Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: How's everybody doing? Normal Wednesday, so cranking away. A lot of work to get done and a nice day to do it.
Q: Is your punter (Jamie Gillan) making his way west?
A: Yeah, he should be here tonight.
Q: So, you don't have to take any steps to prepare for any issues with him?
A: No, we'll be good. I think he's on the plane right now on his way back.
Q: What's it like defensively going from (Quarterback Aaron) Rodgers to (Quarterback Lamar) Jackson? It seems like two significant challenges.
A: I'd say another significant challenge just like it was last week. This guy's extremely talented in all facets. His winning percentage since he's been a starting quarterback is 75%, which is one of the tops. He plays with his arm and he plays with his legs. He's a dynamic player, he's one of the best in the league.
Q: This team has an identity now, is it hard to imagine this team without (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) here? There was a time when it was going to be somebody else as the defensive coordinator.
A: I've never thought about it. I'm glad he's here. We have guys who work really hard. Wink, (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kafka, (Special Teams Coordinator Thomas) T-Mac (McGaughey) do a good job of leading their respective units. I never thought about it.
Q: When you first got the job here, Pat (Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham) was here, right? What was the thought process going through hiring a defensive coordinator? Did you have a list in your head of five or six guys?
A: You always do when you're getting ready for those things. When Pat decided to go to the Raiders, we interviewed Wink along with a bunch of other guys and we felt he was the right fit. He's done a good job.
Q: How did (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) come out of the game and do you expect him to be completely 100% this week with the ankle?
A: He came out good. I think he'll continue to make progress, but he came out good. He feels better today than he did last Wednesday.
Q: How about (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley)?
A: Saquon, relative to today?
A: He'll be out there practicing today. Probably a limited role, but hopefully he'll be ok.
Q: Back on Wink for a second, how much do you sense that this game has a lot of meaning to him?
A: I don't. We talk about it, not just this week but when you're in the league as long as some of us have been in the league, you're bound to be on different teams and play against different teams. Players, too. So, I think our focus is just getting ready to play this week, trying to come up with a good plan for their offense, for their defense, for their kicking game. I think we're all pros. We've all been on different teams. We've played against teams we've coached or played, people we've worked for. I think it's status quo.
Q: Back to injuries, you guys constantly have people going out. The players that you brought in, they're able to step up and contribute to the team.
A: One, credit to those guys for picking up our system as quick as they can. Two, I'd say the position coaches that work with them. For example, like (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome (Henderson) and (Assistant Defensives Backs Coach Michael) Treier, both of those guys have done a great job. (Cornerback Justin) Layne and (Cornerback Nick) McCloud out there that haven't been with us for a while. Again, always give credit to the player first, but then there's a lot of extra meeting time besides the big main team meetings to try to get those guys as comfortable and as ready as they can be.
Q: What do you see from those positional coaches in those meetings? What are the discussions you have with them after?
A: Like after they meet with the guys?
A: As a head coach, you're just asking them, 'does this guy understand exactly what he needs to do if we put him out there?' You explain to the player the expectation is to whenever you get here start digging in, not just to how we do things with the playbook but how we do things in our building. So I'd say the support staff, people like (Director of Coaching Operations) Laura Young, that kind of explain everything that we've been doing around here, what we're supposed to do and how we're supposed to be. Then the position coaches who spend a lot of extra time, again that's our job as a coaching staff, to get our guys ready to play.
Q: How much have you adjusted maybe with the offense and what your vision for it was in the spring and even in camp to what you guys are actually running now?
A: I'd say that's a continual process. I said it earlier in the season, you go out there, particularly with a new staff, with new play callers, and players are getting accustomed to the play callers, play callers are getting accustomed to the players. I think you're always tinkering on things. By no means are we a finished product. We do that, we look at our tape, we say, 'boy, that doesn't look real good. Let's kind of transition a little bit more towards this, maybe add some new things.' But you're always trying to develop as the season goes on, all the way through to the end. But particularly in the early part of the season, I'd say that happens a lot.
Q: In building that offense, do you see opportunities to get Saquon even more involved as a receiver in the passing game? Or have teams kind of taken that away from you guys?
