TUESDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: WEEK 2 at BENGALS
CB Brandon Carr
On if the 2017 season-ending loss to Cincinnati is lingering in players' thoughts heading into the game:"If I were to say 'no,' I'd be lying. We've still got that bitter taste in our mouths, but this is a new year, new look, new opportunity for us to go out there and set the tone early. [There are] some things we want back from that game, but that's the past. This year – we're 1-0 right now, we have a short week, have a big opponent, have to go there to play in front of their crowd. It's going to be an intense game, but we're focused, we're ready. We're just excited to play another game of football."
On if he expects to be covering Bengals WR A.J. Green and how to do so:"I expect to be on him at some point in the game. He moves around a lot; they have different ways of getting him the ball. [I must have] the same type of focus, the same type of concentration and effort each and every week. He's a Pro Bowl-caliber receiver, elite, some say 'Hall of Famer,' right? It's going to take all hands on deck [with] not only myself, but the other 10 guys out on the field just communicating, make sure we have a count for him at all times and [give] max effort to the ball."
On the mindset heading into Week 2 knowing it's a divisional opponent: "The name of the game is to get better each and every week. Last week is over and done; it's time for a new week. How much better can we get? Can we clean up our mistakes? Can we go out there and play faster? Can we communicate better? So, it's always an opportunity to out-do your last performance."
On if it's fun for him as a veteran to see the younger players making big plays: "It's very fun, especially … You know, I knew Marlon [Humphrey] would be the guy that he is. He's steadily evolving into a lockdown corner, shutdown [corner]. Tavon [Young], I'm excited for him most out of everyone, because he didn't have the opportunity to play this game last year. When I got here last season, I just saw the capabilities and his potential, and it got cut short by injury. Now he's back, he's ready to go. He made a lot of plays this past week. I look forward to him making more plays as the season goes."
On if CB Marlon Humphrey is a guy he provides advice to often:"I talk to everybody as needed. I try not to overtalk, try not to give you too much that you can handle. But he's a smart guy, his background, his upbringing, his environment as well – so he has all the tutelage and knowledge, of course. Just as needed throughout the year, throughout the week of plays and different things we see on film, maybe off the field things at times. But I just try to keep it simple for him and let him just walk his way through this journey of the National Football League. I'm always there for support, help, word, whatever the case may be."
On if he has learned anything over the years about getting prepared for a Thursday night game that could help with the short week:"Yeah – the things you don't see is what gets us ready. The preparation, the sleep, the hydration, getting your body taken care of – those are the things that you get on top of. As soon as that game is over on Sunday, you call your crew up and you get everybody – all hands on deck – to get you ready to go for Thursday. That's what I do."
On what worked well in covering Bengals WR A.J. Green last year:"[You] just have to get hands on him. These receivers, some of these high-caliber ones, you can't give them the opportunity to get it going. We stayed on him early and often and tried to take the ball out of his hands. You just have to compete for 60 minutes, each and every down. You know he's going to get targeted and get his plays, but you just have to battle back and make your own plays as well."
QB Joe Flacco
On if there are advantages to playing the Thursday night game early in the season:"I think so. I really do. When you get late in the year and your bodies have just taken such a beating already – I'm not really saying this from personal experience, but just talking to some of the guys playing along the line of scrimmage – I think it's definitely an advantage to do it early, when you haven't kind of taken the brunt of the whole season."
On if Cincinnati's team looks different to him than in the past:"They're a little bit different. They have 'T.A.' [Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin] there now, so they have his flavor to it, but there are still a lot of familiar faces over there. I've played against these corners and then the guys up front. It's a very familiar group and a very good group. [I have] a lot of respect for those guys and what they're capable of and how they're able to change a game, so we have to be on top of our game when it comes to that."
On if the Bengals are a tough team to throw against: "They're just a tough team in general. Last year, their record wasn't great, but they're always a tough matchup. They've been really good for the last decade, and I guess they haven't quite put it all together, but they're just a really good team. Everything that you do, they make really tough, and you have to be ready to play a full 60 minutes and be on top of it, big time."
On how he tries to follow up such a successful game for the offense:"You can't compare week to week. You can't worry about … Obviously, you go in with the mindset of putting up 60 each week, but you can't do that all in one drive. So, when we go out there this week, we can't really have that in our minds. It's a completely new game. We just have to take it one drive at a time and one play at a time. It sounds super cliché, but that's the way it is. We can't be comparing ourselves to last week. We have to wait to do that after the fact, after we've gone and done our job."
