Transcripts: Wednesday Media Availability: Steelers-Week 9


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "OK, good seeing everybody – appreciate you guys being out here. We had a good practice and had a little rain, so that was kind of fun. We're getting ready for Pittsburgh."

John, facing the Steelers, it's usually stop the run first, and now it seems like they have quite the passing game. Does that make them a little bit more difficult to go up against? (Dave Ginsburg) "They've always had a heck of a passing game, really. It has always been: You have to stop the run, and you have to stop the pass. Ben [Roethlisberger has] been there for years. They've always had weapons. He extends plays. The downfield passing, the screens and the stop routes go back to Hines Ward. So, you have to be able to stop both against the Steelers – run and pass."

Do you go back to the game plan that worked last time? Do you pull from it? Do you start all over again now seeing them seven weeks later or whatever it is? (Dave Ginsburg) "It's the same basic defense. We have our defense, so the elements of our defense are in that game plan. They'll obviously be in this game plan, and then you just tweak it – what you emphasize and how you play things for your opponent."

Because of QB Ben Roethlisberger's size, arm strength, is he a little different quarterback than you typically would … You always face good quarterbacks, but is he just a different dynamic, because of what he brings? (Jamison Hensley) "Every quarterback is unique. And Ben [Roethlisberger] is very unique, I guess you'd say. He's big. He's very strong, very hard to bring down. Nobody does the extended play thing better than Ben. That's something they've built their offense around for years. The Pittsburgh offense is unique because of him, and that's what makes him so effective."

Not to go into too many details about practice or strategy, but do you go over broken plays because it happens so often when you play Pittsburgh? Do you have – during this week – scramble drills andWe have the guys we needwhat to do? (Jamison Hensley) "We do every week. We extend plays every week, because that's part of playing defense. But there's an emphasis when you play the guy that might be the best at it in the league. So, sure."

You guys had to do a lot of juggling in the secondary because of injuries. In some ways, do you feel like guys getting used to playing different spots could help in a situation like this without CB Jimmy Smith for a few weeks? (Clifton Brown) "Guys are going to step up. We have a unique group back there in terms of we have a lot of guys that … We have a lot of safeties. Anthony Levine has played corner now for six weeks or seven weeks. He has done a good job. He can go back there if needed.. Every team faces some kind of a situation at some position, and we've had injuries all year in different positions, and you just have to step up. It's not something we talk about. We don't make a big deal about it. It's not a point of emphasis for us. It's just we're the team; it's the Ravens' team, and whoever is a part of it goes out there and plays and does their best."

QB Joe Flacco

On if his success at Heinz Field has allowed him to gain a comfort level playing there:"I think so. I think you gain a comfort level just by going to a place so many times, and the fact that we have won up there definitely gives you confidence, personally. We still have a bunch of guys that haven't played there. So, it'll be their first time, and I'm sure it will be exciting for them."

On if he enjoys playing in Pittsburgh:"I do. It's always a big game. It always means a lot, in terms of what's on the line for the season. So, it's always nice to go up there and play an intense game with their fans and against those guys."

On how it affects him being the "bad guy" when at Heinz Field:"It's a lot of fun. I mean, it really is. It's awesome to play in front of your home crowd and get all that excitement and really feel that. But there are times where it's almost just as good to go in there and play so good that you can silence people that really don't want to be silenced and aren't very good at holding their words. So, it is a lot of fun."

On if he expects this game to be a high-scoring or low-scoring affair:"You never know. You go into these games and you do your best to go out there and do all you can to win it and put points on the board as an offense, and as a defense, to keep them off the board. So, if I had to guess, my guess wouldn't be a 50-something-to-40-something shootout, but you never know. Most of our games somebody has been in the 20s to win it. I would expect a similar-type of game as we had in the first one."

On if it's a different feeling knowing this will be the last time they'll see Pittsburgh in the regular season:"I don't think so. It's going to feel pretty much the same. We're always up there on Sunday night, Monday night, whatever it is. It feels like we are always up there on a night. We've had a few day games, but it feels like we're always up there at night. I think it is going to be pretty cold. It's going to feel like it's pretty late in the season, and fall weather is starting to really kick in. So, I think it's going to feel the same as always, and it's going to be a lot of fun."

On how important it is to remind someone to work the middle of the field, given the Ravens' injuries on offense:"It's definitely big. You don't want to have to rely on just throwing the ball outside the numbers, outside the numbers, outside the numbers. You want to be able to run the ball and you want to be able to use the middle of the field, so that when you want to take those shots from the outside, they're not that hard to get. You're one-on-one, and there's nobody underneath. So yes, we have to use the middle of the field, and I think we've done a good job of doing it and we just have to keep finding ways to do it, even though we might not have the same guys out there every week."

