Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale
Opening statement regarding last week's game at Kansas City:"When you're involved in one of those games, those 1,000-yard offensive output games, it's never fun, especially as a defensive coordinator. The biggest disappointment we had is we had a chance to get them off the field there at the end, and we didn't do that. We've gone back and looked at it, corrected some things that happened and talked about communication in those areas of situational football. We're moving forward, and we're on to the [Browns]. As 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] said after the game, 'The season starts now.' We're going to have three divisional opponents [in a row], and we have full focus on the Browns."
We've heard so much about big plays and communication in the secondary over the last two weeks. From your standpoint, what is the best thing you guys can do to fix that? (Childs Walker)"It's not only communication in the secondary, it's communication across the board. It's communication for me. It's communication up front, in the back end. It's not just [the] secondary. The best way to fix that is to just keep working on it and keep trying to get better with our communication, which we've talked about since OTAs. There are different guys that get put in different situations, and they have to learn from it."
After that game, and because you have the Browns up next, what have you seen from your guys in terms of, "We have this Chiefs tape, we want to study it."? (Ryan Mink)"It's over. We're on to the Browns. It's over. We all had to watch it. I lost four pounds this week because I watched it three times and threw up all three times. (laughter) But we're on to the Browns. It's not like we were great in every game last year, either. We've had those games. Carolina is what I talked to the defense about before. Are we disappointed? Yes, we're disappointed, because the standard is so high. But yet, we have the Cleveland Browns coming in here, and we know about that offense and the weapons they have. So, we're on to the Browns."
What have you seen from Browns QB Baker Mayfield so far? (Ryan Mink) "I've seen him making the same plays he made last year. He's been given the keys to the offense, and he's got some weapons this year that he didn't have last year. They have a great running back; let's start off there. And obviously, there's a reason why that guy could afford all the watches out there that he wears pregame, with [Odell] Beckham, because he's just phenomenal. And obviously, they have '80' [Jarvis Landry] as well. So, every position they have, offensively, has improved since last year. I know they have the injury to the tight end [David Njoku], but the other three tight ends they have are good tight ends, as well."
One of the things that QB Baker Mayfield does so well is his first read. What do you have to do to take away his early options? (Andrew Gillis)"It's not only that as it is his first read, when he throws on rhythm, he has good accuracy. But it's when he extends the plays. It's a double-edged sword, if you will. You have to take away the first read with tight coverage, if you will, and then you have to be ready to play after that as well. We've had three quarterbacks in a row that can extend plays, and we have to plaster our receivers."
On Monday, John Harbaugh was pretty open about not seeing what he needs to see from the young pass rushers, with OLB Tim Williams and OLB Tyus Bowser. Where do you come down on that, and are you seeing progress? What do those guys need to do to make a bigger impact going forward? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Hit the quarterback. We lead the league in quarterback hits, so that's the positive. Let's start there. They just need to join the party. We're working on the right chemistry, the right looks to get more one-on-ones, which we've done. It's like interceptions. It's like takeaways – they come in bunches. So, like I said, right now, we're leading the league in quarterback hits, and we just need to bring everybody else along with it."
KC looked like they had success getting outside and running. We've talked about setting the edge and OLB Terrell Suggs not being here anymore. Does that feel like a significant thing, or is that a correction? (Pete Gilbert) "There were some things that we corrected that we didn't get done in that game, obviously. The 41-yard and the 25-yard run, that's not Raven football. That's not Raven defense. We have to correct that, and we did."
Do you see those high number of hits as a pretty good weathervane that there is good pass pressure and that more sacks will come? (Jonas Shaffer) "I hope so. But like I said, the stat of hitting the quarterback, we're leading the league in it. So, I do think there will be sacks that come, yes."
What did you take away from rookie OLB Jaylon Ferguson's debut? (Aaron Kasinitz) "He only played nine plays. We want to get him playing more. For the first game, it was OK. He knows the mistakes that he made. I think he'll just get better and better the more reps that he gets."
How is OLB Pernell McPhee? Is he playing more snaps than he would like, and how is he holding up? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, he did in that [KC game]. He's holding up great, but this is only Game 3. I want to make sure we get him to 16. I said that today in the meeting. I want him to be effective in the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, but especially in that fourth quarter, of what he can do. And we've all seen what he can do."
You've seen WR Odell Beckham Jr. with the Giants. In this offense, playing next to WR Jarvis Landry, does that make it harder to do things against him that you would like to do? (Cliff Brown)"Yes, it's tough. You can't take away everything, so you just have to keep coverages rolling and hopefully, with everything marrying up the pass rush and the coverage, it muddies the waters for Baker [Mayfield]. That's, obviously, the challenge that we have."
