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Ravens First OTA Media Availability

Posted May 22, 2013

Includes John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco and Elvis Dumervil

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: “Good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys coming out. Our second day of OTAs – officially Day 2 is behind us now. [We have had] two really good days. I like the fact that we have a number of guys here, [which] obviously, is good. Practices have been very, very fast and very efficient. The first couple of days we didn’t make a lot of mistakes. Guys seem to know what they are doing. We are really working at a high tempo. The heat helped us. It made it tough for the guys, but it helped us. It’s something that’s good for us to push through. It made the practice tougher. I thought the guys did a good job of handling it. We will have another day here tomorrow. Then we will have the Memorial Day weekend, and then we will be back into it next week on Tuesday, Wednesday through the rest of the week.”

 

John, are you encouraged by Lardarius [Webb] and Jameel [McClain] and the fact that they are able to be out there and just do some things on the side? (Aaron Wilson) “Yes, very encouraged with Lardarius [Webb] and Jameel [McClain], really throughout [their time of injury recovery]. They have both done a great job with their rehab. They have had no setbacks, so they are on schedule.”

 

The wide receivers, some of these guys it’s an increase in repetitions for them. How do you think they are handling it? Do you feel good about it with some of these guys playing more, getting more reps? (Aaron Wilson) “Are you talking about the younger guys? (Reporter: “Yes.”) Yes, they are handling it well. They have always gotten reps in the sense of practice reps. They look stronger than ever. They are all in the best shape of their lives, so they are ready to handle the workload in terms of the practice reps.  They have all reacted very well the first two days of practice, so they are playing like veterans out there right now. [They] just have to keep improving every day. [Then we’ll] take them into the preseason and see how they do.”

 

Over the course of the offseason, how well has Elvis Dumervil made the transition into the defense? (Garrett Downing) “It seems like Elvis [Dumervil] has made the transition. He has been here every day. He hasn’t missed one thing since he’s been here. I feel like he’s emerging as a leader for our football team. He has had no problem learning the defense.”

 

Is that typical of a guy coming in and emerge as a leader right away like that? (Garrett Downing) “I don’t know. He’s done a great job. He’s a smart player. He likes football. He’s done a good job at it, so he’s done a good job.”

 

Coach, is this the time that you do look to see if everyone is in the right conditioning. I know it’s early, but there has been some offseason conditioning prior to this practice. Is this where you really start playing close attention, or do you wait a little bit? (Jerry Coleman) “You pay close attention to everything. It’s something that we watch. You have to be in very good shape to practice at the pace that we practice at. You can’t make it through the practice if you aren’t in great shape. That’s why it’s so important in our program to be in great condition. Our guys believe in that. We believe that we play like we practice, and therefore, we are going to practice faster than a game, if we can. So our guys need to be in great shape.”

 

“Dancing with the Stars” and Jacoby Jones, you are a fan. Any comment? (Manny Locke) “Yes, I thought he did great. I thought he did great last night. I was proud of Jacoby [Jones] through the whole thing. I am looking for him on the next flight back here to Baltimore, Jacoby. (laughing) So, he should be getting off the plane any second here at BWI. Should be expecting him tomorrow, will be looking for him. He should be in great shape. I thought he did great. I was proud of him. He represented all of us very well.”

 

John, does [Jacoby Jones] get right back into it, or does he need to kind of show you guys a little bit beforehand? (Aaron Wilson) “No, he said he’s in great shape, so he gets right back into it.”

 

Is there a sort of a sense of urgency as far as changing players and getting the right players as quickly as possible? (Joe Platania) “I don’t know how to gauge that exactly. We’ve done … We are always as active as we can possible be to try to be as good as we can be. We’ve worked as hard as we can to put this team together over the last few months. Every single person in the building has done a great job – scouting side, coaching side and administration side – to try to put this group together, and we’ll continue to do that until we play the first game and beyond. I like where we are at, like the progress we have made. I’m excited about our team.”

 

Can you talk about the guys that aren’t here – [Terrell] Suggs, [Haloti] Ngata, Chris Canty, [Marshal] Yanda? (Jim Corbett) “What would you like me to talk about?”

 

Because of voluntary reasons or … (Jim Corbett) “Every guy that comes or isn’t here has their reason, and they are in communication with us. It’s a voluntary workout. We coach the guys who are here, though.”

 

Does this OTA feel any different by the fact that you have a Super Bowl trophy now? Does it feel any different at all with you as a head coach? (Kevin Cowherd) “No, I don’t think so. That’s a question probably that is a little more, in all honesty, a more in-depth kind of question than just how it feels at an OTA, as you know. Practice is great. That’s the thing as a football coach or a football player … One of the guys, as a matter of fact, Chris Canty said it yesterday. He said that we are not professional weight lifters. We aren’t professional gasser runners. We are professional football players, so guys like to get out there and practice football. Coaches like to get out there and coach football. That’s what we do. It’s exciting in that sense.”

