SATURDAY AVAILABILITY: Week 12 at LA Rams
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "We're getting ready to head out. Our plane leaves here in a couple of hours, and we're doing the usual West Coast day early trip. The guys are locked in and focused. It's a business trip. We're looking forward to it. Obviously, it's a very good team that we're playing, a very important game, and we've prepared well, and we're ready to go."
Do you often wear your QB Lamar Jackson "Wild Dog" sweatshirt? (Jamison Hensley)"Oh yes, yes. It's a very warm sweatshirt, so I highly recommend it. I heard Lamar [Jackson] has a clothing line going now. This is part of it, as far as I know. So yes, I wear it with pride."
You mentioned it's a business trip, but being the history guy that you are, it must be pretty cool to be able to play a game at the [L.A. Memorial] Coliseum. (Luke Jones)"I've never been there, yes. The Coliseum, obviously, yes, John Robinson, Student Body Right, you grew up with that. But the biggest game, to me, in the Coliseum that I remember watching on TV was the greatest upset in the history of college football: Stanford-USC, (laughter) Jim Harbaugh taking down Pete Carroll's No. 1-ranked Trojans when they were 42.5-point favorites. That was big, right? That was big." (Executive vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne: "Wasn't there a handshake after that game?") "No, that was the next year. That was the 'What's your deal?' when Jim went for two because he couldn't go for three, (laughter)and they got him again. It's just great tradition. I'm sure Pete will get a chuckle out of this when he reads it, too. (laughter)What injury questions do you have?" (Reporter: "There was only one, DT Michael Pierce.") "I don't think [Michael] Pierce will make it. We'll see, we'll see. He didn't practice too much. He practiced a little bit on Thursday. He'll be, probably, doubtful. If we need him and he can go, he would, but I don't foresee that right now, just without the practice."
Do you feel good with the way DT Domata Peko Sr. and DT Justin Ellis played last week, and now another week in the system, in the building? (Luke Jones)"Exactly, that's what gives us an opportunity not to push Michael [Pierce] out there, unless he's really ready to go, because those guys played so well, and they practiced well, and they're ready to go. Yes, exactly right."
There was no setback Thursday [with DT Michael Pierce's ankle]? (Aaron Kasinitz) "No, no setbacks. It's just probably not ... Maybe he could go if we really, really had to have him go, but we have those guys [DT Domata Peko Sr. and DT Justin Ellis] available. Let's go with those healthy guys, probably."
There's been a lot of talk about DT Aaron Donald, but what sort of challenge does CB Jalen Ramsey pose? (Ed Lee) "Same kind of challenge, as far as the back end part of it. He's a destructive guy on the back end. And not just him, the whole secondary is playing at a really high level. The last four games, since Jalen Ramsey got there, they've given up four touchdowns. I think they're the No. 1-ranked defense, maybe, for the last four games, something like that, and that's no coincidence, I don't think. For whatever reason, it's just really clicked for them. [He's] very aggressive, very fundamentally sound, very physical out there [in] coverage and run defense. He's a good add for them."
You have the No. 1 rushing attack, and really, when you look statistically, there's not even [anyone] close. When you watch film of the running game, what are you most proud of? (Jamison Hensley)"I'm not going there down that road. That's bait! (laughter) That's bait. I'm not taking the bait." (Reporter: "Why are you so effective running the ball? I'm trying to do some open-ended question that you can answer. What stands out to you?") "We block well. We block well, and our backs and all of our quarterbacks run well. Our receivers block well. Our tight ends – we're probably unique with our tight end group. And then it starts with the offensive line. So, all those things are part of it, but the next game is the one. You can be shut down at any time. Someone can take away what they really decide to take away, and you have to be ready to go to the next thing. There's no question about that in this league, and that's what we have to be prepared to do."