Ravens-Patriots, in their own words

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Inside the game with the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots following the Ravens' 16-15 victory at Gillette Stadium.

Head Coach John Harbaugh

(On his general thoughts about the game) Hey, good to see everybody. First I want to say what a thrill it was to be the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens and be in front of this group of men. You watch the Ravens over the years and see how they compete, how they fight and that's what these guys did today. They're know for that, that's a tradition that's been here since the organization was founded and goes back to Art Modell and Ozzie Newsome and the people that have been around here. It is honor to be a part of this organization now and the football game for the first time.

(On impressions of his quarterbacks)

How come I knew that was going to be the first question? I think they were pretty impressive. Kyle (Boller) made some plays and it was good to see Kyle make some plays. Our receivers got open and our protection was pretty good. We looked like we were in rhythm and we got a couple (of plays) in there. You take two plays out of there and we got a great game. Those are the plays that we go back to work on this week.

(On Joe Flacco and what he said to him after the game)

I told him nice job in the victory. Good job in the victory formation. You know that's how it is for a rookie quarterback in20this league. Joe is going to learn very fast and he's a smart guy and he works his tail off and it will not be long before he's not making those kinds of mistakes and starts making some great plays for us. Confidence is not going to be a problem for Joe. He's a confident guy. He's a talented guy and he knows, I think, that he's going to be a heck of a player in this league. He'll be fine. That's what you have to go through. That's part of the process developing as a NFL quarterback.

(On Ray Rice)

Ray made some plays. There's a couple of plays he left on the field too that he'll be first to tell you he'll make the next time out but he competed in there and made a couple of nice runs and he picked up a couple of blitzes which was good to see.

(On Troy Smith)

I thought Troy was poised. He threw some NFL balls in there. That ball across the middle in the fourth quarter was a heck of a throw. It was early in the fourth quarter, maybe late in the third quarter that kind of changed the field position a little bit. He scrambled around and did a nice job.

(On Fabian Washington)

Fabian had a big blitz and covered guys well. I don't think it's any surprise. I think the defensive coaches expected him to play really well and he did but it was good to see. Frank (Walker), t oo. We got two corners out there that are really essentially backup corners playing like starters and that's huge for us.

(On the Offensive Line)

The offensive line held up well. I mean you saw the first quarter and the protection was pretty good. I think we got run around maybe one time early and after that we really solidified on the edges. The backs did a nice job too at chipping their way out. Le'Ron McClain, one time, rocked somebody on the edge with a real good chip shot. Wilbert Montgomery has those guys chip the uprights. Have you seen it in practice? They chip the goal post. That defensive end wasn't as big as the goal post.

(On Yamon Figurs and special teams)

Jerry Rosburg has done a tremendous job with our special teams and Marlwon Maalouf, too. We've got a bunch of guys who are blocking and so there's some room. The interesting thing about Yamon was that he showed a lot of patience on that return. He kind of let things settle. He wasn't in a rush. He found a crease and took it.

(On how important pre-season games are in determining the starting quarterback)

It's big. What they do in the game is the biggest indicator. That's not to say that practices are not important. I couldn't give you percentages and say 40 percent practices and 60 percent games or anything like that. Some of it is going to be gut on the part of the coaches as well but the game is important. In the end, we just have to go with the guy that we feel is going to give us the best chance to win the next game and if that's a gut decision. That's what it is.

(On if Troy Smith will start the next game)

Troy will start the next game. We're looking at it as a two-game balance repetition right now.

(On tonight's victory against the Patriots)

You know what they sat it doesn't count but it counts. It counts in our book. The excitement of the players and the coaches in the locker room, it's hard to describe. There's no way to explain what it feels like to get a victory in a stadium like this, against a team like this, but our guys came up here to win the game. They came up here to compete, and be physical, and be disciplined, and play hard, and run, and do all the things we want to do as a football team. That's probably more gratifying than the victory. But we have a long way to go as a football team and there are a thousand things that we start to go to work on Saturday. I want to credit the defense. The defensive players and the defensi ve coaches started with Rex Ryan and all those guys.

(On when he wants to name a starting quarterback)

I don't know that we'll know who the starter is going to be on opening day. We'll give him a chance in the third preseason game to determine who will play in the third preseason game and if it means that we decide that he's our starter after all those reps — fine — if it means we have to split the reps between all of those guys, or even three guys, or two guys, or make a determination after that.

