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Transcripts: Ravens Wednesday Transcripts

WEDNESDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: WEEK 8 at carolina

Head Coach John Harbaugh 

Opening statement: “Hey, everybody – good to see you guys. [It’s] a little chillier out today. Some of you guys are planning on being out here for a while it looks like, and some aren’t. (laughter) I’m not – until practice starts. I’ll be dressed warmer. But good to see everybody – appreciate you being here. We’re getting ready for practice. So, what do you have?”

Can you tell us what happened with DT Willie Henry that landed him on IR? I know it would be very late in the season, but is he an option to come back? (Luke Jones) “Yes, to the second part of it. He had a herniated disc issue that came up in the game. We didn’t know about it until the next day when he got it checked out and got the MRI – actually, I think, Tuesday morning. So that’s how that happened.”

You told me to ask you later in the week about how the Panthers plan to game-plan to take advantage of QB Cam Newton’s mobility. So what’s the update? (Childs Walker) “Right! So, what’s the conclusion? Yes and yes. Yes, they do it with schemed runs, option-type things. They also do it in wildcat, with wildcat runs a little bit, and they do it with scramble plays. They do a great job of getting him out there as a runner. He runs the ball – he’ll slide occasionally – but most of the time he’s low on his shoulder and trying to get first downs, even blocking. I mean, he’s down there sometimes after he gives it on some of that stuff, if he’s down there throwing blocks. But I guess he’s protected well. He does that, so I’m not sure how that works. [He is a] very physical player, tough to bring down in the pocket, just a real physical guy as a quarterback.”

This year you’ve had G Marshal Yanda the whole way. What does it mean to have him on the O-line and in the locker room? (David Ginsburg) “Marshal has been great. He had the injuries the last couple years and did nothing but give 100 percent to his rehab and building himself back up, just like he does everything, and he always has. He’s playing at a very high level. I don’t see anything [different]. He hasn’t lost a step or anything like that that you might use for a player coming off those kinds of injuries at this stage of his career. He’s one of the best in football – if not the best in football. It’s just a pleasure to be around him; it’s an honor to coach him. [He is] great in the locker room, a great leader, very smart player, just plusses across the board.”

You said a couple weeks ago that one big run might shift the average. Do you feel like you’re any closer to that, to kind of breaking out? (Aaron Kasinitz) “Sure, I think we’re a lot closer to it. We’re close to whenever it’s going to happen. We’re surely closer than we were three weeks ago, to answer the question the way you asked it.” (Reporter: “Why so?”) “Because we just keep getting better. It’s going to happen at some point. Since it hasn’t happened yet, we must be closer to it. That would be the only answer I could give you to that particular question.”

How encouraged are you that G/T James Hurst and G/T Alex Lewis might be able to return next week? (Ed Lee) “Good chance, I would say. We’ll know as they practice, just see how they practice, if they can practice. We should get Alex out there today, so we’ll see how he does. James – we’ll see.” (Reporter: “Follow up to that: How about Marlon Humphrey?”) “Same thing. You know I’m not going to answer that question exactly.”

QB Joe Flacco

On playing against former Ravens WR Torrey Smith: “Torrey is [having] back-to-back weeks here with his old teams. We have a lot of great memories with Torrey, but hopefully, we’ll make a good one for us this week, leave a bad taste in his mouth. It’s always good to see an old teammate, and especially him, but once the game starts, that won’t matter too much.”

On if he’s paid attention to how WR Torrey Smith has been playing: “Of course, yes. Torrey was a great teammate, great friend, so you always keep track of all that.”

On if he sees QB Lamar Jackson as an overall package beyond the plays he is involved in during the game: “I definitely think that we’re starting to grow, in terms of how successful we are at those kinds of things. Obviously, I don’t get to see him at quarterback and doing those kinds of things in our offense, but in terms of how we’re progressing as an offense with him involved, I think we’re definitely starting to do some good things and make a real impact on games, for sure.”

