Transcripts: Wednesday Media Availability: Week 3 at Kansas City

WEDNESDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Week 3 at KANSAS CITY

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: “Good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys being here. It’s a beautiful day, a little cooler today. That’s my regular weekly weather report that we do. (laughter) We’re excited about where we’re at, but way more excited about where we have an opportunity to go. We’re looking forward to going to Kansas City and playing this game.”

When you look at the Chiefs’ offense and your familiarity with Andy Reid, when you’re watching that offense, are there points when you’re going, “OK, I can see Andy Reid’s influence.”? (Jamison Hensley) _“Yes.” _(Reporter: “Are there any parts that stand out to you?”) “Andy has been doing it a long time. One of the things that he’s known for, one of the things that’s made his offenses so successful, is the fact that he evolves it. He morphs it. He takes plays from wherever he can get them, and he tries to build it around the players that he has. He’s done a great job with that.”

Do you like matching wits with Andy Reid because you come from some of the same backgrounds? (Jerry Coleman) “Andy [Reid] and I matching wits? I don’t think it would be a real exciting, intellectual thing to watch. (laughter) It’s been great to play him over the years. We haven’t won enough of them. That’s what I think about.”

*Steve Spagnuolo is now the defensive coordinator in Kansas City. You’re familiar with him. What do you know about him, having worked with him, and what do you expect from him on Sunday? _(Mark Viviano)_ *“I know it’s a sound defense. They play really hard. They’re very secure in what they do. They have a system. They executive it very well. That’s what you expect from a ‘Spags’-run defense.”

When the Chiefs drafted QB Patrick Mahomes, did you learn anything from their process, as far as the way you identify a quarterback and fill an offense around him? (Adam Kilgore) “No, not really.”

Your defense is ranked No. 2 right now, but this is one game that you might want to circle on the calendar for a true test to see how good this defense is. (Dave Ginsburg) “Yes, but it’s not about that, though, really. I appreciate that in that world, but we’re not thinking about that. We’re just trying to find a way to win the game. That’s what we’re trying to do. And every phase is going to have to play their best football to do it. You’re playing one of the best teams in the league at their place. It’s one of the great stadiums in the National Football League. It will be one of the loudest crowds that we’ll face all year, for sure. We’ve been there before numerous times, and we know what to expect. We’re just going to try to play the best football we can with all three phases and try to find a way to win the game.”

*What makes a good deep ball thrower? _(James Palmer)_ *“Accuracy. Touch.”

OLB Matthew Judon has improved and is getting a lot of pressures. Is that a result of scheme, or just him getting better? (Mike Preston) “It’s both, but probably, the pressures in this game that you saw were him. He ran the edge. They were speed rushes. He did a great job with his hands and turned the corner really well. It was him. He deserves the credit for those pressures and those sacks.”

Compared to last year’s Kansas City game, how much pressure is there in this match? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre)“They’re different games. We were in a different place last year. We were trying to claw our way back into the playoff hunt with our quarterback playing, what, his second or third game? Maybe his first road game, even. Now, we’re early in the season. We’re trying to make our way. There will be a lot at stake at the end of the year when you count them up, but right now, both teams are trying to find who they are and are trying to win an early AFC matchup. It’s just kind of an early-season game.”

Last year, it seemed like you used a lot of different coverages on TE Travis Kelce. Is there anything that you can take from that game to help you this week? (Aaron Kasinitz) “He’s just going to be hard to cover. I don’t care what you do, how you cover him, how many guys you put on him – he’s going to be a challenge to cover. You don’t really expect to shut him out. We’re going to try to keep the batting average down just a little bit. I’m sure we’ll throw some different things at him.”

As you’ve talked to your brother over the years, did he ever talk about, as a quarterback, how much more comfortable he felt when he had a tight end that he felt was reliable? (Childs Walker) “Sure, yes. He talked about that all the time. I can remember many conversations around the dinner table when Jim [Harbaugh] mentioned tight ends and how comfortable it made him.” (laughter) (Reporter: “So, no?”) “No, I don’t really recall that conversation.” (Reporter: “I looked at his career, and in his best seasons, both at Michigan and with the Colts, he had a guy he relied on.”) “If you look at Jim’s career – we’re talking Jim’s career now – I don’t think he had a lot of great receivers over the years. He was never blessed with a great receiver. That’s just his big brother talking. They could have done a better job putting some weapons around him. It would have helped his numbers. _(laughter) _His numbers were good, but that would have helped.”

