BB: I really think we have 53 different personalities on the team. That’s probably a good thing; you don’t want them all to be the same. They just have to blend in and respect each other. We all have our own personalities and like I said, I think that’s great for the team as long as there’s mutual respect and it’s done in a respectful way within the team context. I don’t try to shape or judge anybody else’s personality – they are who they are.
Q: Is there more a spot for that on the defense, in terms of the energy?
BB: I don’t know. Like I said, I think different people have different styles, playing styles and emotional levels and all that kind of thing. I think somehow it’s a blend of those personalities into your team. That’s what creates that team. Each team is different, unique. It’s made up of different people every year and some personalities are added, some aren’t there and they mesh slightly or maybe sometimes not so slightly differently and that creates the personality of your entire team. I don’t think there’s any science to it. That’s not anything I’ve ever tried to create, ‘Oh, we need this kind of personality on the team’ or, ‘Oh, we don’t want that kind of personality on the team.’ If they can blend together and be part of the team and do their job and be productive, then that just affects the personality of that group of players. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Q: Do you have a favorite all-time post-play celebration?
BB: Probably the ones at the end of a couple games; end of Super Bowl celebrations, those are good.
Q: How have practices been this week and have they been noticeably better than last week? Is that that big of a deal?
BB: I think practice is practice. There are always mistakes in practice that need to be corrected. There are things that we put in the game plan that we go out there and do. Some look better than others and then you adjust them and try to fix the ones that sometimes it’s the look on the other side of the ball, sometimes it’s our execution and sometimes those plays hit differently in the game – what you work on them in practice against what you actually see in the game can be two different things. I think the big thing is to go out there and to be prepared, be alert and for the players to do their best on each play. If it doesn’t work out, then we correct it or sometimes adjust it, sometimes we have to change it; it’s not designed properly and needs to be adjusted. That’s what practice is for. I don’t know about the whole, ‘good practice, bad practice’ thing.
Q: Would it be more accurate to call it a productive practice? Can you gauge when it’s been a productive week of practice?
BB: Again, that could be misleading. As a coach, you can script up practice to be as easy or difficult as you want it to be really. It could look great but that may not be the way it is in the game. It could look bad and it could be great in the game. I do think there’s a correlation to improving in practice, both individually, fundamentally and as a unit. The overall execution, timing, that type of thing, but how that transfers over in a game, you never know until Sunday.
Q: How has
BB: I think we’ll see. I think we’ll get a good indication today. We’ve thrown a lot at him the last couple days. Today is the day we go back and try to tie it all together and review it and see how comfortable and how well they each retain things. He’s a pretty experienced guy, he’s smart, he’s had a lot of football. We’ll see how it goes but I think there’s a chance he could help us.
Q: When you bring in a new receiver, like
BB: I think the more time that players spend together, the better. Eight games is better than one game, three days is better than one day. You can go right down the line. I’d say you try to get the most out of each day, each opportunity. Any time you bring in a person for that game week, I think the main thing you want to try to do is make sure that person is ready for the game plan that you’re running. There may be things in the playbook that you need to go over and all that, but they may not apply to this game so, how much time do you really want to spend on those, even though they’re important and they’re fundamental and they’re building blocks? But if it’s not something that’s really going to be used in this particular game, then it’s maybe something you want to try to catch up on later on. We try to prioritize what the person needs as a foundation and then what the person needs to go out and be able to play in the game in the role that we would ask them to play in. Next week, we’ll probably go back and add in some other things and whatever the new game plan is, make sure we cover that and try to accumulate it that way rather than trying to teach the entire book in one sitting and then saying, ‘We’re only going to use 40 percent of it, try to concentrate on that 40 percent.’ How long does it take? I don’t know. Some guys it takes –
Q: We have seen you guys take a couple shot plays with Brandon Lloyd the first two games. I am sure you guys practice that all the time in practice. Are those the types of plays that you can practice it all the time with reps but are those the plays that are going to be different during the game because of adrenaline and all that?
BB: I think, really just about every play is different in the game. You try to simulate it in practice but it’s just different in the game. I think the big thing for the quarterback and the receivers is just to be able to take advantage of those opportunities. You call plenty of them, I won’t say every play but there are an awful lot of plays have guys running deep – post patterns, flag patterns, go-routes, whatever it is – you don’t throw them on every play but they’re there on every play depending on what the coverage is and what the matchup is. If the quarterback sees it and the receiver runs a good route then that’s a good option. If the coverage takes that part of it away or they roll into that or whatever it is, then the quarterback reads the rest of his progressions. Sometimes you can play the percentages and think that, ‘OK, there’s a pretty good chance that we’re going to get this pattern on this coverage’ or if you run that pattern on this coverage, sooner or later you’re going to get the coverage you’re look for and you’re going to take a shot at it. But there’s also plenty of times that we go out in practice and run plays and then we get in the game and we see something and it takes us to that and maybe we’ve practiced it and maybe we haven’t. When you think about it, say you run 100 plays during the week in practice – 35, 35 and 30 or whatever it is – and then you have goal-line plays and you have a lot of other plays that are situational plays in there and then you think of all the different coverages a defense can play – on third down, on second down, on first down, in the red area. I understand they’re only out there 60 plays too, but you’ve seen on film, you’ve seen on film, you’ve seen them play six, seven different sub coverages, a couple different blitzes, six, seven regular coverages, three, four, five blitzes on that. You go into the game with whatever number plays you have; the variables are just exponential. It’s just so difficult to really match up something unless you really have a real strong tendency that they’re going to do this when you give them a certain look or certain situation. I’d say that’s maybe 10 percent of the time. It’s not a high probability. You go out there and run your plays. You can’t run them against all 10 different coverages that you could get in that situation; you run them against the ones you think are most likely or maybe what their tendency is or maybe what you think they’ll do to you. But a lot of times it doesn’t turn out that way and you have to adjust to it. I’d say that’s kind of the challenging part, like your question about practice and all that, as opposed to college where you have the scout team go out there, you have the freshmen and you run maybe 60 plays in practice, 70 plays in practice. Well, we’re running half that. The amount of execution you get is different. That’s why training camp is important, building that base, building that consistency when you’re going out there day after day and running 60, 70 plays in practice, against your defense so the number is higher, you’re not running them, splitting them in half, you’re getting plays on both sides of the ball that those reps are really important to build technique and consistency and timing, understanding the plays and all that. It’s definitely different in the game, there’s no question.
