Carson Palmer Press Conference Transcript

Q: Is Baltimore's defense doing the same stuff they have done in the past? CP: "No. Quite a bit different. (They have) a new coordinator, different looks, but they are very good across the board. They cover you man-to-man, they have guys that can run, and they have athletic guys on the outside, very fast guys at corner. Ed Reed is always a concern. They're a really good zone team. They pass things off really well in their zone, so they don't get themselves out of place. They don't give up big plays. It's a really well-coached, good group with Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, three players that can be defensive MVPs every year, and a bunch of guys that are really good players, too. They're a really good unit and a tough challenge for us."

Q: With four straight close games, is the confidence level on this team high?CP: "I think there's a reason for guys to have a lot of confidence. But talking to guys, we're not satisfied. We're still hungry. We have a lot of errors going on, and lots of things to clean up. We're definitely confident that we can come through. But we believe we haven't played our best football yet. We know we haven't played our best football yet. We need to go out and be more consistent from kickoff to the final whistle of the game, as opposed to have spurts in the first quarter, or the first half, or the fourth quarter or the fifth quarter. We need to put together a complete game. That's something we know we can do, but we have to go out and do it."

Q: Are you guys still adjusting to the new style of trying to establish the run, first and foremost? CP: "No, we've been doing what we're doing now since April. There isn't a specific reason. It's not one reason. There have been a number of different things we've been off on from week to week. We keep going back to the drawing board, starting with the fundamentals and trying to improve on it. We come in on Monday, and we look at the mistakes we made, and we start Wednesday and go through Friday to get things ready."

Q: The offense seems to struggle throughout the game a lot of times, but then turns it on when it needs to at the end of the game. Is there a way to explain why that is happening, or is it just a "moment in time?"CP: "I'm not sure about that moment in time. But the lulls we've had are execution, just not executing the same 11 guys on the same page for every play, first through third down. I'm not sure why it's come together for us at some point, and not other points. There's not one thing that sticks out in my mind. You can always go back to execution. If you're executing, everybody is stepping the right way, everybody's eyes are in the right spot, hands in the right spot, routes the right depth, balls in the right place. That's the same reason any team would say in this league that they're not scoring enough points, or not converting enough third downs. It comes down to execution. The good thing about it is that it's something that can be fixed, and something we will fix and something were working to fix today, Thursday and Friday and throughout the season.

Q: Is it reassuring that you guys are 3-1, but still haven't played your best football yet?CP: "It's a good feeling, but it's also frustrating. We're better than what we've done. We're better than what were putting on film as individuals, as an offensive unit and as a team. It's great to be 3-1. If there's one thing I've learned in this league, it's that ugly or pretty, it doesn't matter. A win is a win, and you need to enjoy it. I've been through a number of wins in the past where you get frustrated because you didn't play quite as well as you wanted to. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's so difficult to win a game in this league that you have to enjoy the ones you do win. We're still hungry. We want more and we expect more out of ourselves."

Q: How is Baltimore different defensively?CP: "(They have a ) different coordinator."

Q: Are they still a little bit more developed?CP: "A little bit. They don't do quite as much moving around and walking guys around. They do sometimes in certain situations, but they're just a really good unit. I just said a minute ago that they've got Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Ray (Lewis), three guys who could be MVPs of the league all on one team. Then, you sprinkle in some playmakers all over the place with (Haloti) Ngata and Jarret Johnson. There's a lot of really good players on that defense. They're very sound. They're not taking quite as many chances. They're playing really well as a unit and covering for each other when they have to, but also not getting out of place very often. I said a little bit ago, we have our hands full offensively."

Q: Bernard Scott is starting to get a little more playing time, and starting to do pretty well:CP: "Great for him. Coming from a small school your rookie year, you need experience doing things right and experience having success. He got that last week at a critical point in the game. It was a really nice drive, and he had some really nice runs and made some big plays. He can sit back and watch it on film and say, 'All right, I can do it. It wasn't a preseason game. It was a game when everything was on the line, and I went in and did what was expected of me.' That's the main thing he needed to get, being a young guy and coming from a small school in his first real game."

Q: How much has Joe Flacco progressed from year one to year two?CP: "I have no idea. I haven't watched him at all. But they're 3-1, they've been moving the ball effectively, so obviously, he's matured a little bit. But I can't speak on it."

Q: Some guys on offense have said they have been feeding off your calmness in crunch time. Are you really calm in those situations?CP: "To be honest, I'm not really sure how calm or 'uncalm' I am. There are so many things going through your head from play to play and from one second to the next. I like being in that, and we like being in that as an offense. You control your own destiny when you have the ball last. You either do it or you don't. You either win or you lose. I'll go to battle and be in that situation in that time of the game with those guys against anybody on anybody's field. It doesn't matter, because we're a group that loves playing with each other. We're a group of friends, a group of guys that come to work every day with the right mindset. When you have those things, you can't not have confidence in each other. You can't go out there and be iffy. You can't think, 'We might not go out there and get this done.' We always feel we should get it done. That's why I was saying earlier that it's frustrating. Were 3-1, but we're frustrated because we know were better than what we've done."

