Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody – appreciate you guys being here. We're into our work week for Seattle, and we're off and running. What to do you have?"
Seattle – the preparation that goes into them, because you haven't faced them since you've been here – how do you get ready for a team like that – again – that you've only seen from a distance? (Jerry Coleman) "We saw them four years ago. That's part of the regular rotation up there. We turned the ball over twice on kickoff returns, which ended up being the difference in the game in that particular game. But, it's like the way the league works. You see teams in the other conference once every four years, so this is one of those teams in the other conference that we see once every four years." (Reporter: "I forgot it was 12 years ago they were here.")
What are the challenges going against – defending – a quarterback like QB Russell Wilson? What are some of the unique challenges that he presents? (Jamison Hensley) "That's a great term – unique. They build their offense around his talent. He has obviously done a great job from the first moment he set foot in the National Football League, and they built it around what he does well. He has a heck of an arm. Obviously, he can read things out. He throws on time. He's an accurate passer, and then he can extend plays both off the dropback and off the play-pass stuff. [He] sets up a little deeper in the play-pass stuff – gets back there on the keepers and the boots – and creates some space to throw the normal routes, but then creates some space for himself to run. He has 450 yards rushing. That's pretty amazing. It starts with him – it revolves around him – and they have some other really good players and a hard-playing offensive line."
Have you had any communication with QB Joe Flacco post-surgery? How's he doing? (Morgan Adsit) "We just texted. I haven't heard anything since. [Texting] was before [surgery]. I haven't heard anything since. Kevin [Byrne, senior vice president of public and community relations] just told me that Joe Linta – who's Joe's agent – tweeted out that he was doing well, but I haven't talked to him since the surgery."
Did you have a chance to speak with the competition committee? I heard that you and Ozzie Newsome had reached out and talked to the NFL about awarding some – or giving some – full-time officials jobs – the guy that wears the white hat? (Jerry Coleman) "Not that I'm aware of. I don't talk to the competition committee. I talk to Ozzie – he's on the competition committee. Are you talking about full-time officials? " (Reporter: "Was there a conversation about officials – or at least one – becoming full time? That's something for the competition committee to debate and talk about.") "I don't know. I know there's debate about full-time officials. As part of the sub-committee, I talk to Dean Blandino a lot with our stuff. The only guy I've talked to is Dean. I'm in favor of that, personally, but that doesn't really matter. That's not an official thing or anything like that. There has been no official kind of conversation at all."
Did you hear back from the league regarding the WR Daniel Brown screw up? (Jerry Coleman)"Not officially. I haven't gotten the list back, but I think they – from what I understand – I think they agree that Dan played the play the right way."
How's QB Matt Schaub doing? (Todd Karpovich) "He's doing good." (Reporter: "Bumps and bruises?") "Yes, he's banged up a little bit. He's sore, and he's good. He's doing well. Great guy. (laughter) Smile on his face.* *He was right out here; you saw him out here."
**With modern-day scouting the way it is now with the amount of tape that's available – and the fact that you don't play Seattle that often – does that really matter or is that a moot point? *(Joe Platania) *"It's probably not the same as it used to be. We don't know them like we know Pittsburgh or Cleveland – they don't know us – but you know all the teams. You know all the players. We study everybody all the time. We've seen their scheme on defense. This will be the third time this year we've seen the basic scheme. Although, they do it differently than the other two teams who play that basic defense. It's the National Football League; we're all in the same league. We're familiar with them, and they're familiar with us."
With their defense, is their secondary still as good as advertised? (Garrett Downing)"What's the advertising? I haven't seen any advertising on it. What's their advertising?" (laughter) (Reporter: "Being one of the best secondaries in the league.") "I would say so. I think the stats bear that out; the tape bears it out."
Looking at their pass rush along with the secondary, can you talk about the threat of DE Michael Bennett and other guys getting to the passer, LB Bruce Irvin? (Turron Davenport)"They have those two guys. I think they have three good outside pass rushers. Michael Bennett is inside and outside. Those guys do a great job of bringing it. And when they get the lead, they're especially effective with it."
**I know in the past, you mentioned how the ball seems to find energy. Can you talk about LB Bobby Wagner? He's a great, active linebacker. *(Turron Davenport) *"Bobby is a guy that I … He and I have kind of a little relationship, because we brought him in here [before the draft]. I was championing Bobby in the draft. I thought he was a really good player – same thing with No. 50 [K.J. Wright] over there from Mississippi State. He's another guy I really liked in the draft. Those guys are good players."
