Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Good to be here with everybody – appreciate you coming out. It's another beautiful day, a good hot one for us. It's 9/11, so I want to continue to honor those heroes from that day and also the first responders and the military that continue to work to keep us safe."
What are your initial impressions from watching QB Kyler Murray, who is a unique talent? _(Jamison Hensley) _"That's a great way to say it. He is a unique talent. He's very creative as a football player. He has excellent arm talent. Obviously, he can move around and escape in the pocket, very good vision. He's been in that offense, really, his whole career, so he's very effective with that offense. That's what we have to deal with this game."
Despite the NFL becoming more of a pass-happy league, there seems to be an influx of dual-threat quarterbacks coming in. Is that something you imagined would happen five or 10 years ago? _(Daniel Oyefusi) _"Yes, I think the ability of a quarterback to move around and create on their own is really important. There have been a lot of guys that have been able to do that over the years going back to Sammy Baugh. He was a little bit before my time, but I do remember Fran Tarkenton. We've had to deal with it in our division with Ben Roethlisberger in his own way, the Aaron Rodgerses. Michael Vick, obviously, was a great creator in Philadelphia. James Urban [quarterbacks coach] was there with him. So, there's a long history of that. It's probably something that is going to expand in different ways with different schemes now. Some of the schemes that you're talking about that are coming up from the college game and the high school game are starting to show up in the program."
What did you see from the Cardinals' pass rush with LB Terrell Suggs and LB Chandler Jones? _(Todd Karpovich) _"Those two guys are the guys. Those two are game-wrecker-type players that are great edge players, very physical. They both have their own subset of pass-rush moves that they've been using and perfecting for all these years, so those are guys that are absolutely must-block guys."
What did you think of ILB Patrick Onwuasor's first game as a starter? _(David Ginsburg) _"He played really well. He played fast. He was all over the field. He did a great job with some of the new things, in terms of handling the communication and all that stuff. He did a great job with that. Yes, he did a great job and played really well."
In what areas have you seen TE Mark Andrews improve from Year One to Year Two? _(Mike Preston) _"Mark is an interesting guy. He's such a natural football player. He's got a great feel for the passing game, of course, but he's really improved in the run blocking. It's something that he didn't do much at Oklahoma. I think there was a question about how good he would be at it at this level. Not that he was ever … He was a good at it last year as a rookie. It wasn't ever a problem for him, but he's really worked hard at it. He was really effective in it in the game."
How much do you have to stress during practice that the Cardinals are going to try to play up-tempo? _(Jamison Hensley) _"It's something you have to be prepared for before the week of the game. It's something that we do. We do it in practice a lot. We saw it in our practices against the other teams we played, so I don't believe it's going to be anything new for us. We'll see in the game how it feels, in terms of how fast they go and that kind of stuff, but I feel like we've been preparing for that from Day One."
How do you anticipate other teams adjusting after seeing QB Lamar Jackson throw the ball over the top a lot in Week 1? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _"It just depends on the coverages. They'll probably leave one or two safeties back more often than the Dolphins did now that they've seen that Lamar can hurt you when you do that."
The Cardinals used a lot of four-wide receiver sets in Week 1. How much stress will that put on the cornerback unit? And how much will that test your depth at that position? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, and we play a lot of different personnel groups. They have different types of receivers. We'll match our guys up. We have safeties that can cover receivers as well in zone and man coverage, so we'll be in different kinds personnel groups, just like we always are, just in terms of how we want to game-plan and match those guys. We have a plan for that, obviously, that we will practice this week, but it's a challenge. They're spread out way more than anybody else. They were in four-wides well over half the time, which is about 50 percent more than anybody else, at least. Everybody else is under 10 percent, so it'll be new for us."
As a safety, it seems like S Chuck Clark has defended receivers a good amount. How has he grown over the past couple years? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _"He's really become an all-around player. He plays all the inside spots. He plays safety. He plays nickel. He plays dime. DeShon Elliott is growing in that role, too. We have Tony Jefferson, who can go down there and play those spots. Earl [Thomas III] can play those spots. So, we're pretty flexible in the way we organize our defense."
Is that something you strive to have – versatility from some of these guys? _(Mike Preston) _"We do. We want to be interchangeable. That's part of our whole plan on defense is to have guys be able to play different spots, and we can move them around, whether it's matchup or scheme or something we want to create that's confusing for the offense. That's what we try to do."
TE Mark Andrews
On what areas of his game he prioritized to work on and improve during the offseason:"It's just working on yourself, seeing what you're good at and areas you need to improve. For me, a big part of that was getting better in the blocking area and getting stronger in the weight room. That's something that I really focused in on."
