THURSDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: WEEK 3 vs. BRONCOS
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
With the number of missed field goals over the past week, do you think that just underscores to a lot of people, how difficult it is to actually kick a successful field goal in this game? _(Jamison Hensley) _"I'm really not sure how it makes other people feel, but we're thankful for the guys we have. We work hard at it for a reason, and I'm sure other people do as well. It's nothing we don't' recognize. It's not an easy skill; that's why there are very few guys that are doing it at an extremely high level. I think one thing that our three guys understand is that they work together. It's Justin [Tucker], it's Sam [Koch] and it's Morgan [Cox] together to make that unit go – along with our protection. I would cite that, as well – that's really important also. Yes, the game of football … The margins for success and failure are so narrow that you want to have your specialists try to make a difference for you in a positive way."
As far as WR/RS Janarion Grant struggling to hold on to the ball, is that a confidence thing, technique thing? What do you look at to try to get him past that? (Pete Gilbert)"It's something that he's been working on continuously. He continues to do that. Janarion understands the importance of hanging on to the ball; it's the first and foremost thing of being a returner. It's having the ball at the end of the play. He gets it; he's working on it. We all understand it. The fact that his teammates have been there to rescue the situation doesn't lessen the importance of hanging onto the ball. He's working on his ball security every week, every day."
What is it like having LB Albert McClellan back?_ (Jonas Shaffer)_ "It was [me saying], 'Welcome home. I said, 'Where you've been?' It's great to have him back. He didn't lose anything in his time away, because we got back in the meeting room and he started coaching everybody right again. We're really thankful that Albert is back, and it could come in a situation where his skills and his talents are fresh. He knows what to do. We didn't have to spend a lot of time getting him back up to speed."
Did you see an improvement with the kickoff coverage from Week 1 to Week 2?_ (Childs Walker) _"Yes. I think the biggest accruement we saw was we were running a lot faster; that's the primary importance. Now that we have the NGS [Next Gen Stats] data, we can look at it from a very objective viewpoint. The fact of the matter is, we ran a lot faster. We played blocks better, we tackled better, we did a lot of things better. But the first week was not representative of the kind of kickoff coverage we want, and we improved a great deal last week. We hope that's the case from this point forward."
I forget if you've been asked this before, but have the new kickoff rules … How much more difficult have they made recovering an onside kick? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"I don't have any numbers for you, because, obviously, the sample size is small. I think everybody is still kind of figuring out what the most effective method is for onside kicks. The fact that you can't overload one side versus the other, the fact that you can't get a running start, the fact that you even can't bunch guys up in a single area, even when it's balanced, those are all factors for coaches to figure out and find out what the best method was. I believe there was one that was successfully recovered this last week, and it was very much like the years past. It was just up the middle, it ricocheted off a guy, and a mistake was made, basically. I guess over the course of the season, you'll see some more – this week, perhaps – that would indicate where the whole thing is going. But I think it's too early to make a general assessment."
I know you had actually said for field goals, it is an entire operation, if I worded it correctly, but for K Justin Tucker specifically, does he do anything different than any of the other kickers that you've coached in your career? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Every kicker that I've coached has unique characteristics. Their bodies are not the same. Their swings are not the same when they start. Now, we have certain foundations of technique that we work on, that Randy [Brown, specialist coach] pours into these guys. And how we operate with the battery is, perhaps, our own. I'm not sure what everybody else is coaching. Justin is a unique character in a lot of different ways, and his kicking style is his kicking style. He works within the way he knows how to swing, and something that's ever-evolving is he's always working on something to try to make it better, and I think that's one of the things that he's taken up from Sam [Koch]. Sam is a guy who's been in this league a long time, but every day when he's out here, he's trying to figure out a way to get better, and Justin is really following that lead in a very positive way."
If you did have to, for whatever reason, make a switch at returner, would you feel comfortable with WR Willie Snead? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _"I'm not at that point yet. I'm not going to make a decision I don't have to make at this point. Willie is a backup returner, as you know. He's been out here practicing all these reps. He's out in pregame, and at whatever point we need to use another returner, he's ready and available."
Defensive Coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale
Opening statement:"Before we get started, I'd like to take a second and let everyone know that our thoughts and prayers are with the people in Aberdeen. I think it's a tragedy. We don't know the ins and outs of what happened, but we've seen the news, just like, probably, the rest of you have. It's a situation that happens too much, it seems, here of late. The timeline on it is yours to put on it, but it just seems like it's happening too much.
