Live from Owings Mills: John Harbaugh’s Weekly Press Conference

September 21, 2009 | Glenn Clark

4:45-Nothing of particular news value today from the Head Coach. We’ll continue to monitor Fabian Washington, LJ Smith, and Tom Zbikowski throughout the week. Clearly the team is not in a position where they have to concern themselves with roster moves; and can move forward with the task at hand-preparing for a game against Cleveland on Sunday; their first of the season against an AFC North opponent. We’ll get you some more info on Cleveland in the next 24 hours-including how the Browns managed to allow Broncos DL Elvis Dumervil to record FOUR SACKS Sunday.

4:39-Thanks to Ravens Publications and Public Relations Specialist Marisol Renner, who invited us into her office to show us the sideline footage of John Harbaugh on Ray Lewis’ tackle. John threw his arms up in the arm and yelled “RAY LEWIS” after the play, then greeted his future Hall of Fame LB by saying “We’re not paying you enough.”

Very cool to see how the Coach took in the play.

3:45-Some John Harbaugh highlights:

-“Really a courageous effort by our team” to win in San Diego. “More than anything, it came down to blocking and tackling.”
-Flacco was “really smart” to take sack in 4th quarter
-Pass defense “really correctable.” Guys were trying to do “too much”, didn’t “trust” teammates.
-Fabian Washington “will have a chance to play” Sunday against Browns-depending on how he progresses the next couple of days.
-“We don’t care” that analysts like Steve Mariucci think Ravens are now favorites in AFC
-Harbaugh was particularly defensive when asked about how the Ravens will defend tall receivers in the future. He quipped that San Diego’s receivers were “huge”, and that a Cornerback would “have to be 6’6″” to defend to match up with them. Harbaugh humorously added that the next time a 6’6″ corner is available in the NFL Draft, the Ravens will take him.
-on Sproles’ TD catch: “they caught us in man coverage.”
-Harbs “was not surprised” by Norv Turner’s decision to run the ball on 4th and 2 at the end of the game
-on Kelley Washington: “we’re so glad he’s a part of this team.” Harbaugh also noted the 3rd down catches both Washington and Todd Heap have made thus far this season
-on team’s health: “We’ve got plenty of bumps and bruises, but nothing major.”
-on pass from Mark Clayton to Ray Rice: “we had a chance to break that thing”
-on Demetrius Williams: “Demetrius will be a big part of the plans the next few weeks.” Harbs noted that Demetrius is the 4th receiver right now and the team is running mostly 3 receiver sets.
-Harbs said LJ Smith warmed up before the game, but the team made a decision that other guys would be able to offer more than he would as he continues to recover from his hamstring injury.
-Harbaugh thinks Sunday will be a “really important game” for the Browns
-on McGahee: Willis “has done a really good job” of getting himself ready to play this season
-Harbaugh believes the Ravens “have answered” both offensively and defensively when challenged
-Harbaugh never got an explanation of why an official walked to the line on the play where Michael Oher was called for a false start. But he did note that he thought Sunday was a well officiated game.
-on Frank Walker’s pass breakup: “We’ve said all along that Frank can play.”
-on Rex Ryan’s win over the Patriots: “Everybody here is proud of Rex Ryan.” But Harbs was quick to warn that the Ravens weren’t rooting for the Jets, as it “looks like (they) will be a big part of” the AFC playoff picture
-on Chris Carr: “I think the return game kinda came alive…..showed signs of life.”
-Harbs thought field position “was a huge part” of Sunday’s win
-on how Kelley Washington has played compared to the team’s expectations: “We always thought (Kelley Washington) would be a good receiver in this league.”
-Harbaugh stood by his statement that Ray Lewis’ tackle was one of the greatest football plays he had ever seen.
-on the heat: “We had a lot of guys cramping.” Harbaugh admitted that he thought the team handled the heat better until the Chargers put the temperature up on the jumbotron.

3:34-Some Willis McGahee highlights:

-When Ray Lewis made “the tackle”, McGahee thought “Oh Thank God.”
-McGahee said he’s “pretty comfortable” with the Ravens’ RB rotation
-on how he approaches the carries he gets: “You gotta make the best out of the opportunities you get.”
-on having to bounce back from a cross country flight: “You gotta get your rest these next two days.”
-on feeling healthy this year: “I was losing my hair last year” dealing with injuries
-on Ravens’ Offensive Line: “They’re doing an awesome job.”
-on the 4th quarter in San Diego: “We always strive to win the 4th quarter”, “we didn’t finish as strong as we wanted to”
-on what he learned from strife with Harbs last season: “Don’t come in with a hard head.”
-on how he thinks he’s played so far this season: “I haven’t had any negative things in the paper yet.”
-on contract year: “I haven’t even worried about the contract year.”
-McGahee also said that unlike earlier in his career, he now prefers “6 points” to “stats.”

2:40-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where John Harbaugh is scheduled to meet with the media at 3:45. Prior to hearing from Coach Harbaugh, we expect to hear from Willis McGahee (he of 2 rushing TD’s Sunday in the Ravens’ 31-26 win over the Chargers) around 3:20. You can follow both press conferences live via Twitter (@WNST).

Is there anything you’d like to have answered by Coach Harbaugh? We expect for some sort of update on Fabian Washington (concussion); and maybe LJ Smith (hamstring) or Tom Zbikowski (concussion). We already know the answer on Paul Kruger (he won’t dress until they can be comfortable with him on Special Teams), and there’s not much of anything else personnel-wise that needs to be addressed. I imagine Coach will have to answer questions about the pass defense, but nothing personnel-driven in particular. Maybe who would play if Fabian Washington couldn’t go. Chris Carr was the 3rd cornerback Sunday, but would Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg want to go with Carr as both the returner AND starting corner?

Let me know if there’s anything you’re interested in knowing.