Did you add any weight during the offseason?"No, just got leaner – less fat and more muscle mass."
On everyone getting involved in the offensive production in the Dolphins game:"A ton of guys were stepping up. It was awesome to see a lot of our young guys making plays – Marquise [Brown], Miles [Boykin], a ton of guys. It was a really fun game, a team effort, and hopefully we'll play more games like that where everyone's involved."
On the team's offensive production against the Dolphins serving as validation:"Yes, we've said it all along that we weren't showing and that this offense was different than most anything that's run in the NFL right now, and I think it was a little bit of validation. I think we have a long way to go. We're not there yet. But we've got a lot of great stuff in, and we're going to continue to put that in and show that week to week."
On how he expects future defenses to adjust to QB Lamar Jackson's ability to throw the ball over the top:"It's a 'pick your poison' type of thing. Lamar's such an incredible player with what he's able to do with his feet, his arm. He's a complete quarterback, so really, it's tough on defenses to pick. If you want to put guys deep, he's going to make you pay with his feet. Then if you play man [coverage] like last week, he's going to make you pay with his arm. And so, we've got guys around him to help him out, and he's done a great job of just reading the defenses and then taking what they give him."
On how QB Lamar Jackson's speed opens things up for the wide receivers and tight ends over the middle:"It's huge. I think for receivers and tight ends, you don't see it very often with a quarterback that fast. It makes our jobs much easier. There are so many open lanes over the top with linebackers biting on play-action and whatnot, so we get a lot of open looks because of his ability to run the ball and his versatility."
On playing with QB Lamar Jackson being a luxury:"Yes, no doubt. It's been a huge benefit for us, and it's unique. Those linebackers are really flying up when we're showing things, so it just makes our jobs easier as tight ends and receivers."
On if he expects defenses to adjust to him after he put up over 100 yards receiving in Week 1:"I'm not sure. For me, it's just going to be a week-to-week thing. I'm just trying to get better each and every day. I'm not really worried about yards, touchdowns or anything like that. I'm just trying to help this team win. If I get doubled or anything like that or extra attention, I know the guys on the outside and other guys on the inside, receivers and tight ends, are going to make plays, and that's the beauty of this offense. It's that we've got the guys to do it."
On looking forward to playing against LB Terrell Suggs: "Yes, it'll be fun. He's obviously an incredible player. Especially here, he's a legend, so it's going to be fun to go against him. I was lucky enough to be able to play with a guy like that for a year last year and just to see his mentality. I'm going to have to bring it. Everyone on this team is going to have to bring it with him. He's a beast, so it's going to be fun."
On what LB Terrell Suggs was like in the locker room:"He's very outlandish. That's a good way to put it. He speaks his mind whenever he wants. But he's just an incredible teammate, a guy you look after and try to model some of your stuff after – just an all-around pro."
On if it was tough getting used to having LB Terrell Suggs in the locker room:"Yes, I don't think I've ever had a guy like that in the locker room that was just so outspoken. He'd been in here forever, so in team meetings he would just say what he wanted. He'd talk to [Coach] Harbaugh during team meetings and stuff like that. I'd never really seen that, so getting used to that my rookie year was a little weird." (laughter)
On what to expect from QB Kyler Murray this week:"He's been there before. He's been in big games, and he's done all that. So, he's going to be very composed in those types of situations, and I think you saw that to come back and tie [the Detroit Lions]. It was pretty impressive. He's an all-around playmaker. I know our defense is going to be ready for that challenge, and I'm excited to see it. Obviously, he's an Oklahoma guy, but he's a rival this week. So, I'm excited."
On playing against the Cardinals as a guy who grew up in Arizona:"I'm extremely excited. Growing up, born and raised in Arizona, that's going to be special for me. I grew up watching the Cardinals as my team, so it's going to be fun. I've got a lot of fans and friends out there that are going to be looking at this game, so it'll be a fun, big challenge for me."
On working on his run blocking in the offseason:"It's been huge for me, just trying to be a complete tight end. When I'm out there, I don't want defenses saying, 'This is going to be a pass play, and they're not going to run the ball.' So, that's going to be something that's big for me – just trying to be a versatile guy that can do anything, especially putting my hand in the ground and blocking. That's something I've really been working hard on."
On his reaction to the success WR Marquise Brown had in Week 1:"I don't know if 'surprised' is a good word. He's such an electric player. And you see it in college, but those two catches for touchdowns, 143 yards or whatever it was – it's incredible. For a first game as a rookie, it's kind of unheard of. So, I'm not surprised, but it's fun to watch. I've been lucky enough to play with a guy where it's kind of like a one-play drive and you score, and then you go sit on the bench for a while. But he's a fun guy to play with."
