WEDNESDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: WEEK 13 at ATLANTA
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Ok, good to see everybody – appreciate everybody being here, and we've been working hard to prepare for Atlanta. We feel like we're almost a little bit behind, because they played Thursday night, so we're kind of playing catchup with that. But, we're ready to go, and we're looking forward to starting to work on the gameplan today and preparing for Sunday."
There have been reports that QB Joe Flacco has still not been cleared to practice. Can you comment on that one way or another? (Childs Walker) "No. There's a process involved, and it has to do with the doctors and trainers and his rehab, so he's progressing very well. I can tell you that. He's doing well, and there will be another step today and tomorrow and the day after that, and we'll see where we're at."
Do you expect him to practice, or we'll have to wait? (Jerry Coleman) "I have no expectations on medical-type stuff. I've learned that over the years. You just let it play out. That's beyond our control."
You said in the past that he would need to practice to play at this point. Does it matter how many practices – one, two, a full week? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I don't know."
When you look at QB Matt Ryan, him coming in the same year as QB Joe Flacco – and they always kind of get linked together a little bit in that regard – but his progression through the years, in some ways he feels like he's overrated, but at other times, underrated. When you look at QB Matt Ryan, what stands out about his game and where he is right now? (Pete Gilbert) "The thing that really jumps out at you is his accuracy. He's an on-time, on-rhythm, accurate thrower, running kind of a 'Shanahan-Kubiak,' I guess you'd call it, West Coast system that they've done a great job of developing there over the years, ever since coach [Dan] Quinn has gotten there. Coach [Steve] Sarkisian is running it now and calling the plays and doing a great job, so that's just a really good system. [Ryan] knows the system inside and out, and he's good, and their passing attack is excellent. It's right there at the top of the league in terms of every statistical category, and he drives that. And, obviously, they have really good weapons to go along with that everywhere. So, that's how they're built."
Do you feel like CB Jimmy Smith is a guy that, in recent weeks, has really kind of taken the next step from where he was earlier, given the fact that, obviously, there was going to be some rust involved? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Yes, you're exactly right. He's gotten better, really, every week, and you kind of see the … I wouldn't say it's his confidence, it's just kind of the physicality. He's moving better. Of course, that's going to make him more confident, but you can really see the movement coming back, the speed, the quickness, all those things, and he and I have talked about that pretty much every day. He looks really good right now, so that's a good observation by you."
Do you expect RB Alex Collins to be practicing this week? How is that foot injury going, and are you obviously pleased with RB Gus Edwards whether Collins can go in or not? (David Ginsburg) "Yes, to the latter part, and all the running backs. And, it's just day-to-day with Alex right now, as far as I know. That's where we're at with that, so I don't think he's practicing today. We'll have to see. I don't know if he's going to go today. It was kind of up in the air, and we'll just have to see where he's at as we go."
When we talked to teammates and even opponents about QB Lamar Jackson, they talk about how fast he is, and how it's a little different when you're going. I'm sure you've watched a lot of tape on Lamar at Louisville. Is it a difference, watching him on tape and then seeing him in practice and in games, as far as just the speed aspect? (Jamison Hensley) "Anytime you see a fast guy, it's always impressive, and probably to your point, I'd probably agree with that. We all are sports fans, and 'speed kills' is what they say, in any sport, really, so it's fun to watch. But, I do think it's always more impressive to see it live than it is on tape, sure."
Do you think QB Lamar Jackson's speed is a little deceptive, because I feel like sometimes it looks like he's just kind of gliding along, but then you see him on the ground? Does that restrict you? (Childs Walker)"I always just go by, for any kind of ball carrier, by how many people they make miss, or changing the angles. To me, that always is the comparison when you watch them in terms of how they affect the game. I think that's how you can judge the speed, more than how they look running. You do. You see, there are a lot of smooth runners that don't look fast, but they run really fast. There are a lot of sprinters like that; they don't look like they're really working that hard, but they're covering some ground. So, [there's] probably some truth to that, yes."