On what he saw on film regarding the batted ball against New Orleans: “I don’t know. It’s tough to ... It’s just one of those things; you have to deal with it and move on to the next play. I think we’ve done a good job of overcoming it. There are reasons for everything, and I think the biggest thing just starts with me. And, like I said last week and said before, [we need] just to be aware of it and continue to keep an eye on it, continue to work on it like we always do.”

On who he will root for in Saturday’s Towson-Delaware game, pitting his younger brother and alma mater against each other: “My brother.” (Reporter: “Easy choice?”) “Yes.”

On what it will take for TE Hayden Hurst to be more involved on offense: “We just have to go out there, and we have to do it. It has to happen at some point. I think he’s progressing. It’s a shame the way it has worked out, with him getting hurt the way he has, but he’s a good player. At this point, it’s just about getting him involved, getting the confidence going and all of that. It’s tough when you come in a few weeks into the season, and we’ve game-planned four or five weeks at this point. So to try to incorporate him back in, in a good way, isn’t always the easiest thing to do. He’s ready to go. It’s just about getting on the ball, getting that confidence going in his head and everybody else’s, and once that happens, we’ll just start rolling with it.”

On the cause for the incomplete pass to TE Hayden Hurst against the Saints: “The second-to-last drive? Yes, I didn’t throw the ball well enough.”

On rookies T Orlando Brown Jr. and C Bradley Bozeman in their first starts: “I thought those guys did a great job, man. Just the way Bradley fought through whatever he was dealing with and still was able to play really well [was impressive]. The way Orlando was going against a really good player [in Cameron Jordan] in this league and go out there and play the way he did, it’s definitely very good to see that we have some guys that [can be relied upon]. When need be, we have some depth over there and guys that can come in and play and play confidently. Those guys did a really good job.”

On if last week re-emphasized the importance of a strong offense in the fourth quarter: “Yes, every now and then you get in those games where every single possession matters a ton, and I think we’ve been in a lot of games this year where we’ve had a lot of possessions. We’ve run a lot of plays. I think we ran a decent amount of plays this past Sunday, but the possessions just weren’t there, and you have to make the most of it. You can’t waste any plays and say, ‘We’ll get them next time.’ We played well on Sunday. We just didn’t … Whether it was a play here or there that stopped us, that was the difference, and we just have to make sure that we’re in the moment, locked in, in the moment every single play and make the most of every single play. Whatever happens, happens, but as long as we’re completely locked in for those four quarters, then I think most of the time we’re going to end up doing what we want to do, and we’ll make the most of all those situations. We won’t be sitting here looking back on those things. We understand we’re going against a good football team, but we have confidence in what we’re doing and what our defense is doing, so we just have to keep our foot down on the pedal and just kind of [take it] one play at a time, locked in, and that’s everybody. I think if we do that, then we’ll limit all those chances.”

On if he believes that playing such a close game with the highly-ranked Saints is a confidence booster: “I think we’re past the confidence-boosting part at this point. I think that we felt like they were a team that we should beat and that we can beat. I think we felt that way going in, and we probably feel that way going out. That’s probably why … I think we’re playing really well, but good teams win those football games, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. We’re getting to the point where it doesn’t matter too much what you’re going to gain from things, it just matters [that you win]. It doesn’t really matter how well you play and how pretty it looks either. You just have to win the football game. I think we’re doing a lot of really good things. We just have to find some ways to get the games closed out down the stretch.”

On how much of the offensive line protecting him relates to scheme: “So much of it. We talk about the physical part of it and us going out there and performing, but the bottom line is, across the league, you have so many guys that play and that do what they do really, really at a high level. Everybody plays at such a high level in this league that we have offensive and defensive coordinators for a reason. We have all those coaches for a reason, and the positions that they put us in to do a good job definitely mean a lot.”

