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Transcripts: Ravens Wednesday Transcripts


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"Ok, good to see you guys; appreciate everybody being here. [We] do have an announcement to make: We traded for Ty Montgomery. That's probably pretty much not [news]. That's old news now, right? (laughter) So, Ty got in the building early this morning. I haven't seen him yet, but he wasn't in the team meetings, so he's getting up to speed with the offense right now with the offensive coaches, and he'll be out there at practice today."

Could you talk about what RB/WR Ty Montgomery brings to the team, in terms of a running back and a kick returner? (David Ginsburg) "He's a very versatile player. My brother [Jim Harbaugh] actually recruited him to Stanford. I have never met Ty, but I've been watching him play with the Packers and when we played against them and prepared against them. [He is] a very versatile player; running back, obviously very good in the pass game as a running back, as well – protection and catching the ball in the backfield and things like that – lines up at receiver at times, and then, as a kick returner. He's done a good job, too, so he brings some versatility for us."

Is this in any way a response to the lack of running game you guys have generated this season? _(David Ginsburg) _"No, not at all. That wasn't the conversation that we had. We always want good players, and Ty can help us run the ball. That's good. I don't want to frame it like he can't help us. It certainly can, but that wasn't part of the conversation. It happened late. Ozzie [Newsome] came in about 3 p.m. and said, 'Hey, we're doing this,' and we're rolling. So, we're excited about it."

Do you anticipate RB/WR Ty Montgomery could help this week? _(Pete Gilbert) _"Possibly. It's something we'll look at that today at practice and try to get a feel for that. It's a good question."

How do you split the carries between RB Alex Collins, RB Javorius Allen, RB Gus Edwards and RB/WR Ty Montgomery? _(Ed Lee) _"We just do. We just figure it out."

When you make a deal like that, what kind of "shot in the arm" does it give the locker room, just to add somebody? _(Shawn Stepner) _"It doesn't. I don't think it's anything about that; it's just adding a good player. Our focus is on … You're making too much out of it if you think it's a big story. It's a good player. We're adding him. We're excited about it to whatever degree it can help us, and we're moving forward."

Are there any similarities between your running game and the Packers' running game? (Mike Preston) "I haven't studied the Packers' running game. I don't know."

Can you talk about the decision to release LB Albert McClellan? I know you had to make a corresponding move. _(Ed Lee) _"No, I really don't have anything to say about that. I'm hoping to get Albert back here in a day or two, to be honest with you, so we'll see how that goes."

Is there anything different about the Steelers that sticks out when you first watched the film as opposed to a couple of weeks ago when you played them? _(Mike Preston) _"They've won three in a row. They're playing really well. I They're not giving up the big plays like they did a little more earlier in the year. They've tightened up that part of it. They've talked about that. I've seen that. To me, they're playing Steeler football in that sense. They're playing hard defensively. They've made big plays on offense. They're running the ball very well. That's probably the biggest thing that sticks out. They have James Conner really rolling. The offensive line is healthy with [David] DeCastro back there. They're the same team that we've seen over the years. They're playing very well, and that's where they're at."

You just mentioned RB James Conner. When you watch him on tape, do you see a player who's getting better, or do you see them just putting more emphasis on him? _(Childs Walker) _"He's getting better, and they're emphasizing the run game, which is something that they always want to do."

After what happened against Carolina, do you think the defense relishes a test like the one the Steelers will present? (Jonas Shaffer) "Yes."

After some of the special teams struggles this year, what's your level of concern with what you've seen? (Ed Lee) "We're working to get better. We're working hard to improve every area. I thought we played well last week. We keep getting better, keep coaching our young guys up, try to find a way to get the return game going. We've had some good punt returns. We had a good kickoff return last week. We ran a good punt fake. I think we improved last week, so we just try to keep building on that."

TE Mark Andrews

On what the upcoming Steelers game means to him:"It's huge. This is a game that when you come in here, and being a rookie, it is one you look forward to. Everyone here is preaching about the physicality that this game brings and the tradition of this game. So just taking all that in mind and playing your heart out and doing everything you can to help this team win in a crucial game like this is all you can do."

