RAVENS PRACTICE TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Thanks for coming out. We appreciate you guys being here. Great day – we had a good, tough practice, and we're just trying to get better."
John, you got some guys back that you have been waiting for, Bernard Pierce and Jimmy Smith. What's it like to get some of your depth back? (Aaron Wilson) "It's good to get those guys back. It's really important. Those guys are out here practicing, and we need to have those guys."
Do you guys have any update on Ryan McBean, how long he could be out? (Jason Butt) "It's already been reported, so there is no reason for me to comment on it any further. You guys already got what you need. I already saw it in the paper, so you guys have all the injury information that you'll need."
You do try to plan the schedule out as much as you can, but when you see the quantity of injuries that you have, does it put a little monkey wrench in the schedule? (Joe Platania) "We have 90 guys, which is good, and you have to plan for whoever is out there, so you have to work your numbers. There are a number of reps, number of players … It's kind of a little bit of a formula, not locked in stone, but it's a little bit of an instinct thing, too – feel thing. You have to work around that. Everybody has that. It's always going to be an issue, and you try to do the best you can. We're in pretty good shape overall, but you've just got to keep pushing."
John, do you think you need somebody at tight end, or do you think that you have enough guys to get through the preseason? (Aaron Wilson)"I don't know. We'll just have to see. It's not just needing a guy, it's also guys being available that you think can play, and if they can stay healthy. There is no point in bringing a guy in and he gets hurt. Then, we just have one more hurt guy to deal with, and then it can affect your salary cap. So, it's a little bit of a balancing act, and you have to make really good, wise decisions. It's always good to bring in a player if he is right guy; it's not good if he is not the right guy."
Are you excited about tomorrow, going to Annapolis for practice? It's something new for you guys. (Aaron Wilson) "Yeah, thanks. We're going to Annapolis tomorrow. [We'll] be there at 5:00 p.m. I guess we're expecting a really good turnout. It should be a lot of fun, real festive atmosphere. I love the Naval Academy. I visited there when I was being recruited out of high school. I took an official trip to the Naval Academy."
They didn't sign you? (Aaron Wilson) "I don't know. I didn't go there. I probably should have, looking back on it. I kind of wish I had. But Miami [Ohio] was a great place, too. No offense to Miami; I liked it there. (laughing) (Senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne interjects: "How would you have enjoyed that regiment of the Naval Academy?") You never know if you're tough enough for something like that. So, I probably had my doubts at the time."
Now that he has been on the field for a little over a week, how has Bryant McKinnie progressed as far as being in football shape, and as far as the competition? (Luke Jones) "He's practiced well. He's been durable. He's made it through all of the practices that he's been in. He played in the game, a good number of reps. He's competing like all those guys are right now, and it's a competition on the offensive line."
What did you see from Kelechi Osemele in the game on Thursday? (Matt Vensel) "He played well. He was a rookie, and that was the first experience for him, but he handled it really well. He was calm, didn't make mistakes, didn't jump offside, had his assignments right, blocked people well for the most part, and I thought he acquitted himself very well."
After reviewing the game, did most of the mistakes look pretty correctible? (Aaron Wilson) "All of it was correctable. It's all that stuff that's a fine line. There is a fine line between three-and-out and making a first down and building a little momentum. The thing we were unable to do with the 'ones' [first team] in the first quarter that was disappointing was get a first down and generate momentum, or get a third-down stop. Either one of those things changes that picture; that's what football is. So, that's something we have to work on. Our front-line guys have practiced very well. I don't think we performed – in terms of making plays on the ball or converting to get those first downs – as well as we have in practice. That's something we need to take to the field. Obviously, the rest of the guys did do that really well. So, it's good for us. It's good for us to know that, and we've got some work to do."
How good was it to see Bobby Rainey and Deonte Thompson make some plays out there? (Jason Butt) "It was great to see. We were just saying … The guys were joking because I meant to say, 'The cream rises to the top,' and I said, 'The cream rises to the crop.' The cream of the crop rises to the top, OK, something. I told them, 'You know what I meant; go with what I meant, not what I said.' But, that's the point. It gets tough. It's a long camp, that's why we have the number of reps we do. We play for the four preseason games to find out. We give our guys every opportunity. We will know by the end of the preseason who our best 53 players are."
Sergio [Kindle] got a lot of reps too out there. It looked like he played most of the game. What did you see out of him? (Jason Butt) "I saw Sergio playing most of the game and playing pretty well. He started off a little shaky – had a couple of missed assignments that led to some of their conversions a little bit, but that was to be expected. We knew we were going to have that in this game. We're going to play him a lot in the preseason and let him play through it. He hasn't played much football in a long time, so he needs to play, and he did pretty well."
Coach, going off in the no-huddle, kind of hurry-up offense like you did, is that something that you are looking to build on? (Ryan Mink) "Well, that's something that we have been practicing from the beginning, so obviously, that's going to be a big part of what we do. We just have to pick our spots and all that, but I think we had 72 plays, 73 plays in three quarters. We had nine in one, and that's how it works in no-huddle. It works really well when you convert; it doesn't look so good when you don't convert. When we have situations during the season, if we are out there, if we chose to go that tempo, that we don't convert, our defense is going to have to get stops. When we do convert, we are going to build some momentum on our opponents. You have to understand how that goes."
Albert McClellan has forged a role on this team in special teams and he continues to do that. How much has he kind of emerged as a defensive guy that is important as well now? (Aaron Wilson) "Like I've said, he's competing for a starting job, and he's done nothing to make you think that he couldn't be a starter, the way he played and the way he practiced. He's played really, really well. That makes it interesting. This program is built on competition. The best guys play, and the guys who are the best are the guys that play the best, presently. You go by what you see, not by what you remember or what you're told."
With Bernard Pierce missing the past couple of weeks, what is he going to need to do to make up ground with the other young running backs who have been out here on the field? (Matt Vensel) "It's not really a race in that sense. It's not that he's behind or anything like that. He's just going to have to do well with the reps and opportunities that he gets, and that's going to be his body of work. What happens is, without getting that experience – those opportunities to make those mistakes – he's going to have to have learned from the other people's mistakes. We will see how well he did that in the next couple of weeks."
With regards to Omar Brown's performance, were you surprised by that or is that what you had seen from him? (Ed Lee) "That's a great question, because we didn't know a lot about him coming in. We knew he was a good player. There wasn't much buzz about him in the draft, obviously, but all of a sudden we came out of the first couple of days, even in the spring, and he's a guy that was around the ball. Teryl Austin says it all the time: 'If you want to find Omar, look for the ball. He'll be around it,' and it was good to see it show up in the game the same way. Here's another guy that's making a real good, strong push."
This year, as far as the undrafted rookies coming in and making plays, I know last year LaQuan [Williams] took the stage. In your experience, have you seen a group like this, the number of guys competing for spots? Is this unusual? (Morgan Adsit) "That's a good question. I'd have to go back and think about it. Offhand, no. Offhand, I don't think we've had, certainly not in the last four years here, this many guys who are undrafted free agents vying for roster spots. I like to think that's a positive sign. I guess we'll see. Those guys deserve a lot of credit."