RAVENS WEDNESDAY QUOTES: WEEK 11 VS. BENGALS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
What's the challenge of going up against the Cover 2 scheme the way the Bengals have? (Ed Lee) "Are they a Cover 2 scheme? Are they? You studied the tape? (laughter) No, they play a lot of [Cover] 3, they play a lot of single-high, they play a lot of [Cover] 1. They play two-man, they play [Cover] 2, they play low quarters. So, all those coverages have challenges. They play all the coverages. So, we'll have to be ready and then it will be just what they choose to play against us predominantly."
Is it too simplistic to say that the pressure is on Joe Flacco to read those defenses, and see where and what the Bengals are lining up in? (Ed Lee) "I would say it would be too simplistic to say that, sure."
Can you talk about A.J. Green and his ability to make plays no matter what the coverage is against him? (Jason Butt) "Yeah, A. J. Green is obviously a huge talent. I think when you look at all their offensive weapons, they have two really good running backs. They have two excellent tight ends who can make plays on vertical routes down field. [Jerome] Simpson has done a nice job. He's a big receiver outside; he had a good game against us last time. So, [they have] a very talented group on offense. And a big, physical offensive line."
Is that what has surprised you about the Bengals. I don't think a lot of people expected them to be 6-3 at this point, but perhaps you did. Has that been the secret of their success, or just their usual defense? (Dave Ginsburg) "Well, I think that they're winning in the same way they played last year. They're just doing it a little bit better in the sense that they've really protected the football. That's probably the No. 1 key. They're playing excellent defense, as you said, and they're moving the football. They are a well-rounded football team. They're doing all the things you need to do to win games. So, give them credit. I've said many times before, as you know, that that's a very good football team. They've beaten us plenty of times. We've always had a ton of respect for the Bengals. It's a big rivalry game for us. It's one of the toughest games we play every single year. One of the most physical games we play, and that's what we're gearing up for."
The Ravens like to run the ball; you talked about it a lot on Monday. But, the Bengals run defense and their defense overall is as stout as any in the NFL. How do you plan on getting that accomplished? (Jerry Coleman) "We plan on doing it well. You've got to go against good defenses every single week in the National Football League. You run the ball, you throw the ball, [and] you do whatever you need to do to win a football game. And you just have to do it well. And that's our plan."
It often takes rookie quarterbacks a little time to acclimate themselves to the NFL. Andy Dalton seems to have done a good job of coming in and managing the Bengals offense well from the start of the season. From what you've seen on tape, what has he done well? How has he been able to move that offense? (Dan Kolko) "He fits into the offense. I think they've built it very well for him. He has, obviously, a very quick release. He has a nice release. He's an accurate passer. He gets the ball out quick when he needs to. He moves around the pocket pretty well. And, he's made good decisions. I think he's protected the ball really well. That's what winning quarterbacks do, and he's done a good job of that."
Every playmaker wants the ball more; it's how they're wired and they wouldn't be as good as they are if it wasn't for that. Some players complain publicly when they don't get the ball. Ray Rice has never done that and has always put the team first. What does that say about his character and him as a teammate? (Kevin Van Valkenburg) "Ray Rice is a high character guy. That's kind of what you're referring to. He's always been that way. It's never been an issue. I think Ray looks at it like, 'Let's do whatever we need to do to win a game.' And I also think Ray feels like he can be a big part of that. And that's what I want him to think. That's what he should believe; because he's right. We're going to try to put the ball in every one of our playmakers hands as much as we possibly can, because that's what you do. And you try to execute the offense. And Ray's a big part of that. And you could name every single guy. You could say the same thing about Anquan [Boldin], you could say the same thing about Ed [Dickson], Ricky [Williams]; every one of our guys you could say the same thing about. Which is something, as a coach, you appreciate."
What do you say to Ray Rice after he gets the ball five times in a loss? How do you manage that and talk to him about that? (Nestor Aparicio) "In response to what?"
In response to getting the ball more often? (Nestor Aparicio) "Ray has never said that to me. The conversations Ray and I have are what we can do to be a better offense. What we can do to run plays better. Ray knows I want to give him the ball, so I don't need to say anything about that."
