Questions and answers with the Ravens

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Here's what the Baltimore Ravens are talking about heading into Sunday's game agaisnt the Cleveland Browns

Head Coach Brian Billick

On injuries to report: "We've got a whole bunch. Kevin [Byrne] will give them to you. They are all questionable, they missed part of practice."

On almost losing LB Bart Scott to Cleveland: "I don't know [how close he was to leaving]. That's an obvious answer… possession is 9/10ths. If the doors were locked, he wasn't going anywhere."

On LB Bart Scott's performance: "You can see the way he is playing, the passion he is playing with. That's a pretty good inside linebacker combination with him and Ray [Lewis]."

On the difference in the styles of the Ravens' running backs: "Subtle, subtle. Musa [Smith] is a little more of a slashing back; Mike [Anderson] is a little more of that cut back; Jamal [Lewis] is the cut back, but with power. There are subtleties to each of them. I'm glad we have each."

On the Browns' defense: "You've got to run well against Cleveland. You have to run the ball well against Cleveland. They are a team that is going to make you go the distance. They do not give up a lot of big plays, so you've got to be efficient at the passing game and you've got to run the ball well."

On the Ravens' running game against Cleveland: "I hope [we will run well]. I don't know that we ran real well on them last time – or well enough. We like to think of ourselves as a running team, and we'll find out on Sunday."

On the liabilities of this year's team: "Points inside the 30. When the ball hits that 30-yard line, you've got to count on points. That is a real comfort zone."

LB Bart Scott

On almost moving to Cleveland: "It looks like I made a great decision. It is déjà vu going back there and playing against some of those guys, Dave Zastudil and Darnell Dinkins. Seeing some of those guys and being able to turn it up. It will be interesting to see how we attack each other. I'll take the Chester Taylor approach to it: We've got to see those guys and I know those guys personally. So, I've got to make sure I put out my best effort."

On a young quarterback's difficulty going against the Ravens' defense: "It is [difficult] because we are able to get so many different looks and so many different fronts. We try to confuse those guys. We've got a lot of good veteran players who have been around the block a couple of times, so they are able to take the next step in the defense and add little small details to things that maybe you wouldn't do with a young quarterback."

On taking risks defensively with a young quarterback: "You want to make him beat you. ‘Go ahead.' We can line up in base and you can go ahead and beat him because he hasn't seen us. That is new to him. Our base defense may be confusing to him. You don't have to go out there and take a risk and let him pop one. The bad thing is that sometimes the new guys are too stupid to know they are supposed to be scared. You want them to go out there and play safe, go out there and make them beat you a little bit, take away the run, make them one-dimensional."

On the defense this year versus last: "It was really a matter of injuries. That, and the take-aways. We are in our second year of the same defense so there is a lot of stuff being regurgitated that we heard last year. So, we can take the next step. We can fine-tune some of the things that maybe we got beat with or another team made adjustments to certain defenses. Now we can take it to the next level because we know how we want to approach certain things, so we make adjustments to it."

On getting over the winning-on-the road drought: "It was good to get that monkey off our back. [It is] one less thing for you guys to have to write about … I don't know how you are going to get your work done. But, it's [great] to just go out there and play loose in a hostile environment; it's a great environment to go in to. There is nothing more satisfying than shutting up the opposing team's pride and watching [their fans] leaving early with eight or nine minutes left to go in the fourth quarter to make sure they don't get caught up in the traffic jam."

On the season record so far: "We expected it. We expect to win every game. We really wanted to come back. We knew we had a quality team, with the additions that we had, to take it to the next level. We kind of underachieved, of course, the previous two years. We knew that the window was closing, and sometimes when you know the party could almost be over, you have a sense of urgency with that. I think that is what you sense – a sense of urgency. You've got some guys who have come here to win a Super Bowl, taking less money and coming here to try and become a winner."

On being the No. 1 defense: "That's something to be proud about. We are off to a good start and we are where we expected to be. We hope we can take it to the next step and be the No. 1 defense the third week and the fourth week, and so on and so on."

On defensive linemen scoring a TD this weekend : "This week we are going to have some private drills with the big guys to work on cut-backs. With those big guys, I think on cut-backs that momentum gets rolling and they fall out of bounds."