On what he takes away from the successful opening drive against the Panthers and the offensive performance after that:"We're close. You see by the first drive, everything is clicking; we're kind of getting things going. But just a few things that go wrong kind of throws us off track. We're so close to being great as an offense and as a team. Just getting these little things cleaned up and not making those mistakes – turning the ball over, doing different things, penalties – that just stop us in our tracks, I think is going to be big for us."

On what he sees from T Orlando Brown Jr. at right tackle:"That's impressive. From him being a left tackle for all these years, and then going to right [tackle] now, and playing the way that he is and now starting, he's doing a great job. He hasn't had an easy task these last couple weeks with the guys that he's been going against. I think him stepping up and stepping in and doing his job and playing aggressive and having composure is really good to see."

On QB Lamar Jackson's development as an NFL passer: "He's a quarterback first, and I think people kind of forget that. I know he prides himself in being a quarterback first. He can sling the ball. I think when he gets the chance to, and goes in a game like that, he's only going to shine. I think people are surprised by seeing that, but he's been doing that all along since rookie camp. No one here is really surprised by anything."

On how important TE Hayden Hurst's first-career NFL touchdown was to Hurst:"No doubt. You can't take touchdowns for granted. This is a league where it's extremely hard to score. No matter how much we were down, it's still a huge accomplishment. He's hanging his head high because not everyone gets to do that."

On how important it is for the rookie class to step up this season: "It's big. They brought us in here to do just that. They were one game shy of the playoffs last year, so just having us rookies here being able to contribute – especially this latter half of the season – is going to be big. That's what we came in here to do – to come in right away and play and make an impact."

QB Joe Flacco

On shaving his beard:"I've been thinking about cutting it about every night for two weeks. It's not like we've been winning with it. So, we've all got a little bit of superstition in us, I guess."

On if he's glad it'll be November when they play next because of the success the team has experienced in that month: "Don't jinx it! No, we don't pay attention to that. It's one of those things when we've been grinding to go win football games … We've had a couple close ones, and obviously, a couple that got away from us a little bit [in October]. It's disappointing, because we feel good about our team. It's a little disappointing to be where we are, but it is the reality of it. What our record is, is the reality of the situation. We just have to continue to press forward and do the best we can to turn that around."

On if he would agree that as you get older, players understand the big-picture ramifications of winning and losing games: "I really try to avoid the big-picture stuff, man. It's very tough to play in this league when you're constantly thinking about the outcome of so many different things. Our job is to go play football. Obviously, [you see] the scoreboards in the stadium and all that, so there's only so much you can do, but I think you get my point. When you worry about the outcome of things before it has actually happened, that's when you start making mistakes; that's when you start playing tentative. Our job is to go out there and play aggressive and play football the way we've always kind of done it, the way we grew up doing it. It's to have fun, play fast, play hard, play physical, and obviously get your assignments right. The way that you do those things is to just go out there and play. The outcomes – the wins and losses – they end up falling into place because of the way that you were able to keep your focus for a full 60 minutes. If you're thinking about all kinds of [things like], 'Where are we going to end up after this?' [or] 'Who do we have next?' all that stuff, it just gets in your way. It puts little blocks in your head, in my opinion. Obviously, there's a certain awareness of it, but you have to try to put it out of your head."

On if the Steelers look different compared to their first matchup:"I remember the last Pittsburgh game, I felt like we left some points out there. I think these guys are really playing well. They're playing fast. I think when you turn on the tape, you see a lot of speed, you see them pushing the pocket a little bit, getting after the quarterback, doing some more things to let those guys really go and play fast and aggressive. I think they've looked good in the short time since we've played them. They're a good football team for a reason. If there are little things here and there that they need to get better at, they do a good job cleaning things up and getting after it."

On what RB/WR Ty Montgomery adds to the offense: "He's one of those guys that, I think, obviously in certain situations, can do a variety of things. We'll see what we can do this week in practice and how he progresses. We'll get to see a little bit about what he's made of up close and personal."

On how he bounced back from previous double-digit losses:"You just keep it in-house, and you do your best to move on. You take ownership for the issues and you address them; you get them out of the way early in the week, and then you go out there and work hard and you go play another football game. That's all we know how to do. There are always a lot of external factors, but you have to do your best. I think that's driven by our coaches to keep it in the building. This is a week-by-week league. There are a lot of teams that won last week that might have just gotten to 4-4 and feel really good about where they are. No matter what our record says, or could've said, up to this point, this Pittsburgh Steelers week has the same importance. It's a division game against a really good football team. If you want to consider yourself a playoff team, you have to beat good teams. You have to beat teams at the top of their division, top of the conference. It's an exciting game for us, and I think that's what drives it – just the excitement level of playing a division opponent at home and how fun it's going to be."

