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RAVENS: Ed Reed's Got a Lot Left

Posted Nov 20, 2013

Transcripts of news conferences by Baltimore's Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh with Jets reporters Wednesday afternoon:

RAVENS QB JOE FLACCO

On facing Ed Reed for the second time this season…

We’re actually used to it around here. I’ve gone against him for so many years at practice. It’s obviously a little bit abnormal going against him on another team and having him come back in our stadium both times. It’s not like we’ve faced him on the road, either. So it’s definitely interesting.

It’s a little abnormal just because it goes beyond just having played with him. We were all Ed Reed fans before I was even on the team. You just view him as being on the Baltimore Ravens. So I think that is the biggest thing. You play against guys that you’ve played with all the time. Dawan Landry was here also. You do that all the time, but the fact that Ed Reed was such a staple Baltimore Raven before I even came in the league, I think that’s what makes it a little bit more crazy.

On how much Reed has left compared to his prime…

Well, listen, I think when he’s healthy and he has a high motivation to go out there and play, I think he can do everything he’s always done. He’s still got good ball skills and he just has that natural athleticism. He likes to gamble and take some shots. He still has the ability to do that just because of the stuff that he recognizes with his eyes and the willingness and the chances that he’s able to take, how willing he is to take those shots, where other guys aren’t necessarily willing to do it. He sees something and he trusts it, so I think he still has all those natural instincts, it’s just a matter of him being healthy and being in a good situation and I think he has that.

On how difficult it has been to lose veteran leaders and deal with high expectations…

We don’t look at it that way. It is the case, we won last year, but you don’t think about that. You go back to work and you try to win football games just like you do every other year. And it’s been tough this year, obviously. We haven’t won as many games as we feel like we’re capable of winning through this point.

Having said that, though, we’ve been in the same fight before, fighting for a playoff spot in the division, fighting for a playoff spot in the wild card. We’ve been in this same exact spot. We haven’t necessarily been 4-6 and competing for it, but we’ve probably been 6-4 and in a very similar position. So we’ve just got to keep our confidence and keep our heads down and have the trust that we’re going to come through this thing and I think we have that.

On if teams give the Ravens their best shot as defending Super Bowl champions…

I don’t know. I kind of feel like teams always have done that. We’ve been a team that’s been at the top every year so I feel like we’ve always gotten it to an extent. I think it’s definitely still the case. But that’s not that big of an issue. That’s just every week in the NFL. We’ve got to start giving teams our best shot and going out there and playing the way we think we’re capable of playing, not worrying about the other things, which is what the other teams are doing. They can worry about how well they’re playing. We should be worrying about how well we’re playing and right now that’s not as good as we think we can and we’ve just got to find a way to get that better.

Listen, we’ve lost a lot of close games this year. We haven’t played perfect and everything hasn’t been pretty, but we’ve won a lot of those games in the past and we just haven’t been able to pull them out this year so we’ve just got to continue to have faith, like I said, and stick this thing out and see what we can do.

On why the Jets defense is susceptible to the deep ball…

Well, listen, these guys like to put pressure on the quarterback and give you some different looks and they trust their guys on the outside. When you do that every now and then when you get the guys blocked up, you’re going to have chances to make some plays over the top and I think teams have been able to do that. But that’s just the way they play defense. They play aggressively and they try to make a lot of plays themselves and when you do that, you usually tend to give up some big ones here and there.

But I think for the most part they do a pretty good job of living with that. They’ve got a really good front and they’ve got guys on the outside, like I said, that they can trust. But every now and then, when teams get them blocked up, they have some time and they can sit in there and make some deep throws.

On what he remembers about rookie struggles on the road…

I don’t know. I’m always the wrong guy to ask on that because I underplay everything. I don’t know why the road stats are different from the home stats. Even for us it’s like that. I don’t know why it is like that. It doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal to me. I don’t think of it as a big deal but it always ends up being a little bit of an issue. I don’t exactly have a great answer on why that is or what to do about it, but I think you can’t really pay too much attention to it. You’ve got to go out there and play your game and you’ve got to do all you can to take the crowd out of it and if you do that then you’ll give yourself a good chance.

On the struggles of the Ravens running game…

Well, listen, we haven’t been able to get some room. We’ve had some running backs that have been injured earlier in the year. We haven’t been good enough on the outside in our passing game with precision. A lot of things lead to that. I just think we haven’t been good overall. It has a lot to do with a lot of things. We haven’t been good enough in the perimeter areas. Early on we were trying to run into a lot of heavy looks and just smash it out and it wasn’t working. So we’ve adjusted to a couple of those things and we’re starting to get better here and there and we’re just having confidence that we’ve got guys healthy now and that we’re doing a little bit differently and that they’re starting to work pretty well for us.