Has Ricky Williams been… He hasn't gotten the ball a lot, but he hasn't complained and he has played well when he's been in the game. Have you been pleased with his attitude and production? (Dave Ginsburg) "Yeah, Ricky has played the role exactly that we would like for him to play. He's a very good back. He's been in there, he's run the ball hard, he's broken tackles, and made plays for us. So, Ricky's a big part of what we're doing and I'm sure glad we've got him."
John, everyone thinks of the Pittsburgh rivalry and how physical it is. But points seem harder to come by for both teams between the Ravens and the Bengals. What is that indicative of? (Pete Gilbert) "It's an AFC North rivalry. And you can put the Browns in the same category. Go back and look at the history. All these games are played [physically]. They are all tight games between all the teams. They're fiercely combatted and they're physical, hard games to play. And we come out of these games with a lot of bumps and bruises, just like they do. We kind of take pride in that in this division. So, I have a lot of respect for them. That's the kind of football that gets played in the AFC North."
John, in the first four weeks the Ravens were one of the best defenses in the league in terms of turning the ball over, getting takeaways, and setting your offense up with good field position. The last few weeks, there haven't been as many takeaways. Is that something you can emphasize in practice? Or is it just that the ball bounces the right way in sometimes and falls into your hands on game day? (Dan Kolko) "We always emphasize it, no matter what, and our guys do everything they can to create turnovers. You do that through your technique and your responsibility. Yeah, sometimes they come to you, and sometimes they don't. But, you try to create them with hard hits. You try to create them by stripping the ball, especially in the run game, but also in the pass game. You get your hand in there [and] you bat balls at the line of scrimmage. You step in front of throws; sometimes they throw them to you. But, it's very important for us to do that. What you don't do, you don't step outside the responsibility of the defense to try to create something that's not there and give up a big play. Because there are priorities in the pecking order, and the priority in the pecking order is to get a stop first. If we can get a turnover as we do that, we definitely want to do that."
This season you've faced teams coached by Ken Whisenhunt, Jack Del Rio, and now this week, Marvin Lewis; all of whom are former Ravens assistant coaches. What is it about this environment that has spawned so many head coaching careers in the NFL and college? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it, Jeff. But, I think this is a great environment for anybody to grow professionally. We have tremendous leadership in [owner] Steve Bisciotti, at the top. He creates an environment where you can really grow and learn, and he's a teacher. And you've got [president] Dick Cass, who is a tremendous person and a tremendous leader. And you've got [executive vice president/general manger] Ozzie [Newsome], obviously. So, it just permeates the organization. And people are able to take the values of this organization to other places and do well. [The leaders in the Ravens organization] are very respected around the league."
What do you see from 4-3 defenses in terms of getting them blocked as you try to set up your run game? (Aaron Wilson) "I'm not sure I follow you."
Is there any particular difficulty with when they have… You guys practice against the 3-4 primarily. Is there anything with 4-3, just a lack of familiarity? Or is it pretty much the same? (Aaron Wilson) "We're just going to get ready to play the team we play. We're going to attack that defense. Sometimes they'll give us a new wrinkle. Last week they gave us a little bit of an odd look, as it turned out. You've got to block an NFL front. We have some schemes that we believe in against this front, just like we do against every different front. And it is our job to go out there and get the job done, and that's what we plan on doing."
John, I know you're working this week to determine a kick returner, but as far as when to bring the ball out, have there been any changes from the beginning of the season in adapting to the new rule? Have you maintained when it's OK to bring the ball out of the end zone? (Glenn Clark) "The rules have definitely changed with that dramatically across the league, no doubt about it. People are bringing them out from 9-[yards] deep now. The standard has definitely changed. The drive start average now is 21.1, where last year it was 27-point- something. So, that's different. There are a lot more 12-, 13-, 14-yard drive starts. That would have been absolutely unacceptable in the past. Now, it's kind of become normal. But, we're happy if we get the ball at the 20- [yard line]. We're happy with that. If you're going in this direction, the bottom line is when a kick play is over, we want our offense running on the field. That's the main thing. So, that will be our emphasis. But, we're also going to hit it up in there and attack people and try to bust it out if we can."
In regards to Jimmy Smith, is he starting to move up on the depth chart in terms of seeing more playing time now that he is healthier? (Jerry Coleman) "Jimmy has practiced really well. He played well in the game when he played in the dime package, and he's going to get more and more time, I would think, out there. We have a really good secondary, so it's not like you just sit a guy down, because there's always give and take with that. But, I would expect Jimmy's role to continue to expand, because he's doing a really nice job."
