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Pat Shurmur Talks Ravens, Flacco and Replacement Refs

(Opening statement)- “We’ve got a lot to do today still. It’s a Friday schedule, but it’s also a Wednesday and Thursday schedule. We had a good walk-through, the meetings have been great and we’ll go out and really get the main practice in for the preparation. A bit of housekeeping, Ray Ventrone will be our fourth captain, which I think is fitting. He’s a tough guy, a special teams guy. He had a hand injury, fought back, played last week and I think it’s a good choice.”

(On how big of a test the Ravens are for his younger players)- “Every game is a big test. The new challenge this week of course is it’s a short week and our guys have an opportunity to play at night on national TV, but other than that each week is tough. We can talk about how good they are and I think you can go position by position and talk about how good they are. I think we are too so we’re going to go down there and battle it out.”

(On what he will stress the most to Brandon Weeden about the Ravens defense)- “I think what’s important is he’s got to play an efficient game and if we have shots that show up, we’ve got to hit on them.”

(On what differences he’s seen in the Ravens offense this season)- “I think they’ve always been an outstanding offense. Someone was trying to kind of council me up about Joe Flacco, if he’s taken the next step? I mean you’re looking at a quarterback that’s led his team to the playoffs the last four years. Ray Rice, they’ve got a veteran receiver in Anquan Boldin and then Torrey Smith. They’ve got some outstanding players and they’re playing extremely well. When you watch them play I think they’ve made an effort to become more explosive as an offense and I think that’s showed up in the first three weeks.”

(On if he is seeing Joe Flacco play better this year because he has more experience)- “I’ve always been a Joe Flacco fan. I thought he’s always been a good quarterback, a top-level quarterback in this league. There are times when I don’t understand the criticism and I don’t coach the man.”

(On if he coaches his players differently due to the replacement officials)- “Nope, we obviously coach a very aggressive style and it doesn’t matter who’s officiating the game.”

(On what his reaction to the end of the Monday Night Football game was)- “I’ve got a lot of thoughts, no comments. I didn’t see the whole game. We were here working and I just happened to catch the end of it.”

(On if it makes it easier playing a team they know personnel and scheme-wise when dealing with a short week)- “Yeah, there’s some familiarity with the Ravens and most of their players are the same as a year ago. Their schemes are very similar to what we played against last year, there are obviously wrinkles each year and again their offense is a little bit more wide open, I think that’s fair to say.”

(On if he has seen more aggressive play with the ‘substitute teacher’ theory and possibly being able to get away with a little bit more)- “I remember the substitute teacher. I don’t know if that’s the case with the officials, I don’t see it that way. I do remember the substitute teacher thing though pretty well, but I wouldn’t characterize them as the same.”

(On how the rookie defensive tackles are coming along)- “I think they’re playing hard. I think you see Billy Winn flash his athleticism. He shows up and he finds a way to make plays. I think John Hughes has done a good job too. He’s had some really good snaps in there so I think those guys are giving us good play.”

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