On if he is used to Rex Ryan being on the Jets sideline…

I was only here one year with Rex. He’s a New York Jet. It’s not abnormal for me to see him there because I was here one year with him and the guys that were here had a great deal of respect for him. The bottom line is six years later and I think we only have a handful of guys on the team that were on the team in 2008. It’s a completely different team here. It’s probably a completely different team there from when he first got there. So yeah, it’s not unusual for me.

On if there is anything different coming into the season with high expectations…

Listen, I don’t know if the pressures and expectations are elevated. Maybe the expectations, but the pressures aren’t elevated. They’re always there. We’ve dealt with a lot of that over the last couple years. The pressures are much higher. I’d argue that the pressures are much higher when you haven’t won anything and you’re trying to get to that point. The expectations you have are maybe a little bit higher now, but once again, they’ve always been pretty high for us. I think we’re used to that because we’ve played in a lot of high-pressure games over the last couple years, really ever since I’ve been here.

As players, it’s not really our job to focus on that and when we do start focusing on that sort of stuff, that’s when we get ourselves in trouble and we don’t play as well as we’d like to. And yeah, we haven’t played as well as we’d like to, I haven’t played as well as I’d like to. But in this league, it’s all about what you do next and we still have a chance to do all we want to do. We just have to go out and play well.

RAVENS HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH

On the expectations after winning the Super Bowl…

I haven’t really listed all that stuff out and come up with a synopsis at this point, but I think the challenges are pretty clear. But, they’re not that much different. Everybody faces the same things in terms of turnovers and stuff like that. We probably did it differently than most of the other teams that won the championship because we turned over a pretty big percentage of our roster by necessity, financially and those kinds of things. You look at your own Ed Reed there now, that was a situation where I’m sure we would’ve like to have Ed back, but just financially it wasn’t going to work out. So, that was the case with a number of guys and that was unfortunate, but the fact that we we’re able to go ahead and win it last year and get that accomplished, to me, that’s the bigger point. And then now, we have to kind of move forward from where we’re at and become the best team we are at this time and see where we can go.

On Ed Reed…

I think he’s got a lot left and he had a lot left last year. We’ve had experience with that with Ray [Lewis] and some of the guys we’ve had here. Guys like that, that’s going to be the natural question, but those guys know how to play. If there is any dropoff physically, they’ll sure make up for it mentally and knowing where to be. I’ve watched him on tape, both with Houston and with the Jets, the second time we’ve seen him this year. He’s running around making plays, he’s tackling people, he’s doing the things he needs to do. He understands pass routes probably better than any safety that’s ever played and how it applies to the coverages and he knows where to show up. And he knows Rex [Ryan]'s system, which is a big plus. So it made a lot of sense, I think, to be there.

On the uniqueness of playing against Reed twice this season…

You would say it’s really, really unique, but we had this happen with Derrick Mason. The same type of a situation, right? In Houston and then the Jets when we played him a couple years ago.

On if Mason was playing against Baltimore as a member of the same teams as Reed…

That’s right.

On Baltimore’s running game and Ray Rice…

It hasn’t been as productive, obviously, anywhere near as productive as we need it to be, which is a real problem because we’re playing the top-ranked run defense in football.

On Rice…

Ray had the hip flexor injury the second week against Cleveland. Obviously that was a factor, but the problems are deeper than that, different than that, and not something I really want to get into. But we understand what they are.

On the Jets defying expectations…

I really don’t have any observations as far as expectations and things like that because we’re not involved in following any of that with any other team. But as far as just watching them on tape and the type of team they are, they’re very impressive. They’ve got a quarterback that’s very capable and has proven he can make all the throws, young guy, he runs around, brings a lot of excitement to it. Veteran offensive line, led by a veteran center. I think they’ve got two really good running backs. They’ve got dangerous receivers. Santonio Holmes being back is a big plus, but they’ve got other guys, too.

And then defensively it just speaks for itself. They are the defense they want to be, that they envisioned being, and they’re one of the top defenses in football. So they’re a very good football team.

On if he has a take on why teams are better at home then on the road…

I really don’t. I think that’s clear and it’s all around the league probably because the difference is so close and there is an advantage to being at home with the crowd and being in your home environment. Not having to travel, not dealing with the obvious challenges, the crowd noise and all those kind of things that you face on the road, it can tilt the scales. We’ve got a great home advantage in terms of the crowd. We have an enthusiastic crowd, they’re in their seats early and they’re ready to go, so that’s a plus for us.

On the Jets defense giving up a lot of big passing plays…

I really don’t have any analysis for public consumption on that, but they’re playing very good defense overall.

On if he doesn’t want to give anything up…

[Laughter] There’s really not much to give up. They’re a very good defense.

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