It's always week-by-week, but is there any overlapping at all – even with just the coaches and film – in preparing for two games in five days? (Morgan Adsit) "There will be some overlapping in film work, as far as baseline study for the 49ers. Maybe a little bit of game plan stuff. Coaches will have to do that on their own. But, the focus definitely is going to be on this game, and then we will have to go to the next game, next. But just as far as doing our work, yes, that happens."
QB Joe Flacco
On the ups and downs of the last two weeks: "Yeah, it's pretty typical in the NFL. My first three years, it seems like we have had a point where we have felt like this every year. We're never running away with it at 9-, 10-0. We feel like we can be there, and we felt like we can be there every year. We're just not. We lost a game. Nobody feels good about it, but at the same time, we can't really ride that wave and be on emotional highs and lows. We have to get ready to prepare in a couple of days and play another game – a very important game."
On what the challenges are of deciphering a Cover 2 defense: "[There is] not really too much challenge to it. There are going to be two high safeties, two low corners and the Mike 'backer is either going to be dropping back or they are going to be playing some sort of man underneath. It's pretty straight forward."
On what he has to do to have success against the Bengals' defense: "I think they have a front-four that is playing really well right now. I think the main thing is to stop the front-four from getting pressure and not creating lanes to run the ball in. I think if we do that, then we are going to do a good job. These guys have done a good job all year and in the past of playing well up front against us. I think if we eliminate that the way we are capable of, then we are going to have success."
On if he can notice the offensive imbalance during a game and the lopsided run-pass ratio in Seattle: "What do you think is going to happen when there are five minutes left in the third quarter and you are down 22-7? It happened in the Arizona Cardinals game too, [and] we won. Nobody was complaining about it then."
On if he takes it personally when people say the team should be running the ball more: "It just doesn't make sense. Did you watch the game, or didn't you watch the game? I understand the way our running backs feel. I understand, because if we were throwing the ball 10 times, I would be a little upset that I didn't get to put my stamp on the game either. But, did you see how the game went? The play I threw the interception on was a run play. They took it away with a safety down that side, they tipped the pass and picked it off. It was 22-7, there were probably eight minutes left in the third quarter, [we're] down 15. You have to score pretty much every possession. You can't assume that they are not going to score, and you can't assume that you have eight possessions left. You could have three possessions left in the game, and that's the kind of game we played. We didn't have a lot of possessions, we weren't perfect, but we weren't terrible either. We moved the ball all game, and things didn't go our way. Like I said, when you look at the run-pass ratio, watch the football game, and you should understand why we threw the ball that many times and why we ran the ball that many times."
On how much of the offense is called on a play-to-play basis, like the play where he was intercepted that was originally a run: "I didn't go to a passing play. Anquan [Boldin] was running that there. That was kind of our built-in alert. We might have had two of them on Sunday, that was it. We were calling pass plays, but like I said, what do you expect? You are down 22-7. This is the NFL – you have to put points on the board, and you have to do it fast. If you have a three-and-out, at least you didn't eat up eight minutes of clock and not get any points."
On how much the Bengals' defense has changed with CB Johnathan Joseph departing as a free agent and CB Leon Hall injured for the rest of the season: "[Johnathan] Joseph has played well for those guys in the past, and so has [Leon] Hall. We'll see two different guys, obviously, this Sunday. But, they are a good defense, and they are going to have guys out there that are ready to play. They are going to run their scheme, and it's going to be our job to put a little pressure on those guys out there when we have the chance and take our underneath stuff when we have that shot."
On if it gives him optimism that he can attack the defense with two new corners: "Hopefully we can do that, yeah. Obviously, you look at that and say, 'OK, it's obviously not their starting corner, the guy that they initially would like to have in there.' But at the same time, you can't really underestimate people or try to do any of that. You have to go in there, you have to execute the game-plan. Like I said, hopefully we can take advantage of that, just like we hope to every week when we go out there and play against a team. We hope to take advantage of that when we can with our matchups with Torrey [Smith] and Anquan [Boldin], and at the same time, we have to give them their credit when they take it away, which they are going to be capable of doing. We are going to have to make sure that we get underneath and hit Ray [Rice] and get to our tight ends."