Joe Flacco, Quarterback

(On playing in the NFL)

"It was a lot of fun to get out there and get the first taste of it. I did not know how I was going to feel, but I felt pretty calm. It was just weird not knowing when I was going to get in. Waiting around the whole game and finally getting in the fourth quarter was a little different, but it was a learning experience."

(On adjusting to the speed of the game)

"Just the fact that you are going to play against NFL players, that was just cool. I think that is just a cool thing to me. You have to realize that you are one of them now, and that you belong here."

Ray Rice, Running back

(On the game)

"The first two quarters we moved the ball really well, but it was really a different flow from college football"

(On the speed of the game)

"Obviously I had the experience of playing against our own defense in training camp. I just went out there and tried to give them what I got, and I was going to take what I could get. "

(On coach Craig Ver Steeg)

"He gives me a lot of tips and pointers here and there. He definitely has been a help to me. He has been around the league for a long time, and around football for a long time so he has really helped me. "

(On the first game experience)

"It is a unique experience, the first game. This is actually my first NFL experience. I have never played in an NFL stadium and I never played in an NFL game. It felt pretty good. I got the jitters out and got the first one out of the way. I look forward to keeping going. It usually takes me the first few carries. I was more excited and you catch yourself looking around and checking out the situation. It was like, they were the Patriots. You have always got to look at them whether it is the preseason or the regular season, they are the Patriots."

Derrick Mason, Wide Receiver

(On playing New England after last year's close game)

"We just came out with the mindset that this was a preseason game. We got tired of playing against each other so we got someone else to come out and hit. We wanted to do some good things on offense, defense and special teams and I think we accomplished that. Last year was=2 0last year. It is a different year for us and we want to set a tone early. They went 16-0 in the regular season for a reason. They were a very good team. They are still a very good team. We wanted to run our offense the way we were running it in practice and get the young guys some experience. We accomplished that but we still have a lot to learn. Like I said, last year was last year."

(On the new coach)

"He did a good job. It was a preseason game, the first game he was able to coach and I think he did a really good job. We are all in this together. We are just trying to ride this boat and head it somewhere good. We started off on the right foot."

Kyle Boller, Quarterback

(On the game)

"There are a few plays I wish I could take back and I am glad it is preseason and if I could just eliminate those plays. I felt very comfortable out there today. The offensive line did an amazing job of blocking and letting me step up my throws. Just like I said, those two plays, you just have to eliminate the turnovers."

(On running the play action pass)

"It was in the game plan. That's what we had been working on and those guys (offensive line) did a great job. I was able to go back there and go into my reads and I don't think I got touched one time except=2 0for when I took off and scrambled and fumbled the ball. I have to give them (offensive line) a lot of credit and also the running backs, Ray Rice is doing a great job. I applaud all of the guys."

(On the other quarterbacks)

"They stepped up in there and did a great job. It is a tough situation going in there sometimes, at the end of the game, and you have been sitting on the sidelines. I know exactly what Joe's (Flacco) going through. On that one play, he was just stepping up and it is hard when you are getting ready to throw the ball and you got guys coming from both sides. You try as much as you can to keep your hands on the ball, but when your ready to throw it, sometimes it slips out. It is a learning curve, and we learn from this game and get better next week. It is never easy in the NFL, although it is always great to get a win no matter if it is in the preseason.

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick

BB: Well, I think that was a good learning experience for our team tonight. Baltimore is a pretty physical club and it was a very competitive game all the way. I think we got a lot out of20it. Certainly, there are a lot of things we could do better but I thought there were some positives out there to work with. We will come in tomorrow, correct those mistakes and try to move forward here. We have a big week. We have a couple extra days, some extra time to try to improve our football team and that is what we will be working on this week. I thought the players competed hard. Some good things to work off of and some other things obviously we need to improve on. We can't turn the ball over five times and win too many games in this league and we know that.

Q: Talk about the play of [Jerod] Mayo?

BB: It's hard, I can't watch what everyone is doing out there. I thought defensively we competed pretty well. They only had the one touchdown from the 2-yard-line but other than that, I thought we did a decent job. I'm sure all those rookies had some good plays and had some other plays that probably weren't so good but we will wait until we look at the film. Q: (On the rookie linebackers' playing time) BB: We didn't have a lot of linebackers so it gave them opportunity, same thing at corner. We pretty much went the whole way with two cornerbacks. So there was a couple spots that we just didn't have a lot of depth and it was a good opportunity for the guys that played to get a lot of playing time.