In the time that QB Joe Flacco has been unable to practice or play, is he taking part in the preparation in the quarterback room? And, because QB Lamar Jackson kind of plays a different style, is there a limited input Flacco can have? What can you share about that, what he can help? (Mark Viviano) "Yes, Joe helps with all of it. He's in every meeting. He's in every game-planning session. Those guys have a great room, all three of those guys, with James [Urban, QBs coach] and then Marty [Mornhinweg], Craig Ver Steeg [senior offensive assistant]. We have different coaches who are involved at different times with those guys, so they have pass-protection meetings. There's just a process that we have that all the quarterbacks are [in], so of course, Joe is involved in that. His input is, I'd say, it's very big. Joe is a big part of that. The plays that we're running with Lamar are all plays that we have had in from the beginning, so Joe knows all the plays, so he can certainly have input, and he does."
RB Gus Edwards seems like a quiet guy to us, and he's not super emotive on the field. He's had back-to-back 100-yard games. What's he like behind-the-scenes? (Aaron Kasinitz) "Personality? He's a quiet guy. Yes, he's a quiet guy everywhere. I don't know; I haven't been out to dinner with him or anything." (Reporter: "I was just curious if there was a hidden side to him.") "Hidden side to him? I don't know. I haven't delved into that yet. But, I will say this about him: I think it's an interesting question in the sense that he's a really good young man, and he's a really hard worker – very, very serious-minded, which is, I'm sure, what you're referring to. And, he wants to be successful, and he's kind of all-business. That's how he approaches it. You get him to smile, you kind of feel good about that sometimes. It takes a really funny thing to get him to smile a little bit. If you want to get him to smile, you better be on your joke game. You better bring a good one. (laughter) But, I really appreciate his approach to the job."
You talked about it earlier, maybe a couple weeks ago, but about how RB Gus Edwards practices so well. He starts out on the practice squad, and now, he's pretty much your starting running back. Has he continued to show strides, and does that really happened when you practice well? (David Ginsburg)"Yes, hard work pays off, and he has continued to do that, and he's a very determined guy. It takes a lot to make it at this level. There are not too many players – there are a few, we've seen them over the years – that are so talented that they don't have to work at it quite as hard, and there are always levels of how hard people work. And, some people are going to work, can work, the hardest that anybody has ever worked, and they're never going to play in the National Football League. [There are] quite a few sitting and standing in this room right now, right? So, that's just talent. That's part of it. But, I would say that's a great example for kids, just to see that when you take the right approach to something, you can really achieve anything that God has given you the gifts to do, and put your mind to it and decide to work hard, and it's neat to see."
On OLB Matthew Judon's three sacks in a row, was there something that you guys saw? (Kirk McEwen) "Yes, we planned it, right for that point in time in the game: 'We're going for three sacks in a row, fourth quarter, five or six minutes left!' (laughter) No, I think it's more … Yes, it's part of the planning. We make light of it, but your point is a good point in the sense that a lot of planning goes into that, in terms of how you rush and techniques of the pass rush and some of the pressures we were putting on [Derek Carr]. And, I also think [it was about] wearing him down just a little bit towards the end there, and then getting him, finally, into a situation where they had to throw the ball, make him one-dimensional. We did that throughout the game by not letting them run the ball, but we got the lead, and they just absolutely … You knew that they were throwing, so Matthew cut it loose just a little bit more. The answer is yes, but you're not planning for probably three sacks in a row, obviously."
You've talked about how QB Lamar Jackson has done a good job operating the offense, communication, all those things. Is there another level of preparation this week in what could be his first road start? (Ryan Mink)" Definitely, definitely. There is a new set of issues with playing on the road that will be another level, absolutely. [That's] a good way to say it. Crowd noise, cadence, snap counts, communication, even the earphone and getting the plays and things like that, being prepared if that is a problem. All those things will be [important]. Yes, it will be a new level. It will be a challenge for all of us. But, he's up to it – looking forward to seeing how he does."
