CB MARLON HUMPHREY
What do you remember from last year's game against the Chiefs that will help you on Monday night? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "From last year's game, I remember losing. I remember that. I remember it was a pretty tough-fought game. I remember some big plays. We made some plays; they made some plays. [There] was some good, but probably a little more bad. That's mainly what I remember from last year. I'm not really thinking too much about last year, being it's a new season, but I remember it, kind of. I probably remember the bad a little bit more than the good from last year."
Could you just talk about your knack for trying to get the ball? Not just knocking the ball away, but scoring a touchdown, picking up a fumble, forcing a fumble – whatever it takes for you to take the ball the other way? (David Ginsburg) "That's one of the things we try to preach here with our defense; try to get turnovers and try to score with it. We have that as two of our goals; to get turnovers, but to not only get them, to score with them as well. So, it was good that L.J. [Fort] was able to score – get our first defensive touchdown of the season. That was really good for the team. And when it comes to getting the ball, I have the best guy in the league at that in Marcus Peters. And that's not really an opinion; that's just a fact. Since he's been in the league, he's gotten the ball more than anybody else. So, anytime I need a tip or a hint or something, I can go to him, and he's always there to tell me something. Usually, whatever he's thinking, he usually executes it on Sunday."
I know every game counts the same, but everybody in the football world is saying they've been anticipating Ravens- Chiefs. As players, does this game have a different feel than others? (Jamison Hensley) "For me, it's a different feel because it's on Monday. It's Monday Night Football, primetime, the Chiefs, Super Bowl champs. It's really all the things you want when it comes to playing the best team in the league last year – primetime stage. As far as different than the rest; there are going to be a lot of big games, but every game is pretty big. We're just mainly trying to take it one game at a time. Like you said, even though you try to take that approach, it is a little tougher when it comes to the Chiefs."
How does the loss of CB Tavon Young impact your secondary, and what kind of adjustments are you going to have to make to prepare for the Chiefs? (Todd Karpovich) "Losing 'Tay' [Tavon Young] was rough. We haven't gone on the field yet to see what adjustments exactly we're going to make. We're still trying to figure out some of the kinks and the different things without having 'Tay,' but Tavon is not really a guy you can really replace. We call him a 'Pitbull,' just because he's small, but he has a big bite. So, that's a loss that's going to be tough, but I think we have the guys to be able to bounce back from it."
How much will not having a crowd impact the game, and did it impact you guys when you were on the road last week? (Mike Preston) "For me, I personally enjoy away games, because when you make plays, the crowd gets silent. So, last week with the Texans, I walked on the field and was like, 'Man, I love this game, today.' Just with no fans in the stands, it seemed like it's just football; there's no other fluff. I don't really get too involved with the fans anyway, but it just seemed like it was a lot of fluff. [Without fans], you can hear what a guy says to you in the pile; you can hear it a lot better. What you say to him, you know he's going to hear it. So, the trash talk goes, and what gets said is what's said. You hear their checks; they hear our checks. It's just football. It's a new way of playing – with no fans – but so far I've been really enjoying it."
What's it like trying to prepare for QB Patrick Mahomes? He's a guy who's so accurate, he reads defenses so well, he's fundamental, but he also might throw a no-look pass. He's so creative and special in that way. What's it like, and what do you try to key in on? (Pete Gilbert) "For [Patrick] Mahomes, I think you said it best. He has all these tools, and he has so much talent around him. He actually completed that no-look pass on me. That started that whole journey, so I've seen that clip so many times on social media. It always seems to come up somewhere. But with Mahomes, as good as he is in the pocket, he's just as good – probably better – outside the pocket, which is the craziest thing about his game. So, preparing for him, it's really tough. You can't really say any team has really just been able to just stop him completely. He's never really out of a game. You see [them] go up on the Texans – two touchdowns, three touchdowns – and they come right back. He's never really out of the game until they lose a game, and they don't lose too many. So, it will be tough. I trust in [defensive coordinator Don] 'Wink' [Martindale] in whatever gameplan he's going to have, and we'll figure it out and get going."
CB Anthony Averett is going to step in. How is he going to do? Is he going to be ready – like S Chuck Clark ready? You seem him every day. (Kirk McEwen) "Anthony [Averett] is somebody I know very well. I played with him at 'Bama [University of Alabama] – started alongside him. He's a 'Bama guy, so any time his number is called, I think he'll be ready. He's shown us a lot in practice, and I know I definitely trust in him. So, whenever his number is going to get called, and whoever is in, whatever way it goes, I trust that they'll be ready to go."
You grew up around some great rivalries. Do you think that Chiefs-Ravens at least has the potential to be a matchup that people are excited about for years to come? (Childs Walker) "I definitely think so. [Patrick] Mahomes just signed for 10 years – whatever – 500 million, and [he's a] MVP quarterback. And then we have Lamar [Jackson]. [He's a] MVP, and he'll be a Raven for life. So, with those two teams, I think when the NFL is picking out the schedule, they'll always find a way to keep these two teams going at each other. When those two quarterbacks are on the field, it's magic on both sides. I see every week what Lamar can do, and I always see some highlight or something of what Mahomes can do. So, when you have two superstar quarterbacks like that, it's always going to be a fun game. There are going to be a lot of plays made against you, but then you have to just try to … When the plays come [and] you're able to make plays on these superstar quarterbacks, you have to make them."
