HEAD COACH AND GENERAL MANAGER BILL O'BRIEN
What is the key for players and coaches to bounce back from a loss?
"I don't know. I think you learn a lot in the first game, especially this one. Obviously there were some good things in the game – obviously not enough, but there were a lot of things to build on. But at the end of the day when you look at the game, there were 20 missed tackles, too much inconsistency on offense. Special teams was OK. We need to really just have a great week. One day at a time. We need to have a great day today and have a great Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and be ready to go."
What has happened to the run defense over the last 10 games and what can you do to fix it?
"I think we just need to do – everybody just needs to do their job better. I think that every offense is different so with what the Chiefs were doing is different than what the Ravens are going to do but it still comes down to playing your gap and doing what the call dictates you to do, and then you've got to make the tackle. We missed too many tackles. We missed 20 tackles in the game. The Chiefs missed tackles too but not as many as we did. In the end we have to tackle better, we have to play our gap better and we just need to do a more consistent, better job at defending the run."
How is RB Duke Johnson doing and if he won't be available what do you think about your depth off the practice squad?
"Duke is day to day. Duke's a tough guy. He'll see how it feels today and then you have like an extra day or so because of the Thursday game, so that's a good thing. We'll see how he's doing as the week progresses. We feel good about the depth we have. We have some other guys there that could step up if Duke couldn't go."
What are your thoughts on the development of OLB Jacob Martin?
"Jacob plays hard. He's got good pass rush ability. He has a really quick first step. The best part about Jacob is the type of person that he is and how hard he plays. He plays fast. He plays every play relentlessly. He just gives great effort on every play and because of that he improves. He gets better and better within our system and I'm glad we have him."
Do you think the nature of the offseason will have an impact on how quickly the league adjusts to the Ravens given their style of play and that teams didn't get a full offseason to prepare for that sort of style?
"These offenses are very unique, in many ways like our offense. The Ravens offense is very different than the Chiefs. There's absolutely no comparison to what they do. They just use different personnel. They run totally different types of plays. Lamar (Jackson) is an excellent player. (Mark) Ingram the back, Hollywood (Marquise) Brown, the tight ends. They've got a lot of weapons. Good offensive line. Like I said, we're going to have to have a great week. Our scout team is going to have to do a great job of giving a really good look and we're going to really have to play a very disciplined game. We weren't disciplined enough on defense on Thursday night. We have to be more disciplined and play a more disciplined game."
Do you think that QB Deshaun Watson needs more time with his new wide receivers or do changes need to be made in the offense?
"No, it's only one game. We moved the ball. We moved the ball, too little too late. We need to have a good week of practice and just keep trying to get better."
What did you see from QB Deshaun Watson this week in areas he did well and areas he can improve in?
"I thought he played a very tough game. He played an aggressive, confident game. He got us into the right plays. He was able to adjust protections. I just thought overall he played a good football game. I think there's always areas for everybody to improve and I'll just keep those between myself and the players. I wouldn't really get into all that with the media. I think he played a good football game, a solid game, and because of his work ethic he's going to continue to get better and better. And the work ethic of the guys around him, they're going to get better and better."
Can you talk about what TE Jordan Akins brings to the offense and the potential for him to get more involved in the passing game?
"Yeah, I mean, he caught a touchdown pass. He had a good catch there in the two-minute drive there at the end of the half. He's a good player. He's a good player and he plays a lot for us. He'll always be in the lineup as long as he's healthy. He works hard. He's gotten better as a football player in all areas, special teams included, since he's been here. Good route runner. Strong player. Strong runner with the ball in his hands so, yeah he's always a factor in our offense."
Do you anticipate DT P.J. Hall getting more playing time against the Ravens?
"P.J. did some good things. He did, he did. Let's see how it goes this week. Different scheme. But yeah, P.J. definitely showed up on Thursday night and made a few plays. That were good to see. So, let's see if we can build on that this week in practice and just keep going."
Your defense did not give up many big plays against the Chiefs. What do you have to do to limit big plays by the Ravens?
"The thing about it is, you're right, we didn't give up big pass plays but we gave up 160 yards rushing. I think they had the ball for 19 minutes in the first half and some of that has to do with the offense, too. We've got to stay on the field too on offense. It'll be a different plan. It's a totally different offense. You saw yesterday where they're able to run the ball. Lamar (Jackson) is just, he's really good at running the football. He can throw the ball. He threw a deep shot to 'Hollywood' (Marquise) Brown. We're just going to have to do a good job of making sure, like I said, that we get the call, we execute the call, everybody does their job, everybody knows where their key players are. We're just going to have to do as good a job as we can. They've got a really good offense and we're going have to obviously play better than we did against the Chiefs. But it'll be a different type of plan."
Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn mentioned that he did not want to be too loud on the sidelines without fans so that the other team could not hear him. Is that something you have considered?
"We thought about that. We've thought about that a lot. It's a good question. I think that it's more about the players on the field with the different language that we use on the field – code words, cadence, defensive calls, whatever it is. I think it's more about that then it is what the coach is yelling from the sideline. We have masks on, and I don't know how much they hear us even when there are no fans in the stands. I definitely see what Coach Lynn is saying but I think it's more about what's going on, on the field because when there are no fans in the stands, the other side of the ball can hear everything that's being said. So, we just have to be aware of that."
