Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody here. I appreciate you being here with us. First, I want to start off by congratulating the guys who made the Pro Bowl. I'm very proud of those guys. That's an accomplishment that means a lot in the National Football League. Our guys understand more than anybody that that's a team award. So, as a team, we all take pride in the guys who made it, and we're very excited for them. We kind of all feel like we have a part in that. What questions do you have going forward?"
I don't believe the Giants have officially said who their starting quarterback will be this week. As you prepare, do you go under the assumption that it's going to be QB Daniel Jones? (Jamison Hensley) "We'll prepare for both quarterbacks. Both of those guys have done a good job for them this year. They're both experienced quarterbacks. Daniel Jones is obviously a little bit younger, but he was one of the top picks in the  Draft. [He's] a super talented guy. Colt McCoy has done a great job, too, over the years. We've played him before, and we know how good he is. So, we'll be ready for both those guys."
Going back to the Giants, they have a stout run defense. LB Blake Martinez has 128 tackles. What kind of … What makes them so good? (Todd Karpovich) "I think it starts with … Obviously, Blake Martinez, as you mentioned, in the middle makes a bunch of tackles; it goes back to his days at Stanford [where] he made a bunch of tackles, and then at Green Bay. He's the same player he's always been. [He's] very gifted in there in terms of sorting things out and finding the football. The defensive line is one of the best and most decorated and highest pedigree defensive lines in the game. They're big, physical guys. They play a similar style that our defensive line plays. They know how to get off blocks. They stay square. Yes, it's a very impressive group, and I think it starts with the D-line and the inside linebacker."
We didn't ask you about DE Calais Campbell on Monday. I guess, first of all, how close was he to playing on Sunday? How optimistic are you about him this week? (Childs Walker) "It was a gameday decision. I felt like he could've played. It was my decision not to; he wanted to play. It just felt like having another guy 100% was better than Calais [Campbell] not 100%, and with football still in front of us. Short term and long term, it felt like it was the best decision to make, but he did want to play. We'll see how he does this week. I think he's doing really well. It's just going to be a decision [of] not really whether he can play or not, but whether it's the best thing for us to make us the best defense now, and in the next week or so. But he's right there."
What does your backup quarterback situation look like for this week? I think QB Robert Griffin III is eligible to come off injured reserve, but I don't know what kind of progress he's making and where that leaves QB Tyler Huntley. (Jeff Zrebiec) "That will depend on the health part of it and whatever other factors; obviously, it's never one thing. So, we'll just have to consider all that. It won't be Trace [McSorley] yet, but Tyler [Huntley] and Robert [Griffin III] are possibilities. I really don't know right now. We'll just kind of see. We're kind of status quo until we hear more."
I know you mentioned the Pro Bowl guys, but T Orlando Brown Jr. – you lose T Ronnie Stanley halfway through the season, and those are some big shoes to fill. How proud are you of what Orlando has been able to do in moving to the left side, and not just filling in, but playing at a high level? (Luke Jones) "Absolutely. That's a great point. [I'm] very proud and very impressed. He's done a great job. Obviously, it shows his versatility as a player. He's played a lot of left tackle in his life, and now he plays both sides at a very high level. I'm just really happy with him. He's a great guy. He works really hard. He wants to be good, and he's playing at a high level. So, kudos to him – he's done really well with it."
I know you keep your guys focused on the game at hand. When you or your guys see the Jets winning a game at Los Angeles against the Rams when they were big underdogs, or Cincinnati beating Pittsburgh … Is that held up to them as the example? Or do you figure they just see that, and it need not be mentioned? (Mark Vivano) "The latter; I think they understand that. I know they do. I guess I say this a lot, and I try to explain it; it's not how NFL players and coaches, at least to my experience, look at it. You don't look at records. The Giants are fighting for a division championship. The Giants have won, what, four out of their last six games, or something like that? They beat Seattle three weeks ago in Seattle. They can pound the ball [when] running the ball. They can stop the run. They have skill players, pretty much, all over the place. I don't understand why it would even be a conversation. We have a very tough challenge in front of us; we understand that. The other stuff is just peripheral – it's not even in our view. It's not what we're thinking about. So, that's the same answer. It's like this. (gestures tunnel vision) We understand how good this team is that we're playing and what we're up against."