John, I know you guys review everything every offseason. After a season like this with the injuries, do you take a look at different things, whether it's offseason programs, or you just chalk it up as one of those bad luck years? (Jeff Zrebiec)"We'll look at everything. You look at every injury separately – who was in the offseason program, who wasn't, those kinds of things – and whether the injury is based [on conditioning]. Muscle injuries are usually the ones that apply to conditioning and things like that. Things like torn ACLs, that usually doesn't have to do with the offseason program, but we'll look at all that. We always do, and we'll try to put the best program together that we can. We have a lot of faith and trust in our training staff and our coaching staff and our physical therapists. I think we're – I know we're – cutting-edge in everything we do. If there's some science out there that we're not aware of, we're interested in it. But you work hard; our guys work very hard."
**Chris Matthews, I know he's on the scout team, but any impressions of him so far being a former Seahawk? *(Ryan Mink) *"Yes, very impressed, that's probably the first impression of him. He's a very serious guy, works hard, goes up and makes plays, and he's done a good job. And we'll see if he can play this week or not. It just kind of depends on … I don't think him having been in Seattle determines whether he plays or not. It's just whether he's up-to-speed in the offense. That's really the bottom line, and if we have the spot for him to play."
Their kicker, K Steven Hauschka, even when you parted ways, you said that you thought he would have a future in this league, and it kind of panned out that way. Are you happy for a player like that, that you did give a chance? It just didn't work out here. (Jamison Hensley)"Yes. Steve [Hauschka] is a great guy. Steve took more ribbing from Terrell Suggs, probably, than any kicker we've ever had here, and I think it really toughened him up. (laughter) He's a great guy, and he's not the only one. We have a long list of guys that came through here as kickers and punters and played in the National Football League. That's a credit to [special teams coordinator/associate head coach] Jerry [Rosburg] and [kicking consultant] Randy [Brown] and our scouting department."
John, you guys locked up S Will Hill III before the season and kind of established him and S Kendrick Lewis as the safety duo of now and the future. How have you seen them come together and grow in that role? (Jon Meoli)"I think they [Will Hill III and Kendrick Lewis] are really improving. They're young guys. That's the thing that sometimes we lose sight of is how many games those guys have actually played in the National Football League. Kendrick has played in a lot of games, but he's only in, maybe, his fourth year in the league, and Hill maybe has two years under his belt. They've improved tremendously, and we've just got to keep coaching them up. They're very willing; they're very coachable. I talked to Will about a number of things in the last three weeks, and every single one of those things, he has diligently and conscientiously improved on in the game. And as a coach, that's really what you look for. So, they're both talented, and they're both doing well."
John, specifically about QB Matt Schaub, you're still pretty optimistic that he'll be OK Sunday? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I usually don't rate it, but it's going to be a, probably, just a tolerance issue and how well he moves around. We're not going to practice him too much here early in the week. It's good to get Jimmy [Clausen] the reps anyway. Jimmy needs the reps more than Matt does, but if Matt can go, he will. And Matt is tough; he showed that in the game. He's tough as nails, and I wouldn't be shocked if we see him play. Maybe we'll play them both. We'll just see how it goes."
You signed QB Bryn Renner to the practice squad, is that correct? (Jamison Hensley)"Right." *(Reporter: "What did you like about him, what you saw in preseason and recently, bringing him back in?") *"You saw what we saw in preseason. It's so long ago, I really don't remember the list, but Bryn [Renner] knows the offense and he's talented and he's conscientious. It seemed like a good fit for us. In the situation that we're in right now, it's not a guy we have to bring in and teach, and he has talent. It was good that he was available. We're very fortunate that he was still available."
WR Daniel Brown, he continues to cash in on opportunities. Can you just talk about his progress, how he had gone from practice squad to a guy getting reps on offense. (Turron Davenport)"He has made good progress, to your point. He has had an opportunity, and he has taken advantage of it, for the vast most part, and I'm excited to see what he does with the next four weeks. He's a guy that seems to have some upside, and as you said, he kind of came from nowhere. We'll see if he can write a story that's special."
John, specifically about the Seahawks, they've had some challenges, too, with keeping guys. How much do you admire how they've been able to keep a lot of core guys together after they won [the Super Bowl]? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I haven't really looked at all that. I'm sure they had … The timing of their contracts and everything was probably favorable. I really don't know, because I don't study that, and I really couldn't care less, to be honest with you. I'm just thinking about Sunday's game."