Q: Can you talk about going up against the Ravens’ run defense and is it any different this week in how you’re preparing compared to other weeks?
BB: Of course, they’re all different. The Ravens have different players and they have their own unique scheme, like everybody else does. They’re a very good technique team, they play well with their hands, they recognize blocks well, linebackers are, it’s hard to fool them, especially [Ray] Lewis, but all of them are disciplined, they don’t give up a lot of easy plays. You have to block them, they don’t run themselves out of a lot of plays, they make you block them and you have to do a good job. You have to have good pad level, good technique; you have to finish your blocks, they’re a good tackling team. They’re not easy to run the ball against.
Q: This is the sixth meeting between the two teams in the last six years. What stands out to you from those games?
BB: [There have] Been a lot of close, hard fought games going back to ’07, last possession. Really all those games have come down to the last possession except the playoff game in 2010. All those other games were basically the last play really, not even in the last possession, I’d say pretty much the last play; very competitive games. We’ve had the last four of them here so we haven’t been down there in awhile so that will make this a little different from the last few. That all evens out in the long run.
Q: What’s your reaction to Ray Horton saying he could see your plays coming offensively last week?
BB: We’re on to Baltimore.
Q: What are some of your memories from your first season down there with the Colts?
BB: It was a little different, a little different. We went to camp July 5. The first game was September 21, I think. So, six preseason games, three scrimmages against the Redskins. It was a whole two and a half months of training camp basically before we even played a game. It was a long, long preseason. Squads were small so, I snapped a lot to help the timing for the offense, passing, 7-on-7 and one-on-one drills, things like that. It was great experience with Coach [Ted] Marchibroda and [Defensive Coordinator] Maxie Baughan and the rest of the defensive staff, George Boutselis, the special teams coach. I learned an awful lot, I didn’t know anything. I was just thrown into an environment where I think there were only seven coaches on the staff – three on offense, three on defense and one on special teams. I was like the eighth guy, I didn’t know anything but at least I was a warm body. I got thrown a lot of responsibility and opportunity to do things that had there been a bigger staff, I would have never gotten to do. That was a great opportunity for me. We started out 1-4, playing in front of 20,000 people there at Memorial Stadium. Then we started winning and Bert Jones had a tremendous year, we had a real good defense. The front four there of [Fred] Cook, [Joe] Ehrmann, Mike Barnes and John Dutton, they had like 50 something sacks that year or whatever it was. We won our last nine games. We went from 1-4 to 10-4. We went from playing in front of 20,000 to whatever that holds, 60 some. So, that was pretty exciting. We lost to Pittsburgh in the playoff game; they eventually won the Super Bowl. Started training camp off at Goucher College and we were there until the first of September. Then we went from Goucher College to McDonogh School and practiced out in the pasture there. It was crazy. We were there for a couple weeks then finally the Orioles finished up. They were in the World Series that year I think, so we didn’t even get to Memorial Stadium until around the first of October. Of course, at that point, the whole infield was still down. They re-sodded that so we only practiced on half the field so we had about 40 yards to practice on. That wore out pretty quickly so then we would go across the street to Eastern High School and practice. The whole team walks out of Memorial Stadium, hits the ‘Walk’ button, goes across 33rd Street and walks over to Eastern High School, which had two blades of grass, dirt, glass, rocks. It was inner city football practice field, about what you’d expect; filming from a step ladder. But it worked. Team gained a lot of confidence, started slow, gained a lot of confidence and came together. That was really a good football team. Bert Jones was a great quarterback and he continued to be until he hurt his shoulder. There’s no telling how good that guy would have been. If he’d had a full career, he could have been up there with anybody I’ve been around certainly. I learned a lot. I didn’t put a lot of money in the bank but in terms of experience I did, not actual cash. That was a fun year.
Q: What are your thoughts on Steve Sabol’s passing this week?
BB: There aren’t many people that I think have done more for the NFL or done more for football than Steve has. He was a great friend. I’d say my favorite memories of Steve are going to owners’ meetings and just sitting around talking. Steve was a great storyteller, both on film and in person. He had a great appreciation for the game, the history of the game, the people and the past really, as well as the present. But he had a great memory, great experiences in the past. I just loved to talk to him, just talking about football. He was really special. I think it’s hard these days to find somebody like Steve that was never about him, it was always about the game, it was about the entertainment. All the things he did, I don’t think he ever made anybody look bad. That wasn’t the point, even though we all had some bad moments, we had fumbles and whatever but you were sort of able to laugh at yourself the way he presented it. It seemed like every time he did something, you walked out of there with either a smile on your face or a great appreciation for what he showed and his ability to show a close, unique look at the game until so many of us never saw until he presented it, or the way he presented it. I’ll miss Steve, he’s really special. The job he’s done for NFL Films, the recognition he’s gotten he certainly deserves; a really special guy.