It's been kind of a crazy couple of weeks for CB Maurice Canady, from getting cut, to being on the practice squad, to playing, like, half of the snaps. What have you seen from him? How did he handle that situation? (Aaron Kasinitz) "As an athlete, as a competitor, he was obviously disappointed, initially. And then disappointed again when nobody else picked him up. We got him back, and he's accepted the challenge. He's focused, and he's locked in, and he's ready to go, as well as all of our secondary guys are."
Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman
Opening statement: "Thanks for coming out. We're getting ready to play, offensively, a really active, disruptive defense. When you watch their [the Browns'] first two games, they played a really distinct style. They have a really good D-line, active D-line – upfield, one-gap, obviously, with the two edge players, two very good players. They've been very productive this season. The linebackers, very active, downhill-type linebackers. They've had some injuries in the secondary, but they kind of played a different style last week in the Rams game. I'm sure you saw that. It's a little bit different, a little different personality there. So, this defense presents a lot of issues. We're deep in it, and we're looking forward to the challenge."
RB Mark Ingram II was talking about when QB Lamar Jackson breaks the pocket. It's kind of crazy what he does out there, but sometimes, Ingram is like, "Do I block? Do I try to catch?" How do you try to help where there is kind of that grey area with some players? (Jamison Hensley)"On a passing play, we always want to stay an eligible receiver as long as possible. When Lamar [Jackson] gets close to the line of scrimmage, that's when it becomes an instinctive [reaction]. Your human instinct takes over. So, you have to really hang with him as a receiver as long as possible. That's really the challenge. And then once he gets past the line of scrimmage, obviously, he can transition to a blocker. Every once in a while, you'll get a 'go' call. 'Go, go, go!' as he's going. But [on] those extended plays, his creativity and instincts take over. You definitely don't want to dull that. You want to let it happen naturally, let his natural talent take over. We spend a lot of time working on those types of things throughout the preseason and season. Obviously, in your practice, you don't want to make a scramble drill every play. You're trying to improve timing, efficiency, precision, but you also have to sprinkle those in, because it's like going to a double feature when you're a kid – the first movie is good, but we want to make the second movie good, too. Two for the price of one. So, it's something that will continue to evolve, and you can't tell me that any of those plays ever end up being exactly the same. Where are the receivers on the play? Maybe we have trips over here, and he flushes to his right. Maybe we have trips over there, and he flushes to his left. Two-by-two. They all unfold differently. But it's exciting."
That should be a big part of QB Lamar Jackson's game, I would imagine, big plays off scramble drills. Do you expect to see more of those turn into big pass plays?_ (Ryan Mink)_"You hope to. You certainly hope to. I think it's incumbent upon everybody to really work once the play – the second movie – starts, so to speak. Everybody has to go to work and get open. There are great opportunities there. Generally speaking, in the red zone, every year, roughly 30 percent of touchdown passes are extended plays, league-wide. And that happens with us a little bit more in the field as well."
John Harbaugh made it clear that he's going to continue being aggressive on two-point conversion. I know that's his decision, but as a play-caller, can you take us through how you prepare for that? Do you have a certain number or order of plays you're going to run on two-point conversions? (Aaron Kasinitz)"Everybody is pretty general in that regard. If we say we're going to be more aggressive in that area, we'll certainly have more, a larger menu. But it really is that simple. As far as building that list, it's no different than any other phase of the gameplan, really."
Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said yesterday that the Ravens play physical, and he wants the same identity. How physical will this game be? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "We're going to do what we do, and they're going to do what they do. We're focused on us, and we're going to play our style, however that game unfolds. It might change a little bit here or there, but we definitely want to have that physical mentality, and it really starts with the players. We have those kinds of guys. Most of our contests usually end up with a level of physicality."
How do you game-plan around DE Myles Garrett and DE Olivier Vernon? What are the difficulties that go into that? (Andrew Gillis) "Those guys are active and productive players, and the get-off is tremendous. The statistics thus far this year back that up. We definitely can't just pull a 'stock off the shelf' gameplan off and say, 'Here's what we're doing.' You have to account for guys like that in certain ways. You have to do it. There is always a tradeoff – rob Peter to pay Paul. You don't want to overcommit to that, either. So, you have to mix things up throughout. Maybe do something for a little bit, then change, and then do something else – that kind of thing, give them different looks, etc. They're very good players."
