WEDNESDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: WEEK 15 vs. TAMPA BAY
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"OK, good to see everybody – really appreciate you guys being here. We have a beautiful day. We're way deep into our preparation for the game against Tampa Bay, and we're working hard. Before we get started, I have one announcement to make regarding the quarterback situation: Joe [Flacco] is fully healthy, ready to go. He'll be a full participant in practice. He'll be up for the game. The starting quarterback will be Lamar [Jackson]. Joe will be the No. 2 quarterback, and Robert Griffin [III] will the backup to those two guys, and we'll proceed with our game-planning and play the game."
Could I just ask you to explain your thought process on that? I guess QB Joe Flacco just being rusty, perhaps? (David Ginsburg)"We just try to go out there [and win]. Like we say from the beginning, every decision is based on what makes us the strongest possible team we can be, and that's – whether it's quarterback or defensive line or whatever – that's the bottom line. That's what it boils down to, and that's how we feel about this decision, and we're rolling."
Was it difficult? How has QB Joe Flacco handled this whole thing? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Joe has been great. Joe is a leader. He's excited. He's looking forward to having a role. Hey, everybody wants to play. Every football player wants to have the biggest role they can possibly have; I'm sure Joe is no different. Robert [Griffin III] is no different. Any player we have feels the same way, but Joe is a pro. He has class. He has complete respect in the locker room. And listen, there's a very good chance we're going to need Joe Flacco and any other player that's in that role, a backup role, to win us a game. Everybody is a starter in the National Football League, and that's just the way it is. That's a fact. We keep it simple, keep it about football, and let's roll."
Do you expect this decision to be reassessed every week? (Childs Walker) "I don't expect anything besides Sunday. I know we have Sunday in front of us, and that's what we're focused on. I'll say this: Lamar Jackson is the starting quarterback."
In previous weeks, you've kind of hedged it to try to keep it vague, and this is very declarative. I'm just wondering, why the change? (Bo Smolka) "I don't have to explain that. I think it's the best thing. My gut … I always hate to say 'gut.' If you're thinking with your gut, really, is that really wise? (laughter) So, how about my brain and my heart says, and my experience, that this is the way to go. How about that?"
In the previous times when QB Joe Flacco and QB Lamar Jackson have been active, they've both had plays. Is this a situation where Lamar is the starter, and he will get all the plays, or will it be a similar situation? (Jamison Hensley) "Then, I'd be giving you the gameplan. (laughter) I appreciate you asking. We'll just … Everything is on the table. We're going to game-plan our best gameplan and put our best football out there on the field."
Is there difficulty, away from the quarterback question, in the emotion of the way that game in Kansas City ended last week? Do you sense this locker room is right back in game mode again? (Bo Smolka) "Yes, that's the way it is. We're tough. That's how football is. When you're a coach or a player, and you're in the locker room, you understand that's how it works, especially in pro football. So, we're ready to go."
How does QB Lamar Jackson handle this news? How did he take it? (Aaron Kasinitz) "He's great. He was calm. Lamar is Lamar, and he's excited, and he's looking forward to playing the game, and he's all-business."
Do you get a sense from the other players that they get an excitement playing? (Kirk McEwen) "I think the guys are looking forward to playing the game. They don't think as much about it, maybe, as all of these follow-up questions would probably say you guys are thinking so much about it. But, they want to go play the game. They understand that we want to put our best team out there, and they want to be part of that."
I know defenses, when they're looking at your offense, they probably hate when QB Lamar Jackson has the ball and he's running, but Lamar has gotten hurt the past two games. How do you try to limit Lamar's risk of injury but not limit him as a player? (Jamison Hensley) "Again, it's just part of the game-planning. We're not giving away any of that stuff. We're going to try to put the best offense out there, score the most points, with the guys we have and the schemes we have, and that's it." (Reporter: "Do you wish he would maybe slide a little bit more?") "I don't wish … What's the old saying? Isn't Christmas coming around here? Isn't there a saying? Give it to me. Wishing, candy, nuts?" (Reporter: "If wishes and buts were candies and nuts…") "Thank you." (Reporter: "Well, do you think he should slide more?")_(laughter) _"Right now, I'm not worried about it. I want to win the game. That's what we're interested in. Keeping it simple."
