We just got out of a 26 minute press conference with Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who graciously took question after question about his team's loss to the Steelers on Saturday, the season as a whole, and how the team will prepare for the offseason.
Here are the major points from the presser (other than the news that Cam Cameron will return as offensive coordinator and that Harbaugh will soon be receiving a contract extension) with quotes and much more information soon to come:
- Harbaugh acknowledged that given the lack of a new CBA, this offseason is a little "uncertain". He's not sure exactly how the process will work when it comes to signing free agents and improving the roster with a lockout looming, but said the Ravens will make it a priority to get as many of their unrestricted free agents back as they can.
- Without giving any guarantees, Harbaugh said he believes that safety Ed Reed wants to play next season. He said Reed would be healthier entering next year than he has been in a while, and he thinks "Ed's going to have a great season."
- To get over the hump and beat the Steelers in big games, Harbaugh said the Ravens can't continue to turn the ball over and give the game away. Harbaugh also said that winning the division (and locking up a home game in the playoffs) needs to be a priority.
- Harbaugh said that the loss to the Steelers was an incredibly tough one on him and the players. Harbaugh couldn't sleep last night, so he came in to Ravens HQ before 4 a.m. this morning. The final team meeting today was a really "tough" one, Harbaugh said.
- The most important thing regarding rookie linebacker Sergio Kindle for this offseason, Harbaugh says, is that he continues to heal from his fractured skull. Harbaugh said Kindle also needs to mature a bit, and believes there's a possibility that Kindle plays for the Ravens next season. "I can't say there's high hopes, but there's a chance," Harbaugh said.
- Harbaugh will "keep his fingers crossed" that veteran center Matt Birk and wide receiver Derrick Mason will not choose to retire and will return next season. Both Birk and Mason have said that they'll think over their options this offseason, although retirement doesn't necessarily sound like a serious option for either guy.
- "I don't blame Le'Ron (McClain)" for wanting to go somewhere where he'll be more involved in the offense, Harbaugh said. Still, the Ravens' coach thinks that there's a "chance to a good chance" that McClain will re-sign with the team.
- Harbaugh is confident that the Ravens "are going to be a top-notch offense" at some point soon, despite offensive struggles at times this year.
- He obviously isn't a part of the CBA negotiating process, but Harbaugh said he thinks all 16 games will be played next season.
- Harbaugh expects contracts for kicker Billy Cundiff and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to be worked out. The Ravens are currently negotiating with Cundiff's agent, while Harbaugh hopes Ngata "will be a Raven for life".
- Talking about the offensive line, Harbaugh believes that Michael Oher has all the talent needed to be a quality left tackle in this league. He also said that Jared Gaither (on IR with a back injury) was at the team meeting today, and the Ravens are not giving up on the chances of re-signing the free agent tackle.