Wednesday John Harbaugh transcript
Opening statement: "Thanks for being here. [It's a] short week, so we've crammed a lot of preparation into a few days. Our guys have done a very good job. We'll find out on Thursday night how good of a job. So, we're looking forward to playing the game on Thursday night. One announcement: ‘Tuck' [Justin Tucker] was named the [AFC's] Special Teams Player of the Week and the Special Teams Player of the Month. It's a great accomplishment – for him and for the special teams as a whole. We're very proud of that."
What was your reaction to Joe Flacco's comments? He's made it pretty clear he's not a fan of the Wildcat offense.
"My reaction would be my reaction. I'll just leave it at that. One thing about Joe [Flacco] – and I think any great player – is they want the ball in their hands. And he's always been that way. He's always felt that way. I want him to have the ball in his hands."
Does it change whether or not you will run that offense?
"We're going to do everything we can do to move the ball offensively. We've got guys that can play that we'll put on the field in different spots, wherever we feel like we need to, and all of our guys support that."
Are you going to come up with a name for it like you did a few years ago with the "Suggs Package?"
"A humorous twist? (laughter) I don't have one off the top of my head. You're catching me [off guard]. It's a little short [week] here; it's a little bit tough. I don't have anything clever; I wish I did. I would use it right away. I'm sure you guys have probably been thinking about it now for about 24 hours, so what have you got?" (Reporter: "The Joe Hates This Package.") (laughter) "I caught myself before I repeated it on camera. (laughter) I like it, though. I like it. It works."
In all seriousness, though, with that package, anytime you have your quarterback doing something beyond being behind center, how much do you have to weigh not wanting to put the quarterback in harm's way?
"You mean like not getting him hurt? Yes, it's always part of it. That's always part of it, so that's something you have to think about, certainly. All the teams that do it – you know who those teams are – I'm sure they have the same consideration. You weigh against the effectiveness of moving the ball and scoring points and all those different kinds of things against the negatives. So, that's what you do."
How has [Dennis] Pitta looked this week and is he any closer?
"He's closer – yes, he is. Dennis Pitta is closer."
Will he play? "He's closer – yes, he is. He's closer."
Do you have until tomorrow? We were asking you about whether you can activate him. Is it up until game time?
"I don't have that answer right now. I'm not being coy; I don't know. (laughter) It might be 4 p.m. today or it's 4 p.m. tomorrow – it's one of the two. It's an administrative thing."
John, we talked earlier in the week about the fans and the hype it'll be on Thanksgiving Day. [There'll] be a lot involved throwing the Steelers in there and now the symphony in there. It's going to be a great night.
"It's going to be a great night. We won't get a chance to hear the symphony live, but maybe we'll get them later. We'll be in halftime. It's going to be a great night; it's great for the fans. It's great for Baltimore – like we said before. You make a great point. It's just super for America – it's wonderful. We're proud to be a part of it. We've got our archrival coming in here, who we've got great respect for. We enjoy playing them, we know it's a tough game, and it's an important game. Really, it's what competition, the spirit of competition, the spirit of the National Football League … In my mind, it's what this country is about. Let's celebrate it. Let's celebrate it and have a great night. We're going to go out there and try to be great. That's what we're going to try to do."
I know you get this question a lot year after year, but [Ben] Roethlisberger … Beyond the statistics, what makes him so difficult to beat?
"He's a Miami (OH) guy, Miami University guy. That's his biggest deal. (laughter) You can sing Ben's [Roethlisberger] praises. We've seen it firsthand. Any Baltimore fan understands what he can do. He can throw on time, he can get out of the pocket and run, he can get out of the pocket and extend plays downfield, and they build their offense around his skills. He's been a great quarterback for many years."
John, I'm not going to try to interpret what your feelings were about Joe's comments, but is that something that you guys have grown to like of Joe? That he's not afraid to speak out and that he's strong in his convictions?
"Obviously, I would say yes to [that], but I'm really not into analyzing that right now. It's about, ‘Let's go play the game; let's be our best.'"
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