I know you were All-Pro last year playing a lot in the slot. When you look at some of the best guys in the league at that position, what are some of the skills and some of the traits that those guys generally have? (Jonas Shaffer) "When I look at that nickel position, I lean on 'Tay' [Tavon Young] a little bit to figure out what he does – a little bit of [Lardarius] Webb. Those are just two Ravens guys that [have done] it. Chris Harris is probably one of the best guys that can flip-flop inside and outside. You have to be really savvy. My body type is usually not a nickel-corner guy, but I was able to do it alright last year, so we'll try to get me in there some again. But the biggest thing you see from nickel corners is, you're going to be around the ball a lot, so any time you can make a play, you have to do it – just because you're around the ball so much. Whether it's tackling, sometimes in the box, you sometimes come on some blitzes; there are a lot of different things you do inside there. Like I said, we haven't figured out the gameplan yet, but I'll be in there; I think some other guys will be in there. It'll be rotating all around, so I'll be outside, I'll be inside. You just never know who's going to be in there. It just depends on the formation, who they have in and what package the coaches feel like is best once it all gets settled down and we finish up the gameplan."
T RONNIE STANLEY
I hate to start this way, but you've had an ankle and a hip problem, not problem, but listed on the injury report. How are you feeling? I could assume there's going to be nothing that's going to keep you from playing in this one Monday night. (David Ginsburg) "I feel good. I'm in high spirits. I'm definitely looking forward to this weekend. Just like you said, it's going to take a lot to keep me out of this one."
How difficult is this year's game when the opponent is focused on stopping QB Lamar Jackson? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "I think we kind of know [that] teams kind of [have] the idea to take him out of the game. We just have to do our best to play at our best to take that pressure off of him. Offensive line, running backs, wide receivers – the better we play, the more pressure we can take off of him."
I know you guys take this one game at a time, but when you're preparing for a season and you're a team with perennial Super Bowl aspirations, as you guys have, do you kind of look at the Chiefs and know at some point you're going to have to go through them to get where you guys want to go? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Oh, yes. We know they're the defending Super Bowl champions. So, to play at that top level, to get to the best of the best, you have to beat the best. And right now, that's them coming off of the year they came off of."
Kind of following along with that, the fact though is that the last two times they've gotten you in 2018 and 2019. This year, it's Week Three. It's probably not going to matter, ultimately, in terms of making the playoffs, but do you feel that you guys need to beat them, just to prove to yourselves that you can? (Pete Gilbert) "Yes, I think more … [It's] not to prove to ourselves that we can; I think we know we can. I think it's more because that's what we expect out of ourselves, week-in and week-out. No matter who it is, we feel like we have to win that game. We feel like it's a make-it or break-it game. With that mentality, it's just going to make us mentally stronger and more capable down the line."
Do you feel there's any significance with … When you know you have the Top Two quarterbacks in football playing each other, is there any added significance that those Top Two quarterbacks are also Black quarterbacks? (Jamison Hensley) "It's definitely a thing that we're proud of. I don't think that's what our focus is. [It's] one of those accolades that you look at and you kind of will think about more after it's all said and done. It's definitely a huge milestone in our country's history [and] society, but right now, I think we're more focused on winning the actual game."
What does it mean to the offense when you see CB Marlon Humphrey punch a ball out, make a pick? The guy has a knack for making big plays on the other side. What does it mean to you when you see something like that? (Dave Ginsburg) "That's just Marlon [Humphrey] doing Marlon things. I would say that's just how I expect him to play. He's just all over the field causing havoc. He's always trying to knock the football out, and I'm not surprised."
How do you see G/T Tyre Phillips doing on that right side of the line? How have you seen him progressing over the past two games? (Todd Karpovich) "I think he's progressing really well, especially given the circumstances of this year – the lack of time that he's had to prepare and really get those reps and get that experience in. He's learning every week. He comes out eager to learn and he's focused on not making the same mistake twice. I'm very happy with his improvement."
Head coach John Harbaugh said, when he was talking to us, that he wasn't happy about the four sacks, but when he reviewed the film he didn't think pass protection was that bad. What did you see when you looked at the film from Sunday? (Aaron Kasinitz) "It's never as good as you think [and] it's never as bad as you think. When we looked at it, just like he said, a lot of it wasn't terrible pass protection, but at the same time, we know we can be cleaner. We know we can be better. That's what we're focused on – we don't want our quarterback taking that many hits."
I know you talked about the team mentality of this game. Does QB Lamar Jackson vocalize what it's like to face the Chiefs in his last two meetings and how close they were and that this is a team he wants to get past? (Morgan Adsit) "He's expressed his want to win this game, and we all know our own motivation of winning this game. We were all part of it the last couple years, and I think we all have the same kind of motivation to win the game. Lamar [Jackson] hasn't explicitly said anything like that, but we kind of all are on the same page when it comes to that."
You guys have only lost in the past two regular seasons, since QB Lamar Jackson has been the quarterback, just to the Chiefs and once to the Browns. How much does it bother you that the Chiefs have been on the winning side the past two times? (Ryan Mink) "It's not something that I'm losing sleep over, but it's definitely a team that we know we need to beat. And if we want to be champions, this is one of those teams that you have to get past. You have to play your best ball. I think we all understand that we can't afford to make mistakes. We have to be at our best, and anything less will come up with the results we've had in the past."