*QB Patrick Mahomes seems like a guy who could thrive in any system, but what have you seen from the Chiefs in terms of how they got guys who can really amplify those talents? _(Jonas Shaffer)_ *“That’s what they’ve done. That’s kind of what Andy [Reid] has done, to the question that we had earlier. They put speed around him. They throw shots. They throw screens. They check it down. They run the ball. That’s what they do. They’re not complicated. You can see what they’re doing, but they do it really well with good players, and they give you all the things that are tough on different coverages. They know the coverages they’re trying to attack. So, that’s smart. He’s a gifted thrower, really, on all three levels. He gets the ball out quickly, can avoid the rush, can create time. That’s why he was the MVP last year. He deserved it; he earned it. That’s our challenge. We have to try to slow him down a little bit.”

Is there any way to prepare for the way QB Patrick Mahomes improvises? (Todd Karpovich) “Whatever quarterback we’re seeing, we prepare accordingly. We have guys that can do it. We have some talented guys ourselves that can move around and challenge our defense that way in practice. We’ll try to simulate that as much as we can. We play quarterbacks like that. You keep him in the pocket as much as you can. You make him throw under pressure as much as you can. You cover the guys as well as you can. Then, you play football. That’s what you try to do. If he throws one up down the middle again, hopefully, we’ll get it this time.”

After playing QB Patrick Mahomes last season, do you feel like you have a better feel for him and what he does after seeing how you played him and how he reacted to it? (Jamison Hensley) “Sure. Seeing a player in person against your own team [is valuable]. We hadn’t seen him before that. That really helps. You get to know guys over the years. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of him over the years. He’s a guy we’ll be getting to know well.”

*When a team you’re about to play picks up a player who has been on your team through the summer, do you have to make changes, or is that an overblown story? _(Jeff Zrebiec)_ *“It’s an overblown story. Players know what they know in their world, in their realm. There might be some subtle things, but on the list of concerns playing the Chiefs this week, I’d say that’s toward the bottom.”

TE Mark Andrews

On if he compares himself to Chiefs TE Travis Kelce or if he has looked up to Kelce: “Obviously, through college and everything, I’ve watched a lot of film of Travis Kelce and looked up to him. I don’t know if we’re comparable or whatnot; I’ll leave that for you to decide. I think that we both have certain strong points in our game, and obviously, he’s been one of the best tight ends, if not the best tight end, in the league for a long time. I have a lot of respect for him.”

*On if he wants to play with the same attitude that TE Travis Kelce plays with: *“He has a lot of confidence. He has a lot of swagger to his game. It’s fun to watch a guy like that. I think there are certain aspects of that, what he brings to his team and his confidence and swagger – I bring some of that as well.”

On if young Ravens players grew up in last year’s game in Kansas City, specifically QB Lamar Jackson: “No doubt. That was a big-time game, kind of a nail-biter game. A lot of guys kind of grew up in that game. I think Lamar [Jackson] being able to play a tight game like that was big for his growth. It’s one of those games that I don’t think a lot of people have forgotten to this day.”

*On what he remembers about the atmosphere in last year’s Kansas City game: *“It was huge. Those fans are yelling their butts off. It’s hard to hear. It’s hard to think. Just being in that environment makes it tough on offenses to do their job. So, just going in there prepared and knowing everything that you need to do is going to be big for us.”

On when he and QB Lamar Jackson started to recognize that they see the game similarly: “It was pretty early on. I would run a route maybe a little differently than how it was drawn up, and he would see it the same way and would throw it perfectly on time. We’ve had that kind of chemistry pretty early on from the start.”

On if he feels like he can make QB Lamar Jackson’s life easier: “It’s a two-way [street]. He makes my life a ton easier, and I help him. We’re both just trying to make our team better and help get some wins.”

*On how his chemistry with former OU teammate QB Baker Mayfield compares to his chemistry with QB Lamar Jackson: *“It’s different. I think with Baker [Mayfield], he had a lot of other guys around him that he gravitated toward first, and it wasn’t until about my third year there playing with him that that kind of came on. It wasn’t as an immediate impact and an immediate chemistry as it is with Lamar [Jackson]. So, that’s the beauty of it. That’s why it’s so fun to play with Lamar, because he’s a tight end- and a receiver-friendly quarterback.”

