Yanda seeing a looser Harbaugh this season

January 31, 2013 | WNST Staff


(on his relationship with Joe Flacco) “We’re all good friends, good teammates. We’ve been at this a while, and when you have years of experience together, you just build a relationship. Joe is a great guy, and I respect the heck out of him. I like playing with him. He’s a great quarterback, and we just try to give him as much time as we can.”


(on Flacco’s calm personality) “He’s a real calm, collected guy. He’s not much of a rah-rah, pump-up, high motivator type of guy. He doesn’t talk a ton but he leads by example on the field and does a great job of staying calm and focusing on what’s important. He’s a serious competitor, too. He likes to compete and you can tell when he’s out there on the field, he’s out there to play his best football and get after it.”


(on physical recovery after football games) “It’s usually pretty rough. Obviously you’re pretty stiff and sore, and you know there will be some certain bumps and bruises that weren’t there the day before. That’s just part of the game. It’s a violent game. It’s a long year. You try to take care of your body as best as you can and stay as healthy as you can.”


(on how important the matchup between the Baltimore offensive line and San Francisco defensive line will be) “It’s important every game, just getting started up front and with the battle that’s going on between the defensive line and offensive line, if we succeed, the rest of the team will follow, so it’s very important.”


(on how to explain a team that did not make the playoffs playing well against a team that made the Super Bowl) “It doesn’t matter, a Super Bowl team or a team that’s not in the playoffs, the competition, the difference between a good team and a bad team is very minimal. Teams can show up that haven’t won a game all year and they’ll kick your butt. The competition is so stiff that there isn’t much difference between a team that’s 4-12 or 12-4. What it comes down to is you’ve just got to find a way to win, and usually we do a good job with that.”


(on how coach John Harbaugh has handled the pressure of this week and if he is more relaxed) “I think this entire year he’s kind of been a little looser, but obviously this Super Bowl week, so he’s been loose but focused, too. You’ve got to put focus right behind there. He’s confident in us. He expects us, when we go out and work, to work. We know that it makes it easier for us: go out there and work hard. He’s going to take care of us and he’s not going to be too uptight. It’s been a great week so far, and I think we’ve done a great job.”


(on how Harbaugh has changed since he first arrived as Baltimore’s coach) “Things were a lot different when he first got here, as far as, he didn’t have all his (assistant coaches) that he wanted. There were some guys that gave him fits, and he was a lot more uptight, but also, you didn’t have your relationships built. Just like anything, your first year in, you really don’t know a person. Now, we’ve got five years with him, so it’s all the relationships on the team have built up over five years with the guys that have been here. You’re more comfortable with him, you trust him, you’ve had tough losses with him, great wins, a lot of just going at it together, pretty much going to battle.”


(on what this week has been like) “It’s been a great week. They always tell you there’s going to be more distractions, and you just focus on the game. For me, it’s just been hanging out in the hotel and going out to get a bite to eat and enjoy living in the moment of playing in the Super Bowl, just trying to get some pictures when you can. My family got in town yesterday, my wife and my kids, so just hanging out with them and enjoying it. All I care about is winning the game. I’m not down here to see New Orleans, which is a great city. It seems nice.”


(on the biggest threat that San Francisco presents) “Aldon Smith, you know, 19-and-a-half sacks, but you can go with Patrick Willis, too. There’s a lot of guys, Justin Smith, but if you have to pick one, I’d go with Aldon Smith. Justin Smith complements him, but Aldon Smith.”


(on if he’s learned anything about his team that he didn’t know before this week) “Just that we’ve got a veteran group and guys that know how to take care of themselves and be professionals. That’s all really they ask of you: be a pro about it and take your job seriously, make sure when it is time to work that you work. When we go to practice and in meetings, be locked in because that’s the most important thing. We want to stay high. We’ve been playing well, and we don’t want to dip by any means. We don’t want to lay an egg.”


(on what Super Bowl memory from his youth resonates the most with him) “My first Super Bowl memory is the 49ers with Jerry Rice and Steve Young. I think they were playing the Chargers (in Super Bowl XXIX). I was a little kid. My favorite player was Jerry Rice. I had a bunch of Jerry Rice jerseys and liked the 49ers. I was a young kid, and the 49ers were hot back then. It was easy for them to be my favorite team.”


(on if there was an offensive lineman that he tried to pattern his game after along the way) “You watch a lot of film. You watch everybody. You watch tackles, you watch guards. I’ve played tackle, too, so you watch a lot of tackles. You try to be the best you can be but also understand that every guy is different. You’re body type is way different than anybody else’s. Sometimes your blocks are going to look a little different, or you’re not going to be able to do what that guy does. You’ve got to find your own way, with how you feel you do it. From my years of playing offensive line, I’ve found what works for me and I do that and accept that. I just try to be great and take advantage of the tools that I’ve been given. We watch guys all the time. There’s a lot of great ones out there.”


(on if he does a lot of self-scouting) “Yeah, we’re continuously watching ourselves on film. Sometimes the way you feel, the way you set in a passing set, you’re feeling strong and then you watch yourself of film and you’re like, ‘I don’t want to be like that.’ You compare yourself, and on film, sometimes it’s not the way (you want to play). You’ve got to go back and forth and self-scout and be critical of yourself. I think what made me the player I am is that I never thought I was a good player. I’ve always had confidence in myself, but I never felt like I arrived. I always felt like I could keep getting better and I still can. I think if you take that approach every day, you’re going to get better as a player. I’ve definitely gotten better every year that I’ve played the game. I just continue to keep getting a little bit better. You want to be one of those dominant players. An old offensive line coach told me back in the day that the great ones never get beat. I never want to get beaten at anything. It does happen time to time, but I want it to happen the very least amount. I take a lot of pride in that. I want to be great. I want to be a great player in this league, and you work at it every day.”