Watching the last couple of games, there seems to be a symbiosis between RB Gus Edwards and QB Lamar Jackson and how they might affect each other on the field and the success they have. Are there player groupings that apply to QB Joe Flacco like that? RB Buck Allen, receiving? When you decide on player groupings for a game, does that kind of come into play? (Peter Schmuck) "Probably not. It's a good observation, but that's not really the way we've approached it. Gus could play with Joe. Alex [Collins] can play with Lamar. There are certain plays that we put guys in for, gameplan-wise, so we'll designate guys for plays in personnel groupings, because we want them to do specific things, move them around according to their talents or some matchup we want to get, or some personnel group you want to put the defense into. So, those things are considered more. I don't think we've considered them that much, in terms of who the quarterback is as much as more about the gameplan."
Talking about OLB Matthew Judon, when you think about what kind of player he could be, would it be a dominant pass rusher? Would it be more of a guy who can do a little bit of everything? (Childs Walker) "I think all-around player, yes. He can be a dominant pass rusher according to his style – a very physical, explosive, leverage-type of a pass-rusher, great quickness – but also, really good run edge-setter, and that's the combination you really want. That's what Terrell Suggs has been over the years. I'm not making that comparison just yet, but he's watched 'Sizz' [Suggs] play and kind of patterned himself a little bit after that. And to me, he's a very similar kind of player."
With*QB Lamar Jackson's experience with big games, loud games, at Louisville, is there anything that he can take from that? Or, is going from college to the play calls to what you guys run here, is there anything that he can gain from that? _(Jonas Shaffer)_* "That's a great question. I really would defer to him on that, but I do think your point is good on both ends, because yes, there are many things, I'm sure, he could take from it. He's played in big games. All these young guys [have]. How about Mark Andrews? How about Hayden Hurst? They've been in these big stadiums. And yet, the offense is certainly more complex, and the defenses are tougher, and the players are better. So, it's probably a little bit of both."
There was a sequence late in that game Sunday – I think it was right at the two-minute warning – where QB Lamar Jackson had that long run. He kind of got up a little differently. He was pointing to the sideline. Were you concerned at that moment that he might have tweaked something there? And is he fine, physically? (Jeff Zrebiec) "No and yes. I didn't notice it at the time, and he's fine."
WR John Brown, the last four games, has not been as productive as he was early in the season. What can be done to get him back on track? (Ed Lee) "If you don't have the penalty [on the long pass called by vs. Oakland], probably he would be more productive, but he had a couple shots. I'm sure 'Smoke' [Brown] would like to have a few of those. They were maybe tough catches, but he makes those a lot of times. The combination of finding a way to get him the ball, getting him the ball – the game sometimes just doesn't work out – and then also just connecting on those things. I'm not too worried about it. I agree that he's a guy we want in there. We want him making plays, and especially the deep stuff is something that he can excel at and the crossing routes, those kinds of things. We want 'Smoke' to be a big part of it, for sure."
RB Gus Edwards
On his determination through being a practice squad running back to a starter: "It's pretty much just trying to take advantage of all the opportunities I was given. I've been put in a great situation where I have been given some reps when the opportunity presented itself. I just try to make the best out of it pretty much."
On if his life has changed over the past few weeks: "I try to just keep my family close, stay with my teammates and just try to continue to be humble and keep working. That way, I can have continued success."
On if he had a moment where someone recognized him in public: "No, it hasn't [happened]." (Reporter: "Another 100-yard game that might happen.")"Thank you."
On why he's so serious with a business-like approach regarding football:"It's pretty much like I know what it could do for me. It's taken me this far; it's my job. Pretty much, it does a lot for me. I take it seriously, and I want to be successful. I have goals for myself. I try to work hard towards those goals."