CB Brandon Carr

*On the challenge of going up against the Kansas City offense: *“Big week for us, Week 3, trying to find a way to get to 3-0. It just so happens we play the Kansas City Chiefs. We’re excited for it. It’s a big challenge for us in the back end, a big challenge for the defense and for this ball club on the road against a playoff-caliber team. They have it all. We’re excited to see what we’re made of, so it’s a big challenge for us, trying to find a way to get to 3-0.”

*On what he learned from facing QB Patrick Mahomes last year: *“You have to play to the whistle. He’s a guy that can extend the play – smart guy, big arm, strong arm. You’ve got to lock in each and every down. They have a lot of different movements and gadgets and a lot of different things going on with their offense, so you have to have disciplined eye control, 100 percent communication and just play as a unit for 60 minutes.”

*On how playing a quarterback with outlier arm strength affects his responsibilities as a defensive back: *“Nothing changes. We prepare for these elite-caliber quarterbacks and teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, so we’re excited for the opportunity. We just have to cover until the whistle blows – extended downs, 60 minutes. So, it’s going to take … Just bring your ‘A’ game, bring your lunch pail, bring your hard hat. Let’s rock and roll.”

*On his memory of the heave to WR Tyreek Hill on fourth down over the middle late in the game last season: *“It was a good play for them. Like I said, you just always have to lock in. So, that was just a reminder for us, seeing it on the film each and every day until gameday. It kind of doesn’t sit well with you. So, just 100 percent communication, guys just finishing the play. You can never take a down off with these guys, so we’re locked in. We’re ready to go. New year, new team, we’ll see what the results will be.”

*On if defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will show that play every day this week on film: *“We probably will. It’s part of our film study. It was a big play. We like to see our big plays and try to correct them. We know teams are going to attack our weaknesses, attack the plays that have success on us. So, that’s what we prepare for as well, so we can be out there and be 100 percent.”

*On if there was a common denominator on the big pass plays the defense gave up against the Cardinals last week: *“Some were communication. Some they made a play. Good for those guys, but there are definitely things we can clean up on the back end. So, today is Step 1 of cleaning those things up and looking for a good week.”

*On how difficult it is to prepare for a player like TE Travis Kelce: *“I wouldn’t say it’s harder. It’s what we do. It’s a big challenge for us. He’s a receiver that can stretch the field, make a lot of catches, has a big catch radius, but we won’t shy away from challenging him and getting in his face and seeing what we’re made of as well. So, it’s going to be a big week for us. We’re excited for it, just with the weapons they have and who we have on our end, as well. We’re ready to go to war.”

*On how you can defend against a no-look pass: *“Tight coverage.”

*On if QB Lamar Jackson’s performance in Kansas City last season helped build confidence in him from the team: *“Just from that game? All the games, put them all together. Each and every week he gained more respect and confidence from his teammates. That was last year. We know what we have in him this year. It’s Week 3, so we look forward to the offense getting better, defense and special teams.”

*On if the crowd noise at Arrowhead Stadium will affect him: *“Me? On defense? I like noise. The offense, they prepare for it. We’ll be ready for any and everything.”

*On if he’s pleased or surprised with how quickly the defense has come together this season: *“We’re making some headway. Like you said, there’s some new names. But it’s Ravens football, Ravens defense, so guys know what to expect when they come into this locker room and the dark side of football. But like you said, there’s always room to improve. I think we’re just scratching the surface of our potential. We’ve got some young guys in the back end and some communication things and concept and alignment things that we can improve on. The good thing is it’s Week 3. We have a whole season to get this thing nailed in and be playing our best football when it’s time.”

*On how S Earl Thomas III has changed the defense: *“He’s making plays for us in the back end. He’s an aggressive safety. You see it, right? We see it. We enjoy it. We’re just trying to build and get better each and every week.”

*On if he considers this game at KC a measuring stick: *“It’s Week 3, so like I said, it’s another opportunity for us to go out there and win another football game and get to 3-0. The Kansas City Chiefs are our next opponent. Go ahead and take care of business, find a way to get to 3-0. Each and every game in this league is a measuring stick, I believe, and it’s so hard to win in this league. You take it how you can. Our biggest thing is to win on Wednesday, get better today, get prepared for this team and get ready for tomorrow as well. We’re taking it one day at a time, and it’s going to be a good weekend for all of us.”

