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08 October 2014

Week 6 Conference Call Transcripts: vs. Baltimore (10/12/14)

HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
                                           
(On being able to overcome an eventful offseason)
“I appreciate you asking that and it would probably be pretty hard to answer that in a sentence or two and do it any kind of justice, but I think the most important fact is that we just have really good people here and that we care about one another. We believe in a family environment and our guys rallied for one another and for everybody that was involved. It was a family-type-of-issue in a couple of different ways and something that we all learned from and really learned from it a lot. There will be a lot of changes coming down the road for our league and maybe in many ways we can do a lot of good and be out in the forefront of a lot of social change – that’s what we’re hoping for through all of this. I can tell you one thing personally – and I can probably speak for everybody here – we sure learned a lot.”
 
(On if the offseason situations help make the team closer as a group)
“I don’t know, that’s a good question and I don’t really have a way of answering it exactly. We had a really close team. Certainly over the years adversity has pushed our team closer together. In 2012, when we went to the Super Bowl, we had a whole bunch of personal tragedies that no one really knows about that went on that brought guys closer together. Those are hard things and you really don’t hope for those things to happen. We’ll see how it plays out, but we have a bunch of close guys anyway, so hopefully it just kind of continues to forge that type of stuff.”
 
(On what the team has done well and struggled with through the beginning of the season)
“Again, it’s such a broad question, but we really try to get better in every area every single day. In one game we run the ball really well and in the next game we don’t. One game we give up some big plays and then we come out and don’t give up any big plays the next game. Probably more than anything we strive for consistency, you know that every game is not going to play out the same way and you try to just do your best to find a way to win that game.”
 
(On wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and his experience playing against Tampa Bay)
“It’s probably valuable. It’s a different team obviously, a different scheme, system and those kind of things, they made a lot changes personnel-wise, but Steve and I have talked – any insight that you can gain when you’re playing outside of your division and outside of your conference has got to be helpful. He’s got a lot of experience against the NFC South so there’s a little bit of a plus there. I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but it’s good conversation.”
 
(On Tampa Bay’s struggles running the football and keeping it a priority to stop)
“It’s very important, that’s the thing about the NFL and this sport, it’s week-to-week. You just can’t take anything at its face value. I know that they are averaging 120, 130 yards a game at home running the football and we’re playing there. They run the ball very well there and I know that they’re capable of running the ball because I’ve watched the tape, so it’s not just that, it’s everything that they do really in all three phases. They present many challenges, many problems and are a very talented football team. We’ve got to come down there, it’s going to be tough for us and these are the kind of games in the NFL that are challenging and we’ve got plenty of work to do.”
 
(On Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon)
“It’s interesting, we really kind of liked him. We had him rated higher than most people and I thought it was a great pick by Tampa Bay. The guy I knew was Dana Bible who was the offensive coordinator at North Carolina State – he had coached Mike and he called me up and gave me a really good scouting report and that moved him up our board significantly. He’s got a lot of arm talent, I talked about it in our press conference here – he’s very poised, can move around the pocket and create some time to give guys a chance to get open. Obviously he’s tough, smart and he just does a good job of operating and he can throw.”
 
QUARTERBACK JOE FLACCO
 
(On the problems in pass protection during Baltimore’s Week 5 game against Indianapolis)
“[Pass protection] is always a point of emphasis for us. We’ve had three out of five weeks where we’ve been really solid, and then, obviously, last week against the Colts in a couple short-yard situations, we got caught up and they did a good job getting after us, and we busted some assignments. We got hit. But I think overall, it’s something that’s very fixable and they were one situation and, really, we have to fix that situation overall. Our third-and-shorts and fourth-and-shorts all season have been a problem and it kind of carried over to that game. So it’s always an emphasis of ours and I think we’re always going to make sure we’re getting better and better at it.”
 
(On the addition of wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.)
“He’s a really good football player. He’s still got a lot left in his tank. The fact that he’s been able to go out there and bring that intensity each week and bring his skills to this team has helped us a lot. It really opened some things up. He’s been doing a great job of getting open and catching the football and it has freed some other people up over the middle, too.”
 