On positive signs in the running game: “I think we just need to hit some more chunks. We just haven’t had a lot of … Twelve yards is our chunk run right now, so I think we just have to get to the point where we keep doing what we’re doing, and hopefully a few of these will start popping a little bit, and we’ll get some bigger plays out of them. I think that’s really what takes your running game to the next level. A lot of times, you look up and have 150 yards rushing, but you remember back that you had 60 on one rush, and we just haven’t had any of those type. Even a 30-yard rush, we haven’t really had any of those, so I think if we just continue doing what we’re doing, continue getting stronger, continue to stick with what we have, playing physical, then some of these runs will start popping, and our run game will look a little different because of that.”

On if he’s seen TE Hayden Hurst progressing after his injury: “Yes, there’s no doubt. It’s a tough deal when you’ve been with us through training camp and got a lot of work, but you missed five weeks of what it’s like to game-plan for a specific team and all the different details that go along with that. So, I think as the weeks go on, he’s definitely getting more used to it and more comfortable with the plan.”

On improvements in the receiving corps: “I think there are a lot of things that go into it. I think you just look at the injuries that we had across the offensive line last year at the start of the season, some of the injuries that we had on the outside. We were just dealing with a lot of stuff last year. I don’t think it had anything to … It didn’t have everything to do with the kind of guys that we had. It just had a lot to do with what we were dealing with. So, I think there are a lot of little, tiny things that go into that that nobody sees, and that can be turned around pretty quickly. And, I think the guys here, to give them credit, they’re doing a great job. They work hard, and they catch a lot of passes, and they play confidently, and they want to make an impact on the game. So that all helps, for sure.”

OLB Terrell Suggs

On how tough it is to sack Panthers QB Cam Newton: “Superman! I mean, how often do you get to play against a superhero? His nickname kind of speaks for himself. He’s definitely going to be difficult to bring down, but hopefully neither one of us has to do it by ourselves.”

On if QB Cam Newton is larger than him: “I think he’s taller. I may weigh a little bit more, but he’s definitely taller.”

On how much he admires DE Julius Peppers and what he has accomplished: “I’ve always looked up to ‘Pep’ [Peppers]. Coming out of college … He came out of North Carolina and was a two-sport player. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have that kind of ability to play two sports in college. He’s the active sacks leader. So definitely, when he’s on the field, I’m going to be watching him play. I definitely admire him. He’s a great player, and he’s one of those rare forms you don’t get to see often in this league.”

K Justin Tucker

On if the key this week is to maintain his routine since he has had so much success over his career: “Sure – and I would say we’ve had a lot of success [throughout] the time I’ve been here kicking the ball. Yes, I think that’s exactly what we’re going to do. We’re going to treat this week like we treat every week, do our best to make kicks in practice and bring it to the game on Sunday.”

On if he had a chance to review the missed PAT vs. New Orleans: “I did. I did get a chance to look at the video and try to learn from it. This one was just tougher for me to figure out, but at the end of the day, I can analyze it and be as critical as possible. At the end of the day [though], it’s a missed kick. The best thing that I can do for myself, for my teammates, for our coaches, is just move on and make the next one.”

On the support he has received: “It’s been really cool to hear from almost all of my teammates – from even right after the game, up until just a couple minutes ago, guys [have been] offering their support. I think this team is built differently. This is a unique group, and we know we’re on a track towards something special. It’s about just learning from our mistakes and compartmentalizing those and moving on and making the most of our next opportunity. Guys have been great about keeping that at the forefront of what we’re trying to do.”

S Eric Weddle

Opening statement: “It’s a little brisk! Man, it was freezing last night. I went to my son’s practice last night after the Halloween [event put on by the Ravens]. It was an amazing event, by the way, that the organization put on for all the kids. I sat out there from 6:45 – 8:15 and realized how much I missed home. (laughter) But not for long! Hopefully in February I’ll get back [to California and] get out of the cold. Fire away!”