A: If we think he's a good player, obviously we think Saquon is. Unless you're calling a screen pass or obviously a handoff, you know exactly where it's going. In terms of the passing game, if it's not a screen, there's usually between two to three to four to five options based on the protection. So, we've used him in a variety of roles, along with a lot of other guys too, but again our job is to figure out what our guys do good and try to put them in those spots.
Q: In terms of the guys who didn't play Sunday, (Cornerback) Cor'Dale Flott, (Wide Receiver Kadarius) Toney, (Wide receiver) Kenny Golladay, (Outside Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari), (Wide Receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson), are they going to practice today?
A: One at a time, sorry.
Q: Cor'Dale Flott?
A: Will not practice.
Q: Kadarius Toney?
A: He will not practice today.
Q: Kenny Golladay?
A: Will not practice.
Q: Azeez and Wan'Dale?
A: Azeez and Wan'Dale will both be limited.
Q: (Safety) Tony Jefferson?
A: Tony will not practice today.
Q: Is it an injury?
A: It is. Yep.
Q: Is (Quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor) out of the protocol?
A: Tyrod will be limited today; we'll kind of transition into normal practice after today, hopefully.
Q: (Defensive Lineman) Leonard Williams?
A: Leo will be limited, yep. But trending upward. A lot of those guys are getting better. So, we'll see.
Q: Is your receiver situation sustainable? I know you brought in a guy off the practice squad. You have some guys with some potential long-term issues. Can you go on like this without bringing more people in?
A: I think the guys we put out there did a really good job for where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there. They made plays on the football. (Wide receiver) Marcus (Johnson) has really come along. I think Coach Groh (wide receivers coach Mike Groh) has done a good job with him. He had some familiarity with him. He has a good skillset. And I was proud of the way Slay (wide receiver Darius Slayton) competed and produced. So, (wide receiver) Richie (James) has done a great job for us all year. So, I feel confident in those guys.
Q: It seems like you've had a trust and a confidence in (Tight End) Daniel Bellinger – almost from the start. He seemed to be in line to be the starter right away. Is that true, and what have you seen since then?
A: I think he's come a long way. He'll be the first to tell you, he's still got to keep on improving. But I'd say he's a tough-minded individual. Tight end is a difficult position to go from college – usually – to the NFL. We ask him to do quite a bit; I've been very happy with how he's approached things. I've been on him pretty early on, having coached the tight ends for a little while. (Assistant General Manager) Brandon Brown, (Director of Player Personnel) Tim McDonnell did a great job of scouting him coming out (of college). They were huge proponents of him during the draft process, and as we got to know him, what he stood for, some of the intangibles that we look for, he's done a good job. And we've asked him to do a variety of things. He just gets a little bit better each day. But again, it's a tough position. They all are, but it's a tough position to go from college right away to the NFL. And give Brandon and Tim some credit, too. They really stood on a table for him when they did their evaluations.
Q: When you look at his college production and everything, it doesn't scream (that) 'This guy's going to be a big-time receiver' or anything like that. Is there meat on the bone for him in that capacity?
A: Absolutely. We've still got a long way to go.
Q: When you talk, obviously we asked you about the emotional factor for familiarity with Wink and when you go against others teams you've been with. There's also a schematic thing, I would imagine, for you guys. They know him well. He knows Lamar well. How much do you talk about that early in the week to know what you're trying to do?
A: You have conversations just like, wherever I was at, if there was somebody on that team before. You always have conversations. Try to pick up as much as you can. But at the end of the day, you've got to put a good plan together, and it comes down to executing on the field. I could ask him all I want about Lamar Jackson, but we've got to do a good job. It's hard to stop him. Not many teams do it.
Q: You're evaluating Daniel throughout this whole season, obviously, to see what his future is going to be here. How much did last week – handling the injury, playing that game, leading that drive without (running back) Saquon (Barkley) on the field – how much does that all up his stock a little bit in that process?
A: I just look at it from how he's been since we've been here with OTAs and the things he's done to get better. Again, I've said it ad nauseam: he works as hard as he can. He comes in. He does a great job with the players around him of leading them, of helping them with the offense. Each week, I think you get a little more comfortable. Again, we're five weeks into, really, live competition. So, I think you learn a lot about players – not just Daniel, but everybody. And he's done a good job for us.