On the Steelers' tradition of playing "Renegade" by Styx at Heinz Field:"It's a pretty cool deal that they have, it really is. I think what's made it so cool for myself is the fact that every time they've played it, it's been a tight game; it's been a really tough situation. The uncool thing about it is that a lot of times they've played it, and it's been those tight games, [and] they've made plays – for whatever reason. There have been times when they haven't, but there are a lot of times they go out there … I mean, the crowd definitely gets into it, and it's definitely just a pretty cool deal that you don't see everywhere, and it makes it that much more fun when you're out there on the field in the middle of it. Not that you can really sit there and kind of take it in or anything – because you're in the middle of a football game – but it usually is during the beginning of a TV timeout or something where you have to deal with it for a little bit of time."

On if he would like to take more shots downfield:"I'd just like to continue doing what we're doing and move the ball and score points. I think we're scoring points on a lot of our possessions. I think we're doing a good job of moving the football. As the year goes on – I know we're halfway through – but as the year goes on, we're going to find different ways every week to move the ball, and I'm sure that stuff will start to even itself out more so, but I don't really care. It doesn't matter how we do it. I just want to do it in an efficient way, and I think we're ready to do that. I don't know. I don't necessarily have the answer as to why it isn't like that, but I don't think it's a bad thing."

On if the storm with the Ray Rice situation feels like it was a long time ago:"I haven't thought about it, but yeah, kind of. It's crazy how quickly you get to Week … What week are we in, 9?  It's kind of crazy how quickly we get to Week 9. I mean, it feels really quick. I can't believe that we are in Week 9 already. And at the same time, just like you said, yeah, training camp and all that feels so long ago. So yeah, I would say it does feel like it's been a pretty good amount of time that's passed since all that's kind of come over us, and I think we've done a good job moving on. And the fact that we've won five games in that time has helped us a little bit."

On if he believes the offense is executing the play-action well so far:"I think there are times where we've left a couple of plays out there, and there are times when we've hit some. I think we are going to get better and better at taking advantage of some of those play-actions. The more that we continue to run the ball and continue to run the ball well, we're going to have to get some shots and we're going to have to get some yards out of those play-action passes. I think it's something that we're definitely going to be able to rely on and we're going to run effectively as the year goes on."

On what stands out most about the Steelers' defense:"It all starts with who they have and the fact that they've had very good pass rushers and great guys in the back end. They've had Troy [Polamalu] there for a long time now, and he's been able to play a lot of games. The thing with me, though, what I look at when I see them – what I said first – which is just getting after the quarterback and stopping the run. The guys that they have up front have been really good for a really long time now, and they really drive how those guys play."

LB C.J. Mosley

On the Ravens' defensive linemen:"[The Steelers] love running the power. That's one of the Steelers' trademarks, as far as running the ball. So, inside, having guys like that, we're going to praise them all the time because they keep us free and let us make tackles like we do."

On what makes NT Brandon Williams well suited to play nose tackle:"Pretty much he's a bully on the defensive line. He sets the tone, and he knows how to keep guys off me."

On if guys have told him what Heinz Field is going to be like in a primetime atmosphere:"They were saying the way we feel when we play here is going to be like 10 times better when we play there. I'm pretty excited. And it's a Sunday night game, so it'll be like the first night game for all of us. It's just going to be that much more amped up. We're going to be ready for it."

On if it has to be all 11 guys on defense to stop the Steelers:"It's going to have to be all 11 guys, especially with Ben [Roethlisberger]. He's great at making plays when the play breaks down. For us, it's going to be about what we call "plaster." Once he gets out of the pocket, we have to make sure we keep our eye on our men so we don't give up big plays."

On if RBs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount have different styles:"For the most part, [they have] different styles. One is more of a speed guy, and the other one is more power, but they both kind of have the ability to direct a game. When Blount gets it, we know we have to try to stop him before he gets his force going. And with Bell, he's a guy that's going to be patient, and once he makes that one cut, he can break for 30-yard runs. As a whole, we just have to make sure that we tackle very well."

WR Torrey Smith

On what the Ravens can do to get the deep-pass game going again: "Just make the play. We've had some opportunities. And obviously, it's the toughest play in football to make offensively, because the percentages are obviously lower the further you go down field. But it's something that we've been good at in the past, and there's no reason why we shouldn't get back on track. So, sometimes it comes in bunches. All it takes is one, and we're just waiting on that opportunity."

On whether he agrees if offense is trying to get the play-action going: "I agree. It hasn't happened the way we want. You're asking us about it, so clearly have to get it going. But we're working hard every day in practice at it. As long as we continue to run the ball like we are, there's no reason why those things shouldn't come."