Do you allow yourself to get sentimental about the time you've spent with QB Joe Flacco? (Aaron Kasinitz) "No. I love our players; you guys know that. I don't have to explain any of that. Our coaches and players have great relationships, and there are really strong bonds that are formed because of the nature of football and the nature of the emotions. That question was asked about the emotions from week to week and all that stuff, and that's all very real, because it's very human. That's all part of it, and that's all good. That's OK."
How much did you assess how the locker room would feel about this decision? Was that a factor in your decision? (Pete Gilbert) "It's always part of it. I think there are a lot of things that go into any decision like that. To sit there and just start tearing away at all of it, say 'how much this' and 'how much that,' would be impossible, probably, but you make a decision like this and you think about all that stuff."
How has C Matt Skura fared as a center with the two quarterbacks? (Ed Lee) "That's a question! That's good! We're moving forward – thank you! (laughter) Matt Skura, the man who will be snapping to the quarterback, getting back to the quarterback. Yes, Matt has played really well, and he's in there battling, first year starting at center, young player. I think he's done a good job. He's mentally smart. He gets us in the right protections, gets us up on the right combination blocks to which back we're going to, and he's played very well."
We haven't asked you a lot about Tampa. They've been a team that has been up and down. When a Florida team comes up here, do you wish for cold weather? (Jerry Coleman) "Absolutely. I'm a little disappointed it's going to be in the mid-to-high 40s. But Tampa Bay is a very good football team, a very talented football team. Their front four, their front seven on defense is as good as any. You might say – some people say it's the best in the league, the players they're putting out there. They have a very physical offensive line, led by none other than Ryan Jensen and his style, and we respect him in that. Very talented quarterback, excellent receiving corps, just a really good football team, and they have a lot to play for, so it doesn't matter. We just have to be at our best on Sunday and get ready to roll." (Reporter: "Who do you expect to have the first extracurriculars with Ryan on Sunday?") "I don't want to get into all of that." (laughter) (Reporter: "But, it's fun.") "It is fun. It's fair. It's a very fair question to ask, that's for sure."
You mentioned QB Jameis Winston. What has he shown you that you've liked? And, they've gone through two quarterbacks as well this season, so a little bit similar. (David Ginsburg) "Right, and they have two good quarterbacks. I think they're the No. 1 passing offense in the league, the No. 2 overall offense in the league, statistically. Both of those guys have been a part of that, and he can make all the throws – very talented. He's really good on the run when he scrambles. He loves to step up and out. He runs and throws. Ten out of his 20 big plays in the passing game this year have been on the move – five of them scrambling, five of them throwing on the run. So, that's something you have to account for. He's who we're starting with, and you have to prepare for Ryan [Fitzpatrick], as well. He's had a big year, as well. That's just what we're doing. We're preparing for their guys."
Obviously, there's been more emphasis on the running game these past few weeks, and I understand the reasons for it – you're trying to win games. But, at the same time, does it prove that you can still run 60 percent of the time in this league and win when most of the league is going the other way? (Bill Pennington) "We'll find out. I don't know that we'll continue to run 60 percent or not; that's a high number. Hey, could get higher, though. You never know, the way we're playing and the way games go. Running the football is important. And, the guys around the circle and the gals, the reporters around the circle, have asked me about running the football a lot over the last 10 years. I think in Baltimore, it's something that's always been a big part of the Ravens and a big part of our personality, too, running and stopping the run. So, we believe in running the football, but you have to throw it as well. You have to make big plays. You have to score points. It just kind of all goes together."
T Orlando Brown Jr. seemed to put together another good game Sunday. Has he done enough to lock down that starting right tackle job, and just your thoughts on his general development? (Jonas Shaffer) "Right, good question. Orlando, he's the starting right tackle. He's played well. He only gets better. I think he can play a lot better. Ask Orlando – he'll tell you the same thing, because he's adamant about that, and he works really hard at it. Yes, he's the starting right tackle."
How is S Tony Jefferson progressing, health-wise? (Ed Lee) "He's close. He tells me he's going to play, and Ron [Medlin, certified head athletic trainer] says we need to see him run full speed, so we'll be looking for that this week. [Jefferson] told me he was going to play last week. He told me he was going to play the week before that, so that's Tony. (laughter) But, I have my fingers crossed."
