WEDNESDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: WEEK 11 vs. BENGALS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Ok, good to see everybody – appreciate you guys being here. We're in the midst of preparation, Wednesday, beautiful day. A little chilly, as I see some of you guys didn't wear coats. But, it's great to be here, great to be preparing for the Bengals, and that's what we're doing."
Any updates on the quarterback situation? (Jamison Hensley) "No. (laughter) Kevin [Byrne, executive vice president of public and community relations] and I just talked about this coming down. Rather than dip my toe in the water and start answering one question and then not answering the next one, I'm just not going to get into it and just leave it alone. I really don't feel like we owe anybody any answers, so we're just getting ready for the game."
We haven't talked a lot about G Marshal Yanda this year, but do you feel like he's basically bounced back to his customary level? Do we kind of take for granted his ability to do that over and over? (Childs Walker)"We do! Marshal has been playing for a long time. He's not a rookie. He's been through a lot, come off some injuries the last couple years, rehabbed really well, and I would say, yes, is playing at his customary high level. I'm really happy that we have him out there. He's a difference-maker."
A different Bengals team than you saw last time. They have Hue Jackson back, got rid of their defensive coordinator. What have you seen, and what differences would you expect to see this Sunday? (David Ginsburg) "That's just kind of speculation. We haven't seen anything yet. We won't see anything until Sunday, regarding those changes, so we're just going to have to prepare for their defense, their structure. Coach [Marvin] Lewis is taking over the defense. He's been there a long time. I think the defense has always had his imprint on it, so we don't expect the structure to change too much. I'm sure he has some ideas and things he wants to get done, and we'll just try to attack those things as we see them on Sunday."
Just to clarify, there will be no announcement on the quarterback until we get to Sunday? (Jerry Coleman) "I don't know. I haven't thought about it that far. I haven't thought really past Wednesday, to be honest with you, so we'll just see as we go." (Reporter: "Chance all three could be active Sunday?")"There's a chance for anything. Didn't I just say we weren't going to get into any more of those, dip our toe in the water? I think I did! (Reporter: "He dipped your toe.")"He did! Toenail. You got my toenail in the water, there!" (laughter) (Reporter: "I'll put my left foot in.")
You guys are 8-2 after the bye. Do you think that has to do with coaching? (Jerry Coleman) "I don't know. I didn't know we were 8-2, so I haven't given it any thought."
Not a question about availability but preparation: A guy like QB Robert Griffin III, we have not seen play in a game this year since the preseason. Is it difficult for him to be prepared when there are two other quarterbacks, and how have you seen him develop? (Mark Viviano) "That'd be a great question for 'R.G.' [Robert Griffin III]. He's been around. He's a veteran quarterback, played tons of games in this league. I would probably defer to him about the answer to that. As far as his development, he's done great. You see a player; you play against him. We played against 'R.G.' a couple of times. We defended him. We saw him from that perspective, but when you see a guy on your own team, you gain kind of a whole new appreciation, and he's a pro, a very talented player. I'm just very happy with what he's done so far."
The way T Orlando Brown Jr. has played, coupled by the potential of getting guys healthy, could that lead to some changes on the offensive line this week? (Jeff Zrebiec)"What do you mean?" (Reporter: "Could you keep Orlando Brown at right tackle, and maybe [James] Hurst, could you move him inside somewhere? Could it force kind of a juggling in the offensive line with guys being back healthy?") "It could, it could. We just have to see how healthy the guys are and how they look in practice."
Last week, we got to talk to QBs coach James Urban, and he mentioned QB Lamar Jackson. Where he's seen him grow the most has been consistency, repeat delivery, all of that. Would you agree with that? Or, how would you say he's developed? (Bo Smolka) "I would. James has the best hand on it. He's with [Lamar Jackson] every single day, but I've seen the same things – tremendous development. He's working every day, right through training camp, right through the season, at practice, and then extra after practice, meetings. [He's a] very diligent, very smart, very aware quarterback. He sees the game well, and then now all the process that goes into just training that eye has been valuable. So, we have seen improvement, and in practice, he looks good."
