RAVENS WEDNESDAY QUOTES: DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS VS. TEXANS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "As far as injuries, the concussion guys, the three guys who had concussion issues, have all been cleared, as we anticipated. So, they are good to good. The two linebackers, Jameel [McClain] and Brendon [Ayanbadejo], continue to rehab and are making good progress. Again, we'll just have to see how it goes, but we do anticipate them playing on Sunday. And, Anquan [Boldin] looks fine."
What has the ten days off with the bye meant to the organization, and you personally, in terms of getting a break? (Nestor Aparicio) "The bye, all that stuff, is a positive. You do earn it, as you know. And, it's tough to play and then come back and play, but plenty of teams have done it. If you look at the numbers, plenty of teams win on the road in the playoffs. Not so much last weekend, but historically, plenty of teams win in the Divisional round on the road – especially when you don't have the six-day turnaround [and] you have an eight-day turnaround. So, that would be an advantage for them coming in. But, it's a plus. We had a chance to get healthy and get focused a little bit and do a lot of study on ourselves and our opponent, so it's good."
A number of players talked last week about how much they appreciated having a team practice last week. What does it say about the team's mindset that they were more interested to know the practice schedule than how many days they would have off during the bye week? (Ed Lee) "We talked about this is not a midseason bye. There are goals in a mid-season bye, and there are goals in a postseason bye and things that we need to accomplish. And, our guys understood that from the beginning. We've got great leadership, and the leaders were out front with that."
Houston has three rookies starting. What does it say about their team that they were able to go this far this season with the young nucleus of their team? (Dave Ginsburg) "They have a lot of good players. They've been building their roster now for three, four, five years. And, they've been on the brink every year. They [have been] talking about the Texans are going to win their division down there and be in the playoffs and stuff. And now, they've done it. So, we're not surprised. We've played them a lot. They are very talented, well-coached and very formidable."
You are headed to the playoffs for the fourth straight year. We've seen this year that one injury can make a big difference for a team. What has the Ravens organization been able to do to remain consistent throughout your tenure? (Ron Snyder) "With injuries, we've had years where we've had a lot of injuries, and we've managed to overcome them – for the most part. But injuries are tough. This year we've stayed relatively healthy, and that's been a positive for us. It's a credit to our training staff. It's a credit to the way our guys work in the weight room. And sometimes, it's just good old-fashioned luck. So, the injury thing has been positive for us this year. We've been fairly healthy."
Do you get the feelings from the veterans, like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, that this is an important push because they are not getting any younger and this may be a very good opportunity to go all the way? (Dave Ginsburg) "That's true and it's always true, no matter where you are in your career. Probably, as we all know, as we gray, that things become more clear, the more the things that we value in life become even more important to us. So, as you get on as a player, these opportunities become even more clear. And, they've expressed that to the young guys as well. It's a valuable opportunity for our team and for those guys."
Critics have said that Joe Flacco would not take his team to a Super Bowl in his career. What does it mean to have Joe as your quarterback? He's been here during your four years as head coach and he's taken you to the playoffs each year. Is he the guy you want under center in a game like this? (Dave Ginsburg) "Definitely. Joe Flacco, as we've said, is our quarterback. He's the Ravens' quarterback. We think he's a great player, he's a great person and the best is yet to come. With Joe, like every quarterback, you watch the curve and you watch them develop and grow. And we've all had a front-row seat. So, you see the good, you see the not-so-good, with any player. Joe has been overwhelmingly good, and he's only going to get better. I just can't wait to see it, and I'm looking forward to seeing it on Sunday."
The Texans lost the two games when defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was out. Do you see anything different with Wade Phillips' coaching, either before he was out or during the game last week? (Steve Davis) "No, it was the same defense. It's a great defensive staff they have there. They run the system; they ran it the same way. They called the game very similarly, from a tendency standpoint. It wasn't much different. Did they have as much to play for, I don't know? But they won all the games they needed to win to put them in the position where they are right now. So, it's the same very good defense that it has been all year."