On how QB Cam Newton is different from some of the other quarterbacks he has played against: “The obvious reason, he’s a dinosaur – a fast dinosaur, muscular and big, runs people over. (laughter) In the openfield, he can just make guys miss. He’s a very unique quarterback in this league – only one really like him. You can face big quarterbacks, like ‘Big Ben’ [Ben Roethlisberger], who’s really tough to bring down when you try to wrap him up. But Cam, he’s just an amazing, amazing player and extremely difficult in the openfield and what he presents running the ball. Obviously, he can throw, [too]. It’s a fun challenge for us as a defense. It takes all 11 guys to bring a guy down like that and to make it hard for him when he’s going against us.”

On what type of dinosaur QB Cam Newton would be: “I would think like a … What’s the one with the horns?” (Reporter: “Triceratops?”) “No, the one that charges?” (Reporter: “Stegosaurus?”) “No, not that one! I was going to say a rhinoceros, but it’s not the right thing. Triceratops – that one! Yes. That one just bowls people over. I would think that one.” (laughter)

On if he’s amazed that OLB Terrell Suggs keeps performing at a high level at his age: “No – maybe my first year. He’s one of the greatest, right? I just look at him as a brother now and teammate, a guy that I expect so much out of week-in and week-out for us to get wins. I don’t really look at his age or how long he’s done it. We’re in the moment. But, he’s a very unique, special player, special person – the energy, the passion, his work ethic. So yes, I have the utmost respect and admiration and love for him. But I don’t look at him like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s still doing it at age 36!’ I don’t really pay attention to that stuff right now. He’s doing his job, and that’s what we expect him to do.”

On how hard it is to work your way back into playing shape like CB Jimmy Smith is doing: “We’ve all had games like that. I’ve had horrible games. You never hope you do, but it happens. You just get back on the horse and look at what you did, get back to technique and working hard in practice. Practice takes a lot of the areas that you may not have been very good at in the game, that can make up for a lot, and get you back playing the way you want to. Jimmy is a pro; he’s going to work hard. A lot of things he can attest to that were just little things – technique, fundamentals, a little bit of his eyes. We expect him to bounce back and have a great game this week. Listen – we all could have played better. It wasn’t just Jimmy out there. There were some areas with myself – getting the calls out – that could’ve been a lot better, getting across the board, a couple plays here and there, one guy not doing his job or doing his responsibility. Where before, we haven’t really had that issue, whether the type of game, the atmosphere, it was guys doing a little too much at the opportune times, and it hurt us. We didn’t pull it out. But also, looking at the film and looking at how we played as a defense – we can be a special defense. We can really shut down teams if we all do what we’re supposed to do. That’s the confidence-builder and taking it forward that we can really be one of the all-time best defenses, if we put our minds to it and really play every play like it’s our last.”

On the challenge of facing TE Greg Olsen: “He’s been doing it for so long. He knows how to run routes. He still can run, which obviously, is key when you get up there in age. If you can run, you can still make plays. His catch radius – he’s a big guy. Great hands, good route-running ability, and they scheme up plays to get him the ball. I like our guys covering him. Tony [Jefferson] matches up well with him, ‘Veen’ [Anthony Levine Sr.], myself, so we’re not feared, scared of anybody. We’ll go to there and attack him, and we’ll see what happens.”

On why the Panthers have had recent late-game success: “I think it stems from their coach. I’ve been with Ron [Rivera] in San Diego and loved him as a coach and as a person. So, I think that ‘never die’ attitude has always been instilled with him, and they get things rolling. A guy like Cam and the way he can extend plays and get things rolling [also helps]. With any quarterback, but with one of the better quarterbacks in the league, they get rolling and they see a couple completions here or there, get a big play, get the momentum, then it’s tough to get the momentum on the other side. I think the last couple weeks, they’ve just found some plays and get up-tempo and start moving the ball better than they have the first half or the first three quarters. They’ve had some success, and they’ve won some games. We just have to know and got to focus in that it’s going to be 60 minutes. It’s going to be a tough game on the road. Even if we do have a lead, we have to extend the lead. We can’t be satisfied with a one or two touchdown lead in the second half. We have to extend it and try to put this team away, because they’ve obviously shown that they can come back from big deficits and pull out the games.”

