Head Coach Jim Schwartz
On the significance of Monday's game: "Well, obviously it's big. Anytime you only have three games left, every game is critical. This game is a little different than that, because it's a primetime game, but that doesn't make it a game. It makes it a game because both teams are in [playoff] position. Every win is critical, and a loss can hinder your ability to move forward."
On TE Dennis Pitta: "They didn't waste any time getting him the ball when he came back. They targeted him right away, and I think that is to be expected. He has been with them; he has been a productive player. So, when he was healthy and available, they got him up to speed right away. They have gotten good contributions in their passing game from a lot of different people. Torrey Smith – I think everybody knows the explosive plays that he can bring. Jacoby Jones [brings] the same thing. I tell you what, the rookie has really done well, too – Marlon Brown. He is a guy that every week seems to have gotten a little bit more confidence and had a little bigger role. With him on the rise and then adding [Dennis] Pitta into that offense, that certainly gives [Joe] Flacco more targets to be able to go to with the ball."
On CB Jimmy Smith: "I think just like any other corner, your technique gets better every year. You become a lot more comfortable being out there, understand how the offenses are going to try to attack you, [and] you gain more confidence as it goes along. I don't think he is any different there. I think it's a cliché, or you hear it a lot, when people say that the game slows down for people. But we faced those guys in the preseason a couple years ago, and he certainly looks a lot more comfortable now. If there is a person that you could say that the game has slowed down for, I think [Jimmy] Smith would definitely be one of those guys."
On the different approaches he's seen teams use to try to stop WR Calvin Johnson: "Everybody does something different, but I think it's safe to say that every defensive coordinator starts his game plan meetings with, 'OK, what do we do about [No.] 81 [Calvin Johnson]?' So, everybody has a little different plan. I think it's important for us that, even though everybody has had that plan, we still have been able to get him the ball. Last year, he set an NFL record even though he was a marked man, and we had lost so many other players that he was a little bit more of a one-man show. It's important for our offense. It's not about who is getting the ball. It's driving the football and getting yards and getting touchdowns and scoring. I think that Calvin is a big part of that. When teams try to take him away, that opens up other things. If teams try to defend other areas, then Calvin can make them pay. I think that is a good dynamic between him and the rest of our offense."
On using WR Calvin Johnson in different spots on offense more of late: "That's nothing new. That's been about three years now that we've been moving him. When he first came in – probably our first year here in 2009 – he stayed pretty consistent at the 'Z' position. He plays them all; he plays 'X,' he plays 'Z,' and he plays the slot. We line him up as the No. 3. You can get him anywhere and you have to do that when you have a guy like that. You need to be able to move him around, because if he is stationary, it's a lot easier for defenses to zero in on where he's going to be and for scheme not to be able to take him out. I know this though: The Ravens know what he looks like. They know he wears No. 81, so they're going to find him wherever he is."* *
On T Eugene Monroe:"He's a guy that we looked hard at in the draft in 2009. The year we drafted [Matthew] Stafford, he was right at the top of that draft. He goes out there … He's a guy that plays with good technique. They got him up to speed really quickly. I think he's solidified that left tackle position for the Ravens. They're on a little bit of a hot streak right now, and I think some of that can be credited to the offensive line – particularly the pass protection."* *
On being back indoors after playing in the snow last week: "You guys saw that snow, too. You guys sort of had the miniature version we got in Philadelphia. It was eight inches of snow from pre-game warm-ups until the end of the first half. One thing I was a little bit jealous of was, watching that Minnesota game, I'm watching plays in the middle of the first quarter and all the areas in between the hashes were cleared. I wish we would have had a plow or something like that. It was a very difficult situation. I think we're fortunate that we didn't lose any players as a result of it. I don't know how many times in the NFL where guys have had to run through eight inches of snow on the outside part of the field – even the inside part. It really changed the dynamic of the game. We're certainly looking forward to being back home. I think our home crowd makes a difference – just like they do in Baltimore, just like they do all around the league. Everybody certainly wants to play at home – that's always helpful for us. We came off of one of our best performances of the year [on] Thanksgiving over Green Bay. We're glad to be back to that."* *
On RB Reggie Bush being able to play:"I don't know if we're optimistic or pessimistic. We just take it each day as it comes and try to make a good decision when we get to Sunday. We thought he was going to be able to play against Philadelphia. I don't know how much it was [about being] cold, slippery and things like that. It just wasn't real conducive playing conditions for the injury that he had and what he was doing. He's a very competitive guy. He's worked really hard. He's an important part of our offense. We have a lot of guys that might not practice the same over the course of the week. We'll see where he can get to later this week. If he can help us on Monday night, then we'll get him out there. If not, then we've got enough other guys that can carry the ball, catch the ball and do all those other things."
WR Calvin Johnson
On the Ravens' secondary and CB Jimmy Smith: "Jimmy [Smith], I'll start with him. [He's a] big, tall and physical corner. He takes up a lot of space, so that's good for him in coverage. They have [Lardarius] Webb. They have [Corey] Graham – who I'm familiar with. He played in Chicago [and] has good ball skills. The safeties, I think they're young – [Matt] Elam and [James] Ihedigbo."* *
On S Matt Elam calling him old: "I am getting old.* (laughter)* It's all good, though. I'll show him what that 'old man' strength is about." (laughter)
On if S Matt Elam's quote is motivation for him:"I don't need motivation. Anything negative that comes at me throughout the week … You just take it, put it over in that box for motivation and use it on Sunday."* *
On if he was surprised by the comments: "It doesn't surprise me, because he doesn't have to see me on the field. He can talk all he wants. He plays back, so I don't see him every play – unless I run past him. I'm not worried about it."* *
On the Ravens' pass rush:"They've had a good pass rush for years. They've lost two or three pieces in there, but they've still got key guys – [Haloti] Ngata, [Terrell] Suggs. They've got some very talented guys up front. If they can get to you upfront, they can cause some problems. We've done a good job protecting Matt [Stafford] this year, so I don't expect that to change."* *
On if opponents usually use creative methods to try and stop him each week:"Yes. A lot of teams try to play their regular stuff that they play – whatever coverage that may be. If we can't get off on it in the first half, we usually change it up in the second half to something different – whatever it may be. For the most part, coordinators want to try to stick with what they do."* *
On the importance of Monday's game: "It's big for us. We've let some get away. We had a crazy game last week. We've got to start this week and take care of these next three. That's in our hands. We can only start with the first one – and that is the Ravens – and go from there."* *
On if cornerbacks try to press him or if they play more zone coverage: "Both. I see a little bit of everything. It all depends. I'll see some one-on-one occasionally. Most of the time that is press [coverage], and they can slow you down and try to disrupt the timing between you and the quarterback."
On if he still gets excited for Monday Night Football, especially against the defending Super Bowl Champions: "I don't get excited for that reason. Just for one, I get to play the game. Yeah, it is a Monday night game, so that is really cool. We don't get many of those. So, that's good for the guys to put themselves out there, go out there and have a big game and gain that exposure, and then for the team to go out there as well and show what we're all about."
On what he has seen from CB Jimmy Smith recently: "He's gotten some hands on balls. He even knocked some balls out, forcing fumbles. He is growing; he is aware of the game. I don't know if it's his second or third year in the league, but he is coming up."* *
On what he has seen from S Matt Elam on tape: "I think Matt [Elam] does a good job with his eyes. If we get those guys out of position, though, we can make some plays. Just safeties – nothing extraordinary, but I think definitely [they're] guys that we can make plays on."