*On why the NFL Huddle for 100 initiative this coming Monday is important: *“I’ve been blessed to play this game. This journey has been amazing, and I’ve met a lot of incredible people [and] organizations along the way. And another one of my passions, besides out here on this green grass, is giving back to my community. I’ve seen my parents do it my whole life. The impact they had – it just motivated me and moved me to have this platform but use it in a positive way. So, I think this is an incredible opportunity to give back to the community of Baltimore, the city that is always amazing, to get back with the fans and all the volunteers to just make our community better. That’s what it’s all about. It’s making your mark on the society and what you can do and give it your all. So, just for a couple hours on Monday next week, I’m going to an elementary school and reading for a few hours. Something light and fun, but just to get back with the kids and be in my comfort zone, as well, along with being inside the lines. But like I said, it’s just an opportunity for us all to give back and do our part within this journey of life.”

QB Lamar Jackson

*On what QB Patrick Mahomes is if QB Tom Brady and QB Aaron Rodgers are the G.O.A.T.s: *“He’s on his way. Those guys have Super Bowls. He’s a dynamic quarterback. It’s his third year, and he’s been doing a tremendous job. [He is a] former MVP. I just can’t wait to compete against him again.”

*On the Chiefs’ changes to their defense this offseason: *“[They have] new faces in the secondary, new ends. They got one from Seattle this year, speed rush-type of guy. We’re just going to have to see when we get on the field. Film can’t tell you anything [about game speed].”

On what he makes of the talk that this matchup is him versus QB Patrick Mahomes: “It’s Ravens versus Chiefs. I don’t really look at it like I’m competing against him. I’m competing against his defense, if anything. I depend on my defense to do a great job of stopping him, and my job is to score points. That’s what I’m going to do.”

*On what it means to play street ball with TE Mark Andrews: *“Just having a great chemistry on the field, great connect. He finds a way to get open. I just have to throw him perfect passes. That’s street ball.”

*On if playing street ball is knowing that TE Mark Andrews is in-sync with him: *“Exactly. It also started in OTAs. He was doing a lot in OTAs, different plays, different schemes and defensive runs. He finds a way to get open. I just call it street ball.”

*On how he and TE Mark Andrews see the game similarly: *“Like I said, it started in OTAs. We’ll start finding holes in defenses. I’ll see it, and Mark [Andrews] does just a great job of seeing it himself. He’ll give me the ‘open’ hands, and I have to give him a great ball and let him get some yards after the catch.”

On the fact that he hasn’t thrown an interception yet this season: “Now you want to jinx me. (laughter) You’re not supposed to say anything about it, we’re doing good, baby!”

*On the key to avoiding turnovers: *“[You have to] try to complete every ball, try to hit your receivers on the helmet with the ball, hit them in the hands in stride. I try not to throw interceptions. My job is to not have any turnovers.”

On if he did anything in the offseason to work on his ball security: “Absolutely. We went with the running backs, on our spare time, the individuals [drills], to work on ball handling and not fumbling. But interceptions, you just have to throw accurate balls.” 

*On how much last year’s game against Kansas City has stuck with him: *“It’s still with me right now. It doesn’t go away until I get that opportunity again and perform very well.”

*On if there were things that he took from last year’s game against the Chiefs that have helped him in his development: *“I felt like our team was great. We went out in that atmosphere [and competed]. Kansas City had a great fanbase that game. The crowd was pumped. We just have to finish the game, that’s all.”

On if part of his job is to keep QB Patrick Mahomes on the sideline: “That’s not my job. My job is, like I said before, to score touchdowns, drive the ball downfield. I’m not really worried about him. My job is to worry about my team, my side of the ball, offense, scoring points.”

On if he learned anything from his experience in Kansas City last year: “Win the game. Like I said before, finish. That’s what we have to do in that type of environment – finish.”

On what helps in making the jump between a rookie season and Year Two: “Just grind. Get with your teammates. Build chemistry. Build a unit. Build a union with your teammates, and just grind. That’s what we’ve been doing since the start of OTAs – grinding and showing up on the field. We’ve been doing a great job at that, and we just have to do the same thing on Sundays.”

On why he hasn’t seemed surprised at how quickly rookie WR Marquise Brown has made an impact on the offense: “That’s his job. That’s why he got drafted first round, to come in and make an impact. He was doing it a lot in college. He did it all of his life. So, I look at him just like myself: just go out there and do what you’ve been doing. Play football.”