How has S Chuck Clark done in S Tony Jefferson's place?_ (Ed Lee)_"Chuck played well – very solid, very good football. Yes, I think he played well. He played winning football."
You mentioned Monday it was up to the team. Has anything been decided with FB/DL Patrick Ricard about how you guys will handle it? (Jerry Coleman) "The best way I can describe that is it's been handled internally, and it's been handled by the leaders on our team. That's the best way I can describe it."
There are a ton of rookies on this team that are helping the team right now. How big is it that you've gotten these contributions from first-year players? (Jordan Schatz) "It's big. It's two-fold. You have a lot of rookies playing. It's great, because you drafted well, and those guys are good players. They're not going to be out there if they're not, and they're doing a great job. It's also great because their upside is so high, and they can get so much better. There are learning and growing pains with that sometimes, but the thing I like about these guys is they learn quickly from their mistakes, and they usually don't make the same mistake twice."
WR John Brown
On his reaction to the announcement of QB Lamar Jackson being the starter: "That's fine with me. I don't make those decisions. With either one of those guys in there – we're confident."
On if QB Lamar Jackson has stepped up to be a leader the team needs him to be: "Yes. They're both [Jackson and Joe Flacco] great leaders. Lamar in the huddle – he leads; Joe leads. They're both doing a great job, and I'm sure Joe is leading him the way the quarterback needs to be."
On how QB Lamar Jackson has handled this process:"He's been handling it pretty well. I expected it to be a little tough, but he's a gamer at the end of the day. When things don't go his way, he's still going to find ways to overcome them and make plays."
On how QB Joe Flacco has been handling everything: "Joe's been handling it great. He's been in Lamar's [Jackson] corner. I've seen him the whole time. Every time he comes off the sideline, Joe is talking to him, telling him what he sees, trying to help him out. He's been a great teammate."
On how important it was for head coach John Harbaugh to announce the starting quarterback:"I mean, I can't control that. It's just fine at the end of the day. It doesn't matter who plays. We're both confident with both guys, like I said."
On if it's harder to stay on rhythm with QB Lamar Jackson's version of the offense:"It doesn't matter. As long as we're winning and putting up fights – that's the only thing that matters."
QB Joe Flacco
On his reaction to John Harbaugh telling him he will not start Sunday's game: "I didn't have much of a reaction. John talked to [Lamar Jackson] yesterday up in his office. I guess my overall thought about it is [I'm] obviously disappointed that I can't be a part of this team in the same capacity that I have been for a long time. You always have to be ready and stay sharp and be ready for the call at any point."
On how he feels about losing his starting job to an injury:"It's part of the game, man. I've talked about it plenty of times. Every time you take the field, there's obviously the risk of something like that happening. It just is what it is."
On if he and John Harbaugh spoke yesterday and how that conversation went: "We just talked a little bit. We haven't really talked too much before that. I'm sure everybody was probably trying to push that conversation as long as possible. It's obviously time, now that I feel healthy and am ready to go. Like I said, it just is what it is. It's kind of out of my hands. [Lamar Jackson is] playing well, so [we] just need to keep getting some wins and see what happens."
On if he saw this coming or if it was a surprise: "I can't say I was surprised. Like I said, I think the bigger thing is just – even though I'm disappointed, like I said, about my different role and all that – is just trying to stay excited about what my role is and the possibilities that may bring. Anything can happen in this league very quickly. We're right in the middle of a really good playoff run. We have a lot of important playoff games ahead of us. I'd firstly be doing my team a big disservice by not preparing the same way I always do, and after that I'd be doing myself a big disservice, too, because you never know what's going to happen or when you're going to have to be called on."
On if he allows his mind to wander to what this means for his career long term:"There's plenty of time for that. Obviously, I think it's only natural for people to talk to you about that and all that stuff. There's plenty of time for that. There are plenty of months in the NFL offseason to think about what it's going to mean and all that. But for now, like I said, I'm excited in what I can do and how I can help this group out."
