Obviously, it's an exciting time, getting ready kick the season off, in Baltimore, against division team on the road. We had a good start to the week. We had a good practice today, and are getting good and acclimated to the humidity and the weather that we'll likely face over there, which is great.
Q: Will you leave early because of (Tropical Storm) Hanna?ML:
We'll make a decision sometime later today, or tomorrow morning at the latest. It doesn't affect us much. We'll just do our normal Saturday routine somewhere in Baltimore if necessary.
Q: How tough is it to prepare for a rookie quarterback (Ravens' Joe Flacco)?ML:
People always ask me that stuff. I don't really worry about who was playing against us, unless the guy ran around and did different things. I think you defend a team and defend an offense. They're going to put somebody behind center. This guy has done a nice job for them, being proficient. You watch how he played last week against Atlanta, and you see that he was very deliberate, got into a rhythm and did a nice job. So we're going to face a guy that right now is an NFL quarterback, and that's all that matters. His inexperience, if that ends up being their problem ... I don't want it to be mine.
Q: Ravens coach John Harbaugh has roots in this area. How well acquainted are you?ML:
I know John, but I don't talk to that many people a lot. But I think John is putting his stamp on that team and organization and is very definite about what he wants. He's going about it the right way. He seems to be having fun. I watched some of his press conference last evening. He's having fun with it. He's going through the trials and tribulations you face as you get down to the end of the roster and the end of the cuts. He's formulating the roster, aligning with injuries, and the things we all deal with. He seems to be pretty even-keeled about it and moving forward.
Q: How has Jeff FitzGerald fit into this coaching staff?ML:
Jeff is a 24/7 football coach. Very, very, very thorough in everything. He's not just about playing linebacker play-to-play, but within the play. Our guys are benefitting a great deal from it. He's done a great job. He's a guy that will soon be an NFL coordinator. He has a great command of the entire package, and sees the field and all the things we want. He's a good communicator. Very demanding. It's funny, because you watch a guy from afar all the time and you see him as we go to the different workouts and stuff. I didn't work with Jeff, but I knew a lot about Jeff because some guys I coached with had coached with him, and always thought very highly of him. I know why now.
Q: Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, and T.J. are together again. How quickly can they get it back?ML:
That's going to be the test. That was one of the questions from Baltimore (media) today. They said their (Ravens) tackles haven't played, and I said, 'Neither have our ends.' And they said their (Ravens) defensive backs haven't played, and I said, 'Neither have our guys.' It's going to be a challenge, and that's going to be the fun of it. Who can get ready the best and the most efficiently and have the wind and the stamina to play and play great. That's our challenge, and I think our guys are going to be excited and up to that challenge.
Q: You've said that Carson Palmer put too much on his own shoulders at times in the past. Did he learn from that last year? ML:
Carson learned a great deal from that, so I don't think that's going to be an issue. He's done a nice job of that in the preseason, of letting each down play itself out and moving on to the next play.
Q: How has Palmer grown?ML:
That's one of the ways he's grown, the fact that he doesn't have to go out there and feel like we need to score two touchdowns on every snap. We're going to let this thing work, and you know, if we have to punt the football, that's been a very positive possession at times. A very winning coach told me, 'If you have a kicking play at the end of every possession, you will win the majority of your football games.'
Q: Chad's latest thing was changing his name. What will it say on his jersey?ML:
You've got to call the NFL office and ask that, because I have no idea. It's not a stunt; he changed his name. It's a legal document. He's been wanting to do this since March. It's kind of water under the bridge at this point, for us.
Q: Could you change his number, or at least hold it over his head as punishment? ML:
I wouldn't be allowed to change his number. They're pretty sacred in the NFL for an established guy. Unless he goes to a different team, I don't think he can change his number.
Q: Chad said he didn't want to talk about the name. Is that part of the change you've seen in him since his talk with Ray Lewis?ML:
That's a very good question (laughs). Are we all going to figure Chad out now?"
Q: You added two practice squad guys. Any other moves coming?ML:
Yeah, we probably will. At some point we're going to place Jeremi Johnson on the Reserve/Injured list, so we'll add another player at some point.
Q: What happened to Jeremi?ML:
He injured himself, his knee, at practice on Monday. He actually finished the practice, but he had a knee scope this morning."
Q: So Dan Coats will block Ray Lewis in his first game?ML:
Ray Lewis and Bart Scott and whoever else they line up where you're supposed to go block.
Q: So you're going to find out about the kid right away:ML:
Daniel played last year against them over there. He and Nate Lawrie were our tight ends, so he'll be all right.
Q: You seem pretty confident in him:ML:
Yeah, I am. Very confident in Daniel.