On what he saw on film with the offense's success in the red zone:"We ran the ball in early on. I think when you're able to hand the ball off down there, it definitely makes things a lot easier, because the field just gets so much tighter down there, and you have to do things in a little bit tighter window. The defense is able to compress you a little bit. So, when you're able to hand the ball off and get in the little creases, that will definitely help. And then, some things just kind of popped for us. In the two-minute drive there, some turnovers in the second half, it just kind of worked out in our favor.
On what impressed him about the offensive line and only allowing him to be sacked once:"I think, from what I hear, the one that I kind of ducked [Bills DE Jerry] Hughes and got back to the line of scrimmage, I think, was that considered the sack? That's kind of a shame. I wish I would have lunged out another foot. (laughter) It's kind of a shame that that goes on as a sack. It doesn't really matter to me, but those guys take pride in that. They did a great job, and I told them that. Even on some of the plays, we were able to extend a few plays, not necessarily get any big chunks, but those were … I was able to stand back there and do those things, because they were really holding guys up and doing a great job."
On if he gains any motivation from the Ravens drafting QB Lamar Jackson:"I was working hard long before that. It's really just my general mindset. I always tell people, 'If you're not motivated to play in this league from within, then you're not going to make it very long. Obviously, there are little things along the way that serve as motivation, maybe on one given day or the other, but even if I was motivated by that, it's not something that would last. That's not the kind of motivation that gets you through anything significant. I am who I am every single day, and I think we've been doing a good job this offseason, this training camp, and all the way into Week 1. We just have to keep it going."
On TE Mark Andrews and his performance in Week 1: "Yes, it's probably tough for Mark. He sits here and listens, because we have Hayden [Hurst]. We drafted him first. That's the way it is. I was just impressed by Mark, because he's obviously a good player, but he hasn't had a ton of reps. We haven't had a ton of reps together, so for him to come in and just really not miss a beat and play confident the way he did and just catch the ball – that's the first thing you have to do when you're young. When you get in there, make sure you catch the football. I thought he obviously did a great job of doing that, but he didn't seem like a rookie. He just seemed like he was one of the guys out there playing football."
On continuing to throw to receivers even with drops, as he did with WR Michael Crabtree in the first half: "It's really just where [the play] took me. Those things happen. We were 2nd-and-25, and I forget why that happened, but we overcame it. Same thing with drops; they're not ideal, but you just overcome it, and then you forget about it. If that's our only issue, starting with that, if that's going to be our only issue, is drops, I'm not going to worry about that at all, because first of all, we're not going to have many of them. And second of all, that has nothing to do with effort. That has nothing to do with knowing your assignment. These guys are NFL wide receivers. They're going to catch the ball 99 percent of the time. I know that he's a guy – I've been around him for a few months now – I know that he's a guy that wants to go out there and wants to get it done for his teammates, and that's the most important thing. So, one of those here and there, that's the last thing I'm going to do, is put one of my receivers down in the dumps because I got on him for something stupid like that."
On if he has held on to the loss to Cincinnati last season that "ended" playoff hopes:"How many losses did we have last year, seven? You can argue any one of those teams ended it. We didn't play good enough in any of those games, and I don't think we're really thinking about that, and I'm not thinking about that. I'm just thinking about how confident I am in this group that's here right now and what we're getting ready to go do."
On what it's like having his brother, Tom Flacco, playing quarterback at nearby Towson University: "Yes, it's kind of unique that he's right here. I've been waiting to see him play for the last three years. I've been really itching to watch him play college football, so I had a big smile on my face the last two weeks. I was able to get to a game at Morgan State, and then I was able to get [the Wake Forest game] on the computer, stream it on the TV, this past Saturday. It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun watching him. He's a really good player, great athlete, can really throw the ball. Obviously, he's my brother, so I have some bias. I would say he has a lot of similarities to me, but he's 6-foot, and he has to get things done in a lot of different ways. He probably doesn't get credit for some of the things that big, tall guys do, but he can do a lot of things. I'll go all day. (laughter)I had a lot of fun watching him. I had a lot of fun watching him. It was cool."
WEEK 2: BENGALS CONFERENCE CALL
(with Baltimore Media)
Head Coach Marvin Lewis
You guys surely focused on solidifying the offensive line in the offseason. How is that group coming along? (Jeff Zrebiec) "We feel good about things. We just have to keep growing and getting better day to day."