QB Lamar Jackson
Why do you feel – and I've asked a couple of players this – why do you feel in December that the Ravens team, ever since you've been here – 2018, 2019 and this year – it seems like you guys are playing your best in December? (Jamison Hensley) "Being honest, in 2018, we were fighting to get into the playoffs. The world was doubting us at that time. We were pretty much fighting each and every week to get into the playoffs, and every game was a playoff game for us. That's just what it was. So, we went into December knowing … Coach [John Harbaugh] was talking about us being 4-0 going into December, and that's what it was. And last year, we were just hot. We hit a 12-game win streak and we were just rolling. And this year, it's kind of like 2018 with a better record, but similar, because there's a lot of great teams ahead of us right now in the AFC. Everyone is fighting for their spots, and some teams are trying to get in, some teams are already in but still trying to fight to keep their position. And right now, we're in the hunt, but we're out of the playoffs. So, each and every week is a playoff week for us. That's the mindset we have to have, and that's just what it is."
Along those lines – is that what the shirt is all about? (Wearing a t-shirt that says "Finish") (Shawn Stepner) "Yes, just finishing. There were certain times throughout this year [that] we would go into a game, [and] we'll be winning the game in the first half. And then, some way, [in the] second half, we just hit a hump and we wouldn't finish. We would just end up losing the game somehow. And Coach [John Harbaugh] was talking to us a lot about that, and they came up with the shirts. It's about finishing for us right now. [If] we go into the game hot, we finish hot until the game clock says 0:00, and us with the most points. And that's just what it is for us right now."
You guys do need some help to get into the playoffs. Do you find yourself scoreboard-watching at all during the game? Or are you just going to let it take care of itself? (Todd Karpovich) "Being honest, we're just going to let it take care of itself. We're not focused on the outside, or other teams and stuff like that. We're focused on ourselves, because we can't peak too early [and] we can't peak too soon at nothing right now. We've just got to focus on the Giants, because that's a good team that we're going to face on Sunday."
Not voted to the Pro Bowl this year – does that bother you at all? Or you couldn't care less? (Ryan Mink) "No, we've got guys on our team that made the Pro Bowl, and I like our lineup. It's all good. I feel like those guys who made it to the Pro Bowl deserve it. There's a lot of great quarterbacks, a lot of great players who are going to be in it. So, I'm cool with it."
And to follow up on that … Everybody is talking about how you're just on a roll right now – you're hot. Do you feel that? Do you feel yourself gaining momentum? (Ryan Mink) "It's alright. I feel like I should play like that all the time. It's nothing more, nothing less. I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing, and the whole team, we've just got to keep doing what we're doing. We haven't done anything yet, and like I said, we're fighting to get into the playoffs right now. So, we've just got to keep staying focused on the task at hand right now."
You mentioned your teammates who were named to the Pro Bowl. I wanted to ask you about T Orlando Brown Jr. who, obviously, is filling in for T Ronnie Stanley. Ronnie was a big loss. What can you say about how Orlando has taken over in his absence? (Mark Viviano) "'Big Drip,' [Orlando Brown Jr.] he … The name 'Big Drip' speaks for itself. But that was his original position – left tackle. He's been doing a great job for us since he's been starting, because he ended up starting before me. But since he's been at right tackle, he's been doing a great job. And then, like you said, with Ronnie [Stanley] going down, it was a big turnaround for us, because I know a lot of people didn't know what was going to go on. But, 'Drip' [Orlando Brown Jr.], he was like, 'I'm going to do what I'm supposed to do. I'm going to make sure nobody is getting to you. I'm going to make sure my side is locked down.' And that's what he's been doing. That's what it is. He deserves to be in the Pro Bowl, and that's just what it is. [That's] my guy – my brother."
I know you guys have multiple running backs who do a good job, but what's really unique about RB J.K. Dobbins? What has he brought to your running game that might just stand out a little bit differently? (Luke Jones) "Being honest, he's just explosive. I'll be on the field … I'm not trying to talk crap, but it's just like, I'm amazed. I'm like, 'Bro, you're running the ball. You are unbelievable with the ball.' Then I'm like, 'He might get hit right there,' and then he'll just do something crazy. That's why he's out there. He's just doing amazing things. That's why we got these 'backs. They get the ball in their hands and they just go crazy, and that's what we need here."