You've been in situations – go back to QB Joe Flacco back in 2008 – starting as a rookie quarterback his first game, and I'm sure during your time in Philadelphia you've seen quarterbacks start their first game. What do you think the biggest challenge is for young quarterbacks when they actually get that start? (Jamison Hensley) "I don't know. Ask the quarterback geniuses that. I don't really have that ready to give something that anybody would be impressed with right now."
Not asking about this specific injury, but just working with QB Joe Flacco for more than a decade now, what have you learned about his toughness and his pain tolerance? (Aaron Kasinitz) "Yes, that's a great … That's really a good point. That's something that we should talk about. That's something that, I hope, the fans of Baltimore really respect: tough. Joe is tough. Pain tolerance is high, and he always wants to play. That's proven over the last 10½ years, so I have great respect for him that way."
How different do you expect the Bengals' defense to look with the changes that they've made this week with Marvin Lewis now calling the plays? (Shawn Stepner) "In what sense? Structurally?" (Reporter: "Any new wrinkles, if you expect something different than what you've seen on tape?")"That's not an easy question to answer without just glossing it over, because I don't expect anything different from what's in their playbook, so to speak. We kind of know the playbook. We know the structure. I don't think we'll see anything new, but he may dip back. He may go back and pull up a blitz here or there, something he's done in the past or they've done in the past, so it kind of opens up the range a little bit for us to be prepared for. Marvin will have a new wrinkle or two, yes, absolutely. But, it will be within his structure. We just don't know what it's going to be, so we have to be prepared for all of that."
Every season is different, but is there any comfort knowing that you sat at this same spot last year and were able to rip some wins off? (Kirk McEwen) "That's the idea. It's a tough league, and like we said Monday, we'd sure as heck would rather be sitting there as a one-loss team. So, we're not. We've been in this situation before. We have a bunch of tough guys with great character. I do think we're … You always say, and it's true in football, 'You are what your record says you are after 16 games.' We have seven more games to play to make that determination and to write that story, so I do believe we're a very good football team. It's up to us to prove it. We have a tough schedule, but we've had a tough schedule up until this point. We'll get some home games here; we have to go win them, and that's what we need to do. So, that's our focus, 100 percent, on winning the football game and to do that process to be the best football team we can be, today, really, and building up into Sunday."
CB Marlon Humphrey came back and played against the Steelers after missing a couple games. How much has his return fortified and strengthened the secondary? (Ed Lee) "Marlon's return has strengthened the secondary, absolutely. I really think Marlon is becoming one of the top corners in the league. I don't want to put that on him and put any pressure on him, but gosh, I think he'd appreciate it. I think he understands that. That's his goal, and when he's in there, we're complete in the secondary. He makes us really strong back there, and the expectations are high. Our secondary has high, high standards and expectations for how we play. We expect to play at the highest level back there, and having that piece is a big part of that, for sure."
Do you have a sense of what RB/WR Ty Montgomery was able to accomplish, in terms of picking up the playbook, over the bye week? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _"Yes, we have. He's a good player. We knew what he was going in. He's really working hard at it. It's not as easy as you think. The terminology is tough; we talked about that last week. But, the plays are a little different. The reads are a little different. Those are all things that he's working really hard on. I'm very confident he could go in and play, and play well, and he might, so he's working hard at it. The next three days are going to be really important that way, because these are three specific practices toward actually what we're going to run in the game, and I want to see what he looks like with that stuff."
I assume you haven't gotten any clarity on RB Kenneth Dixon's status. (Jeff Zrebiec) "I've had no clarity on Kenneth Dixon's status. That's correct."
QB Robert Griffin III
On how he will approach the week:"Just like any other week: do what you can to help the team any way possible. I know there's a lot of uncertainty about who's going to be playing, starting at quarterback – but that doesn't change the mindset that I've had the whole entire season, [which is] to be ready when they call my number. I'll be ready."
