Harbaugh says Rams practices bring “great test” for Ravens

August 05, 2018 | WNST Staff

Head coach John Harbaugh Sunday practice transcript

Opening statement: “We got back last night [from the Hall of Fame induction]. We were talking about the private plane, and Mr. [Steve] Bisciotti has fast planes. Players asked me if I had a private plane, and I said, ‘Yeah! It has a big Southwest [logo] on the side and it’ll take me anywhere in the world.’ (laughter) It was pretty impressive last night. I don’t think there are really words. You see it on TV, but the feeling of being in the middle of it – especially where we were sitting with the family – was indescribable and unforgettable. Ray’s [Lewis] mom was incredible. It was just one of those nice … Brian Dawkins was incredible. I thought the messages were incredible. I thought their messages on faith – everybody talked about faith, and even the specific faith of Brian and Randy [Moss] and Ray about Christ and the power of Christ that is unconquerable – was just strong and courageous. It was a good night. Our guys were pretty strong today to come practice after last night. We got back late, and they were out there. I asked ‘Sizz’ [Terrell Suggs] when we were talking about last night, I said, ‘You know we will be practicing?’ He laughed, and I said something to him after practice – he had a great practice – he said, ‘Coach, I was born to do this. I’m a football player. I get up in the morning, I play football. What else am I going to do?’ Wow. That’s the mindset of our team. We’re excited about this week. We have a big game Thursday. We want all of our fans to be there to see our team play. We love to stack on top what the Ravens fans did last night in Canton. The Ravens fans – they were in full force. To drive all that way, to spend money on gas and hotel rooms and food and everything, to be there to celebrate Ray and celebrate the Ravens was awesome. We walked in by that corner in the end zone, to the right if you’re facing the stage, and they saw our guys and they went crazy! They went nuts! All of a sudden, the place roared. Thank God we came in between somebody speaking. It was just a celebration of Ravens. Our fans were great, and I’ll see them Thursday night also.”

How many pounds do you think Ray Lewis lost giving the speech? “Well, when you sweat completely through a gold jacket – that’s a sweat night, that’s a workout. He got a workout. He wasn’t going to be confined to the podium either, was he? When he came out with that thing, that wrap-around mic right there – I think we all knew what we were in for. It was amazing.”

What are the logistical challenges of having a team come in here and practice and make sure there’s enough space? “That’s a great question. First of all, it’s football practice; we all start from the same premise. Sean [McVay] and I spent a lot of time talking, our coordinators have been back and forth, our equipment managers, our trainers, to organize the practices. We’ll run a Ravens-style practice, in terms of how the chains are moved, how the cameras are worked and all that, with a nod towards the Rams organization. Sean led the way with organizing most of the practice. We’re kind of going with the Rams’ format with the practice, generally. It’s a great practice format – we love it. So many things that we do are the same. The ‘move the ball’ periods are all the same. The periods that we use are all the same. I think it’ll be very smooth running, because we practice the same way. It’s going to be great to have them in here. We respect them, we appreciate them coming in. The fields have held up pretty well with all the rain, so we’re going to put about 170 or so players on the field here – and they’re big, heavy guys – and see how the fields hold up. [Head groundskeeper] Don [Follett] will be watching that with a close eye. Is he OK?” (Reporter: “He’ll be nervous.”) “He’ll be nervous. OK.”

Are there parameters on contact stuff like that? “Sure. It’s the same parameters that we have at our practice. There will be no tackling to the ground; it’ll be thud. It won’t even be rapid release – it’ll be bump-and-release. We’re not going to try to have a real physical practice out here. But I’m sure … As long as we stay on the feet … The main message is that we treat the Rams like they’re the Ravens. The Rams treat the Ravens like they’re the Rams. We treat each other as if we’re one team, because we want to get better for the next three days.”

What does it mean to have the Rams coming in to help go against your offensive line, considering who they have on their defensive line? “Exactly right. It’s going to be great. It’s a great test for us. You want to compete on your one-on-one matchups. You want to handle yourself well, so it’s a chance to improve against a great, very talented football team.”

Is there anything of note with S Tony Jefferson’s extended absence? “It’s a pull. We’re just working through it. It’ll be whatever time it is. It just depends on how he heals. We’re not pushing him back. I’m not saying, ‘Hey, you have to get back out here right away.’ He’s had a lot of reps up until this point. It’s OK if he gets that thing right.”

Is G Marshal Yanda going to be on the field practicing? “He may start with individual [drills], possibly tomorrow. But he won’t be going against the Rams at all.”

Where do you physically house the Rams? “Well, they do it. They have a hotel.” (Reporter: “I mean like with the locker room here.”) “Well, we’re doing it differently now. They’re going to go ahead and dress at the hotel and come down and practice. They’ll do meetings back at the hotel. That’s a little cleaner of a way to do it. We’ve offered them the meeting rooms if they want to use them, but I think they want to keep them a little simpler.”

Has anything changed from having Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers here? It’s a different facility here now, too. Is there any difference at all, or no? “It’s different because the 49ers spent more time here. They spent more … They didn’t want to do quite as much … They wanted to be here in the meeting rooms and stuff. So that’s how we did it with them, and it’s just a little different that way.”

Any catching up from your Miami of Ohio days with Sean McVay? “We had different days. My days were a little before his days. But there were some of the same places, but different days. I’m sure we’ll talk. I’m very impressed with Sean. Obviously, I’m very proud of him being from Miami. I would tell Ray [Lewis] this: the Miami University. (laughter) But he’s done really well, and [Miami (OH)] is ‘The Cradle of Coaches.’”

Do you have any hand signals from your Miami? “No we don’t have that. It’d be an ‘M’ maybe. I don’t know. Here we go, you ready? The ‘U’ has their ‘U,’ but the Miami University has an ‘M.’ (laughter) There we go! Let’s book it. I think they’re going to use it. It’s going to be good. We need to get a chain, too. A big chain after a turnover, with a big ‘M’ on it.”