*On if the offense feels pressure to score points knowing how good the Chiefs offense is: *“No, not at all. We’ll just do what we’ve been doing, go out there competing. The job is to win the game, and that’s what we’re going into that environment to do.”

*On what factors into him seeing the ball and throwing the ball well with differences in the Ravens’ personnel: *“Like I said, I was thrown in in Week 11 [last season]. I didn’t really have chemistry with those guys. They were with [Joe] Flacco the whole time, and I was with the other guys. I tried to turn it over during games, but sometimes, it didn’t work. We came out with victories, but this year, I had an offseason. I got my guys, worked very hard through the grind and OTAs. We got better. It’s just showing up on Sundays.”

On how meaningful it is that the franchise built a system that exploits what he does well: “It meant a lot. They believe in me. They trust in me. My job is to just show them up and do what I have to do. Win games – that’s why I’m here.”

On if the excitement around the Kansas City game reminds him of the Louisville-Clemson game his sophomore year: “I lost that game. I don’t want it to remind me of that. (laughter) Every game is exciting. We’re just going on another road game, just like Miami, trying to pull off a victory.”

On if it means anything that the Chiefs are a Super Bowl favorite: “No, you can’t control that. My job is to control what I can control, and that’s my offense. I don’t really care about the hype. I don’t even care about the hype they’re giving us now. They were just doubting us the whole offseason. Like I said, we’re just going to go in there and perform.”

S Earl Thomas III

On containing QB Patrick Mahomes: “You just have to understand his explosive plays and that he’s going to come with some exotic stuff. We’re going to try to make them one-dimensional, stop the run, as usual, but it’s going to be a tough task on the road against him. He’s coming off a big game, I think a four-touchdown game. It’s going to definitely challenge us.”

*On how the Chiefs’ speed on the outside will affect what the Ravens do on defense: *“I think that comes down to personnel. Luckily, the Ravens have me playing free safety, controlling the deep end. I plan on eliminating all the big plays.”

*On what kind of statement QB Lamar Jackson can make against the Chiefs: *“I think he can just continue doing what he’s been doing. I think he’s been very consistent. He’s basically been the big energy ball that we need. Whatever he’s doing – whether he’s running the ball, if he’s passing, if he’s on point with the passing game – he’s making it happen for us. Us on defense, we just have to keep trying to give him the ball.”

*On his assessment of how the defense has played in the first two games: *“Miami was Miami. They’re struggling this year. But last week, we kind of felt a little type of way, because we didn’t dominate like we wanted to dominate. But it was a lot of well-schemed-up plays. We got to watch the tape, and we learned from those mistakes. And hopefully, we get them corrected once we get out there against Kansas City, because it’s a copy-cat league.”

*On if he considers this to be a big game, even in Week 3, given what it could mean down the line: *“I don’t think that far. I don’t think we’re going to think that far [ahead]. I think we’re just trying to stay in our groove and keep this thing going.”

*On what the defensive approach will be against QB Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense: *“Luckily, I got to watch the tape from last year, so that gave me a good idea. I know it’s going to be a close game. It’s going to be a dog fight. We just have to execute when it counts. A couple times on fourth-and-9, we had them. We kind of let them slip away. The thing about [Patrick] Mahomes is, once he scrambles, he’s looking across the field, down the field, and he’s not scared to make those types of throws. Most quarterbacks won’t try that.”

*On what defenders have to do differently when they know QB Patrick Mahomes can make those throws across the field: *“I think it’s all about awareness – just be aware of what he can do and just play your role in the defense.”

*On if he’s excited for Sunday’s matchup: *“I was excited last week. When you’ve got a team that throws the ball that much, you expect to make some plays on the ball, so that will be great.”

G Marshal Yanda

*On if he considers this game at KC to be a measuring stick: *“Not really. We focus on the gameplan. We focus on practice and sharpening things up, just getting better every single day. Obviously, we know that they’re a good football team, and we’re going to respect them. But we’re just more worried about what we can control in this building and just getting better every day.”

*On if he thinks the experience of playing at Kansas City last season will benefit QB Lamar Jackson: *“Yes, I think when you’re a young player and you’re in that environment – that hostile, on-the-road environment … Kansas City has a great home crowd, and they’re extremely loud. So yes, I think that those loud games for young players are important. So yeah, he should be able to build from that.”