On QB Joe Flacco's second interception against the Bengals and how he was banged up on the play: "It was a flash for me. It was definitely … I just remember going [to the] top of my route and breaking, and obviously the corner – watching film – he came off Marlon [Brown], because Marlon came in motion. I was going to run my slant, and as I planted to turn out his helmet hit me right in my head. So, it kind of got me for a little bit, but I passed my concussion test. It's something that some people [say], 'Well, if it was a flash, it was bright, you have a concussion.' I'm like, 'Well, I'm not playing around with a concussion.' I passed my physical test. They had the little iPad thing that you do in your physical. I was fine. They kind of left it up to me, and I felt fine. If I didn't, I wouldn't have went back out there for those few plays, because I don't want to be 50 years old and not know what's going on with my kids and with my grandkids. So, you can't take those things lightly, and I was fine."

On whether it was CB Adam Jones' helmet that hit him: "No, it wasn't even 'Pacman' [Adam Jones]. He just fell into the pick, because he was playing defense. It was the slot defender. He was covering Marlon [Brown]. He had no clue."

On getting blocked following the second interception: "My man [Vontaze] Burfict. (laughter) It could have been a lot worse watching the video. It could have been a lot worse. So, that's the one time … As dirty of a player I think he is … He's a heck of a player, [but] he's a dirty one, too.* (laughter) But he definitely held up, so he had some good to him." *(Reporter: "He had surgery today, too.") "Surgery?" (Reporter: "Yes, knee surgery.") "Dang. Serious knee surgery?" (Reporter: "No, just a scope.") "I hope he gets well soon. (reporters laugh) No, I'm serious. It's nothing to play with. I'm dead serious."

On whether his perspective of the Ray Rice story changed since facing the Steelers in Week 2: "That's over with. You might be the first person to ask me that since last time I was at Walmart. (laughter) That's something that happened. As far as the team and the organization, obviously everyone has kind of moved on. That's just the way the business side works. But personally, that's still my friend. Janay [Rice] is still my friend. I still talk to them. We still see them. So, that stuff just kind of … It's gone and over with. So, in terms of the professional environment, which we're here for, that's not an issue for us.

On getting on track with the play-action: "We've been trying. We've been trying, and I think last game there were a couple that were [made]. I didn't see them, I was inside. But I watched on film. They were right there. So, those are things that … Again, that's just on us – just execution. It's as simple as you hand the ball off, and the 'O' linemen are doing a great job blocking. They're doing a great job in pass protection as well, and we're just that close to getting it done. Like I said, when it comes, sometimes it comes in bunches, and we're waiting on it."

On his first time playing at Pittsburgh and preparing younger players for the game: "My first game up there [in 2011] was kind of a cool one. I went through a lot that game. To have the opportunity to talk to the younger guys … It's a serious environment. That's why you're here, to play a team like Pittsburgh up there, a crowd that hates you, really a city that truly hates you. We go out to eat at restaurants the night before, and folks [are] just looking at us like, 'Man, I hope you just bomb it tomorrow.' That's the beauty of this game. You go up there [and] play in a tough environment. Like I said, they have a great tradition up there. It's hostile. Watch [Terrell] Suggs trash-talking with the fans and watch their fans throw stuff at the bus when we come in. It's all a part of it. But at the end of the day when you get on the field, it's football. It's a great, disciplined, physical football team. And we know we have to play physical ball to go out there and beat them. It's going to be tough. And they're hot right now, too."

On whether he is frustrated coming off a game with zero catches: "I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't. You try to build up and try to continue to get better and better. But that's all on me. I don't put that on anyone else. I have to get open more. I have to be where I'm supposed to be. When the ball comes, I have to catch it – just every single thing. I don't try to place blame on Joe [Flacco] or 'Kubs' [Gary Kubiak] or anyone. That's all on me to be a better player, and things will come. And [I] have to go out there, continue to work hard in practice, and everything will transfer over to the field, which I'm confident that it will."

On whether he talks with friends, like WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, on the Steelers during the week leading up to the game: "Most times [when] you talk to guys, it's about tickets or something. But you talk to each other on the field really quick. But you talk to guys pretty regularly just to check in or see what's going on or [if] they have a good game or [to say], 'Hey, good game,' or 'Saw you.' But [you're] not going to [be] buddy-buddy. I'm not going to tell them who's hurt or who's playing or anything. But I haven't talked to Darrius [Heyward-Bey] in a while actually. But he's doing pretty good out there. I'm happy for him. I'll talk to him before the game. Hopefully we beat them, [and I'll] talk to him after the game – maybe get a picture or something. But that's all a part of it. It's fun to see people you know."**

OLB Terrell Suggs**

On if it's fair to say that there is nothing better than beating the Steelers twice:"You know, that's a good journalism question. (laughter) That's a pretty good [question]. Well, you want to win all your games. You want to win all your rivalry games. And they're rolling, and we're coming off a loss, so it should be interesting. It should be pretty interesting. So, I'm really looking forward to it. I know they're looking forward to it, and [we'll] go out there and we'll have at it."