The rush will establish a tone for the game. How good do you feel the Ravens have been at establishing that kind of identify for this team, going back to one of the traditional cornerstones of football, running the ball to set up the pass? (Gary Graves) "From a pass-rush perspective on both sides, like you say, it's going to be critical. Both sides are going to protect their quarterback, and that's going to be easier said than done, because you're looking at two great pass-rush teams, with great pass rushers and really good schemes. Running the ball is a part of that. Protection is a part of that. Screens, draws, anything you do to keep them off balance, I'm sure, will be a part of that for them. Moving the pocket is a big part of what they do. So, all that comes into play."
Only the Patriots have had a better home record than the Ravens during your tenure. What makes it so difficult for teams to play here at M&T Bank Stadium? (Ron Snyder) "The most important thing is your team. Whether you play at home or on the road, you want to put a good team out there that plays good football. You want good, solid, good position football; that's the way we play. So, that's part of it. And the other part of it is our fans. Our fans are fantastic. It's very loud. Our fans are very passionate. You don't see very many opposing colors in our stadium, ever. And that's something that we appreciate as an organization and as players and coaches."
We're from D.C. and we've heard you talk about the Ravens fan base. Are you still welcoming all the fans from other parts of the area to cheer for the Ravens? (Will Thomas) "Oh absolutely, definitely. Thanks for bringing that up. It's an amazing East Coast area, when you look at it. You've got the Redskins, you've got the Ravens, you've got the Eagles, you've got the Jets and the Giants, you've got the Steelers. It's just all right there. And a lot of those teams are NFC teams. So, we're kind of in the middle of all that. We welcome all those teams' fans. We want to be their AFC team; that's all we're asking. (laughter) We want to be their AFC team. Embrace that. Let's have some fun with it."
Houston will have back some of the players that were out for the first matchup this season. How does that change the dynamic? (Craig Heist) "Well, we didn't have a couple of guys either. So when you look at it, that's part of it. Essentially, I don't think it changes it too much because both teams are running the same system, and it will be their guys playing against our guys, running their system against our system. Obviously, Andre Johnson is a big part of that. So, we'll have to have our eye on him. But, he's the guy who makes the plays, even if you keep your eye on him or not."
What kind of matchup problems does Andre Johnson present? (Garrett Downing)"He presents big matchup problems. He's always going to be a problem. He's a great player. He's one of the premier receivers in [the league]. We're just going to have to do a good job of playing our defense, and pressure goes into that, and we have to do a great job in coverage."
Last week, Terrell Suggs said he's matured as a player over the last five years. In your time here, how have you seen Suggs grow? (Jason Butt) "He's a guy who loves football. Football is important to him. There is not a harder worker in football than Terrell Suggs. I don't think people always understand and realize that, because of his personality. This guy takes it very seriously – pass rush, run defense, studying the opposing offense, studying the particulars of the guys he's going against. To me, that's what makes him great. So, he's four years past where he was when we first got here. I think he's getting some great coaching. He talks about that all the time. It's hard to argue against him as the best defensive player in football right now. So, I'll stand on that soap box. I believe in him."
QB Joe Flacco
On whether he is excited to be in the position to potentially have the game on his shoulders: "Always. Hey, this is what a team, this is what a player, lives for is playoff time, and having to win tight games or what could possibly be tight games. That's what I, that's what we all, really want to be in the position to do."
On whether the attitude of the team is a little more serious because of the playoffs: "I think we're a pretty loose group, but at the same time, we don't really mess around. We're not loose to where we come out here and mess around and not get our work done. I mean, we're loose in our lives, but when we come out here to practice and we take the field, we're pretty serious group. Yeah, you like to have fun, but you have fun by going out there and playing well and winning football games."