WR Derrick Mason

On his grade of the offense against the Raiders: "I upgraded it a little bit, from an F to… whatever. That was last week. Hopefully we can do better on some of the things we did last week, correct some of the mistakes that occurred in the game against Oakland. [If we do] we will come out a lot better than we did, especially if the defense gives us as many turnovers as we got this past weekend. If we can get that many turnovers, then as an offense we have to capitalize because Cleveland is a very good team."

On the offense's performance in the red zone against the Raiders: "I think [we could have done better] in general, because we didn't score as many touchdowns. I mean, we scored two. For some teams, that's great. But for this team, I think it is underachieving. We were in the red zone four or five times and we didn't score enough touchdowns. We underachieved as an offense; that's what I say. We've looked at the film and we are going to correct some of the things that we did wrong. Sometimes we stepped on our own feet. [If] we get an opportunity like that again, we've got to capitalize [on it]. It is only going to get harder from here on out. We've got a bunch of good teams coming up, teams that were in the playoffs last year. If you are going to be able to beat those teams you are going to have to be able to score in the red zone."

On comparing the offense to last year: "That's our big dilemma right now. It's not the fact that we are not getting inside our opponents' 30 or 20; it's not being able to get six points as opposed to three. But, after looking at the films we know. We had some penalties, we put ourselves out of range, we miscued on a couple of things; those are things we can correct."

On underperforming against the Raiders instead of being held back by their defense: "You have to give the defense credit. They played hard… as long as they could. That's a very good defense. Regardless of what the score was, I think that defense held their own. [Not scoring] was some of their doing, but also I think the majority of it was of our doing because we had some penalties, because we had some miscues on offense, because we allowed the game clock to get so low and then we had to rush. So, we just have to pick up the pace a little bit, cut down on our mistakes and be able to be efficient in the red zone."

On QB Steve McNair and the offense learning to play together: "Yeah, it is [an adjustment]. It's not like he has been in our system for all of the two-a-days, throughout the mini-camps and everything. He just basically got into it two months ago. So, it is going to be a work in progress. But I think as an offense we strive to be perfect and we don't want to make any excuses, because we can make that excuse straight across the board if that's the case. We want to try to limit our excuses and go out there and perform at a high level. I know that Steve is not going to come out here and say, ‘Well, I've only been on this offense for two months. That's why we are struggling as an offense.' He is not going to make any excuses. We are struggling because we are. We are not doing the things that I think we are capable of or that this offense knows we are capable of doing. As I said, we are just shooting ourselves in the foot. You have to credit some of it to the defenses we've played, but I think more or less we have been pushing ourselves back instead of going forward."

On QB Steve McNair's progress with the playbook: "That's something you have to ask Steve. I am not a quarterback. I think he has a lot stored in his memory bank. You just need to feel comfortable in an offense, and that is something that you'll have to go to Steve and ask him. He was in one offense for 11 years and to come to another offense, it is going to take a little time. For the most part, I think he is comfortable in our offense. Whatever problems he has, I think he will address them with Coach Fassel or Coach Billick."



LB/DE Terrell Suggs

On young QB Charlie Frye: "Yeah, he [is young], but he is a little bit more mobile. We had a feeling we were going to see [that with Aaron Brooks] week, but we know this guy. He can run a little bit better, he throws better on the run, so we definitely have to do a good job containing him and getting after him."

On making the highlight reel: "We don't have that in mind. We just want to keep [our minds] on that the most important thing, [which is] is to win. We definitely want to get the win first. If it is an ugly win, we'll take it, but nobody likes to look good on defense and loose. First things first – get the win. However we get it, we'll take it."

On losing to the Browns in the last game last season: "We've buried our past. This is the 2006-2007 team and everything in the past is gone for us. We're all about moving forward. This is a different Cleveland team. They have a lot of their weapons back, but we still have to prepare and look at them a lot closer than we did last year."

On rookie S Dawan Landry: "He has been doing that (making plays) since camp started. He is a young guy. He impresses all of us every week. I am glad they did their job by drafting a good one. He has been playing regular football since he got here, and I'm glad to have him on my team."

