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Hearing from the Ravens

Posted Nov 28, 2012

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Re: Preparing for a team for the second time in three weeks:
The good news is there’s not as much volume of work. We’ve only got two more games to look at to add on to what we’ve looked at in the past. Both teams know each other so well, it’s a little more detailed that way.

Re: A quality that allows your team to find ways to win in critical moments:
I don’t know if there is any one quality that you can pinpoint. It’s something that you’ve guys have seen in Pittsburgh for so many years and that’s been their calling card. It’s probably just something that ends up expressing itself in outcomes. I like our guys. I love our team. We really work hard. They care about each other, and I think they’ve got some confidence and trust in one another. But I see the same thing with the Steelers. They’ve done a great job of dealing with adversity and those things like they always do, and you see it in the things their players say, which is very impressive. Both of these teams and both of these programs reflect whatever those things are.

Do you expect to see Charlie Batch at quarterback and, if so, what do you expect from him?
We really don’t have any expectation on that. We really don’t know. We’re in the dark. We’re not really trying to determine it. It’s something that maybe nobody knows now. We’re just going to prepare for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re a great team, a great offensive team. They have weapons in every place. We’ve seen it up close and personal enough times to understand that. That’s just the way we have to approach it. To get caught up in who might be playing is something that wouldn’t be of any value to us. We just don’t have time to do it and it won’t get us anywhere.

What does WR Antonio Brown bring to the Steelers’ offense?
He’s a playmaker. He’s a guy that can score from any part of the field, offensively or special teams-wise. He’s got tremendous quickness, speed, body control and hands. He’s a guy that we’ve really thought the world of, ever since he was coming out, and we were going through the process of getting to know him coming out of Central Michigan. He’s just a stellar-type guy and we’ll definitely have to have an eye on him.

How do S Ed Reed and S Troy Polamalu impact this rivalry?
Those are kind of defining guys in the rivalry, right? You think of this rivalry and you definitely think of those two guys. They’ve been the two best safeties in football for years now. They always are compared. They play different styles with similar results. Troy is a guy that can show up anywhere at any time. He’s got tremendous football intelligence and he makes a big difference. Their defense is playing great. They’re the top rated total yardage defense in the league. They’re really good on defense. Now, you just add a great player to that mix.

How does what you do on offense change if Polamalu plays?
We try to defend the position. They’ve got 11 guys out there. We think both of their safeties are great. They’re very effective in the run game and they’re on top of the pass game. They both have really good ball skills. We don’t treat it any differently because you have to look at the player playing the position, and you have to understand the structure of it. Troy has a little more leeway in terms of changing the defense on the run. He does that and does a great job of communicating that to the other defensive backs and getting them all coordinated on the same page. He’s a guy you really have to track and can’t really be certain about where he’s going to be playing.

When you see a team turn the ball over as much as the Steelers did last week, do you encourage your guys to go out there and try to create turnovers?
Well, we never get too caught up in what a team did before or after we play them. You’re never going to see the same thing. The Steelers historically have been a very good ball security team. We’re just going to worry about ourselves and how we play. That’s got to be our biggest concern and we’ve got our hands full with that.

Did you ever think that you’d have a chance to clinch the division this early?
I didn’t think about it one way or the other. In all honesty, it’s not something you really have time to give much thought to. We say this, and you’re going to probably roll your eyes, but we do take it one week at a time. Our goal every week is to try to be 1-0 for the week. This week it’s against our biggest rival and against our toughest opponent, and that’s our goal again this week.

Re: The Harbaugh brothers and the success that you both are having this season:
Not too shabby. I think he’s a little bit better looking. So, that’s the number one thing. I know he’s a lot bigger. I haven’t beaten him in one-on-one basketball. I don’t know if I ever beat him in one-on-one, maybe when I was in fifth grade. I’m proud of him. He’s a great coach, great father, great husband, great guy and a fun guy to be around. I love talking to him. It’s pretty cool. I know mom and dad are kind of proud of the record. It’s good.

Is your brother making the right move starting Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco?
I have no idea. I will say this, it does crack me up when all the pundits that want to get on the air and are critical of it. If there’s a head coach in the NFL who’s qualified to understand the feelings and the motivations of a quarterback, I’d say he’d be the one. I fully trust him with that. He’s been through it.

Do we have to give your sister credit for the success of Indiana University basketball as well?
How good did they look last night? Oh man. Didn’t they look good? Did you guys watch them? They were on fire. They’ve got the two big guys who are still coming back guys in a couple weeks.