On what he thinks contributed to their success in the passing game the last time they played Houston: "We took some shots. We had a good balance. If you look at the first drive that we had that game, it was 90-plus yards. We're at our best when we're doing the things we were doing on that drive. I went back and started looking at some of the Houston tape; that's one of the first games I looked at, and we were looking pretty good there. As the game went on, we actually were able to hit a couple deep shots to Torrey [Smith] to Anquan [Boldin], and that probably helped us out a little bit there. The thing that we can take out of that is that we had a lot of drives that game. We ended up kicking a lot of field goals, but we had a lot of successful drives. As long as we can do that again, and maybe finish a couple more of them, I think we'll be … We'll be liking where we are. I think it was that good balance and being able to keep those guys off guard a little bit."
On how it felt to be a rookie and go on the road for a playoff game: "I went down to Miami. We played those guys earlier in the year, kind of like Houston has played us earlier in the year. We had beaten them earlier in the year, and then we beat them again. It was just exciting to get a playoff win. We weren't thinking about being on the road; it was just something we had to do. It was the position we were in, and we had to go get a win. I think there's a lot to be made about playing at home [and] playing on the road, but the bottom line is when you're out on the field, when you're out there running plays and trying to execute them well, you're not thinking, 'Man, I'm not at home today. I don't know if I'm going to be able to hit this pass as easy.' I think it's kind of … It can probably help team's mood a little bit, if anything. I think it's something that's more looked at after the fact, based on whether you won or lost. I'm sure the Texans are looking at it as, 'Hey, this is what we have to do. This is the position we put ourselves in. If we have to go play Baltimore, in Baltimore, we'll go do that.' And we're excited to have them here."
On what he's seen from Anquan Boldin in practice in the past week: "Anquan looks good. I think, obviously, he had to heal himself up a little bit. But it gave him a couple weeks to get fresh. This extra week, I think, has definitely helped not only him but a couple guys on our team. I think he's going to provide that spark, I really do. Obviously, he's one of our best players. Anytime you can have a guy come back right at the right time, and have a guy that's been off his feet the last few weeks, that definitely helps."
On whether he thinks the game-winning drive in Pittsburgh alleviated some of the criticism he's received over the year: "I don't know. I don't care. I mean, we've won a lot of games around here. This is the second year in a row we've won 12 games. I couldn't care less. At the end of the day, do you see the criticism sometimes and think, 'What the hell are they talking about?' Yeah. But who cares? It all comes down to three games now; win this one, win the next one, win the Super Bowl. Then what are they going to say? That's what we've got to do, that's what I've got to do. I'm not thinking about anything else."
On what makes CB Johnathan Joseph a good cornerback: "He has the ability to be physical, has the ability to run with guys and get his hands on them. He's got good ball skills. He's a pretty good guy out there. He's able to play man coverage, and they feel comfortable leaving him out there."
On whether he is surprised by the amount of attention his Fu Manchu has received: "Am I surprised? Not really. People will get going with anything, no matter how crazy it is. That's not really my personality to understand that. But, you figured something was going to happen with it, good or bad. It's not really my personality to have something like this on my face, but you know, what are you going to do? Have a little fun, and see how people take it."
On whether he would welcome fans from other teams that have not been as successful: "Always. I mean, every time I'm out and I meet somebody, and they say they're a fan of some other team, I'm trying to recruit them onto the Baltimore side. I always say to them, 'Have you met any Steelers? Have you met any Redskins? I don't think so. (laughter) You should probably be our fan now.' It usually works pretty well. We're looking for anybody that wants to be a Ravens fan to come up and cheer us on. I mean, as many Redskins fans that we can steal, that would be huge. They have a great following, from what I understand. They're one of the franchises that has been around a while, and you know people love the Redskins. So, if we could steal some of their fans, I think we'll be doing a pretty good job."
On whether he thinks it's the quarterback's responsibility to step up and lead a team to a championship: "If you look at the teams that won, you can look at the quarterbacks, but that's just because you guys, ESPN, want to pump them up as being the best quarterback that year. It's really going to come down to what team is the best. I'm sure if we win, I'll have nothing to do with why we won, not according to you guys. (laughter) So, it is what it is. We're going to go and we're going to do our best to try and win it, and it doesn't really matter what the reason is."