When you made that play with WR Marquise Brown down the left sideline there – you guys had the game, pretty much, in control by that point. But how big was that play for both of you? There's been so much attention about the deep ball and throwing outside the numbers. Was that a particularly satisfying play with you? Especially with it involving Marquise, and you guys haven't had a ton of those deep connections this year? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, just because the world keeps talking about it, that's probably it. But we do it all the time in practice. It's just game time – that's when we really need to click. And for us to finally do it, I feel like … We don't know what's next. We've just got to keep it going, keep making it like backyard football for us, and we'll be fine."
Last year during the regular season, it was a pretty smooth ride for you guys. This year, there's been a lot of stuff going on. Is it crazy to think that, in the long-run, this might be something that could payoff for you guys – in terms of being resilient and ready for anything? For what lies ahead in what you guys want to do? (Cliff Brown) "Yes, I feel like the things that went on this year – besides the COVID-19 – with the ups-and-downs with us, it helped us out a lot. It showed us we can fight through adversity, and stuff like that. Especially, we've been on a roll so far; we've just got to keep it going and [not] worry about the outside noise, even when things turn around. Keep that laser focus like we've been having. We can't just get on our high horse. I feel like that's when things go downhill – even though we might not think that, but sometimes, other things show it. So, we've just got to keep being focused, keep being locked in [and] we'll be fine."
CB Marlon Humphrey
I'm sure you're very well aware that for you guys to get into the playoffs, you need to win out, but you also need some help from other teams. How aware are you of what kind of help you do need from the other teams? (Jamison Hensley) "It seems like we need help from a lot of teams, but I guess … I'm not really sure exactly what teams, but I do know we just have to win out to have the best shot. I know there are certain scenarios where even if we don't win out … But the biggest goal is just to win out."
I know you made it [to the Pro Bowl] last year, but you're someone who has talked about the tradition, especially on the defensive side of the ball here in Baltimore. What does it mean for you to make the Pro Bowl again and be one of the leaders on this defense? (Luke Jones) "It means a lot to make it again. Last year when I went to the Pro Bowl, just being around all the Pro Bowlers, it seemed like there were levels to the Pro Bowl. It was like Drew Brees had his kids in the locker room, and I'm like, 'Nobody else's kids are in here.' Von Miller was talking like it was an annual event for him. It was a humbling experience. [It was my] first time, and I'm like, 'What is this?' Some guys are like, 'Bro, you've never been here before?' And I'm like, 'I actually haven't.' So, to get it two years in a row is cool. Just to be a part of this team, the whole defense really works all together from the front getting pressures to making a bad pass and helping me out. It's really great to make it again. I'm just happy for the guys that helped me get there."
How much more difficult has this year been with all the injury trends that you guys have had in the secondary? (Childs Walker) "It's been a little different, but in the NFL, there's one thing that's for certain – injuries are going to happen. I think that's kind of what made things good, as far as what our personnel and [executive vice president and] GM [Eric] DeCosta have been able to do with getting guys in just for certain situations, [and] having a guy like me that I've been playing a lot of nickel, but then this game, I had to play outside. So, I think management has done really well with having the right guys in place to be able to plug and play here. It seems like we've had a lot of corners get hurt this year. It's already been crazy that no matter what guy stepped in, it seems like we haven't really missed a beat."
I know you have to work in the afternoon, but do you have any plans for Christmas morning? (Donna Jean Rumbley) "My family just got in town. But as far as plans, I think we're going to watch a movie whenever we get out of work and then whenever I get home. I think for three or four years, we've done a Christmas video – me and my family. Now with coronavirus, you can't really move around. We were in the harbor last year, and different stuff. But, I think the producer, my sister, Breona Humphrey, who's also an actor in 'L.A.' [Los Angeles], if anyone wants to sign her to some films or anything … Anyway, she's going to be very creative this year. So, stay tuned for that. Keep your eye out for that. We'll be posting on Christmas, and that will be my treat from my family to you guys."