*On if this is the fastest offense that he’s played with in Baltimore and how exciting that is: *“Yes, obviously, just with the zone-read stuff with Lamar [Jackson], there’s more stuff going on, and we’re running a lot of plays. But, I always get back to the fact that, hey, as long as we’re winning ball games, it really doesn’t matter. As long as we’re being successful and we’re doing what we want to do and we’re relevant in December, that’s all that matters. So, you sign me up for winning football, and we’ll get ’er done.”

*On TE Mark Andrews and the attitude he plays with: *“I think he’s doing a great job. He’s making big plays for us and catching the football and doing his job at a high level for a young player, and that’s good to see. You want him to continue to build. Obviously, he’s still a young guy, and he still has a lot to learn. But we all like what he’s doing, and he’s a big part of our football team. He just needs to continue to stay humble and work extremely hard every day and just keep grinding.”

*On how it’s decided who gives the pre-game speech after warmup: *“That’s kind of been a moving target. Last year it was ‘Sizz’ [Terrell Suggs], and then this year we decided we were going to spread the love a little bit so certain guys are going to do it. It’s not going to be just one guy all year.”

*On what his message was in his pre-game speech last week: *“I just talked about being mentally tough and mentally focused for the game in that four-hour time block that everybody needs to be locked in and ready to roll, and, obviously, I was a little bit more fired up than a Wednesday getting ready for practice. _(laughter) _But yes, you want to do your part and fire guys up, and it also gives a chance for the young guys to understand where my mindset is at during that time and what we expect of the young guys, what we expect of everybody on the football field on Sunday. So, I try to do my part and give them a little insight.”

*On if he likes giving the speech: *“Yes. I guess I’m not used to doing, but I also understand that I want to be able to … I know I’m an old guy now, and I want to be able to help the young guys. I want to be able to show them what we’re doing and how important it is to all of us, no matter how old you are or whether you’re a rookie or you’re a 13-year vet, that we all play this game because we love it, and you’re fired up on Sunday. So, I didn’t mind it at all.”

*On making sure the team isn’t buying into the hype that’s building from the outside: *“I feel like when you have a young football team, when you win two games, people automatically start looking ahead and not understanding that every single week is an ultimate battle, and you just have to take them one game at a time. And if you get complacent, complacency kills. And [for] a lot of young guys, that can start to creep in, the success. But we’ve been trying to do a good job, and I think the guys – coaches and players and everybody together – are understanding that it’s a week-to-week season, and win, lose or draw, we have to move on. If we were 0-2, 1-1, whatever we were, we have to just continue to work hard, and it’s a race to get better. Everybody is young in this thing right now. It’s still September football. We’re all building. We want to go like this every single week. It’s a race to get better. Nobody is peaking in Week 3. We all understand that, and we’re trying to keep the guys humble and hungry.”

*On how C Bradley Bozeman has held up so far as the starting left guard: *“I think he’s done a good job. It’s two games in. I think that he’s playing hard, and he just needs to continue to get reps. Like I said, for young guys reps are just the most important experience that you can get, those live-speed game reps. You’re going to get them in practice, but they still can’t ever simulate game speed. So, he’s doing a good job. He just needs to continue to grind. He’s done a good job.”

*On where Arrowhead Stadium ranks in terms of hostile environments: *“I don’t know. It’s definitely always been a hostile environment when we’ve went there. We played a playoff game back there in ’10. We played there in ’12, and it was just loud. Their fans are great fans. They have a great football tradition, so we know it’s a loud place to play in Arrowhead, for sure.”

*On if lots of Iowans he knows will be attending the game: *“Yes, about 80. Yes, 80.”

*On if this game brings the most friends and family out from back home in Iowa: *“Yes, because it’s like a four-hour drive from my home area of Iowa, so yeah, about 80 friends and family. They’ll be cheering us on.”

*On if they understand that he doesn’t get comped tickets: *“Yes, they do. Everybody knows the deal by now, for sure.”

CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID CONFERENCE CALL

(with Baltimore media)

You’ve faced the Ravens under John Harbaugh a couple of times now, but what is it like going head-to-head against somebody who came up under you in the coaching ranks and has gone on to have the success that he has had? (Daniel Oyefusi)“He’s done a heck of a job. It’s so unique in how he and ‘Oz’ [Ozzie Newsome, executive vice president] and the whole group there have been able to retool and bring new people in, and everybody excels. So, you know you’re in for a well-coached football team that’s going to be physical.”

