QB Joe Flacco
On his comments about lining up as a receiver being blown out of proportion:"I don't know. I haven't really heard any of the fallout from it. I would say it's probably not taken too much out of context. It is what it is. Yeah, I don't like that stuff. I think it makes you look like a high school offense. That's just my opinion."
On if he heard anything from the coaching staff about his comments:"No."
On whether he has expressed his opinions to the coaching staff:"They know how I feel about it."
On if he expects to see that formation again:"I don't think so."
On the additional threat a healthy WR Jacoby Jones gives him:"He's been healthy. He's been out there, he's been running routes well, he's been doing a lot of things well, and it's just a matter of getting the ball to him and converting first downs. He did a great job on Sunday. He's been doing that. We've just got to get him into it and get him going."
On facing the Steelers on a short week:"It's always a cool week when you go against these guys. It's been a good game for the last handful of years, and it's always a challenge getting ready on a short week. But, they have the same issues. It should be a lot of fun. I enjoy playing on Thanksgiving. It just brings a cool atmosphere, and it's going to be cool that we're in our home stadium. It's a real exciting week."
On defenses bringing more pressure this season in the red zone:"I think teams like to do that. When you get down and you get tight in there, they like to bring an all-out blitz. That's just part of a lot of teams' packages, and it's up to us to block it up and run little picks here and get open quickly and do all the right things. And as long as we play sound football and just execute basic things, then we should be able to do well against it. We haven't necessarily been able to do that consistently enough."
On WR Brandon Stokley getting back to play and what he needs to do to stay healthy:"He gives you another guy that can go out there and has done it before and has done it under pressure. [He is] a guy that you can trust."
On he feels running trick plays is a slap in the face to him and/or the entire offense:"No, I don't look at it as a slap in the face to me. It is what it is. I want as many chances as I can get behind the line of scrimmage. I just don't like that stuff in general. Me and Tyrod [Taylor] talk about it. It's just interesting to me. I'm all for us doing things to get better, but we're not going to be good if we just can't get good at the basics of what we do 90 percent of the time. We've got to get good at those things or we're not going to be good, no matter what. And I just want to make sure we're focusing on getting good at those things."
On if using the Wildcat was for the need to mix things up on offense against a good Jets defense:"I don't know."
On running the Wildcat play after completing a long pass to Torrey Smith:"I don't care how we use it in the game – successful, not successful, after a big play, not after a big play. I don't care where it's used; I'm just not a huge fan of it. Like I said, I'm the quarterback, I want to be behind the line of scrimmage, and I want to be taking the snaps. That's really the only thing. And I don't necessarily take it personally either in terms of our offense trying to get better. I just think it makes us look not like an NFL team."
On QB Tyrod Taylor's thoughts on the formation:"We all have open conversations about it. He understands how I feel. And, listen, Tyrod [Taylor] is a quarterback, too. He probably feels a certain way about it, too. But, having said that, we're all going to do our best to make those plays work and execute them well and see what happens."
On his role when the offense lines up wide in the Wildcat:"I'm not doing a single thing. I'm not getting it. I'm not blocking. I'm not doing anything."
NT Haloti Ngata
On getting back on the field last Sunday and how he feels this week: "It felt great. [I] went out there and warmed up before the game and felt good enough to go. It actually stayed loose throughout the game, and it loosened up more, so it felt good. It was great to get back on the field, and our schedule is great this week for this game Thursday – a lot of mental [preparation] and just trying to get ready for the Pittsburgh game."
On QB Ben Roethlisberger: "He's just great at loose play, really. I think you guys see it all the time when he plays. He's just hard to tackle, and then he's just able to find some receivers and throw the ball. He's just a great quarterback that way. We've just got to do a great job at trying to plaster those guys that are leaking out and get him down when we have the chance."
On the Steelers' improvement since the first time they played: "They've continued to improve each week. They're hot right now, doing a lot of good things well. Their running back is running well, and Ben [Roethlisberger] is being Ben and not going down right away. They're clicking really well right now, so hopefully we can do a great job this week and get off the field."