On if the defense felt more confident coming out of the Saints game because it held New orleans to 24 points: “Yeah, I mean, they had two weeks to prepare for us. They had a great gameplan to what we do really well and nullify that at times – which they did. But looking at it, we will learn and grow and still to have some success throughout that game. Honestly, we look at it as our offense did enough to win that game. We didn’t get the job done. We feel if our offense can put up 23 [points], we should win every game. That’s the bottom line for us as a defense. We have high expectations, and we feel that we need to live up to it. Regardless of who we’re playing – whether it’s the best offense in the league, a legendary quarterback – we felt like we could’ve played better in certain situations to get that win. So, we’ll take it to practice, and we got coached up. We were very real in our meetings – what we did and what we didn’t do well and got coached up. ‘Wink’ [Don Martindale, defensive coordinator] is very straightforward. Guys that didn’t do their job or play well, they were pointed out, and we take it and move forward and get better. Undoubtedly, I think that we can get better from that loss and really continue to be the best defense in this league.”

On why K Justin Tucker is an easy guy to trust as he’s coming back from a situation with a rare miss: “He’s the best in the league. Those guys work every day. His little celebrations and antics and all that other stuff – it gets a little weary on me; I’m not that type, and I tell him that. But that’s him. When you’re the best in the league, you can do that stuff. He’ll be out there working, just like he does every day – kicking field goals and going through his steps. Listen, he’s the one of the least guys we have to worry about doing his job and executing. He’s going to win some games for us and do his job like he’s done his whole career. That’s the NFL – it can humble you when you’re at the highest highs, and you just have to bounce back like we’ve all done in our career.”

On if the Ravens’ defensive personnel matches up well against mobile quarterbacks: “I think we have a great plan. I think if guys execute their plan, execute their job, and we have athletic guys rushing the passer … We have big guys in ‘Big Baby’ [Brandon Williams] and [Michael] Pierce, but they can run and they’re athletic and they get off blocks. Then you bring in Tim [Williams] and Za’Darius [Smith] and [Matthew] Judon and ‘Sizz’ [Terrell Suggs] – those aren’t your typical big, physical rushers. They’re physical, but they can run. So, we feel like we cover on the backend, put pressure, collapse the pocket and give those guys time to go rush the passer, then it lets them be aggressive. I think in the past, our secondary over the years may not have been as good, so the rush can’t rush like they want to. But now, I think it works hand-in-hand. We’ll go execute our blitzes, our rush lanes, know where he’s at and have a gameplan if he does like to run. We’ll obviously have a plan for that and just let those guys be aggressive and do their job, which is getting after the quarterback.”

G Marshal Yanda

On rookie C Bradley Bozeman and T Orlando Brown Jr. in their first-career starts last Sunday: “I thought they did a good job. I thought they stepped in and played well. Obviously, injuries are part of football. We all know that, and I thought they went in there and they fought hard, and I thought they did some good things, that’s for sure. They have stuff that they need to work on, but as far as starting two rookies, I think they did a good job.”

On the key to pass protection: “I think that takes all 11 guys. I think that’s not just the offensive line. That’s the receivers getting separation, that’s us blocking our men, and that’s Joe [Flacco] making his reads. I think that’s just a fine-tuned running machine for all phases on offense. That’s not just the offensive line. Obviously, we have to block them, but if the receivers aren’t open, then Joe has to hold the ball. Then, bad stuff happens, so it takes all 11 of us executing good offense.”

On the message to the team in overcoming the New Orleans loss: “You have to put it behind you. You have to make the corrections, and then you just have to have a short-term memory. These games are … They come every Sunday, and you just have to have that mentality that, win lose or draw, we make the corrections, and then we move on to the next game. Obviously, we tried our best out there. We came up short. They made the plays at the end to win the game, and like I said, we just move on. It just has to be a short-term memory, is what I tell the young guys.”

