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Conference calls: Baltimore Ravens

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Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacoo spoke to members of the Houston media via conference call.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh

(on how much better Ravens QB Joe Flacco is now than he would have been had the game been played in Week 2) "Well, you probably just look back to Week 2 or Week 3 and you probably can make a comparison and probably tell a difference. But every game kind of stands on its own two feet, so who knows how he's going to play in this next one."

(on how he explains two rookie head coaches with two rookie quarterbacks with 5-3 records) "I don't know the history of it. We don't really try to, I guess, figure too much of where things come from or anything. We're just trying to compete and do the best we can."

{QUOTE}(on what RB Ray Rice has meant to the Ravens and what he has seen in RB Steve Slaton) "Well, (Ravens RB) Ray (Rice) probably has been a little bit slower coming on than (RB Steve) Slaton. We saw in training camp - it's funny the progression of a rookie. But in the offseason and the spring, man he had so far to go in pass protections stuff and just the speed of the game and different things. He got better in training camp. Then, there was one two- or three-day stretch in training camp where he basically took every rep with the ones, the twos and the threes. He grew through that. Then, the games came along and we had (RB) Willis (McGahee) in there and we had (RB) Le'Ron (McCain) playing well, and so he works hard and waits for his opportunity. You look at Slaton, I see him being on a little bit more faster pace than Ray in the sense that he's been out there for quite a while. He's been playing lights out. He's a homerun threat. Every time he touches the ball, you worry about taking it the distances. Whether it's one of those zone runs they run where he's a one-cut guy and he hits it, or it's a screen or a swing pass out of the backfield. He's kind of the total package and he's scary."

(on what it means to have so many running backs to take the pressure of the rookie quarterback) "Well, it means a lot to have the three backs, and the thing about backs is they're going to get nicked up and you really, everyone says, 'Don't you want to have the one guy.' But backs, those reps are challenging for backs and if you're going to run the ball 25-35 times a game, it's hard for one back to do that anyway. The more players that can play, the better off we're going to be."

(on RB Willis McGahee's status) "He looks good. He has some bumps and bruises, but the fact that he didn't have to play Sunday helped him a lot."

(on if he will be able to get all three running backs the ball if RB Willis McGahee is healthy) "I don't know, we'll see. That's tactical. I can't give it away yet. We'll see how it goes."

(on if it is his philosophy to run the ball a lot or if they are doing it to help the rookie quarterback) "No, we're not doing it because of Joe. I think our philosophy is to build a foundation under all three phases. Running the football is a foundation that you have to have under your offense."

(on what he likes about QB Joe Flacco and if he is better than he expected) "Well, I don't know if we really had any expectations. Our plan was to just let him, you know just roll out the balls and let them compete for the job - probably (QB) Joe (Flacco) being the dark horse because he was the least experienced guy. We had just a crazy set of circumstances. (QB) Kyle (Boller) blew his shoulder out; couldn't go. Then, (QB) Troy (Smith) got sick with kind of an illness that took him a month and a half to get healthy from or whatever the amount was. Joe was kind of thrust into that situation. But we're very proud of the way he's responded and we sure thought when we drafted him, that he was an NFL quarterback."

(on if he worried about his lack of competition coming from a 1-AA college) "You know, we didn't really. We think bigger schools, the players from bigger schools, it's certainly a plus for the guys that come out of those schools, but we saw so many other things that we thought overrode that."

(on if Hurricane Ike disrupted their season) "You know, obviously we're not going to complain about it because we didn't have to go through nearly as much as the Texans had to go through or the people of Houston had to go through. So, we're understanding of it. We just practiced for a week. You get excited to go play a game and you get yourself emotionally prepared. Then you don't get to play. We were disappointed because we did want to play, but we didn't blame anybody for it."

(on one thing that Eagles' head coach Andy Reid influenced him with) "(Eagles head coach) Andy (Reid) has a sign behind his desk that he's had ever since the day he got there. It's just two words, it says, 'Don't Judge.' And that was something that I always looked at and finally asked him about it about five years into the deal. His basic thing was we as coaches, we evaluate all the time but everyone brings something different to the table personality-wise, culture-wise, back ground-wise, experience-wise and to just keep that in mind when you're dealing with people."

(on if it disrupted his season to have a bye in Week 2) "Well, yeah it did disrupt us in the sense that it wasn't part of our plan. You kind of layout your season and your practice formats and stuff, and we had a plan for this week to being the bye. Obviously, that had to change."

(on if it matters who is playing quarterback for the Texans with such a good defense) "Yeah, it matters in the sense that you're talking about two guys that do things a little bit differently, but we've said this all along here: We think (QB) Sage Rosenfels is a starting quarterback in the NFL. He's proven that. We think people in Houston feel that way. We think people all around the league feel that way. So, we don't think there's any drop-off at all."

Ravens QB Joe Flacco

(on if his rookie season is different than he expected) "No, it's been what I expected. It's starting to get better each week. The good thing is we're improving while winning. We're a growing offense. We're a growing team. It feels really good out there."