*What matchup do you most look forward to watching on the field? _(Ximena Lugo-Latorre)_ *“Fortunately or unfortunately, I look at all of them. I don’t have a favorite player either way. I just go out there and try to coach them, make sure we’re doing the right things and try to make adjustments off of the other things.”

You’ve seen the Ravens change their defense from the team that you saw last year. What do you think of the current unit that they’re putting out there? (Dave Ginsburg) “They’re a heck of a defense. You start at the back end with [Earl] Thomas. He’s a veteran player that’s a future Hall of Famer and does a heck of a job. So, they’re good. That’s what I’m saying: Guys leave, and new guys fill in, and they just go.”

What do you notice is different about QB Lamar Jackson compared to the guy you faced last year? (Ken Weinman) “He has a full, complete grasp. Not that he didn’t, [because] he played a good game against us last year. He has a full grasp of the offense, and there’s just a certain comfort that you get when you play like he has, and you can see that in his play.”

After you drafted QB Patrick Mahomes, how did you build a system and a team around him? What’s the importance of that once you identify who your quarterback is? (Adam Kilgore) “You’re kind of saying it. You take his strengths and you play to his strengths, and then you work on the things that he needs to work on and get him better. And people don’t even recognize those things, because the coaches don’t put him in that position. That’s the trick. And [offensive coordinator Greg] Roman does a heck of a job with that. He’s phenomenal. John [Harbaugh] is phenomenal with it. And most of all, the kid [Lamar Jackson] is a heck of a player. He’s a talented kid to work with.”

How much better is a quarterback’s life when he has a really good tight end to throw to? Obviously, you have a great one there. (Childs Walker)“[The tight end is] the closest guy to him that’s not coming out of the backfield, most of the time. So, it’s always good to have a good one.”

QB Patrick Mahomes had a big jump from Year One to Year Two, and QB Lamar Jackson seems like he’s showing signs of doing that. What are the keys in that first offseason for a quarterback to have a breakout second season? (Aaron Kasinitz) “It starts before that. They go back and look at all of their plays from the year before, and that’s priceless. You put the cut-ups together, and they can study it, see themselves doing this and that. They know. Quarterbacks are pretty real guys. They look at it and go, ‘I need to do this better and this better,’ and then they go do it.”

Have you noticed teams being more open-minded or more creative about how they build an offense around guys they draft? (Adam Kilgore)“Throwing is a big thing on that, right? I think it’s great what the colleges are doing, throwing the ball around, so when we get them, they kind of know how to do that. And then you can evaluate them. You’re getting all of these kids that come in and are playing, and there’s a whole influx in the National Football League right now. I think it’s great. I think it’s great for the game.”

Out of all of the mobile quarterbacks you’ve coached, does QB Lamar Jackson remind you of any of them? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) “I believe that these guys put their own name on their game. Every quarterback I’ve had has done it his way. None of them are the same. I try not to compare. People have asked me about Brett Favre and Patrick [Mahomes], and I stay away from that. I never go there, because they put their own personality to their game.”

What has it been like to have RB LeSean McCoy back around you, both on the field and in the locker room? (Aaron Kasinitz) “He’s a great kid. I’ve known him for a long time, and he’s getting up there. He’s 31 years old, but he can still scoot around. He knows the game and loves to play, and I appreciate that.”

When you hired Steve Spagnuolo as your defensive coordinator this season, did it matter to you at all that he had been a head coach? Is there any benefit of that to you with calling plays on gameday? _(Adam Kilgore) _“No, but I have full trust in him. I didn’t worry about that part, plus or minus, but I would tell you that it surely doesn’t hurt. That’s for sure. I have a lot of trust in him, but I’ve known him forever. So, that’s the main reason I have trust in him.”

I know it’s a two-game sample size, but how much more are the Ravens asking of QB Lamar Jackson as a complete quarterback this year compared to what you saw on film before last year’s game? (Jonas Shaffer) “It’s wide open. There are a bunch of things. That’s what I’m saying – the coordinators and the quarterback coaches, they’ve opened the gate for him. They’re doing a million different things, and he’s doing it well, and it looks like he’s loving doing it.”

The way the Ravens shift and use different personnel and formations, what does that accomplish, and what does that do to a defense? (Adam Kilgore)“You have to prepare for them. So, that’s one thing, a time factor. And you have to make sure you cover, whether it’s a run or the pass. You still have to take care of everybody. You try to get people out of position by doing those kinds of things.”

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