On LB Bart Scott: "Bart's always been that good. He just hasn't had the opportunity to show it. We all knew what Bart was capable of, but with Ray going down he really had to step up and fill some big shoes and he did a great job. Now he's an outside linebacker and he is doing a really good job at it. We always knew it; we always knew what Bart was capable of. I guess you are just finding out about it."

On Scott keeping things loose: "He talks a lot. Bart talks a lot but he also has a little bit of a temperament; but this is the Ravens' defense. We've all got a little bit of a temperament out there. As long as we can control it and now get any penalties, we'll be all right. Otherwise, I say let the beast loose and let him do what he does."

On overlooking the strengths of the Cleveland Browns: "No chance. This is a rivalry game. Who overlooks their rival? We love to go in and play Cleveland, at Cleveland or at M&T; it doesn't matter. It's Cleveland. We don't overlook anybody. We know they have the big receiver, Braylon Edwards and we know they have (TE) Kellen Winslow back. We didn't face him last year. I'm sure he's ready to get out there. This is a business game, a game we will definitely not overlook."

On what the Browns team will look like this Sunday: "That's always the case [that people are hurt]. Everybody's banged up every week. As the weeks progress, we're professionals, so a lot of us get treatment and we get better and come Sunday we get the adrenalin going and we really don't feel any pain. We're not really taking [injuries] into account. We're just going to go out there and continue to play football."



RB Jamal Lewis

On Cleveland struggling against the run: "It doesn't matter. When we see them it'll probably be different. So we really just have to go back, like we'll probably do and like I'll probably do, to last year and see how they played us and try to prepare. But we just have to go out and execute and do what we do best and put our hats in the right places, and that's it."

On the difference between facing a 3-4 and a 4-3: "Well [in a 3-4], you just have the guards not covered, but if we can open up the holes I'm sure they are going to bring an extra guy down there and make it still eight in the box even though it's just a 3-4. So it's really not a real big difference, but sometimes there are more lanes in there than there would be in a 4-3."

On whether Cleveland will try harder to stop the run: "You would think that they would. Why wouldn't they? Ever since that year [when I ran for 295 yards], they've gotten better with personnel and they've gotten better defensively and I think they really overemphasized stopping the run."

On the red zone offense: "We really just have to work at it. We have to work on it out here on the practice field. When we get down there, we have to work on executing and get it in the end zone. That's pretty much it, and I think that comes with time and us working together to put it in".

On whose responsibility it is to score in the red zone: "I think it falls on everybody on the offense, period. It's not just running backs or the offensive line or the wide receivers or the quarterbacks. It's everybody put together. It's a short field and we have to buckle up and try to put it in the end zone."

On the number of offensive weapons making it less likely for teams to stack eight in the box: "I was saying that, against Cleveland in the past, that's what we usually would see. But I think defenses do respect [Steve] McNair, and they will respect McNair and that's a good thing. But, I guess we won't see that until we line up on Sunday."

On the lower number of carries he's been getting this year: "Coach Billick told me that he would take it easy on me because I didn't get that many reps during the preseason and didn't get that much contact, so he's taking care of me for the most part. But I'm ready, so whenever he's ready to let me go, I'm ready to go."

On going up against former teammates: "When you see those guys over there, you know their tendencies and you know what they do, and it is fun to match up against those guys you once played with. Now you're playing against them, and it just makes for a good game. It's a division game and we just want to go out and grab a win."

On being ready to carry more of a workload: "Whether it's 18 or 35 [carries], this is what I train for in the offseason. Like I said, we have two other good backs in the backfield, too. I think that kind of takes the work load off of me a lot, also, with Musa Smith and Mike Anderson in there. Like I said, I'm ready for whatever; whenever my number is called I'll be ready to go."

On whether his record-breaking performance feels like it was a long time ago: "Oh yeah, it seems like a real long time ago. Every day you line up and try to do the same things you did that day when you went out and got those yards. But, hey, sometimes it's fate and it just happens."



QB Steve McNair

On his approach to Sunday's game: "[I] mainly just go out there and have fun. I think in the last week or so we have been trying to be that perfect team instead of just going out there and playing. [This week] we are just going to take what they give us and get the balls into guys' hands."