Q: Do you think Pierre Woods works hard and is seizing the opportunity now that he is getting some playing time?

BB: Pierre [Woods] works hard. He is one of our hardest working kids. I think=2 0he has improved every year. He has had a good training camp this year and it looked like he got in a few plays out there today. Again, we will watch the film and have things to work on but Pierre [Woods] has been improving for us and he's had a good camp.

Q: Can you talk about Ray Ventrone playing on both sides of the ball [offense and defense]?

BB: Ray [Ventrone] is a very competitive guy and a tough kid. He plays in all three phases, offense, defense and special teams. He works hard, tough kid and he's a pretty good football player. He's got a good set of skills, has some quickness, speed, he's tough, he's a smart player who is instinctive and he's shown up positively for us in a number of different roles and in different games. It's a real credit to him- his work ethic, his toughness. He came from a relatively small school and is trying to carve a niche for himself in the NFL and is competing hard.

Q: (On Ray Ventrone trying to carve out a space for himself this early in the season)

BB: He is doing a little bit of everything. He keeps working hard at it and keeps showing up. That certainly deserves credit.

Q: When you look at the plays the running backs made in the kicking game, do you look at the individuals or the offense?

BB: We will look at it, figure out what went wrong and where the breakdowns were. We will take a close look at those plays and several other ones too.

Q: Are you also going to look at the quarterbacks' and wide receivers' breakdowns?

BB: There were mistakes everywhere we need to correct, coaching, playing, receivers, quarterbacks, offense, defense and special teams. You know, it was our first game and I think there were some good things out there and some other things that weren't so good.

Q: Was this good from a coach's perspective? It gives you plenty to yell at them about and make them correct mistakes?

BB: It's the first preseason game. That's the perspective. We have won them, we have lost them and we lost this one by one. This is the first preseason game. There is plenty of things to work on and plenty of things to correct with everybody. I don't care what the score is or who you play or anything else. That's what we will do.

Matt Gutierrez, Quarterback

(On the teams' preparation)

"The coaches prepared us for what was going to20happen and it's our job to go out and execute. At times we did and at times we didn't. We have to get more consistent with that, but we'll learn from our mistakes and move forward."

(On if his playing time was what he expected)

"I wasn't expecting anything in particular. I just wanted to be ready for 60 minute. Whenever coach called my number then I was going to go out there and compete."

(On if the Ravens did anything defensively that led to some of the sacks)

"I'm not sure exactly which ones you are talking about. There were a number of different situations that came up, but we were prepared. The coaches got us ready to play. Like I said before, we went out and we executed some and didn't on some plays and we need to do a better job of executing."

(On playing a physical team early)

"I think it was a good experience for us to go out there and get after it right away with the first one. I know I'm going to learn a lot from this game and I think everybody will. We just have to learn from the tape and move forward and get better."

(On getting in game experience)

"I think every day is important, whether it's a game, or practice, or a meeting, it doesn't matter everything is important. We're always compe ting and trying to get better."

Shawn Crable, Linebacker

(On talking with Jerod Mayo and comparing their first NFL experience)

"It was a lot different. The tempo was differ ent. Just being in there and having a chance and being in there with some of the guys that you normally don't get to take reps with, it's just kind of different."

(On getting a chance to show what he can do) "It's basically about opportunities, you only get a certain [number] before the preseason ends to show what you can do. You try to take advantage of all of them, try not to make mistakes and just try to do what the coaches ask you to do."

(On the pressure to produce when you get opportunities)

"Yes. When you have guys like [Mike] Vrabel and Adalius [Thomas] in front of you, you have to make the coaches comfortable, if something happens to them you can play and perform. There's some pressure there to back them up and to fill the position that they do, you can fill it like they do."

Victor Hobson, Linebacker

(On if it was nice being able to be physical against players who aren't on the same team) "Definitely. We have been at camp and it was a great opportunity to go out there and try to execute the best we could. We played as a team and we will get better at playing as a team and just show what we can do."