How much physicality has RB Mark Ingram II added to your offense? And when you have a violent runner like that, how do you coach him on when to push forward for extra yardage vs. getting down and protecting the ball? (Ryan Mink)"I think Mark just naturally has a great feel for that. I think we ran it on third-and-5 last week one time, and everybody, really, was part of that. It was an all-out blitz, and he knew the situation. So, you don't have to prompt him very much on that. I think Mark is an excellent all-around running back in every phase. I think you can run every type of run you want to run with him. Everything in the playbook is open, and as far as pass protection and his ability in the passing game as well. So, we're very fortunate to have Mark. He's an outstanding running back, and the more you're around somebody, the more you get to learn about them. So, I'm learning a lot about him, and it's all really, really, really good."
Has RB Mark Ingram been better than you expected? (Ryan Mink)"Yes. The expectations were high. Don't get me wrong. Don't get me wrong. I promise you this offseason, that was the guy that it was like, 'We would love to have him.'"
We saw your offense come out with a power-running drive to start the second half in Kansas City. We saw that a few times last season also. Is there something you particularly like about coming out of the locker room with that style? (Childs Walker)"That was more of an adjustment to what was going on, and really, as we would define it, it was less of a power running attack. We kind of tweaked the gameplan a little bit based on what they were doing midstream. We knew they were going to do a certain amount of what we did, but it kind of went up the list a little bit just as we saw what was going on. So, it was just a reaction to how the game was going, really."
What are you seeing now from WR Miles Boykin – a rookie that looked really good in training camp and the preseason and has kind of gotten off to a slow start? Do you put the onus on yourself to try to get him more involved? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I think, statistically, he hasn't got a lot of opportunities thus far. He's had some. As a young player, he has to battle through that, keep improving every day and be ready when opportunity knocks. He's working hard and really focused in, and it goes like that sometimes. We talked about it last week a little bit. We were talking about Mark Andrews getting all the scramble-opportunity throws. Well, it's everybody. Everybody has to be ready for those, and you saw Seth [Roberts] and Willie [Snead IV] make big time plays last week. The ball is going around, and you don't know when it's coming to you. And you have to be ready when your opportunity comes."
What did you say to QB Lamar Jackson about his pass across the field to WR Willie Snead IV? (Ryan Mink)"It was an interesting play, because it was third-and-really long. So, there were two options on that play and two ways to approach it: You could try to cut the play in half and get to a fourth-and-manageable, or you could play it out to where you make it a 50-50 situation and you trust your guy in a one-on-one. And we chose the latter, and it worked. There's, obviously, two different ways to approach it. He may not approach it that way in the future, but those guys made a great play there."
When you guys are being as aggressive as you were last week, does it change how you approach third down? Do you view it as a potential bridge to fourth down? (Jonas Shaffer)"Yes, at times, for sure. We just have to coach better and execute a little bit better in those situations, and I think we will, because there were a lot of great things to learn from that game. But yes, I definitely think when you know you've got four downs, you're going to call it a little different."
We've talked a lot about the chemistry between QB Lamar Jackson and TE Mark Andrews. What did you think about the non-verbal communication when Lamar gestured with hands up to Mark on that fourth-down run?(Garrett Downing)"That was interesting, wasn't it? That was a great communication, a visual communication in a loud stadium. You guys noticed that, huh?" (laughter)
What did you think QB Lamar Jackson was trying to say when you saw that? (Pete Gilbert)"I knew what was going on. _(laughter) I'll just leave it at that."
Do you think the connection between QB Lamar Jackson and WR Marquise Brown off the field as friends is important? How does that help them on the field? Do you like to see a quarterback and receiver really bond like that? (Ryan Mink)"I think Lamar bonds with everybody. I think they all have their own unique relationships. It's genuine. It's real. And one of the things about Lamar and his leadership ability is he's a natural leader, and I think he has a great relationship with everybody. And that's what you want. You want everybody really interacting with everybody, and I think we have that. So, that's awesome."
Do you feel this is a team that should be able to convert two-point conversions at a high level? (Cliff Brown)"Yes, I think we have to coach better and execute better. There's a lot to learn from that, but yes, we have to be ready to execute and win the situation. We spend a lot of time on it, and there's a lot to learn from that. So, moving forward, we have to be on it. We weren't happy about those results."
