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Ravens Day 2 Minicamp Transcripts

Posted Jun 14, 2017

RAVENS DAY 2 MINICAMP: PODIUM TRANSCRIPTS

Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Marty Mornhinweg, Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees, Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris, LB Kamalei Correa, WR Jeremy Maclin & G Marshal Yanda

Special Teams Coordinator/ Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg

What are the most important things that a kid like P Kenny Allen can get out of this experience? (Childs Walker) “Kenny Allen is working here with three of the best specialists in the league. Every day he is going to school. He’s had a long way to go, but he’s really making good progress. The reason he’s making good progress is because he really works at it. He’s working at it in every meeting, watches film analytically, and he listens to his veteran specialists – Sam [Koch] in particular, since Kenny is a punter. Sam has been particularly beneficial to him. Sam is secure in his own mind, so what he’s teaching is valuable. Kenny is talented; that’s why we brought him here. We look forward to having Kenny do a lot of things for us in training camp. One of the reasons we brought him here is because he was a punter and a kicker in college. He is focusing on punting [now], but he’s also able to help us with field goals. We hope to get him in a game sometime. We have an expression in the specials team room: ‘The more you can do.’  It’s a classic example of that, right there.”

Can P Kenny Allen be a good punter and kicker if you need him? (Stan White) “He’s trying to be a punter. You can be a serviceable kicker, but there hasn’t been a guy that’s done that for a long time. Michael Koenen tried to do it for a while down in Atlanta, but the load is too much. About the best you can hope for is a punter that can kick off well, in my view. Kicking field goals and being a 90-percent field goal kicker is a huge job in and of itself.”

Is that what you told the free agent kickers when they come in, though, that this is the best “school” you could ever come to? (Childs Walker) “I’ll let others decide what the best school is, but we just point toward the guys that have been here and the success they’ve had and let that take care of itself. They typically call the guys that have been here, and that’s helpful.”

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Marty Mornhinweg

Opening statement: “Great offseason so far. We’ve got one full day left, and the rookies are going to stay for just a little bit. Guys have been working hard – working hard, great preparation. We have some guys in the house. I just saw Dennis Pitta in the house; he looks great. Marshal Yanda, Jeremy [Maclin] … Quite a little bit of excitement around here for the last couple of days. The performance has been excellent all offseason. We’re always chasing that perfection. We need to tie up some things here, on some of our alignment and assignments. Other than that, it’s been outstanding all offseason, and we’ll finish off strong tomorrow. Questions?”

What was your initial reaction with WR Jeremy Maclin coming here, and that reunited face you had with him on the field? (Morgan Adsit) “I was excited. I saw him first, yesterday, in the walk-through. He came out after practice. I’m excited about it. I hope he’s excited about it. I think he is. The man’s a fantastic player, fantastic person. He, along with the players that we have, will be an outstanding mix.”

What did you say to recruit WR Jeremy Maclin? (Ryan Mink) “We talked for a little bit. It didn’t need to be long, because we know each other inside and out. I hope that was a good thing.”

Steve Bisciotti answered the question last night, so I’ll put it to you. If you could add someone to the offensive side, would it be another wide receiver or an offensive lineman? (Jeff Zrebiec) “As you know, I typically don’t talk personnel. Ozzie [Newsome] and John [Harbaugh], that’s their responsibility to speak about that. However, I know this: If there’s a really good player out there, I know that Ozzie and his staff, and John, will do an outstanding job evaluating and making choices.”

What’s your familiarity with WR Jeremy Maclin? What kind of impact can he have with this style of receiver? (Jamison Hensley) “He’s gifted, talented. He’s smart. He’s natural. He’s smooth. He has outstanding hands. He’s tough. He has a lot of great qualities. The one that popped into my mind first when you asked the question was consistency. He plays at a high level, consistent basis. He plays like a Raven. That’s the way we want to play. He’s a physical dude.”