On WR Marquise Brown's speed and ability to open things up for the tight ends over the middle:"No doubt. He's a guy that can really blow the top off of defenses. They have to respect it because of his speed. He's such a fast player, so it helps the guys that are inside with crossing routes and over the middle and opens up some lanes for the quarterback to throw. So, I'm excited to see how that turns out as the year goes along and how defenses will have to respect that and what we do with it."
QB Lamar Jackson
On being the AFC Offensive Player of the Week:"That's pretty dope. I owe that to my team, the whole offense, the special teams and the defense. They kept putting us out there on the field, so hats off to the whole team."
On what he thinks is going through QB Kyler Murray's head this week:"I can't tell you. I don't know, because I'm not in the locker room with him. So, I really don't know."
On what he plans to do for an encore after his Week 1 performance:"Come back, grind it out, practice, get ready for Arizona, try to put on a show for Sunday."
On how he expects defenses will adjust to his ability to throw the ball over the top:"Just go through my reads. If the first guy is not there, go to the second. If the second guy is not there, go to my third guy. If he's not there, do what I do."
On if he feels more comfortable going through his progressions this year:"Definitely. I had a whole year to get my guys, get chemistry down pat, study a lot, work hard on throwing the ball – throw my guys open, hitting them in stride so they can go get extra yards."
On the difference between facing LB Terrell Suggs in practice vs. playing against him in a real game:"He'll actually come a little faster than he did out here in practice. He would take some off [in practice because] he's a vet. In the game, he's all-go, so we've got to get ready for that."
On if he'll be looking out for LB Terrell Suggs in particular during the game:"No, I'm looking for my guys to be open. I'm still throwing that ball downfield. I don't really care about that. That's Ronnie's [Stanley] and Orlando's [Brown Jr.] job." (laughter)
On how much trash talk he expects to hear from LB Terrell Suggs:"I don't care. I really don't. When they talk, I really don't pay them no mind. I just do my talking on the field. Just move on, next play."
On his reaction to his MVP buzz after Week 1:"I don't really listen to stuff like that. Just a week prior to that, they were [calling me] a running back, so I'm just going to go play ball."
On his statement: "Not bad for a running back," garnering attention:"Topic of discussion, huh?" (laughter)(Reporter: "Is that indicative of you wanting to prove people wrong?")"You could say that, but it's whatever. I've just got to keep doing [work] week-in, week-out – just playing ball, winning games, scoring touchdowns."
On being surprised how much attention that statement received:"I'm surprised by that. I've been seeing it everywhere. People keep tagging me in stuff like that, making it into quotes. It's pretty cool though. It's pretty cool."
On his thoughts on QB Kyler Murray:"Actually, I've been telling all the other guys, when I came out of high school, he was the No. 1 dual-threat [quarterback], so I've been hearing about him ever since high school. He's a great quarterback – fast, can throw the ball, a former baseball player. So, he's a great guy."
On his reaction to QB Kyler Murray being rated as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school:"I didn't care. I was probably 100th. I really don't know. I don't care. I just do what I can do with my team, just go from there. I can't do what you guys do. That isn't my job. I just play ball."
On if there's a Heisman brotherhood:"No. That's college. We're in the NFL now. Can't be a brother on the field now. But, probably after the game, stuff like that – cool. But on the field? No, not at all."
On his advice for QB Kyler Murray in his rookie year:"Just be you. Do what got you here. Play ball, play with speed. They're a lot faster in the league. Just do what he's been doing."
On if he could go pro in any other sport:"I'm a Raven. I really don't care about baseball. I'm here. I'm a quarterback."
On his excitement for the first home game of the season:"I just can't wait. I'm anxious right now. I just can't wait to play Sunday. After the Dolphins game, I was ready to come back and play. I'm just pumped. We were away for the first game. The fans were going crazy on social media and stuff like that, even the fans that were there. So, when we're here, I just hope it's packed out."
On what TE Mark Andrews has done for him as a target:"He's made it a lot easier for me to get more yards, more catches for him. He's a great guy. He gets open with safeties guarding him, corners guarding him. He's low key a receiver, like a slot receiver, tight end type of guy. He's a creative player out there on the field for me. I just love it."
On his mentality that winning is the most important thing:"I hate losing. I know everyone here hates losing, too. You can have all the stats in the world, but if you're losing, you're probably not going to get talked about. Probably will, but not in a good way. It's all about winning. That's what it's all about."
On what he's like after a loss:"I was about to curse. You almost got me to curse. (laughter)I'm ticked off. I'm watching it. I'm going to watch the plays for what I did wrong, try not to make it happen again, but I'm not planning on losing, at all."