On the key for a more productive running game: “I think it starts in practice. I think we just have to stay at it. We have to stay committed to it, and I think the guys, we just need to not, obviously, not give up on it, and we just need to keep grinding. Every day in practice, I’m talking about the guys in practice and individually working on our fundamentals and our techniques, and we really feel like that it will come. We’re not going to get [discouraged]. We’re not going to overthink it. We’re just going to keep our head down and grind, and we feel like the run game, it will come.”

On having two rookies but no penalties on the offensive line last week: “Yes, that’s great discipline, great discipline for the young guys, and execution. I contribute penalties. Sometimes bad penalties are called, but penalties are a discipline issue, whether you’re locked into the game, and you’re mentally focused at all things – your assignment, the snap count, the cadence, letting the guy go when he’s outside your framework, all those things. So, those two young guys did a really good job at that.”

On if it’s more difficult to handle the pre-snap action or post-snap reset as a young player: “I would say the toughest part is in between the whistles. The blocking part is the toughest part, obviously, but stuff that happens after the whistle, you try to just move forward from that. But the toughest part we do is definitely blocking them.”

PANTHERS CONFERENCE CALL

(with Baltimore Media)

Head Coach Ron Rivera 

Could you speak to the unique running threat QB Cam Newton poses for your team? Have you ever been around a quarterback that’s as powerful as a runner as he is? (Childs Walker) “No, not necessarily. I’m not sure if I’d call him a ‘power runner’ just as much as a ‘runner.’ He does pose that threat. It’s one of those things you have to play very disciplined. I can remember when Michael Vick first broke into the league, with that great quickness and speed. I think probably the first real threat I could remember was Randall Cunningham with that great arm, his ability to run as well. Then Michael Vick, obviously, and there are some other guys that have come through. I think Cam is unique in several ways, but the one thing the he does truly pose is that triple threat.”

How is rookie WR D.J. Moore coming along for you guys? (Childs Walker) “Very nicely. It’s his opportunity to increase, and he’s made plays. So, the more and more chances he gets on the field, the better. A lot of it has to do with just learning. He’s done a great job of learning. It’s just so much volume for these young guys to try to get used to. But he’s done a great job, and every time he’s on the field, like I said, he makes things happen.”

TE Ian Thomas is another local kid. How’s he doing so far? (Kevin Richardson) “Ian has done a nice job. It’s been kind of tough the past few weeks, because Greg Olsen is back, but when he had his opportunity, he made some things happen for us. He’s played really well. I’m just really pleased to have both those young guys on our team.”

You coached S Eric Weddle when you were at the Chargers. What do you remember from your time with him, and have you viewed him as his career has gone on? (Aaron Kasinitz) “Well, I always thought of him as a very smart player, with a good ability for being around the football. I know he wants to win; he takes a lot of pride in things. So, he’s always been a guy I really appreciated having on my team. I’ve had a chance to watch him play, and he’s had a very good career. He really has. He’s a solid, young man.”

What did you guys do differently in the second half against Philadelphia? (Kevin Richardson) “Well, the truth of the matter [is] we made plays. You go back and look at some of the things that happened in the first half, and you’re like, ‘Gosh, that was open,’ or, ‘We dropped that. We had a chance for this block, and we didn’t make it.’ But then you watch in the second half and go, ‘We started converting on the plays.’ We called a couple plays that were the same form the first half, and it was just a matter of the quarterback getting the ball to somebody else. That kind of thing opened some things up for us.”

How big has it been to have Norv Turner as your offensive coordinator? (Kyle Andrews) “It’s very big. I’ve been very fortunate. I worked for coach at San Diego, and I was his defensive coordinator when we had Eric [Weddle]. So I have a good background with coach. I understand the things that he likes to do and wants to do. He gets his opportunity to do those things. I think it’s been great for Cam [Newton]. I think the one thing that really helped Cam was knowing a little bit about coach Turner and the success he’s had with quarterbacks. The top players he’s had – you talk about Troy Aikman and Alex Smith and Teddy Bridgewater and Philip Rivers and Drew Brees early on – this is a guy who has been around these kinds of quarterbacks. I shouldn’t say Drew Brees. I think Drew left before coach got there. But he’s had these types of guys. Then the type of runners he’s had … That’s why Christian [McCaffrey], I think, has had such a good experience for us as well.”