Marty, how has it been working with senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach Greg Roman, knowing his past and what you guys want to do? (Luke Jones) “Greg has done an outstanding job – fine, fine football coach. [We’re] glad to have him here. All of our coaches … Joe D. [D’Alessandris, offensive line coach] has done a fantastic job. The assistant coaches have been working hard and preparing hard. We have a lot of time with them during this minicamp – just outstanding.”

What was it like seeing former TE Dennis Pitta out here today? (Ryan Mink) “I just saw him in the building, and I was a little surprised. It must’ve been yesterday or the day before that I called or texted him. Then wait a week or 10 days and then holler at him to check on him. Then all of a sudden, he’s in the building. He’s a fast healer. He might be out here in the walk-through tonight.” (laughter)

What was your reaction to the draft? The Ravens kept drafting defensive player, after defensive player. (Bo Smolka) “It seems like that was a year ago. I know it was only a brief period of time. I’m trying to think back. It appeared that we were taking the very best players, and a couple of times it seemed to me that the defensive player that we took was so good, that we needed to take that player – period. I’m all for getting the best player no matter [what]. There’s so many ways you can acquire players. There’s other ways to acquire offensive players, which we just recently have. I’m all about building the football team. Let’s go. Let’s get the best guys in here and best players we think will play like Ravens – tough, physical, fast – those types of things.”

Just overall, where do you think the offense is at now, and how much further ahead is it because you are starting with them at the beginning? (Ryan Mink) “I think the fellas have done a great job, [along with] the assistant coaches with their hard work. So yes, it looks like we’re getting there. You never quite get there, because you’re always chasing to be great and to be greater. That’s where we’re at. Guys are working hard, though, with great preparation up to date.”

Can you talk about what Greg Roman has brought to your group – in terms of high intensity and working together, perspective and scheme? (Garrett Downing)We just talked about that. He’s an outstanding coach. We’re very much alike that way, especially in the run game. He’s kind of taken that thing and running with it. He’s done an outstanding, outstanding job.”

Marty, could you tell RB Lorenzo Taliaferro is a fullback going forward? (Jeff Zrebiec) “I don’t want to get too much into it, but yes. He can also play the halfback spot moving forward as well. The more you can do, the more valuable you are. This is going to be exciting to see him in training camp, because he’s going to spend most of his time at that fullback spot. That’s a little bit of position change for him. We’ve got to get a great evaluation, he has to get comfortable there, and then we know he can also play halfback, as well. That may end up being an important part for him.”

Speaking of fullbacks, what’s been your impression on FB Ricky Ortiz? (Callie Caplan) “Outstanding, up to date. Now, I’ve just talked to him, in fact, coming off the field, because he’s done an outstanding job. We need to tie some things together. Whether they’re a veteran or a rookie, if we have that mentality of getting better every day, then good things tend to happen. Those things are happening for him.”

Marty, you lost two veteran starters on the offensive line this season. Are you confident with the internal options you have being up to the task of filling those roles? (Luke Jones) “The best way to explain it is … We’ve got some really good players up front – some really, really good players. There are a couple of unknowns right now. Now, who will fill those spots and play at a high level? We want them playing at a high level, OK? I think there are several players on our football team, from the inside, that could come in and play at a high level. Certainly, there might be a chance to go outside, but there always is at every position. I think we’ve got the players in-house. Now, we’ve got to get better every day. That could do a fine thing for us up front. The good thing about that is there’s great competition at several spots.”

Could you just elaborate on that? What have you seen from T James Hurst at right tackle and what have you seen other than that? (Ryan Mink) “James Hurst has had a very good camp. He’s going to be a consistent player. I’m comfortable with him. Again, we’re always chasing to get better and better. At center, we’ve had three different players look at it – great competition there. There’s some competition at the tackle spot, as well. All of them have done an excellent job. Training camp and into the preseason is where you get your best evaluations; you’ve got the pads on.”