On not getting to see WR Marquise Brown much in training camp or the preseason:"I told you all." (laughter) (Reporter: "Were you surprised at all on what we saw on Sunday from him?")"No. You guys can watch the college tape and just see what he brings to the table. And when he got back, he was telling me here – he was showing me videos. He would send them to me. He'd be like, 'Man, I'm moving slow.' I'm like, 'Bro, you're just getting back, and you're moving pretty fast to me.' And out here on the field, some throws – I'd underthrow him – and he was like, 'Man, I'm not feeling fast.' I was like, 'Bro, gameday, it's going to come to you. It's different. Adrenaline is rushing. I know your competitiveness is going to come out, and it's going to show.' And that's what happened."
CB Marlon Humphrey
On how he has seen CB Anthony Averett grow as a cornerback:"He's grown a lot. In practice and different things like that, he's not the most energized guy. But when he gets in the games, you see that turn on, and he gets the people [going], and he celebrates. So, I think going from practice to the game, he takes it up a whole new level. Anytime you get him out there, you see that."
On if he has seen CB Anthony Averett dial into learning the craft and technique of a cornerback:"Definitely. He has started to play a little nickel. I don't think he really planned on playing that much corner in the game, but he stepped up to the plate when Jimmy [Smith] went out and really filled those shoes. He can kind of do it all, and that's what we're going to need going down the stretch while Jimmy is out."
On his thoughts on having two former Alabama players in the backfield with CB Anthony Averett: "It's pretty cool because we did that at 'Bama. When he got drafted here, that's one of the things I was thinking about. That would be pretty cool to do it again."
On if he mentioned the fact that he and CB Anthony Averett would be playing together again on Averett's draft night: "Yes, I think I said something like, 'We'll be strapping up together again.'"
On younger quarterbacks like QB Lamar Jackson and QB Baker Mayfield getting up to speed in less than two seasons, and if he thinks the college game is what prepares younger quarterbacks to be ready to play in the NFL so quickly: "I'm not really sure. There definitely have been a lot of quarterbacks doing really big things. Baker [Mayfield], Lamar [Jackson], and we'll see how Kyler [Murray] does, but I think quarterbacks are evolving a little bit. There are a lot of, right now, quarterbacks that have been around for 15, 20 years. The next faces of those quarterbacks are in Years 2 and 3 and 1 right now."
On how the quarterbacks who can run change the challenge for cornerbacks: "It sucks for me. I definitely don't like that. (laughter) I just know that every time I see Lamar [Jackson] doing some of the things he does, like running backwards and throwing it up, I'm like, 'Man, I'm happy he's on my team instead of somebody else's.'"
On WR Marquise Brown's speed and what he thinks Brown can do to opposing defenses: "He definitely has the ability to take the top off, as you can see. When he was hurt all of training camp, as soon as he came out, the first thing everybody realized was that he's fast. You know he's fast, but then you go against him, and you realize he can really fly."
On the common bond between him and OLB Matthew Judon, ILB Patrick Onwuasor, DB/LB Anthony Levine Sr. and S Tony Jefferson that has made them the close unit that they are: "When you walk through the building, you know you're going to do football. You know you're going to do film and everything. But I think the brotherhood throughout the locker room [is special]. I never thought that coming into the NFL, that I would be closer to some of these guys than I was with guys in college. That's been the biggest thing. Those guys have really embraced who I am. I've embraced who they are. Anytime we're all together, it's always good, because you come to work with who would be your coworkers, but really, they're more like family. It really feels good to be able to smile and enjoy what you're doing, and that's what, really, they bring to the table."
On if he feels like the enjoyment he finds in his teammates makes the work more tolerable:"Definitely. I never thought I would be working out at 6 a.m. just to work out at 6 a.m. There's actually a lift after practice. I do not have to be up early, but I get up early. Whether you're tired or not, they're going to wake you up. If you're late, you know you have planks. The morning check-in, if you're not there, it gets pretty bad."
On the versatility of the Ravens' defense and how big of a jump it would be for a young quarterback to figure out their defensive scheme:"It's definitely tough. You can't really look at just one guy and be like, 'OK, he's going to be here. He's going to be there.' We have so many different packages – packages not everybody has even seen with different young guys and Chuck [Clark] and DeShon [Elliott]. So, there are a lot of different ways we can do things, and we can put guys at different positions. I think that's one of the biggest things for Brandon Carr. He can play nickel; he can play a little safety. Tony [Jefferson] can come down and play dime. So, there are just so many different formations and things that we like to match up with."
