Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody – appreciate you guys being here. [It was a] good practice – a dual practice, in a sense. We're working the young guys for Atlanta and working the starters and things for, really, the whole season. That was a very good practice, tough day. It's always a challenge when you have cut-down day, and we cut a number of guys today. I met with them this morning. As long as you do it – many years [for me] now as I've had a chance to do this – it doesn't get any easier. You put yourself in the player's shoes. At one point in time in life, we're all in those shoes, right? We all face that type of deal, and our guys were great. They handled it great. They're pros. Every one of those guys that we let go had a really good camp, and I believe every one of those guys can play in the National Football League – [in terms of] getting an opportunity – and they really forwarded their case to play in this league. They were all successes, and hey, some of them could end up here back at some in time, too. So, that was cut-down day. OK, what do you have?"
John, you have about seven more spaces before you get down [to the 75-man roster]. Do you feel like that's going to be mostly IR-type moves, or no, is it more tough decisions? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I think those are going to be mostly those kinds of moves that you're talking about. We'll see, but that's the plan right now, unless we get surprised by something."
John, where do you assess the wide receiver situation? I know you want to see WR Breshad Perriman and you haven't, yet. WR Steve Smith Sr. appears to be the main guy. Are you happy with the guys that supplement him? (Dave Ginsburg) "Sure. To use the word 'happy,' of course. Those guys are all great guys, and they work very hard, and they're young, determined guys. [They] had a good practice today. As far as sorting it all out – which is probably the other part of your question – I think it's going to continue to do that in terms of who steps up and makes plays, even this week and on into the regular season. That will kind of sort itself out. Those guys are going to have an opportunity to really shine and show what they can do, and we'll be looking forward to seeing how it goes. They all have talent and ability, and they all can do it. I'm excited about those guys."
How did S Terrence Brooks do in his first action in the preseason? (Garrett Downing) "Terrence [Brooks] played well. He did a good job and came out of it OK. There's going to be a little soreness anytime you're coming off a knee [injury] like that, but he played fast, and he looked good out there."
Coach, QB Tyrod Taylor was named the Bills' starter today. What's your reaction? (Ryan Mink) "Congratulations – congratulations to Tyrod [Taylor]. I know we all believed that he could be that kind of a player. He and I had that conversation many times. Congrats to him, and [I am] happy for Rex [Ryan] that he has him."
Can I go back to Saturday and ask you about two of the hot topics? (Jerry Coleman) "Sure, absolutely, please do." (Reporter: "First of all, after reviewing the film with [Redskins head] coach Jay Gruden, did you have a second chance to look at that, and do you have a distaste for halftime or on-the-field interviews? There are a lot of coaches that feel that way. Greg Popovich in the NBA has that issue, and baseball managers get interviewed during the game. It feels intrusive. So, it's a two-part [question].") "OK, let me start with the second one, because that's the one I can remember that you asked right now. Those are tough. Those halftime interviews are tough, and I don't think I'm very good at it. I haven't been very good at it. I haven't been very good with the national group, haven't been very good with the local group. I think that's pretty well documented. And the challenge for me, and the challenge in that in particular … Brent [Harris] does a great job. We've done shows together, and he's a pro and does an excellent job. But I just didn't have an answer, because it was kind of a 'yes' or 'no' kind of a question, and I just [said]: 'Yeah, we're not happy with what happened there,' and I didn't have time to think about it. When you do it after the game, you have 10 minutes or so to kind of organize your thoughts for the media, but I'm not really thinking about the media in that [halftime] moment. You're thinking about your team and what you're going to say to your guys in your halftime adjustments. I've got to get better at that, and hopefully, I can improve at that. The other part of it … The whole thing with the fight. I think Jay [Gruden] said the same thing. Jay said the same thing in the sense of the thing was starting to go a little bit again. It was going, it was bad; it was ugly. There were 90 guys on both sidelines. Neither one of us want that to escalate. It calmed for a minute and then it was about to blow up again, I felt like, and that's why I went out there. I was moving our guys back, and it did calm down. [Referee] Terry McAulay, he appreciated it, and I know that, because he thanked me for getting it calmed down, and that was it. Jay and I, that was just a heated battle, and I told you I don't know what I said. But I will say this: For all those lip readers out there that want to write headlines about what was said, there's more than one word in the English language that starts with 'F,' just for the record. (laughter) I really make it a point in life not to use that word as much as possible. [I am] not batting 1.000 – not batting 1.000 – but [I am] trying really hard, and I always remember when I say that. Maybe it was 'fight.' Is that plausible? *(laughter) *Maybe it was 'football.' But I'm going to say I'm 99.9 percent certain it wasn't the word that it was reported to be, just for the record, OK? But Jay was good with it. I was good with it. When it was all said and done, I was happy that we were able to get it all calmed down, and the officials as well. As I said after the game, it was all fine."
John, looking at the play that started it, was the hit by LB Keenan Robinson, and there was no penalty. Looking at that, are you kind of surprised that WR Kamar Aiken wasn't hurt? (Keith Mills) "I was very grateful that Kamar [Aiken] wasn't hurt. It was really ugly at the time in the sense that I just didn't like the way he landed on his head. When he popped up like that, you breathe a sigh of relief, most definitely."