 

What has it been like for this team to have to adjust to life without Ray Lewis not being around the building and on the practice field? (Sal Paolantonio) “I’ve thought about it. I don’t know. Ray [Lewis] was never here during the offseason anyway, so I’d say it’s business as usual. How about that? (laughter) It’s normal, but Ray’s a part of us. He’s always going to be a part of us – just like all the other guys that have played here are always a part of us. Those guys are always welcome. They are back from time to time. Truly, when you are a part of a football team – anybody that has played any sport, football is the one that I know – you do walk together forever as teammates. So, those guys are still a part of it, and this team goes forward and tries to build a legacy and see what they can do with it. That’s what’s exciting.”

 

How do you fill that leadership back in? (Sal Paolantonio) “The guys will fill it right up. The leadership lid maybe gets pushed off, maybe, and some other guys grow up behind into that opportunity. That’s what will happen. I can see guys doing it already.”

 

Have you seen Joe Flacco do it in any respect? (Sal Paolantonio) “Joe [Flacco] has been a great leader. Joe has done a great job throughout his career in his own way. One thing about Joe: Nothing is going to change Joe. Joe is going to be who he is. I don’t think a change in the roster is going to change Joe, who he is. A change in the contract isn’t going to change Joe. Joe is Joe, and that’s what you love about him.”

 

He won’t be doing the squirrel dance? (Sal Paolantonio) “No. Joe [Flacco] doing the squirrel dance? (laughing) Think about that.”

 

Are you looking forward June 7 and the ring ceremony? (Mark Zinno) “I haven’t thought about it that much. I’m looking forward to it, I guess, but I can’t say it’s the most thrilling thing in the world. I’m excited about practice tomorrow, in all honesty. That’s the thing you think about.”

 

When it comes to that, you enjoyed the process; you enjoy the work with building a team. With all the changes in the offseason, the Combine earlier, the draft later, would that put a strain on the organization, upset the routine if they go through with those changes? (Joe Platania) “That’s a tough one to comment on. I think our priority should be what’s best for the players – therefore what’s best for the sport. I would think it would be in everyone’s best interest to have those rookie players have an opportunity to be as prepared as they can be, to contribute – that’s what we are paying them for. That’s what I would like to think where our priorities would be as league.”

 

Brian Urlacher announced his retirement today. Your thoughts on that maybe watching his career from afar? (Brett Hyman) “I met Brian [Urlacher] at the Pro Bowl a couple of years ago – great guy. I’m an admirer of Brian Urlacher as a football player and as a person. That’s the first I heard of that. I didn’t know that. Sorry to see him go. Wish him all the best.”

 

John, Arthur Brown was on the sidelines. Everything OK with him? (Aaron Wilson) “Arthur [Brown] had a sports hernia surgery about two weeks ago now maybe – right after the rookie minicamp. He’s recovering from that. It’s a four- to six-week [recovery] deal. He should be fine soon enough.”

 

OLB Elvis Dumervil

 

On if it feels strange to be joining a team that has just come off of a Super Bowl victory: “No, actually, the guys have been great in the locker room. I felt comfortable. There [are] a lot of Florida guys, too, so that made it a little more comfortable. But, as far as offseason training, it’s been great working out with [strength coach] Bob [Rogucki] and those guys in the weight room. The guys in the locker room have been as advertised when I was making the decision to get here. Guys welcomed me in, and it’s just been amazing.”

 

On why it is important to him to be here every day for workouts: “That’s just always what I’ve done since [I was] a rookie. You never know when that opportunity stops, so I always just take advantage of every opportunity. Especially for me, coming in to a new position – new atmosphere – I just wanted to get involved and get acclimated with the guys as soon as possible, learn a new position. So, those things, collectively, on top of what I just do normally – I thought it was important.”

 

On his relationship with [inside linebackers coach] Don Martindale, and how it helped get him to Baltimore: “Coach – I call him ‘Wink’ – Wink is great. We were in Denver together, and he’s been a stand-up guy, stand-up coach. And he’s a really good coach, as well. So, having those memories in Denver, and obviously, going to have to make that decision … That was kind of a good intro to have. He spoke highly of the Ravens, and he was absolutely right.”

 

On if it was at all tough coming here after losing to the Ravens in the playoffs last year while still with Denver: “I guess it’s bittersweet. It’s a lot of mixed emotions, you know? We often watch film and show the Denver highlights, so it’s kind of like, “Uhhh.” (laughter) But for the most part, it’s a new chapter, and I’m excited about that. I couldn’t have come to a better place.”

