Ngata hoping to “hug” Gore plenty of times on Sunday

January 31, 2013 | WNST Staff


(on the physicality of the matchup with the 49ers) “It’s going to be a real physical game. They pride themselves and their offense prides themselves in being physical and trying to run the ball. They have a physical running back. We want to be physical all the time. I expect it to be a real physical game.”


(on overcoming a rough defensive outing against Dallas to return to Baltimore’s tradition of defensive prowess) “We had to adjust some things. Back then, with that Dallas game, Houston game, Kansas City… I don’t think all of us were on the same page. So, we had to change some things up and once we started to gel, we got a lot better.”


(on what the phrase “Play Like A Raven” means) “It means being nasty and playing rough, tough football. Playing with some type of cruelty, but not trying to kill somebody. It’s a nastiness where you’re going to impose your will on teams, so that’s we what want to do.”


(on the 49ers physicality and if they are the most physical team Baltimore will play this year) “On film they’re definitely a team that looks really physical. Frank Gore is a really physical running back. I think that helps a lot with their physicality on offense. So, definitely on film they look real physical.”


(on the origin of the team’s mantra: “Play Like A Raven”) “Harbaugh brought it in when he started coaching us. He brought that motto to our team and we just took off with it. We always talk about it. There’s a sign at every practice and every game that says ‘Play Like a Raven.’ That’s always there.”


(on what O.J. Brigance, a former Raven and current staff member battling ALS, means to the team) “O.J.’s been huge. Just seeing him showing up to our practices and being around our facilities is definitely huge, his strength and his example. When you’re having a rough day and you look at O.J., there’s no reason to complain. That person right there is fighting for his life and we’re complaining about having double days or being sore. He brings a lot to the team. His heart and strength definitely makes our team that much better. We love him very much, and we’re glad he’s a part of our team.”


(on what it would mean for the Ravens to see O.J., who won a Super Bowl ring with Baltimore in 2000, win another Super Bowl) “I think it would be huge. A lot of us are playing for certain teammates on our team and O.J., but we are all playing for ourselves as well. It’d be huge for O.J.”


(on comparing the 49ers offensive sets to teams Baltimore has faced this season) “They’re like a Redskins team. They have a mobile quarterback that can run and throw the ball. They are similar that way. They run option plays. They kind of remind you of a Washington Redskins team.”


(on preparing to face a unique offense with multiple threats in the running game) “It’s rough. We have to try to cover all our bases because you have to worry about the running back but the quarterback can also run or throw the ball at any time. So, it’s going to be tough to do it all the time. If we can communicate well through all those plays, we’ll be fine.”


(on any advantages John may have coaching-wise going against his brother) “They both know each other well. There’s really no advantage there. That’s pretty much it.”


(on overcoming hardship as a team after losing 4 of the last 5 games in the regular season) “That’s just growing and getting through adversity and having faith in each other. We definitely became a closer group as a team. Defensively, we had to go through some injuries as a team, but it’s always been great to have the younger guys or the next guy step up and play a big role. Corey Graham came in and stepped up really big for us. It’s huge that we can have great depth and players on the team that can step up and do really well for us.”


(on a recently released survey that showed some players disapproval with the handling of injuries in the NFL and his own feelings toward the league’s injury protocol) “I’m fine with the injuries and the way they handle that. I’m fine with whatever they do.”


(on the soreness he, and NFL players in general, feel after games) “It depends on what happens. Usually, if I’ve gone through the game, I’m really stiff and sore. If you do the right things, you’ll be fine.”


(on the opportunity to send Ray Lewis out as a winner in his final game) “I think it’s huge. All of us want to help Ray do that and go out a Super Bowl champion. I think more importantly he wants us to do it for ourselves and not only for him. That’s what a lot of us are doing. All of us are going through our own things and we can all come together.”


(on this game’s role in passing on the torch from the older guys, like Ray, to the younger guys on the team) “We have a lot of great leaders on our team. Whatever happens next year with who we have and who we don’t have, it all depends. We have a lot of younger guys like Ray Rice and Joe Flacco stepping up with guys like Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed. So, those guys can do a lot of great things. It’s not going to be any problem, but losing someone like Ray definitely leaves a big hole on our team.”


(on finally reaching the last day of media sessions) “It definitely takes some football time away. I’d rather just meet or do more practicing. It has been fun to be a part of it. It’s a great experience.”


(on facing the 49ers’ offensive line) “They’re so big and they move really well. They play well together. With all that size, you see them do a lot of great things. They open holes for Frank Gore, who is a really physical running back. That also helps, when you can have a running back that can pound you as well. It definitely helps that line look better.”


(on how playing rugby has helped him as a professional football player) “It helped a bunch. I played it for four years all through high school. With rugby it helped with a lot of the conditioning, open field tackling, discipline and all that. I think it just helped with a lot of things. Running with the ball is what made it more fun.”


(on guys like Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick ushering in a new era of quarterback play) “It’s getting more tough to play quarterbacks like that because you need to be more aware of what they can do with that triple threat. They’re handing off the ball, running the ball and throwing the ball. You have to make sure you play very disciplined defense and communicate really well. Communication is probably the biggest key. When you have a dive, a quarterback, or a pitch, communication is definitely a key.”


(on what he wants to tell the fans in Baltimore in anticipation of Sunday’s game) “We’re really excited. We can’t wait for this game to happen. We understand that we can’t play until Sunday, but we are really confident and excited.”


(on how he dealt with the loss of his parents) “At the time, I took it really hard. I’ve never lost anybody that close. I didn’t do the proper things that I needed to do to mourn correctly. I wasn’t doing as well spiritually and physically as I wanted to do. I tore my ACL the next year and that brought me back a little bit. With my mom, I understand what I had to do. It was easier when my mom passed understanding that my religion would help me. Family members and my teammates at Oregon helped me. I’ve always had a bunch of support. With my dad passing away first, I didn’t know how to handle it. That’s the biggest difference.”


(on playing against Frank Gore) “I like Gore. He’s definitely trying to run away, but my job is to give him a hug and bring him to the ground.”