In your years, you've seen a lot of football, have you ever seen a tackle like that one? (Jamison Hensley)"I did see one. I'm going to say 1976, Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. [Joe] 'Turkey' Jones on Terry Bradshaw. That's the one I remember that was a little bit like it."
This is preseason. Is there any bother at all in the results of the last two games in which they were lopsided games? Do you care? Do you think the team cares, or is it just, "Hey, preseason…"? (Dave Ginsburg)"That's a great question. It's both, in all honesty. I have to admit, I care, and our players care. And in the heat of battle and during the game, you want to win the game. You want your 'twos' to play as well as your 'ones.' You want your 'twos' to play against the 'ones' well if they are going against another group's 'ones.' You want to play well. You want to acquit yourself well as a group. And as far as the score goes, we didn't do that in either game. As far as the type of team we're developing in training camp – the other side of the coin is – I'm pleased with that, because I go back and look at the tape and understand what we're trying to get accomplished in that game, and we did a lot of good things in both those games. But no, we don't ever want to see the score be that. I don't care [if it is a] pickup game or racquetball game in here. That's not what we're trying to do."
John, what impressed you the most about the first team, offensively? They seemed to do some good things. Everyone in the locker room after the game on that unit seemed pretty pleased with what happened. (Keith Mills)"Yes, really good execution. If I was to look at the things to be critical about … I thought we executed well. Joe [Flacco] played exceptionally well. Guys made plays, which you have to make. Our offensive line blocked very well going against a really good front, too, a really good front seven. You could see how hard it was to run against them. But we want to convert touchdowns in the red zone. We want to score on the – whatever it was – 2-yard line. That's a must. That has to happen. We don't want penalties on touchdown passes, but I will say – just in defense of Marlon [Brown] – that has been cleared up. That was not a penalty. It shouldn't have been called, but that's part of the process, especially in preseason. It could have been 24 [points]. It could have been more than that. It could have been as much as 30 – actually 32. But, we didn't get that done. That's our responsibility to make it, put all those points on the board [when] we have an opportunity to do it. In regular season games, you really need to do that. When you have a chance to score, you need to score those points, because as you see, fortunes turn in footballs games in the NFL very quickly."
TE Crockett Gillmore's play on that play, though … The execution of what he did. Have you seen that out here with him? (Keith Mills)"Yes." *(Reporter: "Are you going to be able to do things downfield?") *"I would say yes. [Crockett Gillmore] has done that in practice pretty consistently and throughout last year, too. He has been growing into that, so that is what we expect from Crockett.
John, the hit that DT Timmy Jernigan was injured on, I couldn't really see it. It looked like it was a cut block. (Jamison Hensley)"It was." *(Reporter: "From your vantage point, was it an OK hit, or is something involved in that?") *"No, that was a legal block. It was an excellent block by their tackle. He did a great job getting his head across, and he just executed the block really well. Timmy [Jernigan] definitely wants to play that block better than that, and that's what happened." *(Reporter: "And any update on Timmy?") *"It doesn't look to be overly serious, but again, I can't put any timetables on it. But, it's not something that's going to keep him out. It is not going to be a surgery or anything like that."
John, are you concerned with the numbers for the D-line just for Thursday, because you only had six guys out here practicing? (Luke Jones)"Yes, sure. It is going to be tight. The idea that we go in there with 75 guys … 75 guys is really not 75 guys, because it's going to end up being about 35 guys, probably, with the injuries, and it's going to be a strain on those guys. It's a tough game, but it's also an opportunity. It's an opportunity for those guys to show what they can do, and they'll be excited to play."
John, CB Lardarius Webb was out on the field today. Last year, he started slow, was injured and by his own admissions, didn't start as well as he wanted to. How did he look, and are you concerned, or [do] you think he will be OK Week 1? (Cliff Brown)"[Lardarius Webb] practiced today, as you saw, and I felt like he looked good. [He] should be on schedule for Week 1. Again, I'm confident. I have faith. I have faith that he'll be out there Week 1."
Coach, I've got a football question, but it's injury-related. (Brent Harris)"Very good, but it's injury-related? OK." (Reporter: "Is it important to have all your healthy returners in this fourth preseason game, because it's one of the big questions you've had going into the regular season?") "That's a very good question. (laughter) I really want to get those guys some reps. I think Asa [Jackson] needs reps, Terrence [Magee] needs reps, [Michael] Campanaro, if he can go. He practiced today in individual [drills], so he has a chance. Those guys all need reps. If I'm missing some guys, we're going to get those guys as many reps as they can."
*Do you ever have a conversation with another coach [about returns]? Because special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg was a little, I guess, irritated with the fact that coaches are kicking the ball out of the end zone, whereas you guys have a different approach to try to give your unit a chance to return kicks to see what you have on special teams. Would you have a conversation, or is that not something you would do? (Brent Harris) *"If you had a conversation with another coach, you'd be in trouble with the league. They've made it very clear they don't want that. They don't want any preseason deals, so to speak. We never have really done that. I can't say we've never in the history of [the preseason] done it, because we would say, 'Hey, you kick to us. We'll kick to you.' But we made it a point this year not to have that conversation, because the league was very clear in the spring that they didn't want that, and that's fine, too. I'd love to see them kick it to us and get some returns. It was great in this [past] game. Washington did do that, so I thought we both got good practice on that."