What's it like, from your perspective, preparing for a team when there's uncertainty as to who the quarterback will be? And how good are the Giants with either quarterback? (Mark Viviano) "The interesting thing about the Giants, which usually doesn't happen … It seems like … Daniel Jones has played well, but then you plug in Colt McCoy, and it really hasn't been much of a fall off. So, it's kind of a little tough, because Daniel Jones is … Even with all the things he can do throwing the football, he also can run; he's pretty agile as far as escaping. And I think the only difference between the two is maybe just Colt McCoy is really not as much of a runner. But I know they like to run the ball, and they can do that very effectively. As far as the two different quarterbacks, it's a little bit different to prepare, but the offense hasn't really changed all too much. So, you kind of just prepare for both, and two hours before the game, they'll put [out] their inactives, and you'll figure out who's going to be who."
How does Christmas shopping change after you sign a big contract extension? (Ryan Mink) (laughter) "I actually had a big Christmas shopping last year. This year, it's a good thing coronavirus happened (joking), I'll say that; I like to in-person shop. (laughter) But one of the things that was kind of sad this year was, with coronavirus, you can't do … So many of the guys have different events; you take a kid shopping in Walmart, and Tony Jefferson did something last year. I always loved going to the … [Through] [Vice president of community relations] Heather [Darney] … I'd sign up to be able get gifts for a family, basically, Adopt-A-Family, and one year, it really just pierced my heart. The gifts I got for them … What they asked for was mainly clothes, and to see someone open a gift of a t-shirt, some socks, a hoodie, and go crazy, it's really a tear-jerking moment. And that's been the tough thing about this year that's been a little different; just all the events and all the different things that the Ravens do that I really like about here, I wasn't able to do that. I was still able to get the gifts, but I just wasn't able to really see their reactions and all that and go in person. I was still able to do it, but just a little bit different."
I don't think we really talked to you about how much the virus affected you? How was that bout with coronavirus? Did you have symptoms? How did that hit you? (Jamison Hensley) "It didn't hit me too bad. My first game back, we played the Patriots, and they ran the ball a lot, so I thought I was pretty much good. But then the next week, we played the Titans, and I was like, 'Gosh, I kind of can't really breathe that well.' So, it was just that one game [that] just was a little different, and then, I've been back to normal since. Symptom-wise, I really wasn't that bad. It was pretty mild symptoms. I had, I think, a fever. But other than that … I guess I liked, kind of, being home, but I really like being outside, but I couldn't even go on a walk, and then someone see me, and they'd be scared of me, and then, I'm like … So, that was kind of weird. But other than that, it wasn't too bad. God blessed me to have a mild case."
T Orlando Brown Jr.
Can you tell us about your emotions about making the Pro Bowl? Obviously, it hasn't been an ordinary year; you've made a position change. What was your reaction when you heard? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Obviously, I was excited, just because it's a high honor. And for it to be something that your peers, and coaches, and fans vote on, it says a lot. I set a goal in this league when I got here to, basically, be respected for the way that I work and the way that I play the game. And to be able to have my peers and people like you guys and coaches respect my game, it's a high honor. But at the end of the day, personally, like I said last year, I still haven't played my best football of my career, and that's something I'm excited for in the future. To be able to make this Pro Bowl right now, not playing my best ball, I'm excited to get to the point where I am [playing my best ball] and making it."
When T Ronnie Stanley went down, obviously, that's a big loss, and you guys had just given him a contract extension as an organization. To make that transition, how much of an asset has he been for you, and how much dialogue have you had with him? I know you've played there before, but you hadn't played left tackle in the NFL, consistently. (Luke Jones) "Yes, no doubt. Guys like Ronnie [Stanley], guys like James Hurst, guys like Marshal Yanda, those were the veterans when I came in this league that I looked up to and tried to – I guess you could say – model who they were as pros and players. And Ronnie has been such a help for me throughout my career, period. Same thing goes for James Hurst and Marshal Yanda. Just the way that they attacked the game, the way they attacked every day, basically helped me put myself in the best position to stay ready."