Can I ask you again about the secondary with CB Richard Sherman and SS Kam Chancellor? Those guys have developed a reputation for being pretty good. Do you see it as more a finesse tandem back there or a more physical? (Jerry Coleman) "Anybody that watches football, I think, would say they're physical; that's pretty simple. But they cover ground. They have range. They play the ball well. They're all-around good safeties."
WR Kamar Aiken
On how difficult Seattle's secondary is to face: "They're pretty difficult. They're one of the top defenses in the league. They do what they do, and they do what they do well. They are who they are, basically."
On the challenges of facing CB Richard Sherman: "It's a challenge to our [wide receivers] room. We're looking forward to the challenge. Anytime you go against one of the top guys, you're always looking forward to it to see where you're at as a player, as an individual. We're looking forward to it."
On whether on-field talk with the opposing team matters: "Like trash talking?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "We're fine with it. We had Steve [Smith Sr.] in our room, so we heard a lot of trash talking. (laughter) We're not really worried about trash talking."
On whether it is strange to lose so many players to injury: "I would say that if I was a rookie. I would say that was strange, but since I'm not a rookie – and I've been around the league and been on different teams – it's not strange to me. It happens everywhere. It just so happens that it happens a lot more to us this year. It is what it is, and we're dealing with it the best we can."
On practicing with QB Jimmy Clausen and how he is picking things up in case he has to play: "Jimmy is going to be fine. We're going to rally behind him. We're all in this together. He has been doing pretty good. We're trying to get our timing together with everything, and I think we'll be fine."
On how big of a test it will be going up against Seattle's defense: "I feel like it's a test each week no matter who you play. Obviously, they're – I think – No. 1 or 2 on defense, so it's obviously a challenge in itself. They are who they are, basically. We're going to go out there and do what we do."
On what jumps out about Seattle's secondary on film: "They don't really do a lot of … They don't ask their guys to do a lot of stuff. They pretty much stick to the basics, and they do the basics great and very well. They don't ask them to do too much. And the stuff that they do ask them to do, they do it very well."
On whether it's tough not to have a "what's next" attitude when it comes to injuries: "I'm pretty numb. Well, we're pretty numb to it now. It is what it is. We're just rolling, to be honest. We really haven't had any time to sit back and really think about all the injuries or sit here and sulk on them. We're going as it goes."
On whether he notices at practice how many players are missing due to injury: "It's definitely different. Just looking in the huddle, [there are] a lot more younger guys, on that note. At the end of the day, it's still football, so we're just out there playing."
On whether he views himself as a veteran player now: "I am older than a lot of those guys, so I would say that. (laughter) But, all of us are pretty much young. We're a young group, and we're just ready to go."
OLB Elvis Dumervil
On better play by the Ravens' defense and the opportunity to legitimize their improvements against a high-quality Seattle offense:"I think, as a professional, you want to get better as the season progresses, and there [were] some things that we wanted to work on since the break. And I think we've come into that mentality in practice, and it's paying off in the game."
On the challenges of defending QB Russell Wilson:"I think he's a great athlete who can play quarterback. He has some great skill [players] around him. I think that's a well-coached team. They put him in a position to do what he does best. So, we've got to make sure, with a guy like that, we can rally to him and hit him and hit him hard."
On playing through injuries:"Everyone gets hurt. It's every team, every organization. Everybody goes through the same thing we're going through. We don't feel sorry for ourselves, and we believe in everybody who puts that helmet on and goes out there and plays. Sometimes ... I will say one thing: One thing, it's more ... It's the referees, for sure. It's been one of the most bizarre seasons I've ever seen." *(Reporter: "Just with the blown calls?") *"Just not-calls … For us to not get [any] holding calls, it's a lot of things that I feel like we're being taken advantage of, for sure."
On games being won at the line of scrimmage and the evolution of football with more passing and higher tempo:"I think there are different minds of the approach of playing football. I think you've got guys who want to come with more of a passing philosophy. Then you'll always have guys who want to run the ball. I think it will always be back and forth, just kind of like fashion. Some years, some decades, it's out of fashion, and some years, it is in fashion. So, it will always remain a football league of running the ball and throwing."
On why he thinks officiating has possibly been one-sided:"I don't have [any] reasons, but it's just ... It's just not going our way this year."
On his absence at practice:"Non-injury-related. Yes, I'm fine."