"Going back in the past two games, really, I think the main difference in the two games was, in Buffalo, we had three must-stop guys, and we stopped them. In Cincinnati, that didn't happen. I think there were some uncharacteristic things that happened in that game. Losing C.J. [Mosley] after the first three-and-out, that set us off balance a little bit, just like it would be if, I guess, your computers crashed right in the middle of a story that you're writing. It took us time to get our thoughts together on how we were going to attack it, and I thought we did a much better job in the second half of the Cincinnati game. With that, I'll open up to questions."
How about press coverage? Will you see more of that this week? (Mike Preston)"Yes. We'll do press coverage. We'll do off coverage. We're going to continue to rolodex our coverages to get the quarterbacks different looks, but we'll do that, yes."
You mentioned that it was important, after halftime, you figured out how to play without ILB C.J. Mosley. What's the challenge this week, assuming he doesn't play? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _"I think that when you have a longer period of time, obviously, you can come up with a couple different plans. But I'm not going to talk about injuries. John [Harbaugh] handles all of that. We'll be ready to go no matter who's out there."
Did you learn anything from taking away from having your guy who's making the calls, a critical guy, go out early, that you look back and say, "Now, if that happens again, because we've gone through that, we know." _(Pete Gilbert) _"Sure, sure, sure we did. And that's something, because C.J.'s [Mosley] track record, rarely does he miss a game, especially after the third play of the game. It is. It's a shock to your system, because you're talking about a three-time Pro Bowler. That's no excuse, it's just a shock to your system. Yes, I think, since it's happened, we've practiced it. We're ready to go now with that."
I think you missed coaching OLB Von Miller in Denver, but just as someone who sort of appreciates great defense, what makes him so difficult to deal with? _(Childs Walker) _"In just studying Von in the offseason, his motor and athleticism are what stand out. He's a very productive guy no matter what you do to try to stop him. It's like playing LeBron [James], and that's what I told the guys about A.J. Green, the 32-yarder. Every now and then, LeBron is going to clear the lane and go dunk. Those types of players do that. I think that's the same thing with Von on the defensive side of it. You always have to account for him, because he's that special of a player."
In terms of Denver, does this game carry any extra significance for you, personally, having coached there? _(Garrett Downing) _"No, because I go back to [how] this game always has been and always will be about the players. Denver is a blip on the radar screen. I think there's one guy left that was on that roster when I was there. I'll be glad to say hello to him. He's a good guy. But, it's really, it's a blip on the radar screen. It really is."
You've been around LB Kenny Young a few months now. He seems to be a guy who processes things quickly. Is that true, and can you talk about what about him seems like he's picking things up? _(Cliff Brown) _"Kenny has come along really fast. I really do [believe that]. And even when he makes a mistake, he's productive. There are certain types of players that I know that you guys have seen come up through this system. Even though they'll make a mistake, they're productive doing it. They'll make plays, and that's what we're starting to see more and more with Kenny."
QB Case Keenum, what are his traits that you look at and kind of rank them, as far as trying to confuse and stop him? What do you see from him? _(Pete Gilbert) _"I think that gameplan-wise, we'll keep that until Sunday. But, they're paying the guy $36 million, so he can play quarterback in this league. They're paying him $36 million, and they want him to play quarterback. They don't want him to be game-manager, which he has not been. In the first two games, he's won them the game. So, he's just going to be another difficult foe that we have to go against."
What's your impression of the two rookie running backs: RB Phillip Lindsay and RB Royce Freeman? _(Ed Lee) _"Lindsay is a rocket! I think he runs 4.3, the kid from Colorado. You always have to be aware. Your antennae go up when he's in the game. The other kid [Royce Freeman] is a really good running back. He just doesn't have 4.3 speed. But, you can see why they drafted him and also why they signed him, Lindsay, as an undrafted free agent, because he has a skill set that jumps out at you."