On how playing the Steelers at home is different than playing at Heinz Field: "I have just as much fun playing them at home. It's kind of funny to play a day game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers – especially in the last 10 years. You play them so much at night, especially there, but even here. I don't know if the emotions are too different at the end of the day, but it's always a little bit different going into a hostile situation with their fans and all that. We'll be up, and we'll be ready to play even though it's at home. I've always loved playing in front of our crowd, and I can say that for our whole team."

On if he sees any progression in the running game:"Listen, we're doing some good stuff. There are some things there and there are just these little, tiny things … I think we've said it before, but we're just not popping any real long chunks right now. I think it was similar in the pass game last week, if I'm being honest. Even early on when we were completing a lot of passes, we just weren't able to find the chunks and turn the sticks over in a little bit [of a] quicker fashion. We had to go the long, hard way. We weren't able to create those chunks until maybe a little bit late in the game. Our run game is the same. A lot of run games, when they really start being successful is when you just keep at it throughout the course of the game. Eight-yard runs start turning into 15-, 20-yard runs, and we just have to continue grinding. I don't think there's anything special to be said about getting 30-, 40-yard runs. but I think if we trust our backs and trust our guys up front to continue to do what they've been doing and maybe clean up a couple things here and there, hopefully a couple of those will start hitting. That can change things like that (snaps fingers) – just getting a couple of those chunks. You get rolling, you get defenses on their heels a little bit, they worry about it a little bit more."

RB/WR Ty Montgomery

On his last 24 hours: "It's beautiful. I've been a little sleep-deprived, traveling, coming in, trying to fit in the meetings, but it's been beautiful. Transition has been smooth so far, and I'm glad to be here."

On if he thinks he'll be able to help right away:"I'm just going to do whatever is asked of me. I'm not going to come in here and try to overdo anything. Just whatever's asked of me, that's it."

On his first reaction to being traded to Baltimore:"Couldn't change anything about it. I live by a code of trying to control what I can control, so at that point, I wasn't looking back on anything. I'm just trying to figure out how I'm going to move my wife and kid up here. I've never spent any time in Maryland before. We are in Maryland, right? (laughter) Because this whole part of the country kind of throws me for a loop. I don't know if I'm in Virginia or what, but I was just excited to come."

On if this is a fresh start:"We'll find out. I don't know if I was hoping for a fresh start. I will say that I was ready to put all of that in the past. So, if it ends up … I guess it's going to turn into a fresh start, being on a new team."

On if the trade helps put his time in Green Bay behind him:"I'm not sure I completely … I want to make sure I understand. I want to make sure I answer your question properly." (Reporter: "Sure. To be able to, the way it ended there was, I'm sure, not the way you wanted. Overall, your involvement in the offense wasn't what you had hoped for. That's what we're going by reading and what we're hearing people say, and then you get the chance to put that behind you and change that. Is that kind of a sigh of relief for that? Is that a sense of happiness, or has it overall been kind of a frustrating and crazy week?")"I think if I was to answer that question, I think it would be a little unfair to me right now, based on the fact that you said you asked it based on what people are saying and what people are writing, and I don't want to do that. I've already addressed that. I'm here. I want to be here. I'm committed here, because this is where I am. I want to be here. I'm excited, and I want to just do everything that's asked of me and take advantage of this opportunity."

On what he knows about the Steelers rivalry:"From what I hear, it's going to be a big welcome. I'm excited to see it."

On if he's talked about his role on team with the coaches: "No, I just got here. Like I said, I think I got three hours of sleep last night, doing the physicals and all that stuff and just having the introductions and just being introduced to everybody and everything." 

On his perception of the Ravens' offense:"From outside looking in, it seems to be very explosive. Especially, I just speak on the running back room, we've got some really good backs in there – really good backs."

On if the last two days in Green Bay were difficult: "I don't want to be rude, but I just don't even want to talk about it anymore. If anybody's concerned, my family is safe. I'm not worried about anything."