The Ravens’ offense has improved its numbers passing the ball this year, but its numbers running the ball have declined. How do you view their offense this year? (Aaron Kasinitz) “I’ll tell you what, it’s a multifaceted offense, because you see them doing a lot of different things. They run the ball, they throw the ball, they run the jet sweeps, they run the play-action passes. I think Marty [Mornhinweg] is doing a really good job, and he seems to be finding a little bit of ammo, as far as the mixture of what he wants to do. So, he has you working on a lot of things. Especially, they play that hurry-up tempo, and that’s been good for us, in terms of our preparation this week, just trying to get used to that type of stuff.”

WR Torrey Smith had the big fourth-down catch for you guys in the last game. Obviously, he’s very much beloved here in Baltimore. How has he found his place in the locker room and then on the field for you guys, as well? (Jonas Shaffer) “I’ll tell you what, he has fit right into the locker room. He’s been a solid guy for us; he really has. He’s a guy that our young players rely on. He’s a guy that I can rely on, as far as trying to get the pulse of the team. On the field, he’s a steadying voice. He has a calming effect on others, and he’s just in that stand-up type of guy that you look for that can relate things to players so that they can get it, understand it, and help them out.”

You talked about the Ravens on offense. When you watch them on film, is QB Lamar Jackson also another element that you have to account for? (Childs Walker) “Oh yes, most certainly. The young man is a dynamic, explosive player. He’s a threat whenever he’s on the field, so you have to account for him, and then you have to account for where the other quarterback lines up.”

It seems like TE Greg Olson has had a little bit of a quiet start since his return, but how does his presence affect what opposing defenses can do? (Ed Lee) “Again, I think [it’s] just knowing that he’s a threat to catch the ball. He’s a threat through the middle of the defense. I think they just can’t go, ‘Oh, we can throw a guy on him.’ They have to throw a guy that can cover on him, and I think that helps the other players that are out there. Yes, he’s had a slow start, but again, let’s just remember, the dude was off for five weeks. He was away from football, and I think a lot of it is just him getting back into it.”

What have you seen from OLB Terrell Suggs? I know you have a guy like DE Julius Peppers who has been in the league a year longer than Suggs, but what have you seen from Suggs in this late year in his career? (Kevin Richardson) “I see a guy that still competes. The dude plays hard. He goes every snap. He still has that competitive fire in his belly to win, so he’s a guy that you have to account for on defense. You have to know where he’s aligned and what they’re going to do with him.”

How big of an addition has S Eric Reid been to your defense? (Kyle Andrews) “He’s been a very good addition. If there’s one thing that you see Eric does, he communicates very well with his teammates out on the field. He handles the middle of our defense very well. He’s a solid tackler, and he has, I believe he had nine tackles the other week against Philadelphia, and I thought he had an interception. Unfortunately, it wasn’t ruled that way. But the guy really is very active for us, and as he continues to work in our defense and be around our guys, you can see him fit more and more.”

How does RB Christian McCaffrey fit in your offense? (Ed Lee) “Probably the biggest thing you see is that Norv [Turner] can use him in many different ways, and it goes back to the fact that you look at the people that Norv has had. He had Emmitt Smith as his running back when he was in Dallas as the coordinator, and he’s had LaDanian Tomlinson. When you have guys like that that have had success, I think the guys that come into your system and look at it and go, ‘Wow, I want to have that kind of success.’ That’s kind of where Christian is, is we’re kind of figuring out where he fits. You look at the things that Norv did when he had Darren Sproles, as well. I just think it’s a good mix for us.

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