What do you have at receiver with WR Mike Wallace, WR Breshad Perriman and now WR Jeremy Maclin? How much more do you think you’ll be able to stretch the field? I don’t think you did as much as you wanted last year. (Jamison Hensley)Chris Moore, and others, have an opportunity to make our team and help us, both offensively, defensively and on special teams. Those are some very, very good players. Everybody has different strengths, so you try to put some of these guys in positions where they can have some success. That’s sort of my job, and I take it seriously.”

Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees

How is that inside linebacker position going? (Stan White) “It is going well. Kamalei [Correa] is working hard in there and with C.J. [Mosley] out and guys are getting a lot of reps that might have gotten less reps in OTAs and minicamp. But, that is actually good. We have some great competition in there, and I really like the way those guys are working.”

What improvements have you seen from LB Kamalei Correa? (Ryan Mink) “Just the fact that we have kind of honed him into one spot, and he is really working hard at that and really learning that spot. I think he has been moving around great. You can never know about the running game too much in OTAs and minicamp, because you do not have pads on; you have to be really careful and not be banging people. But, as far as where he fits and knowing his responsibilities and assignments and all that kind of stuff, I am very, very pleased with him at this point.”

How about your rookie pass rushers, OLB Tyus Bowser and OLB Tim Williams? You cannot tell a whole lot right now with the lack of contact, but what stands out? (Ryan Mink) “I think that Timmy may be a little more [ahead of] than Tyus right now, because Tyus is also learning how to play linebacker and pass rush. He has kind of been mixing both of them, which is a little more on his plate than Timmy. But, I think both of them are going to be … Both of them are going to – I think – potentially really help us. Again, when you really cannot have contact and you are just doing everything based off of movement and speed and getting off the ball and that kind of thing, [it is hard to tell]. But in all those things, they look great.”

Do you see a possibility of OLB Terrell Suggs taking these guys under his wing and showing them the ropes? (David Ginsburg) “He already has. Suggs has been a leader on this defense [a long time]. I think sometimes people didn’t always see it with Ray [Lewis] and Ed [Reed] around, but he was a leader even when those guys were here. I used to have a meeting every Wednesday morning, and the four guys that I had a meeting with back then were Ray, Ed, Suggs and Haloti [Ngata]. That is a pretty good group; I should have taken a picture. (laughter) But, I have always looked at him as a leader. Well now he is the only remaining guy out of that group, and he is taking these guys under his wing. He is just doing a great job with them.”

OLB Terrell Suggs has a reputation of joking and he talks loud, but do you think that maybe his football skills are overlooked by some? (David Ginsburg) “Not only his football skills, [but also] his football intelligence. This guy is a smart, smart. I would say he is one of our smartest defensive players, if not the smartest defensive player we have. Do not kid yourself about all the joking around and all of that kind of stuff – he has fun. The guy comes out here to play and do a profession where he has fun every day, and he is going to make it fun. You can really tell a difference in our types of practice when he is here and when he is not here. It is more fun for me when he is here, too. But, when it is time to be serious, there is nobody more serious. There is really nobody smarter on this defensive football team than Terrell Suggs.”

You have DE Brent Urban and DE Bronson Kaufusi both maybe moving into a larger role this season. What have you seen from them? (Bo Smolka) “There’s great competition right now between those two. Kaufusi has made great strides, because I see him starting to fill out a little bit and get a little bigger, a little stronger. He had that year off, which didn’t help him that way, but it did help him in the weight room in some cases. He plays with such a high motor, and Brent really played a lot of good football for us last year even filling in there with Lawrence Guy. What I like about this … I was talking to somebody earlier, [and I was saying] I think we have enough veteran leadership with certain guys with [Eric] Weddle and Tony [Jefferson] and [Lardarius Webb] ‘Webby,’ Suggs and Jimmy [Smith] – those guys. But then we also have this young group that are a bunch of guys kind of fighting for competition that have roles and we can [put them in] roles. They don’t have to play 60 snaps in there; they can play 30 or 35 and play on special teams for Jerry [Rosburg] and be very effective. I like that. I think that we have a really great mix of some veteran leadership and some young puppies that are really practicing hard.”

