Billick, Ryan Discuss Sunday's Game
Ray Lewis with DC Rex Ryan (Getty)
Ray Lewis with DC Rex Ryan (Getty)

Posted Dec 22, 2007


After Friday's practice, Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick and defensive coordinator Rex Ryan talked about their team's injury situation and the Seahawks squad they'll be facing this Sunday at Qwest Field.

Head Coach Brian Billick

On if this is “Troy Smith’s team” now: “With Kyle [Boller out] the second day, [it is a] little bit problematic for him on Sunday. So, hopefully he’ll be available to back up [Smith]. But missing two days of practice would make it tough.”

On if QB Cullen Finnerty will be moved to the active roster if it is determined Boller cannot play: “Very likely, yeah.”

On if he has ever had two QBs go down in one season: “No. I think we’ve talked about that before. I’ve certainly had it at one point, but we haven’t here. I don’t think we’ve had it here.”

On if it surprises him that two quarterbacks have suffered injuries this season: “No, no you can pretty much expect that this year.”

On if WR Mark Clayton is the emergency backup QB: “Yeah, I guess. Now having said that, he’ll get hurt. Thank you very much. Yeah, at that point, we’ll try and figure out what to do next.”

On how much Boller will be evaluating himself after traveling back from the West Coast: “That’s all part of it. First Kyle, then the doctors will say what state he’s in. They’ll be the final say. Then if they sign off on him, then certainly he knows enough of the game plan of the offense to go in and get us out of a game, but we certainly aren’t going to put him at risk.”

On if Smith will be the starter for the next two games because of Boller’s status: “[That] could very well be; you’re right. Concussions are very unpredictable and I’m certainly not an expert, so I’ll rely on the experts we have to say what and when that can change.”

On if he would ask Boller how he feels and play him based on his response: “You start with the player, but then you eventually go with the doctor. [You say], ‘OK, he says he’s OK. What do you say?’ And then the final one is me. But first the player, then the doctors.”

On how the preparation has been different for these QBs because of their youth and inexperience: “Obviously, the focus he has to bring with it [is different]. The difficulty then is he needs every single rep. But that’s OK, because Cullen Finnerty doesn’t (joking). He’ll be fine if he has to go into the game, he doesn’t need any reps all week long (laughing). So that, is really the tough one, in Cullen Finnerty, because Troy has to take every single rep. It would not be prudent not to. So Cullen’s got to pick it up visually.”

On if Smith is ready: “As ready as you’re going to be as a rookie. One thing I don’t worry about [is] he is a very strong personality. So whatever happens to him… You worry about what happens if things get ugly with him in pressures and all sorts of things, but he will fight through whatever happens. So that’s the biggest thing you worry about, but he’s a very strong-willed young man.”

On if Smith’s composure has surprised him: “He’s verbalizing things very well. He seems to understand all the concepts. It comes off his tongue very readily, which is a good sign.”

On if Seahawks DE Patrick Kerney is similar to Dolphins DE Jason Taylor: “Yeah, a little bit different. Taylor’s so long with such long arms, it’s not only his quickness as athleticism. Kerney’s just all motor and all speed, but yes, similar in the challenge that you better account for them.”

On if there is any concern with ILB Ray Lewis’ injured hand: “A guy like Ray, obviously we’ve done this a number of times, can miss a couple days. But what state the hand will be in, no, I don’t know.”


Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan

On if Seattle is now more of a pass-oriented team: “Yeah. I think when you came into the season, you would’ve thought this is going to be one of those teams that is just going to pound that running game at you and all that, but you’re exactly right. They have outstanding receivers, and for whatever reason, they don’t seem to be running the ball as effectively as they’ve done in the past. And against us, you can look in the rankings, they’re 30th in rushing average and we’re first in rushing defense. I don’t know where our pass defense is ranked, but it isn’t that good, obviously. And you know, they’re throwing it all over the place. I think last week, we ordered up that 45-mph wind that they played in last week. So hopefully, that’ll greet us there. That’ll help us.”

On Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck: “He is smart. He’s been in that system for a long time. I actually coached against him at Boston College. I think we had two picks for touchdowns against him, so that’s what I remember. That’s my story, anyway. But the guy is really a smart guy. He can make all the throws, has got a nice, big arm, has got an outstanding offensive line. Walter Jones has that group up, and he’s as good as I’ve seen outside of [Jonathan Ogden], so it’s going to be a huge challenge for us.”

On how the work ethic of ILB Ray Lewis and LT Jonathan Ogden filters down to the rest of the team: “They always are leaders, whether it’s in a meeting, whether it’s on the practice field, or on the game field. The guys are amazing players, both first-ballot Hall of Fame players. So if you can’t follow them, you’re going to have a tough time following anybody.”

On if other linebackers feel that they have to overcompensate when Lewis is out of the game: “No, I don’t think so. I think we have faith in our guys. Nick Greisen is a proven player, proven veteran, so he stepped in there and did a nice job for us. But obviously, when Ray goes down, your heart kind of [sinks], and you think, ‘Aw man, there he goes.’ So it’s not a good thing, but we’re fortunate to have an outstanding backup in Nick.”

On the performance of rookie free agent CB Willie Gaston: “Willie competed well. Overall, probably wasn’t a great game for us in the back end, obviously, but I thought Willie competed.”

On if he had any concerns starting Gaston or if he thought, “Let’s see what he can do”: “Well we have some concerns, you know? [You are] right on both things. We definitely had some concerns going in there. The guy has never started a game, but it was good to see him get his feet wet. He played against [Bengals wide receiver] Chad Johnson, so he knows no fear. He’s going to give everything he’s got out there, and hopefully this week it’ll be good enough for us.”



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