TUESDAY AVAILABILITY: Week 17 vs. STEELERS
RB Gus Edwards
On what it means for him and RB Justice Hill to lead the running backs this Sunday with RB Mark Ingram II resting: "We're excited. It's a great opportunity that we have, and I know he's preparing well, Justice [Hill], and I know I'm going to prepare well. We'll be ready."
On if breaking the team single-season NFL rushing record is on his radar as a goal for this game: "To beat this team, we're going to have to run the ball well. If we run it for 93 yards, I think that would be good. Everybody has a great mindset right now. Guys are going to step up, and we're focused on winning more than anything. But to have the record would be nice, as well."
On how much he talks to RB Mark Ingram II during a game, and if that will change this game:"Mark [Ingram II] is still going to be just as vocal out there. He's going to be on the sideline with us, and he's going to be at practice. I know he's a team guy, so he's going to make sure that he's still heard there."
On what he has learned from RB Mark Ingram II this season: "I try to do everything that he does, like away from the field, all the little things he does. Sometimes, I get with him after practice and we run a little bit, do some balance drills. I just try to keep up with him."
On how fresh he feels this year compared to this time last year:"I feel great. I feel awesome. That's a credit to the training room. I think I made it a great part of my season this year to spend a lot of time in there in the tubs and everything, and that's helped me a lot."
On if he felt tired at the end of last season: "I was having a great time. I was having fun, and just having such a big role was enough to keep my mindset good."
On if he is excited for QB Robert Griffin III to play this weekend: "Yes, me and Rob [Griffin] have been in there a couple times together. I know he's a good player, a smart player, and he's going to take control of the offense when he gets the opportunity. I'm just excited for him, too."
QB Robert Griffin III
On the importance of him starting the Pittsburgh game:"Yes, it's an important game for us. We know it's an important game for the Steelers, and I can't help but smile. It's an exciting time, but at the same time, we've been working for this the whole time. And it's a testament to the guys that have been playing to put us in this position to give guys an opportunity to go out and play. So, [I'm] thankful to Lamar [Jackson] and our offensive line and all of our defense and everybody on the team for playing at such a high level."
On how he feels about getting his first start since 2016:"Yes, I think I said it yesterday: This game is not about me. It's about the team. Those guys in front of me, those guys going out there with me every play are looking to play at a high level, looking to go out and execute. So, I'm not going to make this game about me."
On what this opportunity to start and play against a good defense can do for him personally:"Yes, like I said, I'm not going to make this game about me. I know everybody wants to. It's just a blessing, honestly, for what I've been able to go through and come out of. I wouldn't be here without God, and honestly, I wouldn't be here without the Ravens giving me an opportunity last year. So, I'm very thankful, very grateful, but I'm not looking at that stuff. We're just trying to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. [It's] a division game, and we know that they need it. And I know that everyone thinks that we don't, but the guys in that locker room feel differently."
On if he feels like he's a better quarterback now than he was the last time he started in 2016:"Yes, one, I'm healthy. I was playing with a broken shoulder back then. I don't know if everybody knew that. (laughter) But I'm healthy, and I've learned a lot. So, to be in the position I've been in the past two years, you can either be upset about it and don't work, or you're upset about it and you work. And I worked through it. So, I just try to be a testimony for everybody who's ever going through something to keep fighting. Eventually, you'll come out on top, and hopefully you get Lamar Jackson as [your] starting quarterback and you get an opportunity to play in the last game of the year."(Reporter:"Was it your non-throwing shoulder?")"Yes, it was my non-throwing shoulder."
On what he's learned from QB Lamar Jackson:"Like I said, it doesn't matter how old you are or how much experience you have, you can always learn from the young guys. And the one thing Lamar [Jackson] has done is he's kept me young. I'm still young. I'm 29. But watching him go out there and move around the way that he does, it inspires us all to go out and try to move a little bit better. This offseason me and Lamar trained together in our group, the stuff that nobody sees, the stuff that really no one cares about. They just care about the product on Sunday, Monday or Saturday or Thursday. And we're competing against each other, and that part of it is fun for me.A lot of guys later in their career, they stop working as hard. But when you have a young buck like Lamar sitting there, competing with you every single day, it keeps you on your Ps and Qs. So, like I said, he's kept me young, and there are certain things that he does that I have learned from. I'm not going to tell you guys, (laughter) but he's a great quarterback. He's had an MVP-caliber season. I don't think there's a doubt in anyone's mind that he's going to win that award. But like he said, it's a team award, and the guys that have been playing around him have been playing at a high level. So, I'm excited to be able to go out there with some of them, not all of them, but go out and put on a show."
