Wednesday Practice Transcript - 10/26


Head Coach John Harbaugh

When you were talking yesterday about Cam [Cameron] having broad shoulders, and he is a guy who has been around the game a long time, what do you think that he does well when he is under a lot of pressure? You said, last season, "I like Cam under fire. I like the way he works." (Kevin Van Valkenburg)
"Did I say that? I don't think so. But, I like Cam under fire, but I don't think I ever said that. (Reporter: "Excuse me, it was [owner] Steve Bisciotti.") I like all of our coaches, under pressure, not under pressure – I don't think it matters. This is the life that we have chosen. This is a tough league. If there was a simple, single reason or answer for a team losing a game or not playing well, that would be easy – anybody could do it. But, it's not that easy, it's not that simple. So, you have to dig in, you have to go to work, you have to get with your guys, you have to communicate. You have to fight, and you have to try and get better. The great thing about being a coach or being in sports is that you get to go back out next week and you get a chance to redefine yourself. You are only as good as your last outing, but no matter what the last outing is, it has no impact on the next outing – none whatsoever. That's why you move on so quickly. It's great to get out here and practice and get back to work. I like Cam, I like all of our guys in that situation."

You said a lot that coaches are their own harshest critics. As harsh as people can be, fans can be, coaches are always going to be harsher. I was wondering if you could just talk about that. The standard that you guys have is… People don't realize that. (Kevin Van Valkenburg)
"I don't know what's not to realize. We take pride in what we are doing – everybody does. You guys take a lot of pride in what you are doing, right? It's important to you. It's important to us, it's important to our players, coaches. I know it's important to the fans. I think we all take great pride in the fact that it's so important to the fans and that our fans care so much. The criticism, it doesn't bother us because it goes with the territory, in the sense that we understand it. But, we want to be doing well enough where they are happy. We want them happy about how we are playing. We didn't play as well as we needed to, so we have to get better."

Even though you do try to keep that week-to-week, day-to-day tunnel-vision focus, prepare for every game the same way, you have won your last nine in a row after a loss. Do you sense any sort of mental bump in urgency after a loss? (Joe Platania)
"It's probably natural to have some of that, some sort of a… It gets your attention, but I stick by the thing… I think it gets your attention no matter what because you have to line up and play on Sunday, and this can happen. If it is a harsh reminder, then so be it – it's probably good for everybody. You can't afford to let games slip between your fingers. By the same token, everybody gets beat in this league. We'll see if anybody is undefeated. Everybody gets humiliated, everybody gets the snot kicked out of them at one time or another in life and in football. So, you have to get back up and go to work."

He is a little banged up right now, but what will it mean if Todd Heap is healthy and out there playing for the Cardinals, to have him in M&T Bank Stadium again and just to square off against him? [He was] a guy that the fans really loved. You guys loved having him as part of this organization… (Dan Kolko)
"What will it mean to who? To me personally, or us as a team? *(Reporter: "Either one.") *Well, I will be happy to see Todd [Heap]. I like Todd a lot. He is a great guy. I had three good years with him here. He is obviously a big part of the Ravens' tradition and an important part of the Ravens. But really, Sunday, to be honest with you, he is going to be a Cardinal. That's how I am looking at it, and that's how our team is looking at it."

You talked before about the incremental progress Terrence Cody has made. What area, in your mind, has he grown the most? (Peter Schmuck)
"I think he has grown as a pro. He has become a real pro. He knows how to study. Look at him, look at him physically. The biggest area? You know what I am saying? (laughter) I can't come up with a joke for that. I wish I could. I am not smart enough. You can tell how important it is to him. He has lost a bunch of weight, he studies football, he is playing great technique. He is doing a nice job in there. He is a tough guy. He has become a real pro."

QB Joe Flacco

On what the last two days have been like for him, either moving forward, or having a lot of self-analysis:"Oh, you've got to move forward. I don't think anybody felt good about that game on the offensive side of the ball. And hey, you get sick to your stomach when you play games like that, and you can't move the ball and things don't work out your way. But, that's part of being an NFL football player, is moving on to the next week and realizing that, 'Hey, this is a game we love to play. We've got to go out there and have fun and keep it fun.' And obviously, it's a little bit more fun when you're winning football games, but you've got to move on. The only way you move on is go out there next week and play the best you can."

On how the process of "moving on" happens throughout a week:"You come out here, you start practicing, and you're having fun. You're with all your guys and you're just playing football. And when you're out there, you're really not thinking about it. To be honest, it's tough not to think about it a little bit all week until you go out there and beat the next opponent; it's always in the back of your mind a little bit. But, I think good teams put it past them and do the best they can to go out there and forget about it very quickly."