What was the game plan like when you used to prepare for WR Jeremy Maclin? What were some of the things that struck you when you watched film? (Pete Gilbert) “Well, he was always a guy you wanted to double. He was a little bit like ‘84’ [Antonio Brown] from Pittsburgh and certain guys you always get. When they are slot players – especially guys that will play in the slot – you are always looking to double him.”

Can CB Marlon Humphrey play in the slot, and do you plan on looking at him there or is he more of an outside corner? (Garrett Downing) “They all can play in the slot. There are times where we play ‘corners over,’ and the corner ends up playing on an inside receiver, which really is a slot receiver. That being said, we really like him as an outside guy. I really, in some ways, especially as a rookie, would rather them set in at one position and learn that position instead of trying to move them all over the place and them get kind of about half the reps here and half the reps here. I want to see if a guy can be a starter for us or push to be a starter, so we are kind of sitting him in one spot.”

Staying in the slot, how do you like CB Maurice Canady and his progress? (Ed Lee) “Maurice had a great camp. We were really sad to lose Tavon [Young], obviously, but Maurice has had a great camp. The guy makes plays. That is the whole bottom line on defense. Really, you can measure a guy’s vertical jump and their speed and all that kind of stuff – but really the bottom line is production. That guy has made a lot of production here in camp, so I am really excited to see him in fall.”

I know someone asked about him early, but just physically, what have you seen from OLB Terrell Suggs? “I think the guy looks renewed. I think he looks as good as I have ever seen him look. He has been working out here the whole year and has been here for the whole offseason, which has never really happened. He has really done a great job in there with [director of performance] Steve [Saunders], and I told him the other day when I walked in the weight room, ‘Man, you look like you are 25 years old again.’ He has really done a great job this offseason.”

Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris

What have you seen at the center position and that position battle that is going on? (Ryan Mink) “Well, we have John Urschel there. We have Ryan Jensen, and we have worked on Matt Skura there. Each of those young men have done a great job of taking the information and applying it and going each day. It is encouraging to see all three of them work that way, and it is great competition, as Marty [Mornhinweg] said earlier. You have three guys competing for the job, and you are going to get great results. All three of them are doing a very good job.”

How has it been to coach G/T Alex Lewis? He mentioned that you also coached his father. (Jamison Hensley) “That is right. I told his dad, ‘Alex has a lot better feet than you, Bill.’ (laughter) But you know what? This is the first time it has ever happened, and it is a blessing, to tell you the truth. I really thoroughly enjoyed coaching his dad, Bill. When he finished his NFL career, I was in the Canadian Football League, and I got him for his last stand, and he did a great job. He was a center, and we had a center, and Bill came in and said, ‘I don’t want to disrupt anything; I will play guard. I can do that.’ He is a team player, and Alex is a chip off the old block. He wants to be an offensive lineman. It is a pleasure to work with two Lewis young men. Bill was outstanding, and Alex is the same way at this point in time.”

Did you know coming in that you had coached his father? (Jamison Hensley) “I did not. It was all through an interview and coach [John] Harbaugh. He brought me in for an interview, and he said, ‘We have a player from Nebraska, this Lewis kid that is playing for us.’ I sat and I did not put two and two together. I have talked to Bill, but it had been many, many years. The conversation went on and the conversation went on and he [Harbaugh] said, ‘His dad was a former NFL player, and he is living in Phoenix.’ I said, ‘Lewis? His dad wouldn’t happen to be Bill, would it?’ John looked at me like, ‘How did you know that?’ I said, ‘Well I coached his dad 23 years ago.’ That is how it all happened. It is great to have that relationship rekindled.”

