On his impressions of QB Joe Flacco and how he has progressed: "I think he's done a real good job, and his record speaks for that. He had a great year last year, going to the [AFC] Championship game, and this year he already has three wins, and a great win on the road in San Diego and two very productive games against Kansas City and Cleveland at home. And he looked good in preseason, so I think he's doing a good job – as is their entire offense. It's no one-man band there. They've got outstanding players all the way across the board on that unit – running backs, tight ends, receivers, offensive line, you know, a good offensive scheme that creates a lot of variety and gives you a lot of things to worry about defensively, to defend. So, it's a good group effort, but he's certainly done his part and done a great job of managing the team and throwing the ball and making plays and avoiding the bad ones."
On what type of relationship he has with head coach John Harbaugh and his impressions of the job he has done: "I think he's done a good job. I've always had a good relationship with John. I've known him for a long time, since he was the special teams coach with the [Philadelphia] Eagles, and then when he became the defensive backs coach. He and I talk fairly frequently, and I think he's done a terrific job with that team. They're good in every phase of the game. They're good on offense, they're good on defense, they're good on special teams. They're well coached, they're sound, they don't make many bad plays. They make you beat them, they're tough, they're physical, they do a lot of little things well, and they do a lot of big things well. I think that all shows up in the hard work and preparation that I know John puts into it, and I know he put that into it as an assistant coach and in special teams in Philadelphia. When we played against them defensively in '07 when he was there, you could see that in the competition of the game and the preparation that his players showed. So, none of that really surprises me. That's just what it is."
On how valuable LB Adalius Thomas has been to their defense: "He's been a very versatile performer for us. We've asked him to do a lot of things since he's been here. [He's] going on his third year now, and of course last year, unfortunately, he missed most of the second half of the season. But he can run, he can cover, he can rush, he can play the run. He's played inside for us, he's played outside for us, he's played different roles for us in our sub-defenses. I know he's a smart guy, and he's a big, physical player with good speed, and they're hard to find. So, he's contributed in a lot of different ways, as well as being a good, smart, veteran player that helps overall [with] the communication and the operation of the defense."
On whether Thomas' contributions have been enhanced with the loss of LB Jerod Mayo for the next few weeks: "Well, I think that all players... We expect all players to step up and do their job. And unfortunately, not every player is available every single week on our team, or any other team. But, what each individual player can do is, do his job well and do it in a positive way with a commitment to the team. And Adalius has done that regardless of what other players were or weren't in there. That's how he's gone about it, and I think that's how all players should go about it. I don't think, really, they should change the way they do things based on what somebody else's situation is. They should do their best all the time, and try to be positive and try to contribute to the team any way they can, regardless of what else is going on."
On what he felt like he got out of LB Prescott Burgess during his brief time in New England:"Well, he's still here. He's on our practice squad."
On whether Burgess has been an asset in helping them prepare for the Ravens: "Well, that's not really the main reason why he's here. We traded for Prescott because we wanted some depth at linebacker, and we've watched him play this year in the preseason and in the first couple of regular season games and knew about him, of course, and had an interest in him when he came out of college at Michigan. And we have a couple other Michigan linebackers that he played with there, or they played with him, however you want to look at it. So, when I talked to Ozzie [Newsome], and we consummated the trade and he was available, we brought him on our team to try to give him an opportunity to work into our system and help our team. I think he's worked hard; he's done a good job. We made a roster move on Monday to add Terdell Sands to the team, but we're still working with Prescott. I think he's got a future here, and I'm glad we're working with him. I mean, I like having him here."
On what type of matchup problems WR Randy Moss gives defenses: "I think you should ask the opposing defenses that, really. What we try to do, offensively, is move the ball and score points. [We] try to have a balanced attack or take advantage of the opportunities we have. Sometimes it's not balanced, because we feel like the opportunities are better in one place than another. But there's got to be a balance in there, so that if the defense does one thing, then that affects the play somewhere else and gives us an opportunity somewhere else. And so, everybody has to be ready to step up and take advantage of those opportunities. If they choose to defend us, that's out of our control. All we can do is call the plays and run them, and then whatever the defense does, then we have to react to it. So, how they choose to do that is really up to them."
On what type of options Moss presents for the offense: "I mean, I think Randy does everything pretty well. There are really not any limitations with Randy. He's a good blocker, he's smart, he's versatile, he's played all the outside positions – the X, the Z – and the inside positions as well in the slot, in different receiver groups. He can run after the catch, he can run the short and intermediate routes, and he can certainly run the deeper routes. He does a good job against man coverage. He does a good job against zone coverage. He's a big target, he's got good hands, good ball skills, tracks the ball well down the field. So, I don't think there is really any route you call with Randy where you say, 'Well, we don't want to run that route with him.' It's just the opposite that you're pretty comfortable whatever route you ask him to run, that he can do it and he can be effective doing it. So, that gives you a lot of versatility in your offensive system, and we try to capitalize on that."