On why the matchup with Cincinnati is always a tough game: "They are a physical football team. Like I said, they have played well. Their offensive line, their defensive line, they are two pretty good groups. They'll fight 60 minutes, and they fight to the whistle hard on each play. I think they have had a couple seasons where they have been really good since I have been here, record-wise, and a couple of seasons where they haven't been. But, it's really just how's the early part of their season gone? In a year like this, when they have played very well early on, they continue to play like that and keep it going. Like I said, they play hard, they play well, they have a lot of talented guys. I think they are all starting to get really confident. I think they always come in and play us confidently just because it's a division game, and it always means a lot."
On the difficulties of playing two games in five days: "We haven't done it this year. We have done it before though, haven't we? We've played on Thursdays, Sunday-Thursdays, have we not? You prepare this week – prepare for Cincinnati. When the next week comes, you do your job and you get here, and you do extra things to kind of cram in there for a Thursday game. We'll be fortunate enough to play here at home this week and play at home Thursday. We will have that advantage, I guess."
On if the team needs to establish the run before going to the pass: "I don't think you need to do anything. I think you need to do what is going to give you success in winning the football game. Having said that, obviously, getting Ray [Rice] the ball any way you can is a good thing, getting Ricky [Williams] the ball. Like I said, you have to what you have to do to have success on offense. If that's what's going to get us there on a given week, this week, then yeah. We want to be physical with these guys, we want to be able to run the ball against these guys just like we want to do every week. I don't think we go into a game saying we don't want to run the ball. We're a kind of team that plays physical football and wants to do that. It's just a matter of going out there and doing it."
On if the answers are as simple as the media makes them out to be: "I think the answers can be pretty simple, but they can just be different than what you guys think. (laughter) There are a lot of things that go on in the NFL season. There are a lot of good football teams out there, and a lot of good football teams that don't have good records. We've played three weeks, and we haven't played perfect football, and we are 2-1 in those last three weeks. We come out and don't play well against an Arizona Cardinals football team, and they just go into Philadelphia and beat them up and win a football game. Then we come beat Pittsburgh. Everybody knows they are a good football team, and then we go into Seattle, and it was a weird game, it really was. You have to tip your hats to those guys – they played well. I tend to think they are pretty simple. Just like you said, it's just a matter of going out there and doing it. Like I said, it's just what are you guys saying vs. what I am saying? What do we think is simple and what do we think is not?"
LB Ray Lewis
On how he handles losses now compared to when he first started in the NFL: "Oh man, yeah, I was a bad person handling losses. My mom was the first one to tell me that. Nobody could talk to me. If it was a road game, I wouldn't return their phone calls. If it was a home game, I would ride home in the car and not talk to anybody. Honestly, you cannot live that way – you can't. Not talking about being a professional. You affect so many people, that's what my mom was really trying to get at me. She was like, 'Junior, when you act like that, you affect the whole family. The whole family mood has changed.' Of course this is our job, and of course we are emotional, but when you lose a game you have to realize, 'OK, that's a game.' You've got to move on, because Momma is still dealing with life and things like that. Me, I had to grow as a man. I had to grow as a man to start understanding what that meant. Do I like losing? Heck no. But the bottom line is, after it's done, it's done. And it's the same thing with a win as well."
On the balance between coaches' input and players' input when reviewing a loss and game-planning for the next week: "I think that is the key on what you do, give and take from the coaches. What do you ask the coaches for, what do you tell the coaches, is good. I think that's what… Even when we went back this week… I don't know if John [Harbaugh] spoke about it, but that's what we did going back this week. The coaches and players really got with each other – what works, what doesn't work, how do you like this, why don't you like that? Once you figure that out, win lose or draw, as long as the players and the coaches are on the same page, you ultimately don't care what the outcome is from that standpoint, if the coaches and players are on the same page. But, if they're not, you're going to have that division, that up-and-down rollercoaster. But I think we did a good job kind of addressing whatever the issues were."
On how personal he is taking the losses to teams that he thinks he should have beat: "I always tell people [that] I look at the whole schedule. That's what I kind of tell the guys every year. I look at the whole schedule, and you can look at the whole schedule and point out we should win this one, we might not win this one, we should win this one, we might not win this one. And all of those things that you say you might not do, it always goes the opposite – every year. So no matter how you do it… There's not one person that's probably around here with a microphone or a camera that picked us to sweep Pittsburgh. You just didn't pick us. There's not one person probably that picked us to lose to Jacksonville or Tennessee or Seattle, but it happened. That's the business. That's the irony of sports. You know that you come in and any given Sunday you can win or you can lose. That's a bottom line fact. That side of it is what I try to keep the guys focused on – understanding that every week is a new week no matter who it is."
