Coach Fisher's Wednesday practice report

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HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER, OCT. 1, 2008**

(On the challenges of facing Baltimore)

Well, they're numerous. They're much improved over last year, they're well coached, they're going to run the football, there's no secrets about that. The young quarterback is going to be a very good player, they've done a nice job with him. Their defense is back. Their defense is kind of reminiscent of the old days. So it's a very big challenge for us.

(On any surprises he saw watching the Ravens last Monday night)

Well, it was a very physical ball game and neither team backed down. It was about that. It was kind of what we expected; close ball game that came down to the end but very impressed with both clubs.

(On his early impressions of Joe Flacco)

Well, he sees the field very well. He's tall, he moves around in the pocket and he has the instincts to keep his eyes downfield while he's sliding in the pocket. He's not making a lot of mistakes. He's making good throws. He threw an interception a couple weeks ago and it was clear that he didn't see the defender. He's protecting the football and they're protecting him. They're going to win games with him, he's a very good player.

(On the matchup between Cortland Finnegan and Derrick Mason)

Well, it depends on where they line up [Derrick] Mase[on]. We're not going to match them up, we're just going to line up and play. Mase is off to a great start, it looks like he's in great shape and playing with a lot of energy and making a lot of plays.

(On Baltimore's running tendencies)

They just have the philosophy that they're going to try to come off the ball and cover you up. They're multiple in their run game and they have to be because they run it so much. They use unbalanced lines and they have centers playing tight ends and they don't keep any secrets. They're going to line up and just pound it.

(On if it's an advantage that Baltimore played such a long game against Pittsburgh)

It's still early in the season, I don't think so. They're not going to be thinking about their game against Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon. The players got their day off. It's the coaches typically that are under the gun on a short week but they'll work today and I'm sure they'll be ready. You're not going to see any lasting, lingering effects from their game against Pittsburgh.

(On if Kerry Collins will have to make any adjustments against Baltimore)

Well, we have to be smart. There's no telling what kind of plan we're going to get from them, you can't predict what they're going to do. You just have to be smart with protecting Kerry [Collins] and make running the football a priority.

(On if the national publicity is a good thing)

We're just going about our business. Our players are good at answering questions and we understand where our focus is. We just kind of go about the business. 4-0 is all well and good but 5-0 is our goal right now and we have to stay focused with it.

(On how hard it is to be continually tough on defense like Baltimore has been)

Well, it's hard to maintain that but they know the kind of players that they need. They've had some consistency as far as the staff is concerned, they've really only had just a couple of coordinators there. They've built this defense around the system. They pressure you up front and their secondary consists of guys that can play the ball. When you've got that combination you can be very productive.

(On if he misses some of the old AFC Central rivalries)

Yeah, they're part of the past and it's fun to reminisce about it, but we've got new ones now and we hope to continue to develop them. Going back in that stadium will bring back some special memories but both teams largely consist of new players without the memory as far as players are concerned.

(On if it's safe to say that Joe Flacco has never seen a line with players like Kyle Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth)

Well, he's seen some good fronts early in his career. Cleveland can stir it up upfront pretty good, I thought Cincinnati did a nice job up front against them. Then of course they get the week off. Pittsburgh got to him a few times but it wasn't because he held it, it's because he thought he was protected. He's got a lot of unique experience in just the three games that he's started. We're just going to line up and play.

(On if the key is to rattle Joe Flacco)

The key for their staff, which is very well equipped, is to protect him. Cam Cameron does a really good job protecting the quarterback. So what do you do? You throw it quick or you play-action and max protect and send a couple guys out and that's largely what they do.

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