Ravens HC John Harbaugh (9.13.20)

Head Coach John Harbaugh

(opening statement) “OK, I appreciate you guys being here. It’s really, really different seeing you on the big screen Zoom instead of seeing you in our great room here. We’re sorry for that, but this too shall pass. [I’m] really proud of our guys, proud of our team, proud of the team effort to open the season. I will say this; we miss the fans being here. I thought the incredible amount of support … Technology, right? The incredible amount of support from our fans that we normally have wasn’t there. It was different. I felt like our guys did a great job at bringing their energy. We talked about it – B.Y.O.E. We had a T-shirt made up. (laughter) And they did it. They brought their energy, and I’m proud of them for that. But I also appreciate the people that bought the [Community of Fans] cutouts. A good friend and a super Ravens fan, Josh Charles, he was bragging all week about how he bought his cardboard cutout. But all the people that stepped up for Mo’s Rows. I think we all saw the piece. I was crying, to be honest with you. We love [Mo’s mother] Sonsy [Gaba]. We love all the people that supported Mo’s Rows, that was really an incredible thing. So, thank you to all the fans who are supporting us from outside in, we definitely appreciate it.

“As far as the game, I thought the drives at the end of the half were the difference, obviously. We were able to pull away and kind of open up a lead there. [We had] 17 points off [of] turnovers. Lamar Jackson just played a phenomenal game. He just played a top-level game in every single way, and I think he was, probably, the biggest difference in the game. I have to give a lot of credit to the rookies. We started the game [with] all of them, really, Tyre Phillips, [Patrick] Queen, [Malik] Harrison, those guys played good, NFL football. We talked, I told them earlier … There’s other guys, too, that played on special teams; [James] Proche [II] and Devin [Duvernay] and others, I don’t want to forget anybody. The fact that now they’ve got a game under their belt, now they can go, ‘OK, I can do this.’ And they did it very well. I think Matt Skura coming back and starting at center after what he’s been through is an incredible thing. I’m really proud of those guys. We had game balls. Our first game ball went to [Ravens President] Dick Cass. Dick Cass and the whole organization got us here. Dick led that. We wouldn’t be here without Dick and the entire organization. Every single person that stepped up to bring us to this point so we could play football, and we are very grateful for that. On defense, it went to Calais Campbell. Calais, he kind of turned the tide there a little bit. After the first half, they were moving the ball. It wasn’t just Calais, obviously, it was a team effort. But [he] made a couple big plays running past that got us going there a little bit. And offensively, Lamar got the game ball. With that, what questions do you have?”

(On having no preseason games and what they took from that) “Yes. It was just an unknown. It was going to be an unknown. I kind of went into it early on not knowing what to expect. We all did, but [I] told the team before the game and they really kind of set it. We don’t know what the outcome is going to be. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we know we’re going to be bringing it. That’s what the players did and I’m proud of them for that.”

(On if QB Lamar Jackson stretching the field was part of the gameplan of if it’s what the Browns were giving him) “I [say] part of both. Lamar [Jackson] did a really good job, and our offensive line did a good job of creating time in the pocket which allowed the coverage to expand. It wasn’t like we were over top of them. I thought they did a good job of keeping the plays in front, but the coverage expanded so much. Our guys worked hard to get open. Lamar has amazing vision and can throw on the move. He sees the field so well. To me, those are the keys to that.”

(On T Ronnie Stanley’s injury) “Yes. Ronnie [Stanley], it’s not a serious injury, just a little tightening up there. He got rolled on, I think. It’s not a serious injury to my knowledge right now. I don’t expect it to become one tomorrow, but we will let you know. Thanks.”

(On what the rookies did that showed their professionalism) “The little things are a good question for the tape, but I did notice that they were composed. They were composed, and they didn’t get too carried away. The moment wasn’t too big for them. Devin Duvernay is a good example. He took the kickoff returns. He caught a couple passes, one or two [and] took them north. He’s very poised [and] had good vision. I thought the guys covered kicks; you look at special teams, so many times you see that. Even James Proche [II], the one ball tailed on him, and he let it roll, which would not be what you’d want – I think he’s very capable of catching that – but then he didn’t compound his mistake by going to try to pick it up or something, with guys bearing down on him. I thought that was a pressure thing to do. Then he came back later when he, probably, would’ve wanted a fair catch, but I think he’s so confident [that] he went ahead and caught it, got some yards and, I think, wanted to build for the future. So, I would say that. I would say they were composed in the environment, and that was really good to see.”

(On if there was a point where he felt comfortable after not having preseason games) “That’s really a good question. I don’t think comfortable, man. You never really ever feel comfortable. I don’t really think of it like, ‘We’re OK. We’re a good team.’ I just felt encouraged by … I saw how hard they were playing and how physical we were trying to play. Even though they were sneaking some runs through there, even at times, I could see how hard we were playing and how hard we were running to the ball. It felt like we just have to get our legs under us, get our sea legs, so to speak, and we’ll be in good shape.”

(On the overall defensive performance) “That’s a good point. Six points against this offense is very, very good. And, really, the fact that we did contain their weapons was probably the key thing. We gave up more rushing yards than we wanted to, our guys are not going to be happy about that. I already know they’re not, because I’ve seen them, and that’s how they feel about it. But those are two excellent [running] backs. They see the field. They make great cuts. The offensive line is very adapted to running that scheme. We kept the receivers pretty much under control, which was big, because we know how good those guys are. Just a few plays in there, here and there. So, I was happy with that. We also know we can really improve and get so much better.”

(On how ILB Patrick Queen can build off of his first game) “Absolutely. With his poise, I think the peace of mind to get that ball out. When Nick Chubb was fighting for those extra yards and he was able to get that ball out, that showed you a lot there. I’m sure there’s a lot of little details that, really, he’s going to want to get better at. This is his beginning, and I think it’s a good start.”

(On if spreading the ball out will be the gameplan all year) “That’s a great question. You ever know. We want to spread the ball around to people, because we have a lot of weapons. But any gameplan can kind of unfold any kind of way during the week, and then, any game can unfold any kind of way during the week. So, you just have to be flexible, and everybody has to be ready to carry a big load, but our guys are up to that. They all want the ball, so that’s a good problem to have.”