Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "It's good to see you guys – appreciate you being here. [It was a] good practice. It was like a Thursday-style, in-season practice, a lot of third down, red zone, blitz, and I feel like we got a lot done. It was fast. The guys were into it."
**John, I know we keep talking about injuries to the offensive line, but if you're still kind of banged up and limited on numbers going into the third preseason game, will that affect at all QB Joe Flacco's number of reps at all? *(Jamison Hensley) *"If something happens in the game, it possibly could. But the way we're going into the game – to start the game – we're comfortable with the guys that are going to play and start on the offensive line. [We think] that they'll do a great job."
**OLB Terrell Suggs was saying how he's not the most liked player from the other perspective when he goes on the road and sometimes you need that. Do you sort of like that attitude that Suggs or the defense or your guys sometimes have to have when you go on the road? *(Brent Harris) *"I don't think any player would want to be the guy that when you walk into the other stadium, the opposing team is happy to see you walk in there [and they say:] 'That's the guy that we like to play against.' You want to be the guy that they don't like to play. So, to me, that's a great compliment. You're not trying to make friends [out] of your opponents, and I'm quite sure that Terrell Suggs is very highly-respected around the league by the players and by the fans. The greatest compliment has to be when you walk into a place like Pittsburgh or Cleveland or Cincinnati or New England and that they really don't want to see you come in there. I think that Suggs is probably a great example of that, as was Ray [Lewis] and Ed Reed and a lot of our guys."
At the same time, too, they set a tone on your side in your locker room. Do you see that in those kinds of players? (Brent Harris) "Yes, those guys do. [Terrell Suggs] does and [there are] others on our team that do. It's a tough game to play. This is a physical, hard game. That's what makes it great. It's a delayed-gratification game, much like life. If you can understand that about football and understand that there's going to be pain and disappointment, hardship and hard times and that there's a roughness to it – but there are rules and it is done in an honorable [way], played in an honorable way – you can respect the men who play it."
For some guys, this is their last week as far as cuts go. Does that ever become comfortable going into the first cuts of 15 [players], as far as [it being] pretty obvious what's going to happen, or is it always still a struggle? (Morgan Adsit) "It's always still a struggle. That's a good question. It's always a struggle, because you have guys – really in this cut – you believe can play in the National Football League, and will end up playing in the National Football League. But you have to get your numbers down. Sometimes you make a move, too, to give someone an opportunity to catch on with someone else before the last preseason game. We've done that before. You're right, it never gets easy."
Is T De'Ondre Wesley OK? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I don't have a final on that. There's some ligament damage in there. I don't know exactly what his timeframe is. It's not something I've talked with the doctors about, yet, in detail. He is out for this week."
*John, do you have any update on CB Rashaan Melvin? I know we asked you about him the other day and you weren't sure, but he hasn't been out there the past few days. (Luke Jones) *"[Rashaan Melvin] has a soft-tissue issue that he's working through – probably a typical training camp thing – so we'll see. I don't know if he'll be there or not on Saturday. I have my fingers crossed."
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees talked yesterday about all the different ways that you can use somebody like CB Jimmy Smith as he kind of gets to that top level of cornerbacks. Is that a difficult task to try to find the best way to use a guy like Jimmy, or do you feel like you guys have already done that? (Jon Meoli) "It's not difficult. To me, it's a game-plan-type deal. You mesh the type of coverages that you want to play with who you have playing and who they have playing. You figure out how you're going to defend them, and then you figure out who you want to defend, or vice versa. It could go either way. It's just part of game-planning. Jimmy [Smith] is, obviously, a valuable asset to have, because it gives you some options that you wouldn't have if you didn't have a player like that. But he's definitely in that category, where he gives you those kinds of options."
How much do you look at this third preseason game as an indicator of what the team will be like once the regular season starts? (Ryan Mink) "It's probably an indicator to some extent. I always think the preseason is an indicator of how good you're going to be. You have to nuance it a little bit and figure out why you do really well [and why] you don't do well. I don't think the stats really bear that out. Teams that win all the preseason games don't always win their games – don't have a winning season – and teams that lose them all sometimes go win Super Bowls."
Kind of more how you perform [in the preseason] than the end score? (Ryan Mink) "It's kind of more inside how you perform. You watch the tape as a coach, you get a good feeling or you get a not so good feeling. Watching Washington play, they're 2-0, and they're a good team, and all I read is how bad they are. I look at the tape and I'm like, 'Man, the people who are writing this, I don't think they're watching the tape. I don't think they're really paying attention to what this team is [doing], what kind of team this is.' It's a very good football team – very physical, very disciplined. They're defense is killing people. Both sides of the ball up front are playing extremely physical football, and they have really good running backs and very fast receivers. We're really excited about the challenge of playing this team."