On how he has used the first 10 weeks to prepare if he is called upon:"Just to make sure that my rhythm and timing is there, that I stay consistent with everything that we focus on as a team, as an offense, and the things that change week-to-week from how we call plays to what we're trying to attack, that's part of it. So being a part of this locker room, this environment here, has been great for me, personally. I want to show those guys that I've been ready to roll the entire time if I get that opportunity."
On the development of QB Lamar Jackson:"Lamar is like a sponge. He's soaking up everything he possibly can, information-wise, from myself, Joe [Flacco], the offensive coordinator [Marty Mornhinweg], quarterbacks coach – coach [James] Urban. He's been doing a great job. Our job this whole time is to help him become a pro – teach him how to study, teach him how to prepare week-to-week, and even when he's not the No. 1 guy out there playing all the time, to be ready to step in at any time. I think he's done a great job accepting the role that he has so far and growing as a player and as a pro."
On if he feels prepared should he be called upon on Sunday:"That's my job. My job is to make sure I'm always ready – whether that's during practice, after practice, maximizing the reps that I do get and making sure that after practice I'm getting the things that I feel like I need if I'm called upon that week to play. But that's my job, that's why they brought me here. They brought me here to be a pro; they brought me here to help this team if need be. I try to help the defense every week on scout team and do those things. If my number is called, I'll be able to go out there and lead this team."
On what it would mean to him to start a regular season game: "It'd be awesome. It's been a heck of a journey. But like I said, coming here was the best thing I could've done. Growing with this team, knowing what it really means to 'Play Like A Raven' and growing with these guys has been something that's been really special for me. If I get that opportunity to go out there and play, I'm going to make the most of it and show these guys not only how hard I've been working, but how much I believe in them. It's been awesome."
On how QB Lamar Jackson looks throwing in the pocket:"Everybody here is the greatest player in the world, so that's all I'm going to say about that. (laughter)I think he's done great. Obviously, when the live bullets are flying and you're out there and you're the starter, things can be just slightly different. The thing I try to preach to Lamar is [that] he's been doing this his whole life. It's a new level, but the cream always rises to the top. I think he's done a good job of adjusting his level of play as he's gotten more and more game reps. I think even throughout the preseason you could see from his first start to the last time he played, he just continued to get better. That's what you want to see out of a young guy. If he gets the nod, or if I get the nod, to go out there and lead this team, we're all going to be there for each other. That's not going to stop this week; I'm going to continue to help him, just like I have all season, because we're about the Ravens here. It's not about individuals. We have a pretty daunting task ahead with this Bengals team and just with the rest of our schedule, so we have to make sure we make the most of our opportunity."
On what it has been like mentoring QB Lamar Jackson:"It's been great. I didn't think I'd be a big brother at 28. (laughter) I have two older sisters; I'm the baby in the family. It's been cool to take Lamar under my wing and kind of be that big brother figure to him. At least, that's how I feel about it. I feel like my job is to help him avoid anything that he can avoid by the information he gets, not just from me but from the rest of the guys on the team as well. I think he's done a great job of that, and his future is very bright."
On his key to keeping his approach with his role this season:"I think it's just to try to keep everything in perspective. I haven't been OK not playing, but I think if I was OK then I wouldn't be the competitor that I've grown to be. But within that, you have to control what you can. I'm on this team for a reason – I earned that right by the way that I came back and played after being out of football for a year. I think the guys recognize that, the coaches recognize that. Throughout the weeks, I've just had to make sure that I don't lose that edge. I'm not OK not dressing and not playing – but that comes back to the competitiveness. So, when you do get the opportunity to play or dress – go out there and affect the game in a positive way, and you do just that. That's kind of the focus that I've tried to keep, and then helping those guys any way that I can. With Joe [Flacco], with film work, on the field, on the gameday – just helping him see things just to help the team win … That's what it's all about at the end of the day. Everybody wants to be a part of a winner. This franchise has done a lot of winning. We just have to make sure we get back to that and get over that hump and figure out what it is as to why we're not winning games. But we're 4-5 and we have an opportunity to win the next game, the next game, the next game, and go to playoffs. That's our whole focus, and we just have to control that as much as we can."