What will be the difference between your offensive line this year versus last season? (Kevin Richardson) “I am not going to judge last season. I know each day we are a work in progress. The main thing we have to do is continue to build continuity and build consistency and develop a nice unit. That is what we are working towards daily. Hopefully, you will see daily growth and weekly growth. From there, we will make strides.”

What has it been like working with Greg Roman? (Luke Jones) “It has been great. I can say this: It has been great working with Marty Mornhinweg and with Greg Roman and working for coach [John] Harbaugh and this whole staff. They are all class coaches and class men. I learn every day, and that is what the object of this game is, to learn and then share knowledge with the players that we have. It has been outstanding.”

Some of the players have talked about a sense of blocking downhill more this year. What are some of the changes? (Ed Lee) “I think it is not me as much as it is the whole system we are trying to incorporate. We are going to have a variety of different ways to block people. It is not going to be one specific scheme, but it is going to be a combination of many schemes and ways to do it, and it is going to be based on an opponent, too. You may not see the same thing two weeks in a row. But, we are going to develop something with consistency, especially through fundamentals and technique.”

How well did you know head coach John Harbaugh before you came in here for the interview? (Jeff Zrebiec) “I knew of coach [John] Harbaugh, and I knew of his reputation and what a grand job he has done here, but I did not know him.”

What have you seen from T James Hurst on the right side, and what are his strengths? (Ryan Mink) “You know what? Here is what I can tell you: He is very coachable. What you teach, you see. When I say that is I see it on tape. He is very coachable, he is accountable, he tries to do it exactly like we ask him to do, and he is getting nice results. It is good to see him put forth the effort he did in the offseason. He got bigger, he got stronger. He is moving quickly. He is an intelligent young man. You put those combinations together, and you have a good football player.”

LB Kamalei Correa

On how things are going at inside linebacker: “It is fun. I enjoy it. This is what I do; it is football. If it is inside linebacker, outside linebacker, free safety, I mean shoot, I am playing football.”

On what position he expected to play in the NFL: “I honestly did not expect anything. But, when I first got here, I realized special teams – you need to learn how to play special teams first before you can play on defense. I think once you master the special teams part, then you will get an opportunity to play on defense. It starts there first.”

On what he was able to take away from his rookie season: “I would say it was a learning year. I learned a lot. The NFL is not like college football, and that was hard. My playbook expanded. Special teams – I didn’t really play special teams in college, so that was tough. I think it was just a huge learning year. Year One and Year Two is such a big difference. I feel like in Year Two, you know what to expect, you know what is coming, you know your playbook a little more. So in actuality, it really allows you to play faster. When you play faster, you start making plays, and when you start making plays, you are going to stay on the field.”

On if being able to stay at one spot as opposed to switching back and forth simplifies the game: “I think last year it actually helped me – now that I am looking back on it – learning every position on defense, whether that is SAM, MIKE or WILL. Because now where I am playing, if I am playing SAM, if I am playing MIKE, if I am playing WILL, I know where my help is. That allows me to play faster as well. I think in the long run, it actually helps me and it benefits me. But it hurt my first year going through it, because it was a lot, and it was a lot thrown at me. But, that is not on the coaches. That is on me. I am just ready to move on from last year, and I am really excited about this year.”

On if he watches tape of recently retired Ravens LB Zachary Orr or if he has talked to him recently: “The last time I talked to Zach was right after we heard about his injury. It was sad, and I want to say that I do not wish that upon anybody. Zach Orr was a great guy, he was a great teammate, he was great in the locker room, and he was funny in the meeting rooms. He was just a great guy to be around. That is one thing I am going to miss. It is not even about football. It is really just a person you are losing. But film-wise, it is really a team effort. So if he sees something that I am not doing, he will tell me. If I see something he is not doing, I will tell him. It is kind of just a team effort.”