On whether he would be happy being on a team that wins the Super Bowl and all the praise goes to the defense: "I'd be happy. I don't care if people look at it that way. I don't necessarily see it that way, but you know … Hey, you guys want everybody to be Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, but every time we try to … You guys realize, those guys don't run the ball. If we try to do that, the criticism we'd take around here would be ridiculous. We could win eight games like that and lose one, and you guys would be like, 'Oh man, what are you guys doing? Hey, this is what you guys said you wanted, and you lose one game? Oh my God.' So, you guys have to remember that [if] you want an elite quarterback, you have to stop complaining when we go out and throw the ball 60 times a game, because that's what elite quarterbacks do."
On what the Texans do well when it comes to rushing the passer: "They're not afraid of bringing some pressure, lining it up and playing Cover-1, playing man. These guys, they have a good pass rush. I think we've got a good offensive line. So, as long as we go out there and play the way we know how to play, I think we can take care of that, just based on the fact that we have good players."
LB Ray Lewis
On why he is proud of OLB Terrell Suggs: "I met the kid when he first came out of college. And now, nine, 10 years later, sitting beside him now and finally moving him back in my corner and getting to see his maturity about the game, and just him understanding that it's one thing to just be considered a pass rusher, [but] it's another thing to be considered as a complete defensive player [is special]. He has become that. He has become that. That's why when you sit back and watch him year after year, week after week, I am just proud to say that I love how he understands the game now."
On if you can tell right away how a young quarterback is going to perform in a hostile environment: "I don't know. You can probably only tell by how hard you hit him, if you get to him early. You really can't tell. We understand that they have a rookie quarterback, but we also understand that they are the No. 2 rushing offense in football. Without going past that … First, we know what we have to deal with. They have a great offensive scheme. They have a great offensive line and two very talented running backs. The first time we knew that, and whether it's Matt Schaub or T.J. Yates, that's who we are going to have to deal with."
On what he did over the bye week: "I think a combination of all things. I think the most exciting part was that a lot of us kind of did the same things. A lot of us really sat down together, whether it was therapy, therapy, therapy, doctor, doctor, doctor, and I think every guy just got totally healthy. That for us is huge, and I think for any team, when you look around the league, I just think it's huge to get that bye week. I did watch the games. It felt good not playing Wild Card Weekend. We'll see how it pans out."
On what this playoff run means to him personally: "For me personally, it's very simple: For me, as the leader of this team, it's to try to get a lot of these young kids a Super Bowl. That's it. For me personally, if we go do what we are supposed to do, then I walk up out of here with two rings. It's more special than me. I would do anything – and I have always told Ray Rice this, I've told Haloti [Ngata], I've told Ed [Reed] this – to win a Super Bowl with you guys would be a very, very special thing, because it's a special group of men that you win a Super Bowl with. With this group that we have right now, we've been building and building and building, and now we have a special group of men. If we go do what we're supposed to do … And every team is saying the same thing. Every team is saying the same thing, that they have a special group of men. But we have a very special group of men. That would be a heck of a way to really celebrate something like that with this group."
On if the team's mindset changes in the postseason vs. the regular season: "I think every team's mindset changes, because there is no tomorrow. There is no, 'Where am I going to be seeded?' and, 'What's next week?' There is no next week. Today is all we've got. Whatever game you have is all you've got. After that, whether you win, you are still playing. If you lose, you go home. I think your attention to detail has to change. I think everything has to kick up a little bit. You have to realize that nothing else in life matters right now, for our world, for just the business world, but this next playoff game."
On what the point of emphasis is to the young guys: "[Being] 8-0 [at home] was regular season – a great thing that we did, to do that for the first time in Ravens history, since I've been here. But at the same time, none of that matters now. Wild Card Weekend kind of proved that. An 8-8 team beat a 12-4 team, not a 9-7 team. You get all into that, and you realize that everybody is 0-0 again. Now it's about attention to detail about this week, and this week is the only week that matters."
