Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"We've worked hard in the last couple of days to get ready for Houston, which is always a big challenge because of all the schematic difficulties they present – not to mention their excellent personnel. So, we'll have to have a really great practice today and just take it one day at a time and try to get ready for Sunday."
What makes J.J. Watt such a tough assignment – is it his versatility, the way he plays, his attitude? (Aaron Wilson)"The biggest thing that comes to mind, along with all those things, is the fact that he's really hard to block. He is hard to block in the run game, when you run at him, when you run away from him. He's hard to block when you try to pass block him. He bats balls, he gets sacks. He's just a very dominant-type defensive player."
What does it say about Joe Flacco to have played as if [his new baby had not been born just before the game] and then come right back and get back to work after the birth of his second child?* (Dave Ginsburg)*"Well, I'm sure it's on his mind. Obviously, all of us have these things in life where you have days that are landmark days in our lives, right? And for Joe, that was one of them. I'm sure he'll remember it for the rest of his life. And, to be able to play the way he did, and especially, the way he did in the second half with the third-down conversions, that kind of thing, to get us the win and then to get back [home to New Jersey] and bring his wife and newborn son home from the hospital the next day is pretty neat."
It's only a few weeks into the season, but are you pleased with how Torrey Smith has handled his role as the leader of the wide receiver group?* (Matt Vensel)*"Oh, yes. Torrey is a natural leader. He's been that way, really, almost since the first day he got here just by the force of his personality and attitude and all those things – work ethic. And Jacoby [Jones] is a leader, too. But Torrey is special, as are all those guys, but he's been great to be around. He always gets better. The thing about Torrey that I really like is he's his own worst critic, as far as how he plays. Torrey is not really thinking about that stuff; he's a natural leader. He's thinking about how he plays and how he is going to get better."
How do you feel Torrey has played this season? (Matt Vensel)"He's played well. Torrey is a big play waiting to happen. He's going to have a great year, no doubt about it."
What can you glean from last year's game against Houston? You may have tried to forget the loss, but it's pretty difficult when you remember it. (Dave Ginsburg)"We watched it. You have to watch it. We watched it very carefully to see how they attacked us and what they did to play the type of game they did against us. Again, the emotions, you have to put those aside. That was a tough loss for us, but we moved forward after that game in the same way, and now we've got to take a look at it again to make sure we understand what they were doing to us and how they did so well against us."
Is there something in football for players and coaches to be able to compartmentalize the emotional ups and downs like Joe's baby being born last week and Ray Lewis and Ed Reed returning to Baltimore this week? Do you just play through it, or is there something you do to cancel out that type of thing?* (Peter Schmuck)*"That's a good question. Probably all of us have it in life. To me, you try to put it in its proper perspective and channel it in a way that is positive for you. So, whether you're happy or you're excited or you're mad or grief sets in, or whatever, you've got to take those emotions as human beings and channel them in ways that are productive. In football, you really have a chance to do that because every Sunday you've got such a big challenge in front of such a huge audience and it's an emotional game. So, it shows up in our sport quite a bit."
What are your impressions of Matt Schaub and how to defend him? (Bo Smolka)"He's an experienced guy. He knows how to run the offense so well. [He] always has had a strong arm, always been very accurate, stands in there, makes tough throws under duress. [He is a] very accurate, very successful quarterback. [He] knows what he is doing. He's one of the top quarterbacks in the league."
How much has DeAndre Hopkins added to the Texans' offense and how dangerous a group is the Houston offense? (Matt Zenitz)"[DeAndre] Hopkins is another guy that we really liked in the draft a lot – really liked him in his interview. He was the kind of guy you really like being around – a very motivated guy, highly-talented, big, strong athletic guy, great body control, great hands. [He] fits in real well with those guys because that's how they are. It seems like that is their type of weapon that they look for on offense, because all those weapons that you just mentioned all have great ball skills, great body control [and] they are all smart. That's the way they are built."
You are probably as surprised as anyone with Ed Dickson's struggling to catch the ball. What do you think is going on with that and how do you go about getting his ship righted? (Pete Gilbert)"Well, we catch balls. Rather than get too in depth with any kind of psychological [aspect], Ed can catch the ball. He's caught many balls here before. A couple of years ago he had 60-some catches. He catches the ball in practice every day. Ed is going to catch a lot of balls. We just stay positive and make sure that we catch lots of balls during practice."