On if he could explain his injury:"I guess so. I hurt my hip. I mean, it really came down to the fact I never really felt that bad. Obviously, for a few weeks there I wasn't going out and practicing on it and running on it. Besides walking around and doing little things, I felt like I felt pretty good. I know I wanted to get out there and play the week after it happened. We had a bye week, and I wanted to go play. At the end of the day, what I can say is that what did happen, the risks of going back out there and playing, at the end of the day, were just a lot. If I just let it play the course and get to where we are today, the risks are nothing. Listen, it was really tough for me. I talked with John [Harbaugh] – it wasn't even about the possibilities of something like this happening. As a starting quarterback, which I've been for a long time for this team, you play through things throughout the course of a 10-year career. I definitely wanted to get out there and be there for my guys that next week. It's definitely one of the hardest things I've done in my career – standing on the sidelines, being inactive and not being a part of it the way you want to. But it's just one of those things you have to do what your body is telling you. It is what it is." (Reporter: "Was dislocation the risk? Was that the big worry?") "No, no, no. They weren't worried about it dislocating again. It's all stable and things like that. It was more so to do with a couple other things."
On if he talked with former Ravens TE Dennis Pitta about his injury:"Yes, well shoot, man! I mean, what are the chances to have a guy like that and be really good friends with him and have something similar happen. Obviously, [it was] not to that extent at all – that would have been crazy. I talked to him about it. At the end of the day, we probably just laughed about it. I mean, what are you going to do? I knew I did something when it happened in the game. But when you get up and you move pretty good, and then after the game you get checked out and there's nothing glaring, then you don't really think too much about it."
On how weird this week will feel like preparing to be the No. 2 quarterback: "It's different. I've avoided [the media] for like five weeks now – so that's kind of been nice. (laughter)No disrespect to you guys. But hey, it's different. Like I said, I want to play football. It's been different the last four weeks. I've never been inactive. It's not easy standing on that sideline knowing you have no hand in what's going on. So, this is a little different role, too. It's obviously going to take some getting used to, and you're not going to get the reps and things like that. But like I said, you have to be a professional about it. It's out of my hands. I just have to go out there and prepare and be ready to go."
On if he has been impressed with how QB Lamar Jackson has handled everything: "I thought he's done a great job. I'm really happy for what he's been able to go out there and do. We're winning football games. He and this team have put themselves, and ourselves, in position to go out there and do some big things for the rest of the year, and that's definitely exciting."
On how he was told the news of being the No. 2 quarterback: "John [Harbaugh] texted me and said, 'Hey, stop [by],' like yesterday. He knew I was in the building yesterday morning. I think it was yesterday morning. [He] just called me up into his office and said, 'Hey, let's talk when you get a chance to stop up.' I don't know if it was the hardest conversation because, I think in both of our minds, we probably knew that the talk was coming at some point."
On how he has been able to help QB Lamar Jackson in-game:"I don't know. I don't know if I've helped him too much. But the only things you can talk to him about are just letting the game come to him, be patient, maybe some of the things I'm [seeing] out there – just understanding some of the things that go through your head during the course of a football game, and just trying to settle him down and try to make him feel at ease as to the fact that he doesn't have to do too much. Let the game come to him. I think more so I can help out when things start to get a little tough. I've been through plenty of tough games. I think his natural reaction is to go out there and make a play and make a play and make a play. Sometimes you just have to rely on the fact that the system is going to work, and things are going to start coming to us, and we're going to wear them out a little bit. So just talking to him about little things like that is really all I can do."
On if it's fair to say that he understands the decision of starting QB Lamar Jackson but does not agree with it because he wants to play:"It's out of my hands. I got hurt. They drafted Lamar in the first round. At some point, something was going to happen between the two of us, and who knows what that was going to be. This is just what it is at this point. I've obviously had five weeks to think about it and prepare myself for this situation and the possibility of it. Yes, I'm disappointed that I can't be in that locker room in the same capacity that I've always been. But this is my situation right now, and I'm going to do my best to handle it the right way."
On if he allowed himself to get sentimental during the five weeks he was out: "No. I'm not a very sentimental person anyway. No."