On which veteran he has leaned on and asked questions: “There are a lot of veterans on this team, starting from the safeties down – from [Eric] Weddle, to [Lardarius] Webb to Albert McClellan, to C.J. [Mosley], to ‘Sizz’ [Terrell Suggs].”

On which veteran from his specific position he has talked to the most: “I would say in the linebacker room, mainly Albert [McClellan] and C.J. [Mosley] have been there for me a lot. They have kind of helped me with my route concepts and knowing where my help is and where my gap fit is and everything. But at the end of the day, it is the whole defense, and we all stick together. So, if somebody sees something, it is not that I am going to hold out on that. If they see something, they are going to hold you accountable to it, and they are going to call you out and tell you.”

On if he has felt a big difference this season and if OTAs and minicamp have improved his confidence: “I kind of took it as last year was tough, and this year [I wanted] to just be myself – have fun. That has really been my main thing this year, and that is not even starting with on the field. That is just off the field, in the meeting rooms, when I go home with my family – just be myself. Because if you can actually be yourself in the meeting room, in the locker room and everything – it is just going to translate to on the field. That is what is making it easier this year.”

On if he thought the inside linebacker spot was his when LB Zachary Orr retired: “In the NFL, there is no job security. You have to come to work every single day. If I don’t come to work and if I don’t make plays, it won’t be me. That is just the reality of it. I don’t think there is any set position or set guy for one thing or there is one standard only. You need to come to work every single day, and you need to show these guys why you got drafted here and why you play here. At the end of the day, it comes down to who wants it more.”

On when it kicked in that it was his responsibility to make a difference: “I would say in the offseason, watching the playoffs and everything. It actually gave me a chance to sit back and actually see others play, and I kind of thought to myself, ‘Why can’t that be me?’ I work hard. It just really hit me. They picked me for a reason. I am here, I can do it. So, why not be me? I just started to go to work, I put my best foot forward, I am letting the cards fall out on the table as it is, and I let them make the calls up there on who is playing. I just have to do my job and make plays.”

WR Jeremy Maclin

On why he chose Baltimore: “I just felt that Baltimore made the most sense, from a football standpoint, a comfort standpoint and a personal standpoint. It is an organization that I’ve always had respect for, from afar. I told coach [John] Harbaugh this: All the stories I heard about him when I got to Philly after he left, it was nothing but positive vibes. So, when I get a chance to come here and meet all the guys and meet the coaches, it just felt right.”

On if there was a healing period after being cut by the Chiefs: “It hurt a little bit, how it went down and it being so unexpected. At the same time, it’s a business, and you understand how things work. There was only one choice but to pull it together and get things back on track.”

On how being cut is motivation for this season: “Big time, and not to prove them [the Chiefs] wrong, but you never want to be in a situation like that again. Don’t leave any room for doubt, any error. Just go out there and play football. There were some things last year that were out of my control, and that’s kind of how things go. They kind of took them and ran with them. It is what it is.”

On how he felt during the decision process over the weekend: “I had a chance to take my mind off of it for a little bit. I had a friend’s wedding that I was in, and I had family in town, and we were able to just hang out. Sunday was when all of the in-depth conversations happened. It was something about Baltimore from the start that caught me and kept it in the forefront of my mind. Everything that my wife said was always about Baltimore. I think that was probably a good sign as well. Happy wife, happy life!” (laughter)

On if his wife is from the Baltimore area: “She is. She grew up around here. I believe she went to Hilton Elementary School. She was there until she was nine or 10, then moved to Philly.”

On if the rumor was true that crab cakes played a factor in choosing the Ravens: “That’s an added bonus, for sure.”

On if he had many current players on the team trying to recruit him: “I talked to a few guys, but it was out of respect. A lot of veteran guys and guys who understand how the process works and understand that at the end of the day, that guy has to make the decision that’s best for him and his family. They’re also able to go over to Tony’s [Jefferson] house to watch the game. They’re also able to let me know what’s going on here and the fact that they want to get back to something special. They believe that they have that. They believe that I can be a big part of that. That also played into why I decided to come.”

