Q:Can you talk about the differences in the Baltimore offense now compared to the last time you prepared for it in the AFC Championship game last year?
MP:Obviously, the Ravens are off to a phenomenal start here and certainly we will have our work cut out for us. They are doing a great job rushing the ball, also in the passing game. [They're] keeping it very balanced from an offensive-attack standpoint and then mix in what appears to be hurry-up or no-huddle offense, change the pace of the game. They are doing a great job this year. We certainly have our work cut out for us.
Q:How new is the change-of-pace offense for Baltimore?
MP:I think every offense has some aspect of change-of-pace in your system. Whatever it is - two-minute, no-huddle, whatever you want to call it. It obviously looks like they've tried to implement it a little bit more than maybe in the past. They are getting excellent production out of it and it will be something we have to contend with.
Q:So you think the incorporation of more no-huddle offense is a result of some of the personnel they have in place now or the development of some of the guys they did not have in previous seasons?
MP:I would say that it's something they feel is a weapon they can go to that has a lot of production and is working for them right now. They have tremendous skill players across the board, whether you're talking about the wide receivers – [Anquan] Boldin, [Torrey] Smith are phenomenal. Jacoby Jones is doing a great job for them along with their tight ends [Dennis] Pitta and [Ed] Dickson, and obviously Ray Rice out of the backfield is a problem. They switch it up. They'll go to their two-back stuff and put [Vonta] Leach in there and let him be the fullback in the two-back situation. They really have a great, balanced offense, multiple personnel. They can run with an offensive line that's doing a great job at both running the ball and protecting the quarterback.
Q:Dennis Pitta has emerged as a frequent target recently. Do you have to focus more on him this week?
MP:I definitely think he's someone that we'll definitely have to know where he is out on the field. But along with all their skill players, they have great skill that they can put in a lot of different positions out on the field and be very effective. He fits in well with what they try to do and certainly they had a productive game there, so obviously he'll be someone they like to target.
Q:Ras-I Dowling played in the outside nickel spot in the first game and this past game it was Sterling Moore. What made Sterling Moore a better choice over Ras-I to play in the Arizona game?
MP:I would say every week we just try to put together the best game plan we can depending on what the opponent does. All of our players are multiple role players, so everyone's ready to go at any time and play different positions out on the field. For us, it's just having everybody ready to go and putting the proper people on the field in the situation.
Q:What does Ras-I Dowling have to do to emerge after not playing in the previous game?
MP:With all of our guys, what we're looking for from everybody is just to – in the stage we're at as a defense right now as a defense as a whole – we're just trying to get better every day, work on our fundamentals and try to improve. As a defense, that's just what we're trying to do.
Q:How much do you think he is still limited by his injury from last season?
MP:Each season is a new season, so we're really just focused on this year and what we're trying to get done and improve overall as a defense. Everyone's out there just trying to get better.
Q:What are you most pleased about with the defense through the first two games?
MP:Right now as a defense, what we're really focused on is Baltimore. We obviously have a huge challenge ahead of us in getting ready for the Ravens and then trying to improve. We're going to try to take each week, no matter what game it is, and try to take Monday of that week to go over the corrections we need to make, get better and learn from them. Then by this time in the week on Tuesday, we're really focused on Baltimore, trying to look ahead to the opponent.
Q:To what do you attribute your success on third down?
MP:Like I said, every week we just trying to get better – all the different aspects of the defense. First and foremost, all the guys work extremely hard every week. They come in, study our opponents, study the different parts of the game plan and we're just working hard to improve every week. We have some areas that we're doing okay in and some areas that we obviously need to improve and that's where we're trying to focus.
Q:How does Joe Flacco look different this year compared to the past?
MP:Flacco, as a quarterback in general right now, is doing an excellent job of distributing the ball around. He's getting the ball out to everybody and obviously running the offense from the standpoint of getting the guys lined up and ready to go and getting the calls and the communication out. It looks like he has a great control of what they're doing and a great understanding of what they're trying to do offensively. Like I said, he is doing a good job of getting the ball distributed to the open receiver.
Q:Since Joe Flacco is not a very mobile quarterback, is this a week where you emphasize trying to get the quarterback off his spot in the pocket?
MP:In general, we just have to be prepared to go out and play the situation and the call the best we can no matter what that call is. Again, this is a tough guy, extremely tough guy that can hang in the pocket and make those really good, tight throws, whether it's a three-man, four-man or five-man [front] or a blitz, he can make all those throws. We just have to do a good job in our coverage and a good job with our calls that we have to defend him.
Q:What were some of the things you took away as a coach from your time with Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees?
MP:Dean is a great coach. He obviously has a tremendous knowledge of the game and was just a phenomenal person for me to work with and learn from – just the whole aspect of the way he looked at opponents' offenses and how he coordinated the defense and just how he was able to game plan every week in the specific situations. It was really, really great to be able to work with him and learn from him.