On what he needed to do during training camp to prove himself and make the team:"Well, even though it was a deep [running back] room, we were given a lot of opportunities – which is what I was touching on earlier. Coach Thomas [Hammock, running backs] is a coach that gives us reps and gives us chances to prove ourselves. [I give] a lot of credit to him for doing that, because I do understand that a lot of teams don't do that. I had a lot of great opportunities here. Fortunately, I was able to make some good things out of it."
On if the Falcons might be more prepared for him than the previous two teams: "We have put on tape that we can run the ball for two games, but at the same time, I feel like if we prepare right, and we get ready right, it just puts pressure on them to be able to stop in anyway."
On if the offensive linemen are appreciative of this recent running attack:"I feel like our offensive line loves running the ball. They get pumped up out there when we're running the ball and we get positive yards. They're jumping around, they're rolling on, they're looking over at the sidelines saying, 'Continue going!' So, I feel like they love it. I love it, too, obviously. So, yes."
On his chemistry with QB Lamar Jackson on and off the field, and what a mobile quarterback does for him:"He definitely takes pressure off of me. All defenses have to respect the read option. He's not just pulling it in there for nothing. He could pull it out and everything used he's put on tape. He can make plays with his feet, so the defense has to respect it. Our relationship is great. On the field, he's a motivator, he's the leader in the huddle, he talks a lot, he's telling us, 'Guys, we need to score on this drive.' He keeps us going out there. He's a very smart football player, very talented. Off the field, he's humble, he's fun to be around."
On if the read option has been an adjustment and if he has dealt with it before:"I feel like we're definitely getting better at it. There are some things we need to improve on, and we're going to get better at it. I love doing it; I feel like it's working for us right now. We're going to continue getting better at it."
On how his family reacted to having back-to-back 100-yard rushing games: "Well, they always thought I had it in me. I have a great support system. My family is at all the games. Even when I wasn't really playing too much, they were here. It's been a blessing to have them on my side."
On what attracted him to Baltimore as a rookie free agent:"I was always knowledgeable about the Baltimore Ravens. I liked their style growing up – physical offense, physical defense. They always had those great defenses. I was kind of a fan, I would say. I felt like it was a great opportunity to be here. [I had] a good relationship with coach [Thomas] Hammock. He reached out to me a couple times. I just felt like it was a place where I could come in and do something."
On if former RB Ray Rice, being a Rutgers alum, influenced him signing with the Ravens:"I really didn't put too much thought into that. Yeah, I really didn't think about that too much with my decision. Ray Rice was drafted here; I was coming here a free agent. I didn't think it really mattered too much."
On running backs he has modeled his game after:"I have some running backs that I really like, but I don't really think I try to model my game after too many running backs. I just try to be physical. I feel like with my size, I have to be physical, and I have to bring that to the team."
QB Lamar Jackson
On how he expects his potential first road start to be different from college road games:"I don't know. I don't really know. Just for me going out there, getting another game, I don't really know what I'm getting myself into. I have to wait to see what Atlanta brings us."
On if he expects communication to be a focus this week:"Yes, absolutely. I feel coach, in practice, will have some music going or something like that, try to have the crowd going to see how our offense responds to the noise, see if it distracts us or not, so we'll see."
On if he had a favorite road performance of his while playing at Louisville:"No, that's a good question. I don't know. I haven't thought about that at all."
On if he embraces playing on the road:"I love road games. I just to try make the crowd turn to our [side], make it be like our home environment. I like to do that, silence the crowd. Sometimes, they go against us. Sometimes, the game can be equal. I don't really know yet. I just want to make it my home, my team's home."
On if he thinks about how both he and RB Gus Edwards have had success playing together:"Gus is a great running back. Just him, handing the ball off, our line does a great job blocking, and he hits the hole hard. I don't know. We don't have a thing going on; we just work hard in practice and just get what the defense gives us, and we just execute at that. That's all."
On RB Gus Edwards' personality being more business-focused:"Gus really … He just doesn't talk, really, as much as everybody else does. (laughter) But, he talks. He talks to us. He laughs, giggles and stuff like that, just like any other human being."