On what it means to have a home playoff game, opposed to being on the road: "I think, once again, the only reason I keep talking about the Wild Card Weekend is because there is a lot of similarities. If you look at Wild Card Weekend, I don't think that there was one home team that lost the whole weekend. When you get into that, it plays a big momentum. It's a big momentum swing for you. It's just hard to win on the road. I don't care who you are, I don't care how good you are, it's hard to win on the road. For us to work as hard as we did, get 12 wins, do the things we were supposed to do, and now get this home playoff game, we have positioned ourselves to be in the right place. Now we have to go finish it."
On if two Super Bowl rings would be enough: "I don't know. You kind of get greedy once you get two. I don't know. We'll see. First of all, we have to get past this one before we can even talk about two rings. But this is the goal. We are back in that opportunity box again. Every week, you are talking about three more games. Yeah, the season is long, but you are talking about three more weeks to possibly get a chance to touch that confetti again. For me, like I said, people always say the first time is always the charm. I always say no matter when you win, there is always a charm. If it happens, it happens, but that's definitely what we're focused on."
On how the talent of the Ravens stacks up with other playoff teams: "I think we stack up with anybody. There is no team in the league that has the balance way over our heads than what we have. We have a complete balance, offensively, defensively and special teams. There is not one position that we are not two- or three-deep at almost every position, to where we have backups. We went through our injury bug, and we had guys step up here and there. So, when you look around the league, you watch a lot of teams who did struggle this bye weekend, they ran through a lot of injury problems. A lot of key players were lost to injuries. Right now, when you look at us, as healthy as we are on both sides of the ball, on all realms of the ball, it's exciting to be at that place where we are."
On if QB Joe Flacco is poised for a Super Bowl run: "I've said this since Joe first came in here: There is something about Joe I liked from Day One. You have to appreciate a young kid who comes out with that much talent, and now you see where his talent is going from talent to being more of a mentor, more getting this offense to understand. You see his composure and how he is settling in to really control this offense. Now, where we are, why wouldn't it be Joe to go lead us to a Super Bowl, huh?"
On the versatility of Texans RB Arian Foster: "I think he controls their offense. He controls their offense. When you watch them play football last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, they contained him the whole first half pretty much. Then they started getting lackadaisical, letting them outside of the box and letting him catch three-yard passes that were turning into 12- and 15-yard passes. So, I think sometimes when you are going to play a team, you have to realize what they're bread and butter is. He is their bread and butter. He is their bread and butter. If you don't account for him, he can make a long day for you."
On what RB Ray Rice has meant to this team: "Year after year, his role increases, increases, increases, increases. Now, he is at that point to where he is considered one of the elite running backs in this business. He is probably, what, 80 percent of our offense? Maybe a little less, maybe a little more. He is just one of those talents. He is one of those talents that you have to get the ball in his hands, because when Ray touches the ball, our team has success – not just our offense. Our team has success, because he is that type of player. What he has meant for, not just the offensive side, but for the defensive side, as well this city … He has meant an awful lot."
On if he would welcome Redskins fans to the Ravens' bandwagon: "Yeah, I've welcomed that fan base for 16 years now. (laughter) You know how that blood is between us – Baltimore-D.C., D.C.-Baltimore. But, I think at the end of the day, when your team is out, I think when they do finally settle in, they'll probably be cheering for the Ravens before they cheer for outsiders. We'll probably have some extra fans cheering for us."
RB Ray Rice
On whether he's ever considered growing a Fu Manchu: "I can't; I'm still into my baby face. I've got a baby face. I just get a couple prickles here and there, but usually it's shaved nice and neat by Sunday. You know, I'm about to be 25 [on] January 22. Maybe when I reach 27 I'll get a Fu Manchu or whatever you call it."