CB Jimmy Smith

On the stakes for the matchup against the Steelers:"It's the biggest game of our season right now. It's going to determine a lot, this week, at least."

On the playing the matchup at home and having a chance to sweep the Steelers:"It's a huge chance, but being at home guarantees nothing. But, it does feel better to play them for the second time at home, obviously."

On significance of the second meeting after missing the first game against the Steelers:"I'm just happy to suit up and get to play against them again. It seems like for the last few years, I've only played against them one time – for four or five years, it seems like. So, I'm just excited to play against them. It's a high-stakes game, so there is going to be a lot that goes into it, and I'm ready for it."

On if he relishes a chance to go up against a receiver like WR Antonio Brown:"Yes, absolutely. Every game you're going to go against somebody's best, but when you go against one of the guys they name as top in the league, it's always a chance to go out there and show what you've got and kind of peg yourself for where you're at at that point."

On the mindset of the defense after the Carolina game: "The mindset is we just need to stick to our fundamentals, keep it simple, and just play ball how we know how to play ball. Sometimes, we could probably try to do a little too much as players when things aren't going the way we want them to go. So, it's just really settling down, relaxing, knowing that the same team that we've been for the last eight weeks – the same defense – is still the same guys out there, so we can just out there and play the game how we know how to play it."

On if the previous game was a fluke or a learning opportunity: "Absolutely. I think it's definitely a learning experience. You see a team go out there; they ran the ball well. They did a lot of things to keep us on our toes – misdirection and all of that – so it would be silly not to come out and learn something from that game and what a team is trying to do to attack you. But, we're a smart bunch. Obviously, we went in that room, and nobody felt any type of harsh criticism, but we all took it how we're supposed to. And, we watched the tape, and the coaches told us what we need to do better, and they said what they have to do better, and I think we all agree that we can still be the same defense we dream about being."

On if there were encouraging takeaways from the Carolina film:Yes, absolutely. If there weren't it would have been 100-0."

On if he thinks about the big picture, like records and a playoff race: "At this age, you kind of do think of that. You know you have eight games left. 4-4 is not where you want to be, obviously. Doesn't mean your season is over, it just means that every game now is so much more critical. You can't go on slumps. You can't go on two-game losing skids now, because you don't want to leave it up into chances of somebody being 9-7. You know how that stuff goes. You don't want to chance it. You want to be out there. You want to win the game. So, that's our mindset."

If he likes the feeling of having "no room for error": "Absolutely not! No! Who likes that? (laughter) Nobody wants that. It's like going to bat, and there are already two strikes, three balls. You don't [want that]. No, you don't want to go through that. You want to make it easier, but that's not the road we chose right now, so this is the way we have to roll."

On what difference age makes in thinking about the big picture: "When you're young, you don't think about a lot of stuff. You don't think about it. You hear all the older guys talking about it, 'Oh, this game, this game, this game,' but you're just like, 'Let's win the next game.' But now, it's eight games. So now, if you do math, and you've been through these playoff things, it gets sticky if you're 9-7. It gets sticky if you're 10-6, so you know that you really want to go in there and win 11 games, at least. Being 12-4 is really the goal."

On if there's a difference in the veteran players this week: "No, we kind of already knew what's at stake, so I don't think there's a huge difference. But, I'd be lying to say if we didn't know what this game means; being the Steelers would be one thing, and also being the fact that we're 4-4 playing them."

On where he is in his play: "I feel like I'm right where God wants me to be at this point. There's nothing much more I can do. It's just getting out there playing, getting that feel for the game, getting that groove back."

On if he can pinpoint why the Ravens' takeaway numbers are lower than last season: "If we could, we'd be getting some turnovers, we'd be getting more. But they're going to come. There's no doubt. It's not like we're doing something so much more crazy on defense that we're not trying to get those, but we have to – as corners, me, Brandon [Carr] and Marlon [Humphrey] – we have to get our hands on the ball more, create some plays ourselves, and then some tips and overthrows, hopefully, a couple of lucky passes. It's good to be lucky as well."

On what he's learned from CB Brandon Carr being able to play each week for so long:"I think he's very smart with his body. He doesn't push himself too far if he's messed or something. He's just very smart with his body, his health. I think he's very aware of that stuff. That's probably the main reason, and also luck is a main reason he's lasted that long."