How does Ray Rice feel a few days later? Is there any update? (Jerry Coleman)"I don't know, I haven't spoken with Ray about how he feels."
You haven't asked him? (Jerry Coleman)"How he feels? No, I haven't had a chance to say [much to him], other than I said, 'How are you doing, Ray?' He said, 'Good.' So, there's your update."
Did you ask him if he feels like practicing today? (Jerry Coleman)"No, I didn't ask him that."
It's been almost a year since Torrey Smith lost his brother in an accident. What are your thoughts on how Torrey was able to come back from that loss last year and to elevate his role within the team this year? (Ron Snyder)"Wow, I wasn't prepared for that one. Like I've said before and I don't really know how to say it, he handles everything. Everything I've seen Torrey handle, he's handled in an exceptional way. I feel like he's just a special person that way. I had a conversation with Torrey at breakfast, and we were talking about Maryland football. So, that was as deep as a conversation that we got into today. I feel strongly about him. He's a great person."
Knowing you don't like to give any specific injury updates, did any of the tests done for Chris Canty or Chykie Brown reveal any long-term concerns for you? (Jeff Zrebiec)"No, they did not. With the rest of it, we'll just stand on the injury report with that. But, there was nothing on a long-term nature."
Ray Lewis indicated he was not planning on addressing the team before Sunday's game. Is that something you'd like Ray to do or is it important to separate and say we need our guys to do that now? (Glenn Clark)"I don't have a philosophical position on that. Either way would be fine. If it happened and it felt right, it would be great. And if it didn't happen because it didn't make sense, that'd be fine, too. Those are the kinds of things best left to providence."
QB Joe Flacco
On if he's gotten any rest after his son, Daniel, was born Sunday: "Yeah, no doubt – it's been a crazy couple of days, no doubt about it. But I've been able to get a little bit. The mom [Dana, Joe's wife] is the one – I'm hoping she's gotten a little bit of rest. She's probably the one who is a little more tired than I am."* *
On if it was his worst nightmare to have a child on game day: "I don't know if it's ever your worst nightmare. It was a pretty cool day, pretty special day. I got a call at 5:30 in the morning from [Dana], and I couldn't believe it. I was in total disbelief. But it's the way it went, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It was a really, really special day, obviously, and it's just the way it worked out."
On the drive home from the game: "It helps that we won, but it probably wouldn't have been that bad of a loss knowing that I was going to be able to go back to that. I still couldn't believe it really. I just wanted to get back there and see if she was doing OK, see if he was doing alright, and everything was good."* *
On if it was easy to put the thought of his son in the back of his mind when playing: "I don't know if it was really ever in the back of my mind. I was definitely fortunate that my wife had the baby at 11:30 a.m. before the game had started. I think if it was during the game, I would have been coming off every series like, 'Update me. Update me. What happened?' So the fact that it did come before the game actually kicked off was a little bit settling to my mind. I was able to relax a little bit because all morning … I'm usually pretty reserved before the game, and I was walking around the locker room. I was just way more fidgety than I normally am, so it was definitely soothing to know that she had the baby and everything went OK. Having said that, I thought about it during the game, but it was a lot easier to deal with."