On if there will be a pre-game hug for OLB Terrell Suggs, and how he handles facing a former teammate:"It will definitely be a little weird seeing him in red. Since I got here, he was one of the guys who I always looked [up] to. He was always trying to tell me things here and there and told me plenty of stories. It'll definitely be interesting to see how he does. I know the fans, I'm sure, will show him love. It will be good."
On the leadership transition from OLB Terrell Suggs to "The Council" of OLB Matthew Judon, ILB Patrick Onwuasor, DB/LB Anthony Levine Sr. and S Tony Jefferson, and how impressed he has been with those players taking on that leadership role: "I've been pretty impressed. The biggest thing I've seen is that it's been a lot more … It's not just a single voice. It's a lot more voices. With additions like Earl [Thomas III], he comes in and kind of does his thing. There have been a lot more leaders as opposed to one or two or three."
On the best story or lesson he received from OLB Terrell Suggs: "'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] said some wild stuff, so I'm not going to say any of those [stories]. (laughter) I think the biggest thing that stuck with me from him was that when I came here, even though I was the first-round pick, before I really had started playing, he wasn't quick to just say, 'Oh, you're going to be a good player.' He made sure to say, like, 'You're going to have to earn [it]. You're going to have to live up to those roles.' Once I started to make some plays, he started to call me 'The Future.' So, I've always felt like I can play into that role, and all that is is just making plays on the field and doing things right in the building. That's what I've strived to do."
On what he feels like he has to do to officially become a part of "The Council": "I don't know. I hear graduation is coming up soon, though. I'm not supposed to talk about Council business in the media. (laughter) But I hear graduation is coming up soon."
ILB Patrick Onwuasor
On how it felt to be "the man" against the Dolphins, leading the team in tackles and wearing a helmet with communication capabilities: "I don't feel like I'm 'the man,' but having a headset, I've been practicing that going on two years now. It's been great communicating with Coach 'Wink' [Don Martindale, defensive coordinator] and to the guys."
On the fact that it didn't seem like the defense lost a beat after he took over responsibilities for LB C.J. Mosley:"We all came together. We all played together. 'Wink' [Don Martindale, defensive coordinator] put us in some great positions, and we just played the game how we usually play out here and played fast and physical."
On the impact OLB Terrell Suggs had on him: "He had a big impact, just with leadership, showing the young guys the way, watching how he reacted to people and talked to people. His character, just the way he comes out here and gets you amped up for practice, ready to go."
On if there were any one-on-one moments with OLB Terrell Suggs that he can share: "I would say, with his departure, when he left, he texted me and said, 'It's time for you guys to start your own legacy and start the new brand of Raven football and just continue to be what the Ravens are all about.'"
On how weird it will be to see OLB Terrell Suggs in red:"It's going to be really weird. We're going to get after him, though."
On if he feels like the defense is better prepared to face Cardinals QB Kyler Murray than other teams would be based on the fact that they practice against QB Lamar Jackson, who has similar mobility skills:"Yes, we have one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Going against Lamar [Jackson] every day in practice, it sets us up for this game perfectly. He's a mobile quarterback as well. He can throw the ball deep. He can get out of the pocket. So, going against Lamar puts us in a perfect position."
On if he ever thinks about the fact that he was an undrafted rookie free agent and now is leading the Ravens' defense: "It took a lot of hard work. It took a lot of effort. Just me playing my role, whatever the Ravens wanted me to do coming in here, that's what I did. And I ended up here, now."
On if the defense was amazed by how impressive the offense looked against the Dolphins:"Yes, we were scoring a lot, and we were getting a lot of three-and-outs. I felt like once we sat down, we had to get right back up, especially a lot of guys on special teams and stuff like that on kickoff. I think we had like nine kickoffs or something like that. Just watching the offense score and letting them do what they do, we were really excited for that."
On if the defense trusts defensive coordinator Don Martindale when going up against a unique offense: "Yes, I feel like that's what it's all about. It's all about trust. He's going to put us in the right schemes. He's going to put us in the right positions. We just have to go out there and make the plays. If we see something we don't feel comfortable doing, he trusts in us that we could tell him, 'We don't feel comfortable doing that.' He could adjust it, or he could throw it out or something like that."
On the challenge for a rookie quarterback to go against a defense that changes its looks often: "I feel like it is kind of complicated. You never know what position I might be playing. You might see me on the edge. You never know. I might run to the post. You never know what I might do. I feel like it is complicated."
