Thursday, January 15, 2009

Interviews with Ravens

A number of Baltimore's players and coaches were made available on Thursday to the media. Many of the comments were of the "Pittsburgh is a great team" variety, so instead of those we are sharing the more interesting portions of the official transcripts provided by the NFL. Highlights include Rex Ryan telling Tennessee to quit whining, Cam Cameron calling Ben Roethlisberger old, the importance of home field advantage, the loss of Samari Rolle and Ed Reed compares Ben Roethlisberger to Michael Vick ~ seriously.

Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan
On Steelers RB Willie Parker not getting a lot of yards against the Ravens in the regular season: “I guess he got a lot of yards against San Diego and stuff like that, and I read all the experts say we would have given up 150 yards to the running back [Chris Johnson] from Tennessee. But remember, he never finished the game for some reason. Whatever that reason is, they can cry all they want. Who cares? We’re here. We’re still playing, and they can watch us.”

On how much he trusts the defensive players to make calls at the line of scrimmage:“That very rarely happens. We have a system that’s flexible in our calls and things like that. We trust them to make the audibles and correct things like that. But there is flexibility in who blitzes and who doesn’t blitz. We’ll change things up and all that stuff, but as far as changing the call and all that, they occasionally will do that once a game or something like that, and that generally gets me to the middle of the field. But for the most part, with our guys, we’re all on the same accord. They know when they change a call that, No. 1, it better work, and then I’ll say, ‘Give me the credit for it.’ But realistically, it’s a partnership that we’ve had for a long time now. When we put a game plan together, we explain our calls and explain why we are doing them. Our guys pick up on why we are making those calls and what they can expect as well.”

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
On whether he feels Ravens QB Joe Flacco and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger are more similar or different: “It’s a good question. Obviously, there’s some size similarities, some arm strength similarities. They are both competitive guys. Obviously, one’s a lot younger, but one has a similar opportunity that another guy had. [They are] two outstanding quarterbacks. Obviously, one’s a little further along than the other.” Note: Joe Flacco turns 24 years old on Friday, Ben Roethlisberger will be 27 in March.

On if the improved ball security in the playoffs is due to a heightened focus or concentration: “It really isn’t. We don’t try to have any levels that we teach and coach ball security. It’s always going to be our No. 1 priority. I just think it’s another case of some guys that are growing in our offense. You can see it. I know you guys see it. We’ve got a lot of players that are still growing as players. You could see the growth last week. You could see the growth throughout the course of that game, and it will always be our No. 1 priority.”

On what the team is doing to prepare for the cold weather in Pittsburgh: “That started way back in the spring when we practiced outside in the rain. We go outside when it’s cold. We come in here when John [Harbaugh] feels like we need to. We try to simulate certain things, even when we’re indoors. We’re trying – it doesn’t always work – but we’re trying to build an offense that is weatherproof and condition-proof.”

On the way the Ravens were able to box LB James Harrison in the second game against Pittsburgh and if that was a result of adjustments in the game plan or the team playing better than the first game: “I don’t know that we did anything earth shattering. Obviously, we’ve got to play better than we played last time. That’s our focus. You have to focus on their defense as a whole. There is no way you can go focus on him and ignore all these other guys. It’s a collective effort. Scheme-wise, everything you have to do against these guys is collective, and we’ll have to do a better job in this game than we did before. Period.”

Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
On how difficult it is for kickers and punters at Heinz Field: “I think over the years, the toughest part of the field has been the playing surface itself. I’m not sure the winds are that unusual this time of the year in any of the northern stadiums. My understanding is that they’ve re-soded the field, and we are expecting a good surface. It looked like it held up well last week.”

On if he thinks Heinz Field is one of the NFL’s top-three toughest stadiums to kick in: “The playing surface has been the biggest issue. I was in Cleveland for a long time, and I thought that the winds were tougher in Cleveland than they are in Pittsburgh. It just depends on when you play there [in Pittsburgh] during the year and how much use it [Heinz Field] has had.”

C Jason Brown
On the advantages and disadvantages of an unstable playing surface like Heinz Field in the trenches: “You definitely have to make sure you have great footing underneath yourself, making sure you get your second step down. It’s not going to be one of those crazy, out-of-control games because you do have that field surface. It will just have to come down to good, fundamentally sound football.”

On if Pittsburgh is a tough place to play compared to other stadiums around the league: “When it’s loud, it’s loud. Really, that’s all you can chalk it up to. After that, everything else is white noise. You just drain everything else out.”

On if he feels that home field advantage really means anything in the playoffs: “It definitely does. Coming this far, we definitely feel as though we owe it to our home town fans. I’m sure they would love for us to play another game at M&T Bank Stadium. But, I’m sure they don’t mind traveling as well. I’m sure they won’t mind traveling down to Tampa.”

FB/RB Le’Ron McClain
On how his ankle is feeling: “The ankle is doing good. I got a little bit more work today, so I’ll see how it feels in the morning. I’ll see how many reps I get tomorrow.”

S Ed Reed
On if QB Ben Roethlisberger is the type of quarterback who can be forced into turnovers: “No, no. Ben is a quarterback who is very cautious with what he [does] out there. He’s always aware of the situation, where guys are at and easy-to-read coverages. So, it’s going to be a challenge. It always is against these guys.”

On how important it is for the secondary to stay with their guys given Roethlisberger’s ability to make plays out of the pocket: “Huge, man. It’s like Michael Vick. It’s no different. When he breaks the pocket, he’s also a threat when he’s throwing the ball – as well as running it. You’ve just got to contain him and see your guys before he does make a throw or something.”

On how big of a loss it would be if Ravens CB Samari Rolle is unable to play Sunday: “Huge. From experience to knowing the game plan, to making plays, we definitely will miss Samari. That’s also one thing that’s been huge this year, that guys step up. We expect them to attack guys that haven’t been in there. I would if I was playing against it. It happens, but that’s why other guys get paid.”

LB Terrell Suggs
On if he will play in Sunday’s game against the Steelers: “I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see Sunday. I’m being optimistic about it, I hope so. But, as of right now, I really can’t honestly answer the question for you. We’ll just have to wait and see. All I can do is work hard to try to get it back healthy. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

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