On if he had a strategy for the phone call from his wife at 5:30 a.m.: "We had talked about it, and if it came on Sunday, I was going to play the game. You obviously don't know how you're going react, though, when you get that call. You get that call and your heart starts beating. The game is on, man. It's crazy. It's always a game-changer when you get that call. What else is she calling for at 5:30 in the morning? (laughter) *So, before I even picked up the phone, I knew what was going on. I kind of answered the phone and said, 'So, what's up?' She's like, 'Yeah, you know,' and I'm like, 'You've got to be kidding me.' *(laughter) *I said to her, 'What are the odds of this happening?' And then I looked at her and I said, 'Well, I guess it's one-in-seven. It's not really that bad.' *(laughter) *Like I said, it was an interesting day, but a lot of fun."* **
On how players compartmentalize their emotions: "I don't know. Football is an emotional game. It's tough to keep out every single emotion, but sometimes you've got to just channel that and focus it into good energy. I think we do a good job of doing that. We prepare all week, and you prepare so long for that three-hour window that when you do that, no matter what you're dealing with emotionally, I think you're able to channel it and use it for the good. Obviously, it doesn't always work that way, but I think the more you prepare and the better you prepare, the better chance you'll leave yourself the ability to do that."* *
On if he specifically game-plans for Texans DE J.J. Watt: "Certain things you do. You definitely come up with certain things to combat what he does and try to take advantage of what he does. But the bottom line is you've got to be physical with him. You've got to get your hands on him. I think if you do that, that's when you're giving yourself the best chance. If you're not physical with him and you basically don't play football, then obviously he's going to have his day and have his way. But you've just got to try to be as physical as you can with him and stay under control so he doesn't swim over you or dodge you left or right. He's a good player. He's going to do his thing, but we've just got to make sure we're as physical as possible and limit his chances."
On the frustration of last year's game against Houston: "They got ahead early, they batted some passes, [and] they got after the [quarterback]. We started off OK, but they got a couple turnovers in their way and were able to get after me a little bit. We just didn't have a good day. It's definitely frustrating when you don't have good days. We usually play these guys pretty well. It's been a pretty good game over the last few years, and I'm just excited to go back out there and line up against them again."
On if he would prefer to see S Ed Reed play: "I don't know. This is a tough question. Obviously, he's a good player, so anytime if you don't have to play against a good player … But then, you like playing those guys and giving yourself a challenge and playing against a guy that you've practiced against for so long. It is what it is. He's a good player, and we're going to plan on him being out there. We've just got play our game and make sure we don't give him the opportunity to take advantage of a lot of things, because when he's given the opportunity to do something, he usually does it and capitalizes. That's what makes him so good. He doesn't miss his chances, so we've just got to make sure we don't give him any."
On WR Torrey Smith's leadership qualities: "Torrey [Smith] – he's an awesome guy. He's a young guy who's growing and growing each day. It's different when you're the leader of a receiving corps at such a young age. But he's awesome for that kind of role just because of the way he goes about his business every day. He comes in here ready to go, and you wouldn't really want anybody else doing it."* *
On dealing with dropped passes: "It just is what it is. You've got to have confidence that your guys are going to catch the ball. If that's our problem right now, then I have a lot of confidence that we'll be good, because these guys are going to catch the ball. They're going to get more confidence as the year goes on and become more comfortable with what we're trying to do. We've got a lot of new guys out there, so they've got to deal with a lot of things. Obviously, when we go out there, we've got to play well. We've got to play consistently. But they're thinking about learning the offense, becoming so comfortable with the offense so they can run it at the speed we need it to be run at. There are a lot of things on your mind out there when you're a young football player or you're a player coming from a different team. The biggest thing I think we need right now is confidence and finding ways to give those guys confidence so they can go out there and leave that all in the meeting rooms. When we take the field, just go out and play. And I think when we get to the point where everybody can do that, then that's when you're going to see them making the great catches, making the routine catches, and doing all of that. I think drops usually come because guys aren't completely comfortable in their environment yet. I think when you start to see that, you'll start to see those drops go down."
On what an athletic tight end does for an offense: "When you have good tight ends, you get good matchups. It's tough for linebackers to come down and stop the run and cover an athletic tight end, because that's usually who's in there covering them. And if you have a guy you can trust in there, it's a big mismatch. You think it is. We have guys who can run routes and are athletic. We've just got to find ways to get them the ball and make the plays when they're presented."
On if they can get more production out of the tight ends: "Yeah, I mean, listen, we've played two games. I think we had pretty good [tight end production] in the first game. And this game, obviously, there might have been one catch or two catches from them. But it's just the way it went. I think we're going to get a lot of production out of those guys. And like I said, I think they're one of the groups that the more and more comfortable they get being out there, the more you'll see from them."