CB Marlon Humphrey
On how it felt to return to the field after missing a few games:"It felt good. I felt like I missed some key games. But it felt good to come back after two weeks and be out there with the guys."
On his reaction to head coach John Harbaugh's praise of him being one of the best corners in the NFL:"It feels good for him to say that. I know I have a lot to work on to get at the top like those guys. But it feels good when your coach can say something like that. It's a big compliment."
On how much he is looking forward to covering the Bengals' receivers: "I'm looking forward to getting back out there. I felt like that first half, we didn't really play as good as we could play. I know they don't have A.J. [Green], but I think [Tyler] Boyd … The past two games, we didn't really give him much respect, and he's definitely shown us we should. The time they beat us last year, he went [and] did a lot of good things. So, with A.J. out, I guess it's the [rotation of] Boyd, [John] Ross. I know they have [Auden] Tate, a guy that I watched in college last year – gave 'Bama some fits. So, they have the guys. We definitely have to respect their guys. I think it'll be a good matchup between our corners and their receivers."
On if CB Brandon Carr, CB Jimmy Smith and himself are all better players when they are available:"I think so. I know Jimmy and 'B. Carr' are both great players. As a corner, sometimes what you see from the sideline, you can see what the offense is trying to do – from the sideline perspective instead of being out there on the field. We kind of come back from the sidelines, whoever isn't out there, and I'll usually come up to Jimmy or 'B. Carr' and be like, 'How are they? What are they trying to do?' Then, whoever is in, we just feed off of what we've all been thinking and seeing from the sideline."
On how big of a difference can the time in between games be in preparing for an opponent: "I think a big difference – going from the typical short week to a bye week, some rest, and then [you get] a lot more mental reps. I know they're coming off some tough times, so I think they'll be ready. I think we'll be ready also."
On if he feels more energized coming off the bye: "I definitely feel a lot more energized. I practiced two days ago – seemed like everything was clicking really well. I don't think we had many repeats. Our offense was clicking, defense was clicking. I think that bye week definitely gave us a good little breather. [It was] a good little break to just take a step back, realize what we have to do these next seven games and get ready to move on."
On if Sunday's game is a must-win:"I think we all think every game is a must-win. But, when you come off three losses, you definitely know you definitely have to win. Coming off three losses, I don't think we thought we would be here, but now we're here. So, it's kind of what we do from here is what's going to define us."
On what the key is defensively when the quarterback is getting the ball out quickly:"The key is tight coverage. You have to get your hands on the receivers. Quarterbacks have been really getting the ball out quickly lately – ever since we had that big sack game. So, the key is just to try to get your hands on these receivers, know what your assignment is and just be ready. You always have to be ready, especially the way quarterbacks have been. Whether it's quick or fast, we'll have to be ready."
On the key to recording more takeaways: "That was something that 'Wink' [Don Martindale, defensive coordinator] told us all to think about some goals that we had. That was one of the things that came to mind. I feel like we've had a good defense this year. We've played some good ball, but we haven't had those turnovers that fear teams into throwing the ball deep, running the ball [and] stripping it. We've had sacks, but we haven't really had those big plays. I think the thing … I don't think really much needs to change. I think a lot of them are coming soon. We're a good defense. I think we all play fast, and turnovers come in bunches. So, I think there's a bunch coming for us soon."
On if physical press defense is the style of play he wants to play:"Yes, that's the style of play we want to accomplish. Basically, we just have to emphasize what we do best, and that's jamming guys to the line and knowing our assignment and technique."