There's a lot of focus this week on the headset. When you have someone different wearing it – I know S Eric Weddle wore it in San Diego – does it put an onus on you to get the play in? Do you have to make any adjustments when it's a different player you're communicating with, if, in fact, ILB C.J. Mosley doesn't play? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Anytime that something different happens, it's an onus, but we don't know who's going to wear the headset this week, because we don't know who's going to be out there yet. So, anytime there's a switch like that, it's going to be a little bit different for the guys on the field. Not for me, personally, because I'm going to call the defense. But it's going to be different for [the player] who's actually saying the call."
NT Michael Pierce seems like he's been really productive for you guys these first two games. Have you guys asked him to do anything differently than in years past, or has he just elevated his game to the level that you're hoping for? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"He's elevated his game. I give all credit to him on that. And, what he's done with his game, he's going to get more and more playing time. We're trying to keep him and 'Big Baby' [Brandon Williams] fresh, like I talked about in training camp, and I think you're starting to see the dividends of trying to keep those two fresh. He's done a great job. It's like I told Joe [Cullen, defensive line coach] the other day – and Joe's done a great job; Joe and Drew [Wilkins assistant D-line coach] have done a great job of working with him – when there's a pass, either he's at the quarterback, or he's throwing a lineman on the quarterback. I think the untrained eye of a fan can see that."
Is it like running backs, where just with how fast the game moves and how much stress they put on their bodies, you want to keep a good rotation going? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Yes, and it's the 16-game schedule, too. Because, that's what we said looking back and studying the game, that games 12 through 16, we saw a fall-off, because different guys were missing and everything else. We're trying to go for the whole haul here of the marathon. That's your answer on why we're rotating them as much as we're rotating them, and that's with everybody, too."
When you guys put CB Maurice Canady on IR, that moves two rookies up the depth chart a little bit. What have you seen from those two guys, CB Anthony Averett and CB Darious Williams? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _"They're improving every week, and they're learning how to play this game. They're not there yet, but they have to be ready if called upon. I wasn't in that meeting of why we're doing this and why we're doing that, but obviously, we have confidence in those two."
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement: "Alright, let's round the last two games up. Pretty good job against Buffalo. The road game in Cincinnati – we have to get better in many aspects. Geez, we made some great plays in both games. We just simply have to become more consistent. Such a slow type of start there, and we got behind the eight ball, and then went to a sort of catch-up-type gameplan for pretty much the rest of the game. We're in the middle of our preparation here against Denver. Denver is coming in. This defense now is excellent in many situations and very good total defense. They've got several fantastic pass rushers; they play an aggressive style. So, we have to be on it with them coming in. Let's open it up to questions."
When you looked at the pass protection in the Cincinnati game, where did you see the breakdowns? (Childs Walker) "Look – in both the run and the pass game in the last ball game, it wasn't any one particular man. There were some mistakes both mentally and physically, and they were – not the big ones – but it kept us from being extremely productive, especially early."
When you look at RB Alex Collins, the two games have been kind of odd in terms of running back. You hand the ball off 25 times. But not getting a touch in the fourth quarter for a guy who has been so explosive and breaking plays – what do you need to do to make sure that doesn't happen? (Pete Gilbert)"Well, every game is different. It was a catch-up kind of game. Our run game is very important to us – let me make that clear – for many different reasons. But like you said, both games have been kind of different: jumped way out [against Buffalo], and then we were sort of way behind [against Cincinnati]. We'll try to get that situation in a little bit better mode."
If you look to get him the ball more in the passing game … Just because he's the guy that can take a 3-yard pass and can do a lot with it. (Pete Gilbert)"All of our backs are pretty good in the pass game, including him. But yes, that's a good point."
How important is it when you're at first-and-10 to get significant yardage, that way you're not in a second-and-long situations? (Ed Lee)"Yes, it's always important. I mean, every drive is a little different, but not that you can't overcome. I think some of the best offenses are really good on first down. So yes, your statement is correct."
How do you tailor your offense to that so that you can be one of those top offenses? (Ed Lee) "It's just simply … We've done some really good things offensively, you know statistically. But the first-down situation – that is important. Typically, the really good teams get a couple explosive plays per game on first down."
You mentioned the pass rush. Without getting any specific game-planning, what become the points of emphasis strategically when you are dealing with an elite pass rusher or multiple pass rushers? _(Bo Smolka) _"Well. There are many ways that you take care. One pass rusher, you can handle with tight ends, backs – all different ways you can do it. Two? [That's] a little bit different. But that was such a different game – we were down by 21-0, then 28-7. We were playing catch-up. I know this: The guys battled. They battled! I'm not sure I've told them this, but heck, I am proud of the way they battled back. I told them, 'The next time we're in one of those things, we can finish the thing.' So that's where we're at."