On last week being Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's best game ever:"Was it?" (Reporter: "Franchise record.") "Statistically, it was his best game ever. I'm pretty sure that iron [Super Bowls XL and XLIII], he'll count those as pretty good games, too. So, congratulations to him. Whatever. (laughter) They have to line up Sunday, and so do we."

On if playing Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is any different than playing any other quarterback:"It depends on the quarterback, but I think playing this team is different than playing any other quarterback, and it starts with him because he is the quarterback. It's the most valuable position [that is] part of this game. So, definitely. I guess that's fair to say, yeah."

On what it would mean to get his 100th-career sack against Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:"And why would you say some [stuff] like that? (laughter) On air, on Wednesday? We already know how they feel about me, and I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual about how I feel about them. It's a respect game. But answering that question … It would be cool, but that 'W' would feel a hell of a lot better on the plane ride home."

On if he remembers his first sack on Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:"No, I'm sorry. I don't."

On his impressions of NT Brandon Williams and the impact he's made:"The emergence of Brandon Williams has a lot to do with our success and how we stop the run. I said because of Brandon, [opponents] have gone to alternative means of running the ball – reverses and stuff like that and screens. So, they pretty much … Nobody pretty much lines up. They want to keep him off the field as much as possible. Nobody really lines up in base personnel and runs the ball anymore. And it's large in part to do … With Brandon Williams, it starts right there in the center with him. So, that's a big part."

On how much he enjoys being the "bad guy" at Heinz Field:"To be the villain? At Heinz Field? Why is that name even part of [my answer]? But anyway … (laughter) Yeah, I love it. I love it because they put so much energy into hating you. You obviously are doing something, so it's kind of flattering. I take it as a sign of respect."

On if he has ever hit Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger as hard as OLB Courtney Upshaw did in Week 2:"Nah, I've never gotten him that good. I can only think of another person hitting him that good, besides Courtney, [and it] was Bart [Scott in 2006]. But he's a big guy. Even with him being that big, he doesn't get subject to hits like that that many times. It did set the tone, but like I said, I'm pretty sure with how they're playing right now, they're doing a lot of things to make sure that doesn't happen again."

On their series against Pittsburgh ending so early, knowing that in the past he's said they might see the Steelers again in January:"So, what are you saying? Are you saying we're not going to see them or they're not going to see us in January? What are you saying?"

On how it feels to face the Steelers for the last time so early in the season:"We don't know if this is the last time, to counter that question. Both teams are 5-3 right now with a good chance of making the playoffs. I believe in 2011, three teams out of the division did make the playoffs, so it's a good chance. But everybody loves Ravens-Steelers. The world loves us – so do we."

CB/RS Lardarius Webb

On whether QB Ben Roethlisberger will present a challenge for the Ravens' secondary after his game against the Colts: "Yes, it's going to be a challenge. Ben [Roethlisberger] has been Ben for years. He has been putting up stats like that for the longest [times]. But we knew before they even played that game that we were going to have to come in on point in the secondary. And this week, [with] No. 84, Antonio Brown … They have a lot of nice receivers over there that can get open and run routes. And then they have No. 7 [Ben Roethlisberger] throwing it to them. So yes, we have to be on point this week, and we will."

On whether he is looking forward to playing the Steelers after missing the first matchup this season: "It's always an honor to play this Pittsburgh-Ravens game. I've been in it for years. It [has] always been a great game. I'm just ready to get on the field and get this 'W' for this team. We need it."

On losing CB Jimmy Smith to injury and having other players step up: "Somebody has to step up. That's how we do it around here [with] the Ravens. One man down, the next man has to be up and ready to play. So, we have the talent and the room, and the next guy will be ready to step up."

On whether a quick pass rush makes the job easier on the secondary: "Always. The guys up front, the front seven always gives us a great rush. They always make my job easier. With [Elvis] Dumervil and 'Sizzle' [Terrell Suggs] on each end, it's easy. So, if they just keep doing what they're doing, we'll have a great game."

On how his back feels and if there is a chance he won't play Sunday: "I'm feeling great. 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] just gave me a vet [rest] day, and I'll take it."

On whether the Steelers' improved passing game makes them more difficult to defend: "Well, [the focus] has always been [to] stop No. 7 [Ben Roethlisberger]. That has always been our thing. If we can stop No. 7, we can win the game. Front seven guys, they'll take care of the run. We just have to take care of No. 7 however we can do that with pressure, [and] with pressure on No. 84 [Antonio Brown]. We have to affect No. 7 if we want to win this game." On the defensive priorities when facing a quarterback like QB Ben Roethlisberger: "Just have to put pressure on [Ben Roethlisberger]. You have to tackle him when you get a chance, because he can break any tackle. So, you have to just bring him down when you get your hands on him."

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