On whether he feels comfortable that Joe Flacco could lead the team to victory if Rice couldn't play: "Absolutely. Whoever we face is not going to come in and put a red dot on me, put a red dot on our offense how we run the ball. But, I think Joe has proven that – especially after we faced Pittsburgh that time – he led us down the field. That had nothing to do with me. I was involved in the offense, but that was solely Joe Flacco doing his thing. And him being calm, him being himself, I think that really got Joe to where he's at. It's no surprise that me and him are back in the playoffs and we're back in the hunt again, ready to fight for what everybody's fighting for, and that's the Super Bowl."
On whether this team is much more serious now that it's playoff time than it was in the regular season: "I think we've hit stride right when we needed to, and especially everything that happened with the lockout and everything that happened … Coach [John] Harbaugh actually said it: Everybody was going to separate themselves, and I think we've scratched, we've clawed, we've been through adversity, but I think we've separated ourselves to where, you know, we got the first task done; that was winning the AFC North. But this bye week was huge for us. I can't tell you how great I feel, how rested I am going into this game. Everybody knows, the running back, you want to have that rest going into the game. So, I think this team is ready. We're ready. Everybody knows what's at stake. We've been in the playoffs for the last four years; we've been spoiled. But getting here is not good enough anymore. Everybody knows the expectation; we expect to make the playoffs. But we also expect to compete for the ultimate goal, and that's the Super Bowl."
On what it means to have a home playoff game this season: "I'd like to say, first off, it's a dream come true. But at the same time, I played every playoff game that there was since I've been a rookie, and they've all been on the road. It's very tough. Playing on the road is tough, no matter how you want to slice that. Other teams, crowds, the atmosphere … Trust me, it's a lot different than playing at home. So, a home playoff game definitely plays big on our half."
On what it means for him that this be a game where the running backs get the game going: "For me, like you said, it's just doing my job – whether it's running [or] whether it's catching. I think the league is ever-evolving, and the guys that weed themselves out are the guys that don't adapt fast enough. And it's been a pass-friendly league. Let's just put it out there; there's been a lot of passing going on. You don't see the … There wasn't a 2,000-yard rusher this year; there wasn't even an 1,800-yard rusher this year. The most rushing yards a guy had was 1,600. But, if you look at where I put myself in the situation, I gave you 13 [1,300 rushing yards] and seven [700 receiving yards] to put myself at the 2,000 yards. It might not be 2,000 yards rushing, but me just doing my job this Sunday, whether it's rushing [or] receiving, I think will be good enough. And I won't do anything extra. My offensive line has been playing great, Joe has been playing great, and if I just go out there and do my job on a consistent basis and not give them the ball, then I think my game will be fine."
On whether he likes that his running could be important to the Ravens advancing in the playoffs:"The greatest part about the running backs and the running game that we have, like I said, I have Ricky Williams. So, when I give myself a blow, [the defense is] getting another body blow coming at [it]. And it's the same with Houston. When Arian Foster comes out, they're getting a great Ben Tate. So, I think the running backs will be used a lot in the playoffs, and it's just so great that we had that week off and we're fresh going into this game."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On the playoffs being the doctorate or Ph.D. of Ball So Hard University: "I guess the graduate, but we're going for the big cheese. It's not enough."
On this year's team being the best-equipped to make a run deep in the playoffs: "Since I've been here, yes, most definitely. You look around, and there are just so many special people in so many special places. And what's really unusual, for us, is that we have a lot of those special guys on offense. We had Jamaal Lewis, Todd Heap, and then you'd stop. [We had] 'Air' [Steve] McNair. But, now you've got the Ray Rices, you've got the Vonta Leaches, you've got the Michael Ohers, Dennis Pitta, Anquan Boldin. The offensive side kind of matches the defensive side. We've definitely got the potential to be special and do something special."
On what it means to have made the playoffs for the last four years: "Now, when you've [been] to the playoffs the last four years, that becomes the norm now. It's not enough anymore, just making it to the playoffs. We've done that before. And this year we took the next step of winning the division, getting the first-round bye and a home playoff game. So, it's good, but we know it's definitely not enough. I think, if anything, we all know what this team's potential is and what everybody's expecting out of us. So, we've just got to go perform and play."