(On how he felt about his performance tonight) "I just thank God for putting me in a situation wh ere I can be out there and be in a position to play to the best of my ability. I will know better tomorrow after I watch the film on how well I did, but we will see."

(On playing under Bill Belichick's defensive scheme)

"It is something you have to get used to and get adjusted to, but that is what training camp and mini camp is for. We are all learning on the run and each day we are going out there and getting better and getting more acquainted with each other and the system."

Pierre Woods, Linebacker

(On how he felt about letting the young linebackers play a majority of the game) "We still got work to do as does everyone. I can only speak for myself and I know I have work to do, but it was good to see them out there. Some guys made some plays and that's what the coaches want to see."

(On his sack and fumble recovery tonight)

"I just rushed up the field hard, and the ball was right there so I stripped the ball and luckily I recovered it. "

(On if he feels like his hard work is paying off) "The whole offseason I was up here for almost the entire year working out and working hard. I will continue to do the things I'm supposed to do to become a better linebacker and hopefully it will all pay off.

(On if he could to relate to how Jerod Mayo must of felt in his first game)

"I think everyone is nervous their first game. I was nervous my first game. It is the NFL, not college anymore. In college you have a little bit more fun and time on your hands and here its work, work, work. You got to do your job and know what you're supposed to do and pay attention to detail."

Kevin O'Connell, Quarterback

(On what stuck out to him in his first preseason game)

"The rookies played well out there along with the offensive line, some receivers and Lamont [Jordan]. BenJarvus Green [Ellis] brought a lot of energy. It was the first time out there for a lot of us. We just wanted to have a lot of energy and start to grow in our place."

(On how fun it was to get a chance at leading the team back in the fourth quarter)

"Oh yeah, all you can ask for when you get in a game is to have a chance to help your team win. Down by a point there in the end, I know we have a very good kicker [Stephen Gostkowski] and I just wanted to get the ball down as far as I could. We weren't able to but hopefully we will get that situation again and we will be able to get it down there. "

(On how he felt in his first NFL game)

"It is=2 0definitely a new experience but I was prepared to play well by the coaches. I just wanted to go out and execute what I was taught and get the ball in the hands of our athletes out there. I was benefited by a lot of good players around me."

(On how more comfortable he was after his first play)

"The first time you get back there and get hit or something you will start to get in a groove. I am just looking forward to getting another opportunity next week."

(On being to run the ball so well) "It is one of those things that I didn't know how it would be coming in but coach [Josh] McDaniels let me know ‘If things break down, you can use your legs and make plays that way.' I just wanted to do anything we could to get the ball running and hopefully get some points."

Heath Evans, Fullback

(On he thought the game went tonight) "The film from this game is going to tell us a lot and coach [Bill] Belichick is going to tell us a lot. Yall's job is to do what you guys have to do. You look at something and ca ll it for what it is. For me, I will look at it and coach will look at it. There will be areas in the film where I have to improve and others areas where the coaches will say ‘we like what you did.' That is all stuff we find out tomorrow. You guys are around here enough and you know this game enough to say how it is."

(On how good it felt to get the preseason started)

"Yeah, you guys know how much I love this team and how I love being here. It gets old beating up on the same people every day so when you get to face a different color uniform you get to see exactly where you are at. The preseason, yeah we whine and gripe about it, but at the end of the day it is sort of a necessary evil. You collect a lot of dust and rust from that off-season. You are working out and running but you aren't playing football. I know I need it. Tonight, I am sure I did some good things and I am sure there are some things I need to improve. I had fun tonight."

(On how he would grade the performance of the special teams tonight)

"I don't know. You have to ask me that in a couple of days after I watch the film and think about how I played personally. You lose contact on the speed of this game. This game is kind of a blur because for six months I have been sitting and not in that football train of thought. The film is going to tell it all."

Ray Ventrone, Safety

(On the plays made by the rookie linebackers) "Those guys were able to come up with some big plays. Unfortunately, we weren't able to come up with a big one on offense to rally. Hopefully, we look at film and improve and get better."

(On what the preseason means)

"You just try to make plays and take advantage of the opportunities. I try to maximize my time."

(On Jerod Mayo's hit)

"I'm sure he was pumped up about it. If I knocked somebody's helmet off, I'd probably be pretty excited."

(On getting back to playing)

"I think we know that we're all lucky and we're all fortunate. I'm just trying to take advantage of it.


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