On if he has an opinion on the "rest vs. not rest" argument when it comes to locking up playoff positioning early:"I don't. It's above my pay grade. That's what they pay coaches for. We're paid to play, so if they say, 'Hey, 'L.J.' [Lamar Jackson], you're going this week,' he's going. If they say, ''R.G.' [Robert Griffin III], you're going this week,' then I'm going. That's kind of the way we operate and just try to have fun with it."
On if he enjoyed being part of the Heisman Package and playing other positions besides quarterback this season: "Yes, it was fun. It's fun to get out there and get loose a little bit and it gives defenses something to think about. They asked me about it, if I wanted to keep doing it, and I just told them, 'Anything to help the team.' So, if they need me to play running back, tight end, receiver, whatever it is [as] a part of the Heisman Package, I'm willing to do it, just because I want to help this team win games. This is a special team, and I just want to be a part of it."
On if this game could be a stepping stone to becoming a starting quarterback in this league again:"It's like I said, this game – I'm not going to make it about me or any of those types of goals. The goal is to go out and execute at a high level. It's a very, very, very good defense, great defense, not only statistically, but they're what you call a 'That Dude Defense.' They have that dude and that dude and that dude and that dude, so I know they're not going to come into 'The Bank' [M&T Bank Stadium] and lay down. They have everything to play for, and they have great players. So, really the focus is just on executing at a high level. I'm going to have some young guys out there with me, and we're trying to go execute each play that 'G-Ro' [offensive coordinator Greg Roman] calls and just have fun with it. So, it's going to be a physical game; it always is between the Ravens and the Steelers. That's kind of what we're focusing on. I'm not really focusing on this being a stepping-stone game or anything like that. It's not about that. It's about going out and trying to win a game."
On if the reps he got earlier in the season will help him on Sunday: "Any game rep helps, obviously, whether you're a young guy in the league or you're an older guy. I'm like right in the middle. I'm not old; I'm not young. But it's just ... Those reps won't matter when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, because I didn't get those reps against the Pittsburgh Steelers. So, I just have to make sure I continue to watch tape like I've been doing, continue to stay ready like I've been doing, and then go out and now I actually get a chance to play. So, I'm excited about that. It'll be a lot of fun, but I know the Steelers, like I said, they're not going to make it easy for us."
On what stands out about this year's Baltimore offense: "It's very multiple. Obviously, you see what L.J. [Lamar Jackson] has done all year. It leans to my abilities, as well, so we've been very adaptable this year when teams come out and do something to try to stop us. We've had an answer, and I think that's a testament to all the coaches and all the hard work that they put in to making the scheme multiple so we can adjust on the fly. We're not kind of just stuck running into a wall. So, I think that's the thing I like most about it. A lot of the things in this system I've done before, just maybe not with the same emphasis. It's been cool to watch from the sidelines, but it'll be ever cooler to be on the field and running it."
On if he has a special pair of socks picked out for the game: "I don't. I don't. Like I said, I don't want to make it about me, so I'm not going to sit here and tell you guys what kind of socks I'm going to wear on Sunday. You're just going to have to see." (laughter)
On if his time in Baltimore has been a good scenario for him to get back into the league:"Yes, obviously, any quarterback in my position is going to want to get back in the league and be starting right away, so I don't think in that sense it was ideal. But because that was the hand that I was dealt and I knew that coming here, it was an ideal situation. Because I came to an organization that has an identity, takes care of their players and allows you to be yourself. And I think that's something that I was fighting a lot in previous stops – just what do you do, how do you act? And Coach [John] Harbaugh, when they brought me in, they just told me, 'Be yourself, and that's good enough for us. Work hard, do what we ask you to do, and when it's your time to go, go ball out.' And I think I've done that, and that's why they brought me back this year. Like I said, I'm forever grateful to the Baltimore Ravens for giving me the opportunity."