On if he is impressed by CB Brandon Carr playing as long as he has: "Oh, yes, man. Just yes!"

On if he feels fully recovered from his Achilles injury: "Can I answer that after the end of the season?" (laughter)

On where he watched the first game against the Steelers, and his takeaways from the matchup: "I watched it at home – not at home – in my Airbnb in this place called Canyon Lake [Calif.]. It was cool. I was just so juiced to watch us win that game, not going to lie. It was a great game to watch." 

OLB Terrell Suggs

On what happened to his Steelers t-shirts over the years:"Maturity, man! You don't want to give them any extra locker room material. I'm pretty sure that was, 'Oh, OK.' Maturity, man. I'll leave it up to Tim Williams now."

On if people have given him locker room material:"No. I mean, I used to. I'm very … I took everything very personal. Now, it's like, I just laugh it off. It's part of the game. At the end of the day, both teams are going to show up and go play football. [The material] doesn't help anyone. It's not scoring any touchdowns or making any tackles – anything you say in the locker room on Wednesday. So, no."

On the news of QB Ben Roethlisberger having a broken finger on his non-throwing hand: "I hope he gets it better. Get that looked at – help him with is workman's comp at the end when he's done."

On if his mentality is still "don't get too high, don't get too low":"Yes. I definitely don't want to be uncharacteristic about it though. If you're good at a certain thing you want to continue to be good at it; you can't take any steps back. Just go back to the drawing board, apply more attention to detail, do the little things, and we should be alright."

On how he helps the younger players to help get them through the losing times: "'Through these losing times?' We lost twice, man. We're still .500. Nothing, man – you just have to have a short memory. It's still a long season; we have a lot of games left. We're not out. We just take it one game at a time, starting with this one against a division rival."

On if he relishes games against the Steelers more at this point in his career compared to the beginning of his career:"It's about the same. I still love these games. I still love playing in these games. These games are definitely a bit more edgy than others, but at the end of the day, these two teams know each other very well. So, it's still fun. It's still fun."

On RB James Conner and whether RB Le'Veon Bell comes back or not:"I don't know. In this day and age, in this world, I wouldn't be surprised at anything. He could report Saturday, show up to the hotel and now we have a whole different slew of problems. James Conner, he's been running the ball pretty well. They've been doing great as a team. It's definitely something we have to take a look at."

On the Week 9 division matchup being a huge game for the Ravens: "All of them are huge – especially in the AFC, especially at home. All of them are huge. The simple fact that we're playing them this time of the season, I don't think it matters. They still have their guys; they still got who they are. We still got our guys; we're still going to be who we are. It's Week 9: Ravens-Steelers, Part Two."

On if his jersey exchange with QB Ben Roethlisberger was his first:"I think I gave Dwight Freeney a playoff jersey in the playoff game. But yes, it was the first time [with Roethlisberger]. He asked … Everybody made a big deal about it. He asked last year in the second game, like in the first or second quarter. He said, '"Sizz," I want that jersey.' I was like, 'OK.' (laughter) That's when we planned on doing it – last year – but he just reminded me this year. It's no big deal. It's just opponents showing respect."

S Eric Weddle

On looking ahead to the Steelers' game: "I'm excited to get on the field and get this game going, excited about our plan and our focus and the guys' mentality after last week. It's going to be a tough matchup, obviously. They're playing well offensively and present some challenges. We know them; they know us. It's about execution. It's about fight; it's who wants it more. We're ready to get back to our home field and get to Sunday."

On if there's a great weight to this game given Baltimore's record: "Great weight? It really wouldn't matter to the opponent at this point. Coming off of last week's loss, we didn't play well in all three phases. It could be anyone. We're ready to get to Sunday. But this opponent, obviously with the division and where it's at, and we're one game out with Pittsburgh leading the way, if we get a win, we're right in the thick of it. The sky is not falling – we're 4-4 with eight games to go. So, who knows the way this season is going to end up? We're confident in what we're doing with our coaches and our players. We just have to go out, play well, play team ball, play for each other and go out and play our style of game. It's great that we get to go against Pittsburgh, a divisional opponent, knowing we have to go play at a high level to get a win. What better chance [than] to go against a great team?"

