HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening statement:"OK, good to see everybody here, appreciate you being here. Friday practice – the first fast Friday, as we call them, of the season. Guys are excited to play; we're looking forward to it. We're kind of anxious. It's time to go play a football game, finally. At some point in time, the practices are just filler. We had a good practice, and the guys are focused, but we need to go play a game to see where we're at. We're looking forward to it. It should be a great environment. It should be a highly, hard-fought game. It's the NFL. You saw the game last night; it kind of got your juices flowing a little bit. So, we're ready, and we're ready to go and we're looking forward to it. What questions do you have?"
Executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta put out a statement that you were unable to reach a contract extension with QB Lamar Jackson. Do you have any sense of how close they came at the end, and is there any letdown after months of discussion? _(Childs Walker) _"All the feelings that you would expect that anybody would have, you probably have. Probably not for me as much, because I wasn't directly involved with any back and forth, but you're hopeful. Those things will work themselves out in the end. I'm confident in that. I said at the beginning that it will happen when it's time, and when it's time, it will happen. So, Lamar [Jackson] is playing quarterback, he's going to be playing quarterback here for a long time. He and I talked about it yesterday a little bit, like, 'Hey, man, let's go be our best, and go focus on football.' That's what he's been doing all along, so I know nothing will change with that. [We're] just focused on Sunday."
The Jets announced that LT Duane Brown is out for Sunday, is that something you will try to take advantage of as QB Joe Flacco is a pocket-passer? _(David Andrade) _"We'll see. They have guys who are going to play. They'll probably put [George] Fant over there on the left side, where he's played in the past. He's had a great career on the left side. They'll bring the rookie in, [Max] Mitchell, at right tackle, who they really like [and] who had a heck of a preseason. So, they're going to have a big, physical offensive line out there. We just have to focus on us, how we're playing and put our best foot forward."
You've had T Ja'Wuan James around here since last spring. Is there an excitement for seeing him in a game, knowing the work and time he's put in learning left tackle? _(Luke Jones) _"There is, there is. That's exactly right; it's all the guys, and he's one of them. Ja'Wuan [James] has really made a commitment to changing sides over there, and he's practiced really well. He's ready to go, great spirit, great attitude, hard worker. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does."
We didn't see CB Marcus Peters practicing today. Is that part of the process with him, and do you expect him and RB J.K. Dobbins to be gametime decisions? _(Bo Smolka) _"Yes, like I've said before, I'm really not going to get into any of that stuff, because it doesn't do any good for us to comment on any of that. Marcus [Peters] was a rest day. Calais [Campbell] had a rest day today, too, and Justin Houston. Those were the three guys who were on rest day today, so we do that periodically. As far as who plays and who's not going to play, that just happens at 11:30 on Sunday."
Regardless of if CB Marcus Peters and RB J.K. Dobbins do end up playing on Sunday, how impressed have you been with how they have attacked their rehabs? _(Kyle Barber) _"Yes, absolutely. They've all done a great job with that. They're all in a good place; it just ends up being what's best for them, what's best for us and we'll see. There's really no advantage for us to be trumpeting that, but I'm proud of all those guys. J.K. [Dobbins], to your point, [has given] nothing but everything he's got every single day to get back out there."
Obviously, it's a long season, but how important is it for you guys to get out and start the season off with a win? _(Cordell Woodland) _"It's important. It's 1-0. There's a big difference if you go 0-1, then you have to win two in a row to get back to where you would have been if you had won in the first place. That's kind of the math of it. So, it's a big deal."
Have you decided how you will honor Jaylon Ferguson this season? (Jonas Shaffer) _"We have. My understanding of it is – and [SVP of Communications] Chad [Steele] you can ring in if I'm not right – we're going to do two separate honoring moments, one for 'Goose' [Tony Siragusa] and one for Jaylon [Ferguson], at different moments there to kind of call attention to those guys separately. Then, we have a sticker on our helmet to honor those guys. So, those are the two things that I'm aware of; do you have anything to add to that Chad? _(SVP of Communications Chad Steele: "We will have a memorialization on the wall wrap, as well.")
Are you comfortable announcing who will wear the [radio communication] green dot this year? (Jonas Shaffer) _"I don't know; we'll see, we'll see. Sometimes it's different guys, and you have to change the helmets out. You see that gets done, too. The green dot fascinates you guys … I don't really understand why. _(laughter)It's fascinating. The green dot."
Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald said he's expecting the deep pass from QB Joe Flacco. What is your expectation for the secondary's performance, compared to last year? _(David Andrade) _"I'm hopeful that we play great every phase, secondary and everybody else. Compared to last year? I don't even remember last year at this point. I don't care if you're Number One or Number 32 or somewhere in between, what difference does it make? We have to go out and play our best football, so that's what we're looking to do. There's nothing guaranteed. The expectations don't really matter at this point; you have to go out and do it."
How pleased are you with the offseason and summer that ILB Patrick Queen has had? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Patrick [Queen] has done a great job; [I'm] looking forward to seeing him play as well. He's practiced really well. [He] practices fast, he's really tuned into the details, so another guy that we're looking forward to seeing. I'm looking forward to seeing everybody play and get a gauge about where we're at."
WR Devin Duvernay should have a pretty big role with his return duties and moving up the wide receiver depth chart. Will you have to monitor his workload, or is he at the point where he can handle everything you're asking of him? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"He can handle everything that we ask of him, there's no doubt about that. We'll try to ask of him the right amount, so however that shakes out, we'll see."