On what he sees from Bengals QB Andy Dalton: "I think that if you watch him, and this young boy [A.J.] Green that they have over there, that's kind of a one-two punch that they really like right now. Marvin [Lewis], I think he's done a great job. He has those boys playing at a very high level. When you actually see the film, and you see the way they're running, and the way the defense is really getting after people… Their stats don't lie. They are in the top five in certain categories and things. But I think it's the whole aura about what Marvin is trying to do over there. I think he's doing a heck of a job doing it, because those guys really respond. I think that quarterback, and with Cedric Benson in the backfield, they run the ball really well. And the offensive line is doing some great things upfront. So, I think they have a nice chemistry of where they're trying to go."
On what the mood of the run defense is after RB Marshawn Lynch had a big game last week: "They had 42 carries for 2.8 yards. He did exactly what… The thing is, man, you can worry about what people have done, but you have to look at the whole game. You give up one drive the whole game and the rest of the drives you get are five field goals. If I asked the defense a thousand times to go into football games and do that, then do that. That's what it is. It's not like we were going in not knowing who we were playing. I told you that before [that] Marshawn Lynch, to me, is one of the best talents that I've seen play the game. It's the National Football League; they're going to make a play, you're going to make a play. But overall as a team, there are certain things that you have to do so you don't put yourself in that situation. And you know me, I'm the first one to tell you, I don't care what opposing stadium you go into. If you turn the ball over, you're going to have a hard time beating any team. I don't care what their record is. We put the ball on the ground twice. We gave it away another time. That's nine points off of turnovers, period. No matter how great our defense went in there and stopped them and gave up field goals, that's nine points. Now I think we lost the game by five. You do the math from there. From that standpoint, defensively, you just have to keep treading, keep treading, keep treading. You're going to play a good back every week – next back, next back, next back, next back. And that's kind of the exciting thing, that you get that challenge every week. But anytime someone can touch the ball for 32 carries and barely go over 100 yards, then you know what? We have to be better balanced as a team."
On RB Ray Rice not getting as many carries as some people would like:"I think Ray said what Ray should have said. There's no need for me to harp on that. We know who our bell cow is on offense. Me being here 10 years ago, remembering the same kind of stats with Jamal Lewis, when those stats changed, we never lost another game. Sometimes those things have to happen to put you in position to understand that's our bell cow. If that talent right there isn't touching the ball, he said, 25, 30 times, then you have to question yourself, 'What are we actually doing balance-wise?' Jamal Lewis was that type of player back in the day. Ray Rice is definitely one of those talents that has to get an offense going. So, I just think our offensive guys will definitely do a better job getting the ball in his hands."
On why they have not been on the same page with coaches already three times this season: "I think, individually, you have to ask them personally, if you're talking about offense. Defensively, with my coach, Chuck Pagano, we have been on the same page. We've been clicking, da, da, da, da, really starting to put stuff together. But as a team, and each person individually… Just like Ray [Rice] has to go to Cam [Cameron] and figure out what they're doing with themselves and different things like that. So, they'll work that part out. Our job is just to weather the storm until we get that total balance over there, and things start rolling smooth."
On how to make forcing turnovers a primary goal again: "Yeah, a large part of that is that. But you've got to see a lot of people try to take Pittsburgh's motto and take a couple of other people's mottos – blocking seven men, leaving the seven men in the box. Seattle did a great job really leaving a lot of people in the box to get after them. We still pressured them a couple times, but people aren't just going to let us blitz their quarterbacks like that. You just have to keep the ball in front of you and minimize your gains and things like that. At the end of the day, we'll find a way to get to him. It's just do you have that much time to get to him? If the balance of the game goes the way it's supposed to go, then it'll create opportunities themselves, because they'll be in third-and-longs, they'll be playing from behind. They'll have to throw the ball more instead of playing in those dink and dunk [situations], run the ball 42 or 45 times, that safe ball, so that we don't get into the rhythm that we usually get into."
On whether he feels that they have to create turnovers for the team to be successful: "I think, period. Take the team concept out of it. That's our No. 1 goal. Our No. 1 goal is [to] keep points off the board and create turnovers. You don't even have to think about the offense. That's our No. 1 thing."