On feeling this team has the best shot since he's been here to get to the Super Bowl because of the bye week and the extra time for injured players to rest: "It's definitely a rare feeling. We've never been this healthy in the playoffs and as rested. We'll just see how we take advantage of the opportunity – if we capitalize on it or we let another one slip away."
On staying loose for the playoff run, or seeing it as a time to get serious: "Come on, man. Of course we're still loose. I mean, who better than me to keep the team loose? We're still loose. But, like I said, we all know the task at hand. We all know the consequences of playing bad, and, we all know what we've got to do. We all know the objective."
On the Steelers' loss last week being a wake-up call: "There's never a wake-up call. I've won in the playoffs and I've lost in the playoffs. So, the possibility of losing – that never escapes us. We know we've got to perform. It was just a good weekend to watch football from your couches and [to know] you [weren't] done. I think we all kind of took that in and just got to enjoy football and know that we still had another game."
On having a home playoff game this year: "It's definitely priceless. When we had to go on the road, we haven't been that successful in the playoffs. So, we get an opportunity to start it here. And, like you said, we're rested, so we get to see just how good of a team we are with the rest."
On if he was shocked to see Tim Tebow lead Denver to victory over the Steelers: "I think everybody is pretty shocked. But, congratulations to him."
On being able to watch two of his favorite quarterbacks play the night before the Ravens' playoff game: "That's going to be awesome. We might glance at it; we're all fans of football. But, we know we've got our own battle to fight. We are very aware of this monster that's coming up here. So, we've got our own beast to tackle. We'll probably glance at it because football is on, but we're definitely going to be focusing on our own game."
On if he will be pulling for Tim Tebow and the Broncos to beat the Patriots: "I'm actually pulling for the Ravens. It's really don't matter what happens in the other game, if we drop the ball. So, whatever the task may be after Sunday night, then we can discuss and talk about that. But right now, on our list – and you know me, being a nine-year vet and knowing the rest of my team – there's nothing more important than the Houston Texans right now. They've got, arguably, one of the best receivers in the game – Owen Daniels and Arian Foster. This is a very talented and very dangerous offense. So, like I said, our primary focus is them."
On what is unique about the Ravens' mentality on stopping the run when facing top-tier running backs: "I think it's more of just how we approach getting it done. Some runners have had success on us, but it's just that we take it in there every week. If you go down the line, we've had every major back this year, I think, with the exception of Michael Turner. That's just our thing: You've got to stop the run. We know they're going to come in and run the ball, so it's going to be a fight. That's how you all would rather want it. That's how we would want it."
On his impression of the Texans' offensive tackles: "They're pretty good. They're really good tackles. This year, they've played good together. They're very strong. They're pretty good tackles. I've got to tell you, you ask me about tackles in the league, there are some better than others, but then there are some that just play really well with their quarterback and their offense and things that they are doing. So, this is not a week off. This is the NFL."
On the defense staying in their gaps against a good zone-stretch run scheme like Houston: "It's just playing fundamentally-sound defense. It's not really a gap-scheme-type of thing. Just because you've got the C-gap don't mean you've got to run and throw yourself in the C-gap. Arian Foster is one of those backs, and the other back behind him, too … He's very capable of cutting right behind you in a beat. So, you definitely don't want to just try to run and stay in your gap. You've got to play fundamentally-sound football."
On what makes it so hard for opposing offenses to play in M&T Bank Stadium: "Honestly, I think it's the crowd. A lot of teams can't communicate when they're here. We pretty much know each other, and if you ain't been playing with each other a long time, then your communication on offense is going to be key. Our crowd, when it's 12:45, they lose their minds. We definitely know – not hope – that the energy in the stadium is going to be at its max. We've worked to get the home playoff game, so let's take advantage of it."