On what challenges QB Lamar Jackson brings to opposing defenses, and how he has developed as a rookie: "Since he's been here … Whether you watched college ball or not last year, you definitely saw a clip of him running. One of the things that you say is, 'Oh man, he's fast! He's this and that.' Since he's been here, I think he's been way faster than what I would've thought on TV. The thing that people don't really see as much is that he can throw the football pretty well – especially when he scrambles and things like that. I think the biggest key with him is – when you're a corner, you're back covering a guy, you see the quarterback about to scramble, you know if you don't come off your guy in time, you allow for him to come far enough and the receiver to block you; he can take it to the house easily from anywhere. So, I think his scrambling is something [important]. Scrambling, to me as a corner, is one of the hardest things to do when a wide receiver ran his route, and then he starts scrambling and running other routes. That's one of the hardest things to cover, for me. I know he gives us an extra little thing to do on offense. But I think our quarterbacks are … Whoever plays, whether it's Lamar, 'RG3' [Robert Griffin III] or Joe [Flacco] … I know a lot of teams don't even have a very good starting quarterback, so I think for us to have three good ones will definitely benefit us."
On how QB Lamar Jackson's leadership has developed: "I didn't really know how he would act, but he's really humble. You think a guy wins a Heisman and … I don't know, you don't really think he's going to be cocky or anything, but I just didn't think he would be as humble as he was. He gets here just smiling and just has a really humble spirit. He reminds me of some of the South Florida guys I know, like Calvin [Ridley] and 'Coop' [Amari Cooper]. All they do, it seems, is just work. That's how I would define those guys. All they really know is just to work and come in and have a good time doing it. Eddie Jackson is also another one of those guys. They always seem to know the way to go about the work and be humble about it."
QB Lamar Jackson
On his emotions with the possibility of starting this week:"I'm going into it like any other week, just preparing for whatever." (Reporter: "Really? How are you sleeping?")"Normal, the same – like a baby."
On where his confidence comes from:"I always act confident, but like I said, I'm preparing for anything. I don't know what's going to happen. It's coach's decision."
On if he's prepared to start:"I feel I'll be very prepared. I'm trying to [get] everything in. I'm trying to learn the ins and outs, so whatever happens, happens."
On if there's anything he does differently this week:"Change my clothes. (laughter) That's it, but everything else is still the same. I don't really know yet."
On how he thinks his throwing motion is developing:"I don't know. How was it before? Has it changed?" (Reporter: "Early in camp...") "My balls were just horrible. I was throwing a lot of ducks. You just get accustomed to that ball feeling, that's all. That's the difference from college to the NFL pigskin, that's all." (Reporter: "How so? Is it just a different texture?")"I think so. I don't know. I probably like my footballs a little old-school, not new. That's probably it."
On where he feels like he's made the biggest strides since the spring:"Calling the plays. Before, I had to ask coach a hundred times, 'Say it again, say it again,' but now he'll say it one time to me. Sometimes – don't get me wrong – sometimes, if it's longer or whatever, I'll have to say it again, but other than that, I'm getting better with that."
On if being part of the gameplan all season helps if he starts Sunday:"I'd say I feel it would be very cool, very relaxing, just to the team as a whole. That's all."
On if he'd feel nervous if he were to start:"I feel I would at first, if I'm out there, but after the ball is snapped, it's on."
On if the timing of the bye week was helpful:"It was very helpful, just not for me, but for the guys. We've been busting our behinds ever since summer. We reported early, because we had the early Hall of Fame Game, but I feel it helped us a lot."
On how he has liked his role this season:"It's been pretty cool. I'm on the field, so yes. I'd rather be out there than just sitting down, so yes, pretty cool." (Reporter: "How much cooler would it be to be the starter, though?") "It would be awesome."
On how he can develop chemistry with the starting receivers:"I don't know. I don't know yet. Just watch [Joe Flacco] and try to do something. I don't know yet."
On if there's a time he would need to know if he is starting in order to prepare:"No, I'm being prepared each and every day, just going through my reps in practice or just bettering myself."
On if this week is different than past weeks:"No, it's not different. No difference at all."
