Conference call: Ravens head coach John Harbaugh


(On what Ray Lewis told him about the Titans-Ravens rivalry)

Nothing specific, just that it used to be a real intense rivalry when both teams were in the same division, which I kind of knew. I mean most people know that.

(On his impressions of the Titans-Ravens rivalry before becoming head coach)

It was a tense, division rivalry. I always respected it. Two very physical teams and all that stuff, I always respected the rivalry.

(On how important Derrick Mason has been for Joe Flacco and what Flacco'sdevelopment would have been like without Mason)

Well, I mean I haven't even thought about what it would be like without him becausewe've had him. He's been very important as you pointed out. Derrick is a pro in every sense, he spends a lot of time with Joe and they spend a lot of time together. I just think he's been a very reliable target for Joe and that's probably pretty important for a rookie quarterback.

(On if possession-style receivers like Derrick Mason are undervalued)

Well, I tell you what, they're certainly not undervalued by us. Derrick Mason is very highly valued by the Ravens and I think anybody that knows anything about football and really studies wide receiver play understands what a really good player he is. And you're right, sometimes the big, physical, straight-line guys get all the attention but Derrick is just a tremendous route runner and obviously has tremendous hands, a receiver by every definition and we're proud that he's here. He's done a great job.

(On if they got lucky in the first Titans-Ravens matchup with Kyle Vanden Bosch out and Albert Haynesworth missing most of the game)

I wouldn't have any comment on that.

(On having to plan for Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch this weekend)

Well, you always have to account for great players. We certainly anticipate that they'll be back and we have a great deal of respect for both of them and really all the Titans players.

(On how Le'Ron McClain and Willis McGahee play off each other's running styles)

They don't really play off each other but I think they're both threats. They both have similar styles really because they're both very physical backs, they run hard, north-south style guys so they kind of complement each other in that sense I guess.

(On using McClain and McGahee to give the defense different looks)

They really don't give the defense different looks. We basically run the same plays with them so it ends up being the same offense.

(On if he would say that McClain is more of a power back compared to McGahee being a speed guy)

I wouldn't see it that way.

(On stopping the Titans run game)

Well, yeah I mean those are the ball carriers. We think they're both really good. Each has a unique strength. Everybody wants to talk about how one guy runs outside and one guy runs inside but when you watch the tape and you find they're both capable of really carrying the full load of their offense in kind of a similar way. They just run the same offense with both those two guys and they both apply their talents very effectively.

(On if the Titans defense does anything particularly well to have the best field goals allowed percentage)

Well they rush really well. They do a great job with their edge pressure, probably as good as anybody in the league, and they've got some big physical guys inside that play really hard and bring it. I think they pressure the field goal kick unit very well.

(On Matt Stover being used to tough situations)

Well, we think a lot of our kicker no doubt about it. He's one of the best.

(On things he's learned about Ray Lewis since coming the Ravens)

I've been asked that a lot and I didn't know Ray Lewis [before], except from afar. Having gotten to know him personally and as a colleague and going to work with him everyday, I would just say I admire him tremendously. He's a great leader, he's a tremendous pro, very passionate, a man of faith. I just have a great deal of admiration for him.

(On Ray Lewis' level of preparation)

Well, it's the mental preparation and it's the physical preparation. I think he keeps himself in great shape, he takes care of himself physically and studies the game with the best of them. I hope all of our young guys emulate Ray Lewis and if they do, they've got a chance to have a great career too.

(On Kevin Mawae's effectiveness as a veteran center despite not being the ideal size)

Well, he's really tough, really tenacious, obviously very experienced and I think he understands blocking schemes and angles. But I wouldn't say that he's not anything else. To me, he's still physical, he's still very strong and he doesn't look like he's lost too much physically to us. We've got a lot of respect for him.

(On if they saw enough of Leroy Harris this year to be ready to face him if Mawae can't play)

Well, we're going to have to. He's obviously a real quality player, they've got a lot of confidence in him and we're going to have to prepare for him as well.

(On how Troy Smith has worked within their offense)

Well, it's really helped us. Troy, we think he's going to be a quality starter in the NFL, we think he's that kind of player. We don't have any doubt about it. We see him everyday in practice and it's helped us. We wish we'd been able to get him on the field even more. He's a very talented guy.

(On if they've used Smith more as the season has gone on)

I don't know, we'd have to go back and look at the numbers. It's been kind of an up and down deal but we try to use him as much as we can and we'd like to use him as much as we can.

(On if playing Miami twice this year had any effect on their running some of the Wildcat formation)

It had no impact at all.

(On if the Titans have used Bo Scaife this year similar to the way they used to use Derrick Mason as a third-down threat)

Well, in that sense, yes. He obviously plays a different position. We think he's a heck of a receiver but he's a pretty well-rounded tight end as well. He's a guy you have to account for in every situation but especially when you're trying to convert.

(On if he thinks players care about the heartbreak Titans fans felt after the playoff loss to the Ravens in 2000 or if that's just a fan story)

You know, I think every player and coach has probably, if you've been in the NFL or really even coaching or playing long enough at different levels, you kind of have history like that. We had that history in Philadelphia. The Ravens players have had that history with Indianapolis a couple years ago. That stuff sticks in the back of your head but it really doesn't apply to this next game. The next game stands on its own merit so I don't think guys will be thinking too much about that.

(On if he expects a close game)

We just don't have any expectations like that. We don't even spend any time thinking about it, we just try to get ready to play. We have enough to worry about without trying to predict what the score's going to be.

(On how dangerous Kerry Collins can be when he has time in the pocket)

Well, he's dangerous. He's dangerous even when you pressure him because he can get the ball out and is very accurate. Obviously he's having a great year.

(On if they think they won't have many chances to sack Collins)

We don't really concede that we can't get to any quarterback. We just feel like we have to pressure a quarterback and get off the field on third down and that's what we need to try to do. That's it.

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