(on if anyone on the team doubted him because he didn't come out of a big name program) "Not that I know of. I don't know if anybody actually did or not. If they did, they didn't show me that. Ever since I've been here, they've shown nothing but confidence in me."

(on being 5-3 and how has that been and what's the key to his success so far) "It's been a lot of fun. So, up to this point, it's been a lot of fun. It's always fun when you're winning. It's a team game, and we've played well as a team and we've gotten our wins. Our defense shows up, and obviously we have the defense we have. As an offense, we're growing. We're a young offense that's getting better and better each week, and as long as we continue to do that, then the rest of the season should look pretty good for us. So, we're excited."

(on what has been the biggest adjustment into the NFL) "I don't really know. I've kind of just come in and I've just been doing what's been asked of me and what I thought was right to do and going out there and playing on Sundays, preparing myself and playing on Sundays. I really didn't know what to expect necessarily, but I don't know if anything necessarily surprised me or caught me off guard."

(on if he surprised himself because he had so much success immediately) "I didn't necessarily surprise myself. You always expect yourself to play well no matter what the expectations are. You always have your personal expectations and how you expect yourself to go out there and play each week. I don't think anybody goes out there and expects to not play well. So, I've gone out there every week and expected to play well. As long as you do that, you give yourself a chance. If you don't go out there with that mindset, then you don't even give yourself a starting chance. So, that's what I've done every week and I think it's worked out so far."

(on what he has seen from the Texans' defense on film) "They've been playing well. They've got a couple of guys upfront that are quick and going to get to the ball and they've got some tacklers. So, we're a different team then we would have been playing them eight weeks ago or however long ago it was, and they're a different team. So, it should be two teams that are coming in, and we're going to get into each other. They've been playing well. They've had a couple of close losses and some wins. They're probably looking at their last six games or so and saying, 'We should have all of them won.' But, we've got to go out there and we've got to come out and be ready to play tough. As long as we play our game, we expect to go out there and do what we've been doing. But we're going to come into their house and like I said, they're playing tough and they feel like they're a good team. So, it's going to be a battle. It's going to be a lot of fun."

(on how tough it was to have the schedule changed after Hurricane Ike) "It was a little weird, didn't really think too much about it. We kind of practiced all week and ended up not playing. So, it was kind of like a bye week but not really. You really didn't have any time to think about it. It just kind of happened. I think we're dealing with it more now than we had to deal with it back then, but I think the conditioning we've done as a team and the way we've practiced I think has prepared us for this."

(on if the bye week that early changed things) "Oh yeah. It was kind of pointless to have a bye week that early. That's kind of how it ended up working out. We're playing twenty straight weeks pretty much, but like I said, the conditioning and the way that we've practice really helps us out and we're ready to go."

(on how much it helps to have a great defense) "Anytime you have a great defense, it helps you out. It helps your whole team out. Our defense has been great for many years now. They continue to go out there week in and week out and play great football. I don't think it changes our mindset. We still want to go out there and be aggressive and play our game. But, it's definitely a plus when you have the defense that we have."

(on RB Ray Rice and the success he's had this season) "Well, (RB) Ray's (Rice) been getting better and better each week, just like we have as an offense and just like I have personally. He's a huge part of our game. I think you guys all saw what he did on Sunday and what he's capable of doing the rest of the year. So, as long as we keep him healthy and ready to go, it's going to be huge for our offense."

(on if there was a comfort zone in going to Baltimore instead of a west coast team) "I don't know. It is kind of weird when you're sitting around on draft day and you have no idea where you could go, and I end up going to Baltimore which is pretty close to where I'm from. I think the main thing was it was pretty cool for my family. They are able to get down and get to the games. I was going to be in the NFL no matter what and it was going to be a fun thing for me to do, but if nothing else, I can say it's definitely pretty cool to be able to be where I am."

(on if many big schools came after him after high school) "Just a couple. I ended up going to Pittsburgh and wasn't really playing. So, I didn't really foresee myself playing just because of the quarterback situation and just the experience I had gone through. So, to make a long story short, (I) wasn't really playing. So, I had to make up my mind where I wanted to go and Delaware ended up really being my only choice and I basically ended up having to go there."

(on why Delaware was his only choice) "I wasn't released from my scholarship from Pittsburgh, so I couldn't talk to anybody. I basically had to go and pick a school blindly not really knowing what they're situation was like and just because of Delaware's past and they could bench their quarterbacks, and the fact that my high school coach had played for the head coach at Delaware gave me a little bit of insight of my chances about going there and what kind of program they might have. So, it was my only choice. So, I had to look for reasons why I wanted to go there and it was really my only choice because I wasn't released."

(on why Pittsburgh wouldn't release him) "I don't have the answer for that one.'

(on Delaware working out for him) "Oh yeah. I wouldn't change it for anything. It was the best thing that I've done and it was a great time being there."

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