Q: One injury I don't think we've asked about is (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson)? Where is he at?
A: Adoree' will be limited today.
Q: You're here because this had been a losing organization for a number of years, obviously. I'm curious what you've seen from your team, your locker room now that it's winning.
A: Well, I wasn't here. I just try to work this week. That's really what I try to do with the guys, too.
Q: Some guys don't handle winning well, though. They're a little bit immature. It's new to them, whatever.
A: You're constantly teaching them in meetings, talking to them about different things. The biggest thing we can do is go out there and have a good day. You can't look too far behind you, where you were. And you can't look too much ahead of yourself, where you're going. You got to focus on what you can control because I've said it before: this league will humble you very quickly. And there's certainly a lot of things we can do better from a coaching staff to players, all of us collectively as an organization. That's where we're at. That's what we try to do is get a little bit better each day.
Q: With Gillan – you guys knew he had a NATO passport going to (London). And basically, you knew he might not come back with you, and everything was in the works to get that rectified?
A: Yeah, we knew all that. Everything that led up to where it is today, we already knew. But we'll see. Hopefully we'll see him tomorrow.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: Are you feeling better this week?
A: Yeah, I feel good. I feel good. Definitely better than last week.
Q: The way you've performed, have you gotten into your head saying, 'Maybe they should start talking to me about a contract?'
A: No, I don't think – it's certainly not my focus. I think we're all focused on whatever the next opponent is and making sure we go 1-0 that week. That's been my focus and that doesn't change. I think that's consistent across the locker room.
Q: What has your rookie tight end (Daniel Bellinger) showed you from spring to the summer to this week and now?
A: I think he's got good feel. He's got good instincts. He's got a knack for making the right play, being in the right spot. He's been consistent in that for us. I think he's done a great job.
Q: Sometimes they say a tight end could be a quarterback's best friend, it's a natural throw. Have you seen that with him a little bit?
A: I think he does have that feel and the knack for finding space, the knack for catching the ball, getting up field and making plays. Even the play where he scored, I think it was good instincts, a good football play by him. He's been big for us.
Q: A good play to not throw it to you?
A: I think it was the right decision, yeah.
Q: Did you have any setbacks at all from Sunday? Do you feel it Monday or Tuesday or have you just kept getting better, the ankle?
A: I didn't have any setbacks. I felt good.
Q: What have you seen from (Wide Receiver) Darius Slayton?
A: I thought he had a great game on Sunday. I have a lot of trust and confidence in him. I've said it. We've been here since we were both rookies. I've played a lot of football with him and built up a lot of trust, a lot of chemistry over time. To see him go out there and have that good of a game was exciting and I was happy for him. We'll continue to try and get him the ball, but he was big time on Sunday.
Q: I understand that you say you don't think about the contract stuff but when you're coming into this season, a lot of people – fans, media – are wondering about you. Do you feel like you've proven something to this point to the people who were wondering what you can do?
A: I don't think it was ever really my focus to prove to people one way or the other. My focus was to play as well as I thought I could play and put the team in a position to win. That doesn't change for me. Each week, you try to get better, you try to improve and play the best football you can. I think if we all do that, we'll be in a good spot. That's the approach we all take.
Q: Are you playing better, though?
A: I think I'm improving. I think I'm improving week-to-week. So, that's been my goal.
Q: As good as (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) has been this season, he hasn't really gotten going as a receiver yet. Are there opportunities for you to use him even more in the passing game?
A: I think we'll continue to look at it and see ways that we can get the ball to him in space whether that's throwing him the ball or letting him run with it. I think he's been extremely productive in a lot of forms. Whenever he's touched the ball, he's been effective. We'll continue to look for ways to do that.
Q: What kind of weapon can he be in the receiving game? What does he do to get in space?
A: He's got great hands, he's a good route runner, he can get open. He poses a matchup issue for defenses. I think those are all reasons to try to throw him the ball. We'll continue to use him and get him the ball in whatever ways we can.