On if playing for offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg previously makes learning new plays easier: “Yes, absolutely. There are definitely some different things that are in the playbook now that’s different terminology, but the base of it is the same. I’ve been in this style of offense for seven of nine years, so the learning process definitely slows down a little bit.”

On his impressions of QB Joe Flacco: “Joe is a cool dude. I got a chance to meet him when he was in Philly, and I randomly, up in Delaware, got to talk to him a little bit. Even back then, he was just so cool and laidback. You could tell he was a guy that a lot of people liked playing with and playing for. He sent a text message, kept it really brief, straight to the point. He just expressed to me what we could do here.”

On if Baltimore gave him the best chance of winning games: “I’m not going to talk about other teams and their ability to win games, but I felt that, with me coming here, and with what was already here, it felt like a team that could definitely win and build something special. From a football standpoint it made the most sense, from a personal standpoint it made the most sense, and that was the determining factor.”

On if he inquired about wearing No. 19: “Eighteen has always been my first choice. I couldn’t get it in Kansas City, because it was retired [Emmitt Thomas]. But 18 has always been my first choice.”

On reflecting back on the 2016 season after having successful 2014 and 2015 seasons: “It’s always disappointing anytime you don’t go out there and play up to the level that you’re capable of playing. I was banged up a little bit last year. It took me a while to get back in. It was just one of those years. It puts you back on notice that anything can happen in this league – clearly. It happened to me. It’s a learning experience, but at the same time, everything happens for a reason.”

On if he now has a chip on his shoulder: “The chip has always been there; it’s never left.”

On how he sees himself fitting in with WR Mike Wallace and WR Breshad Perriman: “I believe we can work well together. Those guys are big-time speed guys and guys who could make some big gains out on the field and do some other things as well. I feel that I’m a guy who can do everything, whether it’s go long, short, anything you ask me to do, I feel like I can do – even from an experience standpoint and share some knowledge with Breshad. I always said I’m not going to tell him how to do things but let him know what works for me, what I’ve done and what has helped me. You can just pick and choose with what helps you, as well.”

On if he likes playing in the slot: “It doesn’t matter. Wherever they need me to play, I’ll play.”

On if it was overwhelming to go over to S Tony Jefferson’s house and meet players: “No, it was cool. It was just guys watching the game, talking smack and stuff like that. It was a good time, good vibe. I stayed over there for a little bit and got a chance to talk to some guys.”

On if that allowed him to gain a sense of camaraderie: “Yes, absolutely.”

On his potential to stretch the field: “As a player, you can only do what they ask you to do. If they ask me to go long, I’ll go long. If they ask me to do everything else, I’ll do everything else. I don’t really like to talk about what I like to call ‘my former life.’ I’m all about the present.”

G/T Marshal Yanda

On how his shoulder feels: “It feels good. It should be ready to go. There haven’t been any setbacks. It’s been a smooth process.”

On if he has been weightlifting: “Yes – getting back into it. I’m still just doing more weight each day, and it’s coming along really well. No setbacks, getting stronger every week. I’ll be ready.”

On if he’ll be ready by training camp or preseason: “I don’t know yet. We’ll see what happens. Ss you know with injuries and dates, you can talk to coach [John] Harbaugh on that one. I’ll be working out hard every day, and I’ll be ready to go. I can just tell you, Week 1, I’m going to be out there. How about that?”

On how difficult last year was, physically, switching sides to LG: “It was tough. It was definitely one of the toughest things I’ve done as far as … It didn’t look [flawless], but I had to do it at a high level. I feel comfortable doing it. That’s what you’ve got to do. It’s part of football. This is a game where injuries are part of it, and you’ve just got to fight through it any way you can. I was happy to finish it that way than to go to I.R. and get the surgery then. It was nice to be able to go down fighting. Obviously, we didn’t finish with what we wanted to do last year, but I at least wanted to die trying doing it. I was happy to be able to finish the season.