(On Head Coach John Harbaugh keeping the team together amidst distractions)
“John’s the leader, man. I think he kept us focused throughout everything. I think we have a great locker room, I think we have a great group of guys who understand what we’re here to do, and the bottom line is that that is to play football. Come Sunday and come going out onto the practice field and in those meeting rooms, you can’t let anything affect you, no matter what it is. You have to go do your job and you have to do it to the best of your ability. I think we have a bunch of guys that understand that. I think sports in general, I think the athletic event in general, is a time to go out and not think about that kind of thing, anyway. So I think for the most part it is something that comes quite natural to athletes, just because there’s always something that is on your mind. When you go out there and you’re on the field, you’re able to forget about it for three hours and just go do your thing. I think that’s definitely helped along the way also.”
 
(On the up-and-down nature of the league)
“Every week. We were just talking about it. I mean, we’re sitting here at 3-2 and we’re not feeling great right now because we just lost a football game, and there are other 3-2 football teams that are out there that are feeling great because they won last week. It is week to week. If you let your emotions get the best of you, then, man, it’s going to be a tough ride. I think you gotta just stay the course, you have to believe you have a good team and go out there and do it. I think the confidence, the belief in the locker room, in everyone around you and yourself, I think that’s what keeps you going and allows you to kind of ride the wave no matter what happens week to week and come out of it on the good side.”
 
(On the challenges presented by the Tampa Bay defense)
“These guys are good. They have a lot of talent. They get after the quarterback, they play downhill, they play fast. They have a lot of good players. I think they’re getting healthy and they’re starting to get a lot of confidence also. That goes a long way. When you can get some confidence, when you can play some good games and beat some good teams, then it does a lot for your football team. I think they’re heading in the right direction and, like I said, they have a lot of talent, so they’re a dangerous team.”
 
(On Tampa Bay running back Bobby Rainey and his past playing in Baltimore)
 “I was disappointed to see Bobby go. I was always a guy who wished we could find a way to get him out on the field. He’s a talented kid. He’s really good. I liked him a lot when he was here and, like I said, I’m kind of jealous. I wish that we could have kept him here. He really worked hard, busted his butt around here and did a lot of good things. He went through a couple different crazy situations here and there, then finally got picked up by [Tampa Bay], and I was glad to see him go down there last year and have success. I still root for him. I won’t be rooting for him this week, however.”
 
(On what makes Rainey special)
“I remember when he first came here. Obviously he’s a little guy, but he’s solid. He’s got good balance and I just thought he had really good vision. I thought he could see where he wanted – I thought he found the hole really well, made his cuts very decisively and got the ball north and south.”
 
(On the key to moving forward despite coaching changes throughout his career)
“I don’t know. I think it’s football players – you just have to adapt to what comes at you and find the positive in everything. Listen, I mean, coordinators change. Guys get new jobs. Like Jim [Caldwell], he went and got a head coaching job. That’s all good stuff. I want this offense to be great and I told John [Harbaugh] that I don’t care what you feel like you have to do to do that. When you look for coordinators, do whatever you want to. I’m not afraid of learning a new offense. I think the experience has been great and I think guys have adjusted to it really really well, and I think we’re getting better and better each week in terms of how comfortable we are and the amount of things we are able to do.”
 
(On his evaluation of Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon)
“I don’t get to see him play that much. I can obviously see comparing him to myself because we’re both tall white guys who throw the ball well. It’s not that hard of a comparison. But I honestly don’t get to see him play too much to really evaluate what I think of him. I probably wouldn’t evaluate him anyway. I think he’s handled himself very well, I think he’s gone in there and done a lot of good things, just from watching from afar. I think the team has operated very well when he’s been in there and he’s come into a situation that hasn’t necessarily been incredible and he’s handled himself very well and led that team. So I think he’s done a great job.”
 
(On what jumps out about the Tampa Bay defense)
“They get off the ball and they try to penetrate and break everything up in the backfield and get after the quarterback.”
 
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