Ever since you've been with the Ravens, 2018-2020, December has been a really good month for this team. Why do you think this team just seems like they play their best football kind of towards the end of the season? (Jamison Hensley) "I think it's our approach throughout the offseason, and kind of once we hit training camp. We work really hard, and we work hard to – I guess you could say – last longer than most teams, and I think that's just a testament to the amount of work that we put in throughout a season and offseason to get to this point. We understand what's at stake here in December, normally. Last year, we were fortunate enough to be 12-2 or whatever it was at the time, so we had to do enough to get in and be that No. 1 seed. And right now, we're fighting to get in the playoffs. But December football is important, and it's something that Coach [John] Harbaugh always stresses."
I know when you moved to the left side, you talked about how you've been a left tackle your whole life, and you've kind of viewed yourself as a left tackle who's playing right tackle. You've gone out there, and you've proven what you can do. What did it mean to you to have proven that you can play left tackle in the NFL at a really high level? (Garrett Downing) "It means a lot. Just after everything that happened at the [NFL Scouting] Combine, and my film that I had in college was all at left tackle. To be able to do it here, on a professional level, at a high level, and for people to respect me and vote me into the Pro Bowl, it's an honor. And like I said, I haven't even come close to being the type of player that I'm capable of being; I'll get there at some point in my career. But the transition from right to left without the practice is hard, but like I said, I've always felt like I'm a left tackle in this league, and I'm just thankful that I'm able to do it."
What do you think your dad would say if he were here, about you making the Pro Bowl as a left tackle? (Ryan Mink) "It's crazy. It's really humbling, because this is something that I always dreamed about – playing for this franchise. Playing left tackle for this franchise, it's incredibly humbling. And I know that he'd be happy, just because I'm in this position, and God has allowed me to be in this position and flourish. What he'd say? I know he'd be talking a lot of trash. (laughter) But I'm just so humbled to be able to set a dream as a 12-year-old kid, or 13-year-old kid, and to be able to live it out 11 years later, it's unreal."
Bigger picture, can you take us inside the collective mindset as you approach these last two games with almost no margin for error in the push for the postseason? (Shawn Stepner) "My mentality, personally, is just attack each day individually, and understand that we can only take it one game at a time. So, right now, my focus is on the Giants and going out there and playing the best game of my career, just like I try to approach it every week. Long term, like you said, we understand the playoffs are there, and getting there is important, but it's important that we win the next game and the next game and the next game. So, that's just been my focus, personally – is focusing on the Giants right now."
I don't think I've ever seen someone wear that t-shirt for a media availability. Is there something to the t-shirt? (Jamison Hensley) (laughter) "Yes. Hey, Jamison [Hensley], how old are you, man?" [Reporter: "I'm 47."] "OK, so, it's funny, because I haven't met anybody over the age of 40 that hasn't called out this t-shirt. And even in the building here, everybody is over here, like, 'Farrah Fawcett, Farrah Fawcett.' I didn't know who Farrah Fawcett was. I just bought the t-shirt because I thought it was fly. (laughter) But I know who Farrah Fawcett is now. (laughter) But, yes – appreciate it."
Congratulations on making the Pro Bowl. What is your best football-Christmas memory? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "Oh, man; it's also one of my worst football-Christmas memories. My dad, they were playing Pittsburgh … Gosh, I can't remember how old I was, but they lost the game, and I didn't get presents until the [December] 26th." (laughter)
You mentioned that the guys know that they can only take care of what is ahead of them, but how much do you know about what you guys need, as far as outside help, to get into the postseason again? (Jonas Shaffer) "To be honest, I really don't know much. I don't have much for you there."
I want to ask you about G Ben Powers. How impressed have you been with him stepping in at right guard? I know you're not playing alongside him, but he's really kind of solidified the right side. What have you seen from him, and what's kind of stood out about your old Oklahoma teammate? (Andrew Gillis) "Yes, he's the same player that he was then. And he was in a similar situation, coming in at Oklahoma behind a lot of players that had played ball up until that point that had experience. What Ben [Powers] is doing is no surprise to me. We got together a little bit earlier in the offseason and got some work in, and he's been somebody that's always approached the game with the mentality that he wants to be the best, and if he is, then he, 'eats them up.' So, just what he's been able to do, it's no surprise to me. Like I said, he works hard, he loves the game of ball, he's very consistent in his fundamentals, and he's got the mentality. He's got the mindset that he's going to be one of the best players on the field at all times when he's out there. And he's proven that he's capable of playing in this league for a long time."