On playing in a lot of close games this season: "We just haven't been able to finish. Defensively, we're not getting off the field before halftime or at the end of the game. We've worked on that quite a bit. We've been doing a little better each week, so we can continue to do that."* *
On if the defense is peaking at the right time:"That's what we're hoping. The past couple of offenses we've played haven't been the best in the league, but on Thursday we'll play a pretty good offense. That will be a good test for us; hopefully we can do a good job."* *
On his food drive competition with Steelers S Troy Polamalu: "I'm doing a virtual food drive against [Troy] Polamalu. If you want to donate, go to www.blitzhungerdrive.com. Right now, I'm up, so that's pretty cool. [We're] trying to raise money for our respective food drives in each other's cities. It's a competition between the cities. So if we win, hopefully we win two things in one day – that would be cool."
RB Ray Rice
On realizing there would be so much at stake when the Ravens faced the Steelers earlier in the season:"They are the Pittsburgh Steelers. They faced a lot of problems we faced this year, and records are matching up, and this game definitely means a lot for both teams. We have a lot at stake. We're both teams that are so called 'in the hunt,' and every game matters from here on out. So, to have [a game] on Thanksgiving and to have it Thursday, really it's a national stage, and it's going to be a huge game. Every game is a huge game, but obviously, playing Pittsburgh there is always a sense that this is going to be a very physical game. They're playing really good football right now, so every game matters."
On QB Joe Flacco's negative comments about running the Wildcat:"It's a change-up. Obviously Joe [Flacco] – he'd rather be lined up getting the snaps, but it's a change-up. We're just trying to do [as] best we can right now to improvise a little bit to get a little change-up. Joe can be voicing his opinion, but it's a wave that's going on in the NFL. We're not saying we're trying to follow the wave or anything, but to change up … It's not our everyday offense. It's just something that gives teams a little bit something to prepare for and know that we have it in our arsenal. Look at what Pittsburgh did to us last game. We hadn't prepared for it, and the next thing you know they line up, [and] they're running the Wildcat as well. It's just a wave that's going on in the NFL. We have it in our arsenal, and it gives us a little bit of a change. I don't think it's going to be our every-down call. Obviously, you guys know that as well."
On the Wildcat being something opponents have to prepare to face:"It's definitely something on film, especially if you execute it right."
On running the Wildcat to trick up the Jets' defense:"When you look at the Jets, they're … If you want to play right into their hands, just run the football right at them and see what happens. I don't care if it's us … What we did in the run game … You line up against the Jets and just run right at them and see what happens. That's going to happen to anybody. So to give them a little change-up and get a little spark, that definitely is something that was different for us, and I'm glad we were able to come in an execute it. Tyrod [Taylor] is getting better at it. We did what we had to do. We knew that was going to be tough sledding. They're not No. 1-ranked on defense for no reason. You line up against them with those big guys up there, and the way Rex [Ryan] has his defense lined up, you've got your hands full. And our O-line – if you look, they blocked. The backs – we ran hard. There were small creases in there that we had to try to make a little room in there, and that's tough sledding."
On whether there is a good back and forth with players and coaches in meetings on how to fix the offensive problems this season:"The good part about us is [that] we don't point fingers. And I've said this before: Just think about where we're at right now. It's usually the team right now that gets hot right now that takes that wave or takes that ride – whatever you want to call it – and carries it all the way. So, we had our fair share a little early this year. We took our bumps, we took our bruises, the team is getting back healthy, but the one thing that we are doing is communicating. When we don't like something, we're able to communicate it without having a fuss about what's going on, this, that and the other. Myself – I'm not blaming injury anymore. We all owned up to what happened this year. We know what happened. We know the position we have to fight ourselves out. It's usually the team right now that figures it out, gets hot and stays hot."
On winning this game being the start of a winning streak for the Ravens:"It will definitely help out with momentum. It definitely puts things in a good perspective, but we know it's going to be a tough challenge. It's definitely going to be a challenge in all aspects. The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a couple of [wins]. They've been winning. And they haven't been winning by tricking people. They've been winning games by playing good football, sound football – the offense complementing the defense, hard on special teams. They've got a winning formula right now. That's a different team. They've got the same problems that we have – different personnel – and they're doing it with essentially a different team. And you've got those veteran guys that we have as well, so seeing those guys putting it together like that is pretty amazing. And that's what we hope to do ourselves."