On if he thinks RB Le'Veon Bell will report this week and what that would do to the gameplan if he does:"It doesn't matter either way. [James] Conner is doing an unbelievable job. Whether it's him or Conner … The guy had 220-plus yards last week. So, they're playing outstanding on offense. If he is in, and I don't think he will be … He's not going to come back now. We're playing on Sunday. It's not our problem. It's theirs and what they're doing."

On if he can pinpoint why there haven't been many turnovers this season:"We're playing great defense in all three levels. The yards per game is down, scoring is down – there are just not many opportunities when you're playing well, and everyone is doing their job. We're conscious of that. We run [to] the ball; we're doing the same things as we've always done. The opportunities are there. We dropped a couple picks early on this season. Fumbles … We've got forced fumbles, and they've bounced the other way. They're going to start coming, and when they do, it's going to make our defense even stronger and our team better. We've had about six quarters of not-very-good football and everything else has been solid."


(with Baltimore media)

Head Coach Mike Tomlin

Obviously, there have been a lot of emotions in your town this week. Can you speak to what you saw and what was being said around you on Tuesday out in Squirrel Hill? (Nestor Aparicio)"I'll speak for myself. I'm still kind of in a state of shock as a member of the community. I'm sickened by what transpired. I'm saddened by it. I'm also a little bit taken aback just by maybe my kids' ability to process it. It's just unfortunate times. That's just a personal reflection. I haven't had a lot of time to get a pulse of community perspective and things of that nature. I've just been working to prepare for this game."

In preparing for this game, how is QB Ben Roethlisberger and his left finger? (Kevin Richardson) "We haven't done any physical activity yet. Like I said yesterday, I don't anticipate it being an issue, because it wasn't an issue in the second half of the game last week."

Last time you played the Ravens, they held you to a season-low yardage total and rushing yardage total. What did they do well in that game, and what gives you confidence that you maybe can do better this week? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _"It was about possession downs. I think they controlled those, particularly in the second half. If you don't win possession downs, you don't allow yourself the sustained drives and get snaps and move the ball and get points, and so everything feeds off of that. Obviously, you have to put yourself in sustainable or winnable possession downs, but their possession-down dominance was an issue for us. Their possession-down dominance has been an issue for a lot of people that face them. I think they're maybe second in the league in third-down efficiency defense, so it speaks to how much they're winning those circumstances."

It's been awhile since – not to jinx anybody for you guys – but it's been awhile since OLB Terrell Suggs actually had a sack on QB Ben Roethlisberger. What have you done that has been so effective in maybe limiting him in that regard? (Jamison Hensley)"To be honest with you, I don't worry about limiting him in that regard. We're just trying to put together a plan that respect his talents, that allows us to win. Games can be dominated and not manifest in the form of sacks. That guy has been a ridiculously dominant player for a long time. I know we have a lot of respect for him and how he's capable of taking over a football game, so I don't know if I have a reaction to that."

A couple of seasons ago, S Eric Weddle was a free agent. I know QB Ben Roethlisberger was trying to get him up to the Steelers. How much interest did the Steelers have in Eric Weddle in free agency a couple years ago? _(Jamison Hensley) _"I don't comment on hypotheticals and guys who play for other people. That's a fruitless endeavor."

What has RB James Conner been doing these last couple weeks that has helped him get back on track? (Aaron Kasinitz) "It's not just James Conner. The running of the football is an 11-man job. We have a lot of checks at the line. Ben [Roethlisberger] has to get us in the correct plays. The line has to block. The receivers have done a good job on the perimeter that has allowed him to get some extended runs, which helps his average and production and so forth. So, taking nothing away from James, he's been working hard and really been a positive asset to our cause, but it's been an 11-man job in terms of our run-game success."

You guys usually play the Ravens the second time at home and maybe under the lights. This is sort of different in Week 9. Do you still have that big-game feel for both teams, certainly since it's a rivalry and because it means a lot for the AFC North? _(David Ginsburg) _"I'm not going to speak for those guys; it's a big game for us. It's a division game. It's a road game. It's Baltimore. Pick one, or all of the above. We have respect for this rivalry and our participation in it, and we're preparing with that in mind."

Because Carolina was so successful against the Ravens on offense on Sunday, do you look at that game footage with any more scrutiny, or is it just kind of one more piece of the puzzle? (Jonas Shaffer)"Just one more piece of the puzzle."