On if it means anything to him to make his first potential road start where QB Michael Vick got his start:"No. I don't really look at it like that. It's just another game, just trying to come out with a 'W.'"
On if he has had to call an audible in his first two starts, and how comfortable he is with it:"Yes, I'm pretty comfortable with it. We do a lot of walk-throughs and stuff like that. Our defense, the scout team, they give us good looks, and I have to keep my eyes up and try to change the play or change the protection. So, yes, I'm pretty cool with it." (Reporter: Did you have to do it in either of the games?") "I did it in the game last week, yes."
On how many times he's played in a dome in his career:"I don't know. My first dome was in college. I threw an interception on my first play ever, so I remember that very vividly." (laughter)
On how he seems to mention and remember interceptions:"I hate them. Everything bad that happens, I remember." (Reporter: "So, how much this week do you spend looking at your three interceptions so far?")"I don't look at it after it's done. It happened. I just try to go into the next play and make it a positive. I don't dwell on it, but I'm mad I did it. Yes, it's in the back of my mind."
On if an emphasis is needed on the passing game if the run game is as successful as it has been:"We just do whatever it takes to win. We are going to try to balance it out, because we have wonderful, great receivers – great hands – guys that run great routes. We're going to do whatever it takes to win. We'll see what the gameplan gives us."
On his confidence level after starting two games:"I'd say I'm confident a lot, even more than I was last week, not even just the Cincinnati game. I'm just looking forward to getting to Mercedes-Benz Stadium and just have to do what I'm supposed to do: win the game."
On his long pass to WR John Brown being called back:"Aw, man!" (laughter) (Reporter: "How would you assess how you guys have linked up so far?") "We're good. There were a lot of passes I feel I should have gotten to him, put it on him so he could get more receptions involved, instead of just targets. But, we're going to work hard in practice, and we're going to try to execute in the game."
On if there is a difference between track speed and football speed:"Yes, because I ran track in high school. I didn't really take track seriously, so I know it's different. Some people are faster on a track than they are on the field, so yes, definitely, to me."
On if he's heard from other players during the game about his speed:"No, just if they're going to talk trash. I feel they're probably going to talk trash more than anything. Then, probably, after the game, they'll try to talk to me, but yes, I don't really know."
On if he made it more of a priority to avoid getting hit last week:"No, I'm going to play my game at all times. But, they were giving it to me, so I'm going to take advantage of it, go out of bounds, definitely."
On how QB Joe Flacco has been helpful in the quarterback room while he has not been able to play:"Yes, absolutely. Like I always say, anytime he'll let me know on the play we're going over or something like that, he'll let me know his progression of what he would have done on this play. Even a bad play that I did in the game, he'll let me know how he's seeing it and stuff like that. So, he's helping out a lot, him and 'RG' [Robert Griffin III], too."
On veteran NFL players commenting on social media with support for him:"It's pretty cool, because there are a lot of guys in the NFL. People don't really see it, but there are a lot of 'five-stars' in the NFL. It's the best of the best. You go play high school or college, you know there's going to be someone who's good, but you know that they're not really that good. But in the NFL, everyone is good, so when they give me credit, I just take it and cherish it.
OLB Matthew Judon
On if teammates, like DB/LB Anthony Levine Sr., sometimes try to get him off his spot:"No, we all see things differently. He thought it would help me and my pass rush. I just told him if he lined up inside it would be better for me. I just had to communicate with him [on] that. Levine is my older brother, so I yell at him a little more than anybody else."
On how special Sunday's game was recording three-consecutive sacks:"The team needed it. I went out there and got it done. It could've been any one of us, but I'm glad it was me."