On how the team drew inspiration from defensive line coach Clarence Brooks and how it reacted to the news of his diagnosis:"He's a great coach and a great person. Whenever a family member of yours goes through anything like that, you lift them up in prayers and you wish the very best for them. He handled it like we expected he would, with resilience, and we're happy for him, man. He has been out there, and I know we play hard for him. He's a great coach, and I'm glad things are looking up for him."
QB Matt Schaub
On how he is feeling: "Not feeling too bad – obviously, a little sore. We had a physical game the other day and are getting ready for another physical one this week." (Reporter: "Is it a little of everything?") "It's a combination of things. I think coach [John] Harbaugh felt it was better for me to get some stuff done in the training room, treatment-wise, than be out here for practice."
On whether there is any doubt that he will play on Sunday: "No. As a competitor, you want to be out there. I'm gearing all my mindset and everything towards Sunday."
On facing a cornerback like CB Richard Sherman: "You have to understand the position he's in, what type of coverage they're playing – whether it's a man or zone technique – and what routes you have called and your matchups – and also matchups elsewhere – and whether the play call dictates to go there or not. You have to understand what you're up against. They have great players all over the field, so you have to be aware of all of that. But, you do have to be aware of throwing one-on-one routes and what he's capable of on that side of the field."
On how challenging it is to face a secondary like Seattle's: "It's very challenging, because they challenge you on every layer of their defense – upfront, linebacker level and in the secondary. You have to be on top of your reads, be on time. If your rhythm gets taken away – or your feet – you have to know where your checkdowns are and where those throws are, but you can't hold the football. You have to hit your back foot, make a decision – let it go or check it down. That's how you have to play against a team like this."
On whether it will be a game-time decision to play on Sunday or if he expects to be back at practice this week: "We have to take it a day at a time. We have to see how things heal up, how the health feels and go forward from there. But right now, we're taking it day by day, hour by hour."
On whether it will be a fine line between self-confidence and respect when facing Seattle's defense: "You understand what you're going up against, but at the same time, you can't shy away from anything. You have to attack things, and you have to attack the game in situations and put trust in your teammates. We're all in this together, and we have to find a way to go make some plays to win a football game."
On whether the team has any feelings about being "flexed out" of Sunday Night Football: "I don't know. You play whenever they tell you your game is going to be played. That's the position we're in, and that's the way it's going to be."
On what challenges are presented by rotating guys in and out of the offense: "It's tough from a continuity standpoint, but that's why we practice. That's why we're out here. That's why we get extra reps. That's why we do extra things before and after and in the meeting rooms talking through things [about] how we see it to get on the same page. That's why we do what we do. Whoever's out there, we have to go play; the ball is going to be kicked off."
OLB Courtney Upshaw
On how challenging it is to face a player like QB Russell Wilson: "He's one of the top QBs in the league. We all know it. We have to go out – play our game – and try to contain him, slow him down."
On whether the defense is preparing differently to face QB Russell Wilson: "We've played against a few quarterbacks who can get outside the pocket, who can make plays with their feet. Like I said, we have to go in and play our game, try to contain him. He's going to make plays. Once he makes those plays, we're going to come back and make our own plays."
On whether the defense views this as a test to show its improvement: "Honestly, every week is a test. We don't look down on anybody we play. We knew that we had to step up our game in order to help this team win, and that's what we're going to continue to do. Like I said, we have to go out and make plays. That's what we plan on doing."
On whether the defense takes it personal to contain the edge: "Of course. You never want to be that guy coming to the sideline and coach is yelling, 'Keep the edge!' At the end of the day, we all, as a whole – the front seven – are going to try to contain [Russell Wilson], keep him in the pocket, try to make him make plays in the pocket. But, he's a great quarterback. Like I said, he's going to make his plays; we're going to make ours."
On facing offensive players in practice that have not been with the team long and how difficult that is: "Next man up. Since I've been a rookie here, that has been the saying. At the same time, we depend on those guys – every individual guy who had to step up. They come in, and they're expected to play well just like everybody else is expecting to play well."
On defensive line coach Clarence Brooks' inspiration to the team as he battles cancer: "He has been very positive, man. We're all rooting for him. We're wishing the best. Coach Brooks, man, he's the best. Since I've been here, he has been one of those guys that I can go to and talk to not about football. All the coaches are like that, but with coach Brooks, he's a special guy."