 

On if he has thought about the first game of the regular season against the Denver Broncos: “No, I’ve got a long way to go. I’ve got to make sure I’m at my best. So, I’m just taking these days, OTAs and offseason and just training – just trying to get better by the second.”

 

On his impression of QB Joe Flacco: “He leads by the way he plays. You saw that definitely in the playoff game. He did an outstanding job; it was really difficult to rush him. He got the ball off pretty good. He orchestrated that offense real good and he’s doing the same out here, so it’s no surprise.”

 

On if he feels that the coaches are pushing him to be a leader to some of the younger guys: “I wouldn’t call it pushing. I’m just coming here, just being who I am. I think I’ve learned a lot from a lot of good guys when I came into the game – [former Denver Broncos LB] Al Wilson, [former Denver Broncos SS] John Lynch, [former Denver Broncos WR] Rod Smith, [Denver Broncos CB] Champ Bailey. So, there [are] a lot of guys that kind of, when I came in … I think before you become a good leader, you’ve got to follow. Right now, I’ve come to a first-class organization [from] the owner, down. Head coach, [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] and those guys really demonstrate the way they want things to be done. And coming in, obviously, the reputation with Ray Lewis, Ed [Reed], those guys – it’s kind of [like] the picture is there of what you need to do, and I just try to come in and do what I need to do to win.”

 

On if he is playing with a chip on his shoulder: “Try I got a brick wall, man (laughing). Probably as big as this brick wall over here.”

 

On the differences in the playbook here compared to that in Denver: “I mean, football philosophy, terminology is a bit different here and there. But in Denver, I had seven-straight defensive coordinators, so this is not my first ride on that.”

 

On if former Ravens LB Ray Lewis has reached out to him since he signed with the Ravens: “No, he asked me to sign a ball, though. (laughing) I met Ray a couple of times doing Pro Bowl stuff; he’s a great guy. He’s a leader even outside of the organization. We had mad respect for him in Denver. I haven’t spoken to him, though.”

 

On how you replace a guy like Ray Lewis: “You can’t, man. He’s a first-ballot [Hall of Famer], arguably one of the best players ever. All you can do, I think, you can learn from your past, and I think the history, the past he’s left here was remarkable and sort of set in stone. So, his place will always be marked here, and you’ve just got to learn from that and try to keep it going.”

 

On how he will handle it if the responsibility falls on him: “I think, first of all, you’ve just got to go out and play. I think as Ray [Lewis] went out, he demonstrated, he played, and he walked the walk, he talked the talk. I think, soon enough, when the tides get rolling … That’s why I think it’s important to come out to offseason training, OTAs and those things. Let the younger guys [see you]. You know it’s a profession, you’ve got to be professional about it, and you take your job seriously.”

 

On how he would describe QB Joe Flacco, now that he’s been out there on the field with him:  “We all knew he had a canon. He’s got a strong arm, and I guess when a guy like that, with a natural strong arm starts to create way more accuracy, it just gets really dangerous. So, when you’ve got that combination – those things – it’s pretty scary.”

 

On if he feels that leadership starts on the field or in the locker room: “It starts home. I think it’s the way you conduct yourself off the field, the way you take care of yourself off the field and that’s who you are as a person then. If you try to hide it, it comes out of the closet eventually. So, I think you’ve just got to be who you are, then everything else will take its place.”

 

On his thoughts about former Bears LB Brian Urlacher retiring: “He’s one of the greats, too. He’s done it for a long time. You’ve got mad respect for a guy like that who plays and dominated as long as he did. He always kept the Chicago defense relevant. So, in the NFL, one of the greats retired.”

 

QB Joe Flacco

 

On what this offseason has been like for him and if it has been different: “Probably right away it was a little bit different, but right around this time it’s been pretty similar. It has probably felt a little bit shorter just because we went a little bit longer and had a couple of things to do afterwards, all of us. But it’s all been good.”

 

On his thoughts on WR Tandon Doss and some of the other younger receivers: “They’re doing well. I think we hit the ground running pretty good yesterday. Obviously, [we] have a lot of work to do, but our pace is good, everybody is lining up doing all the right things. I think as practice goes on you can see guys need to get that conditioning, but that’s going to come. We practice at a very high tempo, and if we just continue to do this for the next couple weeks, guys are going to leave in great condition. Those guys are doing a great job right now, catching the football and being in the right spots.”

 

On if he’s excited to get WR Jacoby Jones back now that “Dancing with the Stars” is over: “It’ll be fun. It was kind of cool to watch him throughout the whole thing, and it’ll definitely be exciting to come out here and see what kind of person he is these days.” (laughter)

 

On if he’s seen the offense change at all now that there’s been an offseason under offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell: “We may have changed a couple things here and there, but for the most part, it’s the same, and he’ll probably add some of his concepts in just because he’s the guy that is driving things for the most part now. So, we’ll have new wrinkles in there, but for the most part, it’s pretty similar.”