On whether this is a situation where having a short week helps, having one less day to think about it and hear criticism:"Probably, probably. I'm not a guy that really watches things and listens to things anyway, but in terms of that stuff, it will probably help that it's a short week."

On whether it is a statistical curiosity to beat three of the best teams in the AFC and struggle with some of the teams thought to be at the other end of the spectrum:"I'm trying to think back… Are you talking about Arizona or Jacksonville? (Reporter: "I'm talking about Jacksonville.") Yeah, I mean, you look at Pittsburgh and what they did to Jacksonville; they were up early, but after that, it was a pretty tight game. Who else are we looking at? I mean, the Jets beat them pretty good. Who else? Give me some help. *(Reporter: "What about the loss to the Titans?") *Yeah, we lost to the Titans. I forgot about that a long time ago. *(laughter) *It's pretty easy to do that when you're 4-1. And hey, we could be 4-2 in a lot different ways than we are right now and feeling pretty good about it. What if we started out 0-2 and we won four straight? I think we'd all be feeling pretty good right now. So, I don't want to act like we're not feeling good. We're 4-2, we're a good football team, we're confident in ourselves. You know, one week you're bad, one week you're good. It's not really like that. It looks like that sometimes; it's not really like that. We've got to make sure that we realize it's not like that and have confidence in ourselves and go out there. We've got to be more consistent, definitely, but that'll come, and we're working towards that."

On how important TE Todd Heap was to him when he first came into the NFL:"Anytime you have veteran guys around that you can get along with, and they trust you out there on the field, it makes things easier for a young quarterback. And Todd was one of those guys. He was a veteran guy who's been around, played a lot of good football in his career and was able to have trust in me when he was out there."

On how he feels the offense can attack a defense when the receivers are struggling to get free in press coverage:"I think in the one two-minute drill we had, we did a good job. We were able to keep them off balance a little bit with the quick-gain, a little bit with the max protection, help our line out a little bit [and] hit some of those checkdowns. I think sometimes against teams like that, sending four guys vertically and trying to get one or two guys open, and getting the back eaten up in protection, can work against you sometimes. I think when we got in max protection and ended up getting the backs out in little checkdowns, I think we actually were able to be pretty successful off of that, just because everybody was dropping back and we were able to dump those underneath. And you can say that we were able to do that because it was a two-minute-type situation and they were playing soft, but those are things we're going to have to look at all game and [be] able to switch up a little bit and keep them off balance. We've been doing a lot where if we release Ray [Rice], and if we release a lot of guys, and getting back to some of the simple stuff, can sometimes be beneficial in games where you're struggling a little bit."

On whether his process for evaluating those kinds of games are to watch tape and come up with some ideas, have offensive coordinator Cam Cameron do the same, and then bring those ideas together:"Yeah, you have to learn as much as you can from those games. And what do you take out of that? We look at the positives; we look at how we can improve a couple things. Maybe being quicker in our two-minute [drill]. And hey, we had a good drive. Went 90 yards and scored in three-and-a-half minutes. But there are still ways to clean that up and give ourselves better shots. But, when you look at those kinds of games on the film, they don't look nearly as bad as they feel when you're down on the field. You watch the field [and] you don't get the emotion of the crowd, you don't really get any of that, and the game's already played; you know the outcome. So, you look at plays individually and you say, 'Yeah, we could do this better here, we could do this better here.' But the tape kind of just keeps rolling. And it wasn't anything ridiculously bad; it was just little things that we need to clean up. And when we clean those things up, then I think we give ourselves a better chance to move the ball and be more consistent. Those guys are a good defense; they're a physical defense. So, like I said, just little things."

On whether it is a true or false perception that the offense would faster with the QB calling plays in the two-minute drill:"I guess there's probably truth to that. It's just how quickly can I think on my feet and get the play out there. Yeah, there's probably truth to that, it's just a matter of how we want to do it."

On whether there is something more important from a leadership standpoint this week coming off a tough loss like that:"Yeah, you get back out here and you have fun. That's the biggest thing. You never want to be in a football game where everybody feels like they have to come up to each other, gather each other around, and say, 'Hey, we've got to do this.' We don't want to have to be dealing with that on Sunday. We want to go out there and play football. You've got to realize, you've got to look each other in the face and say, 'Hey, we're in this together. We're playing a game that we all love. Let's go have fun and not think about all the crap that surrounds it. Go out there and play football. The outcome is the outcome, but let's have fun during the process.' I think that's the way you give yourself the best shot of winning. I think that's the way everybody has confidence in each other. Everybody in that locker room has to know that everybody else has their back, and it feels good to have somebody come up to you and say, 'Hey, you did a good job here,' and, 'Hey, you did a good job here, [but] we need to work on this a little bit.' So, I think for me, and a lot of guys on this team, it's a good week to do that."