On if he's gotten support from teammates or if they understand that this is a part of the game: "They move on, man. (laughter)It's just is what it is. Listen, I have a great relationship with all those guys. That's one of the things about this league, and probably about most things, really, but especially this though, [is] the season goes on. Just because I'm not playing doesn't mean the season comes to a halt and ends. There are times that I may feel like that, but everything keeps going. It may move on in a little bit different way, but it moves on without you. At some point you realize that. You come around the building, you're going in there and doing what you can to get back in, you realize … I realized that a couple years ago when I hurt my knee. At the end of the day, nobody can really stop and care and worry about that for too long. They have to move on and go get the next opponent. You sit in those meetings and you realize that. We're talking about Tampa Bay; last week we were talking about going out to Kansas City, Oakland, Cincinnati. They move on quick. That's the nature of this business. It's all about winning football games and doing what you have to. When you're hurt and you're not part of the plan – that's just the way it is."
On how much harder it is to be demoted because of an injury rather than poor performance:"I don't know what's harder and what's not harder – I really don't know. This is my situation – it's the fact that I got hurt against Pittsburgh, and we've won some games since then. It is what it is. I don't know what would be harder, because I haven't dealt with the other."
QB Lamar Jackson
On his reaction to being named the starter: "I pretty much didn't really have a reaction to when [head coach John Harbaugh] was telling me. All it made me do was … I know I have to focus on everything a lot more – just bettering myself and trying to join with everybody around me even more. That's about it."
On what QB Joe Flacco said to him after the fumble at Kansas City:"He pretty much told me that there wasn't anything I could do there. When I was going through my … Well, when I was about to throw the ball to John Brown, this guy came [on the] backside. He was like, 'Man, stuff like that happens.' Right before when the kicker missed the field goal, he also told me, 'Man, he's going to miss the field goal. So, we're going to have another opportunity to go out there and put points on the board.' In my head I'm like, 'Man, he's not going to miss that field goal.' Joe and 'RG' [Robert Griffin III] was right – 'RG' said the same thing. So that was pretty … I was like, 'You know, they've been here before, so I know they know.' Yeah, that was different, in that environment, too."
On if anything changes knowing he's the starting quarterback:"No, not really. I just go through my days doing the same thing, just trying to better myself any way I could. That's about it."
On what changes with QB Joe Flacco as a backup from his perspective:"[Joe] Flacco – he's always helping me out whenever he can. He's on the sidelines, he'll come up to me times throughout the game if he sees something. If he looks at me a certain way, he can tell I'm thinking about something, he'll come up and talk to me regardless. Even in the film room he's letting me know what he sees in plays, stuff like that. Him and 'RG' [do that]. It's pretty cool."
On the locker room's reaction to him starting:"Everybody's been going about this day the same as any other day. We're trying to get better. We're focused on Tampa Bay right now."
On if he will be more careful running in games or if he's just trying to win:"I'm trying to win. I don't really care about that. [If] we're winning, it's going to happen. Players [are] getting nicked up in every game, believe me. They might not show it, but it happens. It's the NFL; it happens."
On if coaches have talked to him about sliding more: "They always tell me to protect myself. But you know, I'm going to put it all on the line. I want to win. I hate losing. I hate that feeling. You have to deal with it the next week. You have to focus on the next opponent. So, I want to win regardless. If it happens, it's going to happen. I've been good so far. I'm coming out [if] I get injured. I'll be good right after the game. So, I'm cool."
On if he expects two-quarterback sets with him lining up at wide receiver: "That's coach's decision. I don't really know. We didn't practice yet, so I don't really know what's going to happen. It's coach's decision." (Reporter: "Would you be open to that?") "That's up to coach, man. We're good right now."
On if the quarterback transition has been uncomfortable:"No. Joe [Flacco] is still part of the team. It's his team still – just like it's mine. It's all of our team. We're brothers. We're here together, each and every day. We've been here since camp putting our life on the line. It's still his team, man – nothing [has] changed."
On if he was wondering what the quarterback decision would be once QB Joe Flacco was healthy: "I was focused on winning the football games. My job was backup quarterback, so I was going to back him up, help win games. That's what I try to do."
On if he appreciates his relationship with QB Joe Flacco: "Yes, absolutely. He teaches me a lot, just form him being a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and his attributes to the game. Joe slings the ball better than most of them out there. So, definitely."