Special Teams Coach Chris Horton
Opening statement:"Just to recap last week – it's, obviously, tough not winning that game. And it wasn't a game that we felt like on special teams we had a huge impact in. It's just kind of how the game played out. We wish we could have done a little bit more in that game, but again, there wasn't a lot that we felt like [we could do]. There were a lot of opportunities where we could have made some plays mainly from a punt return standpoint. We just didn't get a ball. From a kickoff return standpoint, we got two opportunities late where, honestly, we have to do a better job of blocking for Justice [Hill]. There were some opportunities there, and I think we've done a great job this week of going to work and really locking in to our fundamentals. So, if we get those opportunities again, we could try to hit some big returns. Moving forward to Cleveland, we understand that this is a good, young core group of guys that we're going to be going up against. They're well coached. I've got a lot of respect for Mike Priefer and what he's done in this league, so our guys have to get ready to play. We understand that. It's a division game. It's important. We have to go out here, and we need to go get a win."
Can you take us through the discussion with K Justin Tucker and assistant special teams coach Randy Brown before the drop kick? Can you tell us the idea behind that play? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It's a play that we've been working on for awhile around here, and we thought, 'When is going to be the right situation to pull that out?' And we thought on Sunday it was the perfect opportunity for it. We didn't execute it the way we wanted to. Obviously, that ball sailed on us a little bit further than we wanted it to, but it's a play, I think, moving forward that this league will see. It's a great play for us, and it gives us an opportunity to recover a ball in that situation."
Did the clock play into that? There was 2:01 left, so if there was a fair catch, no time runs off the clock. (Andrew Gillis)"It did. It did have an effect on it. We ended up on the right side of the two-minute warning. There was 2:01 left, and, obviously, for that play, how it's going to be coached and how teams are going to try to defend that play – more likely, nine times out of 10, they will do what Kansas City did and try to call a fair catch in that situation."
So the idea is to have a jump-ball situation, if the drop kick is executed perfectly? (Ryan Mink)"The idea is to have a jump-ball situation. With everything, how that play is officiated with how the return team can block, when they can block when the ball is in the air and things like that, it just gives us an opportunity to get a bunch of guys around the ball. Like how you guys are standing right now, if I'm trying to catch the ball, let's see what we can do. Hopefully that ball falls down. [If] we pick it up, it's our ball."
And you rely on guys who aren't returners not knowing to signal for a fair catch in that situation? (Jonas Shaffer)"Right, someone is probably going to signal for a fair catch, most of the time it's going to be the returner. You just rely on a guy that's really not used to catching the ball like that just dropping the ball, and the cover guys surrounding him and maybe picking up that ball."
Do you want that to maybe land closer to the 40- or 45-yard line? (Jonas Shaffer)"Right, like I said, that's a ball that we didn't execute it properly, but it's something going forward that I think we like, and we've got a talented kicker. We've got a talented punter. These guys can do a lot of different things, so moving forward we'll just continue to figure out how we can develop that play and make it better."
Could K Justin Tucker keep dropping the ball until he gets the toss he likes? How does that work? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Right now, it was a play that happened, and we'll, obviously, communicate with the league and things like that and just kind of see how we can make that play better, what we can and cannot do. Obviously, we went out there, we threw the ball, we bounced it twice. There was nothing [called] on the play, so we'll just continue to work and see how we can make that play better, so we can get every advantage we possibly need."
It is a live ball even if the returner puts up a fair catch signal, right? (Jim Forner)"It is a live ball even if he does put up a fair catch signal, yes, but he is protected." _(Reporter: "But you have to give him the opportunity to make the catch?") "You have to give him the opportunity to make the catch if he signals for it."
What have you seen from RB Justice Hill? Is it a matter of just not having enough opportunities? And do you think he's close to breaking one? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I think he's very close to breaking one. Like I said, we haven't had a lot of opportunities. There have been balls on the ground. There have been some short kicks or balls that were so deep in the end zone, we haven't had the opportunity to return. But, like I said, we have to go back to our fundamentals, and we have to block for him. We have to do a better job up front, giving him opportunities, so when we do get it, ha can go crack one. And I think we'll be pretty good at that here pretty soon."
G Marshal Yanda
On RB Mark Ingram II as a leader:"He carries himself the right way. You can tell he's a pro. He takes care of his business. He's focused and practices hard, too. He's just a great guy in the locker room and on the field. He's been an awesome addition for us."
On former Ravens head coach Brian Billick going into the Ring of Honor Sunday:"It was my rookie year , so I was keeping my head down my first year with Brian [Billick]. But obviously, they won a Super Bowl together [in 2000], and he has done a lot of great things for this franchise. So, it's a great deal."