 

On if it has changed at all in the locker room for him after being named Super Bowl MVP and getting a new contract: “No. The only thing that is different is I probably don’t know 80 percent of the guys’ names on our team at this point. (laughter) So, I would say that’s the only difference.”

 

On how difficult it will be for this team to get back where it was last year after losing so many starters: “I think people make a big deal out of it, but that happens every single year. I got here five years ago, and you could probably count on one hand how many guys were here five years ago that are still here today. That’s how much our team has changed over in that short period of time. Obviously, we lost some guys, but I think we always do a great job in getting some in return and making up for it with some young guys, and I feel really confident about where we’re headed.”

 

On if there has been too much made of people talking about this team needing another veteran wide receiver: “I haven’t heard too much about all that, but I’m excited about who we have. I like the idea of having guys that we’ve had, we’ve drafted here or we’ve picked up here, and grooming them and getting those guys to become great wide receivers. They definitely have the talent to do it; I think we just need to get them some reps. And when I say reps, I mean game time reps, so they’re confidence can take off. One of the biggest things about Anquan [Boldin] is that he knew he was the man. So, when he went out there, he didn’t care what happened. He was the man. You don’t realize how much that helps out your play and your team’s play. And when these young guys can get to the point where they’re out there and their attitude is that, they have all the ability in the world, and I feel very confident with those guys.”

 

On if the offseason was ever normal for him at any point: “I think it can get crazy, I guess, if you’re somebody that likes to do a lot of things and you have a lot of opportunities that present themselves. But I don’t usually enjoy that stuff anyway, so it was probably pretty typical for me. It was a little bit more crazy probably right after the season, but like I said, it was all good stuff and stuff that you never know if you’re going to experience it again, so you take advantage of it while you can. For the last little while we’ve been able to relax a little bit and just enjoy life as normal.”

 

On how he will adapt to the offense when he looks up on certain plays and WR Anquan Boldin isn’t out there: “It’s not like I was getting the ball and looking to see where Anquan was; it was where was the ball going to go and Anquan happened to be there. Towards the end [of the 2012 season], there were probably certain times where he was covered, but you had the confidence to throw it up to him. But we have guys all over the field that I have that same confidence in. Anquan probably wasn’t here last year at this point anyway, so at this point it’s no different.”

 

On if he feels good about his protection with T Bryant McKinnie returning: “Yeah, it does. I think every year we’ve been here we’ve juggled the offensive line around a pretty good amount. And at some point or another during the middle of the season or come playoff time or all through preseason and at the beginning of the season we’ve switched something or just made our starting line. So, I think the fact that we have a pretty good feel about who is going to be up there is definitely good for me, and the fact that they played so well together last year at the end of the season is definitely a big confidence booster.”

 

On if it has to feel a little different going into a new season with a contract and a Super Bowl ring: “I honestly don’t think too much about the contract. When I think about it, it’s all good. (laughter) I don’t have a Super Bowl ring yet, but I guess in a couple of weeks I will, and when I think about that it’s all good. (laughter) But those things, I can honestly say aren’t things I think about every day and affect the way I come in here and perform or anything like that. When somebody asks me, or every now and then when you have some down time and you happen to think about it or somebody brings it up, then yeah, you think about it and it has a good effect on your outlook on the day. But other than that, yeah, I can honestly say it’s pretty normal coming in here.”

 

On if it feels more like this is “his” team: “I don’t know, not really. I guess we probably have a lot of new faces and a lot of young guys. This will be my sixth year – it’s tough to believe – so I think … We’ve always had a locker room where everybody kind of shares roles. You have so many guys that are very responsible and know how to go to work, and I think that’s why we’ve been able to continuously have success, even though our team has changed a lot, is because all of those guys that have been there before us really show us how to do it, and then everybody just kind of takes that lead. And I think that’s where we are. I think that’s where I am.”

 

On if his Super Bowl ring will sit in a display case or if he’ll wear it around: “No, I’ll probably not wear it around too often. I’m hoping that it’s kind of tough to wear around – it’ll be that ridiculous. (laughter) I’ll probably wear it that night; I’ll probably bring it a couple of places to show a couple of my family members or somebody that wants to see it, a couple of friends like that. But yeah, I’m not going to be wearing that thing out. I’ll probably be too scared that somebody will try to come steal it off me.”

 

On where things stand with the Johnny Unitas movie and if it’s still on: “Yeah, it is just a cool opportunity for myself to go run around a field a little bit, and it was just an honor [to be asked]. Johnny Unitas is a legend – not just around here, really, in the game of football. So, it’ll be pretty cool.”

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