On if it will be strange to see S Ed Reed on the Texans' defense: "I think it's strange just because everybody views him as a Raven. I think it's probably more strange for me, too, just because it's the same as playing against an old teammate. We played against Paul [Kruger] last week. It's really the same thing. The fact of the matter is that I knew Ed Reed as a Baltimore Raven before I started playing on the Baltimore Ravens. So, it makes it a little bit different. It kind of makes him a little bit more than a teammate of mine. At one point, I was a fan of his, so I think that's what makes it a little bit different. And that's what makes it different for everybody around Baltimore and everybody around the country is that they know him as Baltimore Raven. If he was in his fifth year and he was a really good player that he is, it probably wouldn't be that big of a deal, because he wouldn't have been here for that long. But the fact that all the fans know him as a Baltimore Raven, and the fact that I was a fan of his at one point, yeah, it probably makes it a little bit different."
On if Ed Reed knows him better than any QB in the NFL: "I don't know. I'm sure he'd tell you he probably does." (laughter)
On his thoughts on his McDonald's commercial: "I don't have any thoughts on that. [Acting is] not my forte. I definitely would like to stick to football, and Haloti [Ngata], I'm sure can do a better job than I did. There's no doubt about it." *(laughter) (Reporter: "Can you tell us what the ending is?") *I don't even know if I can tell you what the ending was."
On if he usually tries trick shots in practice: "Me and Tyrod [Taylor] do that all the team. All quarterbacks at some point or another … Even non-quarterbacks – the running backs and receivers – you'll see them out there more than you'll see us out there trying to hit targets on the field, because they all think they're awesome at it. We definitely have fun doing that stuff."
On how it would change the offense if RB Ray Rice is unable to play Sunday: "The biggest thing is that we don't have a lot of running backs right now. We don't have a lot of experience at that position. Obviously, Ray [Rice] runs the ball well, but we'll have guys who run the ball well. The biggest thing missing when you lose a guy like that is he's a veteran running back. He can I.D. fronts, he knows who he's picking up in blitz in the protection, and you can feel confident with him doing that, and he feels confident in [himself] doing that. So, I think that's the biggest thing you miss. Obviously, we all know that we're going to miss his ability out there. But we seem to be dealing with a little bit of injuries this year, and it's just going to be something we have to adapt to and win some games while we have guys filling in at positions."
On seeing Ray Lewis on Sunday for the Ring of Honor ceremony: "Oh, Ray [Lewis] will be back here? He's doing a game?" (Reporter: "Ring of Honor.") *Oh, Ring of Honor. Well, that was quick. *(laughter) *Ray is already corporate, man. He's already giving the company line about whatever they want him to say. *(laughter) He's probably off the Raven bandwagon already – whatever. He'll be on it this week, of course. *(laughter) *It'll be good to see Ray. It's always good to see Ray. Come on. He defines this city. It'll be pretty cool to have him back."
On encouraging his new receivers after drops in a game instead of yelling at them: "Game day is not the time to go and beat somebody's confidence up. The thing our guys need is confidence. If anything, they need me to sit down with them and say, 'Man, you've got a ton of ability. Just go out there and let it go.' Sunday is the time to go out there and let all of your ability take over [and] not think about a single thing because all of the preparation we've done during the week has taken care of that. That's the biggest thing these guys need to know is just go and let your ability take over. All of these guys catch the ball unbelievably [well]. That's why they're playing for us; that's why they're in this league. Now, during the week, if stuff like that is happening, then yeah, you get pissed off here and there. But the last place to go up and point fingers is on Sunday. That's my teammate. That's the guy that we have out there in the huddle with us, and I have all the confidence in the world in him. And I'm going to continue to have all the confidence in the world in them, because if I write somebody off, I'm going to be throwing to guys who are probably double- or triple-covered, because I'm not going to the right place with the ball. So, I'm going to continue to go where I think the ball needs to go, and I'm going to continue to have confidence in our guys making catches. Eventually, we're all going to make the plays. We've done it before, and we're going to continue to do it."