On pressure up the middle causing incompletions: "[The incompletions] are a combination of a lot of things. When the offensive plan doesn't work out, it's not one person; it takes the whole team. What we need to do is to go back and have fun like the game with Tampa – mainly just concentrating on doing the little things right. If we can do the little things right offensively, we are going to have success in running the ball, execution and moving the ball down the field."

On the importance of making some long passes: "I think it is more the execution. If we had completed a couple of passes last week that should have been completed, it would be a lot different story. We wouldn't be here talking about it. At the same time, it is not just trying to push the ball down the field. We will take what they give us and hopefully [that will] get us a couple of deep balls. We just didn't execute last week. That's the change we've got to make. We just need to make sure that we are mentally prepared for anything that [the Browns] will do to us this week and just react to it and not pressure ourselves."

On being comfortable with the Ravens' playbook: "[I'm] very comfortable. It's just not about the playbook anymore; it is about going out there and executing in practice, executing in a game, and putting this team in a position to win. That's the main thing right now. I am very comfortable with this offense. I'm very comfortable with what we are doing on Sundays. But, at the same time, we did [not play] a perfect game offensively. We can get better as a team. [There are] some things that happened in the game on Sunday that we can correct. We tried to correct that today. The main thing about it is that we just want to make sure we get some more steps to our tempo. I think last week we didn't establish our tempo offensively. We've got to establish that."

On the personality of the Ravens' offense: "We're on the right track in establishing what we want to establish. We are going to take some bumps and bruises here and there, but at the same time we have to forget about the bad things and continue to concentrate on getting better. The longer you carry the bad things with you, the longer the process is going to take. Overall, I think the attitude of this offense is phenomenal. We have got some great guys who are willing to pay the price to get better and do the right things."

On the injuries to Cleveland's cornerbacks: "This is the NFL. Everybody is good, regardless if they are the starters or the backups, so we are going to take the same approach. We are just going to be patient, take what they give us and execute our game plan regardless of who they put on the field."

On having to answer questions about the offense when the Ravens have a 2-0 record: "We've taken a deep look at it, at what we could have done in the red zone. We got good field position in the red zone, but it's about putting six points on the board and not three. I think that is the main problem we have right now. I think we could have done more last week; we just didn't execute. I think it is more about concentrating and, who knows, we might be able to score 50. As long as we can get some points out of it, that's the most important thing. Every point is valuable to this defense. Once you can get ahead and make things happen offensively to put points on the board, the defense can do what they do best."



DE Trevor Pryce

On Browns TE Kellen Winslow: "Kellen Winslow is going to be a great tight end for many-a-year. Any time you have a guy who is 280 pounds, or whatever he is, and you run the way he does, I don't care what your name is—it's hard to stop those kinds of guys. They cause match-up problems because of the size and speed ratio. People that big aren't supposed to run that fast."

On Ravens LB Bart Scott: "He plays recklessly. He plays with a real chip on his shoulder, and you can't act like that all the time, so there has to be a balance. If you are going to play like you're going to rip somebody's head off, you can't act like that in the locker room. So, he has two polar ends—the nasty end comes out on game day, which is good, and the good end is out any time else."



LB/DE Adalius Thomas

On how important this game is: "Cleveland beat us last year; it's a division game, and it's on the road. That pretty much sums that up."

On the amount of attention he's been getting lately: "I've been doing the same thing for the past couple years and now people are trying to talk about it. It's the same thing: being in the right place at the right time and my teammates believing in me to get the job done whether it's covering or rushing. That's really it, plus working with Trevor [Pryce] and those guys has been really good."

On the weapons in Cleveland: "I think Reuben Droughns is their biggest weapon, first, and then Kellen Winslow for the simple fact that you can hand the ball off to [Droughns] and it's hard to stop him. He's a hard running back who has the speed to get outside, and he runs very hard. Kellen Winslow presents a lot of match-up problems for a lot of people. So, he's definitely one of their go-to guys."

On Browns WR Braylon Edwards: "Of course [he is a weapon], because he had, I think, a 75-yard catch [this year]. So he's definitely capable. They have a lot of capable guys. Winslow has been complaining about getting the ball, so I'm sure they're going to try to get it to him more."