On whether he has noticed that young players are better prepared to start in the NFL right out of college: "Absolutely, absolutely. But you have to think, way back in the day you had so many, when I first came, so many of those veterans everywhere. Now it's kind of changing. The tides are changing, because a lot of guys are trusting those young guys to come in and be starters. When I was coming in the league, a starter wasn't… A young rookie who was drafted early wasn't going to start his first year. He would probably start his second or third year. But now we're throwing them right in the fire. But I think their learning curve is so much higher coming from college now. These colleges are really challenging players to be at a certain level, and when they get here – you take a Joe [Flacco] you take a Matt Ryan and all these guys – their level of play is so much higher than being a rookie. That's the thing that makes them excel much more."
DT Haloti Ngata
On how close his is to being 100-percent healthy with his thigh:"Physically it just… I'm up and down. I think the week after I actually hurt my thigh I was probably like 80-percent. It was a little bit more last week. It's getting better and better each week. I've just got to make sure I take care of it."
On whether Seattle did anything surprising during its final drive: "No. They ran the ball. Marshawn Lynch didn't want to get tackled, and he did a great job of getting the little yards. They stayed on the field and we couldn't get off. Nothing special, they were just able to run the ball on us."
On his first thoughts on Cincinnati: "I mean, they're huge – real big guys up front. They've been together for a while now and are a real physical group, too. They like to... It looks like, on film, they like to bully guys around. We've got to make sure we stop that and make sure we can stop Cedric Benson."
On whether they are going to focus on stopping the run against Cincinnati: "Definitely. I think the last two games Cedric hasn't gotten 100 yards on us. I think that's probably one of their goals, to have a running back to get over 100 yards. Our job is to make sure that he doesn't get there. Hopefully we can continue to do that."
RB Ray Rice
On the new Baltimore Orioles' hat he is wearing: "I am just trying to represent our other part of town – the Orioles. Let them know we are here, representing the new logo. There are two of us in town; [we have] to represent both sides."
On if he gets free Orioles tickets: "I am hoping to throw out a first pitch. I proved I can throw now." (laughter)
On what he was thinking when the play call came in for him to throw the ball on Sunday: "I think the cat was out of the bag. I don't think too many people knew I was left-handed, number one. The fact that it was a pin-point throw, my quarterback rating is pretty high right now. (Reporter: "It was a lob; it wasn't really a throw though, right?") No, it was a throw. (laughing) It was a completion. I am sure they were skeptical. Knowing the weather situation out in Seattle, practicing during the week, I had a wet ball – I actually threw it out of bounds in practice. I didn't know if [Cam Cameron] was still going to call it or not. It shows a little trust in there. [Head coach] 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] said the same thing. He said he was a little edgy. Obviously, after the touchdown, it was a great call."
On if it is more fun to throw or run for a touchdown: "I would rather run it in, but to see Ed Dickson get a touchdown and be a part of it was pretty cool."
On declining to talk to the media following the game at Seattle: "I think, as a professional, you have to sometimes gather your thoughts up. You have to look at a situation before you express yourself, bottled up with emotional thoughts. My reason for not speaking after the game was more frustration on how we lost the game. It had nothing to do with you guys. I am a guy that talks about execution, and when you find yourself down in a situation, you want to climb your way out. It was just an emotional loss. Like you said, I play the game with a lot of emotion, and I have a great deal of respect for your guys' job as well, so my reason for declining it was just not to come out and say something after an emotional loss. You already know what that leads to. That leads to disaster, it leads to trouble. It leads to people pointing fingers, and I am never going to be that kind of guy. I am a stand-up guy about winning and losing. Nobody likes losing, but at the same time, I always try to take some good out of it. So, my biggest reason, as I was saying, I try to look at a situation and take good out of it. What's good out of it is that we are still 6-3 with the rest of the season ahead. They weren't in our conference, but at the same time, you want to beat the teams that you are supposed to beat. It was one of those situations where they got after us pretty good and it was pretty emotional."
