Lewis, Dalton News Conference Transcripts 12/27



When you look at Baltimore's defense from the first game, are they doing the same thing? Have they evolved in some areas?

"Yeah, I think there are similarities, and they've obviously evolved as the season has gone on. You see what's working. They're a really good team. They have a really good defense, and we are going to have a good test this week."

The Ravens have had some injuries, but they've seemed to be able to withstand those injuries …

"Yeah. They are playing well, and their guys understand their scheme and what they are trying to do. That's why they've been playing the way they have."

How did your offensive line look on film against Detroit, after all of the shuffling that took place with them due to injuries?

"I thought they played great. Those guys played really hard. For us, there wasn't a lot of miscommunication out there, which is something you might have to worry about with a bunch of different guys in a bunch of different spots. But, our guys communicated well. They were a big part of why we won the game."

A big key to the win seemed to be that you guys stayed away from third-and-long situations …

"Yeah, and we converted (third downs). We were 50 percent on third downs, which is good. We have to keep that going."

Looking back at the first game, there were a lot of turnovers. Did that set the tone for the offense? It's easy to say that you'll put that game behind you this weekend, but is it in your mind to avoid turnovers? And does that change the way you play the game?

"I don't even remember playing (Baltimore) that first week — did we even play them (laughs)? Yeah, obviously you can't turn the ball over, and I did that way too much in the first game. It hurts you. Turnovers decide the game. For us, we didn't get much production, and the turnovers didn't help."

It looked like that game set the tone for them the rest of the season. They lead the league in turnovers and interceptions. Is that a matter of getting pressure and forcing a mistake? Is it tipped balls, like it was for you guys in that first game?

"It's guys just being in the right place. They are getting pressure. Everything is kind of different, so there's not one reason to why they are creating turnovers. There could be a tipped ball, guys could be making a play on the ball, or it's just being in the right spot. But yes, they lead the league in interceptions."

It's kind of unique to have a season in which you play the same opponent to open and close a season. How much do you even look at that Week 1 tape since so much has happened since then?

"We obviously look at it to see what happened (in the game). But it's a long season, and a lot of stuff has happened since then."

Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs is a game-wrecker. How much attention will you have to give him this week?

"You always kind of know where he is. Like you said, he can be disruptive, and he gets in the backfield quickly. We have to find ways to shut him down."

How much did the win against Detroit do for the mood in the locker room?

"Any time you win, the environment in the locker room is a lot better. We set up to win every game, so it was good to get that one. It was big. It made Christmas a little better for us."

If Baltimore wins, they are in the playoffs. Does playing spoiler play into your mind at all?

"Yeah. If we can do that, it would be a good thing. But we're just trying to win — that's all it comes down to."

There's been a lot of talk and questions from the media about the job status of head coach Marvin Lewis. Have you had a chance to think about what he has done for you and your career?

"I haven't physically sat down and thought about it — I've had a lot of other stuff going on. But Marvin has been here for a long time. He wanted me here, and I'm very thankful for everything that he's done for me and my career. Who knows what is going to happen next? Nothing is written in stone, so we don't know what's going to happen. Marvin has accomplished a lot."

How has he been behind the scenes the last couple of weeks as all of this stuff has played out?

"He's handled it like he would handle any other game going into the season. We haven't seen a lot of change in him. He's still doing everything he can to get us ready and get us going, and to finish the season off the right way."

How has your relationship with him evolved over the years? Does it seem like it's been that long?

"Yeah. It's been seven years, I guess. For me, I feel like I'm in the middle of my career. I'm not a younger guy anymore. Early on, I was viewed as the younger guy, and now I'm not that way anymore. Obviously it's evolved. He's put more on me as time has gone on, and that's what you expect."

Does this feel like the end of an era?

"We don't even know what's going to happen. You can speculate all you want, but we'll see what goes on after the season. It's nothing we can worry about right now."


Head coach

Initial comments ...

"Looking forward to Baltimore, with having opened up the season with them and losing to them at home, the guys are excited to go play. In their season, they've done a nice job, winning five of their last six football games. They were kind of in the same situation as we were (earlier in the season), and they were able to right their ship and get it going. That's one of the things when you look at them, with what they have been able to do, they continue to be consistent at taking the football away in their wins, and protecting the football. That's the key. When you look at their (plus-17 turnover margin), they have (12 ) interceptions on offense and four fumbles, and defensively they have 22 (interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries). They're doing a great job with that. They scored some touchdowns defensively, and also in the return game on special teams. It's a big part of where they are."

After taking a look at the two guys who played LG this past week, Christian Westerman and Alex Redmond, as well as Clint Boling at LOT, how would you say they fared?

"Those guys played aggressively, hard, had great pad level, and did some effective things."

Do you anticipate that being the group this week?

"Yes. Well, so far, unless we get a surprise."

Could you see Clint Boling moving to OT?

"We'd be wasting time speculating (laughs)."

Would he fit more naturally there?