On if he senses the excitement fans would have for him to start:"I feel so. People are saying that stuff on pictures and stuff. I'd be excited, too!" (laughter)
On if he'll ask QB Joe Flacco how he's doing health-wise during the week:"No, that's the doctor's job, but I hope he's well. He's on my team, so yes, definitely."
On if he expects it to be different to run a full series as opposed to going in for one snap at a time:"Just like you said, it'll be just [that] I'm out there longer. That's all. Hopefully, [we] win the game."
On QB Robert Griffin III as a mentor: "He's been pretty cool. He has the ins and outs of certain things I don't know, what I didn't see on certain plays. It's been pretty cool." (Reporter: "Are there other things off the field as well that he's helped you with?") "No."
On if he's ever been tempted to throw a pass to QB Joe Flacco during a game:"Yes. That'd be cool! He's elite!"
On what he sees from the Bengals' defense:"I don't know. They just fired their defensive coordinator. We didn't really see anything yet, so I can't tell you."
On the importance of being a leader as the quarterback in the huddle if QB Joe Flacco is not also on the field:"Absolutely. You have to have trust with your guys. You have to have them believing in you to put points on the board. So, that'll be my job if I'm out there." (Reporter: "Do you feel that trust from your teammates?")"Absolutely. [Marshal] Yanda would have said something already. He's the head of the line, so he would have probably said something already."
WR Willie Snead IV
On if there's more focus on doing his individual job with some moving parts at quarterback:"Yes, absolutely. The gameplan is the gameplan, and that's what we're just focusing on and just trying to perfect it this week. I'm just excited for the challenge, excited to get back out there and play some football."
On if he adjusts how he plays with each quarterback:"I think, definitely, the practice reps determine that, and then the gameplan itself, just preparing yourself for what kind of scheme we have this week and just going out there and executing every day in practice. That usually prepares us pretty well come gameday."
On what he, a veteran receiver, would say to rookie QB Lamar Jackson if he were to start:"Just, 'Trust us. Trust the offense, trust the scheme, trust everything we've been doing since we first got here,' and I know he does. We talk every day, and he's a very open guy, and he's willing to work and ready to put the work in, day-in and day-out. So, that's just one thing we tell him over and over again: 'Just trust us, trust that we're going to make the plays, and if you put the ball there, we're going to do what we do.'"
On how to get back to the offensive productivity seen earlier in the season:"We just have to be consistent in what we're doing. We'll have a great drive here and there, but we just have to do it every drive, and that's just correcting mistakes and doing the little things right in that area. But, it's good to see that, because it's something we have to get better at. We're constantly getting better, and this week is a great opportunity for us to get over this hump that we're going through. I'm just excited and ready for the opportunity."
On the confidence level of the offense if QB Lamar Jackson were to make his first start:"Whoever's at quarterback, we're going to have the utmost confidence in. We've seen both guys since OTAs. If Joe [Flacco] is in there, we're ready with Joe. You've seen what we can do with Joe. And if Lamar is in there, everybody is ready to see what Lamar can do. We're all excited for the opportunity, like I said. But when it comes down to gameday, whoever is in there, we'll be ready."
On how QB Lamar Jackson has developed since his arrival:"I think he just has a little more confidence in the offense and what he's seeing. He knows the players around him, so he can trust us more. He's just being a ball player now. I think once he has the scheme and everything around him under wraps, then you'll see the playmaker come out of him. It's just exciting to see, and as the week goes on, he'll get better and better, and we'll see what happens on gameday."
On if he and WR Michael Crabtree are making efforts to take defensive attention off of WR John Brown:"'Crab' [Michael Crabtree] says it best: 'We can control what we can control.' When the ball comes our way, that's our opportunity to make big plays. Once teams do that, we have to do something else. 'We have to go over to Willie, or we have to go over to "Crab,"' and that's when 'Smoke' [John Brown] makes his plays. We do have that mindset. We do have to take a load off his shoulders, but at the same time, we have to control what we can control, and that's catching passes and getting 'Y.A.C.' [yards after catch]."