On if his frustration was due to a lack of touches: "No, the thing is, if you get down in a situation, you have to climb your way out. I am never going to be the guy that talks about touches, but obviously, we know going into a game, five carries is not going to cut it. You look at it, and I know five carries is not going to do us any justice, but at the same time, we found ourselves so deep in the situation that we had to climb our way out. We were looking for answers. Whether it was running or passing, we have to find our way out of a situation. I always spoke about not getting down in a situation like that, to where you have to be in a two-minute offense. I always said the two-minute offense is great, but when you have to take your fullback [Vonta Leach] off the field, who is a Pro Bowl fullback, and not lead him on people, that leads to trouble."
On what is the biggest challenge of getting the run game going vs. Cincinnati: "You have to attack them. The problems we have been facing against these 4-3 teams, we have to attack them. It starts with running the ball. The run opens up the pass. One thing about offense, offense has to be balanced. You have to find a way to have that balance when run sets up the pass. When you are running the ball effectively, it sets it up for later down the field. I think in the Seattle [game], we were running the ball effectively, but you find yourself in that situation where you are backed up and different situations. One thing we are going to do – hang our hats on – going forward, is establishing a run game. You have to hang your head to it. That's what the teams – Seattle did it, Jacksonville did it – the teams that want to run the ball, no matter what situation, they are going to do it. We all know this is the NFL; we are going to face top defenses. But at the same time, we have to make them defend the run."
On if there are times that the team needs to run, despite teams showing a passing look:"As a runner, you want that. When you see a safety down [in the box], sometimes it's not a time to get away from it. It's a time for, as a runner, you want to make that guy miss. You take your chances. The great ones do that. But I think going forward, we are getting it corrected, and we are looking forward to that challenge. That's the greatest part about this game – there is a different challenge each week. This week, it's Cincinnati, who is going to come in… They lost to Pittsburgh… But whatsoever. The division is next week. It's a one-game season. We know what's at stake: If we win, we are No. 1 in the division. If we lose, we are No. 3. It's clear-cut out there for us."
On what head coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said to the team about the game, particularly about him only having five carries: "There is a correlation between all that, but I obviously looked at them, and you have to take both sides – you have to reason with it. When you find yourself down in a situation, like I told you, I am never going to be the guy to say, 'I want it. I need the ball in this situation.' There were times where I felt like we could have ran it, but one thing we said going forward is that we are going to establish the run game, and that is going to help set up things for later on. Establishing it, just not getting away from it, but we have to control the game in situations. We can't turn over the ball, we can't get stupid penalties, starting back from the five-yard line. If we are going to go 80 yards, let's go 80 yards, but let's not make a situation where you get a cheap holding penalty [and] we find ourselves in first-and-20. We want to be able to manage first and second downs so we can get in manageable third downs."
On what he feels the running game can produce: "The run game hasn't been stagnant. Like I said, you take the Pittsburgh game, with the long run, our numbers will be up there with the rest of the NFL and our average, if that run wasn't taken away. Last week, we got away from it because of the situation we were in. It's not that we haven't been effective. We have been bitten by penalties, we have been bitten by situational football. We have to play smarter football going forward and leave the penalties out. We have to hold onto the ball. We can't find ourselves in the different situations where it makes the run game harder. It's hard enough driving the ball 80 yards down the field, so we have to find ourselves in manageable situations so we can hang our hats on the run when needed."
On his expectation of how many carries he would get going into the game at Seattle: "Going into Seattle, I always expect to come out of a game with 20-25 touches – running and passing. When you find yourself in that situation, when you look at where the numbers correlated, you try to add it up. Obviously, the touches were down that game, but it was situational football. Anytime I feel like if I get 20-25 touches – and that's running, receiving, whatever we are going to do – we have a great chance of winning that game."
On if he is comfortable voicing his opinion now, like he did on the sideline Sunday: "At that time and point, it was Arthur Jones, but Arthur can take that from me because Arthur knows where it's coming from. Arthur knows how serious I am about winning, and he is a serious guy about winning as well. I thought at the time, the penalty that he got, he could have been smarter. He knows that I was upset, but our guys don't take it that kind of way. Ray [Lewis] will come at me on the sideline and let me know what I am doing wrong. If I am not hitting crease the way I am supposed, sometimes it isn't being clear-cut, he will come to me and tell me to put my foot in the ground and go north and south. We have those kind of guys. I just happen to be the guy who got caught on camera. (laughing) I feel vocal. I am not going to be shy about being vocal. I love it. That's a role that I am embracing on this team. It's next in order, and I feel like I have waited a certain amount of ways, where now, it's good to go."