On his membership in "The Council" and what the other members like OLB Matthew Judon, DB/FB Anthony Levine Sr. and S Tony Jefferson mean to him: "The Council is a group of four. It's just like a brotherhood. We came in at different times. Me and [Matthew] Judon came in together. I think Tony [Jefferson] came in the second year, and 'Veen' [Anthony Levine Sr.] was already here. We just kind of bonded. I know a lot of people are like, 'How are you guys so close when you guys came in at different times?' I feel like it's more of a trust thing. We trust each other. Everything we do is at the same time, on and off the field. If we were going to dinner or something, we'll talk about it. We all agree that the time to work out is 6 o'clock in the morning. If we're late, we hold each other accountable and stuff like that. That's what The Council really means."
On CB Marlon Humphrey's status of being inducted into The Council:"[He's] not there yet. He's still working on it."
On how much the home opener and crowd of fans can help the defense: "That home opener is going to be really huge for us. It's going to be great with the Raven Flock out there bringing the intensity and being really loud on third down. That environment helps us a lot."
On if the noise on third down makes communication tricky for the defense: "Yes, sometimes it does. But we're prepared for it at all times."
G Marshal Yanda
On how he remembers OLB Terrell Suggs in the Ravens' locker room: "I would just call him a pillar of this franchise, obviously. He's just an awesome guy – great teammate, a great leader. Like I said, one of the pillars of our organization, for sure."
On if he thought he and OLB Terrell Suggs were an odd pair next to each other in the locker room: "No. He's four or five years older than me, so I've always considered him an older vet. I grew into that role as time went on, but I have nothing but respect [for him], and he's doing things the right way every day."
On what it will be like playing against OLB Terrell Suggs in a game setting after years of practicing with each other: "To see his face on the scouting report is pretty funny; it's crazy. That's just life in the NFL. But come Sunday, it's business. And he understands that, too. We can talk before the game and we can talk after the game, but during the game, it's business. Everybody has a job to do. He knows that as well. He's going to be coming. We're going to be rolling. That's just part of the game."
On if he has a favorite OLB Terrell Suggs story: "When I was a young player, I remember media dodgeball and Terrell being a big proponent of media dodgeball. So, I had a lot of fun watching him and the older guys go crazy with the media. They would literally turn the lights off in the locker room, and people were hiding in trash cans and stuff. That was fun. That was a good time."
On OLB Terrell Suggs' game last week:"He had a good game. He looks good. He's moving well. He's staying edgy. He's playing at a high level."
On if he thinks the Ravens should wait until late in Sunday's game to honor OLB Terrell Suggs:"Listen, I'm worried about playing football. I'll let the big dogs handle those decisions. I'm sure they'll do something that's respectful. However they handle it, I have trust in them that they'll handle it the right way. I'm just going to worry about playing ball."
On if he feels like OLB Terrell Suggs left an imprint on players who have come through the Ravens' locker room: "Yes. He did things the right way. Football is No. 1 for him. He played at a high level, and he continues to do so. He's a great role model for anybody, let alone just in this organization. Like I said, he was one of our pillars."
**CARDINALS HEAD COACH KLIFF KINGSBURY
(Conference Call with Baltimore Media)**
What was your message to your team after your first half not being up to par and your second half tying the score?*_(Kevin Richardson) _*"Collectively, it was just, 'Continue to fight.' We knew we hadn't played our best football. We knew that Detroit came out with a great plan and attacked and made a bunch of plays, and we hadn't made any. I was proud of the way our guys stuck together. It was about as bleak as you could be going into halftime, but guys kept believing in each other and kept fighting, and they found a way to get back into that game."
What is the biggest challenge in going against a Ravens' defense that presents so many looks? (Jamison Hensley)"You just said it. For a young quarterback on the road in his first start, that's a tough task. Where they bring people from, how adept they are at disguising looks and hitting the pressures on time, it's going to be a real challenge for us."
Being a first-year head coach, especially taking on the responsibility of calling plays on gamedays, how important was it to you to find a defensive coordinator like Vance Joseph who is experienced and has been a head coach himself? What are the benefits of that? (Reporter)"That was huge. I've obviously been a head coach in college for six years, but the NFL is a different level, and things are done differently. To have someone I could lean on like Vance [Joseph], who is a great leader of men, has been through it for two years, seen ups and downs, to be able to pick his brain on, 'What did you like? What didn't you like? What would you have done differently?' on a daily basis, for me, has been incredible. I'm very lucky to have him."
Does that let you focus more on the offensive side of the ball, or do you have to be cognizant of not doing that? (Reporter) "No question. That's what I wanted. I wanted somebody who was the head coach for the defense. He does a tremendous job."
We saw that OLB Terrell Suggs had two sacks against the Lions. Is he the player that you thought he was going to be coming into Arizona? (Gabby DiPaula) "He is. He's still a dominant force. He plays with such intensity and savvy and smarts. In training camp, he's calling out plays before we even run them. He's so big and strong. He can stop the run. He can set the edge. He can still get home on the passer. And he brings such great energy to every meeting, every practice. He loves the game. He's been a huge addition for our organization."