Q: What would it mean to sweep this tough stretch of three straight division games?CP: "It's huge. I mean, this is where you find out. It is early in the season to find out what kind of football team you are. It's strange because there aren't many times where you have two on the road but three in a row (in the division). To start off that series against the defending champs, and then a rivalry game in the middle, and now everybody's saying they're the best team in the division with Baltimore, at Baltimore. It's really a telling game to see where we are as a unit offensively, and to see where we are defensively, but really as a whole, as a team."

Q: Does it add to the excitement that this week's game is for first place in the division?CP: "A little bit, but I don't think that thought is really crossing guys' minds. Right now, we've got the Ravens at the Ravens. They went to the (AFC) Championship Game last year, they're a really good team offensively, defensively, special teams,  and are playing really well right now. I don't think there needs to be any added incentive. We understand how big of a game this is, and how big of a game it is for them also. We're excited to play. Point-blank, we're excited to play."

Q: How would you rate your own play so far this season?CP: "Not good enough. Not good enough to win a championship, which is what Marvin (Lewis) is always talking about, and we're talking about. I can't give myself a letter grade, but I haven't played up to my own expectations, that's for sure."

Q: Is it possible that you are still shaking off a little rust?CP:"No. Right now, I feel comfortable and confident and don't feel any rust whatsoever."

Q: The offense has had long lulls where it can't do much with the ball. Does field position figure into that at all?CP: "Yeah, a little bit. We haven't always won the field position game in the first four games, but really it doesn't matter when it comes down to it. We have certain plays we're going to run coming off our own two- or three-yard line, and we expect to execute them. We have certain plays that we're going to run after a big turnover on the plus-40, and  we expect to execute them. So you can't use that as an excuse. We're not using that as an excuse. All we're looking at is what we've put on film and trying to figure out how to make it better."

Q: How hard is it to run against this defense? Why?CP: "Extremely difficult. Terrell Suggs is as good a pass rusher as he is a run defender. There are a lot of good pass rushers in the league, and there are some guys that are good at stopping the run. Very rarely is there a guy that has the combination of both. He's as good as there is across the league at that. You've got Ray Lewis in the middle barking things out, calling defensive fronts and checking things at the line of scrimmage, and a bunch of other good football players around him. Secondary-wise, I think it's the most athletic and the most speed they've had since I've been here, and since I've played against them. So it's a good top-to-bottom unit. There's not a weakness. Their nickel comes in and he's a really good player. It's going to be a tough battle."

Q: You've had some big games against the Ravens. Is there something you guys have done well, or a common thread, in each of those games?CP:"I'm not sure, exactly. We've been very successful against them in the past. I think at one point, we won five in a row or four in a row or something like that. But this is a different team than we've played before. (They have a) different coach, different offense and a much more potent offense in the run game and the pass game, which changes things defensively for them. So it's hard to compare this team to any other. There are a lot of similar names and numbers over there, but there's not the 11 same guys we've played against in the past and there's definitely a different offense than we've played against in the past."

Q: They could say the same thing about you guys:CP: "Sure."

Q: Do you ever look ahead at the schedule and see what's coming up after this game, and how the next stretch could shape your season?CP: "Definitely. I look at our schedule every day. It's up in our team room. Whether it's daydreaming or wishful thinking, I start putting numbers together, wins and losses, and trying to figure it out. But you've got to stop yourself from doing that. You really can't worry about that next game because the Houston game doesn't matter if we don't come out of this game with a win. We need to be completely focused and I need to be completely focused on Baltimore, at Baltimore, and then we'll get to Monday and start talking about Houston. Definitely, there's a big stretch of games coming up for us, but this is the most important game on the schedule because it's the one that's right now. And there's a number of games that are going to be more and more important if we take care of this one first."

Q: How far out into the schedule to do you go with the numbers? CP: "I'm not going to go into that. But I have high hopes for this team."

Q: How much has JP Foschi improved? How much has he been able to help you guys transition from not having Ben Utecht and Reggie Kelly? CP: "He's filled in really well. Very physical guy. When his number's called in the pass game, he always comes through and makes big plays and big catches, even if it's just a chain-mover on second down coming out of our own territory. He had some nice catches, and he had a nice long catch last week. But he's physical up front. He's a really good run blocker. He pass blocks. If we ask him to block Terrell Suggs, he'll do it. If you ask him to block Dwight Freeney, he'll do it. So really a good all-around player, and really been a good pickup for us to get in here."

Q: Have you guys used him in the same way you would have used Reggie Kelly, Ben Utecht, or Chase Coffman?CP: "Yeah. After Reggie got hurt, he came in right after that and we didn't really take anything out or add anything new for him. We kind of just kept moving along and he had to learn on the fly and pick up as much as possible as quick as possible."

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