On Thanksgiving being his favorite holiday and what it means to him:"It's always better after you win. I get to eat and not have to worry about my weight. *(laughter) *It's always a good time, because I'm thankful to be playing this game. I'm thankful for life. I'm thankful for my daughter. I'm thankful for health. When you think about the people that don't have [as many blessings], you just want to do whatever you can to help. That's just always a good feeling. Whenever you have Thanksgiving, you really want to give thanks to why we were even put on this earth. I always think about where I came from, where I started and where I am at. So, I'm thankful for so much, and I pray for those who don't have."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On there is any need for extra motivation to beat the Steelers: "No, especially considering they beat us the last time we faced off. If you aren't ready for this game, then you have no business on either one of the two teams. I have a feeling both teams are preparing. We're both getting ready, and we'll you see you guys out there Thursday night."* *
On the Steelers' improvement since the last time they played: "I really checked out Ben [Roethlisberger], and he has looked like he is getting back to being Ben, shaking guys off and making plays just when you think the play is broke down. I think that's when he's at his best – when he's most comfortable. They definitely have gotten a lot better, and we realize that. So, we're going to have to prepare for them."* *
On if the defense measures itself against top quarterbacks: "No. At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is the win and the loss. You can't really measure yourself by [that], because when we played a top quarterback in Week 1, it didn't work out so well for us. But if we had got down on ourselves, who knows? We would probably be packing it up, ready to go home. But we knew that it was just one game. When you play elite quarterbacks, you do want to play good and firm on defense. That's just the No. 1 thing. If we score more points than them, then we win."* *
On how much he treasures bringing QB Ben Roethlisberger down: "Being that he is the hardest guy to tackle, it's something I really take pride in, and I'm really happy [about it]. But it also doesn't count because I play him two times a year. I guess you have to compare against a guy who is not his division that he doesn't see every year. But like I said, he is the hardest quarterback to sack in the league. It's a good feeling, but I'm not sure what the win/loss ratio is. I think he has more wins than me, so we'll see."* *
On if the team expects QB Joe Flacco to play his best football at this time of year: "We look at things as a team. And as a team, we need to all start playing our best football. We all know we need to make a run, and he's our quarterback. We're going to do it on his arm. We've done it on his arm in the past, and nothing is going to change that way."
On not having a sack in the last three games:"I was thinking about that, too, but it wasn't like I wasn't winning [one-on-one]. Last week, I had some success rushing the passer, [but] I just didn't register a sack. I can't get down on myself. I've still got games left, and I'm going to continue to play."* *
On if he has gotten increased attention from blockers:"No. I don't think anybody could count Chicago. It was just a terrible field to play on. Me and [Andrew] Whitworth have had some battles, but he just happen to win [one-on-one] when we played 'Cincy.' We won the game [though], so I'll take that. I didn't get one last week, but facing Rex Ryan, not giving up a touchdown, and winning 19-3 – I'll take that, too. We've got five left, and I'm just going to continue to play, continue to work."* *
On the Steelers using the Wildcat formation the last time the Ravens played them:"It was just good it happened early. You don't want to have to defend that in a must-win playoff game. We definitely didn't expect them to run the Wildcat. It's all NFL Football; we knew it existed. I think we've got that pretty much honed in. We saw it a little bit with [Josh] Cribbs."* *
On if he considers the Wildcat a gimmick: "I don't know; it's still around. It showed its face in 2008 and kind of disappeared. Some teams still run it; some don't. Who knows?"* *
On trying to stop RB Le'Veon Bell:"He's a really patient runner. He's a good back, a rookie, and a big guy. We've got to play him with patience before we can try to tee off on a good back. You've definitely got to wait for him to make his move first before you tee off. In our defense, we've only allowed one rushing touchdown, so maybe you all need to do a little more research." (laughter)