On if he thought he could record a third sack after notching the first two:"You love asking that [question], man. I have confidence in myself. Every time I go out there, I'm thinking I'm getting a sack. When y'all ask, 'Do you think you can do this?' I think I can do that. So yes – I thought I could do it." (laughter)
On what kind of player he can be at his best:"Me at my best is downstairs, on the Lovesac, playing Call of Duty, hydrating. (laughter)On the field, it is [a player who is] focused, [has] great technique and is getting after it 100 percent every play. That's what we preach around here. If I can do that and be at my best and feel good every play, I think I'm a good player."
On going on the road to face the Falcons: "We're going to approach it like we approach every game. We're going to study film, have our calls, go out here and practice, communicate. That's a good team, and they have a very explosive offense, if we're off our Ps and Qs. So, we have to communicate and make sure we're all on one accord."
On how beneficial it has been for his career having OLB Terrell Suggs in the locker room:"Very [beneficial]. I feel like walking in here with that guy, and everything he's done for me throughout the years that you see on the field, and a lot of stuff that you don't see, is just guidance and somebody that approaches the game every day as it could be his last. Hopefully, I have about four or five more years with him. He can do this forever, but I'm truly grateful for me being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens and him still being here."
On will someone pitch the ball to OLB Terrell Suggs now when recovering a fumble:"I don't know. I don't know what he was doing! He played with some guys, and they did some pretty ballsy stuff. There's a play out there of Ed Reed snatching the ball from his own teammate and taking it to the end zone. So, I'm pretty sure he's seen some wild stuff. When he gets the ball, or one of us gets the ball, we have a nose for the end zone, so it's less work at that time. But he did it, and I believe it's his third touchdown ever. Kudos to him."
On if the team believes in momentum or if each game is a new start: "It's a new start. We don't believe in momentum, because if we did, we would still be on a losing streak. We won two in a row, then we lost three straight. So, every game is its own individual entity, and we have to approach it as that."
On if he was pressing too hard the first few games of the season:"No, man. I think that I just wasn't making those plays as I was last year – coming off of last year – and was trying to ride that wave and things were going differently for me at that time. For them, they might think that I was pressing, and it might look like I was pressing – maybe I was. Maybe I was trying to make those plays and just not being me. But I feel like now I'm making those plays, and I'm being me. Everybody's like, 'Oh, he's not pressing anymore! He's just making those plays.'" (Reporter: "Did you change anything up, or did you know it would come?") "I just kept going to work."
On his sack prediction for this weekend: "Funny. I have no clue. I have no clue how they're going to block me. It's my first time playing the Atlanta Falcons, so I don't know."
On having DT Michael Pierce and DT Brandon Williams clogging up the middle to make room for the outside linebackers to record sacks: "They're definitely unsung heroes, because they're demanding two [blockers], and when they get two – they're keeping two. If you watch the film, Pierce and 'Baby' [Williams] have some good rushes. They've been having some really good rushes, and the ball just kind of gets out on them and they're right there, a step away. But those guys are good. Don't discredit 'Z' [Za'Darius Smith]. I think all of his sacks came from the inside. So, we have some really good inside rushers."
On if he ever thought about being an institution in Baltimore like OLB Terrell Suggs:"No, that would be putting the cart before the horse. I have to come out here and I have to continue to make plays and continue to prepare well and continue to do all of that stuff, because you're here today, gone tomorrow. I'm pretty sure there's 55 guys before me that wore No. 99."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On how he has seen OLB Matthew Judon develop: "He's grown a lot. He's grown a lot. But we still have some growing to do."
On if he has tried to take OLB Matthew Judon under his wing:"Yes. You know, he's really coming into his own. But that's been pretty much the role of all the veterans that have been here before when the younger guys come in, especially a young, big guy that can play."
On if it's important to leave a legacy to influence younger players:"Every young man, every player, that walks through this building is going to be held to a certain standard. We require men to be Ravens around here, so most definitely – yes."
On if he heard from former Ravens S Ed Reed after the game:"Not yet, not yet – still waiting. Tell him to go ahead and shout me though. My number is still the same."
