Coughlin Readies for Ravens

Tom Coughlin's hoping his club can continue its very successful 'take it one game at a time' approach as Big Blue readies for a non-conference tilt against the Ravens on Sunday. Here's what Coughlin had to say to the assembled media Wednesday morning.

The Baltimore Ravens are a very good football team. If you follow their team and the progress of the young quarterback Joe Flacco, you see what has developed there. They have averaged 33.5 points a game for the last four games. He has not thrown an interception. They are still a dynamic defensive team.

Their offensive line has paved the way, plus their outstanding blocking fullbacks and runners, to the third leading rushing team in the League and the number one against the rush. So they are very physical, as they always have been. They are a multiple-front defensive team. They have a lot of speed; a lot of team speed. They create a lot of looks. As I said, they are very physical. They are physical on the offensive side of the ball. The two tackles are big men. They have the power running game. They have thrown the ball down the field and they have done it without throwing an interception in the last four games as well. Their kicking game is very20good. Stover has always been an extremely good, high-percentage field goal kicker. Koch, their punter, can drive the ball the length of the field. They have good speed in their coverage team. So they are an outstanding football team that has won four games in a row. They won their first two and then losing to the Steelers, to Tennessee, and to Indianapolis in Indianapolis and then won four games in a row. So they are a team that is playing very well right now. It will be, as all of these games are, a very physical game. When they beat Houston last weekend there were four turnovers for Houston and none for Baltimore. And that is the name of the game at our level when you are playing the kind of football that they play – physical, run the ball, and stop the run.

Q: You mentioned multiple fronts. What makes their run defense so good?
A: They are good people. Their interior people are big and strong. They have outstanding speed, good gap control, whatever front they are in, the secondary gets involved. So they are just a good football team.

RE: pre-snap movement by defense
A: They have a lot of that. That is still a part of their scheme; th e changing of the fronts, etc. You have to have good poise, you have to hang in there and you have to try to realize what the scheme for that game is. But they will show you a lot of different things.

Q: Does the speed you talk about on defense hurt you from running wide?
A: Well, it is certainly going to be – you have to block people to run wide so you are going to have to be in position to do that. They play very good book-end defense, if you will, as well.

RE: Eli good at audibilizing into good plays?
A: He has been very good at recognition. He has done a good job with the run for us, getting us in the right play, getting us out of the wrong play. So that is a part of it, yes.

RE: Draw play on third-down versus the Eagles when they were coming up the middle.
A: It was late. He saw it too late to change it. ……….

Q: Can you still detect rookie things with Joe Flacco?
A: 20He has played his way through a lot of that. They have helped him in a lot of ways, the running game, obviously. Troy Smith, they use the direct snap as well. They have gadgeted with him in the game. They had the ball thrown back to Flacco from Troy Smith. The direct snap offense is a part of what they do; a lot of unbalanced line, that type of thing.

Q: Is your defense one that he hasn't seen yet?
A: Well, he has seen a lot of good defenses, now. That is not going to be the answer. Tennessee, the Steelers in their own division. So the style – I‘m not going to be able to tell you who they would draw a parallel with, but they have played some very good defenses.

Q: Do you expect them to be more familiar with you due to John Harbaugh's experience in the NFC East?
A: You could say whatever from that standpoint. John has been in this division, yes; very good young coach, no doubt. We have played each other in preseason in other years, a couple of years ago. For a string of years we played each other in preseason. There is some familiarity but not most recent.

Q: How are Webster and Butler coming along?
A: Webster is not going to practice today. Butler is going to go individual and we will see where he is. Dockery will go individual and we will see where he is.

Q: Goff, Wilkinson and Droughns?
A: They are not going to work. Well, Goff will not work. Wilkinson – they are trying to pick the pace up with him over in the rehab area. I know that Reuben is making progress. He told me that this morning.

Q: The tests didn't show anything structural in the neck?
A: No, not out of the ordinary.

Q: Will Webster be back tomorrow?
A: That is what we are counting on.

Q: You mentioned their fullback. What kind of challenge does that present?
A: We play against each other all through training camp. Our fullback is a good lead blocker, too. He is also a very good runner; short yardage runner, goal line runner. He is a big, strong guy. ……

Q: Do teams give up on the run versus Baltimore?
A: I don't know that they are out of the run but obviously they have to make yardage somehow. And when they have a lack of success against the run they throw the ball or screen. The other day Houston hit the big screen.

Q: Do you think your team can afford to be patient with the run?
A: Balance is the key for us. And that is what we hope to be able to continue.

Q: It seems Ray Lewis used to do a lot on his own. Is he still like that or does it look like he is playing more within the defense?
A: He is a good football player. He runs that defense, gets them lined up. He is the guy that rallies the team; he inspires his teammates. He plays smart. It is hard to fool him. You saw him the other day in the right place at the right time twice in the passing game, so he is a very good coverage drop linebacker. He reads the quarterback very well; doesn't get fooled.&nb sp; I don't know that – what you are saying about freedom – guys just play above the Xs and Os. That is how I would explain it.

Q: How did Chase grade out in the rest of the game? We know about the last play.
A: Well. He was the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. He hit the wedge, recovered the fumble. He consistently does that – that type of thing. He was really the right guy in the right place at the right time.

Q: Did he make an immediate impression when he joined the team as an undrafted rookie one month before training camp?
A: The guy wants to play. He loves to play, wants to play, wants to do everything that he can to be as good a football player as he can be. He wants to help in every way he can. So that is the impression that I have always gotten from Chase. He's upbeat.

Q: Given everything you know about him, which is his most natural linebacking position?
A: He plays them all for us. When he first came we had him back up Antonio but he has been able to branch out. Even when he wasn't starting he was to be the first guy in the game at any of those spots.

Q: Does the injury to Goff affect his role as Pierce's back up?
A: He wears a lot of hats. He is on all special teams. He knows all three linebacker spots.

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