Q: I would imagine defenses kind of have their eye on that too. (Inaudible)
A: Yeah, I think any time he goes anywhere on the field defenses are looking for him.
Q: Is your hand still scratched up from Sunday?
A: Yeah, it's scratched up, but it will heal up before Sunday.
Q: The way the league is going, a lot has been made of the calls that are protecting the quarterback. I assume as a quarterback you don't mind it at all, but do you expect some changes?
A: I don't know. I saw those couple plays from this weekend. I think it's a tough call for refs to make. It's kind of a subjective, bang-bang play where they've got to make a split-second decision. I don't know how they'll look at it or if they'll change it or not. I thought it was interesting.
Q: You didn't need any kind of stitches or anything for your hand, right?
A: No, it was just a turf burn.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges in the Ravens defense?
A: I think they're fast. They play physical. They turn the ball over a lot, turn the other offense over a lot. Through these first five games, I think they lead the league with 11 turnovers. We'll have to do a good job protecting the ball and understanding how they are trying to take it away from us. I think they've got some veterans, they've got some good players in the secondary – smart players. That's a large reason why they have so many takeaways. Protecting the ball will be important this week.
Q: Do you think (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) might be able to provide your offense some insights into their personnel?
A: Yeah, I think so. We've got several coaches who have been in Baltimore, and some players too. There's always stuff you can pick up.
Q: I know the season is still fairly young but why has sort of a winning culture already taken over this locker room and it certainly shows up on game days with regularity?
A: I don't know. I think that was part of (Head Coach Brian) Daboll's big emphasis going back to the spring is having a competitive team that fought hard and competed for the whole game regardless of the situation. Just kind of that desire to compete regardless of the circumstance. I think guys have really bought into that and we've seen that through the first five weeks and found a way to win down the stretch. There's a lot still that we've got to improve on and clean up, but I think we have a competitive and tough group.
Wide Receiver Darius Slayton
Q: I think all but one of your catches were first down, so they were pretty big plays but was there one that stood out to you in particular?
A: Probably the one I caught going in on a little under route. I thought I was going to die. Then I survived, and I was like, 'oh, I've got to get the first down. That was like my little train of thought. So, I saw the ball, kind of saw this guy in my peripheral and said, 'this is going to hurt really bad'. Then he hit me, and I was like, 'oh, I'm still up'. (Laughs) Scrambled to get the first down.
Q: Is that the one where you got emotional? Were you pumped up?
A: Yeah, just because it was third and long, and those aren't easy to get. Especially when the nine is on the four-yard line. There's not a whole lot of great play calls. So, just excited.
Q: What does it say about you personally? You don't play a lot early, how hard is it to always be ready?
A: I think kind of said it earlier, you just focus on your craft. Focus on bettering myself, making sure that all my skills are sharp and that I knew my plays. That way I'd be ready for whenever my opportunity came.
Q: Isn't it hard to not say, 'what did I do to deserve this'?
A: I feel like you can't always be like what you do and don't deserve because you can't ever get too high and can't ever get too low. So, I just kind of take opportunities as they come and take advantage of them.
Q: They culture around here has really changed, and it seems like you guys are having more fun, does that kind of help keep you upbeat when you're not playing?
A: Yeah, for sure. I know I love coming here, I love my teammates, I love playing ball. So, I think having a positive work environment definitely helps. At the end of the day the NFL's a business. Everybody at some point in their career goes through something, but definitely having good guys around you help a lot.
Q: What's kind of changed? This year the way you guys are having fun and winning these close games, what has changed around this building?
A: I think like I just said just positive energy. Obviously, people are held accountable, people are held to a really high standard, but at the same time I think kind of a new staff and some new faces we have in the building have done a great job of pumping in good, confident energy and it showed.
Q: How about (Quarterback) Daniel Jones and your relationship with him? How has that progressed?
A: I think it's grown a lot. We've been together going into our fourth year now, and obviously he's playing some great ball right now. It's pretty easy to be a receiver for us at the moment.