Can you discuss what's different about RB Joe Mixon in 2018 vs. 2017? (Ed Lee) "Well, I think the thing is we want to be consistent with [him] and stay disciplined and consistent with his tracks, and just stay true to form."
What are RB Joe Mixon's strengths as a running back?_ (Ed Lee)_"I think he's got great vision. He's big and strong, and he's fast. He's a good receiver with the football, and he's just got such a great spirit about him."
QB Joe Flacco threw for three touchdowns last week for the first time in a couple years. From your perspective, what did you see that he did different? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _"Well, Joe's a fine … He's an accomplished quarterback. I don't think he did anything different. Every time out, Joe Flacco can throw from three to six touchdowns. He's a very fine player – been a fine player since he came in the league in '08. You have to take care of business with him all the time."
The Ravens' pass rush was good during the preseason, and it carried over into the Buffalo game. What do you see with that, and how important is it that you keep them away from QB Andy Dalton?_ (Cliff Brown)_ "I'd say that's paramount in any NFL football game. So, they've done a good job this preseason, and obviously, in the first week."
What about QB Lamar Jackson? Obviously, the Ravens showed what they may do with him some. What did you think about that and how difficult is that to prepare for?_ (Cliff Brown)_"He's a good athlete, and he's a good football player. They're going to utilize him a little bit in the offense, and we have to respond."
Speaking of the Ravens' pass rush, five of their six sacks came from players other than OLB Terrell Suggs. What does that say about their diversity, in terms of pass rush? (Ed Lee) "They did a nice job of running games and running the pressures and so forth. The guy that came free – whether he beat a block or whatever – he did a nice job."
You've been facing Dean Pees' defense for a long time with him calling defensive plays. Does this group have a different look with defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale calling the plays, or is it pretty much a typical Ravens' defense? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I think the structure with what they're doing, 'Wink' has kept in-tact. Thus far in the preseason and in the first football week, he's relied a little bit more on their base pressures and so forth – things they've done. Whether that ends up being … Obviously, going into the season, that was something they felt like they wanted to do."
What's your impression of the Ravens' secondary without CB Jimmy Smith?_ (Ed Lee)_ "I think they've done a nice job. They do it good with technique, led by a fine player in the back with Eric Weddle, and they have some other good corners that are good players. You don't drop off a whole lot."
Does the fact that you're playing a division opponent make it any easier, more challenging, less challenging, to prepare for on a short week? (Aaron Kasinitz) "The short weeks are always challenging. It's an important game – being, as you said, a division game and a home game."
I guess we probably ask you this every year. Are you surprised, that knowing how well you know him, that at this stage of his career that OLB Terrell Suggs is still playing at this level? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Is he the last guy left out of that class? He might be. The '03 [draft] class, because Terence [Newman] retired, Carson [Palmer] retired."(Reporter: "Yeah, I think the only one … Well, [Julius] Peppers was the year before, and I think Suggs is the second oldest that's there from defense.")"Terrell has been a … I've seen it all, so I'm blessed. From his collegiate workout days at ASU, all the way through, he's been an outstanding player, and obviously, has done a tremendous job. I sit here, and I've witnessed him and [Ben] Roethlisberger and some of these guys in this division far too long."
His physical skills are well-documented, but do you think OLB Terrell Suggs doesn't get enough credit for his football intelligence and savvy? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Yes, there's no question about it. He doesn't get enough credit for that. Believe me – I make our people well aware of his football intelligence, because I've witnessed [it] year after year. I see him play 16 games a year, because even if we're not playing him, I've seen their tape generally throughout the season [by] looking at our other opponents. I see how football-smart he is and as he applies what they do to the opponent week-in and week-out."
Does DT Geno Atkins remind you of any other defensive tackles you might have coached or seen in the past? (Ed Lee) "No – not that I've been around. First hand, I think Warren Sapp was probably just a little bigger man – but similar to Geno in Geno's quickness and so forth and what he does. Warren was probably just a little bigger man. But Geno, with his size and what he gets done is tremendous. He's a fine player in the run game as well."
You mentioned DT Geno Atkins' quickness. Is that his uniqueness? (Ed Lee) "Yes, I think his extraordinary quickness and brute strength. He's very, very strong – extremely strong."