

On the Ravens never having the same starting five on the offensive line in consecutive seasons:"The same starting offensive line?" *(Reporter: "Yes, the same offensive line.") *"[That is] outside of my wheelhouse." *(Reporter: "But from your perspective, having guys that block while you get open, can you speak to this line this year and how they've performed?") *"Well, if it is the same guys [as] last year, I expect them to perform very well."

On competing against Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak having played for him last season:"[It is an] inside track, a little bit. I know the plays. I know the wording. They may switch it up, but whether it is Gary Kubiak [or] Marc Trestman, a slant is a slant; an out route is an out route. What guy is going to cover and what guy is going to run the best route, that's ultimately what it comes down to."

On what fans can expect from his matchup with CB Aqib Talib:"I anticipate I'll go against both guys. [Aqib] Talib, he's a good player. We've had our battles, but there's no animosity. It is high-competitive juices going. And obviously, with my – what's that – Rule 12, Section 3 fine, I'll be well in tune of what they'll be looking for – that I'm appealing." *(laughter) (Reporter: "You're saying from the fine from the Redskins game?") *"Yes." *(Reporter: "What rule was that, again?") *"Rule 12, Section 3. 'Do not attempt' – no. 'Do not punch, attempt, kick or forearm,' which I did neither nor, thou, of." *(laughter) *

On how he remains composed in a heated game situation:"I'm a 'hothead.' So, I'm not sure." (laughter) (Reporter: "Hey, but that's going to be hard to do.") *"I have nothing to say, really. What's in the past is in the past. We're looking forward." *(laughter)

OLB Terrell Suggs

On entering Week 1 in his 13th season as a Raven:"It feels good. It feels like every Week 1 that it has for me in the past. The most important game is the first one, and unfortunately, we've got to go on the road. But, we're doing a good job of getting comfortable being uncomfortable."

On if Broncos QB Peyton Manning has slowed down yet:"I don't think so. He's still playing. He's still throwing the ball pretty good. So, he's still showing the world he can still do it."

On if he expects Manning to test the defense in terms of conditioning and keeping them moving:"Oh, absolutely. Everybody knows when you go to Denver, the altitude becomes more of a benefit for the home team. But, I'm pretty sure you all saw how our training camp goes around here, so we think we're in good enough shape that we can kind of be successful up there."

On if he has any memories of the season opener in Denver from 2013:"Tons of them. Tons of them. We remember it. I think [Peyton Manning] set an NFL record or something like that. But yeah, we definitely watched a lot of tape of that."

On how much he's looking forward to putting a statement out there after that game:"The only thing that matters at the end of the day is wins and losses. We're not really trying to make a 'statement.' But we are trying to go in there and play a successful football game, and we want it to end in our favor."

On what he thinks about this team having a bunch of road games to start the year off:"Hey, man, it's tough on everybody else and just right for us. We kind of like the road, so every night we'll get some of that California sun. We'll go out to Denver and get some of that altitude. We'll get a little bit of everything the first part of the season. If we can come out pretty good on this, then we can pretty much … It'll help us down the stretch."

On two of his favorite teams [Pittsburgh and New England] kicking off the season Thursday night, and who he is pulling for in the game:"Who am I pulling for? To be honest with you, I can't really win tomorrow night. *(laughter) *Whoever wins, I lose. But it's good to see some football. I'm definitely going to be in front of the TV, and I'm going to enjoy it. But hey, this is football. Football is back and we get to watch some real, live football."

On if he is glad to see QB Tom Brady back on the field:"Absolutely. This league needs its players. Whatever happened, happened. I'm not an expert on the situation. I don't know what the hell happened, so I don't really care. But what would the NBA be like without [Kevin] Durant and LeBron James? The NFL, we definitely need all of our players playing."

On a lot of pundits already picking the Ravens as a Super Bowl contender:"That's the kiss of death to us. You don't want to start the beginning of the season at the top, you want to finish at the end of the season at the top. So, it really doesn't mean anything to us. We haven't really heard anything about that. We're professional, we know exactly what's going on around the league and which teams are in contention, and we want to be considered one of those teams. The only way we can be [one] is by our play. So, if we go out there and play well, then we'll see how it fares come January and then February. But up until then, the only thing that matters is on Sunday – football."

On if this team has high expectations for itself:"Of course we do. You want to do as good as you can, and we definitely think we've got something special around here, and we want to capitalize on it while we've still got the players that we have. As you all clearly see, every year, the locker room changes. You may lose a guy that you thought was going to be here for the long haul, so you never know."

On if success can be determined by how well the secondary plays:"No, I'm really looking forward to seeing how we play as a team. One area is not going to win or lose us the game. It's got to be a team effort on offense, defense and special teams, alike. We've got to play good as a unit. Defensively, we've got to play good as a unit. Offensively, we've got to play good as a unit, and special teams."

On if it feels different with the younger guys up front, not having NT Haloti Ngata for the first time in a long time, and if he has to take on more of a role for them:"The young guy, Carl [Davis], he's been doing a good job for us, and we're really excited for him. We love Haloti – Haloti will always be a Raven – but this young guy, we feel really good about him. Haloti is still going to be my brother. His locker isn't here anymore, but he's still my guy. But Carl is doing a really good job for us." 

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