Q: Daniel came in with so many questions, with the contract situation and everything. How have you seen him in the locker room handle that day-to-day and that pressure? You kind of in your own way have been in a similar situation, how have you seen him handle that and have you guys been able to learn from each other and keep each other on track this year?
A: He's been steady. He hasn't flinched at any point during the year no matter what's being said on the outside or maybe what has or hasn't gone his way. He's been steady, he's showed up to work, and he's been a great leader for us. I think it's shown on the field so far this year.
Q: You mentioned just a lot of positive energy. For you guys has it been just kind of a combination of that along with some creative scheme's you guys weren't doing in the past? How much of it has just been the confidence you guys have been building from what the coaches have been saying to you guys? How much of it is X's and O's on the field?
A: Of course, that's part of it too. I think (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kaf's (Kafka) done a great job putting together some offensive plans and helping all of us be in a position to succeed and use our strengths. Then on the flip side, (Defensive Coordinator) Wink's (Martindale) done an amazing job. I think they held the Packers scoreless in the second half. With one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time it's not easy to do. X's and O's have also I believe have improved.
Q: Now that you're producing have, they renegotiated your contract again?
A: (Laughs) No, it doesn't quite work like that.
Safety Julian Love
Q: This team is what it is right now, could you imagine this team without Wink?
A: No, not at all. Wink is important for a lot of reasons but the one primarily is – he takes onus on special teams as well, not only defense. If you think about it, the defensive guys typically make up like two-thirds of how the game flows. With teams and the defense itself. With that, I think that's just him taking ownership of more than what he's expected to take ownership of. So yeah, his impact on the team is serious.
Q: I expect Wink, when he talks to us tomorrow, he is going to say it's just another game. Can you imagine it being just another game?
A: Yeah, I think it's tough. We talk all the time about outside focus and inside focus. Him and all the other people who came from Baltimore – that's an outside focus type of thing. Yeah, it's there, it's present and people will talk about it but at the end of the day, we've got to match up against who they have. It's not really about Wink, it's about us executing against their players.
Q: You guys have blitzed a lot, (Baltimore Quarterback) Lamar Jackson has played well against the blitz. Obviously, you can't give away your gameplan but what's that challenge like of having to adjust a little bit for a quarterback like Lamar who's good against what you guys do well?
A: It's going to be a tremendous challenge for the defense. We're going to try to attack them the best we can, but in my eyes, he's the best quarterback in the league. It's going to take all of us to account for him and they have some serious weapons around him. It's going to be a big matchup; it's going to be a big game for us to be intentional about how we approach it.
Q: Can Wink tell you something about Lamar Jackson because he was there for all those years – can he tell you anything that you don't know?
A: He has a lot of insight into him. He knows him, he's been there. We've had some guys who were there. We're going to try to use that to our advantage but at the end of the day, he's a player who's growing and getting better each year. You can't fully be like, 'This is how he was last year,' because his game keeps taking big steps.
Q: Anybody tell you that Lamar is fast?
A: (Laughs) Yeah, that's one of those things. He's a real dude in every phase of the game – throwing the ball, running the ball. It's going to be on all of us.
Q: Does Wink have his list of tells that Lamar has? When he pump fakes, he's not going for it…
A: He's one of those quarterbacks who, similar to (Green Bay Quarterback) Aaron Rodgers last week, he throws a lot at you. He has a lot of different looks, a lot of different tendencies. You've got to play him true, so we've got to do that with Lamar as well. He has a huge arm, so we've got to play him true and play him straight up which is tough, but it's what you have to do versus good quarterbacks.
Q: One of his big weapons is (Tight End Mark) Andrews, too.
A: Like I said, Lamar is probably the best in the league, and I think Andrews is one of the best tight ends in the league. He's less flash and really all substance. He's a guy we have to have eyes on at all times. He's the real deal and we've got to treat him as such.
Q: I know you don't blitz that much and get to the quarterback. Do you have to worry about when you do now to put him down nice and gentle?
A: Yeah, that's a tough thing that's going on in this league right now. That's always in the back of your mind but you've got to play football. If it's an egregious call or something of that sort, oh well, but you've got to play aggressive. That guy back there is also dangerous running the ball. The approach is very tough to accommodate what they're calling nowadays.