John, the two-point conversion play – I know you tried to go for it twice and then there were two penalties, I think, if I recall correctly. Is that something you'd like to take a look more at in this preseason just to get the reps in an in-game situation? (Jeff Zrebiec) "That's a big maybe. You don't mind doing it. We were down, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to go for it. The chart said, 'Go for it.' If we were in a regular season game there, we would have gone for both of those. We got them both in the end. I don't know what the first penalty was. The second penalty was that roll-up penalty that wasn't a penalty. But it also created … And it's amazing. You look for the good. We had an opportunity to kick a 43-yard extra point – which I think was a record at the time – and then we had an opportunity to kick a 48-yard extra point, which was a new record at the time. 'Tuck' [Justin Tucker] broke his own record, which is interesting." (laughter)
**Do you have to emphasize more guys not getting penalties in those situations, because of what it will set up? *(Cliff Brown) *"Probably so. You just can't back up to the 7- [yard line] and kick a no-brainer PAT. You're back there kicking something a lot harder. That's a good point."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On Seahawks DE Michael Bennett's comments regarding NFL quarterbacks being protected:"Those guys get a lot of our sponsors. A lot of those guys are good-looking guys, so you don't want to damage them too much. It's still the most valuable position on the field. So, you've got to protect them. But if we've got anybody to blame, it's all on Ozzie Newsome. (laughter) He's on the Competition Committee, so he kind of helped put the rules in. [You'll] probably have to talk to Ozzie about that." *(Reporter: "Have you had a talk with him about that?") *"Plenty, but he said the quarterback keeps a lot of people employed, so we've got to protect them. I understand; I wouldn't want my guy getting mistreated."
On his reaction to comments from T Jason Peters and the Eagles:"What do you expect? If it were my quarterback … Nobody wants to see their quarterback get hit, but I think [if] people had a firm understanding of the read option … You know what I'm saying? I think the frustration … They wouldn't be as frustrated – excuse me – [if they had a firm understanding of the read option]. But, like I said before, if you're going to run the read option, you've just got to be keen on the rules. That's all."
On how much the team is looking for a better performance in the third preseason game:"That's pretty much – that's definitely our main focus. We definitely want to kind of show what this Raven team is about. That's usually what the third preseason [game] is about. You kind of show who is going to play, who is going to be out there and what you're going to be doing this year, but that is the main focus. We definitely can't go out there and have a performance like we did last week, and we understand that. And we understand it is a preseason game, but this one is a little more focused on our opponent, rather than practicing with them and playing nice."
On the growth of ILB C.J. Mosley from last season:"Football IQ. He was always a phenomenal talent when he came in and was able to catch on to the game and play himself out of certain situations, but definitely his football IQ. Definitely, it is heightened this year."
On if he sees a difference in his teammates on the field with the first roster cut less than one week away:"Not really. Not here. Due to the business side of it, you know some guys are going to be here, and you've got to understand you only have a few roster spots left. I think one thing our coaches do here is give everybody on the team a fair shot to make the team. They do that with incorporating guys on special teams and putting them in different spots and different places to try them out. It is pretty much giving them the best opportunity to make the team. So really, the attitude hasn't changed too much. A lot of guys are still attacking the practice field, having good practices"
On how he feels and his expectations entering this season:"How do I feel going [into this year]? I feel good. Like I said, you always live … You're only as good as your last game, and we fell short in the playoffs. And so, we definitely have some high expectations of making it back to the playoffs, but not just that. We've got some other things in mind, but I won't share it with you, because that definitely makes us some targets. We always want to keep ascending. You always want to do better than you did in your previous year, and hopefully, we can get some home playoff games this year."
On if he has always been confident in road games, and where he gets his confidence:"Yes, I've always been like that. [I'm not] going to lie. I don't know. I think you're naturally the villain when you go into an opponent's stadium, anyway. So, you might as well not shy away from it. You might as well just bask in it and enjoy it. I just really love to play the game of football, and I'm not supposed to be the opponent's favorite player. You're not supposed to like me. I don't play for you. I represent Ravens Nation. So, I just enjoy it. You know what I mean? We've got a little saying we're doing around here: 'Get comfortable being uncomfortable.' So, that's kind of our thing."