Wednesday Press Conference - 11/23


Head Coach John Harbaugh

The week is almost here. On the short week, you get through it, get through the short part of it. What's it been like for you now that you've been through it? (Pete Gilbert) "We've had these [weeks] before, as you know. It's obviously very condensed, everything moves really fast, and you try to prepare right up to the last second. We're not finished yet. We'll be preparing until, basically, the ball is kicked off. I think our guys have done a great job, done the best we can to get healthy and get our legs back and get ready to go. It's going to be a hard, tough, physical football game, and that's what we're trying to prepare for."

Jim [Harbaugh] made the point that, they're under the gun a little bit coming from the West for a Thursday game. Do you think that he wanted to make that point about the travel maybe in case it didn't work out for him? (Pete Gilbert) "I'm not reading into anything that anybody says on any opposing [team]. I'm not reading into it. We've got a football game to play. We've got issues; they've got issues. We've got challenges; they've got challenges. The biggest challenge that we're going to have is the 49ers, the way they play, and who they are. That's what our focus is on."

This is a comparison question, but is this up there with some of the best defenses you've seen in your time in the NFL? (Aaron Wilson) "Absolutely. If you just watch their body of work right now, they are the top-ranked defense against the score. Against yards, I think they're near the top. They are pretty much the No. 1 team in take-aways, which is the most telling stat. Obviously, they've done a great job."

Personally, how are you feeling? Are you anxious, nervous? (Jen Royle) "No more nervous than usual. You are always anxious for a game, but sometimes you get into these games and you talk about… You're playing this team or that guy or this group of people and you say, 'Well, it's like playing your brother.' This is playing your brother. (laughter) This is the real thing. The only other guy on our team that has experience [with this] is Brendon Ayanbadejo. The beauty of it is Jim and I are not going to be lined up out there. That would not be pretty. You are going to see two great football teams going at it. To me, that's what's exciting about it."

Normally when you win a game, you don't feel bad for the other coach. Is there any of that little emotion deep down when you set back the other team or does it never apply just like a normal game? (Aaron Wilson) "I don't know. I'll let you know after the game. That would be a good question for after the game."

How has it been to get Ray Lewis back at practice the last couple days, get him back out there a little bit? (Dan Kolko)"It's been good. (Reporter: "Do you have any expectations for him on Thursday?) Nope. None that I would share. I really don't know, I really don't know. It's not like we've got some secret that we are holding back from everybody on any of these guys. We've got three, four, five guys that are up in the air. Our biggest issue right now is nicks, bumps and bruises. I think, if you want to make a comparison, I think they are healthy. We are not quite as healthy right now. That is something that we'll be crossing our fingers for different guys like that."

Do you think there will be a moment Thursday where you will allow yourself to take it in with your dad and your brother before the game, to kind of let it sink in, how unique this is? (Casey Willett) "I think so. I think you have to take a breath and you have to, kind of, enjoy every moment. I don't care what it is. Whether it's practice out here today, whether it's spending time with you guys – this is fun. Look at this scene. Look at this; this is cool. You think about opportunities in life, and what you get a chance to do. We talk about it with our players all the time. We always say, 'Where else would you rather be? What else would you rather be doing? What other group of people would you rather be around? Have you got something better to do, right now, than this?' There is time for everything else, [but] just take it moment by moment. I am having a blast. I am having a blast being the head football coach of the Baltimore Ravens. I couldn't be more thrilled every day to walk in the building and have a chance to talk to the fans – like we're doing right now – or have a chance to talk to our team or get on the field when the ball gets kicked off. When the ball gets kicked off, be nervous, be tense, be excited, compete. I am just thankful. I am thankful for the opportunity that [owner] Steve Bisciotti gave one guy a chance to do this. No matter what happens in this game or any other game, we are going to come bouncing back in here the next day excited to go to work again. These things don't last forever. I think if Thanksgiving is about anything, to me, it's about that and putting it in that kind of perspective. I am thankful for the opportunity to be standing right here with you guys right now, in this very second. (Reporter: "Who has it better than you?") Noooo-body."

Have you talked to your dad at all over the last day or two? How is Jack doing? (Pete Gilbert) "He's in town. He has been holding up well. He didn't come over to the building at all, but he has been doing some of the media stuff. I think he has enjoyed that. He'll be nervous. This has been tough on them. It's been great, but they're torn, I think. They want to go through it. It'll be a new experience for them, too."

What are their viewing plans? Have they told you? TV? At the stadium? (Morgan Adsit) "I think the plan right now, [senior vice president of public and community relations] Kevin Byrne has worked this out and the Ravens have worked this out with [president] Dick Cass, where I think they're going to have an office in the stadium. I think they are going to go down and watch it on TV underneath. He just really doesn't want any cameras on him during the game. We had General [Raymond T.] Odierno in here today. I don't know if you guys knew that. He talked to our team. He and I were just talking about that. As a parent, he understood that better than anybody why they wouldn't want that."

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