"I thought Clint accepted the challenge. When you are line up over there against (Detroit DE) Dwight Freeney and (Baltimore OLB) Terrell Suggs, you're talking about two guys that will eventually end up in Canton one day — in five years after they quit, most likely as well. It's tough duty."

Is Clint Boling's challenge taking on the LOT position underrated?

"It's very underrated (laughs). It's a huge challenge. It's a big thing. It's the difference of playing first base and shortstop in baseball, you know what I mean? That's a huge difference there. Your range and what's affecting you is a lot bigger than when you're playing in your little box (at G) and you've got a guy protecting you here and someone over here. And now you're kind of open-ended. There's an adjustment there. Clint did it in college, with playing all the spots. He's a pro's pro in accepting the challenge."

With Cedric Ogbuehi down for the rest of the season, how would you assess his second year in the regular rotation?

"I don't want to comment on any of our players like that."

I know Bill Lazor is trying to bring balance in the offense, and the run game has looked a lot better in recent weeks. Is there anything you can put your finger on, as to why that's the case?

"Just trying to be consistent. The quarterback is an extension of that and takes care of some of those things at times, but I think going into the football game, your ability to control the line of scrimmage also can open up some of the things in the passing lanes."

How big of an addition has RB Alex Collins been to the Ravens this year?

"He's an impressive runner. He really is. When you look statistically and saw this guy Collins with his yards, you see the (stat line), and you had no idea who it was until you started paying attention. We've had some crossover in opponents since he began playing for them. He's a really good runner, he's got great quickness and vision, and he runs with his shoulder pads pointed downhill toward the goal line."

With this being the final week of the season, what are you looking for on Sunday, in terms of evaluation?

"I'm not evaluating anything. We're looking to win a football game. There's nothing to evaluate, we're just looking to win the football game."

Is it a big deal the game got flexed to 4:25 p.m. on Sunday?

"We're kind of used to that. Unfortunately (laughs). We've been flexed almost every (finale) game over the last six, seven years it feels like."

What do you think is the biggest thing CB William Jackson has taken from his first year of action?

"It ends up being a lot of football. A lot more than I think young guys ever anticipate. Early in the year, they try and figure out why they're sharing snaps — it's so you can get all of them through (the season). Then when it comes to, 'You're the guy,' and then you're spending a lot more time across the hall in that training room, because it does take a toll on your body. So, No. 1, when you go to your offseason after playing your first year of NFL football, you have a different look at the offseason in terms of what you need to do to prepare physically to get ready and get on that horse again and get going. It's a whole different point of view, and he didn't get that experience as a rookie. I can remember back to when I first started coaching in the NFL, some of the guys I coached were early picks and had gone to schools back in the day when New Year's Day bowl games were the end of the bowl season, not the start (laughs). So they played a lot of football, is my point, in college with long seasons. But you get to the end of the season in the NFL, you can look through the back of their heads. They're pretty depleted."

Has Jackson surprised you at all, or has he been what you expected?

"He's been what we've expected. Physically, he's got to get prepared for his next season. He now knows what it takes."

If this does happen to be your last game, how do you feel about what you've accomplished in your time here?

"I'm not going to reflect whether this is my last game or not."

It's always a possibility…

"So was last week and the week before that, and back in 2003 after my first game (laughs). You never know when the last game is. I don't need to do any reflection."

Have you had any talks about it with Mike Brown that suggest any change in contract talks?

"We don't discuss that. We haven't discussed that."

Some of your players that we have talked to have said that they want you to come back…

"I don't know why you would talk to them (laughs)."

They're good interviews for us…

"Good, I'm glad. I appreciate their solace, because otherwise they're going to have to have change. We'll see what happens."

When you see the success that the young guards had last week, does that make you think that maybe if you put them in earlier in the season, things might have turned out different?

"No, it doesn't. If we felt like they were the guys to be in there, they would've been in there. We had the preseason and training camp and everything else to try guys out. We try to develop them as much as we could, solidify things and move them forward — even when we were rotating a couple different guys to try to be better. We weren't perfect last week, and we didn't expect it to be, but for both guys, that's why they are here. We think they have the ability to be fine NFL players, or else they wouldn't have been on the 53-man squad. When they got the opportunity, they took full advantage of it and that was great. They've practiced well every day. I've watched every snap they take in practice for however many weeks we've had now. You guys want to try guys out (in the game). But then at the end of the day, if we lose (say), 'Oh well, you lost.' Well, that hurts more people. We don't just shrug it off like that."

You're on the competition committee. Is that something you would like to see change, in terms of how much practice time you get with the young players?

"There are a lot of things they're talking about like that. Those are conversations they've been having for a (long) time. I don't see much change happening. As they say, you can't put that genie back in the bottle."

That would have to be something for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, right?

"That would be part of what I would imagine would be very minor tweaking (with the CBA). One of the things that obviously coaches would like to see is the ability to spend more time with younger players and however that comes about. But there's been a resistance to that."

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