What have you enjoyed the most about getting to know him as a character? (Childs Walker)"I think just that – just the energy and the joy with which he shows up to the facility each and every day. He loves to play the game. He loves to interact with people. He loves to help the rookies and share knowledge of what he learned over his illustrious career. That goes a long way for this building and for the culture that we're trying to build here."
What do you expect OLB Terrell Suggs' return to Baltimore to be like for him this week? (Andrew Gillis)"Emotional. [He has] the most games played, ever, for that organization. He has a tremendous amount of respect and love for that place and all that he was able to accomplish there. I know it means a lot to him."
Watching QB Lamar Jackson throw and connect on as many deep passes as he did last week, how does that change your thinking as you try to defend him? (Aaron Kasinitz)"It hasn't changed mine. I knew he was a tremendous quarterback. Being a former quarterback, I was very impressed by the way he stepped up to the plate and hit every throw. He threw, I think, a perfect passer rating. That says a lot about his competitive nature. I just couldn't have been more impressed. I thought he was a tremendous quarterback. He is. There's a misnomer that he's not a passer or a skilled passer, but you turn on that tape, and it doesn't take long to see just how good he is. So, I knew he was very good. I think that kind of solidified just how elite of a quarterback he is in this league."
Did you recruit QB Lamar Jackson or know much about him when he was coming out of high school? (Reporter)"No. We stuck to Texas, mainly. My first time I saw him was they were playing Texas A&M in a bowl game. I used to coach at Texas A&M, so I always followed them closely, and I see this kid running around as a true freshman and making plays. He was the best player on the field, and I was just blown away by how good he was as a true freshman – his command of the offense, all of these different things. And then just to watch him progress in where he's at now, it's been fun to watch."
People make the superficial comparisons between QB Lamar Jackson and QB Kyler Murray. As someone who knows the position more deeply, do you see that at all, or is that something that may be more convenient to talk about from the outside? (Childs Walker)"I think so. I think if guys really are dynamic athletes and great runners, then they want to lump them together. But in my opinion, they're two guys that can be the future of the sport, if they continue to progress and put in the work and the time. They have all the tools. They have the competitive nature. Their entire lives, all they've ever done is won and been the best player on the field. That's the way it can go if they're willing to put in the work."
The transition that QB Kyler Murray is making from college to the NFL is never going to be easy, but I wonder, especially with your perspective as a college coach, is that becoming easier for someone like Kyler? He has basically played in the system since he was probably 10 years old or something like that. The fact that football across all levels seems to be getting more uniform in style on offense, is that going to help quarterbacks like Kyler make the jump to the NFL? (Reporter)"I would hope the transition could be eased a bit, if you will, based on the fact that in this league, you have to win immediately. And everybody knows that. So, if you're not doing things to help your first-round picks or whoever is going to be your guy, you may be missing the boat a little bit. Otherwise, you're just prepping him for the next coach to come in. These guys have to be able to come in and play with confidence of playing at a high level, so you have to be able to give them concepts and things they're comfortable with and can execute quickly, and I think you're seeing more and more teams do that."
Being a former college coach, you've had the chance to see a lot of film of blowout games, but to see it in the NFL is a rarity. What do you tell your team when they look at film and they see the dominance that the Ravens had this past Sunday? (Kevin Richardson) "I think it's definitely an eye-opener for us, and just understanding what we're going into and the quality of team that we're playing against and that we need a great week of practice. I think if we had any doubts about just how good they are, then that answered them. So, I think more than anything, it was a wake-up call."
**CARDINALS LB TERRELL SUGGS
(Conference Call with Baltimore Media) **
On his thoughts coming back to Baltimore and if he had this game circled on his calendar: "It wasn't circled, but when the schedule came out, I was like, 'Yeah, I'm going to downplay it as just another game.' But we all know that'd be [expletive]. It's kind of a unique situation, isn't it? It's kind of weird. Everybody is just kind of anxious to see what it's going to be like."
On if he almost had to laugh when he saw the schedule:"I didn't catch on right away. I saw it was Week 2. I didn't see if it was in Arizona or at Baltimore, and then once it hit me that it was actually your home opener, that's when I was kind of like, 'Wow.' That's when the craziness of it kind of set in."
On if he misses Baltimore and being a Raven: "That's always going to be a part of my life. You spend 16 years there … I definitely miss my guys, my former teammates. Everybody had to turn the page."
On if what he meant to the Ravens and what the team meant to him will hit him in the gut during the game: "I don't know. We won't know until we get there. We actually do have to line up against each other, so we don't know what we're going to be feeling on gameday."