On if he's able to call the Ravens "his team" at this point, now that he's starting"It's 'our' team – all of us together. It's our team. I don't go out there and block. I don't go out there and catch the ball. I don't make tackles. I just do my part. It's all of our team."
On the biggest takeaway from the Kansas City loss: "Just do more. I feel like there were plays we probably could've done more, probably escalated to more successful drives, just probably do a little more with me, probably, [that] could've had that game. You can't dwell on it. You have to move forward."
On if his ankle is an issue at all: "No, 100-percent, I'm good."
DT Michael Pierce
On his Ravens scarf:"Yes, I got the scarf! We're giving out 30,000 of these [at Sunday's game]. The first 30,000 fans get this nice scarf for free. Get there early!"
On if he's ready to face former Ravens C Ryan Jensen on Sunday:"Yes, yes. Ryan was my workout partner in his contract year. I got really aquatinted with him throughout my two years while he was here, so yes, we're ready."
On if he expects C Ryan Jensen to talk as much trash as he did in Baltimore:"Oh yes, most definitely. I'm sure he'll be hyped-up to be back here. He knows one way to play football, just as we do. Everything that he does, we expect, and we'll be ready for it."
On his reaction, and the locker room's reaction, to the Ravens naming QB Lamar Jackson the starter:"First and foremost, we're not really worried about that. We know what we have to do to get to the playoffs. So, whoever the coaching staff decides to go with, and that's Lamar, we're ready and we're behind everybody. This is not the time to worry about who is starting at quarterback. It's time to worry about winning and getting to the playoffs."
On how head coach John Harbaugh told the team that QB Lamar Jackson was named the starter:"Yes, he just said, 'Joe [Flacco] is healthy now. He's going to work in the plan. Whatever that plan is, it's his job to inform you guys.' But, first and foremost, he said, 'We have to win these three games to get into the playoffs,' so that's all we're really concerned about at this point." _(Reporter: "Was it a team meeting or something?") "Yes, this morning."
On what it will take for him to take the next step towards a benchmark like the Pro Bowl:"It's just basically learning. I would equate it to years in college. My first year, I was just worried about being exactly where I needed to be for everybody else to be successful. I got a lot more playing time, started some games last year, and that taught me a lot. So, I'm just going back and going through every single play that I played from my rookie year to this year and learning and building on that and just experience."
On his reaction to offensive tweets that resurfaced from FB/DL Patrick Ricard:"I was shocked, honestly, but like I said, Pat is family. We actually went to dinner the Monday – last Monday – so I never would have expected it. That's not the guy I know, and it's unfortunate that he said it, but he's still a brother to me and a brother to us on this team. So yes, we're going to stand behind him, and that's something we just never expected, honestly." (Reporter: "Did he address the team formally or talk to you guys in the locker room?") "He spoke to the defense. I'm sure he spoke to the offense as well yesterday. Like I said, man, he's been a brother. We have never known him to do anything or say anything like that. So yes, as far as we know, he's good. We're going to stand behind him, and it's a brotherhood here." (Reporter: "When you say dinner last Monday, do you mean two days ago or the Monday before that?") "No, the Monday before last. Yes, we ate at a nice little restaurant. I had a good time, by the way." (laughter)
On what he takes from previous experiences of closely missing the playoffs:"Especially on defense, we have to execute. We had some untimely plays last week, as well, so we just have stick together, execute the gameplan more, especially on those fourth-and-longs. The Bengals [loss in 2017] – fourth-and-long – they end up scoring a touchdown. We gave up two [at Kansas City last Sunday], so it's something where it's heavy on our minds, it's heavy on our hearts, and we won't repeat that. I'm pretty confident in that."
T Ronnie Stanley
On the team's reaction to QB Lamar Jackson being named starter:"In the locker room, we had really no clue what was going to happen in the future. We're just focused on the next opponent and what we need to do to be successful."
On if it'd have been tough to continue momentum if QB Lamar Jackson didn't start:"In my personal opinion, I really had no idea who was going to be the starter or what was going to be going on moving forward. We just left that up to the coaches."
On how he evaluates QB Lamar Jackson's performance thus far:"I think Lamar has done a great job. He's really accepted his position, and he's stepped up to the plate."