DT Haloti Ngata
On what he recalls from last year's game in Houston:"They did a great job running the ball most of the game. Usually, we slow them down, and then you can make them a one-dimensional team. They did a great job running the ball on us the whole game."* *
On RB Arian Foster's abilities:"He doesn't look like he's a fast guy – he's tall and kind of lanky – but once he hits that hole, he's in it full speed pretty fast. He's a great back. They [also] have [Ben] Tate, that's actually trying to take his job that could be a starting running back. We definitely have our plate full this week."* *
On if it will be strange to see S Ed Reed on the other sideline:"Definitely. Even though I'm not going to be playing him, it's going to be weird with him being here such a long time. It's going to be weird seeing him in a different uniform. He moved on, and we moved on, and hopefully he cannot play so we don't have to play against him." (laughter)
On if the depth of the defensive line has helped him stay fresh:"Definitely. Against the Browns, we were rotating so much that towards the end of the game, I was chasing [Jason] Campbell and was able to get there because I was fresh and was rotating throughout that game. I can feel it already [benefiting us], and it's great being able to be on the sideline and know those guys can get the job done as well."* *
On what it meant to not allow a touchdown against the Browns: "That's huge, especially for our back end. We had a tough time stopping the pass [in Denver], and they did a great job. Even though they had some big plays, we didn't let them in [the end zone]. They did a great job of adjusting when they needed to against Cleveland, and hopefully we continue to get better and better as a defense."* *
On if it's tiring for this season's storylines to be about last season and former players: "I don't know if a lot of guys are really paying attention on our team. That I think it is more the outside people – the fans and the media. For me, I think we've moved on. We're a totally different team this year, as you guys can tell. Hopefully we can do it again this year. It's great to see those things and be proud of what you did last year, but I definitely think we've moved on."* *
On how much better it is to be able to play nose tackle this year:"It's been huge. Like I said earlier, just being able to rotate and being able to stay inside, it's what I like. And I've done well, and it's pretty good so far."* *
On if it seemed like DE Arthur Jones hadn't missed any time after returning to the lineup: "Yes. Having him back for practice and having him play the game was great for him to be back for us. Then being healthy and playing – it was great to see him out there again."* *
On being double-teamed, which allows OLB Terrell Suggs and OLB Elvis Dumervil to be singled: "It's awesome. If they're double-teaming me, then those guys should be open to make the plays. It's been happening, and it's been fun to watch film and see those guys collapse the pocket and hit the quarterback. It's been cool."* *
On QB Joe Flacco's recent McDonald's commercial: "I think I could have done a better job [of acting], (laughter) but Joe did a great job. That's all I can say."* *
On Ray Lewis' return to Baltimore on Sunday: "It'll be good to see him. I'll just make sure when I see him, [I'll tell him] don't talk trash about our team when he's talking about us. (laughter) *It'll be good to see him; we text each other often. It's been like he's gone, but not far away."* **
On what he has told Ray Lewis about his commentary via text message: "Just to take it easy – watch out." (laughter)
On if he thinks Ray Lewis will listen to him:"Definitely. I've been his protector for a while."* (laughter)*
WR Torrey Smith
On hearing QB Joe Flacco say he's confident in the wide receivers group:"He's been like that since Day One, so it's nothing different for me to hear it, because it's been like that since I've been here."* *
On the possibility of facing S Ed Reed:"[Ed] Reed is like a big brother to me. He's a guy that I respected long before I became a Raven, and I've grown closer to him since I've been in the league. I've been texting him throughout camp and we've talked a little – not necessarily trash talk – but we were messing around, just joking about … We joke about whatever, whether he jokes about what I'm tweeting about or he'll shoot me a text about it. But, to see a guy like that on the other side, one of the greats to play the game, that's how you approach it. He's one of the best safeties ever, and he still plays at a very high level. Obviously, he's a friend, but we play against a lot of people who we're friends with. There's definitely something special about Reed, and we know as receivers we're going to have to be on our 'Ps' and 'Qs,' because he guesses right a lot of time, and we can't just give him anything."
On if he feels like he's shown himself as a more well-rounded receiver in these first few games:"It's not like coach [Jim] Caldwell [said], 'Hey, we're going to put Torrey in this spot and run a different route.' It's the same routes I've been running. I've been saying the same thing; you all just don't get it yet. *(laughter) *But I'm running the same routes; it's just the progression. The ball is getting to me quicker, underneath stuff, and I should have had a touchdown last week – that's my fault on the deep ball. It's on me, again, when the ball is thrown to just make the play. Whether it's short or long, I don't really get concerned about the whole process."