On if he's going to be asking for a lateral pass in the future on a return: "It has to be there. It has to be there. I heard Jimmy [Smith] call for it. I was going to throw it to him, but he wasn't in pitch relationship. Coach doesn't really want us, when we get turnovers, to turn the ball back over. But if it's there and the play can be extended, we're definitely going to look for it."
On if OLB Matthew Judon reminds him of himself when he was younger:"I don't know why I knew that was coming. I don't know what I used to be like as a young player, because I was living in the moment. That has to be a question you ask a guy that was older than me. I've said it before that, yes, there are some similarities there."
On Atlanta QB Matt Ryan's performance this season: "He's a former MVP quarterback, played in the Super Bowl. He's still the same guy, still can make every throw, still a dangerous weapon. But this is the NFL – we face that every week. There's a dangerous guy at quarterback, and this guy has some dangerous weapons. We definitely have our work cut out [for us]."
On what he would say to QB Lamar Jackson, playing his first road game in a hostile environment: "It's not going to get more hostile than what he's had here. You don't get to see how we treat him at practice. But he's been preparing for hostile environments. We'll try and tone it up a little bit more for him."
On how fast QB Lamar Jackson is: "He's not that fast. I outran him actually. You can ask our Sam [Rosengarten, analytics assistant – performance] guy – the miles per hour. Mine was a little higher than his last week. But yes – he ain't that fast." (laughter)
On Atlanta's strong passing game, despite a dip at run game performance:"They're still the Atlanta Falcons, and that's a big part of the game. So, they're definitely going to have that part of the game in there, in their gameplan, as well as what they do. We're preparing for all of it."
On what makes QB Matt Ryan so great: "Football I.Q."
FALCONS CONFERENCE CALL
(with Baltimore Media)
Head Coach Dan Quinn
What's the biggest challenge of defending QB Lamar Jackson's speed? (Megan Boyle) "Yes, that's the hardest part. It's difficult to simulate, because he has such quickness and speed, like a wide receiver or a corner has, but he's behind center. So, having that kind of … Simulating that speed at practice, that's the most difficult part, because you could do it with a receiver for the run plays, but it's not as authentic, because you can't step back and rip the passes like normal. So, that is, I would say, the challenging part, to simulate the speed that he does play with."
Do you feel like you need to prepare for both quarterbacks? (Childs Walker) "Right now, we do, only because we haven't heard otherwise in terms of that. That's not that unusual heading in when we don't know. So, as we go, we have no control over who plays or doesn't, so we'll be prepared to play whichever way that we have to go. I would say the styles are definitely different, and I'm not telling you guys anything you don't know. But, I would say that's the biggest thing, as opposed to the mobile quarterback that plays all the time. These two styles are different from the way that the offense has featured Joe [Flacco] in a lot of ways and how they've featured Lamar [Jackson]."
The Ravens have had strong run games the past two weeks. How are you challenging your defense to be better against the run? _(Megan Boyle) _"For us, it's been something that, over the last couple weeks, we haven't been pleased with our own run defense and our run offense. That's something internally, that the line of scrimmage has to be right for us to play the kind of football that we like. But, like in most games, the gap control, the tackling, those are things that we can control, and that's where we have to be rock-solid to do that. It only takes a play or two here or there to get out of whack, and a player jumps out of his gap and kind of overtries in some aspects. So, I think the real discipline is rock-solid run defense. And I've been impressed watching the Ravens' defense [stay] really square and strong in the run game as well. So, it's definitely a topic that is important to us and one that we're spending a lot of time on this week."