On what was harder – right tackle or left guard: “Left guard, for sure. I’m mostly a right-sided player, so to go to that left-handed stance is just … Run-blocking and all that … My power producing angles just aren’t the same on the left side. Just years of doing that on the right-handed stance is all muscle memory.”

On what he likes about offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris: “He’s a good offensive line coach. He seems like he brings a lot of passion. It’s been a short time that I’ve been around him, but he seems like a good coach. He cares about his players. He’s a technician guy, just like most line coaches are. I like what I see from him. We’re learning each other and getting to know each other, but I like what I see so far. He’s a good, hardnosed coach. He’s working hard out there.”

On if his familiarity with last season’s shoulder injury recovery: “It does help, but you don’t know how everything is going to heal. You hope it’s going to be like a different shoulder, but it could heal differently. I think this one actually went better, like when I’m lifting. I don’t have as much pain lifting as I did with my right one. Shoulder rehabs … Everything is just painful, whether it’s lifting or rehab, getting back shoulders are a pain in the butt. The left one has been better than my right one, as far as rehab so, I’ll take it.”

On if there have been any changes in the way the team blocks under offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris and senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach Greg Roman’s guidance: “We definitely have a lot more run plays, but obviously, we run the plays. But, it’s how you run them verse what front you’re running them against. I feel they try to put us in the best position to win and succeed.”

On if “blocking downhill” is the approach this season: “Yes. I feel like there are going to be downhill plays. There are probably still going to be zone plays. There’ll be gap-scheme plays, too. I think it’s a little blend of everything. Greg talked about being balanced, so it’s not all going to be about the run game; it’s going to be pass, too. The runs that they are running, it’s a good dose of everything, to tell you the truth. Inside zone, outside zones, gap, pin and pull schemes – just everything.”

On if he was pleased with the front office emphasizing the run game this season: “You don’t want to be a distraction. You just want to keep your head down and grind. Obviously, we want to run the football more this year, and we didn’t get to do that this year. Everybody in the building wants to get it right. To be a better football team, we want to [run effectively]. In the end though, it comes down to wins. We’ll do anything it takes to win. Offensive lineman … I’m biased. Yes, we want to run the ball more. It makes it better for everybody. We’re going to try to get that done, but we’re still going to be balanced. We’ll be throwing the ball a ton to win games, too. Everyone understands you can’t just pound the rock; you have to throw the ball to win in the NFL, too. It’ll be a balance.”

On if he felt the offensive line is being sold short with talk about the need to bring in more offensive linemen: “I don’t think they’re getting sold short. I think they’re working hard. I think we let Ozzie [Newsome] and John [Harbaugh] handle those decisions. If they feel like we could get better in this position, and they make a move and get someone, they can do that. As far as being ‘worried’ about that, we’ll definitely work our tails off to be ready with the guys that we have. You try not to worry about that stuff. If I’m a guy who is in that position, it doesn’t change anything if they bring a guy in. You have to keep grinding. If they don’t, then you keep grinding either way. You let Ozzie and John handle that stuff, and you take care of your job on the grass. Otherwise, it’s a distraction that you don’t need.”

On if he thinks about his age in the NFL, coming off an injury: “No. You just wish it’s going to heal, and you’ll be good to go for the season. Most surgeries, you want an entire year before you feel better or 100 percent. With us, and our job, you’re going to have to get ready faster and put stress on it quicker than normal. You have that in the back of your mind, but you can’t let that bother you. You keep grinding, rehab and lifting weights. It’s just another part of the process. A process of playing football is injuries and rehab. Unfortunately, that’s just the game. It’s a game of injuries, and you’re going to have to fight through them if you’re going to have a career in the NFL.”

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