On head coach Brian Billick complimenting him as a true professional: "I guess the last five years I was just sweeping the carpet. But, anyway, it's a great compliment. I don't know if it's the best compliment, but whenever you go out and you're respected by your peers and coaches, that's all you can really ask for."

On what they will do differently about a young QB in Charlie Frye: "Nothing. We don't really worry about what other people do; we worry about what we do. We'll come in and we'll have some things, because he can make things happen with his feet and his legs. So, we'll make sure we address that, and we really have to tackle well."



LB Ray Lewis

On the game against Cleveland: "Well, I was sitting at home watching [last year's game], so that didn't taste good in my mouth. But, forget their 0-2 [start], [because] this is one of those rivalries, that Cleveland and Ravens thing. We don't worry about them being 0-2; we just want go to in and try to play Ravens football and come out with a victory on the road."

On the Browns' offensive weapons: "You know what, I think as a defense we don't really go and account for anybody. We just go and play against the whole offense. If we focus on one guy, then somebody else is going to hurt you. So our thing is to go in there and shut down their running game with Reuben Droughns so they don't create the play-action. But outside of that, we just go and do what we do."

On going 3-0 for the first time in franchise history: "Seriously, it doesn't [cross my mind], outside of taking it one game at a time. There are two down; they are in the record books. Our next thing is just to go and try to get a win at Cleveland. And after that we can speak about that. But that's our No. 1 thing right now, just to keep our eyes on the prize, which is the Cleveland Browns. And hopefully, we can go in there on the road and get a victory."

On "winning ugly": "I'm OK with a win whatever way it comes. I'm not trying to say that we need to rely on scoring 50 points. Sooner or later, I truly believe, somewhere down the road, that hurts you because your team is not balanced enough. You can outscore somebody all you want to, but what happens when you get into one of those games when it's hard, then you don't know what to do. The way we're winning right now is how you should be winning. We're doing things we need to do on offense and on defense and we're coming in and creating turnovers, giving our offense a short field. Any time you come out with a ‘W,' I'll take that as a positive."

On creating turnovers: "That's the thing that shows how good our defense can really be – when teams have to play the way they don't want to against us. When we can start moving around and start doing all that stuff, we're going to be a hard team to defend. And that right now is where it is confusing people. For turnovers to be coming like they are coming, we're playing with a lead. Any time you can play with a lead, the way our defense plays, we're going to get some turnovers and that's what's happening right now."

On LB Bart Scott: "Bart is one of those guys who is very willing to learn, but he has one dial-up, and that is finding the football. And when you play this linebacker position, that's what you have to have. But he is always working everyday. Every day he asks me something else about learning this or learning that. He is one of those guys who is always hungry to play football and it's really a pleasure to play beside him, because he is the energizer bunny."

On S Dawan Landry: "I think more than [I enjoy] seeing the hit, I just enjoy watching him. He's such a mature kid. He's so mature, and for him to be making plays out there [is great]. We're in the bottom of the pile and he's talking trash and I'm like ‘OK, you're kind of catching on now.' That's the thing about defense. But he's really flying around making the plays he's going to make, and he's only going to get better."

On attacking a young quarterback: "I look for how long he keeps his head turned one way. Some people are a one-read guy. Most young quarterbacks don't know how to read the whole field or scan defenses. So when you see someone staring a receiver down, that's what you can really take advantage of."

On defensive depth: "I think that's one of the most exciting things we do have. We can roll in, we can roll two or three deep into the game. As long as we have that, we can always stay fresh, which is a huge advantage right now. We keep people going on and off the field, making sure we don't get tired, making sure we continue to stir people. So depth is a great thing to have."

On comparing this linebacker corps to the one in 2000: "Compare? Not really. It's totally different. Peter Boulware is a totally different player than A.D. is, and Bart is a totally different player than Jamie Sharper is. So back then we complemented each other, and now we complement each other, as well. [We complement each other] greatly. The speed is incredible right now from the linebacker position and just awareness and smarts really takes over when you deal with me, Bart and A.D."

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