What does it mean to lose a coach like Mike D'Antoni in Houston?
"It's tough. It's tough. I don't know everything that was going on there. I don't know anything about that organization, but I do know that Mike D'Antoni is a great coach. I'm actually friends with him. I'm friends with Jeff Van Gundy and I respect Jeff Van Gundy's opinion on basketball. I remember Jeff telling me one time that Mike D'Antoni is one of the smartest basketball coaches he's ever met. It's tough. I think he was 100 games over .500. I don't know. In this day and age, it is what it is. You have to win. If you don't win a championship, then it is what it is. But Mike's a great guy. He's a great person. He used to come visit us up in Greenbrier when we practiced in Greenbrier. He has a place up there. Just a really good guy. His wife's really nice, so all the best to him and I'm sure he'll have a job here in a heartbeat."
What did you think about RB David Johnson's performance on Thursday night?
"He's a good player. He's a very good player. He's a good runner. He's good in the passing game. I think there's a lot of things that he probably feels like, 'You know what? I can do this better and that better.' He really hadn't played in a long time, just like a lot of guys. He's a good player. He's big. He's strong. He's a great guy. Awesome guy to coach, always looking to get better. So yeah, we're glad we have him."
How do you feel about WR Brandin Cooks moving forward?
"Definitely feel better about where we are from that standpoint of where he was injury-wise and again, I think it's something we'll monitor throughout the week. But I feel like he's on the upswing. He'll be able to practice more and things like that."
How much have you been able to learn from the few games Baltimore lost last season?
"Yeah, very few games, though. You definitely are watching all of the games because you only have one game to go off of this year – yesterday's game. You've got to go back and review all the games. Obviously, the game we played against them, every game, their playoff games, their regular season games. You're always just thinking about how they are going to attack you in all three phases. How do they see you? They may see you differently than they see Pittsburgh or differently than Cleveland. That's something that we have to do a good job of. That's every week. That's every week. How are they seeing you relative to how you play your style of play. In order to do that, you have to watch all the games. We're grinding through that and will come up with a good plan. We just have to go out there and execute it."
WR BRANDIN COOKS
How is your quad feeling after Thursday's game against the Chiefs and do you feel like there is a lot to build on from the first game?
"I feel good. I think there is a lot to build on. I think at the end of the day when you come back to it and you look at the film, in this league it's all about the little details. Those are the things that we just got to get back to this week. I think that's what we're doing. We started off today having a great day and we've just got to continue to build on it."
How much did you feel like timing was a factor with the new offensive players playing together for the first time?
"I think at the end of the day we've played so much football, I don't think it had that big of an impact on our game. At the end of the day, I think it was just other things that we've got to hone in and focus in on. The timing will come, and I think it's been there. We just have to keep working like I said at the little details and I think everything else will take care of itself."
Do you feel like your chemistry with QB Deshaun Watson is at a similar place to other quarterbacks when you have changed teams?
"I think we're hitting on those same lines as well."
How much confidence do you have going into Sunday's game against Baltimore after playing your first game with the team?
"I'm confident. [I was] confident going into last game. I think going into this game, we've got that same confidence. But at the end of the day, we've got to execute throughout the week so you can continue to keep that. I think we'll definitely do that."
What do you see from the Ravens secondary?
"You talk about a secondary, those guys are playing at a high level. M.P. (Marcus Peters) has always been playing at a high level since he entered the league and same thing with (Marlon) Humphrey. Jimmy's (Smith) played a lot of football, and then the back end at the safeties. You're talking about guys that are disciplined and play great team ball on that side of the ball. We also have to understand we have to be disciplined as well going against a secondary like that."
Are there any conversations about what the team will do this Sunday surrounding the national anthem?
"That's a question for Coach OB (Bill O'Brien)."
How was it seeing QB Deshaun Watson in a game in comparison to watching him on tape?
"At the end of the day, the same thing matches up with what I see on film. The guy plays fast. He's real decisive. His competitive nature is out of this world. The guy never stops and the play is never over, so you've got to respect that coming from your QB."
How weird will it be to play at home in front of no fans?
"Everyone else is pretty much dealing with it, so honestly I haven't been thinking about it. At the end of the day, it's just thinking about going out there and playing good football. It's sad. We love our fans, don't get me wrong, but with everything going on we all have to adjust. Just blessed to continue to play this game and still having gameday on Sunday. So yeah, I'm excited."
Was there on thing you could point to that was off about the offense against Kansas City?
"Like I said earlier, details, little details. That's as a whole, all of us, myself included. Just got to get back to the details and the fundamentals and the basics."
RB DAVID JOHNSON
How did you feel in your first game with the Texans and how are you looking to build on that successful debut?
"I felt great. I felt great being out there and our line did a great job blocking for me. It made my job a lot easier. Moving forward I can't wait to get going. Really, I just build on it. Breaking more tackles. I think to myself I still had a couple more yards I left on the field and I've just got to improve on that aspect. And then just in the passing game, a couple routes I wish I could've got back where Deshaun (Watson) was looking for me and I just ran the wrong route. So, continue to correct those mistakes and building from that."
