Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Good to see everybody. Thanks for coming out. Good practice, good week of practice, and we're looking forward to Sunday."* *
**How is Art Jones coming along? *(Aaron Wilson) *"He's going through the protocol, and we'll know more this afternoon. He's got another round of whatever they do this afternoon."
**Brandon Stokley says he will retire. What are your thoughts on his pro career? *(Aaron Wilson) *"That is the first I've heard that. It was a pleasure being around Brandon [Stokley] this year, getting to know him and the kind of professional he is. We had a little bit in common because both of our dads are coaches, and they actually coached against one another. Brandon was down there as a Ragin' Cajun, and they played my dad's team. He caught like 25 balls. My dad was talking to the defensive coordinator, [saying], 'He's the only guy they're throwing to. Maybe we should double-cover him, triple-cover him.' But, he caught them anyways, and he has just gone on to have a great career. It really was awesome to be around him. [He is a] hard worker, great guy, very smart football guy [and will] make a heck of a coach someday if he chose to. So, congratulations to him."
**I know every week you try to have that singular focus. This week during practice with the guys, knowing what's at stake, do you get any sense of a different temperament or attitude from the guys throughout the week? *(Jamison Hensley) *"No, because we always have a great temperament and great attitude. To say that it's different would be saying that we're not on point every single week. We really fight hard to be on point every single week. We really work hard to have our best week of practice. Some plays, some things are executed better than others and all that. It wasn't perfect this week, but we're chasing perfection. We feel like if we chase perfection, we'll have a chance to accomplish excellence. And that's what we try to do. So, we're going to keep chasing that and try to be as good as we can be."
**When a guy like Andy Dalton gets the ball out as quick as he does, does that change what you do defensively a little bit – just pull back sometimes because you know he is going to get the ball out so quick? *(Matt Vensel) *"No, you don't ever pull back. You've got to force him to get the ball out quick. We sacked him five times last time, and I think we hit him 19 times, something like that – and that is off the top of my head, but that sounds about right. So, absolutely not. We don't ever pull back. Now, there are different coverages, there are things you can show pressure, you've got simulated pressures and things like that, you've got hit calls on receivers, and you've got different ways of covering different guys. We'll do all of that, but you have to force the quarterback to do one of two things – either get hit or have a quick outcome to the play. And that buys your secondary an opportunity to maximize the coverage, because the coverage works best when the ball comes out quick. So, we're all for the ball coming out quick. If it doesn't come out quick, then we need to get to him."
**How do you think Andy Dalton has played in these last three games? *(Aaron Wilson) *"He has played very well. Their whole offense has played really well. We have a lot of respect for them. They are really well-coached. They have a nice offensive scheme. [Offensive coordinator] Jay Gruden does a really good job with that scheme, and they've built it around their players. They've got tremendous talent everywhere. And, [Dalton is] a good distributor of the ball. He knows what he's doing. I've got a lot of respect for him."
I know you guys haven't necessarily been in this situation in Week 17, but is not worrying about the other games easier said than done? Is it tough to resist the temptation to know what's going on elsewhere? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I'm not following you." (Reporter: "Like the Dolphins-Jets game at 1 o'clock. That obviously could depend…") "We're not playing in that game, are we? If we were playing in that game, then we would probably be concerned about it. But, easier said than done? We have to win. We have to win. That's it. We don't have to have that game go a certain way. The next game can go a certain way. I'm not counting anybody out. I don't really care what happens. What I care about and what our guys care about is winning the game. That's what we will do. We will go out there and put everything into it to win that game. And we plan on winning the game, by any means necessary. After that, it's out of our control. So, it's really not that hard. That is what it is. It's simple."
*Being a divisional game and the guys up for it – not being outside the division, but in the division, does it matter more to you being in the division? *(Bill West) "With the same thing at stake?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "No, it doesn't matter. We have what's at stake is at stake. At this point, that doesn't mean anything. If it meant something – if we had won last week and it meant the division championship – sure. I haven't even thought about it. It doesn't matter. It's just a game we've got to win, and if we win, we have a chance to be in the playoffs, and that's what we care about, and that's everything for us right now – everything."
**DeAngelo Tyson has provided some depth and versatility for you. How valuable is that for you on game day when you only have 46 up? *(Luke Jones) *"You've got to have enough D-linemen. You've got stop the run, and this team runs the ball really well. We've got a good front; we've got a good rotation in the front. It helps everybody be better. It's tough work in there. It's a fight in the trenches, and the more guys you have in there fighting, it makes you better. It makes everybody better. And DeAngelo [Tyson] has done a really good job. Terrence Cody has played very well. All those guys have really done a good job."
**They have been really good at home this year. Is there anything you have noticed different about them at home that makes it a particularly difficult place to play? *(Matt Zenitz) *"Absolutely. They have gotten more turnovers, they've turned it over less at home, and they've gotten more big plays and given up fewer big plays at home. That's what it boils down to. They are better for those two reasons at home."
John, I know Arthur Jones is in limbo for you guys, but how valuable has he been this year? I know it's his fourth year now, to come along and make steady progress every year to be a contributor. (Matt Vensel) "Art [Jones] is a guy … Like a lot of our young guys that we've talked about here before, he's a guy that just comes to work every day. He busts his rear to be the best he can be every day; he's done that from the first day. When you accumulate that kind of work ethic, day after day after day for four years, you become something. What he's become is a very, very good football player who's playing really well. He's made a career for himself. As a coach, that kind of player development is what makes you so proud. I'm happy for him; I'm happy for us."
Harbaugh on S James Ihedigbo being named the 2013 Ravens Roost Unsung Hero:
"Thanks to the Ravens Roosts for the Unsung Hero award, which is an awesome award. You couldn't have picked a better recipient than James Ihedigbo, who I personally have tremendous admiration for and tremendous respect for. It's an honor to take the field with him every single time that we do that – practice or game or meetings, whatever it might be. He's a tremendous leader for our football team [and] even a better person than he is a player – and he's a great player. He stands for everything that we stand for as Ravens and this organization, but also in the National Football League and what the sport is all about. Great choice, and congratulations to you, James."
S James Ihedigbo
On being named the 2013 Ravens Roost Unsung Hero: "Thank you guys for the honor. When you think about how many men have played for this organization and laid it all out there, for you guys to select me – I'm definitely honored at that. Like coach says, I just go out there, try to put my best foot forward and do whatever I can to help our team be successful. Accepting awards like this along the way really means a lot, and it's a testament to hard work paying off. I thank you guys for recognizing that, and I truly appreciate it."
K Justin Tucker
On being named the 2013 Ravens MVP by the local media: "Thank you, I really appreciate you guys. It is an honor. We learned of these individual accolades – Joe [Flacco, as Media Good Guy] and myself – earlier in the week, and we really do appreciate you guys. We enjoy seeing you guys around here. As often as we give you a hard time for being in [the locker room], trying to dodge corn hole bags as they're flying around in there, we do appreciate you guys. I should say this: As important as these individual accolades are, the team prizes are, of course, the greatest ones. For instance, last year I was blessed to be on a Super Bowl-winning team. Hopefully, we can give ourselves a shot this weekend – that's where it starts. Also, I wouldn't be able to do half as good of a job as I have been able to out on the field without guys like Morgan [Cox, long snapper], Sam [Koch, punter/holder], Jerry [Rosburg, assistant head coach/special teams coordinator], Randy [Brown, kicking consultant] and 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] for that matter. Everybody, from the top down, makes this thing click on all cylinders. To them, I've got to give them a shout-out and say a big 'thank you' to them."