Baltimore Ravens Coach John HarbaughConference Call With New Orleans MediaWednesday, December 15, 2010
What's the weather like there?
"It's cold. It's blustery."
Have you ordered some real good Baltimore weather for Sunday?
"I'm going to say they're not too worried about the weather. They've played in it before."
When you look at the tape of the Saints defense do you see much similarity between Ray Lewis and Jonathan Vilma besides their college backgrounds?
"I don't really look at it that way. He's a real good player, the quarterback to their defense, makes all their calls, defensive signals. He's definitely one of the premier linebackers in the league."
What do you see in Vilma that makes him a Pro Bowl player?
"He runs around, makes plays, (he's) good in coverage. I don't think there are any weaknesses in his game, good downhill runner, covers a lot of ground. There aren't any weaknesses in his game."
You looked a little gassed on defense on television on Monday night. How are you getting your team ready for Sunday?
"No, we'll do what we always do. We'll be ready to go"
One of the things the Saints focused on this offseason was stopping the run and a lot of that this year includes Alex Brown. What do you see from that and what impresses you?
"I think he's a complete player. He's really athletic. I think what they do well is creating negative plays in the run game with their athleticism and their scheme. Obviously he's a big part of that. It's just a fast, athletic defense. They run to the ball, swarm, they strip the ball and create a lot of problems for an offense and he's a big part of that."
The Saints seem to be rolling on offense right now. What as a defensive-minded guy do you see they are doing well right now?
"They do everything well. They score a lot of points. I think they play great with a lead. They get up on you and they pressure you on defense and create turnovers. It's the same thing they did last year. I don't think it's any different. I just think that they're playing really well. They're one of the elite teams in the National Football League. They do a lot of things very well."
Do you see from the last couple games of trying to break down the Saints offense that Sean Payton is in a rhythm as a play-caller and that he's found the right speed for him?
"I don't know. I think you get in a rhythm when things work. Guys are executing. I think Sean's a great play-caller, but what they've done with their offense is they've built a great system, this system that accentuates their players really well. Jimmy Graham gets in there, not a guy who's played a lot of football, but he's very productive. I think that's a credit to Sean and the offensive coaches. I think they do a good job with the offensive talent, setting up the system and then executing it well. There are things they do really well. Drew Brees is similar in that there are things they do really well. Those are the staples of their offense, Sean Payton calls plays and that's what makes it work. I would say it accounts for a rhythm in play-calling."
Is Ed Reed back to being the Ed Reed we're used to seeing from a health standpoint and everything like that?
"Yes, he's healthy. He's good. He's playing very well. He has a lot of interceptions, has made a bunch of plays. He's been good."
Baltimore Ravens Safety Ed ReedConference Call With New Orleans MediaWednesday, December 15, 2010
Is there any concern about stamina with a long game and short week to deal with? Is there any cutting back on reps?
"Yes. There's always an issue with that. Hopefully we can take care of it as far as taking care of ourselves this week, getting some rest. We have to get on the off the field come Sunday, third downs, fourth downs, whatever it may be. You have to get off the field. We have some things we need to correct for Sunday just like any other team. There's always room for improvement. We know that. We've had a couple of games where we had the lead in the fourth quarter and slipped a little bit. It's part of the game. We just have to make those corrections and move forward."
As you look at tape of the Saints from the past couple weeks, do you feel that the offense has gotten into a good rhythm from the sideline or the huddle?
"They always have pretty much an explosive offense that coach (Sean) Payton has there, Drew Brees, kind of like the Patriots offense. It's like they run a play, first, second down, whatever it may be, it's a pass but it's like a run because it's underneath, but there's always an outlet or something going deep or underneath, so you just have to be conscious of techniques in what they're doing, just playing technique whether it's run or pass."
One of the things people like Ron Jaworski and some others have said the past couple weeks is that they felt like you guys as they put it have gone away from your identity late in the game. Do you by that? What is the Ravens' identity and do you think you've drifted away from it?
"When you're in games, it makes you do different things. We haven't been blitzing that much. We've been more conservative even this last game when we got the lead. That's usually when we turn it up a little bit. You just have to stick with your game plan throughout the whole game. You can't let a lead or when you're behind predict what you're going to do. It's all about your defense getting on the field too and executing. It goes together. It goes together at the end of the day. I can agree with those guys. We haven't been blitzing as much. I think it's probably down about 18 or 20 percent or so."
It seems like guys at the University of Miami have even a closer fraternity than at other schools. Do you know Jon Vilma very well?
"Yes, Vilma's my boy. Even (Jimmy) Graham, being so young, I talk to him. I was able to talk to him for the years he was there; just trying to help him understand where he was at as far as being at Miami, what we need to do as a team to play together. Jon and I were leaders of the team when we won a National Championship. Even when Jon was a freshman, how we came together and worked together as a team to win a championship, just like Jon and those guys led the Saints to the Super Bowl."
Both these teams have linebackers from Miami that are big parts of their defense, but maybe they're a little bit different type players. What do you think of Jon and Ray Lewis? What do they have in common and how are they different?
"They have a lot in common. When I first came here, Vilma was talking to Ray and he came up here and talked to Ray, very similar guys. Both are smart, both have amazing work ethic. I've worked out with both of those guys and they both have an amazing work ethic and they're the engines of their teams, the quarterback of the defense, getting the guys lined up. Jon is a great guy. I played with him for years; I've watched him for years and am a great friend of his. So, them both, different levels right now, Ray's in the 14th year of his career and Jon is definitely leaning towards that as being that Hall of Fame type guy."
You may have heard that people were talking after the Monday night game although I didn't necessarily see it that way was if this was a sign that the Baltimore defense was running out of gas?
"You'd run out of gas too if you played that many plays, If you play 90 plays in any game. Before they even get that 77-yard drive going, you have to get off the football field. We weren't able to do that. At the end of the day, we have to execute, but going into that game we knew that the Houston Texans had a very explosive offense and like I told the guys and the media even before I played them, their playbook is wide open. It's no different than these guys we have coming in, the Saints, so we knew we had some challenges. The number one stat that matters in this football league regardless of rushing, passing yards or touchdowns is the W or L. When you have more than them, when you have more W's than L's, that's the percentage you want to be in."
Counter to what people are saying, you played pretty well for three quarters against one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and your defense won it in the end for you?
"What do you think I said? W's are what matters. Coach (Butch) Davis used to say at Miami it doesn't catch up with you until it catches up with you. So, you play 70 plus plays and 80 plus plays, it cachets up with you. Teams tend to do that. I know the coaches are big on that, trying to get as many plays as they can to wear your defense down. It's about getting off the field. I don't know what the third down percentage was, but if you're not getting off the field it's got to be high. Anytime that's high, you're going to have trouble."
With the Saints having a high third down conversion rate is it going to be a similar challenge?
"Yes, big time as a secondary, defense and team as a whole. The Saints are very good at what they do and like I said Sean Payton is a great coach and that offense is everywhere. You have all kinds of threats, every different personnel group. At every type, you have to be on point. You have to be on your P's and Q's at all times. With Drew Brees back there, he's throwing the ball everywhere. You got to cover everybody."