Running back Ray Rice

Re: Converting that fourth-and-29 last Sunday:
I’ve been pretty chill. I just think I had a pretty cool saying [Hey diddle, diddle, Ray Rice up the middle]. There was no logical call that you could call in that situation. I had to get myself a little name for it. We just took it and ran with it. The thing we are doing is that all proceeds are going towards a foundation. We are going to try to help out some needy kids at Christmas and try to give them a nice Christmas, just do the right thing. The play itself, it was the fourth quarter. It was a total war play. I just tried to make a play, which is something I’ve always tried to do since I became a Raven. It got set up by many different things, Anquan Boldin’s block, and I tried to give just a little more effort to try to get the first down afterwards.

Was his block a block in the back?
The film doesn’t lie. If you actually see the play, Eric Weddle actually hit my shoulder pad. That’s what made it look as bad as it did. He hit my shoulder pad, so it wasn’t a helmet-to-helmet hit. Obviously, I never want to see a guy go down like that. I wish him a speedy recovery. He is a great player and I hope he is well.

Re: Finding ways to win:
I think we are just growing up as a team. You guys have been around as long as I have been around, and we’ve been on the other end of the situation where we found ways not to pull it out. The growth and maturity of this team, we are just finding ways to win games. That’s what the NFL is all about. I am in my fifth year. Joe Flacco is in his fifth year. We have guys coming in and out. We are a pretty mature team now that is finding ways to win games. That’s a testament to how hard we work. The ball has rolled in the opposite direction before, where we’ve been in close games and have lost them. Now we’ve been in close games and are finding ways to win. It feels good knowing that the tide has changed a little bit. We are getting more mature as we grow.

Has the tide turned with the rivalry with the Steelers?
To be honest, I wouldn’t call it a tide turn. They won many Super Bowls. That is a testament to them. We obviously have to have something to show for it. You can win in the regular season but you have to win when it matters. We have tremendous respect for that organization. They are winners. They win Super Bowls. They have quite a few. We have one. I don’t think the tide will change until we win our Super Bowls. That’s just how I feel about it. They find ways to win championships and get into the playoffs. Everybody counts the Steelers out. We never count them out. Their record never really matters because that team always finds a way to creep back into the hunt.

Re: Willie Colon saying that the Ravens built their team to beat the Steelers:
The Steelers are the top dog in the division. Any time you are trying to get where the top dog of the division is you are going to build a team around how to beat those guys. You have to be a team that can compete with the Steelers. I think we’ve done that over the past few years, and I think we’ve done pretty well at it.

Has the rivalry softened, considering Ryan Clark and Antonio Brown were goofing around with your team a few weeks ago?
No. I think it’s a respect thing. Clark and Brown are great players. This rivalry has never been soft. I don’t buy into the whole thing that you shouldn’t be cool after the game, because we both went to war with each other. We spend time with each other in the offseason. There isn’t a time where you see another guy, and just because he is a Steeler, you don’t talk to him. So why should it change during the season? We battle with each other throughout the games. Basically, we are hitting each other like car crashes. So why not embrace the moment after the game? You say, “Hey man, what’s going on? I wish you well, and stay healthy.” I don’t buy into that the rivalry is soft. I think it’s a respect thing. That stuff carries on for years, because when the game is over, you aren’t going to go around and hate a person just because he was a Pittsburgh Steeler.

Would you feel comfortable going into the Steelers’ locker room after a game to say hello to a couple of guys?
    
I would go say hello to the guys. I got friends over there. I don’t know. If I found the time, shoot, I don’t think I would go into their locker room. I know Ed Reed and Clark have a different relationship. They call each other on the phone. We spend some time talking to them during the game. I just have never been the guy that has been in another team’s locker room. I don’t know what that is like. But as far as last week, Jarrett Johnson came in our locker room. He was a former Raven. It’s just a respect thing. I don’t see a problem with it. The game was over and done with. You leave all that other stuff on the field.

Have you heard from Steelers’ fans about what you did with the “Terrible Towel?”
I have heard about it, obviously when it happened. I just wanted to clear it up. You aren’t going to catch me out there burning the towel or doing anything to disrespect their organization. I am a respectful guy. I am at the point in my career where I cherish these moments. I cherish the rivalry and everything about the game. When my child gets older, I will get to show her. She will ask, “Daddy, who is that?” I will say, “It’s the Pittsburgh Steelers. I played against them twice a year, and the rivalry has been great.” She will look at that and look at my career.

Any regrets about doing something with the towel?
I don’t regret doing anything that I did with the towel because I didn’t disrespect it. I don’t do that kind of stuff. I actually traded a fan my gloves after the game for the towel. He appreciated it. The rivalry itself is great. You regret things when you do bad things. When you do something for the sake of your career, or for a respect issue, you don’t regret it.

Re: Joe Flacco being better at home than on the road:
Our crown and our environment, any time you are in another team’s environment, it’s tough on the road. Playing at home, you find something to build off. The Steelers do that. On defense, their song comes on [Renegade], and their guys get fired up. That is something we build off when we play at home, because we have our crowd and our fans. It’s easier to get them going and it’s something we like to build off of.

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