On what type of reception he is expecting in Baltimore and if he anticipates the organization doing something for him: "No, I didn't anticipate anything. Like I said, I'm going to be totally honest with you, I don't know what to expect walking back into M&T [Bank Stadium], but I'm going to do my best to enjoy it – the good, the bad and the ugly."
On what he made of QB Lamar Jackson's performance last week: "It was really impressive. That was very impressive. He went out there, he lit it up. He played, he was on a roll, and he showed exactly who he is and what he can do in this league."
On if he has ever been in the Ravens' visiting locker room:"I've never been in there. Like I said, it's going to be a new feeling. It will be kind of weird for all of us."
On how he feels physically: "I'm supposed to tell the team I'm playing's media, 'Oh, I've been feeling bad all summer.'? (laughter)It's been alright, man. It's been a really good summer. It's been a hot one, but like I said, it's been a really good summer. I got to look after and hang around with mom a little bit, so it's been a really good one."
On how difficult it was to leave the Ravens and if he struggled with that decision:"It was a tough one. I wrestled with it, kind of made a decision in the last hour. But as you know, as time has shown, I think both teams made the best decision. It worked out for everybody."
On if there was one moment that pushed him over the top to make a decision and if the Ravens made one last push: "They did. There wasn't really a moment. They essentially made a last push. They did. I just felt it was time. It was time."
On what it meant to him to come out of the tunnel last in M&T Bank Stadium, especially in big occasions like home openers:"It was definitely the highest honor you could get in introductions, to be introduced last, especially because the guy who did it before you was a football god [LB Ray Lewis]. Really, there was no pressure on you. You didn't have to be that good because you're never going to be as good as the guy who did it before you. It's definitely the highest honor. I loved it. I loved every minute of it."
On what role he plays in the Arizona locker room:"It's exactly the same. That's why our game is so special, because football is football and the locker room is the locker room. Some locker rooms are more unique than others, but yes, I still get to be myself. I still get to be 'Sizzle,' and that was key. That was huge. I love just still being able to be one of the guys."
On if he's thought about retiring as a Raven at the end of his career:"I haven't thought about it. A lot of people have had that opportunity and had that honor to do so. I think we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but I have to be honest, guys, I shy away when people start talking about retirement. I don't like the talks."
On if his experience working against Ravens T Ronnie Stanley and T Orlando Brown Jr. will help him this week:"Absolutely none at all. Everybody gets better every year. You work on different things, and those guys are just coming into their own now. The guys who I used to practice against every day, they're all grown up now. They're not my little brothers, so to say. They're the big little brothers now."
On if he's kept it touch with guys in Baltimore:"Wouldn't you like to know. (laughter)What do you think, man?" (Reporter: "I would think yes.")Of course."
On the type of reception he expects from the Baltimore fans:"I have no clue what's going to happen on Sunday. I don't know what kind of reception [I'll get]. I don't know how I'm going to feel. This is a very unique situation for me. This is something that in 17 years I've never experienced, so this is going to be a first."
On what the experience with the Cardinals has been like and what's been the biggest difference:"I really haven't noticed one. It's football at the end of the day. We're all players. We all have that in common. We go to work every day, work hard every day, so I really haven't compared this team from the last. I'm pretty much just enjoying Year 17, just being able to play."
On if this Ravens offense is difficult to prepare with its new players and speed:"It seems that way, doesn't it? I mean, [expletive], 59 points is 59 points. You don't see that that often in the NFL, so we've definitely got our work cut out for us."
On if he had the game circled on his calendar:"When it first came out, I was just going to try to blow it off, and say, 'Oh, it's just another game.' But you want to win all your games. I know the only people that went undefeated was the '07 Boston team, but you always want to play well. It's the NFL. Like I said, Sunday is so far away. I'm going to try to not let my emotions get the best of me and enjoy Wednesday."
On his impressions of rookie QB Kyler Murray:"I like him. He shows a tremendous amount of potential. It's up to him on how good he wants to be. If he's going to study and try to take the lead and do the things that other young quarterbacks are doing, I think he has a bright future. And if he continues to work, we'll see it sooner rather than later."
On if he expects to get sentimental:"I don't know. I don't plan on it, but I don't know."
On if there's something he wants to do in his return to Baltimore:"No. There's nothing particular that I want to do. This is Year 17 for me, and for me to have the opportunity to play in such a unique game, this is one hell of a storyline. I'm going to be totally honest with you. I consider myself a good screen writer. I could have never wrote this, though. This is a very unique week, and I'm just going to enjoy the ride."
On how he would write the ending of this story:"I don't know. With the week coming up, I guess you kind of have to let it write itself."