On if he feels a sense of urgency going into this game:"No, I feel nothing but excitement. I'm looking at the rest of our schedule, and I'm looking at teams we play next, and they're all winnable games. And, we're definitely in the hunt of things. We just have to take care of one game at a time. I feel like this is going to be a great opportunity against the Bengals. They took care of us last time, and I think coming into our place, after a bye week, after a three-game losing streak, I think we'll have a lot of momentum coming into this game."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On what he took away from the bye week and what the vibe around the building is like: "What did I take from the bye week? It was good to get away. I got a chance to, as Kyle Lowry would say, 'I got a chance to decompose.' (laughter)It's kind of fun just to get your mind away a little bit."
On why he wasn't at his locker after the loss to the Steelers to speak with media:"I was there! Y'all were too slow on the roll. I don't run from y'all no more – especially you. But no, I was there. [Shoot] – took a shower and left. It was definitely disappointing. I don't feel we played our best football, unbeknownst to us. Hey, it happened man. We have to move on, and we have to move on fast, especially down the seven-game stretch."
On how much the sense of urgency must ratchet up given the Ravens' record: "In the conference we're in, you definitely don't want any AFC home losses. Fortunately for us, we have a few AFC away wins – so that helps us. But we definitely can't afford to let any more go. We know [that], and we don't want to be on the outside looking in on this thing. As cliché as it sounds, we're focusing on one game, and that's this week, and that's the Cincinnati Bengals."
On if QB Lamar Jackson is ready for an increased role:"Is that what you heard? Hey – I can only farm my own land. You know what I'm saying? It's a little saying. You're not supposed to farm nobody else's land. All I have to do is worry about defense. I don't know where you got that from, but cool. Whatever."
On the reports around QB Joe Flacco's health and John Harbaugh's status: "It's a fair question, but I just think it's inappropriate to ask it right now. We still have seven games. For the question, I think it will answer itself in due time. It's one of those things where we'll cross that bridge when we get to it, but we're damn sure not there. So, the only thing we're really focused on around here is the Cincinnati Bengals."
On what the team needs to do differently to have a different outcome: "How about we need to win? That's pretty much it. There's no magic potion to it; we definitely need to win. That comes by any means necessary. You're like, 'What do we need to do?' We have to play winning football."
On the keys to developing a pass rush for a quarterback who gets rid of the ball quickly:"Run faster. You like that [Gregg] Popovich answer?(laughter)You just run faster and play football. At the end of the day, it's a football game. We just allow them to play football."
On if he feels like he owes the Bengals one after losing in Week 2: "No. We were supposed to handle their [stuff] in the first game; we didn't do that. No, we don't owe anybody one. We owe ourselves one. We handle our business. We can't be worried about anything – this is football. Games are won and lost in this league; things happen. We owe ourselves one. I'll say that."
On Bengals' RB Joe Mixon:"He's really good. He helps their offense go. He's one of the premier backs in this league. He definitely has to be accounted for."
S Eric Weddle
On how much the bye week helps physically and mentality at this point in his career:"For me personally, it was nice to get back with my kids, [my wife] Chanel, and take my daughters on dates and get away from the whole football feel. People forget – we've been here since July 15. It's been a long, long, long, long run, so we all needed to get away. Being in the situation that we're in, we hadn't played very well. We played good at times, but we played some really good teams and didn't play good enough to win. We are where we are. It's nice to get back though. I was actually more tired being at home, being daddy daycare, than I was working every day. I think by Saturday, Sunday, I was like, 'Babe, I think I have to go in and get some rehab!' She was like, 'Nope. You're going to be right here.' So, it's nice to get back on Monday, get a good practice in and get into game week. We're excited for the opportunity, the challenge. We feel [we] got some areas corrected over the bye and can go out and play a great game. We win one and see what happens."
