It's great, yeah. Can use it. It's not as susceptible to being re-broken now that it's had a little over a week to heal and trying to fit back in all the places where the cartilage needs to grow around. So it's doing great. I can breathe, I can play.
Q: Will you wear a shield on your facemask to protect it?CP:
Yeah, the doctors are probably going to tell me I have to for a little bit, so get used to that.
Q: Have you ever worn one?CP:
I don't believe so.
Q: Have you practiced with one?CP:
Q: Any difference with the shield? CP:
No. If it was tinted, it might add a little bit to it, but it's a clear visor.
Q: Much was made about how you, T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) and Chad (Johnson) were on the field together for the first time in practice on Monday. How did that go? CP:
It didn't seem as much time had passed as really had since we'd been on the field. Really, I think the last game in Miami was the last time all three of us were on the field at the same time. But it didn't seem that far ago. I think they're both a little rusty. You can't tell, but you've got to be a little rusty, coming back from as long as they've been, in 7-on-7 and team drills, 11-on-11 drills. So it was a good chance to get a couple reps underneath their belts. Once those guys hit the field and it's game day, it's game day to them. They're not worried about how many three routes, how many five routes, how many hot routes they've seen. They've seen so many in their history that it shouldn't be an issue for either of them.
Q: Do you think you'll have a full game plan?CP:
Definitely. T.J. and Chad haven't been on the field every single day, but they've been in every meeting and seen clips of us doing things right, doing things wrong, and making corrections. And watching past games. So we're going to go in with a full game plan, just like we would if they had practiced every single day during training camp. They're both veteran guys. They're veteran guys within our offense that have been here since Brat (offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski) has been here, I think. So there shouldn't be a fall-off that way because they've been around. It's not like they've been in the training room every day and not been in meetings. They know the offense inside and out, and we'll execute fine, and we'll be ready.
Q: The Ravens have a new head coach (John Harbaugh), but do you expect to see the same defense you've seen from them your whole career?CP:
Yeah, the same defensive coordinator from the last couple of years (is there). Virtually the same guys, other than maybe a rookie starting here or there because of injuries. But same players, same physical front, same speed, same confusion, the same things we've seen for years now.
Q: How about Ed Reed being out with a neck problem?CP:
The best news I've heard in weeks is that Ed Reed's not going to play. I still don't know if that's 100 percent or not. I know he's got a little bit of a neck thing. He's that guy that as you go into game plans, as quarterbacks, you see if he's on the injury report or not. Same thing with Polamalu (Troy Polamolu of Pittsburgh). They're both guys that do unorthodox things and play out of position, but are successful most of the time. Every once in a while, they get 'got,' but they're successful most of the time, and Ed's been successful against me a number of times. I've gotten him a couple of times, but when No. 20's not back there, it's a little bit of a different feel just because he's so good at reading things, seeing plays develop, seeing formations and recognition. He can jump things that most safeties don't jump, that most safeties don't have the freedom to jump. So definitely when Ed's not playing, and (Chris) McAlister and (Samari) Rolle and whoever else is on the injury list, that's always a good thing for you offensively.
Q: Your line has done a good job of protecting you against the Ravens. What is the key to that success?CP:
I think it's two things: I think it's the way we game plan, the way our coaches set us up and put us in position to identify the fronts. So really first, going in with a good game plan, and then us being able to recognize it and talk it out and everybody be on the same page and then execute it. They get a good jump on some teams and they get the big guys like Terrell Suggs on running backs a lot in pass protection because those teams are not in the AFC North and they don't see it from Baltimore twice and from Pittsburgh twice. We're kind of used to it. There are always times they get us, when we have a little bit of miscommunication, but I think for the most part we've been pretty successful in identifying what it is, talking it out and everybody executing.
Q: Are you confident all the kinks have been worked out of the pass protection from the problems in preseason?CP:
Yeah, definitely. The bad part is I got hit a bunch, but the good part is we learned a lot from the film, from the running backs to the offensive line, everybody that's involved in pass protection, on some things we hadn't seen, on some things we've seen a ton of times and just missed. And like Coach Bratkowski said, it's on everybody, from me all the way down to the left tackle or the right tackle, the running backs, everybody. It's been good for us. It's bad because you don't want to get hit, but it's good for you because I think the best way for me to learn and a lot of guys on this team is from mistakes and seeing where you stepped wrong, if your eyes were in the wrong spot, fixing them and moving on.
Q: Did you see the still pictures of the blood running down? CP:
Q: Did it look worse or look feel worse?CP:
It looked worse. It really wasn't that bad.
Q: Had to be uncomfortable:CP:
It was definitely uncomfortable.
Q: With the Ravens starting a rookie quarterback, what is the toughest thing for the rookie to overcome in the first start?CP:
Mainly confidence, because you can do it during the preseason and during practice, but when you get on the field and see a fire zone coming at you or see man-to-man coverage on one side of the field, you have to know where to go. The confidence you have in knowing where to go in those situations is the toughest thing to get over. You have to ask yourself if you can make those decisions on opening day, are you going to make the decisions quick enough, and can you do it in a game atmosphere. It has to be confidence, and you really don't have it or gain it until you do it, so that has to be the toughest thing for a young guy.
Q: What do you love about playing on the road, especially in Baltimore?CP:
Baltimore has as great a stadium and fan participation as there is in this league. So you walk into that stadium, and it's going nuts. Beautiful stadium. It's huge. You guys know. You've seen the big screen. The starting introduction. It's the real deal. Everything is very classy. Very first rate. You get that feel playing against them, and then knowing guys on their team and hearing things that go on there. You just get that when you walk in. It just feels good to be on that field. Plus, you throw in their rowdy crowd. It's such a hostile environment. Even during the day for a one o'clock game, that place is rockin' and rollin'. And then Ray comes out and does his dance. You're just in awe of the situation. Add on top of that it's opening day. It's just a great experience.
Q: Football players are so schedule-oriented. If you would have to leave Friday instead of Saturday (due to weather concerns) does that disrupt you?CP:
I don't think it'll be an issue whatsoever. We stay at a great hotel when we go there with comfortable beds, so that's a plus. Good food. Good restaurants right around where we stay. I don't think it'll be an issue for this team. We've dealt with training camp, in and out, breaking out of Georgetown, coming back here, staying at the hotel here, so I kind of look forward to it. I think it would be fun if we did.
Q: Chris Perry and Ben Utecht haven't played much against Ravens. Are you concerned?CP:
It's a big film week for those two guys. When you experience it and do it over and over again, you get used to certain things. The only way to make up for that is just film study, and knowing exactly when the strong safety's coming and things like that. Whatever their blitz of the week is against us, you're not going to be ready for because you're not going to have a bunch of repetitions on film watching it. But all the other stuff they've been doing in preseason, they've done to us in previous years. You've got to see it a ton of times on film because if you're not prepared for it, they're so fast and physical, they can get up on you and get in the quarterback's lap.