On how he compartmentalizes emotions, dealing with highs and lows out on the field:"That's what it's all about. Football and life are the same. You're going to have to deal with adversity, and you're going to have to respond to it. In this game, you've got people depending on you, and just because one thing doesn't go your way – you drop a ball or miss a tackle, whatever – you can't go in the tank, because the team is depending on you to bounce back. And you always have time to recover from it; that's the beauty of this game. Everyone is all in, especially in this organization. Everyone believes in you, so guys don't lose their confidence too much around here, because everyone keeps you up and everyone constantly believes in you."
On what has stood out about rookie WR Marlon Brown:"He's a playmaker. Obviously, anytime you score a couple of touchdowns in your first game, that's pretty cool. But I think he's very explosive, he's big, he's physical and he can do everything – play inside and outside. He's very talented. I think the best thing about him is just his toughness. He's tough. He tore his knee [last winter] like a month after [Lardarius] Webb and [Darrelle] Revis and all those guys, and he didn't get the luxury of being eased in. They just threw him out there to see how he'd respond, and he did a great job, and I'm proud of him. He's a hard worker."
On what it was like to be around QB Joe Flacco after he learned his wife had delivered another baby last Sunday:"The funny thing about Joe – and knowing his wife was pregnant, because we've been talking about it a lot over the past couple of weeks – I was like, literally two days before, 'What would you do if your wife had a baby [on game day]? Would you play or would you leave?' And he was like, 'I'd play.' He didn't doubt it for a second. And then he comes in – this was literally the night before [the game], in meetings – he comes in the next morning and I get out of the car and he's like, 'Torrey, she's in labor.' I'm like, 'What? What are you going to do?' He's like, 'I'm playing the game.' We didn't think it'd go that fast, but she wasn't playing any games. *(laughter) *The second time around she was ready to go, and baby boy came, and the funniest thing about it all … You know Joe, he definitely gets excited and shows emotion, but he was kind of like giddy, almost like a kid. He was sitting on the bench and his feet were like swinging. *(laughter) *He was like, 'I never really get like this.' But he was hyped up, and we were all excited for him when we found out he had another boy."
On what it takes for a professional athlete to set aside the off-field, emotional aspects of life, to play a game on Sunday:"I think it's pretty simple, because one, you're there for a reason. You're there to win the game, and you can't be out there focusing on other things beyond that. One, it's a dangerous game, so if your mind is somewhere else … Probably the best place for it to be is on the field. And in a way, you feel like you want to be out there, because it's almost like a sanctuary. Your mind goes away from the game, and the people around you, you're depending on them. For Joe [Flacco], he was just out there playing football. I don't know if in the back of his head he was like, 'Hey, I want to do it for my newborn son and remember this day,' because it's a day he's going to remember forever anyway. Us, too – we'll remember that his son was born before the game, and I think … I can speak, obviously, I have a personal experience myself [with his brother passing last season]. It's more so a sanctuary when you're around the guys and your teammates, and you go out there and just play the same old game you've been playing since you were a little boy."
On what he does as a leader to help the group get better with dropped passes:"You do it the same. You don't panic, because all of our guys come in, and we have our own individual routines – catching the JUGS – and you're trying to stay on top of it. Obviously, you can't catch enough passes in practice – you have to do things outside of practice. But the biggest thing is don't panic. Don't doubt yourself. I can speak on that from my rookie camp alone. I was in camp, and I was trying to press to make a play so bad, and I was letting it all get to me, and you just get away from your techniques and your fundamentals. You're just trying to force it instead of forgetting that you're here for a reason. You got here by catching the ball, and you can do it. Just don't press and let it come to you. Obviously, we have a couple of guys in a situation where I can relate directly to them, and the biggest thing is don't doubt yourself. Everyone has your back. Just go out there and focus. Be confident."
On how much confidence the team has in RB Bernard Pierce if RB Ray Rice can't play:"We have all the confidence in the world in him. Just watch him play. He's a heck of a running back, and we're lucky to have those two guys on our team."
On what he can take away from the Texans game last year from an educational standpoint:"They're good. The Texans are a very good, physical team – especially on defense – and you can't turn the ball over. You have to move the chains; we can't keep our defense out on the field. And that was really the problem down there. We turned the ball over a few times, and that led to some points, and we weren't constantly moving the chains. So, therefore, our defense was stuck on the field for a while. We know what we need to do. They're a tough team, we have a lot of respect for them, and it's going to be another challenge."