On his appreciation for what the Ravens' defense has been able to do: "Well, they're very good defensively. They have an outstanding group of players, and as I said, they're well coached. Coach Harbaugh and Coach [Greg] Mattison [have] done a great job this year, and they've done a great job through the years of just playing good defensive football. They're good against the run, they're good on third down, they're good in the red area. They can rush the passer, they can cover, they turn the ball over. They're really an outstanding group. They've gotten a lot of accolades, and they deserve them."
On his anticipation regarding WR Wes Welker this Sunday:"We'll go out to practice and give an update on the practice report after that happens. We haven't practiced here on Monday or Tuesday, so we'll see where everybody is when we go out on the field this afternoon."
On his passion for lacrosse and his relationship with Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramalla: "Well, it's a strong one. Coach Pietramalla has been a good friend, and certainly it's been a joy talking to him and exchanging ideas about just coaching and preparation and things like that. Staffs and players, I know the sports are different and all, but coaching is still coaching to a large degree. And handling your team, there is a lot of carry over, even though the sports are different. You know, he's given me the opportunity to be around his teams on the practice field, at games and in meetings and preparation, things like that. I've learned a lot, and I've taken a lot of things that he's done and incorporated them into some of the things that we do. And again, [it's] more in terms of coaching and preparation style and that type of thing, but he's come up and visited us a few times in training camp here and at games. I have a great exchange of ideas with him, and he's been a huge help. I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he's done, what he's done with that great program, which I've always admired, even though, of course I grew up at the Naval Academy and bleed blue and gold. But, being close to Hopkins and the program that they've run there from when he was a player to now as the coach, I just have a tremendous respect for him and the entire Johns Hopkins lacrosse program. It's first-class. They do things the right way, and it's been a great opportunity for me to watch them up close and see how they do some of the things they do so well."
On whether he is well-versed in the nuances of lacrosse:"Well, I'd like to think so, yeah. I grew up with it and had the opportunity to play it all the way through college. And I've been involved with it with my kids, coaching them to a degree and the youth programs and so forth. I've followed it at the collegiate level and spent quite a bit of time talking to players, guys like Paul Rabil, that I have great respect for, and [Michael] Kimmel and [Stephen] Peyser and [Michael] Evans, and guys like that, who are just good lacrosse players, that know the game, that are smart players. And, watching my son Stephen play and in their program, yeah I think just being able to be up close and be right around those guys and see all the little things that they do. You know, just being at practice with Coach Pietramalla and having him coach face-offs, and man-down face-offs, and man-up face-offs and just all the little things that they do, it really gives me an appreciation for how... The difference between lacrosse and football is that at the end of each play, we get to go back in the huddle and get reorganized. In lacrosse, the game never stops. There is always a flow and there is no real time to set up a play, for the most part. Maybe after a timeout or something, but that's not the game. The game, it's a free-flowing game. And so, the decisions and the parameters that you set up for your players to deal with a game like that, they're interesting, and in some ways they're a lot more complex than a game like football. But football is a lot more complex from the standpoint that you have more time in between plays to put in new formations and new personnel and new plays and things like that. So it's different, but I think there is a lot of good learning and application going both ways."
On how he prepares for the rotation of RBs Willis McGahee and Ray Rice: "Well, they're both good. We see a lot of teams that have more than one back that are outstanding players, and certainly Rice and McGahee both are. They're both good backs that we saw in the Cleveland game break a lot of tackles, play with good balance, speed, stiff arm, catch the ball out of the backfield and turn them into big plays. So, we're just going to have to do a good job of getting a lot of people around them, number one, and not creating a lot of one-on-one open-space tackles – because that's going to be a hard tackle for any player to make against runners of that caliber – and try to give them as little space as possible to work in, and get as many people there as we can. And that's a huge challenge, but that's really what we've got to do."
On whether he thinks Syracuse has the inside track to repeat for its third national championship in lacrosse: "Well, they're pretty good. Coach [John] Desko has done a great job up there, and I have a lot of respect for what he's done. And certainly, this year coming back and doing it again after the '08 team was a great accomplishment. Especially after the year they had in '07 when everybody was on them. But that's a great program, but my heart is with Navy and Hopkins and really with the people. It's with Coach Pietramalla, that's really where it starts. I certainly recognize what Syracuse has done. They run a tremendous program up there, and I have a lot of respect for Coach Desko and the job he's done."