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS CONFERENCE CALL
QB Russell Wilson
On the Ravens' defense:"They're just so sound. They're a physical team. They fly around the field. They make a lot of plays. So, watching them, they are ... As soon as you turn on the film, you're impressed right away. And we know it's going to be a great football game."
On being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and if playing baseball was a consideration at that point:"Yes, definitely a consideration. I had gotten calls in the first and second and third round, and the Orioles wanted to take me then. I contemplated it or whatever, and I just told them I wanted to play two sports. So, that was kind of my decision to go play at N.C. [North Carolina] State, and obviously growing up near Baltimore, I've got a lot of family there in the Maryland area and D.C., as well."
On the Seahawks' recent success:"I think, first of all, we're finishing football games. I think, also, we're just playing consistent football all across the board, and we're playing as a collective group; and that's the key. We had to contain to stay the course. We weren't far off, but we just needed to make a play here, make a play there. Our goal every week is to go 1-0. We know going to Baltimore is going to be a very, very tough environment. We have a lot of respect for them and coach [John] Harbaugh and their defense and their offense and what they do and they type of players that they have. So, we know it's going to be a good matchup."
On the game being moved from 8:30 p.m. ET to 1 p.m. ET and the challenges of playing an early East Coast game:"I didn't really even honestly know that we switched. I don't really pay attention to the schedule too much; I just kind of move on to the next week. But in terms of playing in the morning or whatever – I guess our time – we get there [to Baltimore] on Friday. So, we're kind of used to traveling far away. Obviously, being in Seattle, Washington, it's far away from pretty much everything. Most games – except the ones we have in California or Arizona – we usually leave on Friday, so that way we can kind of wake our bodies up and get ready to go."
On gaining momentum at the right time and playing like defending NFC champions:"I feel like we're playing great football right now. We just want to continue that. We want to continue to practice the right way and prepare the right way, and the separation is in the preparation. We have to prepare the best we can, and that allows up to have a really good chance to be successful on gamedays."
On the benefits of keeping a core group of players together:"I think that it keeps everybody in the system, in terms of knowing the calls, knowing what we're thinking on the field and everything like that and just having great leaders across the board. We have so many great leaders on our football team. So, you have so many different directions of leadership, and it's a great thing for us, because, when I say directions, I mean different people – I should say – to lead. And that's such a great thing for us, because we have a lot of great football players, and it's fun to play with them."
On safeties Will Hill III and Kendrick Lewis and how they fit into the Ravens' defensive system:"They fly around, first of all. Will Hill comes up and hits you and makes plays; he's playing good football, and same thing with '23' [Kendrick Lewis], too. They're flying around. Both of them are just all over the field. So, we have to know where those guys are and make plays and try to find ways to capitalize on opportunities. But I think that those guys have really shown up on film, in terms of coming up and making tackles and making plays."
On the Baltimore's ability to contain a mobile quarterback:"Like I said, they move really well. They get to the quarterback. They know how to make plays. So, like I said, it's going to be a tough challenge to ... It's going to be a challenge for us to understand what they're trying to do, and they do a really good job of that. So, it's going to be a great game."
On WR Chris Matthews and his breakout performance in Super Bowl XLIX:"Chris Matthews is a tremendous football player. He's a great dude, too, as well. I've gotten to know him, so I'm really, really happy for him. He's a phenomenal person, phenomenal player, so I know he'll succeed. Obviously, in terms of the Super Bowl, the guy made just unbelievable plays, and he has all the ability; he has the makeup, too, as well. He's a hardworking guy. He's a guy that has a lot of talent. I'm rooting for him. I called him when I heard the unfortunate news for us, and I just told him he's going to be a great football player. And just being around him was such a pleasure, obviously, to be around him every day. I'm really, really rooting for him to be successful."
On the development of WR Doug Baldwin as a deep threat:"He's relentless out there. He just can make every play and run any route. He's clutch. He knows how to catch the football in all circumstances. He's a guy that you want to find on the field as much as you can, because when he has the football in his hands, he can make a lot of great plays. He's playing his best football right now. It's exciting to watch him and just to be around him – his demeanor and his leadership, his edge."
On the progress of WR Tyler Lockett:"He's an absolutely baller. When he gets the ball in his hands, you never know what may happen, as you guys have seen the kickoff returns, the punt returns. Also, when he catches the football, he just makes plays, and he also loves the game. He's a great guy. He loves the game. He loves getting here early, leaving late. He's a big studier, asks a lot of questions, so you love that about him, and he's going to be an unbelievable football player for a long time."