On if he buys into the notion that the league is making it increasingly easier to throw the ball and make it harder for defenses:"I don't think so. You look at [Titans safety] Bernard [Pollard] – this guy just got fined $42,000. I think it's a little over the top, just being a football player, because some things you can't avoid. And it's tough on those defensive guys. It's like, 'Well, do you want to hit the guy up high and risk getting fined and a penalty for your team? Or do you want to hit him low and risk breaking his leg or tearing his knee up like you saw with the Dolphins [TE Dustin Keller]?' It's tough. I just approach it as a football player – just go make the plays. But it's easy for me to say that, because I'm not the one that has to worry about pulling up. I think a lot of times defensive guys kind of get the short end of the stick, but at the same time, the league is trying to protect the guys and trying to make the game safer for us, but it's definitely tough on those guys."
On what it was like to go in the locker room at halftime having scored zero points last week:"We've got to score. [We were] frustrated, because we know we missed out on some opportunities. We didn't doubt ourselves; we knew we could move the ball. We just had to go out there and do it consistently and finish. That was the biggest thing."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On what it will be like to see S Ed Reed on the other sideline:"I haven't really thought about it yet. It's going to be good to see him back out there playing. The relationship me and No. 20 [have] … I feel other guys are bigger than football. I'll be happy to be out there to see him, but he's my opponent. He's no longer wearing our colors, and we will try to win the game."* *
On if he wants to see S Ed Reed playing this week: "It really doesn't concern me – we're on the same side of the ball. Whether he's playing or not, it really doesn't matter to me. I would bank on him playing. It's two teams out there, and [Houston] is a very good team. We're both going to compete."* *
On if he feels like he's competing with Texans DE J.J. Watt to be considered the top pass rusher:"No. In this league, the only thing that really matters is wins and losses. I'm really focused on trying to win the game. I would like to be successful; Elvis [Dumervil] would like to be successful – just like [J.J. Watt] is going to try and be successful. Both teams, we're going to try and compete and go out there to win the game."* *
On if it will be emotional when Ray Lewis returns to Baltimore for the Ring of Honor ceremony:"At the start of the game, it's probably going to be a lot, it's probably going to be very high. To see 'The General' back, to see him get inducted into the Ring of Honor – it's good. He definitely … If anybody deserves it, it's him. [It's] good to do it early [and] for him to come back."* *
On if it feels great to give up zero touchdowns against Cleveland after giving up seven to Denver: "The only people to hit the 'panic button' was [the media]. We weren't too concerned about it. We didn't play good football, and we faced a really good quarterback. Not to take anything away from the Cleveland Browns, [because] they're a very tough football team and they've proved they're going to compete in this division and in this conference. Like I said, the only person who hit the 'panic button' was [the media]. We told you we got it – we weren't worried about it – but we knew we had some things to correct."* *
On if he thinks the NFL makes it too easy to pass the ball: "I don't know. I think the way the rules are set up, it caters to a passing league. I guess they took a survey, and fans want to see touchdowns, fans want to see a lot of scores. The defense is kind of out there for show. We're a team, we're going to compete and play football, even with all of those things stacked against us."* *
On what concerns him most about the Texans' offense:"The offense. They have a lot of capable guys that can beat you. That's scary, especially when you have guys with the personnel like Houston does. They've shown that they can win games in more ways than one. You've definitely got to be concerned with all of it – the run and the pass."* *
On RB Arian Foster and RB Ben Tate:"It benefits any team to have a two-headed monster, kind of like what we have here with Ray [Rice] and Bernard [Pierce]. They've got one with [Ben] Tate and [Arian] Foster. You can have a pretty successful football team if you have a two-headed monster like that, especially with a very good offensive line."* *
On if he would encourage Ray Lewis to speak to the team before the game:"I think we'll leave that up to Ray [Lewis], but I think he should just enjoy his moment. It's his day. He's going in [to the Ring of Honor], and if he feels he needs to say something to the team, he can say something. If anybody has the right of way, it's him. If he just wants to enjoy it, take it in and be a fan of football, that's fine, too."