There's not a ton of tape on QB Lamar Jackson, but stylistically, does he remind you of anybody you've seen before? Or, is he even more of an extreme threat as a runner than others you've seen at that position? (Childs Walker) "That's a good question. I would say that he definitely has the speed and change in direction as a guy who can put his foot in the ground and go. There are definitely some designed quarterback runs. So, in our own division, we see one that has a lot of designed quarterback runs. Now, they're not the same at all in terms of Cam [Newton] and the size that he plays with and the quickness that Lamar has. They're different players. But, some of the offense has some similarity to it. I think he's carving his own way and doing his own thing, so it's nice to see that a guy [can do that]. He can throw on the run, the keepers, the boots, all that goes in. When you're a good, mobile quarterback, you better be accurate throwing on the run, and he has certainly shown he can do that, because it's one thing to break contain, where you can get for a run, but it's another thing where now, you can rip the ball down the field, the crossing runs, deep shots. That's when I think the offense comes to life for any team, and he's certainly shown that he can do that."
CB Brandon Carr has said that you guys have one of the top receiving corps in the league. I was wondering, what's your impression of the Ravens' secondary? (Ed Lee) "I think these are, talking about their defense and our offense, two good units in that way, and specifically in the passing game, what I'm referring to. They have multiple guys – they can play nickel, they can play dime – to go down and match up with different guys, so I agree with him. I think it's a hell of a matchup between two really good units, our receiving corps, their DBs. We like to throw it. They're an excellent secondary, so I'd have to agree with Brandon on that one. I think head to head, kind of like we sometimes talk about the game within the game, this is one of those matchups this week that I think deserves that kind of attention. Two good units are going to really fight for it."
You guys have moved the ball all season, but you haven't scored as many points over the last three weeks. Is there anything you can pinpoint as far as why you guys have had trouble punching it in? (Childs Walker) "Yes. Yes, I can, for sure. I can hit on last week, because we've actually been trending in the right direction on the turnover margin, but over the last three weeks, it has not been the case, and we actually had three turnovers in the red zone in our last performance. So, that will damn sure set you back. I would say past that, finishing where we have chances, in the end zone, as opposed to kicking field goals, that's where we're at. We spend a lot of time in the red zone, so for us, we'll continue to get that work. We'll be getting that work tomorrow – Thursday and Friday – like I said, to find that little edge in the red zone. But, I would say last week was a definite example of us turning the ball over in the red zone; that was the biggest factor. "
"And then, I think the week before, I don't even know if we were in the red zone, maybe in the fourth quarter against Dallas, it was kind of one of those unusual games where we didn't get quite as many turns as we had [wanted], but for sure last week, that was a factor that the turnovers, offensively, led to zero points in three trips."
If this is QB Lamar Jackson's turn to start, it would be his first road start as a rookie. Is this something that you think the defense relishes? (Ed Lee) "I wouldn't say that. For us, it's the next game. How do we go and attack? How do we play? And If he's the one who's going to take the ball from the start, we'll be ready to defend. But as much as we'd like the matchup where we talk about in and out ... All through the week, both teams talk about all the matchups that you have to win and how you go battle. For us to really play at our best, it has to come down to us and our execution. I told the team [that] they have a good defense, a lot of stuff, and offensively, the ability to get into option games. They have an excellent passing attack, obviously, with Joe [Flacco] and some of the receivers there and tight ends, so at the end of the day, it's going to come down to us playing our execution and play three phases like we're capable of doing, and that's where the focus has been so far for us."
Is this one of QB Matt Ryan's best seasons? (Ed Lee) "In my four years, it has been. I've continued to see him improve as we've gone on here together, and sometimes when you're playing at a high level, to get to the next spot and get to the next line, it takes a lot of work. I would say … I wish you guys could see the way he practices and prepares and puts it in, so every time he steps out on the field during practice, you really feel his intent to go after it. But yes, he's definitely performing at a high level for us, and his knowledge of the offense, the system, the connection with the receivers, certainly, is a big part of that. And, Julio [Jones] is right at the front of it, in terms of all the unique challenges that he brings, and quite honestly, sometimes there are more looks for other players based on how a defense is trying to defend him. Sometimes, you may see a safety or somebody give extra attention that way, and through this season so far, it's provided some opportunities for [Calvin] Ridley and [Mohamed] Sanu and [Austin] Hooper, specifically. I'd say those three sometimes benefit from the attention that Julio gets."