LB Ray Lewis

On how the loss has created an opportunity for the leaders of the team to step up:"I think the greatest leaders come out in times of adversity. The thing that I've tried to tell the guys this week is the season is so long, the journey is so long. Stop putting all your eggs in one basket. We've never been the team that put all our eggs in one basket. You have one bad game? Brush it off. There is not one side that has a bad game. If we lose a game, than we all lose a game. That's the way we take it. And then you take the 24-hour rule with it. Whether it's a win, whether it's a loss – 24-hour rule, come back to work, let's move on. Season is too long to keep your head drooped down. We're 4-2; we're right in the hunt with everything. We control our own destiny from here. We come back, correct the things that we've got to correct and move on from there."

On whether he saw the controversial hit made by S Bernard Pollard:"I saw it live. I actually saw it live. I just think the thing… I won't even get all into that. I just think every man needs to be held accountable for whatever call they make. If you review so many other plays, review that one, too. That's so big in that game. And every man makes a mistake. There's no man that's ever walked this Earth perfect. By just understanding that, which means, he watched that play so fast, the same way I watched it, and I went to him as a man, and said, 'There's no way you can make that call, physically, with your eyes.' I promised him that he had made the wrong call. So for him to say, 'I promise you that call was right,' that's the part of the game that takes away from the pureness of the way defense is played – how aggressive defenses play. When you ask yourself to protect these defensive players… When the ball is in the man's hands, how else can you make a better hit than what Pollard made on that play? That's what football is. That's the essence of football from a defensive side of the ball. When you take that away – which extends the drive, which gives them three points out of that drive – that affects the whole outcome of the game, whether you realize it or not. I just think that every play… If we're reviewing everything else, let's review that one, too, because these personal fouls helmet-to-helmet… That shoulder pad and that helmet never even came close to [RB Deji Karim's] helmet. I just think all those plays should be reviewed as well."

On what it's going to be like facing former Ravens TE Todd Heap on Sunday:"I mean, it's the same thing: The love is always going to be there off the field. Of course, once you put on a different colored jersey, here we go again. If the ball comes his way, and it just happens I'm there, I might tap him on his shoulder a little bit."

On the defense's increased emphasis on and success getting sacks this season:"I think it's all about the next step. A lot of our defense is taking a lot of emphasis on taking that next step. You see a lot of people missing sacks because they don't take that next step. I think, defensively, we're changing so many different people, but everybody understands how to get to a quarterback and hitting him where you're supposed to hit him and getting him to the ground. I think, overall, the first half of the season we've been doing a good job of that."

On what changes he has seen in OLB Terrell Suggs throughout his career:"I think definitely maturity off the field. But, when you come on the field, I think now is his knowledge of the entire game and not just [being] about pass-rushing itself. That's the kind of things… From Day One when he first came in, he was this great, great pass-rusher. I would start to tell him how people would attack him from there, running screens on his side because he was so aggressive. But now, to hear 'Sizzle' [Suggs] sit out there and call the plays, or we're sitting in film and me and him are sitting in the back and [he says], 'Hey Lew, if I see this, see that, I'm going to do this, do that,' that's the biggest step – taking your game from just being dominant in one aspect of it and making yourself a complete player. For me, I just sit back and watch him become a complete player the way he is now. It's actually a great privilege."

On whether he struggles with how to balance helping lead the offense and focusing on correcting his own errors:"No. You don't ever waver. When you go into a game, when we get off the bus, when we get off the plane, we get off the plane as a team – period. We leave as a team. That's the way you always carry it. You don't get all into that because, hey, as clear as it is, you know one day we might go through the same things where someone is throwing for four, five, six-hundred yards. Trust me, I've been on that side of things, too. So you don't get into that, man. A team becomes a brotherhood. When you become a brotherhood, there's never no looking with an awkward eye at the other person on the other side. That's saying, 'Look, let's figure it out whatever we have to figure out, and let's move on from there.' (Reporter: "So, when fans are being overly critical of the offense, that hurts you, too?") Because it's us. Everything is us. Anybody from the outside can criticize. I always tell people, 'When the evil one really wants to get at you, it comes from inside.' That's where the vision is torn, from the inside. If you can keep everything on the outside outside and keep everything inside inside, then life will take care of itself. You will realize that every week is a new challenge. Every week is a new test. From one week to the next – I might do great this week, I might do mediocre next week – all you have to do is keep it moving and you'll be able to judge yourself."

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