On if he feels any extra weight defensively given the uncertainty of the quarterback position:"No. Defensively, honestly, we're trying to strive to be the best in the league. If we play like that and strive to be the best and get better in red zone, correct some areas there – especially third-down red zone – getting better at first and second down, looking at those areas that gave us some problems and why it dropped off just a tad, [we'll be OK]. When we start creating some turnovers, we're going to be even better. If we do those, we're going to win a lot of games. Regardless of if Joe [Flacco] is back, if Lamar [Jackson] is in there, we have confidence that whoever is in there that they're going to do a great job, and we're going to win some games."
On if it's tough to not think about the big-picture and the meaning of the last few games as a veteran:"I mean, regardless of if we were … What's our record, 4-5? Say if we're 7-2, I'm not looking towards the end of the year, because I'd be in the same position. I have one year after this. If they want me back, I'm going to play. If not, then … It's not going to be predicated on whether they want to blow up this thing or move in a direction. I can't control that. All the media stuff and the 'he said,' 'I said,' 'we said,' 'she said' – who knows what was said or is said? I know coach [John Harbaugh] is here, and he's going to coach us like he has our entire year. We believe in him, and we're going to fight our tails off. I've said this time and time again: Coaches coach, players play. Coaches do as good a job as they need to get us ready for the game. It's on us to go make the plays, and we haven't done that. We have a job to do. We're going to go play better and go get some wins and see what happens. Whatever happens after the season is going to happen. They're going to go do what they want to do to get us better. If I'm there, I'm there. If not … But, I have seven games to live it up and have fun and go play great."
CINCINNATI CONFERENCE CALL
(with Baltimore media)
Head Coach Marvin Lewis
In preparing for the Ravens and their starting quarterback situation, how big of a difference would it be facing QB Lamar Jackson versus QB Joe Flacco? (Jamison Hensley)"Well obviously, the movement stuff and everything would be a little bit different than what they have been doing with Joe. That's all we can base it on."
Do you try to guess who is going to start, or do you prepare for all possibilities? (David Ginsburg)"I'm trying to prepare the Cincinnati Bengals – that's my focus, OK? I can't control who they put at quarterback based on his injury, whatever – Joe's [injury]. Our focus has got to be us, and that's what I'm focusing on – getting us better and getting us righted."
It's been a wild week over there. Is everyone on board with everything that's happened? (David Ginsburg)"Oh yeah. It's what you wish for." (laughter)
How does your role of taking over the defensive duties affect your day-to-day work throughout the week? (Aaron Kasinitz)"Well, there's just not enough hours and time in the day right now. I have Hue [Jackson] here now to assist me with some of that. So, I'm excited that he's here to help me with that. Our coaches are absorbing some things that way. I try to listen in on the offense and adjust their schedule a little bit. So, we have about a 20-hour day going right now."
What does the offense lose without WR A.J. Green? (Ed Lee)"Obviously, A.J. is a fine, fine player. We lose another guy that makes plays for us, but hopefully we get him out there on Sunday."
Without him, what are your expectations from guys like WR Tyler Boyd and WR John Ross? (Ed Lee)"Again, everybody has to do their job within the scope and the flow of the offense. Andy [Dalton] is going to let the things play out, and these guys have to beat people to the spot and execute the play call. Whether it's blocking or route-running or whatever it is, they have to do their job. Everybody, when you lose a great player or have to play without a great player – we've all had to – everybody has to raise their level of play."
Both you and John Harbaugh have been at your jobs for more than a decade. Are there any commonalities there that explain the longevity? (Aaron Kasinitz) "Well, I think we've been both fortunate to have good quarterbacks. I think that's the No. 1 thing in this position. If you look around the league, and the people who have been in these jobs for a long time, they're fortunate to have quarterbacks that lead the franchise and win games. I guess that, to me, is the main commonality. Obviously, the management and everything in Baltimore and how stable that is, is also a big deal – a big part of it."
With taking over the defense, do you see minor changes for you guys coming up, or do you think it's going to take some major changes to get you guys back on track?_ (Kevin Richardson) _"We have to be better fundamentally. Whether you call that minor or major, that's where we're going to start."