During the game, what's the process in deciding when to use QB Lamar Jackson and when not to? (Garrett Downing) "A lot of thought goes into that. We'll see. Every game will be different with Lamar. He'll play a little bit more in some, a little bit less in others, depending on who we're going against, what style we're going against and all those things."
You mentioned earlier that some teams make explosive plays on first down. How do you assess the deep passing game through two games for you guys? (Aaron Kasinitz) "Well, we've had certainly some opportunities, made good on a couple of them. We've been getting – and I always go plus-20 [yards] plays – I think there are four or five each game. We haven't got to 60 [yards], but we've got four or five each game of plus-20. We haven't got the real explosive, but we've been getting a pretty good share of the big plays, the chunks. I would like to be a little more consistent doing it."
Even though he hasn't broken one yet, do you think it's been a net success so far with what QB Lamar Jackson has brought to the offense? (Ryan Mink)"Yes, we sure would like to be really productive as well. But there are a lot of different reasons why Lamar goes into a game at a particular time. It may not look like it, but it is well thought out." (laughter)
TE Mark Andrews, who struggled early in camp, looks like he's struggling an awful lot less now. Does that surprise you at all? (Pete Gilbert)"No – Mark is a heck of a player. And of course, Nick [Boyle] and Maxx [Williams] are really good players, so we're deep and solid there. I'm certainly looking forward to Hayden [Hurst] getting healthy at some point. Our tight ends have done a heck of a job up to date."
LB Albert McClellan
On his two weeks away from the Ravens:"[I was] just waiting on the phone call, staying in shape, working out with some good people. Shout-out to P.T. Training. But [I was] working out with good people, really just staying in shape and waiting on that phone call." (Reporter: "Were you in Baltimore?")"In Baltimore, yes."
On if the team told him there was a potential to return when he left:"Yes. That's what they said. It's more of a thing where numbers, age, kind of came into play, and basically just, 'Stay ready. You never know. We could call you in ca couple days. We could call you in a week or so, or it could be at the end of the year, but just stay ready.' And that's just one of those things that I just grew up on, just being ready whenever the opportunity presents itself, so that was it."
On if he had other tryouts, or if he wanted to focus on the Ravens: "I tried out with the Eagles. It was great tryout. I felt like I did pretty well, but Baltimore … Once a Raven, always a Raven, and being around here, you build certain bonds and certain relationships that kind of stick with you a little bit. So, I kind of had that feeling of wanting to come back here."
On the emotion he felt when he found out he was returning to the Ravens: "My daughter was more excited! She was like, 'I don't want to switch schools,' once we heard I got cut. So, once I told her, it was, jump, jump, 'Hey, hooray! We're here! We're home! We get to stay home!' And that was my same feeling. This is where I want to be. This is my home. I'm glad that I can stay here and defend my home."
On how he'll aid the defense with ILB C.J. Mosley injured:"With C.J.'s injury, we all have to [step up]; it's not just me. It's whoever the coaches feel like who's ready to step up. We're all ready to step up. That's what we prepare for all offseason. That's just part of being a good team. You have to have a solid team in order to overcome obstacles. I believe we've been doing a good job – Kenny [Young], 'Peanut' [Patrick Onwuasor], especially, Chris Board. We're all doing a good job preparing. That's how every good team should be."
On if any of the guys welcomed him back:"I talked to a lot of the guys over the phone throughout those two weeks. So, it was like I never really left to those guys. A lot of love came back once I got released, so everybody was kind of, 'Hey, keep your head up,' this that and the third. When I came back, everybody was like, 'I knew you were coming back. I'm glad you're here, but we already knew you were going to be back.'"
On if he watched the first two Ravens games: "Yes. I've got to. I've got to make sure my guys are straight. Contacted a few people, still kind of helping out coaching, and get off that lot, get out, punch a run, so to speak, and making sure everybody … You know, letting them know that I'm still watching, I'm still over your shoulder checking up on you."
On if he regained 'Co-Cap' status upon his return: "Yeah, I got that. I have to share the role with [Anthony] Levine – 'Co-Cap.' We're both back running things."