On T Orlando Brown Jr.'s performance in his rookie season:"I think Orlando has also done a great job. He's really stepped in in the middle of the season, and he's done a great job, performed really well."
On if it will be odd for him to see QB Joe Flacco in a backup role on the sideline:"It might be weird after the fact, but I think during the game we'll just be focused on trying to win, for the most part."
On how QB Joe Flacco and QB Lamar Jackson have handled the past few weeks:"I think they've handled it great. I think Joe has handled his situation great. He understands injuries are part of the game, and the timing is unfortunate. And, he understands Lamar has done a great job, and I think he's handled it really well."
On if QB Joe Flacco spoke to the team after the announcement:"No, I think Joe knows that we know that he's all right. We have a really close relationship with him, and we know that he's good with the decision."
On how satisfying success in the running game is:"It's really satisfying, as the offensive line. That's what you want to see. That's really what you want to see at this time of the year and moving forward."
On if he blocks any differently for QB Joe Flacco or QB Lamar Jackson:"I don't think we have to do anything too much different. It's really about who we're blocking."
BUCCANEERS CONFERENCE CALL
(with Baltimore Media)
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Head coach John Harbaugh made the announcement today that QB Lamar Jackson is going to be the starter for Sunday's game. What have been your impressions of Lamar in watching him on film? (Jamison Hensley)"He has been exciting. He is fun to watch, that's for sure, and they've been tearing it up with their run game. And, their run game makes you play assignment football, and you can't argue with the results. 3-1, they've been playing good football with him in there."
What has it been like for you to have two quarterbacks going back and forth, trying to make the decision on who is the starter? Has this been difficult for you this year? (David Ginsburg) "No, not at all." (Reporter: "OK.")"You asked me the question. I answered it." (Reporter: "That's perfect. I said, 'OK.' You're right. You got it.")
Can you talk about defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Mark Duffner and what he's brought to your defense since you made that switch? (Mike Preston) "'Duff' is just a terrific football coach. I think it's something like his 42nd year coaching, and 'Duff' is just a really positive guy, brings a lot of energy. I think he has done a really good job of using the staff and getting those guys involved, helping him not only during the week but on gameday. And, he's still coaching our linebackers, so he's coaching a position that's right in the center of our defense. So, he's right in the middle of everything, and he's on the field on gameday, and we've definitely had improvement in our defense in these last few weeks."
QB Jameis Winston has thrown for a couple of touchdown passes in his past four games. Is he playing his best football right now? (David Ginsburg) "He is playing pretty well. He's not turning the ball over. He's making good decisions. You're constantly in search of that perfect game, but Jameis is doing the things that he needs to do to give our team a chance to win, and that's all you can ask for."
You've been coordinating offenses for a long time. I know you weren't here with the Ravens when they were doing this, but just going from one style, with QB Joe Flacco being a heavy pass offense to pretty much just a strong run offense, how difficult is that to do during the season, to shift from one style to another? (Jamison Hensley) "We've never had to do that, switch from one style to another, but I'm just guessing that it would be fairly difficult, and I would just say it says a lot about the Ravens' coaching staff that they've made this kind of a change and how effective it's been. Like I said, it's impressive. We've seen the Ravens over the years with Joe at quarterback, and obviously, that's worked very well over the years. They've been a very good football team. And then, these last four weeks with [Lamar] Jackson running it, you can see why they picked him where they did and what he brings to the table, so it's worked well for them."
On the other side of the ball, it seems like your defense and a lot of defenses are kind of designed to stop the pass, rush the passer, versatile secondaries. What is the challenge of then trying to defend probably the only team that will run the ball 60 percent of the time? (Aaron Kasinitz) "We get a little of that in our division from Carolina, a little bit of the option football and assignment football for your defense. But, as you said in your question, this is definitely a passing league, and I do think that teams spend a majority of their time figuring out how they're going to break down opponents, how they're going to break down the protections and attack the protections, put pressure on the quarterback and cover all these stud receivers around the league. So, when you play a team that's doing what the Ravens are doing right now, it's just a totally different set of issues for your defense. And oh, by the way, this guy [Lamar Jackson] can still throw, and he has speed on the outside. So yes, it's definitely a challenge. You didn't just reach down in your desk drawer and pull out the same gameplan that you used last week. You have to work at it."