How encouraged were you by your performance against Kansas City considering you hadn't played with this team before?
"Like you said, practice is not as intense and obviously there's no tackling, so the game is a lot different. We can get the techniques down but especially for me where I'm running the ball, blocking and breaking tackles play a big emphasis obviously in the game compared to in practice. That was the thing I was getting – I was geared and excited to get out there because there was no preseason, so we didn't really get a chance to actually go through a real game mentality and being physical up front and running the ball. It felt great getting out there and hopefully continuing the success on the run game."
When you joined the team you talked about the chip on your shoulder and the determination, what was this like emotionally to have a good game and to show what you were talking about in the offseason?
"Ultimately, like you said, we didn't get the win, so it's not as enjoyable as I wish it could have been and like I said, I definitely could've helped us a little bit more. It did feel good being out there running the ball well and I didn't really even get that many carries just because of the situation. I felt like, for me, I was very pleased with just the beginning. This is the first game really. No preseason games. This is the first game where we actually got to go out there and run the ball with tackling and stuff. I was very pleased, and I think for me, I think there's a lot that we can definitely build on, especially for myself. I feel like it's definitely a positive thing from last week."
How impressed were you by QB Deshaun Watson and what is it like playing with him so far?
"It's a whole different story from watching. I was very impressed just watching from the outside looking in just watching film and stuff when we played the Texans in previous years. Now that I'm teammates with him and just to see his composure for one, he's always seeming like he's knowing what he's doing. He always seems like he has the command and control of the offense in the game. Honestly, he never seems like he's too anxious. He knows what to do in every situation and for me to see that and his poise in the pocket, running the ball, knowing what to do and changing the plays depending on what the defense does, it's been really good to see. I feel like for him he's still young and I feel like he definitely still is going to be able to continue to do even more for us and going forward for the offense as well."
What is the adjustment period like for you in the pass protection or when you're running routes with a guy like QB Deshaun Watson who is so good at improvising?
"For me that's the thing, just being in front of my man. He can move so quick and his feet are so good, he has good balance that I just got to stay in front of him. I don't necessarily have to stonewall him or push him all the way back to the sidelines. I hope to do that but with a guy like Deshaun he can be able to move around the pocket and keep his eyes downfield and throw the ball as long as I'm in front of the guy and don't let the guy get a free run at him."
A lot of defenders have said it will take some time to get used to tackling again. Is that something you got a feel for when you were running the ball?
"I would say that tackling – since there was no preseason games and I don't know what the other teams did, other defense did as far as if they tackled or had a scrimmage or anything. Just from me watching games, not just ours, but games around the league this weekend, I can tell that tackling – they kind of just have to get back into the groove of things and get calloused to tackling I guess."
What are your overall impressions of what the Ravens do in the running game?
"Honestly, I don't watch too much of their run game. I'm more or less worried about their defense and keying in on the defense. Obviously, everyone knows about Lamar (Jackson) and Mark (Ingram II) and that they're good runners first and they're hard runners. Also, I think it's J.K. (Dobbins), he's a good runner as well. Everyone knows how good they are as just a running offense in general."
What would you say was the most difficult thing about adjusting to a new team? Also, was it more difficult to adjust without preseason games?
"I would say the most difficult thing, I think, is the communication and getting connected and being in sync with the o-line as far as how they block, and then with the quarterback handing the ball off. Just as far as the offense, knowing the offense. I think that might be the toughest thing. Being in sync with everyone, knowing how the guys up front block so I can run through the hole the right way or how they are going to block it, everything like that. It was definitely tough. We first off didn't have OTAs. That's really important for a guy who's getting traded or being on a new team is going through OTAs because that's a great mental thing to go through and learning the plays because you got so many months before the first game. So, I think that was the toughest thing is just that we didn't even get to meet during OTAs. We had to do Zoom. I feel like for me, I learn better in person, walkthroughs and practice and things of that nature."
How important is it to improve pass protection this week against Baltimore?
"I think for me just personally, I've got to make sure I know what I'm doing. I only had one blitz pick up against Kansas City, and so I know with the Ravens I think they said they blitz like 80 percent of the time or something. For me, I know I've got to do my job and worry about what my responsibilities is and worry about keeping Deshaun (Watson) upright. I've got to know how to scan and everything like that against this exotic defense. Like you said, they have pretty good up front guys. One of my guys Calais (Campbell), I can't wait to battle against him."
Do you think the first two games of the season will be a good measuring stick to compare where you all are at as a team?
"Most definitely. I think the league definitely front-loaded the schedules and we have a pretty tough schedule. Like you said, going against the defending champions and then against the Ravens whose always been up there with Lamar (Jackson) in the playoffs and stuff. I think it's going to be a good measurement for our team. I think we have a great team. I know we have a great team. We've just got to correct the little things, for me as well. I've got a lot of stuff to improve on. Like you said, the last game was my first real game, no preseason, so I still have a lot to improve on."