On the team having the chance to break the all-time team single-season rushing record and if it's cool that they've turned conception of what a modern NFL offense can do on its head this year:"Yes, I think it's amazing. Like I said, to be able to be a part of this all year in the background, it's been cool to watch. Obviously, the Steelers don't care about that. We're trying to go win a game, so whether we break that record or not, it doesn't matter to us. But it's part of our recipe of winning. I think it's really cool for the guys that are coming out of college now also, because you kind of show NFL organizations that this offense is sustainable. And I know it's just one year, but the way we went about it and the way the guys dedicated themselves to it, I think that opened up a lot of eyes. So, we'll see what the future holds, but right now, it's just about the Baltimore Ravens."
On rookie QB Trace McSorley:"Trace [McSorley] has been awesome. A rookie coming in, he's been very good in the room with us, helping us on gameday, and I can't say enough good things about him. He works hard. He's dedicated. I know Coach [John Harbaugh] said they want to get him in a little bit, so we'll just be fluid with that and see where that goes. I don't know how much I'll play, but when I'm out there, I'm going to try to make the most of it."
On how he and the team are keeping themselves in check going into this game and the playoffs, and if that is a challenge:"I don't think it's a challenge, because the guys in that locker room are all level-headed. We like to think that if you're having fun, you're doing it the right way. I think guys are still having fun. No one is getting complacent or looking at all their mentions on Twitter, or whatever it may be. Everybody is staying focused. We work hard here. I don't think people really understand how hard the Baltimore Ravens work. And it's the style of play that we play, and to get to this point, it has been incredible. So, no one is really worried about the next game or the next game or the next game. We're focused on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Obviously, there are a couple guys that don't [have to play Sunday], (laughter) but the rest of us are all focused on the Steelers. And those guys who aren't playing, they're helping us focus on the Steelers. So, we'll be ready to go. We know it's going to be a battle."
DT Michael Pierce
On if he has seen head coach John Harbaugh become more of a player's coach every year:"Yes, definitely. Definitely. A big thing this year, he let us have music in the locker room before pregame. When I first got here, [it was] super quiet, super intense. You could cut the tension with a knife. So, yes, we have a D.J. in Jimmy Smith. He does a good job. Coach 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] is adapting to his guys, and he's doing a great job."
On if the team takes a lot of pride in having earned the leeway for some players to rest in Week 17:"Yes, definitely, especially our guys – Earl Thomas, Brandon [Williams]. Those guys have been around the league. They have more wear and tear on their bodies. For them to be able to rest and get ready for the playoffs is really, really huge for us. So, yes, we'll pick up the slack, and that's a great thing for them."
On how he feels physically after dealing with an injury earlier this season:"I feel great, man. I think I've been playing pretty well after I came back. I haven't had any setbacks, haven't had anything that's kept me in the training room. So, I feel good."
On if it is harder to get himself 100-percent locked in for a game like this with the playoffs coming up:"It's the Pittsburgh Steelers. They're fighting for a shot in the playoffs, so never. We have history with those guys, so no. If anybody tells you otherwise, we should have a talk." (laughter)
On how important keeping the winning streak alive is to the team:"Very much so. Anytime you line up, any Sunday, let alone being the Pittsburgh Steelers and they're fighting for a playoff spot, you want to win. So, to know that we have a winning streak just adds on to it. Whether it's 'RG3' [Robert Griffin III] lining up, Brandon [Williams] not being there, we're going to give it our best shot, and we'll let the cards fall where they may."
On if it is amazing that the team hasn't lost since September, and if he ever thinks, "Wow!" when thinking about the success:"Yes, kind of when I see it on TV, more so than just being here. You just want to keep the good times rolling. But the fact that we've played well enough to continue to win each and every Sunday, no matter the team – the Patriots, the Steelers. … It's been great, but we know that we have to keep doing that. The next round after this game, [if] you make a mistake, it's over."
On his t-shirt from TE Nick Boyle: "I love it. I just got my lift in in it. It's really comfortable, pretty stretchy. So, shout out to Nick [Boyle]." (Reporter: "Pretty stretchy, that's a good t-shirt rule?")"Yes, that is good with the big guys.(laughter) I love it."